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RevenueWire to pay $6.7 million to settle FTC charges

Malwarebytes - Tue, 05/12/2020 - 15:30

What can you do as a scammer when no legitimate payment provider wants to process your payments anymore? Or, what if you are growing sick and tired of these same payment providers reimbursing disgruntled customers who claim that your products didn’t fix computers, like—you know—you said they would?

Simple. You rely on some novel help. That is, until you get caught.

Let us tell you a story of intrigue and wrongdoing that resulted in a multi-million-dollar settlement issued by the US Federal Trade Commission.

How do tech support scammers work?

Some of the worst internet criminals are those who prey on the weakest groups in our society. Communities that are uncomfortable and less experienced with computers are already at a disadvantage, and tech support scammers make shameless use of these circumstances, demanding payments for bogus solutions to entirely non-existent tech problems. First comes the hook: There is something wrong with your computer. Then comes the sell: Only we can fix it.

But, that money stream can dry up because of a legitimate link in the chain—payment processors. Scammers may first receive services from legitimate payment processors, but soon, those providers will notice a high volume of complaints and wizen up to the actions of their customer, consequently kicking them out and warning their colleagues to stay away from said customer.

It’s a real problem for many tech support scammers, and one that has pushed some into even accepting gift cards as payment, just to circumvent the problem that they were refused by practically every payment provider.

But for a small group of call centers and software makers recently investigated by the FTC, there was a better option than gift cards.

Enter RevenueWire Inc., a Canadian company doing business as “SafeCart.”

Solution: start your own payment provider

The setup was clever.

First, RevenueWire entered into contracts with banks and payment processors in the US in order to obtain and open merchant accounts, thus allowing it to accept debit and credit payments. RevenueWire then entered into contracts with tech support call centers with a less-than-stellar track record. Further, according to the FTC, RevenueWire worked with separate, third-party software companies, including PC Cleaner Inc. and Boost Software Inc., which would direct consumers of their own software to any tech support call centers that were now working with RevenueWire.

In essence, RevenueWire engaged in a miniature, controlled economy, gaining vast insight into an entire ecosystem that included making software, selling it, providing tech support services, and funneling payments made along the way.

This made for a complete alignment of businesses. According to the FTC, the stakeholders in this organization closely cooperated with and participated in companies that acted as telemarketers, software builders, website designers, and call center operators. Plus, they now had their own payment provider.

What they did

The organization’s objective, according to the FTC, was to swindle customers out of their money while pretending to be tech support operators.

When you are a tech support scammer there are three main angles you can work to get your “clients” to call you. Calling the clients and trying to sell them your services is one method, and they didn’t shy away it. But as you can imagine, the chances of deceiving a client are much higher when you get a client to actually call you. To achieve this, tech support scammers can:

  • Pretend to represent a legitimate company, where Microsoft and Apple are probably the most well-known examples. But Malwarebytes has been the victim of impersonation a few times as well.
  • Use advertising to get prospects to visit websites with the number you want them to call, to the degree of using browser lockers and fake online scanners to convince the visitor their computer has serious issues, that only you know how to solve—at a steep price.
  • Release fake anti-malware software that prominently displays your number as a help resource. Again, convincing the user that he needs to buy the software to fix those problems, and probably some extra services to go.

In the case at hand, the tech support call centers working with RevenueWire were run by Vast Tech Support, LLC (“Vast”) and Inbound Call Experts, LLC (“ICE”). The FTC filed legal actions against both these companies in the past.

What charges did RevenueWire receive?

RevenueWire was charged under the accusation that they laundered credit card payments for, and assisted and facilitated, two tech support scams previously sued by the FTC. You guessed it, those two tech support scammers were Vast and ICE.

As Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a news release when the settlement was announced:

“Finding ways to get paid – without getting caught – is essential for scammers who steal money from consumers. And that’s exactly what RevenueWire did for tech support scammers when it laundered their transactions through the credit card system.”

The FTC said that RevenueWire violated the Federal Trade Commission Act, which prohibits “unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affection commerce.” RevenueWire also, according to the FTC, violated the the Telemarketing Sales Rule, “provided substantial assistance and support to one or more sellers or telemarketers, whom they knew, or consciously avoided knowing, were violating” sections of the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and they “submitted charges through RevenueWire’s merchant account for companies that made false statements to consumers.”

What about the people that worked for RevenueWire?

Only a few people that worked at RevenueWire knew about the complete business model. Most of the employees never learned—and may have been shocked to learn—about the company’s true nature when it was named in the FTC settlement. Some may have figured out what was going on while they were working for RevenueWire, but almost no-one was told up front. A fraud analyst working for RevenueWire repeatedly warned executives about dealings with “crooks,” according to evidence published in the FTC’s report. This information was directly shared with Roberta Leach, RevenueWire’s CEO and a named defendant in the FTC case.

The good news

In a recent press release, the FTC announced that RevenueWire and its CEO, Roberta Leach will pay $6.75 million to settle charges that they laundered credit card payments for, and assisted and facilitated, two tech support scams previously shut down by the FTC.

The FTC stipulated:

“Consumers throughout the country have been injured by tech support scams in which fraudsters deceptively market services to ‘fix’ purported problems on consumers’ computers. The FTC and state law enforcers have brought cases against the software sellers and call centers involved in these scams, including call centers operated by Vast Tech Support, LLC (‘Vast’) and Inbound Call Experts, LLC (‘ICE’). FTC v. Boost Software, Inc., No. 14-81397 (S.D. Fla. filed Nov. 10, 2014); FTC v. Inbound Call Experts, LLC, No. 14-81395 (S.D. Fla. filed Nov. 10, 2014). RevenueWire, Inc. and its Chief Executive Officer (collectively, ‘Defendants’) have played a key role in many of these scams, including the Vast and ICE scams. Using a business model named ‘Call Stream,’ the Defendants have provided lead generation, business development, payment processing, and money distribution services to numerous tech support fraudsters, leading to hundreds of millions of dollars of consumer injury.”

We are pleased to learn that the FTC successfully went after this enabler and payment provider, especially in this case as they knew what they were doing and the FTC could build on the cases where they ruled against the scammers themselves.

Malwarebytes’ fight against tech support scammers

Malwarebytes has been involved in the fight against tech support scammers ever since the beginning of our company, even though it is not something that results in a profit for us. We feel that tech support scammers give the industry a bad name by proxy and as pointed out earlier, some of them even pretend to represent our company. Also, we care about everyone’s safety, not just the safety of our paying customers.

If you want to be sure to get help from our actual support team, don’t contact just any number you find while searching, but reach out to us through our Support portal.

Stay safe, everyone, and remain vigilant!

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Categories: Techie Feeds

TIME LORD VICTORIOUS: Two new BBC Books announced for multi-platform Doctor Who project

Blogtor Who - Tue, 05/12/2020 - 15:15

BBC Books has revealed that it will be publishing two novels to tie into BBC Studios multi-platform Doctor Who story, Time Lord Victorious. Time Lord Victorious will tell a new and untold story, set within the Dark Times at the start of the universe, when even the Eternals were young. Following several Doctors across space […]

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Categories: Doctor Who Feeds

Free Mom and Me Patterns: Crochet, Knitting, and Crafts!

Moogly - Tue, 05/12/2020 - 15:00

Yarnspirations has put together a super fun collection of free crochet, knitting, sewing, and craft “mom and me patterns”! These are perfect to keep the whole family having fun at home! I’ve highlighted some of my favorites, and added a few free Moogly ideas too! Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Yarnspirations. Below see my...

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The post Free Mom and Me Patterns: Crochet, Knitting, and Crafts! 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.

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Categories: Crochet Life

Review & Commentary On AX4: Ruined City of Cyfandir by Simon Forster, & AX6: Sepulcher of the Sorceress-Queen (SoSQ) crowd funding effort by Autarch For The Adventurer,Conqueror, King Rpg

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 05/12/2020 - 14:52
"Two hundred years ago, the elven capital of Cyfandir fell to the savage assault of the Great Dragon Aisoth, self-proclaimed goddess and sovereign of the lizardmen who followed in her wake. The elves, occupied with the Argollëan War, were unprepared for the attack and the city fell swiftly. The elven residents fled, many dying at the claws and teeth of the lizardmen who waited in ambush in the Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

REVIEW: Doctor Who: Shadow of the Sun – A thought-provoking story recorded during lockdown

Blogtor Who - Tue, 05/12/2020 - 13:00

Doctor Who: Shadow of the Sun, is a triumph over adversity. It is the first full-cast, full-length Doctor Who audio drama by Big Finish to have been recorded entirely during lockdown is out now. But can you even tell? When the UK entered an enforced lockdown towards the end of March 2020, businesses everywhere were […]

The post REVIEW: Doctor Who: Shadow of the Sun – A thought-provoking story recorded during lockdown appeared first on Blogtor Who.

Categories: Doctor Who Feeds

Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell Show Off Their Baking Skills for Doctor Who’s #StayingInTheTARDIS Challenge

Blogtor Who - Tue, 05/12/2020 - 12:32

The official Doctor Who website’s #StayingInTheTARDIS initiative has attracted some famous faces this week, as celebrity couple Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell take part in the Doctor Who cooking challenge! At the end of last month, the official Doctor Who website launched a new page, ‘Staying In The TARDIS‘, which offers new challenges, stories, and […]

The post Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell Show Off Their Baking Skills for Doctor Who’s #StayingInTheTARDIS Challenge appeared first on Blogtor Who.

Categories: Doctor Who Feeds

How Dungeons & Dragons Gained Feats

DM David - Tue, 05/12/2020 - 11:30

At a Dungeons & Dragons game, I overheard a player explain that feat was short for feature.

That’s not right, but I kept quiet for 2 reasons:

  • I don’t want to be the guy who butts into conversations to say, “Well, actually…”

  • I like the feature explanation much better.

Using “feat,” a word for a stunt, as a game term for a character feature or talent bothers my wish for precise terminology. Back in the third-edition days, this word choice annoyed me to such an embarrassing degree that I griped about the misnomer on the Wizards of the Coast D&D boards. That post probably only exists on a backup tape labeled “GLEEMAX” in magic marker.

How did we end up with feats?

Designer Monte Cook explains that feats came from the development of the third edition’s skill system. Two ingredients from D&D’s history contributed to skills.

The designers aimed to combine the two threads. “What we saw was that there were certain skills that we wanted to put into the game, but they were unlike the others because there wasn’t a check involved,” designer Monte Cook explained in an interview. Some of those proficiencies granted an ability to use things like shields, but others unlocked stunts that a character learned to do.

The design team called those stunts “heroic feats. As the game element developed, the team dropped the heroic bit. “Feats opened up a way for us to give cool character powers and abilities that weren’t skills and that weren’t tied to your class.”

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Rogue's Gallery

The Splintered Realm - Tue, 05/12/2020 - 01:55
The text for the first supplement is written. It is an overview of Boondock's Hideaway, which is the 'tavern' of the superhero world, populated by criminals. It's got a very intentional Legion of Doom HQ vibe, but it also has its own things going on. The next step for the book is the creation of a motley assortment of villains who tend to hang out in the Hideaway. I've been trying to come up with unusual, unique villains as I go, but a) that's tough, and b) this may not be the place for that. I almost think that for this supplement, I am better off hewing closer to familiar tropes as I stock the common criminals who linger here. I would like it to feel like a combination of Spidey and Batman's rogue's galleries, giving an assortment of level 1-3 villains to throw into the mix. I like the way that Reputation has been playing into my design work; villains come here to see and to be seen, and reputation is the currency of the place. The more infamous you are, the better access you get, and the more other villains tend to linger in your shadow. None of them are the mastermind sort. Here are my rough outlines for some villains:

- A boomerang or baseball throwing guy- athletic, trick weapons, maybe a utility belt, some gimmick. Boom-A-Rang was alluded to in the core rules, so maybe he can appear here.
- Light suit of battle armor with a bug theme. Killer Cockroach or something like that.
- Fox-themed girl with claws and sneak, and maybe empathy or even charm powers. Foxy Lady seems a little too on the nose.
- Electrical themed minor villain (a la shocker). Surge Projector?
- Green Goblin, Hobgoblin, and Jack O Lantern are my favorite Spiderman enemy trope, so I want something like that. Maybe go headless horseman theme but make the 'horse' a sky cycle of some kind? Throws explosive pumpkins. Carries a sword? I could call him Sleepy Hollow. Meh. Horseman of the Hollow is better....
- Just some basic muscle. A 'light' brick who carries a weapon like a wrecking ball or a crow bar or something like that. Pretty straightforward. I could maybe make three of these and call them the Destruction Crew or something. There is the wrecking crew in Marvel, and this is basically a variation on those guys. Maybe they have some synergy when working together? Like they each get +1 to attacks and damage when within 30' of one other, and each gets +2 when within 30' of both others. That would be something, and adds a little strategy to battles with them.













Charity Bundle at Drivethrug RPG

Bat in the Attic - Tue, 05/12/2020 - 01:38
The situation with Covid-19 virus has effected all of us. Some more than others. As the crisis was developed One Bookshelf sent out an email asking for contribute to a charity bundle. The publishers were given a choice of one of three charities: Doctor without Borders, No Kid Hungry, and World Food Programme.


Kelly Anne, my wife, and I talked it over and went with No Kid Hungry with the Majestic Wilderlands as my contribution.



Each bundle has dozens of titles and for $20 you get a several hundred dollars worth of product. By a strange coincidence, Columbia Games contributed Harnworld to the same bundle. So if you are interested in the Harn by my recent series of post on Harnmaster, you will not only get Harnworld but my Majestic Wilderlands as well.

You see all three bundles at this link.

Hope you can contribute if you can. Stay healthy and stay safe!
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Issued Apology To Erik Tenkar & More Free Castles & Crusades Goodness With The Updated & Expanded Castles & Crusades Crusader's Companion

Swords & Stitchery - Mon, 05/11/2020 - 17:24
So let's start off with an email from Robert Higdon, "Not familiar enough with your Blog to understand why the dig at Tenkar, but he is in the hospital right now with a heart condition, so perhaps he can be excused for not covering the issue."  The 'dig' in question was this; "Apparently I managed to sneak this order  in before the great Lulu controversy of 2020. Evil races not being Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

High School Ministry – May 15th – Youth Events

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Mon, 05/11/2020 - 16:30


This week!

Online Game Show!
May 15th – Friday 7:25 – 9:25pm
Bring another device as we play a game with the grand prize and a McDonalds meal delivered to your door!
CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE ONLINE SERVICE!

Hello Students and Parents!

We are continuing our interactive services and are enjoying time with our students online! I hope you have been able to hear feedback from your kids! We always want to improve!

We meet  Friday HSM Night from 7:25 pm-9:30 pm. This will likely be our new normal for a while. But we are always up for suggestions!

There have been concerns of security over Zoom and I can assure you that the platform is safe for us to use. There are several measures we take to ensure our student’s safety at this time. Please email if you’d like to here the steps we are currently taking!

How do you do join us online? We’ll be hosting a ‘Zoom meeting’. That means, we can play games together, talk and even worship! If you aren’t familiar with ‘Zoom’ it’s simply a video-conferencing application that can do a lot!

Here’s how you prepare for our Interactive Service!
Step 1) Download the ‘Zoom’ app on your device! Here are the links below!

Mac – CLICK HERE
PC – CLICK HERE
Andriod – CLICK HERE
iOS – CLICK HERE

*You don’t have to download the app if you’re on a laptop/desktop, but it’s more robust if you do!*

Step 2) On Friday May 15th @ 7:25pm – click our Zoom Meeting URL

CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE ONLINE SERVICE!

Step 3) Enjoy the service by listening and participating!

Feel free to email Mathew, our Youth Director, if you have any questions.
mathew@churchoftherock.ca

MONTHLY CALENDAR

 
Click here for the church calendar

The post High School Ministry – May 15th – Youth Events appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Threshold Jr – May 11th – Youth Events!

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Mon, 05/11/2020 - 16:27

This week!

Threshold Jr Bible Study!
May 11th – Monday @ 2pm-3pm
These meeting are meant to connect on an additional time then just on Wednesday. They are more laid back but just as fun!
CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE ONLINE SERVICE!

AND


Online Game Show!
May 13th – Wednesday 7 – 9pm
Bring another device so you can play our T-Shirt designer game! The winner of this game gets McDonalds meal delivered to their door that night!
CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE ONLINE SERVICE!

Hello students and parents!

We are continuing our interactive services and are enjoying time with our students online! I hope you have been able to hear feedback from your kids! We always want to improve!

We meet Wednesday Threshold Night from 7:00 pm-9:00 pm. This will likely be our new normal for a while. But we are always up for suggestions!

There have been concerns of security over Zoom and I can assure you that the platform is safe for how our group uses it. There are several measures we take to ensure our student’s safety at this time. Please email if you’d like to here the steps we are currently taking!

How do you do join us online? We’ll be hosting a ‘Zoom meeting’. That means we can play games together, talk and even worship! If you aren’t familiar with ‘Zoom’ it’s simply a video-conferencing application that can do a lot!

Here’s how you prepare for our Interactive Service!
Step 1) Download the ‘Zoom’ app on your device! Here are the links below!

Mac – CLICK HERE
PC – CLICK HERE
Andriod – CLICK HERE
iOS – CLICK HERE

*You don’t have to download the app if you’re on a laptop/desktop, but it’s more robust if you do! You can use your phone, but still works better on laptop.*

Step 2) On May 13th @ 7pm, click our Zoom Meeting URL

CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE ONLINE SERVICE!

Step 3) Enjoy the service by listening and participating!

Feel free to email Mathew, our Youth Director, if you have any questions.
mathew@churchoftherock.ca

MONTHLY CALENDAR

  Click here for this month’s calendar

 

The post Threshold Jr – May 11th – Youth Events! appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Lock and Code S1Ep6: Recognizing facial recognition’s flaws with Chris Boyd

Malwarebytes - Mon, 05/11/2020 - 15:15

This week on Lock and Code, we discuss the top security headlines generated right here on Labs and around the Internet. In addition, we talk to Chris Boyd, lead malware intelligence analyst at Malwarebytes, about facial recognition technology—its early history, its proven failures at accuracy, and whether improving the technology would actually be “good” for society.

Tune in for all this and more on the latest episode of Lock and Code, with host David Ruiz.

You can also find us on the Apple iTunes store, on Google Play Music, plus whatever preferred podcast platform you use.

We cover our own research on: Plus other cybersecurity news:

Stay safe, everyone!

The post Lock and Code S1Ep6: Recognizing facial recognition’s flaws with Chris Boyd appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Categories: Techie Feeds

Finding a Woman of Noble Character

Just Call Me Pastor - Mon, 05/11/2020 - 11:00

As Mother’s Day passes I think of Kathleen, my wife of 72 years, my daughter Carolyn, daughters-in-law June and Jan, and the younger mothers in the family seeking to follow in their train. I pay them all tribute with these words of wisdom from the passage behind this week’s blog.

Proverbs 31:10-31: Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all (verses 28-29).

This chapter is entitled in the New International Version “The Wife of Noble Character.” It is cast in the form of Hebrew poetry and is lodged in the ancient wisdom literature of the Bible.

There is nothing in this poem about faith or salvation or the life to come. Only once “the fear of the Lord” is mentioned. There is not even a word about romance. It focuses instead on the character and traits of the many noble women who are out there to be sought out.

Proverbs 31 was written well over two thousand years ago and yet appears to extol what I taught my children to look for in their life partners, whether husband or wife — strengths of head, heart, and hand. That is, look for someone who has a thoughtful grasp on life, who at the same time has deep moral and relational principles, and who is energetic and not afraid of hard work.

And in the case of this passage, when she is found she will bring blessings on her husband and family in their work and relationships. (The same could be said for seeking out a husband of noble character.)

I have read this wisdom poem many times across a lifetime, but my most recent reading left me at first perplexed: Where is the young woman who meets all these qualifications: She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family … (15). She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard (16). She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue (26). And so on. The demands on her are overwhelming. Can such specific qualifications be met?

But looking deeper into these many fine qualities sheds more light. I look more clearly and see that the issue is not the specific actions but the traits they represent: she is to be energetic, wise, resourceful, noble, and so forth. She has much to bring to a marriage, family, the work world, and society: When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet (21).

The composer of this wisdom poem closes with a knife-sharp cautionary word plus a generous commendation.

The knife-sharp warning: Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting (30a). That is, as enticing as charm or beauty may be, don’t let them be primary goals in your search. Look rather for the deeper strengths of head, heart, and hand. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue (26).

The poet’s commendation follows: But a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised (30b). Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate (31). And don’t overlook the central requirement that she have a heart that fears the Lord.

Photo credit: Vaughan Leiberum (via flickr.com)

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Bring Me Her Bones

Ten Foot Pole - Mon, 05/11/2020 - 11:00
By Dirk Detweiler Leichty Games Omnivorous OSR

Young king Agenor, for peace and wealth, sold his soul to the Green Sun – and such has been delivered for sixty-six years. Now old and fearing the far hells, the king has turned his worship to the BEAST, purchasing extended life with gruesome sacrifices. The BEAST, still hungry, and seeing the beauty of the king’s daughter Europa, became infatuated, saying “bring me her bones, which I will devout, and she will be my wife,” and promised in return that the king would never die. But the princess could not be found …

This 56 pag digest-sized art-punk thing is probably not an adventure, but rather a genre-neutral city setting with a meta-plot going on that the party can experience while going about their normal fucked-live schemes being schemed. Or, maybe, you can play it like a indie-rpg thing, with this being the adventure/ Who knows. Well, i do. It’s not a fucking adventure. It’s a fucking setting. Which is ok, I like settings, especially city-settings. But not when I think I’m buying an adventure.

This is system-neutral. There are not really stats and things are described in such a way that the city could be used in just about any setting. As long as you can have an Monaco-like city with a king and are ok with a couple of mythical elements, like a devil and maybe an elemental spirit, then you can use this in anything from modern-day New York (a super power CEO? The Mayor?) to sci-fi principalities to CoC to fantasy. The fantastic elements are not really forward and a lot is open to interpretation. A religious sect, collecting tithes aggressively? Ok; pretty genre-neutral. A coven? Ok, could be real could be fake. There ARE fantastic elements, the king has sold his soul at least twice to two different beings and  some nature spirits make minor appearances, as well an esoteric wishing well or two. But it’s not in your face. The veil has not yet been torn aside and the world, as you know it, is still how you know yet … until you start to probe the surface …

There are ten random-ish things that can happen, each a page, and each with some variation. These are controlled by a die drop astrology chart that handles seasons and phases of the moon and constellations in the sky, etc. Yes, seasons. With encouragement to keep track of days so seasons can change, and guidelines on the party being able to perform four “actions” per day. You can see how this could play out in both an indie-rpg like game and also as a backdrop setting for a larger RPG games. It’s a die drop table for rando stuff with the word “ASTROLOGY” plastered above the top. 

There are twenty locations on the “map.” And by “map” I mean “typical art-punk art piece that calls itself a fucking map BUT DOESN”T HAVE FUCKING KEYS ON IT. Instead it has little pictures of buildings. You get to flip through the little book until you find the little picture. Or, search the map for the little picture of the place you want. Fuuuuuuuuucccccck You! Someone made the decision to not dirty the map with a key. WRONG. FUCKING. DECiSION. And, this is where art punk gets its bad rap from.

The adventuring environment, though, is a good one. King Asshat sold his soul to someone. Then he sold it again to #2 “the blue eyed prince”, in exchange for his daughter. Who has run away and is in hiding in the city. He, his family, and his guards look for her, along with a lot of other people. There are cults to the two entities, weirdo other things, the princess showing up as a jockey at the horseraces, and other things. There’s a FUCK TON going on.

In what way, you might ask? One of the first tables in the book is “A place to stay”, describing your lodging, rent due at the start of each month. Your landlord: 1) More like slumlord. 2) Over-nurturing aunt. 3) Debauched partied. 4) Spuy for the king 5) Devout christian. 6) Royal guard sergeant.   That sets the tone for the book Things you can work. Three words, each, and yet NPC’s so packed with flavor. This is what every NPC in every game should be described like, something you can hang your fucking hat on. Who the fuck cares how much rent it, or that fish soup is the special, or frank moved to town 26 years ago. “Over-nurturing aunt” … that’s something I can fucking work with at the table! Something I can play with, and build upon. That’s what a fucking NPC description should be!

And a lot of the encounters, locations, and the random building generator is like that. It gives you, in a quick brief hit, something to build on. Not specifics, not detail. No, eait, yes, detail and specifics, but not overly explained. Instead something evocative and short that you can riff on. Something that you can integrate in the ongoing situation easily. A principal or idea, but one terse and full of flavour .Really well done. 

So, not an adventure. And maybe not even a city setting. More like a meta-plot for a city, with some key figures and locations to spice up your own city. And it’s FUCKING GREAT as that. But, not an adventure. This could be an interesting type of product, meta-things to weave in to your existing campaign, city, location, etc. No rating, because it’s not an adventure, but it is something I’ll keep and weave in to my home campaign city, immediately.

This is $10 at DriveThru. The preview is three pages. Page “3” of the text has that landlord chart and a brief overview, but the rest of it is the astro-chart stuff. A pretty piss poor preview. I’d have liked to have seen a page with the NPC/wanderer encounter and/or a location encounter so people could know what to expect. 

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/303426/Bring-me-her-bones?1892600

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Weird Revisited: The Hidden Country Setting

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 05/11/2020 - 11:00

A significant number of works of fantasy take place in some sort of lost or hidden realm within the real world: Oz (at times), Neverwhere, Pellucidar, the Savage Land, Fraggle Rock, Hogwarts, and some versions of fairyland are all around here somewhere. This sort of setting doesn't seem to have been often used in fantasy rpgs, at least outside of modern/urban fantasy.

There are probably reasons for this. The Medieval(ish) nature of most fantasy gaming suggests a historical(ish) setting. The scale of most rpg settings would preclude them being tucked away in some corner of Earth. Perhaps there's also a fear with the modern world close by it would be too easy for it to intrude.

These seem to me to be only relative contraindications. Most gamers (at least of the old school variety) are comfortable with plenty of science fictional or science fantasy elements that violate the pseudo-historical milieu  The scale may be sort of a problem (though Burroughs never let that stop him in Tarzan's Africa--and a Hollow Earth could have plenty of space) and a smaller scale setting isn't necessarily a bad thing.

This sort of setting opens up some new elements: Lost-like underground bases complete with enigmatic video instructions, modern world epherma as treasure, secret societies working in both "worlds." Pretty interesting stuff, I think, with a lot of potential.

Best Review Ever! NIGHT STALKER HC

First Comics News - Mon, 05/11/2020 - 07:01

TITLE: NIGHT STALKER Volume 1
PUBLISHER: 1First Comics
WRITER: Orlando Harding
ILLUSTRATOR: David R. Miller, Jr.
COLORS: Paul Little and Steve Cobb
LETTERS: Kel Nuttall
EDITOR: Ken F. Levin
COVER: John Gallagher
PRICE: $19.99
RATING:
WEBSITE: 1firstcomics.com
SUMMARY: The very worst that Hell has to offer have escaped the depths and are now in hiding and posing as human beings on Earth. Dyana, the most vicious and insidious bounty hunter known has been charged to served absconder warrants. She must stalk, capture, and drag each creature back to the depths while simultaneously batting the forces of light.
COMMENTS: Dyana is a kickass, supernatural bounty hunter charged with traveling through time to bring in escapees from Hell. It’s a fun story.  If you like Spawn, this is kind of a female version of Spawn. When you read the story you can tell this was a series of single stories put together for the hardcover. Each story is individual and they do not connect to one another. It is not a bad thing, but it is noticeable that it is not one complete story. The slave girl time travel section was too brief as was the future section. I also didn’t understand why Dyana had the laptop from Hell and then the denizens of Hell didn’t want to use it to communicate with her. Also, why are there rats at lunch all the time?  Having said all that, Dyana was a real badass bitch who fills the pages with some stunning action. She rides a giant spider, has a creepy demon sidekick, and sends creatures to Hell! It’s good for fans of Spawn, Lady Death, and Tarot. More PG-13 than Lady Death, and Tarot but still similar in style.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

1399

Looking For Group - Mon, 05/11/2020 - 04:00

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Categories: Web Comics

MONEY IN THE BANK results

First Comics News - Mon, 05/11/2020 - 01:48
MONEY IN THE BANK KICKOFF SHOW

Jeff Hardy def. Cesaro

MONEY IN THE BANK

Fatal 4-Way Match: SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match

The New Day (c) def. The Miz & John Morrison, The Forgotten Sons, and Lucha House Party

MVP Bobby Lashley def. R-Truth

SmackDown Women’s Championship Match

Bayley (c) def. Tamina

WWE Universal Championship Match

Braun Strowman (c) def. Bray Wyatt

WWE Championship Match

Drew McIntyre (c) def. Seth Rollins

Money in the Bank Ladder Match from WWE Headquarters

Asuka def. Lacey, Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler, and Dana Brooke

Money in the Bank Ladder Match from WWE Headquarters

Otis def AJ Styles, Rey Mysterio, Daniel Bryan, Baron Corbin, and Aleister Black

 

 

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

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