Tag Archive | "dark-fantasy"

Monica Valentinelli

Citadels Of The Lost Review

Posted on October 12, 2012 by

Citadels of the Lost is Book Two in The Annals of Drakis series by Tracy Hickman. A veteran author, Hickman explores a new fantasy world where the opposites of magic provide power (and a lack thereof) to varying races; humans, elves, dragons, dwarves, goblins, chimerians, manticores, etc. The elves rule the dreaded Rhonas Empire with an iron fist — and slavery by use of their magical source dubbed the “Aether.”

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Flames

13th Age expansion book: 13 True Ways Kickstarter

Posted on August 29, 2012 by

13th Age is a new story-focused, dungeon-crawling, owlbear-fighting roleplaying game co-designed by Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet with art by fantasy illustrators Lee Moyer and Aaron McConnell.

Now that the core game is available for pre-order, Rob, Jonathan, Lee and Aaron want nothing more than to keep working together and create the first expansion book for 13th Age. But they they need your help to do it. That’s where the 13 True Ways Kickstarter comes in.

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Flames

Steam Powered eBooks

Posted on August 27, 2012 by

We have a new guest post from post from Jonathan Creffield, author of the dark fantasy tale Hell’s Door Opens.

Steam Powered eBooks

I want to ask you a question but before we get to it we’ll take a little flight of the imagination.

Let’s pretend you’re in London. It is the latter part of the 1840’s. Smokey chimneys, rakish gents, dowdy harlots, and grubby faced urchins – you get the picture. You are a writer, probably down at heel, penniless, struggling – that is if you’re anything like most writers I know.

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Hell’s Door Opens Review

Posted on August 6, 2012 by

Prince Calgus found himself standing before a mirror, regarding his own face but seeing something alien; blood surrounded his mouth, his garments were torn and faded, stained with wine and food, his blond hair matted, and his hands coated in gore.

A story’s first sentence is always an important one. Although this is not the first sentence of the novel when you take the prologue into account this is the moment readers meet Calgus, Prince of Sept. It is also the moment when you realize that Jon Creffield is going to take the classic tale of swords and sorcery and turn it on its head. Hell’s Door Open is equal parts fantasy and horror with healthy doses of great storytelling.

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Megan

DCC: The Emerald Enchanter Review

Posted on July 31, 2012 by

Those wizards! Give them half a chance and they will conduct bizarre experiments without a thought for their neighbours… and this adventure, designed for 8-10 2nd-level characters, is all about stopping one such wizard in his tracks. He lives on a clifftop near a village, and the rascal has even been using some of the locals in his experiments. Maybe some of the locals were friends or relatives of the characters, or maybe these budding heroes have been asked to help out.

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Megan

Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG Review

Posted on July 26, 2012 by

Back in the mists of time, I wandered into a meeting of the university’s then wargames club and over the sound of jawbones hitting the floor at the sight of a woman, a lanky fellow asked “Would you like to play D&D?”

Opening this work takes me back to the sheer wonders and excitement that followed. The whole style, the artwork, the words, are redolent of those early books that soon found their way onto my bookshelves alongside the botany textbooks… and yet, this isn’t merely another retro-clone, it is a coherent game in its own right, bringing its own freshness and elegance to the core of fantasy role-playing: the small band of adventurers battling enormous odds and terrifying monsters in search of awesome magics and heaps of treasure.

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Flames

Beyond the Dice: Symphonic Soundscapes for Tabletop RPGs

Posted on July 17, 2012 by

Beyond the Dice enhances the overall gaming experience by adding emotional depth to the table-top gaming environment.

Phrygian Phish Musical Productions presents the first release in a new line of soundtracks specifically created for the tabletop gaming environment. Beyond the Dice: Symphonic Soundscapes features six dynamic symphonic scores and two bonus music tracks created to provide a musical reference for various gaming scenes.

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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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Flames

Preview of Wake of the Bloody Angel by Alex Bledsoe

Posted on May 21, 2012 by

Twenty years ago, a barmaid in a harbor town fell for a young sailor who turned pirate to make his fortune. But what truly became of Black Edward Tew remains a mystery—one that has just fallen into the lap of freelance sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse.

For years, Eddie has kept his office above Angelina’s tavern, so when Angelina herself asks him to find out what happened to the dashing pirate who stole her heart, he can hardly say no—even though the trail is two decades old. Some say Black Edward and his ship, The Bloody Angel, went to bottom of the sea, taking with it a king’s fortune in treasure. Others say he rules a wealthy, secret pirate kingdom. And a few believe he still sails under a ghostly flag with a crew of the damned.

To find the truth, and earn his twenty-five gold pieces a day, Eddie must take to sea in the company of a former pirate queen in search of the infamous Black Edward Tew…and his even more legendary treasure.

Flames Rising is pleased to present the first chapter of Wake of the Bloody Angel, a new Eddie Lacrosse new novel by Alex Bledsoe.

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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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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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Megan

Servants of Gaius RPG Review

Posted on April 10, 2012 by

The Introduction recounts some of the inspirations for this game, the chief being Robert Graves’s I, Claudius and Claudius the God novels, brought to the TV as a mini-series 35 years ago… just when I was taking a classical literature course in high school and discovering the pleasures of Roman history! Based in an alterate history world, this game aims to recreate the intrigue, adventure and mystery of the Roman Empire in its heyday, a heady mix to explore.

Chapter 1: Servants of Gaius goes into more detail of what the game entails. Set in Rome, the core concept is that something threatens the well-being of the Empire and of Caligula the Emperor, and the characters are tasked to deal with it… once they have discovered what it is!

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Flames

Laura Anne Gilman on the Cosa Nostradamus Kickstarter

Posted on April 6, 2012 by

Today, FlamesRising.com sits down with author extraordinaire Laura Anne Gilman to talk about Miles To Go / Promises to Keep: a Cosa Nostradamus Kickstarter which ends on Saturday, May 5th.

Let’s listen to Laura as she dives into what the Cosa Nostradamus series is all about and why she’s pursuing new stories on Kickstarter.

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Megan

Forged in Magic (Arcanis RPG) Review

Posted on April 2, 2012 by

The Introduction launches straight in to a discussion of the role of magic items in Arcanis. In a word, they’re unusual! Even magic armour and weapons are rare. They are hard to make, involving meticulous preparation, precise crafting and arduous rituals. Few but the dwarves even bother. They should appear only as significant elements in your plots, the object of a quest, perhaps, or reward for some major exploit. So it is worthwhile to make some effort over the ones you include, for they will become notable artefacts, the sort legends build up around and about which songs are sung!

General rules are also dealt with here, mostly concerning how many magical items a character can use at any one time, and explaining the way in which the descriptions of the ones that form the majority of the book are laid out.

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Megan

Arcanis RPG: Bestiary Review

Posted on March 27, 2012 by

No fantasy world is complete without monsters to pit your wits – and sword-arms – against, and despite the rich heritage already in place for the Arcanis campaign world, a completely new ruleset requires new monsters to be written to accommodate it.

The nice thing is, this book is as much a ‘how-to’ build your own monsters (or adapt existing ones from other games) as it is a selection of beasties with which to threaten your players. Whilst this is in part necessity: it’s plain not possible to provide the wealth of monsters that most gamers have become accustomed to, it also provides for the creativity of the average gamer to be supported… and enables individual gamers to ‘convert’ their favourite beasties which cannot be presented under this ruleset for copyright reasons!

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Monica Valentinelli

Broken Blade Review

Posted on March 23, 2012 by

Kelly McCullough, author of the WebMage series, dives into the fantasy noir genre with the debut of Broken Blade. Dubbed the Fallen Blade series, this first book introduces Aral Kingslayer, a former assassin for the now-dead Goddess of Justice named Namara.

I feel McCullough’s strength has always been building worlds that the characters are immersed in. Broken Blade explores a different side of dark fantasy than the typical European/medieval fare. The world is a blend of East meets West where remnants of martial arts and Asian mythology merge with European politics and the rights granted by proper lineage.

Written as a fantasy noir, there are plenty of mysteries to explore in this book. Kingslayer is the anti-hero; he’s the drunk who sits in the corner of a bar who’s depressed and feeling sorry for himself — for good reason. His ever-present familiar, Triss, lives in his shadow as Aral simply tries to get through the day.

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Megan

Arcanis: the Roleplaying Game Review

Posted on March 19, 2012 by

Like many people, I’ve enjoyed adventuring in the world of Arcanis as presented for the Dungeons and Dragons 3e ruleset for a good ten years now. It’s good to see innovative alternate realities survive the game mechanics that they were originally written for, but whilst many survive version changes it is less common for an entirely new game to be created just so that alternate reality will continue to thrive. This mighty tome has set out to provide a comprehensive system rooted in the Arcanis we already know and love, whilst introducing that world clearly to those who have not ventured there before.

The work is made up of four sections, and begins with the Codex of Arcanis, thus getting you all excited (for the first time or anew) to go visit, with subsequent sections explaining the mechanics of doing so. A sweeping overview of history catches you up, event piling upon event to lay the groundwork for the current situation, underpinning the traditions and customs prevalent today.

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Flames

EYES LIKE LEAVES by Charles de Lint Book Release Giveaway

Posted on February 26, 2012 by

Tachyon is proud to announce our new release of Charles de Lint’s classic fantasy novel EYES LIKE LEAVES. We are joining Charles and his partner MaryAnn Harris for a special giveaway on Facebook. By joining the novel’s Facebook group, members are entered into a March 7th drawing to win copies of the novel and signed CDs of Charles and MaryAnn’s music.

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Megan

Mistborn Adventure Game Review

Posted on February 22, 2012 by

This mighty tome, over 500 pages long, contains everything that you need to start adventuring in the world conjoured up by author Brandon Sanderson… who has not only allowed the use of his setting, he’s written fiction especially for the game, has added comments throughout, and was even involved in the playtesting!

First up, the treat of an original short story set in the Mistborn world called The Elventh Metal. It tells of a small group of malcontents, seeking revenge, seeking change, and introduces a world rich and strange – metals that burn within and confer power, swirling mists, ash that falls from the sky, twisted exotic buildings. And so the strangeness, the richness of this setting is revealed: allomancy. Familiar if you know the novels on which this game is based yet brought magnificently into prominence whether or not you have read them – by utilising mystic powers different metals can be used to bring about a range of spell-like effects. Learn the tricks of their use, or perish miserably!

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mforbeck

12 for ’12 Part 2: The Shotguns & Sorcery Trilogy

Posted on February 15, 2012 by

Shotguns & Sorcery is a fantasy noir setting — think Lord of the Rings written by Raymond Chandler — I first developed as a roleplaying game setting back in 2001. It takes place in a massive city ruled over by a Dragon Emperor who protects the people from the ravenous hordes of undead monsters that mass against its walls. I’d originally licensed it to Mongoose Publishing and hoped to have it in stores in 2002.

And then my wife got pregnant with quadruplets.

That kicked Shotguns & Sorcery past the back burner, out the window, and into the backyard. Cut to ten years later. The kids are fine and healthy, and I’m ready now to dive back into that setting again — but this time as fiction.

I wrote the first Shotguns & Sorcery story last year for Robin D. Laws’s upcoming anthology The New Hero 2, from Stone Skin Press. I fell back in love with the world right away, and I returned to it for another story for Marc Tassin’s anthology Carnage & Consequences. Now I’m itching to write novels for it.

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