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[ZINE] Echoes From Fomalhaut: Announcement and Preview

Beyond Fomalhaut - Sun, 02/11/2018 - 16:58

(Placeholder art)It has been a long time in the making, but it is at last getting close: the first issue of my fanzine, Echoes From Fomalhautis nearing release! The articles have been written, artwork is progressing, and the administrative needs are being arranged (yes, I even got myself a DO NOT BEND! stamp). Hence:
What?
Echoes From Fomalhaut is an old-school RPG zine focused on adventures and game-relevant campaign materials. Each issue is planned to feature a larger adventure module, accompanied by shorter scenarios, city states, and other things useful and interesting in a campaign. Rules-related material will be limited to a few pieces of interest. A long time ago, Judges Guild’s campaign instalments established the general idea, and that’s the road I intend to follow. A small city-state? An interesting wilderness area? An island ruled by a society of assassins? Guidelines for magical pools? All that kind of stuff.
The content will feature both vanilla and weird fantasy, mostly drawn from our home games, with occasional contributions by guest authors from the Hungarian old-school scene. Most of the articles will follow AD&D conventions, but remain compatible with most OSR systems – and there will be detours.
An average issue is expected to run 32-40 pages plus the cover. The print edition, produced in the A5 format, is set to ship with larger extras like fold-out maps or what have you; the PDF edition will include these as downloadables. For example, the initial issue (“Beware the Beekeeper!”) features the following articles:
  • Bazaar of the Bizarre (2.5 p): a 1d100 table to generate strange merchants, caravan guidelines.
  • The Rules of the Game (0.5 p): sets out the conventions followed in the zine.
  • The Singing Caverns (16 p): a two-level cavern system with 49 keyed areas, inhabited by orcs, bandits, and the mysteries of a bygone age.
  • Philtres & Dusts (3 p): a sampler of magical potions and dusts.
  • Red Mound (3 p): a mysterious adventure location found in the wastelands.
  • Morale & Men (1 p): a simple, fun set of follower and morale rules from a Hungarian retro-clone, written by two guest-authors.
  • The Mysterious Manor (9 p): the manor house of an extinct noble family, now with new occupants... or is there more to it? 23 keyed areas.
  • Unkeyed city map (extra)
Yes, there is a downloadable preview (see below)!
Why?
I have always wanted to publish homemade game materials, an idea that has grown on me ever since I fell in love with the rough charm of Judge Guild instalments. I released my first PDF adventure in 2001, and the first printed one in 2003 (through my E.M.D.T. – First Hungarian d20 Society label). Over the years, I have mostly stuck to free PDF releases and community fanzines (with the occasional detour, like the Helvécziaboxed set), but something has always been missing. This is an opportunity to fix that. Finally.
When?
The zine will debut with a pre-release version at Kalandorok Társasága VII (“Society of Adventurers VII”), a Hungarian game convention held on 24 February 2018. The print edition is expected shortly afterwards, in early March. A PDF/POD version will be published through RPGNow with a delay of a few months.
How much?
A print issue is expected to sell for $8.00 plus priority shipping ($3.5 to Europe, $4 to the US and worldwide). The price for the PDF edition is expected to be set around $5. POD is still TBD. All buyers of the print edition will receive a free copy of the PDF edition at the date of its publication.
This is slightly above the average in zine pricing (I did an Excel comparison of 39 OSR and indie zines, and they come out at $11.44 for print/worldwide), but gives you some 14,800 words worth of content per issue (not including the OGL and front/end matter), pays for the commissioned artwork, and Hungary’s prestigiously large tax wedge.
What else?
Since I had to set up a sole proprietorship to get this thing off of the ground, I am thinking about using the opportunity to republish some of my older adventure modules with new artwork in a reader-friendly format. Stay tuned!
Preview
Echoes From Fomalhaut #01
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Knitting, it's a process...

My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 02/11/2018 - 15:20
Happy Sunday! Hope you all had a good week. My week was good a bit slow but good. For some reason I had the song " Everybody's working for the weekend" in my head. :) This week found me knitting outside on my lunch breaks, something I hadn't done in... Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Random Paths from the Crossroad of Worlds

Sorcerer's Skull - Sun, 02/11/2018 - 15:00

In Incredible Hulk #300, Dr. Strange tried to get read of the menace of the Hulk (who was in one of his brutish menace periods) but banishing him to another dimension. The Hulk ended up at the Crossroad of Worlds in a trippy, Ditko-esque space. Throughout the next 313 issues, he went to a number of weird worlds. The details of these worlds would make interesting places to visit in a fantasy rpg, but the brief, descriptive names given to the them by the folks at the Marvel Universe Appendix are in many ways even better for just getting the creative juices flowing.

Here's the list made into d30 random table (I had to add one to the end to get 30):
  1. Crossroad of Worlds (choose a path, roll again!)
  2. Acid Rain World 
  3. Barren World 
  4. Burning World 
  5. Daniel Decyst's World 
  6. Demon World of the N'Garai 
  7. Desert World
  8. Devil World 
  9. Frozen World 
  10. Furry Blue People World 
  11. Glob World of Floating Things 
  12. Idol World 
  13. Mist World 
  14. Octopod World
  15. Paradise and the City of Death 
  16. Poisoned World of Spine Creatures
  17. Purple Giant World
  18. Quicksand World 
  19. Radiation Monster World 
  20. Robot World 
  21. Sky Shark World 
  22. Swamp World
  23. Toad World 
  24. Vacuum World 
  25. War World 
  26. Underwater World 
  27. Wind World 
  28. Yellow Dwarf World 
  29. Purple World of Exile
  30. Chiming Crystal World

The Shadows of Darkness In T1 4 Temple of Elemental Evil By Gary Gygax & Frank Mentzer For Your Old School Campaign

Swords & Stitchery - Sun, 02/11/2018 - 09:21
The sudden appearance of  T1-4 The Temple of Elemental Evil By Gary Gygax & Frank Mentzer adventure location being wretched back into the world of men in the Black Forest's of Germany during The Thirty Year War  doesn't mean that there are not other far reaching implications  far away in the English countryside! The appearance of the temple means that its power is going to spread across Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

SUNDAY SUPER CINEMA: BATTLESTAR GALACTICA THE SECOND COMING

First Comics News - Sun, 02/11/2018 - 08:50



This 1999 trailer by Richard Hatch and his team, was the forerunner of all modern fan films.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

COSPLAY GIRL OF THE WEEK!

First Comics News - Sun, 02/11/2018 - 08:38

This week’s cosplay girl of the week Yaya Han

If you would like to be the Cosplay Girl of the Week!
Please send your photo to Giovanni.Aria@firstcomicsnews.com and you will be considered for inclusion in a future edition of Superhero Girls!

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

SHIPPING THIS WEEK (…and next week too)

First Comics News - Sun, 02/11/2018 - 08:02
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Categories: Comic Book Blogs

The Combined Best Comics & Graphic Novels of 2017!

First Comics News - Sun, 02/11/2018 - 08:01

Over the last few months there have been many, many websites with “Best of 2017” lists concerning comic books and graphic novels. If you’ve looked at a few, you may have noticed some of the same books on different lists and seen some unique to only that list.

I went through over 136 different “Best Of” Lists regarding comic books and graphic novels and combined them into a spreadsheet. There are over 2,100 different listings of books from these websites. I should note that I’ve included books that were given honorable mentions. In short, if somebody thought it was a good book that you should check out, it’s on here. Pivot tables have been created to show which books appeared on the number of lists. Here are the books with 5 mentions or more:

 

Book Title Count Writer Artist Publisher My Favorite Thing Is Monsters 64 Emil Ferris Emil Ferris Fantagraphics Mister Miracle 45 Tom King Mitch Gerads DC Comics The Best We Could Do 36 Thi Bui Thi Bui Harry N. Abrams Boundless 32 Jillian Tamaki Jillian Tamaki Drawn & Quarterly Batman 27 Tom King Mikel Janin DC Comics You & A Bike & A Road 26 Eleanor Davis Eleanor Davis Koyama Press Spinning 24 Tillie Walden Tillie Walden First Second Black Hammer 21 Jeff Lemire Dean Ormston, David Rubin Dark Horse Comics My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness 20 Nagata Kabi Nagata Kabi Seven Seas Shade The Changing Girl 19 Cecil Castellucci Marley Zarcone DC Comics Anti-Gone 19 Connor Willumsen Connor Willumsen Koyama Press The Mighty Thor 17 Jason Aaron Russell Dauterman Marvel Comics Songy Of Paradise 16 Gary Panter Gary Panter Fantagraphics Hostage 15 Guy Delisle Guy Delisle Drawn & Quarterly Everything Is Flammable 14 Gabrielle Bell Gabrielle Bell Uncivilized Books The Flintstones 13 Mark Russell Steve Pugh, Rick Leonardi DC Comics Paper Girls 13 Brian K. Vaughan Cliff Chiang Image Comics Monograph 12 Chris Ware Chris Ware Rizzoli Real Friends 12 Shannon Hale Leuyen Pham First Second Giant Days 12 John Allison Max Sarin, Liz Fleming, Whitney Cogar BOOM! Studios Crickets No. 6 12 Sammy Harkham Sammy Harkham American Comics Mirror Mirror II 11 Various Various 2dcloud One More Year 11 Simon Hanselmann Simon Hanselmann Fantagraphics Saga 11 Brian K. Vaughan Fiona Staples Image Comics Doom Patrol 11 Gerard Way Nick Derington DC Comics Roughneck 11 Jeff Lemire Jeff Lemire Gallery 13 The Customer Is Always Wrong 10 Mimi Pond Mimi Pond Drawn & Quarterly The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 10 Ryan North Erica Henderson Marvel Comics Batman / Elmer Fudd Special #1 10 Tom King Lee Weeks DC Comics Sex Fantasy 10 Sophia Foster-Dimino Sophia Foster-Dimino Koyama Press Rock Candy Mountain 9 Kyle Starks Kyle Starks Image Comics Silver Surfer 9 Dan Slott Michael Allred And Laura Allred Marvel Comics Pretending Is Lying 9 Dominique Goblet Dominique Goblet New York Review Comics Redlands 9 Jordie Bellaire, Vanesa Del Rey Jordie Bellaire, Vanesa Del Rey Image Comics Uncomfortably Happily 9 Yeon-Sik Hong Yeon-Sik Hong Drawn & Quarterly My Brother’s Husband 9 Gengoroh Tagame Gengoroh Tagame Pantheon God Country 9 Donny Cates Geoff Shaw Image Comics 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank 9 Matthew Rosenberg Tyler Boss Black Mask Studios Sticks Angelica, Folk Hero 8 Michael Deforge Michael Deforge Drawn & Quarterly Spill Zone 8 Scott Westerfeld Alex Puvilland First Second Wonder Woman 8 Greg Rucka Nicola Scott, Liam Sharp, Romulo Fajardo Jr. DC Comics Iceland 8 Yuichi Yokoyama Yuichi Yokoyama Retrofit/Big Planet Aliens: Dead Orbit 8 James Stokoe James Stokoe Dark Horse Comics Brave 8 Svetlana Chmakova Svetlana Chmakova Yen Press Black Bolt 8 Saladin Ahmed Christian James Ward Marvel Comics Dark Nights: Metal 8 Scott Snyder Greg Capullo DC Comics Pope Hats #5 7 Ethan Rilly Ethan Rilly Adhouse Press Now #1 7 Various Various Fantagraphics All’S Faire In Middle School 7 Victoria Jamieson Victoria Jamieson Dial Books The Complete Strange Growths, 1991-1997 7 Jenny Zervakis Jenny Zervakis Spit and a Half Crawl Space 7 Jesse Jacobs Jesse Jacobs Koyama Press Secret Weapons 7 Eric Heisserer Raul Allen, Patricia Martin Valiant Motor Crush 7 Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart Babs Tarr, Cameron Stewart Image Comics Extremity 7 Daniel Warren Johnson Daniel Warren Johnson, Mike Spicer Image Comics Mis(H)Adra 7 Iasmin Omar Ata Iasmin Omar Ata Gallery 13 The Girl From The Other Side: Siúil, A Rún 7 Nagabe Nagabe Seven Seas Everyone’s A Aliebn When Ur A Aliebn Too: A Book 7 Jomny Sun Jomny Sun Harper Perennial Deathstroke 7 Christopher Priest Diogenes Neves DC Comics Hawkeye 7 Kelly Thompson Leonardo Romero, Michael Walsh, Jordie Bellaire Marvel Comics The Wild Storm 6 Warren Ellis Jon Davis-Hunt DC Comics How To Read Nancy: The Elements Of Comics In Three Easy Panels 6 Paul Karasik, Mark Newgarden Fantagraphics Fante Bukowski Two 6 Noah Van Sciver Noah Van Sciver Fantagraphics The Black Monday Murders 6 Jonathan Hickman Tomm Coker, Michael Garland, Rus Wooton Image Comics Bitch Planet 6 Kelly Sue Deconnick Valentine De Landro, Taki Soma Image Comics Language Barrier 6 Hannah K. Lee Hannah K. Lee Koyama Press Providence 6 Alan Moore Jacen Burrows Avatar Press Nightlights 6 Lorena Alvarez Lorena Alvarez Nobrow Press Poppies Of Iraq 6 Brigitte Findakly And Lewis Trondheim Lewis Trondheim Drawn & Quarterly Imagine Wanting Only This 6 Kristen Radtke Kristen Radtke Pantheon The Wicked + The Divine 6 Kieron Gillen Jamie Mckelvie, Matt Wilson Image Comics Pashmina 6 Nidhi Chanani Nidhi Chanani First Second America 6 Gabby Rivera Joe Quinones, Ramon Villalobos Marvel Comics House Of Women 6 Sophie Goldstein Sophie Goldstein Fantagraphics Ms. Marvel 6 G. Willow Wilson Adrian Alphona, Takeshi Miyazawa Marvel Comics The Stone Heart: The Nameless City 6 Faith Erin Hicks Faith Erin Hicks, Jordie Bellaire First Second I’M Not Here 6 GG GG Koyama Press Venice 5 Jiro Taniguchi Jiro Taniguchi Fanfare/Ponent Mon Royal City 5 Jeff Lemire Jeff Lemire Image Comics Batman Annual #2 5 Tom King Lee Weeks, Michael Lark, Elizabeth Breitweiser, June Chung, Deron Bennett DC Comics Aquaman 5 Riccardo Federici, Dan Abnett Stjepan Sejic, Various DC Comics Savage Town 5 Declan Shalvey Philip Barrett, Jordie Bellaire Image Comics Mech Cadet Yu 5 Greg Pak Takeshi Miyazawa BOOM! Studios Education 5 John Hankiewicz John Hankiewicz Fantagraphics Sunburning 5 Keiler Roberts Keiler Roberts Koyama Press To Laugh That We May Not Weep: The Life And Art Of Art Young 5 Art Young,‎ Art Spiegelman,‎ Frank Young Art Young Fantagraphics Farmer Ned’S Comic Barn 5 Gerald Jablonski Gerald Jablonski Fantagraphics As The Crow Flies 5 Melanie Gillman Melanie Gillman Iron Circus Comics The Interview 5 Manuele Fior Manuele Fior Fantagraphics Bolivar 5 Sean Rubin Sean Rubin Archaia The Tea Dragon Society 5 Katie O’Neill Katie O’Neill Oni Press The Wendy Project 5 Melissa Jane Osborne Veronica Fish Papercutz Mighty Jack And The Goblin King 5 Ben Hatke Ben Hatke First Second Black Panther 5 Ta-Nehisi Coates Various Marvel Comics Black 5 Various Various Black Mask Studios The Unworthy Thor 5 Jason Aaron Olivier Coipel Marvel Comics Kill Or Be Killed 5 Ed Brubaker Sean Phillips Image Comics Monstress 5 Marjorie Liu Sana Takeda Image Comics Spy Seal 5 Rich Tomasso Rich Tomasso Image Comics Where’s Halmoni? 5 Julie Kim Julie Kim Little Bigfoot The Abominable Mr. Seabrook 5 Joe Ollmann Joe Ollmann Drawn & Quarterly Shaolin Cowboy: Who’ll Stop The Reign? 5 Geof Darrow Geof Darrow Dark Horse Comics Fire!! The Zola Hurston Neale Story 5 Peter Bagge Peter Bagge Drawn & Quarterly Baking With Kafka 5 Tom Gauld Tom Gauld Drawn & Quarterly Voices In The Dark 5 Marcel Beyer, Ulli Lust Ulli Lust New York Review Comics 5 Worlds, V.1: The Sand Warrior 5 Mark Siegel, Alexis Siegel Mark Siegel, Xanthe Bouma, Matt Rockefeller, Boya Sun Random House Tenements, Towers & Trash 5 Julia Wertz Julia Wertz Black Dog & Leventhal

Also of note, a handful of reviewers included a webcomic within it’s best books lists. Tilly Walden’s On A Sunbeam got the most (4) mentions this year, which is remarkable as she tied for the most mentions last year. Like last year The Nib got 2nd place as a general site and Nib hosted specific comics Sarah Glidden’s The Art of War and Jess Parker’s Who Was The Somerton Man were also mentioned. Tied for 2nd with 3 mentions is Michael DeForge’s Leaving Richard’s Valley.  It should be said that several Self-Published and very small press comics were both web comics and printed books. I did not do a through check, but it’s possible that some of those books are available as web comics and vice versa.

The full spreadsheet with pivot tables for books, writers, artists, publishers and more is available here.

Regarding Publishers:

Image was the most popular with 74 different titles.

DC was 2nd with 54 different titles.

Fantagraphics and Marvel are tied for a close 3rd with 53 different titles.

Dark Horse has 30 titles.

First Second did well with 24 titles.

58 Self-Published books made the list too.

Caveats:

Where a reviewer/writer wrote ‘best of’ lists for multiple websites, I’ve cross referenced their lists and removed books that were named twice. I did not think it would be fair if those writers could tip the popularity scale by naming the same book(s) over and over again on multiple websites.

If a writer wrote for multiple sites, but one of those sites picks was a group effort, I did not remove books that are listed twice.

I generally did not include lists that were a mixed of prose books and graphic novels.

I did not use lists where the website was not in English and the books appeared to be translated versions.

I did not use nominations/winners for awards.

With inkers and colourists I often, but not always included them within the Artist section. Where there were multiple (usually more than 5) involved in a book, or in the title’s run over the course of the year, Various was used of listing them all. In some cases I combined those involved even if they worked on the title for different issues.

For simplicity sake, if a list named a specific comic book issue or specific volume of a graphic novel, I removed those specifics and just listed the series title, with rare exceptions. Apologies to the reviewers of those books.

Some writers included books that were technically published in 2016 and at least 1 just listed best books they read that year, but the vast majority of those lists were 2017 books. The number of non 2017 books in the spreadsheet is very tiny and insignificant to the overall list.

Most of the lists were general ‘best/favourite books’ of 2017, but I also included lists dedicated to young readers, manga, etc… What type list is noted on column B in the spreadsheet.

A small number of lists also had rankings and those are included in Column C

 

A Reading Life – https://areadinglife.com/2017/11/28/best-of-2017-books-for-adults/
A Reading Life – https://areadinglife.com/2017/11/29/best-of-2017-books-for-young-adults/
A Reading Life – https://areadinglife.com/2017/11/30/best-of-2017-books-for-children/
Adventures in Poor Taste – http://www.adventuresinpoortaste.com/2018/01/02/the-year-in-queer-the-top-10-lgbtq-comics-of-2017/
Advocate – https://www.advocate.com/arts-entertainment/2018/1/03/best-lgbt-graphic-novels-2017
All The Wonders – http://www.allthewonders.com/podcasts/some-of-the-top-middle-grade-graphic-novels-of-2017-books-between-episode-40/
Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=17388344011
Anime News Network – https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/feature/2017-12-29/best-manga-and-light-novels-of-2017/.125750
AV Club – https://www.avclub.com/the-best-comics-of-2017-1820879242
Bam! Smack! Pow! – https://bamsmackpow.com/2017/12/31/top-comic-books-2017/
Barnes and Nobel – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sci-fi-fantasy/best-comics-graphic-novels-2017/
Barnes and Nobel – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sci-fi-fantasy/best-new-manga-series-2017/
Ben Towle – http://www.benzilla.com/?p=6266
Booklist Online – https://www.booklistonline.com/Top-10-Graphic-Novels-2017-Sarah-Hunter/pid=8966988
BookList Online – https://www.booklistonline.com/Top-10-Graphic-Novels-for-Youth-2017-Sarah-Hunter/pid=8964161
Bounding Into Comics – http://boundingintocomics.com/2017/12/27/the-10-best-comic-books-of-2017/
CBC – http://www.cbc.ca/books/the-best-canadian-comics-and-graphica-of-2017-1.4453579
CBR – https://www.cbr.com/tag/bestcomics2017/
Chicago Public Library – https://chipublib.bibliocommons.com/list/share/200121216_chipublib_teens/1058615227_best_teen_graphic_novels_and_manga_of_2017
ComicBook.com – http://comicbook.com/comics/2018/01/01/the-10-best-indie-comics-of-2017/#1
Comicon.com – http://www.comicon.com/2017/12/26/comicons-8-best-comic-series-of-2017/
Comicon.com – http://www.comicon.com/2017/12/26/comicons-8-best-original-graphic-novels-of-2017/
Comicon.com – http://www.comicon.com/2017/12/26/comicons-8-best-single-comic-issues-of-2017/
Comicon.com – http://www.comicon.com/2017/12/28/comicons-8-best-webcomics-of-2017/
Comicon.com – http://www.comicon.com/2017/12/29/comicons-most-progressive-comics-2017/
Comicosity – http://www.comicosity.com/best-of-2017-graphic-novel/
Comicosity – http://www.comicosity.com/best-of-2017-series/
Comicosity – http://www.comicosity.com/best-of-2017-single-issue/
Comics Alternative – http://comicsalternative.com/young-readers-reviews-of-good-night-planet-the-dam-keeper-and-misfit-city-as-well-as-a-look-back-at-2017/
Critical Hit – https://www.criticalhit.net/comics-toys/20-best-comic-books-2017/
Cryptoscatology – http://cryptoscatology.blogspot.com/2017/12/the-cryptoscatology-top-ten-best-comic.html
Daniel Elkin – http://www.danielelkin.com/2017/12/top-13-small-press-comics-i-reviewed-of.html
Den of Geek – http://www.denofgeek.com/us/books-comics/best-comics-of-2017/269562/best-comics-2017-comicbooks
Denver Public Library – https://kids.denverlibrary.org/booklist/best-brightest-graphic-novels-2017
Entropy – https://entropymag.org/best-of-2017-comics-graphic-novels/
EPL (Edmonton Public Library) – https://epl.bibliocommons.com/list/share/664197898_comicsprof/1032066367_best_graphic_novels_2017
EW – http://ew.com/books/best-comics-2017/best-comics-of-2017/
Fantagraphics – http://fantagraphics.com/flog/whats-store-top-comix-2017/
Fantom Comics – http://fantomcomics.tumblr.com/post/169268628241/fantoms-favorite-comics-of-2017
Forbes – https://www.forbes.com/pictures/5a2aaf04a7ea432f2e756465/best-graphic-novels-of-20/#262f8e171d9b
Forbidden Planet – http://forbiddenplanet.blog/2017/best-year-2017-matts-picks/
Forbidden Planet – http://forbiddenplanet.blog/2017/best-year-2017-richmonds-picks/
Forbidden Planet – http://forbiddenplanet.blog/2018/best-of-the-year-2017-joes-picks/
Forbidden Planet – http://forbiddenplanet.blog/2018/best-year-2017-richard-begs-forgiveness-tardiness/
Free Library of Philadelphia – https://libwww.freelibrary.org/blog/post/3168
Fresh Toast – https://thefreshtoast.com/culture/best-comic-books-from-each-major-publisher-in-2017/
Gamespot – https://www.gamespot.com/gallery/the-10-best-comics-of-2017/2900-1711/
Geeks – https://geeks.media/best-comics-of-2017-for-fans-of-every-genre
Good OK Bad – http://goodokbad.com/index.php/about/2017comics
Good Reads – https://www.goodreads.com/choiceawards/best-graphic-novels-comics-2017
Gosh London – https://www.goshlondon.com/blog/2017/11/17/the-gosh-best-of-2017-kids
Gosh London – https://www.goshlondon.com/blog/2017/11/9/the-gosh-best-of-2017
Graphic Policy – https://graphicpolicy.com/2018/01/04/alexs-best-2017/
Guide Live – https://www.guidelive.com/comic-books/2017/12/14/perfectpanels-10-best-comic-books-2017
Hell Machine Jog (Joe McCulloch) – https://twitter.com/snubpollard/status/947651965797961728
Herald Scotland – http://www.heraldscotland.com/arts_ents/15784889.Graphic_Content__From_werewolves_to_cross_dressing__our_choice_of_books_of_the_year/
Herald Scottland – http://www.heraldscotland.com/arts_ents/15783879.Graphic_Content__Cartoonists_choose_their_comics_and_graphic_novels_of_the_year/
Heroic Girls – http://www.heroicgirls.com/best-graphic-novels-2017-kids-teens/
Hipinion – http://forums.hipinion.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=115077
Hollywood Reporter – https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/best-comics-2017-1070417
i09 – https://io9.gizmodo.com/the-15-best-comics-of-2017-1821292444
ICPL – http://blog.icpl.org/2017/12/30/icpl-top-staff-picks-for-2017-graphic-novels/
ICV2 – https://icv2.com/articles/columns/view/39263/the-10-best-graphic-novels-2017
ICV2 – https://icv2.com/articles/news/view/39211/top-10-kids-graphic-novels-2017
Infinite Earths – https://iearths.blogspot.ca/2017/12/the-top-10-best-comics-of-2017.html?m=1
Inverse – https://www.inverse.com/article/39420-best-comics-2017-writers-ninjak-batgirl-kaijumax-flintstones
IVC2 – https://icv2.com/articles/news/view/39236/top-10-manga-2017
Kevin Huizenga – https://kevinh.blogspot.com/2017/12/2017-time-capsule.html
Kirkus – https://www.kirkusreviews.com/lists/best-middle-grade-graphic-novels-2017/
Kitsap Regional Library – http://www.krl.org/blog/best-graphic-novels-teens-2017
Large Hearted Boy – http://www.largeheartedboy.com/blog/archive/2017/12/favorite_graphi_6.html
Lars Ingebrigtsen – https://lars.ingebrigtsen.no/2017/12/14/the-best-comics-of-2017/
Leo Weekly – https://www.leoweekly.com/2017/12/leo-looks-back-best-comic-books-2017/
Let’s Talk Picture Books – http://www.letstalkpicturebooks.com/2017/12/best-graphic-novels-of-2017.html
Library Journal – http://lj.libraryjournal.com/bestbooks2017/graphic_novels.php
Lisa Hanawalt – https://twitter.com/lisadraws/status/946879618551726080
Matt Seneca – http://mattseneca.tumblr.com/post/169372094107/2017-a-fuck-ass-year
Multiversity Comics – http://www.multiversitycomics.com/news-columns/2017-in-review-best-miniseries/
Multiversity Comics – http://www.multiversitycomics.com/news-columns/2017-in-review-best-new-series/
Multiversity Comics – http://www.multiversitycomics.com/news-columns/2017-in-review-best-ongoing-series/
Multiversity Comics – http://www.multiversitycomics.com/news-columns/2017-in-review-best-single-issue/
Multiversity Comics – http://www.multiversitycomics.com/news-columns/2017-in-review-graphic-novel/
Multiversity Comics – http://www.multiversitycomics.com/news-columns/2017-in-review-webcomic/
Multiversity Comics – http://www.multiversitycomics.com/reader-poll/2017-readers-choice/
Newsarama – https://www.newsarama.com/37961-best-of-best-shots-2017-our-review-crew-picks-the-best-of-the-year.html
NJ – http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/2018/01/what_was_the_best_comic_book_series_of_2017_comic.html
NPR – http://apps.npr.org/best-books-2017/#/tag/comics-and-graphic-novels
Observation Deck – https://observationdeck.kinja.com/comic-books-2017-1821374651
Panel Platter – http://www.panelpatter.com/2017/12/james-2017-favorites-in-17-ridiculous.html
Panel Platter – http://www.panelpatter.com/2018/01/rob-m-favorite-sci-fi-and-fantasy.html
Panel Platter – http://www.panelpatter.com/2018/01/rob-ms-favorite-anthologies-of-2017.html
Panel Platter – http://www.panelpatter.com/2018/01/rob-ms-favorite-horror-comics-of-2017.html
Panel Platter – http://www.panelpatter.com/2018/01/rob-ms-favorite-horror-comics-of-2017.html
Panel Platter – http://www.panelpatter.com/2018/01/rob-ms-favorite-indie-books-of-2017.html
Panel Platter – http://www.panelpatter.com/2018/01/rob-ms-favorite-superhero-style-comics.html
Paste – https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/12/the-10-best-kids-comics-of-2017.html
Paste – https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/12/the-25-best-comics-of-2017.html
Pierce County Library – http://www.piercecountylibrary.org/books-materials/pierce-county-favorites/Default.htm
Polygon – https://www.polygon.com/comics/2017/12/22/16807870/comics-2017-marvel-dc
Publisher Weekly – https://best-books.publishersweekly.com/pw/best-books/2017/comics
Publishers Weekly – https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/comics/article/75675-my-favorite-thing-is-monsters-tops-annual-pw-graphic-novel-critics-poll.html
Readings – https://www.readings.com.au/news/graphic-novels-and-comics-we-loved-in-2017
Ryan C’s Four Colour Apocalypse – https://fourcolorapocalypse.wordpress.com/2017/12/07/2017-year-in-review-top-10-single-issues/
Ryan C’s Four Colour Apocalypse – https://fourcolorapocalypse.wordpress.com/2017/12/13/2017-year-in-review-top-10-collected-editions-contemporary/
School Library Journal – http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2017/12/20/31-days-31-lists-day-twenty-2017-comics-for-kids/
School Library Journal – http://www.slj.com/2017/11/reviews/best-of/top-10-graphic-novels-2017/
Scifi Pulse – http://www.scifipulse.net/comic-books-2017-the-year-in-review/
Sequential State – https://sequentialstate.com/blog/comics-challenged-2017-complete-list/
Slackjaw Punks – http://slackjawpunks.com/top-5-comics-of-2017/
Spy – http://spy.com/2017/entertainment/books-music-movies/best-graphic-novels-2017-comics-72376/
Super Skull – http://www.superskullshow.com/episodes-all/2017/12/7/super-skulls-best-graphic-novels-of-2017
SyFy – http://www.syfy.com/syfywire/syfy-wires-best-ongoing-genre-comics-of-2017
The Beat – http://www.comicsbeat.com/the-beats-best-comics-of-2017/
The Comics Journal – http://www.tcj.com/the-best-comics-of-2017/
The Comics Reporter – http://www.comicsreporter.com/index.php/fff_results_postr_491_books_of_2017/
The Guardian – https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/dec/03/rachel-cooke-best-graphic-novels-2017-joff-winterhart-driving-short-distances-grandville-talbot
The Hundreds – https://thehundreds.com/blogs/content/best-2017-graphic-novels
The Irish Times – https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/living-colour-favourite-comics-and-graphic-novels-of-2017-1.3324716
The Smart Set – https://thesmartset.com/comic-countdown/
The Verge – https://www.theverge.com/2017/12/22/16807260/best-comics-of-2017
Turnaround – https://theturnaroundblog.com/2017/12/21/top-comic-books-of-2017/
Under The Radar – http://www.undertheradarmag.com/blog/under_the_radars_holiday_gift_guide_2017_part_9_books_and_graphic_novels/
Unwinnable – https://unwinnable.com/2018/01/03/the-best-comics-of-2017/
Uproxx – http://uproxx.com/hitfix/best-comics-2017/
Vice – https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/paqaxk/the-ten-best-comics-of-2017
Villain Media – https://villainmedia.com/jorge-solis-top-10-comic-books-2017/
Vulture – http://www.vulture.com/2017/12/10-best-comics-2017.html
Washington Post – https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/the-10-best-graphic-novels-of-2017/2017/11/10/ded1688c-af85-11e7-9e58-e6288544af98_story.html?utm_term=.74d0cde5c002
Waukegan Public Library – https://www.waukeganpl.org/2017-review-graphic-novels/
WhatCulture – http://whatculture.com/comics/10-best-comic-books-of-2017
WhatCulture – http://whatculture.com/comics/10-best-comic-books-of-2017-so-far
Why So Blu? – http://whysoblu.com/best-comic-books-2017/
Wired – https://www.wired.com/story/best-comics-2017/
Women Write About Comics – http://womenwriteaboutcomics.com/2018/01/03/small-press-bites-faves-of-2017-edition/
Women Write About Comics – http://womenwriteaboutcomics.com/2017/12/30/wwacs-favorite-big-press-comics-of-2017/
Zainab Akhtar – https://twitter.com/comicsandcola/status/941346392492167168

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

COSPLAY DUDE OF THE WEEK!

First Comics News - Sun, 02/11/2018 - 07:59

This week’s Cosplay Dude of the Week

If you would like to be the Cosplay Dude of the Week!
Please send your photo to Alex.Wright@firstcomicsnews.com and you will be considered for inclusion in a future edition of Superhero Dudes!

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Appendix N Still Matters

Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog - Sun, 02/11/2018 - 04:32

Over at the premier fantasy blog of the internet, fellow pulp fantasy junkie and all around cool cat Fletcher Vredenburgh has made Appendix N a significant element of his manifesto:

I hadn’t really thought about Appendix N until James Maleszewski started blogging about it at his old and much-missed site, Grognardia. While he wasn’t a newcomer to the books on Gygax’s list, a lot of the people commenting were, and it was fun to read new takes on old works. They were totally sold on books which had either created the tropes that have come to dominate mass-market fantasy, or that were defiantly original, yet with roots proudly tracing back to the pulp tradition. It was the first intimation that so many of the books I grew up with were finding a new audience.

Later, Jeffro Johnson at Castalia House began a long series of posts examining the books and authors of Appendix N. The pieces were all collected and released as Appendix N: A Literary History of Dungeons & Dragons. It’s a strongly opinioned and valuable take on a varied and idiosyncratic assortment of books. His commenters’ excitement over discovering a whole wealth of new-to-them fantasy writing definitely warmed this critic’s heart.

I’m not sure if Fletcher knows just how gracious he’s being here. For anyone that’s spent any amount of effort attempting to explain vintage role-playing games on a blog, being compared to James Maliszewski is about as good as it gets.

As to the books of Appendix N, according to Fletcher they are not just “a quirky list of fantasy and sci-fi books that inspired Gary Gygax”, but are also “worth reading because they are among the very best the genre has to offer.” He remarks on the contrast between how these books seemed to lapse into obscurity… but the people exposed to them today just can’t get over how good they are.

What’s up with that?

Well, Black Gate is far too reputable of a site to delve into to that particular question, but recent events make this far, far easier for people to wrap their heads around. Comics were infiltrated, subverted, and pushed to the very edge of destruction over the past decade or so. And Star Wars has been turned upside down and inside out very quickly just in the past few years by the same sort of people.

These are the same sort of people became responsible for both universities and journalism at some point. They wage a nonstop war on not just the past, but also anyone that dares to spoil their narrative. The ideological diversity and the freedom of expression that was taken for granted in the states before 1980 is offensive to them. But it goes further than that. These people use their influence to rewrite the literary canon however they please, reading people out for purely political reasons while inducting others for their utility in forwarding the aims of their cultural revolution.

And this stuff works, too. Accusing A. Merritt of having a Madonna-Whore complex, talking about how Lovecraft used the “N” word, and calling Robert E. Howard a mamma’s boy doesn’t do a whole lot to expand the reader base for their stories. And for anyone paying attention, there is a not-so-subtle cue in all that that you need to perform public self-flagellation rituals if your’re going to admit to liking such authors in mixed company.

It’s humiliating to even think about. Most people most of the time are going to steer clear of such unpleasantness.

But I see it happen all the time: people hear about these books, go read them for themselves, and then they are just plain blown away by them. It’s not just that they have been betrayed by the broader commentariat that they unconsciously depend on to keep them informed of such things. It’s that there are things packed into these stories that have very nearly been wiped out of the broader culture. And there’s something there that people desperately crave even though they can’t really imagine what could be there in the first place.

Wonder. Thrills. Romance. Heroism. Virtue.

We are hard wired for this. And we will have it.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Silence of Bells

Aikido Blogs - Sun, 02/11/2018 - 00:58
Silence of Bells

With bell sounds gone
No left one to maintain the old traditions
River stones set in the tokonoma
Slowly covering in dust
Achieving silent perfection on their own
Cold air from broken windows stir
The weeds growing in the tatami edges
Over the years I remember most
The silence of bells
When, finally, everyone left

Categories: Aikido

Let's Read: Greyhawk Adventures (Part 12)

Greyhawk Grognard - Sat, 02/10/2018 - 21:35
Well here we are at last, the final entry in my Let's Read series for the Greyhawk Adventures hardcover book. It's certainly taken a while to get here, but I hope the trip's been worth it.

We close the series with what is perhaps the weakest section of the entire book, and the one I believe got the least use; zero-level characters.

These rules are unique to the book, and have nothing to do with Len Lakofka's attempt to deal with pre-1st level characters way back in Dragon #51.

Rather than experience points, 0-level characters have something called Aptitude Points, which start anywhere from 91-110, and everyone starts with 3's in each ability score, and 3 h.p. The AP are then used to raise those attributes at a rate of 8 per week (spend 2 AP and your strength can go from 3 to 5, for instance). Demi-humans need to reach their racial minimums first, before they can start raising other stats.

The downsides of this system are instantly seen. Presumably everyone in the world is a weakling, a moron, is clumsy, and couldn't convince a beggar to accept a copper piece. It also replaces rolled stats with a point-buy system, which I think would be something of a revolution in terms of gameplay that isn't exactly called out.

Here, characters don't have an alignment to start with; they develop an alignment over time, with the DM keeping track of each character's behavior with a 1-20 based point system.

Class abilities are learned and practiced across class lines, and can be learned by spending "study points". So if you want to try turning undead, you'd learn the skill for a cost of 4 study points. If you want to cast a 1st level spell, you could learn how at a cost of 6 study points. Some more advanced skills need a payment of Aptitude Points as well.

Or you could "trust to luck" and just try it, with a 55% chance of failure of some sort, and a 45% chance of success of differing varieties. The same system is used for proficiencies (weapon and non-weapon) and learning languages as well.

When the 0-level characters learn all of the skills of a particular class, they become a 1st level member of that class, and have a chance to retain some of the other class skills they've learned along the way. But there's no real way to expand or improve those powers later on, so it's not exactly like a skill system, but a weird hybrid.

Personally, I don't know of anyone who ever used this more than once (we tried it, hated it, and dropped it almost immediately). It's a sort of tedious version of Traveler's character creation, which builds up experiences prior to play, but in this version those experiences have to be actually played out before one can even get to 1st level.

Plus, there's nothing that particularly ties this to the Greyhawk setting at all. It's just sort of lumped in at the end because there wasn't anyplace else for it. Unfortunately this is flyover country, and these pages would have been better spent on other things.

And that's it. The whole book, from start to finish. Some great parts, some okay parts, some not so okay parts, and some completely forgettable parts. I hope you've been inspired over the course of this series to check out this often-forgotten book. Thanks for taking the journey with me; I promise the next one won't take so long.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

RICH REVIEWS: Alter-Life # 1

First Comics News - Sat, 02/10/2018 - 19:30

Title: Alter-Life # 1
Publisher: Village Comics
Written by: Caleb Thusat
Art by: Katrina Kunstmann
Price: $ 5.00 US
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Website: www.villagecomicbooks.com
Comments: Jake is a man who has lost so much. You will be able to emphasize with him.
The art basic and simple. It needs to be a lot clearer. The coloring is done in a manner that will have you wondering, why do it this way? It is different.
Jake does live a strange life. What is happening to him? He seems to be living his life but slightly different versions of it that keep slipping in and out on him. One thing was staying constant and than even that changed. So he is the only thing not changing. Why is all this happening?
This is an interesting presented book. It will peak your interest and have you wanting to lean more.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Project Oasis is 50% off Tomorrow!

Greyhawk Grognard - Sat, 02/10/2018 - 18:07
Hey everyone - I just got notified that Project Oasis, my setting for GW / Mutant Future / Apes Victorious / etc. will be the Deal of the Day over at RPGNow.com tomorrow. This is your chance to get it at 50% off the normal price!


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS; AN ART BOOK

First Comics News - Sat, 02/10/2018 - 17:34

Reinhard Kleist’s international bestselling graphic novel Nick Cave: Mercy On Me, which was endorsed by the songwriter himself, this beautifully produced coffee table book brings together the German artist’s moody and expressive portraits of the musician and his band. It covers 30 years of writing, recording and live performance.

Evoking memories of songs and concerts, it’s full of visual delights that celebrate Nick Cave’s incredible career, creating a kaleidoscopic portrait of the storyteller, musician and cultural icon. Featuring brush pen sketches, full-colour portraits and comic book reimaginings of Cave’s songs, this LP-sized art book highlights the German graphic novelist’s extraordinary craftsmanship.

Mercy On Me received wide coverage from The Observer, Vice, Spin, Clash Magazine, The Guardian, Time Out and The
Australian.

The Art Book makes a delightful companion volume.

A lavishly produced book for collectors and music fans alike.

“Reinhard Kleist has – yet again – blown apart the conventions of the graphic novel… Closer to the truth than any
biography, that’s for sure!” – Nick Cave on Mercy on Me Foreword by Max Dax, author of The Life and Music of Nick Cave: An Illustrated Biography

Hardback • 96pp • Full colour • £24.99
ISBN 978-1-910593-52-3
Publication: 15th March 2018

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

RICH REVIEWS: Triumviratus # 1

First Comics News - Sat, 02/10/2018 - 17:00

Title: Triumviratus # 1
Publisher: Shane W Smith
Creator/Writer/Artist: Shane W Smith
Price: free online
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Website: www.shanewsmith.com
Comments: A Champion has been chosen in Damian and the King sends him away. The Princess Mirelda does love Damian the stable hand. Royalty and a servant these two do not usually mix well in the eyes of some others such as a King. Damian comes and goes so quickly. He does not seem like an important character at all.
Art is created using a computer. It definitely has that certain look to it. More clarity in it would make it better. The designs in the makeup for buildings and clothing is textured well. The characters are illustrated to stiff looking.
What is the Orb? A simple globe or a weapon of power?
The King has bigger plans than a stable boy for his daughter Mirelda. Mirelda now she is a strong-willed woman. She is connected to the Orb or can connect to it. Magic is alive here and it wants something.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

RICH REVIEWS: Chasing Hitler # 4

First Comics News - Sat, 02/10/2018 - 16:55

Title: Chasing Hitler # 4
Publisher: Red 5 Comics
Created by: Hatley Nitz
Writers: Jai & Hayley Nitz
Art: Jethro Morales
Colors: Marie Enger
Letters: Chris Crank
Cover: Phil Hester
Price: $ 3.95 US
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Website: www.red5comics.com
Comments: The Majors meet Anna a well-built woman in a bar.
Major Conner Walsh and Anna try to get some information on Hitler. Things go to hell in a handbasket real quick. These two are tough though and make it through if a bit wet from the experience.
The story is told in a realistic way as well as the art presenting itself as what you would expect in real life. The Majors and Anna working together set up a plan to meet with some Nazi’s. All hell breaks out here.
Major Taylor gets a chance to continue the chase. This is the last issue for now but it is set up to continue. Yes, the Major will be getting some help in the future. Hitler meanwhile well he is free and continues his plans to bring forth a new Reich.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

[REVIEW] The Tainted Forest Near Thorum

Beyond Fomalhaut - Sat, 02/10/2018 - 12:38

The Tainted Forest Near Thorum (2012)by Yves Larochelle, with additional writing by Reverend DakPublished in Crawl! #4 by Straycouches Press5th level
The Tainted Forest Near ThorumAll is not it seems in the small, idyllic village of Thorum, and strange things are afoot in the surrounding woods, inhabited by a sinister evil. This may be one of the most recognisable adventure structures seen in modules: a home base threatened by an evil force and its local agents; a dangerous wilderness; one or more adventure sites leading to the lair of the secret evil. There is a fairly good chance something like this was your first adventure ever. It is popular because it works, but it has been covered so many times that it is hard to add a new spin on it. It is also the main problem with The Tainted Forest Near Thorum.
All three major areas of the module repeat the same mistake: they don’t add to a very basic, very overused formula. We have a village, which is like all small, peaceful villages beset by evil. It has a halfling-run inn that’s like every other halfling-run inn. The barmaid and the town drunk know dark secrets. There are two temples which are like every other village temple. The local authorities behave exactly like they tend to do in these adventures. NPCs are one-note stock characters. Corruption is afoot and some villagers are working for the enemy, before the characters unmask and kill them in one of multiple predictable plot twists.
The wilderness section, a forest bisected by a wide river, is a typical example of the way D&D wrestles with outdoors adventure design. Travel through the Tainted Forest is mainly represented by a one-page random encounter table with a few deformed beasts, but otherwise, the The Tainted Forest Near Thorum has very little forest adventuring in it, and not much of it seems to be tainted. (The exception, and the best part of the module, is a one-in-six random encounter with a local “legendary beast”, which is actually an interesting and rounded-out encounter. Here, the adventure briefly goes from boring to intriguing.) There are all of three wilderness areas to find, and it is understood that they will be visited in a linear sequence. One is a lair, one is a very minor “ruin”, and the third is the entrance to the main dungeon. You can kill the inhabitants or negotiate with them, and you find plot tokens which take you to the next place.
The final dungeon is a complete disappointment. The map is beautiful as an illustration, but it is essentially a completely linear sequence of encounter areas with all of two side branches. (This seems to be a common problem with the DCC RPG.) Not only is it a linear ride, the encounters amount to some mighty dull fare:
  • a few pieces of “this looks evil”-style descriptive detail;
  • some “they attack”-style combat encounters (although at least some monsters, like spine-shooting giant hedgehogs, a doorframe mimic, and living mounds of bubbling flesh which can rip limbs off of PCs, show imagination);
  • frequent reminders of “an uneasy feeling” overtaking the characters without actually giving the players something that’d make them feel something;and a completely deadly and unfair death trap.
What’s lacking here are interesting decisions, discoveries to be made via clever exploration, or even sights which would leave a memorable impression.
There is very little in The Tainted Forest Near Thorum that differentiates it from the same adventure you have played, run and read countless times (but now in DCC). Things are reskinned here and there to follow DCC’s heavy metal fantasy aesthetic, but that doesn’t really count as the kind of added value that’d make the module worth owning. Scott Ackerman’s art (exterior and interior cover, maps) is really nice, and Crawl! gets the fanzine aesthetic, but these things just end up overselling a functional but otherwise disappointing adventure.
Actually, there is something there that got stuck in my mind: this is the scenario which feels the closest to Diablo. You know? The village of Tristram, the Blacksmith, the Stay-awhile-and-listen guy, the church dungeon which its tale of corruption. Adventure fantasy stripped down to its bare essentials, the most “D&D” plot of them all, given some gloomy flourishes. However, Diablo did something with this formula with its interesting crowd control-based gameplay, character building and heavy randomisation. The Tainted Forest Near Thorum could not make it work.
The module credits both its playtesters and proofreaders, which is nice.
Rating: ** / *****
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Lost Hall of Tyr

Ten Foot Pole - Sat, 02/10/2018 - 12:19


By Douglas H. Cole
Gaming Ballastic LLC
5e
Levels 4-7

The Hall of Judgment: Here Tyr himself guided human and dwarf in the ways of honor, law, retribution, and justice in war and life. It has been lost for centuries, hidden by the power of Asgard from those without permission to enter. Until now . . .

Well it’s Saturday. Time to review another bad 5e adventure. Joy. Oh wait, it’s not utter dreck!

This 62 page norse-flavored adventure has sixteen or so linear encounters (with a few optional ones), mostly wilderness ones, before one room temple with a demon in it is encountered. The actual linear adventure is only about 16 pages, the rest being the lengthy introduction and the bestiary and battle maps at the end. The writing, while long, tends to be well organized in the individual encounters. But it also tends to make certain assumptions that leaves out critical information, leaving the DM confused with some of the baseline assumptions.

There’s a three page backstory that read like fiction. “Una’s bond with Aeiri strengthened over the distance …” I don’t bitch about this stuff anymore, since I can just skip the “failed novelist” garbage. Well, except when I can’t skip it because the fucking adventure is mixed in to it. What are you supposed to do, with what, and how? Well kids it’s all mixed in to that backstory. NOT. COOL. The adventure needs a short summary so the non-masochists among us can avoid the backstory. We’re on a quest to find the Domstollinn, whatever the fuck that is. I gathered, through the 60 pages, that we’re going to this hall at the behest of some priests and they gave us something to give us some kind of True Seeing kind of power. Summaries are critical to these sorts of adventures. Orient the DM BEFORE they get in to the text so they know what to expect. Yes, if you are an expert you can have it unfold via the text and not do a summary. New Flash: You are not an expert. I accept you’re the hero of your own story, but do the rest of us a favor and put in a summary.

There’s a map of the region. I guess it’s a map, there’s no key. It doesn’t really matter anyway since, as far as I can tell, it doesn’t show where you are going. Or any of the encounters. It’s just a picture of the region without any relevance to the adventure. It’s MORE confusing this way since I spent time studying it, trying to figure out where things were. It was hard, because it turns out they weren’t on the map. At least I don’t think they were?

The first encounter on the way (event based, remember), has a “striking rock format” and three out of place groupings of individual trees. First, let me nit and note that “a striking rock formation” is a garbage description. Striking is a conclusion. Tell us what it looks like and let the players determine it is striking. But, the real issue is the mistletoe. The trick to this encounter is finding the direction of the mistletoe. What mistletoe, you may ask. I don’t know. There is about two pages of info on this encounter and one bullet point, near the end and in the middle of the text says “The three trees, with mistletoe at the tip …” This is TERRIBLE design. When I say it makes certain assumptions, this is what I mean. Clearly, the designer had a vision in their head. They knew three trees had mistletoe and this was a clue. But they have not clued US in to that fact. The adventure does this over and over again.

There are some riddle-like things that are quite difficult. There’s a one word hint, Yggdrasil, that is supposed to clue you in that those trees are the right ones. Later on there’s a different one that says “Willpower through suffering increases joy.” This is your hint that you need to lift a rock and touch a door to open it. Those are both some pretty tenuous hints.

If you can get past the omissions of those base assumptions then the actual text is decently organized,or at least not poorly organized. Whitespace and bolding is used to good effect. There is still A LOT of text for what are simple encounters, but it’s not nearly as bad as the page count would indicate.

The encounters proper range from the riddle-like things I mentioned earlier, to straight up fights (with enemies teleported in to advantageous positions by a fae queen. Ug!) to skill challenges like climbing a cliff or crossing a rope bridge. The temple at the end is one room, with a trapped demon in it. A little anti-climactic after a one-month wilderness journey.

All is not hopeless though. There are some sections on using alternative means to cross the bridge, climb the wall, etc. It’s duel-stat’d for S&W and to the designers credit they seem tp get at least one aspect of old school play: no die roll is needed if the party describes well what they are doing. Die rolling is for looosers who don’t role play. Die rolling means a chance of failure.

This is a good example of the modern method of making an adventure. The Mcguffin is referred to as ‘the Mcguffin’ by the designer. The entire thing is about little set-piece-like events that take place. You have some small freedom in the individual events (unlike many adventures and to this designers credit) but the thing as a whole is just one thing after another with little choice involved. The text is long, but not atrocious by 5e/Pathfinder standards, although it trails by a long shot what I would consider good … although a decent job is done at organizing it. Except for those assumptions that each encounter seems based on. The editing job/proofreading was very poor not to catch that; maybe it was just copyedited?

“Not as bad as the usual 5e fare” isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement, but it IS runnable. Kind of. Once you figure out what is going on. That’s a damn sight better than most.

This is $10 at DriveThru. The preview is eight pages long and, to its credit, shows a couple of encounters, including the notorious #2, with the Ash & Mistletoe. It’s on about page five of the preview if you want to check out the weird assumptions made.
http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/226510/Lost-Hall-of-Tyr

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

RICH REVIEWS: Chasing Hitler # 1

First Comics News - Sat, 02/10/2018 - 08:27

Title: Chasing Hitler # 1
Publisher: Red 5 Comics
Created by: Hatley Nitz
Writers: Jai & Hayley Nitz
Art: Jethro Morales
Colors: Marie Enger
Letters: Chris Crank
Cover & Character Design: Greg Smallwood
Price: $ 3.95 US
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Website: www.red5comics.com
Comments: Its 1945 Berlin, Germany. We see Adolf Hitler and Ava plus Albert. Hitler is disappointed in Albert. His closest followers are not doing as he wishes.
Major Alex Taylor and Major Conner Walsh are two soldiers working together under orders to capture Adolf Hitler. Meanwhile, Hitler has his own plans. He and his wife put his plans into motion. The two Major’s one U.S. Army and one R.A.F.
This issue sets up things for the series. The art is well done but there is no action. Overall the story does move slowly. As things happen it does start to draw your interest. Hitler’s plans come to fruition. The two Major’s set out on their mission as the hunt begins and the chase is on.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

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