7 Religious Characters Who Aren’t Crazy Sep21

7 Religious Characters Who Aren’t Crazy...

Last week, we listed the religious villains who are crazy and terrifying because of their fanaticism. But today, we’re talking about the characters we love who demonstrate a peaceful, loving faith in a deity beyond their understanding. I love it when faith is depicted as something that real, logical, and smart people choose, despite opposition from society. 1. Leliana, Dragon Age As a member of the Chantry and worshiper of the Maker, Leliana is devoted to her faith. In the first game, you have the option to make fun of her faith or support it, but she remains true to her religion whatever you do. She’s also a wise, useful party member and plays a pivotal role in Dragon Age: Inquisition as the Inquisition’s spymaster and adviser. “In the cloister, away from the fuss and the flurry of the cities, I found peace. And in that stillness, I could hear the Maker.” —Leliana 2. Suvi Anwar, Mass Effect: Andromeda Suvi is a scientist and a believer in a higher power, a combination you don’t see often in science fiction. It’s refreshing hearing her describe science as bringer her closer to something greater than herself. She’s willing to logically discuss her faith if you don’t agree with her, and appreciative if you do. “I’ve had to defend what I believe so often and I have to admit, I’m a little tired of it. Whenever I meet someone who feels the same, or just understands, I really appreciate it.” —Suvi 3. Shepherd Book, Firefly Shepherd is a refreshing type of science fiction missionary, because he doesn’t try to force his faith on others and isn’t a fanatic. He’s simply present, caring for the crew as he can, and he even struggles with his faith and morals as the crew of the Serenity encounter...

Where Are the Sick Characters in Pop Culture? May18

Where Are the Sick Characters in Pop Culture?...

As someone who struggles with a chronic illness, I can’t always relate to my fictional superheroes. Thor’s abs and Wonder Woman’s stamina never give up, after all. The heroes are almost always strong, beautiful, and not sick. If a character with an illness or chronic pain does show up, they’re often a weak link for the hero to save; their illness is mentioned once as the butt of a joke; they’re useless until they’re healed; or they’re only there to provide inspiration for the hero’s journey. These tropes are frustrating for those of us who face sickness every day in a society that doesn’t know what to do with us. But sometimes I come across characters who represent accurate struggles of being chronically ill. Here are some of my favourites: 1. Remus Lupin, Harry Potter Lupin doesn’t consider himself a worthwhile member of society because that’s what the world keeps telling him. For example, as soon as word gets out that he’s a werewolf, he has to vacate his position as a Hogwart’s professor in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban because people don’t want him teaching their children, even though he is safe as long as he drinks his potions. J.K. Rowling has stated that Lupin’s condition is meant to mimic the stigma of blood-borne diseases. His fear of accepting love is a very real thing people with chronic conditions face daily. “‘I am not being ridiculous,’ said Lupin steadily. ‘Tonks deserves somebody young and whole.’ . . . ‘But she wants you,’ said Mr. Weasley, with a small smile. ‘And after all, Remus, young and whole men do not necessarily remain so.'” —Harry Potter and the Halfblood Prince 2. Izumi Curtis, Fullmetal Alchemist Edward and Alphonse’s alchemy teacher, Izumi is a tough, stubborn, ...

10 Female Video Game Characters Who Aren’t Objectified...

Sex sells, which is why video games have a history of objectifying female characters. Many games also feature women with little to no autonomy—think of the princesses Peach and Zelda, waiting in their respective castles for the heroes of plumbers and time to rescue them. They are often stereotypical in their roles—soft-spoken healers who care for the emotions of the party, only there as a side character or love interest. But female, playable characters with three-dimensional personalities and backstories, those who are not objectified for their body types, are gaining momentum in the video game industry. Here are some of our favourites: 1. Chell — Portal Chell is a silent protagonist and, as a test subject, she is physically fit but her jumpsuit is not designed to look sexy. You learn about her, not through dialogue, but by your unrelenting attempts to escape and GLaDOS’s responses to your actions. In the Portal 2: Lab Rat comic, her file says: “Test subject is abnormally stubborn. She never gives up. Ever.” We love that her stubbornness is built in as a function of the game. “The female protagonist of Portal remains fully clothed, from head to knee, throughout the entire game. Moreover, her gender is not used to sexualize the shooter, or market it to horny teenage boys, in any way. No, the hero of Portal just happens to be a normal-looking and normal-dressing woman, like 50% of the world’s population. Imagine that.” —Charlie Barratt “The Top 7 Lazy Character Cliches” (GamesRadar) 2. Aloy — Horizon Zero Dawn Aloy doesn’t deny her femininity to be strong. She isn’t crude, arrogant, or violent to overcome being a woman in a man’s world. She isn’t searching for a male figure to date or marry either, and isn’t consumed with the desire...

Lacking Faith in Science Fiction...

One the biggest differences between science fiction and fantasy is how religion is treated. In fantasy, there are robust faith systems where the gods who interact with people and their organizations do both great or terrible things; there is often an acceptance of these deities within societies. This is my case for calling Star Wars a science fantasy rather than science fiction because the Force has true power, its followers live good lives and society recognizes it as significant, even if some people disagree with the Jedi mandate. The Death Star was science perfected, but Vader could still Force Choke an admiral over vid-call. Religion had power. In science fiction, however, religion is usually treated with scorn, particularly in the face of science. The crew of the Enterprise meets many new people and many different faiths; often religion is failing or abusing those people, and the crew uses science to help them. Science is also king in Mass Effect. The Reapers aren’t out for blood until a society becomes scientifically advanced enough to start using Mass Effect relays and access the monoliths. In response, the first Reaper arrives and uses something called ‘indoctrination’ to twist and control people and begin killing others. Through indoctrination, Saren is converted to their cause and tries to undermine the Alliance and keep them from mounting a defense against the Reapers’ return. Science and faith don’t have to be in direct opposition. Some people respond to the Reaper invasion by saying it is the judgment of God, and they are laughed at or mocked. Faith as a response to the Reaper invasion is faced with extreme criticism, though one of the Normandy’s crewmembers, soldier Ashley Williams, does profess a faith in God and Commander Shepard is given the opportunity...

The FANtastic Geek Gift Guide Nov25

The FANtastic Geek Gift Guide...

Christmas is coming, folks. And we know gift shopping can be a hassle. What to get your geek buddies that they don’t already to have? What to ask for because no one knows what to get you? We did a Gift Guide to Geek Art already, but thought you might be on the lookout for other ideas too. We did the research for you and have compiled a guide to satisfy every fan’s dream. For the Anime Enthusiast We know RWBY‘s not technically an anime because it’s American; calm down, folks! Calm down. Also, our Small-size editor’s wanted that Attack on Titan hoodie for a long time. Just sayin’. Attack on Titan Hoodie – $34.99 RWBY Ruby Figure – $34.95 Works of H. Miyazaki – $188.99 Crunchyroll Subscription – $6.95/month Princess Mononoke Art Print – $28 Eevee Earrings – $13.16 For the Tabletop Titan No one can understand why the board game organizer is so awesome unless they are a board gamer. Escape: The Curse of the Temple – $70 Dice Bag – $9.95 RPG Dice Set – $9.98 Dungeon Master Screen – $15 Board Game Organizer – $15-$50 King of Tokyo – $39.99 For the Comic Cavalier Marvel’s taking the Star Wars universe to great places… need we say more? Plus some other cool stuff. Star Wars Comics – $4.99 Inky Superhero Art – $30-$75 Superhero Fingerless Gloves – $25 Nimona Graphic Novel – $15.99 Ms. Marvel Comics – $2.99 DC Comics: A Visual History – $35 For the Fantasy Fiend That handmade Falkor, though! Lindsey Stirling album – $9.99 Elf Ear Cuffs – $27.75 The Name of the Wind – $10.79 Handmade Falkor – $131.83 The Grisha Trilogy – $36.53 Game of Thrones Dog Tag – $14.99 For the Sci-Fi Supporter The closest you can get...

I Tried, Shepard

When the Illusive Man shot himself near the end of Mass Effect 3, it was an oddly emotional moment for me. He was the dark reflection of Commander Shepard; dedicated, smart, and determined. Shepard was on the side of the angels, seeking the good of all life in the galaxy. The Illusive Man wanted to protect human kind above all and dreamed of homo sapiens as preeminent in the galaxy. In the end, he failed and his last words were, “I tried, Shepard.” Then he shot himself in the head. For a moment, I contemplated his life—his achievements, the compromises he’d made, the depths to which he had sunk, and the heights to which he could have ascended before I returned to the mission at hand (the galaxy needed me, after all, I couldn’t just sit there mourning his death forever). Long after the final credits rolled, my mind kept wandering back to the Illusive Man. Certainly, Martin Sheen’s voice acting gave the character gravitas, but my fascination went beyond just enjoying a good performance. The Illusive Man is an intriguing, complex character. It would be easy to write him off under the category of “does evil in the name of a greater good.” Except that his goal had nothing to do with the greater good. He started from a wicked premise and followed his goals relentlessly. History pretty much proves that my way isn’t always the right way. The Illusive Man founded a pro-human terrorist organization called Cerberus. Using his personal wealth and companies he created, he sent operatives on missions to advance his humans-first agenda. He was willing to sacrifice lives to achieve his ends, pursuing his goals without compromise. The government condemned his group as terrorists. His followers—people who believed humanity had...

Play D&D with Mass Effect Characters Sep01

Play D&D with Mass Effect Characters...

It’s the Mass Effect/Dungeons and Dragons crossover you’ve been waiting for! Perhaps you’ve always wanted to roleplay as Garrus Vakarian, or perhaps you only want to be inspired by Jack’s character with this build and her personality. Whatever the case, I’ve put together some build suggestions. These characters are all Level 10. Jack – Wild Magic Sorcerer Human, Chaotic Neutral Background: Criminal AC: 12 (15 with mage armor) Hit Points 70, Speed 30ft. Stat Block: STR 9 (-1) | DEX 15 (+2) | CON 17 (+3) | INT 11 (+0) | WIS 9 (-1) | CHA 19 (+4) Skill Proficiencies: Deception, Intimidation, Stealth, Arcana Equipment: Boots of Haste, Ring of Spell Storing Notable spells known: mage hand, thunderwave, crown of madness, shield, hold person, levitate, counterspell, fear, dominate person, telekinesis, hold monster, Urdnot Wrex – Berserker Barbarian Half-orc, Chaotic Neutral Background: Pirate AC: 17 (unarmored defense) Hit Points 100 Speed 40ft. Stat Block: STR 25 (+7) | DEX 15 (+2) | CON 18 (+4) | INT 8 (-1) | WIS 8 (-1) | CHA 10 (+0) Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, Perception, Intimidation, Survival, Animal Handling Equipment: greataxe, handaxes, Belt of Fire Giant Strength, Bracers of Defense Battle Techniques: Rage, Frenzy, Relentless Attack, Brutal Critical Thane Krios – Assassin Rogue High Elf, Lawful Neutral Background: Acolyte AC: 16 (studded leather) Hit Points 50 Speed 30ft. Stat Block: STR 8 (-1) | DEX 18 (+4) | CON 8 (-1) | INT 11 (+0) | WIS 14 (+2) | CHA 16 (+3) Skill Proficiencies: Perception, Insight, Religion, Acrobatics, Deception, Stealth, Sleight of Hand Equipment: longbow, hand crossbow, dagger, Boots of Elvenkind, Bracers of Archery Battle Techniques: Sharpshooter, Sneak Attack (5d6), Assassinate, Infiltration Expertise Samara – Oath of Vengeance Paladin Half-elf, Lawful Neutral Background: Sage AC: 20 (plate armor and shield) Hit Points 80 Speed 30ft. Stat Block: STR 18 (+4) | DEX 10 (+0) | CON 14...

To punch or not to punch...

Punishing bad guys is the staple to most video games, and for good reason. After all, who doesn’t feel satisfied after sending Bowser hightailing it away, destroying Ganondorf  by using his own magic against him, or giving Sephiroth what for? These games appeal to the desire to right wrongs and to give the villains what they deserve. I want to bring justice to my wounded hero, naturally. The Mass Effect series has some impressive dialogue and morality options (yes it is unfortunate that you have to choose mostly Paragon or Renegade options to get the most out of the game, but I won’t get into that here). I like getting to make my own mistakes and deciding whether I want to punch someone in the face or not, rather than watching the hero commit to actions beyond my control. As such, I get to choose (to an extent) how to carry out justice as Commander Shepard. Many scenarios in the Mass Effect games require choices that affect later outcomes, and a lot of those choices involve dealing with injustice. How I go about doing something is just as important as the end it accomplishes. Is it the “right” choice, for instance, to kill the Rachni Queen on Noveria, or to let her go? The rachni are incredibly dangerous and previously hostile, as proven from the Rachni Wars. The queen’s offspring had just rampaged through Rift Station, slaughtering a lot of people, and you don’t know if she is telling the truth that she wasn’t behind the attacks. Would killing her be just? On the other hand, the scientists on Noveria had trapped her and used her children in an experiment, and if she is telling the truth, she had nothing to do with the murders. Maybe...

Unlikely Friendships that Should Have Been Feb05

Unlikely Friendships that Should Have Been

We all know (and love) the many friendships that are exhibited within a variety of shows: Han and Chewy, Frodo and Sam, Mega Man and Rocket, Blanka and your face, you get the idea. But sometimes those friendships are just not enough and we need to reach outside their respective genres for the friendship matches made in heaven. Here are our top 10: Calvin & Chewbacca “You know, Chewy, some days even my lucky Millenium Falcon underpants don’t help.” Hermione Granger & Twilight Sparkle They’ll form a group called S.B.E.W. (Society for the Bookworms of Equestria and the World). Edward Elric & Gimli Sometimes dynamite comes in small packages and can explode at anytime, especially if you mention anything about being short. Tony Stark & Tali-Zorah “Testing rocket boots, Day 11, Test 37, Configuration 2.0. For lack of a better option, Tali is still on fire safety.” Arya Stark & Toph Beifong We just want to see these two take on an army together. Master Chief (John-117) & John the Baptist “But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, one who wears the spartan helmet of salvation and wields the energy sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Sephiroth and Scar Scar would get some much needed perspective—“You wanna be king of a rock? Well I wanna destroy the world with a giant meteor”—and Sephiroth can stop being jealous that he doesn’t have a pet lion like the other side. Mal Reynolds & Doctor Horrible So Doctor Horrible can’t be friends with Captain Hammer, but he can darn sure be friends with Captain Tightpants! Caprica Six & Seven of Nine Separated from the hive collective with a strong desire to gain some form of humanity. It’s kind of true for both. Although Seven of Nine definitely has better taste in men. Jayne Cobb & John Casey “Do you know what the chain of command is? It’s the chain I go and get to beat you with until you buy this washing machine.” Certainly we missed a bunch. Which unlikely friendships would you...