That’s right, it’s 2012… The year we see if the Mayans were right or if they were too cheap to buy a new calendar at the office supply store.
Hopefully everyone had a happy and safe New Years’ celebration! Let’s hope this year is full of plenty of gaming goodness!
Now on to the news!
Food for Thought
- When you were in school did you ever get the idea that the teachers sometimes try to separate students into “creative” and “non-creative” camps? Well guess what? EVERYBODY is creative. It may come to some people easier than others, but if you believe in yourself as a creative person, you ARE a creative person. How’s that for a positive message for the new year? (Thanks Michael Michalko at The Creativity Post for kicking off the new year on a positive note!)
- Runes. Glyphs. Pictograms. Letters. All represent different types of writing down ideas. If you’ve ever wondered what makes a “Consonant Alphabet” different from a “Syllabic Alphabet” to create some interesting languages for your games, check out this great article on writing systems at Omniglot.
- Or perhaps you’re looking for architectural inspiration? Meredith Woerner at io9 had a great article this week about the blueprints for fairy tale homes that might just do the trick – from Rapunzel’s tower to Baba Yaga’s chicken leg house!
- Maybe you just prefer a few more monsters with your historical prints? Matthew Buchholz has altered a few classic prints giving them some amazing new life recently. You can check out a few of them in this article from Max Eddy at Geekosystem. My favorites are “The Great Fire at Chicago” as created by UFOs and the image of Manhattan island with a few sea monsters.
- If you’d rather explore the future for a while, check out the Blade Runner Sketchbook online for ideas. This book has been out of print for a long time, but Geeks of Doom has found where an enterprising fan has uploaded the complete text and pictures for your browsing pleasure. Definitely something to peruse at Issuu when you need to flip back to the future…
- This week Erik Tenkar at Tenkar’s Tavern asked a very thought provoking question in a post… “If a product is free, but in a format you can’t use, does that make it crap?” His answer seems to be ‘no’ and I definitely agree. Not everything has to be for everybody and if you didn’t pay anything for it – how can you complain that you’re not getting any value out of it??
- Have you ever looked for inspiration for an urban fantasy adventure? Beyond Harry Dresden and various vampires and werewolves, it can get a little hairy sometimes to come up with something original. Troy Taylor at Gnome Stew has a great suggestion – dig through old comic books and find some issues of Wonder Woman. That’s right – invisible jet, lasso, and all – the Amazon Princess has fought all sorts of mythological creatures over the years and see what you find!
- I’m reading The Hobbit with my daughters and have been pondering Smaug in a modern context… I’ll be curious to see what Peter Jackson and WETA have in store for the old wyrm when we finally meet him on screen. But the Iron Wolf at The Iron Tavern has been pondering the whole “dragon hoard” from a different perspective. Can it be revamped to make it a wonder again for modern gamers?
Games and Gaming
- Everyone knows names have power, but true names are where it’s really at. Know the true name for a demon or dragon? If so, you might have the key to unlimited power! Either that or it’s just the key to a really annoyed evildoer who doesn’t like that you know his name is really “Duane”… Well David Adams at Kobold Quarterly has some 4e truename magic rituals for you to empower your friends and weaken your enemies in-game at least. Just don’t piss off any big baddies, ok?
- Have you ever wondered how to choose names for Chinese towns and cities in your game? Apparently the folks behind the Celestial Empire RPG have it figured out! (Thanks to The Venomous Pao at Strange Stones for the link!)
- Keith J Davies kicked off the January RPG blog carnival on January 1st and he wants to take us to strange new places and worlds in our games, which I think is awesome. Runeslinger at Casting Shadows did a great job a few days ago trying to describe what makes a fantastic location actually fantastic… Ravyn at Exchange of Realities wonders aloud at where locations come from – do they grow from worlds, characters, or events? And Berin Kinsman has some suggestions yesterday on where to find inspiration for some amazing places. I can hardly wait to see what’s next on the docket from some of the other amazing gaming blogs out there – this is a great topic!
- In case you’re curious how December’s RPG Blog Carnival shaped up, be sure to check out Runeslinger’s round-up at Casting Shadows. There are some terrific titles like “Why I Don’t Build Heroes,” “The Heroes of 4E,” and “On Death’s Threshold.” Definitely check ’em all out!
- Why do monsters and PCs sometimes decided to fight to the death? Isn’t it a good thing to run away sometimes to survive and fight another day? Derek Myers at Dungeon’s Master thinks tactical retreat and surrender should always be on the table, and I agree with him!
- Need a made-up agency for a modern or futuristic campaign? Check out E Wetterman’s list at Reality Blurs of his top 25 agencies from what Stephen Miller made with the random agency name table in Agents of Oblivion… I love the “Homeland Infiltration Agency” and the “Executive Action Force” – both would have been right at home in my campaign for Covert Directives!
- The Gnomes at Gnome Stew are at it again… They’ve kicked off a new challenge for gamers everywhere in 2012 – New Year, New Game (NYNG). That’s right – it’s time to run a new game this year, whether it’s a new campaign, a new RPG, or both! I love this idea and am GMing a game of “The Secret Lives of Gingerbread Men” for a group of 8 to 10 kids at my eldest’s birthday party this Saturday. If I survive, I’ll be sure to write about the experience for NYNG!
- Interested in improving your improv? Check out the RPG Guy’s “10 Tips on Improvisation” video to learn a few techniques that might help! All ten tips are spot on from my point of view – especially #4, #7, and #8. And more gaming time means more opportunities to get better!
- I’ve really been enjoying all the random tables at Rolang’s Creeping Doom – and last week Chris posted “12 Things Found in a Six-Demon Bag” with quotes from Egg Shen in Big Trouble in Little China. It’s a wacky movie that’s fun and has all sorts of things going on for inspiration – including the bizarre things that might come out of a Six-Demon Bag. I got an Earth Demon who must have farted and created a Gust of Wind that developed into a Tornado… Man that’s messed up…
- Paizo Publishing and Dynamite Entertainment announced a new line of comics based on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. There are plenty of stories in the Paizo arsenal that should turn out to be amazing comic books, so I’ll be intrigued to see what they come up with in 2012. (Thanks to Comic Book Resources for the link!)
- Eloy Lasanta this week released the Q4 2011 sales numbers for Third Eye Games and I’m ecstatic to see that they did well in 2011 and are looking forward to a strong 2012!
- Jon Brazer Enterprises kicked off 2012 with a new line of Shadowsfall Legends stories. The first of which is from Mur Lafferty around the half-vampire warrior woman Valdia. Sounds like she has her hands full saving a kid from ghouls!
- Flames Rising wrote a great article this week about a new Kickstarter project – Shroud of the Ancients, which is the first game from Dark Tavern Press, Randy Miller, and Roderick Edwards. If the backstory doesn’t sell you, the video might – so be sure to check it out and then hop over to their Kickstarter project page and toss in a few dollars if you get a chance.
- Hill Cantons released his “Big Kahuna” goals for 2012 and there’s a lot going on! From the Hydra Coop to various projects, I hope he’s got plenty of help!
- Ryan Dancey, one of the big names in D&D for years, threw some interesting thoughts in the air with some doom and gloom about the game industry.
- Over at Critical Hits this week, the Arcane Springboard posted some interesting thoughts on “The Real State of Dungeons & Dragons.” The fact that we’re seeing a “quality vs. quantity” shift from WotC is a good thing in my book, so I’ll be curious what 2012 has in store for the ongoing edition war…
- On the other side are the folks at Skyland Games wondering if the RPG hobby is contracting and hitting gamers harder than we think…
- Meanwhile there’s the Warden at The Optional System telling folks the key to keeping the whole house of cards alive is innovation. And the tiny optimist within me would really like to cling to that…
- Do you need help with your random encounters? Thilo Graf this week reviewed Purple Duck Games’ Random Encounters Remastered at G*M*S Magazine and it sounds like it offers some great tips and inspiration for any GM or DM. I might have to find a copy for myself soon…
- Looking to beef up your Middle Age roleplaying? Check out Sylvaeon’s review at the Aeternal Realm of Sylvaeon for The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer. Sounds like there are some great details in there. Now I think I need to pick up a copy for my own reference library!
- GGG at Geek’s Dream Girl posted a review of WotC’s D&D book Heroes of the Feywild on the last day of 2011. And from what he’s saying, it sounds like it might be a great source of inspiration with some new powers for bards, barbarians, druids, and wizards. I’m a fan of the fae, so I’m definitely going to have to check it out.
- What would you say to a setting during the time of King Charles I mixed with clockwork machines and alchemy? Yeah, it grabbed my attention too. The Armchair Gamer reviewed the Clockwork & Chivalry Core Rulebook, 2nd Edition PDF last weekend and found a lot to like!
- NiTessine at Wolds in a Handful of Dice took some time to review Paizo’s new Pathfinder RPG sourcebook Dragon Empires Gazetteer last weekend as well and it sounds like it’s 64 pages of fun content… A fantasy Asia with jungles, forests, fox shapeshifters, warrior aristocracy, and much more.
- Have you played with the D&D Virtual Table yet that’s in beta for DDI subscribers? I had a great walkthrough on Thursday with Rory Madden, one of the guys from Game Table Online working on the project (review forthcoming), so if you play D&D 4e I’d recommend giving it a try while it’s in free beta mode!
That’s it for this week on the news front. Well, at least until you check out Chris Hackler’s “What’s Up With D&D for Monday, 2 January, 2012” at ENWorld or the Roving Band of Misfit’s Weekly Roundup: Happy 2012 Edition…
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 or drop me an e-mail at news(at)gameknightreviews(dot)com and I’ll add it to the list for next week!
(And if you thought that was all… Think again. There are plenty more links I didn’t have time to add to the roundup above – plenty of 2011 end of year posts, 2012 posts, and some thought-provoking stuff… Here’s all the links I gathered over at Bundlr this week!)
- A Big Shoutout To Tenkar of Tenkar’s Tavern, For Giving Me A Free Copy of Dragon Warriors! from The Underdark Gazette (underdarkgazette.blogspot.com)
- News from Around the Net: 30-DEC-11 (gameknightreviews.com)
- New Year, New Game from The Escapist Blog (theescapist.com)
- The State of the Stew, 2011 (gnomestew.com)
- The Best of Gnome Stew in 2011, Part 2 of 5 (gnomestew.com)
- Retrospectacle 2011 (gameknightreviews.com)
- Kobold Artistry: A Contest from Kobold Quarterly (koboldquarterly.com)