Archive | March, 2010

Steven Dawes

Supernatural: John Winchester’s Journal Review

Posted on March 16, 2010 by

You may recall that I’ve received a couple of reviewer books based on the “Supernatural” TV series to shoot my way through (if you don’t recall or you just didn’t know, you can click here to read all about it.) If you do, then you may also recall that I was disappointed with my first contestant and was concerned that the WB exec’s had sold out with gusto to earn a quick buck on some lame books at the expense of the fans and their beloved show. Well, I’m happy (and relieved) to report that my second foray into the book series was better than the first. But then again, that’s not saying a lot.

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Ironborn of Questhaven RPG Review

Posted on March 15, 2010 by

Rite Publishing’s Ironborn of Questhaven introduces a Pathfinder RPG compatible race and related mechanics in the vein of the Warforged from 3.5 Eberron and 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons. I was pleasantly surprised at the cohesiveness of the product and only one thing made me frown while reading the 21 page e-book.

I really like the race description as it is told in the first person perspective by the first Ironbound, Firstbuilt. Firstbuilt tells about how his race was born when a great artificer found her assistants lacking, so she built a construct to serve her. Then he, Firstbuilt, created another who also created another and so on.

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Flames

Cubicle 7 Announces new RPG based on Charles Stross’ “The Laundry Files”

Posted on March 13, 2010 by

Cubicle 7 Entertainment is producing a roleplaying game based on the award-winning Laundry series (The Atrocity Archives, The Jennifer Morgue, and the forthcoming The Fuller Memorandum) by the even-more-award-winning Charles Stross, and uses the also-award-winning Basic Roleplaying System (Call Of Cthulhu) by Chaosium Inc.

“We love the Laundry Files novels, so we’re really excited about this game,” said Dominic McDowall-Thomas, Cubicle 7 Director. “The world of the Laundry is a perfect mix of espionage, conspiracy and tentacled menace from beyond the stars.”

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Zero Hunters #1 Comic Review

Posted on March 12, 2010 by

At first glance this seems like it could be tagged as “The Punisher Meets Blade,” and that’s not necessarily a bad thing because there are solid differences that give this comic its own signature stamp, so endless comparisons are not needed. In the first panels we’re introduced to William Garrick, a man that’s part of a special task force hunting “the things that aren’t human.” But he’s also on a personal mission of revenge. The opening gives enough background to get things started before the story moves into a tense and revealing action sequence.

The protagonist here has a slick “don’t mess with me” attitude and there’s a nice mixture of darkness and humor. Some of the dialogue in a few spots is a bit cliché but, because of the fast pace of the story and the composition within the panels, it doesn’t detract from enjoyment of the narrative.

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Flames

Preview of Shadowrise by Tad Williams

Posted on March 11, 2010 by

Barrick is lost behind the Shadowline, facing all the terrible dangers and mysteries of that magical twilight land. Briony is alone in a treacherous foreign court, struggling to survive with no weapon left to her but her wits. And in the midst of all this, something unbelievable is awakening underneath Southmarch, something powerful and terrible that the world has not seen for thousands of years.

In this third volume Barrick and Briony, along with Qinnitan – the Autarch’s desperate, escaped slave – a loyal soldier named Ferras Vansen, and a tiny handful of other folk, ordinary and extraordinary, must find a way to save their world, or else witness the rise of a terrible new age – an age of unending darkness.

Flames Rising has a short excerpt from this new novel by Tad Williams. Shadowrise is available at Amazon.com.

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alanajoli

Battle of the Network Zombies Review

Posted on March 11, 2010 by

You should, by now, already know about Amanda Feral.(1) The celebutante zombie star of Happy Hour of the Damned and Road Trip of the Living Dead is back in action, returning to Seattle’s night-life scene, albeit with far less cash than she started with. Like the rest of the world, Amanda’s finances are on the rocks, and the only thing that looks like it will save her(2) from the bone-breaking threats of the reapers, to whom she’s indebted, is taking a role on a reality show. Amanda’s no actress, but playing herself to the camera is something she’s perfected.

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Steven Dawes

Jason Dark: Ghost Hunter Review

Posted on March 10, 2010 by

I’ve not experienced “Dime Novels” before. I’ve never really even seen one before, although growing up my mother owned a “collector book” composed of several dime novel reprints that I once looked through. They’re a format that seems to have died out here in the union long ago. It looks like however, that the “Dime Novel” format could be on the verge of a comeback.

My dad happened upon a new gothic horror series while visiting one of his favorite websites and asked me to check it out. Following his queue I did a little homework and indeed I’d discovered a new book series titled “Jason Dark: Ghost Hunter”, a series written in the spirit of the “Dime Novel” format.

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alanajoli

Witchblade #131 Comic Review

Posted on March 9, 2010 by

Back with another overdue review of Witchblade (provided for review by the publisher in pdf format). Usually I don’t comment on the alternate covers (many of them have way too much cleavage for me to appreciate), but I have to say that Chris Bachalo’s Cover B is brilliant for this issue — it’s an almost Disnified version of Sara wearing very little Witchblade armor, but she’s just so cute that her scantily clad bod seems secondary to the hair and earrings being featured. None of the covers are particularly relevant to the content inside in this issue, so the cute factor goes a long way.

Sejic and Marz continue their excellent work in issue #131, which is really a wrap-up to the “War of the Witchblades” story line. Poor Julie’s been left out in the cold, not knowing about Sara’s secret, paranormal life.

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Monica Valentinelli

Changes (Dresden Files) Review

Posted on March 8, 2010 by

After I got done reading CHANGES by Jim Butcher, the twelfth novel in the Dresden Files series, the first words that popped into my head were, “Holy hell.” First? There is absolutely no way that I can review this book without spoiling something for someone, so consider this a warning – if you don’t want anything spoiled for you, then don’t read this review. Second? If you’re a fan of the Dresden Files, then this is “the” book for you.

Okay, now back to the review. The first chapter opens up with a sucker punch to the gut. (You can read the first chapter of CHANGES on the author’s website.)

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Flames

Neil Gaiman to Appear on Behalf of CBLDF at C2E2!

Posted on March 6, 2010 by

C2E2 ANNOUNCES “AN EVENING WITH NEIL GAIMAN”

Neil Gaiman, the award winning author of novels, film, and comics including the epoch changing graphic novel series The Sandman will take the stage for a benefit appearance on behalf of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund at Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2). An “Evening with Neil Gaiman”, a paid ticketed event, will happen on Saturday night, April 17, with 100% of the proceeds going to benefit the First Amendment legal work of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

The last time Gaiman performed theatrical readings was ten years ago when he did the “Last Angel Tour.” On that tour, he criss-crossed the country doing sold-out evenings reading stories and poems, new material and beloved tales in order to draw attention to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

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Monica Valentinelli

Keep Your Friends Close: Researching Loose Ends and Rocks

Posted on March 6, 2010 by

In this episode, Lavender and Blake deal with the contents of the boxes and catch up on some old business with Kyle.

Lavender and Blake head over to Bootlegger’s, a kind of a blue collar-ish sports bar, to catch a quick bite to eat. Trying out her new “toy,” she tries to put the one-word whammy on a college kid and fails miserably, so she goes for the gold and entrances him. Leading him out to her car, she has a quick bite and wonders how to make better use of “Dominate.” After having a quick bite, she takes the mortal over to Coyote Ugly and dumps him in a sea of waitresses. On the way back to Bootlegger’s, Lavender notices Blake heading out with another woman, so she heads back to her apartment and finds a bunch of new books on the shelf.

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Flames

Pallid Light: The Waking Dead Preview

Posted on March 5, 2010 by

The world ends with the flip of a switch. The thundering storms strike across the world, searing the earth, leaving destruction in their wake. Few will survive. For the folks living in Temperance, Illinois the nightmare is just beginning. When the sky roils in luminous colors, the people of the small town begin to die, and Randall Clay decides to escape. What he didn’t expect was the dead to come back to life or the nightmare that came after that.

Pallid Light: The Waking Dead is available at Amazon.com.

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Billzilla

Imperial Gazetteer RPG Review

Posted on March 5, 2010 by

A number of entities have carved a successful niche for themselves creating support products for D&D. One of these, Open Design LLC, operates under an interesting model; direct patronage. They produce material, in part or in full, based on what their sponsors wish to see and are willing to finance. One of their more recent products, the Imperial Gazetteer, describes the region containing the Principality of Morgau and Doresh. This realm was once like any other, but is currently controlled by vampires and ghouls. As one might expect, most of the adversaries presented within are of considerable power; this region is not one on which 1st level characters could expect cut their teeth, by any means.

The book begins with a brief introduction to the subject material by co-author Wolfgang Baur. The first chapter details the history of the principality, giving a brief overview of less recent events while covering more current history a bit more closely.

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Flames

Supernatural: Guide to the Hunted Available Now!

Posted on March 4, 2010 by

Know Just Enough To Be Dangerous

Everybody knows rock salt keeps out ghosts and silver kills werewolves. That’s just Folklore 101. But when you need to get rid of a crocotta, banish a tulpa, or deal with an Angel of the Lord, you’re going to need a really good guide.

Each monster is fully detailed with Cortex System game statistics and plenty of lore, ready to drop into any campaign. With extra material on how to play monsters as hunters and create your own supernatural threats, the Guide to the Hunted is an indispensable resource.

The Guide to the Hunted is available now at the Flames Rising RPGNow Shop.

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Monica Valentinelli

The Stepsister’s Scheme Review

Posted on March 4, 2010 by

On the front cover of my copy of THE STEPSISTER’S SCHEME, there’s a quote. The quote reads:

“These princesses will give Charlie’s Angels’ a serious run for their money, and leave ’em in the dust.” — Esther Fresner, author of Nobody’s Princess.

Immediately, that quote set my expectations that THE STEPSISTER’S SCHEME was going to be a so-called fantasy “popcorn read.” That I was just going to sit back and watch Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty kick a whole lot of troll butt while they flirt their proverbial tiaras off. You know that part where you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover? Yeah, guilty as charged.

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Flames

GM’s Day Sale at RPGNow!

Posted on March 3, 2010 by

IT’S TIME AGAIN TO MARCH FO(U)RTH AND CELEBRATE GM’S DAY!

GM’s Day!He regularly stabs, mangles, perforates, burns, and otherwise damages your precious character. She delights in torturing your PC’s emotions, thwarting their every plan, denying every desire.

And you love your GM for just these things and more!

Celebrate the teller of interactive tales with the rest of us, as we present “One Fourth Off for the Fourth” – GM’S DAY! 25% off hundreds upon hundreds of titles!

The sale runs from March 3rd to March 8th. Make with the clicky-click!

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Geist: The Sin-Eaters RPG Review

Posted on March 3, 2010 by

We’ve reached the end of the road or, in this case, perhaps the river (I suppose ferrymen haunt both). Our trip within White Wolf’s underworld concludes with a look at the newest embodiments of death . . . the Geist. Before we get too involved in the newest World of Darkness line, let’s take a step back. The World of Darkness 1.0 saw five main entities–vampires, werewolves, magi, changelings, and wraiths–haunt their shadows. When the reboot happened, four came back.

This book is a return to Wraith . . . but only to a degree.

Wraith: the Oblivion is an amazing game that did some truly inspired things. White Wolf seemed to experiment more with the two bastard children of the five lines. Changeling had their dreadful cards (the art on those were beautiful though) and Wraith had the concept of the Shadow.

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alanajoli

The Art of Top Cow Review

Posted on March 2, 2010 by

It makes a lot of sense for a small press like Top Cow, which has a lot of great titles on the market, to put everything together into an art book and showcase some of their best pieces. In The Art of Top Cow preview that I received from the publisher, I got to see thirty images of the more than 300 pages that will appear in the final book. Two of them, unfortunately, were nearly naked images of Sara Pezzini of Witchblade that look more like pinups than gallery images; another is a Top Cow poster that features three of the Top Cow women in all their busty glory. Hopefully those three images are not representative of a large portion of the included art (though certainly part of Top Cow’s target audience will surely appreciate them — just not my part of the market share!). In the preview, some of the pieces are really quite excellent, and I’ll highlight some of them quickly here.

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Flames

The Queen of Crows is available now at DriveThruHorror!

Posted on March 1, 2010 by

The Queen of Crows by Monica ValentinelliCentered around a short story entitled “The Queen Of Crows,” this unique product was designed by author and game designer Monica Valentinelli. At a retail price of $4.99, readers will receive a magazine-style layout of THE QUEEN OF CROWS, a professional illustration of Mahochepi and more!

This product is the first digital release set in the world of the Violet War and is also the first fiction product published through Flames Rising Press. The short story, which is entitled “The Queen of Crows,” takes place during the 1860s and focuses on the tough decisions that a Navajo elder named “Tse” must make to save his people. Will he summon Mahochepi, the Queen of Crows, without knowing who–or what–she is? Read the story and find out!

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Steven Dawes

Dark Places RPG Review

Posted on March 1, 2010 by

The Dead Reign RPG from Palladium Books presents a story that details a lot of familiar territory where zombie survival games are concerned, yet added lots of interesting twists, zombie variants, survival tips & guides, weapons & equipment, great adventure ideas, several quick roll tables, and a partridge in a pear tree! I personally LOVE (not like, LOVE) the bleak tone and style of the setting and the theme of the “survival of humanity” while maintaining your humanity (and sanity) the core book delivered. As an added bonus, fans of Palladium’s “Megaversal role playing system” are in good shape here as it’s just as loudly and proudly displayed as ever!

Where the core book detailed the setting, themes and tones of the DR world, the first sourcebook “Civilization Gone” went into a lot more detail and information concerning what the average person will face daily in a world that’s suddenly without civilization to protect and nurture them.

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