Thursday, January 28, 2016

Childhood Television memories - Part 1 my earliest memories

As a Canadian, I had a slightly different cultural identity then many on the internet.

Adam West batman, Get Smart, and 60's spiderman (which has heavy involvement of the Wayne and Shuster support team) are pretty much a given.

but for me, it was the following shows:

Rocket Robin Hood

A Bear called Jeremy (which besides being my earliest childhood memory, had a metaplot :p)

The Mighty Hercules (with the single greatest monster sound of all time.  Pity they kept recycling it).

Max 2000 year old mouse

Batfink and Karate (excuse the racism)

The Original Mighty Mouse

Inspector Gadget

Thunderbirds 2086

The Wonderful Stories of Professor Kitzel


The Friendly Giant       

Mr Dressup

Wayne and Shuster (also known as awesome)

What are the shows you remember from the dawn of your existence?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Top 10 Movie Experiences for 2015

I have a weird mix of movies that I liked this year.  But due to the nature of the movies I'd say it was more the experiences, then the movie itself:


I think we saw it in the cheap theatres in early 2015, so this one is pushing it, but honestly, I enjoyed it so much, it was inspiration for some of my writings (I'm sure you can figure out which one).  Plus it was fun and had better thrills and spills then I seriously expected.  Plus the high point is when somewhere in the front of the theatre, small children were booing Peter Capaldi (and and the greatest no I've heard came from a small child when Paddington started falling). An incredibly fun and enjoyable experience. :)

Mad Max Fury Road

I came off this movies with both serious apprehension (after hearing the development hell from the through the aftermath podcast), and after the relative letdown of Avengers: Age of Ultron.  I was not disappointed.  it also let me reconnect with a few old friends so very much an enjoyable day. :)

Mr. X.

Ever see a movie that feels like an 80's cop movie with a touch of Darkman for good measure.  This was it and the music was awesome.  Despite being bollywood, it only had a whopping 2 songs, but cripse the soundtrack was fun (all major character's had their own theme and they kept bobbing up against each other).  So buying the sound track.

RiffTrax Live: The Room (2015)

One of the things that cheezes me is the feed from rifftrax live only crosses over the 49nth parallel occasionally.  This is one of those times.  I was in the biggest mall in north america with a work buddy and it let loose with both barrels.  So look forward to seeing it again with a few buddies for their reaction.

Ant Man

This one I honestly thought would be the one that broke Marvel's record.  Instead it lead to a most enjoyable afternoon with friends and family.  Who knew ants could be cute? (answer, those that watched honey I shrunk the kids.) :p.

It also let to...

The Man from Uncle

This is the spy movie with all the heart the James Bond movies were missing.  The team felt like an spy adventuring party dealing with saving the world (complete with character sheets at the end :p).  This is one of the few times I felt like there was dual leads. The sound track was bloody phenomenal. Guy Ritchie you did good work and hope there's a sequel. :)

Shaun the Sheep Movie

I saw this one on my birthday with no expectations. I heard it was good, but never had ever seen much of shaun the sheep before.  It was an absolute hoot and I'm happy to say it was a most enjoyable birthday present.

Turbo Kid

This one was sprung on me by a coworker.  I was told about it so looked for a showing within the city.  We went to a heritage theatre to see it and it as big a blast as Mad Max was earlier.  In fact the 80's music and the cast, while definitely on a budget, was a r rated post apocalyptic slug fest...on bikes!  Plus the main female protagonist steals the show time and time again.  makes me glad to be Canadian again. :)

Back to the Future - The Fan Event

I was too young for back to the future back in the day, but I pushed for me and a few buddies to watch at least the first movie during the same day Doc Brown shows up in the future.  The closest description I had was going to a concert.  We met people who were literally born on this day and had been waiting all their lives for this. We saw a ton of orange lifejackets and a good time was had by all.  Here's hoping 2017 does the Running Man for the same reason. :)

RiffTrax Live: Miami Connection

This one didn't cross the border, but I had backed the kickstarter so saw it with buddies at my place in front of the old tv.  It was incredibly silly 80's goodness with one definitive martial artists and the rest just hamming it up.  Plus Mike and the boys really enhanced the humor.  Following it up with a marathon of Moonbeam city, made me want that the 80's back again. :)

Here's to a 2016 that's equally as fun. :)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Dungeonhack 101 - Part 2 - some ideas

this post is not mine, but I remember it from the depths of newgroups in the 90's, so posting it here for posterity.

Well, since no dungeon exists in a vaccum: "research, research, research" becomes the mantra of the time. Locals always seem to have "legends of the dark times" when the place was active. Use your time wisely and spread a bit of the kings gold around among the tavern flies and they'll likely put you on to someone who knows something valuable to your survival.

Next, always be flexible. Don't EVER depend on any single tactic (other than advanced research, perhaps) to carry you through. What a man can devise as a stop gap measure another man can think of a way to neutralize or turn into a trap trigger in and of itself.

Carrying boat loads of flammable oil, for instance, is damned likely to turn the carrier into a short lived Richard Pryor impersonator in some cases, so be prepared.

One thing that doesn't hurt is: light crossbows... even thrown weapons and shortbows are stupidly hard to use indoors beyond a hand full of feet, while the flat trajectory of a light crossbow makes it optimal... and a simple -2 non proficiency penalty (the absolute worst this should ever be since these are the closest thing to an idiot proof medieval weapon) if no has proficiency with one is hardly a big deal to most fighters.

All the emergence supplies... such as light rope and spikes and poles that can be carried, with NO ENCUMBRANCE, can be life savers, so make sure someone is toting them.

An obvious one if you have a mixed racial party is keeping the shorter members to the front and the taller to the back with those crossbows to fire over their heads if that scenario can be done (ie: dwarves and halflings and gnomes up front in normal march order). The front people, if they aren't warriors, can always fall back, but that initial volley of bolts doesn't need to suffer extra penalties because you have to shoot around the big, plate armoured warrior always wants to be out front.

Keeping in mind the strengths of the various members is also a neccesity. It can be FAR more efficient and safe to have a dwarven thief who's a "traps man" up front than a defacto stealthier halfling fighter if you hit a section with alot of traps. Stay flexible and stay safe.


Thursday, January 7, 2016

Dungeonhack 101 - Part 1 - Useful items

This is stuff I remember from back in usenets.

Not sure whom the original writer is, but if you recognize the writing, let me now. :)

Useful items

Used books
-Useful for starting a fire, relieving yourself, and thiefs who want to back up how they can use the "Read Languages" skill. Plus it's a book. You know, you read them.

Map/scroll case
-Prevents tearing, and probably a deal of, you know, FIRE. You just KNOW you're gonna come across a scroll or two eventually.

-Light for non-infravision PCs, used to light oil wicks, plus a better weapon then nothing in a pinch.

Glass bottle(s)
-Watch "Die Hard." Plus get a bottle shattered in your face/eye.

Signal whistle
-In case you can't yell for some reason, or your voice won't be heard. Got seperated and ran into a troll with 8 HP? Give a (signal) whistle. (And hope your party isn't secretly Chaotic Evil.)

-I can't stress this enough. Always, always, ALWAYS have a dagger in your boot.

Sometimes your going to want to be able to handle something without actually touching it. PC: "Okay, I open the lid to the treasure chest..." GM: "Hehehehe... Roll a save vs poison Hackboy, there was a contact poison on the inside of the lid." PC: "Uhn-Uh, oh ScreenMonkey... I am wearing light leather gloves!" Best 1gp I ever spent.

You wear it as one, roll up in as a blanket, keeps rain off of you(and animal droppings) use it as a makeshift stretcher for a dead or unconscious comrade(personally, that's what the spell Animated Corpse is for) Lastly, you can always cut it into srips for bandages.

use it on floors, walls wherever needed for a quick reference while on the run.

Towels: you can wear them, you can use them to dry off, you can use them to hold stuff, you can soak them in herbs and use them as poultices, you can use them to bind broken bones, you can use them as bedrolls, you can wet them and use them as modified whips or as a tool for bending bars, you can use them to filter gas, you can use them to strain water, you can use them to blind an opponent, and several other uses.

I can't believe you forgot rope, that's the thing with about 1000 different uses lol. All my characters make a point to carry at least 50 feet of rope, silk or otherwise, and a grappling hook for emergenices.

a small wooden ball
Cast a Light spell on it and roll it down the hallway in front of the party. Really tends to ruin the Monsters initiative.

You should buy a net.

Why? If you are in a room with a darkness spell seperating the party have one person take the net and walk though the darkness while another stands on the otherside. Then walk down the length of the spell catching what ever you can. Our group called this "Operation Dolphen Safe

Fill a pouch with flour. Hang it on your belt.
1) In an emergency, you can fling it in an enemy's
face, giving yourself a few seconds to act.
2) Use it against invisible attackers if you have nothing
3) If someone steals your pouch, he might get the one
with the flour instead of the one with the money.
4)    trade it for a gold idol resting on a weight trap. Use it to mark doors or show if anyones been in a room (like say when you leave your room at the inn)

Potters clay...
Take and mould it around any Gems you find and dry them or fire them that way when someone tries to rob you all they find are these little rocks on your person.

crowbars? Not only for busting open chests and doors, but they make great alternatives to clubs, they can be used to find secret doors, nifty snacks for Rust Monsters, tied up with rope for makeshift grappling hooks, and a variety of other things

A dutch oven or skillet.. Make a handy weapon or cook a mean breakfast.

A bag of shiny, colorful glass marbles. Handy for deterring pursuit or for bartering with less-than-bright monsters.

A ball of wax. Useful for taking impressions, making molds of things like keys, covering weapons so they don't get wet and rusty. Occasionally useful for making disguises.

A set of clothes COMPLETELY different from what your character would normally wear. The guards might be looking for Wistrix the Wizard, but they might very well ignore the raggedy old beggar in the alley.

have noticed that noone has mentioned a map case...
they hold the parties scribblings about where they/ve been, or thier adventure log...etc.
They also are great when you take both ends off of it, and it makes for a dandy improvises snorkle when you ahve to go swimming

Another one, a bell, use the rope, tie the bell to it, and ring it around a campsite...a creature comes close, rings the bell, warnings are awesome....

one last thing....and this one is almost always left out in every character sheet I have come across......Caltrops
toss them down and your persuers are slowed almost immediately...and if they arent, well then you should have some good running shoes on, buz thats one tough monster after you behinds

Usefulness will vary widely from one campaign to another. But if it is at all useful in your campaign, it doesn't take up a lot of room or weigh a lot

Things no character can do without:
(Listed in the order they are in the PHB)
A keg of alcohol (great for trade, bribes, and throwing)
Cloak (thousands of uses, very cheap. a fantasy staple)
Gloves (protect your hands! AC 9 is better than AC 10 on crits, too)
Large belt pouch (keep all your knick knack items handy)
Glass bottle (always carry a spare for collecting liquids)
2 large sacks (thousands of uses, and very light and cheap)
Bullseye lantern (because its better)
2 flasks of oil
Torches (always carry a couple for emergencies)
Iron Rations (always, ALWAYS keep a week's worth in reserve)
Chalk (atleast three sticks)
Mirror, small metal (surprising number of uses)
Signal whistle
Winter blanket (always nice to be prepared for inclement weather)
Flint and steel
Grappling hook (variable usefulness, but makes climbing much easier)
Ink vial (for writing and marking things; MU characters usually carry atleast 4 different colors)
Paper (atleast 5 sheets, or some other form of parchment)
Pen, quill (to write with)
Dagger/knife (yet another basic survival tool)
Sewing needle (so you can sew your own wounds and other's)

Winter blanket
Not to mention it can be cut up and used to help bandage wounds (esp if for whatever reason you are lacking on a first aid kit. Or take that empty glass bottle, fill it with lamp oil and stuff a strip of the blanket in the top, light and throw. The strips can also be used as makeshift gloves, just wrap around hands and touch what ever might have a posion on it then toss the strips (best part, don't have to get posion on your gloves either], and those are just some of the ideas of had.

......I never leave with a couple of fresh nets and greek oil or brandy......Makes a nice trap for monsters when you soak the net with before said item with flamable stuff....then have it drop on a couple of mobs with a flaming arrow to follow shortly........Gawd I love D&D.

1. Acid, so many uses: You can burn through stubborn locks, use it as an effective torturing tool (for those NPC's that won't spill the beans), burn through ropes, thin metal bars, etc.

2. Take some powdered peppers and put them in a belt pouch. In an emergency, you can throw them at your opponents eyes. Works like a pepper spray, they'll have a hard time seeing or doing anything else for a few rounds as they rub it deeper into their eyes

3. Twelve foot pole. Its a must to avoid traps, because those crafty GM's will think you have a 10 foot pole, so when you kindly discribe to them your 12 foot pole, they are going to be a bit miffed

4. Hard Liquor. I've seen far to many players think they can go for weeks without something to drink, and its especially useful as a molotov cocktail or to get a group of guards sloshed so you can take their stuff