Vulcan Stev's Database

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

Demotivational Poster: Sarcasm

Although, casting spells on unsuspecting muggles is not.

October 3, 2011 Posted by | Demotivational Posters, Fluff/Inspiration | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Demotivational Poster: Harry Potter

Though the crowds still prefered David Copperfield.

May 2, 2011 Posted by | Demotivational Posters, Fluff/Inspiration | , , , , | 1 Comment

Demotivational Poster: Harry Potter

He’s not really happy about his meal ticket ending either.

November 22, 2010 Posted by | Demotivational Posters, Fluff/Inspiration | , , , | 2 Comments

Demotivational Poster: Voldemort


Every villian has at least one character flaw. The trick is to play the flaw correctly.

October 2, 2010 Posted by | Demotivational Posters, Fluff/Inspiration | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Demotivational Poster: Hufflepuff


Sometimes setting everyone for one thing on the right always leaves them surprised by what comes in on the left.

October 1, 2010 Posted by | Demotivational Posters, Fluff/Inspiration | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Demotivational Posters: Gryffindor

Roll a natural 20 and you were brave. Roll a one and it was…

May 18, 2010 Posted by | Demotivational Posters, Fluff/Inspiration | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Demotivational Poster: Harry Potter

It always pays to state your intentions clearly, to your boss, your spouse, your parents, and ESPECIALLY your GM.

May 11, 2010 Posted by | Demotivational Posters, Fluff/Inspiration | , , , , | 2 Comments

The View from My Chair: Who owns the Universe?

My attention was directed to this video today http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aoc3roT81nU

This got me thinking, when it comes to the Universe created by one individual but loved by a very large group of fans, who actually “owns” the universe?  In the legal sense the universe is “owned” by the copyright holder.  I cannot go around writing stories about space battles in far off galaxies and call it “Star Wars” without some lawyer showing up and issuing me a cease and desist.  I cannot write stories of young wizards named Howie, Don and Chermoine saving the universe from the evil Tromedlov without somebody notifying J.K Rowling.  If I  want to write detective stories about a 19th century detective I’d better not name him Sherlock Holmes or I’ll be hearing from the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  At least I’d better not write anything like that and expect to sell it to others.

I’m not going to delve into the legal realms of “Fair Use” or how much can I write about these situations and steal from the original idea while still making it seem like something new.  Rather I want to look at the serious fan and their disagreements with the original authors about the nature of “their” universe.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle grew so disenchanted with his creation, Sherlock Holmes, that he killed the detective off in “The Final Problem”.  As the author, this was Doyle’s right to do so.  The public however had other ideas.  The outcry over the “death” of the great detective led Sir Arthur to resurrect his creation in the “The Adventure of the Empty House”, in this instant the “ownership” of the universe changed hands.  No longer could Sir Arthur lay complete claim to his hero.  Yes, legally the Sherlock Homes universe is still owned by the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but it was the fans who forced the resurrection.

The Harry Potter universe is another instance of certain fans being at odds with the author.  My sister has undertaken a re-writing (in fan-fiction of course) of Harry Potter 7.  According to my sister (and a few of her friends, a few of mine, and nearly half a million writers at fanfiction.net) J.K. Rowling screwed up the Harry Potter universe with book 7.  “Harry should have married Hermionie,” “Harry should have died,” the list goes on of the supposed “wrongs” that Ms. Rowling has done to “their” universe.  Now I cannot claim to be a reader of the Harry Potter novels (my kids are) but I have seen the first six movies.  Great cinema? not really but they are nicely done movies.  My point is that the fans have taken a very possessive view of the universe.  The universe if J.K.’s to do with as she pleases.  If she had wanted to end book 7 with the magical equivalent of the atomic bomb, killing every magical being in existence she certainly could have.  Would have made the fans happy? probably not.  But the fans need to be aware of the fact that this is Ms. Rowlings’ universe, she only invites us in.

This brings me to George Lucas and the universe that he created.  Star Wars entered into the public’s collective conscious in 1977.  I was 10.  I was enamored with the story being told on the big screen.  I collected the comics.  I played with the toys.  I gained an interest in science fiction that has never gone away.

When Mr. Lucas re-did the original trilogy in the 90’s, I brought my family to see Lucas’ vision.  The redone effects made (in my opinion) a good film better.  Did Han need jump out of Greedo’s way before toasting him?  Maybe not, but this is Lucas’ universe not mine.  George can do with this universe whatever he wants.  It is his house, he is only inviting us in.  Now, Mr. Lucas has been more than generous allowing folks to rummage around and play in his universe.  The Expanded Universe of novels, comics, games and whatnot have added to an already rich tapestry.

I do not understand the vehemence folks use when discussing Jar Jar Binks.  Do I like the character? no.  Do I wish Jar Jar had been one of Anakin’s victims on his slide to the dark side?  yes. (Meesa no wanna die Annie).  Does that change the fact that George Lucas can do whatever he wants with the character? no.

I don’t remember where I read it but I recall this interview with George Lucas.  He states that he had always intended to kill Jar Jar off but kept him around simply because Star Wars is his universe and won’t be dictated to by the fans.  If I am remembering correctly and this is the reason Jar Jar didn’t die, then I applaud Mr. Lucas for sticking to his guns.

The question remains.  Who owns the universe?  Answer the creator.  We should be thankful that we’re allowed to play inside.

March 10, 2010 Posted by | Fluff/Inspiration, Movies, News, Reviews and Culture, Science Fiction | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Vulcan Stev Family Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

harry_potter_and_the_half_blood_prince_ver19Starring:
Daniel Radcliffe …  Harry Potter
Rupert Grint …  Ron Weasley
Emma Watson …  Hermione Granger
Jim Broadbent …  Professor Horace Slughorn
Elarica Gallacher …  Waitress
Robbie Coltrane …  Rubeus Hagrid
Michael Gambon …  Professor Albus Dumbledore
Maggie Smith …  Professor Minerva McGonagall
Alan Rickman …  Professor Severus Snape
Bonnie Wright …  Ginny Weasley
James Phelps …  Fred Weasley
Oliver Phelps …  George Weasley
Julie Walters …  Molly Weasley
Mark Williams …  Arthur Weasley
David Thewlis …  Remus Lupin

Synopsis: In the sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft, and in both wizard and muggle worlds Lord Voldemort and his henchmen are increasingly active. With vacancies to fill at Hogwarts, Professor Dumbledor persuades Horace Slughorn, back from retirement to become the potions teacher, while Professor Snape receives long awaited news. Harry Potter, together with Dumbledore, must face treacherous tasks to defeat his evil nemesis.

Reviewers: Vulcan Stev, Mrs. VS, PIT #1/Pvt Spartan, PIT #2, PIT #3

Vulcan Stev: 1.4 pointed ears
I have never read any of the Harry Potter books.  When my children complain about things the movie left out of the previous novels, it usually didn’t matter much to me.  The movies have, to this point, been able to stand on their own.  HPatHBP is the first time that I, as a non-reader of the novels, could sense something was missing.  Don’t get me wrong, the movie was still enjoyable.  There was just to much unexplained.  Harry’s being forced to give up the textbook seemed, from my vantage point, to be more jealousy from his fellow students than it was a necessity to get rid of the book.  The whole sub-plot of the hor-cruxes seemed to be given short shrift.

Warner Bros. determined that it would be impossible to do adequate justice to the Deathly Hallows in one 2-hour movie.  After watching HBP, I wonder if they shouldn’t have done the same thing with book six.  How hard would it have been to film HBP as a two-parter release part one at Memorial Day and then part two at Labor Day.

Mrs. VS: 1.4 pointed ears
This movie was a little confusing.  I had a difficult time following parts of this story.  The part of the story where Harry is attacked in the cave was VERY creepy.

Pvt Spartan/PIT #1: 1.5 pointed ears
Watching this movie without my family was a bittersweet experience.  This was a good movie but a terrible adaptation.  Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a very misleading title.  The book is more about the discovery of Voldemort’s horcruxes and setting up lots of things for the final book.  There is lots of underplay relational issues that are left out of the movie.

Non-readers of the books might be confused by this movie.

PIT #2: 1.7 pointed ears
The was a decent movie.  However the producers tried to cram wa-a-ay to much stuff into a two and a half hour movie.  What I’ve read of the book, it should have been turned into 2 two-hour movies at least.

PIT #3: 1.4 pointed ears
In addition to all the kissing (yecch!) this movie left out a lot of the novel it was adapting.  The parts they did film where done nicely.  I didn’t like the fact that the movie showed an attack on the Weasleys.  Daddy explained that it probably was done to lump all the attacks by the Death Eaters into one attack that mattered.  All in all a decent movie.

7.4 pointed ears out of 10.

The overall consensus of the VS family that this movie was too short for the material was trying to cover.  If you own the first five you’ll definitely be owning this one as well.  This film is a little too intense for younger viewers without parental supervision.

September 12, 2009 Posted by | Movie Reviews, Movies | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gaming in the Universe of: Harry Potter

harry_potter-logo_90894o

Database reviews for:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

If anyone knows about a pencil and paper Harry Potter RPG, please let me know.  My Google-fu may not be as good as yours and I didn’t find a single RPG.  I did find well over 100 individual fan-based online games but not a single die-rolling version.  My first question is why?  Harry Potter is the best selling children’s series of the 21st century.  Warner Bros. is desperately trying to figure out how to make Harry Potter 9.  I can’t imagine that no one has thought of of an RPG set in Rowling’s universe.

How would I incorporate the Harry Potter universe into an RPG scenario?  The series is tailor made to be picked up and dropped in toto into any Sword and Sorcery fantasy (you know, that system that Hasbro is issuing cease and desist orders to blogs for even mentioning the name of their intellectual property) game without any alterations, just file off the serial numbers.  Without much alteration it would fit well into a space fantasy setting as well.  Imagine Dumbledore as Yoda and you see what I’m getting at.

Putting Harry Potter into a hard science fiction RPG (Star Trek, Stargate, Firefly) is a little more problematic.  My solution to this would be to replace the “magic” with “science”.  Examples of this would be; broomstick flying with anti-gravity piloting skills, alohamora –replaced with some sort of lockpicking device.

I’m not sure how much mileage a GM could get out of Hogwart’s setting.  Playing the characters themselves would be fun for younger children but not so much for teens and groganards.  Setting some kind of mystery or quest at Hogwarts would work well for an adventure but I think an entire campaign set there would wear on your players after a while.

Savage World stats for:
*note* these stats are average only, abilities and skills should be adjusted according to the year being played

harrypotterHarry Potter: Seasoned
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d10
Skills: Fighting d6, Guts d8, Investigation d6, Knowledge (Magic) d6, Notice d8, Persuasion d4, Stealth d4, Streetwise d4, Survival d4
Charisma +4; Pace 6, Parry 5, Toughness 7
Fame +45 (His name is known and his face is more recognizable as the years progress)
Hindrances: Enemy – Lord Voldemort, Heroic, Branded (unlike the PotSM Hindrance this increased his fame), Outsider (the degree of which decreases depending on what year you’re playing the characters, Harry can be clueless about some things in his world because of outsider status), add the hindrance of Young if playing first or second year
Edges: Arcane Background (Magic), Beast Bond, Inspire (only after 5th year), Filthy Rich, New Power, Wizard, Hard to Kill
Gear:Includes his wand, his broomstick, a cloak of invisibility (after 1st year), and an enchanted map that shows the location of others (after third year)

hermioneHermione Granger: Seasoned
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d10, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d4, Guts d4, Investigation d6, Knowledge (Magic) d8, Notice d8, Persuasion d6, Stealth d4, Streetwise d4, Survival d4
Charisma +4; Pace 6, Parry 4, Toughness 5
Fame + 10
Hindrances: Curious, Heroic, Loyal
Edges: Arcane Background (Magic), New Power, Charismatic, Alertness, Beast Master, Wizard
Gear: Broomstick, Wand

ron_weasley1Ronald Weasley: Seasoned
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d4, Guts d4, Investigation d6, Knowledge (Magic) d8, Notice d8, Persuasion d6, Stealth d4, Streetwise d4, Survival d4
Charisma +4; Pace 6, Parry 4, Toughness 5
Fame + 10
Hindrances: Poverty, Heroic, Loyal, Fear of Spiders
Edges: Arcane Background (Magic), New Power, Beast Master, Wizard
Gear: Broomstick, Wand

dumbledoreDumbledore: Legendary
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d12+3, Spirit d12, Strength d6, Vigor d12+1
Skills: Fighting d10, Guts d8, Intimidate d10+1, Knowledge (Magic) d12+3, Notice d10, Persuasion d10, Stealth d10, Streetwise, d8+1, Survival d8, 
Charisma +10; Pace 6, Parry 7, Toughness 8
Fame +75
Hindrances: Code of Honor, Loyal, Heroic, Pacifist (minor)
Edges: Arcane background, Champion, Beast Master, Power Surge, New Power, Imp Rapid Recharge, Wizard, Hard to Kill
Gear:Has access to nearly any magical artifact the GM determines.

March 2, 2009 Posted by | Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming in the Universe of..., Gaming Notes, Other Systems, RPG | , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments