Happy Friday everybody!
Next week is my 42nd birthday (too many candles or the fire department will show up), which means I will be as old as the ultimate answer to the ultimate question of “Life, the Universe, and Everything” according to Douglas Adams. Yes, the answer is 42, though we still don’t know the question. But I shall do my best to hold up to the philosophy of Dirk Gently, holistic detective, throughout the year. That means if I’m ever lost, I shall find someone who looks like they know where they’re going and follow them. Even though I’ll probably not end up where I was originally headed, I will hopefully end up where I need to be…
Speaking of being lost, since last Friday (and the Avengers – w00t!), we’ve seen some intriguing posts on GKR. Robert wrote about trying to breathe new life into the traditional adventure plot where the PCs get weather-blasted into a small town hidden in the mountains or on the coast seeking shelter… Creighton focused on some thoughts around encounter and adventure design in a new campaign… I took a look at New Paths: The Expanded Spell-less Ranger from Open Design for PFRPG and Player Minion, a 4E character management app for iPad and iPhone from Goathead Software… And the Gassy Gnoll waxed philosophically about a few of his favorite undead creatures.
Apparently we ended up where we needed to be – but next week, who knows what might show up!
That said, today you’re probably more interested in… the news!!
Food for Thought
- In case you ever catch guff about gaming or teaching kids how to play RPGs, you should check the article from Martin Ralya @ Gnome Stew a few years ago providing positive reasons why gaming is a good thing for kids (and adults) alike! Creativity, problem-solving, and teamwork are the top 3 reasons – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg… I didn’t see this one in 2009, but it still holds true today!
- What alignments would you set for the characters in Game of Thrones? George Dvorsky offers his take @ io9 this week. I particularly like his take on Varys & Petyr Baelish…
- Darkwarren @ Dungeon Mastering continues the alignment theme with “What’s my Motivation? – Alignment” this week.. offering some great different ways to approach alignment. Synonyms! And if the lists weren’t enough – use a d12 to come up with a quick characterization for a NPC or PC. 🙂
- Justin Alexander @ The Alexandrian continues his in-depth exploration of game structures this week with “ It’s for the designers to make a better game and relies on feedback!
- Do you GM for your own amusement or for your players’? Jay “PointyMan2000” Anyong @ Life and Times of a Philippine Gamer offers a reminder as to why we actually GM and who we’re doing it for… And as he says “Sometimes a little introspection is a good thing.”
Games and Gaming
- Are you looking for an evil cleric to keep things interesting in the Underdark? Check out Thurl Bal’zud, the Cleric of Laduguer from the Id DM. This creepy dude may in fact invade my nightmares. You can get his full stats over at Iddy’s article @ This is My Game.
- Though Chuck Wendig’s article on the “25 Things Writers Should Know About Creating Mystery” is meant more for writers than GMs, I think 90% of these tips can probably be used for writing gaming material. And remember, mysteries involve algebra! (Read tip #1!)
- Marvel Heroic Roleplaying from Margaret Weis Production has really been gaining momentum of late. This week Tim Brannan @ The Other Side joined the fray and came up with stats for Willow and Tara from Buffy: The Vampire Slayer… Very cool (and with art by David Reynolds!)!
- Mike Bourke @ Campaign Mastery continued his excellent series on names this week with some tips on naming adventures. And when I say “tips” I mean analysis of a ton of adventures with explanations on where the name came from, how it relates to the adventure itself, and why the title worked or didn’t… It’s like Mike has put together a graduate-level course on naming in every possible way. Each time I see a new article in the series, I’m stunned and learn tons. Keep up the great work Mike!
- Even good GMs have a bad session now and then. And the Id DM was kind enough to share his experience and analyze why it went wrong (and how to fix it). Keep in mind that this is the same Iddy who won Stuffer Shack’s Site of the Year for 2012, so literally – everybody has a bad day now and then. But it’s what you do with that experience that defines how things will proceed. Ignore it and keep on chugging or look to see what you can fix, if anything…
- Have you seen Sean Andrew Murray’s Gateway: The Book of Wizards project yet? If not, why not? This thing is absolutely gorgeous and I want to flip through it today! It’s achieved its goal, but you’ll want in on this for the extras. If nothing else, it should offer plenty of inspiration!
- The KS project for Midgard Tales: 13 Pathfinder Adentures from Open Design continues to chug along – now at double the initial goal, raising more than $15,000 so far – and it still has 10 days to go! The book is up to 192 pages and could get even bigger with more art! (If you want a taste of what’s in store for this project, check out game KS project has gone berserk, raising nearly $115,000 and smashing its puny $18k goal to tiny pieces. (The Hopeless Gamer wrote up a nice article about the project last week and why he pledged at the $45 level (and the response from lead designer Christopher Gabrielson)!)
- Do you need a tool to help you design cities for your campaigns? You’re in luck! Joe Wetzel from Inkwell Ideas just kicked off a new KS project for Cityographer! After only a few days, the project is 1/4 funded already – so be sure to help out if you can!
- Bedrock Games and RPGPundit have teamed up to work on – Arrows of Indra, designed for old-school heroic fantasy inspired by the Mahabharata and other Indian legends. Anything that combines assassins, demons, monkey-men, Nagas, Rakshasa, and more has my attention! I’ll definitely keep my ears to the ground for more on this as the project nears release…
- Dark Harvest – The Legacy of Frankenstein – Resistance goes on sale in PDF form next Monday, May 14th from Cubicle 7! As a huge fan of the first Dark Harvest book, I can hardly wait to see what twisted adventures await in Promethea now! (The hard copy is slated to be available at the end of June, so keep an eye out for that as well.)
- If you’ve ever wanted the chance to game with a celebrity author, Crafty Games is raffling off tickets for six lucky winners to have a chance to play a five-hour session with Brandon Sanderson at Gen Con 2012! If you’re lucky enough to get to Gen Con this year, I’m already jealous – but this sounds like loads of fun!
- Do you ever have naming problems for the demi-humans in your campaign? You know – the stray elven merchant, dwarven barkeep, gnomish dealer in rare two-handed swords. What do you call them? Fret no longer! Raging Swan Press and Creighton Broadhurst are here to save the day with So What’s the Demi-Human Called, Anyway?! 500 first names and 250 family names and nicknames for dwarves, elves, halflings, gnomes. and half-orcs. Check it out at RPGnow (when it’s available) or get more details at the Raging Swan website!
- Meanwhile, over at the Heroes Against Darkness website – Justin Halliday has released the Heroes Against Darkness RPG! A free, fast, flexible, fully-featured, and indie d20 RPG that has similarities with older editions of D&D, but is *not* D&D. I hope to check it out soon!
- Also in the “free and cool” category is Josh Roby’s Vicious Crucible of Verdigris Valley! The peaceful Verdigris Valley is going to be invaded – will you stop the impending doom? Roby is using a “ransom model” for his games – releasing the first game for free and asking folks to kick in to the Kickstarter campaign to keep it going! Help Josh raise the $2k he needs to keep the ball rolling!
- Also releasing new products this week are Rite Publishing with Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Po’Kesteros, the Lostling, LPJ Design’s Classes of NeoExodus: Machinesmith, and Fat Dragon Games’ E-Z Dungeons: Basic Set (for a brief time!)
- Looking for a new board game? Check out Paco Jaen’s review of Dungeon Run @ G*M*S Magazine (with a snazzy new logo!). This sounds like a blast and it sounds like the folks who played really enjoyed it!
- Joe Nelson @ Rule of the Dice offered three mini-reviews this week – 100 Doors & Door Features, The Curse of Crosskey, and Weird West.
- Thilo Graf @ G*M*S Magazine took a look at Fane of the Fallen: Pathfinder Edition from Frog God Games… Plenty of spoilers, so stay away if you’ll be a player partaking in this one, but Thilo liked it with a few caveats giving it a 4 out of 5 star verdict for the 172-page epic adventure.
- Ed Grabianowski @ Robot Viking this week took on The Midgard Bestiary for PFRPG. It’s not just a rehash of the same book for the AGE system done for PFRPG either! It offers some uniquely creepy monsters to confuse, delight, and terrify your Pathfinder players…
- Sean Holland @ The Sea of Stars reviewed Way of the Adept for Shadowrun published by Catalyst Game Labs this week. I haven’t looked at Shadowrun in years, but I always loved the world. The idea of adepts (magic channelers) are evolving in different ways is intriguing…
- Jay Anyong @ Life and Times of a Philippine Gamer also reviewed Strongholds of the Empire for Legend of the Five Rings this week. If you need a city for your L5R campaign, it sounds like this is a must have book for your collection!
- Looking for tools for to play your Marvel Heroic Roleplaying game online? Mark @ Plot Points points us to The Online Dungeon Master’s updates to MapTool to do just that!
- Or perhaps you’re looking for more ways to use your iPad at the game table? Andy, GGG @ Geek’s Dream Girl, has come up with a list of four ways he uses the iPad to help his gaming… How do you use yours?
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!