Stephen King, Vampires, and Caped Heroes – Geekout 29

It’s time to discuss some geekiness today! Still a ways behind, but I’m hopeful that I’ll catch up. I’m writing these posts based on a page-a-day calendar that prompts me to name geeky things. Today we’re going to talk about Four Stephen King Book Titles, Four Video Games in which a Vampire is an Enemy, and Four Superheroes that Wear Capes. Seems reasonably possible. We’ll see if I can get all the way to four with that first one…

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And now for the content!

Four Stephen King Book Titles

Sadly, I tried to come up with all four here, but could only name 3. I’m falling one short. I’ve not read any of his books, however, I’m seen the movie adaptations of three of his novels. These are the novels.

IT

Saw this terrifying clown movie as a kid. At the time, however, I didn’t know the significance of who was cast as the clown. Let’s just say that I really enjoy his grin quite a bit. The film is based on the Stephen King novel, as I said, I’ve not read it.

The Shining

I don’t know how closely the film matches the book. I recall people talking about the differences, so I know there are some significant changes. Considering how good the film is, I’d expect the novel is very good as well. I think I might enjoy reading it, so I likely will at some point. Remind me not to take a job as a caretaker of an old hotel in the mountains…

Pet Sematary

This is a strange one. I don’t recall the details, except for undead pets. I think at least one of these was created intentionally. There’s an ancient burial ground (as there always is), and the pets buried there come back to life. Also, I had to look up the spelling of the title, because it’s not spelled correctly. The story is spelled that way because the children made a sign for the pet “sematary” where they buried their dead pets.

Four Video Games in which a Vampire is an Enemy

Had to be enemies. No Vincent for this one. I guess I’ll take my copies of Final Fantasy VII and go home… I’m going to count any enemies, whether they’re prominent in the game or not. I’m expecting that I can get a set of games that will all feature some prominent vampire. I’ll likely not shed too much light on them, however, since I hate spoilers.

Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn

Without getting into the details, this Dungeons and Dragons based game has more than a few vampires as enemies. Some of them are named, significant opponents, so I don’t want to get into those details for reason of spoilers. This is a great, classic game, and there’s an updated version of the game that plays well on modern hardware.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

This past Wednesday I was having a discussion with some friends about what a great year 1997 was for movies and video games. This is one of those 1997 released games that I mentioned. It’s often considered one of the best of this large franchise. Yes, the franchise is full of vampires as enemies.

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines

This game has been in my Steam wish list for over two years now, and I’ve yet to play it. Having played Vampire: The Masquerade in its LARP form, I know that the game must have vampires as enemies. As I’m sure the main character must be a vampire as well. I always hear good things, and would like to play the game at some point.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

There are plenty of vampires that you can fight in this game. And if you’re not careful, you can become one! There’s some disease that you get first, and you’ll be a vampire before you know it. Oops! People in the game start making comments about it, because you look kind of scary to them once you’re a vampire. Not good. Fun though!

Four Superheroes that Wear Capes

No capes! OK, these guys have capes, which Edna would not approve of. I’m going to allow anything even cape-like as long as it’s a loose fabric hanging down behind the shoulders. OK. Three. Two. One. Let’s jam!

Batman

Considering his nickname is The Caped Crusader, it’s hard to imagine him without a cape. Unlike some others, Batman uses a functional cape. Flight or glider depending on the incarnation, but it’s also part of his arsenal of flare and intimidation.

Superman

How else would you be able to tell he’s flying if he didn’t have a cape being pulled by wires behind him? This cape-wearing superhero would be hard to tell to leave the cape behind. He’s a bit more powerful than most heroes, so if he’s willing to chance it, I won’t tell him otherwise!

Thor

This Asgardian ruler has a certain look to uphold, and the cape is part of his wardrobe. I believe he’d be wearing this cape at home and when acting as a superhero. Again, hard to tell him not to. I think he’d keep the cape if only for the look it gives him.

Dr. Strange

Similar to the usefulness Batman finds in his cape, the Cloak of Levitation that Dr. Strange wears is quite powerful. It’s a magical cloak that allows Dr. Strange to fly and can even move around, acting as a powerful tool or weapon as needed.

Wrap Up

Looks like we got most of that. The next post will cover Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and General Geekiness.

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Known Superheroes, Animated Sci-Fi, and Fantasy Races – Geekout 28

Many topics we’ve seen in this series of posts as I try to keep up with a page-a-day calendar I received last year. The calendar challenges me to name some geeky things each day. I go a little beyond that, trying to write something about each one as I go. Today, I’m tasked with naming Two Superheroes without a Secret Identity, Four Animated Sci-Fi Films, and Six Fantasy Races.

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Let’s see how it goes!

Two Superheroes without a Secret Identity

Most superheroes maintain a secret identity, so they can have some semblance of protection for their loved ones and normal lives in general. Sometimes the heroes are considered vigilantes working outside the law, so need the protection from the government as well as from the villains. Whatever the reason, there are some who cannot (or choose not) to maintain separate lives.

Dr. Manhattan – The Watchmen

After turning his transformation, Dr. Manhattan might have the powers to hide his new identity, but I doubt he cares enough to deal with it anyway. He’s completely blue and has incredible powers. He’s probably one of the most powerful characters in all comics. Ever. I don’t remember many calling him anything except for Dr. Manhattan.

Dr. Strange

Considering that his name was already Dr. Strange, that’s certainly not keeping things secret to use it still. My guess here is that what he’s fighting is too obscure for most people to even notice or care. He’s not fighting the normal villains like the Avengers. The magical world is separate enough that he probably doesn’t bother with a secret identity.

Iron Man

Doubt this was always the case, but the current cinematic version of this character almost immediately dropped that secret identity, revealing that he is Iron Man. I think it fits well, since the character is too arrogant to avoid the fame and glory.

Four Animated Sci-Fi Films

This is surprisingly challenging, since there aren’t that many good ones to be honest… Most science fiction films are not animated.

Titan A.E.

I’m probably the only person, but I really enjoyed this movie. I’ve seen it quite a few times actually. It’s objectively not a very good movie, but it has some elements that I enjoy that will seem familiar to any science fiction fans. You’ll probably laugh at how many famous people there are doing the voice acting for this not-so-successful film.

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

I hope you weren’t worried about “Spirits Within” when you saw “Final Fantasy”. Yes, it would have qualified for this category, but I’d rather pull this one. This film is part of the Final Fantasy VII Compilation, taking place after the events of the game. Some Final Fantasy games would be considered fantasy, and some are a combination of fantasy and science fiction. Final Fantasy VII is one of the science fiction ones where there’s a world of technology, including some ahead and some behind our own. Mostly it’s just different from our own.

If you’ve not seen this film, I’d steer clear of it if you have yet to play the game. I know it’s challenging to go back to a 20 year old game, but I think it’s worth playing. Once you’ve played the game, the film will provide an interesting continuation to the story. I don’t know how the Final Fantasy VII remake will be, but I’d still recommend playing the original game first.

WALL-E

I love this movie. It doesn’t have the heart-wrenching beginning like Up, but it’s still full of emotion as well as fun. Foreign contaminant. It takes a bit of a comedic approach at times, but it’s got some strong environmental warnings. In the film, the Earth is no longer suitable for human life, and humans now live on generational ships in space.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Even being a Star Wars fan, I’ve yet to see this film. When it was coming to theaters, it looked more like a children’s film than a Star Wars movie. I know that the Clone Wars TV Show and also Rebels are good, but this I’ve never heard good things about. I may watch it at some point. We’ll see.

Six Fantasy Races

If there’s one area I’ve expertise in, it’s this one. Here we can cross into Dungeons and Dragons as well as plenty of fantasy novels. And I’m skipping humans, despite their being a race within the fantasy genre.

Elves

The standard race that appears in most everything. Depictions of them vary from being taller than or shorter than humans. Nearly always though, these pointy-eared creatures, are considered wiser and longer-lived than humans.

I debated bringing in the different types of elves, but that seemed a bit unfair. Many worlds have various elves, Tree Elves, Wood Elves, Forest Elves, High Elves, Dark Elves, Night Elves, etc. Each of these have different traits, characteristics, and societal structures.

Dwarves

One of my favorite bits about dwarves, though not consistent, is that even the female dwarves have large beards. Always makes me laugh, because it would be challenging, given the stoutness of dwarves in general, for humans to tell the difference. Could make for some awkward and potentially insulting pronoun-usages.

Dwarves are always shorter than humans, and are nearly always miners of some kind. They’re often greedy, hoarding gold, gems, and jewelry within their mountains. They’re also stocky fighters who can drink ale with the best of them.

Halflings

Halflings are a very short race, even shorter than dwarves most times. You may also know them by Tolkien’s name for them, Hobbits. Their small stature makes them light-footed and good at pilfering and burgling. Often overlooked for their size, most stories and gaming systems feature them more powerful than some might expect. Judge them by their size, do you?

Orcs

I often feel bad for Orcs, because everyone immediately assumes they’re all evil monsters based solely on their monstrous appearances. I’m sure there are stories where an Orc as good, but I’m not currently thinking of one. Orcs in Tolkien’s world are monstrously-perverted Elves if I remember correctly. If that’s the case, that at least means that they’d share some characteristics with the Elves. Are the Orcs smart? Are they wise? Would they, if they could, create a society of their own?

Gnomes

This nuisances come in garden variety or as illusionists. Probably more than that, but I had to make the joke. Gnomes are tricksters sometimes, and as such specialize in illusions if you play RPGs. They’re also very small, which you probably guessed based on the garden ones.

I’ve unintentionally played a gnome in a game of D&D. I was playing a Human Bard with very close ties to the Druids, and had requested a Reincarnation rather than a True Resurrection if I were to die in my adventures. It happened, and the Reincarnated brought my character back as a Gnome. Luckily, the Bard’s abilities at performing were epic, so he was able to resume his previous life. Just a bit shorter

Goblins

And everyone’s favorite race to hate, the Goblins. More than a decade ago, a comic called Goblins Comic was created. I haven’t read it in a long time, so I don’t know where the story has gone. It seems to still be going though, so maybe I’ll check in on it. What’s interesting is that the story follows two sets of main characters, some traditional characters, and a one is a group of Goblins. It’s great, because Goblins are not often the main characters of stories and are generally just the evil creatures that adventurers kill at the beginning of their quests.

Wrap Up

Next up for your geeky enjoyment is General Geekiness, Gaming, and Comics. See you next time!

“Yeah, I wouldn’t place a lot of confidence in what you just heard. Over and out.” – Wolf, answering a pager.

D20s, Manga Writers, and Post-Apocalyptic Worlds – Geekout 21

As we’re into the fourth week of the year, what better way to celebrate than by nearly completing one of these geekout challenges. Today I’m tasked with naming Two Games that contain a d20 as a Component, Two Manga Writers, and Four Television Shows or Films [Set] in a Post-Apocalyptic World.

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Here we go!

Two Games that contain a d20 as a Component

For clarity, if you don’t know, “d20” means a 20-sided die rolled to get an indeterminable number as a result. These are nearly always a icosahedron. For this prompt, I could obviously just name some pen and paper roleplaying games here, but I don’t want to do that; I’m going to draw a line here for myself. This says “contains a d20 as a Component”, which I am going to interpret that the d20 must come with the game, not be a separately required purchase.

D&D Starter Set

This is a boxed set of Dungeons and Dragons. It doesn’t contain the full rulebooks, but it’s got simplified versions of the required rules in order to play. Also contained in the box are some premade characters and an designed adventure. Most importantly to what I’m writing here is that it came with a set of dice in the box., which means it counts! For people who wanted an easier way to get started with D&D, a box set lowers that barrier to entry greatly.

Formula D

Formula D is a racing board game where you’re driving your racecar around a track. You roll dice to determine how far you move, and the die is chosen based on the gear you’re in. What’s interesting here is that the movement dice are not normal and have some duplicate values on the faces. If you want to say that the d20 with non-standard printing doesn’t count, then I’ll cite the game’s damage die; the black d20 is a normal d20 with the usual sides and is used as the damage die in the game.

Two Manga Writers

Coming up with people’s names. Even when I have ever learned someone’s name, it’s so hard to remember. Here goes!

Akira Toriyama

He’s the artist/writer behind the Dragon Ball manga, so he qualifies for this. I’m more familiar with the anime based on the manga, which I did watch long ago. I’m also a Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross fan, and he did the character design for the former. If you know Dragon Ball, you’ll notice his style in the Chrono Trigger characters, and you’ll see it even more in Blue Dragon, another set of characters he designed.

CLAMP

And here’s why I said at the beginning of the post that I’d be nearly completing this challenge. I’m kind of cheating here, since I feel like I should be naming a person. I don’t know the names of the members of CLAMP. I know it’s a group of female manga artists who rotate responsibilities. In other words, if I could come up with one of their names, I’d probably be correct. Sadly, I’ll not be able to here.

Four Television Shows or Films Set in a Post-Apocalyptic World

I changed “that take place in” to “set in”, because that prompt was quite wordy. Anyway, I’m planning to be generous in the concept of post-apocalyptic, because devastating wars that cripple infrastructure, etc. certainly should count. If many are dead with society and infrastructure taking a giant leap backward, I’d say it counts.

The Matrix

Here’s a good one. After a war between humans and machines there’s not much left of the world. We know the sky was scorched, and the surface is uninhabitable now. Machines are using humans as batteries, and the remaining humans are hiding underground. Quite the bad scenario.

The Hunger Games

This world already had some issues, and a great war caused some more. I’d say (despite there being a functioning government) that this is a post apocalyptic world. It’s certainly a society that’s in shambles (in most places) after a war. And it’s kept in shambles intentionally. Much of the place is uninhabited, so I’d say it counts.

Zombieland

One of the best zombie movies I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen quite a few. This movie is comedy gold.Cardio. Double Tap. Always check the back seat. Such a funny movie. Can’t get enough of it. Obviously, being a zombie movie, it’s an post apocalyptic world of zombies.

WALL-E

One of the greatest of Pixar’s films, it takes place after the Earth has been abandoned by humanity. It was destroyed beyond use, so people took the space in generation ships designed to survive as long as needed. This movie has some interesting points we should consider with our society. Will we let the Earth get beyond our own saving? Who knows?

Wrap Up

Well, you can call this a win or a loss, but I did get some of it written. Tomorrow’s post will be Fantasy, General Geekiness, and Gaming.

RPGs, WW2, and Sci-Fi TV – Geekout 6

I am disappointed that the first prompt for the day only requires listing 2, but I can understand that for many people only 1 is obvious. Let’s jump in! Today’s prompt is Two Tabletop RPGs, Four Comic Book Characters Alive During WW2, and Six Sci-Fi Television Shows.

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I’ll warn you in advance that I’m adding an honorable mentions list to my gaming question of the day, since I’ve got too many to name.

Two Tabletop RPGs

Well here’s one that I wish had a larger number. Yeah, plenty of people are going to name one obvious one and have trouble coming up with a second. That’s just that outside the RPG community, only one game has risen to the public’s mind as much as D&D.

Dungeons & Dragons

Considering that the Geekout prompts have already challenged me to name Two Dungeons and Dragons Character Classes, it seems like they made this one incredibly simple to get the first. Even people who’d forgotten the game existed would’ve been reminded five days ago.

As I mentioned in that post, I’ve been playing this game a looong time. My father got my playing D&D using the first edition advanced books. As years passed, my friends and I moved through Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition, Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition, Dungeons & Dragons v3.5, Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition, and Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition. Yes, I did play Pathfinder (a.k.a. D&D 3.75).

Here are some of my D&D books that were near enough to grab and take some quick photos. I grouped them roughly by edition, having the 3.0 and 3.5 together.

AdvancedDungeonsAndDragonsSecondEditionAdvancedDungeonsAndDragonsDungeonsAndDragonsThirdEditionDungeonsAndDragonsFourthEditionDungeonsAndDragonsFifthEdition

 

Exalted

While you might have thought that my favorite Tabletop RPG (based on the amount of D&D I’ve played) is D&D. It’s not. My favorite game is definitely Exalted. I’ve been playing in an infrequently played Exalted campaign for years now, and my group gets together to play whenever we’re in the same city.

My regular, weekly gaming session is currently an Abyssal Exalted game and the less frequently played one is a classic, Solar Exalted game.

Solar Campaign

In my solar campaign, I play a priest of the Unconquered Sun. As anyone who knows the game would expect, the character is a Zenith caste. He frees slaves, protects innocents, and tries to provide food and shelter to anyone and everyone he can. Driven primarily by compassion and conviction, he’s trying to carve out a better world than what exists today.

Abyssal Campaign

Surprisingly, this campaign has had a severe lack of combat considering we’re playing Abyssals, which are commonly known as Death Knights. We’ve been working behind the scenes and are establishing positions where we’re likely to behave more like you’d expect from creatures of darkness. Just hasn’t happened yet. We find it funny, because our “light-side” game involves much more killing than the “dark-side” one.

Honorable Mentions

  • Pathfinder – Often referred to as D&D 3.75, this game leveraged the D20 system based on Wizards of the Coast making it an open system for expansion. That means that when D&D went to 4th edition, the people who thought it had gone the wrong way we able to fall back to 3.75. My group was among those, and we enjoyed Pathfinder as it added new life and ideas to D&D 3.5.
  • Eclipse Phase – A game I’ve played once that seemed very interesting. It’s futuristic, and has some cool mechanics. I’ve got the book for it, and I’d like to use that to play the game more. It’s so hard to get games going (and finding the time to play them requires even more!)
  • GURPS –  I wanted to mention this one despite my not having played it. I know plenty of people who swear by this system. They tend to be the people who play way too many Steve Jackson games already. The name of this system is ridiculous. It’s the “Generic Universal RolePlaying System”, and yes, people do say “gurps” rather than spelling G-U-R-P-S.
  • Shadowrun – I’ve only played a little bit of Shadowrun, but it’s also a very cool roleplaying game. It is set in a fictional future society and combines technology and fantasy ideas. There are fantasy creatures like elves, dwarves, etc. in their world, and it’s on Earth still. It’s set in the future, so technology has advanced some. I’ve often laughed with people about how off the game is in its technology though. A challenge that anyone imagining the future will run into!

Four Comic Book Characters Alive During WW2

OK. This one is a little tough, since I know my comic book characters mostly through their cartoon, movie, and TV adaptations rather than the comics. I’m fairly certain that my selections here were alive during WW2 in the comic books, but I can’t say for certain.

Captain America

This one should be obvious, so I started here. This is kind of his thing, since he’s basically the character made to fight that war. With all of the movies about him, do I really need to say much more? No I’m not including his friend Bucky in the list.

Magneto

I’d guess he’s that old in the comics as well, since he’s been around for quite a long time, and he’s (as far as I know) often one of the older characters. In the films they certainly have him alive for WW2. In fact, it’s quite central to his character’s backstory in the films. He’s got the tattoo as a reminder of that time period.

Wolverine

Not sure how old Wolverine is to be honest, but given that he doesn’t really get much older, it’s not hard for him to have been there. At least in his origin movie, he was definitely there for WW2.

I liked this character a lot as a kid, despite the outfits from that period that I now laugh at. He’s interesting because the claws are nice, but his real power is just healing. On the surface that might seem super amazing, but keep in mind that is different from impervious. When Superman deflects a bullet, does it hurt? I doubt it. I’d guess that Wolverine feels every cut before it heals closed. Now that would build a not-so-light-side character over time.

Peggy Carter

And we’re back to the badass herself, Agent Peggy Carter! Yes, she’s probably more of a badass now than she was in the early comics, but she’s kicks some serious butt. Obviously around for the right time period, since she was in that time period with Cap.

Six Sci-Fi Television Shows

Well here’s a great one for me! I’ve watched so many sci-fi shows, so I’m going to lump franchises together. I’d have too many to list otherwise.

Star Trek

Is there a more iconic answer to this? I don’t think anything else could have come before Star Trek. Sure, Trek and Wars are often compare, but Wars is known for movies and Trek for TV. They may both cross over that, but traditionally that’s where each stood strongest.

My favorite of these would surprise many people. I’m a Deep Space Nine fan, which is not a common opinion. It bridged the Next Generation and Voyager gap nicely. So far no Star Trek series has been made that I did not enjoy. I’m not sure if I’m going to watch the upcoming one, since they’re planning to have it be streaming only and behind a subscription paywall. If I were watching their full lineup of shows, maybe, but I’m not and won’t be.

Firefly

This is a fantastic, wonderful show that probably could have and should have been one of the greatest shows ever made. Joss Whedon is known for doing ensemble casts well, and this show is a lot of the reason why he’s known for that. I’d watch the heck out of this show if it continued, but I don’t want it to continue anymore. More than anything else, I worry that this canceled-too-soon show will be made far worse if it were continued at this point.

I did not watch the show when it originally aired. To be honest, I didn’t get a good vibes from the marketing of the show during its airing. After it was cancelled, some people made sure I saw the show. I was hooked after watching the first episode. Yes, the 2 hour pilot that Fox didn’t air until the show had been marked for cancellation was so good that it along sold me on the show. Most shows take a few episodes before I’m really into them.

Anyway, if you want t good Firefly rant, I enjoy this video. The Firefly rant starts at 1:30.

Battlestar Galactica

I’m referring to the reimagined series here, not the original. I tried to watch that one, but just didn’t get into the original one. As you’d expect, fans disagree on which parts are good and bad, etc. Through the series, however, I believe the best part is the characters. I may not always agree with the directions a character took, but I love the characters in this story. And if you’re a board gamer, I’m a big fan of the board game based on this show. The more popular game, The Resistance, is pretty much based on a mechanic from this board game.

Stargate

Again I’m talking about multiple shows here. SG1, the original series, is a classic that is loved by the fans. Before the later-season cast changes, it’s one of the best shows you’ll find within the genre. No, the issues weren’t the cast changes themselves, but the show did start going off the rails a bit toward the end. I think they were just getting exhausted for ideas and still trying to keep the show going.

Teal’c, Daniel Jackson, Samantha Carter, Jack O’Neill, “Hammond of Texas”, and a wide variety of other enjoyable characters kept that show going strong for a long time. The concept itself is great, and it allowed the series to expand on the idea a few times.

I’ll probably bug some people here, but I did not like Atlantis. I watched it at the beginning, but it lost me very quickly. The show seemed to drift from science fiction into fantasy, and that’s not what I like in my Stargate. It just didn’t feel like Stargate anymore.

And for the show that got cancelled too early, Stargate: Universe, it only received two seasons of content, which in some ways seems deserved. The issue, however, is that the show was great right at the start, and didn’t hit its stride until it was nearing its cancelation. Yes, that happens a lot with shows, they get something going and just end. And yes, I’m a big fan of Nicholas Rush in the show.

I didn’t watch infinity, so I’ve not much to say on that point.

My favorite episode of Stargate is definitely the Groundhog Day Episode, “Window of Opportunity”, which features a Groundhog Day-like timeloop. In it, Jack starts each loop being asked a question by Daniel while he’s eating his bowl of Fruit Loops. The problem is that Jack didn’t hear the question the first time, so can never answer that question. The best part is after Daniel suggests that they can do anything, so they decide to go golfing through the Stargate. “Colonel O’Neill, what the hell are you doing?” “IN THE MIDDLE OF MY BACKSWING?!?!”

Sliders

This must be the least popular of the shows on this list, but Sliders did have quite a few seasons in the 90s. In this show, the main character invents a device that allows people to “slide” between dimensions. He and some others end up traveling together through dimensions as they try to find their way home. It’s a fun show that obviously gets off its rails quickly, but there are some good seasons at the beginning if you’re interested in some 90s nostalgia.

The Expanse

My wife suggested we watch this series. I agreed, since it sounded interesting. After watching a couple of episodes, she mentioned something about the books. Well, I’d not heard of the book series, so I started reading the books. They’re great! I’m currently reading the 6th book, which came out almost exactly a month ago. I’m not reading it quickly, usually a chapter at a time. I think the TV show did the books justice, and I’m really looking forward to what they do going forward.

If you’re interested, the first season of the show doesn’t follow the books exactly, but is mostly the first half of the first book. Looks like they’re pulling in characters earlier than they appear in the books, but this makes sense for a TV show where you need to meet characters sooner. Books can get away with that a little better.

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!

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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