The Many Settings of Dungeons and Dragons part 2

Alright, this is part two of my review of the official settings of D&D.  The first one I covered Greyhawk, Mystara Forgotten Realms, and Dragonlance. The first three were developed as home campaign settings that were elaborated on to become settings.  The fourth was made as adventures and was revealed over time. All of these were published when D&D was produced by TSR. Greyhawk was the only one directly influenced by Gygax and, arguably, could be his vision of what D&D settings should be. The rest were mostly developed by other people and sort of reflected range of what you could do with the game.

That said, all of the ones in the 70’s and 80’s at least started with certain commonalities. They all carried a flavor based on western European fantasy. You had Merlin-like wizards, knights, kings, peasents, elves, dwarves, halflings and all the other tropes one associates with western fantasy. While the sword and sorcery genre was what Gygax pointed to as his influences, it is hard to ignore how many of these tropes were influenced by the works of Tolkien. Any proper Tolkienian will tell you the elves and wizards in D&D don’t really resemble the Middle Earth versions. Their presence are elemental to the conception of the fantasy world. Simply put, Tolkien is the gold standard of world building up to that point, so anyone following him will have some similarities.

In the 90’s, and the post-Gygax era, TSR began to experiment more with their settings. They didn’t completely lose those elements and they continue today, but the willingness to experiment away from the classic western fantasy/Tolkien model is certainly there.

Continue reading “The Many Settings of Dungeons and Dragons part 2”

Recent Reads

As a slight change of pace, I decided to review some books I have read recently.  I do read things beyond game books. I know it comes as a surprise.  I felt like I had things to say about these books and recommendations to make.  I enjoyed these 4 books and thought I would share my thoughts on them with you. I am unlikely to waste time on books I didn’t enjoy, after all.
Continue reading “Recent Reads”

Mass Effect Andromeda Review

So, I “beat” Mass Effect Andromeda, which is to say, after 95 hours of play (in a week and half), I faced the climactic battle against the big bad. I still have some unresolved missions, but it lets you resolve them after that. I could have had the fight much sooner, and still gone on and done the other things. It would have made sense. “You saved the cluster, but there is still work to do” is a theme after the action. That kind of sums up the game in general. Exploring and building is the job, saving the galaxy is something you had to do along the way.

Continue reading “Mass Effect Andromeda Review”

Weekly Comics Show Round up

It is that time again. Time for another round-up of comic book shows..

 

Let’s start with Gotham.  It still feels like the show is rushing along too fast. We have full on supervillains all over the place. The Riddler is exposed, complete with his signature question mark, and promptly arrested.  He may not be sporting the outfit, but his basic motif is there. Same with the Penguin, who goes back to his villainous ways. Dinner with Cobblepot is the reality show no one is asking for. If anything, he is more brutal than ever. This would be great if Batman existed yet, but at this point it all feels rushed.

 

Supergirl was a bit overstuffed this week. Too many balls in the air. They offhandedly introduced Maxima, and then moved on. Myriad is on line, Non(the low rent Zod) shows up, people are thrown off buildings to get the classics superhero choice moment, Indigo shows up(presumably to vamp), and there is the cliffhanger ending. The show definitely didn’t take time to let things breathe. Maxwell Lord shows up and make choices that they laid little foundation for. The show has been a mix of wonderful, and ham handed all season. All of that said, I still enjoyed the season finale.

 

Agents of Shield was fine. This is a transitional episode through most of it. The episode did not seem to be set for much action, but giving us insight to various character backgrounds. Malik’s a bad guy, but like most bad guys, he doesn’t see himself that way. We are given a bit of bait and switch on how the episode was going for him. The new Hive/Grant Ward bad guy is bad at villainy.  He has the whole cruelty thing down, but he has overestimated the value of fear. Some things trump fear. Also, fear can lead to irrational panic. He is way too arrogant. The cliffhanger ending does not look like it will end well for our heroes. Next episode should be interesting.  We get our full on Secret Warriors group rolling. Not quite avengers assemble, but it should still be fun.

 

Lucifer was largely a crap episode until the last 15 minutes. I am so bored by the mystery solving aspects of this show. The bits I do like are the parts where it gets weird and supernatural. After a few solid episodes, this one was merely okay. I didn’t hate it, but I couldn’t find anything interesting to say about it.

 

Legends of Tomorrow was a fun western romp. Hanging out in 1877 in disguise goes about as well as you might expect.

Saloon brawl…..Check.

Staring down an evil cowboy….Check.

A bunch of modern city kids knowing how ride a horse….Check?

Discussion of impact on history trumped by doing the correct thing….Check?…Sort of.

Jonah Freaking Hex!!!!!….Check!

I am a little sad we didn’t get more of the classic DC Western Heroes, and there were a few bits I wish had been better, but it was a fun episode.

 

rob-thomasiZombie is one of my favorite shows ever. The two part finale delivered on the promise of the season. The various people have had arcs. The bad guys are really terrible. They brought poor Rob Thomas into this. They saved they full on zombie apocalypse for the end. High body count and jokes galore. They maintain a sense of humor without losing the stakes. That is the genius of this show. It is a fun and humourous show, but still manages to maintain the darkness. There is an innate reality to the motivations of the characters, and the humor that is there is largely incidental. There are of course a range of in jokes, as well. The whole Rob Thomas thing is there because the head of the show is also naled Rob Thomas.

 

The next season looks like it will be interesting. The finale clears out one problem, and sets up the problems of next season. No spoilers, but it is a nice reveal at the end.

 

Next week is the return of Arrow and Flash.  I look forward to seeing how they round out the season on both shows.

More Superhero Round up, guest staring Daredevil

It has been a few weeks since I last did one of these, so I may run a bit longer than some of my previous round ups. Why so long between postings? Well, Daredevil dropped, and Batman V Superman, plus I had some health issues. It was hard to keep up. Also, I didn’t want to talk about Daredevil till I watched the whole run.  

 

Let’s start with the ones I watch all the time.  

Continue reading “More Superhero Round up, guest staring Daredevil”