Post-Apocalyptic Movie Review: A Quiet Place Part II

Taking place immediately after the events of A Quiet Place, the family leaves their burning home to find a new one, and accidentally finds a former family friend who has lost everything, but has a good hiding spot from the echolocating killer aliens.

A radio signal tips off that there are more survivors, and the daughter with the hearing aid/sonic weapon wants to find them and save the world, so she runs off by herself. Mom convinces family friend to bring her back and dangerous adventures occur.

Good acting, good characters, decent writing, and the continued tension will keep you rapt until the end, which doesn’t take long as it’s a refreshingly short film. A bit predictable in places but overall quite enjoyable.

Tropes: flashback explains origin of apocalypse; survivors work against eachother; booby traps; black man is killed; skeletons cause jump scare; monsters weakness discovered accidentally

Toren’s Rating: 7/10

Now back to Toren’s Post-Apocalyptic Movie Guide

Post-Apocalyptic Movie Review: Finch

Robot maker Tom Hanks has survived a land-waste-laying solar flare and the ensuing societal collapse. He’s old and sick but he has a dog that needs to be cared for, so he builds a robot and they take a road trip to escape a superstorm.

More of the same old same old, Tom Hanks does Tom Hanks which is not a complaint, but this time with friendly robots AND a dog! A bit heavy-handed in places but also not a typical Hollywood ending. Not very cerebral, and not very exciting either despite a few interesting moments. Pretty PG affair overall with some added coughing up blood. Kind of needed a bad guy.

Tropes: robot learns to be human; hope epitomized in tiny animal; booby-trapped snack

Toren’s rating: 6.8/10

Now back to Toren’s Post-Apocalyptic Movie Guide

Overdue Who Review: Talons of Weng-Chiang

Final episode of Season 14, 1977

So I’ve never actually seen Phantom of the Opera but I expect if you threw in a dash of Jack the Ripper, ‘Oriental’ racism, and an enemy from another time this would fit the bill.

This is a six-part serial that could have been compressed to 4. Briefly, real British actor John Bennet puts on yellowface to portray evil “Chinee” (to quote the local copper) actor Li H’san Chang, a hypnotist with an animated ventriloquist dummy (that we later learn is part pig). They both serve a Chinese god Weng-Chiang who of course isn’t actually a Chinese god but a despot from the future. The Doctor refers to him as the Butcher of Brisbane so I guess he’s a (white) Australian?

Anyway this is a series of Leela having good ideas and actions that either end with her inconceivably failing to stab someone in the back after successfully sneaking up on them, or simply being told by men to not get involved because it’s too dangerous for a woman (even the Doctor, who knows she’s a capable warrior).

There are several actual Asian actors, though they all play opium-addicted thugs. Racism aside, the intrigue and characters are mostly enjoyable, although the time despot chews almost as much scenery as Jeremy Irons in the Dungeons and Dragons movie.

The writing includes lines like “In my country we have saying: Man who goes too quickly may step in bear trap” and “On my oath, you wouldn’t want that served with onions. Never seen anything like it in all my puff. Oh, make an ‘orse sick, that would.”

Next up: The Horror At Fang Rock

Voice Acting Tips for Dungeon Masters From An Actual Voice Actor

Don’t eat the lead miniatures

Hi! I’m Toren Atkinson! In addition to being a Dungeon Master and an illustrator for D&D and other RPGs, I’m also a professional voice actor! I’ve done voices for video games, cartoons and commercials.

While voice acting is not necessary to be a good DM (or player), I think we can all agree it adds a lot to keep characters lively and memorable. But I’ve heard a lot of people say that they just can’t do voices. And to that I say – you can! And I’m here to help!

Let me tell you my secret: If you’re like me, you’ve got a notebook that you bring with you to your gaming sessions. In my own notebook – on the last page (the back inside cover, in fact) – I have a list of character voices that I am comfortable with (I’ve included it below). Every time I need a new non-player character to interact with the players, I flip to that page and pick a voice that’s suitable, and when I’m not in the thick of roleplay, I’ll remember to make a note beside that voice as to which character it belongs to, so that if the players come across that NPC again, I can refer to the list and keep things consistent. Some of the voices are impressions of celebrities or existing film & TV characters, while others use broad accents or my own repertoire of character voices.

“But Toren,” you say, “I’m not a professional voice actor. I can’t do impressions or accents!”

There are a lot of ways to provide vocal character without doing accents or impressions. Let’s say you’ve got an English noble character, but you can’t do a British accent to save your life! Well, you can try to simply use refined, proper diction. It helps if you literally look down your nose at your players while doing so. Conversely, for a lowlife dock monkey, slurring your words and talking in slang, with every second word a profanity can absolutely get a great character across (for added fun, they don’t have to be offensive or modern curse words)

You can change your cadence – maybe someone speaks super quickly with run-on-sentences, with eyes darting and face twitching. Or, they speak robotically with the same emphasis of every syllable. Or portray the always bored and/or “too cool for school” cynic – who speaks in slowly and monotone, like Daria or the teacher from Ferric Bueller’s Day Off (“Bueller…Bueller…Bueller…”). Perhaps an old shell-shocked veteran speaks softly while staring into the middle distance. Another character speaks only in whispers, but they do so with wild enthusiasm. You can whisper, can’t you? Meanwhile there’s that guy who doesn’t have an ‘inside voice,’ always talking to you as if you’re on the other side of the street. And how about the character who is chronically constipated, with the strain coming through in their voice?

An old voice actors trick is to actually change your voice by physically interacting with your face, whether it be holding your nose, pulling your cheek out with a finger, or whathaveyou.

Don’t overstay your welcome.

For throwaway NPCs a strident or grating voice can be amusing and memorable, but for main NPCs that the players will see over and over, I recommend not going over the top. Nobody wants to hear your Gilbert Gottfried or Elmo impression for 3 hours.

It needs to be said: avoid offensive caricatures. My rule is if a player of a minority was at my table (let’s say a South Asian) and I did a stereotypical caricature of that minority (Apu, for example), would I feel weird? If the answer is yes – don’t do it. This goes for sexual preference and those with any kind of disability as well. Your mileage may vary.

And as always, be mindful of others within earshot of your game. After overusing ‘shouty guy’ in your friends living room you may find you no longer have a place to play.

This is the list that I use. I hope that it will inspire you to try something new next session!

Stereotypical Brooklyn guy
Stereotypical Canadian guy, eh? (McKenzie Brothers)
Stereotypical Scandinavian
Stereotypical Russian
Stereotypical Australian/Steve Irwin/Bruce
Stereotypical Italian/Mario
Yarrrr stereotypical pirate voice
Edward G Robinson
James Mason
Alec Guinness
Wolfman Jack
Sir Ian McKellan
David Attenborough
Dracula (Bela Lugosi)
Tim Curry
Tom Waits/Nick Nolte
Jason Statham/Ray Winstone
Christopher Lloyd
Tracy Morgan
Billy Connolly
Inigo Montoya
Charlton Heston
Lennie from Mice and Men (“I will call him George”) AKA Patrick Star
Bane
Emperor Palpatine
Dustin Hoffman
Ricardo Montalban
Christopher Walken
Christoff Walz
Kennedy/Mayor Quimby
Morgan Freeman
Jay Baruschel
Brando
Beavis/Butthead
Montgomery Burns
Transatlantic accent
Elvis
Watto (Star Wars)
Ed Wynn (Mad Hatter/Mayor McCheese)
Brian Blessed/John Rhys-Davies
Jesse Ventura
Bob Dylan
Kermit the Frog
Hagrid (Harry Potter)
Chris Rock
Wallace Shawn
Jack Nicholson
Clint Eastwood
Sean Bean
Korg (Taika Waititi)
Harvey Fierstein
Drunken Dudley Moore
Thurston Howell the 3rd
Samuel L Jackson
Cobra Commander
William Shatner/Zap Brannigan
Gomer Pyle
Grimlock (Transformers)
Jimmy Stewart
Maude Flanders/Fargo
Alice Glick/Maude Frickert/Old Lady
Monty Python old British lady
Teen with Cracking Voice
Fat Albert
Hank Hill
Boomhauer (King of the Hill)
Al Pacino
Owen Wilson
Jack Sparrow
Michael Caine
Aku/Mako
Robin Leach
Hippie surfer dude
Caesar with lisp (Life of Brian)
Ozzy Osbourne
Comic Book Guy (Simpsons)
Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel (Simpsons)
Doctor Girlfriend (Venture Bros)
Red Skull
Agent Smith/Hugo Weaving
Alan Rickman
Ahnold
Raphael (Sarcastic clerk from The Simpsons)
Humphrey Bogart
James Cagney
Peter Lorre
Jack Palance
Marvin the Martian
Lumpy Space Princess (Adventure Time)
Southern Belle/Tree Trunks (Adventure Time)
Mayor of Townsville (Powerpuff Girls)

Gaming Stuff for Sale (Pathfinder, Dungeon Magazines, Etc)

See me and my stuff on facebook marketplace https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/profile/571600226/?ref=share_attachment

Dungeon Magazines – see below or make offer for lot

Fantastic Locations: Hellspike Prison: Dungeons & Dragons Accessory Paperback – Nov. 1 2005 $20 (missing 1 double-sided map)

PATHFINDER THORNKEEP – $30 OBO

Thornkeep, a 96-page softcover book, was a reward for backers of the Pathfinder Online Technology Demo Kickstarter project to fund the initial steps in the development of the Pathfinder Online MMO. It was written by Richard BakerJason BulmahnEd GreenwoodJames JacobsErik Mona, and the Goblinworks staff. The PDF of the book was released to Kickstarter backers in October 2012, and at retail in both print and PDF versions in January 2013.

Creature and Cultists first edition – Pagan Publishing – $45 obo

Star Wars Miniatures Map STARSHIP BATTLES SPACE Coruscant / Tatooine double-sided paper battle map, 22″x34″ – $20

DUNGEON MAGAZINES:

Dungeon Magazine 83 – $10

Dungeon Magazine 83 – $10

Dungeon Magazine #85 – $10

Dungeon 85

Dungeon Magazine 87 – $15 obo – well used

Dungeon 87

Dungeon Magazine 91- $10

Dungeon 91

Dungeon Magazine 95 -$20 obo

dungeon 95

Dungeon Magazine 105 – $20 obo

Dungeon Magazine # 114- $15 obo

dungeon 114

Dungeon Magazine #124-$60 obo

Dungeon 124 – age of worms part 1

Dungeon Magazine 125- $40 obo

Age of worms adventure path 2

Dungeon Magazine #126- $30 obo

Age of Worms adventure path 3

Dungeon Magazine #127 -$30 obo

Dungeon Magazine #134 – $30 obo

Dungeon 134

Dungeon Magazine #138 – $12 obo

Dungeon 138

No Blade of Grass (1970) Post Apocalyptic Movie Review

Pollution somehow causes a virus that kills grains and so the world begins to starve.
Some countries, including Britain, may or may not plan to exterminate a large portion of their population with nerve gas so that the whole country doesn’t starve to death. As society breaks down around them, a family led by an ex-military with an eyepatch and various tagalongs escape the city and head for a relative’s farm where I guess for some reason they aren’t worried about the grass blight.

More an apocalyptic than post-apocalyptic movie, but civilization goes to pot relatively quickly and there’s a biker gang in Nazi Viking accoutrements so I’ll give it a pass.

The conceit of over-saturated, fragmented flash-forwards doesn’t much help this heavy-handed narrative, and the whole film looks very cheap, but, refreshingly, the children don’t do anything too stupid and are mostly in the background.

Tropes: trigger-happy frenemy; off-screen cannibalism; soldiers mutiny; unlimited ammo; pregnant lady gives birth; coughing gives away hiding spot; gang rape; guy with no depth perception is still a good shot

Toren’s rating: 5.75/10

Go to Toren’s Post-Apocalyptic Movie Guide

No Blade of Grass (1970) — Contains Moderate Peril