October 28th, 2007

Boromir battle

A Different Kind of Red Menace [gaming]

Well, just because 4th edition is on the way, doesn't mean 3rd edition don't work. After a month or so of no gaming due to schedule conflicts and general life-being-a-pain, we finally got together again and I started a new mini-campaign running The Red Hand of Doom.

RHOD is probably WotC's iconic moment in 3rd edition; when it came out, several people hailed it as being an instant classic on par with Temple of Elemental Evil for enduring quality and generally setting the standard. (Some people would argue that Paizo's adventure paths in Dungeon magazine beat it, particularly "Age of Worms" -- I won't get into that here. "AoW" does look very cool -- unfortunately, as it'll never see hardcover compilation, it's sort of an apples/oranges comparison. But I digress.)

RHOD has a structure similar to Icewind Dale II, for those who've played that -- an army of evil humanoids is descending upon civilized lands and it's up to the heroes to turn the tide. The cover says it's intended to take characters from levels 6-12; the inside says levels 5-10. Which one is correct? Hard to say. We only got through the introductory teaser fight last night, and that was a pretty hefty slog for a party of five 6th-level characters. Granted, there's a lot of multiclassing and LA going on, so the party is not the most optimized you'll come across, but they're no pushovers.

Right now there's not a lot of characterization or group dynamic going on ... in order to get right into the action I just said, "You guys have been adventuring together for a while and you've got a treasure map. Go!" Who the characters are and how they relate is yet to be determined. There is no "GM's PC" right now, and I don't know if one will turn up. There is a tag-along NPC in the adventure who may or may not join up depending on how things go, but without wanting to give too much in the way of spoilers, his skillset would be a bit redundant with the group as it exists right now. If this group does have a weak spot, I'd say it was lacking in either a dedicated cleric, or a dedicated rogue. A scout might work, tho. Maybe I'll send them a Celedras-variant for support if they need it.

-The Gneech
Torey Rave

"La Cage aux Folles" Only Wishes It Were This Gay

Courtesy of Netflix, I rented the 1956 film version of "Anything Goes" -- figuring that with a script by P.G. Wodehouse and music and lyrics by Cole Porter, it had to be pretty darn good.

Well, um, it wasn't. In fact, aside from one "this doesn't suck" number about 3/4 of the way through involving Donald O'Connor tap-dancing while kids threw playground balls at him (it worked better than it sounds), it was mostly noticeable for, well, being really gay. 0.o During the signature routine of "Anything Goes," Mitzi Gaynor is danced around by several guys in tight TIGHT pants and do a lot of butt-flaunting -- but that's positively tame compared to the wrist-bending and jazz-handsing Chippendales guys who accompany Zizi Jeanmaire during her character's introductory number. Most of the choreography in the film is just kinda weird -- people moving around more or less randomly in time to the music -- but when watching those two numbers particularly I kept expecting them to break into "The French Mistake".

The gayness of it all wouldn't be a problem particularly, except that in a comedy the laughs should come from a funny script, not from the ridiculousness of the boys in the chorus camping it up. However, my disappointment is mitigated somewhat by the discovery that this film version is basically a shadow of the original play, that (in the words of Wikipedia) "almost completely excised the rest of the characters in favor of a totally new plot." So, yeah. Thanks Paramount. Pfui. Even Bing Crosby makes clunkers sometimes.

Oh well ... the actual play gets revived from time to time, maybe I'll see it on the stage someday.

-The Gneech

EDIT: Well, YouTube has Mitzi Gaynor's routine. Saddle up, Spanky!
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