Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Metropolis Vs. Buffalo Rider

* = I think if Cassandra told me this I would be sort of 'iffy' on it.  However if she was to sport that Slayer tattoo on her stomach I'd take her seriously and then run.  Very far away...

It has been a hellacious week or so. The trees came down finally. While I’m happy it’s done I would never recommend that service to anyone for multiple reasons. There was a massive ‘issue’ at the place I drive to Monday through Friday. There was another burst of deaths in my hometown, this time people I was a bit closer to growing up, this brings us to like 5 in 8 weeks. On top of all that I fell down the stairs and busted my fat ass, well my knee actually, but no one says, “I busted my fat knee”. So I almost decided to put blogging on hold for a spell as I didn’t feel I had much positive to contribute.

Then I remembered that I have an obligation. It’s an obligation to myself to write, and to the good few of you who choose to waste your time online reading me drone on and on about crap. So thank you Internet, thank you for helping me sort of get some focus in a time where I’ve had none, now on to the regular junk.

I finished a few books recently, here’s what I thought;

- Lord Soth by Edo Van Belkom (* ½ out of 5) –
Well the good news is I only paid a dollar for this book. The bad news is I read it. RIM SHOT! It wasn’t all bad, it was just really truncated. For those that don’t know about Dragonlance, there is a primary antagonist in the setting named Lord Soth. Now old Soth is a Death Knight and cursed to a ‘life’ of undeath. Since that time he found himself in Ravenloft, a setting for the unrepentant evil, and had a few kick ass adventures there. This book however decided to tell the ‘Behind The Music’ version of Lord Soth before he ‘fell’. My issue with it is there is no tension, hell there isn’t much of a fall. Soth is depicted as an honorable man, as long as it suits him. In other Dragonlance material they allude to this grand fall of a great hero, this is what makes him so tragic and yet so nasty. This book doesn’t give us that at all. He basically comes across as a horny, easily enraged bully, who is more interested in maintaining his social standing than his own honor. In all honesty I look at this book more as ‘fan fiction’ than ‘canon’. It’s sad too, because I like the idea of telling this tale, it’s just too bad the tale didn’t live up to the telling.

- The Last Thane by Douglas Niles (**** out of 5) –
Here is the exact opposite of what I just talked about, a Dragonlance book that fits the setting, what we know about the characters and their world, and takes us somewhere new! As anyone who reads this drivel knows I was prepping to use the Duergar in my home D&D campaign. The thing was I felt like I didn’t have a handle on these Evil Devil Worshipping Dwarves. I was struggling to make them something fun and new for my PC’s. Well after finishing Lord Soth I needed a Dragonlance palate cleanser and this book just happened to be on the top of a pile of Fantasy books I hadn’t read. I had no idea it would feature ‘Dark Dwarves’, as they are referred to on Krynn, and be such a direct influence on my home game. The book takes place at the beginning of The Chaos War and deals exclusively on how it affects the Dwarven community of Thorbardin. This cool setting is in a mountain in which there is a lake and a series of Dwarven cities. Some of these cities are ruled by the ‘Dark Dwarves’ while some by other Dwarven sub-races. It’s sort of a tenuous peace at best. The book tales the tale of how a war starts in Thorbardin and then escalates once the forces of Chaos erupt and take advantage of the situation. I don’t want to spoil any more of it, because it really is a smashingly fun read. The characters are fleshed out reasonably well, the setting is evocative, the description of the battles are told extremely well, and it paints a vivid description of a race on the verge of being wiped out. Couple all that with the fact that I’m using this as the inspiration behind my Duergar in the Abode Of Order and you’ve got a WINNER!

- Prince Of Wolves by Dave Gross (***** out of 5) -
Oh Paizo you have yet to let me down with any of your Pathfinder Tales novels. This one is NO exception. This novel follows the exploits of the Chelaxian, a country in the Pathfinder world that openly worships Asmodeus (for those that don’t know he’s basically the Devil), investigator Count Jeggare and his hell spawn body guard Radovan as they traverse the land of Ustalav. It’s a land full of mystery and monsters, and it doesn’t give up its secrets lightly. This is a fantastic book, there is the great hook of each chapter alternates between Count Jeggare, a half-elf noble in the model of Sherlock Holmes, and Radovan, a devil spawned every man with a penchant for being virtually unkillable. So it’s sort of like if Sherlock Holmes’ ‘Watson’ was Wolverine. It sounds strange, but damn if it didn’t blow my doors off. The tale involves cults, werewolves, gypsies (but not their tears Ant), and an incredibly nasty enemy. Again, when it comes to a book I enjoyed this much I am loathe to reveal to much as I just want you all to read it. Oh and if you don’t get the Pathfinder World jargon, that’s fine Paizo has seen fit to put a glossary of important terms in the back of every novel, that way you don’t feel as lost when a particular person, place, or thing appears. Suffice to say it’s a fun read and really makes me want to see more tales of Count Jaggare and Radovan. I have to add if there is one thing Paizo has done with its novels is it’s made me want to play in the Pathfinder World. They’ve found tremendous authors to weave amazing tales, and build a library of characters that I like to read about having outlandish adventures. Kudos to you Paizo for getting it done, and getting it done right!

Speaking of the awesome sauce that is Paizo, it’s that time again! It’s the weekly Rise Of The Runelords preview. Before I get to the mini, let me point out that this is the last preview for this set. Overall I’ve been impressed with what Wizkids and Paizo have been able to do as the follow-up to Heroes and Monsters. I will be dropping some ‘cheddar’ on Auggies, a fantastic site to grab cheap singles miniatures, once this set drops in August. This set has given me high hopes that this partnership can put out quality stuff on a consistent basis.
So for this final preview we get The Shinning Child! I have no idea the Rarity on this mini, but I have to say I hope its Uncommon so I can pick a few up for my home game. It has a decent pose, sort of that ethereal float that we get with a lot of ghosts. I like the clear plastic coupled with the paint in the back allowing for the mouth and eyes to have a disturbing glow and for the hair to give the upper body a strange blackness. It looks like it has sprung from the Far Realm itself to bring corruption to your very soul! So it’s right up my alley. If it is cheap and I get a few I already know how I’m going to incorporate them into my D&D group. Cue sinister laugh HERE!

I also managed to knock out a few more Doctor Who serials in since the last time I blogged productively, here’s what I watched;

- The Abominable Snowmen (*** out of 5) –
I really hope there are no more ‘Reconstructed’ episodes left to get through. This one was almost all ‘Reconstruction’ and it was rough going. I loved the idea of The Doctor coming back to Tibet and referring to an adventure we never saw, it adds a layer to The Doctor that I’m glad continues to this day. This serial has a lot of the same issues I generally have with a lot of the ‘Historic’ adventures as they seem remarkably formulaic; The Doctor and Companions arrive in a place, they are immediately distrusted, and chaos ensues. The big difference here is the Abominable Snowmen themselves who look like something out of an H.R. Puffinstuff nightmare. They are bizarrely credible threats and when you add them to the menace of The Great Intelligence you have all the makings of a fun serial. The problem for me arises in the fact that it was as I stated almost completely made up of ‘Reconstructed’ episodes and those ‘Reconstructions’ were the worst I’ve watched so far. It was a slog to get through this serial and that’s a damn shame because what I could see and hear of it had me intrigued.

- The Ice Warriors (**** out of 5) –
Finally I’ve gotten to a re-occurring alien race whom I’ve never seen an episode regarding before in the Ice Warriors. While they do look slightly goofy, as all Doctor Who aliens generally do, they have an air of menace behind them, like all Doctor Who aliens generally do, that reminds me of the Sontarans in a way. They are a martial species who value their prowess as warriors above all other things. The interesting thing is the fact that it’s strange future The Doctor and his two companions arrive in, one where the glaciers have almost reclaimed the planet, but humanity on the brink. In their efforts to stem off the glacier tide and learn about it a team of excavators finds an Ice Warrior frozen. He eventually escapes and kidnaps Victoria in the process. Of course this brings The Doctor and Jamie directly into conflict with them. This whole serial had The Doctor less overt and more relying upon his wit and guile rather than his force of will. Believe it or not there is a whole segment of the serial where it looks like Jamie will be permanently paralyzed from the waist down and I actually thought they might run with that, no pun intended. That’s how enthralled they had me. On top of the menace of the Ice Warriors there was an underlying message of man’s inability to shake the yoke of a computer that was only interested in its own self-preservation. It’s a fantastic concept and I really wish it had been its own three part serial, and that they would have made this one three as well. These six episode serials tend to be a bit long with a lot of meandering about. I prefer my tales a tad more streamlined. Again The Doctor proves to be pretty damn ruthless as he has no problems putting his enemies in a position that leads to their horrible demise. Overall it’s a damn fine episode, but not great.

Hmmm, how about we wrap up with some…


- Dave & I finished out first ‘Careers In Evil’ Podcast. I have the link for download on the previous blog. If anyone out there can assist my dumb ass with how to get it actually to play on the blog I’d appreciate it. Me am not smart(s).
- There is a high chance that all the wood will be out of our yard today. That would be amazing.
- I-Town had two more deaths the last week. Two more dudes I grew up with, one a heart attack and one appears to possibly be a murder. It’s really strange to know that people you grew up with are now deceased. I think I have a real hard time with death and mortality. Actually I know I have a hard time with these concepts. I just feel really bad for the families. It makes me wonder whether or not life is simply an exercise in loss. I sincerely hope not.
- There’s a quick turn around on D&D as we’re up again on 8/4/12. I have a LOT of prep to do.
- We’re almost out of the Sport’s Abyss. The NFL training camps are about to get under way which means we’re just about a month and a half from meaningless Pre-season games. And by ‘Meaningless’ I mean THANK THE GAWDS your back Football because baseball makes me want to push random old people down a flight of stairs.
- Thanks to Mick, who I don’t know if you even read this for the Brunch excursion on Saturday. I had a blast, the food was good, and I want to steal your dog.
- Marvel announced that one of its next flicks will be Guardians Of The Galaxy! For those that don’t know that will tie in perfectly to the end of The Avengers where we saw Thanos.

The Guardians Of The Galaxy are something of a conglomeration of Cosmic characters, at times like a Dirty Dozen type squad, who deal with all sorts of galactic calamities. The picture they put out has Peter Quill aka Star Lord, Groot, Drax the Destroyer (whose one mission in ‘unlife’ is to kill Thanos), Gamorra the most dangerous woman in the galaxy, and my favorite Rocket Racoon. If done correctly, which means in the vein of what Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning did in the Annihilation miniseries as well as in Nova and the Guardians Of The Galaxy titles than this movie should be utterly amazing.
- Hopefully tonight I can convince Cassandra to play a game or three of Dungeon Command.
- On the commute in to the place that pays my bills we finally listened to Baroness’ ‘Yellow’ album. ‘Take My Bones Away’, which we used as the opening of the Podcast, is just fantastic. Even Cassandra seemed to really dig it. Plus I mean just look at that album art, it's gorgeous!  I haven’t listened to the second part of the double album, ‘Green’, but if it’s half as good as ‘Yellow’ then I’ll love it.
- We played Dread last Friday and it was spectacular. I discussed this in depth on the Podcast.
- So I didn’t bother to watch the 1,000 episode of RAW last night, but I did read that it looks like they are turning my man CM Punk Heel again. I know WWE has to protect its little kid, PG cash cow John Cena, but c’mon. Isn’t it obvious that Punk was over as a Face and that a LOT of wrestling fans are really sick of John Cena? I’m not even a casual watcher anymore, but if I know Punk or Bryan Danielson is going to have a match I’ll at least try to catch it online. Continuing to cling to returning attractions like The Rock or Brock Lesnar and to a guy like Cena never gives you a chance to bring back in viewers like myself who love that stiffer Japanese style coupled with a harder edge. Oh well, I guess it just means I’ll care even less about Monday Nights.
- Ant, thanks man for that phone call the other night it was something I really needed. You are still The Bro-Lo El Cunado.

I think that’s all I got today. Again go forth and listen to the Podcast! We both liked it so feed our giant egos. FEED IT!

“You lead the way, I'll follow
You lead the way, I'll follow

What was the plan here? I can't seem to stop!
Pissing and spitting from bottom to top
Picking up viscera, tendons and broken remains

Did you feel another way
Was it my turn, or yours, to say?
"Did you find another way?"

Take my bones away
I'll find 'em everyday!
Take my bones away
I'll find 'em everyday!

I took your advice and the requisite pills
And forbidden pies from a white windowsill
Did I tell you "don't come home"?
Why was your mouth not beginning to foam?
Swallowing caveats, Baphomet's breath and migraines

Did I tell you "don't come home"?
Why was your mouth beginning to foam?
Did I tell you "don't come home"?

Take my bones away
I'll find 'em everyday

Take my bones away!
Take my bones away!
Take my bones away!
Take my bones away!
Take my bones away!
Take my bones away!”

* = If I could I think I most likely would...


  1. Glad to see you dug Prince of Wolves. There's just enough time to read Master of Devils and the novellas and free stories available at paizo.com before Queen of Thorns hits shelves in October. I hope you dig them, too.

    1. Mr. Gross,
      If they are as good as Prince Of Wolves was I'm sure I will. You keep writing them and I'll keep reading them.

  2. I think Master of Devils is better, but not everyone enjoys the Asian-style setting as much as I do. Queen of Thorns is my editor's favorite of the lot, and I suspect many Pathfinder readers will agree with him. Elves and nudity, go figure.

    1. Mr. Gross,
      Well now Master Of Devils is on my radar, and it'll be in my reading que extremely quickly. I have found a lot of fantasy fiction in an Asian setting to be difficult not being as famliliar with the 'source material' as I am with more western mythology. However if Prince Of Wolves is any indication then I look forward to it greatly.
      As for Queen Of Thorns, who doesn't love Elves & Nudity? No one that's who.
      On a side note, it really is cool to have yourself and Mr. Pratt pop in on my little blog here and drop a comment. So thank you sir.

  3. If you haven't already found them, check out the 20+ stories available free at paizo.com (look for the web fiction tab). It's a good way to sample the many voices in Pathfinder fiction. And if you dig them, you might want to check out some of the not-free ePub/PDF novellas and stories also available there.

    1. Mr. Gross,
      I'll have to check some more of those out. A buddy of mine and myself are contemplating trying to do an 'Audio Play' of The Perfumer's Apprentice off teh website. For some reason I just adore that story. I subscribe to Pathfinder Tales and it's some of the best money I feel I spend on fiction every time I get a new novel. And this coming from a D&D 4E guy is pretty surprising. I think one of the great charms and compliments to yourself and other authors in the line like Mr. Pratt is that you MAKE me want to play Pathfinder.