Tag Archives: Intwischa

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…)

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: DnDpr Edition

If you haven’t seen it yet, you should check out the new DnDpr Tumblr, which is a spoof on NPR. So public radio from a high fantasy point of view. It’s pretty funny, and we hope to hear a lot more from these guys in the future. On to the articles…

First up this week, we have a great feel good story that made us smile. If someone tells you gaming is a waste of time, just point them to this story from Breakfast for Owlbears.

Neuroglyph Games had a great article on how the new bounded accuracy rules will change the game. Some great thoughts, and even a little bit of D&D history.

In case you hadn’t heard, there is going to be a new D&D movie released on the SyFy channel titled “The Book of Vile Darkness.” After seeing the trailer, Randall over at This Is My Game posted his thoughts (including what they should have made).

IntWisCha wrote an article this week that responds to the contention that you’re not roleplaying if you’re using disassociated mechanics. Don’t worry if you don’t know what that is… there’s an explanation.

It’s no secret that WotC is planning on making the rules of D&D Next modular. It’s being touted as a feature. Well, this week Jester made a pretty comprehensive list of optional rules modules that he hopes to see.

Starting a new campaign sometime soon? Did your character just die, and you need to make a new one? Check out the advice Reality Refracted gave on creating character backstory.

The Douchey DM had a great idea for making a better DM screen. When you’re familiar with the rules, what do you use that real estate for? Try this, and see how your game goes.

Finally, The She DM posted a short article with her thoughts about how the loss of interrupts in the current D&D Next rules has made the game worse for her. We’d tend to agree, and (on the podcast) have often spoken about how interrupts engage players even when it’s not their turn.

Blast From The Past (Weekly Roundup: Beyond the Stat Block Edition)

NewbieDM had a guest article on making flying stands for minis.  We’ve been thinking about doing this very thing for a while now (even have the extendable “antennas” sitting around here somewhere), so it was nice to see a tutorial to save on trial and error.  These look really good!

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: Open Submission Window Halfway Closed Edition

Well, if you want to submit an article idea for Dungeon or Dragon magazine, the submission window for this cycle is just about halfway closed. You have until May 31, or you’ll have to wait until October. Get on it! Oh, and check out what sorts of things they’re looking for, and what they don’t really want.

PAX East made the MTV Geek News page. Check out what they thought the hottest board games were from this year’s convention.

On Dungeon Mastering this week, Keith Baker talked about how to set up a sandbox style game. The short version? Set up “scenes” instead of dungeon rooms.

And if you were lamenting the lack of WotC podcast content, lament no more. There’s a new podcast up, where they talk about Lords Of Waterdeep, among other things.

It’s kind of weird when two bloggers, independent of one another, cover the same topic in the same week. This week, The Id DM and Steve’s Gamer Blog both covered the topic of Campaign Endings. Considering the fact that most campaigns don’t end deliberately, it’s probably something we all need to work on.

Finally, on IntWisCha this week covered the topic of “How to Fail” and how failure can make for interesting story opportunities – they answer the question, “Why would someone choose to fail on a successful roll?”

Blast From The Past (Weekly Roundup: Dungeon Geomorph Dice Edition)

Then there was Dread Gazebo (with his fancy new blog layout!) who encouraged DMs to abandon the XP budget.  This, of course, sparked some debate, and Sarah Darkmagic weighed in with a counterpoint.
(4/23/11)

Weekly Roundup: Beyond the Stat Block Edition

This week, we received an email from Corey, letting us know about his web project – Beyond the Stat Block.  We could describe it for you, but instead we’ll use his words:

A new project launched a couple of weeks ago, with the goal of providing flavor text for every creature power across the D&D 4e universe. It’s all starting with MM1. You can sign up for an account and start writing, and you level up (and gain editorial powers) as you write flavor text and gain XP. It’s a big, ambitious project that really needs help from the community.

That’s right.  The community is being called upon to provide flavor text for monster powers.  Get those creative juices flowing, go forth, and write!  But first, read some articles!

 NewbieDM had a guest article on making flying stands for minis.  We’ve been thinking about doing this very thing for a while now (even have the extendable “antennas” sitting around here somewhere), so it was nice to see a tutorial to save on trial and error.  These look really good!

Critical Hits reviewed Conquest of Nerath, WotC’s new D&D based boardgame.  There’s been a lot of talk about this one because it does not follow the same template as earlier D&D boardgames, and is instead more like “Risk.”

The Labyrinth wondered if GenCon is turning into a board game convention. The numbers are impressive, but we think it’s also important to note that RPGs have been steadily increasing every year as well.

In recognition of Origins this weekend, we thought we’d point you to Eclipse Phase‘s Jack Graham. In his blog this week, he discusses why the Origins Game Awards still matter.

Intwischa talked about the importance of maps in your campaign.  This was one of the stark differences I noticed when comparing the re-made Gamma World adventures to their originals.  The originals had detailed maps of locations.

Finally, in light of that, we thought we’d point you to Dave’s Mapper.  It’s not a blog post, it’s an instant dungeon (cavern, city) generator that we just discovered this week.  It’s fun to play around with, just don’t lose track of time… The best part about this dungeon generator?  It uses actual art by other bloggers.  Check it out!

Hope everyone at Origins has fun.  If you see Hamblin, be sure to say hi!

Weekly Roundup – Gamma World Thoughts Edition

Instead of our usual random thoughts, we thought we’d open with a thought provoking quote from over at Grognardia this week: 

As I’ve now said at some length over the course of many posts, I don’t think Gamma World is any more inherently silly than any other RPG. What it is, however, is fairly demanding on the imaginations of referees and players alike. I think Gamma World is so often treated as a joke because it’s so much easier to do so than it is to try and make some sense of the often-bizarre elements it generates through the use of random tables (not to mention the equally bizarre elements it simply presents straightforwardly). Looked at this way, I feel a lot less annoyed at the subsequent history of the game than I originally had, but I’m more … disappointed? … that so few gamers have seen Gamma World for what it can be: a real workout for the imagination — not to mention a lot of fun.

Now, on to the articles….

We thought we’d start by mentioning Purple Pawn‘s weekly list of Kickstarter game projects.  You might also find other new games you’d like to try over there, since it’s, you know, a general gaming blog.

Over at This Is My Game, Eldritch Reverie decided to update the Wizard spell Cloudkill.  It did seem underpowered when compared to Stinking Cloud, and we like what he did to make it more powerful.

For all you math nerds out there, Dice of Doom posted a link to an article discussing the reason you feel like you roll more ones than statistics might suggest.  Hint: it’s because you do.

Intwischa (like this: Int Wis Cha… get it?) posted some tips on how to run a better 4e game.  Caution: if you’re a “play by the rules” type, this article may make you angry.  Or shake your head.  That’s ok, there’s plenty to think about there, and everyone could take to heart one or two of the tips.