Keep an eye on this page here for more information about an upcoming Lake Geneva Games Gameday for Saturday, January 3rd, likely starting at 10 am and running late into the evening. I'll be running a 1E AD&D slot called "Conquering the Dragon's Teeth." "This AD&D adventure will use pre-generated 5th level characters. Use your wits as well as your steel to prevail." I hope the weather allows us to have another great turnout!
Some of the fascinating uses of LEGO (so-called) toy products have come in areas of robotics, particularly when interfacing with living creatures. On the simple side, Design Boom informed us of how a tortoise pet owner helped their little loved on regain his mobility with use of a LEGO wheelchair here.
Also, on Science Alert, "Scientists have put a worm’s brain into a Lego robot’s body - and it works" here. I hope it doesn't use its new powers for evil.
Finally, if you are predisposed to do so, oregonstate.edu has a PDF on the "Steps to starting a LEGO robotics program" here.
As most of you are probably aware, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014) opens this week in theaters and I am personally psyched to see it. Let me clarify, that I am psyched to see it on the big screen, not simply just to see it. I've waited a long time to see live action versions of the books I read back in the early 70s and I am quite fine that Peter Jackson put his own spin on some portions LotR and The Hobbit, even going so far as to add characters and sequences, and cut some things out that others might have kept.
Oh, and allow me to mention right up front that I am not inviting debate over whether PJ should have made the films frame for frame as Tolkien wrote the stories nor about Hollywood's hand in helping Tolkien get exercise by making him roll over in his grave. This argument has been flogged since The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and it doesn't sway anyone nor will it keep Jackson from coveting the Silmarils and planning a movie for each of the three. As far as I am concerned, the-movies-ruined-my-blah-blah-blah argument never works, not with Jackson's Tolkien films nor Marvel's comic book movies nor Franco's Faulkner. Unless J.R.R. tucked you in at night in the early 20th Century after reading his latest scribblings about tiny people living in the Shire, you won't have anything new that hasn't been beaten to death around Internet town, so please save your keystrokes so you can also avoid being offended when I summarily delete any such comments. If I had a ring, I'd just avoid them the Bilbo way, despite the risk of drawing Sauron, his minions, and damnation on Middle-earth.
Getting back to the opening, I'm of a mind that this is in one way much like any other movie coming out that has sweeping action and epic cinematography, and it needs to be seen on the big screen. But with films I have waited thirty to forty years to realize, I think this needs something more. As such, it is my intention to see these on the largest IMAX screen in striking distance in 70 mm with 3D. I've even looked into the Hobbit Marathons that are happening and seriously considered spending a full day enjoying all three movies back-to-back-to-back in that most glorious medium. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity, after all.
In semi-related news, "Sir Ian McKellen gives Oxford students 'LOTR'-style lesson in work ethics" here. Martin Freeman answered questions from Facebook users here. And Stephen Colbert interviewed Smaug as part of his remaining shows. Brilliant!
So, enjoy the movie if you can in as large a way as possible. If you already know it is something you cannot enjoy, please don't spend your precious time trying to ruin it for other people. Life is too short for such efforts and there is certainly something else you do enjoy that it can benefit you to pursue instead. All the best, everyone. All the best.
Some years ago, a group of adventurers came upon an artifact, a cursed sword, in a tomb. The players had all given me elaborate backgrounds: one Human Thief PC wanted to be a great writer of her serious swashbuckling adventures, another invented a "zippy" (a take on the Zippo lighter) and wanted it to change the world, another strove to be a prominent Dwarven leader, yet another wanted to "invent dynamite," one Elf wished that Elves were the majority race in the campaign, and there were a couple others.
The cursed artifact sword pulled from its resting place by the would-be leader gave him great combat power but also altered the reality of their portion of the campaign world such that they all got a form of their desires which became apparent as they traveled forth. The "writer" found that she was the most popular author in the land, known far and wide for her trashy bodice-ripper romance novels. The inventor of the zippy had had his idea stolen and patented by a Gnomish guild which was indeed revolutionizing the use of fire, though no credit was given to the PC. The Elves were now the majority but enslaved by the Dwarves who ruled all in this previously Humanocentric campaign world. The would-be Dwarven leader, tenth in line for the throne, found that his family was being picked off by assassins all over the Kingdom and folks were beginning to suspect he was behind it all.
Black Hand Artwork by Tamás Baranya.
As they made their way to the palace of the Dwarves to clear his name, a fringe group (also behind the assassinations) who believed the would-be leader was a quasi-messiah had rigged the entire palace with the now-easily-obtained dynamite and a series of zippy-detonators. The inventors of the group, upon conferring, realized that there was so much of the stuff it would destroy the entire city and bring down the dam, further destroying the surrounding lowlands. They high-tailed it out of there, barely ahead of the explosion, a great fireball, cloud of smoke, and deafening screams behind them as they fled.
The remainder of the campaign was a very pro-active attempt to put the sword back in the tomb and restore their reality!