Thursday, March 31, 2016

Random Thoughts on "Batman V Superman"

This blog usually focuses on roleplaying games, but comics are my first love, and I just got back from watching Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Plenty of people have already done full reviews of the movie, so I'm just going to make some comments on things that stuck out.

Here's some full reviews by other people:
King Yak's Review of Batman v Superman
Movie Bob's Major Spoilers Review
I've Never Hated Anything The Way I Hate 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice'

Long story short... After a bunch of scathing reviews I expected this movie to be an absolute trainwreck. Instead it was just meeeeeeeh... I left the theater with no sense of joy or excitement, just a dissatisfied numbness.

Spoilers ahead...

I knew it was a bad sign when the music for a Supes/Bats movie was credited to some guy named "Junkie XL"

Hey! The film gave Bill Finger a co-credit for creating Batman! So that's good.

Despite the script he was given, Ben Affleck was really good as Batman/Bruce Wayne... despite all the murder. One could actually make a really compelling movie following Batman's slow decent into cruelty and fanaticism after a global disaster, and Bat-Ben would be perfect for it. This movie didn't go that way, of course. That would be too much character building.

Actually, I'd be happy to see Affleck in a straight-up adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns or All Star Batman and Robin (aka The Goddam Batman). I'm not a big fan of Frank Miller's version of Batman, but Affleck pulls it off. 

Jeremy Irons' Alfred looked cool rocking his British commando sweater in the Batcave. 

Hey, did you know Jimmy Olsen was in this movie? Yeah, check the credits. He was the photographer executed by terrorists in the first 10 minutes of the film. Yeah, Zak Snyder murdered Superman's Pal because fuck you.

Jessie Eisenberg made a terrible Lex Luthor, but he looked cool in that weird lab coat. He could have made a decent Leo Quintum.

Perry White angrily tells Clark "It's not 1938! any more!" The year Superman was created. Fuck you, Zak Snyder. 

Clark comments that Batman has mostly been terrorizing poor and underprivileged neighborhoods in Gotham. Someone later calls Luthor's party the "Lat Them Eat Cake Crowd." The movie comes ever so close on topics of classism and privilege, but of course it goes nowhere. 

I am going to assume that the weird cube that was used to create Cyborg is a Motherbox, in a clumsy attempt to tie the character to Darkseid and Apokalips. 

I am also going to assume that Batman's weirdly prophetic dreams are the result of The Flash mucking around with time travel, somehow granting Bats glimpses of alternate timelines. 

That highly-advanced alien warship has absolutely terrible security protocols. 

I'm still not entirely sure how Luthor learned Superman's secret identity. It also seems that, after his arrest, he'd share that info with the first reporter, cop, or lawyer he talked to. 

So, Superman can tell when Lois is in danger on the other side of the world, or knows when she's falling off a building somewhere, or has fallen into a well, but for some reason he can't keep tabs on his own mother? I guess she's bad at multitasking. 

It seems like Superman should have started his conversation with Batman by mentioning his mother. "Hey Batman, while I'm still way up in the sky here, I wanna tell you that Lex Luthor kidnapped my mom and wants me to kill you. Maybe we're both being played."

I actually didn't hate the "My mother's name is Martha, too!" thing where Supes and Bats bond and become pals. It was perhaps the only Silver Age thing in the movie. 

He Superman, instead of using that kryptonite spear yourself, why not toss it to the bad-ass super-powered warrior woman in the Greek armor with the sword and shield. I bet she knows how to use a javelin. 

I was unabashedly excited to see Wonder Woman use her magic lasso on Doomsday, even so briefly.

Someone please tell Warner Brothers and DC that "The Death of Superman" is not this beloved classic storyline, and Doomsday is a terrible and boring character. You know what would have made for a better final fight with some more narrative weight? Have the good guys fight Luthor in his purple and green battle armor.  Since they clearly want to connect Luthor to Darkseid somehow, they could have even made the suit based on Apokalips technology, channeled into Luthor's brain like some mad fever dream. 

So yeah... Go read All Star Superman instead.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Dragon Temple Map

As I'm sure most of you know, I used to post a lot of maps here. That stopped a while ago, mostly because (a) I just plain ran out of ideas each week, and (b) most of the new maps I do draw now are for use in my home D&D game, and I don't want to post them until my players are done with them.

But recently my friend Colin asked me to draw a map for his own D&D game. I did, and now I'm going to share it with you. Yay maps!

Colin's description:
"Ok Dragon Temple specs..Dragon theme obviously,10-15 rooms, big epic dragon statutes.  The PC's are putting a Jewel, called the Eye of Utenkia, into the Temple to keep the Lovecraftian horror known as the Maw from entering this realm and devouring everything.  Ooh-- maybe put the eye into a huge dragon skull?  Just ideas though.  Go nuts and I look forward to what you create."

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Sludge Dwarf (5th Edition D&D)

A few years ago I created the Sludge Dwarfs for both Dungeon World and Labyrinth Lord. I liked them so much, that I've decided to add them to my D&D 5th Edition game. 

The Sludge Dwarves plumb the poisonous depths of the Deep Down Bellow, mining, collecting, and refining the most noxious and dangerous of alchemical substances under the earth. They sell these chemicals to the various factions of the Deep Down Bellow as well as evil wizards and alchemists on the surface world.

Sludge Dwarves are thinner and more wiry than other dwarves, with greasy green-black beards and hair. Their gray skin is mottled with scaly patches and unhealthy purple lumps. Gritty brown slime perpetually coats their clothing and gear. The sludgethrower is disgusting hand-held weapon connected by a hose to a tank full of caustic ooze worn on the user's back.

Sludge Dwarf
Medium Humanoid (Dwarf), Lawful Evil

AC: 15 (scale armor + dexterity)
HP: 30 (4d8+12)
Speed: 25’

STR: 14 (+2), DEX: 12 (+1), CON: 16 (+3), INT: 12 (+1), WIS: 10 (+0), CHA: 8 (-2)
Saves: Constitution +5
Skills: Survival +2
Damage Immunities: Poison
Condition Immunities: Poisoned
Senses: Darkvision 120 ft., Passive Perception: 10
Languages: Dwarvish, Undercommon
Challenge: ½ (100xp)

Shortsword. Melee weapon attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 feet, one target. Hit: 5 (1d6+2) slashing damage.

Sludgethrower*. Ranged weapon attack: +3 to hit, range 35/70 feet, one target. Hit: 8 (2d6+1) acid damage. If the target is a creature it must succeed on a Constitution saving throw (DC 11) or become poisoned. A creature so poisoned can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of their turns to remove the condition.

Poison Puddle*. Range 35 ft. The sludge dwarf uses his sludgethrower to fill a 5 ft. square with viscous, poisonous sludge. The square is considered difficult terrain. Any creature entering or starting their turn in the square suffers 2d4 acid damage and must make a Constitution saving throw (DC 11) or become poisoned. A creature so poisoned can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of their turns to remove the condition. The square remains full of sludge until it dries out in 6 hours or is washed away with copious amounts of pure water.

*Charges. A sludgethrower’s tank holds 12 charges. Each Sludgethrower attack or Poison Puddle action uses one charge. A depleted tank takes five minutes to recharge from a sludge dwarf chemical vat.