Reality Is The Playground Of The Unimaginative

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Friday, 31 January 2014

Knights Offer A Taste Of Baddassitude...

Every trailer I see for Knights Of Badassdom makes me want to see it even more.

I hope it lives up to its potential, although I am aware it has gone through a rocky time trying to escape into the wild and the version we get to see may not be the director's vision.

I guess the proof of the pudding...

Fleamarket Friday: Isn't It Time You Picked Up The Doctor?

Just a friendly reminder to my UK readers, that my current crop of eBay auctions are coming to an end on Sunday and if you are interested in Doctor Who and roleplaying games you might want to check them out.

As well as the hard-to-find Time Traveller's Companion, I'm selling off my entire Doctor Who: Adventures In Time & Space collection, which includes: the two iterations of the core rules box set (10th Doctor and 11th Doctor), The First Doctor Sourcebook, The Second Doctor Sourcebook, the Aliens & Creatures box set and Defending The Earth - The UNIT Sourcebook.

The items currently for sale (these auctions end on Sunday) can be found here.

Again, I want to stress this is not a reflection on the game but (ironically) on my lack of time and space!

Take Up Arms And Man The Walls! It's Ironclad 2: Battle For Blood...

Anyone who has been reading my waffle for a few years will know that one of my all-time favourite movies is the James Purefoy-starring Medieval siege movie Ironclad.

Well, now there's Ironclad 2: Battle For Blood! Due out at UK cinemas in March. No Purefoy in this one unfortunately but it does feature Game Of Thrones' Michelle Fairley.
"Travelling back to the dark, brutal past of 13-century England, Ironclad: Battle For Blood plunges us headlong into one of the most violent periods in English medieval history - a few good men fought against insurmountable odds to defend their country from bloodthirsty Celtic Tribes. Ironclad: Battle For Blood is the continuing story of honour and action and excitement. Blood will run."

Bloggers, Take Up The D&D Anniversary Challenge...

There's still time to sign up for Dungeons & Dragons 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge being organised by Stelios V. Perdios over at d20 Dark Ages.

Fleamarket Friday: Try A Free Sample Of The Knights Of The Dinner Table...

With only a few days to go the Kickstarter to fund a live-action version of the Knights Of The Dinner Table has got over its mid-campaign slump, but still has a fair way to go to hit its $60,000 goal.

To drum up some more interest, especially among those not familiar with the exploits of the Knights, a free 58-page sampler of the strip is available here, which also includes information on the actors involved in the live-action project.

Meanwhile check out the fundraiser's page on Kickstarter for information on all the incentives available should you wish to invest.

Fleamarket Friday: Join The Musketeers...

Triple Ace Games is cannily using the launch of the BBC's new spin on the musketeer tales of Alexandre Dumas to push their game of period daring-do with a 40% discount sale.

All For One: Régime Diabolique is available in two flavours: Ubiquity (as used in Hollow Earth Expeditions or the new Space: 1889) or Savage Worlds.

There has never been a better time to take this supernatural horror game for a spin.

The Ubiquity-version of All For One has a great catalogue of support material, in both print and PDF form, from Triple Ace Games, who always do a sterling job of keeping their settings alive.

Fleamarket Friday: Set Sail With Sinbad The Dungeon-Conqueror...

I've already raved excited about this forthcoming anime, Magi: The Labyrinth Of Magic, but here's a trailer for it from distributor Manga UK, ahead of the first first set release next month.

While based - loosely - on the tales of the Arabian Nights, the use of the phrase dungeons to describe a magical place filled with treasure and guarded by monsters and traps is a clear nod to Dungeons & Dragons.

And it features Sinbad - so how could I resist?

Due out in the UK on February 24, Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, Season One, Part One can be pre-ordered from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

Welcome To The Year Of The Horse...

Today marks the beginning of the 15 days of celebration for Lunar New Year, the Year Of The Horse.

According to the
"The spirit of the horse is recognized to be the Chinese people's ethos – making unremitting efforts to improve themselves. It is energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able. Ancient people liked to designate an able person as 'Qianli Ma', a horse that covers a thousand li a day (one li equals 500 meters)."
CNN has an interesting piece on 11 Things To Know About Lunar New Year.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

A Blazing Saddles For The 21st Century?


DVD Of The Week: Nick Fury, Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D. (1998)

When international terrorist group HYDRA steal the cryogenically-frozen body of their dead leader, Baron Von Strucker (Campbell Lane) from a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility, it's time to bring grizzled Cold War veteran Nick Fury (David Hasselhoff) out of retirement.

HYDRA wants to use the "Death's Head" virus in Strucker's body to hold Manhattan to ransom, but Fury and his team are determined to shut them down.

Unfortunately, Fury falls foul of a trap set by Strucker's daughter, Andrea (Sandra Hess) aka Viper, and now only has 48 hours to save the world before the deadly toxin in his system claims his life.

Nick Fury, Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D. was a TV movie from 1998 (the same year that Blade was released, the first comic book superhero film that 'got it right' in my opinion, and still several years ahead of the mainstream acceptance of superheroes as valid movie fodder with Sam Raimi's Spider-Man in 2002) that has finally been released on DVD over here - albeit a cheap-and-cheerful, vanilla, no-frills release.

Written by comic book fanatic David S Goyer, who also wrote the Blade trilogy and TV series, Dark City, the Dark Knight trilogy, Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance, Man of Steel, Da Vinci's Demons etc, the plot is solid TV fare - and clearly setting itself up as a possible pilot for a series - although the dialogue leaves a lot to be desired, lurching from arch and melodramatic to cheesy and clichéd.

This telemovie has taken a lot of flak over the years, but it needs to be a considered as a artefact of its time.

It stays pretty faithful to the comic book origins of Fury and S.H.I.E.LD., featuring a lot of recognisable character names as well as an impressive rendition of the helicarrier (more industrial than the current incarnation in the big budget movies, more like a flying battleship, but at least it doesn't keep falling out of the sky) as well as Life Model Decoys and smaller bits of spy-fi kit that add nice detail to this 90-minute action-adventure.

Not sure why the HYDRA goons looked like the Observers from Fringe, but it's a striking and memorable look, so why not?

Nick Fury, Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D. is also clearly a kid-friendly movie, designed for watching over a family meal around the television, so everything is very heightened and larger than life (Andrea Von Strucker is basically a pantomime villain with an outrageous accent and a propensity for over-the-top 'evil laughter').

While it takes itself seriously, it isn't a film to be taken seriously.

The Hoff is great as Nick Fury, a towering presence and wholly convincing, tough, deadpan, one-eyed and cigar-chewing like he was in the comics I read growing up.

Personally I wouldn't have been disappointed if this had spawned a TV show back at the turn of the century - it's a hell of a lot better than those awful Captain America telemovies, the Spider-Man series with  Nicholas Hammond, and even the Incredible Hulk (which usually skates by on rose-tinted nostalgia) from the late '70s.

There wasn't any other real live-action, superhero material on TV when Nick Fury, Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D. was released originally and, for its time, I still rate this as a success.

First Trailer For Period Horror Salem...

[RPG] Tips To Help You Bring Your A-Game To The Table...

The archetypal roleplaying group - The Knights Of The Dinner Table

Whether a newbie or an old hand, player or dungeon master (gamesmaster, keeper, judge, referee etc) there's always more tips and tricks you can learn to improve your roleplaying game experience.

Paul Maplesden has written an article on how players can get more out of their games, while Scott Malthouse, of The Trollish Delver, offers up suggestions on how a gamemaster can become more effective.

As the cherry on the cake, Tenkar's Tavern hosted a guest post from Dave Przybyla about "Why Old School Gaming Is So Good".

These Are My Angels...

These three fabulous women - the original Charlie's Angels - were my first poster girls. As well as the famous Farrah poster I had similar size ones of both Kate and Jaclyn, as well as smaller posters cut from TV magazines such as Look-in.

I adored this show growing up in the '70s. I think I'd stopped watching it regularly when Shelley Hack joined in season four, but I still have a soft spot for Tanya Roberts who followed her in the fifth and final season.

I wish one of the nostalgia channels would start showing Charlie's Angels again.

Why Can't All Delivery Companies Be This Organised?

I just want to take a moment to sing the praises of delivery company DPD.

Where some delivery companies might give you a day when they're coming (while some don't give you any notification at all), DPD lets you know ahead of time what day they are coming, then on the day you get an email with an indication of a 60-minute window in which they will deliver your parcel (and they've never failed to hit that window in all deliveries I've had through them).

But what they do that no-one else does is provide you with a unique link to a Google map where you can track your parcel as it draws ever nearer. The closer the parcel gets to you, the more the map zooms in so that eventually if the deriver has a delivery further up your road you can see always exactly where he is.

They also provide you with the driver's name (if there is any problem), the number of the delivery he is currently on and what your delivery number is - and an estimated time from where he is to you.

There's even an option to have this information sent to your phone by text.

So no more missed deliveries, or parcels left on the doorstep (in the front garden, buried in a neighbours rose bush, under the front hedge etc) or drivers running up to front door, tapping gently and posting a "sorry we missed you" card through the door and running away again before you've had time to get up from the sofa and answer the door.

This is the 21st Century after all, pretty much everyone uses GPS in their cars and the Internet at home, so why can't more delivery companies be as efficient - and techno-savvy - as DPD?

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Issue Three Of Talkin' Comics Weekly...

This week, Amy Dallen celebrates the début of the new series Serenity: Leaves on the Wind from Dark Horse Comics, the long-awaited official continuation of the story of the crew from the TV show Firefly that picks up where the movie Serenity left off.

To honour that space-faring crew, today's adventure is launching a model rocket, and Amy assembles a crew of her own: the cast of the Geek & Sundry forthcoming superhero comedy series Caper (featuring Glee's Harry Shum and Beth Riesgraf of Leverage).

Caper trailer:

[UPDATED] The Voynich Manuscript...

Via xkcd

Thanks to Craig Oxbrow, of The Watch House, I've discovered that the 'mysterious' Voynich Manuscript is now available to view online.

[UPDATE] As pointed out to me by Joseph Browning, over on Google+, a potential break-through has been made recently in cracking the enigma of The Voynich Manuscript. You can read about it here.

When The 300 Fell...

Blog Blocked By Crom!

Earlier this year I enrolled this new iteration of HeroPress in the Comic Blog Elite and I have to confess I was rather pleased to see the site racing up the charts (a couple of years ago the original HeroPress was consistently a top ten blog, out of the 300 sites it ranked).

Things have settled down now and we're pretty much stationary around the 62nd/63rd mark - but always behind Crom! the ultimate Conan fan-blog, created by my old blogging comrade Reis O'Brien of the sadly-departed and greatly missed Geek Orthodox blog, who is now a toy designer at Funko.

The slightly galling thing is that Crom! hasn't been updated since Christmas day last year - and it's still doing better than HeroPress (probably because it is more focussed!)

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The Next Generation Of Gamers...

Had a fantastic lunchtime with godson Alec, his sister Bettany and mum Clare today.

As the large two inch foam dice that I'd got via Kickstarter for him had arrived I was able to give them to him as a late birthday present and he was very taken with them.

This led to him showing me the game he plays with his Cork people (see above for a picture of a previous game using Clare's dice) - in which the wicked witch stands on the island and tries to turn the attacking knights into frogs before they can turn her into a frog.

Roll a dice, high number = frogification!

And if that doesn't sound like a three-year-old's roleplaying game, I don't know what does.

Another 12 months or so and we'll have him playing Hero Kids.

By St. Boogar And All The Saints At The Backside Door Of Purgatory!

Continuing our impromptu series of period phrases that should be brought back into use by role-players (see here for selected Victorian slang and here for Beatnik slang), here is a selection of old time cusses that have sadly slipped out of usage.

Inject your adventuring with some historical swearing...

Amy Pond And Starbuck Tormented By A Haunted Mirror...

Starring Katee 'Starbuck' Sackhoff as Marie Russell and Karen 'Amy Pond' Gillan as her daughter, Kaylie, Oculus is due to hit cinemas on April 11.
Ten years ago, tragedy struck the Russell family, leaving the lives of teenage siblings Tim and Kaylie forever changed when Tim was convicted of the brutal murder of their parents.

Now in his 20s, Tim is newly released from protective custody and only wants to move on with his life; but Kaylie, still haunted by that fateful night, is convinced her parents' deaths were caused by something else altogether: a malevolent supernatural force­­ unleashed through the Lasser Glass, an antique mirror in their childhood home.

Determined to prove Tim's innocence, Kaylie tracks down the mirror, only to learn similar deaths have befallen previous owners over the past century.

With the mysterious entity now back in their hands, Tim and Kaylie soon find their hold on reality shattered by terrifying hallucinations, and realize, too late, that their childhood nightmare is beginning again...

Monday, 27 January 2014

Gnome Stew Wants You To Play New Games On Sunday...

Gaming website Gnome Stew and Engine Publishing want us to play a new tabletop RPG or board game next Sunday (which also happens to be Superbowl Sunday and Groundhog Day) to mark a new geek "holiday" New Game Day.

The event's website explains:
"New Game Day is a free annual event for tabletop gamers worldwide — a day to celebrate tabletop roleplaying games (RPGs) and board games by playing something you’ve never played before. It’s easy to remember, too: 'New on 2/2.'

"We hope that on 2/2 every year you’ll take some time to play one or more new games, support the folks who design and sell those games, and share your love of games with others.
And if that's not enough excitement then another date for your diary is April 5: International Tabletop Day, a day devoted to playing tabletop games.

Last year, over 3,123 events were held worldwide across seven continents, 64 countries and every state and province in North America.

Take it away Wil and Felicia:

Maleficent - The Official Dream Trailer...

Lana Del Rey's Once Upon a Dream is free for a limited time, only on Google Play. The song was made available as a free download today and will be available exclusively on Google Play through to Monday, February 3.

Maleficent opens in UK cinemas on May 30 and chronicles the untold story of Disney's most iconic villain from the 1959 classic Sleeping Beauty.
A beautiful, pure-hearted young woman, Maleficent has an idyllic life growing up in a peaceable forest kingdom, until one day when an invading army threatens the harmony of the land. Maleficent rises to be the land's fiercest protector, but she ultimately suffers a ruthless betrayal — an act that begins to turn her pure heart to stone. Bent on revenge, Maleficent faces an epic battle with the invading king's successor and, as a result, places a curse upon his newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Maleficent realizes that Aurora holds the key to peace in the kingdom — and perhaps to Maleficent's true happiness as well.
The film stars Angelina Jolie as Maleficent, Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple and Lesley Manville.

[EBAY] The Doctor Is For Sale...

It's time for another of my semi-regular game purges on eBay - to make room and bring in a bit of pocket money - and the cornerstone of these auctions is my Doctor Who: Adventures In Time & Space RPG collection.

The items currently for sale (these auctions end on Sunday) can be found here.

This should not be taken as a reflection on the game, but simply that I have too many games and not enough time - either to play them or even read them properly (if at all).

They might look lovely on my shelves (when there's room for them all), but they're not doing any good there and are just a symbol of reckless buying habits.

So as part of my New Year's Resolutions to find a single game I want to run and play (and tidy up my gamesroom) I've got to take a brutal approach to my gaming collection and shift the ones I'm never going to play or read.

Since my stroke eight years ago I've had great trouble concentrating, it's slowed my reading speed drastically and pretty much destroyed my ability to retain rules systems etc,

This is why I really think I should be concentrating on old school games - particularly those derived from Dungeons & Dragons (First Edition, Original and Basic) - because those are the ones I grew up playing and they're pretty much hardwired into me anyway.

In an ideal world where I could game every day with an enthusiastic team of independently-wealthy role-players - possibly in a converted castle or a mansion setting - I would expect to eventually play all the games I currently own, but life's not like that.

I have to face reality, trim the fat, get focussed and organised.

And this is the year I'm going to make it happen.


Map-A-Monday: Ankh-Morpork

Click to embiggen

If you are so inclined an iPad App is available to explore Terry Prachett's most famous Discworld city in detail. (Be warned, it's not cheap though).

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Life Begins At 40 For Dungeons & Dragons...

Today is the 40th anniversary of the original Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game going on sale - according to the author of Playing At The World, Jon Peterson.

And if anyone should know it should be him!

I shall be sharing my personal memories and thoughts on this game - and the magnificent hobby it spawned (given that every roleplaying game that came afterwards is either an attempt to make a "better D&D" or make a game that is "not D&D") during February's 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge, being organised by Stelios V. Perdios over at d20 Dark Ages.

A massive thank you to everyone involved in creating Dungeons & Dragons and keeping the flame alive today, from Gary, Dave and co. who were right there at the start through TSR, WoTC and now the talented and creative people of the Old School Renaissance.

I might not have played every edition (or even liked all of them), but even during my 'wilderness years', gaming is always on my mind in some shape or form and I owe this never-ending source of excitement and adventure to you all.

My life, and I expect many others, would have been a lot duller without you.

Here's to the next 40 years... and the 40 years after that...

Inside The Murder Subway...

A behind-the-scenes look at the inciting incident (the subway killings, filmed on location in New York City) from last week's première episode of season two of The Following.

As with the first season, I'm totally hooked from this first episode which, although coming at the backstory from a slightly different angle, remained unrelentingly thrilling.

And here's a second featurette, this time about Ryan's "secret room":

Alex J Cavanaugh's Epic 2,000 Ninja Giveaway...

Author and blogging phenomenon Alex J Cavanaugh is running an epic giveaway on his blog as the number of recruits to his legion of ninjas (ie Followers) nears 2,000.

You can be in with a chance of winning by becoming a Follower of his blog and leaving a comment, tweeting about the competition and/or blogging about it.

The prizes are:
  • First place – Signed copy of one book, $10 iTunes card, and one book donated to the library (middle school, high school, public) of your choice.
  • Grand prize – Signed copy of all three CassaStar books, $10 iTunes card, t-shirt of your choice from Neat-O-Rama, designed by Retro Jeremy Hawkins, and three books donated to the library of your choice. 
Yes, that's a T-shirt designed by friend-of-HeroPress Jeremy Hawkins - which is very cool indeed.

The giveaway will remain open to entries until Alex's ninja army hits the 2,000 mark, so slip on your black silk pyjamas, sidle on over, read more about the prize draw and sign your name in blood (or simply click the "Join This Site" button).

Messy Desk...

So I'm seeing all these pictures online of people's desks and home office work spaces and they're all so neat and organised, and I look in front of me and just see a mess.

This is almost certainly emblematic of my state-of-mind and explains why I can never get anything done.

I'm a great one for picking something up, with the intention of using it for something but then putting it down somewhere else quite random as I've been distracted by another shiny object or a stary thought.
If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?
- Albert Einstein

Not So Smooth Now, Eh Lando?

Saturday, 25 January 2014

DVD Of The Week: King Kong Escapes (1967)

A raggedy, slack-jawed Kong with an obvious zipper down his back fighting a robot replica of himself at the behest of a cape wearing villain called Doctor Who - what's not to love about King Kong Escapes?

Evil scientist Doctor Who (played by Hideyo Amamoto; I suspect it really should have been Doctor Hu, but that's how it's spelt in the credits) has been laughed out of the James Bond Villain Society for being rubbish and has blown his life-savings on building a robot duplicate of King Kong to assist him in some uncertain scheme to mine the legendary Element X from under the ice at the North Pole.

Because he's spent all his money on his robot, Who is being bankrolled by a nameless Asian country represented by their duplicitous agent, the femme fatale known as either Madame Piranha or Madame X (which might have got confusing with Element X), played by Bond girl Mie Hama.

There's some talk about Element X being used in nuclear weapons and helping Madame Piranha's country take over the world, but that doesn't really go anywhere.

Meanwhile, a UN submarine surveying for oil and captained by Commander Carl Nelson (played by the pulpishly named Rhodes Reason) - who happens to have been the designer of MechaKong before Who stoles his plans - is forced to make repairs off the coast of an island where the real King Kong is rumoured to hang out.

Nelson, Lieutenant Susan Watson (Linda Miller) and Lt. Commander Jiro Nomura (Akira Takarada) go ashore to check out the rumours and lo-and-behold find Kong.

Kong takes a shine to Susan, saving her from a rubber dinosaur that may have been a T-Rex in the script, however before Nelson and his crew can return for a fully-sanctioned UN study of the great ape, the evil Who swoops in with his army of goons, gases Kong and carries him away to his polar laboratory.

Nelson, Susan and Jiro are then kidnapped by Who's men as well, as Who knows of Kong's affection for Susan and the beast's willingness to obey the beauty's wishes.

The bond between the two is so strong though that when Who tortures Susan, Kong becomes enraged, escapes the supervillain lair, jumps into the sea... and promptly swims to Tokyo!

Given the lack of actual land at the North Pole and Kong's subsequent swim to Tokyo, I rather suspect - much like Who/Hu's name - somewhere in the translation from Japanese someone got their North and South mixed up as it makes more sense for Who's mining operations to have been where was actually some land!

Anyway, Who and his minions take their robot and race to Tokyo, getting there just behind Nelson, Susan and Jiro - who have been helped by Madame Piranha (I said she was duplicitous).

Kong and MechaKong then duke it out in downtown Tokyo, eventually taking their fight to the top of a very tall radio mast with inevitable consequences.

King Kong Escapes is a totally loopy and adorable movie, made with a surfeit of gleeful innocence sadly lacking from mainstream cinema these days.

Fantastic model work and goofy story make this perfect lazy day viewing, while the whole "mining using a giant gorilla" angle just doesn't merit wasting any brain power on as it's patently ridiculous, just enjoy King Kong Escapes for what it is: escapist fun.

I don't regret a penny of the fiver I spent on this DVD.

Robocop: "The Future Of American Justice!"

The Week In Television...

The highlight of this week's television was the return, on Tuesday, of The Following (Sky Atlantic). I cannot explain how excited I was to get back on the hunt for Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) and his cult of serial killers.

Kevin Bacon is simply superb as flawed hero Ryan Hardy, who has now traded his not-so-secret addiction to booze to a very secret obsession with tracking down the last remnants of Carroll's cult after it was seemingly destroyed at the end of the first season.

We're two weeks into Frank Darabont's Mob City (Fox), starring Walking Dead alumni Jon Bernthal and Jeffrey DeMunn as well as one of my favourite character actors Robert Knepper. It's also good to see Milo Ventimiglia in something other than Heroes.

This tale of 1940s Los Angeles cops and gangsters is sheer class.

Last night's episode concentrated on Jasmine Fontaine (Alexa Davalos), the tough-talking gal pal of murdered comedian Hecky Nash (Simon Pegg), whose rejoinders during her police interview came at a machine gun rate that we're used to hearing from Lauren Bacall and her ilk in classic film noir.

The revelation at the end of the episode means a second viewing might be in order, to re-examine some of her dialogue with Joe Teague (Bernthal) in light of these new facts.

However, this was also the week I said goodbye to The Tomorrow People (E4). The combination of bland, two-dimensional characters and clichéd plots made me finally come to my senses part way through the latest episode that there are plenty of other, better shows I could be watching instead.

I found I wasn't interested enough to pay full attention to what was going on and it was all "blah blah bluergh", so The Tomorrow People has been un-series linked and deleted from my Sky+ box.

Looking forward to next week, we have the start of season seven of Murdoch Mysteries (Alibi) on Monday and the fifth series of Outnumbered (BBC1) on Wednesday. Admittedly, Rachel and I are not 100 per cent that Outnumbered will be as funny as it used to be, now the kids (who were the source of the best laughs) have grown up.

This is another new feature idea I'm trying out on HeroPress, monitoring my high points - and low points - of the previous week's TV.

Fear Force Five...

A 100 foot tall Mega Pirate Zombie storms the beaches of Point Doom killing everyone in sight! Who can stop it?

Episodes one to three of Fear Force Five from Cinefix

Friday, 24 January 2014

Fleamarket Friday: Once More Unto The Barrowmaze...

Dungeonmeister supreme Greg Gillespie is bringing out a new version of his Barrowmaze megadungeon at the end of the year - combining the previously published two halves in a single book and adding in a slew of new material. And this time there are also official 28mm miniatures, supplied by Otherworld.

The Indiegogo funding campaign runs until March 4, with the book due out in December, and you can read about all the new material on the fundraising website.

This isn't exactly a low-cost buy-in (the PDF alone costs you a pledge of $35), but the $80 level that gets you the hardback book does include posting to Canada or the UK.

However, when you look at the size of the dungeon and the calibre of the artists  involved (Erol Otus, for pete's sake!), you can see where the money is going - and that's not even taking into account the official Barrowmaze miniatures from Otherworld (which are never cheap anyway) which become available to pledges of $170 and up.

Consider it a Christmas present to yourself (that's how I've justified it anyway!).

Fleamarket Friday: Dare You Open The Libram Mysterium?

The Libram Mysterium, Volume One, is a new collection of 13 tales of the weird and fantastic.

This is the first book from Pulp Mill Press and features stories by Josh Reynolds, Josh Graboff, Matthew Bottiglieri, Timothy P. Remp, Tobias Loc, Trey Causey, James MacGeorge, Alasdair Cunningham, Jared Plumber, Alex J. Christy, Garnett Elliot, and Sean P. Robson.

The collection is currently available in PDF form - from DriveThruFiction - for $2.99 (£1.82), but print copies should be available in the near future.

This anthology aims to recapture the spirit of pulp fantasy from the early- to mid- twentieth century: from pulse-pounding sword and sorcery adventure to chilling tales of the macabre, eldritch horrors, blood-thirsty swordsmen, and fabulous treasures await within.
Join vengeance-seeking ghouls in Dylath-Leen; an expedition to the cursed ruins of an ancient city in search of a legendary gem; a mercenary company with only one requirement for recruitment: you have to already be dead.

On The Set Of Game Of Thrones - Season Four...

Fleamarket Friday: Fight On, My Brothers And Sisters!

After a two-year hiatus, Fight On!, the definitive fanzine of the OSR, returns for what is rumoured to be its penultimate issue.

Issue 14, dedicated to Rob Kuntz (described as "Gary's Grey Mouser"), is now available from Lulu in print for $9.99 or PDF for $4.99.

The 88-page RPG magazine includes work by Lee Barber, Patrick Farley, Jeff Rients, Gabor Lux, Peitsa Veteli, Kevin Mayle, Douglas Cox, Chris Kutalik, Jennifer Weigel, Kelvin Green, Tom Gordon, Michael Curtis, Sniderman, Calithena, Richard Rittenhouse, Hudson Bell, Michael Mornard, Baz Blatt, Jonathan Linneman, Simon Forster, and many more.

Table of contents:
  • Half-Men (Calithena) 3
  • Blessings and Pacts (Gavin Norman) 4
  • The Balrog (Douglas Cox) 5
  • Robo-Dwarves (Chris Kutalik) 7
  • Shadow Court (Gabor Lux) 9
  • Help Wanted (Richard Rittenhouse) 11
  • What’s in that Pipe? (H. Bell) 14
  • Reminiscing about Rob (Michael Mornard) 16
  • The Darkness Beneath:
  • Citadel of the Dark Trolls (Lee Barber) 17
  • Sixwillows Bridge (Baz Blatt) 44
  • The CROwN (Jonathan Linneman) 56
  • Hargravian Descriptionators (Jeff Rients) 58
  • Creepies & Crawlies (Jeff Rients) 61
  • Artifacts, Adjuncts, & Oddments (Rob Kuntz) 62
  • Pit Traps (Wayne Rossi) 64
  • Tracking Item Charges (Jeremy Deram) 66
  • Customized Automata and Humanoids (J. Mustonen) 67
  • Mischevious Monsters (Simon Forster) 71
  • The Wildwyck Gazeteer (Michael Curtis) 78
  • Dullards & Dropouts (Big Jack Brass & Jensen) 85
  • Sir Tendeth (Sniderman) 85
  • Education of a Magic User (Douglas Cox) 86
  • Doxy, Urgent Care Cleric (J. Linneman & K. Green) 87

Oh, Asylum, You Never Fail Me...

Apocalypse Pompeii is The Asylum's mockbuster 'tribute' to the upcoming Pompeii movie, but they couldn't even be bothered to go to a fancy dress shop and hire a few Roman togas, this instant classic has a modern setting.
"When a former Special Ops commando visits Pompeii, his wife and daughter are trapped as Mt. Vesuvius erupts with massive force. While his family fights to survive the deadly onslaught of heat and lava, he enlists his former teammates in a daring operation beneath the ruins of the city of Pompeii."
This is due out on DVD/Blu-Ray on February 18 - which just happens to be about a week before the other movie opens in the cinema.

For comparison, here's the trailer for that other Pompeii flick:

Sign On For Next Month's D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge...

There's still plenty of time to sign up for next month's Dungeons & Dragons 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge being organised by Stelios V. Perdios over at d20 Dark Ages.

Fleamarket Friday: An Exciting Team-Up Of Superhero Animations...

Black Widow (voiced by Dexter's Jennifer Carpenter) and Punisher (voiced by Brian Bloom) team-up in Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher, an original Marvel anime film on Blu-ray and DVD March 25 in the States, just days before Captain America: The Winter Solider is due to open in the UK.

Then, of course, also this Spring we have DC's Son Of Batman due out:

This is based on the graphic novel Batman: Batman and Son by Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert, and features the voice talent of Jason O'Mara, Stuart Allan, Morena Baccarin, Giancarlo Esposito, David McCallum, Xander Berkeley and Thomas Gibson.

Fleamarket Friday: The Last Stop For Kuro...

A bit outside my comfort zone this one, but it's spooky and Japanese and a self-contained Quick Start scenario - and it's free!

Last Stop, by Andrew Peregrine, is an introductory scenario for Kuro, Cubicle 7's futuristic Japanese horror game.
Six strangers find themselves at a deserted crossroads in a forgotten part of Shin-Edo. What spirits have trapped them here, and are the strangers actually who they appear to be?
Last Stop includes six pre-generated Kuro characters.


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