Tag Archives: Robert J Schwalb

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: Errata Messed Me Up Edition

After our last podcast, I was exploring feats and options for different animal companion builds. I found a fun combo, and was in the midst of writing up an article about it. Then the WotC March errata came out. Turns out that this build must have been on their radar because some of the errata specifically changed wording in the feat and paragon path to make the combo impossible. Oh well, it was still a fun exercise. (For those of you curious, Beastmaster Ranger, Beast Protector feat, and Sharpshooter Paragon Path). On to the articles!

On Twitter this week, SlyFlourish pointed to a Story Games article that has some phenomenal tips on running a great 4e game. Even if you don’t take all the advice, there’s sure to be something that you find helpful.

Rule of the Dice wrote a short anecdote about how he tried to teach his son about D&D through the Facebook game Heroes of Neverwinter. Find out if it worked for him or not.

There were a couple of notable articles out of WotC this week. First, John Schindehette, WotC’s art director, talked about art across the editions. This is an important discussion, given recent discussions about appropriate armor and depictions of women in RPGs. Second, Chris Perkins posted a DDi only index of every Dungeon Magazine adventure published in the last 200 issues.

A few weeks ago, in the Weekly Roundup, we linked to an article that examined monster damage at first level, and extrapolated that through all 30 levels. Going Last posted an article this week that looks at the other side of the equation: character damage.

 Robert Schwalb wrote a quick article about his thoughts on a way that sneak attack/backstab might work in the next edition of D&D.

Finally, in case you hadn’t heard, you might want to check out the stories about the Norwegian Minister of International Development. Apparently, he’s into D&D, and quite vocal about it. You can start with this article at The Escapist.

 Blast from the Past (Weekly Roundup: RegulatorCon Edition)

If you’re looking to give your players a moral dilemma to wrestle with instead of a cave full of monsters to destory, check out Do the Ends Justify the Means over at RPG Musings.  A ton of good adventure seeds to steal there.
(3/26/11)

 

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: Happy 2012 Edition

Well, it’s happened again. You’ve wasted another perfectly good year reading D&D blogs. As we head into 2012, and our second full year of blogging, we hope to keep bringing you great weekly roundups, lots of arts and crafts, and plot hooks and DM advice you can use. Oh, and the podcast, of course.

If you missed the Got Loot blogfest hosted by Daily Encounter you should definitely check it out. Our contribution was on Thursday, but other blogs were contributing all week, including some guest posts at the host blog.

The Escapist had a great 3 part series on the past, present, and future of D&D. There are lots of great points and thoughts in the articles, some made by staff at WotC. Also, here are some followup thoughts at ENWorld by one of the articles’ contributors.

Robert Schwalb wrote an article this week after a blogging hiatus. It involves his thoughts on skill challenges in 4e – their origins, and his thoughts on them as one of 4e’s designers.

Need something to read over the holiday? Download the 107 page 2011 compilation of Chris Perkins’ WotC colum, The Dungeon Master Experience.

Need a little Gamma World inspiration? Check out this animated short at Ain’t It Cool News. This is definitely something we’d like to see as a feature length film!

Arts and Crafts! Oh how we love them! Check out The Armchair General who is doing some pretty cool stuff with foam insulation board and textured paint. Genius!

Finally, there was the story of the Lakers coach who plays D&D with his son. You can find that article here.

Blast From The Past (Weekly Roundup: 2010 In Review Edition)

We’ll just link the entire Weekly Roundup because it’s a review of some of our favorite articles from 2010. Great list, it’s nice to browse blog archives sometimes; it’s not like the advice gets stale!

Weekly Roundup – Still No Legion of Gold Edition

 It seems as though pre-ordering something from Amazon, say for example, Legion of Gold, does not guarantee you receipt of said item on or near the relase date.  We are quite disappointed.  Looks like we will have to turn to the blogosphere to sate our desire for “new content”…

While he doesn’t post often, when The Angry DM posts, it’s generally quite prolific.  He sparked a Twitterstorm this week by “Tearing 4e a New One.” Of course the nerd rage was so fierce, he ended up posting an addendum.  Also, be sure to check the pings and trackbacks at the end of the comments for other blogs that followed up with a response! (Like this one, for example…)

Some Space to Think had two good articles this week, one on why you should be unfair to your players (sometimes), and a second clarifying what the author meant by “unfair.”  Thought provoking, and worthy of a read.

Matt Savage over at Rule Zero Blog made a call out to all fans of 4e who are concerned about the direction the game is taking.  Instead of leaving, he argues to make your voice heard in the proper channels, and here’s why. (Spoiler: It has to do with why MTV doesn’t play music anymore.)

We’ve talked before about The Architect DM’s series over at Critical Hits, but we thought we’d bring it up again to make sure you haven’t forgotten about it – this installment is about using negative space in dungeons.  Be sure to check out the old-school dungeons on graph paper he links to over at Boing Boing as well!

Robert J. Schwalb, noted designer for Wizards of the Coast, broke down 10 ways 4e is different than 3.5, and went on to give us his thoughts on them.  If nothing else, it’s an interesting look back at the ways the game has changed.

Which cool articles did we miss this week?  Leave them in the comments!

Weekly Roundup – Halfhearted Edition

Well, I’ve been dealing with the seasonal sicknesses and the annual busy season at work, so I apologize if I’ve fallen back on the usual suspects for this roundup.  That is all I have to say. 

The Dungeon’s Master had a great article about a new LFR adventure. The author writes about his interview with the author, and how maybe, just maybe, his negative attitude towards the living campaigns is shifting.

Over at RPG Musings, Alio the Fool clarified some thoughts he had in a Twitter discussion about DM tactics and strategy.

Critical Hit‘s Logan Bonner took on the differences between magic items in 3e and 4e, and discussed whether he thought the changes were good, bad, or indifferent.  Considering the fact that he’s a designer over at WotC, and worked on the Adventuer’s Vault, this is a must read.

Troll in the Corner had some uplifting words about comparing your favorite RPG to someone else’s.  In a positive way.  Really.

That, by the way, was a follow up article to this one over at Greywulf’s Lair, which was a discussion of whether Pathfinder is better than 4e.  Just saying.

Finally, for a little non-D&D reading, head over to Robert J. Schwalb‘s blog. He’s a writer for Wizards of the Coast, but he had some fun thoughts about re-working the Rolemaster role playing game that he’s been kicking around in his head for a while now.

What did you write about this week? We want to hear about it in the comments!

Weekly Roundup – Big Week for WOTC Edition

Well, everyone over at Wizards of the Coast must have been running around like the proverbial headless chickens this week.  Not only did the new web based character builder come out, but they also announced plans to launch the much-anticipated Virtual TableTop (VTT).  Well, much anticipated for those of us who hadn’t given up on waiting, that is.  By the way, this post won’t cover all the articles addressing those two developments because everyone and their brother wrote one.  Just poke around the D&D blogosphere a bit, you’ll find them.

Robert J. Schwalb showed us how to make our 4th Edition campaign feel more like a “Classic” D&D game.  While we believe there’s something to be said for opening up all options from all books to our players, we also like the idea of thematically restricting options as well.  Try it both ways!

Sly Flourish had a video post on how to make a “glowing crystal” prop for your game table.  It comes together quickly; minimum setup time = maximum awesome!

We also enjoyed reading about the unique way that Thadeousc over at This Is My Game is running his new campaign.  No, we won’t tell you.  You’ll have to read about it yourself.

DM Samuel over at RPG Musings had some ideas to make the transition to Paragon more meaningful for the players.  While we admit that this may not be for everyone, it’s an interesting way to get your players to think about “character downtime.”

Finally, Kobold Quarterly had a fun article about the places to game in Paris.  One store was described as having “one of the coolest gaming room setups I have ever seen.”  Time to plan a trip across the pond!!

Did we miss the article you wrote this week?  Feel free to leave a shameless plug for your D&D blog in the comments!