Reality Is The Playground Of The Unimaginative

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

Wednesday, 30 September 2020

ANNOUNCEMENT: I'd Rather Be Killing Monsters & The Return Of HeroPress...


"Tim Knight hosts a great FB group and its members are very cool people"
- Mark Craddock, Cross Planes

"Okay, this is officially one of the coolest Facebook Pages ever."
- Chris Medders

Quotes like these make me believe I might be on to something with my I'd Rather Be Killing Monsters Facebook group.

And, having launched at the start of the year, I reckon I'm not the only one looking for a friendly slice of old school gaming chit-chat as on the weekend of September 12 we hit 300 members, and have been steadily continuing upwards ever since.

I have noticed, though, that while many of us publish links to blog posts and websites, the articles that get the most traction are those that are fully enmeshed with Facebook (e.g. picture posts and articles written entirely as a group post). So, I'm going to try and do more posts like that, rather than simply linking to something 'clever' I've written on HeroPress or elsewhere. 

As with many of my projects (and I include HeroPress front-and-centre here), the focus of I'd Rather Be Killing Monsters has been a bit nebulous in its short lifespan, due to my fickle - and easily distracted - nature.

However, since the Tuesday Knights voted for a new fantasy campaign over the other options I offered them, I've become (almost) laser-focused on writing up my Tekralh rules set, a homebrew Frankengame that's my love letter to David Hargrave's Arduin.

More recently, I have been inspired by Canadian Robert Wardhaugh's neverending game that has run for almost 40 years.

I know I'll never be able to field a set-up of terrain and minis like his (because I don't have a massive basement or any income), but I love the expansive and generational nature of his campaign (which has covered 600 years of in-game time).

As well as keeping me on target for I'd Rather Be Killing Monsters posts, all this will also be reflected in HeroPress, when it returns to more regular posting again.

As I've said before, I don't reckon I'll be posting as much in the future as I used to, because I'm still finding this new interface really clunky and slow.

I think a lot of the old filler will be shelved (with new film/TV trailers being shunted to my personal Facebook page instead), which, again, means I should be able to spend more time on 'quality' text pieces, reviews, commentary, game material etc.

All being well, I'm looking at November 1 as the soft relaunch date for HeroPress, and hope to see you all there.

We'll be kicking off with a week of Sinbad movie reviews, with attendant gaming material gleaned from those particular takes on the legendary sailor's adventures.

Weird Wednesday...

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Dog The Bounty Hunter In Found Footage Holy Horror Shocker: Whatever Next?

"Even in the daylight, the woods can be confusing"

Due to materialise on October 6 on digital and DVD, Hunter's Creed will attempt to resurrect the played-out 'found footage' genre with a quite possibly religious-themed story about a bereaved man and his church buddies reuniting for a trip into the woods to film the hunting show they have long talked about.

However, once there, they encounter a dark force that challenges them both physically and spiritually!

But, honestly, the only thing that truly makes this worth noting is the reappearance of reality TV star Duane Chapman aka Dog The Bounty Hunter.

Author Jonathan Hicks Runs An Online Game of Those Dark Places


As the release of Osprey's latest roleplaying game, Those Dark Places, draws ever closer, creator Jonathan Hicks runs an online one-shot for members of Garblag Games.

Monday, 28 September 2020

Alien RPG Writer Andrew E.C. Gaska Answers Fan Questions

Map-A-Monday: Xadia

click to embiggen

As some of you will have already realised, I'm of the opinion that The Dragon Prince (on Netflix) is one of the most brilliant pieces of fantasy ever created.

I love everything about it.

Just check out the detail on this map of Xadia, the world of The Dragon Prince, illustrated by the incredible Francesca Baerald.

You'll need to click it open on an iPad or laptop to get the full majesty of it.

Saturday, 26 September 2020

Aliens: Last Stand

Aliens: Last Stand is a fan made film by German directors Felix Berner and Dieter Joppich. Berner and Joppich who are both sci-fi enthusiasts and fans of the ALIEN franchise started filming in 2017.
They were supported by the German Colonial Marines, a Germany-based group of Alien fans founded by Berner in 2016. The two filmmakers filmed most of the material in front of a green screen.
Aliens: Last Stand takes place on board the military ship USS. Yotumo where Sgt. Davis (played by Ricco Ross from the movie Aliens) sends out a distress signal into space.
A troop of marine raiders stationed on moon LV-446 head immediately towards the USS. Yotumo. Little do they know that arriving on board of the ship will not only seal their fate but also end their lives.
Deep inside the ship there are creatures already lurking for their next price.
Will the marines survive against the xenomorphs? And how did Sgt. Davis manage to send a distress signal in the first place? Reload your pulse rifles and buckle up, because in space nobody can hear you scream.

The Joker: Put on a Happy Face (2020)

Discover the origins and evolution of The Joker, and learn why The Clown Prince of Crime is universally hailed as the greatest comic-book supervillain of all time. Featuring interviews with filmmakers and industry legends, Joaquin Phoenix, Heath Ledge,r Mark Hamill, and Jared Leto

Friday, 25 September 2020

#RPG Chapter Twenty-Two: In Which Syr Edvard Beats Up An Old Man...

Virtual Knights: With almost a dozen virtual game sessions under our belts,
we're getting to be old hands at this Zoom lark!

Picking up from where we left off last time, the Tuesday Knights were camping out in a mountain-top temple on the southern border of Barovia, having returned from the "underworld" to find themselves stranded in a snowstorm.

We were hoping the weather would improve so we could continue our current quest on behalf of the witch Baba Lysaga.

Ragar The Wise and Humble (Kevin's dwarven cleric) was on guard duty, while the rest of us snoozed, when an old man appeared out of a door in a nearby giant statue.

Enquiring what we were doing there, the man introduced himself as Heinrich Stolz.

Ragar got a bit flustered and told Heinrich we were looking for the "wine gem" (which we'd actually just retrieved from the deep elves) , which set off a whole tangent about Heinrich really wanting some wine.

The rest of us awoke and, as the conversation proceeded, we gathered that Heinrich (pictured left) was a kind of a guardian to the Amber Temple, as he called it, which was dedicated to "The Powers of The Land".

Thanks to Baba Lysaga's grisly eye, which is still in my character's (Syr Edvard's) head, I noticed that (a) as Heinrich turned away his hands were starting to move like a wizard's and (b) this 'old man' visage was illusory and he really resembled some kind of humanoid fox.

Naturally, I tackled him... and all Hell broke loose as I wrestled the old man to the ground (much to the initial dismay of the rest of the party).

Three terrifying-looking flaming skulls flew down from the high ceiling of the temple, and started to dive bomb us, as Heinrich began zapping me with lightning and causing my chainmail armour to heat up.

Pulling away from the magician, I drew my Blood Spear as behind me, K'Ao (Erica's elven ranger), Dolly (Clare's folk hero) and Rufus (Peter's halfling rogue) filled the air with arrows - some directed at Heinrich, but many at the flaming skulls.

Initially, Syr Edvard's attacks were a collection of wild misses, but Heinrich opened a portal anyway, stepped  through, and materialised on top of the statue - from where he starting throwing things at Dolly.

K'Ao, in particular, was doing a good job of peppering the skulls - bringing down two of them in the end - which, for all their shocking appearance seemed ultimately impotent. 

Heinrich jumped down to the ground and was suddenly flanked by three mirror images, which all blurred at great speed, making it difficult to target the real creature.

Luckily, I had my "witchy eye" and was able to clip the true Heinrich, as Dolly dispatched a couple of the fake Heinrichs.

Cursing the gods of fate (ie. the "dice gods" for my dreadful run of bad rolls, I 'retired' one d20 and brought in my new Joan of Arc d20... with immediate results), Syr Edvard's fortune suddenly changed dramatically and he struck Heinrich a mighty blow (CRITICAL HIT!) .

Looking the worse for wear, the fox creature/old man immediately tried to escape through another magical portal, opening himself up to a final strike from Syr Edvard.

This "attack of opportunity" impaled the fiend through the heart, killing him instantly (A SECOND CRITICAL HIT!).

Syr Edvard shook as the Blood Spear vampirically drained part of the creature's abyssal life force, transferring it to him. 

And, as I'd hoped, only by killing this creature did my chainmail stop burning me!

The last remaining flaming skull dropped to the ground and Rufus swiftly made sure it was really dead.

Ragar looted Heinrich's corpse, while the rest of us went off to retrieve lost missiles. I'd flung my two javelins at Heinrich while he was atop the statue, for instance, and our archers were all running low on arrows and so needed to recover as many as they could. 

Ragar took the wizard's rose-tinted spectacles and his patch-covered cloak, which shrank to fit the dwarf when he tried it on.

The patches were: a bag of money, an iron door, wooden ladder, riding horse, pit, rowboat, scroll, and dogs.

Ragar was convinced they were magical, but has yet to figure out how to safely activate them.

Heinrich's true form
 
To Be Continued...

The Tuesday Knights:

  • DUNGEON MASTER - Simon
  • K'ao - Erica
  • Dolly Spartan - Clare
  • Ragar The Wise & Humble - Kevin
  • Rufus Longhole - Pete
  • Syr Edvard of House Dobbin - Me

Raised By Wolves: Ridley Scott Gives Us A Glimpse into His World

Ridley Scott gives a behind the scenes look into the process of creating the futuristic world featured in Raised By Wolves. Stream the new series now on HBO Max

S. N. A. F. U.


I hate that the recent changes to Blogger's user interface are so infuriating that they are driving so many of my peers to have to write posts about these changes rather than concentrating on their usual geeky topics.

From the bombastic outrage of Calvin over at The Cave of Cool to the more resigned annoyance of Adam at Barking Alien, this is just a small snapshot of my immediate circle of fellow bloggers, so what must the indignation be like across the broader Blogger spectrum?

I know not everyone is having problems, but it seems that every person who has an issue with the interface has a slightly different one.

I can't decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Are these just temporary glitches or screw-ups of elements that used to work perfectly fine just for sake of changing things?

Presumably, behind-the-scenes alterations are still being made by Blogger as more feedback comes in from users, but, then again, how much of this feedback is actually being listened to and how many general blogger-users are taking the time to convert their frustrations into constructive criticism?

For all its talk of additional utility, I have yet to find something the new interface can do that the old one couldn't, or anything that it does particularly better than the old one. 

More often than not it feels as though it now takes more keystrokes to achieve the same results. Everything just takes so much longer these days.

While I'm getting a handle on the new system, it's still aggravatingly counter-intuitive, unnecessarily fiddly, slower, and uglier than the previous iteration. 

It's not the death knell of HeroPress that I had initially feared, but it will definitely change things here... and not for the better in my opinion.

Monday, 21 September 2020

WandaVision Looks Like It's Going To Be Something Rather Special...


The main reason I originally signed up for Netflix was for the launch of Daredevil (and the other Marvel shows that followed) and similar tastes prompted my signing up for Disney+ (although that has The Mandalorian as well, of course).

Finally, thanks to the chaos wrought by Covid-19, we're getting our first full trailer for one of the new Marvel shows coming to Disney+, WandaVision.

And it looks a doozy! 

In fact, it looks deliciously peculiar, right in my wheelhouse. 

What others will make of it, I can't even guess, but I reckon I'm going to love it.

Until we hear different, I believe WandaVision will arrive on the streaming service in December.

Map-A-Monday: Smallville

click to embiggen

Smallville, Superboy's home, where Clark Kent was raised...

Found via Tumblr.

Saturday, 19 September 2020

Come November, You Too Can Eat Like A Xenomorph

Due to hit UK bookstores on November 10, Alien: The Official Cookbook, by genre-themed cooking expert Chris-Rachael Oseland, promises:

"Thrill your friends and frighten your family with 50 delectable recipes inspired by the cult sci-fi Alien series! Delight your friends with a journey through the Xenomorph s terrifying life cycle.
Alien: The Official Cookbook collects together 50 recipes inspired by the cult Alien franchise; featuring recipes such as avocado Xenomorph eggs and chicken facehugger cordon bleu, there s something to whet every appetite, no matter how monstrous. Whether you re a fan of the Alien franchise, or you re just looking for the perfect quirky appetizers, this cookbook will thrill the eyes and the tastebuds.
At last, it is your turn to be space s greatest apex predator."
Check some sample pages below to get a taste:

Arrr, Me Hearties, 'Tis International Talk Like A Pirate Day...



It's International Talk Like A Pirate Day!


Below is a handy (Disneyfied) guide to pirate-speak to get you off and running:

click to embiggen

The Fire Rises: The Creation and Impact of The Dark Knight Trilogy (2013)

The inside perspective on the fascinating story behind the creation of Christopher Nolan's most celebrated franchise and how it changed the scope of movie making… forever.

Full of never-before-seen footage, rare moments, and exclusive interviews with Guillermo Del Toro, Damon Lindelof, Michael Mann, Richard Roeper, Zack Snyder and others.

Friday, 18 September 2020

New Alien Box Sets From Free League Have Docked At GAME OVER Station!


My glorious new box sets for the Free League's Alien RPG docked at GAME OVER Station today... and I couldn't be happier.

I can highly recommend both the Starter Set (although check the original post for the contents list as it does duplicate a lot of what has already been released) and Destroyer of World, the next Cinematic scenario.

The Fantastic Four Take A Road Trip To Full Body Horror This December...

The Fantastic Four have earned some much-needed time away from the job, and Reed has planned a — well, fantastic — old-fashioned family vacation to the Grand Canyon for some good rest, relaxation, and team-bonding time.

But Reed’s manic mind can’t quite disengage, and soon an obsessive side experiment he brought with him has all of them experiencing gruesome and terrifying side effects from his strange specimens.

As everyone’s bodies begin to horribly go awry on a cellular level, it’s a race to solve their lethal affliction; all while stuck in a remote Arizona cabin with no help for miles.
Due out in December, the one-shot Road Trip for the Fantastic Four is written by Christopher Cantwell with art by Filipe Andrade.

Thursday, 17 September 2020

The Plug Has Been Pulled On Old Blogger...

And just like that, the old Blogger interface (aka Legacy Blogger) is gone, probably never to be seen again. 

I'd like to think there'd be a massive backlash from my fellow bloggers, angry petitions, online campaigns etc calling for the reinstatement of the previous Blogger interface, but this is 2020 and I guess people have other things to worry about.

And, of course, given the fact that this has always been free software, I'm not sure how much right we have to gripe.

Yet, while the old interface - which worked perfectly fine - has been unceremoniously shelved, the new one remains slow, ugly, overly fiddly, and clunky, unable to replicate the quality of design I prided myself on for HeroPress.

I'll admit it's kind of heartbreaking. I've invested almost 14 years of my life (way longer than I've dedicated to any paid employment) to reshaping, editing, and crafting the content and look of HeroPress so that it was finally something I could be proud of.

And now, with the flick of a switch by our corporate overlords at Blogger, it feels like I've gone back, if not to square one, at least a decade in my design know-how.

Some of these behind-the-scenes changes will only be meaningful to me, but I had a "style sheet" for HeroPress in my head (carried over from my days as a newspaper editor) that - for me - helped give the blog a distinct and consistent look in recent years.

I liked to keep everything disciplined (such as the set posting times during the day), which could sometimes be a rod for my own back, but it also helped give the blog a sense of order and purpose.

For instance, there'll still be picture posts etc popping up, but the chances are they will have been put together before this dark day, when I still had access to the "legacy" interface and could design these features how I wanted.

I'm going to give myself the next month to really experiment with this new interface, see if I can bend it to my will, see what compromises can be reached.

I don't want HeroPress to die - except by my own hand. And, as depressed as I am right now, I'm not ready to shutter this project just yet.

I know I'm doing all this primarily for my own sanity, but I like to think somewhere somebody else is reading my drivel.

And it's for that person that I want to keep HeroPress posts looking the best I can make them (as well as for myself, obviously).

Please bear with me.

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Okay, Hands Up, Who Knew There Was An Official Dragon Prince RPG In The Works?



Why am I only just hearing about this?

Even if I never play the game (it uses the Cortex system, which has been very hit and miss, veering towards largely miss, with me over the years), think of the amount of inspirational background material it will have on the inner workings of Xadia that I can "borrow" for my own campaign..

Weird Wednesday...

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

This Is The Way! This Is What We All Pay Our Disney+ Subscription For...


The new season of The Mandalorian starts streaming Friday, October 30, only on Disney+.

The Mandalorian and the Child continue their journey, facing enemies and rallying allies as they make their way through a dangerous galaxy in the tumultuous era after the collapse of the Galactic Empire.

Saturday, 12 September 2020

3:36


At the darkest hour of the night, a young woman takes shelter in her bathroom. Haunted by nightmarish visions, she slowly loses her sanity to memories she won't accept. What reality lies beyond the mirror?
WARNING: This film features sequences of FLASHING LIGHTS, which can trigger a seizure in some people with epilepsy.

Friday, 11 September 2020

Night Terrors: Graveyard Moon Could Easily Work In The Alien ' Verse


In the not so far future, Earth no longer has space for graveyards. Callisto, a rocky moon of Jupiter, has become designated as the graveyard planet, but only the wealthy can afford a proper burial there. Cooper and his longtime crew prepare to transport a load of the dead, having flown this route many times over. But their routine trip to the graveyard moon is disrupted by deception and greed… and they find themselves under siege by the ghosts of the dead they carry.
John Carpenter’s Night Terrors: Graveyard Moon is the first of a new range of standalone graphic novels from Storm King Comics, out this month.

Written by comic book horror legend Steve Niles, the full-colour 72-page trade paperback tells the story of the crew of a cargo ship transporting corpses for burial on a designated 'Graveyard Moon' and finding themselves ensnared in unfathomable horror.

Check out the sample pages below:


Wednesday, 9 September 2020

I Never Realised Dune Was Quite So Grey...


A mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people.

As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence — a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential — only those who can conquer their fear will survive.

Weird Wednesday...

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

ALIEN STARTER SET AND DESTROYER OF WORLDS RELEASED BY FREE LEAGUE TODAY!


Free League has released two new box sets in support of its award-winning Alien RPG today: the Starter Set and the Destroyer Of Worlds adventure.

Pre-orders are being packed and will be dispatched shortly, and you can now order the box sets from the Free League store or, if you prefer PDFs and just want it all in digital format, via DriveThruRPG.

The Starter Set is designed to be the perfect entry point into the game and the Alien universe.

It contains everything needed to start playing:
  • A 104-page condensed rulebook
  • The 48-page complete Cinematic scenario Chariot of the Gods by Andrew E.C. Gaska
  • Five pre-generated characters to play
  • A huge full-colour, double-sided map, with one side depicting chartered space in the year 2183 and the other floor plans for the Chariot of the Gods scenario
  • 84 game markers for keeping track of characters, motion tracker pings, and more
  • 56 custom cards for weapons, personal agendas, and initiative in combat
  • A set each of ten engraved Base Dice and ten Stress Dice, designed specifically for the Alien roleplaying game.


Destroyer of Worlds is a complete Cinematic scenario, written by sci-fi novelist Andrew E.C. Gaska just like the previous Chariot of the Gods.

In Destroyer of Worlds, players take the roles of Colonial Marines.

The scenario is designed for three to five players plus the Game Mother, and it’s a gauntlet of one hell after another.

Expect it to take three sessions to complete.

This boxed set contains:
  • The main Destroyer of Worlds scenario book
  • A huge double-sided map of the Ariaricus moon colony on one side and the Fort Nebraska space elevator ground base on the other
  • Seven pre-generated characters to play
  • Custom cards for weapons, vehicles, and personal agendas
  • Player maps and handouts

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

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