Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Battle of Five Armies

I have given a lot of thought to this film and left some time between seeing it.  I saw it twice in the theatre and must say I enjoyed it more the second time because I wasn't expecting it to be good.

I'll just get the unforgivables out of the way now:

THIS BELONGS IN DUNE NOT THE HOBBIT!!!!
(by fed0t)

Really terrible inclusion. Gratuitous CGI and not the least bit necessary. IF they NEEDED to have the orc army appear with surprise - it could just as easily have been explained by goblin miners, or stupid troll things with hammers or ANYTHING but sandworms. Why not just use the worms to eat the dwarves and elves - or ya know- just tunnel right into the lonely mountain treasure room. The most glaring WTF moment in a movie of non-stop WTF moments.


THIS CHARACTER SHOULD NOT EXIST!!!

No reason to care. Nothing to do with the story. SUPPOSED(?) to be funny - NOT at all funny. Keeps getting screen time. I feel real bad for the actors of the dwarves who had to sit in makeup 4 hours each day who literally have no lines and then this joke of character gets scene after scene. No reason for this character to exist. 

NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!

This "love story" was just shlock. An unnecessary and unwanted subplot which eats up alot of screen time but adds very little. I assume this story was meant to be tragic, but it was just so forced. Why add this plot line? - its not a theme in the Hobbit - its not part of the story they chose to tell when they chose to make the Hobbit franchise. I'm not totally against the inclusion of Tauriel - as a strong female character COULD have added something to the story, but the way she was used in the films did not add anything worthwhile.

If they needed to add a strong female character into the story why not just gender swap Kili into a lady dwarf? I mean shit, Kili already doesn't look like a dwarf anyway, it wouldn't be that much of a stretch just to make Kili a woman. Honestly a gender swap would be just as much of a departure from the book as the bizarre romance was and it would have kept the whole thing a lot more coherent and focused on the company of dwarves rather than every other goddam person in middle earth.

Ok, so more thoughts about the movie-

Smaug died way too damn fast. If they were going to kill him so quick that they might as well have just cut out the nonsense from the second movie where the dwarves tried to kill Smaug with gold. Then they would have had time to fit the burning of Laketown and the death of Smaug in the second movie.

Everyone complains that the Hobbit films shouldn't have been split into three movies since the book was so short. Those people are wrong and dumb. Three Hobbit movies makes perfect sense. Every chapter of the hobbit contains a 'set piece'. And each of those set pieces needed to have time given to it in the film. Sure the LotR books are longer, but there are a similar number of set pieces throughout. Most of the LotR books are made up of history lessons and walking and dialogue and walking and eating bread and walking. Peter Jackson had to cut out some of the set pieces he didn't have time to address- like Tom Bombadil. He couldn't really cut out most of the set pieces from the Hobbit though- the encounters with the trolls, goblins, spiders and stuff are really important to the plot AND very quickly flow from one to the next with very little transition time. So no I don't think he could have hit all the set pieces he needed to in just one or two Hobbit movies- he really did need all three.

I think also telling the fall of the Necromancer storyline was a good idea, since it does happen at the same times as the events of the Hobbit and it anchored the story of the Hobbit in the existing plot of the LotR movies. Also it is just a really interesting side story Peter Jackson could have really fleshed out. Instead of giving it the strong storyline that the Fall of the Necromancer demanded (and which he had spent so much time building up in the first two films) the final Hobbit movie just rushes through the Necromancer plot with a single scene.

Here is how the Hobbit movies SHOULD have gone:

UNEXPECTED JOURNEY
Pretty damn good. I wouldn't really change much except to make Azog a real actor in makeup rather than the bad looking CGI they used.

DESOLATION OF SMAUG
Starts out ok. Gandalf should have met up with Legolas (and Tauriel too, why not?) right after leaving the Dwarves and formed a team of coolguys with Radagast and Elrond and gone to go look into the whole Necromancer situation. Flesh that story out with a bit of orc fighting or whatever- instead of the ridiculous shit going on with the orcs attacking the wood elf realm and the TERRIBLE barrel riding scene. Develop a romance between Legolas and Tauriel (if they absolutely needed to add a romance in)  and show the relationship between Gandalf and Legolas. They could have cut out the orc hunters led by Bolg- and the stupid Kili/morgul arrow thing to give the necromancer plot some more weight and screen time. And like I said earlier, the trying to kill Smaug with gold thing was dumb, they should have just had him fly out and roast lake town and get killed by Bard.

THE BATTLE OF FIVE ARMIES
If Smaug didn't die at the end of the second movie he should have had more screen time alive in the third. Ideally I would have had three sections going on if I directed it, here is the breakdown:

1- Burning of Laketown
It takes longer, there is more suspense. Make us care more about Bard. Tauriel and the straggler dwarves aren't there, so the story really would focus on Bard and his family trying to escape. Smaug is an asshole eating and burning people and really toying with Bard. Bard's daughter is the one to bring him the black arrow (which will get it's own post probably). And Bard is just so badass that he fires the balista bolt from his longbow, instead of the bizarre using son as tripod thing we got in the movie.

2- The Fall of the Necromancer
This was the best scene in the whole film. More of it. Legolas and Tauriel and Elrond are there fighting orcs and zombies and stuff while Gandalf, Radagast, and Saruman fight wraiths. Actually Radagast should have been fighting spiders and killed like a spider queen or something. The Necromancer should have a had a wraithlike body- like the witch-king from Return of the King and they should have had to actually fight him physically and then when he is defeated he turns into the flaming eye thing.  Galadriel can still show up at the end to banish Sauron. 




3- The Battle of Five Armies
This section really should have been condensed down into the important stuff. Dain really didn't even need any lines. He should have just been an angry looking Dwarf. Although I thought the War-pig and War-goats were cool, they really should have been cut. All that shit with fighting inside the city should have been cut. The Azog on top of the tower thing was stupid and should have been cut. The battle of five armies should have been a hell of a lot closer to the book. Shorter but sweeter.

When Thorin and Co. finally charge out they should have been shown fighting more as a group, each of the company should have had a moment- cuz they are the established core characters. Fili and Kili should have just died in the melee and we shouldn't have seen much of Dain, Thranduil, or Bard at this point. Bard had his scenes at the beginning and Thraduil had his big moments in the second movie - he isn't really important at this point.

AZOG FIGHT 
(this deserves special mention)
The fight with Azog went on far too long. It would have been more bearable if he wasn't a stupid looking CGI but it was still way too long. I actually did like the first part of the fighting on the ice showdown between Azog and Thorin. These two characters HATE each other. PJ really spent the time to build up their relationship. I liked how it became apparent that if they both kept fighting on the ice both would perish. Thorin in a moment of clarity (which is in beautiful contrast to how banana pancakes crazy he was earlier) just drops his sword and steps back off the ice, letting Azog literally drown in his own reckless hatred and die. It would have been perfect if the fight ended there- poetic even. It would have been awesome to have ended the built up antagonism of the three movies with just a calm step backwards instead of a sword through the heart video game finishing move. For some stupid reason though Azog magically jumps up through the ice and the already too long fight continues.  
I get that Thorin needed to die, but in the book he dies of his wounds later on (and Beorn has to fight through a horde of orcs to retrieve his body) - so they just should have had him step off the ice to defeat Azog. Then Thorin could meet up with Bilbo and be all like "I'm glad that's over." but then Bilbo's smile turns to a look of concern "Thorin, your side is bleeding!" and he is like "Oh shit, when did that happen?" - collapse, die. THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN SO MUCH BETTER THAN WHAT WE GOT.

Also more Bilbo, there wasn't enough Bilbo, a lot of dumb looking trolls and sand worms but not enough of the main character.

The dialog is so terrible in this one, no character has any memorable lines- no character says anything worthwhile. Which sucks, because there are some awesome actors and there was some really nice dialogue in the LotR and even the first Hobbit movie. Gandalf's quote from An Unexpected Journey is one of my favourites all time :


It could have been/ should have been a fantastic end to the series. It is a real shame our last adventure in middle earth had to end on such a sour note.

So yeah, I thought the Battle of Five Armies was terrible, not Starwars prequels terrible- but damn close.

I could really go on and on about this but I think I have said enough for now. I will probably have another post or two on this in the near future. 

Comments and questions are welcome. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Dark Angels Battleforce



So this is what I have so far for my Dark Angels Battleforce. The army is based off the Dark Vengeance set but there are a few additions - most notably special character: Chapter Master Azrael. 

Please excuse the camerawork, my lighting wasn't the best.
Also the models are a little bit shiny, thats because I coated them with a quick shade dip and haven't added the matte varnish yet, but they are 99% done.

The whole force


The watcher

Chapter Master Azrael

5th Company Captain Balthazar

 Librarian Turmiel

 Ravenwing Sergeant

Ravenwing squad 

 Sergeant right side

 More Azreal




 Deathwing Terminators

 Tactical squad Sergeant and plasma gunners

5th Company Tactical Marine



Questions and comments are welcome. Cheers!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Friday, April 25, 2014

Knights of Ash - Premise



Premise: Brave knights enter the burnt ruins of a dead city. They naively believe good will triumph over evil. Slowly they become jaded and succumb to despair. There is no glory here; only death.

Fifty years ago a mighty dragon swooped down into the city. It was the day of the princesses' wedding. The streets were packed with celebrating city folk. The dragon killed a thousand people in mere moments. As the city burned the dragon gorged itself and then, finally satiated, it tunnelled into the palace ruins and built a nest.

The dragon still sleeps to this day, periodically giving birth to monstrous offspring as it slumbers. The dragon's horrible spawn are lesser but still ferocious monsters: drakes, wyverns, manticores and chimera. These loathsome beasts have spread throughout the ruins and made their own lairs.

In places fire still burns. Dragon fire is magical, stone that is bathed in it may burn eternally. A huge cloud of ash hangs over the city and the sun has not been seen there at all for half a century. Periodically flashes of lightning arc through the clouds and deluges of oily black rain pour from the sky.

Ash coats every surface, staining everything grey and black. Great drifts of ash accumulate in alleyways and dark corners. Adventures cannot help but to breathe the ash into their lungs, causing a painful wracking cough. The ash gets into eyes, eventually causing blindness.

Knights and Heroes come from far and wide, each believing naively that they will be the one to finally slay the dragon and retake the kingdom. Their romantic dreams of heroism are crushed and their souls are tainted black, even as their bright heraldry is stained black by the falling ash.

Taste: Oily smoke on the air. A lungful of choking black ash. Tainted water. Stringy mouthful of crow meat.

Sound: Metal on stone. Swords clashing. Echoes of the past. Moans of despair. Chains clinking. Eerie stillness. The bellow of a monstrous beast. Rumble of far off thunder. Ash falling like snow.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

WE BE TROLLIN


Trolls have always been one of my favourite monsters. They were the first creature I wrote up in my own "heartbreaker" bestiary.


I picture them a lot like they are depicted here, except mine are lanky and less chunky. Green warty hides, tall and lanky, big tusks. They live in huge Trollhalls that are tunnelled into hillsides. They are skilled at working iron, often serving as the armorers for nearby humanoid tribes. Trolls are cunning and cruel but are not unreasonable and they enjoy talking to their prey. Adventurers can often stall by simply striking up a conversation, and may even be able to convince the Troll to let them go, if it would benefit the troll. Trolls use huge iron clubs in combat, they strike at a victim's legs and pelvis, trying to cripple their prey. It is said that trolls eat their prey slowly, trying to keep their victims able to speak as long as possible.


Troll
A large gangly creature with a hoary scaled hide and a mouth full of tusks. Trolls love to eat prey live and thus try to cripple their enemies to consume at their leisure. Trolls are brutal and cruel but they are also fairly intelligent. They will often talk to smaller folk before deciding to eat them and may be convinced to spare travellers if they can offer a good enough reason to do so. Trolls fear flame and will bargain for their lives if they start suffering wounds which do not immediately begin healing.

AC: 16, MV: 30, HD: 4 , HP: 42,

Ability Score Modifier
Met
11
-
Dex
13
+1
Bra
18
+4
Int
13
+1
Wis
8
-1
Cha
9
-1
Per
13
+1
Large,

Regeneration:d6 ( At the start of its turn, the troll regains d6 hit points. When it takes acid or fire damage, the troll’s hit point maximum is reduced by the same amount for 24 hours. A troll can be killed if its hit point maximum is reduced to 0 or if it takes acid or fire damage while at 0 hit points or less).

Attacks:
Tusked bite: +4 to hit, 1d8+3 slashing dmg,
and
Rock hard talons: (2) +4 to hit, 1d6+2 slashing dmg,
or
Iron Greatclub: +5 to hit, 1d10+4 blunt dmg (on a crit cripples target instead of double dmg),

Possessions:
Iron Greatclub (ENR 5),
Sack with d6x10 gold coins and d6x10 iron trollish coins (each worth 1/2 a gold each),
Side of roast mutton,
Iron chain 25ft,
1d6 sets of iron manacles (human sized),



Monday, April 21, 2014

Knights of Ash

After nearly a full year of not posting I'd like to get pack into it. We will see if I can stick with it though.



The Royal wedding.
The city celebrates.
The Princess beloved by all.
Her Prince dashing and true.
Gleaming knights stood at attention.
The crowd cheers

Suddenly something blocks the sun.

An errant cloud?
The blue sky is clear.
People turn.
The band falters.
A scream.
The quickest knights try to draw their blades.
An avalanche of molten fire rains onto the crowd.

The Princess and her Prince.
The loyal knights.
The cheering crowd.
All scorched to cinders in a singles breath.

The Dragon lands and begins to feed.
Gorging on the dying city.
Screams drowned out by crackling flames and crunching bones.

The Dragon tunnelled into the ruins of the palace and there made a nest.
It sleeps away the decades,
periodically giving birth to monstrous offspring.
In places fires still burn.

Knights come from far and wide, 
to challenge the Serpent and retake the kingdom.
All are buried under shifting tides of black ash.
Bones and steel.
Ash and rust. 


From a new project I'm working on - "Knights of Ash".

Friday, April 19, 2013

PC Events: BARD

Go here to check out the series I'm continuing by Grim from Beyond the Black Gate. 

Go here to check out how I'm using these charts.

PC EVENTS: BARD (1d12)

1- You have fallen into an artistic funk.  Your performances suffer until you somehow get your groove back. You are in desperate need of some inspiration.

2- You receive a mysterious package containing an expensive masterwork instrument. It is the most beautiful instrument you have ever held.

3- Some competition moves in nearby.  As much as you hate to admit it- you know in your heart that they are better than you.

4- Your popularity absolutely explodes overnight.  Everyone knows you.  I hope you don't need to lay low anytime soon...

5- Your artistic idol is coming through the area!  Maybe you can get a jam session going! You HAVE to get an autograph!

6- Someone has been spreading rumors that you are inciting rebellion with your "subversive" lyrics.  You better get to the bottom of this before you get thrown in jail for treason.

7- The church is starting to crack down on "indulgent entertainment".

8- A new and popular upstart is ripping off your songs.  Nobody else seems to notice.  Something has to be done - or are you just losing your grip on reality?

9- Another bard or important critic starts a campaign against you.

10- Your lifestyle is starting to catch up with you.  You might start to suffer from a substance addiction.

11- You have attracted a very small but hardcore group of fans. They aren't planning on leaving anytime soon. (Roll 1d4 and add your charisma modifier, that is how many groupies you get)

12- A local person of importance firmly requests you play at an event they are hosting.  This could make or break you. (the event is to be held in 2d6 days) 

Next up: BARBARIANS

Cheers!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Random Events and Monthly Weather

I'm running my own version of the classic adventure 'B2: The Keep on the Border Lands'. One of the things I did to set up the game world is roll up weather and random events for the next 2 months of game time.

I want to share with you how I'm doing it.

Set yourself up a calendar page on a piece of paper. Leave lots of room for entries under each day. Next go here:  http://donjon.bin.sh/d20/weather/ and generate yourself a month or more of weather in advance (note: light wind is the default so you might want to ignore it).

Next we determine if any special events occur. Roll 1d8 for each day. On a roll of 1 something interesting has happened. 

Now roll 1d6;

On a 1-3 a personal PC event happens that day. Randomly determine which PC it will effect. Then go here: http://beyondtheblackgate.blogspot.ca/2010/01/random-chart-pc-events.html and roll on the correct table for that character's class.

On a 4-6 go here: http://poleandrope.blogspot.ca/2010/09/meanwhile-back-in-town.html and roll on the excellent town event tables.

You obviously have last say on what is happening in your world and in your game. I just find it is particularly comforting knowing when it is going to rain ahead of time in my world instead of just deciding on the fly mid-game. This is a simple way to give a world a semblance of it's own life - and to keep those pesky players on their toes!

Grim from Beyond the Black Gate has alot of excellent random PC event tables. He didn't cover a few of the classes that are available to my players though, so I am going to post tables for these classes to fill the gaps.

- Next time: PC Bard Events! Cheers!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mettle & Brawn


In my own game I am renaming the ability score 'Strength' to 'Mettle'.
Mettle is defined as:  "Vigor and strength of spirit or temperament"
Henceforth in my games Mettle will be used to represent a character's discipline and skill in combat. It will also be used to represent a character's bravery in situations which require it.  


I think this is an appropriate change, since for characters fighting in melee combat it is not really their physical strength being tested, but rather the qualities described above. Mettle will be used in combat the same way strength used to be.



I am also renaming 'Constitution' to 'Brawn'.
Brawn is defined as: "Muscle or physical strength."
Brawn will be used to describe a character's  strength, constitution, physical power, and resilience. Brawn will be used the same way constitution used to be, for bonus hp and for saves against poison and such. Brawn will also be used for things like breaking down doors and holding up crumbling pillars.


Comments and questions are welcome. Thanks for reading. Cheers!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Carnival of Chaos


Finally got my Carnival of Nurgle painted and photographed. I really Like this quickshade army painter stuff. Going to use it on my Skaven army for sure.


Herr Klaus Krabbe
Dummkopf

The Amazing Frog faced Man

Hugo der Gross

The Great Zulago

King Leer

Der Bruders der Mond


  
Nurglings
More Nurglings


The whole gang
 
Bases closeup

Comments and questions are welcome. 
 
Cheers!