Feng Shui’s ‘Buy In’ Simplicity

Ran a session of FENG SHUI last week.

It’s one of my favorite tabletop roleplaying games because it encourages combat that’s rich and imaginative instead of roleplay colliding with cold-hard tactical rules.

It also has a simple and effective conceit around “Character Buy In” that more games should use.

Getting a group of disparate characters together to start an adventure or campaign can be such a hassle.
Finding the in-game logic behind how the group forms and stays together while each has their individual back stories and goals can eat up a lot of Game Master time and brain space.

Feng Shui elegantly puts the onus back on players with a character melodramatic hook and buy in:
You tell the GM and player cast why you’re here.
You tell us why you stick around after the adventure.

Bring a bit of your own fuel and we’ll build a roaring fire and keep it going.
It’s so simple and should be the standard for most TTRPGs.

Feng Shui builds this way of thinking right into the rules and character creation. That makes it intrinsic to how the game feels:
Do not passively wait to be entertained.
You have to bring some energy to this interactive thing we’re building together.

This Buy-In quality (along with Feng Shui‘s ultra-competent starting characters) also works well for building a campaign where don’t you know who is going to be able to make it to play each session.

You tell us where you’ve been between appearances and why you’re back now.

Running an ongoing game is tough with current schedules. We’re all dealing with deadlines and other responsibilities. Having a fun mission-based game where the cast can change on a dime and it still works is a really good fit right now.

Whoever can make it for the next game, you’ve been recruited by ‘the Agency’ for a new mission. Your particular skills will directly come into play tonight or, if your concept seems at odds with the goal, we’ll find a fun action movie-corny way to incorporate it anyway.

You can be a ‘main character’ advancing personal plot lines almost every session or a ‘special guest star’ dropping in with flare to spice things up.

We’ve got a seat for you and it’s going to be a good time.

Murderworld: Avengers Reviews

What did reviewers think of the opening salvo of our Murderworld story? Read on and find out…

AIPT: 8/10 “If you were ever interested in Arcade’s awful game and how it functions, give Murderworld: Avengers a shot. You’ll respect the story and its done-in-one arc, even if it’s dark and tragic.”

AR Comics:“This first issue had no business being this good…This was so much better than I thought this was going to be…An action-packed awesome first issue.”

Blerd Without Fear:“I like the fact that Jim Zub was able to come with a way to take the Squid Game formula and upgrade it in a very Marvel way. I think it’s really cool.”

But Why Tho: 9/10 “Murderworld: Avengers is a surprising, unrelenting killing spree. It is jaw-dropping in its bravery, unleashing death on a devastating scale on ordinary people. The slow pace sucks you in before displaying the carnage in front of you.”

Caped Joel: 9/10 “I love how topical it is, bringing in some of the best elements of Fortnite, Squid Game, and everything else in the big Battle Royale trend that we seem to be riding right now. I love its critiquing of internet and YouTube culture, and I appreciate it even more because, well, I am a YouTuber and content creator so this stuff was always going to strike a chord with me.”

Chillmonger: “I recommend getting this comic just so you can go on the ride!”

Comic Book.com: 8/10 “Murderworld: Avengers #1 winds up being one of the most pleasant surprises of the week in comics, and I look forward to seeing where this particular tale goes from here.”

Comic Book Club: “The reason why they make it work is – Arcade is a fun character, Murderworld is fun, the twist they find by the end there is fun and, as usual, it’s well executed.”

Comic Book Corner: “This is a great, great book. Anything that has Murderworld attached to it for the next few months, you’re going to want to check it out…Go to your shop. Pick it up. It’s absolutely phenomenal.”

Comic Book Resources: “…the storytelling pivots in a surprising direction just when the reader presumes the outcome is a foregone conclusion. In fact, Murderworld: Avengers pulls out all the shocks and stops and lives up to its nefarious name, as it delivers more jaw-dropping moments than Squid Game.”

Comic Book University: “This was a really good story. Can’t wait to see what happens next. The art was fantastic. I really loved this first issue.”

Comic-Watch: 8.5/10 “The enjoyment here is found in watching contestants drop like flies in wonderfully violent ways and getting caught up in how Paul is managing to survive the contest. It’s also fun watching Arcade in full bloom, able to shine as the crazy killer he’s always billed as but rarely gets to be.”

Cranky Comic Review: “I’m a sucker for Murder-Deathtrap books…I dug the ending. The ending was good enough to put it high on the list.”

Geek’d-Out: “I’ve been a fan of Jim Zub’s Marvel work for a while and his script with co-writer Ray Fawkes is snappy fun, while artist Jethro Morales matches the tone perfectly, especially with Matt Milla’s candy-coated colors befitting that of a carnival-like theme park. If you’re someone who prefers small, self-contained storylines, then you can’t go wrong with this one.”

Infinity Flux Comics: “This book is Teen+, but I would still be a little cautious because this is deceivingly adult with the amount of violence and shocking moments…It goes from one surprise to another surprise that’s just crazy.”

League of Comic Geeks: “This book is essentially just Murderworld used to its full potential, none of that plot armor from being a superhero, just purely Murderworld as it should be, and that’s the draw, that’s exactly why it’s so good.”

Monkeys Fighting Robots: 9/10 “Murderworld Avengers #1 offers readers a good script from Zub and Fawkes with a story that makes us believe no one is safe. The art elegantly brings to life the beautiful chaos that is Murderworld. There may not be a more exciting book on the shelves this week.”

Next issue: “This is a really, really fun comic…It has some fun twists and turns and once you think you’re safe, then it comes at you even harder!”

Pop Culture Philosophers: “I loved this book. I thought it was great…It takes unexpected turns and twists and then it has an ending and I’m like ‘whaa~aat?!’ I really liked this book.”

Pros and Cons: “This was a pleasant surprise…It moves at a really fast clip. Call me dark and it is a bit horror-tinged for the superhero world, but I thought it was a blast! I strongly recommend this.”

Theron Reads Comics: “Zub and Fawkes at last give Arcade the chance to do what every fan of the character always wants: kill, kill, and kill some more. Paired with Morales’s art and Milla’s expressive colors, this is a win.”

We Have Issues: “Very cool story. Very cool concept. I really enjoyed it.”

Zub Comics Arriving February 2023

Story- Jim Zub & Ray Fawkes
Art- Luca Pizzari
Cover- Paco Medina
• Under the harsh light of the moon there is no escape, and with only a handful of contestants left, anything can happen!
• Murderworld is a life-or-death game of treachery and tragedy brought to you by Jim Zub (Conan the Barbarian, Avengers: No Surrender), Ray Fawkes (One Soul, Constantine) and, illustrated by Luca Pizzari!
• Arcade and his schemes have been a punchline in the past, but this contest is no joke. Each issue ups the ante, and this penultimate chapter has some of the biggest twists yet. Don’t miss it!
32 PGS./ONE-SHOT/Rated T+ …$3.99

Story- Jim Zub
Art- Troy Little, Leonardo Ito
Cover- Troy Little
Pnakotus, the glittering, triumphant city of the Yith, is populated by the greatest minds of all time, including some rude new guy who won’t get with the program. Who wouldn’t want to spend eternity in this idyllic, definitely-not-hiding-anything intellectual utopia?
In Shops: Feb 15, 2023
SRP: 3.99

Story- Jim Zub
Art- Sean Izaakse, Netho Diaz
Cover- David Nakayama
Redeeming justice, like lightning!

Super-powered crooks take hostages in Staten Island? A dimensional rift tears open in Chinatown? Monsters running amok at the Met? Call in the Thunder! New York City’s finest are here to save the day: Hawkeye, Spectrum, America Chavez, Power Man, Persuasion and the all-new cyber-soldier called Gutsen Glory! You know ’em, you love ’em: They’re the Thunderbolts!

In the aftermath of DEVIL’S REIGN, the Big Apple has big problems, and it’s up to a new group of Thunderbolts to turn things around. But when Clint Barton is tasked with heading up this squad, the first opponent he’s going to have to face…is himself.

Collecting THUNDERBOLTS (2022) #1-5.
120 PGS./Rated T+ …$17.99
ISBN: 978-1-302-94711-8
Trim size: 6-5/8 x 10-3/16

Story- Jim Zub
Art- Giovanni Valletta
Cover- Lucio Parrillo
Past, present and potent futures collide and a sacrifice will be paid in blood! Is Red Sonja truly unbreakable or is this her final stand?

As we head toward 2023, the 50th anniversary of the She-Devil With a Sword, Dynamite’s newest sweeping story of sword & sorcery high adventure comes to a climactic conclusion from writer Jim Zub (Conan the Barbarian, Dungeons & Dragons, Avengers) and artist Giovanni Valletta (John Wick, James Bond)!
In Shops: Feb 22, 2023
SRP: 3.99

Conan Free Comic Book Day Issue Arrives May 6th, 2023

(November 15, 2022) – Global publisher Titan Comics and entertainment studio Heroic Signatures are delighted to reveal that the newest Conan the Barbarian comics will be debuting as part of Free Comic Book Day in 2023!

This FCBD edition of Conan the Barbarian (available at comic book retailers on May 6, 2023) kicks off the brand-new ongoing comic, beginning July 2023. Conan the Barbarian will be written by acclaimed and long-time Conan comic book scribe Jim Zub (Thunderbolts, Uncanny Avengers), and will feature the stunning art of Roberto De La Torre (King-Size Conan, Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D) and colorist José Villarrubia (Promethea, Sweet Tooth, Cuba: My Revolution).

Readers will experience the legendary Conan like never before in this comic shop exclusive primer. On the eve of his first major battle, young Conan of Cimmeria pictures a life beyond the borders of his homeland and yearns for a life undreamt of in his small village. Visions of future allies and unspeakable evils he will eventually encounter throughout his fabled career fill his mind as he takes his first fateful steps toward a life of great adventure in the Hyborian Age!

Writer Jim Zub says, “My life was shaped by sword & sorcery stories, especially the work of Robert E. Howard. Every chance I’ve had to contribute to the Hyborian Age has been a gift and this one, relaunching Conan the Barbarian with Heroic Signatures and Titan Comics with modern masters Rob De La Torre and José Villarrubia collaborating on epic artwork, is the biggest and best present I could imagine.

On Free Comic Book Day we’ll give readers and retailers a first look at a young Conan in the legendary Battle at Venarium as he decides to set forth and find the wider world and then, in summer 2023, we’ll fully unleash epic high adventure in an age undreamed of. It’s going to be big, bold and bloody and I can’t wait for all of you to see it.”

Dragons & Treasures Preview Pages

The sixth D&D Young Adventurer’s Guide, Dragons & Treasures, is available now.
Here are some preview page samples:

D&D Young Adventurer’s Guide 6
Dragons & Treasures

No creature is more fascinating and terrifying to an adventurer than a dragon! This illustrated guide takes a deeper look at the abilities, personalities, and treasure collections of every major dragon type in Dungeons & Dragons.
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
Hudson Books

Murderworld: Avengers Launches Today!

June 20, 2004: I teased on Livejournal that Ray Fawkes and I had a cool story idea we were cooking up-

18 years later: MURDERWORLD: AVENGERS launches TODAY at your favorite comic shop!

Some ideas take a bit longer than others to come to fruition.😜

Thunderbolts: Back On Target Arrives March 2023

If you didn’t pick up the new Thunderbolts mini-series in single issues, the collected trade, called Thunderbolts: Back On Target, arrives in March.

Here are some links for online pre-orders:

Thunderbolts (2022)
Back On Target

(Issues #1-5)

Redeeming justice, like lightning! In the aftermath of Devil’s Reign, the Big Apple has big problems, and it’s up to a new group of Thunderbolts to turn things around. But when Clint Barton is tasked with heading up this squad, the first opponent he’s going to have to face…is himself.
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository

Talking Comics With ComicPop

Sal at ComicPop is such a great person to chat with. We cover a bunch of different projects in this interview: Rick and Morty VS Cthulhu, Murderworld, Thunderbolts, Conan the Barbarian, Unbreakable Red Sonja, and more. Check it out!

Talking Murderworld with the Traversing the Stars Podcast

Ray Fawkes and I chatted with Jeff at Traversing the Stars all about our Murderworld saga, launching later this month for Marvel. Check it out.

The MURDERWORLD Saga Launches November 16th!

New York, NY— November 3, 2022 — On November 16, Jim Zub and Ray Fawkes put the “murder” back in MURDERWORLD! Teaming up with an exciting lineup of all-star artists, the two writers have penned a pulse-pounding epic that begins later this month in MURDERWORLD: AVENGERS and comes to a crashing end in March’s MURDERWORLD: GAME OVER! Across five one-shots, readers will witness Arcade at his darkest as he unleashes the full terror of Murderworld on an all-new cast of characters.

Two hundred contestants. One hundred million dollar prize. One winner. And to survive, they’ll have to endure a series of brutal tests in Arcade’s brand-new Murderworld. Arcade’s circus-style contests have been a punchline in the past, but this game is no joke and the body count will rise with each twist and turn. Has Arcade finally found success? Enter Paul Pastor, the extraordinary young documentarian who hopes to expose it all but he can’t do it alone. Luckily, the Black Widow has a personal grudge to settle with the Murderworld mastermind – but how many will die before she can put a stop to this wildly violent scheme??

“When I first saw Murderworld in an issue of Uncanny X-Men, I was fascinated by its colorful corniness mixed with deception and violence,” Zub explained. “Many years ago, Ray and I chatted about a twisted thriller-survival story set in Arcade’s deadly playground and now, starting with MURDERWORLD: AVENGERS, we’re finally getting the chance to unleash it!”

“Murderworld is one of those stealthy, ultra-compelling concepts that always made the Marvel Universe so fascinating to me – the gaudy, family-fun veneer slapped over a deadly threat. When Jim and I were discussing it, ideas to make it more and more frightening and exciting just kept coming to us. I’m thrilled to bring them to readers in all their horrible glory!” Fawkes added.

Step right up to the deadliest game in the Marvel Universe when MURDERWORLD: AVENGERS hits stands on November 16! For more information, visit Marvel.com.

On Sale 11/16

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