Thursday, November 29, 2018

A Tale of Two Sourcebooks

As someone who loves superhero comic books and role-playing games, it's inevitable that I would get into superhero role-playing games. I've played a lot, but the main one I have focused on is the Marvel game put out by TSR. Among the many supplementary materials that TSR made was the "Gamer's Handbook of the Marvel Universe", which contained many of the comic characters that you could use in your games. Here's the entry on Captain America:

This gives you game stats for Cap and his equipment as well as a set of role-playing notes for either the GM or someone who wants to play him and a history for the character. Much of the non-gaming information was taken from the "Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe" entry, seen here (taken from this entry on the "oHOTmu or Not" page from the Fire & Water Network):

Now let's compare this to the Distinguished Competition, the DC role-playing game from Mayfair, which was produced around the same time. Here's the entry for Firestorm (as seen in this post from the "Firestorm Fan" blog):

One thing that I notice right off is the lack of a character picture, so a GM can't hold the entry up and say, "You see this guy coming towards you." There's also no history written down here, but there are role-playing notes and stats. This is by design, as this entry was meant to accompany the Who's Who entry that DC proper put out. Here's what that looks like, from the same blog post:

You can see how the layout matches up great with the Mayfair supplement and is very easy to go from one to the other. The Mayfair way also allows for more information to be put in that relates strictly to the game while letting the Who's Who entry cover everything else.

All that being said, I prefer the TSR/Marvel way of doing things, and that's for one reason. I don't want to have to buy two products. I didn't buy the OHOTMU issues because 1) I had a bunch of comics to refer to, and 2) I had everything I needed in the GHOTMU entries. I also didn't have any issues of Who's Who, also because I had the comics. When I later got some of the Mayfair supplements, I was severely disappointed. Some of these characters I didn't know, so I didn't know their histories or even what some of them looked like. Even some of the ones that I knew had updated looks, such as Firestorm, so I was picturing the wrong thing when reading.

The bottom line here, I think, is simplicity. It's much easier for the user to get one thing, even at the sacrifice of some details, than to have to buy two items and hope you get everything you need.

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Thursday, November 22, 2018

New Thanksgiving Normal

Since my mom retired this year, she and my dad have left New Jersey for the warmer (and much, MUCH cheaper) state of South Carolina. As such, this will be the first time since my year in Sheffield, England that I have not spent at least one day of the 4 day weekend with them. So, now we have to switch it up. Today my sister is coming to our house, where I'll be making dinner. To keep traditions alive, we will be watching the Macy's parade and this:

I don't know when it was we first saw it but, as will all things Rankin/Bass, it quickly became a staple in our house. So, for all my American readers, have a great Thanksgiving. For everyone else, Happy Thor's Day!

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Voice of Superheroes

This past Monday we lost another giant of comics, Stan Lee, co-creator of many of the world's favorite superheroes. To me, though, Stan will always be the voice that I heard while watching my favorite characters on Saturday mornings. Here are a couple examples:

Stan's is the default voice I hear as the narrator whenever I read a comic, whether it's Marvel or DC. He was a great talent that I'm sorry to say I never got to meet. If there's any justice in the universe, Stan is now reunited with his beloved Joan, who died last year, and with Jack Kirby & Steve Ditko, to create even more masterpieces. Excelsior!

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Thursday, November 8, 2018

What Happened With V'Ger?

A few weeks ago, someone on Facebook asked what movie has the highest death toll. I proposed Star Trek: The Motion Picture, because V'Ger digitized "planets, moons, whole stars" on it's way to Earth. At the end of the movie, when Decker, Ilia, and V'Ger merge, what happens to all of that data? Presumably, like Ilia, the patterns could have been used to recreate everything that was stored, down to the molecular level, essentially bringing them back to life.

My theory is that, like Spock said, "all of this is V'Ger". V'Ger wasn't a Voyager probe that collected enough data that it became sentient, it was a collective consciousness, controlled by the Voyager programming. So, when V'Ger, Decker, and Ilia merged, everything that made up V'Ger merged. That means that all of the stored data that made up V'Ger's consciousness, as well as the physical parts of the "ship", were all joined together into a new being.

Now the question is, what happened to that new life form? We don't see it after the flash of light that the Enterprise comes out of. Since the dialog in the movie includes talk of "Other dimensions. Higher levels of being" it seems reasonable to assume that this is where it went to, never to return. Why never? If the Voyager programming was still in control, as well as Decker & Ilia's Starfleet training, then the new being would want to explore the entirety of whatever dimension it found itself in. Once that was done, it would continue on to many of the other infinite possible dimensions out there.

What do you think? Am I way off the mark? Do you have your own theory? Please let me know, since this is one of my favorite movies of all time.

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Thursday, November 1, 2018

Family Halloween Costumes

This year we decided we to do a theme with the Halloween costumes. Part of the reasoning behind this is that we would all be able to go out for trick-or-treating this year, so why not match? We watched the anime "Interviews with Monster Girls" over the summer, and the fact that one of the main characters is pretty much Kira (except for the character's bad grades) made the costumes a lock. It didn't hurt that there wasn't any outlandish clothing involved.

Kira went as Hikari Takanashi, a very sociable and bubbly vampire.

Michelle went as the math teacher, and succubus, Sakie Satō.

And I went as the human biology teacher Tetsuo Takahashi, who is the one doing the interviews.

I think we pulled them off pretty well, considering that we couldn't get an exact match to Sakie's track suit and the hairstyle that Hikari has is REALLY difficult to pull off. Also, I had to let my hair grow out and shave my beard for my costume, but if I was going to dress up I was going all the way with it.

Anyone else have some Halloween costumes they want to share? Put them in the social media comments.

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