Saturday, October 23, 2021

Order in the (Marvel) Universe (Part VIII)

It's been a while again, been a hectic month! But in between work, trying to keep sane, an evening class, and continuing my rewatch of not only every episode of Doctor Who, but also another couple of series, I've managed to squeeze in a few more stages in my rewatch of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe in chronological order.

Last post we got as far as the second and final season of Netflix's The Punisher, which brought us to the final series in the Netflix run - Jessica Jones Season Three.


Really odd series. With the introduction of the very strange choice of a villain with 'Foolkiller' Salinger, and building up the Hellcat Patricia Walker storyline, it was a bit of a low. Such a shame. Acting was great again, and they even had Benjamin Walker in it (who really should be cast in a young Qui-Gon Jinn TV series for Disney+). But Salinger was so utterly hateful, you were on Trish's side and wanted him out of the picture. Sure, she went too far, but it was really one of those 'Someone had to do it' moments. 

Add to this Hogarth's storyline, which was just a wreck of her making terrible choices, and I think Jessica was the only character to come out of this unscathed. Here's hoping they can incorporate her (and the rest of the Defenders) into the Disney+ MCU and not discount it entirely.


Strangely, we watched Black Widow next. While it's technically out of order, it kinda fit, as it takes place between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, which is where we are. I hadn't seen this on initial release, being extremely cautious with the pandemic, so we were very eager to watch it the moment it became accessible on regular Disney+.

I have to say, the opening two thirds of Black Widow were brilliant. A great action, spy drama, with some really great scenes. The big disappointment was Taskmaster's great reveal, as that was blown by the opening credits for me seeing the actor's name come up. By about half-way through the movie, realising we hadn't seen them yet, I put two and two together and... well. On the plus side, as many have said, is Florence Pugh. Brilliant again, and really hoping she gets her own 'Black Widow' movie in the future, along with appearances in Hawkeye...

Next on the list, chronologically, we return to the movies with Ant-man and the Wasp. I think I'd only seen it once at the cinema so it was great getting to watch this again. Great stuff again, great acting, exciting scenes, really funny at the right times without going over the top (I'm looking at you Ragnarok), some scarily good de-aging CGI for Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne. And great to have Laurence Fishburne and Hannah John-Kamen in the MCU. 

Technically, you should stop watching the movie just before the mid-credits sequence at the end, and come back to this scene after Infinity War

But that's as far as we are at the moment. Next up is the biggie - Infinity War!

Until next time, stay safe!

--

If you want to catch up and keep up with the rewatch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we've been following the order that DigitalSpy produced a little while ago. If you want to join in, here's the list we've worked through so far...

1 - Captain America: The First Avenger

2 - Agent Carter (Season One)

3 - Agent Carter (Season Two)

4 - Agent Carter (Marvel One-Shot - on Iron Man 3 bluray)

5 - Captain Marvel

6 - Iron Man

7 - Iron Man 2

8 - The Incredible Hulk (on Netflix)

9 - The Consultant (Marvel One-Shot - on the Thor bluray)

10 - A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to Thor's Hammer (Marvel One-Shot - on the Captain America: The First Avenger bluray)

11 - Thor: The Mighty Avenger

12 - Avengers Assemble (the first Avengers movie)

13 - Item 47 (Marvel One-Shot - on the Avengers bluray)

14 - Iron Man 3

15 - All Hail The King (Marvel One-Shot on the Thor: The Dark World bluray)

16 - Agents of SHIELD (Season One, Episodes 1-7)

17 - Thor: The Dark World

18 - Agents of SHIELD (Season One, Episodes 8-16)

19 - Captain America: The Winter Soldier

20 - Agents of SHIELD (Season One, Episodes 17-22)

21 - Guardians of the Galaxy

22 - Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

23 - Daredevil (Season One)

24 - Agents of SHIELD (Season Two, Episodes 1-10)

25 - Jessica Jones (Season One)

26 - Agents of SHIELD (Season Two, Episodes 11-19)

27 - Avengers: Age of Ultron

28 - Agents of SHIELD (Season Two, Episodes 20-22)

29 - Daredevil (Season Two, Episodes 1-4)

30 - Luke Cage (Season One, Episodes 1-4)

31 - Daredevil (Season Two, Episodes 5-11)

32 - Luke Cage (Season One, Episodes 5-8)

33 - Daredevil (Season Two, Episodes 12-13)

34 - Luke Cage (Season One, Episodes 9-13)

35 - Ant-Man

36 - Agents of SHIELD (Season Three, Episodes 1-10)

37 - Agents of SHIELD (Season Three, Episodes 11-19)

38 - Iron Fist (Season One)

39 - Captain America: Civil War

40 - Black Widow [New Addition to the Time Line!!]

41 - Agents of SHIELD (Season Three, Episodes 20-22)

42 - The Defenders

43 - Agents of SHIELD (Season Four, Episodes 1-6)

44 - Doctor Strange

45 - Black Panther

46 - Agents of SHIELD (Season Four, Episodes 7-8)

47 - Agents of SHIELD: Slingshot (Episodes 1-6)

48 - Agents of SHIELD (Season Four, Episodes 9-22)

49 - Spider-man: Homecoming

50 - Thor: Ragnarok

51 - Inhumans (Season One)

52 - The Punisher (Season One)

53 - Runaways (Season One)

54 - Agents of SHIELD (Season 5, Episodes 1-10)

55 - Jessica Jones (Season Two)

56 - Agents of SHIELD (Season 5, Episodes 11-18)

57 - Cloak and Dagger (Season One)

58 - Cloak and Dagger (Season Two)

59 - Luke Cage (Season Two) 

60 - Iron Fist (Season Two)

61 - Daredevil (Season Three)

62 - Runaways (Season Two)

63 - The Punisher (Season Two)

64 - Jessica Jones (Season Three) 

65 - Ant-Man and the Wasp (credits after Infinity War)

Next up is...

66 - Avengers: Infinity War <--We Are Here!!

67 - Agents of SHIELD (Season 5, Episodes 19-22)

68 - Agents of SHIELD (Season 6)

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Order in the (Marvel) Universe (Part VII)

Many, many moons ago, right in the middle of one of the UK lockdowns, I tried to keep myself sane and distracted by rewatching all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (including the TV series) in chronological order of events.

Just because the world (well, certainly the UK) seems to think the pandemic has ended, I'm still keeping as safe as possible, and keeping myself as sane as possible by continuing this massive Marvel rewatch.

Last time I posted about the Marvel marathon was back in July, and we continued our watch through in the order that DigitalSpy recommended. We finished that section with a back-to-back rewatch of Seasons One and Two of Marvel's Cloak and Dagger. So what was next on the list in order of events?


We head back to Netflix and return to Luke Cage for Season Two. Another excellent series, though I spent most of my time frustrated by the villains again. I know you're not supposed to like Mariah, but I really hated her in this series. Luckily, she is so completely hateful, and does such absolutely horrible things that her sidekick, Shades, eventually turns on her, and she's eventually killed by her own daughter. 

Once again, Mike Colter is freakin' awesome, as is Simone Missick, and the music is just brilliant again. One episode really stood out (Episode 4) where Christone 'Kingfish' Ingram performs on stage in the club, and... man, can that guy play. 


There's a little video of his 22nd Birthday concert. He's 22. Wow... 



After Luke Cage's final season, we head over to Iron Fist's last — a shorter season of ten episodes (and it really shows that most of the Marvel series on Netflix may have worked better as ten episode runs rather than thirteen). It's a good season again, plenty going on in it. It introduces one of my wife's favourite characters from Daredevil with 'Typhoid' Mary, and once again Jessica Henwick steals the show as Colleen Wing. After a climatic battle, Wing ends up with the Iron Fist powers, channeling them through her katana, though Danny Rand can still manifest the power in some way through guns? Weird. I'd have loved to have seen where this would have continued. 

Continuing the watch through in order, we move onto another of Netflix's 'Defenders' series, and the final season of Daredevil.


Can't believe it's been so long with the world thinking Matt Murdock was dead. This series Matt is hiding for most of it under the church, his suit having been stolen by Kingpin's goons and given to Bullseye. Some amazing scenes in this again — there's the 'filmed as one shot' sequence in the prison, where Murdock foolishly goes in to get info and as trapped in there, drugged, while a riot breaks out. And then there's the intense Karen Page / Kingpin scene in Kingpin's 'home arrest' luxury apartment. Fantastic as always. Brilliant cast, and I'd love to see the actors continue these rolls in future. Will Murdock be in Spider-man? Is Kingpin in the Hawkeye series? Who knows... only time will tell.

Next in the viewing order we head back over to Disney+ for Season Two of Marvel's Runaways.


I don't know what happened. I really enjoyed Season One when we rewatched it. I remember enjoying all three seasons first time around (though the main villain in Season Three was a strange choice). But this time around, rewatching Season Two was a bit of a struggle. Maybe it's because it was longer (thirteen episodes rather than ten), and the 'big bad' is kinda stopped by the seventh or eighth episode. After that it flounders a little as they try to establish the alien possessions storyline, the AWOL storyline, and just try to get to grips with what's going on... and then it just kinda stops. 

Oh well. Onto something completely new to me - 


Season Two of The Punisher. Now, I'm going to confess, I really liked Season One, despite it being one of the most violent series I've watched in a long time. But when Season Two dropped, I didn't quite get around to watching it straight away. And then the reviews started coming in saying it wasn't as good as the first, so we never quite got around to sitting down and actually watching it. So this was the first time for us, and we were pleasantly surprised! I thought it was going to be bad, but (again helped by some great supporting cast) it was rather good again. My only complaint is the end scene with Frank gunning down a load of drug dealers. Part of me was kinda hoping he was going to go back to that roadhouse and see if he could make up again with Beth Quinn, but alas. Billy Russo met a fitting finale, and 'John Pilgrim' was scarily brutal. 

And that's as far as we've got!!

Next up on the list is another Netflix series we haven't seen before — Season Three of Jessica Jones.

--

If you want to catch up and keep up with the rewatch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we've been following the order that DigitalSpy produced a little while ago. If you want to join in, here's the list we've worked through so far...

1 - Captain America: The First Avenger

2 - Agent Carter (Season One)

3 - Agent Carter (Season Two)

4 - Agent Carter (Marvel One-Shot - on Iron Man 3 bluray)

5 - Captain Marvel

6 - Iron Man

7 - Iron Man 2

8 - The Incredible Hulk (on Netflix)

9 - The Consultant (Marvel One-Shot - on the Thor bluray)

10 - A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to Thor's Hammer (Marvel One-Shot - on the Captain America: The First Avenger bluray)

11 - Thor: The Mighty Avenger

12 - Avengers Assemble (the first Avengers movie)

13 - Item 47 (Marvel One-Shot - on the Avengers bluray)

14 - Iron Man 3

15 - All Hail The King (Marvel One-Shot on the Thor: The Dark World bluray)

16 - Agents of SHIELD (Season One, Episodes 1-7)

17 - Thor: The Dark World

18 - Agents of SHIELD (Season One, Episodes 8-16)

19 - Captain America: The Winter Soldier

20 - Agents of SHIELD (Season One, Episodes 17-22)

21 - Guardians of the Galaxy

22 - Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

23 - Daredevil (Season One)

24 - Agents of SHIELD (Season Two, Episodes 1-10)

25 - Jessica Jones (Season One)

26 - Agents of SHIELD (Season Two, Episodes 11-19)

27 - Avengers: Age of Ultron

28 - Agents of SHIELD (Season Two, Episodes 20-22)

29 - Daredevil (Season Two, Episodes 1-4)

30 - Luke Cage (Season One, Episodes 1-4)

31 - Daredevil (Season Two, Episodes 5-11)

32 - Luke Cage (Season One, Episodes 5-8)

33 - Daredevil (Season Two, Episodes 12-13)

34 - Luke Cage (Season One, Episodes 9-13)

35 - Ant-Man

36 - Agents of SHIELD (Season Three, Episodes 1-10)

37 - Agents of SHIELD (Season Three, Episodes 11-19)

38 - Iron Fist (Season One)

39 - Captain America: Civil War

40 - Agents of SHIELD (Season Three, Episodes 20-22)

41 - The Defenders

42 - Agents of SHIELD (Season Four, Episodes 1-6)

43 - Doctor Strange

44 - Black Panther

45 - Agents of SHIELD (Season Four, Episodes 7-8)

46 - Agents of SHIELD: Slingshot (Episodes 1-6)

47 - Agents of SHIELD (Season Four, Episodes 9-22)

48 - Spider-man: Homecoming

49 - Thor: Ragnarok

50 - Inhumans (Season One)

51 - The Punisher (Season One)

52 - Runaways (Season One)

53 - Agents of SHIELD (Season 5, Episodes 1-10)

54 - Jessica Jones (Season Two)

55 - Agents of SHIELD (Season 5, Episodes 11-18)

56 - Cloak and Dagger (Season One)

57 - Cloak and Dagger (Season Two)

58 - Luke Cage (Season Two) 

59 - Iron Fist (Season Two)

60 - Daredevil (Season Three)

61 - Runaways (Season Two)

62 - The Punisher (Season Two)

Next up is...

63 - Jessica Jones (Season Three) <--We Are Here!!

64 - Ant-Man and the Wasp (credits after Infinity War)

65 - Avengers: Infinity War

66 - Agents of SHIELD (Season 5, Episodes 19-22)

67 - Agents of SHIELD (Season 6)

[I have noticed that DigitalSpy's page has updated to insert Black Widow as Number 40 in the sequence, but we're way past that now - I haven't seen Black Widow yet, but will rectify that as soon as it hits non-premiere Disney+]


Tuesday, August 31, 2021

#RPGaDAY2021 - Day 31: THANK

 

And so we come to the end of another #RPGaDAY, and there's a definite reason why I picked this as the prompt for the last day. I really just wanted to take this opportunity to THANK everyone for taking part again this year - there have been so many brilliant blogposts, videos, podcasts, and tweets about what everyone enjoys about tabletop roleplaying games. 

I'd also like to take this opportunity to THANK Anthony Boyd again (the illustrious Runeslinger) for helping to coordinate this year's #RPGaDAY initiative. 

Thank you everyone. Eight years of this we've been doing and it's still going strong. Maybe we'll do something special for the tenth? Maybe a charity fundraiser or something? 

Thanks everyone, stay safe.


Dave

Monday, August 30, 2021

#RPGaDAY2021 - Day 30: MENTION

 


Day 30 of #RPGaDAY2021 and it's the last couple of days. Just one prompt today, and that is MENTION. The main idea for this is to give everyone the opportunity to mention anything they like - want to recommend a game, a stream, a designer, an accessory, a website, a podcast? Now's your chance to mention them and get some recognition. Spread the word. 

Sunday, August 29, 2021

#RPGaDAY2021 - Day 29: SYSTEM

 


Day 29 of #RPGaDAY2021, and we're into the last few posts (and all of which are single prompt entries). And today we look at SYSTEM! I must admit, I'm old and lazy, and reluctant to learn new systems unless they are very simple. I used to love reading a good game system, but after reading Tales from the Loop, I think I've been spoiled by its simplicity. You could take in the entirety of the game system in half an hour and be good to go for your first game so quickly! 

I tweaked with the Vortex system that powers Doctor Who recently, making it faster and quicker to learn and use. I just hope people like it. Good thing is, it's still compatible with the original version for those who prefer the First Edition. My head is currently thinking of adapting it for another use... we'll see.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

#RPGaDAY2021 - Day 28: SOLO

 


I remember when we were putting together the list of prompts for #RPGaDAY2021 I really wanted to include the word SOLO. At my decrepit age, it's tricky to schedule games and the idea of a good solo game you can play alone is really important. I love the idea of those Journaling games, and those and some great solo games really inspired me to make WILD something that could be experienced alone.

If you can recommend any great solo games, I'm always on the look out. Ironsworn is the obvious choice, and when I heard that the new version of The One Ring had a solo mode, that was what really tipped me over to back it.

What about the other prompts? I think this is the last day of multiple prompts, so I guess I'd better do them all! DREAM - oh blimey, that's too obvious again isn't it? I'm swamped at the moment, but I'm hoping I can go back to the dreamrealms of WILD in the near future to DELVE even deeper into the dreams-within-dreams. I hope to crack OPEN the notebooks again...

#RPGaDAY2021 - Day 27: FRACTION


 Friday, and it's day 27 of #RPGaDAY2021, and the day is FRACTION. And I must admit, I don't have an idea of what to post for this one. The first thing that comes to mind is that I have far too many RPGs. So many of them that I don't need to refer to, and I keep thinking I should sell a load of those and keep the FRACTION that I really need. The essentials. I mean, when am I ever going to need those 20+ GURPS books, or the 3.5e & 4th Ed D&D rules? 

But then I look at the other topics, and I'm drawing as much of a blank. I need more PRACTICE coming up with prompts for #RPGaDAY!! Ha!!


#RPGaDAY2021 - Day 26: THEORY

 

It's Day 26 of #RPGaDAY2021, and Thursday is a "TH" day, and so the word for today is THEORY. There are so many books out there on Game Theory, and I'd love to have time to read them all. But the greatest theoretical piece of advice I've been given when it comes to writing tabletop RPGs is "What do you do?" 

I spent ages working on WILD, and about half way through the design process where I had a game system, and a setting, and so many ideas in my head, someone came up to me at a convention and said "So, what do you do?" And I was floored. I had no answer to that. There was no simple 'The players do this'. So I had to go and re-evalutate everything. 

Now, going into any game idea that surfaces (and I usually have a dozen or so bubbling under the surface) the first question I ask myself is "What to you do?".

If the players don't have a definite idea of what they are PLAYing, then the GM won't have a definite idea of what the story is going to be.

After that, I went back to the ORIGIN of WILD, and tried to work out what you do, going back into the writing with a RENEWed vigour. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

#RPGaDAY2021 - Day 25: WELCOME

 


Day 25 of this year's #RPGaDAY and we WELCOME those new to #RPGaDAY! Hope you're enjoying taking part in this annual celebration of all the great things that RPGs can bring. It's all about positivity, acceptance, and welcoming gamers into the community. 

TRADITIONALLY, I would produce either daily videos where you could stare at by gormless face while I prattled on about stuff, with very little preparation or knowledge. However, I've struggled to keep up this year and have slipped over to these blog posts. Wow, editing videos can take forever, and there were only a dozen or so people actually watching them. Maybe I need to do something FRESH to bring in the viewers?? Ha! Doubtful.

Sorry, it's not a great blog post today. I'm so tired! Hopefully tomorrow's will be better and tick more BOXes!! Ha!

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

#RPGaDAY2021 - Day 24: TRANSLATE


Day 24 of #RPGaDAY and the main prompt is TRANSLATE. Hmmm... I guess I could talk about games I'd love to see translated. Initially I would have said that Neon Genesis Evangelion RPG that I bought many years ago that was in Japanese (oh, how I love Eva!), but that has been 'fan translated' (and an excellent job of it too).

I guess the RPG I'd like to see translated is the Valerian RPG. Lovely bit of graphic design, and using the artwork from the cool comic strip, I've always been a little disappointed that it hasn't been translated into English. 

Still tempted to pick up a copy though...














On the subject of cool French RPGs, as a bit of a completist I saw that there's a great French sourcebook for Tales from the Loop. And you know how much I love Tales from the Loop. My sub-par French could probably make out a bit of it, but it'd be cool to add to the Loop collection...

Okay, next prompts are... SHARE. What more can I share? I can share a photo of an ANCIENT artefact - 


That's my first d20, from when I started playing D&D back in the early 1980s. I still have it, and it's safe in a makeshift display case! Now the only thing I have to do is SOLVE the problem of not having enough time to write all of these blog posts!!


Monday, August 23, 2021

#RPGaDAY2021 - Day 23: MEMORY

 

And we're still going! Onto day 23 of #RPGaDAY2021, and the main prompt is MEMORY. A lot of what I write on this blog is remembering the old days of gaming. Although a lot of it is a bit fuzzy. I've had a weird urge for the last couple of years to write a proper 'Memoir' of my old gaming days, but then I've never been a fan of 'memoirs' or 'autobiographies'.

Maybe one day. 

INNOVATION: I wonder if everyone will talk about the biggest INNOVATION you can think of in gaming? Not sure what I'd suggest. I'd be tempted to go with James Bond again, as I think that was one of the earliest (if not the first) to incorporate Hero Points. I find it hard to imagine a game without some sort of hero point/bene/fate point. 

I'll try to keep this blog post QUICK, but I have to admit I've only recently discovered really quick games - you know, the ones you can play in one session. It's strange to think that I've been a long campaign person most of my gaming, but we did have a really cool game of Fiasco last year (the Mission to Mars set-up) which was hilarious. Really good fun which involved smearing strange meat paste over our spacesuits to lure the giant mutated rat creatures. 

And finally, a SURPRISE... I have no idea how I can surprise anyone anymore. I have so many ideas for a new RPG, I'm hoping when or if that finally surfaces it'll be some sort of surprise...

Ho well. Onto tomorrow!!

Stay safe!

Sunday, August 22, 2021

#RPGaDAY2021 - Day 22: SUBSTITUTE

 


Resisting the urge to just post that music video of Clout, today's #RPGaDAY prompt is SUBSTITUTE. I went through a weird phase in the 90s where I started a game and wanted to continue the story, but wanted to change the system. So I'd continue with the same characters, and SUBSTITUTE the system for the one I really wanted to play. I was a bit fickle I guess, but our epic Mage game turned into a rather scary and dark Kult game, which in turn evolved into CJ Carella's WitchCraft

I kinda miss urban fantasy settings. Though if I went back to those characters I'd probably SUBSTITUTE the game system again to something else - possibly Vortex or Year Zero Engine


Saturday, August 21, 2021

#RPGaDAY2021 - Day 21: SIMPLICITY


Today's #RPGaDAY is SIMPLICITY itself. What I've certainly found in the years since I started playing that I prefer the simpler rules. The easier the system the better, and then you can really concentrate on getting on with the game and advancing the story. And the real CHALLENGE is getting that balance of just as many rules as you need to make the game playable and yet not too many rules that it becomes unwieldy. I know I haven't managed to let go of the FEAR that I'm trying something new - after all, I was an old school gamer from the beginning, playing from back in the 1980s, but seeing all these easier and simpler games gives me the MOTIVEation to try something new.


#RPGaDAY2021 - Day 20: FOUNDATION


I guess for today's #RPGaDAY2021 I should look at the games that were the FOUNDATION of my gaming life? Hmm. Well, I started with Traveller, with those little black books. I had no idea what I was doing, but it sounded cool. Then it was straight onto the other classics, the real foundations of tabletop gaming in general - AD&D and Runequest.

Of course, the game I started with as a Gamemaster was Star Frontiers. But it really was games like WEG's Ghostbusters and Star Wars, and Victory Games' James Bond RPG that really showed me what's cool and have had the biggest influence on me.

PEACE: I mentioned yesterday the lack of death in games, and it's just nice to play something without loads of killing (though my D&D character is a bit of a fighting machine). Probably why I rate Tales from the Loop so highly still. 


#RPGaDAY2021 - Day 19: THEME


 Day 19 of #RPGaDAY and the prompt is THEME. I don't know if I have a recurring theme in my games though you could say that I like to write games without too much death in them if at all possible. I know, it's weird, but I was working on Conspiracy X, got all of that done, and the plan was to go onto Extinction - and this was just after my mother had died. All the background of the mass death and destruction as the Saurians returned to Earth and invaded... well, it was all a bit much for me, so I had to walk away from that project. Shame, it will be good whoever takes CJ Carella's vision to a finished product, but it's a bit bleak for me. 

Possibly why I enjoyed playing Tales from the Loop so much, and why I'm keen to make a Harry Potter-esque game. Sure there can be death in these games, but you're not just wandering around slaying monsters. And after the last year or so, there has certainly been too many unnecessary deaths in the world.

Okay, what's next? STORM. I have no idea. Storms really don't appear too many times in any games I've played. 

What's my STYLE? When it comes to writing I guess I try to keep things in a fairly light and easy to read style. Influenced highly by those early days reading Ghostbusters, and fuelled by CJ's writing for Buffy. If it's going to be fun to play, it should be fun to read. 

And finally, PATRON. nope... I don't think we've had many patrons in our games. I mean, there's one in the new D&D game we're playing, but that's about it...

Best progress onto the next one!! I will catch up! 

#RPGaDAY2021 - Day 18: WRITE


 Day 18 of #RPGaDAY this year, and the prompt is WRITE. It weird, because I always wanted to tell stories, but I had that duality of wanting to write tabletop roleplaying games, and producing comics. I drew some pretty bad comics while I was at school and in the sixth form, mostly inspired by reading The Travellers in White Dwarf and thinking that our Star Frontiers campaign would make a great comic strip. 

Then I tried writing RPGs, submitting manuscripts to WEG for their Ghostbusters and Price of Freedom games. Then went back to trying to draw comics, evolving those comedic adventures into gritty vigilante and government agents with a couple of others from our gaming group, mostly inspired by the sudden gritty realism of The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen. Which eventually lead to me publishing my own comics as Autocratik Press, which lead to me talking to Eden Studios about a Conspiracy X comic, which lead to me writing and developing RPGs with Eden...

They always seem to be running in tandem. Who knows, maybe comics are going to rear their heads again soon...

DUEL: I guess this is more of a question - what RPGs have good mechanics for duels? I remember the old Highlander card game was quite cool with the way it was basically a swordfight as a card game. I don't know if there are any good games out there with cool duelling rules? Pendragon for tournaments maybe? 

Pendragon leads me on to HONOUR. I must admit, I've never played Pendragon and would kinda like to. I know there's a new edition of it supposedly happening this year, which I may have to check out.

And again, I'm running on empty for Rival. Never really had a rival in our games, definitely a Nemesis (see yesterday).

Okay... time to catch up with tomorrow's!!!

#RPGaDAY2021 - Day 17: (it's a TRAP!)

A little late, but here goes with Day 17 of this year's #RPGaDAY. 

TRAP: Heck I was never very good at navigating traps in the old days of D&D. I remember I used to pull the levers and trip the traps all the time. However, I do remember the funniest one was us heading into a castle and one of the characters spotted a loose paving slab on the way to the main gates. We spent hours of actual time, not just game time, pondering over what this slab activated, and discovered when you applied pressure, a liquid shot up out of the ground, which we were convinced was poison or acid. Of course, it wasn't, just a loose slab and rain water had got under it, just like they do in the street.

CRIME: Haven't really had much to do with 'crime' themed RPGs, though we did play Judge Dredd for a bit (the old Games Workshop RPG in the 80s that is). They did a great line of RPGs that were nicely produced and about the size and thickness of a Christmas annual - like Judge Dredd, and their version of Runequest. Not a bad price either. Anyway, Dredd was fun. We played it very much like NYPD Blue. Didn't play much of it though.

NEMESIS: Our greatest nemesis in our RPGs (sorry Stoo, it's not Inquisitor Vane in our latest Star Wars campaign), had to be the one from our old Call of Cthulhu campaign. He was based on our Geology teacher from school (who I'm convinced had it in for me) but he quickly became a servant of the old ones, and gained mouths in the palms of his hands. He kept turning up when we least expected it, and really became a brilliant foil to our characters.

And finally, FOUND. I have no idea for this one! And I've about five days to catch up on! Onwards and upwards!

 

Monday, August 16, 2021

#RPGaDAY2021 - Day 16: MOVE

 


So this is the first day I move over from the daily video format to the blog-posts. I'm sorry, I just haven't got the time to record and edit videos - doesn't mean I won't do them eventually, they may just be a little late. To keep up with the daily posts, I thought I'd have a go at doing them here where it's a little quicker and easier... and then I saw the prompts for today.

MOVE: I remember, I started trying to record a video for this one and I couldn't think of what to discuss. So I stopped recording and gave up, and now I'm still back in the same boat.

I guess I could use this as an opportunity to talk about my favourite movement mechanics - the chase rules from Victory Games' James Bond 007 RPG

I mean, I talk about the game a lot on here as you know, but that game was bloody fantastic. (Typically, just as I'm typing this, the late, great Chris Cornell has just started up on the music channel on TV singing the absolutely fantastic 'You Know My Name' from my favourite Bond movie of all time - Casino Royale). 

Anyway, the chase rules (much like most of the rules in the James Bond RPG) are great and really capture the feel of the books and the films. It's all about how risky you want to get, and whether the opponent can match your risk - but if you set the stakes too high, you could crash and it could all come to an end pretty quickly.

In fact, this whole post could quickly evolve into becoming a TRIBUTE to how good that game is. And it wouldn't be the first time I have when it comes to the Bond RPG.

However, continuing the TRIBUTE to it, we can look at one of the coolest ideas for a supplement you could imagine for the James Bond RPG, and that is Villains. After all, what is a good Bond book or movie without a spectacular VILLAIN to act as the dangerous threat that Bond (or your hapless agents) has to face and stop?

The Villains supplement, much like 80% of the supplements for Bond, was another glorious boxed set that presented seven new nemesis... nemeses... nemesises... Villains, along with the structure of any organisations that they controlled, any henchpersons in their employ, and just what they are scheming. It also included an adventure that introduced SMERSH.

Awesome.

Of course, this is all a great addition to any James Bond game, because, while the core boxed set and core rulebook provided all of the stats for many of the major villains and characters from the movies, the one FIEND they couldn't include was Ernst Stavro Blofeld. This was due to the weird copyright and legal battles that plagued the Bond movies for years as the ownership of Blofeld and SPECTRE was put into dispute. It was only during the Daniel Craig era that these problems were put to rest and Blofeld could return.

Of course, with Modiphius announcing a SPECTRE boardgame coming very soon, I'm very intrigued and will be watching their future announcements very closely. I've been itching to get my hands on a new Bond RPG for decades (and been wanting to write one for just as long). 

That's it for today's #RPGaDAY post for #RPGaDAY2021.

Until tomorrow, stay safe and stay multiclassy!!

 

Sunday, August 15, 2021

#RPGaDAY2021 so far...

 


Hi everyone!

First of all, thank you everyone who has been taking part in this year's #RPGaDAY — the global initiative to try to get the world talking in a positive way about tabletop roleplaying games.

This year, I foolishly thought I could try to go back to the olden days when I used to do daily videos. Ah, what a truly ridiculous idea. And not only that, I challenged myself to actually tackle not only the topic for each day — but also every 'alternative' topic that we've listed just in case you didn't like the main prompt.

It's a bit of a foolish undertaking, but I made it a little way before one of the sub-categories completely stumped me.

If you want to catch up with my videos you can find them all here in one playlist: 

https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLjitorIdXZ1QDPSWhj3Vg0-uJ1-6BPoI-

Or individually here!!





















If you want to join in and catch up, you can download all the graphics and see all the prompts for the rest of the month on the earlier #RPGaDAY2021 post here.


However... when it comes to the daily videos, I think that may be the end of them for me. I'm bloomin' exhausted. I've been recording them and editing them all for the next week at the weekend, so I'm not hunched over a computer all day for the day-job and then in the evening editing videos. However, this weekend was dominated by some day-job overtime and not getting the opportunity to film any responses for this coming week. 

I may try and finish them off, but I may resort to writing quick blogposts instead...

Or doing 'live' videos... oh god, perish the thought. You'll get bored of all the 'erms' and weird pauses as I stare off into the distance wondering what I'm going to say...

Until I post something here (hopefully tomorrow), stay safe and stay multi-classy.










Sunday, July 18, 2021

Not So Free on 'Freedom Day'

 

I'm probably going to get a lot of flack for writing this, but here goes. 

Tomorrow is what the Government in the UK is calling 'Freedom Day', where all of the previous restrictions - social distancing, wearing masks, limiting numbers - is dropped in a hope that the massive vaccination scheme will pay off and everyone will just be 'alright' with COVID-19.

Since the first news of it reaching the UK back at the end of 2019 I've been concerned. Absolutely terrified, in fact. 

I was working at the shop in retail, out in the public, and spent every moment wearing a mask, keeping my distance, using hand sanitiser and washing my hands frequently. Refusing to buy take away food, decontaminating my groceries. 

When the various Lockdowns happened I ventured out of the house maybe once a week to get essential shopping, getting groceries delivered to the door, wiping them all down with disinfectant.

I'm vaccinated, both doses, as is my wife, but I still get nervous going to the post office or getting too close to people on my daily walk around the block. I don't know how I'd cope being back in retail, so many thanks to my new employer letting me work from home. Back when I was in retail last year I ended up in counselling because I was so anxious and stressed by being out in public and having to interact with customers. I honestly don't know how my old work colleagues at the shop have managed to keep going through this.

And now, it looks like Freedom Day is upon us and everyone can do whatever they want. The gormless prime minister says people will use their common sense. The same common sense that saw people sticking smoke flares up their arses at the football last weekend.

Don't mind me, I'll still be wearing my mask. I'll still be keeping my distance. I'll still stay home as much as I can. Gambling with lives just to maintain the economy. Relaxing restrictions so the MPs can have more affairs whereas I haven't even hugged my friends in 18-months. 

There we go, rant over. Sorry it's not gaming related, but that'll all change in a couple of weeks when #RPGaDAY returns. 

In the meantime, stay safe everyone. Look after yourselves.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Order in the (Marvel) Universe (Part VI)

Months ago, we started a marathon watch/rewatch of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe (the MCU) in chronological order of events (rather than release). We've seen the formation of the Avengers, the Defenders, SHIELD, and realms and universes beyond.

When I last wrote a blogpost about this marathon, we'd just finished the one and only season of Inhumans


Next up was the surprise spin-off of the various Netflix series - The Punisher. I have no idea if The Punisher was planned with the other Netflix 'Defenders' series but it really feels like they saw reactions to his appearance in season two of Daredevil and decided to run with it. Like I said when we watched Daredevil, I initially had that problem of the casting because I hated Shane so much in The Walking Dead. A testament to Jon Bernthal's acting I guess! And he's really good again in this season. But, man, is this series brutal. Super-violent, and you have to wonder how half of the characters stay alive through it all. Castle seems to stagger around with a body full of shrapnel and bullets. 

In complete contrast, next on the watch list is season one of Runaways


Runaways was one I was looking forward to the moment the announced it, and I was not disappointed. A big fan of the comics, this was a really good adaptation. The only thing missing was Molly punching Wolverine. Really good casting, and a very interesting way of doing the first couple of episodes - following the kids in the first episode, then replaying the same timeframe in episode two but from the parents' perspective. A new mentions of other names in the MCU, but setting it in LA means the major events in New York are not so prevalent. 

Considering the limited budget of a TV series like this (originally on Hulu, though you can see it now on Disney+) they did a great job of 'Old Lace', Gert's telepathically connected velociraptor. And it's not happened yet, but there's a great connection to Kaecilius's cool cracking around the eyes in Doctor Strange as Nico is lured to use darker magic from the Darkhold (see Agents of SHIELD and Wandavision). All great stuff, really enjoyed watching this one again.

Speaking of Agents of SHIELD, following season one of Runaways, it's back to Agents of SHIELD, with the start of season five. 


Everyone's been abducted and taken forwards in time to a future where the Earth has been mostly destroyed. The agents are enslaved by the Kree, under the tentative control of Kasius, and Fitz gets to be super-cool, taking the long way around to the future. We get about halfway through the series, just as Coulson has managed to get his team (with rock-telekinetic Inhuman, Flint) to reconstruct the monolith that can return everyone to the present. Fantastic stuff as always, but hit that pause at the end of episode ten!


We head back to the Netflix Defenders series briefly after episode ten of SHIELD, to take in the whole of season two of Jessica Jones. Jessica's great again, though I wasn't as keen on the villain this time around. Hard to top the absolute creepiness of Killgrave from the first season. Her 'sister' becomes more obsessed with gaining superpowers, and 'Due South Cylon' makes a welcome appearance. Good to see this again as well, but looking forward to seeing season three as I've never found the time to watch that one.

Anyway, after season two of Jessica Jones it's back to Agents of SHIELD. The agents are back in the present, set up shop in the Lighthouse - the base that was part of the remains of the Earth in the future. Daisy is determined not to become the "Destroyer of Worlds", but the last remnants of HYDRA are trying to create (with the ever dangerous Gravitonium) the Destroyer in the form of Ruby Hale, daughter of HYDRA leader General Hale. 

It was never going to end well for Ruby, and Talbot's reprogramming by HYDRA was just evil. Bigger things are coming. That's going to have to wait! Stop watching at the end of episode 18, as we're heading to New Orleans! 


Due to some annoying exclusivity deal, Cloak & Dagger is stuck on Amazon Prime in the UK whereas most places it's moved to Disney+. Hello free Amazon Prime trial! 

I LOVED Cloak & Dagger as comics. I read loads and loads of them. Especially in Strange Tales where it was partnered with Doctor Strange. I was excited to see them make it onto screen, and I think they did a really good job of it! Sure, they changed their origin story a bit, but I think it's a nice swap of their social standings, and tying everything into the pesky Roxxon corporation. And Cloak's harnessing of the Darkforce power alludes to stuff that was going on in Agent Carter and early Agents of SHIELD

Again, another bit of brilliant casting for the leads, and they thankfully got rid of Dagger's rather extreme outfit from the comics, but they do some excellent stuff in the dark dimension, wandering through people's hopes, fears, and memories. Excellent! 

Luckily, both seasons of Cloak & Dagger fit here chronologically, with the last scene leading into their appearance in a future season of Runaways


And that's where I'm up to at the moment. 

If you want to catch up and keep up with the rewatch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we've been following the order that DigitalSpy produced a little while ago. If you want to join in, here's the list we've worked through so far...

1 - Captain America: The First Avenger

2 - Agent Carter (Season One)

3 - Agent Carter (Season Two)

4 - Agent Carter (Marvel One-Shot - on Iron Man 3 bluray)

5 - Captain Marvel

6 - Iron Man

7 - Iron Man 2

8 - The Incredible Hulk (on Netflix)

9 - The Consultant (Marvel One-Shot - on the Thor bluray)

10 - A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to Thor's Hammer (Marvel One-Shot - on the Captain America: The First Avenger bluray)

11 - Thor: The Mighty Avenger

12 - Avengers Assemble (the first Avengers movie)

13 - Item 47 (Marvel One-Shot - on the Avengers bluray)

14 - Iron Man 3

15 - All Hail The King (Marvel One-Shot on the Thor: The Dark World bluray)

16 - Agents of SHIELD (Season One, Episodes 1-7)

17 - Thor: The Dark World

18 - Agents of SHIELD (Season One, Episodes 8-16)

19 - Captain America: The Winter Soldier

20 - Agents of SHIELD (Season One, Episodes 17-22)

21 - Guardians of the Galaxy

22 - Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

23 - Daredevil (Season One)

24 - Agents of SHIELD (Season Two, Episodes 1-10)

25 - Jessica Jones (Season One)

26 - Agents of SHIELD (Season Two, Episodes 11-19)

27 - Avengers: Age of Ultron

28 - Agents of SHIELD (Season Two, Episodes 20-22)

29 - Daredevil (Season Two, Episodes 1-4)

30 - Luke Cage (Season One, Episodes 1-4)

31 - Daredevil (Season Two, Episodes 5-11)

32 - Luke Cage (Season One, Episodes 5-8)

33 - Daredevil (Season Two, Episodes 12-13)

34 - Luke Cage (Season One, Episodes 9-13)

35 - Ant-Man

36 - Agents of SHIELD (Season Three, Episodes 1-10)

37 - Agents of SHIELD (Season Three, Episodes 11-19)

38 - Iron Fist (Season One)

39 - Captain America: Civil War

40 - Agents of SHIELD (Season Three, Episodes 20-22)

41 - The Defenders

42 - Agents of SHIELD (Season Four, Episodes 1-6)

43 - Doctor Strange

44 - Black Panther

45 - Agents of SHIELD (Season Four, Episodes 7-8)

46 - Agents of SHIELD: Slingshot (Episodes 1-6)

47 - Agents of SHIELD (Season Four, Episodes 9-22)

48 - Spider-man: Homecoming

49 - Thor: Ragnarok

50 - Inhumans (Season One)

51 - The Punisher (Season One)

52 - Runaways (Season One)

53 - Agents of SHIELD (Season 5, Episodes 1-10)

54 - Jessica Jones (Season Two)

55 - Agents of SHIELD (Season 5, Episodes 11-18)

56 - Cloak and Dagger (Season One)

57 - Cloak and Dagger (Season Two)

Next on the list is:

58 - Luke Cage (Season Two)  <-- We are here!

59 - Iron Fist (Season Two)

60 - Daredevil (Season Three)

61 - Runaways (Season Two)

62 - The Punisher (Season Two)

63 - Jessica Jones (Season Three)