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Showing posts from May, 2016

X-Men: Age of Apocalypse (review)

I think the X-Men movie franchise deserves some credit for getting the idea a superhero team movie off the ground and financially viable, but now Age of Apocalypse represents the ninth X-Men related film to come out since the first in 2000 (which by my count is one every 18 months, I think), and finding a way to continue to get something out of that franchise is a real challenge.

Age of Apocalypse is sort of the third X-Men movie to come out of "First Class" (which took place in the 60's), and "Days of Future Past" (which took place in the 70's).  AoA takes place in 1983, as evident from "Return of the Jedi" showing in theaters.  The movie is some weird way tries to bridge the prequel series with the first movie in 2000 by introducing many of the core X-Men from the 2000 movie, including Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Storm (all played by different actors than the first film) while at the same time cherry-picking popular characters from earlier films li…

From RPG Futurist to Realist

Today Blacksteel wrote a great article regarding innovation in RPG's.  You can find it here, and should totally read it just on its own merit, and not just because this blog post is a response.  If you really don't want to read it, I will tell you that the first part of the article involves the lack of something new in RPG's and the proliferation of Nth Edition iterations of RPG's that have been around for decades, e.g. Dungeons & Dragons, Shadowrun, and Call of Cthulhu.
I agree with his assessment, although I might be less critical about it.  It mirrors the trend in movie making, and I suspect for the same reason: trepidation.  Why go out on a limb and create a bomb like Jon Carter: Warlord of Mars (which wasn't even that terrible) when you can create a complete waste like Dawn of Justice and still count on eight hundred million dollars in ticket sales and merchandising because it has Batman and Superman in it?  Not a great reason, just a reasonable one from a…

The Supers Hufflepuff Game?

As I try to pull together the gazillion threads of thought in regards to what I want to run next, the second and fairly obvious thing to consider is whether I want to run a superhero RPG again.

There's a lot to things that suggest that a supers RPG would be a good option.  It is really, really simple to justify the rotating cast of characters, particularly if you are building the game around a large group of PC heroes who are in a "Justice League Unlimited" kind of situation.  As I try to set up a schedule for the other two RPG's my group is doing, I'm acutely aware of how different everyone's schedule is, and the unlikelihood that everyone can make every session.

Perhaps the biggest selling point of the genre is that it is a personal favorite of mine.  I'm less likely to burn out I suspect if I am really enjoying the game.  This is a double edged sword, however, because I'm what Aaron Allston called a "genre fiend" when it comes to superher…

The Fantasy Hufflepuff Game?

I've been doing a lot of thinking about what I might want to run as my "Hufflepuff" game, meaning the RPG that is open to a large number of players including several new and inexperienced ones.  In full disclosure I've probably spent too much time ruminating about this instead of just running something, but I've got time and I don't want to botch it.
So obviously the first question is which game, or really which genre from which I can then select a game.  I thought I would tackle each major genre separately, weighing pros and cons.  First up?  Fantasy.
The biggest upside to running a fantasy game is that it is the game everyone already owns.  Or more specifically, 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons is the game everyone already owns.  I considered some other fantasy RPG's, like Fantasy AGE or Heroes Against Darkness, but teaching a new system or asking people to but a new rulebook would mean foregoing a big asset to running fantasy.  Plus I'm not sure th…

Ethics and the Civil War

I went and saw Captain America: Civil War recently.  I enjoyed the movie for its introduction of even more classic Marvel characters and its superhero action, but I couldn't help but wonder if the movie wouldn't be more critically examined if it weren't in the wake of the gawdawful hero-versus-hero movie Batman v. Superman.  Because even as I was watching it I could feel myself slowly grinding my teeth over the plot even as I enjoyed the MCU's iteration of Black Panther and Spider-Man.

Spoilers follow.
Here's why.  In the original "Civil War" story arc in Marvel comics the flashpoint of the Super Human Registration Act which curtails the vigilante activities of superhumans was the flagrantly irresponsible acts of the New Warriors (my favorite 90's superhero team).  The New Warriors flamboyantly jump a small group of D-list supervillains who are basically just hanging out in their own backyard, while a TV crew films the Warriors as part of a reality pr…