Vulcan Stev's Database

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Vulcan Stev Family Movie Review: Tales of the Black Freighter

Two videos on one DVD. So you get a two-for-one review:
tales_of_the_black_freighter_dvdTales of the Balck Freighter
Starring:
Gerard Butler …  The Sea Captain (voice)
Cam Clarke …  Money Lender (voice)
Siobhan Flynn …  Sea Captain’s Daughter (voice)
Jared Harris …  Ridley (voice)
Salli Saffioti …  Sea Captain’s Daughter (voice)
Lori Tritel …  Sea Captain’s Wife (voice)

Under the Hood
Starring:
Jay Brazeau …  Bernard / News Vendor
Frank Cassini …  Lawrence Shexnayder
Glenn Ennis …  Hooded Justice
Matt Frewer …  Edgar Jacobi / Moloch the Mystic
Ted Friend …  Larry Culpeper
Carla Gugino …  Sally Jupiter / Silk Spectre
Erik Johnson …  Commercial Narrator (voice)
Rob LaBelle …  Wally Weaver
Niall Matter …  Mothman
Stephen McHattie …  Hollis Mason / Nite Owl
Jeffrey Dean Morgan …  Edward Blake / The Comedian
Dan Payne …  Dollar Bill
Darryl Scheelar …  Captain Metropolis
William Taylor …  William Long
Apollonia Vanova …  Silhouette

Reviewers: VS, PIT #2, PIT #3

VS:
TotBF – .75 pointed ears
A very nicely animated, true to the source material, cartoon sequence.  Therein lies part of my problem with this sequence.  I didn’t care for the comic-within-the-comic.  The cartoon is rated R and rightly so.  It is graphic in it’s outlook and tone and not suitable for kids.  The subject matter, while an interesting counterpoint to the comic it appears in, seems out of place when excerpted into its own format.  It is a very dark and depressing storyline and is NOT suitable for children.  Watching this portion made me regret

UtH – 1.8 pointed ears.
The saving grace for this DVD.  The Culpepper Minute provides a lot of backstory to the movie.  Most of the complaints I saw on the boards from the general public about the Watchmen movie would’ve been answered by watching this video first.  The producers did a very nice job of translating straight text into a engaging video production.

PIT #2
TotBF – .5 pointed ears
Nice animation, that’s the only good thing about this cartoon.  The entire story was overly gory and pointless

UtH – 1.5 pointed ears
The background information contained in this video was a nice addition to the movie.  I can’t wait to watch Watchmen on DVD again.

PIT #3
TotBF – .5 pointed ears
When I dislike a Pirate movie  you know it’s bad.  I don’t recommend this cartoon at all.  The fact that it’s about pirates is the only redeeming feature.  The song playing over the credits was annoying as well.

UtH – 1 pointed ear
This movie gave us a lot of background info about the Watchmen.  I wish I had seen this before Daddy took us to see the Watchmen.

Overall: TotBF – 1.75 out of 6 pointed ears :: UtH 4.3 pointed ears out of 6
This DVD comes recommended for Watchman fans or for those planning on buying or renting the Watchmen DVD, with reservations.  The Under the Hood segments provides a backstory only hinted at in the opening credits of the motion picture.  The Tales of the Black Freighter segment is there for the purists, if you enjoyed that portion of the graphic novel you will enjoy the cartoon.

Bonus material: the first issue of the Watchmen comic is presented in an animated.  This DVD is 2/3 recommended.

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June 27, 2009 Posted by | Movie Reviews, Movies | , , , , , , , , | 2 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

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

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