Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Science Fantasy Factions - Oh No! Necro-Tokyo! Go Go Godzilla!

My ongoing Tolkienian Science Fantasy project is all about creating an easy-to-understand "french vanilla" setting by replacing the common character and monster species of fantasy with some well-known examples from science fiction.

In personal communication, From the Sorcerer's Skull described the project this way: "I think this idea could broadly be placed in a category of setting creation: Make a D&D setting as derivative as possible, while employing as little as possible of the usual stuff D&D campaigns are derived from."

I think that sounds right. You get something different and distinct from a plain vanilla fantasy setting, but because all the pieces used to assemble this campaign are easily recognizable in their own right, the setting as a whole should remain easy to understand and remember.

Today's faction is the Lizard Kingdom, which occupies the Monster Island Archipelago, and the skeletal ruins of the once-great city, Necro-Tokyo.
The most numerous residents of the Monster Islands are the time-traveling Sleestaks from the original Land of the Lost tv show. The first Sleestaks to join the Lizard Kingdom were incredibly technologically advanced, although their numbers were few. But having found a haven for their species, and wishing to secure both their own past and future survival, these Sleestak scientists set about transporting other Sleestak communities from across space and time to coexist in the tropical region of the Archipelago. 

Alas, the time travelers discovered that they represented the pinnacle of Sleestak science. Most of the other communities they found were stone-age tool users. The few remaining scientists are outnumbered by their machines, and vastly outnumbered by the temporally-displaced Sleestak migrants.

The technologically advanced Sleestaks might also be able to produce a class of infiltrators capable of disguising themselves as humans (or whatever other faction they're trying to subvert) based on the Visitors from the tv show V.
The mountain and desert regions of the Archipelago are patrolled by the Gorn, highly skilled and solitary hunters who gather to socialize only rarely. They're strong, intelligent, and cunning, with a keen understanding of stealth and ambush tactics. They have an ancestral hatred for humans and Apes, and owing to some famous historical encounter, prefer to arm themselves with bamboo-barreled rifles when fighting against primates.

If I wanted to add more variety to the Monster Islands' wilderness, I might add in some technologically advanced Dinosaucers, who are armed with high-tech laser pistols and bio-scanners and the like, and who can temporarily "dinvolve" into unthinking monstrous dinosaurs.
At the heart of the jungle, in the seat of the science Sleestaks' technological civilization is a compound that holds their greatest science leader, Kraid from the Super Metroid video game. Kraid sets the Sleestaks' agenda, directs their research, and reaps the rewards of their studies. Kraid is a genius and, thanks to some successful experiments, a giant. Kraid's political machinations and self-improvement programs are aimed at the eventual goal of seizing control of the whole of the Lizard Kingdom.

The revered, godlike ruler of the Monster Islands is, of course, Godzilla, from the original movie. Godzilla is the only living permanent resident of Necro-Tokyo. A city of ruined skyscrapers and abandoned pagodas, Godzilla patrols streets haunted by a thousand skeletons of the ages-gone human residents. The skeletons arise again each night to reenact a long-lost battle, led by the skull giant Gashadokuro. Each night, Godzilla wins again, and each day, he wanders amidst the bones.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Bon Mots - Darkseid & Cinderblock

Darkseid left his suit at the cleaners, and all the other DC villains mistake him for Cinderblock, who got stuck working overtime at, you guessed it, the dry cleaners, trying to get all the invulnerable super-blood of Darkseid's costume.
Cue the Odd Couple theme music...

Darkseid gets roped into participating in some heist Cinderblock was supposed to do. The other villains are really rude and dismissive and don't listen when he tries to tell them he's not Cinderblock. "Stop messin' around, Cinderblock", etc.
The villains dig a tunnel under some science complex. Darkseid is tasked with punching through the underground portion of the security wall. He's not even trusted to go in and grab the loot. But showing initiative befitting a planetary ruler, he goes ahead and gets the stuff.
When he comes back out of the tunnel, laden with riches, he finds that the other villains are getting their asses kicked by a hyper-obnoxious team-up of Booster Gold and Guy Gardner.
Darkseid gives the heroes the old Hulk-Loki treatment, thus saving the heist just when it seemed all hope was lost. The other villains hoist him onto their shoulders and carry him back to their hideout, cheering "Cin-der-block! Cin-der-block!"
Meanwhile, all this has been intercut with scenes of actual Cinderblock working at the dry cleaners. They just can't get the damn super-blood out of Darkseid's clothes! Cinderblock knows he's running late for the heist, but he really needs this job, and his manager is so despairing that Cinderblock can't bear to leave the poor guy.
They call in Chemo, then Plasmus, but neither can get the stains out. The boss is ruined. He's spent far more than Darkseid paid, but at this point, it's all about not getting murdered for failing a New God.
Cinderblock has an idea. If the boss is willing to bust open the piggybank, they can call in Lex Luthor. They guy's a genius, he can solve anything, right?
Luthor shows up, and he's thrilled to get his hands on some super-blood. He has just the right tools to extract it and bottle it, and pays the boss a finder's fee that's even more than he spent hiring the Chemo and Plasmus. The boss is so relieved that he's not going to get vaporized, he gives Cinderblock a big tip. 
Cinderblock leaves, just narrowly missing seeing Darkseid who's arrived to pick up his uniform.
Back on Apokolips, Darkseid has returned to his routine of bossing around parademons, etc. He starts yelling at Kalibak, but then remembers the other villains yelling at him when they thought he was Cinderblock, and has a change of heart.
Cinderblock leaves the cleaners to go to the bar to apologize for missing the heist. He knows he took so long the whole thing is probably over by now. He's shocked to find an impromptu celebration in his honor. "There he is! The man of the hour! Get over here, Cinderblock old pal!"

All in a day's work...