East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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The Gods of Gondwane

95352Yesterday my friend Alex ran a piece on his blog about Dariel Quiogue’ Gods of Gondwane, and I realized I have never reviewed this small, fun independent roleplaying game. And really, can we ignore a game that is pitched to us as

Think Spartacus meets Flash Gordon in The Land That Time Forgot

Obviously not.
So, let’s get a look at this baby. Continue reading


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Eat like in the days of old

A quick shout-out for a blog I just discovered, and that I really envy – this is the sort of blog I would love to write.


No matter if you are lovers of history, readers of the classics, adventure enthusiasts or just curious people that enjoy good food, please direct your browsers to Farrell Monaco’s blog, Tavola Mediterranea, a beautiful site full of recipes from the ancient shores of the Mediterranean.

Beautiful idea, wonderful execution.
Ah, envy!

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A few things I know about her: Valerie Cazaret

Amarna preview smallThe second episode of AMARNA is about to hit the shelves, and I thought I’ll do a series of posts, over the next few weeks and months, as the other episodes come out, about the characters, the good guys and the bad guys and all those in between.
There’s a bit about them in the press book I created for the launch of the series, but as it usually happens, I am finding out more about my characters as I write about them.
That’s the way I work – a quick sketch, a photo reference, a list of details, and then I let the guys run away with the story.

And when it comes to running away with the story, nobody beats Valerie Cazaret. Continue reading

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Lunch with the Librarian

IMG_0402Today I followed my friend Domenico’s suggestion, and I watched The Librarian, Quest for the Spear during lunch break, instead of having lunch.
This is a sort of instant review or what.

For the uninitiated, the Librarian franchise is a sort of sneaky, possibly overlooked property that includes three TV movies, a TV series, a book and two comic book series. And it is still going, as far as I am told, which is quite impressive considering how little known it is hereabouts – I don’t know, maybe in the rest of the universe it is a smash hit and on top of everyone’s fave list, but I’m under the impression it’s not.

And that’s a pity, because the first movie has the suave, lightweight tone of an old matinee cartoon or an old cliffhanger. Continue reading

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Two relics from a forgotten era

Pulp_Cthulhu_Cover_for_Adcopy__99219.1464808396.500.659Today I’ve been lucky – a friend sent me two games that I was missing from my collection.
In the last few years I started collecting roleplaying games with a pulp theme. Now, the definition is pretty loose – after all, a game set in Robert E. Howard’s Hyborian age would be technically pulp, because Conan debuted on a pulp magazine. The same goes obviously for Call of Cthulhu (that now has its own “pulp” subset of rules), considering Lovecraft’s presence in the pulps. And of course, a Flash Gordon/Buck Rogers influenced game like Slipstream would also be “pulp* in theme if not in substance.

So, to clarify the classification, I am collecting roleplaying games, and in particular those that are either inspired by pulp authors (like the Conan roleplaying games) or properties (like the old Masterbook Indiana Jones game), and those that are designed to play in a pulp universe, a pulp version of the 1920s and 1930s. Continue reading

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Twenty-one years without Emily Hahn

Writer, journalist, earth scientist, world traveler, opium smoker, primates expert, the self-proclaimed “bad girl” that started her autobiography with the phrase…

Not long after my family moved from St Louis to Chicago, I ran away from home.

… died on this day in 1997.

emily hahn

One of my projects for this year (and maybe the next two) is to read every one of Emily Hahn’s 50-odd books.