Posted on November 30, 2010 by GRIM
Valkyria Chronicles is a squad oriented, turn-based strategy game with a big narrative emphasis and a strong anime style. It’s daring in some ways in its narrative, but not quite daring enough. Regardless, it’s an engaging game and well worth sitting through the cut-scenes for.
Valkyria takes place in an alternative Europe and an alternative World War II. In this world your small nation, which seems to be an analogue for Holland or Belgium, is independent of the two opposed forces which are beginning their clash across this world’s Europe. Your nation, Gallia, is invaded by the Imperial Alliance in a blitzkreig and Gallia’s citizen soldiers – including your team – are rapidly deployed to try and blunt the advance and secure Gallian independence from both the Imperials and the overtures of their enemies, the Atlantic Federation, a force that isn’t above being manipulative and underhanded in their prosecution of war either.
Posted on November 29, 2010 by Flames
Our design essay series continues with Scott Browne telling us about the process of writing the novel, Fated.
Fated is a dark, irreverent comedy about fate, destiny, and the consequences of getting involved with humans.
The inspiration for Fated was more of a series of connected ideas than an inspiration: a journal entry in 2003 about a character who can see the future because he’s Fate; a scene written in a shopping mall in 2004 from the point-of-view of the same conceptual character; and the splitting of the often married concepts of fate and destiny into two separate characters.
Posted on November 29, 2010 by Billzilla
White Wolf Publishing seems to have covered everything possible for Vampire the Requiem; it helps they had a previous edition of the RPG – Vampire the Masquerade – to hash out what players though was useful and what they didn’t want. Along comes a small tidbit like Invite Only, and I for one am left wondering “Why didn’t anyone think of this sooner?”
Written by David A. Hill Jr. and Chuck Wendig, Invite Only is a guide to parties — more specifically, parties hosted or attended by the Kindred. Besides giving the less combat-oriented Kindred something interesting to do, parties are also the focus of a lot of deals and surprises in the V:tR world. A Kindred who pays attention could learn a lot at a party – if she survives long enough to make use of this knowledge.
Posted on November 26, 2010 by Flames
The day after Thanksgiving can be a virtual nightmare for many shoppers, but yours doesn’t have to be.
We’ve made sure our Flames Rising RPGNow Sale is up-to-date and we’ve got a few other deals we recommend checking out. So grab your pen and pay attention!
This year’s deals are a little unusual because retailers have extended sale dates. Some sales, like Amazon’s Black Friday Deals are going on through the end of the week, so be sure to visit the sales page for details.
Posted on November 24, 2010 by DecapitatedDan
“No one knows where these two warriors came from. The only thing that’s clear is that they’re two of most ornery, trouble-making $%@# that have ever lived. SKULLKICKERS is a fantasy action-comedy: Two mercenaries are entangled in a high-class assassination plot and nothing—werewolves, skeletons or black magic—will stop them from getting paid. If you love tabletop fantasy RPGs or movies like Army of Darkness, SKULLKICKERS is waiting for you!“
Have you ever read a comic book and then tried to replay it all in your head, but all you seem to recall is a cartoon? Except you didn’t just watch a cartoon. No, instead you read a comic book. This book does that to me. The artwork is playful and laid out so well that I really recall it as a cartoon. Sure you’re not going to get super detailed action here, but who cares?
Posted on November 23, 2010 by Megan
The alchemist has been knocking around the fringes of fantasy games for ages, generally – if codified at all – as an NPC that your characters can go to for a range of useful items to take on their adventures, with alchemy itself as a sideline skill practiced in your ‘Craft’ spot. Now Paizo’s Advanced Player’s Guide has brought him out of the workshop to become a playable character in his own right, with skills useful down the dungeon or out on the road, and this product seeks to expand on this and make him an even more attractive option.
The alchemist PC has several notable skills, which are mentioned in the Introduction – he can throw bombs, make and use extracts, brew potions and use poison. However, to hone such a character, he needs appropriate feats and here a grand total of 30 are presented for the budding alchemist to choose from.
Posted on November 22, 2010 by Nancy
Kevin Lucia is the author of Hiram Grange and the Chosen One, book four of the popular series. He is also an editor and reviewer for Shroud Publishing. In this guest post he talks about what sparked his interest in the horror genre.
I remember when I first became interested in horror. The summer of 1996, I spent lots of time with my friends bumming around Otsego Lake, NY. My best friend’s grandmother owned a cabin there, so we spent all our weekends riding the boat, eating and napping on the dock.
One weekend we got bored. Which country boys tend to do. This usually means trouble. We were lying around on the dock when my friend Joel remarked, “We should take Kevin to the Devil House.”
Posted on November 22, 2010 by Nancy
The 2010 New York Comic Con and New York Anime Festival (NYCC/NYAF) took place at the Javits Center over three days. I had a blast at my first NYCC/NYAF! There was a lot to do and a lot of other fans and professionals to meet. I didn’t get to see everything I wanted to, but there was more than enough to keep everyone (myself included) entertained.
One of the biggest treats at a convention like NYCC/NYAF is getting to talk to the people behind the scenes about what’s going on, what’s coming up, and what fans can look forward to. Here’s a few brief highlights and interviews:
Posted on November 19, 2010 by GRIM
God, fucking DAMN but Damn Simmons is a lot of hard work to read. I thought Ilium/Olympus was a hard read and that was an advance on the density of Hyperion. He’s hard work to read but in a good way, he makes you think and he’s dense with references to classical (in both senses) literature. Where Hyperion and Ilium call back to more ancient works, Drood calls back to the Victorian writings of Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins as well as the obsessions, strengths and weaknesses of both men, woven together with a thread of the supernatural (?) obsessions of the times.
For me, at least, this was a book about what’s real and what’s fiction, about the inevitable jealousy that exists between even great creative individuals if one perceives the other as being even greater or one gets more attention than another from the public or feels that they are being overlooked.
Posted on November 18, 2010 by spikexan
Benjamin Baugh’s Savaged edition of The Kerberos Club is one of the more imaginative settings I’ve seen for the engine in awhile. The setting couples super heroes with Victorian England. It’s really a game for fans of Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the comic of course, not the movie). Beginning in 1860, superhumans begin cropping up (or flying about in this case). The public is understandably weary of such, so factions quickly form. The superhumans come in all flavors. There are mystically created heroes, Mystery Men of Science, and more. The 300-page corebook, while meaty, still requires both the Savage Worlds corebook and Savage Worlds Superpowers Companion to play.
Posted on November 17, 2010 by Monica Valentinelli
Having read some of Bentley Little’s work before (MY FATHER’S SON), I was really interested in picking up THE DISAPPEARANCE to see what twists and turns were in store for me.
The story takes place in our modern-day world, and infuses our worst fears into what should be a very fun weekend. A group of college students from UCLA travel to the world-renowned Burning Man festival, and experience a bizarre turn of events: they wake up from a drug-induced state to find that Gary’s girlfriend Joan has disappeared. Worse, when they contact the police, they don’t believe that she has ever existed because her digital identity has been wiped cleaned.
Posted on November 16, 2010 by GRIM
Fallout 3 was a giant, radioactive monster of a game, an awesome game that was SO awesome that we could forgive it many of its flaws and drawbacks simply because the awesomeness factor was so strong that they didn’t matter. We didn’t CARE if the game crashed the console every so often or if you couldn’t get to the boat to Point Lookout because the level wouldn’t load properly, because we wanted to play so very much it gave us boners that could double as battering rams. We forgave it its sins.
Second time around we, or at least I, are not as liable to be so forgiving. Especially if many of the flaws and errors of the game are the same ones that dogged our experience with Fallout 3. We sort of expect them to be fixed or, at least, for the same flaws, errors and bugs not to show up this time around, given that they were patched in Fallout 3 and that this is a ‘whole new game’ which has had more time to finesse the engine and iron out the issues.
Posted on November 15, 2010 by mforbeck
Today you die. Today you are reborn. Today you hunt the man who killed you.
It’s Lee Child vs. Altered Carbon in a high-tech blast of tough-as-nails future thrills. Matt Forbeck arrives as the new king of high-concept – with a blockbuster action movie in a book. In the near future, scientists solve the problem of mortality by learning how to backup and restore a persons memories into a vat-bred clone. When Secret Service agent Ronan “Methusaleh” Dooley is brutally murdered, he’s brought back from the dead yet again to hunt his killer, and in doing so uncover a terrible conspiracy.
Flames Rising is pleased to present a excerpt from this new novel by Matt Forbeck.
Posted on November 15, 2010 by Eric Pollarine
So, by a show of hands- who would have thought that there would ever come a time, in the history of television, when the total evisceration and down right general defilement of a shambling corpse would make for great, if not EPIC, television?
I know what you’re thinking and no, obviously not me, because if it were me then the first sentence of this little diatribe would be a little misleading. Was it you? I couldn’t see your hands if it was, so I’ll take that as a no as well. But that’s exactly the way it was last Sunday when I watched the second episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead. It was a painful and intimate event, one that even I, one of the biggest fans of the so called “Survival Horror,” genre couldn’t watch without thinking, “Holy crap on a crap cracker, that was intense.”
Posted on November 12, 2010 by Flames
The Dresden Files RPG (DFRPG) by Evil Hat Productions is their adaptation of the FATE 3.0 system to the world created by Jim Butcher in his novels. While not required reading to play the game, a brief overview of the novels will be helpful, as no such summary is included in the game, with that in mind, there are mild spoilers throughout. The novels are chiefly concerned with the cases taken by a private investigator who is also a wizard. He solves various crimes in the city of Chicago that have an occult connection. The writers of the RPG have done an excellent job of using an established intellectual property as a baseline setting and not allowing the characters from the novel to overwhelm the game, a situation that has hurt other settings in the past.
The book itself is a large volume at just over 400 pages. The cover is a full wrap around image depicting Harry Dresden, Karrin Murphy and Michael Carpenter doing battle against a host of supernatural foes. The interior of the book consists of full color pages that are printed to appear as if a coil bound notebook. This appearance is due to the fact that the game is framed in such a way that it appears to be a manuscript of the game written by one of the characters from the series of novels. This stylistic choice is furthered by the inclusion of marginalia written by the “author,” a werewolf named Will, Harry Dresden and Bob, a spirit assistant to Dresden.
Posted on November 11, 2010 by Flames
Dusk is a supernatural action/drama story done in a dynamic blending of the sequential art styles of American Comics and Japanese Manga. David Doub tells us about the series in this new design essay.
When I first had the idea for Dusk, I was doing comics just a form of creative expression. I wasn’t worried about making money or rewards, I just wanted people to enjoy my comics. Since I was keeping it fairly low key, I figured the internet would be the best place to cheaply get the comics out to potential readers. I was so new at everything, I even tried drawing one of my own stories. Since I lacked skills in sequential art I did that particular story in a story book style. One page was art and the other side was prose.
Posted on November 11, 2010 by alanajoli
Jim Hines has a way of twisting fairy tales to let him get at bigger issues that lurk behind those stories. One of the biggest ideas he decided to take on is the traditional tale of Sleeping Beauty. One of the early versions of the tale says the the princess was not woken with a kiss, but either with intercourse or the pain of childbirth. If you follow Jim’s online writing at all, you know he’s worked very closely with rape survivors, and that talking about rape is important to him. It’s no surprise that he handles the issue with sophistication and a delicacy, which becomes even more relevant in Red Hood’s Revenge , a story that takes Talia back to her homeland to face her demons. The Lady of the Red Hood, also known as Roudette, is the most deadly assassin in the world, and she’s come after Talia. Her motives are unclear, especially when circumstances lead her to team up with the princess trio, but her hatred for fairies is obvious. When Talia wants to take out Zestan, a fairy the heroes suspect of being a deev — a very powerful evil fairy — Roudette gives every appearance of going along willingly, and only a shift in narrative technique allows readers to see that she’s up to something. (In the previous books, Jim stuck to a more limited third-person narrator; in Red Hood’s Revenge, the narration is broader, allowing peeks into several of the character’s perspectives.)
Posted on November 10, 2010 by Eric Pollarine
So I have waited to get this off the ground for a few good reasons, the first being that I am and will probably always be a very, very lazy individual. The second being that I wanted to give my initial awestruck impressions of AMC’s The Walking Dead a rest and see if I could realistically look at the show with a critical and more journalistic eye. Or at least if not a journalistic and critical eye, one that wasn’t covered in fan boy man happiness. Yes I said it fan-boy man happiness. don’t judge, it isn’t a very charming quality in a person.
Sunday October 31st 2010 will most likely go down as one of the most important dates in the history of zombie anything, outside of the original release of Night of The Living Dead. If you don’t believe me then you’re probably not as big a fan of the genre or you really have no idea of what I am talking about when I say “zombie” because you would have had to have been born circa 1949 to not understand the significance that the show represents for the horror community and the world of speculative fiction and/or maybe even the entire Media industry in and of itself. Looking back on it -the entire day, was at least for me, predicated around the premiere of AMC’s The Walking Dead. I know that , if you are reading this article, then it was probably the same way for you.
Posted on November 5, 2010 by Megan
The introduction to this adventure provides an apposite reminder: in a game in which dynasties and bloodlines and the good of your House feature large, weddings are going to be very important events indeed. For players of the game of thrones, dynastic alliances are often sealed by a marriage, whilst the young may still harbor hopes of marrying for love rather than political advantage. Even if you are not getting wed yourself, there is plenty of scope during such an event to further your own ends as well as enjoy a good party!
So is the case with the wedding central to this adventure. Two minor houses are sealing recent agreement through marriage, having for many years been at odds with each other. One party is happy, affection having conveniently coincided with policy, but the other party has other ideas…
Posted on November 4, 2010 by Matt Staggs
Special guest post by The Dead Path author Stephen M. Irwin
When I began writing The Dead Path – in fact, sometime before I began the penning process – I grappled for a long while with the concept of ghosts. I had decided to write a novel, and knew I wanted it to be a ghost story and that it would be set it in my hometown of Brisbane. But writing a ghost story is a bit like putting on wings and a beak on the first day of duck season – unless you look different to the rest of the flock, you run the risk of being shot down quite quickly (I imagine it is at present a risk even more onerous for authors considering writing tales concerning vampires). Ghost stories are as old as human storytelling; they exist in every culture and predate our major religions. And ghosts rank among the most famous of literary characters and religious figures – Hamlet’s ghost, Jacob Marley’s ghost, the Holy Ghost …