Friday, February 27, 2009

A Week in Gaming and Blogging

I've been trying to get the most out of Blogger, all while I work on upgrading my old website using WordPress.  Blogger's got some nice strengths to it, especially with this week's incorporation of Google's Friend Connect.  (I for one worship our new overlords from the Googleplex...)  Incorporating authentication, commenting and social elements to an off-the-shelf blogging tool - in a way that ties into authentication used by millions - is very compelling.  Sure, I realize Facebook is trying to head towards this with Facebook Connect, but using your gmail login for...well...everything on the internet it seems is nothing to sneeze at.  I've added the Social Bar (see up above), the superfluous-but-why-not ratings box, and noticed that the Followers box has automatically updated to the Friend Connect model.  Hopefully, they'll roll out some new templates to support these widgets a little bit more smoothly, shortly...

So, all the while that I've been farting around with the new Blogger features and widgets, I've also been trying to do less navel gazing and read more of what others are saying on blogs about gaming - 'cuz that's what it's all about, right?  Gnome Stew has been a constant for me, and I'm proud to see them get props from Gamer cum Laude Wil Wheaton, recently.  I've grown quite fond of Grognardia (although I still find the flamewars on the comment threads to be startling and at times bizarre - no fault of the blog owner, and commentary solely on the public square that is the internet), and through seeing my friend Kerry's Adventurer: The Card Game plugged on it, I've started to take note of Back in '81, another great nostalgia site for all things early RPG-ish.  If anyone has any good RPG blog recommendations, feel free to message me or leave them in the comments, below.  I'd like to see what everyone else is reading.  

And outside the confines of my precious computer screen and its 8x11 window on the world?  I've recently picked up the RuneQuest RPG re-releases by Mongoose Publishing (see post, below) and am enjoying those a great deal.  The CoC mechanics mixed with a world that is part Norse myth, part Warhammer fantasy, and part Brothers Grimm is a compelling stew.  I've been adding a good deal of Elder Scrolls: Oblivion on the XBox to my repertoire as well.  One of the best sandbox RPGs I've played on a computer or console.  Good stuff.

Soon spring will be here, and the great outdoors will beckon.  For now, I'm maxxing out the time on the couch, being a loaf, and enjoying some good old nerding.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


So, I've been reading Grognardia and a lot of old-school D&D blogs and publications, recently.  Fourth edition D&D is great for the table-top combat enthusiast in me, and I've actually been playing it, rather than just refereeing, but I've been having angs of nostalgia for actually roleplaying.  Y'know, playing a halfling thief that is a little punk who is just as likely to rip off his fellow party members as he is the "bad guys", a wizard obsessed with the lore of lost civilizations (not just which spells I can use during a given encounter), and so on.  All the Robert E. Howard / Fritz Leiber kind of stuff that made Dungeons & Dragons an appealing hobby to the 30-somethings and higher who still play it, when they were younger.

I spent a lot of time researching other stuff I can be playing in addition to 4E D&D, and came across a freebie PDF I'd downloaded from a year or two back.  RuneQuest.  Hrm...  Wasn't that a game I saw advertised in the pages of Dragon magazine as a kid?  Something about skalds and icelandic sagas meets Arthurian fantasy, right?  Once and Future King kind of thing?  I read through the PDF of the re-release from Mongoose Publishing and thought - "Must go!  Must buy!"  I even did the whole informed shopper thing and posted a few threads on polling their rabid readers about whether I should drop a dime on the RuneQuest stuff, or even a game called "Harp" that I'd seen, which was similar in vein but based off of the old Rolemaster stuff from back in the day.  (I remember seeing ads for things with narrow titles like "Arms Law", which apparently was a book solely of combat rules - that blew my mind - you'd spend $20 just to learn the combat rules and nothing else?)

After doing more research, I found that RuneQuest is based on the Basic Roleplaying system used by Chaosium for Call of Cthulhu.  Pretty easy skill checks using percentile dice for almost everything, and it dovetailed nicely with the skill based systems my friends and I prefer to the tactics-focused systems of Fourth Edition and 3.5 D&D.  Sold!  (Yes, make all the nerd jokes you want - I just dropped some coin based on the mechanics of a roleplaying game...)

My buddies have downloaded some of the freebie rules from the Mongoose site, and I'm studying like mad to get up to speed to run this.  The first game will be on the Ides of March.  Skalds and sagas, here we come.  I'll post the results.  If anyone's been playing it at all - in any of its editions over the years - please drop me a line.

Oh, in the meantime, my seemingly defunct play-by-post game of D&D is back on track at:  Come, let's see how the heroes of Greyhawk fare...