With apologies to The Police and Sting, “We are spirits… in quite a digital world… are spirits…” I’ve spent my week in virtual boxes at work and I’m glad it’s Friday. It is Friday, right? It’s not just a mirage brought about by too much monitor radiation? “Our so-called ‘puters beep… With phones they try to jail ya. The e-mail’s getting deep with the rhetoric of stalemate…”
Definitely too much monitor radiation.
If you followed the blog this week, there were no interviews like I hoped. But next week you’ll get a good one from Jonathan Jacobs of Nevermet Press! That said, I did manage to finish off my Fantasy Craft review (long review in 7 parts!), plus review KQ #20 and a new 4E supplement from Rattlesn@ke Games focused on spirit possession and body thievery called Playing Possessor. And the Gassy Gnoll expressed his strange relationship with cleanliness, combat, and munchkins.
Will Walton @ The Escapist this week kicked off a series of articles called “20 Sided World” which focuses on RPG culture around the world. And the first post was a link to Robert Oglodzinski’s post last weekend about gaming in Poland in the 1990s! Thanks Will! I for one am looking forward to learning more about gaming in other parts of the world and would encourage the bloggers outside the US to contribute to this article series!
Beyond that, I pondered more about the people of Ashid and the mysterious disappearances plaguing them. No mirage there – something’s definitely afoot in the desert. That much is certain!
Next week – more reviews, the next (and probably last) article about Ashid at Nevermet Press, along with the interview I already mentioned. It’ll definitely be an interesting week!
So let’s move on, shall we… To the week’s news!
Food for Thought
- Did you grow up a computer gaming geek in the late 1980s? Then you might have played the game Wasteland on the PC at some point – the spiritual predecessor to Fallout and its later incarnations. Well apparently Brian Fargo, one of the minds behind Wasteland, A Bard’s Tale, and the first two Fallout games is going to use Kickstarter to fund a sequel to Wasteland. And I’m VERY excited about the prospects of this effort. Talk about old school! (From Wesley Yin-Poole @ EuroGamer.net)
It may be easy for most of us to dive right into talking about RPGs… but I bet most of us already know the jargon and have been playing a while. What do you tell your friends? Parents? Significant others? Sometimes it’s tough to describe just what a “role playing game” is. Thankfully Chase @ Intwischa has come up with a great post that lays it all out in a friendly way!
- Need some levity today? Check out this post from Dan C @ The Dungeoneering Dad featuring his “hell hound, Heidi” in fun gaming-related pictures with quotes. And yes dangit, DM prep *is* hard – naps are approved! (My dogs wouldn’t sit still long enough to take these pictures! Heidi is a very good dog!)
- I’m not sure I’d ever find a place to use these cool images of a far-off Mayan or Aztec future, but they are very cool. Mexico City artist Raul Cruz has a gift (some may be a bit NSFW)! (From Cyriaque Lamar @ io9)
- This article from Mordicai Knode @ Tor.com about Paizo staying true to Pathfinder despite D&D Next was interesting to me… If D&D Next works out as the “D&D to rule them all,” 4E won’t be orphaned and in fact players of D&D Next would be able to pull in PFRPG products just as easily as prior editions of D&D. Paizo will continue to do what they are doing – turning out great, imaginative gaming materials for a dedicated audience. But I have to wonder if it’s really as “us” vs. “them” in the so-called “edition wars” at all. Can’t we just get along in the end?
- Technology. It changes faster than any of us can keep track. Yet we’re converging on some technologies that remind me of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Remember those cool shields they could shift to different frequencies? (This idea has since shown up in shows like Stargate: Universe as well.) Apparently we’re getting close to a technology that will do something similar. Imagine if you could make a building immune to earthquakes because the vibration waves simply don’t affect it? This article from Alasdair Wilkins @ io9 has more…
Games and Gaming
- The heroic journey is one I think we all contemplate, especially as gamers. Whether we play heroes or anti-heroes, saints or sinners, white hats or black… it’s the risk that keeps us playing. Steve Winter has started a new series of blog posts at the Kobold Quarterly site about his thoughts regarding roleplaying. This week’s post posits that “if there is no risk, there is no heroism.” Great article worth pondering further…
- Does your campaign setting include a set of “Seven Wonders”? Bartoneus at Critical Hits thinks more people should use them. And I definitely agree – a few well-placed wonders can definitely spice up world history, whether real or imagined.
- Matt Neagley over at Gnome Stew had some thoughts around the idea of a different way to look at level tiers in campaign settings. Though it involves more work, it seems almost like how some of the big sandbox games (Skyrim anybody) manages similar issues in-game by making some areas more difficult than other areas. As a “n00b” it becomes very quickly apparent where you will survive a fight and where you won’t early on. I think that’s what Neagley is trying to do with the various contour layers put over the top of a setting map…
- Over at Stargazer’s World this week, Sunglar offers some insights on a more TV-like campaign breakdown and some of his latest inspirations from the world of television. What current TV programs are you inspired by?
- Are your PCs in a dungeon currently? Have you considered adding a section with sliding walls to really throw them a loop? C @ Hack & Slash has just the thing…
- Are you ever at a loss for a good name? Mike @ Campaign Mastery is here to help. He’s kicked off a new series called “A Good Name is Hard to Find” and the first part went live this week. If you’ve ever wanted to consider some of the deeper approaches to naming, this is a great place to start.
- This falls into the “very cool” category for me… Using Play-Doh to improvise figures on a battle map during a dungeon crawl! Erik Tenkar @ Tenkar’s Tavern has all the details.
- Diesel LaForce is re-creating some of the art of the Norse Gods from the original Deities and Demigods using a Kickstarter project, similar to what Jeff Dee has been doing with his art from Deities & Demigods and Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. It’s great to see all this classic D&D art born again!
- DeadOrcs @ This is My Game has started a new project to explore some different ways to model terrain at the game table and he’s hit upon a novel way to do just that using hexes… He’s repurposing pieces from a version of Monopoly with hex-shaped tiles and dang if this doesn’t look like it might work! Now I want to see how these things work in practice…
- I haven’t seen much on WotC’s 4E setting Eberron for a while, so it was nice to run across Keith Baker’s article @ Have Dice Will Travel about the devils of Baator and how they fit in with some denizens of the other planes like the Lords of Dust and the fiends of Shavarath. What I really like is how he puts it into context for PCs in the world.
- Have you seen the new cover art for the upcoming A Game of Thrones Edition of A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying from Green Ronin? This art from Michael Komarck is awesome! (From Ed Grabianowski @ Robot Viking)
- Author Thomas A. Knight recently had an opportunity to interview Jeff Grubb on his blog. Grubb is someone who’s been involved in the gaming industry since the early 1980s and has been involved with a little of everything from Magic: The Gathering and the Dragonlance campaign setting to Al-Qadim and tons of other fun things. Great interview!
- Palladium Books has had a rough time in the last few years and is trying some crowdsourcing to keep them chugging along. Apparently their new Megaverse Insider Opportunities effort offers an opportunity to chip in and get a copy of Rifts World Book 32 – Lemuria to help it see the light of day. With all the great Kickstarter and IndieGoGo campaigns going and companies like Open Design and Rite Publishing going with a patronage model, I think this might be a great way to not only keep Palladium creating content, but maybe getting some new life into their products! (From mrwonx @ KarpeDM.com)
- Looking for an alternative to D&D Next before it’s even here? Why not check out “Next”? Apparently it aims to offer a simple, rich setting with a community to back it up. And it has a Kickstarter project to get it off the ground! (From Needles @ Swords & Stitchery)
- Now that Crypts & Things has shipped off to some of its backers, those folks may be looking for some inspiration for a new Swords & Sorcery game. They Might Be Gazebos has a handful of suggestions to fill the void!
- Daniel Solis is a busy dude. But apparently he’s run into some production cost issues with his latest project – the dice game Utara. This has caused him to put his Kickstarter campaign on hold for a bit. I’m sure he’ll figure out how to make success of the game affordable to him and to his backers. But in the meantime it’s fascinating to read about some of the trials and tribulations of a new project like this.
- Looking for some quick letter or legal-sized grids for your games? Check out the first two products from Geocentric Designs! Adventure Grids offers square, hex, and 3D grids at different sizes for whatever you need. And laminating the grids or putting them in plastic sleeves you can write on with wet-erase markers makes them quick and easy for using/reusing them at your game table!
- The Flagons and Dragons podcast this week featured a discussion of genres as well as an interview with Robert Bohl, creator of the game Misspent Youth. Definitely worth checking out to get Bohl’s take on the punk genre!
- If you’re looking for a bit of fiction to tide you over, I’d encourage you to check out the latest issue of Stories in the Ether from Nevermet Press. Issue 3 features 12 new works from a variety of authors and is available for Kindle, PDF, as well as the Nook and Apple iBookstore eventually. I loved the first issue and have been itching to get to #2 – so now I’m two issues behind. Ack!
- Fred Hicks @ Deadly Fredly had a post this week considering Kickstarter for some upcoming Evil Hat projects. And though I was concerned initially that if bigger fish with more recognizable names were in the pool of potential products for backers, the smaller, unknown fish would miss out on funding opportunities. But ultimately there should be plenty of room for fish of all sizes, shouldn’t there?
- Escape Velocity Gaming is back this week with a new collection of 4E feats for fighting with a cloak and dagger. Why did the cloak ever go out of style anyway? Check out the free PDF at the Escape Velocity website!
- Creighton Broadhurst and the rest of the crew at Raging Swan Press apparently are robots! But robots with a sense of humor, since their new product helps name people! So What’s the Human Called, Anyway? II offers tables for names from Carolingian, Egyptian, Germanic, Gothic, and Sumerian cultures. Check it out at RPGNow/DriveThruRPG and find out more at the Raging Swan site.
- Looking for a board game to take the edge off your dungeon delving habit? Descent: Journeys in the Dark looks like a great way to do just that and Thorynn @ Skyland Games has a review for you…
- Neuroglyph @ ENWorld had an opportunity to check out the new 4e Player’s Option book coming out later this month from WotC – Heroes of the Elemental Chaos. Sounds from the review like there’s a lot to like in both the fluff and the crunch between the covers!
- Looking for some animal silhouettes to include in your campaign or game materials? James Hutchings @ Teleleli points us to PhyloPic – a database of such silhouettes, including humans and dinosaurs!
That’s it for this week on the news front. If you want a bit more, check out the Weekly Roundup at Roving Band of Misfits, the Weekly Assembly from Gamer Assembly, and Chris Hackler’s “What’s Up With D&D?” at ENWorld. There’s definitely plenty of news go go around!
In fact, I didn’t want to go too much longer this week than I already am, so be sure to check out the Bundlr grid below for the stories that I didn’t include. There’s a ton more great links in there!
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!
- inXile plans to launch Kickstarter drive for Wasteland reboot (joystiq.com)
- Brian Fargo Kickstarting a New Wasteland (escapistmagazine.com)
- Brian Fargo Says Wasteland May Return Via Crowdfunding (bnbgaming.com)
- Wasteland franchise may return through Kickstarter campaign (gamesradar.com)
- The Gassy Gnoll: Love and Hate – Combat and Munchkins (RPG Blog Carnival) (gameknightreviews.com)
- News from Around the Net: 10-FEB-2012 (gameknightreviews.com)