Mystery Incorporated

So, I recently watched the new(ish) Scooby-Doo series, Scooby-Doo: Mystery, Inc. with my girlfriend.

It was… bizarre. (Disclaimer: I hated Scooby-Doo growing up, didn’t like the original series, didn’t like the late 70s team-ups, didn’t like A Pup Named Scooby Doo, 13 ghosts, really anything, until the the late 90s Scooby movies. And I would begrudgingly admit that despite its awful opening theme song, What’s New Scooby Doo was watchable.) Very bizarre. It was the most ridiculous Scooby-Doo I’ve seen but often had a penchant for taking itself very seriously, especially in the second half, which was kind of jarring.

On one hand, you had Velma struggling with her failed relationship with Shaggy before ultimately coming to terms with her sexuality and coupling* with the geeky girl who, despite not being drawn in an unattractive manner, was constantly shat on by everyone over the course of the series because she was poor (her nickname, Hot Dog Water, came from the fact that her family used recycled water). Then on the other hand, you have a Freddy who’s been flanderized beyond all rational humanity.

The basis for the show is that the gang is from “the hauntedest place on earth”. As they investigate rubber-mask monster mysteries around the town, they are both guided and harangued by an earlier incarnation of Mystery, Inc. and discover that multiple groups of mystery solvers (always 4 humans and a talking animal) had been drawn to the area in search of a legendary cursed treasure.

The cursed treasure is actual eldritch space entity that has exerted its influence so that it might be found and released from its prison. This influence both draws the parties together, draws them to the treasure, and drives them mad. It also makes everyone else in the area a bit crazy, hence monster masked criminals.

The climactic conclusion of the series features:
-A rather disturbing homage to Twin Peaks
-Shaggy and Scooby wearing Kerberos Panzer Kop protect gear and fighting against an army of evil robots
-a journey across the four elemental planes
-Most secondary characters getting killed onscreen in  dead-for-real ways
-A crazy final boss battle that is Die, Vecna, Die! levels of crazy
-A reality bending denoument that retcons the show into being a prequel to the original series

Basically, it feels like someone turned their D&D campaign into a Scooby-Doo series, and the ultimate results are better than one might expect. Oh, right, yeah. I almost forgot. One masked monster was a D&D player who was getting revenge on his gaming group or something, dressing up as the big-bad from campaign. If you can sit through some of the worse episodes and be patient with how stupid a few of the characters are written (“YOU NEVER GO FULL RETARD!”), there’s really a lot of great ideas at work here to steal. Zombie Ska band.

One last thing: I’m not entirely sure if the HP Hatecraft character (played by Jeffrey Combs) was intended as a parody of the geek media that constantly tries to include Lovecraft stuff in such a way that comes off as “Hey, check it, Lovecraft, right? Pretty awesome and nerdy, huh!” and how tired it’s getting or if it’s merely a straight example of it in its tiredest form. Because seriously, as a Lovecraft fan, I’m actually sick of seeing things try to work Lovecraft in everywhere. But Harlan Ellison is a character in the show, and he is portrayed as a ridiculous and arrogant asshole, which is actually pretty funny considering that he’s voicing himself.

*:this is literally shown with *wink

People need to lay the hell off Tony Dungy

How can people be expected to respect a man’s sexual preferences if you can’t be arsed to respect a man’s coaching preferences?

Not all coaches want a media circus around their 2nd and 3rd string players. For the same reason that sane coaches stayed the hell away from Chad Johnson and for the same reason that Moss got kicked off the Vikings only a couple games into his return, Tony Dungy is saying that in his preference as a coach he does not want to have to deal with the drama-llama circus lined up (that originally was supposed to include an Oprah reality show) to follow Michael Sam around, because that kind of attention makes it hard to run a sports team. You can’t have a team when there’s that kind of focus on one player, especially a rookie. It might get you a lot of coverage and stories and interviews, but it’s not going to get you a ring, and Dungy, being a realist (and until now the go-to guy on all questions of football coaching and ethics) understands that.

Tony Dungy is entitled to his (entirely reasonable) coaching opinion, and anyone who thinks he isn’t is a hater or a Bears fan.

5e Does Not End the Edition Wars, but Promises a New Kind of Edition War

Apparently 5e has a new stench reeking off it, resulting from a lot of internet infighting and butthurtedness in relation to some of the individuals who are listed and/or thanked as contributors to the new edition.

5e promises to restart the edition wars, but instead of over mechanics, it will be over hurt feelings. “The people who wrote 5e called me a faggot on an internet forum!” Man.

I’m kind of glad that Cirsova has drifted off into its own tiny pocket universe of RPG Blogging community. The most “connected” I ever was was when I still followed Tenkar regularly (the days before his site got filtered out). Not being part of the Google+ community and really only staying in touch with a handful of the gaming bloggers out there, I have not yet had the luxury of getting my feelings hurt by some internet rude-dude’s D&D blog.

But Dreamscape did enjoy my play of Maze of Nuromen, so yay!

The new face of the insensitive D&D Blogosphere:


A Post in Which I Realize I’m Too Young to Feel Nostalgia for 2nd Generation Video Games*

I think one of the primary purposes of those collections of old video games is to remind us not to take what we have today for granted and that once upon a time our heroes had to go to the dungeon in 2 feet of snow(y tv static) uphill both ways.

I always hear stories about how the ET game was so bad that it caused the home game market to crash. Or the same with the Atari Pac-man (which, in fairness, was a really crappy port of an otherwise great game). But what about all of the other god-awful terrible, near unplayable, games that DIDN’T cause the market to crash?** 17 games in one! and they’re all terrible 😀

Still, there was a focus on heads-up multiplayer gaming that’s really lacking today everywhere except for fighting games. I bet I can land my sky-diving stick figure on the narrow colored line better and more times than you can!

One thing that I find most interesting about old games are their cartridge art and the manuals. Art ranged from outlandish to beautiful realism, fueling the imagination to visualize these worlds of digital impressionism.

This isn’t to say that there weren’t some great old games. It’s just that the difference between Atari 2600 and NES are like a watershed. Especially looking at some of the mid to late 80s Atari home games, I just kind of feel sad for everyone… Developers, players, me…

*:The only games from this Gen I’m old enough to have fond memories of are the older arcade games still in operation in places like Chuck’e Cheeses (then Showbiz Pizza) from the days before they became shady kiddy-casinos with nothing but dull games of chance.

**: Really, most of the arcade games still hold up, especially Red Baron and Crystal Castles. It’s just the home-ports and home games that are awful.


New Monster – Several Cat

Name: Several Cat (Not to be confused with Serval Cat)
Size: Small
Hit Dice: 2**
Movement: 160′(40′)
AC: 5
Att: 3 bite/2claw 1d2/1/1
Morale: 8
Saves as: F6
Treasure Type: Nil*
Alignment: Chaotic

The Several Cat is a thought to be a distant cousin of the much larger and fiercer displacer beast, though others speculate that these strange creatures began as a magician’s experiment gone horribly awry.  While they have the appearance of normal cats, each Several Cat exists unstuck in time and place, appearing in multiple places at once, causing untold mischief and destruction. They have a fondness for knocking over and breaking valuables. Many an alchemist has thought to have successfully shooed the beast breaking plates in his kitchen from his home only find his expensive glass still lying smashed on the floor elsewhere moments later.

A Several Cat will rarely engage in combat, fleeing when encountering anything larger than itself, however they delight in creating a distraction in one place while wreaking havoc in another.

Whenever any successful attack does damage to a Several Cat, the Several Cat will appear to die, though the corpse will vanish the moment that it is no longer observed. Despite the tales of such creatures literally having nine lives, less scrupulous magicians have determined that some Several Cats might only recover from as few as two such dispatchings in this manner.

*Treasure: Occasionally, a Several Cat might collect a stash of toys and magic items, though often they are so broken and mangled they are only worth the material they are made of.