Before I get going with the day’s links, I want to share why I’ve been gone for a while this week and why that trend will more than likely continue next week…
I have two daughters and both have birthdays near the beginning of the year – one in January and the other in February. The last few years each has had overnight birthday parties and invited some friends over to enjoy some insanity. Apparently when my youngest had her party with five of her 8-year-old friends last weekend, one or two of our guests brought a virus or two along (not shocking) and by Monday night I was starting to feel lousy.
It was bad enough (fever, chills, cough) that I even called in sick on Thursday and saw the doc on Friday. To say the least, the fact that if I wasn’t trying to work I was trying to sleep didn’t leave any time for Game Knight Reviews. So I apologize for the lack of posts this week, but I’m feeling much better and will be 100% soon.
Unfortunately I’m out of town this next week for work and that will impact any post time I have until I get back next weekend. Plus we’re hitting soccer season again, which means my weekends (including next weekend) will be spent ferrying to/from games and tournaments.
Long story short, posting will be sporadic for the next few weeks – but hopefully it will return to some sense of normalcy by about mid-March. I know better than to wish for less craziness, but I can always hope.
So the rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated and I haven’t given up yet!
With that out of the way, let’s get into some publisher news shall we? Some of this is a little old, so bear with me while we clear out the queue…
(1) Gen Con‘s Always On My Mind…
Ok, so nobody wants to hear me sing that and I’ve never been, but always wanted to go and the sentiment still holds true.
We all know that it costs money to put on Gen Con year after year and sponsors help foot the bill so that thousands of people can swamp the convention floor to get their game on. Well, I was happy to see rel="homepage">Paizo Publishing step in to partner with Gen Con to become a co-sponsor for three years. It means convention attendees will see much more of a Paizo presence than before (bigger in the exhibit hall, more vents, etc.) and I think with the continued success of Pathfinder this is a great fit. Michael Tresca @ The Examiner has much more including quotes from Erik Mona (Paizo) and Adrian Swartout (Gen Con CEO).
Yes, more bad singing… Maybe it’s the cold meds. But in this case, it’s something that drives me nuts. Games Workshop, in its infinite wisdom, is trying to trademark the term “space marine” – going so far as to demand that Amazon pull things out of the Kindle store because a book merely mentions the term. Honestly I don’t see how GW can even ponder such action. I’ve heard the term bandied about since seeing the term in some old Robert A. Heinlein work (from 1939) but even he wasn’t the earliest to use it. So to say that they own the rights to the term merely because they use the term in Warhhammer 40k is ridiculous.
And Howard Tayler @ Schlock Mercenary has one of the best explanations I’ve seen for why this is bad. His analogy of genre fiction as a river of terminology that formed from visionaries like Tolkien, Heinlein, and H.G. Wells, flows downstream to folks like Gygax and Arneson, and continues on its way with no one to dam up the works is brilliant and simple. We don’t need any more dams folks. Let the terms be free to fraternize and form new connections. Leave the lawyers at home.
Hearing from some of the great folks who are involved with roleplaying games even peripherally always gives me hope that what I’m doing is a help to someone else.
Manda Collis is one busy lady. She’s a manager of the Roleplay Hub Network and blogs there. She works at Evil Hat Productions and as a freelance writer. And apparently she simply loves to game! Great interview by Lillian Cohen-Moore at BitchMedia.
Does the name Frank Mentzer mean anything to you? Well, it should! He’s one of the old guard at TSR and helped influence many classic games such as Keep on the Borderlands and Temple of Elemental Evil. Random Wizard recently had a chat with Mentzer about those early days and his good friend Gary Gygax.
And though this one is more about the comic than the game, Dan Casey has a great interview of Mouse Guard’s David Petersen over @ Nerdist. Though I’m a n00b to the world of Mouse Guard, what I’ve read and seen has been fantastic – from the art to the story – and I hear the game is pretty cool too!
(4) Kobolds Haven’t Lost Any Steam
Though I miss Kobold Quarterly, I know that Wolfgang and the rest of the kobolds have been working furiously on many cool projects to take the sting away… Among them is a new version of Courts of the Shadow Fey written for the Pathfinder RPG. And then there’s Wolfgang’s own Midgard Adventures series that’s been a ton of fun to read. The latest of those – The Raven’s Call - is now available. And if that’s not enough there’s also the Player’s Guide to the Wasted West, which looks like all sorts of awesome.
Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop has been a guilty pleasure of mine for a while now. I’ve even picked up a game or two that they’ve featured on the show. But I have to say I was excited to see what they’d do with Green Ronin’s Dragon Age RPG. And I wasn’t disappointed (though some other folks I’ve spoken to were less pleased apparently, but that’s a topic for another day).
Chris Pramas, the creator of Dragon Age and Green Ronin, put together a great behind-the-scenes post of what it was like to film the episode with Wheaton, Chris Hardwick, Kevin Sussman, and Sam Witwer. I think the episode (both parts) turned out to be a lot of fun and hopefully Chris will get a chance to finish off the article in part 2!
And it seems that Wil would like to do more D&D on Geek & Sundry, which would be great. I love the idea of seeing celebrities play through classic D&D modules for a few episodes. What do you think?
(6) Some Publisher Announcements
Though I am a backer, unfortunately I haven’t kept up with all of the sneak peeks of Monte Cook’s upcoming Numenera RPG, but every time I stop by the site I’m blown away by the amount of detail that is added. New art, descriptions of game play, status of playtesting, and much more. Definitely worth checking out if you get a few moments.
Also exciting was the news that Nicholas Cloister’s Monsters By Email was funded late in January 2013. If you’re unfamiliar with his work, he does some fantastic art with some very creative creatures. Though I haven’t subscribed to the service myself I expect some truly unique horrors to come out of the project!
The great folks at Steve Jackson Games never fail to produce fun new products throughout the year and it seems that some fun new GURPS products (GURPS Ultra-Tech and GURPS Spaceships) along with more Pyramid. And it seems they’re excited to get them out to the GURPS masses as well!
Have you heard about Unbelievably Simple Role-playing (USR)? Apparently this free RPG is gaining some ground in the community and folks are using it across genres for many cool sounding games. I may have to check it out when I dig out of my current pile of review material.
Does the name Brent P. Newhall ring any bells? It should! Well, he’s published The Old School Renaissance Handbook and wants to give you a copy! But you only have until midnight tonight!! Get your entry into the giveway right away!
Lastly, like many geeks, I miss Firefly. Well, apparently GaleForce Nine is creating a very cool looking board game based on the series. It’s aptly named Firefly: The Game!
(7) Could We See More Planescape?
Planescape to me conjures up hours of playing Planescape: Torment on an old PC and wondering where the adventure would lead me. Though I never had a chance to play in that world at the table, it always offered some very intriguing concepts around planar travel, denizens and places to visit, and bizarre stories. Well, apparently Wizards of the Coast is saying the door isn’t shut on the world… According to Wizards, they’d consider licensing the Planescape world to someone if they asked nicely (based
on an article from Robert Purchese @ Eurogamer.net). Apparently this is all due to the Kickstarter done for a new Torment game based in the world of Numenera.
How will it all shake out? Who knows… But I’d be curious to see what someone could do with that world and a more modern computer game toolkit.
Though I’ve been slacking a bit in the last week (due to illness), that hasn’t stopped Callinostros @ EN World from publishing regular lists of new PDFs to check out. He’s put together two lists this month - one early in February and another this past week – with plenty of new choices to ponder!
(9) Dragon Magazine available Legally?
The Internet Archive has been around for quite a long time, but recently it announced it had all of the past issues of Dragon Magazine available. In an age when WotC is releasing all their old content through DnDClassics.com, is this legal? Some of these issues have been around forever, but the quality of what I’ve perused on the archive looks great and includes everything from issue #1. Get ‘em while they’re hot folks! Something tells me Wizards may have something to say about them being out there for free…
(10) Does Advertising Work?
Louis Porter has been doing the small publisher thing well for a long time, so I’m always interested when he and other publishers write posts about some of the “inner workings” of the industry. One of those weird gears I’ve never wrapped my head around is advertising. Does it actually pay to advertise? Apparently the evidence says “YES!” His experiment was a big success putting some advertising at D20pfrsrd.com. A big thank you goes out to Porter and other publishers who regularly provide these glimpses into the business side of the industry!
(10 +1) Catching up with Raging Swans
Have you noticed that there’s a bit of an art to naming things in a campaign? The world has to have a cool name. It’s fun if entire campaigns or adventures have names. And then each dungeon should have a descriptive and dangerous-sounding moniker, right? Well, Creighton Broadhurst has just the thing… Dungeon Dressing: Dungeon Names. More tables than you can shake a stick at and plenty of inspiration to go around!
Then there’s Urban Dressing: Traders & Craftsmen from Brian Liberge. This one deals with all sorts of craft shops – items, appearance, adventure hooks, NPCs, and the like whereas the last one in this series dealt with more of the free-standing bazaar (Market Stalls).
And the newest one is Wilderness Dressing: Plains from Eric Hindley. We’ve all been on adventures where traveling from town to town becomes a boring cycle of random encounters and uneventful trails. Well, this supplement might add some color with minor events, terrain features, and ready-to-use encounters to spice things up a bit.
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!
If you’re a publisher and have an announcement to make or new products being released, let me know and I’ll include them in my next publisher round-up!