Tuesday, October 06, 2015

October means Halloween

It's already October. September just disappeared. One day you're coming back from Gen Con, the next day the leaves start turning and Fall's chill is in the air.

My attention has been on research and writing on a gaming project that I'm pretty excited about. More details soon, I just need to get it wrangled and done before the deadline at the end of this month.

Secret Santicore is on track again this year with only a slight delay. The call for volunteers will go out soon, then for requests shortly after.

Today is the US street date for Warner's first set of four Hammer Horror blu-rays, and their 30s/40s/50s monster film collection is available on the 27th. Each title is also sold separately. It's my understanding that each has received restoration and new masters, for an improvement over the DVDs. I plan to get the Hammer singles over time, with Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed on the way as I type this. Not so sure about The Mummy yet -- I might go with the UK edition.

I am utterly stunned by the number of deep catalog and cult film releases on blu-ray this year. Kino, Twilight Time, Warner Archive, Shout Factory, and others have all been busy. I've had trouble keeping track. A roundup highlighting this work would make a great end-of-the-year series of posts.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

My Gen Con 2015 haul

I didn't spend as much time browsing through the Exhibit Hall this year as I would have liked, but I did get to my top priorities -- and a few unexpected pieces.

Blowing Up the Movies by Robin Laws was a stretch goal for the Feng Shui 2 Kickstarter, and although I had the ebook version I wanted the print copy on my shelf.

Sigh Co. offers a ton of Lovecraft-related shirts, and their 1930s Prairie-style Miskatonic University T-Shirt stood out.

Green Ronin had several boxes of older material for $2 each, so I grabbed the Revised Edition True20 rulebook along with the Warrior's and Adept's Handbooks. Fantasy AGE and Titansgrave had already sold out -- I flipped through their display copy of Fantasy AGE and it looks good.

Steve Dempsey generously chatted with us for a bit about Night's Black Agents and Trail of Cthulhu at the Pelgrane Press booth. Shortly after that, I picked up the Trail rulebook in anticipation of a future ongoing Gen Con campaign (along with a 13th Age Escalation Die).

The Goodman Games booth is where I spent most of my dealers' hall time this year, with two separate visits. On the first round I picked up a print copy of Black Sun Deathcrawl, along with  Sailors on the Starless Sea, Crawl #1 and Crawljammer Issue 1. The second time I got a great combo deal on the Wizard Van t-shirt and one of the last skull logo shirts, and the adventures Against the Atomic Overlord and The Rock Awakens. This gave me the chance to roll the giant d20 twice, for which I was rewarded with the 2013 Gen Con Program Book and...

my choice from a stack of foamboard-backed promotional posters, in which I found this poster of the Frozen in Time sketch cover. I had it signed by Joseph Goodman and artist Doug Kovacs, but I missed Michael Curtis (next year!). Also pictured are issues 2 and 5 of The Gongfarmer's Almanac, an in-house zine produced for Gen Con. The picture is missing the swag bag of free Dungeon Crawl Classics goodies, including a pad of blank 0-level character sheets.

Already thinking about next year!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Kaiju Movie Marathon this Saturday

This Saturday, July 18th, Shout Factory TV and Famous Monsters of Filmland are hosting a free 24-hour live stream marathon of Godzilla films, Ultra Seven and Ultra Q episodes, with introductions by kaiju expert August Ragone. See the link for the full schedule (auto-play video on the page, but it was muted when I looked at it). It's also being streamed on the Pluto TV app for mobile and TV devices. (US and Canadian IP addresses only)

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Age of Ravens nominated for Best Website ENnie Award

Lowell's site is full of campaign ideas, gaming tips discovered during actual play, and he's been doing a great service by producing a valuable ongoing resource of  histories of RPG genres. Take a look at some of his previous posts.

I will be voting Age of Ravens as my #1 choice for Best Website at the ENnies.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Google Doodle for Eiji Tsuburaya’s 114th Birthday

It's fantastic to see Google honor the special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya on what would have been his 114th birthday today with a very involved Google Doodle game on their home page. Create a movie alongside the master!

Read about the making of the doodle here.

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Return of Reptilicus

Next Tuesday sees a release that I would not have expected -- Reptilicus on Blu-ray. It's a double-feature disc along with American-International Pictures' Tentacles, their star-filled 1977 copy of Jaws.

If you're unfamiliar with Reptilicus, have a look at my film and DVD review, including the condensed 10 minute version.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Letterman's Last Late (Night) Show

"From the home office in Lincoln, Nebraska..."

David Letterman's final episode of The Late Show aired last night. It was a good mix of on-stage bits (the Top Ten list), clips, music and Dave speaking directly to the audience as he usually does. It was also in many ways the end of an era.

It's not an exaggeration to say that I grew up with Dave. From the beginning I was one of those kids that stayed up way too late on school nights to watch his show and talked about it in the halls at school the next day. In that era before on-demand video clips, you couldn't be sure you would ever see those bits again.

I think Dave's shows struck a chord with me because he was one of us. He had the same Midwestern sense of humor that mocked and joked, but was never mean. He found the funny side of every-day occurrences. He had respect for the common person and never forgot where he came from. Who else would have made national celebrities of shopkeepers working in the theater's neighborhood?

Over time the show may have become repetitive, but the early years were great for being creative, chaotic, and willing to try anything. Dave and the show had much of the same vibe as early Saturday Night Live, as if they were left on their own in this late time slot with no one from the network overseeing the program (untrue, of course). What other shows would have characters like Larry "Bud" Melman and The Guy Under the Seats, or guests like Brother Theodore? What studio exec would have thought throwing things off a five-story tower would be funny and popular? He took concepts first started by Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show and refined them under the constraints of the network (and Carson Productions) into a format that all the late night talk shows still use today.

I could say that I miss him already, but really, I've been missing those early shows for a while now.

"She's gone already, Chief."

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Quick comments on A Red & Pleasant Land

Short on time recently for a full review, so here are comments I posted last month to RPGGeek:

R&PL raises the bar for all other small-press RPG publishers in terms of content, illustrations, and layout, and as a physical object. Looking at only the PDF version does not do this work justice.

It's designed specifically for ease of play and direct use at the table. The GM is given just enough information to create adventures in the setting through the use of bullet-point lists and tables. No dense text blocks or pages of back story that must be absorbed before playing the game. Sit down, break out this book and your favorite rules system, and start rolling for months/years of play.

Even better, it can be used as a toolkit for your own setting. How to deal with eccentric NPCs, interacting with the mirror world on the other side of the Looking Glass, the 3D spatial relationships of the castle maps, mass combat methods, instant location creation... all can be drifted into any campaign with ease.

R&PL is a new and totally unique take on a classic fantasy story, with plenty of room to make the setting your own.

Adding to the above, I had been following the previews, and considering the limited print run it was a day-one purchase for me. Check it out before they are all gone.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Conan RPG announcement from Modiphius

Early yesterday morning the news broke out across gaming social media that Modiphius had officially announced a new licensed Conan RPG. I knew that someone had the license from Paradox and Conan Properties but not who, nor when it would be released.

Modiphius is also working with Monolith Board Games, who are currently Kickstarting a Conan board game, to cross-promote (using the board game miniatures with the RPG; playing out RPG scenarios in the board game).

The RPG will use the 2d20 system, which I am not familiar with but is used in the Mutant Chronicles RPG that was successfully crowdfunded last year and is now beginning to show up in PDF.

I'm keeping an optimistic eye on how the game develops. With Howard scholars Jeffrey Shanks and Mark Finn on board, it should be in good hands.