Vulcan Stev's Database

It's a BLOG Captain, but not as we know it.

Gaming in your favorite cinema universe

I’ve been writing movie reviews for my blog here and over at the Dire Cafe for the past year.  When Uncle Bear asked for some guest bloggers over at his blog I adapted one of my movie reviews to be used as an RPG centered blog rather than a straight movie review.  This got me thinking, how would I adapt the settings and play in the universes of some of my favorite movies.  I realize that there are a lot of RPG adaptations of movies I’ll touch on a few of those here.

My goal here is to write up an RPG synopsis of the universe for each movie (or series) that the family reviews.  The Pirates of the Caribbean RPG overview is in the works.  Harry Potter will be done once we’ve reviewed all five movies.

How would I game in my four favorite universes?

Star Trek: There are actually RPGs already set in this universe.  FASA’s Star Trek RPG, Decipher’s Star Trek, and Task Force Games’ Prime Directive were some of the more widely recognized.  Wikipedia lists several others as well.  I have not actually ever used or played any of those games.  Though, I actually do role play in the Star Trek universe but not in a way you might be thinking.  I belong to a creative writing group called Starshipsof the Third Fleet.  The captain authors a prologue every three months or so and it is up to the crew members to write a mission report on what their character would do during the mission.

If I were to run a Star Trek game I’d run it where the GM was the Captain of whatever ship the PCs served on and run it in a similar manner to the Third Fleet doctrine.  I guess I’m seeing the Star Trek universe as more TNG era where the captain stays with the ship and allows his officers to actually do the dirty work.  I’d steer clear of the “Heroes” of the Federation.  It’s a big universe and not everyone gets to meet Captain Picard.

Star Wars: This isn’t news to anyone but Wizards of the Coast has the current license to Star Wars.  However West End Games’ Star Wars material provided much of the material for the expanded universe.  The one time that I did play in a Star Wars game, the GM had us playing Luke, Han, Leia, et all.  I can’t say as I particularly enjoyed that.

If I were to run a SW game I’d skirt the events that happened in the movies or explore how the events in the movies affected my PCs.  Ideas which I’d like to explore in SW; a garrison of Storm Troopers on a backwater planet after the Emperor’s demise,  Bounty Hunters (but then who wouldn’t?), an enclave of Jedi that managed avoid Palpatine’s genocide are just some of the possibilities that I’d like to play.

James Bond: Victory Games held the license during the mid-80s.  I forget my agent’s name but he was able to successfully conceal a sniper rifle (he was 6’5″).    This was one of the more enjoyable games I played in high school.  The GM we first had insisted on our agents running into EVERY Bond villain that had ever made it to film.  It wasn’t until I started gaming with the college crowd at SMSU that I ran into a GM who created his own villains.  That is when I started really enjoying the game.  I wanted my own arch-Nemesis not 007’s.

Super Heroes: Champions, Mutants & Masterminds, Marvel, DC; I’ve played Champions and in both the Marvel and DC universe.  My preference is Champions.  Though from what I’ve read, I’d probably enjoy Mutants and Masterminds as well.  I dislike playing established characters.  I don’t mind interacting with Batman, or Spidey, but to quote the old song “I just gotta be me” or least a character of my own creation

What is the common thread here?  If I’m gonna play in someone else’s universe, I’m gonna do my own thing.  I enjoy RPGing in established universes because there’s less exposition that GM has to do.  However, I’ve seen every Star Wars movie and read most of the books.  I don’t want to be Luke.

Your mileage may vary of course.


February 17, 2009 Posted by | Fluff/Inspiration, Observations of a Noob GM, RPG | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vulcan Stev’s Family Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban


Daniel Radcliffe …  Harry Potter
Gary Oldman …  Sirius Black
Rupert Grint …  Ron Weasley
Emma Watson …  Hermione Granger
David Thewlis …  Professor Lupin
Michael Gambon …  Albus Dumbledore
Alan Rickman …  Professor Severus Snape
Maggie Smith …  Professor Minerva McGonagall
Robbie Coltrane …  Rubeus Hagrid

Synopsis from IMDb: Approaching his third year at Hogwarts, Harry Potter has had enough of his muggle relatives. He runs away from them (finally) and enters his third term facing trouble from more than one side: for using magic outside the school and from the news that a notorious criminal, serial killer Sirius Black, has escaped the wizard’s prison at Azkaban and apparently is headed for Harry. The school calls in supernatural help against Black in the form of Dementors, but unusual things continue to put Harry in peril. He is thrown into a confusing panoply of shifting allegiances and shifting shapes where nobody is who or what they seem. Who is the real criminal? What is the real crime? Who is telling or knows the truth?

VS – 1.5 pointed ears
Aside from the rapidly aging actors (which although distracting is understandable).  This movie takes Rowling’s universe on a decidedly darker turn.  Whether that’s the author’s doing or the director’s, I don’t know.  According to PIT #1 the story does take a decidedly darker turn in the books.  Far be it from me to question the MPAA but I think this movie should’ve garnered a PG-13, of course this would’ve undercut the target audience.  Also I don’t know if it’s my tv or not but the film seems to be shot nearly monochromatically.

Little things stand out to me during repeated viewings.  Shouldn’t Peter Pettigrew’s footsteps on the map be rat tracks?  When Harry is practicing the patronus charm, why does it work on the Boggart?  I mean even though it’s taken the form of a dementor it is not a dementor.  The pumpkins at Hagrid’s  are awfully large and orange for spring.  Am I being nitpicky? perhaps but inconsistencies that are so easily fixed or explained on screen always nag at me.

Mrs VS – .75 pointed ears
This is a scarier movie than the first two.  I don’t like watching this movie unless I’m sitting next to my hubby.   

PIT #1 – 1.5 pointed ears
This movie is where the series begins to take a departure from the novels.  Nothing major in terms of the plot but it is a trend that gets worse as the series progresses through the novels

PIT #2 – 1.5 pointed ears
This is an OK movie.  I get the sense that the producers assume you’ve read the novels.  To my perceptions there were places where stuff could’ve been explained in the movie better.

PIT #3 – 2 pointed ears
I like Harry Potter.  The time travel sequence is a little confusing.

6.25 pointed ears out of 10.  Again this is best viewed as chapter three of an ongoing saga.  The movie relies on much exposition from the previous 2.  Not a problem just an observation.

February 17, 2009 Posted by | Movie Reviews | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment