Author | Nix

I have been gaming since the very early 80's and just now starting to stretch my hand out into the various forms of writing.
I have lived here.. there.. and several places in between, but just recently relocated to Madison, WI.


Haunted: 11 Tales of Ghostly Horror Review

Posted on July 3, 2012 by

I believe this book is cursed, so I will begin with a brief history of my relationship with this book. It has brought me as much woe as enjoyment, thus I keep picking it back up. I first heard of this collection of ghastly mysteries several months ago and my fingers twitched with anticipation. I waited patiently, and was quite happy to see it appear on the shelves of my local game store. Soon it was purchased and in my hot little hands. I read through it in a day and a half, luckily my job at that moment afforded me a plethora of spare time, and was soon tapping out a review. At that point things went a bit sour. My desktop computer began to have issues. At first it would simply delete files, and if you were thinking that the files it deleted centered on this review.. then you were correct. After it deleted my work for a few weeks it started to truly die and before long I had a very large paper weight. A friend then sent me an old laptop, I was delighted and began catching up on the wonders of that exist on the internet. A couple months later I attempted to write, for about the fifth time, my review of Haunted.

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Instant Antagonists: Creepy Cottontail Review

Posted on June 28, 2012 by

The “Instant Antagonist” line is a series of works designed to be used with any role-playing system. As a game-master do you need a nasty crawly thing to harass your party of wayward adventurers? Then this is an excellent source of material to torture them with. Each book offers a short description of history, appearance, manners, and possible origins of a single creature. Not every creature is pure evil, some might simply be around for the impish delight of the game-master.

Monica’s installment, “The Creepy Cottontail” is based around Nyarlathotep, a servant to the Elder Gods and their Messenger.

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House of Ghosts Movie Review

Posted on June 27, 2012 by

Saint Euphoria Pictures produces homages to the old style horror films of the 1950’s with “House of Ghosts” pays particular attention to William Castle. There was a decent bit of tongue-in-cheek humor, but it was done in fondness of the b-movie genre not as a form of ridicule. They shot in black and white with a classic style of special effects staying as true to the original format as possible. Over-acting, cheesy lines, and an abundance of swelling music sweeps the viewer along as the story unfolds.

I was not expecting to enjoy the movie as much as I did. I enjoy the old b-movies and have many chuckles as quips are thrown back at the screen, but I can’t really call myself a true fan.

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Calebros Graphic Novel Review

Posted on August 9, 2011 by

The title ‘comic nerd’ has always escaped me. They are cool, they are nifty, and their storylines are quite often entertaining with the added bonus of some truly interesting artwork. Yet something has always kept me from diving into the pool of comics, and I’m not sure what that is since I enjoy reading them. Calebros, was no different. It was a delight from beginning to end and reminded me why Clan Nosferatu always ranked high on my list of favorites.

Calebros is part of a series of comics that were produced several years ago that followed the so the uninitiated reader should be warned that jumping into the story arc with this work will leave one rather confused. One the few flaws I caught was the lack of an introduction. Some background information for the new reader would have been greatly appreciated and it would also have helped spark my own memory in regards to White Wolf’s now dormant story arc.

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SJGames Week: GURPS Horror 4th Edition Review

Posted on July 26, 2011 by

Luckily, I have had the pleasure of meeting Kenneth Hite, albeit briefly and in passing, at a convention only a short time ago. He was engaging, intelligent, and knowledgeable about things most people find horrific with a particularly keen interest in Lovecraft. I could think of few other game designers and authors better suited to write a game of horror. Even though I found myself quite daunted at the thought of reviewing a Steve Jackson Games product, I was not disappointed and from the first few lines my attention was transfixed while my mind whirled with the possibilities of my own fear-filled campaigns.

GURPS Horror, which I will simply shorten to G:H, begins with a history of the game, a small dose of the authors quite note-worthy credentials, and a short piece on what exactly ‘horror’ and horror role-playing is. After a brief explanation on why players need to remain mindful of their fears, G:H jumps into character creation. Going beyond simple numbers or hastily jotted notes, Hite actually seems to endorse players giving quite a bit of thought about their characters backgrounds.

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Labyrinth Lord RPG Review

Posted on July 14, 2011 by

I was asked at Odyssey Con, several months back now, if I would write a review on Labyrinth Lord after I spoke of it while helping with a panel. It has taken me far too long to write this, as I do enjoy the game a great deal. It has simple and quick character generation. It has endless ways in which to perish with little-to-no escape. It has what many games have lost over time.. simplicity.

Far back in the ancient days of gaming, gamers hewed dice from stone, wood, or chit and the games were far more bare and stripped down. They did not rely upon ponderous tomes of rules that detailed out every contingency. The rules left much of this up to the individual game master to work out. When new product would arrive into the waiting hands of players and dungeon masters, they would pour through these new found nuggets of lore.

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Partners in Crime Fiction Review

Posted on July 1, 2011 by

Partners in Crime starts off on the waning days of World War 2. A conspiracy is set forth by the Japanese government to obtain a particular item and two men are sent to retrieve it. The unlikely pairing of two Americans, one an expert jewel thief and the other an insurance fraud investigator, begin their adventure into post war Germany. There, they barely escape with their lives and the item they were sent after. Unfortunately, by the time they return to America the war has ended with the blasting of Japan with atomic weapons. As the company was a front for Japanese interests it was closed. The pair were still paid what they owed with a bit extra, the result that the conspirators had hoped for was not realized.

The contested item is the Moon of Kali, the largest black star sapphire in the world. It has a long and sordid history, the sort of history best described as ‘cursed’. For thousands of years it has left a trail of dead owners in its wake and tantalizing tales of its power. In World War 2, the Moon of Kali was captured by the Germans, who had sought out such mystical items.

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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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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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Diabolique Magazine Review

Posted on June 9, 2011 by

I am not a horror movie fanatic. I enjoy them and I look forward to seeing a few of them, but my over-sensitized mentality takes quite a bit to shock while my natural sarcastic side urges me to quip, mock, and make other ‘witty’ comments on the movie as it plays. I blame hours of watching B, C, and D movies, including many episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000, for this inclination. Thus, I am a movie fan, just not a fanatic. I do enjoy learning what happened behind the scenes on a set, the often turbulent process a movie takes to actually getting filmed and released, and the other details that surround such endeavors.

If you are of a similar mindset, then you would most likely enjoy Diabolique. Diabolique is a bi-monthly publication for the horror connoisseur and seems to cover everything from vintage horror, to recently released films, to works in progress.

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Ace of Hearts RPG Review

Posted on June 7, 2011 by

Ace of Hearts is another of the lighthearted, ‘beer and crisps’ games by James Desborough. I’ll admit, you do have a certain type of humor to enjoy his products. But, if you do have a slightly skewed sense of reality then this will be a worthy role-playing game to take a look at. This particular product is definitely for adults. It has and deals with mature themes.. besides.. what is a kid doing drinking beer and eating pretzels.. err.. crisps anyway while role-playing? They should have school in the morning and be in bed sleeping. If they don’t have something to do, then I am sure the parent can assign some chores to keep them occupied. Chores are good like that, they can keep the child busy and it builds character.. well.. character and resentment. Anyway, back to the review.

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Nightlife RPG Review

Posted on June 2, 2011 by

What would happen if the cult classic “The Warriors” was set in the early 90’s with all the gangs being various super-natural creatures? You would have the role-playing game Nightlife. Nightlife was released in 1990 and 1991, with two editions and several supplements. It is hard to tell why one game fails to catch, and another game spreads like wild fire. It is also hard not to compare Nightlife with White Wolf’s World of Darkness, even though the two have very few similarities.

Both have vampires and werewolves and both games are set in a punk setting with horror elements. They use d10’s as their die of choice and super-natural creatures have strange awe inspiring powers. However, the similarities end there between the two games.

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Cthonian Stars RPG Review

Posted on May 31, 2011 by

The premise of Cthonian Stars is really quite simple, we are not alone in the universe. Even though we manage to overcome our current, and rather ignorant, age to reach out into our Solar System humanity will still be in its infancy when compared to what we may find. In the near future world of Cthonian Stars humans have settled into almost every corner of our Solar System. Colonies exist on Mercury to Pluto and every moon in between. Humans have come together in peaceful cooperation for our mutual benefit, yet the distances between the various colonies still has a stifling and isolating effect. Travel is not an instantaneous effect, but takes time and is dangerous.

The influences that sparked Cthonian Stars were ones that I was not only already familiar with but also a fan of. They listed movies such as Event Horizon, Pandorum, and Outland to help capture the ‘feel’ of the game.

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100 Horror Adventure Seeds Review

Posted on May 25, 2011 by


100 Horror Adventure Seeds is not a ponderous tome of highly drawn out and detailed adventures that focus on the things that go bump in the night. In this collection the ideas that James sets down are designed to trigger the imagination, not to stifle it. He starts off, quite early in the book, with the trials and pitfalls of horror gaming in general and moves on to the relative usefulness of a more structured module. It quickly becomes apparent that James is not a fan of the structured module. He does admit that they are good introductions for a new Game Master to a system, but eventually these will hinder a Game Master due to their lack of GM creativity.

James then describes why a more traditional module format tends to fail, and the main reason is quite simply the players. A player tends to have this nasty tendency to think for themselves and to have reactions that are not completely scripted. It is true that a Game Master can nudge and coddle a group back onto the modules path, but then that strips the players of their freedoms. With this collection, I believe James sets troubled Game Masters down the correct path where the plot is highly fluid and adaptable.

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Scenes from the Second Storey Review

Posted on May 23, 2011 by

Each story in this anthology was based on a particular song by the band God’s Machine, and in particular the album Scenes from the Second Storey. Being utterly unfamiliar with either I was at a loss to see how each work coincided with it’s assigned song. I simply read each story as it was presented.

My interest was heightened when I discovered that the writers were either from Australia, or near that region. As I read I picked up subtle differences between ‘American’ writing and that of their homeland, I am sure this affected my expectations within each tale and my eventual opinion. I delighted in this look at another part of the world and how they write and construct a story. Several of these authors interested me enough that I wrote their names down for my next visit to a bookstore; though it appears that most do short stories I hope to find their other works.

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Little Fears: Nightmare Edition RPG Review

Posted on May 16, 2011 by

From the first few times that I heard of this game I was drawn to it. “A game where you take on the persona of a child?” I thought, “Now that would be rather interesting..”. Sadly, those first few chances I had to play were missed out on due to running my own or participating in other games. It enticed me enough that I kept an eye open for any chance to sit down at a session. Finally, the day came when I did play and my patience was well rewarded. I have attempted to run demo’s at a few conventions, without much luck due to the fact that I feel Little Fears is a difficult game to describe to others in only a few short words. My patience will one day be rewarded I am sure. I have played for many years and I have introduced many gamers to new games, but there have been very few where I have tried to push a book into someone’s hands telling, “You have to play this.”

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11 Tales of Ghostly Horror

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