First thing I have to say is that I’m sorry this issue is a bit light (but only a little) on content. I’m exhausted after several days at a software conference and I haven’t had time to peruse the usual sources for cool news and tidbits that I usually do during the week. It’s not a complete loss, but it’s not as much as usual if that says anything…
Second, after doing this week of GKR posts on the road, it was immediately apparent that I could use some more help with this. I’d love to have a few regular contributors – whether it’s reviews, news, or something else. If we get to a point where we can do a post every day easily, with a cache of articles ready to go, I think I’d be much less stressed.
Third, happy Friday!! I’m on my way home today from D.C. back to Colorado, so I’ll spend a good part of my day either in airports or on airplanes, but I’m ready to go home and have a good weekend with my family. Hopefully you’re ready for a great weekend too!
And on that note, enough personal blathering… On to the content!!
Food for Thought
- Character creation is one of those things that we sometimes take for granted. But as GMs, sometimes it’s helpful to create a cast of regularly appearing NPCs for a given campaign. How do you make them unique and memorable however? Sometimes I know I fall into the trap of a few tried and true tropes. Well, Charlie Jane Anders @ io9 had a set of “10 Secrets to Creating Unforgettable Supporting Characters” this week, and I think many of them apply to NPCs and even PCs if you look at them the right way…
- I don’t know about you, but I enjoy Women Fighters in Reasonable Armor. Sure, the chainmail bikini may look good in a Boris Vallejo picture, but something (rational thought, perhaps) makes me think that it would be a wee bit uncomfortable. Well, WotC artist Jon Schindehette has also been thinking about the topic, but from the point of view of D&D. He brings up the differences between realistic armor and unrealistic armor with lots of examples… Great article!
- If you saw my post about “Getting Lost in a Game” this week, you know I’ve been pondering some of the concepts of “flow” or being “in the moment” and losing time while sucked into a game, whether on my iPad or in a live tabletop session. Well, EarlMcFisticuffs left a comment on Reddit with some links I definitely need to explore further. One is about the concept of “flow” or being in an “ecstatic state”. The other applies it more specifically to games. I’ll have to put on my thinking cap when I rest up from my trip and dive into these!
- Oh zombie, how do I kill thee? Let me count the ways… 50 of them according to Kevin Oedekoven @ KORPG Games!
- Do you have a gaming blog? Or any blog? Does it have a mission statement? Wombat @ Wombat’s Gaming Den of Iniquity has come up with one for his. And he went further, wondering if he should come up with one for his campaign to help guide it. What do you think?
Games and Gaming
- Keith Baker, creator of the Eberron setting for WotC, has a post up on Dungeonmastering.com about playing sandbox-style campaigns. He brings up some of the issues of game balance without a linear plan as well as the trouble of simply creating a set of locations or encounters without an idea of what order the PCs will encounter them… Personally, I’m a fan of sandbox gaming and like creating things on the fly, so that doesn’t put me off too much.
- Who doesn’t like criticals? And they offer such great roleplaying opportunities, I really like the flair you can get when you use the Critical Hit and Fumble decks from Paizo and others. Well, why not simplify things a bit and make crits and fumbles even easier? They Might be Gazebos does just that with a quick little rules tweak I like quite a bit. Anything to simplify combat flow can’t be too bad, right?
- Have you ever taken a random dungeon and tweaked it into something useful for your campaign? Check out “Maptacular Monday: Tomb of the Trog Mummies” @ Between are the Doors and turned it into an adventure for Old School Hack!
- The guys behind Intwischa always come up with cool ideas to explore further, but this week they posted a list of cool gaming resources they found elsewhere (sort of like my Friday posts). Definitely check it out if you get a chance.
- Do you ever have issues conveying a sense of wonder in your sessions as a GM? Jay Anyong (pointyman2000) @ Life and Times of a Philippine Gamer has some suggestions for how to fix that!
- I love it when parent gamers pass along the bug to their children. But talking to his 9 week old son, I think C.D. Gallant-King @ Rule of the Dice is getting a jump on things…
- Do you use rituals in your 4e games? Michael @ Neuroglyph Games offers some house rules to make 4e rituals play a bit more easily… What do you think?
- And over at Reality Refracted, A.L. brought up an interesting point about players not taking enough (or sometimes too much) of the center stage during a session… Are you someone who plays a support role or feels like they want to live in the limelight all the time?
- Apparently Chris Birch from Modiphius is releasing a new game in April – Achtung! Cthulhu!, which sounds quite interesting. The concept of bringing the Cthulhu mythos into World War II is scary, but would be a cool setting to explore. Plus, it has a cool cover already! (Thanks Andrew @ Geek Native!)
- Want a chance to win some books from Engine Publishing? Check out their latest effort to get more traffic on Google+! But do it quickly!
- Coming up with your own retro-clone for D&D? Callin @ Big Ball of No Fun has a list of names ready for you to choose from.
- I don’t usually cover computer, console, or web games here (but they come up occasionally)… But Dungeon Blitz looks pretty cool. It involves RPG and MMO elements in a side-scrolling brawler you can play today… Or watch it in action here…
- Creighton and the gang at Raging Swan don’t stop and take a breath often, I’m guessing… They just released So What’s For Sale, Anyway? IV by Julian Neale offers 107 new lists of items, a description of elven settlements, and even a few cursed items mixed in to cause trouble.
- George Fields @ Geocentric Designs posted a great review of Gary Con IV, a gaming convention in Gary, Indiana held over March 22nd to 25th. And apparently he had a lot of fun this year (as he did last year). Meeting other game designers, vendors, and even Luke Gygax sounds like a lot more fun than I had at my software conference this week!
- Adam Dickson @ Perpetual Geek Machine this week reviewed the latest “Player’s Option” series book from WotC – Plane of Elemental Chaos. Apparently if you like fire, this is a great book. But beyond that, the concepts are quite intriguing as well… New powers, paths, and ideas to explore for Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Druids plus much more.
- Chris Jackson @ A Susurrus In Carcosa took some time to look at the new single-player adventure from Open Design – Matt Hanson’s Kalgor Bloodhammer and the Ghouls through the Breach. And though he had some minor complaints, apparently he loved it as “a surprisingly nuanced, engrossing adventure.” It’s in my queue, so I’m looking forward to playing it even more now!
- Interested in a zombie card game? Geek Ken had a chance to check out Eaten by Zombies. It seems to offer a bit of a Munchkin-like feel with some strategic elements, but at the same time there’s an odd bit where you could be overrun by a horde of zombies and killed anyway…
- Megan @ Flames Rising took a look this week at the Arcanis RPG: Bestiary this week. Sounds like this book goes beyond the usual bestiary by not only offering ready-made monsters, but offering some tools so you can create your own.
- Do you remember Car Wars? I do, though I only played the computer game version (Autoduel) way back when. Well, apparently Steve Jackson Games came out with a card version of Car Wars back in the early 1980s and then again in the early 1990s. Wombat @ Wombat’s Den of Iniquity did a review this week and was kind enough to include lots of pictures…
- Or maybe you like Carcasoone? Have you heard about Carcasonne Castle? Me either! But Benoit @ Roving Band of Misfits has and wrote up an actual play review…
- Take two tools, put them in the blender, and see what you get. That’s pretty much what Mark @ Mithril & Mages has done to create some new monsters. You should try it out!
- If you play 4e or Pathfinder, or any OD&D clone, you’ve probably encountered the pain of having to update your initiative and keep track around the table to see who goes first every round… Well, The Simple DM @ Hit on Crit has come up with a free template for 4E that will fold over a DM screen to show essential player & monster stats quickly. You could just use an index card, but these are a bit fancier.
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!
Before I sign out, I want to congratulate Sarah Darkmagic (Tracy Hurley) on three years of SarahDarkmagic.com! Impressive!!
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!
- Friday Knight News, Gaming Edition: 16-MAR-2012 (gameknightreviews.com)
- Wizards Watch: Good News, Killer DMs… D&D Next is for you! from NEUROGLYPH Games (neuroglyphgames.com)