Archive | June, 2011

Billzilla

Van Helsing Board Game Review

Posted on June 30, 2011 by

Let’s be honest; who doesn’t love Count Dracula? The cape, the sex appeal, the slick hair, eschewing modern dentistry – he did it all, including upsetting more than a few well-to-do British noblemen. In Van Helsing, one player gets to play the toothy Count, while the remaining one to four players take on the roles of Jonathan Harker, Mina Murray, Lord Godalming and Abraham Van Helsing – the Hunters.

The board is a loose grid of spaces showing three levels of Dracula’s castle. Hunters move around the board looking for Dracula and his brides. The object of the game for them is to destroy five of the eight brides, or destroy Dracula himself if they like doing things the hard way. For the Count, his goal is to either transform all four of the Hunters into his minions or kill them, or to get four of his potential brides to the coffin space in his castle.

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Flames

Fear-Maker’s Promise Compendium

Posted on June 29, 2011 by

This SAS compilation for Changeling: The Lost takes the players’ characters into the weirdly fantastic realm of the Hedge, where the terrors and wonders of the Fae lurk, and into the passion and courtly conflict of those who have escaped the Faerie lands and back into our world. Both adventures showcase different aspects of the world of the changelings, as well as providing a ready-made motley to jump right into the action.

Fear-Maker’s Promise Compendium is now available in both digital and print formats at RPGNow.com!

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Flames

A Feast for Crows Fiction Review

Posted on June 29, 2011 by

It has been years since I read the first three novels of this series, and since the series came out on HBO…I decided to re-read them and this was the first time I actually read the fourth book. One of the hardest things that Martin has been able to do was write from so many different perspectives. I think people underestimate how difficult
that can be. So when you pick up this book you are ready to see what has happened after the craziness of the ending of Storm of Swords.

Wow, if you are someone that needs continuity, you are in trouble here. Not only do you not get the characters you are normally used to reading, but you get characters you have never even heard of before. Mainly due to the fact that they are called “The Prophet” or “The Princess in the Tower”.

Right off that bat you don’t even who these people are. This wasn’t a horrible thing, it just was confusing to all of a sudden get perspectives that you have not gotten at all in the first three novels.

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Monica Valentinelli

Contest and Celebrating Girl Geeks

Posted on June 28, 2011 by

Girl Geek Week at mlvwrites.comWhat do FlamesRising.com readers and me have in common? A love for all things geek, of course!

Yesterday, I launched a theme week on my blog at www.mlvwrites.com about all things girly and geeky. This week-long celebration is due, in part, to my new column debuting in July on the Geeks Dream Girl website about freelancing for the hobby games industry. What better way to say “I like being a geek” than to enjoy a fun contest!?!

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Monica Valentinelli

The Golden Key Fiction Review

Posted on June 28, 2011 by

The Golden Key is a dark fantasy epic romance that was written as a three-way collaboration between Melanie Rawn, Jennifer Roberson and Kate Elliot. The book, which clocks in at eight hundred and eighty-nine pages, spans hundreds of years in a duchy called “Tira Virte.” The sequel, dubbed The Diviner, is due out this August.

I called The Golden Key an epic romance, but I feel that might be a little misleading. So, before I go any further, let me explain why I put it into that category. At the heart of this novel, is the tortured relationship between two characters: Sario Grijalva and the cousin he adores, Saavedra. He loves her; she does not love him. Well, at least not in that way. She does love and care for him, but her heart belongs to someone else. The passion Saavedra feels for (and shares with) Alejandro becomes the catalyst for Sario’s demise. In many ways, Sario has tortured himself for a love that may (or may not) never be consummated.

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Flames

Behind Plague of Shadows, a Pathfinder Novel

Posted on June 27, 2011 by

FlamesRising.com is pleased to present a behind-the-scenes look at the birth of the Pathfinder novel Plague of Shadows. This novel, which was written by Howard Andrew Jones, is about a race against time set against a backdrop of treachery, magic and nightmares. Jones dives into the process of writing a tie-in novel with both feet. In his own words, you can read how this talented author came to be a part of the popular Pathfinder setting.

Round about the time James Sutter was given the greenlight to start up the new Pathfinder line word got around that I’d signed a two book contract with St. Martin’s Thomas Dunne Books for some Arabian fantasy swashbucklers. The first one, The Desert of Souls, was on its way through editorial when James contacted me to see if he could look at some writing samples. He must have liked what he saw, for he then asked me to shoot some proposals his way.

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Flames

Marvel Guests Announced for New York Comic Con

Posted on June 25, 2011 by

New York Comic Con Logo Many top writers and creators will be joining Marvel Comics at New York Comic Con (NYCC) as the renowned comic books and media entertainment company reveals preliminary plans for the 2011 edition of the annual pop culture extravaganza which will take place at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City, October 13 – 16, 2011. Marvel will not only have a 3000 square foot booth on the show floor where attendees will have an opportunity to mingle with creators and staff, but the company will also be conducting numerous high profile panels throughout the weekend which will feature their top talent. Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment, and Axel Alonso, Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief, will be Guests of Honor at the show and will be joined by many other notable Marvel creators including Guests of Honor Jason Aaron, Matt Fraction, Kieron Gillen, and Stuart Immonen.

“The enthusiastic participation of premiere companies like Marvel is critical to our success,” notes Lance Fensterman, Group Vice President for ReedPOP and Show Manager for NYCC. “We are always eager to host Marvel at New York Comic Con and to provide their talent with a range of opportunity. Our show not only brings thousands of fans together with their favorite writers, artists and creators but we are a preeminent venue for launching and displaying new content and product. Marvel’s participation is a huge validation of our efforts and we are grateful to them for their energy and commitment. We look forward to making the 2011 edition of New York Comic Con one of the best ever!”

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Jason Thorson

Zombies Unlimited The Devil’s Chamber Review

Posted on June 24, 2011 by

John Morrone, veteran writer for the horror webzine Bloody-Disgusting.com, is unleashing his musical talents on the world in the form of Zombies Unlimited. According to the official website, Zombies Unlimited is dedicated to creating low-cost, original music for independent horror and sci-fi movie soundtracks. This music comes to us in the form of techno, a genre I associate with cheerleading, raves, and clubs I wouldn’t patronize. But make no mistake, Zombies Unlimited is creating some of the most unique techno and electronica possible and as a longtime professional musician of the old school variety, I certainly appreciate ZU’s musical aesthetic despite my unfamiliarity with the tropes of these genres.

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Megan

The Lost City RPG Review

Posted on June 23, 2011 by

Throughout history, the concept of the ‘lost city’ has always fascinated… likewise generations of gamers have been drawn to explore by legend and rumour, right back to the Basic Dungeons and Dragons module B4: Lost City! Whether it’s fame and fortune, mere survival, or some higher purpose, mention lost cities and adventurers will come in droves. This lost city is no different, and there are wonders to discover for those brave enough and skilful enough to explore.

The lost city of Kadralhu has much to offer the adventurer and much also to offer the gaming group, for it is presented as a ‘sandbox’ adventure, a setting with much to do rather than a single plotline to figure out. Whatever the characters’ motivation for going there, wherever they venture once they arrive, there are things going on, things to discover, enemies to vanquish, allies to be made and secrets to learn.

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Monica Valentinelli

The Element Encyclopedia of Signs and Symbols Review

Posted on June 22, 2011 by

Published by Harper-Collins, The Element Encyclopedia of Signs and Symbols: the Ultimate A to Z guide from Alchemy to the Zodiac is not one book, but several smaller books that range from the language of flowers to numerology and, of course, symbols.

Normally, I find there are two challenges a book like this has to overcome. First, there’s the issue of gravity. Books in this vein can either be lighthearted, with more of a pseudo-magical feel to them, or serious and grounded in fact. This particular tome is squarely in the middle. While it does offer an aura of mystery in some respects, The Element Encyclopedia of Signs and Symbols also offers a comprehensive resource guide at the end of the book.

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Perdition’s Daughter: a Dime Novel Review

Posted on June 21, 2011 by

Deadlands, the very name speaks of dark tidings and sinister shenanigans. For those unfamiliar to the setting, Deadlands is an Old West role-playing game that was initially released in the mid-90’s. It met with quite a bit of success and has recently been re-released employing the Savage Worlds system. Both games were written excellently by Shane Lacy Hensley and I was quite happy to see my beloved game in print once more. With Deadlands, Shane transports us to the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood where he mixes it liberally with horror. He then throws in dashes of Steampunk and science-fiction to make it one of the best genre spanning settings. It can be dark, irreverent, gritty, and surreal all in the same session without a pause.

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Monica Valentinelli

Free RPG Day Haul: Did You Get Yours?

Posted on June 21, 2011 by

Wow. This year’s free RPG day freebies were outstanding. We decided to shop at NobleKnight.com because we were looking for a copy of the Hellboy: Sourcebook and Roleplaying Game — and found it! At Noble Knight, we snatched a first edition, first printing from this fully-illustrated edition published by Steve Jackson Games. Also included in the “paid” portion of our haul, was the Pathfinder campaign setting Undead Revisited. I can’t help but think the name implies a double dose of necromancy — as if one wasn’t bad enough!

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Billzilla

The Gaki and Other Hungry Spirits Review

Posted on June 20, 2011 by

Being an aficionado of folklore, I was intrigued by the title of this collection, The Gaki and Other Hungry Spirits, which refers to “hungry ghosts” of Japanese legend. While the stories themselves are decidedly Western in nature, they are no less interesting. A number of the tales do feature hungry spirits, so points to Mr. Rainey for holding to his theme.

This collection starts off with the title story, “The Gaki” in which we have a tale of a man searching for something to fill his life. He finds intrigue at a clandestine gathering of people by the Copper River, and what follows will lead him down a path he never knew existed. Ultimately, he finds what he seeks, but it isn’t what he expected, and it requires a high level of devotion from him in exchange.

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Flames

Eldritch! #1 Arrives at DriveThruComics.com!

Posted on June 20, 2011 by

ANYA SOBCZEK (SUB-CHECK) is a snarling science major with an arm full of Darwin tattoos. Her brother OWEN is a sensitive young thing in a coven of teenage occultists. The Sobczek sibs have always been brutally competitive, but now that Owen’s blood has started BUBBLING with ancient tentacled abominations, their rivalry’s about to enter a vast new dimension of cosmic terror…

In 2010 Artists DREW RAUSCH and AARON ALEXOVICH hurled their infectious horror/comedy hybrid ELDRITCH! into blazing combat in DC Comics’ final Zuda webcomic competition. After several centuries it emerged, dazed and confused, with the word WINNER indelibly etched on its forehead.

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Tough Justice RPG Review

Posted on June 17, 2011 by

Tough Justice is not an easy game to sell. It is not for everyone and I would not recommend it for children as I would many other role-playing games. Tough Justice takes the players and game master to one of the bloodiest periods in British history, at least judicially speaking anyway. In years between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries there were hundreds, some estimations go as high as 300, of offenses that could result in death for the accused. It is to this era that Tough Justice sets it sights and it barrels ahead full speed into a dark and horrendous time.

Tough Justice is a beer and pretzel/crisp game only by default. It’s game mechanics are actually quite easy, even if it’s content is anything but easy.

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Flames

Flames Rising Now Available on Your Kindle

Posted on June 16, 2011 by

Do you have an Amazon Kindle? Like horror and dark fantasy? FlamesRising.com is now available to read on your Kindle for a monthly subscription of $1.99. Our blog will be automatically delivered to your Kindle so you can read each post on your schedule. By subscribing to our content on a monthly basis, you’ll also […]

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Flames

Last Chance to Save on The Darkness Comics

Posted on June 16, 2011 by

The Darkness Logo | Top Cow ProductionsTo celebrate the release of the upcoming video game, Top Cow Productions has drastically reduced prices on The Darkness comics at DriveThruComics.com. The sale ends on Friday, so if you’re interested in picking up either a single issue or a trade, you’ll want to take advantage of the sale. Prices on The Darkness comics normally range from $2.99 to $34.99, but in this sale you’ll be able to pick them up for almost half off the cover price.

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Flames

Werewolf the Forsaken Chronicler’s Guide

Posted on June 15, 2011 by

Recently David Hill sent us a Design Essay about his latest World of Darkness product the Forsaken Chronicler’s Guide, which was released in serial format. Now the complete guide is out in eBook format.

You come with me, you’re on a journey. You leave this safe and boring world and strap into a wild ride. You won’t know where you’re going. That’s okay-because I don’t know where I’m taking you. All I know is that life is short, but my teeth and my claws are long. The night awaits us, and I am hungry. Aren’t you hungry, too?
– Anna Koren, Wild Child

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Into the Void SAS Review

Posted on June 15, 2011 by

Players can try something different with the newest SAS from White Wolf. In “Into the Void,” ($6.99 at RPGNow.com), players kick off an adventure with killing the Prince of their city. The Prince, in all truth, is a secret hording problem that a good Final Death solves.

Or does it?

This is one of the better SAS releases that I’ve read. While certain NPCs are named, there is no reason why the Prince can’t become the Prince of established characters’ city along with the key movers and shakers detailed.

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Megan

Curse of the Golden Spear 1: The Gift Review

Posted on June 14, 2011 by

Plunging straight in, this adventure begins with a brief outline of this richly-detailed Japanese-inspired setting. In a neat twist, the characters too are seeing it for the first time, arriving as ‘gai-jin’ (the Japanese word for ‘foreigner’ although it’s a word with somewhat negative connotations) and seeing it with all the wonder of outsiders visiting a new and very different place, even as their players are finding out about a new setting.

Much of the discussion, though, is best kept for the GMs’ eyes. Unlikely to be common knowledge elsewhere, although it may be a topic of discussion in some academic and theological circles, life and death here, the state of the souls of both the living and the dead, is somewhat unusual. Reincarnation gone mad, shall we say, and leave characters to discover it for themselves as they begin to piece together what is going on. Japanese-inspired this setting may be, but it draws on the darker side, on the tales that are told, that create a setting filled with oriental horror.

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11 Tales of Ghostly Horror

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