Thursday, May 9, 2013

R.I.P. Ray Harryhausen (June 29, 1920 to May 7, 2013)

I don't play a whole lot of Dungeons & Dragons for three reasons. First, I seldom can find a game that works with my schedule. Second, there are other fantasy role-playing games I think are much better. But the primary reason is that most D&D games seem to be set in knockoff Tolkien worlds full of enigmatic elves, subterranean dwarves, and furry-footed hobbit ripoffs. I'm not a huge fan of that setting. Not because I dislike Tolkien; I enjoyed The Lord of the Rings (although I find The Hobbit unreadable). It's because I was much earlier in my life drawn into a more exciting, more fantastic setting: the world of Ray Harryhausen's Sinbad movies, as well as (to a lesser extent) Jason and the Argonauts and other films he worked on. In particular, I'm a big fan of The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger. That's the setting I want to adventure in! A fantasy version of Arabia and the Mediterranean, full of evil wizards and enchantresses, rocs and cyclopes and golems, sword-wielding skeletons, sea voyages, and comely maidens portrayed by the likes of Caroline Munro and Jane Seymour! What's not to love?


How could anyone look upon these images from various Harryhausen films and not be inspired to play a fantasy role-playing game set in the world depicted therein? Now, who wants to roll up some characters and venture forth to rescue the wizened caliph's beautiful daughter who was abducted by a roc on orders from a wicked sorcerer?

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