This is Audio EXP for the 30th of May 2020, and the title of this episode is ‘Entertainment and Encounters’.
[The following is a transcript of Audio EXP: #46]
Here’s a scene to picture.
Imagine looking at a masked man’s face. It’s one of those small domino masks that cover his eyes. It’s red, matching the colour of the blood that trickles from his many wounds. He’s frightened.
It’s easy to see why the masked man is frightened, his face is trapped inside some huge jaw and held in place with dagger-like teeth.
Your view of this is from inside that scary mouth. You’re looking down the gullet of some monsters which has caught the masked man.
The scene cuts to a pair of dangling feet, as the camera pans up you can see the twitching arms of the thug and then the crocodile-headed man who has caught him.
There’s a fight going on. A muscled woman is wrestling with a thug.
Then we’re back inside that crocodile mouth, and something else weird is happening. There’s a shadow forming. That shadow that takes on the shape of a man rising up from inside the crocodile-man. “It’s not you,” says the man forming inside the crocodile-man and with that, the masked thug is spat out. Failing the test, the masked man is butchered, and the fight is soon over.
That’s how Netflix’s new anime Dorohedoro starts. A mini-review of the first ten episodes can be found in this week’s Irregular Reconnaissance. I’ve given it a good rating. If you can cope with the violence, then it’s worth a watch.
As Japan eases their lockdown we’re getting plenty of good looking anime news, enough to play a chunky part of stories on Geek Native and so it’s about time Audio EXP took a look.
It’s not all anime in the entertainment half of this week’s usual combination of RPG news, though. There is, after all, that business of the Dungeons & Dragons movie.
The co-directors, Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley were interviewed by The Hollywood Reporter about working from home is like. As a result, they talked about their current D&D movie project.
Goldstein was quick to talk about humour. He wants D&D to be fun and funny. It’s not going to be an out-and-out comedy, though. It’s going to be an action-fantasy with comedic elements.
Daley was quick to add reassurance. The D&D movie is not going to be a spoof on the genre.
Now, these two did Spider-man Homecoming as writers, which I really liked. They also directed Game Night which, based on the trailer, I cannot bring myself to watch.
D&D movies are never easy. That’s why, despite many attempts, there’s not been a big hit. There’s been more shame than fame.
I’m going to cross my fingers and hope for the best.
I am going to do the same with the other bit of movie news too. It could be big.
The iconic geek success that was Jennifer Connelly and Davie Bowie in Labyrinth will get a sequel.
The Jim Henson company will be involved, and Lisa Henson will produce. The director will be Scott Derrickson, who directed the Doctor Strange movie. He also quit Snowpericer after doing the pilot for TV after creative differences with the showrunner.
As expected, news about a likely Labyrinth sequel is splitting the geek community. I can understand why some people are hopeful, as I said, I’m putting myself in that camp. I also understand why some people are scared or believe such a classic should be left well alone.
Now, before we return fully to anime, I want to highlight some music. Anime music, as it happens, and a track that’s raising money for charity.
It’s Real Folk Blues which is the title tune to Cowboy Bepop. There’s a new cover, film during the lockdown by Funimation and Sunrise. It’s great. An absolute joy. You’ll find a link in the show notes so go give it a listen.
Two names that I’ll mention in this anime segment are Studio Wit and Studio MAPPA. It feels like we have two titans battling for attention this week.
Attack on Titan season four is due out, and we have the first trailer.
If you don’t know the show at all, then it’s the story of people living in a walled city and huge giants that terrorise the country outside. The giants seem to want to do one thing; eat people. They do so gruesomely and often, given extra chances by humanity’s need to occasionally venture out from their walls for supplies.
I had stopped watching at the season three mid-season break. I thought it had lost its way. The trailer for season 4 which ramps up the steampunk and which seems to show two human cities at war, despite all the titan menace or perhaps because of it, looks great.
It was Studio Wit at the helm of Attack on Titan. They did that amazing first series. But they also were running the show when I gave up on it.
Now, Studio MAPPA has been given the reigns for the finale, and I’m commented to making a return. I don’t think I’ll be the only one.
Studio MAPPA also has an anime show called Jututsu Kaisen in the works, which has been collecting big names. It’s the story about a young athlete who joins his school’s occult club just when weird supernatural attacks begin to happen.
Actors from mega-hits like My Hero Academia have been signed on for roles. No wonder it’s caught people’s attention.
Let’s flick back to Studio Wit. Releasing this coming week in Netflix Japan and likely to get international coverage is an anime called Great Pretender.
The trailer for it really got my attention. It’s a mashup from the show and Queen’s The Great Pretender. It works well!
Great Pretender is an anime about con-artists ripping people off and an FBI agent after them. I’ve not seen it, but the trailers lead me to suspect the con-artists are portrayed in a sympathetic light. They might even be the heroes.
I’m interested to see how that’s managed. I’d be surprised if con-artists are considered favourably by Japanese audiences very often.
It’s not all Studio Wit and Studio MAPPA this week. I don’t think either involved with Our Last Crusade or the Rise of a New World.
That’s the full name of the show, by the way; 10 words.
I’m going to call it Last Crusade.
Last Crusade is about two empires at war. One is a high-tech imperium, and we get to see some of their mechs in the trailer. The other is a coven of witches.
The anime is about a swordsman from the tech imperium meeting and falling in love with one of the witches. Not any of the witches, though, but a witch princess.
I also wanted to introduce God of Highschool.
Not only do we have a trailer for the WEBTOON success, but we have some character sheets for some of the characters.
The character sheets are pretty basic; we get a fighting type, a power level and hit points. The fact that one of the characters, Park Mujin, has “Unknown” for every entry absolutely puts the spotlight on him. I’m not sure that was the intent.
God of High School is a show about a martial arts tournament at, yeah, a high school. The suggestion is that the powers-at-be use it to help decide who the next generation of movers and shakers might be. There are great rewards for winning.
Here for the game talk? Good news. We’re on to it now.
There’s a ninth edition of Warhammer 40K on the way. It’s going to be backwards compatible with most of your eighth edition purchases, so there’s no need to bin your expensive armies.
There’s also a trailer for it which looks impressive and reminds us that Games Workshop has been throwing more and more money at entertainment projects. Warhammer TV is a brand that exists.
In the trailer, we have a Sister of Battle in a desperate struggle against the Necrons.
It might be exciting times for D&D too. There’s been even more drama and this time it goes to the heart of the RPGs ‘royal family’ – The Gygax’s.
Garry Gygax is the co-creator of D&D, and his Will left his second wife, Gail Gygax with a significant, but perhaps not complete, control of the Gary Gygax legacy. In the past, when Hollywood has wanted to do D&D movies, they have approached her. One of the reasons earlier D&D movie projects didn’t come to fruition was with complexities there.
Now, according to Wisconsin Circuit Court papers, Luke Gygax has provided credible evidence that a second Will exists.
I imagine the situation is stressful.
RPG freebies are coming up, which I hope are less stressful, but I wanted to talk about In Search of Games first.
In Search of Games is a small company by Chris Mennell and Geek Native’s patrons voted them into the RPG Publisher Spotlight for May.
As a result, there’s an interview with Chris up on the blog today, we talk about killing Santa, the work-life balance that we in the industry face and how Chris commissions RPG creators to get things made.
If you are a Geek Native patron, thank you. Also, look to the Patreon page for the next RPG Publisher Spotlight vote and other polls where you can help determine what content projects the site picks up.
Right, onto those freebies. I guess the most significant news is that Free RPG Day as a new date.
That makes sense as the goal of Free RPG Day is to get people out of their homes and into local gaming stores. That’s hardly possible around the world right now.
The new date for Free RPG Day isn’t much later than the first, though. The event will now be held on July 25th. Backers include companies like WizKids, Renegade Game Studios, Magpie Games, Fantasy Flight Games and Cubicle 7. Retailers can apply, there’s still time, for a box of freebie physical products to give away on the 25th.
If you’re quick, you can get a free digital copy of Boss Monsters from Kobold Press. There are over a dozen 5e BBEGs in the download, but it’s only free until the end of the week.
Studio Agate is celebrating the 8th birthday of their critically acclaimed Shadows of Esteren dark fantasy RPG with a Kickstarter. Part of that campaign is an artbook called Dark Romanticism and this week, Studio Agate, made a Dark Romanticism preview available for free at DriveThruRPG.
Another freebie being offered to you is a Ticket to Ride expansion called Stay at Home.
Days of Wonder have added this print and play product to Asmodee’s portal of freebies. In the game, you compete over getting tasks done although if you can do those while detouring via the fridge or spending some time on the balcony, then you’ll score more points.
If you attended the Con of Champions make sure you have claimed all the freebies associated with your ticket.
Con of Champions was an online event held by the site Tabletop.Events to keep them alive. Good news; it worked.
Tabletop.Events raised $54,000 which is enough to keep the company and site afloat on a skeleton crew until the end of the year. Hopfully, by then, conventions for 2021 will be opening for ticket sales, and cash will return to Tabletop.Event’s coffers.
Another business story that might interest you from the world of RPG news this week is the fate of Obsidian Portal. That award-winning platform has been bought out by one of its own programmers.
Obsidian Portal is a place to go create your RPG worlds, manage character sheets and keep track of your campaign. It’s had less limelight in recent years, despite being the early success, and perhaps this change in ownership will give it a new lease of life.
Lastly, Geek Native published a Random merchant wagon generator.
It’s a 1,000 lines of code behind the scenes, and the result is… okay. It’s hard to make wagons enjoyable.
So, why do it? A few months back, I calculated that a large wagon filled with silk at D&D prices would give your players 1,500,000 gold coins. That’s a huge amount! I bet more than a few DMs have had scenes with a whole convoy of wagons, though.
What happens when a random encounter table has the PCs stumble across a stranded wagon or even a caravan being attacked by raiders? That sort of thing happens all the time. I wanted to help with a quick way to generate the contents of a wagon but to indicate what the value might be. After all, the DM can just press the generator button again and maybe this time get a cart carrying wheat rather than one carrying spices.
That’s it for now and for Entertainment and Encounters. Let’s catch up next week.
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