News from Around the Net: 2-SEP-11

Greetings programs!

It’s the Friday before Labor Day weekend for those of us in the United States, so many of us are getting ready for a few days of rest & relaxation. And I for one am ready for a few days off!

Before I dive into the news, I have to share some of my own. September 15, 2011 marks the one year anniversary of the first post on Game Knight Reviews. Amazingly after 150+ blog posts, more than 20,000 visitors have hit the site and all but 500 of those have come in the last nine months, so a huge thank you goes out to everybody who’s been reading. I hope to be able to announce some cool giveaways on the 15th, so keep a watch out for that in a couple of weeks.

And now… to the news.

Food for Thought

Games and Gaming

Publisher News

  • In case you missed it, PAX Prime 2011 happened last weekend in Seattle. Apparently there were some sweet new tabletop games that Matt Morgan at MTV Geek uncovered while he was there… From Super Dungeon Explore and Penny Arcade: Gamers Vs. Evil to Small World Underground, Paint the Line and any board or card game played on a custom gaming table. The table would certainly look sweet in my basement if I had room!
  • Gamerati is very cool. Not only do they run Loot, but they have an ad network that helps publishers get a targeted message out to gamers. Ed Healy is one of the great guys at Gamerati and he’s currently on a tour around the US talking about gaming at stores. That’s dedication! Well, Rico at Dragon’s Bay had a chance to interview Ed – so check it out and see if Ed will be anywhere near you on his tour…
  • Though I was bummed that Argyle & Crew didn’t quite meet its Kickstarter goal, I’m excited that Ben at Troll in the Corner is moving forward with it. You can get your own copy of the game PDF at DriveThruRPG now, which is awesome. I have yet to try this with my kids, but I think they’ll love playing with sock puppets!
  • Rite Publishing has just released a handful of products – 101 Armor and Shield Properties, Fold-N-Go Singles: Altar, Fantastic Maps: The Ice Bridge, In the Company of Henge, and Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Belladonna, The Face of Love Unrequited. All of them are available at DriveThruRPG… And if you’re interested in The Breaking of Forstor Nagar, be sure to check out the Rite Publishing website for a trailer video that’s pretty cool!
  • LPJ Design has also released Ultimate Traps Decks that offers a collection of 10 Pathfinder-compatible traps for use in your games. I have to admit I’m liking the card approach these days!

Reviews

Tools

  • I’m a sucker for random tables. James C at A Dungeon Master’s Tale has composed a series of tables to enable you to generate an arcane order from picking a name to figuring out how long they’ve been around and what arcane knowledge they actually know. I used the tables to create “The Arcane Luminous,” which has been around for 15 years, knows spells up to the 6th level and is going to be very stingy about sharing them with anybody else!
  • Dungeons & Dragons game in progress. Miniature...

    Image via Wikipedia

    Or maybe you feel like creating a new religion for your group’s cleric? Staples at Grognardling has some unique tables you can roll on to do just that… When I went through the exercise, I ended up with an Animistic religion that’s friendly and doesn’t try to convert you right away. Unfortunately, the gods don’t really care – they’re pretty apathetic – at least until they start playing with mortals as entertainment. The religion itself is teaching a moral code despite their uncaring gods, trying to avoid moral degeneration. Worshipers sacrifice material goods – burning them in the weekly temple bonfire – which means it’s an expensive club to belong to or else you end up with no possessions. It would be interesting to see the player’s reactions when they stopped in a town with a local temple of this religion to get some healing and they asked for something to burn in return… Think a few eyebrows would go up?

  • Outlining. You probably learned about it when you were going through school and forgot about it… but guess what? It’s still a useful tool for gamers too! Though Sean Preston at Reality Blurs offers a general overview of outlining practices, I think all of the techniques mentioned… from understanding the structure and not going overboard to making sure you have the right tools to outline easily… can be used in adventure design, world design, or simply writing up campaign notes in a way that makes sense.
  • Here’s another tool idea in the “dang, why didn’t I think of that” category… Berin Kinsman experimented with creating a Player Knowledge Book that is shared between players and GM to help them not only collect all the important NPCs, places, and threads in a single place, but can allow the GM to compare notes and inject interesting clues, rumors, places, or people along the way. Shared storytelling made simple. What a concept!
  • Drama. I live in a house with two daughters, so I’m getting a better feel for it. But sometimes as a GM you want to up the ante and increase dramatic tension for your group. The folks at The Artifact RPG have a suggestion. Put dice under a box! (Plus it’s a great way to recycle all those 12-pack soda boxes after everyone’s fully caffeinated!)
  • Are you looking for some tokens for 4e Modern? C. Steven Ross at DMG 42 has pulled a ton of them together for you. Just print ’em and glue them to a 1″ washer for instant counters!
  • Character dossiers. Yet another great idea I wish I had. But Mike at Campaign Mastery has a heck of a detailed plan for how to set one of these puppies up for an NPC so you have tons of useful information in one location!

That’s it for this week on the news front.

If you missed any of my articles this week, here are some links to catch up:

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 and I’ll add it to the list for next week!

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