Thursday, April 20, 2023

New Trailer for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

This trailer was released almost two weeks ago, and I am finally taking some time to look at it. 

Here are my thoughts: 

  • My first thought was that the use of the song "Sympathy for the Devil" by the Rolling Stones was rather jarring. In previous films we've seen the use of music from the time period, such as Sallah singing "I Am the Monarch of the Sea" from HMS Pinafore and Willie Scott singing "Anything Goes." Those were both released before 1936, however, which is the more familiar period in which Raiders of the Lost Ark takes place. Seeing that this fifth film is set in the late 1960s, however, I guess it is appropriate. 
  • This trailer really seems to play up the idea that Indy feels out of place in this time period and, in fact, is about to retire from his job as a college professor. 
  • The lyrics of the song clearly refer to temptation toward wicked deeds, including the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the Bolshevik uprising in Russia and the slaughter of the royal family, World War II and the Hundred Years War. 
  • There remains the question of just what the titular Dial can do. Helena clains that it "can change the course of history." Voller takes that a step further when he says, "Hitler made mistakes, and with this I will correct them all. Does that imply some kind of time travel device? I don't love the sound of adding time travel to this setting, but what else could it be? 
  • Finally, this film seems to create the potential for Helena Shaw to start her own series of adventures. Could this be a setup for a spinoff series, much like The Mandalorian and other shows build upon the events of the Star Wars movies? 

As usual, only time will tell. 


Friday, April 14, 2023

A Belated Preview: The Wages of Sin

Only after I'd released The Wages of Sin on DrivethruRPG did I realize I'd forgotten to post any previews of it. Here, then, is a preview. We'll start with a map of the religious compound in which the action takes place. 

Next there is a painting that plays an important role in the story. 

Finalize, here is a cryptic clue to unlocking one of the scenario's mysteries. 


Saturday, April 8, 2023

Influence & Inspiration for Spelljammer: Jungle Cruise

It is my annual New Year's resolution to get more exercise; this leads me to jogging on the treadmill in the winter, since the sidewalks can be dicey. This year I have incorporated my son's iPad into the process, allowing me to watch movies and TV shows while I jog. After watching again Season 1 of The Bad Batch, in preparation for Season 2, I was casting about for something else, and settled on Disney's Jungle Cruise. It seemed, of course, like a fun film that wouldn't require too much concentration, and something in the vein of Treasure Hunter Adventures. About halfway into the movie, however, I realized that it would make a great Spelljammer adventure. Here are some more specific thoughts.

  • The opening sequence, in London, could be moved nicely to the Rock of Bral, with the theft from an institute of higher learning, and a chase through the streets.

  • The Amazon River and jungle, then, could be replaced by an asteroid belt in just about any planetary system, or perhaps an unusual world like Garden in Realmspace, which has asteroids connected by the massive plant known as Yggdrasil's child.

  • While the movie takes place against the backdrop of World War I, the second Unhuman War would make a good replacement. Alternately, local conflicts—such as the War of the Lance on Krynn—would work well, too.

  • In place of Frank's boat, I think that a smaller type of vessel makes sense. This could be a Shrike Ship, a Wasp Ship or a Dragonfly Ship, depending on where it needs to be able to land.

  • For Prince Joachim's submarine, something well suited to combat would be appropriate. This could include a Scorpion Ship, or perhaps a Squid Ship or Hammerhead Ship that carries extra weapons.

  • The obvious suggestion for the Conquistadors is that they are undead. That still begs the question, however, of who they were originally. If this adventure takes place during the second Unhuman War, then they could be soldiers who fought in the first go-round of that conflict. It makes sense that they were also seeking the prize, and still seek it after death. Vampirates are an easy option for this, but lots of other undead would work, too.

  • The native people—in the film it is Trader Sam and the Puka Michuna tribe—could be native to Wildspace, or they could inhabit a world that is the PCs' destination. In the latter case, the possibilities are pretty much endless. In the prior case, creatures such as the chwinga could be a good option.

  • The arrowhead that leads the party to their prize could be something like a collection of star charts, a crystal ball, a sending stone connected to someone who knows where to go, a relevant spell scroll, a well of many worlds, a sentient magic item, or even a portable hole that contains valuable clues.

  • Finally, the Tree of Life could be replaced with—or might function just the same as—items such as an elixirs of health, potions of longevity, a ring of regeneration, a rod of resurrection, or the like.

The Wages of Sin

Now available on DriveThruRPG is The Wages of SinThis scenario, for use with Treasure Hunter Adventures and the Savage Worlds RPG, finds the heroes trying to discover the secrets behind a rapidly growing but isolated religious organization.

The Wages of Sin