Rat Queens, Vol. 3: Demons

Rat Queens, Vol. 3: DemonsRat Queens, Vol. 3: Demons by Kurtis J. Wiebe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have enjoyed every volume of the Rat Queens.

The comics are great, and I am even more impressed they dumped the artist who assaulted his significant other. That combined with the whole idea that the Rat Queens are a strong, female only group means it is refreshing step away from the regular tropes.

As a gamer/DM I have ran countless campaigns. I have been very fortunate to have a very high proportion of women in my games, usually more than half. The whole sleazy, sexy, camaraderie in the comic book matches up pretty well with my experiences with women gaming.

The new art brings out the Queens even better, albeit I have to admit I still love Betty the most. The personalities are drawn very clearly, and only inspires me to find more like this.

I waited this long to read it because I had heard it ends on sort of a cliffhanger and I didn’t want a long waiting times. Well Volume 4 is out now so I had finished this one, and am already ordering Volume 4.

The cliffhanger is the only reason this comic gets 4 and not 5 stars.

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Call of Cthulhu Keeper’s Screen / A Restoration of Evil

Call of Cthulhu Keeper's Screen (Call of Cthulhu RPG)Call of Cthulhu Keeper’s Screen by Les Brooks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not too bad if you are a creative GM who wants to work on things.

I picked up this supplement a long time ago. I never ran the scenario, but instead just used the rules for the occasional Cthulhu game. As the years went by I used the Chaosium system less and less and forgot about it.

I am now running a Cthulhu game using the GURPS system and I needed something small to supplement my game. I won’t spoil any of the adventure called “A Restoration of Evil” for possible players here, but I will say its a decent low level start. If you are running it at a convention it will work well out of the box. If its for a campaign you will need to fill in a lot of things.

Now that the the rules are very outdated, I wouldn’t pick it up for anything unless you could get it used for $0.50.

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GURPS Basic Set: Characters

GURPS Basic Set: CharactersGURPS Basic Set: Characters by Steve Jackson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A definite must have for gaming groups!

I have ran tabletop roleplaying games for decades (since approximately 1984). Everything from Dungeons and Dragons Basic set (in the box), Battletech, Shadowrun, White Wolf, and a dozen other systems (that maybe I will do reviews on someday).

I have recently reread the book this year for a new campaign I am running and I am reminded why I use it. Because you can recreate any world you want with these rules. The fact that you can modify the setting, genre, realism level of the game, makes it the best choice.

Pros: A variety of settings are provided in supplements and sourcebooks with constant updating of different worlds and even additional advanced rules, equipment and ideas. You want gritty realism, or cinematic campaign you have it. Do you want a combination of Cthulhu and Shadowrun? What about Fantasy and Werewolf? You can do it all.

Cons: In all fairness this is not an easy system to learn. It is prohibitively complicated for new players or GMs, and even those with lots of experience will still struggle a bit. The rules can bog down the game so you will have to learn to cut the things you don’t want to deal with. This is why I can’t give it a 5 star and only a 4 star.

Overall it is my favorite systems and with patience you can convert any other game system into GURPS (my most recent one was converting Mechwarrior/Battletech into GURPS and it was better than the original system because of more RP character options).

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Necropolis (Whyborne & Griffin #4)

Necropolis (Whyborne & Griffin)Necropolis by Jordan L. Hawk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is for the Audio Book only!

As I started the fourth book in the series I had pretty high hopes, and Jordan Hawk cleared that goal with some room to spare.

In order to avoid spoilers all I will say is you get a glimpse of the dirty, dusty and rough desert. You see Whyborne grapple with the “horrors” of living in a tent. You get a bit more background on Griffon (there can never be enough background). You get some good sex scenes. Finally you get a lot more background on Christine.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about Christine when this all started. I wasn’t sure if she was going to fit into the stereotypical woman with gay guy best friends. However she has been flushed out and given a pretty cool backstory. I look forward to more about her now as well.

Oh, on a down note, Christine sounds like a catty gay guy sometimes when the narrator reads her part. I am not sure if its on purpose or maybe just something I am hearing, but that was the only negative.

If you liked the first three, definitely you want to read this.

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Stormhaven (Whyborne & Griffin #3)

Stormhaven (Whyborne & Griffin, #3)Stormhaven by Jordan L. Hawk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For the audiobook only!

I have to say Jordan Hawk is just getting better, and so is the narrator. Originally some of the words spoken and written were a bit boxy and didn’t quite gel with me. I do take some ownership of that as part of it was undoubtably me getting used to a new author.

However in this third book Jordan Hawk takes us deeper into who Griffin is, where he comes from and what torments him on more than a cursory level. We get to meet people who are close to him, and explore his fears more in depth. I thought this was fantastic.

We also dig a bit deeper into Whyborne, his family and some inkling of what may be coming for him. Along with that we had Christine also involved, this time she felt even more part of the group. I no longer really think of them as a duo, but a trio. They each have something they bring to the party.

Jordan expanded their own ability as well. The sex scenes were never bad, but they are feeling smoother in this. The plot is a bit tighter and we are getting connections between stories. It is a good start for world building.

The last part is that the narrator has gotten more comfortable themselves with reading it. The sex scenes were ok, a little off. However, the biggest issue was accents. It seems like they have laid off of them and that has made all the difference.

Overall a great book, it is coming together and I am looking forward to Necropolis.

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Threshold (Whyborne & Griffin, #2)

Threshold (Whyborne & Griffin, #2)Threshold by Jordan L. Hawk

Audio Version Only!

I am back again and I had a better time this go around. Still a 1890s gay romance, supernatural horror, lovecraftian story. This time the listening was a lot easier, two days instead of two weeks. I am not sure if I was in a better mood, or maybe Jordan’s universe just clicked into place easier this time.

This review won’t be as long. This time we see more of Griffon’s backstory. Get to meet an important person to him, and learn more about his childhood. Of course the story is still about Whyborne, so don’t worry there are plenty of awkward moments and explicit sex.

Once again, the only negative I had was the narrator didn’t stay in his lane. This time it wasn’t an Irish accent (except, maybe there was a sentence or so when the characters were joking, but quick and pretty painless). This time is was “professional” women. It wasn’t as cringeworthy as the Irish accent, but still enough to make me wince.

However, I wanted to note that the narrator does absolutely fine with Christine, so not sure why the difference.

As a follow up to Christine, she proves to be even more of a badass in a couple of moments then initially suspected. Already I would love a few books of her adventures when she goes to digs. I do know there are 6 more books to read that are already out, so maybe I will get my wish.

I definitely recommend this book to everyone.

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Widdershins (Whyborne & Griffin, #1)

Widdershins (Whyborne & Griffin, #1)Widdershins by Jordan L. Hawk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is for the Audio Version Only!

This is a first for me. I have never read a gay urban supernatural fiction centered romance located in the 1890s Lovecraftian Universe. To be honest this is my first gay romance, and it was pretty darn good.

That seems at first an almost bizarre combination, but it is great. I absolutely enjoyed this book and I am thankful my husband pushed me to read it. Don’t worry I won’t spoil the book, but I just had to comment on how much I did like it.

The story itself is great, I love the romance that develops in the book. The main character is very much in the same vein as Randolph Carter in Lovecraft’s stories, in fact this book could very well take place in Lovecraft. The big difference is Jordan writes better.

The story is full of the horror we expect, the small towns, underground passages and things man shouldn’t read. The big difference is there is no inherent racism or sexism directed at others in a hurtful way. The prejudices in the book are appropriate for the time and are written carefully to make it clear the author is telling a story of the time period, not that people in the real world are the monsters. Lovecraft was problematic at the best. This book avoids his pitfalls and shows the pains a homosexual man and a woman trying to push into the male dominated fields handle being professors at a university.

Oh, and the sex scenes (and there are some pretty explicit ones) are pretty good.

The only flaw in the entire setup isn’t Jordan, its the narrator. He is pretty good overall, however he cannot affect an accent to save his life. He doesn’t need to either, he is fine just reading the book like he does for most of it. However, the Irish accents and the women’s voices are cringeworthy.

Once again, he was great overall, just stay in your lane sir, stay in your lane.

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