Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Threshold Magazing issue 9 - Hollow World

The Mystara RPG setting has a magazine devoted to it called Threshold. Issue number 9 is devoted to the Hollow World part of that setting!
The new issue of Threshold, the fan magazine entirely devoted to the Mystara setting for Classic D&D, is now available for download (of course for free). Here is the announcement from one of the editors:"I'm very happy to announce that Issue #9 of the Threshold Magazine is available now from the Vaults of Pandius! In this issue we cover the Immortals and their Hollow World playground that was first introduced to us by Aaron Allston back in 1990. Argentmantle delves into the unique culture of the Icevale Elves, and Geoff Gander explores the history of Selhomarr. The life cycle of megaliths is unfolded before our eyes (as told by LoZompatore) and the Signs of the Universe (by Sturm) are laid bare.... and so much more. A heartfelt thank you goes out to all those who answered Threshold's call for support - we have some new names on our team as well as many of the ones you are already familiar with. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank julius_cleaver for stepping up to the plate and taking on the role of editor-in-chief for our next issue - Elves! Thank you to all of the contributors and Threshold staff that worked on this issue. I'm very proud of the material that we have turned out, and I hope that you enjoy reading through this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together. As always, feel free to use this thread to send us comments and feedback on this issue.
Happy reading!
Here is a link to the PDF of the issue.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Hollow Earth Expedition - favorite RPG setting

August is the month that various gaming geeks post blog articles that follow the #RPGaDay2015 list (see the image at the bottom). This was my choice. Porting it over to this blog as well.

Hollow Earth Expedition is my favorite RPG setting.

There is a list of reasons:
  • Dinosaurs
  • Nazis
  • Hollow Earth
  • Mars
  • 1930s
  • Pulp
  • Secret Societies
  • Unique and light-ish system
  • High quality production value
  • Excellent art
  • Excellent fan support
  • Friendly fans
This hits all of the tropes that get me going. Ever since I got into the Indiana Jones films, 1930s pulp has been such a favorite! And there has been no lack of it in RPGs. One thing that makes this game unique is that it isn't a pulp setting for a game system trying to cover all the bases. It is a pulp game that fully tackles one major pulp trope. The Hollow Earth theory.

The Hollow Earth theory is a literary setting that caught my interest when I veered away from Tarzan and John Carter in my Burroughs obsession several years ago. I had discovered Pellucidar! I was also getting into old back issues of DC Comics Warlord. As I wrapped my head around the concept and particularly what the effects of time in the Hollow Earth were, I was completely hooked and still am. I've even created a blog that allows this obsession to vent occasionally.

Other things I like about this setting is it is not grim-dark. This is an aspect of many settings that I fear sells well these cynical days. No need for it. Too much of it anywhere else. I also like that it isn't at all inappropriate for kiddos. As a geek dad, I do desire to foster the interest in this hobby to my littles and this remains a pretty safe game to do that with. Also, plenty of elements that may appeal to my parents, who also want to share in the kiddos gaming occasionally.

So that's my choice. Hollow Earth Expedition. It's a good one.

My wife says the only thing missing from this most excellent game is Nathan Fillion.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Warlord on Diversions of the Groovy Kind


Sword and Sorcery Week! Greetings from Skartaris: "Lair of the Snowbeast!" by Grell

Greetings, Groove-ophiles! It's SWORD AND SORCERY WEEK, and what better way to kick it off than with another timeless tale featuring Travis Morgan aka The Warlord! This time, Travis, Mariah, and Machiste are in for onewhopper of a violent version of Beauty and the Beast! Not only that, but this is the issue in which Travis gets his loin-cloth outfit (but only after he spends a couple'a pages fighting a Sasquatch-type character in the buff --both of 'em, actually, but the Big Foot at least has plenty of fur)! It's an action-epic with heart, and more of Iron Mike Grell's ground-breaking storytelling style! Go back with us to Warlord #9 (July 1977) to visit the..."Lair of the Snowbeast"!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Finally she spread her giant wings, flapped them vigorously a score of times and rose above the blue sea.

"Finally she spread her giant wings, flapped them vigorously a score of times and rose above the blue sea." Pellucidar

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Skartaris plays a major role in Convergence

Convergence starts to wind down in issue 4 and Warlord plays a major part in it all. This article contains spoilers!

Today's issue of Convergence, DC Comics' mega-event that gives fans a chance to revisit 75 years' worth of alternate timelines and versions of their favorite heroes, kicked the final battle into high gear, gave Earth 2 (if it survives) a new Batman and showed us yet again why the characters of Mike Grell's The Warlord are some of the most awesome and underused in DC's pantheon. 
Writer Jeff King joined us to discuss the issue.

If you aren't caught up on our previous installments yet, covering Convergence #1, 2, 3, and 4, check them out here, here, here and here.
You can also check out an exclusive gallery of spoiler-heavy pages from the issue below our interview. 
Given his connections to Flashpoint, was it really cool to get Andy Kubert to draw this issue? 
Absolutely. That was a stroke of genius from Dan DiDio and Marie Javins, and my good luck that he said yes and agreed to jump in and do #5.
Talk about a dream artist to come on, especially to do the Warlord and to do Skartaris but also to connect to all the characters from the Crisis; It couldn’t have been a better choice. 
As the Skartaris story seems to be winding down, we finally get eyes on more of the Dome-dwellers. Was keeping them off the board during the Warlord stuff done on purpose so that the lesser-known characters like Telos, Warlord, Deimos and the Earth 2 characters could get development?

Partly. It was partly conscious but it was partly dictated by the story. We know that until the end of Week Four, not all of the characters from the monthly stories were out of their domes.
Even though they’re all listening to the same announcement from Telos, just reading through the event you wouldn’t have the sense of completion that all of them had kind of been through their initial period. By the time we were getting to the end of #4, beginning of #5, it felt like the perfect time to let everyone who was out there on the surface become part of the bigger story. So buckle up; as we move along, you're really going to get that sense that everybody who has been connected to all these events you reference are all going to be pulled into the story. 
What it also did was it allowed our Earth 2 team to really bond with each other. It allowed Grayson and Telos to share a lot of history and connection, and of course that’s all going to be important for what comes next in the storytelling. Of course for me to have Andy Kubert draw this amazing moment where Grayson takes up the mantle of Batman by smearing the ashes of a burned-out battlefield onto his chest, that was a pretty magical moment for me. 
The notion of Telos having an identity and a name before all of this evokes Silver Surfer, or even what Geoff Johns is doing with the Anti-Monitor right now in Justice League. Is that on purpose? 
It was part of a larger kind of trope of storytelling and unconsciously I guess I ws tapping into that, but even more powerfully, I felt like what that does is put Telos squarely on our side. 
Not only has Deimos done his heel turn, but it really kind of makes them in a way sort of Cain and Abel as they’re both in some sense a creation of or empowered by Brainiac to become what they are. So in a way , Telos is kind of like a guy who in a certain sense almost sold his soul to the wrong devil for the right reasons.
Is Brainiac's role here done, or will we see more of him -- pissed because of how he was shunted off stage here and in Futures End?
Without spoiling anything, I can say this is not the last time you're going to see Brainiac before the end of Convergence. 
What's the deal with the Blood Moon? We got that reference in Futures End as well.
Well, I would say that you could look at issue #5 where we talk about the Blood Moon, it’s really almost more like a physical thing. The event itself coincides with Brainiac’s arrival and as we’ve seen from Futures End, the Blood Moon was his mode of transportation throughout the universe and so that not only was an event but also how Telos and his people perceived the arrival of Brainiac’s ship in their orbit.
Lots of powerful people, unstable elements popping up here and in the monthly books. How many mad gods can we have, between Deimos and Brainiac -- or even with somebody like Parallax, who was at the height of his power and his crazy when Zero Hour happened?
Would it surprise you if I said sooner or later, they might find themselves in the same place?
Can you imagine all that power in one spot? And you also have Deimos, who really is revealing himself to be not only a god in some ways but a really bad guy. Not only a usurper, but also a traitor in every sense of the word.
It was really awesome to see Morgan go out in a blaze of glory...and then revert to the dust which he was the last time we saw him.
The Warlord has been offstage for a long time in the DC Universe, so it was really fun to bring him back. And Marie Javins really loves dinosaurs, so…
I was talking about this with somebody the other day: Are these actually taken from the original worlds we read in publication, or just the next closest thing in the mutliverse?
I’m not sure I totally understand the question, but they are slivers of those original words. So they are I guess in the sense that until Gotham is repopulated onto the earth from which it came, it is the closest approximation to that previous timeline as we will get.
The series is eventually going to answer those questions.
I guess what comes through it in a way is that the characters are [the originals].
The dark, horrible future that Deimos sees: Is he looking at the Post-Convergence DCU or just what he WANTS to see?
He is looking into the future that he imagines, so this is I guess you can say his version of post-Convergence, which is not what everyone else’s ideal version is.
It’s not what Brainiac’s version would have been and it’s not what Telos’ version as Brainiac’s proxy would have been.
It’s also not what, in #6, Grayson’s version is, for example. In a funny way, Grayson is the one who kind of can most shape that the most until Telos is ready to make his own decision.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

DC's Convergence features Skartaris

Sorry if this is spoilers, but that would be a bit unavoidable given the nature of this blog and the reveal, it wouldn't appear here if there were no mention of the Warlord setting. Here's a relevant snippet from the article (found here):

When you talk about the way you can defeat them is “inside the planet,” and then you have Deimos show up on the last page, is it safe to assume that Skartaris will play a major role in the way Telos (the world) functions in a way that maybe Telos (the character) doesn't really understand?

Out of my own curiosity, will we see any of the rest of the Skartaris crew? I mean, Grell finally gave Travis Morgan the end he'd been working toward for thirty years.