Tally ho campers! It is once again Friday and we have some excellent links for you this week. Here in the U.S. we are going into Labor Day weekend, which according to Wikipedia “pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers.” Honestly these days it’s more about it being a long weekend at the end of summer. I wish I could say we were gaming this weekend, but we had a good time in Jason’s Zeitgeist 4e campaign last Saturday night and it will be another week or two before we get back to the table. Hopefully the rest of you in the U.S. enjoy the long weekend and get some gaming in.
Since last Friday, it’s been a normal week around here…
- I explored a few adventure ideas around smelting ore into usable metal for casting in the latest Game Fodder article. And yes, it is a bit more exciting than it sounds!
- Achtung! Cthulhu from Sarah Newton and Modiphius captured my attention as I reviewed the first adventure of the ZERO POINT campaign for Call of Cthulhu.
- The Gassy Gnoll pondered plots in “Micro, Macro, Meta” in an attempt to work multiple levels for a new campaign…
- And Javier Cuesta talked about his game Penumbra – a new post-apocalyptic gothic horror RPG.
I’m hoping I’ll get another Game Fodder article up over the weekend as well as some reviews next week, so stay tuned for your regularly scheduled insanity.
One quick reminder – if you’re interested in getting in on the $10 DriveThruRPG gift certificate giveaway, be sure to get your name into the pot! I’ll be drawing a name next Friday!
And on that note, let’s dive into some links!
Food for Thought
- Names can be tough, whether it’s for a PC or NPC, place, or thing… Well, Brian Klems @ Writer’s Digest has some tips for picking names for fictional characters that may also apply to gaming, especially #1 and #3.
- D&D Next has many people talking over the Interwebz, regardless of whether they like the direction WotC is going or not. Allen @ The Crimson Bastards has some suggestions for the WotC folks this week as far as who to cast for a Dragonlance movie if they get the chance…
- Do you ever refurbish old terrain for your games? Dave Bone @ The Wargate walks us through how they refurbished some old hills for their games. They look pretty slick and should be useful in multiple genres and games at the table.
- Michael @ Futile Position asked a good question this week. “Do you ever buy RPGs you won’t get to play?” Personally I do this all the time. I check out tons of games and hardly ever get to play any beyond what the gaming groups I’m in have wanted to play… Occasionally I’ll have a chance to play something at home with my kids, but it’s definitely rare. I do try to read the majority of what I pick up, but even that falls by the wayside sometimes.
- Are you pondering the life of a RPG freelancer? Monica Valentinelli @ Geek’s Dream Girl has some news for you… You can’t really go it alone. Though working independently is definitely a part of the process, gaming involves people – playtesters, other writers, artists, and so on. Oh, and you have to be flexible because you can’t control everything yourself. Game design as an ecosystem. I like it!
- Matt Timmins @ Big Blue Die has come up with a list of great books to inspire your gaming… And now I have even more reading to catch up on!
- “Dungeon” and “Sociology” aren’t two words I’d expect to see together, but perdustin @ Thoul’s Paradise offers something interesting this week. He found an essay from Costikyan and Simonsen’s DeathMaze offering some intriguing ideas about dungeons and how gamers perceive them as part of the gaming environment…
- Are you needing some ways to get more creative? Mike Saporito @ Starting with Story has some suggestions to help you tap into your inner genius. What’s brilliant is how simple they are. Break the routine! That’s the key!
- Or if you’re looking at a problem and everyone’s saying it can’t be solved or it’s been done before, maybe it’s time to take a different approach. Holly Green @ Innovation Excellence has some tips on how to get more innovation into the mix.
- And if those don’t work, why not try to be awesome at a moment’s notice using these tips from Adam Dachis @ Lifehacker? Or explore options you know are wrong anyway to clear out the cobwebs and see some new angles as suggested by Thorin Klosowski @ Lifehacker?
- Have you heard about how the Swedish government is supporting gaming? They’re offering funding (about $1100 USD) to gaming groups to help keep youth in productive social situations. Elin Dalstal @ Gaming As Women has all the details. And I wonder why we’re not doing it here? Wouldn’t gaming help some of our kids off the streets and learning? I know gaming energized my love for books, learning, and all sorts of subjects…
Games and Gaming
- Need some magic items? Check these out from Matt @ The Megadungeon. My favorite? The “Bugbear Repellent.” Don’t leave home without it!
- Or maybe a few swords? Mobius @ Ennead Games has created 10 of various sizes and shapes for whatever need you may have…
- Joe Sparrow @ Dungeons & Drawings has illustrated Moradin, the Soul Forger, and chief deity of the dwarves… And I love all the runes in the background.
- Skills are one of those areas of RPGs that I either love or hate and I’ve gone back and forth between small, but broad skill sets and long but narrow skill sets… A.L. @ Reality Refracted has some great thoughts on both sides of the equation and even found some middle ground!
- Anthony Mohr @ Mr. Sharp’s Gaming Emporium also discussed skills this week, specifically in PFRPG/3.5e. There’s a lot of info and thought crammed into this article, so be sure to read it two or three times (I may have to read it another 2 or 3 before I grok it all, but it’s definitely deep!)…
- Do you need a weapons shop for your fantasy RPG? John Arcadian @ Gnome Stew has not one, but FIVE different shops for you to peruse and potentially include in your worlds… Each with detailed descriptions and even lists of potential encounters!
- Lowell Francis @ Age of Ravens has been covering the “History of Horror RPGs” of late – starting with 1981-1990, then covering 1991-1995, and now 1996-2000. If you’re looking for some horror games for inspiration, this is an AWESOME list to start with and I’m wondering what’s in the 2001-2012 post!
- With this year’s election making me seriously consider voting for Cthulhu, I found it somehow appropriate that Berin Kinsman @ Asparagus Jumpsuit would come up with a list of seven Cthulhu critters scattered throughout the PFRPG Bestiaries… The commentary on where each appeared in Lovecraft’s stories makes this great reading material in case you’re interested in exploring the mythos further.
- With the upcoming release of the Star Wars: Edge of the Empire RPG, more details surface every day about the beta. Michael @ Futile Position looked at some of the dice pool mechanics for combat among some other bits. Some of the bad guys you get to shoot at are going to take more than a few shots to take ‘em down…
- Meanwhile over at Dice Monkey, they’re walking through creating a character in Edge of the Empire going step by step… Here’s the concept and here’s taking the concept to the character sheet…
- Do you sometimes take a look at yourself and what you need to work on as a player or gamer? I know I do (and fail regularly) and keep trying. LS @ Papers & Pencils wrote a great post about the various aspects of GMing he wants to focus on and improve.
- Chris McDowall @ SoogaGames came up with a simple spell list for D&D – from cantrips to 5th level – each with a name and brief description. This should be handy for any GM playing D&D – just about any version – even if it’s just as a cheat sheet and you add page numbers for the full descriptions.
- I love it when GMs and players collaborate to create something both will enjoy. The Douchey DM is running a new GURPS Fantasy game over Google+ and apparently though he had some ideas while doing world building, the characters offered a very different challenge. As a result, he changed things up and ended up with a better story it seems…
- Wow. I love world design. And love it more when folks share worlds they’ve been working on for years. Nathan @ My trials in worldbuilding showed images of an absolutely gorgeous map…
- Do you want to add King Kong to your Call of Cthulhu campaign? Tymothi @ Temple of Cthulhu has stats and a story for you… Remind me not to get in Kong’s way as I go insane in CoC, ok?
- Or maybe you want a way to really mess with your players quickly. Take a look what Mike Shea @ Sly Flourish has come up with for zone-wide environmental effects. Imagine having a way to change the entire battlefield… Cover it in a thick fog. Make the whole area unstable. Creep out your players in one foul move!
Gen Con 2012
- Iddy @ the Id DM survived his first Gen Con and didn’t plan on buying many things there. But he did go looking for some new dice. That led to learning some interesting things about GameScience dice and their rough state… And maybe GameScience will take Iddy’s thoughts on Kickstarter to heart.
- Manda Collins @ Flames Rising was kind enough to put together a great summary of her experiences as a first-time attendee as well. She included news about the games she played as well as important announcements.
- Jonathan Lavalee @ Gamish Designer talked about running some great games at Gen Con this year - Geasa, The Importance of Being Gwendolyn, and more!
- The Mad Brew Labs folks did a wrap-up of their Gen Con experience as well, talking about demos, publishers, and products that they did or didn’t get to check out…
- Dice. Made from lava. That’s what the “Eternity Dice” Kickstarter project from Escape Studios is offering. And it’s a unique enough offering they’re getting plenty of love from the community…
- One of the projects that we’ve heard quite a bit about around Gen Con was the D&D Documentary… Andrew @ Geek Native wrote about it this week and the associated Kickstarter, which could use some help. With a little more than 2 weeks to go, they have more than $100k left to raise for their $150k goal…
- Sean Preston’s tremulus project at Kickstarter is going gangbusters and Michael @ futile position had a great overview of the game this week.
- I love it when Kickstarter projects come back with stats when a project is done. Jacob Wood @ the Psi-Punk blog offers a TON of details, charts, and graphs after the success of his Psi-punk Fudge RPG project.
- I’m hearing nothing but good things about 13th Age from Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet, but they’re already starting to go beyond the core book with some expansions. They’ve kicked off a new Kickstarter project called 13 True Ways which offers monsters, magic items, locations, and NPCs to help flesh things out… The artwork from Lee Moyer and Aaron McConnell looks absolutely stunning, so I’m looking forward to getting my hands on this game eventually! (For a bit more about 13 True Ways, check out this post at Rob Heinsoo’s blog about the Koru behemoths!)
- Streamliner Games has kicked off a new project for the Metalface RPG, a tactical tabletop RPG where in the future mankind transferred the souls of men into robots for combat… It looks a little like Transformers meets Cyberpunk…
- Do you need a mall for your zombies to run free in? Check out the new Fabled Environments Kickstarter for “A Two-story mall for Tabletop RPGs.” This looks perfect for any modern campaign where you want a few civilians (or civilian zombies) in the way.
- Or maybe you’re looking for a way to get in a little tabletop roleplaying in over the Internet with a group of friends? Why not try Conclave, from 10×10 Room? They’ve got a new Kickstarter for this web-based, tabletop RPG-influenced game and it actually looks pretty cool. I had a good time with the first adventure at PlayConclave.com and was up and running very quickly.
- You’ve heard of Gaming Paper, right? They’ve quickly made a name for themselves generating not only blank sheets where you can draw maps, but amazing maps as well. And now… You can get it in different colors! Yes, there’s a Kickstarter for that!
- And if you haven’t heard of tremulus yet, you might want to check out Sean Preston’s Kickstarter. I’m excited to dive into this new take on Lovecraftian horror. (Stargazer @ Stargazer’s World has a great interview with Preston about tremulus this week too!)
- RedBrick has been publishing games like Earthdawn, Fading Suns, and Blue Planet since 2003. Well, apparently RedBrick is stepping down from game publishing and will become a fiction publisher instead. What will happen to the games? Earthdawn and Demonworld will go back to FASA… And FASA has also picked up Fading Suns, Noble Armada, and Blue Planet from their licensors… Best of luck to all the folks at RedBrick during and after the transition!
- WotC’s D&D crew will be out in force at PAX Prime this weekend, including a few events that will be broadcast!
- Scott M @ The Trollish Delver had a great interview with Jamie Fry, the editor of the Fighting Fantasy website and “The Warlock” of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain.
- Apparently Zenith Comics recently bought exclusive rights to the Supers! Comic Book RPG… This sounds like a great combination and I expect we’ll see fun things out of the collaboration between Zenith and Simon Washbourne, the creator of Supers!. (Thanks Andrew @ Geek Native for this news!)
- Jay (pointyman2000) also had a great interview post this week @ Life and Times of a Philippine Gamer… He asked Eloy Lasanta (Third Eye Games) a few questions regarding Wu Xing, his new game. (Keep an eye out for the upcoming Kickstarter campaign for the game!)
- Morrus (Russel Morrissey) from EN World has created a new web series - The Perturbed Dragon. (Thanks Andrew @ Geek Native for letting us know about it!) It’s about a group of seasoned adventurers playing a new RPG – “REAL LIFE” – with things like “sell-fones” and “call centares”! The first episode is pretty funny. You can learn more about the series at ThePerturbedDragon.com!
- In an interesting move, the Roleplayers Chronicle is launching a new service – the Tabletop RPG Publisher Resource Network – offering free and low cost tools for independent publishers and designers to help publish and promote their products. I saw something similar about 15 years ago that never went anywhere, but hopefully in an age where PDF and the Internet rule they’ll be able to offer some help to small publishers!
- Do you need a village for a fantasy campaign that looks safe and comforting on the outside but harbors a troubled past? Check out Village Backdrop: Roake from designer Ben Kent and Raging Swan Press. I love this sort of quick village to drop into a campaign when you need it and hope to see more of them…
- Cosmic Patrol from Catalyst Game Labs included a little book in this year’s Free RPG Day celebration and I have to admit that I still haven’t had a chance to check it out. But Aaron Huss @ Roleplayers Chronicle took a good hard look and did not find it lacking! I love the idea of a rotating “Lead Narrator” so everybody is involved!
- Sean Holland @ The Sea of Stars did three short reviews for PFRPG products this week - Genius Guide to: Another 110 Spell Variants, Loot 4 Less: Things That Make You Go Boom, and Fehr’s Ethnology: Ith’n Ya’roo. Sounds like it’s a mix of useful ingredients for Pathfinder.
- Letter Roll isn’t an RPG, but it sure looks like fun. Benoit @ Roving Band of Misfits took a look as part of the Game Night blog carnival this month. I love word games, so might have to check it out.
- Iddy @ The Id DM checked out Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer and offered a review for the Game Night blog carnival as well. Looks like it operates a bit like Dominion, which is a lot of fun.
- George @ Goblin Labs took the time to check out High Valor by Tim Kirk. Sounds like it has some good things to consider…
- Thilo @ G*M*S Magazine had some time to review Tattlebox #2: Better Adventuring Through Alchemy from Zombie Sky Press this week. Sounds like Zombie Sky hit one out of the box and offered some new and innovative ideas for alchemy in PFRPG.
And here are all the links I ran out of time (and oomph) to get into the other categories!
- [Gamers & Grognards] New Gamer Shirts
- [Ancient Scroll] Virtues & The Hero Pool
- [They Might Be Gazebos] Swords & Wizardry SRD
- [The Other Side] Not to sound like a broken record…
- [G*M*S Magazine] The Fiddler’s Lament
- [Land of Nod] Alien Booze
- [Observations of the Fox] What is it with “Apocalypse World”?
- [Bored & Sorcery] Preview: Narosia: The Sea of Tears
- [Ben's RPG Pile] One Hut, Two Hut, Three Hut a Party
- [Dread Gazebo] I’m In Love With Another (Game)
- [Neuroglyph Games] Wizards Watch: D&D Next – Class Balance versus Design of Resentment
- [Kickstarter] Invasion of the Saucer People – Card Game
- [Kobold Quarterly] Howling Tower: Setting the Hook
- [Geek News (MTV)] New ‘Star Wars’ RPG Takes Players To ‘Edge of the Empire’
- [icv2] Legends of Andor’ Board Game
- [Wired] Fantasy Figurines Capture Millions on Kickstarter
- [Wizards] Who Wants to Be an Abomination? – Wandering Monsters
- [Troll in the Corner] Something Went Wrong – the competitive fantasy RPG where things go horrible wrong
- [Bell of Lost Souls] Warhammer 40k, Fantasy, Wargames & Miniatures News: Bell of Lost Souls: RPG: Iron Kingdoms – Core Rules First Impressions
- [io9] What’s Coming Next for Dungeons & Dragons and Forgotten Realms
- [MartinRalya.com] Reading Appendix N: The project, the appendix, and the goal
- [Observations of the Fox] Walkabout Mood/Scene Generator
- [1000 Foot General] Are Reaper Bones Any Good?
- [Kickstarter] Exploding Aces, a new RPG by 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming by Robert Thomson, 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming
- [The Game Jar] gamescom 2012: The Missing Ink Preview
- [Board & Base] Gen Con 2012: The Future of D&D
- [Gen Con] Press Release with 2012 Attendance numbers -
That’s it for this week on the news front. If you want a bit more, check out:
- The Weekly Assembly @ Gamer Assembly
- Links for the Week @ Intwischa
- The Weekly Roundup @ Roving Band of Misfits
- What’s Up With D&D? @ ENWorld
There’s definitely plenty of news go go around!
I have to wish a HUGE congratulations to Jay (pointyman2000 @ Life and Times of a Philippine Gamer) who is getting married this weekend! Best of luck to you both and may you game forever together!
Congrats to Jeffrey Tadlock (ir0nwolf) @ The Iron Tavern for his blog’s one year anniversary! Keep up the great work!
And congrats to RPG Musings with their new podcast Across a Table Madly (great name!). Expect new episodes every couple of weeks - episode zero (an introduction) and episode 1 (“What’s so great about Eclipse Phase?”) are already up there for your listening pleasure.
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! Always looking for publisher news, reviews, links to new Kickstarter projects and more – just let me know!