Archive for March, 2014

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Inspiration Viewing – Girls und Panzer

10 March, 2014

Girls und Panzer!So, because I simply could not resist, I purchased the Girls und Panzer: TV Collection [Blu-ray] and it was everything I had hoped it would be and more.  At its core, Girls und Panzer is a sports anime, a traditional genre of anime where a group of misfits come together and through hard word, team spirit and luck, manage to do well.  The hook here is that the sport is Sensha-do (the Way of the Tank) which involves all girls teams (as Sensha-do is designed to refine the qualities of young women -no really-) competing in World War Two-era tanks in elaborate matches.

The characters are engaging and cute, with almost no fan service, and the main characters given considerable depth surprising given the short length of the series (12-episodes) and how much of that is devoted to the Sensha-do matches.  The tank animation is occasionally obviously CGI but overall is quite fun and covers a variety of models (including some that were just prototypes or otherwise never saw combat) from most of the major nations that fielded tanks during the Second World War.

There are challenges, tactical choices and heroism, all the hallmark of warfare without the injury and blood (though the tanks get pretty messed up).  As such Sensho-do is a good model for conflict within a story (or game) without the losers being destroyed, indeed friendships are formed because our main characters are good sports and spirited competitors.   It would be fun to try a sport anime styled campaign with this as a model, perhaps with a scrappy dungeon exploration or magic team.

Highly recommended if any of the above appeals to your sense of fun.  (More information on Girls und Panzer from Wikipedia if you are interested.)

There is also a set of shorts that give a bit more information on the secondary characters involved, and actually has one episode that contains all of the fan service you are getting out of this series, and a bit more information on the ‘school ships’ which is pretty fascinating.  (OK, there is also the full goosefish song and dance which is a little fan-servicey.)  There is some fun stuff here but it is mostly fluff and probably only worth the price tag for Girls und Panzer completist (which I supose I must be as I have a copy *sigh*).  Girls und Panzer OVA Specials [Blu-ray].

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Follow Lei Feng’s example!

5 March, 2014

Today is Learn from Lei Feng Day in China.  Lei Feng being one of the secular saints of Chinese socialism and Maoism, a hard working young soldier who was killed in an accident at the age of 21, his diary was full of patriotic thoughts and love of his homeland."Follow Lei Feng's example; love the Party, love Socialism, love the people".

While there is considerable debate now if Lei Feng, as heroic striver for Socialist glory, truly existed, Lei Feng the soldier did and his use is propaganda has been impressive.  Even now, the Chinese Communist party exhorts his ideal and the term “living Lei Feng” (“Huó Léi Fēng”) has enter the Chinese language as a term for anyone who is seen as selfless or who goes out of their way to help others.

While I am not a Socialist, I have always found such propaganda idolizing the selflessness of the individual in service of the state fascinating (if slightly terrifying).  The Soviet use of Alexey Stakhanov and the Stakhanovite movement to boost labour productivity and dedication to the states goals followed a similar pattern.

It seems that there is a place for such propaganda in the background of many game worlds, to help reinforce the tone and ideals of the setting.

Notes: Poster image is from Wikimedia Commons and is used under fair use ideals.

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Tuesday Magic Item – Stonewall Shield

4 March, 2014

Strong as stoneOriginally fielded by the Onyx Dwarves, the use of the Stonewall shields reached their tactical apogee under the Diamond Dwarves and their General Irisa Diamondedge when her much smaller force trapped and annihilated the vanguard of the Navolian Military Order.  The sight of the final battle, now known as the Three Bloody Walls, is a lasting memorial to Dwarven bravery, Gemkine magic and the tactical focus of Irisa Diamondedge.

The victory was so complete that it was two generations before the Navolians again risked conflict with the Dwarven nations.

Stonewall Shield

These round shields rather than being faced with metal, have a thin layer of stone on their face with a metal boss and rim.  They are usually marked with the symbols or heraldic arms of one of the Dwarven families or merchant houses.

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March forward, February falls behind

1 March, 2014

With the start of March the Equinox and Spring move near.  March gains its name from the Roman month Martius which in turn gains its name from Mars, the Roman god of war (and more a soldier than a warrior unlike his Greek counterpart Ares).

So, the theme for March will again be the military and things martial.  As usual, if there is anything in particular you would like to see let me know.  I will try to do something, spell or item, for the Equinox as well.  Preparations for the Sea of Stars campaign setting Kickstarter continue slowly.  More news on that front soon.

February, 2014, this journal saw the following posts here:

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