Artist/Author: Jesper Ejsing
My rating: 5 of 5
Right from the moment I first opened the package containing Elsewhere, my first thoughts were “gorgeous” and “stunning.” The book itself is large and thick enough to have an impressive heft to it. And the cover is the breathtaking painting of a white dragon just lightly looking back at you with a faint smirk. And that’s honestly a good barometer for the rest of the volume. In this beautiful artbook, we are given over 400 pages of absolutely wonderful fantasy art. And right from the start, the author invites us to take the journey into his imagination alongside him–introducing the reader to his method and giving short explanations of the origins of and his feelings about certain works. What a journey, too! Here we see dragons (lots of impressive dragons), watch fierce battles, encounter a variety of strange beings in various habitats, and discover terrifying monsters.
Throughout, I’m impressed by . . . well, a lot of things actually. The sense of movement that Ejsing captures in his paintings, for one. He mentions in here that he tries to capture that moment where the outcome is undecided, where you don’t know who wins, and I feel that is done quite well. The sense of focus and balance is also impressive, feeding into that sense of motion and giving it order and meaning. And that is where these paintings really begin to truly come together and shine–because each one is telling a story, inviting us into a world only the artist can otherwise see. And the characters depicted in the paintings are full of personality and emotion, from their nuanced facial expressions to the movement of their limbs to the widely varied clothing that adorns them. The variety and sheer depth of imagination that is presented here is also impressive, and I have to admit that as a gamer, it will likely provide inspiration to me for years to come. Because so much of this work is tied to fantasy worlds that I know and love, like D&D and Pathfinder, worlds that Ejsing clearly has a passion for as well. My sole complaint about this book is that in a few rare instances, with the two-page spreads, there were some details lost in the centerfold, including important details like the faces of some individuals. But honestly, that is such a minor thing compared to how truly fabulous Elsewhere is as a whole, that it hardly bears mentioning. This is an artbook that I would definitely recommend, particularly to fans of fantasy art and to gamers. And hey, it would make a gorgeous coffee-table book for those of the geekier persuasion!
NOTE: I received a free review copy of Elsewhere from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review, which in no way affects the contents of this review.
Created by Grant Howitt
The honey convention is in town, and you–a bear–have one goal in mind: get the honey! Your have a complex, perfectly planned strategy. There’s just one complication . . . you’re a bear. Test your skills, see whether you’ve got what it takes to be a criminal, and look out for extra-special prizes (and cool hats). But be wary, because there may be a few less-pleasant surprises as well.
I recently got a chance to try out this (rather absurd) tabletop RPG and found it to actually be great fun. It’s definitely more crackish and cartoony than most of your RPGs–the opposite end of the spectrum from, say, Dread. But the utter ridiculousness of it is a lot of what makes it fun as players try to figure out how to accomplish complex thievery as bears; as you can imagine, the potential problems are limitless, as are the possibilities for absurd solutions to said problems. The actual gameplay dynamics are pretty simple, so this isn’t technically hard to play. I would recommend playing with a group that favors lots of role-playing, that has a good sense of humor, and that doesn’t get too bent out of shape over the rules. This is the sort of game that is much more fun if you just roll with the craziness. As with Dread, Honey Heist is a one-shot sort of game, not really suited for campaign sorts of play, but as a short afternoon/evening’s game, I would definitely recommend giving it a try.
Note: You can find gameplay/rules at https://www.docdroid.net/KJzmn5k/honey-heist-by-grant-howitt.pdf.
Hey guys, if anyone is interested, Humble Bundle has some pretty good deals going on right now. There’s a nice assortment of comics from Image (including a physical comic) that’s available for the next week or so. Mostly, it’s first volumes, but it’s a good way to try several different graphic novels and see which ones are interesting. Also, they have a pretty amazing collection of Pathfinder stuff, everything from the basic player’s guide to GM manuals, maps, and modules. Plus, some comics set in the Pathfinder worlds. That’s all good for less than a week now. (If you’re not familiar, Pathfinder is a tabletop RPG, pretty similar to D&D.) Just thought I’d let you know, since these are some pretty decent bargains.
Publisher: The Impossible Dream
Designers: Epidiah Ravachol & Nathaniel Barmore
Just recently, I was introduced to a rather unique tabletop RPG called Dread. I found this game to be most interesting to play. It involves many of the elements typical to other tabletop RPGs such as Dungeons & Dragons, but rather than using, say, dice for ability checks, players have to pull from a Jenga tower to see if they can successfully complete a task. This makes the game particularly well suited for horror and suspense style stories, since (as you can imagine) the tension builds more and more the longer the game goes on. Also, since a large number of players will likely be removed from the game at some time during play (since your character is removed if you knock down the tower), this is great for one-shots. I think that, while I still prefer a more fantasy-themed longer-duration game, Dread is pretty interesting for something different on occasion. If you like tabletop RPGs at all, I think it would be worth trying at least.
For more information, you can check out The Impossible Dream’s Dread page here or their WordPress blog here. Enjoy!