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The Geek Gazette

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 Quick comic recommendations and reviews
Posted: Tue, 13 Sep 2011 10:30:00
Author: (Geek Gazette)
There are a lot of really great comics out there and with the changes at Marvel & DC there is a lot to be excited about for comic book fans.
Here are a few of the books that I've been enjoying, or not, over the past few months. Oddly enough I've also been buying more books digitally. As a matter of fact all of these books are ones I have been reading in the digital format exclusively.  I'm still reading my print monthlies and I won't be giving them up, but there are some books that I'm okay with not buying in the printed format. Digital isn't all bad and I'm really liking Comixology's app.

The Pound (IDW): This is not the greatest book, but it is a lot of fun. Two former animal control officers, and their werewolf buddy are all that stands between the citizens of Cleveland and the monsters that are hiding in plain sight. I'd like to see this as an ongoing. I'd definitely recommend picking this up in trade.

Witch Doctor (Skybound/Image):  I am loving this book. They describe this as "House M.D. meets Fringe" and I'd say that's a pretty fair assessment. For fans of the weird/horror genre this book is a must buy as far as I'm concerned. While I'm still waiting for the remainder of my new 52 books to get here, this book takes the top spot as my pick of the month.

Hawk & Dove (DC): I, like many others, have my issues with Rob Liefeld, but for the most part I like his art. Is it perfect, no, some would say it isn't even very good, but I think his style is fun and I like it.
I'll be honest, I've never been a Hawk & Dove fan, so he was actually the only reason I gave H&D a try. I read the series back when Liefeld did it originally, I disliked it then and I'm not enjoying it now.
I'm sure that there are fans of H&D out there and for them this book may be worth it, but for me this was one of the weakest DC books I've read in the past few years. Unfortunately even figthing zombies on an airplane couldn't save this book, and I'm still a zombie fan. I tried the first issue, but I won't be back.
I see a quick death for this title.

Batwing(DC): I was kind of surprised by this book. It wasn't great, it was actually very mediocre, but it was enjoyable. We see so little of the heroes from other countries and in this issue we are not only introduced to the Batman of Africa, but to the idea that there was an actual team of heroes at some point. Granted I've heard some complain that Batwing can't patrol the whole continent and should be confined to a single country, but how many times have we seen Batman operating in other countries? As a matter of fact he makes a quick appearance in this issue. So the idea of a hero that operates on an entire continent is not too far fetched.
While I do like the book, I doubt that I'll buy any more issues. To be honest if it wasn't for the fact that my comics budget is stretched too thin as it is, I'd add this to my pull list. So my decision to not follow this book is not based on the quality. The art was great and the story was passable. A little disappointing for a premier issue, but definitely not a waste of time or money.
For a new reader or those that are screaming for more diversity this book should be a welcome addition to the DCU, and it is an enjoyable read. Being a Batman book affords this title a longer lifespan than many of the other New 52 books, but I doubt that the book will last too long. After all many of the people who like to cry about diversity are the same people who will bitch and complain on the internet regardless of what DC does. Unfortunately, those people don't really have any intention of supporting the titles they supposedly champion, they just like the attention that whining can provide. That's too bad because this book could

So far the two DC books I've mentioned in this post are the only two of the New 52 that I've read. I'm a bit disappointed, and perhaps I hyped it up too much, but I really did expect DC to go all out for the relaunch. I thought they would only put out the best of the best of the best, but these two books were definitely not up to that level. I've heard really great reviews of some of the higher profile books, which is not surprising, but I really thought DC would try a little harder, this time, with the lower profile books. Hopefully, this is just a case of expectations that are just a bit too high on my part.
 My current games
Posted: Mon, 12 Sep 2011 10:30:00
Author: (Geek Gazette)
Category: RPG
The last game I ran was a d20 Modern, CoC d20 and Monte Cook's World of Darkness hybrid. The PC's were a team of ghost hunters, just like on TV, that ended up investigating an abandoned psychiatric hospital that is infested with ghost, demons and other ghoulies. Sure it isn't the most original of ideas, but it was a lot of fun and went very well.

My player's consisted of one long time player, his daughter, my daughter, one of my regular teen players and his girlfriend. It was the girlfriend's first time playing and I am happy to report that not only did everyone have a good time, but I think I ran a damn fine game. In the past few years I've been really fortunate, depending on your perspective, because I have had a lot of players that have never played a table top rpg before. Considering that we don't have a FLGS I think it is pretty great that I've seen 8 new players in the past few years. Not just new to my table but new to the entire experience. That's pretty cool.

Despite many years of GMing I continue to learn about not only the experience, but myself. Every "great" game I've ran for the past few years has been non-fantasy. Sure I love my 3e/Pathfinder, I like 4e and I'm even fond of several other fantasy games, but I'm just not having fun running fantasy and haven't been for quite a while. Running a fantasy game feels like a chore, like work. I'm just burned out on fantasy and don't even enjoy reading or watching S&W fantasy at the moment.

All of the games that get me excited, make me want to play are all non-fantasy. I have quiet a few games that I am really excited about playing like Mutant Epoch, Mutants & Masterminds 3e/DC Adventures, Hollow Earth Expedition, Buffy tVS, and all of my d20 Modern/CoC/MCWoD books.

I've got a game coming up and this time I'm considering running either M&M3e or Buffy. I'm wanting to try my hand at running a supers game, so I'm leaning heavily towards M&M. Before we go on winter hiatus I'm going to try to run a post-apocalyptic game. Assuming the the players are okay with it. Now that they've decided to leave the "I only play fantasy" player out of the group for a bit everyone else is eager to try something new. That's fine by me.

 Comic Con, RPGs and Podcasts
Posted: Fri, 29 Jul 2011 22:31:00
Author: (Geek Gazette)
Category: Comic Books, Pathfinder, RPG
Comic Con has come and gone and this year DC seemed to dominate. Not that I'm complaining mind you. I'm a lifelong DC fan, but it did seem odd to see DC as the center of attention. This years Comic Con was actually about comics. Hollywood has dominated the event for the past several years, so it was nice to have an actual comic book company be the big news.

Of course I'm excited about the DC 52 launch this September. Granted I think more than a couple of the books will tank, but over all I'm really jazzed that DC is doing something this bold. I'm also glad that they are already looking at the next wave of books and not just depending on the initial 52 to carry everything. Plus Ryan Choi is not only alive again, but he is The Atom and he's in the Justice League!!! They may not have brought Ted back :-( , but at least they gave us Ryan back. Good job DC.

I've been listening to the DC Comic Con panels on the DC Podcast, (or through itunes) which I highly recommend you download and listen to, and there was really only one time that I got aggravated. Jim, Geoff and all the other DC people were very gracious, even when people asked really dumb questions. However, someone asked a decent question about why the number of female creators has dropped and Didio was a dick to them.

As a listener that really pissed me off. The guy asked a legit question and wanted an intelligent answer and Didio got all snarky and down right rude to the guy. I've heard that Didio was an asshat from other people, but I've never met the guy so I can't say for sure. All I know is that he would have deserved it if the guy that asked the question had caught him after the panel and taught him some manners by putting a boot up his ass.

Didio really did seem to come off as a real jerk. Plus he has a bad habit of talking over the creators. Honestly I don't really care what Didio thinks unless it is something that can't be answered by the creators.  I'd just rather hear what the creators think or have planned for a character. It isn't the Dan Didio Panel at Dan Didio Con for Dan Didio Comics, but that's kind of how he comes off. Again I wasn't there and was only listening to an audio podcast so I can only say how it seemed from the audio. Maybe I would have a different opinion if I had actually been there and seen it. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, but I wasn't impressed with him.

I saw a CBR interview with Quesada @ Comic Con and he was really upbeat and positive about DC's 52 reboot, even though Marvel is again doing their dick move of "tear up DC books and get a Marvel prize". Of course I'm not a big Marvel fan and probably take things like that much more personally than I should. Still he was pretty nice and positive about the whole thing.

In a CBR interview with Todd McFarlane he had nothing positive to say about the DC reboot and from what I hear Mark Waid is pretty anti-DC as well at the moment. It kind of sucks that creators get like that, especially ones I really like, but then I guess if you have a bad experience with an employer you get that way.

Honestly I don't care if they do hate DC and/or Marvel. The way I look at it there are a lot more people reading Marvel and DC books than will ever read their creator owned stuff. People will remember the DC and Marvel characters long after their creator owned stuff is forgotten, even though some of it is pretty damn good.

Since we're on the topics of comics, I'm going to suggest some comics to read. I'm not going to do a whole lot of Marvel and DC stuff, mostly because if you read comics there is a good chance you already read their stuff and are aware of what they offer.

First I am going to recommend The Pound. This is put out by IDW and it's about animal control officers who open their own business in Cleveland and find out that the town if full of monsters. It's a min-series and it isn't the most brilliant of books, but it is a lot of fun. I've read the first 3 issues digitally and I've really enjoyed them. I definitely recommend it.

Second, I'm going to recommend the G.I. Joe books all of which are by IDW. G.I. Joe, Cobra and Snake-eyes are set in the IDW continuity and are really good books. G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero is set in the same universe as the Marvel Comics series. It actually picks up where the Marvel series left off  and is also very good read. Of the two universes I prefer the IDW one as it is a bit more adult, but Hama is still doing a great job of picking up where he left off on the Marvel series. Try them both and see which one you like best. Maybe you'll do like me and read both.

House of Mystery by Vertigo is another book I really enjoy. It's just a really fun, twisted book and I can't quit reading it. You can get the trades pretty cheap on Amazon.

Captain America and Bucky, Captain America and Alpha Flight but this should come as no surprise. Cap and Alpha Flight are the only Marvel books I read on a monthly basis. Unless of course they bring back Iron Fist. They are really good books and I highly recommend them.

Showcase presents... I love these trades. Where else can you get up to 25 issues of a comic book series for under $20 (some are under $10 if you use Amazon). Sure they are black and white, but they reprint some classic books and allow you to read some great stories for next to nothing. I buy these every chance I get and enjoy the hell out of them. I highly recommend them.

Lastly I recommend picking up the Captain Canuck Vol 1 and Vol. 2 trades. CC may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I've always enjoyed the character. Or you can pre-order the Complete Edition and get all 15 of the original issues, the summer special and the newspaper strip. I've already got mine pre-ordered.

Lastly I have to give some recognition to Discount Comic Book Service. I've just placed my first order with them, but I have heard nothing but positive things about them and so far the customer service has been great. The prices are amazing and I suggest you check them out.

This year's Comic Con also gave us the teaser trailers for the Amazing Spider-man, Avengers, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. All movies that I'm eager to see. Well actually I'm not too keen on seeing the origin of Spider-man again, but I will watch it and I definitely want to see the other movies.

The Raimi Spider-man is just a decade old, it's too soon for a complete reboot. The origin movie is still too fresh in our minds. Just like a James Bond movies, I would have been completely OK with them simply casting new people and making another movie in the series, even if they didn't call it Spider-man 4. But I really don't want another origin movie. I have the feeling they are going to do the same thing with Batman once the Nolan Trilogy finishes. I don't want more reboots, just recast and keep going!!

Walking Dead season 2 also had a long trailer, which shows them finally making it to the farm. Granted there were some changes to the story that I like better in the comic, but over all season 1 of the show was great. I only hope season 2 is half as good. I have a friend who has never read a comic book(seriously, he had to ask me how to read one), but loves the show. So I let him read my trades of the series. He likes the comic better too and wishes they had kept more of the comic in the show, but he still loves the show. 

As for RPGs, I'm a very disappointed that Exile Game Studios won't have Revelations of Mars, a sourcebook for the awesome Hollow Earth Expedition game, ready by Gen Con. I was really looking forward to getting that book.

My group no longer wanted to play 2e AD&D and made me start running a Pathfinder game once again. My group has grown from 3 to 6 players with only two people (me and 1 player) who are over 17. It's kind of odd to be running a game for a group made up mostly of kids. Two of which are girls (niece and daughter). It's going pretty good, but I have to run a real battle heavy, plot-lite game, with heavy miniatures use, which is something that is not normally my style.  So it is kind of a learning experience for me. I've done one shots like this over the years when I just needed a quick game, but this is a whole campaign. It is a little different experience.

I'm still trying to talk them into letting me run something different, but it doesn't look good. A couple of players want me to run a supers game, I suggested a post-apocalyptic game or even a G.I. Joe vs monsters game (1 player liked this), but I can't get everyone on the same page. One player absolutely refuses to play anything but Pathfinder and due to the circumstance of the group it is an all or nothing situation. I can't even get them to play 4e! You would think a group that loves battle so much would be thrilled to go back to 4e, but nope. So we are sticking with Pathfinder.

I also have some podcasts that I've been listening to recently and I want to recommend them.
Raging Bullets, "A DC comics fan podcast" is a really good and show that I thoroughly enjoy. When it comes to strictly comic book podcasts, this one and Backroom Comics are my first two choices.  When it comes to video podcasts I go with Exploring the Multiverse.

Last but not least is Star Joes  " A podcast dedicated to Star Wars, G.I. Joe, and everything in between. We talk about Comics, Movies, TV Shows, and Toys…lots of Toys…". It's a really fun show if you love '80s comics and toys like G.I. Joe, Transformers, TMNT, Voltron, etc.

These are the shows I've added to my normal rotation of The Nut Gallery, Tekzilla, Hak5, The Tome and 3.5 Private Sanctuary.
 G.I. Joe and some thoughts on other things
Posted: Wed, 20 Jul 2011 13:30:00
Author: (Geek Gazette)
Category: Comic Books, Movies, RPG
I was catching up on my comic book reading the other day, specifically the trade paperbacks of IDW's G.I. Joe series which I am really enjoying, and I realized that I've never seen a G.I. Joe RPG. Why the hell is there no G.I. Joe RPG? It would totally kick ass. Sure I know I can use everything from d20 Modern to Mutant Epoch to Shadowrun or even Rifts to run a G.I. Joe RPG, but that's not the point. I want an actual G.I. Joe RPG damn it!!!
Hasbro owns G.I. Joe and D&D, so why in the hell hasn't someone said "hey, why don't we make a G.I. Joe RPG" and made my dream a reality. I've enjoyed G.I. Joe since I was a kid. I watched the shows, I even sat through the movie multiple times and  I bought the toys and I still read the comics. (On a related tangent WTF were they thinking putting Marlon Wayans in that movie? Didn't he ruin the D&D movie enough? I'm sure he's a nice guy and to some people he's probably considered funny, but give me a break. Did they really have to make two movies about two properties that I have loved since childhood even worse by adding him?) I know that if they made a G.I. Joe RPG, I'd buy the hell out of those books. I'd really be even more happy if they released it in the Essentials digest format for easy carrying and use.

We went to the drive in over the weekend and saw Harry Potter and Transformer 3.
While I do think the books are way better (they usually are) I am still a fan of the Harry Potter movies. That being said The Deathly Hallows pt 2 was great! My wife and daughter have never read the books and they loved it.
Transformers 3 wasn't as bad as the second one except for Shia LaBeouf. I'm not a huge fan of his but he just came off as a whiny, self involved little bitch in this movie. After I got over wanting to beat him over the head with a bat, I actually started to feel embarrassed for him. His part in the movie was beyond horrible. Actually most of the humans in the movie made me feel embarrassed for them. The Transformers themselves were actually pretty damn cool and their part of the movie was entertaining. The kid-o loved it, but her and her cousin both agreed the people were annoying and the movie would have been better without them.

We also saw the previews for Captain America (awesome!) and Dark Knight (wtf? that made no sense and yes we get it.. its the end, shut up about it already).

I caught the leaked preview trailers for Avengers (double awesome!!) and Amazing Spider-man (meh, don't really care anymore). Both of which are pulled down from the sites where I saw them.

Some movies I'm looking forward to:
Smurfs (there's nothing wrong with liking the Smurfs, beside NPH is in it so it has to be funny, although he was also in Beastly and that was just bad, bad, bad)
Capt. America
G.I. Joe 2 (Completely Wayans free!!!!!)
Sherlock Holmes 2

If you are a Beastie Boys fan you gotta check out the 11 minute video for Don't Play No Game that I can't Win  and the video for Make Some Noise (or check out the 1/2 hour full version... yes 1/2 hour)

Tradepaper backs I've been reading lately:
G.I. Joe (IDW)
House of Mystery (Vertigo)
Hellboy(Dark Horse)
Irredeemable (Boom)
Showcase presents The Atom
Showcase presents Justice League of America
Saga of the Swamp Thing

Some of the comic books I'm enjoying right now:
Flashpoint: Batman Knight of Vengeance (This Batman is great!)
Dungeons & Dragons (This is my favorite D&D comic book series ever!)
Invincible (this series just keeps getting better)
Alpha Flight (even though it is tied in to the crappy Fear Itself event this book is still rockin')
Knights of the Dinner Table
 Derby City Comic Con & some podcasts
Posted: Wed, 29 Jun 2011 21:16:00
Author: (Geek Gazette)
Category: Comic Books, News, RPG
I've been whining for years that we need more geeky conventions in the Kentuckiana area (Louisville Metro & Southern Indiana area). I don't care if it is a gaming conor a comic con, I just want something close to home.

I get tired of listening to all these podcasters and bloggers talking about their home town cons and I got nothing. Granted Gen Con is only an hour and a half away, but it's kind of expensive to go to that, even for one day. Well it seems my wish has been granted. A few weeks ago I was catching up on some of my podcasts, I listen to a lot of podcasts, and came across an episode that mentioned the Derby City Comic Con in Louisville.

***** Before I get any emails about it, I didn't forget about Conglomeration. I have never gone but it just seems that gaming has a very small presence and I've never known anyone that actually went. I've tried emailing them to get more info over the past 3-4 years, but have never gotten a response. I figured that if they didn't care enough to respond to a potential customer's email, they must not want my money and I'm happy to spend it on more gaming stuff somewhere else.*****

I've lived in this area my whole life and I've never heard of this con before so I Googled it and sure enough there is a comic book convention being held at the Kentucky Convention Center on July 16th. They're going to have guest comic book creators and everything. This is awesome!

I'm not sure how strong of a presence gaming will have at the Derby City Comic Con, but the vendors that are there do sell gaming stuff. So maybe. Besides $7 to get into a comic book convention is awesome. Even if I only get a couple things out of some quarter boxes, take some pictures of people in costume and maybe get a picture of a comic book creator, even a lesser known one, it's still worth $7. It'll be fun and if enough people show up it may be bigger next year.

On to a different topic.

Since I mentioned that I listen to a lot of audio podcasts (I have an hour commute and do a lot of walking... love my ipod), most of which I am very behind on at the moment, I thought I'd recommend some of my favorites.

The Nut Gallery Review: A movie review and geeky podcast by occasional Geek Gazette blogger Jason James and some other great guys from up north, but I don't hold that against them. (Sorry gang I'm trying to catch up)

3.5 Private Sanctuary: I really like their Know Direction episodes, although they're all pretty good. Their stuff from Paizo con was really great for those of us that couldn't make it.

Thaco's Hammer: As a 2e AD&D fan this is a must listen show. It is very well put together and fun to listen to. Even if you don't play 2e I recommend giving this a try.

Paranormal Podcast: Even though I'm a big skeptic, Jim Harold does a great job with this show. I really enjoy this one and get some great gaming adventure ideas from it as well.

DC Noise: This is one of those strange shows that I can't stop listening to even though there are better shows out there. It's really just some guys sitting and talking. It literally seems as if you are just listening in on their phone conversations.
There is no format and no real direction to each episode, but buried in most episodes is some really good comic book discussion. My number one complaint is that the episodes could use some editing to get rid of the dead time. Definitely not everyone's cup of tea, but I like it, mostly.

Comic Vine Podcast: A pretty good comic book discussion show.

The Backroom: This and Comic Vine are probably my two favorite comic book podcasts

Pulp Gamer out of Character: I'm not a huge Pulp Gamer fan, but of their numerous shows I really enjoy this one.

4 Geeks 4e: I may not be a big 4e fan, but I really like this show. I only wish they put out episodes on a more regular schedule.

Chronicles: Pathfinder Podcast: Some of the episodes are pretty long (3 or more hours), but still there is a lot of good content.

Dragons Landing Inn: Chuck and Lonnie haven't done a new episode in a while, but I still enjoy listening to the old ones. One of the first podcasts I ever listened to and still one of my favorites. If only they would restart the show.
 DC Adventures Heroes & Villains Vol. 1 @ RPGNow?
Posted: Fri, 24 Jun 2011 13:16:00
Author: (Geek Gazette)
Category: News and Rumors, RPG
I was checking out various sites and came across a 7page pdf preview for the DC Adv. Heroes & Villains vol. 1, which is nice.

Then I was over at RPGNow looking at a few things and found this I could be wrong but it seems like they have the pdf for sale now.  

I also checked out Green Ronin's site and it appears to be available there as well.

I can't confirm beyond doubt that these are active downloads because there is no way in hell I'm paying $27 for a pdf, but it was posted to RPGNow on 6/23/11 and it at least appears to be an item that you can purchase and download now. So for those of you that have to have it now, check it out and let me know if it is the real deal.
 An interesting and informative game night
Posted: Sun, 19 Jun 2011 10:57:00
Author: (Geek Gazette)
Category: My Games, RPG
Tonight we got back into the 2e game we started a few weeks ago, but there was a catch. Before we began play, the more experienced player was wondering if we could go back to 3rd edition/Pathfinder. My daughter, a newer player, was all for staying in 2nd edition. She says it is easier.  I was a bit shocked as I thought for sure that 2e would reign supreme at our table for the foreseeable future. So we discussed it and decided that Pathfinder would return as the default system. (BTW my daughter still prefers 2e, but says Pathfinder is easier to play than 4e, but not easier to learn.)

Everyone rolled up new characters and we pretty much put them in the same place of the campaign as the 2e characters. There were a few tweaks and on the fly changes made on my part, but it went well. This game was a bit rockier than the last, due in part to external interference, but was over all a fun night.

After we were done playing for the night, the more experienced player and I sat on the porch discussing the possibility of getting another regular group together and the people we could try to recruit. This led into a discussion about DMing and how I'd like to find someone to take over or at least share the responsibility with me so that I could run the occasional PC. This led to a discussion on DMing styles and here is where I managed to learn a thing or two about myself.

In our discussion we were talking about guys we know that can/do DM and what kind of DMs they are. DM "x" is big on dragons and finds a way to work them in every chance he gets. On the other hand DM "a" is really into vampires and the whole gothic Ravenloft type of game. DM "y" is all about the in town adventures and DM "b" always seemed to run things with a Forgotten Realms feel. These guys are consistent. They use the same basic monsters, the same settings and the same types of adventures.

"But how do I DM?"

Through self reflection and discussion I came to understand that I'm either very versatile, or I suck as a DM. My player said that while I like my zombies and mimics, I really do like 'em, I tend to throw every kind of creature into a game. It's almost a monsters of the week type of thing.

I'm more of the type that just wants to see how much crazy shit I can throw at a party. 4 or 5 Puzzles, a couple of traps, a living wall, a ghost, a zombie horde, a mind flayer, a flesh golem, a gelatinous cube, some green slime, a couple of mimics, a duregar patrol, an Ogre Mage and maybe even a kobold shaman to shake things up. That's just to get everyone's attention.

It is kind of weird that I throw so much and such a variety at a party since I never try to go for the TPK. If anything I'm too lenient on players and too generous with the loot. I sometimes, as I did tonight, have the monsters come in conflict with each other, with the PCs just being caught in the middle. To me that seems natural. Especially in a dungeon environment.

For example, the group was avoiding some "Romero" zombies when they locked themselves in a room they had found. They hear some talking outside and decide to check it out. A duregar patrol shows up to give them grief and makes so much noise that they draw the attention and are over run by the horde of zombies. The PCs barely managed to lock themselves back in the secure room and had to tough it out for 3 days before it was ok to venture out. Lucky for them they had just stocked up on provisions.

At some point we all use dragons and even the type of dragons we use says a lot about us. Most guys seem to like red dragons, others tend to include gold, silver and white. I've known guys who only use undead dragons. Me I've always pretty much stuck with green, black and blue. Black is my personal favorite, though I'm really fond of the blues too. If I use dragons those are generally the ones that show up. I'm also not as strict with their alignments. I've had black and green dragons that helped a party and gold dragons that were greedy and conniving.

I tend to be kind of gray with alignment for PCs too. While many other DMs are very strict about what a LG Paladin can do. Me, I'm open to discussion on the matter.

Something else I came to realize during our discussion was that I tend to run epic, almost cosmic campaigns. "The Five Towers" was a dimension hopping trip through various campaign settings and worlds. "The Temple of the Mad Elf", leads into a save the world before it is destroyed campaign. "The Keys to Oblivion", "The City Well" (aka "The Well of Doom"), and "The Town of Twilight" were all epic campaigns with potentially world shattering results. Even my smaller adventures like "Where's all the Beer" and "The Green Isle" were written to potentially lead to grander campaigns.

While I have run my share of small, one off adventures, I just tend to think big when it comes to my adventures. I think in terms of Crisis on Infinite Earths, Lord of the Rings and Star Wars when I plan them out. Perhaps it comes from reading too many summer comic book events and watching too many movies.

I also realized that I'm not a descriptive DM. I describe what you need to know, but not a lot of the smaller details, unless you ask. I need to work on that.
I also refuse to speak in voices and hate playing in groups that do that. I don't mind talking for a character (my character says..., he says... or I tell them...) but the whole dinner theater thing just isn't for me.  I can't do it and I just don't like it.

One of the more positive things I came to realize is my best setting to date is Eberron. I've run most of the D&D worlds (Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, Ravenloft) and I can run them, but so far I've done my best stuff in Eberron. I connect with that setting for some reason. I get the whole pulp, pseudo-tech, steam punk feel of it. Just like my friend told me, in Eberron I tend to run more exciting, Indiana Jones style adventures. Sure they may still be epic in scope, but looking at the individual adventures, they tend to be more exciting and fast paced. All of the DMs we know seem to have their "specialty" settings and Eberron appears to be mine.

Now that we are going back to Pathfinder, though I have everyone in agreement that we'll revisit 2e again soon, I think I can get that same feel out of Golarion. I'm going to catch up on my Golarion reading over the next week and hopefully, find that same pulpy groove. I'm thinking about running the Serpent's Skull AP or at the very least borrowing heavily from it because of its Indiana Jones feel I think it might kick-start my creative motor.

Next week we're planning to play again with a bigger group. I'll try to share more then.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. My friend also mentioned how he would like to try out more of my games. If we get enough players he'd really like to get into some more Call of Cthulhu, d20 Modern, Hollow Earth Expedition, and Serenity. I'm really hoping I can fit some All Flesh Must Be Eaten, Mutant Epoch and a supers game in there too. Of course if that happens I'll be posting something about it.
 Of the 52, not many seem popular
Posted: Thu, 16 Jun 2011 12:27:00
Author: (Geek Gazette)
Category: Comics, Opinion, RPG
Over at Comic Book Resources they did a poll to see what fans thought of the 52 titles in the DC reboot. Even though I openly stated that I thought many of these books were destined to fail, I thought there would be more fan support for some of the titles.
If the results of the poll are any indication, fans aren't too keen on this reboot. Frankly the results are actually a lot more negative that I was about the DCnU, as it's being called. I think there were over 10,000 responses and although I'm sure many net dwellers responded multiple times (because they've just gotta do stuff like that), it still seems like the response is overwhelmingly negative.

I'm not against the reboot, or DCnU, but I'm also not falsely optimistic about books that just don't seem to have any staying power. Even though some of those books star characters I really like. I'm a realist and I know that many of the characters I dearly enjoy, just don't appeal to that many fans. No matter how much I prefer to read about Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Firestorm, the Atom, Captain Marvel or Captain Atom, they will never sell as much as the 100 Batman books that come out each month. That's why their titles just don't last as long, if they are lucky enough to get their own title. That's also why those characters get shot in the head, sent to another universe, or have other terrible things happen to them as they get swept under the run and forgotten for a while.

I've already done a quick book by book analysis(even though it was probably one of my longest posts) so I won't do it again here. What I am going to do is share the books I intend to pick up. Which really isn't that many.

I'm definitely getting: (*note the items in bold are books where I've already paid my yearly subscription so I'm getting them in the mail until at least January regardless of the reboot)
  1. Blue Beetle
  2. Capt. Atom
  3. The Flash
  4. The Fury of Firestorm
  5. Justice League
  6. Justice League International
  7. Legion of Superheroes
  8. Legion Lost
  9. Mister Terrific
  10. Wonder Woman
  11. Nightwing
  12. Green Lantern
  13. Green Lantern Corps
  14. Green Lantern: The New Guardians
  15. Superman
  16. Action Comics
  17. Superboy
  18. Animal Man

I might try:  
  1. Batgirl
  2. The Savage Hawkman
  3. Justice League Dark
  4. DC Universe Presents
  5. Grifter
  6. Red Lanterns
  7. Stormwatch 
As I've stated before I'm not a big Batman fan, but even I can be drawn in by the buzz. So I may give the two core Batman books a try. I definitely won't be buying any of the extra books like The Dark Knight, Batwing or Catwoman.

So I ended up with a list of 18 definite buys and 7 possibilities for a total of 25 of the initial 52. I'm willing to give about half of the books a chance. Of those 25 I'm betting only 1/2 will make it too far beyond the 1 year mark, if they last that long. Of course DC editors have already stated that the initial 52 are just the beginning. Other titles are on the way in the upcoming months. They aren't stupid. They know many of the initial 52 titles will fail.

Now I will resume purchasing Batman Beyond, which is supposed to be a relaunched later. I'll also buy the rumored Justice League Beyond book that I've heard mentioned if/when it comes out. Other than the ones I mentioned I don't plan on touching any of the other titles. Some just because I can't stand the characters (Aquaman) others because they just don't appeal to me (Sgt. Rock). It's a good thing I'm not a big fan of  Marvel books or I may have taken this opportunity to cut my DC purchases and pick up more Marvel. I wonder how many fans may end up doing just that?

There is one thing I am curious about regarding the reboot. I know that Green Ronin has been running pretty far behind schedule on the DC Adventures RPG. Could it be because DC is requiring them to take the DCnU into account? I haven't seen anything about it, yet, on the Mutants & Masterminds message boards (Atomic Think Tank). As a matter of fact I've hardly seen anyone discussing the reboot on those boards.

Now you can find tons of threads and posts about the reboot over at the CBR boards, the Paizo boards, and of course the DC message boards. I'm sure there are tons of other boards and blogs discussing the topic, but those are the ones I frequent the most.
 My daughter's take on the editions of D&D and other RPGs
Posted: Mon, 13 Jun 2011 10:20:00
Author: (Geek Gazette)
Category: My Games, Opinion, Pathfinder
As I've mentioned a few times, I have been teaching my teenage daughter to play D&D. We started out with 4e/Essentials, dabbled in 3e/Pathfinder and are currently playing 2e AD&D.

Well, the other morning we were talking about some of my D&D books and I asked her which edition she liked better. She thought about it for a second and decided that she liked 2e the best. We haven't played Pathfinder enough for her to decide how well she likes it, so it is still an unknown at this point. She told me that 4e/Essentials was the "easiest to understand, but the hardest to play" and 2e was a little "confusing to learn, at first," (I think Thac0 is to blame here) but it was the easiest to play. She also said it was the most fun to play.

I asked her why and she said it was because there was so much to keep track of during play in 4e. Marking things and being bloodied and all of the powers and feats along with the skills, seems to feel overwhelming to her. She liked the fact that in 2e a fighter is just a fighter and doesn't have any "spells" (her words not mine) like they do in 4e.

Her explanation of this was that in 2e the character seemed like a real person and in 4e they seemed like superheroes. It was easier for her to " make-believe" she was the fighter in 2e. She was able to suspend disbelief and actually immerse herself in the character and events of an adventure.Where as in 4e she was always aware that it was "just pretend" and she felt as if she were just playing a game. One thing she did say in favor of 4e was that she liked the character generator (I still have the original, downloadable one on my Desktop PC) and she wished we had a good one like that for 2e.

Again Pathfinder is not really included at this point as she has almost no experience with the system. I'm probably going to wait until the Pathfinder Beginners Box comes out later this year before I seriously to get her into a Pathfinder game. I showed it to her and she seems to be really jazzed about playing it, but she wants to wait for the Box. Personally I think that the large core rule book has her a bit intimidated, which is understandable. Given her familiarity with the 4e Red Box, the Pathfinder Beginners Boxed Set seems the best way to introduce her to the game.

Besides 4e & 2e, she's been going through my other RPG books to see what she likes. So far she's intrigued by Rifts and Mutant Epoch, but she's not too sure she wants to play them. She thinks they are too complicated (too much math) and given that she's a new player, I'm inclined to agree. I may try running some simplified versions in the near future.

She has also shown some some interest in d20 Modern, but really hasn't given me a yes or no on that one yet. When I say d20 Modern I'm also including Monte Cook's World of Darkness, Etherscope, d20 Call of Cthulhu and all of the d20 Modern supplements (Future, Past, Cyberspace). I use all of those as d20 Modern sourcebooks and run it all as one game, so I could run anything from gothic horror and urban fantasy to post apocalyptic and pulp to space opera with  the same characters. While I wish the d20 Modern core had classes that were more similar to D&D than the generic ones that it uses, it is still one of my favorite systems. It is just too versatile.

I've been trying to get her into Hollow Earth Expedition because I love that system, but she seems kind of cold towards that one. I may try running a simple zombie game with the system and see how she likes that.

I'm also thinking about running All Flesh Must Be Eaten and Buffy. She likes zombies and she loves Buffy so those could be winners. As a matter of fact in 1st grade she had to write a paper about what career she wanted to pursue when she grew up and being a vampire slayer was what she wrote about. That's my girl. So Buffy may appeal to her and the system isn't hard.

I've shown her all of my retro-clones and she is adamant that see will not be playing them. She keeps saying that they seem to be "too old". I keep explaining that they are new games, that are just made to look and feel like old ones, but she's not interested. When we were having our D&D discussion I asked her about this and she stuck with the "too old" reason. She's of a mind that anything before 2e is just too outdated to play.

I tried pointing out that she is completely happy to play the original Nintendo and Sega Genesis, which were out before she was born, but that line of reasoning didn't take. She just responded that they were "different" and the same rules didn't apply to them. I even tried talking her into trying my recently re-aquired Expert rules or the Rules Cyclopedia, but both were a no go.

Hearing her and her cousin, whom I discussed this with over the weekend, both respond like this older editions and retroclones got me to thinking. It never really occurred to me how much presentation matters. Once you are a gamer, those books that emulate the books you remember from childhood, or that you have come to appreciate through experience, aren't likely to appeal to the younger generation. To them playing a retro-clone or older edition of D&D is the same as using a 1st edition ipod when all their friends have the current edition. Perhaps a better analogy would be to compare retroclones as a computer running windows 95 and 4e as a computer running Vista or Win7. I get a kick out of playing with an old computer so the older editions have some appeal to me, more so in curiosity/nostalgia than function, but the younger crowd doesn't have that frame of reference.

I remember my first Windows 95 computer, I remember learning D&D with the Expert rules. Revisiting those old games and having things that emulate that helps keep those days alive in some nostalgic way. For my daughter they just appear to be older and outdated versions that lack the fine-tuning and advances of the newer stuff.

How do I explain her liking 2e? I'm not really sure. Part of me things she remembers 2e because it was the edition we played when she was little. She's seen the books on my shelf her entire life and she has heard us talk about our old 2e games countless times. Even if she has just started playing it, she has a frame of reference and a familiarity with it. The same thing can be said for 3e/Pathfinder. Plus she knows how much I like it. Teens may often think their parents are idiots who don't understand them, but they still love us (most of the time) and want to like the things we like. Even if they don't always want to show it.

She may not take to 3e/Pathfinder system, but she sure knows about and likes Eberron, Forgotten Realm and Dragonlance. She's watched my groups enjoy many adventures in those worlds so they are familiar. Especially FR as we also played that in 2e.

4e is the newest kid on the block and even though she may like 2e better, she still likes 4e and would rather play it than a retroclone or older edition.
 A pretty long post on the DCU reboot
Posted: Sun, 12 Jun 2011 12:50:00
Author: (Geek Gazette)
Category: Comic Books, RPG
**Originally posted as a comment on CBR. I decided to repost and expand upon that comment**

I have no real issue with the quasi-reboot. Some of the changes they apparently are making to some of the core/iconic heroes seems a bit odd, but if the stories are good, so be it. I'm not afraid of change and won't whine and cry if things aren't exactly like they've been for the past "x" amount years. I think the changes seem pointless and little too 90's retro, but I'm not going to start declaring this the first signs of the death of comics. If I don't like it, I won't buy it.

I was surprised by the choices of books in the first 52. I completely expected half of the line to be made up of Batman books so the 11 or so that are being released are no surprise. After all DC/WB doesn't seem to have nearly as much faith in their other characters.  Many of the 52 seem destined to fail within the first 12 months so I guess it will end up being a self fulfilling prophecy. There are just so many books and characters that just don't seem to have the staying power, outside of a few diehard fans, to keep a series afloat.

It's nice that DC is willing to try something different and attempt to grow awareness of their books/characters beyond Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman during their attempt to enter/create a new era, but they just seem to have made some odd choices. Why totally overlook the opportunity to re-invent fan favorite characters like the Marvel Family, the Atom & Blue Devil, among others, to focus on books and characters that don't seem to have that big or loyal of a following, such as Red Hood/Jason Todd?

While I'm sure there are people who are big fans of Jason, there rarely is a character that doesn't have at least a few fans (yes I'm talking about the 2 other Wild Dog fans out there), how does he warrant getting a position in the first wave of the reboot? Granted I can't stand Aquaman and I'm not a fan of Hawkman, but I know they have a big enough fan base and are recognizable enough to the general populace to have earned their place in the first wave. Though I do confess to being confused as to why the Atom got no love.

I understand and I don't think it is any real secret that the books/characters chosen are more than likely the ones that DC/WB believes hold the best possibilities of not only appealing to the younger generation of fans, but of also making the jump to other media (TV/Movies/Video Games/Action Figures). But I still can't believe they totally overlooked the Atom! He didn't even get a place on any of the Justice Leagues, but Hawk & Dove get their own book? WTF ?!!!??(for all you loyal readers "WTF" is the phrase of the day. Whenever you see it scream real loud.)

I don't think, under normal circumstance, that many of the titles in the initial 52 would make it to the 2 year mark before they were either canceled or went through another reboot/major overhaul. I honestly think that DC will try real hard to keep even low selling books among the initial 52 afloat. At least for a while. Otherwise they will have invested all this time and energy into something that will become known as DC's failed "Heroes Reborn" and I'm sure the suits @ WB won't like that much. Unless, of course, that's the plan. Maybe this really is just one big publicity stunt and everything will go back to normal in a few months. 

The Fury of Firestorm: I'm a Firestorm fan and I know there are quite a few other fans out there. However, I think the revised origin could turn some people off and kill the book.I hope I'm wrong and I'd love to see the character become one of the next gen iconic characters, but DC just doesn't do very well when it comes to straying too far from the idea that the entire DCU revolves around Batman and Superman, but mostly Batman.
My prediction: 24 issues

Captain Atom: I've been a Captain Atom fan since I was a kid, but I've got a bad feeling about this one. I think they are going to try to make him the Dr. Manhattan/Doctor Solar of the DCU and I don't think they will do it well.
My prediction: Unless they surprise me, I'm saying 12 issues.

Mr. Terrific: I actually like this character and applaud DC for picking him for a solo book in the initial 52, but I don't think he's compelling enough for his own book. He would have been a great addition to the Justice League or JLI.
My prediction: 12 issues

It's no secret that I have always disliked (hated) this character and could never understand his appeal (the same goes for Namor), but I also understand that he is one of the most recognizable characters outside of the big 3. I also know he has a fairly loyal fanbase so I'm betting this book will suck(I'm biased) but will stick around for a while.
My prediction: with a good writer I'm betting 36 issues.

The Savage Hawkman: I don't really like or dislike this character. I've always thought he was a bit boring, but had the potential to be cool. I actually kind of like him when he makes guest appearances, but I've never wanted to buy his solo books. I'm also betting this addition to his convoluted history won't be any better than his past books. I wish him well, but just don't see him lasting long.
My prediction: 24 issues

Justice League International: First of all I really became a comic fan/collector in the JLI era so I've been wanting to see this book for a very long time. However, the team that appears in this books just doesn't seem right. First WTF is up with Booster's outfit? It looks silly. I would rather see Animal Man than Vixen on the team. Also where is Blue Beetle, Captain Marvel, Mr. Miracle (Scott), Dr. Fate (he appears to even be missing from the magic books), Doctor Light and Captain Atom? I'm not asking for a return of the "bwa-ha-ha" league because I think that people forget the book wasn't originally about cheap laughs and slapstick. It was a really good superhero book that happened to have some really funny parts. The funny just took over once the book became popular.
My prediction: I hope, hope, hope this book is done well and lasts for a while (though I wish they'd get Batman off the team!) but I think this one will see lineup and creative changes fairly quickly. 36-48 issues.

DC Universe Presents: I love anthology series or ones that are basically a series of mini-series because they give lesser known characters that have fans but can't support a regular series a place to shine.Unfortunately these books don't seem to last long with current readers.
My prediction: 24 issues

Green Lantern: The New Guardians: I'm a long time GL fan and even I'm getting a bit burned out on the abundance of GL books and characters. It seems like GL is well on the way to reaching Batman status with 11 related books coming out each month. (BTW I don't read any Batman books. I have come to greatly dislike the character. Though I will pick up Nightwing) I know that the movie is coming out and they are trying to cash in on the hype around that, but really 4 GL related books?
My prediction: I'll try it and I might like it (Unless this is he John Stewart GL book then I won't make it past the 1st issue), but I'm betting I won't read it for long. 24 issues, just because of the movies.

Red Lanterns: Don't get me wrong the Red Lanterns are cool as hell. I love the idea of the color spectrum and multiple corps, but do we really need an anti-hero corps? These guys should be held in reserve for big GL story-lines and events. I think this is an example of too much of a good thing. Of course I'm a sucker and I'll be getting the first issue.
My prediction: I'm betting the Reds will play a part in one of the upcoming GL films so I'll give this one 36 issues.

Red Hood and the Outsiders: Jason Todd, didn't I call in to have them kill your annoying ass when I was a kid? Considering I could not stand this character when I was a kid and still reading Batman comics, I don't see me liking him any better now that he is an annoying anti-hero. What is this the 90's. I'm really getting that vibe with the costume designs and gun totin' heroes. I wonder if the 52 will come with alternate, holographic, chromium covers drawn by Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld?
My prediction: Considering that all of the Outsiders books have kind of sucked over the past decade or so, I don't see one starring a character that people actually paid money to have killed bucking that trend. 12 issues

Batwing: Really, Batman of Africa? While it would be great to see a book like this survive, there just aren't that many readers that are interested in characters from other cultures. DC just doesn't have any luck with these types of books. People in America, and it seems the rest of the world, want to read about American heroes. I think this stems from the fact that American writers and artists have a harder time accurately portraying characters from other cultures. Yet non-American creators seem to have a pretty good handle on how to portray American characters. He might work and become a favorite as a member of a team, but solo I just don't see this having any staying power.
My prediction: less than 18 issues.

Animal Man: I love the character and would love to see the book survive for a while, I just don't think it will happen. Thanks to Morrison's run on the character it seems that DC can't see him existing outside of the realm of the weird/vertigo realm. I want A.M. back as a superhero on a team. I don't want an attempted rehash of the Morrison run. I've already read and enjoyed those books when I was a kid. Still as an Animal Man fan I'll be giving this one a try.
My prediction: If the book is halfway good I think Animal Man has enough of a following to stick around for a while. However I'm saying 24 issues will be the max on this one. I just don't think there are enough of us fans to keep this one alive.

Swamp Thing: Few creative teams have been able to get Swampy right. I doubt this book is going to do it either. I think that this book will end up disappointing and alienating long time fans without bringing in new ones.
My prediction: With this one I will be optimistic and give it a maximum of 3 years, just because Swamp Thing does have a fairly strong fanbase. However, I will add that during the initial 3 years we will see them trying their damnedest to recapture the magic of the classic run

Justice League Dark: WTF?! The Magic Justice League with John Constantine??? That's just silly. First of all a PG-13 Constantine just seems wrong. The character has been R-rated for too long and he works in that environment. John is supposed to be the foul mouthed, chain smokin' bastard we all know and love. This is one of the few changes that I am whole-heartedly against.
My prediction: I think this one might make it 15 issues, but I'm betting 12 is too generous.

Demon Knights: A medieval magical Justice League...

My prediction: Less than 12 issues

Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE: Ummmm, no.

My Prediction: Less than 12 issues.

Resurrection Man: The original series was under-and I'd like to see it go for a while, but I just don't see it happening.
My Prediction: 18 issues

I, Vampire: "Hey don't the kiddies love vampires? Let's do a vampire book!"

My prediction: 12 issues if it is lucky

Voodoo: She was never that interesting in the first place. Books about female characters, especially ones that aren't that well liked, just don't cut it.

My prediction: Less than 12 issues.

Hawk & Dove: Hawk and Dove with Liefeld? What is this a semi-annual book? How long has it been since the last issues of Youngblood was published? Well at least they had feet in the promo images I saw.

My prediction: I'm betting this one will go no more than a six months before a new creative team comes on board and probably no more than a year before cancelation. So that should equate to about 3 issues if Liefeld stays on the book.

Stormwatch: I have high hopes for this one. I'm betting a DC version of an Authority/Stormwatch mash-up with the Martian Manhunter has the potential to be a great book. Very reminiscent of the JLU cartoon. But one of the things that people loved about the Authority was its edge and I don't think that will translate into the core DCU.
My prediction: 24 issues

Blackhawks: I don't see this one lasting long at all

My prediction: 12 issues

Sgt. Rock and the Men of War: I've personally always hated spy/war comics. I can't stand Nick Fury or Sgt. Rock, so my point of view on this one is too biased to be fair. I think there is an audience for this, but it is a very small one.
My prediction: 12 issues

All-Star Western: Again, I have never liked western comics, but Hex has some fans out there.
My predictions: I'll be generous and give this one 24 issues.

Grifter: I like Grifter and I think DC could possibly turn him into the Deadpool/Punisher of the DCU. I think they will fail miserably and piss off the few fans the character has, but if done right he could be a very popular character that would make a kick ass movie.
My prediction: 18 issues

Omac: Give me a break. This character/concept has always sucked.
My prediction: less than 12 issues

Blue Beetle: Granted I grew up with Ted Kord as the Blue Beetle. He's my #1 favorite superhero and I would really, really like to have him back.
However, I do think that Jaime is a decent character and I understand why DC thought the concept needed an update. Even though he reminds me of something off of Ben10 or some kind of Power Ranger, I can't deny that this version of the Beetle has the most cross over potential. A superhero kid with shape changing power armor just screams multiple action figures with tons of goofy accessories (Deep Dive Blue Beetle, Deep Space Blue Beetle, etc...)
My prediction: I'm gonna say 24 issues.

Suicide Squad: I've never been a fan of the Suicide Squad, but I know there are a lot of people who do like it. This one could have staying power, but I think it'll need some fine tuning in the first 2 years.
My prediction: This one could go for a while, but I'm betting 24 issues if they screw it up.
You probably noticed that I didn't say anything about the Superman or Batman books and that I left alone the core GL, Justice League, Wonder Woman and the Flash books alone. That's because those books are more than likely going to get published, in some form, no matter what. So instead of a book by book take on them I'm going to group them together where applicable.

The Batman Family: Given that the only Batman books I've really enjoyed in the past 15-20 years have been the ones starring Dick as Batman, I think it is safe to say that I have a fairly strong bias here. I won't be reading any of these books, except Nightwing and Batgirl, but I know that that Bat-books are some of DC's biggest sellers. With the exception of Batwing and possibly Batwoman I think all the Bat-books will do fairly well. At least for the first year or two.

The Superman Family: I'm not sure about the direction they are taking with Superboy in the reboot, but I know that Conner is a fan favorite and has a pretty good following. Supergirl is one of those characters that has a past almost as messed up as Hawkman. No one really seems to know what to do with her so they continually re-imagine her. I think the upcoming version will be too alien and fail.
Now for the white elephant, Superman. If the images we've seen so far are an indication of what to expect I'm not hopeful. I'm all for rebooting his origin, making him younger, making him single and redoing the supersuit. However, the 90's armored look that was recently released? That's just stupid. There are a million and one variations of the Superman look that are waaay better. Many of which we have seen on the JL cartoon or in Elseworlds stories. In the image I saw he looked like Superboy/man Prime. I'm hoping that is who was really in the image and it was released to throw everybody off and get us talking. You know how us fanboys love to bitch and moan about change. If so, good job DC, you got us talking. If it is really how the "new" Superman will look, I repeat it's stupid and won't last long.

Wonder Woman: This is character that much beloved but who can't sell a book for shit. There have been good runs of her book(s), but never a definitive run. WW never had a "Batman: Year One" type of run. There has been nothing that has truly defined the character and every creative team has a different (sometimes drastically different) approach to the character. There is no definitive Wonder Woman. She really needs that. I don't see the new book as being any different than they rest of them.

Justice League: The return of the "big 7" was expected. I was surprised by the addition of Cyborg, but then I thought about the fact that he appeared on Smallville, fills the "ethnic" void left by John Stewart/Vixen/Martian Manhunter (i.e. he's not white) and is a young, tech oriented character, it made sense. He is a good fit for a "younger, hipper" Justice League. Plus, if I remember correctly wasn't he part of the Superfriends in the old Super Powers cartoons? So I guess Cyborg has earned his spot on the league, plus he's not a bad character. I was disappointed that the Atom didn't make the initial cut and that Aquaman did, but that's life. Plus I'm not diggin' the 90's leather/armored look with collars and chin guards.

The Flash, Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, and Green Arrow : These were kind of no Brainers. Hal, Barry and Ollie have all died, come back and been reimagined before, so rebooting them isn't that big of a deal. Honestly Ollie kind of needed it after the last couple of changes in the character.

Teen Titans: Really? Robin has wings? Yeah its gotta be 1994 or he's watched too many episodes of G-force (Battle of the Planets). Wonder Girl's a criminal? Who's the Spider-girl and shadow person in the back of the image? Is that Obsidian or a new take on Raven? BTW, how did conner get a tattoo?

Static Shock: I'm actually surprised that this didn't happen sooner

Legion of Superheroes: The Legion Lost (legion members in present day) isn't really new and the current LSH seems to be doing well. They might make them younger, but I don't think they'll mess with them too much.

Now for the surprises, for me at least, regarding the reboot:

I can't believe that the Atom, Powergirl, Starman, Capt. Marvel (or the Marvel Family), Booster Gold, Mister Miracle (Scott Free), Hawkgirl, Manhunter (Kate), Blue Devil, Plastic Man, Elastic Man(and wife) and Stargirl didn't get anything in the reboot.

First I thought Booster's book was selling pretty well. It's one of my favorite DC books. Of course I'm biased as I was a Booster fan from the first issue of his original series. Is it because they think Booster can't support two books and decided to focus on the JLI?

Powergirl not being represented kind of worries me. I really enjoy her current book and have been a longtime PG fan, but I've got the feeling that her being alternate universe version of Supergirl may have put a target on her back. I think she may disappear until yet another alternate, non-kryptonian origin can be developed for her. Or else she will return to her status as an Earth-2 citizen and be removed from primary continuity.

Where's the Atom? He can be made younger, plus he's a tech/sci-fi kind of character. C'mon DC give the little guy a chance.

Starman and Stargirl both seem like perfect fits for the new, younger DCU. Why aren't they in the Justice League or Teen Titans? Why hasn't Scott Free returned and why isn't he on the JLI? Hawkgirl is more well known than Hawkman by the younger crowd since she starred in the JL cartoons. Why does he get a series and she gets ignored? If DC is doing a mystical Justice League, where the hell is Blue Devil? Everyone else is getting rebooted, why not BD? If there is a character that belongs on a supernatural JL, it is Blue Devil.

What the hell was DC thinking by ignoring the Marvel Family, especially Captain Marvel? If they are wanting to appeal to a younger demographic why leave out the long lived character who is a kid/teen that can turn into an adult and become the Earth's mightiest mortal. He's been around as long as the big 3(really it should be the big 4 and Captain Marvel should be considered one of the iconic characters), he once outsold and was more popular that Superman and Batman, and he has a loyal fanbase. Seriously, you dropped the ball big time on this one DC.

I hope that some of the overlooked characters will show up was that the JL since it will eventually expand to 14 members. I think that that more members could be joining the JLI too. Hopefully, the Atom will be added to one of the Leagues.

As for the same day print & digital release. I don't have an iphone or an ipad and I don't like reading comics on a computer, so I don't see this really affecting me. I'm one of the ones who wants to hold my comics in my hand. With print books I don't have to worry about the industry switching to another format down the road and thus making my entire digital collection obsolete and possibly losing it. Sure a natural disaster could cause me to lose my print collection, but in 50 - 100 years if nothing like that happens I'll still be able to take my old comics out of a box and enjoy them. If the current digital format becomes an unsupported format down the road, I'll either have to find a way to convert my entire collection or repurchase them all. Screw that.

Plus I don't like the idea of "renting" or purchasing the rights to view my comics. Even in the digital world I want to own my shit. I love my kindle, but that's one of the things that pisses me off. I also refuse to give up my physical copies of certain books. Lord of the Rings, Dresden Files, Mark Twain, Wheel of Time, I have them on my kindle, but I also have and will continue to purchase (in the case of the still ongoing series) the physical books.

If DC instituted a Netflix type of deal where I could read "x" amount of books for a monthly fee I might do it. Say DC says you can read 10 books per month online for $7.99, 20 for $9.99 and so on and you retained the ability to re-read the books you've already read without eating into your monthly allotment, I might go for that.

Basically you create an online "pull list" of the books you want to read for the month and they enter your library. You can change the list from month to month or read the exact same series each month. If they stayed with the same day publication it might be worth it. I would still buy my physical books and that won't change, but this option might entice me to read books I might otherwise skip. Take R.E.B.E.L.S for instance. I wanted to read that, but it never fit into my budget, so I never picked it up.

Nothing is going to replace my monthly Justice League, and Superman books. I'll buy them, my other DC books and the books I get from other publishers for as long as they're printed. I've been doing it for nearly 30 years, I like them and I see no reason to stop now. But for the books that I skip (Teen Titans, REBELS, Outsiders to name just a few) reading them digitally might be worth it to me. I'm not losing anything because I never would have bought the physical books in the first place. Unless one of my print books got canceled.

Well that's my take/rant on the DCU reboot up until this point. I may have something else to say as more information is released and I actually get to see the books. Everything I've said is, of course, my opinion and as you know opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.

I may be way off on everything I said and this could be an instance of me talking out of my ass. In a way I kind of hope it is, but I feel pretty confident that my lack of confidence in may of the series is well founded.

 Kickin' @$$ and takin' their stuff: Introducing a new generation to 2e AD&D
Posted: Tue, 31 May 2011 21:30:00
Author: (Geek Gazette)
Category: 2nd Edition, My Games, RPG
It is memorial day weekend and I can think of no better way to spend it than going to the drive-in (Thor was awesome!!), grilling out and playing a kick ass game of D&D.

Saturday I ran my daughter and my niece (both of which are teenagers), and my former brother-in-law through a six hour 2nd edition AD&D game. It was one of the best games I have had the opportunity to participate in for quite some time and all of the players did a great job.

I am especially proud because it was my daughter's first time with 2e (4e Essentials is all she really knows) and my nieces first time playing an RPG. I also think I did some of the best DMing I've done in years. It has been a long time since a six hour game went by and everyone was still eager to play. Even though I could have gone another 3-4 hours I had to stop the game because it was getting a little late. So I am declaring this session a huge success.

After not playing 2e for nearly a decade I can't believe how easily I feel back into the old rules. Sure there was the occasional 3e/Pathfinder or 4e rule that slipped in by accident, but for the most part we had to make just a  few clarifications on things during breaks. The girls had no problem with THAC0, my brother in law and I did a fairly good job of remembering most of the rules and fell right into how we gamed years ago.

My daughter broke from her usual routine of playing a fighter to play a two-weapon ranger and my niece played the fighter. My brother-in-law played I psionicist Minotaur (house-rules) to add a little bit of extra muscle to the party of new(er) players.

I ran them through an adventure that mixed a little bit of the Abyssal Plague story that is currently running through the core D&D novels (they aren't great, but they are fun) with a little bit of your normal meat grinder dungeon crawl. I even threw in a dungeon level that was nothing but puzzles and riddles to mix it up.

The girls seemed to have a good time and even reminded me of myself and the gang I played with when I was around their age and just learning the game. For them it was more about getting lost in the imaginary world and having a good time than it was about rules and minutia. I can't speak for my brother-in-law but Saturday's game felt more "old school" than any game I've played in a long time and it had nothing to do with the edition or system. I actually can't wait to play again and that, to me at least, is what gaming is all about.

We plan to finish this adventure in a few weeks and then we are going to decide if we will stick with 2e or move on to 3e/Pathfiner. Honestly I'm perfectly ok with either system as they are my two favorites. I've talked my daughter into giving The Mutant Epoch, Call of Cthulhu and maybe even a supers game a try. So I'll end up running a solo game for her with those systems/genre. Who knows, if she does well I may even try running a Starblazer Adv. or Hollow Earth Expedition game for her.

However, I can't decide between DC Adv./M&M, Silver Age Sentinels, V&V,  or Icons for running a supers game. Personally I think Silver Age Sentinels (d20 version is ok, but I think the tri-stat version is better) is a bit under rated, and I'm really wanting to run it, but I'm leaning heavily towards Icons because of simplicity or DC Adv. due to familiarity.
 Gone but not Forgotten
Posted: Sun, 22 May 2011 11:09:00
Author: (Geek Gazette)
Category: CCG, RPG
Back when TSR came out with Dragon Dice a few friends and I played it for a while, along with nearly every CCG that came out and 2e AD&D. Then life got complicated, games got put on the back burner and due to some unfortunate circumstance I "lost" most of my games and comics. (FYI, just because the judge says someone has to give you your stuff back doesn't mean that the law will do anything about it if they don't. Especially if that stuff happens to be comics and games.)

Recently I fond out that Dragon Dice is still alive and enjoying a small revival thanks to some devoted fans. Apparently a company called SFR bought the rights to the Dragon Dice and have been putting out starter sets and expansion backs. I bought a starter set and now enjoy the occasional game.

Once I found out that a game I thought was long gone was actually still alive and kickin', it got me to thinking about others. Games like Spellfire, Decipher's Star Wars CCG and Wyvern (Wikipedia entry) were ones that I enjoyed a great deal back in the day, but that, for one reason or another, are no longer officially with us. I know that Spellfire has been the butt of a lot of jokes, but my friends and I had a lot of fun with it and while it was a bit sad compared to Magic: the Gathering, I still remember it fondly. 

While I do not know of anybody that is still supporting Wyvern, it appears that Spellfire was turned over to the fan community and the fan forums appear to have been active as late as 2006. Fans created a program called Crossfire to enable online play and apparently there were a few more boosters released (have not confirmed this yet), but other than a few active fan pages it seems like there has been no noticeable activity over the past few years.

Of the other games I played back then not all are lost to memory, some are still thriving or at least surviving in one form or another. Everyone is familiar with Magic: the Gathering, Legend of the 5 Rings, the World of Darkness games (Vampire, Werewolf, etc), but I can't help wondering if somewhere out there others fondly remember the games of the 90's as fondly as I do.

Along with Spellfire, Wyvern, and Star Wars I would like to know if anyone else has games from the 90's that they remember fondly that are no longer around. I want to know if games like the Vampire/Jyhad CCG (I just found out that this was actually active till 2010), Rage CCG, Overpower or anything else (CCG or not) that I may have forgotten about from that time are still active anywhere out there.

If you are a publisher of one of the smaller or forgotten 90's games or if you happen to have any information about games from that time feel free to leave me a link in the comments.