Showing posts from April, 2021

CT: Outland

  Cliched? Yes! That's why we like it! Outland is a scifi movie made in 1981, and is of the same vintage and style as Alien and Blade Runner - and Classic Traveller ! As many have noted, it is essentially High Noon in space. A federal Marshal comes to the mining colony of Io run by the interplanetary conglomerate Con-Am, and finds the place violent and corrupt, and the men abusing stimulants to work harder. Scientifically, it falls down in three places: lights inside helmets, explosive decompression, and the composition of Io.  "I can feel schlock crawling all over me!" Scifi films have lights on in people's vacc suit helmets for the same reason medieval films have the hero not wear a helmet at all, so we can see the face of the actor the producers paid all that money for. Explosive decompression, where a sudden loss of pressure leads to people exploding, simply does not happen as depicted; this puts Outland partly in the schlock scifi category. As for Io, in th

AD&D1e: Common men & the shield wall

  Too often players and DM come to the game table imagining some solitary friendless hero who charges off by themselves. Should the DM not be soft, weak and useless and fudge the dice to save them from their foolhardiness, this would-be Rambo typically perishes horribly sooner rather than later. The wise player realises that they are part of a  party , a team of adventurers who work together to accomplish their goals of gold and glory. As the dwarves in  The Hobbit  put it, Far over the Misty Mountains cold To dungeons deep and caverns old We must away, ere break of day To seek our pale enchanted gold We  must away - not "I", but "we". In the early days of D&D, players often came from wargaming clubs, and so this could be taken for granted. Now when players are coming from watching movies with solitary heroes or playing first-person shooters, it cannot be taken for granted. This is a style forgotten by most, and so we bring in house rules which encourage scout