A blog about tabletop hobby and or strategy games, with a side order of electronic turn based goodness here and there. Now with tons of retro gaming content both electronic and tabletop. Also with 20% more self loathing douchebaggery!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

[Review Corner] Robotech/Mospeada Beta Fighter/Tread Toy

As gamers we all like toys, let's face facts.  If we can make excuses that they are to be used with gaming even better right?  Heck, miniatures really are toy soldiers anyhow.  They just cost ridiculous amounts.  Just like collector's toys.

Such as the one we are about to review!

And there we go!  I hope to have at least one more post before 2011 of some kind, but time is friggin tight on the holidays.  It took me a week to even do this one!  Obviously you really don't need something like this for your Robotech or other mecha games, but its kind of neat if you can find an excuse for one eh?  I mean.  ITS BIG.  But its really a semiposable, EXPENSIVE add on to a really cruddy toy whose only reported good version (which was made at the same factory as this one) is out of print and still might be bad.

But I have been a Robotech fan since the mid 80s and the Mospeada/Invid Invasion segment is my favorite part (even if the usually maligned second part has my favorite character.  Though that could be because Dana Sterling was the first girl I had a crush on.  No wonder I am so messed up!) with the post holocaust survival/rebels traveling the land fighting the evil oppressors style and theme just being way cool.

Its sort of the reason I love the Ravenloft setting in D&D so much as well.  The good guys being in lands controlled by darkness trying to save the people who have already mostly given up is just such a compelling setting.

And hey!  Its a giant booster rocket/bomber for a transforming jet fighter that also transforms.  Who doesn't like transforming robots?


Monday, December 6, 2010

Random Boosters: Talk about DUMB Daniel!

Consider this both a minor rant and an explanation about how such blind buy bits are silly.

I have photos for many interesting reviews and unboxings but I have been lazy.

Plus Carlin the Bishop needs to be leveled up because Michele the Elf Sorceress is too fragile for level 10 in Wizardry Tale of the Forsaken Land.

(One run on Level 8 and Carlin goes from 1-10 and can now be promoted to a Bishop.  10 more levels of grinding plus many runs to the spell component store and he will be way better than any silly Elf mage girl.  Because he is GEORGE FREAKING CARLIN.  Heck he is still 4-5 levels lower than Michele since this pic was taken and he has nearly 80 more HP.  And can cast Priest AND Sorcerer spells.)

Now for those of you who don't know, random boosters, or "Blind Buy" packaging is beneficial for the manufacturer and the retailer who doesn't have to worry about multiple SKUs (Store Keeping Units) of product that may or may not sell, and can in fact cause extra sales as customers chase that one magic Rare or Super Rare that the product may have, ending up with multiples of items that probably wouldn't sell that much on their own.

And in some cases its sort of a Christmas package every time you open one of these packs up.  The feeling of "What's in this one?" can be silly addictive.

Yet in the end its a screwjob on us, the consumer.  Like those Lego and Mega Blocks minifigure packages.  I REALLY want the Lego Vampire.  But I am NOT gonna take the risk on 4 dollar a pack baggies in the hope of getting him.  (A 1 inch tall Lego minifig for 4 bucks?  BLOW ME.  That's a rip off!  Now 2 bucks?  I'd buy that action like I am Harold AND Kumar and the bags contain some "green".)  Now the Mega Bloks ones are much cheaper at 2.50 a pack.  Yet I keep getting the same damned Rare figure, the Pink Hayabusa Halo Samurai dude.  And some poor kid is gonna be hoping for one and my dumb luck means he keeps getting some lame Common rated figure.  And I am stuck with a bunch of pink samurai in powered armor.  Which is only something you want if you are an RPGnet or Scans Daily poster.  

And this is what happens.  In some cases (like the Mega Blocks Halo figures) the AMOUNT of goodies you get almost make up for looking for that one bit you want by sheer value compared to buying the same product if it was open buy.  Yet you have other cases such as Magic where the Super Rare equivalents are all but NEEDED for certain decks especially if you play competitively or you buy singles where a SINGLE IN PRINT TRADING CARD THAT COSTS PENNIES TO MAKE GOES FOR 20-100 DOLLARS OR MORE BECAUSE THEY MAGICALLY MADE LESS OF IT.

This is a hose job and a companies' way of telling you, their loyal customers that you can go "hug" yourself.

Now some games sort of have run with this for years like Magic, the collectible miniatures games that all have pretty much bombed out, and so on.  

Sadly, its starting to infect RPGs and Boardgames too.

Today we will be investigating this F A S.  (Wargame Dork tries to avoid R rated language so you can just guess for yourself what the letters stand for.)

Plus it covers some information on games I plan on reviewing fully later on anyhow.

First off is D&D Gamma World.  See in Gamma World they came up with this card based gimmick for mutant powers and "Omega Tech" which is basically Magic Items in a fantasy RPG.

The game comes with 40 card decks of these powers and magic items.  In gameplay the players draw from these decks when they find gear or random crazy events happen which change their mutant power for this fight.  

(While this is kind of weird it does sort of fit Gamma World's GONZO AS HELL setting and feel, it can be houseruled to be a little less random.)

However, players can build their own custom mini decks with card stacking limits to do more what they want and be less random.

So your players can buy multiple packs of these cards all randomly set out of the 120 available, with the nice foil packaging helping create ever bigger landfills of garbage and getting people to spend more money on RPG products as opposed to just buying a single rulesbook or box set and being done!


And that's what you get.  A logo back and a trading card of text.

But what makes this worse?


They aren't even foil or have pretty pictures on them!  

Its a SCAM.  

Oh, and online these 4 dollar packs cost 3 bucks.  A 16 card pack of Magic the Gathering with foils and super rares and other fanciness?  2.75 from the same store.  Yeah.  Same company and its not even competitive with the same product type!

And its probably the biggest thing keeping many people from investing in Gamma World.  Many folks have said they don't even like the preset 40 card decks in the main box.  This just makes things worse.  It even means some players can have an edge on the game over others by dropping silly amounts of money.

Thankfully the only place I know who has the boosters so far hasn't seemed to sell a single pack.  Sadly, it probably won't teach WOTC anything.  And it could possibly kill Gamma World again. 

What's sad is the whole card deal could have been dropped for abilities and items in a book with a random roll.  But instead its a new dumb way to create landfill clogging foil wrappers and throws off game balance.

A shame.  Also I probably wouldn't allow the boosters at all.  Unless I was bribed first.  If you are silly enough with money to buy booster packs just to be better in an RPG you can buy my coffee for the entire campaign.  And I loves me coffee.  And its gonna COST you.  Lattes from Dunkin's.  That's right.  The delicious beverage I don't buy because its stupidly expensive and mini mart coffee is usually as tasty is what you would have to do as penance for being both a powergamer and a consumer whore.

Ok.  Now let's move swiftly along to the boardgaming section.

I have discovered this neat new boardgame from Columbia Games called Wizard Kings.  It is part of their block wargame series where you have painted wooden blocks with unit stickers on one side, making for a neat "Fog of War" thing going on.  I got the first edition box with 2 complete armies for 30 dollars.  The current edition gives you 8 blocks and rules for every army for 50 MSRP (40 online).

Well in first edition days if you wanted new armies you got this for 12-15 dollars:

See?  A nice VHS type clamshell case containing the following goodness:

Your faction's army card with unit quick reference and spells on one side, fluff on the other.

And your COMPLETE army, with a carefully thought out and hopefully well playtested array of all your faction units, and 3 appropriate "Chaos Mercenary" units.  28 pretty wood blocks and stickers.  Plus there is room for a few Werebeast Mercenaries, which can be stickered on any of the faction color blocks for either shoring up your faction's weak spots, or possibly turning one faction into a Werebeast only army.    (The vagaries of how you assign and balance the Werecreatures per faction is an annoying bit in either edition.  2nd edition only makes this worse, but we will get to that!)

(Yes that weretiger has exposed nipples.  On the upside it doesn't have exposed bits described in the "Anita Blake" books.  *Shudder*)

So the 1st edition Wizard Kings gave you 28 preassigned blocks for 15 MSRP.  A little over 2 dollars a block.

Now in 2nd edition its only 10 bucks for 21 blocks, and they are all compatible with 1st edition and vice versa outside of a few bits from the 2nd edition rules.   Roughly the same core price, 2 bucks a block!  It also allows for bigger forces for monster games with expansion mapsets.

Cool huh?  


(One upside in spite of my flash obscuration is better art on the box and stickers.  And of course bonus sideboob!)

They keep the same VHS clamshell case, albeit with a generic cover.  While with 7 armies this provides nice organized cases for each, as is the wont of random boosters you need way more than that to comfortably cover things:

(We get blocks colored for every faction!  And a baggie you can use to hold the contents for one HELL of a party, albeit one illegal in most states and countries.)

See that?  You get a whopping TWO random stickers for each of the 7 factions, and 7 stickers you can place on whatever faction you want, possibly breaking the game if you really want your Elves to be super bad asses, or just don't care about any sort of theme whatsoever.  Amazons with a giant werecreature army?  Whatever you want!  DAMN YOU BALANCE AND THEME.  DAMN YOU TO HELL YOU GODDAMNED DIRTY BALANCE AND THEME!

Now as we figure each 1st edition faction box contained 25 faction pure units, and the 2nd ed core set has 8 units per faction this means you need at MINIMUM ignoring rarity and the chaos of assortment 9 boosters to have 26 faction pure blocks per faction.  Even if you just want to play Orcs and get your WAAGH on or Amazons because scantily clad warrior women make you feel funny like that time you climbed the rope in gym class you have to drop close to a 100 bucks when before it was 15 bucks.

Oh sure it might be around the same price if you want to collect every army or have big massive hordes to supplement things but its really sort of hosing.

And that's the problem with blind purchase products.  It damages gameplay balances and punishes the customer, especially one on a budget, giving the people with more money than sense an extreme edge.

Yet in the long run, most people don't have unlimited funds, and losing to the WIN AT ALL COSTS guys just isn't fun, leaving the powergamers to play ever decreasingly small groups as more and more people just give up, and no new players have any desire to even try, eventually killing most games.

Remember, even Magic only survives because of its MASSIVE playerbase and the game variants which tend to bring the "Mr Suitcase" players into check.  (Blocks of legal cards, booster drafts, ect.)

How many other collectible games continue to thrive without such restrictions, or even with?

Really not many.  After Magic you have what?  Yu Gi Oh for the kids, and Heroclix on a weird form of zombie popularity.  Most everything else has either died or gone into the FFG "Living Card Game" sort of fixed release expansions.

The sad fact is though, its such a positive short but fast and easy profit setup for retailers and manufacturers that I doubt it will ever go away, even if otherwise promising games can be damaged irreparably by it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ok Kids, its Time for a Rant

Over at one of the RPG forums I frequent one game shop guy was raging out about those Storygames quasi RPGs almost nobody plays or cares about in real life, and about 4th edition.  (Which I can't criticize too much as I have sadly done quite a bit of that over the years.)

It has lead into some interesting discussion about gaming in general with one fellow making a rather good comment:

Originally Posted by John Morrow 
And when those communities disappear because all of the people have decided it's easier to play World of Warcraft or want to play a game you can't stand, instead? Role-playing is a social hobby that requires other people to play and while you may not have a problem finding or making new players and while there will always be some small number of people who keep the hobby going in some form (just as wargaming never entirely died), it's going to make things more difficult for a lot of people if they can't find people to play with and can't buy game material for the sort of games that they want to play. It's also going to impact people if their group breaks up over it.

HE IS DAMNED RIGHT.  And it lead me to my own commentary of which I shall repost here and edit/expand upon to make a nice proper blog post.

What?  This blog is supposed to be nothing more than my comic reviews of things?

I know its my gimmick and all but I can write if I want to, leaving my party members behind...

I am getting to the point where I am ready to quit buying gaming stuff and possibly give up on gaming with other people its become so hard to find a group. If it wasn't for a once yearly con and D&D Encounters I am not sure I would have done much of ANYTHING for gaming the last 6 months outside of a couple pickup games that never got a single person to play what we were playing.

People don't seem interested in finding groups at all. I mean, I even bought into D&D Essentials I was so desperate to get an RPG group going.  You know, the latest version of the most popular RPG in existence?  The one I have ranted about for most of this blog's lifetime?

Its all been an utter failure. Nobody on player finders, nobody on forums, nobody through Player's Wanted posters, nobody through store Yahoo groups or Facebook pages.  Nobody on IRC.  Nobody at work who claims to be a gamer.

Either people only want to play with a select group (which means as soon as the inevitabilities of real life take over as they did with my old group its OVER), or they only want to play one certain game in one certain style on one certain day and everyone else might as well not even EXIST.  (Battletech players in my region are the absolute WORST at this.  Though in the mid 90s the Battletech scene in Virginia was just as awful.  So its not just typical New England Douchebaggery in effect here!)

And what happens? Many people are looking for a game but can't find anyone to game with. Maybe their friends aren't gamers. In some cases people won't even MENTION being into nerdy stuff because the nature of their job and the people there would ostracize them and it would negatively impact their career! (There was a thread about this a couple seasons back at Fear the Boot's forum.) Heck, high school kids are EVIL to each other. Do something the majority says is wrong and get found out and your ass will endure a LIVING HELL for it.

So folks can't find a game so why bother buying anything new or even bothering?

A videogame is always there provided the machine works and the power/internet isn't out as needed.

And we then lose more and more people due to clannish, antisocial, and ONE WAY ONLY douchebags.

Now add in those people whose games actually run people away. You know, the guys whose campaigns all have massive amounts of Player vs Player killing, whose characters are lesbian Drow priestesses who eat eyeballs daily as a sacrifice to their god, the powergamers who look down on anyone who talks too much or too loud or whose army isn't painted and constructed to their tournament standard. Or who spent 5000 bucks on the latest Magic set so they crush every other deck by turn 5 or clearly they didn't make it good enough. The guys who yell at anyone whose arm even rests on their 8' 4' table with 4 2" long ships on it total. The guys who run off any kids and teens by saying such vulgar and horrible things. Who if they decide the kids' hygiene isn't good enough they spray them with air freshener. (These are all REAL events I have either seen or been told about.  I could easily go on.)

Why the hell would anyone want to even BOTHER?

And then if somehow you GET a good group going real life takes folks away or a new edition comes out and fragments everyone with some refusing to play the new version, and others refusing to play the OMG OOOOOLLD version that was perfectly fine until some beancounter said it was time to get a quick cash infusion.

Its sort of the same kind of reasons many people have stopped trying to find jobs or get into a meaningful romantic relationship.

You put all your heart and soul into it and get SQUAT ALL BACK for doing so. 

If nobody else seems to give a damn why should you?

Why spend money on this stuff, or time to learn the rules when nobody is interested and nobody cares?  
Why try to make new friends who have your similar interests when clearly its a waste of bloody time, and a little bit soul crushing to know what you care about nobody else does?

Why bust your hump preparing a great game and cleaning up the house and having a game table all set to go when everyone decides to cancel 30 minutes before gametime?  (And that's if they bother to inform you AT ALL?)

And that just leads to the obvious fact buying all this stuff and putting any effort in is STUPID.  One would be better off buying a videogame or a DVD or something.  Or heck, showing some REAL SMARTS and saving for a rainy day.

Some folks would say I am just angry and should take a break from it all.

I've basically been on a break. 

And look at many of the examples I listed. If you were either a new potential gamer or one who was trying to get a group would you want to put up with any of that nonsense?

Probably not. Its a lot faster to slap a disk into your game machine of choice and just kill some Radscorpions or Orcs in 5 minutes rather than try to go through all that work and hope someone will actually want to play and not be a freak or jerk.

Why spend hours reading rules and trying to find someone to fight Napoleon's Wars on a hex map when you can drop 30 bucks and download Commander: Napoleon at War and start playing within minutes and not have to worry about it?

Why paint dozens of Space Marines and drive to a shop in hopes of getting a game when you can grab Dawn of War 1 or 2 off Steam and watch Orks go splat for the Emperor and not have some asshole poo poo your paint job and army list?

I mean if you were a single female, especially a younger one would you even want to risk dealing with some creepy SOBs when you could just throw Valkyria Chronicles 2 in your PSP and not deal with it?   There are tons of women who are into nerd things now and who want to roleplay.  But it looks about as safe as cutting yourself and jumping into shark infested waters.  Where the sharks are creepy middle aged men and younger ones whose hygiene is only less questionable than the creepy anime they might watch.

Why would any sane person try to deal with it?

This is why gaming which is already niche as hell just gets niche cubed.

Gaming seems to be infested by a pile of freaks and antisocial jerks who just make one question why we should bother.

Thus us sane folks just start giving the Hell up.  

Its kind of soul crushing.  When I as a DM that has had two seperate groups basically gush over how much they liked my DMing, and who won Best Roleplayer at a LARP with 20 strangers in a game I had never played before can't even find a dang game something is incredibly WRONG.

So this is my challenge dear reader.  And I want you to spread this post far and wide.  Gaming needs to see this, to know this, to heed this, to think about it even if you think I am full of it.  (And I may be.)  You see someone doing some bad juju?  Link em to this.  Give them knowledge and wisdom.

Start trying to welcome new players.  Stop being creepy and mean.  Stop others from being creepy and mean.  Get the word out about games you like.  Be willing to try other games.  Respectfully change the bad attitudes of the stinky, the creepy, the elitist.  Look at Player's Wanted billboards, forums, and websites.  Get new players.  Encourage the lapsed ones to come back. 


Cuz if we don't pretty soon we won't have gaming at all.

If enough people quit playing they will quit buying.  If they quit buying the stores close down, the games companies go out of business and you are left with a pile of books, games, and miniatures that will just join everyone else who gave up on Ebay, leaving a handful of insular little cliques to play till real life intrudes and they break up, never gaming again.

Extend your hand in friendship to others.  

And if they choose to spit in it?  Let em know why they suck.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What I have been up to instead of this blog.

Oh I have been gaming, playing the D&D Encounters and ALMOST having a D&D group.  (Who bailed on me.  I'm quite bitter.)

And I have many good things to review or do unboxing comics of.

But the holidays get wacky and I have been working on what is this site's sister blog.

Blogging Castlevania!

Its a mixture of me playing through as many of the 2D Castlevania games as I can legally get a hold of (right now I am missing 2 of the US released games not counting a pair of digitally download ones), and even covering stuff like the movie and novel classics that inspired the series.

Its also gonna have RPG stats and my Castlevania campaign notes.

Those I will link here as it is gaming content.   The normal videogame stuff I will leave to that blog.

I just finished the original game in the series for the blog and I hope any of this site's visitors who love classic 2d platformers will go over and visit!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

An Adventure Series Idea for Gamma World

See as I have mentioned there is this D&D Encounters program going on at some funnybook stores.

Many folks are intrigued about Gamma World and would like to play an Encounters suite for it.

I have come up with an idea for a series for it and want to share my ideas with you all.  Its silly, its goofy, but its Gamma Worldy.  Plus with a few tweaks it could be even more ridiculous or much less silly.

Here goes!

I need some thoughts on a D&D Encounters like Gamma World idea I came up with.

It might be a bit TOO silly and ridiculous so I need some sounding boarders.

The basic setup:
The PCs have to first protect a village of friendy Dragon Quest like Slimes who live in a Santa's Village type amusement park. (There used to be one in New Hampshire IIRC. Post apocalpytic New Hampshire seems like a goofy enough place for a set of encounters..) From the Nazi Bunnypeople. (Forgetting their proper name.) Who will be commanded by Supreme Grinchinfurher Hans von Hoppitus and his WW 2 vintage German tank.

It involves fighting off said WW2 tanks, monsters in radioactive sewers, and helping to find parts to power giant animatronic Christmas robots and Winnebago that has AT AT type legs and crab arms. To fight the Nazi bunnies. Also a giant factory with evil nanobot mecha gets involved somehow.

First arc involves PCs being somehow in the Slime Christmas village when the Nazi bunnies attack and they have to fight them off. 

They will then be hired to go and see where the baddies were coming from, finding a camp with big ass artillery guns being set up which will blow the village to bits.

This being Gamma World the PCs will probably want to help the Slime Village as opposed to letting the eternal sounds of Christmas music and incredibly twee Slimes be destroyed. A frontal assault will be shown not to work as the bunnies have already set up trenchwork and minefields. 

Returning back to the village they will be informed of an old sewer system that leads from underneath the town and heads in that direction towards an old sewage treatment plant that the Slimes are afraid of because it is a place of technological terrors. (Foreshadowing!)

Obviously the sewers become a little dungeon crawling with various critters, toxic waste causing all sorts of fun terrible things with failed DEX checks, and maybe even opening a storage cache and finding a horde of animatronic 2 meter tall penguins that could possibly be used to help smooth out the area. Out of control noise making penguins that will act like wind up toys do and only vaguely go in the direction they are pointed.

Finally sneaking from the sewers brings them right inside the bunny camp and they destroy the artillery before the Supreme Grinchinfurher Hans von Hoppitus and his WW 2 vintage German tank show up. Will he act like Colonel Klink on a sugar high? Oh yes he will. 

(You see Hans HATES Kitty Cats. The Slimes being annoying friendly and nice are friends to the kitties and have many cats roaming around their village. Hans does not like this. And all that Christmas music pisses him off. Thus he will destroy this collective of holiday cheer and kittens.)

However tanks are slow and Hans is dangerous but incompetent so they have time to prepare for his potential next attack.

The lead scientist of the Slimes, Doctor Blobby (see my character build a couple pages back) has an idea. There is an old Winnebago in the parking lot amongst a few other automobiles. With some of the animatronic parts both found in the sewer storage area and around the park he MIGHT be able to build a mecha to fight off the tank. But he will need bits from the Treatment Plant.

The PCs then go to the plant and fight off some AI robots who have turned it into the Lite Beer version of every mechanical terror fortress ever and recover the parts Doctor Blobby needs.

The final battle will have the PCs holding off the bunnies till Blobby can finish his machine.

MECHABAGO. The Winnebago with AT AT like legs and a pair of giant crab claws. 

They will be fighting off troopers in this final battle as a WW2 tank commanded by a psychotic Nazi bunnyman is fought off by a Winnebago with legs and crab claws. Both machines end up going kerplunk and the Grinchinfurher and his cyborg minions who drove the tank (leads to a new adventure perhaps?) must be finally stopped before they escape to plan more anti kitty things.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Gamma World. This game amuses me already.

I will do a better review and overview when I get around to it, but using an online character generator, it made me THIS:

Introducing: Doctor Blobby, the Blob of SCIENCE!

Blobby was a friendly Slime who liked to engage in Slime races and other bouncy related Slime activities.  His day job involved working with a Doctor West on experiments as an assistant.  You see Blobby had graduated from Slime College and was thus smarter than your average Slime and his toughness made him quite resistant to the random explosions and tentacle zombie outbreaks that were the result of most of Doctor West's experiments.

But one day Blobby when fighting back yet another angry tentacle zombie intent on doing tentacle-y things to Doctor West's rather attractive girlfriend he accidentally got stabbed with a syringe full of the strange green glowy goop that makes said zombies.

He grew from a small Slime into a large one.  (He is now about 1 meter tall in normal form, though he expands to twice that if he needs to block laser beams and such from hitting friends.) A radioactive one.  But he still does his science bits on his own now as an explorer.  You see now whenever he takes damage, parts of him fall off (don't worry he grows his slimeness back!) as delicious Slushie bits.

Doctor West was getting a little ticked that his girlfriend was playfully slapping Blobby and then licking and or sucking off the tasty frozen beverage residue created.

So Blobby left to explore the world, his mother and father giving him a Clydesdale horse "Cloppy" and a nice Transformers branded play tent he uses as the saddle.

Blobby enjoys researching SCIENCE wherever he goes, bouncing about as Slimes are wont to do, and meeting new friends.  He uses his powers of Gravity Control to do SCIENCE.  He plans on eventually turning Cloppy into a hybrid of Clydesdale and Pterosaur.

I am not sure what kind of paint WOTC staffers were huffing when they came up with the dual origin system for this game but I kind of love them for it.  With a little creativity you can make such wonderfully silly characters as the one above.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Tribute to Wizardry: Tale of the Forsaken Land

One of my favorite PS2 games, my favorite Wizardry, and my favorite 1st person party based dungeon crawling RPG.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

More Evidence I am Odd..

Ok, I won't be winning any decorating awards, but my first experience at ever making cupcakes turned out pretty well I think.

This is the sort of wacky things I do for gamegroups I play in.  I should get bonus XP, right?

And for the record the cakes are REALLY good.  Why do you think there is only 11 of them?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Paranormal Activity 1 and 2: Changeling Movies?

Last year I reviewed Paranormal Activity which is a really great horror movie using the "Found Video Footage" thing other movies I really liked (Cloverfield, Blair Witch Project) have done.

Well this year its back, as a form of prequel/sequel.

And thinking about it (while naming the entity "Nigel" as if he was a car from Top Gear) I came up with this SPOILERIFFIC TO BOTH MOVIES WARNING DANGER DANGER WILL ROBINSON explanation of how its really a Changeling backstory/scenario.

So in the interests of any Changeling fans or folks who like tales of the Faerie I present to you this incredibly DORKY analysis of the events of the (rather quite good) Paranormal Activity movies, mostly focusing on part 2.

There is also gonna be some "South Park" level foul language here and there.  I try to avoid it on this blog, but one can't discuss the Adventures of Nigel without it.

Hopefully the below will give some of you ideas for your own Changeling games!


While trying to get to sleep this morning I had a thought.

Maybe its not a demon but a Fae. 

With a couple tweaks these two movies could pretty much be a Changeling: The Lost game/prequel.

We have Nigel (as I am calling him) who made a deal in exchange for a family's firstborn son. That's such a trope of the mythological Fae it isn't even funny.

Well there have been no firstborn sons for Nigel to take through the Hedge (The land between Arcadia and the Real World) back to Arcadia. Perhaps higher up Fae or someone had made a deal with him for the son and are equally pissed at him.

Thus no physical body for Nigel. Maybe its hidden somewhere or something similar. So he needs power to manifest at all in our mundane world. He needs his Glamour if he is gonna get the deal sealed. Or at least a little payback on them uppity humans...

Big Hooter Sisters' mom was one of Nigel's earlier targets since it was her mom or grandmom who hadn't fulfilled her end of the bargain and Nigel's bosses are kind of pissed. Fae just LOOOVE swiping human babies, and this is one they wouldn't even need to have a Fetch to replace.

(Fetches being the simulacrums the Fae leave in place of the actual humans they abduct.)

His messing with her caused the twins before they had their own twins hur hurr to mess with occult stuff thus giving him more Glamour (spiritual magic Fae type energy) so he could cause more havoc.

Which causes the STUFF THEY DON'T TALK ABOUT. (Coming to you Halloween 2011 or 2012 depending on whichever idea Paramount's beancounters have to milk this action for all its worth. We all know PA3 is coming next year. And its either gonna be a prequel or the Hunt for.. Hunter while Katie F. still looks about the same age.)

Then for whatever reason it stops. Nigel probably used up too much of his Glamour and now he can't do much. Its gonna take a little time and a lot of bad vibes before he can do any manifestations again.

So he is saving up, waiting and watching. Then here comes Hunter. WHAM!! Nigel uses up a big hunk of Glamour and goes apespit on the house. Its time to pay up. Except as we have seen, Nigel is a DICK. He used up too much, which is why shit slows down for a few weeks. He can't do as much, but can cause just enough trouble to get more power than he is using.

Even if that stupid housekeeper and dog keep harshing his mellow. They are gonna get theirs. Oh YES.

He finally gets rid of the housekeeper and has enough power to mess with the dog, taking it out. All those bad vibes and the fear he is causing (plus handy use of Ouija board to give him a stronger grip on the living world) have BK Franchise dad and Allie leave, giving him free reign on Mom and Hunter.


He tries to grab mom and her fear, while Glamour creating, isn't quite enough for him to grab her first time. (Plus Nigel is only slightly brighter than his victims and doesn't always do the smartest things. If they did, mom and Hunter would have gone with the other two. And Nigel would already have Hunter. Unless he wants to be a complete dickhead. And Nigel is quite the dickhead.)

But he has enough Glamour now to pop his spirit back in the Hedge and get to Hunter's room before Mom gets back in, and this time she is going in the basement.

Now is when Changeling or "traditional" Fae folklore gets sort of dicey. Does Nigel possess mom which is something Fae don't really DO, or does he pull her ass into the Hedge sending her to a near eternity of madness in Arcadia and replacing her with a Fetch?

Maybe with his currently low status in the Fae he can't produce a Fetch, and just drags her into the Hedge which probably causes her to go completely crazy. (He has been priming the women of this family for that. And they DO have a history of it in the bloodline..) She is weak enough for him to spiritually possess, but not completely. 

Its not a Fae thing to do normally, and he has been using up that Glamour like its Magic Happy Hour at the Fae Bar of Terror and Payback. So he only sort of has a grip on her. Which leads to her being sick and weak, not totally under his control. 

Otherwise he would have already collected Hunter, and been on his way, and with a nice extra Human as an example of why YOU DO NOT HOSE THE FAE OVER IN A DEAL. 

Marcelus does not look like a bitch. And Nigel REALLY doesn't look like a bitch. (Ok, he doesn't look like ANYTHING right now. Which is kind of his point.)

Dad is stupid AGAIN and leaves Allie home while Nigel is completing his grip on Mommy. And he can really only threaten at this point while he gets things settled in there.

(But man is her screaming ever satisfying. She KNOWS what he is doing and she can't stop it. She is trying to fight, but between her grip on reality and sanity being greased with WD-40 and his power she is DOOMED. Enjoy the show bitch. Nigel is gonna take this monkeyshow on the road Frankenstein!)

Sadly for Nigel his attempt to take out Dad fails and that stupid housekeeper gets involved. Maybe the basement is worth another shot? 


Oh wait...

Dumb spits didn't stop him.. they just knocked him out of Mom but towards her nearest relative.

One with a bigger set of sweater puppies. And a FAR douchier mate. And no smarty pants dogs or maids or teenaged girls to get in his way.

Micah's Alpha Male routine helps Nigel QUICKLY get his Glamour Groove back and he is getting a handle on this possession thing. Not as effective as a Fetch, but beggars cannot be choosers.

Nigel has a baby to collect.

He takes over Katie a bit slower and safer, and that dumbass helps him lock the deal by throwing away that Crucifix in a fire.

A little more time to make sure Katie is HIS and its time to thank Micah. And show whoever looks at that camera how they do things in Downtown Arcadia. 

(Stupid mortals just don't listen to their own tales. Learn the rules or pay the price.)

That damned psychic almost caused trouble but people with such open minds are easily taught who the boss is.

Now Nigel still isn't completely locked into Katie and he sort of feels bad for his little ego stunt with the camera (Nigel IS an egotistical dick after all!) so he forgets to change clothes and just takes his new form of transportation into the Hedge.

Time is funny in the Hedge so he pops out in his recently forced out of terror grounds and takes out Dad quick like. Katie could never do this, but Nigel has Glamour enhanced Fae power on his side. (And its just HILARIOUS feeling Katie screaming at the murders she is committing. Even if it is causing a mild migraine.)

Nigel wants this action done QUICK in case things go pear shaped. No playing around. Up those stairs and off to collect Hunter do not pass Go, do not collect 200 dollars. 

One quick slam of his fist takes the confused Mom out and its time to bring Hunter back to Arcadia.

The debt has been collected.


Yes the above IS incredibly dorky, but it really does fit the movies well.

(Not counting the alternate endings which basically poop all over any connection to Fae and Changelings.)

I sort of thought of the above as Nigel doesn't just possess the women but pulls them into another room. I wondered why he would bother unless it was to switch the women for a Fetch under his control. Which kind of works outside of the exorcism transferral towards the end of 2. (I don't think Fetches work like that. Its POSSIBLE both Katie and Mom were Fetches. Which means they are pretty much stuck in Arcadia for an eternity. But its doubtful. Why kill the Mom Fetch even if she has been purged of Nigel's direct control? Maybe in his state he HAS to possess.)

Thus we have the above highly dorky missive of me No Prizing 2 movies that have made tens of millions of dollars.


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