Welcome to the next edition of the Friday news assault! The madness around here is really starting to get back to a dull roar as school and soccer get underway and the groaning has just begun. It’s kind of funny actually since I’m usually the first one up no matter what time of year it is!
Anyway… The gaming world is abuzz with Gen Con just around the corner. Alas I will not be among the throngs of people, but will be attending the CONcurrent celebration whenever I can. And I’m looking forward to the simultaneous events like the D&D keynote – hopefully there will be more of those! Beyond the online aspects I’ll be watching for Gen Con-themed posts to keep up on all the latest news where I can.
This week we had an interesting mix of posts…
- I had a chance to interview Mike Nystul of “Nystul’s Magic Aura” fame about his new game – Axes and Anvils… (Only a few hours left to pledge!)
- The Gassy Gnoll waxed philosophically about the rift between designers and players…
- We had one review about Divine Favor: The Oracle…
- And a Game Fodder article kicking off a new series…
Next week… More reviews, a guest post, more Game Fodder, a mid-month collection of blog carnival articles and who knows what else?
that note, why don’t we dive right into the news for the week?
Food for Thought
- Are you going to Gen Con? If so, might I recommend this great repost of an article from Derek Myers @ Dungeon’s Master entitled “In Anticipation of GenCon“… It includes 6 tips for players and 6 for GMs. He also brought out “10 Things I Learned at Worldwide D&D Game Day.” Great tips!
- Do we really need more reasons to play D&D or RPGs in general? If we do, Adam Grimm @ Grimm Wisdom offers 5 solid reasons to share D&D with the next generation and I can’t disagree with any of them.
- Road trip! Well, sure it’s underground and we may not be alone down there, but come on and let’s go! Steve Winter @ KQ offers some great ideas for underground encounters you can
tempt tauntthrow at your players!
- Do you need a weird word to really set your imagination on fire? Check out Luciferous Logolepsy. That’s all I’ll say here because I’m trying to figure out how to use these words in Words With Friends to win a game or two… (It has to be the most bizarre collection of words I’ve ever seen and they’re fantastic!!)
- Runeslinger @ Casting Shadows frequently comes up with some very thought-provoking articles. “Let the Beats Fall Where They May” definitely falls into that category. I’m still pondering what to take away from it because every time I read it I notice something else… Gaming is about discovering stories together. Collaborative storytelling. Definitely read this one folks.
Games and Gaming
- Are you in need of a volcano god for your campaign? Check out “Burnt Offerings” at Jordan Ritchie’s Page of Useless Babble. Lots of details here – from a description of who worships this god to the nature of volcano gods and much more. Great food for thought!
- Are you designing a city for your campaign? Need some questions to get you going? Check out “Reality Makes the Best Fantasy: Country vs. City” from Tristan J. Tarwater @ Troll in the Corner (nice redesign btw after their recent hacking issues!). There are sections for GMs with some possible plot hooks as well as some questions for the PCs…
- I don’t think this is a new site, but I was excited to run across it this week – Ash’s Guide to RPG Personality & Background. It offers an amazingly detailed walkthrough of character traits, motivators, and background that you can use to really flesh out your characters.
- The Pathfinder Society has really taken off it seems, and I was thrilled to see this article from Thorynn @ Skyland Games regarding the society work converting some of the regular society scenarios to “goblinize” them. We Be Goblins! was a lot of fun to read (and I’m sure fun to play), so I’ll be curious to see Rise of the Goblin Guild and whatever else comes out of this goblinizing process!
- Speaking of goblins… James Wyatt @ the D&D Blog decided this week to try and define the difference between three of the main goblinoid races – goblins, bugbears, and hobgoblins. I like the distinctions he makes simply because it’s less about the game system and more about their general qualities.
- The dice required for Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG are quite intriguing… A d3? A d7? Crazy! Well, Runeslinger @ Casting Shadows recently went through a quest to find Zocchi dice and wrote about it. It’s a challenge! My FLGS couldn’t find them but I eventually found some via Awesome Dice online that I ordered. And yes, the two sets I ordered do somewhat look like “a bunch of shaved ice trying to hang out with a golf ball.” (Great line in the article.)
- Ken B @ Fortress AT had an interesting article with a couple of reviews embedded within it this week… But it’s wisdom like this – “I’ll play a 12 shitty games with people I like being around before I’ll play just one session of my absolute favorite game with a table full of fun murderers.” – that really made me stand up and cheer. Great reviews, but gaming is definitely all about the people we play with more than the games themselves and it’s good to get reminded of that occasionally.
- If you do a bit of house-ruling at your table for D&D 4E, you might want to look at the idea of Signature Attack Powers from Michael @ Neuroglyph Games. I really like this idea for epic tier characters to gain some monster-like abilities to recharge powers or gain certain bonuses, etc.
- DiamondF @ Reddit put up a link to his RPG books as freeware this week… It includes 700 spells, rituals, and other magic powers that you can adapt to your games. For free under Creative Commons!
- Need a dark place for a modern campaign? Check out “I Know a Shortcut” at AncientScroll.pl from James “Grim” Desborough… Creepy!
- Narosia: Sea of Tears is a new RPG Kickstarter that uses the HERO System and is in the works from Silverback Press & Legendsmiths… Though I’m not a big fan of HERO, the idea of a HERO-based game that’s been building for 30 years is quite intriguing… I wish there was a bit more to go on in the project description however.
- I don’t know about you, but I’m addicted to JourneyQuest – season 1 had me howling and season 2 so far has me in its clutches as well… Now there’s a new series some newcomers want to produce via a Kickstarter called Fang & Talon that also looks like it has potential. Fighting? Comedy? Fantasy? Count me in! (By the way, Zombie Orpheus, the folks behind JourneyQuest are still working towards funding a new series - The Gamers: Hands of Fate. They’re about halfway there with four weeks left to go… Run, don’t walk to pledge today. )
- Ok, so the “Dragons Gameboard” Kickstarter from Brass Monkey is quite interesting. It’s a technological solution to a shared game board. Imagine using a laptop attached to a big HDTV to show a map in a web page that looks quite a bit like an old arcade game. Players can use iOS or Android devices then to update the map, move pieces, etc. Instead of needing a big table for a large map board – you just show it on a screen. Though I wish the map was a bit more graphically detailed, I can really see the benefits of this project. (And I love the fact that it’s open source!)
- Ever since Fantasy Flight Games announced their Star Wars X-Wing miniatures game many moons ago, many of us have been chomping at the bit. I’m not sure I’d play the game, but the minis look fantastic. Over at TGN they posted a new preview from Fantasy Flight of the X-Wing miniature and I have to agree with the first comment on the post: folks have been waiting for this for a while – release it already!
- I love it when small press gets noticed by traditional media… Avarice Industries is a new independent RPG that successfully achieved funding through a Kickstarter campaign back in March. And they attracted the attention of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette with a great article (I just wish they actually linked to the sites they mentioned like the Avarice Industries site and the Kickstarter project) for a great piece by Deborah M. Todd… The game looks intriguing and I love the art, which reminds me quite a bit of a more twisted Cyberpunk setting…
- I don’t know if you’ve read any oof Larry Correia’s Monster Hunger International series of books, but they’re awesome. I’ve read the first two and have the third one here to dive into when time allows. But apparently there’s a RPG based on MHI coming out using the Champions system from HERO Games! Though I’m still not a fan of HERO, I definitely want to see what they do with this game – and will be keeping an eye out for the Kickstarter coming in October 2012!
- Interviews are almost always enlightening. And Cape Rust @ Roleplayers Chronicle recently had an opportunity to chat with Shane Hensley of the Pinnacle Entertainment Group about his work in the RPG industry on things like Deadlands and Savage Worlds among others. Great to get a glimpse behind the curtain.
- Do you get to the Kobold Quarterly store often? You should check it out – it just went through a bit of a facelift.
- Speaking of the kobolds, Open Design has released three new products just in time for Gen Con - Shadow Planes & Pocket Worlds (PFRPG), Monsters of Sin 4: Lust (PFRPG), and New Paths 2: The Expanded Shaman (PFRPG). Check ‘em out!
- Purple Duck Games has released a new game for 1st level PFRPG characters – The Crimson Caves.
- Rite Publishing has released #30 Variant Dragons (PFRPG), which offers some very unique dragons for your world.
- LPJ Design has released a new free setting supplement – Obsidian Apocalypse: World of Abaddon (PFRPG)… A meteor crashes into the world, leaving it in ruins… Can the population of Abaddon survive? (Don’t forget to support the Obsidian Apocalypse Kickstarter project as well!)
- And maybe your players’ dreams are a bit too tame? Try the new product from Raging Swan Press – Portentous Dreams… Nothing like giving your players vague hints to drive them batty!
- Toon. The name alone reminds me of some wonderful times in college playing this terrific game from Steve Jackson Games. And James Maliszewski @ Grognardia reminds me just how much I liked it. And as he says, it’s not perfect. But I think that’s part of its charm.
- And Lowell Francis @ Age of Ravens took a look at Warhammer’s “The Enemy Within Campaign” series – specifically “Something Rotten.” Apparently this one isn’t the best and really doesn’t fit in the series… but still has some redeeming features.
- I can always trust Thilo Graf @ G*M*S Magazine to review something I want to know more about only days after it hits the market. Dark Roads & Golden Hells from Open Design takes the ideas from Planescape and runs with them to the point where Thilo is gushing about it in detail. Great review as always and I’m looking forward to diving into this book myself.
- Agent 00 @ the Gaming Security Agency had a chance to play with Roll20 recently and play online over the web. And I have to say the more I learn about Roll20, the more I’m curious to give it a try myself at some point!
- Aaron @ Roleplayers Chronicle had a chance to check out Threats – a new supplement for Shadow, Sword & Spell from Rogue Games. Based on the review it sounds like it hits on all cylinders for pulp fantasy whether you’re investigating Cthuloid critters or going to the center of the Earth!
- Paul Gorman @ Quickly, Quietly, Carefully checked out the Towers of Krshal setting from Albert Rakowski and I have to say I’m intrigued. A setting described through a collection of random tables? Sounds like a winner for creative fodder at the very least!
- I don’t know how Pubslush works yet, but I’m pondering whether or not it might be useful to RPG publishers… Sort of like a Kickstarter for writing projects it looks like.
- Need a random name? Check out Behind the Name Random Name Generator (or download the Name Shake app for iOS) to generate a name from a wide array of languages and other sources… If you don’t, I’ll sick the witch Hazelsnort (randomly generated) on you!
- Or if you need a whole tool box, check out James’s Random Generators – everything from Excel spreadsheets and PDFs to online generators and tools all over the web. Great list-o-links!
That’s it for this week on the news front. If you want a bit more, check out:
- The Weekly Assembly @ Gamer Assembly (the last one!)
- Links for the Week @ Intwischa
- The Weekly Roundup @ Roving Band of Misfits
- What’s Up With D&D? @ ENWorld
- The Friday Five @ Ravenous Role Playing
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!