Wow. I love it when short weeks take more energy to get through than long ones do. That’s what I get for taking off a couple of days for my birthday I guess. However, I got a copy of DCC RPG in the mail (quite a b-day present!), got to see The Avengers one more time, and saw Dark Shadows as well. I enjoyed the first two at least.
So just because I tried to relax and take a bit of a break, the world didn’t stop and the gaming world kept right on chugging – which means we have a whole new set of news links to explore today. It’s almost as though Christmas and my birthday are all year round and the blogosphere offers presents! (Ok, that was a bit of a stretch. Sue me – I’m tired and broke. )
Here at GKR, we were treated to a story seed from Ancient Scroll newcomer Miroslav Gavrilov, some tips on gracefully ending campaigns once they’ve started from Creighton Broadhurst, the first of many parts of a review of the huge and gorgeous DCC RPG, a review of the NPCs inhabiting The Shattered Blade Thieves: A Torn World Character Pack, and The Gassy Gnoll tried to be funny about Necromancy (and failed miserably) for May of the Dead (the list of articles in the carnival just keeps growing!). Please limit your responses to rotten fruit and vegetables thrown at the big hairy guy on stage…
This weekend I have to give a big shout-out to the folks behind the City Wide Gaming Event in Colorado Springs, CO. It’s the third year for the event, bringing local game stores and gamers out to play everything from tabletop RPGs and wargames, to board games, card games, and much more. So if you’re in the neighborhood, stop by one or more of the five stores involved in the festivities! (For a schedule of events, check this out.) Lots to see and do in the Springs this weekend!
So with that in the bag, it’s time for… the news!!
Food for Thought
- What time is it? Do you ever get asked that in your D&D games? Well, Richard Pett in this week’s “Your Whispering Homunculus” at the KQ blog has some possibilities on how those PCs can find some time. In “Fifty Strange Timepieces” he goes from clocks made of pumice carved into dodos, dragon fat, fey bones, and elf teeth to those manned by imps, animated zombie rats, and more. Jim Croce probably wouldn’t want to save time in any of these bottles if he could help it…
- Are you looking for some good resources to plunder for ideas for your next campaign? Vanhavoc @ Troll in the Corner has come up with a list of 5 must have links for GMs to help with the creative process… From subreddits and wikis to sites for photos, maps, and more. Definitely a good link to have in the toolbox!
- Do you need some inspiration? Do you like art? Then check out Art is the Weapon – a resource worth mining for art and artists. Some may be NSFW, so beware – but it’s all amazing! (A big thanks to Theodoric @ Mythopoeic Rambling (NSFW picture in the article) for finding this site!)
- Or if you’re looking for some other styles of art, check out ConceptArt.org. Plenty of styles and artists to peruse until you find your muse!
- Or if that one doesn’t do it for you, then perhaps you like pictures of airships? Michael Ann Dobbs @ io9 pulled together some great pictures to inspire a bit of Steampunk adventure…
- Complete this sentence for me… Homophobia is _____________. I’d use “dumb,” “inexcusable,” and “unneeded.” But there will always be people who fear that which they don’t understand and don’t want to attempt to understand. It’s tough enough to find love in the world, so why would you object to anybody trying to find love and happiness? Andy/GGG @ Geek’s Dream Girl is a gamer. I don’t care that he’s gay. But apparently some folks in his gaming group did and they left because of it. They were uncomfortable. And though I’m a fan of removing yourself from a situation you don’t want to be a part of, I’m also a fan of straight talk. A simple discussion would have likely removed the discomfort and the game could have gone on… instead they chose to stop and walk away without explaining why. I don’t understand intolerance. I don’t support it whether blatant or understated. And I hope Andy finds some new gamers willing to look beyond labels to see people as people regardless of any preconceived notion.
- Daniel Stack @ 19th Level also had a serious post this week. But his was about bullying after the revelation that Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney had bullied a fellow student in school. And I agree with Daniel that childhood incidents should be left in the past as usually we outgrow them, learn, and move on. But Romney’s denial and half apology is troubling. I too dealt with bullying in elementary and junior high school and have seen that it’s still alive today in the schools my kids go to. Dealing with bullying is not fun but it’s necessary and we need to continue to educate kids and parents and teachers to watch for it, speak up, and do their best to deal with it. There isn’t a silver bullet. We can’t end it. But we can help others deal with the pain it causes.
- How does Military History fit into your understanding of RPGs? Well, LS @ Papers & Pencils took a look at Military Heritage magazine and pondered how to use some of its features and articles in a gaming setting…
- Have you ever tried to draw an ooze? No, me either. But Blanca Martinez de Rituerto @ Dungeons and Drawings has. And I think the wizard in her picture is about to get slimed…
Games and Gaming
- Mike Shea @ Sly Flourish has been busy sharing is gaming knowledge with the world of late and this week was no different. Have you ever wanted to run a “mini campaign”? Mike has some great guidelines on running 8-12 session campaigns “small enough to fit into our gaming lives yet rich enough to provide a memorable story.” Mike also shared the results of his “Dungeon Master game preparation habits” survey this week – offering some insights into a few of the numbers and some tips on simplifying 4E game preparation tasks…
- Love ‘em or hate ‘em, wandering monsters are in the DNA of D&D. I both loved them and dreaded them back in the day. Alric @ The RPG Athenaeum has some tips on how to bring the magic of those 1E random tables into your 4E campaign. Beware players – random dangers are headed your way!
- I wonder if ckutalik @ Hill Cantons would consider adding a few wandering monsters to spice up the “Unbearable Dullness of DnD Wilderness.” But he’s talking more about describing the wilderness itself than the flora and fauna living there… How do you spice up your wilderness descriptions?
- How many criticals is too many? None of my 4E characters has had the occasion to have more than one or two criticals in their often short lives. But apparently at higher levels (read: EPIC), characters get a lot of crits and it gets a bit out of hand according to the Id DM. Never fear however – Iddy has a proposed solution… Like the Highlander – there can be only one (crit) – a natural 20.
- Did you know that there’s a formula to creating creepy Cthulhu adventures? Neither did I – but I was fascinating by how the folks at the Awesome Dice Blog boiled it down to seven steps. Just seven. And I think they’re on to something!
- Combat. It’s a part of RPGs. But can one single game system possibly describe every different style of combat out there? Joseph Bloch @ Greyhawk Grognard offers a series of YouTube clips showing various combat styles and asks… Can one system handle them all? Be sure to read into the comments – there are some great suggestions in there.
- Speaking of combat, have you ever tried running a battle without a map? Erik Tenkar @ Tenkar’s Tavern has been pondering an abstract map that could be used to handle PC positions, combatant positions, etc. – without needing a physical layout. It’s definitely an interesting idea – I’d have to see it in action though…
- Do you ever struggle with how to include published material in your games? Obsidian Crane @ Daily Encounter has some thoughts for you this week. Other folks’ material works great for inspiration and offering grand themes, among other things…
- Do your mapping skills leave a bit to be desired? Why not check out Risus Monkey’s thoughts on creating a classic keyed map for an adventure. What are the keys to drawing maps for a one-shot?
- How do would-be fighters and soldiers in fantasy campaigns keep their physique? Or get fit in the first place? Tristan J Tarwater @ Troll in the Corner says that these questions lead the way to some great adventures… What places exist to get fit? What plot hooks could be tied in? What kinds of activities do the PCs do to stay in shape?
- For any NPCs in my campaigns that keep showing up to help the PCs, I often wonder why they’re doing it. As Darkwarren @ Dungeon Mastering puts it… “What’s my motivation?” He uses relationships to help find those motivations – a mother, father, cousin, child, etc. offers great motivation when the need arises!
- Do you need an encounter to kick off a campaign? Check out Benoit’s take on Frankenstein’s Monster, but with primal magic as the trigger instead of electricity… Who knew an unhallowed grave and a few standing stones could be so much fun!?
- Do you like Steampunk? How about Pathfinder? Why not merge the two! Carl Rossi has done just that with The Terah Project at Kickstarter. Plenty of good ideas here to check out – so why not offer a few $$ to help?
- Are you looking at launching your own Kickstarter? Michael Tresca @ Examiner.com points us to a new survey of 150 crowdfunded projects and how they did. Plenty of examples of what to do and what not to do to get your project funded.
- Since the Kickstarter project got funded, the folks working on the Far West Adventure Game have been busy with their heads down, but offering glimpses occasionally into what we get to look forward to when the book is released. This week we saw a glimpse at combat – Stunts, Saves, and Bouts.
- Chris Tregenza @ 6d6 continues to blow me away with how transparent he’s making his publishing efforts. Recently he began exploring various issues like the one this week – “the Beautification of 6d6″ – to improve design, layout, and art to give 6d6 products a more professional feel.
- Andrew @ Geek Native had an opportunity to interview Sam Richards, creator of the Tweet RPG, this week. And just like Sam’s article on GKR, he is very happy to talk about his game that is quickly approaching 100 players on Twitter!
- Paizo has started releasing “lite” versions of their hardcover rulebooks and setting books to be a bit more tablet- or netbook-friendly. A few other small publishers are doing this (such as Raging Swan Press), but it’s great to see a big name in the industry to shift to a tablet-oriented game table! (Thanks Iron Wolf @ The Iron Tavern for sharing the news!)
- Troll Lord Games is looking for adventure writers for Castles and Crusades. Interested?
- Tony @ Year of the Dungeon has been taking a look at DCC RPG‘s 450+ pages like I have – and he thinks that there are 250 additional pages missing from the book – and that the flexibility of those missing pages adds a ton to the game… Exploring the ground not covered is what adventure is all about!
- Earlier in the news we talked about combat styles. Is the bar room brawl part of that question? If not, it should be. Though Gozuja @ Stranger Sojourns tells us that Raging Swan Press may have that sewn up nicely with Barroom Brawls!
- Do rogues not get enough love at your game table? Liz @ Nearly Enough Dice suggests that Little Red Goblin Games’ The Rogue’s Gallery offers plenty of roguish details – from feats and items to lore and morale damage… Plenty to keep a rogue happy for a while!
- Do you ever wonder how to populate that city? Perhaps you should hunt for a copy of Citybook IV: On the Road (an old book – where’s eBay when you need it?). Lowell Francis @ Age of Ravens says there are some good story ideas scattered throughout, but that he had to hunt a bit to find them.
And here are a few random links I didn’t have time to place last night:
- Saving Throws Vs Stats from of Pedantry
- Call Of Cthulhu
- Traps from The Looney DM
- Intimidate is Not the Torture Skill
- I’m A Bad Geek
- Howling Tower: Lucern Hammer Beats Banded Mail
- D&D Ennui: Monday’s Blogger Blues
- D&D Art Philosophy – Dragon’s-Eye View
- Triple Threat – The Dungeon Master Experience
- The Architect DM: The Ise Grand Shrine
- Ravenous Role Playing
- www.HouseRules4DND.com – HouseRules4DND
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 do have to wish all the folks at Gnome Stew a very happy birthday – over the weekend they celebrated their fourth birthday!! Congrats!!
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!