Welcome to another edition of the Friday Knight News. Hopefully those of you who made it to Gen Con last weekend are getting back into the swing of things. And those of us who didn’t make it are catching up on all the news via a variety of blog posts over the last week (though I’m sure they’ll continue for another week or two). With all the build-up to the Con and the Con itself, there’s a bit of a lull while everybody collectively catches their breath.
During the brief lull… I’d encourage bloggers to chip in to the August RPG Blog Carnival before the month is up. We’re still curious to see what’s in your backpack! But never fear, Dice Monkey has one ready to go in September – “Running Games in Established Settings” – which I’m already pondering my own response to. (And if you have topics to propose for November or December, feel free to contribute!) (Also check out the “Classics Return” blog carnival over at Daily Encounter for some great food for thought!)
Wasn’t as productive a week here as I’d hoped, since I was sitting on the sidelines at a soccer tournament all weekend (my youngest got 2nd in their division and my eldest got 4th, and they both played hard). Beyond that, I finally had some time to check out Banners on the Cheap, ponder music in RPG sessions, and chat with RPGPundit about his new game on the horizon – Arrows of Indra. We’ll hope that this weekend is a bit more conducive to getting some writing done.
By the way, I’m looking for guest posts if anybody is interested in writing one or more articles for Game Knight Reviews – give me a holler if you have a review or an idea and let’s chat!
On that note, why don’t we dive into the week’s news?
Food for Thought
- Grayson Davis, writing over @ Gnome Stew, has some great ideas for using social media techniques to keep the excitement going between game sessions. My current group uses a mailing list to communicate, share things, and harass each other so I think we’re doing pretty well. And occasionally we do dabble in social media to do the same. But these tips might help kick us up a notch between games.
- Anyone remember trying to obtain the Hand or Eye of Vecna in a previous life? I sure do. And Joe Sparrow @ Dungeons & Drawings has done a great picture of Vecna, the lich of legend. I try not to mess with liches… or beholders… or…
- If you haven’t read The Iron Druid Chronicles from Kevin Hearne yet and you’re a fan of urban fantasy, you should crawl out of under your rock to the nearest bookstore and pick up the four books so far (2 more coming next year). It has a rich backstory that is ripe for RPGs set in urban fantasy settings. It’s similar to The Dresden Files, but different enough to have its own feel. I wonder if anyone has taken the Dresden Files RPG and used it with Kevin Hearne’s world… There’s a new wiki that has a ton of detail on the different fae, gods, and plots involved so far.
- D&D Next is continuing to chug along with its playtest, but I have to wonder how it will materialize as products when it’s ready. Jim White (twwombat) @ Wombat’s Gaming Den of Iniquity has a good suggestion. Why not use the old “box set” approach – Basic, Advanced, etc… I think it’s a great idea. Small, modular chunks focused on a particular level of play.
- If you ever have the opportunity to write professionally, you’re going to have to deal with editors. Some are kind. Others not so much. But you don’t want to tick them off. Susan J. Morris @ Omnivoracious has some great tips on how to deal with editors more effectively.
- “Maps as art” is not a new concept. I think many maps (especially antiques) are suitable for framing and hanging as pieces of art. So the article “Mythical Cartography: The Artistry of Maps” by $techgnotic @ Deviant Art is right up my alley… Gorgeous examples and some great editorial encourage us to celebrate our modern mapmakers!
- Are you new to roleplaying? It can be daunting whether you’re learning to play or joining a new group… Eliot Lefebvre @ Massively has some great tips on easing yourself into new roleplaying opportunities…
- Taking LARPing to a whole new level is the Sealed Mindset center in Minnesota, offering a way for gun-loving Americans to act out the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Yes, role-playing with paintball guns folks!
- I love it when people in the spotlight (actors, directors, musicians) reveal their love for RPGs. Apparently Nick Offerman (TV’s Parks and Recreation and Childrens Hospital) is a huge Call of Cthulhu fan and was a LARPer in college! (Thanks Josh Krup @ Uproxx for the story!)
- Shaun Welch @ Stargazer’s World has an interesting point this week… Do we really need PDFs? And are physical books really better? He makes a compelling argument. But I’ll keep my PDFs.
Games and Gaming
- In case you’re interested in some of the other games created during the 24 hour Little Spaces competition at the Free RPG Blog, Awkward Turtle @ Reddit/rpg took the time to write a blurb about each of the games created and included links to each of the entries at 1KM1KT. Tons of creativity in a small space!
- target="_blank">Need a map? Check out the map albums from Kristian Richards @ The Crooked Staff Blog. He’s stashed them over at Google+ and there’s a ton there to peruse.
- Or if those don’t work for you, check out the weekly free map over at The Labyrinth. Looks like a hot place to hang out.
- Maybe you should look at using a mine as a location for your campaign? Shorty Monster has some great ideas based in reality for how to really ratchet up the suspense…
- Improvisation. Ad-libbing. Winging it. No matter which term you use, it can be scary for GMs new or old. Well, Lord Maximus @ Dungeons N Dragons has some great tips on how to prepare enough to wing it when the time comes. And if that sounds like an oxymoron, it’s not!
- Some of that preparation may involve creating NPCs. Mike Bourke @ Campaign Mastery has a technique for creating one in 3 minutes. Yes, you read that correctly. 3 minutes! And that’s kind of incredible when you look at the article and it takes you more than 3 minutes to read.
- While you’re doing that prep, you might check out “Planning the Start of a New Campaign” by DM Samuel @ RPG Musings. Again, some great tips and techniques for boiling it down to essentials so you’re not spinning your wheels in any one area too long…
- Have you ever run across any adventures explicitly designed for 2-3 adventurers? Usually it seems to be in the 4-6 range. Erik Tenkar @ Tenkar’s Tavern is looking for some and could use some recommendations.
- I’ve heard nothing but good things about Madness of Gardmore Abbey (4e) from James Wyatt, Creighton Broadhurst, and Steve Townshend @ WotC. And Mike Shea @ Sly Flourish has ideas on how to make it better… What’s more is that these tips can apply to things beyond Gardmore Abbey. Sandboxes are fun, folks!
- Are you looking for some new ways to expand White Wolf’s Exalted? Thoth @ Emergence Campaign Weblog has some ideas for Mortal Martial Arts to add some kung-fu to the mix…
- Matt @ Monkey in the Cage had some interesting thoughts around D&D Next and has hope that it brings the edition wars to a close finally…
- Sounds like Jen Martin @ GeekIncognito had a terrific time at Gen Con 2012! She offers a few pictures as proof of her adventures, but it’s amazing how much she fit into just a few days…
- Iddy @ The Id DM survived his first Gen Con. And he sums it up with one word – overwhelming. I can only imagine the insanity, but his pictures do a great job to help me in that pursuit.
- Trask @ Living Dice wrote up some reports about some of the cool things spotted at Gen Con… Part 1 deals mostly with what the vendors had to offer and Part 2 had to do with the events…
- The Reaper Miniatures Kickstarter – Dark Heaven Bones – is nearing the end of its funding window, but has nearly 10,000 backers and raised almost $2,000,000 (it may have blown past that by the time you read this). That’s a lot of zeroes. I’m excited to see all of these cool little minis show up at my doorstep sometime in the next 6-8 months (I’m a backer at the Vampire level, and for $100 it’s insane how many minis are included). The Reaper folks have their work cut out for them and I wish them all the best. Only a few more hours left to get in on the action!
- What do you get when you mix Cthulhu with Murder on the Orient Express? Horror on the Orient Express, of course – from Chaosium. This classic box set from 1991 is getting a serious update and has some great momentum – with more than 30 days left and already with 250% funding. Lovecraft-inspired gaming. What’s not to like?
- Would you rather see a new module appear as a PDF or as an ePub? That’s the question Mike Bohlmann poses with a new Kickstarter creating e-books instead of PDFs for the PFRPG. What do you think?
- The megadungeon Kickstarter from Dungeonaday.com has met and exceeded their original funding goal by nearly 4x. With only a few hours left, there’s still a little time to jump in to support it and get some dungeon fodder for your table!
- If you’re looking for other types of projects to support, check out Zenestex “Crowdfunding Round Up” @ Geeks of Doom… Plenty of great projects from web comic collections to Steampunk and an interview of Jeff McComsey, the “Supreme Commander” of the FUBAR 2 project.
- Do you like horror? Check out ESPER – a new horror RPG from Callan Souza… The open character rules sound very intriguing and it sounds like playtesting is going very well, so I’m eager to learn more…
- Matt @ The Land of Nod mentioned that the new RPG - Blood & Treasure: Fantasy Role Playing Game - is now up for sale at Lulu! An introductory adventure is coming as well, so be sure to check it out! Congrats!
- Trey @ From the Sorcerer’s Skull is looking for some help with a companion to his Weird Adventures project. To help, he’s crowdsourcing adventure seeds. And there’s a competition. The ones he likes will make it into the supplement and the contestants will get a free PDF. The best two will get $10 Amazon money or a hardcopy of the book. Pretty cool deal!
- Crooked Bee @ RPG Codex had a great interview with Monte Cook about D&D and RPG design a couple of weeks ago that I missed, but is definitely worth checking out.
- Fantasy Flight Games announced a new Star Wars roleplaying game at Gen Con and we’re starting to see a bit more about the new system. Battlegrip.com showed some pictures taken of actual pages from the first book – Star Wars: Edge of the Empire. And ICV2 had an interview with Steve Horvath, Fantasy Flight Games’ VP of Marketing, about the new Star Wars game about their plans for the new line…
- Tim Knight @ Heropress offers a review of Death Love Doom from Lamentations of the Flame Princess… And though it won’t be for everybody (and may go from horror to farce it seems), it offers an “immensely evocative – and stomach wrenching – tableaux…”
- target="_blank">Gale Force Nine announced at Gen Con a new line of miniatures for D&D – the D&D Miniatures Collectors Series . Critters like the Purple Worm, Beholders, and even Lolth are included in the mix.
- Raging Swan Press continues to impress me with their aggressive publishing schedule… This week they released So What’s The Armour Like, Anyway? from designer Richard Green. Sure, we all know warriors we fight have chain or leather or plate, but what’s it look like? This book offers plenty of descriptions to fill the blanks!
- Thilo Graf is definitely one of the Sleepless from Nancy Kress’ Beggars in Spain. I don’t see where else he gets the time to review as many titles as he does for G*M*S Magazine. This week he looked at Shadow Planes & Pocket Worlds, a web enhancement for Dark Roads and Golden Hells from Open Design. Apparently there’s a bit of controversy about this one and has some seriously mature themes revolving around children trapped in a twisted fairy tale.
- Thilo also reviewed Shadowsfall: Temple of Orcus, a new free adventure from Jon Brazer Enterprises for PFRPG. Though not without a few issues, it sounds like it might be fun… And it has Orcus! Can’t go completely wrong with the big guy.
- Comic books and RPGs. The two worlds have flirted many times since I started gaming many moons ago. Apparently Dynamite Entertainment and Paizo have teamed up for the Pathfinder comic series. Jeffrey Tadlock @ The Iron Tavern took a look at it at Gen Con and it even includes a 10-page Sandpoint Gazetteer describing the area the story is set in! (Jason Newcomb @ StashMyComics.com had a less positive review…)
- If you’re looking for something unique, you might want to check out Ryan Macklin’s Mythender if Jonathan Lavallee @ Gamish Designer has anything to say about it… And he does.
- Jade @ Evil Machinations took some time to write a review. She doesn’t do that often, so it must be good. And it is - Never Prepared: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Session Prep from Phil Vecchione & Engine Publishing. Read the review. Buy the book. ‘Nuff said.
- Ryan Matthew Pierson @ LockerGnome has an opinion about which of the Pathfinder Adventure Paths is the best… He recommends Kingmaker and offers some solid reasons why folks should check it out.
- Need some creepy music for your campaign? Check out O* Erdenstern! Plenty of great things are being said about their Mountains of Madness soundtrack.
That’s it for this week on the news front. If you want a bit more, check out:
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!