Tuesday, May 31, 2011

No seriously, Herculoids is coming to DVD on June 14

Just so you know. In case you missed me sayin' it. FYI. HERCULOIDS. ON. DVD.

Optical beam firing dinosaurs! Igneous simians! Rhinoceratops-i-pi! Far future barbarians! Shape-shifting elasto-blobs! Because the world needs more science fantasy cartoons filled with Alex Toth designed characters.

Pre-order the complete series or order on Tuesday, June 14!! Relevant promotional copy from Warner Bros.:
Somewhere out in deep space – and out of the creative imagination of the animation aces of Hanna-Barbera Studios – live the Herculoids. Humanoid Zandor, along with his wife Tara and son Dorno, lead a group of unique creatures: Zok the flying dragon, powerful simian Igoo (who possesses rock-like skin), rhinoceros hybrid Tundro and two protoplasmic wonders appropriately named Gloop and Gleep. Together, they use their diverse super strengths to defend their utopian planet against attack from such sinister invaders as the Pod Creatures, the Reptons and the Mutoids. For all-family entertainment, this 18-Episode, 2-Disc Collection of The Herculoid: The Complete Original Animated Series is out of this world, literally.
It's a "manufacture-on-demand" set from WB, which, kinda stinks because the price is set firmly at $29 without extras. The upside though is clean prints of the entire series. Frankly, this is the only way you're gonna get an official set. So don't go out for lunch this pay period and you can stop watching crappy Boomerang uploads on YouTube or (ahem) those other DVDs you came across....

Relevant Herculoids awesomeness:

/so awesome, it's getting re-posted on Spellcard and Exonauts.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

"American Barbarian" = Psychedlic Thundarr = Awesome!

Do you like barbarians? Do you like them in a far future "post, post-apocalyptic" setting? Do you like awesome, Kirby-esque artwork that makes you weep for your childhood?
Then you will love Tom Scioli's American Barbarian web comic. Here's hoping he publishes it in hard copies. I've already decided that I'll be getting five or six paper routes to keep this guy in business.
He's co-creator of Godland, which takes a different page from Kirby's galactic aesthetic. The artwork is just incredible. While the Kirby Krackle is virtually an atomic element in his universal pallet, his talents add up to more than just an homage to the King of Comics. No, the cosmic repertoire is just a jumping point for Scioli and partner Joe Casey to push the concepts--and the medium--to the limit.

Check it out:

All images: Tom Scioli

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The "All of the Above" Apocalypse (Dance Re-mix!)

Last week when I put it to you to choose your preferred Armageddon in a new poll, Rorschachhamster keenly noticed "All of the Above" was missing from the selections. In honor of that comment, I give you exactly that--a video mash-up of disaster movie pay-off scenes--set to a killer electronica score!

Oh, and if you haven't voted in the poll yet, please do (at left).


Friday, May 20, 2011

How do you plan on celebrating Armageddon Day?

So, according to verifiable sources it's the End of the World tomorrow. How do you plan on spending it? Better yet, how do you think it will arrive? I've thrown together a little Gamma-poll (at left).

Depending on whether you're a gambler or not, you have a week to vote.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Day the Saucers Came

Here's a lovely little video created by Matt McGee from Neil Gaiman's poem "The Day the Saucers Came." A lovely bit of inspiration to help capture the impending invasion of Gamma Terra. Enjoy!

Hat tip to Kuriositas!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Gamma World Mega Event in the Twin Cities

My Friendly Local Gaming Store, Source Comics and Games, is holding a Gamma World shindig the first week in June. It will of course be the latest rendition of the rules based on the 4E D&D system. Given how much fun I had last time I played, I plan on attending.

It's not often that GW gets love here in St. Paul / Minneapolis, so I'm glad to spread the word.

UPDATE: Character creation has been set for Saturday, June 4th from 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM in the source's gaming room.

Also, I just got an email from one of the organizers saying there's a sign up sheet at The Source to play every night of the first week of June (except Wednesday and the following Saturday). You read that right....

More Players Wanted / Welcome / GM's Needed!
Click the image to see official event page

More info posted by the Source:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

So what's the plan?

I'm far enough along with the initial conceit of Gamma World War that I have a few assumptions I'm ready to share "out loud", meaning, they've been rattling around in my brain and I need to write them down so I can think about/refute/or move forward with them. I've already mentioned a few, but just in case, here's the deal:

1. It's a sandbox setting. Duh!

2. It's a 3-sided war: mutants vs. humans vs. aliens. Mutants are the hard-luck underdogs and outnumber the other two forces. Humans are austere, subterranean living, better off tech wise. There are surface dwelling cousins, but we'll get to that in a sec. Aliens may be powerful and intimidating, but they're not invincible. Two factions listed under "mutant"could technically be split off for a total of five sides to the war:  artificial beings (not including cyborgs though) and undead. Zombies might actually be considered "mutants" though. I'll leave that door open for those at the gaming table.

3. In the beginning, there are no factions--those will grow organically through gameplay between PCs and the GM. Races are aligned mainly through simplicity and for survival purposes. Alliances and/or rivalries between species will be formed through exploring Gamma Terra. By encountering one another and experiencing the eventual invasion of the aliens, players will have to figure things out as they go.

4. Certain races and the aliens will be controlled by the GM. At least in the beginning. I guess I'm still not-quite solid about this, but to get the ball rolling I think the aliens should play the heavies. Things can change once the battle starts. Maybe this is more of playtest thing. I've created a few race/species categories, but I'd be open to others from previous GW or MF editions.

5. To be a true "world war" we'll need a little Player vs. Player. Another thing I'd like to experiment with, which is why I asked about it a while back is the PvP or Team vs. Team aspect of gaming. I've never done it, but it sounds like it can be really fun. I can see writing this into a ruleset at some point--giving everyone the chance to go at it, once everyone gets into building up alliances, armies, etc. Or maybe just as a cap to a long campaign.

6. Setting will likely be the "standard" two centuries after the current timeline. I'd like to give some time for humanity to grow into more advanced tech--which of course is lost to irradiated winds once the cataclysm happens. I spoke earlier about other possibilities. They could just as easily be shoehorned in. Maybe Gamma Terra blinks into another reality temporarily. Seems like a good enough excuse to run GW in a different setting for a one-off trial.

7. What is the cataclysm? Unlike Gamma World or Mutant Future, I'm not planning on defining it. Maybe it will come out in game play. I do like the latest GW excuse of using the Hadron Collider to rip open reality. But I'm not sure it's even necessary to get that into the setting early on. If radiation is out of fashion, we'll blame genetic "mutagens" (the catch-all used by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). An alien invasion that wiped out collective memory is another good one. If that doesn't work, reality rifting works just as well.

8. Which rules? TBD. Honestly, I've played Mutant Future based off AD&D rules and a few versions of Gamma World. I bought the latest GW based on 4E, after trying it several years ago. Frankly, I'm quite impressed. But I'm more impressed by simplicity. Once I get going on write-ups they'll likely use Mutant Future since there's an open license for that, and it can easily be converted to other systems. UPDATE: I've been using MF rules so far when I need to do write ups (seems like it's the easiest to convert, as well).

9. What about Thundarr and Warlord? Hmm. I'm not sayin' that they're not going to be hanging around--the sword-wielding-barbarian-hero-types, that is--but mutants are more fun. So are silver-suited killjoys who live underground. Aliens might even beat them out. If there are pure-strains living amongst the ruins, they're likely slightly mutated. Even if they look normal, there's something...different about them. Thundarr always looked a little stronger/more resilient than regular folks, I mean have you seen how far that guy can leap? That's not normal. And there's no way Warlord wasn't part cockatiel with that hair! ;)

10. So when does the first session begin? Don't know yet. I'm focused on other projects at the moment, but I hope by this summer to get a few games going, test out some concepts, write up play reports and see how the war effort progresses. 

More to come.

Post-Apocalypse...when is that exactly?

Good question! When I first came up with the idea of a world war in the Gamma-verse I figured it would be set in the standard 200+ years in the future that was the basis for the original Gamma World. But then it seemed like an infinitely swappable idea!

Remember that Gamma World War is made of (at least) three sides: humans, mutants, and aliens. Here's a few other variations on the theme that could easily be implemented for other eras:

Atlantis, Post-Sinking and/or Volcanopalooza

Mythological mutants, Atlantean centurions manning Archemedian Death Rays vs. Ancient Aliens! I'm thinking the E.T.s were the ones that destroyed Atlantis. Now the Atlantean diaspora (pre-Romans, Greeks, Mesopotamians, Sumers, everybody basically) has begun and the descendants are battling all manner of Greek mutant tragedy in order to survive while the ancient astronauts from Zeti Persei continue their raiding parties in an effort to reclaim their former colony world. Sword, sandal, and saucer epic in the making!

Weirdest World War

This one's obvious. US has the bomb. So does Japan. So does Germany and Russia. The Cold War never happens because it instantly went hot! Mutants! Giant lizards!! Roswell Aliens!!! A hot fudge sundae of WW2 battles, swirled in with the best parts of Indiana Jones 1, 3, and 4, plus Flying Saucer, Godzilla, and Ray Harryhausen films from the 50s and 60s.

Can't forget a heap o' The War that Time Forgot and Weird War Tales thrown in for good measure. Grease guns meet gamma rays. Call it "World War Doom!"

"High Doom" Meets the "Treasure of Gamma Madre"

Cowboys vs. Aliens vs. mutated miner-49ers who find uranium in search of a gold rush. A wave of irradiated zombies spreads just as invading wagon trains wielding gas-powered ray carbines are settling the West. Steampunky Thundarr-like techno-warlocks Edison and Tesla quibble from their electro-hoversleds, sending wave after wave of giant armored jackalopes into battle. Cowboy centaur Wild Bill Hickock fights off Planet of the Bison-like minotaur men! (Hat tip to One-eyed Bob!). Seeing their chance to claim jump the Earth's rich uranium, the aliens show up to set up their own mining operation--and put down those pesky humans.They of course are familiar to the native tribes, they're the original skinwalkers!

Irradiated Oni and the Robotech Ronin

A meteor strikes Mt. Fuji in medieval Japan leaving a wake of destruction. The mountain erupts and  spreads strange mutagen across the countryside and awakening the Gods of Old a la Princess Mononoke-style. All of the Orient's mythologies of Oni, animism, and spirits are made real, and wreak havoc on he remaining un-mutated humans. After the shoguns fail to protect them, the peasantry and remaining samurai make their last stand--when a Zentradi starship crashes off-shore.

What seems like a disaster-and-a-half is a blessing in disguise as the ship is empty but a windfall of alien tech. Can the humans salvage--and comprehend--the alien robotech well enough to fight off the mutants? And will they be prepared when the hostile giant-sized Zentradi come sniffing around for their crashed cruiser?

Far-out, Far Future

Think The Time Machine meets the Herculoids. Here, the Earth is older and returns to seed with newly evolved megafauna and mutant Morlocks feeding off the pure-strain human Eloi. It's also  got yer standard weird Herculoids planet Quasar of the barbaric far future. The aliens? Humans from the distant past!

For the aliens: hordes of lunar Nazi's (that have been hiding out in secret bases for eons) depart a broken moon to launch a blitzkrieg on the savage Earth. Can the canibalistic Morlocks, rayrifle toting Mutoids, and slingshot-lovin' Eloi overcome their food-chain issues long enough to turn back the 333rd Reich?


So Arrakis--Dune [dramatic pause] desert-planet--is basically already a post-apocalyptic setting. Let's play with the knobs a bit and see what we come up with:

Fremen are mutants. They're former humans who were altered by spice. The more direct-spice exposure, the crazier the mutation. The more sandworms you wrangle, the more metal \m/ you become, dialing up all the way to full-on sandperson-from-Star Wars mania. They're suspicious of anyone trying to take anything from Mother Dune. They're full-on, crazy-in-love with the planet and consider themselves it's protectors and martyrs.

Valids/pure strains are House Atreides humans who are doing their best to mine the spice without incident. They're the survivors of the last mining colony that was abandoned here about a century ago. Most of their tech is broken, outdated, and considered "magical" by the Fremen. Pure humans stay that way by wearing stillsuits to filter out the spice. Yes, there's the potential to becoming a mutant if you don't keep yours intact or working properly. The Fremen mutants are not happy about any of this.

Aliens are faceless Saraukar assholes who are bent on taking over the universe. Under their masks they're a mass of plastic skin, tubes, and organic electronics. They believe in shooting first, second, and last. They have a spacefleet ready to hoist entire sandworms onto their space carriers and take them back to Giedi Prime where they'll be juiced like Florida oranges for their extracts. They'll kill a pure-strain just as quickly as they'd kill a mutant, so both have a reason to hate these dudes.

Anyway, just a few thoughts...

*I totally reserve the right to revise the post at my leisure!