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…)

Gamma World Deck Of Many Things Contest

Today is the last day to enter the Gamma World Deck of Many Things contest. So get on it!

In other news, I’ve been working on a system for “buying” Gamma World starting items, as an alternative to rolling randomly on a table.

I was hoping to post it today, but I really don’t feel it’s ready for prime time yet. Instead, to give you an idea of what I’m working with, here’s the list of starting items from all three books: Continue reading

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!

How I Fit Three Dungeon Command Sets Into One Box

3sets1With the new Dungeon Command set coming out this week, I thought I’d write a short article on how I fit three Dungeon Command sets into one Dungeon Command box. Fair warning, however: some of my suggestions will have the purists among you gnashing your teeth and setting your computers on fire, but for the pragmatists, these techniques will work quite well. Continue reading

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)

Gamma World Deck of Many Things – A Contest!

DSC_0004 A few months ago, Michael Robles, the WotC Magic: The Gathering Community Brand Manager, posted a project on his blog. This project had nothing to do with M:tG however. No, it was a Gamma World Deck of Many Things. I was quite excited to see this, and even more excited to see that friend of the blog Wes Hall had done the awesome artwork for them. I wanted me a deck of that goodness.

But I didn’t want the “print and cut out yourself” version of these cards that was being offered in Microsoft Word format. No, I wanted cards – professionally printed, glossy, poker sized cards. So I contacted Wes to see if this was a possibility. He put some files together for me, and I sent them off to Superior POD to be printed.

Here’s where the story gets interesting. Continue reading

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.