Monday, October 18, 2010

New Skaven coming to Warhammer in January 2011

For those of you who find amusement (or terror?) in Games Workshop's rat-men army - The Skaven - check out the following link (and kinda lame but neat teaser video) about new minis for Warhammer.

Incoming: Skaven


Thursday, October 14, 2010

If I spun an arrow with a ring of telekinesis...

More insanity that the folks at have uncovered - an index of all the Sage Advice Dungeons & Dragons Q&A published over the years... If you have never eavesdropped on nerds fighting over their passionate topic (in this case, D&D rules, but think "Who would win in a fight - the Hulk or the Thing?" if you need a more pedestrian comparison) are in for a treat!

Sage Advice Archive

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Painting Minis the Bruce Campbell Way...

Tallyrand at has been tending a great thread with his recommendations for painting minis, over the past 4+ months. It is full of great advice that I learned piecemeal by trial and error over 20 years of painting minis, but he's put it all in a very approachable thread that is worth reading if you are at all curious about minis painting - something Tallyrand rightly points out has been marginalized in the roleplaying game hobby, and is worth the investment of time and effort. I, myself, find it to be the most relaxing and enjoyable of my hobbies.

(image from thread)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Play by Skype:Good thread on EnWorld.Org

For those of you who either play games by Skype or have ever wondered about playing games by Skype, check out this thread on

Friday, October 8, 2010

Two quasi-nostalgia threads worth reading

Ever play a game that was more fun to read than play?
My anecdote about this comes from eavesdropping at a games shop: I overheard a guy who runs a FLGS tell this story once. He participated in a retail program for one of the publishers at one point a while ago, where he had to complete phone surveys with the publisher for hours on end (about volume of sales, demographics, etc.). After one particularly tedious survey, at the end he said, "Look, can you tell me what you are finding from all of these, so that I can better position your products?" And amongst the many marketing talking points the surveyor rattled off, the one that stuck with him the most was, "Well, a lot of customers are guys in their 30s and 40s who buy the games but basically just read them - don't play too much."

Weigh in here:


Ever play a game that was more fun to play than read?
Here's what I posted there: For me, I'm a HUGE fan of the Runequest rules, but the campaign setting of Glorantha is so dense that I've had trouble getting players interested in an ongoing campaign over the years. By the time they've wrapped their arms around heroquesting, the various empires, etc., it's hours into the first session. Unlike say the Forgotten Realms, where granted there is an unapproachable amount of history, you actually have to get into this stuff in Glorantha (what tribe are you from, what deity do you worship, what are your views on the world) to make the game actually fit the setting, unlike FR where even if there are thousands of years of history you can say, "Well, you're a halfling from the south, and you're a pickpocket." The tropes and archetypes of Glorantha are less approachable to a typical fantasy player, in my opinion, but if you can get into it it's fascinating great stuff.

On the rules/presentation side, there are plenty of games that I've played where due to budget or whatever the game was presented in a haphazard fashion, but once you cut through it it was hella fun! TWERPS comes to mind - it was obviously photocopied from pages that were typed on a typewriter, but if you got past that, it was a great beer and pretzels game.

Weigh in:

Bonus thread - nostalgia kicks about games from your youth:

Halloween Cthulhu - Any Suggestions?

All Hallow's Eve is coming, and that means that I'll be running my annual Call of Cthulhu Halloween Spectacular. I'm wading through my old adventures and some more recent monographs.

Any recommendations for a good one shot Halloween game?

(PS, like how the text in this post is outweighed by the massive image to the left? Oooo. Scary.)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

D&D TV Ad - not from the past, but from today!!!

Blatantly taking a scoop from EnWorld, again, but check this out - a very metal, nostalgic ad for the new D&D Red Box:

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Most Metulll Bus Evarrr!

Yet another scoop from that I'm just recycling, but how cool is this D&D-themed bus! (throws up the horns)

(More at

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Larry Elmore, R.A. Salvatore and Ed Greenwood walk into a con...

At Gen Con, Larry Elmore (famous for illustrating the Dragonlance series, Snarfquest and numerous D&D covers), Ed Greenwood (creator of the Forgotten Realms), and R.A."Bob" Salvatore (creator of Drizz't Do'Urden, and too many fantasy novels to count) - plus 3 lucky Gen Con attendees - played a game DMed by WotC's Chris Perkins (who is beginning to look more and more like Moby). The game was the new Red Box 'intro to 4th Edition', but despite that it was pretty cool! I had seen Gary Gygax once comment that videos of people playing D&D would be one of the most boring diversions ever, but this is fun for the celebrity factor. (Er...well, celebrities to us nerds, anyways...).

All 3 of the heroes of D&D (Greenwood, Salvatore, and Elmore) were a hoot to watch playing. Salvatore seemed to have the most fun, in my opinion. :)

Check it out!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Gaming at the Shop

I've been spending a lot of time over the Summer and into early Fall running games of D&D at the shop and watching folks play 40k (learning by osmosis). Last weekend, I ran the Red Box release event for 4E. Eeeeh, not so much. A starter kit will always be less than awesome for experienced players, but this one seemed cool in idea (big maps, lots of chits), but lower quality than old school adventures against Bargle and other D&D villains of old (Mentzer edition, represent...). I'm glad to get my 3.5E Forgotten Realms campaign going again. Check out the feed to the left on the blog, or go to this link on Obsidian Portal to see what's what. Nothing better than 1e/2e feel of Forgotten Realms with 3.5 rules, in my book...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Where you at?

Please accept my sincerest apologies for the delays in posting! Real life, and a decidedly low tech Summer spent painting miniatures, assembling terrain, and going down memory lane with some of my older gaming stuff became a priority. I also started rereading "Crisis on Infinite Earths," a Summer tradition of mine. (Huh, I think my cousin Tom used to read the collected works of Jane Austen in the Summer - time better spent? I can't be sure...)

See the attached image of some models I painted, and please share how you spent your Summer Vacation!
Published with Blogger-droid v1.5.5.2

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

EnWorld thread on TTRPG Software Wish Lists

Some actual substantive content coming soon, I promise. Have been backlogged with work (whine, whine, whine, I know) and have some cool posts in the works about going back to 3.5E, as well as the Droid vs. the iPhone as a gaming support device.

For now, check this thread on EnWorld about the community's wishlists for new software to help the table top gaming community.

Of particular interest to me was the section on Master Plan game organizing software ( Has anybody used it?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

WotC gets the Social Media

Major kudos to WotC for leveraging YouTube to advertise D&D's Wednesday night "D&D Encounters" games. Saw this on the enworld, and add it to their embracing of the Kindle, leveraging Facebook, Twitter, and more, to see how social media and technology are helping the tabletop world, rather than hindering it (which seemed to be the approach from ads and actions say, 5 years ago).

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Forgotten Realms Delivery Service

Third Edition (and a half), I missed you! After playing Fourth Edition since it came out, I've given up and returned to a nice comfy, cozy sweater that feels good to wear. Leveraging the extraordinarily impressive set up on Obsidian Portal, I've put a bunch of resources online to help my players keep up to date with what happened, contribute to the direction of the campaign, and also help me organize myself. (Don't worry, regulars, my moleskine notebook is still firmly in my pocket with ideas, stats, and traps...)

If you haven't played with Obsidian Portal as an organizational tool (forums meet wiki meet stat blocks meet images and maps), please feel free to check out my new campaign - The Forgotten Realms Delivery Service.

Adventure Journal Entries and hijinx will start up in a couple of weeks. For now, you can watch it grow!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Play by Post Maps - c/o EnWorld's Hussar

Finally found a great post explaining the best possible way to manage maps in Play by Post games, care of's member, Hussar. Thanks!

For PBP? Maptools is a virtual tabletop program, and it's meant for real time play.

Might I suggest a combo of two things: DungeonForge (a token based mapping program found here - you need to register to download) and something like or Gimp (both free art programs) to do the individual pictures with tokens.

Simply place each token on it's own layer and place the battle map on the lowest level, and you can move the tokens around, round by round, and save the maps to display.

En World allows you to attach the images, so, so long as you keep them fairly small, you shouldn't have any problems.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Post from EnWorld about Call of Cthulhu

Over on EnWorld, I posted a response to questions regarding good Call of Cthulhu scenarios:

More recommendations
For those just getting into Call of Cthulhu, the scenarios in any of the core books/sets are good starting points. Blood Brothers is also pretty hip if you're trying to get players used to the mechanics but they don't have a background in H.P. Lovecraft's mythos - it has one-shots based on classic horror flicks.

Good books, once you're on your feet:
*Shadows of Azathoth - an epic globe/dimension trotting set of adventures
*Trail of Tsathoggua - another epic set of scenarios
*Tales of the Miskatonic Valley - an anthology of one-shots based on locations from the mythos universe
*Shadows of Yogsothoth - a series of linked scenarios built around an erudite secret society
*Mansions of Madness - classic one-shots featuring haunted houses and the like
*Secrets of New York - a campaign setting / sourcebook to New York in the 20s. In my opinion, the best of the lot of geographically oriented CoC sourcebooks I've read, with a couple of good scenarios in the back of the book.
*There are tons of small print run "Monographs" in the Chaosium online store that serve to illustrate more esoteric periods and regions. Their annual halloween run of adventures is generally a good starting point for a theme-night of gaming.

A tip to folks getting going - get a CD or some mp3s of music from the 20s, and print out a few wikipedia pages about the 20s for your players. For those of us who may not have read much about the Roaring 20s since high school history, this will help serve as a refresher and get you in the spirit of the default time line for the game.

I'm really glad to see so many folks taking an interest in this great game.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Renewed my membership

Last year, I signed on as a Community Supporter at I just renewed my membership (after gasping upon seeing that I'd become "INACTIVE" and could no longer search the forum archives, today, while trying to find posts about Google Droid applications). For $3/month, I get access to a lot of premium PDF gaming content including Ordo Draconis, search capability, and the knowledge that I'm helping support a thriving online community for gaming. Yes, I may have canceled my World of WarCraft subscription, but for a fraction of that I get a lot more info about the pen and paper community, and get to participate with gamers that share my interests.

And just for giggles, here's a strip from "Bring Dice and Chips" that was forwarded around in this month's newsletter. Archetypes from many a game I've run are here, in just two panels:

Friday, April 16, 2010

Glorantha...drooool...iPhone apps for gaming...drooool...

While I devour my copy of the RuneQuest II edition of Glorantha: The Second Age (which is awesome!), I wanted to share the below link to a massively brilliant effort by Morrus at EnWorld, indexing the iPhone gaming apps available:

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Starter Traveller for free Download on

CT-ST-Starter TravellerAs spotted on The Sandbox of Doom and RPG Blog II, is offering a free download of the Classic Starter Traveller set. This holds a soft spot in my heart, as it was one of the games that turned me on to RPGs. The common phrase about this game is, "It's the only RPG where you can die during character generation." A flexible sci-fi system, it let you play out Niven-esque sci-fi, space opera like Star Wars, Star Trek style "planet of the week" games, and more.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The end of Plinky

In my inbox, this morning, I found a note from micro-blogging David to Twitter's Goliath, Plinky. (Note follows.) In short, Plinky was a great platform that turned micro-blog posts from "I'm having tea with jam,"or "Rain sucks," into brief posts on prompts/topics of their recommendation. ("What landmark did you find disappointing when you saw it in person?" and "Could you live without a car for a year?" are two examples.) I was always pulling for Plinky because I found that by doing the Cawfee Tawk thing and saying "Here's a topic. Discuss." the tweets/posts/micro-blogs would be less navel-gazing and more open to discussion, perhaps with folks you didn't know. That, to me, was the real win for social networking sites, a few years ago - create groups around common topics. The concern for me, now, is that due to privacy concerns and such (many of which are quite reasonable), that aspect of the social web is being replaced by a virtual attendee list for any party you were going to have anyway. Interestingly, gaming seems to be one of those great open vistas for the social web, still. Playing games against people you don't know on XBox live, participating in discussions on All of these things speak to a level of comfort that our community have of (in a cautious and appropriate way) getting to know others.

Plinky's note follows:

Dear Plinky user,
For the last few months, Thing Labs (formerly Plinky, Inc.) has been focused on development of Brizzly, and we couldn't be happier with how things are going. As such, we've been able to spend very little time on our first product, Plinky. We've made the difficult decision to stop publishing new prompts altogether.
The last new prompt will be published Tues., April 6. We're not yet shutting down the site, so you can still answer any of the 400+ prompts we've published to date, or read other Plinky users' answers.
Whether you've answered all of our prompts, just one, or simply checked out other people's answers, we want to thank you for visiting and supporting Plinky. We put a lot of work into it, and we think it's a great site. At the same time, we feel we have much more to offer with Brizzly than we ever could have with Plinky.
If you haven't already checked out Brizzly, our social media reader that works with Twitter and Facebook, please visit and create an account today at Also check out the Brizzly Guide, our user-edited resource for learning about current trends and news.
The Thing Labs team

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Compelling thread at about Friendly Local Gaming Shops

4e / GSL WotC and brick and mortar retail stores - Greg Leeds weighs in - EN World D&D / RPG News

See the above thread. I pretty regularly DM at a Friendly Local Gaming Store, but am kind of ignorant of many of the pressures in the gaming industry. The Battle Creek store owner's explanation of the changes in the Retailer-Distributor-Publisher flow is - arguably accurate or not, see the rest of the thread - well explained and rational.

I posted the following in response to the point about Friendly Local Gaming shops.

Accurate or not, the posts that started this thread did get me thinking about something. I'm all for technology in gaming, and see DDI as a great tool for folks who want an online version of their materials (especially since PDFs are so verboten right now in WotC land). The issue I have though is as it relates to in-store gaming. Periodically, I run a game at a local shop. The owner is gracious enough to let us use tables, occupy his store for hours at a clip, provides a trash can that he ends up emptying full of our pizza detritus and soda cups, and is the best host you can ask for. He does not charge a dime for us to play at his shop, and the players' assumption is that he just hopes we'll do the right thing and buy our gaming supplies there - and many of us do. That said, when a player shows up with a character that was created with the online generator, and they hold forth about how print is dead and they don't need to buy books due to DDI, it brings to mind a phrase my Father-in-Law shared with me once. He referred to the act of stopping at a McDonald's or whatnot while on a road trip, using the rest room, and then being sure to buy a soda or snack from the store as a responsibility of thanks he referred to as "paying the rent." While it's great that players use DDI, the fact that for many it replaces the books - and in turn replaces their interest or need in purchasing books from the store that's hosting their game - has an edge of not "paying the rent" to me. I see no policy shift at the store coming, nor think one would be appropriate. It's about doing the right thing. My longwinded point being - if you play at a Friendly Local Gaming Shop, throw them your business.

Any thoughts on this?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Examiner: Miskatonic River Press panel: It's a Small World After All

Neat article in about a session at I-CON on how Miskatonic River Press uses technology and organization to handle cross-continent collaboration:

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Gaming Table of the Gods

My pal Peg Leg Jon (don't ask), sent me a link to the below gaming table, which trumps what I'd been sketching out by a loooooong shot.



Features include:
  • A dropped play surface, with a covering to protect games in progress
  • Storage drawers
  • "The Layer Cake" - protective map system
  • A "GM Command Station"
  • Red Bull can holders (OK, they're not explicitly that, but check the images in the link, above...)
  • Dice Bays
  • and more features than you can shake a tube of D20's at...
I'm not worthy!

If only the Man Cave where I do all my gaming wasn't always so damp. I mean...nah, I can't unring that bell...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Canceled my World of Warcraft Subscription

Oh, I know - I'll be back... I always am. But I found it interesting that the choices for canceling a subscription have changed since the last time I dropped off the face of Azeroth. When prompted for my reason, I stated that I was leaving for another game. The secondary choices allowed for a few choices, and while pen-and-paper was primarily driving me away, I selected XBox 360, in hopes that enough votes towards the XBox might eventually lead to an XBox version of World of Warcraft. But here's the rather...I don't know...defensive(?) response that the system gave me after sharing that tidbit:

Interesting. Very interesting. Did you know:
We at Blizzard are extremely proud of the experience available in World of Warcraft and we are sorry to hear that you are leaving for another game. We feel that World of Warcraft incorporates elements from a varying array of games for all different types of players. If there is something you feel is missing from the game, we would love to hear about it! Please, feel free to post your thoughts and suggestions on our forums at! Or, use the provided box to leave your comments. Unlike console games, World of Warcraft affords us a unique development opportunity in that the game we have created is constantly changing. Additions to the game world can drastically alter the game play experience in new and exciting ways! Blizzard actively creates new content to keep the World of Warcraft fresh and full of magic. While we of course regret your departure, we wish you well on your future adventures. However, your past is not lost. We currently have no plans to delete accounts or characters for inactivity, so you are always free to return to the lands of Azeroth and continue your tale in the World of Warcraft!

That sounds a little different from what they've said in the past (it's always been assumed that characters are stored in perpetuity, and having to put up positioning against consoles seems new...). Huh.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Christening of the Man Cave

Major kudos to Josh for helping me assemble the last set of shelving for the garage, so that we could clear enough room to make it into a "man cave." After we got it all together, we finally got a chance to play Rune Quest II. The Obsidian Portal site has my update on the campaign, here. Long and short, we found the new combat rules to run more quickly and smoothly, and the reorganized skill system definitely made play even more fun. The combat maneuvers system made combat more cinematic, and we lucked out enough with our rolls to use 3 maneuvers in one combat - blinding, maxing damage, and calling shots. Combat is still hella deadly, but the nerfing of some weapons damage seems to have gone a little way towards minimizing the "Oh, I hit you - you're crippled or dead," scenarios that we encountered during the last edition. If you have a chance, check out the new system published by Mongoose - it's a great time!

The new Glorantha setting drops in a week or so, so stay tuned for more Rune Quest goodness...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I am a lineman for the county...

Those of you who knew my dad probably knew him either as a police officer or a retiree who proudly managed through a nearly decade long batter with cancer before passing away, last year. Prior to becoming a police officer, though, my father had two other briefly lived careers, one as a cabinetmaker (which helped contribute to a life long enjoyment of carpentry and even competitive woodcarving), and another as a lineman for the Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO). The lineman career is one that I was always aware of - one of our neighbors growing up had worked with my dad during that phase of his life - but the image of him as a tough but compassionate insurer of law and order was more omnipresent in my childhood and adult understanding of him.

Well, while driving back from Virginia through the Appalachia of West Virginia and Pennsylvania, this week, I saw plenty of linemen trimming and removing trees that had been damaged or destroyed during the snow, rain and windstorms that laced the northeast and mid-Atlantic over the past weeks. I also had the privilege of driving along stretches of highway in Pennsylvania that were apparently designed for Amish horse and buggy, not cars and trucks zooming along at 80 mph, clutching the edge of a cliff. Both of these experiences brought to mind dear old dad, who had a terrible fear of heights, but incongruously held a job as a lineman for an electric company. It hadn't occurred to me before - and perhaps this was selfish on my part to not consider it - that he had chosen a job, to provide for his family, that directly provoked one of his deepest fears. Despite that, hardhat in hand, he headed out to work each morning or evening to work on telephone poles repairing lines and transformers. To close out the trifecta, the song "Wichita Lineman" came on the radio while I was rambling back. It's not a tune you hear too often, but it's a classic Jimmy "MacArthur Park" Webb tune that was once described as the first "existential country song." The tale of a lineman who misses his lover may be corny to today's audiences, and indicative of that late 60s/early 70s blue collar country music popularized by Glenn Campbell, Conway Twitty and others, but to me that's representative of the period when my dad worked in that particular discipline, and when not working played country on the radio while woodworking in the yard.

Enjoy the below clip.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mother Nature hates Gaming

So, I don't know if it's because of some sort of objection to her depiction in Earthdawn or Shadowrun campaigns, but Mother Nature decidedly hates gaming. Many of the games I had slated to run both at home and at my friendly neighborhood gaming shop, Timewarp Comics and Games, have had to be canceled due to weather related events in recent months. Certainly, necessity is the mother of invention, and I got to use Google Wave to run a couple of games during snow storms, this season, but it's still disappointing to survive through another hectic week of work with the eye on the prize for some weekend gaming just to have the game squashed by a few of snow. Or an ice storm. Or a flood. The image at the left depicts some snow in the yard about a foot of snowmelt later... Good...times...

Quote of the storm season, "Uh, Tyler, we can't make it up to your place. We've been sitting in traffic for an hour and just got passed by an emergency vehicle that had 'SCUBA Squad' written on the side... We're going home."

Happily, the past couple of days have sniffed at 70 degrees, the sun is out, the basement is slowly drying out, and only a patch of snow and ice remains in the yard. It's gonna be only weeks before some dragons are slain at my picnic table. That is, until hurricane season. ;)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Updated The Destroyer

Sorry for the cross-post, but I wanted to plug that I updated my Obsidian Portal wiki for my RuneQuest campaign that I'm in the midst of re-launching, here:

Also note that to avoid having to cross-post in the future, if you look left on the homepage of Tyler is Gaming..., you'll see a scrape of recent posts from The Destroyer showing up automatically.

Take that, Web 1.0!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Arkham Now

While at the comics shop to pick up some Osprey books for my Father-in-Law for his birthday, last night, I picked up a copy of Arkham Now on a whim. Really brilliant stuff. What if the quintessential Lovecraftian small New England town became victim to a greater evil than dread Cthulhu - yes, you know it - urban sprawl. When the big box shops move in, can the old ones be safe? Well, apparently they can find even greater, still nefarious ways to mess with the haunted city...

I'm just digging into this. And there is a free scenario up on the site. Anybody checked it out, yet? Any thoughts?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The perils of 4E and Power Cards

There's a good thread going on over at about a recent promo video posted to YouTube in which the DM, a WotC employee I won't mention by name because I think he seems like a good DM and innovator aside from this cited instance everyone's ganging up on, made what seemed to be a debatable call about a D&D power card that a player wanted to play. It's easy to be a Monday morning quarterback, especially on a game as open to interpretation as D&D, and that's not where my concern is. But, if you read through the below thread, you'll see that the objection many more of us are starting to have deals with the actual 4th Edition powers themselves. If a player can or can't do something based upon a series of actions built into the rules, that kind of limits the game. Sure in AD&D, a wizard was only as good as his spell list, but typically he/she had other ways to contribute (at least after 1st or 2nd level...). But to this poster's point that I quote in my response, below, it seems that in 4E, you spend a few hours debating what card justifies what, whereas in many other RPGs, you'd be well into the adventure by that point.

Original Post By WarlockLord on Enworld:
This mentality needs to die

This. This is videogame logic, the logic that won't let you get past the Ragecandybar man despite the fact that you have 2 dragons and a ghost in your pocket. Tvtropes. Why is this considered good? And would you want your DM to do it?

Quote from another poster, and my response:

Originally Posted by nedjer View Post
WTF? Did I just watch someone spend about a month not opening a door. Wasn't even an interesting door. I assume the guy who left the table popped out to hang himself.

Was playing rules light with a kid last night. In almost the same amount of time as that video she knocked out a couple of goblins, then wounded, healed and befriended a timber wolf, duelled with a goblin shaman, interrogated another goblin who told her to drink from a fountain. Didn't drink from the poisoned fountain but evaporated some of the water to form a blade venom and . . .
Bingo - and that's the problem I'm finding the more and more I run 4e. It becomes about "but I have a card that does this" rather than, "Wouldn't it be cool if I tried this action that's vaguely justified by this elaborate game of pretend we play?"

Friday, February 19, 2010

Obsidian Portal

I'm building out my old RuneQuest campaign on Obsidian Portal, tonight. Has anybody out there used this for managing a campaign? It's got some great features for managing your maps (you can drop markers for different adventures and locations on the map), integrating a forum tool, wiki pages... Lots more cool stuff. Check it out!

Also, major points for leveraging Vimeo streaming video as the instructions for using the tools. Very cool!

PS - I'm also updating the campaign to RuneQuest II. Any advice there is appreciated.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Why do I feel like I'm being punked...?

WotC is releasing a new Dungeons and Dragons red box using Larry Elmore cover art?!?

New product description here.

Nostalgia kick or April Fool's gag being posted to the wizards site months early???

UPDATE: 2/19/2010 - So, Wizards has updated the cover box art to remove the Larry Elmore image - a shame...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Kingdoms Live Update on iPhone

Riding off of my post about how crumby the iPad sounds to me, I feel I should give Apple some love. The iPhone does have a lot of cool stuff going for it (although, my wife's Droid makes me jealous), and the volume of stuff in the app store is one of its biggest assets. Shortly after getting the phone, I downloaded a bunch of free games, including Dungeon Quest and Kingdoms Live. Both are casual social games (billing themselves as MMO's, but that's a stretch...) Most of the functionality is of the FarmVille model - complete a quest, get a prize, buy stuff with fake currency to complete another quest. You can invest real currency into the games to upgrade your character, and Kingdoms Live is the only instance in which I've ever done that - to expand my party. For a while there, Dungeon Quest was my fave - its tie-in's to both Facebook and its cross-platform support on Android devices are hip. But check-a-dis! Kingdoms Live now has support for achievements/badges, much like an XBox game or 4Square. Pointless, true, but it adds a new aspect to the gameplay that adds to the social/competitive nature of it.

Check the release notes here:
and the overall description here:

And for those of you Android people out there, check this out and let me know what you think - a game called "Parallel Kingdom," which is basically Zelda using Google Maps... Hip!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

EnWorld Post - Gamma World coming back?!?

Eeee! One of the best RPGs of all time is rumored to be coming back?

Did anyone play the D20 incarnation? My pals and I had a great time playing it, using the D20 Modern rules. We leveraged an absurdist setting in which Henry Kissinger and Dick Cheney led an army of mechs and zombies across the U.S. Ah, when this comes true one day, we'll all just sit around and laugh...

Monday, February 1, 2010

iPad and D&D - the enworld thread, and my take

There's a good thread going on at right now about using the new iPad in gaming.

A few good ideas, to be sure, but I'm not sold. The iPad won't make reading PDFs any easier at the gaming table than a 10" net book - if anything things will still be shrunken down too much. Had they made the thing as big as apple's tablet-style laptops oh 5 years ago, this would be a slam dunk of a device. But at the size of a large iPhone, I really don't see this changing things all that much. One idea posted on the thread that was neat was laying the iPad flat and putting minis on it, but in practicality being able to use a real - much larger - actual battlemat seems to be more useful for combat in rooms wider than 5 squares by 7 squares or so... (and if you're playing 3rd or 4th edition d&d, those scenarios will be rare at best...)

No native support for a camera or SD card for PDF's... That's kind of the piece that seals it for me. I like the idea of integrating technology with gaming - heck, that's the point of this blog - but this device seems like form over substance for me, as it relates to my hobby.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Robot Chicken writers playing D&D

New feature up on the Wizards of the Coast site, showing the writers of Robot Chicken playing D&D...

Saturday, January 30, 2010 - Dragon Age RPG, Set 1 Reviews

I just posted the following review to of the Dragon Age boxed set, which I was fortunate enough to playtest. Huzzah! Great stuff, and I hear the box is finally coming out, so get your hands on one. - Dragon Age RPG, Set 1 Reviews

I was fortunate enough to playtest this game, and I feel it's a solid game that I believe should have some longevity. Licensed products are often catch as catch can, and going in with my prejudices along those lines, I was quite surprised to see how effectively the rules set was defined as its own entity - not just an extension of "here's something you can do in the video game, and here's how it works on pen and paper." While I like playing World of Warcraft occasionally, that's something I saw as an issue with its pen and paper incarnation.

Dragon Age succeeds primarily based upon its core mechanic - the dragon die. I haven't played too many games where the roll of the dice was anticipated quite as heavily as in Dragon Age. Due to the dragon die mechanic, a roll doesn't define just success vs. failure - it also defines side effects based on the value of one of the dice - think of it as critical hits with a higher chance of success but with effects that further the narrative of an encounter.

The setting itself seems to have greater depth to me through the way it's presented in this boxed set, as compared to the video game which I find fun but inconsistent throughout.

The PDF version of this does the game justice, but I look forward to the now-releasing boxed set itself. There's a tremendous nostalgia kick to a box containing adventures within. Even with the more serious subject matter of Dragon Age compared to say the old Red Box, it ignites the kid-sized gamer in me all over again!

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars! [5 of 5 Stars!]

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Did you hear about the fight that the Gamers had with the Crips the other night?

Game over: Inmate can't play Dungeons & Dragons - York Dispatch

Yes, it's true - a Wisconsin court ruled that a prisoner could be banned from playing Dungeons & Dragons behind bars. Apparently - no joke - the concern is that the game could foster a gang mentality amongst party members, much like other serious gangs in jail (Crips, Latin Kings, Aryans, etc...)

The image of a bunch of guys making D20's in the wood shop instead of shivs seems amusing to me for some reason...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Post on EnWorld about Palm app for D&D Compendium

Looks like some neat stuff by UK outfit Ghoti Media to bring the DDI D&D Compendium to the Palm Pre and Pixi.

Anybody used this? Or other apps for reading rules manuals on your smart phone while playing? I experimented with a bunch for my iPhone, and selected Readdle Docs for loading and viewing PDFs. My wife's Droid has a few good PDF readers, and much easier access to copy PDFs to her SD card (rather than the 'create a fake drive on your wireless network' approach I have to take with Readdle Docs on my iPhone...)

Anybody doing anything neat with viewing and loading docs on their netbooks, smart phones, etc.?


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gamers Help Haiti!

Hey, folks, I just donated via to help support those in need in Haiti. They're matching for the dollar in donations to Doctors without Borders. Please do what you can to help.