Too much advice this week? Yes, yes, I know, I get started and I just go on and on.
I haven't worked much on new rules, I'm sure no one wants to hear about my personal life, I've banned myself from writing on politics and I suppose I am thinking a lot about the whole DMing process. Scarbrow said lately my posts were getting more acute, and I think that's due to practice and a steady thought process I've adopted. I recently read the Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks (how many of you out there know he's the son of Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft) and I found that an interesting, instructional example of how to write a how-to book about a completely mythical subject. I've been getting a better handle on how to write meaningfully about D&D since then.
The comments being thin of late would suggest that either a) I've gone off my nut, or b) you're all blinded by my awesomeness (damn, I loved Kung Fu Panda). Guess which one I choose to believe.
There's a film for which I've searched more than 30 years ... I would guess I was 15, perhaps, when I last saw it, and I may have been 14. Watching it Tuesday night, I couldn't help thinking that it quite possibly might have pre-dated my D&D playing, which is relevant as the film is about a thief. It's the tale of a real fellow, Jack Sheppard, who in 1724 escaped four times from various prisons before ... well, I don't want to spoil the film. But wikipedia has a pleasantly long entry about the fellow.
The movie, Where's Jack, is on youtube in 12 parts, only recently put up (I've checked youtube now and then), and dates from 1969. It suffers from being a period piece created in the 1960s, and from film quality and a bit of dourness, but for the sets alone, along with the depiction of town corruption, a thieves' guild, a guildmaster thief and the whole thieving profession from a less ethical artistic culture, it is well worth the view. Ah, I miss 1960s set design. Everything is pleasantly filthy.
And I particularly like that the events of the film occur only 70 years after my world, so it's a nice, close depiction of near-Renaissance street life.
It's produced by the same fellow who did Zulu, Stanley Baker, who was a bit of a maverick in the British Film Industry before his unfortunate demise at the age of 48. Many of you may only recognize Baker as the 'Butcher of Barcelona' from the Guns of Navarone ... but he was an artistic force to be reckoned with, with whom the reader ought to be familiar. It's a shame there's no online version of Sands of the Kalahari I can link.
Where's Jack was very influential on my conception of thieves early on in my gaming, and I suppose its one of the reasons I'm bitter about the Artful Dodger cliche of pickpocketing as the baseline for thieving activities. I prefer the talented escapist ... and for those who might be interested in a depiction of an 'honest' thief, the film might be enlightening.