Author | Ray Frazee


Brass & Steel RPG Review

Posted on September 7, 2011 by

As the Wiki sez, Steampunk “is a sub-genre of science fiction, fantasy, alternative history, and speculative fiction that involves a setting where steam power is still widely used—usually Victorian era Britain—that incorporates elements of either science fiction or fantasy, and often features anachronistic technology or futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them.”

Steampunk is wild and funky; it is innovative and adventurous; it offers us with a glimpse of a world that never was but could have been. These days there is no shortage of steampunk novels and stories; Anti-Ice by Stephen Baxter was my first real exposure to it, but one can go all the way back to 1967 and Queen Victoria’s Bomb by Ronald W. Clark to get your fix. And, yes, I know Agatha Heterodyne is part of a “gaslight fantasy”, but she’s too cute to omit.

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SJGames Week: GURPS Monster Hunters Review

Posted on July 29, 2011 by

Monsters: can’t live with them, and . . . well, it seems like there’s days where you’re spending all your time killing them. Particularly when it comes to horror gaming. If you’re not out staking vampires, you’re blasting zombies or shotgunning werewolves.

There are many table top RPGs that dip their toe into the horror genre with great aplomb. And when it comes to “regular people” (AKA Player Characters) taking up arms and blasting apart things that go bump in the night, three or four titles instantly come to mind. And one of those titles is GURPS–as if you didn’t know.

For the uninitiated, GURPS stands for “Generic Universal Role Playing System”, which is a fancy way of saying, if you can dream it up, you can play it using GURPS. First published in 1986, it came out at a time when nearly all RPG systems were tailored to a particular genre.

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Darwin’s World (Campaign Guide) RPG Review

Posted on June 3, 2011 by

A little known fact of my life: when I was 5 my parent decided to vacation in Florida for the first time, and they picked the later half of October for this family outing. Of course, when I was 5 the year was 1962, and if you do a quick search on The Google you’ll discover in the last half of October, 1962, Florida was probably the last place in the world you wanted to be, since the odds of experiencing a live reenactment of Alas, Babylon, were pretty high.

Now, I remember none of this, but my parent often told me the story of how, right in the middle of the stuff about to go down, they decided the place to hang was a motel in Clearwater, Florida, which is about a 10 mile jaunt across Old Tampa Bay from MacDill AFB, a huge Strategic Air Command base and, at that moment in time, a target that was going to get whacked out in short order should the Cuban Missile Crisis have decided to go hot.

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Pelgrane Week: The Dead White World Review

Posted on May 5, 2011 by

The RPG Call of Cthulhu has always seemed, to me, to be a game that a lot of people have played, but few get right. It’s a great game with a rich background, but the few times I’ve played it felt as if gamers had issues trying to fit their character into the world of the early 20th Century, and the efforts often resulted in hilarious incidents, like one player I knew whose character used a 19 year-old female NPC for point-blank .45 target practice and subsequent bloody blow-through wall spraying.

The other thing that’s always felt difficult to bring into the world is the over-all veil of horror that was an intricate part of Lovecraft’s story. Let’s face it: horror is hard to bring to the table. It’s difficult to put into word in such a way that it doesn’t feel like an descriptive afterthought to a game scene.

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Eclipse Phase RPG Review

Posted on April 20, 2011 by

Why does Eclipse Phase draw me in so? Is it the dystopian setting that keeps bringing the misery? Is it due to there being enough future tech to choke a blue whale? Is it the metaworld so rich it makes you want to live there right now, despite it being such a deadly, alien environment that none of us would survive for very long?

Yes. Yes to all of the above. And then some . . ..

It goes without saying that Eclipse Phase is a hell of a game. The moment you turn the first page (if you can actually turn a page in a pdf, that is), it sucks you in like a hunk of flotsam circling an event horizon. It makes you feel the unlimited scope of adventure within while, at the same time, makes you realize this isn’t only a game, it’s a way of life . . . and that life ain’t gonna be pretty.

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11 Tales of Ghostly Horror

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