Where did July go? It seemed to zip by with the power of ten billion butterfly sneezes… That said, my daughters will start the new school year soon, which means my life may yet return to some semblance of “normal” even though I have no idea what that word means.
Meanwhile, the Summer Olympics are marching on in London for another 9 days. Though I’ve enjoyed some of the events, I have to say that I’ll be happy when it ends and I won’t feel compelled to watch NBC’s edited and spotty coverage until 11pm every night. Even so, it’s quite the spectacle and I have no idea how the program committee manages to keep everything moving in a thousand different directions for
2832 different sports. I wonder what kinds of horror stories there are from the people behind the scenes.
Anyway, that’s the wrong kind of games for this particular post! I’ll leave it with “GO USA” and move on…
Here at Game Knight Reviews it’s been business as usual with a variety of posts since last week:
- Two reviews: Kobold Quarterly #22, and Monsters of Sin 1: Avarice from the kobolds at Open Design
- Some godly game fodder about “The Godly Court” and a twisted group of deities to ponder for your campaigns. More about these folks will appear in future articles.
- An interview with Tim Loya, one of the folks behind the “The Expedition Journals of Amestus Armen” Kickstarter project (which achieved full funding this week thanks to great folks like yourselves!).
- And finally, the kickoff of the August 2012 RPG Blog Carnival by The Gassy Gnoll. It’s a simple question that can be answered a million ways depending on your context, so I’m excited to see what folks do with it over the next few weeks. (By the way, there’s another carnival this week – the “Classics Return” carnival at Daily Encounter. Check it out!)
One quick note – I’m looking for suggestions on how to celebrate the 2 year anniversary of the site! If you’ve seen different things work well elsewhere, I’d love to hear about them – I don’t have a ton of capital to throw free stuff your way, but am eternally grateful each and every day for the readership of Game Knight Reviews. You guys rock!
Beyond that, what’s been going on outside my little corner of the world? Let’s find out!
Food for Thought
- In the “Why?” category this week we have the weird situation where Rush Limbaugh’s newsletter ripped off a picture from the 3e D&D Monster Manual II (as reported by Cyriaque Lamar @ io9). Too damn strange. Politics really does make strange bedfellows if Limbaugh is fighting off a Nightmare Beast.
- Regardless of the game you play, if there’s a GM and players, communication between them can avoid a lot of problems. Jack @ Jack’s Toolbox offers a great story about an instance where a lack of communication led to a less than fun game experience, but makes some strong suggestions on simple ways to avoid the problem.
- Sometimes I wonder about my RPG characters and what they would do in various situations but can’t “get into” that role or motivate them to do much. BryanMD @ Intwischa has some great tips on using method acting to get inside their head this week!
- How do you define an orc or a gnoll so that anyone you give the description to can immediately draw something in that vein or develop stats for them? James Wyatt @ the D&D blog talks about “Orcs & Gnolls” this week to start the conversation…
- But it didn’t stop there… Jon Schindehette @ the D&D blog combined all the various gnoll artwork together to illustrate their new design based on James Wyatt’s article…
- Ugh. Have you ever had someone in a group who cheated with their dice? Maybe it’s that they own a teeny tiny die that nobody can read but them or that they roll the dice say “aha” and swoop in to pick it up before anybody can verify that natural 20? Apparently the Douchey DM had that happen in a recent campaign and wondered aloud why anyone would actually cheat in the first place… It’s a game!
- Story Realms is a new game coming from Escapade Games and two of the folks (Randy and Angie) have a 6-year old daughter who just ran a game for *them*. Yes, you read that right. The 6 year old was GMing and based on their report, it was awesome. So now I’m wondering how to encourage my 7 and 11-year old daughters to run a game for me.
- Sometimes art can inspire things that words by themselves can’t – and sometimes words win. It depends for me on what parts of my brain are operating at the time (am I tired, sick, hopped up on caffeine, etc.). Well, courtesy of this article from Charlie Jane Anders @ io9, I have a new artist to check out when I need that part of my brain inspired – Jeff Simpson. These are gorgeous images and I look forward to exploring more of his work on Deviant Art!
- Or if you’re wondering where some of the mainstays of science fiction came from initially, check out this great article from Cezary Jan Strusiewicz @ Cracked.com about hack author Garrett P. Serviss… Amazing what came out of that one man’s mind!
- Guess what? They found a sunken Nazi submarine off the coast of Nantucket. Wonder what the story is behind *that*? (Thanks George Dvorsky @ io9!) Imagine if they found the tube scarred by what might have been giant tentacles? Unfortunately it’s nothing as fantastic as that – but the battle between the USS Joyce and USS Peterson took it down just as easily… Story fodder!
Games and Gaming
- As if DCC RPG wasn’t already cool enough, now we’re starting to see quite a bit of fan-made materials crop up on the Internet like this torturous traps table from the Iron Tavern… or over at Tenkar’s Tavern is a terrific list of 0-level occupations to expand the already long list in the core book. Pie maker is my favorite!
- Over at Gnome Stew, John Arcadian has put together a list of 5 thought-provoking features of caves you might want to consider the next time you draw or use a cave system in your RPG campaign. My favorite thoughts in the list include – “Caves Are Not On A Single Flat Plane” and “Caves are really frigging dark.”
- Do you need some ruins for your campaign? Erin D. Smale @ The Welsh Piper has a great (and simple) random table for you to create one quickly. With 6 rolls of a d10 I rolled up a ruined chantry that was flooded at some point and holds a rare item protected by a fighter with some undead humanoids at his disposal. Ha! Story seeds are already percolating…
- Or maybe you’re looking for some details about churches and temples? The Grumpy Celt offers some intriguing observations about old medieval churches and is quite entertaining along the way!
- For some reason I always wanted a blink dog as a pet for a few of my characters in D&D… So I was happy to see the new “Dynamic Lairs” article at …and the sky full of dust was short but all about them!
- Are you bummed there’s no new D&D Next materials out there to play with? Check out this new adventure from Matthew Hanson called “Rats in the Sewer” that’s getting good reviews over at ENWorld!
- Perhaps you’ve occasionally seen a game go completely off the rails and are looking for tips to prevent it? Eric @ SadisticDM.com has some great suggestions…
- I can’t say that I’ve had a need for ship miniatures at any point in the last three decades, but I can see where they’d be nice to have if you do a lot of wargaming. Joe Bloch @ Greyhawk Grognard has some easy to follow steps to putting together your own fleet this week.
- In-game romance is one of those things I usually touch with a 10-foot pole very carefully… But Stacey Thompson in a guest article @ Gnome Stew points out a few simple tips to reduce some of the tension around the table when romance rears its head in a campaign.
- What qualities of a particular map make it a “bad” map? Apparently Creighton Broadhurst from Raging Swan Press has found one that he really doesn’t like. You can only go forward or back, so choices are very limiting. Anybody have any other suggestions of a “bad” map they can point to? Or a good one to use as a role model?
- C @ Hack & Slash has put out two free resources worth perusing for ideas… Tricks and Treasure. And they’re both amazing. Did I mention that they’re free?
- Morrus from EN World has put together a cool Tumblr that features gaming-related Kickstarter projects simply called RPG Kickstarters. It’s colorful, contains links to many of the awesome Kickstarters circulating these days. If you’re short on time, this is a great place to look for new projects!
- And ICv2 is reporting that Kickstarter is now banning bulk quantity rewards for retailers in projects, which is a bummer. As they say – “Eliminating retailer rewards makes Kickstarter a strictly direct-to-consumer site, and requires project creators that want to include sales to the retail trade to do so only through their traditional channels of distribution.” Yuck. This may reduce some project funding…
- Dwarves are finally getting some love. First with the Dwarven Adventurers line from Stonehaven Miniatures and now with Axes and Anvils from Mike Nystul. An entire RPG designed with “dwarfiness” in mind! The sample artwork looks beautiful and I’m excited to see what Mike has in mind for these dwarves beyond beards and drinking!
- Zombies and World War II? Awesome! George Vasilakos has kicked off a Kickstarter campaign for an All Flesh Must Be Eaten sourcebook called Band of Zombies to do just that!
- Need some dice? Need a new set that includes a d14 and d18? A new Kickstarter from Impact! Miniatures has you covered with the “Spherical D14 and D18″ project!
- The old school renaissance continues chugging along with the Swords & Wizardry 1st Edition rules Kickstarter from Frog God Games. I’m excited to see some of these old school rules make a comeback…
- Andrew @ Geek Native put me on to Greg Stolze’s latest project at Kickstarter - Better Angels. This game has a major twist. From the game pitch: “In Better Angels, each player takes the role of a once-ordinary man or woman who’s been possessed by a demon that granted superhuman powers. If you’re one of the possessed, the demon demands that you perform horrific acts of evil. But it’s tough. You don’t want to do the really evil sort of evil, right? But if you refuse it altogether, the demon might leave and haunt someone else. Someone who wouldn’t mind atrocities so much.” Check out at Kickstarter!
- With only a couple of days to go, the Pirate Encyclopedia project from Gaming Paper is short of their goal by about $1500. If you like pirates and want to see this project succeed, be sure to pledge some funds before it’s too late!
- Another one on the bubble is Goalsystem Delves: Dungeon Skirmish Role-Play from Scott, which offers rules for miniatures skirmish games in the dungeon.
- Maybe you are looking for some dice to really throw your players out of whack? Check out the “Mayan Number Dice” from Paymaster Games at Kickstarter. These are awesome, unique, and should keep your players guessing what you’re actually doing behind that GM screen!
- Even Monte Cook is getting into the Kickstarter game soon, but this week he offered some observations about using freelancers to help see a project to completion. Most projects I’ve seen are small groups of folks or entire teams, but I’ve not seen freelancers explicitly called out in any of them.
- Another new project that snuck on my radar recently is “Dynamic Online Character Sheet” from Dungeon Master Pro, which seems to offer a web-based solution to sharing game resources like character sheets and the like. It has a lot of good ideas, but I hope to see more in terms of what it will look like and how it might operate before I jump in with both feet…
- A cookbook? For gamers? Tiffany has a new book – the +5 Food of Eating Cookbook. And it sounds fantastic!
- And we can’t leave without at least one IndieGoGo project… How about a patron sourcebook for DCC RPG called Angels, Daemons, and Beings Between from Dragon’s Hoard Publishing? The title alone got my attention.
- The Online DM has been publishing a series about how he made his game Chaos & Alchemy and the many steps along the way. This week part 8 deals with how to market the game to the people who will ultimately purchase it. He walks through areas like blogging, creating a website, social media, online forums, conventions and more. Great series if you haven’t been reading his site…
- I tend to take notice when publishers come out and discuss what’s next on their agendas and Nedjer @ Thistle Games did just that this week. The RPG Cookbook at the Thistle site is chock full of great ideas and I’m happy to hear that there may be new material coming in, including some that may be for science fiction plots.
- David Carl @ Privateer Press has also released some details about what’s coming for his company talking about the Iron Kingdoms Full Metal Fantasy Roleplaying Game. Color me intrigued.
- Peter Adkison, one-time CEO of Wizards of the Coast and current owner of Gen Con, has started a new company dedicated to roleplaying games – Hostile Work Environment. I love the name, but appreciate the goals for this new company even more. According to the press release – “Through a variety of media formats, Hostile Work Environment will bring life to roleplaying games, not by publishing them, but by filming, narrating, and illustrating them online, engaging and interacting with audiences worldwide.” Multi-media and RPGs – I like the combination!
- Though not technically “tabletop”-related, some information has come out about CD Projekt RED’s new project. These are the same folks behind The Witcher series and their new game is called Cyberpunk – based on the RPG source material! They’re even setting the game in Night City, which I remember dying in multiple times playing Cyberpunk 2020 in college.
- Green Ronin Publishing has released a DC Adventures Quickstart: Batman vs Bane to show off both DC Adventures and Mutants & Masterminds. while at the same time piggybacking on the success of The Dark Knight Rises. I’ve downloaded a copy to check it out myself, but am wondering if anyone else has?
- Victor @ Uproaring Design talked about the development of the game Tellers, offering observations about the rules as well as finding a way to communicate the game to folks so they comprehend the concept and can play…
- Ben Kent and the rest of the team at Raging Swan Press have a new product to whet our appetites… In this case, it may be “wet” your appetites, as it’s a pirate vessel hewn from ice and pirated by frost giants! Brrr! Frost Giant Pirates of the Icy Heart is available now!
- Kevin Siembada and the rest of the gang at Palladium Books are gaining speed as well… Their latest crowdfunding project was a huge success and it’s great to see them turning out great books like the old days. Hopefully that rough patch is behind them and life is good from here on out!
- WotC’s The Dungeon Survival Handbook is a recent D&D 4e guide that has captured my attention a few times in little snippets I’ve seen. And Danny @ The Crimson Bastards took some time to give it a solid review this week. Ultimately he says it’s more for DMs than players but has some great ideas inside.
- Paolo Cecchetto @ Paper & Plastic took an early look at the new RPG Sword Without Master. They’ve released City of Fire and Coin, which offers a bit of an introduction to the system. He sounds quite intrigued by the mechanics…
- Berin Kinsman @ Asparagus Jumpsuit had some time to check out Kobold Quarterly #22 this week and he was excited and talks about all the great things in the issue.
- Tim Shorts @ Gothridge Manor reviewed the first issue of Jonathan Bingham’s new magazine - DELVE! – which apparently includes an adventure that crosses genres and “comes out swinging” as Tim puts it. But he wouldn’t go into details since he didn’t want to spoil the fun. That means there’s fun in those pages! Attack!
- Roberto M @ Stargazer’s World took some time to review the first three in the Monsters of Sin series from Ryan Costello, Jr and Open Design - Avarice, Envy, and Gluttony. He found them to be gruesome like myself and is looking forward to the rest of the series!
- More folks have been checking out the reprints of the AD&D 1st edition books from WotC… LS @ Papers & Pencils took a look, as did Ben Kuchera @ The Penny Arcade Report.
- Chris Hackler @ Gaming Tonic took a look at Civil War: Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Premium Event Book this week and found it works to tell a great story in three acts with plenty of guidelines for things like troupe play and exploring the whole Marvel Civil War event in a less linear fashion.
- I’m not sure if Moqups.com can be used for anything but mocking up web pages or user interfaces, but I love that there’s good old blue engineering grid paper in the background. Wonder if I could use it to create a simple dungeon?
- Andrew @ Geek Native has been looking at using Banners on the Cheap to create giant maps for the RPG table of late. And though he didn’t order one himself, he has some great pictures of other folks who have. I’ll hopefully be covering this next week myself if my two small banners arrive. I have to say that the giant 4′x4′ banner I ordered with the Game Knight Reviews logo turned out amazingly well, so I’m hopeful that the two other little banners I ordered will be just as cool.
- Amy @ Epic Fail also played with Banners on the Cheap and came up with some great looking stuff!
- Maybe you’re looking for some ship plans to inspire a watery adventure? The Royal Museum has some small images available that may offer hints and ideas.
That’s right – once again I ended up with too many links! Here are the rest in no particular order:
- The GM Is A Cheating Bastard – Television Tropes & Idioms
- Yes, we’re open again! A very brief history of what the hell happened. from Troll in the Corner
- Review: Wandering Monsters High School « Berin Kinsman
- Dark Harvest (Review)
- Review (Poo! The Card Game review)
- Get Writing done: Lower your standard
- Review (Star Hero review)
- And the winner for our Best Worst Villain is… from STUFFER SHACK
- Contact With The Enemy, Zombies, and “Detect Plot” from Transitive Property of Gaming
- The Mythforger
- Game Over from The Rhetorical Gamer
- [Tenkar's Tavern] Raggi Crowdfunding Madness is in It’s Final Stretch With Monte Cook Offering Phtolus in PDF
- Ecce Orcus! An Argument for Humanizing the Orc
- Midgard Campaign Setting Pre-Order Now Available
- Delta Green RPG arrives in PDF and Print on Demand
- [Review] Other Dust: Roleplaying After The End
- Removing Non From NPC | The Id DM
- Kickstarter: After the Kick but before the Start – Games Brief
- Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game Official Home Page – Article (Fighters & Combat Superiority)
- RPG Tools | Rasmus Rasmussen dot com
- Is it WotC’s responsibility to bring people to the hobby? »
- LandsatLook Viewer
- Hilarious Memos from the Desk of Nick Fury
- Thoughts On The White Wolf 2012-2013 Release Schedule > World of Darkness News > Blogs
- BibliOdyssey: The Fairy Ballet Carnival
- Raging Swan – Game Knight Reviews Interviews…Me!
- La Petite Claudine: Commonplace Book
- Fear the Boot » Blog Archive » Interview 24 – Keith Baker
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 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!