B-Movie Inspiration: Island of Terror

I was browsing social media when I ran across a picture posted to a group dedicated to the old sci-fi media magazine Starlog. 

It was a creature from some old movie that resembled a bulbous starfish with a single tentacle jutting out is front.  Immediately drawing me in, I had to do some research to find out where it came from.  This creature was a Silicate from a movie called Island of Terror,  a 1966 British horror film starring Peter Cushing, Edward Judd, and Carole Gray.  I am a huge fan of Peter Cushing movies and this was a good example of an imaginative gem that probably flew under the radar for many.

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

Most of the movie takes place on a remote island called Petrie’s Island, off the east coast of Ireland.  We learn in the first act that the island does not have phones to the mainland and limited means to reach it via boat.  It is a very isolated community of farmers and fisherman.  We first observe some scientists lead by oncology researcher Dr. Lawrence Phillips as they work on a cure for cancer in a secluded castle laboratory on the island.  It is during their conversations, these scientists mention their other co-workers in Japan – a plot plant for later.  Something catastrophic happens in the lab and it fades to black.  Later on the island, bodies begin to turn up.  They seemed to have died horrifically as every bone in their bodies was liquified.  The island’s physician – Dr Reginald Landers (Eddie Byrne) – ends up recruiting two London scientists – Dr Brian Stanley (Cushing) and Dr. David West (Judd) to help solve the mystery.  Along with them is the wealthy jetsetter Toni Merrill (Carole Gray).

Once back at Petrie’s Island,  the helicopter used to reach the island must return to the mainland for plot reasons, leaving the group effectively stranded on Petrie until the helicopter or a boat can return. West and Stanley learn of Dr. Phillips work, paying a visit to his lab. This reveals that Dr. Phillips and his colleagues are dead and boneless as the other bodies.  From Dr. Phillips’ research notes, the protagonists learn that in his quest to cure cancer, they may have accidentally created a new silicate based lifeform.

The creature now obliquely revealed, we begin to see more and more islanders killed.  In each case, we hear a strange alien sound and see a tentacle take out each. Eventually dubbed silicates by the heroes, we learn that they kill their victims by injecting a bone-dissolving enzyme into their bodies as part of their feeding process. The silicates are very resilient and incredibly difficult to kill.  Landers fails to kill one at the castle with an axe when they first encounter them and later try to kill them as they approach the village, with bullets, gasoline bombs and dynamite with no effect.  Additionally, these creatures  divide like cells every few hours and the heroes determine there could be thousands or more on the island before too long.

In the scenes that follow, we see the creatures in the forests and in the fields, slowly crawling towards to the village seeking food. These scenes were pretty good considering the period, but I could imagine what they could do today with something like this.  In these shots, they may have been 4 or 5 on screen at one time but to really get the horror, I wanted to see dozens moving frantically seeking food.  As you can imagine for the period, they were like little slugs crawling along the ground at a very slow pace.  However, there were some cool moments as they revealed the creatures could climb trees and drop down on victims.

Finally, one silicate turns up dead, apparently after having ingested a dog that was contaminated by a rare isotope called Strontium-90 from Phillips’ lab.  This may have been vaguely implied at in the beginning, I am not sure.  It did seem out of nowhere to me.  The heroes hatch a plan to gather more of this isotope at the castle and contaminate a herd of cattle, setting a trap for the hundreds (look more like dozens) of silicates that are now on the island.  This in the long run  succeeds, of course, with a few harrowing moments among panicking townsfolk trapped in the town meeting hall while the creatures attack from all sides.

The story ends with evacuation and medical teams coming to the island and the heroes realizing how fortunate they were that this outbreak was confined to an island.  Planted earlier in the movie, this sets up an epilogue of the movie – a visit to the satellite programme in Japan.  The scientists there are attempting to duplicate Phillips’ work with the inevitable result.  It ends with a scientists entering a room, you hearing the familiar sound of the creature, and a scream.  Fade to black.

The theme of this story is a standard science gone wrong trope.  It’s one of my favorites to use in my sci-fi and pulp horror games.  These stories are born of man’s hubris and arrogance that he alone is master of the cosmos and science is the means to master it.  I am using this in my current con Reich Star campaign (Man in the High Castle meets The Expanse).  It also had a Lovecraftian feel to it, given the setting and the type of creature.  For budgetary reasons, these creatures were a little disappointing, but my mind simply goes to what they could have been with the right budget and today’s special effects.  Todays practical effects alone could make these things terrifying.  Adding in a little CGI, and these things could be awesome.  I love a good monster movie.  A monster movie with tentacles and you will have me watching from beginning to end.

I love the isolation aspect of this.  This can easily be “survive the night” type one-shot adventure in any horror, sci-fi or fantasy setting.  Some scientist or wizard messing around with the wrong things only to open a gate into another realms of strange creatures that devour your bones (or some other aspect of your body).  The inspirations are fairly obvious.  Any island or island-like locations would do.  In sci-fi, it could be an asteroid colony.  This is the perfect pulp horror story, easily insertable into a game like Call of Cthulhu.  In fantasy, it could be anywhere.  Isolation is quite common in fantasy.

The creature itself could be anything but I like the creepiness of this particular creature. I would even use the sound they used in the movie if I could isolate it on my phone.  I would add more tentacles just for effect.  I would also alter the mitosis process to add a little more horror to it but the ticking time-bombs aspect to that would remain.  It’s all a ready-made adventure waiting to be exploited in a role playing game setting.

The one thing I would change is probably the final solution as it seemed more coincidental than anything.

MACE West 2020: Food Options

The hotel food service will be setting up a concession stand with some drinks, snacks, Ice Cream, Hot Dogs and a few other things during the weekend.

Mace West Concessions Feb 2020

We can also still bring in our own food. And Friday’s will be giving the Discount on food if you show your badge again as well. See everyone on Friday!


MACE West 2020

February 28-March 01 2020
Gaming in the Mountains!
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Asheville - Biltmore
Asheville, NC
https://macewest.justusproductions.com/

 

MACE West 2020 Featured Tabletop Game: Berd

MACE West 2020 is proud to welcome Michael Mikaelian and his game Berd.  He will be demoing his game most of the weekend as open demos in the Gallery.

 

About Berd

The “Berd” is an ancient word that stands for a fortress or prison. The goal of the game is to collect the most tokens of any color by the end of the game. Playing pieces in the Berd game have ability to attach/detach to each other. That allows players to move a stack of tokens like a single unit and split the structure when needed. Using interlocking blocks players can create towers and a certain type of tower – Berd has unique properties that make this game special.

The design of the game is specially made simple underlying an easy and logical concept of the game. However the Berd is a serious game and players have to think strategically to win. Also, the board without a theme allows to play many different Berd games.

The board of the Berd game has a shape of a square castle from top view. In fact the starting/finishing corner squares were designed larger for accommodating four stacks of tokens. Berd game can be played by two and more players. The game set includes two different games and over six game variations for each game. Berd game can be setup in few seconds. Duration of any option of the Berd game depends on how many tokens are played. So players can set up a rapid game of 10 minutes or a long game of 90 minutes. The Berd game for two players may last less than 5 minutes. Berd game can be adjusted for luck and strategy. By employing more tokens in the game it becomes heavier in strategy.

Berd game perfectly fits for tournaments because players can accumulate tokens (or points) in series of games with different players. The interlocking blocks in the “Berd” game are made of high quality ABS plastic with thick walls, so they can last forever without wearing and breaking. The Berd game is ideal for educating children, especially when using value assigned tokens. The game can also help developing strategic thinking.

 


MACE West 2020

February 28-March 01 2020
Gaming in the Mountains!
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Asheville - Biltmore
Asheville, NC
https://macewest.justusproductions.com/

MACE West 2020: Star Wars X-Wing

MACE West 2020 will host to a X-Wing Miniatures (2nd Edition) casual play and demos Saturday night and Sunday afternoon (and more if there is demand and room).  Bring your X-Wing minis and compete with the best that MACE West has to offer.  If there is enough interest, a pick-up casual tournament can be organized and prizes can be obtained.


Demos and open play will take place Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.  Sign up for on OGRe.  You must be registered for the MACE West to participate.


About Star Wars: X-Wing

Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game is a tactical ship-to-ship combat game in which players take control of powerful Rebel X-wings and nimble Imperial TIE fighters, facing them against each other in fast-paced space combat. Featuring stunningly detailed and painted miniatures, the X-Wing Miniatures Game recreates exciting Star Wars space combat throughout its several included scenarios. Select your crew, plan your maneuvers, and complete your mission!  Whatever your chosen vessel, the rules of X-Wing facilitate fast and visceral gameplay that puts you in the middle of Star Wars fiercest firefights. Each ship type has its own unique piloting dial, which is used to secretly select a speed and maneuver each turn. After planning maneuvers, each ship`s dial is revealed and executed (starting with the lowest skilled pilot). So whether you rush headlong toward your enemy showering his forward deflectors in laser fire, or dance away from him as you attempt to acquire a targeting lock, you`ll be in total control throughout all the tense dogfighting action.  Star Wars: X-Wing features a number of unique missions, and each has its own set of victory conditions; with such a broad selection of missions, only clever and versatile pilots employing a range of tactics will emerge victorious. What`s more, no mission will ever play the same way twice, thanks to a range of customization options, varied maneuvers, and possible combat outcomes. Damage, for example, is determined through dice and applied in the form of a shuffled Damage Deck. Each time your fighter sustains a hit, you`ll draw a card that assigns a special handicap. Was your targeting computer damaged, affecting your ability to acquire a lock on the enemy? Perhaps an ill-timed weapon malfunction will limit your offensive capabilities. Or worse yet, your pilot could be injured, compromising his ability to focus on the life-and-death struggle in which he is engaged…  The Star Wars: X-Wing starter set includes everything you need to begin your battles, such as scenarios, cards, and fully assembled and painted ships. What`s more, Star Wars: X-Wing`s quick-to-learn ruleset establishes the foundation for a system that can be expanded with your favorite ships and characters from the Star Wars universe.

 


MACE West 2020

February 28-March 01 2020
Gaming in the Mountains!
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Asheville - Biltmore
Asheville, NC
https://macewest.justusproductions.com/

MACE West 2020: The Midnight Worlds RPG Playtests

MACE West 2020 is proud to host a soon to be kickstarted RPG called The Midnight World.  Find it on the schedule both Friday and Saturday night, GM’ed by Corby Stroud.

About The Midnight World

ROLE-PLAYING DREAD

The Midnight World is a narrative driven horror role playing game focused heavily on mounting anxiety and tension…that creeping dread you experience when you know something terrible is hiding somewhere just out of sight.Like other entries in the horror RPG market, The Midnight World seeks to tell grand stories of mind-cracking terror. Unlike those games, which tend to focus on the big flashy moments at the beginning and end of a story, The Midnight World tries to digs its claws into the stories that happen between, around, after and before them.

LIVING WITH THE MEMORY

Every Player Character in The Midnight World has had a brush with the terrifying creatures across the Twilight Veil. They all live every day with the awful memory of that event, and the heart-crushing anxiety that it might happen again.  Memory plays heavily into The Midnight World’s mechanical system. Character creation is based off of each character’s recollection of their own dance with cosmic horror. The way they recall that event provides the framework for their abilities, skills and backstory.  The character creation process can take as few as a couple of minutes, using pre-generated memory blocks, or the player can meticulously craft a memory and character sheet based on their desires.

THE 11TH HOUR

Just as the minutes constantly slip away in real life, the pendulum of The Midnight World’s clock swings steadily and without pause. Hour by hour, the hands creep towards their apex. Once it has been set in motion, there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it. The Midnight World’s system is designed to replicate the feeling of constantly creeping tension, of building pressure in your skull that must eventually rupture. When the clock chimes Twelve for you, will it be a relief or just some new kind of horror?


MACE West 2020

February 28-March 01 2020
Gaming in the Mountains!
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Asheville - Biltmore
Asheville, NC

MACE West 2020: Savage Saturday Night

MACE West 2020 is proud to host anther Savage Saturday Night! This event presents Savage Worlds in a variety of different settings, some run by a number of professional game writers the game line.  SAVAGE SATURDAY NIGHT will take over the RPG room at 8 pm! A regular tradition at MACE West.

See schedule on OGRe. Search SSN tag for these games.

You must be registered for MACE West 2019 to participate.

About Savage Worlds

Savage Worlds is a generic role-playing game and miniatures wargame written by Shane Lacy Hensley and published by Pinnacle Entertainment Group. The game emphasizes speed of play and reduced preparation over realism or detail. The game received the 2003 Origin Gamers’ Choice Award for best role-playing game.


MACE West 2020

February 28-March 01 2020
Gaming in the Mountains!
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Asheville - Biltmore
Asheville, NC

MACE West 2020: D&D Adventurers League

The MACE West 2019 D&D Adventurers League schedule is posted.  Here is the list of scenarios.  See OGRe for complete schedule.  You must be registered for MACE West 2019 to participate.

D&D AL Scenarios

D&DAL Scenarios (2 hrs)

DDAL 00-11b When the Debt Comes Due (Pipyap’s Guide)

D&DAL Scenarios (4 hrs)

CCC-FC3-03 Tales of Estirwald: The Fun House
CCC-MACE-01-01: The Blight of Geoffrey
CCC-MACE-01-02: A Panthers Peril
CCC-MACE-01-03: Haunted Memories
CCC-MACE-01-04: Blights End
CCC-SAC-02 Fun With Fey
DDAL 00-10 Trust and Understanding
DDAL 00-11a Reunited and It Feels So Good (Pipyap’s Guide)
DDAL 00-11c I’ve Seen Fire and I’ve Seen Pain (Pippap`s Guide)
DDAL 00-11d – The Love Triangle Contract (Pipyap`s Guide)
DDAL 00-11e A Fire Grows in Cania (Pipyap’s Guide)
DDAL 00-11f Twice as Nice for Half the Price (Pipyap’s Guide)
DDAL 09-02: Stopped at the Gate
DDAL 09-03: Hungry Shadows
DDAL 09-04: Day of the Devil
DDAL 09-05 Faces of Fortune: the Story of Fai Chen
DDAL 09-06 Infernal Insurgency
DDAL 09-07 The Diabolical Dive
DDAL 09-08 In the Garden of Evil
DDAL 09-09 Ruined Prospects
DDAL 09-10 Tipping the Scales
DDAL 09-11 Losing Fai

About D&D Adventurers League

The D&D Adventurers League is an ongoing official organized play campaign for Dungeons & Dragons. It uses the fifth edition of the Dungeons & Dragons rules, and features the Forgotten Realms setting. You can play D&D Adventurers League games at any place that features adventures bearing the D&D Adventurers League logo. You can create a character and bring that character to games anywhere D&D Adventurers League is supported.

Most D&D Adventurers League games are public, in-person play events. Typical venues for these events are game and hobby stores, conventions, and public-accessible game day events.

See more about the D&D Adventurers League


MACE West 2020

February 28-March 01 2020
Gaming in the Mountains!
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Asheville - Biltmore
Asheville, NC

MACE West 2020: Asheville Historical Wargamers!

The Ashville Historical Wargamers will be running a wide array of miniature war games.  They are on the OGRe where you can register for them.  You must be registered for MACE West to participate.  The games they are running include the following…

Friday 2-6pm

Barksdale’s Charge 2nd Day of Gettysburg (Rules: Longstreet)

25mm American Civil War How will you do in The grandest charge ever witnessed by mortal man? The Mississippi Brigade will try to break the Union Army. Join Mike Pfanenstiel as he recreates this momentous action at Gettysburg.

Infinity The Game Demos

28mm Sci fi Skirmish

Infinity the Game is a uniquely interactive 28mm sci-fi skirmish game featuring a cyberpunk background, anime aesthetics and an optional, fully developed tournament system now in its eleventh year. If you’d like to try this challenging but fun system just swing by our table at MACE West at the times listed, first-come first-served. The demo will be set up to accommodate one or two players at a time, typically takes from 30 to 45 minutes and is generally suitable for gamers 16 and up (though a particularly mature younger teen should also be fine.) Hope to see you there!

Friday 7-11pm

Veni, Vidi, Vici (Rules: DBA 2.2)

15mm Ancients

The Gauls think they can thumb their noses at the Roman Empire? Ceasar isn’t going to stand for that. Limber up your sword arms and prepare to unleash the flaming pigs of war as Alan Williams takes us back to 58 B.C. for Romans versus Gauls using DBA Big Battles.

In Space No One Can Hear You Scream (Rules: Core Space)

28mm Sci fi Skirmish

Core Space is a science fiction miniatures board game. Each player takes control of a band of Traders trying to make a living in a dangerous galaxy, all the while hunted by the Purge, a semi-sentient race of humanoid machines whose sole task is to harvest worlds.

Saturday 9-1pm

2nd Battle of Narvik (Rules: General Quarters 3)

1/1800 WW-2 naval

Royal Navy and Kriegemarine destroyers fought a bloody but inconclusive battle for the important port of Narvik on April 10, 1940. Three days later the Royal Navy destroyers returned to settle matters…and they brought some help.

Shattered Crown (G.U.A.R.D.S. Gaddis Universal Assembly of Rules Data System)

28mm Alt. History

Saturday 2-6pm

There will be no turning back (Rules: Altar of Freedom)

15mm American Civil War

The first battle in the Overland Campaign and the first clash of Generals Grant and Lee, the Battle of the Wilderness in May 1864 ended in a bloody stalemate. Take on the role of Grant or Lee or one of their subordinates and see if you can do any better in the tangled woods of Central Virginia.

Shattered Crown (G.U.A.R.D.S. Gaddis Universal Assembly of Rules Data System)

28mm Alt. History

Saturday 7-11pm

I’ll be Your Huckleberry (Rules: Gunfighter’s Ball)

28mm Western skirmish

Gunslingers ball is a fast paced Wild West miniatures game using 28mm miniatures. The game features random activation using a deck of playing cards and percentile dice for shooting. Each player will control 2 lawmen, desperados, cowboys, bandits, or cowgirls. Come shoot it out in wild town of Deadwood.

Infinity The Game Demos

28mm Sci fi Skirmish

Infinity the Game is a uniquely interactive 28mm sci-fi skirmish game featuring a cyberpunk background, anime aesthetics and an optional, fully developed tournament system now in its eleventh year. If you’d like to try this challenging but fun system just swing by our table at MACE West at the times listed, first-come first-served. The demo will be set up to accommodate one or two players at a time, typically takes from 30 to 45 minutes and is generally suitable for gamers 16 and up (though a particularly mature younger teen should also be fine.) Hope to see you there!

Sunday 10-2pm

Death in the Monkey Temple (Rules: Bloody Pulp, Homebrew)

28mm Action Adventure Skirmish

Join the cast in filming a 1930’s movie serial. Episode 12: Death in the Monkey Temple! The temple sits on a hill in the lost valley of swambu. You and your merry band of adventurers must discover it secrets or die. Along the way you can rewrite the script and name of the movie, not mention fend off Jaguar Men and gyrocopter flying, machine gun toting nuns! Bring your own popcorn.


MACE West 2020

February 28-March 01 2020
Gaming in the Mountains!
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Asheville - Biltmore
Asheville, NC
https://macewest.justusproductions.com/
 

MACE West 2020: No Ordinary Gamers (NOG)

James Doster and his team of NOG (No Ordinary Gamers) cultists will be attending MACE West with their huge array of board games and card games.  Expect a wide variety of Steve Jackson Games, CMON, and AEG.

 

Games include…

Azul
Cards Against Humanity
Cthulhu Dice
Dice City
Dice Heist
Drinking FLUX
Dungeon Mayhem
Epic Spell Wars
Fluxx the Board Game
Give me the Brain
Istanbul
Kill Dr. Lucky
Munchkin
Mystic Vale
Ninja Burger
Ogre
Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu
Potion Explosion
Raise Your Goblets
Red Dragon Inn
Sagrada
Santorini
Space Base: Command Station
Splendor
Stuff & Nonsense
Tak
The Captain Is Dead
The Captain is Dead: Forbidden Planet
Victorian Masterminds
Villainous


MACE West 2020

February 28-March 01 2020
Gaming in the Mountains!
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Asheville - Biltmore
Asheville, NC
https://macewest.justusproductions.com/