A couple of years back, while at the Charleston SC convention, StormCon, I had the chance to meet the writers of Battle for Oz. Dan Smith and Dave Hardee are stand-up guys and very passionate about gaming and their product. They work together at each and every con to run as many slots of their game as possible. They have run for me at MACE events several times now and their game has been very well received.

Much has been said about the staggered release of the new D&D rulebooks and as much as I understand the complaints, I don’t really think it is all that big of deal in the grand scheme of things. Some say that the staggered release will hurt D&D’s chances of gaining any ground lost to Pathfinder but I seriously do not see it. Come December when the DMG is finally out, people are going to forget all about the staggered release and invest a lot of time in whatever game they choose.

Once again, I delve into a movie from the vast library of Roger Corman; another fantasy adventure staying Lana Clarkson (from Deathstalker) and a whole cast other women in various stages of undress. Master of low budget and reuse, Corman as producer reused much of the set from Deathstalker, and well as costumes I recognized from other of his fantasy outings.

Once again, we delve into the dark and weird world of Roger Corman (although he was uncredited as the executive producer). His work during the 80s was priceless in many ways, while at the same time mind-numbing. This time, he took a page from Lucas’s book. He takes a classic Akira Kurosawa film, called Yojimbo, and re-imagines it in a science fantasy setting, in it’s own “galaxy far far away,” on a planet called Ura. It is an interesting cheesy mixture of fantasy and sci-fi with bad acting, a woman that is topless just about the whole movie (actress Maria Socas), a telepathic (and very poorly conceived) monitor lizard, a dance by a woman with four breasts (beat that Total Recall) and kung fu from the venerable David Carridine.

Having reviewed a variety of science fiction films, I felt that I should try to watch some other genres. Fantasy was the next obvious route, but as we all know, Hollywood has a real bad history with fantasy. Only recently with movies like the Lords of the Rings trilogy and the Hobbit trilogy, has Hollywood given value to the fantasy genre. Perhaps CGI makes it easier now, but back in the 1980s a storm of fantasy films came out after the success of Conan The Barbarian that gave me plenty of cheese to choose from.

The Deathstalker series was one of those that tried to capitalize on the success of Conan. They even implied in the second film that the two universes were connected. There were a total of 4 Deathstalker moves, all but the first being direct to video. Roger Corman was the producer behind all 4, and I have written many times about how inspiring some of Roger Corman’s work is for a GM. However, I have to say that Corman’s fantasy is far less inspiring than his science fiction or horror. It was not easy watching either of these films.