I’ve raved here before about The Power Lords action figures from the 1980’s, they were probably some of the most bizarre action figures of that decade and that’s exactly why I needed them all!! Finally someone thankfully uploaded one of the vintage TV commercials that got me all revved up as a kid and I’m starting to think I need to hunt all these down again for myself! The Power Lords weren’t very well known and that’s probably because these action figures were creepy as fuck!
As a kid even I was a little off put by them in the best way possible-I mean the hero of the power lords is Adam Power a decent looking gentleman until he turns into a blue skinned, black eyed, veiny super powered weirdo!! Check out these classic adds, I’ve gotta say I love that animated sequence it opens with, if only they had a full on animated show back then!! Damn!
Now THAT’S what I call some cool action figures!! I must admit I had He-man go up against the Power Lords many times and Adam Power always won, then of course they teamed up and took on Skeletor & Griptogg!! Check out this awesome video to get a full on look at how cool the Power Lords mythos really was!!
It’s really no surprise that The Power Lords were created by Wayne Barlowe who gained a cult following for his book “Barlow’s Guide to Extraterrestrials” way back in 1979. It contains his visualizations of different extraterrestrial life forms from various works of science fiction, with information on their planetary location or range, biology, and behaviors, in the style of a real field guide for animals, such as Roger Tory Peterson’s guide to birds of North America. I may have to hunt down this book too while I am at it!! Barlow has also worked on creature designs for movies like Pacific Rim, Blade II, Both Hellboy movies, Avatar & The Hobbit!
So I arrived at my weekly D&D session this last sunday, ready to play a brand new adventure, stepping down from the throne of being the Dungeonmaster & eager to finally play a game as a PC! As I entered the room I saw the usual suspects getting the table set up for the first night of the new game, however something was different, there were four Ipad/tablet stands set up on the table in from of each seat where there might usually be some folders a stack of papers and some players handbooks, monster manuals etc. At first sight it kinda shocked me but then I quickly realized my group had decided to make the tech savy switch from the middle ages straight into the modern world!
I had sat down with my stack of papers and newly hand drawn pictures of my character, the rest of the group said “Check out this app we are using for d&d now it’s amazing!” they all began to show me their characters, all neatly on their Ipad screens and I’ve gotta say it was quite impressive. No more pencil scribbles, wine stains or candle wax upon a weathered piece of paper. Press the tabs on the screen and it tells you all you need to know, instantly calculates your hit points, heck it even rolls a dice on screen for you when you press a tab! The next question was “are you gonna bring your Ipad and get this App or what?!” I responded that I spend enough time as it is looking at computer screens, smart phones and my Ipad at home that I wasn’t quite ready to integrate it into my world of D&D just yet!
So what’s the damn problem huh?! Should I just drop this old school pen and paper attitude already?! Get with the damn times with my D&D? I mean, does anyone even use pen and paper for table top RPG’s anymore?! Do people even roll real dice? The last game I DM’d I had a giant stack of papers, and a ton of books piled around me! It was a frantic scene of animated movement as I paged through books checking rules while role playing all the NPC’s like a damn madman! So now our new DM is equipped with an Ipad and stated the fact that in this day and age you don’t even need books to play the game anymore. It’s true, but part of that make me a bit sad in a way. There’s something quite charming about the old school pencil and paper game, where you might have to add and subtract on a piece of paper, erase some stuff with a rubbery eraser or write down your new magic item with a page number next to it.
In a way it feels like the only way to play for me, I almost imagine myself transported back to 1970’s when the game had some mystery behind it still and the religious fanatics thought it was causing people to worship Satan. But It clearly ain’t the 70’s and I suppose it’s only a matter of time before I get on the ol’ Ipad bandwagon and bring my trusty hi-tech tablet along to the game of swords & sorcery. Paper books are surely on their way to becoming extinct, all music now is downloaded, comics are headed to digital downloads and let’s face it there a motherfuckin’ “app” for pretty much anything and everything you can imagine these days. For the mean time, I know I’m dying breed of D&D player, a bit like I’m actually living in the dark ages and for the moment i’m going to relish in it, but man I gotta admit those Ipad apps sure do look slick…now if I really wanted to be shocked I guess I could have walked into this: