Category Archives: Weekly Roundup

Weekly Roundup: Geeky Tea Blends Edition

We found the site Adagio, which offers a whole slew of geeky themed tea blends. I don’t care what your geeky love is, they have a blend for that. (for example, or also for example)

Of course, this past week had GM’s day. In case you didn’t know, the date is marked by the passing of Gary Gygax. The Charlie Tonic Hour had a remembrance of him this week.

Geek Smash talked about how to start your first RPG group.

Alphastream is converting the Saltmarsh modules to D&D Next. (Saltmarsh being a location in the Greyhawk setting.) Keep an eye on his WotC blog for a Living Dark Sun retrospective as well!

Fantastic Maps had a 4 step tutorial on designing a town or city.

If you’re looking for a chuckle, Monkey In The Cage lamented the lameness that is Half Elves this week.

For a less humorous rant, check out Critical Ankle Bites, who discusses what healing is and isn’t in D&D (sparked by the WotC discussion of Warlord healing in D&D Next).

On the board game front this week, we saw two articles extolling the virtues of playing board games with your kids. Yourneighborhoodtoystore.org talks about it here, and Growing Up Gamers discusses it here. As if you needed an excuse to play games with your kids! There was also 10 reasons to support the upcoming Tabletop Day (March 30) at Geek Native.

Finally, if you’ve been thinking about making a new RPG system, at Stuffer Shack this week Brian Liberge encourages you to stop doubting yourself and do it!

Weekly Roundup: Is D&D Next Combat Faster? Edition

I’ve more or less distanced myself from the D&D Next playtest at this point. I’ve had enough games to see where the system is going. For the most part I’m happy, and I’m sure I’ll dive into it when it rolls around. One thing I’m wondering, though, for all of you who have also participated: is the combat faster? I mean, at first, I’m sure it was. But now that we’re in the thick of playtesting, and everyone is familiar with the options and rules… is it faster? How much?

Speaking of which, this week Robert Schwalb wrote a great article about rules complexity, woven into a story about trying to run D&D for his parents.

4e isn’t dead yet! We know some people have eschewed it in favor of the largely unfinished Next system, but there’s still plenty of story to tell with 4e. Neuroglyph Games reviewed the book Alternative Objectives, which looks like a great resource.

Ethan Gilsdorf (author of the highly recommended book Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks) wrote up a great article on LARPs and other “interactive storytelling” on his blog Cognoscenti. From the article: “Gamers say: We don’t want your mass-distributed narrative machine. Just give us a table, some pencils, some dice, some graph paper, and some company. We want to make our own world.”

Random Wizard had an interview with Metamorphosis Alpha and Gamma World creator James Ward. Oh, and he also gamed with Gary Gygax. Just sayin’.

IntWisCha talked this week about what to do (with your character) when you don’t know what to do (with your character). Interesting read.

Finally, check out this video of some sick explosion terrain effects, posted this week on Twitter by @BensRPGPile. (Go follow him, he doesn’t spam your feed, and always posts cool terrain stuff…)

Weekly Roundup: So God Made A Gamer Edition

If you watched the Superbowl this year, and saw the “So God Made A Farmer” ad, you’ll want to watch this:

On to the articles!

At the Pelgrane Press blog, Robin D Laws went on a mini rant about modules and adventures that say “should” when they really mean “can.” He takes on the passive agressive nature of this wording head on.

The Howling Tower took on a difficult topic – Class balance – in a thoughtful and thorough article. Is class balance achievable? If it is, should it be sought after?

Win a really cool castle (no, seriously, this castle is awesome) at the Terrainscapes Youtube channel! Check the video description for the entry form link.

Someone on Twitter linked this page this week; if you’ve got some time on your hands, and are a history buff, check out these texts that inspired JRR Tolkien to write Lord of the Rings.

Froths of 4e cleared up some 4e myths. Agree or disagree?

The Angry DM is at it again, this time ranting about PC backstories. It always seems there’s either none or waaaay too much. How do you find balance?

Dungeon’s Master encourages us to add more flavor and attitude to towns in our campaign.

Finally, on the non-RPG front, Boardgamequest posted a great list of games under $20. We own at least a few of them, and agree with all the recommendations. Pick up one or two of them yourself, and save a little cash!

Weekly Roundup: Rare D&D Art Found Edition

Just this week, Steve Winter posted a picture on Twitter of something he found in a WotC warehouse. It’s the original painting from the cover of the 1977 Basic Set. Pretty cool find! And if you visit WotC HQ someday, it seems as though you could view it yourself, if you happened by the R&D area….

Growing Up Gamers posted a good article for parents this week. It discusses tips on gaming (with other adults) when you have kids around.

Sly Flourish gave us some good ideas for your party’s home base. Our favorite bit of advice? “Let the players decide upon and build out their home base. Give them options but don’t force a solution.” Some players LIVE for this kind of stuff.

Gnome Stew mulled over the idea of PCs who are children. (Not to be confused with children gamers)

Thoughtcrime Games began exploring Africa as a setting for fantasy games. They started with a discussion of Ethiopian history.

Finally, Semper Initiativus Unum put forth the controversial idea that maybe a man named David Wesely is actually the father (grandfather?) of D&D. Go learn some history. (And if you want some more, check this out)

Weekly Roundup: Back in the Saddle Edition

Well, here we are, back at it. It’s been a while because of, well, life, but things should start getting back to normal. Let’s start this week off with a bang. Also, stay tuned for a contest later this week! (Thursday) I really think you’re going to like this one, so be sure to check back.

First up, LifeHacker posted an interesting article that a bunch of people were tweeting about. It discusses the ways a story activates our brain. And, of course by extension, a game where story is key.

If you’re a fan of random tables, check out this really cool table of Dungeon Odors from The Iron Tavern this week. We’ve seen a lot of random tables, but this is one is unique – and a great way to add a little something to atmosphere.

Over at Dead Orcs Society there are some fun ideas for a new campaign. Perhaps you could incorporate one or more into yours.

There was a post this week at 2D6 Cents that outlines the way to make a hero for the RPG Becoming. As I read through the post, however, I realized that these steps could be used (loosely) to make any hero for any RPG. Check it out!

At Some Space to Think we saw some thoughts on stunts. Call them whatever you want, but every character needs something cool and unique to call their own. What should they look like?

Finally, Dice Monkey had some thoughts about playing RPGs with kids, and reported on RPGKids. We’ll be looking at another kid friendly RPG in a few weeks, so stay tuned for that.

Weekly Roundup: New Oldest D20 Edition

A while back, we announced right here on the Weekly Roundup that the oldest d20 had been found. It was up for auction, made of glass, and belonged to some role playing ancient Roman. Well, an older one has been found. This one’s Egyptian. Guess the pharaohs were casting magic missile at the darkness before the cesars…

First up this week, we have a big announcement from Kobold Quarterly… that they’re closing. That may sound a bit extreme – the print magazine is closing. We wish them well, and hope this means even more quality Midgard stuff from them in the years to come. Speaking of which, they’re currently running a contest to find a writer for a new adventure.

Big Ball of No Fun talked a bit about the new Monk release for D&D Next that we saw this week. He also talked about a radical new way to deal with alignments – one that seems like it would work beautifully.

Dungeon’s Master had a fun idea to add a new dimension to your player’s roleplaying. Use bingo cards at the table. Not the kind with numbers and letters, but rather a list of things the player or character tries to do.

The Id DM had a really interesting article this week on the future of the RPG industry as it relates to the rise of digital media. Even if you’re not interested in the impact of PDFs on RPGs, there are some really interesting thoughts (and links!) in this article.

Alex Schroeder posted his own take on how to make a dungeon. For your home game, not for publication. He makes that distinction, and we think it’s important.

Hack and Slash encouraged us to contribute to the Abulafia wiki. It’s a wiki that aggregates random RPG generators. Sounds really really useful? Yeah. So we should all be contributing to it.

Finally, we posted a very rough prototype for our NaGa DeMon game (Backyard Wars) just this week, and we thought we’d point to three more prototypes that are up: John DuBoisBread and CircusesShorty Monster‘s Excitement and Adventure, and Wombat’s Gaming Den of Iniquity‘s The Domain Game. By the way, there’s a “Roll Call” on the NaGa DeMon site, if you want an idea of who else is participating.

Blast From The Past (Weekly Roundup: Reading A Night In The Lonesome October Edition)

Stuffer Shack had some great thoughts as to whether PVP in an RPG is kosher, or whether it’s bad form. Weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments their article.

Weekly Roundup: Helping Sandy Victims Edition

Most of us have probably heard about the storm (named Sandy) that hit the east coast of the USA this past week. While we were not affected in any significant way (being far enough inland), we know of many people who were, and have seen the devastation on TV. We would like to help, even if it’s in a very small way. With that in mind, we have set up three charity auctions on Ebay to auction off the Hirst Arts dice towers that we make. All proceeds of these auctions will go directly to the Red Cross. (Ebay has it set up so that we don’t even touch the money. It goes directly to the charity.) If you’re interested in one of our really cool dice towers, and would like to help out the victims of Sandy, please bid in our auctions. They’re only up for seven days. Here is what the dice towers look like:

Since each item is handmade, each will look slightly different, but this gives you a good idea of the final product. (Differences will be minor, mostly the exact appearance of the moss around the tower.) The three auctions are there: One, Two, Three.

This week Newbie DM mused upon what the next set of reprints from WotC will be. They’re on a kick of bringing back the old stuff… what might be in the pipeline?

Greywulf’s Lair opined about the flexibility of the D&D Next Character Generation, and how many options players have… if they’d just open up a bit.

Critical Hits covered how to deal with potential bottlenecks in your game, especially tied to skill checks. Your players need to succeed, and they don’t? This article is for you.

RPG Circus asks us, “What color is that potion?” and gets on their soapbox about things that are (and aren’t) described in our games.

Dungeon Mastering is taking the spirit of November (thankfulness) and writing about why they’re thankful for D&D. The first author weighed in this week.

Finally, we’ll be posting one NaGa DeMon project a week on the roundup here, and this week, it’s the Online DM‘s project, Gods & Champions.

Blast From The Past (Weekly Roundup: One Year Old Edition)

Rules as Unwritten had some thoughts about item rarity, as well as another way to motivate your players past the 5 minute workday – ideas to make more item powers ramp up with consecutive milestones.

Weekly Roundup: Tyranny Tile Time Lapse Edition

A couple of weeks ago, I posted pictures of the Tyranny of Goblins Hirst Arts tiles I made. I decided to make a time lapse video while I was making the “Temple” tile, but hadn’t had a chance to compile it until this week. You can see me putting a tile together from start to finish (minus painting and basing) in about 5 minutes:


 

If you’d like to see more time lapse stuff from me, let me know what you’d like to see in the comments below!

Over at Chameleon this week, we have some tips on game prep. It’s always good to see different perspectives.

The Midgard campaign setting continues to make waves. i09 had a spotlight this week, and Tabletop Gamer had an interview.

If you’ve always played PCs and NPCs as good or evil, and want to add some more gray to your campaign, check out the morally ambiguous character backgrounds at Dread Gazebo this week. For D&D Next.

Temple of Demogorgon wonders if he’s disenchanted with dungeons as an adventure setting because he’s a grown up now.

At Kobold Quarterly we have a new look at what “Post Apocalypse” really means.

Dyson’s Dodecahedron is posting new maps again. Someone do something cool with this!

Finally, Neuroglyph Games gave us some ideas for level draining.

Blast From The Past (Weekly Roundup: Shameless Plea For Votes Edition)

Some Space to Think had an excellent article analyzing why you don’t see enough role playing in your game. You may be surprised at the answer.

Weekly Roundup: PBS Idea Channel Edition

This week, the Youtube PBS Idea channel emailed us. They recently posted a video entitled “Can Dungeons & Dragons Make You A Confident And Successful Person?” It’s an interesting discussion, and makes some good points. It’s a fun video to watch in its entirety, but if you want to skip the whole “What is D&D? How do you play?” bit, go to the 2:50 mark. Thought provoking, and you can leave comments that they’ll respond to in a future episode. Incidentally, they cover other nerdy topics like “Is Dr. Who a Religion?” and “What do MP3s and Magic Spells Have In Common?”

If you’re looking for a good Halloween adventure to run for your group, look no further than A Walk In The Dark who announced intentions to publish just such a module. Keep an eye on this one folks.

If you’re looking for some interesting loot to add to your next adventure, why not a treasure map? It’s an adventure hook within the loot! Check out The Dungeon’s Master for details.

At The Howling Tower this week, Steve Winter looks at magic items in D&D Next. Specifically, should characters having magic items be assumed in the setting, or is there a better way to handle them?

It’s been a couple of months since Gencon, so it’s fun to look back at a newbie’s experience. Check out how 20 Foot Radius fared in his first Gencon ever. (Also, I met Alton at Gencon; seemed like he was having a pretty good time!) If you’re looking for more Gencon retrospectives, This Is My Game had a short series recently as well.

If you’re into real medieval history, then check out The Wargaming Site this week, where they cover everything you need to know about the English longbow.

If you’re interested in the reprint of the Dungeon! game, you can check out an unboxing over at Wired Geek Dad. Nostalgia, here we come!

Finally, we were very interested in the recent release of the Midgard Campaign Setting. While there isn’t a 4e specific version, we may still pick it up for the fluff. This looks like a very unique and complete setting. We also have some fun ideas for a campaign there, stay tuned. There were reviews this week at The Iron Tavern and also at Stargazer’s World.

Blast From The Past (Weekly Roundup: One Last Winter Is Coming Link Edition)

Stuffer Shack promised to multiply your game’s fun by ten by adding a simple house rule.

Weekly Roundup: Columbus Day Edition

Tomorrow is Columbus Day. A day when we celebrate exploration and risk taking in the name of adventure, treasure, and discovery – so a great holiday for D&Ders to celebrate, even if you’re not from America. Oh, and if you have the day off, enjoy that too.

This week, Thoughtcrime Games had a very thought-provoking post on the role of story in your RPG game. How do we prepare story before the game? The answer may surprise you.

Coincidentally, The Alexandrian had an anecdote from this week as well that illustrates the Thoughtcrime Games article perfectly. Might be time to reevaluate your idea of story in RPGs…

DMG 42 started a series this week on a Megadungeon campaign he’s running. We stole some inspiration from him for our summer campaign this year, so we’ll be watching this series with interest.

Froths of 4e introduced a way to allow the creation of new magic spells through “spell research.” With the way 4e gives special powers to every class, we don’t see why this wouldn’t work for other classes too, just call it something different (e.g. “Martial Training”)

If you’re looking to try a new RPG, we were intrigued by the GM-less “Committee For The Exploration Of Mysteries” presented at This Is My Game this week. At the very least, good for a couple of one shots.

If you follow The Chatty DM on Twitter, you may have noticed that he traveled to France recently. Getting out of your day to day routine is a great way to find new plot inspirations; here are a two that he got on his travels over at Critical Hits.

On the arts & crafts front, check out Dread Gazebo‘s tutorial on making your own portable wargaming table for a couple of bucks.

Big Ball Of No Fun asks if character death and lethality are myths in all editions of the game, not just the newer ones.

Reality Refracted takes a look at the social contract around the gaming table – which tenets do you play by?

Finally, if you’re looking for something to listen to instead of read, or if you’re looking for advice on submitting pitches to Dungeon and Dragon, check out The Tome Show this week.

Blast From The Past (Weekly Roundup: Winter Is Coming Edition)

First up, if you’re looking for story ideas, check out the link posted by Risus TOTM this week. It’s a story idea generator over at the TV Tropes site. (If nothing else, this is a great way to waste even MORE time at the TV Tropes site…)