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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Thursday, August 2, 2018

Last Jedi Questions

Having recently re-watched The Last Jedi, this time with the RiffTrax going, a few questions popped into my head. The main source of tension is the white bronco like slow chase between the First Order star destroyers and the last three Resistance ships. We know that the reason the First Order found them is that there's a tracking program on board the main cruiser and that they can't jump to hyperspace because of low fuel levels and the tracker.

So the first question is, if the First Order just wants to destroy the cruiser, which they do seem to want to do as soon as it runs out of fuel, why are they waiting? The star destroyers aren't running low on fuel. Why can't they pull a Picard Maneuver and do a mini-jump head of the cruiser, or, better yet, jump all around it since there are five of them, turn and kill it? What's the point of waiting?

Assuming they don't want to destroy the ship, which is contrary to what we're shown, then why do they jump in in force? Wouldn't trailing them be better served by using a small ship that can track the Resistance movements and not be spotted? Then the main base, if that's what they're after, could be uncovered and nothing is lost.

Lastly, who planted the tracker? In order to track something, there needs to be some connection. That's what Rose and Finn were on their "foiled by illegal parking" mission to disrupt. So, who is the traitor? Is this something that will be glossed over in the next film or will it be part of the main plot?

What do you think, dear reader? Are these valid questions or am I thinking too much again?

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