Friday, 25 December 2020

Best present ever..


Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Star Dragons


So this is a picture of Captain Kirk. One of many if you include the fan made cardboard and polystyrene Youtube approaches to stylizing the world of Gene Rodenberry. However it also happens to be a picture of Chris Pine no less but in addition even to this it is also a picture of an as yet unreleased character from an upcoming Dungeons and Dragons movie. The RPG scene has been seeing a strong resurgence over recent years both including its establishment in popular culture through shows such as Stranger Days and Community as well as at the cash tills of local gaming establishments. But the financial results from some quarters - Hasbro being the principal one - are really reminiscent of an explosion in the market.

Little wonder that drama follows other drama and with the film studios constantly looking for the next Game of Thrones it is unsurprising that D&D has come back to the fore. It has been long enough now after the flop in 2000 starring Jeremy Irons and the need for a solid narrative base to underpin a successful RPG film should be paramount in the  minds of the script writers - or so one would hope. If done well, it could see ongoing productions across many of the realms in either movie or series formats. The only snag at the back of my mind is that ultimately D&D is really a loose collection of thematic tools and does not have a canon or indeed story as such. Unlike Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones there is no context but there is a lot of anecdotal lore - basically the worlds have been created but the stories are written by the players.

I would not know what the best approach is here - certainly many of the items and spells in D&D have a lineage and narrative attached which could be embellished quite effectively so perhaps that is the handle to the fan base as some of the lore has been consistent across many D&D versions - getting and keeping a fanbase on board where there is in fact no specific story needs thinking about very carefully. Personally I would like to see the film switch between roleplayers at home enjoying a good evening and the world in which their characters strive and survive. This would tie in the game concept, the empathy players have for their characters as well as the dilemma and traumas of the characters themselves given the hand of fate holding over all of us. Well, will Hollywood listen to me ? They should of course but it seems to have been a while since movie houses have really listened to their fans..

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Inhuman conditions


It is said that you never know who you pass in the street. Its one of those sayings that could mean a lot of different things depending on your context but it was rather more impactful for me as it was coming from an ex-policeman I know. I guess he got out before he got jaded but he would have been speaking from considerable experience as well as from a number of second hand stories. Demons walk among us perhaps but if you didn't have innate conviction of a Paladin or the eyes of a Seer how do you single out those who should be brought to justice.

In my media subscriptions I recall a couple of channels that specialise in criminal psychology and the interview techniques that interrogators employ are not just insightful where interaction is concerned. they include a cognitive toolkit that draws on inevitable behaviours and responses - for example flattery, empathy, aggression, mimicry and lets not forget exhaustion to name but a few. Its a fascinating field but it never occurred to me that it could be turned into a game.

More precisely the format has been around for over 30 years already from our future past and is based on the infamous law enforcement Voight-Kampff test or, if you prefer the replicant interview technique  of the Bladerunners. The basic principal of the 5 minute game is that the enforcer interviews the subject based on conversation cards that compel the non-human to respond anomalously in certain conversational situations. It was kickstarted for 300k and I believe is actually free in pdf format so worth a look if indeed you might want to know who you have occasion to pass in the street.

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

I sea you


I'm not sure whether its the lockdowns giving me a yearning for open spaces or the fact that a mate of mine is now first on their yacht training but I have a weird hankering for a sea adventure of some kind. I've always turned my nose up at pirates despite the risks involved as I've always considered land based adventures just instinctively better all round in terms of side quests, spontaneous mlarky and dungeon diving; I suppose on a ship that would just be diving.

Having said this a pirate vessel offers up a microcosm of relationship challenges given the confined spaces involved and whilst I understand that the real pirate ships of old were actually run in a very orderly fashion, on the rpg seas tensions would run overboard. To be fair sea transport can be expedited in terms of plot so whilst it may not be easy to escape some situations on a personal level, the entire complement can move location or indeed escape trepidation at the GMs discretion so its swings and roundabouts where the tides rise and fall or perhaps freeze..

Redemption is often a key character point where a criminal mentality is concerned in adventures and although a lot of pirates would have begun their career by being press ganged, a lot would also have been life long cut throats. It was also commonplace for captured crew to be absorbed into the roster so there are are plenty of narrative and character hooks there alongside the occasional mutiny from various flag nations so there are potentially elements of coercion in conflict with someone's self worth. Indeed how far would any of us go to survive ? History would seem to indicate quite far..