Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Hobbit and other ephemera

Merry Christmas! Since my Christmas was celebrated 2 days ago (while my sister and her husband were still in town), that left me free today, so I went to see The Hobbit Part 1. I ended up seeing the 3d Imax version, just because it was the earliest show. I dunno about the Imax part, but the 3d was wasted - it really didn't need it. I went into this movie with low expectations, as most of the reviews I've heard were not very complimentary, but surprisingly, I really liked it. I think I've read the book something like 15 times, so I felt that the movie was pretty okay. I really like how the kept the mystique of Smaug for the next movie. I didn't mind the dwarves - I know a lot of people complained about how stereotypical they were, but hey, they're dwarves. What did you expect? he other complaint I've heard the most is about Radigast the Brown, but other than the bird crap all over his face, I felt there was nothing wrong with him. Even in the novel, he was portrayed as being a bit "odd", so I didn't feel there was too much out of place here (although I could have done without the rabbit-drawn sleigh). I also liked the little hint of how the dark magic was overcoming him as he cured the hedgehog, because in the story, he is corrupted by the Necromancer. I wouldn't rate it as 5-star, but a solid 4 stars.

Anyway, watching this movie has REALLY got me jonesing to do some D&D. I know that I'm a terrible procrastinator, always starting and never finishing, but hey... that's what happens when you are preparing without a group to play with. I still have a whole bunch of notes kicking around for working on my sandbox.... I even came up with a tentative sandbox map, complete with some interesting locales to visit. I think, at this point, my biggest problem is my vision is too grand, in many ways. For openers, I would love to have a sandbox that features some mountain adventures, some island hopping, dark forests, armies marching across the plains, the howl of wolves across frozen fields of ice, dismal depths... but that's not a sandbox, that's a whole freaking globe. 8) Then, there's my whole problem with scaling maps. I read a lot of blogs, and I look at all the little details they put in to almost every hex, and I start to over detail things. When I made the hex map I'm using, I tried to make it reasonable so that most of the "big events" are a couple days' ride away, but now I want to make smaller and smaller maps, with EVERY hex having something. Is this a normal reaction to stocking a hex crawl?

Anyway, I have some ideas of what I want to do, and I've put some thought into my "tentpole" dungeon. I plan to do some manipulating of Keep on the Borderlands, In Search of the Unknown, Rahasia, and a few other online mini-modules to create the locales. If I have the map and details on my other laptop, I might start posting them later on tonight.

I have also been thinking about a few changes in the cosmology of my sandbox world. Although I had previously done some designing to explain the various races of humanoids, I have been doing some rethinking. To summarize, here's what I'm thinking now:
- everything is descended from elves.
- Dwarves are degenerate elves, who turned away from the surface world, and thus lost their connection to magic over the generations. Gnomes are dwarves who have started to venture back to the surface, and are slowly beginning to reconnect with their magical roots. Goblins are dwarves who were warped by their dark desires/evil natures. Hence, dwarves hate goblins, and vice versa,
- the Elves attempted to create "servitor races" for their worlds. Their initial (failed) experiments created all sorts of humanoid races. As they eventually perfected their craft, they eventually came down to their last two creations - orcs and humans. However, the rejected orcs because they weren't "beautiful" enough, and proceeded to create humans, who lived longer, were smarter, and easier on the eyes. Hence, orcs hate humans out of jealousy. When orcs encounter elves, they either grovel, hoping to be brought back into the good graces of their "masters", or they react with unreasoning hatred, wanting to destroy those who rejected them.
- no one (ie. me) is too sure of what the drow are. Most people think they're just an elvish bogeyman.
- halflings. Not sure. Elves who have rejected the use of magic because of all the misery it has brought, and as such are "changing"? Spontaneous mutation? Another failed elvish experiment that nobody remembers? There aren't going to be very many of them, so I can make up whatever story I want.

Hopefully,  will post some more details of my thought planning later tonight. I would LOVE any feedback that the meagre readers of this blog may offer.


  1. Your sandbox sounds ideal. That is to say, it sounds much like mine ;)

    If you can get hold of Len Lakofka's L1: The Secret of Bone Hill, you may agree with me that it is (though an AD&D module) an example of where you are headed structurally.

    Everything descended from Elves is a cool take. I wonder if even the Elves of the campaign are descended from "Elves Prime", but have forgotten their past and think that their degenerate present form is really their true greatness. This could be a campaign secret, and maybe some other race could be revealed as closer to true Elvendom, to the dismay of the PCs. (Not the Drow, though. Too obvious. Or pehaps they are all servitor races of something hideous like Aboleth, and the Elves are like rebellious angels who want to be above the rabble of mortal races.)

    Regarding the movie:
    Even in the novel, he was portrayed as being a bit "odd".... I also liked the little hint of how the dark magic was overcoming him as he cured the hedgehog, because in the story, he is corrupted by the Necromancer.

    Other than a passing mention as Gandalf's "good cousin", Radagast isn't in The Hobbit at all. In The Lord of the Rings Gandalf's story of Orthanc suggests that Saruman manipulated him into thinking that Radagast had fallen under the influence of Sauron, but in fact Radagast is the one who rescues Gandalf by transmitting his message to the Eagles. Not by any means corrupted. Since Tolkien's other writings state that Radagast had strayed into obsession with the plants and animals of ME, Jackson's portrayal of him may not be unfair. But it is neither suggested nor supported by anything in the novels.

  2. Ah. Thanks for the clarifying. I knew Radagast didn't appear in THE HOBBIT, but I couldn't completely remember what they did say about him in the book. However, I get the feeling that corruption is where Jacksin is heading with the character.

    L1.... I have that somewhere. I'll have to dig it out and take a look-see.

    Yeah, I like that idea, and I'm actually thining about halflings being closer to true elfendon than the elves. As it is, I'm going to leave the dwarves believing they are actually a completely separate race from the elves, with a cosmology to explain it as well, and maybe find a way to spring the truth on them later. I am half thinking of the truth being that halflings are the true divine being, who split themselves into elves and dwarves. That would make for some interesting twists. 8)