September is here. It sneaked in behind August’s back when I wasn’t looking. And somehow with the Labor Day holiday I find myself a week behind. Go figure. All that catching up I was going to do over the long weekend? Yeah, that never happened.
At any rate, I hope this news roundup finds you in a good place heading into the weekend! My weekend involves gaming Saturday night (Zeitgeist!) as well as some soccer for my kids. I’m hoping somewhere in the middle of the chaos I’ll do a little more of the catching up I tried to get to last weekend!
As far as Game Knight Reviews goes, it was a quiet week with a review of the first of The Expedition Journals of Amestus Armen from Tim Loya Games (now available at DriveThruRPG!) and the wrap-up for the August RPG Blog Carnival (“What’s in *YOUR* backpack?”) which ended up with some creative responses from a wide variety of different angles. Hopefully next week I’ll have a couple of reviews, an interview, and maybe even a few surprises.
So let’s dive into the weekend news and call it good, shall we?
Food for Thought
- Genetic manipulation is one of those topics I thought went out of style with Michael Crichton‘s Jurassic Park – but noooo… As Rebecca J. Rosen @ The Atlantic suggests, it’s less of a question of “if” than “when” – and “when” it happens, should we build in some way of keeping them from eating us? Has this idea been so overdone by Hollywood and the media that we can’t milk another RPG adventure plot out of it?
- Do you have to haul gaming stuff from place to place? Stuff for Nonsense has some great suggestions on how to haul the goodies around this week.
- Sometimes I wish I had some artistic talent. Bliss Infinite @ The Warlock’s Homebrew is working on an animation project involving a wizard and a dwarf and it looks great!
- Need some tomb inspiration? Omlet @ Underworld Kingdom offers some great images to get your creative juices flowing… Or if you’re looking for other pics of abandoned places, check out these links from Sascha @ Nerdtropolis… Tim Shorts @ Gothridge Manor has a few pictures for inspiration as well…
- Sometimes a quote just manages to wrap a whole concept with a bow in a way you hadn’t seen it put before. RPGHacker had that quote for me this week.
- Are you ever curious about the books on your favorite RPG designer’s shelf? Well, the folks at Wild Musings have one hell of a library.
- When you create a character, do you define what their goals are? How about their dreams? Jim @ TPK has some great ideas about the distinction between goals and dreams and how they help GMs and players.
- How long does a torch burn? According to the D20 SRD, it burns for an hour. Does it really? Tim Knight @ Heropress suggests that 1 hour is a load of bollocks.
- What do you think is the state of RPG art? It’s a tough question to answer – I’ve seen art that’s blown my mind and some art I might blow my nose on. But Dave Mallon @ Mythopoeic Rambling offers his opinion and includes a ton of links as food for thought…
Games and Gaming
- Late last week, Dave Chalker @ Critical Hits talked about some of the big name RPG projects he got excited about at Gen Con this year… Edge of the Empire from Fantasy Flight, 13th Age, The Onyx Path from White Wolf, and more are mentioned.
- DeadOrcs @ This is My Game also wrote up a wrap-up of some of the events he attended at Gen Con 2012. Everything from events during the convention day to what happens after the dealer room closes, and much more. Great series of articles.
- So did Iddy @ The Id DM. And it sounds like he had a chance to meet many of the folks who he’d interacted with through interviews at his blog! That’s awesome. Hopefully I can do that at some point!
- Dice. All but one RPG I’ve played (Amber) has used them. I myself have collected more dice than I probably should have. But are they all truly random? Are some better than others? This is the question posed by the folks at Awesome Dice. And they have some interesting data to share with us.
- Did you make it to TactiCon last weekend in Denver? The Online Dungeon Master did. Somehow he signed up for seven 4 hour slots of gaming over the long Labor Day weekend. Fiasco. D&D 4e Dark Sun. Chaos & Alchemy. Smash Up. He was busy and more than a little insane!
- Evil campaigns. Ever played in one? I haven’t. But apparently Aaron (Wolf Samurai) @ RPG Musings has put some thought into it. Ultimately he has the same problem I do – it’s tough playing a bad guy. But some of his tips could really come in handy playing a bad guy as a GM I think.
- Need more gaming? Fear not, Indie+2 is coming! Troll in the Corner has a great overview of the 2nd iteration of the online convention happening between October 29th and November 4th!
- So many gaming conventions, so little time… PAX 2012 happened recently and one of the fun events was the D&D Live Show of Acquisitions Incorporated. M @ Geek’s Dream Girl did a great job of capturing what must have been a rip-roaring good time… Wil Wheaton, Mike “Gabe” Krahulik, Jerry “Tycho” Holkins, and Steve Kurtz playing D&D before a live audience? I can’t wait for the video! (I’ll be watching for it here at YouTube… impatiently tapping my foot!)
- Matt McElroy @ Flames Rising also made it to PAX Prime and wrote about his adventures… Sounds like he kept extremely busy!
- We all start out as n00bs at one time or another. Playing D&D is just one more skill you have to develop with time and energy. So what can experienced folks do to help inexperienced combatants slow things down less? Ravyn @ Exchange of Realities has four great tips to help. Personally I’m a fan of the “No pressure” approach!
- Steve Winter @ Kobold Quarterly takes a different approach to the n00b experience and suggests that we look back to our own first experiences with RPGs to help someone’s first time playing be something they’ll never forget! Make it fun and remember the rush of your first time!
- Do you need a modern or sci-fi weapons shop for your campaign but no time to create it? Check out part 2 of John Arcadian’s series @ Gnome Stew featuring five different stores, complete with encounters, NPCs, and secrets!
- Are you curious about some of the many OSR games out there to check out? Erik Tenkar @ Tenkar’s Tavern has posted a good list to start with…
- Have you ever tried converting a module from one game system to another? Apparently Sorcerer Blob @ Legend4ry has converted the DCC RPG module from Free RPG Day from DCC to 4e! Quite a process and he offers some interesting observations along the way…
- Meanwhile, John Stater @ Land of Nod is putting an interesting spin on some old familiar classes. Take a look at the Tomb Raider class and see what you think!
- Thorynn @ Skyland Games had a chance to try an online RPG session recently and wrote about his experiences using MapTool and Google+ Hangouts.
- I don’t know about you, but oozes were always a big pain in the butt for me as a player, whether playing at a table or in a CRPG. But I never thought of feeding undead to an ooze to create… something else. Ian Coakley @ Of Dice and Men definitely has some creepy ideas here!
- Or perhaps you’d rather involve the yuan-ti? David Guyll @ Points of Light has you covered with a some mutterings about using yuan-ti and ogres in his campaigns…
- Interested in how Star Wars: Edge of the Empire plays so far with the beta from Fantasy Flight? Dice Monkey has a summary of their first session and it sounds like it went well!
- Wondering how to teach folks to play or run Fiasco? Geek Ken has some terrific ideas. After watching the Fiasco game on Wil Wheaton’s TableTop show, maybe I’ll give it a go at some point…
- Do you need a statue or idol? Mobius @ Ennead Games has 10 for you to pick from…
- Or perhaps your NPC or PC needs a scientific or mystical profession? Omlet @ Undeworld Kingdom has 20 to pick from… I like Charlatan personally. It’s not something I’ve ever seen on a list of occupations!
- Or maybe a cursed item to throw your players for a loop? LS @ Papers & Pencils has seven twisted items to cause heartburn for the most pure of characters…
- Did you know there’s a financial crisis in D&D 4e? Neither did I. But after reading this article from Michael @ Neuroglyph Games, I’m going to have to hoard my silver and gold more frequently…
- To your games or gaming groups sometimes grow stagnant? I’ve seen it happen and I’m sure you have too. Well, A.L. has some ideas on how to address it @ Reality Refracted. I’m a “wing it” kind of GM already, but I like the idea of setting more active goals and not playing it safe as a player!
- Brom. The word alone evokes fantastic imagery and has for years… So why wouldn’t you want to support his Kickstarter project and get a hardcover art book featuring a retrospective of art from his 30 year career? This one has only begun to explode and it still has four more weeks to pick up speed!
- Looking for a shiny, high-drama fantasy RPG from Japan? Check out the Kickstarter for Tenra Bansho Zero! The art really embodies the Manga spirit and looks gorgeous!
- If manga’s not your thing, how about crazy cows searching for unexploded bombs? Yes, you read that right. It’s the premise of the new Kickstarter for Unexploded Cow from Cheapass Games!
- How about Matt Forbeck’s Monster Academy novels? A fiction trilogy where some young fantasy monsters must “learn to be good – or die.” Cheerful! But the cover of the first book sold it for me — “I will not eat people.” written several times on the blackboard.
- The GM’s Real-World Reference project from Tristan Zimmerman is just about out of time and looks like a GREAT resource to have on a GM shelf. After all, much of what we do as GMs starts with an idea from the real world… Jump in on this one!
- Or if maybe the real world holds no appeal and you’d rather consider abandoning Earth for someplace new, why not check out the Kickstarter for The Artifact RPG. Apparently we’ve found a manufactured world (no, not Magrathea) bigger than Earth but designed for humans – in fact, there’s some there already!
- Oh! Oh! A family card game! Not since Creatures have I seen anything that I knew would be a big hit with the whole family… Scrapyard Warriors looks like it might just fit the bill with some serious creativity!
- Need a bit of a reality check and some tips before you kick off your own Kickstarter project? Bill Heron @ Mandragora has some solid suggestions and things to watch out for. And I tend to agree with his point about badly-produced PDFs…
- Erik Tenkar @ Tenkar’s Tavern also has some tips after seeing a poorly executed Kickstarter for DCC RPG…
- Billiam Babble is one of the folks in the blogosphere who’s openly said he’s against crowdfunding of RPGs… But now that DriveThruRPG is supporting it, he may be coming around to the idea…
- Over at “sky full of dust,” they have a great interview with Uri Kurlianchik, designer of D&D Kids and his new game RATS! RATS! is being funded through IndieGoGo, so go check it out.
- Remember I mentioned the Conclave Kickstarter last week? Well, they have a new video showing some of the gameplay – new effects and features seem to be added daily!
- Monte Cook’s Numenera continues to gain steam… Late last week Monte announced a project with Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) to create the Numenera Thunderstone fantasy deck-building game. Science fantasy + card game = win!
- Steve Jackson Games continues to create fun variations of Munchkin - Munchkin Apocalypse being the most recent addition to the party. But guess what? Munchkin Deluxe and Munchkin Zombies are back too!
- Far West manages to combine the elements of a traditional Western with the martial arts madness of Wuxia to come up with something completely unique. I really enjoyed the Tales of the Far West short fiction collection several months ago and have been chomping at the bit to see the game. Thankfully someone recorded the Far West seminar that Gareth-Michael Sharka and T.S. Luikart put on at Gen Con. Now I’m really chomping at the bit!!
- Do you play Bulldogs! from Galileo Games? Are you looking for some adventure scenarios? Galileo Games posted a great list of free scenarios available at DriveThruRPG just for you!
- Though CRPG designer Tim Cain may not have created any tabletop RPGs, he certainly has some street cred after designing Fallout, Arcanum, and Temple of Elemental Evil. Crooked Bee @ RPG Codex has a great interview with Tim that ranges widely but covers some of the same ground we see at the tabletop – open worlds with non-linear game play!
- What is Zombiecide? We won’t have to wait too long to find out… According to ICV2, Guillotine Games is releasing Zombiecide later in September as a fun/easy game of “survival horror” with 2-6 players working together (cooperative gameplay – yay!) to hold back a zombie horde.
- I think Fantasy Flight Games is really enjoying the beta of their Star Wars: Edge of the Empire RPG so far. And they’re responding with updates!
- Free games. Ok, now that I have your attention I’ll direct you to the Free RPG Blog where Rob Lang asks a simple question with no simple answers. What would you do with a library of free RPGs? What would it do? How would it work? He needs feedback folks, so jump on in!
- Illusionary Press has released the latest Illfrost adventure for 4E - Illfrost: Retribution! This adventure path will eventually span 30 levels, which is incredible. And I can’t wait to take a look!
- Need an altar for your dungeon? Why not give it a little panache! Check out Dungeon Dressing: Altars from Raging Swan Press and Creighton Broadhurst. This supplement offers unique details, features, and traps to keep things interesting.
- Though Runeslinger @ Casting Shadows didn’t make it to Gen Con 2012 to find a hardcover of Broken Rooms from Greymalkin Designs, he did pick up a PDF and check it out… Sounds like it has some interesting concepts to explore!
- Interested in learning more about the history of wargaming and RPGs? Check out this great review from Troy Goodfellow @ Flash of Steel of Jon Peterson’s book Playing at the World: A History of Simulating Wars, People, and Fantastic Adventures from Chess to Role-Playing Games. Though Peterson’s book may not be perfect, it sounds like it offers some great nooks and crannies to explore in the history of these games we love so much!
- Anybody remember a little game called Chainmail? From a little-known designer named Gary Gygax? Well, Keith Veronese @ io9 recently walked through the predecessor to D&D in great detail if you’re interested!
- Endzeitgeist is now writing some posts for Nerd Trek! And his first contribution is a great review of Streets of Zobeck from Open Design. Sounds like even with the misses, it has a ton to offer (and is still calling from my inbox!)…
- Jeremy Friesen @ Take On Rules had some time to check out Tracy Barnett’s School Daze this week…
- Pick a sword, any sword… NO! Not that one! If you’ve ever wondered what your character’s sword might look like, check out the Association for Renaissance Martial Arts and their great overview of a ton of different swords. It’s definitely worth a look!
- Looking for a way to share your character sheets with others? Check out Radical Approach – a new project working to build an online community, share resources, and even game online!
That’s it for this week on the news front. If you want a bit more, check out (just updated these, sorry):
- Links for the Week @ Intwischa
- The Weekly Roundup @ Roving Band of Misfits
- Month in Review @ Dungeon’s Master
There’s definitely plenty of news go go around!
I also have to give a shout out to those of you looking for places to guest post! Berin Kinsman @ Asparagus Jumpsuit is looking for guest posters for the AJ blog. Submit an article pitch! (I’m looking for folks for here also. Let’s do some writing together!)
If you’re interested in a few dungeon design contests… Check out the post from Erik Jensen @ Wampus Country for three places looking for your work!
And a shout-out to Sean Fannon, who is leaving the DriveThruRPG team to do more game design work. I wish you all the best Sean and know we’re all looking forward to seeing what you come up with!
Ok, so I guess I had a few “last things” there!
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!