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The Geek Gazette

Comics, Movies, Games and General Geekiness

Last Build Date: Mon, 05 Mar 2018 16:00:23 +0000


Quick comic recommendations and reviews

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 10:30:00 +0000

There are a lot of really great comics out there and with the changes at Marvel & DC there is a lot to be excited about for comic book fans.Here are a few of the books that I've been enjoying, or not, over the past few months. Oddly enough I've also been buying more books digitally. As a matter of fact all of these books are ones I have been reading in the digital format exclusively.  I'm still reading my print monthlies and I won't be giving them up, but there are some books that I'm okay with not buying in the printed format. Digital isn't all bad and I'm really liking Comixology's app.The Pound (IDW): This is not the greatest book, but it is a lot of fun. Two former animal control officers, and their werewolf buddy are all that stands between the citizens of Cleveland and the monsters that are hiding in plain sight. I'd like to see this as an ongoing. I'd definitely recommend picking this up in trade.Witch Doctor (Skybound/Image):  I am loving this book. They describe this as "House M.D. meets Fringe" and I'd say that's a pretty fair assessment. For fans of the weird/horror genre this book is a must buy as far as I'm concerned. While I'm still waiting for the remainder of my new 52 books to get here, this book takes the top spot as my pick of the month.Hawk & Dove (DC): I, like many others, have my issues with Rob Liefeld, but for the most part I like his art. Is it perfect, no, some would say it isn't even very good, but I think his style is fun and I like it. I'll be honest, I've never been a Hawk & Dove fan, so he was actually the only reason I gave H&D a try. I read the series back when Liefeld did it originally, I disliked it then and I'm not enjoying it now.I'm sure that there are fans of H&D out there and for them this book may be worth it, but for me this was one of the weakest DC books I've read in the past few years. Unfortunately even figthing zombies on an airplane couldn't save this book, and I'm still a zombie fan. I tried the first issue, but I won't be back.I see a quick death for this title.Batwing(DC): I was kind of surprised by this book. It wasn't great, it was actually very mediocre, but it was enjoyable. We see so little of the heroes from other countries and in this issue we are not only introduced to the Batman of Africa, but to the idea that there was an actual team of heroes at some point. Granted I've heard some complain that Batwing can't patrol the whole continent and should be confined to a single country, but how many times have we seen Batman operating in other countries? As a matter of fact he makes a quick appearance in this issue. So the idea of a hero that operates on an entire continent is not too far fetched.While I do like the book, I doubt that I'll buy any more issues. To be honest if it wasn't for the fact that my comics budget is stretched too thin as it is, I'd add this to my pull list. So my decision to not follow this book is not based on the quality. The art was great and the story was passable. A little disappointing for a premier issue, but definitely not a waste of time or money.For a new reader or those that are screaming for more diversity this book should be a welcome addition to the DCU, and it is an enjoyable read. Being a Batman book affords this title a longer lifespan than many of the other New 52 books, but I doubt that the book will last too long. After all many of the people who like to cry about diversity are the same people who will bitch and complain on the internet regardless of what DC does. Unfortunately, those people don't really have any intention of supporting the titles they supposedly champion, they just like the attention that whining can provide. That's too bad because this book couldSo far the two DC books I've mentioned in this post are the only two of the New 52 that I've read. I'm a bit disappointed, and perhaps I hyped it up too much, but I really did expect DC to go all out for the relaunch. I thought they would only put out the best of the best of the best, but these two books were definitely not up to t[...]

My current games

Mon, 12 Sep 2011 10:30:00 +0000

The last game I ran was a d20 Modern, CoC d20 and Monte Cook's World of Darkness hybrid. The PC's were a team of ghost hunters, just like on TV, that ended up investigating an abandoned psychiatric hospital that is infested with ghost, demons and other ghoulies. Sure it isn't the most original of ideas, but it was a lot of fun and went very well.

My player's consisted of one long time player, his daughter, my daughter, one of my regular teen players and his girlfriend. It was the girlfriend's first time playing and I am happy to report that not only did everyone have a good time, but I think I ran a damn fine game. In the past few years I've been really fortunate, depending on your perspective, because I have had a lot of players that have never played a table top rpg before. Considering that we don't have a FLGS I think it is pretty great that I've seen 8 new players in the past few years. Not just new to my table but new to the entire experience. That's pretty cool.

Despite many years of GMing I continue to learn about not only the experience, but myself. Every "great" game I've ran for the past few years has been non-fantasy. Sure I love my 3e/Pathfinder, I like 4e and I'm even fond of several other fantasy games, but I'm just not having fun running fantasy and haven't been for quite a while. Running a fantasy game feels like a chore, like work. I'm just burned out on fantasy and don't even enjoy reading or watching S&W fantasy at the moment.

All of the games that get me excited, make me want to play are all non-fantasy. I have quiet a few games that I am really excited about playing like Mutant Epoch, Mutants & Masterminds 3e/DC Adventures, Hollow Earth Expedition, Buffy tVS, and all of my d20 Modern/CoC/MCWoD books.

I've got a game coming up and this time I'm considering running either M&M3e or Buffy. I'm wanting to try my hand at running a supers game, so I'm leaning heavily towards M&M. Before we go on winter hiatus I'm going to try to run a post-apocalyptic game. Assuming the the players are okay with it. Now that they've decided to leave the "I only play fantasy" player out of the group for a bit everyone else is eager to try something new. That's fine by me.

Comic Con, RPGs and Podcasts

Fri, 29 Jul 2011 22:31:00 +0000

Comic Con has come and gone and this year DC seemed to dominate. Not that I'm complaining mind you. I'm a lifelong DC fan, but it did seem odd to see DC as the center of attention. This years Comic Con was actually about comics. Hollywood has dominated the event for the past several years, so it was nice to have an actual comic book company be the big news.Of course I'm excited about the DC 52 launch this September. Granted I think more than a couple of the books will tank, but over all I'm really jazzed that DC is doing something this bold. I'm also glad that they are already looking at the next wave of books and not just depending on the initial 52 to carry everything. Plus Ryan Choi is not only alive again, but he is The Atom and he's in the Justice League!!! They may not have brought Ted back :-( , but at least they gave us Ryan back. Good job DC.I've been listening to the DC Comic Con panels on the DC Podcast, (or through itunes) which I highly recommend you download and listen to, and there was really only one time that I got aggravated. Jim, Geoff and all the other DC people were very gracious, even when people asked really dumb questions. However, someone asked a decent question about why the number of female creators has dropped and Didio was a dick to them.As a listener that really pissed me off. The guy asked a legit question and wanted an intelligent answer and Didio got all snarky and down right rude to the guy. I've heard that Didio was an asshat from other people, but I've never met the guy so I can't say for sure. All I know is that he would have deserved it if the guy that asked the question had caught him after the panel and taught him some manners by putting a boot up his ass.Didio really did seem to come off as a real jerk. Plus he has a bad habit of talking over the creators. Honestly I don't really care what Didio thinks unless it is something that can't be answered by the creators.  I'd just rather hear what the creators think or have planned for a character. It isn't the Dan Didio Panel at Dan Didio Con for Dan Didio Comics, but that's kind of how he comes off. Again I wasn't there and was only listening to an audio podcast so I can only say how it seemed from the audio. Maybe I would have a different opinion if I had actually been there and seen it. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, but I wasn't impressed with him.I saw a CBR interview with Quesada @ Comic Con and he was really upbeat and positive about DC's 52 reboot, even though Marvel is again doing their dick move of "tear up DC books and get a Marvel prize". Of course I'm not a big Marvel fan and probably take things like that much more personally than I should. Still he was pretty nice and positive about the whole thing.In a CBR interview with Todd McFarlane he had nothing positive to say about the DC reboot and from what I hear Mark Waid is pretty anti-DC as well at the moment. It kind of sucks that creators get like that, especially ones I really like, but then I guess if you have a bad experience with an employer you get that way.Honestly I don't care if they do hate DC and/or Marvel. The way I look at it there are a lot more people reading Marvel and DC books than will ever read their creator owned stuff. People will remember the DC and Marvel characters long after their creator owned stuff is forgotten, even though some of it is pretty damn good. Since we're on the topics of comics, I'm going to suggest some comics to read. I'm not going to do a whole lot of Marvel and DC stuff, mostly because if you read comics there is a good chance you already read their stuff and are aware of what they offer.First I am going to recommend The Pound. This is put out by IDW and it's about animal control officers who open their own business in Cleveland and find out that the town if full of monsters. It's a min-series and it isn't the most brilliant of books, but it is a lot of fun. I've read the first 3 issues digitally and I've really enjoyed them. I definitely recom[...]

G.I. Joe and some thoughts on other things

Wed, 20 Jul 2011 13:30:00 +0000

I was catching up on my comic book reading the other day, specifically the trade paperbacks of IDW's G.I. Joe series which I am really enjoying, and I realized that I've never seen a G.I. Joe RPG. Why the hell is there no G.I. Joe RPG? It would totally kick ass. Sure I know I can use everything from d20 Modern to Mutant Epoch to Shadowrun or even Rifts to run a G.I. Joe RPG, but that's not the point. I want an actual G.I. Joe RPG damn it!!!Hasbro owns G.I. Joe and D&D, so why in the hell hasn't someone said "hey, why don't we make a G.I. Joe RPG" and made my dream a reality. I've enjoyed G.I. Joe since I was a kid. I watched the shows, I even sat through the movie multiple times and  I bought the toys and I still read the comics. (On a related tangent WTF were they thinking putting Marlon Wayans in that movie? Didn't he ruin the D&D movie enough? I'm sure he's a nice guy and to some people he's probably considered funny, but give me a break. Did they really have to make two movies about two properties that I have loved since childhood even worse by adding him?) I know that if they made a G.I. Joe RPG, I'd buy the hell out of those books. I'd really be even more happy if they released it in the Essentials digest format for easy carrying and use.We went to the drive in over the weekend and saw Harry Potter and Transformer 3.While I do think the books are way better (they usually are) I am still a fan of the Harry Potter movies. That being said The Deathly Hallows pt 2 was great! My wife and daughter have never read the books and they loved it.Transformers 3 wasn't as bad as the second one except for Shia LaBeouf. I'm not a huge fan of his but he just came off as a whiny, self involved little bitch in this movie. After I got over wanting to beat him over the head with a bat, I actually started to feel embarrassed for him. His part in the movie was beyond horrible. Actually most of the humans in the movie made me feel embarrassed for them. The Transformers themselves were actually pretty damn cool and their part of the movie was entertaining. The kid-o loved it, but her and her cousin both agreed the people were annoying and the movie would have been better without them.We also saw the previews for Captain America (awesome!) and Dark Knight (wtf? that made no sense and yes we get it.. its the end, shut up about it already).I caught the leaked preview trailers for Avengers (double awesome!!) and Amazing Spider-man (meh, don't really care anymore). Both of which are pulled down from the sites where I saw them.Some movies I'm looking forward to:Smurfs (there's nothing wrong with liking the Smurfs, beside NPH is in it so it has to be funny, although he was also in Beastly and that was just bad, bad, bad)Capt. AmericaG.I. Joe 2 (Completely Wayans free!!!!!)Sherlock Holmes 2If you are a Beastie Boys fan you gotta check out the 11 minute video for Don't Play No Game that I can't Win  and the video for Make Some Noise (or check out the 1/2 hour full version... yes 1/2 hour)Tradepaper backs I've been reading lately:G.I. Joe (IDW)House of Mystery (Vertigo)Hellboy(Dark Horse)Irredeemable (Boom)Showcase presents The AtomShowcase presents Justice League of AmericaSaga of the Swamp ThingSome of the comic books I'm enjoying right now:FlashpointFlashpoint: Batman Knight of Vengeance (This Batman is great!)Dungeons & Dragons (This is my favorite D&D comic book series ever!)Invincible (this series just keeps getting better)Alpha Flight (even though it is tied in to the crappy Fear Itself event this book is still rockin')Knights of the Dinner TableSubscribe[...]

Derby City Comic Con & some podcasts

Wed, 29 Jun 2011 21:16:00 +0000

I've been whining for years that we need more geeky conventions in the Kentuckiana area (Louisville Metro & Southern Indiana area). I don't care if it is a gaming conor a comic con, I just want something close to home.I get tired of listening to all these podcasters and bloggers talking about their home town cons and I got nothing. Granted Gen Con is only an hour and a half away, but it's kind of expensive to go to that, even for one day. Well it seems my wish has been granted. A few weeks ago I was catching up on some of my podcasts, I listen to a lot of podcasts, and came across an episode that mentioned the Derby City Comic Con in Louisville.***** Before I get any emails about it, I didn't forget about Conglomeration. I have never gone but it just seems that gaming has a very small presence and I've never known anyone that actually went. I've tried emailing them to get more info over the past 3-4 years, but have never gotten a response. I figured that if they didn't care enough to respond to a potential customer's email, they must not want my money and I'm happy to spend it on more gaming stuff somewhere else.***** I've lived in this area my whole life and I've never heard of this con before so I Googled it and sure enough there is a comic book convention being held at the Kentucky Convention Center on July 16th. They're going to have guest comic book creators and everything. This is awesome!I'm not sure how strong of a presence gaming will have at the Derby City Comic Con, but the vendors that are there do sell gaming stuff. So maybe. Besides $7 to get into a comic book convention is awesome. Even if I only get a couple things out of some quarter boxes, take some pictures of people in costume and maybe get a picture of a comic book creator, even a lesser known one, it's still worth $7. It'll be fun and if enough people show up it may be bigger next year.On to a different topic.Since I mentioned that I listen to a lot of audio podcasts (I have an hour commute and do a lot of walking... love my ipod), most of which I am very behind on at the moment, I thought I'd recommend some of my favorites. The Nut Gallery Review: A movie review and geeky podcast by occasional Geek Gazette blogger Jason James and some other great guys from up north, but I don't hold that against them. (Sorry gang I'm trying to catch up)3.5 Private Sanctuary: I really like their Know Direction episodes, although they're all pretty good. Their stuff from Paizo con was really great for those of us that couldn't make it.Thaco's Hammer: As a 2e AD&D fan this is a must listen show. It is very well put together and fun to listen to. Even if you don't play 2e I recommend giving this a try.Paranormal Podcast: Even though I'm a big skeptic, Jim Harold does a great job with this show. I really enjoy this one and get some great gaming adventure ideas from it as well. DC Noise: This is one of those strange shows that I can't stop listening to even though there are better shows out there. It's really just some guys sitting and talking. It literally seems as if you are just listening in on their phone conversations.There is no format and no real direction to each episode, but buried in most episodes is some really good comic book discussion. My number one complaint is that the episodes could use some editing to get rid of the dead time. Definitely not everyone's cup of tea, but I like it, mostly.Comic Vine Podcast: A pretty good comic book discussion show.The Backroom: This and Comic Vine are probably my two favorite comic book podcasts Pulp Gamer out of Character: I'm not a huge Pulp Gamer fan, but of their numerous shows I really enjoy this one.4 Geeks 4e: I may not be a big 4e fan, but I really like this show. I only wish they put out episodes on a more regular schedule.Chronicles: Pathfinder Podcast: Some of the episodes are pretty long (3 or more hours), but still there is a lot of good content.Dragons Landing Inn: Chuck and Lonnie haven't do[...]

DC Adventures Heroes & Villains Vol. 1 @ RPGNow?

Fri, 24 Jun 2011 13:16:00 +0000

I was checking out various sites and came across a 7page pdf preview for the DC Adv. Heroes & Villains vol. 1, which is nice.

Then I was over at RPGNow looking at a few things and found this I could be wrong but it seems like they have the pdf for sale now.  

I also checked out Green Ronin's site and it appears to be available there as well.

I can't confirm beyond doubt that these are active downloads because there is no way in hell I'm paying $27 for a pdf, but it was posted to RPGNow on 6/23/11 and it at least appears to be an item that you can purchase and download now. So for those of you that have to have it now, check it out and let me know if it is the real deal.

An interesting and informative game night

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 10:57:00 +0000

Tonight we got back into the 2e game we started a few weeks ago, but there was a catch. Before we began play, the more experienced player was wondering if we could go back to 3rd edition/Pathfinder. My daughter, a newer player, was all for staying in 2nd edition. She says it is easier.  I was a bit shocked as I thought for sure that 2e would reign supreme at our table for the foreseeable future. So we discussed it and decided that Pathfinder would return as the default system. (BTW my daughter still prefers 2e, but says Pathfinder is easier to play than 4e, but not easier to learn.)Everyone rolled up new characters and we pretty much put them in the same place of the campaign as the 2e characters. There were a few tweaks and on the fly changes made on my part, but it went well. This game was a bit rockier than the last, due in part to external interference, but was over all a fun night.After we were done playing for the night, the more experienced player and I sat on the porch discussing the possibility of getting another regular group together and the people we could try to recruit. This led into a discussion about DMing and how I'd like to find someone to take over or at least share the responsibility with me so that I could run the occasional PC. This led to a discussion on DMing styles and here is where I managed to learn a thing or two about myself.In our discussion we were talking about guys we know that can/do DM and what kind of DMs they are. DM "x" is big on dragons and finds a way to work them in every chance he gets. On the other hand DM "a" is really into vampires and the whole gothic Ravenloft type of game. DM "y" is all about the in town adventures and DM "b" always seemed to run things with a Forgotten Realms feel. These guys are consistent. They use the same basic monsters, the same settings and the same types of adventures."But how do I DM?"Through self reflection and discussion I came to understand that I'm either very versatile, or I suck as a DM. My player said that while I like my zombies and mimics, I really do like 'em, I tend to throw every kind of creature into a game. It's almost a monsters of the week type of thing.I'm more of the type that just wants to see how much crazy shit I can throw at a party. 4 or 5 Puzzles, a couple of traps, a living wall, a ghost, a zombie horde, a mind flayer, a flesh golem, a gelatinous cube, some green slime, a couple of mimics, a duregar patrol, an Ogre Mage and maybe even a kobold shaman to shake things up. That's just to get everyone's attention.It is kind of weird that I throw so much and such a variety at a party since I never try to go for the TPK. If anything I'm too lenient on players and too generous with the loot. I sometimes, as I did tonight, have the monsters come in conflict with each other, with the PCs just being caught in the middle. To me that seems natural. Especially in a dungeon environment.For example, the group was avoiding some "Romero" zombies when they locked themselves in a room they had found. They hear some talking outside and decide to check it out. A duregar patrol shows up to give them grief and makes so much noise that they draw the attention and are over run by the horde of zombies. The PCs barely managed to lock themselves back in the secure room and had to tough it out for 3 days before it was ok to venture out. Lucky for them they had just stocked up on provisions.At some point we all use dragons and even the type of dragons we use says a lot about us. Most guys seem to like red dragons, others tend to include gold, silver and white. I've known guys who only use undead dragons. Me I've always pretty much stuck with green, black and blue. Black is my personal favorite, though I'm really fond of the blues too. If I use dragons those are generally the ones that show up. I'm also not as strict with their alignments. I've had black and green dragons that h[...]

Of the 52, not many seem popular

Thu, 16 Jun 2011 12:27:00 +0000

Over at Comic Book Resources they did a poll to see what fans thought of the 52 titles in the DC reboot. Even though I openly stated that I thought many of these books were destined to fail, I thought there would be more fan support for some of the titles.If the results of the poll are any indication, fans aren't too keen on this reboot. Frankly the results are actually a lot more negative that I was about the DCnU, as it's being called. I think there were over 10,000 responses and although I'm sure many net dwellers responded multiple times (because they've just gotta do stuff like that), it still seems like the response is overwhelmingly negative.I'm not against the reboot, or DCnU, but I'm also not falsely optimistic about books that just don't seem to have any staying power. Even though some of those books star characters I really like. I'm a realist and I know that many of the characters I dearly enjoy, just don't appeal to that many fans. No matter how much I prefer to read about Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Firestorm, the Atom, Captain Marvel or Captain Atom, they will never sell as much as the 100 Batman books that come out each month. That's why their titles just don't last as long, if they are lucky enough to get their own title. That's also why those characters get shot in the head, sent to another universe, or have other terrible things happen to them as they get swept under the run and forgotten for a while. I've already done a quick book by book analysis(even though it was probably one of my longest posts) so I won't do it again here. What I am going to do is share the books I intend to pick up. Which really isn't that many.I'm definitely getting: (*note the items in bold are books where I've already paid my yearly subscription so I'm getting them in the mail until at least January regardless of the reboot)Blue BeetleCapt. AtomThe FlashThe Fury of FirestormJustice LeagueJustice League InternationalLegion of SuperheroesLegion Lost Mister TerrificWonder WomanNightwingGreen LanternGreen Lantern CorpsGreen Lantern: The New GuardiansSupermanAction ComicsSuperboyAnimal ManI might try:   BatgirlThe Savage HawkmanJustice League DarkDC Universe PresentsGrifterRed LanternsStormwatch  As I've stated before I'm not a big Batman fan, but even I can be drawn in by the buzz. So I may give the two core Batman books a try. I definitely won't be buying any of the extra books like The Dark Knight, Batwing or Catwoman.So I ended up with a list of 18 definite buys and 7 possibilities for a total of 25 of the initial 52. I'm willing to give about half of the books a chance. Of those 25 I'm betting only 1/2 will make it too far beyond the 1 year mark, if they last that long. Of course DC editors have already stated that the initial 52 are just the beginning. Other titles are on the way in the upcoming months. They aren't stupid. They know many of the initial 52 titles will fail.Now I will resume purchasing Batman Beyond, which is supposed to be a relaunched later. I'll also buy the rumored Justice League Beyond book that I've heard mentioned if/when it comes out. Other than the ones I mentioned I don't plan on touching any of the other titles. Some just because I can't stand the characters (Aquaman) others because they just don't appeal to me (Sgt. Rock). It's a good thing I'm not a big fan of  Marvel books or I may have taken this opportunity to cut my DC purchases and pick up more Marvel. I wonder how many fans may end up doing just that? There is one thing I am curious about regarding the reboot. I know that Green Ronin has been running pretty far behind schedule on the DC Adventures RPG. Could it be because DC is requiring them to take the DCnU into account? I haven't seen anything about it, yet, on the Mutants & Masterminds message boards (Atomic Think Tank). As a matter of fact I've hardly seen anyone discussing t[...]

My daughter's take on the editions of D&D and other RPGs

Mon, 13 Jun 2011 10:20:00 +0000

As I've mentioned a few times, I have been teaching my teenage daughter to play D&D. We started out with 4e/Essentials, dabbled in 3e/Pathfinder and are currently playing 2e AD&D.Well, the other morning we were talking about some of my D&D books and I asked her which edition she liked better. She thought about it for a second and decided that she liked 2e the best. We haven't played Pathfinder enough for her to decide how well she likes it, so it is still an unknown at this point. She told me that 4e/Essentials was the "easiest to understand, but the hardest to play" and 2e was a little "confusing to learn, at first," (I think Thac0 is to blame here) but it was the easiest to play. She also said it was the most fun to play. I asked her why and she said it was because there was so much to keep track of during play in 4e. Marking things and being bloodied and all of the powers and feats along with the skills, seems to feel overwhelming to her. She liked the fact that in 2e a fighter is just a fighter and doesn't have any "spells" (her words not mine) like they do in 4e. Her explanation of this was that in 2e the character seemed like a real person and in 4e they seemed like superheroes. It was easier for her to " make-believe" she was the fighter in 2e. She was able to suspend disbelief and actually immerse herself in the character and events of an adventure.Where as in 4e she was always aware that it was "just pretend" and she felt as if she were just playing a game. One thing she did say in favor of 4e was that she liked the character generator (I still have the original, downloadable one on my Desktop PC) and she wished we had a good one like that for 2e. Again Pathfinder is not really included at this point as she has almost no experience with the system. I'm probably going to wait until the Pathfinder Beginners Box comes out later this year before I seriously to get her into a Pathfinder game. I showed it to her and she seems to be really jazzed about playing it, but she wants to wait for the Box. Personally I think that the large core rule book has her a bit intimidated, which is understandable. Given her familiarity with the 4e Red Box, the Pathfinder Beginners Boxed Set seems the best way to introduce her to the game.Besides 4e & 2e, she's been going through my other RPG books to see what she likes. So far she's intrigued by Rifts and Mutant Epoch, but she's not too sure she wants to play them. She thinks they are too complicated (too much math) and given that she's a new player, I'm inclined to agree. I may try running some simplified versions in the near future.She has also shown some some interest in d20 Modern, but really hasn't given me a yes or no on that one yet. When I say d20 Modern I'm also including Monte Cook's World of Darkness, Etherscope, d20 Call of Cthulhu and all of the d20 Modern supplements (Future, Past, Cyberspace). I use all of those as d20 Modern sourcebooks and run it all as one game, so I could run anything from gothic horror and urban fantasy to post apocalyptic and pulp to space opera with  the same characters. While I wish the d20 Modern core had classes that were more similar to D&D than the generic ones that it uses, it is still one of my favorite systems. It is just too versatile.I've been trying to get her into Hollow Earth Expedition because I love that system, but she seems kind of cold towards that one. I may try running a simple zombie game with the system and see how she likes that.I'm also thinking about running All Flesh Must Be Eaten and Buffy. She likes zombies and she loves Buffy so those could be winners. As a matter of fact in 1st grade she had to write a paper about what career she wanted to pursue when she grew up and being a vampire slayer was what she wrote about. That's my girl. So Buffy may appeal to her and the system isn't [...]

A pretty long post on the DCU reboot

Sun, 12 Jun 2011 12:50:00 +0000

**Originally posted as a comment on CBR. I decided to repost and expand upon that comment**I have no real issue with the quasi-reboot. Some of the changes they apparently are making to some of the core/iconic heroes seems a bit odd, but if the stories are good, so be it. I'm not afraid of change and won't whine and cry if things aren't exactly like they've been for the past "x" amount years. I think the changes seem pointless and little too 90's retro, but I'm not going to start declaring this the first signs of the death of comics. If I don't like it, I won't buy it.I was surprised by the choices of books in the first 52. I completely expected half of the line to be made up of Batman books so the 11 or so that are being released are no surprise. After all DC/WB doesn't seem to have nearly as much faith in their other characters.  Many of the 52 seem destined to fail within the first 12 months so I guess it will end up being a self fulfilling prophecy. There are just so many books and characters that just don't seem to have the staying power, outside of a few diehard fans, to keep a series afloat.It's nice that DC is willing to try something different and attempt to grow awareness of their books/characters beyond Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman during their attempt to enter/create a new era, but they just seem to have made some odd choices. Why totally overlook the opportunity to re-invent fan favorite characters like the Marvel Family, the Atom & Blue Devil, among others, to focus on books and characters that don't seem to have that big or loyal of a following, such as Red Hood/Jason Todd? While I'm sure there are people who are big fans of Jason, there rarely is a character that doesn't have at least a few fans (yes I'm talking about the 2 other Wild Dog fans out there), how does he warrant getting a position in the first wave of the reboot? Granted I can't stand Aquaman and I'm not a fan of Hawkman, but I know they have a big enough fan base and are recognizable enough to the general populace to have earned their place in the first wave. Though I do confess to being confused as to why the Atom got no love.I understand and I don't think it is any real secret that the books/characters chosen are more than likely the ones that DC/WB believes hold the best possibilities of not only appealing to the younger generation of fans, but of also making the jump to other media (TV/Movies/Video Games/Action Figures). But I still can't believe they totally overlooked the Atom! He didn't even get a place on any of the Justice Leagues, but Hawk & Dove get their own book? WTF ?!!!??(for all you loyal readers "WTF" is the phrase of the day. Whenever you see it scream real loud.)I don't think, under normal circumstance, that many of the titles in the initial 52 would make it to the 2 year mark before they were either canceled or went through another reboot/major overhaul. I honestly think that DC will try real hard to keep even low selling books among the initial 52 afloat. At least for a while. Otherwise they will have invested all this time and energy into something that will become known as DC's failed "Heroes Reborn" and I'm sure the suits @ WB won't like that much. Unless, of course, that's the plan. Maybe this really is just one big publicity stunt and everything will go back to normal in a few months. The Fury of Firestorm: I'm a Firestorm fan and I know there are quite a few other fans out there. However, I think the revised origin could turn some people off and kill the book.I hope I'm wrong and I'd love to see the character become one of the next gen iconic characters, but DC just doesn't do very well when it comes to straying too far from the idea that the entire DCU revolves around Batman and Superman, but mostly Batman.My prediction: 24 issuesCaptain Atom: I've b[...]

Kickin' @$$ and takin' their stuff: Introducing a new generation to 2e AD&D

Tue, 31 May 2011 21:30:00 +0000

It is memorial day weekend and I can think of no better way to spend it than going to the drive-in (Thor was awesome!!), grilling out and playing a kick ass game of D&D.

Saturday I ran my daughter and my niece (both of which are teenagers), and my former brother-in-law through a six hour 2nd edition AD&D game. It was one of the best games I have had the opportunity to participate in for quite some time and all of the players did a great job.

I am especially proud because it was my daughter's first time with 2e (4e Essentials is all she really knows) and my nieces first time playing an RPG. I also think I did some of the best DMing I've done in years. It has been a long time since a six hour game went by and everyone was still eager to play. Even though I could have gone another 3-4 hours I had to stop the game because it was getting a little late. So I am declaring this session a huge success.

After not playing 2e for nearly a decade I can't believe how easily I feel back into the old rules. Sure there was the occasional 3e/Pathfinder or 4e rule that slipped in by accident, but for the most part we had to make just a  few clarifications on things during breaks. The girls had no problem with THAC0, my brother in law and I did a fairly good job of remembering most of the rules and fell right into how we gamed years ago.

My daughter broke from her usual routine of playing a fighter to play a two-weapon ranger and my niece played the fighter. My brother-in-law played I psionicist Minotaur (house-rules) to add a little bit of extra muscle to the party of new(er) players.

I ran them through an adventure that mixed a little bit of the Abyssal Plague story that is currently running through the core D&D novels (they aren't great, but they are fun) with a little bit of your normal meat grinder dungeon crawl. I even threw in a dungeon level that was nothing but puzzles and riddles to mix it up.

The girls seemed to have a good time and even reminded me of myself and the gang I played with when I was around their age and just learning the game. For them it was more about getting lost in the imaginary world and having a good time than it was about rules and minutia. I can't speak for my brother-in-law but Saturday's game felt more "old school" than any game I've played in a long time and it had nothing to do with the edition or system. I actually can't wait to play again and that, to me at least, is what gaming is all about.

We plan to finish this adventure in a few weeks and then we are going to decide if we will stick with 2e or move on to 3e/Pathfiner. Honestly I'm perfectly ok with either system as they are my two favorites. I've talked my daughter into giving The Mutant Epoch, Call of Cthulhu and maybe even a supers game a try. So I'll end up running a solo game for her with those systems/genre. Who knows, if she does well I may even try running a Starblazer Adv. or Hollow Earth Expedition game for her.

However, I can't decide between DC Adv./M&M, Silver Age Sentinels, V&V,  or Icons for running a supers game. Personally I think Silver Age Sentinels (d20 version is ok, but I think the tri-stat version is better) is a bit under rated, and I'm really wanting to run it, but I'm leaning heavily towards Icons because of simplicity or DC Adv. due to familiarity.

Gone but not Forgotten

Sun, 22 May 2011 11:09:00 +0000

Back when TSR came out with Dragon Dice a few friends and I played it for a while, along with nearly every CCG that came out and 2e AD&D. Then life got complicated, games got put on the back burner and due to some unfortunate circumstance I "lost" most of my games and comics. (FYI, just because the judge says someone has to give you your stuff back doesn't mean that the law will do anything about it if they don't. Especially if that stuff happens to be comics and games.)

Recently I fond out that Dragon Dice is still alive and enjoying a small revival thanks to some devoted fans. Apparently a company called SFR bought the rights to the Dragon Dice and have been putting out starter sets and expansion backs. I bought a starter set and now enjoy the occasional game.

Once I found out that a game I thought was long gone was actually still alive and kickin', it got me to thinking about others. Games like Spellfire, Decipher's Star Wars CCG and Wyvern (Wikipedia entry) were ones that I enjoyed a great deal back in the day, but that, for one reason or another, are no longer officially with us. I know that Spellfire has been the butt of a lot of jokes, but my friends and I had a lot of fun with it and while it was a bit sad compared to Magic: the Gathering, I still remember it fondly. 

While I do not know of anybody that is still supporting Wyvern, it appears that Spellfire was turned over to the fan community and the fan forums appear to have been active as late as 2006. Fans created a program called Crossfire to enable online play and apparently there were a few more boosters released (have not confirmed this yet), but other than a few active fan pages it seems like there has been no noticeable activity over the past few years.

Of the other games I played back then not all are lost to memory, some are still thriving or at least surviving in one form or another. Everyone is familiar with Magic: the Gathering, Legend of the 5 Rings, the World of Darkness games (Vampire, Werewolf, etc), but I can't help wondering if somewhere out there others fondly remember the games of the 90's as fondly as I do.

Along with Spellfire, Wyvern, and Star Wars I would like to know if anyone else has games from the 90's that they remember fondly that are no longer around. I want to know if games like the Vampire/Jyhad CCG (I just found out that this was actually active till 2010), Rage CCG, Overpower or anything else (CCG or not) that I may have forgotten about from that time are still active anywhere out there.

If you are a publisher of one of the smaller or forgotten 90's games or if you happen to have any information about games from that time feel free to leave me a link in the comments.

I think I'm turning old school

Sat, 21 May 2011 09:44:00 +0000

One of my old players and I recently decided to try getting a regular gaming group going again. It may or may not work as we have done this several times over the past few years. It may last for two games or two months, you can never tell. Life has a funny way of interfering with my games.Anyway this particular player was in the 2e group I joined over a decade ago so he is an experienced player and has been present in nearly every group I've been a part of over the past decade. As I've mentioned in other posts I've been waxing nostalgic about 2e for the past year or so and since the opportunity has presented itself I asked him if he'd be willing to return to 2e. Happily he was very enthusiastic about the idea and still has all of his old books.Even though I'm in the middle of reading my new Mutant Epoch RPG book, which I'm planning to run for my daughter when school lets out in a couple of weeks (and maybe the new group, BTW I plan to have a review up for The Mutant Epoch soon.), but I've also been re-reading the 2e core books.After getting through the core rule books and the creative campaigning book,  I've realized a few things.First of all 2e, using just the core books, is incredibly simple. Thac0 is the most complex part. I don't hate it as much as I thought I did, but I still like ascending AC and BAB waaaay more. Back when we made the switch to 3e it seemed, at the time, that 3e corrected and simplified so much about 2e. Experiencing the game now with a decade's worth of playing 3e & 4e, I honestly think that 2e is the more "simple" system. Sure there are issues, as there is with any system, but I made 3 test PCs last night, just for fun, and got each one done in less time that it takes me to make comparable characters using 3e/Pathfinder or 4e. Naturally I'm talking about using pencil and paper only. Throwing out a quick DDi Essentials character isn't the same.Secondly I realized that 2e has some amazing supplemental material. Maybe even some of the best I've ever seen. Creative Campaigning, the Book of Villains, all of the Complete Books (Wizard, Necromancer, Fighter, Elves, etc), tons of great campaign settings and that's just the tip of the iceberg. I know there were some less than stellar books that came out for 2e, but what my group thinks is crap may be exactly what another group is looking for. Luckily just like 3.x, Pathfinder, and even 4e, you don't have to buy or use everything that is released. If you don't like it, ignore it. I don't care if you're talking about 1e, 3e/3.5/Pathfinder, or 4e, there is something that was put out for those systems (or the system itself) that other gamers hated. I also think that 4e, and Pathfinder are well on their way to releasing just as much material (gamebooks, novels, fortune cards, battlemats/maps, minis, etc) for use with those editions as there ever was for 2e. As a matter of fact I bet if you combine the material from 3.x and Pathfinder there is at least as much of that out there (probably more if you include 3rd party material) than 2e material.  Don't get me wrong I am a devoted Pathfinderite, I thoroughly enjoyed 3e/3.5 and I like Essentials pretty well, but I also have to admit that I don't like everything that has been released. If you release enough supplemental product, you are bound to get some crap.Also revisiting the system that was such a big part of my life from 15 till I was in my mid-20's has made me realize how much I miss it. The only system I've played as long as 2e was 3e/3.5 (now Pathfinder) and I can honestly say that despite any complaints I may have had with it, we had a whole lot of fun. There were some really great adventures had using 2e and I can't wait to try and recapture some of that fun. It may not[...]

Conflicts between style of play vs. system

Tue, 03 May 2011 10:40:00 +0000

First I would like to say thanks for all the positive words and well wishes after my heart attack last month. The sentiment was greatly appreciated. My recovery is going quite well, I’m finally back to work and getting stronger every day. Secondly, this post is not an "anti-" anything post. It is not intended to start a conflict and is in no way an edition wars post. It is simply an personal evaluation of the way my gaming groups tend to play and the issues we have had with various systems/D&D editions.That being said, heart attack or not, I’m still a gamer and the past two months have given me a lot of time to not only read and enjoy the many great posts on the RPGBN, but to also catch up on reading or re-reading my RPG books.             The first books I dove into were my newly (re)acquired 2e AD&D books. Reading those books not only brought back many fond memories of games past, but I also realized something about the style of play that seems to be consistent with all the groups I've gamed with.             My realization was that my groups and I tend to be more focused on story and less so on crunch. We seem almost unable to play games with the Rules as Written. With the exception of when I first started playing using the D&D Expert rules, I have never, to my recollection, tried to run a game as written. Even with the Expert rules I seem to remember my attempts to run it RAW lasting a very short time. Houserules and tweaks came about almost immediately.             When I and my group(s) moved on to 2e I don’t remember anyone ever using any of the optional kits or proficiencies. Everyone pretty much stuck with the basic classes and the simplest, most basic version of each of them. Occasionally someone would run a specialist wizard, but that was about as “out there” as any one I played with ever got with their PC’s class. They spent more time worrying about back-story and personality. We also tended to ignore most of the percentile rolls and instead just used a d20 roll with a target number; similar to the DC of 3rd edition.             Once we moved on to 3e, the only difference for most of my group(s) was that we now had rules that supported the positive AC and BAB that we had started using during 2e. When it came to PCs everyone pretty much stuck with Cleric, Fighter, Thief, Ranger and Sorcerer (Wizard if they wanted to specialize) as the basic classes. My players rarely ever wanted to play a Paladin, Bard or Druid and no one ever (seriously), ever wanted to play a Barbarian. The only time a Prestige Class was ever used in our games was during two sessions where I actually got to take a break from DMing and run a PC. Even on those very rare occassions I generally ran a Sorcerer or Necromancer. To be honest after my initial read through of the 3e PHB, I never even bothered to keep up on the rules or details for anything other than the classes my players used. This remains true even with Pathfinder.            Another thing that all of my 3e groups seemed to agree on was Feats. They barely used them and this also remains consistent with our Pathfinder and 4e games. I’ve just gotten used to it and it probably wouldn’t take much for a player to throw me off my game by using feats that I am, for the most part, unfamiliar with. Sure my groups did/do use some feats, but the ones used are pretty consistent and few.          &nb[...]

Taking some time off

Tue, 22 Mar 2011 16:01:00 +0000

For those of you who care enough to notice that I haven't posted much lately, there is a good reason.
Earlier this month I had a massive heart attack. To say it came as a pretty big surprise to me, my family and my doctor would be an understatement. Especially since I had just been checked out and given a clean bill of health.
Since I've only been home from the hospital for a week I honestly haven't felt much like posting and I actually intend to postpone the posts I have planned for a bit longer. My priorities have changed a bit over the past few weeks and to be honest, keeping up with this blog just isn't that high on my list right now.
I do appreciate the well wishes I've received from those that know me personally, but for at least the next month or so the blog will remain silent. Then I'll decide if I want to keep the blog up and going of if I want to find another way to occupy what little free time I have.

My 10 Favorite RPG with pictures!

Fri, 11 Feb 2011 04:00:00 +0000

***Repost:I was pressed for time and stupidly did not double check this post before I scheduled it to go online and as many of you pointed out there were no pictures. When I wrote the post the pics were there, but I either A) did not save that draft properly or B) accidentally made two posts and deleted the one with the pictures. Regardless the fact that the pics were missing was my mistake. So now I present this post as it was originally meant to be seen. Sorry about the goof up. ****This list is completely dependent upon my mood and is likely to change, at least somewhat, from month to month, but as of this moment these are my favorite RPG book covers. 10. Rifts Ultimate Edition core rules9. Rifts: Madhaven8. Mutants & Masterminds 2e core rules 7. Pathfinder: Advanced Player's Guide6. 4e D&D DMG5. Secrets of the Surface World(HEX)4. Hollow Earth Expedition (HEX)3. AD&D Unearthed Arcana2. Pathfinder RPG1. 2e AD&D DMGSubscribe[...]

Still updating the other pages.

Sat, 05 Feb 2011 09:44:00 +0000

For those of you that care, I am still working on getting the promised links up on the other pages. Currently I am trying to get all of my RPG gaming links in order and up on the proper page. I've gotten a few put up and will definitely be more to soon.

I have tons of links to go through, organize and add, so it is taking me a bit longer than I thought it would. This may result in me consolidating a couple of the pages, but I assure you I am still working on it when I have the free-time (which is not very often) and I will get some more up soon.

More 2nd edition AD&D goodies and they're all precious....

Thu, 03 Feb 2011 17:10:00 +0000

My attempts to recover long lost 2e books as well as gain books I missed the first time is coming along quite well. I recently received my copies of the 2nd Edition AD&D revised PHB and DMG to go right along side of my original 2e PHB and DMG. I sat down and quickly thumbed through them before work. All I can say is, THAC0 or not I really want to play a 2e game now. It has been well over a decade since I've really played 2e and reading through these book made me remember just how much I enjoyed this edition.I know there are a lot of 2e haters out there and you are welcome to your opinion, even though you are wrong, (just kidding) but to me AD&D 2e was a great game. I wish it got a bit more love by the OSR but I'm thankful that there are a few people out there working on keeping the system alive and revising it for today's gamers.Revised 2e PHB  Revised 2e DMGOriginal 2e BooksFrom the comments I've seen on some of the message boards there are more than a few 2e fans that will strongly disagree with my following comment, but I like the artwork on the original 2e books better than the revised versions. As a matter of fact the original 1989 DMG probably has my all time favorite RPG cover (Pathfinder and Hollow Earth Expedition tie for a close second). There is just something about that image of the dragon and wizard that sums up, for me at least, what D&D is all about. However, the interior of both of the revised books is much nicer than the original books and from what I can tell they are also much better organized.Now I'm just waiting for my black cover 2e Monster Compendium to come in the mail.  Then I plan on picking up some campaign settings I missed, some of the faux leather bound spell books, and maybe some of the "Complete" series of books. I've really had my eye on The Complete Book of Necromancer, but it will probably have to wait a bit longer.Subscribe[...]

The greatest car commercial ever!

Thu, 03 Feb 2011 11:07:00 +0000

I came across this on Newsarama and just had to share it.
I'm sure more than a few of us can see ourselves in this mini-Vader. As a kid I know that I ran around in my Vader Halloween costume (it was one of those cheap plastic ones from the late 70's - early 80's) terrorizing anything and anyone who crossed my path on more than one occasion. If I had a costume that fit me now, I'd probably still do it.

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Some more Old School Treasures rediscovered

Wed, 02 Feb 2011 08:23:00 +0000

Thanks to Northwest over on the Purple Worm forum, (If you're a 2e fan you really should check out the Purple Worm site) I have found a copy of the first D&D book I bought for myself. The book that really introduced me to not only D&D, but RPGs, the Expert Rulebook.

I had this as a kid, though not the rest of the box set, and traded it and another book for the 1e AD&D PHB and DMG. As I got older I started kicking myself in the butt for getting rid of this book, mostly for sentimental reasons. I spent years trying to find a copy, but the problem was my memory was faulty and all I could remember was that it was a blue DMG. This was only partially right and so everyone I asked and every search engine I tried never turned up a blue DMG at any point. No sooner did Northwest post the image than I immediately recognized the book and hoped on amazon.

I got a copy for under $5 and can now proudly place it in my continually growing RPG collection. I'll probably never play it, though I will read it and remember the fun I had learning the game. This book contributed to making me the geek I am today. I just wish I had kept my original.

Captain America on the Cover of Empire

Wed, 02 Feb 2011 05:23:00 +0000

Empire magazine is featuring Chris Evan in full Captain America gear on the cover. You can find articles about it all over the web, such where I found this image:
 Say what you will, but I'm looking forward to this movie.

Gotta love Foxtrot

Thu, 27 Jan 2011 14:40:00 +0000

The comic Foxtrot is one of my favorites and I think it is funny that such a geek oriented strip makes it into my local paper. Now if only they'd add Spider-man, Full Frontal Nerdity, Flare and the Phantom.

Stock art for your RPG

Tue, 25 Jan 2011 14:31:00 +0000

This really doesn't affect me since I am not currently designing my own rpg products, though I am thinking about it, but Louis Porter Jr. has apparently released a line of stock art for you to use.
I admit that I don't know much about the topic, but the prices seem pretty reasonable to me. If you are designing your own game or supplement I'd suggest checking them out.

A quick rant about digital magazines, plus more Matrix movies.

Tue, 25 Jan 2011 05:45:00 +0000

I am a pretty big magazine reader. I read at least 20 mags per month (my wife made me cut back) and that doesn't count comics. Of course 3-4 of them are related to my field of study, but the rest are just for fun.Pretty much every day I have a magazine or comic book in my mailbox and the magazine rack is one of the first places I hit in any store. I actually choose the stores I prefer shop at according to the quality of their magazine racks.This is one of the reasons I was so upset when WotC canceled both Dragon and Dungeon magazines and moved them to a digital format. I absolutely hate reading digital magazines and until Kobold Quarterly came along they were the only gaming mags I knew about. Though Knights of the Dinner Table did ease the pain of their loss somewhat. Sure I read quite a few blogs, online news sites and messageboards, but those are usually quick reads meant to grab small bits of info. I use them just to keep up to date on topics I can't always find in magazines. Honestly my online reading pretty much revolves around RPGs, and current comic book news. Everything else I try to get from a print magazine.Before long it seems like I will be stuck reading damn near everything in digital format or not reading them at all. RPG books, comics, magazines, newspapers are a going digital. I don't want to buy a new tablet PC/ipad, e-reader or smart-phone just so I can enjoy my favorite magazines/comics/books. I'm not that old and I stay fairly knowledgeable regarding current technology, but this push to make us slaves to our digital masters (a little melodramatic, I know) not only makes me feel old, but it pisses me off. I don't mind having a choice between print or digital, but I don't like being forced to accept something I don't like or want just keep keep reading the things I enjoy. I feel the same way about this push for all movies to be 3-D. I don't $#%^ing want to see movies in 3-D! I want plane old 2-D that I can enjoy without paying an extra $10 per ticket and without wearing those $#%^ed - up glasses.What was I talking about? Oh, yeah...Wizard magazine, one of the few comic book magazines that can still be found on the magazine rack in your local grocery, and pretty much every where else,  is apparently ceasing publication along with sister magazine Toyfare. According to the press release at Newsarama, Wizard will become a digital magazine called "Wizard World".Now I admit that Wizard has not been up to par for quite a while and they have always been a bit selective about which comic/companies were covered, but with hobby magazines quickly disappearing from magazine racks they were kind of the last bastion of geekyness among all of the mainstream mags. All we have left are the few science magazines (as long as they manage not to get hidden behind the latest issue of Rachel Ray), Archie Digest (the last comic book on the rack) and the few remaining video game magazines. I find this very upsetting. Here is the press release:GAREB SHAMUS UNDERTAKES PUBLIC COMPANY WIZARD WORLD, INC. AND LAUNCHES NEW ONLINE PUBLICATION ‘WIZARD WORLD’New York, NY (January 24, 2011) – Gareb Shamus, recently appointed President and CEO of public company Wizard World, Inc. (“Wizard World”) (OTC: GOEE.PK), today announced that the Comic Con Tour, which consists of pop culture conference events that provide high visibility marketing opportunities to pop culture brands and companie[...]

Another treasure rediscovered

Sun, 23 Jan 2011 14:01:00 +0000

I've been trying to rebuild my 2nd edition AD&D collection for a while now (how the originals were lost is a story for another time) but it's difficult to do when you are on a gaming budget (it sucks being a grown up with bills to pay) and still trying to keep up with new product released for current RPGs. So I scan ebay,, Amazon and used books stores when I get some extra coin in my pocket and sometimes my quest pays off.
This week I'm proud to announce a new little treasure has been added to the collection, the Monstrous Compendium vol. 1. I also found copies of the black PHB and DMG to put next to my original 2e PHB and DMG. I'm expecting them any day now.
Most of you could probably give a rat's ass about the fact that I reacquired this book, but I'm excited about it. I've wanted a new copy of this for years and either had other obligations or was honestly broke when I came across it. For me this is a real treat so let me have my moment of happiness.
Now I just need a group willing to play 2e. Unfortunately I don't think they sell those on ebay. At least not in my price range.