The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #353: Welcome My Brother, Jeremy, as We Talk About Mazes and Monsters (1982)

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #353: Welcome My Brother, Jeremy, as We Talk About Mazes and Monsters (1982)

https://archive.org/download/podcast-353/Podcast%20353.mp3

This week, Jeremy and I are tackling the 1982 TV movie, Mazes and Monsters!  This was a movie (based on a novel by Rona Jaffe) released in the midst of the popularity of Dungeons and Dragons as well as the public fear/backlash of the Satanic panic and all that.  Not surprisingly, it’s a bit of a shlock fest, but we have a surprisingly nuanced discussion on a variety of topics related to the film, role playing games and adjacent activities, distant parents, 80s social panics, steam tunnels, and more.  You can watch the film for free on Tubi (click on the VHS cover below to watch) 

Mazes and Monsters (TV Movie 1982) - IMDb

Ironically, the showing of this TV movie was sponsored by Proctor and Gamble, who acquired the stomach discomfort drug Pepto Bismo also in 1982!

Mazes and Monsters (TV Movie 1982) - IMDb

Mazes and Monsters (TV Movie 1982) - IMDb

The main cast of Mazes and Monsters with their characters and game paraphernalia.  Below, the article about the book the film is based on from the 7/1983 issue of Dragon magazine is below.

dragon1dragon2

There are a few things that are notably positive about the film that I think deserve some mention.  I liked the scene where two of the characters are painting their miniatures.  I liked the fact they had game notebooks.  Then there’s the interesting subject of gender, which has an interesting history in DnD.

I think it was notable that the story actually included a female character at all, and she took a more active role in the story (the fact the book was written by a woman may have had something to do with it).  Glacia (Kate Finch) was the party’s only fighter, which I think is notable since Dungeons and Dragons was still fairly overtly unbalanced in its gender roles.  At the time of the filming of this game, DnD was still in its first edition, where female characters of different races had lower stats (e.g. lower strength) and the game was generally written using only male pronouns (e.g. “fighting men”).  Although the female : male player ratio is more even today (about 60% male : 40 % female), it was apparently much more male dominated at the time (estimated around 10 % female in one source I found). 

As we talk about in the episode, DnD drew heavily from earlier (more male dominated) historical wargames, so it’s interesting to hear what female players of the time thought of it (here’s a interview with RPG pioneer Jean Wells, the first woman hired by TSR).  However, my main exposure to DnD as a kid in the 80s came not from the actual game but from TSR’s Endless Quest books, many of whom were written by a woman, Rose Estes, a TSR employee who, like many other women of the time, was frustrated at the male centric nature of the game and the play – centered around stats, dungeon crawls, and combat – which she felt took away from the telling of a cohesive story. 

So I think it is admirable that this film gave the fighter class role to a woman, who, though she does feature in a requisite love triangle, is not passive in her involvement in the main story.  She seems to be the only one for most of the film that actually owns a car, and the movie does not relegate her to passenger status in favor of having one of the male characters drive it.  Again, perhaps the film was just staying true to the original source material, but in that case, good on them for not changing it. 

Also, as mentioned in the episode, my interpretation of the film’s ending differed from most of thoughts found in the reviews I read at the time or since.  As much as the game was depicted as an experience potentially blurring the lines between reality and fantasy, I thought they also seemed to be saying that this was a way, separate from the world of distant adults, where four lonely young adults could connect with each other.  Such is the power of make believe (normally relegated to the word of children), even, in the end, cutting through psychosis.   When I saw it, the ending seemed to be saying that while aspects of day to day adult reality can be drab, disconnected, and limiting, it doesn’t have to be that way as long as there is still a human connection that binds people together.

Check out Jeremy‘s work over at Pixel Grotto, CBR.com, and Classic Batman Panels on IG.  You can support his work on Ko-fi and get access to in-depth, exclusive Batman content here.   If you are of the DnD persuasion, his articles on DnD Beyond may be right up your alley.  Thanks, Jeremy, for coming on the show!  We will be back with another look at another fine piece of cinema!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #349: Welcome My Brother, Jeremy, as We Talk About Highlander (1986) Part 2

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #349: Welcome My Brother, Jeremy, as We Talk About The Highlander (1986) Part 2

https://archive.org/download/podcast-349/Podcast%20349.mp3

This week, my brother, Jeremy, rejoins the show to talk about the 80s movie, Highlander.   You can listen to the first part of this episode here  and, if you have not seen the film, you can actually watch the entire film for free on Tubi as well as some sequels, like the director’s cut version of the sequel, the animated series, and the TV show, which a kind soul also uploaded to Youtube).  After the conversation with Jeremy is done, I pop back in for a bit to give a few thoughts on the sequel and the cartoon.

Amazon.com: Highlander : Movies & TV

Like last week, I thought I’d post some period specific articles on Japanese swords since the movie cites their history and borrows from the mythos even though it’s superficial.  This article comes from the June 1980 issue of Black Belt magazine and talks more about the swordmaker Masamune, who is cited in the film:

img_7030img_7031img_7036img_7033img_7032img_7035
As much as folks rag on the sequel (and for good reason – just don’t take it too seriously), I have to say, I really like this quote, the bits with Sean Connery, and the bagpipes in the background.  RIP, Sir Connery / Juan Sánchez-Villalobos Ramírez and Godspeed!

And check out the music in the intro of the animated series.  Always loved the electric guitar lead mixed with the symphonic backing track.  I think I only watched the show a few times as a kid and had no clue what was going on (since I hadn’t seen the movie yet, not that it matters; they’re only tangentially connected), but after poking around on Youtube, I found this clip of the ending theme.  I don’t remember it at all, but it sounds a bit like The Thirteenth Hour theme in a different key, which is maybe why I like it).  Love the guitar there.  Possible unconscious reference?  

It was really nice to be able to share this little slice of the 80s with my brother, since he not only did he remember a lot more than I did, but he’s one of the few people who knows the influence films like this, however obscure, had on the writing on The Thirteenth Hour books (more next week).  Check out Jeremy‘s work over at Pixel Grotto, CBR.com, and Classic Batman Panels on IG.  You can support his work on Ko-fi and get access to in-depth, exclusive Batman content here.   If you are of the DnD persuasion, his articles on DnD Beyond may be right up your alley.  Thanks, Jeremy, for coming on the show!  For those on Patreon, stay tuned for a bit for you guys!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #348: Welcome My Brother, Jeremy, as We Talk About Highlander (1986) Part 1

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #348: Welcome My Brother, Jeremy, as We Talk About The Highlander (1986) Part 1

https://archive.org/download/podcast-348/Podcast%20348.mp3

 

This week, my brother, Jeremy, rejoins the show to talk about the 80s movie, Highlander.   This was a film I watched in high school I believe for a history class report on 1980s movies, and I recall watching the cartoon series probably a few years earlier.  While there are quite a few sequels and associated properties (like a TV show), this is probably the best of them, highlighted by a great soundtrack done by Queen with a score by Michael Kamen.  (You can actually watch the entire film for free on Tubi as well as some sequels, like the director’s cut version of the sequel, the animated series, and the TV show, which a kind soul also uploaded to Youtube).

Amazon.com: Highlander : Movies & TV

The film starts in quite dramatic fashion:

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It was interesting watching this film in over 20 years.  This clip is one of the few parts I actually remember.

This week and next, I’ll post some period specific articles on Japanese swords since the movie cites their history and borrows from the mythos even though it’s superficial.  This article comes from a 1982 martial arts magazine:

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It was really nice to be able to share this little slice of the 80s with my brother, since he not only did he remember a lot more than I did, but he’s one of the few people who knows the influence films like this, however obscure, had on the writing on The Thirteenth Hour books (more next week).  Check out Jeremy‘s work over at Pixel Grotto, CBR.com, and Classic Batman Panels on IG.  You can support his work on Ko-fi and get access to in-depth, exclusive Batman content here.   If you are of the DnD persuasion, his articles on DnD Beyond may be right up your alley.  Thanks, Jeremy, for coming on the show!  Look for more in part 2 next week!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #347: March/April 2022 Question and Answer Session

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #347: March/April 2022 Question and Answer Session

https://archive.org/download/podcast-347/Podcast%20347.mp3

 

This week, we have out last question and answer session!  

My brother, Jeremy, who will be on soon to discuss the film Highlander, returns this month with these questions:

1) Do you have any preference between the fantasy and sci-fi genres, and if so, why do you think that’s the case? I’m asking because some people are strictly in favor of one versus the other, and then there are those who hate traditional “elves and orcs” fantasy but really love Star Wars, which is basically “wizards in space.
 
The Last Starfighter (1984) - IMDb
 
2) The villain of The Thirteenth Hour, Klax, underwent quite a few changes in all of the novel’s drafts, moving from a fairly 2D bad guy to somewhat sympathetic in the final product. What makes a memorable villain in your opinion and who are some of your favorite bad guys?
 
klax faceplateRM
 
 
Why I'd like to be … Tim Curry in Legend | Movies | The Guardian
 
3) What are some of your favorite fantasy creatures? The Thirteenth Hour has dragons and unicorns but not too many other fantastical beasts – are there some creatures that you’re interested in featuring in later books?
 
logan with unicornWM
dragon aurora color small
 
Check out Jeremy‘s work over at Pixel Grotto, CBR.com, and Classic Batman Panels on IG.  You can support his work on Ko-fi and get access to in-depth, exclusive Batman content here.   If you are of the DnD persuasion, his articles on DnD Beyond may be right up your alley.  Thanks, Jeremy, for coming on the show!
 
These next five comes from frequent show guest Adam from @mom_gave_them_away, who was just on the show for episodes 340341 on Rambo/First Blood.
 
4.) I don’t think I’ve ever heard you talk about your favorite superhero. Let hear one for Marvel, DC and an independent publisher.
 
Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider, Vol. 1: Back in the Hood by Peter David
 
Nightwing Admits He Failed as Robin (But Tim Drake Didn't)
 
59e59-01davestevens_rocketeerpromo_100
 
5.) The movie that scared you the most as a kid?
 
Ben-Hur (1959 film) - Wikipedia
Jaws (1975) - IMDb
 
6.) You have to live off of one food forever, what is it?
 
Maruchan Ramen Noodle Soup Chicken Flavor, 12 ct, 8 Ounce (Pack of 12)
 
7.) Your clone, John Rambo, has to live off of one food forever. What is it?
 
GORP - Trail Mix - Snacks - Nuts.com
 
8.) What’s your favorite fictional female character?
 
SpaceCampUSA on Twitter: "Happy Birthday to @LeaKThompson! Or as we know  her, Kathryn Fairly. #SpaceCamp https://t.co/QoouDE1Eh5" / Twitter
 
Find more of Adam’s work on the interwebs at ACtoydesign and his shop of original resin toys.  He does a number of podcasts as well – I Have Spoken (a Star Wars podcast), Death by Podcast (a vintage horror podcast), and You like Toys (a Patreon exclusive podcast about toys and nostalgia). 

Thanks, everyone, for your contributions!  It was a good time these past three months as an experiment to how user generated questions would go.  Patreon members – stay tuned for more of these for the Patreon exclusive episodes in the future or to ask questions for the main podcast.

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #345: Welcome My Brother, Jeremy, as We Talk About Legend (1985/1986) Part 2

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #345: Welcome My Brother, Jeremy, as We Talk About Legend (1985/1986) Part 2

https://archive.org/download/podcast-345/Podcast%20345.mp3

This week, my brother, Jeremy, rejoins the show to talk about the 80s movie, Legend in the second of a two part series (part one is here).  As mentioned, depending on which part of the world you were in, it had different release dates (1985 in Europe, 1986 in the US) and different soundtracks and cuts, making for different viewing experiences.  In this podcast, we focused on the 1986 US theatrical release with a soundtrack by Tangerine Dream and the 2002 director’s cut (more similar to the original 1985 European release) with the soundtrack done by Jerry Goldsmith.  

When I was a kid watching the US release, I wasn’t really a fan of the ending song (“Loved by the Sun”), since I just wanted to listen to the backing melody (which is mostly synth and is the “Unicorn Theme” refrain) but watching it this time, I was struck by how this ending scene really caps off the whole movie.  It’s basically a music video inside a film that’s 70% music video already (speaking for the US release), and what was running through my head was, “Now that’s how you end a movie! (especially an 80s movie).”  While the director’s cut version is probably cinematically the better ending and makes a bit more sense (well, sort of), I couldn’t help wishing for the emotional swells of the vocals, keyboards, and synthesizers of the Tangerine Dream / US version. Check it out:

Jeremy had much the same thought.  It was really nice to be able to share this little slice of the 80s with my brother, since he was not really old enough to get into it when I was into the film.  Check out Jeremy‘s work over at Pixel Grotto, CBR.com, and Classic Batman Panels on IG.  You can support his work on Ko-fi and get access to in-depth, exclusive Batman content here.   If you are of the DnD persuasion, his articles on DnD Beyond may be right up your alley.  Thanks, Jeremy, for coming on the show!  Look for more in part 2 next week!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #344: Welcome My Brother, Jeremy, as We Talk About Legend (1985/1986) Part 1

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #344: Welcome My Brother, Jeremy, as We Talk About Legend (1985/1986) Part 1

https://archive.org/download/podcast-344/Podcast%20344.mp3

This week, my brother, Jeremy, rejoins the show to talk about the 80s movie, Legend.  Depending on which part of the world you were in , it had different release dates (1985 in Europe, 1986 in the US) and different soundtracks and cuts, making for different viewing experiences.  In this podcast, we focused on the 1986 US theatrical release with a soundtrack by Tangerine Dream and the 2002 director’s cut (more similar to the original 1985 European release) with the soundtrack done by Jerry Goldsmith.  

Watching this film again for the first time since I was a teenager, I was struck by how much I liked the Tangerine Dream score in the US release, something I really noticed when watching the director’s cut version of the film.  Before I was able to find the soundtrack, I recall trying to tape record parts of the soundtrack off the TV as a kid.   Unfortunately, as was often the case, not all parts of the score were included on the official release.  For example, this scene has a variation of “The Unicorn Theme” that was on the official soundtrack, if I recall.  Listening to those home-made recordings through the years helped provide inspiration for what would later become the sound behind The Thirteenth Hour soundtrack.  

It was really nice to be able to share this little slice of the 80s with my brother, since he was not really old enough to get into it when I was into the film.  Check out Jeremy‘s work over at Pixel Grotto, CBR.com, and Classic Batman Panels on IG.  You can support his work on Ko-fi and get access to in-depth, exclusive Batman content here.   If you are of the DnD persuasion, his articles on DnD Beyond may be right up your alley.  Thanks, Jeremy, for coming on the show!  Look for more in part 2 next week!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #342: February 2022 Question and Answer Session

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #42: February 2022 Question and Answer Session

https://archive.org/download/podcast-342/Podcast%20342.mp3

This week, I’ve got a few quick updates and will be digging into the second set of questions that came in.  I really appreciate all the thoughtful questions!

Before we begin, I have finally finished the Lego Rocketeer including their boxes.  Now just need to list them and get them ready for auction for two charity organizations in Dave Stevens’ name.

My brother, Jeremy, who was just on for episode 337 to discuss The Black Cauldron and who will be on soon to discuss the film Legend, returns this month with these questions:

1) What was it about films like The Neverending Story that resonated with you as a child and served as fuel for the style of ’80s fantasy that The Thirteenth Hour represents? In your mind, what do you think is stylistically different about ’80s fantasy films as opposed to the stuff that came after? (like The Lord of the Rings movies or modern day shows like The Witcher).

2) The Thirteenth Hour straddles a lot of genres and defies classification – you could call it a fantasy/young adult book, but that doesn’t quite hit the mark. What are some of the restrictions and quirks of these genres that bothered you as a kid and still bother you as an adult? (i.e.: the tendency for fantasy series to be long multi-book affairs that get a little drunk on their own worldbuilding and politics; the fact that most YA books have to fit within the mold established by Harry Potter or The Hunger Games to survive)

3) Did you ever envision The Thirteenth Hour as a comic? In a perfect world, what would a comic adaptation of the story look like in your eyes? Would you go for a long running series that expands on the mythology that you wrote, or maybe a big one-shot a la Dave Steven’s Rocketeer work that’s self-contained?

Check out Jeremy‘s work over at Pixel Grotto, CBR.com, and Classic Batman Panels on IG.  You can support his work on Ko-fi and get access to in-depth, exclusive Batman content here.   If you are of the DnD persuasion, his articles on DnD Beyond may be right up your alley.  Thanks, Jeremy, for coming on the show!
 
These first five comes from frequent show guest Adam from @mom_gave_them_away, who was just on the show for episodes 340341 on Rambo/First Blood.

4.) Favorite Gene Wilder role, not necessarily favorite movie?

5.) Favorite toy line as a kid?
 
6.) Within that favorite toy line, what’s your favorite figure?
 
7.) Can you nail down your favorite year of the 80s?
 
8.) Did you take piano lessons, and if so, do you remember your first lesson?
 
Find more of Adam’s work on the interwebs at ACtoydesign and his shop of original resin toys.  He does a number of podcasts as well – I Have Spoken (a Star Wars podcast), Death by Podcast (a vintage horror podcast), and You like Toys (a Patreon exclusive podcast about toys and nostalgia). 

Two of my favorite GI Joe figures – Lady Jaye and Snake Eyes from the GI Joe 80s cartoon.

I don’t a lot of the toys from my youth currently with me, but have found a few in later years.  The little blue Prius from Japan is there representing Micro Machines and the Japanese import that was my first GoBot.  The blue robot is a GoBot that was my favorite as a kid, and the Air Raider pilot (which was one of the ones I had as kid), represents all the smaller size figures I liked playing with as a child. 

Thanks, everyone, for your contributions!  It was a good time.  We’ll do it again next month (for the episode to be released on 3/28/22).  If you have questions, feel free to email me them at writejoshuablum@gmail.com.

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #337: Welcome My Brother, Jeremy, as We Talk About The Black Cauldron (1985)

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #337: Welcome My Brother, Jeremy, as We Talk About The Black Cauldron (1985)

https://archive.org/download/podcast-337/Podcast%20337.mp3

This week, my brother, Jeremy, rejoins the show to talk about the 1985 Disney film, The Black Cauldron.  The film is loosely based on the first two books in the Chronicles of Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander, a series I was sort of introduced to as a kid when I bought The Black Cauldron book in a school book fair since it had the cover of the movie, like this one:  

The Black Cauldron: Boxed Set of 5 Books by Lloyd Alexander - Paperback -  1980 - from Books In Time (SKU: 320155)

The film poster usage for the cover of the novel is a bit misleading since the majority of the plot to the film is actually from the first book in the series, The Book of Three, which I was unaware of at the time.  So, it’s not surprising it didn’t make much sense.  However, we did have this Scholastic comic adaptation of the film which we found at a yard sale and read many times in childhood:

Black Cauldron GN (1985 Scholastic) comic books

You can find copies on eBay periodically (click on the picture above to search):

Here’s the theatrical trailer and some screencaps:

Pin on Cosplay Ideas

The Black Cauldron - Classic Disney Image (29480426) - Fanpop

An Urgent Question About 'The Black Cauldron' – The Dot and Line

The Black Cauldron (1985) Review |BasementRejects

Disney Rumored To Be Working On Live Action Remake of 'The Black Cauldron'  - mxdwn Movies

10 Spooky Disney Movies That Brought the Horror! - Bloody Disgusting

The film had to be cut for length and content.  Here is the first in a series of videos that has deleted scenes from the film:

As a part of discussing the film, we also discuss a bit on the computer game made by Sierra.  Some screenshots:

The Black Cauldron gameplay (PC Game, 1986) - YouTube

Download The Black Cauldron | DOS Games Archive

The Black Cauldron Screenshots for DOS - MobyGames

A full playthrough:

Check out Jeremy‘s work over at Pixel Grotto, CBR.com, and Classic Batman Panels on IG.  You can support his work on Ko-fi and get access to in-depth, exclusive Batman content here.   If you are of the DnD persuasion, his articles on DnD Beyond may be right up your alley.  Thanks, Jeremy, for coming on the show!

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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:

Burgess-Meredith-in-Rocky-1976

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

grumpy

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

reptilian-aliens-the-last-starfighter-grigrobert-preston-timelord

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.

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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 Thirteenth Hour Podcast #151: The Five Elements (“Godai” or 五大) and the Imperial Rangers

Episode #151: The Five Elements (Godai or 五大) and the Imperial Rangers

https://archive.org/download/Podcast151_201807/Podcast%20151.mp3

After my brother and I finished the D and D campaign we’d been playing for the past few months, I started thinking about other elements of Thirteenth Hour lore that I’d largely edited out (mostly in the interest of brevity).  This episode is about the Imperial Rangers, the group of 8 special forces soldiers that are specially trained and tasked to find the answer to eternal life for King Darian IV, who nearly gets assassinated in the recent campaign.  While we know the most about Logan, the main character of the book, the others are also important despite having only brief mentions since they serve as contrasts. I did have other scenes planned that I ended up cutting, so the original idea of having each Ranger with a special ability fitting with their unique personality and physical makeup was only hinted at, never really fully developed.

In this episode, we use a bit of Japanese Esoteric Buddhism as an analogy for the explaining the different alignments the Rangers had. I’m not sure that’s what I had in mind when I originally wrote the story (the idea of different elements was definitely there, since it’s referenced in games like Ironsword and shows like Voltron and Captain Planet – I was familiar with those when I wrote the initial draft of the story at age 19.)  But the godai, literally “big five” from the Japanese esoteric tradition (referenced in texts like A Book of Five Rings) sums up what I was trying to convey more accurately.

Below you can see a quick sketch/watercolor showing the eight Rangers. Their names are color-coded to correspond to their elemental alignment. As you can see, there are five categories: earth, water, fire, wind, and void. There are plenty more details about this philosophy in the book Ninja: Spirit of the Shadow Warrior by Stephen K Hayes; however, here’s a quick rundown.

Earth personality qualities are stable, traditional, and rooted. Water is flowing, changeable, and reactive. Fire is energetic, driven, and explosive. Wind represents growth, freedom, and open-mindedness. Lastly, the void is any one of those four elements that best fits a particular situation and typically goes with creativity, imagination, and things in our experience that we understand intuitively but are difficult to explain – such as spirit, soul, and consciousness. There are more details in the episode about the individual qualities of each ranger and how he fits the elemental color coded in the picture, so I won’t repeat myself here. But the fifth element, often (somewhat problematically) translated as “the void” is the most abstract and amorphous, just like how in the book the fifth “corner of the world” was actually the dream world where the mysteries of life and death finally made sense. Logan is the only one of the eight to make it there and due to his particular makeup, is the one most aligned with the formless form that characterizes the void.

Ironically, as the youngest and physically smallest of the group, Logan ends up having trouble with much of the training and has to spend more time on basic skills than the other seven. As a result, he ends up never really having the time to pick up a specialty, though the flip side is that he actually becomes more well rounded at basic ranger skills than his teammates just due to repetition. I’d originally envisioned a ceremony scene where each ranger was presented with his weapon of choice based on his special talent (I guess the soldier equivalent of finding out one’s spirit animal), and Logan isn’t given anything, which disappoints him and gives his teammates yet another thing to tease him about. In the end, I ended up not including that scene (maybe it will become a short story one day), but the essence of it, that having a special sidearm was less important than utilizing one’s inborn gifts to their fullest potential, was hinted at in the book in a few conversations a confused Logan has with the wizard, Wally. For the other seven men, the weapon served as an extension of themselves, but for Logan, whose greatest assets were creativity, imagination, and persistence, none of those qualities really fit a weapon. In fact, one might say another career choice would have made more sense. Or, another interpretation might be that those qualities didn’t need a physical reminder. However, although those are all things an older Logan would have been able to appreciate, I always imagined that the eighteen year old Logan would have been somewhat jealous that his teammates got something special, and he ended up having to do the same old drills over and over 🙂

An Imperial Ranger “class portrait” showing each ranger with his special talent and weapon of specialization

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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 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:

Falling Leaves Don't Weep cover2_edited-1

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:

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

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 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!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

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!

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