Taking Inspiration from the Marvel Cinematic Universe for Dungeons & Dragons

I wanted to write a blurb on using Marvel’s cinematic universe in D&D. I’ll either come back to this topic and inject some more specific examples and references…

Daemons & Deathrays


Admittedly, I’ve been away from the boundless realms of graphic novel and comic books.  Whether it’s because I’m hesitant to try new series or because money is always tight, I haven’t really gone too deep into comic books, especially nowadays.  Now, I’ve caught up on a few series and read many of them after the fact, but I’ve never really gotten active within any fandoms… unless a handful of defunct and finished web-comics count for anything, that is.  That said, I’ve been slowly been brought back into the fold thanks to Disney and Marvel teaming up for the relatively recent series of films that have been mostly pretty damn good.  Save for a few sub-par installations, the films that have been released (sometimes more than) once a year have been fantastic.  At the best, an excellent journey of action and heroism… and at worst?  A good way to spend an…

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The Doc Speaks: It’s not uncommon to feel “Grinchy”

It’s been that time of the year for a while and it’s safe to say that many of us are sick of it.  We see Mall Santas chugging whiskey outside the local shopping center, spoiled brats screaming about how getting the newest toy is a sign of love, the same holiday pop covered by a flavor of the year music group, sickeningly cheery decorations mass produced by Hallmark-esque megacorporations, you get the general idea.  For many a bitter cynic, the yuletide season simply sucks.  In a sense, rewatching How the Grinch Stole Christmas, there’s a lot to relate to.  Perhaps something about the plot makes us all the more bitter.  But, why is that?

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The Doc Speaks: Do I want to believe?


Lemme start by saying that I am not a superstitious person, but it’s hard to deny some things in this world (let alone universe) defy our comprehension and will probably continue to do so for eons to come.  What could this be?  Alien beings, parallel universes, otherworlds seen in myth and legend?  Beyond the fantastical, we have theories of sinister organizations working underneath our thumbs, pseudo-government tyrannies run by companies, among other things. Sounds like science fiction and are probably inventions of creative minds, but what amount of truth can be found in those statements?  Sure, this is quickly starting to sound like the beginning of a poorly written creepypasta, but it does make one wonder.  Whether intended for plain old entertainment or an attempt to broaden our horizons, various bits of media have wondered what lurks within our own world, as well as what lurks beyond ours.  And beyond the media, such notions are ingrained into countless cultures around the world.  Even if it’s popular mythology, these stories continue to live and breath much like we do.  Let’s have a look at some examples I personally enjoy.

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The Doc Speaks: Let’s Explore the Multiverse!


Modron On Parade!

I won’t deny it, I really enjoy the ideas of parallel realities, distant dimensions, entire planes of existence, and so on and so forth.  It’s one of the things that initially got me into comic books, as well as games such as Dungeons & Dragons (because Planescape is awesome.)  Truly, all forms of reality are at your finger tips with your imagination as the only possible restraint.  So with that, here’s some reasons why I would encourage the creation of a multiverse, whether for roleplaying games or for writing something else entirely.

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The Doc Speaks: Why do we want heroes?


Moments like this is what makes heroes for me.

This all stemmed from a thought in my head, which is by no coincidence the title of the post.  This was after weeks and weeks of dealing with miserable work, feeling like I haven’t been getting anywhere, contemplating quitting my job, and just dealing with depression in general.  The world kinda sucks and you wanna know what?  We could all use a hero to help us out, ya know?  Now, I’m not just talking about the kid who collects extra lunch food for the homeless guy that hangs across the street, the clever tech hacker that thwarts cyber attackers and scammers, or the friendly neighbor who helps get your cat out of a tree.  Sure, these people are heroes in their own right.  I’m referring to incredible beings with equally incredible power who devote themselves to virtues of righteousness and justice.  Why do we want them?  In addition, why do we escape to fantastic worlds where people with incredible powers and over-the-top costumes fight the powers of darkness?

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The Doc Speaks: Fantastic Flops

Originally, I was going to do a review of Fantastic Four.  However, I didn’t want to be like countless carrion eaters picking off the remains of absolute badness.  We know the film is terrible.  There are still tons of folks out there who don’t want to admit it yet.  I don’t blame them, I too wanted this to be a good movie.  However, that wasn’t the only disappointing summer film.  I know there’s many who were sad that Pixels didn’t live up to the immense hype, resulting in some undeserved vitriol and relentless hatred.  And of course, there’s that Paul Blart sequel…  but, I doubt anyone thought that would be good.  All in all, while the summer has brought some smash hits like Inside Out, Mad Max: Fury Road, Ant Man, Avengers 2, Spy and some others; there’s always the flop.  Let’s dive deeper at the sad side of blockbuster cinema.

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The Doc Speaks: Depression Sucks

Usually, when I write an editorial bit (in addition to my reviews), it pertains to some anecdote on popular culture or the media.  Personal and random stuff is often pushed into the occasional “ramblings” post.  That said, there’s been something on my chest I’ve been wanting to get off for a while, in addition to some other things.  First off, I’ve been in denial for the longest time that I’m depressed. Coping with depression, let alone admitting to having it, is never easy.  It’s a long and arduous journey rife with pain and suffering.  Frustration and indifference only breeds more of the same in a relentless cycle.  Crudely put, it sucks.

I’ve been trying to convince myself that diving deep into all sorts of interesting projects (including this one) will cause it to go away.  You don’t need a degree in psychology to know it’s not that simple.  Also, admitting this wasn’t simple either.  We live in a world that’s afraid to admit when a problem is at hand, let alone finding solutions for those problems.  At the very least, I’m making an effort to acknowledge what has plagued me for so long.  And lemme tell you, boldly stepping up to an open space and comfortably admitting something is wrong with you takes a lot.  The same me in the past year or two wouldn’t do that.  Granted, I didn’t want to seek solutions or help, just stew in misery.  To an extent, I had almost found familiarity in despair.  I don’t know what did it, but my recent mental meltdown convinced me I needed to find help, change things up a little, and think of a plan that will lead to slow but sure improvements for me.  A lot of it won’t work, but it helps move things a little bit towards the right direction in one way or another.  After being so long without hope or motivation, I’ve started to push myself (with tons of assistance from the people around me) to do something about it.  And just like admitting it, that’s no easy feat either.  Trying to find ways to combat depression is more agonizing and taxing than the depression itself at times.  In the end, tracking every little bit of progress is worth it, especially when you reflect on how far you’ve come.  Now, I doubt I’ll totally be out of the thick of it, but I’m thankful to say that I’m not in the same state I was back in my public school days or even last year for that matter.  And realizing that, it’s a little comforting; helping me cope with new challenges a little better on the endless road to recovery.  While perfection is a farce and a fantasy, the motivation to improve has always spurred progress on little by little, as making small steps matters a lot when it builds up over time.  And ya know what?  Everyone goes at their own pace too.  Who cares if your progress isn’t as fast as someone else.  You know you best, you know what speed works best for you.  Rushing too fast can be more harmful than helpful, after all.

What I’m trying to say is that it affects many of us; and to any reading suffering with it, you’re never alone.  Plans and strategies work differently for different people, but there’s certain to be something out there that helps.  One must never stop looking, even if others help them look.  The battle is great and it takes its toll, but the war can always be won.  Stuff like hope and faith seem like bullshit when you’re depressed, but it’s really all you have.  Now sure, this post may seem a little less coherent and structured as some of my others, but this was a raw post written from personal reflection, emotion, and what have you.  And, I know this might read like a load of gibberish to some readers, but I’m hoping this provides some level of inspiration and hope to various readers out there.

The Doc Speaks: My Top 10 Favorite Sci-Fi/Horror series intros

Admittedly, this came up after watching a recent editorial done by Nostalgia Critic on what he thought were the 11 best television intro sequences.  To some extent, I was in agreement with quite a few of them, since you’d think opinions are likely to overlap or connect in one way or another.  Back on topic, that list embodied what he felt best prepared the audience for the show ahead or helped to establish the general mood.  Or at the very least, got them excited for the rest of the 22/46 or so minute time slot.  Genre fiction works in particular inject that sense of ambiance and expectation within the intro, so that way viewers can get immersed into the world as soon as the show truly begins.  So with that, here are 10 of my personal favorite openings to sci-fi and horror themed TV shows!

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The Doc Speaks: Fresh off the Wasteland Survival Guide!


Presenting one of the most parodied spoilers in the history of fiction!

Fallout 4’s confirmation brought waves of excitement all across the internet.  People active in the fandom and even people outside of it cheered upon hearing the new title being teased just a couple of days ago.  As for myself?  I had a mix of cautious optimism and the kind of cynicism a curmudgeonly old fart would have, but none the less a renewed interest in Fallout, if not the post-apocalyptic genre.  Granted, the newest entry in the Mad Max franchise helped too.  And while I’d love to focus on Fallout games more than I already have, I just want to ponder about the genre as a whole; metaphors, cautionary tales, and tropes of course.  While this started as a rambling rant (much like my chaotic “review” of HATRED), this became another longwinded look into some aspect of speculative fiction and the media by yours truly.  So, let’s ride into the atomic sunset and soak in some healthy radiation once more!

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The Doc Speaks: Was I too harsh on Fallout 3?

Bye, Megaton

For those who remember, a couple of my reviews have had somewhat subtle digs at Fallout 3, Bethesda’s reboot of the Fallout series.  This game helped to bring the series back into public eye with a different setting, an advancement of the timeline, and new mechanics to play with.  Instead of continuing plotlines taking place on the west coast United States, focus was shifted towards developments on the east coast, particularly the “Capital Wasteland.” But, as I’ve mentioned, I have been rather critical about parts of it. And for a while, I even hated the game. Admittedly, it’s on the bottom of my Fallout list (next to those spin-off games shoved into the strictly non-canon section.) However, after returning the the game, I can’t say I really hate it anymore. Of course, there’s much more to it than just that.
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