Archive | Reviews

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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Streets of Bedlam RPG Review

Posted on July 2, 2012 by

Noir is a genre which is often defined by its trappings. Many people see fedoras, trenchcoats and beautiful women and think that’s noir. The characters are what make something noir. Good men driven to evil. Evil women driven to redemption. The situations are what makes something noir. Can a killer find humanity from befriending a little girl? What’s in the briefcase that’s worth dying over? Jason Blair, author of Little Fears, brings these flawed heroes and classic situations together for his newest game, Streets of Bedlam.

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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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RMS Titanic: The Millionaires Special RPG Review

Posted on June 25, 2012 by

Here’s a fun idea: Take a tried and true Cthluhu story of brave investigators stopping a mad cultist achieve his evil designs. Players have to contend with Sanity checks, grave danger, and, most likely, the rise of something that must be promptly put back down. Then, set the whole thing on the Titanic.

That’s the real beauty of this adventure, a little fiction laced throughout some tragic fact. I’ve always been a fan of that, which makes the recent emergence of the, for lack of better word, genre a hit with me.

The artwork of the adventure (25 pages, no ads) is sparse and mostly photographs from the era. I usually like art spicing up my text, but it’s really not an issue here. There is more than enough material to keep the reader interested.

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DC Adventures: Heroes and Villains Volume 1 Review

Posted on June 22, 2012 by

The first thing you have to ask yourself is where this game fits on a horror-themed website. It’s a fair question, no doubt. There are two specific ways that come to my mind. First, the game uses the Mutants and Masterminds D20 variant. This means that, with a little work, you could have a group of dungeon-crawling adventurers stumble upon a cult as they summoned forth their deity-infused messiah (with Black Adam stats) or a vicious demon (with Etrigan stats). I’ll be the first to admit that those two options are a bit on the overkill side, but horror sometimes works out that way. Secondly, this volume includes tons of entries for a horror-based supers game.

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Horrors: Great Stories of Fear and Their Creators Review

Posted on June 20, 2012 by

Horror is a particular genre which lures the masses into its embrace and then pushes us to the very edge. A well written story can invoke pure terror. A well filmed movie can make us scream even though we know we are safe from the horrors on the screen. A carefully crafted ghost story can bring us to the absolute limits of fright and leave us lingering there, sleepless for days on end. Although many dream of crafting the kinds of masterpieces which tear at our very psyches few ever reach that lofty goal. Those who do become nothing less than legends.

In the graphic novel Horrors: Great Stories of Fear and Their Creators writer Rocky Wood and illustrator Glenn Chadbourne have given dark life to their own dark tale.

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Billzilla

Carpathia Review

Posted on June 19, 2012 by

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.

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Designers and Dragons Review

Posted on June 18, 2012 by

Let’s say you’re going to teach a course on the history of role-playing games. You have the diploma and teaching certification. You have the tweed jacket. You have everything, but a textbook. With Designers and Dragons, you have a hulking 442 page textbook that examines this specific gaming culture since its creation in 1974. You’re ready to teach.

I’ve been playing RPGs since 1987 put TSR’s Marvel Super Heroes: Advanced Set into my local Waldenbooks, which means, according to this book, that I missed a massive amount of gaming history. I’ve played lots of games, read lots more that were not worth playing, and read about tons more through reviews or blurbs. I know a bit about what is going on in the industry.

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Monica Valentinelli

Prometheus Movie Review

Posted on June 15, 2012 by

Last night, we meandered into the gorgeous Sundance theatre to watch Prometheus on the big screen. For those of you who haven’t heard of this film before, here’s a link to the Prometheus trailer.

I went into this movie as someone who was familiar with the Alien franchise (which began in 1979!) but who hasn’t read the comics or seen the films in some time. I had also heard a lot about this film from the wildly mixed reactions as seen in my social media feeds.

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Teeth: Vampire Tales Review

Posted on June 13, 2012 by

Teeth is an anthology of the things that go bump in the night, the ones that have the teeth and the claws to rip your eyes out. It’s a YA anthology, true, but the stories can appeal to adults as well. There wasn’t a story in Teeth that I didn’t like. There were only a few that I felt could have ended better, but other than that personal preference, I would say that each story is well-written, suspenseful, and has excellent pacing. These aren’t all your typical vamps – vampire-like creatures from various cultures grace the pages of this anthology.

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L5R: Strongholds of the Empire Review

Posted on June 12, 2012 by

Strongholds of the Empire had a long, strange journey to publication. It was originally intended as a book for Legend of the Five Rings Third Edition. Then it was going to be a free web supplement. Then it was going to be a transitional PDf between Third and Fourth Edition. The book finally realized its destiny as AEG’s pilot into print on demand. It is now available as a fully realized PDF as well as a physical book. Was it worth the wait?

The physical book is 193 pages. It costs more than the other supplements for Fourth Edition. It also looks different. The outside is a solid glossy finish rather than the matte finish with gloss art highlights of the other books in the line.

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Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Emporium Review

Posted on June 11, 2012 by

Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Emporium is the third magical item supplement for Dungeons and Dragons Fourth Edition and was written by Jeremy Crawford, Stephen Schubert and Matt Sernett. Much like its predecessors (Adventurer’s Vault and Adventurer’s Vault 2) the book is packed full of the kinds of adventuring gear that players love to collect for their characters but unlike the previous two tomes of lore this book has been injected with a healthy dose of flavor as well.

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The Dungeon Survival Handbook Review

Posted on June 8, 2012 by

Evil has always lurked deep underneath the ground and now Lolth’s children are clawing their way to the surface to consume the realms of Dungeons & Dragons. Few will survive the coming darkness. Into the Unknown: The Dungeon Survival Handbook is the first roleplaying game supplement released by Wizards of the Coast as part of The Rise of the Underdark ongoing event.

Sightings of dark elves on the surface have grown steadily—turning from dismissible rumors into disturbing reports. Brave heroes are needed to discover what plot or purpose is driving the children of Lolth to so boldly intrude upon our realm. Drow-laden encounters and challenges await you in stores everywhere—along with an array of products that will help you in your attempt to survive The Rise of the Underdark.

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Flames

Spell-Less Ranger (Pathfinder) Review

Posted on June 7, 2012 by

There has always been a bit of controversy surrounding the ranger class in Dungeons & Dragons. The archetype of the “ranger” has a solid foundation in literature as an expert woodsman (or woods-woman) that is skilled with sword or bow, who knows the land better than anyone else and fights for an important cause. The Dungeons & Dragons’ ranger is all of these things but there is one feature which has nagged at gamers since AD&D; the ability to cast spells.

“Aragorn Didn’t Cast Spells”

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Haunted Temples Map Pack Review

Posted on June 4, 2012 by

Wizards of the Coast has released more support product for the tactical play style of Dungeons & Dragons 4E. The Haunted Temples Map Pack is a collection of three full-color, double-sided maps which come in packaging which converts into a convenient envelope to protect the maps in transportation and storage.

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Cathedral of Chaos Review

Posted on June 1, 2012 by

Wizards of the Coast’s latest dungeon tile set, Cathedral of Chaos, arrived in the mail today. I am an avid collector of dungeon tiles and I use them quite often at my game table so please keep that in mind when I say Cathedral of Chaos is both the best dungeon tile set I have seen in quite a while as well as the worst.

The set provides quite a few interesting architectural pieces as well as several inspired tiles which made me cheer as I popped them out. Smoke filled tiles, demolished areas, raised daises and ice/fire tiles add a lot of interesting terrain options to a DM’s arsenal.

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Megan

Fangs from the Past (Pathfinder) Review

Posted on June 1, 2012 by

The brief introduction lays out this product’s purpose: it is not just an introductory adventure for four new characters beginning their adventuring careers, it is also designed with the novice GM in mind, replete with hints and tips to aid good gamemastering from the start – the sort of things a more experienced friend might whisper in your ear the first time you try to run a game. It’s an admirable intention…

OK, so roll up some characters and let’s get going. The introduction to the adventure contains a story commonly told in the village of Galfolweed, the characters being either locals or youngsters who have set out from a nearby town in search of adventure and ended up here in the village tavern. It is a nicely-written tale, suitable to be recounted in the bardic storytelling style – indeed the GM notes suggest that whilst you can mine the story for hints for the characters to pick up in conversation, one of the village elders is renowned for his dramatic recitation of this tale and can easily be persuaded to perform!

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Rachel Rising Vol. 1: The Shadow of Death Review

Posted on May 31, 2012 by

“Rachel Beck wakes in a shallow grave and claws her way free as a mysterious woman watches from a bluff. With no memory of the night before, Rachel enlists the help of Aunt Johnny, the town mortician, to find her killer. But when repeated attacks send her to the morgue, Rachel’s ability to wake from death again and again prove to be a blessing and a curse, and the eerie town of Manson will never be the same! Collects issues #1-6.”

Oh Terry Moore, you wow me on all levels. Rachel Rising was a title in which I did not know what to expect when it came out, and honestly I still don’t know what to expect because it is such a mystery. Within the pages of Volume 1, I was treated to GORE-Geous artwork and a story that left me needing more!

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Billzilla

The Resurrectionists Collection Review

Posted on May 30, 2012 by

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.

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11 Tales of Ghostly Horror

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