Bill Bodden has been writing professionally for more nearly a decade. A contributor to Madison Magazine, Geek Monthly, Scrye, Knucklebones and Games Unplugged magazines, Bill's writing was included in the Hobby Games: The 100 Best and the forthcoming Family Games: The 100 Best essay collections. Bill has also had gaming-related work published by Green Ronin Publishing, Fantasy Flight Games, Mongoose Publishing, and Games Workshop/Black Library. Bill works as the wholesale sales rep for Green Ronin, and in his spare time paints miniatures, reads, plays games and cleans up after four cats. Bill lives in Wisconsin with his wife, Tracy.
Posted on December 12, 2012 by Billzilla
Edison T. Crux is an author whose first novel, “Tale of the Wisconsin Werewolf” debuts on December 15. The author will be attending an event at Pegasus Games
Tale of the Wisconsin Werewolf is fiction based loosely on real Wisconsin folklore; there have been reported sightings of a wolf-like biped outside of a small town in south-eastern Wisconsin — near to the town where Mr. Crux grew up — as early as 1936 and as recently as the 1990s. Mr. Crux graciously allowed me to steal a few minutes from his busy, pre-launch schedule to talk about his new book.
Posted on November 1, 2012 by Billzilla
C. Edward Sellner is the Chief Creative Officer for Visionary Comics, having launched the studio in 2006. Having embraced the digital publishing revolution several years ago, Visionary is currently one of the largest digital publishing houses in the comics industry.
We sat down with Mr. Sellner to talk about comics in general and the Deadlands license in particular.
Posted on September 18, 2012 by Billzilla
Matt Forbeck is an award-winning game designer and author whose most recent endeavor, “12-for-12″, is a personal challenge issued to himself to write a novel a month for an entire year. I caught up with Matt after his most recent Kickstarter campaign concluded to ask him how things were going.
You’ve run a number of highly successful Kickstarters in support of your 12-for-12 initiative; what’s the most important thing you’ve learned about running a Kickstarter project?
It’s a lot more work than you think. While I ran my Kickstarters, they seemed to suck up every bit of time I had as I kept thinking about ways to improve them. That’s especially true toward the end, when you’re either getting desperate to hit your goals or thrilled that you’ve shot past them.
Posted on August 3, 2012 by Billzilla
I’m a fan of Carnacki. The somewhat stuffy British paranormal investigator, whose adventures were first cataloged more than a hundred years ago in Carnacki The Ghost Finder by his creator, author William Hope Hodgson, have fascinated me since I was urged to read them by a good friend. I was curious, therefore, when I discovered that another author, Scotsman William Meikle, had taken up the mantle of telling some new Carnacki tales in Carnacki: Heaven and Hell by Dark Regions Press. I tried to be objective going in, but my fondness for the character had me pretty excited to read some new adventures.
Posted on July 18, 2012 by Billzilla
Visionary Comics brings the weird west world of Deadlands to full-color life with a series of comics by a variety of artists and writers. Five different issues featuring five different main stories combine to give readers the full-bore Deadlands experience. Combining elements of the classic Western with Steampunk – a fairly natural fit, as it happens – and horror, Deadlands offers a unique experience to gamers. It was only natural that such a two-fisted, four-color setting would make the jump to a more visual medium – comics.
Posted on June 19, 2012 by Billzilla
Carpathia, the newest novel by Matt Forbeck and Angry Robot Books, takes place during the momentous disaster that was the maiden voyage of the S.S. Titanic in 1912. Historically, the first ship to arrive to render aid was the Carpathia. Matt’s premise stems from this, and from the idea that there might be a reason why the Titanic survivors would NOT want to be rescued by that particular vessel. In a word: vampires.
Posted on May 30, 2012 by Billzilla
The thing about being a Storyteller is you always need more stories for your players. How often you need new material depends on how efficient your players are at having their characters conclude business from night to night. There are plenty of adventures out there, but few are so nicely tailored to dropping into any campaign like those from The Resurrectionists Collection.
The first adventure, “The Resurrectionists”, involves the PCs in plot to resurrect a torpid elder – a scenario that will likely result in more questions than answers by the end.
Posted on April 20, 2012 by Billzilla
Masks of Nyarlathotep is a masterful campaign by Larry De Tillo with Lynn Willis created for the Call of Cthulhu tabletop role-playing game. In it, the investigators are drawn into a plot to throw open the gates keeping the Great Old Ones at bay, causing the earth to become a nightmare landscape of death, destruction, and mind-shattering horror. Spanning five continents, Masks is an epic adventure of mayhem and supernatural evil that will consume many game-nights of play, and is suitable even for a larger group of investigators. Available again in a revised 4th Edition, it once more rears it’s terrifying, blood-red tentacle to drive us all over the brink.
Posted on April 3, 2012 by Billzilla
Chuck Wendig has been a mainstay of White Wolf Publishing for years, and one of their most popular authors. Having successfully branched out into non-World of Darkness fiction, Chuck continues to develop a strong following for his longer-form prose. Recently, Chuck and Evil Hat Productions announced a series of novels based on Evil Hat’s Spirit of the Century RPG. Chuck will be authoring a trilogy of short novels, the first of which, Dinocalypse Now!, is being released soon. Chuck and I recently spent some time chatting about this new series.
Posted on March 20, 2012 by Billzilla
So you have this gorilla who wants to rule the world with his army of sentient ape-men, right? Plus, there’s a portal open to another time, and dinosaurs are coming through it – nobody’s sure who’s controlling them, but they aren’t acting purely on instinct. Then there’s the fact that many of the members of the Century Club – a group of two-fisted do-gooders who fight for truth and justice – with Chapter Houses all over the world – have disappeared, and you have the makings of a fantastic romp through pulp action in the classic tradition.
Posted on January 3, 2012 by Billzilla
Predators are competitors. They compete with other types of predators for food; they compete with others for territory. And they compete with others of their own kind for both food and territory as well. Sometimes, predators will form alliances with like-minded individuals to protect a larger area, making survival – even prosperity – more likely for all within the group. So it is with apex predators like vampires; they don’t care much to be around each other, but when faced with threats too big for one to handle, they band together to form protective groups. Those groups of like-minded vampires are called Covenants, and one of the most interesting of those is the Carthians. Based on the premise of greater equality and of emulating the institutions of their prey, Carthians hope to both blend in better – be less obviously a predator among the flock – and keep the stifling, unchanging nature of near immortality at bay.
Carthians begins with a fine piece of fiction by Greg Stolze to set the mood, then launches into a dissection of the Carthian Movement – its history, goals, and styles of governance.
Posted on December 27, 2011 by Billzilla
The amount of source material produced for the World of Darkness role playing universe is truly impressive. Not all of it is useful to players – much of it being useful primarily to the game master for the purposes of fueling any individual group’s adventures – and some is of benefit to all players. Night Horrors: Immortal Sinners is a book that is fascinating to read for any aficionado of the setting, but is likely best left to the GMs (or “Storytellers” in White Wolf’s World of Darkness parlance) as it spends most of its 160 pages detailing powerful vampires that the players’ characters could bump into in-game.
Posted on December 17, 2011 by Billzilla
Being a fledgling author, I had often pondered what it would be like to participate in a public reading of one’s own work. I recently had the chance to find out. I agreed to assist in the promotion of Haunted: 11 Tales Of Ghostly Horror (Flames Rising Press, 2011), particularly since, as a contributor to the anthology, I have a personal stake in how well the book sells. Knowing that readings could help us immensely by generating interest and word-of-mouth advertising, I cast about town looking for likely venues.
It turns out that bookstores are good choices for readings, as one might expect. Also good, and perhaps not as obvious a choice in our Internet-driven culture, are public library branches.
Posted on December 16, 2011 by Billzilla
Carl Kolchak, hard-bitten reporter of the supernatural from the TV series of the 1970s returns to action courtesy of an ongoing series of comic books and graphic novels from Moonstone Books. This time, Carl’s been fired by the owner of the newspaper that used to employ him, and he must find another way to make ends meet. He’s approached by a young couple, Otto and Mo Brerhahrer, who are ghost hunters in their spare time, and Kolchak can hardly say no, particularly when they offer to buy him lunch.
Through three related vignettes, the reader learns more about Kolchak, and why he has such a close connection to the supernatural. The first, titled “Fifteen Minutes,” find Kolchak at his wits end regarding where his next meal is coming from.
Posted on November 28, 2011 by Billzilla
Red Eye of Azathoth, published by Wolfgang Baur and the Open Design LLC, is an unusual adventure for Call of Cthulhu. This campaign pack has the investigators following an evil madman through centuries of effort to summon the Daemon Sultan Azathoth to earth, an event that would cause our planet’s near-total destruction.
In a unique twist, players take on the roles of different characters in each separate scenario – each time battling the same villain, who has possessed a different victim to further his diabolical ends.
Posted on October 12, 2011 by Billzilla
There aren’t many tales where the undead are the good guys; say what you want about Twilight or True Blood, but those aren’t in the same league as an undead schoolteacher seeking vengeance for the dead family of his pupil.
Thus we have The Grave Doug Freshley, about a tutor – Doug Freshley – in the Wild West who witnesses the death of his friend and his friend’s wife, and manages to save their son – his student – from the family farmhouse as it goes up in flames. The crime has been perpetrated by the Delancey family – a band of thugs, each one worse than the last.
The Delanceys are trying to expand their stake the easy way – by stealing from the locals and killing them so there’s no one to dispute the claim.
Posted on September 13, 2011 by Billzilla
Among other things, I’m a gamer. One of my favorite aspects of gaming is painting miniatures. Whether it be an army of Dwarves or Goblins for Warhammer Fantasy Battles, or the Austrian 18th Regiment of infantry from the 1809 Campaign against Napoleon, painting miniatures is sub-culture of gaming I particularly enjoy.
Posted on September 1, 2011 by Billzilla
Setting books are a tough sell in most role playing games. For one thing, if the game master opts to set the adventures of the characters in a different city then those offered – or the players’ characters find themselves drawn in another direction entirely – setting books become less than completely useful. Also, since they will only sell – for the most part – to game masters, more than three-quarters of the potential audience is already uninterested in purchasing it.
Such is the problem with city guides for the World of Darkness; despite aiming for fascinating cities with a great many points of interest besides vampires, werewolves and the like, they just haven’t sold well enough to justify others in the line. However, they are well worth a GM’s time and cash outlay to obtain; besides a wealth of interesting NPCs that might show up in one’s own game, the city books are filled with fantastic plot hooks and useful information that is easily adapted to any chronicler’s setting.
Posted on August 22, 2011 by Billzilla
Another GenCon has come and gone – my eleventh straight as an industry professional – and I wanted to reflect a bit on why GenCon is important for the gaming industry – not to mention just a great time as an attendee/gamer. For one thing, nearly all the major tabletop game companies – and most of the minor ones – have a presence at GenCon. If your favorite local Game Store (FLGS) doesn’t carry something from one of these companies, odds are better than average it can be found in the dealers’ hall.
Gaming at GenCon? Yes, there’s lots. Most of it involves paying something extra to play, which is a bit of a downer, but still affordable. If you plan to go, registering for events early is a good idea; they fill up quickly and there’s no guarantee of a last-minute opening in the game you really wanted to try. Many manufacturers run demos at their booths in the dealer’s hall; these will be short, use pre-gen characters they provide, but are an excellent way to sample something new before buying.
Posted on August 12, 2011 by Billzilla
Horror is a subjective state; what one finds horrifying another might find merely gruesome or grotesque. It is within this ambiguity I find myself regarding Chilling Tales: Evil DId I Dwell; Lewd Did I Live. There was horror within to be sure; also within was loneliness, isolation, despair, and a lot of really good writing.
Standout stories for me in this collection included “Tom Chesnutt’s Midnight Blues” by Robert J. Wiersema and “404″ by Barbara Roden. Both are among the first three tales and get the anthology off to a great start. “Tom Chesnutt’s” is about a philandering folk singer who inadvertently causes his wife’s death. She haunts him now, not actively rattling chains and moaning but rather showing up at his gigs – a phantom only he can see – as a reminder of his misdeeds. “404″ is a distressingly familiar tale about office workers who discover their comrades simply disappear one day. As their numbers dwindle and their isolation increases, they each find themselves coming under the watchful eye of their supervisor.