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MISTER SJEM "sonofhotpie" RSS Feed (CALIF BAY AREA United States)
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Doomworld (Star Wars: A Long Time Ago..., Book 1)
Doomworld (Star Wars: A Long Time Ago..., Book 1)
by Roy Thomas
Edition: Comic
39 used & new from $6.03

2.0 out of 5 stars DATED, October 20, 2014
The art is good but a good chunk of the dialogue and characters are below average. Perhaps it was written just for kids who need to have the obvious stated?

Nice references, including the Starkiller kid.


Ripples from Carcosa: Three Scenarios Exploring Hastur, Carcosa, & The King in Yellow (Call of Cthulhu roleplaying, #23134)
Ripples from Carcosa: Three Scenarios Exploring Hastur, Carcosa, & The King in Yellow (Call of Cthulhu roleplaying, #23134)
by Oscar Rios
Edition: Paperback
Price: $19.16
16 used & new from $17.59

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 Scenarios In One Book, August 26, 2014
The great thing about "Ripples From Carcosa" (hereinafter RFC) is that it covers three scenarios in three different settings which can be run individually or as a loosely tied campaign. Cynics will argue this is merely a means for Chaosium to make money but I'd counter with the fact that all three of these are awesome settings so why would you cheat yourself with such a limiting belief? Besides, you don't necessarily need to pick up the supplements to run each setting anyway.

The original RFC came out in 2005 as a monograph by Oscar Rios. Since then it has been revamped in preparation for the release of Call of Cthulhu RPG 7th edition which means this is a 7th edition set of scenarios, people. In addition, editing has put certain side chapters in better spots and there is more artwork as well as maps compared to the original monograph. In the back of this 135 page PDF are several handouts which include maps you can show to your players.

RFC starts with a brief introduction to Hastur, the Yellow Sign and various avatars and such which serve him. After each scenario there is a coverage of how Hastur is worshipped which include cults to suit the era and future adventure seeds. In the very back is a conversion table for those who wish to use an older edition rather than 7th edition.

In brief the three scenarios which are each about thirty pages cover Cthulhu Invictus (in which the Mythos meets the Ancient Roman era), Cthulhu Dark Ages (think early Middle Ages for Europe in which legends and fairy tales are tied into the Mythos) and The End Times Monograph (humanity has lost Earth to the Mythos in 23rd century and struggles to survive).

CTHULHU INVICTUS SCENARIO: the players play mostly regular Roman citizens on holiday with their children when something obviously horrible happens (don't give me that look you knew this was coming). What ensues after a false lull of vacationing becomes something of survival horror mixed in with a driving quest. There's a good map overview of the resort town and I like how Oscar Rios spent time evoking the era of Ancient Rome especially with little details that tell you he has a true love for the era. For this particular scenario the clue trails are fairly straight forward but the means to how various people lose their sanity are close to golden.
This is arguably the most straight forward scenario of the three. I would recommend it for new groups to the Mythos. The objectives are easily understood and the clue trails to get to the end are easy enough yet arguably moderately hard for those completely new to this type of tabletop gaming. For a new group the keeper needs to decide if he/she will tone down the chance for a total party kill or keep it as is.

CTHULHU DARK AGES SCENARIO: Saxon England has recently been conquered by the Normans and a Norman lord charges the players with investigating a bard of the Saxon people who feels wronged by a broken agreement. It all seems harmless at first but that's how some of these scenarios open up, right?
Of the three scenarios this is arguably the most mind bending in reality so be prepared to give vivid descriptions to your players. In addition, the players will be doing a great deal of traveling through the fiefdom. This one also has a nice play on the Carcosa mythology.
I would recommend this especially for keepers who have players who typically do fantasy gaming though warn them it will be different even if familiar in some instances.
Clue trails are moderately difficult with a wide variety of different endings.

END TIMES MONOGRAPH SCENARIO: the PCs play humans on a space cruiser when they meet an enemy ship and encounter startling information which could end the remaining humans once and for all. The nice part of scenario is that I rarely get to run Cthulhu scenarios in space. In addition, there's a really nice idea tied into a virtual reality in which the players must travel into it to fix a problem and along the way they get to experience the last days of Earth before it falls. Nice build on the Hastur Mythos as well as a few others that I cannot mention without moderate spoilers.
The clue trails are moderate as the players have more options and a variety of choices. For gamers not familiar with Science Fiction this might very well be the most difficult of the three.

Overall, the strength of this 7E product is that you get to experience three Mythos eras outside of the standard 1920s and then if you like any of them you can decide if you wish to invest in the supplements. Additionally, the ideas within those scenarios and the adventure seeds could potentially give you a campaign and arguably you don't need the supplements if money is tight for you. Lastly, you get three scenarios written by Oscar Rios who in my opinion is one of the top five writers in the last ten years for Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu RPG line.

What's not to like?


Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Vol. 1
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Vol. 1
Price: $11.37

4.0 out of 5 stars MY GRADE: B plus., August 19, 2014
MINI-REVIEW: a bunch of short stories before the 52 reboot. The quality not so surprisingly varies in story plotting and art presentation.

A breakdown of the tales:

“The Butler Did It”: In which Bruce Wayne/Batman is humbled. The title gives it away unless you didn't look at it which was my case.

B minus plotting and B artwork.

“All Of The Above”: Batman fights someone out of his league with careful planning and strategy.

B on plotting and B on artwork.

“The Crime Never Committed”: Batman and Robin help a man avoid crime.

C plus on plotting and B on artwork.

“Crisis in Identity”: a number of people are impersonating Batman yet a good number of them are dying. This was longer than the other tales so it has impacted the overall grade.

A minus on plotting and B plus in artwork.

“Letters To Batman”: a tired Batman starts reading a backlog of letters written to him over the years.

B to B plus on plotting and artwork.

“A Game To Die For”: Batman tries to help a man going through madness.

B in plotting and artwork.

“Batman: The Movies”: Batman goes on set when a movie is made about him.

B plus on plotting and artwork.

“Together”: Batman and Two Face come at odds.

B to B plus artwork and B minus to B story/plotting.

“A Slam Bradley Mystery”: an old P.I. accused of murder must clear his innocence with a little help from Batman and a lot of interference from a big Gotham villain.

B plus plotting and B plus to A minus artwork.


Batman: Long Shadows
Batman: Long Shadows
Price: $12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars MY GRADE: B to B plus., August 19, 2014
MINI-REVIEW: Dick Grayson has the cowl of Batman and now has to deal with the standard villains, the fallout from the death of his mentor and a miniscule number who believe Batman has been replaced. Almost a B plus star graphic novel but not quite.

Kudos to the Two Face tale.

Crisp artwork by Ed Benes and Mark Bagley with inkers Rob Hunter and Jack Purcell.

OVERALL GRADE: B to B plus.


Spider-Man: India TPB (Amazing Spider-Man)
Spider-Man: India TPB (Amazing Spider-Man)
by Jeevan J. Kang
Edition: Paperback
34 used & new from $1.90

3.0 out of 5 stars MY GRADE: C plus., June 13, 2014
An unimaginative refresh of Spider-Man as an Eastern Indian lad with Spidey powers who has the usual background and problems amidst deities of said sphere.

OVERALL GRADE: C plus (lower if we take out the artwork)


Star Wars: Darth Maul Death Sentence
Star Wars: Darth Maul Death Sentence
Price: $10.49

3.0 out of 5 stars MY GRADE: C plus., June 10, 2014
Somehow Darth Maul is alive and back and mostly droid made. He and his brother are going across the galaxy causing trouble and irking the Jedi.

Why can't they leave two brothers who just want to be left alone?

Mostly a tale you would expect with a big fight at the end.

MY GRADE: C plus (probably a B minus if I could get past the stupid way they brought Maul back)


Civil War: Peter Parker, Spider-Man
Civil War: Peter Parker, Spider-Man
by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.34
62 used & new from $2.99

3.0 out of 5 stars MY GRADE: C plus., June 10, 2014
The first story was good but then it became flat focusing on Mary Jane reacting and dealing with various problems as Peter reveals himself as Spiderman to the world. A really stupid idea, by the way, as you will (thanks, Stark).

OVERALL GRADE: C plus.


Justice League of America, Vol. 4: Sanctuary
Justice League of America, Vol. 4: Sanctuary
by Alan Burnett
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.08
63 used & new from $5.50

3.0 out of 5 stars MY GRADE: B minus., May 12, 2014
<b>MINI REVIEW: </b> An intriguing idea which never came to fruition: super villains seeking sanctuary from government types which want to deport them to a planet.

The artwork of Benes is amazing at times and even at its worst is still good.

The tale doesn't finish and leaves a big question mark which I suppose is a setup for FINAL CRISIS. There are tales in between which break the flow and at the very least should have been put at the end.

<b> STORY/PLOTTING: C plus to B minus;
ARTWORK PRESENTATION: B plus;
CHARACTERS/DIALOGUE: B;
DC MYTHOLOGY FOCUSES: B minus;
ACTION SCENES: B minus;
WHEN READ: mid May 2014;
OVERALL GRADE: B minus. </b>


Captain America: The Winter Soldier  (Plus Bonus Features) [HD]
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Plus Bonus Features) [HD]
DVD
Price: $19.99

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars MY GRADE: B plus., April 17, 2014
A bit better than the first and something of a treat for the graphic novel fans. Like most Marvel movies it's easy to get lost in the action over the story and characters but this one does a better job. A lot of fun but far from perfect for film snobs. Kudos to Black Widow trying to set Cap up with Sharon Carter (another nod to the graphic novels).


Justice League of America, Vol. 1: The Tornado's Path
Justice League of America, Vol. 1: The Tornado's Path
by Brad Meltzer
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.86
58 used & new from $2.98

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MY GRADE: A minus., April 12, 2014
MINI REVIEW: it's nice to see the Big Three getting along and rebuilding the JLA. Old feelings arise as various superheroes are considered. Of course there is a crisis or two or three along the way. What did you expect? Tea with superheroes? This is the JLA!

This tale focuses mostly upon Red Tornado, a variety of themes including one spin on heroism and why the JLA trains so much together (see the supervillain they must defeat this time around).

Nice homage to JLA artwork in the back of this volume. Awesome artwork by Ed Benes. He killed it. Bonus for doing Wonder Woman in a feminine yet strong fashion.

ARTWORK: A minus to A;
STORY/PLOTTING: B plus to A minus;
CHARACTERS/DIALOGUE: A minus to A;
ACTION SCENES: B plus;
DC MYTHOLOGY: A minus;
OVERALL GRADE: A minus;
WHEN READ: early April 2014.


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