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

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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: Fallout 4 – Awesome Video Game, Disappointing Fallout title

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It wouldn’t be Fallout without a masked figure on the front, right?

Fallout is a series of many things; a deconstruction of classic science fiction, a direct homage to said classic science fiction, a now long running franchise that’s practically 2 decades old and so much more.  Above all, it’s a beloved series with an amazing and devoted fanbase.  Sure, there is much division over older and newer generations of games (which I myself will admit to taking part in); but we’ve had more than enough proof that fans have kept the spirit of Fallout alive.  Archive sites like the Nexus contain thousands upon thousands of mods, adding new features to the game or rewriting it in its entirety.  You may wonder what this has to do with Fallout 4?  While others have focused on traversing the world of the wastelands and following a story, this one allows you to customize the weird wastes ahead.  So, why do I praise it as a great game, but comdemn it as a poor Fallout title?  More ahead.  (Warning: Spoilers)

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The Doc Speaks: Do I want to believe?

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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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Cult Film Review: Grabbers

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Directed by John Wright and story by Kevin Lehane, Grabbers is a 2012 horror-comedy about small island town that faces off against tentacled horrors that dwell in the sea.  It follows two Garda officers as they’re deployed to the seaside community, only to discover their problems lie beyond rude dock workers, drunken fools and deranged scientists.  Teaming up with various survivors of “The Grabbers”, the motley crew does all they can to keep these monstrous horrors from consuming the entire island.  As one would expect, it’s campy and schlocky, but that’s what the film was intending to go for in the first place.

Author’s Note: I was originally planning on reviewing this for a magazine, but some things sadly didn’t quite work out.  As a result, I revisited what I wrote and used it as notes as I watched it again.  Needless to say, not many of my opinions have changed.  Enjoy.  Also beware, this review contains spoilers.  If ya wanna avoid spoilers, hop down to the smiling Erin Island sign! 

Image Sources – Grabbers Screenshots via Horrorhoneys, Bloody-Disgusting, Slant Magazine; Grabbing Arm – Amazon

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The Doc Speaks: Let’s Explore the Multiverse!

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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?

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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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Reviews Revisited: Anachronistic Adventures (Revised Edition)

Yeah, it’s kinda like that.

Some ways back, I dove into Owen K.C. Stephen’s Anachronistic Adventures line for Rogue Genius Games.  All in all, a satisfying method of importing pulp-style heroes in a fantasy world.  However, the classes as written lent themselves to a “strangers in a strange land” kind of game.  If you wanted a “A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court”, the books were just for you.  While the rules basis is made for pulpy heroes, you can easily modify the rules to fit this day and age.  Back then, this line of books was teased as a pulpy supplement to make your PF games more modern.  Or at the very least, you could play as Ash Williams from Evil Dead/Army of Darkness!  However, the creator himself admitted that the game relied on core PF rules and needed more to be its own setting and world.  Thus, over the next couple years following release, mini playtests and other bits were released and the final version was originally brought to the public via a large bundle pack.  However, it wasn’t till several updates cropped up till the content was more suited for its own independent game.  A couple of weeks ago, the revised book was released in a bundle pack for the observant and lucky few to dive into.  Fortunately, the book was later released in online stores like RPGNow for all to purchase.  So, with fresh eyes and a better understanding of pathfinder, how does this updated book hold up?  Especially considering it’s made with games independent of Paizo’s fantasy setting in mind, does it hold up on its own?  Let’s roll some dice and find out!

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Movie Review: Ant Man (2015)

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It’s always refreshing to enjoy a summer film by Marvel.  Last year’s Guardians of the Galaxy remains one of my favorite films by the studios.  This year’s summer hit tries to recapture the somewhat tongue-in-cheek mood we saw last year.  They more or less acknowledge this within the poster itself. Granted, this film knows what it is and how absurd it sounds.  But hey, the New 52 reboot of Aquaman did that self-aware metahumor to excellent effect.  All in all, it’s finely balanced with some pretty intense drama and some genuinely fascinating sequences.  While I genuinely enjoyed the movie, does it stand up to previous films?

Note: Spoilers Ahead.

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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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Movie Review: Jurassic World (2015)

Jurassic World, to many, is the sequel we’ve been waiting to see.  Following the footsteps of the first movie (and retconning the 2nd and 3rd out of existence), we see the park back and better than ever after rebuilding from the disaster that happened 20 years ago.  However, the park is bigger and better than ever, being more so a theme park than the original model.  Attractions and shows operate throughout the theme park, but yet the crowd demands more.  The result is a superior hybrid called the “Indominus Rex”, the ultimate hunter.  Through some adept cunning, it gets loose and mayhem is wrought on the park soon after.  So, how does it stack against the classic?  Is it one for the records or is it better remaining buried deep?  Let’s have a watch and find out!

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