Thursday, October 31, 2013

Randomocity RPG Gaming Zine

In case you hadn't seen (in which case I am a bad blogger for not talking about it), +Stacy Dellorfano of the +ConTessa online gaming con (and my Tuesday night G+ Hangout gaming group) put out the first issue of a cool gaming zine called Randomocity. The 150 copy print run ran out fast, but now the zine is available for posterity as a PDF. She's got a Gumroad site set up that lets you Pay What You Want (the hip new way to buy gaming PDFs) and get a copy of the zine in PDF. This will help defray the costs (because zining is an expensive hobby) of future issues and hopefully get a little bank help pay contributors in the future as well. After she does the print run for each issue, the PDF will go up for those who weren't able to get a copy. There's talk of an eventual compilation, too.

There are articles for Monsterhearts, OSR DIY D&D, 3:16, Apocalypse World and a lot of great art. There's also the start of a dark fantasy/swords & sorcery mini-setting for Fate Accelerated written by me. That alone is worth the price of admission. Gaming started as a DIY movement, and zines like Randomocity continues that tradition. Click on the image above and go to the site where you can get your PDF copy of Randomocity today.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dragon Kings Interview

This past weekend we here at the Dorkland offices sat down with Timothy Brown, creator of the Dragon Kings setting, to ask him a few questions about the setting and project, in general.


Dorkland: First off, congratulations on surpassing your pledge goal! How has the Kickstarter experience been for you so far? Any tips for those thinking of running one in the future?

Timothy Brown: Thank you! Kickstarter is a strange animal. Of course, it’s uplifting that all these people share your vision and would like to make it all happen. Anyone thinking of starting one should be prepared to answer a whole lot of questions.

DL: Why this particular setting? Why not a spiritual successor to 2300AD? Might that happen in the future?

TB: I’ve had the Dragon Kings environment swimming around in the back of my mind for quite awhile now. As I talked about it with other collaborators they encouraged me to move forward. That’s the main thing, I suppose, knowing I had an eager group of collaborators. As for science fiction, in many ways that’s my first love, and I’ve got quite a bit of material already written for that, too, in both game material and music, so, as they say, ‘watch this space.’

DL: What, if anything, are you bringing over from Dark Sun? Anything whole or in part? Any concepts in particular?

TB: There are definitely themes common to all my work that appear in both Dark Sun and Dragon Kings. The notion of a world in flux, especially one in decline for mysterious reasons that present the characters with unique, often difficult choices for survival. Also, the idea that applications of power have consequences, especially role-playing consequences (not just a bad die mod). Want to dabble in sorcery? Be prepared to meet its demands. You can throw unique character races into the mix, as well, exotic creatures that bring truly alien thinking into play.

DL: Having a focus on music, art and the setting is very different from the norm – what unique challenge has this presented for you?

TB: The main challenge has been narrowing the wide focus lens of a complete role-playing setting into a single epic tale to tell musically. Just about every aspect of the game world deserves its own song. Making one tale that holds together as a single musical expression while covering as many diverse pieces of the world has been difficult, but the final work will paint a vivid picture of the Dragon Kings experience.

DL: What is your favorite part of Khitus and why?

TB: I’m an alien race fan. I like envisioning different creatures, where they came from, why they think the way that they do. On Khitus, I’ve developed the elephant centaur Pachyaur, the hive-minded Krikis empries, and the arboreal Penmai, and I’d be excited to play any one of them in a game, myself.

DL: The Krikis are an interesting, hive-based race – what sets them apart as potential PCs?

TB: The Krikis are conflicted by evolutionary progress. Their genetically rigid society gave them the strength to thrive in their pre-intelligent state. But with greater cognizance has come individuality and innovation, valuable assets to an expanding culture, but anathema to the their castes and set roles. Heroes can be at once admired and reviled. Visceral guilt causes them enormous pain and inner conflict.

DL: Most of the places seem quite grim-dark – are there any areas of Khitus left that are still “good”, or will the players have to forge those areas themselves? If so, what was the design decision behind that and why?

TB: The southern hemisphere is the most ravaged by wanton plunder, and this is where the setting ‘begins,’ but there are equatorial regions that are as-yet unmolested. Characters have choices to make: defend and maintain what’s left of their homelands, seek to stop or even reverse the desolation, or flee to better places, either permanently or at least to gain respite.

DL: Magic seems to reflect the darkness of the world – how might this affect game play? Is there a “good” form of magic that PCs would use, or will they use this destructive magic, as well? If it is destructive, why would they want to use it?

TB: Sorcery demands an emotional toll on the caster. How the wizard mitigates that toll is key. An evil wizard deflects it onto unwitting victims. The good wizard either takes it upon himself or somehow tricks sorcery into thinking it has been ‘paid,’ but this is difficult. Perhaps the best answer is to match magic’s power with something that is not exactly magic.

DL: Lastly, what is the story behind the art of the worm with the tied-on wings and mask? Did it affix those itself? (Personal curiosity!)

TB: The Dragon Kings who once held sway over the world have, over the centuries, vanished. Exactly where they have gone and why is open to debate, steeped in legend and rumor … The denizens of the Black Fortress know that the simple races – Cold Skins and Krikis – are easily fooled, and contort themselves awkwardly to further their ends – the Dragon King Pretenders.

We here at Dorkland would like to thank Timothy Brown for taking the time to answer our questions, and we would also like to remind you that Dragon Kings' Kickstarter is still going on and if you want to learn more about the Dragon Kings setting and project you can check it out on their website.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Dragon Kings Kickstarter

Want to wander a desert fantasy landscape using your favorite rules system? Loved the Dark Sun setting and want something like it? Well, good news because the Dragon Kings kickstarter is going on right now and you still have time to get in on it.


Dragon Kings is the creation of Timothy Brown, who you may know as the co-creator of Dark Sun and 2300AD. The setting takes place on the world of Khitus, a world on the brink of destruction, where monsters ravage the land and once great nations struggle to survive. It is up to the players to save Khitus and uncover its mysteries.

And, if defeating baddies and saving worlds isn't enough for you, this setting -- and kickstarter -- has something a bit different to what you may be used to: music. One of the big features that is setting this product apart from other system-less settings is how it is being created and presented, from the kickstarter page: "in fiction, art, and music simultaneously." This isn't something that I've seen done before, so I can't really comment much on it, but I am very interested in seeing where this concept goes.

If all of this seems very interesting to you and you're wondering what it's going to cost you, well, let's take a quick look.


The lower pledge levels are split between the music and the setting material. If all you care about is getting an MP3 copy of the album, you can get that for US$12 (also includes the additional tracks from the stretch goal, should that be reached). If all you want is a PDF of the setting, that starts at US$25. To note on the setting book -- any tier that includes it (in PDF or physical) also includes the free PDF rules supplements for Savage Worlds and Pathfinder (as well as 13th Age and Fate, should their stretch goals be met). Print version of the setting rules (which also includes the PDF) comes in at US$45. And there are more combinations and additions higher up.

As of the writing of this post, the Kickstarter has reached its pledge goal and is working on the first stretch goal, with 24 days still to go. Stay tuned to Dorkland! as we will be bringing you an interview with Timothy Brown about Dragon Kings in the near future.

For more information on the kickstarter and Dragon Kings, you can check out their kickstarter video below, or visit their website.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Gygax Memorial To Honor "Father Of RPGs"

In 1974, the world changed forever when Gary Gygax introduced the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. The legacy of his innovative ideas continues to influence games to this day, forty years later. As Wizards of the Coast prepares to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the brand in 2014, the “Father of Roleplaying Games” will be honored with a memorial statue in his hometown of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin via a partnership between Wizards of the Coast and the Gygax Memorial Fund. Read more about the memorial at http://www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4news/gygaxmemorial2 and https://www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4news/gygaxmemorial
 
To further honor the memory and work of Gygax, Wizards of the Coast created limited edition premium-covered reprints of his original three Dungeons & Dragons tomes that were released over the course of the last year. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of these monumental books was set aside as a donation to the Gygax Memorial Fund, in addition to a sizeable contribution from Wizards of the Coast to help further the development of the memorial.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Arena of War is Live for iOS.


 Have an iOS device and an itch to slay kobolds and other baddies in the Forgotten Realms? Well, lucky for you Arena of War is now out in the wilds. (It will be on Android soon!)


We've got a press release right here:

First Ever Dungeons & Dragons Free-to-Play Mobile Game, Arena of War, Now Available Exclusively for iPhone, iPad & iPod touch
SAN FRANCISCO – October 17, 2013DeNA and Wizards of the Coast announced today that Arena of War, the first ever free-to-play Dungeons & Dragons mobile game, is now available exclusively for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Arena of War is a thrilling, turn-based, 3D, battle-RPG mobile game that sends players on perilous quests through the Forgotten Realms. As a proven fearless champion, the player is called upon to fight for the gods of good during the Sundering, a historic event in the Realms that will reshape both heaven and earth and shift the balance of good and evil. 

Arena of War is an epic and imaginative experience and we could not be more honored to be partnering with Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro to launch the first ever free-to-play mobile Dungeons & Dragons game,” said Tiburcio De la Carcova, Head of DeNA's Vancouver and Santiago studios. “Our development team worked side-by-side with Wizards of the Coast to build a game both long-time fans of the leading RPG franchise and action-adventure game players new to the brand will enjoy playing.”

Players build an adventuring party to enlist on their quests in Arena of War. By inviting friends to join a questing party, players can vanquish enemies and take on tougher challenges and bosses together. Each quest provides heroes with a variety of challenges for which some players, depending on character class, will have an advantage. The arena itself is also dynamic, filled with deadly traps that can be used against a player’s enemy or result in their own demise.

“Wizards is committed to working with the best partners to bring great digital D&D experiences to our fans,” said Nathan Stewart, brand director for Dungeons & Dragons, Wizards of the Coast. “Arena of War creates a great mobile experience in the Forgotten Realms and pits players against our legendary monsters to fight for the Realms in the current Sundering storyline.”


The Arena of War App is available for free from the App Store on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch or at www.AppStore.com

Arena of War is coming to Android mobile devices soon. Players can pre-register and receive an email alert when the game is available for Android as well as upgrade their character by obtaining the free Ultra Rare Power CAUSE FEAR if they enter their email address on the game’s website: http://www.dndarenaofwar.com

Screenshots for Arena of War are available for download via the following link: http://moba.ge/DDassets

A video trailer for the game is available for you to view and imbed on your site via this link: http://youtu.be/WoVs_AgNwX8

About DeNA
DeNA (pronounced “D-N-A”) is a global leader of developing and operating mobile services including free-to-play games, the Mobage social games platform, e-commerce and other online offerings. Founded in 1999, DeNA is headquartered in Tokyo with offices and game development studios across the globe. DeNA Co., Ltd. is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (2432). For more information, visit: dena.com

About Wizards of the Coast
Wizards of the Coast LLC, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS), is the leader in entertaining the lifestyle gamer. Wizards' players and fans are members of a global community bound together by their love of both digital gaming and in-person play. The company brings to market a range of gaming experiences under powerful brand names such as MAGIC: THE GATHERING, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, and KAIJUDO. Wizards is also a publisher of fantasy series fiction with numerous New York Times best-sellers. For more information about our world renowned brands, visit the Wizards of the Coast Web site at www.wizards.com.

About Hasbro
Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS) is a branded play company dedicated to fulfilling the fundamental need for play for children and families through the creative expression of the Company’s world class brand portfolio, including TRANSFORMERS, MONOPOLY, PLAY-DOH, MY LITTLE PONY, MAGIC: THE GATHERING, NERF and LITTLEST PET SHOP.  From toys and games, to television programming, motion pictures, digital gaming and a comprehensive licensing program, Hasbro strives to delight its global customers with innovative play and entertainment experiences, in a variety of forms and formats, anytime and anywhere. The Company's Hasbro Studios develops and produces television programming for more than 170 markets around the world, and for the U.S. on Hub Network, part of a multi-platform joint venture between Hasbro and Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK). Through the company's deep commitment to corporate social responsibility, including philanthropy, Hasbro is helping to build a safe and sustainable world for future generations and to positively impact the lives of millions of children and families every year. It has been recognized for its efforts by being named one of the "World's Most Ethical Companies" and is ranked as one of Corporate Responsibility Magazine's "100 Best Corporate Citizens." Learn more at www.hasbro.com.

Dungeons & Dragons, Arena of War, D&D, Magic: The Gathering, and Forgotten Realms are trademarks of Wizards of the Coast LLC in the U.S.A. and other countries. Kaijudo is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast/Shogakukan/Mitsui-Kids. HASBRO is a registered trademark of Hasbro, Inc. All rights reserved.









Friday, October 11, 2013

Dynamite Brings Back Classic Characters From Gold Key And Chaos Comics

Dynamite Entertainment proudly announces the return of four fan-favorite comic series -- Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, Solar: Man of the Atom, Magnus: Robot Fighter, and Doctor Spektor -- through a new licensing agreement with DreamWorks Classics.  The publishing company has signed four of today's most sought-after writers: Greg Pak on Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, Frank Barbiere on Solar: Man of the Atom, Fred Van Lente on Magnus: Robot Fighter, and Mark Waid on the long-lost hero Doctor Spektor.  Contributing artists will include Mirko Colak, Cory Smith, and more to be announced.  Dynamite will launch the bold new universe of name-brand titles beginning in February 2014.

"These are super-bold, all-new takes on awesome characters by some of the best creators working in comics today," says Nate Cosby, editor of the new line.  "I couldn't be more jazzed to oversee the revamping and re-imagining of the Gold Key line, especially when the incredible stories are coming from Greg, Fred, Mark, and Frank, with beautiful art by Mirko, Cory, and more.  It's a treat to work with these guys to dig down and find the core of each character, what makes them tick and why they've lasted for so many decades.  We can't wait to show you what we've been cooking up!"

Originally published throughout the 1950s and 1960s as part of the Gold Key Comics imprint and followed by the monumentally successful run from Valiant Comics in the early 1990s, the titles Turok, Solar, and Magnus: Robot Fighter are immediately recognizable to the modern comic-reading audience.  Doktor Spektor, a title launched in the 1970s, rejoins its contemporaries for the first time in decades as part of Dynamite's reimagined line.

Each contributing writer has shared their thoughts on the bold initiative:

Greg Pak, whose innovating writing style has propelled Batman/Superman to the top of sales charts, says, "When Nate Cosby told me the character he had in mind for me, I couldn't stop grinning.  The original Turok, Son of Stone series featured a Native American warrior fighting for survival in a lost valley populated by dinosaurs.  I'm just going to go on the record and say that every single element in that description is solid gold.  I want to write stories with a Native American hero. I want to write stories about fighting for survival. And you bet your boots I want to write stories about a world populated by dinosaurs.  And now you're telling me I get to do all three?  For sheer thrills and adventure, this book is going to be a blast to work on.  And I'm always drawn to stories that feature diverse casts, so I love that a Native American hero headlines the book.  I'm also loving the worldbuilding we're doing. We're exploring the reasons why dinosaurs walk the earth and all of the social, historical, ecological, and political ramifications that follow.  This is huge adventure combined with mind-bending alternate history, and I couldn't be happier."


Fred Van Lente, a New York Times bestselling author and fan-favorite writer of Marvel Zombies, says, "I'm thrilled and honored to be reviving such a beloved series.  I loved the original Russ Manning book as a kid, and am looking forward to bringing science fiction action to the new series in a thought-provoking way.  The very nature of robotics questions what it means to be human -- that's ultimately what Magnus: Robot Fighter will be about.  That, and punching robots until they explode.  There will be a lot that old-time fans will find familiar, but the science of robotics and cybernetics has advanced considerably even since the last time Magnus had a title, and you'll be seeing a lot of those reflected here."









Frank Barbiere, a rising star whose work includes Blackout and Five Ghosts, says, "Dynamite has lined up some of the top talent in the business for the new universe of books, and I am both excited and flattered to be part of it.  I think fans are going to be thrilled by the new directions we're taking with many of the properties, Solar included.  I'm a huge fan of the character and will be putting a unique spin on the mythology with an emphasis on family and character.  I'm hoping my take will resonate strongly across the readership, new and old alike, and I'll certainly be bringing a lot of new and exciting things to the table."



Mark Waid, one of the most celebrated comic writers of the modern era thanks to bestselling titles like Kingdom Come, Daredevil, Amazing Spider-Man, and Indestructible Hulk, says, "Launching a publishing event like this is an exciting opportunity to show how it can be done well, stylishly, and cohesively. The key (no pun intended), as far as I'm concerned, is to get to the core of these characters so we can, with dynamism and confidence, tell the readers who they are, what they want, and why fans will invest in that. For Doctor Spektor, the challenge comes in figuring out how a professional skeptic, a famous investigator who debunks and exposes the extra-normal and keeps himself grounded, can function in a world that suddenly hosts superheroes and supervillains. What do you choose to believe in when your lifelong belief system is swept away?"

And the Chaos! Comics announcement!

Dynamite proudly announces the return of Chaos! Comics, an expansive universe of fan-favorite horror characters including Evil Ernie, Purgatori, and Chastity.  Superstar creator Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash, G.I. Joe) will write an epic six-issue Event Series reintroducing the entire cast, bolstered by the gorgeous and gruesome illustrations of artist Mirka Andolfo.  Scheduled for release in early 2014, the Chaos! Comics resurrection will revel in all the attitude, sex appeal, and pure unadulterated mayhem that longtime fans and fun-loving newcomers crave.

"Evil Ernie came out when I was a teenager, when I was looking for something dangerous, scary, and sexy to read, and I loved it," says Tim Seeley, referring to the original Chaos! Comics publishing era which took the industry by storm in the 1990s.  "It was like punk music, late night horror movies, and a lingerie catalog rolled into one perfect creation. To say it had an effect on my work as a comics professional is a bit of an understatement!"

Evil Ernie, the undead serial killer.  Chastity, the vampiric punk-rock assassin.  Purgatori, the goddess of bloodsuckers.  The Omen, a band of supernatural misfits.  When each of these terrifying figures witnesses a vision of the world's impending doom, they rush headlong into conflict with one another.  Some try desperately to avert the nuclear holocaust, out of altruism or self-interest, while others... just want to raise some hell!  It's the return of the Chaos! universe on a grand scale, the resurrection of fan-favorite boogeymen and femme fatales amidst a violent, apocalyptic upheaval.

"The Chaos! universe gave rise to the kind of comics that would, depending on your age, make you hide them under your bed, tattoo the characters across your body, or paint them on the side of your van.  Their characters inspired such intense reactions from readers.  I want to be part of that.  I want to really harness what made characters like Purgatori, Chastity, Evil Ernie, and The Omen so unique and special both for existing fans... and a whole new generation with room under their beds."

Tim Seeley is a prolific comic book writer and artist, having contributed to a wealth of name-brand creative properties including G.I.Joe, Forgotten Realms, New Exiles, Weapon X: First Class, and G.I.Joe Vs. Transformers.  He has developed his own comic book series, including the wildly popular Hack/Slash horror series and the controversial, groundbreaking Loaded Bible.  Recently, Seeley partnered with Dynamite on the wildly madcap Army of Darkness Vs. Hack/Slash comic book series, teaming his tough-as-nails heroine Cassie Hack with MGM's resident square-jawed champion, Ash Williams.

"With Halloween right around the corner, it's the perfect time to announce the full-scale Chaos! Comics revival," says Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher of Dynamite Entertainment.  "Whenever you flipped the pages of an Evil Ernie, Cremator, or Bad Kitty comic, it was like your own private All Hallows Eve party.  Skulls and gore, vicious attitudes and zombie hordes, buxom beauties and malevolent metalheads -- Chaos! Comics reveled in the rebel spirit of its hardcore audience.  We launched an Evil Ernie miniseries last year to universal fan and critical acclaim, and we are proud to expand the Chaos! line to its full glory with Tim Seeley, a modern master of terror, at the helm.  And I'm ecstatic to report, Mirka Andolfo's art blows us away with every new page she turns in.  Watch out, Chaos! fans -- this will be a book to kill for!"

The Chaos! Comics revival is slated for release in early 2014, and will be solicited in Diamond Comic Distributors' Previews catalog, the premiere source of merchandise for the comic book specialty market.  As always, Dynamite encourages comic book fans to reserve copies with their local comic book shop or hobby specialty store.  Chaos! Comics will also be available for individual customer purchase through digital platforms courtesy of Comixology, iVerse, and Dark Horse Digital.














Thursday, October 10, 2013

CW's The Tomorrow People Pilot Episode

There is a lot of pre-judging that goes on in the geek "community" towards shows on the CW Network. True, there's a lot of crap on the network, but it is television and there's a lot of crap everywhere. However, the existence of crap doesn't mean that everything is crap. I've never quite understood the feelings of vocal segments of the geek "community" towards the network, particularly when most of them claim to not even watch the programming. That is something that I really don't understand. I suspect that a lot of these feelings come from CW's programming targeting a younger demographic, other than these "communities."

Regardless of the sour grapes, I have been excited because a favorite show from my childhood is getting a revamp from the network: The Tomorrow People. I have been excited about this show since I heard about it during the summer. I hoped that it would honor the original program, while at the same time making it into something contemporary and relevant to audiences today. Like I said on someone's Facebook feed last night, who really wants to see a show about pacifistic space hippies nowadays? The original UK version of The Tomorrow People was a wonderful show that inspired my childhood (and a long time love of psionics in role-playing games as well), however I don't want my nostalgia for the past to get in the way of something new and wonderful in its own way. Nostalgia can be as much of a curse with fandoms, causing people to be conservative and want the exact same thing out of new revamps that they got out of the originals. I'm not the same kid who watched reruns of the show on Nickelodeon back in the early 80s, and I don't want the exact same show. I want an homage, yes, but I want something new and spectacular as well.

Guess what? I got that last night as I watched the pilot of the new version of The Tomorrow People. I loved the show. This is the best revamp of an SF show since Christopher Eccleston pulled on a leather jacket to become the Ninth Doctor. 

We still have the basics of the original show: a conflict between Homo Superior and Homo Sapiens, the Tomorrow People being unable to kill, and a talking computer named Tim. To be honest, I didn't even expect all of these things out of the episode. I certainly didn't expect that Tim would be in the new show. That bit made me particularly happy.

Yes, the violence is a bit more than in the original series. While unable to kill, the Tomorrow People can still get into fights and beat the crap out of other people. To be honest, the fact that they can do that is a bit less dickish of a plot element than the "kids" keeping around some "saps" to do a bit of the old ultraviolence on their behalf.

I really want to talk about Mark Pellegrino's and speculate about what I hope that the character will be, but that is too much of a spoiler...so I will wait. I will likely talk about that character and my hopes on our next Geeky Voices Carry podcast regardless. By then I'll also have a few episodes of the show under my belt to discuss, so if you want to hear more of my opinions in a more spoiler-laden environment, you'll have to wait until then.

Overall, I liked the show. The pilot turned out to be much better than I expected it to be, and I will keep watching. The CW has delivered a show that is an homage to the original, while creating its own thing at the same time. It is new and fresh, with new spins on the ideas, while still be reverent to the source. I recommend watching this show, and I really think that the people who won't watch CW just because it is CW need to get over themselves because they are missing a great new show.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Red Sonja and Conan Crossover Coming From Dynamite and Dark Horse

October 8th, 2013, Mt. Laurel, NJ - New York Comic-Con Announcement:  Dynamite Entertainment and Dark Horse Comics are proud to announce the 2014 crossover of swords-and-sorcery icons Red Sonja, She-Devil with a Sword and Conan the Barbarian, a reunion that fans have asked for since their last team-up over fifteen years ago.  Two series will be published, Red Sonja/Conan and Conan/Red Sonja, by Dynamite and Dark Horse, respectively.  Acclaimed writers Gail Simone and Brian Wood are confirmed as the writers for the epic crossovers, both firmly established as valuable contributors to the Robert E. Howard fantasy mythos.


Gail Simone, current Red Sonja series writer, states, "It's only the crossover that readers have been begging to have for over a decade: the two greatest barbarian adventurers ever created in an epic tale of blood, lust, and vengeance.  This is the kind of stuff that made me a reader in the first place, and working with Brian Wood and his amazing version of Conan?  It's just a sword-and-sorcery dream come true.  It's sword vs. sword, Cimmerian vs. Hyrkanian, loincloth vs. bikini, and it'll probably be the most fun you'll have reading a comic all year."


Brian Wood, current Conan series writer adds, "Conan and Red Sonja together are a genre dream team, and I'm looking forward to not only working with Gail on the story, but creating a crossover story that is epic and huge as these things should be... and something that matters, that's relevant, and adds something to each character's rich history."


Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher of Dynamite Entertainment, says, "Red Sonja and Conan are the power-couple of fantasy comics.  They define the genre together, the iconic figures by which all others are measured.  Their history is intertwined, and I suppose it was only destiny that would lead them together again.  Well, that and a lot of planning alongside great folks like Mike Richardson, Gail Simone, and Brian Wood, plus the editorial teams from both of our companies.  And the timing could not be better, as this is a huge crossover to hit as we go into our tenth anniversary.  We couldn't be more pleased to see the Robert E. Howard legacy made whole again with two Hyboria-shaking crossover events."



Mike Richardson, President and Publisher of Dark Horse, says, "I think the fans of these series have been waiting a very long time to see them together again. I'm happy that we could work this out with the good folks at Dynamite."

Gail Simone is a multiple award-winning writer of comics and animation.  She began her career writing the popular comics parody column, "You'll All Be Sorry," which led to writing The Simpsons at Bongo Comics, Deadpool at Marvel, and Killer Princesses at Oni Press.  She has since written for many different publishers, including popular runs on iconic books like Birds of Prey, The All-New Atom, Secret Six, Wonder Woman, Catwoman, and Red Sonja.  In addition to her comic book work, Simone has written prose, game material, and animation, including Tomb Raider, Justice League Unlimited, and Batman: Brave and the Bold.  She was also a co-writer of the critically-acclaimed Wonder Woman animated film released in 2009.

Multiple Eisner Award-nominee Brian Wood released his first series, Channel Zero, to considerable critical acclaim in 1997 and has gone on to create hard-hitting original series such as DMZ, Northlanders, The Couriers, and The Massive.  Adding to that body of work, he's also written some of the biggest titles in pop culture, with work on Star Wars, Conan the Barbarian, Lord of the Rings, and The X-Men.

More information will be available in coming weeks regarding the long-awaited Red Sonja and Conan reunion event.

About Dynamite Entertainment:

Dynamite was founded in 2004 and is home to several best-selling comic book titles and properties, including The Boys, The Shadow, Vampirella, Warlord of Mars, Bionic Man, A Game of Thrones, and more.  Dynamite owns and controls an extensive library with over 3,000 characters (which includes the Harris Comics and Chaos Comics properties), such as Vampirella, Pantha, Evil Ernie, Smiley the Psychotic Button, Chastity, Purgatori, and Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt.  In addition to their critically-acclaimed titles and bestselling comics, Dynamite works with some of the most high profile creators in comics and entertainment, including Kevin Smith, Alex Ross, Neil Gaiman, Andy Diggle, John Cassaday, Garth Ennis, Jae Lee, Marc Guggenheim, Mike Carey, Jim Krueger, Greg Pak, Brett Matthews, Matt Wagner, Gail Simone, Steve Niles, James Robinson, and a host of up-and-coming new talent.  Dynamite is consistently ranked in the upper tiers of comic book publishers and several of their titles - including Alex Ross and Jim Krueger's Project Superpowers - have debuted in the Top Ten lists produced by Diamond Comics Distributors. In 2005, Diamond awarded the company a GEM award for Best New Publisher and another GEM in 2006 for Comics Publisher of the Year (under 5%) and again in 2011. The company has also been nominated for and won several industry awards, including the prestigious Harvey and Eisner Awards.  For more information, please visit: http://www.dynamite.com/.

About Dark Horse:

Founded in1986 by Mike Richardson, Dark Horse Comics has proven to be a solid example of how integrity and innovation can help broaden a unique storytelling medium and establish a small, homegrown company as an industry giant.  The company is known for the progressive and creator-friendly atmosphere it provides for writers and artists.  In addition to publishing comics from top talent such as Frank Miller, Mike Mignola, Neil Gaiman, Brian Wood, Gerard Way, Geof Darrow, Guillermo Del Toro and comics legends such as Will Eisner, Neal Adams, and Jim Steranko, Dark Horse has developed its own successful properties such as The Mask, Ghost, Timecop, and SpyBoy.  Its successful line of comics, books, and products based on popular properties includes Star Wars, Mass Effect, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aliens, Conan, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Halo, Serenity, The Legend of Zelda, Game of Thrones and Domo. Today Dark Horse Comics is the largest independent comic book publisher in the US and is recognized as one of the world's leading publishers of both creator-owned content and licensed comics material.  For more information, please visit: http://www.darkhorse.com/.

All characters ™ and © their respective owners.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Dynamite Announces Shadow and Grendel Crossover Series by Matt Wagner

October 7th, 2013, Mt. Laurel, NJ - New York Comic-Con Announcement:  Days before the doors open on one of the year's largest events in pop culture, Dark Horse Comics and Dynamite Entertainment announce the first in a series of upcoming crossovers.  Matt Wagner will write and draw an all-new Grendel story steeped in the pulp-noir world of The Shadow!


The Shadow is one of the most renowned and enduring pop-culture creations of all time, a multi-media character that established the original archetype of the modern super-hero.  Grendel, Matt Wagner's epic saga of dark aggression, has been a trailblazing powerhouse of independent comics for over thirty years and, for many fans, the elegant and deadly Hunter Rose is the quintessential version of the character.  Combined, these legendary and iconic characters represent over a century of publishing history!

Best-selling author Hunter Rose is secretly the masked assassin and criminal overlord known only as Grendel. When an arcane artifact comes into his possession, Grendel finds himself thrust into a world for which he seems destined, where style and violence intersect to form a dazzling golden age.  He will soon discover that this New York also has a fearsome protector-a dark and mysterious avenger whose name is spoken in hushed whispers, The Shadow!

"Ever since the smash success of my two previous crossover events (with Batman), I've had many offers over the years to see Grendel cross blades with a varied host of other characters," comments Grendel creator, Matt Wagner. "But none of those opportunities ever excited me as much as this possibility.  I've been a huge fan of The Shadow for many, many years and my love of the character finally saw fruition when I got the chance to literally re-define his origins by writing The Shadow: Year One for Dynamite. To have the chance to both write and draw The Shadow facing my own creation is something of a dream come true! It's also adds yet another instant classic to my long legacy of Grendel projects with Dark Horse Comics."

"I'm looking forward to this project for many reasons, not the least of which is Matt Wagner's return as both writer and artist of Grendel," said Dark Horse president and publisher, Mike Richardson. "The fact that I share Matt's enthusiasm for one of the greatest fictional characters of all time, The Shadow, makes it all the more exciting. Dark Horse and Dynamite are proud to announce this great comic series from one of comics' premier creators."

"I've known and been a fan of Matt's since Grendel first appeared in the early ‘80's, and one of the first prestige comics I bought was The Terminator by Matt with James Robinson.  Matt's an incredible story teller and has written three series for Dynamite, including The Shadow: Year One," said Dynamite CEO and Publisher, Nick Barrucci. "When the idea for a Grendel / Shadow cross-over was suggested, and Matt stated that he would write it and illustrate the series in a Prestige format, let's just say that you can't quantify the excitement in our offices.  This is such an incredible series, and the first of more projects that Dynamite and Dark Horse are announcing."

This exciting new three issue series will be released in three 48 page prestige format issues in 2014! Look for more details in the months to come.



Thursday, October 03, 2013

Dorkland Interview: The Melior Via Crew Talk About The Accursed RPG

Melior Via's Accursed is a dark fantasy RPG for Savage Worlds that is currently being Kickstarted. The kickstarter is working its way through stretch goals as of this post, so if you're interested in joining the monster mash -- now is a good time.

For the real bloody meat of this post, though, we sat down in Dorkland's plush offices for an interview with the guys behind Accursed:

DL: First off, congratulations on surpassing your initial goal and breaking through some stretch goals! How has the Kickstarter experience been for you so far? Any problems? Anything awesome?

MV: Thank you very much! We’ve been very pleased with the response to the Kickstarter so far, and we’re extremely grateful for the outpouring of support and enthusiasm from the gaming community. So far, the Kickstarter experience has been a wild ride! We’ve all been watching the progress of the Kickstarter closely, and one of the best things so far has been interacting with the backers through the comments section. We’re gathering quite a bit of playtest information from the 100-page playtest player’s guide that all backers (regardless of level) get immediate access to, and the feedback from the fans is helping us make some improvements for the final product.

DL: When planning for Accursed, did you look into using any other systems? Have any future plans for porting the setting over to a different system? What made you decide on Savage Worlds?

MV: The three of us (Ross Watson, John Dunn, and Jason Marker) discussed what game system would be best for Accursed in the early stages of development. We checked out many of the existing systems in the RPG industry, and we found that Savage Worlds provided the best fit. The Fast, Furious, Fun approach of Savage Worlds is a good match for the heroic actions we wanted to portray for the Accursed’s struggle against the Witches. There are some stretch goals we’ve got lined up for the Kickstarter that involve translating Accursed into some other, very well known and popular RPG systems as well, but we’re going to keep those details under wraps until we get a bit closer to those stretch goals.

DL: How did Accursed come about? What started it all?

MV: I was trying to think of a new twist on the “dark fantasy” genre of RPGs, when I started considering some of my favorite touchstones of that concept were actually films like Hellboy and the Monster Squad, comic books like the Creature Commandos, or literature like Solomon Kane. I thought that having a setting where the heroes are monsters teaming up together to fight evil would be a really cool twist on a fantasy RPG, and combining it with some of the tropes I loved from Castlevania and Ravenloft helped firmly cement the idea in my mind.

DL: What are some of the influences behind the Accursed setting?

MV: Well, as I mentioned above, some of the biggest and most prominent influences are Hellboy and Solomon Kane. Castlevania and Ravenloft also have their part in the genesis of Accursed, and the three creators all found some excellent real-world mythology and faerie tales to draw upon as well. Accursed is a setting where all the faerie tales went horribly wrong, so the Brothers Grimm helped us flesh out several pieces of the setting as well.

DL: What were your design philosophies (personal and/or as a company) when planning and working on Accursed?

MV: One thing that was very important to us during the design of the Accursed setting was to take the main theme of the setting—dealing with the curse afflicting your character—and make sure to weave that theme throughout every part of the book. The mechanics, the character options, the sidebars, the GM advice, everything. Another really important element was to ground Accursed in tropes and ideas that people can relate to. For example, all of the Witchbreeds resemble classic monsters from movies and legends, and all the nations of Morden have a link to nations that are in the real world. I think we really brought out the key things that make Accursed unique, especially with how each player’s personal choices of how to deal with his character’s curse affect the story he can tell in Accursed.

DL: What do you have planned for the future of Accursed?

MV: Honestly, a lot of that depends on how well the Kickstarter ends up! We have tons of ideas for areas of Accursed to further develop, from producing more books about the setting (from the Discordian Sea to the forbidding Darkwall Mountains), more books about the Witches and their Banes, books focusing on the individual Witchbreeds, adventures and campaign books, and more. If the gaming community wants more Accursed, we can absolutely provide it!

DL: Our group had a chance to check out a creature from Accursed (the Leech-man). It seemed to be pretty Hardy for a minion. Is this a theme with Accursed creatures? What other differences might players find from their “average” horror/dark fantasy campaigns and settings?

MV: One thing we wanted to give people in the Accursed setting are some truly horrific monsters, creatures that are just disturbing in their very nature. One of the best examples of that are the bloated, slimy leech-men! That being said, there are a lot of nasty creatures in Accursed – these are the Banes, monsters crafted by the Witches to act as soldiers, servants, and slaves. Some of them are quite potent in battle whilst others (such as the murder-doll Manikins) are more frightening than tough.

DL: What is Melior Via going to do next? More Accursed? Have other projects?

MV: Well, as we’ve mentioned before, that has a lot to do with how well the Kickstarter does in the end! If Accursed does really well, we’ve got a lot of plans for more Accursed products down the line. Of course, Melior Via has other projects as well (such as the Hope Preparatory School series for Icons/Mutants and Masterminds), so it is fair to say that you’ll be seeing more from Melior Via in the future!

DL: What is your favorite part of Accursed and why?

MV: I think that all three of us have our own personal favorite piece of the setting, but for me (Ross Watson), I’d have to say that my favorite bit are the guidelines for how a character can develop and grow down the “fate track.” This section of the book discusses what happens when one of the Accursed begins to either embrace his curse and grow more monstrous (but also gaining more vulnerabilities associated with that monstrous form), or deny his curse and attempt to break it (possibly restoring his lost humanity, but also weakening some of his existing monstrous abilities). There are solid reasons, both role-playing and mechanical, for going down either path.

DL: Finally, the most important question: Have you created any strong min/max’d Accursed characters and, if so, what were they? (Need some tips!)

MV: I’ve made quite a few characters for the setting, both for demos of the game in my local area and also for my at-home game of Accursed that I run on a weekly schedule. So far one combination that I’ve found to be quite effective is a melee-focused Vargr with the Strength of the Motherland Edge. In bestial form, the Vargr can be quite a warrior!

We'd like to thank Melior Via for the time and wish them the best with their ongoing Kickstarter!