Archive | April, 2009

Flames

Ghosts of Albion RPG Review

Posted on April 30, 2009 by

These are the stakes, then, for the Ghosts of Albion roleplaying game. Players take the role of one of the secret Protectors or one of their cronies and goons. It is also possible to play a class traitor – a ghost or a vampire, for example, which has turned its coat and now seeks to hunt down to extinction other members of the supernatural, presumably for money or the baubles of power and influence. No one comes out of this very well. The premise for the action apparently comes from a BBC television production, which does not appear to have made it to Thailand and about which I knew nothing before receiving this game. Fans of the program will be more able to identify with the protagonist siblings Tamara and William and the various aids and assistants, including the revived Queen Boudicca (or Bodicea as she is for some reason spelt here) and the poet Byron (described, on p.70, thus: “… the archetypal Regency buck. Born with a club foot and weak constitution, Byron inherited his title at age ten.” Obviously some new use of the term ‘archetype’ is in use at Eden Studios. I will have something to say about the language later).

Review by John Walsh

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Flames

Level Up Magazine Review

Posted on April 28, 2009 by

The magazine comes in a robust 60 pages. That is not as big as their major competitor, but it is very, very, full. The initial editorial lays out all of the article types that the magazine plans to pursue in the coming quarters and every one seems interesting and with a constant mind toward having something for all players. There was always an eye toward having both solid fluff (flavor) and rules (crunch) in each article. More over, a focus on making sure the flavor and crunch aligned. Readers will notice if there is a disconnect and will be turned off by a product that does a bad job of aligning these two very important aspects of game design. That is not the case here.

The articles are similar to classic articles we, as a gaming generation, have all grown up with. There are articles that detail new weapons and talk about the fighters that use them, articles that introduce a new god, his followers and other important doctrines of the faith.

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Flames

Blood Groove Chapter One Preview

Posted on April 28, 2009 by

Flames Rising has been offered the chance to bring you a preview of Alex Bledsoe’s new vampire novel Blood Groove.

When centuries-old vampire Baron Rudolfo Zginski was staked in Wales in 1915, the last thing he expected was to reawaken in Memphis, Tennessee, sixty years later. Reborn into a new world of simmering racial tensions, the cunning nosferatu realizes he must adapt quickly if he is to survive.

Finding willing victims is easy, as Zginski possesses all the powers of the undead, including the ability to sexually enslave anyone he chooses. Hoping to learn how his kind copes with this bizarre new era, Zginski tracks down a nest of teenage vampires. But these young vampires have little knowledge of their true nature, having learned most of what they know from movies like Blacula.

Forming an uneasy alliance with the young vampires, Zginski begins to teach them the truth about their powers. They must learn quickly, for there’s a new drug on the street—a drug created to specifically target and destroy vampires. As Zginski and his allies track the drug to its source, they may unwittingly be stepping into a fifty-year-old trap that can destroy them all . . .

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Flames

Adamant Entertainment Receives Call of Cthulhu License

Posted on April 27, 2009 by

Adamant Entertainment is pleased to announce that it has signed an agreement with Chaosium Inc. to produce supplements and adventures for the CALL OF CTHULHU roleplaying game.

“Call of Cthulhu has long been a touchstone in my personal gaming history,” said Gareth-Michael Skarka, owner and director of Adamant Entertainment. “It was one of the first games that I played, and I continue to come back to it through the years, so I’m incredibly excited to be able to add Adamant’s voice to the Call.”

Adamant will be releasing two new settings for the game: THIS SCEPTER’D ISLE, which brings the horrors of the Mythos to Elizabethan England; and SHADOWS OF THE RED HAND, a full treatment of 1920s gangland Chicago. Award-winning game designer and mythos author Ken Hite will be developing Adamant’s line of CALL OF CTHULHU products, which should be released in late 2009 and early 2010.

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Ancient Mysteries RPG Review

Posted on April 27, 2009 by

There is a movie called The Man From Earth that could have inspired this book. In it, a man tells his closest friends that he is an immortal. In turn, the friends try to ferret out if he’s telling the truth or playing some strange game with them. The friends make one mistake countless times when they try to get specific information from him. He often responds with vague accounts that are little better than a history book’s recollection. His claim is that people who cannot remember were they were a year earlier shouldn’t demand centuries old answers. I constantly found myself thinking of this excellent film. White Wolf offers readers an obscure history lesson in their newest release, Ancient Mysteries. After reading the blurb, I thought I would like the first half the book (the “Fog of Eternity” appealed to me) and would probably trudge through the latter half (I always wonder if anyone uses the NPCs from the various books).

Ancient Mysteries isn’t the standard Kindred history book. What Kindred consider high points in history does not always coincide with the mortal populace. On page 100, the authors cleverly compare the “Fog of Eternity” to actual fog filling a mountainous valley. In essence, much of the past is forgotten just as the valley is blanketed in mist; however, there will always be peaks immune to the fog. The text gives a detailed look to a few of those mountains.

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Monica Valentinelli

Shadow of the Raven Nox Arcana Music Review

Posted on April 24, 2009 by

Inspired by the horror writer Edgar Allen Poe, Shadow of the Raven is a musical interpretation of his life and his works through a variety of sounds. A rich, baritone voice representing Poe narrates the beginning of the songs in Darkest Hour. His narration ends with a line that speaks of dead things, lurking about in his crypt.

This musical selection is a departure from some of Nox Arcana’s other CDs, because it employs an instrument wholly fitting for Poe’s era — the piano. Mysteries of the Night is a gorgeous piano melody that erupts into a duet with a violin, accentuated by a tolling bell. Listeners do not have to play the tracks in any sort of an order to experience the full effect of this soundtrack inspired by many of Poe’s short stories. You’ll find songs like The Pit and the Pendulum and The Tell-Tale Heart that feature interesting sound effects. You’ll hear sounds like a door creaking, a screeching cat, a pendulum swinging and a heart thumping. Each effect is integrated into the song, so that it becomes part of the rhythm, as if you couldn’t listen to the music without them.

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Flames

Abstract Nova Games at RPGNow

Posted on April 24, 2009 by

Abstract Nova products are now available at RPGNow.com.

The long-awaited Tales of the Seven Dogs Society fiction book is also available in pdf format for only $3.95.

Tales of the Seven Dogs Society is a collection of three self-contained novellas based on the Aletheia role-playing game. Monica Valentinelli, Jim Johnson and Matt McElroy present three separate mysteries, each featuring a different interpretation of the Society. Together, they paint a picture of a world filled with the unexplained… a world the Seven Dogs Society seeks to comprehend. Buy the book at DriveThruHorror.com or RPGNow.com.

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Megan

Adventurer’s Vault RPG Review

Posted on April 23, 2009 by

All adventurers need good equipment, both magical and mundane, and even the most creative DM sometimes needs ideas for interesting treasure hoards for the characters to, ahem, liberate… so here is a book packed full of goodies to serve both interests. The Introduction explains the organisation of the work: a chapter each for equipment and magical items, plus a couple of appendices mostly for the DM, one with ideas for using magic items and one with them listed by level for ease of hoard creation.

Mainly intended for the character looking for some retail therapy, Chapter 1: Equipment is broken down into sections detailing all manner of gear. It begins with masterwork armour, and also covers weapons, mounts, vehicles and even alchemy – both that which can be purchased and things you can do yourself if possessed of the appropriate tools.

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Flames

Faith in the Future Comic Review

Posted on April 22, 2009 by

Faith in the Future is a story told in one issue.

The scenes are pretty well illustrated. Darkzel’s penciling is well done, and he is able to combine his characters with the world they live in.

When I read through the issue, my first thoughts were how the symbolism is very on the nose. Depictions of a ‘pest messiah” crucified on a cross combined with a hunched over capering exterminator leave little to the imagination. The framework of the story deals with absolute images and While the author’s narration helped explain what I had missed, the artwork captures a lot of raw emotion and even without text James Desborough and Darkzel told a very clear story.

Review by John Kennedy

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Flames

The Collection of Horrors Continues!

Posted on April 20, 2009 by

This week we’re releasing the following kits in the Collection of Horrors: Mother of All Wrong Turns, Caveat Emptor, Body of Evidence, Good for the Soul and Serpent’s Tooth. Mother of All Wrong Turns is already up!

Just learning about the Collection? The Collection of Horrors is an anthology of Storyteller tools inspired by the Horror Recognition Guide that you can either use in conjunction with the Guide or as part of your existing Hunter: The Vigil chronicle.

Check out all of the Hunter: the Vigil products at the Flames Rising RPGNow Shop.

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Megan

True20 Warrior’s Handbook Review

Posted on April 20, 2009 by

The Introduction sets out the intention of this work – to delve more deeply into the ways in which warriors can excel and combat be handled under the True20 ruleset. It does this by presenting ways of enhancing Warrior character creation and development, and by providing a greater range of options for them to use when engaging in combat. It’s intended as a toolkit, from which you can pick the bits you want to use.

Chapter 1 looks at Warrior Creation. To start with, not everyone who can and does fight is a ‘warrior’ – it is a specific role embraced by those whose primary area of expertise is fighting, fighting to win. The focus of this book is anyone taking on the true warrior’s role – whether he fights with rocks or with a laser-cannon. Naturally you’ll have to select the bits appropriate to the setting in which your warriors will operate, beginning with a discussion of background.

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Flames

Ancient Mysteries available now for Vampire: the Requiem

Posted on April 19, 2009 by

Flashpoints in the Fog

In a society made up of liars and murderers afflicted by a slowly eroding grasp of their own existences to date, who can trust the concept of history? Understand, then, that there is a scale upon which all Kindred are precariously balanced. As personal power weighs more heavily, the ability to rely on that monster’s memory of the past is lightened. How do the Kindred navigate this Mystery of Ages?

Ancient Mysteries is available at the Flames Rising RPGNow Shop.

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Matt-M-McElroy

Turn Coat (Dresden Files) Review

Posted on April 17, 2009 by

Turn Coat is the latest chapter in the ongoing adventures of Harry Dresden, Wizard for Hire. The book description above sets up some interesting possibilities and hints at some deeper character development (not to mention more exploration into the White Council).

We do get some of those things in this book. For example, find out a lot more about Morgan’s past and the things that drive him to act the way he does regarding Dresden. Morgan has always been an interesting character for me. He is one of those guys you love to hate because of the way he treats our favorite wizard. There was always something about him that made me wonder just why he was so untrusting, so ready to kill in the name of the White Council. I never thought he was stupid or rash, the writing always hinted at a fierce loyalty and strong determination. Of course, for this series we readers are only getting Harry’s view on things and that rarely, if ever, painted Morgan in a favorable light (not that you could really blame Harry for that, I’d be less than charitable regarding a guy who wanted to behead me too).

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Monica Valentinelli

Magic: the Gathering Alara Reborn Preview Cards

Posted on April 17, 2009 by

To celebrate the arrival of Alara Reborn for Magic: the Gathering, Wizards of the Coast provided Flames Rising with an exclusive look at a brand new card for this series. According to the official page for Alara Reborn, it “is the third and final set in the Shards of Alara block. It is a 145 card expansion with randomly inserted premium cards. It will be available in booster packs, intro packs, and fat packs.”

The deck is artistically unique to the Magic: the Gathering series, because the entire Alara Reborn set is printed in full color with gold accents. Based on the plane of existence Alara setting, the cards were constructed around a story, the machinations of a single signature character, the evil planeswalker Nicol Bolas. Nicol is a iconic character, an ancient dragon with an epic thirst for power in all shapes and form who has been featured in fiction as well.

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Matt-M-McElroy

Announcing Madison Games Day

Posted on April 14, 2009 by

Meet new people. Play new games. Madison Games Day, May 30th 2009.

Matt M. McElroy (of Flames Rising and DriveThruComics.com) and Jason L Blair (designer of Little Fears) announce Madison Games Day, a ten-hour event dedicated to introducing Madison-area residents to meet new people and play new games.

Madison Games Day will take place on Saturday, May 30th 2009 at the Pizza Oven on Monona Drive. From 12p until 10p, Madison-area gamers are invited to stop in, meet local players, and try new games. A variety of games are slated for play and attendees are urged to bring their own as well. Have a game you want to try but your regular group isn’t into? Bring it! Have a hankering to dust off an old favorite for one more spin? Bring it! Want to give a game you weren’t sure about another shot? Bring it! There is an official event schedule but pick-up games are encouraged. If you have something you want to run or play, bring it along!

For complete information on Madison Games Day, join the Yahoo! Group or you can register an event, or view the existing event line-up, visit the official website at MadisonGamesDay.wordpress.com.

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Flames

New Wave Requiem RPG Review

Posted on April 14, 2009 by

White Wolf takes us back to the Eighties in New Wave Requiem (WW25320). The decision to turn back the clock nearly twenty five years seems to be a brilliant one (Yes, I did say TWENTY FIVE years). Sob. Vampire: the Masquerade hit bookshelves in 1991, so readers never really got a feel for the Reagan Era of gaming. This appears to be their attempt at remedying that issue. This slim supplement weighs in at eighty-one pages; however, it wastes no space with ads (an oddity considering the waste the 1980s created). There are a few pages devoted solely to pieces of art, but these terrific characterizations demand forgiveness as they summon images of The Warriors and an evil Susanna Hoffs.

Review by Todd Cash

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Flames

M. Joseph Young “Multiverser Horror”

Posted on April 13, 2009 by

Author M. Joseph Young has joined our ongoing Horror Design Project here at Flames Rising and tells us a bit about writing horror elements for his Multiverser RPG.

Multiverser Horror

Some people think that horror is easy: dial up the kill rate, and soon every character is terrified.

What, though, if the characters are immortal?

This was the fundamental question we had to face in writing horror scenarios for Multiverser. Player characters are “versers”. Death is the doorway to take you to the next world, and the next world is where the next adventure awaits. Dial up the death rate, and for the verser it becomes a game of choosing how to die, how to end the horror and get somewhere nicer. Thus if we were going to create horror scenarios, we were going to have to figure out how to frighten someone who is completely unafraid of death. That meant understanding fear, and its more fundamental causes. Here are a few of the things we learned. Each has value.

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Slasher Flick RPG Review

Posted on April 13, 2009 by

Slasher Flick is just over 100 pages, an RPG all about octopi. (That’s actually not true.) It’s written and designed by Cynthia Celeste Miller, produced by Spectrum Games. The game is called Slasher Flick. The pages are edged with blood. It’s not a game about serious exploration of the serial killer phenomenon, it’s not a strategy wargame. It’s a game about sitting around a table, having a night like one spent with an actual slasher movie, only in RPG form.

Slasher Flick is simple and focused in nature. Mechanics focus on the drama and tropes of the genre, instead of “killing the bad guy.” Characters are more likely to think the sound of the villain sneaking up is the wind, than a sign that they need to go monster hunting.

Review By David A Hill Jr

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Flames

The Collection of Horrors has Begun!

Posted on April 11, 2009 by


Looking for ideas for your Hunter game? The Collection of Horrors is an anthology of Storyteller tools inspired by the Horror Recognition Guide that you can either use in conjunction with the Guide or as part of your existing Hunter: The Vigil chronicle.

Each story kit in the Collection of Horrors (which you can buy individually, as a bundle or as a subscription) contains variety of appropriate tools; usually an SAS scene, a character with a character sheet, and props ranging from maps and reports to print out and hand to your players, to short imbedded audio files that you can play at your gaming table. These kits represent a collection of evocative story tools that you can write a story around, drop into an existing SAS or even string together. They aren’t stories in their own right, but rather pieces that you can snap together into whatever shape you want. Using the Guide can add even more props and ideas to this anthology, but it’s not required to use the various story kits in the Collection of Horrors.

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alanajoli

At Graves End Fiction Review

Posted on April 10, 2009 by

Cat and Bones take their romance in a whole new direction (read: planning a wedding) in the third novel in Frost’s series. But nothing comes easily for the pair: Cat, a half-vampire, has some serious soul searching to do over the course of the novel, only partially because her vampire father has torture on the brain. Is she a vampire? Is she human? What does it mean to be either?

Not, of course, that there’s a lot of time to just stand and think. That Cat’s father has found her means that her identity is no longer secure, which endangers her whole unit. Add a very old, very powerful vampire calling on Bones to share power and ally together (which almost certainly means that a vampire turf war is on the horizon) and Bones turning Cat’s unit member Tate into a vampire by request, and things get very, very complicate. Tate’s love for Cat is only the tip of the iceberg.

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11 Tales of Ghostly Horror

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