Thursday, September 30, 2010

In the immortal words of Al Pacino "Say hello to my little friend"

I bought a Kindle a few weeks ago and I'm loving it. It's very light and really does read like a book.
I opted out of all the accessories and found my own case ( I use a Swiss Army brand passport holder).
 Being the big pulp geek that I am I have mine filled with Burroughs, Howard, Lovecraft, Mundy, Lamb, and Doyle. I found most of the titles I have loaded for either under $2.00 or free. 
If your Google Fu is strong and your ethics weak you can also find all kinds of goodies on the Internets (all praise to Al Gore) and format them very nicely with Calibre E-book management software. So far I've found everything from the complete collection of Doc Savage paperbacks

to those books your uncle kept in his old Army footlocker in the closet.

Kindle can "kind of" surf the web and it can "sort of" read PDF's, but it really wasn't made for that. You could shoehorn it to do both, but it doesn't do either real well. If that what you really want then get an iPad and be done with it. 
My buddy Karl has an iPad and he loves it. iPads can do everything a Kindle can do, plus play movies, surf the web in color, write emails, and read PDF games and comic books. 
But thats the thing - When I get my iPad (and I will) I'll be using it for all that other stuff and I'll never just sit and read a book. The Kindle does one thing and does it real well- it stores a ton of books in a light, slim, easy to read format that you can take anywhere. I'm sure that even when I do get my i Pad I'll still be bringing my Kindle along for serious reading.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New art for Hador by Jonny Gray

I just had to share this...

Princess Ayesha and her Arum bodyguard Manuk.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Nations of Erisa

The world of Erisa is the setting for the Legends of Steel campaign. 
Legends of Steel  is based on the classic Sword & Sorcery comic books of the 70's and can be used with any RPG rules engine. Currently Legends of Steel directly supports the Broadsword 1PG system from Deep7 Games. The Savage Worlds System from Pinnacle, and the Barbarians of Lemuria (BoL) system from Beyond Belief Games. By the end of 2010 it will also provide direct support for the Basic Action Super Hero (BASH) system and for the ZeFRS system.  The following is a brief overview of the various nations described so far in the Legends of Steel campaign.

The Kingdom of Tyros
Tyros is one of the largest and strongest kingdoms on Erisa. It is an old realm beset by rivals and enemies without and traitors and conspirators from within. But the lion still has teeth, as the enemies of the “Old Kingdom” will discover at their peril. Tyros is the capital city of the kingdom, and it has a number of additional cities described below.

Aragos is one of the oldest cities in the Kingdom of Tyros. It is noted for its tolerance of practitioners of magic. The ruling Baron himself is reputed to be a sorcerer of great power.

The Barony of Belsa is the richest agricultural area in the kingdom of Tyros. The Baron and a large number of the local gentry resent the over taxation demanded by the emperor.

The merchant city of Crascia is the capital of the richest Barony in the kingdom of Tyros. Many of the richest guild houses of Erisa are headquartered in this powerful city.

The major port of the Kingdom of Tyros, Pyrani is a city of riches and villainy. The Governor –Regent and his court are as crooked as they come, but Pyrani offers countless opportunities for an enterprising adventurer.

The Barony of Taurus is at the frontier of the Kingdom of Tyros. Far from the Kings court, Taurus struggles each day to hold its grip on the settled lands against barbarian raiders, outlaws, monsters and the elements.

The Southern Kingdoms
The Southern Kingdoms consist of seven city states that lie along or north of the Drujistan Mountain range. The cities of Al-Khalid, Kobar, Akkar, Padjistan, Kumar, Zandara, and Jandahar are all independent and are linked only by ancient cultural ties that have long since lost any political value. The mis-appellation of “Southern Kingdoms” was given by merchants from Tyros. In fact, of the seven city-states only Jandahar and Kumar are actually kingdoms (and even they are currently ruled by a Prince and a Queen, respectively), the rest have governments ranging from Theocracies (Akkar) to Plutocracies (Al-Khalid).

One of the Southern Kingdoms, “Akkar the golden” is a holy city and the center of religious activity on Erisa. Ruled by a theocratic council, Akkar is home to great libraries and temples holding century’s worth of artifacts and holy icons.

Al-Khalid is a major port, whose trade in rare spices and exotic intoxicating herbs has made it the richest of the Southern Kingdoms.

This cursed kingdom, once a great trading center is a brittle shadow of its former glory. The land is barren and the people are barely surviving day to day. It is the poorest of the great kingdoms of the south.

The City of Stone is home to the main temple of Na-Ko, as well as the Citadel of Stone, a sorcerous citadel that houses a mysterious brotherhood of mystics.
Kumar is a mineral rich Kingdom in the heart of the Drujistan Mountains. Its monarch, Queen Sybillia is obsessed with crushing the neighboring city-state, the Emirate of Padjistan.

The Emirate of Padjistan is the bitter rival of Kumar for the rich mineral resources of the region. The eccentric Emir is obsessed with collecting curiosities and plotting the overthrow of the Queen of Kumar.

“The City of Golden Chains” is built on the slave trade. The powerful port city, provides slave laborers to the great mines of the Drujistan and the rest of Erisa as well as highly trained Gladiators and pleasure slaves to fulfill the lusts of the rich and powerful.

The Free Cities League
The Free Cities League is a collection of four city-states. Emesa, Albena, and Teve are port cities that lie on the coast of the Emerald Ocean. The forth city, Hogar is located inland amidst the High Mountain range. The cities are bound by a complex collection of economic and military treaties that help provide growth and security. These treaties are facing their first major test as Albena has become involved in a war with a nonmember state (Radu), which it is losing.

The shattered lawless city-state of Albena was once one of the strongest members of the free cities league. However, the war with the Dark City of Radu has all but destroyed the once mighty port city.

Known as The City by the Sea, Emesa is not only the founding member of the Free Cities League, and a major seaport, but also the home of the University of Alcides. The University is itself an autonomous domain within the city and is considered the most prestigious institution of learning in the civilized world.

The City-State of Hogar lies deep in the High Mountains of Erisa. It is the only place where the legendary Hogar method of steel craft is known, producing the finest, sharpest and strongest weapons on all of Erisa.

The warrior priests of Kesh have recently taken control of the city-state of Teve as the elected government was found to be in league with agents from Radu. The plot was uncovered, the conspirators quartered, and now the priests have declared martial law as they prepare the populace for a showdown with the forces of Radu.

Other Lands
Lastly, there are lands are independent of these regions.

A rugged boomtown located on the Sikkar Plains, Boskar is a bustling settlement growing beyond its wooden stockade walls. The recent discovery of gold in the nearby hills has drawn every miner, adventurer, and bandit for a thousand leagues.

Broaq-Nohar is a breakaway province of the Kingdom of Tyros, noted for the excellent quality of their troops. The land is now ruled by a military council and has allied itself with the despotic island nation of Yar.

The “Dark City” of Radu is a nest of Pirates, evil priests, and outlaws. It is presumably ruled by an exiled Sorcerer from Yar. Radu has reportedly just destroyed the fleet of Albena in an epic sea battle, during which the sorcerer is said to have summoned several dragons.

Sikkar Plains
The mighty Sikkar are a nomadic people who call the “Sea of Grass” their home. Dozens of tribes travel on horseback and with wagons, following the herds of bison, and occasionally raiding their neighbors. Other people in Erisa regard them as barbarians, and the Sikkar have little regard for city folk.

Now a “Puppet kingdom” Co-administered by Yar and Broaq-Nohar, Umbria is slowly being raped and plundered by its new masters. But there are whispers that a “prince of the blood” has returned to the island kingdom to free the land and its people.

The ancient and vile kingdom of Yar sends its shadowy tendrils into every court from Radu to Jandahar. The priest-Kings of Yar deal openly with demons and plot to once again rule Erisa.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Flashback from 10/2009 - Game Geeks review of Legends of Steel-Savage Worlds Edition

Legends of Steel Savage Worlds Edition was given a great review at Game Geeks!


Monday, September 20, 2010

So what's happening at Evil DM Productions?


* Legends of Steel- BASH Edition – We have  layout guy. who will be starting work on it. Chris R. at Basic Action Games is looking  at a release around the end of the year.

*Legends of Steel ZeFRS – This has been in limbo for a while now.  There have been some changes made and we have Jason Chalker onboard on layout and we should see a release in November.

*Dicey Tales – A Pulp era supplement for the Barbarians of Lemuria system – WE are wrapping up the manuscript and Chris S. is working diligently on the art.

*The Lost World of Hador- a Lost Worlds supplement for Dicey Tales. I’m sure many of you have forgotten about this. Well I haven't. Once Dicey Tales has been released this will be the first follow-up product for it.  I just found a great new artist to help the team get the vision of Hador on paper.  John Gray is an artist out of the U.K. Here is his sight. 

And here is a sample of his work for Hador- a trio of gun-toting out of work Templars looking for their next job.

Hador Templars

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Saturday, September 18, 2010

How much would you pay for John Carter and Tars Tarkas action figures?


If you can swing $299.99 for an action figure then you must be rich or single. Actually these guys would look very awesomely cool in your bachelor pad (or your parents basement).  The rest of us poor married Schmucks will just have to come over and drool over your Barsoomian awesomeness.

Tars here comes in at $299.00

My main gripe is that his hands have no articulation. for 300 bucks they could at least give me hands that open and close.



Tars04 Tars03

Coming in at a paltry $109.99 is John Carter (I love the fact that they have to get that “extra” .99cents).

JC04 JC01 JC02 JC03

  I can’t wait for the Dejah Thoris figure.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pirates of Darkwater and Thundarr The Barbarian on DVD


According to the WB shop, the Darkwater set is out now and Thundarr should be out by 09/28/2010.

The thing is they appear to be mail order and “made to order” videos. What that means is that these are not digitally re-mastered copies and there are no special features, like Behind the scenes mini movies or any actor commentaries- none of the bells and whistles every geek loves to see. 

But at least they are out and probably in way better shape than the pirated copies we can find on You Tube or Pirate Bay.  

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Flashback-1/2/2007- Just Chill

The other day I posted an article of mine from a past issue of Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine revisiting the Conan game by TSR. Today I have another article from a past issue (#118) revisiting The horror RPG Chill from Pacesetter games.

Chill-Adventures into the unknown
Jeff Mejia

In 1984 a small company called Pacesetter games released “Chill”, a Role Playing Game set in the genre of classic horror. All the guys in my gaming group back then grew up on a regular diet of Saturday night “Creature feature” shows on TV. We loved the old black & white Universal monster movies featuring Dracula, The Mummy, Frankenstein’s monster, etc. as well as the Hammer horror films with Christopher Lee and lots of busty vampire chicks.

Up until Chill the only horror game around was Call of Cthulhu, and while there is no denying that Call of Cthulhu is a classic, my group never really cared for it, mainly because no matter how well you played your character, He/She would eventually go insane, in fact everybody’s character eventually goes insane in Call of Cthulhu. My group was made up of mostly “meat and potato” gamers- we liked to hunt down the bad guy, hack him into tiny pieces, and then loot his lair for +2 swords. The idea of our characters eventually going nuts never held much appeal.

Chill didn’t have that aura of hopelessness that Call of Cthulhu had, and none of the pretentious angst that “Vampire: the Masquerade” would later have. And though I was familiar with Lovecraft’s works most of the guys in my group weren’t, so it was hard for them to visualize why they should be running from a “Slithering Miyagi” or an oozing puddle of space pudding with a hundred eyes. It just wasn’t working for them. With Chill, if I told them they were being attacked by a pack of hatchet wielding zombies led by a Voodoo priestess, they had a frame of reference.

The Chill game comes boxed. Back in the day, most Role-playing games came packaged in a box. And believe it or not, many a games complexity and dollar value was judged by the weight of the box. Chill came in at a healthy weight, better than “Cyborg Commandos” but way less than “Bushido”. The game consisted of two rulebooks, a world map, introductory adventure, three 10-sided dice, a set of cardboard counters and what in today’s terms would be called a set of “fast play” rules.

In Chill, the player characters are all part of a secret organization called S.A.V.E (Societas Albae Viae Eternitata, the Eternal Society of the White Way).
S.A.V.E. Operatives fight a never-ending war against the supernatural forces of evil. In the world of Chill, Vampires are real, Were-creatures are real, and Malign spirits are real. The forces of evil exist and the agents of S.A.V.E. seek them out and destroy them. The setting for the game can be in any period from the mid 1800’ to present day, and globe spanning adventures are not only possible but encouraged. The setting has a classic horror movie feel to it thanks to the great artwork of Jim Holloway throughout the rulebooks.

The campaign book covers character creation based on eight abilities generated by random dice rolls and a system formula. Along with the regular Strength, Dexterity, Agility, Stamina, and Personality, they offered some additional “genre” specific abilities such as Willpower (used when making the obligatory “fear check”), Perception (which aids in noticing specific clues or unusual details), and Luck (which aids in character survival by allowing “Luck checks” to avoid immediate death).

All of these abilities are used when deciding the success of a characters action, this is known as making an ability check. There are two types of ability checks the first is known as the standard check, and is used when rather straightforward actions are resolved the second is known as a specific ability check this type of check uses a unique chart system known as the “Chill action table” to gauge the degree of success. The better the roll, the higher the degree of success, for instance, if your character is trying to jump out of a window to escape from a foe, the referee may want you to roll an ability check based on agility. If you succeed the referee will compare your roll to the success chart. A limited success may indicate you jumped out of the window but may have injured yourself on the fall. A medium success could indicate you landed hard but are uninjured, a high success may mean that you landed on your feet and can move normally next round.

Characters advance and gain experience in Chill by participating in adventures and defeating evil creatures and their minions. “Insight Points” are awarded for success and these points can be later used to improve current abilities and skills or to purchase new skills for future use.

Chill offers a wide variety of combat and non-combat skills to choose from when creating a character. All skills have corresponding success scores that are based on one or more abilities and ranked as student, teacher, or master. Each rank adds a percentage point bonus to the skill, which insures a player at master rank, is effectively a leader in that field. Players start the game with student ranks and use “insight points” to increase their rankings in various chosen skills.

As with the ability checks, Chill has two types of skill checks. The basics skill check which is a straight success/failure roll and a specific skill check which utilizes the “Chill action table” to determine the degree of success. There are a fairly adequate number of skills supplied for the game, and by following the general formula it’s not at all difficult to add new skills to the list as needed. It’s worth noting as well that Chill spends a good amount of time explaining the use of professional and research skills. In Chill your characters ability to read a map, use a library, and speak Latin will be as valuable as what caliber of pistol he carries or what level of mastery he has in Judo.

Character actions are covered in the next section. The mechanics of campaign play are introduced in this section. Game time, travel times, fear checks, movement, damage and healing, and combat are all examined. An area, which was revisited quite often in our campaign, were the rules on lighting and visibility. Quite a few of our combats took place on fog-shrouded streets and in dark cemeteries.

The various types of Non-player characters are covered in part five of the rules. The reactions of Animals, persons and creatures are covered here along with societies reactions in general. The hardest part about interacting with NPC’s in Chill is trying to convince them that your character isn’t a loon, this is where having an organization such as S.A.V.E around is invaluable. Not only are there people who will actually believe your story about the secret cabal of demon worshippers at Fairfax manor, they may even be able to help you do something about them.

Which leads us to part six of the rulebook. Characters in Chill may face vampires, mad scientists and evil witches, but they don’t do so without powers of their own. This section of the rules outlines the use of The Art. The Art is basically a collection of disciplines used to combat the minions of evil. The Art is a combination of Psionic abilities and arcane protections that enable the agents of S.A.V.E a fighting chance when confronting the disciples of the evil way. The chapter ends with a brief history of S.A.V.E, it’s rules and tenets. The final section gives some brief advice for the “Chillmaster” (CM) on running a successful horror campaign.

The second book in the boxed set is titled Horrors from the unknown. This volume is essentially a combination spell book and monster guide. The first part describes the various spells and magical effects that the creature’s posses and use to combat the heroes of S.A.V.E. the second half of the book details creatures both common and supernatural that are used in the Chill game, unfortunately they only list around eighteen creatures total.
Chill received a decent amount of support for its run. There were nine published modules ranging from encounters with Dracula and the Mummy to exploring haunted amusement parks and touring with a rock band.

There were also several sourcebooks, which added to the Chill line:
• A “Chillmasters” screen with the obligatory mini-adventure.
• Vampires-a sourcebook giving detailed descriptions of several vampires from different parts of the world.
• Creature Feature- a Chill game variant that lets the players assume the role of the monsters. The book also offers more rules for combat, new skills and an additional discipline of the Art.
• Things- basically an expanded (over fifty) listing of creatures and new evil way disciplines.
• Evenings of terror with Elvira- a set of nine linked scenarios hosted by the mistress of the dark herself.

It’s worth noting as well, that in the 1990’s Mayfair games purchased the rights to Chill and gave it a new look and a new audience for a brief time.
By today’s standards, when held up against somber fare like the World of Darkness and Kult, Pacesetters Chill might seem a little light and old fashioned. But for the folks who like their horror a little less Anne Rice and a little more Boris Karloff, Chill is just the ticket.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Flashback from 06/2/2006 - Kingdom of Heaven revisited yet again...

Back in April I posted that Kingdom of Heaven will be re-released as an expanded directors cut with tons of additional footage. I saw it the other day, and believe me it’s like watching a whole other movie. So much was explained and made clear, there were whole story arcs that were abandoned by the studio that Ridley Scott felt were necessary to the story (and they were) the story is richer for all the added material. Just to give you a glimpse: I just couldn’t get my head around the fact that this village blacksmith could arrive in Jerusalem and suddenly know how to build trebuchets and fight off a siege. Well in the extended version we find out that Balian the blacksmith is not only an accomplished smith but also a veteran soldier who served as an engineer and sapper. That little nugget of info took like 5 seconds to convey but was left out of the theatrical version- talk about missing important plot points! If you are a fan of epic motion pictures you really owe it to yourself to see the extended cut of this movie. It’s a definite must have!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Setting the record straight on Skype

A while back I posted a rant about Skype. It turns out the problem was 99% my fault. However, at the time they really had no customer service methods in place to point out that the error was on my side, so much of my frustration stemmed from the fact that their service had no one for me to talk to. I’m not sure if that has been addressed since I haven't had a need to complain about anything since.
Overall, these last couple of years Skype has proven itself invaluable to me as a means of affordable business and personal communication.  I use Skype just about everyday and have contacted people as far away as Britain and Australia. The conversations still come with a bit of a delay but for $12.00 a month unlimited access to  either computers or regular phones world-wide,  it’s not a bad deal at all.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

This is why you always look in the children’s book section at Goodwill

One thing that kind of sucks about looking for books at Goodwill is the fact that you have to look through EVERYTHING!  Most of the staff that work in the book department have minimal training in keeping things organized, so you find cookbooks next to Prima strategy guides and the works of Shakespeare mixed in among the Mack Bolan paperbacks.  But you have to take the time to look lest you miss a gem like this:

deities 001

 deities 004


deities 002



Monday, September 06, 2010

Atlas comics may be coming back from the dead.

Back in the 70’s for a few brief months, DC and Marvel had a new challenger to contend with It was called Atlas Comics.  As a young comic geek at the time this was something totally new. The only thing competing with the two giants were Charlton (blah) and a shit load of weird ass underground comix about smoking weed and having sex in the back of a Chevy van.

images  So to walk into my old comics store and see a whole slew of characters blew me away. unfortunately Atlas only lasted for a few months and finally dried up. But it was a fun ride, and the memories are still with me.

blazingbattletales1 ironjaw_3 wulfthebarbarian_3 4pd2ted 6atwqw6 521a1zd

Now according this article from CBR. there is real talk of the Atlas properties seeing print again.  now if we can just get them to get the Amalgam characters into monthly books.