News & Reviews from Around the Net: April 8, 2011

Sorry I’m a few weeks behind in posting my “Around the Net” articles. The first week I was out of town for a work-related conference (I’m a software engineer in my other life) and the next week I was simply recovering from the first week. Now however I’m back in the swing of things and gathering links with the best of ‘em.

Reviews

  • Ben at Troll in the Corner reviews a CD of creepy music for any horror game you may be playing. The Eternal Lies Suite from Pelgrane Press sounds like some great ambient music if you want to haunt your players while you taunt them!
  • Tracy, also at Troll in the Corner, offers a take on Rogue Games’ Colonial Gothic. Sounds like the art and setting work great, but the rules didn’t jive.
  • Denis Ryan over at RPG.net offers a detailed review of Leverage the Roleplaying Game from Margaret Weis Productions. This might have to be one I check out as well. As a huge fan of Leverage on TNT, this could be a lot of fun to run a game with the right group!
  • Dark Mistress over at the Paizo message boards offers her take on Legendary
    Items
    from Purple Duck Games
    . Seems there are a lot of item-related PDF products these days in RPGs, so folks have to pick and choose carefully. But it sounds like Purple Duck has a good thing going. Definitely need to check them out.
  • Chris Stevenson over at the RPGGeek.com forums has offered a great review of the Warhammer 40,000 supplement Rites of Battle. If you’re looking for a Space Marine Handbook, it seems this 256-page hardcover might be right up your alley!

News

  • Through the month of April, Nevermet Press is looking for Steampunk story submissions for their new product line Stories in the Ether. If you have any short stories or flash fiction you’d like to submit in the fantasy, sci-fi, or steampunk genres, I’d give ‘em a whirl! Check out their open call for submissions for more details.
  • Sean Preston at Reality Blurs offers a unique twist on building an RPG in honor of the 119th anniversary of the Sundae. Who knew you could create a formula based on dessert toppings – but it works! Check it out here.
  • Preston also wrote a great article on accepting criticism as a game designer. I’m careful about what I write in a review (or try to be anyway). If I don’t like a product I’m asked to review, I’ll contact the creator privately and pass along my suggestions. Writing negative reviews isn’t a happy thing for me ever, but it does happen at times. I prefer to offer constructive criticism with the caveat that it’s my opinion and you can dismiss it at any point as irrelevant. But it’s nice to know that there are pros out there suggesting that writers do just that when they get reviews… Thanks Sean!
  • Sea of Stars has begun the A-Z Blogging Challenge and is using it to create 26 unique magic items. So far we have Aphrodite’s Anklet and Bellona’s Horn and Sword. I can hardly wait to see what else gets created!
  • If you’re ever in need of a quick map or adventure, you can’t go wrong with one of Dyson Logos’ one page dungeons. This one (“Into the Worm’s Gullet”) is detailed and would be easy to drop into just about any fantasy campaign. There are many others available on his site, so be sure to check it out. Dyson is also hosting the April RPG Blog Carnival on RPG Cartography, so be sure to keep track of that and see what interesting articles result!
  • Bartoneus at Critical Hits has an interesting article on dungeon design I think any GM or writer working away on a dungeon map should consider. Far too often I see “dungeons for dungeons’ sake” without a reason for the dungeon being there. Why was it created? Who created it? What’s the history?
  • Trey over at From the Sorcerer’s Skull details a spectral manifestation designed to drive your characters insane (“Sepulchral Choirboys”). Perhaps insane enough to kill themselves. This is one heck of a creepy curse to foist upon some poor PC, but it would certainly get the job done!
  • Johnn Four at Campaign Mastery has posted a summary of the March RPG Blog Carnival about Life & Death in RPGs. Great topic that inspired many terrific posts!
  • Gamefiend at “At-Will” offers a very interesting paradigm for introducing moral challenges in campaigns – The Flesh, the Knife, and The Cut. If overused (as discussed in the comments) it could lead to burnout, but I think it provides a great way to not only get a character more involved but potentially inspire some great roleplaying moments.
  • If you’re looking for some concentrated evil for your game (just don’t touch it or your parents might explode), check out Evil Rules for Beginners over at Temporary Hit Points. Some characters are born to be bad – and these rituals will help in that department!

Just for Fun

  • d20 Monkey shows why it sucks to be a low-level wizard in D&D. Sure you can fire magic missiles, but what happens when you’re out. Check it out here. Not sure I agree with that wizard’s wardrobe choices, but hey. :)
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