Timeline of the Reese Unlimited Universe (Updated 9/13/2022)

Major Events specific to certain stories and novels are included in brackets. Some of this information contains SPOILERS for The Peregrine, Lazarus Gray, Gravedigger and other stories. 

~ 800 – Viking warrior Grimarr dies of disease but is resurrected as the Sword of Hel. He adventures for some time as Hel’s agent on Earth. [The Sword of Hel]. 

~ 1620 – Gwydion fab Dôn is captured by the witch Rhianna in France. She punishes him by binding his spirit to a bundle of rags. [“Gwydion,” The Adventures of the Straw-Man Volume One]

1748 – Johann Adam Weishaupt is born. 

Continue reading Timeline of the Reese Unlimited Universe (Updated 9/13/2022)

Writing Update

I’m approaching the end of the Calavera novel and overall I’m quite pleased with it. In the end, it’s a spiritual sequel to Götterdämmerung, my “crossover” novel that brought in almost all of my 1930s/1940s characters in one big adventure — this one does much the same for my modern-day characters. Some only get a mention but there are pretty big roles for Catalyst, the Straw-Man, Jupiter, and a few others. It also serves as the debut story for Calavera, who will be a major part of the Reese Unlimited universe going forward. This book is set after the first three Straw-Man books so you’ll have to wait to see all of those before you can get the crossover volume… but I know that volume one of the Straw-Man series has gone through the editing process so hopefully, that one will be out fairly soon.

Our image today shows Jupiter in an angry mood and is drawn by Gilbert Monsanto.

Calavera (ICONS Writeup)

Calavera
Valerie Gray
created by Barry Reese

Prowess 3
Coordination 3
Strength 3
Intellect 4
Awareness 4
Willpower 6

Stamina 9

Powers
*Blast 8 (Extra: Magical)
*Immortality 1
*Servant 5 (Valerie can raise the dead, which function as shambling warriors at her control)
*Postcognition – Speak with the Dead 8 (Valerie can revive the recently deceased – they are compelled to answer her questions until the time limit (generally around 5 minutes) expires, after which they cannot be revived)
*Telepathy 6 (Limit: Only works with ravens)
*Life Support 10

Specialties
Art – Writing (Expert +2), Occult

Qualities
Creepy – she makes people who are ‘sensitive’ very uncomfortable
“I really shouldn’t be enjoying all this death and mayhem so much, should I?”
Sometimes gets unwanted visions of people’s deaths

Background: Valerie Gray is the great-granddaughter of famed hero Lazarus Gray. Her grandmother was also the daughter of Gravedigger, another famed hero of the past. As such, is the product of multiple heroic legacies and was seemingly destined for greatness from birth — however, her father (the hero known as Geist) did everything in his power to drive her away from the family business. As such, she grew up thinking her father was an absolute jerk. Eventually Valerie became a successful mystery novelist, working under a pseudonym and trying to keep everyone from knowing of her connection to Lazarus Gray. When a massive conspiracy targeted her on the brink of the apocalypse, Valerie found herself dealing with attempts on her life, even as she was dealing with the death of her beloved grandmother. Unwittingly, she had exposed herself to a set of sugar skulls that had belonged to her Gran — these sugar skulls were portals to Deadworld, a gateway between the living and the death. As a result, Valerie is ‘partially dead’ – meaning that she no longer ages, she’s unnaturally pale, her skin is cold to the touch, and people get a bad ‘vibe’ from her. These energies also transformed her into the hero Calavera and she was essential to saving the world from the forces of Heaven and Hell. Though not the most powerful hero, she has a strong sense of purpose and always seems to find herself in the right place at the right time.

Geist (ICONS Writeup)

Geist
Mordecai Gray
created by Barry Reese

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

Stamina 10

Powers
All powers are derived from his suit and equipment:
*Damage Resistance 5
*Binding 4
*Strike 6 (Taser Gloves)
*Gadgets 4

Specialties
Athletics, Drive, Investigation, Leadership, Martial Arts, Military, Pilot, Stealth, Weapons – Handguns (Expert +2)

Qualities
“I’m a better hero than I am a father.”
Unusual family
A man of action

Background: Mordecai Gray is the grandson of Lazarus Gray, the founder of Assistance Unlimited. Mordecai was trained from a young age to be a dangerous fighter and when he reached adulthood, he quickly became one of Assistance Unlimited’s most capable agents. To honor a close family friend – Jakob Sporrenberg, a former member of his grandfather’s team – he chose to use an identity and costume similar to that of a 1930s hero known as Eidolon. As Geist, Mordecai has spent most of his adult life battling villains all over the globe, though he has rarely been mentioned in the media. He tried in vain to keep his daughter Valerie from entering the family business and this caused a severe rift in their relationship. After her transformation into the hero known as Calavera, they have both made attempts to mend the wounds in their family. He’s middle-aged now and may have lost a step over the years but he’s still quite dangerous.

Calavera

So I’ve been working hard on the debut novel featuring Calavera, which has turned into a crossover novel for many of the characters that exist in my modern-day. Several years back, I had all my World War II-era characters meet up and this is similar but with the likes of Calavera, Babylon, Catalyst (the 21st century version), the Straw-Man, Jupiter and more all uniting to take on the forces of Heaven and Hell. You’ll also get to meet Lazarus Gray’s grandson, the Reese Unlimited version of Miss Fury and a whole lot more.

I’m over 40,000 words into the novel at the moment and to celebrate how well it’s going I’m going to debut the world’s first look at our heroine — Calavera! Art is by Luis Filipe and he did a wonderful job transforming my ideas into reality! Hope you find her as beautiful and intriguing as I do.

Various and Sundry

So my day job is working as a high school English teacher – and we’ve just wrapped up our first week with the students. With so much of my time being spent on learning my new students and keeping up with meetings, I’ve found my writing time to be severely curtailed!

Still, I’ve been splitting time between the fifteenth volume of Lazarus Gray and a new book starring a character named Calavera. The latter is set in the modern day but it will have… strong… ties to not one but multiple series in my Reese Unlimited universe. I’d love to share an image of Calavera — because the one I have is gorgeous but I don’t want to tip my hand too much.

I hope you guys take to her. I’ve spent a lot of time over the last year creating a whole modern-day side of the universe, with Lilith, the upcoming Straw-Man books, and Omnium Gatherum (also waiting to be published) and Calavera will join them. So far, reaction to Lilith has been mixed… hopefully the others will strike a great chord with the readers. And maybe Lilith will find her audience in future years. You never know!

Been splitting time between two roleplaying game systems lately: Prowlers and Paragons and Tiny Supers. PnP is a highly cinematic system that uses lots of 6-sided dice. TS is a rules-lite system that uses no more than three 6-sided dice. Both have their strong points and it’s tough for me to choose one over the other. PnP is better at creating nuanced characters but TS is incredibly easy to pick up, especially for younger players.

Our image today is a gorgeous photo of a young Jessica Lange. She’s a fantastic actress and I had quite a crush on her back in the day. Enjoy!