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Go Beyond the Wall with editor James Lowder

Posted on July 10, 2012 by

Beyond the Wall is Smart Pop Books’ latest essay anthology. This book covers George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire (from A Game of Thrones to A Dance with Dragons) and features a foreward by New York Times bestselling author R.A. Salvatore.

Editor, James Lowder is here with his take on the book, and putting together anthologies in general.

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Flames

Spreading the Heebie Jeebies

Posted on June 21, 2012 by

Heebie Jeebies Sample CardOur game design essay series continues here at Flames Rising with Dave Cook telling us about his new game Heebie Jeebies, which is in the middle of a Kickstarter run now.

I’ve been making games for Zipwhaa since 2000. People have asked me how I come up with ideas for games. Usually my reply confounds them because it hardly makes much sense to them, let alone me. The short answer is that they just sort of come to me and fall into place like putting the last piece of a puzzle down. The mental picture of the overall game clarifies in how it will play, what the rules should be and how the flow of the game should go. This is exactly what happened when I created Heebie Jeebies.

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Flames

Creating curse the darkness

Posted on May 26, 2012 by

The direct inspiration for curse the darkness was a song. My brother sent me a link to A Perfect Circle’s cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine” some years back. I like the original well enough, but the cover really got my brain moving. I tend to see scenes and characters and stories when I hear music anyway, and when I heard that song (which you can find easily enough on Youtube, if you want to give it a listen before buying it), I saw a man standing on a balcony looking out over the ruined world. The ground was blasted and blackened, and he — whoever he was — stood there thinking, “Yes, this was the right decision. I did the right thing.”

Who was he? What had happened? I didn’t know. I did know that the message of the song felt different with the cover. Instead of “let’s all get along,” it was “get along, and that’s not a request.” I let that sit in my brain for a while, not really knowing what to do with it.

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Flames

Children of the Revolution Deluxe Kickstarter

Posted on May 16, 2012 by

Children of the Revolution tells the stories of noteworthy or notorious Kindred of the modern nights whose Embraces came intimes of unrest, rebellion, or open revolution. The circumstances of these revolutions might have been mortal or undead, martial or cultural. These Kindred joined the ranks of the Damned under tides of war or cultural upheaval, and their blood bears the mark of change from one paradigm into another. Sometimes they are the agents of change. For others, their revolution drags them in its wake.

The world of the Kindred is always fraught with blood and danger, and Embrace amid the fires of revolution only heightens that fact. Here are Kindred who have risen to guide the Black Hand, who have led the armies of Alexander, who have plumbed the mysteries of the Nictuku, and who have been reborn in the fires of the Arab Spring. Their histories have been forged, but their futures remain to be determined by your troupe.

Visit the Children of the Revolution Kickstarter today.

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You Say You Want a Revolution?

Posted on May 14, 2012 by

Farewell to Fear ArtOur new game, Farewell to Fear, is a dark fantasy game about revolution and enlightenment taking people out of the darkness. Your players choose a thing about the world they want to change, and they set out to change it. As we design Farewell to Fear, I’ve tried to keep this at the front of every effort. I’m tackling this through three main avenues, game mechanics, setting writing, and art direction.

In the game mechanics, revolutions are at the forefront. Change needs to drive advancement. So, our entire system is based on building solutions to massive problems, and using thinking and preparation to tackle otherwise overwhelming problems. As the game progresses, characters grow and evolve through their engagements with change.

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Flames

Living with Cold & Dark: Part I

Posted on May 7, 2012 by

The design essay series here at Flames Rising continues with the first part of a series by game designer Mischa L Thomas. Mischa tells us about the forthcoming Cold & Dark RPG.

Living with Cold & Dark: Part 1

Hi, my name is Mischa L Thomas and I’m the lead designer at Wicked World Games 1.1, a small RPG design company based in Gothenburg Sweden. In a couple of months we’re going to release the gritty space horror science fiction pen and paper RPG Cold & Dark in partnership with Chronicle City. I thought I’d talk a little bit about the inspirational sources and conceptualization method behind the design process which led up to the finished game document. But first a little bit of background.

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Monica Valentinelli

Behind the Romance of Strange, Dead Love

Posted on February 14, 2012 by

I was excited when Russell and Eddy first approached me to work on Strange, Dead Love. For the past couple of years, I have attended several romance writing workshops to learn more about the genre from an author’s perspective. Several of the sessions were dedicated to paranormal romance and we often took a lit crit approach to the genre by pulling out contemporary examples: Laurell K. Hamilton, Charlaine Harris, Anne Rice, Yasmine Galenorn, Patricia Briggs, etc. The subject was something I knew a lot about and, as a Vampire: the Requiem player and author of Scenes of the Embrace, I was happy I could contribute to help other players dive into this genre.

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Flames

Dust to Dust: Dirty Secrets by Matthew McFarland

Posted on February 3, 2012 by

The design essay series continues with Matthew McFarland telling us about Dust to Dust, a new story supplement for Vampire: the Masquerade from White Wolf.

Dust to Dust is a story supplement using the Storytelling Adventure System designed for use with Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition, and it acts as a spiritual successor to the classic story Ashes to Ashes.

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Flames

Final Twilight Kickstarter Campaign launched!

Posted on January 24, 2012 by

In the near future, on the western coast city of New Metropolis, an evil that has lain dormant for centuries is about to be awakened to the 21st century. Forces of darkness and magic strive to unleash a horror upon the Earth unlike any mankind can remember. The only forces capable of stopping it are rendered impotent by an age-old fear and hatred. Will humanity set aside their differences and stand as one against the darkness? Or will this be humanity’s Final Twilight?

Trinity, the first series, follows a trio of souls whose fates are intertwined. Mark Jarus, the last classically trained mage, fights the good fight as a vigilante in city overrun by crime! Kerra Neil, a young woman and skilled hunter stalking the shadows for murderers and magic-using blights upon humanity! And the enigmatic Charles Faust, whose cool and calm demeanor belie a centuries old heart of darkness and unnatural lust for power!

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Flames

Edward McKeown tells us about Was Once a Hero

Posted on January 17, 2012 by

The design essay series continue here at Flames Rising with a new entry from author Edward McKeown telling about his novel Was Once a Hero.

Reluctant privateer Robert Fenaday searches the stars for his lost love, Lisa, a naval intelligence officer whose ship disappeared near the end of the Conchirri War . He’s joined by the genetically engineered assassin, Shasti Rainhell, whose cold perfection masks her dark past. Both are blackmailed by government spymaster, Mandela, into a suicidal mission to the doomed planet Enshar. Leading a team of scientists and soldiers, they must unravel the mystery of that planet’s death before an ancient force reaches out to claim their lives.

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Flames

Children of the Revolution Outline Posted

Posted on January 3, 2012 by

Children of the Revolution is a rogue’s gallery of those Embraced “in interesting times,” to use a euphemism. In times of upheaval and turmoil those who join the ranks of the Damned can’t help but be shaped by the chaotic events around them. The transformational disruption that occurs in the world remains indelibly with the Kindred Embraced in that moment, marking him as an agent of change among Kindred society in some capacity.

One example might be the Anarch Tyler from Chicago by Night, Embraced in the throes of active rebellion and forever characterized by her opposition to tyranny. The Lasombra Gratiano, Embraced by his clan’s progenitor, committed diablerie on that sire, forming the Sabbat in the crucible of that betrayal’s aftermath. The inscrutable Inconnu Dracula, playing one sect against the other while defending his homeland against the Turk incursions. All of these are excellent examples of the sorts of Kindred who could be considered “children of the revolution.”

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Flames

Translating The Walking Dead to Prose

Posted on November 29, 2011 by

All zombies are created equal. All zombie stories are not.

From its humble beginnings as an indie comic book, The Walking Dead has become a pop culture juggernaut boasting New York Times–bestselling trade paperbacks, a hit television series, and enough fans to successfully take on any zombie uprising.

Triumph of The Walking Dead explores the intriguing characters, stunning plot twists, and spectacular violence that make Robert Kirkman’s epic the most famous work of the Zombie Renaissance.

Flames Rising is proud to present an exclusive excerpt from this book. The Walking Dead novels’ co-author Jay Bonansinga provides the inside story on translating the comics into prose.

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Flames

Designing the Macabre Tales RPG

Posted on November 8, 2011 by

We have a new design essay from Cynthia Celeste Miller. Cynthia stops by to tell us about the development of the brand new Macabre Tales RPG. Macabre Tales is the dominoes-based RPG of Lovecraftian horror from Spectrum Games.

Designing the aspects of Macabre Tales

Designing Macabre Tales was a labor of love. In fact, when I first conceived the game, I had no intention of releasing it commercially. Rather, the plan was to use it solely for my own gaming groups. Once I began putting the pieces together, however, it became clear that others might enjoy this drastically different take on Lovecraftian horror gaming too.

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Flames

Sword & Sassery: The Source of Skullkickers

Posted on November 1, 2011 by

We have a new design essay from Jim Zubkavich about the Skullkickers comic series which is published by Image Comics. In this essay Jim tells us about his love of Dungeons & Dragons, bonding with his brother and how the game inspired the series.

Skullkickers, the action-comedy comic published by Image that I created, is the sarcastically loveable bastard child of many different sword & sorcery sources. From Robert E. Howard and Fritz Leiber to Tracy Hickman and Terry Pratchett, there are a slew of fantasy books by amazing authors that boil and bubble together in the cauldron I’m stirring, but above and beyond those literary sources is good ol’ Dungeons & Dragons.

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Flames

Designing Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land

Posted on October 19, 2011 by

We have a new design essay from Tomas Rawlings today. Tomas tells us about the work that went into developing the new Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land mobile game from Red Wasp Design.

Designing The Wasted Land

Hi there! My name is Tomas Rawlings and I’m the designer of the new game Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land. I’m one part of a small indie development team who’ve been working hard for almost a year now on a role-playing/strategy game set in the midst of the First World War. We’ve been working with Chaosium, the publisher of the multi-award winning paper RPG of the same name which, coincidently, this year celebrates its 30th anniversary and we’re aiming to bring the best of paper RPGs and mobile gaming together (and to sacrifice a few goats to Shub-Niggurath in the process).

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Flames

Exploring In Maps & Legends

Posted on October 5, 2011 by

We have a new design essay today from Michael Jasper, author of the In Maps & Legends comic series. In Maps & Legends was the winner of the November 2009 Zuda Comics competition hosted by DC Comics. Today Michael talks about the craft of writing the series and the things he learned along the way.

Want to know what one of the best things that happened to me while I was scripting out the nine issues of In Maps & Legends, the digital comic I wrote with artist Niki Smith?

A lot of great things happened, but the best side-effect of the whole experience is that it made me a much better—and hopefully more effective—writer.

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Flames

Arrgh! A Zombie Design Essay!

Posted on September 27, 2011 by

Talk Like A Pirate Day just passed by and it got us thinking a bit about Pirates and RPGs, which naturally lead to zombies…ok, I don’t know where I was going with that, but it made a lot more sense in my head (guess I don’t have to worry about zombies wanting my brains do I?) Anyway, our Design Essay series continues with Daniel Davis telling us about ARRGH! Thar Be Zombies, a supplement for the All Flesh Must Be Eaten RPG from Eden Studios!

Ahoy, me hearties, Arrgh!

Pull up a keg ‘n’ ‘ave a grog while I tell ye scalawags a tale o’ stormy seas an’ th’ walkin’ dead! Thar Be Zombies, ‘ere…

Ahem…yeah, anyway, I’m Daniel Davis, writer of the All Flesh Must Be Eaten supplement, Arrgh! Thar Be Zombies! from Eden Studios. Matt’s asked if I wanted to write up this little essay and talk about the process that brought ATBZ to the gaming table. ‘Twas a sea of shoals an’ flotsam, sun an’ fair wind, but I’ll recount th’ tale, arrgh.

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Flames

Shelter In Place: A Live Game of Zombie Horror Kickstarter is live!

Posted on September 13, 2011 by

Shelter in Place is about survival, teamwork and fun. Designed for ten to twenty five players, the game captures the frenetic pace of a zombie movie in an action packed game. Players can take on the roles of Humans or Zombies in a desperate conflict to survive. Humans must use their wits to survive, making sacrifices in order to live through the night. The Zombies must use their brute, unrelenting strength and teamwork to overpower the humans and eat some delicious brains.

Shelter in Place blends all the fun of a good old-fashioned game of tag, with the camp and action of a zombie horror film. The system was created to be easy to read and understand for new gamers, but still a fun challenge to more experienced players. Shelter in Place comes with the option to add special “twist” characters who can change the game – from adding a cyborg to a vampire, these twist characters can make every game a surprise!

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Flames

Eliot Pattison’s Ashes of the Earth

Posted on September 12, 2011 by

In Ashes of the Earth Eliot Pattison pieces together a new society after global annihilation. While most novels set in the future offer heavy doses of imagined science and technology, in his new novel Pattison constructs a more realistic society out of the ashes of apocalypse—with characters who sometimes became a little too realistic for the author.

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Flames

Infiltrating Black Seven by Stew Wilson

Posted on September 7, 2011 by

Stew Wilson from Zero Point Information is here to tell us about his new game Black Seven. A modern espionage RPG, Black Seven isinspired by stealth-action games like Deus Ex, Alpha Protocol, and Splinter Cell.

Infiltrating BLACK SEVEN

BLACK SEVEN started life in my throw-away ideas file, a couple of notes for a system that, at the time, I wasn’t able to make work. That time was 2004, and I was re-playing Deus Ex for the fourth time. Under the effects of too much strong coffee, I hacked White Wolf’s Trinity so that I could run Deus Ex-like games. I never had a chance to try it, and I was left with niggling little ideas that wouldn’t go away that wouldn’t work in my proposed hack.

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