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Secrets from the Past Revealed in Joss Whedon’s ANGEL #3 From BOOM! Studios

First Comics News - Mon, 05/20/2019 - 18:17

The Vampire With A Soul Reimagined In Thrilling and Historic New Comic Book Series in July 2019


LOS ANGELES, CA (May 20, 2019) – BOOM! Studios in partnership with 20th Century Fox Consumer Products today revealed the cover of the latest issue of the highly praised reimagining of the brooding vampire – ANGEL #3 by all-star creative team of  acclaimed writer Bryan Edward Hill (Batman, American Carnage) and Gleb Melnikov (Saban’s Go Go Power Rangers), along with visionary writer and director Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Marvel’s The Avengers), available July 31, 2019.

Meet Angel – a vampire cursed with a soul who has spent centuries protecting humanity from the monsters that lurk in the dark…including himself. Now, looking for redemption for the atrocities committed by the monster he was when he was first turned at the age of 18, Angel stumbles upon a new demon uprising and a shocking truth: The restoration of his humanity can only come if he takes one more life: a certain Slayer from Sunnydale who he’s never met…but may now be his greatest enemy.

Darkness has possessed another innocent…and Angel has no choice but to fight them. Trapped in an empty hospital with nowhere to go, Angel needs to find a way to save the host from this deadly and elusive demon, or have yet another life on his conscience. Will his new ally Fred be able to help him…or is she the reason he’s battling this monster in the first place?

ANGEL #3 features a main cover by artist Dan Panosian (Slots) and a variant cover by Scott Buoncristiano (Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

Created by visionary writer and director Joss Whedon (Marvel’s The Avengers film franchise), Angel premiered on the WB Network on October 5th, 1999 and was a spin-off from Buffy The Vampire Slayer. The series ran for five seasons from 1999-2004, starring David Boreanaz as “Angel,” the tortured vampire destined to walk the earth with a soul who moved to LA to set up shop as a supernatural private investigator. Despite Angel’s best efforts to deal with the sins of his past all by himself, Angel Investigations soon became home to other lost souls searching for redemption and willing to fight by his side.

ANGEL is the newest release from BOOM! Studios’ eponymous imprint, home to critically acclaimed original series, including Once & Future by Kieron Gillen and Dan Mora; Faithless by Brian Azzarello and Maria Llovet; Abbott from Saladin Ahmed and Sami Kivelä; Bury The Lede from Gaby Dunn and Claire Roe; Grass Kings from Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins; and Klaus from Grant Morrison and Dan Mora. The imprint also publishes popular licensed properties including Joss Whedon’s Firefly from Greg Pak and Dan McDaid; Buffy The Vampire Slayer from Jordie Bellaire and David Lopez; and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers from Ryan Parrott and Danielle Di Nicuolo.

Print copies of ANGEL #3 will be available for sale on July 31, 2019 exclusively at local comic book shops (use comicshoplocator.com to find the nearest one). Digital copies can be purchased from content providers, including comiXology, iBooks, Google Play, and the BOOM! Studios app. Print copies of the surprise drop ANGEL #0 are available now exclusively in comic book shops everywhere.

For continuing news on ANGEL comic books, graphic novels and more from BOOM! Studios, stay tuned to www.boom-studios.com and follow @boomstudios on Twitter. And follow Angel on Facebook.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Battlestar Galactica: Twilight Command #4 preview

First Comics News - Mon, 05/20/2019 - 18:09

Battlestar Galactica: Twilight Command #4

writer: Michael Moreci

artist: Breno Tamura, Dijjo Lima

covers: Brent Schoonover (A)

Breno Tamura (B)

Brent Schoonover (RI-B/W)

Breno Tamura (RI-Virg)

Brent Schoonover (RI-Virg)

FC | 32 pages | Sci-Fi | $3.99 | Teen+

Things heat up in the penultimate issue of Twilight Command! One of Flores’s own puts his life on the line for his squad, and the Cylon plot proves to be much more of a threat than anyone imagined!

A desperate mission puts Twilight Command’s back against the wall, and with time running out they may not be able to stop Cavil’s

plan in time!

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Elvira Spring Special preview

First Comics News - Mon, 05/20/2019 - 18:09

Elvira Spring Special

writer: Fernando Ruiz, Dan Parent, Scott Bryan Wilson

artist: Fernando Ruiz, Dan Parent, Valentina Pinto, Brittany Pezzillo

cover: Reilly Brown

$4.99

Everyone’s favorite Mistress of the Macabre, Elvira is spinning her wheels hostessing horror film festivals at the local drive-in when she discovers the opportunity to get in good with George Rottmero, producer of the greatest, grittiest, most realistic horror movies ever. The Dark Damsel uses all of her charms to impress the mysterious movie mogul and she is immediately cast in his latest scream-inducing spectacles, his masterpieces of murder and mayhem featuring the most realistic zombies anyone ever saw this side of an open casket! When she discovers the grave secret behind Rottmero’s success, her dreams of super stardom might become deader than her undead co-stars! Will all of her efforts just be one big bust… because Elvira knows all about big busts!

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

James Bond: Blackbox TP preview

First Comics News - Mon, 05/20/2019 - 18:08

James Bond: Blackbox TP

writer: Benjamin Percy

artists: Rapha Lobosco

cover: Dominic Reardon

FC | 160 pages | Action/Adventure | $19.99 | Teen+

COLLECTING ISSUES 1-6

In the snowbound French Alps, James Bond finds himself in the crosshairs of an assassin who targets other assassins. This is the first puzzle piece in a larger adrenaline-fueled mystery that will send Bond across the globe to infiltrate the underworld, risk everything in high-stakes casino gambling, evade deadly pursuers, and root out a digital breach threatening global security.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

On Henchmen, Continued

Hack & Slash - Mon, 05/20/2019 - 16:22
Good morning world.The Internet can be a hostile place.It's best not to go alone.
The third henchmen, the alienist, is available on my Patreon. It's only because I want to encourage you, to help me not be homeless.600 dpi versions on the patreon, and easy to use .pdf collections coming of these intermittently. 
Come on, look at Dan the Candle Bearer. Who doesn't want to hire that guy?More cool stuff coming every day this week. (!)
Hack & Slash FollowGoogle +NewsletterSupportDonate to end Cancer (5 Star Rating)

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

A week in security (May 13 – 19)

Malwarebytes - Mon, 05/20/2019 - 15:57

Last week, Malwarebytes Labs reviewed active and unique exploit kits targeting consumers and businesses alike, reported about a flaw in WhatsApp used to target a human rights lawyer, and wrote about an important Microsoft patch that aimed to prevent a “WannaCry level” attack. We also profiled the Dharma ransomware—aka CrySIS—and imparted four lessons from the DDoS attack against the US Department of Energy that disrupted major operations.

Other cybersecurity news
  • Cybersecurity agencies from Canada and Saudi Arabia issued advisories about hacking groups actively exploiting Microsoft SharePoint server vulnerabilities to gain access to private business and government networks. A different patch for the flaw, which was officially designated as CVE-2019-0604, was already available as of February this year. (Source: ZDNet)
  • Nefarious actors behind adware try hard to be legit—or at least look the part. A recent discovery of a pseudo-VPN called Pirate Chick VPN in an adware bundle was one of the ways they attempted to do this. However, the software is actually a Trojan that pushes malware, particularly the AZORult information stealer. (Source: Bleeping Computer)
  • SIM-swapping, the fraudulent act of convincing a mobile carrier to swap a target’s phone number over to a SIM card owned by the criminal, doubled in South Africa. This scam is used to divert incoming SMS-based tokens used in 2FA-enabled accounts. (Source: BusinessTech)
  • Ransomware attacks on US cities are on the uptick. So far, there have been 22 known attacks this year. (Source: ABC Action News)
  • Typosquatting is back on the radar, and it’s mimicking online major new websites to push out fake news or disinformation reports, according to a report from The Citizen Lab. Some of the sites copied were Politico, Bloomberg, and The Atlantic. The group behind this campaign is Endless Mayfly, an Iranian “disinformation supply chain.” (Source: The Citizen Lab)
  • No surprise here: Researchers from Charles III University of Madrid (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid) and Stony Brook University in the US found that Android smartphones are riddled with bloatware, which creates hidden privacy and security risks to users. (Source: Sophos’s Naked Security Blog)
  • Organizations who are using the cloud to store PII were considering moving back to on-premise means to store data due to cloud security concerns, according to a survey. (Source: Netwrix)
  • The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) recently released a report about their findings on breaches in healthcare, which is still an ongoing problem. They found that such breaches were caused mainly by human error. (Source: CRN)
  • Websites of retailers are continuously facing billions of hacking attempts every year, according to an Akamai Technology report. Consumers should take this as a wake-up call to stop reusing credentials across all their online accounts. (Source: BizTech Magazine)
  • After the discovery of Meltdown and Spectre, security flaws found in Intel and AMD chips, several researchers have again uncovered another flaw that could allow attackers to eavesdrop on every piece of user data that a processor touches. Intel collectively calls attacks against this flaw as Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS). (Source: Wired)

Stay safe, everyone!

The post A week in security (May 13 – 19) appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Categories: Techie Feeds

Crochet Every Way Stitch Dictionary Giveaway

Moogly - Mon, 05/20/2019 - 15:00

Crochet Every Way Stitch Dictionary: 125 Essential Stitches to Crochet in Three Ways by Dora Ohrenstein is a brilliant addition to any crocheter’s bookshelf and incredibly useful for designers as well! Get a peek inside, and enter to win your own copy on Moogly! Disclaimer: This giveaway is sponsored by Abrams Books. This post includes affiliate links. [...]

The post Crochet Every Way Stitch Dictionary Giveaway 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

The Crypt of Rokar

Ten Foot Pole - Mon, 05/20/2019 - 11:15
By Michael Mills Cannister & grape OSR Levels 1-3

Buried deep beneath the barrow mounds of the Wild Wood, Rokar the Terrible slumbers fitully in his sarcophagus, his bride beside him. What terrors protect Rokar as he dreams his fevered dreams? Do you dare enter The Crypt of Rokar in search of treasures and knowledge beyond imagining?

This ten page adventure describes a small tomb with fourteen rooms over four pages. Giants rats, yellow mold, zombies, and a ghoul make up your opponents, all found in their usual environments. Read-aloud is not overly long, in general, but not very interesting either. There’s nothing to separate this from any other low level small dungeon.

What if you don’t do anything bad, but you don’t really do anything good either. What’s the measure of a man in that situation? How do you make a determination, a decision to choose one thing over another? That’s easy for me; I expect more and in a crowded marketplace don’t settle for anything other than the best. Well, except for the fact that I bought it in the first place.

A damp library? What could it contain? Yellow mold. A storeroom full of crates and barrels? That means rats. I do indeed like the classic, but there’s a difference. You’ve got to do them well and they just are not done well here. Let’s examine this from the standpoint of last-minute adventure prep. The players just exted you from the liquor store, asking ifyou wanted anything else other than Krystal and japanese single malt. They are about three minutes away from arriving. If I provided you this map and said “you’ve got three minutes to key the adventure” then you’d come up with something that said “2. Library – Yellow Mold. 3. Storeroom – Rats.” If that’s expanded in the most obvious way possible then you have this adventure. It brings nothing new over you writing “Library – Mold” or “Storeroom – Rats.” That might be ok if it did it really REALLY well, but it doesn’t. It’s drab.

I will note a few of the more interesting things it does do. At one point it notes that zombies, locked in a room, fed on the canopic jars kept within. This is the old zombie trope, and one that I’ve seen reintroduced lately. I’m quite fond of it. It seems like the 80’s and 90’s and 00’s had zombies that were just lifeless bodies swinging swords. This new trend of flesh eaters brings so much more than that, being able to immediately leverage forty years of pop culture zombie imagery.  There’s also a little bit of hints captured in the read-aloud. That storeroom read aloud notes the smell of decay and faeces. The library notes a smell of damp and mold, hinting at the yellow stuff. It’s not consistent, but when it’s there I appreciate it. There should be a back and forth to D&D. The DM mentions something, the players, the smart ones anyway, dig deeper asking follow-up question. And thus player skill is rewarded. It’s got a couple of rooms that do this and I’m happy to see that.

It’s also inconsistent in its logic. The front doors are busted open but some statues nearby retain their bejeweled eyes. Those zombies that fed on the canopic jars? That’s backstory, the read-aloud gives no hint of a room in chaos, jars smashed and bloodstains on the floor, etc. Just the usual anti-septic description.

“Many books appear to be damaged by decay or pests.” the library read-aloud tells us. Puddles of books, rotting in damp, gnawed upon, all are words that evoke imagery much stronger than “damaged by decay or pests.” That’s an abstraction, a conclusion. Rich adjectives and adverbs appeal to sensory information instead and allow the party to draw their own conclusions.

Nitpicky shit: The level is only noted on the cover, so when I’m on DriveThru looking for a Level 1-3 adventure I won’t know this is one unless I lick on the cover to enlarge it. I’m not sure that’s the wisest decision from a consumer ease standpoint. There’s only about 1400gp of treasure in this. I think I would have expected more, seems low. Especially since there’s a wight in this Level 1 adventure, that can only be hit by magic items.

Finally, let me mention to deriguour text. You know the stuff. “The DM should blah blah blah.” or notes that you should read the boxed text to the players when they enter the room. I just skip this shit, but, as a point of interest, is this really doing anything but inflating page count? If you’re buying an adventure on DriveThru do you need to be told to read boxed text? Even if you DIDNT know that do you need to be told that? In this case it explicitly notes DM’ing in the players favour. I’m not cool with that. Is there a place for this genero information anymore?

This is pay What You Want at DriveThru with a suggested price of $5. There is no preview. I get it, it’s free since it’s PWYW. I don’t give a shit, stick in a good preview anyway.

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/275375/The-Crypt-of-Rokar?1892600

The players should have a reasonable chance of survival, however a certain amount of danger and risk is necessary to keep things interesting.

As game master you should adjust the number, strength and aggressiveness of encountered creatures to ensure this occurs.

When the players enter an area on the map you should read aloud the boxed text in its entirety. You may also add any additional information from the game master’s notes immediately thereafter as you desire. This may be necessary if the players fail to find a crucial item, exit or other plot device.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Sex Education in Sexually Confusing Times (Part One)

Just Call Me Pastor - Mon, 05/20/2019 - 11:00

The task of sex education is to help growing children, at the level of their understanding, to know that their sexuality undergirds and shapes their view of the world.

Their sexuality is not an aspect of being human that can be separated out and experienced independently. It is integral to the whole of their humanness.

Of course, there is a case to be made for the decisions about sex education to be the purview of the family and faith communities — and by a school only with parental consent.

But leaving that question aside to deal with the general matter of children’s education, the issue is not so much what information is taught as what assumptions and belief system underlies the information.

Society no longer universally holds to the Christian belief that human beings are far more than animals who are socially advanced and intricately developed. Biblical teaching is that all humans are unique creatures among God’s creative order bearing his image and accountable to him for their behavior.

Again in the general case, though with exceptions that prove the rule, a family of mother, father and children, provides the best environment. Wholesome sex education begins in the loving, respectful attitude of parents to one another and the children from infancy onward.

That doesn’t mean family relationships are always free from stress but that love and respect govern or “reign”. And it doesn’t mean that sex education is necessarily substandard in homes limited by the deprivation of one parent.

Christian sex education is based on the revelation that God created humankind to be male and female, each bearing fully his image (Genesis 1:26,27). From birth onward this differentiation of humans into male and female has serious implications. Sex education should help us to understand and rejoice in what God has created us to be.

Sex education can be enhanced in the home by the use of Biblically-based literature, videos and whatever other Christian resources are recommended by a denomination’s resources center. It’s best to let growing children acquaint themselves at times privately with whatever is made available to them, and as well at times in conversation with parents.

The intimate aspects of sexuality may thus be taught in a gradual way according to a growing child’s ability to understand. The Christian faith maintains that there is a mystery and metaphysical and spiritual aspect to sex and this must be respected in growing children.

Modelling is the means by which children are best helped to develop a sense of responsibility concerning their sexuality.

Because the sex act gives intense pleasure, some secular minds tend to treat it as nothing more than the satisfaction of a physical appetite. For such persons, the psychological and spiritual aspects may be ignored or devalued.

Those who promote such a view seem concerned primarily that sex be practiced safely, using the best of modern technology to avoid sexually transmitted disease or pregnancy.

Christian wisdom is contrary to such a view. The Scriptures hold that sex within marriage is honorable while sex outside of marriage is labeled adultery or fornication — each regarded as serious sins (Hebrews 13:4). The Bible speaks forthrightly against premarital or extramarital sex as follows:

But among you there must not even be a hint of sexual immorality (promiscuous behavior) or any kind of impurity (the wider range of illicit sexual conduct) or greed (insatiability) because these are improper for God’s holy people (Ephesians 5:3).

In this very personal arena of our humanness the grace of God (His undeserved generosity) must be emphasized. It is His grace that enables sexual purity. And for those who have failed or are failing, he offers the grace of  repentance and forgiveness. In Christ, wholesome attitudes toward sex can be recovered and purity restored.

Photo credit: Márcio Binow da Silva (via flickr.com)

Categories: Churchie Feeds

1297

Looking For Group - Mon, 05/20/2019 - 04:00

The post 1297 appeared first on Looking For Group.

Categories: Web Comics

Truth and Lies

Yarn Harlot - Sun, 05/19/2019 - 22:00

My May socks are done, done last week, actually, and it makes me feel pretty heroic that this little plan of mine is coming together so well.  I’ve been so busy lately that I’m surprised anything is working out, but I had a bunch of travel time and voila! The Self-Imposed Sock Club – May installment.  (This, of course, is not a finished sock.  I just love this picture a lot.)

Here are finished socks.  The pattern’s Saxe Point

The yarn’s one of the amazing schemes dreamed up by Catherine at Gauge Dye Works.  (I have spoken at length for my weakness for both this person and her yarn, and this remains unchanged. She’s lovely.) The colourway was called French Beach, though it looks like it’s sold out – but it has been for ages. Things come, things go- though I wish this one would come back. It’s possible to make these socks without that yarn so I guess it’s not really tragic, just not the world as I would have it. (Catherine if you are listening I want the Saxe Point one back more if I get to choose but any of them would be good and I don’t want to seem picky ok cool.)  I knit these as written except for two things – first, I prefer to knit my socks top down, so I reversed the pattern, and mine match, because while Andrea Rangel is very nice and obviously clever, I can’t handle her wild mismatching scene. While I have grown as a person and can now tolerate mismatching socks (for other people mostly) I still love the deep satisfaction of matching socks up to the very stitch. Mine do.

I had leftovers this time, so like last time, the bunny (still genderless, still nameless, preferred pronouns, Megan has informed me are them and they) has another outfit.

I pulled out the colours I needed from the self-striping leftovers. There were more ends to weave in, but it was pretty damned satisfying.

The sweater? I can give you an update.  You know that voice you hear when there’s something wrong with your knitting, and you can feel it? It starts to tell you that something’s not right, and then we all keep knitting for another few days (or a week) while we try to ignore the voice, even though we all know the voice is right. The voice is almost always right.  Usually the voice I hear whispers about the size of things, and this time was no exception. For a few days (okay a week) the voice has told me the sweater is too small, though my washed swatch said it would be okay. “LIES” the voice screamed. “Keep the faith” the swatch told me.

This morning I couldn’t stand it anymore and washed and blocked the sweater in progress, and compared it to a sweater I like for fit, and guess what?

Plot twist, it’s completely fine. This time the voice was a skanky liar, and the swatch was telling the truth.  I tell you, I could live to be a hundred and knitting will never make total sense to me.

I’ll finish it when it’s  dry.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Knit the Rainbow

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 05/19/2019 - 21:55
Our weather has been all over the place. Gray and gloomy. Violent and stormy. Cold and damp. The occasional mild, sunny and inviting days have been so rare, it's clearly time to take matters into my own hands.

When this lovely yarn (Valley Yarns Charlemont) went on sale, the cosmic timing was too perfect to resist. I'm going to knit the rainbow.

I've worked with this yarn before (Dojeling Wineberry wrap), and it has a nice hand, soft sheen and wide range of colors. It also has a healthy 439 yards per skein, so the six skeins below offer loads of options.


While I've not yet decided on a specific design or pattern, I'm certain of one thing. This yarn is destined to become a shawl or wrap, because next to fingerless mitts, they're the handknits I wear most often. In this yarn weight and fiber mix (merino, silk and nylon), the finished piece would be the ideal weight for spring, summer and fall.

Even better, when back-to-back gray days become too much to bear, I can wrap myself in a rich, vibrant rainbow and chase the gloom away. 


Want to see more posts on rainbow knits? Click here and your wish will come true.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Aragorn Never Had an Identity Crisis

Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog - Sun, 05/19/2019 - 21:46

This came up the other day, so I had to look it up. Any classic character that is adapted to contemporary media is consistently mutilated into something they’re not. Most recently this can be observed in the many edits made to Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker in Disney’s cartoon adaptation of the original Star Wars film. It seems a small thing, maybe, but this is how people that hate us actively rewrite our culture right in front of us. Plenty of well meaning people take the knockoff for the original while their imaginations are dimmed. Before long, the waters are so muddied the original inspirational character concept is lost in the noise.

Now about Aragorn: was he reluctant to take up the mantle of king? Was he at all ambivalent about his identity and heritage? Let’s check back to the Council of Elrond and see.

Aragorn introduces himself in response to Boromirs tale of the dream about Imladris, a broken sword, and a halfling. Elrond identifies his lineage. Frodo reveals the ring. Bormir is still confused, thinking that the dream must indicate the doom of Minas Tirith. Then Aragorn says this:

The words were not the doom of Minas Tirith, but doom and great deeds are indeed at hand. For the Sword that was Broken is the Sword of Elindil that broke beneath him when he fell. It has been treasured by his heirs when all other heirlooms were lost; for it was spoken of old among us that it should be made again when the Ring, Isildur’s Bane, was found. Now you have seen the sword that you have sought, what would you ask? Do you wish for the House of Elendil to return to the Land of Gondor?

So… Aragorn announces himself as the true king at the Counil of Elrond to the steward’s eldest son. The reason he waited is because of prophecies regarding the ring, not due to some lame heroic journey that people decided that every single character arc has to follow starting some time in the late seventies.

Returning as king is politically complicated in war time, yes, particularly with the steward descending into madness. And it’s pointless anyway so long as Sauron is not defeated. With that miraculously taken care of, the way is opened for Aragorn to marry his betrothed with her father’s permission. Which was the plan all along.

He was humble, but he never compromised. He was, perhaps, an inferior guide for the fellowship in comparison to Gandalf. But he did his duty in that regard right up until circumstances dictated that he take another course– one that would involve leading an army of undead among other things…!

He never doubted his identity. He never shirked his responsibility. And he certainly never needed to be scolded by the guy that was going to end up being his father-in-law. Though he grieved in response to disaster, he never needed to be told to “boomer up” and be true to himself. He did what was right without compromise or complaint– with the hope that providence would set all things right in the end!

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Annihilation Rising Goes live

Fail Squad Games - Sat, 05/18/2019 - 15:55

The latest in Fail Squad Games’ Quick Kick projects has gone live and needs your support!! This project is only running 11 days and ends on 5/28/2019!

 

Monsieur Nerluc clings to the local mountainside. Villagers tell frightened children that the monstrous form of earthen stone is just a natural rock formation. It’s a lie they’d like to believe themselves. Monsieur Nerluc is, in fact, the lord of all Tarasques, and strange cultists seek to waken him. If they do, his age-old toothache will begin to throb, and he’s going to be horrendously angry. 

 Can the heroes get to the “root” of the problem? Will they have a Tarasque lord running wild?  This adventure will be approximately 14 pages long when layout is finished and aimed at a party of 4–5 heroes of 5th level.

Back it NOW!

The post Annihilation Rising Goes live appeared first on Fail Squad Games.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Spire of the Kobolds

Ten Foot Pole - Sat, 05/18/2019 - 11:11
By Megan Irving Aegis Studios O&O / BX Levels 1-2

The Untamed Gauntlet has many mysteries. The Spire is one of them: a huge tower of gleaming rock pointing towards the heavens, with a winding dungeon carved beneath it. Currently, a clan of Kobolds have found it empty (or empty-ish), and are using it as their base. Fearful of invaders, they have thoroughly trapped the upper levels, hiding their best treasures at the very bottom. The party has been issued a writ of salvage for a simple task in the Gauntlet (perhaps a location or goal detailed in another Odysseys & Overlords adventure module.) On the way to their destination, the adventurers see movement near the Spire. They know that monsters periodically move into the Spire, and might have treasures worth pursuing.

This nine page adventure details a small eleven room dungeon on about 2.5 pages. A pretty straightforward hack on a small map with little exploration, it’s just a few kobolds in a hole. It’s focus is on dry descriptions rather than evocative environments, and goes through contortions to use a map without any modifications. Weird. Not egregiously bad, but not good either.

The spire is huge tower of gleaming rock pointing upwards towards the heavens. On the way somewhere else the party sees movement near it. They know that monsters sometimes move in to it and might have treasure. This is, just about word for word, the introduction to the exterior description of the Spire and the inciting event. There are not any more words than this to describe the outside environment, spire exterior, or the moving monsters. The only other words are a stat block of a kobold hunting party and how they react to being avoided or fought.

I’m a big fan of FOCUS but abstraction has to be of the appropriate level and it’s not in this opening salvo. Either it’s three paragraphs of generic information that’s not needed or you need to change a few words and give us a little more concrete under our DM feet. The pieces are too far removed from each other to put together. Dyson (it’s a Dyson map) has a nice little rendering of the spire next to the map that, taken together, provides a little more inspiration. It’s still lacking though. It’s the designers job to add that little bit of inspirations and it’s not there in either the spire or “the movement.”

Room one is an “imposing hall” with “arcane carvings.” Again, a level of abstraction. Telling us the conclusions that we would draw from a more concrete description. Not a longer one, but a more concrete/evocative one. Imagine if different words were chosen to describe the hall and the carvings. Ideally they get the willies as they come to THEIR conclusion that it’s an imposing hall and the carvings are arcane. The adventure does this sort of thing over and over again, avoiding the concrete and instead relying on conclusions and abstractions. A room with “mostly junk” is not the value add I’m looking for in an adventure.

Other room elements are missing. The kobold king wears a dented crown, never mentioned again. Those arcane carvings get nothing more noted about them. Throw aways not impacting the adventure. You can do this, a little, but in such a small adventure I would expect more interactivity and follow up of individual elements called out by name.

The map, a Dyson one, is small and I’m not a particular fan of those. OSR games tend to work best in exploratory environments rather than Lair environments. You need room to breathe, in my experience. Accepting that, though, the map itself is treated a little too holy. I’m guessing it came pre-keyed and the designer want to expand a bit on sections not keyed. Rather than put additional numbers on the map, or features like tripwires and oil pools, they instead rey on the text. There’s a fair bit of text between the description of room one and room two, one describing some storerooms and another a ramp leading from rooms one to two. This seems a tortuous workaround to the problem of just putting  notes 1b and 1c on a map. I’m pretty sure Dyson don’t care, from his website language, and it these notes, tripwires, oil pools, etc would go long way to both overloading the map with useful information and removing some of it from the text. This allows the text to focus more the actual adventure instead of describing where the tripwire is in the room, or where the oil pool is.

On the nitpicky side, lots of tripwires and lots of traps, all of which get almost the exact same description. Spotted with remove traps, etc. Pulling this out to a general section in front of the keys would make the individual descriptions shorter, allowing more focus on the actual room and easier scanning during play.

This appears to be for a game/setting called Odysseys & Overlords, which appears to just be B/X or a derivative. There’s almost no real treasure in this, but for a magic sword, which makes it suspect as a Gold=XP game … if indeed it is one.

It’s not a terrible thing, but it’s not a good thing either. And the level of abstraction pushes it to the bad side of line. One of the best descriptions is of the first ramp: “A long stone ramp leads down into the darkness at a steep angle. Strange skittering and echoing noises can be heard from below. There are torches on the walls, but they aren’t lit.” Downward at a steep angle in to the darkness, skittering echoing noises. Those are the sorts of descriptions I can get behind. It paints, in just a few words, a visceral picture, a feeling.

This is $1 at DriveThru. There is no preview. Boo! Boo I saw sir! Boo! Show us what were buying before we buy it!


https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/275268/Spire-of-the-Kobolds?1892600

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

4 lessons to be learned from the DOE’s DDoS attack

Malwarebytes - Fri, 05/17/2019 - 15:59

Analysts, researchers, industry professionals, and pundits alike have all posited the dangers of the next-generation “smart grid,” particularly when it comes to cybersecurity. They warn that without the right measures in place, unscrupulous parties could essentially wreak havoc on the bulk of society by causing severe outages or worse.

It is a real possibility, but up until now, it’s been something that’s largely hypothetical in nature. In March, an unidentified power company reported a “cyber event” to the Department of Energy (DOE) that caused major disruptions in their operations. While the event did not cause a blackout or power shortage, it was likened to the impact of a major interruption, including events like severe storms, physical attacks, and fuel shortages.

It’s easy to dismiss this as a one-off event, especially since there was no energy disruption to the public as a result. But, in fact, the exact opposite should be inferred from this. It’s merely the first toe over the line in a world where cyberattacks are consistently growing more dangerous, highlighting the need to understand and improve security moving forward.

What lessons can be learned from this attack, and what can hopefully be done to mitigate risk in the future?

1. Disruption comes in many forms

Almost immediately, the attack could be dismissed because it didn’t cause power outages or severe disruptions, but that’s the kind of ostrich-in-the-sand approach that leads to vulnerability in the future. Disruptions or delays can come in many forms, especially for utility providers.

When an attack is identified, the appropriate response teams must dedicate resources to dealing with the oncoming wave. That is essentially costing valuable hours and money, but it’s also taking those teams away from more important tasks. A particularly nasty attack could cause crews to pause or delay certain activities simply to cooperate with an investigation. That could then result in a provider losing efficiency, capabilities, or worse.

At the very least, providers that incur significant costs would need to recuperate the money somehow, and that will most likely roll back into pricing. It’s hard to imagine a minor cyberattack having such an impact on the market, but it’s a definite possibility.

2. Many cyberattacks are easily preventable

Sophisticated cyberattacks can cause a lot of damage, but many of them can be easily prevented with the right security in place. According to an official, the DOS event reported to the DOE happened because of a known software vulnerability that required a patch to fix—a patch that had also been previously published. Hitting “update” would have thwarted the attack.

There’s no further information about what, specifically, was attacked. It could have been computers or workstations, or other Internet-facing devices or network tools. Attackers could have stolen data, proprietary files, or held systems up for ransom. Whatever the damage done, it could have easily been prevented.

A recent study revealed that 87 percent of all focused attacks from January to mid-March 2018 were prevented. This was achieved through a combination of measures, the first being the adoption of breakthrough technologies.

But, just as important to stopping attacks is building a strong and proactive security foundation. The latter requires vigilant maintenance for the systems and devices in question, which would including updating the tech and applying security patches for known exploits.

3. DDoS attacks should be taken seriously

Today’s DoS and DDoS attacks are different seeing as they are more vicious, pointed, and capable. Originally, launching a DDoS attack meant sending a huge bulk of requests to an IP address that overload the related systems and lock out legitimate requests. Generally, while these attacks do come from a few different computers and sources, they use less complex request methods.

The problem with the current landscape is not just that the attacks have become more sophisticated themselves, but that there are so many more potential channels. The Mirai botnet, for example, took advantage of IoT devices such as security cameras, smart home tech, and more. In turn, this makes the scale and capability of the attack much stronger because there are so many more devices involved, and there’s so much more data flowing into the targeted systems.

A massive distributed-denial-of-service attack can take down company websites, entire networks or— in the case of Mirai—nearly the entire Internet. For utility providers this kind of attack could prove disastrous to operations, inundating network servers and equipment with requests and blocking out official communications.

DDoS attacks should be taken more seriously, and today’s enterprise world should be focused on preventing and protecting from them as much as any other threat. Most cloud service providers already do a great job protecting against these attacks. It becomes a real issue when hackers can take advantage of existing vulnerabilities, just as they did with the DOE event.

4. They aren’t time-limited

In the TechCrunch report about the incident, it’s revealed that the attack caused “interruptions of electrical system operation” for a period of over 10 hours. Ten hours is a decent amount of time, and it provides a glimpse at just how prolonged these threats can be. Network layer attacks can last longer than 48 hours, while application layer attacks can go on for days. Infiltration of systems and networks for spying—weeks and months.

It adds another layer to the problem, beyond general security. These attacks can last for increasingly long periods of time, and when it comes to utility providers and the smart grid, that could potentially mean lengthy service disruptions.

Imagine being without power or water for over 60 days because of a sophisticated DDoS attack? While not likely, such a scenario highlights the need to find backup solutions to the problem.

What, for instance, are these providers doing to ensure services are properly backed up and supported during large-scale cyberevents?

Cybersecurity should be a priority

The key takeaway here is that cybersecurity, in general, should be one of the highest priorities for all entities operating in today’s landscape, utility providers included. These attacks have grown to be sophisticated, targeted, capable, and more rampant.

The argument to be made isn’t necessarily that protecting from any one form of attack should be more important than others. It’s that all threats should be taken seriously, including DDoS attacks, which are growing more common. To make matters worse, there’s a much larger pool of channels and devices with which attacks can originate, and they can be carried out over long periods of time.

This increased risk poses some additional questions. Is the smart grid truly ready for primetime? Can it hope to compete against such threats? If cybersecurity is baked into its design, it has a fight chance.

The post 4 lessons to be learned from the DOE’s DDoS attack appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Categories: Techie Feeds

Stitch Up Giveaway

Moogly - Fri, 05/17/2019 - 15:00

Earlier this year I was lucky enough to attend Stitch Up Chicago, and share a crochet workshop and yarn tasting. Today, I get to share a few goodies I picked up at Stitch Up Chicago with one lucky winner – and tell you about their newest event, Stitch Up Brooklyn! Disclaimer: Materials provided by Stitch [...]

The post Stitch Up Giveaway 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

HackMoor 2019/05/10 Cadfael Died and Rose Again

Furiously Eclectic People - Thu, 05/16/2019 - 19:36

Games are normally on Friday nights sometime after 5:30PM at World's Best Comics, 9714 Warwick Blvd Newport News, Virginia 23601.

We had an extra large sausage pizza.

What has gone before:

The Party is with a small underground civilization named Cynicism (demonym: Cynics) who are constantly stoned out of their gourd due to the poor diet of mushrooms, underground fish, and lack of sunlight. (I think it's mostly the mushrooms.) The Cynics are controlled by a priestly class of Ba'al worshippers and a tribe of Hobgoblins. The Party has aligned themselves with three rebel Catholic factions whose numbers are still too small (450) to defeat Ba'al. (550 plus a tribe of 200 Hobgoblins, and a large family of Ogres.)

++++ START OF SESSION ++++

This session was rather brief with the following event.

If you recall last week, Cadfael was captured and taken in to the Temple of Ba'al. This was caused by a random encounter of stoned Cynics who thought the Cadfael was demon possessed. His two companions, (I neglected to mention this last post), had killed one of this three captors but not before Cadfael was taken. He was inert, as a Hold Person spell and rendered him immobile. The two companions retreated in to the headquarters of the Magi of Jesus across the street.

Cadfael was then taken to be "exorcised" by the demon hunters. He was placed on a rack and tortured until he died.

His Player had no recourse except to play a Hackmaster card, for a Minor Raise Dead spell. Meaning his character also got two flaws. The first flaw I argued successfully, was now three inches taller than he was (thanks to the rack). The other was he became a bleeder, in other words a Hemophiliac. This also convinced the demon hunters their "exorcsim" was a success and he was welcomed into the temple of Ba'al.

Thankfully, he wasn't raised from the dead while his body was with the three Catholic factions. They would have made him a saint.

This also meant Cadfael acquired 1000 experience points because of my house rule that the first character's death earns him that. This also qualified the character to raise level, since he now had the requisite experience points. However this is HackMaster, and characters are required to train for a week per current level. Being a first level, this meant one week but WHERE to train?

Problem solved, what better place to train for the next level of the priesthood than the temple of your enemy? Besides, I found no rule against it saying you "have" to train in your own Religion's school, or even the same alignment. (Perhaps I'll be corrected shortly.) Cadfael also gained the knowledge of the enemy temple troop order of battle, that can be used next session. It should also be noted, that everyone in this wretched city wears a full facial mask. So it isn't like anyone in the Temple is going to notice his looks, saying "You're not from these parts are you?". And Cadfael doesn't talk much.

So we fast forwarded a week, raising Cadfael to second level. Meaning Sham the Samurai's troop reinforcements should arrive the next day.

++++ OUT OF CHEESE ERROR ++++
BT

BBBB

PART 2.

++++ CHARACTER ROSTER ++++

CHARACTERS

Paveltepec, first level Painted Mage
Sham, first level Samurai
Cadfael, second level Cleric
Glaxx, first level Druid
Namo, first level Thief
Thune, first level Berserker
10 Sprites, in a musical band called the Pharies
500 Light Infantry, enroute.
1000 Cynics

BT

BBBB

++++ RECORD KEEPING ++++

PART 3.

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



--

Tracy Johnson
Old fashioned text games hosted below:

BT

NNNN

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Categories: Miscellaneous Blogs

DIRECT SALE: American Gryphon Cryptkins: Series 2 Vinyl Figure

Cryptozoic - Thu, 05/16/2019 - 16:59

What's more American than an eagle? A creature who is part-eagle, part-lion, and (almost inexplicably) part-American flag! American Gryphon is a variant of the Gryphon Cryptkins: Series 2 vinyl figure and is a Cryptozoic Exclusive, only available on the Cryptozoic eStore while supplies last!

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

MooglyCAL2019 – Afghan Block #10

Moogly - Thu, 05/16/2019 - 15:00

You will never be bored crocheting Block #10 in the MooglyCAL2019 – courtesy of The Lavender Chair! Each round brings something new, exciting, and interesting to this beautiful crochet square! 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 [...]

The post MooglyCAL2019 – Afghan Block #10 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

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