Friday, February 26, 2016

Daily Cosplay


C&C & Fifth Edition on KICKSTARTER

It's times like these that you're going to need a Familiar!


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/676918054/5th-edition-familiars-monstrous-companions-steeds

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/676918054/5th-edition-familiars-monstrous-companions-steeds


Bundles of Holding ~ Castles & Crusades

An amazing opportunity for those new to the game. Head over to Bundle of Holding an find out more, but in short you can get it all for prices unbeatable!

And a chunk of all proceeds goes to charity.

What better on a Friday afternoon.

Its your game OWN IT!

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/Castles

Imaginarium ~ Into the Green




Daily Dose of Literature: Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson

Another great and important influence on genre fiction who all-too-often flies under the radar, Robert Louis Stevenson was a Scottish author who lived in the late 19th century and contributed seminal works to the canon of genre fiction that would later take off in the pulps and down to the literature of today. In his brief 44-year lifespan, Stevenson contributed to an astounding variety of genres, from swashbucking adventure to horror to thrillers and crime novels. 

Robert Louis Stevenson was born in 1850. At the age of 17 he went to Edinburgh University to study lighthouse engineering. Law, however, became his passion and he switched gears to study in that field. He took the opportunity at every vacation to visit France so as to surround himself with the artists, writers and creative types of that environment and by the time he graduated in 1875, he had determined that his true calling was to be a writer. 

In 1876 he met the American Fanny Osbourne, the woman he would eventually marry. The relationship was fraught with complications, however; Osbourne was married with two children when she and Stevenson first met. She divorced her husband in 1878 and married Stevenson in 1880. The two would remain together for the next 14 years until Stevenson's death in 1894.

His first book, the travelogue An Inland Voyage, was published in 1878 and he was off and running. More travelogues followed as well as books of humor and a short fiction collection entitled The New Arabian Nights. During the 1880s his output increased dramatically even as his health declined. It was during these waning years of his life that he produced Treasure Island, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Kidnapped, his three best-known works. 

Consider the influence these works have had on popular fiction: Where would Jack Sparrow or even Errol Flynn be without Treasure Island? Certainly without Jekyll and Hyde we wouldn't have such notable figures as the Incredible Hulk. Kidnapped is an excellent novel which incorporates elements of the crime story, travelogue and rollicking adventure tale, and has become a template for many young adult stories that have followed. 

More information about Stevenson from Wikipedia

Stevenson's work for free on Feedbooks (in ePub, PDF and Kindle formats)

And as always, don't forget to check out Amazing Adventures, the Amazing Adventures Companion, and our whole line of adventure game supplements for all of your classic pulp and genre game needs!

Movie Trailer ~ Mr. Right

This just looks awesome, and I love Anna Kendrick.


The Archer

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Daily Dose of Literature: The D'Artagnan Romances of Alexandre Dumas

Alexandre Dumas
Alexandre Dumas was a French writer of historical adventure fiction in the mid-1800s. While his day was largely before the pulps, he was part of an important literary tradition that led directly up to the pulp fiction of the early 20th century. Like many of the later pulp writers, Dumas saw most of his works published as serials in the fiction magazines of the day. His works have been translated into over 100 languages and adapted into over 200 films--and that doesn't even take into account the many television and adaptations of his work or the pastiches and continuations, both authorized and unauthorized, that have been undertaken.

One of the more interesting facts about Dumas that many people don't know is that he was actually of mixed-race descent. His father was a nobleman and his mother an Afro-Caribbean slave. Dumas was brought to France and freed by his father as a young child. As with many young Frenchman of the day, he did a stint in the army, but after a break with his father chose to adopt his mother's surname. Eventually, he became the first Afro-Antilles to reach the rank of General in the army. By the age of 20, Dumas was working in the offices of the Duke of Orleans. It was here that he began his writing career, drawing upon his various experiences to craft his stories.

Dumas died in 1870 at the age of 68. 

Of his various works he is probably best known for his novels The Count of Monte Cristo and, of course, The Three Musketeers.* These tales are outstanding high-action stories in the grand swashbuckling adventure fiction tradition, though being written in the mid-1800s and translated from French, they are not exactly easy reads. Still, after one gets used to the prose style, they are well worth the time. You'll find that in The Three Musketeers, no film adaptation has ever done the story nor the characters justice.

What's better, and what most people don't realize, is that Musketeers is only the first in a series of works chronicling the entire life of D'Artagnan. These D'Artagnan Romances are all great fun to read, full of adventure, suspense, intrigue, sex and even dark comedy and humor. They're the best of heroism, potboilers, war stories and even a bit of hardboiled Noir all rolled up into one grand overarching tale and solidly establish Dumas as one of the pioneers of the swashbuckling genre along side such luminaries as Robert Louis Stevenson. Later heroes such as Howard's Solomon Kane owe something of a debt to the Musketeers and their contemporaries.

For more about Dumas, check out his Wikipedia article.

Some background on the D'Artagnan Romances

Alexandre Dumas on Feedbooks (in PDF, epub and Kindle formats)

The D'Artagnan Romances on Feedbooks (in PDF, epub and Kindle)

The Count of Monte Cristo on Feedbooks (PDF, epub, Kindle)

And, as always, when you've got a taste for the genre, why not try running some swashbuckling action-adventure stories of your very own with Amazing Adventures and the Amazing Adventures Companion?


*It is worth mentioning that Dumas wrote many of his more successful works in conjunction with silent collaborators, the most well-known of whom is Auguste Maquet.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Daily Dose of Literature: H. Rider Haggard and Allan Quatermain

Henry Rider Haggard




H. Rider Haggard was an English writer of high action tales of adventure, sometimes incorporating elements of horror and the supernatural, and was a pioneer of the Lost World genre of fiction along with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Born on June 22, 1856, his literary career began in 1882, but he did not find success until the first book starring the character for which Rider would become synonymous: Allan Quatermain.

The book was King Solomon's Mines, and it introduced the world in a huge way to the adventuring explorer who would later evolve into a figure we all know and love--Indiana Jones. While Indy wasn't a carbon copy of Quatermain, the literary origins cannot be argued. All in all, Haggard wrote fifteen Quatermain tales, which cemented him as a giant of the early pulps. He died in 1925 at the age of 68.

Like many of the tales of this era, Haggard's stories are bursting with the societal ideas and mores of the time, and include many concepts that today would be considered uncomfortable for readers. It should be noted, however, that especially in his views of native and tribal cultures, he was quite progressive for his day, even featuring Zulu heroes in some of his stories, something that was considered unheard of at the time, even if he did fall back on the "noble savage" ideal and overall appear to support the English imperialism and colonialism of the day.

Regardless of his social views, when read in the context of the era in which they were written, his stories are a collection of rip-roaring adventure tales, full of pulse-pounding pacing, great drama and even heartache. It's easy to see the influence that Haggard's Quatermain had on future heroes from Doc Savage to El Borak all the way down to Indiana Jones.

The Allan Quatermain stories on Feedbooks: http://www.feedbooks.com/list/7/allan-quatermain

The H. Rider Haggard oeuvre on Feedbooks: http://www.feedbooks.com/author/32?lang=en

H. Rider Haggard on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._Rider_Haggard

And when you're done reading, why not cook up some of your own exciting turn-of-the-century adventures in the deserts and jungles of Africa, exploring lost civilizations and ancient tombs? Check out Amazing Adventures for everything you need to get up and running!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Daily Cosplay

Castles & Crusades Familiars On Kickstarter!

By popular demand we are expanding this Kickstarter! We hadn't originally intended to do this, but enough of you have mentioned that the Book of Familiars for Castles & Crusades needs a bit of an overhaul and now would be the time to do it!

We've worked out a deal with the printer and we'll be sending both books to press at the same time. With that in mind the 13K Goal, will allow us to print both books (well, we'll owe a smidge). The C&C version and the 5th edition both in FULL COLOR!

Back the version you want and get the game book of your choice! Either C&C or Fifth Edition. IF you want both just add the extra through the ADD ONs.

We've already added the new pledge levels for Castles & Crusades!

Knights, Squires, Men! To Arms and Join the Fray!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/676918054/5th-edition-familiars-monstrous-companions-steeds

Castles & Crusades is on Bundle of Holding!

Troll Lord Games is proud to announce that we are now on Bundle of Holding for the first time ever! We've been wrangling to get on here for some time now, mainly because it is just such an awesome concept and our fans love it and we've been fans of theirs for some time.

For those not familiar with Bundle of Holding, it's an amazing website where you can get some very very good deals, plus some bonus tittles along the way. They contract with lucky publishers like ourselves to offer these packages at rock bottom prices.



The beauty of it is that you can choose which level you want to pay, but they are all great prices.  And then if you pay the current threshold price, you get any bonus titles that come out after that. It's just very, very cool and you have to check her out if you can.  But check it early to get the best prices.

BONUS CHALLENGE!

Whoever has the "Highest Wisdom" at the end of the Bundle of Holding will receive an extra goody box from Troll Lord Games.  Make room on your bookshelf for a signed leather book and much more if you are the highest contributor!

Imaginarium ~ Into the Dry




Movie Trailer 2 ~ The Huntsman

Looking very good....


Cthulhu


UFO Files

This is just what they want you to believe. A fluff piece on Livescience.com has reported that the sounds, the music, the members of Apollo 10 heard while wandering around on the surface of the moon, was nothing more than static between the command vehicle and the ground vehicle. The VHF radios were acting up.

Well I was in communications in the Army and I don't know anything about VHF radios, so that might be true.

But it seems might convenient.

Actually the fluff piece is a fairly written piece, but not all believe the sounds were from the VHF radios. Al Worden, from Apollo 15, doesn't believe. Something else it as play...or so he says.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Imaginarium ~ Forward into the Wilds





Daily Dose of Literature: Sherlock Holmes

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) may not have single-handedly invented the detective story (Indeed, Edgar Allen Poe had more than a small hand in that honor as well), but he certainly created the single most famous, often-imitated, parodied and continually explored literary figure in the entire genre. We're talking, of course, of one Mr. Sherlock Holmes of 221B Baker Street (a fictional address, incidentally).

Doyle is another seminal figure of the early pulps (or more appropriately, pre-pulps). His Holmes stories directly influenced every generation of mystery and crime writers that has followed since. Writers such as Dashell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Agatha Christie and even James Patterson owe a huge debt to Doyle's work.

Like many writers of his day, Doyle led an adventurous life. He was a working doctor and ship's surgeon, an enthusiastic occult investigator and believer in spiritualism (his acquaintance, the noted illusionist and skeptic Harry Houdini would go around in circles with Doyle regarding this issue), a professional football (soccer) player and cricketeer, and even a politician.

Besides Holmes, Doyle must be remembered as a pioneer of the very genre of fiction that is named after his own novel: The Lost World. Doyle wrote a series of fantastic novels about a character who in many ways could be considered a forerunner of the Steampunk genre: Professor Challenger. The Lost World is one of these tales.

Do yourself a favor and check out some of Doyle's works. They're outstanding.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes stories on Feedbooks (ePUB, PDF and Kindle formats)
The Complete Professor Challenger stories on Feedbooks (ePUB, PDF and Kindle)
Full Arthur Conan Doyle story set on Feedbooks (ePUB, PDF, Kindle)

And, as always, when you've got the itch to run some epic Victorian pulp adventures, check out the Amazing Adventures Role Playing Game!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Female Barbarian

I love this piece. Axes just make me feel good. Axes and round shields. I don't know why.

Daily Dose of Literature: Robert E. Howard

Robert E. Howard



Time to address the elephant in the room! We've covered Lovecraft and Burroughs, but what about the man who was once called "The greatest pulp writer in the whole wide world?" We're talking about none other than the creator of such luminary characters as Conan the Barbarian, Sailor Steve Costigan, Solomon Kane, Kull the Conqueror, Bran Mak Morn, El Borak and more: Robert E. Howard. Between the mid-1920s and up until decades after his untimely death in 1936, Robert E. Howard was leaving an indelible mark on not only the pulps, but on genre fiction in general. He is thought of as the father (or grandfather) of heroic fantasy. While not as well known or spoken of as Prof. Tolkien, Howard's tales of Kull and Conan were some of the earliest forms of sword and sorcery literature to see print, and have had just as much influence. Indeed, in some way Howard's work has influenced directly or indirectly almost every fantasy writer to come along since.

Howard was a huge history buff and though self-educated, was well-informed on the various popular, accepted and fringe theories of history of the day. He adopted several of these (particularly fringe ideas) in his crafting of lost ages of humankind and his ideas of racial memories that influenced later characters in his fiction. He was especially concerned with the idea of civilization vs. barbarism, often coming down heavily on the side of the latter and believing that civilization was by and large a series of interruptions between periods of barbarism.

He is perhaps most famous for his friendship and correspondence of H.P. Lovecraft, who thought very highly of Howard and his writing, and indeed wrote a famed obituary of Howard when Howard passed.

It takes volumes to get into the details of Howard's life; suffice it to say it was as interesting as the stories he wrote. His fiction alone is worth exploring if you have not; much of it is in the public domain and there's a reason why he has had such an effect on writers and genre fiction to this day.

Some of the best books about Howard:

Price-Ellis, Novalyne. One Who Walked Alone: Robert E. Howard, The Final Years. Donald M. Grant, 1986. Amazon Link

Finn, Mark. Blood & Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E. Howard. The Robert E Howard Foundation Press, 2006, 2011, 2013. Amazon Link

Robert E. Howard's Fiction on Feedbooks (available in PDF, Kindle or EPUB formats, for free!)

After you've read up on Howard, if you've got the itch for some gritty, high action fantasy, historical or general pulp gaming, check out Amazing Adventures

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Daily Dose of Literature: Edgar Rice Burroughs - The Father of Star Wars

Image Source: http://comicvine.gamespot.com/edgar-rice-burroughs/4040-58037/





"The Father of Star Wars?" you say. "That was George Lucas! What are you smoking?"

Yes, Lucas invented our favorite science fantasy world, but in a very real way, Burroughs was the start of it all. Certainly there were science fiction writers before him--Shelley, Wells, Verne--but the realm of science fantasy known as space opera or planetary romance was very much established by the Barsoom Chronicles concerning the hero John Carter of Mars, and an argument could be made that without Burroughs, we might not have Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers or Star Wars. 

Burroughs also served as a progenitor for later muscle-bound swords-and-sorcery heroes like Conan with his tales of Tarzan of the Apes, a precursor to the same themes of barbarism vs. civilization that authors like Robert E. Howard would later claim as their own.

While you're at it, don't forget his lesser-known romps like the early hollow earth saga of Pellucidar or the adventures of Carson of Venus! You might be surprised at just how many areas of pulp literature Burroughs spearheaded.

But ignore all that: Burroughs was just a rip-roaring great science fantasy and adventure writer who spun memorable characters and exciting stories. If you haven't read his stuff, you're missing out.

Fortunately, a lot of it is in the public domain and you can read it! Check out this listing of his works on feedbooks.com, available in a variety of formats including epub, kindle and PDF. 

Stay tuned for more blurbs about classic writers that every gamer should read, and as always if you're feeling inspired, don't forget to check out the Amazing Adventures RPG!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Daily Dose of Literature: The Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft

Lovecraft...at the Library!
 
One of the most important and seminal writers in the history of genre literature, H.P. Lovecraft, drawing upon precursors like Poe, Chambers and Ambrose Bierce, defined the Weird fiction story as it came to be known in the golden age of the pulps--the 1920s and 30s. His so-called "Cthulhu Mythos" (which he actually referred to as "Yog-Sothothery") has gone on to influence almost every single horror author that's come along since.

If you've never read Lovecraft, you're really cheating yourself. But fear not! All of his works are in the public domain, and the fine folks at Dagonbytes are here to help out. Check out The Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft, all online and 100% free! Beware, though: you might find out that Cthulhu isn't the nuclear-blast-immune ultimate horror that many modern works and RPGs make him out to be. In his initial appearance, they...well, I don't want to give it away. Read it for yourself and see!

Many of his works are also available in ebook format over at Feedbooks (in ePub, PDF and Kindle format)

When you're done scaring the bejeezus out of yourself...why not grab up a copy of Amazing Adventures and try to run some Lovecraft-inspired games to scare your friends just as bad?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Daily Cosplay

On Kickstarter Now ~ Familiars

In case you missed it: Fifth Edition Familiars and Animal Companions!



Jason Walton's complete cover! Get in today and get your poster for FREE!


Imaginarium




Essays on Pop Culture

I've been wandering around the house for about a week, trying to find something to read. I normally read history books, but recently I've been in the mood for fiction, some classic fantasy or scifi fiction. I have tons of old paper backs in various holes around here, but I've become a bit of a bookist, wanting to read hardcovers. They open easier, stay open and are usually slightly less packed text density wise.

But having exhausted my hardcovers and not wanting to re-read them I started poking into my paper backs. The first box I opened and the first book I picked up...Kane Dark Crusade by Karl Edward Wagner...proved a joy.

It wasn't because of the reading, but rather the book itself. I opened the long closed cover and that wonderful scent of old paper rose and rolled across me. It was wonderful. I love that smell.

It reminds me of a similar experience in a  comic book store, where I commented on the smell to the proprietor. He laughed but the kid next to me said, "what? you mean that wet, cat-piss on newspaper smell?" I fell over laughing and remarked, "yeah, that one!"

Its all in what memories the smell captures I suppose.



The Walking Dead Mid Season Trailer


The Mountain

At the feet of the mountain you stood, and it was daunting, but the choice was not yours to make. 

You must climb . . . . 


Thursday, February 04, 2016

Daily Cosplay


Nadya as Triss Merigold (Witcher 3)

5th Edition on Kickstarter

We are barely a week in and are a quarter funded! Don't miss out on all the kickstarter that will help redefine your character. From role playing to roll playing familiars, animal companions, mighty steeds, heroic blades, muses, and more all bring an old genre to life.



Imaginarium ~ Turn the Mist






Essays on Pop Culture

Apocalyptic movies and TV shows are everywhere these days. They seem a bit more prevalant than they have in the past. There are probably several reasons for this.

Perhaps they are an expression of frustration and doubt seeded in a populace that has come to believe that the society they live in is too fragile and there is an inevitable collapse.

Or maybe this genre reflects the primeval in us as homo-sapiens, that through these movies we live a vicarious life, one less ordinary, far removed from the mundane nature of our lives.

It could be that we have an instinctive need for violence and struggle, for our species has fought a monumental series of battles to achieve its place in the world.

Of course it could be something as simple as access. Film equipment is inexpensive compared to a decade ago. The secondary market is flooded with it. You can learn the basics of the trade at school. And apocalyptic movies are cheap to make as you just need old, dilapidated materials and sets.

Then there is the inevitable question driven by the central core of Darwinism: competition. What would I do?

There is probably no one answer, there are probably multiple answers and multiple reasons. That's the way it generally is. Seeking a 'reason' is more often than not, a fool's errand. Better to look at a bigger picture.

Dangerous Fey

"Fairy cave" by Tianhia Xu (flowerzzxu) on DeviantArt (detail).

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Digitizing World War Posters

FIGHT or Buy Bonds!


Whether you're a history buff or love a good pulp game, this is incredible stuff. Head on over and take a look!

From the source:

"The Pennsylvania State Archives, in cooperation with the State Library of Pennsylvania, has digitized a collection of World War I posters from its Manuscript Group 200 – Poster Collection and made them available online. This assemblage consists of 258 posters, most of which include color or black-and-white illustrations. The posters were produced primarily on a national scale, although some were also made locally. Most were created in the United States, however, a number were manufactured in Europe, particularly in Britain, France and Italy. Some portray famous and legendary figures such as Joan of Arc and Uncle Sam, while others feature illustrations of common soldiers and civilians. The posters helped to fan the fires of patriotism throughout the United States during the Great War, and helped to transition the country’s position from one of isolationism to one of openly becoming military partners with the Allied Forces in Europe."

Then, once you've got your hackles up to run a pulp game set in the teens, roaring 20's or all the way through World War II, why not pick up Amazing Adventures and give it a go? 

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Daily Cosplay


Annette Lunde as Captain America

5th Edition Gaming on Kickstarter

5th Edition Familiars & Companions is the ultimate resource for all your familiars and companions. In a well balanced approach we bring the classic animal companion back to life. We restore the wizard's familiar to its prominent place. But there is so much more....

Check out the full Kickstarter by clicking the picture below!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/676918054/5th-edition-familiars-monstrous-companions-steeds