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Thread: Jab's Builds!

  1. #7801
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    Re: Jab's Builds!

    Lady Rose's moving into Downton makes much more sense than the typical Cousin Oliver plot line. To begin with, given the decompressed timeline of the show (series are set years apart and months can pass in a single episode) and the large network of cousins any aristocratic family is bound to have its much more plausible that the audience hadn't heard mention of her before.

    Secondly, a neice or nephew being sent to live with an uncle and aunt was done with some frequency in this period... Not so much in the nuclear-family centered Brady Bunch decade. Fellowes set it up all very realistically: Scotland is way out there as the social "season" is London-centric, Shrimpy's posting to colonial India (major prestige for him, social exile for his daughter), etcetera.

  2. #7802
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    Re: Jab's Builds!

    Yeah, it made sense, AND we'd heard about Shrimpy & Susan in other characters' comments for YEARS beforehand (a true rare amount of foresight)- it was just funny to see something like that.

    And that's it for Downton Abbey! Next up- STAR WARS!

  3. #7803
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    Long Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away...


    -So this was a thing that got pretty popular.

    -But really, it's hard to even find a way to START with the Star Wars franchise- it started off as just this pipe dream sci-fi movie by George Lucas (then getting a good rep for movies like the excellent American Graffiti- one of the major instigators of the '50s nostalgia during the 1970s), was made with a bunch of actors who thought it was a bit silly, and then ended up EXPLODING, becoming one of the biggest hits of all time. And then it had two sequels, each of which did gangbusters as well, and setting off a whole new era of blockbusters. Taking a bunch of stuff from all kinds of different sources (Kurosawa Samurai movies, Korean manwha comics, etc.), Lucas ended up creating this Pop Cultural touchstone- soon everybody was obsessed with Laser Weapons, Jedi, Darth Vader and all sorts of cool new alien races. Kids bought so many of the toys that a brand-new industry was created: Merchandise-Driven Cartoons soon sprouted up all over the place to copy the success Kenner had with their Star Wars line of figures (they remain some of the most sought-after toys ever). You can pretty much trace Ninja Turtles, G.I. Joe, Transformers, He-Man and Thundercats all back to this, in addition to the Sci-Fi Boom of the era. Hell, Star Wars is responsible for the continued existence of MARVEL of all things- they were ready for bankruptcy in the late 1970s, until they lucked out, got the Star Wars license, and made a killing.

    -It's a bit hard to figure out just WHAT made everyone go so crazy over this series of films. In one way, they're a bit clunky- the dialogue could get iffy in parts ("You can WRITE this shit, George," Harrison Ford told him, "but you can't SAY it."), the acting a bit wooden and/or over-the-top, the Stormtroopers are so comically-imcompetent that thety're the iconic Useless Mooks, etc. But as a whole, the thing was EXCEPTIONALLY well-made. One thing I notice in retrospect, is that like a lot of good movies, the thing is comprised largely of big, iconic Set-Pieces and backdrops that go all over the place. Rather than just leave people sitting around in one area talking together, the movie shows you the moisture farm, the big Jawa thing, the Tusken Raiders, the famous Mos Eisley cantina, the Star Destroyers, and more. Hell, the thing STARTS with one of the most-iconic chases of all time, as a tiny vessel is hounded by this ENORMOUS Star Destroyer.

    -Nothing is wasted: rather than just make a standard escape and start shooting their way out, the heroes get stuck in a garbage disposal thing and fight a giant Garbage Snake. Why? Because it's just another different piece of action, that's why! And this is just the first movie! In the sequels, we get the swamps of Dagobah, the ice fields of Hoth, the forest moon of Endor, multiple space battles that are all different, etc. Other films that pull off stuff like this include Finding Nemo (A LOT of distinctive sets here- the Turtle Vortex, the Dentist's Office, the Coral, the ship with the sharks, the Seagulls, etc.), Toy Story (Pizza Planet, Sid's house, Andy's room, etc.), and even Transformers: The Movie (where the big Autobot/Decepticon War and Unicron take a back seat to random events like a fight on a Planet of Junk and fighting underwater mechanical creatures, then facing off against evil Quintesson Judges and Sharkticons). I think it's a sign a film is well-made when EVERY SCENE remains distinctive for one reason or another.

    The VEHICLES in the series are even kept different and distinct- the Millennium Falcon, TIE Fighters, X-Wings and more are huge stand-outs: the excellent miniature designs make this franchise have the most-iconic bunch of ships ever. I also liked how GRITTY everything looked- this wasn't any Star Trek, full of pretty, smooth machines- these things saw USE, and showed their AGE. No other franchise could even come CLOSE. Rather than stick a bunch of Rubber Forehead Aliens around, Star Wars gives you giant Wookiees, tiny Ewoks, Droids all over the place, Jawas, Ithorians and all sorts of other weird stuff- AGAIN making things stand out. The Special Effects basically made this film as much as anything. Even the SOUND effects and the MUSIC are top of the line- pretty much everyone knows the sounds the lasers make, that "whirr" of flying vehicles, the "Lightsaber Effect" and more, and the soundtrack just makes the whole thing. Basically, even with a handful of flaws, the rest of the people working on the film- set designers, puppeteers, F/X guys, miniature builders and musicans, etc., were so damn good at their jobs that they made an unforgettable set.

    There's great Character Naming here, too- you can't forget stuff like "Luke Skywalker" or "Han Solo". And despite a cast of "recognizable names" that is positively ENORMOUS (even moreso if you read the supplemental materials about the background nobodies), but there's great Economy of Character here, as well. The Main Group could almost be overwhelming, but it basically consists of The Young Hero (Luke), The Mentor (Obi-Wan), The Chick (Leia), and The Rogue (Han) as the only major characters- Chewbacca, C-3P0 & R2-D2 are distinctive and memorable characters, but two don't even really SPEAK, and they're all basically Sidekicks. So the group never gets overwhelmingly-large or feels like there's too many people sitting around (compare this to Lord of the Rings, which really has two Hobbits too many). Of the villains, we only get two in the first movie that matter (Tarkin & Vader), a side character in the middle (Lando), and Jabba & The Emperor rounding things out.

    And yet EVERY CHARACTER stands out. Lando is his own character, but he has this servant going around with him (Lobot) who remains well-known simply because he has cyborg stuff on his head. There's Jabba's Twi'lek goon, that ugly monster by his tail, that pig thing, about a half-dozen unique ANIMALS never seen before, and more. Even Princess Leia subverts your expectations- how many Rescued Princesses back then acted like total bitches to their rescuers, then grabbed a gun and started blasting away? And in Darth Vader, Lucas & Co. created one of cinema's great bad guys- a powerful, threatening, iconic figure that almost ran away with all the movie's press!

    It was big enough to get major-league "Re-Releases" in the '90s that saw CGI upgrades and some new (mostly-lame) scenes, including the infamous "Greedo Shoots First" edit (that looks very weird, like it just doesn't "fit" properly with the body language. Also, how did Greedo MISS from that distance?). A few cartoon series have come out (the best one is the Clone Wars one done by the Samurai Jack crew, though they did a CGI one that I only saw once. It was OK). And of course the infamous "Prequels" (several years in, Lucas suddenly went "Oh the series actually started with Part IV, not Part I), where Lucas went Full CGI, wrote some of the worst dialogue to hit a major Hollywood production, and eventually pissed off legions of fans (some parts of the movies are awesome, but other parts include Hayden "So wooden it's an insult to puppets" Christensen, Jake Lloyd, and Jar Jar Binks). Eventually, Disney bought the whole thing for three or four times what they paid for MARVEL COMICS, and are now going to release a TON of movies, this time without Lucas' involvement.

    There's probably more "Canon" supplemental material to Star Wars than anything else, ever. It created a virtual cottage industry of Novels, none of which I've ever read. I heard about them in Middle School, but my friends weren't nerdy enough to be into them, so I have no idea what they're like. Apparently they're rather infamous for Mary Sues and random embellishments, often going into INSANE detail about guys who show up in the movies for all of five seconds, and they've pretty much been dropped from "canon" standing EONS ago. Dark Horse Comics also had a pretty successful line of books based around the "Prequel" Universe (and a few set after the original Trilogy), so many that it seemed like DH's ENTIRE OUTPUT was Star Wars, but now Marvel's got the rights back (owing to their being owned by the same parent company).

    So yeah, Star Wars is awesome. I actually didn't watch it that much as a kid- I'm not sure if my family even owned the VHS tapes. I remember watching the first bit of Return of the Jedi as my introduction to things (I recall having some odd feeling about that Leia girl and her outfit, but I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was...), but I'd watch them a few times over the years. I stood in line for an hour to get into the re-release of The Empire Strikes Back, but that was the only one of those edited movies I saw (it was great fun at first, but when I realized that ONLY the "upgraded" ones were available to buy, I thought it was lame). So I'm a fan, but not like a SUPER-fan- I don't own any of the films or toys or anything like that. I just like them for what they are- classic Hollywood-style entertainment, with some great characters, great dialogue and great effects. I think they're better than the Lord of the Rings movies (oh, the online debates I've had over that), which are a bit too long and feature too many dull characters (Sauron is as generic a villain as their ever was, there's too many Hobbits, and the Elf & Dwarf are almost a note short of "one-note"). And really, their impact on Pop Culture cannot be denied- pretty much everyone is familiar with a good portion of the original Trilogy at least, so there's almost zero chance someone you're talking to won't get an "I am your father!" or "Lightsaber" reference.

    For this set, I'm mainly doing the Film series characters, plus some from the Star Wars Rebels show (it's okay... not as good as I was hoping, though. It DOES have that great scene where DARTH VADER runs in and essentially wipes out the entire team with ease). Not many novel characters, though.

    To-Do List:
    Luke Skywalker
    Obi-Wan Kenobi
    Princess Leia
    Han Solo
    Lando Calrissian
    Wicked & The Ewoks
    Wedge Antilles
    Qui-Gon Jinn
    Kit Fisto
    Mara Jade
    Jedi Padawans, Knights & Council
    Mace Windu
    Padme Amidala
    Ahsoka Tahno
    Admiral Ackbar

    Grand Moff Tarkin
    Battle & Heavy Droids
    Boba Fett
    Jango Fett
    Tusken Raiders
    The Trade Federation
    General Grievous
    Jabba the Hutt
    Jabba's Palace Guards
    Savaj Opress & Assaj Ventress
    Darth Maul
    Count Dooku
    Darth Vader
    Emperor Palpatine

    Star Wars Rebels:
    The Inquisitor

    Sarlacc Pit
    That Meteor Worm Thing

    Speeder Bikes
    Pod Racers
    TIE Fighter
    Star Destroyer
    The Millennium Falcon
    The Death Star

    Power Levels in the Star Wars Universe:
    - This can be a bit tricky, as Star Wars characters typically inhabit a much-less powerful world than do Comic Book Superheroes. Pretty much every character outside of the Jedi wield regular Laser Blasters, and these don't seem to be that different from each other. Most do about the same amount of damage as a bullet would in most Hollywood productions (ie. shoulder shots are "flesh wounds" and merely debilitating for a bit; chest shots are Insta-Kill), and tend to be pretty light on the number of shots fired, albeit don't seem to ever run out of whatever makes them shoot. But there are some gigantic animals out there, plus the existence of Jedi as a super-powered adversary. I'd imagine the baseline character in this universe is much lower than in Marvel or DC, but the Jedi match up pretty well in superheroes.
    Last edited by Jabroniville; 09-03-2015 at 09:18 PM.

  4. #7804
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    Re: Jab's Builds!

    Great post about Star Wars. But I feel obliged to correct you. R2-D2 does have a speaking role. He's just so foul mouthed that they bleeped out everything he said.
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    Note to self, get Bruce and his Bat-force to take this one.
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  5. #7805
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    Mooks, The Most Iconic Minions of All Time
    Group Affiliations: The Galactic Empire
    PL 4 (33)

    Athletics 2 (+3)
    Expertise (Space Military) 4 (+4)
    Intimidation 2 (+2)
    Technology 2 (+2)
    Vehicles 2 (+5)

    Equipment 5 (Stormtrooper Gear)

    "Laser Blaster" Blast 5 (Extras: Multiattack) (15)

    "Stormtrooper Armor"
    Protection 2 (Flaws: Limited to Non-Laser Attacks) (1)
    Enhanced Skills 2: Intimidation 2 (+4) (1)
    "Survival Gear" Immunity 3 (Suffocation 2, Heat, Cold) (Flaws: Limited to Half-Effect) (2)
    "Utility Belt" 5 Ranks of Assorted Gear (6)

    Unarmed +2 (+1 Damage, DC 16)
    Laser Blaster +3 (+5 Ranged Damage, DC 20)
    Initiative +2

    Dodge +4 (DC 14), Parry +2 (DC 12), Toughness +2 (+4 Armor), Fortitude +2, Will +0

    Responsibility (The Empire)- Stormtroopers are trained to gladly lay down their lives for the Empire.

    Total: Abilities: 20 / Skills: 12--6 / Advantages: 5 / Powers: 0 / Defenses: 2 (33)

    -The most iconic Minions of all time, the Stormtroopers are just as infamous for their lack of accuracy. It's too bad, really- they're some of the COOLEST-LOOKING Minions ever, yet they pretty much never score a hit on any important character, save that one time Han Solo got hurt in ROTJ. They can demolish REBELS alright, but anyone else and they're just useless. Granted, anyone who's actually seen combat can tell you that it's actually REALLY HARD to hit a moving target (it's WAY different from firing on the range)... but of course all the HEROES can do it.

    -Stormtroopers are descended from the Clone Troopers (but also contain a lot of regular old-fashioned civilians who've been trained for fighting), and are usually the "fist" of the Empire. They're ultra-loyal, and quite intimidating to the locals, but are generally your average Faceless Mooks. Minions like this tend to look as inhuman as possible (Stormtroopers aren't even seen MASKLESS as far as I can remember) in order to dehumanize them and make it look "better" that our heroes are essentially massacring SCORES of human beings. The Lasers & Lightsabers make it pretty effective as well, since we're watching bloodless carnage.

    -Stormtroopers are pretty classic Mooks, making PL 4. It's enough to force the heroes into defensive positions in semi-large numbers, and they can beat OTHER Mooks just fine, but they're not up to snuff against regular heroes. There's a dozen "Canon/Fanon" explanations for just WHY they can never hit anything with those Rifles (going from "the rifles suck at aiming" to "the helmets are impossible to see through"), but needless to say, their aim isn't so great, and heroes with DC 20-23 Dodge aren't going to fear them too much. Their "Armor" is also comically-worthless, as it fails to save anyone from anything, and guns do the same amount of damage as if the troops had been naked. So I figured it's only worth a Save against physical damage like falling or being punched- Lasers & Lightsabers go right through them. Their Will Saves are classic "Mook Level" (Obi-Wan easily does the "Jedi Mind Trick" on a couple), though apparently they've a reputation for never fleeing, and being impossible to bribe.
    Last edited by Jabroniville; 09-04-2015 at 12:04 AM.

  6. #7806
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    Re: Jab's Builds!

    Let the outrage begin!

    How DARE you give the Stormtroopers +3 to hit with their blasters?!?!?!?! They should be at -10 TOPS!!! Do you realize the pure volume of laser blasts they shot at the heroes during the original trilogy and they only hit Leia once? Unless you're making them like 24 Dodge, I demand a restat!

    And The Empire Strikes Back is the greatest movie of all time, no debate, it's a scientific fact.
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  7. #7807
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    DeKamore, IL, Earth-Two

    Re: Jab's Builds!

    Some of the questionable things Obi-Wan told Luke Skywalker:

    Your father wanted you to have this. (referring to the lightsabre)
    Darth Vader betrayed and murdered your father.
    You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. (Mos Eisley is worse than Jabba's palace, really?)

    but the clincher...

    Only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise.

  8. #7808
    OPA Belta Ares's Avatar
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    Re: Jab's Builds!

    You know, the Storm Troopers actually get kind of a bad rap when it comes to accuracy. No, they really don't ever kill a major hero . . . but they're MOOKS. They aren't the kind of guys who take out major heroes. They can kill everyone else just fine tho and they send the heroes running 9 times out of 10 whenever they show up.

    Their biggest lack of accuracy was when the heroes were rescuing the Leia from the Death Star . . . but it's stated more or less point blank that they had orders to LET the heroes escape so that they could lead them to the Rebel base. Leia mentions that they were basically let go with a token resistance put up to make it believable. So it's no wonder the Storm Troopers didn't hit them, they were told not to.

    Otherwise, they shot Leia with a stun blast in the first film, shot her again in the third film, shot R2D2 in the third film, shot C3PO in the second film, shot Leia off her speederbike, would have shot Luke if he hadn't deflected their blasts with his lightsaber, etc.

    And when they're shooting other mooks, they're damned lethal. Basically, unless you have character shields, they can and will kill you.

    And yes, I'm the guy sticking up for Storm Troopers of all things, but the idea that they're incompetent shots just one of those old jokes that was always dumb to me because it wasn't really based on anything. It's like these guys on another message board I semi-frequent who keep arguing Iron Man was literally 4 times as strong as normal during his fight with Thor in the first Avengers film.

  9. #7809
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    Re: Jab's Builds!

    Only reason I made the Stormtroopers +3 to hit is that the Combat Droids are EVEN WORSE . Like, somebody had to be higher than +0 because that was where the Droids are.

    And yeah, they can kill Rebel Troops and other Mooks just fine, so they're not the bottom of the barrel. It's just that +3 is going to have a hard time hitting High-Dodge characters like the main cast of this series. Otherwise dozens and dozens of Stormtroopers would be able to hit more than one or two people during a firefight.

    Also, can anyone here tell me how good the novels and Expanded Universe stuff tend to be? I've heard horror stories from friends about childish snipe-fests going on between writers of books (with one author making sure to insult another's Mary Sue creation in his own series), and the fact that every original character in them seems to be a "Special Snowflake" type doesn't endear me to the concept. It also feels like the EU has turned Jedi into Pre-Crisis Kryptonians- ie. they were supposed to have been wiped out... but there's a new one showing up every week. Hell, the Star Wars Rebels series even includes THREE living Jedi, and another Dark Side guy. Looking around on Wookieepedia, there are literally HUNDREDS of "Darth ______" guys in stories set in the past, present and future of the movie Trilogies.
    Last edited by Jabroniville; 09-03-2015 at 11:46 PM.

  10. #7810
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    Clone Troopers

    Semi-Elite Mooks
    Group Affiliations: The Galactic Republic, The Galactic Empire
    PL 5 (60)

    Athletics 4 (+6)
    Expertise (Space Military) 6 (+7)
    Intimidation 4 (+4)
    Perception 4 (+4)
    Technology 4 (+5)
    Vehicles 4 (+7)

    Equipment 5 (Clone Trooper Gear), Improved Aim, Ranged Attack 2, Teamwork

    "Laser Blaster" Blast 5 (Extras: Multiattack) (15)

    "Stormtrooper Armor"
    Protection 2 (Flaws: Limited to Non-Laser Attacks) (1)
    Enhanced Skills 2: Intimidation 2 (+4) (1)
    "Survival Gear" Immunity 3 (Suffocation 2, Heat, Cold) (Flaws: Limited to Half-Effect) (2)
    "Utility Belt" 5 Ranks of Assorted Gear (6)

    Unarmed +4 (+1 Damage, DC 16)
    Laser Blaster +5 (+5 Ranged Damage, DC 20)
    Initiative +4

    Dodge +6 (DC 16), Parry +4 (DC 14), Toughness +4 (+6 Armor), Fortitude +4, Will +0

    Responsibility (The Empire/Republic)

    Total: Abilities: 36 / Skills: 26--13 / Advantages: 9 / Powers: 0 / Defenses: 2 (60)

    -So one of the major plot points of Episode II: Attack of the Clones (worst name EVER for something, by the way) was that this fabled Clone Army was being created in secret on some backwoods planet. Thousands of clones of some great Mandalorian soldier named Jango Fett are created under the orders of some mysterious Jedi, and they fly in as the Cavalry to save the day against the Trade Federation's robot forces. Soon, the "Clone Wars" begin, with these men acting as the backbone of a force of Jedi Knights. Eventually, we figure out that the Clones were ordered by Palpatine himself, and meant to be the foundation and military arm of his Galactic Empire- the early Stormtroopers were all Clones, and many of the elites remain so as well.

    -Clone Troopers are clearly MUCH better than the original Trilogy's Stormtroopers- many of them are even decked out in CAMO (poor Stormtroopers are stuck in bright white outfits no matter WHERE they are- this doesn't work out so well on Endor). They're good enough that when the order comes, they're able to turn on and KILL what amounts to the entire Jedi Order, more or less. Basic Clone Troopers are PL 5s (one above Stormtroopers), while their bosses and Generals go from PL 6-7.

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