Thursday, October 25, 2012

In Praise of Arnold's Conan

I hereby go on record as saying that I loved, and still love, the 1982 film Conan the Barbarian.

I didn't at all like the sequel Conan the Destroyer. But the original, while blissfully ignorant of the corpus of REH's work, was a stirring romp with wonderful cinematography, outstanding music, and a great performance by James Earl Jones. Treat it on its own terms, and it's a terrific film. Big, broad, and fun. Don't try to analyze it in the context of the original REH stories. That's not what it is, or what it's supposed to be. It's its own thing. Embrace it as such, and you might find you like it.

So, when I heard the news that a final installment of the series, The Legend of Conan, was in the works, I was cautiously optimistic. Would it be the incomprehensible mess that the second film was? Or would it be akin to the serious, but not ponderous (in the way that the second half of Excalibur is ponderous), first film? Time will tell. As long as it's not like the Grand Theft Auto-esque remake from last year. That would well and truly suck. 

13 Days of Halloween: Day Seven


RESTLESS SPIRIT

FREQUENCY: Rare
NO. APPEARING: 1-6
ARMOR CLASS: 3
MOVE: 9”
HIT DICE: 8
% IN LAIR: 25%
TREASURE TYPE: E
NO. OF ATTACKS: 0
DAMAGE/ATTACK: Nil
SPECIAL ATTACKS: See below
SPECIAL DEFENSES: See below
MAGIC RESISTANCE: Standard
INTELLIGENCE: High
ALIGNMENT: Neutral evil
SIZE: M
PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil
Attack/Defense Modes: Nil

The restless spirit is a form of non-corporeal undead who died with some great task left unfinished. They are thus doomed to wander the mortal plane for all eternity. As with all undead, they are immune to all mind-affecting magic and cold, and can only be harmed by weapons bearing an enchantment of +2 or better. Holy water causes them 2-7 points of damage per full vial that hits them. The restless spirit does not attack in the conventional sense; each possesses a special attack, often somehow related to either their mode of death or the unfinished task that prevented them from moving on to the afterlife.

These special attacks can take many forms, and the specifics are left up to the individual game master to decide. They can influence the mind (causing insanity, for instance), the body (paralysis, aging, loss of attribute score), or their environment (animating objects, causing heat or cold, etc.). Clerics can turn them as special undead creatures.

Restless spirits appear as translucent images of their living selves. Contrary to folklore, completing the unfinished task of a restless spirit will not put it to rest, and may even enrage it, reminding it of what it was unable to do in life.