The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #209: “Empty Hands” Reading – Elemental Alignments

Episode #209: Empty Hands Reading – Elemental Alignments

https://archive.org/download/podcast209_201908/Podcast%20209.mp3

This week, I’m reading a short excerpt from the martial arts novella, Empty Hands, as a follow up to last week’s episode on the Dungeons and Dragons influences.  This section touches on the five elements in nature (more back in episode 151) and how they fit the characters:

 

Jake and Aurora both fell into a character class Wally the wizard had called the “earth type.”  As the guys had mentioned, we’d done a little presentation detailing our strengths and weaknesses early in our training (I had to do mine twice since I didn’t understand the assignment the first time and had instead talked about Aurora).  Wally used that assignment to go into something he called “The Elemental School of Personality Assessment,” which he said was an important part of not only our magical studies but our training in general.  There were five main personality types corresponding to the five divisions of elemental forces in nature – earth, water, wind, fire, and space, as well as an infinite combination of blends.

Pure earth types were grounded, practical people who, like strongly rooted trees, were good at weathering the vicissitudes of life but could be a bit stubborn at times.  Dependable, practical, and steady types like Jake and Ben fell into that category.  Pure water types were kind of the opposite – adaptable and fluid, like water conforming to whatever container it finds itself in, though they could be a bit all over the place.  Phil, an easy-going sort who tended to go with the flow, fit this category.  He was not, however, a fickle person, prompting Wally to categorize him as an earth-water blend.

“You mean like mud?” Phil had said when Wally passed him the sheet of paper containing his alignment and its characteristics.

We’d laughed, but then Wally shrugged.  “Water is flexible, but it can be hard, if the force is right.  Earth is not fluid but mixed with a little water, it moves easily from one place to the next until it dries.  Too much, though, and it just becomes dirty water.  Do you get my drift?”

“Um … no,” Phil had said after a long pause.

“You will.  For now, it basically means you have the best of both worlds.”  Then to all of us, he said, “Keep in mind these are just predictions.  It’s up to you to figure out if they’re accurate and how to apply the knowledge to your training.”   

Like Phil, Aron also ended up a blend – part water and part wind.  Pure wind types, like Allan, were open-minded and peaceful.  Like birds soaring above the clouds, the day-to-day troubles of the earth-bound held little meaning for them.  They craved freedom, which fit Aron, but could be a bit impractical and out of touch with reality (definitely Aron and sometimes Allan, who preferred to think everything through prior to acting on anything).  Pure fire types, like Lance and Blake, were no-nonsense folk who believed the best defense was a good offense.  It was pretty clear that dynamic, straight-forward weapons like the bow and sword fit guys like that.  The downside of fire, of course, was that not all problems could be solved in direct ways. 

That left the last category, which Wally had initially called “empty space.”  Aron had burst out laughing at this, muttering something about it being the one that fit me best, and the others had joined in.  Wally silenced them, then paused and said that, actually, Aron might have been right for once.  This caused me to redden in anger and disappointment as Aron went bug-eyed and laughed hard enough to fall out of his chair. 

It wasn’t like I was especially taken with any of the previous categories, but as the youngest and physically smallest of the Rangers, it would have been nice to not be different at something – anything – for once.  I didn’t really care about not being able to run, swim, climb, fight, navigate, or use magic as well as the others.  Unlike some, I couldn’t imagine myself “a career man,” so excelling at soldiering skills (assuming I lived long enough), seemed a bit irrelevant for me and my life in the long run.  Frankly, I couldn’t have cared less whether I fit earth, wind, water, fire, or some blend of the four – but “empty space?”  Come on!

As if reading my thoughts, Wally frowned and said, “Empty space is perhaps not the right term.  The magic books sometimes use the word void (which produced a burst of hoots from Aron), but that, too, has always seemed a poor choice.  It’s …” he frowned, sighed, then continued.  “At some point in the future, science will catch up to what we wizards have known for eons – that all matter is composed of tiny particles too small to see.  They are the essence, the anima, that gives substance and life to all things in the natural world.  And, as such, particles from the void can become any of the four.  Add enough of them packed together, and they become earth.  Space them out far enough, they become wind.  Push them a bit closer together, they reform as water.  Add a bolt of lightning or some other energy source, and they become fire.”      

Allan nodded, saying, “Most interesting.  So this is the essence we harness when we generate magic.”

“Exactly!  You are pulling directly from the void,” Wally said.

There was silence for a time as we mulled this over.  Finally, Jake turned around in his seat and looked at me with his steady, cool brown eyes.  “I’m sorry we laughed, Logan.  It was wrong of us.”

I reddened further and stared down at my notebook, doodling with my piece of charcoal.  “It’s okay,” I finally said, still avoiding Jake’s eyes.  When I look back on that experience, I wish I had met and held the man’s gaze to let him know I appreciated his apology.  But … there are some things I suppose that only come with age.

After a moment, Aron asked quietly, “So … do you think there’s maybe a little void somewhere in me?”

Wally rolled his eyes and said “Aron, be grateful for what you have.”  After the lesson finished, Wally handed me the piece of paper containing information on my alignment.  On the side, he had written:

Read this over, and see if you think it fits.  Find me if you have any questions.

~Wally 

P.S. The woman you told us about from your town – the one you grew up with – sounds like more of an earth type, though at least from your description, she sounds like an earth – void blend.  I can see why you would enjoy her company.  Hope that gives you some more information about yourself that will be helpful in the coming months.

To be honest, it wasn’t then, but looking back years later, it sure has been.

Here’s a little character sketch I did about a year ago (a little different from their final iteration) when I was coming up with the ideas presented above:

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This page formerly had what I affectionately dubbed a “starving artist” section on little side hustles you could do (mostly on the internet, often with a phone) to make a few bucks here and there, often in gift cards.  Well, now you can listen to this show (as well as other podcasts) and get paid to do so!  Check out https://www.podcoin.com/ to listen to the show and start earning points that you can redeem for gift cards (Amazon, Target, Starbucks, etc) or donations to a number of charities.  Use the code “Thirteen” when you sign up to get 300 extra points.  The Thirteen Hour Podcast is now on BONUS this week, so you can earn more than normal (1.5x).

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #208: “Empty Hands” Behind the Scenes Part 4 and Musical Interludes

Episode #208: Empty Hands Behind the Scenes Part 4 and Musical Interludes

https://archive.org/download/podcast208_201908/Podcast%20208.mp3

This week, we’re discussing Empty Hands behind the scenes, specifically the influence of Dungeons and Dragons and the character creation process.  Just like the D and D alignments, the eight Rangers in Empty Hands have their own specific alignment that informs which sidearm they are assigned.  (If the idea of D and D morality alignments are as mysterious to you as they were to me before my brother explained them to me, check out the graphic I found on the internet below).

Image result for superhero d and d alignment

The rest of the episode focuses on two new synth tracks.  I add a second track to finish up “A Place of our Own” (see episodes 202 – 204 and the pixelart animation below).

I also start a new track that IG musician @nikeboyocta approached me about inspired by Van Halen’s “Dreams” (video above).  Look for more on IG and in coming weeks!

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In the meantime, this page formerly had what I affectionately dubbed a “starving artist” section on little side hustles you could do (mostly on the internet, often with a phone) to make a few bucks here and there, often in gift cards.  Well, now you can listen to this show (as well as other podcasts) and get paid to do so!  Check out https://www.podcoin.com/ to listen to the show and start earning points that you can redeem for gift cards (Amazon, Target, Starbucks, etc) or donations to a number of charities.  Use the code “Thirteen” when you sign up to get 300 extra points.  The Thirteen Hour Podcast is now on BONUS this week, so you can earn more than normal (1.5x).

 

 

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Case of the Grandmotherly Ghost Finale

Not long ago, my brother and I wrapped up the last installment in our second homebrew D and D roll20 campaign that my brother created based on The Thirteenth Hour.   This one was quite different from our first – more traditional, I suppose, in that it took place in the wilderness, had monsters, and more fantasy elements, like barbarians, magic spells, faerie circles, and dragons.  Unlike our first adventure, where our adventurers remained in the confines of a city and the enemies were more of the 2 legged human variety, this adventure also had a number of traditional D and D “monsters” (for lack of a better term).  Our heroes even got to adopt one (a griffon), and it will be interesting to see what that means in the future.  There was still a human element, though perhaps Stephen King described it best in writing about all the horror in just human nature that can exist below the surface in your typical small town (in this case, Aquaria, the sleepy hamlet that the heroes of The Thirteenth Hour, Logan and Aurora, come from).

Check out this blog post Jeremy wrote about this adventure to get a more behind the scenes look at what he was aiming for when writing it.

Click on the links below to watch all the episodes on youtube or just listen to the audio podcast style (most episodes run about 1.5-3 hrs).

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Some of the creatures encountered on this mission – owlbears and griffons!

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A scene from the final battle – sea serpent vs. mechanic dragon!  (Basically like a Godzilla movie)

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The town of Aquaria gets to know their barbarian neighbors in the Wild Lands and try to settle their differences. img_6124img_6122

Stay tuned for the next adventure in the land of Neva!  There will undoubtedly be some throwbacks to the foes seen in our first adventure, which can be found here.

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The Case of the Grandmotherly Ghost 8

Catch the latest updates of the homebrew roll20 campaign my brother created based on The Thirteenth Hour. In this episodes, our heroes replenish their supplies and get some new gear while not only avoiding getting taken prisoner by a group of barbarians but then forming a kind of friendship with them.  In addition, there is the taming of wild horses found in the Wild Lands, a barbaric part of the world filled with savage humans and wilder beasts.

img_5822img_5825img_5823img_5824You can watch episode 8 by clicking on the title picture above.

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The Case of the Grandmotherly Ghost 6 and 7

Catch the latest updates of the homebrew roll20 campaign my brother created based on The Thirteenth Hour. In these two episodes, our heroes chase a group of men who kidnapped orphans and may just be selling them and have to jump into a fairy circle that transports them to the Wild Lands, a barbaric part of the world filled with savage humans and wilder beasts. Lester and Claudia both almost die in combat several times – good thing they thought to bring emergency rations!

You can watch episode 6 here:

https://youtu.be/xcS17inf1sI

Watch episode 7 here:

https://youtu.be/q8wAZqvy38U

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The Case of the Grandmotherly Ghost 5

Catch the latest update of the homebrew roll20 campaign my brother created based on The Thirteenth Hour. In this episode, Lester and his crew infiltrate the now creepy Aquarian orphanage and do battle with otherworldly shapeshifters!

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Jeremy based the shapeshifters on this passage in The Thirteenth Hour:

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You can watch the entire campaign here:

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The Case of the Grandmotherly Ghost 4

Catch the latest update of the home brew roll20 campaign my brother created based on The Thirteenth Hour. In this episode, Lester pulls an all nighter with two wizards to try to get to the bottom of the ghostly business baiting Aquaria. He ends up being able to communicate with the dead! Bet he didn’t bet on that when he took on this case.

In the course of the episode, there were choices about whether to go to sleep or stay up to investigate (involving sneaking around in and out of peoples’ rooms like a total creeper, kind of like in the game The Last Express, discussed here.

You can watch the entire campaign here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YvpOEIaBF4&feature=youtu.be

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #169: The Wizards of The Thirteenth Hour and The Case of the Grandmotherly Ghost 3

Episode #169: The Wizards of The Thirteenth Hour and The Case of the Grandmotherly Ghost 3

https://archive.org/download/Podcast169_201811/Podcast%20169.mp3

My brother and I recently stated a new Dungeons and Dragons campaign that he created set in the world of The Thirteenth Hour.  Today’s episode on the show as well as part of the campaign involves the wizards in The Thirteenth Hour. There are three in the book, and there was a guest appearance during the last D and D campaign as well (The Case of the Almost Assassination). I read from a few sections of The Thirteenth Hour that describe the wizards and discuss some of their influences.

Basically, I envisioned the wizards as being a combination of the following:

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Burgess Meredith from the Rocky movies, the Batman TV series, and Grumpier Old Men

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Speaking of which, Jack Lemmon and Walter Matheau as Grumpy Old Men

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Dan O’Herlihy as Grig and Robert Preston as Centauri from The Last Starfighter

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Merlin from Sword in the Stone

Watch/listen to the next episode here:

https://youtu.be/z1mmasEPrw8

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #168: Logan’s Fighting Style in The Thirteenth Hour

Episode #168: Logan’s Fighting Style in The Thirteenth Hour

https://archive.org/download/Podcast168_201810/Podcast%20168.mp3

My brother recently bought the game Soul Caliber 6 and was playing around with the character creator, which is quite robust. He ended up creating a number of characters from The Thirteenth Hour (the main protagonists Logan and Aurora as well as one of the antagonists, a wizard swordsman in black armor named Klax – their battle from the book is re-enacted below).

I was pretty blown away seeing the screenshots – just like The Thirteenth Hour had been turned into a game. Jeremy also created characters for Lester and Claudia, the protagonists of our current Dungeons and Dragons campaigns and recorded some CPU controlled mock battles of the characters squaring off against each other to show case each one’s unique fighting style.

The timing couldn’t have been better, since this week’s episode is on the unarmed fighting style Logan learns and uses in The Thirteenth Hour. It’s never really described in great detail in the book, but I intended it to be a system utilizing the naturally hard parts of the body (e.g. knees, elbows, heels of the foot), like you see in muay thai combined with a relatively low center of gravity and an emphasis on economy of movement and stability while still allowing for agility (kind of like what you see in ninjutsu). I spent some time in the book describing the acrobatic exercises the Rangers had to learn, though the emphasis really was on improving body awareness, learning how to fall, roll, and recover from a loss of balance as well as conquer fear. Although Logan uses a wall flip at one point to save himself from turning into a mess smeared on a castle wall, I didn’t anticipate these would be techniques the Rangers would employ in combat (unlike what martial arts movies usually portray). Same with the higher and jumping kicking techniques of martial arts legend … again, although Logan does a spinning hook kick at one point to good effect, it was more because the opening was there and ripe for the taking than anything. It goes along with the philosophy that what you learn should always be more than what you actually might need to use, since (in life and) in fighting, we rarely rise to the occasion – we fall back on something much rougher than what we learned (which will hopefully still be enough).

I envisioned he probably would have done more techniques along the lines of these less flashy strikes, like screenshots from Jeremy’s video showing a lead side punch and a scooping kick to block or intercept an incoming leg:

You can watching the whole narrated video here:

Jeremy’s YouTube channel also has links to all of our D and D videos for your listening/watching pleasure.

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #167: Introduction to The Case of the Grandmotherly Ghost 2

Episode #167: Introduction to The Case of the Grandmotherly Ghost 2

https://archive.org/download/Podcast167_201810/Podcast%20167.mp3

My brother and I recently stated a new Dungeons and Dragons campaign that he created set in the world of The Thirteenth Hour.  Whereas last adventure (The Case of the Almost Assassination) was set within the confines of a city, this one that Jeremy created takes places in the small country hamlet that the protagonists of The Thirteenth Hour, Logan and Aurora, grew up in, Aquaria.  In this episode, I continue to set the stage for the exploration of Aquaria by reading a few snippets from The Thirteenth Hour that describe this sleepy little town.

Watch/listen to the next episode here:

https://youtu.be/miI5te3OMPQ

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #166: Introduction to The Case of the Grandmotherly Ghost 1

Episode #166: Introduction to The Case of the Grandmotherly Ghost 1

https://archive.org/download/Podcast166_201810/Podcast%20166.mp3

My brother and I recently stated a new Dungeons and Dragons campaign that he created set in the world of The Thirteenth Hour.  Whereas last adventure (The Case of the Almost Assassination) was set within the confines of a city, this one that Jeremy created takes places in the small country hamlet that the protagonists of The Thirteenth Hour, Logan and Aurora, grew up in, Aquaria.  In this episode, I set the stage to the start of the adventure by reading a few background excerpts from The Thirteenth Hour that introduces the “ghost” in question, the former headmistress of the orphanage where Logan and Aurora grew up and the surrogate mother and guardian to them and many other generations of Aquarian orphans.

Here’s a picture of our heroes – on the right is the level at which they’re beginning this latest adventure.

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Watch/listen to the fist episode here:

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #159: Summer Schwarzenegger Series 1: Reflections on Rewatching Conan the Barbarian (1982) with Adam from @mom_gave_them_away 

Episode #159: Summer Schwarzenegger Series 1: Reflections on Rewatching Conan the Barbarian (1982) with Adam from @mom_gave_them_away 

https://archive.org/download/Podcast159_201808/Podcast%20159.mp3

This week marks the beginning of a four-part summer Arnold Schwarzenegger 80s action fest where Adam from the Instagram page @mom_gave_them_away and I rewatch four classic Arnold movies we originally saw as kids and discuss our reflections.  Today, we start in chronological order with Conan the Barbarian, one of Arnold’s first staring roles.  It combined some of the best parts of Frank Frazetta (he, of course, painted many Conans and Conan-like figures during his career) with a tinge of the 70s, pre-MTV/quick cut, languid style filmmaking (hearkening back to spaghetti westerns) with an epic score by Basil Poledouris.

Image result for conan the barbarian

Image result for conan the barbarian cast

Members of the cast

The podcast now has a page on Facebook, so head over there to listen to the score and check out some Frank Frazetta renditions of Conan.

One of my favorite scenes from the film:

Arnold talks about how influential Conan was for his career and what he had to do prior to getting the role in an inspirational University of Houston commencement address here.

To end on a high note, despite the fact that these movies had a degree of badassery that no one could deny, the video games that came out in association with them with pretty horrendous.  But I’ll let the AVGN do the honors:

Adam will BE BACK next week for The Terminator!  In the meantime, check out all the excellent custom action figure work he does for a taste of some truly heroic work.

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hourplaylist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #155: Making Thirteenth Hour Figures Redux – Molding and Casting Aurora

Episode #155: Making Thirteenth Hour Figures Redux – Molding and Casting Aurora

https://archive.org/download/Podcast155_201807/Podcast%20155.mp3

Over the past few months, I’ve been working on making a figure for Aurora from The Thirteenth Hour like the figures I made for Logan and his hoverboard (you can see the step by step making of these figures here in parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8).   For a number of reasons, this process was more labor intensive that the first time.  I suppose in some ways it was more challenging as well.  I was using the drawing below as the model for this figure of Aurora:

The two clay figures side by side.

Making the first mold. The tootpicks are there as vents to allow air in to help the resin to flow through the mold better.

Pouring one half of the mold.

There’s usually some cleanup to be done around the seams.

Experimenting with making a second mold to see if I can improve results.

Usually, it’s necessary to trim areas inside the mold to make sure they aren’t getting in the way or obscuring the sprues (air vents).

Three completed figures.

Glow in the dark Logan and Aurora.  Pretty soon, you should be able to find these for purchase here, on the ebay store, and via social media links, like on Instagram.

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Case of the Almost Assassination 9

lf you’ve been following along here, you might be aware that my brother and I have been involved in a Dungeons and Dragons campaign that he created set in the world of The Thirteenth Hour.  It’s a bit of a steampunk mystery set in a fantasy world, if you can imagine that, and it’s drawing to a climax. We recorded the next chapter in our Roll20 D and D adventure recently, which you can watch below.  In this episode, our heroes infiltrate a party in the fancy part of town, and our protagonist, Lester, goes in drag as an old lady with a touch of the dementia.

Lester as himself (top) and as his geriatric gender-flipped alter-ego, Ms. Nan Leslie.

It’s a bit easier for Lester’s assistant, Claudia, who lets her hair down and doffs her usual duds for formal dress:

The episode was cut short about two hours in due to technical issues, right in the middle of a battle when our heroes get ambushed in the midst of their snooping – we’ll pick up there next time!

And, by the way, if you listen closely at around 1:00 and 7:20 min into the episode, you may catch Nan Leslie going on about her younger years, where she was “showed the ways of the world” by a certain mysterious character she remembered as “The Scissorwulf!” Could it be the same masked hero in the furry loincloth?

Maybe so! There are worlds beyond worlds, and to allude to Stephen King (from The Dark Tower books), sometimes they collide … learn more about the Scissorwulf through his creator, Chad Derdowski, who was last on the show on episode 119.

Click on the image below to watch:

Infiltrating this high class party to find out the murky dealings of the hired help requires forging an invitation …

In the midst of a battle …

And if you enjoy other retro 80s things, one of the first tracks I did for Long Ago, Not So Far Away, “I’ll Fly Away,” recently got a 12″ Remix. Listen here and catch the video below:

 

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #150: The Case of the Almost Assassination 10, the Campaign Finale

Episode #150: The Case of the Almost Assassination 10, the Campaign Finale

https://archive.org/download/Podcast150_201806/Podcast%20150.mp3

lf you’ve been following along here, you might be aware that my brother and I have been involved in a Dungeons and Dragons campaign that he created set in the world of The Thirteenth Hour.  It’s a bit of a steampunk mystery set in a fantasy world, if you can imagine that, and it’s drawing to a climax. We recorded the last chapter in our Roll20 D and D adventure recently.  This grand finale clocked in at over three hours and was the culmination of a three month campaign and over 20 hours of footage in the youtube videos of the playthroughs, which you can watch below.  In this episode, our heroes solve the mystery of who nearly assassinated King Darian IV and wrap things up as best they can.  There’s still some unfinished business between our hero, Lester, and the main villain of this campaign, which is sure to haunt him some time in the future.  For now, though, the bad guys are behind bars, and Lester and Claudia get a short respite prior to embarking on their next case in the Aquarian countryside.

Here are links to all the episodes.  Click on the pictures to be taken to the show notes, which has pictures, details about the episode, and a link to the Youtube video:

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And here are the links to the grand finale!  Watch the episode on youtube by clicking on the picture below.  They last 20 minutes or so is also the last 20 minutes of this show, where my brother and I go behind the scenes to discuss the experience.

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The big battle at the end.  The grey circles represent a smokescreen that Lester shot out from his crossbow as a distraction.  There is at least one scene where the words, “¿Quien es tu padre?” make a random appearance and a few other where Arnold’s line in Kindergarten Cop also make a cameo (“Who is your Daddy, and what does he do?”).  Yeah, there are some Daddy issues that some of the characters have in this campaign.  Nobody’s perfect!

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You can see a brief preview of the next adventure at the very end.

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The two main characters, Lester and Claudia, gained a lot of experience during this adventure (and found some cool gear).

By the way, this campaign references two short stories in the world of The Thirteenth Hour.  King Darian (as an older, wiser man) reflects on nearly losing his head in this story:

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And the Shadow in the Moonlight spell, referenced many times during this story, has its own self titled novelette which can be read for free on the Kindle (in the US) and on Smashwords (worldwide).

And if you enjoy other retro 80s things like D and D, one of the first tracks I did for Long Ago, Not So Far Away, “I’ll Fly Away,” recently got a 12″ Remix. Listen here and catch the video below:

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Case of the Almost Assassination 9

lf you’ve been following along here, you might be aware that my brother and I have been involved in a Dungeons and Dragons campaign that he created set in the world of The Thirteenth Hour.  It’s a bit of a steampunk mystery set in a fantasy world, if you can imagine that, and it’s drawing to a climax. We recorded the next chapter in our Roll20 D and D adventure recently, which you can watch below.  In this episode, our heroes infiltrate a party in the fancy part of town, and our protagonist, Lester, goes in drag as an old lady with a touch of the dementia.

Lester as himself (top) and as his geriatric gender-flipped alter-ego, Ms. Nan Leslie.

It’s a bit easier for Lester’s assistant, Claudia, who lets her hair down and doffs her usual duds for formal dress:

The episode was cut short about two hours in due to technical issues, right in the middle of a battle when our heroes get ambushed in the midst of their snooping – we’ll pick up there next time!

And, by the way, if you listen closely at around 1:00 and 7:20 min into the episode, you may catch Nan Leslie going on about her younger years, where she was “showed the ways of the world” by a certain mysterious character she remembered as “The Scissorwulf!” Could it be the same masked hero in the furry loincloth?

Maybe so! There are worlds beyond worlds, and to allude to Stephen King (from The Dark Tower books), sometimes they collide … learn more about the Scissorwulf through his creator, Chad Derdowski, who was last on the show on episode 119.

Click on the image below to watch:

Infiltrating this high class party to find out the murky dealings of the hired help requires forging an invitation …

In the midst of a battle …

And if you enjoy other retro 80s things, one of the first tracks I did for Long Ago, Not So Far Away, “I’ll Fly Away,” recently got a 12″ Remix. Listen here and catch the video below:

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Case of the Almost Assassination 8

lf you’ve been following along here, you might be aware that my brother and I have been involved in a Dungeons and Dragons campaign that he created set in the world of The Thirteenth Hour.  It’s a bit of a steampunk mystery set in a fantasy world, if you can imagine that.  We recorded the next chapter in our Roll20 D and D adventure recently, which you can watch below.  In this episode, our heroes pick up from the cliffhanger ambush we ended with last time in episode 7 and start off was an epic graveyard battle that nearly kills them…   Find out how it goes by clicking on the picture below:

And if you enjoy other retro 80s things, one of the first tracks I did for Long Ago, Not So Far Away, “I’ll Fly Away,” recently got a 12″ Remix. Listen here and catch the video below:

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Case of the Almost Assassination 7

lf you’ve been following along here, you might be aware that my brother and I have been involved in a Dungeons and Dragons campaign that he created set in the world of The Thirteenth Hour.  It’s a bit of a steampunk mystery set in a fantasy world, if you can imagine that.  We recorded the next chapter in our Roll20 D and D adventure yesterday, which you can watch below.  In this episode, our heroes continue investigating leads in a fancy part of town and leave with the suspicious impression that all is not as rosy and gilded as one might guess, come up with disguises (Lester decides to explore his feminine side), and the defecation hits ventilation when our heroes get ambushed in a graveyard, where the episode ends on a cliffhanger. Catch the next episode here by clicking on the picture below:

Sketches of the disguises our heroes plan as they cook up alter egos to help them sneak into a fancy dress ball they’re not invited to – in the name of solving the case, of course.

The scene of the mansion where the ball will take place (by day) – what will it look like at night?

And if you enjoy other retro 80s things, check out this past Monday’s podcast episode with Adam from @mom_gave_them_away – all about 80s toys and cartoons!  Part 2 coming this Monday.

In addition, one of the first tracks I did for Long Ago, Not So Far Away, “I’ll Fly Away,” recently got a 12″ Remix. Listen here and catch the video below:

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

The Case of the Almost Assassination 6

lf you’ve been following along here, you might be aware that my brother and I have been involved in a Dungeons and Dragons campaign that he created set in the world of The Thirteenth Hour.  It’s a bit of a steampunk mystery set in a fantasy world, if you can imagine that.  We recorded the next chapter in our Roll20 D and D adventure recently, which you can watch below.  In this episode, our heroes (below) get back to more traditional detective work by following up on some leads they generated in the underground (literally and figuratively) of the city.  Some episode highlights – happy time for an old man, a parental reunion in the dreamworld interrupted by the chiming of the Thirteenth Hour, and the reappearance of The Shadow in the Moonlight spell.  Catch the next episode here by clicking on the picture below:

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Our heroes confer with William the Wizard, one of the three elderly mages from The Thirteenth Hour.

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A midnight reunion in a dream …

And if you enjoy other retro 80s things, check out this past Monday’s podcast episode with Adam from @mom_gave_them_away – all about 80s toys and cartoons!  Part 2 coming this Monday.

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Case of the Almost Assassination 5

lf you’ve been following along here, you might be aware that my brother and I have been involved in a Dungeons and Dragons campaign that he created set in the world of The Thirteenth Hour.  It’s a bit of a steampunk mystery set in a fantasy world, if you can imagine that.  We recorded the next chapter in our Roll20 D and D adventure recently, which you can watch below.  In this episode, our heroes (below) infiltrate a secret society that has connections to the criminal underbelly in the Capital City of Tartec.  Can they do it without ending up with smashed noggins or gutted intestines?  Will they finally make it out of the stinking sewers?  Catch the next episode here by clicking on the picture below:

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Will these tools be helpful in the future adventures (assuming you can make it out alive)?

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And if you enjoy other retro 80s things made new decades later, check out the synthwave tunes of Starfarer, coming tomorrow!

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #141: Making a Thirteenth Hour Graphic and Case of the Almost Assassination 4

Episode #141: Making a Thirteenth Hour Graphic and Case of the Almost Assassination 4

https://archive.org/download/Podcast141_201804/Podcast%20141.mp3

Today, I’m making a little graphic in Photoshop for a future promo flier.  I’m using the Logan figure we made and painted a few episodes ago as well as a plastic castle from the movie Frozen (which my daughter must have watched now at least a half dozen times).

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I’m using a pre-rendered background (the one I made for the cover of the EP Between Two Worlds).   Here’s the image with Logan and the castle inserted in it.  But they look a little weird floating there just as they are, don’t they?

palace 1

So I smooth out the images and softened the edges.

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With a few more highlights using multiple layers superimposed on top of another.

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Also, my brother and I recorded the next chapter in our Roll20 D and D adventure set in the world of The Thirteenth Hour.  This week’s more of a traditional dungeon crawl though the snake and trap infested sewers below the Capital City of Tartec.  Like any good serialized adventure, it ends on a cliffhanger just as our heroes get out of the clutches of death (a sewer crocodile, to be exact) and into the frying pan.  Catch the next episode here by clicking on the picture below:

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #127: The Wayfarer’s Escape Part 3 of 3

Episode #127: The Wayfarer’s Escape Part 3 of 3 – a Dungeons and Dragons Campaign Based on the World of The Thirteenth Hour

https://archive.org/download/Podcast127_201801/Podcast%20127.mp3

This week continues the recording (part 1 and part 2) I did of my first real foray into Dungeons and Dragons with a campaign my brother created using a backstory for the next installment in The Thirteenth Hour.   The Wayfarer finds a Rocketeer style jet pack this episode that may feature in a future installment.

 

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After the campaign ends, my brother and reflect on the experience, and we talk about a few what ifs.

 

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #126: The Wayfarer’s Escape Part 2 of 3

Episode #126: The Wayfarer’s Escape Part 2 of 3 – a Dungeons and Dragons Campaign Based on the World of The Thirteenth Hour

https://archive.org/download/Podcast126_201801/Podcast%20126.mp3

This week continues the recording (part 1 here) I did of my first real foray into Dungeons and Dragons with a campaign my brother created using a backstory for the next installment in The Thirteenth Hour.   Here are some photos from this week:

Abram and Wayfarer Breaking out of the cell.

the party

The party of four about to break out of the can.

Varisse grappled

… and into the fire …

sniping from distance pied piper 286160_screenshots_20171102032438_1 all gone to shit Cpt Dingas burns

dragon lighting the camp up

Getting singed by a dragon …

Stay tuned for part 3 next week!

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #125: The Wayfarer’s Escape Part 1 of 3

Episode #124: The Wayfarer’s Escape Part 1 of 3 – a Dungeons and Dragons Campaign Based on the World of The Thirteenth Hour

https://archive.org/download/Podcast125_201712/Podcast%20125.mp3

Despite having grown during the 80s, I never got into the whole Dungeons and Dragons fad.  I think I might have liked it had I had a group of like-minded friends to play it with, like in Stranger Things, but I didn’t know anyone like that.  It was also a lot harder to find out information in those days, so if it wasn’t in the public library or the Yellow Pages, it might as well not have existed.   I did discover bits and pieces that were related, like D and D game books, but really had no conception of what an actual role playing game was until much later, and when I actually found out it was like acting in a play, I was woefully disappointed.   I’m not really sure what I was expecting, but it surely wasn’t a big game of make believe – that was for kids, wasn’t it?

So, although I had to admit, the little figures and the game books always held a certain curiosity, my interest never really went any further than that.  In addition, it all looked needlessly complicated, and in the day and age of computers, what appeal could imaginary landscapes, dice, and turn based battles have?

A lot, actually.

Like a lot of things, your perception and experience of them depends on whether you are at a point in life to be receptive to them.  At this stage of my life, while I still enjoy playing a handful of video games (generally limited to times when I run on a treadmill), I often find the idea of them more appealing than actually playing.  While video games have the capacity of awakening the senses and transporting you to a virtual world and an immersive story, more often than not, I find myself getting frustrated with how much like work they seem.  If I’m lucky enough to have a few minutes free, the last thing I want to do it spend it on some mindlessly repetitive fetch quest or filler that game developers stuck in to add bloat to their game.  And as someone with young children, I find it increasingly frustrating to combat the inevitability of all the screen time in the average child’s life these days (and that’s to say nothing for the average adult, who might spend much of the day in front of a computer screen tapping out TPS reports or something similar).  There’s something appealing about slower paced, more analog forms of entertainment.

Enter Dungeons and Dragons – as an adult.  If it weren’t for my brother, who also discovered D and D later in life, none of this would have happened.  But after he got into it, played a few campaigns, and began functioning as a dungeon master (the person who organizes and coordinates the whole campaign for the other players and serves as narrator and referee), he offered to create a 1:1 campaign to allow me to experience this little piece of the 1980s that I missed.

And that’s what the next few weeks will be – a showcase into a little, self-contained campaign that Jeremy created based on a little segment for the next Thirteenth Hour book.  I gave him only a few lines and character sketches to go by, but from those humble beginnings generated several hours of play that opened my eyes and changed my mind as to what this slower paced gameplay could be like.  And I finally understood not only how much fun an actual role playing game could me (and not just a digital representation), but how people could spend all day on a D and D campaign, forget to eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom 🙂

The main character is this little adventure, who features heavily in the next two Thirteenth Hour books, is called the Wayfarer, a half-elf freedom fighter who has been captured and locked up in a makeshift dungeon.  While the method of his escape wasn’t something that I was planing to go into in the actual book, it made for a great backstory and gave Jeremy room to add and modify it as he wished to make the campaign more interesting.

In this episode, I talk a little about the backstory to set up the gameplay.  Since I audio-recorded a few parts, there will be a part the includes the first battle, which actually went on a little longer than anticipated and made me think of “turn based combat” in a while new way.

Here are some pictures from the campaign.  We didn’t go entirely analog, though.  Jeremy used a program called Tabletop Simulator to create visuals to simulate the little figurines, maps, and gameboards that can add depth to a game a help a D and D Luddite like me understand what’s going on.

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I finally learned what all the funny shaped dice were for.  It was also a great exercise as a writer to create my character, the Wayfarer (since I had to do that anyway).  There’s something about the D and D character creation process, though, that helps to make more fully fleshed out, 3D fantasy characters. 

Below are a few Hero Forge digital figurines Jeremy created to represent the Wayfarer (the jetpack comes in part 3).

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This fellow (not sure where he came from) provided Jeremy the inspiration for Abram, the Wayfarer’s prison break accomplice.

So in summary, I’d have to say that as a parent, I’d much rather have my kids get together with actual, live, in-the-flesh human beings and use their imaginations and problem solving skills to go through a Dungeons and Dragons campaign than play the equivalent in digital form with virtual players.  Stay tuned for part 2 next week!

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!  Thanks for coming on the show, Brent!  It was a pleasure!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #119: Reflections on Rewatching “Fire and Ice” With Jeremy and Chad

Episode #119: Reflections on Rewatching “Fire and Ice” With Jeremy and Chad

https://archive.org/download/Podcast119_201711/podcast%20119.mp3

Today’s episode is a discussion on rewatching the animated film, Fire and Ice, directed by Ralph Bakshi and produced by him and Frank Frazetta, who provided many of the character designs.   My brother, Jeremy, and author Chad Derdowski came on the show after watching the film to give our reflections (click on the movie poster below, painted by Frank Frazetta, to get a copy of your own):

We cover quite a bit, from pulp fiction, racial and gender stereotypes, to fantasy art and the dearth of painted novel covers and movie posters (like those done by Drew Struzan in the 80s for films like Back to the Future, Adventures in Babysitting, Big Trouble in Little China, and Blade Runner), and what ages we’d let our kids watch the film.

A few factoids covered in this episode.   For example, did you know that:

James Gurney, creator of Dinotopia, worked on the backgrounds to the film.  He chronicled his experiences working on the film on his blog.

Thomas Kinkade, “The Painter of Light” also worked on the film. Reading how he and Gurney worked together and pranked folks on the set is a good read!

-Not that it needs one, but Fire and Ice may get a remake (allegedly … supposedly … possibly … you know how these things go).  Some concept art here.

-Dark Wolf later inspired a similarly clad comic hero called Jaguar God … the first issue cover was a borrowed Frazetta painting.

Image result for jaguar god

-Despite different directors and different studios/animation styles, you can buy the whole (well, kind of) animated Lord of the Rings saga:

The Lord of the Rings Deluxe Edition/The Hobbit Deluxe Edition/The Return of the King Deluxe Edition/ (3-Pack/Giftset/DVD)

And a bit on the Dark Wolf character from the film, which we touched on during previous episodes Chad featured in (hear parts 1 and 2 here) – a combo of a “sword and sorcery” Batman (as Jeremy put it) crossed with the Death Dealer character Frazetta created and painted numerous times:

Image result for death dealer

Lastly, I leave you this image of Blackstar, a similarly clad figure that went with a sword and sorcery cartoon of the same era about an astronaut that lands on an alien planet.  He has a tagline that reads “Astronaut defender of freedom with glow in the dark star sword.”  Does it get any more 80s than that?  🙂 (You can watch the series on youtube.)

Image result for blackstar figure

 

And if you like sword and sorcery, check out Chad’s books!  The following tracks were inspired by them:

I’ll end with more info on where you can find the book that inspired these tracks:

Image result for fortune favors the bold chad derdowski

Get a copy of your own by clicking here or on the cover above: https://www.createspace.com/6289426

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fortunefavors_the_bold/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/TheScissorwulf/?ref=br_rs

GR: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32842665-fortune-favors-the-bold?from_search=true

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2wnHPfV

Thanks, Chad, and Jeremy for coming on the show.  Look for more in the future!

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞