Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Greatness of the Game of Thrones Dragons




I was talking to a friend the other day about fantasy TV and movies and one of the things that came up was dragons - mainly how poorly done dragons have been in most TV and movies yet they are somehow still cool. The outcome of this was that dragons Game of Thrones has really amped up the presentation of dragons over the last few seasons, to the point that I think it has the best dragons ever presented on film.

Warning: There are many spoilers and many pictures in this post. If you haven't seen seasons 6 & 7 and want  to enjoy them naturally, do not continue. 


Think about the major movies that have used dragons in some important way. I can think of four main movies:

  • Dragonslayer (1981) - Vermithrax is pretty well done and appropriately impressive in size and violent capabilities but is limited by the technology of the time, mainly that its glory shots are all done in stop motion animation. Now I grew up on this kind of thing but my kids just laugh at it and it does detract just a little bit from the spectacle. 
  • Dungeons and Dragons (2000) - This terrible movie, the first with a shot at CGI Dragons, did nothing to make dragons more impressive. After Jurassic Park I know my own hopes were high, and they were dashed pretty quickly. Lots of dragons in the finale, but all of them look terrible.
  • Reign of Fire (2002) - It's not a great movie to me, but the dragons are almost right. I initially thought it was the design here, where they don't have forelimbs, just wings and back legs like a bird, but I think it's that they are too skinny - altogether it just puts it "off" some for me. The D&D'er in me says they're big wyverns, not dragons. 
  • The Hobbit (Desolation of Smaug - 2013) More than a decade after the D&D movie and done by the team that did the Lord of the Rings movies you would think the dragon would be the showpiece of the trilogy. Sadly, you would be wrong. Smaug in these movies looks so cartoony I thought it was some kind of joke in the theater. "Underwhelmed" is the nicest way I can put it. Sure, he thrashes Laketown nicely but the wyrm himself ... sigh. 
Honorable Mentions:
  • Smaug in the animated Rankin-Bass Hobbit movie is really cool. That cat-like face really sells that he's something different than just a big animal and the fire spiraling around him and the screen in many shots almost makes it seem like he can control it. He's just more magical, more of a fantasy creature, then the later movie version we saw. 
  • Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty - so much scarier, meaner, evil looking than a lot of the presentations over the years. 
So Dragons have been ... iffy ... over the years as far as being fearsome magical fantastic beasts, at least in movies and TV. 




 Game of Thrones has completely overcome this and set a new, much higher standard. Daenerys has three dragons who started out as eggs, then hatchlings, then dog-sized, then horse to elephant-sized, and in this last season or two are finally the awesome army-smashing beasts they should be.

The first time we see one in action is Season 5 episode 9, "Dance of Dragons" - The Queen and her companions are trapped in an arena as a rebel faction that dislikes the changes she has been making seize this moment to try and assassinate her. It looks pretty grim - then she closes her eyes and seems to be concentrating and then we get that awesome moment with fire, a roar, and an angry dragon making his entrance ...


Even here he's say elephant-sized. Big enough to ride but not humongous. It also demonstrates that they can be hurt by weapons, at least a little. He gets hit by several spears and clearly feels them but they don't really seem to slow him down. It's a great scene and marks the emergence of the dragons as an actual, not just a theoretical, threat.

The next time we see them in a glory segment is in Season 6, episode 9 "Battle of the Bastards". Everyone remembers the other big fight in this episode but the dragons get a nice sequence here where everyone learns that wooden ships are not a great weapon against fire-breathing opponents,


This is the kind of stuff we didn't see as much in the early seasons of the show. It's the kind of thing that makes it a fantasy show and not an alternate medieval history series.



The next big scene for them is in  "Spoils of War", Season 7 episode 4 where we learn that supply trains and foot armies are vulnerable to even a single dragon - oh, and a screaming horde of barbarians.


It's just spectacular.


They're huge, they're terrifying, they're nearly invincible ...


Even a hero can have a hard time facing one down:


The whole thing is just really well-done.


Sadly, they are not invulnerable, and about the time they start fighting, you know they're going to get hurt. Mortal opponents and weapons seem to be painful but not all that dangerous to them. Then, they had up north for the first confrontation with the Night King in a sort of Black Hawk Down scenario.



The white walkers have been really well done here too. Also - flaming swords! In combat! Plus an undead polar bear attack! It's a great episode. So much more fantasy than most other shows or even movies ever get too. Easily the best look and best story and characters since Lord of the Rings.


Surrounded and facing the ultimate bad-guy-lich-thing of the setting, what do you hope for?


Air Support!


Look, fire breath works just as well on the undead as it does on the living! All 3 dragons are in full action here, flying and flaming. Unfortunately for our heroes, the Night King knows about dragons and is not without a means to deal with them.


It's a shocking moment as the dracos have been unstoppable so far on the show,  It's sad, amazing, and one of the highest and lowest points on the entire series to date.




Even more amazing, you know it's not going to end there. I mean, he animates the dead, you know?



To conclude: Game of Thrones is an amazing show and has only gotten better over time. These last few seasons, the last two in particular, have really turned it into an epic fantasy show with dragons, undead, giants, magic weapons, and barbarian hordes fighting knights ... it's just the most fantasy thing on TV now or ... really ever. It's just spectacular. The dragons are at the heart of it, awesome and inspiring - as they should be.

Monday, October 9, 2017

The New Campaign or "What do you do with an entire Saturday Free?"



Lately my group had been in a low spot as far as RPG activity - schedule changes and conflicts meant we had not been able to gather for a few weeks for Star Wars or anything else. I'm still getting in 40K time with Blaster but RPG time had really died off. I'm not part of the cult of "The Busy" that loves to go on and on about how they don't have time to do anything and wear it like a badge of honor - I actually do get annoyed when everything else gets in the way of fun time - but it's something we all deal with at some point.

Miraculously the schedule wheels aligned and we discovered that I, Blaster, and Paladin Steve all had Saturday free of all obligations. We realized we would easily have a nice 10-12 hour window. Naturally we started figuring out what we could do. Now we don't lack for campaigns around here - see sidebar at the left - but each of those is tied to a certain group of players. Still ...

  • I looked at Mutants and Masterminds but none of my college players were free and I didn't want to split the campaign or spend a bunch of time making new M&M characters. 
  • I considered trying out the new V&V game but I didn't want to burn this rare opportunity on a new game. 
  • Considered Champions for about 30 seconds - again, do not want to start a new system and campaign and make characters in a fairly complex system.
  • Marvel Heroic was on the table but I really wanted to do something different given a big block of time like this.
  • We talked Runequest briefly - I just wasn't feeling it and wasn't sure I had the right material for an extended session anyway. That's something I need to revisit.
  • 3rd place went to Savage Rifts. Dave wasn't available or we probably would have done Deadlands and I like Savage Worlds so this seemed like an option but I want more players for the Rifts kickoff.
  • I really really dug into my ICONS material. It plays fast, it's a lot of fun, and just generally fits our style. Plus it has been quite a while since we played it. In the end I went a different direction - ICONS is a great game for smaller windows so I decided to save it for one of those - but I do at least have an outline now for an extended ICONS run using a mix of published stuff and homebrew fun. ICONS was the runner-up /Plan B
  • I started looking at D&D 5th edition and getting that going again but the unavailable Dave was a pretty big part of that group too and had never played through Keep on the Borderlands which is what we are doing there. So what to do?

Well, what the heck - let's start a separate 5E game! Instead of old school sheets/roll up your stats/play in Greyhawk we will go new school modern sheets/point buy/run it in the Forgotten Realms. I've read thru most of the new 5E adventure books and I really liked Storm King's Thunder so let's do that! Why do I like it?


  • It has an option to start at 1st level or at 5th level. We ended up going with 1st but I like that they presented the option.
  • I like giants in D&D. They can be just big bags of hit points if that's all you want or they can be as interesting and complex as any fantasy race/
  • Its not a linear, world-saving plot. It's a regional issue. It makes a fair amount of sense. They included a flow chart! Yes, a visual layout of how the different parts of the adventure relate to each other! In a published adventure this kind of thing is tremendously helpful when trying to actually run the damn thing.
  • Big chunks of it are optional. See that map up there? All of those red pins represent a location that is discussed in the adventure. It may only be a paragraph noting some interesting geographical feature, an organization, a monster, or some NPC's tied to that place but it means the entire region has things to do, things to explore, and people and groups to interact with that may not have anything to do with the main plot of the adventure. Even within the main plotline there are optional pieces. It's really flexible, far more so than most other published adventures by design and I like that. 
  • I like the area. The northern end of the Sword Coast, or "The Savage Frontier" is one of my favorite areas of this setting and the prospect of running a campaign here looks like a lot of fun.
So that's what we did and ended up going from 1st to 3rd in this one session. It was tricky with just a few days prep but then again it is D&D and I've been doing that for a pretty long time.

The other new wrinkle was that Paladin Steve's 10 year old has been wanting to play and has gotten his feet wet with some Pathfinder games at home and so we had an eager new player joining us in this one. More on this and the particulars of the session later. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Inevitable Star Trek Discovery Post



So, Sunday night we got new Star Trek! That's a good thing right? In the past that's mostly been true I would say. This time? Well ...

Short version: I liked it more than I expected but not enough to sign up for their service.

There's a lot of mixed good and bad in this show, even in the first episode so I'll try to break it down like that:

  • The look of the thing:
    • It does seem like a post-Enterprise show, an evolution of that as far as the bridge and the uniforms and the ships. That's cool.
    • Good lord has the JJ Abrams approach been smeared over that in huge buckets. There was so much lens flare that Apprentice Blaster and I were laughing out loud in the first few minutes once they were on the ship! It's either an over-the-top joke or someone really took offense to the criticism of it from the movies. 
  • The cast and crew:
    • Michelle Yeoh as the captain is the single best thing about the show. With her billed as "special guest star" I'm pretty sure she's making her exit rather quickly but in this first episode ... I'd be a lot more interested in watching more if I knew she was the captain for the duration.
    • The first officer -  she neck pinches her captain and tries to fire on the Klingons? And everyone is OK with it? This is after she kills the first Klingon anyone has met in a century?How did she get to be a first officer? I know she had what she thought was good information but if she was also supposed to have been raised on Vulcan ... I'm just not sure that the character makes sense.
  • The story:
    • I think there's a lot of potential there. A reawakening Klingon Empire led by a sort of fundamentalist charismatic leader should make for an interesting antagonist. I also didn't hate the new look of the Klingons as much as I had expected too based on the previews. 
    • Once again, "formerly well-known hostile race hasn't been heard from in 100 years so who knows what they might do" - yeah we've seen that before. Can't do first contact with the Klngons because they did that in Enterprise. This is where doing a post-Voyager show would open up a lot of story options compared to another prequel series. 

So I don't think it's a disaster. It does make an interesting contrast with TNG as a relaunch of a once-popular show years after the last run. Especially since I've been watching that series again with Blaster on Blu-Ray. There is a lot more of the high-minded Federation in that pilot and early shows but here they do at least acknowledge that the Federation doesn't fire first.

Despite this cautiously positive first impression I'm not going to be seeing the rest of it, at least not for quite a while. Yes - now we get to the unavoidable "method of delivery" debate. I understand what they're doing - if you want to really launch a new service then you need a high profile flagship show to do it with and they've chosen Star Trek for that role. It's perfectly logical and understandable.

That doesn't mean I have to go along with it.

It's not even really a financial call. It's what, $7 a month? I spend more than that on lunch on a weekday.

Star Trek has always been on free over the air TV. The original airings and the re-runs have always been pretty freely available. If they were moving it to another delivery channel because they wanted more creative freedom - say HBO - then I could understand that and even get on board with it.

But I've seen nothing about that.

All I have seen are comments about using it to promote CBS All-Access. That's great for the people who own Trek, potentially, but does it make the show better in any way?

I can't see how.

I'm not angry about it. I've seen the flamewars on social media where super-invested fans take it as a personal affront. That's not me at this point. I'm looking at it as "that's fine, you go do your thing over there and I'm going to go do my thing over here and maybe every once in a while I'll check in and see what you're doing.

Also, I'll be watching The Orville. Because while Blaster and I were dying during the pilot even my wife was laughing, and she is not a Trek fan at all! So I have 5 more seasons of TNG to watch with my kid, then we'll probably go back and watch DS9 as well, plus we have a Trek parody show that's current, and then maybe I'll check in again on Discovery.

Friday, September 22, 2017

40K Friday - Daemons!




In addition to the chaos marine deluge I mentioned last time I also decided to start building up my chaos daemons. I'm not just looking at them as summoned reinforcements for the marines - I decided to make them a full army as well.

The first rush was Khorne - a trio of Bloodthirsters, an outrider detachment of flesh hounds, and a battalion of Bloodletters + Skulltaker + Heralds + Bloodcrushers.

I also was looking to expand my Slaanesh force beyond Keeper + Daemonettes + Seekers but that's proving tougher to do. Mainly because I got sidetracked by Tzeentch options and ended up expanding my horrors and screamers first. I actually had more Tzeentch stuff than Slaanesh, so I picked up a metal Fateweaver and made it into a real force.

Nurgle is still an aftethought. I have a unit of plaguebearers and a beast and an old Great Unclean One that I am using as a daemon prince but that's about it.

Expansion-wise my biggest obstacle is that I have a bunch of old metal stuff and it's way more expensive to build out those 14 metal daemonettes to say 20 or 25 than it is to just buy 10 of the plastic ones. I finished out my metal bloodletter units and my metal horrors but it does slow things down.

Force-wise I then decided I needed more shooting and some heavier units in general. Lesser daemons and heralds just aren't taken as enough of a threat - I needed something besides the greater daemons. So, I added three Soul Grinders. Right now I think one of them will be for the Tzeentch force and two will go into the Khorne army. That puts the red-colored army up over 3000 points and the blue/pink army up over 2000 so that's a pretty solid start. Next project is to finish out Slaanesh acquisitions and then decide if I want to make Nurgle an equal partner in all of this.

Actual-play-wise I have not yet used them in a fight but I hope to rectify that this weekend.

  • I know Fateweaver is overcosted but I like what he can do and I'm not taking Magnus in a daemon army. If I just really hate him in play he can always be demoted to a regular Lord of Change.
  • I see very little chatter about soul grinders online. They are one of the daemons' few sources of long range firepower and one of the other fairly tough melee units as well after greater daemons and daemon princes. They do have a split role in a game that favors specialists but I would argue that they are good at both roles, unlike a fair number of generalists. regardless, I'll be trying them out for myself.
  • Most of my troops units are on the smaller side and they tend to get bonuses for having 20+ models. That will be an experiment for the future. I'll be happier adding on to them after getting in a few games first. 
Next week: Death Guard!




Thursday, September 21, 2017

Imperial Injury Assessment


Stay vigilant, Guardsman!
What should you do if you are shot? While the superiority of Imperial tactics ensures that battlefield injuries are rare, you may, through carelessness, find yourself shot on the battlefield. In this case, it is absolutely imperative that you do not waste your medic’s valuable time or distract your fellow guardsmen with exhortations of fear or panic. 99% of battlefield injuries do not require immediate medical attention* – if you find yourself shot, consult the following flowchart to seek other courses of action before wasting the valuable time of your betters.
HaveYouBeenShot-Flowchartv2
There you have it Guardsman – there’s no need to make a fuss. Following this procedure could save your life!**
* In 98% of cases this is due to immediate death.** Or, at the very least, some time.

Appropriated from here because I really liked it.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Comic Catch-Up




Last year I felt like I had let my superhero/comic book interests drop off too much so I resolved to dig back in this year. I've never been a guy with a bunch of subs at the local comic shop but I've made some effort to keep up with what was going on. The electronic age has made that much easier with the online option but I had let even that go. No longer!

One thing I wanted to do was read all of Astro City, from the beginning, in order. I've liked everything I've seen from the line so via the nice collected editions out there in the world I have been catching up. Slowly, but catching up. I like it enough that I want books in my hand, not pixels, and I've been very happy with this. If you haven't read them then I'd say take a look at the first volume, "Life in the Big City" and that will give you a pretty good idea of what it's about.

Second, I decided to dive into current DC with "Rebirth". I'm just getting started so I'll have more to say down the road but it seemed like a good place to jump onboard.

Finally with Marvel I've been looking at classic stuff - mainly Avengers and Iron Man - but my next round is the Dan Abnett Hercules book from a year or two back. I've heard good things about it and hopefully I can add to them in the near future.



Monday, September 18, 2017

RPG Update



Around here RPG time has been somewhat difficult to come by but over the summer I have managed to run some 5th edition and some FFG Star Wars. I like the FFG game enough, though I am still thinking other systems might be better for certain types of Star Wars games I want to run. My players seem to like it so that counts for a lot. Deadlands and M&M have gone on hold for now.

The list of reasons is varied: high school football games, moving Apprentice Twilight off to college, con prep, medical issues for some players, Apprentice Blaster getting his first job,  hurricane impacts on player families - we've covered a lot of unusual ground this year alongside the usual stuff. Everyone is still interested, but getting 3-4 of us together has been a challenge.

In the meantime I've been filling in some things I missed in Pathfinder, 5th edition,  and M&M. The expectation is that I will get to use them at some point in a real game - hopefully sooner rather than later.

I have not finished reading Starfinder yet - I'll have at least one post on that when I am though.

I've picked up some boardgames as well and I may have something to say about those if I can get some playing time in with them.

Anyway the blog is a little slow but I will pick things up the rest of this month.

Friday, September 1, 2017

40K Friday Returns! 8th Edition Update



8th edition has been going really well here. We've played 1000, 1500, and 2000 point battles. Apprentice Red has played a little bit with his Orks. Apprentice Blaster is focusing exclusively on his Space Wolves. Apprentice Who has joined the fray with a new Tyranid army. One of Blaster's friends has joined in as well with a new Tau army too. I've built some ruins for a new city board - haven't painted them yet but I've built them!

I'm going with  a new policy on this edition as well: I'm getting all of the codices as they come out. We play most of the armies anyway in our little group so why not? I have Space Marines and Chaos Marines already and I'll be adding Grey Knights in the next week. It's not cheap but this has really turned into our main (if not only) miniatures game so why not go all-in?

Army-wise for myself it's been chaos chaos chaos! Mainly Iron Warriors but with a healthy side order of Khorne daemons and World Eaters. In June I was scattershooting all over the 40k universe, picking up a unit here and a unit there for a bunch of different armies - Chaos, Blood Angels, Dark Angels, Orks, Eldar. I decided this was just going to lead to a bunch of half-finished armies competing  for playing time so I went with a variant of my "Year of the Eldar" approach. The second half of 2017 is the "Year of Chaos" where I am finally making my Iron Warriors into a full-on massive force and getting the daemons into usable forces as well. Getting the CSM codex really helped solidify


Iron Warriors

  • HQ's are pretty much set at a daemon prince, termie lord, termie sorcerer, warpsmith, dark apostle, and an exalted champion
  • Troops are a bunch of CSMs and about 30 cultists if I want to sink that low. Seriously, I play CSM's for the marines, not cultists. I'm still experimenting with the CSM squads. 
    • Five of them wit ha heavy bolter in a ruin is cheap and contributes even at range. A lascannon or missile launcher improves the contribution but also ups the cost, 
    • Ten of them with double or triple plasma or flamers in a rhino turns into an actual threat to many units. I'm still not settled on what  I like better.
  • Elites are termies and helbrutes for the most part. Possessed were effective when I put ten of them in a rhino and rushed it up the board. Berzerkers will likely be included in a different way.
  • Fast Attack is limited to spawn for me right now but they have been very effective bullet sponges leading a charge and can do some real damage in close combat if they survive to reach it. Also, being able to take them in units of one can lead to some formation shenanigans if you're so inclined. They're great for blocking out deep strike zones too.
  • Heavy Support is kind of the IW's thing so I am going in pretty heavy here.
    • I have 3 predators and they have done great work and I think they are very effective in this edition. I have not tried out the triple-shot strategem yet but I will!
    • I have also added 3 vindicators. I have not done much with them yet but I will and I'll be trying out their triple-shot stratagem too.
    • I have added a land raider - finally the basic land raider is a strong player again!
    • Havoc Squads - effective but best off in cover. I like autocannons and I like missile launchers. I use the predators for lascannons so I look for other options for my havocs. 
    • Obliterators - they were terrible in the index but the codex seems to have made them much stronger. I need to try out this new version.
  • Dedicated transports: My Rhinos have gotten quite the workout this edition and I love them. The workhorse APC from the early parts of the game is fast, tough, and just really useful this edition. Rush them forward and pop smoke and the squad inside is almost certainly safe untiil next turn. Use them as cover. Run them into the enemy to soak up overwatch. Put guns on them! The chaos Rhino can carry two combi-bolters and a havoc launcher for 85 points! That turns them into a Razorback effectively, while still retaining the ten-man capacity. They're just handy to have on the table.
Expansion: I don't really _need_ anything but I am looking at maulerfiends and maybe some raptors just to have some of everything in this army. 




World Eaters


This is a fairly new addition to the force. I started picking up more berzerkers and while trying to decide how to integrate them into the army I realized I could just make a separate World Eaters detachment to include whenever I felt like it. This is mainly driven by the WE's being able to take Berzerkers as troops. The core force right now is Kharn, a dark apostle, and an exalted Champion accompanying a trio of 8-man berzerker squads in rhinos. That's around 1000 points and makes for a nice add-on force.

Expansion : I'm already considering expanding it into a full army on it's own - land raider, helbrutes, daemon princes, more berzerkers. We will see.



Daemons

I mainly focused on Khorne daemons as they work well with a more shooty Iron Warriors marine army. Right now it's built on two detachments:

  • An outrider detahcment of 3 flesh hound units led by Karanak 
  • A battalion detachment of 3 bloodletter squads led by Skulltaker
Pretty basic right? I also have a unit of bloodcrushers I can add in, and the specific unit sizes above can be varied somewhat, but the sauce is in the other HQ choices. A herald on a juggernaut, a pair of khorne daemon princes and up to three bloodthirsters. Taking the thirsters as a separate supreme command detachment and I am pushing 3000 points.

Expansion: Well I am still building this one but I think a skull cannon or two would give it a little shooting and some more heralds would make it more playable at lower point levels. Plus it can always use more bloodletters.

I'll see if I can put up some battle reports and talk about what I am thinking with the rest of my armies next week. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Day 31: What do you anticipate most for gaming in 2018?






  • The new 40K RPG will be something to watch. Different company, different approach, different era altogether I suspect. A new system gives me hope that this might be a more playable and fun entry to our library.
  • The Expanse RPG might be interesting but I haven't read the books or watched much of the show. It will be interesting to see how it compares to Traveller and other harder sci-fi RPG's. I'm wondering if Starfinder might have sucked most of the air out of this room by then though.
  • FFG's Star Wars is taking a turn with the first of what I suspect will be a series by publishing Dawn of Rebellion - an era book, not a "campaign type" book. I'd like to see more of that.
  • I'll be interested in seeing where D&D 5E goes next. With a first big rules supplement scheduled for later this year and a pretty diverse set of adventure modules in print what's next?
  • Mutant Crawl Classics! What comes next beyond some more adventures? 
  • Starfinder: does it sustain the incredible momentum it has right now? Or does it slow down once people actually start playing?
  • The new Star Trek RPG: how does it do? Big hit? Medium hit? One year on what will it look like?

Non-RPG Bonus Anticipation: 40K 8th edition will continue strong and that new codexes will enhance the game without breaking it - fingers crossed!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Day 30: What is an RPG genre mashup that you would most like to see?



Don't we already have just about all of these? At least that we're likely to see published since a Star Wars - Star Trek official crossover is unlikely at best? Between Shadowrun, Torg, and Rifts haven't we had them for 25+ years now? Deadlands, Numenera ... how much is left here? Superhero games tend to do this inherently and we have tons of those.

I'm struggling to come up with something original here that's a mashup.

How about this though as a game I'd like too see whether it's a mashup or not?:

How about a Kaiju RPG? Something where you play as a Kaiju - you get the Kaiju's point of view? You have some kind of motivation for doing what you do - smashing cities, roasting tanks, eating nuclear power plants. You have goals to accomplish and these pesky humans and maybe other kaiju are standing in the way. Maybe you're eating, maybe you're doing this stuff to reproduce, maybe you're trying to protect the planet - but they just do not understand and they cannot be allowed to stand in the way.


I'm sure we could come up with a basic mission structure:

  1. Emerge
  2. Replenish
  3. Discovery by humanity
  4. Initial Opposition
  5. Begin Agenda
  6. Heavy opposition
  7. Rivals!
  8. Final goal + climactic battle
  9. Resolution
The trick is to make all of these interesting and applicable to most characters. I could see using a fairly simple system similar to FATE, Apocalypse World, or ICONS. I could also see going more complex and building up some sub-systems for battling the human military, spawning offspring, battling other Kaiju, developing a cult following among humans, all kinds of little things that show up in these kinds of movies. Maybe the whole framework of defending earth against various threats from pollution to alien invaders would serve as the core conflict.

"Stand by wave motion gun and RELEASE THE KRAKEN!"

To make it a mashup once you have the basic system figured out then it's time to take it into space with *COSMIC KAIJU*! Now you're not just defending the earth - you're going into space, perhaps allied with humanity and their space fleets, to stop alien threats before they invade! Imagine Star Blazers/Yamato or Robotech/Macross  with Kaiju as a part of the fleet!

...or maybe the fleet and the kaiju are running from something ...