Sure, it’s Friday. That automatically bumps today up a notch on the “doesn’t-suck-ometer,” right? But when you also have a movie like The Avengers released on a Friday, that blows the scale out of the water. At least I hope it does. Early reviews for this superhero slugfest have been very positive – almost glowing. And the fact that it opened overseas and earned nearly $200 million in its opening weekend says something as well. But I’m not excited about the film or anything… Nooooo.
Beyond that it was another crazy week. I’ll be thankful when Spring Soccer season is over for my girls in a couple of weeks. Maybe then life will return to some sense of normalcy. Riiight.
Back in gaming land, right here we had some interesting posts… From Robert’s post on playing “killer” PCs a bit more realistically and Creighton’s post helping a new GM run the first session of a new campaign to my review of Adventure Quarterly #1 from Rite Publishing, the week’s weird combination of creativity, gaming, and soccer from The Gassy Gnoll, and a guest post from Sam Richards, the creator of Tweet RPG… We kind of ran the spectrum. So why should today’s news post be any different?
To the news cave, Batman!!
Food for Thought
- May is here… And the good folks at io9 want to make sure we don’t miss anything in the science fiction or fantasy genres… Check out the May calendar!
- Do you own any miniatures from the D&D Miniatures line from WotC? If so, you might have some figures worth real coin to the right collector based on Alric’s article @ The RPG Athenaeum. I don’t own any, but I know a few folks who probably do…
- Music has always been a good part of gaming for me. It can be hit and miss at times, but used right it really can change the mood and keep everyone around the table focused on the action at hand. Charlie Jane Anders and Cyriaque Lamar @ io9 put together a list of 100 albums every sci-fi and fantasy fan should listen to and I’m wondering how many of these will end up being heard around gaming tables all over the world…
Games and Gaming
- Do you think you can write a complete RPG in 24 hours? Then toss your hat in the ring for The Free RPG Blog’s “24-Hour RPG” Competition! I think it’s madness, but with intense pressure sometimes you get real gems – so best of luck to everyone who goes for it! All entrants must register by July 1!
- Do you run epic-level games of D&D? Apparently Liam Gallagher @ Dungeon’s Master is kicking off a new epic-level campaign for the Dungeon’s Master crew and has had to do a bit of trimming to streamline things… Big differences between level 2 and 22 as he points out. But he offers great tips on policing the items lists, paring down combat, how to guide players to fun character concepts, and more.
- These days I try to avoid controversy unless I’m talking through the mouth of The Gassy Gnoll, but occasionally I see something and get a little riled. This week there was an article on “Avoiding Choice Traps” at the D&D community page from Evil_Reverend that proposed getting rid of the non-combat feats in 5E. I took a little exception to that notion and so did quite a few other people in the comments and on my Google+ page. So long as non-combat skills and feats are included, but perhaps named differently or made optional… maybe. But we seem to be paring everything down to focus entirely on combat and I’d rather include the bits for skill challenges to suggest that there’s more to roleplaying than just roll-playing…
- Organizing campaigns can sometimes be a challenge, but Mike Shea @ Sly Flourish has a way to keep all that paper in check… Check out his Campaign Folio idea. Simple enough to use an accordion file and some common sense, right?
- Gnomes. Always inventing things. So why wouldn’t they come up with a healing brandy? The Dungeoneering Dad came up with this cheaper alternative to Cure Light Wounds for low-level PCs… Plus, *hic* they taste great!
- Do you feel lucky? Well? Do ya? Apparently panzerleader @ Wielding a Bohemian Ear Spoon does. He’s written up a new ability score for D&D for Luck! I’ve had my share of characters who could use a bit more luck, don’t you?
- Have you heard about Torg from West End Games back in the 1990s? I did, but never had an opportunity to play. Arcane Springboard @ Critical Hits has a solution… a well-written primer to everything Torg and how to revamp it using the rules from the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game!
- If you play D&D, you’re used to the regular cycle of resting and then charging forward into battle wherever possible. That’s even more evident in 4E with daily, encounter, and at-will powers. Well, the Magician @ Ponderings on Games suggests that players should be told ahead of time when a battle is inconsequential or not. And I can see where that might be good to know…
- Zombies. They’re everywhere! And they’re invading your house in a new project called Outlive Outdead from creator WJ MacGuffin! The video wowed me and that was enough to get me to toss some $$ in the ring myself. With 28 days to go, there’s plenty of time to help out!
- The folks at Wicked North Games just kicked off their followup project to Azamar the RPG called Westward: A Steampunk Western RPG, a Cinema6 Experience. And I’ve been geeked up about it ever since hearing about it months ago… Steampunk Western? Count me in! And with 58 days to go, they’re nearly 50% funded on day 2!!
- Though this is over at IndieGoGo, it still deserves a mention. The Lamentations of the Flame Princess folks are raising funds to produce the LotFP Rules & Magic book in Hardcover! They’re close to their goal already with about 28 days left, so there’s time to put your money in the tip jar. From what I’ve seen of the PDF it’s a very well produced book already, so I’m sure it’ll look great as a hardback!
- Bully Pulpit Games, the fine folks behind Fiasco, have come up with a new playset for May – Salem 1692! By the name alone you can probably predict it deals with witches and is set during the Salem witch trials period and you’d be right! Sounds
like quite a dark time and setting to explore. As said in this product announcement – “Truly, spells and stories are not simple children’s games.”
- Are you a GURPS guru? Steve Jackson Games is looking for playtesters for GURPS High-Tech: Adventure Guns! But do it quickly! Playtest starts May 7th!
- WotC is re-releasing one of the games I *still* have after all these years – Dungeon!. I’ve even played it with my family and they love it, so I’ll be curious to see what they’ve done to update the art, cards, and pieces. At only $19.99, I’m sure we’ll pick it up in time for Christmas! (Thanks to Andy Wong @ The Dice Tower News!)
- Looking for expansions for your favorite card & board games? W. Eric Martin @ Board Game Geek posted a great summary of some of the expansions coming soon!
- Raging Swan is back at it with Random Urban Encounters – their 35th product of the year, which is insane! This one offers 8 ready-to-use random encounters from EL1-6 for use in any urban area. These are more beefy encounters than you’d get with a simple random encounter table, so be sure to check out the product page for details!
- Scott Taylor @ Black Gate posted a review this week of the Pathfinder Dragon Empires Gazeteer, the Dragon Empires Primer, and the Pathfinder Adventure Path: Jade Regent. Plenty of oriental setting details and adventures to keep your Oriental Adventures-loving-younger-self happy for a while!
- Nick @ Troll in the Corner had time to check out Pathfinder Party-of-One BB3: Alosar Emanli from Open Design for PFRPG. This is the third of the single-player adventures to come from the Kobolds and though he liked it, he didn’t love it…
- Heard of Fiasco? I have, but haven’t had a chance to check it out – so I was happy to see the review and playtest article from Michael @ The Online Dungeon Master this week. Collaborative storytelling with dice but no GM. I like the concept! But like many story-based games it seems you really have to have the improvisational spirit flowing to do it right…
- X1: The Isle of Dread is one of the few classic modules I think I still own a copy of somewhere. And DM Samuel @ RPG Musings did a “retroreview” of the module – quite a detailed one in fact. Now I’m going to have to find the right box containing my old modules…
- Raging Swan Press has been on a roll of late and Thilo Graf @ G*M*S Magazine took a look at So What’s For Sale, Anyway? IV this week. This one focuses on elven settlements and though Thilo thought it was good, he was hoping for something more…
- Chuck Lawton @ Geek Dad (WIRED) apparently now has a Masters in Dungeoneering courtesy of Faster Combat, an online course designed to teach GMs how to cut combat time down and increasing drama and storytelling in the campaign. Sounds good to me. Plus, it’s from Johnn Four and Tony Medeiros, so how can you go wrong? Sounds like Chuck learned quite a bit in the program. I’m going through it myself and have liked what I’ve read!
- We haven’t had any tools for a while, but I wanted to let folks know about Picozu – an online drawing and photo retouching app now in Beta that runs in modern browsers. It offers much of the functionality of Photoshop and GIMP, but in a smaller package. Could be useful in a pinch if you’re tweaking pictures for a blog or gaming project!
- Another cool tool I’ve started playing with is called Wunderkit. Found an article on Lifehacker from Alan Henry about it this week and have been toying with creating different workspaces, task lists, notes, and more. It could be a great way to manage campaign notes or game project tasks… I especially like the way you can share a workspace with multiple team members and all take advantage of shared lists and data!
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!