Monday, June 24, 2013

Hex-based Campaign Design Part 1 - Erin D. Smale

"In my quest for rapid campaign development, I came across an elegant idea called Six sided gaming: Hex magic on Greywulf’s Microlite d20 site. Subtitled “the lazy gamer’s guide to world building,” Six sided gaming suggests launching your campaign with an adventure in a single hex, then placing adventures in each of the six surrounding hexes, assigning hex terrain and encounters to match the adventures you’ve chosen. As the campaign grows, you simply populate the next “ring” of surrounding hexes, and so on and so on. Defining the campaign by its adventures—instead of the other way round—is a great time-saver and perfect for the busy GM. With Greywulf’s kind permission, I’ve expanded the concept into a slightly different approach, but with the same time-saving goal. In Part 1 of Hex-based Campaign Design, we’ll start with a hex map and its terrain. - See more at:" 4.5 out of 5

INTERVIEW: On Writing and THE CRASH - Guy Haley

"KC: Your rather timely new novel, Crash, features The Market, an all seeing, all knowing entity that rules all, and the promise of freedom in space for a small group of people. Ok, I’m hooked! Tell me more!! GH: It’s not so much about the Market, which is the semi-autonomous global stock exchange of the future in the book. I think that was seized on quite early for publicity, at a time when even I wasn’t sure what the book was about. Rather, the backdrop of Crash concerns the entrenchment of the current class of global super-rich, for whom the Market is the primary tool of enrichment, and their transformation into a de facto plutocracy. But I suppose thematically it’s really “about” hierarchies in human societies, and persistence – of families, of wealth, of cultures, of power, and of, even, the species. The story, however, is about a colony effort that goes horribly wrong for reasons that are slowly revealed in the novel. I love stories about against-the-odds human survival on far flung worlds, about broken generation ships, all that stuff. " 4 out of 5

Dungeon World - Sage LaTorra and Adam Koebel

A new school Dungeons and Dragons variant based around simplified rules with more made up execution, with player facing rolling only on 2d6 for everything...with Failure, Success and Really Well Done type results, pretty much, with players and GM describing or making up what happens. The usual class and monster suspects are here. 3.5 out of 5

Friday, June 21, 2013

Digging Into Infinity: Monsters and Magic Old School Fantasy New School Play - Adam Minnie

"One of the main things I like about M&M is that it’s designed specifically for backward compatibility to honor and re-employ classic materials from older versions. I have two local groups, one that loves 3.x and one preferring 4e. Although neither of these versions are technically ‘classic,’ I believe M&M finally allows both groups to play together, retaining and enhancing what they love about each edition, while retaining what I love about more modern ‘new wave’ games. In a review at SF Signal, Paul Weimer says, ”Monsters and Magic, rather than just being just a straight clone, has some innovations of its own, and ideas from much more modern games.” (Roll Perception Plus Awareness: Monsters and Magic and the Old School Renaissance) I particularly enjoy the M&M game concepts that allude to ideas in Fate, Dungeon World, Reign, Mouse Guard and others. Furthermore M&M’s core system, the Effect Engine is a manifestation of exactly what I wanted to implement in my 4e campaign last year." 4.5 out of 5

Dungeon World Actual Play Part 1 - Sarah Newton

"Over the Christmas period I like to take a complete break from the “day job” of writing for RPGs and fiction. As a passionate writer and gamer, that’s sometimes tricky – it’s hard to let a day go by without putting something down on paper – so this year I was especially chuffed to have discovered the new fantasy RPG Dungeon World on Christmas Eve. It’s a very modern game, based on the system which powers Apocalypse World, and plainly states that its aim is to replicate that “old school D&D feel” using a modern gaming ethos and more narrative mechanics. One of those mechanics is that the gamemaster makes no rolls whatsoever – every NPC action, and indeed every event in the campaign, is “triggered” by the results of player character actions. That’s a very cool concept, and reading the Dungeon World PDF (available for $10 from DriveThru) made me want to take the system out for a spin." 4.5 out of 5

Risus - S. John Ross

Risus is a complete Role Playing Game (RPG) designed to provide an "RPG Lite" for those nights when the brain is too tired for exacting detail. Risus is especially valuable to GMs assembling a quick convention game, or any late-night beer-and-pretzels outing. While it is essentially a Universal Comedy System, it works just as well for serious play (if you insist!). Best of all, a Risus character takes about 20 seconds to create! [Or what he says, goes. Fun and fast. Any sendup or parody you can think of.] 4 out of 5

A Witch Shall Be Born - Robert E. Howard

Good sister, bad siter. 4.5 out of 5

Starter Traveller - Marc Miller

A cut down version that has some compiled rules organised differently, a handy book of tables and an adventure. 4 out of 5

Fate Points Episode 11: The Great Merlini Demands Attendance! - Andrew Goenner

4 out of 5

Thursday, June 20, 2013

David Gemmell and the Depiction of the Hero - Anthony Ryan

"David Gemmell is now regarded as perhaps the finest exponent of the ‘heroic fantasy’ sub-genre, and his works present a rich variety of heroes, from mighty axe-wielder Druss the Legend to brooding gunfighter Jon Shannow, distinct from each other but often sharing the same traits of lingering guilt over the lives they have taken and the stark realisation that heroism often holds scant reward." 3.5 out of 5

The Scariest Pudding - Jim TheWestWinds

"Yes, slimes and oozes are one of the true jokes in the D&D fantasy world. They are ridiculous, non-frightening, silly things. They are found lurking about dungeons as a humorous homage to Gary Gygax. If you encountered some sort of pudding monster in your standard D&D dungeon, you would first laugh about its name for a while, then slay it with little hesitation, and move on." 4 out of 5

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Rescue Party - Arthur C. Clarke

Rescue Party - Arthur C. Clarke An alien survey ship is surprised to find that the Earth system sun is going nova well ahead of schedule, and gets in trouble itself when it goes to look for people to save and can't find signs of life, until much later. 3.5 out of 5

Bit Rot - Charles Stross

Gamma ray burster mind meltdown surprise robot space zombie sister stash. 3.5 out of 5

Licensed Properties and RPGs - Play On Target

"Welcome to the eleventh episode of the Play On Target podcast (PLOT for short). This episode features a discussion of media/intellectual properties that have been licensed for use in role-playing games. What makes a good game based on a media property? What problems do designers and players run into when playing a game based on a licensed IP? What is great about RPGs based on licensed properties? What properties would you like to see as an RPG? What RPGs based on IP are out there – the good and the bad? We touch on all of these questions to varying degrees. " 4 out of 5

Wargaming 101 Part One with - Jonathan Reinhart

4 out of 5

AD&D Player's Handbook Spell Lists by Class - Gary Gygax

Very handy. Html format, ebook away. 5 out of 5

Episode 104: Nova Praxis 00 - Roo Sack Gamers

Making up some people, even with power armour. 4 out of 5

Interview: author of vN and iD - Madeline Ashby

"KC: Will you tell us about your new novel, iD, out this month, and its protagonist, Javier? Javier is a self-replicating humanoid. He’s iterated about thirteen times, so he has a bunch of copies of himself running around. He has an intact failsafe, which means he can’t hurt human beings. (At least, not physically.) It also means he tends to fall for human beings — until recently. This book tests his devotion to another humanoid, Amy. And that test takes him on a big journey, where he thinks he’s looking for her but he’s really searching for himself out there on the road" 4 out of 5

Thursday, June 13, 2013

ICONS Great Power released - Steve Kenson and Dan Houser

"ICONS Great Power released Steve Kenson and Dan Houser stop by to talk about the release of ICONS Great Power. Steve talks about the future of ICONS and Dan manages to spill the beans on a pretty major Stark City secret" 4 out of 5

Spirit of the Century: Attack of the Murderhobos - RPR Actual Play

"In this special one shot adventure, RJ returns as we try out Spirit of the Century, a pulp themed FATE engine RPG! The players are typical pulp heroes at a swanky New York City party, when dastardly murderhobos attack the shindig! It turns out that the secret homeless fighting societies of the city are fighting over a fabled grimoire of dirty fighting called Ars Pugilism and they seem to think the PCs have it. The heroes will have to get to the bottom of this mystery before the murderhobos tear the city apart!" 4 out of 5

Friday, June 07, 2013

You Have to Believe We Are Magic - Mercedes Lackey and Veronica Giguere

Wherein Ramona tells Telsa not to be a wussbag and gets Overwatchedup. 4 out of 5

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Sasquatch Game Studio's Primeval Thule RPG Setting - Christian Lindke

"Join us as we chat with Game industry veterans Richard Baker, David Noonan and Stephen Schubert who have united to found Sasquatch Game Studio, a design house and publisher devoted to creating “dream team” products for the hobby game market. Their first project, the Pathfinder- and Dungeons & Dragons-compatible Primeval Thule campaign setting, grew from the trio’s shared love of pulp adventures—stories by Robert E. Howard (Conan), H.P. Lovecraft (Cthulhu), and Clark Ashton Smith. “Modern fantasy draws from two great inspirations: epics such as Lord of the Rings, and the adventure stories of characters such as Conan, Tarzan, or John Carter,” said Baker. “We feel that there aren’t many game settings around that capture the action, savagery, and barbaric splendor of the sword-and-sandals tradition. That’s the experience we want to deliver with our Primeval Thule setting.” The three Sasquatch principals collectively have 48 years of professional experience in the industry, mostly designing and developing D&D for TSR and Wizards of the Coast. Their first product—and the company itself—grew out of their ongoing Thursday night D&D game." 4 out of 5

Mother Knows Best - Veronica Giguere

"Yankee Pride and Ramona Ferrari consult with Tesla to find out how to keep Verdigris at bay, and realize that the solution is closer than they thought." His mum, when looking for the original Echo charter. 4.5 out of 5

Resolution - Mercedes Lackey

Vicki upgrades her stuff, mathematics and magicwise. 4 out of 5

Leap Into the Wind - Mercedes Lackey and Dennis Lee

Bella wants to give Bulwark a strip down healing factor upgrade. 4 out of 5

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Terminal - Mercedes Lackey and Cody Martin

Verdigris doesn't like it when a plan doesn't come together. 3.5 out of 5

Interview With Author Ghost Spin - Chris Moriarty

"Cohen is an alien being in its own way, but borne of humanity. If we ever actually succeed in creating such a thing, do you think it will consider itself human? Will we be forced to expand our definition of “human”? This was a question that interested me from the beginning of this series: if humans ever succeed in creating a highly intelligent artificial life form will it consider itself human? Will it consider itself the next step in human evolution? Or will it be in some way entirely alien? I think that, as with most complicated questions, the real answer will turn out to be all of the above. And that is what I tried to show in Ghost Spin: a complex, realistic future in which biological human beings and the artificial life forms they have created are all evolving together." 4 out of 5

Old and New School Sims and Diffs with - James Raggi and Vincent Baker

4.5 out of 5

Brothers In Blood 3 - Mercedes Lackey and Dennis Lee

"The cavalry arrives! Our villain is faced with an unlikely trio of rescuers, while Vickie employs some very special language when speaking to the Djinni." Hungarian, for one. All sweary. And no shapeshifter left behind. 4.5 out of 5

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

FATE Points 10: Editing FATE - John Adamus

Enthusiasm expressed about marking up people! And burning toast. 4.5 out of 5

Sunday, June 02, 2013

The Metal Monster - Abraham Merritt

Scientist meets a scientist who meets another pair of scientists. Then they are attacked by ancient Persians. They then find a hidden city with a woman with metal control powers. Flowery metal mastery transformation conflict then needs escaping. 3 out of 5

The Superlative System - Steve Kenson

"The following article was the first stirrings of what eventually developed into the ICONS game, when I was playing around with marrying some of the concepts from Fudge and Marvel Super-Heroes." 4.5 out of 5

Marvelous Superheroes - Eddy Webb

A FUDGE version of the TSR Marvel Superheroes game. Very nicely done. 4.5 out of 5

Saturday, June 01, 2013

The Lost Trooper - Talbot Mundy

Where else does an Australian itinerant soldier go when his idiot English boss gets all the cattle he was in charge of killed? To James Schulyer Grim...and after that to a gold mine and a role as a minor sheikh pretending to be a wizard. What else? Cooee, cobber. Very amusing. Jimgrim has to step inbetween the conflict between Ross (an friend of his offsider Ramsden's, to boot) and The Avenger. Then try and not let fourth wife Ayisha backstab anyone principal, husband or wouldbe husband. Still 17 thieves to wrangle, and many camels. 3.5 out of 5