What a week, but here we are at Friday! Let’s hope next week is an improvement across the board.
Couple of quick notes:
- If you get a chance and are on Facebook, can you swing by my Facebook page for GKR and “like” it? I’m trying to get the page to 50 likes for a more readable URL. You can find the page here and thanks in advance!
- BTW – if you haven’t tossed some money in the hat for Argyle & Crew at Kickstarter for Ben (Troll in the Corner), please do! Time is running out!
That said, there’s plenty of juicy links and tidbits to share today, so dive in and see what news you can use!
More Gen Con!
- GGG at Geek’s Dream Girl wasn’t able to get to Gen Con this year, but is excited about products mentioned and the direction of things to come for D&D from WotC. There’s plenty here I hadn’t seen mentioned elsewhere, so definitely take a look to see if anything whets your appetite!
- Along the same lines, Wimwick at Dungeon’s Master has pondered the future of D&D after the buzz from Gen Con. Where are they going? What’s around the next bend? Nobody really knows but WotC, but there are a whole lot of folks with educated guesses… And here’s part 2…
Food for Thought
- Sometimes I struggle with how to have an NPC make an entrance, especially an important NPC. Well, Plot to Punctuation suggests we look at Star Wars to learn a thing or two about character introductions. Though this article was meant for fiction writing, I think it’s equally useful to gaming… showing NPCs in action, doing something that reveals a bit about who and what they are, makes perfect sense.
- If you missed, it this past weekend was H.P. Lovecraft’s birthday! That’s right, the writer who brought Cthulhu into the world would have been 121 years old last Saturday. I wonder what he would have created if he’d lived another few decades? [shudder] Then again, maybe I should stop wondering…
- A bionic hand? Really? Are we entering the Cyberpunk world or the one of the Six-Million Dollar Man? Either way, this girl is stylin’…
- Magic in D&D is sliced and diced in myriad ways. Joseph at Greyhawk Grognard started looking at D&D spells by type and wondered if there was a way to balance out the numbers of spells certain specialists (i.e. necromancers vs. wizards skilled in alteration) have to make it more even… What would you do?
- I’m a sucker for great art. I’ll admit it. So Scott Taylor’s series at Black Gate continues to draw my eye… This week it’s artist Eva Widerman and dang she’s good!
- And if you’re looking for some female character ideas, check out “Women Fighters in Reasonable Armor.” No chicks in chain mail bikinis here, which is probably good – they’d probably chaff in all the wrong places…
Games and Gaming
- If you’re a GM, you’ve probably had an off night or two. But what happens when your players take one risk too many and have an epic fail? Chris Perkins at the WotC DND blog has some great ideas on what to do when it happens. Failure is fodder for great adventures. Sometimes failure is just what the doctor ordered, but the trick is encouraging them to pick themselves up and dust themselves off…
- I thought this was an interesting thought brought up by Gene Ritter at Cave of Chaos… More modular modules. Plot hooks, NPC motives and details, with a unique structure allowing it to be broken apart and reused in different ways. I like it!
- Do you ever think that your games are too long? There was a time when I could game for 12 hours straight, but that time is long past. These days I’m good for maybe 32-4 hours of solid gaming before my brain turns to sludge. Over at The Artifact RPG, they wonder if shorter sessions (possibly as short as an hour) might be easier to plan around… What do you think? I might be up for this approach…
- Can you build a better GM? Maybe. Tim Shorts at Gothridge Manor has some tips on what to watch out for if you’re trying to improve.
- Along the same lines, why not have GM Merit Badges? Apparently Strange Magic started it, but Sean Holland has listed his own badges over at Sea of Stars. And Jay at Life and Times of a Philippine Gamer did his… For those GMs who frequent the convention circuit, I think these would be awesome – kind of like the movie rating system, but for gamemasters!
- Apparently Runeslinger at Casting Shadows also had some ideas about “Building a Better GM” and offered three core principles – have a realized world with solid NPCs, be ready to improvise, and practice being better at GMing… Of course, those are just the high points!
- Campaign design is tricky business and sometimes it works great up to the point where you set PCs loose in it. (No plan survives first contact with the enemy.) Phil Pecoraro at ROARigami Games seems to have had one of those experiences recently with a D&D 3.5e game… But he survived with some lessons learned he shares… Thanks for sharing the Wisdom Phil!
- In the “I wish I’d thought of that” category, we have Thadeousc at This is My Game pondering how to add a more enticing description during game time (as opposed to just reading the “box text”). Well, why not find a picture that closely resembles what you’re describing, then just fluidly describe things in the picture when the time is up? Brilliant!
- Are you wondering what you can do with Savage Worlds that’s more in the “Sword & Sorcery” vein of gaming? Apparently so was Shaper and Maker! There are a ton of options listed in the article that you might find inspiration in…
- Do you ever get bogged down in the details in a game? I know I’ve hit it repeatedly in many, many games I’ve been in. Well, Mike Shea at Sly Flourish has some suggestions on reducing table “transactions” – every time info is passed from player to GM or vice versa, that’s a transaction. Not everybody does it the same way, but you can definitely streamline it a bit to save time.
- Brian Pedersen over at Geekcentricity did a great job pulling together publishing news last weekend, with notes from Rite Publishing, Jonathan Roberts, Steve Jackson, and much more. This is a great summary and I hope to see more of these in the future!
- Robin Laws is definitely a busy guy. Apparently he’s working on a new rules engine called DramaSystem with a new game Hillfolk which will evidently be published by Pelgrane Press. There’s a little bit of detail in this post, but it sounds like we’ll be getting more details soon.
- I was psyched to see that Matt James has been invited to design a mega dungeon adventure for use with the Gaming Paper mega-dungeon this week… Awesome news and I can’t wait to see what Matt, Erik Scott de Bie and Brian Cortijo come up with.
- I don’t know if you’ve seen this yet, but there’s a new free book devoted to house rules and player options from Hill Canton called the GM Challenge Compilation. If you’ve ever wondered at the house rules other GMs have, this collection offers one heck of an overview with tables, pictures, classes, equipment, and more… Plenty to keep you busy for a few minutes if you’re mining for ideas!
- Do you remember the movie The Dark Crystal from Jim Henson? It came out in 1982 and introduced us to the evil Skeksis, the monastic Mystics, and the Gelflings caught in-between. Apparently Archaia Entertainment is planning to release The Dark Crystal RPG sometime late in 2012… Color me curious!
- Fantasy Flight Games isn’t sitting still after Gen Con this year… Apparently they’re releasing five new books this November! Warhammer 40,000, Rogue Trader, Deathwatch, and more!
- New this week from Raging Swan is Dhampir Scions of the Night… Half-Vampires? Will the human half be in control, or the vampire half? Interesting new racial choice for your bag of tricks!
- Gaming Tonic keeps pumping out great content and reviews… Late last week they reviewed The Hidden Current, The Manor of Deceit and The Prophecy Revealed from Blackbyrne Publishing for 4e. Tough to pass up great NPCs and a mix of urban, wilderness, and dungeon adventuring!
- Though I personally don’t see spending a lot of time playing a RPG game on Facebook myself, I’ve been very curious to see what WotC is doing with their new Facebook game – Heroes of Neverwinter. Apparently Merc Hoffman at Gizmoninja was curious too and he wrote a review detailing his experiences with the game and it sounds like a positive transition for 4e to computer games.
- And NewbieDM took some time to review the Neverwinter Campaign Guide from WotC for 4e. He offers some observations about the good and the bad of this book, but overall it seems it impressed him enough to recommend it as an option for running Forgotten Realms campaigns in 4E!
- Here’s something you don’t see every day… a RPG author reviewing their own game. Sandy Petersen wrote the classic Call of Cthulhu game more than 30 years ago and he goes into detail about why some decisions were made the way they were, which I think is awesome as a retrospective. Heaven knows I had a character lose it in a CoC game with a Tommy Gun and mow down his party with glee… Why’s insanity so bad again?
- Meanwhile over at Play This Thing, Sebastian Sohn talks about Fudge, a game I’ve heard about off and on for more than a decade. What’s kind of cool is that he says if you’re making your own computer RPG or looking for a flexible tabletop game, you should check it out!
- Though I’ve enjoyed flipping through a few Legend of the Five Rings books over the years, I’ve not had a chance to play in a campaign as yet. Sean Holland at Sea of Stars recently took a look at a huge new Lo5R sourcebook – The Great Clans. At 306 pages, it sounds like it goes into a ton of detail for players and GMs.
- The One Ring from Cubicle 7 is continuing to get talked about (it’s in my queue to review as well)… Stargazer likes the lack of spellcasters… Ben @ Troll in the Corner likes everything about it… Jay at Life and Times of a Philippine Gamer likes it (part 1, part 2, part 3)… Chances are with all the good news, I’ll probably like it too!
- I love CoC… So I’m always jazzed when new materials pop up for it. Robert Florence at Rock, Paper, Shotgun has reviewed Shadows Over Scotland and it seems he learned a thing or two about the country he’s living in!
- Are you looking for a map to use for your game tonight? Why not check out Dungeons Unlimited? The site has plenty of creative options that may spark an encounter idea or two.
- Early this week, Save Versus Death put out a free four page 4e module for a high-level group of characters that covers just four pages. Based on the specifics listed, survival chances are low, so be prepared!
- How about NPC generators? Dingle’s Games has two cool ones to check out – one for Pathfinder and one for regular 3.5e. The generators are free to use up to level 5 and paid membership allows up to level 30 in 3.5e and level 20 in PFRPG. Check out Dingles Games for other cool generators as well!
That’s it for this week on the news front.
If you missed any of my articles this week, here are some links to catch up:
- Book of Drakes review from Open Design
- More about “Animals in RPGs” for the RPG Blog Carnival – this time about hunting
- Review of Advanced Feats: Might of the Magus from Open Design
- And a review of Dim Spirit – Curse of the Golden Spear: Part 2 from Rite Publishing
I hope everybody has a great weekend!
As always, if you feel I missed something (and it would be impossible NOT to), drop me a quick note via the contact page and I’ll add it to the list for next week!
- Gen Con 2011 Predictions from Glimm’s Workshop (glimmsworkshop.com)
- On the Trail to GenCon 2011 from NEUROGLYPH Games (neuroglyphgames.com)
- GenCon 2011 Highlights (Part 2): D&D Product Preview, Interviews, “Press” Game, and More! from NEUROGLYPH Games (neuroglyphgames.com)
- GenCon 2011 Wrap-Up: The Events from Initiative Or What? (initorwhat.blogspot.com)
- Gen Con 2011 Round Up from Glimm’s Workshop (glimmsworkshop.com)
- Gen Con 2011 – Recap, D&D games from The Other Side blog (timbrannan.blogspot.com)
- Three WotC Designers Discuss the Art of Dungeon Mastering from NEUROGLYPH Games (neuroglyphgames.com)
- News from Around the Net: 19-AUG-2011 (gameknightreviews.com)