Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Gaming and DVD's

The other day here on the blog I was giving a rundown on upcoming projects that I hope to get realized soon. One important project that I forgot to mention was a Dark Ages Sword & Sorcery campaign world for ZeFRS. No name yet - but I'm gathering resources for it. Two main sources of inspiration are the Arak comic series by DC and the AD&D Historical Series (primarily Charlemagne's Paladins and the Vikings).
The world map will be physically the same but in all other ways it will be a grim Sword & Sorcery world.
Historical accuracy will take a backseat (or in some cases, tossed out all together) as Berbers and other North African sea traders begin colonizing the southern half of the Southeastern seaboard of North America and Norsemen will colonize the northern half. The Aztec and Incan empires will exist and neither will be ruled by superstitious priests. Arab and Chinese traders coming to those lands will be met on the beach by warriors with weapons in hand. In Spain the Emirate of Cordoba will be much stronger and their influence will be felt.
My goal will be a world that's somewhat familiar to fans of this period but with a few surprises.

I Picked up the DVD the other day and watched it with my oldest minion. as an independent direct to video animated movie-Turok son of Stone Kicks ass. This adaptation of the Turok saga is more faithful to the classic Dell comics version than to the more modern tales from Valiant comics or the video games. First off be warned, this is an animated story NOT a cartoon. the violence is graphic and plentiful. the first few minutes might fool you, but believe me this may not be something you want to watch with the little ones. It's a Hero's journey type of tale, with questing, revenge, honor, doubt etc. The animation is solid. it's visually pleasing, and the story delivers exactly what it intends to.
One thing i always hated as a child was when a cool premise for a cartoon series was "dumbed down" by the addition of a cutesy/goofy sidekick ala; Godzooky,or the stupid bird in the Conan series (Thundarr the Barbarian avoided this, which is why it's remained a fan-boy favorite). Well, Turok has none of that. it's a slick lean graphic novel on film. For fans of adventure comics or "Lost World" stories it's a must.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Do you Hulu?

Are you Huluing yet?
Well you should start.
Hulu is a site that has tons of full episodes of many of the newest shows on TV in addition to a slew of classic and short run episodes. It's in beta now and only available in the US. These are some of the shows I found:

Friday, February 22, 2008


Not my problem
Well once again the gaming world is being shaken up by the release of a new edition of D&D. And just like before, some are embracing the change while others rage against it.

Personally I could care less. My D&D world is firmly entrenched in 2nd edition AD&D with the occasional nostalgic foray into Basic D&D.
WOTC hasn't seen any of my money for quite some time.

For a very interesting piece on the OGL and the new 4th edition head over to the Dungeon Mastering blog and read Phil's take on things.

Getting fluffy
The other day I posted that as I was finishing up the adventure for the Broadsword expansion set I realised that the adventure and the campaign world could be used for any RPG system, not just the 1PG system. This got me thinking that rather than cater to one system it would be better to write material genre specific rather than system specific. Any referee worth his salt can stat out a villain, whats more important are the background, motivations, and intentions of the villain in regards to the encounter and the adventure as a whole. This was one of my main frustrations with the Perils of the Orient PDF that Adamant put out a year ago. in the accessory they give an example of an Oriental mastermind but he's essentially a stat block with no personal background, nothing on his motivations or any information on his organisation. I didn't need a bunch of numbers what I needed to know was how to play the character. So now I'm revising the projects I'm working on. I'm going to work on more fluff than crunch, in fact I'll try to avoid crunch all together where I can. Why should I write up a Lost worlds adventure just for Dime Heroes when I can make it generic enough that it appeals to a Referee running Spirit of the century, Savage Worlds, GURPS Cliffhangers or Two Fisted tales.

Right now on my hard drive in various stages of completion I have the following:

Broadsword Expansion II -This one is going to deal with the sword and planet genre. it will include an interdimensional "Lost World" that will be suitable for Broadsword / Dime Heroes or any Pulp type 'lost world" campaign.

"For Love and Honor" - An romantic adventure in the vein of stardust, The princess bride, The prisoner of Zenda, and the Mad King. the adventure will be ideal for any game set in a era of swashbuckling and magic. It take place on a low-mid level magic world called Aurora. the adventure involves the rescue of a royal family from the clutches of the evil usurpers-sword fighting, chases, elementals, sorcerers, espionage, and all sorts of daring do in a period resembling that of 1800's earth. The adventure was originally conceived for the Idyll 1PG game but will be adaptable to almost any system.

And with all these cool western games like Aces and eights and Coyote trail, I'm brainstorming on a sourcebook that would focus on adventure south of the border- not just Northern Mexico but into Central and South America as well. I won a bunch of Renegade books on eBay and I ain't afraid to use em!

I'm still gathering reference material for "Mission: Adventure!" I decided to use the Legends of Steel rules engine and just plug in upgrades where necessary.

And speaking of Legends of Steel, I think I've found the artist to do the cover for the book. Jeremy Mohler is a fantastic artist whose work I think would really compliment Legends of Steel. I contacted him and we have come to an agreement. he has me scheduled for this summer at which time he will begin working with me on the concepts for the cover.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pulp Thursday!

Just in time for the up coming movie, Dark Horse has the Indiana Jones collection

Jake Sampson: Monster Hunter is a great way to pass the time at work without surfing the net and getting in trouble *cough,cough*

Brian C. gave me a heads up on a new pulp RPG called Pulp Adventure. It's in it's second edition so its not new, just new to me. Gotta spread the word, besides the author is a Jeff and we Jeff's sticks together.

Rocketship Empires
, gets my vote for the most original pulp game setting so far this year.

"Rocket into two fisted, pulp space opera with Rocketship Empires 1936! This volume is the core campaign source book. It is suitable for play in any table top RPG game system."

at $8.99 the core book is very affordable. I will have to check it out.

Few things say Pulp as well as clunky robots shooting laser rays out of their eyes. And whats better than a free game of robot combat, featuring clunky robots shooting laser rays out of their eyes? I havent played it yet. But I will. Get it while it's free guys.

When I was a tyke I remember my grandfather having a huge stack of Classics illustrated comics. When I couldn't get my hands on a Conan or Avengers comic they were the next in line. And by damn if I didn't learn a thing or two about Julius Caesar and Faust.

Classical Comics seems to be a new effort and I applaud it whole heartedly. They also have Much Ado About Nothing, The Tempest, and Richard III available as free downloads. It's worth a click.

Here's another new effort. Some of the guys over at the Exile Games Message boards are starting up a magazine to support the Ubiquity line of games the first of which is the ultra cool Hollow Earth Expeditions. The new mag is aclled Mythic Eras- cool name. cool premise. I wish them luck. Put me down for an issue. They have a writing contest going on right now so head on over there and have a look.
*psst* you guys need a logo.

Zorro from Dynamite Entertainment
Their Lone Ranger title is the selling very nicely. Now they are adding a little swashbuckling action into the mix with Zorro. I called my comic shop, it's in my saver. I'll be checking it out this weekend!

And that is your Pulp Thursday report!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I finally finished the Broadsword expansion. If it all survives the Editors pen this is what’s included:
• A bunch of new advantages.
• A bestiary of common animals as well as creatures of myth and legend.
• A color map and gazetteer of “The World of Broadsword”
• An adventure called The River Pirates of the Belsa.

The 1PG system provides a lot of different cinematic genres to adventure in, but they never got around to releasing a general list of critters for characters to fight. Personally I hate number crunching so I took to the bestiary like a kid eating lima beans, but it had to be done.
I was much more at home writing up the gazetteer. I recall many a day on the bus to and from work, having a great time reading the various write ups for the nations of Oerth and Toril. For Broadsword I wrote capsules of information on the different nations and places of interest. I tried to give each place a personality and a hook for adventuring. I mentioned in an earlier Blog post that I took a tip from a marketing class in college and used the S.W.O.T analysis method (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) and applied it to each nation entry, I think overall it was a good fit. As I finished each nation I began to see patterns and conflicts arising amongst the various lands, I took that as a sign that I was on the right path.
The final challenge was writing up an adventure. Normally 1PG products come with several “mini” or “Side trek” style adventures. I started out that way but soon found the adventure writing itself. So I decided to just go with it. The adventure is called “The River Pirates of the Belsa”. Here’s how I described it on the Deep7 message board:

River Pirates of the Belsa
the PC's are hired by a wealthy businessman to apprehend the brigand responsible for his son's death. The quarry though is no mere footpad. He is the River Pirate "Joubert" scourge of the Belsa River, who leads a band of one hundred cutthroats, outlaws, and thieves, and lives in a hidden fortress deep in the Great Forest.
The heroes must travel into the Great Forest, avoid the beasts and wild tribesmen that call it home, find this elusive brigand and bring him to justice.
Piece of cake.

The more I wrote, the more it became clear to me that the adventure, and the gazetteer for that matter, could be used for just about any game system. There isn’t any reason this couldn’t be played with D20, Fudge, GURPS, HERO or any other system. I’m hoping the reviewers see that possibility as well. So now it’s in the hands of the folks at Heyoka.

I want to give a special shout out to Tim, Troy, Gabe, Conan, and Marc for their “Peer Review” of my efforts. Just when I thought I was done, you guys showed me I wasn’t. Thanks!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Motivational Monday

I did this one myself.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Pulp Thursday-Special "Planet Stories" Edition

If you’re a pulp fan you really need to pay attention to this: Paizo Publishing has a new line of books called Planet Stories. Each month they are releasing a new volume of fiction by some of the best writers in the pulp genre. Names like Robert E. Howard, C.L. Moore, and Henry Kuttner. Characters such as Elak of Atlantis, Michael Kane, and Jirel of Joiry.

Some of these stories haven’t been in print in decades. You could comb through a hundred used bookstores and spend big bucks on eBay and you still would not be able to assemble a collection as complete as the one Paizo is putting together. The books are crisp and new, the covers have beautiful art, and once you get a set on your shelf they are gonna look great.

Paizo even has a deal for you. The thing is, sales of these books have been good, not great, but good. Face it we are talking a niche market here right? So they need to generate interest and get the word out there. So to do that Paizo has started a subscription service for the Planet stories line. Subscribe to Planet stories and each month you will get a brand new title at 20%off the cover price. I just did it myself and my monthly out of pocket is $14.31 for a brand new trade paperback delivered to my door. Could you get a copy of Almuric cheaper? Maybe. A brand new copy? Delivered to your door? Hell no.

I don’t work for Paizo and I’m not getting a cut of the sales. I’m writing this because I love the genre and I believe in what they are trying to do. What I’m getting at here folks is supporting the effort. Those of you who join me on Thursdays to get news on pulp stuff have got to see the value in this.

These stories are the inspiration that fueled Gary Gygax, Stan Lee, and all the giants of the comic and gaming world. And now you can have brand new complete collections of some of the best Pulp, Sword & Sorcery, Sword & Planet, and Science Fantasy out there.
Tell you what, if your still on the fence about this, then buy one title or go down to your nearest Barnes & Noble or Borders and flip through Black God’s Kiss or City of the Beast. After that, if you still can’t see the value then there ain’t much more I can say. But as for me, I’m taking the dive.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Warlord #7 for 99cents?! I'll take it!

I’ve been pretty good about keeping my resolution of reducing the number of new comics I buy and not buying ANY Marvel titles at all. The thing is, every comic shop around me lately has been having back issue sales with prices cut from 50-75%. Why would I want to spend $3.99 for one comic when I can get several for the same price? Luckily I have two things going for me when it comes to buying back issues.

1) I’m a reader, not a collector. As long as the cover is nice and its all stapled together I’m good with it. Good, very good, fine, extra very fine, mint, diamond double mint- none of that grading crap matters to me. I go for lowest price. A crease on the lower right corner won’t send me into shock.

2) I’m a Gamer first a Comic Fanboy second. I collect titles like Arak, John Carter, Kull, Turok, Weird western tales, and such. I mostly look for titles that I can apply to gaming. I like my four color heroes as well, but even they aren’t the ones most folks fight over. I go for Moon knight, Wildcat, Black Panther, The Phantom, etc. The great thing about my comic taste is that not too many other Fanboys share my passions. One of my favorite stores had their annual 75% blowout sale on back issues last Saturday. That morning the store was packed like a sardine can , so I left and returned an hour before closing time, and I was still able to pick up several runs of Conan, Kull, Turok, Doc Savage, Sgt. Rock, Warlord, John Carter, Ruse, and the Defenders.

I mostly buy titles from the 70’s, most comic folk call that era the “Bronze Age” but for me it’s Golden- much of what I’m about hobby-wise stems from the titles of that era – Conan, Shang-Chi, Cain and Abel, Travis Morgan, Dracula, Hogun the Grim, Nighthawk, Cap and the Falcon - and of course Mad, Crazy and Plop.