Welcome to my little corner of the Internet! Here you’ll find… well… links! These are some of the week’s links I found interesting in one way or another. It’s obviously not every post on tabletop gaming that was written this week, but it’s a subset of those sites or sources that caught my eye, my imagination, my funny bone… You get the picture.
Fairly quiet around here this week as my X-COM addiction continued to drain some of my free time (it’s THAT good a game!). Chris Lewis Carter continued his article series on adapting a fictional world for a role playing game. I took a look at one of Raging Swan Press’ latest products – Dungeon Dressing: Corpses. And the Gassy Gnoll pondered teaching coop vs. competition at the game table for his daughters.
Who knows what next week might bring? Hopefully more articles.
In the meantime, why don’t we dive into what’s going on around the rest of the gaming web!
Food for Thought
- Do you need some T-shirts to tout your gaming habit? Check out these shirts at Shirt.Woot! or the ones over at the D&D Merchandise store. I need more shirts like I need a hole in my head, but some of these may be too fun to pass up!
- How often do real world events make their way into your campaign stories and adventures? Kennon Bauman @ The Illuminerdy became fascinated by a Mexican death cult… And I have to say there are some interesting ideas wrapped up in this deep dive into the minds of Mexican cultists.
- Meanwhile, Ravyn @ Exchange of Realities started pondering the role of culture in RPG worlds… even going so far as to consider culture a character. And he raises some very interesting points – does culture sit in the back of a character’s mind? Or does it work as an outside force applying pressure? Hmmm….
Games and Gaming
- When you think of D&D and armor, don’t you automatically think of Armor Class (AC) values? Yeah, me too. But once upon a time I pondered other options of making armor more realistic and it went more Rolemaster than simple Gygaxian, so it didn’t really work. Well, Brendan @ Untimately has been pondering it of late and has an interesting approach. But even more interesting is his rationale behind why wizards wear robes.
- D&D Next is really generating some interesting posts of late. One of my favorites is “Morally Ambiguous Character Backgrounds” @ The Dread Gazebo. Why? Because it offers some backgrounds that you can’t put into “good” or “bad” categories… Enlightened self-interest is one of the most powerful forces in the universe, isn’t it?
- Bring out your dead! *thud* Bring out your dead! *thud* James Wyatt @ WotC’s D&D blog brought out some mummies and liches this week! Have to love these guys… Tough bastards!
- “The dingo ate your baby!” Ok, maybe not. But I love the idea of coming up with unique urban myths for fantasy settings as suggested by Erik Tenkar. Would a tribe of kobolds eat your baby? Maybe… With some fava beans and a nice chianti…
- There are some great lists and tables this week as well… How about 10 unusual occupations (Omlet @ Citadel of Rust)? Or maybe you need some random encounters in a cold mountainous region (G.S. Smith @ Discrete Dice)? What about six vile vampires (John Matthew Stater @ Land of Nod)?
- How do you win while playing an RPG? It’s very different based on which side of the table you’re on as well as your motivations for playing. But Andy Hauge @ The Player’s Side of the Screen has some insights into the player side of the equation… Personally I like #1, #2 (though I’d add the GM to it), and #6 on the list!
- Gender. A tricky subject whether you’re talking about it in terms of games or real life. Michael Wenman @ Observations of the Fox has some interesting thoughts on swapping roles in some different contexts. I think it happens much more frequently these days and we don’t notice because it’s not as big a deal as in earlier eras. And for the sake of my daughters I hope that’s true.
- Remember Castle Ravenloft? Jeff @ Temporary Hit Points is mashing up Ravenloft with… Gamma World this Halloween! Very cool!
- Have you ever kicked off a new campaign only to find that it really didn’t hold together? Che Webster @ UbiquitousRat’s Roleplaying Dreams has some great tips on starting a new system and starting with the Zen concept of “Beginner Mind”.
- Aennalissa @ Board & Base has some suggestions for 5e… Why not follow some of Paizo’s lead with Pathfinder and combine “amp and invention”?
- Patrick Benson @ Gnome Stew offers an interesting approach to plot design this week… An “orbital path” method that uses the size of the orbit to increment intensity (smaller is more intense) and offering “jumps” to go from plot points at one level to a more intense level quickly. Might have to try this!
- Derek Myers @ Dungeon’s Master has some great ideas for treasure maps. As Indiana Jones once said (somewhat prematurely) – “X never ever marks the spot.” It has to be more than marks on a map… What’s the reasoning behind the people who buried the treasure in the first place?
- Hell on Earth. Sounds cheerful, doesn’t it? Well, it’s the next joint project between Studio 2 Publishing (who brought us Shadows of Esteren) and Pinnacle Entertainment. But to support the cause, they’re also teaming up to create a set of miniatures for this post-apocalyptic Deadlands future. I love the idea of a futuristic Wild West, so am curious to see how this goes from concept to completion.
- 13th Age isn’t even out yet, but already folks are creating supplements for it. RKDN Studios is kicking off The Reliquary – a collection of 60 new items compatible with 13th Age, Savage Worlds, and Pathfinder! The art looks fantastic!
- How can you go wrong with a Kickstarter for d20 Monkey from Brian Patterson? Answer is… you can’t! This collection from the first year of d20 Monkey will do awesome. It’s already blown away its goal with three weeks to go!
- The Magicians from Lev Grossman inspired Kyle Simmons to create a RPG designed to tell a story and help people learn another language. Education and gaming working hand in hand. How can you not love that. Support this project!
- Over at IndieGoGo, the folks from Otherworld Miniatures have a project with a plan for several sets of “Dungeon Adventurers” that has blown its funding out of the water. There’s only a few days left and these sets look terrific!
- Kickstarter UK is nearly upon us (it opens it doors on October 31st) and has been generating a ton of interesting conversation on the internet. Nedjer @ Thistle Games is look at using it for some projects new and old… Andrew @ Geek Native polled interested UK publishers and authors, and received some great feedback about the interest (or disinterest) in having it available as an option…
- Tracy Barnett @ Sand & Steam Productions has some problems with the One Shot Kickstarter that’s ongoing now… With 17 days to go it’s a little more than halfway funded, but Barnett is worried that maybe it wasn’t quite ready and it may not make it to fully funded. Definitely an interesting project to watch.
- Fred Hicks @ Evil Hat Productions thinks perhaps Kickstarter & IndieGoGo aren’t the end all and be all of crowdfunding sites. How do we do better with hitting all four of his criteria for the ideal site?
- Ryan Macklin says “If you rush to publish [...] and you don’t have much experience at publishing games, you’re asking for a disaster and do not respect your audience.” I’ve been on the wrong side of this equation before and I have to say it’s not fun. Macklin goes on to offer some practical advice on how to avoid this problem!
- There were some interesting interviews up on the web this week… This Week in Geek interviewed GURPS line editor Sean Punch for their podcast. Keith Baker (Eberron) interviewed Don Bassingthwaite, author of 17 fantasy novels including a couple set in Eberron. And Functional Nerds interviewed John Kovalic (Dork Tower) for their podcast.
- James Desborough @ Postmortem Studios is looking for some help with a few projects like Machinations of the Space Princess and others. Can anybody help out?
- Do you live in Spain and know about designing game economies? Gameloft Madrid is looking for you! Though this is more of an online game job, it’s interesting that they’re looking for something that specific. Makes me wonder why we don’t look more at economies for tabletop RPGs.
- Feel like doing some playtesting? Chris Brind needs some help testing a new supplement for Warrior, Rogue & Mage to add more of a tactical, action-point based system to the game. Interested?
- Check out the latest newsletter from ProFantasy Software for all things mapping!
- Swordgleam @ Chaotic Shiny has released a new collection of tools for writers (also helpful for GMs). I need to get a copy just for the “Writing Exercise Generator” I think!
- Interested in what the new author ranking system at Amazon does for authors? According to John Scalzi, Amazon really isn’t doing it for anybody but themselves, so keep that in mind before you put much stock in the new rankings…
- Would you like to approach Ryan Macklin to do some editing for you? He’s posted a great primer on what to expect if you hire him. Really all of those things should apply to any good editor you bring on for your project.
- Modiphius and Sarah Newton have teamed up to bring us the second part of the Zero Point campaign for Achtung Cthulhu! - Heroes of the Sea. Imagine the Battle of Dunkirk, but add some Lovecraftian horror into the mix to make it worse. Definitely plenty of insanity material for Call of Cthulhu.
- Need some gruesome details for zombies in your Halloween RPG PFRPG campaign? Check out So What’s the Zombie Like, Anyway? by Greg Marks from Raging Swan Press!
- Or maybe you need some adventures for Ahsn Stars from Robin Laws himself? Check out Ashen Stars: Tartarus from Pelgrane Press. Just make sure you use the buddy system so when you start taking your helmet off in a hostile atmosphere they can stop you before it’s too late…
- You’d think Monte Cook would be focusing on Numenera after the Kickstarter finished? But no, instead he’s launching Stone Box Press with author Shanna Germain – a new imprint for published fiction & nonfiction ebooks. Their first book is Kicking It: Successful Crowdfunding – which gives you a step-by-step guide for a successful Kickstarter. Sounds like a great book to have in your arsenal if you’re running or thinking of running a new Kickstarter or IndieGoGo campaign.
- Just a quick reminder that the DCC RPG “Mystery Map Adventure Design” competition is quickly coming to a close. All submissions must be received by October 31st, so get your entries in soon!
- Billiam Babble @ Adventures in Shopping put together a list of the products on his desktop at the moment – from the Fantasy Tiles Master Dungeon Set to the E&I Wall Set #1. Some great stuff in there.
- Do you know Forgotten Realms? I bet you don’t know it like Ed Greenwood does. Waerloga69 @ Geeks of Doom checked out the Ed Greenwood Presents Elminster’s Forgotten Realms book from WotC and discovered wonders upon wonders. Now I’m going to have to find a copy.
- Apocalypse World + dungeons = Dungeon World. And Jonathan Lavallee @ Gamish Designer had a chance to check out a proofs copy of the new game from the Kickstarter. And though he likes it, he’s not blown away yet…
- Thilo Graf @ G*M*S Magazine checked out C3: Sufferhorn Castle from AdventureAWeek.com. He says not to be put off by the “save the castle from the orcs” premise!
- David @ Ramblings from Beyond the Pale has been digging into the DCC RPG book and found a few things he’s very excited about. And like for most of us, it’s the flexibility that really shines through in his comments.
- Derek Myers @ Dungeon’s Master has put together a great preview of next week’s new D&D Encounters season - War of Everlasting Darkness. Sounds cheery, doesn’t it? Myers offers plenty of details as well as glimpses of the maps, cards, and other bits DMs will have for their use and to distribute among their players.
- Pookie @ Reviews from R’lyeh took a look around the post-apocalyptic game Degenesis: Primal Punk Roleplaying from Posthuman Studios. And though he liked much of what he saw it comes across as a dense book, jam-packed with details with a bit of a classic White Wolf feel, but leaving the reader scratching their heads a bit.
- Sean Holland @ Sea of Stars may be a bit paranoid after reading Shadowrun: Conspiracy Theories from Catalyst Game Labs. The Shadowrun world is ripe with intrigue and mystery, so why not throw some international conspiracy into the mix? Sounds like a fun setting book to expand the SR universe further.
- Book 1 of the Shadows of Esteren RPG is sitting here tempting me to read it as I type up this article, but Phil Vecchione @ Gnome Stew has had some time to enter the world of Tri-Kazel and report on his findings… And I agree with him when he says “This is a land that has a real tactile quality; you can feel this world as you read.” Great stuff and I look forward to the follow-on reviews involving mechanics and some actual play!
- Do you like German hamster-like creatures? How about story games? Then Dennis Santana @ Critical Hits has a treat for you with his review of Michtim: Fluffy Adventures. The Michtim sound a bit like the Fraggles, the Borrowers, or other “wee people” trying to survive in a human-dominated environment. This sounds like a fun game with some intriguing mechanics like rating character qualities in terms of Emotions.
- Jeffrey Tadlock @ The Iron Tavern had a chance to dive into the tome of the Midgard Campaign Setting late last week and has nothing but positive things to say after that first dip into the waters of Midgard. As he says in the review, he’s only touched on some of the highlights, so maybe we’ll see another review or two before he’s done mining its secrets!
- And Ed Grabianowski @ io9 only has good things to say about the Midgard Campaign Setting this week as well… Ed calls it “the top of their game” of products from Open Design and I’m right there with him. But it doesn’t stop there – Wolfgang Baur himself was kind enough to answer a few questions and this is far from the end of Midgard. There’s plenty more to come folks!
- Iddy @ The Id DM has selected the victorious artist in the 1st Annual Iddy the Lich Art Contest! Congratulations to Jimi Bongofsky!
- It wasn’t all that long ago that Indie+ kicked off its first online convention and they’re back for more! 29-OCT to 4-NOV the Interwebz will be hopping with game sessions, panels, and more. Interested in attending or running something? Sign up!
- Have you ever wanted to read some of the classics for inspiration but can’t find the time? Try reading them an installment at a time via DailyLit. Who knows? You might find some great ideas in those classic works of literature.
- The WotC archive of their Map-a-Week series is an absolute treasure trove of ideas to mine for places to stage encounters. (Thanks Nate @ d20 Pirates for this one!)
That’s it for this week on the news front. If you want a bit more, check out:
- Links for the Week @ Intwischa
- The Weekly Roundup @ Roving Band of Misfits
- The Friday Five at Ravenous Role Playing
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!