Oct 262011
 

A Night in Lonesome October: an RPG Blog Carnival has arrived!

Unfortunately I didn’t have time to come up with some brand spankin’ new RPG content for the special Halloween RPG Blog Carnival. What I can do though are offer folks my Contagion Infected Zombies expansion for Pathfinder for free. You can click here and get it for nothing until midnight, October 31st.

Be sure to stop by the blog carnival page and check out the other entries! Some good stuff coming out!

About Ben

I'm a geek. A nerd, a dweeb, whatever. Yes I owned garb, yes I still own medieval weaponry. And yeah, I could kick your butt in Mechwarrior the CCG. I love video games, role playing games, tactical board games and all forms of speculative fiction. I will never berate someone for wanting to be a Jedi and take everything Gary Gygax ever wrote as gospel. Well, all of this but that last bit.

Oct 252011
 

Supergods by Grant MorrisonThe n00b transforms

I quickly realized, when looking around the graphic novel section of my local bookshop, that there were all these different versions of Batman, Superman and so on written by different people. How could that be? I had no idea of the history behind comics and that made it difficult to choose where to start.

Then I heard about the new book by Grant Morrison “Supergods”. It sounded interesting and just what I may be looking for – being a history buff I do like learning about the past of all sorts of subjects. I am only half way through but it has helped a lot, not only with my understanding of the comic industry, but also for choosing what comics I might like to pick up next. I have a selection of camera shots on my phone of various pages from the book to remind me what to look for. Hmm, may upload them to a public album on Google+ so anyone can see and make suggestions.

Apparently writers can take a well-known comic book character and re-write the whole story to bring it up-to-date and make it enticing to new eyes. It explains why there’s so many different Batman thank goodness – was getting extremely confused there. Re-writing (or re-imagining) characters seems to be the way things are often done in the industry. With Morrison’s explanations of the (as he puts it) different ages of comics I can see how it was necessary.

Another source for recommendations was Twitter. I put it out there that I was a new reader and what did people suggest and received a multitude of responses. In fact I made a new Twitter friend because of a resulting conversation. I was also directed to the Comixology app for my Android which has been brilliant. Lots of free issues to try out.

Somewhere along the journey I picked up “The Sandman” by Neil Gaiman. I think I was in Waterstones looking for new authors & picked up “Neverwhere” then found “The Sandman” among the graphic novels, or maybe it was a review on Amazon … hmm, whatever way I found him my happiness levels increased by at least +10. I am currently halfway through the second book (note I am picking up the book-y versions rather than individual issues because they are easier for me to find and look/feel nicer).

On my “to read” list (graphic novels only) are:-

  • The Sandman (book 2)
  • Batman : Arkham Asylum
  • Discworld (books one and two)*
  • Blankets**
  • Morning Glories (#2 onwards)^
  • Lucid #2^

And that’s just the ones I have bought! Hoping to pick up the rest of “The Sandman” series soon.

*I always loved the idea of Discworld but for some reason never quite got on with Terry’s writing style so never read any of them. I am hoping reading the graphic novel versions will satisfy my curiosity.

**Blankets (Craig Thompson) was sent to me as a gift. Not a clue what it’s like but looking forward to finding out.

^via the Comixology app (there’s also a rake load of free issues but too many to list)

Someone also said I should read Peanuts. Yes, I know, I must have had a deprived (depraved?) childhood to have never read Charlie Brown. A good friend also lent me a Nemi book which I subsequently went out and bought for myself. Adventures of a Goth/Rock chick :-)

I really want to review some of the graphic novels I have been writing about here but still feel unsure of the genre – will I be forgiven if I make a glaring ass of myself I wonder? I am no longer a n00b I suppose, transformed into the pupal stage perhaps, but I am definitely enjoying the experience and want to share.

About Histrel

Born and bred in the UK, created two life forms (though uncertain what species sometimes) and married to a third. I'm a bit of a rock hen (not young enough to be a chick) who enjoys slaying dragons when not working as a freelance web designer or writing. I have a long-time passion for sci-fi/fantasy books, tv and films. 42 is my favourite number. I know where my towel is. I remember life before the internet, I don't know how I survived.

Oct 242011
 
piri2

Encounters ~ Plots ~ Places is a source book for any fantasy role playing game.  In it you will find Non-player characters, items, adventure hooks, encounters & beasties – all easily added to your campaign with a minimum of effort.

I’m currently well into the development of this book and writing away furiously! So why the kickstarter project?  Several reasons:

  1. It’s a way to pre-order both the PDF and the printed book.  The PDF will be available through DriveThruRPG at $5 and the printed book will be available through Amazon.com for $15.
  2. You can use your wealth to influence me! That’s right, back the project at the $30 level and you’ll have me slaving over an item of your design for inclusion in this book (as well as the hard copy and PDF of the book itself.) Drop me a cool $100 and you’re going to be an art director, having me create something at your specifications with our artist illustrating it also to your specifications.
  3. I’ll also use the funds to commission more original artwork for this project, allowing me to make it larger, more chock full of good stuff for your campaigns and keep the price exactly the same.

Piri - an NPC from Encounters ~ Plots ~ Places

The ticker just counted over 1235 downloads of the free preview PDF! That’s a very good number in just under three weeks of being available.

I’ve gotten some very good feedback on preview PDF. With 9 days or so of Kickstarter magic left, and $230 to raise, I could really use some help getting the word out.

Please feel free to share this project anywhere you like! If we can get a bit more attention drawn to it, I’m positive we can make the goal.

If just 15 people pre-order the printed book, we’ve done it. It will take 47 pre-orders of the PDF to get there or just a few folks at higher backing levels.

Thanks!

-Ben

Artwork OtherWorldly Art Portfolio© OtherWorld Creations, Inc.

About Ben

I'm a geek. A nerd, a dweeb, whatever. Yes I owned garb, yes I still own medieval weaponry. And yeah, I could kick your butt in Mechwarrior the CCG. I love video games, role playing games, tactical board games and all forms of speculative fiction. I will never berate someone for wanting to be a Jedi and take everything Gary Gygax ever wrote as gospel. Well, all of this but that last bit.

Oct 242011
 

apocalypse suite #1The n00b (or a short introduction as to how I got into comics)

I used to read comics as a kid – Bunty, Debbie, the occasional Beano but that was it. I never even saw Superman or Batman I don’t think. Comics in that form only invaded my consciousness when I got into geek stuff at an older age and even then I just ‘knew’ of them, I never really thought of reading them, although I did briefly try out the comics made available on the PSP.

A few years ago I began listening to more rock music, including the band My Chemical Romance who I became a big fan of. The fan base talked about the singer’s graphic novel (comic) “The Umbrella Academy” so much that one day, when I had some spare coins, I bought it off Amazon. Oh dear – I discovered a whole new genre of reading to spend my gold on.

The first time I read it was extremely confusing for me. I had voraciously devoured books from a young age, but graphic novels need a totally different mindset to read them. I was missing the narrative until I realized I had to look at the pictures as well as the words to understand the story. Once I grasped that concept I was away.

I am learning that each pairing of writer & artist is not only important to the telling of the story but also creates different feelings in the reader – whether the art is finely drawn, full of hidden meanings or is it strong outlines and ‘in your face’ concepts for instance. The artist uses their art to create the mood just as the writer of a conventional novel uses words.

I read “The Umbrella Academy : Apocalypse Suite” and its follow up “Dallas” and thoroughly enjoyed them. Not because I was a fan of the band but because it was fun & exciting & well-written & (possibly more importantly) well-drawn. For those who may have not tried graphic novels let me tell you – they ain’t for kids anymore. Pick one up, download an app to try out free ones, borrow one from a friend. Try it out, you never know, you may enjoy it.

my journey continues in Pt 2 : The n00b transforms (coming soon to a blog post near you)

 

About Histrel

Born and bred in the UK, created two life forms (though uncertain what species sometimes) and married to a third. I'm a bit of a rock hen (not young enough to be a chick) who enjoys slaying dragons when not working as a freelance web designer or writing. I have a long-time passion for sci-fi/fantasy books, tv and films. 42 is my favourite number. I know where my towel is. I remember life before the internet, I don't know how I survived.

Oct 242011
 
contents-walking-dead
Image courtesy of Z-Man Games

It’s October, time for all things creepy, crawly, and cadaverous, so what could be better than a board game that pits you as a struggling survivor in a zombie infested world.  The Walking Dead:  The Board Game is based on the comic series of the same name.  Things get tricky here to, because there is also a TV show, which has a board game based on it as well, The Walking Dead Board Game.  Confusing, isn’t it?  The one you want to play is the first one, the one from Z-Man games. If you want a little bit of fun, then I suggest you avoid the second one from Cryptozoic.  So, now that I have you thoroughly confused and twisted around, let’s talk game.

The Walking Dead:  The Board Game isn’t quite all I had hoped it would be, but the amount of hype surrounding the comic and television series may have had something to do with that.  The Game doesn’t quite capture the true gritty and brutal feel of the comic, but it tries, and in some instances it succeeds.  The game is heavily lucked based, so if you are looking for a hard core Euro game which relies solely upon figuring out the optimal mathematical equation to guarantee victory, you’re gonna be disappointed.  If you don’t mind slinging around loads of dice (and what real gamer doesn’t?), then this could be right up your alley.

At the start of the game, each player will chose a character out of the six available, then a follower as well.  These determine how well you will do when faced with challenges in the game.  The object of the game is to be the first player to scout out three locations on the game map.  This is much easier said than done.  There are plenty of challenges to overcome, and mountains of zombies soon fill the board.  The placement of zombies is one of the things I really enjoyed about this game.  Every time a character moves, a zombie token is added to the space they just left.  It doesn’t take long in a 4 or 5 player game for the board to quickly fill up with the zombie hordes.  Sometimes you can avoid the zombies, but quite often you are gonna have to fight your way through them.

I have found that games with fewer than 4 players can be a bit easy, as characters move about the map and collect more and more followers, almost always ensuring successful encounters with the undead just because of the sheer number of dice that get rolled.  So far, I have found the best results come from a 4-5 player game.  There are also optional rules for playing cooperatively and a solo version.  The co-op game just seems ridiculously easy, and we plowed through the game without any threat of losing.  I think the game needs a little bit of fidgeting to get it to where each different group of players will want it, but it has a lot of promise and looks easily expandable.

Image courtesy of Z-Man Games

 

Let’s take a look at what comes in the box.  The cards are nothing special, perhaps even a shade thin, though there is a huge pile of them, 90 Encounter cards, 26 Locations, 23 Followers, and 6 Characters.  The board is nice and thick, plenty durable for all the zombie fighting that is gonna happen on it.  It also is up to snuff when it comes to dealing with the weight of the 216 Zombie Tokens that come with the game.  We didn’t use all of them yet, but we easily had over 150 on the board in our 5 player game.  I would have really liked something a little better for the Character tokens, the cardboard cutouts on a cardboard stand seem rather cheap, though I appreciate the use of the artwork in the style of the comic series.

Overall, the game was fun, but only when you have the right number of players.  I’m not sure how often this will hit my table, but we all still enjoyed it.  Let’s see how it stacks up on the d20 scale of value.  Each game can score a max of 5 in each of the four categories, Components, Rules, Replay, and Cost, the higher the number, the better.

Components  3      I’d like to go higher on this, but the thin cards and flimsy character tokens annoy me.

Rules                 4     The rules are pretty straightforward the game teaches easily in about 5 minutes.

Replay              3      As much as I enjoy killing zombies, I see the game getting repetitive quite rapidly.  This will probably hit  the table once a month or so.

Cost                   4     With a retail price of about $42 it isn’t cost prohibitive.  Yes, the components suffered a bit, but you still get a lot in the box. (Editor’s Note: You can find it at Amazon.com for $26.99).

So we end up with a d20 score of 14.  Not too shabby, but still far enough from a crit hit.