Reality Is The Playground Of The Unimaginative

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Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Voyage Trekkers: Ahead, Warp Factor Funny!

Voyage Trekkers is a sci-fi comedy about the worst starship crew in the galaxy who happen to be saddled with a geriatric spaceship, the G.S.V. Remarkable.

Lead by the self-centred Captain Sunstrike (Adam Rini), with the exasperated Doctor Rena (Gabrielle Van Buren), and the apathetic Commander Powell (Logan Blackwell), Voyage Trekkers is classic genre comedy, along the lines of Galaxy Quest or Red Dwarf (well, the early series, at least, when it was still funny), with great digital effects and a charismatic cast.

The show has just started its epic, four-part season two finale and show creator Nathan Blackwell told me: "We've been trying like crazy to raise the bar with what people expect from low-budget series... with the costumes, the visual effects, even with the main theme being performed by a real orchestra."

Nathan continued: "We wanted to end Season Two with a huge bang. And the way we felt we could do that was by tell a bigger story, stretching the finale over four episodes, and ending in an epic, life or death battle between starships in a classic sci-fi showdown."

Season Two of Voyage Trekkers is a scripted series of 10 episodes (with new episodes dropping every fortnight).

Just to whet your whistle, here is the Season Two première:

Created by Nathan Blackwell and Craig Michael Curtis, the show is produced by their production company Squishy Studios and Executive Producer Tray Goodman's Goodman Creative Minds Media. The Visual Effects Supervisor is David Stipes whose credits include Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Battlestar Galactica (original series), and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

You can connect with Voyage Trekkers on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blip, Tumblr, and its own dedicated website.There you will find, among the usual character studies, back episodes and stills, the show also has its own podcast, a radio play and even an eBook novella.

This is is some serious full-service fandom going on here and the dedication is clear for all to see in the high calibre of the core product: the Voyage Trekkers show itself.

[SPACE 1889] Miniatures On The Horizon And More Adventures...

A new "add-on" has been unveiled for the Space 1889 Kickstarter, which will be unlocked at £40,000: a set of five 28mm miniatures - The Explorer, The Missionary, The Martian Princess, a Highland Martian and a Hill Martian on Gashant.

The miniatures are being produced by Elemental Miniatures and will be available as a set for £25 (plus postage) during the Kickstarter campaign.

Prior to that is a stretch goal of £37,000, which unlocks a new 32-page adventure: On the Trail of the Gods by Shane Ivey (Arc Dream Entertainment; Delta Green; Wild Talents) and John Clements.

Meanwhile the fundraising has already unlocked the £26,000 stretch goal meaning that every backer of a physical rulebook (all variations) will be sent a free pad of 24 character sheets when the rulebooks are despatched.

Additional packs of blank character sheets will be purchasable as add-ons, while a downloadable PDF of the sheet will be freely available to backers and non-backers alike.

The next stretch goal is £29,000 which unlocks the GM Screen and NPC booklet.

X-Men: Days of Future Past Comic-Con Panel...

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Sun Setting On First Martian Expedition...

Speaking of Martian maps - here's Mars as it is in the new Hollow Earth Expedition: Revelations Of Mars setting.

A pledge of $75 or above secures you an 11" by 17" map with your other rewards, or you can add one for $10.

A canvas map, 16" by 25", is available as a $40 add-on (unless you're pledging at a $250 level or higher, in which case it's already part of your rewards package).

But these are just a couple of shiny trinkets on offer to backers of this Kickstarter, which is closing its funding window very soon (July 31, 7pm UTC).

For full details of what's available, check out the campaign's Kickstarter page before it's too late.

Sláine Goes To A Good Home...

My auction to raise funds for Help For Heroes, the UK military charity which supports the wounded, made £17.65

The auction was for this 70mm resin model kit of popular 2000AD character Sláine Mac Roth.

As well as the unassembled resin kit, the lot included a limited edition (number 18 of 30) print signed by Sláine creator and writer Pat Mills.

One hundred per cent of the sale price goes to the charity and I matchied the sum with a donation of my own.

A massive thank you to everyone who took part and helped support this crucial charity.

Some Nautical Fun For You And Your Shipmates...

Swiped like a pirate from Under The Black Flag on Facebook

[SPACE 1889] Who Doesn't Love A Good Map?

A new add-on has been revealed for the Space 1889 Kickstarter - a three-poster set that includes these two glorious maps of Mars and Venus (the pictures above show the German language versions, but they will, of course, be available in English).

The third poster is entitled Cloudships and Gunboats and pretty much speaks for itself:

These posters will be 59.4cm x 84cm (A1) in size and cost £10, with free postage when sent with any of the core books - if you don't mind them coming folded. If you want the posters rolled and mailed in a tube then postage will be an extra £5.

John Williams On Scoring Star Wars: Episode VII...

Monday, 29 July 2013

Knightmare Is Coming Back (As A One-Off Special)

The great children's game show Knightmare (currently in reruns on Challenge) is returning on August 5 in a one-off special on YouTube as part of its Geek Week celebrations.

Even Treguard (Hugo Myatt) and Lord Fear (Mark Knight) are coming back to guide and tgorment contestants.

For full details of the show's online resurrection and the timetable of YouTube's Geek Week events, check out this article on The Mail Online.

Celebration Europe: It's Like We Were Really There!

Daily summations of events at Star Wars Celebration Europe this past weekend, followed by a couple of short interviews conducted by Warwick Davis with Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and Star Wars Rebels executive producer Dave Filoni:

[GUEST POST] Isn't It About Time You Discovered Aberration?

As part of my current steampunk-driven enthusiasm to whip up support for the Space 1889 Kickstarter, here's a guest post from author S.C. Barrus about his own steampunk novel/scientific romance and its Kickstarter campaign.

“What on earth is he doing?” I asked, curious and horrified at once. “Has he gone mad?”

I peered back through the spyglass and watched only for a moment before I recoiled in horror. Hands hooked like the claws of a raptor, he burrowed them into the flesh of his arms.
In a world where discoveries are the quickest road to fame, fortune and prestige, things quickly go awry for Freddy and Lumpen. A violent army of gangs, mercenaries, scuttlers, scarlets and, worst of all, archaeologists catch wind of the discovery, and are determined to stop at nothing to make it their own.

The Story...

Discovering Aberration is a full-length adventure novel following Freddy Fitzgerald, a well-known Victorian era travel writer. When his friend, archaeologist Thaddeus Lumpen, presents “the discovery of a lifetime”, an ancient map of a long lost civilization, Freddy knows this is the next story he’s been looking for.

Drawing inspiration from classic adventure/sci-fi à la Jules Verne and Robert Louis Stevenson, Discovering Aberration adds thrilling twists, back-stabbing turns, a taught sense of peril, and a dash of steampunk to concoct this adventure.

When Freddy and Lumpen reach a mysterious island, they quickly find that the violent gangs on their tail aren't their greatest danger. Something has warped the island over hundreds of years, and one-by-one it sends each of them into fits of madness.

What makes it stand out from the pack of steampunk novels?

Where most steampunk novels are littered with devices and inventions of all sorts, the world of Discovering Aberration is a world of mounting progress where complex steampunk technology isn’t yet established. Instead, Discovering Aberration uses the steampunk setting as a license to break from reality while maintaining the feel of classic adventure and sci-fi. The overall feeling captures the essence of a dark Jules Verne novel.

Why should you back Discovering Aberration?

Editing is an essential step in preparing a novel for publication. If my unpolished story were a piece of coal, editing would be the pressure that turns it into a diamond. Where editing polishes the meat of the story, design presents it in such a way that a reader feels compelled to read the first page. These two elements are specialized skills, one which even the most talented of writers cannot do on their own. For this reason we are building a team of professionals whose combined skills can create a work of art. And your support will make this possible.

In return, you’ll receive a beautifully designed copy of Discovering Aberration before it's released to the general public, as well as exclusive behind-the-scenes insights into the production process and access to the beta read. In short, you’ll become a very real part of the Discovering Aberration team, directly affecting the future of this novel in a tangible way.

Who is S.C. Barrus?

I’m a writer who’s been working the last two-and-a-half years building the world of this project. I'm passionate about classic adventure literature, especially the works of Verne, Robert Louis Stevenson and Jonathan Swift, which served as major inspiration for Discovering Aberration.

After majoring in creative writing at the University of Washington, I went on to publish short stories and essays in Bricolage Magazine, Manila Envelope, and more, including my self-published short story Midway Between Heaven and Hell.

Literature isn’t my only passion, I love nerdy things like cartoons, video games and Kung Fu movies. In my spare time I love hanging out with my wife and nine-month-old son, and try to squeeze in some hiking, rock climbing, muay thai, and boxing when the rare free moment arises.

Clocking in at just over 220,000 words (roughly 400 pages), Discovering Aberrations is currently seeking adventurers like you to visit our Kickstarter project to pledge your support and fund professional editing and design.

Musical Monday: William Tell Overture/Finale (Lone Ranger Future Cut Mix)

William Tell Overture/Finale (Lone Ranger Future Cut Mix) - arranged and produced by Geoff Zanelli, remixed by Future Cut, for Walt Disney Pictures' Lone Ranger, in UK cinemas August 9. Soundtrack album's available on Walt Disney Records.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Last Few Hours For Charity Auction - Get Your Bids In!

My auction to raise funds for the fantastic charity Help For Heroes, the UK military charity which supports the wounded, is coming to a close at 8pm (GMT) tomorrow (Monday).

I am auctioning this 70mm resin model kit portraying the popular 2000AD character: Sláine Mac Roth.

One hundred per cent of the sale price will go to the charity, so please consider bidding (if you are in the UK) or spreading the word if you think you know someone who might like to own this 70mm resin miniature.

As well as the unassembled resin kit, the auction lot includes a limited edition (number 18 of 30) print signed by Sláine creator and writer Pat Mills.

Time to Choose...

Just smurfin' with y'all...

Slave Leia Sunday...


Excuse Me, Are You The Famous Gray!

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Earth's Mightiest Show: Episode Three - More From Comic-Con...

HEX, Mars And Dice, Dice, Baby!

One of the great things about the Ubiquity system (the rules mechanic behind Hollow Earth Expeditions and the upcoming Space 1889 revival) is that you can use any dice with it, you don't need to invest in any particular funky dice... but if you want to they are there.

One of the rewards/add-ons for the Reveleations Of Mars Kickstarter - which is now drawing to a close - are the specifically-tailored dice (the symbols showing the number of successes rolled) pictured above.

These are only prototypes at the moment, shared by game creator Jeff Combos, but I shall certainly be switching out the free set of dice I get with my pledge for a set of these beauties.

For more insight into the rewards and add-ons available to investors in the Hollow Earth Expedition: Revelations Of Mars Kickstarter visit the campaign page - but don't forget you've only got until July 31 to get onboard.

Level 7 Access with Agent May - Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. coming to ABC Tuesdays at 8:00pm ET beginning September 24.

The Mighty Copper...

Am I The Only One Who Sees This?
Separated At Birth - Copper's Detective Kevin Corcoran and The Mighty Boosh's Noel Fielding?
Fed up of waiting for the BBC to air Copper - BBC America's first original drama, a police show set in 19th Century New York around the infamous Five Points district - I imported Blu-Rays of the first season.

Hooked from the very first episode, I finished the 10-episode season in a matter of days and cannot wait for the second season to now be released (once it's finished airing in the States).

A perfect complement to both Hell On Wheels and Ripper Street, this addictive drama gives us great insight into a world many might have only seen in Martin Scorsese's Gangs Of New York - and is thus powerful inspiration for gamers.

As I was wondering why the BBC has yet to announce when this will début on British TV, I came across an interesting piece of informed supposition on GeekTown which stated:
Copper is a a co-production between BBC America and Canadian companies Cineflix, and Shaw Media. As BBC America is a commercial channel and not funded by the license fee, it's quite possible Copper won't air on the BBC in the UK. It may be sold to a different channel to maximise it's return on investment, as we've seen with DaVinci’s Demons, which is co-produced by BBC Worldwide and Starz, but airing on Fox in the UK.
I guess this explains the show's absence from the BBC, but given the amount of shite pumped out by the many other channels on our TV these days surely someone can find room for a piece of quality entertainment like this?

Can Dungeons & Dragons Make You A Confident & Successful Person?

Sling Some Dice For Gary!

Let's remember Gary on the anniversary of his birth and roll some dice in his honour!

Ladies & Gentlemen, In The Summertime, When The Weather Is Hot...

Another fun week in the sun here at HeroPress Towers - although we did have an impressive storm one night -  that has seen me do little except collapse on the sofa, watch TV, keep Barney fed and watered and follow the upward trajectory of the Space: 1889 Kickstarter campaign.

I suspect it is my obvious passion for the latter that has attracted the latest signing for our big adventure.

Please join me in a suitably music hall rendition of Down At The Old Bull & Bush to welcome:

Friday, 26 July 2013

Fleamarket Friday: I Sense A Disturbance In The Force...

The fifth - and final - season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars comes to Blu-Ray and DVD in October.

Thankfully the show went out of a high note with its powerful final story arc about Ahsoka Tano - just a shame such a large wodge of episodes were wasted earlier in the season on the ridiculous droid-centric episodes.

And talking of Ahsoka, here's her 'voice', Ashley Eckstein, showcasing some amazing Star Wars fan groups from around the world, including the 501st, the Rebel Legion, and more...

Fleamarket Friday: Sailing On To Venus...

Cover art for the Venus sourcebook

Still with the better part of a month to go, the Space 1889 Kickstarter has sailed past its latest stretch goal (unlocking an all-new 32-page adventure called Thunders of Venus, penned by Steve Long) and spurred the announcement of a new incentive - a sourcebook on Venus.

The Venus sourcebook will become available if the campaign reaches £34,000 (approximately $52,377).

It will be roughly 190 pages and not only feature expanded information about the history, geography, flora and fauna of Venus but also take a close look at the human settlements of the German, British, Italian and Russian colonists as well as the native population of lizardmen (and dinosaurs).

The book will also reveal the ancient secrets that lie within the planet's impenetrable jungles and dangerous swamps; information about exploring and conquering the wilderness of Venus; and new rules, new archetypes, and hints for gamemasters to run extended campaigns on the greenhouse of our solar system.

Every pledger for the Digital Rulebook Plus and the Rulebook Plus onwards will receive a pdf of this sourcebook for free as soon as it is available.

A black & white, softcover, print edition add-on of the Venus sourcebook will also unlock at £34,000.

Fans of the Savage Worlds iteration of Space 1889 will be delighted to learn that the two adventures already unlocked as stretch goals - The Order of the Invisible Eye by John Wick and Thunders of Venus by Steve Long - will also be available as Savage Worlds editions to tie them in with Red Sands.

Check out the Space 1889 Kickstarter page for more information on all these deals (in the updates) as well as what other rewards are available to backers of this fantastic project.

Fleamarket Friday: Revelations Kickstarter Is Entering The End Times...

There's only a few days left on the Hollow Earth Expedition: Revelations Of Mars Kickstarter.

Having hit its most recent stretch goal the first Perils Of Mars adventure PDF will be now available to backers for free.

However, as HEX creator Jeff Combos points out, that's not the only free item backers will be getting:
"In addition to the listed rewards, every backer that pledges $10 or more is going to get free PDFs of the Mars terrain set, the GM screen adventure... And if you also back Space: 1889, you'll get a PDF with another two adventures"
The campaign, which closes its investment window on July 31, needs to reach $40,000 to hit its next stretch goal - which unlocks a second Perils Of Mars adventure.

Jeff also points out that:
"We've added more exclusive Martian Princess miniatures and Collector's sets to the rewards. Neither are likely to be available outside of this Kickstarter, so if you or someone you know might want one, now is a good time to nudge them because there isn't much time left."
Exclusive Martian Princess miniature - only available to Kickstarter backers

Fleamarket Friday: Lamentations Of The Wallet...

The release of any new print material from James Raggi's Lamentations Of The Flame Princess is always a cause for excitement - and controversy - around the OSR niche of da Interwebz, but this week has the release of six new books!

They are:
  • Better Than Any Man - LotFP's Free RPG Day 2013 release, now available for all of us who missed out the first time round.
  • Tales of the Scarecrow - this has been available as a PDF for a while, but is now out in print. Another twisted experiment in turning your game on its head: A house in the center of a cornfield contains horror, magic, and complications for any unwise enough to investigate. It's not so much an adventure as a hostage situation. 
  • LotFP Rules & Magic hardcover book - This book is a revision of the Rules & Magic book originally found in the LotFP: Weird Fantasy Role-Playing boxed set. It contains all the rules needed to play the gameand is the first part of a two-book set. The Referee Core Book: Procedures and Inspirations contains information and guidance about constructing and running campaigns and adventures and will be out later this year.
  • The Seclusium of Orphone of the Three Visions (by D. Vincent Baker) - This book provides rules, guidelines, tables, and suggestions for creating wizards’ seclusia for your own campaigns, and features three sample seclusia in various stages of completion, including the Seclusium of Orphone of the Three Visions.
  • Qelong (by Kenneth Hite) - This is is Kenneth Hite’s hellish southeast Asian setting inspired by fantasy quest drama and war stories like Valhalla Rising, Apocalypse Now, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
  • F**k For Satan (by James Edward Raggi IV) - Animals and children have gone missing from the village of Schwarzton. Locals suspect that an old Satanic coven has re-established itself! Can your intrepid heroes survive dread dungeons and bizarre monsters and save the day? 
All are available now from the Lamentations Of The Flame Princess online store.

The Tale Of The 47 Ronin... Now With Added Monsters!

Keanu Reeves returns to action-adventure in 47 Ronin, which appears to be historical events filtered through a 300 lens.
After a treacherous warlord kills their master and banishes their kind, 47 leaderless samurai vow to seek vengeance and restore honor to their people. Driven from their homes and dispersed across the land, this band of Ronin must seek the help of Kai (Reeves) - a half-breed they once rejected - as they fight their way across a savage world of mythic beasts, shape-shifting witches and wondrous terrors.

47 Ronin is directed by Carl Rinsch (The Gift).

I'm liking what I see so far!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Supernatural: Hunteri Heroici

Ably demonstrating the versatility of the show, Supernatural switches gears again with Hunteri Heroici - a surreal blend of Loony Tunes and Grand Guignol.

Cas doesn't want to return to Heaven - because of what he did there when under the control of the Leviathans - but wants to continue helping people, so tells the Winchesters he is going to become a hunter, with them, and he's already found their first case.

The trio begin to investigate a series of bizarre incidents that have ended with gruesome deaths - but through a cartoon reality: a guy's heart jumps out of his chest when he meets his girlfriend, a man walks off a roof and hangs in the air until he realises what's happening then he plummets, a security guard is squashed under a falling anvil etc

A bit of legwork reveals a connection between the incidents and an old folks' home, where Sam and Dean discover an old friend of their dad's, a psychokinetic called Fred Jones (a wonderful performance by M.A.S.H.'s Mike Farrell).

Fred is virtually catatonic, spending all his time in front of the TV watching old cartoons, unaware of what his out-of-control powers are doing. And little realising that someone is taking advantage of the reality altering sphere that surrounds him.

The "message" of this episode was all about "running away" and managed to embrace Sam's sub-plot of his time with Amelia as well as Castiel and Fred's situations.

Sam's flashback in Hunteri Heroici to meeting Amelia's father Stan Thompson (Brian Markinson) for the first time was not only the strongest of the flashbacks to date - and, to be honest, the most interesting - but perfectly encapsulated that "meeting your partner's folks for the first time" awkwardness... but with the usual Supernatural spin, of course.

Stan is an old soldier and he immediately sees "something" in Sam that contradicts what his daughter has told him about Sam not having served in the military. He can tell that Sam has "seen things".

Next Time:

Supernatural: A Little Slice Of Kevin

In contrast to recent episodes, A Little Slice Of Kevin was all about the main season arc. So much so, in fact, that it largely felt like an episode of getting all its ducks in a row. Which, in the world of Supernatural, is not necessarily a bad thing.

Seemingly unconnected people are disappearing around the globe at the same time as freakish natural disasters are hitting - and Sam and Dean are on the case, but getting nowhere. Until Castiel mysteriously reappears in their life, claiming to have no recollection of how he escaped Purgatory.

Meanwhile Kevin and his mum have hired a witch Delta Mendota (Cyrina Fiallo) to help them assemble "demon bombs" so they can take the fight to Crowley and his minions. Unfortunately, it turns out that a witch who can be hired off Craigslist isn't necessarily that trustworthy.

As all this is unfolding, Crowley is interrogating the abductees to see if any of them can help him translate the Word Of God tablet he has in his possession. It is Cas who explains to the Winchesters what Crowley's interest is in these people, and their connection to Kevin The Prophet.

Then right at the end of the episode we get a leftfield cameo from "angel" (?) Naomi (Stargate's Amanda Tapping) with some subliminal instructions for Castiel.

A particularly violent and bloody episode, A Slice Of Kevin has certainly got the season's main story arc going, with Crowley reacting to what Kevin told him of the tablet, the introduction of Naomi, the mystery of Castiel's escape from Purgatory etc

Next Time:

Agent Carter Kicks Ass...

Here's a short clip from the next Marvel One-Shot, Agent Carter - available exclusively with the Iron Man 3 Blu-ray and digital download.

Hayley Atwell returns as Peggy Carter in this short, set a year after the events in Captain America: The First Avenger, and she's hot on the trail of the mysterious Zodiac.

[SPACE 1889] To Rip Or Not To Rip...

So you're getting your Space 1889 campaign ready and you're starting the action at the heart of the British Empire - Victorian London.

And you're immediately confronted by a spectre of history that, the chances are, your players should  want to address: the mystery of Jack The Ripper.

The last confirmed Ripper killing, Mary Jane Kelly, took place in October 1888, which makes Jack prime fodder for a game that has 1889 in its title.

But isn't Jack The Ripper a bit of a cliché these days? Doesn't every TV show, movie and game setting that can shoehorn him in do just that?

Sure they do. But so what? As long as you haven't already addressed the case of Jack The Ripper (with your current group of players at your table) before what's stopping you putting your own spin on the world's most famous unsolved murder mystery for your campaign?

Don't your players want their characters to become part of the Ripper canon in your universe?

However, I would advocate making the killer (should he actually ever be unmasked) fitting for the verisimilitude of your campaign.

For a mystery so big, the solution must be equally big and memorable - especially as this will be your group's one chance to face down The Ripper.

For Space 1889, Jack could be a rogue Martian prince who is "down on (human) whores" or even a previously undiscovered alien creature or some kind of space virus. Look at how "he" was handled in Robert Bloch's brilliant Star Trek episode from 1967: A Wolf In The Fold.

I'm sure you can come up with something original for your campaign.

Surely, every player (and player-character) in a pseudo-historical Victorian roleplaying game, in particular, deserves a chance to bring Jack The Ripper to justice?

It's too good a plot to leave untwisted just because "everyone else has done it".

Earth's Mightiest Show Episode Two: Comic-Con Special

Wednesday, 24 July 2013


Sharknado makes landfall in the UK at 9pm on August 7 - on the SyFy Channel.

DVD Of The Week: Jack The Giant Slayer (2013)

The first thing we need to get out of the way is the fact that Bryan Singer's Jack The Giant Slayer is NOT a reworking of the '60s fantasy classic Jack The Giant Killer but, instead, a retelling of the well-known fairy tale of Jack And The Beanstalk.

Singer's story - with a screenplay by Darren Lemke, Christopher McQuarrie and Dan Studney - does a fantastic job of sidestepping cliché while still paying homage to fairy tale tropes.

After a marvellous pre-credit bit of worldbuilding, that establishes the mythology of the giants and their relationship with the land of Cloister, our likeable hero Jack (Nicholas Hoult) accidentally exposes a magical bean to rain water - creating a beanstalk up to the kingdom of the giants, Gantua, above the clouds.

He joins an expedition - led by the captain of King's Guardians, Elmont (Ewan McGregor, doing some fine 'stiff upper lip' acting) and Crawe (Eddie Marsan as the grizzled and worldly sergeant major type) - to rescue the errant princess Isabelle (the absolutely gorgeous Eleanor Tomlinson, currently to be seen on TV as Isabel Neville in The White Queen), who has managed to get herself trapped at the top of the beanstalk.

Their adventuring party (the whole film has a very Dungeons & Dragons quality about it) includes the treacherous Roderick (Stanley Tucci) - fiancé of the reluctant princess - and his sneaky manservant Wicke (Ewen Bremner) who have their own reasons for wanting to get to Gantua.

Under the masterful guidance of Bryan Singer, Jack The Giant Slayer rattles along with great pace that you don't notice its almost two hour duration as the story is continually switching up a gear.

Although, in parts, the movie is also obviously quite CG heavy this never distracts from the human story as the characters are so well-rounded and the whole world believable that the viewer is just swept up in events.

Jack The Giant Slayer might be a bit long - and possibly scary - for some children but adults, especially gamers and those who enjoy shows like Once Upon A Time, will love the non-stop action and adventure.

The Best of Star Wars Celebration Europe...

Legendary Star Wars collector Steve Sansweet looks back at some of Star Wars Celebration Europe's greatest moments ahead of the next convention, this weekend in Germany.

[PODCAST] Space 1889 Goes BAMF!

The current episode of the BAMF! podcast (formerly known as the Vigilance podcast) is half-hour interview with Angus Abranson, of Chronicle City, and Patric Goetz, of Clockwork Publishing, about the Space 1889 Kickstarter.

The episode covers the Kickstarter (including its ties with Exile Game Studio's Revelations Of Mars Kickstarter), stretch goals and incentives, the game's Victorian scientific romance background, the artwork of Space 1889, changes to the setting compared to its original iteration, release dates etc

Hints are also dropped about upcoming German supplements (e.g. the Venus book, more adventures etc) that Angus hopes to get translated and released to the English-speaking market.

There's even a tasty tease of some possible miniatures coming out in the future!
A collection of eight short adventures, currently only available in German

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

The Art Of Space 1889...

The latest update for the Space 1889 Kickstarter profiles some of the incredible artwork lined up for the project:

Most of the black & white interior artwork in the German edition of the rulebook
was by Finnish artist Juha Makkonen
Canadian Eric Lofgren has also worked on a number of pieces
German artist Mia Steingraeber has contributed the colour artwork for the archetypes in the main rulebook.
This particular piece of hers is from
the forthcoming German sourcebook for Venus
Don't forget to check out the Kickstarter campaign's main page to see how you can help make the many attractive facets of this fascinating game setting a reality - and your incentives for investing!

Just When You Thought Things Couldn't Get Any Worse!

Filmed concurrently with Gor,Outlaw Of Gor is a half-baked sequel with a turgid plot and apathetic acting that makes the original look almost Oscar-worthy in comparison.

It's about 30 years since I read John Norman's Outlaw Of Gor but I'm pretty sure this limp movie bares very little resemblance to its supposed source material.

Set three years after the events of Gor (we learn this from the VHS cassette box, not the film itself) and Tarl Cabot (Urbano Barberini) is summoned back to Counter-Earth, but this time his slimy colleague from the university, the lecherous Watney Smith (Russel Savadier), accidentally tags along... and has no problem adjusting to the fact that the pair of them have suddenly arrived on an alien planet.

Before that though, for anyone perverse enough to want to watch Outlaw Of Gor without first having seen Gor, Tarl has a very convenient flashback précising the events of the first movie - but without mentioning Oliver Reed's rather central character (obviously they didn't want to have to pay him again).

Our less-than-dynamic duo make their way to Ko-Ro-Ba (which is noticeably different to what we saw in the first film), where Tarl is reunited with his love Talena (Rebecca Ferrati), her father Marlenus (Larry Taylor), the village elder - who treats him like an old friend, but I'm pretty sure we've never met before (Alex Heyns), and the sinister Priest-King Xenos (a bewildered Jack Palance, who is still not an instectoid alien).

Cabot's arrival at Ko-Ro-Ba prompts a truly hilarious sequence where random people just shout "Cabot" (one of the many bizarre moments in Outlaw Of Gor ridiculed by MST3K). The strange thing about this is until they arrived on Gor, I was convinced Watney had been calling his friend "Kevin", not "Cabot".

However, things are not all hunky-dory in Ko-Ro-Ba. Turns out Marlenus has hooked up with duplicitous Queen Lara (Donna Denton), who is secretly in league with Xenos in a bid for ultimate power (over a single village - not exactly epic ambitions).

Lara promptly seduces Watney ("Tell me, how do they make love on your planet?"), kills Marlenus and frames Tarl.

However, as if one Jar Jar Binks in his life wasn't enough, Tarl is also reunited with the midget Hup (Nigel Chipps), who is even more pointless in this movie than he was in the original.

Tarl and Hup go on the run in the desert - little realising that Lara has sent Ost The Hunter (Tullio Moneta), a monosyllabic bounty hunter, after them with the express orders that Cabot be brought back alive.

Ultimately this fuels a rift between Xenos and Lara (Xenos accuses her of acting like a "bitch in heat") and eventually culminates in one of the most embarrassingly degrading death scenes for a Hollywood legend in the history of B-movie cinema.

Where the plot of Gor at least moved forward, in Outlaw Of Gor it just goes round and round.

If it wasn't for the awful lines and risible fight scenes, this film could almost be called tedious.

But thankfully, it has some wonderfully WTF moments that make bad cinema so great.

A particular highlight here is the character of a nameless slave girl that Tarl and Hup rescue from slavers in the desert (a sequence in itself so laughable as to be a classic - just watch the slavers reaction at the end when they are standing around as their camp burns down around them).

From the moment she first appears among a crowd of slaves the camera picks her out as "someone important". She is then rescued and, in true Gor style, offers to "pleasure" Tarl as a reward. He refuses, because of his love of Talena. Then they are all captured - rather easily - by Ost, who takes them back to Ko-Ra-Ba, where the slave girl gets chained up in the mines... and promptly forgotten about. Never to be mentioned, or seen, again!

All this sets up the climactic fight sequence, which is another masterclass in "what the frakkery" as Ost changes his allegiance for no readily explained reason and tips the scales in Tarl's favour.

As you may have guessed, Outlaw Of Gor isn't particularly well-written. Not only is it full of clunky dialogue (much of which clashes with the themes of John Norman's books), but many things happen without explanation.

The character of Xenos is totally wasted, as all his Machiavellian machinations are just echoes of the more successful Queen Lara's schemes, and the nameless slave girl - who you are led to believe is crucial to something or other - is simply filling a narrative role that Talena could have taken.

I'm also not sure why this merits an 18 certificate, while the original was only a 15. Once again there's no nudity or cussing and the fights are comparatively tame (Tarl has a knack for killing floored opponents by stabbing the ground beside them). I can only imagine it's possibly because of the reasonably protracted torture scene of Tarl being whipped for Lara's pleasure.

The cassette box claims that "Tarl embarks on a series of wild adventures battling the strange and magical creatures who live in this forbidding universe". Doesn't happen. There are no "strange and magical creatures" to be seen anywhere in Outlaw Of Gor... and even "wild adventures" is stretching things a bit!

[SPACE 1889] First Stretch Goal Hit - Keep Soldiering On!

Front cover of the Space: 1889 Gamemaster's Screen & NPC Booklet
With the Space 1889 Kickstarter hitting its first stretch goal at £18,000, Angus of Chronicle City has revealed the next set of campaign targets:
  • £23,000 - The core rulebook (in all its formats) will now contain colour archetypes, maps, and have some new full colour artwork included in addition to having sepia-ish pages and the original art from the German edition.
  • £26,000 - More new full colour art for the core rulebook PLUS every backer of a physical rulebook (all variations) will be sent a pad of 24 Character Sheets free when we despatch the rulebooks to them. All Retailer pledges will receive one pad per book. Additional pads will be available as purchasable add-ons for backers who will be sent them ahead of the general retail release! This will be added to the 'Add-Ons' section when unlocked. The PDF Character Sheet will be available as a free PDF to all - backers and non-backers alike.
  • £29,000 - Gamemaster Screen & NPC Booklet. This four-panel Space: 1889 Gamemaster’s Screen made of solid cardboard provides you with a clear overview of all the important rules and tables you need during a game session – and at the same time keeps your players group from peeking. Also included is a 32-page booklet featuring descriptions and detailed statboxes of more than 60 Non-Player Characters. Completed by many examples and practical advice, it offers you an easy and comfortable way to fill the world of Space: 1889 with more life. Every pledger for the Digital Rulebook Plus and the Rulebook Plus onwards will recieve a PDF of both the screen and NPC booklet for free as soon as it is available. Physical copies will be available as a purchasable add-on for backers who will be sent them ahead of the general retail release. This will be added to the 'Add-Ons' section when unlocked.
The Gamesmaster Screen and NPC Booklet, in particular, are very appealing and I certainly won't say no to a pad of character sheets (I'm quite old school like that in that I prefer professionally printed character sheets over home-printed PDFs).

Check out the project's Kickstarter page for more information on the various incentives on offer for pledging your support, as well as the stretch goals we're all hoping to hit with your help.

Visit The Steading of the Hill Giant Chief...

Scale model from the classic D&D adventure. Hill giant fortress is made from wood and foamboard, with Photoshopped floor tiles and painted miniatures.

Created over about six weeks by YouTuber Defjeff01 who added: "It not only had to look good, it also had to be game ready to scale (with the 3.5e 5' squares) and be completely collapsible for storage. As you might imagine that base alone is huge even when broken up into two parts."

Monday, 22 July 2013

Kiss My Axe For Charity!

To raise funds for the fantastic charity Help For Heroes, the UK military charity which supports the wounded, I am auctioning this 70mm resin model kit portraying the popular 2000AD character: Sláine Mac Roth.

One hundred per cent of the sale price will go to the charity, so please consider bidding (if you are in the UK) or spreading the word if you think you know someone who might like to own this 70mm resin miniature.

As well as the unassembled resin kit, the auction lot includes a limited edition (number 18 of 30) print signed by Sláine creator and writer Pat Mills.

Thor: Love & Thunder (2022) + Dr Who (2022)


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