Posted on September 29, 2010 by Megan
The book opens with a rambling foreword by the author, touching on how this is a complete rewrite – as the translation of the original I’m reading is of the 2nd edition of Rêve de Dragon – of the rules, suggesting the order and way in which it should be read and the like, before getting to the underlying philosophy of the game: that a dream exists only whilst the dreamer is dreaming… and that in similar vein, the alternate reality of a role-playing game only comes to life when someone is playing that game. The aim in creating the game is to provide a ruleset that facilitates the shared dream of the in-game reality.
The whole is divided into three books, the first of which is called Journeyers. For this game is about journeys: be they quests, searches for enlightenment or indeed actual travels. It begins with the rules for creating a character, or Journeyer. Each is described by a comprehensive list of 18 characteristics, assigned in the main by point-buy, as well as skills and other attributes. Interestingly, the details of actually acquiring skills and the like are left until later despite a fairly comprehensive outline of how a character is described mechanically, the discussion then moves on to the crux of this ruleset, the resolution table, which is brought into use whenever it is not clear whither an action will succeed or not.
Posted on September 16, 2010 by GRIM
China Mieville is one of my favourite authors and has energised the alternative/urban fantasy or the ‘New Weird’ for me as much as Peter F Hamiltion re-energised British science fiction for me. I wasn’t so keen on The City & The City but his Bas Lag novels and his somewhat similarly themed children’s book Un-Lun-Dun are acts of pre-meditated brilliance. Kraken lacks the pure and unadulterated awesomeness of Perdidot Street Station but is much better and more engaging than The City & The City and closer in theme to King Rat, somewhere between that and the Bas-Lag novels in terms of wierdness. Comparisons with the last book I reviewed, Into the Nightside, are likely to be inevitable in the course of this review.
Posted on May 31, 2010 by Megan
Deep, complex intrigue lies at the heart of A Song of Ice and Fire, and this adventure is jam-packed with it! Featuring a complex plot designed to cast the characters and their House in the worst possible light while advancing another fellow to high position in both his own House and the land, there is absolutely no chance for any character to sit on the sidelines and observe. A Royal Tournament is to be held in King’s Landing, a chance for young men of mettle to impress… while in the background nobles of all ages plot and connive for position no less fiercely.
The plot, albeit complex, is laid out very clearly for the GM in the Introduction, and a range of ideas are provided to get characters even more embroiled than they will be anyway including suggestions for mystical foreshadowing of events.
Posted on May 27, 2010 by GRIM
I don’t really understand why I like Robin Hobb. I tend to dislike traditional fantasy almost on reflex and her writings are almost (but not quite) regular fantasy. I also tend to dislike writing where the heroes are helpless, tortured or at the mercy of outside forces. I prefer empowered heroes and Hobbs protaganists almost always seem to be at the mercy of outside forces and to take a severe drubbing at the hands of the world around them. Nonetheless, I still like the books and it’s a source of consternation to me that I carry on reading despite my distaste at the tortures that her characters undergo. Hobb’s novels are fantasy ‘misery tourism’, they often leave you feeling sad and upset but the worlds are well realised and if the characters weren’t well written they wouldn’t tug at your heart-strings.
Posted on May 4, 2010 by GRIM
Heroquest 2 is the non-Gloranthan version of Heroquest, the next iteration of the system by Robin Laws and one designed to be more generic, usable for any setting and any sort of game. Heroquest is meant to be a story game, not only in the sense that the system is supposed to encourage story, but that the way the game is supposed to be played is AS a story, rather than a game.
As a generic game system release, there’s no specific background per se to the game but it does – inevitably – reference Glorantha quite heavily as well as a few game settings of its own devices. These are only used as examples and are never fully developed and – aside from Glorantha – they’re a rather eclectic mix.
Posted on April 14, 2010 by Flames
With The Conqueror’s Shadow, Ari Marmell brings a welcome seasoning of wit to the genre, proving that dark fantasy can address the enduring questions of good and evil and still retain a sense of humor. Playful yet intense, sharply sarcastic yet deeply sincere, The Conqueror’s Shadow announces the appearance of a unique talent—and an antihero like no other.
Flames Rising is pleased to present a portion of Chapter Six of this new novel by Ari Marmell…
Posted on December 15, 2009 by Flames
A New Age of Fantasy Roleplaying
It has been hundreds of years since the last Blight ravaged the world of Thedas. Many believe that it can never happen again, that the Dragon Age will pass without the rise of such evil. They are wrong. Beneath the earth the darkspawn stir. A new archdemon has risen and with it a Blight that will scourge the lands and darken the skies. The nations of Thedas need a new generation of heroes, but who will answer the call?
Fantasy roleplaying goes back to its dark and gritty roots with the Dragon Age RPG, the latest game from the company that brought you A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying and Mutants & Masterminds.
The Dragon Age RPG is available now at DriveThruFantasy.com.
Posted on August 10, 2009 by Flames
FlamesRising.com is proud to offer you a preview for the book The Magicians by Lev Grossman.
Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A senior in high school, he’s still secretly preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. Imagine his surprise when he finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the craft of modern sorcery.
He also discovers all the other things people learn in college: friendship, love, sex, booze, and boredom. Something is missing, though. Magic doesn’t bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he dreamed it would. After graduation he and his friends make a stunning discovery: Fillory is real. But the land of Quentin’s fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he could have imagined. His childhood dream becomes a nightmare with a shocking truth at its heart.
Posted on January 14, 2009 by teampreston
The first half of the adventure is a straight up series of linear deadly encounters. By linear I mean that while there are a few options given, there is really only one path to succeed. By deadly I do indeed mean DEADLY. A party of 1st Level Adventurers needs to be balanced and smart. They need to be absolutely cautious or face mortality. True Dungeoneers only please! All other should stay on the porch. No real RP at all in the first half. It’s a series of combat encounters and traps only.
The second half of the adventure introduces some roleplaying opportunities. Actually, it’s a big opportunity for characters with social skills to shine because failure at this stage could almost certainly result in TPK as well. Poor rolls and accidentally insulting a faction can result in a massive attack or ambush by vastly overwhelming forces.
Review by Jeff Preston
Posted on December 4, 2008 by teampreston
The Drizzt books are a guilty pleasure for me, and this one was akin to the previous few. Enjoyable reads, but a bit cookie-cutter and the characters are just way too “uber” to relate to. Is this a new thing? No.
I appreciate that there is some character depth as far as seeing the internal struggles of the protagonists. That’s a good thing. That said, it seems that there was no real challenges besides those. Physically the protagonists FAR outclass any of the antagonists: they are veritable combat monsters. It seems that the only challenges left for these characters are emotional.
The setting is just a bit after the Hunter’s Blades Trilogy (not a hundred years afterward as one reviewer has posted).
Review by Jeff Preston
Posted on December 3, 2008 by Monica Valentinelli
Princeps Fury is the latest novel in a series dubbed “Codex Alera” by Jim Butcher. The fifth book in the series, its plot centers around a promise made in the previous book and the deadly war between the Vord and well, everyone else. Alera, the Kingdom run by the First Lord who isn’t well liked for many, intricate reasons, is under attack while Tavi escorts the Canim back to their homeland over a turbulent sea.
Whenever I read a book in a series like this, I have to ask myself two questions. The first question is, “Could you read Princeps Fury without knowing anything about the Codex Alera series?” The answer to that question is, “No, definitely not.”
Posted on November 28, 2008 by Flames
Book three of this series has Tavi being sent out of the way (both because of who he is, and to get training) to infiltrate a new legion being created. Since most lord’s have their own legion, a new one was being created to try to serve no political uses. But Tavi is supposed to see if anyone in the legion is in fact a spy. That is what he does since he is a Cursor (also a spy) for the First Lord.
Quickly, things escalate. Lord Kalare, whom has eyes on the First Lord’s throne, launches an attack and starts civil war in the realm. He also kidnaps other high ranking nobles, and holds them prisoner at his fortress.
Review by Stacey Chancellor
Posted on November 27, 2008 by Flames
The definitive collection of Tolkien’s classic “fairie” tales, in the vein of The Hobbit, illustrated by Oscar winner Alan Lee.
Never before published in a single volume, Tolkien’s four novellas (Farmer Giles of Ham, Leaf by Niggle, Smith of Wootton Major, and Roverandom) and one book of poems (The Adventures of Tom Bombadil) are gathered together for the first time, in a fully illustrated volume. This new, definitive collection of works — which had appeared separately, in various formats, between 1949 and 1998 — comes with a brand-new foreword and endmatter, and with a series of detailed pencil illustrations by Alan Lee, in the style of his other award-winning Tolkien work, most recently in The Children of Húrin.
Tales from the Perilous Realm is available at Amazon.com.
Posted on November 20, 2008 by Flames
I first came across Kay about three years ago when someone from out sci-fi/fantasy book club chose one of his books. Tigana. It was such a rich and beautiful book that I immediately went out and read the Fionavar Tapestry (a three book trilogy) and really liked it as well. So, I have been waiting for this to come in trade peperback for a while and finally bought it recently.
The story revolved around a fifteen year old boy named Ned. He is from Canada and the son of a famous photographer. They are in France, and on site at Aix-en-Provence’s Saint-Saveur Cathedral.
Review by Stacey Chancellor
Posted on November 17, 2008 by Flames
The one word that comes to mind when I talk about this novel is Revenge. It was with a capital R since it was such a strong part of this read. Almost every plot line could be brought back to this one basic principal. You mess with me or mine and you will pay. It may be tomorrow or even 20 years from now…but it will happen.
Locke is a fun character. I have to admit I love the smart ass characters that even in the face of danger, are still talking a serious amount of trash. It isn’t the smartest plan to say the least, but I do understand it being a smartass myself. But beyond that he is really a well written character. He is in charge of a group of thieves that he has known since he was a child called the Gentlemen Bastards.
Review by Stacey Chancellor