Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fantasy Grounds - A Tragedy in Screenshots

So back in 2007 I moved far away from where the rest of my D&D crew lived, so I had to find a gaming alternative to face-to-face D&D.  The alternative I found was the just-released program called Fantasy Grounds, which is an online tabletop for D&D gaming.  With it I ran a d20 online Ravenloft campaign online for some of my homies back in those days (and would post campaign updates on my old blog).

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Thief - The Dark Mod

A game came out back in 1999 that defined a genre of gaming for low-fantasy D&D nerds like me.  No, it wasn't Baldur's Gate, Half-Life, or System Shock II.  Although those were all excellent PC games released around that time, only one game was capable of keeping a young nerd locked away in his tiny room immersed in its dark fantasy world, rather than joining his rugby girl roommates who were perpetually partying throughout the rest of the crappy house they were renting.

That game was: Thief - The Dark Project.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Movie review- Dungeons and Dragons 3: Book of Vile Darkness

That's right Americans, there is a third Dungeons and Dragons movie!  It was a direct-to-DVD sequel, but sadly the DVDs were only released in the U.K.  Why do fantasy-movie production companies only release these things in the UK?  They also did it with the tolerable/almost good Solomon Kane.  I will buy your cheesy sci-fi/fantasy DVDs if you release them in the USA, movie production companies, I promise.

Anyway, here's the trailer:

So how did I, a lowly American, see this fantasy epic?  Because of my shadow internet black market associates, of course.  It took cunning, a few greased palms, and a harrowing chase through a noble madman's guarded mansion before I emerged with the sacred prize...

But also you can just watch the whole movie on youtube here.

So is it any good?  Surprisingly...YES!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

GameHoleCon is one month away!

GameholeCon is an upcoming convention for gaming in Madison, WI (Nov. 1-3) that has a boatload of special guests running special events and promises to be an awesome time. They got all sorts of old-school D&D designers and writers from the wayback machine to come out for it (because as it turns out, almost all of them still live in Wisconsin or Michigan), and they plan on making it an annual blowout.  I, for one, and super-excited to attend the first annual GameholeCon.  I've already taken the day after Halloween off so I can be there bright and early for the Friday morning Seminar: The Roots of Gaming and the Original DM -- a Seminar/Q&A with Ernie Gygax.

I'm posting this now because the GameholeCon full event list is up in pdf form.  Now, that's a pretty intimidating event list to just rummage through, so let me tell you some of what I'm especially looking forward to:

The Insurmountable Gauntlet of Doom! (DM is the Dungeon Bastard)

Seminar - TSR with Gary 1980-1985 (Seminar/Q&A with Frank Mentzer)

Indiana Jones and the Mystery of Los Angeles (DM is Zeb Cook)

Seminar - Games, TSR, and Life After Planescape (Seminar/Q&A with Zeb Cook)

I mean, just look at those names.  Zeb Cook?!  Frank Mentzer?!  Ernie Gygax?!  Holy smokes!  I also know Jen Page (of Dead Gentlemen Productions fame!) is running a Call of Cthulhu game, which sounds awesome, but I couldn't play in both it and the Indiana Jones game, so I rolled a die on that one and it came up Indy.  From what I understand Jen Page will also be reading the entirety of The Hobbit in one of the seminar rooms starting at like 11pm, so maybe I can take a peek in there if I die off early in THE INSURMOUTABLE GAUNTLET OF DOOM.

Speaking of which, for your edification I will leave you with a video by the Dungeon Bastard, announcing the awesomeness that will be GameHoleCon:

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Special Agent Duckmouth

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s pilot was okay.  It was humorous, it had a plot element that tied into Ironman 3, and it brought back Agent Coulson.  All good things.  However it has there is one thing in my mind that it has going against it.  With the next episode airing tonight I thought I would bring it  to everyone's attention.

But first of all I have to point out that all the super-educated scientist SHIELD agents look like they're about 19 years old.  Its a little ridiculous.  

But whatever, its "crime-drama/scifi" TV.  They're going to do that, ever since goth forensic lady on NCIS was such a big hit.

Then there's the "retired super-agent" lady, who they all "have heard stories about" and thought she was "out of the game." This wizened old mentor is like a whopping 29 years old.

However, all that is not really a big deal and that is not what is annoying me about this show.

What is driving me nuts is the sheer amount of duckmouth coming out of the actors.  Especially the main tough-guy agent dude.  Its nonstop duckmouth time.
The first five minutes were pure Special Agent Duckmouth, and it was hard to watch.
Even the bit parts are played by actors from the school of duckmouth.  Here our Special Agent Duckmouth runs into some bad lady.  What's she doing for her two seconds on screen?  Straight duckmouth (Angelina Jolie edition).  I can barely take it.  The duckmouth-ery going on in this otherwise fairly good show is out of control.
Now, there are two good actors in this show.  Let me show you what their mouths look like when they're closed.  First, Special Agent Coulson, otherwise known as Clark Gregg. He can close his mouth like a person.
See? No Duckmouth. Good.  Second, how about Cobie Smulders?  She also can close her mouth like a normal human.
So now we know that closing your mouth is possible in Hollywood without the duckmouth.  So what do you think the chances are that someone told the rest of the cast to table all the duckmouth before shooting the rest of the season?  I guess we'll find out.