A barbarian warrior watches his village get wiped out by an evil horde. Years later, having gained strength, power and cunning through thievery and hard work, he returns to enact his vengeance. One basic plotline, two great movies, both classics in their own right. This week: Conan the Barbarian and The Beastmaster.

There are just too many great fantasy films! Last time, I had to leave out two of 1981's great films - Dragonslayer and the immortal Excalibur. This time, there are four classics, but I don't have to decide because you've decided for me. This week, by popular demand, we'll explore the legendary Dark Crystal.

Microsoft today announced that the "Twilights Gleaming" event is now underway in the dynamic world of Asheron's Call. Two towns on the once peaceful Isle have been destroyed at the hands of an evil entity once thought to be vanquished. Unleashed magic forces reduced the towns of Arwic and Tufa to smoldering ash and a third town, Cragstone, has been badly damaged. New and veteran players alike are invited to take up arms against the evil that threatens the very existence of Dereth.

They say that being married changes you. One of the little changes that I have experienced since marriage is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. My wife is a fanatic for the show. I had never watched it, but now she has me absolutely hooked. She is still much more the addict than I could ever be, but I have to admit that I look forward to every new episode. It was her intense love for everything Sunnydale that led me to buy the new Buffy boardgame for her.

Terry Gilliam's romp through time with some little people is one of the most memorable fantasy films of all time, helped along by a solid cast (including cameos from Sean Connery and John Cleese). Better still, the time-travelling dwarves are a great place to grab ideas for a one-night gaming session, or a full-blown year-long campaign...

It's been almost 5 years since I've purchased a D&D rulebook, so it was a big deal for me to finally buy a copy of the new Player's Handbook. My reaction upon diving into it for the first time was a mixture of excitement and disappointment...

What makes a good role-playing adventure? The same things that make a good fantasy film. Maybe "good" is a strong word to describe this first installment of Fantasy Films 101, but "fun" is certainly acceptable. Hawk the Slayer is a ton of fun at a party, and a great place to rip off a plotline for a night of slaying bad guys.

And no, I'm not talking about the "rabbit out of a hat" magic, or the inspirational feeling that washes over you when you see a sunset for the first time. No. I'm talking about unadulterated, "rip up that Chaos Orb and shove it up your ass" Magic.

Is there a "chain-mail" link between fantasy Role-Playing Games and fantasy films? I certainly think so - at least in one noteworthy case. And that link becomes obvious when you take a closer look at the 1980s, a decade of Reaganomics, Rubix Cubes, Role-Playing and Really good fantasy flicks...

What's wrong with Online gaming? Online gaming seems to have less of a role playing element when the creation of the game concentrated too much on user interface and realism. I've had the opportunity to play Everquest some more to back up this point. While the system itself and the world created are nicely done, the lack of roleplaying and character depth is evident.

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