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Simple Home Basket

Moogly - Fri, 02/08/2019 - 15:55

The Simple Home Basket is big, sturdy, and perfect in any room of the home! Pick out the two colors of Red Heart Sweet Home that fit your decor and whip one up with this free crochet basket pattern on Moogly! Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links; materials provided by Red Heart, Brittany, Marvy Uchida, [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life


First Comics News - Fri, 02/08/2019 - 15:35

Archie Comics Publications is expanding its film and television operations with ARCHIE COMICS STUDIOS
Archie Comics Studios starts off by hiring Siobhan Bachman, SVP of Film & Television, and Matthew Lottman, Head of Development & Production.

“There has never been a more important time for Archie Comics as a brand or as a multimedia company, with the success of Riverdale, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and the upcoming Katy Keene pilot,” said publisher/executive producer Jon Goldwater. “With that in mind, and with an eye toward shepherding the company’s vast, diverse and beloved library into television and film, I felt it was essential to bring in some of the best and brightest talents the industry had to offer. Like our publishing division, Archie Comics Studios will be daring, creative and energized in our efforts to spotlight new takes on these amazing characters and worlds.”

Siobhan Bachman

Siobhan Bachman said “As a Brit, it’s a real thrill to be diving into the history of American comics and helping turn them into the future of American television,” Bachman said. “I’m very excited to be working on both existing, much-loved Archie titles and original projects that continue the superb storytelling and beautiful craftsmanship of Sabrina and Riverdale.”

Matthew Lottman

Matthew Lottman said “I am so grateful to Jon and the rest of the Archie Comics family for this incredible opportunity,” Lottman said. “As a lifetime lover of milkshakes and hamburgers, I’ve always felt a kinship to the Archie gang. I am very excited to work with this team to bring the iconic Archie/Dark Circle characters to life on TV and in film.”

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Games I Thought About Running, But Then G+ Was Going Away

Sorcerer's Skull - Fri, 02/08/2019 - 14:02
Okay, it's highly likely, indeed probable, that I wouldn't have run any of these games regardless, but I did think about it. And then I thought about the impending doom of Google Plus. They are presented roughly in chronological order of conception:

Wild Wild West: Old West spy-fi like the 60s TV show. Well, inspired by the TV show, maybe with a bit more of a SHIELD type organization and the sort of villains that occasionally showed up in Marvel Western comics. I thought about using the much-maligned TSR Indiana Jones game for it.

Something Superhero: This was a less formed idea, but I had had a couple of ideas, one of which was running it in the world of the Armchair Planet Who's Who.

Vancian Talislanta: The works of Jack Vance were a huge influence on Talislanta, and the native system has its charm, but I thought it might be fun to give the first edition of the Dying Earth rpg a whirl at the more heroic Turjan level. Tweaking Talislanta to be a land of verbose rogues is probably only a slight shift, but a flavorful one.

Solar Trek: What started out as a thought experiment of a hard science fiction leaning version of Star Trek set within our Solar System got me sort of interested in seeing how that might actually come out in play.

Comic Strip/Serial Star Wars: Coming out of Solar Trek discussions was an idea for a "back to the roots" Star Wars, shorn of the 70s, and exhibiting its full Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon whiz bang glory. I suppose it has a stronger version of the old Star Wars problem: If you play the main characters the story is sort of known, but if you play other people in the universe, how do you keep them from being overshadowed, and in this case, how do you keep it seeming Star Wars like rather than just some pulp space thing.

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 02/08/2019 - 13:54


My Favourite Articles and Links This Week This woman ran 19 miles of a marathon carrying a lost puppy. I love this idea of a depth year, what do you think? 7 signs you aren’t drinking enough water. I’ve heard a lot about the Pixar animated short film, Purl. Then I watched it and was

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

On the Top Ten Tactics for Hostile Dungeons

Hack & Slash - Fri, 02/08/2019 - 13:00
10. Lard/Grease: Whether a squeaky door, a greased staircase before a fight, or assisting with opening rusty and old latches, having some lard and grease is always useful.
9. Tiny birds: A lot of times, you'd like to see what would happen if someone went somewhere, only you don't trust it enough to go. With this small sack of birds, you can check for traps, trade to people for passage, notice if the air is toxic, or even distract unintelligent opponents. Taking them along extends your life, at the expense of theirs.
8. Paying attention: At its core, Dungeons & Dragons is about exploring a resonant fantasy realm filled with archetypal representations. This process is handled by conversation using the socratic method. You ask questions, the Dungeon Master gives answers, yeah? If you're not asking questions or listening, you're watching your friends play Dungeons and Dragons. When you all jump in and work together, it raises the experience for all involved.
7. Gloves & Helmet: If you don't have to touch something with your bare hands, don't. Don't press parts of your body (like ears or eyes) against things. You call people that don't wear covers corpses. Get a hat, preferably one made out of metal that lets you see in the dark, grants telepathy, or makes you smart or something. There very well might be treasure in the garbage or latrine, there almost certainly is, but you don't want to go in there yourself.
6. Equipment shenanigans. Casting a light spell on a shield lets you see opponents and plays havoc with enemy archers. Buy a metal sectioned pole, so you can attach a hook, vary length, and carry one in cramped quarters. Collect potions and scrolls and don't hesitate to use them, there's always more magic to find.
5. Hammer & Piton: It holds doors both closed AND open. It draws a lot of attention. It allows you to attach rope to things. They solve problems.
4. Torchbearers & Porters: Yes it's difficult to convince them to head into dangerous territories, but when there are a lot of things that need to be done, having a man or two around who can do them is helpful. Purchase them brightly colored festive outfits. Give them nets and poles to trip up enemies, ball bearings, oil, caltrops and other things they can throw. They can pull people to safety and best of all, they draw archer fire. People don't get into this vocation because they want a safe workplace.
3. Elves & Dwarves: Everyone loves their half-demon, half-cat, half-turtle, kenku-whatever sub race, but facts remain. You want an elf for secret door detection and a dwarf for detecting stonework traps and sliding doors. Often they can see in the dark. If you don't have one in your party, hire one in town as a buddy.
2. Oil: You don't want to need it and not have it. If you want to be sure something is dead, burn it to ash.
1. Ten-Foot Pole: You will want to touch things and not be near them. Trust me.

I hope you explore some fun dungeons this weekend!

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Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

"The Gospel of Combat"

Aikido News - Fri, 02/08/2019 - 10:18
"The Gospel of Combat"
From: Jun Akiyama posted on 8. Feb 2019, 10:18am
URL: http://https://www.gospelofcombat.com

From their website: The Gospel of Combat is a 30 minute documentary about an East African martial artist’s journey toward self-understanding through Aikido and Karate. The film follows Benedict “Sensei Ben” Kiyaga, a freelance martial arts instructor, as he ekes a living from a handful of private classes. Along the way, Sensei Ben reflects on the application of martial art as spiritual practice, and shares how it has helped him make sense of his multicultural identity amid pervasive tribal conflict. The movie is slated to screen in Los Angeles, CA and Sedona, AZ in February, 2019.

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  • Categories: Aikido

    Zenko Okimura in Newark, DE, Feb 23, 2019

    Aikido News - Fri, 02/08/2019 - 10:17
    Zenko Okimura in Newark, DE, Feb 23, 2019
    From: Birte Feld posted on 8. Feb 2019, 10:17am
    URL: http://www.aikidoda.org

    Aikido Delaware Aikikai Winter Seminar Aikido Delaware Aikikai will be holding their annual winter seminar under the leadership of WAAI Founder, Chairman, and Chief Instructor Rev. Zenko Okimura Shihan on February 23rd. On this cold winter day, stimulate your mind, exercise your body and warm up your heart with Aikido. The seminar will conclude with a potluck get together where you can socialize and meet new friends. Where: Aikido Delaware Aikikai, WAAI Headquarters, 667 Dawson Drive, Ste. A, Newark, DE 19713 When: Saturday, February 23rd 8.30 am to 4.30 pm (followed by potluck dinner) Adults: $65, Aikido Kids: free from 11am to 12pm. All are welcome! For more information visit www.AikidoDA.org or call 302-369-AIKI (2454).

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  • Categories: Aikido

    “Justice League vs. The Fatal Five” Coming Soon

    First Comics News - Fri, 02/08/2019 - 00:58

    The fate of the planet rests on the shoulders of a reluctant Green Lantern and an unstable hero from the future in Justice League vs. The Fatal Five, the next entry in the popular series of DC Universe Movies. Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC, the feature-length animated film arrives from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Digital starting March 30, 2019, and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack and Blu-ray Combo Pack on April 16, 2019.

    Justice League vs. The Fatal Five finds the Earth’s future hanging in the balance when the Justice League faces a powerful new threat – the Fatal Five. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman seek answers as the time-traveling trio of Mano, Persuader and Tharok terrorize Metropolis in search of budding Green Lantern, Jessica Cruz – whom they need to free remaining Fatal Five members Emerald Empress and Validus in order to carry out their sinister plan.  But the Justice League discover an ally from another time in the peculiar Star Boy – brimming with volatile power, could he be the key to thwarting the Fatal Five? An epic battle against ultimate evil awaits!

    The Justice League vs. The Fatal Five all-star cast is led by Elyes Gabel (Scorpion, Game of Thrones) as Thomas Kallor/Star Boy and Diane Guerrero (Orange is the New Black, Jane the Virgin, DC Universe’s upcoming Doom Patrol) as Jessica Cruz/Green Lantern. Reprising their Justice League/Justice League Unlimited roles as Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman, respectively, are Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series, Batman: The Killing Joke), Susan Eisenberg (Injustice 2, LEGO DC Super Heroes – Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis) and George Newbern (Superman vs. The Elite, Scandal). Providing the voices of the villainous Fatal Five are Peter Jessop (Mass Effect, Fallout 4, Resident Evil) as Tharok, Matthew Yang King (Batman Ninja, Supah Ninjas) as The Persuader, Sumalee Montano (S.W.A.T., This Is Us) as Emerald Empress, and Philip Anthony Rodriguez (Grimm, The Secret Life of the American Teenager) as Mano.

    Other members of the voice cast include Daniela Bobadilla (Anger Management, The Middle) as Miss Martian, Kevin Michael Richardson (Family Guy, The Simpsons) as Mr. Terrific, Noel Fisher (Shameless, Castle Rock) as Brainiac 5, Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke, Teen Titans, Teen Titans Go!) as Saturn Girl, and Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants) as Bloodsport.

    Justice League vs. The Fatal Five is an important addition to the DC Universe Movies, spotlighting two unlikely young heroes with real-world issues facing off against a daunting quintet of futuristic villains,” said Mary Ellen Thomas, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Vice President, Family & Animation Marketing.  “We’re also are proud to have Kevin Conroy, Susan Eisenberg and George Newbern reprising their seminal roles as DC’s Trinity in the Justice League & Justice League Unlimited animated series, and believe the fans will be equally pleased with their return to these characters.”

    Justice League vs. The Fatal Five will be available on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack ($39.99 SRP) and Blu-ray Combo Pack ($24.98 SRP) as well as on Digital ($19.99 HD, $14.99 SD). The 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc in 4K with HDR and a Blu-ray disc featuring the film; the Blu-ray Combo Pack features the film in hi-definition. The 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Combo Pack include a digital version of the film.


    Categories: Comic Book Blogs

    SPILLING INK: What does Wattpad Books mean for Indie Authors?

    First Comics News - Thu, 02/07/2019 - 23:08

    With approximately 70 million unique monthly visitors, the digital literature /social networking website Wattpad is a massive focus group for original storytelling for the millennial generation.

    For authors, participating on Wattpad can have many benefits. It is a way to build an audience directly on a reading social network. Harkening back to the turn of the 19th century the draw of Wattpad’s social reading platform allows authors to serialize a story, drip-feeding chapter to readers who then have the opportunity to devour and comment on what they have read. This beta-reader like experience is chock full of the feedback authors need to revise their story to further develop and deepen plots and characters. The element of continual engagement with the reading audience also serves to develop that much needed platform and fan base the author needs no matter which path they choose in publishing.

    On the surface, it sounds like a perfect storm, but Wattpad is not without its drawbacks. Wattpad is home to many aspiring authors, all of them trying to stand out amongst millions of others doing the exact same thing.


    Like with the traditional model of publishing, there is a slush pile to be waded through to find the hidden gems. It’s the thing that authors hate most about getting published. Well, in the case of Wattpad, the slush pile is not on some agent’s desk, it’s out there for all to see in the digital realm. And rising to the top is no easy feat. The time an author must take in marketing their free book to read on Wattpad is equal to the time the same author would put in trying to attract and agent or self-publishing and marketing that book for sale in the public marketplace.

    This is not to say Wattpad is a bad choice, it merely another choice in the uphill battle an author faces in getting any recognition for their work.

    That said, Wattpad does have some major credits to its name. Wattpad Studios, has made headlines over the past year for its film and TV projects as well, with Netflix Original teen romantic comedy The Kissing Booth and Hulu show Light as a Feather as examples of their success.

    After finding initial success with its film and Tv adaptation division Wattpad Studios, Wattpad has decided to launch a new publishing division called, (what else?) Wattpad Books.

    The company has already picked six debut stories to bring to print in 2019, with the help of its special form of AI the Story DNA Machine Learning technology.

    “Wattpad Books is equal parts art and science, and our human content and editorial experts are just as important for everything we do at Wattpad Books,” says Ashleigh Gardner, the Deputy General Manager at Wattpad Studios, Publishing.

    Story DNA AI deconstructs stories into their elemental features while also looking at multiple data points of audience engagement for each of its story submissions. After all that data is compiled a human team of Wattpad staffers will read each selected story to decide what gets published.

    All Wattpad Books titles will be available at retailers across North America, using Macmillan as its U.S. distributor and RaincoastBooks as its Canadian distributor.

    At least one of those names should sound familiar to you.

    This isn’t Macmillan’s first foray into crowd sourcing for the next break out book. The publishing giant operates Swoon Reads through its YA imprint Feiwel and Friends. Similar to Wattpad in its platform base, writers submit manuscripts directly to the publisher, and readers rate, comment, and vote on the submissions. Through this crowdsourcing platform Swoon Reads releases between 20 and 30 titles a year in various formats: ebook, softcover, & hardcover.

    Some of you may remember Pronoun (Originally launched in 2009 as Vook), another initially popular self-publishing platform acquired by Macmillanin 2016. When the publishing giant took hold of the company it had been touted as a sort of feeder platform, allowing the more popular indie published books a chance of being seen or fast tracked into the traditional realm if sales proved there was a viable interest. However, January 2018 Macmillan closed Pronoun, after only 18 months stating the closure was due to its lack of profitability. One of Pronouns draws in the indie publishing realm was its generous royalty structure offering authors the highest payouts across any platform.

    Macmillan’s history in partnering with platforms that allow indie authors a sort of back door into traditional publishing can be seen as a positive for this new Wattpad Books venture giving independent authors yet another avenue into the traditional sphere, if they so desire, that circumvents the standard query and rejection circuit that, let’s face it, sometimes sucks the life out of being an author.

    Only time will tell, but for now, I’ll be watching to see what happens with these new title from Wattpad Books as they are published later this year.


    Categories: Comic Book Blogs

    New OSR Faction: The Kelosinel Or The Mirage Ones From Daggho For Your Old School Super Science or Planar Campaigns

    Swords & Stitchery - Thu, 02/07/2019 - 20:40
    "Having thanked the orchid-crowned High-Priest, Carter left the temple and sought out the bazaar of the sheep-butchers, where the old chief of Celephaïs' cats dwelt sleek and contented. That grey and dignified being was sunning himself on the onyx pavement, and extended a languid paw as his caller approached. But when Carter repeated the passwords and introductions furnished him by the old catNeedleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs


    First Comics News - Thu, 02/07/2019 - 17:13

    The Eight Time Eisner Award-Winning Series is Back with Both Bark and Bite

    MILWAUKIE, Ore., (February 7, 2019)— Welcome back to Burden Hill, where the only things stranger than its guardians are the things they protect it from. Evan Dorkin (Calla Cthulhu, Dork, Blackwood) and Jill Thompson (Fables, Scary Godmother) are back once again with a thrilling new installment in the Beast of Burden saga.

    Beasts of Burden: The Presence of Others follows the eponymous team of paranormal investigator pets as they investigate the weird happenings of Burden Hill. While poking around the neighborhood, an encroaching team of human occult investigators unwittingly disturb the graveyard where the mysterious “Master” lies. What kind of unforeseen consequences await our intrepid detectives?

    Beasts of Burden: The Presence of Others Part One (of two) goes on sale May 1, 2019, and is available for pre-order at your local comic shop. Be sure to catch up on the series by checking out the Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites TPB on sale now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, TFAW, and your local comic book shop, as well as Beasts of Burden: Wise Dogs and Eldritch Men HC on sale March 20, 2019, also available for pre-order at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, TFAW, and your local comic book shop.

    Categories: Comic Book Blogs


    First Comics News - Thu, 02/07/2019 - 17:03

    TidalWave Comics applauded for illustrated biographies featuring the famous and infamous who influence our politics, entertainment, and social justice, is proud to present its newest comic book release this week. Telling the life story of a world-renowned physicist, cosmologist, and author Stephen Hawking, “Tribute: Stephen Hawking,” is written by Michael Lent, Brian McCarthy and Michael Frizell with art by Zach Bassett. The comic book features a cover by famed artist Robert Aragon.

    “Tribute: Stephen Hawking” is out this week in print and digital.  With the passing of English cosmologist, theoretical physicist, and author, the world has lost one of the greatest scientific minds of the 20th and 21st Centuries. Hawking united the general theory of relativity with quantum mechanics but may be more known for his rare, early-onset and slow-progressing battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Hawking believed in the concept of an infinite multiverse. Perhaps he’s watching us mourn his loss.

    Stephen Hawking is one of the most brilliant minds of this century. The comic explores his brilliance while revealing some surprises.

    Hawking’s life has been the subject of several movies, including the 2014 hit, “The Theory of Everything” starring Eddy Redmayne, who received an Oscar and a Golden Globe for his performance as the scientist dealing with an early-onset slow-progressing form of Lou Gehrig’s disease. The comic seeks to add to Hawking’s story.

    “I learned a lot from reading the script and doing the research for the issue.  The very concept of making an engaging comic book where the protagonist is essentially immobile is a pretty tall order, but I think the key to us keeping it exciting was being able to get inside his mind (one of the greatest of our time) and show some of his most abstract concepts in a visual and dynamic way,” said artist Bassett.

    Darren G. Davis, publisher and creative force behind TidalWave, believes as Bassett does that the visual storytelling model is a good way to tell the stories of real people. “I was a reluctant reader when I was a kid. The colorful pages and interesting narrative I found in comic books drew me in and made me want to read.” In a market crowded with superheroes, the publisher’s work is embraced by major media outlets, libraries, and schools.

    Michael Frizell, one of TidalWave’s writers and the author of the Bettie Page comic, enjoys writing for TidalWave’s biography lines Political Power, Orbit, Female Force, Tribute, and Fame because of the publisher’s approach to the books. “Darren asks us to focus on the positive and to dig deep to explore the things that make the subject tick – the things that drive them,” Frizell said.

    In print on Amazon and are available on your e-reader from iTunes, Kindle, Nook, ComiXology, DriveThru Comics, Google Play, Overdrive, IVerse, Biblioboard, Madefire, Axis360, Blio, Entitle, EPIC!, Trajectory, SpinWhiz, Smash Words, Kobo and wherever eBooks are sold.

    TidalWave’s recent partnership with Ingram allows them to produce high-quality books on demand – a boon for the independent publisher. The comic book will feature a heavy-stock cover and bright, clean colors in the interior. Ingram works across the full publishing spectrum, aiding some of the largest names in the business to local indie authors.

    Comic book and bookstores can order these titles in print at INGRAM.

    TidalWave’s biography comic book series has been embraced by the media and featured on television news outlets including The Today Show and on CNN. The series has also been featured in many publications such as The Los Angeles Times, MTV, Time Magazine, and People Magazine.

    Categories: Comic Book Blogs


    First Comics News - Thu, 02/07/2019 - 16:56

    Portalbound caught my eye when I looked in my previews last year.  I wanted to read something that was a little light mood but also very fun and entertaining, which in a lot of ways fits a lot of what Aspen Comics does.  Aspen always manages to create very beautiful books that stand out whenever you see them in your local comic shop. Personally, I think their Young Adult action line is where they showcase some of their best work.  Portalbound is an excellent example of my theory.




    Publisher: Aspen Comics

    Story: Mark Roslan and Gabe Carrasco

    Pencils and Digital Inks: Alex Arizmendi

    Colors: Wes Hartman

    Lettering: Zen

    Portalbound was a six-issue miniseries that had the unique premise of two planets, and their people being parallel versions of themselves.  The series focuses on two characters that share that link. One is Sybil, warrior princess of Havos, and the other is high school kid Elias Rivera.

    The story begins in issue zero on Havos where Sybil has to escape the clutches of her father, Emperor Atilus, who has fallen under the influence of the “Other” – his linked counterpart on earth. Sybil manages to escape thanks to Riley, a young genius who has mastered portal technology to send Sybil to Earth.  On earth, her counterpart Eli, with the encouragement of his buddy Brett, tries to muster up the courage to ask a girl out. When Eli attempts to go for it, his courage fails him.

    Issue one follows Sybil as she arrives on earth, and trouble follows behind her.  Sybil and Eli manage to meet and end up merging with each other at a concert.  They manage to overcome the invading masses and the local authorities and establish a bit of an uneasy truce. Though they share the same soul, they are very different people.

    Issue two has Eli, Sybil and Brett go back into Havos to meet Riley.  That scene, in particular, highlighted Elis’ strength and wit.  There they run into some of Atilus’ soldiers, including a fighter named Omeil, who manages to thwart Sybil while Eli watches in fear.  Just as it seems all is lost, it turns out that Brett and Omeil are each other’s alternates.  This issue did a really good job of establishing Eli’s key flaws.  In Eli’s case, it’s his cowardice and inability to act under pressure.  The comic also manages to give the main characters a little animosity, which I thought was awesome.  We all have parts of ourselves that we despise.  In confronting each other and merging with each other, both characters were all too aware of how alike they were, in spite of them admitting to the contrary.

    After the group manages to escape back to earth in issue three, Riley tells the tale of how she and her mentor Dr. Horuk discovered the twin world theory in a more innocent time.  We see Atticus seem much happier and more benign.  Shifting to the present day, we kearb a lot about Atticus’ plan to merge the worlds together. It is also discovered that when one person on one world dies, the counterpart on the other world dies as well.  Eli’s uncle is reported dead of a heart attack as a result of Atticus murdering Horuk in issue one. At this point, however, Sybil and Eli’s animosity comes to a boil. This results in Sybil heading back to Havos to save her mother on her own, as she sabotages Eli and company’s ability to follow her.

    Issue four is when all seems lost. Sybil’s backstory opens up the issue in which we find that she has had this sense of isolation ever since she was little.  She always felt alone and has this belief that she has to do everything on her own. Meanwhile, Eli and company manages to find a way back to Havos, and here is when all seems to be lost. Brett is forced to merge with Omeil, who then captures Riley and enables Atticus to use her to open up the portals en masse on earth.  As for Sybil’s rescue attempt, that too fails as it turns out her mom knows a lot more than she let on and then captures Sybil.  Eli is forced to try and save the worlds on his own and finds his fear makes him helpless.  All seems lost as the portals open and Atticus attacks.

    In issue five, Eli manages to find the will to overcome his fear and manages to rescue Sybil.  Each of them has learned from the other and launch into an all-out assault against Atticus. They eventually with the help of Omeil overcome the evil king, and it is here that the last surprise is revealed.  Eli’s father is the other mentioned in issue zero and is the malicious force behind everything.  With Atticus and Eli’s father no longer merged, Sybil makes the ultimate choice, and the war is over.  The epilogue of the episode features the group resuming life back to normal on both planets, with both worlds having clues that maybe, this was only the beginning.

    Mark Roslan and Gabe Carrasco constructed a very solid story.  The beats were, by and large, spot on.  Lots of clever things were done with the dialogue to really tell the story of Sybil and Eli’s connection.  Alex Arizmandi really went to town with the designs of Havos.  It was alien, psychedelic, and yet strangely familiar.  Wes Hartman cleverly used his coloring to depict the differences between both worlds, but I have to think that Zen had a blast with all the different kind of lettering.  The design of this book gives this book its tone and feel.  The overall package feels very kinetic and in spite of some of the darker passages, light-hearted.  Well done.


    Behind the Story

    PORTAL BOUND as told by co-writer Mark Roslan

    It wasn’t the main focus of the story, but I was daydreaming of: What if I went down a different path in life? If I went to a different school or got a different job or didn’t move to California and my life panned out a different way. Portal Bound was created with the initial thought of What if you visited yourself on an alternate Earth, and that alternate version was WAAAAY cooler than you? The story began with that concept but it changed over the course of molding the story. Essentially the main character, Elias, finds his alternate on another Earth and it’s a girl named Sybil. She is confident and a great warrior, everything he is not. Elias is coming of age. He’s at a critical time in life where he is turning into the person he’s going to be. We built a whole new world, Havos, this alternate Earth, and fit in as much as we possibly could in this story while still having it be Elias’ journey. What makes Portal Bound kind of unique is that you can easily say Sybil IS Elias as well. So her journey is just as important. Both characters are essentially the same soul. They both start at one end of the personality spectrum and learn and come out closer towards their respective self. Elias becomes braver and “cooler,” while Sybil opens up, becomes more susceptible for help and an overall kinder person.

    I pitched the story to Aspen Comics and they thought it was very interesting and unique with a great emotional core. I was doing multiple drafts of the outline and had these holes that I couldn’t figure out. Gabe Carrasco was answering all my problems with ease and brought some new ideas that worked in perfectly. With all his contributions, it was a no-brainer to add him onto the book as a co-writer. The story came together way more smoothly. Plus, with juggling two worlds and two main protagonists, it just made sense to have two writers.



    Portalbound is a very engaging young adult book.  The characters are likable, and it’s the start of hopefully a great epic.  Hopefully, it won’t be too long before we see volume two.


    The Business

    So much to talk about.  I’ve had a very busy start of the year since the holidays.  First off, my Patreon Page launches March 1st.  Just Joshing has been a growing podcast and I’m anxious to see where this and my other projects go from here.  Speaking of the podcast, this week I’m looking at the profession of bookbinding and book restoration.  Omair Hyder and David Sidjak are my current guests.  Next week book restorer and author Robert Angus concludes this series.  My first sponsor is Words and Pictures comics. I’ll be giving away graphic novels on the podcast starting in March.

    That’s not all. My next book, Alice Zero, will be coming out in March as well.  Next column I’ll be able to give you a release date and the ability to order the book on Amazon and other platforms.  I’m really excited for this.  Also, I’ll be a professional at a convention for the first time, heading to Emerald City Comic Con.  I can’t wait to meet and interview some of the people there and get my hands on some great comics.

    Here’s the cover to Alice Zero, courtesy of the Great Mackenzie Carr.

    I think that’s all I can talk about right now.  Thanks for reading and see you guys soon.



    Categories: Comic Book Blogs

    Merging Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram: a technical, reputational hurdle

    Malwarebytes - Thu, 02/07/2019 - 16:53

    Secure messaging is supposed to be just that—secure. That means no backdoors, strong encryption, private messages staying private, and, for some users, the ability to securely communicate without giving up tons of personal data.

    So, when news broke that scandal-ridden, online privacy pariah Facebook would expand secure messaging across its Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram apps, a broad community of cryptographers, lawmakers, and users asked: Wait, what?

    Not only is the technology difficult to implement, the company implementing it has a poor track record with both user privacy and online security.

    On January 25, the New York Times reported that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had begun plans to integrate the company’s three messaging platforms into one service, allowing users to potentially communicate with one another across its separate mobile apps. According to the New York Times, Zuckerberg “ordered that the apps all incorporate end-to-end encryption.”

    The initial response was harsh.

    Abroad, Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, which regulates Facebook in the European Union, immediately asked for an “urgent briefing” from the company, warning that previous data-sharing proposals raised “significant data protection concerns.”

    In the United States, Democratic Senator Ed Markey for Massachusetts said in a statement: “We cannot allow platform integration to become privacy disintegration.”

    Cybersecurity technologists swayed between cautious optimism and just plain caution.

    Some professionals focused on the clear benefits of enabling end-to-end encryption across Facebook’s messaging platforms, emphasizing that any end-to-end encryption is better than none.

    Former Facebook software engineer Alec Muffet, who led the team that added end-to-end encryption to Facebook Messenger, said on Twitter that the integration plan “clearly maximises the privacy afforded to the greatest [number] of people and is a good idea.”

    Others questioned Facebook’s motives and reputation, scrutinizing the company’s established business model of hoovering up mass quantities of user data to deliver targeted ads.

    John Hopkins University Associate Professor and cryptographer Matthew Green said on Twitter that “this move could potentially be good or bad for security/privacy. But given recent history and financial motivations of Facebook, I wouldn’t bet my lunch money on ‘good.’”

    On January 30, Zuckerberg confirmed the integration plan during a quarterly earnings call. The company hopes to complete the project either this year or in early 2020.

    It’s going to be an uphill battle.

    Three applications, one bad reputation

    Merging three separate messaging apps is easier said than done.

    In a phone interview, Green said Facebook’s immediate technological hurdle will be integrating “three different systems—one that doesn’t have any end-to-end encryption, one where it’s default, and one with an optional feature.”

    Currently, the messaging services across WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram have varying degrees of end-to-end encryption. WhatsApp provides default end-to-end encryption, whereas Facebook Messenger provides optional end-to-end encryption if users turn on “Secret Conversations.” Instagram provides no end-to-end encryption in its messaging service.

    Further, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram all have separate features—like Facebook Messenger’s ability to support more than one device and WhatsApp’s support for group conversations—along with separate desktop or web clients.

    Green said to imagine someone using Facebook Messenger’s web client—which doesn’t currently support end-to-end encryption—starting a conversation with a WhatsApp user, where encryption is set by default. These lapses in default encryption, Green said, could create vulnerabilities. The challenge is in pulling together all those systems with all those variables.

    “First, Facebook will have to likely make one platform, then move all those different systems into one somewhat compatible system, which, as far as I can tell, would include centralizing key servers, using the same protocol, and a bunch of technical development that has to happen,” Green said. “It’s not impossible. Just hard.”

    But there’s more to Facebook’s success than the technical know-how of its engineers. There’s also its reputation, which, as of late, portrays the company as a modern-day data baron, faceplanting into privacy failure after privacy failure.

    After the 2016 US presidential election, Facebook refused to call the surreptitious collection of 50 million users’ personal information a “breach.” When brought before Congress to testify about his company’s role in a potential international disinformation campaign, Zuckerberg deflected difficult questions and repeatedly claimed the company does not “sell” user data to advertisers. But less than one year later, a British parliamentary committee released documents that showed how Facebook gave some companies, including Airbnb and Netflix, access to its platform in exchange for favors—no selling required.

    Five months ago, Facebook’s Onavo app was booted from the Apple App Store for gathering app data, and early this year, Facebook reportedly paid users as young as 13-years-old to install the “Facebook Research” app on their own devices, an app intended strictly for Facebook employee use. Facebook pulled the app, but Apple had extra repercussions in mind: It removed Facebook’s enterprise certificate, which the company relied on to run its internal developer apps.

    These repeated privacy failures are enough for some users to avoid Facebook’s end-to-end encryption experiment entirely.

    “If you don’t trust Facebook, the place to worry is not about them screwing up the encryption,” Green said. “They want to know who’s talking to who and when. Encryption doesn’t protect that at all.”

    If not Facebook, then who?

    Reputationally, there are at least two companies that users look to for both strong end-to-end encryption and strong support of user privacy and security—Apple and Signal, which respectively run the iMessage and Signal Messenger apps.

    In 2013, Open Whisper Systems developed the Signal Protocol. This encryption protocol provides end-to-end encryption for voice calls, video calls, and instant messaging, and is implemented by WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Google’s Allo, and Microsoft’s Skype to varying degrees. Journalists, privacy advocates, cryptographers, and cybersecurity researchers routinely praise Signal Messenger, the Signal Protocol, and Open Whisper Systems.

    “Use anything by Open Whisper Systems,” said former NSA defense contractor and government whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    “[Signal is] my first choice for an encrypted conversation,” said cybersecurity researcher and digital privacy advocate Bruce Schneier.

    Separately, Apple has proved its commitment to user privacy and security through statements made by company executives, updates pushed to fix vulnerabilities, and legal action taken in US courts.

    In 2016, Apple fought back against a government request that the company design an operating system capable of allowing the FBI to crack an individual iPhone. Such an exploit, Apple argued, would be too dangerous to create. Earlier last year, when an American startup began selling iPhone-cracking devices—called GrayKey—Apple fixed the vulnerability through an iOS update.

    Repeatedly, Apple CEO Tim Cook has supported user security and privacy, saying in 2015: “We believe that people have a fundamental right to privacy. The American people demand it, the constitution demands it, morality demands it.”

    But even with these sterling reputations, the truth is, cybersecurity is hard to get right.

    Last year, cybersecurity researchers found a critical vulnerability in Signal’s desktop app that allowed threat actors to obtain users’ plaintext messages. Signal’s developers fixed the vulnerability within a reported five hours.

    Last week, Apple’s FaceTime app, which encrypts video calls between users, suffered a privacy bug that allowed threat actors to briefly spy on victims. Apple fixed the bug after news of the vulnerability spread.

    In fact, several secure messaging apps, including Telegram, Viber, Confide, Allo, and WhatsApp have all reportedly experienced security vulnerabilities, while several others, including Wire, have previously drawn ire because of data storage practices.

    But vulnerabilities should not scare people from using end-to-end encryption altogether. On the contrary, they should spur people into finding the right end-to-end encrypted messaging app for themselves.

    No one-size-fits-all, and that’s okay

    There is no such thing as a perfect, one-size-fits-all secure messaging app, said Electronic Frontier Foundation Associate Director of Research Gennie Gebhart, because there’s no such thing as a perfect, one-size-fits-all definition of secure.

    “In practice, for some people, secure means the government cannot intercept their messages,” Gebhart said. “For others, secure means a partner in their physical space can’t grab their device and read their messages. Those are two completely different tasks for one app to accomplish.”

    In choosing the right secure messaging app for themselves, Gebhart said people should ask what they need and what they want. Are they worried about governments or service providers intercepting their messages? Are they worried about people in their physical environment gaining access to their messages? Are they worried about giving up their phone number and losing some anonymity?

    In addition, it’s worth asking: What are the risks of an accident, like, say, mistakenly sending an unencrypted message that should have been encrypted? And, of course, what app are friends and family using?

    As for the constant news of vulnerabilities in secure messaging apps, Gebhart advised not to overreact. The good news is, if you’re reading about a vulnerability in a secure messaging tool, then the people building that tool know about the vulnerability, too. (Indeed, developers fixed the majority of the security vulnerabilities listed above.) The best advice in that situation, Gebhart said, is to update your software.

    “That’s number one,” Gebhart said, explaining that, though this line of defense is “tedious and maybe boring,” sometimes boring advice just works. “Brush your teeth, lock your door, update your software.”

    Cybersecurity is many things. It’s difficult, it’s complex, and it’s a team sport. That team includes you, the user. Before you use a messenger service, or go online at all, remember to follow the boring advice. You’ll better secure yourself and your privacy.

    The post Merging Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram: a technical, reputational hurdle appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

    Categories: Techie Feeds

    MooglyCAL2019 – Afghan Block #3

    Moogly - Thu, 02/07/2019 - 16:00

    The third block for MooglyCAL2019 is courtesy of Cre8tion Crochet! It’s a stunning square with lots of interest – get the pattern and all the details below! Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links; materials provided by Red Heart Yarns, Furls Crochet, and Chetnanigans. Just getting started with the Crochet Along? CLICK HERE for the intro [...]

    The post MooglyCAL2019 – Afghan Block #3 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

    The Cult of the Dragonslayer

    Torchbearer RPG - Thu, 02/07/2019 - 14:00
    Dragen, Theodor Severin Kittelsen, 1892

    Hello friends!

    Since we’ve been talking about adding a shrine to the Dragonslayer to our Robber’s Bridge adventure, I thought we might take a deeper look at the cult this week and explore its most closely held secret. Note that the rules for the Mysteries of Lith have not yet been playtested. If you use them in your games, I’d love to hear about it.

    Bjorngrim the Dragonslayer

    Bjorngrimsmál (The Lay of Bjorngrim), is perhaps the most widely popular section of the Bjorningsaga, replete with tales of adventure and desperate stands against terrible monsters. Bjorngrim and his doughty companions journeyed throughout the Middarmark, from the Skera Strait to the Endless Ice, from the depths of the dvergar kingdom of Nidavellir and the Gates of Helheim to Fjalar’s very peak. Skalds throughout parts of the Middarmark ruled by Bjornings regularly recite portions of the Lay to thrill their audiences.

    While Bjorngrim is widely revered by Bjornings and even some Grælings, they seldom make offerings or sacrifice to him directly. Instead, he tends to be worshipped together with his mother, Sigrun Shieldbreaker, Lady of Battles, or among the multitude of the Lords of Valor.

    As the patron of monster-hunters, lost causes and heroic last stands, the cult of Bjorngrim the Dragonslayer claims few adherents. Those few tend to be adventurers and other thoroughly disreputable vagrants. Communities in the Middarmark generally despise the cult unless they find themselves beset by a draugr, giant, wyrm or similar foe. While the dwarves do not worship Bjorngrim, many among them respect his memory and his cult.

    In human lands, only the temple-complex of Jernkloster boasts a temple to the Dragonslayer. The merchants who brave the Blodveien and depend upon Jernkloster to keep that road clear of monsters are among the few who contribute to the offerings and sacrifices that maintain the shabby temple. Valuables, arms and armor are all prized offerings to Bjorngrim. The heads, teeth, claws, scales or other trophies from defeated monsters are also welcome offerings. Bjorngrim finds sacrifices of wolves, eagles and bears pleasing. The men and women of Jernkloster venerate Bjorngrim highly, but even few of them are dedicated members of his hero cult. Those that are openly affiliated gain a whispered reputation as unstable fanatics. Stories claim that another temple once stood in Nidavellir at the terminus of the Perleveien before the Gates of Helheim. Whether it still stands is anyone’s guess, for no word from the dvergar kingdom has reached the surface in many a year.


    The cult has little in the way of organization or hierarchy. Status within the cult is informal and determined by deed and boast. Members are expected to give aid and succor to fellow members when possible. Those lucky few born with Bjorngrim as their fylgja receive deference from other members and are expected to achieve great things. The cult has no real political power, though many people believe that High King Stein Sigurdsson, founder of Jernkloster, was a member of the cult. If true, it was not an association maintained by his successors.


    Shrines to Bjorngrim are usually found in the wilderness, at the site of a heroic deed. Some simply consist of a horgr — a heap of stones piled atop each other.

    More elaborate shrines feature an image stone that depicts the deed performed at the site.

    Picture stone from Tjängvide, Alskog Parish, Gotland, Sweden. Photo by Berig

    In many cases, one or more horgr are placed around the image stone.

    Given their placement in remote and often dangerous places, the shrines rarely receive regular upkeep. Visitors may find the stones tumbled, the site overrun with weeds, the paint on image stones faded or the site turned into the lair of a monster or beast. In addition to making offerings or sacrifice, cult members who come across such shrines in the wilds are expected to do what they can to maintain the site before moving on.

    Many shrines contain relics or other items connected with Bjorngrim that could be used as supplies or gear for prayers. These items might include the hilt of a sword that once shattered in Bjorngrim’s hand, a scale torn from Ofnir’s hide, the still-roving prophetic eye Bjorngrim plucked from the head of Groa the troll seeress and so on.

    Joining the Cult

    Any member of the Cult of Bjorngrim can initiate new members. Postulants may approach cult members and convince them to initiate the postulant into the mysteries. Devotees of the cult agree that membership requires unusual strength of character (or stubbornness) and will need to be convinced to admit the postulant (generally via a Persuader test or convince conflict). If the cult member is convinced, they will prepare an initiation ritual. Initiation requires the postulant to make a Ritualist Test, Ob 2 (though an Evil GM Factor may be appropriate here).

    In Brief
    • Find a cult member to initiate you into the Mysteries. Persuader test or convince conflict.
    • Perform the initiation ceremony. Ritualist test, Ob 2.
    The Mystery of Lith

    Adventuring bands sometimes seek initiation into Bjorngrim’s cult because of a closely held secret: The Rite of Lith. Closely related to Sigrun’s Hird Rite (used by nobles to form a retinue) and Hlin’s Rite of Ætt (used by kin to form a new clan), the Rite of Lith formally creates a lith, an adventuring band bound to a vættr that serves as the lith’s spirit guide and protector. The Rite of Lith is only known to the cult’s initiates and it is the cult’s most valuable secret. Only veteran members of the cult know the Rite. Those who do know the Rite are especially suspicious of newcomers seeking to join the cult and difficult to convince.

    Binding a Vættir

    The first step to forming a lith is to seek out a vættr to represent your new family. Animal vættir are the most common: eagles, wolves, bulls and such are popular. Elemental spirits like rock-brothers and the spirits of dead heroes are sometimes called upon as well.

    The spirit must be approached and convinced to join the band via a convince conflict or riddle conflict. In exchange, the spirit will demand a price: Regular offerings of milk, honey, mead, wine or valuables are common prices, as is the sacrifice of arms or armor to bogs or fire. Sometimes animal sacrifice is requested. The offerings must be made at each of the four seasonal rites.

    By default, the spirit will demand offerings worth the equivalent of its Might in cash dice. Coins, gems, jewelry, silverware and plate, objets d’art and rugs and tapestries are worth their value in cash dice. Other items are worth 1D if it takes an Ob 4 or higher Resources test to acquire them, or worth 2D if it takes an Ob 8 or greater Resources test to acquire them. If an item requires an Ob 3 Resources test or less to acquire, it has no cash value as an offering.

    However, the price may be modified by the level of compromise in the convince conflict. If the players convince the spirit to join the lith with no compromise, they may reduce the price to appropriate items with no cash value.

    The players convince the wolf spirit Hrothvitnir to be the vættr of their lith. The players won the conflict with no compromise. Hrothvitnir’s Might is 4, so normally the players would have to make a seasonal offering worth 4D of cash to keep Hrothvitnir fed. Since the players won with no compromise, they may instead offer four items that have no cash value: Perhaps two swords taken from vanquished foes, a splintered shield and a jug of wine.

    The spirit will not be pleased with useless trash. The items should be appropriate to a warlike and heroic being. An animal sacrifice may also replace 1D worth of value. In this case, the blood from the animal is collected by the officiant and sprinkled on the participants, then the meat is boiled and eaten by the participants.

    If the players win the convince conflict with a major compromise, they may reduce the price by 3D (to be replaced with appropriate items with no cash value). If the players win with a compromise, they may reduce the price by 2D (to be replaced with appropriate items with no cash value). If the players win with a minor compromise, they may reduce the price by 1D (to be replaced with appropriate items with no cash value).

    If the spirit wins the convince conflict with no compromise, it refuses to join the lith. If the spirit wins with a compromise, the GM may either choose to have the spirit join the lith but raise its price by the level of compromise (1D for major compromise, 2D for compromise, 3D for minor compromise) or have the spirit set the players a quest or task to prove their valor. The difficulty of the task should be commensurate with the level of compromise.

    In Brief
    • Find a spirit to be the vættr of your lith.
    • Convince it to join via a convince conflict.
    • By default, vættir will demand the lith make seasonal sacrifices with a value equivalent to their Might in cash dice.
    • The price may be modified according to the level of compromise in the convince conflict.
    Sacrifices Must Be Made

    The band must agree to make the appropriate offerings and/or sacrifices at each of the seasonal rites to keep the vættr happy. Offerings or sacrifice to the vættr requires a Ritualist test with an obstacle equal to the spirit’s Might.

    Failure taxes the spirit’s Nature by 1. Meeting the obstacle keeps the spirit fed and empowered. If the spirit’s Nature is taxed, meeting the obstacle restores 1 point of tax. Margin of success restores additional points of taxed Nature on a one-for-one basis. If the spirit’s Nature is taxed to zero, the spirit is destroyed and the lith dissolves.

    In Brief
    • At each of the seasonal blots, the lith must make a sacrifice to its vættr. Making the sacrifice requires a Ritualist test with an obstacle equal to the spirit’s Might.
    • Failure in the Ritualist test taxes the spirit’s Nature by 1. If the spirit’s Nature is taxed to zero, the spirit is destroyed and the lith dissolves.
    • Meeting the Ritualist obstacle restores 1 point of taxed Nature. Additional points may be restored by the margin of success on a one-for-one basis.
    The Vættr’s Regalia

    The Rite of Lith must be performed at one of Bjorngrim’s shrines. The founding members of the lith must each present an item that will serve as their connection to the vættr and provide a physical home for the spirit. Weapons, armor, jewelry, fine tools, the masthead of a ship, and similar items are frequently used. These items form the lith’s regalia. The loss or destruction of a piece of the lith’s regalia taxes the spirit’s Might by 1 for each item lost or destroyed. Lost items may be recovered. Consecrating a new item to replace one that was destroyed requires an epic quest. Recovering or replacing the item restores the taxed Might.

    As each member in turn presents their item, they pronounce the goal of their new adventuring band. The goal might simply be to attain wealth and fame, or it could be to perform some great deed or right some terrible wrong. Whatever the goal, the vættr will take it up as its own and dedicate the lith to that goal until the lith is destroyed or it accomplishes that goal and dissolves. The GM should write an appropriate belief for the vættr.

    In Brief
    • Each founding member presents an item that will serve as part of the vættr’s regalia.
    • Loss or destruction of a piece of the vættr’s regalia taxes the vættr’s Might by 1.
    • Lost items may be recovered. Destroyed items can be replaced with an epic quest. Recovering the regalia or replacing it restores the vættr’s taxed Might.
    • While binding the vættr, the new members of the lith state the goal of their band. That goal becomes the vættr’s goal.
    The Binding

    The leader of the rite must then perform a sacrifice to cement the pact, sprinkling the blood on the members, their items and on the shrine’s horgr. Making the pact requires a Ritualist test, Ob 4. Conditions like Afraid, Injured or Sick are appropriate consequences for failure. Twists should be suitably weird or dire. Look to the Magic Twists and Prayer Twists in Torchbearer for inspiration if you need it.

    Each Winter, so long as the lith continues to exist, the vættr increases Nature by 1, to a maximum of Nature 6. When the first member of the lith reaches level 7, the vættr’s Might increases to 5. When the first member of the lith reaches level 10, the vættr’s Might increases to 6.

    Any member of the lith may use a piece of the vættr’s regalia in a ritual (Ritualist, Ob 3) to connect with it. When so connected, the vættr can speak to that character in furtherance of its belief, goal or instinct. Likewise, it can provide help to characters that have performed the ritual, so long as they remain in contact with the regalia. It can only help within the context of its nature descriptors and if its belief, goal or instinct applies.

    In Brief
    • Binding the vættr requires a sacrifice. Ritualist, Ob 4.
    • Each Winter, the vættr’s Nature increases by 1, to a maximum of Nature 6. When a member of the lith reaches level 7, the vættr’s Might increases to 5. When a member reaches level 10, the vættr’s Might increases to 6.
    • A member of the lith who is touching an item of the vættr’s regalia may connect to the vættr with a Ritualist test, Ob 3. When connected, the vættr can speak to the character or provide help to the character with in the context of its Nature descriptors, so long as its belief, goal or instinct applies.
    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    On the Hexplore Adventure

    Hack & Slash - Thu, 02/07/2019 - 14:00
    Look at this crazy entertaining thing!

    Hack & Slash FollowGoogle +NewsletterSupportDonate to end Cancer (5 Star Rating)
    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    High Adventure Cliffhangers: Buck Rogers Adventure Game

    Sorcerer's Skull - Thu, 02/07/2019 - 12:00

    In 1993, TSR took a second stab at the Buck Rogers license. Their first attempt, Buck Rogers XXVc apparently failed to find an audience. If anything, their second seems to have fared worse judging by the fact it has an even lower profile. Contrary to what many might assume based on its lack of success, it's actually not a bad rules lite sort of system.

    Where Buck Rogers XXVc tried to update the then 60 year-old property, High Adventure Cliffhangers goes back to Nowlan's 1928 novel (Armageddon 2419 A.D.) and particularly the comic strip that ran from 1929 to 1967.  For those unfamiliar with the mythos, it tells the story of Buck (Anthony in the original novella) Rogers, who is put in suspended animation by some weird mine gas and awakens in a 25th Century where a Red Mongol Empire emerged from the Gobi to conquer North America. Driven from the ruined cities, the Americans formed "orgs" to fight a protracted insurgency. Despite its earthbound origins, the comic strip soon gets into space travel and peace is eventually made with the emperor of the "Airlords of the Han" so that villainy can shift to other worlds. (This story likely inspired the Yellow Peril and Red Scare Star Trek episode "Omega Glory," and perhaps the Klingons as "Space Mongols," and is at least prefigured if not inspired by Edgar Rice Burroughs' The Moon Men, which was originally titled Under A Red Flag.)

    The game makes use of a lot of  Dick Calkins’ work from early days of the comic strip. Combined with the subject matter and the technology presented, it gives the setting a very retro feel, in contrast with XXVc.

    The system, however, features a relatively hot new thing (in 1993) in game design: the dice pool. After all, Ghostbusters had only pioneered those sorts of mechanics in 1986. HAC uses six siders exclusively. The dice rolls are totaled and compared against a target number. Dice pools are capped at 8. It also makes use of "exploding 6s."

    Like TSR's Marvel Super-Heroes ability scores have descriptive names, ranging from OK, to Good, Better, and Best. Each of these translates to a number of dice to be rolled for actions. The abilities (Strength, Aim, Brains, and Health) each have associated skills, though the list is not particularly large.

    In combat, the heroes always get initiative, though situational factors may alter that. There are no hit points or other damage metrics. Instead, a successful hit calls for a Health roll, with failure meaning a character is out of commission, the duration varying with the means of attack. Deadly attacks require a second Health check on failure of the first, a Mortality Roll, with failure meaning death.

    Combat uses maps, minis, and Action Points to quantify actions. It's not really as tactical as it sounds; it is certainly less detailed than 3e. Rather, it seems an 80s relic, like a less detailed version of the FASA Star Trek AP system.

    Characters may spend experience points (or chips, because it uses poker chips to represent them) to add die to rolls. NPCs can also spend Experience Chips for a last minute escape.

    Overall, the game seems to have been intended for those new to rpgs. Presumably, it was aimed at all these fans of  a 60+ year-old property lurking out there waiting to start roleplaying. Even its map-based combat seems less wargamey than catering to presumed boardgame comfort and familiarity. Overall though, it is a system with a bit a charm, and probably could be fun for any pulpy-type setting.


    First Comics News - Thu, 02/07/2019 - 11:42

    Guests: Juice Robinson, Trent?, Marty Scurll, Rocky Romero, Shane Taylor & John Skyler. Colt and the gang hit the road on a three day New Japan tour of America. Charlotte, Los Angeles and Nashville.



    Image Photo:

    Image Design:
    Jimmy Lee

    Categories: Comic Book Blogs


    Looking For Group - Thu, 02/07/2019 - 05:00

    The post 1268 appeared first on Looking For Group.

    Categories: Web Comics


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