Saturday, January 31, 2015

If you've enjoyed "Marvel's Agent Carter," you'll like these NUELOW Games offerings!

People have been loving the latest Marvel Comics-inspired series on ABC, Agent Carter, for its female lead and 1940s setting.

If you're liking the televised pastiche, we think you'll enjoy the REAL 1940s Fighting Females that are at the heart of NUELOW Games' line of comics/rpg hybrid books.

The characters are perhaps have the most in common with Agent Carter are probably Jill Trent and Veiled Avenger.

Cover of Science Sleuths #2
Jill Trent is a scientist and inventor who puts her gadgets to use in fighting crime. She is assisted by her loyal gal pal Daisy, and their adventures were the lead feature in NUELOW's Science Sleuths 1-3. We're offering those first three issues in a discounted bundle, here. Also featured in those issues was the Spider Queen, another woman scientist who put her scientific knowledge into action for justice. (Click here to read more about Spider Queen and her amazing similarity to another spider-themed hero... who debuted some 20 years after she made her first appearance.)

Cover of Lady Satan
The Veiled Avenger is a legal secretary who puts her circus background to use in crime-fighting, driven in equal amounts by a thirst for justice and frustration with the men around her. She is also one of more brutal heroines of the 1940s, more often than not causing the death of the villains she battles. NUELOW collected the entirety of her published adventures in Lady Satan, another brutal female superhero who leaves bodies in her wake. You can get a copy of the book, or see previews by clicking here. (The book also contains a complete ROLF! battle scenario.)

Cover of ROLF!: Zero vs. One
Another character who we have retrieved from the Golden Age of Comics and collected in a new book is the mysterious secret agent Madam Zero. The entirety of her recorded adventures are included in ROLF!: Zero vs. One, together with a complete battle scenario. Click here to see previews or to get your very own copy of this complete collection of rarely reprinted comics. (Madam Zero's original publisher is noted for its many series featuring strong female leads, and she was one of the final characters they introduced to the public.)

Cover for CGAB #4
Even more obscure than Madam Zero is Miss Espionage, the daughter of Mata Hari and a spy herself. We featured her complete adventures, as well as those of the precocious teenaged hell-raiser Angela in the fourth installment of our Complete Golden Age Oddballs series. In addition to the great classic comics, this book features fiction by Steve Miller, which reveals the "secret origins" of both Miss Espionage and Angela with twists that those who appreciate Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter will love. There's also RPG rules for use with ROLF! and OGL d20 Modern. Click here for more information, or to get your own copy.

Cover for Pat Patriot
Finally, we have collected the greatest adventures of an early star-spangled superheroine--predating even the more famous Wonder Woman--in the pages of Pat Patriot. Debuting in 1941, this series focuses on a immigrant's daughter who becomes a symbol of the American spirit and devotes life to being a rallying point during a time of increased uncertainty and global war. You can see previews of the book, or get your own copy here.

These characters are but a sampling of the Golden Age female characters that we've thrown a spotlight on over the past couple of years. Among the others are the daring Black Cat, the man-hating Judy of the Jungle, the adventuring animal tamer Princess Pantha, the mysterious Fantomah, the ditzy detective Sherry Flippe, the trouble-making teenager Kathy, and more!

We intend to add several more books spotlighting forgotten female stars from the Golden Age during 2015, beginning with the Iron Lady. Look for her soon!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Now Available -- The Three Lives of Fantomah: Daughter of the Pharoahs

Art by Bradley K. McDevitt

The Three Lives of Fantomah: Daughter of the Pharoahs is NUELOW Games' final collection of tales starring one of comicdom's earliest leading ladies. In these stories, she claims her destiny as the Queen of Khefra, a hidden civilization that has kept many of the traditions of ancient Egypt alive. In addition to seven rarely seen stories illustrated by George Appel, the book features OGL d20 rules that let you incorporate the gods of Khefra into your campaigns, no matter what d20 System variant you're using. It's all behind an original cover by Bradley K. McDevitt.

If you enjoy sword-and-sorcery fantasy, you'll not want to miss this final chronicle of the multi-faceted existence of the most fantastic woman to have ever lived -- Fantomah!

Click here to see previews of the book, or to get your own copy. It's available at a reduced price through January 22, 2015.

The other books in the Three Lives of Fantomah series are still available...

Art by Richard Case & Fletcher Hanks
Cover for Mystery Woman of the Jungle
Art by Richard Case & Fletcher Hanks
Cover for Guardian of the Jungle

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Gods of Khefra: A Preview (Part Two)

More snippets from the RPG material that will be featured in The Three Lives of Fantomah: Daughter of the Pharoahs. Coming soon! (This is Open Game content, and it may be reproduced in accordance with the license detail at the link in the sidebar to the right.)

The gods of Khefra grant spells to members of their priesthoods as described in the rules for the Adept class in OGL Modern, or in the rules for Clerics or Druids in the general OGL rules. In Khefra, an Adept, Cleric, or Druid must select a deity to serve and that deity grants them spells. They may also select any of the "Favored by" feats in place of any bonus feat they earn for their class. (These feats may also be selected by non-clergy characters who honor the god in question through their words and deeds.)
   The gods of Khefra often answer desperate pleas from the citizens of the city-state. Simply mentioned a god's name if one isn't a member of the god's priesthood or engaged in a  formal rite or prayer, triggers a 1% chance that the deity will manifest an avatar (use the stats for the astral deva in all cases) at the location its name was mentioned. If the deity determines that its name has been taken in vain and/or it has been called upon for frivolous reasons, he will place a curse upon the summoner and immediately depart.
Until the character seeks out a temple devoted to the offended god, and completes a quest of atonement assigned by the high priest there, the character suffers a -4 penalty to all d20 rolls and a -2 to damage dealt and a +2 to damage received.
Isis is the patron goddess of spell casters and widows. She was the wife of the now-dead god Osiris, and she is the sworn enemy of the gods who slew her husband, Babi and Set. Legend holds that the first undead creatures came into being when Set tried to make amends with Isis by combining forces with her to restore Osiris to life, using her magic and his knowledge of the forces that dwell in the chaotic outer reaches of existence. The dead husk rampaged across the land for days, before the Lord of Water and Fire grew angry at the noise and shattered it, causing it to break into the first liches, vampires, ghouls, and the other various kinds of undead.  In artwork, she is portrayed as a regal woman with multi-colored wings.
   Symbol: A pair of wings
   Interactions with the Mortal World: Isis comes to the aid of imperiled widows who call upon her. There is an 80% chance that she will manifest for a widow in danger and battle those who are threatening her. (The avatar of Isis uses the stats for an Astral Deva.)

The Lord of Water and Fire
This fearsome entity was one of the first to emerge from the chaos that pre-dated the creation of the universe. It is both feared and honored by Khefrans, because water and fire are both sources of life and deadly destruction. Except for new year's celebrations--where Khefrans thank the Lord of Water and Fire for permitting them to live another year--no rites and devoted to it.
    Symbol: An vial made of smoky glass (symbolizing steam)
    Interaction with the Mortal World: If called upon through the performance of highly secret ritual, there is a 60% chance that the Lord of Water and Fire will cause wildfires and massive floods to destroy an area in a 1d100+10 mile radius in the area the ritual is performed. The place of the ritual is hardest hit by the disaster, and no magic functions there for 1d100 days immediately after the ritual has been completed.
Ra is the father of Set the now-dead Osiris, and he is viewed by Khefrans as the primary defender of all life on Earth. He is the offspring of the Lord of Earth and Air and the Lord of Water and Fire, and it was he who convinced them to curb their wild ways and allow other beings to spring from the world they inhabited. Ra spends the day watching over the world from his palace in the heavens, and then decends to the world at night to relate all the good deeds he witnessed so the Lords will remain convinced that life on Earth is generally righteous and worth preserving. (He is not always successful, which is why people are beset by floods, earthquakes, and other natural disasters.)
   Symbol: A gold disc.
   Interactions with Mortals: Ra does not answer prayers given by human beings. If called upon by anyone who isn't a member of his priesthood, there is a 1% chance that will curse that person as described under Interacting with the Gods. As much as Ra loves mortal beings, he is too busy keeping the Lords in check to be bothered with their concerns.
Set is the patron god of abandoned places, and all things that live underground and in the desert -- including the undead. Murderers and assassins pray to him in the hopes that he will intervene on their behalf to lessen their punishment in the afterlife. He is the younger brother of the now-dead god Osiris. Set was jealous that their father Ra seemed to favor his older brother, and he conspired with Babi to murder Osiris. He thought he would be able to hide his guilt, but Ra and Isis discovered the truth, and he has been hiding from their wrath ever since. Khefran's believe that the desert to the north of their city state is so barren because it houses Set's main temple and Ra has his feiry gaze turned upon it when he is awake, hoping to spot and incinerate his hated second son. Set is portrayed in art as a slender man with the head of a creature that vaguely resembles a misshapen ant eater.
   Symbol: A bone with a broken, jagged edge.
   Interaction with the Mortal World: Set does not directly answer prayers given by human beings. He is too afraid of Ra and Isis. He deals only directly with undead beings and monstrous desert dwellers. If called upon by anyone other than his priesthood, there is a 1% chance that he will curse them as described in "Interacting with the Gods."
Favored of Isis [Charismatic Hero, Dedicated Hero]
Prerequisite: Must be able to cast spells. The ability cannot be derived from any of the "Favored of" feats.
   Benefit: Any weapon you wield against undead creatures functions as if it had a +2 enchantment higher than its base. (A non-enchanted weapon would have a +2 bonus to hit and damage, while being effective against undead creatures that can't be injured with weapons of less than a +2 enchantment. A weapon that is already enchanted would operate as if it were more powerful, such a +1 sword functioning as a +3 sword.)
   Special: Once per day, you may cast a spell from the following list, with your character level treated as your caster level: Dispel Magic, Detect Magic, Magic Stone, Magic Missile.
These are considered bonus spells and do not count toward any daily maximum the character may be subject to.

Favored of Set  [Dedicated Hero, Fast Hero]
Benefit: Spells that animate dead function at +1 to your caster level. You gain a +2 bonus to all Hide skill checks.
   Special: Once per day, you may cast a spell from the following list, with your character level serving as the caster level: Animate Dead, Obscure Object. These are considered bonus spells and do not count toward any daily maximum the character may be subject to.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Random Feat: Shadow Meld

An OGL Modern feat that came to mind while sitting on the freeway today... it's presented under the Open Gaming License (which is detailed at the link in the sidebar to the left).

Shadow Meld [Fast Hero]
Prerequisites: Hide 8 ranks, Move Silently 8 ranks
Benefit: When in an area that features at least some shadow, the character gains a +10 bonus to Hide skill checks. Essentially, he or she uses even the slightest shadow to "hide in plain sight."

Yuki uses her Shadow Meld feat.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Gods of Khefra: A Preview

In the forthcoming NUELOW Games book The Three Lives of Fantomah: Daughter of the Pharoahs includes an RPG supplement detailing the gods of Khefra, the hidden city state that Fantomah rules. Here is a sample of what's in that article.

The divine forces in Fantomah's world have been touched upon in The Three Lives of Fantomah: Mystery Woman of the Jungle and The Three Lives of Fantomah: Guardian of the Jungle, but they are referenced frequently in the third and final volume in the series, so we chose to detail them there. In addition to descriptions useful in any game world that features supernatural beings such as gods, the book contains several new OGL d20 feats that can be used with the rules presented in the previous Fantomah books and in other NUELOW Games releases, such as Feats of Magic and Mysticism.

Dozens of gods are honored by the citizens of Khefra. They reflect the civilization's roots in ancient Egypt, but certain gods are worshiped only in Khefra and all have evolved beyond their roles in ancient times.

This jackal-headed god is reputed to guide the souls of the dead safely to the afterlife. In Khefra, he is also honored by those who enforce the law and is considered to be the final judge of innocent or guilt. He is portrayed in artwork as a powerfully muscled man with the head of a jackal carrying an executioner's axe.
   Symbol: A jackal head
   Interaction with the Mortal World: If an innocent person stands wrongly accused of a crime and beseeches Anubis to prove his or her innocence, there is a 90% chance that Anubis will respond in some manner that will fulfill the request. If the party making the accusations is knowingly lying, 2d20+20 jackals appear in the area and attack the accusers. The jackals attack until they or their target(s) is slain.

Bast is the patron goddess of cats and gamblers, and the dedicated enemy of snakes and scorpions. In Khefra, it is believed that she was once herself the most loyal cat of the Lord of Earth and Air, and he rewarded her by making her a god. She is portrayed in art as a black cat wearing bejeweled collars, or as a slender, cat-headed woman wearing little more jewelry and a short skirt.
   Symbol: A cat head, or a die.
   Interaction with the Mortal World: If a person calls upon Bast while engaged in a struggle to protect, save, or benefit a friend, there is a 50% chance that 2d4 panthers appear to fight at the character's side. A black house cat will also appear and lead the beseecher to the key to a solution to any greater problems the character may be facing. If there is no need for physical might, the panthers do not appear.

The Lord of Earth and Air
A fearsome being who was one of the first creatures to emerge from the chaos of pre-Creation, he is viewed as one of the most powerful of all the gods. He is never portrayed in art, except as storm clouds appearing in paintings of Bast. Aside from certain cults devoted specifically to serving him, few dare call upon him, because while he is known to give supplicants great powers, he usually exacts a terrible price in return. He is the patron god of Khefra's royal family, and it is through his blessing that they reputedly have life-spans ten times that of normal human beings.
   Symbol: A glass vial with a few grains of sand.
   Interaction with the Mortal World: The Lord of Earth and Air gives all characters who have the blood of Khefra's royal family in their veins extended longevity. They age normally until they reach 19 years of age, after which the aging process slows down and they age 1 year for every 10 that pass. (There is a 1% chance that any player character may be an illegitimate heir to the throne of Khefra and thus a receipient of the Lord of Earth and Air's gift.)
    Any other interactions with the mortal world are prompted through complex rituals. One such ritual can lead to a person becoming an avatar of the Lord of Earth and Air, such as Fantomah early in her life. (See The Three Lives of Fantomah: Mystery Woman of the Jungle and The Three Lives of Fantomah:Guardian of the Jungle for details.)

Cover for the final book in NUELOW's Fantomah series.
Art by Brad McDevitt

Friday, January 9, 2015

Friday Freebie: Meet Kismet, the original Muslim Superhero

This weekend, Jan 9 - Jan. 11, everyone can download Complete Golden Age Oddballs: Kismet & Penny Parker for free. The book collects for the first time every single appearance of the first Muslim comic book superhero... a figure who is closer to what little would-be Jihadists to aspire to than any real-world role-models they have. It's too bad the character only appeared in an obscure comic book, from an obscure imprint that was barely around for a year.

Maybe, if Kismet had become an international figure like Superman, Batman, or Tintin, maybe psychopaths wouldn't find easy justification in their religious beliefs for acting out, nor would others be so quick to defend their actions or offer broad condemnations that indict truly devout and peaceful Muslims.

Read the stories. See if you can pick up on what I mean. Yes, this is a simple comic book... but Kismet is a far better exemplar of a Warrior of Islam than any member of al Qaida, Boko Haram, Hamas, or any other front-man for a club for psychos has ever been.

Click here to get your free copy of the book at DriveThruComics. (FYI, we also use Kismet, Man of Fate, in our forthcoming Complete Golden Age Oddballs: Iron Lady & Electric Ray.)

You can see some previews of Complete Golden Age Oddballs: Kismet & Penny Parker by visiting the Shades of Gray blog. There are also previews on the listings page at DriveThruComics.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Coming Soon -- ROLF!: The Prophet Motive

Today, Islamic terrorists murdered ten staffers at the French magazine Charlie Hedbo. May those cowards, their bastard children, and the whores who spawned them, be anally raped by horny pigs for all eternity.

Back in 2011, when we were talking about reviving NUELOW Games, Hundal suggested an ROLF!/Houseboat on the River Styx battle scenario where Jesus and Mohammed kicked the asses of lunatics sullying their respective reputations. We eventually used the title on a scenario included in ROLF!: Apocalypse Not... but we're probably going to use it again in the next week or two.

The 2011 Charlie Hebdo issue that enraged idol-worshipers
throughout France and the rest of the world.
(Yes... that a cartoon of Mohammed. The horror... the horror!)
L.L. Hundal and I are both horrified and outraged at the brutal murders of writers and artists at French humor magazine Charlie Hebdo. We're responding with the only method we have at our disposal--we are producing a satire product of the exact kind that they are trying to stop. We don't know if it will be able to be carried by our usual distributor--they recently bounced a satirical release from another publisher that was deemed too offensive--but it will be produced and released.

If anyone out there is an artist who feels like drawing cartoon portraits of Jesus, Mohammed, Joseph Smith, a generic televangelist, and a generic mullah, we can cut you in for a tiny sliver or what will be very meager sales on this product. You can send queries to the email address in the footer of this post, or contact us via NUELOW's Facebook page.

The Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost...
on the cover of an issue of Charlie Hebdo!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A product whose time has come (again)!

Do you want to bring to your OLG Modern game the sort of character who will chain themselves to a dolphin, do a "BlackBrunch" or scream on street corners about boycotting a movie or book they don't like? Then the Hardcore Activist is the advanced class you've been waiting for!

Do you want to bring to your OGL Modern game the sort of character who will murder a pair of random police officers sitting in their car, or who will beat up a random member of this or that ethnic or social group just because they look like someone who once wronged them in some way? Then the Masked Avenger advanced class may be your path to roleplaying thrills.

Modern Advances: The Hardcore Activist & The Masked Avenger is a concise, straight-to-the-point supplement for OGL Modern that is easily adaptable to similar game systems. It offers two advanced classes, 12 new feats, two nonplayer characters that show the classes applied while offering hooks to incorporate them into your adventures.

This kick-off product for the Modern Advances series was among the first releases of the reconstituted NUELOW Games back in 2011. If the news is anything to go by, it may be a product who's time has come again. Or maybe we're being absolutely tasteless in the way we're promoting again... we're not known for being particularly sensitive, politically savvy, or socially aware.

Click here to see previews of Modern Advances: The Hardcore Activist & the Masked Avenger, or to get your own copy.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Observing the 75th anniversary of the first ongoing horror series in comics!

In 1940, inspired by the great novel Frankenstein and the 1939 film Son of Frankenstein, Dick Briefer brought the immortal tale of science gone wrong to the pages of Prize Comics magazine. Like Mary Shelley's novel, like the Universal film adaptations, Briefer's comics have stood the test of time, and they are now certified must-read classics for fans of horror comics.

The character would become Briefer's signature creation. He wrote and drew some 100 different Frankenstein stories over a 15-year period that roughly coincided with the Golden Age of Comics itself--chronically the Monsters rampages and misadventures through three different incarnations--first as a horror character, then as a zany comedy figure, and then once again as a horror character.

2015 marks 75 years since the Briefer's Frankenstein made its debut. NUELOW Games will be observing this milestone by releasing a few books featuring some of his best efforts, together with all-new game material inspired by them. L.L. Hundal is a fan of Briefer's early stories, and she's plowing through all of them and making an initial selection of the ones we'll present. Publisher and game design Steve Miller will then narrow down the selection and write the new material for each book.

NUELOW Games actually released our first New Adventures of Frankenstein book at the end of 2013. Hundal fell in love with Dick Briefer's Frankenstein while rooting through old comic books back when we were considering a more limited program of comics/game products than what has evolved, and she put together a color collection of the first two "New Adventures of Frankenstein" episodes. It also contained a full ROLF! battle scenario and a preview of our-then forthcoming Werewolf Hunter anthologies. The book details the origin of Briefer's Frankenstein Monster and sets him up as an indestructible creature driven by hate for his creator and a heart of the blackest of evil. The strip kicks the action into high gear as of page two... and it never slows down after that.

"We're used to bloated story-telling in comics these days," Hundal wrote in an email to Miller at the time. "Briefer got more action, frights, and tragedy into eight pages than most modern creators fit into eight issues."

Cover for New Adventures of Frankenstein.
Art by Dick Briefer.
That initial book was conceived as a one-shot, but when Steve Miller noticed that 2015 was the 75th anniversary of Briefer's Frankenstein, Hundal thought it was a great reason to assemble and release more New Adventures of Frankenstein collections. She is projecting three to six of these books, with the first one coming out just as 2015 became a reality.

New Adventures of Frankenstein: The Monster vs. Bulldog Denny picks up where the first NUELOW Games book left off--with Frankenstein's Monster menacing society and tormenting his creator every chance he gets. But Briefer quickly leaves the sources that inspired him behind, and he introduces a powerful foe for the monster--a boy who was a victim of his evil but who grew up to be his most dedicated enemy. The book presents four action-packed horror tales as only Dick Briefer could create.

Cover for The Monster vs. Bulldog Denny.
Art by Dick Briefer.

You can see sample pages from The Monster vs. Bulldog Denny here.
The forthcoming books will cover the phases of Briefer's Frankenstein to varying degrees. The stories won't necessarily be presented in the order they originally appeared, and some will be collected entirely out of sequence to fit with the overall theme or storyline of the book in question. For example, the next book will continue the chronicle of Bulldog's battle against the Monster, but it opens with a "flashback"--a story that was skipped between NUELOW's first New Adventures book and the second one, because it flowed better story-wise to organize them that way. Tentative titles for projected books are Bulldog Denny Strikes Back, The Life and Death of a Monster, Weird TalesThe Trouble with Zora, The Monster Reborn, and The Tombs of Frankenstein.
We hope you'll feel like checking out some of the offerings and give us your opinions. Meanwhile, here's Bulldog Denny and his girlfriend Joan Knight ala ROLF!... so you can create your own battles pitting him against the Monster using the stats featured in New Adventures of Frankenstein.
Real Name: Dennis Dunsan
Brawn 25, Body 17, Brains 8
  Traits: Honorable, Improv Master, Nimble.
  Combat Maneuvers: Backflip, Basic Attack, Dodge, Furious Fists, Murderous Mitts, Signature Move, Strike Pose, Withering Insult.
   Important Stuff Worn/Wielded: Thigh-high Boots (Leggings AND Armor, absorbs 1 point of damage). Black pants and black shirt with a bulldog logo on the chest (Clothes).
Real Name: Joan Knight
Brawn 18, Body 18 (includes +1 Hat Bonus, Brains 7)
   Traits: Improv Master, Nimble.
   Combat Maneuvers: Basic Attack, Castrate, Disarm, Dodge, Run Away, Seduce, Strike Pose.
   Important Stuff Worn/Wielded: Fashionable Dress (Clothes). Stylish Hat (+1 Bonus to Body when worn). Designer Purse (Small Melee Weapon, deals 1 point of damage).