Archive for February, 2020

Vibe Check Dice

I am later on this than I would have liked to be. Things have been wild recently and I do not know when they will slow down. But I’m doing what I can as I can. Today though, I’m here to talk about dice. Specifically Dice Envy’s Vibe Check dice because I like sparkly things. Also, Dice Envy has a coupon active right now, FEBRUARYCURSE, that will net you 25% off your next order. But on to the dice!

Vibe Check 1

So, Vibe Check is definitely a set of dice where what you get can vary greatly from the display set pictured on the site. The set there has a much more even split of the sparkly peach color and the yellow-green. This is, for people who are me, kind of a cool example of how the acrylic pouring process works. But I also think that the colors work much better either blended more evenly or dominated by the sparkles. That said, I am certain that if my set had been mostly the yellow-green with a largely peachy d20 I would be saying the same thing in reverse.

Vibe Check 2

As ever, I am a massive fan of sparkly things and the peach works really nicely here. Also, while the gold ink does work better with the peach it is nicely visible on the yellow-green as well. That isn’t as obvious as I would like in these pictures, but it is nicely visible. No obvious thin spots. Just all around well inked.

The Vibe Check dice set also, as expected for acrylic dice, feel nice in the hand and roll well. There don’t seem to be any bubbles in my set, since the dice don’t seem to have favorite sides. Yeah, just in general these are enjoyable to roll.

Vibe Check 3

I am at a bit of a stand still on how to rate this set. With exception to the d20 having such a wildly different blend of the two colors I really like the look of the Vibe Check set that I got. It isn’t quite what was advertised, but that is somewhat to be expected when a set is a blend of two acrylics. That’s the thing I keep coming back to. I think this set, rather than the Vibe Check dice as a whole, gets a four out of five from me. If Dice Envy added these to the al a carte dice and I was able to order a d20 that might better match the rest of the set it would probably bump up to a full five out of five. I’ll just have to wait and see on that though.

87th of Spring, Year 256

Eebaku’s army arrived this morning, a hoard of Goblins so large it blanketed the areas we had cleared for farming and reached out into the forests.

He asked if we had considered his offer. Would we join his empire?

I let him know how little I cared for being lied to before invoking Maia. Eebaku’s horror as the demon Maia flung a great number of fireballs into his army was delicious. Even more so his fear when Maia summoned a flaming whip to ensnare him leaving him for the party to do as we would.

Chonck had re-enforced his maul with the complete History of Fish set. When it hit Eebaku, knocking out teeth and showing that he could be harmed I knew that we had won. I knew that I could harm him with the Eater of the Dead’s Fangs.

It was more satisfying to stab out his eyes than it should have been. Even more so to tell him he could keep his tongue so that he could scream. Probably not the best thing to have done, looking back, but I let my anger catch up to me.

After that is something of a blur. I left Chonck and Eclair to deal with Eebaku and joined the rest of the party and the guardsdwarves in dealing with his army. They broke nearly as soon as their leader was injured. The few most loyal who stayed still ran after he finally died.

I do not like to say that it was a clean battle. Tomorrow we will mourn our lost and begin repairs. Tonight we celebrate the victory.

House Keeping 2/25/20

I’m developing a bit of a late habit here lately, aren’t I? I’ll need to work on getting that back on track once things have settled again.

I’m hoping to have a review up some time tomorrow, then the “Sunshine’s Journals” post should be fine for Thursday. I wound up entirely skipping my dice review last week, hoping to avoid that this week even as I am already late on it again.

Which reminds me, Dice Envy has started offering free shipping on all US orders over $50. Of course, you can also get free shipping with the coupon code TYMPEST10 regardless.

Went to see the Birds of Prey movie with one of my roommates. It was a lot of fun. I have thoughts on it. Not sure if I’ll write them down here or not.

My cat’s been running around in a chatty panic due to my boxing things up to try and get them organized. She’s not sure what to do with everything being moved around like that, especially since she isn’t allowed into the boxes. Which, I’m certain, is just the worst insult a small grey cat has ever endured.

That’s about it just now. I’m planning on talking a little more about what’s going on once things have settled a little, but for the moment I’ll leave things be here.

Standard stuff, if you like what I’m doing here leave a comment or a like. I could use the positive feedback just now. And, of course, if you really like what I’m doing here you can feed my caffeine addiction and buy me a ko-fi. In any case, have a great rest of the week!

80th of Spring, Year 256

Once we reached the Mountain Home the party split up to restock more efficiently. Azurei and the elf went to gather their half of the list. I took Eclair with me to collect the rest. And Chonck decided to introduce the Sunsets to his mother.

We met back up at the library to find a lovely dinner prepared and Aunt Frense making eyes at the Demon Maia. Given how pleased with themselves the Sunsets looked we will likely be staying at the Inn tonight.

81st of Spring, Year 256

I left a note for Aunt Frense on our way out of town. She should be fine. At least, I hope she will be fine.

84th of Spring, Year 256

We reached Caskfire in good time despite our unexpected night at the Mountain Home.

As expected, the fortress has been preparing while we were gone. The guardsdwarves are drilling every able bodied dwarf old enough to hold a weapon or wear armor. There are racks of newly smithed spears and shields, all manner of fortifications have been prepared, the only thing left is to get it all in position and ready to use.

Given what we are fighting, it was not a surprise that a few dwarves reacted poorly to the Sunsets being here. Most shrugged off their concerns after being told that they were here to help. Others needed to be reminded that they did not intend to stay after this was over.

Churt nearly spat out her beer after I reported that we intended to summon an even bigger demon to ensure Eebaku’s defeat.

She seems much more concerned with having the fortress checked for traps or recent damage though. The trap maker, Gimbal Deathweaver, disappeared shortly after our party left. It would seem that he had been Eebaku’s informer the whole time. I suppose that we will have to report that to the Mountain Home at some point, no sense in making it easy for him to get back into a fortress if he finds another demon to work for.

Eebaku’s army will be here any day now. I need to prepare.

The Con Season

I’m running behind here, not unexpected but still. Errands got a little away from me. This is one that has me thinking of plans for October and wanting to watch a bunch of horror movies. Needless to say, I had a lot of fun with this one, so here’s Adam Cesare’s The Con Season. Enjoy!

The Con Season cover

Camp Blood Con offers a seriously unique experience. Three day, six iconic horror actors, one terrifying slasher out to slaughter them all. Be one of the lucky gore hounds to join in on the inaugural year for this fully immersive fan experience!

Starting into Adam Cesare’s The Con Season: A Novel of Survival, I expected a certain degree of attention paid to horror movie tropes. Maybe Cesare would spend some time developing his characters in such a way that the reader looked forward to their gruesome fates. Perhaps he would play with the expected tropes so that the turns were fun to look for while still feeling fresh. I did not know what I expected exactly, but I had a lot of fun with the story.

The time spent on set up here feels like it paid off well. The reader is introduced to several of the more important characters and given enough to start figuring where they fit in the horror movie aspect of the plot itself. Meanwhile, bits and pieces of Camp Blood Con’s framework are introduced, enough to tease but it also enough to give a read on the antagonists. It takes a fair amount of the page space given, but I find that it feeds into the more active part of the book well enough. The buildup ends just as it was starting to wear out its welcome, giving a good jumping off point for the pay off.

I am stepping lightly here to avoid spoilers, but the actual con portion of the story is a lot of fun. The slasher is unveiled to the reader and the con goers. The atmosphere develops this delightfully creepy edge as the horror lurches into full view and the characters stumble to the realization that this is all too real. I find myself wanting to just talk and talk about this section because I enjoyed so much.

Which brings me to the end here. I read the entirety of The Con Season over the course of a long work day. And I admit, I want a sequel that winds up being oddly derivative and not quite as good, just like one of the movies Cesare clearly knows so well. It has been two weeks since I read The Con Season and I still want to tell all of my co-workers about it. It gets a five out of five from me. I am definitely going to be looking at Adam Cesare’s other work.

House Keeping 2/18/20

Short one here. Schedule is slipping due to life things. Not sure when those are going to clear up.

Planning to have the review up some time tomorrow and a “Sunshine’s Journals” post up for Thursday. Dice review should be up Friday or Saturday, depending on how the rest of the week goes.

I should have more to say in a few weeks. Regardless, have a great rest of the week everyone!

The Brilliant Death

Later posting this than I wanted to be. We started working on characters for my Saturday night game and that took longer than I expected it to. This one I actually won a review copy of through BookishFirst. Here’s Amy Rose Capetta’s The Brilliant Death. Enjoy!

The Brillian Death cover

Teodora DiSangro is her father’s secret weapon. A streghe just like out of the stories, able to turn her family’s enemies into music boxes and other trinkets. Family is everything to her. So when Vinalia’s new ruler, the Capo, sends toxic letters to the heads of all five families, killing all of them but her father. The Capo demanding that all five families send their heirs to his court might give Teo the chance she needs to find a cure if she can find a way to become the DiSangro heir, the son the Capo is expecting to arrive. For that, she will need to find a way to not only trust the streghe who delivered the toxic letter to her father but also convince them to teach her how to change her form like they do. As she grows to know the other streghe and uncovers the layers and layers of secrets in the Capo’s court will she be able to complete her mission and leave, or will Teo become trapped in a web of deception and danger?

Amy Rose Capetta’s The Brilliant Death is a book that feels a bit unbalanced in its content. The lore is lush and feels fairly deep, the myths that get talked about feel real to the world. There’s a weight to Teodora’s feelings and Cielo’s studied carelessness that works well. But then there are places where it feels like things could have been worked in much better earlier on to avoid stretches of what feels like over much exposition.  I am going to stay away from talking about the genderfluid  aspects of the protagonists. It seems well written, but that is from an outside perspective so I do not really feel qualified to talk too much about it.

The first segment of the book is all set up. The reader is introduced to Teo, her family, her life, her home, and her magic. It shows her frustrations with what seems like her inevitable lot in life as contrasted with how very much she loves her father and her family. The exposition here feels well done. There’s a degree of wonder shot through with frustration and grief when she realizes that Cielo is another streghe in addition to having been the one to deliver the letter that nearly killed her father. Characters feel rounded and like they have their own stories going on, they wind up being easy to get interested in. Even if one Teo’s brothers is cartoonishly cruel and the start to Teo and Ceilo’s mutual attraction feels a little rushed, the first half of The Brilliant Death is pretty fantastic.

It is around the end of the first half that the book started to lose me. Teodora learns how to shift into a male version of herself, to better pass herself off as the DiSangro heir, and is introduced to the other four houses heirs and the Capo’s court and all its intricacies. And the story hits a wall. This part might largely be due to events that drastically cut my time for reading, but the book became very easy to put down once Teo and Cielo reached the capital and their mission properly began. It felt like being pulled back to the start of the book, there were several new characters who needed to be introduced all at once and Teo had never been to the Capo’s court so that had to be expanded on. But the new characters and the court felt so much less fleshed out than the characters and places from the first half. It was like pausing in the middle of a book and starting another book from much earlier in the author’s career.

I confess, in addition to the slowdown in the middle of the book, The Brilliant Death also suffers from an ending that disappointed me greatly even as I saw it coming. It felt very much like Capetta didn’t want to tie any of her major plot threads up. The end felt less like the protagonists heading off into another story than them running away to the sequel. Which is a shame because it could have had a good ending that still offered room for a next book to exist and felt like a complete story had been told in this book rather than the first in a series. There was so much introduced right before the end and no page space for it. That took me way more out of the reading experience than the loss of momentum from entering the Capo’s court did, that had a clear purpose and provided character introductions the reader needed at least. This just leaves me with a disappointed shrug and a vague disinterest in the next one because now I don’t trust her to tie up any of her important plot threads there either.

So that brings me here. The Brilliant Death is by no means a bad book and I quite like the ideas present in the setting, but I feel like it could have been written more smoothly. I feel like my major complaints are ultimately forgivable in light of how much I enjoyed the first half of the book. And while I am left with no plans to go out and buy the second book, I would likely read it if it was gifted to me. I will likely take another look at Capetta’s work on another series too, I think she is capable of writing something really good. For now though, The Brilliant Death gets a three out of five.

I’ve been wanting to get to talking about the dice from Ice Cream Dice’s Kickstarter last year for a while now. Just getting around to that now, but I have several of these to cover and I think I want to sprinkle them in over the next couple months.

Orange Dream 1

I had to change where I usually take my pictures for this set because the gloss on them was so high that I was losing a lot of the color in my usual location. I doubt that I would have gone for the matte option even realizing how bright the shine would be.

The orange in these is really nice, bright and satiny. The white blends well with it, though it also blends well enough with the ink on some sides that I’ll want to re-ink them at some point. I really like the look of these though.

Orange Dream 2

Per usual with acrylic dice, the Orange Dream set feels nice in had and is enjoyable to roll. They do feel a little more plastic-y than some other acrylic sets I have, I think that might be down to the high polish. I haven’t tested this set as much as some others, but the seem to roll with as much randomness as any other set I’ve had.

Orange Dream 3

I am very much a fan of the Orange Dream dice. The colors work great together. They roll nicely. And I already have a character that I plan to use them with. The set does lose a little for how close the inking is to the white of the dice, but they aren’t as hard to read as a couple of other sets that I want to re-ink. And I admit, I’m being a bit more generous with this set than I have been with others because of how excited I am to finally be getting the chance to play with the dice from this Kickstarter. Ice Cream Dice’s Orange Dream dice get a five out of five from me.

73rd of Spring, Year 256, Evening

Chonck returned before the rest of us could get even a third of the way down the path.

It would seem that the village has a Goblin named Sacrifice for exactly this purpose. Given that he told us that he would return in a week, I can only assume that the village has a sort of reincarnation myth for this specific name. It makes me wonder what indicates that a newly grown Goblin is the new Sacrifice and if other names are, for lack of a better word, inherited rather than earned in this particular village.

In any case, as soon as we had returned to the temple Eclair begged to be allowed to perform the sacrifice. It would seem that she has been holding back a special jeweled sacrificial dagger for an occasion such as this. Her face lit with a truly deranged look of joy when Billius Vile agreed that she could perform the sacrifice.

The Goblin laid on the tablet in the cult’s ritual circle and Eclair’s knife struck his heart dead on. It had to have all but exploded for all the blood that came rushing out before it was all drawn into the tablet.

It feels more than reasonable that Azurei chose to stay with the cart for all of this.

The demon Maia’s horns would scrape the ceiling of most of the rooms at Caskfire. It is easy enough to believe that this is a demon who grants people children. She reminds me of a sort of warped reflection of an elven love goddess. There are likely many who would not bother waiting to see if other solutions failed them or not.

It was strange though, during introductions she claimed to recognize her own. Me. I cannot say that I do not see it. Much like the Sunsets she has red skin and grey hair, her eyes glow an amber brighter than my own. The scales and satyr legs are different, but I find myself believing a demon who cannot change her shape is my father more than a shape changing braggart like Eebaku.

Chonck is going to be obnoxious about this though, the demon used the orcish name he took for himself from a book rather than Stonecask as his family name. I cannot help but wonder if the names she used for each of us were pulled from how we consider ourselves. The elf has several names, but the demon referred to her as Wren, which lends credence to this thought. I doubt that I should think too far into this, I doubt that I would like where it lands me.

Somewhat more entertaining, Chonck has determined that because the demon Maia is my father, he must also be his uncle. I did not expect to see a demon surprised today, much less five of them. Because, of course, if Maia is his uncle then the Sunsets must be Chonck’s cousins. He was quite happy with this turn of events and none of the demons had a good argument against it.

It should take a week to reach the Mountain Home. Then a short restock and a further three days to Caskfire. We should be back in time to help with any last minute work on the defenses. The demon Maia has given us permission to invoke her name to help kill Eebaku, so I feel much better about our chances of saving Caskfire than I have in some time. The Sunsets will also accompany us to protect the summoning tablet. I do not expect them to help fight, but they might if the tablet is endangered. Not something I want to test.

I confess, I am ready for this battle to be done and over with.

House Keeping 2/12/20

There’s something to watching bad horror movies with friends is something that I enjoy very much and always find myself wondering why I don’t make the effort to do more often. It usually results in a lot of the same talking about the stories that I do in my reviews, but bounced between me and my friends, so a lot of fun.

It makes me want to do another Book Vs Movie some time soon.

I’m running a little late this week, so the review for the week will be up either later tonight or, failing that, on Saturday and I’m planning on having my dice review up on Friday. The “Sunshine’s Journals” post should be up tomorrow morning, same as usual.

I haven’t been able to get things as lined up as I would like. I’ve got a few reviews partially written and plenty of dice to talk about, but I’m a little frozen. Same reason as usual, things are changing faster than I’m really able to get ready for them so I find myself doing nothing rather than just picking something and accomplishing that.

Going to have to work all that out in my planner and stick to it. No worries!

There’s exciting things coming up in my life and I cannot wait to see how they land. It’s just a matter of getting all my ducks in a row.

On to things that might benefit you lovely readers though. Skullsplitter Dice has a giveaway going from now until the 24th for a complete set of the dice they are going to release in their upcoming Kickstarter. You can enter here, there are eight methods of entry plus extras for if someone enters on your recommendation.

And that’s about it!

Standard stuff, if you like what I’m doing here feel free to leave a comment or a like. Positive feedback always makes my day! And, of course, if you want to help support what I’m doing here you can feed my caffeine addiction and buy me a ko-fi. I also have a link to Dice Envy and coupon Tympest10 for free shipping. In any case, have a great rest of the week!