Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Villain Vs. The Forbidden Kingdom

* = I'm a Skurge fan, I admit it.

I didn’t blog much last week as I was deep in preparation for Marvel SAGA. Oh and Friday it felt like I had a tiny person in my intestines trying to claw it’s way out. Seriously, I’ve spent some quality time on toilets before, but never so much time in such a short duration. It was unpleasant to say the least.

In the days leading up I did get a chance to finish a couple of books though;
- Finder’s Bane (*** out of 5) – By now you all know I love bad fantasy novels, and can you get any more “bad” than Forgotten Realms? And just to clarify by bad, I mean just full of tropes and clichés, I don’t mean poorly written or not fun. In fact I love books like this, which shouldn’t be a surprise since every time I see some in the $1 bin I scoop them up like wayward children. So I grabbed up this. It’s a book by Jeff Grub, whose gaming stuff I think is top notch so much so I read his kick ass blog, & Kate Novak, who I must report I’m unfamiliar with. Is it the high point of literature, well nope, but is it a fun little romp, yes Virginia, YES IT IS! So being that I’m not overly familiar with ‘The Realms’ I wasn’t overly sure just who Finder, Bane, or some of the other big names were, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the book. The idea is Finder is a new god, a mortal who attained immortality through deed, and he’s trying to foster the growth of his ‘church’ by protecting his main priest, Joel of Finder. Joel runs across some Zhents, bad guys, trying to off a lady. Together they escape and the adventure begins. Along the way they run across the followers of not only a mad god, and a god who demands human sacrifices, but also the priestess of the ‘dead god’ Bane. Apparently Bane was slain by other gods, and yet a priestess and her ‘lord’ are on a dark pilgrimage to resurrect him. Joel and this priestess getting into a bizarre and intriguing dance of faith, lust, and power. Suffice to say eventually the tale involves Spelljamming, that’s inter-plane travel on flying ships for the un-initiated, Sigil, the City Of Doors at the center of the multiverse and one of my favorite locations in ALL of D&D, and in the end a confrontation on the body of ‘dead god’ in the Astral Plane. So it’s pretty damn fun. So if your looking for a fun read that runs all over the D&D multiverse then this is perfect.
- The Halls Of Stormweather (** ½ out of 5) – I know you’re surprised that I read ANOTHER Forgotten Realms book, but it’s true. Again not the high point of literature, but an entertaining read nonetheless. This one is a series of short stories all built around the household of nobles, the Uskevrens, in the merchant city of Sembia. There is a lot of intrigue, plotting and planning going on throughout these loosely interwoven tales. I thought I’d be shook up a bit more by the changes in authors, but really it worked well as it gave each character and story a distinct feel and voice, while still keeping a strong overall narrative ‘voice’. I have to say out of all the stories though I loved, believe it or not, “The Burning Chalice” by Ed Greenwood & “Thirty Days” by Dave Gross the best. Even though I’m not currently running a D&D campaign I think the next time I do some of the Uskevrens, or at least facsimiles there of, will be making an appearance.

So Saturday we played Marvel SAGA. I have to say I was a bit worried. I wasn’t sure that the guys would get into it, I was a bit let down by the turnout of people, and of course was concerned about it being fun. Well it went FANTASTIC! Even though J.B., Dave, & Mike were my only players, which significantly changed my super villain tactics in the first and surprisingly enough, only fight the game itself went incredibly well. I can’t believe the sheer amount of actual Role Playing that came out of that evening. J.B. went so far as to wear a pair of the ugliest sunglasses, to get in character I guess, I have ever seen. Dave held a conversation over my stereo remote with his ‘mother’, ‘girl friend’, and ‘sister’. While Mike just kept reaching as deeply into the corners of his Marvel universe knowledge as I was willing to match.

So we started, as I had threatened, with Momentum Man, Haven, & Agent Orange being summoned to The Clock Tower by the Chronal Physician who informed them that only 45 seconds ago none of them had existed in the entirety of the Multiverse. After interacting he informed them that they had to protect the Twin Cities as it’s normal hero, ostensibly known as The Protector, had just been beaten to death on T.V. while trying to stop Mr. Hyde, Marrow, & Crossfire from escaping a prison transport to ‘The Deep Freeze’. After introductions and banter the ‘team’ went out to try and deal with the villains. The fight was short and ugly. Mr. Hyde took on both Haven and Agent Orange, while Momentum Man tried to deal with Marrow. Hyde and Marrow where just revealing in indiscriminate violence so Agent Orange took a very nasty approach of first becoming paralyzing gas and then poison gas to stop Hyde. The group also had to deal with the fleeing Crossfire using innocents and improvised explosives to mask his escape. By the end the group had won, but just barely. After a tense meeting between the team and the head of the ‘Deep Freeze’ facility, General John Ryker, the group tried to wrap their head around their new status quo.

The reality was the role-playing was outstanding. I knew it was going well when all three said, “I’d buy this comic!” Each player had built an interesting back-story, a fascinating supporting cast, and wasn’t afraid to stretch their ideas. The best part is we were able to leave with irons in the fire;
- Will Momentum Man take up Craig Hammer’s offer?
- Does Agent Orange dare tell his new teammates of his power’s dilemma?
- Will Haven choose his costume and being a hero or his family?
I think we might try and meet again in January, but maybe without J.B. Interestingly enough it was stated that they aren’t against others coming it, but they will HAVE to meet the role-playing standard set by this crew and I really dig that. Now I just have to keep putting out interesting ‘teases’ to build on this momentum, no pun intended.

How about some


- I’m ready to be a dad.
- There was discussion about possibly playing some Westend Games Star Wars in the future. I was thinking though, when Mike and I get our Sci-Fi War Campaign up and running, soon I hope, maybe we should just play in that ‘Universe’. I figure that way everyone would already be invested in the setting, since they helped build it. Sure it wouldn’t have the mythology or sheer scope of Star Wars, but it could be fun. Something to continue to mull over.
- The Avengers Masters Of Evil” episode

was fantastic, but I had hoped we’d get the full blown Wonder Man

turning on them scene, I guess we’ll have to wait a bit longer. I am however insanely intrigued to see just what the Enchantress is up to and just who she calls “master” if it’s not Loki…
- The Patriots beat that ASS last night! It was nice for Tom Brady and co. to finally shut up Rex Ryan and the Jets. All Tom Brady does is impregnate supermodels and win Superbowls.
- It’s always nice to see an AFC West foe fire a coach. Suck it Denver!
- Tomorrow I turn 35. For some reason I feel like it should be a big deal, but the reality is it just feels like another day. It’s not that I’m not looking forward to it, or that I’m not feeling my mortality, or any other esoteric thing like that it’s just that there doesn’t seem to be any luster on it, no interest.
- I just want to point out that Heidi is the sheezneezy! Thank you for the help.
- We have rocked out the Christmas gifts this year! I’m really excited to hand out what we got everyone. On a side note I think that I bargain shopped the HELL out of Cassandra’s stuff as well. ER, I mean Santa did.

Well with that it’s time for me to get back at it…

“Like the girl that we met at the serpent mound
Like the thing that we saw in the ultrasound
Like the path through the woods that the natives shun
Like the hair on the mole of the chosen one

Either way, we don't pay
Tear the skin right off the sun
Everybody knows who is the chosen one

Like the star in the stone of the elder thing
Like the deal that we made with the morlock king
Like the path through the woods that the natives shun
Like the hair on the mole of the chosen one

Either way, we don't pay
Tear the skin right off the sun
Everybody knows who is the chosen one”

* = Not in the face, NOT IN THE FACE!


  1. The comment to your picture was so funny I almost laughed out loud and ruined my "working" vibe.

  2. Nice, anytime I can get you to laugh I figure that's a big ole' fat WIN!