Is too much. Must sum up.

I’m currently 3/4 of the way through one of the most complicated adventures I’ve ever plotted and run. For my own benefit and for the players what follows is a timeline to date and the current dispositions of the party.

Plot: The vampire sorcerer Roger Smith intends to take control of Edmonton by pillaging magical energy from ley lines and eventually a faerie lord. The faerie lord, known as The Warden, will destroy Edmonton before he allows this to happen.

Thursday:

  • Smith organizes his resources. This includes minions who will assault the party and Edmonton as distractions.
  • He informs his allies of his plans and convinces them to cooperate.
  • He makes a deal with the Premier not to interfere. (In return for what?)
  • He sends a false prophetic dream to the Warden. This dream convinces The Warden that Smith will be an unstoppable threat after 3 pm Sunday. But Smiths plans actually have this happening shortly before midnight Saturday.

Friday: Fire and Ice

  • The Warden calls the party. He informs them he will destroy the city at 2:30 Sunday if they are unable to stop Smith. He also gives the bad news that he has had visions that show this as unacheivable.
  • Heavy snow causes whiteout conditions in the city.
  • The minions assault the party. The also detonate explosives throughout the city. These horrific actions are intended only to distract all Smith’s opponents from his true purpose.
  • Tibetan monks inform the party that the prisons (magical) in Edmonton will also suffer assault this weekend.
  • Smiths allies abduct: Danny Danudo, Cstb Ecrow and Cstb. Sjolstrom, Silvain’s sister and The Crow
  • Night falls.
  • Minions attack the railyard and the doorman
  • The party saves Poppy, learns of the abduction of Crow.
  • Pip the Troll assaults Smith’s house.
  • The party assaults Smith’s house. Rescues Crow and brings him to safety at Ft Edmonton Park.
  • Smith attacks Nefer Gon and steals two prison talismans (keys)

Saturday: A personal day

  • Still night.
  • the party speaks to the Doorman and determines he has two keys. They tell him to hide and take measures to protect his keys.
  • The party tracks down Prof Lafferty. The is a big fight vs. The White Court who were trying to get his key and kidnap him. Xerxes is killed. The party gets a talisman.
  • Poppy and monks travel to WEM and revive(?) Nefer Gon
  • The party tracks down the remaining hostages. They are guarded by Mr. Asp. They defeat him and rescue their friends. Hans and Silvain escort them to Ft. Edmonton.
  • The Doorman uses his keys to separate Edmonton from The Never Never.
  • The Jades make their move and assault Redford. Sam distracts them until Gon arrives and engages in a spectacular aerial fight over the city.
  • The party (now with a plan), Smith (after the keys), and The Warden( angry at The Doorman) all meet at City Hall. Harry isn’t home. The party runs. So does Smith. The Warden finishes the demolition of the building.
  • The party finds The Doorman. They gather all 7 keys at the Railyard. Then they realize they need to find Poppy.
  • Day break.
  • Poppy begins to track down Smith. She destroys two lairs she knows of and learns the location of two more from brilliant IT geeks. (Oh they’ll be coming back)
  • The party reaches Poppy. She returns to the railyard.
  • The party checks out lair 3. But Artemis is there ahead of them and destroys it. The party runs.
  • The party and most allies gather at Walker yards. Poppy preps for the plan. It is about 2:30. 24 hours until The Warden destroys the city (which he is currently unable to do). Less than 12 before Smith casts his ritual (but he is one key short)

Major Players:

  • Smith – location unknown. Possibly dead. Needs a key (or 7)
  • Redford – unknown. Last seen under Jade Court attack.
  • The Warden – at the Muttart. Expecting the party to bring him The Doorman. Still plans on destroying town.
  • Nefer Gon – Unknown. Last seen fighting the Jade Court and kicking butt.
  • The Jade Court – Asp dead. Others unknown. Last scene fighting off Nefer and Redford.
  • The White Court – mostly dead. Still at large Darius.
  • The Crow – unknown. Last seen asleep and recovering at Ft. Edmonton.
  • Artemis – unknown. Last seen in south Edmonton

Minor players:

  • Papa Cass – unknown. Last scene getting blown up
  • Pip The Troll – on his way to 11pm Saturday.
  • Reporter – off air after filling report of “Edmonton Armageddon – Old Gods and Vampires”. Footage included blurry shots of the Dragon battle until a Sasquatch ended it.
  • Cnst. McCauley – on Smith’s trail. Not really. Created safe haven at Ft. Edmonton
  • Eskandar – unknown. At mall?
  • Prof Lafferty – on campus.

Allies and Party:

  • Heinrich and Poppy – at railyard. Not talking. Poppy pregnant.
  • Harry (The Doorman) – at railyard. Revealed he carries St. Peter’s key ring
  • Tibetan Monks- at railyard
  • Hans and Silvain – at Ft. Edmonton
  • former hostages (constables, lawyer and sister )- at Ft. Edmonton
  • Fr. Lacombe – unknown
  • Bathran and Tony – unreachable
  • Rest of party – at the railyard.

Hey – A poll!

I’m not sure enough people stop by anymore to make this fun. ¬†But we’ll try.

The idea is that pretty much this entire list or services can be provided by a multi-function device such as a smart phone or tablet.  Could you give up the other devices/services?

 

Mini Reviews

The Great Gatsby (book) – millions of school children likely hate this book after being forced to read it. But it is quite good. It is short and punchy and moves. The plot is predictable except for one plot twist. But it is about character and setting and theme more than plot.

Its greatest strength is the language. Fitzgerald writes and conjures.

Its greatest weakness, IMO, is that all the characters are weak. Their flaws are their defining traits – never their strengths.

It has one of the best and saddest last lines in all of literature. Go look it up. Or read the whole book and get there naturally.

Oblivion – packed to the brim with sci-fi goodness and yet it was dull.

The movie presented itself as a big action, dramatic visuals, neat concepts type show. But it really wanted to be a thinking man’s sci-fi. But there weren’t new ideas to ponder and debate – there was just the setup for the next plot twist. But it moved too slowly.

I did enjoy it. But it was no Matrix.

Now I will spoil the plot twists.

Spoilers – gonna give some space

List of sci-fi tropes in show. Incomplete:
– aliens
– the aliens are after our water
– the aliens are machines
– memory wipe
– the robots will turn on us
– oops, working for the bad guys
– the guys we thought were the bad guys and aliens? Those are the human resistance.
– clones
– “Nuke them IN orbit. It’s the only way to be sure. “

Weekly Recap

Ah! Last week was so long ago.

It had two days at work where I left feeling that the work I’d done was interesting, it had value, I’d achieved something and I’d helped my staff. Lots of days feel like just more of the same, but last week was very rewarding.

Plus I solved a technical issue.

It was an annoying tv week. My PVR messed up my Sunday recordings. I needed to find both on the Interwebs.

Comics had a big, big week. The downside of that is sometimes the quality gets lost in the quantity. I think the two Daredevils and Iron Man were my favourite. Plus I had a new Hellboy trade ( actually it was old, but new to me and Witchfinder not Hellboy proper), it was great.

I’m re-reading The Great Gatsby in prep for the movie. It is an excellent book. Filled with bad people though.

Gaming picked up some of the steam I lost the week before. This is still turning into a mammoth adventure. I might need to cut something to get it shorter.

Mom visited. Mom is awesome and hardly criticized me at all.

On Sunday, we did a group outing to see Oblivion. Dave and Rob accompanied me – just like the old junior high and high school days. The movie wasn’t great, but I’m still marking this as my highlight in a good week. Hanging out was cool and sort of retro. I still like those guys.

Yesterday sucked. For no good reason I decided to be both anxious and crabby in the morning. The day was filled with a normal mix of good and bad stuff, but I dwelled on the bad.

Until I got home and watched GoT. Great episode and while viewing all the tension leaked away.

I’m eager to face today!

That’s it. Take care all!

42 – conflict analysis

A week ago I saw the movie 42. It is a biopic of baseball legend Jackie Robinson. Many reviewers I read indicated that the movie lacked drama because the character of Robinson was presented, essentially, as flawless. My view was a little different. I saw the movie as flawed because it didn’t have a strong central conflict.

This isn’t a review, but some thoughts along that idea. It will contain spoilers for 42.

I don’t like the idea that the movie didn’t work because Robinson was too good. Strong noble heroes are not something we see very much of in cinema. I’m happy that a good role model is presented here. I think it could have been a stronger movie though.

I don’t want to give the impression I thought the movie was weak. But given the inspiring nature of what Jackie Robinson did it didn’t meet its mark. I never felt inspired.

It seems odd that I can say that the movie was lacking in conflict. It is a movie about the first black person ever to play American baseball. Conflict abounds! First there is societal racism. Then there is the breaking of boundaries. Then there are the specific instances of these things. Finally, the movie is a sports film. By the very nature of a sport there is conflict.

Those conflicts are all in the movie. But the show chooses another as the central conflict. When Manager Rickey hires Robinson, he tells the player that he needs to be brave enough to turn the other cheek. In the stadium, Robinson can ‘fight back’ by showing his skill. But on the street, in the dressing room and every other public venue, he must remain stoic. The movie sets up the main conflict as being between Robinson and himself. Can he take the abuse and persecution while off the field? Can he excel while on the field?

Of course, he succeeds. During the baseball scenes, he is jubilant. He grins like a Cheshire Cat as he steals bases. During the other scenes he is quiet, reserved and buttoned up. But not angry. Almost never angry.

I think the film makers were trying to honour the man. To be true to what is known of Jackie Robinson. But it didn’t make a great movie. If you set up a movie to be about a man struggling with himself then you need to show that struggle. If that kind of conflict didn’t exist in the man then it shouldn’t have been established as the core of the movie.

There are two moments when Robinson shows weakness. In the first, he is taunted in a vulgar racist manner by an opposing coach. He loses focus and swings himself out. Robinson retracts under the dugout and let’s loose some anger and despair. In another he is lying on the trainers table get stitched up after another player purposefully spikes his leg.

In both cases, Branch Rickey, the owner, comes and gives him a pep talk and pulls him through. Rickey is pretty awesome and the scenes work great as scenes. But it is still a weakness for the overall film. If the conflict is between a man and himself, then the man must resolve it not a 3rd party. (And in a movie about one of the bravest African Americans of all time having a white guy save the day twice seems patronizing. Even if factually true. )

If the movie wanted its conflict to work as stated it needed to show it. Have Robinson almost lose it in public. Or have him fail while on the baseball field. In reality, Robinson batted .297 that year. He didn’t actually get on base every time. And then have Robinson overcome it. He Caen be aided by others, but must succeed on his own.

If that isn’t true to the character, they could have focused on a different conflict. The team’s acceptance of him. Or the actual racism he faced. Or what he had to achieve to have been chosen in the first place. Or the games themselves – it could have been a baseball picture.

Or it could have been a movie about a Branch Rickey – a man set on starting to integrate baseball.

The movie has elements of all these things already. And many of the scenes featuring them are really good. Often much stronger than the ones about the central conflict. Except for the last, any one of them could have made an effective Jackie Robinson movie.

Instead there is a movie about a man with a steely jaw off the field and a joyful bounce on. It sounds like it should work, but it just doesn’t quite. But it is so close.

Eh, what do I know?

Creepy Dream?

I had this dream last night.

I was driving around and picked up a couple attractive young women of my acquaintance. Not creepy young – mid to late twenties.

I was on DATS of course. In two separate events I spotted the ladies walking on the sidewalk. I waited until we stopped and the driver got off. Then I opened the window and invited them on.

It was the same story in both cases. Their cars had broke down and they were walking home.

When the driver returned I convinced him to give them a ride because it was on the way. (This part of the dream was a bit repetitive, but it was building to the good bits.)

And then the dream proceeded as you might expect…

We drove the ladies to their homes and then dropped me off at home alone.

Gah! My dreams are G-rated. Even my dream-self seemed disappointed.

At least I’m a nice guy.