Wow. Another week has zipped on by and Tax Day too! The scary part is that work is actually [gasp] fun! (Yes, we computer-programmer-type-people sometimes have a different grasp on “fun” than other folk. ) However, because work is chugging along I haven’t had as much time as I’d like to work on GKR this week or the last few. Hopefully once things settle down (in another three or four weeks) I’ll be able to get back into the routine!
That said, I want to give a quick shout out to everyone who voted for GKR for the Stuffer Shack Site of the Year award yesterday. So many great sites are in the contest, including friends like Gaming Tonic, Gamer Assembly, Life and Times of a Philippine Gamer, the Kobold Quarterly blog, Gnome Stew, Stargazer’s World, Dungeon’s Master, This is My Game, G*M*S Magazine, Troll in the Corner, Wombat’s Gaming Den of Iniquity, Roving Band of Misfits, the Id DM, and more… (Whew!) No matter who wins, it’s an honor to be among all the great nominees! (By the way if you want to learn more about Tourq Stevens, the brains behind Stuffer Shack, check out Rodney’s interview with Tourq @ Rising Phoenix Games!)
So why don’t we dive into the news this week? You’ll probably see more than a few links to the SOTY award nominees below!
Food for Thought
- Do you go on gaming binges? Times when you try to play in every campaign you can or to achieve goals like playing in all those games you ignored during your D&D days? J. J. Sloane @ This is My Game left D&D in the dust to play some Bulldogs! (FATE-based) and came back with some interesting observations as a “gaming harlot.” What are your gaming habits like?
- Another aspect of the “gaming glut” is explored in Jeff Mechlinski’s article @ G*M*S Magazine… Are you having enough fun in your RPGs? In it he offers lists of “fun” and “unfun” things – with plenty of food for thought to back it up. How do you measure the fun in your games and what’s your fun-meter pegged at?
- Do you read d20 Monkey? Why not? Jim White @ Wombat’s Gaming Den of Iniquity offers a great overview about the comic and why you should read it!
- GGG @ Geek’s Dream Girl was a busy guy at PAX East 2012… 25 hours of D&D games plus media interviews, encounters with cosplayers, and Lolth plus playtesting D&D Next? Holy cow! Did he sleep?
- In case you were looking for more inspiration for old documents in your games, the Vatican and Oxford libraries are planning on digitizing 1.5 million pages of rare and ancient texts (thanks Max Eddy @ Geekosystem). Will they be online? We can only hope! Imagine checking out some original Greek manuscripts from Plato, Homer, Sophocles, and others…
- Is there a dress code for wizards? Jim Schindehette @ the WotC D&D blog this week had a discussion about the traditional “pointy hat” and how he really didn’t like it… But my favorite part pf the article is about Ed Greenwood describing Elminster as not dressing the part at all!
- Need some sci-fi art to inspire your game? Check out the Concept Ships blog… Some amazing stuff there from all over the ‘net. I spent 30 minutes today just perusing the art and could have spent much more time…
- Or maybe you need a city map? Check out Lord Maximus’ article @ Dungeons N Dragons this week that offers some cool old Dutch city maps from Joan Bleau from 1649… Any of them would fit beautifully in a fantasy RPG book with a little work and some imagination!
- Why is failure never an option? CWhite @ Intwischa suggests that failure can be woven into the RPG narrative to offer some intriguing options. Describing failures as well as successes can offer just as many (if not more) roleplaying opportunities I think. Great idea!
Games and Gaming
- Funerary rites aren’t usually a topic I want to dive into as a person. But it’s intriguing to consider them in a gaming context… Tristan Tarwater @ Troll in the Corner offered a collection of questions to ponder from a few different perspectives… GMs, PCs, and Plot Hooks. What does your PC think about death? What do major NPCs think about it? Things that make you go hmmmmmm….
- Do you map dungeons on the fly during an adventure as a player? Do you as GM show the whole map or reveal it a bit at a time like a fan dancer? Or do you manage to keep it all in your head? Even when I was younger, I couldn’t manage dungeons without a good pencil and piece of graph paper… Dave Chalker @ Critical Hits has some different approaches to consider for managing a dungeon’s fictional space – such as “fuzzy ranges,” abstract “zones” of combat like FATE, or traditional mapping like in D&D. What do you use?
- Time management. There are weeks that I swear time flows in all directions at once and management is an exercise in futility. But Outsyder Gaming has some suggestions on how to keep your gaming on track… Sandboxes, marathon sessions, and shortcuts are but a few of the cool tips listed.
- Shadowrun… Magic, monsters, hacking, guns… if you can’t find something to like you’re not looking. But it can be a bit overwhelming at times to design missions for SR campaigns. The Dood @ Running the Sandbox has some great ideas on the essential bits you should put together for each mission… In this case, it’s an extraction and things to include are the target, locations, opposition, and the inevitable complications. Preparation is key.
- Do you remember morale in D&D? I do… I always loved checking to see if a group of monsters or NPCs would simply become demoralized and run or give up… Apparently the D&D Next team is looking at including Morale again. But this great article @ Geek-Related offers ways to include it before 5e… Will they stay and fight or run screaming into the night?
- Do your moneychangers lack significant plot hooks? Check out this list of 20 random plot hooks at The Random DM for inspiration… All I can say is – beware of the numists!
- Do you game in 1st person or 3rd? The Headologist @ Do You Have a Flag? pondered that very topic this week… And I agree that somewhere in the middle works best.
- Like the Choose Your Own Adventure series but want some solo RPG like Open Design’s Party of One series? Check out the Lone Wolf series – for free online – from Project Aon! Stargazer mentioned these books to me a while back, but I think I may have to check them out now!
- Why would anyone volunteer to run a 10-player game of anything? Chaos! Vanhavoc @ Troll in the Corner did just that GMing a game of Exalted and learned some valuable lessons. Sounds like a great time, but he must be crazy!
- MacGyver. Even after all these years, the dude is influencing people. Jim White @ Wombat’s Gaming Den of Iniquity explored “The MacGyver Theory” of improvised games this week and I think he’s on to something. Flexibility, attention, and the will to try something… anything… will get you far!
- In the “oh my, that’s scary” category this week we have a Jitterbug for Gamma World 4E from Benoit @ Roving Band of Misfits. Yes, you read that right – a Jitterbug. (Not to be confused with the Litterbug who may appear next week.) Though not a damaging critter, I can guarantee it’ll drive your PCs insane with its dance moves! (Don’t challenge it to a Dance Off, I beg you!)
- I stumbled on The Delvers this week for the first time and hit upon the last article of a series that’s been going on for a while… And the article focuses on WotC’s sometimes strange marketing tactics. It’s an odd, yet entertaining piece that made me start reading the series from the beginning. I mean, it had me at “Giant Space Hamsters”!
- Sandbox gaming is my method of madness when GMing, but this week Erik Tenkar @ Tenkar’s Tavern hit upon an intriguing idea I haven’t encountered before… An expanding sandbox that expands as the PCs level up… More space, monsters, things to investigate, etc… And it limits preparation a bit so you’re only focusing on a ring at a time. Something to ponder…
- Need some treasure? Check out the old D&D way of bringing money and items in with Brent Newhall’s article @ Troll in the Corner. Leaving it up to the DM is a great way to base it on context vs. pure randomness or rules for rules’ sake.
- Or maybe you’re looking for some hirelings in 4E? Frothsof 4e has some tips on making the henchmen/hirelings rules fit a bit better in 4E. Making them cheap but limited with a certain level of morale makes a ton of sense…
- Or maybe you want to use rituals in your 4E game? Michael @ Neuroglyph Games made some tweaks to the ritual homebrew rules they put together before and includes some great examples. I always thought rituals made a lot of sense in fantasy worlds and was always puzzled why they don’t appear more often.
- Should dragons be dumbed down for low-level PCs? Steve Winter @ Kobold Quarterly doesn’t think so. Feeble dragons begone!
- Mutants. A staple in super-hero, post-apocalyptic, and futuristic settings, they’ve left their mark on the gaming world. And Steve Kenson (designer of Mutangs & Masterminds and True20 who works at Green Ronin) this week recounted his first experience with muties in RPGs… in Gamma World! Normal humans are soooo boring. Mutants rule!
- Who is Adam Daigle? He worked with Open Design on the Midgard Bestiary, released recently. Monsters everywhere! The kobolds had an opportunity to ask him a few questions about his monster-making this week… Apparently he now works at Paizo, so congrats Adam! But now I’m going to have to go see what a Zmey is… and now I’m hoping I don’t run into one in a dark forest!
- Chris Tregenza @ 6d6 continues to share his insights as a small RPG publisher trying to make it in the industry. This week he shared his experiences from Con-Quest 2012… Being an independent publisher definitely has its ups and downs.
- Delta Green got a gorgeous new website this week… Some amazing art and a great design!
- WotC’s Bart Carroll posted another sample from the upcoming Dungeon Survival Handbook with some intriguing ideas on how to construct a more interesting dungeon. The Drow definitely have a corner of the dungeon market by living in the Underdark… And I love the “Twenty Weird Things in a Wizard’s Dungeon” list at the end of the article!
- Creighton Broadhurst from Raging Swan Press released Barroom Brawls this week – everything you need to run a quick, flavorful brawl. Who doesn’t want to bash a chair over someone’s head or throw beer in someone’s face now and then? Alcohol + adventurers = fight! Check it out at RPGnow!
- Allan Sugarbaker @ the Ogre Cave pointed out a few cool gaming-related Kickstarters this week… Metamorphosis Alpha, Zpocalypse, and Dwimmermount plus Hellas! It’s fun to check these out simply for the art if nothing else…
- Jeff Dee must be a serial Kickstarter because he has one heck of a lot of them! Sean Holland @ Sea of Stars pointed out he’s involved with getting the Quicksilver setting converted to PFRPG. Check out the project here.
- With the success of Open Design’s Journeys to the West Kickstarter project, I suspected they’d try the approach again. And Midgard Tales – 13 Pathfinder adventures in Midgard – is the follow-up! It’s only been a few days, but it’s already beaten its funding goal by nearly $2500! I’m excited to see how this one shapes up (and equally excited about Journeys!)!
- Stephen Furlani has kicked off a project for an interactive D&D character sheet for iPhone and iPad, but the project hasn’t gained much momentum yet… With 25 days left to go, he has some time.
- Malcom Harris’ Witch Girls Kickstarter project got some love this week in the form of an interview of Harris by Ari @ Geek Girl World. It’s great to get some more context about the project, especially as the father of two girls interested in doing more gaming!
- Greater than Games, the folks behind Sentinels of the Universe, are back with a new Kickstarter to expand the board & card game with Infernal Relics! that’s doing great. With 26 days to go they’re $10,000+ over their funding goal already!
- Deadlands is a RPG that I was always curious about but never had a chance to play. Apparently it’s making a comeback! Erik Tenkar @ Tenkar’s Tavern took a look at the Deadlands Reloaded Player’s Guide. Sounds like a great addition to Savage Worlds and a fun place to explore… Plus it definitely doesn’t hurt that Pinnacle seems to be utilizing the benefits of going with PDFs – hyperlinking, bookmarks, the works!
- And Tommy Brownell @ the Most Unread Blog on the Internet. Ever. reviewed Deadlands: The Flood from Pinnacle. The hardcover sounds like it’s chock full of gaming goodness, with 34 Savage Tales and a campaign with some serious kick. (Plus you can download the player’s section of the book for free!)
- The Nakedhobo @ Troll in the Corner had a chance to play the card game Miskatonic School for Girls, which is the fruit of a Kickstarter project from a while back. Now I’m wishing I’d pitched in for the game… Will it be available outside the Kickstarter I wonder?
- Also reviewing the fruits of a Kickstarter-funded project was Charlie Hall @ Armchair General. He took a look at Lost Reich – a miniatures game from Fat Dragon Games. Seems like an inexpensive way to create ‘mech minis out of paper pretty cheaply!
- Stephen Sheppard @ Vice posted a review of Legend of Grimrock this week. So did
- James “Grim” Desborough @ Flames Rising took a look at Cubicle 7′s Airship Pirates RPG this week… And since the word “genius” was thrown around and it achieved high scores I think he liked it!
- The folks behind Legends of Steel recently brought it into Savage Worlds and Wrath of Zombie had more than a few issues with the book.
And congratulations to the winners of the Dice Tower Awards! Great work!
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!
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!
- Site of the Year Awards 2012 at Stuffer Shack! Vote for GKR today! (gameknightreviews.com)
- Friday Knight News – Triskaidekaphobic Gaming Edition: 13-APR-2012 (gameknightreviews.com)
- READER VOTING! Day 4 of 5 for the 2012 RPG SOTY from STUFFER SHACK (stuffershack.com)
- READER VOTING! Day 1 of 5 for the 2012 RPG SOTY from STUFFER SHACK (stuffershack.com)
- Favorite Site of the Month – March/2012 from STUFFER SHACK (stuffershack.com)
- Favorite Site of the Month – Feb/2012 from STUFFER SHACK (stuffershack.com)