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Black Star and the Light of Xaryxis

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 11/27/2023 - 12:00

As a break from our Land of Azurth 5e game, I decided a wanted to run a loose, more space opera adaptation of the Spelljammer adventure Light of Xaryxis. After considering the Star Raiders action flick of Outgunned and some other fairly light space opera games, I settled on Black Star from LakeSide Games. Mainly, I felt like trying something new, but it's even lighter than Outgunned, I think, and made for Space Opera.

The system uses a simple 2d6 roll to resolve tasks, though characters can spend Resolve (which also serves as Stress/Hit Points) to either reroll or move a failure to a partial success or a success to a greater success. It also has only player rolls and minion rules, both things I've enjoyed in Broken Compass/Outgunned.

It's only about $5 on drivethru, so worth checking out if that sort of system sounds interesting to you.

Anyway, we only did characters this session, but I'm looking forward to bringing a touch of Star Wars ripoff space opera in the vein of Battle Beyond the Stars and Micronauts to Light of Xaryxis.

SUNDAY SUPER CINEMA: Star Trek: First Frontier

First Comics News - Sun, 11/26/2023 - 08:57
This is the independent feature film Star Trek First Frontier. Feel free to download and save the film. It’s impossible to tell if the powers that be are going to…
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First Comics News - Sun, 11/26/2023 - 08:43
AARDVARK VANAHEIM Cerebus In Hell Presents Spore Batvark #1 (One Shot), $4.00 Cerebus In Hell Presents Spore Batvark #1 (One Shot)(Dave Sim Signed Edition), $15.00 ABLAZE PUBLISHING Dobble Double Trouble…
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RICH REVIEWS: A Legacy of Violence

First Comics News - Sun, 11/26/2023 - 08:41
Title: A Legacy of Violence (TPB) Publisher: Mad Cave Studios Writer: Cullen Bunn Artist: Andrea Mum Letterer: Rus Wooton Price: $ 17.99 US Rating: 2 out of 5 stars Website:…
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CM Punk IS BACK! See the epic Survivor Series return: Survivor Series: WarGames 2023 highlights

First Comics News - Sun, 11/26/2023 - 04:44
 Former WWE Champion CM Punk sends the WWE Universe into a frenzy with a stunning return at Survivor Series: WarGames.
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Survivor Series WarGames results

First Comics News - Sun, 11/26/2023 - 02:58
WarGames Bianca Belair, Charlotte Flair, Shotzi & Becky Lynch def. Damage CTRL Intercontinental Championship Gunther(c) def. The Miz Santos Escobar def. Dragon Lee Women’s World Championship Rhea Ripley(c) def. Zoey…
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DiVinica 6: A Hand-Painted Dystopian Mythology Epic

First Comics News - Sat, 11/25/2023 - 17:03
A new comic from JP Roth and Dawn McTeigue, loaded with beautiful cover variants & chances to own original artwork from the book. In the enigmatic world of Divinica a…
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Shark of War #1-7 – Devoured!

First Comics News - Sat, 11/25/2023 - 16:57
Can Our Shark Hero Survive Not Only The Whales of War But The Traitor Within! Base Cover   Jaws Tribute Cover   After a massive bioengineered shark escapes a secret…
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COMING SOON: Young Zombie Tales from the R.I.P.

First Comics News - Sat, 11/25/2023 - 16:28
From the world of Josiah Golojuh’s upcoming novel The Paper-Boy, comes the story of Gary (a zombie), Frank (totally not a zombie), and Ernie (a dog). Finally, it comes in…
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The Art of Relaxation: 6 Strategies to Decompress and Unwind

First Comics News - Sat, 11/25/2023 - 15:57
Life can often be overwhelming and stressful, leaving us feeling constantly on edge and burnt out. In today’s fast-paced world, relaxation has become a luxury that many of us cannot…
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RICH REVIEWS: The Devil That Wears My Face # 2

First Comics News - Fri, 11/24/2023 - 21:55
Title: The Devil That Wears My Face # 2 Publisher: Mad Cave Studios Writer: David Pepose Artist/Colorist/Cover Artist: Alex Cormack Letterer: Justin Birch Price: $ 4.99 US Rating: 4 out…
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Some Observations on Science Fiction Names

Sorcerer's Skull - Fri, 11/24/2023 - 12:00

I think there is a lineage of science fiction name coining that whose progenitor is Edgar Rice Burroughs' Mars stories but that passes through early to mid-20th Century pulpier sci-fi like the works of Edmond Hamilton and Jack Vance to the galaxy far, far away of the Star Wars Universe.

In his Mars stories Burroughs went for relatively short (mostly 1-2 syllable), two part, phonetically simple names. Though they don't mostly sound that way to modern ears, I suspect Burroughs was after what he thought of as an "Oriental" feel. They also wind up being very simple for English speaking readers to pronounce. Examples: Kantos Kan, Gan Had, Ras Thuvas, Sab Than, Sojat Yam.

Burroughs uses a not hugely different style in many of his Planetary Romances.

Edmond Hamilton was clearly influenced by Burroughs in a number of ways and the naming practices in several of his works are similar, though they are a bit more phoentically diverse and have more consonant blends. Here are some names from his Captain Future series:  Sus Urgal, Re Elam, Thuro Thuun, Rok Olor, Si Twih, Brai Balt

Typically, he doesn't always try to be so "exotic." Sometimes he seems to be trying to convey future developments of English names. This tact he shares with other writers of the 1940s-1960s, including the various creators of the members of the Legion of Super-Heroes in DC Comics: Irma Ardeen, Rok Krinn, Garth Ranzz, Tinya Wazzo.

Jack Vance tends to take this latter approach in some of his science fiction, too, though his names are more often multisyllabic and have a first-name last name pattern with each name sometimes made up of more than one element. Still, they have a similar vibe I think to the Hamilton and Legion names. These are from the first two Demon Princes novels:  Miro Hetzel, Conwit Clent, Lens Larque, Sion Trumble, Kokor Hekkus, Kirth Gersen.

Star Wars names aren't the product of one individual, though later writers have obviously tried to fit the standards of the original trilogy. There are more straight up English names in Star Wars and of course some pseudo-Japanese ones, but a number could easily have been characters in Captain Future stories, like these: Ric Ole, Sio Bibble, Pondo Baba, Plo Kloon, Nien Nunb, Mace Windu, Sy Snootles.

Simulation Theory #4 preview

First Comics News - Thu, 11/23/2023 - 17:40
Simulation Theory #4 Written by Curt Pires Art by Darryl Knickrehm The Battle Of New Atlantis. Ash and her new allies try and fight off Rez and the Nu-Life army.
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Black Sight #3 preview

First Comics News - Thu, 11/23/2023 - 17:39
Black Sight #3 Written by Stephanie Phillips Art by Conor Boyle Alex’s confinement and mental torture continues as she slips further and further from reality and the realization sets in…
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Lost Falls Season 2 #3 preview

First Comics News - Thu, 11/23/2023 - 17:37
Lost Falls Season 2 #3 Written by Curt Pires Art by Pierluigi Minotti Pynchon and Sommers race against the clock to rescue a missing girl. The truth behind Lost Falls…
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Occurrences in the Night in and Around Phaelorn Gap

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 11/20/2023 - 12:00
 Art by Marvano
Our Gnydrion game using Grok?! continued last night. The party on hand:
  • Antor Hogus (Paul) - Vagabond with a stun gun and now a chatty quaklu
  • Nortin Tauss (Aaron) - An arcane dabbler, skeptical of Hogus' decisions
  • Yzma Vekna (Andrea) - A grubby teamster trying to be the voice of reason
  • Jerfus Grek (Jason) - A vagabond, but fat where Hogus is lean, and possessed of a kaleidoscopic cloak
The quaklu, ungagged last session, related to Antor Hogus that it had seen a murder. Kreik Gelmot had dropped a body wrapped in a cloth into a pit outside of town, then he tried to dispose of quaklu who had witness the deed.
Jerfus Grek, resposing on the scrub nearby around a meager campfire of dried caloot dung,  overheard this entire story and strode up to see if there was some way he might profit. Around this time, the others arrived. Jerfus shared some honeyed, beetle-spiced dusted pastries to win them all over.
The group had the quaklu lead them (after it was placated with a pastry) across the plain to the whole where the body was dropped. It appeared to be an abandoned mineshaft or well. The ascertained their was indeed a body in the hole, but it was dead! Bafflingly, the individual in the pit named himself as Kreik Gelmot!
The group thought of various ways to allow him to climb out, but they were stymied by Gelmot's reported injuries. Using Jerfus' undergarment wrap and Yzma's collapsible pole, Yzma manages to get itno the whole and get Gelmot out.
He seems injured pretty bad, but while they are discussing what to do, he stands up and straightens his own broken limbs then walks off toward town. The party finds this highly unusual and suspects the first Gelmot is the genuine one (if there is a genuine one) and this one is some sort of doppelganger. Antor tries to stun him, but he shrugs it off and keeps going.
Yzma rushes ahead to town to warn the law, The Shreev is in bed but she finds his deputy, Varr Nee. He's skeptical of their claims of the Gelmot Double being unusual, so they get no help.
Yzma and Jerfus shadow Gelmot Double to the hotel, The Golden Idle. He enters a room where they find the other Gelmot. He tells them quite a tale: He took on a job from a mysterious individual he took to be a high official to deliver a tube-shaped container (unopened) to a Wol Zumderbast  at the Inn at Thono. Gelmot's curiosity got the better of him and he broke the wax seal of the tube and found a strange, flexible mirror inside. When he unrolled it to examine it, his reflection started to move out of sync with him, then stepped from the mirror!  He subdued the double and tried to dispose of it to hide his actions, but the talkative quaklu gave it all away. 
While he's telling his story, Jerfus slips the tube from Gelmot's bag, and when he gets a chanc,e hides it outside the hotel. The others arrive, and Gelmot begs them all to dispose of the doppelganger. They refuse and instead stun him and tie him up. Then, they summon the deputy, who demands an explanation for the strange scene.

Aunt Jenny and the Delayed Quest: A Review

First Comics News - Sun, 11/19/2023 - 18:22
Aunt Jenny and the Delayed Quest is a fantasy novel by Jim Burrows that tells the story of Aunt Jenny, a retired librarian and athletics coach, who is unexpectedly thrust…
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Rob Liefeld’s Captain America Art Sells For $132,000

First Comics News - Sun, 11/19/2023 - 18:14
SOLD ON NOV 17, 2023 FOR $132,000 Rob Liefeld – Captain America “Heroes Reborn” Promotional Illustration Original Art (c. 1996). This is it… the most infamous comic illustration ever created!…
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The Bat-Man: First Knight – DC Icon Dan Jurgens Makes His DC Black Label Debut With Mike Perkins

First Comics News - Sun, 11/19/2023 - 17:52
The Bat-Man: First Knight – DC Icon Dan Jurgens Makes His DC Black Label Debut With Artist Mike Perkins               Three-Issue DC Black Label Series Arrives in Participating Comic Book Shops and…
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RICH REVIEWS: Darkling # 1

First Comics News - Sun, 11/19/2023 - 17:20
Title: Darkling # 1 Publisher: Archie Comics Story by: Sarah Kuhn Line Art by: Carola Borelli Lettering by: Jack Morelli Main Cover: Maria Laura Sanapo & Ellie Wright Variant Cover:…
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