Reality Is The Playground Of The Unimaginative
Home Of Swords, Sorcery, Star Stuff, Superheroes, Sci-fi, Scares, Silliness, Smeg, and the Supernatural

Friday, 30 June 2017

Fleamarket Friday: Will Your Heroes Be Haunted By The Sins Of The Past?

Glorious cover art by Dan Houser
The city is honouring the legendary Golden Agents of the Second World War with a new museum, but tragedy casts a shadow over the celebration, and raises disturbing questions about America’s beloved heroes. Have “the sins of the past” come back to haunt them? Your heroes have a chance to find out, and to do something about it!
Sins of the Past is an updated new edition of of the top-selling original adventure, released for Icons in 2010, updated for the Assembled Edition of the game.

Written by Theron Bretz, and illustrated by Dan Houser, the 52-page PDF includes all-new art, maps, more details about the Golden Agents, plus playtest and design notes from the author, as well as some changes and updates to the original story, based on feedback from years of sharp-eyed playtesters.

Sins Of The Past is now available on DriveThruRPG and RPGNow from Ad Infinitum Adventures for $5!

As a bonus, purchasers of the new edition get a copy of the original Sins of the Past at no extra cost!
They were the first to take up the mantle, the original article. When the world needed heroes, the Golden Agents rose to the challenge. But time and tide wait for no one, and the years are finally catching up to the living legends on the eve of the dedication of a new museum in their honour. Is it as simple as that, or is something sinister afoot? Can your heroes save the day when their Golden Age predecessors are haunted by... the Sins of the Past?

From Script to Screen - The Joker Crashes Bruce Wayne’s Penthouse Party...

Fleamarket Friday: A Pulp Skirmish Game With HEX Appeal...

Savage Core is a new set of Pulp Skirmish rules from Lucid Eye Publications that just screams "Hollow Earth Expedition" to me.

It is described as:
"28mm pulp skirmish rules for battles beneath the surface of the Earth... Savage Core is a fast play, competitive set of skirmish rules set in a primal land of savage warfare where clans battle for survival. Mature readers only, mature themes of primitive warfare."
The factions currently available include: Amazons, Atlanteans, Cro-Magnons, The Jaguar People, Simians etc

This is a game that not only ties in to many of my interests (yes, the Simian faction is very reminiscent of Planet Of The Apes, and I wouldn't be surprised to discover that The Jaguar People have shades of a certain Tarzan story to them), but also fits quite nicely with my eclectic miniatures collection.

And, of course, there is the heavy overlap with one of my all-time favourite RPGs, the aforementioned Hollow Earth Expedition.

The Savage Core rules are £11.99 and can be purchased from Lucid Eye here, while a selection of appropriate miniatures (which include a lost explorer and a Nazi officer) can be found here.

Massive hat tip to +Gordon Richards for bringing this to my attention.

Déjà Spawn?

The conversation in Spawn #274                    click to embiggen

I know I'm only just getting back into reading Spawn, so maybe I'm missing something, but why did Al (aka Spawn) and Twitch (the police detective) seemingly have exactly the same conversation in two consecutive issues?

In #274 (see above, click to embiggen), Al sidles up to Twitch in the street to ask if he has any contacts in Japan who can help with the relocation of Cyan; then in #275 (see below, click to embiggen), Spawn - who Twitch obviously knows is Al - materialises in the police station bathroom to make the same request.

What's going on? Did I miss something subtle? Is this the sort of thing Spawn does now? Do Al and Spawn not remember conversations each personality has?

The earlier exchange was even referenced in the "Previously In Spawn" editor's note at the start of issue 275, so it was extra jarring for the same two characters to be having essentially the same conversation again.

The conversation in Spawn #275                        click to embiggen

Fleamarket Friday: Rasmussen's New World Order Is Here...

The Administrator himself, Merle M Rasmussen (creator of the original Top Secret RPG) is back with a new iteration of his seminal game - a modernised setting matched with modernised rules for the 21st Century.

Not that it needs my help to promote it, the Kickstarter to fund production of Top Secret: New World Order launched on Tuesday evening and sped past its initial funding goal in no time at all.

A $10 buy-in will get you the new rules and first mission module in PDF, while for $50 (plus shipping) you can get the shiny box set (pictured above), which contains:
  • 128-page Core rulebook
  • Game masters screen
  • 4 player mats
  • 8 vehicle sheets
  • 20 character sheets
  • 40 tokens for cars, hazards, and explosions
  • A set of five dice: D4, D6, D8, D10, D12
  • Introductory mission module The White Queen
Check out the campaign's Kickstarter page for more details on all the investor incentives, a video interview with the team behind the project, as well as an explanation of the new "dice as statistics" rules mechanics (which seem to take inspiration from such systems as Savage Worlds and Cortex).

The campaign runs until July 27.

It's worth noting that, as well as there being no stretch goals to clog up the process:
"The game is complete in prototype form, and will be ready to go to press as soon as the Kickstarter ends."
If all runs smoothly, the publishers are hoping for a November shipping date for the finished game.

Meanwhile, they add that:
"Merle is already working on the first expansion book, and we have several new missions in the works. We're also talking with a few writers about their own ideas, and will announce new missions and third-party support as soon as agreements are in place."

Fleamarket Friday: You're Going To Need To Stock Up On Even More Red Pens...

For those of you who can't get enough of the SyFy Channel's new grindhouse adventure serial, Blood Drive, there's an official (free) colouring book available as a PDF download here.

I suspect this 21-page PDF (which, like the show, is not for the faint-hearted) will require even more red ink than the earlier Evil Dead 2 colouring book!

It's just a shame that SyFy over here hasn't given any indication yet when this hugely popular (if my Twitter feed is to be believed) gonzo show will air in the UK.

A gratuitous picture of Marama Corlett as Aki in episode one of Blood Drive 

Fleamarket Friday: It's Time To Shine Some Light On The Amazon...

The Amazon is the fifth character class available for +Jonathan Linneman's heroic OSR superhero project, Light City.

So far he has produced three classes (the Elemental, the Brawler, and the Amazon) and while +Justin Isaac has conjured up two (the Sidekick and the Super-Pet), for use with this hack of the Swords & Wizardry Light rules set.

Light City #3: The Amazon is available for free from the usual outlets.

It's a four-page PDF, including all the class details (for instance, tackling super-strength in Light City for the first time) and a seventh level sample character, Hippolyta.

Justin has also posted, at his Halls Of The Nephilim blog, a second sample character: DC Comics' Grace Choi of The Outsiders.

Fleamarket Friday: I'm Stupidly Excited For This Tasty Team-Up...

In brightest day, in blackest night, get ready for the Colonel’s greatest fight!
The third team-up between KFC and DC Comics, Across the Universe, will be available digitally on July 19.

I genuinely loved the first two comics in this run: DC/KFC #1: The Colonel of Two Worlds and DC/KFC #2: Colonel Corps.

These were well-plotted and superbly drawn comics, not throw-away cash-in tat.

I really hope that, after this next chapter of the Kentucky Fried saga comes out, DC Comics will consider releasing a collected edition of all three tales in print form.

And, yes, I am craving some KFC right about now... it's clearly the hypnotic power of The Colonel's gaze that's doing it!

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes To HeroPress...

And I'm not just talking about the two stone I've lost since March on my new diet.

Starting this Sunday I'm instigating a weekly 'picture parade' at 6am each Sunday morning, as a way of sharing some of the random images I've snagged from around the web on my travels.

Unwitting contributors include such blogging stalwarts as Calvin of Calvin's Canadian Cave Of Cool, Al Bruno III of Internet Tomfoolery fame, Allen Reinersten of Goodstuff's Cyber World, Stacey Lemmon  of Dr Theda's Crypt, and Facebook friends such as Norm J Collins, John Caliber, and Tim Hartin, who all enjoy a good photodump of their own.

This feature complements the longer-running picture parades on HeroPress at the start, middle, and end of each month.

I find these posts - if they're not of excessive length - an interesting change in the flow of blogs I read, or a novel diversion on Facebook.

I hope you get something out of them as well. And if not, the 6am time slot makes them easy to ignore!

And, if I'm being honest and slightly self-indulgent, this style of post often gets more reaction (likes, plus ones, comments etc) - even from people who only ever react to the top picture and never click through to see the rest of the piece - than text posts I've slaved over for hours.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Check Out The Flea's Fancy New Threads!

One of my amazingly talented gaming friends from Canada has come up with this eye-catching new costume for The Acrobatic Flea.

Erik, of the Montreal Area & Friends RPG Group on Facebook, was my co-pilot when we took out the (then unreleased) new edition of Villains & Vigilantes (aka The Mighty Protectors) for a test flight with the game's co-author Jeff Dee last year.

Out of the blue the other day Erik showed me some sketches of a new look he'd been working on for The Acrobatic Flea (my most enduring V&V character, the Flea began life back when Steve was running the game for us in the 1980s).

With a few minor comments and suggestions from me, Erik came up with this alternate look for my 'iconic' character.

I couldn't be happier!

Welcome To The Jungle - A Whole New Game Of Jumanji...

In a brand new Jumanji adventure, the tables are turned as four teenagers are sucked into Jumanji’s world – pitted against rhinos, black mambas and an endless variety of jungle traps and puzzles.

To survive, they’ll play as characters from the game: meek Spencer becomes a brave explorer (Dwayne Johnson); hulky jock Fridge becomes a tiny genius (Kevin Hart); It-girl Bethany becomes a bookworm professor (Jack Black); and unathletic Martha becomes an amazonian warrior (Karen Gillan).

To beat the game and return to the real world with their lives, they’ll have to start seeing things in an entirely different way.
Jumanji: Welcome to The Jungle is due to open on December 22.

Ahsoka, Rey, Sabine, Leia, Jyn, And More Embrace The Forces Of Destiny Next Week...

Forces Of Destiny is a new Star Wars animated series of shorts which explore the untold stories that helped shape the destinies of Rey, Jyn Erso, Princess Leia, Sabine Wren, Padmè Amidala, Ahsoka Tano and others

It makes its debut on Monday (July 3) on, featuring the vocal talents of Daisy Ridley, Lupita Nyong'o, and Felicity Jones, as well as Ashley Eckstein, Matt Lanter, Tiya Sircar and Vanessa Marhsall - all reprising their original Star Wars roles from films and TV.

And then there are these Blips:

Let's Give The Inhumans A Chance... It Does Feature A Teleporting Dog!

Like Many, I Have Fallen Under The Hypnotic Spell Of InspiroBot...

InspiroBot describes itself as:
" artificial intelligence dedicated to generating unlimited amounts of unique inspirational quotes for endless enrichment of pointless human existence."
It's a tool for generating pretentious "inspirational posters" (bizarre quotes against backgrounds of stock photography) that range from gobbledegook to hilarious.

Once you start clicking, it's very difficult to stop.

Just one more inspirational quote, just one more...

All with a simple click of a button...

Body Horror And Suicidal Cults In Indie Shocker The Heretics...

A notorious cult kidnaps a young girl and sacrifices themselves by the light of the locust moon. The next morning the girl awakes, caked in dried blood and surrounded by corpses but safe – or so she thinks.

Years later, the locust moon is about to rise again, and the girl is captured once more by a surviving member of the cult. She is taken to a remote cabin, where she learns that a demon has been growing inside of her all these years, and before the dawn it will rise.
Movies about weird cults are a favourite horror genre niche of mine. I think it's the gamer in me always looking for inspiration on the back of a lifetime of Lovecraft reading, so The Heretics certainly ticks that box for me.

This is one I'll be keeping an eye for, possibly as a candidate for a DVD night with my fellow horror fan, Paul.

Nina Kiri as Gloria

What Does 2:22 Do To You?

New York City air traffic controller Dylan Branson (Games Of Thrones' Michiel Huisman) is the embodiment of a guy at the top of his game, until one day at 2:22 pm a blinding flash of light paralyzes him for a few crucial seconds as two passenger planes barely avoid a midair collision.
Suspended from his job, Dylan begins to notice the increasingly ominous repetition of sounds and events in his life that happen at exactly the same time every day.

An underlying pattern builds, mysteriously drawing him into Grand Central Station every day at 2:22 pm. As he’s drawn into a complex relationship with a beautiful woman who works in an art gallery, Sarah (Warm Bodies' Teresa Palmer), disturbingly complicated by her ex-boyfriend, Jonas (Sam Reid), Dylan must break the power of the past and take control of time itself.

This Looks So Gorgeous...

Part One Of Spider-Man's Animated Origin...

Part one of a six-part series of shorts retelling Peter Parker’s Spider-Man origin story and leading into this summer's new Spider-Man cartoon.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Oats Studios: Firebase...

The latest experimental - and VERY GRUESOME - offering from Oats Studios: Firebase, an alternate take on the Vietnam War.

[RPG] The Knight City Dominoes Continue To Fall...

The other week an old school friend drew my attention to the availability of a Knight Industries t-shirt. Not that I was ever a big fan of Knight Rider, but it says "Knight" on it, right?

The t-shirt that started it all...

I had to have it, of course, but that set-off a chain of mental dominoes that saw me creating a whole new business to drop into Knight City (Knight Industries, with ties right back to the city's 17th Century founding father, sea captain Theodore Knight), but this, in turn, threw up some ideas for my rejigged origin of the Acrobatic Flea.

For my Knight City campaign I'm planning to take the Flea back to his roots, make him 17 again, and ready to take on the world.

As part of the Villains & Vigilantes 3.0: Mighty Protectors Kickstarter I invested in an original character sketch, and character stat-up, by the man himself, Jeff Dee (it was my 50th birthday present to myself).

So, naturally I'm going to get him to work his magic on the Acrobatic Flea.

While the Flea's powers remain untouched, I thought it was time to take a new look at his origin. He remains a mutant, but I'm looking for more depth in his actual backstory. Originally, I was thinking of a kid raised 'on the wrong side of the tracks' inspired to take up the heroic mantle by the death of a friend.

Acrobatic Flea by Des Taylor
(detail from my 50th birthday picture)
However, all the ruminating about Knight Industries got me to rattle off a couple of alternate ideas to run by my ever-helpful Canadian friends in the Montreal Area & Friends RPG Group on Facebook.

While there remains tragedy in the Flea's backstory, he's now more Fresh Prince than Dark Knight!

All this also inspired me to revisit my examination of the campaign's multiverse - through alternate versions of the Acrobatic Flea - as I now need to include, among others, an alternate dimension for +Jonathan Linneman's Light City.

That remains a work in progress, but as I was thinking about all this stuff I came up with the idea of doing a quick "rich list" of Knight City's premier denizens.

Which, in turn, inspired me to tweak the entry on Nick Law - the Doc Savage of Knight City and a central player in current goings-on - adding some tech to his tower at the heart of the city (that is available for any future heroes to use as a base).

This lead me to polish up - and expand - a quirky entry on an old rock band with its roots in the city, whose members now have their fingers in a number of interesting activities and potential plot hooks.

And the work continues...

Will We Get The Doctor Who Finale We Want, Or Will It All Be Undone?

Weird Wednesday...

Wonder Woman Wednesday...

The Batman (2022) + Justice League (2021)