Happy Friday the 13th, everybody! That’s right – a haunted day and me without my hockey mask and machete… What does it have to do with gaming? Nothing! As far as I’m concerned, it’s just another Friday. Regardless of any bad luck, ladders or black cats in your path I hope you enjoy it… We won’t have another one until July!
With the triskaidekaphobia behind us, let’s move on to why you’re really here… Links! News! All manner of interesting posts from across the web!
But before that I just want everybody to say hi to Andrew Armstrong, the new columnist here at Game Knight Reviews. He joins Robert Oglodzinksi (Ancient Scroll) and Creighton Broadhurst (Raging Swan Press) as a regular contributor this week. And his first post was all about the poor, misunderstood Cleric in D&D. Yes, Clerics can do a whole lot more than just heal the rest of the group!!
On that note… Off to the news!!
Food for Thought
- Have you ever wondered how Wizards of the Coast got their name? Well, wonder no longer. Morrus @ ENWorld posted a link to a post by Peter Adkison (WotC founder and GenCon owner) that explains it all. Have you ever noticed how sometimes when you find out things like this you’re slightly underwhelmed? Maybe it’s just me?
- Need a goofy invention for your campaign? Maria Popova @ Brain Pickings has “27 of History’s Strangest Inventions”ripe for the picking… with great pictures! I especially like the amphibious bike and the all-terrain car, but the “Snowstorm mask” takes the cake… Those ladies look like birds!
how often have you struggled to find the right font for a particular project? Adam Dachis @ Lifehacker had a great guide to “typefaces and layout” this week that may offer some hints.
- I know this is a bit out off topic, but I’m a bibliophile. I love books. Especially old ones. And now, thanks to Robert T. Gonzalez @ io9, I know why they smell the way they do thanks to a video from Richard Adams @ AbeBooks.
- Who knew storytelling could be contentious? Apparently Michael Bay is changing the backstory for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and that has many people upset. TechGnotic @ Deviant Art has some thoughts for Hollywood and game designers that may also apply to the tabletop RPG industry… Plus there’s some great art as you might imagine!
- How did I miss the first part of this series by Alex Osias @ Armchair Gamer about storytelling? The first part explores the differences between “story” and “storytelling”… While the second part applies those principles to RPGs…
- Have you ever wondered what you could do as an author of game materials could do to help the industry? Or as a publisher? Obviously Paco Jaen @ G*M*S Magazine has thought about it quite a bit!
- Diversity in D&D… This topic has gained momentum in recent weeks and Mordicai Knode @ Tor.com posted a “Modest Proposal” on how WotC might increase the diversity for D&D Next. Great article that points out the lack of diverse roles in 4E, but said that Paizo got it right with the Pathfinder Core Rulebook… Let’s hope WotC is listening.
Games and Gaming
- Have you ever asked the
important impertinentkey questions that help your campaigns and characters get from point A to rich and famous? (Or simply stay alive?) Susan Morris @ Serious Pixie has a list of questions that made me LOL this week. It’s a multiple choice test that ought to keep you entertained and/or thinking very evil thoughts – I’m not sure yet.
- Critical Fumbles. Loathed as much as Critical Hits are revered? Possibly… But Chris Hackler @ Gaming Tonic suggests we should embrace the epic fumble. I think without failure, success doesn’t mean as much, so I’m good with what’s being suggested here.
- I think maps are awesome, as you have probably divined by now. But when DMs can manufacture maps that go beyond two dimensions, I get really impressed. The Id DM this week offers a cheap solution to 3D space on water (mini-islands in this case) using small wooden plaques and special paints!
- Also in the land of maps is Mike Shea’s article @ Sly Flourish about various battle map options for your gaming table. I had no idea there were this many variations on a theme, but consider myself a better informed gamer now!
- Stephen Hilderbrand @ Claw / Claw / Bite has also put together some interesting 3D terrain for game tables using “Dungeonstone” to do it. And I have to say the images look amazing…
- Dungeons… Caves… They’re all the same, right? Michael Donaldson @ Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies doesn’t think so and has come up with three interesting locales for a GM to run “dungeon crawls” through for a change.
- Speaking of dungeons… Looking for some inspiration? Check out the winners of the D&D Best Dungeon Contest… Some great entries! My favorite line in the article? “You had me at bungee jumping kobolds.”
- As a parent, I find myself saying “no” a lot. But at the game table as a GM, I loved saying “Yes!” (and it sometimes got me into trouble). Nick @ Troll in the Corner has some tips on how to work around that by saying “Yes… but…” to put some conditions on player requests. Some entertaining ideas here!
- Need a unique monster? Check out the Id DM’s “Kemah Timmonen” @ This is My Game this week… Not only do you get a ready made 4E monster for your use, but you get a detailed design discussion about how she came to exist. Fascinating!
- Are you looking for a different way to manage combat in tabletop RPGs? Brindy @ Brindy’s Other Worlds has some suggestions as well as an analysis of how several existing systems handle combat. The fact that it looks a bit like the combat system from the old Jagged Alliance computer strategy game doesn’t hurt. And the fact that it is written for WR&M really doesn’t hurt either!
- Rise of the Underdark has achieved critical mass with plenty of attention in the gamer community this week. The first I heard of it was from Michael @ Neuroglyph Games, who included the book video from Wizards of the Coast along with the official press release.
- Speaking of WotC, there’s also been some interesting rumblings about how class and race will be handled in D&D Next. I’m not sure I like where this article is taking us as far as options, condensing skill and feat choices down into two main chunks – background and theme.
- If D&D Next isn’t really your thing, then what about The 13th Age by Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet at Pelgrane Press? An old-school feel with “more soul and fewer technical details” sounds great, don’t you think? (Morrus @ ENWorld commented on it… John Cook @ Geekwire posted an article quoting Tweet from Norwescon in Seattle last weekend…
- The folks at Living Dice are sponsoring a new tabletop gaming convention in Tempe, AZ – Conflagration 2012! If you live in or around Phoenix, be sure to check it out this June at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel!
- target=”_blank”>Purple Duck Games just released Monsters Unleashed V.5, the latest in a series of monster supplements for Pathfinder that takes 3E monsters and updates them for PFRPG – including the asnae, gnarl, ith’n ya’roo, mezadevz, and striga. These were updated by Stefen Styrsky and Mark Gedak; illustrated by Gary Dupuis.
- Rite Publishing just released Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Z.Z. Grimshanks, the Knave of Sharp Seconds for PFRPG. Z.Z. seems especially deadly and ready for your campaign… Players beware!
- This Saturday, April 14th – LPJ Design is having a ONE DAY SALE in honor of the tax man. Nobody likes paying taxes, but you’ll love saving 25% off any LPJ Design product at RPGNow.com!
- And Raging Swan Press just released Duergar of the Obsidian Citadel, a PFRPG supplement offering new class features, feats, spells, magic items, and more! Let the Duergar dig their way into your campaign…
(There are so many cool projects at Kickstarter these days I figure they need their own section! And it has to kick off with John Kovalic’s Dork Tower from this week that felt all too familiar to me… I *may* have been a bit crazy with funding projects last month…)
- Brennan Taylor has kicked off a fiction project for the Bulldogs! game called “Have Blaster, Will Travel” that looks like it could be cool. I love gritty sci-fi every now and then.
- Another project that got my attention this week was “Witch Girls Book of Shadows” from Malcolm Harris. This is the second edition of Witch Girls, which garnered some great reviews with its earlier release. By opening up gaming to more than stereotypical gamers, I think Harris and Channel M have a great thing going. Plus, there’s a cool deal today – it’s Friday the 13th – a perfect day to support a project about witches, right?!
- Christian Lindke @ Cinerati has a great article this week about how to stand out in a “World of Kickstarting Awesome,” offering some tips and things to ponder when trying to get your own project funded. He and his partners at Twin Suns Entertainment are trying to get their own project funded – “Dice Chuckers” – a documentary about RPGs that will try to shed some of the stereotypes of our hobby. Even if you don’t read the article, please support the Kickstarter project. This is the only way that folks will start to see that we’re not all loners living in our parents’ basements. Most of us (all the gamers I know actually) are responsible adults and many have families to support. We’re only dangerous if you’re a kobold in an encounter on a 2D map… I swear!
- Dice towers. I didn’t even know what they were until I joined the new group I’m playing with. And John Redman wants to make some very pretty ones, sponsored by a Kickstarter project! “Unique Dice Towers” could offer a very cool gift to hand out at Christmas… or simply get one for yourself!
- Interested in how some of the projects at Kickstarter have done over the last year? Check out the 2011-2012 report from Neil Carr @ Geek Industrial Complex that covers 150 RPG projects. Plenty of data for those of you interested in gaining some insights into what works and what doesn’t…
- Maybe you’re interested in some bizarre art that is right up the gamer alley? Check out Ariana Osborne’s “Cartes Infernales” project. Illustrations from the Dictionnaire Infernal cleaned up and translated to a deck of 69 large full-color cards that look gorgeous.
- David Guyll @ Points of Light had an opportunity to review WotC’s Halls of Undermountain this week... Sounds like it offers some good advice, but may be a bit pricey for the number of pages.
- Jatori @ tenletter did a great job reviewing the Zobeck Gazeteer this week from Open Design. Sounds like plenty of great fluff and crunch for your city-based games. I’m looking forward to diving into this soon!
- Thorynn @ Skyland Games cracked open the DCC RPG tome this week and offered a solid (positive!) review of this old-school RPG from Goodman Games. This one is sitting in my review queue waiting to be gone through here as well… And I can already tell you the artwork is amazing and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
- Looking for a quick way to inspire some fantasy world history? The Timeline Generator @ Fantasist.net handles that quite nicely. Set a few properties (name, start year, number of years of history, and the number of events per year and cut it loose… You get fun text like “In the year 460, it is written that a horrible earthquake shook the land and there was a military campaign launched to regain lost territory…” Now why was that territory lost I wonder?
- Or maybe you’re looking for a way to organize your 4E information online… Power2ool has you covered with a virtual desktop design you can use for many things!
- Looking for an integrated system for gaming over Google+ Hangouts? Check out Tabletop Forge while it’s still in beta. I’ve heard good things, but haven’t had a chance to give it a go yet myself. Anybody tried it yet?
(I’m also going to start sticking in a list of links to other articles you might want to check out…)
- How to get more comments — Blog — WordPress.com
- Ouroboros University; Tunnels Part One [4E D&D]
- Unmanned nanomaterial Piranha threatens to redefine naval warfare
- The Five Games that Influenced the Way I Play « Casting Shadows
- Changing Courses: Most Influential Scenarios « Casting Shadows
- D&D Next Design Considerations | Syntax Error
- Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game Official Home Page – Article (D&D Next Design Considerations)
- Types of Dungeons – Dungeon Survival Handbook Excerpt
- Howling Tower: Chase Scenes
- ‘Legend of Grimrock’ Resurrects the Old-School Dungeon Crawl [REVIEW]
- Applying the Touch of God to Divine Characters — Dungeon’s Master
- Tales From The Savage Troll: Professional Art for Your Savage Worlds Character – Three Artists I Met at Wondercon 2012
- Randomly Generating A Game, Part 1 | intwischa.com
Grognard: How I Would Approach Oriental Adventures
- Greyhawk Grognard: Is a Samurai Just a Fighter in Funny Armor?
That’s it for this week on the news front. If you want a bit more, check out the Weekly Roundup at Roving Band of Misfits, the Weekly Assembly from Gamer Assembly, Chris Hackler’s “What’s Up With D&D?” at ENWorld, and BryanMD posted a great list of cool stuff at Intwischa as well. 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!