Tag Archives: Ben’s RPG Pile

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: D&D 5th Ed. Edition

Well, it’s been a crazy week for D&D – in case you’ve been living in a cave, or maybe just out of town with no internet, D&D 5th Edition blew up the internet on Monday. Don’t worry, we’ll still be blogging through it all, and when the new edition comes out, we fully intend to switch, and continue blogging about 5th edition.

Rather than try and round up all the links I came across about 5th edition, I’m going to link you to Stormin’ Da Castle, who has been doing a great job keeping up with all the different bloggers who have been writing. The list is long, and it seems like every article linked in his roundup comes at the subject from a different angle. Be sure to click as many of them as you can. It will give you a really good idea of where the blogosphere is at. Plus, there are some roundups linked from his roundup, not the least of which is the ENWorld one. Definitely check out ENWorld. Below, I’ve added a few that he missed, plus a couple of non-“D&D Next” articles I came across last week. Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Dungeonmorph Dice Have Arrived Edition

Well, it’s been several months, but the Dungeonmorph Dice from the Kickstarter we supported have arrived. We were very happy with them, and thought we’d do a short video blog to show them off:

Skyland Games did a review of the dice too, which you can check out here. They got the font, so there’s also an example of that in their review.

Over at The Dungeon’s Master they’re re-posting their best articles for 2011 until the end of the year. If you don’t get a chance to read all their stuff, this might be a good time to check out what their “Greatest Hits” were over the past year.

 If you’re in the mood for some Gamma World fare, A Walk In The Dark has just the thing. He posted a piece of an adventure he wrote but did not publish – this piece is called Gammacore Reactor, and it looks pretty cool. 

Just yesterday, Ben’s RPG Pile wrapped up his A-Z blog series. Lots of good terrain and miniatures ideas in that series, so this is us encouraging you to check out all 26. Especially “F.” We’re really looking forward to the next series, which is hinted at the end of the linked article.

 Dread Gazebo posted an impromptu podcast that may or may not become a series. It’s basically him and his wife arguing about discussing various aspects of D&D. Highly entertaining, even if it only turns out to be a one shot. (And if you want our thoughts on the Bladesinger, check out our podcast tomorrow.)

At Critical Hits this week, The Chatty DM posted some great thoughts and ideas on how to improvise an entire game session. Since our DMing style leans towards pants-seat-flying, we thought this article was really fun to read. (We’ll be buying some glass beads today)

If you’re planning on a Christmas game, you should check out the seven ideas for Christmas themed adventures over at Game Knight Reviews.

Finally, on Twitter this week, someone posted this Google spreadsheet of all the Dungeon Magazine 4e adventures. Pretty cool, though I forget who is was… if it was you, drop a comment!!

Blast from the Past (Weekly Roundup: Imaginative Tactics Edition)

The Weem discussed alternate goals in combat.  You know, besides “kill all the monsters until they’re dead.”  Because killing everything all the time can get boring (contrary to popular belief).  Besides, it’s good to switch it up on your PCs from time to time.


Weekly Roundup: One Last Winter is Coming Link Edition

We really had fun writing for the Winter is Coming blog carnival this week.  It was nice to have a focused theme to write on.  But we feel bad that everything we wrote was for the DMs.  So, for all the players out there, here’s one last bit for the Winter is Coming blog carnival.  It’s a link for players who want to add a cold theme to your character. We like to call it “Frost Cheese” around here, because it’s just that good.  You can hear Hamblin discuss it on Episode 4 of Level Up, our player focused podcast. (Also, if you missed yesterday’s post, here is a PDF of all the Winter is Coming stat blocks we did this week)

If you’d like to read all the Winter is Coming articles over at Wombat’s Gaming Den of Iniquity, this is your starting point.

The Fearless DM had a bone to pick this week with LFR writers, and how skill challenges are written for LFR modules.  While we would have liked to see a solution to the problem, we do agree that sometimes LFR skill challenges can be needlessly complicated.

There was a lot of talk on Twitter this week about the recent Legends & Lore articles addressing skills in the D&D system(s).  Sarah Darkmagic posted several articles exploring her thoughts on the 4e skill system, starting with this one. (Of course, we recommend all three).  Daily Encounter also weighed in with their thoughts.

At Critical Hits Dixon explored his struggle to design and perfect the one page character sheet.  We too have tried the one page sheet, though ours is double sided.  Not sure if that’s cheating or not…

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

Neuroglyph Games gave us three reasons to give Fortune Cards a shot. We’ve gone back and forth a few times on whether they should be used, but we’re definitely leaning towards, “go for it, they’re lots of fun.”

Finally, we thought we’d remind you about the Dungeons A-Z series going on at Ben’s RPG Pile.

That’s it for this week! Let us know what you thought of the Winter is Coming blog carnival!

Weekly Roundup: 2011 GenCon Schedule Edition

In case you wanted to stop by at GenCon and say hi, below is Benoit’s schedule.  He will be judging events all weekend, so if you want to buy him a beer, he probably won’t say no.

  • Thursday:
    • 1-6  LFR Calimshan 3-2 (part 2 of the series)
    • 7-Midnight  LFR Calimshan 3-2 (part 2 of the series)
  • Friday:
    • 8-1  LFR Calimshan 3-3 (part 3 of the series)
    • 1-6 Fourthcore Deathmatch (Stop by to see the models!)
    • 7-Midnight  LFR Calimshan 3-2 (part 2 of the series)
  • Saturday:
    • 8-1  LFR Calimshan 3-2 (part 2 of the series)
    • 1-6  LFR Calimshan 3-3 (part 3 of the series)
    • 7-Midnight  LFR Calimshan 3-2 (part 2 of the series)
  • Sunday:
    • 8-1  LFR Calimshan 3-3 (part 3 of the series)

He’ll also have some stuff to give away to anyone stopping by, which will be highlighted in next week’s roundup.

In case you missed it, we did a guest post for Ben’s RPG Pile this week.  He’s doing an A to Z series of dungeon accessories, minis, and play aids.  We took the letter F for… well, you’ll just have to head over there to find out.

At-Will posted a cool article by Jeff Greiner (of The Tome Show) explaining how he dealt with a series of magical explosions in his game.  Some great ideas there for making an effect more interesting to players.

Speaking of Gencon, Sea of Stars posted some advice for Gencon that’s worth a read, especially if this is your first con.

This is My Game posted a list of apps that you might want for your iPhone/iPad to help you at the table (or lighten your bag).  We will also add iPlay4e to the list.

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.

Finally, over at Critical Hits, Dixon Trimline wrote about players’ fear of dying in 4e (or lack thereof), and why he’s not worried about characters that don’t.

So what cool articles did you find this week?

Weekly Roundup – New Author Edition

Yup, here we are, as promised, on Saturday morning.  Hope you’ve got your coffee in hand.  Before we get to the articles, we’d like to welcome Gregwa to our ranks of authors.  He’s just started the “How to Photograph Miniatures” series; we’re already looking forward to the future installments, as well as other things he may want to write about.  Speaking of which, here’s what some other people wrote about this week:

The Id DM resurrected the age-old argument of “rails vs. sandbox” to give it another go round.  His conclusion? Both!

We were excited to read about a new (to us) supplier of 3d terrain at Ben’s RPG Pile.  Read the article, look at the pictures, and check out the really affordable 3d terrain.

Geek Ken had another great article over at This is My Game about DMing for one.  (We highlighted his condition markers last week.)  While we’ve never done it, we’re intrigued by the idea, and would like to try it someday.

Big time kudos goes out to NewbieDM for his RPGKids! mention in the mega-blog Boing Boing.

Finally, over at The Tao of D&D there was a very thoughtful article on the role of gods and divinity in D&D.  In short, do the gods care about what your heroes do? Ok, the issue he presents is a little more complex than that, but you’ll have to check it out for yourself.

We hope you enjoy the weekly roundup on its new day, and be sure to check out the podcast tomorrow.  Leave us comments if we missed a killer article this week!

Weekly Roundup – Postponed Game Edition

Well, inclement weather has postponed our game this week.  *Sigh*  Guess we should read some hot-off-the-press blog articles for our much needed D&D fix, and get together some article-y goodness for you while we’re at it.

Sly Flourish had a great buyers guide to D&D books for new DMs.  The book landscape has changed quite a bit since the outset of 4th Edition, so if you’re looking for everything updated, start here.

Icosahedrophilia (say THAT five times fast…) had a very interesting article on the history of miniatures in D&D.  Specifically, how the rules, as written, supported (or didn’t support) the use of miniatures on a battle map.  Good read, even if you’re only interested in the general history of D&D.

For all the Arts & Crafts and Hirst Arts nuts out there, Ben’s RPG Pile had a fun tutorial on building ruined hallways with your Hirst Arts molds.  Mold numbers and pictures included!  Woo hoo!!

And Finally, RPG Musings had an article on speeding up D&D 4e. I know, I know, everyone’s sick of the talk about “the speed of combat in 4e.”  Actually, if you read that again, the word “combat” isn’t there….hmmm….

If we haven’t noticed your blog yet, feel free to leave us a link in the comments!

Weekly Roundup – Finished Sea Maiden Edition

Well, it’s been several months in the making, but I finally finished the Sea Maiden.  It took longer than I expected, but I also wasn’t working on it as intently as I would have liked.  Article and pictures to come soon, though we’re more focused on the “Where to get Gamma World minis” articles at this point.  So what went on in the blogosphere this week?  Read on…

Sly Flourish had a great article on using the 5×5 method to design NPCs.  It was originally meant to help design adventure hooks, but we think this is an innovative new use for the technique.  Not only do you get some cool NPCs, but you have some hooks already built in!

Three separate blogs talked about the speed of a gaming session, and all three came at the discussion from different angles. Some Space to Think talked about RPG game pacing in general – how to make sure there are no lulls in your game.  Arcane Springboard over at This is My Game made an argument for doing away with ongoing damage to speed up combat, and The Dungeon’s Master had general tips to speed up combat.

Ben’s RPG Pile reviewed the new set of Dwarven Forge wicked additions.  Check it out; his articles always have nice pictures to illustrate the subject at hand.

Board Enterprises had some interesting thoughts about whether or not you should map out locations in your campaign.  While a definitive solution to the problem was not presented, it certainly gave us something to think about.

Bartoneous over at Critical Hits had another great Architect DM article.  We recommend you go check it out, if only to find out the answer to the question “How much damage can your average structure really take before collapsing? Assume barbarian w/axe, not explosives.”

Finally, over at Geek’s Dream Girl, there was a great article on using all 5 senses when you describe a scene for your PCs.  Great advice in here, and something we’ve been thinking about for a while now.  Theory is good, of course, but putting it into practice is better.

Shameless plug time! Add a link to your blog in the comments!

Weekly Roundup – New Year Edition

Well, it’s happened again. You’ve wasted another perfectly good year playing D&D. (That’s a “Car Talk” reference, for those of you who don’t listen to NPR on the weekends…)  We look forward to another year of great D&D blogs to read, and we’re constantly amazed at the wealth of subject matter out there. You’d think the subject of D&D would be exhausted by now, but blogs keep coming up with new articles.  As long as they keep coming out, we’ll keep reading them.  Here are some of our favorite articles from this week…

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.

Level 30 Yinzer had an interesting connundrum – how to reunite a party whose characters have voluntarily parted ways, but whose players would very much like to continue playing together.  We encourage you to head over there and weigh in with a solution.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: We love arts & crafts! That’s why we were excited by the free papercraft “dicie” awards over at WeXogo this week.  These are basically big d20’s you can give out as player rewards.  Very cool.  Did we mention free?

Speaking of arts & crafts, Ben’s RPG Pile had a great article on some Mage Knight minis that make great D&D minis as well. You do have to re-base them; they’re set on 1.5″ bases instead of the D&D standard 1″.  But if you ask us, that’s part of the fun!

Finally, over at Critical Hits, Shawn Merwin posted his Top 7 RPG Wish List for the year.  Some good thoughts in there; check out the comments and add your own wish list items!

It’s a new year, and we want to find YOUR D&D blog! Leave a link in the comments!

Weekly Roundup – First Edition

We’re still finding our way around all the 4e blogs out there, so if yours didn’t make the cut, we apologize.  We hope to find you eventually…

Over at DungeonMaster.com, we found an article about the magic item changes coming to LFR.  This was of great interest to us, as we play LFR almost exclusively right now.

Sarah Darkmagic had these thoughts, as well as these followup thoughts about ritual use.  We certainly don’t see enough ritual use around our tables for various reasons, and would like to see more. 

Ben, over at Ben’s RPG Pile showed us how to make a deck of cards for our character powers instead of using a character sheet.  Oh, how we love arts and crafts!!

Speaking of arts and crafts, Mike over at Sly Flourish had some nifty cards to make for those of us who play on the other side of the screen.

Finally, Chris over at Critical Hits wrote a fantastic article about the philosophy of loot.  Or, in his words, “booty.”  Booty.  Hee hee.

Didn’t make the cut?  Please insert shameless plugs pointing at your 4e blog in the comments section below!