Posted on January 25, 2008 by Matt-M-McElroy
Welcome to the first installment of the Flash Fire series of mini-reviews on the new Flames Rising website!
Every Friday (hopefully) we’re going to post a series of short reviews of new-to-me Horror & Dark Fantasy products. These will usually be one or two paragraph highlights of whatever caught our eye that particular week. Basically…stuff we think is cool and want to share. We will try to keep it a mix of stuff, but you never really know just what we will be up to in a given week.
This week we’ve got some Changeling, a few zombies, a conspiracy, Cthulhu and something unnatural…
The Fear-Maker’s Promise
This, the first SAS story kit for Changeling: The Lost, takes players’ characters into the weirdly fantastic realm of the Hedge, where the terrors and wonders of the Fae lurk, and into the passion and courtly conflict of those who have escaped the Faerie lands and back into our world. They — and your characters — are changelings.
Fear-Maker’s Promise was the SAS that really sold me on the product line from White Wolf. These new eBook style adventures for the new World of Darkness games (and other WW games soon I hear) are a lot of fun. Fear-Maker’s Promise is full of neat twists and plot ideas that even if you don’t want to run the adventure as-is you’ll get a lot of use out of it. There are some pre-generated NPCs with plenty of potential as antagonists for a group of characters. The scene cards are easy-to-read and can be modified to fit your style of play with ease.
History Is Dead: A Zombie Anthology
Our team of crack historians has uncovered the truth you never learned in school: the living dead have walked among us since the dawn of time. In this collection of gruesome tales from throughout the ages, the ravenous undead shamble through bloody battlefields, plague-ridden cities, genteel country estates, and dusty frontier towns. They emerge from foggy cemeteries, frozen barrows, loamy bogs, cursed mines, and gore-spattered operating rooms to prey on the living.
It is no secret that I’m a big fan of zombie movies and fiction. I’m also something of a harsh critic (might explain why some of my reviews take so long). Well, the folks at Permuted Press have put together some top-notch anthologies. Where most zombie tales are set in the modern world or even after the fall of civilization due to the horde of undead, History Is Dead takes the reader back through the ages, exploring some major events in our past. There is some great talent collected in this anthology, some of them you’ve read before, some you haven’t. Give a shot and see where it takes you…
Conspiracy of Shadows: Betrayal
There is a war going on beneath the streets of Borva. Brave men fight for their people and their home against an all powerful occupying force, donning masks as symbols of their defiance. But what happens when there is a traitor in their midsts? How will these men of honor, these freedom fighters, react?
Conspiracy of Shadows: Betrayal is a dark comic based on the Conspiracy of Shadows RPG by Bob Goat Press. I picked up the first issue at GenCon last summer and have been following the development of issue two online ever since. This comic is moody, creepy and worth reading for anyone who likes dark fantasy. The only thing that occasionally throws me off is how some of the characters speak, it almost seems too “modern” for a “medieval” setting, even if that setting is a fictional one. You do not need to play the CoS game to follow the story in Betrayal and there is plenty of information about the setting in the Encyclopedia of Shadows if you are curious (just look under the “Polian” link).
Cthulhu Live 3rd Edition: The Old Man of Damascus
This full-length adventure for Cthulhu Live 3rd Edition places the players in the roles of the besieged Europeans and the Muslim ambassadors. Amidst their doom and desolation, they will face betrayal, intrigue, and a desperate fight for survival.
The Old Man of Damascus is a stand alone scenario for Cthulhu Live 3rd Edition (my review) and actually jumps back in history. Most Cthulhu Live scenarios are set during the “Mythos” of Lovecraft and other authors. A few of them, such as Delta Green bring the time-frame up to today and give us that X-Files vibe. This one feels more like Cthulhu Dark Ages than Call of Cthulhu, which is ok by me.
I like historical games and The Old Man of Damascus does not let me down. Like all CL3 products there are plenty of suggestions for costumes and props. This one even has a ton of pre-generated characters you can use as-is or modify to fit your needs. If you like LARPing, give this one a shot.
The Unnatural Inquirer
John Taylor is a P.I. with the special ability to locate anyone or anything. The Unnatural Inquirer, the Nightside’s most notorious gossip rag, has offered him a million pounds to find a DVD purportedto contain an actual recording of the afterlife. John doesn’t know if it’s true, but someone-or something-thinks so, and will stop at nothing to possess the disc.
Unnatural Inquirer is the latest Nightside novel from Simon R. Green. The Nightside novels are natural companions to the Dresden Files and Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. They are some of the best books in the Urban Fantasy genre.
In Unnatural Inquirer Green continues to expand the world he created, offering up some new faces and more than a few hidden gems for fans of horror and dark fantasy. The Unnatural Inquirer (the sleazy tabloid in the story, not the book itself) is a great addition to the Nightside setting and a fun read too. This is also the first Nightside novel to be released in hardcover. You should probably start with Something from the Nightside for a complete run at the series, but it is not completely necessary, the books stand on their own well enough.
And that does it for the first round of Flash Fire mini-reviews on Flames Rising.
Tune in next week for more books, games and maybe even a movie or two. We are open to suggestions on what you would like to see in this series as far as products and presentation. As the new Flames Rising site evolves, your feedback is very important.