Welcome to the Flaming Faggot

Callovia is called "the boundless empire" yet you have managed to find its northern border - a notorious roadhouse deep within the Madrasan Marches on the edge of the wilds of Llanvirnesse. The sign above the door reads "Flaming Faggot," which would suggest a cozy, homey inn with fresh biscuits served at teatime if not for the severed troll heads mounted on pikes at the gate.

As you cross the threshold the raucous din quiets momentarily as all eyes dart to the door and calloused hands drop instinctively to well-worn sword hilts. The threat, instantly assessed, is dismissed and roadhouse patrons go about their business hardly missing a beat.

Grim, hard-eyed men huddle around tables in close conversation thick with conspiracy; caravan guards gamble away their earnings; Caemric rangers sit close to the fireplace cooking the damp of the Black Annis from their clothes as they warm their innards with Red Dragon Ale; minstrels play and buxom wenches dance for the pleasure of men who pay them little attention - until they need a companion to warm their bed.

As you approach the bar, a huge, bald barman with a greatsword slung across his back slides a mug of freshly-pulled ale towards you, its frothy head dripping over the rim.

"Pull up a seat, lad," he says, "and let me tell you a tale of high adventure."

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

R.I.P. Ray Harryhausen

Ray Harryhausen (June 29, 1920 - May 7, 2013)

I was saddened to learn of the passing, earlier today, of film legend, Ray Harryhausen.  Ray was one of the icons of my youth and remains one of my great gaming inspirations.  Who can ever forget the awe-inspiring skeleton fight scene from Jason and the Argonauts, which is surely what many of us still imagine when we fight skeletons in our games.

 I've posted before on how influential The Golden Voyage of Sinbad was and is, and its status as probably the greatest sword & sorcery film ever made.

And, in Valley of the Gwangi, Harry showed us that dinosaurs are like peanut butter: they make everything taste better.  The only thing better than cowboys is cowboys vs. dinosaurs!

I'm happy to say that Ray Harryhausen's influence continues even today: my little girl is a fan of his work and has spent many a Saturday afternoon curled up on the couch with me watching his movies and eating popcorn; she loves the giant creatures of Mysterious Island.

A legend has passed on today, and an era in film making has passed with him.  CGI effects will never thrill me the way Ray's hand-made models do and their absence takes a bit of the shine and magic out of movies today.  Special effects are now so pervasive that they are taken for granted rather than marveled at the way we did when a gigantic horror lurched onto the scene of one of Ray's movies.  He will be greatly missed.


Trey said...

So many great films. I think Valley of the Gwangi is under appreciated.

Dan said...

Yes, I was saddened to hear this news as well. You're absolutely right about that skeleton fight scene. His work will live on...

Anonymous said...

He leaves a great legacy. And I can only agree about Golden Voyage of Sinbad, I love that movie!