Every week, the Castalia House Blog spotlights some of the many new releases in independent, pulp and web novel-influenced science fiction and fantasy.
Cirsova #14 / Spring 2023 – edited by P. Alexander
Tales of heroic adventure and daring suspense that include:
When an astronaut confronts a lamia, she has a proposition for him: she will refrain from eating children for an entire year…if he will take her into outer space!
Kat is intent on raising an army to reclaim Alness! Can she and Mangos arrange to recruit an elite core of highly trained Fedai in Alomar before her secret gets out?!
A strange woman seemingly miraculously cures a man’s terminal cancer! His son has devoted his life to data sciences, but can he follow the clues to track her down?!
How to Win at D&D – Jeffro Johnson
When lockdowns isolated millions of people as they sheltered in place in fear of an apocalyptic plague, Jeffro Johnson did the most obvious thing: he started the most notorious D&D campaign since Greyhawk.
Following a simple rule heuristic of merely doing everything specified by Gary Gygax’s Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rule books, no matter how outlandish it was, Jeffro’s gaming group blundered into one revelation after another. Before long it became evident that not only had everyone been playing a game for decades that was fundamentally distinct from the one that Gygax had attempted to convey to people, but the techniques he outlined in the pages of his game manuals were pretty special. They not only opened up pathways to game scenarios that later RPG designers wouldn’t dare dream of, they also gave away the secrets of how to win at RPGs!
Now, for the first time the story of the D&D game and how it was intended to be played can finally be told. Why were the Weapon vs. AC tables included in the Players Handbook? Why can’t you have a meaningful campaign without strict timekeeping? What weird gaming trick did Dave Arneson share with TSR before getting pushed out of the company forever? Answers to all these questions and more are contained within this tome. It won’t just change the way you think about D&D. It will fascinate anyone who has been confounded by role playing previously and enthrall anyone who wants to realize bigger gains at the RPG table.
This is an advance excerpt of Jeffro Johnson’s forthcoming book Winning Secrets.
Perry Rhodan NEO #12 – Alexander Huiskes and Wim Vandermaan
Crest da Zoltral and his companions narrowly escape Tramp only to find themselves clinging to life on a severely damaged ship. When an Arkonide vessel comes to their rescue and takes them to Larsaf III, suspicions surrounding the rescued time travelers increase and they soon find themselves imprisoned as the Methanes attack. Will they survive the historical fall of Atlantis? Or will their journey meet an early end thousands of years before their present?
Meanwhile, Rhodan’s group arrives by stowing away on an alien ship. Their reception is all the more hostile, as they are forced to flee into the forest to avoid robots hunting them down. Driven by a vision Rhodan once had, they strive to find a path from the hemispherical planet’s round side to its strange and implausible flat side.
As secrets abound and IT’s servants play a game of wits with competing agendas, what truths will be revealed about the Planet of Eternal Life, and will the heroes finally be granted the immortality they seek?
The Siege of the Black Citadel (Chuck Dixon’s Conan #1) – Chuck Dixon
The mad emperor Strabonus sits upon the imperial throne of Koth, a danger to his subjects and Koth’s neighbors alike. When his cousin, Prince Xathomidas, raises an army in rebellion, he finds great support within and without the empire. Veteran legionaries, gold, and mercenaries flow into the prince’s camp, including one barbarian sword-for-hire from the frigid North. The towering Black Citadel stands between the rebel prince and the throne he seeks, and when its siege threatens to continue well into winter, the prince orders a small team of sell-swords to find a way into the ancient fortress called Talas K’rith.
But the Black Citadel is guarded by things more terrible than walls and swords.
THE SIEGE OF THE BLACK CITADEL is the first in the new series from The Legend Chuck Dixon, Chuck Dixon’s Conan, which is based on the public domain character of Robert E. Howard’s Conan.
Storm Surge (LAND&SEA #3) – Blaine L. Pardoe
Ruthless, mysterious alien invaders are unrelenting in their war to conquer Earth, adding new weapons and species to their arsenal to take the fight to humanity beyond the war-torn coastlines.
But for the first time since the invasion began, the people of Earth are no longer playing defense. After a year of battle, mankind is ready to take the fight to the enemy, using a new generation of ASHURs and undersea Trident rigs.
In Los Angeles, the valiant militia struggles to hold the front together. In Michigan, a major battle erupts and a new generation of fighter-subs are rushed into the fray. A POW clings to life on the ocean floor and a DIA analyst attempts to forge calm from chaos. Heroes rise and fall like the tides.
It’s all hands on deck to save mankind.
With the fate of humanity at stake, can anyone survive the storm surge of war?
Babylon Black – A crowd-funded campaign by Kit Sun Cheah
Yuri Yamamoto is back.
After two years of self-imposed exile, the disgraced operator turned street samurai has come home to Babylon.
Just in time for the country to tear itself apart.
The armies of the New Gods are on the march. Monsters in human skin await activation orders. Spies and deniable operatives wage a war of assassins. Minority communities are forced to choose sides—or be destroyed. With every act of aggression, the New Gods bring mankind closer to ruin.
As the world races towards the apocalypse, what can Yuri and his team of battle-hardened guerillas do?
Team Black Watch can’t fight the New Gods head-on. Even with Yuri’s divine gift, their numbers are few and their resources scarce. They must make new allies, carve out safe havens, turn their enemies against each other, and attempt to stave off the inevitable.
They can’t save the world.
But they’re going to try.
The crowd-funded campaign will close on 8 April, 2023.
Kamen America Volume 7 – A Kickstarter by Timothy Lim and Mark Pellegrini
“Charlotte ‘Carly’ Sasha Vanders was an aspiring fashionista whose life was changed after being fatefully impacted by cosmic debris! Now a human battery, she uses her supercharged status to rebrand herself as a henshin-heroine. However, she quickly learns that sometimes doing what’s right isn’t always fashionable as she battles the forces of evil as the patriotic paladin known as KAMEN AMERICA!”
Kamen America, Volume 7 takes place in a world divided between light and dark. As the Kamen Corps is split across the United States and the world in a desperate attempt to fend off the Otomotons, the Zenerengers are plotting their next move by targeting specific power stations!
To this end, Cynthia Prestige takes advantage of the situation and enlists the help of Zener Ecto and Zener Psycho to enact the last part of her nefarious plan. But what devastating and revealing repercussions will this have on the Kamen Corps? Find out in this penultimate chapter of the second Kamen America saga!
This Kickstarter will remain open until 6 April 2023.
Michael Tierney’s Sky Dance of Winter Fire – a Kickstarter from Cirsova
For Michael Tierney, it was nothing more than moving a stack of firewood; for Wallflower, one of the insects living in the pile, it was the beginning of the adventure of lifetime.
A few years back, author and artist Michael Tierney was out during a bout of surprisingly good winter weather, restocking his firewood. Huge waves of winter fireflies rose into the sky in an explosion of light.
This fantastical spectacle stuck with Michael, and sent him on flights of fancy. He envisioned the miraculous flight within context of an epic adventure and struggle. He wondered how those bugs that had been in the woodpile might have envisioned him: a giant; a monster; an out-of-this-world alien being?
Michael initially put the story of the sky dance to paper, but that was not quite enough. He also wanted to capture the essence of those moments in art and imagery. Sky Dance of Winter Fire was born as a digital mixed-media storybook that Michael Tierney and Cirsova Publishing would like to bring to you now…
This Kickstarter will remain open until 6 April 2023.
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