Mélange VIII

Random thoughts, only 5/8ths about icosahedral amusements. None of them reference Dune because I hate Dune (much like the Warhammer 40,000 setting it heavily influenced, it's better as a source of memes than actually engaged with seriously).
  • Realized probably the simplest way to turn kytons into goblin ancestor-gods, which I'm calling "barghests", is to swap out a few powers here and there (because they're pure fear, not torture) and then apply, basically, the lycanthrope template, but with my version of worgs as the "base animal". I actually have to swap a lot fewer things than one would think, because kytons run almost as much on fear as on pain, and many of their mutilation-y things will still fly given how much influence from Predator my goblins have.
  • Arcane is good. Really, really good. My brother has the bizarre idea that Silco having a cause, the independence of Zaun, makes him better than the other gang leaders of the Lanes, who operate purely from self-interest. But the other gang-leaders didn't spread Shimmer around or come very close to a losing war with Piltover largely out of nationalistic pride.

    In the immortal words of Daeran Arendae, violence in a good cause is indeed different: it's much more bloody, and is done with pinkies out.

    If I had another complaint, it would be that "Get Jinxed" plays at one point (albeit diagetically, when Jinx is listening to the radio while working—"you're listening to your own image song? don't be that guy"), but "Here Comes Vi" never does. Shameful, shameful oversight. Admittedly she isn't a Piltover enforcer yet, maybe that's it?
  • Golly bob howdy but Pathfinder is weirdly light on items for storing and preserving food, and cooking it. I mean you can use a cauldron of brewing in camp as well as in the alchemy lab, but other than that? I don't think there are any magical storehouses or anything.

    I also think there need to be more low-level magical traps, let your rogues earn their keep earlier on. I mean, since a summon monster VI trap is CR 7, isn't a summon monster I trap CR 2? And maybe summon minor monster as CR 1? 1d3 fiendish-template animals sounds like a CR 1 hazard to me.
  • Ghostbusters Afterlife is a fitting conclusion to the franchise. The two main kids are extremely believable as Egon's grandchildren (the girl especially is adorable—not just her looks and mannerisms but how her shirt is often buttoned wrong), and everything else is good to excellent. (It does have the weakness of being much more interesting before the big ghost stuff starts happening, but that was also true of the original.)

    Critics have mostly panned it in the stupidest manner imaginable, seemingly to punish it for being what the fans wanted, because the critics wanted the 2016 one to be well-received. Which was never going to happen; you can't try to reboot one of the tightest-written movies ever made as a piece of crappy improv, no matter what 1986 Fundamentalist "everything in pop culture is satanic" moral payload you attach to try to shame people into liking it.

    Sorry but the 2016 one was fourth-rate improv consisting very largely of fart jokes, extended painfully-stupid dancing sequences, and a running gag where the protagonist is obnoxious to a Chinese-takeout delivery guy. Can't imagine why people didn't like it.
  • The seven deadly sins are drastically overdone, in fiction. Decided instead that my setting's blasphemous warlockery will run off the Four Sins Crying to Heaven for Vengeance: perversion (the sin of Sodom), betrayal (denial of wages to workers), oppression (of widows and orphans), and murder. Of course, a game-setting is more PG-13, so the main form perversion takes (aside from the decadent witch culture having some sibling marriages) is cannibalism—sexual appetites aren't the only ones that can be perverted. Helps the royal caste of the modern thalassocratic Valyrians are dhampirs.

    Also decided that the non-fiend evil gods basically want to use the witch-power of the fiends against fiends, like using the One Ring against Sauron, or using Stasis against the Darkness (huh funny how one of those examples understands what a bad idea it is, Eris). They mostly take the form of murder (i.e. human[oid] sacrifice), although the ogres and orcs are tyrants and cannibals and the dark elves and dwarves are tyrants. (Both go in for a certain amount of backstabbing but you can't encourage that and still maintain a society, any more than you can permit most versions of perversion.)
  • Decided that the elves' panthers age relative to lions as elves age relative to humans: maturity 2/3 later (elves in my setting are adults at 25 to humans' 15), then age 12 times slower. Which means that, as lions are adults at 3 years, the panthers are at 5; lions get to be middle-aged at 8, so the panthers reach it at 96.

    From there though we apply the game-rule aging system where "venerable" is twice middle age (70 for humans, who hit it at 35), so 192 for the panthers. Then "old" is halfway between the two, 144 for the panthers. Lions only live about 19 years in the wild, which makes the panthers' maximum lifespan 228 years.
  • Thinking I'll redo my Draconic alphabet, since the old one was pretty much just Persian cuneiform upside-down and with the phonological values assigned at random. Thinking I'll take some cues from the Covenant alphabet, but with the strokes inside the triangles rather than as the triangle. But also from how Ugaritic is actually a cuneiform version of Phoenician (e.g. all the signs that incorporate an O shape, the ones that in Greek or Latin are O, Θ, or Q, replace the O shape with a <-type thing).

    Specifically how I think I'll have it work (I need to figure out all the nitty-gritty still) is take letters like something in a standard alphabet, convert them to cuneiform-esque shapes, and then convert those cuneiform-esque shapes to triangles. Specifically upward-pointing ones: Draconic is written bottom to top, by a dragon perched above whatever hard surface they're scratching letters into (hence the cuneiform, they're claw marks).
  • HBO Max has a bunch of DC stuff, and while the fourth season of Young Justice is even more painfully terrible than the third, at least there's a bunch of movies. I particularly like Superman/Batman: Apocalypse and Superman Unbound—I really like Supergirl when she's not being desecrated by the CW (and by current DC writers, of course). Also the fight in Apocalypse with Wonder Woman and Barda against the Female Furies, is one of the best fights in all of animation.

    There's also The Batman, in many ways the most underrated DC show (and it's pretty highly regarded, just not highly-regarded enough given it's close to as good as Batman the Animated Series). I wonder why Krypton isn't on there, though, unless it's a licensing issue with Syfy or Universal—tell me the thing with Sig-El's grandfather's Fortress of Solitude, and the camera pulls out to show the El crest, and the Superman theme plays, doesn't stir you deep inside.

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