Wednesday, February 14, 2018

This Day in Anthro History: Roni and the 1980 Winter Olympics

As the 2018 Winter Olympics play out in PyeongChang, we look back 38 years to this day in 1980, when the opening ceremony for that year's games took place in Lake Placid, NY (although events actually started the day before).

Representing the games that year was none other than Roni, a friendly humanoid raccoon who is as comfortable on skis as he is in a trash can...

While the anthropomorphic animal mascot is pretty commonplace these days, as far as I can tell, this was the first Olympics to use an anthro critter as the face of the games!  (Previous games had used animal mascots, but none walked/skied/skated like humans that I can find...!)

I think a raccoon was a pretty outstanding's a native animal, the mask is meant to resemble the eyewear worn by winter athletes, and the rings on the tail are a great nod to the Olympic rings (assuming that was the intention...!).

Thursday, February 1, 2018

This Day in Anthro History: Left Shark!

On this day in 2015, Katy Perry headlined the halftime show for Super Bowl XLIX.  As usual with her stage show, she had dancers.

Left Shark is the one to the...left.  Image from

Presumably using some sort of mutagenic ooze, or perhaps an advanced form of radiation treatment, Perry procured two bipedal, dancing sharks to be part of her crew.  And by the next day, one of them had stolen the internet.  The shark on the viewer's left - who has since become widely known as "Left Shark" - performed some goofy choreography (perhaps non-choreography?) that really captured our hearts that night.

Here's part of the performance in question which includes the key moves (it is worth checking out the full peformance, though; all of her dancing stuff is pretty funny):

Now, I'll be honest with you.  I didn't see this as it was occurring, and once I heard all the buzz and watched it, it was kind of hard to tell which one was the one that "messed up."  They both look goofy as anything and make me laugh a lot.  But it's the one on the viewer's left.

I'm pretty sure.

Anyway, this post is especially timely, as the dancer in question (presumably de-mutated at some point following the show), Bryan Gaw, has finally begun talking about that night.  Here's the piece from NPR where he explains that the goofiness was all part of the plan.  And if that's really the case...well, I'd say it worked pretty darn well!

Seriously, watch the sharks dance.  Puts me in a good mood every time.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

New in Light City: Welcome to The Assembly!

I'm very happy to announce that there's a new Light City product available for download on your favorite OneBookShelf storefront:  The Assembly!

The Assembly is a two-page add-on for Swords & Wizardry Light that stays true to the original SWL philosophy of encouraging quick-start play by covering just a few levels.  You can print it out and tuck it inside your SWL folder to make it just about as easy to get a supers game going as a traditional fantasy outing.

This new release includes work by +Justin Isaac as well as my usual rambling.  It covers three new classes (The Brick, The Marksman, and The Supersoldier), some modern and comic booky weapons, and a bunch of baddies that fit the four-color theme.  You can even use it to play some of your favorite cinematic heroes, should you be so inclined.  And of course, it's free!

I hope you'll check it out and let me know what you think if you get a chance!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Light City: Johnny Storm

Elemental Week continues!  Just another set of stats for a mini I'm looking to put onto the Light City tabletop...

Human Torch

Level 7 Elemental
First appearance:  Fantastic Four #1 (1961)
Real name:  Johnny Storm (public)

STR 14     DEX 18(+1)     CON 13     INT 12     WIS 11     CHA 15(+1)
5 HD (19 HP)     Saving Throw 9     Flight (48 ft.)
AC 6[13] (flame shield)

Attack:  Fire Blast, +4 to hit, 1d6+1 fire damage, range 60 ft.
Elemental Powers (7x/day):  Flame Missile (a la Magic Missile), Knock/Lock, Light I, Radial Blast.

(Like Hal Jordan, original Fantastic Four member Johnny probably doesn't need much introduction, but here's a link to his Marvel Database page for reference.  Hal and Johnny would be a fun pair to put together in a story, actually...

Ah!  Here's a cover for a GL/FF story that Ross posted over on the amazing Super-Team Family blog...!)

Monday, January 15, 2018

Light City: Hal Jordan

It might turn out to be Elemental Week here at Monstrous Matters!  Just statting out some characters that are on my mind or haphazardly transplanted from Clix bases to put on the table for Light City...

Green Lantern (Hal Jordan)

Level 7 Elemental
First appearance:  Showcase #22 (1959)
Real name:  Hal Jordan (secret, I guess...)

(Hal probably doesn't need much introduction, but here he is at the DC Database.  Also, I snagged his stats from Taliesin's Mutants & Masterminds builds at the Atomic Think Tank...!)

STR 14     DEX 16(+1)     CON 14     INT 14     WIS 18(+1)     CHA 14
5 HD (20 HP)     Saving Throw 9     Flight (48 ft.)
AC 6[13] (green aura)

Attack:  Green Blast, +4 to hit, 1d6+1 willpower damage, range 60 ft.
Elemental Powers (7x/day):  Construct, Elemental Shield, Green Missile (a la Magic Missile), Hold.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Four-color thought experiment: Drafting a superhero universe

So, I've had this running through my head for a bit...really just a fun thing to ponder, but I actually think it would be a cool exercise to carry out at some point.

What if you took all of the superheroes out there, put them into a pot, and allowed the major comic book publishers to draft their rosters in the manner of American professional sports leagues?  (I'm sure some leagues in other countries do it, too, but it's more of an American phenomenon, as far as I know...)  To make it interesting, we'd let more than the Big Two in on it...maybe five or six entities...or hell, a hundred, since this is all hypothetical anyway...could choose their group of heroes to publish.

If you were in charge of choosing, how would you go about it?  Do you just pick the most popular characters out of what's available?  Your favorites?  Do you go for synergy above all?  Do you pick a theme and look for consistency?

There are a lot of fun wrinkles to consider.  Once you pick a member of the X-Men, do you feel the need to lock in mutant prejudice as part of your world?  If you first-pick Superman (one of the obvious top picks, I think), does his power level limit your choices the rest of the way?

And who would be the first character outside of Marvel and DC that's worth picking?  Spawn?  Hellboy?  Faith?  Popeye (sure, he's in there)?

There would have to be some specific ground rules that I haven't really ironed out...doesn't seem like it would make much sense to let someone have, say, Superman, but then let Supergirl go somewhere else.  Green Lanterns and the Fantastic Four present issues that would have to be addressed.  Those details are part of the fun of thinking about this, though.

From where I stand, there's really just one obvious first pick, no matter your overall strategy:

From the DC Database.

Probably the most popular superhero (and maybe the most popular fictional character) on the planet...extremely adaptable...doesn't have powers that warp the rest of the's hard to see why anyone would choose anyone else.  Even if no members of the Family come along, Bats is worth it.

In my mind, it gets a lot hairier after that, though.  Based on my vision of an ideal superhero universe, with nods to both popularity and my own favorites, this is how I'd rank my top ten picks (at the moment, anyway)...

1. Batman
2. Spider-Man
3. Wonder Woman
4. Green Lantern (Hal Jordan if I have to pick one)
5. Captain America
6. The Hulk
7. Aquaman
8. However many members of the Fantastic Four I could get with one pick
9. The Flash (Barry Allen if I have to pick one)
10. Wolverine

I'd love to know how some of y'all would go about this...!