Tuesday, October 31, 2017

My Halloween gaming - Ghostbusters!

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Halloween gaming sure seems to bring a lot of joy within RPG circles.  While I've long enjoyed the idea of it, I've rarely, if ever, been able to take part in a dedicated Halloween game.  And lately, my gaming opportunities are very few and far between.  So...when my buddy Ted asked if I'd be willing to run the old Ghostbusters RPG for some folks this past Sunday, I blocked out the time from my work schedule and made sure I'd be able to get in on the fun...!

From Wikipedia.
If you aren't familiar with this RPG classic, you should go check it out...like pretty much right now.  I'm not convinced that it isn't the greatest RPG ever made.  (How's that for an awkwardly hedged grand statement about the game?)  It's almost certainly one of the best introductory games out there, and it seems to have a lot to engage experienced players, as well (although minmaxing types will be greatly disappointed...).  Over at the Nerdy Show, they're really doing their part to renew interest in this old gem...I'd definitely encourage you to check out what they have to offer if you'd like to get in on the fun.

So, the premise was to be that the players are a local Ghostbusters franchise building off the success the original crew had in the first film...that's what Ted was thinking, and it happens to be the jumping-off point plugged in the game itself.  I decided to set the game in 1987 and started brainstorming what sort of ghoulies they might face...really wanting to play up the retro vibe, I looked around at other '80s icons to see what might fit into a game.  Pac-Man's ghosts seemed like they could be a good fit, but I could never wrap my head around how to fit them into a nice adventure.  So what else could there be...killer Care Bears?  A jaunt into the Mushroom Kingdom?  I even thought about having the crew respond to the events of the greatest SF film of 1987.

However, I thought it'd be best if I could work some local flavor in as well.  And then, while picking up a rental car a few weeks ago, I saw this brochure on the rack displaying all the great stuff Georgia has to offer:

And with that, the decision was made.

(If you'd like more info on this special little house of horrors, you can check out its website or Wikipedia entry, or this nice little summary from Cracked last year.  I remember going multiple times as a kid...in its previous location, I guess it may be worth noting...and yeah, the place is weird.)

There's this demonic entity, you see, commonly referred to as The Nurse, or sometimes The Caretaker, whose existence is tied up in two things: caring for children, and making sure they eat their veggies.  And it's been hanging out in this cabbage patch in Cleveland, GA, pretty much unnoticed until some human flesh was improperly discarded by a lab worker at the nearby BioMedChemTech research facility (I used the intro from one of the adventures in the RPG's Operations Manual...).  And now it's building an army of babies that move at lightning speed and use what few teeth they have to take chunks out of unsuspecting folks in the area.

Or something like that.  But seriously, this is creepy stuff:

The other little retro nod I worked in was to give The Nurse a few guardian demons, for which I used some of my old toys from that set of plastic "dinosaurs" that's so well-known in old school gaming circles:

To head off getting too long-winded here, I'll just say that I. Had. A. Blast!!  (Hopefully the players did too...)  Can't wait to run Ghostbusters again...it'll go somewhere in the bottomless stack of games that I'd love to play but never hardly ever get a chance to (next up, though: +Justin Isaac's Slashers and Victims Light...can't wait to see what sort of killer he cooks up for use in my game...!).

Once again, the Ghostbusters RPG is highly recommended.  If you'd like the flavor of it in a different package, you can also check out the Ghost Hackers game I put together (based, of course, on The Black Hack).  The original can still be downloaded from Google Drive right here, and the "updated" (read: with all legal images) can be found over at RPGNow.

Now, everybody stay safe out there!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

This Day in Anthro History: The debut of Ch'p

On October 22, 1981, issue #148 of the second Green Lantern series hit the stands.  The story "Tales of the GLC" introduced the world to an interesting member of the Corps...

All images taken from the DC Database...

Hailing from the arboreal planet H'lven, Ch'p served the Guardians with great honor, even joining the Earth-based team that kicked off the Corps-based book in the '80s...

 ...before meeting an unfortunate end in the early '90s...

Ch'p would show up in other corners of the DC multiverse (and eventually ditch the bowtie)...

...and would be succeeded in the DCU proper by the equally adorable H'venite B'dg:

Personally, I'm quite a fan of the little guy.  Of course, these days, the status of the H'lvenites as four-color spacefaring critters is probably overshadowed a bit by a fellow from the competition...

...except this one from the Marvel Database.

Friday, October 13, 2017

This Day in Anthro History: Lieutenant M'Ress and the Caitians

Happy Friday the 13th!  Time for another installment of "This Day in Anthro History"...perhaps not completely holiday-appropriate, but at least it involves a cat...!

On October 13, 1973, the Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "The Survivor" aired for the first time, introducing the world to Lieutenant M'ress and the cat-like alien species known as Caitians.  After all, every self-respecting SF or fantasy universe needs at least one group of cat people, am I right?

Pic from her Memory Alpha entry...

Caitians would later be documented in live action Trek (like the admiral below who appeared in The Voyage Home) and, somewhat unfortunately, seem to have been ported into the new movies' timeline as catgirls with a more human appearance.

See Unnamed Caitians at Memory Alpha...

And while they might be the best-known of the bunch (maybe...), Caitians certainly aren't the only cats to have graced the Trek (and associated) universes over the years.  You can read a little more on this here...


Thanks for stopping by!  Now, everybody head on over to Halls of the Nephilim and check out what +Justin Isaac has cooked up for release on this Friday the 13th...!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

This Day in Anthro History: Song of the South's 1980 re-release

This is the first in what I'd like to become a series of posts touching on some of the landmarks in the history of animals that walk and talk like humans.  We'll see how it goes.

On October 10, 1980, Disney re-released the movie Song of the South to theaters.  This is the film that transformed the anthro legends known as Br'er Rabbit, Br'er Bear, and Br'er Fox from folktale figures of the American South to cartoon characters able to hold their own alongside the likes of Mickey and Donald in kids' stuffed animal collections.

If you want, you can buy this cel over here...!

It was also, as far as I can recall and piece together, the first movie I ever saw in a theater.  As a kid born in the late '70s in a pretty small south Georgia town...well, this makes sense.  And while I first saw it during the fourth of five re-releases, there probably aren't a ton of Americans much younger than me who have ever seen the film in any sort of legitimate capacity, as Disney hasn't shown it in an official manner in the United States in decades...for, while the film is known for its excellent mixing of live action and animated footage and for the iconic song "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah," it's also pretty well known for being too racist for Disney to embrace.

Well...embrace fully, that is.  Honestly, Song of the South is sort of a case study in how we Americans have no effing clue how we're supposed to approach our complicated racial history.  Which is how we have stuff like this movie serving as the inspiration for a popular attraction at both of Disney's big American parks, yet we can't watch the whole thing outside of bootlegs and pieced-together segments on YouTube.

It's been a while since I've seen the whole thing, so I won't attempt to give my own critique of the film's message other than to say that, yes, it's problematic.  This article from ScreenCrush has a pretty good discussion of it.  A summary:  It could have been worse, considering that it was first released way back in 1946, but if you encounter someone who says there isn't a problem with it, they should probably think a little more.

Those anthropomorphic animals sure are fun, though.

Here's a TV trailer for the 1980 re-release (one that certainly gives an idea of the controversy that could result from a full movie of this stuff):

EDIT:  Oh!  I should note that over at Song of the South.net - a website that certainly seems like its creators would know their stuff when it comes to the film - lists October 8 as the date of the 1980 re-release.  However, Wikipedia (yeah, I know) goes with the 10th, and it WAS a Friday, so I'm gonna call it close enough...