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Upbeatdown

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About Upbeatdown

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  1. "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" is a relatively famous quote from author and writer Arthur C. Clarke, and it is that idea that is the very core of one of my favorite tabletop RPGs Numenera. Numenera is a science-fantasy tabletop RPG whose setting is about 1 billion years into Earth's future, called "The Ninth World" due to the fact that eight other civilizations have both risen and fallen in this Earth's history. Unlike your typical fantasy RPGs, Numenera's world is not actually operated by any form of magic. Instead, the world has undergone so many different advancements, some that stagnate through history and others lost to time. These incredibly advanced technologies are so advanced that they are nearly indistinguishable from actual magic, hence the opening quote. Numenera was created and designed by Monte Cook, who was one of the lead designers of Dungeons and Dragons' 3rd edition. He was meant to be one of the lead designers of 5th edition, but left Wizards of the Coast due to differences with the company. After getting into and playing Numenera for a while, its easy to see why. The design philosophies are very different compared to 5e, but in a way that I think suits the game very well. And though Numenera was very successful and relatively popular among TTRPG communities, it never could never reach the insurmountable popularity of D&D 5e. So when I heard that Monte Cook and his team were planning on making a Numenera Sourcebook for 5e, I was beyond happy. Arcana of the Ancients is basically the world of Numenera but for D&D 5e. It will convert many of the game's mechanics, creatures, technologies, etc. into things usable with 5e's system. This may not seem like a big deal to people who don't know much about Numenera's setting or lore, but take my word for it. This is very exciting. Please check out the kickstarter and support it if it seems like something you'd enjoy. I have .pdf files of Numenera's core rule books that I can send/ link to anyone interested in taking a look at the game. Numenera is great and it's always going to get a hard recommendation from me.
  2. Upbeatdown

    Movie Discussion Thread

    I love movies. No, that's not right. I fucking love movies. Going to the theater to see to a film is one of my favorite pastimes. As a medium of art, there isn't a single aspect of film that I don't deeply enjoy. Performance, narrative, cinematography, choreography, editing, score/ sound design, etc. I know a lot of you probably don't share the same degree of love I have for the medium, but I'm sure a lot of you just plain like to watch movies. So I figured it'd be cool to have a thread where people can go to discuss movies in any way they want. Anywhere from just linking a trailer for a movie you're wanting to see to a full blown review, and everything in between! NOTE: This thread should remain spoiler-free unless absolutely necessary, and if spoilers are to be mentioned they should always be prefaced with a warning. It's common courtesy. To get us started, I want to talk about two very different films. Captain Marvel I'm aware of the touchy politics that surround this movie like incredibly persistent flies. I won't be discussing any of that, because it doesn't matter. An outside influence like petty culture squabbles can not, and should not, ever detract from someone's enjoyment of a piece of "art". I judge films based solely on the content within them and, regardless of what side of the fence myself or a reader is on in regards to the issues that surround this film, none of it in any context will make Captain Marvel any more or less painfully bland than it already is. Generally speaking, I'm not really a fan of these big budget superhero movies. In my opinion, they are a lesson in excess that Hollywood will not now nor ever learn. I find them to be bloated, passionless products made intentionally devoid of any style or real substance, as it is easier to sell a product to a general audience when it isn't in anyway divisive. Marvel films rarely push any boundaries or raise any limits not intentionally set by themselves seemingly to stifle creativity. It is in this way that these blockbuster superhero films are much less "art" than a product made to line the pockets of Disney or Warner Bros. executives. Because these movies are so incredibly limited in what they can be (ironic given how massive their budgets are), they often come across as repetitive and bland. No other film in superhero-film history exemplifies this more than Captain Marvel, which does so to the nth degree. Captain Marvel is BORING. I use caps to get across how much this movie perfectly embodies that word. It's so middle-of-the-road in almost every way. Some of the performances (namely Sam Jackson's) are stand-out, while others so muted or passionless (Jude Law, Brie Larson). In regards to the narrative, it hits all the typical Marvel-movie beats. If you've seen one of them, you've seen them all. Any attempts to subvert the standard formula are incredibly two-dimensional and only make every reveal more obvious. I've grown to despise the pseudo-witty and quip-heavy script writing strategy that Marvel employs now for every single one of their films after its success in the first Guardians of the Galaxy film. Every scene of tension is undercut by a piece of out of place humor, every bit of weighty dialogue slashed by a need to insert some humor. These are galaxy-destroying threats meant to be taken seriously, apparently except by the people for whom the consequences of these events matter the most. Like usual, the pacing of the film is a bit all over the place. It rushes to jam in as much exposition or universe tie-ins as it can between some of the MCU's blandest action scenes. The score is forgettable to levels of non-existence, and the use of some licensed music is so groan-worthy and on the nose that it hurt to sit through. You won't find any interesting bits of clever cinematography, though visually the movie doesn't exactly fall flat. Some use of the heavy amounts of CG plastered against every one of these Marvel movies like a street whore's excessive make-up job is made effective enough, while others simply look terrible. By far the best aspect of the film is the production and set design. It captures that 90's aesthetic relatively well. While it does get a bit too in your face at times, it often makes for interesting locations and set pieces. Captain Marvel is a jack of all trades, but a master of none. It isn't often that a movie has me tempted to check the clock midway through the screening. None of its shortcomings are particularly egregious, and none of its strengths particularly powerful. Again, Captain Marvel is BORING. It's the blandest movie I've seen in a long time. Not nearly good enough to be entertaining, and not nearly bad enough to be an interesting experience. Some could argue that the blandest of movies are the worst of them all. 5/10 I'd like to pivot now into discussing the best film released in 2018 Suspiria (2018) This re-imagining of Dario Argento's 1977 classic horror film Suspiria is one of the best of its kind. I would struggle for hours trying to think of a proper negative criticism for this film. The visuals are sublime. Every camera movement is perfectly executed and used expertly to leave the viewer in a constant state of suspense or dread. The dreary backdrop of a divided Berlin is perfect for the story this movie is trying to tell. The narrative's pacing is damn-near perfect, with effective slow-crawling moments of pseudo-normality properly punctuated by gut-pounding scenes of thrills and horror. The dance choreography (which is executed to stunning perfection) is in itself very unnerving, shot in a way that makes it all look so strange and unnatural. Every single performance in this film is incredible. Tilda Swinton (who plays three seperate roles, see if you can spot them all) continues to impress with her powerful acting range and ability to seamlessly convey a wide array of emotions through body language alone. Dakota Johnson (of Fifty Shades series fame) cements herself as a very promising up-and-coming actress with her role in this film. As a stark contrast to the very colorful and almost dreamlike 1977 film, Suspiria 2018 is much more grounded, employing a dull and muted color palette, complemented perfectly by Thom Yorke's (Of Radiohead) haunting score. It is hands down the greatest score of 2018. Its use never overstays its welcome, as the film knows just when to pull back into quiet contemplative moments. Some may be adverse to very slow-burn thrillers like these, but I personally couldn't be any happier with how it was executed. As previously mentioned, the moments of real horror in this movie hit like a short series of heavy knock-out blows, the kind that will have you curling your toes inward and reeling your arms in close to your chest. I know this discussion was vague compared to the first, and I would say more, but this film is far better off being experienced than being told about. If you like thrillingly suspenseful horror movies, please do yourself a favor and give this movie a watch. This film definitely doesn't get the praise or attention it rightfully deserves. The director Luca Guadagnino has proven an expert of his craft with this masterpiece as well as Call Me By Your Name, which was one of 2017's best films. I'm very much looking forward to seeing more of his work in the future. 10/10
  3. Upbeatdown

    The Music Thread 2019

  4. Upbeatdown

    The Music Thread 2019

    Bent Knee is honestly one of the most talented Indie Rock groups around right now.
  5. Upbeatdown

    The Music Thread 2019

    Devin Townsend (of Strapping Young Lad fame) partnered up with a kind of hitherto unknown singer named Che Aimee Dorval to work on this project. It's been described as "haunted country rock" so if that sounds interesting to you or if you like Devin's work I would definitely give this a listen. I fucking love it, needless to say. It is a concept album, so I recommend listening to the whole thing to get the proper intended experience.
  6. Upbeatdown

    The Music Thread 2019

    I'm a big fan of progressive genres, or just sounds in general that incorporate many different styles or ideas.
  7. Upbeatdown

    Thursday D&D - Roll20 - Curse of Strahd

    I know I'm a little late to the party, and I'm not sure how full-up your play group is at this point, but if you're ever looking for an extra man I'm your guy! Full disclosure; I have both played through and ran Curse of Strahd before. But in my experience everyone runs Strahd in pretty different ways, and I'd like to think I'm far too seasoned a player to fall for the subtle traps of meta-gaming. I'll most likely be available every Thursday night, but if for whatever reason I can't be I'd definitely shoot a message Zeri's way beforehand.
  8. Upbeatdown

    How to make money and win friends at DND

    Matt Colville is probably one of the best youtubers for D&D stuff in my humble opinion. His main series is called "Running the Game", where he basically talks about many different aspects of D&D, whether it be mechanics in the game itself, the way a campaign is written or paced out, or the sociology behind players, DMs, their characters, and why they do the things they do. He's got years of experience in tabletop gaming under his belt, and he used to even make tabletop RPGs back in the day. He's good background noise when you're working or playing a game, since you don't really need to pay attention to his face to get the point of the video. Just as an example this is my favorite video of his series, really helped me out a lot.
  9. Upbeatdown

    Desktop Wallpapers

    My friends and I are very much into Magic: The Gathering, and I greatly admired the artwork of the cards. Wizards is cool enough to create wallpapers for select cards that come out for each set.
  10. Upbeatdown

    The Music Thread 2019

    God I've missed this thread... I've got a lot I want to post but I'll space it out so I don't spam.
  11. Upbeatdown

    Introductions Thread

    YA CAN'T GET RID OF ME My name is Upbeatdown and I've been here before. It's been a while guys, hope everyone is doing well! I'm 22, still frickin' love video games. I'm super into movies and film now, so if anyone needs recommendations hit me up. I've been playing D&D 5e as a player and DM for about 7 years now. Dabbled a bit in Vampire, and have ran an on-and-off Numenera campaign for about a year. I don't really play much Minecraft these days, but I'll be around for other games and stuff if you guys'll have me. But yeah, good to see BC back up and running again!
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