Tag Archives: Alphastream

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: Your Date For The Ennies Edition

Just this week, the Ennies Dream Date auctions started. We were very surprised at the volume of awesome stuff you get if you win the WotC one – a bunch of primo merchandise, a private sit down with Mike Mearls to talk D&D Next (ask him anything!), a D&D session DM’d by Chris Perkins, and front row tickets to every WotC session at Gencon! Paizo also has a dream date auction up, and in the coming weeks, more dream date auctions will be added. You can find the WotC Dream Date auction here. The Paizo auction is here. And if you want to keep an eye on the other “Ennies Dream Date” auctions that haven’t started yet, the list is here. They include Jennifer Page (actress) and Tom Lommel (better known as The Dungeon Bastard, and is MCing the event).

Gaming As Women had a good article up this week about talking to people, especially those of the opposite sex. Let’s face it, gamers aren’t known for their social graces (broad generalization) and really, these tips are good for all people – gamers and otherwise.

The Penny Arcade TV series “Extra Credits” had a great video this week on power creep. While most of the argument lies around computer games, the theory also applies to many other games like Magic and yes, D&D. (We talked about power creep in our podcast a while ago too).

Alphastream tackled the history of magic items in D&D, and how it looks they’ll be treated in D&D Next. As an aside, there has been a lot of really great content on his blog recently, and we’d recommend checking out some other articles while you’re there.

Check out the megadungeon map by The Mule Abides this week – what struck us was how much it looked like dungeon geomorphs, except on a “dungeon level” scale versus a “dungeon room” scale.

Ben’s RPG Pile had a fun arts & crafts project for modular “heads on pikes.” When they’re modular like this, you’re sure to find quite a few places to add them as an element of foreshadowing the horror to about to befall the PCs.

Finally, Board Enterprises had a fun idea for coming up with NPC (and PC) names that doesn’t require one of those online generators.

Blast From The Past (Weekly Roundup: Secret Project Revealed Edition)

Geneome showed us how he made the Ritual Tower from the Dark Sun adventure “Revenge of the Marauders.”  This is as simple and inexpensive as a project can get, and it still looks great!

 

Weekly Roundup: Free RPG Day 2012 Edition

Well, another Free RPG Day has come and gone. What sorts of swag did you get? Unfortunately, we were not able to make it out because we were out of town and there wasn’t a single participating store in the entire state. Sad. But next year, we’ll be sure that we’re home for Free RPG Day 2013!

We’re always interested in new ways to conduct large scale conflict in our D&D game. We’ve even linked a few in past Weekly Roundups. Check out the system created by That Robed Guy and see if it would work in your campaign. (Incidentally, this is very similar to the system that The Learning DM came up with.)

We had a (too short) discussion on Twitter this week about whether the D&D sourcebooks help a DM create a good story. It reminded us of the article @Alphastream tweeted this week of Pixar rules of thumb for creating great stories.

And speaking of Alphastream, there was a great two part article on his WotC blog this week. It discusses whether D&D Next should stick with the 4e style of monster stat blocks or whether it should stick with what they’re presenting in the playtest materials. He makes a compelling argument (and one we agree with).

Greywulf’s Lair discussed how the next edition of D&D should be published. Should WotC stick with the 3 book template (PHB, DMG, MM) or should they try something else?

Finally, if you need a dice calculator that you can use offline, look no further than the one posted by A Walk In The Dark this week.

Blast From The Past (Weekly Roundup: Etsy Edition)

Some Space to Think discussed why the Underpants Gnome school of thought is a good way to plot out your campaigns.  Also, don’t miss the follow up article with specific ideas.

Weekly Roundup: Why I’m Taking A Hiatus Edition

So, D&D is in a unique place right now. As is my life. Lately, I’ve felt as though 4e content is in less demand because of D&D Next. However, D&D Next is still in a playtest phase, so designing something for that would just be silly. I don’t have any interest in discussing my thoughts on the playtest beyond what we intend to do on the podcast (more episodes to come), so what’s a D&D blogger to do? At the same time, I’ve been feeling really crunched lately in my personal life, and also as though this blog is sometimes taking up more than its fair share of my free time. So, I’ve decided to back off on the amount of posting I’ll be doing during this summer. Don’t worry though, I’ll still post periodically; when I do, it will be on Thursdays. I will also still be doing the weekly roundup every week. The sorts of things you can expect in this timeframe will be system neutral for the most part. Perhaps some hand drawn dungeon maps, dungeon accessories articles, and general thoughts on DMing. In the meantime, I’ll be catching up on my D&D reading, focusing on my weekly D&D summer campaign, and spending time with my family.

Speaking of the playtest, there was a new article in the Protection From Chaos series at Loremaster this week. It’s written by an attorney, and it discusses the playtest agreement (that you most likely didn’t read).

IntWisCha had a great article on different types of treasure. Not the normal gold, gems, and statuettes, but rather all sorts of paper items that the party would consider non-traditional treasure worth pursuing. Lots of good hooks there too, if you’ve hit writer’s block this week.

On Twitter this week, SlyFlourish linked to this controversial article at UAD&D which is an open letter to WotC about the new edition. (It’s kind of long, but well written. Set some time aside for this one)

At Alphastream‘s WotC blog, he talks about the influence of other genres on D&D. Also, don’t skip over the link in the article to Last Stand At Camp Starfall, which will take you to a full adventure that he wrote as part of May of the Dead.

And speaking of May of the Dead, it wrapped up this week. You can head over to Going Last to see the whole list of articles from the carnival; lots and lots (and lots) of really good stuff there. We were impressed.

Finally, if you were following the One Page Dungeon Contest, the winners were announced this week! Check them out, and download some free one page goodness!

Blast From The Past (Weekly Roundup: New Kickstarter Widget Edition)

If you’re currently feeling in a more cerebral mood, you should definitely check out the article at Geek Related on what RPGs teach you.  That, and there’s apparently an International Journal of Roleplaying.  Who knew? (link to the Journal in Geek Related’s article…)
(6/5/11)

Weekly Roundup: Guest Post Solicitation Edition

We always like seeing guest posts on blogs, and you may know that we’ve written a few guest posts for other blogs ourselves. Most bloggers are open to guest postings, unfortunately few overtly solicit guest postings. So, here’s our solicitation: if you’d like to do a guest post for us, we’re open to the idea. Just use the little email icon up at the top right there.

Arcane Springboard used his new column at Critical Hits to address the current state of D&D, in response to the Escapist articles we linked last week.

Speaking of last week’s roundup, Robert Schwalb also posted a followup to his skill challenges article that we linked last week. He talks about dealing with skill challenges that “unravel in spectacular fashion.”

If you liked the tentacle minis we wrote about this week, check out the Silt Horror base modification Alphastream did at his blog this week.

And while you’re at the WotC Community site, be sure to check out Wrecan‘s monthly roundup of WotC Community blogs for December! We don’t usually do roundups of roundups, but we thought this one was worth a look.

Do you want to start DMing, but find it intimidating? Why not try DM bootcamp, as proposed by Gnome Stew. We agree that this program is great for honing (or learning) DM skills, especially since the stakes are low, as is the time committment.

In a couple of bits of non-D&D news, Purple Pawn listed their top 10 game news stories of 2011, and the New Year New Game initiative started by Gnome Stew, which is very similar to Dice of Doom‘s Play a New RPG Month featured last October.

Finally, we were thrilled to hear that the Ennies this year will be hosted by the Dungeon Bastard himself! Huzzah!

Blast From The Past (Weekly Roundup: New Year Edition)

Greywulf’s Lair gave us a new way of looking at level advancement, after a humorous retrospective on the differences in time between character levels that old editions of D&D offered.

Weekly Roundup: Dice Tower Giveaway Edition

We kind of let our one year anniversary come and go without any real fanfare. We feel bad about that. And, since we’ve been trying to come up with a good Hirst Arts dice tower, we have a little something to give away. It’s a not-quite-perfect tower that was an early prototype of the perfect dice tower that is in our head. (It has trouble rolling more than a couple of dice at at time). Convoluded? Perhaps. Let us clarify: it looks a lot like this one, except without the braziers on either side of the doorway. Anyway, if you’d like to win it, just post something to that effect in the comments. The contests lasts until December 3rd.

 The Evil GM posted a great spreadsheet that autocalculates monster stats. This is based, of course, on the updated MM3 and following math. Check it out, it’s a Google doc, but you can download it for Excel.

The Action Point has started letting the players roll when their non-AC defenses are attacked, much like the save mechanic in 3.5. Find out what he likes about it.

Over at Wombat’s Gaming Den of Iniquity, they started a new series on running sandbox games. If you’d like to give your players more freedom and fly by the seat of your pants more, this is a great place to start.

Hunter’s Haven had some great advice for all the players out there when it comes to character creation. It’s three very quick bullet points, so even if you don’t have time to read the whole article, it’s worth checking out.

A few weeks ago Sly Flourish posted a set of pictures that he uses to organize his game maps. Instead of opening each map, he is able to flip through the pictures. This week Alphastream added to the catalogue. This is a great resource; if you have a bunch of adventure maps you’d like to organize in this manner, but don’t want to take pictures of them yourself, check out both articles.

Finally, if you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that we’ve run several adventures on a ship. That’s why we were excited to see Dungeon’s Master‘s list of eight hooks for high seas adventure. Check it out!

Blast from the Past (Weekly Roundup: Daylight Savings Time Edition)

Yax did a guest post over at Critical Hits about body language at the gaming table.  Not only did we find this article entertaining (check out the illustrations) and informative, it was on a subject that isn’t usually addressed in gaming blogs.  We give it two thumbs up; a must read for all.

Weekly Roundup: Next Few Weeks Edition

The weird thing about major life changes, for good or bad, is that they mess with your rhythm.  I’ve recently had a major life change (new job), which is great for me, but I’m still trying to find my balance.  Which is my way of saying, for the next few weeks I won’t be updating the site as regularly as I normally do.  Instead, the posting schedule will be approximately “whenever I can get to it.”  Hopefully once two weeks is up, I’ll be back in the swing of things.

For those of you looking forward to the new DDI submission window, you should brush up with Alphastream‘s tips on submitting. It includes a bunch of links as well as general advice. And yes, he has been published in Dragon. (Dungeon? Pretty sure it’s Dragon.)

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. (We might also mention that their blog is currently accepting submissions)

Neuroglyph Games presented some interesting math on skills, specifically in the context of skill challenges. We think the solution is the same one you’d use if your party stomps all over “equal level” combats – increase the level of the combats (or, in this case, skill challenge).

Reality Refracted wrote a two part series on why you might want to reduce the number of die rolls at the table, and some techniques for doing it.  It’s interesting that I heard some similar discussion in the Gencon “adventure design” seminar.

Also, don’t miss the interview with Shelly Mezzanoble in Forbes Magazine this week.

If you’re an RPG Blogger, you may be interested in the carnival being hosted by Wombat’s Gaming Den of Iniquity – it’s been titled “Winter is Coming.” Check it out if you’d like to participate.

Finally, we just noticed that RPG Musings has been doing a roundup of games on Kickstarter every week.  We like that and hate it at the same time.  For sure, we like being able to access a list like this, but we hate it because it means that we’ll probably be spending lots of money on Kickstarter projects.

What did we miss in the fun RPG blogosphere this week?

Weekly Roundup: (Mostly) Post Gencon Wrapup Edition

We’re back from Gencon! Check out tomorrow’s podcast for Benoit’s thoughts and experiences (among other things).  Until then, here’s some Gencon goodness in the Weekly Roundup (plus some other stuff).

First, we’ll do a quick roundup of bloggers that blogged about their experiences at Gencon this week:

Also, we would be remiss if we did not provide a link to the Ennie winners (click through to the pdf).  Congratulations to everyone who won!

Finally, Critical Hits did a great summary of the Wizards of the Coast New Products seminar.  If you want to know what’s in the pipeline over at WotC, check it out. Also, Alphastream included a few links on his blog to followup information on the new products, as well as his thoughts.

And then some non-Gencon articles we noticed:

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.

Heroes of Shadow posted a brief overview and review of the Neverwinter Fortune cards.  We’ll be discussing them in tomorrow’s podcast as well, so tune in for that.

At-Will wrote about why it’s hard to make hard encounters.

Finally, where current events and gaming meet, we find this story about some London looters and a Games Workshop store. (Edit: We’re not sure if this story is for real)

Whose Gencon wrapup did we miss?  Link it in the comments!

Weekly Roundup – The Weekly Roundup is Moving! Edition

So, our experiment with podcasting has been successful, and is going to become a regular fixture on the site.  Since we record and post the podcast on Sunday, we’ve decided to move the Weekly Roundup to Saturdays starting this coming Saturday.  Now you have something to do while you drink your Saturday morning coffee!  You can thank us in the comments.  After you read these articles.

Dread Gazebo had a great article this week on running horror in your games.  There was plenty of advice, including “All show is no show,” meaning the DM should keep information close to the chest.

If you’re looking for a budget solution to condition markers, look no further than This Is My Game‘s post this week.  Geek Ken put together a freebie, and they look really nice!

RPG Musings gave us food for thought when they proposed the idea of short campaigns.  The advantage being, of course, closure for all involved.  A good idea for those who have never really had any because the group just sort of broke up for some reason.

 If you want to take your Gamma World game from levels 11-20, you need to check out Dazed, Save Ends‘s column this week on “Uber Tier.”  Monsters are no problem either, as just about any D&D monster fits in a Gamma World setting.

Finally, Alphastream weighed in on the “speed of combat” issue on his Wizards of the Coast blog.  He argues that 4e is far too engaging even when it’s not your turn to complain about how long the combats take.  Guess it’s time to open up the discussion again… leave him a comment!

This Saturday! Don’t forget!