Happy Friday everybody! Hopefully you survived work and are looking forward to a weekend that includes some gaming.
For myself, I’m hoping to get some gaming in with my daughters tomorrow and then go game with the guys tomorrow night. Time to see if our stalwart group of heroes makes it back to their own time or dies horribly in the past. Either way, I’m sure we’ll have a great time.
As you might notice, James Bond is over there on the right side of this page. Though Skyfall has been open in the U.K. for a couple of weeks now, we’ve not yet seen Mr. Bond come back to the big screen. I’m a big fan of the reboot and am VERY excited to see what kind of trouble our 007 gets into this time. An interesting question popped up in my Facebook feed this week pondering how many dollars of damage Bond has done over his 50 year span in the movies and it gave me pause… With all the car chases, explosions, and gun battles it has to be fairly high. But is it as high as the damage The Avengers or hurricane Sandy did to New York? Probably not.
To those of you still suffering outages in the aftermath of Sandy, we haven’t forgotten about you. Hopefully power, heat, and water will be flowing again soon if they aren’t already.
Beyond the usual rigmarole, this week at GKR I was more productive than I actually expected to be here and ended up with an interesting mix of articles:
- I had a chance to interview Kyle Simons, designer of the Magicians Role Playing Game currently blowing its Kickstarter goals out of the water with nearly 10 days left to go.
- There was a bit of game fodder with a couple of ideas I’m working on fleshing out as well as a full post for the Winter is Coming II blog carnival.
- Add to that a couple of reviews – one to continue my exploration of the Midgard Campaign Setting, and one for the second journal in the Expedition Journals of Amestus Armen.
- And last, but not least there was a bit more about the game I’m designing for NaGaDeMon. Please forgive the horrible art. Definitely not my strong suit.
With all that, I have a question for you. I know the title of my site has “Reviews” in it, but I’m working my way back into writing more game content. Do you want to see that game content show up here or would you rather it was spun off into a separate site? Curious minds want to know:
Would you like to see more system-neutral game content here at Game Knight Reviews?
Are you ready for some news? Let’s get to it!
Food for Thought
- Irene Gallo @ Tor.com posted an amazing collection of images celebrating the archer this week. Among the artists featured is Kekai Kotaki, who’s work is just stunning. Plenty of great ideas for characters, settings, stories, and more.
- In case you have your interstellar drive warmed up and ready to go, Brian Dodson @ Gizmag wrote about a new discovery of a super-earth just 42 light years away. If you go, I hope they’re friendly.
- Over at Laughing Squid, Edw Lynch has collected a series of Star Wars-themed pictures done in the style of medieval manuscripts. It’s fascinating and disturbing all at the same time.
- In the “No, your old faded blue or red d20 from one of the original D&D Red or Blue boxes isn’t the oldest one on the planet” category, Robert T. Gonzalez @ io9 lets us know that the Egyptians may have been playing D&D about 2000 years ago! Fascinating. I wonder what box set THAT came out of?
- Did you know that Middle Earth had tectonic plates? Green tea and Velociraptors has uncovered an old article that documents the possibility of such geological activity. Amazing.
- I’ve never heard of the Morhg before in D&D, but wow… Based on the description and image over at Dungeons & Drawings this thing is grotesque and horrifying!
Games and Gaming
- Shared storytelling can get muddled. Where exactly are the beginning, middle, and end? Brent Newhall has come up with a structure tool for Noir stories after playtesting The Coin’s Hard Edge that’s pretty slick. I wonder how it can be adapted for other genres… He’s looking for feedback!
- Campaign design is a lot of work. C @ Hack & Slash likens it to assembling the parts for a car “simultaneously without assistance, mechanical or otherwise.” Are there ways to simplify some of this work?
- Like many designers, Stargazer @ Stargazer’s World is working on a project for NaGaDeMon… Galaxy Rising! Check out what he wrote recently about the League of Free Worlds…
- NaGaDeMon is a challenge… Sometimes it boils down to simply getting everything written down at first, before you over-complicate things. I’m sure Jim White @ Wombat’s Gaming Den of Iniquity isn’t the only one who has been struggling with this of late.
- Vanir @ Critical Hits is tackling the NaNoWriMo challenge this month and finding it not as easy a transition from blogging or writing gaming material to consistently writing fiction. Anybody have any tips for him? Leave comments on the blog post!
- Have you ever had to end a campaign because someone was moving or changing jobs? The Id DM dealt with this recently and wrote a few thoughts on the topic. Good advice!
- Plastic is in many things we consume these days – not food-wise, but product-wise. Plastic wrap. Plastic pieces. And plastic is bad for the environment. At Pledge Off Plastic, the writer has decided to pledge not to buy any plastic product for 90 days. As a gamer, that’s really tough! I wish him the best of luck!
- Mike Shea @ Sly Flourish always has creative, out-of-the-box ideas and this week he has some thoughts on reskinning D&D monsters in 4e. And it’s deceptively simple. Great links to suggested sources and other articles as well!
- With the devastation left behind hurricane Sally, Erik Tenkar @ Tenkar’s Tavern asks a logical question… “Do natural disasters occur in your campaigns?” Great question with some interesting thoughts in the comments. Why not chime in on the conversation?
- I love this series at the Armchair Gamer. D&D is responsible for adding a TON of words to my mental lexicon and I am thankful for that every single day. Expand your vocabulary! Play a RPG!
- Diversity is one of the things I hope we all strive for in our lives, if not in our gaming. Tom Coenen @ Dungeon Master Tom artfully brings the discussion of diversity to gaming… Bravo!
- Who knew the Bible has a prayer for RPG players? Lord Karick @ Savage Legend points us to Psalm 140. I’m not a religious person, but I can relate to this passage as a gamer.
- Need a town for your next fantasy campaign? Check out the ruined town of Brasstooth from John L @ The Tales of Kaelaross. Apparently it’s home to monsters now…
- Many of us aren’t playtesting D&D Next with a group, but are reading through and pondering the various rules that come with each playtest packet. Though not playing the game either, Tobold Stoutfoot @ Tobold’s Blog offers some observations on the tips for running the playtest. Balancing exploration, roleplaying, and combat sounds good in theory, but not every session is going to work that way. And how does that stress test the rules?
- Do you need a psychic artifact with a Lovecraftian vibe? Check out this list of 30 random artifacts from Needles @ Swords and Stitchery… Some of them are downright brutal!
- Quick show of hands… How many of you have played a wizard in D&D in some edition and had them killed in the first battle they went into? Alex @ Cirsova has some interesting observations for this problem. But do we really think all 1st level wizards are egocentric turkeys?
- In the “damn, this is a great idea, why didn’t I think of it first” category, we have LS @ Papers & Pencils suggesting that we use poker chips to represent consumable items in the player’s item list. Food, torches, arrows, etc. Every time they use one, they put it back in the bowl. I think I’ll have to
stealborrow this idea.
- Have you ever played a campaign with a GM that you wanted to continue (like a movie sequel)? Most of my campaigns never ended, they just died, so I’ve not had to deal with that. Apparently Mike Bourke @ Campaign Mastery has some tips in case it comes up in your gaming group!
- Need a golem? Why not get a really big ice tray in the shape of a golem… Jeffrey Taddock @ The Iron Tavern has come up with an ice golem for DCC RPG that’s pretty awesome and written for the Winter is Coming II blog carnival ate Dice Monkey. Good stuff!
- Do you need a haunted keep for your campaign? Mobius @ Ennead Games has one for you, complete with occupants and encounters!
IndieGoGo & Kickstarter
- Now that Kickstarter is open for business in the U.K., the floodgates are opening. Hellfrost – Land of Fire, an Arabian Nights RPG fantasy setting for Savage Worlds has kicked off from Triple Ace Games recently. Tons of potential here and some great art.
- Though not strictly RPG-related, a fan film is being crowdfunded at IndieGoGo to tell the story of the Legate Lanius from Fallout: New Vegas. There are plenty of stories in the wasteland that could be done this way, so I’ll be interested to see how it works out.
- Jeff Dee, the artist behind much of the D&D 1st edition Deities & Demigods is back with a new Kickstarter. This time he’s recreating some of the art from Tekumel that originally appeared in issue #6 of Dragon magazine.
- The great folks behind the Shadows of Esteren Kickstarter are offering an intriguing choice to supporters of the new Prologue project. Each route offers different stretch goals. Which will you choose? This is the first project I’ve seen that will EVOLVE with backer input, so it’s definitely an intriguing idea! Chime in today! (The art to the right is from the project and all I can say is jeez that’s a lot of legs!!)
- And speaking of Kickstarter… Sometimes projects don’t always go according to plan. Erik Tenkar @ Tenkar’s Tavern is still waiting for quite a few things to show up. And Keith J. Davies has added his $0.02 to the mix as well. I still need to go back and see where my own supported projects fall these days…
- Now that Disney owns Star Wars, rumors have been running rampant about a potential acquisition of Hasbro to go along with it. David Leavitt @ the Examiner covers a few of them. Hasbro is denying it (according to several sources including Terri Schwartz @ Zap2It). Could it happen? Maybe.
- Designer Keith Baker has released a new expansion for Gloom - Unpleasant Dreams! If you don’t know Gloom, it was featured a while back on Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop and looks like a ton of fun. Unpleasant Dreams introduces more Lovecraftian elements to the game to amp up the “Gloominess!”
- John Adams @ Brave Halfing Publishing is keeping his fans of the Appendix N series (for DCC RPG) informed of recent progress. Customers with an annual subscription should get their first module at the end of the month, with more on the way.
- Shanna Germain @ Monte Cook had a chance to interview Kieran Yanner, the lead artist for Numenera who did all the spectacular concept art for the game featured during the Kickstarter.
- Tim Shorts @ Gothridge Manor has relaunched the “Knowledge Illuminates” series of one-shot adventures recently and now it’s available in print!
- I’m a bit of a geek as you may have noticed already… But one of the things I feel can make or break a book. I was invited to participate in a panel for Indie+ titled “Layout, Gutters and You” which featured folks like Quinn Conklin (Occult Moon), Kirin Robinson (Old School Hack), Jeremy Whalen, and others talking about tips, techniques, and so on- great chat even if my big fat head fills the screen for about half of it.
- Tracy Barnett, creator of School Daze and One Shot was interviewed by Bartoneus @ Critical Hits recently and they covered everything including a great idea for a new game - Terrorform – we may see in the future!
- I knew WotC was on a reprint kick, but had no idea how much of one until I saw this article from NewbieDM. Modules, hardcover books, compendiums… What’s next?
- Corefun Studios has released a new science fiction RPG called Solar Echoes – which sounds a bit like the backdrop for X-COM Enemy Unknown. (Thanks Aaron @ Roleplayers Chronicle!)
- My kingdom for a horse! Raging Swan Press has released So What’s the Mount Like, Anyway? by designer Mike Welham that will give you a horse when you need it. And one with personality! Check out the product page here.
- WotC’s Dungeon! reboot continues to get great reviews in the community. Nina Hess @ WotC’s D&D blog tells us our kids will get smarter if they play it. NewbieDM had a great time playing with is daughter. And Matt Stags @ Suvudu says it’s just as fun now as it was when he was a kid. Have you ordered your copy?
- Not every game supplement can be golden. Erik Tenkar @ Tenkar’s Tavern tackled Races and Classes: Dinosaurs from Dork Night and… it’s definitely not golden folks.
- How many RPGs are there? More than anybody can probably count. But Brent Newhall is tackling “50 Games in 50 Weeks” to offer a bit of a review/overview of each. It’s quite an undertaking. Recently he dove into Warrior, Rogue & Mage from Stargazer Games. It’s a fun rules-light system that deserves some kudos, so I’m happy to see it getting some attention.
- Thunderstone has been around for a couple of years now and AEG has been busy expanding it ever since. Trent @ The Board Game Family had a chance to review Thunderstone Advance – and it sounds like it doesn’t disappoint.
- John O’Neill @ Black Gate wrote a love letter to Kobold Quarterly in a recent article. As most of us already knew – “ It’s a pleasure to browse, and there are lots of things that catch the eye. Check it out, and I think you’ll find it’s more than worth the money.” Yup, welcome to the club, John! (For those of you who don’t know Black Gate, it’s a quarterly source of amazing short fantasy, horror, and science fiction stories!)
- Flames Rising has a great review of the new GUMSHOE-based RPG called Night’s Black Agents from Kenneth Hite. Sounds like a fun paranormal setting mixing spies and vampires.
- Michael @ Neuroglyph Games wrote up a great review of Ed Greenwood Presents: Elminster’s Forgotten Realms from Wizards of the Coast. You can find the review up at EN World. I love the fact that the book is system neutral, which means it won’t partake in the edition wars!
- I don’t know if you’ve heard of the World Building Academy from Deborah Teramis Christian (fiction and game writer), but they have some great resources available for both gamers and fiction writers. Recently they had a World Building Contest and announced the winners. Check them out for some fun ideas to explore in your own campaigns…
- Wine and Savages is a new blog that just joined the RPG Blog Alliance… Be sure to drop by and check it out and say hi!
- Do you use to-do lists? Do they not always make it from the list to “done”? Maybe Task Hammer can help – a to-do app for Android that uses some RPG mechanics to encourage you to level up. (Thanks Mark Frost @ HackCollege!)
- Though I’m not really an Apple person, I have to admit I’ve become attached to my iPad 2. So this tip for quickly accessing stat blocks using Dropbox folders on an iPad @ Sarah Darkmagic is great!
That’s it for this week on the news front. If you want a bit more, check out:
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!