Posted on April 13, 2017 by Flames
Dark Eras: Beneath the Skin
There is a face beneath this mask, but it isn’t me. I’m no more that face than I am the muscles beneath it, or the bones beneath that.
—Alan Moore, V for Vendetta
Ahuitzotl sits on the throne at the height of the Aztec Empire, overseeing his sorcerer-priests’ sacrifices and the endless flower wars his jaguar and eagle warriors carry out in his name to keep the altars well-supplied with victims. The gears of the Aztec Empire turn smoothly and inexorably, but not everything is what it pretends to be. Skinchangers take the shapes of animals to run the wilds or bring down human prey, the Unchained cobble together identities from stolen lives, and stranger things still lurk in the deserts and jungles beyond the walls of Tenochtitlan.
Posted on July 25, 2016 by Flames
Today, FlamesRising.com is pleased to present you with a preview of the Eel Hounds, a monster from the Wrath of the River King published by Kobold Press.
Wrath of the River King is a Pathfinder Roleplaying Game adventure for 4th- through 6th-level characters is full of hijinks and trickery, and fits nicely into any campaign setting in which fey are regal. Their courtly plots are dangerous and will test bold adventurers’ skills to the limit!
Posted on July 18, 2016 by Flames
Today, FlamesRising.com is pleased to present you with a preview of Punch the Maker-Killer, a monster from Arc Dream Publishing’s Puppetland by John Scott Tynes. The PDF is on sale now, and the hardcover edition will be available in October.
Puppetland is a storytelling game. You play a valiant puppet who speaks aloud every word you say. You speak for your puppet and the Puppetmaster says the rest. You surprise each other at every turn, collaborating moment by inspired moment to unlock your own creativity and find the puppet within. This lavishly illustrated edition of Puppetland has been significantly revised and expanded. It includes a grim storybook fable of the Maker’s foul murder; the true story of the creator’s life in Puppetland; and new Tales ready to be played, written by a brilliant collection of authors.
Posted on February 19, 2016 by Monica Valentinelli
Over the years, I’ve worked on (and have played) a lot of games with folks from every corner of the industry, but I’ve never had the opportunity to write for Dungeons and Dragons. Battle for the Undercity (5E) is a release that changed all that thanks to dmsguild.com. Today, I’d like to share with you my process for designing this adventure.
The first thing I did was review the adventure structure. Having played D&D 5E, I understood how important that was but, at the same time, I wanted to put my own twist on it. After I read the DMs Guild Creator Adventure Template and refreshed my memory by referencing Hoard of the Dragon Queen and Rise of Tiamat, I came up with a plan. I wanted to design a location and fitting monster variants that could be used in any Forgotten Realms campaign, in part because of my own experiences playing D&D. By tapping into the two elements every city tends to have which, in this case, was the undercity (sewers, worked tunnels, etc.) and a tavern, I felt DMs could use Battle for the Undercity as a break between campaigns or intense sessions.
Posted on March 25, 2014 by Billzilla
Matt Forbeck has been a bit busy over the past year. He started a series of Kikcstarters to support and promote a crazy idea: that he could write and prepare for publication one novel a month for twelve months. I caught up with Matt recently to ask him about one of the most recent books in that series, Monster Academy 1: I Will Not Eat People.
Posted on January 18, 2014 by Steven Dawes
Review by Steven Dawes As a reviewer, I make it a point to not give out any spoilers if I don’t have to. However, after reading issue Department of Monsterology Issue #2 (and #3 once I finish this review), a few spoilers tidbits will have to start coming out. If you don’t want to risk […]
Posted on October 31, 2013 by Flames
THE LAST WAR HAS BEGUN
Demons feed on innocent souls while angels obliterate cities. Humans are caught in the middle: possessed, devoured, judged, damned.
The world needs a hero. Unfortunately, there aren’t any, so what the fuck, you might as well give it a try.
You’re a Disciple, a supernatural warrior on the front lines. Wielding bizarre magics like Sexpletive, Death Panel, Photobomb, and Gunfetti, you must hunt down these merciless predators and rescue innocent civilians without losing your grip on the tattered vestiges of your humanity. How far will you go to destroy your enemy? Will you resort to cannibalism? Are you certain? Listen, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
Pandemonio is available now at the Flames Rising RPGNow Shop!
Posted on January 7, 2013 by Flames
The character of Stompadon was invented by performance artist Kelsey Wailes as part of a competition called Super Art Fight. Wearing a massive mask, gloves and a tail, Wailes became the bug-eyed dinosaur that drew, creating mad-cap murals in a 25-minute time limit.
Stompadon is now taking on a life of its own, with a plush toy. Plus… truly fancy pieces of art and a weapons-grade adorable children’s book, written by Stompadon’s dad and illustrated by Stompadon.
Find out more info about Stompadon and back this project on Kickstarter.com!
Posted on December 12, 2012 by Billzilla
Edison T. Crux is an author whose first novel, “Tale of the Wisconsin Werewolf” debuts on December 15. The author will be attending an event at Pegasus Games
Posted on May 23, 2012 by DecapitatedDan
“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.
Posted on February 17, 2012 by Flames
Flames Rising recently put an open call for essays and articles on the topic of “How to run Horror RPGs” and we received several great submissions (hint you can still send yours in too). We’re starting off with this post from Stygian Jim…
Horror is the genre of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of the monster lurking just out of sight, fear of the dead rising again with a hunger for human flesh. Fear is very personal, and horror can be as much an internal struggle as a reaction to an external source. Fear is a huge motivator, in gaming it can be a great motivator for heroes and villains alike, but how does one cultivate it at the table? Horror games can be much harder to craft than your standard sword & sorcery delve. Also, it can be difficult to inculcate your players to the kind of thinking that the genre entails, when they’re used to kicking down doors and busting heads. There are some advanced techniques as well that you can use to build a sense of tension in your players, and make the story an even more eerie experience. Lastly of course you can use props, sound effects and lighting to set the mood for your own tales of horror.
Posted on February 1, 2012 by DecapitatedDan
This remarkable journey through the Hammer vault includes props, annotated script pages, unused poster artwork, production designs, rare promotional material and private correspondence. Hundreds of rare and previously unseen stills help to create a rich souvenir of Hammer’s legacy, from the X certificate classics of the 1950s to the studio’s latest productions.
Written and compiled by the official Hammer Films historian Marcus Hearn, and featuring exclusive contributions from the actors and filmmakers associated with the company, this is the most lavish book ever published on the legendary House of Horror.
Posted on October 15, 2011 by Flames
From aliens to zombies, historian W. Scott Poole ventures deep into the darkest shadows of American history in search of witches, sea monsters, and serial killers. Both a masterpiece of scholarship and a heartfelt homage to horror films and literature, Monsters in America is one man’s journey into the violent truths the rest of us prefer to ignore.
Jeremy L. C. Jones stops by Flames Rising to talk with a self-professed “lifelong horror nerd” about America’s dirty little secrets and our sordid part in the cover up.
Posted on August 3, 2011 by Billzilla
The 1974 television series Kolchak: The Night Stalker never got rave reviews from critics. Only twenty episodes of the show exist, plus two TV movie/pilot episodes: The Night Stalker (1972) and The Night Strangler (1973). The special effects, even by the standards of the day, were cheesy and unremarkable, though the stories themselves were interesting and provided a wide variety of paranormal beasties from folklore the world over instead of rehashing zombies or vampires week after week. Unfortunately, the TV movies proved vastly more popular than the TV series they generated.
It should come as no surprise that a graphic novel treatment of Kolchak might spring into being as well, and at that before the reboot of the series. Enter Moonstone Books with their long-running Kolchak series, and lo, Kolchak has been brought back from the dead, like many of the creepy entities he faced as a reporter with a nose for the paranormal.
Posted on July 11, 2011 by Monica Valentinelli
Flames Rising is pleased to announce the latest release in the Instant Antagonists line. The Creepy Cottontail author, Monica Valentinelli (and Flames Rising project Manager) shares some notes on the design and writing process that went into this product.
Having conducted a lot of occult research for my writing — both game-and-story-related — there’s a particular concept that always stands out in my mind. Performing a ritual (both real and/or imagined) is work, but the end result of that “job” doesn’t always yield the same results every time. Take a basic love potion for example. Do you have any idea how many different types of love potions there are? In many cases, not only do you have to get the ritual down pat, but you also have to worry about backlash, timing and the integrity of the materials. Even then, there’s no guarantee that magic will function the same way twice because there’s one-too-many factors that you cannot control.
The “cost” of doing magic is something I feel is often overlooked because some view it as an obstacle that gets in the way of a story or a game. I look at it as a characterization of a protagonist or… in this case… Instant Antagonist.
Posted on June 30, 2011 by Billzilla
Let’s be honest; who doesn’t love Count Dracula? The cape, the sex appeal, the slick hair, eschewing modern dentistry – he did it all, including upsetting more than a few well-to-do British noblemen. In Van Helsing, one player gets to play the toothy Count, while the remaining one to four players take on the roles of Jonathan Harker, Mina Murray, Lord Godalming and Abraham Van Helsing – the Hunters.
The board is a loose grid of spaces showing three levels of Dracula’s castle. Hunters move around the board looking for Dracula and his brides. The object of the game for them is to destroy five of the eight brides, or destroy Dracula himself if they like doing things the hard way. For the Count, his goal is to either transform all four of the Hunters into his minions or kill them, or to get four of his potential brides to the coffin space in his castle.
Posted on January 4, 2011 by Jason Thorson
Another year’s in the books, one spent on the permanent and exhausting search through the horror movie scrap heap looking for the elusive hidden treasures. Unfortunately, this past year was a weak one. There wasn’t a whole lot to get excited about. Despite all the bad flicks, a few managed to rise above the fray, giving me hope for 2011.
As is usually the case, there were several remakes to take with a grain of salt. Some of them furthered the atrophying of the horror genre as it relates to studio backed filmmaking, others were much more horrible than horrifying, and all of them were unnecessary.
Posted on December 9, 2010 by Billzilla
The Cold Ones is a novella by award winning author Elizabeth Donald. In Cold Ones, we meet Sarah Harvey, small-town bookstore owner with a secret: she’s not really a bookstore owner. It’s her cover; she’s part of a secret organization doing who knows what in this small coastal town. At least one other shop owner is another member of her team; their jobs are to keep an eye on the town and cover the rest of the team. The story begins with a scream as someone is attacked in the street by what turns out to be a quick, ferocious, zombie-like man, and as if that wasn’t bad enough, it represents only the beginnings of the trouble ahead…
The Cold Ones is a well-crafted tale; I was instantly sucked in and stayed up too late reading it. Ms. Donald does a very good job making her characters believable while avoiding most cliches found in supernatural fiction these days. This team of covert operatives is skilled and fairly bad-assed, but they are also fallible – they screw up occasionally and sometimes make poor choices.
Posted on October 16, 2010 by Monica Valentinelli
Last week, I talked about why 13 GHOSTS is a classic horror film. For this week’s article, I decided to talk about a different kind of monster — THE BLOB.
“Released in 1988, The Blob remake is the kind of horror movie that makes you groan, laugh and scream. Creepy violins and cheerful images of a small town set the mood. The first people you meet? Teenagers!”