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Monday, February 26

Adventus Regis - Part 2: The Murmurs of Madness

The dark-kin stepped over to one cart brimming with confections of all types. He bumped into someone who was staring at Calactyte.

“Oh I’m sorry…” he blinked as he took in the man before him. He wore the clothes of a patrician, but his features were undeniable. As were his purple lenses. “Kham?”

“Pardon?” said the man, taking a step back. “My name is Katticus Maximus Val’Abebi.” He looked around to see if anyone noticed him. Then Kham took off his lenses and winked at Sebastian. “And I have never met you before in my life. I’m just an ordinary nobleman vacationing in this fine town.”
[MORE]

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Thursday, February 22

Adventus Regis - Part 1b: Silentium Serenitatis

“After the show,” continued Gaius,” we will have wine and a reading of poetry here, in the dining room. Our wonderful staff will play music, of course. But before you begin your day of activities, our players have prepared a special set to welcome you to Vestalanium. I give you,” he bowed low with arms spread wide,” the players of Ravulus!”

At that point, the musicians and singer began their final set of the morning. Gaius exited the room.

“Well, looks like we’re on our own,” said Sebastian. “Where would you like to go?”

“Did he mention eateries?” asked Cal.

“The Shopping Square it is!” said Tula. [MORE]

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Monday, February 19

New Review: Blood & Spooks

Nicolas Kyriazopoulos-Panagiotopoulos gave Blood & Spooks: The Ghost Hunter's Guide a three-star review at RPGNow.com:

LIKED: Their respect to the format and layouts, I haven't yet looked in depth into game balance. They seem to have a good understanding of the system. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 11:43 AM | 0 comments links to this post


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Adventus Regis - Part 1a: The Silence of Serenity

Ilmarė snorted. “I’ll grant him that there are a few purpled-haired Elorii,” she looked at Cal and Bijoux. “But you two…you’re hard to miss.”

Bijoux pointed at a side table set for children.

“Then that must be…”

“Hi Cal!” said Emric, bounding up to him. “How are you?”

“I’m good kid,” said Cal, flashing the boy a mouthful of teeth. “How are ya?”

“I’m going horseback riding!” responded the boy. It was obvious the boy greatly admired the big lizard.

“Back to your seat, Emric,” said Thralen. He looked displeased.

“Awww.” [MORE]

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Wednesday, February 14

Chapter 17: Adventus Regis - Introduction

I pulled out all the stops for this adventure: cardboard props, music from Requiem for a Dream, chocolate coins, Mega Miniatures’ Town Folk (I used them in groups of eight) and liberal use of my Battle Box from Fiery Dragon Productions. Did I mention I love my Battle Box?

I didn’t tell the players that this was a Call of Cthulhu adventure, but it didn’t take long for them to become completely freaked out. I should point out that this adventure is fairly disturbing, which helped put our PCs in some moral quandaries. As my brother is fond of putting it, “this is SO Resident Evil.”

I tried a bunch of different writing styles with this story hour. There are references to several of Campbell’s King in Yellow stories (specifically, what happens to Cal and Kham). The descriptions of the byakhee are straight from Lovecraft’s “The Festival.” And of course, there are the verses from Blish’s “More Light” version of the play. It’s a bit difficult to understand what’s going on without the context of the play itself. After all, this adventure kicks off a horrible inevitability—the birth of the King in Yellow, a play that drives to madness all who witness it.

The end fight was a tough battle, but perfectly balanced…a rarity. Fortunately, they did not take on the Avatar of Has--I mean the Unspeakable One. But then, any day when you can put down two byakhee (two very large, advanced byakhee) is a good day indeed. [MORE]

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Monday, February 12

Deus Ex Machina - Conclusion

Ilmarė was silent.

“What’s wrong?”

“I delivered the note to Ambrose,” she said. “But now I’m not so sure that I should have.”

“Why?” said Quintus. “He’s gone. Khorbon’s dead. The Brotherhood is scattered. What more is there?”

“I just can’t help but wonder,” said Ilmarė, looking over her shoulder at where the portal once was. “What happens when Ambrose gets to that party?” [MORE]

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Sunday, February 11

DVD Review: Primer

Primer is probably one of the most realistic portrayals of time travel science in recent memory, but that doesn't necessarily make it an engaging film. Primer strains our patience. Most of the time, the characters stand around chatting with each other from innovative camera angles. The climactic moment, a scene where an ex-boyfriend shows up with a shotgun at a party, is never even shown. And the grainy footage, the monotone dialogue, the talking-over-each-other style of acting, all make the film seem more like a reality show than a movie. It doesn't have the slick sensibilities of Donnie Darko or the neatly wrapped storyline of Groundhog Day. And yet, the nihilistic outcome of the film is too powerful to ignore, sticking with you through multiple future viewings. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 4:17 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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DVD Review: Aeon Flux

The backlash on this film is suspicious. Perhaps it was Theron's Oscar win. Perhaps it's simply that many critics don't like science fiction. Or perhaps it's that a truly feminist take on a science fiction world makes male reviewers uncomfortable. Whatever the case, sci-fi fans should definitely give Aeon Flux a chance. [MORE]

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Wednesday, February 7

Game Review: Gears of War

Graphics aside, GOW is a fully realized universe. You can stop bad guys from spawning by throwing a grenade into a "Grub Hole." And to complicate matters, grenades are connected to chains that you bounce off of things (and even people), so one does not merely throw a grenade at a target. Gone are the Hail Mary sticky bomb kills that made Halo frustrating. The other weapons are equally innovative, especially the chainsaw bayonet, which allows you to churn up your enemies, Evil Dead style. Locust duck and weave, use cover, slowly advance forward and then retreat when they're in trouble. And oh yeah...NO JUMPING. Halo characters hopped around like frogs, such that a Spartan armed with a rocket launcher could become a moving target on an otherwise featureless terrain. No such luck here...if you're standing out in the middle of nowhere, you'll go down and go down hard. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 10:51 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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Geezergamers.com

Just wanted to give a shout out to my new friends over at GeezerGamers.com.



SHOTGUN TO THE FACE!

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posted by Michael Tresca at 7:02 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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Tuesday, February 6

Deus Ex Machina - Part 8: Casting Room

The clockwork minotaur turned its head again. It focused on Ilmarė. The minotaur whirred to life, stomping towards her one plodding step at a time.

“We can’t beat it,” said Ilmarė, her eyes wide. “We can’t…wait!” She fumbled in her pack as the albino minotaur advanced towards her. It was so close that she could hear the ticking of its gears.

She found it.

Ilmarė thrust the invitation up over her head. “Ambrose, I have your invitation!” [MORE]

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Saturday, February 3

Deus Ex Machina - Part 7c: Training Room

There was a crash as a large white and red blur, armed with an axe larger than Cal’s, slammed into the big lizard. They struggled back and forth, two axe hafts pressed against each other.

“What the hell is that?” asked Beldin.

“That,” said Ilmarė, “is Ambrose’s costume.” [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 9:20 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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