Welcome to another Friday and another news roundup!
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get lost in games other than tabletop RPGs. Blasphemous, I know. The last one was Skyrim. I lost hours and days playing that. But long before the Elder Scrolls, I was addicted to X-COM: UFO Defense from Microprose. I may have even played it on 5 1/4 or 3.5 inch floppy disks. Whether I was fighting aliens on the battlefield or in the air above Earth, I did it for MONTHS.
So when X-COM: Enemy Unknown was coming out from Firaxis games was announced several months ago and I saw gameplay footage for the first time, I knew I’d get it. I knew I’d be addicted if it was even half as good as the original. Amazingly now that it’s in my hands they not only paid homage to the original games I loved in the 1990s but they knocked this one out of the park. Is it perfect? No, but it’s damn close. And now… I’ve got an itch… to scratch.
You may have noticed we’ve only had three articles this week since last Friday’s roundup. Want to guess why? Pew pew!
Anyway… Back to tabletop gaming. That’s why you’re here.
Here at GKR, there was a lot of pondering and only a little reviewing. I pondered why game books such as the Midgard Campaign Setting and Shadows of Esteren are so compelling and other games fall short of the mark. The Gassy Gnoll pondered why the D&D 4e/5e magic systems are so limited and how we could possibly break them out of the norm a bit. And I was apparently hungry when I looked at Monsters of Sin 3: Gluttony for PFRPG from Open Design.
I’m hoping that next week is a bit more productive on the article front, but we’ll see how long the X-COM monkey is on my back.
On that note, let’s move on to read articles from the fountain of content that is the internet!
Food for Thought
- Be glad you didn’t mess with Queen K’abel. Apparently she was a badass queen of the Maya. And archaeologists finally found her tomb (George Dvorsky @ io9). Could you build a campaign around a Mayan queen back from the dead? Hmmm…
- PBS posted an interesting video on YouTube this week asking this question: Can D&D make you a confident & successful person? Other than the fact that the host Mike Rugnetta sounds like he’s on speed or on fast forward, it’s actually not a bad introduction to the hobby we love…
- Nature offers some amazing inspiration at times. Have you ever tried to MRI a fruit or vegetable? Apparently Andy Ellison at the Boston University Medical School has… several times. And they’ve very cool (Cyriaque Lamar @ io9)!
- Do you ever try to add politics to your campaign worlds? Deborah Teramis Christian @ the World Building Academy has some great suggestions for doing just that. I wonder how I can turn politics into a mind map…
- In the “wow” category we have Arashidrgn @ TheSheDM diving deeply into religion & deities in D&D. I’m still digesting part 1 and part 2 of the series but really want to grok everything in there. I’ve not seen that level of detail… ever… about religion in tabletop RPGs!
- When you look at the English alphabet, what do you see? Your ABCs, right? Well, apparently Nathan Marsh sees things a bit differently with his Alliterative Alphabet of Abhorrent Abominations (Lauren Davis @ io9).
- Ho do you succeed as a creative professional? Just ask Wolfgang Baur, who has a great guest post over at Berin Kinsman’s blog this week. I’ll give you a hint. It involves hard work. Shocking, I know.
- Do you need inspiration for playing a campaign in Roman Britain? Andrew @ Geek Native has a great list of suggestions from author Paul Elliott (Zozer Games) for 43AD – a RPG set in that time period with dark horror and gritty military action.
Games and Gaming
- Lowell Francis @ Age of Ravens continued his excellent history of horror RPGs, focusing on the last couple of years (2010-2011).
- D&D Next continues marching on through the playtest… And this week Mike Mearls @ the D&D blog wrote about magic items and describes the concept of “attunement”. Does that item have some secret purpose? Dive deeper and find out…
- Stargazer @ Stargazer’s World has some options to explore for those of you looking for alternatives to D&D Next as the “next” game you try at the table…
- Keith Davies’ approach of graphing a dungeon with nodes is starting to take shape in his latest post…
- Halloween is coming, but so is the new season of The Walking Dead… So the article about wandering undead monsters from James Wyatt @ the D&D blog is perfectly timed! Bring out your dead!
- I’m a sucker for a random dungeon generator. And Matthew Neagley @ Gnome Stew has created a new, intriguing way to create a random map. Drop your dicebag on the table…
- Mike Shea @ Sly Flourish updated his 4e Game Session Checklist this week, offering many useful tools, tips, and tricks to keep in your GM or player toolbox.
- Jeffrey Taddock @ The Iron Tavern wrote about choosing a setting for your campaign… Do you roll your own or go with something published? He offers his own thought process to answer the question. What do you think?
- Over at Ben’s RPG Pile, they had a great list of ideas for using terrain when gaming. Good suggestions for an Egyptian tomb and more!
- When Jonathan Jacobs shuttered Nevermet Press, many of us wondered how long it would take before he was writing on the web again. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait too long and this week we learned a bit more about his RPG setting – Loaerth!
- The next time I GM (or play) a party with no healer, I’m going to borrow Tenkar’s idea about a “Party Hit Pool“… (Tenkar’s Tavern) Might make sense if you’re playing with kids who get in over their heads at times also.
- The end of the world makes for great gaming sometimes, according to BryanMD @ Intwischa. He offers three different suggestions for how to use dystopian settings to your advantage.
- I always felt that rituals were ignored or glossed over in D&D, so I’m always intrigued when I see them brought in via different mechanics elsewhere. John Carr @ Age of Ruins offers some magical rites Savage Worlds Deluxe-style that you may not need actual magical skill to perform…
- Frank Tedeschi @ Kobold Quarterly reminded us this week that sometimes (as Miracle Max once said) that all you can do is go through a dead guy’s clothes and look for loose change. Frank suggests that there may be other things in those pockets…
- Sometimes when Kickstarter projects are unsuccessful, they just fade into the darkness. Thankfully some project leaders recognize that others might learn from their experiences and write about them. Emmett O’Brian, who leads The Artifact RPG team, wrote up a great post about lessons learned…
- Wow. I’m just now getting back to the world of minis after 20 years of largely ignoring them, but there are some amazing projects going on now. Need a Medieval Village? Or maybe you need themed dungeon terrain? How about printable minis or stock art?
- Or maybe you play Settlers of Catan and need a better board? Check out the Official Settlers of Catan Gaming Board project.
- Do you like your RPGs to have an African-feel? Check out Spears of the Dawn. And even if you don’t play the game, the art (which looks spectacular) will be released into the public domain! The game sounds awesome though, so I have to say I’m looking forward to see what it’s “old school RPG inspired” rules look like.
- Many of you across the pond in the UK are hopefully getting excited about the Kickstarter UK kickoff on October 31st… Chris Tregenza @ 6d6 is! He’ll be kicking off a 6d6-related Kickstarter that very day!
- Erik Tenkar @ Tenkar’s Tavern raised an interesting point this week… He suggests that crowdfunding is addictive. We already knew that. But he asks – what do you do when you realize you have more $$ invested in future projects than those that have completed? Damn fine question. Cut down on new project funding is his answer. And I think it’s a damn fine answer.
- Why do I feel like there should have been a parade for the release of the Midgard Campaign Setting book from Open Design? Well, it’s here! No ticker-tape parade, but there’s a nice book video.
- Matt Morgan @ MTV Geek has news from the Old Ones! Fantasy Flight Games, who created the Lovecraftian board game Mansions of Madness is releasing 2nd major expansion in early 2013 called Call of the Wild.
- Lee’s Lists has released numerous PDF products this week and 100 Strange Pets and 100 Fantasy Slurs are just the tip of the iceberg!
- Raging Swan Press has released Dungeon Dressing: Secret Doors and Dungeon Dressing: Corpses. Or perhaps you have a corpse behind a secret door and you need them both!
- Have you heard of a card game called Fluxx? I have… I think we own at least two varieties of it at my house. Well, Keith Baker had a great short interview with its creator, Andrew Looney, this week!
- Daniel M. Perez @ Dragon Age Oracle has some details about the upcoming Dragon Age RPG third boxed set. Apparently it’s coming in January 2013 and covers levels 11-20 from Green Ronin.
- Hey… Do you remember Rolemaster? Guess what? It’s going through an open playtest, just like D&D Next! Greywulf @ Greywulf’s Lair has some details on what’s in the playtest and how to get involved…
- Craig Stern @ IndieRPGs.com had a great interview with Chris Avellone this week, Creative Director of Obsidian Entertainment as well as lead designer on games like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II and Planescape: Torment. It’s always fun to see how D&D helped fuel the imaginations of some of these great CRPG designers. The interview focuses on RPG design, Kickstarter, and publisher independence.
- LPJ Design released NeoExodus Legacies: Encounter at Ramat Bridge for PFRPG recently and it’s now available at the Paizo store. JP has run it a few times and even created some miniatures specially for the adventure…
- Though the Midgard Campaign Setting book from Wolfgang Baur and the crew at Open Design just came out this week, there’s been a groundswell of love from the community. Stargazer @ Stargazer’s World wrote about it… Richard Green @ At the Sign of the Green Man wrote about it… It’s so big (~300 pages) I may have to write about it several times before I’m done…
- The Iron Kingdoms Role Playing Game from Privateer Press is getting tons of love in the RPG blogosphere of late. The Dread Gazebo has walked through the character creation process in great detail this week… They even came up with a cheat sheet to help!
- Did you ever catch Primeval on BBC or BBC America? I loved the premise – time jumping dinosaurs. Well, Cubicle 7 has worked their magic on it the same as they’ve done for Dr. Who. SpikeXan @ Flames Rising wrote a great review of the game this week.
- Do you like Who? And no, I’m not talking about Horton. Tim Brannan @ The Other Side had a chance to check out the latest Dr. Who: Adventures in Time and Space Game source book from Cubicle 7 - Defending the Earth. Sounds like this is a great supplement for adventuring in the good Doctor’s world!
- Thilo Graf @ G*M*S Magazine gave Rite Publishing some review love this week, with a review of 101 Special Materials and Power Components (which he loved) and Adventure Quarterly #2 (which he loved parts of). RP continues to put out an assortment of great stuff useful at most game tables.
- Chris Hackler @ Gaming Tonic finally had an opportunity to explore some DCC RPG goodness with Attack of the Frawgs by Thick Skull Adventures. He liked the clever encounters and great opportunities for roleplaying and combat. (For my own review of the book, check here.)
- Dave Banks @ GEEKDAD (Wired) had a chance to check out the rebooted board game Dungeon! from Wizards of the Coast. I loved this game in the 1980s (still have my original board and have played with my kids) so I was interested to see how it looks. And honestly it still looks like a lot of fun!
- Meanwhile, Dice Monkey recently had a chance to play the latest Dungeon Command game from WotC – Tyranny of Goblins. (Those goblins seem to be popping up everywhere these days.) Sounds like they had a great time and heartily recommend it!
- Mark @ Mithril & Mages had an opportunity to run a session of Rotworld (from Goblinoid Games) for his players. Sounds like a fun time was had by all in a zombie sandbox.
- Martin Ralya @ Gnome Stew was asked to check out The GM’s Field Guide to Players from Cherie “Jade” Arbuckle of Evil Machinations recently and posted a review. Though he might not recommend it for the cost and spare layout of the book, overall he seems to think there’s good content even if it doesn’t apply to every situation. (For another take, check out my review of the book here.)
- Scott Boehmer @ This is My Game had a chance to check out Committee for the Exploration of Mysteries at the Gamerati Game Day in Tacoma, WA late in September and has written about his experiences with the game. I love the concept of a cooperative storytelling game without a GM and might have to check it out. (You can find the game here.)
- Dice Monkey posted a great collection of (nearly) all the submissions for the September RPG blog carnival about running games in established setting and I missed it last week. But you can find it here!
- Stargazer @ Stargazer’s World is looking for help rounding up a list of the best gaming-related android apps… Can you help?
- Looking for a new board game? Check out the sale going on over at CoolStuffInc.com – they have tons on sale through the month of October!
- I don’t know if you heard about the contest The Id DM was running in September, looking for new art depicting the blog’s mascot – Iddy the Lich? Well, Iddy has some great submissions and posted them, encouraging folks to vote for their favorite and check out some new artists. You have until Monday, October 15th to make your choices known.
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!
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!