A Brawl in Ravinca (Part 2)

If you remember my previous article in regards to a Brawl In Ravinca, I was discussing the various commanders one could use if they were attempting to play Brawl. I think I am going to extend this article in just discussing the cards themselves and their implications as a full commander. My playgroup and I might be moving away from Brawl until it sorts itself out for a more wild west of casual play. This does not mean the rollercoaster format of Brawl cont be of interest to other people…

Read More

Spelljammer

Spelljammer Comics

For as unrecognized and obscured as Spelljammer has become, it is a wonderful scale at which to view the cosmography of the Dungeons and Dragons universe. This is, of course, if you want to view the belief structure and technological milestones of a fantasy universe. I will of course be discussing the early 90’s comic book which is based around the ideas and concepts introduced in 1989 with the Spelljammer supplement. Before we get to the comic, let us first get our head around what it was like in the…

Read More

STRATOVARIUS – Enigma: Intermission II

Stratovarius - Enigma

It feels strange to discuss a compilation in regards to a new album but it seems that Stratovarius has put a considerable amount of work into what could have been a bullshit compilation release. Hold on, lets go back. Stratovarius is a Finnish power metal group who has the benefit of being able to call themselves one of the pioneers in the European power metal style along with Blind Guardian, Gamma Ray, and Helloween. The work of Stratovarius in the 1990’s is marked with stellar albums such as 1997’s Visions…

Read More

The Wonder of Real: The Work of Donato Giancola

It is strange talking about realism when it comes to fantasy art. Realism means many different things as it could be related to the qualities of the picture, the subjects of the painting, the idealization of those subjects, or a melange of all of those things. The realism of Jan Van Eyck is different than Jean-François Millet as it is different to Chuck Close. When we talk about the Real we discuss many things that may not be related. Realism, for many, discusses and expresses how things are portrayed and…

Read More

Watchtower V

Watchtower is a monthly digest compiling interesting developments in speed, heavy, and doom albums on Bandcamp. to fit the theme of the site, these albums were chosen for their recent release and also for potential interest with people who are already adventuring in the worlds of fantasy. This month’s image comes from Magic the Gathering with an older set called Return to Ravinca. The image, illustrated by Svetlin Velinov, depicts the Simic Guildgate which is one of 10 gates to the guilds which rule over Ravinca. I could explain more…

Read More

A Brawl in Ravinca (Part 1)

Brawl In Ravinca

EDITORS NOTE: At the time of writing this article, Brawl has been announced to be retiring from MTGO which closes a very few strange months for the format. While Brawl still exists and most likely will continue, its existence as a 1v1 competitive format closes the chapter on a format that is suffering at establishing its identity. Below are my thoughts on Brawl in the era of Ravinca. ——— A brawl is surely brewing. Well, we hope. Brawl, for me, has been a wild ride. From excitement to hopeful to…

Read More

Guilds of Ravinca: Artwork

I love Ravinca and so will you. We are about to fully plunge into spoiler season regarding the next set for Magic the Gathering: Guilds of Ravinca. This set will bring players back to a plane that is a “Ecumenopolis” — a word I just learned which means a worldwide city. Ravinca was initially released in 2005 and with a sequel, Return to Ravinca, in 2012. The announcement of a third installment into this ecumenopolis, instilled a deep seated sense of joy as Return to Ravinca was my first set…

Read More

SATAN – Cruel Magic

Satan - Cruel Magic

Satan has perhaps the most iconic name in heavy metal history — not because they are the most iconic band in metal history but rather Satan is a pretty big deal. This is what happens when you name your band first and retain a legacy that overshadows all of the other black metal acts with the same name. 1981 saw the first demo from UK heavy metal act Satan and since that time, this cult followed act has retained the rights to being the coolest Satan. It also helps when…

Read More

POWERWOLF – The Sacrament of Sin

Powerwolf The Sacrament of Sin

I have always been confused regarding the German power metal band Powerwolf. From a distance, this act seems to combine supernatural, historical, and religious themes in albums which sound like symphonic cascades and a Castlevania game come to life. While all of this sounds cool and something I would totally be into, the consistency and unerring path of Powerwolf has led to a career which is marketable if not a big blur for anyone looking in from the outside. Perhaps the newest album would slow down just enough for outsiders…

Read More

Watchtower IV

Watchtower is a monthly digest compiling interesting developments in speed, heavy, and doom albums on Bandcamp. to fit the theme of the site, these albums were chosen for their recent release and also for potential interest with people who are already adventuring in the worlds of fantasy. As always I also try to highlight an artist and their work in the realms of fantasy art. This month’s picture is of a striking landscape whose creator has been completely severed from the picture. Through numerous searching I can not find the…

Read More

House Of Life: The Aspirations of George Frederic Watts

The Sower of Systems (pictured below) was a 1902 painting by Victorian painter George Frederic Watts. Watts, a symbolist painter, would die two years later so The Sower of Systems would be one of his last. Sower of Systems is notable for its use of abstraction before the Impressionist and Expressionist movements which would precede the exploration into visual abstraction. Watt’s painting of God creating the world remains a heavily atmospheric painting depicting an obscure entity creating the galaxies and sowing the seeds of life across the darkness. This factoid…

Read More

Sand Castles: Adventures in Design

I really couldn’t come up with a snappy title for this article so we are going with Sand Castles. I believe it works for now but I could change it in the future. “Sandbox” games are a term which describes open ended tabletop adventuring where the players make choices which leads to further development in the story. This type of adventure design contracts the much maligned “Railroad” story where player’s choices mean little in terms of where the narrative travels. Sandbox adventures lay at the core of RPG design with…

Read More

Casual Magic: The Summer of Brawl

Magic the Gathering: BRAWL

If you have been following any of my recent articles on casual Magic, you have seen an interest in Wizard’s newest format Brawl. To summarize, Brawl is a 60 card singleton format based around a commander that follows the Standard rotation schedule and to some extent its banlist. While it is easy to think of it as EDH-lite, its complexities and nuances seem to have both positives and negatives for different fanbases. Brawl has also had a rocky start from the bizarre rollout, to an online domination of one deck,…

Read More

IMMORTAL – Northern Chaos Gods

Immortal - Northern Chaos Gods

Immortal. Okay, we can do this. If you have not heard of Immortal before then you most certainly have seen pictures of their members in some fantastic pose in the woods. The band’s face paint has become almost iconic in the realm of heavy metal and the name Abbath is almost as recognizable as the band. Immortal, as a band, has become inseparable from the history of Norwegian black metal with its members intertwined with the other bands that have become famous and unfortunately infamous.

Read More