GameMasters sucks sometimes.
We have the losses to prove it! Perhaps we will find mercy…
As we say hello to 2014 I figured we would dedicate this YEAR to Time Travel. This will be a multi-part post that will span the year (as if that first line didn’t fully explain that). Without any further explanation, here you go: What is Time? Time is a concept we have created so that […]
Last night the key was revealed to me on how to Teleport and to an extent on how to travel through Time. Allow me to preface this with the following: Back in 1991 a friend of mine and I were playing a game on the computer (possibly Bard’s Tale or Ultima 5) and our conversation […]
GameMasters sucks sometimes.
We have the losses to prove it! Perhaps we will find mercy…
The Underdark. The Drow. Dawnbringer. Orcus. Menzoberranzan. (and lots of spiders)
All of those invoke very powerful images and events from previous editions of this setting within The Forgotten Realms.
Out of the Abyss is the newest campaign for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition. Taking place among the Drow, it pits your band of adventurers against the entirety of the Underdark and forces them to clash against demonic monsters from the Abyss.
The book is very well put together, the art work is beyond spectacular, and the adventure within… Wow.
It contains 17 chapers that can take you from a level 1 character to.. well.. just see if you can even survive the 1st chapter.. (but it should take you up to about level 15).
Most adventures are difficult to start because there is really no good “starting” point. What I mean by that is, how did all of the members in the party meet and come to know each other?
The opening to this adventure is actually very simple in design as your character will awaken, after having been knocked out, in a Drow camp deep in the Underdark. You quest is to get out. Be warned, madness may be your only escape!
Out of the Abyss is just over 250 pages, is chock full of fantastic artwork, and contains many of the elements from older versions of the Underdark setting (obviously updated for 5th Edition).
It is part of the Rage of Demons campaign, and as such, you will face many (many) demons.
Oddly.. Drizzt is missing in here, but I have a theory..
After reading the Forward, written by Christopher Perkins, (Drizzt IS mentioned here), I started to piece some things together. He references the R.A. Salvatore book Exile, in which Drizzt must escape the Underdark. My theory is that the players (more or less) have taken on the role of Drizzt and this 17 chapter adventure IS just that. No, it does not contain the exact same elements or situations, but it does entale an adventure of escape, very much like Exile was. I will say that if you look closely on page 28, you may find a vague reference to Drizzt.
The dark elf Gromph Baenre, Archmage of Menzoberranzan, has done something naughty. He has cast a spell that has ripped open a portal to the demonic abyss (hence the name of this book). From said portal, demons pour forth into the Underdark. While you have found yourself captured in this strange land, you might as well try to close the portal and kill a few demons too, yes?
If you can manage that simple task, I’m sure the accolades of success will be great once you do manage to get yourself back to the surface.
I’m sure too.. that… there may be a few loose ends to deal with…
As with the Tyranny of Dragons and Elemental Evil sets, we have no choice but to recommend this Rage of Demons setting. It’s just too damn cool.
Now.. if only I could manage a way to convince Wizards to recraft the Spelljammer setting…
Also, check out my video review of this book on youtube!
After getting some friends together and running them through this, I felt compelled to add a little more information.
While the adventure and story itself of this campaign is very well put together and flows along just fine, I have quickly discovered that the players rather enjoy “going off the grid”. That is.. They want to check out areas that are not exactly covered within this book.
I will admit that the Underdark is MASSIVE and there are MANY tangents the players can go off on. As such, I’m having to pull a lot of information from previous versions of the setting when my players do this. Underdark is such a cool setting and this one book really does not cover all of the elements that potentially could take place within. BUT.. a good DM will not let that stop the game.
As a straight run through, however, it’s great as it is.
This is a list of 15 shows that I’ve been watching as of recent. They are in no particular order. I’ve also provided a small critique of each one, as a couple of them I have had to stop watching…
If you are not watching this one, you should be! I’m in love with the Clone Club and it’s just pure fun and entertainment to see Tatiana Maslany in the various roles. The story telling here is top notch, and the score is perfect in each scene. Helena quickly became a favorite simply because she just simply refuses to hold back. I’m hungry for some scorpion now…
This show started out fun, however, in recent episodes, I feel that it is slowly going downhill. I admit that I have not read the book, so I really do not know how different the show is from the book. What bothers me about the show, however, is that all of these vampires are running around, but the general populace seem to know nothing about them. Even the main characters are running around hunting these vampires but in the background we can see people hailing for taxi cabs, we see people shopping, we see people in business suits walking (to work perhaps) casually. One would think the populace would be going through mass panic.
I’ve tried to stay with this one, and I will continue to record it, but… As of my writing this article it had 3 episodes left, the past two I ended up watching on fast forward. It started off cool, but there is only so much you can do to drag things out. I no longer even care who the guy (or gal) is behind the mask, I just don’t care. As mentioned, I will record the final three episodes, but as it is right now… I’m losing interest quickly.
I can’t get enough of this show. Perhaps one of the reasons I like it so much is because it’s about a guy that has a very successful podcast that he does out of his home. That’s a character I can easily identify with. The humor is dry and effective. The entire show is telling a story. You can watch the episodes out of order and you won’t really miss anything but it’s best to watch in order because as the show progresses so do the characters.
Under The Dome:
Sorry Steven King… I tried to stick with it, I really did. I watched all of the 1st season and the first few episodes of season 2, but when it quickly turned away from the book (this book i did read), I started to lose interest. I tried to watch it just to see how they would resolve things, but so far, it’s just… it’s like the writer’s are making stuff up just to fill an hours worth of time without giving any actual thought to the end game. I stopped recording this one.
I really liked the first season, up to the final episode anyways. It was as if they had all this extra material for a second season and things were being set up for a second season but then they decided to end this story. The final episode of season 1 just happened too fast. Season Two starts up soon, however, it will take place several years prior to Season One. This is not going to be a prequel, but rather will be a different tale of similar Fargo story-telling. I am looking forward to this.
I dunno where AMC keeps getting these kick ass shows, but I love em! This one is very Asimovian in nature. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep indeed! This is one I’ve quickly become addicted to watching. A small group of androids trying to figure out what they are (and possibly who). I hang on every episode!
Everyone has tried to compare this show to Twin Peaks. Twin Peaks it is not, although the beginning of the show it does have that strange ethereal feel to it. That’s the only similarity it shares. I mean.. Apples and Oranges both grow on trees.. but that’s it. Wayward Pines is based on a set of novels by Blake Crouch. For the most part it follows the books fairly closely and the endings in both are sortav similar… Sortav. Speaking of Twin Peaks…
This is the most important television show in history of television shows. It was about 25 years ahead of it’s time. It was among the first of shows to cater to a week by week progressive story line, and one in which so much happened from week to week that if you missed one episode, you were screwed. All told, I’ve owned 2 VHS copies of the entire series, as well as 2 DVD copies, and a blu-ray copy. For a long while it looked like we were all going to have to suffer not knowing how the hell Annie was, but recent news states that David Lynch is directing 18 (yes, eight-teen) new episodes (Season 3) set to be aired on Showtime sometime in 2017. I just hope I don’t die between now and then.
Yeah, I know, it is over. But thankfully I have it all on blu-ray so it is never over! Nothing stops this train! Breaking Bad is perhaps among the BEST television shows in the history of television. Do I really need to keep praising it? Exactly. Speaking of Breaking Bad…
Better Call Saul:
Not exactly a prequel to Breaking Bad but kinda sorta it is. The 1st season was great. The only issue I had is that we did see Jimmy officially turn into Saul. But I’m okay with a slow burn, it makes the
joint fun last a little longer. Over the 1st season we see important characters come into play from Breaking Bad, but that don’t matter because these are the versions of themselves before the Baby Blue came about. Vince Gilligan has also stated that at some point Walter White WILL make an appearance.
The Walking Dead:
Zombies. Need I say more? Okay, I will. For 5 seasons we have been captivated by this show. It loosely follows the events portrayed in the comic book of the same name. For those keeping up, the final episode of Season 5 matches up with Issue #77 of the comic book.
Fear The Walking Dead:
I’m still not head over heels with the title, but it’s another show from the guys that made The Walking Dead, so I’ll take it. Yeah, I know it’s not on tv yet, but I am still looking forward to watching it. Rumors are spreading like the zombie virus that it may very explain the origin of the zombie outbreak and may even show us Patient Zero.
Listen.. I’ve been watching this show since the late 70’s. Yes, it took a break for a few years, and there are several early episodes I’ve not seen, but for the most part I have seen all of the recent episodes from Eccleston’s Doctor on. This is science fiction at it’s best. It’s a show that does not take itself too seriously, but can also pull a tear from your eye when you lose yourself in the tale. I’ve even got my kids into the show and they have seen every episode from Tennant’s Doctor on. We cannot wait for the new season to start up in a couple of months!
Game of Thrones:
Sorry folks, I cannot comment on this one. I’ve heard great things about it, but I’ve never seen it. I don’t have HBO or whatever channel it airs on, and I can’t justify dropping cash on the dvd’s of it just yet.
I hope you check out at least a few of these shows. Oh admit it, you have seen several of these already. What are YOUR thoughts on the shows I like to watch? Leave me a comment!
I’ve seen some odd crossovers but this may very well be the strangest yet… This is a very unique combination of worlds in the geek and horror universe!
A Little History First:
The year 1990 saw the release of Predator 2 in the movie theater. Towards the end we were treated with a super cool scene in which the camera slowly pans over a small closet filled with different skull trophies that the Predators had taken. One of the skulls was an Alien skull. Yes, as in the same monster from the movie Alien (and it’s sequels).
BUT.. Did you know that this was not the 1st time these two creatures had a crossover? In 1989 (November and December) we saw two issues of a Dark Horse Presents comic (issues #34 and #35) that each detailed out a separate storyline, issue #34 for Aliens and issue #35 for Predator. In February, 1990, issue #36 came out and so began the 1st official crossover. Aliens Vs Predator soon became a major deal (and I like to believe that it is because of these comics that we saw that Alien’s skull in Predator 2) in the geek world and it spread like wildfire.
Soon AvP comics were everywhere and the what if scenarios seemed to have no end.
Aliens vs Predator was successful, to put it mildly. On it’s heals came many other crossovers; Superman and Batman vs Aliens and Predator, Aliens vs Predator vs The Terminator, no to mention the countless AvP spinoff comics. There have even been popular fan man videos of Batman vs Predator (Batman: Dead End look it up) posted on Youtube. To say that we hunger for this franchise would be an understatement.
Okay, enough history.. On to the review!
I was cruising through my local bookstore (sadly we do not have a comic shop where I live) and I chanced across issue 3 of Archie vs Predator from Dark Horse Comics. What in the world is this? Is this THE Archie that we all know and love? Is this THE Predator that we all know of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1987 movie? Yes, indeed!
How can this be? I mean, this idea is absurd (in a good geek way)! It makes no sense! Archie comics have been around since the late 1930’s and a crossover like this just makes no sense (in a thrilling I’ve never thought about this before kind of way)!
I HAD to have it. I thumbed through and found issues 1 and 2 and bought them all right there on the spot. I really wanted to do a review of each one, but since this is a 4 issue series I decided to compact my review into 1 post. I also decided to go a different route with this write up. Normally I would detail out what happens in each comic, but I decided to gloss over the story itself (I mean.. that’s the whole point of this review is to get you interested in buying them to read) and detail our some of the finer points of the comics themselves.
The short version: GO BUY THESE NOW.
The long version:
I really don’t want to give out any spoilers, but I will give a little info about each issue. You can also click on each cover to link directly to Dark Horse Comic’s page to read more about each issue (or you can hit up your local comic shop if you have one).
In each issue; Alex de Campi did the script with Fernando Ruiz doing the penciling, Rich Koslowski did the inking with Jason Millet doing the colors and John Workman doing the lettering.
The cover says: Beach games… Party games… The most dangerous game!
Ruiz, Koslowski and Miller did the standard cover art with Eric Powell doing a variant cover art A and Fransesco Francavilla doing variant cover art B.
This issue was released in April of 2015, it runs just over 20 pages. Spring Break is here and the gang is trying to figure out what to do. Jughead busts open a bag of Tayto-Chips and the gang has won a free tropical vacation to Los Perdidos Resort. Okay, I need to pause here. Once on the island, as you can imagine, things go wrong for our gang. As mentioned I really do not want to give away the storyline so I’ll stop right here, however… Los Perdidos… It means The Lost. Now, what’s REALLY cool about these 4 issues are all of the Easter Eggs hidden within!
Examine the pages of each issue closely and see how many you can find!
The cover says: Back in Riverdale, safe and sound!
Don Parent with Jason Millet did the standard cover art for this issue. Dustin Nguyen did variant cover A and Robert Hack with Stephen Downer did variant cover B.
This issue was released in May of 2015 and has just over 20 pages. Again, no spoilers but I will say that the death toll continues to rise! Sabrina the Teenage Witch is in this issue and speaks some words of Cthulhu origin. We learn that evidently Predators are known by some of the people in the Archie world and have been known for quite some time. Listen, the artwork here is fantastic, the pages are bright and colorful and slick. The adventure continues into…
The cover says: More victims! More mutilations! More Milkshakes!
Gisele with Maria Victoria Robado did the standard cover art for this issue. Paul Pope with Shay Plummer did variant cover A and Kelly Jones with Michelle Madsen did variant cover B.
This issue was released in June of 2015 and has just over 20 pages. Don’t let the cover fool you. The Predator is not a friendly being and the death count continues to grow. Speaking of covers.. for collectors there are a few different variant covers out there of each issue (as I have detailed out). Some are a bit darker than the whimsical ones I am presenting to you here.
The cover says: Frenemies No More!
Andrew Pepoy with Jason Miller did the standard cover art for this issue. Faith Erin Hicks with Cris Peter did variant cover A and Joe Quinones did variant cover B.
This issue came out Today, July 22nd (2015) and has just over 20 pages. This issue is the final one in a 4 part series. It is also chock full of action and mayhem! Pay real close attention to panel 1 on page 4. There are some throwbacks to earlier Archie comic crossovers (more Easter Eggs alluded to in my Issue 1 portion up above).
I really have nothing more to add. This was a rip roaring fun and insane crossover, something I’m very pleased with running across. I cannot recommend this 4 part series enough. If for any other reason just to have it to collect.
Speaking of collecting…
Hard Cover Edition of Archie vs Predator
Due out in November of this year (2015) is a special Hard Cover edition… If you head over to Dark Horse Comics now (you will actually be directed over to Things From Another World – a great place to buy comics online), you can pro-order it for only $15.99! As soon as payday hits, I’m pre-ordering one for myself!
That’s it folks! Bottom line is.. check this comic out! It’s a quality comic done up right on quality paper, it has a solid story and is just plain old fashioned comic book fun! Buy it!
Now.. if I can just figure out a way to convince Dark Horse Comics to entertain a pitch I have for my comic book…
The Past has hit the Present with an all new way to play the classic board game, Legions of Steel.
For those wanting to get familiar with the old (okay it’s not old-old but it is from the early 1990’s) board game, check out my review from 2013 here: Legions of Steel – Miniatures Game
Now.. what’s interesting about that post is.. you can take a look in the comments section and see where a loyal reader posted about a Kickstarter campaign to turn Legions of Steel into a iOS, Android, and PC title. I threw a little cash that way but I guess the world was just not ready as the funding was not successful.
This is also a prime example of how wrong some people are as to how Kicksterter works. Some assume that a product is complete and that a company only does a Kickstarter to simply get a little more cash and publicity out of the product. Obviously, that didn’t happen. I can’t say that does not ever happen, but it certainly didn’t in this instance. I mean.. This attempt was done in October of 2013, and the game is just now coming out, almost two years later..! Okay, I could probably write up an article about Kickstarter alone (and I probably will in the future) but for now, let’s talk some STEEL!
This game was released yesterday ( July, 16th, 2015) on the PC. I heard about it last night, and instantly started doing research about it. As mentioned before, I tried to help with the Kickstarter and after it didn’t go through, I was bummed. Yes, I probably could have tried to keep up with the Legions of Steel news and watched it develop, but I didn’t. Call me lazy, or busy, but for whatever reason it dropped off my radar.
Right now I’ve played about 5 hours of the game.
Holy crap is it fun! I didn’t even bother to run the tutorial or the rules, I wanted to approach it with the rules I learned when playing the board game all those years ago.
Let me tell you, while it’s not identical to the board game, it’s really damn close! I mean, it would be impossible to mimic every element of the board game, but to be honest, some of those rules were thick to understand to begin with. This PC version takes the guesswork out of it and inject pure fun into your eyes.
The graphics are wicked cool, the music is haunting and exciting at the same time.
The Future. Okay, we just took the Past, mashed it with the Present, and now we are flinging it into the Future! Whhheeeeeeeeee!!!!!
The League of Aliens and the United Nations of Earth (U.N.E.) have teamed up to keep at bay a new threat to the galaxy, The Machines.
Legions of Steel is a tun based game. Each unit has it’s own set of skills and characteristics. Different weapons can be used and sometimes you have to use the map as a weapon itself!
You can also choose to play singleplayer missions or go against another player in multiplayer mode.
In the board game’s set up, players took turns setting up snap together cardboard tiles that created the scenario you were to play in. As best as I can tell so far, you do not do that here, all of the maps are premade.
Right now Legions of Steel is available for the PC and iOS. At the time of this writing there is no release date yet for Android but I will update with one when I find out!
You can purchase it for a measly $18.00 from Steam or from the iTunes store! EIGHTEEN bucks! That’s dirt cheap for this wicked cool game! Hell, the board game itself was about $60.00!
The Game In Action:
Wanna check out the game play? I recorded my first mission (thank goodness I won otherwise I’d look silly!) and have posted it onto YouTube. I also added some speed to some of the turns (it actually took me about 18 minutes to play the 1st mission so I wanted to speed that up for my viewers). Check it out!
Bottom line.. GO GET THIS GAME!