Saturday 27 December 2014

The Village on the Hill: all-ages non-violent storytelling game now available

I hope you're having a fantastic holiday season and that you got everything you wanted from Santa. I just wanted to announce the release of a little storytelling game called The Village on the Hill, which you can pay what you want to download.

In the game, players become little spirits called Kami, who have to help the villagers on the Hill overcome obstacles in their daily lives. Together the players craft a collaborative story focused on teamwork and positivity - there are no combat rule here.

Each Kami has their own coloured aura, which helps them undertake tasks. For instance, a Kami with the purple Aura of the Body is strong and athletic. Character sheets are kept incredibly simple, with a focus on storytelling and interaction over rules.

The game uses a framework of obstacles, consequences and resolutions to build a shared story.

I've released The Village on the Hill in beta form, so please feel free to offer feedback on how to improve the game.

Download The Village on the Hill now.

Thursday 11 December 2014

Preview: Wolverines #1

Now that Wolverine is dead and all that, what comes next? Marvel has given us a sneak preview of Wolverines #1, which launches in January.

From the press release:

His death was only the beginning. Spinning directly out of the chart-topping Death of Wolverine, The Logan Legacy and The Weapon X Program comes a brand-new weekly series kicking off this January in WOLVERINES #1! Today, Marvel is pleased to present your new look at the blockbuster first issue from the star-studded creative team of Charles Soule, Ray Fawkes, Alisson Borges and All-New Young Gun artist Nick Bradshaw!

Wolverine may be dead, but the weekly journey is just beginning as his mortal remains, now encased in the rare and powerful adamantium, are up for grabs. The battle begins as various factions vie for control of this valuable artifact. But why does it matter so much? And why is a war brewing in Logan’s name?

Death is on the books for a number of Marvel’s heroes and villains, and Mystique is playing chess with them all. X-23, Daken, Sabretooth, Lady Deathstrike, the mysterious man known only as Sharp and many, many more!

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Judge Dredd: The Mega Collection will feature Dredd's most famous stories

Judge Dredd has a long history, with some incredible story arcs, so it seems natural that 2000 AD should collate some of the best runs on the comic into a hardback collection.

Judge Dredd: The Mega Collection will be a fortnightly collection of stories by 2000 AD and Hachette Partworks that covers legendary stories like America, The Cursed Earth and Apocalypse War.

With stories that have never before been reprinted, The Mega Collection will give a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the development of classic characters, scenes and storylines with:
-              specially commissioned feature content exploring Dredd’s world
-              interviews with the creators
-              previously unseen sketches and designs

The collection sounds like the perfect pick for anyone who wants to get into Dredd comics but might not really know where to start.

Issue one will be available at all good newsagents in the UK and Ireland from 21st January 2015 and you can subscribe here.

Tuesday 9 December 2014

I am the thaw - check out these Judge Dredd cosplay penguins

That's 30 years in the 'ice-o cubes' (I slay me), creep! Blind Mouse Toys and 2000AD have come together to create a penguin cosplaying as Judge Dredd. Yes, this was one of the weirder releases I received today.

This Judge Dredd-flavoured bird is the first in the 'Cosplay Penguin' line, and can be yours for $40. Creds not accepted. It stands 11.5cms, features a comic-accurate costume and, get this, a non-removable helmet. Makes sense.

Produced under license from Rebellion and 2000 AD, Cosplay Judge Dredd Penguin was sculpted and painted by Joe Amaro with box art by Eamon O'Donoghue. The first 1,000 orders will receive a frameable copy of O'Donoghue’s box art.

To get all the latest news on the Cosplay Judge Dredd Penguin go to the Blind Mouse Toys Facebook page.

Monday 8 December 2014

Toho to make own sequel to US Godzilla

File this under weird but also pretty cool. Toho, the Japanese studio that put out the original line of Godzilla flicks will apparently be filming its own sequel to the US reboot. Not only that, it will be launched in 2016, two years before the US sequel is set to hit theatres.

"This is very good timing after the success of the American version this year: if not now, then when? The licensing contract we have with Legendary places no restrictions on us making domestic versions," a Toho staffer told The Hollywood Reporter.

This will be the first Japanese-led Godzilla since 2004's Final Wars and it opens up questions as to how both studios will go ahead with the series and which will be canon. Perhaps this is where the newly-announced Godzilla Strategic Conference (Godzi-Con) comes into play. According to THR, this consortium of directors and executives will plan a new series of films while leveraging merchandising and 'other activities'.


Preview: Operation S.I.N #1

While we wait for Agent Carter to hit the small screen early next year, Marvel is giving us a Peggy Carter-centric mini series riding off the back of the events in this years' event: Original Sin. Here's a sneak preview of what's to come:

From the release:

This January, venture into the dark corners of the Marvel Universe of  the 1950s for an all-new globetrotting adventure in OPERATION S.I.N. #1 – the first chapter in a blockbuster new limited series starring fan-favorite characters Peggy Carter and Howard Stark! From blockbuster creators Kathryn Immonen and Rich Ellis comes an untold story of the Marvel Universe spinning out of the explosive events of Original Sin!

At the height of the Cold War, a supremely powerful alien energy source is discovered on Russian soil. In an effort to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands, secret agent Peggy Carter and Howard Stark must intercept it before it’s too late. Only they’re not the only interested parties…

A new terrorist splinter group named Hydra is on the hunt, seeking the alien technology for their own sinister purposes. It’s only when a mysterious operative named Woodrow McCord enters the picture that Peggy and Howard will see just how far some people will go to keep Earth safe from harm.

Explore Marvel history like you’ve never seen it before as Peggy Carter, Howard Stark and Woodrow McCord do battle against the rising forces of Hydra. You will not want to miss the first chapter of this epic, spy-espionage thrill ride when OPERATION S.I.N. #1 explodes into comic shops and on to digital devices this January! 

Thursday 6 November 2014

Marvel reveals Battleworld, the arena for Secret Wars

Over the past month or so Marvel has been teasing us with supposedly past events in the publisher's back catalogue. Today the House of Ideas released a video titled Battleworld Revealed which gives us an insight into what this new event may be.

The teaser above depicts a planet covered in many countries, each tied to one of the past events. We now know that this will all definitely come under the umbrella of Secret Wars, the first issue landing on comic stands in May 2015.

There are still many questions hanging in the air about this mega event, but we're sure all will be revealed in due course.

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Preview: Angela: Asgard's Assassin #1

Asgard's newest warrior will be appearing in her own solo series this December, helmed by superstar creative team Kieron Gillen, Marguerite Bennett, Phil Jimenez and Stephanie Hans. Angela: Asgard's Assassin will follow the titular character after the events of Original Sin, as she is cast out of the Tenth Realm and must forge a new path for herself.

“The story is Angela is basically on the run,” says Kieron Gillen in an interview with “It gives her a chance to interact with a lot of different people so by the end of the first arc we really get a sense of who Angela is vis-à-vis the Marvel Universe. You get a sense of who she is and where she fits into the larger picture.”

Angela: Asgard's Assassin #1 will be on-sale 12/03/14.

Now wrap your eyeballs around these lovely preview pages.

Take a +10 to Charisma with these pint glasses

Christmas is just around the corner, so what else could be more fitting for the nerd/raging drunk in your life than a +10 Wisdom pint glass? Nothing!

Beer could taste no sweeter than out of a -10 Intelligence glass, and don't even try cider without glugging it from a +10 Charisma receptacle.

Think Geek are selling these bad boys. What a time to be alive! Fancy sending me some, chaps?

Via Geek Native

Monday 3 November 2014

The Kicker: Era: The Consortium

I'm currently on a space opera kick, what with still being on the high that was Guardians of the Galaxy, looking forward to the new Star Wars and putting pen to paper with my own USR Galaxy. So when I saw Era: The Consortium on Kickstarter I was all over that like a rash. A space rash.

The premise is simple enough. The game follows a colony ship that has taken off from Earth in search of a new place to live and colonise. Taranis becomes that world. Play is set around characters living on Taranis, exploring nearby space and discovering new aliens.

Yeah, that's nice enough, but the thing that really sells Era is the fact that the players can begin at a point in the game's 500 year history. Talk about an expansive universe. The creators promise "high-tech "dungeon crawls" to raid corporate facilities, all-out wars in which the existence of your species is threatened, to exploration of new worlds".

Here's an example of a time period the Kickstarter page gives:

It is 447CE. The Resistance have prevented an atrocity by the Big Seven, and the Big Seven have been forced to accept an alien into their midst, becoming the Big Eight. The Resistance are hunted, hated and feared due to the propaganda spread by the Consortium, and the Consortium have finally realised the Resistance is a genuine threat. With the companies which make up the Consortium turning against each other, it is a dangerous time to live.

As a loyal employee of one of the Big Seven, you have been called together with others from other companies, and given an operation: track down and destroy a Resistance unit. But does your company want this to succeed? Perhaps this particular unit is embarrassing one of their business rivals, and they'd secretly like to see it go on, so you're secretly charged with sabotaging the mission - without any of the other operatives knowing, of course!

Or perhaps you're a Resistance member in deep cover, wanting to make sure the mission fails and, while all those around you are punished for failing, you will slip off back to your associates.

Maybe you're just a loyal member of the Consortium who wants everything to turn out well for all the companies... but are you sure your teammates feel the same?

The mechanics are nice and streamlined, using pools of d10s to determine success. Your attributes and skills each have a score that equate to a number of d10s. Add them up, roll them and count your successes - not unlike other successful games like World of Darkness.

From the looks of the Kickstarter page, the art examples look beautiful. I mean, look at this:

Even more ambitious is the fact that Shades of Vengeance, the creator of Era, are also producing a comic book to accompany the rules, bringing the story and the universe to life.

Honestly, Era: The Consortium looks pretty incredible. It has already met its funding goal two-fold but stretch goals promise new supplements and other goodies, so if you like the look of the game you can fund it here.

The Kicker: fund real-life fighting mechs

Welcome to The Kicker, where we discuss the good, the bad and the insane of crowdsourced fundraising. 

If I had a mech I'd probably use it to travel to Tesco in the morning to pick up bacon and rolls. I know, I dream big, right? For those of you with a more violent disposition, MegaBots Inc, has launched a Kickstarter to create real-life, full-sized mechs for the sole purpose of fighting in an arena.

I'm not even kidding.

MegaBots: Live-Action Giant Robot Combat is looking for a cool $1,800,000 to fund this incredibly weird venture. These would be honest-to-god 15ft tall, 15,000 pound walking death machines piloted by actual people and thrown into a gladiatorial arena.

"MegaBots are covered in customizable, breakaway armor plating and fire large, paint-filled projectiles at each other at speeds topping 120 miles per hour. As projectiles hit their targets, armor plates shatter and explode, and computers tally critical hits to the robot’s limbs and torso. As more and more hits are taken, robots start to limp, joints start to seize, weapons start to jam, and after enough damage, limbs are completely blown off. The last MegaBot standing wins!"

According to the creators, the total amount they're looking for will cover the production of two mechs for a 1 on 1 deathmatch, but they want to get it higher so they can have team free-for-alls and other squad-based games. I will note right now that the projectiles used are non-lethal - no gatling guns or rocket launchers for MegaBots.

Oh, and if you pay $999,999.99 you can get your very own mech.

The Kickstarter currently sits at $38,007 - a  far cry from the almost $2,000,000 total and with only 25 days left.

If you want to take a look and fund MegaBots, you can visit their Kickstarter page.

Saturday 1 November 2014

The Deck: traditional vs digital collectable card games

Welcome to The Deck, a new section where we discuss anything and everything card game related - CCGs, Living Card Games and everything in between.

I can't for the life of me get into digital CCGs. Oh, I've tried. Actually, the first digital card game I played was the Pokemon Trading Card Game for the Gameboy and I loved that, but I was pretty young and it was Pokemon so what are you going to do? But even back then I much preferred the tactile nature of the actual Pokemon card game, and I still feel that way to this day, although I no longer play Pokemon.

Don't get me wrong - I can see why people love games like Blizzard's Hearthstone. You can get a quick fix of gaming goodness from the comfort of your own desk chair, maybe wearing nothing but a dressing gown and slippers. You can play whenever the urge strikes you and there will always be someone there to play with. The same can't be said for treeware CCGs where you have to get one or more friends around the same table in all your clothing. It's not something you can do when the mood strikes you, and I've never found playing solo variants to most card games as satisfying as playing with a friend (although the Lord of the Rings LCG comes close).

Magic Online by Wizards of the Coast

Digital CCGs are generally cheaper, too. The entry-level game is sometimes free, whereas traditional games have you fork out hard-earned cashola for that starter set. Anyone who has played Magic: The Gathering for a considerable length of time known that you can sink a tonne of money into those cardboard bastards.

So far, these are all arguments for playing digital CCGs, which is why I can totally see why people are smitten with them. But there are plenty of reasons why I like to play on a physical tabletop.

For one, it's much more fun playing with friends in the flesh. The game tends to flow differently: you're not at the mercy of a digital countdown timer or a chatbox. Sure, you could use Voip, but nothing beats sitting with your mates, sharing snacks and having a laugh in-person. Plus, you can't replicate the look on someone's face when they draw the exact card they need to pull off a game-ending combo.

Netrunner by Wizards of the Coast
I personally find it nicer to own physical cards. There's a certain ritual to slipping them into their
protective cases or laying them all out on the floor to build that perfect deck. I love placing tokens on cards when an effect springs up - maybe a coloured paperclip or shiny stone. It makes the game feel less clinical than an online version, where everything is perfect and there's an animation for all tokens. Physical games have a rawness that digital can only dream of capturing.

The we come on to boosters and theme packs. Opening one of these is part of the overall CCG experience and something that just hasn't been replicated digitally. Sure, you can open boosters on the computer, but it really isn't the same as feeling the crisp foil in your hands and slipping out the cards with the glimmer of hope in your eye that you'll find that rare, amazing card.

So that's my two pence. Where do you stand on digital versus traditional CCGs?

Friday 31 October 2014

Modiphius licences roleplaying line based on Infinity miniatures game

Modiphius Entertainment, the company behind the acclaimed Achtung! Cthulhu and Mutant Chronicles 3rd Edition, has announced a licencing partnership with Corvus Belli to create a roleplaying line based on the Infinity miniatures skirmish game.

Infinity was launched by Spanish company, Corvus Belli in 2005. It actually started life as a
homemade RPG setting for the early roleplaying adventures of Alberto, Carlos, Fernando and Gutier, before it evolved into the hugely-popular wargame and miniatures range.

The Infinity storyline follows the battles of the Human Sphere against the alien Combined Army, a collection of conquered alien races led by an aggressively resourceful AI. A recent encounter with the enigmatic Tohaa, who want to ally with the Human Sphere against the common enemy, sets the stage for a vast story of conspiracy, war and adventure.

Now, the gaming world is poised to discover the truth behind Infinity. The newly-announced roleplaying game will give players the freedom to adventure in the Human Sphere and beyond, learning a myriad of never-seen-before secrets about the Infinity universe and its strange alien races.

Modiphius teamed up with Corvus Bellis to unite their roleplaying publishing expertise with the fantastic Infinity setting.

"As Infinity was created by roleplayers, our secret desire has been always to release the RPG version of the game. Unfortunately, Infinity requires all our time and we were unable to create the RPG everyone has been asking for. To find the right partner, with the same attention to detail has been really difficult and the reason we have not released an RPG before. So, when Chris contacted us we felt very happy, as he demonstrated a deep understanding of the universe and spirit of Infinity. We discussed plenty of covert operations, secret schemes and adventures and we know Modiphius has a very professional approach that will ensure they deliver a truly high-quality product. Now we only regret not having teamed up with them before!" said Gutier, background developer of Infinity.

Modiphius have announced that the Infinity roleplaying game will use 2d20, the in-house roleplaying system designed by Jay Little (Star Wars: Edge of the Empire, X-Wing Miniatures Game) for Mutant Chronicles, which encourages cinematic action with its simple mechanics. New rules will introduce hacking, starships, playing characters who are fragments of an AI and much more. The core of the system is a '2d20' roll versus a character's Attribute and Skill total allowing for multiple successes, and Infinity fans will recognise many other familiar elements which will help translate the tabletop action into the roleplaying world.

You can sign up for the Infinity playtest at Modiphius' website.

Pathfinder: Occult Adventures goes into open playtest, and you can download it now

Paizo has released an open preview for its upcoming book Pathfinder: Occult Adventures, due for release July 2015.

According to the Paizo website:

"Occult Adventures will delve into the world of the occult (including psychic magic, mystic rituals, and esoteric sciences) with brand new materials available for players and GMs alike.

The Occult Adventures playtest document includes six new base classes for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: the kineticist, the medium, the mesmerist, the occultist, the psychic, and the spiritualist. Each one of these classes presents new options and features to incorporate elements of the occult into your campaign!"

Aptly, the open playtest will run over Halloween and up to November 25th. You can download the preview here.

Marvel unearths controversial Spider-Man arc for 2015 event teaser

Now here's a controversial one. Marvel has revealed its next teaser for its 2015 ultra-mega-super event and it's definitely one that's going to strike a nerve with Spiderfans. Ladies and gentlemen...

That's right - they went there. For those unfamiliar with what I'm talking about, back in Amazing Spider-Man #21 Mary Jane and Peter Parker finally tied the knot. The big bods at Marvel weren't too keen on this, as they thought it limited Spider-Man...somehow, so in 2006 Joe Quesada drew one of the most controversial arcs in Marvel history: One More Day.

In One More Day, in order to save his dying Aunt May, Parker made a pact with Mephisto to completely rewrite history so that Mary Jane and he had never been married.

Which brings us back to the teaser: Renew Your Vows, with art by the excellent Andy Kubert. In the original story, the couple caught a glimpse of what would happen if they stayed together, which included having a child. So it's probably safe to say that this is going to be a What If? playing on that vision.

Thursday 30 October 2014

This gorgeous Harry Potter art depicts monsters like you've never seen them before

Dementor by Rob Bliss

Being a big fan of concept art, the new book Harry Potter: The Creature Vault by Jody Revenson, really caught my eye.

The book depicts creatures from the series, from Goblins and Dementors to Hungarian Horntails and Merpeople, beautifully realised and gorgeously detailed.

io9 has the full exclusive, with a tonne of amazing art for you to pour over.

Dungeonscape is no more as Trapdoor and Wizards of the Coast part ways

The online suite of tools built for Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition, Dungeonscape, has closed its doors before it had chance to open them.

Trapdoor Technologies, the company behind Dungeonscape, has announced that Wizards of the Coast will no longer be working with them as of October 31st, but that the software will still likely have a future.

You can read the full statement below:

Greetings friends,

Today, we have news that is both sobering and hopeful. Wizards of the Coast and Trapdoor Technologies will no longer be working together to develop DungeonScape for Fifth Edition D&D, and we will not be releasing the product in its current form. The beta program on all platforms will be shutting down at noon (MST) on Friday, October 31.

Although we can’t reveal all of the details regarding the future of DungeonScape, we are happy to say that there is indeed a future—so fear not!

This project, 100% internally funded, conceptualized, and built by our talented team at Trapdoor, has been a labor of love from the very beginning. We set out to change the way RPGs are played at the table—making our game night more about enjoying the adventure than searching for rules. We still hold true to that quest. We believe that our Story Machine™ is a powerful tool for converting information into something more useful and rich.

We’re working hard to solidify the details of what’s next for DungeonScape, and we’ll share that information with you when it’s appropriate.

Until then, please continue to follow us on Twitter and Facebook. We’ll do our very best to answer any questions you have through social media or email.

Long live the adventure.
The Trapdoor Technologies Team

So where do we think this leaves Dungeonscape? There's certainly potential for the digital gaming aid to be picked up by the likes of Paizo, or if their Story Machine is versatile enough it could perhaps be customised for several different systems.

Via ENWorld

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Marvel reveals Future Imperfect as part of its 2015 uber event

Another day, another reveal for Marvel's cryptic 2015 super event. So far we've seen the likes of Civil War, Years of Future Past, Planet Hulk, Armor Wars, Secret Wars and more. Now the house of ideas has dropped Future Imperfect on us. Cue old Hulk!

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Marvel announces slew of new movies, includes two-part Avengers Infinity War

Marvel Studios are currently holding their fan event and the comic movie powerhouse has ust announced the titles of its upcoming phase three films up to 2019, including an Avengers two-parter: Infinity War.

Here's a breakdown of what we can expect in the next four years:

  • Captain America: Civil War (May 6th 2016)
  • Doctor Strange (November 4th 2016)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (May 5th 2017)
  • Thor: Ragnarok (July 28th 2017)
  • Black Panther (November 3rd 2017)
  • Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 (May 4th 2018)
  • Captain Marvel (July 6th 2018)
  • Inhumans (November 2nd 2018)
  • Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 (May 3rd 2019)
That means that as of 2017 there will be three Marvel Studios movies per year. Also, all the theories that Civil War would come to the Marvel movieverse will come to pass with the new Captain America. 

It has been confirmed that Chad Boseman will be playing Black Panther but Benedict Cumberbatch is yet to be confirmed as Doctor Strange. 

Monday 27 October 2014

Preview: Dredd Uprise #1

Following up the success of Dredd: Underbelly, the comic book sequel to the Dredd movie, comes Dredd: Uprise. This two-issue series continues the story: in the neglected sector of Mega-City One known as The Spit, tensions are reaching boiling point amongst the citizens as the shiny new mega-block Oemling Tower is being constructed for those that can afford to live in it. As the Judges face running battles with rioters, the underground movement known as Uprise stokes the flames of dissent...

Dredd: Uprise #1 hits shelves Wednesday 29th October and can be purchased digitally at

Dayglow Overdrive channels 80s cyberpunk music, prepare for your mind to be blown

Let's face it: cyberpunk is fucking cool. Sure, you would never really want to live in a dystopian cyberpunk future, what with all the crime and knock-off cybernetics, but if you ever want to feel like you're in an 80s cyberpunk movie then Dayglow Overdrive is here.

Maverick by Dayglow Overdrive can only be described as bitchin' (note the lack of a 'g' - that's how rad it is). Wrap your earholes around this!

Woaaaah! Damn, son. My face melted off. You can check out Dayglow Overdrive's Bandcamp page for more.

Zak S brings DIY sensibilities to 5e Monster Manual with awesome results

Image: Zak S. and Wizards of the Coast

I'm one of those people who feels a bit weird about writing in a book, especially one as beautiful as the 5th edition D&D Monster Manual, but designer and blogger Zak S doesn't have such qualms. Over the past few weeks the DIY D&D proponent has been taking a marker to the brand new Monster Manual to alter creatures to his liking - creating new attacks, ecologies and in some cases entirely new names.

The latest iconic beast to become the victim of the Zak's Sharpie is the Basilisk, which he has shrunk to iguana-sized proportions. In comparison to his other alterations, the Basilisk has been spared on the whole, but some, like the Azer, have been completely revamped. He's even changed (improved) their name to Azerites and gave them a creative new background:

"The Azerites are the victims of a cruel and innovative goblin joke dating from the 8th Agon: dwarf prisoners were given a hallucinogen that made them both susceptible to suggestion and immune to flame, then set their faces alight and sent them charging at their fellows," explains Zak.

Check out his 'fixing the Monster Manual' series in full.

Play a preview of DestinyQuest Infinite

If you know me, then you know that I love me a bit of DestinyQuest. The gamebook series is unique in that each tome is absolutely massive and it plays a bit like a paper version of Diablo 2. So imagine my joy when QuestForge emailed to tell me that the digital version of the book is available to be previewed.

The demo requires no sign-in or download to access, and includes two quests from DestinyQuest Infinite: Act 1. Go on, have a go here.

DestinyQuest Infinite is a game with RPG elements like combat, stats, and loot. It’s also a digital book with hundreds of pages of story to explore. Features include:

  • The official interactive DestinyQuest, with all 600+ pages of the print book by Michael J. Ward
  • Customizable hero with stats that correspond to your equipment
  • Hundreds of items and abilities
  • Battles that test your skill and luck
  • Rich and immersive fantasy world that draws on folklore and mythology
  • Playable from any device that has a browser (Chrome and Firefox currently supported)

Christopher Liu, founder and lead programmer of Adventure Cow and QuestForge, said: “I originally planned for DestinyQuest Infinite to be this quick 9 month game project. Four years later, I'm basically embarrassed that it took so long to make a book (I mean, it's a book, how hard could a book be?). I’m excited that it's finally coming out, once we sort through all the technical support requests we got because the latest version of Chrome broke our build. I'm also hoping we'll get some press about how we're mixing books and games but every time I try to write a quote about how cool it is I get this instead.”

DestinyQuest Infinite: Act 1 (of 3) will be available for purchase from Adventure Cow in November 2014. For more information, visit the game website at

Check out the trailer below.

Ravenloft adventure Night of the Walking Dead - free to download until Halloween

Halloween is the greatest isn't it? Yes, it is, and that's why you can grab yourself a PDF of the 2e AD&D adventure Night of the Walking Dead for absolutely free. Hurry though, because you have until October 31st to get your mitts on it.

Here's a bit about this introductory adventure:

In a rain-soaked graveyard, a small group of men stands round a coffin bound with heavy chains. "We are here to mourn the passing of Jean de Cardeau," intones the village priest. " Let us pray that his rest is eternal, and that he never returns." 

As the pallbearers lift the coffin, something scrapes on the wood from inside. Quickly and without emotion, the attendants slide the casket into a crypt. Then they seal the door and flee. Behind them, unheard, a dull thudding begins, growing louder with the onset of twilight. There can be no peace for those who linger in the earthly realm after death. And there can be no sanctuary on the Night of the Walking Dead! 

Set in a zombie-infested swampland, "Night of the Walking Dead" is an ideal first-time Ravenloft adventure. Players must unravel the mystery behind a string of murders and disappearances in a village plagued by ambulant undead—and all is not as simple as it seems! 

The hour of fear is upon us. Are you ready to face the Demiplane of Dread? 

For 4 to 6 players, levels 1st-3rd.

Seems like a great excuse to play some D&D this Halloween, eh?

Sunday 26 October 2014

This looks awesome: The Art of Ian Miller

As a bit of a Tolkien geek, I'm more than familiar with Ian Miller's work. He often teamed up with David Day to produce the Tolkien Bestiary, Tolkien Encyclopaedia and other Middle-Earth-based books. So my interest was piqued when I saw The Art of Ian Miller from Titan Books. 

From Titan Books' site:

"Featuring over 300 pieces of artwork spanning decades of Ian’s work, this collection is a treat for all lovers of great fantasy art – from Lovecraft novel covers to Tolkien bestiaries to Warhammer 40,000 concept art, through a veritable trove of gothic humour, fantasy battles, dragons, beasts and a world of nightmarish visions."

The book actually came out in April, but I've only just come across it - and I'm glad I did! Miller's gothic surrealism has always captured my imagination, using intricate line-work, often using technical pens to achieve an almost impossible level of detail. His work has a certain geometry about it that makes his illustrations otherworldly - perfect for fantasy and science fiction.

You can buy The Art of Ian Miller from Titan Books

How to track RPG combat without a grid

Industry veteran and author of The Lazy Dungeon Master, Mike Shea, also known as Sly Flourish, has some great advice on arbitrating combat when it's a bit more abstract. I'm a big fan of theatre-of-the-mind combat, but it can be really difficult to track distance, area effects and other such things as a GM.

Shea opts for the Final Fantasy approach to combat, lining up miniatures and ignoring distances between them:

"We can lay miniatures out on a mat to help us understand these things and still ignore the grid and the distance it represents. We place miniatures together or apart based on the abstract distances mentioned above. This lets everyone see who is in melee with who, and who is separated off from the rest.

With a Paizo flip mat we can write damage and effects directly on the map which makes tracking these things quite a bit easier and lets everyone see everything that's going on."

For fiddly things like area effects, Shea suggests three different solutions: go back to the grid, agree that the GM arbitrates all area effects in combat, and the random effect rolls as used in 13th Age (my personal preference):

"We can look to 13th Age for a solution and have area attacks hit a random number of targets. Small blasts hit 1d3 targets. Bigger blasts hit 1d4 or 1d6 or even 2d4 if they're really big. You can even roll randomly to determine who gets hit. This turns over the decision to the dice and helps everyone recognize that things are a bit more fair. You might be unlucky but at least the DM wasn't being an asshole about it."

There's some great advice here, so be sure to read the entire post over at Sly Flourish.

7 roleplaying games to play this Halloween

Halloween is creeping around the corner, so you haven't got long to get your slutty C3PO costume together. Generally around this time of the year we gamers like to add a bit of horror flavour to our games, so without any further ado here are 7 horrifying RPGs to disturb your players this spooky season.

7. All Flesh Must Be Eaten

It's unisystem zombies, coming for your brains. All Flesh Must Be Eaten is a survival horror game that asks the question 'what if?', letting you and your players select a campaign world such as World War II, Modern Day or Post-Apocalypse. Either way, there are zombies and they want to eat your face. Buy it here.

6. Cryptworld

Cryptworld is all about hunting down evil forces. The spiritual successor to Chill, Cryptworld lets you pull stories from classic horror, no zombies or Cthulhu required. Buy it here.

5. Don't Rest Your Head

Don't Rest Your Head is a unique and creepy game that puts players into the shoes of insomniacs who haven't slept for so long that they have discovered the doorways to the Mad City. A very cool system coupled with an intriguing, nightmarish setting makes this one perfect for a late night session. Buy it here.

4. Dread

Another indie game, but one famed more for its innovative Jenga mechanics than anything else. In Dread, you get to plunge your players into your favourite kinds of horror stories, using Jenga as a task-resolution system. Should you send those bricks tumbling then you know that your fate is sealed. Buy it here.

3. Epoch

Epoch is a survival horror game with a focus on characters rather than stats. It's a fairly freeform game that rewards character play over killing things and taking loot - a perfect game for a one-shot. Buy it here.

2. Kuro

If you like cyberpunk and Japanese horror then you'll probably enjoy Kuro quite a bit. The story is that Japan is protected by a nuclear attack by some unknown force. Believing that Japan is in control of some fancy anti-nuke technology, the country is blockaded, leaving the Japanese people trapped. However, as reports of strange paranormal activity become more common, it seems that something else is trapped in there with them. Buy it here.

1. Call of Cthulhu

As if I was going to leave out the grandaddy of all horror games. Call of Cthulhu has some of the simplest, most effective mechanics in roleplaying, as well as one of the most beloved universes in horror. It's chocolate and peanut butter! Buy it here.