Welcome to the first edition of the Saturday Knight News (usually it’s the Friday Knight News)! I’m feeling better and ready to tackle the links this week, which is good. Still tired, but oh well. Sleep is optional. Caffeine is mandatory.
Halloween is almost upon us. My wife has started decorating the house and my daughters are all ready to be spooky come Wednesday night. Mostly I think it’s about the sugar, but I’m just the old man at the door handing out candy – what do I know?
Anybody have any Halloween-themed games before, after, or during the big night? Will there be things going thump, screech, and muahahahahaha? Seems we’ll be playing tomorrow night, but though we may all die in horrific ways it has nothing to do with Halloween. I’ll not look at a game night askance however… Who knows what evil might sprout?
Here at Game Knight Reviews, other than the delay in the news round-up, it was a busy week!
- Had a trio of reviews… Midgard Campaign Setting (part 1), 100 Useless Summonings and Conjurations, and So What’s the Zombie Like, Anyway?.
- And the Gassy Gnoll explored some of the horrors (not really) and lessons learned from his couple of bouts with self-publishing for the October blog carnival.
Food for Thought
I’ve tried to break these articles into some subcategories…
- The concepts behind this well-made short film about exploration of a new world would make a great feature… Does time travel in a straight line? Or doesn’t it? Are we alone in the universe? Can we find another world to colonize? Plus, it would be an interesting gaming scenario. Check out SEED (2012) on Vimeo.
- Love maps? Love the Game of Thrones? Check out some previews of the Official Maps of George R.R. Martin’s world – from Westeros to Qarth – in Lands of Ice and Fire featuring maps by Jonathan Roberts. (Charlie Jane Anders @ io9)
- If you play a game set somewhere in the world of H.P. Lovecraft, your character will likely need a sanatorium eventually. Seems they have plenty of room in the abandoned San Haven sanatarium. Great pictures in this post from Annalee Newitz @ io9.
- Looking for ideas for a crypt or set of catacombs? These photos at National Geographic may just give you what you’re looking for…
- Have you ever heard the phrase “the trees have eyes“? Well, Andrew @ Geek Native found some interesting photos of faces appearing on trees. These are creepy…
- I’d never heard of “Minus.com” (looks a bit like Pinterest) until this week, but this collection of D&D pictures from Thraen is amazing. If you need inspiration, this is a good place to start looking!
- Need some unusual monsters? How about this list of 10 legendary North American monsters from Miss Cellania @ Mental Floss? Or this list of 15 obscure monsters from Ciraque Lamar @ io9?
- Are you tired of describing your PC or NPC hair by the terms blonde, raven-haired, red-head? Try this list over at the Obsidian Bookshelf for some ideas…
- Or maybe you need some real-world ghost towns to inspire an adventure with a Western motif? Check out this list from the Intelligent Travel folks @ National Geographic. There’s even one near me – St. Elmo, Colorado – I may have to check out at some point.
- Perhaps you need an unusual burial location overlooking the sea for your campaign? A lost tomb perhaps? How about this one in Sweden that Stephen Chenault @ the Troll Dens found?
- I’m not a huge horror fan (with the notable exceptions of H.P. Lovecraft and just about anything with a zombie in it), but if I was going to get into horror I think this list from Amanda Yesilbas & Charlie Jane Anders @ io9 would be a good place to start. Who knows what kind of unique situations you could lift for your horror campaigns?
- Though archaeologists and scholars may have learned quite a bit in the recent past, we still haven’t figured everything out yet. And somehow that’s comforting. But we’re close to deciphering a proto-Elamite script from the Bronze Age that’s gone uncracked since they found it… One less mystery and I’m guessing it’s a receipt for pizza and wings. (Robert T. Gonzalez @ io9)
- And in the horror/creepy vein, you might have heard about this study suggesting that we might be able to reverse aging by injecting ourselves with the blood of the young… Disturbing on many, many levels, but at least now we know the secret vampires have kept for thousands of years. (George Dvorsky @ io9)
- Have you ever wondered how some writers get so much done and others don’t? I have. Kelton Reid @ CopyBlogger has some insights into becoming more productive.
- If those tips don’t work, you might try the ones from Elizabeth Sims or Jessica Strawser @ Writer’s Digest.
- Author and game designer Brian N. Young has been dealing with a variation of writer’s block… Writer’s Doubt. It’s a tough condition to fight, but not impossible…
- Are you considering freelancing in the game industry? Ross Isaacs @ Dangerous Games has some great advice for you. It’s all based on the experience only 17 years in the business will bring you. I recommend you read it more than once.
- Keith Baker continues to interview his companions in the RPG industry. This week he chatted with Robin D. Laws. They chatted about Hillfolk and much more!
- Curious what the top 5 RPGs were over the summer? ICv2 knows!
- Green Ronin Publishing has released electronic versions of The 100 Best Hobby Games and The 100 Best Family Games – pick ‘em up and start playing!
- Do you like lists? Who doesn’t? Apparently the Hyper Halfling LOVES lists. The Hyper Halfling’s Book of Lists by Danielle Stephens is available now in a system-neutral collection of great stuff from snippets of conversations, tavern drinks, names, and more!
- James Smith from Dreams of Mythic Fantasy has released the free PDF version of The Delving Deeper RPG. It’s three volumes of gaming goodness available at RPGNow.
- Need a map? You know Dyson Logos’ blog – Dyson’s Dodecahedron – is the place to be, right? Well, he’s updated his Maps page and has 100+ maps there for your use. Plus all the other cool stuff on the site (geomorphs, downloadable adventures, and more).
- Jonathan Hicks @ Farsight Blogger had a chance to chat with Shane Garvey of the Adventure Games Guild last weekend. Check out the interview!
- Tenkar’s Tavern seems to be down tonight while I’m writing this post, but Erik had a post talking about a free piece of art from the Inkwell Ideas stock art created during their Monster Stock Art Kickstarter a while back. Be sure to check out the ogre. He’s fierce! (Inkwell has a new project going for a second wave of monsters, so check that out as well!)
- Keith J. Davies is considering a new project – a Campaign Cookbook built around the idea of a “node-based sandbox” similar to his node-built megadungeon. I for one am excited about this and want to read more about the process already! What do you think?
- The kobolds are at it again - releasing Kobold Quarterly #23 this week. Their Fall 2012 issue offers plenty to like in the “demons and devils” category! I have my copy of the printed magazine (and the PDF) sitting here to review, so hopefully I can get to it soon.
- One player adventures seem to be gaining popularity again. Scott M @ The Trollish Delver shared the announcement from Adventure Games Guild of their one-person game Dungeons, which includes six different quests. It will be coming out early next year.
- Andrew Goldfarb @ IGN announced that Plaid Hat Games is in the process of creating a board game based on the video game BioShock Infinite (due out in February 2013). Players will build up armies to fight for control of Columbia as either the Founders or the Vox Populi and complete important objectives.
- Monte Cook’s Numenera Kickstarter was so successful he thought he’d write a book with Shanna Germain (also a successful Kickstarter) describing step-by-step how you can plan a successful Kickstarter campaign too. Called Kicking It: Successful Crowdfunding, this is the first book from the new imprint Stone Box Press.
- Pelgrane Press has released Trail of Cthulhu: Sisters of Sorrow from designer Adam Gauntlett. Cthulhu + submarine at the bottom of the ocean = bad news folks!
- DramaScape has released The Cellar – a one-floor basement or external cellar that would feel right at home in Evil Dead 2… Add a zombie or two and a dismembered hand and I think you have it covered!
- Raging Swan Press has released 100% Crunch: Zombies from designer Justin Neale for PFRPG. Need to spice up your zombies this Halloween? Here’s your chance!
- LPJ Design has released Treasures of NeoExodus: Mordant Wrath from designer Jeff Lee for PFRPG. The idea of an intelligent weapon seeking revenge is awesome.
- Matthew Meyer’s Night Parade of One Hundred Demons documents 100 monsters and ghosts from traditional Japanese folklore. The Kickstarter was wildly successful and even I ended up with a gorgeous copy that I hope someday to review. In the meantime, Ben Bell @ Second Left RPG has posted a review of the book that he uses to “breathe color” into his L5R campaign.
- Meanwhile, Andrew Collas @ Earth Alpha has entered the ranks of RPG reviewers by taking a look at Heroes Against Darkness by Justin Halliday. He likes parts and doesn’t like others, but I think it’s a fair review that offers some great reasons to check the game out. One is that it’s free, but it also has some nice mechanics it sounds like.
- Paco Garcia Jaen @ G*M*S Magazine offers an unboxing of Convoy, a card game with counters from Portal Publishing. Based on the video, it looks pretty good!
- The UbiquitousRat, writing a guest post @ The Iron Tavern, took a look at Arms Law this week – the third book for the new Rolemaster public playtest. Though some high-level descriptions and a “top 10 list” of cool features, I think he liked it!
- Thilo Graf @ G*M*S Magazine checked out the Illfrost: Coastal Encampment installment of Jonathan Roberts’ Fantastic Maps series. As we’ve come to expect from Roberts, the maps look gorgeous and this will be quite useful for anyone running the lllfrost campaign from Illusionary Press.
- Endzeitgeist @ Nerd Trek had time to dive into Northlands and Further North from Open Design set in Midgard recently. Though he contributed to the product initially, I think his reviews are fair – both of these books rock. Great content to use as-is or take and use whole concepts in your own games.
- Yes, this is a tabletop gaming blog, but sometimes there’s some spillover from console or computer games to the tabletop or vice-versa. In this case, Sophie Prell @ The Penny Arcade Report took a look at Shadowrun Online, which looks pretty sweet. Based on the Shadowrun RPG (almost 25 years old, can you believe it?), I’m excited to see where this project goes. Yes, you can have your tabletop games and play them on your favorite devices too.
- Remember Roll20 from its Kickstarter days? Well, it’s well beyond that now. Andrew Clouther @ Game Zone took a look and did not find it lacking. Good news!
- I don’t know about you, but I remember the original Dungeon! board game I got as a kid. I still have it in fact. And yet I’m still pondering buying the revamped version that was released recently from WotC. Based on the reviews at Neuroglyph Games and The Penny Arcade Report, this game will once again be going on my Christmas list. (If that’s not enough, there are even variant rules for the game that have come out of WotC!)
- Do you subscribe to Gnome Stew so you can leave comments? Did you ever leave one? Apparently the Gnomes are purging any account that hasn’t left a comment to get rid of (or at least slow down) the spammers. Be sure to check your account before the November 6th deadline or you may have to create a new account. Oh, and there’s a chance you could win a $25 gift certificate as well!
- A couple of months ago, LS @ Papers & Pencils asked for some feedback during the one year anniversary of the blog. What they ended up with is some very intriguing results that all bloggers (including me) should check out! Thanks for all the details!
- Need a new RPG Podcast? Check out the list at Geek Related, and don’t skip the comments – there are some great suggestions in there as well!
- Are you ready for NaGaDeMon? No, this isn’t a disease, form of torture, or new type of Pokemon. NaGaDeMon is the gaming answer to NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month happening in November. NaGaDeMon = National Game Design Month. And the idea is to make a game – board, card, RPG, computer, whatever. You have 30 days to complete the game and play it at least once. Oh, and you talk about it! Stargazer’s World and The Free RPG Blog are behind it. Are you?
- In the “causes I can get behind” department this week we have the RPG Research site (rpgr.org), which is looking at how to use RPGs therapeutically to help people use their imaginations and work through issues in a public setting. Awesome work folks and best of luck to you!
- I know I’m behind the curve on this one, but GeekGirlCon looks like it was a great time back in August. Did anybody go? How was it?
- Looking for a medieval fantasy RPG that uses the d20 OGL and a few tweaks? Check out the TEBEL RPG from David Amberson. There are some intriguing twists in the mix as far as traditional mythological elements. TEBEL takes the minotaur myth and introduces a bit of the medusa myth, making minotaurs cursed individuals who have angered their gods… Also included are a few spells (I really like “Frisk” as a level 1 wizard/sorcerer spell), a discussion of in-game chariot use, and more. It’s early, but I’m curious enough I’d like to see more.
- Feeling down? Get an Emergency Compliment. Sometimes a few words of encouragement are all it takes to pick yourself back up!
- Need a starship? Check out ShipSchematics.net for plans from Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Babylon 5, and Star Blazers (Space Battleship Yamato)!
- Need a name? Check out the Role-Playing Game Character Name Generator @ ShitHub…
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 @ 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!