About Wednesday afternoon I was wondering if this week would ever end… And now here we are at Friday! We made it! Hooray!
Ok, now that the hooting and hollering is over, I’m just going to cut to the chase… It was a busy week here at GKR and cool things are afoot for the weeks to come if all goes well. But this week, we saw:
- The Gassy Gnoll ponder “Running Games in Established Settings” for the September RPG Blog Carnival topic from Dice Monkey. (Chris @ Gaming Tonic has some great thoughts on this topic as well!)
- We saw the first review in a series covering the Illfrost (4e) campaign with the Illfrost Campaign Guide from Illusionary Press.
- We became a bit envious of Ryan Costello, Jr. in a review of Monsters of Sin 2: Envy for PFRPG.
- And we continued the “Journey of the Sword” series, exploring some story possibilities for the forging of a new sword or repair of an existing one.
Food for Thought
- How long do you think tabletop wargaming has been around? What would you say if I told you it’s been nearly 100 years and it was invented by H.G. Wells! Luke Plunkett @ Kotaku has some fascinating history for you and now we must bow down to the brilliance of H.G., without whom D&D might not have been invented!
- Joe Sparrow and Blanca Martinez de Rituerto @ Dungeons & Drawings have done it again, this time with the Tarrasque. This isn’t a Godzilla ripoff folks, this is more Cthulhu-esque than anything else and we should probably let it sleep another thousand years or so…
- John L @ The Tales of Kaelaross had an interesting post this week… What happens when you mashup two different settings? Hollow World + Tekumel. Add in some Warhammer, swords & sorcery, Elric of Melnibone… Well, just go read it – it’ll make more sense, I promise. Has anyone else done this kind of deep mashing of inspirations?
- Sarah Darkmagic (aka Tracy Hurley) has a different M*A*S*H-up in mind, but it also takes a few elements from here and there to form a new unique whole. How would you feel playing a M*A*S*H unit in a fantasy game?
- Watching other people game… Fun or not? Well, this “Acquisitions Inc Live D&D Game” video from PAX 2012 (here is part 2) is hilarious as Jerry Holkins, Mike Krahulik, Scott Kurtz, Will Wheaton, and DM Chris Perkins play D&D Next (in costume!) in front of a live audience! (Definitely NSFW!)
- Levitation of medicines through sound waves blew my mind this week when I saw this article from Ian Chant @ Geekosystem. But I immediately jumped further with this technology… imagine a prison holding some extraterrestrial in a levitated bubble or a spaceship using levitation to leave a planet…
- Akira is one of those seminal anime movies I saw in the late 1980s that opened my eyes to the world of Japanese animation (beyond Robotech and other more serial cartoons). And though I’m happy the live action reboot of the film is dead, these storyboards in an article from Lauren Davis @ io9 are beautiful and might offer some inspirations for a Shadowrun or Cyberpunk style campaign.
- Or if you’re looking for a different kind of inspiration, check out the picture of some guys dragging a giant robot head in a different article from Lauren Davis @ io9. What kind of war is it? Where is the guy taking it? What does he have on his back? What kind of a RPG session might develop from THIS picture?
- What do you call your GM? Or is it a DM? How about a referee? Well, whatever term you use, A.L. @ Reality Refracted has a few more for your list!
- Have you ever played a board game as a RPG? Shorty Monster has some interesting points as he ponders that question this week… And he brings up Gloom, which there was a Tabletop show on a few weeks ago. When is a board game not a board game?
Games and Gaming
- I’m still living vicariously through the Gen Con 2011 experiences of folks who actually made it this year, so was excited to read about the adventures of Gary Vanucci @ Eye on Ashen Claw. Though there were some trials and tribulations, it sounds like he had an amazing time and the days just flew by!
- Need a map for an upcoming game? Check out “Chamber of Secrets” from Bogie @ Roving Band of Misfits. This small map has some fun corners to explore and a description of how it could potentially be used in an encounter.
- Do you use music in the background for your gaming sessions? If you need some new music to keep your players guessing, check out the Torchlight 2 soundtrack that was just released for free! It’s suitably creepy and atmospheric!
- Are you looking for unique game products at a good price? Check out StannexMart! Yes, Stan! is auctioning off 40 boxes of all sorts of stuff he’ll be offering via eBay. This week it looks like cool card games, board games, and more!
- I often wonder how other GMs design their adventures and campaigns. Jade’s Adventure Creation Handbook offers some great tips and there are many others. Lord Maximus @ Dungeons N Dragons has some great tips for beginners this week… C @ Hack & Slash has some good thoughts as well…
- Do you struggle with trying to remember what items your PCs have and what they left at home? Encumbrance is a pain in the rear, but important when you’re trying to walk across the chasm of doom on a rope bridge built millennia ago. Jack Mcnamee @ Rotten Pulp says that Matt Rundle has the answer – an item tracker! (Be sure to read the comments for some great thoughts on integrating this idea into other games.)
- If you’re a GM, do you ever fudge die rolls? No, I’m not talking about covering them in chocolate (disturbing and yet very tasty!). The Douchey DM has three simple questions you should ask yourself before choosing to fudge a roll. Smart questions!
- What monsters do you want to see show up in D&D Next? Jason @ Wielding a Bohemian Ear Spoon has some great suggestions – from the Fire Beetle and Bugbear to Troll, Wight, and Zombie. Classic critters are in this list and I can’t imagine D&D without them!
- Or maybe you’re wondering why the Gelatinous Cube (every dungeon needs one as a one-monster clean-up crew!) got a bit wimpier in 4e? So is The Grumpy GM. But he offers a souped up version that addresses some of the wimp factor!
- Do you use miniatures and maps in your campaigns? I do. Even if it’s just a die or marker or something indicating PC, NPC, and monster position it helps solidify this imaginary space we’re playing in. Wolf Samurai @ RPG Musings offers some intriguing thoughts on the topic and whether actual minis and maps make us use our imaginations less…
- Is your group the “talk first, then shoot” type? Or the “shoot first, ask questions later” type? Usually the groups I’ve been in have fallen into the latter camp despite many attempts to talk our way out of a battle by yours truly. Well, Ameron @ Dungeon’s Master has a solution. Two initiatives. A “talk” initiative and a “combat” initiative, loosely inspired by the Dr. Who RPG… What do you think? Would this work at your table?
- Wow I wish I had more time to try out new games, but I don’t. Steven @ Nearly Enough Dice has some suggestions on how to work new game systems and one-shots into your normal gaming routine.
- Does your character need some motivation to really get in gear? Check out this collection of adventuring motives @ Between Are the Doors for some great ideas. I can see them used for PCs or NPCs…
- Do you use an opening statement to set the stage for your players? Petrifying Forms has some cool ideas for how to use an opening statement to give players a good starting point with some suggestions on what to do next.
- Looking for a cool way to have pretty maps for the adventures you put together at home? The Fantasy Art Kit project from Vortex Games proposes to offer a number of items, from map tiles and items to tokens for items, NPCs, and monsters as a set that can then hopefully be reused in many future maps digitally or as printed works. It definitely has a lot of potential!
- As a blast from the past, I discovered the ”Dark Realms RPG 1 Million Book Give-Away” project from the Guild of Blades. Way back in the dark ages (i.e. early/mid 1990s) I pondered working with the Guild of Blades to help publish Moebius Adventures, so it’s great to see them still around all these years later. I love the idea of trying to distribute free copies of RPGs to spread the hobby and encourage folks to try out role playing! (By the way, this project is not without some controversy. Erik Tenkar @ Tenkar’s Tavern raises some great points this week in “Kickstarters That Make Me Go ‘HUH’?”)
- Artist Jeff Dee continues to reproduce artwork from one of my favorite D&D 1st edition books of all time - Deities and Demigods. This time he’s focusing on the art from the nonhuman chapter and even adding new images for gods like Hruggek, the Bugbear god of Battle, and Grolantor, Hill Giant god of Persecution. I have some of his art from the Egyptian gods section when he did that via Kickstarter and it turned out beautifully…
- How do you feel about Judge Dredd? With Dredd 3D coming out today in the US, there’s a resurgence of interest in this comic hero maligned a bit through that bad movie in 1995. Apparently there’s a new Judge Dredd miniatures game that’s been around a couple of years from Mongoose Publishing and they’re readying a supplement for it called Block War!
- Facebook has definitely attracted quite a few folks to its online social games in the last few years. Virtual farms are all the rage it seems. Well, Otherwind has plans to bring an actual RPG into Facebook space via their new Kickstarter… The graphics look like fun and I suspect that it could become just as addictive as Farmville if they do it right!
- Crowdfunding isn’t all about getting products out. One DM has friends who have put an IndieGoGo campaign together to help pay towards his $450,000 surgery bills after brain surgery. Wow. Why not chip in to help?
- Keith J. Davies continues his series on “Kickass Kickstarter Projects” this week, offering some great ideas on the key bits you’ll need to be successful. Things like Realistic Goals, Reasonable Rewards, and Contingency Plans are all important!
- In some news from the folks at Troll Lord Games, they’re looking for some help spreading the C&C love. If you change your Facebook cover to a Castles & Crusades -themed photo for a week, they’ll send you a free adventure PDF - The Golden Familiar. How’s that for a deal?
- Are you pondering how to price a new RPG product you’re offering for sale? Or are you curious as to some of the production and creative costs that go into the creation of such products? Mike Bourke @ Campaign Mastery continues to illuminate and educate with his articles, this time breaking down costs into a number of key areas. I’ll be curious to see part 2 of this article to see how reality skews things a bit.
- Green Ronin has offered a teaser this week of the new Night’s Watch book for A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying. I’ve grabbed it and love the cover from Slawomir Maniak. But even though I haven’t played SoIaFR, I may have to pick it up just to see what those brave lads beyond The Wall are up to!
- Chris Hackler @ Gaming Tonic & EN World gets to talk to some cool folks from time to time, like Mike Mearls, the Lead Designer for D&D Next. In this interview, Chris asks some detailed question about rules in the playtest and Mearls really goes the extra mile to answer them. (Mike Mearls was also interviewed in a great article by Charlie Hall @ Ars Technica recently. He really gets around!)
- Apparently WotC has been bitten by the reprint bug big-time according to Morrus @ EN World… They’re planning on reprinting Unearthed Arcana from 1st edition (I loved the book, but never had a copy myself) published in 1985 and written by Gary Gygax himself. It was the first book to include cantrips as I recall, along with many other cool bits.
- A while back, Chris Lewis Carter, the author of the Camp Myth series of young-adult fiction, was kind enough to write a cool article about creatively using myths in RPGs. Well, his Camp Myth series is *becoming* an RPG with the help of the folks at Third Eye Games! Congrats Chris!
- Jade from Evil Machinations just finished her second book - The GM’s Field Guide to Players! Sure, you can write an adventure (or grab a copy of The Adventure Creation Handbook, Jade’s first book), but how do you deal with good players and bad players to make the game fun for everyone? She has answers and suggestions!
- Fantasy Flight Games’ new release of Star Wars: Edge of the Empire is really picking up speed. They just announced a beginner set, which I think is a great idea along the lines of the D&D Red Box.
- Rogue Miniatures is exploring some new areas in their latest products according to Brennon @ Beasts of War. Some of them look like characters out of a Monty Python sketch (the naked hermit with the beard for example) and others would be perfect for Achtung! Cthulhu with a WWII feel. What do you think?
- Nicholas Cloister is an amazing artist who has done some incredible work creating unique monsters for RPGs in the last few years (see my review of RPG Creatures – Bestiary 1). He’s kicking off a new service called “Monsters by eMail” which offers some intriguing options for folks looking for monsters!
- Sean Fannon, who recently left the DriveThruRPG site to do more game design, has kicked off a service called “Your Savage Expert” to help folks create characters, adventures, and campaigns for Savage Worlds! (Thanks Andrew @ GeekNative for this story!)
- Creighton Broadhurst is back with a new adventure from Raging Swan Press - Gibbous Moon. Gibbous Moon offers a PFRPG adventure for 3rd level characters that pits them against a figure suffering from lycanthropy and simply trying to survive without hurting anyone… But the villagers losing livestock don’t see it that way. Can you help?
- Interested in learning more about Dungeon Command from WotC? Enrico Nardini @ Play Unplugged unboxed Dungeon Command: Tyranny of Goblins and offers some insights into this brand new set, as well as a review of the game.
- In one of the more interesting tidbits of news in recent weeks, Open Design recently released an iPad app – the Midgard Atlas. I’m pondering a review myself, but Ironwolf @ The Iron Tavern has a good one. I think the app is a great start, but needs some work…
- The Dread Gazebo has been diving into the Iron Kingdoms Core Rules book lately and was kind enough to record a flip-through on video as he explored a bit… The art looks great and character creation looks pretty straightforward.
- The Dread Gazebo also reviewed Hero Lab last week. This is a software package that handles character creation for several different rules systems and simplifies things for the GM a bit.
- The Grumpy Celt took a look at the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying game last week in a video review…
- Michael Holland @ Flames Rising reviewed Encounters ~ Plots ~ Places this week, the newest sourcebook from Ben Gerber & Troll in the Corner. With only a few negatives, this sounds like a great source of NPCs, encounters, and adventure hooks!
- The guys at Legacy Gameworks are putting together some amazing tools that I’m dying to try out. Every once in a while Chadrick Mahaffey pings me and it’s fun to see what they’re working on next. Much of it is for their upcoming game Shadows of Legacy, but I’m hopeful that some of the RPG tools will be usable outside of that context… If you want to keep up with their progress, I recommend you subscribe to their blog for updates!
- Have you pondered writing your own novel, short story, setting, or adventure? Well, maybe this article @ Elfwood can help you create your Fantasy or SF worlds… Great ideas for fleshing out world designs no matter where you plan on using it!
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!
A few last minute things:
- Joe Bloch @ Greyhawk Grognard is looking for some good manufacturers of miniatures to check out for his tabletop RPG game. Beyond the Reaper Miniatures stuff, I don’t really have any ideas. Do you?
- Interested in tackling the A-to-Z challenge? How about a monstrous event where you describe the monsters you love, hate, or still run away from? Tim Brannan @ The Other Side blog is asking you to join in the monstrous fun on October 29th, 2012.
- Shannon @ ST Wild: On Roleplaying has a good question. What do you do when you plot yourself into a corner as a GM? How do you recover? This is another great question with some fun comments – be sure to add your own if you have any good experiences or tips to relate!
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!