Friday, April 22, 2016

Realms Toowoomba Recap # 58 [RPG]

In the western part of the Evermoors, a city fights for its very survival against an army of darkness. The city of Nesme has turned, in desperation, to clerics of Auril to defend them. In response, the Frostmaiden's servants have erected a protective dome of thick ice around the city. But as the days fall one by one, summer advances, and food supplies run low, the defenders' know that sooner or later, the army that besieges them will break through.

Turned into a foul abomination, the legendary paladin Arden Brightheart now leads the army of Myrkul as the Dread-Knight. Along with the master of the Blight Forge named the Witch-Queen, the Dread-Knight has thousands of undead minions at his command. His legions hack at the ice dome day and night, tireless and unrelenting.

The thousands of residents of Nesme have one last hope: frost giants sent by Orel the Grayhand have strived to erect fortifications in the Evermoors. The leader of their battle-party, Princess Gerti Olafsdotter, is herself a priestess of Auril and has responded to her allies desperate cries for aid.

Now, with the bulk of her forces pinning down the undead legions surrounding Nesme, Princess Olafsdotter leads a charge to slay the Dread-Knight and establish the Frostmaiden's reign over the Evermoors.

When the battle begins, the two opposing armies move slowly towards one another, deciding on the best way to maneuver around a great bog that separates them. The Witch-Queen casts several defensive spells and then magickally takes to the skies. The frost giant army splits into three groups, one coming around the bog to the north, one coming around from the south, and the third tentatively moving towards the bridge that spans the bog.

The northern group makes contact with the Dread-Knight's legions of skeletons first, and in seconds both armies have charged there en masse. The icy breath of the winter wolves has little effect on the undead, and the skeletons' flurry of whirling blades takes a toll. Princess Gerti Olafsdotter decides the time is ripe to summon her secret weapon: the fiendish white dragon Rynnarvyx! The dragon plummets into the midst of the battle and tries to snatch the Witch-Queen away. The two wrestle while the Dread-Knight summons his reserve: minotaur zombies hidden in the great bog! He orders his legions of skeletons to surround Princess Olafsdotter, but the frost giant leader cleaves them into pieces with her great axe. 

The battle slowly turns against the armies of the undead, as although they've inflicted wounds on several of their living enemies, they are unable to focus their efforts to vanquish any but a few of the weaker winter wolves. Eventually, even the minotaur zombies are destroyed, while the frost giant army remains mostly intact. Rynnarvyx continues grappling with the Witch-Queen, while Princess Olafsdotter takes advantage of her foe's distraction by landing several mighty blows. The Dread-Knight tries to summon eldritch fire on the vulnerable giants, but his attempt is interrupted and he takes to the air, spending the most crucial moments of the battle watching from above. The legendary bravery of Arden Brightheart has turned to cowardice during his transformation into the Dread-Knight! 

The Witch-Queen tries one last, desperate attempt to win the day by focussing all of her power into sucking the life-force out of Princess Olafsdotter in one deadly touch, but the frost giantess resists the attack and finally destroys the master of the vile Blight Forge. Seeing his ally defeated, the Dread-Knight retreats in full-flight, leading the scattered remnants of his army deeper into the Evermoors, vowing revenge on the frost giants, Nesme, and all living creatures who set foot in his domain.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Buffy Comic Project: "Viva Las Buffy! Act 1: Broken Parts"

Buffy the Vampire Slayer # 51

(Dark Horse) (Volume 1, 1998-2003)

Creators:  Scott Lobdell (plot); Fabian Nicieza (script); Cliff Richards (pencils); Will Conrad (inks)

Setting:  Between Movie and Season 1

T.V./Movie Character Appearances:  Buffy, Pike, Dawn, Joyce, Hank Summers, Giles, Quentin Travers, Angel, 

Major Original Characters:  None

Summary:  In the weeks after accidentally burning down her high school's gym fighting vampires (and facing the death of her Watcher, Merrick), Buffy continues the fight against vampires with the help of her friend Pike.  She intervenes when a group of vampires attack police officers and, with Pike's help, stakes several of the monsters.  When he drops her off at home late at night, she sneaks into her room to find that Dawn is sleeping in her bed.  She and Dawn argue until Joyce comes in to settle the fight.  The next day, Joyce, Hank, and Buffy attend Buffy's school (Hemery High) for a meeting on whether she can be readmitted.  The petition is denied, and she is expelled, causing Hank to lash out at Buffy.  Meanwhile, in England, the Watchers Council realizes that Merrick is dead and decide to find a replacement.  Quentin Travers says he is considering two candidates: William Bryardale and Rupert Giles.  Rupert beats up a demon to get a spell he can cast on a classmate.  Back in Los Angeles, Buffy watches her parents argue and then sneaks out to fight more vampires with Pike.  After dusting them, she gets a lead that they may be coming in from Las Vegas.  On the spur of the moment, Buffy accepts Pike's offer to head there.  Little does she know that one of the most feared vampires of all, Angelus, has also heard about vampires having a welcome invitation to Las Vegas . . .


This is good!  It nicely fills in a gap in Buffy's story by telling us what happened after the end of the movie and before the first episode of the TV show.  We were given clues to some of this (Hank & Joyce fighting, the expulsion, etc.) but seeing how it played out is very cool.  I think they should have played up more of Buffy's "valley girl" persona that was a big part of the movie, as she's a bit too much already like more down-to-earth TV series Buffy.  It's also going to be interesting to see more of the Watchers Council decision to send Giles.  A strong start to a new story arc.


*  Buffy gives Dawn the famous "Mr. Gordo" before running away

*  The letters page has some missives complaining about the delays with Fray, and it's clear editor Scott Allie is annoyed too.

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