Stitcher Player

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Lost Art of the Long Shot


My wife and I have started a watch through of St. Elsewhere on Hulu and one of things that I noted is the number of long, uncut shots they have. What I mean here is having a single camera, using it to follow a character but then switching to follow another character or conversation, and maybe even switching AGAIN before finally having a cut to a different camera shot. What this does is just immerse the viewer in the world by making it feel like a real place.

I know exactly why this isn't used more often, since if even one person flubs a line/action, you have to start all the way back at the beginning. Add to that the expense of moving the camera around as necessary and it does seem like a hard thing to pull off. I still miss it, though. The feeling like you're walking through a real place, with all these little things going on around you, just pulls me into a show more than anything else.

=========================
Like what I'm doing here on the blog and podcast? Why not check out my Patreon Page to see how you can help me do more? http://www.patreon.com/TheHammerStrikes

Make sure to check out the public poll over on the Patreon Page. Open until September 30th!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Universal Table Explained

The Universal Table - Root of the FASERIP system
Adam Worth and I have recently started another podcasting endeavor, this time it's a live role-playing podcast were we play the original Marvel Superheroes FASERIP game. It's called Class 1000: A Marvel Super Heroes Live RPG, or The Class 1000 Podcast for short.

For those of you that have never played in the system, but want to follow along, I thought that I should explain the Universal Table (pictured above) and just how it gets used. You see, every Ability and Power in the game is assigned, pretty much randomly, one of the levels you see on the chart. They range, starting anyway, from Poor (4) to Monstrous (75). When you want to do something in the game, you find the rank on the table, roll percentile dice (giving a result from 1-100), and see what the color result it. Here's a quick example:

A hero wants to punch an opponent. The hero has a Remarkable (30) rank in Fighting and it attempting a "Blunt Attack", since he's just using his fists. Let's look at the possibilities.


  • A Blue result is a Critical Fail. Not only does he miss with the punch, but now he's so out of position that his enemy has an easier time hitting him, or even just getting away.
  • A White result just means that the punch misses.
  • A Green result is a straight up hit. The hero does his Strength rank in damage, unless he was pulling his punch, to the enemy.
  • A Yellow result means that the enemy was hit but he also might be Slammed for additional damage or effects.
  • A Red result, the highest possible, was a hit that might also result in a Stun effect.
OK, so what happens on a Stun or a Slam? Well, the enemy rolls on the table as well, but this time he rolls his Endurance and sees what color he comes up with. Let's look at the Slam results first.
  • A Blue result is still a Critical Fail. This guy gets Grand Slammed and has to roll on the Stun table.
  • A White result means that he is Grand Slammed, which is what you would see from a Sal Buscema drawing with one of the characters flying away from the hit.
  • A Green result means that he was knocked back one Area (the unit of distance measurement for the Marvel system).
  • A Yellow result means that the enemy was only staggered. No additional damage, but he gets a minus on his next action.
  • A Red result means that he resisted the Slam entirely.

Now onto the Stun possibilities.
  • A Blue result means that the enemy is knocked out for anywhere between 10 to 100 rounds, which is a LONG time for encounters.
  • A White result means that he is only knocked out for 1 to 10 rounds.
  • A Green result means that he was knocked out for a single round only.
  • A Yellow or a Red result means that he resisted the Stun entirely.
That's the basic idea of what's involved in making the rolls for this game. I hope it clears up any possible problems you might have listening to the show. If you have any questions, please feel free to post them in the Facebook Group we have, so the other listeners can get in on the conversation.

=========================
Like what I'm doing here on the blog and podcast? Why not check out my Patreon Page to see how you can help me do more? http://www.patreon.com/TheHammerStrikes

Make sure to check out the public poll over on the Patreon Page. Open until September 30th!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Statistically Speaking, Flying is Still the Safest Way to Travel.


I will say that there wasn't a huge amount of planning that went into how we're getting down to Florida for the cruise. We had the same three options to get down there, driving, auto train, or flying. This time we opted for flying and the main reason being, we won't need a car in Florida. The whole point of going down there is to get on the ship, so ground transportation isn't a huge deal.

So I went over to Priceline and checked out what our options were. Frontier was off the table, since they don't book this far out, so that pretty much left us with American Airlines. They had flights in the right time-range for us to get down and back with a good buffer in case of flight or ship delays. One thing that I did do is spring for First Class. This is for both money and comfort reasons. The comfort is self explanatory (bigger seats), but you might be wondering about the money.

Well, one of the things that pretty much all airlines are doing is charging for checked bags. American is charging $25 for the first bag and $35 for the second. I'm estimating that we'll be checking two bags each, which would bring us to $180. The premium for upgrading us all to First Class was only about $100 each, which would be $300. First Class passengers also get free checked baggage, so that means the premium seating is only costing us $120, or $40 each. I would say it's well worth that money.

You might be wondering just how it is we'll be getting between the airport and Port Canaveral. Not to worry! This is Disney we're talking about. As I mentioned in my last post, we're going to be using Disney's Magical Express, a bus service that will not only take us to the ship, but also pick-up our baggage for us! At $70 per person, I think that will save us a lot of hassle, and I know that we'll have a dedicated service to and from. Plus, it get's us in the Disney mindset right off the plane. Just look at the bus:


=========================
Like what I'm doing here on the blog and podcast? Why not check out my Patreon Page to see how you can help me do more? http://www.patreon.com/TheHammerStrikes

Make sure to check out the public poll over on the Patreon Page. Open until September 30th!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

What a Lovely Night for Ravenloft


Two days ago, there was an update for Neverwinter, the Free to Play Dungeons and Dragons Massive Multiplayer Online game that I play through the PS4. This update is not only right up my alley, but it is timed very well. What does this update do, you ask? Why, it introduces Ravenloft into the game!

For those not in the know, Ravenloft is D&D's Gothic Horror setting. The realm is named for Castle Ravenloft, the seat of power for the vampire Strahd Von Zarovich. I ran a brief campaign in Ravenloft back in college and I have always enjoyed the idea behind the setting. Basically, it's a very Tales from the Crypt-esque way of telling a story. The Evil (yes, with a Capital "E") that permiates the land allows for only Pyrrhic victories, so the adventurers' goal might be achieved but maybe one of them is turned into a werewolf, or they have to kill the character they were sent to retrieve because they are actually a vampire.

It's going to be a fun play through, and just in time for Halloween. (Yeah, it's still August, but there's Halloween candy in the stores already.) I'm going to have a good time getting Rothgar, my Level 70 Guardian Fighter, through the Mists and finally facing Strahd in the titular castle. Maybe I'll stream some of it on Twitch for you all. Let me know if you'd be interested in that or, if you're a Neverwinter player, maybe we could team up to take down the head vampire.

=========================
Like what I'm doing here on the blog and podcast? Why not check out my Patreon Page to see how you can help me do more? http://www.patreon.com/TheHammerStrikes

Make sure to check out the public poll over on the Patreon Page. Open until September 30th!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Why Quasar?

One question that I get whenever I tell anyone that one of my favorite comic book characters is Quasar (after "Who's Quasar?") is "Why?" Well, here's my in depth answer to something that's pretty simple.

First of all, I discovered Quasar when his own series came out in 1989, which means that I was 13. This is when my tastes were solidifying, so what I was into then is what pretty much set my tastes for the rest of my life. That means that Superman, Batman, Quasar, Captain America, Thor, etc were all destined to be among my favorites. It also helped that my buddy Adam Worth was also reading about Wendell Vaughn, so we could talk about what was going on.

The major reason that Quasar has stuck with me, though, is that he's "us." Wendell is a geek and a superhero groupie. He wasn't able to be a field agent for SHIELD because he didn't have that "killed instinct" that most of us also lack. Whenever he's around Captain America he becomes flustered and either trips over his words or just falls into "Yes, sir" or "No, sir".

Something else that I like about the character, but I also admit can get a bit grating, is his self doubt. This is a guy who just fell into the job of being "Protector of the Universe." He's not fearless, doesn't have invulnerability, and isn't a master strategist. No, he's just Wendell. He's doing the best job he can, but he often wonders if he can do better or if he's made the wrong decision. Which one of us hasn't had doubts like that?

Adam and I make fun of some of the business stuff, or other "adult" things, on the podcast, but we genuinely love the character. More than any other character in DC or Marvel, Quasar is the one that is most like the reader, and that means a lot.

=========================
Like what I'm doing here on the blog and podcast? Why not check out my Patreon Page to see how you can help me do more? http://www.patreon.com/TheHammerStrikes

Make sure to check out the public poll over on the Patreon Page. Open until September 30th!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Let The Planning Begin!

I'm pretty sure you all know by now that I'm a planner and like to get things set up WELL in advance. So I was looking at where we might go on our family vacation next year. The original plan was to head up to New England but, to be perfectly honest, nothing up there was "grabbing" me. The time shares available didn't look to be worth it and I kept thinking, "Just how bored will Kira be doing this?"

So I shifted gears and looked South. I ended up checking out beach resorts in the Carolinas, which all looked very nice. The problem being, there really wasn't anything to do but beach stuff. Having grown up at the Jersey Shore, I'm pretty much over just "going to the beach", especially for a week. Plus, I tend to get a bit antsy if all I'm doing it sitting around. I'd rather DO something, and there's only so much to do on a beach.

Just as an impulse, I then checked out the Disney Cruise Line, to see what was available. They do sail out of New York, but only in September, October, and November, which is no good since we don't like taking Kira out of school. That lead me to Port Canaveral, Florida and Caribbean cruises. It turns out that the had a sailing for just the week that Kira is on Spring Break. Looking at the options, it was fairly reasonable and, after discussing it with Michelle and Kira, we decided to go for it.

We got a fairly reasonable rate, too, considering that we'll be in a Type 5E stateroom, which is at the aft of the ship and has a veranda. I already booked the ground transport to and from the Orlando airport (via Disney's Magical Express) and pre-purchased the pictures. Now I just have to get the plane tickets (so this will be Kira's first plane ride as well as cruise) and we all need passports, since we'll be visiting the British Virgin Islands.

I think that this vacation is going to be a split between my super-detailed planning when we go to Walt Disney World and this past, laid back vacation. I don't have control over where we go, but we can plan for what to do when we get there. We'll also have the days at sea where we can just do what we want as the mood strikes us.

Stay tuned for more updates as events warrant.

=========================
Like what I'm doing here on the blog and podcast? Why not check out my Patreon Page to see how you can help me do more? http://www.patreon.com/TheHammerStrikes

Make sure to check out the public poll over on the Patreon Page. Open until September 30th!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Disney's Buyout of Fox is Perfectly Timed


As I'm sure we all know by now, the deal where Disney has bought the asserts of 21st Century Fox has been approved. That means that Marvel properties like The Fantastic Four and The X-Men now have their movie rights back with Marvel Studios. This could not have come at a better time. As I've stated before, all of reality will be altered when those heroes who remain after Infinity War will try to bring back everyone. This allows for the perfect opportunity to bring these characters into the MCU proper.

Just imagine, if you would, a scenario like I suggested way back when. The original Avengers, as well as the heroes like Rocket Raccoon who are still around, defeat Thanos. Adam Warlock or Nebula gets a hold of the Infinity Gauntlet and tries to set things right, but something happens and reality and time are warped. We get any new actors for roles like Iron Man and Captain America, but we also see Wolverine* (played by someone other than Hugh Jackman) and The Thing (hopefully in pants) in the crowd. No explanation is given, they're just there.

Now we have a new starting point where anything can happen, because not all of the history up to this point had to have happened. This kind of soft reboot will allow for Hank Pym to have invented Ultron, or the Fantastic Four to have existed in the 1960's, or even Captain America fighting along side Namor & the original Human Torch as The Invaders during World War II. This gives them an "out" to modify what they need to, but not have to completely scrap what has come before.

* This is assuming that the X-Men will be integrated with the MCU, which I would rather they didn't do since I think Mutants (and anti-mutant hysteria) work much better on their own.

=========================
Like what I'm doing here on the blog and podcast? Why not check out my Patreon Page to see how you can help me do more? http://www.patreon.com/TheHammerStrikes