Friday, September 30, 2016

The Regular Joes, Adventurers for Hire

Had a thought on teaming up a couple of Dogwood City residents as mundane adventurers in a comic book world.

Made a video for it.

It's a good day for procrastination.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

On a more personal note

I've been bad about getting "fun" posts up lately.'s one that's less than fun, on the chance that someone who happens by here may be interested.

A few weeks ago, my wife Laura and I had to let go of our dog Sunny.  Laura sometimes manages her grief in these instances by writing a bit of the dog's story, and she has done so for Sunny.

I'll note that there's a good chance that some who read it, who may or may not be involved in animal rescue, will disagree with the series of decisions we made.  That's okay.  The rescue community is filled with passionate people who are sure of very specific convictions, and I know I can't agree with all of them.  Hopefully, the story gives a little window into the world of ups and downs that accompanies a girl like Sunny.

Click here for Sunny's story.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday with the Flame!

Well, I missed both Monstrous/Monster Monday and a shot at a second Were-Wednesday this round, so let me have some fun to close out the work about a Friday with the Flame?

One aspect of Dogwood City (my public domain supers "project") that I've wanted to correct is the fact that I've never identified a signature hero for the city.  Of the characters I've written about, there are a few that "speak to me" more than others.  I like the Arrow, Black Lion, and Cub quite a bit, but they're really all ersatz versions of other well-known heroes.  Daredevil is awesome, but he's been used a lot in other public domain supers projects (and there's something weird about the fact that another character is a much better known Daredevil).

Besides, my comic book heart might be happiest in the Silver Age.

I did include the Nature Family on the initial Dogwood City roster, and not only are they pretty awesome, they have the distinction of being some of the few pre-Barry Allen superheroes of the 1950s.  They'll certainly vie for the status of top Dogwood icon(s).  I've recently been reading the adventures of another contender, though...the Flame:

The Flame is really interesting to me because a big chunk of the Silver Age's genesis is tied up in DC's revamping of Golden Age heroes like the Flash and Green Lantern.  Reading about the Golden Age Flame's history over at Don Markstein's Toonopedia, I realized that this strategy is exactly what was going on when Fox's 1939 hero was revamped in 1954 by Ajax-Farrell, who had acquired the rights to the character.  Changing costumes, powers, and secret identities, the new Flame series only lasted a few issues, but it looks like it was one of those hints of things to come in the superhero market.

The Flame also fits Dogwood City nicely!  Here's the seal of the city that inspires Dogwood...

...and a logo for the university I attend in said city...

...and a logo for the first NHL team to leave the city for Canada (yeah, we've lost two)...

...and a symbol from the event that helped said city gain worldwide prominence (even if no one cares much about this thing anymore)...

...and a restaurant right near my house...

So, yeah, flames are kind of a thing around here.  I guess getting burned to the ground can do that to a city.  Weird how that works.

As for the Flame's connection to actual flames...well, we get hints, like that first image in this post, that he uses some sort of pyrotechnics in his crimefighting.  But for the most part, the Flame is just one heck of a brawler.  So the bad guys can take that...

...and that...

...and that...

...and that!

His best trick, though, is probably picking up a dude by the ankle and swinging away at the other villains.

That's one that I'd like to see again.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Saturday Evening Cartoon: Olive Oyl for President

I'm getting this one up pretty late, but it's a fun one.  I like Popeye quite a bit, and this is a nice bit of old school entertainment during a U.S. election season that has been less than entertaining.  (Oh, I know there have been some's the eventual result that has me concerned...)

I love the song in this one.

"Hooray for the new re-gee-mee!"  (By the way, there's about five minutes' worth of nothing worthwhile at the end of this video, but I like the quality of the cartoon itself compared to other versions on YouTube...)

Friday, September 16, 2016

OSR card battling

I've noted before that I'm a huge fan of card games and put some thought into a little dungeon-crawling game based on The Black Hack (which I plan to some point...when life slows down a little...sometime...).  The precursor in my brain for that effort was the idea of making a card game built upon the rules of OSR RPGs.  I fiddled with it a little when I worked on my contribution to the Tenkar's Landing crowdsourced sandbox setting spearheaded by Erik Tenkar of the well-known Tenkar's Tavern.  In that, I focused on an OSR class that was a monster summoner and spellcaster using a deck of cards to perform her magic.  Again, that's something which I plan to some point...and so on...

Lately, I've been running a more general OSR card game idea through my head, and since I like to brainstorm these things here in blog form, I'm...well, going to do just that...

The goal(s)

I want to make a card game based upon old school fantasy RPG rules.  You can take a card and use it as an NPC.  You can take an NPC and make a card out of them (probably tougher than the first thing, but maybe I'll get there).  I don't want it to be too complex...just something that can satisfy a card game craving while giving the OSR itch a little bit of a scratch (which actually sounds kind of dirty).

The basics

I'm just gonna shotgun some ideas for the structure of the game.  It'll be based on Swords & Wizardry rules.  Specifically the Core rules.  Why?  Well, everybody like Swords & Wizardry, right?  Playing the game will involve enlisting henchmen and hirelings to battle against those of one's opponent(s).  The "cost" of a character can simply be its level...perhaps each turn, players will roll 1d6 and be able to summon that many HD in hirelings.  And maybe dice can be saved from one turn to another, to build up to more powerful characters.

The hiring, though...that will come after battling for the turn.  Some tried and true CCG combat concepts should serve us well here.  Attack your opponent's henchmen, or hold your guys back so they can block when you get attacked.  Depleting the deck is a solid win condition, right?  So, can attack your opponent's "base," and if they don't block the attack, the damage dealt causes them to discard from the top of their deck.  Run out of cards, and you lose.

Okay, this is a solid base to build on!

The classes

I think tracking damage is going to get a little messy for all of those characters.  So to simplify that, let's deal only in HD and damage dice rather than variable die sizes.  (This is part of what I've tried to do with the GRIND).  Eliminating any of the rules involving little pluses and minuses to hit points and damage should be easy enough.  And d6-only hit dice and damage (or multiples thereof)...that's pretty old school, right?

Of course, if I'm basing this on S&W Core, I should probably work out some new classes that fit the style of both the RPG and the card game I'm building.  Here are the first notes I have for this (the increased attack bonuses are a personal preference...):

1d6 HD per level, base 2000 XP
STR bonuses to hit (melee only) as Fighter
+1 BAB per level
1d6 damage even if unarmed, 2d6 damage if armed
If armed, +1d6 damage at levels 5 and 10
+1 attack at levels 3 and 7

1d6 HD per level, base 2000 XP
+3/4 (round down) BAB per level
+3 bonus to Rogue checks

Backstab: If Rogue hasn’t acted this combat and first attack is on character that has already taken an action this round, gets +3 to attack roll and deals double damage (triple at level 5, quadruple at level 10)

I'll work on magic later.  This is enough to get me playtesting.

The cards

Throwing together extremely basic playing card layouts is a method of relaxation for me.  I have little in the way of skill or training...but I love playing around on PowerPoint.  I made a couple that might work for this little game.  The first one (Sheldon the Shifty) is the one I posted above to break up the monotony of all these words I'm putting down.  Here's the other one:

And then there's the cardback.  I like Henchmen & Hirelings as a working title, so here's something I can work with there...

If you've actually read through all this (or...some of it)...thank you!  I'd love to get some outside thoughts on it.  There will hopefully be more to come...maybe sooner, maybe not sooner...

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Were-Wednesday: How to Become a Werewolf

Lately, I've really been enjoying some of the werewolf stories found in public domain comics on the great resource of Comic Book Plus...especially those from the horror books of the pre-Barry Allen 1950s.  I'd like to get into the habit of sharing some of those here.

To start off, here's a little one-pager from Worlds of Fear #10 (June 1953) with some very practical advice for those hoping to die from the piercing of a silver bullet.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Monster Monday: Reptisaurus the Terrible

For this weeks #MonsterMonday, I'm going to hit on a slightly different Kaiju of the Silver Age.  This isn't a monster that inhabited a mainstream superhero universe, but one that held down its own title for a while during the silver '60s:  Reptisaurus!

In 1961, Charlton published two issues of a comic based on the Danish/American kaiju film Reptilicus (there are apparently versions of the film in both Danish and English).

After losing the license, they turned him red and continued the series as Reptisaurus, where it lasted for another six issues and a special edition.  He even made an appearance in Charlton's comic series featuring the monster Gorgo (whose mother appeared here on a previous Monster Monday).

You can read a good summary of Reptisaurus's backstory over at the Public Domain Super Heroes wiki (yes, it seems that Reptisaurus has fallen into the public domain!) or in the first issue of the series that holds the title Reptisaurus.  To really summarize, an ice age sent a pair of Reptisauruses (or...Reptisauri, if you prefer) into a deep hibernation in a warm volcanic area.  And then...well...

Isn't that always the way?

Luckily, Reptisaurus seems to be a bit more helpful than his inspiration Reptilicus.  Instead of introducing himself by destroying Copenhagen, he helps to fight off an alien invasion.

I like to try to at least guesstimate a size on these big guys.  According to this wiki entry, Reptilicus was around 90 feet (27 m) long.  I initially thought the Reptisauruses were meant to be bigger than that.  Here's an establishing shot with what may be a blue whale...

...which would make me want to put it at well over 100 feet.  But...who knows?  That 90 feet may be a good guess, as we also get shots like this that make it seem pretty reasonable:

The perspectives I've seen just make it difficult to judge.  Could be a small plane and a small blue whale, after all.

If you're interested in reading more about the history of this beast, there's a very good writeup to be found at this link.

Thanks for checking this guy out!  I'm really enjoying covering these four-color monsters and hope you'll stop by again next week for another Kaiju of the Silver Age!