Saturday, February 28, 2015

Blogger's New Adult Policy, Part 2

I was looking up some stuff for our Castles & Crusades game today and I discovered this:

An update on Blogger porn content policy

In a nutshell Google/Blogger is going back to the policy it had all this time.

So we can all go back to worrying about what color that damn dress is.

Zatannurday: Zatanna at Hogwarts!

You might have noticed from my post yesterday that I have been rereading all the Harry Potter books.

Yeah they are for kids, but damn are they good.

This of course got me thinking about Zatanna and what she would have been like at Hogwarts.  Would she have been admired as a student? John Zatarra was well known and certainly his daughter would have been accepted even if she wasn't British.  Or maybe she would have been a guest Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.

Here are some images of people who have wondered the same thing.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Sojourn in Hell

Welcome once again to Friday Night Videos!

Tonight I want to feature videos from the soundtrack "A Sojourn in Hell".  Never heard of it? No one has.  It was a collection of MP3s I listened to while I was working on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG and then later when I was writing Ghosts of Albion.

Some of this music also fueled my playtests of Buffy with games that became part of The Dragon and The Phoenix, my alternate Season 7 of Buffy.

The Wallflowers were at the height of their popularity at the same time Buffy was. So I always associated this song with Buffy's last good season (season 5).   In my games I always wanted Buffy to fake her death so she could leave Sunnydale and start over.  Maybe with someone that looked like Jakob Dylan.

Around the same time we were hit with the death of a performer that actually meant a lot to me and my gaming life, Warren Zevon.  I mentioned in the very first FNV that "Werewolves of London" was one of my favorites and the album Excitable Boy was thrust into my hands by my DM with the instructions to listen to it before our next game.

Lawyers, Guns and Money was one of those songs that just stuck with me.  This version is not by Warren Zevon, but by his son Jordan with the Wallflowers (again).  Of course the lead singer is the son of Bob Dylan.  This is from the Warren Zevon tribute album, Enjoy Every Sandwich. A line that he gave to David Letterman when he learned he was dying of cancer. Sage advice really.

Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory was just one of those albums that came into my life and grabbed every bit of my attention.  I admit I have always enjoyed the mashup of hard rock and rap.  Public Enemy's Bring the Noise with Anthrax is still one of my all time favorite songs.

"In the End" was just one of the those songs and one of those videos that captured exactly what I wanted my games to sound like.

Spend anytime here and you know I LOVE old horror movies.  Especially sexploitation, Euro-sleaze. No one is better at than Jean Rollin and no appreciates this more than our next artist Rob Zombie.

Hellbilly Deluxe was an album I got for my 30th birthday and I listened to it on pretty much repeat for the next four years.  Living Dead Girl was what my group always thought would be Buffy's theme song, but really there is a lot here that also influenced Ghosts of Albion.  The Charlatan archetype, which didn't make it into the final book, is based on Rob Zombie's character in this video.
This was also one of the first MP3s I ever bought and I put it on the Sojourn in Hell disk.

In the early 2000s Chris Rea seemed to be everywhere for me.  I am not sure why a ten-year old album, Road to Hell, was so popular again, but it was.  For me the song "Road to Hell" was the title track of Sojourn in Hell at least in spirit.   One day I'll revisit this and maybe even talk about why it was called Sojourn in Hell.  But until then here is the title track and partial inspiration for my Buffy adventure Road to Hell.

Finally for this set we have the 2007 update of the 1994 Megadeth classic, "À Tout le Monde".  I have the 1995 Youthanasia version on the disk, but this version actually captures the feel so much better. A little faster, a little louder and 100% more Cristina Scabbia.  If there something I like more than rap with my metal it's Goth.  Not only is her French better than Mustaine's, she is a lot better looking too.

Ok. I lied.
I said Goth and immediately thought of this one.  Not Another Teen Movie is actually a send up of the teen movie tropes in the opposite direction than Buffy was.  Tainted Love of course was huge hit for Soft Cell back in the 80s and in the 2000s Manson made it his own.  I actually enjoy how he is not taking himself very seriously in this.  I mean really if the Rodney Dangerfield reference wasn't enough.  You can be dark, scary and all gothy but that doesn't mean you can't have a sense of humor about it too.

Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge: February Reviews

Here are the reviews for February for the Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge.

First up this month is a continuation of last month.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
I am REALLY enjoying rereading all of these.  I read this book soon after it first came out and I have seen the movie dozens of times. What I am enjoying are the differences between the book and the movie that I had forgotten. I don't fault the movies for the changes they made, but the books are obviously much more enjoyable.
Honestly I could not help but smile like an idiot the entire time I was listening to this.
Witch Count: Hundreds if not thousands.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
"Expecto Patronum!"

I followed Chamber of Secrets directly with Prisoner of Azkaban.  One of the things I love about these books is how well JKR shows how much the characters grow and change through out the books.  What I also enjoyed was that this book was not overtly about Lord Voldemort.  Oh, his presence is felt, but he doesn't need to be there in person to make his evil known.
Reading this book again I am struck by how great it was to get Alfonso Cuarón to direct the movie.  The first two are very much "boys adventures" and thus perfect for Spielberg protégé, Chris Columbus who wrote such movies like The Goonies and directed Home Alone. These are now young adults, teens, and much closer to Y Tu Mamá También than The Goonies.
Witch Count: Hundreds if not thousands.

While reading I figured out there has to be about 1000 students at Hogwarts. So about 250 per house (with Slytherin and Gryffindor having the fewest) and the class sizes tapering off.  I bet there are some drop outs after 1st year, some more after the OWLs, and some more when students turn 17.

I am of course going to read all the books.

Harry Potter and the Adventures in Role-Playing
In many of my other gaming circles a constant topic of discussion is who would we get to write a Harry Potter RPG and what system would we use.

I think the biggest issue with a Harry Potter RPG is you have 11 year-olds that know more spells than most 2nd level Wizards.   Here is a quick list of some Harry Potter spells and their D&D equivalents.

Harry Potter Spell D&D Spell*
Accio (Summoning) Summon Object
Aguamenti Create Water
Alohomora Knock 
Anapneo Telekinesis 
Avada Kedavra Power Word, Kill / Death Spell
Avis Summon Nature's Ally (Birds)
Colloportus Wizard Lock
Confringo Summon Flame
Confundo Feeblemind /False Memory
Densaugeo Growth
Diffindo Ghostly Slashing 
Engorgio Growth
Episkey Cure Light Wounds
Evanesco Disintegrate 
Expecto Patronum Shield, Dispel Evil
Expelliarmus Disarm
Expulso Move Object
Ferula Mend Light Wounds
Flagrate Witch Writing
Furnunculus Curse
Geminio Duplicate
Glisseo Trap
Imperio Charm Person
Incarcerous Bind / Web
Incendio Produce Flame
Legilimens ESP
Locomotor Tenser's Floating Disk
Locomotor Mortis Power Word, Stun
Lumos Light
Meteolojinx Recanto Control Weather
Mobiliarbus Levitate
Muffliato Silence 15' Radius
Nox Darkness
Obliviate Feeblemind / Erase Memory
Obscuro Blindness
Petrificus Totalus Petrify
Piertotum Locomotor Animate Object
Protego Shield / Protection from Magic
Protego Totalum Circle of Protection
Reducto Explode
Rennervate Quick Waking
Reparo Mend Objects
Repello Muggletum Protection (from Muggles)
Riddikulus Protection from Evil (Boggarts)
Salvio Hexia Protection from Magic
Sectumsempra Ghostly Slashing / Bloodletting
Serpensortia Summon Snakes / Snake Staff
Silencio Silence
Specialis Revelio Identify
Stupefy Daze
Tarantallegra Otto's Irresistible Dance
Wingardium Leviosa Levitation

They very on level by edition, but the thing to remember is that some wizards can cast most of these spells by the time they leave Hogwarts at 18.

D&D is the worlds biggest RPG, but it might not be the best fit for Harry Potter.  I am going to spend some time looking at other games as well.

Books read: 5
Current Level: Initiate (Read 1 – 5 Witchy Books)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

1901: An Æther Space Odyssey

I got to click another Kickstarter off my list!

New and Original

The new Ubiquity version of Space 1889 is now in my hands!
It is a great looking book. I really enjoyed the original Space 1889 (also available in PDF).

This new book captures the feel of the original rather nicely and the Ubiquity system is easy to use and adapt.  The book itself is gorgeous and well worth the wait to be honest.  It really envokes the feel of the original which was quite an original idea back in the day.

New and Original
I love Victorian games, weird science and space exploration.  So this really is right up my alley.
At first I have to admit I didn't like Space 1889, but as I played it I really began to enjoy it.  Once I started doing research on what the Victorians believed about space and the solar system then I REALLY started enjoying it.

For me then this new version is distillation of everything I enjoyed about the concept.

Recently I went on an "Appendix N" bender and read everything I could get my hands on from the pulp era.  So I read all of Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars books, the Pelucidar books, and the Moon Maid series.  I still want to read the Venus books.  I also read years ago Jules Verne, so the idea of a Scientific Alt-Victorian Time really appeals to me.

The best thing about Space 1889 is that the Ubiquity system that powers it is the same as Hollow Earth Expedition and Leagues of Adventure.    So you can pull them together for a high action Victorian fun.  Throw in Revelations of Mars (when it is done)  and you have a Solar System spanning game of adventure.

1901: An Æther Space Odyssey 
The idea behind this game is to split the difference between the Victorian period and the Pulp Age.  Still focus on adventure, or more to the point, Adventure! and space travel but shake it up a bit.

Set it in the Spring of 1901. King Edward sits on the throne and he has declared that explorers of all sorts must head to the planets for the glory of the British Empire.  Adventures run into Barsoomians, Selenites and giant reptiles and snake men on Venus.

Not sure when I'll work it in, but it will be a blast!

I've Been Blitzed!

So yesterday I was on the receiving end of one of DL Hammons' Blog Blitzes!

I ended up with about 80 people coming by to read my blog and leave a message.  Hopefully some will choose to stay. I know I have blitzed others in the past and found something new to read.

I do want to thank everyone that came by. My goal is to revisit each blog over the next week or so.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

On Wednesdays we wear black

I have many times professed my love for +melissahunter's "Adult Wednesday Addams".
It is so funny and clever.

It should be no surprise or shock that I loved Wednesday.  Melissa Hunter takes the Christina Ricci  version of Wednesday (which was inspired by Winona Ryder's "Lydia Deetz" from Beetlejuice) and taken her into adulthood.

Today's episode (updated every Wednesday!) is fantastic.

Though she got a lot of attention recently with her recent "Catcalls" episode.

I has gotten 2 million more hits than her other episodes and that is great, but really the other episodes are just as good and need to be watched.  Though to be fair none of the others have "Bob".

So on Wednesdays we wear black here at the Other Side and celebrate my first true love.
Scary goth girls.

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