Monday, June 18, 2012

Thor (movie 2011)

If one were to say I was slightly behind the times, well, they would not be wrong. Thanks to the wonderful magic of Netflix, I finally managed to watch Thor.

I'll be pointing out some spoilers below as I ramble about my thoughts on the movie and the comic character and how Marvel has treated him and what that could mean to a game.

In the movie, as in the origin story, Thor's arrogance is what leads to his downfall to Earth. In a Dungeons and Dragons game, amnesia is a standard way to represent a character that once was very powerful and 'remembers' (gains experience points) his abilities as the game progresses. This whole banishment and weakening bit, could be another good example of how to take a character concept and bring it to the table. Sure, the character might have memories of vast power or used to own artifacts, but now? He's got to struggle alongside everyone one else.

Another potential bit here that is often used to good effect in the comics, are the ties of family. Walter Simonson owned Thor for many years in terms of art and storytelling ability. His tales were epic and involved many different aspects of Thor and his family's relationship.

One of those interesting aspects, is his brother Loki. When you have relatives, well, things can get messy. The closer the relative, the more messy it can be. The writers for the movie, do a great job of at first making Loki look very compelling as a character and even a bit tragic but his various double crosses and the depth of his animosity towards his brother quickly banish those things. Jealousy is a powerful motivator and it is one that the Game Master should use for his own PCs, especially if they are related to the characters.

But anyway, when looking at one bit Walter did for Thor, it's a scene with Odin in the middle and his two sons moving forward to protect Asgard. Odin shouts out, "For Asgard." Thor shouts out, "For Odin." Loki shouts out, "For Myself." The motivations of the characters can go a long way in providing numerous gaming sessions with them. By making them relatives of the characters, you also provide a bit of rational as to why the player characters wouldn't necessarily kill them. Mind you its not a card you can use too often, especially if you never use it to the player's advantage.

What do I mean? There have been times when Loki has been beneficial to Thor. Mind you, they were almost always for Loki's own benefit and for his own reasons, selfish often, but Thor did benefit from them. By allowing these family members to come to the aid of the player characters, you give the players another reason not to simply kill them when push comes to shove.

Another aspect to the family here though, is Thor's father, Odin. In Thor and Loki Blood Brothers, first a comic then a motion comic, Loki accuses Odin of using Loki to make Thor look better. Of providing Loki as a foil that the Realm may gather again, as a singular force which all may heap their scorn on. At the end even as Loki has a change of heart, Thor escapes from what is supposed to be certain death and ends the threat of Loki but sets Loki on his course forever more after that.

Father figures are very powerful figures. In this case, both literally and figuratively. In role playing games, that may also be true. In the Greek and Roman Pantheons, Zeus is the father of several of the gods and is also one of, if not the most powerful deity.

When reading comics or watching movies, be on the lookout for things that you can crib for your own game. You never know when they may come in handy.