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понедељак, 29. децембар 2014.

Nove knjige za Novu godinu

Ovu čitalačku godinu završavam sa preko 200 pročitanih naslova. Ima među tim naslovima i stripova, ali to su listom trejdovi, integrali, isenšeli i slična izdanja, sa kojima čovak ipak mora da se pomuči pre nego što ih prebaci sa hrpe nepročitanih naslova na gomilu pročitanih.

Enivej, prošlo je brat bratu pet godina otkad sam poslednji put pročitao preko 100 naslova za godinu dana. U svom zlatnom čitalačkom periodu čitao sam između 250 i 300 naslova godišnje, tako da mi je to čitalačko smanjenje teško palo. Doduše, tada sam živeo u roditeljskom stanu, bio student ili imao manje posla nego sada, nisam bio oženjen i imao tridesetak kilograma više nego sada. I guess everything has its price (Izreke iz Najtovog sela, tm). 

Neću postavljati spisak svega što sam pročitao - to možete da vidite posetom mom nalogu na Gudridsu - ali baviću se onim što tek nameravam da pročitam.

Januar je inače mesec kada po pravilu čitam isključivo epsku fantastiku i horor (jer ništa ne asocira na okupljanje rodbine kao "Bal vampira", but not in a good way), pa sam zato probrao nekoliko naslova kojima želim da posvetim pažnju.

Najpre, vraćam se projektu "Malazanijada", odnosno iščitavanju celokupnog serijala - uključujući i naslove koje je pisao Ijan Eslemont. U prethodnom naletu stao sam pročitavši Bonehunters, inače jedan od najboljih romana do Toll the Hounds (koji je, svojevremeno, za mene značio raskid sa Eriksonom). Između Bonehunters i Reaper's Gale - veoma se udobno smešta Return of the Crimson Guard, inače drugi Eslemontov roman. Budući da ga čitam već neko vreme, nalazim se na ravno 40% ukupnog gradiva. 

The return of the mercenary company, the Crimson Guard, could not have come at a worse time for a Malazan Empire exhausted by warfare and weakened by betrayals and rivalries. Indeed, there are those who wonder whether the Empress Laseen might not be losing her grip on power as she faces increasing unrest as conquered kingdoms and principalities sense freedom once more.
Into the seething cauldron of Quon Tali--the Empire's heartland--marches the Guard. With their return comes the memory of the Empire--and yet all is not well with the Guard itself. Elements within its elite, the Avowed, have set their sights on far greater power. There are ancient entities who also seek to further their own arcane ends. And what of the swordsman called Traveller who, with his companion Ereko, has gone in search of a confrontation from which none have ever returned?
As the Guard prepares to wage war, so Laseen's own generals and mages, the 'Old Hands', grow impatient at what they see as her mismanagement of the Empire. But could Laseen have outwitted them all? Could she be using the uprisings to draw out and finally eliminate these last irksome survivors from the days of her illustrious predecesor, Kellanved?

Nakon Eslemonta najverovatnije ču se posvetiti ne baš novom piscu, ali ipak piscu kojeg ranije nisam čitao. Reč je o Semu Sajksu. Sajks ima novi roman, kojim počinje novi serijal. Moram da proverim, ali ako ovo delo nije ni na koji način povezano sa njegovom ranijom trilogijom, onda mi je na nišanu.

The City Stained Red by Sam Sykes


After years in the wilds, Lenk and his companions have come to the city that serves as the world's beating heart.

The great charnel house where men die surer than any wilderness.
They've come to claim payment for creatures slain, blood spilled at the behest of a powerful holy man.

And Lenk has come to lay down his sword for good.
But this is no place to escape demons.

Na kraju, malo horora. Čarlija Strosa volim poodavno, najviše zbog njegove alternativne istorije (recimo da je Merchant Princes tako nešto), ali by all accounts, Stros već duže vreme piše veoma zanimljiv serijal lavkraftijanskog horora/urbane fantastike. Red je da ga konačno uzmem u šake.

The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross

Lovecraft's Cthulhu meets Len Deighton's spies in Stross's latest, as the Scottish author explains in his afterword to this offbeat book offering two related long novellas, "The Atrocity Archive" and "The Concrete Jungle" (the latter previously unpublished). With often hilarious results, the author mixes the occult and the mundane, the truly weird and the petty. In "Atrocity," Bob, a low-level computer fix-it guy for the Laundry, a supersecret British agency that defends the world from occult happenings, finds himself promoted to fieldwork after he bravely saves the day during a routine demonstration gone awry. With his Palm, aka his Hand of Glory (a severed hand that, when ignited, renders the holder invisible), and his smarts, he saves the world from a powerful external force seeking to enter our universe to suck it dry. In "Jungle," Bob teams up with a cop, Josephine, to save the Laundry from a powermonger who seeks to stage an internal coup by using zombies as her minions. Amid all the bizarre happenings are the everyday trappings of a British bureaucracy. Bob gets called on the carpet by his bosses because he requested backup during an emergency without first getting his supervisor's okay and filling out the requisite forms. Though the characters all tend to sound the same, and Stross resorts to lengthy summary explanations to dispel confusion, the world he creates is wonderful fun. 

недеља, 07. децембар 2014.

The Genius Guide to the Talented Ranger

The latest product in the Talented line by Rogue Genius Games seems to be best so far. The work that Owen Stevens constantly puts out is of outstanding quality and it should be seriously considered by all experience gamers as the basis for Pathfinder upgrade. In a way, it would be quite difficult for potential Pathfinder 2.0 to completely assume RGG’s Talented system, but as time progresses I’ve come to look at RGG Talented line as sort of Pathfinder version of Arcana Unearthed. I seriously recommend that RGG considers putting out there a hard-cover book that combines at least all Talented martial classes, but that is neither here nor there.

I must say that the ranger is my favorite class and it remains one of the most utilized classes in my games. The reason for that is its versatility, excellent fighting ability and skill selection, as well as animal companion that can sometimes make a life and death difference for the smaller parties.

Following the usual pattern of the Talented classes, Talented Ranger keeps certain basic chassis (bab, saving throws, skills, hit dice) of the Ranger class, that can be modified by taking a series of edges and talents, divided in 3 categories. This somewhat narrows down the customization possibilities, since the edges tend to be prerequisites for taking certain talents.

Talents themselves are divided in 3 categories, basically distinguished by level. Basic talents can be taken before 10th level, major talents at 10th level and above and grand talents only as 20th level capstone ability.

I am not a fan of this kind of division, since it makes it harder to find particular talent if you are not sure if it’s basic or major. I would prefer that all talents are listed alphabetically with certain class level stated as prerequisite in the description of each talent. I am also not a fan of edges. I would very much prefer that edges are simply talents, but with some kind of prerequisites.

By the simple virtue of sheer number of edges and talents presented in this product, certain builds and talent trees can make the Talented Ranger a bit overpowered. Game Master should carefully decide which one to allow, since the Talented Ranger can easily overshadow many other classes. This especially comes into play if a character decides to bond with a weapon instead of animal, gaining the ability to improve its weapon as he progresses in levels, which could – combined with the Favorite Enemy talent tree – make the Fighter almost un-needed.

On the other hand, I am very satisfied with the number of talents that improve the animal companion, since they open a whole new range of role-playing opportunities and allow animal companion to transcend the role of simple additional muscle.

The editing is top-notch, as usual for RGG products and I can not recommend it enough.