Sunday, February 19, 2017

Commentary On Cult Classic Movies, Gamma World 1st Edition Legion of Gold, & The Android Conspiracy

I've been thinking about & mediating on Gamma World first edition's Legion of Gold, why? Because last night I settled down with a favorite Curt Russell film with my dad, Soldier from 1998. The film was a commercial flop but its been fodder for gaming for my group for years.When I got back to Connecticut & worked in a Block Buster for awhile, Soldier was on the rotation for a Saturday night rental.

The basic plot is classic 90's action movie sci fi fodder here's the break down according to wiki;

"In 1996, as part of a new military training program, a group of orphaned infants are selected at birth and raised as highly disciplined soldiers with no understanding of anything but military routine. They are trained to be ruthless obedient killers, and all those considered to be physically or mentally unworthy are executed. The survivors are turned into impassive dedicated fighting machines with no exposure to or understanding of the outside world.

In 2035, at the age of 39, Sgt. Todd 3465 is a hardened veteran and the best soldier of the original 1996 infants, but his unit is challenged for replacement by a superior unit. Colonel Mekum, leader of the original project, introduces a new group of genetically engineered soldiers, designed with superior physical attributes and a complete lack of emotion, except complete aggression.
Captain Church, the commander of Todd's unit, insists on testing the new soldiers' abilities against his proven older ones. A new soldier, Caine 607, easily defeats three of the original soldiers, but Todd gouges out Caine's eye before he seemingly dies when he falls from a great height; the body of a dead soldier actually cushioned his fall, and he is simply stunned and knocked unconscious. Mekum orders their bodies disposed of like garbage, declaring them obsolete, while the remaining older soldiers are demoted to menial unarmed support roles.
Dumped on Arcadia 234, a waste disposal planet."
Seems like a straight up balls to the walls action film doesn't it? Not so quick, Todd & co. are just the sort of faction one might see in classic Gamma World in Dragon magazine. In fact, the film is deeply connected with Blade Runner;"Soldier was written by David Peoples, who co-wrote the script for Blade Runner. Peoples considers Soldier to be a "spin-off sidequel"-spiritual successor to Blade Runner, seeing both films as existing in a shared fictional universe.[4] The film obliquely refers to various elements of stories written by Philip K. Dick (who wrote the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, on which Blade Runner is based), or film adaptations thereof. A Spinner from Blade Runner can be seen in the wreckage on a junk planet in the film" 

Is Arcadia 234 actually Earth? In Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Earth is one huge junk pile of stuff & mankind has moved off the planet. The androids lack empathy & almost but not quite seem sympathetic within the novel.  Within Gamma World first & second edition the androids are a major faction of villains implied in the game's timelines.  So are the androids actually behind keeping Gamm erm 'Old Earth' in a continuing technological dark age?

Larry Elmore II Gamma World

The cybernetic entities of  Gary Gygax's Legion of Gold are the main villains & motivators for many of the adventure's plot elements. Its an interesting old school Gamma World romp and a classic.

"There is much to worry about in the mutated world of the future, but Baron Jemmas, Warder of Horn, has more on his mind than most. In recent weeks several of the outlying towns of his Barony have been wiped out by a band of mysterious golden marauders.

These creatures struck from nowhere and vanished without a trace when their deeds were done. The Warder has decided that they must be stopped before the entire Barony of Horn falls beneath their onslaught, and so he is offering a great reward to anyone who can defeat the Legion of Gold."
Thanks to Wayne's Books for the Gamma World reference.

But could the android conspiracy also be behind the events of Thundarr The Barbarian's world as well? Let's see some of the evidence. According to Mind Menace Mindok episode a full conversion cybernetic body was built in less then twenty four hours by a group of Nasa super scientists; this leads to the conclusion that cybernetics was very common two thousand years ago before the world was cast into ruins. John Kenneth Muir's Reflections On Cult Movies & Classic TV notes;"
In terms of 1970s allusions, the giant robot that Mindok utilizes to capture the scientists n this episode also has a more-than-passing resemblance to the police robots of George Lucas’s work of art, THX-1138 (1971)." That's a fantastic comment that stirs a dungeon master's imagination.

What were these cybernetic entities doing opening gate ways into space time? Summoning 'the Old Ones', opening a dimensional route for conquest, looking for alternative dimensional energy sources or all of the above. I'd say all of the above. They've turned the Earth into one vast junk world perfect for dungeon crawling & exploring  the ruins. Thunddar's world always reminded me of A. E. van Vogt 's  Empire of the Atom & The Wizard of Linn.Where a royal mutant child is given the education of a cleric of the Gods of The Atom. Here the technology borders right on magic & these novels are way ahead of their time. The Earth as junk yard dungeon planet sounds like a place that just might be a step away from the Boreas winds. More as this develops.

This post is not an attempt to violate the copyrights or trademarks of any 
of the films nor properties named in this post. All ideas are for a 
private table top rpg campaign. None of the ideas or opinions expressed 
in this post are meant to violate the trademarks nor copy rights of any 
of the table top rpgs discussed nor are they in away responsible for the
 thoughts or opinions of the author. The writing, ideas, and opinions 
are copyrighted and trade marked to the author and Dark Corner 
productions. This post is for entertainment & educational purposes 

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