Is it just me or does my week often feel like I’m trapped in a Daffy Duck cartoon? I suspect I’ve ho ha ha guarded myself into a few issues without too much trouble.
Daffy Duck: [using his quarterstaff] Ho! Ha ha! Guard! Turn! Parry! Dodge! Spin! Ha! Thrust!
[hits log with staff, causing it to recoil and hit him in the bill, bending it upwards. He pulls it down again]
Daffy Duck: Hmm, let’s see now. Something’s amiss here. Hmm… I’ll run through it. “Ho, ha ha, guard, turn, parry, dodge, spin, ha, thrust.”
[Bill bends up of its own accord]
Daffy Duck: Got it.
[Pulls bill down again]
– Robin Hood Daffy (1958)
That said, it was a busy week here at GKR even with the “duckiness.” (Does anyone else wonder if Daffy Duck has his own version of the Spiderman quote? “With great Duckiness comes great responsibility?” Probably just me again…)
- We had an interview with Chris Birch from Modiphius, the publishing house behind the fantastic Achtung! Cthulhu product line.
- The Gassy Gnoll pondered the use of social “maps” in campaign and adventure planning.
- And we had two reviews: Invulnerable – a superhero RPG from Joshua Kubli; and LaCroix: A Torn World Character Pack from Jack Cull and Torn World Publishing.
Food for Thought
- When I started Game Knight Reviews a couple of years ago, I had a grand plan. Real life has sometimes intervened, but I’m still chugging along and enjoying what I have time to get done. Iddy @ The Id DM has been pondering his plans for his blog of late and I think it’s something we should all do as bloggers once in a while. Take a step back and see a) if we’re still enjoying it, b) if our readers are happy, and c) what we want to accomplish in the future. (As always, anybody who wants to chime in and offer an opinion on this blog is welcome!) I honestly think Iddy is doing an amazing job and wish him all the best with life, the universe, and everything. Keep up the great work!
- Learning about human physiology isn’t one of those things I do a lot of… I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. But this article from George Dvorsky @ io9 about how the body works through starvation is strangely intriguing. I wonder if someone could work this kind of thing into a campaign – stumble into a locked room in a dungeon with a bunch of starving people and perhaps they’ve lost enough of their minds that they’ll try to eat whoever goes through the door first… (Or if starvation isn’t your thing, maybe you’re interested in 9 Technologies that Could Transform the World, another article from Dvorsky!)
- Dredd is coming to theaters here in the US next week, but this concept art (in an article from Lauren Davis @ io9) is quite breathtaking (the vista and building shots especially). I wonder who will adapt these into a near-future/apocalyptic campaign sometime soon?
- Last one from i09 for today, I promise… I didn’t hear about this anywhere else – shots of a large impact with Jupiter from Monday morning (in an article from Robert T. Gonzalez @ io9). Imagine if Jupiter wasn’t there to catch the ball in the outfield! Reminds me of Lucifer’s Hammer…
- Also in space news this week, Mike Wall @ Space.com wrote a great article about how antimatter and fusion energy will change how we send spaceships to other worlds… Will we see the Enterprise in our lifetimes? Hmmm… Probably not.
- Do your maps evolve over time? Even during creation? Tim Shorts @ Gothridge Manor posted a series of pictures detailing how one map came together. And it’s very interesting to see not just how the color went in, but the decision process for placement of buildings, rivers, coastline, and forests… Do any other cartographers (amateur or professional) take pictures at intermediate steps to show progress?
- The folks at Dungeons & Drawings (Blanca Martinez de Rituerto and Joe Sparrow) continue to impress me not just with their art, but their creative spins on classic characters and monsters from D&D. This week they have an Ogre Mage that is not someone I want to mess with. Raw magic and power!
- Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of the most open worlds I’ve ever had the pleasure of exploring as a computer gamer. It is the epitome of sandbox play. Is there a way to translate it to tabletop gaming? Shannon @ ST Wild: On Roleplaying thinks there is!
- John Arcadian @ Gnome Stew has been on a roll lately with articles, but I really like this one. Freebies from the GM. Yay! I used to give out “brownie points” that players could use to affect die rolls, redo actions, and pull items out of thin air (on occasion) when I GMed, so I’m a fan of this approach. It proves that not all GMs are curmudgeonly old players secretly seeking revenge on the PCs.
Games and Gaming
- Do you play horror RPGs? Shorty Monster has some ideas for how to get the most out of it… Invest emotionally and try to stay in character as much as possible! You never know what may be lurking in the darkness…
- And if you want some interesting ways to mess with your players in horror RPGs, why not use alien geometry to mess with their heads? Runeslinger @ Casting Shadows has some tips and techniques to explore to do just that.
- Though I’ve perused the pages of the D&D Next playtest packets, I haven’t yet had an opportunity to sit down and play at all. So I’m thankful for folks like fewilcox @ Games From The Mind of Fewilcox who sat down and tried to remake a favorite character in the new system. Sounds like they have a little work left to do…
- Need a map? The Labyrinthian @ The Labyrinth has one free for personal use! It looks a bit like the Arabian Peninsula, but offers a great amount of shoreline to explore.
- FATE is one of those games I really want to explore more when I get time (and a group) to do so… But that’s not stopping other folks! BryanMD @ Intwischa describes some cool elemental items of power for “Fantasy FATE” that feel very Dresden Files (which is a good thing, not a complaint!)… The Storm Splinter, Manacles of Mist, and Circlet of the Unseen would be awesome in a wizard’s arsenal.
- Do you have any cool ideas for gods or pantheons? Keith Davies @ In My Campaign may be doing some crowdsourcing soon for ideas, so get your thinking caps on!
- What are your favorite free RPGs that you’d recommend to folks? Jonathan Lavallee @ Gamish Designer has three and the list includes one of my favorites - Warrior, Rogue & Mage!
- As a player, I hate ghouls and ghasts. They’re a royal pain. As a GM however… And Michael @ Neuroglyph Games is dusting them off for 4e this week! As a player, now I’m terrified they’re showing up in the two 4e campaigns I’m playing in…
- Magic users in D&D have always been a bit screwed when it comes to time and spellbooks. Scribing spells from scrolls, creating spellbooks… it all takes time. Well, Between Are the Doors has some interesting twists for creating spellbooks, studying magic, and so on…
- “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!” as Richard cries out in Shakespeare’s Richard III. Well, Mobius @ Ennead Games has 5 horses for the fallen king, but I think it’s a bit too late…
- Or if you don’t like those horses, why not check out what Steve Winter @ Kobold Quarterly had to say about horses this week.
- Are you looking for some house rules to consider for your game? Check out C’s article @ Hack & Slash that collects several OSR fixes in one place. I love the idea of raising prices as the PCs buy more items in a location… Thresholds!
- The 15 minute workday. You know, the one where wizards and clerics blow everything they have in a single battle and then have to wait a whole day before doing it again? Well Ir0nwolf @ The Iron Tavern has some ideas inspired by Robert E. Howard to address that issue through better pacing.
- Do your fighters sometimes become mindless zombies? They Might Be Gazebos! has an OSR hack for that to encourage fighters with brains as well as brawn.
- Need a wilderness encounter system to adapt for your campaign? Check out the one over at Valley of the Old Ones, which looks very detailed and should be fairly easy to adapt to just about any setting or even used as is.
- Sometimes we need a kick in the pants as players. A.L. @ Reality Refracted gave just the thing this week with the article – “Players: YOU Have to Act Too”. Do something! Terrific article that I think should be read yearly or even more frequently.
- Occasionally I’ll take a day or two and not read any gaming material, then try to catch up like a crazy person late in the week. I can’t imagine taking two months off and then coming back to the gaming world, but that’s what The Warden @ Roleplayers Chronicle did. And there’s a lot to catch up on!
Kickstarter & IndieGoGo
- Do you need some new playing cards? Do you like Cthulhu? Boy, do I have a project for you. The “Cthulhu Playing Cards” project at Kickstarter from Erik Dahlman and Albino Dragon Games! The art looks amazing and if you’re going to play a card game, why not scare the bejeezus out of your opponents with a bit of Lovecraft!
- I also ran across the Freedom Nexus project from Joseph Pugh – a new open RPG without character creation and levels. Other than some vague descriptions of a RPG that may be TOO open, I’m not sure what we’re looking at here. Hopefully there will be more details and some specifics before too long.
- A combination of RPG bits and deck-building bits? Intriguing! The Genesis Roleplaying System project from Joshua Raynack and Alea Publishing has some gorgeous art and interesting concepts. With the popularity of games like Dominion, I can see where this could definitely catch on!
- Mike Williams @ Bring Your A-Game interviewed a number of gaming professionals about Kickstarter and there are some great tips in there for anyone looking to start their own projects.
- Apparently there’s an open source RPG - OpenQuest! And thanks to Michael @ Futile Position, now I know about it and the 2nd edition which has been released. Want to support it? Apparently it has an IndieGoGo campaign!
- 13th Age isn’t even out yet and there’s work afoot to expand it! 13 True Ways is a new Kickstarter from Fire Opal Media that promises new classes, monsters, and lore for this new game from Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet. I want to see this game!!
- Looking for a new two-player board game? Check out Specimen from Toxic Bag Productions. This looks like Alien played out with a board and some cards.
- If you’re curious how much money Kickstarter has raised for games this year so far, I hope you’re sitting down. As of last Friday, they’d raised more than $50 million for games-related projects. Rollin Bishop @ Geekosystem has all the details.
- Though Starship Corporation isn’t really a tabletop gaming project at IndieGoGo, it is too cool not to mention.
- Game design can be sparked by damn near anything, and this week Tracy Barnett @ Sand & Steam was inspired to create a game with a unique die mechanic invented by Daniel Solis. This game brings in parts of FATE, Marvel Heroic, Spirit of the Century, and Fiasco, so it has to be interesting! Chime in and offer feedback if you get an opportunity.
- Do Indie publishers make gobs of money? (I’ll wait for you to pick yourselves up off the floor after laughing yourselves into oblivion…) I’m sure there may be a few, but they’re probably in the minority. Ben Gerber @ Troll in the Corner shared his latest sales update for Something Went Wrong this week – a new game available to the public for a little over two weeks. It ain’t much, but I strongly suspect it’s about the thrill of designing something that people want to play more than the money (though money would be nice too!)…
- Free RPG Day 2013… June 15th, 2013. Is it too soon to start getting excited about it? It’s NEVER too soon! And the gang at Louis Porter Jr. Design are already revving up for it. And they’re looking for ideas for a LPJ-backed NeoExodus adventure!
- Michael @ Futile Position had an opportunity to interview Andy Kitkowski, the man behind the Kickstarter for Tenra Bansho Zero, which look gorgeous and very Anime inspired. Great interview that covers a ton of ground and offers an interesting point of view on getting translation rights for foreign language titles.
- Survival horror board game. Those four words have never gone together for me, but I have to say that Level 7 [Escape] looks awesome. (Thanks What’s Your Geek!)
- Ed Grabianowski @ io9 wrote a great article about how licensed properties such as Star Wars and Game of Thrones are turning into games. There were quite a few I didn’t know about and a few I did.
- Keith Baker. Name sound familiar? He’s the guy who created Eberron for WotC and has really spread his wings as a game designer. Sophie Prell @ The Penny Arcade Report has a great article about Baker and what’s next on the agenda…
- Iddy @ The Id DM had a great interview this week with the folks behind Dungeons & Dragons: A Documentary. They’ve met their Kickstarter goal, so I’m excited to eventually see the final film – but I love hearing from the people making the film about their goals and their inspirations! (There’s still a couple of days left to pitch into their Kickstarter too!)
- Open Design released Monsters of Sin 6: Sloth this week and I’ll eventually get around to reviewing it. I’ve loved the series so far and can only imagine that Sloth offers just as many creative/creepy ways to mess with PFRPG players.
- Sam Richards from Tweet RPG and the team at Modiphius are teaming up this October! Kontamination will be a new Tweet RPG adventure set in the Lovecraft-inspired world of Achtung! Cthulhu! Bringing Cthulhu to Twitter sounds like a bad idea, but it can’t be any worse than politicians tweeting. Kontamination will also be released as a PDF & print supplement for Achtung! Cthulhu. Find more details at the Modiphius Facebook page and the TweetRPG website! (Check out the news @ G*M*S Magazine as well for the full press release.)
- And Raging Swan just keeps putting great products together! This week they start a new line of products - 100% Crunch. And the first product? 100% Crunch: Skeletons. Is it just me or does this sound like a breakfast cereal you’d see an ad for during Saturday morning cartoons? From designer Julian Neale, this supplement offers 97 different skeletons from CR 1/3 to 8 for instant use in a PFRPG game.
- Shadowrun. I always loved the world and hated the system. But maybe it’s improved over the last 20 years? Ian Coakley @ Of Dice and Men is looking at playing some Shadowrun 4 and reviews the quick-start this week. It seems to be lacking something…
- How about a review of a blast from the past? Star Trek the Role Playing Game was published by FASA back in 1983. Daniel Stack @ 19th Level took a look back at the box set and there’s still a lot of love for the material.
- Zombies. Gotta love ‘em. I have Outlive Outdead here to review when the opportunity arises. But Paco Garcia Jaen @ G*M*S Magazine found some time for this creative new RPG funded through Kickstarter. And he likes it! I love the idea that if you die and become a zombie, your role changes and you get to eat your friends!
- The Atomic Robo RPG from Evil Hat has been in development for a while, but we’re starting to get occasional playtest reports like the one over at The Black Campbell. And there’s another one from TriskaJM @ Stormin’ Da Castle.
- Phil Vecchione @ Gnome Stew checked out Agents of Oblivion from the folks at Reality Blurs. Spies + Supernatural Horror + Savage Worlds? Sounds cool and Phil likes it!
- Kirk Hamilton @ Kotaku Australia wrote about a deck-building/tabletop CRPG from Blue Manchu called Card Hunter. Sounds a bit like the Genesis Roleplaying System covered earlier, just on the computer through a web browser. Though not really a RPG-related story, it’s cool to see this sort of mash-up becoming more common.
- Moss Scheurkogel @ The Game Shopper has a great preview/review of Story Realms this week. This RPG is really taking off and Scheurkogel noticed!
- Stargazer (aka Michael Wolf) @ Stargazer’s World had some time to review the Iron Kingdoms Core Rules Book from Privateer Press. And as he puts it, he was “smiling from ear to ear all the time” as he read the book to review.
- Do you play DCC RPG and want a quick way to roll up a party of 0-level characters? Purple Sorcerer Games can do that! It can also create enhanced (i.e. level 1) characters if you’d like. Great to have in the toolbox! (Plus it looks like they have some cool modules for DCC RPG as well!)
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
There’s definitely plenty of news go go around!
One last note, I’m happy to say Dyson Logos has returned to the land of the living! He’s been busy even while running silent, but he’s back! Happy to welcome you back into the fold and looking forward to some cool new maps!
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!