Monday, July 30, 2012
"Is Obama going to win the election?"
but the second most important question on everybody's mind is
"Where the hell is EvilElitest, he hasn't updated his blog in like, ever and that is the single most important thing in my life"
Well the answer is three fold
1) I have gone to college, and that is a major drain on somebody's free time and personal life, so I haven't had the time I wanted to blog. However, this has recently changed as I have made a group of friends who want to collectively make an internet review series, so it looks like I'm back on to being productive. We start working in earnest this coming September
2) I have had a slew of personal problems, I was diagnosed with Aspergers, which should come to no surprise to absolutely anybody ever, and thus have officially become an internet cliche. I also am recovering from an extremely serious bout of depression, the result of PTSD and anxiety, mostly related to the aforementioned Aspergers, so I have not been in a good condition to blog.
3) Finally, I am a cheating bastard, because I have in fact been working online, just not in this blog. The blog is mostly for written reviews, and I have recently started to make youtube reviews and D&D mechancial changes. Basically, I have two new sites I have been working on, the first being
and the second being
If you are interested in my D&D revisions, check the Wiki for Imperial Dreams, though it is horribly organized and still badly in need of work. Its mostly just general fixes to D&D, part of my 5th edition project (Though it might wind up being 6th at this point) and my massive flavor revision for my own game. I'm intended to eventually move everything from this blog and my Imperial Dreams site to my new website, which is not the home base for the EvilElitest Channel, but this will be a slow and steady process, due to a mix of organizational difficulties, lazyness, and my own techno phobic ineptitude with web design. For those interested, when the website is out of its beta state, it will include
A) 101 Best, where me and a friend try to come up with a list of the 101 best movies ever made. We also plan to do the same for TV shows
B) An old Wound: Nostalgia trip: This is where my blog reviews will be placed, unless I come up with a written review section
C) Dragons and Dungeons: These are where I put the Changes to D&D and try to eventually create a new game
D) Explaining the Game: Me and my friend (called the Yarnsnob) will review Video games, me being an avid gamer and her being a nogice
E) Yarnsnob: She will review...knitting...of all things.......yeah
F) What do you do?: I and some friends review various RPG materials
G) Frustrated White people: I talk politics
H) Explaining the Joke: I discuss humor and how it works, something I find really fascinated
I) Lowering your Standards: I discuss mediums of art and how they work. My extremely critical judging criteria would be explained here
Hopefully I will end this hiatus by actually accomplishing stuff...or I will fade into internet obscurity and have to get a real job. We will see
Friday, November 25, 2011
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Sunday, June 12, 2011
1) Class Tiers for 2nd Edition, what are they?
2) Did Marshal Classes have any advantages over non marshal classes due to some of the rules? For example, i know that concentration checks and movements were different in 2nd edition which is a big deal and Wizards had to learn each spell individually. And simultaneous actions were around did that make marshal classes much better?
3) Anything from 2nd edition that might help improve class balance or at least make things more interesting?
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Anyways, getting off topic, my point is that I really like the Song of Ice and Fire view of fantasy, and honestly the whole time I read it I imagined it as a TV show, in fact it is written very much like an HBO TV Show. So I actually kinda dreaded the show because I was afraid the same thing would happen that happened with the LOTRS series, their were alot of little changes that bothered me mostly because i think I could have done a better job, but it was overall good. And had Sean Bean (Who always pictured as Theon Greyjoy). However, the show is really good. It has most of the good things from HBO's Rome, with some of the good things from the Sopranios thrown in. Well filmed, great props, good sets, very good camera work, and captures alot of the themes of the books without going overboard, I (as of episode 9) strongly recommend this. However, I wanted to talk about accuracy, their are alot of little changes in the show from the books, and friends of mine will be like "Wait, you don't mind the changes in Game of Thrones, but you get all upset about Lord of the Rings? Double Standard". So I want to use this as a way to go into a discussion of Good vs. Bad Changes. And by discussion, I mean like three paragraphs of me writing and everybody saying how great I am.....I love the internet.
Here is the thing, I really don't mind an adaptation changing the original work, in fact I expect it, different art mediums should tell a story differently. My problem with the Watchmovie is that it was too "accurate" and never really grew as a film. The Godfather book is crap, but the movie is wonderful. Hell, even movies like the Big Sleep are very different from the book, and while both the book and the movie are great, they are great in very different ways. My problem comes from unjustified change, or changes that add nothing to the story. In Fellowship of the Rings, I didn't mind Tom Bombidel not showing up, because while I liked him in the book, he would distract things. Nor did I mind the addition of the head Uruk-hai Lurtz, who I thought was very good. However, things like making Gimli a Comic relief, making the Elves show up at Helm's Deep, and all of Arwin's scenes, they were generally pointless beyond a marketing standpoint (We need more comedy, elves are cool/sexy, and we need a love drama). They didn't add anything the books didn't do better, the new themes they added were badly handled and many of them were handled better in the books. When an adaptation adds something, or puts a new perspective on the story, I'm all for it (I love the Full Metal Alchemist Anime after all). For example, in Game of Thrones the book, the main protagonist Ned Stark is attack by one of the Villians Jamie Lannister while Ned and his bodyguard are leaving a brothel (makes sense in context). Ned's horse is hurt and it falls down on him, crushing his leg. Jaime kills all of his bodyguards, and leaves him there, not wanting to kill a major lord. The point of this scene establishes four things 1) The Gritty realism of the scene, that instead of getting his leg hurt in a dramatic or heroic deed like fighting a bunch of people, his horse falls on him, which happened alot in real life and I know a few friends who get in horse accidents all the time 2) That they didnt' kill him because he was a major lord and were hoping to kill his men to humiliate him 3) He has a limp so when shit goes down later, he can't fight as well as he normally would. 4) the humilation of Ned feeling totally helpless and unable to aid his men as they are cut down around him. Now in the TV series, when he is attacked he actually gets to fight, wounding one of Jaime's men before fighting him in single combat. Part way through the fight, one of Jaime's random men hamstrings him in the leg from behind, causing the semi honorable Jaime to leave Ned alive in disgust. Now from a marketing standpoint, this scene achieves 1) We finally get to see Ned and Jaime fight, their abilities have been hinted at, but only now do we see them fight 2) Its dramatic 3) We don't need to train a fucking horse to do this, because that shit is expensive (plus the stunt double). The reasons from an artistic standpoint at first glance seem very superficial 1) It establishes a sense of randomness, by having a nameless guard take out the main character 2) It makes Jaime's attack on Ned seem even more out of control and stupid than it was in the books, only sparing Ned's life because of his own sense of honor 3) establishes Jaime's own sense of honor, as twisted as it is, he won't defeat a crippled man. Now this is essentially giving up themes of gritty realism and Ned's lack of control, which normally would be a cop out, except in a later scene when Jaime meets his father, his father berets him for being stupid attack in the first place, and to let Ned go. The incident sets up the clash between Jaime's sense of brash honor, and his father's ruthless practicality. Thus the scene had a point, they used in order to build up the drama for later characters. It justifies its existence. In fact, their are alot of little scenes in the show where the more two dimentional book characters (Cerci, Joffery, Robert, Twrin, Danny's elder Brother , ect) get scenes where they better explain their motivations while simultaneously filling the audience in to the background of the show. Which I think is very clever, honestly the show got me to care at least a little about Joffery, which the books never did (he is still a vile little prick of course, but hey). So......watch the show.....
Next up (Eventually), I'm reading Drowtales.....WTF is going on?
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
- I have alot of subraces in my game
- Elves are immortal, isolationist, magical and arrogant
- Elves have a very slow moving and particular culture
- They tend to be good
you know why we love Drow so much? because they have flaws, they are not good people while still being cool. Perfect societies are not only unrealistic, they are boring. This is why Dwarves are better than elves, because while Dwarves are badass, they are also greedy, proud, stubborn, close minded, brutal and rude.
That being said, i like all of the legends and i think I'm going to check out the setting proper to give it a real chance
In other News, i'm reading Monte' Cooks Arcana Evolved, and I think its rather good, I like how interested he is in trying new ideas, however it lacks the self confidence that my favorite third party source books. Scarred lands is one of my favorite 3rd party Games, and that is mostly because they don't spend alot of their time going "AND this is why we are better than WOTC". That being said, I like alot Monte Cooks Arcana Evolved (Seriously, he prints that every single time he mentions the product in the book, he can't just call it Arcana Evolved), though I think the way he handled getting ride of alignment was really silly, because he basically references alignment every time he mentions roleplaying, he is like "well, in my game because we don't have alignment, your characters can have different views on the political make up of the realm. And none of our races are good or evil.....except those guys, they are evil, and they are lawful, and they are good, but not Evil, Lawful, or Good...."
Other than that, and the fact that the game seems utopian, i honestly think its a good product, if you can afford the 50 bucks (I got mine at a sale thank god) i'd recommend it. Don't get arcana unearthed, just go for Arcana Evolved, it apparently has everything the first game has
Let me make one thing clear, City of Life and Death is a very well done movie, and I recommend it to everybody interested in Historical Films . That being said, it is propaganda, or at least a very nationalistic portrayal. It is very well done nationalism, with much more tact and respect than you'd expect from a story about the Rape of Nanking, but it is Chinese Nationalism. Now, I've always had a morbid fascination with genocide, and this, coupled with my avid interest (not a fetish) for Chinese history has caused me to study the Rape of Nanking extensively. The Rape of Nanking was in 1937, when the Japanese Army killed 300,000 Chinese civilians in the old Capital of Nanking (or Nanjing). What made Nanking stand out compared to all of the other destruction of cities committed by the Japanese in China was the sheer extent of the Japanese brutality, including such fun activities as putting babies on spikes, having two sergeants compete to see who could kill the most Chinese with a sword, and of course, mass rape. Japan, as per their normal "Fuck you" policy towards China, pretends it never happened of course. The movie follows three primary characters, whose names I cannot remember because I am a racist. We have Doopy Japanese Sergeant, Awkward Westernized Chinese guy (John Rabe's security) and hot homely Chinese mother figure. All three characters are brought together and torn apart during the brutal Japanese invasion. Side characters include Sad Chinese Prostitute who is rapped to death, Sociopath Japanese Sergeant who is responsible for said rape, Badass Chinese insurgent, Chinese Child Soldier, and Useless Western Characters (they are all useless.)
Now first things first, for Western Audiences this might seem strange but.....if you had to make a movie about Nanking and were required to show the Japanese in a positive light, this is the best way you could have done it. While they are extremely brutal and kill/rape lots of civilians in a wide variety of horrible ways, a massive amount of time is taken to show the nicer side of the Japanese, Japanese soldiers learning to dance, drinking beer together, playing piano, and they often times are extremely nice to the Chinese right up until they shoot them in the face. While this is a good thing, and in many ways is something the "Ideal" Nanking movie would have, (Showing the human qualities of the oppression in order to make the horror of the incident even more powerful) it started to get a little suspicious. There is a scene where a Japanese company is ambushed by Chinese insurgents and suffers massive causalities before finally emerging victorious after a long and brutal battle. While that did happen in Nanking, the Chinese army was so badly orginized and ill equipped that very little actual resistance happened once the Japanese got into the City, and most of the Chinese insurgents were simply defeated by the better trained Japanese forces. The Japanese would claim their was resistance (and there were some isolated incidents) in order to justify their slaughter, however the fact that the movie devoted 30 mins showing the Japanese characters getting their asses kicked by the Chinese before the reinforcements finally arrive to defeat the Chinese, is a telling example of the movies real intentions. The scene achieves two things (I have a point here I swear), it establishes the Chinese as brave and competent fighters, and makes us sympathize with the Japanese as they are getting their asses kicked. Why the movie choose to do the former makes perfect sense, consider how much of a failure the entire Nanking campaign was for the Chinese, focusing on the small isolated incidents of victory makes sense, the Chinese want to not feel like they got their ass kicked. But why show the Japanese getting slaughtered, all it does is make us sympathize with them and explain some of their brutality (the Japanese feel like they are getting vengeance for their lost comrades, later in the film). The film omits Chiang Kai-Shek's defense of the city entirely, or his totally inept defense/retreat from the city, where he positioned the troops to fight, then ordered a disorganized and badly handled retreat where the rich were allowed to leave first taking most of the boats, without telling some of his units that they were leaving. If anything, the Battle of Nanking is an example of both Japanese brutality, but also Chinese military ineptitude, as the Chinese army was infamously corrupt and badly run (Except for Mao, who while not great at least could keep his army together). In fact, the Chinese seemed more interested in fighting each other rather than fight an organized fight. To get back to the point, while the Japanese are shown slaughtering chinese, the Chinese are never shown to be disorganized, inept, or out of control, as the real Chinese army was (I'm not saying Chinese people are somehow inherently inept as a people, just that the Chinese government in charge of Nanking was totally out of control and their was absolute chaos in the city). And while the Japanese are shown as brutal...honestly and this is going to sound heartless, the film depiction wasn't that bad. In the film, the Japanese shoot civilians, murdered all of the surrendered Chinese Soldiers (who died screaming for China's victory of course), rape women, burn people alive, and mutilate bodies. Oh and they gang rape women to death. And I imagine your thinking "Wow, that makes them sound horrible, what the fuck do you mean that isn't that bad?' Well, if we look at the Japanese army's war record, that is how they treated every city, hell even most cities throughout the world were treated like that in times of war. It was brutal yes, but it wasn't the Rape of Nanking, it was just the Chinese occupation of Hong Kong, or the Philipies or New Guinea. In the real sack, they did such lovely acts as
Putting babies on spikes (Seriously, its not just anti German propaganda)
used civilians as live bayonet practice
Systematic Gang rape (literally in lines)
Rape of small children (boys and girls)
Rape of the elderly
Rape of men (I"m not saying that this is somehow more or less upsetting than the rape of women, however its unexpected and isn't shown in the film)
Forcing family members to rape each other
Forcing Buddhist Monks who had take vows of celibacy to rape young women at gun point
Raping women with bayonets, broken bottles, and bamboo sticks and leaving them to die
Impaling pregnant women with bayonets (In fact the Japanese seemed to have targeted them in particular for brutal death)
Corpses crowding up the streets (while we see bodies in the streets in the film, they are occasional, now literally crowding up the place. Some of the pictures of Nanking shown the streets literally covered with corpses)
Massive amount of bayonet murder (while many people are shot in the film, not a single person is stabbed, when the massacre is infamous for Chinese women being torn apart by Japanese bayonets, and POWs being executed by Bayonet
Herding civilians unto land mines
Lining up POWS, covering them with petrol and lighting them on fire (this is shown in the film briefly, but the victims are in a house and its less methodical/horrific)
Rape of the Elderly
Cutting off POW's head with swords as they were forced to dig their own graves.
Mass Rape, the film shows rape, but according to John Rape, their were up to 100 cases a night, not the occasional cases as shown in the film.
Lets look at some of Rabe's Quote (according to Wikipedia)
The slaughter of civilians is appalling. I could go on for pages telling of cases of rape and brutality almost beyond belief. Two bayoneted corpses are the only survivors of seven street cleaners who were sitting in their headquarters when Japanese soldiers came in without warning or reason and killed five of their number and wounded the two that found their way to the hospital.
Let me recount some instances occurring in the last two days. Last night the house of one of the Chinese staff members of the university was broken into and two of the women, his relatives, were raped. Two girls, about 16, were raped to death in one of the refugee camps. In the University Middle School where there are 8,000 people the Japs came in ten times last night, over the wall, stole food, clothing, and raped until they were satisfied. They bayoneted one little boy of eight who have [sic] five bayonet wounds including one that penetrated his stomach, a portion of omentum was outside the abdomen. I think he will live.
From Reverend John Magee who was at the City
During the Japanese reign of terror in Nanking – which, by the way, continues to this day to a considerable degree – the Reverend John Magee, a member of the American Episcopal Church Mission who has been here for almost a quarter of a century, took motion pictures that eloquently bear witness to the atrocities committed by the Japanese .... One will have to wait and see whether the highest officers in the Japanese army succeed, as they have indicated, in stopping the activities of their troops, which continue even today.
On December 13, about 30 soldiers came to a Chinese house at #5 Hsing Lu Koo in the southeastern part of Nanking, and demanded entrance. The door was open by the landlord, a Mohammedan named Ha. They killed him immediately with a revolver and also Mrs. Ha, who knelt before them after Ha's death, begging them not to kill anyone else. Mrs. Ha asked them why they killed her husband and they shot her. Mrs. Hsia was dragged out from under a table in the guest hall where she had tried to hide with her 1 year old baby. After being stripped and raped by one or more men, she was bayoneted in the chest, and then had a bottle thrust into her vagina. The baby was killed with a bayonet. Some soldiers then went to the next room, where Mrs. Hsia's parents, aged 76 and 74, and her two daughters aged 16 and 14. They were about to rape the girls when the grandmother tried to protect them. The soldiers killed her with a revolver. The grandfather grasped the body of his wife and was killed. The two girls were then stripped, the elder being raped by 2–3 men, and the younger by 3. The older girl was stabbed afterwards and a cane was rammed in her vagina. The younger girl was bayoneted also but was spared the horrible treatment that had been meted out to her sister and mother. The soldiers then bayoneted another sister of between 7–8, who was also in the room. The last murders in the house were of Ha's two children, aged 4 and 2 respectively. The older was bayoneted and the younger split down through the head with a sword
From Tang Junshan
The seventh and last person in the first row was a pregnant woman. The soldier thought he might as well rape her before killing her, so he pulled her out of the group to a spot about ten meters away. As he was trying to rape her, the woman resisted fiercely ... The soldier abruptly stabbed her in the belly with a bayonet. She gave a final scream as her intestines spilled out. Then the soldier stabbed the fetus, with its umbilical cord clearly visible, and tossed it aside.
You get the idea. So while the film is certainly brutal, its nothing compared to what actually happened, its like a movie where a child is shot compared to a movie where a child is eaten alive by a dog. While both are horrific, the latter is simply more powerful and terrible to see. Remember, between 300,000 to 350,000 Civilians died within the span of a few months, most through torture, and that isn't counting the POWs. Now I'm not saying any of the massacres shown in the film aren't true, because they did happen, the POWs were machined gunned down, the "comfort women" were rapped to death, and the bodies were mutilated. And i'm not saying the Japanese shouldn't be shown sympathetically, on the contrary i think that it is a very good thing to show them as people, because no matter how horrible they were, they were (and are) still human beings. However, I think the film's reasons are dishonest. The film isn't nationalistic in the sense that this is a call to arms for the Chinese to go kill the monstrous Japanese, it is instead a call to arms for Chinese empowerment. The only characters who aren't shown sympathetically are the Westerners, who are depicted as weak, inept, cowardly and stupid. John Rab is shown as an old bureaucrat, who cowardly leaves the city abandoning the safety zone to the Japanese. While Rab had his faults (he was a Nazi after all) and did eventually leave in 1938, he was an absurdly brave man, who saved up to 250,000 men, often by running infront of Japanese solders demanding that they leave the Chinese alone. Yes he did leave, but by the time he left in late 1938, the worst of the massacres were over. The City falls in October 1937, and the killing end in late January-Early February 1938 . John Rabe left in February 28th, 1938, so by then the city, while not a 'nice' place, was certainly not hell on earth. In the film, he sort awkardly asks them to leave his compound alone, which they promptly ignore, and cries alot. The other western characters aren't much better, most of them don't have many lines, and those they do have involve them being pushed out of the way as they try vainly to protect civilians. The "good" japanese character is shown as very timid and horrified by what is going on around him, and not really able to grasp the reality of the situation. Most of the Chiense characters are really strong actually, the only one who is a pansy is John Rab's assistant, who is super westernized and kind of a suck up, however after his daughter is killed by the japanese he stands up to them and dies a hero's death (in a scene that is a homage to the priests death in Rome Open City). And the "traditional" Chinese character, the really hot Chinese mother figure is a hero all throughout, keeping the people together, standing up to the Chinese, and gets caught trying to rescue Chinese POWs. As she is being taken away, she shames the Japanese character into killing her to avoid gang rape, and he later kills himself after letting a pair of prisoners go.
So what is this trying to accomplish here? Its about Chinese empowerment, about making the Chinese the moral victors of Nanking. the Reason why its so traumatizing to the Chinese is not just because the Japanese were brutal as fuck, but also because the Chinese couldn't do anything about it. 300,000-350,000 Civilians were killed, along with 50,000 soldiers and 80,000 women raped in the Chinese Capital, against only 240,000 Japanese, only 6,000 of whom where killed. And unlike the Russians, they never got a sacking of Berlin to gain vengeance, the Japanese were in Japan until they surrendered to us. the British, Russians and Americans had to save China, who the Japanese were slaughtering (If not defeating) for almost two decades (1931-1945). One of the Reasons why the Chinese hate the Japanese is that they were helpless to them, the Japanese are the boogiemen of China, this tiny little country that crippled the nation (to be fair china had a 40 year civil war going on but still). If the nastier brutalities of the nanking massacre were shown, such a s the infamous "killing contest", then the Chinese woudl be humiliated. Being shot in the back is one thing, being forced to rape your mother at gun point is quite another. the Chinese are massacred, but they are never reduced in the way the Japanese tried to do during the real events. By making the Japanese very human, they are less threatening and dominating to the Chinese, in fact they are shamed and humiliated by the Chinese resistance. The Chinese in the movie show a great deal of bravery, and they don't need the westerners to help them up. Why is China doing this? Because in this day and age, China doesn't need to hate Japan, at least not politically, but as a growing superpower, they do need to break free from Western bonds. this movie is taking an event which is the humiliation of China and making it into the monument to Chinese bravery. The Movie ends with the two Chinese POWS who survived the massacre, one of which is a young boy, being realized by the guilty Japanese. As they walk away, the Japanese says "It takes more courage to live than to die" and then kills himself. The two chinese walk off, and look at the flowers around them and start laughing with joy. they aren't traumatized or scarred forever, they are moving on, while the Japanese lies dead in a ditch. In another scene, John Rab is forced to tell the Chinese women that 100 of them would be taken away by the Japanese as "Comfort Women". John Rab, crying and feebly saying "I"m sorry" asks for volunteers, while his Chinese assistant (The traditional female one, not the Westernized male one) adds that if they do this, food will be provided for their children. one by one, 100 Chinese women raise their hands and volunteer for the grim task, where they will be raped to death. However, they do so with stoic faces and determination.
The Film is really astonishingly beautiful and I really think people should go see it, however this is *Not* the rape of Nanking, this is a Chinese attempt to exorcise the Demons of the Nanking trauma. Now i'm not saying their were not brave and noble Chinese, in fact they were thousands of them during the massacre, however that being said, it was the dozen or so Westerners who saved 250,000 people by creating this save zone in the first place, nobody asked them or expected them to, and if it wasn't for the Westerners literally running in front of guns waiving their papers, its likely thousands more of the Chinese would have died. In fact, most of the documentation of the Rape of Nanking was done by the West, after the Way, Mao's government was acknowledged by Japan in return for not bringing up the Japanese war crimes, and ever since the Chinese government has been in an awkward place. Talking about the Nanking massacre is awkward because China, the Middle Kingdom, the pinnacle of Civilization, the greatest kingdom in the world, proved unable to defeat Japan, because they were too busy in a pointless, bloody and ruinous Civil war. Thus in the film, no mention is made of the Civil War, or the Communist Party (after all, many people don't like Mao in China and this movie is made for the Chinese). Like Schindler's List, this is a great Film, however it is sensationalistic and is trying to draw you into a trap of perception that you need to actively try to resist in order to see the film for what it is, a manipulation of historical facts for narrow national interest