Category Archives: Weekly Roundup

Weekly Roundup: Plagmada Edition

Apparently, this has been on lots of people’s radar for about nine months now, but it’s only recently come to our attention: the site Plagmada.org (Play Generated Map and Document Archive). It’s an archive of hand drawn dungeons and adventures, mostly written by us gamers back when we were young gamers.  And bonus! They’re now running a Kickstarter that you can check out if you’re into that sort of thing. Either way, the archive is definitely worth browsing. Lots of nostalgia to be had. Go get some!

First up, the submission window for Dungeon and Dragon is now open – you can check out the submission guidelines for this window here.

Thoughtcrime Games is bringing their 4th Edition Worldbreakers into 13th Age. You may remember them as the At-Will guys. See how they tweaked the Worldbreaker rules for a new system.

If you’re looking for a free adventure this week, look no further than The Dungeon Oracle who posted an awesome fourthcore style adventure entitled Colossus of the Shattered Moon. It’s system neutral, so anyone can use it. Great for a one shot.

The She DM had a great guest post this week on theology in your game. In a world where many gods is normal, what does religion look like to the average person? This series aims to explore.

Dungeon’s Master had a post on collaborative dungeon design. Yes, we’ve heard about collaborative worldbuilding, and even group character creation, but dungeon design? Check it out.

Reality Refracted discussed using a prison break as a campaign starter.  How it would work, and why you should try it.

Everyone loves a good barfight, but not everyone loves the boring slugfest that sometimes results. To add a little flavor and a lot of simplicity to your next barfight, check out The Land of Nod‘s bar fight matrix.

Finally, in his WotC blog, Jester wrote about leaving room for improv, both in the setting of your game as well as the rules of your game.

Blast From The Past (Weekly Roundup: Next Few Weeks Edition)

Dungeon’s Master wrote about the 8 things they’ve learned by playing in the Encounters program.  These are good lessons for anyone just picking up the DM mantle, and good reminders for those of us who have been wearing it for a long time.

Weekly Roundup: Kickstarter Fatigue Edition

I’m not sure what it is or why, but I’ve had some Kickstarter fatigue lately. Perhaps it’s because it seems like everybody and their brother has  Kickstarter that I “really need to support.” Not that the projects aren’t cool, because most of them are. I’m just a little burnt out on it. So I’ll be staying away for a while, maybe until some of the stuff I’ve already supported actually comes in. :-)

First up, I HAVE to mention the Deck of Many Things for Gamma World that was posted at Conversations and Other Words this week. The art was done by Wes Hall, and we mentioned that some was leaked on Twitter a few weeks ago. The rules were written by Michael Robles. Now you can get the whole deck, and rules, for free. Awesome!

This week, Nearly Enough Dice blogged about using new systems for one-shots. A great way to try a new system without committing to an entire campaign.

Blog of Holding talks about why 2nd Edition is due for a comeback. Agree or disagree, some interesting thoughts here.

RPG Musings makes a case for using maps and minis in D&D Next. I certainly love minis and maps, and have also used theater of the mind, but couldn’t imagine (see what I did there) eschewing maps and minis altogether.

Tao of D&D posted a cool list of adventure hooks that relates to some current events in the far east. I love the idea of using real events as jumping off points to in game story arcs.

One Inch Square continued his “Dungeon Command By The Numbers” series by analyzing Tyranny of Goblins. Perhaps I will get to play Kato in Dungeon Command some day…

If you’re looking for a really cool dungeon map, look no further than Crypt Thing. Looks like this is just level one folks, so there’s sure to be more of these awesome maps.

Finally, Jennisodes is running a contest – win a copy of Eaten By Zombies. Just enter your email address on her blog (on the sidebar). And while you’re at it, check out her interview with Robin D. Laws!

Blast From The Past (Weekly Roundup: Hirst Model On Ebay Edition)

Have kids? Young kids? Maybe it’s time you let your 4 year old DM! That was the gist of the article at Kids Dungeon Adventure this week. 

Weekly Roundup: Tyranny Of Goblins Is Coming Edition

This week the new Tyranny of Goblins Dungeon Command set comes out! Guys, this is a really fun game. I hope you’ve overcome all the lame excuses you have for not trying it. There are plenty of reviews online and the overwhelming majority are positive. Go get it! (By the way, Amazon won’t have it for two more weeks. But by then, you’ll be behind the constructed deck curve…) And if you can’t even wait until Tuesday for a shot of DC, check out the most recent Design and Development article.

With D&D Next on everyone’s radar, it seems as though everyone is also looking to start a new campaign. Yes, you could port something you’ve already created, but you can also begin with a new world as well. Jester has started a new series on worldbuilding on his WotC blog. The first two parts are up, and you can check out the first one here.

 Ars Technica posted a much-discussed (on Twitter, anyway) article with thoughts on D&D Next. Agree or disagree, this one’s worth a read.

And speaking of Next, Dave over at Critical Hits posted some thoughts on Themes, Specialties, and Backgrounds (oh my). Are they too much? Is there redundancy that could be streamlined?

With the next Dungeon and Dragon submission window set to open soon, you may want to check out some thoughts on submissions over at A Man’s Brain Attic. Namely feedback received for a submission that was eventually rejected.

In other news, the new Lair Assault is out, called Kill The Wizard. (Don’t know if the title is a spoiler or not). If you’re at a loss for what type of character to bring, check out the character creation thoughts over at Dungeon’s Master.

Last week, we posted some articles by Some Space To Think regarding skills. If you enjoyed them, you may want to read another followup article by another blogger – Steven Long.

We know con season is over, but for all you single guy geeks out there, Geeky Hostess posted some great advice on how to approach fem-geeks. (Just made that word up)

Finally, have you ever wondered if there was a playtest of the original D&D? Of course there was, but until now, the playtest version was undiscovered. Playing At The World posted an uncovered document that may just be that undiscovered playtest version. Also, check out the author’s book by the same name. (Geek Dad interview with the author here.)

Blast From The Past (Weekly Roundup: Site Of The Month Edition)

Tomorrow, we’ll be recording a new episode of Level Up where we’ll be discussing the new Neverwinter themes. With that in mind, we thought we’d link the article at Dungeon’s Master “Giving Character Backgrounds and Themes Teeth.”

Weekly Roundup: Out Of The Loop Edition

Well, we’ve been out of the D&D loop this week. We had a lot of stuff going on, and did a lot of board gaming. However, we haven’t had a chance to keep an eye on what’s going on in the D&D universe. If you’ve got kids, we will point you to the Story Realms Kickstarter (see the sidebar) which we think is pretty cool, but other than that, RPGs have been out this past week. Don’t worry, it’s because we’re working on a few really cool things. You will see…. you will see….

So first, before you read on, you need to know whether you’re enough of a geek to continue on to the articles. Check out this video by Geeky Hostess to find out.

Meta Gamemastery posted a recording from PAX this week that discusses D&D vs. Story Games. Lots of people on Twitter thought it was worth a listen, and we agree. Check it out.

We are all about “less prep” and more “flying by the seat of your pants” when it comes to running a D&D game. That’s why we love these tools for the lazy DM posted by IntWisCha this week.

We don’t usually link things from WotC in the weekly roundup, but we thought a couple of articles this week were interesting enough to do so. First, RPG design philosophy, and also adding intrigue and mystery to your campaign.

Blog of Holding wrapped up his “New schooler reads OD&D” series with a look at encumbrance. Also, definitely check out the other four parts of the series.

Finally, with Halloween less than two months away, it’s time to think about your “Halloween Adventure.” You know, the one that incorporates horror. Look no further than the picture inspirations posted by Gothridge Manor this week. Creepy stuff indeed. (Probably shouldn’t click on that one right before bed…)

Blast From The Past (Weekly Roundup: End Of Campaign Edition)

Some Space to Think mused upon the differences between 4e and 1e – from a first person perspective.

Weekly Roundup: Weekend of Cons Edition

Ok, so it’s no longer Gencon (obviously) but there are (at least) three other major cons going on this weekend: DragonCon in Atlanta, WorldCon in Chicago, and Pax Prime in Seattle. With all that gaming going on, we’re not sure there’s even anyone around to read the roundup! Well, for those of you not at a con this weekend, here are some articles to soothe the disappointment.

Speaking of Pax, if you’d like to watch this year’s D&D Celebrity game (with Chris Perkins, Wil Wheaton, and the Penny Arcade guys) you can find it here. Really good stuff, and always fun to watch them play. It will (most likely) also eventually be archived on the WotC D&D Youtube channel.

If you’d like to win a copy of the 3 D&D 1st Edition reprints, The Secret DM is running a contest until the end of the month.

Over at The Broken Binding, our Subcontracting Your Villain Work idea is being tried.

Sly Flourish had a great article on how to design your own zone wide environmental effects. There are also examples. Environmental effects can really add a special layer to an encounter to make it memorable.

Some Space To Think wrote two great posts on skills and skill systems which set a lot of people thinking. We noticed these further thoughts from 2d6 Cents, though we suspect there were probably more responses in the blogosphere.

If you wish you were still at Gencon, check out Brian Liberge’s Gencon interview with Shelly Mezzanoble about the Rise of the Underdark campaign over at Stuffer Shack.

Gaming As Women had an article this week with some questions to ask of characters to bring them closer together as a group. You know, make them less of a roving band of misfits, and more of a team.

IntWisCha tackled the subject of Social Conflict. No, not when your gamers argue about tactics. It’s about how to end conversational conflict in our games on a “high point” the same way a fight ends with the killing blow.

As a followup to last week’s talk about the very successful Reaper Bones Kickstarter, Wired had an article highlighting it. Apparently, it was the third biggest Kickstarter ever.

And finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t point you to this week’s WotC playtester profile. They talk to friends of the show Alphastream and Going Last.

Blast From The Past (Weekly Roundup: Totally Unrelated Link Edition)

Roleplaying Tips blogged about how to get your players to hand you Checkov’s Gun.  If you don’t know what Checkov’s Gun is, you can check out TV Tropes.  Do so at your own peril (and only if you have several hours at your disposal).

Weekly Roundup: Decompressing From Gencon Edition

Well, another Gencon has come and gone, and scores of nerds across the world (the world!) have seen a drop in their work productivity this past week due to something known as “Gencon Hangover.” We had a great time, and hope everyone at our tables did as well. As for everything else we did there, well, what happens at Gencon stays at Gencon. Wait, is that right? Hmmm…. at any rate, we assure you it’s not as mysterious (or naughty) as it sounds.

If you’ve never been to Gencon, and want a blow by blow summary from a noob, look no further than the great summary posted by The Id DM this week. (Including the fact that there also happened to be a bike rally going on at the same time) If you want a more veteran perspective, you’ll have to check out DeadOrcs’ post on This Is My Game.

Of course, if you’re looking for more Gencon goodness, you can’t go wrong with all the WotC seminars on one page, for your viewing pleasure. If you’d rather listen to them than watch them, then it’s over to The Tome Show for you! (Or you could check out a rough summary on the Forbes blog.)

Neuroglyph Games also talked a bit about the Gencon seminars, and why they convinced him to keep playtesting.

RPG Musings is starting a new campaign, and shared some steps they go through when planning. Good thoughts, as it seems September is a common time to start new campaigns.

Merric’s Musings has been reviewing old 1e and 2e adventure modules lately. This link is to a review of The Secret of Bone Hill, but there are plenty more on the blog. (We feel this is self-evident, but also feel it’s necessary to note that there are spoilers involved.)

The Other Side asked this week if the OSR (Old School Renaissance) is dead. Later this week, a followup was posted.

Of course, the other HUGE news this week that everyone was watching was the amazingly successful Reaper Bones Kickstarter. Just this week, 1000 Foot General posted a review on this new casting material.

And if you’re interested in the new Dungeon Command game (you should be!) check out One Inch Square‘s summary of the two sets, comparing their monster statistics.

Finally, sometimes resident artist Wesley Hall has posted a few pieces of Gamma World art he did for a project that never saw the light of day (Spoiler: GW Deck of Many Things). Only posted to Twitter, you’ll have to look here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 (We felt they were awesome enough to deserve a wider audience)

Blast From The Past (Weekly Roundup:  (Mostly) Post Gencon Wrapup Edition)

Every DM knows that inspiration for their campaign is all around us.  From paintings, to literature, to actual history.  If you’re looking for historical inspiration, check out Illuminerdy‘s primer on the ancient Mexican city of Chichen Itza, complete with campaign and plot hook ideas.
(8/13/2011) 

Weekly Roundup: Gencon Excitement Edition

We’re excited for Gencon this week. Not the 9 hour drive before and after, but hey, gotta take the good with the bad, right? We’re hoping to get in some good gaming, have fun at the Ennies, and run some memorable Ashes of Athas adventures for unsuspecting con-goers. Should be fun. On to the articles…

First up this week is a well researched article on the second roleplaying game ever invented. There’s some interesting history here. Have you heard of it? (Check out the rest of the Playing at the World blog for other articles on the early history of the hobby…)

We know you’ve been missing Flumphs lately, and that’s why we give you this hilarious meme, presented by The Looney DM.

The Land of Nod had a fun tutorial on drawing old school maps in Excel. Hey, use what you’ve got, right?

And of course, we couldn’t ignore the 5 reasons to play D&D over at Grimm Wisdom this week. Via Boing Boing, natch.

And while we’re doing lists, The Rhetorical Gamer had a list of 10 reasons D&D is better than an MMORPG.

Swords and Dorkery had a shivers inducing idea for DIY bug miniatures. Shivers in a good way. And yes, you’re probably assuming correctly. Sort of.

If your party is due to encounter a basilisk anytime soon, you may want to invest in some mirrored armor and rakes. i09 has all the details on hunting them.

The Rhetorical Gamer had some great thoughts on why games should be hard. He starts with video games, but then asks, should that apply to RPGs?

Finally, we haven’t linked to one of The Labyrinth‘s awesome blank maps in a while, so here’s one for you to fill in, at your leisure.

Now get back to packing for Gencon!

 

Weekly Roundup: My Gencon 2012 Schedule Edition

Even though we were not originally planning to, we will be at Gencon this year. As last year, we will be taking advantage of Baldman Games’ generous offer for a room and badge in return for judging services. As such, that will be the bulk of my weekend. If you’re playing any Ashes of Athas during my slots, don’t be shy to grab us as a judge! (Or not, you know, depending…) Here’s where we’ll be:

Wed: Open (will be participating in Let There Be Games)
Thu: 8-1 Ashes of Athas (AoA) 5-1
Thu: 1-6 AoA 5-2
Thu: 7-12 AoA 5-2
Fri: 8-1 AoA 5-3
Fri: 1-6 AoA 5-1
Fri: 6-?? Ennies!! (and reception)
Sat: 8-1 AoA 5-2
Sat: 1-6 AoA 5-2
Sat: 6-end of Gencon FREE!! I’ll be stopping by the Fourthcore Team Deathmatch, then free form gaming and wandering and dealer hall-ing and whatnot. Basically, The Huckleberry.

First up this week: The Tome Show  has been around for 200 episodes! That’s a lot. If you haven’t checked out the podcast yet, be sure to grab a few back episodes as well. Congratulations!

And of course, speaking of Gencon, The Dungeon’s Master had some convention tips this week – 6 for Players and 6 for DMs. Something for everyone! Oh wait… they left out “innocent bystanders.”

The Land of Nod had an interesting idea for cleric turning abilities. While this isn’t 4e specific, it would be fairly easy to port 4e conditions into the table.

The Douchey DM tackled the problem of players who cheat. While we’ve never seen the point of cheating in a cooperative game, there are those who do, and they must be dealt with. (That sounds more ominous that we meant it to)

At  Exchange of Realities there have been several reprints this week, including one discussing the problem of divination type magic for an investigative adventure. Find out how she deals with it.

Stargazer’s World tackled the topic of 10 Games I Would Take To A Desert Island. See if there are any games you recognize (and any you don’t).

Finally, over at Stuffer Shack there was a followup article to their villain contest we linked last week. It’s some great thoughts on what a villain should be.

Blast From The Past (Weekly Roundup: Gencon Giveaway Edition)

Standard Action had a quick and easy method to create rocks as terrain pieces.  Real rocks are heavy and sometimes hard to find in the size you want.  This method is lightweight and makes a convincing looking final product.  We approve of this arts & crafts project!

Weekly Roundup: CONCurrent Edition

Perhaps you’re not going to GenCon. Perhaps you’re upset about that, and would still like to do some gaming that weekend. Have no fear – CONCurrent is an online gaming con that runs parallel to GenCon. You can check out their offerings here. There’s already a bunch of stuff listed to play, and there’s sure to be more as the event draws near. Is it the same as GenCon? Of course not. Is it a great alternative if you can’t make it to GenCon? Absolutely. Check it out, make some new friends, and learn some new games.

We don’t usually post articles from earlier than the previous week, but we have been known to make exceptions. Last week, we somehow missed this awesome roundup of all sorts of gaming aids over at Going Last. This is one you need to bookmark as a resource.

Don’t know if you’ve heard about this or not, but there’s a new, free, D&D-ish RPG out there called Heroes Against Darkness. It’s worth a look, if only for its price tag. Check out what Neuroglyph Games thought of it too.

Daily Encounter brought a little Greyhawk flavor into the Netheril 4e setting by designing a new secret society, and related theme. It’s part of the “Classics Return” blog carnival. (They’re accepting submissions until Aug 14, so if you have an RPG blog, get on that!)

Stuffer Shack recently ran a “Best Worst Villain” contest. We tried to choose one or two for the roundup, but we couldn’t. There are TONS of great ideas for villains here, so check out the list of all their entries.

The Welsh Piper has a great random table this week for creating religious orders. Perhaps they’ll figure prominently in your campaign, or perhaps the PCs stumbled across one. Either way, the article is a great primer, and the table is a quick way to generate one.

Big Ball of No Fun gives us some good ideas for making an NPC memorable, even when the PCs aren’t interacting directly with them. Keeping key NPCs in the forefront of the players mind is a great trick.

Finally, have you been wondering about Dungeon Command? Check out the review over at Breakfast for Owlbears. It makes us want to give it a try…

Blast From The Past (Weekly Roundup: 2011 GenCon Schedule Edition)

Dice Monkey started a new series hacking Gamma World into traditional D&D. Also note the link in the article to Chaos Grenade, who is doing something similar.

 

Weekly Roundup: Ennies Voting Is Open Edition

Voting for the Ennies is only open for the next week, so head on over there and vote (the link opens in a new window so you can let it sit while you peruse the roundup). Befoe you head over there though, we want to note this, which is in the voting instructions: Before voting, please take the time to familiarize yourself with the products. The product titles link to their publisher’s websites, allowing you to learn more about that product. The Ennies are not a popularity contest. Don’t vote for something just because it was made by a publisher you like, even if you haven’t seen the actual product. Take a little bit of time to get to know all the products in a category, or don’t vote in that category at all. Let’s make this the best Ennies ever!

This week, The She DM wrote up a great analysis of how much the new WotC Dungeon Command game costs vs. how much you’d pay on the secondary market for the same miniatures. If you’re just going to buy Dungeon Command for the miniatures, this article is a must read.

Reality Refracted has some great advice for long time GMs who make the switch to the other side of the screen. Sometimes it’s difficult to go from GM to player, and this is some great advice for those who change up their role.

Campaign Mastery wrote a very in-depth article on investigative adventures, and the different ways to lead PCs from Mystery to Solution. This is a long one folks, so set some time aside, but definitely worth a read if you’re thinking about this type of adventure in the near future. (We also have some advice from a while back…)

If you’re looking for something more bite-sized, check out the quick paragraph that Joe the Lawyer wrote about what makes for the best D&D groups.

If you have little ones, and love Gencon, make sure you check out Dread Gazebo‘s article on bringing kids to Gencon. Of course, every child is different, but the advice here is solid. (We might also note that this article goes hand in hand with the one by Avy Valentine which was linked last week.)

Sly Flourish posted some great advice on how to tie PCs to a prepublished adventure. For many DMs, the inability to fit something prepublished into their campaign keeps them from using prepublished resources. Try some of these tricks to personalize prepublished adventures.

Finally, you may have heard about the new RPG coming out called 13th Age. And you may have some questions. If so, check out the 13 facts about 13th Age posted this week at their site. Looks like a fun system.

Blast From The Past (Weekly Roundup: Loot! Edition)

A Character For Every Game [now Dyson’s Dodecahedron] posted a roundup of maps from around the blogosphere.  If you’re as into maps as he is, check it out.  It’s a great source of bloggers who regularly post maps to steal.  We love a good roundup!