D&D, SHIELD, and Starships – Geekout 1

Welcome to my first GeekOut post! I received an interesting page-a-day desk calendar for Christmas 2016, and I feel like writing about the topics in the calendar. We’ll see how frequently I post these, but it should make for an interesting topic prompt for a geeky guy like me!

2017-01-01 Geekout

Is this easy mode? I can easily manage this challenge. I expect this will get more difficult given time.

Two Dungeons and Dragons Character Classes

Anyone who knows me well enough will know exactly where I’m going to start with this one, as I often enjoy playing a Bard. A little more difficult to choose my second answer (with there being so many), but I’ll discuss Druids, a more unique spell-caster in the game. I’ve been playing Dungeons and Dragons in one form or another since I was a very small child. I must’ve been five or six years old when I first played the game with my father and slightly older brother. I still play D&D or other role-playing games on a regular basis.

Bard

Not always the most powerful character, in fact often known for never being the most powerful character, Bards are an absolute blast to play! As the name suggests, this class represents a traditional storytelling, poetic, musically inclined individual. While playing Dungeons and Dragons or other role-playing games, the bard’s role is more supportive than directly influential, inspiring greatness in others rather than himself.

Bards tend to wield poetics and music to affect a situation using an almost (or sometimes literal) magical element of their performance. Often spell-casters in D&D, bards magic (when they have it) is wielded through these performances, and can sometimes have their effects hidden within the songs themselves, making the onlookers unaware of the magical nature.

What I think many players of D&D campaigns miss, however, is that a party of adventurers is often liked for the wealth they bring to town. Their actions, while sometimes benevolent, are often also arrogant and destructive. Many campaigns seem to gloss over this, your adventurers may not be well liked. Your bard acts as your ambassador, both a well-liked person about town and also one to tell the tales of your actions that often improve the lives of the townsfolk.

Without a bard, who would tell the tales of how your barbarian wrestled the dragon to the ground or how your ranger managed to find the encampment of slavers who nearly made their escape with a dozen of your friends and family?

Often, however, people will leverage a bard to inspire humor rather than actual support.

Druid

Everyone knows of the studied Wizard in his robes and beard, but fewer know of the more primal magic of Druids. As on of the representatives of the natural world, the druid can be a useful ally in the wilderness. Druids come in all shapes and sizes, but tend to wield nature’s magic at the same level as their more studied, wizard peers. Druids spend their lives attuning themselves to nature rather than the arcane, and through it wield a different type of magic. Druidic magic works with plants, animals, and the world around them.

Rather than subverting the natural ways of things, the druid will attempt to work with them. Being a friend to nature, Druids also often have animal companions traveling with them, a fun addition to every party of adventurers making their way about town. That hermit in the woods with the magical powers, making potions, etc. is often the “druid” in story-telling. While he’s not a druid, Radagast the Brown is a nice stand-in for one within Middle-Earth.

Two S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents

While there may still be many to choose from, this is somewhat tougher than Dungeons and Dragons was. I enjoy Marvel (especially what they’ve done with their “Cinematic Universe” so far), but outside of a few team-ups, I wasn’t big into these growing up.

Peggy Carter

All of the filming that Marvel’s been doing lately has brought a lot of prominence to Agent Carter. With her receiving her own show after entering the Marvel Cinematic Universe through Captain America’s movie. Simply put, she’s quite the badass.

What makes these agents great (and she’s a standout in this regard) is that a lack of super powers never stops them from saving the world repeatedly. Peggy relies on her friends (being far greater for it), and is an inspiring leader to them as well!

Nick Fury

This character may be out of his original era, but he’s been re-invigorated by Samuel L. Jackson’s portrayal. This eyepatch-wearing director of shield seems to have plans within his plans. He’s one you don’t mess with, and it’s fun to see him on screen still.

The way he holds himself while dealing with (often uncontrollable) super heroes is impressive. He stands on their level and doesn’t back down. It’s hard to not have some respect for Nick Fury.

Phil Coulson a.k.a “Agent”

I couldn’t leave this one out. We’ll call him an honorable mention and leave it at that.

Six Iconic Named Sci-Fi Starships

And we’re back into an area I know well. I’ve been watching sci-fi shows since I was quite young. Growing up in a nerdy family meant that Star Trek TNG was on every week when I was little. As I grew older, I read and watched a great deal of sci-fi. Let’s jump/warp into some ships.

Starship Enterprise

Where else could I start this? I thought about cheating and answering with Enterprises: NX-01, NCC-1701, NCC-1701-A, NCC-1701-B, NCC-1701-D, and NCC-1701-E, but that did feel a bit like cheating. For this I’ll count them all as the USS Enterprise, but the number of incarnations of the vessel should show how iconic it is within the Star Trek universe.

While I may be a fan of Deep Space Nine, the USS Defiant isn’t as iconic as the Enterprise. It’s had more captains mentioned on screen than I can remember, and I’m sure the books have mentioned more individuals who’ve captained Enterprises (but I’ve not read the books). Kirk and Picard will both be remembered for a long time as captaining their vessels through TV shows and movies.

Millennium Falcon

I think many would have me strung up if I went somewhere other than Star Wars after Star Trek. Prior to being the smuggling freighter flown by Han Solo, this star ship belong to Lando Calrissian. Whil Star Wars is full of interesting ships, including Star Destroyers, Super Star Destroyers, X-Wings, Y-Wings, A-Wings, TIE Fighters, TIE bombers, etc. Those, however, are all types of ships, and often not named. While there are some important ships in the series like the Tantive IV, the Slave I, or the Executor, none follow the action of the series as well or as significantly as the Falcon.

Plus, there’s something magical about the idea of the independent ship out for itself in a whole galaxy full of danger and opportunity. I think this ship must have influenced a lot of others, and the idea certainly resonates with me. I can see the influence in Firefly as well as Outlaw Star, two of my favorite shows.

Serenity

Firefly may have ended earlier than many would liked, the show continues to live on in the fans. The Firefly-class ship featured in the show is Serenity, a cargo vessel captained by Malcom Reynolds. The show may seem to be an ensemble cast of 9 characters crewing the vessel, but when you watch the show, you realize the 10th character is the vessel.

With the reception the show has had, and all of the love from fans, I think this less-than-one-season show will live in people’s hearts longer than one would otherwise expect. Amazingly, the vessel (and its show) was brought back to wrap up the story in the film named for the ship!

Battlestar Galactica

I think having a television series re-imagined decades later, and both series being titled for one-specific show the entire series revolves around makes a starship fairly iconic. While many may not know the show at all, the name is likely known to them well.

Being a bastion of humanity traveling through space makes the ship important throughout the story, and while some may argue about the quality of the shows, it’s hard to argue that this is not an iconic ship.

Heck, I’ve played the Battlestar Galactica board game more times than most people want to think about, and I do still enjoy the game!

Discovery One

While 2001: A Space Odyssey may not have continued the way that some other science fiction stories have, many know of it still. I think what makes this ship iconic today is less the ship itself than HAL 9000, the AI in control of many of the ships functions.

Take this off the list, HAL.
I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.
What’s the problem?
I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.

The Milano

Yeah, I’m stretching here, since I kind of decided to keep it to one per franchise, but Guardians of the Galaxy has really captured people’s attention. Star Lord a.k.a Peter Quill owns and pilots this nimble vessel. Plus, it’s got a cassette player! Who doesn’t love that?!?!

I’m noticing a trend here, with the Milano, Millennium Falcon, and Serenity making three ships involved in not-so-legal activies captained by similarly overconfident characters. Either way, they’re fun!

Honorable Mentions (in no particular order)

  • Slave I – Star Wars
  • Executor – Star Wars
  • Tantive IV – Star Wars
  • USS Voyager – Star Trek
  • USS Defiant – Star Trek
  • Rodger Young – Starship Troopers
  • Rocinante – The Expanse
  • The Heart of Gold – Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  • Normandy – Mass Effect
  • O’Neill – Stargate
  • George Hammond – Stargate
  • Destiny – Stargate
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About Brendan
Nerdin' it up!

4 Responses to D&D, SHIELD, and Starships – Geekout 1

  1. Pingback: RPGs, WW2, and Sci-Fi TV – Geekout 6 | Jedi By Night

  2. Pingback: Comic Vehicles, Star Trek Actors, and Madeleine – Geekout 13 | Jedi By Night

  3. Pingback: Joss Whedon, Train Games, and Captain America – Geekout 14 | Jedi By Night

  4. Pingback: Pi, Tabletop Currency, and Female Supervillains – Geekout 19 | Jedi By Night

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