Jungle Image Dump #10

November 29, 2012

Huh. It’s been awhile since I’ve done a shameless post of nothing but images.  Put these in your pipe and smoke ’em…

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The Scenic Tour of ALMIGHTY

November 20, 2012

One last collection of notes about the fallout shelter megaplex dreamland that is ALMIGHTY…

Brief notes on the mutants and bots are found in yesterday’s post.

The massive complex that keeps ALMIGHTY ticking is laced with seemingly infinite stairs, maintenance tubes, and suspended catwalks weaving between the manifold life support modules. Tangles of pipes, wires, ducts, and girders tie it all together.  Nary a speck of dust is to be found.

The Procedure Room
The Health and Happiness Administrators have built a secret procedure room here. Restraining tables and powerful floodlights galore, with stadium seating. The most common procedure performed here is electric shock therapy, without the benefit of anesthesia.  They are brutal in pursuit of quantifiable cheer among city folk.  They call it “Meaningful Abuse”.

The Moon Unit
The Phasists have constructed a temple here to house what they believe is a piece of the moon. It’s actually a melon-sized chunk of dry chartreuse play-doh.

The Office
Radio Clowns congregate at this hidden lounge in the complex. They just hang out here comparing jumbo shoes and polka dot outfits, often quoting catchy lyrics to inspire themselves and refute arguments.

The Spham Factory
This large room has large vats of bubbling pudding and several compaction silos of curious utility. It produces “special ham” to feed the city. It’s also the lair of thousands of duct bunnies.

The Break Room
This is a nonsensical room of mirrors that also happens to be a Mudwinkle lair.

The Yawning Connection
When something is damaged (for instance by gunfire, axe blow, fireball, etc.) the megaplex suppresses and isolates damaged systems and draws on redundant backups.  A large destructive event occurred here long ago, hollowing out a large area the size of a football field. Many stairwells and tunnels enter the area but do not cross the void. Dozens of Betaflies cocoon here.

The End of the Moving Walkways
Three moving walkways converge into a lair of Tank Crabs.

Bot Garage
Where bots come to get repaired or retired. Grouchy tinker bots hoard over piles of broken bots and spare parts.

Rubber Suit Factory
What you see here is an automated process of human-shaped molds of all sizes dipping into vats of variously colored molten rubber-like material. It dries to form a tight but comfortable garment. City folk wear a new one each day and the used ones are recycled here.

H2O Management
Water in all its forms is recycled here and cleaned for use throughout the city. To get through to the other side you must pass a gauntlet of water, steam, and ice.  First climb a wall with random steam blasts. Then it’s an ice cube cascade. Then a soapy bristle brush beatdown followed by a hot water pressure rinse. Next is the ice water agitator and corkscrew flume. Finally you can relax with a warm towel and a glass of 99% pure water.

The Denizens of ALMIGHTY

November 19, 2012

Lately I’ve been laying down some notes about a massive underground bunker in the Blasted Jungle. Much inspired by B4 The Lost City and the underground city in A Boy and His Dog. Kind of a post-apocalypse megadungeon.  Factions of Radio Clowns and moon-worshiping magicians who have never seen the moon and a cult of totalitarian doctors and nurses (the Health and Happiness Administrators) and bunch of other gonzo rimshots.

But I think I can save myself some work and just buy Anomalous Subsurface Environment, Levels 2-3 instead, just released by Pat at Henchman Abuse.  Check it out.  It’s not exactly like what I was designing, but ASE is bigger and better and at least it has clowns.

I can now post some of my meager notes here, so it wasn’t a total wasted effort…

The Denizens of ALMIGHTY

Somewhere below the cratered jungle floor lies ALMIGHTY, a self-supporting underground city built before the Wizard Wars to protect thousands of people from magic of mass destruction. Generations later the city still survives, sealed off from the outside world.

Between the city and the surface is a complex of life support systems that keep the city alive. It’s big, very big, and to get to the city you must pass through it.  These are the robots and monsters that populate it.

Maintenance and Security Robots

Oppressive Constructive bots perform maintenance throughout the complex. They can fix most anything, and perform an aggressive style of preventive maintenance that makes them quite dangerous to be around. They have eight suckered legs that allow them to climb anywhere. They shoot hot oil.

Substantial Abuse bots are thickly armored and designed to enter the harshest environments to perform repairs and knock heads. They wield two large hammers and move on tank tracks.

Ad Hoc Kill bots have a human-like form and just wander around killing things at random, even other bots. Apparently there is a sound theory of systems integrity to justify their purpose. They wield a variety of weapons such as samurai swords and laser pistols.

Panic Suppression bots are equipped with tranquilizer gases, nets, and other weapons of mass subdual. They hover.

Insanitary Defense bots continuously dust, mop, and sanitize the complex, sometimes with violent aggression.  They move on a gyromagnetic trackball and attack with precision disintegration lasers.

Mutant Monsters

Betaflies are man-sized fluorescent moths that shed radioactive dust, causing internal and external burns.

Crigget chirps echo throughout the complex. Six feet in length, these things jump from the shadows and slash with wicked serrated legs. Swords can be fashioned from the legs.

Duct Bunnies clog vents and shafts. They are thus a nuisance but also a reliable food source. Vicious defenders that aim for the neck.

The Mudwinkle is an abominable cyclops of grey mud. It’s large wet eye casts a dim beam of light. Normally the light is simply for illumination, but the Mudwinkle can use it as a laser weapon once per day.

Tank Crabs are like huge aggressive hermit crabs, but instead of shells, they live inside abandoned storage tanks and tubs.

I was looking through the archives and came across the post about Cirio Santiago’s Vietnam War movies.  One of my worst posts, as all it basically says is “wow he made a lot of these movies but I don’t have anything interesting to say about them.”  I’ve now trashed that post.

I’m here today to fix that deficiency by creating a viewing guide for Cirio Santiago’s Vietnam War movies.  This debuts my new not-exactly-objective rating system for jungle movies:

Jungle Rating System:
0 = no jungle
1 = only a little jungle and it’s nothing special (not sufficiently green and leafy, maybe filmed in a nature park during dry season, or it’s just a poorly maintained coconut plantation)
2 = only a little jungle but it’s pretty good (sufficiently green and leafy, perhaps dark, moist, or uniquely evocative)
3 = a lot of jungle but nothing special
4 = a lot of jungle and pretty good
5 = my entirely subjective jungle hall of fame

Trailers, reviews, and more info on these movies at youtube, IMDB.com, Bamboo Gods and Bionic Boys, and When the Vietnam War raged…in the Philippines.

(Also check out my Guide to Cirio’s Post-Apocalypse movies.)

Henry Strzalkowski demonstrates what these movies are all about (pic from Bamboo Gods):

First, sorted by release date according to IMDB.com:

1987:
Eye of the Eagle
Behind Enemy Lines
1988:
The Expendables
1989:
Nam Angels
Eye of the Eagle 2: Inside the Enemy
Eye of the Eagle 3 (aka Last Stand at Lang Mei)
1991:
Field of Fire (aka Battle Gear)
1992:
Beyond the Call of Duty
1993:
Kill Zone
Firehawk

There’s a few more movies related to Nam that Cirio made, all predating the above.  Caged Fury is a “Women in Prison” movie set in Vietnam, but it has very little in common with these movies and doesn’t have much or good jungle.  The Devastator and Final Mission are First Blood knockoffs set in America, except for the opening scenes portraying the destruction of a village in Vietnam.  Not enough Nam or jungle to deserve more just a passing mention in this post.

Now, sorted from my least to most favorite, but they are all terribly entertaining.

Beyond the Call of Duty
Jungle Rating: 3
Keywords: gold, funny boat
Why watch this first?  If you want to start at with worst of this list and work your way up.

Note:  IMDB says this is edited from Nam Angels.  Not really…only a minute or so that was used from Nam Angels:  the gas torture scene filmed at Corregidor’s Battery Way. Several scenes were also taken from the Eye of the Eagle trilogy (Vic Diaz and Mike Monty cameos). In fact, nearly the entire first twenty or so minutes is scenes taken from Cirio’s other Nam flicks!  Beyond the Call of Duty doesn’t really begin until twenty minutes in and by then you are confused by the typhoon of disjointed action scenes that you just watched. Maybe it’s intended to replicate the chaos and confusion of the Fall of Saigon…I dunno.

Eye of the Eagle 3 aka Last Stand at Lang Mei
Jungle Rating:  1…yeah, it’s mostly set on the blasted firebase and the background doesn’t even look like jungle.
Keywords: Montagnards, improvised napalm
Why watch this first? If you want to compare it to Siege of Firebase Gloria and won’t miss R. Lee Ermey.

Eye of the Eagle 2: Inside the Enemy
Jungle Rating:  2
Keywords: Mike Monty sober, nudie bar scene
Why watch this first?  If you want to see the movie on this list that has partially believable gun battles (ie least reminiscent of old video games) but the most nudity, and you only have 78 minutes to waste.
Note: this is the only movie on this list not directed by Cirio. Carl Franklin directed it. Cirio was the producer. Definitely has a different feel to it.  Furthermore, none of the Eye of the Eagle movies have anything to do with each other.

Behind Enemy Lines, aka Killer Instinct
Jungle Rating:  3
Keywords:  Soviet villains, a cold cold ending
Why watch this first? If you want to study stereotypical portrayals of the Soviet commando in western cinema during the Cold War.

The Expendables
Jungle Rating:  3
Keywords: topless Vic Diaz, nudie bar scene, shower raid, Corregidor filming location
Why watch this first?  If the phrase “topless Vic Diaz” causes you to raise an eyebrow.

Firehawk
Jungle Rating:  5…best jungle on this list
Keywords:  caves that are supposed to be vietcong tunnels, nuke bomb plot
Why watch this first?  If you want to watch closest thing on this list to a normal movie.

Kill Zone
Jungle Rating:  3
Keywords:  nudie bar scene, Montagnards, Banaue rice terraces filming location, Corregidor filming location, David Carradine wearing aviators and chewing cigars, punji trap
Why watch this first? If you are a fan of former NFL player Tony Dorsett and prepared to think lesser of him, and want to see Carradine go batshit.

Field of Fire (aka Battle Gear)
Jungle Rating:  4
Keywords:  nudie bar scenes, David Carradine in a khaki jumpsuit, Corregidor filming location, punji trap
Why watch this first? If you were disappointed with the second half of Bat 21.

Nam Angels
Jungle Rating:  3
Keywords:  Montagnards, gold, Soviet (or is it Nazi?) Vernon Wells, motorcycles, nudie bar scene, Corregidor filming locations
Why watch this first? If the idea of Hell’s Angels in Vietnam interests you in the slightest and you want to see the next big step in the career of Vernon Wells after letting off some steam in Commando.

Eye of the Eagle
Jungle Rating:  4
Keywords:  Mike Monty drunk, Vic Diaz shot between eyes, Montagnards, memorable theme song, Corregidor filming location, non-nudie bar scene
Why watch this first? If you want to watch the quintessential Cirio Santiago Vietnam War movie.

Yup, I’m giving Eye of the Eagle the crown.  It was a tight battle between it and Nam Angels.  The deciding factor was Eagle‘s superior theme song.

This post needs some fire in the jungle.  The big winner Eye of the Eagle gets the last word, filmed at Corregidor ruins. (photo again from Bamboo Gods.)

The Rise and Fall of Zamzer

November 14, 2012

So we moved house this summer. Found a box of old junk. In the box was a folder of drawings and sketches I did in high school and college. In there I found six sketches showing the progression of a magic user from apprentice maestro to sorcerer master.

My first thought upon seeing the sketches was “Wow. I hope nobody ever sees this crap.”

My second thought was “…unless it’s in a suitably ridiculous amateur fantasy rpg supplement.”

I’ve arranged that. I didn’t have any jungle stuff that the sketches would work with, so I gathered up a few of the non-jungle things that I’ve made over that past few years and packaged them up in this little digest book…

What’s in it? Four things:

1. “The Rise and Fall of Zamzer”. This is the name of the book and also the name of the series of six sketches of the wizard retroactively named as Zamzer. All sketches are full page except the cover. Six pages.

2. “A Eunuch for Zamzer”. A parody of the “Zanzer’s Dungeon” adventure from the 1991 “classic” D&D big black box game. I ran this adventure in 2008 for some of the same dudes who played the original in 1991.  Seven pages of text plus a two-page map.

3. “Dirty Old Town”. A fantasy city described via a collection of tables based on songs by an old Irish band called The Dubliners. This town ties in to the Zamzer adventure. Two pages.

4. “How to Scare Monsters”. An article with companion d100 table of monster phobias. This also ties in to the Zamzer adventure. Three pages.

“A Eunuch for Zamzer” is the feature presentation of the book. It’s a prison breakout adventure for first level characters, but they likely won’t be able to fight their way out without some roleplaying and alliance formation. I call it a parody, but it’s a serious adventure. Well, “serious” in a B-movie groan-inducing kind of way. Rather embarrassing, actually.

And it’s FREE!

Click here to download the free PDF of The Rise and Fall of Zamzer.

If you want to make your own digest booklet, also click here to download a PDF of only the map, which you can print as the center of the booklet.  All the drawings are by themselves on pages with no text, so you can skip them if you want to save printer ink.

zamzer_map_sample

But wait, there’s more…

…that I want to mention.  Recommended movie to watch before running “A Eunuch for Zamzer”:

Burning Paradise in Hell

This 1994 Hong Kong kung fu flick bears some similarities to the adventure. Temple prison with slave dungeon. Sadistic wizard overlord. Secret chambers and traps. Good times.