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Fall in Love with GREASE BATS!

First Comics News - Fri, 11/30/2018 - 10:46

Discover this collection of fun, humorous, and radically honest stories in July 2019

LOS ANGELES, CA (November 29, 2018) – BOOM! Studios today announced GREASE BATS, the first original graphic novel inspired by the online phenomenon created by Archie Bongiovanni (A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns). Arriving in stores July 2019, this over-sized collection of Archie Bongiovanni’s hit webcomic, previously seen on the Autostraddle Saturday Morning Cartoons series, features brand-new stories only available here, making it a must-have for fans and new readers alike.

GREASE BATS follows the daily adventures of two best friends — Andy, a trans genderqueer individual who is both tough and loving, and their BFF Scout, an all-feelings-all-the-time mistake-maker — as they navigate friendships, roommates, and romances within their community. From sexcapades gone awry to the meaning of tarot and the realities of finding your place within queer spaces, these stories use wry humor to show that being queer comes from the heart! And the head!  And occasionally sometimes the groin!

“When I created GREASE BATS, I sought to draw what the possibilities of radical friendship can look like. I wanted to draw a comic that reflected the nuances of who my community was — of who I am.” said Bongiovanni. “My characters are flawed, diverse, weird, and living in a world where there isn’t one way to be, act, look, date, or handle the complicated situation of going to a party where all your exes are.” 

GREASE BATS is the latest release from BOOM! Studios’ critically acclaimed BOOM! Box imprint, home to popular original series such as Lumberjanes by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Brooklyn A. Allen, and Noelle Stevenson; Giant Days by John Allison, Lissa Treiman, and Max Sarin; The Backstagers by James Tynion IV and Rian Sygh; SLAM! by Pamela Ribon, Veronica Fish & Mar Julia; Fence by C.S. Pacat and Johanna The Mad; and Goldie Vance by Hope Larson and Brittney Williams.

GREASE BATS is rooted in emotional honesty and a very real portrayal of some of the ins and outs of being queer,” said Shannon Watters, Editor, BOOM! Studios. “And Archie is such a dynamic and hilarious cartoonist that it’s hard not to identify with Andy and Scout as they make their way through their various misadventures in love and life.”

Print copies of GREASE BATS  will be available for sale at local comic book shops (use comicshoplocator.com to find the nearest one) and bookstores in July 2019. Digital copies  will be available to purchase on digital book marketplaces, including ComiXology, iBooks, Google Books, and the BOOM! Studios app.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Male Authority – Provisioning vs. Duty

The Rational Man - Fri, 11/30/2018 - 03:15

I’ve been watching Outlaw King on Netflix recently. There’s a part where the wife of Robert the Bruce says ‘Power is making decisions, and whatever course you are charting, I choose you, my husband’ It struck me that my own wife had said almost these same words to me in 2005. When I’d decided to take a job in Orlando that would uproot us from family and friends. There was no “,…but what about my friends, career, etc.?” from her and I had no hesitation to consider anything but taking the position. She said, “You are my husband, I go where you go.”

How many men hold a default Frame in their marriage? Many women are reluctant to even accept their husband’s last name today. There’s a lot of bullshit reasons for this, but the core truth is that women have no confidence in their man in the long term. They don’t trust his ‘course’. There’s holding Frame, and then there’s establishing a long term Frame, a paradigm, a reality of his own, that defines a man’s authority in his marriage and family relationships. Women today still want marriage, but few want to defer to their husband’s ‘course’. They don’t trust him with her life.

And why would they? For the past four or five generations men have been portrayed in popular culture as untrustworthy. Either they are Beta buffoons in need of women’s uniquely female ‘reasoning’ (which is really male reasoning with breasts) to save them from themselves, or they’re malicious Alpha malcontents (or perverts) also in need of female correction to bring them to female approved justice. It’s the retribution fantasy of feminism played out in popular media, but the societal result is generations of women who have no inherent respect of men and even less trust in any beneficial course they might plot out for them as future wives.

There’s also the male perspective to consider in this. Most men approach their marriage and long term relationships from what is ostensibly an egalitarian perspective. “Equality”, playing fair, being an “equal partner” a pretense of egalitarianism, is all a cover story for a power dynamic that is truly based on resource dynamics. In a ‘modern marriage’, male authority, even just the idea of it, is ceded by default to the woman. I’ll explain why in a moment.

Today’s marriage stats and the socioeconomic variables within marriage point to a very cold truth; if you make less money than your wife, statistically, your marriage is far more likely to dissolve. In couples where a woman outearns her husband divorce rates increase. Virtually every article written about this power dynamic attempts to paint the men involved as ‘feeling threatened‘ by their wives’ success, but the visceral truth can be distilled through the process of women’s Hypergamy. As you might guess, our feminine-centric social order can never allow for an unflattering picture of women, thus men must look like ridiculous, insecure, man-babies – this is another piece of the puzzle – but the stats don’t lie, only the reasoning for them misleads us culturally.

In an “egalitarian” marriage it is actually financial considerations that imbalance that idealistic fantasy of a “coequal partnership”. Men and masculinity are made to look ridiculous, insecure, potentially violent and incompetent on a social scale. This effort to delegitimize anything male has been going on since the late 1960s. The social impact of this has resulted in several generations whose default impression of men in general is one of distrust. Either distrust based in men’s potential for abusiveness, or largely more a distrust based in a default presumption of incompetence. Women cannot trust a man with her life because a majority of men are ridiculous buffoons, no better than big children and now we add that almost 40% of them are outearned by their wives.

Is it any wonder women have no default respect for a man’s course for their lives? In fact, given these modern circumstances, fantasies of an egalitarian marriage being the ideal notion are really the only way to justify marriage at all for women. Thus, we’ve crafted a new ideal of marriage that furnishes women with legal and social failsafes to make what looks like a really horrible, life-long attachment to a buffoon or an abuser just palatable enough to have women believe things might work out for them. Don’t worry ladies, the egalitarian ideal, that any potential husband worth your consideration will subscribe to wholesale, provides you not only with options that will absolve you of all responsibility for his (and your own) failures, but you’ll never have to really do anything he says. The law is on your side, and the very premise of an egalitarian marriage frees you from ever having to go along with one of his half-baked life plans for the both of you. In fact, as long as you make more money than him, you’ll almost surely be doing the ‘course’ setting for the both of you.

Needless to say this is not conducive to women entertaining a default deference to men’s authority. If women’s baseline impression of men is one of incompetence, ridiculousness and distrust, and then you combine it with the fact that over a third of them wont be earning the same financially we begin to see the reasons for the decline in marriage today. If the default perception of men is one of expected incompetence, why would a woman ever want to get married?

This is kind of a quandary. In marriage, a man’s authority today only extends to this monetary wealth – there is no inherent authority associated with being male despite what feminist bleat about ‘male privilege’. Wealth enforces will, but women still seek to find ways around accepting that authority by assuming control of that wealth. This is one reason why “financial abuse” has been fashioned into a form of spousal abuse, but there are many other means of emotional control that mitigates male authority-by-wealth.

Even when a man is the primary breadwinner his means to authority in his marriage is still mitigated. A man’s provisioning for his wife and family has always been considered a ‘manly duty’. Even the most masculinity-confused, Vichy Males are still conditioned to assume providership as a masculine trait that is ‘non-toxic’ and approved by their teachers. In most Trad-Con thought a man isn’t even to be considered a “man” unless he can prove his competence in generating more resources than he needs for himself. The direction of every aspiration he has must be applied to providing for a future wife, their children, likely their (her) extended family and then extended to society. By the old set of books a man can’t even be given the title of “man” (or “a real man”) unless he can prove he’s prepared himself to be a good husband, father and community leader.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with a strong desire to fulfill this provisioning agenda, the men who do accept this as their “manly duty” are conditioned to only see their sacrifices as their expected responsibility. They are actively discouraged from ever assuming any authority might be forthcoming in exchange for their sacrifices. Not even a man’s wealth is a guarantee of authority; certainly not if he’s been conditioned to believe that an egalitarian marriage is an ideal, much less a possibility.

And now we come full circle – the promulgation of an egalitarian ideal in marriage, in gender equity, in the retribution and restitution that feminism is based on, all of this and more has the latent purpose of stripping men of any concept of authority, while enforcing the ideal of male responsibility. In The Second Set of Books I made the case that most (Beta) men today live by, or would like to live by, an old social contract that on the surface seems noble. They believe in an anachronism that promises them that honor, duty, chivalry and a default respect of women will, sooner or later, be appreciated by a woman with the “quality” enough to appreciate it and show that appreciation by accepting him for her intimate attentions. Only later do they come to realize that their dedication to that anachronism is misplaced and the exchange of duty for authority is not only erased, but he’s perceived as a “toxic” monster or a ridiculous “macho” fool for ever expecting that exchange. The world is actually playing by a second set of books that expects all of his ‘honor-bound’ beliefs are his responsibility, but nothing he sacrifices grants him any authority.

Last week I hosted a Special Edition of the Red Man Group in which we discussed whether a married man today is by default Blue Pill or Beta.

It’s almost impossible to broach this topic without accusations of bias or personal circumstance coloring a man’s perspective of marriage – and that’s from either side of the topic. I wasn’t endorsing marriage in this; if anything I made a case against marriage based on the same questioning of men’s authority I’ve explored in this essay. By today’s standards, marriage is far too dicey a prospect for me to ever advocate for. But how far are we willing to take this abandoning of dominance hierarchies in intersexual relationships? I recently got into a debate as to whether monogamous relationships – outside formal marriage – were even beneficial for men today. In that discussion we dissected the history of monogamy and in human relations it’s at least somewhat accepted that monogamy and two-parent investment in offspring was a dynamic that’s been beneficial to our own and some other species. I think that in the past, when social circumstance was different, the concept of monogamy and the institution of marriage were instrumental in our advancement and largely beneficial. All that’s changed now and much of the second set of books I referred to in this essay is predicated on an egalitarianism that has erased male authority and placed it on the shoulders of women who are ill-equipped (and honestly not wanting) to use that authority.

This last sentence here is going to seem like heresy to those invested in blank-slate, egalitarian equalism and fempowerment, but the truth is evident and unignorable that an evolved patriarchal authority has progressed us to an age where we’ve become prosperous enough to entertain thoughts of abandoning it. Stripping men of authority while still expecting a default, and total, responsibility is a really good summation of the two sets of books – the conflict between the old and the new social contract. And yes, I’m aware of the all the arguments that this state of disempowering men is by some political design. Destabilizing the family starts with delegitimizing male authority and confusing generations of men about the aspects of masculinity. Doubt and self-loathing are key in men policing other men for presumptions of authority. It’s crabs in the bucket – when one man presumes authority there need to be ten more to pull him back down into confusion and doubt.

So where do we go with this from here? Even the most ‘Con’ of Trad-Con women will still default to their fempowerment conditioning when presented with a default male authority they are supposed to follow. Can a man be a leader in his own home anymore? MGTOWs will tell you no, and they’d be right. You can’t out-Alpha the state. But the state is still comprised of men and women with their own preconceptions and belief-sets. Our evolved firmware still predisposes us to conventional gender roles, and that predisposition is also one of women expecting  male competence, decisiveness and dominance. Women still want a man to follow in spite of their conditioning to distrust men’s competence. Maybe a new form of monogamy is in order. Egalitarianism is a dead end, it only defaults to 100% female authority and 100% male responsibility. But perhaps at some point, when things get so bad that women are forced to take a chance on the men they think are potential buffoons and abusers, a new kind of “marriage” can come out of the morass that egalitarianism has made of marriage.

How do we get back to a state of male authority based on a woman’s trust of her husband? I would like to believe I have this with my wife today, but I know that this is tenuous from the perspective of true, actionable authority. I once came down hard on a pastor who was advising the women of his congregation to “allow” their husbands to lead them. He was basically asking the women to stand down and trust God that their husbands we’re actually worthy of their trust. He didn’t know it, but his entire premise stemmed from women already acknowledging that they had ultimate authority over their husband as a given. Most pastors are pussy-whipped, so this default authority is usually presumed as a sexual threat-point women will exercise over their husbands. What he didn’t understand was that women’s authority is his default for a much deeper, more socially expansive reason. So even to ask women to allow their husbands to exercise ‘headship’ is ludicrous – it’s something even those women have no power to do because the presumption of authority is always in their favor. They can’t allow their men authority over them because the social paradigm they live in wont allow them to allow it.

Categories: Miscellaneous Blogs


First Comics News - Thu, 11/29/2018 - 22:57

Guests: Trevor Lee, Matt Sydal, David Starr & Eddie Kingston. It’s the loop during and after Thanksgiving. Join Colt as he wrestles in Chicago and Massachusetts.



Image Photo:

Image Design:
Jimmy Lee

Categories: Comic Book Blogs


First Comics News - Thu, 11/29/2018 - 22:37

“Fast Enough: Bessie Stringfield’s First Ride” Childrens Picture Book To Debut in February 2019

ST. LOUIS—Lion Forge is proud to announce the publication of the next book by Joel Christian Gill (Strange Fruit), released in time for Black History Month 2019!

Fast Enough: Bessie Stringfield’s First Ride is a fun imagined account of a young Bessie Stringfield, a true adventurer and one of the first African-American women to travel solo across the United States on a motorcycle.

“Fast Enough is for anyone who has ever been told that they are not enough. You are enough just as you are and Bessie’s story proves that,” says Joel Christian Gill.

Have you ever been told that you’re not enough? That you’re not strong enough, tall enough, or fast enough? Bessie was told she was not enough.

“I’ve been following Joel’s career with great interest since he published this first Strange Fruitvolume with Fulcrum,” says Lion Forge Editor-in-Chief Andrea Colvin. “His #28daysarenotenough campaign is just the kind of movement Lion Forge is happy to support. Fast Enough, which introduces a black female motorcyclist—and the concept of forming your own ideas of what you can or can’t do–to children is the first of what we hope are many Joel Christian Gill books to come from Lion Forge.”

Fast Enough combines an imagined story of Bessie Stringfield as a young girl with historical facts about the real Bessie, and an essential read for parents and children alike! This must-read picture book arrives in stores in February of 2019, and deserves a place on bookshelves in libraries, living rooms, and classrooms everywhere.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

RICH REVIEWS: Caesar’s Story

First Comics News - Thu, 11/29/2018 - 22:33

Title: Caesar’s Story
Publisher: Hachette Books
Author: Maurice
Illustrations by: Zachary Baldus
Cover Design by: Amanda Kain
Cover Illustration by: Zachary Baldus
Price: $ 20.00 US, $ 26.00 Can
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Website: www.hachettebooks.com
Comments: This is a story told by Maurice and through him by others Caesar, Cornelia, Blue Eyes, Koba and more.
We learn about Caesar’s childhood and it was not what any child should have to go through. The art and photos are wonderful in their black and white portrayal of Caesar. Caesar’s childhood started out easy than things changed and he found out humans can be cruel creatures.
We are given a glimpse at how others see Caesar. Caesar is shown learning from humans, learning how to outsmart them. Than things begin to change as the humans stop coming. The humans leave them alone and it seems that maybe they have other things to occupy their time with now. With less humans around in the world the apes flourish. The apes build their own city.
The artwork throughout this book is gorgeously done and portrays the apes showing off their intelligence in their expressions. The drawings are subdued in nice soft tones.
This story is engrossing and moves along smoothly as you follow Caesar and his fight against both humans and apes. All he wants is peace yet he must fight for it.
This tale as told by Maurice and others is riveting and so full of emotion. You will believe these apes to be creatures worthy of living and surviving. Both humans and apes can be both good and bad here. Yet Caesar raises above them he is a ruler and leader in a class all his own.
Caesar is many things here; leader, father, husband, fighter. He shows the love he has for his fellow apes and this he is shown using to see them safe, to create a life for them. Caesar is a hero.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs


First Comics News - Thu, 11/29/2018 - 22:32

PORTLAND, OR, 11/29/2018 — Writer Christopher Sebela (CROWDED, SHANGHAI RED, We(l)come Back) and artist Ibrahim Moustafa (Jaeger, Mother Panic, James Bond) will release a trade paperback collection of their two-time Eisner-nominated series HIGH CRIMES this February from Image Comics.

“Making HIGH CRIMES was one hell of a climb, and I’m absolutely thrilled that we’re going to be able to share it with more readers via the Image banner,” said Moustafa.

People die every year on Mount Everest. This year will be murder.

Zan Jensen works as a climbing guide for rich tourists in Kathmandu. And on the side, she and her partner Haskell moonlight as high-altitude graverobbers, extorting money from the families of the many dead bodies that litter the peaks of the Himalayas. But when they find a body with a jackpot of state secrets embedded in its skin at the summit of Mount Everest, they wind up in the crosshairs of a government agency bent on recovering the body—and eliminating any witnesses.

“HIGH CRIMES is responsible for my whole career,” added Sebela. “Born from years of obsession with Everest and a last-ditch attempt to make the only book I cared about making, it came out so much better than I ever could have imagined, and I’m excited to share it with a whole new audience.”

HIGH CRIMES (Diamond code: DEC180082, ISBN: 978-1-5343-1047-6) hits comic book stores on Wednesday, February 20th and bookstores on Tuesday, February 26th. It can be preordered via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Indiebound, and Indigo.

HIGH CRIMES will also be available for purchase across many digital platforms, including the official Image Comics iOS app, Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, comiXology, and Google Play.



Categories: Comic Book Blogs

2019 BroadSword Calendar Monthly Magick BIG & JUMBO sizes!

First Comics News - Thu, 11/29/2018 - 19:49

Daily Magick Calendar $19.99
This 8.5 x11″ Wall Calendar features the art of Jim Balent & Holly G! OR Upgrade it to JUMBO size 11.5×14.5 for +$6!!

Order your Calendar NOW

Jam Cover

fab Monthly art

Featuring Raven & Tarot

Krampus in December

item is shipped direct right from the printers to you!

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

HackMoor 2018/11/08 Jacko's Choice

Furiously Eclectic People - Thu, 11/29/2018 - 19:11

​Games are on Thursday nights sometime after 6:30PM at World's Best Comics, 9714 Warwick Blvd Newport News, Virginia 23601.

The Player for Jacko ordered the pizza, and he earned an honor point.



We picked up where the Party left off at the bottom of level 14. Since the Party had explored the entire level, so I had made it a project that they encounter every possible random encounter there was for that level. Having done most of this the previous session there was still one left.

Four Angelic beings. (They tie in with Jacko's pending ascension anyway.)

As the Party approached, One of the Angels sounded a trumpet. Everyone failed their save except of course Jacko.

Huang and Honda started speaking in tongues.

Another Angel proclaimed, "Jacko, come forth!"

To cut to the chase, these four angelic beings offered Jacko the conditions of ascension albeit on different terms. For brevity we'll call them angels A through D. All offers involved getting the Crown of Thrain a HackClass item. Anyone who has achieved 36+ levels will be imbued with divine essence, attaining demi-gawd status with all the benefits thereof. [Note Jacko makes this claim having gained 15th level in three different classes (3x15 > 36). Whether that qualifies or not, remains to be seen. It should also be noted these Angels are entirely irrelevant, Jacko could look for the Crown without being so advised. Perhaps their advice mitigates the 3x15>36 question?] Their offers below:

Angel A: Get the Crown of Thrain. Retain only 4 magic items to obtain goal. Give one half all his money to charity.

Angel B: Get the Crown of Thrain. Find the person who stole the party's stuff and obtain retribution.

Angel C: Get the Crown of Thrain. Find the person who stole the party's stuff. (Didn't say what to do when found Maybe I omitted it in my the notes? I think an outright kill was mentioned, but that isn't necessarily the same as retribution.)

Angel D Get the Crown of Thrain. Donate all valued possessions to charity.

This is obviously a test of Jacko's judgment. Jacko chose Angel B. Jacko tested the Angel and asked it to take him to his proper plane. (Jacko is Neutral Good which would mean the plane of Elysium.) Jacko was then taken to a place with chirping birds, lush fields of grass, rolling hills along the banks of the river Oceanus, and all the trappings of Neutral Goodness. Thus satisfied, Jacko was taken back to the Party.

The party then went back to the back gate of the Fire Giant's lair and Jacko reintroduced himself as a mercenary to assist the Fire Giants against the Salamanders who had taken half the Giant's domain on the other side of the lava lake. The Party then went upstairs to the Giant's middle level that opens to the bridge crossing the lake to the opposing side.

Jacko requested that he be allowed to cross the bridge and espy the Salamander's holdings. The Giants, letting him out their fortified door. Going invisible, he crossed the bridge to the opposing door.

He knocked.

Crawling up to the top of the door, he waited until it opened. Still invisible, he crawled in. Still attached to the ceiling.

Therein he found 20 Salamanders keeping guard. The one that opened the door seeing nothing, shrugged its shoulders and closed it again.

. Staying invisible, due to his thief's ability he stayed on the ceiling and crawled (like the one of the orcs in the Mines of Moria scene in the first Lord of the Rings Movie). Finding mostly empty rooms until he went down one level. There he found a gathering of Salamanders ready for battle and they all seem lined up outside an excavation tunnel.

Sticking to the ceiling he followed the tunnel which was filled with more Salamanders. At the far end he found that they had excavated underneath the lava lake and were about to breach into the Fire Giant's lower rooms.

Making his way back he found the biggest baddest Salamander of them all. It was apparently, it was holding a personnel inspection just before the invasion.

Jacko decided to interrupt.

Calling to the lead Salamader, which would sound like a disembodied voice being invisible, Jacko made an offer.

(I'm culling the tête-à-tête​ between Jacko and the lead Salamander,​​ to shorten this up.)​

1. ​Return to the Plane of Fire?​ (Whence the Salamaders invaded from due to a fluke between the planes.)

​2. Serve as guardians of Fort Neverland (what Jacko is calling his territory topside).

3. Be annihilated.​

Before the answer I cut off the session due to time constraints.

Meanwhile while all this was going on. Aerys and the rest of the Party decided to quit and ​headed back upstairs. They were back at the Mushoom forest at time of Jacko's offer to the lead Salamander two levels lower.






Zamon, a fifth level Thug.
Grok the Dwarf, a third level WitchRanger (Battlemage subclass of Magic User).
Aerys, an Elvariel, a Fingersmith (Thief class).
Baronet Huang - a Master of the West Wind of the Stone Tiger Order, (Monk class).
Numrendir - a human Conjurist (a Conjuror, Magic User subclass)
Junkbot Jackson - a human Tracker/Friar (a Ranger 5th and Cleric 6th level).
Jacko, an Albino Dork Elf, a Multiclass of 15th level (Infiltrator, Ranger and Battle Mage).

Baronetess Honda - a Human Datai Samurai, Steward of Catan (formerly Temple of the Frog)
Gnomex, a Gnome Adept of Geardal Ironhand (Cleric class.)
Tanzen - a Fae-Born first level Exciter. (Fourth level Invoker, a Magic User subclass).
Fundisha - a half-Elf Swordsperson/Tout (Fighter and Infiltrator, a Thief subclass).
23 dwarf miners.

Gerry Castagere, human Fingersmith, (Thief class) and ever loving devotee of Elefus, abandoned to the Blood Cult in the City of Brass on the Plane of Fire.

Serena 2.0 - First Level Battle Mage Second (a Protege of Jacko) topside.
Count Elefus, a human Abbot of Heimdall (Cleric class). RETIRED
Felipe the Dwarf, a third level Sigil (Chosen One subclass of Cleric).
Sir Weasel, human Guild Soldier, Warlock, & Champion (Thief, Magic User, & Fighter classes) he stayed back in BlackMoor.
- and nine Pilgrim henchmen of various levels. (They wear hoodies.)
Slade Wilson - Dwarven Professional (a Bounty Hunter, Fighter subclass) Left behind at Catan.





This is also posted on three forums, and a blog.


Tracy Johnson
Old fashioned text games hosted below:



Categories: Miscellaneous Blogs

Waterlily Throw Tutorial

Moogly - Thu, 11/29/2018 - 15:42

The Waterlily Throw Tutorial will walk you through this beautiful multi-colored blanket – all the special stitches you need to know are covered in right and left-handed video tutorials on Moogly! Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links; materials provided by Red Heart Yarn and Furls. Waterlily Throw Tutorial: How to the Waterlily Throw – Right [...]

The post Waterlily Throw Tutorial appeared first on moogly. Please visit www.mooglyblog.com for this post. If you are viewing this on another site they have scraped the content from my website without permission. Thank you for your support.

Categories: Crochet Life

Evolving the Dread Crypt: Bringing Skogenby to (un)life

Torchbearer RPG - Thu, 11/29/2018 - 14:00

Over the past several weeks I’ve alluded several times to my ‘evolution’ of The Dread Crypt of Skogenby. For the next several posts I plan to take a deeper dive into the details of that evolution to give you an example of how you might evolve your own adventures.

To set the stage, I need to first tell you about how I updated the adventure. I wanted my players to invest in Skogenby as a place, maybe even choose to come from the village, so I fleshed it out a little bit.

The crypt remains the focus of the adventure, and I didn’t change anything there. But I wanted to give myself the ability to play up how the crypt, Jora’s disappearance and the appearance of a terrifying spirit affect the village and begin applying stress to the relationships within it. To do that, I needed to decide who has power in the village and how the horror of the crypt might affect them.

Ultimately, the players will choose to engage with this material as much or as little as they want. Really, I created it to give me, as the GM, a better sense of the village and grist for creating interesting twists in town (and outside it as well, as you’ll see below).

Not only does this material help me roleplay my part in the current adventure, it will also set me up to evolve the adventure, which we’ll explore in a subsequent post.


The lonely village of Skogenby sits just a few miles east of Asktoft across the Hrada River. A ford connects the two villages, though it becomes impassable when the river runs high, especially in late spring to early summer. Skogenby butts up against the verge of a vast spruce forest in the foothills of the Silfjalls, and its stoic, hardworking people eke a meager living from the stony earth.

Stivardur Sigismund, Gydja Vigdis and Hakemunn Grim are the village elders.

Town Rules

Skills: Carpenter, Peasant, Weaver
Traits: Stoic, Rough Hands
Alignment: Unaffiliated
Haggling: Ob 3

Available Locations

Flophouse, Home (equivalent to Flophouse), Market (This market is held once a month. Roll 2d6 when entering town; market is available on a roll of 9-12), Shrine, Stables, Street, Tavern

Skogenby Laws
  • All inhabitants of Skogenby must work Lady Gry’s lands 2 days out of every 7 (Ob 2 Peasant test)
  • Brawling is a criminal act. Punishable by public humiliation.
Personalities of Skogenby Lady Gry

A Gott ridder (knight) in service to Greve Jermod the Lame, Lady Gry holds Skogenby as one of her fiefs but is largely an absentee landlord, preferring her manor, Asktoft. She’s content to let the village fend for itself, so long as nothing interferes with her rents. She can be affable with her peers, but is generally brusque with inferiors.
Belief: Wealth in cattle and horses is the measure of a lord and I’ll not be found wanting.

Stivardur Sigismund

Sigismund is a Gott carl (landed farmer). As Lady Gry’s stivardur, Sigismund handles the day-to-day management of the village. He organizes the planting and harvest, ensures that all the villagers work Lady Gry’s lands as required and collects rents. He takes no guff from his fellow villagers, but is positively obsequious when it comes to Lady Gry. He’s desperate to get this business with the crypt resolved as soon as possible, especially since his son Jurgen was among Jora’s companions when she entered the crypt. He will become quite nervous if Greve Jermod’s rangers show up, as part of the fields the villagers cleared were technically within the bounds of the Greve’s forest. Sigismund and his brother Baugi secretly moved the property markers one night several months ago.
Belief: The Lords grant wealth and prestige to those bold and cunning enough to take it.

Gydja Vigdis

A Græling, Vigdis is the eldest woman in the village and is the grandmother or great grandmother of many of the villagers. While Gry and her proxy Sigismund technically rule the village, it is to Vigdis that many of the villagers look for leadership, particularly the Græling cottars (impoverished peasants that work a carl’s farm). As the village gydja, Vigdis is a priestess responsible for performing the rites and rituals to the village’s patron spirit (ættir), ancestors and Immortal Lords. She is patient, observant and expects deference. Vigdis suspects and fears that the only way to appease the horror the villagers have disturbed is with blood sacrifice—likely the children responsible. If the adventurers can’t resolve the problem, she will feel she has no choice but recommend such a sacrifice.
Belief: The Immortal Lords will have their due, one way or the other.

Hakemunn Grim

Grim is a Gott carl and the wealthiest, most prominent farmer in Skogenby. When he talks, the other freemen listen, despite his mean, churlish sense of humor. Grim believes the village should forget about the girl, seal up the crypt and wash its hands of the matter. He makes no bones about sharing that view. As more and more people die in the night, other villagers increasingly agree with him.
Belief: I know what’s best and anyone who won’t listen deserves what they get.


Gydja Vigdis’ granddaughter and apprentice, Johanna is also Jora’s mother and the wife of Vagn, the village blacksmith (a Græling whom even the Gott’s in the village respect). Johanna is terrified for her daughter and desperately wants her home safely. She’s working up the nerve to poison Hakemunn Grim before he sways the rest of the village to his view.
Belief: My family is my strength.


Jora’s cousin, Marius, is 12-years-old and carried one of the arm rings back to Skogenby after she disappeared. He’s ashamed of himself for abandoning Jora—he was the first to run. He is also grief-stricken: His father, Per, was the first of the villagers slain in the night by the spirit of the crypt. He blames himself.
Belief: The Immortals see our deeds and know the evil that we do!

Outsiders Halvor, Captain of Greve Jermod’s Wardens

Halvor represents Greve Jermod’s interests in these parts, particularly the Post Road. Halvor and his wardens have come to investigate reports of bandits hiding in the forest near the Post Road and to determine whether Lady Gry and the villagers of Skogenby illegally cleared lands that are part of the Greve’s forest preserve. Halvor and the wardens have little sympathy for the peasants’ plight, but will seek to enforce the Greve’s rights to any treasure discovered if the crypt proves to have been in the Greve’s preserve. They will look favorably upon those who help them root out the bandits or reveal the village’s perfidy.

Beronin the Bandit Chief

An outcast dwarf from the Silfjalls, Beronin leads a group of bandits that eke out a living preying on travelers on the Post Road. They have a hideout in the forest near Skogenby. Many of them were once farmers in Skogenby or other nearby villages who turned to banditry after being outlawed for poaching, murder, failure to pay taxes after a poor harvest and the like. A handful are dwarven outcasts like Beronin himself. Beronin has heard rumors of treasures in the crypt and has taken some of his bandits to investigate. They’re just as happy to rob the dead as the living.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The OSR Campaign Apocalyse - The Battle Lines of Ragnarok

Swords & Stitchery - Thu, 11/29/2018 - 08:34
When I wrote about Algernon Henry Blackwood's blog entry yesterday I wrote about his reality of fiction merely being the beach head into our world. In the far future the opening chess moves for the battle of humanity's place in the multiverse & its very soul's very existence. Ragnarok is not merely one event but a multitude of mini events leading up to the final confrontations; The völva Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs


Looking For Group - Thu, 11/29/2018 - 05:00

The post 1248 appeared first on Looking For Group.

Categories: Web Comics

autumn fade

Autumn Geisha - Wed, 11/28/2018 - 23:56

How can it be the end of November already!?! It seemed like autumn barely arrived yesterday. We had a very quiet and peaceful Thanksgiving last week. My MIL stopped by for a whirlwind visit on her way to Florida. So we ended up eating Thanksgiving dinner twice (the other dinner was at my brother’s). I also had quite a bit of time to knit since no one trusted me with Turkey duty. Two socks have been cast off since we last spoke. Both have been my constant knitting companions this fall and were joys to knit. The other project finished was a quick Sockhead Hat using a beautiful fall mini’s set from Hue Loco. I am calling it my autumn fade hat. Quite appropriate since we are now heading into the busy holiday season. Time to cast on some festive Christmas socks!

Did you cook for Thanksgiving? Any holiday knitting/crafting plans?
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Facebook Live and YouTube Live: November 2018

Moogly - Wed, 11/28/2018 - 16:19

Happy Holidays! This month’s lives share all the Moogly news and sneak peeks. And on YouTube, I’ll have special tips to keep you crocheting and knitting comfortably this busy season! Watch the November Moogly Lives now live – or in the embedded videos below! Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Red Heart Yarn, and may [...]

The post Facebook Live and YouTube Live: November 2018 appeared first on moogly. Please visit www.mooglyblog.com for this post. If you are viewing this on another site they have scraped the content from my website without permission. Thank you for your support.

Categories: Crochet Life

ESTA registration websites still lurk in paid ads on Google

Malwarebytes - Wed, 11/28/2018 - 16:00

Google has taken direct action against adverts promoting ESTA registration services, often offered by third parties at highly inflated prices. Ads displayed on the Google network shouldn’t display fees higher than what a public source or government charges for products or services. This tightening of the ad leash has taken a remarkable eight years to complete—and we argue it’s not done yet.

What ESTA services are these sites advertising?

The US Visa Waiver program allows citizens of 38 countries to travel visa free for up to 90 days. This requires an application for eligibility on ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation). The process is simple and takes only around 10 minutes to fill in an application online. However, many sites have sprung up offering to fill it in on your behalf.

That sounds great!

Sure, everyone hates paperwork, but many people are needlessly paying for service that does, essentially, nothing. The idea is, you fill in the ESTA questions and submit to Homeland Security. You then get an authorisation or a rejection. These sites want you to pay them for filling in essentially the exact same form you’d fill on the USGOV website so they can, in turn, “submit” it on the USGOV submission page. They’ll also often charge a lot more than the standard US$14 submission fee.

That’s…not so great

The flaw here is that if you can submit this information to the third party ESTA registration website, there’s no reason why you couldn’t have just done it yourself on the official USGOV website and saved the additional fee. Once you consider the inflated fees and the fact you might be submitting sensitive personal information and/or payment details to random websites, it quickly becomes an issue.

Why pay $80 instead of $14? It doesn’t really make sense, and this is partly why Google is now cracking down on these sorts of advertisements.

What does Google say about this?

From their Advertising Policies page, Google prohibits the sale of free items. The following is not allowed:

Charging for products or services where the primary offering is available from a government or public source for free or at a lower price

Examples (non-exhaustive list): Services for passport or driving license applications; health insurance applications; documents from official registries, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, or company registrations; exam results; tax calculators.

Note: You can bundle something free with another product or service that you provide. For example, a TV provider can bundle publicly available content with paid content, or a travel agency can bundle a visa application with a holiday package. But the free product or service can’t be advertised as the primary offering.

Google search results

We thought we’d see what, exactly, is still out there in Google search land. For this, we decided to try common ESTA-related search terms. I went with “ESTA” (naturally), “ESTA questions,” and “ESTA answers.” Here’s what I found:

Search term: ESTA

How popular a Worldwide search term is “ESTA” over time?

Click to Enlarge

A search for the word “ESTA” brings back no adverts in the search results whatsoever. That’s good!

Click to enlarge

Search term: ESTA questions

How popular a Worldwide search term is “ESTA questions” over time?

Click to enlarge

A search for “ESTA questions” returned one result, which is still quite good. However, Google said common search terms would no longer fetch ads. Our search above seems pretty basic and still snagged a hit.


Click to enlarge

The website featured in the advert doesn’t mention cost on the front page, but does on Terms of Use. Their basic fee is US$14 for the USGOV application, and US$85 for their listed services. This is arguably the kind of site Google is trying remove.

Search Term: ESTA answers

How popular a Worldwide search term is “ESTA answers” over time?

Click to Enlarge

“ESTA answers” returned four adverts.


Click to enlarge

First result: The same site listed for “ESTA questions” also made top spot under this search term.

Second result: Costs a grand total of US$89, which includes the US$14 Government fee. However, they are upfront about the fact that the service charge won’t apply should you apply directly on the Homeland Security portal. Many sites don’t mention this or hide it away in some terms and conditions.

Third result: Uh, an advert for dust extraction systems. At least there’s definitely no overpriced ESTA fee this time around.

Fourth result: The site lists their fees as US$79, which includes the US$14 Government charge.

We’ve reported all sites to Google whose adverts potentially conflict with Google’s ad policies.

How does Yahoo! stack up?

We looked at Yahoo! to see what we could find in terms of ESTA ads. As far as their Policies for Ads go, the closest thing I could find was “Low quality offers and landing page techniques” from the Oath Ad Policies page:

Services that are offered for free by the government and offered by third parties without adding any additional value to the user, such as green card lotteries Display and Native ads promoting body branding, piercings or tattoos

This doesn’t really apply here though, as ESTA carries the $14 application fee. On the other hand, there could well be something else I’ve missed in the numerous terms and conditions for advertisers. With that in mind, let’s see what we found.

Searching for “ESTA” brought back no fewer than four ads under the search bar, and seven down the side, with actual search results quite a bit further down the page.


Click to enlarge

In terms of the sites themselves, we had a mixed response with regards to upfront pricing information.

First result: The same site in both “ESTA questions” and “ESTA answers” Google searches returns again, with their now familiar combined fee of $14 and $85.

Second result: No information visible for fees that we could find.

Third result: This site offers a fee of 59 Euros.

Fourth result: We couldn’t find details of pricing, and the FAQ drop-downs didn’t work, so if the information was in there, we couldn’t see it.

Here’s the results for the adverts down the right-hand side:

First result: US$89 for services offered.

Second result: No price or FAQs visible, just a form submission process. There was a webchat, however, and we were able to obtain a price that way instead: 89 Euro/US$100 for a US ESTA submission.


Click to enlarge

Third result: No price visible that we could find.

Fourth result: US$79 plus US$14 Government fee

Fifth result: Nothing visible that we could find.

Sixth result: 84 Euros (this includes a “2-year concierge service”)

Seventh result: £37.82, US$14 Government fee, plus £1 “overseas transition/calling card fee”

Looking for travel assistance online?

There are many pitfalls lurking online the moment you go looking for visas, ESTAs, or anything else. It seems baffling to me that people would pay someone else to submit a form to a third party when they have to fill out the form themselves first. Are the extra services promoted by these sites really worth it? Some claim to retain your data “for up to two years” in case you need to reapply. The ESTA is valid for two years, by which point they’d no longer be retaining your information, so I don’t see how this helps.

“Aha”, they’ll say. “We don’t retain the data for two years in case you need to apply for the ESTA again. We retain it in case you’re denied authorisation so you can have another go!”

Well, great, except not really. If you’re denied an ESTA at application time, that’s the end of that:

If a traveler is denied ESTA authorization and his or her circumstances have not changed, a new application will also be denied. A traveler who is not eligible for ESTA is not eligible for travel under the Visa Waiver Program and should apply for a nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Reapplying with false information in order to qualify for a travel authorization will make the traveler permanently ineligible for travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program

Time for a little DIY

On a similar note, these sites do offer to check that all of your information is correct before submitting. The information you need to supply for an ESTA is basic stuff, though: name, address, passport number, and answers to a series of yes/no questions. It’s not complicated, and you could easily have a friend or relative look it over before submitting it online yourself. “Concierge” services sound good, but there’s so much information online, you shouldn’t have trouble finding a hotel or a taxi service or anything else for that matter.

If you insist on making use of an ESTA application website, keep in mind the above commentary. You should also be wary of sites that aren’t upfront with their pricing. Pay particular attention as to whether they retain a copy of your data and for how long. If they promote the benefit of retaining it for less than two years in case you want to “reapply,” that’s not a great sign. If they refer to the ESTA as a “visa,” also not good. (It isn’t a visa; it’s access to participation in the Visa Waiver Program.)

Keep your passport and your online wits close to hand, and you won’t have any problems. Safe travels!

The post ESTA registration websites still lurk in paid ads on Google appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Categories: Techie Feeds

Malwarebytes helps take down massive ad fraud botnets

Malwarebytes - Wed, 11/28/2018 - 14:00

On November 27, the US Department of Justice announced the indictment of eight individuals involved in a major ad fraud case that cost digital advertisers millions of dollars. The operation, dubbed 3ve, was the combination of the Boaxxe and Kovter botnets, which the FBI—in collaboration with researchers in the private sector, including one of our own at Malwarebytes—was able to dismantle.

The US CERT advisory indicates that 3ve was controlling over 1.7 million unique IP addresses between both Boaxxe and Kovter at any given time. Threat actors rely on different tactics to generate fake traffic and clicks, but one of the most common is to infect legitimate computers and have them silently mimic a typical user’s behavior. By doing so, fraudsters can generate millions of dollars in revenue while eroding trust in the online advertising business.

This criminal enterprise was quite sophisticated in that it had many evasion techniques that not only made it difficult to detect the presence of ad fraud, but also clean up affected systems. Kovter in particular is a unique piece of malware that goes to great lengths to avoid detection and even trick analysts. Its fileless nature to maintain persistence has also made it more challenging to disable.

Malwarebytes, along with several other companies, including Google, Proofpoint, and ad fraud detection company White Ops, was involved in the global investigation into these ad fraud botnets. We worked with our colleagues at White Ops, sharing our intelligence and samples of the Kovter malware. We were happy to be able to leverage our telemetry, which proved to be valuable for others to act upon.

Even though cybercriminal enterprises can get pretty sophisticated, this successful operation proves that concerted efforts between both the public and private sectors can defeat them and bring perpetrators to justice.

The full report on 3ve, co-authored by Google and White Ops, with technical contributions from Proofpoint and others, can be downloaded here.

The post Malwarebytes helps take down massive ad fraud botnets appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Categories: Techie Feeds

The Bogey of Brindle

Ten Foot Pole - Wed, 11/28/2018 - 12:14

By Lloyd Metcalf
Fail Squad Games
Level 2-3

The celebration of Firstfeast is upon the good folk of Westwego, and just as the smell of cakes and pies are warming up, you find yourselves among the bootlegging goblins of Brindle. Can you save Westwego? What about the celebration? What about the hooch!?

This 38 page adventure features a nineteen room dungeon full of kobolds and a small amount of outside the dungeon play. The dungeon environment is nicely varied and it feels like some effort was put in to creating encounters that would not just be “empty room with a monster in it to stab.” The read-aloud is clumsy and the room descriptions drag out for too long but the core elements are solid. It looks like the designer picked up some bad habits that need broken, but otherwise has good ideas.

It feels like the designer thought about each room for five minutes longer than usual, and that shows in the payoff. Everything in this is at least a bit above average (ie: crap) and most quite a bit. The hook included. The village religious feastday is approaching, but the tobacco and booze has not arrived from a nearby village. The pious church hates the sin of the booze & smoking, etc, but they LUV the taxes it generates, so they get the party to try and find the shipment/go to the nearby village. How’s that for a hook? It’s fun, embraces a little bit of medievalism (the feastday, the church) and also the hypocrisy. Further, it covers what happens if the hook is refused … the nearby village shows up and camps outside Westwego, hoping for additional protection from the bogeys that plague them. A hook refused, and offered again! Nice job on this. It drones on WAY too long for what you get/need, but it also illustrates how the adventure takes just an extra step … which turns it from generic to interesting.

The rooms of the dungeon, proper, also do this. The entrance cave has an ice cold stream (with some small rules for hypothermia) running out of it. It ends in a whirlpool, a passage on the other side. There’s a concealed passage under whirlpool (Yeah! Concealed! I love it when designers put something JUST around a corner. It rewards non-jaded play) that leads to the main cave lair. That passage on the other side has a natural pool in it … and piercers on the ceiling. It fits. It works. The pool/water is a distraction. The piercers fit naturally. The entire three room entrance areas FEELS right. Natural, mysterious. Things fall off from this high point as the kobold lair, proper, is reached, but it still maintains its above average effort.

I can pick this one apart on a hundred different points. The neighboring village is a goblin village. I’m not sure why this is. Making them goblins instead of humans doesn’t seem to add anything to the adventure and, as always, I think misuse of humanoids detracts from the overall impact humanoids can have on the party. They are also presented as comical. The same weird-ass New Jersey mob dialect that comic humanoids ALWAYS get, as well as comic antics. Again, I don’t get it. What’s wrong with stupid humans? This whole style is a turnoff to me, although I recognize its more of a personal preference thing.

There’s also some references to “throwing traps at the party” in the overland portion. I HATE this shit. It seems to break the player/DM contract and there’s an element of “guiding the story” inherent to it that I VEHEMENTLY disagree with. I’m ok with “1 in 6 chance per turn of a trap” but not “throw traps at the party until you feel like not doing it anymore.” Go figure. Or kobolds with perfect party knowledge who always attack under the cover of darkness in ambush while the party is resting. Yes, it makes sense … but the party should also be getting a detection bone thrown at them, at a minimum.

And there’s the emphasis on dimensions in the read-aloud, a pet peeve of mine. Telling us that a room is 20×20 and that a 15’ section of the floor is covered in pipeweed breaks immersion. COmmunicate the feel of the room and then RESPOND to the party when they ask how big a section is covered by pipeweed. “You walk it out, it’s about 15’ square.” There’s a back and forth between the DM and party that is a critical part of play, which when combined with the fact-based dimension read-aloud makes me down on dimensions and precision in read-aloud. The game should be about mystery and the unknown, not a flood of perfect knowledge.

The little vignettes go on a little too long, and most of the villagers could use a one or two line interesting tidbit to augment them, but, it’s not a bad adventure. It’s just not a good one either.

This is $6 at DriveThru. The preview is worthless, at three pages, showing you absolutely nothing but the table of contents.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

[thepuck 2018-11-27] Canes 2 @ Habs 1

Furiously Eclectic People - Wed, 11/28/2018 - 05:02

Shea Weber's first NHL game of the season and in nearly a year and he didn't injure Gallagher with the puck!

Karl Alzner, the team's second best defenseman, has been waived and assigned to Laval. This is poor treatment of such a quality veteran who has been labeled too slow for the new NHL. He was a rock on defense, laying people out, protecting his goalie, making that nice first pass out of his zone and playing pretty darn solid hockey. As if the “new” NHL doesn't need stay-at-home defensemen. Ridiculous. Chalk it up to why Montreal will have trouble getting stars and veterans to sign with them. See Tavares.

What the Habs lack in many ways could be resolved with an Andrei Markov or Tomas Plekanec. Shabby treatment of players behind the scenes will hurt the team for years to come.


Healthy Scratches: Reilly, Ouellet, Peca
IRL: Scherbak, Armia, Byron, Juulsen

Habs Best Player 1st Period: Brett Kulak
Habs Best Player 2nd Period: Victor Mete
Habs Best Player 3rd Period: Phillip Danault

Habs Three Stars: Kulak, Gallagher, Mete

The Good: Kulak was extremely impressive all game long, making good choices, staying in position, getting back, pinching all at the right time.

The Bad: The Habs collapse in the defensive zone, always leaving the point men open. Even Lehkonen has finally bought into this system which leaves Price fending off shots from the point while screened. Drouin simply is not working on the point for the powerplay. He's talented but doesn't have a knack for keeping the puck in or playing defense when forced. The powerplay in general is trying that obsolete drop-pass method (it may still work on wider ice like International surfaces) leaving them struggling to gain the offensive zone. The Canes goaltender Curtis McElhinney but on a veritable clinic with the Habs vastly outchancing and outshooting the Canes.

The Other: Drouin dove and got the Habs a powerplay in the 3rd. Price got away with an obvious penalty however shortly thereafter Shaw paid the 'price' with a makeup call.

It was a fun close game in scoring however it wasn't as tight as the score looked with Montreal dominating quite often. Between the Canes goalie and some exciting defensive plays, Montreal could not tie this one up.

PostGame Thoughts: Weber looked good and showed that his instincts are still great. He playe lots but by no means looked 100%. Kotkaniemi has been struggling since Armia was injured (and before being teamed up with Armia and Lehkonen) but Hudon may well be still improving. Shaw is an unsung hero on a line that makes a ton of mistakes. Both Domi and Drouin make very risky plays and rarely come back and help out defensively. Shaw shoulders the extra load well and is playing his best hockey since coming to Montreal. There were times when Mete looked like he had the puck on a string. If he keeps improving, who knows what heights he'll reach.

Categories: Miscellaneous Blogs


Looking For Group - Wed, 11/28/2018 - 05:00

The post 250 appeared first on Tiny Dick Adventures.

Categories: Web Comics

Delayed knitting post...

My Sister's Knitter - Wed, 11/28/2018 - 02:58
Hello loves! Sorry for the missed Sunday post. It would seem that the cold/flu bug has bitten and I am just taking some time to feel 100% again. I hope you all had a good week and we will chat as normal this Sunday! XO, andi Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds


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