Vulcan Stev's Database

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

The View from my Chair: A Shared Universe?

Recently there’s been some talk around the blogsphere about shared universes and continuity porn.  This is something that the VS family has played with for years.  The recent spark of the debate was lit when i09 asked why the Siffy Channel (SyFy) doesn’t have it’s shows all set in one shared universe.

The easy answer to this is that these shows are produced by different companies, unlike the shared universes of Marvel or DC comics which are housed under big corporate umbrellas.  The logistics of having some Go’uald technology show up in Eureka or the teams for Sanctuary and Warehouse 13 teaming up together are pretty insurmountable.  Corporate brand identity and the question of who owns what portion of the story would prevent that from happening.  Witness the failed attempt for a Spidey cameo appearance in X3, Sony balked at the idea because they held the rights to film adaptations of the Spidey-verse.  A shared universe on a cable channel, unless intentionally built isn’t gonna happen any time soon.

That said, we (me and the P.I.T.’s) have long-held the belief that unless explicitly proven otherwise, our favorite TV shows and movies DO exist in one self-contained shared universe.  Obviously the universes of ‘2012’ and ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ are mutually exclusive.  But the universes of ‘Mission Impossible’ and ‘Star Trek’ need not be.  (OK I am not even going to throw open the door of the multiple quantum universes postulated by the Star Trek episode ‘Parallels’ or the Heinlein novel ‘Number of the Beast’).

We never quite put it down on paper before but the theory is basically “Unless the world depicted by the entertainment contradicts some other aspect of a different universe, the depicted universes are in the same quantum space.”  Simply put, Agent Mulder has somewhere in his files data on Alf, Mork, Uncle Martin, the unexpected flyover of Los Angeles by the USS Voyager, and Dr. Solomon.  The crew of any Federation starship could in fact through any number of time travel effects have an adventure with James Bond, Spider-Man or the Mission Impossible force.  Indiana Jones could very well be the great-great-(you figure it out)-great-grandfather of Cyrano Jones.  I know the folks at Hogwarts don’t concern themselves too much with the happenings of the muggle-world but would they consider Herbie the Volkswagen and enchanted beast?

What does this mean for your game, creative fiction, night at the movies?

What this means for your game night is that as a GM you can throw in whatever characters you deem appropriate and not feel guilty about it.  Do you want your party of Elves to have an encounter with Spock?  By all means if handled correctly it could be a blast.

What this means for your creative fiction (another means of role play IMHO) is that if you can come up with a “LOGICAL” reason for another character to appear in your story then by all means run with it.

What this means for your geek-gasm night of movie watching is that you can fantasize that the information on the screen of Mulder’s computer is listing of Gordon Shumway’s recent activities (bonus points if you get that reference).  You can hide the smirk or laugh out loud because you know that the gods of Olympus will eventually leave Earth and Percy Jackson  behind and settle on Pollux IV.

Would it be cool if the was one big shared universe?  Yes.  But, then to my way of thinking there already is.

*editor’s note*  The DC Universe and the Marvel universe were revealed to be two separate quantum universes in the Marvel vs. DC limited series.  As such by our theory there at least two combined shared universes; one with DC super-heroes and on with Marvel heroes.

April 16, 2010 Posted by | Comic Books, Fluff/Inspiration, Movies, News, Reviews and Culture, RPG, Star Trek | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Gaming in the Universe of: The X-Files

x-files-logoLooking over the vast array of online fan-run rpgs that haven’t been updated in years, I came across the only system that could remotely be called gaming in the X-Files universe.  I was singularly unable to unearth an “official” tie-in.  Though I did find this X-Files like Savage Home Brew called Bureau 13.  Though a quick read through of the 11 page pdf, makes it sound more like a cross between MIB and X-Files.

Delta Green from what I’ve read is a modern day setting for the Call of Cthulhu RPG.  Since I do not own this rulebook I am unable to comment personally on how it works.  The publisher claims that it adds a modern setting, government conspiracies, and more mundane horror aspects to their Call of Cthulhu game.  Sounds like the X-Files to me.  If anyone has a copy of Delta Green they’re willing to loan (or sell cheap) let me know.

How would I add the X-Files to my RPG game?  In my Stargate campaign, I’d have some Mulder-esque (I know there’s a recurring FBI agent from at least two episodes) FBI agent tripping over the PCs on Earth.  Either that or transplant the entire X-Files onto a world at approximately 1950’s tech.  There the agent would be the one to help the SGC team see through the official story from the planet’s representatives.

Without resorting to purchasing a completely new ruleset.  To play an an X-Files type game you’ll want lots of government conspiracy, alien and horror threats some of which are real and some of which have alternate explanations.  It’ll be up to your PCs to determine which is the real evidence and which is not.  Never make things easy for your PCs.  Even with the “real” evidence there should be at least one plausible theory of why it’s not evidence at all.  That’s how I’d game out a PC X-Files game.

If government conspiracy can be added to your campaign, then Mulder and Scully could conceivably be added to the mix of NPCs that the party encounters.  As always Savage World stats follow:

fox-mulder-dana-scullyFox Mulder: Veteran
Attributes: Agility d4, Smarts d8, Spirit d10, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d4, Investigation d8, Knowledge (FBI procedures) d8, Knowledge (Paranormal) d10, Lockpicking d6, Notice d8, Persuasion d4, Shooting d4, Streetwise d6, Tracking d4
Charisma +4; Pace 6, Parry 4, Toughness 5
Fame: +10 inside the Bureau
Edges: Investigator, Level Headed, Charismatic
Hindrances: Enemy (Major) The secret Government Cabal fronted by the CSM, Delusional – sees the paranormal even when it is not present, Habit – addicted to internet porn

Dana Scully: Veteran
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d10, Spirit d6, Strength d4, Vigor d6
Skills: Healing d10, Investigation d10, Knowledge (FBI procedures) d8, Knowledge (medical) d10, Notice d6, Persuasion d4, Shooting d6, Streetwise d6, Tracking d6
Charisma +4; Pace 6, Parry 2, Toughness 5
Fame: +4 inside the Bureau
Edges: Healer, Investigator
Hindrances: Cautious (Major), Loyal, Quirk – must explain away any and all evidence of the paranormal

March 7, 2009 Posted by | Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming in the Universe of..., Gaming Notes, Other Systems, RPG | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Vulcan Stev Family Movie Review: X-Files Fight the Future

David Duchovny …  Special Agent Fox Mulder
Gillian Anderson …  Special Agent Dana Scully
John Neville …  The Well-Manicured Man
William B. Davis …  Cigarette Smoking Man / CGB Spender
Martin Landau …  Alvin Kurtzweil, MD
Mitch Pileggi …  Assistant Director Walter Skinner
Jeffrey DeMunn …  Ben Bronschweig, M.D. (as Jeffrey De Munn)
Blythe Danner …  Jana Cassidy
Terry O’Quinn …  Darius Michaud
Armin Mueller-Stahl …  Conrad Strughold
Lucas Black …  Stevie

Synopsis from IMDb: Thirty-seven thousand years ago, a deadly secret was buried in a cave in Texas. Now the secret has been unleashed. And its discovery may mean the end of all humanity. When a terrorist bomb destroys a building in Dallas, Texas, FBI Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are drawn into a dangerous conspiracy surpassing anything they’ve ever encountered. With the dubious assistance of a paranoid doctor, Mulder and Scully risk their careers and their lives to hunt down a deadly virus which may be extraterrestrial in origin – and could destroy all life on earth. Their pursuit of the truth pits them against the mysterious Syndicate, powerful men who will stop at nothing to keep their secrets safe, leading the agents from a cave in Texas, to the halls of the FBI, and finally to a secret installation in Antarctica which holds the greatest secret of all.

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

VS – 1.25 pointed ears.
Cheap shot, dirty pool, 20th Century Fox made millions of loyal viewers pay for the privilege of seeing season 5.5.  Season 5 left off with Mulder’s officer being burned and the X-Files shut down.  Season 6 begins with Mulder and Scully back on the job tracking down the aliens introduced in this movie.

There were lots of nice touches for the fans, the Lone Gunmen cameo was priceless.  The movie did a great job of furthering the mythos.  However, as a standalone story this movie failed.  I’m not going to second guess the producers here, but wouldn’t it have been better to have a standalone movie that introduced the characters to a broader audience rather than one that relied to heavily on the established mythos?  My youngest (PIT #3) has never seen any of the X-Files.  This movie confused the heck out of him, but I digress.

What Chris Carter should’ve done was have a two-hour standalone that didn’t rely so heavily on the established backstory.  Had he done this, 20th Century Fox could easily have had an X-Files movie every summer for the remainder of the series.  For fans of the series this movie was a welcome sight.  For X-files neophytes, this movie wasn’t enough to make you want to stay home and watch the show.

PIT #1 – 2 pointed ears
I don’t remember the series much at all.  This movie was very interesting.  I do not agree with Dad on this one.  I believe that the movie holds up well on its own merit.

PIT #2 – 1.5 pointed ears
I live in Iowa.  Corn is NOT pollinated by bees.  Having corn grow in the desert would require way to much irrigation not to mention the fact that roots wouldn’t hold well in sand.  Those inconsistencies took me right out of the movie.

PIT #3 – .5 pointed ears
This movie didn’t make any sense.  Daddy says that there’s lots of stuff that you need to have seen the TV show to understand.  Why didn’t they make this part of the TV show.  Daddy isn’t buying the X-Files TV show right now because we haven’t finished watching Stargate season 9.

5.25 pointed ears out 8
This movie is a must have if you have the X-Files series on DVD.  If you’re just wanting to watch Mulder and Scully find some reruns or start buying the series.  Don’t bother with this movie as a starting point into the X-Files universe.  Seriously, seeing only this movie would be like watching only The Matrix Reloaded or only The Empire Strikes Back.  However PIT #1 seems to think that if you can find this film for a reasonable purchase price, it’s worth the money.

March 6, 2009 Posted by | Movie Reviews | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment