First Look | Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Helena Arrives in Indiana Jones 5 — Future of the Force

Check out our first look at Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Helena, Indy’s goddaughter in the upcoming final The post First Look | Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Helena Arrives in Indiana Jones 5 appeared first on Future of the Force.

First Look | Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Helena Arrives in Indiana Jones 5 — Future of the Force

MORE NEGLECTED MONSTERS FOR HALLOWEEN SEASON

Balladeer's Blog

Balladeer’s Blog’s recent look at Eight Neglected Monsters for Halloween Season was a big hit with readers, so here are more.

devil-bug picDEVIL-BUG

First Appearance: The Monks of Monk Hall (1844-1845)

Cryptid Category: Malformed Human

Lore: This deformed and depraved man-monster grew up in Monk Hall as the son of one of the Hall’s members and one of the prostitutes enslaved there. He was squat, incredibly strong and grotesquely ugly with one large gaping eye and one small, withered, empty eye socket on his face.

Devil-Bug – the only name he had ever known – worked as a combination doorman, bouncer and executioner in the vile mansion called Monk Hall in Philadelphia. He killed on command and secreted the corpses deep in the sub-basements of the sinister mansion.

The unwholesome figure slept in a chilly dank room with the body of one of his victims lying next to him. Devil-Bug even…

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She-Cat (Icons Writeup)

SHE-CAT
aka Jessica Hunt

Prowess 6
Coordination 6
Strength 5
Intellect 3
Awareness 5
Willpower 5

Stamina 9

Powers
*Strike 5 – Claws
*Immortality – Longevity 1
*Regeneration 3
*Superspeed 2 (Limit: Running only)
*Supersenses 3 (smell, hearing, vision)
*Ring of Sekhmet – provides an ability boost to her Willpower for the sole purpose of aiding her in preventing being possessed by Sekhmet. It does not aid her in any other way. For the purposes of using her willpower against Sekhmet, add +5 Willpower bonus to any rolls made to resist the cat goddess.

Specialties
Athletics (Expert +2 bonus), Martial Arts (+1 bonus), Stealth (Expert +2 bonus)

Qualities
*The most vicious and deadly of the Femforce
*Lives in constant fear of losing her humanity

Background

When anthropologist Thadeous Hunt murdered Burmese followers of Sekhmet and returned home with the stolen priceless artifact that they used to summon the cat goddess, it was only a matter of time before Sekhmet, an Egyptian goddess of retribution, would take her vengeance. When Professor Hunt tried to summon the cat goddess to possess the body of a young native girl, Gautama, who he had kidnapped, he lost his head. Literally! Sekhmet tore it off! The cat goddess then sought out Professor Hunt’s daughter, the teenaged Jessica, who was more accustomed to civilization than Gautama. Sekhmet bonded with Jessica, bringing a chunk of Gautama’s sole with her.

It quickly became clear that Jessica was not strong enough to control the cat goddess’ bestial urges. She developed the costumed identity of the She-Cat to protect her identity during the periods when she lost control and the bloodlust took over and it became necessary for her to complete the bonding ritual with other strong-willed people in order to keep Sekhmet at bay. A bonding with Joan Wayne, Miss Victory, allowed her to control Sekhmet for many years, but when Miss Victory fell victim to the ravages of Rad, Jessica again was forced to bond with another.

The insecurity of constantly needing a strong bonding partner to keep Sekhmet from taking complete control of She-Cat’s mind and body eventually led to her discovery of the Ring of Sekhmet, an amulet which renders her immune to the goddess’ control while maintaining her paranormal abilities. Because the ring has been separated from Jessica with alarming frequency, Nightveil has turned it into a bracelet that fits securely over She-Cat’s left wrist.

Due to Sekhmet’s presence, Jessica has great health as Sekhmet is also a healing goddess. She-Cat is also unbelievably fast, cat-quick, you might say, and can slice through steel with her fingernails due to her bonding with the cat goddess. Furthermore, she has enhanced senses…like a cat! She also has developed great willpower from years of resisting Sekhmet’s ferocious nature. Finally, because Sekhmet is a goddess, She-Cat is immortal while Sekhmet inhabits her body, unless Sekhmet were to completely possess her at which point Jessica’s soul would perish, killing her.

Information from “Knockouts and Powerhouses” the Superbabes Role Playing Game Supplement, copyright 1994 by Selex, Inc.

ROBERT E. HOWARD’S REAL RED SONYA (NOT SONJA)

A great look at one of REH’s best characters. I like the Red Sonja version, as well, but I’ve always really liked Red Sonya even more — even though she only appeared once.

Balladeer's Blog

red sonyaTHE SHADOW OF THE VULTURE – This story by Robert E. Howard, the ONLY Howard story to actually feature Red Sonya, was first published in the January 1934 issue of Magic Carpet Magazine. As I’ve mentioned in many other reviews of old pulp characters, Howard’s REAL Red Sonya was indeed a warrior woman, but not one from his fictional Hyborian Age.

It was Marvel Comics who distorted Red Sonya into “Red Sonja” and placed her as a guest star in assorted Conan stories as well as her own series. That Red Sonja has more in common with female author C.L. Moore’s warrior woman Jirel of Joiry than she does with Robert E. Howard’s Red Sonya.

red sonya picThe Shadow of the Vulture is one of Howard’s historical adventures and it’s set during the 1520s, largely at the Siege of Vienna from September 27th to October 15th in 1529. Red Sonya of…

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Ms. Mystic (ICONS Writeup)

Ms. Mystic

Prowess 4
Coordination 5
Strength 6
Intellect 4
Awareness 5
Willpower 6

Stamina 12

Powers
*Magic 7 (Extras – Mastery: Element Control, Astral Projection, Flight, Healing, Blast)
*Immortality 2
*Life Support 2 (Heat, Cold)
*Damage Resistance 4
*Strike – Light Sword 7

Specialties
Aerial Combat, Occult, Weapons – Light Sword (Expert +2)

Qualities
Environmental warrior
Naive to modern ways
Mother Nature’s champion

Background: Ms. Mystic is a genuine witch who was burned at the stake during the Salem witch trials (1692–1695). Her soul transferred to another plane, and returned to Earth in the modern world. She is strongly concerned with environmental issues. Mystic has long white hair down to her ankles, wears a set of golden spirals in her hair which resemble the insect-antenna of faeries, and her costume is basically a black spandex catsuit with a unique appearance (created through the use of zip-a-tone in the comics).

Ms. Mystic is a magician; her ability to wield magic also gives her the power of flight, the ability to summon a sword of light, and various elemental powers.

She can also call upon Mother Nature for assistance. Ms. Mystic once called upon Mother Nature for help, and she responded by creating the superhero team Urth 4. Urth 4 are strongly influenced by the Fantastic Four, a group of four superheroes based on the four classical Greek elements.

Living With BPD

A couple of years ago a medical professional told me that they believed I suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder. To say that I was not pleased with that diagnosis would be a lie – “Borderline what?” I wondered. “Borderline crazy? I know I have problems but I’m not crazy!”

I thought that BPD sounded too close to being psychotic… but the truth is, I didn’t know anything about Borderline Personality Disorder. It’s a scary name but 1.6% of the population has some form of BPD, with women being diagnosed three times more often than men. Nobody knows if that’s because women are more susceptible or if it’s because women are far more likely to seek help.

So what is BPD? I’m going to quote from the Mayo Clinic website: “Borderline personality disorder is a mental health disorder that impacts the way you think and feel about yourself and others, causing problems functioning in everyday life. It includes self-image issues, difficulty managing emotions and behavior, and a pattern of unstable relationships.”

Okay. That seems pretty broad. Let’s look at the symptoms instead. Again, this comes from the Mayo Clinic:

Continue reading Living With BPD

Completed!

Finished The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume 14 last night – I’m very pleased with the way it turned out. Not sure when it will make its way to press since volumes 11-13 are still in the pipeline at the publisher. This volume features a new member joining Assistance Unlimited while an older member and a supporting cast member are both killed off. It’s a bloody affair!

Up next… I don’t know yet. I might want to do another Straw-Man book since I have a couple of new characters that I think could make excellent additions to his universe. Or I might do something completely different. This is the best and worst time as a writer — the possibilities!

I’ll do my usual thing of taking a couple of days off and then I’ll dive back into writing something.

Our art today is by George Perez and features Marvel’s Moon Knight. I’m really looking forward to the upcoming Disney+ series.

My Life in the Roleplaying Game Industry

I’ve always loved tabletop roleplaying games. I’ve played literally dozens and dozens of different systems but my all-time favorite is the D6 system invented by West End Games. They used it most famously in their Star Wars games from the late 80s through the 1990s. Elegant simplicity.

So after I’d been writing at Marvel for awhile, I decided I’d branch out into other avenues. I knew Nikola Virtis fairly well, since I ran a fansite devoted to West End’s DC Universe game and she’d been nice enough to send me some free stuff. When I asked if I could write for them, she put me on a book called D6 Space: The Fires of Amatsumara. By this time West End had lost the Star Wars license and were trying to reinvent themselves with various in-house setting. Amatsumara was basically Firefly, with a few modifications. When Nikola described it to me, it was Firefly-meets-Cowboy Bebop. Anyway, I was assigned about half the book to write and given a ton of free reign with the character. Basically, the high concept of the setting and brief descriptions of the planets were already in place but I had to flesh them out, fill the planets with characters (and stat them out!), then give a bunch of story ideas for each. It was fun and I included a few of my own homebrew characters in the setting, figuring that this would be the only one way I’d ever see them in print. I enjoyed it quite a bit and even started work on a second book for them (The Long Winter, about an earth frozen after another Ice Age) but it was cancelled after I’d written about 8,000 words.

And then… well, I kinda wanted to get paid. I had a contract, after all. But West End didn’t send that check… and when I called the phone number on my contract, it had been disconnected. Uh-oh! So I tried emailing the guy in charge (not Nikola — she was always aces with me) and wouldn’t get a response, again and again. So I posted about it on the WEG message boards, which did two things: it finally brought the publisher’s attention to me (he wasn’t happy) and it brought out a bunch of fanboys who jumped all over me because they would have been glad to have worked for free. As I explained, I loved West End, too — and you know, I might have worked for free if they’d asked me to. I really dug the company and its system. But they didn’t. They offered me a contract and I felt I should get my money. I eventually did but it was well over 18 months after they had initially said I would get it.

I then did a book called Godsend Agenda: U.S.E.R.’s Most Wanted, which was basically a collection of villains. I got to dream up several dozen villains and stat them out — they used a variant on West End’s D6 System, so I was right at home. I enjoyed the experience and the folks at Khepera Publishing were easy to deal with. They wanted me to do more for them but I got too busy with the pulp stuff and never did.

And that’s my exciting adventures in the roleplaying game world. I learned that rpg publishers are, by and large, living on the edge financially. Anyone who thinks comics or pulp sales are low should look at the lower-tier rpg publishers to feel better about themselves. But the rpg world is filled with fans and it’s nice to see people working on things that they love. I’m glad I got the chance to work with WEG and Khepera.