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.

2017-02-01 Geekout

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.

Buffy Villains, Periodic Table, and Dice Games – Geekout 22

I’ll get to set myself some fun restrictions today! Let’s talk about geeky stuff!

On today’s docket is Four Villains in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV series), Six Elements from the Periodic Table, and Two Games that Require More Than Three Dice.

2017-01-25 Geekout

Time for geekiness! Let’s go!

Four Villains in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV series)

Interestingly, I didn’t watch this full show until recently. I always knew of its existence, but didn’t ever watch it. Now I can say that it’s a great show.

Mayor Wilkins

One of the more fun villains, the mayor is a little crazy. He’s powerful and becoming more powerful. He’s not a vampire, but does team up with them, making things hard for Buffy. Being the mayor lets him do some terrible things as well. Power comes in many forms.

Spike

Probably the most well-known and everyone’s favorite villain, Spike is a vampire. He’s a complex vampire, so he’s far more interesting than he could otherwise be. Through this complexity, he’ll sometimes team up with Buffy. It would be super boring if he was just classic evil for no reason at all.

The Master

The first of Buffy’s supervillains, this first season antagonist tries to open a portal to hell in the town. Sunnydale being at the hellmouth means this centuries-old vampire can really try to usher in quite a bit of destruction.

Drusilla

Another vampire, she was introduced along with Spike; the two were in a relationship at the time. She’s a complicated one, and has a great deal of connection with Spike and Angel. I believe Angel (when he was evil) sired her in some horrible way. I forget the details. Either way, her connection to him creates for some dangers for the Buffy and the gang.

Six Elements from the Periodic Table

I want to do something interesting for this one, since there are way too many elements to be stuck with only six choices. My wife suggested I choose the first six elements or possibly doing a column. I was thinking maybe restricting to only those discovered in America or possible ones named after a person. I’ve thought of restricting to ones discovered in the 20th century only. Some other ideas I’ve had I’m not confident there are even six of, so I’ll be boring and do a column. I’ll go with the Noble Gases.

Helium

This is the first element that stars make! Stars are constantly crushing hydrogens together into helium, producing plenty of heat and light in the process. Thanks, Sol! I’m sure that we use this stuff for plenty of purposes, but everyone’s favorite is inflating balloons that will be lighter than the air around them.

Neon

Another of our gases, this one you may have seen in lighting. Neon lights sometimes actually have neon in them. If I’m not mistaken, most don’t anymore, since other gases are used instead. We still call them “neon lights” though.

Argon

If you’ve ever heard that Earth’s atmosphere is mostly Nitrogen and Oxygen, you’re well-informed about what makes up our air. The next element on that list is Argon. I forget what percentage it is, but it’s tiny; our air is mostly Oxygen and Nitrogen.

Krypton

Best known for being Superman’s weakness…. Just kidding! That’s Kyrptonite. Totally different element. I’d love to tell you something cool about Krypton, but, to be honest, I don’t remember much about it. All you get is my stupid joke, and I’m now onto the next one!

Xenon

Still not up-to-date enough on this stuff to give you more than a name here. I know it’s one of the noble gases, but I can’t think of where we use it. These are probably all used in lighting in some manner, but I can’t remember specifically.

Radon

This is a nice radioactive element that will mess you up if the levels of it are high. If you’ve bought a home recently, you likely had the house tested for levels of Radon. Even if you’re a non-smoker, this is a way that you can get lung cancer, if too much radon builds up in your home.

Two Games that Require More Than Three Dice

I’m going to say that games “require” dice that are intended to be rolled at the same time. I understand that you can re-use dice for plenty of games, and if you think I shouldn’t have that count, just pretend I named the games containing d20s from yesterday’s post.

Exalted

My current favorite roleplaying game is Exalted, and I wrote about my Exalted Campaigns in a previous post. The game is a dice-pooling game, which means that you roll large amounts of dice and are looking for threshold numbers of successes. For this reason, you “require” a lot of dice. I use 30 d10s when I play, but usually need somewhere between 10 and 20 of them at a time.

Can’t Stop

This is a press-your-luck dice game where you’ll roll four 6-sided dice on your turn, grouping them into pairs to and adding up the pips. In other words, if you rolled 2,3,4,5 on the dice, you could get one of the following sets: [5,9], [6,8], [7,7]. This is a press your luck game, so if any of those sets are unusable, you end your turn without making progress. You keep rolling until you either decide to stop, or get no valid results.

Wrap Up

Also, you’re welcome. It took me an embarrassing amount of time to remember the noble gases, which is why I didn’t feel bad when I wrote little about them. I slept through chemistry class, so give me a break, please.

Anyway, now that I’m done with that, let’s talk about the next post. In that post, I’ll be working with Comics, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy as my categories.

Witches, South Park, and Cthulhu – Geekout 17

When I decided to start this, I figured this would be one of the best ways to encourage myself to start writing on this blog. I’d left this place stale for quite a while, having only posted a few things when I felt like it. A personal blog isn’t something I’d really taken on before. Either way, I’ve been successful so far with this Geekout challenges from the page-a-day calendar I received for Christmas.

Today I’ll be writing about Four Named Witches, Six Characters from South Park, and Two Games in which Cthulhu appears.

2017-01-19 Geekout

An interesting set of topics here. Let’s get diggin’!

Four Named Witches

I’m not sure “named” needed to be said here, but still fairly easy to handle. What defines a “witch” seems to depend on the source material, so if they’re calling someone a witch, I’ll count it!

Hermione Granger – Harry Potter Series

In the story’s world, magic users are referred to as “wizards” if they’re males and “witches” if they’re females. I kind of wanted to pick a less-significant character to the stories, but I thought people would have me strung up for skipping her. Can’t keep writing these if I’m dead now can I?

Written as a very smart witch, Hermione seems to know just about everything that’s readily available to someone of her age (and some things that aren’t as well)!

Samantha Stephens – Bewitched

A classic television show here, Samantha marries Darrin Stephens, a non-magical man who’s in for more than he bargained for. Choosing to marry him rather than a warlock, she tries to not use her powers, but that’s often difficult. Her mother is often around causing mischief and trying to separate them. It’s always fun watching her struggle with trying to not use her powers. She and her mother are both witches, and I’m sure others were on the show, but I’d not come up with a name for them.

Morrigan – Dragon Age Series

She and her mother are referred to as witches of the wilds in Dragon Age, so I’d say they nicely qualify as witches. She’s a shapeshifter, which is an interesting power.

Sabrina – Sabrina, The Teenage Witch

As another television show character, she’s also on the cornier side of things. She’s a teenager who finds out she’s a witch. Her aunts are around teaching her the ways of witchcraft and such. I don’t remember the show too well, but I recall it essentially being a sitcom where the main character has some magical powers. Sounds fun to me!

Six Characters from South Park

I remember when this show came out. I wasn’t very old at the time, but it was pervasive even among children too young for its material. I’ve not really kept up on the show at all, but I knew it long ago. I’ll get the basics here.

Kenny

I’ll start here, so I can reference him more easily below. Starting from the beginning there was a running gag about Kenny dying. I recall seeing Kenny with his hood off in their movie, but before that his face was mostly covered by his hood. He’s always wearing the bright orange winter coat with the hood covering most of his face.

Stan

He is another one of the main characters of the show. Stan’s most known line must be about how one or more people or things just killed Kenny.

Kyle

Also a main character, I seem to recall Kyle also exclaiming about Kenny being killed. It’s been too long to remember much there. I do remember that Kyle is the Jewish one, and considering the show, that’s going to be brought up often.

Cartman

Likely the least mature of the four main characters I’ve just mentioned, Cartman is also the show’s source of fat jokes. He’s the overweight, spoiled kid and is genuinely not nice to people (normal for most of the show’s characters).

Chef

As his name implies, Chef is the school’s cafeteria worker. To be honest, I’m not sure if he has another name; I didn’t watch enough of the show to know for certain if it’s a convenient name or a nickname. The main characters often get advice from Chef.

Butters

Like Chef, Butters is also a very prominent character in the series. The main thing I remember about Butters is his obsession with Bennigan’s. Don’t know if that was actually prominent or not, but I remember it.

Two Games in which Cthulhu appears

For those of you who don’t know, Cthulhu is a fictional being created by H. P. Lovecraft, an author who wrote plenty of weird stories about powerful, strange magical creatures, events, etc. Cthulhu is generally depicted as a giant humanoid creature with dragon-like wings and an octopus for a head.

Arkham Horror

A game that a really enjoy, Arkham Horror is a sometimes long game where the players work together to stabilize the world before a powerful, Great Old One arrives. Cthulhu is one of the ones that can be on his way. The players are trying to stop him (or another) from showing up, but also need to be prepared to fight the being should it arrive anyway!

Call of Cthulhu

This is a role-playing game that I’ve not played, but I do know people who play it. Fairly certain Cthulhu must have some kind of representation in the game. Don’t know what it is here, since I don’t know the game that well. I couldn’t exactly leave this one off of the list though.

Wrap Up

Tomorrow we’ll be discussing Comics, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy. I hope you make it back tomorrow!

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.

2017-01-06 Geekout

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!

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