Thursday, October 27, 2011

Playing With Black Tokyo, Watching the X-Quadrology

So I've been adding more content to the Races of the Tatakama sourcebook. I've brought over two races from BT III: the Ubume and the Kijimuna. The Ubume are the ghosts of women who died while pregnant, burdened eternally by a ghostly fetus. The Kijimuna are playful little plant-based lolicons. They each bring in some new gameplay niches- with the Ubume, you get another race of undead to try out, and the Kijimuna add the plant type to the play roster. I'm also adding an all new race, the Kami- which are a diverse race of demigods and demigoddesses based on the '8 million spirits' of Shinto thought. They're sorta of a skill based Belldandy (from Oh, My Goddess).

That brings the total roster of playable races in the first book to 12.

I'm also adding 'social level' templates to represent the various different social casts of feudal Japan. I recently downloaded Highmoon Press' "Ronin" sourcebook, and its' excellent. I'll be referencing it fairly often, in fact. However, instead of just talking about the different castes of samurari, heimin and burakumin, like Ronin does, I'll just add a few different +0 CR templates that players can apply to their characters, and capture the feel of the world through gameplay, not exposition.

One problem I had with Ronin is the fact it labeled the untouchable caste of old Japan "eta".... I did about 20 minutes of research and found out that term is really, really offensive. It's the equivalent of playing a Civil War RPG and there being a 'nigger' character class. So out goes eta, and in goes the slightly less offensive 'burakumin'. Of course, in a game about shit eating undead and fucking 12 year olds, that might seem a little over sensitive, but I never said my code of personal morality made any sense.

So I've also been watching the four X-Movies this week. You know what, each has their flaws, but most of them are entertaining.

The first movie: the best parts were in the first 20 minutes. Magneto's origin, the cage fight and Wolverine taking a shotgun blast to the face, and then the X-Men descending in the Blackbird through the blizzard to save Wolverine and Jubilee (who they renamed Rogue for some reason)... all those moments were perfect. The entire rest of the movie was boring and drab. The only good point from the later movie was the hypercompetent, super-spy version of Mystique.

X-2. Easily the best of the four movies, but it had its problems, notably giving Colossus a glorified cameo, turning Deathstrike, who is a passionate and aggressive badass in the comics into a pitiable zombie, and Jean's rather lack-luster demise. Of course, Wolverine's pity towards Deathstrike was well done, as was his rampage through the mansion. The standout scene still remains Magneto's seduction of Pyro.

x-3. Deeply flawed, but the only film to have any sexuality to it. I've always sorta had this theory that since the first 2 flicks were directed by Singer, a gay man, he just didn't have it in him, emotionally to make Jean as sexy on screen as in the comics. Here, Rattner at least remembers that Jean is a woman. The most critically panned of the original trilogy, this movie might actually be my favorite for three reasons: Angel's origin scene (though he had NOTHING to do after that amazing opening, and the scene could of been given, with little modification to Beast, providing a much stronger arc for him), the fucking brutal 4 way brawl at Jean's house. And the third reason: the clinic protest. That fucking clinic protest scene kicks my ass every time I watch it.

You've got a protest put together by EXPLICITLY referencing real world anti-abortion protest footage and changing the text on the signs slightly. And prowling through the crowds of activists and fanatics... you've got these two living weapons that look completely human but AREN'T. Fuck I love that scene- it may be arguable whether or not it's an X-Men scene, but its definitely an Otherverse America scene, and for that I'll always love it.

X-Men First Class. Possibly my new favorite. It's definitely channeling James Bond, which is a good thing. But it's likely the most flawed of the four. First, because all the X-Men characters anybody real cares about are locked into being in the present team (Storm, Cyclops, Wolverine, Jean, Colossus, ect) you're left with the dregs of the X-universe to set up the precursor team. Second, in 2011, it does the sci-fi 'kill the black dude first' thing, and does it to a character whose whole power is basically 'survive anything'. Still I did like it- you've got young Magneto killing Nazis in incredibly badass ways, and I could of watched THAT for 2 hours alone. For some reason, I really liked Banshee in this movie- he goes from 12-14 y/o punk to genuine hero and rising badass pretty authentically. And as I predicted, Mystique's transformation from innocent girl to terrorist was the best part of the movie.

Anyway, talk to you all later

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