Archive | October, 2008

Quarantine Movie Review

Posted on October 14, 2008 by

It’s Halloween season and until this weekend the movie theatres had offered horror fans zero tricks or treats. On October 10th director John Erick Dowdle’s Quarantine became this season’s first theatrically released genre movie and by default it vaulted to the top of my must-see list.

Quarantine, the American remake of last year’s well-received Spanish genre offering, [REC], opens with TV reporter Angela Vidal (Jennifer Carpenter) and her cameraman Scott (Steve Harris) filming an episode of their soft news program in which they profile the firemen at a Los Angeles fire station.

Review by Jason Thorson


Halloween Horror: Glaring Hunter

Posted on October 13, 2008 by

A new twist on one of our favorite monsters is brought to us by author Jeff LaSala (Darkwood Mask) with art from Bradley K. McDevitt (Blood!).

Watch the rooftops, you never who, or what, may be watching you…

Glaring Hunter

Created by Jeff LaSala
With Art by Brad McDevitt

Everyone knows what gargoyles are, but very few legends have survived the ages concerning these gruesome stone antiquities. One such story that has endured in some circles is that of the anomalous statue known as the Glaring Hunter. Though it is far less famous than its Notre Dame brethren, the Hunter is the only gargoyle said to appear, without explanation, in more than one place.

The earliest confirmed account of its existence came from a 14th Century anchorite in the north of England who described its perch upon an old abbey wall. An ancient scroll rumored to be one of the lost Gospels also made reference to “the Staring Demon” whose presence Biblical scholars say follows the steps of the Devil.


Old Man’s War Fiction Review

Posted on October 13, 2008 by

“I did two things on my seventy-fifth birthday. I visited my wife’s grave. Then I joined the army.”

Chances are, if you read a webzine such as this one, that you’ve been around the internets long enough to have heard of John Scalzi. Either you’ve viewed the ever-famous picture of his cat with bacon taped to it, or you’ve spotted his blog, “Whatever”. Spotting Scalzi isn’t hard: he writes, anything, a lot of it.

Ah, but have you read his fiction? No? Do so.

Review by Aly Condon


Halloween Horror: Biting Water

Posted on October 12, 2008 by

Today’s addition to the Halloween Horror series is from game designer Preston DuBose (Bloodlines) from 12 to Midnight. Artist Jeff Preston adds a bit of colorful dread to this strange creature.

Be careful where you go swimming, there are more than sharks to be afraid of…

Biting Water

Created by Preston Dubose
With Art by Jeff Preston

From the icy waters off the tip of Alaska to the warm coastal waters of Malaysia, Biting Water tears life from all manner of creatures. Some fishermen call it “witch’s water”, “dead water”, or “stinging water” and attribute it variously to a cursed shipwreck, underwater volcanic activity, witchcraft, jellyfish, invisible sea monsters, and aliens. Biting Water is a patch of ocean water anywhere from 20 to 110 feet in diameter that paralyzes its prey before painfully grinding flesh from bone. Reports from those brave or foolish enough to investigate suggest that Biting Water is the same color and temperature as the surrounding ocean.


Scion Companion Part Three: Celestial Bureaucracy Now Available!

Posted on October 12, 2008 by

The Celestial Bureaucracy is a new pantheon for your Scion cycle. This section contains everything you’ll need, including the gods of the Bureaucracy, a complete 1 to 10 dot write up of their pantheon Purview, new Birthrights, new allies, new antagonists, details on their Overworld and Underworld, a new Titan that plagues the Bureaucracy and two sample Scions (one hero and one demigod) so you can jump right into the game.

The Scion Companion Part Three is available at the Flames Rising RPGNow Shop.


Halloween Horror: Babylonian Mummy

Posted on October 11, 2008 by

Author, editor and game designer Monica Valentinelli (Tales of the Seven Dogs Society, Violet War) introduces us to a different kind of mummy with her entry in the Halloween Horror series here are Flames Rising.

Artist Brad McDevitt contributes to the mystery with a bit of his artwork.

Babylonian Mummy

Created by Monica Valentinelli
With Art from Brad McDevitt

Deep in the heart of the desert, a circle of seven ancient Babylonian temples weathered by sand, stand testament to a forgotten age. Great stone wings adorn falling archways, covered with an undecipherable combination of script and hieroglyphs. There are no living priests in this hallowed place, no servants to call upon the gods and goddesses waiting in the heart of each gilded temple. There is nothing but the wind and the sand, blowing through abandoned temples and the resting place of the Babylonian gods and goddesses.


Sneak Peek at Vampire Apocalypse: Descent into Chaos by Derek Gunn

Posted on October 11, 2008 by

We have an early look at horror author Derek Gunn’s new Vampire Apocalypse novel Descent into Chaos. This is the sequel to A World Torn Asunder.

Here on Flames Rising today we have the Prologue of the new book.

Vampire Apocalypse: Descent into Chaos

Two Years Ago: Boston

It was still early evening but the relentless advance of the dark was already heralding its dominion as the sun began to slip slowly below the horizon. In places, patches of light still flared valiantly—though, ineluctably, they too began to give ground with each passing moment. Harris grinned wryly as he thought how fitting their predicament was as he and his fellow survivors defended themselves against the oncoming hoard in their last remaining stronghold. He rated their chances no better than the light that, even now, was relinquishing its last tenuous grip on the cityscape.


Halloween Horror: The House Spider

Posted on October 10, 2008 by

Horror author and game designer Richard Dansky (Firefly Rain, Worlds of Their Own) has offered up a new monster for the Halloween Horror collection here at Flames Rising.

Jeff Preston adds a little horror of his own with a stunning visual of this rarely seen but always felt creature…

The House Spider

Created by Rich Dansky
With Art by Jeff Preston

The House Spider does not feed on blood, or flesh, or anything so messy and gory as that. It lives in the dwelling places of the timid, the fearful, the cluttered and the cautious. It finds them by their tell-tale signs, their overloaded bookshelves and their disorganized collections, their piles of papers and dimly lit rooms, and there it settles, invisibly. In olden days, many lived in reading rooms, on top of green-shaded desk lamps or in the rare empty spaces on bookshelves. These days, they settle more beneath the computer desk, or near the television, or in amongst the video game consoles and their surrounding debris.


Forgotten Heroes: Fang, Fist, and Song RPG Review

Posted on October 10, 2008 by

This is fairly hefty for a PDF, though it would make a slim book, 90 pages of rather dense rules information providing information for playing the aforementioned classes as well as a little supplementary information in the form of appropriate magical items and the idea of a post-cataclysm gaming in a fantasy world. The approach here differs from that hinted at in the Wizards’ books particularly in naming the source of Barbarian and Druidic power ‘Primal’ and that of Bards and Monks ‘Ancient’, rather than the ‘Nature’ spoken of in the official line.

Review by James ‘Grim’ Desborough


Halloween Horror: Tabbinius Cats

Posted on October 9, 2008 by

Game designer Eloy LaSanta brings us our next monster in the Halloween Horror series.

Thanks to the Tabbinius Cats, there just might be a reason for all the superstition about black cats crossing your path…

Tabbinius Cats

Created by Eloy Lasanta

This evil creature has origins of the days of witches for mortals and trials that surrounded. Some witches were banished them from society or outright killed, but they had other ways of messing with townspeople. They turned black cats into their familiars, making them spies and vessels for the witch. She has several cats, each powerful in their own right, but many were killed as stories of black cats spread throughout the colonies. Tabbinius, one of her particularly clever cats, made his own deals with demons that released him from his link to the witch and gave him the ability to speak, but required him to feed on human souls. He led the other familiars against their witch, making her the first soul to be a tribute to the demon.


Key to Conflict Fiction Review

Posted on October 9, 2008 by

Welcome to the Gillian Key Admiration Society–that is, if you’re male, paranormal, and exquisitely handsome, as all the men in Talia Gryphon’s Key to Conflict seem to be. From ghosts to vampires to werewolves and dark elves, everyone wants to get retired marine and paramortal psychologist Gillian Key into their bed. Some of them succeed, to a greater or lesser degree (the ghost having to resort to sleeping with her in incredibly erotic dreams, so she won’t know she’s being screwed, if you can forgive the pun–and the forced-love aspect of the novel). While there’s also a plot, it doesn’t really pick up until page 227 of 325, when we meet Gillian’s old marine special ops unit, who gather to rescue a kidnapped vampire. The first 227 pages set up the world in a somewhat haphazard fashion: paramortals went public twenty years ago. Or they were creatures of legend up until the Human-Paramortal War a few years ago.

Review by Alana Abbott


Halloween Horror: The Werewolf of Bedburg

Posted on October 8, 2008 by

This new twist on the legend of the werewolf is brought to us by author and game designer Jason L Blair (The Long Count, Little Fears).

Beware the Beast of Bedburg, it has a hunger that is never satisfied…

The Werewolf of Bedburg

Created by Jason L Blair

Under a pregnant summer moon, a boy named Peter Stübbe, followed a trail that led down to the creek that marked the boundary of his family’s farm. Lying in the muddy water was the body of a brown wolf cub. As its life escaped further with every breath, its lupine features faded and slowly Peter realized that it was no cub at all—but the body of a boy no older than he was. Against his better sense, he picked up a long thin stick and prodded the wolfboy with it. With its last raspy breath, it lunged at Peter, biting him on his arm. Peter’s parents found their son the next day, laying unconscious beside the body of a dead boy. Swearing never to speak of the incident again, the father went about burying the deceased child immediately while his wife tended to their son.


Unspeakable Words Game Review

Posted on October 8, 2008 by

Lovecraft Aficionados are well aware of the pulp author’s use of large and obscure words; it was practically his trademark, and has befuddled eager young readers ever since he first began publishing his work in the 1920s. How appropriate then that there should be a word game using many of his creations as a backdrop — Unspeakable Words is a card-driven word game that challenges players to spell without going mad, and believe me, it isn’t easy!

Created by the talented game design team of James Ernest and Mike Selinker and produced by Playroom Entertainment (, Unspeakable Words begins with each of the players receiving a hand of seven cards.

Review by Bill Bodden


Two New SAS Adventures from White Wolf!

Posted on October 7, 2008 by

The Rose-Bride’s Plight (Changeling: The Lost)

A cold war between Spring and Winter threatens to tear the freehold apart.

Broken oaths, betrayals and bitter memories have widened the chasm between the two Courts for decades, with each transition from Onyx to Emerald becoming an ever more frigid and hostile affair. In the past, fanatics on either side have taken overt action against their enemies and tensions have swelled. Members of the freehold fear that if something is not done soon, one party or the other will take drastic action and drive the freehold into a true civil war.


Halloween Horror: Wastelands Stalker

Posted on October 7, 2008 by

Our latest addition to the Halloween Horror series comes from author Jensen Toperzer.

This creature could be found in any number of fantasy or post-apocalyptic worlds, so be careful where you go exploring…

Wastelands Stalker

Created by Jensen Toperzer

A wasteland stalker (or Khyr-garuke, as the natives call them) is a terrible behemoth generally found in areas destroyed by some horrible disaster. As the name implies, they favor wastelands, though some have said that they lair in the shells of ruined cities. Some say that they are given rise by the maddened and terrified spirits of those killed in disasters; others that they are disaster made flesh, the very incarnations of the forces of destruction.

Stalkers are strange beasts, being huge in size (the largest known specimen is thought to have been fifty feet long, as judged by the distance between its tracks) yet silent of step.


Talsiman Studios – Get Your Roleplay Free

Posted on October 7, 2008 by

Talisman Studios is celebrating the anniversary of Suzerain, our Origins Award Nominee RPG. And we’re celebrating in style, with a couple of great bits of news for roleplay fans everywhere:

Suzerain is now free from our online shop! That’s $0.00 for the Suzerain rule book. The economy’s getting tougher and none of us has much money to play with, but from now on you won’t need any money to play with Suzerain. Enjoy the game at by clicking on the ‘Treasure’ tab at the top of the page and browsing through all our free goodies.


Races of the Shroud: The Apelord Review

Posted on October 7, 2008 by

The Apelord is the first effort of new company ‘One Bad Egg’ and one of the first ‘proper’ 4th Edition D&D products to grace the virtual bookshelves. The Apelord is a new character race, with all the attendant options, but is also comes packaged with some monster ideas, numerous special abilities and a few adventure ideas. In short, it’s like an extended Monster Manual entry, such as were starting to become the norm at the end of 3.5.

Review by James ‘Grim’ Desborough


Halloween Horror: Heamogoblin

Posted on October 6, 2008 by

A new monster in the Halloween Horror series today from game designer Gregor Hutton (3:16, a|state) with art from Bradley K. McDevitt (Blood!).

The Heamogoblin is a mischievous little beast. You have to wonder if they are related to Gremlins or something far, far worse…

The Heamogoblin

Created by Gregor Hutton
With Art by Bradley K. McDevitt

Brad put Tara on the hallway stairs, she was a bloodied mess. He made his way in to the kitchen to see what she’d done to herself. Bloody footprints, like those of a rat, led from a smashed tumbler to under the sink. A tumbler? All the blood that only moments ago must have jetted from Tara’s arm was gone. It looked like it had been licked clean from the slate floor. Rats?

Brad looked around and saw a knife. It lay conveniently nearby, sharp and cool, and he reached for it with his hand. Suddenly and unexpectedly there was a scuttling beneath the sink, and he took his eye off the knife. A sharp pain and he felt blood squirting out his hand.


Armed and Magical Fiction Review

Posted on October 6, 2008 by

You may remember that in my review of Shearin’s Magic Lost, Trouble Found, I expressed some confusion about reading a novel that felt like urban fantasy but was set in an elves-and-goblins style world. Armed and Magical follows the further adventures of Raine Benares as she tries to get rid of the Saghred, the evil stone that has claimed her as its link to the world, and has very much the same style as the first book. In reading the sequel, however, I finally made the connection that I missed in Raine’s first adventure: Raine is a seeker, which is roughly the equivalent of a private investigator for her world. What Shearin is writing isn’t a hybrid of urban fantasy and low fantasy–it’s hard boiled fantasy noir.

Review by Alana Abbott


Halloween Horror: Tear-Drop Rattler

Posted on October 5, 2008 by

We’ve got a new monster to add to the Halloween Horror collection today from creator Joe Rixman.

Joe brings us a new twist on an existing creature, turning a dangerous predator into a fearsome monster…

Tear-Drop Rattler

Created by Joe Rixman

Tear-Drop Rattler: This creature is native to desert valleys where the sun’s heat is greatest. It appears as a rust colored, ten-foot long rattlesnake, with a diamond-shaped head, a cobra-like cloak that expands when it feels threatened and blood-red tear drop patterns that give this creature its name lining the entire length of the body. Its primary weapon is a pair of foot-long, venom-tipped, needle-sharp fangs that unfurl when it opens its jaws, but it has a secondary weapon that is much more dangerous to prey that might not want to get too close. Nature has given the tear-dropped rattler a wonderful way to adapt to those more cautious animals. Glands beneath its forked-tongue allow the beast to spit venom up to a distance of fifty feet. The venom acts as a paralytic acid and is absorbed through a victim’s skin where it collects in the muscles and forces them to lock up. The snake will attempt to get to its paralyzed victim before death occurs, however, as it usually prefers to eat its prey whole and, hopefully, still alive.


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