Names for Nimrods

Just wanted to quickly throw is article out there, no meta-jokes about the blog being dead, no graphics. Let’s get to it.

It occurs to me that a lot of people who run/play RPGs have trouble naming things in their games. Characters, cities, or organizations, they all need a catchy name that the players will easily remember. Maybe it comes easier to me, because I don’t really place too much overall importance on it, but I’ve known players that took days and days to come up with a name for their character, looking for that perfect one. But names, like any other idea, are cheap, and there are a few methods for coming up with names that I’d like to share, in hopes of alleviating some of that “perfect name” stress.

  1. Syllable Smashing – The first because it’s the easiest to do, syllable Smashing is just that. While you’re doing your writing, just start stringing random syllables together until you come up with something that sounds vaguely like a word. The stress and “softness” (or hardness) of various sounds can say a lot about the setting, for instance, I find that a lot of harsh V and K sounds are good for more sinister or uncivilized settings, and G’s and Bs are better for more “traditional” people or places. Like if I were to say “Revik of Varkara and Gorel Gabriath met to discuss a truce”, you could probably guess (given proper context) That Revik is a goblin.But obviously, there aren’t a lot of aspects to this method that could be considered hard-and-fast rules. Pros: Easy, Quick. Cons: Can sound like baby-talk if not handled carefully. More examples: Dorgenallen Xerxesian, gnome archmage of The Xermesa Mages Alligiance, located in the city of Tongadall.
  2. Translate-Speak – Arguably one of the better ways to name things (if my opinion matters at all), Translate-Speak is when you come up with a name of a person, place, or thing by first coming up with an important aspect of that thing, be it a physical or personality trait, taking that aspect, and running it through Google Translate in various languages. For instance, say I want to create a knight. Let’s say that this knight is a loose cannon, a champion for the people who doesn’t always play by the rules. So, I choose the word “headstrong” to represent him. Let’s see……how about Welsh? Google Translate says that headstrong is “bengaled” (ben-yal-edd, says the computer voice) in Welsh. We can take this couple of ways. I could go the redundant route, and name him simply “Bengaled The Headstrong”, or it presents me with the syllable “ben”, so why not name him “Bennett Yaled”, or even simply “Benya Led”, and so on… Pros: an easy way to tie in a character name to something about them, which can reinforce the trait in your (and possibly everyone else’s) mind. Cons: if you make it too on the nose or too silly (Sir Adonde S. L. Banyo),  it can break immersion, but still I trust you. Example: Serkefele Sango (the words for “blood” and “veil” in Tolkien’s Elven language, Quenya, and the Esperanto word for “blood” as well for good measure. Better than Bloody McBloodguy) The Vampire Lord, Master of house Sango, residing in Castle Makilo (a corruption of the Arabic Translation of the word “Stronghold”)
  3. “Adjectiveverbing” (or verbadjectiving) – Plain old English. Nothing simpler. If not very exciting. This is simply the act of throwing English words together in an order that comprises a name. Many Star Wars characters have this naming scheme. Luke Skywalker, Biggs Darklighter, Bendak Starkiller. But you can use the scheme in a different way, one that sounds more at home in fantasy, such as: John Redfeather, leader of the Elmstar Watch, Lady Michaella Whitetower, Pierre Halflace, Grodep Skullbasher of Fort Blackstone. ‘Nuff said. Pros: Easy, descriptive. Con: can get repetitive when everyone has 4-5 syllable names with the same inflections.
  4. Actually Doing The Research – I don’t mean that to sound sarcastic. Because it isn’t actually a better or worse option than the others. It can crossover with #2 if you’re dealing with a homebrew setting, but most established settings in D&D (and other games, I imagine) have lists of names you can choose from based on race, or country of origin. For the longest time in my early days of gaming, my friends would just go down the list of name suggestions in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting book (page 11, if you care) and grab from there. The Forgotten Realms specifically was great for this, because of the wealth of cultures within the setting. within my groups, this lead to names like Roland Lamstrand, Kwallu Leedragon, and Nicos Nathos. Pros: Setting appropriate names. Cons: not always a large pool of names to choose from. Examples: Wulgar Skulldark, Dwarven Champion of New Ammarindar, Umbero Domine from  Alaghôn.

I hope this brief rundown of fantasy naming might help you or your players avoid tearing their hair out over the finer details of character creation. I want to end my article with a list of names I’ve used in the past in my games. You can use them, I guess, but why would you want to? Names are a dime a dozen, and you’ve got all the tools at your disposal now.

Cities/Places:

Gandwal, Tongad, Rog’Alev, Godshand Mountains, Estonteca, Cleora, Ironspen Range

Names (people/entities): Fangiris Mirikai, Omaro Balthasar, Jack Redwave, Sopena Wren, Kertiek, Ojarak, Kerrik (of course),  Lasseter The Plucked, Taproot Burrfoot, Jogan Mallow

Names (Groups/Races): The Fauka, Sons of Pasatheon, Kuudzufae, The Song/The Voice,   The Mago’wa

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Diceroller Flicks: Zero Charisma…Finally

I’m back folks! Please, let’s hold off the raucous applause and adulation until after the review.

Today we look at one of the newer entries into my bailiwick. I proffer to you, Zero Charisma. Released last October, the film was funded on Indiegogo.com, making about $25,000 for production.

It follows Scott, metalhead, delivery boy, and the general stereotype of a Game master that takes his fantasy too seriously.

As our film starts, it’s interesting to note that this is the second film I’ve looked at that starts in a supermarket. The main character Scott is buying snacks for his gaming group.

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If you could call them that.

I like this guy’s style. He’s got a bumper sticker on his car that says “Because I’m the Game Master…that’s why”. He arrives to his game, and the night seems to be going really well, he’s got snacks, a real DM screen (Lucky him, I made mine out of cardboard, and then glued a bunch of AD&D rules inside it. Alas, it was destroyed in the purge [when I moved a few months ago]), all his players sitting around his kitchen table, and he seems to be working his magic as a game master, until his friend makes a small joke that happens to interrupt his narration.

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I’ve been there. It took a week to get the blood off the game mat.

Slightly irked, he continues his narration, that is until his grandmother comes in to make a sandwich and asks him to open a jar for her. When he gets up to do that, one player leaves the room to make a call, and the others start watching the latest episode of their webseries.

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Scott goes to check on Kenny, the guy who left the room. You know, it’s a pretty big rule of mine (and I’m sure the same goes for a lot of you) that I don’t allow cell phones at the table. I don’t know what this guy’s doing that’s so important, but he did get up without saying anything. That’s pretty rude. Scott chooses to ignore Kenny’s blatant disregard for etiquette and just tells him to come back to the game. He says he’ll be back in a minute. Dude, you can’t start the game without everyone at the table! What’s your deal?

His wife’s leaving him? Oh. Umm…that’s not good…Well, I guess he’s allowed to have a reprieve. He says he can’t play anymore, and Scott tries to reason with him, saying they’ve been playing the same continuous weekly game for three years.

THREE YEARS?!? Kenny, bro. Let’s be reasonable, there are other fish in the sea…

What? You think that’s cold? I’d move to Tiksi if it meant a weekly game.

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I jest. Kinda.

Anyway, this means that Scott’s group is now incomplete. Because Scott is the kind of guy that can’t tie his shoes without rolling a success check, this comes as a bit of a shock. Seriously though, you can really tell that RPGs are his life. He gives this impassioned speech about “reawakening the tradition of communal storytelling” to one of the prospective players, and even though it didn’t get him very far, and was so much marketing baloney.

While delivering Chinese food to the local game store (from which he was fired the previous month for letting the cash register get robbed), he runs into Miles. Miles is looking to get back into D&D, and Scott takes the opportunity to rope him in.

The next game session rolls around (see what I did there? Like dice!), and Miles shows up. This guy seems really cool, he brings a six-pack, he’s a hugger, he’s up on his nerd trivia (Apparently the Millennium Falcon is faster than the Enterprise. Who knew?), and he’s a really great role-player. He’s a little too perfect for Scott, who likes to be in charge in order to put himself above others, (plus Miles answered a text at the table. Seriously, that’s just wrong) and heads are butted.

That night, Scott’s grandmother has a stroke, and his mother, Barbara, comes to visit her. Apparently Scott and his grandmother share a dislike for her, and it’s easy to see why. She’s pushy, controlling, and dramatic, and a little self-centered. Her fiance that she dragged along with her seems a little backwoods, but you can tell he’s trying to be a good guy. And she clearly doesn’t approve of him playing “that little dragons game”.

Quick tangent. Sorry. The thing is, I have never understood why people can look at certain things and think “Oh, that’s immature”. The really cool thing about being an adult? It’s that I get to decide what being an adult means, no one else. If I want to piss away hard earned money on plastic figurines and dice and books, that’s my prerogative. You watch football? I watch Game Grumps. Entertainment is entertainment. To each his own, right?

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Even this guy. Especially this guy

Anyway….sorry.

At the next game session, Miles wants to put the webseries the two guys were making onto his website, a popular geek-gaming-pop culture news site called geekchic.com. Which is apparently like a Nerdist.com or Kotaku stand-in for this movie. Scott tries to puff himself up. He’s got a blog, a totally awesome blog that is “mostly game related, but he writes about movies and other stuff”….I wouldn’t know anything about that. I’d kill for his “14 visitors a week” though….

Barbara tries to stop the game, telling him it’s late and to “be an adult”, and he tells her to leave. This means war, and she sits down with the group, telling all kinds of embarrassing stories about Scott until he quits. He storms up to his room, and in classic “I can’t deal with my emotions” fashion, blasts some thrash metal and puts his fist through his bedroom wall.

They decide to hold the next session at Mile’s house. Things just can’t get much worse at this point, right? WRONG!

Miles not only runs a popular website, is relatively physically attractive, nerd-savvy, and has a super cute girlfriend, he’s also a talented comic book artist with a really nice house.

After a failed attempt at claiming he wrote The Matrix (long story), Scott ends up crying in Mile’s bathroom. Throughout the movie, we see Scott painting a mini of  Ulric Bennevon, his DM avatar character in his campaign setting. He uses Ulric to block the PCs from gaining a certain plot-necessary magic item called the Stones of Light, and tries to shepherd them into a quest.

Miles decides he wants to just kill the guy and take the stones. Having been confronted on his controlling nature, Scott flips out and reveals to the room that essentially, he thinks that all his friends are losers, that he thinks their webseries sucks, and he hangs out with them to be the big man, something he just accused Miles of doing.

As much as I want to hate him, I can’t. Honestly I used to be this guy. I’m sure a lot of insecure nerds have done similar things in the past. Especially the ones that are big on fantasy because they prefer it to real life.

There’s a lot going on in this movie…Barbara tries to sell her mother’s house because she’s in a lot of debt and doesn’t want her fiancée to know. As the house had been promised to Scott, he’s more than a little upset.

You should have seen it before…

Amidst the rubble, he sees a picture of Greg “Totally Not Gary Gygax” Goran, the Godfather of Gaming. Who he remembers is making an appearance at the game store soon. He decides to go and see him, to clear up some of his doubts (as well as try to get his old job back). After this fails, and he’s at the lowest of the low and seething so hard you can see his ears steaming, he shows up to Miles house, where he’s having a party and all the cool, hipster-y people are there (excluding the game group). This random party guy named Kevin who looks a lot like Oancitizen goads Scott into challenging Miles to a medieval-style duel. With Crutches.

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Screw Kevin.

Miles is clearly panicking, his thin veneer of plastic glasses and cool-guy facial hair fading, he has nothing else to do but follow along. But then he gets a shot to the face, and repays in kind with a punch to the stomach that floors Scott. Scotts sidekick, who shows up to pick up Scott, jumps on Miles and gets a fistful of his hair.

After a brief time skip, Scott is now working at the retirement community that his grandmother agreed to go to after the house was sold. He’s looking after his grandmother and running an RPG for some of the old folks. One of the old guys tries to put the moves on a female character. It’s pretty cute. Fun Fact: Did you know that the STD rate among retirees has doubled in the last decade?

I think a lot of freaks and geeks can identify with some aspect of the main character. I know I could. That’s actually one of the reasons this took so long to do. It felt a bit too personal for me to comment on it. He’s socially inept, controlling, selfish, takes things way too seriously, can be over dramatic, can’t handle his emotions well, and puts other people down in order to make himself feel better. At least half of those were me in middle school. But that’s the point. He realizes all of these things and by the end of the film, he hasn’t changed too much, but he’s a lot happier and a lot more self-aware, as well a bit more forgiving of others.  And I think that makes all the difference.

Portrayal of RPGs – 4/5

There isn’t really a lot of RPG in this RPG movie. It’s about the gamers. There’s no “game world” footage, no random in-jokes about kobolds or mind flayers, and we barely see the sessions that take place throughout the film. The few times we get a good look at them, they’re very solid. and while Scott (the character, not Sam Eidson, the guy playing him) isn’t the greatest of actors, you can tell that he puts a lot of himself into the game. I would have liked to see a little more of it as the film progressed.

The Plot – 3/5

This movie, technically, is really well shot, well-acted, and the writing is pretty good. It almost seems to  suffer from another case of “Don’t sue us, please”, but it’s more subverted, in that the real counterparts do exist in universe, they just choose to do their own thing.

If I had to not like something about this movie, it’s the time skip at the end. It’s not jarring, but it really implies a lot that I would have liked to see. I can’t believe I’m saying this but “SHOW! DON’T TELL!”. You can see that Scott is a lot happier with this life, and although he hasn’t learned much, he’s much more relaxed.

Huh. Well, I guess this didn’t need that much editing after all. If you want to check out Zero Charisma, it’s available for streaming on Netflix, Amazon instant video and…Google Play? You can watch movies  on that? Huh. Cool. Anyway, until next time, See ya cyborgs!

NOTE: Due to a shift in my schedule, Tuesday will now be the day that I’ll be regularly updating. I can’t promise movie reviews, but I’ll have something for you to see here!

Goblin Interstitial: Gaming Philosophy

I really need to play more D&D. Or any RPG for that matter, but I don’t have the schedule for it. My work schedule isn’t overtaxing, but it’s erratic enough to break up any ambient creative energies that might try to coalesce.

RPGs and I have an interesting relationship. I’ve known about them virtually my entire life (thanks Dexter’s Lab and Disney’s Recess!). I want to say I never actually role-played in any real form (besides regular childhood stuff) until high school, but that isn’t quite true. In Elementary school, I had a friend who was a big fan of the Deltora Quest book series. I hadn’t read them at that point, and he would sort of…run me through the books, as if I was the main character, Leif. it was neat.

In high school, I went through a couple of different “I’m not part of the group” phases. One of the phases was me asking my best (and pretty much only) friend if we should try playing D&D. I GMPC’d the first game, and I can still remember my first character, a Turban-wearing, battleaxe-wielding sorcerer named Jack Redwave. I convection roasted an Owlbear. And don’t even get me started on what my friend’s monk did.

One thing that I’ve held pretty true is that story should always be a pretty important part of RPGs. You can thank Hickman, Weiss, and Salvatore for that. I’ve been a really avid reader my entire life (sometimes to the detriment of other things), and the “flow” of a story has always been the most interesting part of RPGs.

As the Pathfinder game that kicked me out can tell you, I’m not that great a player. I refused to turtle before every single room in the dungeon and I always wanted to do things the “clever” way, plus I get really bored waiting for “my turn”. My real passion is running games, where I can worldbuild, create interesting characters on the regular, and be constantly interacting with the rest of the people at the table.

My favorite method of DMing is pretty spontaneous. I read through a lot of the books, and then I create a list of “Cool Stuff” to use. Example:

  • A good-aligned lich living in the walls of an old church
  • An assassin dryad ninja who is out for revenge for the death of her sister
  • A ship graveyard that was turned into an independent  floating city

And then I lead the players in the direction of one of said cool things. Often just as waypoints on a larger journey, but it makes the world seem that much bigger.

As far as the entire scope of a campaign goes, I honestly can’t help you. I’ve got a confession.

I’ve never “finished” an RPG. Ever. I’ve been playing for almost 7 years, and I’ve never had a game come to a satisfying conclusion, or even a conclusion at all. They’ve always been interrupted. It’s frankly depressing.

I always plan these epic journeys where the characters have interesting things happen to them, they defeat a big bad, maybe even get a girl or two, but I’ve never even taken a party over level 7.

If anyone has some interesting stories they’d like me to share for them about their D&D experiences, email them to me. If I like them, I’ll post them here.

Other genres??

Wassup? Sorry, no new full post today, no excuses, I’ve just been working. I had a question though. Can anyone out there in internet-land recommend any RPG movies?

I’ve been compiling my list, and I was wondering if there existed any non-fantasy RPG movies? There are sooo many different genres of RPGs. Pulp, Cyberpunk, Urban Fantasy (which comes in both Vampire and Faerie flavors), not to mention whatever Don’t Rest Your Head is.

There is so much unused potential for different genres or even cross-genre clashes! A group of Vampire LARPers get the crap kicked out of them with boffer weapons. A bunch of CCG players are ostracized by role-players (Yes, I am currently watching Gamers: Hands of Fate, episodically on youtube, I highly recommend it). Both are great opportunities for lots and lots of papercuts!

Diceroller Flicks: Tripod vs. The Dragon

Are you ready folks? Today is a very special one, at least, I think it is. You decide.

Tripod Vs. The Dragon is a filming of a stageplay put on by one of my favorite comedy music groups from Australia (big list of contenders, I know, but they’re seriously really funny, check ’em out) Tripod, and Australian singer Elana Stone. The concept title was Dungeons and Dragons: The Musical, but they changed it for legal reasons.

The story starts (and they won’t let you forget this) at the dawn of time. The goddess of the word, The Tree of Knowledge, was attacked by wizards so they could steal a branch to forge a Spear of Knowledge.

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And would you look at that production value! Such beauty! An overhead projector never looked so good!

Meanwhile, in the real word, it’s Saturday, and and the game is just starting. Our Players (in the theatrical sense, not the other one): Elana, who plays the DM, as well as the Lady in Red, aka Somethingsomething. Scod: Resident numbers-man (or munchkin, as they are better known) who plays a wizard. Yon: He plays a cleric, but if he had his say, he’d be playing a dog-man. Finally, Gatesy: The new player in the group. He wanted to be a bard, but the wizard wouldn’t let him.

Being new to the game, Gatesy asks what he can “do” in the game. He decides to go busking. The DM allows this, despite protests from the other players.

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Although everyone knows that a REAL D&D game always starts with “you all meet in a tavern…”

Inside his lute-case afterwards, he finds a map with a big empty space missing from it. They decide they need to fill in the gap and their adventure begins. After a run in with an orc, they go to a tavern for Open-Mic night. Gatesy meets a fellow singer and the woman of his dreams, the Lady in Red, whose name he neglects to learn. She sings a beautiful song outlining the entire plot, which goes straight over his head. She then tells him outright that if he goes to the blank on the map, he’ll get eaten by a dragon. This again goes right over his head. Did I mention that he rolled poor intelligence? They vow to meet again someday.

Continuing their quest, the group gets split up in the mountains, and Scod the Wizard gets lost in the dark. He happens upon the Twin Wizards, two brothers who offer him ultimate power and a cool party hat if he can kill the dragon that guards the Tree of Knowledge.

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They look trustworthy, right?

They bequeath him the Spear of knowledge and send him on his way. He rejoins the others, and they hop a boat to the spot on the map.

Arriving in a beautiful garden. Gatesy sits back and relaxes, when the red dragon, guardian of the Tree appears and begins divebombing the adventurers. Shoving the Spear into Gatesy’s hands, Scod shrinks to the back and Gatesy thrusts the spear at the dragons hide, piercing it. The dragon begins to die, revealing it self to be none other but Somethingsomething, the Lady in Red!

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Awkward…..

Scod runs off and gets his hat and flashlight from the Twin Wizards. But ultimate power is not without it’s price, and he soon grow to regret making his friend kill the woman he loves. He sends him a note with instructions: How to get to the underworld. He and Yon separate, Yon going to find Scod, and Gatesy going off to confront the Devil.

Scod and Yonny fight the twin wizards, almost getting boiled inside out until they snap the Spear in half and use it on the wizards. This scene is neat, but only exists to tie up Scod’s story line.

In Hell, after getting past Cerberus, Gatesy confronts The Devil, offering to play the best song ever in exchange for the release of Somethingsomething’s soul. He does so, playing one of my favorite tracks on the soundtrack, Heart of a Fighter. Impressed, Satan lets them go, and they travel up and out of the underworld, only for the game to end.

Portrayal of RPGs – 4/5

Because the film spends most of its time inside the game world, there isn’t a lot of room for meta-humor, but you can tell that Tripod are or at least have been gamers at one point of another, If you don’t believe me,  listen to the final song of the production, and my favorite song, Bard. It’s a neat tune about being an ostracized schoolkid, and speaks volumes to me.

The Plot- 5/5

I rate this one so high because, as you may have guessed, not only am I totally in the tank for this film, but these ratings aren’t really ratings of quality, they’re my rating of whether or not the film does it’s job. The acting was pretty on-par with those groups that go to schools to to PSA skits about bullying and drugs. Not masterful, a little hammy, but I love it, and I think it really works here.

This movie is one of my favorites. It has all of my favorite things. A classic fantasy story with a few twists, gamer humor, well put together music. If anything, the music is the best part. The soundtrack is available on Itunes and Elana Stone’s voice alone is worth the listen. The film itself is available on Amazon, or you can find it on Youtube, but I’m not going to link to it because it isn’t an official video.

If you think I was a little biased toward this movie (teehee!), leave a comment or email me at goblingilmartin@gmail.com.

See you all next Sunday, where I’m going to look at a movie with the word “gamer” in the title.

Diceroller Flicks: Unicorn City

Hey folks, after an 80 dollar replacement hard drive made its way to me, I’m back in business.

This week, we’re taking a look at Unicorn City (which came out in February of this year).  Distributed by Gravitas Ventures and Written by Adrian and Bryan Lefler, one of whom had a hand in Napoleon Dynamite. Unicorn City is a solid whole of a film. It won a bunch of awards at film festivals and even got “Best Film” at Gencon.  It’s when I turned on the critic-vision and looked closer that I had some issues with it, but I’ll get into those later. 

The story follows a man named Voss, and his attempt to get a job at “Warlocks of the Beach”. This film suffers from a heavy case of “don’t sue us, please”, replacing well known entities with off-brand names in order to not have to deal with intellectual property issues. Expect to see that a lot here. Anyway, on with the summary:

The film opens with Voss and his gaming guild playing a game of DoD (Dawn of Days), run by a creepy old guy who goes by his character’s name, Shadow Hawk. Shadow Hawk, is a “me vs. them” DM, also known as the worst possible kind. The usual suspects have been gathered: a gaming group composed of our main characters: Guy with his girlfriend hanging off him, quiet girl who seems to be there more for the players than the game, the foreigner, a guy who reminds me of Badger from breaking bad if he gain a ton of weight, and a biker looking guy. Voss seems to be the intense one, taking things pretty seriously, arguing with the GM, and in a moment of passion, stabs the gaming table with a sword.

As Voss and Marsha (the quiet girl who would like nothing better than to be in a Voss sandwich) head home after the police show up, it is revealed that Voss works with his brother selling tacos, but has a job interview with Warlock of the Beach. Also Marsha is e-dating someone named Tanick Stormblade. Don’t you just love fantasy character names? Me, I tend to stick to faux-Greek sounding names and Disney characters, but that’s just me.

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Unfortunately, her animal companion is a flounder.

Voss tells Marsha that his girlfriend broke up with him, and you just feel that wave of holycrapyesyesyes!!! that she is suppressing because of the ladyboner that she has for Voss that he’s too wrapped up in his own little word to see.

As Voss fixes a real knife onto one of his miniatures, he expresses his philosophy “you are what you pretend to be. “Wanna be a knight? Pretend you’re a knight, live by their code. Think like one and in the end, you are a knight”. Well, this much is true. Actually I’m just pretending to be a blogger. Seems to be working out so far. At least, better than that time I pretended to be a licensed OB/GYN. Waay better.

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Is this thing on?

Then in walks the Hobbit- Lover himself, Kevin Weisman, playing everyone’s older brother who rocks sleeveless shirts, wears sunglasses at night, and takes himself way too seriously and puts his siblings in choke-holds. Apparently they’re going to be evicted from their apartment if Voss can’t help with the rent.

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“Say you like Dave Matthews, go on, say it!!!

Social anxiety Stacy is playing Shmerld of Shmorcraft with the online boyfriend she mentioned. She breaks up with him because Voss is now available. That’s cold. She then runs over to Voss’ house out of nowhere and says she wants her character and Voss’ character to be love interests, all while the man hasn’t finished brushing his teeth yet. You know, if she weren’t so endearing and anxious and pretty, and the object of her affection so oblivious, this would be stalking.

He interviews for a position managing an ARG, but the interviewer says he needs to have experience leading a team and gives him a couple of weeks to wow him with some kind of project demonstrating leader-type qualities.

Voss comes out to his group that he wants to be the new gamemaster. They all jump at the chance to get away from the creepy old man in the shiny shirt. The GM cheats and issues one last challenge: Defeat the final boss of the campaign, whose stats have been secretly boosted up. After a couple of bad rolls, his character is killed, and he storms off to plan his next move.

Marsha brings it up that they should start a new campaign, and Voss says you can’t just “willy-nilly a campaign together. My thoughts on that later. She says that the other players trust him to lead them in a game, so why not in real life? Why not indeed…

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Definite upper-level management material, don’t you think?

He figures out a solution to his problem. Starting a LARP! but he can’t tell his friends why, because they “won’t be themselves”. Somehow this works, and all of his friends are willing to drop everything for days and come with him to the mountains.

Their first adventure is a hit, and Unicorn city soon gathers more LARPers for their project, including a centaur, a kenku, an elf, a knight and a succubus.

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Llllladies…

During an unsuccessful mission, The elf gets picked up by the police for loitering.

Getting nowhere with Voss, Marsha is persuaded by her friend to do a seductive dance by the fireside, for some reason she’s wearing her bra on the outside. after this doesn’t ellicit the response she wanted, she takes Voss aside, throws caution to the wind and kisses him. This gets his attention, but she freaks out and runs away.

The next morning, trouble brews. a Greyhound bus sits across from their camp, and evil should lurk inside? It’s the douchebag GM from earlier they all ditched and a bunch of guys dressed up as orcs, Also known as any average convention weekend.

And soon a news crew appears and wants to interview Voss. They ask for a shot of him on top of a mountain for their piece, and he and the Badger-looking guy from earlier, Clancy, get in the back of their van. When they get far enough away from the camp, the “news crew” ditches them. I’ll just let what Cat-man Clancy had to say speak for itself:

“How did we not see that coming? We were such idiots, man. Like, there were no channel numbers on the van, and then we got in and they’re like ‘hey, you want some candy?’ and then we’re like sure, take us to an undisclosed location and dump our bodies!”

After fighting with Clancy, Voss takes the long, silent walk back to camp. He arrives to find that his entire camp has deserted him, except for Marsha of course. Figuring Shadow Hawk had something to do with his abduction he challenges him to a duel, the weapon? Yo Mamma jokes. No, I’m serious. Someone call Wilmer Valderama. I can’t be the only high school sophomore to have seen that show, can I?

Voss loses, and is banished. In the resulting scuffle, Marsha gets smacked across the face. At this point Voss might as well be double banished. and he goes home to his brother.

After he gets some sense choked into him, Voss returns to the camp to win back his people, and Marsha, who’s being worked over by Shadow Hawk, who reveals himself to be none other than Tanick Stormblade. Posing as a 26 year old online is a great way to pick up chicks. Understandably skeeved out, she escapes just as the police show up and explain that the entire area they’ve been camping in is a toxic dumping ground, hence the elf being arrested for loitering previously. After chasing off Shadow Hawk and getting tased by the cops, Voss leads a charge that chases off the police. You can just smell the “not gonna end well” from here. A SWAT team arrests them, and they get taken to court, where the judge lets them off with community service, turning Unicorn City into a community event where people can bring their families and play games.

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Although I admit this gives me a sudden craving for snow cones. 

The judge did have one minor stipulation though. He’ll knock 100 hours off of their punishment as long as he gets to be the king.

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S’good to be the king.

Also Voss gets the job, of course he would. the interviewer says a canned food drive probably would have been enough. He turns it down anyway to be with Marsha. He sets up Unicorn City in the city park, and it becomes a smash hit. All’s well that ends well, except that our hero is still jobless, with no way to pay his rent except for unemployment.

Portrayal of RPGs – 2/5

I wasn’t happy with the way gaming was portrayed in this flick. It seems like thanks to suffering from “don’t sue us” syndrome, where really obvious facsimiles for real world companies and products stand in for the real thing, they end up glossing over a lot, and it seems poorly handled.

Another big aspect of the film was the LARPing. Like I stated before, somehow over a dozen people are just able to drop everything to come to this LARP/camping trip on a moments notice, it’s a suspension of disbelief that I have a hard time with in a realistic setting. But that’s just my own opinion. I spent the entire duration of Man Of Steel cringing at the property damage during the final action scene.

I’m going to put up a mini-post in a day or two with some extra thoughts about gaming in this movie.

The Plot – 3/5

Honestly, the first time I saw this movie, I really liked it. On my second viewing, with my reviewer hat on, I thought it ran a little long. Not in a really damaging way, but I think the middle-third could have used a little trimming. Everything works out in the end, kinda.
All’s well that ends well, except that our hero is still jobless, with no way to pay his rent, because he’s too good to sell fish tacos, and this is all glossed over. As someone who is currently unemployed, I’d take that job in a hot second.

I have a bit more to say on the subject, but I’m going to save that for it’s own post. too much to discuss.

I’d just like to close saying that I really wanted to like this movie, and it isn’t all that bad. if you think you might like this movie, it’s available on all sorts of on demand services, like Hulu and Netflix, also you can purchase a copy of the film from the film’s website, unicorncity.com.

Also sorry about some of the image sizes in this post, I’ll fix ’em so that the ants can’t get to them. I hope you liked these ramblings of mine. If you did, expect a little something extra soon. If not, I’ll see you next Sunday for the next full review. I’m keeping it a surprise this time. Bye!