February is short, but where did it go? March zipped in under the radar and I wasn’t ready for it. Yet, here it is!
Sorry about only one review this week, but it’s looking like next week we’ll shoot for three reviews, plus an opinion piece Wednesday, and the weekly news on Friday, with Robert Oglodzinski’s weekly article over the weekend. This week I did have a chance to check out Swordgleam’s Problem Mini-Gen at Chaotic Shiny, encourage folks sharing opinions to take the higher road at The Gassy Gnoll, and we heard a bit more from Christina Stiles about the Journeys to the West project at Open Design. Folks are humming right along!
You may have noticed that I’ve changed the name of the news roundup this week. I’m experimenting to see if we can find a better title than “News from Around the Net,” which is a bit vague. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to get them. So far (courtesy of the kind folks on Google+), we’ve had “Knight News from Around the Knet” (Martin Ralya – Gnome Stew), “Awesome Gaming Finds!” (Mark Gedak – Purple Duck Games)…
Now… On to the links! If you have any thoughts after reading any of these posts you’d like to share, I’d ask that you leave comments on the posts themselves. They deserve the feedbaclk folks.
Oh, one more thing! Guess what? The GM’s Day Sale is on at RPGNow/DriveThruRPG. That’s right – it’s that time of year again to buy a present for your GM and show some love for the torturer of your characters, the killer of dreams, the one and only god at the table who really matters… Your GM! Until March 7th, you can get 25% off tons of cool stuff to show how much you care. Check out the sale today!
Food for Thought
- I don’t know about you, but I fondly remember all the old D&D games for PCs – Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, and Planescape: Torment. Top-down, isometric games with great stories and fun combat that I wasted HOURS playing way back when. Well, guess what? There are rumors at a new Baldur’s Gate game. Could it be? Adam Rosenberg @ G4TV seems to think so!
- I’m not much of a number cruncher, but I have a lot of respect for those of you who are. Apparently Casey Ross @ DMG 42 likes numbers based on this article about damage at level 1 in 4E… I’ve never seen this much analysis done for first level characters!
- Names. Some people seem to know just how to massage names to mean more than they may appear at first. Mike Bourke @ Campaign Mastery continued his article series about names with “The Wellspring of Euonyms: Name Seeds.” And I have been learned… I’ve been looking at name generation for years, but never even came close to this level of detail.
- How far is too far with technology in fantasy worlds? Tonybro001 @ Roleplay-Geek was not happy with the Lighting Rail from Eberron and thinks that sort of fast transit short-circuits the “long, arduous journeys” that are so prevalent and needed in some campaigns. I tend to agree.
- Do you ever wonder what post-apocalyptic writers wrote about in the late 1800s? Apparently Richard Jefferies wrote a book called After London that details a post-apocalyptic London in great detail. It’s available for free at Project Gutenberg apparently! (For more, check out the article from Matt @ Land of Nod.)
- Does rolling more dice give you more control? Chris Dias @ LivingDice.com suggests not in “Dice Rolling & The Illusion of Control.” Great article about game designers needing to look at how many rolls are required for their games to make them playable…
- Art is important to successful RPGs and the folks behind D&D have known that since the early days of the game. Jon Schindehette @ WotC’s D&D Blog this week talked about the role of art in D&D and covered some great points.
- Has anyone else dealt with this? Thorynn @ Skyland Games talked about some rather nasty things done by one game store to another trying to “invade” its territory. Crazy.
Games and Gaming
- Woe to those mortals who have taken the memories of Mnemosyne, goddess of Eternal Memory, Lady of Sirens, Mother of the Titans… Let’s hope for their sakes she never regains her memories. Mnemosyne is described in the latest article from Christina Stiles @ Kobold Quarterly as part of the Journeys to the West project. I love this story, as it leaves room for the wrath of a goddess unleashed sometime down the line in a campaign. Great crunch for any campaign!
- Need a new trap to tempt your party into (almost) certain doom? Check out the Trap-a-Day site from the Mentats of Gaming. These guys do everything from traps like the machines that grind grains into flour to seemingly Three Stoges -inspired chest of drawers that shoot out the bottom drawer of three when they open either of the top two… These guys are more than a little twisted. And I like it!
- What do you do with rich characters in your games? Do you tie everybody down because one PC buys a house somewhere and wants to stay? Brian Liberge @ Gamer Assembly has some interesting ideas on separating cash and assets and how to use assets in-game more effectively.
- Who can pass up a chance to work Orcus into a fantasy world? Brendan @ Untimatley (quoting Gavin @ The City of Iron) wants to work Orcus and other dark gods in. The example provided offers some options for adventurers to ask the Temple of Orcus to raise a dead companion. Live sacrifices? A boatload of gold? Or simply offer him a favor… Hmmm. Better have a lot of gold I think!
- How do you handle pursuit plots in your adventures? Davis Chenault @ The Troll Dens has some great suggestions for plots involving the PCs being pursued or the pursuers themselves… I think an intelligent ape should escape from the zoo and be wanted as an outlaw. Perfect!
- In the creepy corner, we have a new take on Goblins from Libranchylde @ Adventuring Archives. Read both Goblin descriptions and see if you consider the second one more eerie than the first!
- I’ve been following Steve Winter’s article series at Kobold Quarterly with great interest, as it has been focusing on how overpowered spells can off-balance a system. This week he makes some suggestions for game designers considering epic-level spells during design…
- Meanwhile, Brent Newhall @ Troll In the Corner started taking apart some of the basic D&D classes and putting them back together more simply. I like the streamlined Fighter, Rogue, Cleric, and Wizard… Much easier to digest and deal with.
- And the D&D Next debate continues… Erik Tenkar @ Tenkar’s Tavern responded this week to Monte Cook’s latest article at WotC. I too am confused, but liking the concept of a more open system.
- Gaming with kids can be an amazing experience and I love it when bloggers share the experience with their readers. The Chatty DM invented a game to play with his son Nico called “CASTLE DEATH!” and I think Nico had as much to do with it as Chatty did!
- If you’re looking for an easier way to list stat blocks for your 4E NPCs and monsters, check out “Goons: One Line Monsters” from Obsidian Crane @ Daily Encounter. This compressed format could really work well to shorten some prep work. I wonder if it would work for Pathfinder as well as 4E?
- Or maybe it’s a few inspired nightmares you’re needing? Vanhavoc @ Troll in the Corner may just have a few suggestions to help you out in that department… Plenty of things to go bump in the dark!
- Interested in roleplaying in ancient Rome? Check out Bedrock Games’ new book – Servants of Gaius! Intrigue! Backstabbing politicians! Who knew 38 AD was such a happening place in the time of Caligula!
- Raging Swan Press has been on a roll lately and this week hasn’t slowed them down much… So What’s For Sale, Anyway? III from Julian Neale offers 96 more lists for GMs to use in their Pathfinder RPG campaigns, plus some dwarven salesfolk to sell them… Just keep an eye out for the cursed items that may have slipped into the inventory! Check out the product page or pick it up at DriveThruRPG!
- LPJ Design now offers Print-On-Demand (POD) physical copies for several of the books they’ve had as PDFs at RPGNow/DriveThruRPG. Included are Dangers & Discoveries (PFRPG), Obsidian Twilight Campaign Setting (PFRPG), Adventure Planner (PFRPG), and several more!
- Interested in learning more about Chronicles of Skin? Sebastian Hickey @ Cobweb Games worked on the game through a Kickstarter project and though I have the game here, I haven’t had an opportunity to play yet… But I’d encourage you to check out the product page at the Cobweb Games site and pick it up over at Indie Press Revolution if you’re interested. It involves scribbling, doodling, and storytelling – three “ings” I think most of us can get behind!
- If you have a few extra dollars this month, why not help out the Adventurer Conqueror King System Kickstarter project for the Player’s Companion. Greg Tito @ The Escapist wrote a quick article about the project and the Kickstarter page has plenty of additional details.
- Or if that doesn’t excite you, how about some war-gaming terrain? Battle Blokx is a new Kickstarter project that aims to offer building blocks design to resemble modern concrete blocks for modern or Sci-fi-based games. Interesting idea. What do you think?
- I’m sure you’ve seen the names Tracy Hurley or Sarah Darkmagic around the ‘net… The Id DM scored an interview with Tracy which covers quite a variety of topics!
- Purple Pawn does an annual survey every year to see how companies are doing in the RPG industry (retailers, manufacturers, publishers) and you can download the new report! (Thanks Morrus @ ENWorld for the link!)
- More from the Flames Rising interview of Dave Gross about writing Pathfinder Tales novels went up this week!
- Stargazer had a chance to write up a short review of The One Ring – Adventures over the Edge of the Wild this week and loved it. The only bad part? He’s looking for an opportunity to run or play in a game!
- Stargazer also reviewed Ruined Empires for Abney Park’s Airship Pirates and liked it despite a bit of railroading. Sounds like there’s plenty here to keep GMs and players happy.
- Scott Taylor @ Black Gate took some time to review Paizo’s Pathfinder Campaign Setting: The Inner Sea World Guide recently, diving into the insane amounts of crunch within this massive tome. Forty-three nations. Maps up the wazoo. I think he was impressed.
- Need a detailed review of The Mistborn Adventure Game from Crafty Games? Check out this article from Megan Robertson @ G*M*S Magazine. She took a really deep dive to offer one of the most in-depth reviews I’ve seen yet.
- There has been a lot of talk this week about the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying game. Mark @ Dice Monkey has been diving into some of the different aspects of the game and recently focused on “Distinctions and Power Sets.” And where Mark seems to be liking the system, Alex Lucard @ Diehard Game Fan offers a very different opinion in his review.
- Maps, maps, maps… Gotta love them. And if you’re looking for existing maps for inspiration, check out OldMapsOnline.org, you’ll find plenty.
- Need some music to play in the background of your fantasy campaign? Check out Radio Rivendell which has many options to choose from, but offers a web-based music streamer for all platforms. This interview from Alton @ Stuffer Shack offers a good overview of the service from the site owner, Lord Elrond.
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 (don’t be put off by the fact that it says December 27th – it’s new I swear!). There’s definitely plenty of news go go around!
(For more links that did and didn’t make it into this post, check out the Bundlr page this week. I would have included it at the end like always, but something went wonky with how it appeared -not in a grid, but in a list – so I decided to yank it.)
On the way out, I have to wish Wolfgang Baur a late birthday (it was his birthday this past Tuesday I think!) and Raging Swan Press an early two year anniversary. Congratulations and best wishes to both! And if you have a RPG blog, I’d encourage you to submit it to the RPG Site of the Year Award contest over at Stuffer Shack. Great prizes and recognition could be yours!
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!
- Baldur’s Gate Sequel?! from The Dread Gazebo (dreadgazebo.net)
- Baldur’s Gate Website Lurches to Life, Is a New Game Rising? [Baldur's Gate] (kotaku.com)
- Baldur’s Gate 3 May Be On The Way (gamingandtechnetwork.wordpress.com)
- Report: Baldur’s Gate site teases Beamdog-developed franchise project (joystiq.com)
- Planescape oh the Torment from Hill Cantons (hillcantons.blogspot.com)
- Website Teases New Baldur’s Gate … Something – UPDATED (escapistmagazine.com)
- New Baldur’s Gate Website Suggests Remake, Sequel? (rockpapershotgun.com)
- ‘Baldur’s Gate’ Website Suggests New Title in the Works (gamerant.com)
- BioWare Teases New Baldur’s Gate … Something (escapistmagazine.com)