Vulcan Stev's Database

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

Demotivational Poster: Originality


GMs take note. It is perfectly logical for the crew from Mystery Inc., The A-Team, and the Three Stooges to show up in your campaign

September 16, 2010 Posted by | Comic Books, Demotivational Posters, Fluff/Inspiration, RPG | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vulcan Stev Family Movie Review: X-Men Origins: Wolverine

x_men_origins_wolverine_ver3Starring:
Hugh Jackman …  Logan / Wolverine
Liev Schreiber …  Victor Creed
Danny Huston …  William Stryker
Will i Am …  John Wraith
Lynn Collins …  Kayla Silverfox
Kevin Durand …  Fred Dukes
Dominic Monaghan …  Bradley
Taylor Kitsch …  Remy LeBeau / Gambit
Daniel Henney …  David North / Agent Zero
Ryan Reynolds …  Wade Wilson
Scott Adkins …  Weapon XI
Tim Pocock …  Scott Summers
Julia Blake …  Heather Hudson
Max Cullen …  Travis Hudson
Troye Sivan …  Young James Howlett

Synopsis by VS:
This is the origin story of Wolverine as interpreted by David Benioff and Skip Woods, the writers.  Many of the established facts from Marvel’s convuluted backstory of the character are incorporated into this movie.  As the story progresses the audience is treated to  revelations of Logan’s powers, training, and how he got his indestructible skeleton.

Reviewers: VS, PIT #1, PIT #2, PIT #3

VS – 1.5 pointed ears
I’m being a little more harsh than the kids.  Yes we are treated to Wolverine’s origin story.  The character’s backstory as revealed in the comics is convoluted at best and I’m not going to fault the writers for picking and choosing the elements they want to use.  I’ve seen complaints online about the use of Professor X and Cyclops in a Wolverine origin as neither of those characters seems to know anything about Wolverine in the first movie.  This is handled fairly well in my opinion as Wolverine does not directly interact with either character during the course of the film.

I’m not going to rail against the bending of the laws of physics this film inflicts as it is a COMIC BOOK adaptation.  I can view the movie for what it is.  My main problem with the film is that story focuses too much on style and not enough on substance.  This is an origin film I want to know WHY the character is who he is. 

The other reason I have for lowering my rating is the fact that this film is inconsistant with the previous three.  In the first movie, Wolverine’s claws are revealed to be mechanical (look at the X-Ray) and completely metallic (Magneto would not have been able to bend bone).   Yes, I know that Logan’s claws are bone and are part of his natural mutation in the comics but let’s try to stay consistant with what has been established for the film universe.  Sabertooth, if he is Wolverine’s brother does not seem to care to much about their meeting in the first movie.  You’d think that Sabertooth would’ve shown more interest in Wolverine in the previos movies if the relationship is as described in Origins.

PIT #1 – 2 pointed ears
It was interesting to finally see Wolverine’s background.  Things that have hinted at in the other X-Men films are revealed in this movie.  I liked the fact that the memory loss is attributed to something other than a technological brainwash.  I also enjoyed the fact that Wolverine’s past was revealed to be part of the larger Marvel film universe and not an isolated character that just runs into these folks in the first movie.

PIT #2 – 2 pointed ears
It was very nice that the writers tied Wolverine’s backstory into the larger picture.  The helicopter destruction sequence was very  nice.  Nothing in this movie detracted from an enjoyable filmgoing experience.

PIT #3 – 1.8 pointed ears
This was a very good movie.  I didn’t like the fact that Logan lost his  memories.  Yes, I know that it’s part of the character.  Daddy has explained it to me so many times.  That doesn’t change the fact that I don’t like it.

Overall 7.3 out of 8 pointed ears.
Nice summer popcorn flick.  This can be watched without needing to see the first three X-Men movies.  This film has received far too much bashing from fans.  It isn’t as bad as the pundits make it out to be.

May 30, 2009 Posted by | Movie Reviews | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Gaming in the Universe of… The Watchmen Part 7: Rorshach

watchmencharactersThe Watchmen as reviewed by the family

Part one: Tropes from the movie
Part two: Doctor Manhattan
Part three: The Comedian
Part four: Nite Owl
Part five: Silk Spectre
Part six: Ozmandyus

The Watchmen are not super heroes (with the exception of Doctor Manhattan).  The characters in this series of articles were built using standard Savage World rules and as such can be dropped into any campaign without much difficulty.

Walter Kovacs had a very traumatic childhood.  The son of the village whore, he was picked on by the other children.  Walter developed his fighting abilities from an early age to defend himself against his childhood tormentors.  Due to his upbringing, Walter sees the world in black and white.  There is right and wrong, and he is serving the right.

The defining moment in his career came when Walter was attempting to rescue a kidnapped little girl.  Failing in his attempt to rescue the child and instead discovering only her remains and her killer, Rorshach killed the perpetrator.  Rorshach continues his fight from behind his enchanted mask.  The encounter with the rapist/murderer unhinged Walter Kovacs.  He now believes Rorshach to be the true indentity and Kovacs to be the mask.

watchmen-rorschachIf you bring Rorshach into your game, you’ll want to describe Kovacs as a non-descript background NPC and make sure he’s there whenever possible.  If and when he’s ever unmasked, your PCs can have an *a-ha* moment.

Name:Walter Kovacs/Rorshach
Race: Human
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Climbing d6, Fighting d8, Guts d6, Intimidation d6, Investigation d8, Notice d6, Stealth d8, Streetwise d6, Survival d6, Taunt d6
Charisma: 0; Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Toughness: 5;
Hindrances:  Heartless, Delusional, Ugly
Edges: Investigator
Gear: Enchanted Mask, Grappling Gun

May 1, 2009 Posted by | Comic Books, DC, Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming in the Universe of..., Other Systems, RPG, Savage Worlds | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Gaming in the Universe of… The Watchmen Part 6: Ozmandyus

watchmencharactersThe Watchmen as reviewed by the family

Part one: Tropes from the movie
Part two: Doctor Manhattan
Part three: The Comedian
Part four: Nite Owl
Part five: Silk Spectre

 Ozmandyus is an easy person and a hard one all at the same time to integrate into your game.  He’s royalty in your high fantasy setting.  Or better yet, the true power behind the throne making everything work.  He is THE richest man in whatever universe you are playing.  Esy to add, harder for your characters to meet, unless they are HEROES, the type of character that royalty demands to see and be seen with.

In the back however, it’s a different story.  Adrian is the string puller.  He has access to the highest technology your world has available.  In a high fantasy setting he may even have some magical abilities.  He believes, no scratch that, he KNOWS that what he is doing is the best possible course of action for saving his world.

If your players decide to help him out they might be cast away as mere pawns in his over-arching plans.  If your players elect to oppose him, Adrian will not only have factored in their betrayal but may have figured that their “betrayal” is the best way to keep them out of his hair.

His only true friend is Bubastis, his magical a/o genetically modified lynx. 

watchmen-ozymandiasName: Adrian Veidt/Ozmandyus
Race: Human
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d12, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Climbing d6, Fighting d10, Guts d6, Healing d4, Investigation d8, Notice d10, Persuasion d6, Streetwise d8, Survival d6, Throwing d6
Charisma: 7; Pace: 6; Parry: 7; Toughness: 5;
Hindrances:  Filthy Rich, Invent, Investigator
Edges: Arrogant, Code of Honor

bubastisName: Bubastis
Race: Lynx (Genetic Modification or Magical depending on setting)
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6 (A), Spirit d10, Strength d12, Vigor d8
Skills: Fighting d8, Guts d10, Notice d8
Pace: 8; Parry: 6; Toughness: 8;
Special Abilities:
  Bite or Claw: Str + d6
  Improved Frenzy: May make two fighting attacks each action at no penalty
  Pounce: Bubastis can pounce on its prey to best bring its mass and claws to bear.  It can leap 1d6″ and gains a +4 to its attack and damage.  However its parry is reduce -2 until the next action when using this maneuver
  Size: +2, Bubastis is the size of an adult male lion

April 30, 2009 Posted by | Comic Books, DC, Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming in the Universe of..., Other Systems, RPG, Savage Worlds | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gaming in the Universe of… The Watchmen: Part 5 Silk Specter II

watchmencharactersThe Watchmen as reviewed by the family

Part one: Tropes from the movie
Part two: Doctor Manhattan
Part three: The Comedian
Part four: Nite Owl

The Watchmen are not super heroes (with the exception of Doctor Manhattan). The characters in this series of articles were built using standard Savage World rules and as such can be dropped into any campaign without much difficulty.

Laurie Jupiter is a second generation hero who is primarily involved in the heroing life to please her mother.  She captured the attention of Doctor Manhattan when his first love began to age.  When the Keene Act was passed, Laurie happily packed up her costume and moved with Doctor Manhattan to his government laboratory.  She later leaves Doc when he begins to grow distant from her.  Laurie re-enters the sporting life to be with her new love, Dan Drieberg.

In your game Laurie is the reluctant woman behind the power.  She’s the person who keeps the wizard focused.  She is the woman who convinces the hero to go on one more adventure.  She’s the woman who is on the adventure to please her parents.

watchmen-silk-spectreName:Laurie Jupiter/Silk Spectre II/Sandra Hollis
Race: Human
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Climbing d6, Fighting d8, Guts d6, Healing d4, Persuasion d6, Throwing d6
Charisma: 3; Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Toughness: 5;
Hindrances:  Curious, Quirk (does not like the hero life, gets involved over the men in her life), Wanted
Edges: Attractive

April 28, 2009 Posted by | Comic Books, DC, Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming in the Universe of..., Other Systems, RPG, Savage Worlds | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Vulcan Stev Family Movie Review: Punisher War Zone

punisher_war_zone_ver7Starring:
Ray Stevenson …  Frank Castle
Dominic West …  Billy Russoti / Jigsaw
Doug Hutchison …  Loony Bin Jim
Colin Salmon …  Special Agent Paul Budiansky
Wayne Knight …  Linus ‘Microchip’ Lieberman
Dash Mihok …  Det. Martin Soap
Julie Benz …  Angela Donatelli
Stephanie Janusauskas …  Grace Donatelli
Mark Camacho …  Pittsy
Romano Orzari …  Nicky Donatelli

Synopsis from IMDb: Infamous vigilante, anti-hero Frank Castle (Ray Stevenson) is six years into his vengeance driven zeal as the Punisher when he brutally assaults a “beat the rap” party for notorious mob boss Gaitano Cesare. During the course of the massacre, he hideously disfigures overeager gangster Billy Russoti (Dominic West) and murders a mafia lackey who turns out to be an undercover FBI agent.

Distraught that he has now become the very evil he swore to battle, Castle is content to hang up his guns and quit the justice business for good. However, plans quickly change once he learns that Jigsaw has not only kidnapped the surviving wife and child of the dead federal agent but now has also freed his commited psychopathic brother, James (Doug Hutchison)…aka…”Loony Bin Jim.”

Reviewers: Vulcan Stev, PIT #1, PIT #2, PIT #3, Mrs. VS sat down to watch the movie with us but backed out after viewing the first scene.

VS – 1.1 pointed ears
Oh, I am so torn.  Kudos to the producers for bringing back Frank Castle’s original backstory and origin.  Kudos for bringing in Microchip.  Kudos for bringing in Jigsaw.  However, major disappointment in the use of language.  The ‘F-bomb’ is used in this movie like punctuation.  To me, that kind of gratuitous use of the word does not mirror society, but rather shows off weak writing skills.

Another problem I had with this flick, the violence was wa-a-ay too graphic.  I understand that the Punisher is a ‘dark’ character.  I understand that he ‘solves’ the problem of crime by killing off the criminals.  But I wasn’t expecting a slasher film, I’ve seen less graphic killings in the Friday 13th series.  The producers, went to great lengths to say how proud they were of the realistic details in the gore.  After seeing the over-the-top violence of the Watchmen and then seeing this movie, I’m beginning to wonder if Hollywood is trying to mainstream violence.

PIT #1 – 1.5 pointed ears
This was a very accurate portrayal of the Punisher.  However, the violence is way overboard.  Dad called this a mainstream slasher flick.  I’ve never seen a “slasher” film and asked Dad what he meant.  When Dad described what I slasher flick was, I had to agree with him.  I would not recommend this film for younger viewers.  It earned it’s R rating.  I was also put off by the language.  I don’t need to hear the “f-word” used as punctuation.

PIT #2 – 1.25 pointed ears
This has all the makings of a great action movie.  However the language and violence were way to excessive for my tastes.  The Thomas Jayne Punisher movie was much better in terms of language and violence.  I’ve never read the Punisher comics but I don’t need to see blood flying across the screen.  I don’t need to hear the “f-word” in every single scene of a movie (don’t want to hear it at all but that’s  pipe dream).

PIT #3 – 1 pointed ear.
The action in this film was great.  There was NO kissing which was also nice.  The gore used in the action scenes was too much.  I don’t need to see blood flying all over the screen.  Daddy apologized to me because he didn’t know that the gore was going to be so graphic.  The language was bad.  I think that the writer needs to have his keyboard’s mouth washed out with soap.

4.85 pointed ears out of 8 with an abstain from Mrs. VS

Overall this is a faithful adaptation of the Punisher character.  This is NOT a family film.  Not recommended for family viewing.  Be forewarned the ‘F-bomb’ is liberally sprinkled throughout the picture.

April 25, 2009 Posted by | Comic Books, Marvel, Movie Reviews | , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Gaming in the Universe of…. The Watchmen Part 4: Nite Owl II

watchmencharactersThe Watchmen as reviewed by the family

Part one: Tropes from the movie
Part two: Doctor Manhattan
Part three: The Comedian

The Watchmen are not super heroes (with the exception of Doctor Manhattan).  The characters in this series of articles were built using standard Savage World rules and as such can be dropped into any campaign without much difficulty.

The Nite Owl is a middle-aged tech-geek.   He only feels like a man when he’s out adventuring.  He is going to have access to the most advanced technology your campaign has available.  In a steam-punk setting, Dan is the mad tinkerer.  In your high fantasy setting, Dan is going to be the town blacksmith always pushing the envelope of technology.  This is only his day job, at night He dons cape and cowl and fights injustice as the Nite Owl.

Dan is enthralled with mythology and birds.  Dan is a law-abiding citizen and when the Keane Act went into effect he hung up the cape and cowl.  However, his sense of loyalty and justice are his prime motivations and were the impetous for donning his costume once again.  Your characters are  more likely to encounter Dan Drieberg than they are likely to encounter the Nite Owl.

watchmen-nite-owlName:Dan Drieberg/Nite Owl II/Sam Hollis
Race: Human
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d6, Knowledge (Engineering) d8, Knowledge (Physics) d8, Knowledge (Weird Science) d8, Piloting d8, Repair d8
Charisma: 0; Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 5;
Hindrances:  Heroic, Loyal, Wanted
Edges: Arcane Background (Weird Science), Gadgeteer
Gear: Archimedes, his tricked out airship.

April 24, 2009 Posted by | Comic Books, DC, Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming in the Universe of..., Other Systems, RPG, Savage Worlds | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Gaming in the Universe of… The Watchmen Pt. 3: The Comedian

watchmencharactersThe Watchmen as reviewed by the family

Part one: Tropes from the movie
Part two: Doctor Manhattan

The Watchmen for the most part are not super heroes.  The characters in this series of articles were built using standard Savage World rules and as such can be dropped into any campaign without much difficulty.

Using the Comedian in your campaign is very simple.  The Comedian is a sociopath who is only considered a hero because he is employed by the government.  He is a war weary vet who has no compunctions about firing on innocents to get the job done.  The Comedian would be a the perfect mercenary NPC for your characters to meet, an amoral lout who would just as soon shoot them as work with them.  It would all depend on if your players had something he wanted or needed as to whether he’d help them or not.

comedian_watchmenName: Edward Blake/The Comedian
Race: Human
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d6
Skills: Climbing d6, Fighting d8, Guts d8, Intimidation d8, Shooting d8, Survival d6, Taunt d6, Throwing d6
Charisma: 1; Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Toughness: 5;
Hindrances: Bloodthirsty, Heartless
Edges: Deadshot

April 22, 2009 Posted by | Comic Books, DC, Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming in the Universe of..., Other Systems, RPG, Savage Worlds | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Gaming in the Universe of… The Watchmen Pt2: Doctor Manhattan

watchmencharactersThe Watchmen as reviewed by the family

Part one: Tropes from the movie

The Watchmen are not super heroes (with the exception of Doctor Manhattan). The characters in this series of articles were built using standard Savage World rules (with the exception of Doctor Manhattan) and as such can be dropped into any campaign without much difficulty.

Doctor Manhattan is a very powerful being, one who can manipulate the reality of whatever world he is placed in.  In a technological setting the character can be used as is.  In a high fantasy setting, Doc Manhattan can be a magical being or someone who has blessed/cursed by the gods.

Doctor Manhattan does not see time the way human beings do.  He needs the companionship of a female to maintain any link at all with humanity.  If this link is severed for any reason, Doctor Manhattan will in all likelihood leave the community.  Even with the companionship of a young beautiful female, Doctor Manhattan is aloof and often forgets everyday courtesies.  Wearing clothes is something he only does when reminded.

manhattanpiconName:Jon Osterman/Doctor Manhattan
Race: Energy Based Human Analog
Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d12, Spirit d12, Strength d10, Vigor d12
Skills: Intimidation d8, Knowledge (Time) d12, Knowledge (Atomic Particle Physics) d12, Knowledge (Scientific Method) d12, Knowledge (Watchmaking) d10, Notice d6, Repair d8
Charisma: 30; Pace: 6; Parry: 2; Toughness: 8;
Hindrances: Distinctive Appearance, Heartless, Clueless (as in an aloofness)
Edges: Arcane Background (Super Powers), Inventor
Super Powers: • Absorption + Transfer + Reflection (12) • Awareness (3) • Ageless (1) • Altered Form + Fall Proof + Replenish (7) • Danger Sense (5) • Duplication + Extra (8) • Energy Control (2) • Extra Actions (3) • Fearless (2) • Flight (2) • Force Control (2) • Gifted (1) • Growth (2) • Matter Control (4) • Malfunction (3) • Regeneration (5) • Telekinesis (2) • Teleport + Rapid + Taxi + Other (13)

April 21, 2009 Posted by | Comic Books, DC, Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming in the Universe of..., Other Systems, RPG, Savage Worlds | , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Gaming in the Universe of… The Watchmen

watchmen_smileyWatchmen as reviewed by the family

I debated long and hard with myself just how I was going to categorize this GitUo article.  I thought about linking back to the Super Hero introduction but Watchmen doesn’t quite fit that category.  Watchmen stands on its own and as such will be treated accordingly.

Watchmen is not a superhero story.  It is in fact a murder mystery set in a universe of costumed adventurers.  I’m not going to reveal the identity of the murderer so as not to spoil the story for those who have not read the novel or seen the movie.  This difficulty in ‘pigeon-holeing’ the story may have kept it out of the mainstream.   Honestly, I think one of the reasons for the massive drop in box office receipts is that the studio tried to market the movie as 2009’s Spider-Man.  Audiences were disappointed that what they got was not what was advertised (but that’s a whole ‘nother discussion entirely).

How would I incorporate The Watchmen into my campaign?  Let’s start with Super Heroes (Necessary Evil, Mutants & Masterminds et all), incorporate the Keene Act into your hero campaign.  Who will honor the law? and who will continue to fight the fight? 

Another option for some one shots would be to play in the actual groups of heroes as very few adventures have been recorded for The Minutemen of the 1940’s.  You could also play The Watchmen pre-Keene Act.  Want your own character? play in the new post-Watchmen Utopia.  Did Ozmandyus really create a Utopia or will he need help to keep it running.

Taking the tropes out for use in your other games, remember Watchmen is at its core a murder mystery.  Start the PCs off with the sudden revelation that one of their former comrades has been murdered and lead them on a wild chase for the clues.  Another thought is that whatever campaign type you’re are running, the PCs suddenly find themselves outlawed.  Do they continue on with the good fight like Rorschach or abide by the law like Nite Owl?  How would your PCs handle a truly horrific event like the murder of the little girl which unhinges Walter Kovacs?

I usually stat out the characters following the article.  However due to the sheer number of characters to stat, Watchmen character stats will be in part 2.

April 20, 2009 Posted by | Comic Books, Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming in the Universe of..., Other Systems, RPG, Savage Worlds | , , , , , | 9 Comments