JP On Gaming

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

[Kinda Book Review] Murena Ch 4: Ceux Qui Vont Mourir

Earlier this year, I posted about the first 3 chapters of this saga. This tome is the final entry of the first cycle.

The story culminates with Nero struggling for power with his mother, Agrippina. The longer Nero is in power, the more used to wielding it he becomes. Throughout the story, the two struggle for control. Eventually, seeing she is losing, she even tries to seduce Nero (!) but he spurns her.

Eventually, he has no choice but to rid himself of her. But Agrippina is a master politician and plots his downfall by selecting Poppea Sabina, a women whose heart is as hers. Thus she knows she will die, but strikes at him from beyond the grave. I really loved this entire segment when she realizes she is lost.

Then the accident Nero plotted to rid himself of her, her ship mutinied and sunk, failed when she jumped and swam to shore. Nero had to order her assassination. Brutal. Again the scene of her death brings us Mercury ordering Nero to stand and watch the sun. Nero falls in love with the flames.

The side story of Murena and the vengeance for the death of his mother (which Agrippina ordered) gets resolved here.

There is also a very well-illustrated battle between gladiators, Agrippina's and Nero's. That scene is, once again, awesome.

So many powerful and good scenes. Characters using every advantage they may have to come out on top. Good plot. Good characters. This is what I love of this series.

So in case you didn't guess, this is a solid 5/5.

Monday, October 16, 2023

[Kinda Book Review] Ulrich by James Walker

This book tells the tale of Ulrich, a germanic warrior in the 4th century. He lives near the border of the Roman Empire which lies beyond the Rhine.

We meet a variety of interesting characters with backgrounds that help the plot. Ulrich is a German prince whose throne is stolen by his covetous uncle. He escapes and is raised by a blacksmith, plotting to reclaim his kingdom.

One of the most interesting one Tau, a prince of Ghana, who ends up in Germania. His background makes it interesting. Another interesting non-main character is future Emperor Julian (the Apostate). Here, Julian is still junior emperor of the West.

The highlight is really in the relation and evolution of each character as their circumstances change. Their integration into the auxilia was an fun.

Now, this story is fine but not particularly unique. It follows the elements of history with the main battles. The crew does participate in the events but I never got a feel they had much agency. They felt, reactionary to everything that happened.

Another thing I disliked, though this one was minor: use of modern-day places and names.

Oh... And a map would've been nice. I'm not as up-to-date as I'd like with German geography.

Saturday, October 14, 2023

[Kinda Book Review] Kwaidan by Lafcadio Hearn

Book coverThis book has been on my list for a while. I saw the movie many times. It is excellent

The book tho... "The book is better" is not something I will use here. Most of the stories are very short, a few pages, and are not particularly interesting. In fact, the stories are mostly pointless or just end without a resolution. I really wanted to love this but... I did not.

I guess the worse part is that half the book is taken by the author's treatise on insects. There is no point to it and is just filler.

It has historical value but I expected so much more. I'll settle for a 2/5. Watch the movie instead.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Apple of a Mother's Eye now Electrum BestSeller

It is with great joy that I report that Ravenloft: Apple of a mother's eye has just been certified Electrum Best Seller on DM's Guild! Yay!

This adventure is a retelling of the rather bland and overly simple chapter in the otherwise awesome Curse of Strahd.

Berez here become the site of adventure that provide an alternate take on the characters of the "Strahd Mythos": Strahd, Ravenovia, Barov, Sergei, and Tatiana among others. Prepare to have fun giving your party something different to think about.

I cannot tell you all how grateful I am to everyone who has no only purchased it, but also spent some time to review and play it.

Big Thanks to everyone.

Oh! And this product along with others is part of the FOE Ravenloft Bundle, also available on the DM's Guild.

Let's not forget the many art pieces from the British Shark! Big thanks to him!