Category Archives: GAMING

GAMING: CINEMA & SORCERY – THE COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO FANTASY FILM [UPDATED]

avatar-scottwoodardmeavatarjessScott and Arnold have been hinting at this massive project for years now on social media, but at last the tale can be told – a tale of high adventure and triumph and watching tons and tons of sword and sorcery movies while taking copious notes!

roninlogo_nameboxComing from RPG publisher Green Ronin (Fantasy AGE, Titansgrave, A Song of Ice and Fire) in electronic form and now in print starting today, July 1, 2016, CINEMA & SORCERY: THE COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO FANTASY FILM is a massive 400+ page tome by Arnold T. Blumberg and Scott Alan Woodard covering the entire history of the sword and sorcery genre from its earliest beginnings to the latest blockbuster releases!

50 films are given in-depth chapters with details on plot, production, soundtrack, and detailed ruminations and reviews, while every other sword and sorcery feature-length film in existence is catalogued in a massive index cross-listed with alternate titles! PLUS: Tips on how to adapt characters, creatures, artifacts and more from your favorite films to YOUR gametable!

The project started many years ago from a simple conversation between the two pop culture experts, and now they’re bringing their love of cinematic high adventure to you!

“For me, the joy of working on these kinds of books is sharing that passion about film with fellow fans,” says Arnold (The “Doctor of the Dead” and co-author of ZOMBIEMANIA: 80 MOVIES TO DIE FOR). “These are movies we all grew up enjoying, and we hope that when you watch them next, you’ll take a look in our book and see what we have to say about them. It’s the next best thing to us sitting there and watching with you!”

“I grew up watching these movies and I grew up a gamer,” says Scott (G2V Producer, THE SIXTH GUN ROLEPLAYING GAME, DOCTOR WHO: THE JUGGERNAUTS). “Not only am I excited to share with other fantasy fans the best and absolute worst the genre has to offer, but also to give them ways to enhance their gaming experience with their favorite fantasy icons the same way I do.”

Read Green Ronin’s original announcement of the release of CINEMA & SORCERY!

Get a preview by learning from Scott how to add some movie magic to your role-playing campaign!

Read Scott and Arnold’s tribute to the late great Ray Harryhausen!

For more information or interviews with Scott and Arnold, write to contact@g2vpodcast.com.

GAMING: TALKIN’ TRASH MOBS WITH ARTIST JESS JENNINGS

avatar-scottwoodardIf you’re a Dungeon Master who’s been looking for some new and inexpensive options for tabletop miniatures, there’s a new game in town in the form of TRASH MOB MINIS from artist Jess Jennings!

Recently, I caught up with Jess to find out a little bit about him and his new line of print and play miniatures. Jess is no stranger to G2V Productions; he created the caricatures of Arnold and me that you see all over G2VPodcast.com and our various social media accounts. Read on for our full chat, and click here to order your own sets of TRASH MOB MINIS!

G2V: Jess, thanks for taking some time out of your busy schedule to chat with us about TRASH MOB MINIS. What’s your background and what inspired your very unique style?
Jess Jennings: I have an animation degree, so I tend draw like an animator, focusing more on pose and silhouette to capture a character, and minimizing as much “interior” detail as possible. I find that this translates really well to paper miniatures, because individual scales on a 2-inch tall dinosaur might not look all that great when printed.

What motivated you to create TRASH MOB MINIS?
Aside from simply wanting to draw tons of monsters, I wanted to solve some problems I’ve encountered in my nineteen years of tabletop gaming, the rising cost of miniatures being an obvious one. I want to provide gamers with the exact mobs they need without worrying about the price. A small bonus attached to playing with minis from a PDF is that if your models get lost, stolen, or destroyed, it’s no big deal. You just print out and assemble some more.

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Another thing I set out to do with the line was offer a simple tracking method for Dungeon Masters. It seemed that whenever our adventure party would encounter hordes of trash mobs, it often became difficult keeping track of all the identical monsters on the table. To help with this, I include different colored base discs with every set, so the DM can easily track which monster is being targeted by their base color. Last February, I posted some of my test builds on Tumblr, and a member of the Cardboard Warriors forum pointed me towards an entire community of paper modelers. They’ve really been great at helping me and encouraging me to publish.

How many mini sets can we expect to see in the coming months?
Two sets are already live and can be purchased right now: The Goblins: Army Pack and the Scales & Slime: Theme Pack. I have six other sets that are in various stages of development. I’m aiming to release at least one set a month. There are some really great monsters on deck, and lots of classic mobs like orcs and kobolds to look forward to. I have some more advanced sets planned as well, like a dragon model kit, and cavalry sets with removable riders.

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How difficult is it to construct these figures? What sort of tools does one need to build them?
I wouldn’t say these models are all that difficult to construct, but they do take a little skill and patience to put together, especially for the smaller creatures. Fortunately, many figures come printed on each page, so novice modelers have plenty of guys to practice on. Everything you need to make a mini can be found at any local craft store: A pair of good scissors, an X-Acto knife and plenty of spare blades, a glue stick, and a black magic marker or brush pen for edging. I also glue all my bases to cereal box cardboard before I cut them out. Even if you don’t have a printer, that’s not a problem. I actually do all my final test prints at a local FedEx Office on white card stock.

Can people contact you with suggestions for future models?
Absolutely! The best way to contact me is through Twitter: @TrashMobMinis. I’d love to hear what monsters you guys want to build/field. If I get enough requests for the same creature, there’s a very good chance it will show up in a future set!

Finally and most importantly, where can we find TRASH MOB MINIS?
The TRASH MOB MINIS PDFs are sold exclusively through DriveThruRPG. Print out some monsters and populate your battlefield…and don’t forget to share your photos!

GAMING: BRING SOME CINEMATIC SORCERY TO YOUR FANTASY RPGS WITH THESE 5 MYTHICAL MOVIE OBJECTS

avatar-scottwoodardWay back in 2011 (what we sometimes refer to as “The Time of Legends”), when my co-author Arnold T. Blumberg and I first started designing the tome that would eventually become CINEMA AND SORCERY: THE COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO FANTASY FILM, there were a couple gaming-focused sections I insisted we include in each of the 50 detailed chapters. One of these, titled “This Year in Gaming,” would offer a little game industry history regarding the film’s year of release, while another, “Take Up Thy Sword,” would present information about a specific monster, item, location, character, or weapon that appeared in the film with just enough material to allow a particularly adept game master to lift it from the pages of the book and drop it into his or her campaign.

Presented here are five of those 50 entries. Most are fairly obvious choices, at least one might surprise you, and one other may be from a film from the early ’80s that slipped under your radar. It is our hope that readers of our book will be inspired to seek out some of these movies, even those we might not have spoken of very highly. Just because we consider one film to be a total stinker doesn’t mean you won’t find it a laugh riot worthy of a drunken movie night with a few friends!

For a variety of reasons, we opted to avoid specific references and names for the things described in the actual book, but for this article, I’m throwing aside that veil of cinematic secrecy!

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The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog from MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL (1975)

(Monster) Due to its diminutive size (and its lightning-fast speed), the rabbit is a difficult target to hit. When the killer rabbit attacks, a critical result decapitates any foe of up to medium (human) size, regardless of type or quality of armor. Even the rabbit’s regular attack inflicts twice as much damage as that of a typical longsword.

The killer rabbit is not worth screwing with. Employed by various madmen and ill-tempered beasts throughout the ages, the rabbit is quite possibly the greatest guardian that ever lived. It’s fast. It’s vicious. It’s cute as a wee little button. Know this: if ye be brave enough to challenge it, you’ll need a spare suit of armor—unless, of course, you lose your head!

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Bubo from CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981)

(Divine Construct and Mechanical Familiar) Constructed by Hephaestus as a mechanical replacement for the goddess Athena’s flesh-and-blood owl, this device is an all-seeing and all-knowing divine automaton. As a gift of the gods, the owl can communicate with anyone to whom it is bound, as if hearing and speaking the same language. (To all others, the automaton sounds as if it emits a series of whirs, buzzes, and clanks.) The owl can provide information (transmitted directly from the gods) and can scout when stealth (or a diminutive reconnoiterer) is required. The owl is either a familiar or a companion.

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Lightsaber from STAR WARS (1977)

(Magic Weapon) While inactive, this rare weapon resembles a bladeless hilt. When energized (a standard-use magic-item action for unskilled wielders), it appears as a sword-shaped beam of light. Depending on which crystals the wielder employs to focus mystical energies, the generated “blade” of the weapon can vary in hue. Emerald green and sapphire blue are common within one order. Antagonistic sects typically wield ruby red.

In the hands of wielder not specifically trained in its use, the Saber behaves as a longsword. In the hands of a skilled knight of a dedicated order, it behaves as a rapier in regard to weight and speed, with a damage rating twice that of an ordinary rapier.

A knight with particular sensitivity to the relevant magical forces can wield the Saber without penalties for weight or speed, because the weapon becomes a supernatural extension of mind and body. The knight can also energize or deactivate the weapon as a free action. Such sensitivity also negates the potential for critical fumbles and personal injury. If crafted by the wielder—a feat best left to those with significant experience—the Saber gains slight bonuses to both attacks and damage.

When the weapon is in its active state, its glow provides light akin to that of a torch and thus betrays the presence of a wielder attempting a stealthy approach. The weapon’s constant emission of a low, otherworldly hum also jeopardizes such clandestine operations. Lastly, the blade generates incredible heat, so it can ignite flammable materials and instantly cauterizes any wound it causes.

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The Glaive from KRULL (1983)

(Magic Weapon) An ancient item of unknown origin, this artifact is a formidable magical weapon in the hands of the right person. Weighing roughly two pounds, it possesses the power to strike an enemy or enemies and return to its wielder.

In its neutral state, it appears as a bejeweled, five-pointed star: a sort of golden starfish. When activated, two-inch blades spring out from the end of each spoke. The star’s wielder throws it at the target in a spinning motion—a ranged missile attack. It returns after each throw unless the attack roll is a critical success or a critical failure, in which case the weapon either remains stuck in the target, inflicting significant damage, or falls to the floor, unmoving. The wielder can then recover and reuse it as usual.

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The Tri-Bladed Sword from THE SWORD AND THE SORCERER (1982)

(Magic Weapon) In the hands of someone of lesser strength or skill, the tri-bladed sword is an unwieldy beast, weighing as much as a two-handed sword when all three blades are present. Thus, a median penalty applies to all melee attacks. Someone with the skill—and superior strength—can use it to deal damage equivalent to that of a broadsword.

Two spring-loaded flanking blades are what make the tri-bladed sword special. The wielder activates them by depressing release catches positioned on the grip just below the cross-guard. When launched, the blades rocket through the air and can strike targets up to fifty feet away, each inflicting damage equivalent to that of a two-handed spear. Once both blades fire, the remaining center blade functions as a standard longsword. Lastly, the wielder can withdraw the grip from the base of the central blade, revealing a short sword…ideal for sneak attacks!

As for the weapon’s enchantments, it magically regenerates its missing blades…over a significant period of time: hours or even days. Also, this regenerative force expands into the body of the weapon’s owner, with a healing energy capable of curing minor wounds per the game system’s equivalent healing spell.

Top 10 Announcements at E3 2016

avatar-brandonE3 2016 is now in the history books! From new consoles and intellectual property announcements to a huge push for virtual reality, this year has arguably been one of the strongest in recent memory.

To those unfamiliar with E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo is an annual conference held to celebrate and sell upcoming visual entertainment. First and third party companies such as Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Ubisoft, and Bethesda use the conference to advertise their upcoming products to consumers and retailers. Normally the conference is only open to industry insiders, but don’t worry; below I have your inside scoop to the Top 10 Announcements from E3 2016!

10) Xbox Announces Two New Consoles

Only Microsoft can unveil a brand new console at the start of their press conference and then announce that it’s outdated by the end of said conference.

The opening moments of the Microsoft press event began with a trailer revealing an entirely new console. August will see the release of the Xbox One S – a 4K-enabled, 40% slimmer system. Starting at $299, the Xbox One S was going to be a great jumping-in point for anybody who has yet to purchase an Xbox One.

Then, as the conference came to a close, a second trailer was shown. Microsoft revealed that the 2017 holiday season would see the release of the Xbox Scorpio, with over 4x the power of the current Xbox One and Xbox One S consoles, leaving audiences with little reason to buy the newly revealed Xbox One S system!

Xbox One S Announcement:

Xbox Scorpio Announcement:

9) After 10 Years, Prey Makes a Return

PREY 2 was originally announced in March 2011; the proposed sequel to the 2006 cult classic PREY was then never heard from again. Fans waited with bated breath for any word on the sequel, but were met with only silence from developer Bethesda.

Over five years passed until E3 2016, when Bethesda treated their fans to a mysterious and jaw-dropping trailer introduced with little fanfare, confusing audiences for its entire run…that is, until in its final moments, a logo appeared: PREY.

The sequel has been reworked from the ground up as a reboot to the 10-year-old original title. However, only time will tell if fans of the cult classic will embrace this series restart.

Watch the Prey Trailer Here:

8) Bound Proves Games are Art

The late Roger Ebert published an infamous article in April 2010 titled “Video Games Can Never Be Art.” The renowned film critic wrote “Let me just say that no video gamer now living will survive long enough to experience the medium as an art form.”

Although I have long believed Ebert was proven wrong in 2012 with the release of JOURNEY (the first Grammy-nominated video game soundtrack in history), I would also posit the upcoming release of BOUND, an experimental game which utilizes a modern art visual style and balletic character movements to tell a deep and mature story. View the trailer below, and ask yourself if Ebert may have been mistaken!

Bound Trailer:

7) Star Trek and Star Wars Race to Virtual Reality

Earlier this year, both the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift and the Valve/HTC-owned Vive released virtual reality headsets. On October 13th, Sony PlayStation will release its own VR headset; at this point, it’s safe to say virtual reality is here to stay.

This was further proven over the past week with the announcement of two upcoming VR experiences, the Ubisoft-produced STAR TREK: BRIDGE CREW and the EA-led STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT: X-WING VR MISSION. These titles will arrive this fall, and with their release the dreams of millions of geeks everywhere will finally be achieved!

View the Star Trek: Bridge Crew Trailer Here:

View the Star Wars Battlefront: X-Wing VR Mission Trailer Here:

6) Enjoy a Nice Grog with Sea of Thieves

Have you ever wanted to share some grog with a few friends and then drunkenly board and pillage a peaceful passing ship? Look no further than SEA OF THIEVES!

Shown during the Microsoft press event, this was easily the highlight of the show. The online game places you and a group of friends at the helm of your very own pirate ship. Each player has a job, from captain to crew, and it’s up to you to sail and pillage your way across the high seas. If you encounter another ship of live players, then let out your best “Arrr!” and prepare to attack; when the cannon fire subsides, only one ship will remain afloat!

Watch the Reveal Gameplay Here:

5) We Happy Few Just Wants You to be Happy

The E3 2016 trailer alone earns WE HAPPY FEW a place at #5 on this list. The Orwellian nightmare presented in Compulsion Games’ upcoming release is simultaneously intriguing and terrifying.

The premise? A fresh take on the oft-used dystopian world, where pills of “Joy” are used to blind the populace from the horrors around them. The trailer, linked below, is a must see.

We Happy Few Trailer:

4) Zelda Gets a Title

ZELDA WII U was announced back at E3 2014. Since then, we have seen only bits and pieces of the new release in the genre-defining series. That ended this year, as we not only got a title but hours of in-game footage!

ZELDA: BREATH OF THE WILD takes the next logical steps for the franchise. The player once again controls protagonist Link as he enters a large formidable world filled with dungeons, dangers, and pots that need breaking.

In a change for the series, the world has become as much of a character as the people and monsters that inhabit it. Survival is a key aspect of BREATH OF THE WILD, and players will need to hunt, cook, and eat to stay alive.

Watch the Trailer Here:

3) Son of the God of War

What journey could possibly surpass a six-game series which culminates in the brutal deaths of the entire Greek pantheon of Mount Olympus? This is the question Sony had to entertain, as one of their leading franchises began to grow stale; the answer, we found out this past week, was fatherhood.

Taking the franchise away from its ultra-violent solo killing roots, the new GOD OF WAR places you from start to finish with your AI-controlled son. Its intention is to show a vulnerability to the god-killing Kratos as well as a present the anti-hero with a challenge he cannot simply tackle with his weapons.

Watch the Reveal Gameplay Here:

2) Resident Evil 7 Reinvents the Series

RESIDENT EVIL 6 was not a good game; in fact, it was almost universally despised by both fans and critics. This year, to mark the 20th anniversary of the original RESIDENT EVIL, something needed to change…and change it did!

During Sony’s E3 press conference, a trailer began for an unknown virtual reality game. Told from a first person VR perspective, the trailer was as deeply horrifying as it was fascinating. Just as the trailer brought the audience to the edge of their seats, it dropped a metaphorical hydrogen bomb: the game was RESIDENT EVIL 7!

No single part of the video looked remotely like the previous six games in the series. Capcom has taken critical feedback to heart, and has entirely reinvented the franchise from the ground up. This culminated in a grand reveal, and a demo was quickly online for the world to try. Having played the demo, I can personally say that I am both thrilled and terrified to dive into this VR experience in January!

Watch the Trailer Here:

1) Death Stranding and the Return of Kojima

For fans of Hideo Kojima, E3 2016’s greatest moment was when one of gaming’s foremost creators spoke the words, “I’m back.”

This past year saw Kojima separated from parent company Konami after 30 years of creative development on their flagship series METAL GEAR. It was a long and bitter breakup which saw the creator forcibly removed from the franchise he had birthed on the original Nintendo. This story came to a positive conclusion though, when Sony PlayStation offered to produce Hideo Kojima’s next solo project, now unveiled as DEATH STRANDING.

Built using in-game assets and a stark naked Norman Reedus of THE WALKING DEAD fame, DEATH STRANDING tells the visually striking tale of Kojima’s next project. Many fans also believe the video acts as a parallel for Kojima’s own life and the loss of his creation, METAL GEAR.

Watch the Trailer Here:

Do you agree or disagree with the list? If so, we would love to hear from you! What other moments from this year’s E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo caught your attention? Feel free to reach out on Facebook and Twitter, or comment right here to let us know your thoughts!