January 30th, 2003

Dead Dog Cat

last couple of days

Work continues apace, though slower than I would want.

Watched "A Funny Thing Happened to Me On the Way to the Forum" on DVD two nights ago. I found it to be a rather amusing piece of work, but I suspect it was funnier when it first came out. Rather slapstick, with suggestive humor that has long since been foreshadowed by the porn of the present. However, it was cool to see Zero Mostel and Phil Silvers do their thing.

Finished the most recent Alan Furst novel Blood of Victory yesterday. It'll never make a movie, as the good guys manage only to get part of what they want done. The tale deals with attempts to interfere with the transport of the Ploesti oil fields in Rumania in WWII, and the spy world surrounding the area, including Istanbul. Worth reading as a stand-alone. All in all, I've enjoyed all the books by Furst that I've read that deal with the spy world in and around WWII that I've read, including Dark Star, and others.

Finally, rented the DVD of Robin Williams- LIVE!, which is apparently the HBO special he had several months ago that I've heard good things about. I found much of it gut-bustingly funny, but my wife fell asleep halfway through. I have a soft spot for two comedians because they are gamers: Robin Williams and Drew Carey. Nevertheless, the former's new DVD gave me a great laugh, relaxing me quite a bit.
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Dead Dog Cat

A typical Dungeonmaster situation

I've promised to post about Dungeonmaster from the point-of-view of an audience volunteer in a blatant attempt to support the show. First, a bit of history:

Dungeonmaster is a play that first ran in Uptown Chicago over 14 years ago in which the actors played monsters and non-player characters (NPCs) while 6 volunteers from the audience would act as adventurers. This made the show heavily improv, and very much like live-action roleplaying. LARPs, if they existed at all (aside from the game "Killer"), weren't visible in the MidWest at the time. It was very popular, with large crowds of loyal fans and with newcomers every week. The show closed when Bruce A. Young, heavily committed to work in Hollywood, finally made a break from Chicago, and pursued work in the West. He insisted that he would put on DM in LA, but years went by.

Approximately 18 months ago, Bridget and I were visiting Chicago, and we had gone to the Bristol Faire up in Wisconsin, there running into David Woolley, a former actor in the Chicago Dungeonmaster, and a stage combat master. He is one of the Swordsmen, and has a show at the Faire. He let me know that Bruce had plans to reopen DM in 9/01, and we joyfully hunted him down via the net. Since that time, DM had played at Magicopolis in Santa Monica, but the crowds have been less evident. Starting next month, the show will reopen at LA Connection, after two shows at Orccon, a local game convention.

To play, one fills out two cards; one is a waiver in case you sprain an ankle onstage, and the other is a character sheet of sorts. You can be anything you care to: an orc, an elf, or just a human, as well as any character class you would care to name. Your card goes into the hopper, and 5-7 are generally drawn randomly to fill out a party.

The show opens with Bruce intoning the rules, followed by a demonstration of slow-motion combat by two members of the cast (Fighters Mighty). This is usually funny, and often steeped in DM lore, for the initiated. Still, they have fun with it. Then, the first scene or two sets up the scenario. The following scene introduces the NPC who will act as Guide for the party (never let the guide die (or at least, stay dead)). The guide pulls out a list, and calls the players up onstage, allowing them a short introduction, and then folks go off to adventure.

The players sooner or later are equipped with padded weapons. Since all combat is in slow motion, this it to protect the actors from injury. The players may also throw spells. These must be rhyming couplets with at least a few syllables in each stanza. Within the stanzas must be the general intent of the spell: As I stand her full of dread, raise my party from the dead. The party has a total of ten spells...don't waste them.

So, that's about it.....I suppose I forgot a thing or two...any comments from Forestcats or thefreak would be appreciated....or anyone else who's experienced the show... Now all you in the San Fernando Valley, come and see the show in Sherman Oaks (LA Connection)!
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