Sunday, January 2, 2011

Review: Black Adder - Series 1

New Years was quiet for me and my household. I celebrated by watching Black Adder Series 1. I've seen this series in bits, but had never sat through it before. Staring Rowan Atkinson, this is in my opinion one of the best comedies to come out of Britain.

Set in the era of King Richard III, Atkinson's Prince Edmond is always scheming to worm his way into wearing the crown. His plans are grand, but always prone to failure. He tries to be evil, and names himself "The Black Adder"; however, he is less evil then cowardly. One of the best of the six episodes of series one, has the Black Adder appointed to the position of the Archbishop of Canterbury, where he finally earns some respect from his father by convincing dying nobles to leave their lands to the crown instead of the church. The problem is, the archbishops keep getting assassinated. He is motivated not by love for his father, but from love of keeping his head where he likes it, upon his shoulders. The clip provided is from that episode and is titled "Why Hell is Good".

While watching this, I imagined how much fun it could be to introduce a foil to my players based upon Prince Edmond. He wouldn't of course be too dangerous, more of an annoying splinter, that tries to snare the characters in his diabolic, yet insipidly stupid, plots. The trick with my group would be in not annoying them to the point that they simply off the poor bastard. Such an NPC would have to be used sparingly, and it would have to be plain that simply killing him would make more powerful enemies, so it would be best just to avoid his plots, which shouldn't be too hard, but amusing to do so. There is dice energy somewhere there. I shall have to think on it.

It serves as an example of never quiet knowing when and where inspiration can hit for a good gaming element.

If you've never watched this series, please, for your own sake, do so. It is available for streaming from Netflix. Highly recommended.

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