Archive | Reviews

Megan

Devil of Dark Wood (Pathfinder) Review

Posted on May 29, 2012 by

If you go down to the woods today… the surprise will not be teddy bears eating al fresco! Whilst the introduction tells an intriguing and innovative backstory as to who really is there for the GM’s eyes, the characters will first be approached by a worried village mayor who is concerned by the absence of a local hunter who was hired by a shepherd who feared that a bold wolf has been snacking on his sheep…

The village has had other problems, the sage’s house was broken into and books and alchemical equipment stolen. It seems that something is afoot, and the characters, as passing adventurers, are asked to help. Assuming that they do, a trail will be found that leads into the Dark Wood and whatever it is that lies in wait for them there.

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Deadworld: War of the Dead #1 Review

Posted on May 28, 2012 by

The zombies have over run the Earth! A small outpost, remnants of a twisted scientists’ scheme to defeat the plague holds out against the army of King Zombie. Their secret weapon are the Lepers-victims of a bizarre experiment that left them with dead flesh in breathing husks with skin that even zombies won’t touch. This new series of Deadworld is perfect for new readers to join in the frenzy of what has been called the “grand-daddy” of all zombie comics.

Welcome back my old friend. It is about damn time that we meet again. The last time we saw this cast of characters in Deadworld, was with the highly praised Slaughterhouse OGN. The events that will unfold in this series are picking up around one year after that.

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Flames

Chicks Dig Comics Review

Posted on May 25, 2012 by

If someone had handed me a copy of Chicks Dig Comics when I was younger I would not have known what to do with it. Growing up as a comic book nut during the 80s and 90s I never saw girls reading comics so the title alone would have thrown me for a loop. While my brother and I devoured stories about the X-Men, Captain America and Superman my sister wanted nothing to do with them. I spent a lot of time in my local comic book shop and I cannot recall ever seeing a woman in that little hole in the wall.

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Monica Valentinelli

Throne of the Crescent Moon Review

Posted on May 24, 2012 by

Fantasy as a genre is rife with rich worlds, dense descriptions, and complex cultures. As a reader (and a writer) I’ve always been fascinated with how other authors explore cultures within the context of the genre. Sometimes, a culture is revealed through a character’s actions or speech patterns; other times, through the way a particular town or setting is described.

In my experiences, the majority of the books I’ve read keep diverse cultures at the background of the story instead of the forefront. Intellectually, I understand why this is. Often, there’s a lot of world to explore and, in the fantasies I’ve read, that means the story matches that as well. Still, I’ve often found my reading has been bereft of the richness of contemporary stories that were firmly rooted in “a” non-European culture in “this” genre. Is that a fault of the industry? No, it just means there’s been a gap in my library that this picky reader hasn’t been able to fill since I first read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho many years ago.

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Dear Creature Graphic Novel Review

Posted on May 23, 2012 by

“Deep beneath the waves, a creature named Grue broods. He no longer wants to eat lusty beachgoers, no matter how their hormones call to him. A chorus of crabs urges him to reconsider. After all, people are delicious! But this monster has changed. Grue found Shakespeare’s plays in cola bottles and, through them, a new heart. Now he yearns to join the world above.

Rising from a brine of drive-in pulp and gentle poetry, Jonathan Case’s debut graphic novel Dear Creature is the love story you never imagined!”

How in the world did I miss this book when it came out? Inside of the covers of this book, lies a story that blew me away and artwork that melted my eyes out of their sockets. The visuals were so GORE-Geous, and they were only presented in black and white. The real kicker though was the way that Case was able to show expression through facial features and body movements.

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Investigator Weapons: Volume One (Call of Cthulhu) Review

Posted on May 22, 2012 by

When I first got this assignment, I was underwhelmed. Why on Earth would I care about guns from a century ago? I’m not the manliest guy in my gaming group. I zone out when people start talking weapons and cars. Tell me you’re shooting at the red convertible with your rifle and I’m good. I know for the Purists out there that is a lot more to it than that, but that’s your game, not mine. I’ll research a little out of love for my gamers, but I’ll be researching the occult side of the horror game quite a bit more.

I mention all of this because this book seemed to be akin to the ultra-horrible World of Darkness: Combat book or some lame D&D PDF for an arrowhead. As much as my ego forbids me to say this, I will: I was wrong about this book.

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Doctor Spektor Archives Volume 4 Review

Posted on May 21, 2012 by

“Confronting supernatural threats and vengeful monsters, Dr. Spektor travels from Scottish lochs to cursed swamplands–and from the surreal dreamscape of the Egyptian afterlife to New York City’s Chinatown! Collecting issues #19 to #25 of The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor and a Spektor tale from Gold Key Spotlight #8, plus notes from Spektor’s secret files, including a piece on Dr. Solar!”

Believe it or not review reader, I have never had a chance to check out Doctor Spektor comics before. Sure I have heard of them, but it was not until Dark Horse supplied me with this great volume that I had my first chance to really check this cast out. The artwork in this volume by Santos is fantastic. He does a great job of keeping the cast consistent from panel to panel.

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Flames

Northlands (Pathfinder) Review

Posted on May 18, 2012 by

Alright, my first real RPG book review. Bear with me folks.

Today I’ll be talking about Northlands, the Norse themed sourcebook for the northern realms of the Midgard world. From what I gather Midgard is a homebrew setting writ large. Created with help from a proto-Kickstarter system called Patronage through Kobold Quarterly, fans can chip in to the design process and get special supplements. This is one of the first books to explore outside the Free City of Zobeck that is the heart of the Midgard Campaign Setting.

Overall this was a very well put together book. The maps are good, the art is very nice black and white and the content is engaging and well designed.

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Pandemonium Graphic Novel Review

Posted on May 17, 2012 by

“In 1951, a mother and her young daughter entered one of America’s most prestigious institutions for the treatment of Tuberculosis, The Waverly Hills Sanatorium. The events that befell them shortly thereafter, both of a supernatural and criminal nature, were some of the most sordid of the times. Based on real events. A true tale of horror, literally!”

It’s always funny to me how things happen in 3?s. Take this book for example, at the time I read this, I had also just seen a movie involving an asylum and I am in the middle of reading a horror novel about one too. I think that those outside factors easily played into why this book was so great.

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Flames

Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Po’Kesteros, the Lostling RPG Review

Posted on May 15, 2012 by

Po’Kesteros, the Lostling.
This is one of the Faces of the Tarnished Souk series NPC’s for use with the Rite Publishing campaign setting/ adventure arc Coliseum Morpheuon. This is a setting of adventures and intrigues in the Plane of Dreams, where people can burn their dreams (Dreamburning) to influence fate and events. Not only can someone choose to burn a dream to control their circumstances but dreams can be stolen. On the Plane of Dreams, a dream is power. From what I can gather this high level setting, 16-20th levels, has roots in Planescape, with intrigue between factions, gladiator games, crazy occurrences, otherworldly landscapes and things unusual and odd to throw at your players.

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Legend of the Five Rings 4th Edition Review

Posted on May 14, 2012 by

Many of gaming’s long-lived members began as mash-ups of other media. Dungeons & Dragons grew out of a love of Lord of the Rings, The Grey Mouser and Conan. Shadowrun mixed Gibson’s cyberpunk with classic fantasy elements. World of Darkness grew out of Anne Rice and urban fantasy media. Legend of the Five Rings combined Asian fantasy elements like samurai, shugenja and oni with western mythology like Zeus that appeals to audiences that grew up on everything from Kurosawa films to Avatar: The Last Airbender. L5R, as it’s known by its fans, released a fourth edition of RPG rules to celebrate 15 years of blood, steel and honor.

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Alabaster: Wolves #1 Review

Posted on May 9, 2012 by

“For nearly as long as she can remember, Dancy Flammarion has fought monsters, cutting a bloody swath through the demons and dark things of the world, aimed like a weapon by forces beyond her control or questioning.”

Phew! I have to admit that I originally feared this would be a book along the lines of Twilight, due to the popularity of such franchises being turned into comics. It is not though. What is presented within these pages is a story that is visually breathtaking, mentally stimulating and when combined they create one hell of a first issue. The artwork in this book did take me a little bit to adjust to, but after 5 pages I was on board. The character designs are great, and the consistency is seen from panel to panel.

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Flames

Driving Through the Desert Review

Posted on May 8, 2012 by

Perspective is the most powerful force at work in the universe. The angle, pitch and yaw of how things are viewed, how things are not seen, and how things are interpereted by the human heart and mind’s eye forges reality for an individual. Often times this reality, perceived by the individual, exists inimical to equidistant realities nurtured and sustained by other individuals-at-large.

Driving Through the Desert presents such a singular and stalwart perspective. A universally hale perspective. The reality of Driving Through the Desert as engineered and presented by the novella’s author, Donna Lynch, is shared – for the most part – by two individuals; Kam and Henry.

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Megan

Kobold Quarterly # 21 Review

Posted on May 7, 2012 by

Hmm… an Editorial on that contentious question: semi-naked female characters. Traditional game fare, perhaps, but provoking comment. Being of the female persuasion but pragmatic rather than sexist, my only complaint is that if I were participating in a fantasy adventure I’d want a decent layer of armour between me and the monsters – and that doesn’t mean hiding behind the nearest paladin! A few bare-chested blokes would be nice, to maintain balance, though.

The first article proper introduces a Shaman character class for Pathfinder. Opening with an evocative narration of a shaman performing a divination (not for the squeamish, she’s using rabbit entrails!), the class is described as very druid-like, recognising the spirit with all components of nature. They are shape-shifters and healers, whilst the most powerful can send their very essence forth from their mortal body on a spirit quest. Spell lists are limited, but unlike most divine casters a Shaman does not have to prepare but can cast any spell he knows, up to his limit, when he chooses. They have a bond with an animal spirit, which takes the form of the animal in question and acts pretty much like a companion.

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Deadlands: The Last Sons RPG Review

Posted on May 4, 2012 by

Pinnacle Entertainment brings Deadlands’ fans a monster tome (337 pages/no ads) that focuses on fleshing out Native American characters. There is also a bit of metaplot going on with Raven and his schemes. Coupled with the apparent removal of a major threat, the book has a very “new” feel to it, similar to what Shadowrun captures with its constant updating calendar.

Despite its size, the book is truly a supplement, a gorgeous supplement loaded with all the bells and whistles one expects from a corebook. The layout follows the Deadlands format by starting with fourteen pages of the Disputed Lands edition of the Tombstone Epitaph.

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Megan

The Ship of Fools (Pathfinder RPG) Review

Posted on May 1, 2012 by

Opening with a truly beautiful plan of the ship itself, and detailed background that explains how The Green Lady came to be drifting empty, Marie Celeste-style across the face of the ocean, we continue with little ado into various ways in which your characters can be enticed to explore, to risk the unknown dangers that await… Perhaps the ship they are on is sinking? Or someone aboard the ship owed one of them money? Or they heard a rumour about treasure concealed aboard? Or… maybe you have a better hook, you know what intrigues and attracts them, after all. There are even ideas to deal with the minor hindrance of the group not being at sea when you want to run the adventure!

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Machine Fiction Review

Posted on April 30, 2012 by

A young woman, Celia, undergoes a procedure to have her mental self – memories, thoughts, and her “soul” – transferred to a mechanical replica of her physical self while her body is put in stasis until a cure for her rare condition can be found. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of controversy surrounding the issue of these bodies. And her wife, Rivka, a very religious woman, chooses to leave her at the most difficult time in her life.

Pelland does an excellent job of weaving current political, religious and philosophical issues throughout the story without beating the writer over the head with the message(s). At the core, it is the story of Celia, a woman that must find her own way after the world has turned its back on her through no fault of her own.

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The Last Zombie: Neverland #1 Review

Posted on April 24, 2012 by

“Lost somewhere between Missouri and Iowa (after surviving the events of The Last Zombie: Inferno), the team stops to repair their vehicles and scavenge supplies. But they soon learn that they aren’t the only scavengers in town when a horde of ravenous, swarming rats attack the convoy!”

Chapter 3 is underway of this fantastic series from Antarctic Press. Following the events of Inferno, the team is now on the other side of the fire and exploring the terrain. Fred Perry was on the art duties for this issue and he just killed it. I absolutely love his style.

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Billzilla

Masks of Nyarlathotep Review

Posted on April 20, 2012 by

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.

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Drop Dead Dangerous #2 Review

Posted on April 19, 2012 by

“Jack and Alice find themselves at an impasse when their client is found dead and their own personal demons start to emerge. The Raven continues his prowl and ominous signs accompany his return. Meanwhile, new players reveal themselves and war breaks out in the unsuspecting town.”

My 2011 pick for the Best Book You Never Heard of is back and it is bringing all the serial killing goodness back with it! While this issue seems to build more on the back story, which is what a second issue should do, it is still an awesome read.

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