Numenera — Starter Set

One of my current RPG groups is in recovery. After two years of weekly Pathfinder campaigns, the group collectively lost interest in most RPG games which has led to a fun delve into weekly boardgames. Because I always want to play new games and learn new games, I am making a small campaign of introducing the group to new systems / settings by use of starter sets. These 20-30$ boxes come with a condensed ruleset, pre-generated characters and enough material to run a gamer for 2-3 hours. It is from…

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AMON AMARTH – Berserker

Amon Amarth Berserker

At some points, one can admire a band like Amon Amarth. Not only has the band retained a core lineup but they have found a sound and niche that will always be understandable to veteran fans and new listeners. Amon Amarth exists for a reason and that reason seems to work with many people. It is not difficult to see why as the band’s mixture of gruff vocals and understandable lyrics center around an expected subject material and is a heavy metal band for people who want to listen to…

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1d4 Con 2019

Worlds Away It was Saturday of the convention and during the twilight hours of 10pm, all of the blocks of games would be in their 2nd or third hour with still two hours to go. The vendor hall closed early at 7 and for few quiet hours the outside of the Clarion Hotel in Shepherdstown West Virginia is filled with the occasional shuffle is a person carrying games or the occasional smoker — though that activity is smaller than other conventions. It had rained all days and by now the…

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TWISTED TOWER DIRE – Wars In The Unknown

Getting into Twisted Tower Dire maybe more complicated than most people are willing to venture. This of course doesn’t matter if you have already been into the band prior to 2019 or never hearing anything from this band except for this record. Twisted Tower Dire has had a long history of contemporary power metal with members weaving in and out of bands like October 31, Walpyrgus, While Heaven Wept and even the maligned Arghoslent. If those first three bands ring any bells, it is a good indication on where Twisted…

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Dungeon Synth Meditations: Chaucerian Myth

A few weeks ago, Out of Season contacted me to write a reflection on Chaucerian Myth’s The Canturbury Tales. This 2016 record is seeing a CD reprint and the label wanted thoughts and musings about the record for the booklet. I was more than happy to take a walk down a nostalgic path. I was also pleased to write about dungeon synth again as the sound still interests me after a brief sabbatical with other things. I do not think I will ever write monthly digests again but reflecting upon…

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WARRIOR PATH – Warrior Path

When I read Greek power metal band Warrior Path featured vocalist Yannis Papadopoulos from Beast In Black, I was embarrassed. I was embarrassed since I did not know who Beast in Black was and it was being used as a selling point for Warrior Path. I was also embarrassed as Beast in Black was a Nuclear Blast release with an impressive traction before realizing that band also had a recent release in 2019 so I feel like less of a pretender. The reason I am talking so much about this…

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RHAPSODY OF FIRE – The Eighth Mountain

rhapsody of fire the eigth mountain

Walking into the 12th studio album from Italian symphonic power metal band Rhapsody of Fire can be done in two ways. the first, and perhaps easiest is to enjoy the sound of triumphant power metal centered around the beginning of a new narrative. The second, and perhaps more interesting, is to step back and take int he dramatic history of a band that started with an almost different set of members and two narratives and over 20 years ago. We will, of course, choose the second road as the saga…

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Watchtower IX

This month’s Tim White image is a gorgeous image depicting two figures reveling in their apparent solitude among lush alien foliage. The cover was used on 1992’s Exile by Michael P. Kube-McDowell though the synopsis “The surviving witnesses to an alien encounter have been sentenced to exile for two decades, and now one man is ready to listen to their forbidden memories” does not feel like it fits the cover image. Regardless, Kube-McDowell’s Trigon Disunity trilogy recieved much praise in the 1980’s as well as a 1990’s trilogy of Star…

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SAOR – Forgotten Paths

Even though Andy Marshall began his Saor project in 2013, it was not until 2014, with the record Aura, that I feel it really caught the interest of the greater public. This project combined the very familiar structures of atmospheric black metal with an almost reverent devotion to folk and atmosphere. Aura’s wild and meditative cover encapsulated the music which was also both wild and meditative. With the release of 2016’s Guardians on Northern Silence and now the release of a new record on AvantGarde, this once semi obscure black…

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Rotting Christ – The Heretics

To begin this review, I think it is safe to stay in the current era of Rotting Christ. To discuss their entire history would require a longer article as well as a more in depth knowledge about the band none of which I can supply. I am certainly knowledgable about the bands current albums as well as watershed albums such as Thy Mighty Contract which is not only regarded as a classic in the black metal scene but in development of the hellenic sound which typifies certain Greek acts. If…

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AVANTASIA – Moonglow

avantasia moonglow

At this moment, I have written two reviews on Avantasia and their records since 2013. This will be number 3 which means I have spent 6 years embraced in the loving arms of this power metal ensemble. Compared to some of the other music which catches my interest, Avantasia is incredibly wholesome and reminds me of the best times I have had with other bombastic heavy metal and hard rock. Just the fact that the opening track “Ghost in the Moon” has shades of Bat Out Of Hell era Meat…

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Ravnica Underworld: Krenko’s Way

This is a continuation of my thoughts and feeling about the D&D MTG campaign my group is beginning. My group is comprised of interested players who have had little to no experience with the system. What they do have, however, is knowledge about the campaign world which is the city planet of Ravnica. What Wizards has done is thrown our group a rulebook that will make our dreams possible and begin a long campaign in the underworld of Ravinca. There was a lot of questions on how this was going…

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ANCIENT BARDS – Origine (The Black Crystal Sword Saga Pt 2)

Ancient Bards - Origine

I feel my attraction to Ancient Bards comes in part with my love for Rhapsody and all of its iterations. I also feel Ancient Bards has perhaps endured the comparison to fellow Italian symphonic power metal band once or twice. Let us make this one more for old times sake. Origine is the followup, conceptually, to the Ancient Bard’s 2010 debut The Alliance of the Kings – The Black Crystal Sword Saga Pt.1. I mean, we could probably throw in their 2008 demo entitled “Trailer of the Black Crystal Sword…

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Thor the Conqueror (1983)

Thor the Conqueror

Trying to find information on Thor the Conquerer is difficult as this 1983 Italian film isn’t an obscure cult classic rather a forgotten artifact from a time when cheap movies were being made at an extraordinary rate. It is evident within the first few minutes of the film that the production value, acting, narration, and pretty much everything else is going to be on the level of a high school project. It is also evident at the first battle scene, that this movie is going to be for certain audiences…

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