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The Fourthcore Crew Have a New Kickstarter Up: 5e Team Deatchmatch

Thought Eater - Mon, 11/19/2018 - 19:05
I was a big fan of 4thcore. Some of those folks have moved on and now do some cool stuff for 5e. It is weird, I just recently heard about some kind of upcoming 5e competition series that is going to be live-streamed, then a few days later I was made aware of this. My money is on this being waaaay cooler than whatever the other thing is.


It has already funded and the thing is apparently already written. These guys are endlessly creative and really know how to kill...errr challenge a PC. For more on what they do, check out their home base, DEFY DANGER.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Tomb of Harven Half-Skull

Ten Foot Pole - Mon, 11/19/2018 - 12:22

By Joseph Bloch
BRW Games
Levels 3-4

A hundred years ago, the pirate king Harven Half-Skull was buried with his ill-gotten booty in a secret tomb. Your band of adventurers have a map that claims to show the final resting place of the pirate king, and you’re off to claim his loot. But the dead do not rest easy…

This ten page tomb dungeon has twenty two rooms in three pages, and features undead and water themes, it being the tomb off a pirate king. Workmanlike in its design and presentation, it does a good job of emulating the style of the early AD&D adventures: short rooms with not much fucking around in the writing.

The pyramid tomb is a favorite of designers. Except this time it’s not a pyramid but a sea cave And it’s not egyptian but a pirate. But, still, tomb with undead, traps and some loot.

This adventure emulates the style of the older AD&D adventure, G1, S1, and so on. The descriptions are workmanlike and to the point. The rooms are not too complicated, te writing not that inspired, and everything with a briske style.Room six tells us “There is a colony of green slime on the ceiling at this point.” and that’s it. The underground river tells us that “This is a fresh-water river that flows into the sea a half-mile northeast of the tomb. Except in areas #7, #10, and #16-19, there is no air above the surface; the river completely fills the tunnels. It has a slow current moving from the southwest to the northeast.” I don’t know how to label this style. It’s not exactly fact-based, I tend to use that (negatively) for styles that emphasize things like “the statue sits on a dias 6.3cm high with a diameter of 2.6 meters.” It’s not expanded minimalism either; that’s reserved for people who offer too many mundane details in their room descriptions. This is, insead, a kind of, oh, I don’t know, baseline room description? It tends to the terse style, concentrates on what you need to run the room, mostly, and doesn’t tend to embellish much at all.

It is that lack of embellishment that I have problems with. Adventure writing is such a tightrope. There are so many ways to go wrong. The adventure does nothing wrong (mostly). It also does nothing to recommend itself. This style, and thus this adventure, does nothing to make me want to run it. It comes off ass … dry? Dry isn’t right, that’s a different design sin. I just don’t care about it. This is clearly not a disaster, I don’t feel cheated (as I usually do when I’m spouting profanity.) My expectations have not been crushed. I just don’t care about running this. I know there’s a segment out there that worships early T$R adventures and like this style. I don’t get it. It seems like nostalgia worship to me. I don’t need laser pistols, gonzo elements or grim dark to make me like something, but you gotta have SOMETHING … and that’s what this lacks. Something to make you want to run it.

I can quibble with some of the choices made. That green slime encounter is nothing special AT ALL. I’d like to see it kicked up a bit, a little more evocative, better word choices. Certain rooms (Fresco Room, I’m looking at you. You too Shrine Room) could use another pass at the editing to tighten up the descriptions. They either get too wordy or they don’t put the most important things near the top of the description. [Things the DM needs first go high in the description and expanded details go lower.] I don’t see an editor attached. If that’s the case then Joe did a decent job by himself, and clearly has some vision of what he wants, but lacks the outside eyeballs and detachment that a good editor can provide. Not that there are many good editors, so I’m speaking academically of course.

It’s pretty clear Joe understands how certain D&D elements work. There is a chamber you can only get to by following the (completely submerged) underground river … with a shelf high up with a body and a magic item. In another area there are keys hanging underneath a bridge the party crosses over. Rewarding exploration and people that go a little bit farther is good design. Likewise, he’s got a golden crown with jewels with magic powers … and has an EGO/is intelligent … and a bit evil. This is a great item. First, it;s the kind of thing that the part will keep and adds to the fun of future adventures as someone wears it around all the time, in town, in the tavern etc. Second, it’s intelligent, which again gives you more hooks in the future to play with. Third, its evil and so the party has some FUN moral issues to sort out. Arguing about orc babies is not fun. What to do with a SLIGHTLY evil magic item IS fun. Or maybe that’s just my obsession is the Eye and Hand.

I will say that there is something weird going on with the undead; I don’t think they are a challenge? This is for Adventures Dark and Deep, which I’m going to assume is an AD&D clone and follows AD&D turning. This is also for levels 3-4 … and has more than a few challenges with skeletons in it. Don’t they turn on like a … 4 or something, or auto-turn? That’s not really an encounter at all … but maybe its supposed to be that way? Turning undead in D&D doesn’t work, I think. Even at low levels skeletons are not a threat if you have a cleric. That’s too bad. They are a classic monster and deserve more love. Even Gygax knew they were broken, with his +1 amulets in the Borderlands.

Anyway, hey Joe, time to return from your vaudeville show. Now that you can emulate old D&D you might try kicking things up a bit. Kick up those rooms descriptions a notch or two. No need for more words, generally, just better word choice. That green slime encounter, for example. A little more evocative to make people excited to run it .. .by which I mean putting a strong image in to their heads.

This is $2.50 at DriveThru. The preview is one page and show you the first eight or so rooms. Which is exactly what a preview SHOULD do, giving you the ability to understand what you’re actually buying. You can check out the Fresco room, room three, to see what I mean about the need to tighten up the writing in places, and the rest of the rooms show the workmanlike writing style.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Champion [ICONS]

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 11/19/2018 - 12:00
art by Chris MalgrainCHAMPION
Prowess: 6
Coordination: 5
Strength: 9
Intellect: 4
Awareness: 5
Willpower: 6

Determination: 1
Stamina: 16

Specialties: Journalism

Earth’s Mightiest Man
Powers Granted by Otherworld Magic
Big Boy Scout

Damage Resistance 3
Otherworld Shield Belt Buckle (Device):

  • Flight 7
  • Damage Resistance 6
  • Life Support 4 
  • Super-Senses 4 (Extended Hearing, Enhanced Taste, Enhanced Smell, Extended Vision)
  • Super-Speed 6
Notes: Deprived of his magic shield belt buckle, the powers it confers disappear in 2 pages (Damage Resistance drops to 3). His Strength drops a point a page until it reaches 6.

Alter Ego: Thomas Trent
Occupation: Reporter/Radio Personality
Marital Status: Single
Known Relatives: Ethan and Sarah Trent (aunt and uncle, deceased)
Group Affiliation: Super-Sentinels
Base of Operations: Empire City
First Appearance: CHAMPION COMICS #1
Height: 6'2"  Weight: 220 lbs.
Eyes: Blue  Hair: Blond

While hiking in the woods near his home with his dog Galahad, young Tom Trent fell into the opening to a cave. Unable to climb back up the way he came, Tom discovered light coming from a narrow passage. He passed through it and came into another cave where strange monsters seemed to menace a gnomic figure, apparently asleep on a stone slab. Believing the little man to be in danger, Tom bravely ran through the circle of creatures, evading their talons and jaws. When he reached the stone slab, the monsters dissolved away.

The little man awakened and explained that the monsters were the embodiments of fears, and through courage, Tom had conquered them. The little man was Zyrd, an ancient wizard (later revealed to be one of many from the extradimensional realm of Otherworld) tasked with identifying and empowering champions against the forces of evil. Zyrd declared Tom worthy of being such a champion. In ages past, Zyrd had bestowed swords upon his champions, but he declared the age of the sword passed, so instead he gave Tom a shield, which he magically shrank down to the size of a belt buckle. This shield would be a source of magical strength and power for the boy.

When Tom placed his hands on the shield and mentally called upon its power, he found himself dressed in a strange uniform. Zyrd bid him go forth and use the powers for good. Tom did so, earning the name the Boy Champion, then later simply the Champion, as he grew up.

Zyrd would continue to act as an advisor to Tom, but the irascible and absent-minded wizard perhaps caused trouble as much as he helped. Later, Galahad also gained powers, including heightened intelligence, through a magical shield on his collar, but eventually retired to mind Zyrd full-time.

Tom moved to Empire City and became an investigative reporter and radio host, seeking to root out public corruption and champion the common man. He often worked with investigative reporters Grace Gale and Billy Dolan—and the Champion often rescued them from danger.

Is Our Greatest Need God’s Presence?

Just Call Me Pastor - Mon, 11/19/2018 - 11:00

As recorded in the book of Exodus, God gave Moses the demanding task of leading two million or more Hebrew slaves from captivity in Egypt to God’s Promised Land.

His first task was to get the wicked Pharaoh to let them go. Moses exercised the power of God that softened Pharaoh’s will. He watched that same power save his people by the drowning of Pharaoh’s pursuing army in the Red Sea. God later provided water for his people in the arid desert.

After they escaped from Egypt, Moses then led the throng down the Sinai Peninsula to the base of Mount Sinai where they struck camp for a period of time. They were free. God had delivered them every step of the way.

During this time, Moses and his young assistant Joshua ascended for some time to the mountain heights, in order to receive the tablets of the law inscribed on stone by God’s hand. Moses’ brother Aaron was in charge of the camp below.

During this absence the people in the camp became restless. They rejected the authority of Moses and demanded that Aaron make gods for them that they could see.

From the gold jewelry the people turned over to him Aaron fashioned a golden calf. Soon a full-fledged pagan celebration was underway. That explained the wild shouting that Moses and Joshua heard as they descended the mountain.

The Lord was angry. His people had embraced idolatrous ways. He threatened to withdraw his Presence from the people of Israel for the long trek to the Promised Land.

In distress, Moses entered a period of deep engagement with God. In his intercessions, what would he ask for? A fresh release of the power that had overwhelmed Pharaoh? Or that provided water in the desert?

No, his intercessions were to ask God not to remove his Presence from his disobedient children. In the intimacy of the moment, Moses said: If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here (Exodus 33:15). God’s presence was precious to Moses.

The Lord relented and replied: I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name (Exodus 33:17). For Moses, God’s presence was also more precious than a release of his destructive power.

It was not God’s omnipresence that was at issue here (that God is everywhere at all times); it was his manifest presence (that the living God demonstrates his presence at specific times and in particular places).

For Isaiah God manifested his presence in the temple (Isaiah 6); for Saul of Tarsus it was on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). On the Day of Pentecost it was in the upper room (Acts 2:2).

Wherever it occurred it could awaken joy: In your presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). His presence supports even when fear attacks: Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me (Psalm 23:4).

Recently our daughter-in-law, Jan, spent time in the hospital. She reported to us afterwards that she awoke in the middle of one night with a manifestation of the Presence: the words of a Fanny Crosby gospel song brought to her mind. It was the last line of the first stanza that assured her that she was in God’s care and his presence was with her. The words? For I know what’er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well.

Photo credit: kishjar? (via flickr.com)


Categories: Churchie Feeds

Modification Monday: Christmas in July Hat

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 11/19/2018 - 11:00


Original Pattern: Christmas in July Knitter Extraordinaire: Laura (Ravelry ID) Mods: Using the colourful yoke of the sweater pattern, Laura created a hat for her daughter instead. Details are on her project page, here. What Makes This Awesome: Ah, the colourful yoke sweater – such a great source of inspiration! Laura loves a colourful yoke,

The post Modification Monday: Christmas in July Hat appeared first on %%www.knittedbliss.com%%.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

FSG Kicking up 5E

Fail Squad Games - Mon, 11/19/2018 - 03:23

A few weeks ago Raven and I decided we wanted and needed to learn 5E better so that we could better understand the newest edition of the game for better or worse. We both love and play the 0E through 2E versions and enjoy them. It was just time to set things aside and dig in to try 5e in earnest without insisting it be an older edition. Here’s my take on how things are going…

The Journey

Up to now I’ve written and played modules in older editions and paid for help in the 5e conversions. No more. We found a local friend (Herman) and we talked about how to proceed. We would take it slow; stop, complain, look things up, and make a real effort to understand this edition. It turns out there was less complaining in play than anticipated but we do still need to look various things up. This slows play a bit, but we are progressing through the game better than expected.

Previously I had read the books and tried it a few times but always with a bit of expectation that the game was still what it once was. Of course, this is a foolish approach because those editions have already been printed. WOTC wouldn’t reprint the same game twice.

My Personal Issues in 5e

I have discovered by playing 5E weekly, rotating playing and GMing, that my issues were less with the game than with the way the information is presented in the books. The game plays differently than it reads when the dice start rolling. Running also seems to have smoothed out a bit with the progression of time as we become more familiar with the rules.

The Latest Adventures

Tonight players finished The Witch’s Trial in the Lands of Lunacy. During my time behind the character sheet, Herman is running us through the Phandelver adventure. The more hours we all spend on both sides of the screen, the more we are learning to like 5E. The power ratchet is real, however, doing 2 HP of damage to a monster with 6 HP is the same as doing 20 HP of damage to one with 60. We are also learning to better write to this edition from the ground up.

The Fun Side

As players, we are discarding the idea and verbiage of “Character Builds”. The Squad didn’t want to try to find the most powerful character stack. We are purposefully choosing the race class combinations we want to play and fitting the numbers and choices into that story. We had fears of overly complex play and abilities, overpowered classes (which is still on the horizon as we rise through levels), and spending hours looking up various abilities and skills.

I feel that we are all pleasantly surprised at how smoothly the game plays once the dice roll and the books are closed. Yes, we still need to look things up, but no more than we did in the 1E and 2E versions. The various character abilities are laid on slowly in lairs so GMs and player grow accustom to the options and abilities. It still feels like a night of D&D at the end of the evening and nothing more complicated than the “Complete Book of” era we went through.

The more we game, the more we all look forward to gaming again. The more we put the rules to practical application, the more we seem to accept the changes. It has taken us some time to adapt to 5E from our 0E to 2E roots, but we are indeed adapting.

We tested a live stream tonight and have discussed plans for future, better, and upgraded stream arrangements for FSG games to come online. Follow us on Facebook to keep up to date with our adventure into 5E and our games.

This acceptance of 5E came just as we were considering dropping production to the system and focusing on BECMI / LL. I’m glad we gave it one more try.

The post FSG Kicking up 5E appeared first on Fail Squad Games.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

OSR Review & Commentary On Jarkoon - Adventures on Planet X! By Simon Washbourne From Beyond Belief Games

Swords & Stitchery - Mon, 11/19/2018 - 02:48
"Astounding! Amazing! Incredible! Non-stop action using familiar rules! Who wants to read through reams of text just to get to the action? No-one right? These rules assume you know how to role play. They assume you know about “Golden Age” comic book space fantasy adventures. (Sword & Planet rules through a retro lens). They assume you know how OSR products work. There, it’s done. You Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

SJWs, Alt-Right, and Fascists, Oh My! Real World Horrors in RPGs

19th Level - Mon, 11/19/2018 - 00:43

There's a lot of controversy going on with the latest incarnation of Vampire: The Masquerade. Apparently, in the new Camarilla book Vampires are posited as being behind the Chehen anti-gay purges - somehow related to hiding the true threat of Sharia law or something. To be honest, I found the editing of the text a little hard to follow.

White Wolf's owners, Paradox Interactive, has announced they are recalling a pair of books with such offending text as well as exercising greater control over White Wolf and no longer developing products in-house.

The backlash has ranged from "about time" to "they're not really taking responsibility" to "they are caving into social justice warriors".

I'm thinking a bit about what I would consider to be, at best, a horribly clumsy attempt at including real-world horrors into an RPG. At worst, it was an act of ill intent, trivializing the real suffering of LGBT people to push an agenda I find abhorrent. Truthfully, I'm not familiar enough with the particulars to judge. It's something I've really only seen at the periphery. I do know that I'm not fond of a number of people involved in the 5th edition - but I'm not certain as to their current status.

I also know that when I was most familiar with Vampire:the Masquerade, in the early to mid-1990s, the audience was a very diverse group. I knew a number of women who were fans of the game. Ditto many people of LGBT identity. Lots of goths. When I attended a Nine Inch Nails and David Bowie concert in 1995 there were a lot of Vampire: the Masquerade t-shirts in the audience.

I'm a proud "social justice warrior". I've protested Trump's anti-immigration and refugee policies at Copley Square. I've attended Pride parades in Boston. I fall pretty much on the side of "WTF were they thinking?" I've friends of a variety of politics. I freely acknowledge that it is possible for people of good conscience to disagree with each other. I was once a Libertarian-leaning Republican who is now a liberal Democrat. But I draw the line at people who embrace hatred and cruelty. Much to my shock and horror, I've encountered a few actual, "Hitler was right" fascists. And there I don't have tolerance.

There's a lot real-life horrible stuff happening in Chechnya, particularly to people of LGBT identity. A horror game will likely find itself face to face with real-world horrors. But what does one do about it? I get the argument that a game - or fiction - is not obligated to ignore such horrors. And I'd understand people not wanting to read or watch them. But if such horrors are included, I believe they need to be done with care and sensitivity that was clearly not shown here. Again, assuming no ill intent.

Where I think White Wolf went wrong is turning acts of real-world horror into "a vampire did it". When I play historical games I avoid making supernatural beings the causes for real-world horrors. In my opinion, it cheapens them. It takes away from the fact that real people chose to perpetrate horrors such as the Killing Fields, the Holocaust, American slavery, Native American genocide, Armenian genocide, trench warfare, etc.

I find fiction works better when they keep that maxim in mind. For example, the recent Wonder Woman film rejected the notion that Ares, god of war, was behind World War I. He took advantage of the war, but humanity caused the war without any divine help. In Atomic Robo, Baron Heinrich von Helsingard allied himself with the Nazis to be able to use their resources, but he was not behind their atrocities. He was a monster of a human being who had no problem dealing out death and destruction. But he was not some man behind the shadows causing the Third Reich so as to have a smoke screen for his work.

I want to touch on the "snowflake" pejorative. Not wanting one's entertainment to be filled with real-world horrors does not make one a snowflake. You're not weak if you are triggered by something horrible. I've family who deal with PTSD - they're not weak for avoiding things that trigger them. It's reasonable for a parent of young children to not want to play a game that features the death/kidnapping of children. With an LGBT player in my group, I don't believe I'd use an adventure that involved the killings of such people. I'd exercise an abundance of caution about introducing things that might trigger friends and family. And if as GM you shove such things down your players throats, knowing such sensitivities, that makes you an asshole.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Blackmarsh Updated

Bat in the Attic - Sun, 11/18/2018 - 23:24
Several years ago, I added the option of using the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license to Blackmarsh to make it easier for people to use it for RPGs that don't have open content. This was done with version 3.0. Since then Creative Commons updated to version 4.0. One of the major difference is an explicit waiver of moral rights.

In copyright over the past couple of decades there is the idea that in addition to rights to profit and control how the work is copied that there is a set of moral rights that protects the following.

1) the right of credit or association
2) the right of integrity
3) the right of anonymity or context

The grant or transfer of economic rights (i.e. the right to copy and use) is separate than a waiver of moral rights. To make it clear that my intent is for anybody to be able to use Blackmarsh for whatever purpose they see fit I updated the Creative Common license to version 4.0 which waives my moral rights in the text and maps for Blackmarsh.

In addition several publishers have introduced third party publishing programs that don't use open content licenses. Since my intent to share Blackmarsh as widely as possible and to make it easy to use for one's own work. I removed the Non-Commercial and Share-alike requirements. Now only attribution is required.

To be clear dual license means you can choose to use either license. Either as open content under the Open Game License or the Creative Commons BY Version 4.0. Use whatever one works best for your project.

You can download version 11 either from my website. Or from RPGNow if you obtained Blackmarsh there. If you bought a print copy there is no need to get a new one as the text remains the same.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Wings Between Worlds

Sorcerer's Skull - Sun, 11/18/2018 - 15:00

Because space-faring sailing ships are so 80s, let's have genuine aircraft flying between worlds, perhaps open cockpit, certainly of the bat-winged, Frazetta variety. Space will have to have air, of course. Let's say the system is enclosed in a big Dyson Sphere--a crystal sphere, if you like. With a sphere full of air, the temperature of the worlds at the various orbits will be of less concern, though where the warmth and the light comes from will have to wait.

The technology of the primary society might be what we would call Dieselpunk, except it isn't particularly punk or Diesel, but it's that between the Wars era sort of art deco stuff filtered through science fiction. Automobiles out of Flash Gordon and that sort of thing. And, of course magic.

Might as well port in a little bit of Planescape and have the worlds be more a more pulp planet version of the Gygaxian planes. The full compliment of D&D races would be necessary for a Star Wars Cantina vibe. Flash Gordon will help there, too.  The worlds might move in very eccentric orbits. Travel between them might mostly be by sight rather than map.

Elmore's take on the Sutherland Dragon

Zenopus Archives - Sat, 11/17/2018 - 20:42
Click for a larger view
This illustration by Larry Elmore is from a fairly obscure product, the manual for the 1982 adaptation of TSR's boardgame DUNGEON! for the Apple II+. It's on the last page, and is the only illustration in the manual other than the cover, which shows a B&W version of the box cover art by Jeff Easley. It may have appeared in another TSR product, but a Google Image search didn't turn anything up.

While much smaller --- perhaps a Sub-adult? --- Easley's dragon clearly shares many details with Sutherland's Red Dragon on the cover of the Holmes Basic set (July 1977), particularly the head - triangular, heavy brow, cheek "whiskers". Also note the V-shaped scales down the ventral portion of the neck, the slightly curved spikes down the back, even the shapes of the scales. 

Sutherland drew a similar B&W version of this same Red Dragon for the monster entry in the AD&D Monster Manual (Dec 1977) ---

Which was redone in color by Jim Roslof for the Monster Cards (1981) ---

A Red Dragon does appear as one of the monsters in Dungeon, so Easley may have been using one of these as a guide in order keep the look consistent between TSR products.

If you'd like to see the entire game manual, it can be found here at the Museum of Computer Adventure Game History.

You can also watch a 10-minute play-through of the game here --- Dungeon! for the Apple II

It had graphics like this screenshot, showing a Superhero versus a jolly Purple Worm ---

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Doah! Black Friday Sale.

Two Hour Wargames - Sat, 11/17/2018 - 17:53
Black Friday Sale
I usually run the last sale of the year in late November to include Black Friday. But this time I ran it in October! So to make up for it there will be a 25% off Black Friday Sale - that next Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

(5e) The Burning Goblins

Ten Foot Pole - Sat, 11/17/2018 - 12:21

By Mark Bowen
Blue Sword Games
Level 1

he most recent raid by The Burning Ones goblin tribe has left the village of Greendale in a state of uproar. The miller’s daughter has been kidnapped and the mayor has put out a call for adventurers to hunt down the goblins and find the missing girl. But is there more to these raids than meets the eye? Why are the goblins burnt and timid? Only a strong band of heroes will be able to find the answers and save the girl from a gruesome death.

Why me?

This is a fourteen page adventure in a goblin lair with a dragon in it. Massive reaD-aloud, lame treasure, “maps as art” …is this really mainstream D&D?

The party is dumped in to the adventure, rescuing the millers daughter from the tribe of goblins that raided the nearby village. I guess the local manorial lord is absent again or can’t be bothered, so the mayor has the party dp the job. Seriously, what’s the point of taxes? It being local elections, let me note that the job of the mayor is to fill the potholes, remove the snow, time the traffic lights, and keep goblins from abducting important peoples daughters. I’m absolutely certain is a chaotic good act for the party to depose the mayor and collect taxes themselves. They can’t be any worse than this guy … who doesn’t actually exist except as an abstract concept in the column long read-aloud.

Well, there is an option for having the party hang out in town. You have to succeed in a skill check to have the townfolk tell you anything. a) this is stupid because the party are helping the townfolk. b) this is stupid because what are you supposed to do if they fail the roll? Oh, you’ll just fudge it and tell the party anyway? THEN WHY NOT DO THAT IN THE FIRST FUCKING PLACE?!?!?! It’s like the designers don’t actually think about or run their own adventures.

Back to Ye Olde Reade Aloude. People don’t listen to read aloud. WOTC even write an article about it. Two to three sentences is all you get then people stop paying attention. And yet, adventure after adventure does it. Why? Because they learned that it’s the”right/” way to things from others … including official product. Hey, Mearls, how about fixing this? Don’t Adept anything that uses more than three sentences of read aloud. Then people will learn new behaviours and I’ll have to find a new reason to drink. Like the crushing realization that life is meaningless. I think that’s traditional, anyway.

So … the goblins live in a cave. The cave is a linear map with six rooms. That’s fun, right!!! Linear! Six rooms! Oh, and there’s no grid, it’s just a “pretty” art piece. I say pretty because its not. Seriously, what was the point of the map? You know … the fucking pit trap isn’t even on the map. That’s right, the big old X is missing from the map. Who the fuck doesn’t put the pit trap on the map? Someone with little concern/knowledge of how to help the DM at the table, that’s who.

The tunnel with little no value items in it has a magnifying glass, a greatclub, and healing potions. Uh huh.

Who wants to guess how many goblins are n the goblin tribes lair cave complex? No, zero is wrong. It has four. Three at the entrance and one old frail goblin inside. That’s it. That’s a goblin lair. Those are the goblins that raided the village and everyone is in fear of.

Oh, the cave does have their leader in it, a dragon. Yes, a large dragon. That’s the goblin leader. He’s in the cave.

I’ve seen this in other modern adventures and have not commented … whats with slapping high level monsters on low level adventurers? Trolls at first level, etc. When do people fight skeletons? Is harryhausen dead? Why are you putting a fucking dragon in a level one adventure? Why not just put asmodeus in and call it a day? Is it the 5e power curve? I don’t get it. What happened to stirge and fire beetles? No, I’m not being old, I’m talking about power curves and character growth. Oh, and the dragon knocks people unconscious. WTF man?

Yes, you CAN sell out the villagers and offer the dragon tribute, and even gain the dragon as an ally in the future. THAT is genuinely a good thing.

Perhaps my greatest disappointment in this adventure, which is full of them, is a certain magic item. The only one worth mentioning. A disk, with writing in infernal, on how to soul bind to create soldiers for the “Grand Army.” And that’s it. It’s not actually a magic item or has value. The dragon knd of wants it, if it knows the party has it. That’s it. Man, what a lost opportunity. Let the fucking make some zombies man! Or grow some! What fun!

Just another adventure from someone who didn’t actually think any about their adventure.

This is free at DriveThru. As such I’m too lazy to talk about the preview.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

DC Celebrates 80 Years of Batman with Two Tentpole Anniversary Books

First Comics News - Sat, 11/17/2018 - 06:47



This Oversized Hardcover Will Feature the Best of the Best from the Dark Knight’s 80-Year Publishing History


The Landmark Comic Book to Introduce New Version of the “Arkham Knight”;

Original Story by New York Times Best-Selling Writer Peter J. Tomasi and Acclaimed Artist Doug Mahnke; Bonus Stories from All-Star DC Lineup, Including Geoff Johns, Brian Michael Bendis, Paul Dini and More

Leading into Batman’s big 80th celebration next year, DC announced today the World’s Greatest Detective will be honored with two milestone book releases in March 2019. DETECTIVE COMICS: 80 YEARS OF BATMAN THE DELUXE EDITION will be a spectacular oversize hardcover book, and DETECTIVE COMICS #1000 will be a collector’s edition of the 1,000th issue of the periodical comic that launched the high-flying adventures of the world’s most popular Super Hero. Retail orders for these books will be available soon.

Since his debut in DETECTIVE COMICS #27 in March 1939, Batman has been the most popular DC Super Hero in the world, resulting in repeated waves of pop culture “Bat-mania” for many generations of fans. Whether known as the Dark Knight, the Caped Crusader or simply Batman, his appeal is global, and he has headlined comic books consistently since 1940, representing thousands of comics titles that have regularly been industry best-sellers no matter the comic book era.

“The enduring popularity of Batman over the past 80 years speaks to the character’s multi-generational appeal,” said DC Publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio. “We’re proud to celebrate Batman’s cultural impact with these special releases and look forward to a year of commemorating this milestone anniversary with fans across the globe.”

DETECTIVE COMICS: 80 YEARS OF BATMAN THE DELUXE EDITION will feature an all-new cover by Jim Lee and several unpublished treasures, including a story about a traumatic early moment in Bruce Wayne’s life by Paul Levitz and acclaimed artist Denys Cowan and an extraordinary look at a work in progress—Bob Kane “ghost” Lew Sayre Schwartz’s original layouts for the Batman tale from DETECTIVE COMICS #200. In addition, the celebratory book will include essays looking at Batman from extraordinary perspectives including Cory Doctorow, Neil Gaiman, Glen David Gold, Denny O’Neil, former San Diego police chief Shelley Zimmerman and pulp historian Anthony Tollin.

The collectible hardcover book follows the best-selling ACTION COMICS: 80 YEARS OF SUPERMAN and again features guest editor Paul Levitz. Classic reprints of the Dark Knight’s most memorable adventures will also be highlighted, from his first appearance to peak moments and the debuts of Robin, Batwoman, Bat-Mite, Batgirl and Super-Villains such as Two-Face, the Riddler, Clayface and Man-Bat. Plus, the must-have book will include the first tales of Slam Bradley, Air Wave, the Boy Commandos and the Martian Manhunter.

DETECTIVE COMICS #1000 periodical commemorates the anniversary of Batman’s first appearance in DETECTIVE COMICS, the title from which the DC brand itself was born. The 96-page landmark issue will feature an original story written by New York Times best-selling author Peter J. Tomasi (BATMAN AND ROBIN, DETECTIVE COMICS, BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT) with stunning artwork by Doug Mahnke (BATMAN: THE MAN WHO LAUGHS, BLACKEST NIGHT). Paying tribute to the Caped Crusader’s 80-year legacy, the book will also include a series of supporting stories by top DC talent, including Geoff Johns, Brian Michael Bendis, Paul Dini, Christopher Priest, Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams, Kelley Jones, Dustin Nguyen, Alex Maleev and more.

Marking eight decades of crime-fighting, the oversize 1,000th issue of DETECTIVE COMICS will reveal a never-before-seen iteration of the Arkham Knight, as well as original stories by some of the biggest names in comics. To further celebrate the cultural legacy of the iconic Super Hero, DC will present a special hardcover release, DETECTIVE COMICS: 80 YEARS OF BATMAN THE DELUXE EDITION, including new artwork, all-star contributors and thrilling untold stories.

These two special publishing exclusives, available in March 2019, are certain to become collector’s items as part of DC’s yearlong plans to honor 80 years of Batman storytelling.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

RICH REVIEWS: Northstars Volume Two: Yeti Wedding

First Comics News - Sat, 11/17/2018 - 06:34

Title: Northstars Volume Two: Yeti Wedding
Publisher: Action Lab Comics
Art, Colors & Letters: Anna Liisa Jones
Story and Flatting: Jim and Haigen Shelley
Inside Cover Art: Kata Kane
Price: $ 5.99 US
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Website: www.actionlabcomics.com
Comments: Santa and Mrs. Claus and Holly Claus their daughter are going to Yetisburg. Holly meets up with her yeti friend Princess Frostina. Frostina’s Aunt Brrronica is getting married. Holly is quite the detective as we see. Her deductive skills would impress Sherlock Holmes.
The Gryla is mentioned yet not shown at first. It does pique your interest getting you wanting to see her. To know what she looks like. When you do see her she is not what you might expect.
Holly and Frostina do get into some adventurous fun. They also attend a wedding. A yeti wedding is like any ordinary wedding just with lots of yetis there.
Holly and Frostina do know how to enjoy themselves and how to solve problems. These girls are cute and fun. You will enjoy spending time with them.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

RICH REVIEWS: Princeless: Raven The Pirate Princess: Year Two # 13

First Comics News - Sat, 11/17/2018 - 05:49

Title: Princeless: Raven The Pirate Princess: Year Two # 13
Publisher: Action Lab Comics
Written by: Jeremy Whitley
Pencils & Colors by: Xenia Pamfil
Inks by: Christine Hipp
Lettered by: Justin Birch
Cover by: Elsa Charretier
Price: $ 3.99 US
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Website: www.actionlabcomics.com
Comments: Sunshine is practicing with her trident. Her and Quinn are in a battle against two ninja-like opponents. Why? Raven is fighting some Dracula lookalike called Magpie. Why? How did he and Raven get together?
Raven and members of her crew are talking about things that happened in the last issue or two so if you did not read them you will not be able to totally follow what is going on.
How did Raven set up for her to become Captain of the Fleet? It is a nice direction for the comic.
The female pirates are all cementing their relationships. Some are going great and others are strained and there is stuff going on that is a mystery.
Now when it is all said and done Raven and Ximena are the perfect couple. They are both so in love with the other. No matter what is going on around them this is a stable part of their lives. Love is grand and for these pirate girls, it gives this comic a nice warm fuzzy feeling as you watch the cute couple just enjoying each others company.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

RICH REVIEWS: Rainbow Bright # 2

First Comics News - Sat, 11/17/2018 - 05:44

Title: Rainbow Bright # 2
Publisher: Dynamite
Writer: Jeremy Whitney
Artist: Brittney Williams
Colorist: Valentina Pinto
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Cover: Paulina Ganucheau
Variant Cover: Classic Art
Price: $ 3.99 US
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Website: www.dynamite.com
Comments: Wisp and Twink are in danger of losing their colors to a Shadow Hound. This issue just starts off into the story with no explanation as to how Wisp is where she is or how this Shadow Hound found her.
The Shadow King is out to steal all the color from different words.
Now in the land of Rainbow Bright Wisp who may or may not be Rainbow Bright along with Twink are on an adventure to save color.
The Rainbow Bright wand is a beautifully drawn item. Overall the art is done for a younger reader audience in this all-ages book. The characters are cute even the bad ones. As Wisp faces a frightened monster yes frightened not frightening. He is cuddly looking. She faces him and then grabs the wand and is transformed. The colors are brightly done and they do make her pop out at you.
This comic is written as well as drawn for a young female audience but readers of any age and gender can and should still enjoy it.
Wisp is showing that she is a fighter and just maybe a hero.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

RICH REVIEWS: RetroFan # 2 Fall 2018

First Comics News - Sat, 11/17/2018 - 05:40

Title: RetroFan # 2 Fall 2018
Publisher: John Morrow
Contributors: Terry Collins, Robert V. Conte, Michael Eury, Dan Johnson, Andy Mangels, Elizabeth Millsted, Ian Millsted, Scott Saavedra, Scott Shaw!, Michael Soloff, Mark Voger
Price: $ 8.95 US
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Website: www.RetroFan.org
Comments: “Monsters in the House: Bewitching, Munsterific Sitcoms of the Sixties” by Scott Saavedra. In the sixties there were lots of monsters on TV shows such as Bewitched, I Dream of Jeanie, The Munsters, and the Addams Family. These shows brought lots of enjoyment to many fans.
“Halloween Costumes” an interview with Ira J. Cooper by Ben Cooper. Ben Cooper and Nat Cooper ran an affordable costuming business supplying masks and costumes for Halloween.  The company made tons of Halloween costumes that provided so much fun for children. They could dress up as whoever they wanted to be.
“Haunting the Airwaves” by Dan Johnson. There have been so many horror hosts for TV. Vampira was one of them as well as Elvira. They provided so much and often times they were more entertaining to watch than the movie they hosted.
“Elvira Mistress of the Dark” by Mark Voger. Elvira just saying her name makes you think of her and her sexy black look and her obviously huge assets. She is and always will be the Hostess with the Mostest. Her personality really brings the character of Elvira to life.
“Groovie” by Andy Mangels. The Groovie Ghoolies was a cartoon show. This series was a cool funny monster cartoon. It had great voice overs and a wonderful collection of characters.
“Fun For The Entire Family” by Scott Shaw! Dinosaurs are very cool even if it is only statues of them. They roamed the world in the past and now we can only imagine what they were like. They were magnificent beasts. Scott Shaw brings across the wonder on them.
“Sindy” by Elizabeth & Ian Millsted. Sindy was the UK’s version of Barbie. She was the fad in the UK in the 60’s and 70’s.
“Moody Rings” by Michael Eury. Mood Rings were a passing fad that did not last long. People had fun with them which was the most important part.
“Super-Duper View-Master” by Robert V. Conte. The View-Master has gone through some changes in its history. Here the facts are presented in a fun entertaining manner for this toy that has stood the test of time.
“Geppi’s Entertainment Museum: The Final Tour” by Michael Solof. Steve Geppi did provide a wonderful place to enjoy pop culture in its various forms. This was a great collection before some of it was donated and it closed down.
“A Hunger for Yesterday: Collecting Metal Lunch Boxes” by Terry Collins. Collecting lunch boxes is a fun hobby and there are so many different ones.
This magazine is a wonderful collection of stories and facts that are sure to delight any true collector or hobbyist of fun fades and retro items.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs


First Comics News - Sat, 11/17/2018 - 01:16

Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, & Matthew Wilson usher in Marvel’s epic event!



New York, NY—November 16, 2018—This April, the war that has exploded across the Ten Realms finally blasts into the last realm standing…ours.




Starting in April, the award-winning creative team of Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman and Matthew Wilson will usher in an event of unparalleled scale! And like the mega-event Secret Wars, no corner of the Marvel Universe will be untouched!


Spanning six issues over three months War of The Realms will feature ALL of Marvel’s biggest heroes, including Iron Man, Thor, The Avengers, the Fantastic Four, Captain Marvel, Amazing Spider-Man, Daredevil, Black Panther, Venom, and many more!


“I have been building towards WAR OF THE REALMS for the entire duration of my Thor run. So we’re talking six years and 80-something issues and counting,” teased Jason Aaron. “This is a war that covers the entire globe and involves the biggest heroes of the Marvel Universe, as you can see in this amazing promo piece by my MIGHTY THOR collaborators, Russell Dauterman and Matthew Wilson, who I’m so thrilled to be working with again on WAR OF THE REALMS.”


Categories: Comic Book Blogs


First Comics News - Sat, 11/17/2018 - 01:14

The Age of X-Man dawns…and the X-Men cannot stop it.


After the apocalyptic dissolution of the X-Men comes…AGE OF X-MAN!




Cover by PHIL NOTO

On Sale 2/6/19


Written by ED BRISSON



On Sale 2/13/19





On Sale 2/20/19




Cover by RAHZZAH

On Sale 2/27/19


Written by VITA AYALA



On Sale 3/6/19



Written by TIM SEELEY



On Sale 3/13/19


Categories: Comic Book Blogs


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