Monday, September 20, 2010

The Undead Pages - pt. 2

[Although it was technically called "The Undead Pages", the strip has always been known by my friends as "Marcy the Lich" after the main character. The origin of Marcy the Lich came from a before-school discussion one day amongst my acquaintances when we debated who was most like which Peanuts characters. Of course, all of us thought we were most like Charlie Brown, but we couldn't all be Charlie Brown so some people just had characters assigned to them. Somebody, possibly me, suggested Chris should be Marcy. The more Chris protested this assignment, the funnier it seemed to me.

[Soon thereafter I drew a picture of Marcy as a skeleton, a midget skeleton with big glasses, wearing a t-shirt and shorts, and with just a few hairs left on her head. As I drew more of Marcy, Marcy shifted from being a female to a male, like Chris. And so Marcy the Lich was born...]

The Undead Pages - pt. 1

[My friend Ron requested I find this old high school comic strip and show it to him again. Sadly, only six pages of it were ever inked, the rest done in pencil too lightly (or is now too light) to scan well. Oddly, the six pages are only from Year 2 of the strip, right in the middle of its three year run.]

[This strip never appeared in the school newspaper; indeed, it would probably have been rejected on the spot for being too weird. Its origin lies in the fact that several of us, in my circle of high school acquaintances, who could draw tried their hand at comic strips just to show around to the group. The only other one I remember was Erik's Tick-homage, "The Marlin", but I'm pretty sure Joe tried making one too. We all worked in pencil on lined paper, since that's what we had in school. The main difference with mine was its longevity.]

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Things I Want to See in Hobbit II

I had read much earlier that The Hobbit was going to be filmed in two movies, but it was only recently I read a rumor that was printed back in 2008 that the first movie would follow the book while the second would be an invented sequel bridging the Hobbit to the Lord of the Rings. This was pretty exciting for me, whether it's true or not, because I've long thought that if I ever get around to running a Middle Earth campaign (I know, what's wrong with me that I haven't done it yet?) that's exactly what I would want my campaign to be like.

So, with that in mind, I started looking at The Hobbit again and took some notes.

1. Rule #1: no established characters from The Hobbit. Use cousins of Bilbo and the dwarves, or even a not-totally-evil-yet Saruman, but everyone from The Hobbit remains off-stage.
2. Do any Tooks still consort with fairies, like a Took ancestor was rumored to have done?
3. What was the Old Took's business that kept him away from home so long?
4. Where does their tobacco come from? Is it a deadly carcinogen, or the more harmless "pipe-weed" I see in many D&D campaigns?
5. What happened to Old Took's magic diamond studs that never come undone until commanded?
6. Were the dwarves coming from west to east when they reached the Shire, or did they go really far out of their way to find Bilbo? And what were they doing out west?
7. Do dwarves drink tea? None of the dwarves touch Bilbo's tea.
8. Is there significance to the color of the dwarves' cloaks?
9. Is there significance to Dwalin's golden belt?
10. How long have they had tobacco, tea, and cofee in the Shire?
11. Pop-guns exist, so guns exist, though perhaps only as dwarf-made toys?
12. A typical dinner? -- tea, coffee, beer/ale, wine, raspberry jam, seed-cakes, apple tarts, mince pies, cheese, pork-pie, salad, eggs, cold chicken, pickles.
13. With magic pipes you can direct the smoke rings?
14. Common instruments: bag(pipes?), fiddles, flutes, drums, clarinets, viols, and harps.
15. Magic item: light hidden in gems of hilt of sword; illuminates a room until the sword is drawn and held?
16. What else might Hobbits hide behind the beer barrels in their cellars (besides themselves)?
17. If Kili and Fili are so much younger, why were they included in the company? Just because of their kinship, or perhaps the closeness of their kinship to Thorin? And are any other dwarves upset about their exclusion?
18. Where was the Battle of the Green Fields fought and where is Mount Gram? When was Bullroarer Took around to fight it? 60 years ago? 75? 125?
19. Does anyone still play golf?
20. Burglars and expert treasure hunters advertise with secret marks on their doors; this is common practice.
21. What do dwarves dig coal for? Do only dwarf-run furnaces run on coal? And if the dwarves have to dig their own coal now, who were they making to do it before? Maybe the goblins of Moria have a reason to hate dwarves...
22. Who do they know of the Last Desert to the East-of-East in the Shire?
23. Do dragons still live in the Withered Heath?
24. Where are the goblins of Moria regrouping?
25. What is the Necromancer doing now?
26. Dwarves are a common, or at least not rare, sight on the roads of the Shire. What marketable goods do they still trade? The dwarves once controlled a great toy market in Dale. Do dwarves still make toys?
27. Clockworks exist and mantel clocks are not uncommon.