Monday, July 30, 2012

OK, so where the hell have I been?

Right so the question on everybody's mind is

"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


Testing: Does this still work

Does this still work?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Alignment of Song of Ice and Fire Part 1

Basically I have been re-reading the Series and I felt like doing the Alignments for the most Evil Characters in the Novels for fun. Lets have a go. Of course, Spoilers Ahead

1) Ramsay Bolton, CE. this is kidna self evident, he is a serial rapist who has no sense of duty, honor, or even any concept of planning. Evil Obvious, but I think he is also Chaotic because of his total disorginizations
2) Roose Bolton, NE. In contrast with his son, while Roose is clearly evil, he certainly seems to have a better understanding of what he is trying to work towards as well as his own lack of morality.

3) Tywin Lannister, LE. He has some standards for himself, and most importantly has a constant plan/goal he is working towards. He is cold and Machiavellian, but doesn't do horrible things unless it suits him. However, he also is more than willing to hurt ALOT of people if he needs too

4) Jamie Lannister I think starts out Chaotic Evil, only caring about his own urges and feelings, moves unto Neutral Evil as he starts to become more calm and collected. Finally as of the Fourth Book, I think he is finally Lawful evil, as he starts to hold himself to some standards and taking oaths and laws seriously, though he never actually becomes good

5) Cercei Lannister, CE. totally inconsistent and cruel, she doesn't give a damn about anything but her family and her power

6) Joffery, CE. God i hate the little bastadr

7) Vargo Hoot, NE, he is just looking out for himself. Most of his men though, like Shagewell, Rogue, Biter ect are CE

8) King Robert, CE. He is evil because he A) supports a cruel and unjust government B) Doens't stand up to those who do horrible things in his kingdom. C) Is more than willing to kill innocents if it helps his goal, or simply to get revenge

9) The faceless man, LE. he holds himself to a very stringent code, and refuses to break his word, even when it would benefit his position

10) Tyrion Lannister, NE. Ok, he actually isn't a very bad person, in fact he is one of the better characters in the story, and yet he is still Evil, he murders people who get in his way, he supports his family even though he knows they are mosnters and he is absurdly corrupt. He is neutral evil i think because he looks out for himself and those he loves before anything else

11) Littlefinger, NE. A throughly selfish human being

12) Varys, LE, a terrible person but with an ultimate goal, which he sticks too pretty stringently

13) Khal Drogo, LE, while he does kill, rape and torture people, he seems to be extremely traditionalist to his own society

14) Ser Amory Loch, CE, while he is a knight and has a job to do, he is far too unfocused


Saturday, November 5, 2011

31 new house rules

So the main question is "Where the hell have I been". Well actually....I've been at college, so yeah. But in terms of writing, I've actually been doing alot. Just instead of writing here, I've been working on my Obsidian Portal account (Imperial Dreams) playing around with alternate rules and systems. The reason why I haven't posted any of that stuff here is because I haven't finished playtesting or working out the glitches, so all of the stuff up their are prototypes, (though feel free to look around if you wish). So I don't want to post anything until I understand the system myself. However, these are some houserules my D&D group came up with in order to improve combat, so I wanted to know what you guys think. I am currently using all of them (and they are all stolen thank you very much) but I am still open to changes

I am trying to make combat in D&D more intensive. By intensive I mean
A) Takes other factions into account, like bleeding, fatigue, wounds, exhaustion, armor, weapon styles, shields ect
B) Making Combat far more scary, so that casual combat more interesting and everybody has to be careful
C) Greater variety

So just a collection of rules before I move on

1) Hit points still exist, I don’t want to get ride of that. However the way they work I might tinker with
2) Combat challenges from Iron Heroes, Ie additional benefits you can apply to an attack in return for a decrease in your defensive abilities. For example, an attack that will knock a weapon out of their hand, or force them into a certain area are both examples of this style, however in return you take a penalty on defense. The range of the benefits and the penalties depend upon what class you are, martial usually have far better benefits.
3) Stunts are ways of incorporating skill bonuses into combat, normally as a way to make up for being mechanically outmatched. I haven’t figured it out yet, but something like pushing over a barrel in order to jump off of it to make an attack. They add bonuses to your actions depending on you skill points
4) Defense class is how well you can deflect or parry blows, which is determined by your class, your level, your Strength bonus, as well as your weapon and shield. Armor does not give you a defense bonus. If somebody attacks you but you succeed your defense check, then you simply can avoid any damage, but your actions next turn will be limited, depending on the weapon used and what you blocked with. For example, if the fighter armed with a short sword is attacked by an orc great axe, he is able to block the axe, but in the process is knocked backwards and losses his sword. however if he had a shield, he would keep his weapon, stand his ground and take no damage, but he would still have his movement next turn limited. Defense bonus isn’t applied if you are taken by suprise or without your equipment
5) Dodge bonus is a way of avoiding attacks all together, and is depended upon your dexterity. This does not scale with level, with the exception of a few classes, and if you succeed a dodge check, the attack simply doesn’t hit you. However it is very hard for characters get very high dodge bonuses, with the exception of classes like Rogue or Ninja who are hard to hit. You loose this bonus. Again, this is taken away if you are under attack.
6) Wounds- Certain weapons, certain class abilities, or certain attacks that inflict over a certain hit point limit can inflict injuries upon a foe. These are minor negative status effects that linger after combat, much like the injuries in Dragon Age/Dragon Age II. The wound is randomly chosen, so they can vary from midly annoying (a 2 to spell caster for a fighter is worthless), to inconvenient (a -1/4 speed for a caster) to frustrating (a -2 to all attack bonuses for a Ranger). Special healing spells can deal with these after battle. You can get multiple injuries during combat, but rarely on a single attack (unless you are up against a Warrior), and certain martial classes can either increase their chances of scoring the attack, or decrease their chances of being effected by an injury. A dodge is decreased by how heavy your armor is, or if you are using a shield ect.
7) Pain
Certain weapons or attacks can inflict pain damage, which is a seperate stat. Each class has a certain “pain tolerance” which is determined by their race, class, constitution, and level. A martial class can choose to reduce the damage of their attack (IE how many hit points are taken away) in return for inflicting more pain. Pain inhibits all physical stats, as well as all stats involving concentration, making casting hard. However pain doesn’t normally get inflicted easily without special class abilities/luck/feats/weapons. If a character suffers too much pain, they can go down fairly easily.
8) Armor class- An attack has to be successful in order to even do damage. Otherwise it bounces off as useless. A shield will also help with this
9) Armor as damage reduction. To make this clear, depending upon the armor, armor can provide Defense class, Armor Class, AND damage reduction. A leather jacked will only provide some basic damage reduction, while a set of full plate will provide not only a high armor class, a moderate defense bonus, and moderate damage reduction, it will also provide resistance to injuries, pain deduction, and might even break the enemies blade. Of course, armor is heavy, provides a penalty to stealth/dexterity, and drains far more fatigue.
10) Armor effects- Certain armors will have special effects (discounting magic obviously), for example, helmets will reduce the chance of a critical hit, while full plate might catch a weapon inside the armor, leaving it stuck.
11) Wound points- Getting wounded fucking hurts, and it often does some really nasty as fuck things to your body. Thus in addition to everything else, characters have what are called “Wound points”. this doesn’t measure weather you are alive or not, but instead how long you can last before your body starts falling apart on you. You have as many wound points as your Consitution x 2 +Level. Every attack that inflicts actual hit point damage will also reduce a single wound point. As long as you have wound points, you are able to keep on fighting without taking any penalties to combat (unless it is a status effect, like bleeding or injuries). After your wounds run out however, you start bleeding and taking a minus on your defense, attack, and dodge bonuses. These penalties keep building until you have your wound points restored, or you can get some healing, or you die.
12) Vigor points- Vigor represents how health you are, and how well you can avoid being effected by various effects. Vigor (normally) is not determined by equipment, but instead by your class, your Constitution, and your level. If you are hit by an effect, you can give up a certain amount of vigor points to negate that effect. For example, you can give up 5 vigor points instead of losing 5 hit points, or you can give up 5 vigor points to avoid an injury, or you can give up a 10 Vigor points to avoid losing a wound point. Certain weapons however rely upon inflicting vigor points in addition to hit points, such as serrated or barbed weapons. vigor also determines how well you heal naturally. Spells can restore vigor points of course
13) Called shots, you can take a penalties to an attack in order to try to inflict an attack on a specific region, which inflicts wounds on a target, these are very specific attacks that undermine your ability to use that particular body part, for example a wound on your arm might make that arm unusable, or extremely weak, or even cut it off
14) After you are reduced to 0 hit points, you are conscious but have to roll a constitution save if you take any physically strenuous action. After that you go into negative hit points, of which you have -10 + constitution (total), + Level. Essentially you are dying. For the first 10 hit points, you get a chance to roll a very difficult Constitution check in order to stabilize, where you simply stop losing hit points. -10, you only have a 1 in 20 chance of stabilizing, and will bleed out until you pass over your negative hit point limit, where you will die. If you are healed from negative to positive hit points, you are considered crippled, until you can get a powerful healing spell, which is a permanent wound randomly decided, (for example a broken arm). all of these wounds will go way over time, or with the right magic. Certain truly vile weapons or attacks can make it so that you gain extra wounds when you go into negatives, others are even rumored to make it so you only get -10 hit points at best.
15) All raise dead spells have been split into many different spells. The weakest spells will restore the body if the person died within the last ten mins, even then he will be at 1 hit point and extremely fatigued. More powerful spells will work within 1 hour, 1 day, 3 days, a week, or a ten day, or a year. All of these spells have sub specifications, like for example weather he will lose a level, weather he will lose Consitution, weather he needs to be healed first, if the bodies needs to be in good condition, or if he will be restored at 1 hit point. The most powerful spells can bring a guy back from life almost right away, while they are in the middle of combat. True Resurrection is the only spell which will restore them to life after any point in time (provided they didn’t die of old age and the soul can be found), with no level loss, at full hit points, without requiring the body and without any chance of a Resurrection failure. A Resurrection failure is chance that the soul has somehow come back wrong. Regardless, all raise dead effects will change the character’s soulname, for better or for worst.
16) A fatigue system, which is drained when you take certain actions, i have no idea how to implement this, except i want the armor you wear to determine how much you lose
17) Save or die spells for the most part are changed into variable effects, depending on the level of the caster, the target and the spell. True save or die effects are extremely risking and high level, and often allow multiple saves.
18) Certain high level spells, instead of costing XP, instead add an XP debt, which is a certain amount of extra Xp the caster must gain to level up.
19) All healing spells are broken up into a wide variety of healing spells, some of which deal with hit points, vigor points, Wound points, Fatigue, injuries, wounds, or served limbs. Only the most powerful heal all of these effects at once. All healing spells also have chances of failing, or only partially healing the target.
20) A crippling wound happens if a single attack is higher than twice a character’s total con score, which normally results in a servered limb, a missing eye, a cut off ear ect.
21) Magical healing will leave scars if the wound isn’t treated within a day, though specific spells can remove these
22) Certain martial classes can inflict aggravated damage, which are wound over time in a very specific manner. However these are high level abilities, and only open to martial classes. Certain healing spells can get ride of these effects (a wounding effect from the magical item is much easier to fix than these effects)
23) Magic items require a mix between a crafter and a spell caster, both of home have to take time and money to make the item.
24) Armor counts as a proficency skill, which means certain characters can put combat points itno armor to increase its benefits, IE a novice wearing full plate might have lower defense than an expert wearing chainmail.
25) Certain weapons have penetration bonuses which allow them to ignore armor/defense/damage reduction effects. these only apply (normally) against certain kinds of armor, for example a mace vs. a breastplate wouldn’t work as well against chainmail.
26) certain masters have what is called a carapace, which is like DR, except that once the damage needed to over come the Carapace is inflicted, it not longer provides protection, as the defense is essentially broken
27) Weapons speeds are more important and weapon damages is increased, for example a dagger does a 1D6. In addition weapon maneuverability is a far bigger factor
28) Spell casting (mostly) has high casting times, and more chances to screw up
29) Critical strikes are separate from critical hits, in that the former are class specific and inflict injuries, while the latter just inflict massive damage
30) Weapons now have a wide variety of qualities, which have different performances. Masterwork are just the most powerful of the lot
31) Magic items are divided into three types, Trinkets which are other wise normal item with a few magical effects, so a trinket bow which shoots fire is just as likely to break as a normal bow, mage touched items which are like “improved” normal weapons, so they do more damage and have special effects but they break easily and cannot gain special effects. Full fledged enchanted items are unique and powerful, and are almost always extremely difficult to destroy.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Class Balance 2nd Edition

I've been getting more and more interesting in Game Design and my pet project of designing D&d 5th edition, and i've been trying to figure out what class balance actually is. I get 3rd edition balance issues, and I've been looking into 3rd party systems alot to see how they work. I got into D&D in 3rd edition and while I hate 4th edition, I understand how it works, but more and more I find myself looking back at AD&D and marveling on how much I really like it, in particular the writing, which is far better than most 3rd edition has to offer. So, does anybody know how they can explain class balance to me in 2nd edition and how it worked, or link me to some article that does? I have played D&d since I was 7 however I am not a mathematical or mechanical person, so understanding the details of the Balance has been very hard for me, as I'd much rather focus on the fluff. So, what I am asking is
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?
Thanks alot

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Game of Thrones

Now, for those who don't know, I'm a HUGE fan of Television as a Medium, and while I have some misgivings about HBO, generally speaking I'm a big fan, because they certainly view TV show as an art from (the overuse of Tits aside). I'm also a Huge Fan of the Song of Ice and Fire series, because as a history major, I am very interested in any series which focuses on a more "realistic" approach to fantasy. Now, when I say realistic, I don't mean dark, because Song of Ice and Fire isn't actually that dark. A dark setting is where the world as setup is hopeless, Berserk is dark in that the actual world is literally built upon human suffering and exists to perpetuate the cycle. Diablo is Dark in that the world is nothing more than a no man's land between heaven and hell where both sides are on the verge of destruction. Forgotten Realms is Dark in that their are literal manifestations of Evil out to make humanity suffer. In those settings (and some Cohen Brothers movies), the world is actually designed for evil to win, in Warhammer, life actually does suck for the average person, and always will. Song of Ice and Fire reminds me more of well.....reading history, everybody is bad in someway, though only a few are actual sociopaths, everybody has at least some good qualities, and even when the Good guys loose, the Bad guys often don't fair much better. Honestly, reading this series I'm reminded of....well the actual War of the Roses, which it is clearly based upon. Or the Roman Civil Wars, or the Huns conquest of Germania, its brutal but its not absurdly so, also their isn't a sense that the world is designed this way and always will remain this way, its just a time period.
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). the show.....
Next up (Eventually), I'm reading Drowtales.....WTF is going on?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I'm still back, and i feel like writing : Kingdoms of Kalamar elves

Ok, I'm still back, and I'm trying to train myself to write everyday. So, to go into detail, Kingdoms of Kalamar. Ironically, I haven't gotten the Campaign setting book, I've looked through it in stores, however I never have actually bought it, I got a source book in a din for 5 bucks, Friends and Foes, the Guide to Elves and Bugbears. Now I have not read the Bugbear half, but I'm really annoyed by the elf half, because it has what i don't like about elves. Now, I like alot of "elf" sterotypes, for example
  • 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
However, the Elves in this book, in particular the High Elves, are just too damn perfect. They are wise and powerful, but they aren't expansionist, they have kings, but their kings are more like advisers, they are very free and open about their society but they aren't sexually deviant. Its just the best of all worlds. Honestly, my favorite Elves in the Book were the Grey Elves, because they were trying to get me to not like them....which made me like them, because they were more human cause they had Flaws
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

I'm kinda back

College is over, and now i have time to work again........doesn't mean you can expect anything unless i get really angry, but hey

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

City of Life and Death, made into a City of Rebirth

Actually....this isn't in the film

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 Arson

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.[45]

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.[49]

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