Tag Archives: Critical Hits

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: 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…)

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: Post Charm City Gameday Edition

Yesterday I attended the Charm City Gameday in Maryland. In the morning, I learned (and played!) the Dresden Files RPG, and in the afternoon, I participated in my first ever Fourthcore Team Deathmatch. Both were awesome and fun in their own very different ways, but the one constant was the friendliness of the players, GMs, and even the store staff. I will definitely be attending the next one, and perhaps I’ll see you there! (In case you’re wondering, my team lost the deathmatch; we’ll be discussing more details surrounding that in the next podcast…)

Robot Viking brought to our attention the latest Legends & Lore article which outlines one of the most exciting new developments for D&D Next. We can’t wait to see how this works. It simplifies the system in a very positive way.

We also have a non-traditional link for you this week – a really cool graphic entitled “This is an Adventure” by Tim Denee. See if you can guess which class would be carrying which kit of items (or just admire the art).

Jennisodes announced the Gencon Social this week. It’s a chance to meet and mingle with other gamers and a whole slew of podcasters. If you’re going to be there, check it out.

Speaking of conventions, check out a few of the seminars that were recorded from Origins this year. There’s the gaming and social media seminar, and the designing in public. Both included Tracy, a designer for Sand and Steam Productions.

If you want to know what some old-school D&D players think of D&D Next, you should check out the thoughts posted by Greyhawk Grognard this week. These sentiments (cautious optimism) seem to be the norm in the OSR community.

Geek Ken proposed a few ideas on how he intends to tweak the Advantage and Disadvantage mechanic when he gets a chance to playtest D&D Next. We look forward to the verdict.

Finally, on the non-D&D-yet-still-nerd-related front, we have a list of 13 books that every nerd should read over at Critical Hits. Agree or disagree, it’s worth checking them out. Of the library. (see what I did there?)

Blast From The Past (Weekly Roundup: How We Find Our Articles Edition)

Paul from Blog of Holding posted an amazing graphic depicting all the monsters in MM1 by level and environment.  We can’t imagine how much time this took…
(6/11/11)

(Editor’s Note: You can now buy this graphic as a poster as well as the “Dungeon Generator as a Dungeon” poster at the site. I own both, and highly recommend!)  

 

Weekly Roundup: Site of the Year Voting Edition

As you may or may not know, Stuffer Shack has an “RPG Site of the Year” contest every year. As their site of the month for last September, Roving Band of Misfits was automatically entered into the contest. Without going into too much detail, you’ll be able to vote for our site on Thursday of this week, and we encourage you to do so! (Don’t worry, we’ll remind you again)

If you missed the D&D Next seminar at PAX East last week, you can catch the whole thing over at ENWorld. This is a must see if you want the most up to date info from the designers themselves.

Blog of Holding had some deep thoughts about monsters this week – what kinds of traces do the monsters leave behind? What kinds of clues would they leave? Not only does “Monster Traces” lend a sense of realism to the campaign, but it also can create mystery, or even a sense of dread for the players.

Looking for an interesting encounter this week? Check out the D&D burglar alarm encounter presented by Breakfast for Owlbears.

Thoughtcrime Games posted some thoughts on motivations for characters that extend beyond mere survival. Good thoughts, especially when we realize that our days are filled with more motivation than “survival instinct.” What drives your character?

Of course, we can never let a good arts & crafts article go by without adding it to the roundup. This week, The She DM added even more tentacles to your box of minis. (You may remember the article we did a while back that added onto her original tentacle article)

Finally, some thoughts from Critical Hits on the different kinds of mapping that exists in D&D combat – gridded, theater of the imagination, and more. What are the pros and cons?

Blast From The Past (Weekly Roundup: Changes to the Podcast Edition)

Neuroglyph Games had a thought-provoking article on character optimization.  Agree or disagree?  Leave them a comment!  (We do see his point, though we wish he would have also addressed living campaigns)

Weekly Roundup: Impending Scheduling Change Edition

In the next few weeks, I’ll be changing the article schedule on the site. For those of you who pay attention, you’ve noticed that I post articles on Tues/Thurs and the weekly roundup on Sunday. I’ll be moving the posting schedule to Wed/Fri; the weekly roundup will remain on Sunday. This is most likely a temporary change – Wed/Fri is more convenient for my life right now, but when things get back to normal, I’ll probably go back to Tues/Thurs. So if you show up one Tuesday, and there’s no article, well, that’s what happened.

Over at This Is My Game, DeadOrcs posted some great thoughts on using a wizard’s implement as a weapon. Depending upon what implement you use, you get to add a special rider to your attacks. Worth a look. (We also love the new site art for the articles!)

At ENWorld, site owner Morrus started a discussion on why he hopes the Forgotten Realms isn’t updated for D&D 5e. We certainly see his points (especially the comment about kitchen sinks), though coming at the argument from a perspective of “I don’t care about the Forgotten Realms, so you shouldn’t either” might not necessarily win people over. We would, however, like to see what Wizards could come up with for a brand new setting. Maybe another Eberron style contest?

We loved the article by Vanir over at Critical Hits this week. We too would love to see digital tools opened up to third parties to see what the community comes up with (even if a lot of the technical jargon went over our heads…).

With all the talk of the next edition of D&D, Bat in the Attic posted a list of all the versions of D&D. It’s basically just the list, but an interesting read nonetheless.

John Du Bois followed up on the article he wrote for us this week with an article on his own blog where he discusses the difference between a “judge” and a “DM.” For those not in the know, “judge” is the commonly used term for DMs who run adventures for living campaigns.

Howling Tower discussed the problem of illusory math on his site this week – that is, the escalation of monster AC that keeps pace with the party’s to-hit bonuses.

Way back in 2010, we wrote an article on ship combat. As a result, we’re always on the lookout for good ship combat mechanics, so we were happy to see Troll in the Corner post an article on just that topic this week.

Finally, in case you missed it this week, Wizards of the Coast announced that it will be re-releasing the first edition D&D core rulebooks. Keep an eye out for them starting in April!

Blast From The Past (Weekly Roundup: Finished Sea Maiden Edition)

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.
(1/16/11)

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: 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: Trying MapTool Edition

We’ve been playing around with MapTool this past week, and we’re very impressed by it. We do have a DDi subscription, so we will also be checking out the VT Beta. However, since a lot of our gaming friends do not have a subscription, we will be using MapTool as a backup. We will say that the learning curve is a little steep, and help can sometimes be hard to find, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a very powerful and easy to use program.

Dice Monkey reminded us that there’s lots of 3d terrain accessories to be found at the dollar store. We especially like the recommendation for miniature pine trees from miniature Christmas village kits.

Neuroglyph Games lamented the loss of talent in the 4e community, as well as the difficulty of 3rd party publishing for 4th edition. This article was triggered by the farewell of the At-Will guys.

Greywulf’s Lair opined that the D&D universe should be more like Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40k universe. (Go get a snack for this one, it’s long.)

The ID DM talked D&D design, freelancing, and how to write with WotC game designer Scott Fitzgerald. Lots of good advice and insight there, especially for aspiring freelancers.

Vanir over at Critical Hits talked about the danger of railroading an inside joke into your campaign. Our favorite quote in the article: my mantra for years both as a player and DM has been “there are other people at the table.”

Geek Ken talked about how much he misses scrolls in 4e, as well as some house rules he’s been using for them.

Finally, check out the Holiday Gift Guide for gamers series over at GameHead. Whether you’re a gamer, or are looking for gifts for a gamer in your life, this series is a fun read.

Blast from the Past (Weekly Roundup:  Gamma World Edition)

The Dungeon’s Master got us thinking about whether alignment is an important part of the 4e core rules, or if it’s simply become a byword.   We think that setting hard fast rules about what alignment is and isn’t had become too restrictive, and welcome the opportunities that a more open alignment system gives.

 

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!