Corona-cation 2020 Week 1
Being cooped up in the house because of a global pandemic has opened opportunity for movies and crafting as well as writing. Along with binging Star Trek: The Next Generation, I have been picking random movies to watch – recent and old ones. So I thought might as well blog while I am doing them. For the movies, I not only write a small review about it but also any RPG inspiration I may have gotten from it.
From a crafting point of view, I have been trying to create some oozes for D&D. I have seen the many Youtube how-to videos on this and I never really liked the look or feel of them. So far I have had little to no success.
Painting, Painting and more Painting
I have a ton of sci-fi soldier minis from the Sedition Wars game (two sets) that I have. I love the minis and plan to use them in my gaming. My first batch got a real bad coat of primer but I am trying to work past that and finish them all. The second batch should be better. I am going to get them all out and finish them in one batch, I think.
I also have some Bones sci-fi and fantasy that I want to finish. I am going to put a lot of focus on both of those as time goes on.
Moon Bus Model
I got the 2001 Moon Bus model for my birthday, which is a perfect model for RPG gaming. I need to decide if I am going to light it up and if so, I need supplies to paint it properly. With shipping from Amazon in question, I am not sure if I will be able to get them.
Movie: Angel has Fallen
Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman return as the venerable Secret Service agent Mike Banning and President Allan Trumbull in another political intrigue action adventure. I loved both Olympus has Fallen and London has Fallen. But this guy is almost as bad as Jack Bauer – trouble always seems to follow him. In this case, another assassination attempt against the president leads to him being framed for it. There are military contractors, old army buddies and lots of action all rolled up into a very tropey and predictable story, ripped directly from something like Jack Bauer or Jack Ryan.
While I loved the action, I predicted it from the beginning. They planted the contractors and the old Army buddy early on and I know this meant he was going to be the bad guy and the contractors were the henchmen. But it was so obvious that I knew it had to have another layer to it. And I predicted that right as well – the VP. So the story was less than satisfying.
The one point in the story that I did like was basically late in the second act or the beginning of the third when Banning had nowhere else to turn, where does he go. His dad – played by a very rough Nick Nolte. He played Clay Banning – a Vietnam vet suffering from severe PTSD who is holed up in remote West Virginia off-grid and armed to the teeth. a group of bad guys come up after Banning only to be taken out by Rambo-style explosive traps laid by dad. I enjoyed that.
What it lacked in story, it made up in action. It was fun. Visually, it was well shot and there was some great gun battles. I enjoyed the movie for that.
From an RPG GM perspective, there wasn’t much to get from this. The story has been done before and it’s easy to predict. A group of off-grid unknown mercs are hired by a power-hungry political figure to take out the nation’s leader. Using money and influence, he puts layers of separation in hopes that whatever happens, he ends up with all the power and the mercs get all the money if they succeed or all the blame if they fail. Unfortunately, thanks to our meddling heroes, all is revealed and everyone goes home happy.
Movie: Gemini Man
Ironically I just had watched Jada Pinket Smith in Angel has Fallen and then I turned to Gemini Man, a movie where I found myself wondering what she thought when she saw her husband digitally de-aged 25 years.
Sort of a gimmick-movie, Will Smith plays Henry Brogan – an “aging” Marine Sniper (aging??? He’s my age!) who has had enough of the contract work for the government he’s doing from the DIA. He retires after a close call on one mission only to find out that there are those in the DIA that don’t feel he should retire alive. Through a convoluted plot, we find out he killed someone that wasn’t necessarily a bad guy but someone – like him- wanted out for their own reasons. His friends and allies all turn up dead – assassinated – and Brogan knows he’s next.
The assassin that is after him is good. There are several great action scenes that border on super-hero action level. Eventually we learn that they assassin is in fact a close of him 20+ years younger and genetically enhanced to be better. They eventually team up after some more story and action and find that there is another even younger, who is even more genetically enhanced. They have to kill this one but then kill the boss man and all live happily ever after.
Again, another tropey movie that had a lot of action and some pretty good story. It was not as predictable as the last one but still ended where I thought it would.
From an RPG perspective, fighting a younger better version of one’s self is something I have tried to explore in some games. In one adventure, I actually decided to try and combine all the abilities, skills and powers of the entire party into one mutant creature that they had to fight. In some games, though, one big target make less sense than many little ones. The final twist in this movie – where there were more than one copy – could be the final surprise. The party kills their one copy, walks into another room to find two or three versions of each other, maybe even combinations.
Movie: Altered Carbon: Resleeved
Altered Carbon is a TV series on Netflix that I have been watching since it started and it is definitely in my top 5 shows right now. It’s a high-concept cyberpunk space opera that really pushes the limits of sci-fi on TV. Flesh is temporary. You personality is stored on a chip called a Stack and you can go from body to body as long as you can pay for it. Rich people are virtually immortal.
From a look and feel of the setting, this is a lot like they way I see Shatterzone, minus any aliens. Some might see it as more like their vision of Traveller. There are elements of Cyberpunk/Shadowrun and many who know Interface: Zero would see this setting in that game as well. There is also an RPG on kickstarter for this setting, which I am very curious about.
This anime cartoon is apparently set between the first and second season of the show and tells an intrigue story involving the Yakuza and their tattoo traditions. It’s an OK story that seems to use it as an excuse to show my anime gore and boobs. I was reasonably entertained but felt that the story was lacking.
I think the one problem the setting does not show/setting is just how hard it is to get a sleeve for your stack when you get old or need to move on. The main characters and their protagonists seem to move from one sleeve to another with the greatest of ease, so when your plot focuses around another means to covertly sleeve, you have to ask yourself why does he have to sneak around to do it when someone that powerful can resleeve where ever he wants. I just didn’t get thee sense of urgency and peril in the story.
From an RPG perspective, this plot centers around the core element of the Stack to carry the story, so the game would have to have something like that in the setting to draw inspiration. Instead of giving much away (I guess I don’t want to spoil this one), I’ll let you draw your own inspirations from this one.