Tag Archives: Reality Refracted

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: Plagmada Edition

Apparently, this has been on lots of people’s radar for about nine months now, but it’s only recently come to our attention: the site Plagmada.org (Play Generated Map and Document Archive). It’s an archive of hand drawn dungeons and adventures, mostly written by us gamers back when we were young gamers.  And bonus! They’re now running a Kickstarter that you can check out if you’re into that sort of thing. Either way, the archive is definitely worth browsing. Lots of nostalgia to be had. Go get some!

First up, the submission window for Dungeon and Dragon is now open – you can check out the submission guidelines for this window here.

Thoughtcrime Games is bringing their 4th Edition Worldbreakers into 13th Age. You may remember them as the At-Will guys. See how they tweaked the Worldbreaker rules for a new system.

If you’re looking for a free adventure this week, look no further than The Dungeon Oracle who posted an awesome fourthcore style adventure entitled Colossus of the Shattered Moon. It’s system neutral, so anyone can use it. Great for a one shot.

The She DM had a great guest post this week on theology in your game. In a world where many gods is normal, what does religion look like to the average person? This series aims to explore.

Dungeon’s Master had a post on collaborative dungeon design. Yes, we’ve heard about collaborative worldbuilding, and even group character creation, but dungeon design? Check it out.

Reality Refracted discussed using a prison break as a campaign starter.  How it would work, and why you should try it.

Everyone loves a good barfight, but not everyone loves the boring slugfest that sometimes results. To add a little flavor and a lot of simplicity to your next barfight, check out The Land of Nod‘s bar fight matrix.

Finally, in his WotC blog, Jester wrote about leaving room for improv, both in the setting of your game as well as the rules of your game.

Blast From The Past (Weekly Roundup: Next Few Weeks Edition)

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.

Weekly Roundup: Ennies Voting Is Open Edition

Voting for the Ennies is only open for the next week, so head on over there and vote (the link opens in a new window so you can let it sit while you peruse the roundup). Befoe you head over there though, we want to note this, which is in the voting instructions: Before voting, please take the time to familiarize yourself with the products. The product titles link to their publisher’s websites, allowing you to learn more about that product. The Ennies are not a popularity contest. Don’t vote for something just because it was made by a publisher you like, even if you haven’t seen the actual product. Take a little bit of time to get to know all the products in a category, or don’t vote in that category at all. Let’s make this the best Ennies ever!

This week, The She DM wrote up a great analysis of how much the new WotC Dungeon Command game costs vs. how much you’d pay on the secondary market for the same miniatures. If you’re just going to buy Dungeon Command for the miniatures, this article is a must read.

Reality Refracted has some great advice for long time GMs who make the switch to the other side of the screen. Sometimes it’s difficult to go from GM to player, and this is some great advice for those who change up their role.

Campaign Mastery wrote a very in-depth article on investigative adventures, and the different ways to lead PCs from Mystery to Solution. This is a long one folks, so set some time aside, but definitely worth a read if you’re thinking about this type of adventure in the near future. (We also have some advice from a while back…)

If you’re looking for something more bite-sized, check out the quick paragraph that Joe the Lawyer wrote about what makes for the best D&D groups.

If you have little ones, and love Gencon, make sure you check out Dread Gazebo‘s article on bringing kids to Gencon. Of course, every child is different, but the advice here is solid. (We might also note that this article goes hand in hand with the one by Avy Valentine which was linked last week.)

Sly Flourish posted some great advice on how to tie PCs to a prepublished adventure. For many DMs, the inability to fit something prepublished into their campaign keeps them from using prepublished resources. Try some of these tricks to personalize prepublished adventures.

Finally, you may have heard about the new RPG coming out called 13th Age. And you may have some questions. If so, check out the 13 facts about 13th Age posted this week at their site. Looks like a fun system.

Blast From The Past (Weekly Roundup: Loot! Edition)

A Character For Every Game [now Dyson’s Dodecahedron] posted a roundup of maps from around the blogosphere.  If you’re as into maps as he is, check it out.  It’s a great source of bloggers who regularly post maps to steal.  We love a good roundup!

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: One Page Dungeon Contest Edition

In case you were unaware, there is an annual contest for One Page Dungeon Delves. It is a huge challenge to fit a complete delve on two pages, so fitting a delve onto one page will be twice as difficult (we predict. You like our math skills?) That’s right, we’re planning on entering. Since the deadline is April 30, there’s also plenty of time for you to enter as well. And, if you’re designing a 4th edition One Page Delve, send it to us – if we like it, we’ll post it right here (after entries close, of course).

Beholder Pie introduced a new magic item that they’re using in a campaign – the haunted lantern. Not only is there cool crunch for the lantern, but also seeing the fluff that they’re using for it gave us some ideas as well.

Geek Native decided to plumb the depths of Twitter archives to find out who’s tweeting the most about #DNDNext. Turns out there are some familiar names there.

On his WotC blog, Trevor Kidd introduced the idea of Monster Weaknesses for the next edition of D&D. This is just an idea, mind you, but a very good one.

Omnivoracious wrote this week about how to make a magic system believeable in a book. Guess what? It’s also applicable to making magic believeable in your RPG games.

We’ve been very excited about the Tarnished Daggers introduced by Extended Rest. So much so that we’ll be including one of them in an upcoming campaign. Check out the two newest ones.

Finally, Reality Refracted talked this week about how “victory” has a lot of gray area to play in. Just because the PCs “won” or “survived” doesn’t mean they met all their goals.

Blast From The Past (Weekly Roundup: The Weekly Roundup Is Moving! Edition)

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.

Weekly Roundup: Shameless Plea For Votes Edition

This week, the folks over at The Illuminerdy posted the finalists to their RPG Hook contest, and we’re on the list! Head over there and vote for your favorites, and if one of your favorites happens to be the one by @bandofmisfits, well, we won’t complain… but really, we just want to see LOTS of votes!

This week, The Learning DM listed a few ways to use poker chips in your game. Leave something in the article’s comments about how you use (or would use) poker chips in your games.

Newbie DM had some great ideas for getting poster maps printed on the cheap.  Also, there is an online printer listed in the comments that you don’t want to miss.

Some Space to Think had an excellent article analyzing why you don’t see enough role playing in your game. You may be surprised at the answer.

Reality Refracted raised some interesting points about social combat in RPGs this week.  While we wish there had been more of a resolution to the problems presented, there were a lot of issues that we were nodding our heads to. Especially check out the “There Are No Social Hit Points” paragraph.

Finally, if you’re one of the 3 RPG players that have never heard of Obsidian Portal, check out the advantages of using it from Geek Ken this week.

 

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?