Sunday, April 1, 2012

Titans, Wrathful and Otherwise

Based on the previews I was hoping Wrath of the Titans would be a bit better than its predecessor, the 2010 remake of Clash of the Titans. Unfortunately, it largely has the virtues and flaws of the first film. It has a couple of interesting locales (a forest filled with traps and cyclopes, and Tartarus as an ever-shifting labyrinth), but overall it has less spectacle than the "similar in plot but more visually interesting in a stagey way" Immortals (2011).

If you’re looking for rpg inspiration in the area of titans (clashing or wrathful), I’d suggest forgoing all these films and checking out John C. Wright’s fantasy trilogy, "The Chronicles of Chaos" (Orphans of Chaos (2005), Fugitives of Chaos (2006), Titans of Chaos (2007). The series tells the story of five unusual orphans, who have lived their lives as the sole attendees at a British boarding school. It turns out that the five teens aren’t orphans at all, but hostages, securing a truce in the primal war between the Prelapsarian Titans and the Cosmos created by the renegade Cronus. Of course, the teens escape.

The five titan children each wield a different magical paradigm: Quentin practices sorcery and treats with spirits, Colin has the psychic ability to make reality conform to his will, Victor can manipulate matter on a molecular level, Amelia can perceive and tweak higher order dimensions, and Vanity can create doors and has a magic boat. The paradigms (and the paradigms of their foes, the Olympians) act in a “rock, paper, scissors” fashion that is not only clever but eminently gameable.

Wright’s modern world of hidden mythological beings has some resemblance to similar media, but he works with things in fresh ways. Grendel’s mother is the “mother of monsters” Echidna. The master artificer Telchines are more or less robots. The Laegystronians are literally Martians.

While the series seems ready made for something like White Wolf’s Scion (though Wright initially came up with the idea for a campaign in the Amber rpg), there are rich details that could be swiped for almost any game.


Cursed Armada said...

The reviews for Wrath haven't been too kind, but it sounds like it improved somewhat from the first film... I'm still excited to see it. The cyclops, the spinning sword creature, labyrinth, I mean come on it's a guilty pleasure for sure;)

Mark K said...

What is it with films of late? Especially in the fantasy genre - they seem to get slated or just don't cut the mustard. But I suppose it's down to the individual to pay their money, take their chance and decide for themselves.

Dan said...

Love that series of books! Wright does have a few too many philosophical asides, but the books are pretty strong. I'd recommend them to anyone who likes fantasy or steampunk.

garrisonjames said...

Saw Wrath. It was like the game Age of Mythology, only bigger and less satisfying. When did Hades become a simpering, whiny bore? I'd like to see a movie built off of the actual mythology, not retreaded off of some game's reduced/redacted synopses.

You've recommended the 'Orphans' trilogy before, and I've been looking for them at the usual places, so far no luck. Probably just order them online. These books sound eminently much better than the movie.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the Orphans recommendation. I downloaded the Kindle version for my 14 plane ride to Korea.