book-of-horrors

I feel it in my bones
A need to be your god
A need to strike you down
When order disappeared
And madness took control
The conscience in me drowned
[…]
- Remains, Aviators

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Very well, another favourite ~ :3 I loved James McAvoy playing Victor von Frankenstein like he did in the movie. And maybe it wasn’t the best one (Storyline etc.) but I quite enjoyed it to be honest and I could watch it over and over again and seeing him acting like a very mad scientist ~ // it’s like ppl saying Welcome to the Punch is a shitty movie (Go f*** yourselves!) //

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@magnetotheshark, @larkistin, @messedupmcavoyer, @krem-does-stuff, @hellozxxy, @katarzynajaskiewicz, @candycherik, @butterynutjob, @adena-k, @jamesy4ever, @timelosser, @o0heartless0o, @magnetobsessed79, @l-p-r-o-c-k, @lynngouvenec, @geertruis, @turtletotem, @pangeasplits, @palalife, @dwaroxxx (qq), @klassyfassy, @samerulesapply

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Signal Boost: The Case of the Stolen Format

This post is inspired by the Geek and Sundry show of the same name where a series of hosts draw attention to a variety of things (be they books, music, games, charities or whatever) they like and wish more people knew about. Just like the real show (which is a pretty cool way to fill in five minutes every week) I’m about to talk about three things I think might be worth your attention.

Boost #1: The Laundry Files by Charles Stross

This book series mixes Lovecraftian horror with British spy thrillers and anchors the whole thing with banal office bureaucracy. The foundation of the series is the idea that magic is essentially incredibly advanced mathematics and the by solving certain equations we can contact other planes of existence, summon inhuman beings (aka demons), and make them Do Things for us. Of course its far more complex than that (and explained far better in the actual books), and I am constantly impressed with how Stross takes his basic ideas and builds on them in increasingly interesting and original directions. The version of Vampires he introduces in the Book 5 quickly became of my favourite reinterpretations of the myth, but even that doesn’t compare to the unicorns in the short story Equoid.

While the world Stross builds is one of the strongest parts of the series, it is by no mean the only strength of the series. The blend of the banal and fantastic is often hilarious and all too relateable.  Bob Howard (the narrator/protagonist) simultaneously functions as an ‘in-over-his-head’ anti-action hero (in fact he is often over shadowed by many of the series strong female characters including his badass wife) while still managing to kick ass when needed. I am endlessly amused by the way the Laundry applies spy thriller style code names to everything (BLUE HADES, SCORPIAN STARE, GOD GAME RAINDOW, BASHFUL INCIDIARY,  etc.)

While the series does stumble occasionally getting a little too meta (especially in Book 2 which goes way off the deep end with characters knowingly deconstructing the tropes of James Bond), I am absolutely obsessed with it at the moment (only a book and half til I’m caught up). A well built world with a unique twist on how the supernatural works does more to hook me into a series than anything else, and The Laundry Files does it better than pretty much any urban/modern day fantasy series I’ve ever read.

(Boost #1 and a half: The Laundry RPG - I recently got all of The Laundry RPG (set in the Laundry Files universe using a modified version of the d100/Call of Cthulhu engine) in a bundle of holding. I’m only half way into the main rulebook, but it looks good so far. I aim to run a game before the end of the year once I have had enough free time to really get my teeth into it.)

Boost #2: Jomsviking by Amon Amarth

Recommending a Melodic Death Metal album may be an exercise in redundancy, after all anyone who likes this kind of music has probably already heard (and loved) this album and I lost every one else at Melodic Death Metal. But this is my signal boost and  after my first listen Jomsviking quickly became the album to beat for my favourite album of 2016.

I tend to connect with music on one of two levels: either with the vocals and the story/message/theme they are trying to convey or with music itself if its in a  style/genre I enjoy. Obviously I’m more likely to enjoy bands that can do both, and Amon Amarth have long been some of the best story tellers on the more extreme end of the metal spectrum. Songs like Embrace of the Endless Ocean, The Hero, or Fate of Norns are master-classes in telling a short story or capturing the feel of a single moment while still making a kick ass metal track.

Jomsviking is their most recent album, and their first attempt at concept album. The story follows a young Viking warrior who is forced to flee home following an ill-fated romance and ends up joining the Jomsvikings, a legendary mercenary guild. He eventually returns home and meets a suitably tragic end.

While the album is as great musically as you would expect from a band that has been on top of their game for several albums, it is really the storytelling that puts this album above and beyond for me. The opening line (“The first man I ever killed/ was the earl’s right hand man/ when he came to take her away”) tells a whole story by itself and the whole album is full of lines or phrases that are equally masterful with their depth and meaning. The stand out track has to be the penultimate song 'A dream that cannot be (feat Doro Pesch)’ where the main character is reunited with his love interest and it is just the most perfectly tragic subversion of everything that came before it. Not just a great album musically, Jomsviking is full of tiny moments that have stuck with me between listens and is in many ways a better story than most movies/books I’ve watched/read in 2016.

Boost #3: The GM’s Principles/GM Moves from Dungeon World by Sage Latorra & Adam Koebel

While I could recommend the entire Dungeon World system (because honestly its probably the best story focused/one off friendly/rules light fantasy roleplaying system I know of) I instead want to focus on a small part of Dungeon World. Namely the advice given to the GM in chapter 13 of the core rules. I’ve read a lot of RPG rules books, and even more system neutral GM advice, and the guidance given in Dungeon World continues to have the biggest impact on how I prepare for and run games.

The Principles are a series of ideas on how the GM should go about designing and presenting their world, while the Moves are more about how the GM should go about responding to players and their actions. Both are presented first as a list of simple phrases ('Draw Maps, Leave Blanks’, 'Use up their resources’ etc.) then with a paragraph or two discussing each phrase. It doesn’t get too in-depth but I can see where the authors are coming from even in the few instances I don’t agree with them or struggle to put it into practise. A few moves are designed to only really work with Dungeon World (or other games using Powered by the Apocalypse engine), and while they don’t directly translate into more complex systems (such as D&D) I’ve still found it useful to keep them in mind. The principles especially have made doing GM prep a lot easier, allowing me to focus my limited energy and time in more useful directions.

Just like Dungeon World as a whole, the GM principles and moves won’t fit every gaming group’s style of play. But most people I’ve played with appreciate a more story focused, cinematic gaming experience and by keeping this advice in mind I’ve been able to run a better game for them.

So that’s my first signal boost. Will I do another one? Maybe. Should you do one if you have three things you are passionate about? If you want, I’m not the boss of you.

2

The Book Thief (2013)

2

Unhallowed Graves (2015)  by Nuzo Onoh

“Oja-ale is the night market run by the dead. Everything can be bought for a deadly price. Alan Pearson is a sceptical British diplomat, contemptuous and dismissive of native superstitions… Until the day he receives a terrifying purchase from the Night Market, which defies Western science and logic. And Alan must finally confront the chilling truth of Oja-ale. - “Night Market - Oja-ale” A dead child returns to haunt his grieving mother with terrifying consequences - “The Unclean” The ghost of a drowned slave is resurrected from his watery grave to exact revenge on the family that betrayed him and sold him into slavery, with tragic consequences - “Our Bones Shall Rise Again”. 

Three chilling stories of revenge by the restless dead buried in Unhallowed Graves by the frontrunner of African Horror and author of The Reluctant Dead, Nuzo Ono”

Get it  now here


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