Archive | March, 2011

Steven Dawes

Dead Stay Dead Novella Review

Posted on March 31, 2011 by

Hello again fellow horror hicks! I know, it’s been a long time since my name graced the pages of Flames Rising. But my school duties have been a greedy bully with my time as of late. If it makes you feel any better, I’ve not have much time for anything else I enjoy doing either. And perhaps as further punishment of my not being around more often, the latest book I was given to review, titled “Dead Stay Dead”, was simply insufferable and punished me harshly for reading it.

From its description, it wanted to be blended mix of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Shaun of the Undead and Zombieland. But what it turned out to be was a plain mess to read that completely missed its mark. I hope my past reviews show that I’m not a snobby or picky reader. I’ve read many different styles of horror books and have found ways to enjoy them all.

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Blokes Tomb of Horror 2 Review

Posted on March 30, 2011 by

“Featuring 7 tales of terror, Virus Comix is proud to present the second issue of its anthology series, bringing together a collection of art styles from around the world into one issue.“

Wow, seven awesome looking stories. The art styles range from realistic to cartoonish, they go from highly detailed to perfectly inked. I can’t say enough on how nice this issue looks. I don’t even want to try and pick a favorite. One thing that most of these stories had in common was that awesome old school horror look. Nicely inked pure black and white panels that just add so much to the story. I want more and I want it now. Lets get these guys doing more books for my viewing pleasure.

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Monica Valentinelli

My Magic: the Gathering Demo at C2E2

Posted on March 29, 2011 by

One of the things I did at C2E2 was sit down and play a demo of Magic: the Gathering. I had the chance to talk to a very knowledge and experienced judge. We have some decks here at home and even though I’ve played a few rounds, with a game like Magic: the Gathering I feel there’s always something new to learn.

For my demo, I chose the Chandra Nalaar or red deck from the Planeswalker set. Immediately, the game designer in me wondered how gameplay might vary between the different colors. The red deck was totally appropriate to my personality and had lots of fiery cards and mountains in it.

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Billzilla

Bill’s Month in Horror, March 2011

Posted on March 28, 2011 by

It may come as no surprise that I’ve been thinking about horror lately. It occurred to me recently that there has, at no point in modern US history, been such a vast array of horror material – across all media – available for consumption. Not only do we have a regular horror television series currently airing (Walking Dead) plus many more series no longer in production available in DVD collections, but also a ton of fiction, both in novel and in comic/graphic novel formats. It’s a great time to be a horror fan!

I was glued to AMC’s series The Walking Dead ever since I stumbled across a preview trailer online last summer. My wife complained about the amount of space it took up on our already full DVR, so I conceded and deleted the recordings. The DVD of the first season is available now; I’m waiting for the time to be right to buy a copy. As the highest-rated series to date on AMC, and one of the top five shows from 2010 in terms of ratings on basic cable, the Walking Dead has broken new ground as a continuing horror series.

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Megan

Back in Business (Shadowrun 4E) Review

Posted on March 28, 2011 by

The new season of the Shadowrun Missions shared campaign takes the storyline to Seattle, and this first adventure opens with atmospheric fiction as a veteran local ‘runner takes a call about a job and wonders which of the newcomers to town might be up for it…

The overall approach to structure is interesting. With the core use of ‘shared campaign’ scenarios being at conventions or other settings where time is limited, it is necessary to make effective use of the time available and the structure is designed to facilitate this.

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Flames

Forsaken Chronicler’s Guide Part 1: To Isolate

Posted on March 26, 2011 by

A Chronicle Companion for Werewolf the Forsaken in Four Parts

The full book includes:
• Thirteen chronicle kits, which modify, emphasize and defy your expectations of what Werewolf the Forsaken can be.
• Ideas for chronicles set in ancient Sumer, in the trenches of eternal war, and with urban fantasy romance.
• Every kit contains tools for players and Storytellers alike, with ideas to integrate them into existing chronicles as well as new ones.

In this first part, we strip Werewolf the Forsaken down of its fundamental components.

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Flames

The Blackness Within: Stories of the Pagan God Moccus Review

Posted on March 25, 2011 by

The mythology of the British Isles fascinates me. Long before Christianity reached their shores, the people of England, Scotland and Ireland had their own fascinating, rich and complex religions. Sadly, their gods and monsters were given the short straw– devolving into leprechauns and pixies if they survived in our social conscious at all. But if you dig deep, you can usually find them still, primal and brutal, beautiful and mystic. And that’s where The Blackness Within shines.

The Blackness Within is Apex Publication’s collection of stories on the Celtic god Moccus, a god traditionally associated with boars. While both pigs and boars were held as sacred by the Celts, the boar was specifically revered for its ferocity and the strength one would require to bring it down. Little is known about Moccus– he may have been a fertility God, or one of the Hunt, or even a psychopomp, but little can be said for certain. The Blackness Within sets out to answer these questions with another: what would happen if the savage, earthen god returned today?

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Monica Valentinelli

[Photos] Costumes and Artists from C2E2

Posted on March 24, 2011 by

Thought you might want to see a collection of the photos I took at C2E2. There’s more C2E2 goodness coming when I talk about Skullkickers, what’s new with Tim Seeley, my Magic the Gathering demo and a smattering of new comic titles. Hope you enjoy these!

Zombie Survivors | C2E2 2011

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Flames

Interview with Author and Game Designer Robin Laws

Posted on March 24, 2011 by

Flames Rising is pleased to present an in-depth interview with author and game designer Robin Laws. An industry veteran, Laws has published role-playing games, supplements, novels and fiction for several companies. His works range from The Esoterroists, produced by Pelgrane Press, to his upcoming Pathfinder novel, which will be released through Paizo this spring.

Today, we sit down with Robin to discuss horror in role-playing games, his work on the GUMSHOE system, and his endeavors as an editor and novelist.

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Flames

Boom! Studios asks the Blogosphere to be a Hellraiser

Posted on March 24, 2011 by

Comic book publisher Boom! Studios debuted a web exclusive for the brand new Hellraiser comic series, written by Clive Barker. Boom! celebrated the release by raising hell all over the blogosphere. They reached out to bloggers and reviewers by offering the short story and pages of the preview for free. Then, they highlighted each and every instance of the coverage on their Twitter, Facebook pages and blog.

We’ve included a page of this unique web exclusive at the bottom of our post to give you a feel for the artwork and tone. The short story prelude is entitled At the Tolling of the Bell and is downloadable via several sites including DreadCentral.com, which we’ve linked to here.

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Jason Thorson

In the Footsteps Of Dracula: A Personal Journey and Travel Guide Book Review

Posted on March 24, 2011 by

It’s lonely being someone who takes horror so seriously, it borders on being a clinically definable malady. It’s rare to come across another human being whose affliction rivals my own. But alas, I have found him and his name is Steven P. Unger, author of the book “In the Footsteps of Dracula: A Personal Journey and Travel Guide (Second Edition)”. In fact, he and I could rightfully start a club for people like us, only I fear we’d spend our days arguing over who gets to be vice president, because being the president of such a club would be more than a bit embarrassing.

But I digress.

Unger’s book is a thorough analysis of the people and places that comprise Bram Stoker’s Dracula, both within the text and without.

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Monica Valentinelli

C2E2: Show Wrap-Up and What’s Changed in 2011

Posted on March 23, 2011 by

C2E2 2011 in Chicago We recently made the trek down to Chicago for the second year of C2E2. The attendance was up by ten-to-fifteen thousand people year-over-year to reach in upwards of 40 to 45 thousand; you can see by the picture at the top that the show was hopping. I was really impressed by the attention to detail to make this show fun. Last year, the show’s organizers walked the floor on Sunday, which had died down considerably, and asked the vendors and booth managers what could be done. Huge, huge, difference between this year and last year. Huge.

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Flames

New Baby Productions Adapting H.G. Well’s The Chronic Argonauts

Posted on March 22, 2011 by

Publisher New Baby Productions announces that a graphic novel adaptation of H.G. Wells’ short story, “The Chronic Argonauts,” is currently in production. Originally written by a 22-year old Wells, and published by the Royal College of Science in 1888, the story is considered to be the first well-developed use of a “time machine” in science fiction. It predates Wells’ more famous time traveling novel, The Time Machine, by seven years.

“The Chronic Argonauts” begins with the arrival of the mysterious Dr. Moses Nebogipfel to a small Welsh town. The apprehensions of the simple rural folk eventually cause them to storm the inventor’s workshop in an effort to avenge perceived witchery. Nebogipfel escapes with one other person, the sympathetic Reverend Elijah Ulysses Cook, in what is later revealed to be a time machine.

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Scenes of the Embrace SAS Review

Posted on March 22, 2011 by

Preludes. Some of my best memories of Storyteller games circle around Preludes. I could sequester away a player for perhaps an evening and, for a session, really get into that particular character’s head. Dice rarely hit the table. It was about motivations and character. I mention this because this eBook flirts with being a look at preludes. Let me clear that it isn’t, but even the author allows that some Storytellers will use it for exactly that purpose.

The PDF’s artwork is mostly good. In fact, there are some pieces within the file that are damned good (no pun intended. Really.). I personally liked Shane Coppage’s art the best (the cover belongs to this artist). The artwork proved a little distracting in that some pieces look like Hollywood was tapped for character inspiration.

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Hellfrost Region Guide 3: The Magocracy Review

Posted on March 21, 2011 by

The region guides for the Savage Worlds Hellfrost setting, with the exception of a couple which focus on non-geographical elements, comprise three discernible groups; “Evil” lands which have been overrun by the forces of the various villainous factions (the Liche Lands previously reviewed are a good example of this) and which are inimical to player groups; Border lands, such as the Freelands, where safe havens of civilization exist beside lurking dangers that threaten travelers; and “Civilized” nation states in the Hearthlands, where shadowy evil does lurk, but not in the same numbers as in the other places. The Magocracy is an example of the third category, and as such is a good location for WFRP-style Enemy Within type campaigns.

After a short introductory paragraph to set the scene, this pdf opens with a discussion on Social Hierarchy.

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Flames

Open Design’s 5th Anniversary Sale

Posted on March 19, 2011 by

Sunday, March 20 marks the fifth anniversary of Open Design, a game company run under the patronage business model where gamers themselves can be a part of the design process. Here’s the blog post that started at all.

To celebrate 5 years, Open Design is running a sale at the KQ Store from Friday, March 18 through Thursday Mar 24. Our Kobold-in-Chief Wolfgang Baur says, “This sale is my way of thanking all of you for your support over the past five years. By definition, Open Design could only succeed with your participation. So to all the patrons who helped create our sourcebooks and adventures, and the folks who bought the finished products…thank you very, very much for this wonderful five-year ride. I look forward to continuing on with you to our glorious 10-year mark.”

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Flames

Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition

Posted on March 17, 2011 by

White Wolf is making a 20th Anniversary Edition of Vampire: The Masquerade and we want your help!

Why are we? Vampire: The Masquerade changed everything! Exploding into hobby games in 1991, it evoked and inspired a generation of fans of which the game industry had never seen before or since. The gothic and punk subcultures from which it drew, previously unseen in the gaming world, created an unparalleled worldwide phenomenon that spanned novels, TCG’s, LARPs, video games, and television. But it all started with one RPG. The cultural significance Vampire left on not just the gaming world but on modern vampire-related pop culture can be seen and felt at virtually every turn and in every medium today. This combined with the unwavering sheer dedication of an unparalleled fan base is the reason this book is being published. Vampire: The Masquerade – 20th Anniversary Edition brings the entire World of Darkness experience full circle and will serve as the perfect anniversary milestone to celebrate two decades of gaming after dark.

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alanajoli

Unholy Ghosts Fiction Review

Posted on March 17, 2011 by

It isn’t often that I pick up a book (this one purchased with my own cashy money) where it’s got so much going on, I’m not sure how to start a review. Stacia Kane’s Unholy Ghosts is like that. This isn’t just a ghost story — though it works admirably (and scarily) well in that area. It’s not just postapocalyptic, though again, the brave new (scary) world that Stacia imagines is an amazing one. And though it’s not really a private investigator story, it’s got a lot of similarities to that genre, as the main character goes about solving a mystery and, eventually, confronting a threat that could destroy the world as she knows it. So it’s got epic scope, but the characters aren’t your typical heroes — in fact, they’ve got more in common with your typical villains, and that’s one of the areas where Stacia really succeeds: making characters you don’t really want to trust, but can’t help but like. Or, at the very least, sympathize with.

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Flames

Mage Noir Debuts at RPGNow.com

Posted on March 16, 2011 by

Mage Noir | White Wolf PublishingThe latest supplement for Mage: the Awakening debuted today at RPGNow.com. Dubbed Mage Noir, this new World of Darkness supplement offers a fresh historical feel. Set in the 1940s, the book covers a mage’s perspective in America. Writers include Matt McFarland and Filamena Young.

Mage Noir is an eighty page PDF, and is available at RPGNow.com for a retail price of $8.99.

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Steven Dawes

Asylum Novella Review

Posted on March 15, 2011 by

I read the short novella “Dead Stay Dead” before I realized that it was the second story in the new “Zombie Feed” series from Apex Book Company. After a bit of research I found the short story “Asylum” was the first story released in the series, which also happened to have recently arrived as a reviewers copy book in my mail. Feeling kinda sheepish that I hadn’t done my home work before hand, I set out to read “Asylum” to cover my bases. And I’m glad that I did as this story was unexpectedly interesting to read and author Mark Allan Gunnellis got a lot of mileage out of a mere 80 pages.

The story is centered on several homosexual men who barricade themselves inside a gay bar when the zombie apocalypse begins.

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11 Tales of Ghostly Horror

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