Culture, Technology and Superhero Cartoons

This week has been somewhat topsy-turvey. My mother’s health went haywire again, I had an interview Thursday, D&D for Kids yesterday (at least from my point of view), and our regular D&D game (which I am thankfully no longer DMing). Mix in a couple of full days of work, some job hunting, and it’s been a pretty full week.

When I could get it in, my reading of The Kobold Guide to World Building got me to thinking about technology and culture in the StarSea, especially as those chapters were what I was reading at that moment. I’m beginning to feel like i need a physical copy of the book, as I’d like to be able to use it as a workbook and take some notes from it. Having pad, paper and Kindle in my hand while driving would be cumbersome to say the least.

I’ve done some of the kind of thinking suggested in those chapters, but not enough for my tastes. Or at least not to the detail discussed. The articles I’m thinking of break culture and technology down into categories. Some I’ve given some thought on, and some I’ve missed. I’m going to want to recover that chapter eventually. So, getting a physical copy of the book is more desirable. I’m not sure what author’s chapter I’m thinking of. One of the weaknesses of eBooks is not being able to create a mental map of the book, something I’m sure I mentioned before.

There was also discussion of repercussions of design decisions on other aspects of the world you’re building. That one struck home, as there are decisions I’ve made that I hadn’t considered some of the ramifications of. For example, I’m calling my elder race the Starborn. My initial thought was for them to live in space, living in mobile space stations that wander the StarSea. However, the repercussions of the wanderer idea are some I’m not happy with. Implications of the Starborn as aloof or arrogant, or too adapted to life in space. Both seem to make the Starborn unplayable (especially the physical mal-adaptation), at least in my mind. I need to consider some of my choices a little better, and I feel this particular series needs some additional thought to make a more playable race out of the Starborn. There are likely other decisions I’ll need to re-examine.

In regards to the game for the Boy, I didn’t really do much for that this week, other than taking the time to combine my notes. I had a computer document that has most of my notes regarding the rules, as well as a notebook with other notes. It’s where I’m documenting rules calls I’m making during play. I went through the two, compared them, and made the computer file the complete draft. I’ve got a long way to go to a final draft level, and that game is not a priority.

Finally, I picked up and watched the new DC Comics animated movie, Justice League: War. This one is a follow up to the Flashpoint movie they put out late last year, which was an adaptation of the series that closed out the “Old 52,” and set the stage for the “New 52.” Justice League: War” is based on the first six issues of the new version of the Justice League, and tells of the team’s formation. If you’re not a comic book person, the New 52 is DC Comics “reboot,” which seems to be an acknowledgement of Jim Lee’s partial ownership of the DC Comics line along with Dan DiDio. I’ve been less than enthusiastic about what I’ve seen of the New 52, and I stopped buying DC Comics well before this “reboot” was initiated.

As a little preface, I have enjoyed the DC Comics animated movies. The storytelling, with one exception, most of them have been stellar in the storytelling regards. There’s plenty of fighting in them all, but prior to this one, with the exception of Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, the movies have generally been stellar. This one wasn’t so good. I even found the more or less heroes-cum-borderline villains of Flashpoint more compelling that the majority of the team in this one. Except Batman. Batman was handled just about perfectly. Green Lantern is handled well, but I think was just a little too much of an ass throughout. The New 52 version of Superman seems to have become an arrogant bully, Wonder Woman is written so one dimensionally as to be a joke. And the removal of Aquaman to be replaced by Captain Marvel (who calls himself “Shazam”) was a horrible choice, especially with the effort Geoff Johns has been making to turn the King of Atlantis into a solid character. At some point, I’d like to read the comics this movie was based on to see if they’re really as poorly written as this movie was.

And before this, I picked up a stealth release called JLA: Trapped in Time. This one is obviously a pilot for a new animated series. It was a horrible mismatch of characters and story lines, with no relation to other series that have borne the DC Comics logo. The JLA line up is an Aquaman short of being the Super Friends, and the Legionnaires chosen were a terrible mismatch to the JLA, and never appeared in the LSH Animated series. To boot, the Legionnaires chosen (Karate Kid and Dawnstar) have been redesigned to look like characters from the later seasons of Super Friends, the Samurai and the Indian Chief. As well, both were given additional powers. Karate Kid’s powers made sense (detecting weaknesses in the structure of his target), but Dawnstar’s new powers have nothing to do with the core of her character (of course, that might point to how weak her original concept was), but seem to be added into make her some sort of literal angel (lots of light and healing powers). I was disappointed with this release as well.

On the upside, it looks like the next movie, Son of Batman might be better. We’ll see, later this year. It’s also my understanding that later this year, Warner Bros. will be putting out an animated movie based on the Arkham Asylum video games. If they handle it right, it could be a winner as well. However, the DC Studio needs to get it together, I think, or they’ll lose this customer.

As a final note, I’ve also been binging on the Fox series, Fringe. I’m down to the final three episode of the final season. I’m really enjoying the storytelling, although I think there have been a couple of episodes that have had characterization issues, especially with the change of focus in the final season, away from Olivia Dunham and towards Peter Bishop. However, the story is strong otherwise, and as I said, I’m looking for the final episodes.

Well, I think the fork is pretty much stuck for tonight. See you all next time. Later.

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About docryder

I'm an experienced table top gamer with an open mind to new game systems. I'm looking to explore ideas I've got. Some are pretty meta, some are pretty mundane. Welcome to my world.

Posted on February 17, 2014, in Metagaming, Movies and Television. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Re: Starborn. Perhaps they upload their brains into giant computers and live there when traveling, but when they come to a planet they like, they download their minds into new bodies. I don’t know how “tech” they are supposed to be, but this would certainly mess with your players. A character run by the DM could die, and then come back in another body. Even a completely different type of body. Perhaps not remembering what the previous body had done.

    Oh the mayhem you could do with that.

    • Yeah, I think I want to leave that for NPCs, if at all. The problem with a lot of RPGs is the minute you introduce this kind of nuttiness is that the PCs want control of it. I’d rather that not be an option. It’s a very cool idea, though. 😀

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