Reality Is The Playground Of The Unimaginative

Home Of Superheroes, Swords, Sorcery, Snowy, Sonic Screwdrivers, Supernatural Scares, Star Stuff, Simians, and Silliness

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Merlin: Another's Sorrow

After her kingdom has fallen to Morgana (who appears to have been dragged through a hedge backwards) and the army of King Odin (Fintan McKeown), Princess Mithian (Janet Montgomery) flees to Camelot with her aged handmaiden, Hilda.

However, Hilda is actually Morgana under a magical shapechanging glamour and she is blackmailing Mithian  - last seen in The Hunter's Heart - to spin Arthur a tale that her father, King Rodor of Nemeth (James Fox), is hiding out in the forest of Gedref, on the border of Nemeth and Camelot.

Morgana and Odin have engineered matters so that when Arthur, and a handful of his trusty knights, ride out to rescue Rodor they are actually riding into a trap.

It's left up to Merlin - who has been tipped off to Morgana's deceit but subsequently knocked unconscious and almost killed by the evil sorceress - and Gwaine to rush to the rescue of Arthur and his band, before they are slaughtered by Odin's waiting army.

A straight-forward, but nonetheless brilliant, story, Another's Sorrow not only highlighted Morgana's growing magical powers but also showed us Arthur's baby-steps towards peacefully uniting the kingdoms of Albion (with a nudge from Merlin).

Next Time:

Uncle Walt Owns My Childhood...

By adding Lucasfilm to a portfolio which already includes Marvel Comics and The Muppets, Disney has pretty much purchased a leasehold on my - and probably millions of other geeks' - childhood.

And I'm okay with that. I'm certainly not worried about the future of the Star Wars Universe, as Marvel has done well under the Disney umbrella - notching up a few rather successful movies in recent months - and it has been said that that acquisition has provided the roadmap for this latest deal.

It's not as if the connection between Disney and Lucasfilm is anything new anyway as Star Wars and Indiana Jones rides, events and merchandise can already be found at Disney parks around the globe.

According to the Star Wars Action News podcast, this deal will be result in an increased Star Wars presence in the Disney parks. And that has to be a good thing, right? I've started planning a return visit to Disneyland Paris, with Rachel, to take advantage of this.
Going forward we're already hearing tell of a Star Wars Episode VII in the Summer of 2015 and Episodes VII and IX to follow in the next four years. There is a strong suggestion that this new trilogy won't involve the Skywalker family, which isn't really surprising as George has long said that story is done as far as he is concerned.

Although probably working from George's story treatments (it is his universe after all), these new Star Wars movies - and any that follow - will not be written or directed by George Lucas himself.

The Clone Wars cartoon will now presumably move over to the Disney XD Channel and maybe we'll start hearing some solid news about the super-secret and near-mythical live-action Star Wars TV series.

However, it doesn't look as though Indiana Jones will be featuring in Disney's near-future plans though as the emphasis is squarely on Star Wars.

And will this effect Dark Horse Comics' successful Star Wars comic book franchise? Dark Horse says 'not in the short term'.

CEO Mike Richardson is quoted as saying: "Dark Horse and Lucasfilm have a strong partnership which spans over 20 years, and has produced multiple characters and story lines which are now part of the Star Wars lore. Star Wars will be with us for the near future. Obviously, this deal changes the landscape, so we'll all have to see what it means for the future."

Marvel - another Disney brand - had the original Star Wars comic book license back in the day, but never achieved the breadth of success that Dark Horse has with its take on the Expanded Universe.

Of course, the pop culture landscape was very different then and the concept of an "Expanded Universe" was decades away.

These are exciting times for Star Wars fans. No doubt there will be more news in the weeks and months ahead.


Which Horror Movie Villain Are You?

Take this clever little interactive quiz to discover which movie maniac you are this Halloween.

Click "yes" or "no" on the videos and you'll eventually end up with one of 19 possible fiends.

Turns out I'm Michael Myers...

Be warned the quiz doesn't work on mobile devices and requires Flash.

Happy Halloween With Ingrid Pitt...

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

George Speaks About The Future Of Star Wars...

Star Wars Episode Seven Coming To Cinemas In 2015!

The big news today - and it certainly made my day - is the dual announcement of the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney and the scheduling of a new Star Wars film (Episode 7) for 2015!

I wonder if this new movie will turn out to be footage shot for the little-discussed live-action Star Wars TV show that George has been working on these past few years?

From Deadline:
As for the new Star Wars installment, the companies only would say that Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy would be executive producer on Episode 7 and any more Star Wars movies, and Lucas would serve as creative consultant. There was no indication about where the story would pick up, though technically in the franchise’s chronology it would follow Star Wars: Episode 6 — Return Of The Jedi, the third film in the initial trilogy that came out in 1983.
Whatever it is though I'll be excited if it expands the canon of the Star Wars Universe.

The LA Times quotes an official press release which says:
"Additional feature films are expected to “continue the ‘Star Wars’ saga and grow the franchise well into the future”.
Probably also a good time to start thinking about launching a new Star Wars blog...

This Does Not Fill Me With Confidence...

I've loved Jonathan Hickman's run on the Fantastic Four and FF (Future Foundation), which wrapped up this month.

More than a simple palate cleanser in the wake of Mark Millar's abominable (but thankfully reasonably short-lived) visit to my favourite title, Hickman ticked every box of what makes a great Fantastic Four comic.

And this only heightens my anxiety when I see "tomfoolery" picked out as a defining trait of the new FF title. Couple that with my general apathy to Mike Allred's art (there's something very off about the perspective in that advert) and I fear the new FF could be an early casualty in my on-going pull-list cull.

Yes, there is tomfoolery in the world of the Fantastic Four, of course (e.g. the ever-present prank wars between The Thing and The Human Torch), but that's not a selling point of the comic, it just heightens the believability of the family dynamics.

If FF turns out to be a "wacky, zany, slapstick" title in the style of Ambush Bug or the painfully unfunny Deadpool (as the above advert rather suggests), rather than an awesome complimentary title to the main Fantastic Four book then it's a shoo-in for the chop.

Of course, Matt Fraction could easily prove me wrong...

Countdown To Halloween With Ingrid Pitt...

Monday, 29 October 2012

[TEKRALH] Know Your Enemies!

Common hostiles in the lands of Tekralh...





Cave troll

Woodland Troll

Mountain Troll

Bog Troll

Monstrous Monday: Orcs! Orcs! Orcs!

This is my entry to Tim Brannan's Monstrous Monday blog hop

I may have been introduced to Dungeons & Dragons via The Hobbit and Lord Of The Rings, but my first conscious understanding what orcs were came from the 1977 Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual (see entry at right)

And as Gary Gygax himself decreed: orcs have pig-faces.

I love 'em because they're the utilitarian grunts (pun intended) of every evil warlord's army and yet they are constantly overlooked or, worse, homogenised into bland, flat-faced, mutant goblins that you'd see in any bland video game.

Keep their pig-faces and they have a look unlike any other creature (except for, you know, pigs) which, in turn, gives them an individuality and personality that video game or Games Workshop orcs lack.

I also find it interesting that D&D describes them as "lawful evil" - compare this to the wild, chaotic banshees of destruction that populate Games Workshop wargames (and, yes, when I used to collect GW miniatures I had a massive 40K ork pirate army).

Now my passion for Peter Jackson's Lord Of The Rings movies has been well stated on this blog, but there were many times I had difficulty differentiating his orcs from goblins or even uruk-hai.

In fact the only times I've seen orcs "done right" on the big screen is a brief appearance in the infamous Deathstalker B-movie franchise and Star Wars' Gamorrean's (who are - to my mind - just orc brothers from another mother).

Deathstalker's Orc - his scene gets reused in most of these B-movie classics

However, you get a tribal gathering of Otherworld Miniatures' pig-faced orcs on your wargames' table and nobody is going to be in any doubt as to what they are fighting.

I only wish more manufacturers would make 28mm pig-faced orcs so I could enlarge my own tribe of pig-snouted warriors.

Pig-snouts on orcs also screams "old school" to me, which is another good reason to keep them. Just look at this artwork from Otherworld Miniatures...

... or this classic painting by The Brothers Hildebrandt:

Orcs in my game worlds always have - and always will have - pig-snouts as shown on this page. It makes them more sinister and, in a way, "alien" to the common man of your pseudo-Medieval setting.

I have long believed that the name "orc" comes from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning "foreigner" or "demon". In other words, everyone who isn't "us" is an "orc". Orcs are the shapes in the dark that you see moving just outside the firelight of your encampment, they're the shadows you see moving through the trees as you stand watch.

They are the ultimate metaphorical embodiment of xenophobia (such an integral element of fantasy roleplaying games where the main aim is to kick down doors, kill monsters and steal their treasure).

Orcs are everywhere... and orcs have pig-snouts!

Gamorrean - an orc by any other name

Monstrous Musical Monday: The Orc Tribute...

Pieced together by YouTuber Gominoide using cinematics from Warcraft III, World of Warcraft (Blizzard Entertainment), Warhammer Online and Warhammer Battle March (Games Workshop).

The music is Battle Song by Ensiferum with a little bit of Marknadsvisan by Finntroll in the beginning.

Countdown To Halloween With Ingrid Pitt...

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Help Finish Spellfury's Second Season...

Supernatural: Reading Is Fundamental

After the gritty techno-thriller nature of The Girl With The Dungeons & Dragons Tattoo, Reading Is Fundamental switches back to Supernatural's more traditional paranormal subject matter as the Winchesters try to fathom what exactly they have stolen from Dick Roman.

It's appears to be slab of rock, but the moment they bust it open freakish events happen across the world - including Cas waking up from the coma he has been in since taking on Sam's torments and an honour student called Kevin Tran (Osric Chau) being zapped by heavenly lightning.

Demon Meg, who's been nursemaiding Cas, calls in Sam and Dean and they arrive at the hospital just ahead of Kevin, who has been compelled to seek out the tablet that was contained within the rock the brother's broke open.

It turns out the tablet, which is covered in seemingly indecipherable writing, contains The Word Of God and Kevin has been "chosen" to be its Keeper.

Reading Is Fundamental primarily concerns itself with moving various pieces into position on the gameboard, setting up the final sprint to the season's finish line next week.

Sam and Dean are on the run - just for a change - from various angels and Leviathans, while Meg is doing what she does best (saving her own skin) and Cas is trying to find his place in the greater schemes of things.

This episode is relatively free of physical conflict - that all being saved for the final act - and is more about making sure the season's sundry sub-plots are all coming together and everyone has a handle on the major new artifact (The Word Of God) thrown into the Supernatural mythological mix.

Season Seven might have started off on shaky ground, but it looks as though it's going to go out on top form. Exactly what we've come to expect from this incredible show.

Next Time:

Supernatural: The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo

The Girl With The Dungeons & Dragons Tattoo put the Leviathan arc back front-and-centre with a powerful and important episode.

One of the main things the episode did was solidify suspicions we've been getting from the dropped hints about Dick Roman's masterplan for the human race: fatten us up and pacify us through his numerous food franchises, but then cure all major diseases and turn us into the ideal cattle for the Leviathans to feast on for all eternity.

This episode also establishes Dick Roman as a supervillain in the same ball park as Mayor Richard Wilkins from Buffy The Vampire Slayer. However, James Patrick Stuart is no Harry Groener. Yet.

Dick had obtained the hard drive from Paranoid Frank's computer - confirming once and for all that Frank is dead - but couldn't crack it, so turned it over to the star of his corporate IT team, bubbly geek Charlie Bradbury (Felicia Day).

She manages to break down Frank's firewalls, but in the process an alert is emailed to the Winchesters, who come looking for the hard drive that is packed with not only information about Dick and the Leviathans, but also about the Winchesters.

In the meantime, Charlie has also stumbled onto the truth about Dick Roman - and the management of the firm she works for - and ends up teaming with Sam and Dean. Their plan is to get Charlie back into Dick's office, so she can steal all the information off his hard drive... and hopefully find out what his interest is in his many archaeological digs around the world.

This was another cracking episode, seasoned with a healthy sprinkling of geeky in-jokes, combining Supernatural's usual monster-hunting shenanigans with the tension of a good spy movie - with Sam and Dean "running" Charlie's break-in from a van parked near-by.

If things weren't complicated enough for the brothers, they also now have the issue of Bobby's ghost hanging around. Although he was able to help them, they're concerned that his anger at Dick Roman will corrupt him into a vengeful spirit and the Bobby they know will be lost.

As in Out With The Old, the script of The Girl With The Dungeons & Dragons Tattoo did suffer from a painful contrivance that our heroes discovered the "item" Dick has been trawling the planet for just happened to be arriving at the local airport at almost the same time they learned of its existence.

However, it was such a great episode besides that, and the brothers managed to pull off a Leverage-worthy heist, that I can overlook it this time.

Felicia Day also shone in this story and while not exactly playing against type I think this is the best performance I've seen her turn in and it's almost a shame that the denouement left things such that she is unlikely to appear on the show again.

There was great chemistry between her character and the brothers and she brought a whole new skillset to their operations that could come in useful again one day.

Next Time:

Countdown To Halloween With Ingrid Pitt...

This year we celebrate the late, great Ingrid Pitt - finest of all Hammer's glamorous ladies - in the run-up to Halloween.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Another Remake Of A Horror Classic...

... but this one is sanctioned by the original creator.

WARNING: For those of a sensitive disposition, this is a Red Band trailer, which means adult language and gore... yipee!

The Hobbit - First TV Spot...

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Merlin: The Death Song Of Uther Pendragon

Grateful for being saved from being burned alive by superstitious peasants, a dying witch (Jane Thorne) bequeaths Arthur a magical horn that can summon the spirits of the dead.

Once Gaius has confirmed that it is actually the mystical Horn Of Cathbhadh, it's not long before Arthur is off to The Great Stones Of Nemeton to open a door to the "other side" so he can see his father again.

However, it isn't quite the tearful reunion that Arthur weas hoping for as Uther (Anthony Head) basically rips into Arthur for destroying his legacy, allowing commoners to become knights, marrying Gwen the serving the girl etc

Unfortunately for Arthur - not knowing how these things work - the young king allows the vengeful spirit of his embittered father to follow him back to Camelot and a reign of poltergeisty misery ensues that sees the chandelier come crashing down on the Round Table, Sir Percival struck by an axe in the armoury and Gwen knocked out in the kitchens which are then set on fire.

I find it odd that Uther should target Percival as surely he was made a knight during Uther's reign, as one of the longstanding members of Arthur's coterie?

The Death Song Of Uther Pendragon is a small, intimate story - after the epic sweep of the two-part season opener - with no new characters or extraneous sub-plots.

As well as the odd attack on Percival, there's also a rather cheesy denouement when Uther is banished back to spirit world (after discovering that Merlin has been a sorcerer all along) and he cries out to Arthur: "Merlin's a...".

Thankfully Arthur seems rather oblivious to this and doesn't question Merlin on what the ghost of his father was trying to say anyway!

And I guess we can assume Gwen was okay following her ordeal in the kitchen as we don't get to see her again in this episode after Gaius gives her a sleeping draught to aid in her recovery from smoke inhalation.

Again, this episode really plays to the dark tone that the show has taken - not only in the content of the script, but in the very way it's presented on screen.

And I have to say I'm really liking this more mature attitude. Sure there's still light-hearted moments and horseplay between Arthur and Merlin, but thankfully it would appear that the belching and farts jokes of previous seasons have been consigned to the oubliette.

Next Time:

Iron Man 3 - The First Trailers...

Friday, 19 October 2012

That Was The Week That Was...

The Dining Room
This week has not been the best week here at HeroPress Towers. Truth be told the place looks like a building site.

We're in the process of having the boiler replaced in the kitchen (it broke down several weeks ago and turned out to be too old to repair) and, at the same time, having the old water tank replaced in the airing cupboard.

Unfortunately after a day on the job our plumber was hospitalised with kidney problems! What was supposed to be done and dusted in four days now looks like it could drag on for quite some time.

All being well our plumber comes out of hospital today and, according to his wife, should be able to return to our job on Monday.

It's nobody's fault, these things happen, but it has rather thrown us for a loop.

Not only do we have no central heating, but the house is turned upside down. The dining room is full of pots and pans from the kitchen, as well as the plumber's tools, the new water tank is sitting in the back bedroom and, in the gamesroom, I had to move most of my crap out of the way to allow access to various bits of plumbing on the top floor of the house.

The Gamesroom
The Kitchen
The Back Bedroom
Combine this with some family health issues (not me for once) and you can get an idea of what's been dominating our lives for the last seven days.

On a positive note, as the kitchen is in a state of transition, all this gave Rachel and I a good excuse to try out the incredible new Mexican restaurant in Tonbridge: El Mariachi, where I enjoyed a flaming steak soaked in Jack Daniels...

That's my meal on fire (above) - partially hidden behind my very macho cocktail (along with my chips and complementary shot of JD). So it hasn't been all bad!

[COMPETITION] Come On, People, Only A Week To Go...

If you are in the UK, then you only have until Sunday, October 28, to enter the HeroPress giveaway for a Blu-Ray Triple Play pack of Tim Burton's Dark Shadows.

Based on the classic US television series, Dark Shadows stars Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Chloe Grace Moretz, Jonny Lee Miller

Depp is Barnabas Collins, a vampire trapped for two centuries by an evil witch (Eva Green) who just happens to also be an ex-lover. Awoken in the 1970s, he now has to struggle with the ever-changing decade and save his family’s business!
"In the year 1752, Joshua and Naomi Collins, with young son Barnabas, set sail from Liverpool, England to start a new life in America. But even an ocean was not enough to escape the mysterious curse that has plagued their family.

Two decades pass and Barnabas (Johnny Depp) has the world at his feet-or at least the town of Collinsport, Maine. The master of Collinwood Manor, Barnabas is rich, powerful and an inveterate playboy... until he makes the grave mistake of breaking the heart of Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green).

A witch, in every sense of the word, Angelique dooms him to a fate worse than death: turning him into a vampire, and then burying him alive.

Two centuries later, Barnabas is inadvertently freed from his tomb and emerges into the very changed world of 1972.

He returns to Collinwood Manor to find that his once-grand estate has fallen into ruin. The dysfunctional remnants of the Collins family have fared little better, each harboring their own dark secrets.

Matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer) has called upon live-in psychiatrist, Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter), to help with her family troubles.
To enter the giveaway visit this page and follow the simple instructions.

Super Dates For Your Calendar...

For those who like to plan ahead, here's the updated list of forthcoming comic book superhero movies that we know of.
  • Iron Man 3 - April 26, 2013
  • Man Of Steel - June 14, 2013
  • Kick-Ass 2 - July 19, 2013
  • The Wolverine - July 25, 2013
  • Thor: The Dark World - November 8, 2013
  • Captain America: The Winter Solider - April 4, 2014
  • Amazing Spider-Man 2 - April 18, 2014
  • X-Men: Days Of Future Past - July 18, 2014
  • Guardians Of The Galaxy - August 1, 2014
  • The Avengers 2 - May 1, 2015
  • Ant-Man - November 6, 2015
Obviously I'd like it if they were all sooner - so I didn't have to wish the months away!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Merlin And Arthur Sense Trouble...

A clip from this Saturday's episode of Merlin.

Supernatural: Of Grave Importance

Another ghost story, straight after Party On, Garth? Oh yes, but Of Grave Importance couldn't be more different and yet it is still one hundred per cent Supernatural.

Annie (Jamie Luner), an old friend of Bobby's, arranges to meet the brothers as she has some of Bobby's books they might be interested in. However, she doesn't make the rendezvous and the Winchester's discover she was working a case centred on a haunted house.

The house was once home to the tragic Van Ness family and has been the site of several recent disappearances since being listed as one of the most haunted houses in America.

There are many things that make Of Grave Importance such a key element in the Supernatural mythology, not the least of which is that much of the episode is told from the point of view of the ghosts of Bobby and Annie.

Then we get the central mystery of the Van Ness house and the revelation of why Whitman Van Ness (Antonio Cupo) is trapping other ghosts in the house with him.

This episode oozes Gothic creepiness and, to be honest, I wish it had been longer. An hour simply wasn't enough time to do all the ideas contained within Of Grave Importance justice even though the combination  of Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming's script with Tim Andrew's direction made this a truly memorable episode.

The denouement is quite a downer as well. Not that that's a bad thing, but it doesn't bode well for the Winchesters as we storm towards the end of Season Seven and, presumably, a wrap-up of the Leviathan arc.

Next Time:

D&DVD Of The Week: Wrath Of The Titans (2012)

The first thing that needs to be said about Wrath Of The Titans is that, even though far from perfect, it is leagues ahead of the ill-considered Clash Of The Titans remake that spawned it.

There's even a far more respectful cameo from Bubo The Mechanical owl (from the Harryhausen original Clash Of The Titans) that I took as a discrete apology for the horrors of the first movie.

A decade after the events of Clash reluctant hero, single-parent and demigod Perseus (Sam Worthington) is called out of retirement for one last job - his father Zeus (Liam Neeson aka Aslan) - has been captured by an alliance of Hades (Ralph Fiennes aka Voldemort) and Ares (Edgar Ramirez), who have struck a deal with  Kronos (mightiest of the imprisoned Titans and father of Zeus and Hades) to hold onto their power during the twilight of the gods.

Perseus teams up with Queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike) and the rogue Agenor (Toby Kebbel), who happens to be the son of Poseidon, and embarks on quest to free his imprisoned father.

This involves our heroes tracking down Hephaestus (Bill Nighy) - even though Andromeda, a Grecian Queen has no idea who Hephaetus is (!) - on a mysterious island overrun by Cyclops.

Bill Nighy turns in a totally bonkers performance as the weaponsmith of the gods, seemingly channelling Monty Python, but he directs the party of adventures to the entrance to the labyrinth that leads to Tartarus, where Zeus is being held.

Yes, our heroes are going on a dungeon crawl! Even though ultimately the labyrinth is a bit of a red herring, as everyone makes it through by luck and chance in the end anyway, it's still very impressive visually and certainly inspirational for those gamers who like their underworlds' mythic.

The gods of Wrath Of The Titans are treated like comic book superheroes (with some of the fight sequences reminiscent of recent big screen Marvel outings), and there's a solid message buried in there that mankind can get on just as well without "gods", the labyrinth (as I've said) looks incredible and some of the monsters are very well realised (the Cyclops are particularly strong, even if the random four-armed, two-headed, demon-things that precede Kronos in the final battle are a bit blah).

There's a bizarre romance that's pretty much on a par with Faramir and Eowyn in Peter Jackson's Lord Of The Rings and a mild case of cheese involving Perseus' son Helius (John Bell) - but the main thing we come to a film like this for is monsters and fighting and there it delivers.

As eye-candy, Wrath Of The Titans is a treat - and it won't make your brain ache like Clash Of The Titans. While the story may have very little basis in mythology (it's basically generic fantasy fare, but there's nothing wrong with that) this is a decent rainy afternoon movie for those who like this kind of B-movie.

Supernatural: Party On, Garth

After a couple of Kansas teenagers get gutted by an invisible creature, neophyte hunter Garth Fitzgerald IV (DJ Qualls) calls in Dean - who he worked with back in Season Seven, Time For A Wedding - when he realises he's out of his depth.

The Winchesters roll into town and get to work, discovering that the victims were the sons of the head of a local microbrewery, which is on the verge of being sold off. However, one of the founders - who died several weeks earlier - was opposed to the deal and has set a shoju (a Japanese alcohol demon) to exact revenge on his former business partners, by killing off their children.

The twist is that the shoju (an iconic Oriental ghost with long dark hair and pale skin, pictured above) can only be seen by someone if they are drunk!

While all this is unravelling, Garth suggests - because of errant EMF readings he's been picking up - that maybe there's another ghost around and maybe it's Bobby, keeping an eye on the brothers.

Then during the final confrontation with the ghost something odd happens that makes Dean think that maybe Garth is right.

Party On, Garth is Supernatural doing what Supernatural does best - a ghost hunt with a twist, mixed with a serving of humour and a dash of scares.

Garth is another solid addition to the ever-growing, ever-changing family of supporting characters in the Winchesters' lives, that helps add to the show's already well-established verisimilitude. But, of course, it's also nice to think that - after Cas returned last week - Bobby is also coming back... in some form that won't devalue the impact of his death.

Next Time:

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Free NPCs! Get 'Em While They're Hot!

Paul Thornton - aka Shortymonster - is offering commentators on his blog FREE non-player character write-ups.

This generous offer - which lasts a month - is to mark his young blog's 10,000th page view after only four weeks.

He says: "If you don’t mind what you get, just a quick, ‘hello, can I have my free thingy’ will be enough, but if you want something genre specific, tell me what you have in mind. The only thing I won’t be doing is stats for any systems.

"So, if you want a spacefaring pirate, a child in a Steampunk game, or anything else at all, just let me know, and I’ll get right on it.

So pop on over to Paul's blog, say hello and let him know what sort of character you'd like to see spring from his fertile mind.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Agent Coulson Lives!

Agent Phil Coulson aka Clark Gregg talks to Ryan Penagos at New York Comic Con 2012 about Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show, Marvel's The Avengers and much more!

Alter Egos...


Imagine If These Were Dungeon Traps...

The 'You Might Want to Look Away Now' Award from Season Five of Total Wipeout, on Saturday evenings on BBC1.

All you need to do now is repurpose these as traps for your old school dungeon...

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Merlin: Arthur's Bane (Part Two)

After last week's blockbuster season opener, Arthur's Bane (Part Two) kept up the momentum with so many plots and sub-plots unfolding that there almost wasn't time to squeeze in the important denouement back at Camelot.

The episode opened with Arthur and Merlin as captives of the bandit Ragnor (Stephen McCole) and the grown-up Morded (Alexander Vlahos), being led to Ismere, Morgana's keep in the snowy north of Albion.

Meanwhile, in the mines under the castle, Gwaine has been befriended by the strange, extraterrestrial-looking  Euchdag (Josette Simon) - who is actually the Daimair ("key to all knowledge") that Morgana and Ruadan (Liam Cunningham) were looking for.

Arthur and Merlin escape, but Arthur refuses to kill Mordred when he has the chance as the young man had been kind to them while they were prisoners.

Back in Camelot, Gwen sticks to her guns about sentencing her maid to hang - but only because she knows she's the daughter of Ruadan and hopes to lure him into a trap when he, inevitably, comes to rescue her. Unfortunately, this doesn't go quite according to the plan.

Once they've snuck into the mines under Ismere, Arthur and Merlin set about freeing the imprisoned knights of Camelot - but in the process discover that Morgana has acquired a pet dragon, Aithusa. Merlin manages to wangle some alone time with the young dragon and realises it cannot talk or fly - this, the audience gathers, is almost certainly connected to its imprisoned with Morgana during the three year gap between the events of Season Four and those of this season.

Morgana ambushes Arthur and is about to finish him off when events take an unexpected turn. However, this is where the episode's only real plot hole popped up in that during the ensuing action no-ones checked to see if a certain person was dead, or mortally wounded, or even made mention of the (rather important) issue.

Merlin did, however, learn that "Arthur's Bane" wasn't who we were all led to believe (ie Morded), but I have to say I'm very satisfied with the answer that Euchdag gave him. It certainly makes sense given the events of the following - back at Camelot - scene.

A rollicking episode, packed with everything that makes this show great - action, monsters, magic, stunning scenery and great character interaction.

Let's hope the season can keep up the pace and quality it has set with these first two episodes.

Next Week:


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