Monday, May 6, 2013

Review and Commentary of Syfy's "Defiance" episode "A Well Respected Man"

Tonight's episode was one of those where it was almost like a middle of a campaign game adventure.  "A Well Respected Man" sets up a bit of action and interaction between the Mayor and her sister the local brothel/bar mistress. We also get a look into the inner workings of the "town" of Defiance. As well as the city council. ~MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD ~ The plot according to Wiki : 
Nolan intercepts a shipment of weapons being transferred by two of Datak Tarr's men; unknown to both Nolan and Amanda, the town council had made a deal with Datak to arrange for weapons to be delivered to the town after the loss of the shield generator. Nolan's relationship with Amanda's sister Kenya develops, somewhat to Amanda's displeasure. Kenya and one of her girls are kidnapped by Ulysses, the bioman employed by Datak as a prizefighter; he is kidnapping street people and taking them to a human lab technician who is harvesting their adrenalin to use as an illegal drug. Nolan and Amanda clash with Datak to get her back, but he refuses to help; Stahma Tarr suggests to Amanda that she show respect to Datak by making him a member of the town council. With grudging help from Datak, Nolan locates the lab; meanwhile Kenya has realized that her wanderings in a maze, pursued by a Volge, are a virtual reality, escaped and killed the lab technician. Nolan, Irisa and Amanda arrive in time to save Kenya from the bioman. Rafe and Quentin descend into the sealed shaft where Luke had found the strange object, and discover a set of disturbing cave paintings featuring the object. Datak takes his seat on the council and Nolan realizes that Stahma is the more dangerous of the two. 

The episode was more of a bridge gap into the plot to move the action along into the dovetail of the story. There was enough action to keep things interesting and entertaining.  I'm really kinda sorry to see Ulysses The Bioman go. He was an interesting and somewhat unnerving presence in the background. I'd like to know his back story.
Defiance has  very storied female characters. They're intelligent and supportive and every bit as dangerous as their male counterparts. I was kinda hoping that 
Kenya wasn't going to be another "prostitute in distress". The VR harvesting felt interesting but a bit forced. 

Observations from The Sidelines

The House of Datak Tarr's seems to know no bounds or does it. This is a very interesting little family and race. They remind me of Dark Elves minus the bondage, spider demon worship, and actual  strong female dominated households. Heck you could transport them into your favorite AD&D first edition city and bang you have an NPC to work over the best of them. Stahma is truly twisted and I love her dearly as the power behind the throne. Very nicely played little spider queen. 
Amanda and Kenya are really a strange set of sisters and their relationship develops a bit more in this episode as well as their back story. Yeah they would make a fine addition to any Space Western setting or Post Apocalypse adventure. The actresses do a fine job with the material in this episode. 

We are going to be seeing a lot more of the triangle between Nolan, The Mayor, and The Brothel Owner. However my feeling is that we going to watch this propel the plot forward in a way that the audience doesn't expect. Notice the way that the triangle is shaping up. NPC's with these sorts of triangles can drive PC's up the wall. 
 The heart and soul of the subplots of tonight's show were these people. Rafe and Quentin descend into the sealed shaft where Luke had found the strange object, and discover a set of disturbing cave paintings featuring the object.
 The actual reason for this is the set up for the mega dungeon that is Saint Louis itself. There are far more hooks then simply the action and kidnapping that we were as the audience were given here. The mine is about to open into a major part of the show and reveal a few of the mega dungeons secrets. 
Jaime Murray plays Stahma Tarr, "Datak’s beautiful and proper wife"; Julie Benz plays Amanda Rosewater, the mayor of Defiance. I think the portrays were very nicely done. Stahma Tarr looks as if she walked out of a Gamma World or AD&D module critica 1988 or 1990. The ladies are strong and very well done as intelligent women and not simply eye candy.  Even the bar owner/prostitute is by turns vulnerable and fun but there is an element of pain there as well. 

Using The Episode "A Well Respected Man" For Your OSR Game 

The real star of tonight's episode was actually the town of Defiance itself. The last two episodes have been revealing more and more secrets of the town and the former city of Saint Louis itself. There are layers and layers of this place to explore. The mine offers some possibilities for a template for running an OSR game of your choose. 

 Each episode we get a small slice of the life of this post invasion world. Another minor reveal that will figure into the plot of the next episode. This approach works well for a game like Mutant Future where a long range campaign comes into play. There's also the various levels of poverty and depravity that draw the viewer as well as party into it.
 Television show reminds me of the town of Dollar from Gamma  World Module "The Delta Fragment . A fully developed town that PC's are going to want to dive into again and again. 
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One could think of this episode as an exercise in how to develop a well thought out town, flesh out the NPC back stories, and keep the action moving along with creating a nice temporary location to center the action in.

In this case the downed alien carrier that is now doubling as the adrenalin lab and harvesting location. 
I'd definitely say that the show is a perfect template for creating your own PA town or location that will have the PC's coming back for more again and again. 

This guy has me really curious now. 

 Take A Look Right HERE  For The Official Site 


  1. I'm still not sure how I feel about Defiance yet, but I keep watching.

  2. I'm enjoying the hell out of the series but this isn't a world that I want to game in though. Use as a template sure but not adventure in. I'll keep watching as well.
    Thanks for the comment Trey. Got lots more coming up.


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