It’s very hard to review something you both loved and loathed.
Obviously, nothing in the entirety of the new Doctor Who series can beat the very first Christmas special that aired: ‘The Christmas Invasion.’ Subsequent Christmas Specials either lacked in the festivity (like ‘The Runaway Bride’, which was more interested in alien-fighting and flaunting Catherine Tate’s comedic timing), or lacked in originality (i.e. ‘Voyage of the Damned,’ which basically put an extra-terrestrial spin on The Poseidon Adventure with a dash of Titanic). A Christmas Carol, as evidenced by the lack of even an original name, clearly falls into the latter. An eye-rolling remake with some classic Doctor-isms and celebrity guest-stars.
Not since The Christmas Invasion has a companion (or, in this case, two) lasted beyond the regular series’ finale to appear. Amy and Rory Williams were so painfully shoved to the side it almost made me miss them (they key word being ALMOST, but we’ll dive into that one later). Moffat clearly wanted to keep the tradition of a new-but-one-time-only (exception-being-Catherine-Tate-because-shes-just-that-awesome) companion for the holiday special, but with two companions not dead/retired/mind-wiped, where was the room for the fresh young faces?
Oh, sorry Michael Gambon. Did I say young?
Anyway, the entire premise of the special this year was as follows: on some other planet that remarkably resembles Victorian England (what a stretch) a Scrooge-like Michael Gambon controls the skies (in what way?) with some machine (that is never explained other than it’s creation). Amy and Rory, on their honeymoon, are on a star cruise that begins crashing, and the only way to stop it is to be able to land in Gambon’s hood, but he refuses to open up the skies for them…err…because he’s a douchebag.
In comes the Doctor, of course! Using his time-traveling abilities, he has an hour to travel back and forth from present to past in order to attempt to change Gambon as a child and teenager so he isn’t such a prick in the present. Only, unlike the original Dickens tale where the Ghosts and Scrooge merely observed the shadows of Scrooge’s past, The Doctor actually interacted and actively changed the memories of the Scrooge-like Gambon.
That’s…a bit of a stretch, Doctor. A bit of a stretch.
What ever happened to the extremely-cautious do-not-change-the-timeline Doctor of 1-10? Suddenly he’s a time-vortex surfer with the cautiousness of a four-year-old? Most, if not all, past Doctors would’ve probably stayed in the observer-not-interference position, as changing one man’s life could inadvertently see the present as a pool full of ash or a breeding ground for radioactive sabre-toothed tigers.
Anyway, back to the plot, because we haven’t even hit the meat of it yet.
Whilst in the past, the Doctor and young-Gambon come across Scrooge’s father’s collateral room. In this world, ‘collateral’ entails a member of the family taking out a loan being frozen and put in a sarcophagus in the basement. This was referred to as ‘the surplus population’ in reference to the original Scrooge’s words.
That’s…a bit of a stretch, Moffat. A bit of a stretch.
One of these frozen collateral-people is Abby Pettigrew, a hot young female who can sing her little heart out. Here we go! The young n00b fresh on the scene to romance out Doctor and save the day and subsequently never heard of again!
Oh, wait, she romanced adolescent-Gambon. The Doctor romances an off-screen voice belonging to Marilyn Monroe. Oops.
Anywho, they let the frozen girl out every Christmas eve and go places in order to warm-up Gambon’s memories and turn him nice. However, on the eighth Christmas eve, Abby reveals she was actually frozen with an illness and had a week to live (hooray for random popup of unlikely but dramatic clichés!), and she’s down to her last day. Gambon now turns into the cranky old miser anyway and decides to harden his heart, swallow his tears and never let Abby out again.
In the present, Amy, as a hologram from her falling ship, appears as the Ghost of Christmas Present and shows Scrooge/Gambon that there are 4000 people on the crashing ship singing in an attempt to…err….save themselves.
See, this is another spot where the special was incredibly vague. Apparently in this world, singing makes…the…clouds…vibrate or something, and attracts some species of air-fish that swims around. Perhaps a group of people singing would soften up the clouds enough to let the plane land safely. At least, that’s what I’m getting. However, the giant air shark that nearly eats The Doctor can only be calmed by Abby’s operatic voice.
Yes. Giant air shark. I forgot to mention the giant air shark.
That’s…a hell of a stretch, Moffat. A HELL of a stretch.
Let’s wrap this plot up so I can bitch it out! Amy fails, and The Doctor returns as the Ghost of the Future, only, as a twist, it wasn’t to Gambon, but to YOUNG Gambon, and the boy decides consciously NOT to become a bad old man. Thus, Scrooge is redeemed just in time to let Abby out on her last day of life to sing and…um…open the clouds up and let the shark in (I know, I know). All is well, Gambon decides to have his last day with Abby as The Doctor, Amy, and Rory move on once again.
In short, the story failed to grab me. As with what Moffet proved with Series 5, he is no Russell T Davies. The lack of that creativity Doctor Who had become so famous for was just not there. Remakes are for Cartoon Network TV Specials. I expected a little more than Ebenezer Scrooge and the runaway CGI stunt-double from Megashark vs Giant Octopus. I also didn’t appreciate the shoving-aside of the has-been companions in the direct plot in an attempt to keep up with the new-companion tradition.
And let’s not get into the lack of a backstory for this whole concept of it being on another planet, and yet it’s so very clearly an Earth copy with humans and everything. The only way you could infer it wasn’t Earth at all was the flying fish, and they didn’t really hold up much more than a matchlight to the overarching plot. So I didn’t understand why they bothered setting it on a different planet when it could’ve so gotten away with being ON EARTH! Moffet has no problem leaving out the creative aliens and monsters. No need to attempt to give it an extraterrestrial feel (and failing) but simply stating in the prologue that it was, in fact on a different planet.
And yet, it ALMOST worked with me. Why? Well, for starters, that darkest-days-of-winter atmosphere that lacked the past four seasons flooded every frame of this special. I very much appreciate the dark settings and the emotional music.
Another plus was the acting. Not just Michael Gambon, who was cast as Dumbledore II for a reason, but the whole cast (with the exception of what I felt were a few weak points on behalf of Abby Pettigrew’s actor, Katherine Jenkins, who should stick to singing) pulled the thing together. The child actors were great. Even Matt Smith is finally filling the Doctor’s shoes more comfortably. He’s starting to get away from the Tennant-copycat urges and creating his own identity. Aside from a few points that I blame Moffet and not Smith for (like the fact that Eleven seems to be treating humans with much less affection than his past three predecessors), I’m beginning to see this Doctor at long last as more than quirky large-foreheaded, mighty-chinned eye candy.
So, pitting its strengths against it’s weaknesses, I have to come to the conclusion that it’s enjoyable as a Christmas tale, but annoying for those loyal followers like myself who see it as an episode in an overall series as opposed to a stand-alone special. This universe, these characters, everything has been pre-established, and bastardizing their purposes, quirks, and rules is a major problem I have with Moffet’s writing. He can’t re-write a whole world, especially one as complicated and long-lived as The Raggedy Doctor’s. He’s just lucky he has so many loyal devotees of the series like myself who’ll will stick around until the day he writes ‘Doctor Who vs Giant Octopus.’ Otherwise he probably would sink the series with another season or two.
I’ll give it a C+ for writing, and a B for everything else, because the atmosphere was still great, and the effort was very present.
Oh, and the best line of the whole special?
DOCTOR: “You know what boys say in the face of danger?”
As you probably have deduced by my previous blog posts and the overarching themes my posts tend to always circle back to, I tend to stick to media quirks and media-related subjects in my writing and thought processes. And why not, when it’s something that both fascinates me and pisses me off royally? Write what you know…or, rather, not what you KNOW, but what you feel, at least.
Today, I wanted to write something different, but had no ideas. I found a charming little list of blog topic suggestions written by a fellow blogger from the opposite corner of the blogger’s realm. Blog, blog, bloggidy blog, just to add the word in a few more times for good measure.
Anywho, he listed 100 blog topic suggestions. And damned if 75 of those 100 weren’t media-related. Social media, global politics and media, media this and that. So, while I’ve accepted that I feel like I can’t wholly back away from my standard media-rant postings, I can, however, take them in a different direction. Instead of picking on a modern media concept and rip it to shreds, or take a specific person, place, film, or book and rip IT to shreds, I’m going to apply it to a very personal subtopic: guilty pleasures.
Essentially the opposite of what I like talking about, guilty pleasures are those little things that EVERYONE has in some form or another that they are quite fond of, but alas, are ashamed for one reason or another to talk about. Maybe it’s because their friends are a group of pretentious hipsters who’ll ditch you for liking something mainstream, or it’s because your friends ARE mainstream and will ditch you for liking something ‘oddball.’ For me, it’s neither. I can’t really pinpoint why my guilty pleasures are my guilty pleasures, but I guess I can attribute some of them to the idea that not many of my friends would see me as someone who buys into half this shit period. Yes, I, who wails on Disney, tells MTV to go to hell, and rolls her eyes whenever some media-standard ‘hot person’ tries to sell me tampons, toothpaste, or deodorant (except the guy on a horse), do, in fact, secretly enjoy some very media-approved films, music, and activities.
Today, I am coming out of the closet. I will state my case and reveal, for the very first time, five of my innermost guilty pleasures that I’m not sure many people, if ANY people, know about. I will say WHY I like them, but I will not make a defensive case FOR them. Just because these media brainchildren indulge my interests behinds closed doors does not mean that I think they’re quality entertainment or intellectually stimulating. You can adore something and still think it’s crap. And some of these guilty pleasures of mine are, indeed, crap.
Oh, and yes, I really like these things. If anyone has a problem with that, then they can go take a long walk off a short cliff.
*Taking a deep breath* Here we go…
1- Biographies and Memoirs of currently-living celebrities. I was one of the first people to jump on the bandwagon and openly express my annoyance that Justin Bieber, who is possibly in the running to set the record as the oldest pre-pubescent superstar in history, was penning a memoir at the age of sixteen. Oh, and a biopic film. I thought that was just ridiculous as hell.
But not every celebrity is a shallow image-riding piece of tabloid-fodder. Believe it or not, some are actually people who think as normal humans do, ans see their job as just that, a job. I know I stated this in my mega rant at Taylor Swift, but that’s something I do admire, and it’s the memoirs of these people, who tell their stories as if they’re telling us about their day around the dinner table, that I just love. Currently I’m thumbing through a chapter a night of John Barrowman’s first autobiography, Anything Goes (It also helps when I love the celebrity who’s the subject of the book. And if I believed in a male god, he would be John Barrowman). Of course, a lot of Anything Goes is the story of his coming-out and his life fighting the anti-gay crap that’s always floating around. But it’s also about his family, his husband, and his dogs! I mean, he wrote a lot about his everyday life, and while that would be boring to most people, I really enjoyed it.
I enjoy a lot of these. You don’t have to be dead to have a great biography. Just have the soul of a storyteller, and you’re good to go. And if you’re a genuinely good actor, you’ll have the soul of a storyteller. Still, Justin Bieber telling us of the infinite wisdom I’m sure he has in his sixteen years is too extremely stupid for even me to grasp.
2- American football. AND hockey. I’m not going to take a long time to justify this one. In my case, it’s really a matter of two worlds colliding. I am an indie artist to the core, and yet professional sports not only entertain me, but my parents were both athletes, my boyfriend is an athlete, and a few of my friends actually watch sports with me sometimes. Football and hockey have been a part of my existence since birth. Its something you would not expect a drama geek like me to enjoy, but I do. And not just for the strapping young lads in tight knickers throwing balls around. Some people would be surprised to find that a lot of thinking and strategy goes into these games. Unlike high school, your standard dumbass wouldn’t be able to make it too far into the pros. I appreciate that sports can, in fact, be an exciting form of entertainment.
I’ll keep watching, and you can’t stop me. So there.
3- 80s and 90s Teen ‘Dramas.’ This applies to both movies and TV serials. In a way, I’m cheating by saying this is a guilty pleasure of mine, because I don’t always take pleasure in watching shows like Saved by the Bell, Beverly Hills 90210, or movies like Teen Witch (all examples, for the record, I find flat-out silly). I watch them more for the fact that every episode is like a bad social experiment I’m trying to unravel. I could write an entire book on how insulting the media is to young adults, and yet the core demographic for these programs and films are the young adults that are consistently mocked and/or overdramatized. The casts mainly consist of middle to upper-class white teenagers from relatively good homes who either set out to conquer the world with their strange quirks and chain pot-smoking, or make their really quite random and/or whiny problems out to be the end-all of existence.
I also like watching the effects these shows have on their core demographic. It’s like a half-hour hypnotizing session you get for free over the airwaves. Shows and films that oversimplify the teenage experience tend to alter the minds of their audience, if they’re aware of it or not, and changes their priorities. For instance, as a twelve-year-old, I thought very little of romance until I was hooked onto That 70s Show, where every teen character was hooking up with one another, and these pairings provided the backbone for most of the plot for the series. After, I couldn’t wait to get a boyfriend. It was all I thought about for a long time. What kind of person would I have turned out to be had I used those formative years of my youth to obsess over something other than the sex I was attracted to? Would I have taken up rocket science? Biochemistry? Law? I guess now I’ll never know.
But for what they’re worth, teen dramas, especially those from the campy 80s and the grody 90s are fascinating (sometimes) and like watching a car wreck. You don’t want to, but you can’t help but stare, and by then, it’s too late. I think now that the nostalgia factor is kicking in with a lot of these, they’ll also take on the fossil effect, making their popularity rise again.
4- Life in a Northern Town (by Dream Academy). This is about as specific as you’re going to get with me on this topic, and here’s why: this song is one I will literally put on Window Media Player in a loop and have it play nine or ten times when I go to sit down and write something. It’s not a particularly incredible song that leaves you in tears, like practically anything by John Lennon, but there’s some quality to the song that I can’t put my finger on that keeps me listening over, and over, and over, and over. And a lot of people have this song, but for most people their repeat song is something more pop-ish, or catchy, or mainstream.
This song is none of those. I can’t even really put a genre to it (um…80s?). It’s something that you’d hear on one of those old ‘Pure Moods’ albums. And I also don’t just put it on for background music. I will sometimes lose track of my writing when the song gets to a particular place and focus just on the song itself, and this will be the fifteenth time in a row without a break I’ve listened to it in this sitting alone. Call me weird, but Life in a Northern Town is just…my song.
But not the remake. For the record, the remake blows.
And, probably the biggest reveal/shock of all..
5- Lady Gaga.Yes, my friends, I am a Lady Gaga fan. Some of her songs, while not necessarily great pieces of music, are highly catchy. But why I’m such a fan of hers is her balls. Yes, my friends, her balls. She’s got guts coming out the whazoo. She’ll put on a suit of red meat and go claim her Grammys. She’ll shoot a music video surrounded by a bunch of half-naked dancing Hitlers. And she does it all to simply be a testament to the weird. She lets the critics step all over her and shrugs them off, because at the end of the day, she does it all for her causes.She’s vocal about her issues and even treats her fans humanely. That’s nothing short of admirable.
The woman has genuine singing talent, as evidenced by early videos of her performing, but she doesn’t let her career unfold through her talent, but her image, which, sadly, is how one gets ahead in the music biz these days. If the just were true and image was nothing and talent was everything, Justin Bieber would still be a nobody, and Clay Aiken wouldn’t have dropped off the face of the planet. But the Gaga is smart and bends the media to her will. And unlike most of Hollywood, she uses her forces for good.
And with that, ladies and germs, is where I leave you. Before this post gets any longer.
Rapunzel is the latest legend/fairytale of old to get the Disney treatment. And, unfortunately, it got the musical treatment as well. As with The Princess and the Frog, Disney decided to give the classic story a not-so-classic twist, attempted to make the female lead a more feminist-pleasing independent character, add music, and pawn it off as the potential beginning of a new Disney Renaissance. The Princess and the Frog failed to do so, and while Tangled (because keeping the original name wouldn’t attract that much-needed-to-succeed male demographic) was a fun little piece of Disney ingenuity, I feel that ultimately, it will go the same route as its predecessor.
This is not at all to say that Tangled was bad or forgettable by any means. It is due more to the fact that Tangled follows a by-now very standard Disney formula that has long since run its course (which is the reason the Disney Renaissance ended in the first place). The Alan Menken-penned musical numbers were relatively forgettable and arraigned in an astoundingly predictable way. You could predict where the love duet would occur, the silly song would pop up, and where the ‘I Want More’ song’s reprise comes in. Disney certainly isn’t one to make too much of a stretch in that department.
And, of course, we have our very, VERY standard death-fakeout towards the end and our deus-ex-machina pulled out of the writer’s touchas that saves the victim (I, for spoilers’ sake, won’t say who it is) followed by the town rejoicing and the lead couple exchanging vows. I have to admit I rolled my eyes and asked whether or not Disney really expected us of the original Renaissance-era to fall for that one for the…um…ninth (?) time. Again, it was clear Disney spent more time attempting to resurrect a bygone era with this film instead of creating a new one.
But…I’m not calling this one a failure. And here’s why:
Again, as with The Princess and the Frog, Tangled made a major effort to make its female heroine an actual self-sufficient, I-don’t-need-rescuing, not-Cinderella-esque archetype. And I feel that Tangled’s effort paid off. Rapunzel was enjoyable, and actually pretty real. I found the typical Disney-sue characteristics in her pretty easily, but they were present in fewer quantities than most of the others in recent past (like, for instance, both of her parents are alive, well, and mentally-sound).
She even reminded me, both physically and in some bits of personality, of my Dungeons and Dragons character J, who has long blonde hair, doesn’t wear shoes, and has a hobby of hitting people over the head (in J’s case, with a mandolin).
*Seriously, do you think I have a chance at a successful lawsuit?*
But, for the record, J is a lot darker and much less plucky than Rapunzel. And she’s in love with a mindflayer.
Also, props for not making the animal sidekicks talk. The little chameleon had spunk without a vocal portrayal, and he had a perfect amount of said spunk, not so little that he was irrelevant and not so much that he was as annoying as Meeko from Pocahontas. Though, the horse named Maximus did give me a rather suspicious memory flashback to Altivo from The Road to El Dorado, and anyone who’s seen both movies are probably nodding their heads in agreement with me right now.
Many of the other characters hold their own as well. The male hero Eugene aka ‘Flynn’ (yes, probably as in ‘Errol Flynn’) is the Disney-standard jerk-at-the-beginning who is reformed upon falling in love with our heroine, but there was still something about him that made me not totally hate him. I loved the little running joke with his ‘WANTED’ posters getting his nose wrong.
The villainess, Mother Gothel, seemed like an, again, less-dark version of the already-established Frollo from Hunchback of Notre Dame. Their stories, according to Disney, at least, did evolve and happen very similarly, and hell, both of them end up dying the same way (I DID say spoilers, after all). Gothel, however, lacked the creative-spins many of the other characters got, and while The Princess and the Frog’s Dr. Facilier made my list of ‘successful’ Disney villains easily, Mother Gothel fell short.
And I will explain my rubric for what makes a successful villain another day.
The story was moderately formulaic, but the little details and jokes made me forget it, and I guess that’s what Disney was going for, so I’ll let it slide this time. Animation was, as usual, impressive. Let’s just pray this one doesn’t fall victim to one of Disney’s infamous make-money-quick, direct-to-video, half-assed sequels written by people commissioned from fanfiction.net.
Tangled is a plucky, cute film to add to the Disney canon. However, don’t expect it to rise to the standards of Beauty and the Beast. If they want to get the edge over Dreamworks again, they’re really going to have to go big or go home. And Tangled wasn’t quite big enough.
But for now, that’ll do, Disney. That’ll do. I’ll give you a B, and I’m a damn tough film critic.
Submitted for your approval is another playlist from yours truly for your enjoyment throughout the week. I know I should post more of these weekly, the semester being over now, but work is going to begin again, and the holidays are fastly approaching (huzzah!). So, you can expect more playlists soon, but probably not until after the new year.
Great songs have great lyrics, but some of my all-time favorites have no words at all. Instrumentals, classic and contemporary, have just as much, if not more potential to induce an emotional response in people. You don’t have the words telling you what to feel. You have to feel it for yourself.
With that said: Seven Kickass Instrumental Pieces (Both Classic and Contemporary), already linked for your convenience/pleasure!
Friday- Destiny’s Path (from the Memoirs of a Geisha OST)- John Williams
Saturday- Carmen’s Overture– Bizet
Sunday– Comptine d’un Autre Été (from Le Fabuleux Destin D’Amelie OST)- Yann Tiersen
Monday– Roxie’s Suite (from Chicago OST)- John Kander/Fred Ebb
Tuesday- Finale (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban OST)- John Williams
Wednesday- Trepak/Russian Dance– Tchaikovsky (go ahead, call me cliché)
Thursday- Mausam & Escape (from the Slumdog Millionaire OST)- AR Rahman
When the phrase “Dungeons and Dragons” comes up, what image comes into your mind first? A strange twenty-sided die or some acne-suffering hermit? Neither should. For the realm of role players is vastly different than that of the stigma society placed upon the subculture of role-players.
Dungeons and Dragons is an example of a table-top role playing game (or RPG) in which a small group of people meet to create characters. It is with these characters that the players then go on adventures, usually as travelers. They are usually at the mercy (or, sometimes the lack thereof) of the leader of this group, or, “dungeon master.” While the core of “D&D” is fantasy-based, role-playing games can manifest in a variety of genres. Some even are based off of pre-existing universes, such as those found in movies or books.
But such an activity has never seemed to enter mainstream pop culture, except perhaps, as one to be ridiculed. It does seem to be, after all, another version of the old ‘make believe’ games everyone played when they were younger. Over time, the media began portraying the game as a juvenile, silly game, and its players as the stereotypical “dorky boy” who would rather slay a dragon than date a girl.
But, in reality, who are these people? Is there truth behind the myths and stereotypes? Who exactly would you find playing Dungeons and Dragons? And, is this subculture that the media presents as an underground group of nerds really so small and underground?
Meg Gresock, an avid player of not only Dungeons and Dragons but other various online role-playing games, explains that in spite of the lackluster reputation, she joins circles for the social experience and entertainment value.
“I’d heard a lot about [Dungeons and Dragons] in high school and on the internet and how much fun it was, but I never played it. Then I came to college and some friends decided to start a game, and I wanted to get in on it to see what it was like,” said Gresock. “And I was definitely not disappointed. It’s so much fun!”
Gresock has encountered some bad assumptions based on the mainstream view of the activity.
“I was talking with someone in a chat room and I mentioned that I played D&D, and the person automatically assumed that I was a boy! When I told her I was a girl, she got confused for a minute, and I think that says it all about what people think about the game and who plays it.”
Another Dungeons and Dragons player, Evian Russo, says that she has come across some negative stigma, but it doesn’t bother her.
“I don’t think anyone who makes fun of D&D players has ever sat down and played the game,” she says. “It’s wicked fun, and from what I see, everyone who gets involved always keeps coming back for more.”
Gresock then went on to explain that she’d gotten involved with D&D partially because of her Aunt’s experience in the past. “My Aunt joined a campaign back when it was still a very new thing, and she loved it.”
Both Gresock and Russo are college-aged women, which would automatically debunk many of the myths on who plays Dungeons and Dragons in the first place. Both women see the activity as a social pastime that is more than meets the eye.
“Yeah, it’s playing pretend in a way,” said Russo. “But isn’t acting the same thing? Doesn’t everyone fantasize? Take your daydreams, add more people and a few monsters and you basically have a circle!”
Gresock saw things a little differently.
“I don’t think of it as just role playing. It takes a lot of problem-solving, social interaction, and some plain luck with the dice to make it far in a campaign. I don’t see how it’s so different from playing Nintendo Wii or poker.”
But where did the outside stereotypes come from? What makes Dungeons and Dragons stand apart from other social activities and the people who partake in them? Coming from someone who also plays in a weekly campaign, there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference. Perhaps American pop culture sees Dungeons and Dragons players as a deviance from the ‘norm’ because it is too afraid to see what would happen if it went mainstream. Or maybe it’s just a matter of the inability to break out of a stereotype that has been laid out for two generations, painting the world of tabletop role-playing as an undesirable social pastime.
“I don’t think setting social myths to a particular pasting is just found with D&D,” said Russo. “I’ve always held the assumption that people who play football are mindless jocks who like partying and having sex. It may not be true, but how do I know? I’ve never been on a team.”
Perhaps it is just a case of close-minded people who fear to wander outside their comfort zone. Dungeons and Dragons players come from all walks of life, and see their situation as social in spite of outsiders’ opinions. They are male and female. Their ages span from young childhood through adulthood and beyond. They look no different than anyone walking on the street, and have just as much of an interest in a social life as anyone else.
“Some of us are quirky, no doubt. But I consider that a plus. I’m proud of who I am,” Gresock concluded.
The moral of the story in this case is to not define a person solely by their interests, and likewise, to not judge an activity based on who you think participates. The only way to truly discover who these dungeon-delvers and orc-slayers are is to take a shot and roll the twenty-sided die for yourself.