The Gassy Gnoll: Fireball, Fireball, Fireball!

Why do I feel like the Most Interesting Man in the World this week? (Thank you Dos Equis.) Might it be that I started playing a new wizard in 4e D&D last weekend and the first spell I selected was Fireball?

Most Interesting Man in the World - FireballWhat is it about Fireball that makes it the “must have” spell in D&D? I’ve played a lot of D&D wizards over the years, but the goal of getting to 3rd level was always to achieve Fireball and possibly Lightning Bolt, with Ice Storm being a distant third.

Why is that however? I’ve caused more than a few disasters with the spell. Dumping it into a 10′x10′ room and watching all the gold and silver treasure melt to slag was one of my favorites. It’s not like you can tell the fire NOT to melt the treasure. But I felt compelled to end the battle right then and there, dumping a Fireball in the middle of a perfectly placed group of monsters. Sure, there might have been a PC or two in the blast radius, but they knew the risks!

Fireball and Magic Missile have always been my go-to spells for wizards. Even playing 1st edition Palladium Fantasy I think I used a version of Fireball frequently.

That said, I began playing with a true Controller the other night. He was tossing Hypnotize and other Charm-related spell effects all over, making our foes beat themselves up. And I have to say that was pretty cathartic. Sure, Fireball is a momentary blaze of glory, but it’s satisfying when your enemies are attacking and doing large amounts of damage to themselves and THEIR allies, while ignoring you entirely. :)

What are your favorite spells of D&D past, present, or future?

The Gassy Gnoll: When Did It Become Us vs. Them?

Recently I was introduced to the idea of a “DM Kill Board” where DMs or GMs could jot down the particulars surrounding the death of a PC. Level and class details are intermixed along with the circumstances of the death. And I can’t help but be a little weirded out by this trend.

Warning: Opinions AheadWhen did it become an “Us vs. Them” approach? Regardless of whether the GM kills a PC/NPC or a PC/NPC kills a favorite monster/NPC in the game, is it really something to celebrate? Sure, some deaths are a bit “Darwin Awards” at times. And I can certainly see a player lamenting the death of a favorite PC or relating the details of a particularly cool battle. But a kill list for GMs?

Am I old fashioned in my tabletop role-playing? I feel like the gaming experience is shared and that having fun and telling a good story is paramount, no matter which side of the GM screen you’re on.

Now I’m not averse to some occasional PC on PC battles, with or without the presence of a GM. Some games are built around this like good old Car Wars from Steve Jackson Games. Some of the MechWarrior/BattleTech stuff lends itself to an arena environment. And any nearly any fantasy RPG can be used in a gladiatorial battle kind of mindset. But those should be the exceptions, not the rule.

These days games like The One Ring use the concept of party harmony to enhance the experience of shared storytelling. I would hope that tabletop RPG would move towards that ideal of common goals, not away from it…

Obviously not everyone plays that way. Does the “kill board” approach apply more towards a list of cautionary tales or idea fodder for some GMs? Or does it have a different purpose?

I really am curious. It’s not a mindset I’ve ever found myself in.

The Gassy Gnoll: Some Hard Decisions

We’re all struggling with something. Usually multiple somethings. And usually we keep on keepin’ on simply because there’s no way to stop.

Image Credit: Waving White Flag Clip Art from (by nicubunu)

Image Credit: Waving White Flag Clip Art from (by nicubunu)

I’m not depressed. I’m not sick. I’m not helpless. I’m just overwhelmed these days. Family. Friends. Writing. Staying healthy. It all takes a toll.

Time is not on my side. And some hard choices are going to have to be made.

One of them may be that it’s time to shutter Game Knight Reviews for a while. I have not put much time at all into doing reviews over the last year or so. And there are two major factors.

First, there’s Moebius Adventures. It encompasses my RPG publishing efforts. I’ve talked about it a few times, I’m sure. And it’s humming right along, taking up the bulk of my writing time.

Next, there’s Crossfit. I started it a little over a year ago in an attempt to get into some sort of shape so I’d be around to enjoy my time with my wife and kids instead of devolving into a puddle of fat and general physical inactivity. It’s worked! And as a result it’s become a positive time sink in my life – sucking up much of my reading time.

Between the two of those major factors, my time to read other peoples’ stuff and write about it has dropped dramatically. On the plus side, I’m much more excited and have a ton more energy for my own stuff – but as a result I’m not reading other people’s stuff all that frequently. Many folks have had to ping me repeatedly to remind me of a review or interview I promised as things have fallen off the table.

And that’s no bueno.

So though I love Game Knight Reviews and want it to flourish, it’s been floundering instead as my focus has gone elsewhere.

Because of this, I’m looking at the following options:

  1. Find someone who wants to help out and pick up the mantle of doing reviews here at Game Knight Reviews.
  2. Or put the site into a state of suspended animation.

If anyone is interested in #1 – please give me a holler. Drop me a note via e-mail or social media and let’s chat.

But I’m leaning towards #2, though I need to do some serious cleanup in some areas first. Namely the review list needs to be tidied up. And I’d like to put together a page that lists all the Gassy Gnoll posts since the beginning.

The Gassy Gnoll SignBeyond that, I will continue to share cool links from the gaming community – blog posts, Kickstarters, product announcements, etc. – via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+. So if you have something you want to share with me, please let me know and I’ll toss it out to the social media ether to let those bytes fly free.

And I still have a handful of reviews to finish up for Story Weaver Games, Modiphius, and maybe one or two other publishers.

But I think I’m bowing out of the review business for now. If I get really excited about something, I might pop in with a surprise review – but that will be infrequent at best.

For those of you who have stuck with this site since the beginning, I thank you VERY much. Our hobby and the RPG industry has been amazing and will continue to be amazing. But I need to refocus my efforts for now on those areas where my passion is burning brightest.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I’m not going away – I’m still gaming and writing about gaming, but the time of the Game Knight is fading.

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Designer Interview: Wreck Age‘s Anton Zaleski

Wreck-Age cover -Hyacinth Games

Back in January I was contacted by Matt Sears and Anton Zaleski of Hyacinth Games. They have a cool game called Wreck-Age, a RPG and miniature wargame set in a post-apocalyptic world filled with factions all with their hearts set on different goals… It’s a bit like Fallout where the world has been ravaged and almost left . . . → Read More: Designer Interview: Wreck Age‘s Anton Zaleski

The Gassy Gnoll: State Your Intentions


When you begin a new tabletop RPG gaming experience, whether it’s a new campaign with new characters, adding a new player to the scene, or new characters to familiar worlds… what are your intentions? Do you even wonder?

If that seems a curious question, it very well might be. It’s not something I’ve pondered until . . . → Read More: The Gassy Gnoll: State Your Intentions

Game Review: Mindjammer from Mindjammer Press/Modiphius by Sarah Newton

Mindjammer - Sarah Newton

Space is a big place. It can hold a lot of stuff. And as such, be a difficult thing to wrangle for a science fiction roleplaying game campaign. Where do you start? Where do you end? How do you get a handle on content of potentially galactic proportions?

Might I recommend Mindjammer from Sarah Newton?

. . . → Read More: Game Review: Mindjammer from Mindjammer Press/Modiphius by Sarah Newton

Game Fodder: Time of the Wild Gods


Looking for some setting ideas? Here’s one that came out of the blue the other day…

In the age of the Wild Gods, it is said that waves of chaotic raw energy and force of will rose and fell across the land. Whatever those beings felt at the time, whether joy or sorrow, love or . . . → Read More: Game Fodder: Time of the Wild Gods

The Gassy Gnoll: Gamer Mind as Strange Cesspool of Correlation

Cesspool - ComicVine

It should come as no surprise to anybody that my mind is crowded with tidbits (some useful, most not) from all the parts of my life. Movie quotes compete with song snippets, which fight for dominance with the useless trivia department, strange analyses nobody needs, and the ever present random firing neuron. There are days . . . → Read More: The Gassy Gnoll: Gamer Mind as Strange Cesspool of Correlation

The Gassy Gnoll: Learning to Embrace My Fickle Dice

The Gassy Gnoll is of Irish descent. (With a name like Fitzpatrick, it’s probably not shocking!) But he’s not the luckiest bastard on the planet and is often quoted as saying “If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.” (Which is actually a quote he stole from his father, who probably . . . → Read More: The Gassy Gnoll: Learning to Embrace My Fickle Dice

Cards Review: Tavern Cards Kickstarter


Earlier this year, I backed the Tavern Cards Kickstarter from Hannah Lipsky (Swordgleam of Chaotic Shiny fame). It funded back in mid-February 2013 and I just received my cards at the end of January 2014. I was excited about the project because it combined two things I really like – random generation and easy-to-use RPG tools. . . . → Read More: Cards Review: Tavern Cards Kickstarter

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