Posted on February 2, 2016 by Flames
I love to be the game master. There is nothing quite like the feeling of presenting a challenge that the players will fear, loathe, complain about and eventually, climactically overcome. I don’t mind being the bad guy. I know that I’m the catalyst for great gaming and great storytelling. Of course, all of this sounds like roleplaying but really it applies to game design as well. A game designer has to have a certain sense that he is setting these fascinating objects in motion and the players bring them to life and create the unexpected interactions that make the game worth playing. Semi-coop games such as Battlestations or Descent invite the boardgame referee to be more than just a rules arbiter and I think part of the fun for everybody is to dial up the drama and go for it.
Posted on August 18, 2015 by Flames
Go beyond the boundaries of the fantastic, award-winning Numenera setting.
Monte Cook Games is currently running an exciting Kickstarter campaign that will expand the Numenera RPG into new vistas, giving characters a chance to explore further than they ever dreamed. The campaign reached the origianl funding goal almost immediately after launching and now new stretch goals are offering backers expanded content, fiction, maps, and more.
Flames Rising is pleased to have award winning author and game designer Monte Cook drop by to tell us a little about some of the design goals of these new supplements and content being offered in this Kickstarter project.
Posted on July 4, 2015 by Flames
I don’t do research for any of my novels or stories.
A part of me, as I typed the above, felt a sense of guilt. It’s the received wisdom these days – and, for all I know, always has been – that a fiction writers must assiduously research the background to their works in order to present a credible ‘world’ to their readers. After all, if you’re writing about a World War II fighter pilot, isn’t it wise to have read up on what it’s like to be a fighter pilot? And that goes for any other specialist profession or area of expertise, of course. To lend greater fidelity to one’s visions, research is essential.
Posted on March 25, 2015 by Flames
Dredd: Uprise #1
In the neglected sector of Mega-City One known as The Spit, tensions are reaching boiling point amongst the citizens as the shiny new mega-block Oemling Tower is being constructed for those that can afford to live in it.
As the Judges face running battles with rioters, the underground movement known as Uprise stokes the flames of dissent…
Posted on February 20, 2015 by Flames
Does your Crew have what it takes to fly the Good Shepherd’s Run?
SMUGGLER’S GUIDE TO THE RIM is a supplement for the FIREFLY RPG that is designed for both players and GMs. The third supplement in the line, the SMUGGLER’S GUIDE TO THE RIM introduces Reputation rules for Crewmembers, 12 new archetypes, the Good Shepherd’s Run, more Chinese translations, more rules, new in game aids, a pair of Episodes, and more!
Posted on July 26, 2013 by Flames
Tears of a Machine is a tabletop story game (or RPG) of giant robots and teenage pilots inspired by the mecha anime shows that I love: Neon Genesis Evangelion, Fafner: Dead Aggressor, Gunparade March and others. Playing the character of a young pilot, you’ll be connected to the brain of a SAInt, a robot crusader with a dangerous will of its own, and sent to fight the alien raiders and their monstrous war machines.
A game of Tears of a Machine is about the characters first. The rules and situations of the game are tuned to create stories about the pilot’s hopes, dreams, and fears. A pilot’s ego can turn failure into success or mire a pilot in depression. What happens in the classroom or at the diner is just as important for a pilot as what happens on the battlefield.
Posted on August 18, 2012 by Flames
Mindjammer returns! Mindjammer Press, a new roleplaying and fiction imprint, has announced its plans to publish the Mindjammer roleplaying game, the far future transhuman space opera setting, and fiction lines.
“This is a very exciting opportunity,” said Sarah Newton, owner of Mindjammer Press and author of the ENnie Award-winning setting and fiction line. “We’ve taken the decision to bring all the Mindjammer fiction and RPG projects under a single umbrella, to allow us to concentrate on producing the new second edition and its supplements, as well as future novels in the Mindjammer series. We’re looking forwards to a regular release of products to support the Mindjammer setting and community, beginning this week with a re-launch of ‘Mindjammer’, the first novel in the series.”
Posted on May 7, 2012 by Flames
The design essay series here at Flames Rising continues with the first part of a series by game designer Mischa L Thomas. Mischa tells us about the forthcoming Cold & Dark RPG.
Living with Cold & Dark: Part 1
Hi, my name is Mischa L Thomas and I’m the lead designer at Wicked World Games 1.1, a small RPG design company based in Gothenburg Sweden. In a couple of months we’re going to release the gritty space horror science fiction pen and paper RPG Cold & Dark in partnership with Chronicle City. I thought I’d talk a little bit about the inspirational sources and conceptualization method behind the design process which led up to the finished game document. But first a little bit of background.
Posted on April 13, 2012 by Flames
Fantastic Stories of the Imagination is Warren Lapine’s new anthology, taking an SF magazine sensibility into the anthology market. He brings 14 very diverse stories by a wide range of authors from great masters such as Mike Resnick and Harlan Elision to more recent discoveries (at least to me) Fans of the Liaden universe will be glad to see a Sharon Lee and Steve Miller story.
The tales go from pure science fiction through to urban fantasy. There is no theme to the anthology though many of the stories deal with the intersection between man and machine and the question of where one leaves off. Most of the stories deal with ethical and moral issues characters face, about when to intervene in someone else’s life or situation. Love is encountered, succeeds, disappoints, fails and rises from the ashes as we learn to cope, to hold and to release.
Posted on March 10, 2012 by Flames
Posted on March 9, 2012 by Flames
Before he secured his place in the annals of international pop culture with the Tarzan stories, Edgar Rice Burroughs offered up the initial adventure in the far more interesting and inventive Barsoom series. “Under the Moons of Mars,” later to be retitled A Princess of Mars for book publication, first saw print in the Munsey pulp The All-Story, from February through July of 1912. The six-part serial chronicles the adventures of Confederate veteran Captain John Carter, who stumbles across a cave in Arizona through which he is transported via psychic projection to Mars, or as the locals call it, Barsoom.
Once deposited on Barsoom, Carter treks across the dying planet and encounters an imaginative assortment of races and creatures, from the four-armed warrior Tharks to the super-speedy dog-lizard things called calots (one of which, naturally, becomes the hero’s faithful companion), to the humanlike red Martians.
Posted on February 20, 2012 by Flames
Solaris is delighted to announce that sales of the critically-acclaimed, New York Times bestselling Pantheon series by James Lovegrove have now topped 100,000.
In a remarkable coup for a military-SF series, the killer blend of high-octane action and worlds dominated by ancient religions, including New York Times bestseller Age of Odin, has been a massive hit. The series is now set to continue with three new titles.
The series focuses on the central question of ‘what if the Gods of Mythology were not only real but played a direct role in mankind’s lives?’ Created as alternative histories that can be read as stand-alone novels or enjoyed as a collective, Lovegrove revitalises deities of old with hard-nosed military science fiction and fascinating re-imaginings of our world.
Posted on January 17, 2012 by Flames
The design essay series continue here at Flames Rising with a new entry from author Edward McKeown telling about his novel Was Once a Hero.
Reluctant privateer Robert Fenaday searches the stars for his lost love, Lisa, a naval intelligence officer whose ship disappeared near the end of the Conchirri War . He’s joined by the genetically engineered assassin, Shasti Rainhell, whose cold perfection masks her dark past. Both are blackmailed by government spymaster, Mandela, into a suicidal mission to the doomed planet Enshar. Leading a team of scientists and soldiers, they must unravel the mystery of that planet’s death before an ancient force reaches out to claim their lives.
Posted on December 9, 2011 by Flames
In an exciting team-up certain to rock the cosmos, Toy Vault, Inc. and legendary game designer Richard Borg (Memoir’44, Battle Cry) have joined forces to take you on a new action-packed adventure through the cold depths of space in ABADDON!
It’s the distant future and mankind has taken a galactic leap forward through space, time, and technology. Life as we know it struggles to endure on the ABADDON. Once the home of a mysterious, non-human civilization, the planet is now a desolate wasteland bearing one immensely precious resource: Feronium power crystals. The unimaginable energy contained within the crystals is coveted by two groups of humans: the Satellite City-States and the Commonwealth Alliance. Using giant bio-mech suits called Links, made from modified military vehicles and alien technology; the warring factions fight a weary battle for territorial control of the ABADDON.
Posted on November 21, 2011 by Megan
Diving straight in, the work opens with a brief note about how it provides a ready-made, populated location for gamemasters to use, or useful background for players whose characters are scumborn or belong to a scum faction… and just in case you are not sure what that means, it then launches into an introduction to the whole concept. Briefly, a scum swarm is a space-faring community with a very democratic – even anarchic – approach to everything: collective decision-making, consensus… and little regard for rules or reverence to what more settled societies may find important.
From such generalities, the narrative turns to a specific group, the Stars swarm. Born out of industrial unrest in turbulent times, the swarm began with workers in lunar orbital facilities taking control of the resources around them… just when the situation back at headquarters took a turn for the worse, and so nobody was in a position to object as the collective upgraded propulsion systems and took off, gathering many other refugees as they departed. Rather more ordered than some swarms, they now follow a set route around the system, trading as they go but still adhering to their original libertarian collectivist lifestyle.
Posted on October 23, 2011 by Flames
The Iron Empires: eight weary nations, spanning three million light years of the Milky Way Galaxy. They are the withering remains of a human civilization once immeasurably vast. Their dying has not been quiet.
The Vaylen Terror has ravaged humanity down the ages, seizing a thousand worlds in a bloody rush, then pausing for decades of consolidation. During these intervals of calm, the empires rebuild, rearm…and wage war on their neighbors. they almost believe the Vaylen will never return.
Both Iron Empires graphic novels are available for the first time in eBook format exclusively at DriveThruComics.com!
Posted on September 6, 2011 by Megan
This is a wild ride that seems to sneak into every corner of your brain. OK – I am a geek, and one who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s, roughly contemporary with the character of James Halliday, who in the book created the most amazing and pervasive system that combines MMORPG with VR and social network and even e-learning… So I ‘get’ (or should that be ‘grok’ – or perhaps not, the one bit of pop culture that’s neglected is the written word) just about every reference, even most of the videogame ones, despite my only ever becoming competent at a single one… which, of course, turns up at the heart of the final challenge!
Posted on July 27, 2011 by Matt-M-McElroy
The crew of the exploration ship Znutar just wanted to cruise around the Galaxy, discovering strange new worlds and playing pool. But then their ship was invaded by the Awful Green Things . . . and suddenly they were fighting for their lives!
I recently had the chance to try this game. Amazingly, I had never even demoed the Awful Green Things From Outer Space before. I’d seen it sitting on the shelves of the local game store before and thought it looked like fun. Naturally, I played the role of the alien monsters the first time out, but both sides are just as fun in the end.
Before game play can begin, there’s a little set up involved in this primarily two-player (or two teams) game. First, the Znutar crew has to be placed into different locations on the ship. Then, players need to resolve the starting locations for the Awful Green Things, weapons, etc. Once you’ve played a few times, the set up will go fairly quickly. It took us about five or ten minutes to set up the game the first time we played.
Posted on March 10, 2011 by Flames
If you are a looking for a deep and philosophical game to explore the intricacies of your mind, then this is not the game for you. However, if you are looking for a light-hearted and whimsical romp in between long running campaigns then this game can easily fill that need. Early on the game touts itself as a ‘Beer and Crisps’ game (or a Beer and Pretzels game in the States), and it adheres to this easygoing philosophy.
One takes on the role of a Jerkian Warrior, a clone of the great leader whose purpose in life is to entertain the Exalted Emperor and feed the Exalted Emperor. It’s not an easy life being among the lowest ranks, and a gruesome (though entertaining) death is almost a certainty. One of the few ways to ensure your own survival is through treachery and betrayal of your fellow Jerkian Warriors; rank hath many privileges — one of the most obvious being fewer missions in which death is likely.
Posted on January 31, 2011 by Billzilla
Matt Forbeck has been a staple in the RPG industry for many years. With stints working for Games Workshop, Pinnacle Entertainment and Human Head Studios, and with design credits from Deadlands and Brave New World to Mutant Chronicles and the Leverage tabletop role-playing game, Matt has enough experience that the title “veteran” hardly seems adequate.
Matt and I sat down to hash out a few questions regarding his most recent novel, Amortals, from Angry Robot Books.