Thursday, June 29, 2023

Watching Again: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Here are my thoughts while watching this one again.

  • The opening flashback, to a time when Indy was young, could be a fun idea for a campaign. The players have a chance to work through such an experience, with one focusing on their regular character, and the others playing different ones, like Herman. It wouldn't be anything too dangerous, but helps build background and give insight into a formative experience.

  • The scene aboard the train is a great example of using the rules for Chases. In this case, each card in the sequence can represent one train car, with different obstacles and hazards—crates and baggage, a rhinoceros, snakes, a lion, the magician's caboose—for each card/car.

  • We move from there into a good series of clues, not too hard or too easy, with atmospheric exploration and then another good example of a chase aboard boats.

  • The Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword is a good example of a rival organization—not enemies, but people who opposed to the heroes. They want to protect the location of the Holy Grail, but Indy knows that seeking it will lead to his father.

  • Indy's ruse of pretending to be Lord Clarence MacDonald, followed by a punch, is just the kind of hare-brained impersonation that one of my players might try.

  • We move from there into a series of encounters highlighted by great roleplaying and fast action. There's the confrontation in which Elsa's betrayal is revealed; a fiery escape and motorcycle chase; venture back into Berlin; escape on a dirigible; and airplane chase. The GM does a good job of keeping things moving here. At the same time, the two players do great work playing their characters and digging into their father-son relationship.

  • Then we have another convoy sequence, reminiscent of the one from Raiders, but with more characters and elements in play. Kazim and the Brotherhood make their return, too, showing that Indy gained some allies by showing mercy.

  • I can imagine the tank chase playing out on the tabletop, too. Indy and the tank are moving from card to card, as are Sallah and other vehicles, and there's combat taking place on and in the tank. This is fun stuff!

  • I can imagine that, when the out-of-control tank drives over the cliff, both Indy and Vogel make Acrobatics or Athletics checks to jump to safety; Indy succeeds, and Vogel fails. Henry, Brody and Sallah all fail Notice checks to spot Indy, and we have some more good roleplaying while they respond as if he is dead.

  • That is a cold-blooded moment when Donovan shoots Henry. What a way to sell the villain!

  • Then there are four cool traps/puzzles/tests. Donovan's failure at the fourth test is a nice throwback to the end of Raiders.

  • It's a cool image, seeing Indy with the Grail Knight.

  • Of course, the final test is whether to try claiming the prize, or letting it go. Elsa fails the test, but Indy and Henry are able to pass it. We've moved from pursuing “fortune and glory” in Temple of Doom to seeking “illumination” in this one.

  • And then they ride off into the sunset. That could have been a great end to the campaign, if that was actually the end of it.

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