News from Around the Net: 5-AUG-2011

Greetings gamers! My day job has kept me slammed with meetings this week, so I’m very happy Friday has finally arrived. Hopefully next week won’t be quite so meeting-a-licious.

That said, having five days has enabled me to gather links for our reading pleasure. (Yes, I said “our” ’cause even though I gather them through the week, I often don’t have a chance to read them in depth until Friday myself!)

So let’s see what the week’s Bag of Holding has in store…

Food for Thought

Games and Gaming

  • Are you the kind of player who likes fine tuned, but unbalanced characters? Or maybe you’re the kind who hates the concept of the dump stat? Check out
    Christopher Hackler’s article about walking this line at Gaming Tonic
    . I have to admit to a love/hate relationship with games featuring flaws as part of character creation myself…
  • Die Zehn

    Image by gringer via Flickr

    Joshua Gager and his friends have put together a new d6-based system called 2d6 that looks interesting. I haven’t dived into the site yet to get all the details, but it sounds very intriguing. And on the “About” page, I can’t argue with the warning that you should “Discontinue use immediately if you notice rapid thought, increased blood flow, dilated pupils or a tendency to sit on the edge of your seat.” Sounds like a good gaming night to me!

  • Paul at Blog of Holding thinks we should offer intriguing ways to level up your average bag of holding. I think the concept of building up magic items just like characters is cool and should be explored. Plus, who doesn’t want to reach into the traditional magician’s hat and pull a rabbit from the bag of holding in their pocket?
  • Are you looking for one heck of a deadly module for 4e, check out C1: Crucible of the Gods freely available from Save Versus Death. It hits me a bit like the first Alien vs. Predator movie crossed with one of the SAW movies. Not to be entered lightly and only by the heartiest of souls…
  • I have to admit that I occasionally visit The Angry DM, written by Scott Rehm. But the Id DM had a chance to actually interview Rehm for that blog (part 1, part 2), and it explains a lot. Why is the DM angry? ‘Cause DMing is hard work!!
  • My dice are cursed. And my daughters have fallen prey to this problem. So when I saw Ian Gray & Ian Mackinder’s article “When Good Dice Turn Bad” at Campaign Mastery, I identified with their story so well that it might as well have happened in any of my own games…
  • GMs don’t always make the best players. And sometimes they do. It just depends on the person. But Jade at Evil Machinations has some suggestions on how to make the best of the situation when you go from the controlling side of the table to the player side… Great article!

Publisher News

Reviews

  • It’s hard to go wrong with products from Raging Swan Press, but I think they have filled a nice niche with one of their latest books – So What’s For Sale Anyway? – which enables you to randomly generate a list of what’s for sale when PCs wander into the one place you didn’t plan for them to go (as players always do – it’s in the player DNA even if you’re a GM). Ben at Troll in the Corner has written a quick review of the book and says it took him 9 seconds to find out what was for sale in a random settlement of any size. Now that’s impressive!
  • I loved the style and substance of Open Design’s Courts of the Shadow Fey, so I’m not shocked that folks like John Arcadian at Gnome Stew love it too, even if his players ran out of time to try it! I hate when real life interferes with gaming, but know the feeling far too well…
  • When Stargazer Games released Sooga’s A Wanderer’s Romance a few weeks ago, I immediately added it to my review queue. Though I haven’t had a chance to review it yet, Cody Connelly at Confessions of a GM has posted a brief, very complimentary review in the meantime. It’s hard to argue with Stargazer Game’s current streak of awesome games between WR&M, BADASS, and now AWR. Keep up the great work guys!
  • Though I’ve heard of the Gumshoe system from Robin D. Laws, I hadn’t heard about Mutant City Blues, but Paul Weimer’s article at SF Signal about it made it even clearer that I need to start looking into these Gumshoe games. Between the superhero-esque MCB and Trail of Cthulhu, I think I could tell stories for quite a while…
  • I love plays on words. Axes of Evil
    just makes me happy thinking about the title. And Michael at Neuroglyph Games thinks “campy” can be good, and I might have to check it out simply for the Bunny Golem!

Tools

  • Who doesn’t like having an easy to read spellbook with all the important information front and center? Well, Perram’s Spellbook at theGM.org is a free web app for the Pathfinder RPG that enables you to create spell decks for your wizards’ spell lists. You can even add your own customized spells!
  • Have you considered starting a Kickstarter project to get your own project published? Well, I’d definitely recommend checking out Phil Simon’s article at Men With Pens about his experience. I’d like to see more of this kind of valuable experience feed back into the gaming community from some of the recently successful Kickstarter & IndieGoGo projects. Anybody? Anybody? Bueller? Bueller?
  • I’m obviously not the only one who loves Dyson Logos’ geomorphs. But I think his side-view geomorphs make maps look like ant farms… Am I alone in thinking that?
  • Need a character portrait? Why not peruse 108 of ‘em over at Nevermet Press that were the result of a Kickstarter project from Duane O’Brien and illustrator Jeff Preston? These are awesome and all released under Creative Commons!
  • Looking for a game to play with kids? Look no further than this awesome list of “RPGs for Kids” at Edmund Metheny & Sophie Lagace’s site. There’s a ton of options I’d never even considered!
  • Over at HubPages, Earl S. Wynn has pulled together a list of 101 Traps, Puzzles, and Challenges, and it’s a doozy of a list. If you don’t find at least one method for torturing your PCs in this list, you’re not looking hard enough!
  • Do you ever have to explain to your non-gaming friends and family what an RPG is exactly? Well, now you can print out a single page from Greg Christopher at Dark Horse Game Design and let them figure it out for themselves. Easy solution to a sometimes complex problem.
  • Georges Polti’s Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations keep coming back up, probably because they’re a good way to categorize stories and put things together more easily. Obsidian Crane at Daily Encounter thinks so too as he uses them to put together a quick adventure plot. It never hurts to have this sort of thing stuffed away in your GM bag of holding…
  • Maps. Can’t have enough maps when you’re a GM. So check out this great collection of mapping tools at North of Nowhere for your gaming pleasure?

I hope everyone at Gen Con 2011 has an awesome time and reports tons of great news to the blogosphere for those of us who didn’t make it!

That’s it for this week. 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 my contact page and I’ll add it to the list for next week!

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