Reality Is The Playground Of The Unimaginative

Home Of Sonic Screwdrivers, Supernatural Scares, Star Stuff, Superheroes, Swords, Sorcery, Sci-fi, Smeg, and Silliness

Saturday, 30 June 2012

This Ticks All The Right Boxes...

The Man With The Iron Fists has made it onto my "must-see" list.

Pickman's Model...

Pickman's Model from Man Powered Films on Vimeo.

This interesting adaptation of HP Lovecraft's Pickman's Model is being screened in competition at the 2012 Fright Night Film Fest in Louisville Kentucky tonight (June 30)

To find out more about the movie and its background, visit The Lovecraft Ezine.

Ladies & Gentlemen, That Was Unexpected...

Just as I was going to switch my PC off for the night on Friday, a new recruit to the HeroPress superteam signed on!

Please welcome:
  • Adam Brooks of Liem's Blogs (a general blog with bits about roller coasters, birds of prey, food, TV, movies and the SCA)
Can you believe we're just 10 shy of 300 Followers... which is very surprising to me given how crappy my blogging's been these past few months. Thanks for sticking with me... things should get better eventually.

Friday, 29 June 2012

I've Been Hearing Some Negative Reviews Of This, But...'s Spider-Man! So I still want to see it (as long as one of our three local cinemas allows me to see it in 2D... otherwise I'll be waiting for the Blu-Ray).

I'm Such A Sucker For Time Travel Movies...

Fleamarket Friday: Primeval Is Finally Coming...

The latest newsletter from Cubicle 7 claims that the long-awaited Primeval RPG - based on the time-travelling, dinosaur hunting cult TV show - should be published in August.

The core rulebook is up for pre-order at Cubicle 7's store for £26.99, which includes a PDF of the game (the PDF could be available as soon as next week).

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Looks Good... But Where's Mars?

The remake of Total Recall looks all-action, but wasn't a large part of the original - including the woman with three breasts - set on Mars? Or am I just imagining things?


Available for pre-order the Marvel Cinematic Universe - Phase One: Avengers Assembled Blu-ray box set.

I hope it's available in the UK!!!

DVD Of The Week: Ghost Rider - Spirit Of Vengeance (2011)

Your potential enjoyment of Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance will depend on two things: how much you enjoyed the first Ghost Rider movie (because this is basically more of the same) and your tolerance for that most-Marmite of actors Nicolas Cage (as always Nic Cage is playing Nic Cage here).

Cage is back as Johnny Blaze, the motorbike stunt rider who made a deal with the Devil in an attempt to save his father's life. He's now hiding out in Eastern Europe where he meets renegade priest Moreau (Idris Elba, sporting an outrageous Monty Python French accent) who enlists Blaze to help protect young Danny (Fergus Riordan), who happens to be the son of The Devil-in-Human-Form, Roarke (Ciarán Hinds).

From then on it's all a bit of a mess, with some spectacular special effects and ill-judged attempts at misplaced humour, that borrows plot elements from The Omen movies (a convocation of evil politicians and bigwigs - almost certainly including the majority of The Conservative Party) and Superman II (Blaze manages to free himself from The Rider only to later discover he needs the demon's power to fulfill his quest).

Look out as well for cameos from geek icons Anthony Head and Christopher Lambert.

It's fair to say that Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance is not a great film - there isn't even much consistency in The Rider's powers and motivation throughout the movie - but it's only an hour and a half long... and it is bringing another comic book character to life.

I like to support these "lesser" superhero movies out of the naive hope that eventually the rights for all these characters will return to Marvel and one day we'll see an on-screen team-up between Ghost Rider and Spider-Man... or The Avengers will band together with the Ghost Rider to take on the hordes of Hell... or Spider-Man and Blade will face-off against Dracula etc etc

I know, I live in a fantasy world...

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Game's Night Cancelled...

Due to a combination of workloads, illness and people thoughtlessly throwing themselves in front of trains, tonight's meeting of the Tuesday Knights has had to be postponed at the eleventh hour.

Having spoken to Pete, we're now thinking mid-July to resume his Top Secret SI campaign.

Gaming was so much simpler when we were all at school, or at least didn't have families and job commitments! 

Few Things Funnier...

Monday, 25 June 2012

How The Mighty Have Tumbled...

Rachel was away on Saturday, coming back Sunday morning so we could go the 1940s Festival in Tunbridge Wells, so I had the house to myself.

There was a Chicago Town pizza waiting to be cooked and a stack of DVDs, books, comics and graphic novels to keep me entertained.

Then I turned the computer on and thought I'd just check Tumblr...

Oh my God - what a time sink that is.

The thing is it's not as if this is news to me - it caught me under its hypnotic spell the moment I originally signed on and it took me months before I "tricked" myself into not checking it every five minutes.

To be fair I did manage to watch a couple of films (Batman Begins and Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm) and finish a Spider-Man graphic novel (Flying Blind), but I had so much more I wanted to do on Saturday.

So now, I've had enough. I've put my virtual foot down and deleted my Tumblr account - it's the only way to truly go 'cold turkey'.

There are a lot of social networks out there and most, I'm quite capable of ignoring for days on end (even the ones that are actually useful for news and staying in touch with people).

But Tumblr is just LOLcats, artwork, photography and pictures of scantily clad women.

It served absolutely no purpose for me, especially as they stopped allowing automatic reposts from HeroPress some months ago.

So, why haven't I thought about deleting it before?

Because it's so shiny!

Take this as a warning, if you haven't caught the Tumblr bug yet - RESIST! RESIST WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH!

Map-A-Monday: Barsoom

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Getting In The Swing Of The '40s!

The Jive Aces
This weekend, The Pantiles - in Tunbridge Wells - and the old West Station played host to a 1940s festival - featuring Rachel's favourite swing band The Jive Aces (as seen on Britain's Got Talent) in concert.

We went along today and as well as enjoying the Jive Aces strut their stuff we watched a half-hour demonstration by the ever-excellent Cinque Port Lindy Hoppers dance troupe.

One of the many things I enjoy about these kinds of events is that they attract a crowd of willing - and talented - dance enthusiasts who aren't ashamed to spontaneously burst into synchronized routines while the bands are playing.

Luckily the weather forecast for all-day rain was wrong and it only showered briefly a couple of times, but certainly not enough to interfere with the musicians and dancers.

After that we went to the old West Station to see the steam trains and have a quick poke around their 'home front' displays in the station building - which included me talking Rachel into getting dolled up as a 1940s housewife to do the ironing!

I'm not sure how long it will be before she forgives me for talking her into posing for that (normally it's me whose the first to put the silly costumes on and pose for embarrassing photographs!)

After all this, we finished our day out with a slap-up meal at Smith & Western - my idea of a great restaurant (it's cowboy-themed!)

If you want to see more of my pictures from the day, visit my public Facebook album

"She Looks Alright, But It's Her Pet Cat That Causes A Stir..."

Woman takes her pet leopard for a walk in swingin' '60s London - when everyone was a lot more chilled!

One For The Little Monsters...

Saturday, 23 June 2012

What H'Rumph Did Next...

When we next catch up to H'rumph, the wandering dwarf miner, he has made his way to Gull (aka The City of Terrors), on the tropical island of Phoron, and has been approached by the captain of the city guard to do a bit of clandestine spy hunting...

This is Hot Pursuit, the mini solo adventure that runs through then pages of issue 16 of the old Sorcerer's Apprentice magazine which Flying Buffalo put out back in the day.

How awesome is it to have a solo adventure popping up throughout a magazine, at the sides and bottoms of pages?

H'Rumph tracked the spy to the palace, then engaged him in a wrestling match for a crystal ball he was using to relay troop placements to a wizard.

They struggled for about 12 minutes before the dwarf's superior muscles eventually wore him down. The spy was captured and H'Rumph earned himself 5,000gp reward!

A clever aspect of Tunnels & Trolls is its multi-purpose rules. To simulate the wrestling match, I used the Strength rating of both participants as Monster Ratings - the spy was 20 (3d6+10) and H'Rumph was 26  (3d6 +13) - and then fought the battle with die rolls, spite damage etc for six rounds (it was pretty much neck and neck and until the penultimate round).

Now H'Rumph's off to spend his reward on the streets of the infamous city...

The Minister Of Chance - Episode One...

The first episode of the Doctor Who spin-off The Minister Of Chance, a sequel to the BBC's Death Comes To Time radio play, which featured Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor, Sophie Aldred as Ace and Stephen Fry as rogue Time Lord The Minister Of Chance.

The Minister Of Chance project is entirely funded by the fans. You can listen free to all existing episodes at If you like what you hear then visit and cast a firm vote for your local defrocked Time Lord!

The next regeneration of the Minister is played by Julian Wadham (The Iron Lady, The English Patient).

The cast includes: Jenny Agutter (Logan's Run, An American Werewolf in London); Lauren Crace (EastEnders); Paul Darrow (Blake's 7, Law & Order UK, Star Wars: The Old Republic [VG]); Sylvester McCoy (Doctor Who); Paul McGann (Doctor Who - Eighth Doctor) and Gethin Anthony (Game Of Thrones).

Friday, 22 June 2012

Not Doing A Good Job On The Whole 'Secret Identity' Gig...

Peter Parker taunts his high school nemesis Flash Thompson in this latest clip from the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man.

Sinbad's Sailing Into View...

Elliot Knight
A new interpretation of the classic story of Sinbad sails onto Sky1 next month, featuring Elliot Knight as the titular hero and Lost's Naveen Andrews as the vengeful Lord Akbari.

According to Sky's website for the show:
"Sky 1 HD's epic fantasy starts in early July and stars newcomer Elliot Knight in the title role, alongside Naveen Andrews (Lost), Orla Brady (Mistresses. Strike Back), Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda) and Timothy Spall (Secrets and Lies, Harry Potter).

"The 12-part series opens with Sinbad banished from his homeland of Basra and cast out to sea on The Providence following the death of his much-loved brother. Now Sinbad must embark on an epic quest to rid himself of the curse placed on him by his own grandmother (Janet Suzman), and embrace his new destiny.

"On board The Providence, an intriguing band of travellers are thrown together, including taciturn Norwegian sailor Gunnar (Elliot Cowan), lithe jewel-thief Rina (Marama Corlett), and haughty Nala (Estella Daniels). Completing the ship's complement are the eccentric Cook (Junix Inocian), and the ship's cerebral doctor Anwar (Dimitri Leonidas).

"'Sinbad is a great character for any actor to be able to play: impulsive, adventurous, passionate, loyal and brave; a true hero,’ says Elliot Knight. ‘His story is packed with action, adventure and fantasy and I am looking forward to the exciting challenge of bringing him to life for a new generation.'

"The series is an Impossible Pictures production for Sky and BBC Worldwide produced with the assistance of Nine Network Australia.
The cast of heroes and villains from Sinbad
Watch the trailer here.

Ultimate Spider-Pants!

Finally got to see an episode of Marvel's new Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon this week... and, boy, do I wish I hadn't bothered.

It isn't really even a superhero show, more all-out slapstick comedy in the style of The Monkees (only The Monkees was a lot more entertaining) with a heavy dose of Deadpool and Wile E Coyote.

Spidey doesn't so much as break the fourth wall, he craps all over it - complete with 'comedy' sound effects.

I'm not exactly sure who Marvel's target audience is - it certainly isn't anyone who has ever read one of their comics (especially the brilliant initial run of the Ultimate Spider-Man comic) or seen one of their films. Sure, Spidey is a funny guy, but he's not an ass.

It's such a tragedy after the runaway success of the Marvel movies that the company can then turn round and produce such juvenile, charmless fare as this and think this is what its audience wants.

I can't believe Ultimate Spider-Man has already been greenlit for a second season while there are still rumours (and they are only rumours) circulating that Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes could be axed.

Vote Grordbort - Vote Often!

If you enjoyed last weekend's Saturday Morning Matinee - the steampunky Dr Grordbort Presents: The Deadliest Game - then help the filmmakers' dreams come true by voting for them in Youtube's Your Film Festival.

As one of the 50 semi-finalists announced earlier this month, Dr Grordbort Presents: The Deadliest Game is in with a chance, if it nets enough votes, of being one of the 10 films chosen for the Venice Film Festival and in the running for the grand prize of $500,000.

Voting closes on July 13, but you can vote for your favourite once a day until then.

Your Film Festival has been organised by YouTube and Emirates, in partnership with La Biennale di Venezia (the Venice Film Festival) and Scott Free (Ridley & Tony Scott's production company).

Hulk Smash...

A short clip from an upcoming episode (in the States anyway) of the excellent Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes cartoon.

I hope the rumours of the show's cancellation after this second season aren't true as this is a great piece of animation that manages to work for viewers both young and old.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

A Pirate's Life For Me...

"Step inside The Seven Ayes Tavern, where your next adventure awaits, but tread with care, my friend, as danger lurks within and death could be just a moment away..."
After my disastrous experience with my first Tunnels & Trolls solo adventure in three decades, I thought I'd try something a bit different next.

The Tavern By The Sea, from Tavernsmaster Games, is designed to allow you to create your character within the adventure itself - so it must be suitable for starting characters, right?

And you know you what - it was certainly more entertaining, even if not that much longer an experience. I was Growler, the disgraced Uruk, come to the infamous Seven Ayes tavern in Frargg to seek a career on the high seas.

And, in a sense, he did.

Not the sharpest tool in the box, he got slipped a mickey finn and ended up shanghaied as an oarsman for Grogbeard the pirate. Every six months of game time I can make a third level saving roll versus Luck for Growler and if he makes it he has escaped captivity - during a shipwreck - and earns himself 1,000 AP.

As it is he still netted 39 AP from a couple of successful Luck saving throws (thank the Trollgod for the DARO - doubles add and rolls over - rule).

I wonder if my "Seaman +5" Talent could come into play here? I did think I was being quite canny after all choosing a nautical-themed talent for him...

Gaming essentials...

Second time around I did even better...

This time I was H'Rumph, a dwarf miner from the Alzak caverns. He managed to get himself in a crooked dice game, which degenerated into an epic 30-minute barroom brawl that ended with H'Rumph as the only person standing.

Naturally, he looted the bodies of his fellow drinkers and while he didn't find much money he did come away with a magic eyepatch (must be worn during the day, then if removed at night it grants catseyes-spell nightvision).

All this earned him 602 AP (now mostly spent)... and I finally have a character to carry on to a second adventure! If I can just keep him alive for six (game) months, he might be able to team up with Growler. Although I'm not optimistic of the Uruk's chances of escape.

A very satisfactory afternoon of adventuring.

Where Do You Fit?

An alignment chart for players and gamesmasters of all stripes - from Doug at Blue Boxer Rebellion. I like to think I'm a "reasonable-gamer", but I'm sure others might think otherwise.

Where Do Things Stand, Game-Wise?

It's been a while since the last Tuesday Knights meet-up and the next is still in the air because it's Summer holiday season, so I've had a lot of time to overthink what game I'd like to take a crack at running after the latest stint of Pete's Top Secret SI wraps.

I've narrowed it down to five possibilities at present:

(a) KNIGHT CITY - a low-power, street-level supers game (set in Knight City, of course), inspired primarily by Alphas, but also Misfits and Heroes, with an early X-Men vibe to it. Basically a collection of 'mutants' ( e.g. 'ordinary' people with a single power) working for the government, or an organisation, tracking down other gifted people and thwarting superpowered crime.

I haven't decided on a system yet for this, as Icons isn't really geared for this kind of play and Mutants & Masterminds is simply too fiddly for my tastes (I don't want lists and lists of skills and feats to keep track of). I think I'd probably go for a modern era but non-supers system and just houserule the powers element, if the chosen system didn't already some equivalent.

(b) SPACE: 1889 - Who doesn't like Victorian steampunk, right? I think if I went this route it would be with  the Ubiquity system, as I mentioned the other day, using a combo of Leagues Of Adventure and the German Space: 1889 rules.

(c) TUNNELS & TROLLS - A gonzo, full-on, Arduin-inspired, treasure-hunting, monster-slaying dose of madness. As simple as that.

I think part of my problem with previous attempts at running fantasy games was the sheer amount of barriers and walls I threw up, in an attempt to emulate a particular style of play (e.g. gritty swords and sorcery).

This way I'd let the style and tone of the campaign shape itself through play.

(d) MONSTER HUNTERS - For ages I've been kicking around the idea of a modern-day game of monster hunters using the Margaret Weis Productions Supernatural game (which, for me, is their best use of the Cortex System).

Perhaps it's time to put my money where my mouth is, man up and try something a little different. This would certainly be unlike any campaign we've played to date.

(e) CTHULHU IN SPACE - Cthonian Stars is a near-future sci-fi setting, operating under the Mongoose iteration of Traveller rules, but with a dark, Lovecraftian twist. Currently only available in PDF, I'm waiting for the print edition to become available.

My main concern with this setting - which also part of its appeal (as with most Lovecraftian RPGs) - is the potential fragility of the player-characters as an obstacle to long-term play.

I'm excited about all these settings, but ultimately want to settle on one that I'd be happy running for the foreseeable future (Gamer ADHD willing!)

Help A Brother Out...

A sampling of my sales...
At the moment I have some things up on eBay I hope you'll have a look at. I'll admit I feel slightly dirty hyping my own eBay sales here, but funds are a bit strapped at HeroPress Towers

I'm currently auctioning off a selection of my books and roleplaying games - with more probably to be listed soon. Please take a moment and see if there is anything there that takes your fancy.

And consider flagging me as a "favourite seller" so you'll be among the first to know when the inevitable next wave of auctions goes live.

Several of the current items have quite a few "watchers", but no one has yet broken the seal and started the bidding...

While my auctions are aimed primarily at UK buyers if a HeroPress reader from foreign shores is interested in any particular auction do let me know - via eBay - and I'll see what we can do about opening that auction up to bidders from outside the UK. Be warned though posting abroad isn't cheap - we're probably looking at double the cost of UK postage.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

More Bat...

Think after I've done a few chores I'm going to watch The Dark Knight this afternoon.

DVD Of The Week: The Woman In Black (2012)

The ever-reliable Jane Goldman's script for The Woman In Black doesn't set out to reinvent the wheel or break any moulds.

It's a solid piece of atmospheric work that delivers just what you'd expect from a classic Edwardian ghost story: a couple of jumps, spooky faces at windows, fleeting shadows, runaway rocking chairs, creepy clockwork dolls and a suitably cheery ending - in the other words, the whole works.

Daniel Radcliffe is lawyer Daniel Kipps, a harassed young widower, dispatched to a remote Northern coastal village by his London firm to sort the affairs of the recently deceased owner of Eel Marsh House, an isolated mansion that is often cut off from the mainland by the tide.

Arriving at the village, Kipps is made to feel very unwelcome - except by local landowner Sam (Ciaran Hinds) - and upon visiting the house he discovers it is not only run-down but the scene of a dreadful tragedy.

The village appears to be under a curse that is claiming the lives of its children and it is connected with Eel Marsh House and Kipps finds himself in a race against time to solve the mystery before his seven-year-old son, Joseph (Misha Handley) and nanny (Jessica Raine) come to visit.

A tale of the vengeful ghost of a woman scorned, The Woman In Black oozes atmosphere and is wonderfully filmed, with great performances from all concerned - just don't expect anything original.

Daniel Radcliffe has certainly shaken off his Harry Potter roots, but if I had a real problem with The Woman In Black it's that Radcliffe still looks so young - too young to have a family - and small (he is dwarfed by Sam's wife - the potty Mrs Fisher (Mary Stockley) - for instance).

This is a quality Hammer horror that doesn't resort of cheap shock tactics but instead builds feeling of dread and foreboding that aims to subtly unnerve its audience, rather than brutally terrorise them.

However, don't get carried away by the promotional blurb that calls it "an intense and nerve shattering experience" or bandies around such phrases as "don't watch it alone" - remember The Woman In Black is only a 12 certificate, which means it's okay for most children to watch.

With that in mind though, there are worse ways to spend an hour-and-a-half in front of the telvision.

Wonder Woman Wednesday...

Submitted by Al Bruno III (whose daughter thinks I played Luke in The Sarah Jane Adventures... that was actually Tommy Knight, but I'll take that anyway!)

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Da-Na-Nana-Da-Na-Nana, Batman!

And if you're a fan of the Batman comics then check out Grace Randolph's latest Bat-centric episode of Stacktastic!

Short And Not Particularly Sweet...

Well, Gunther's adventuring career lasted about 20 minutes!

Three (or maybe four) paragraphs into Strange Destinies - having barely set foot in the subterranean Fungal Forest - he was attacked by a random pair of giant vampire moths (MR 77 each) and torn to shreds in the first combat round.

A combined attack value of 16d6 + 77 against my measly 3d6 + 29. Even though Gunther got in a couple of 'spite' points on the moths (and they did on him, it has to be said), it was really all over before he could even blink.

I toyed, briefly, with the idea of trying to tackle them one at a time - but Gunther would have needed to make a L2-SR against his Speed of 12 (ie score 25+ on 2d6 plus 12) each round.


That kinda sucks, you know...

It wouldn't have been quite so bad if it had happened later on in the adventure, after he'd managed to explore a bit and I felt he had achieved something, but for a first encounter (in 25 years) it was a bucket of cold water in the face.

Maybe I'm just not cut out for gaming!

Or maybe, I'll just try a different solo module with a new character next time.

This Arrived Today...

Leagues Of Adventure, published by Triple Ace Games, is a new Ubiquity-driven RPG of late Victorian steampunky adventure and could be the perfect bridge to the (hopefully) forthcoming translation of the German iteration of Space: 1889 (same period, same ethos, just add aetherships and alien planets).

I could easily envisage an Earth-based game - run using Leagues Of Adventure - that eventually heads out into pur solar system once Space: 1889 arrives.

To be honest, it probably wouldn't be that difficult to simply bolt Frank Chadwick's Space:1889 background straight onto Leagues Of Adventure.

German publisher Uhrwerk Verlag already has a freely downloadable (German-language) quickstart module for their version of Space: 1889 so a bit of common sense and patience should be able to translate enough to get an idea of how they are scaling things there.

Bat Versus Spider...

The first TV spot for The Dark Knight Rises against a police chase scene from The Amazing Spider-Man.

It's really too close to call, although I think I'm generally more jazzed about Spider-Man... even though back in the world of comics I've bloomed into a total Batmaniac thanks to the incredible writing of Scott Snyder on the main Bat-titles. He's producing some of the strongest Bat stories since I don't know when.

And here's the guy who created Spider-Man - ie Stan Lee - chatting with the aptly-named Marc Webb, director of The Amazing Spider-Man.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Enter Gunther Goldbeard...

Well, I'm on the hook now... I've rolled up my first Tunnels & Trolls character in about 25 years - and he's ready to face Strange Destinies, the solo dungeon that came with the 7.5 Edition box set.

That adventure is targeted at tough, low-level fighters (not higher than third level). I did well on some of my dice rolls - benefiting from the exploding Triples Add And Roll Over, resulting in one score of a natural 29 (treble three, followed by treble three and an 11).

At first I was going to put this in either Strength or Constitution - as those statistics are doubled for dwarves - but I realised that would make him too a level for the adventure. Instead I put in Luck, which is act6ually multiplied by 0.67 for dwarves - so he still ended up with a good luck score (useful for those random saving rolls) as well as decent Strength (doubled 15) and Constitution (doubled 13).

His other statistics were quite mediocre, but his Combat Adds came out at an impressive +26 anyway.

As a Talent he took Thievery and rolled a six for his plus. He's a burglar.

Unfortunately, he only got 80gp starting money - so had to settle for a quilted silk suit to pass as armour (absorbing six points of damage) and a five foot crowbar as his only weapon... with his 30 Strength he's definitely a door opener! Four foot five and 500 pounds of muscle!

That's all for tonight (it's Grimm in a few minutes, then I'll probably call it a night, as I didn't get any sleep last night). I aim to start Gunther's adventuring career tomorrow and will report back if there is anything worth recounting. Hopefully he won't die within a couple of paragraphs...

A Tunnels & Trolls Question Or Two...

To help scratch my gaming itch between Tuesday Knights' meetings I've turned to that staple of my teenage years - Tunnels & Trolls, renowned for its solo gaming capability.

T&T is almost a forgotten part of my gaming backstory as I never played it as a tabletop/face-to-face game, but instead just ran the gauntlet of numerous solo adventures and filled pages and pages of A4 with hand-scrawled house rules, modifications and adaptations of other settings - which never got used and were eventually junked..

While I now have the most up-to-date version of the rules (edition 7.5) - purchased a couple of years ago for this very reason, but not acted upon until now - the bulk of my solo adventures are for 5th edition or earlier.

So, my question to those knowledgeable trolls out there is: how much should I boost the Monster Rating of the monsters in the adventures to make them "fairer" (several early adventures advise boosting MR by 10 to bring in line with 5th Edition, for instance)?

Also, am I doing the right thing returning with 7th edition, or should I stick with my battered old copy of 5th edition?

If T&T turns out to be as much fun as I remember it was in my youth (I can't wait to return to the City Of Terrors!), I'm also thinking of it as a possible engine for my next attempt at gamesmastering...

Musical Monday: Gamer Girl, Country Boy - Felicia Day & Jason Charles Miller

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Osprey Tackles Nazi Occult And Dragonslayers...

Following the success of their non-traditional zombie-themed book, military history publishers Osprey is releasing a similar "Dark Osprey" title next year: Nazi Occult, by well-known RPG author and Lovecraftian luminary Ken Hite.

The Nazi Occult is due out in June 2013 and Osprey's website has this to say about it:
In the dark dungeons beneath Nazi Germany, teams of occult experts delved into ancient and forbidden lore, searching for lost secrets of power. Ordered by Hitler to discover new weapons that could be unleashed on his enemies, the occultists experimented with dark magics, mystical artifacts, and creatures thought only to exist in nightmare.
This book tells the complete history of the Nazi occult programs, from their foundations in Hitler’s early esoteric studies and the quests for the Ark of the Covenant, the Spear of Destiny, and the Holy Grail, through their experiments with lycanthropes and zero-point energy.
It also includes sections on the shadow war fought in the dying days of the Reich as the Nazis sought to stave off defeat through pacts with diabolic entities, attempts to preserve the Fuhrer’s brain, and the deployment of the strange flying saucers that battled to save the final Nazi stronghold in the Antaractic.
For years, the Allied governments worked to keep this information from reaching the public, and sought to discredit those few who dared to seek the truth. Now, using a combination of photography and artwork reconstructions, the true story of the most secret battles of World War II can finally be told.
This is part of a new direction for Osprey as it is branching out, with its new Osprey Adventures imprint, into topics where fact and fiction blur.

Its new Myths and Legends series examines great stories that have echoed down through time and have helped to shape our cultures.

Each title focuses on a specific legendary figure, such as King Arthur, or upon a collection of myths, such as dragonslayers, and presents their stories in a straight forward and entertaining style.

Alongside the narrative will be factual information about the history behind the stories and how those legends developed and changed over time. The books will also include Osprey’s usual high illustrative content, with plenty of photos and artworks, both classic works and newly commissioned plates.

The first half of 2013 will see the release of the first three titles in the series:

  • MYTH 1: Jason and the Argonaunts (March)
  • MYTH 2: Dragonslayers: From Beowulf to Saint George (March)
  • MYTH 3: The War of Horus and Set (May)

Thanks to Nick for pointing these out to me!

Dr Grordbort Presents: The Deadliest Game...

Dr Grordbort Presents: The Deadliest Game from Media Design School on Vimeo.

Ladies & Gentlemen, Here's Johnny...

My posting has still been rather patchy of late - and to be honest I can't seen it returning to my old form any time soon - but HeroPress still managed to pick up a new recruit this week.

Please welcome:

* Brendan Shields (a self-confessed Stephen King addict)

Friday, 15 June 2012

Resident Evil: Retribution...

Can never have enough Milla Jovovich!

Star Wars: Clone Wars - Season Five Trailer...

I'm so behind on The Clone Wars, got Season Three for a Christmas present and haven't even opened them yet and caught a few episodes of Season Four on Cartoon Network but found them very dull (all about Gungans and droids... snooze!).

Season Five does look interesting though, so I guess I need to catch up...

Thursday, 14 June 2012

100 Films In 15 Years...

And The Asylum is just getting started...

And here's the trailer for their latest movie Alien Origin:

That Shrinking Feeling...

My latest batch of figures arrived the other day,back from my painter-of-choice, Neil Wilson. Those in the know will immediately recognise that they are all Crooked Dice figures - namely astronauts and scientists on the top rows and "characters" on the bottom.

The character figures are "stand-ins" for River Song and Rory Williams (from Doctor Who) and Travis and Servalan (from Blake's 7, who will go nicely with my previous batch of Federation troopers).

Going forward, I think I have one more package of 28mm figures to send to Neil and then I'm probably switching to 15mm.

The cost savings are incredible and, while the sculpt details are never going to be as good as 28mm there are an increasing amount of varied 15mm figures coming onto the market.

It's no longer a scale simply for massed armies, but thanks to companies like Blue Moon and Highlander Studios it's becoming a scale with a good variety of roleplaying figures as well.

Blue Moon, in particular, has a fast expanding "horror" range, with some great characters and detailed vignettes, that even purchased as part of a bundle are still very affordable (check out Dr Frankenstein's Lab below - that's just £8 for everything shown).

Dr Frankenstein's Lab, from Blue Moon, in 15mm

Meanwhile, Blue Moon's Jack The Ripper pack (shown below) is only £10 for 18 figures... and includes a Sherlock Holmes!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Django Unchained - Official International Trailer...

To find out more about Quentin Tarantino's forthcoming Western, Django Unchained, visit the official website.

Opens in the UK on January 18, 2013.

Join The Space: 1889 Revival...

Not that it ever really went away, but the greatest roleplaying setting - that of Frank Chadwick's Space: 1889 - is coming back, in a big way.

Of course, last year Pinnacle came out with its one-off Savage Worlds iteration - Red Sands - but now German publisher Uhrwerk Verlag is bringing out a version of the game driven by the Ubiquity System (the engine behind Hollow Earth Expedition, All For One etc).

As long as the German-language version of the book does well, an English version should (fingers-crossed) follow shortly and Uhrwerk Verlag is already working on a supplement covering Venus.

In the meantime, the recently married Rod Campbell of Highlander Studios is producing a growing line of highly detailed, official 15mm Space: 1889 miniatures.

There are already, of course, plenty of 15mm Colonial era miniatures out there to represent the armies of various Earth nations - and 15mm turns out to be a very affordable scale for acquiring reasonably large armies quite quickly and cheaply!

Away from gaming, Untreed Reads has published six new Space: 1889 ebooks this year (which will, hopefully, eventually be transformed into real books for us non-tablet Luddites)  and Space: 1889 creator Frank Chadwick has signed a deal with Baen Books for a Space: 1889 print novel, The Forever Engine, to be published next year sometime.

It's a great time for both newcomers to the setting and old hands...

Django Unchained - International Teaser Trailer...

Wonder Woman Wednesday...

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Operation: Fastpass - Part One

You have to fear for the security of the world when major anti-terrorism organisation Orion sends a random selection of agents into a situation they are not especially qualified for and without any guidance on what kind of equipment they will need.

Yes, I have finally gotten round to writing up the Tuesday Knights latest role-playing escapades after we returned to Pete's episodic Top Secret SI campaign the other week.

The team was dispatched to Budapest to infiltrate a "puzzle conference", where we were to help a Russian cryptography expert defect to the West.

My cover was as a businessman, while Clare (playing Hermione) was my bodyguard and Kevin (as Bruno) was my driver. Meredith slipped into the conference on her own, posing - basically - as herself.

Rose Thorne - Meredith's character - was, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the only one of us really suited to this assignment, ably employing her particular charming skill set to attach herself to our "mark".

She managed to swipe his room key, pass it off to Hermione, who, in turn, slipped it to Bruno who snuck into our target's suite... and promptly got himself into a fight with a security guard!

Not being a real spy and having no grasp of espionage tactics beyond what I have seen in James Bond movies, I tried to co-ordinate things in a Leverage style (being my closest frame of reference) with Rose as our grifter/thief, myself as mastermind and Hermione and Bruno as hitters.

I'm not 100 per cent convinced that this analogy actually worked in play - and it certainly would have helped if we had had some Leverage-style earbuds so we could all communicate!

To be continued...

Monday, 11 June 2012

Oh, I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside...

Rachel was determined to get me out of the house and I had expressed an interest in going to the seaside (I always find it very calming and relaxing), so we headed out for Yesterday's World in Battle and then on to Hastings' seafront.

Yesterday's World, in Battle, is a museum of 20th Century domestic life, focused primarily around the war years ('30s and '40s). Although contained mainly in a single building, the museum makes use of every nook and cranny, leading visitors up and down twisting staircases to peruse a variety of shop and home vignettes.

A secondary building houses a large exhibition about Queen Victoria and her offspring, as well as a very reasonable tearoom and a street scene with some more up-to-date shops (one being James Bond-orientated and another looking at '60s and '70s pop culture).

After that - and purchasing some fudge in one of Battle's "retro sweet shops", we carried on to Hastings and, despite the rain and drizzle, parked up along the seas front so I could dip my toes in the water.

We had a fine, traditional "fish and chip" meal at The Pike and visited the arcades (where I beat Rachel soundly - 7 to 3 - in an air hockey match) before heading home.

The Obligatory Paddle
Hasting's Burnt-out Pier - Sadly In Need Of Repair!

To see more of my pictures visit my Facebook gallery here.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Ladies & Gentlemen, My Apologies...

A quick note to apologise to the latest new recruit to the HeroPress superteam, who actually signed on last week but I was too distracted to actually write anything up.

So, without further ado, please welcome:

* Ren - of The TRCP Alliance (a Star Trek roleplaying and fan club collective)

The Batman (2022)


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