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Critical Mass for Virtual Tabletops and Online Conventions?

Technology for running traditional tabletop RPG games using online software has been around for a few years now, but I've noticed we seem to be reaching something akin to Critical Mass in the use of these tools to supplement face-to-face gaming. For example, this weekend in my game group we're using Google+ to video conference in a distant player while the rest of our group game meets around a physical table. Kickstarter and online 'virtual' conventions also point to the surging interest in online virtual tabletops.


There's been a lot of buzz on Kickstarter regarding two very similar new tools:TabletopForgeandRoll20. Both [...]

Getting There

Despite the lack of posts, I haven’t joined the recent pack of RPG blogs/ sites that have closed down or gone into hibernation – including Robot Viking

Just been busy finishing-off the RPG Handbook – the last paragraph of 162 pages (before images) was completed about 15 minutes ago. There [...]

The Weight of Things: Earth Materials

Link to Adobe format: Weight of Earth Material Things

Israeli Army Frowns on D&D Players

Archived from here: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3052074,00.html

"They're detached from reality and susceptible to influence," the [Israeli] army says.

Does the Israel Defense Force believe incoming recruits and soldiers who play Dungeons and Dragons are unfit for elite units? Ynet has learned that 18-year-olds who tell recruiters they play the popular fantasy game are automatically given low security clearance.

Fans of the popular role-playing game had spoken of rumors of this strange policy by the IDF, but now the army has confirmed that it has a negative image of teens who play the game and labels them as problematic [...]

a couple of quick sketches of savage ! the halfling ! :D

a couple of quick ones of savage , my level one halfling fighter, ftw :D
savage , level one halfling fighter ^^;....:D

Death and Wealth

This is something I've been thinking about this week. How do you deal with death in your game?
Well, maybe not death exactly, but the resulting loot overflow that follows. Say Ted the fighter, Ron the thief, and Deborah the ranger have roughly 30,000gp worth of equipment apiece and during one unfortunate encounter, Ron perishes. After some discussion, Ron's player decides to create a new character and the remaining party members bury/cremate/dispose of the body. Do they take his loot or leave it with the corpse?
NOT BLACK LEAF! Chick comics always give me a chuckle.
Let's say they take [...]

Honor Friendship and Deceit

While I've spent much of the past two weeks writing, participating and thinking about gaming, there just wasn't any room for blogging! I guess that's a good thing?
Two weekends ago, "Group A" went for a double header. A Saturday game that started at 1:00pm and didn't end until 9:00pm.... On Sunday!
It's my game-face!

Now before you get any wild ideas, we did break for food, stretches, conversation and a bit of TV. We also returned to our respective homes and got a good 8 hours sleep between Saturday and Sunday but for a brief moment in time, [...]

Game Stagnation

While I've never had much of a problem with game stagnation, I have talked about it with other players and GMs. I hope to offer a few tips to help prevent your own game from going stale.
Game Stagnation- A slow down of general interest, drive and passion in a game. This can be the caused by a variety of events including (but not limited to): major story completion, lack of GM ideas, players tired of their own characters, lack of variety, redundant game types/styles, concurrent but non-associated off-the-shelf modules, etc, etc...
There are quite a few solutions to this [...]

Sporkchop's Real-World Adventures: Italy Part 2

In this second installment about my adventures in Italy, we'll start to get into some of the specific escapades in which the Fiancee and I were involved. In the posts to come, I will recount a real world adventure and then offer up some ways it could act as inspiration for a game or fantasy story plot.

"Siate molto tranquilla, siamo funghi caccia."(be very quiet, we're hunting mushrooms)

I had gone on mushroom hunts in my home state of Washington, so I thought I knew what I was getting into. Boy, was I mistaken. Mushroom hunting is [...]

Use Bio-feedback and Neuro-feedback on Role-playing Gamers to Monitor Physiological and Neurological Activity

Experiment with different RPG scenarios to see when measurable physiological responses are indicated as monitored by using bio-feedback equipment. Experiment with states or relaxation, excitement, etc.

Refine the experiments further using neur-feedback monitoring equipment for more detailed results based on brainwave patterns to indicated focus, potential indicators of "flow state", etc.

After determining periods of significantly measurable states, and being able to repeat these responses consistently with other subjects, apply what is learned toward further experiments using even more detailed brain-mapping technologies such as fMRI and PET scanning as baseline, and before, during, and after sessions, and to compare to control subjects.

Looking [...]

The Giant's Wrath (Module #3) is Almost Here!

Castles & Crusades
Giant's Wrath
Product Type/Format & Price: 8.5 x 11 Saddle Stitched, 24 pages; $6.99
Ordering Info: TLG 8323, ISBN 978-1-936822-54-6

Beyond the comforts of home lie worlds of epic adventure. 
In the grey seas and dark skies of turbulent chaos, you see a long black dragon-shaped ship. A dozen massive oars on each side row to the beat of a thundering drum. Tall, harsh-faced, dark-hued, and fully-armored forms walk the deck, shouting orders in terrifying voices. . . the formorians come again. 
A power has risen in the Otherworld, it drives [...]

The Giant's Wrath (Module #3) Goes to Print Next Week!

Castles & Crusades
Giant's Wrath
Product Type/Format & Price: 8.5 x 11 Saddle Stitched, 24 pages; $6.99
Ordering Info: TLG 8323, ISBN 978-1-936822-54-6

Beyond the comforts of home lie worlds of epic adventure. 
In the grey seas and dark skies of turbulent chaos, you see a long black dragon-shaped ship. A dozen massive oars on each side row to the beat of a thundering drum. Tall, harsh-faced, dark-hued, and fully-armored forms walk the deck, shouting orders in terrifying voices. . . the formorians come again. 
A power has risen in the Otherworld, it drives [...]

a tour of drow society ...continued... drow princess ...drow thrall ... kuo-toa priestess !

drow princess ...
drow thrall ...
kuo-toa princess captured by the drow !

Call Out

So I'm calling out Wizards of the Coast here. Consider this an open letter of complaint. The number of books is too damn high!

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Do-It-Yourself Superhero Masks

I realize this has nothing to do with gaming, but I figured it might come in handy for geek-minded Halloween lovers out there. I promise to go back to only posting gaming stuff here after Halloween! – Kimi

A good superhero mask can make or break a costume, whether it’s for a kid’s party, Halloween, or a convention. I use a very simple method to create my superhero masks, and with a few craft supplies and household items, you can create your own mask that will look great and be easy on your wallet!


- Craft Foam – Packs run [...]

Sci-Fi Short: Seed

Witches and Protectors: John Dee

I am always very proud of the books I work on.  Whether it is a small amount or an entire book each one is pretty special to me.

So it is a rare treat when I can do something that covers multiple books.  It is even rarer when it happens to be these two books.

Ghosts of Albion The Witch
I was going down my list of potential witches [...]

Everyone Talks About the Weather

Now someone's finally done something about it.

Friend of the blog Bren at RPG Net created a nifty weather table for use with his Honor + Intrigue campaign, set in 1623 France. Inspired by an old RuneQuest supplement, the table allows weather to change over the course of days based on the current conditions, something all good weather tables should do.

Check it out.

Everyone Talks About the Weather.

Now someone's finally done something about it.

Friend of the blog Bren at RPG Net created a nifty weather table for use with his Honor + Intrigue campaign, set in 1623 France. Inspired by an old RuneQuest supplement, the table allows weather to change over the course of days based on the current conditions, something all good weather tables should do.

Check it out.

NCSoft's Continuing Slide Into Irrelevance and Bankruptcy

Speaking of bullshit moves, NCSoft continues its corporate doublespeak and is reaping the whirlwind for their efforts.  To whit:

The Save City of Heroes Campaign Reveals NCsoft's Firewall of Silence | EGMNOW

Quoting the juicy bits (and you really should go read the whole article),
However, it was all in vain as on October 2 the publisher issued a statement saying that it had "exhausted all options including the selling of the studio and the rights to the City of Heroes intellectual property, but in the end, efforts to [...]

Sandbox BASS

I have run sandbox-ish campaigns for as long as I can recall, and most times the rules I've run them with have made it harder, not easier, to run a campaign of that sort. Playing with various incarnations of D&D, there would be the invariable scaling from 1st level wimp to 10th level hero, to a situation of "high-level over-powered munchkin that is impossible to challenge seriously". Well, impossible to challenge without putting in far more time as a DM than I found fun. I never wanted to spend hours compiling spells, abilities, treasures to *finally* challenge the players. I [...]

OSR Experiments #33: Savage Dead-Owl

Inspired by Tim Snider, who proofread my DD2 Starter Set (see last post), and published his own neat compendium last September, here's another monster conversion, styled into DD2:

Decaying Dead-Owl

Once the attack on Vaal went awry, it became apparent that none of the parties would come out alive. The weapons used had infected every living being, drenching them in the Jubre disease. This included the hunter owls employed by the Witch Masters, which went down in the first wave. Their masters had thought them dead, but when the long night came, their rotting corpses still [...]

SND-02: Divinity (choice)

The end is nigh. It is the eve of the final confrontation with the Heresiarch itself and the end to a 2-1/2 month long play-by-post adventure. The Heresiarch has gathered forth the divine energies of the multiverse in a grand ritual of transformation and divine apotheosis. Ten brave Crusaders have steaded this dark Fane to stop the ritual and save all Humanity.

If successful, those dungeoneers (both alive and dead) will be elevated to the statues of immortal being and bathed in the unknowable light of the divine, creating a new Pantheon to watch over the affairs of the mortals races [...]

Extra Life and One-Shot Thoughts

The Extra Life fundraiser was last weekend, and I participated through a local group called Table Talk Games. Had a pretty decent time, though I didn’t end up playing as many new games as I expected to while we were there. I played…

  • Pandemic, twice. Didn’t survive either attempt, though we did get fairly close on the second one – we had two diseases cured, then hit a triple-outbreak that wiped us out. That’s a very difficult game, but V wanted to keep playing until we won. She got frustrated enough that we stopped after the second game, though.
  • Tsuro, which was [...]

The Continuing Story of Faceplant the Bold

After gaining access to the temple they were after, the mighty heroes missed no beat by wondering WHY they were after the temple they were now in. And yet they entered.

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I picked up three copies of this game the other day and we busted one out and had some fun. I think it's the first time Iniquity came in last place.

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So, being a huge X Com fan for since it first came out, I picked up the new game. This game is at the top of the sales charts on Steam for a good reason.

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ICFBTS Factions On The Way!

I put in the order to the caster today for the first production run for the factions!  It has been a long journey and I appreciate all the help and support we've been given!  Thank you!

You can purchase from our site directly at www.hillbilliesvsaliens.com

[Avatar of the Kaga] Patrons of NeoExodus Legacy Part 3

This entry is the final entry of the series that includes Part 1 and Part 2. With these two groups, these are all the Patrons you can have in the campaign.

After you read about all of them, I will go on to present some of the design choices that led us to create these groups and how we envision them working "together". But you'll have to wait a few days for that. Grofka Vlaklova's Entourage

Relation: The Grofka and her entourage are known for their loyalty to Tsarina Anayanka and the Arman Protectorate.

Modus Operandi: Act now; repent [...]

Free NPCs at Shortymonster!

As usual, I'm a little late to this bandwagon, but a little more than a week ago Shortymonster's blog reached 10,000 page views, and he's celebrating it by writing up a free NPC for anyone who asks.  I just snagged a good one for my Keep on the Borderlands campaign.  Sometimes a little outside input can really stir things up and get fresh ideas percolating! 

If you haven't already, go get one for yourself, and check out a few of his other posts while you're there.  (There's some really good stuff on medieval combat and horror in RPGs [...]

Are Your PCs a Part of the World, or Apart From the World?

The latest podcast over at RPG Circus touched on the idea of wether or not PCs were a part of their gaming world, or a part from it. It got me thinking about the topic, and truthfully, I think MOST games are run in such a way that PCs are apart from the world their in.

Few campaigns have events that don't impact the PCs. Events happen because they will impact the campaign and the PCs, but that doesn't make the PCs part of the world. It doesn't exist except where it further's the ends of the campaign.

If the campaign is on rails, you know which parts of the world exist, or will exist when needed. In a sandbox, it exists immediately around the [...]

The book cover!

Here it is, ladies and gentlemen. This will be on the cover of “The World Between for Fictive Hack.”

I titled it “Pinata.”

Witches Take Flight

Mr. Brannon over at The Otherside blog has released his magnum opus of a sourcebook detailing The Witch as a character for Basic Era Games such as BECMI, Labyrinth Lord, etc. This project has been roiling and boiling away in Brannon's cauldron for quite some time and it shows. You can check out a nice little PDF Preview of the book HERE, or just click over to Drivethru RPG to buy the book. Just going from the Preview alone, it would appear that Mr. Brannon covers a great deal of territory, offers the reader a ton of interesting options and avoids [...]

Bettellyn: The Grand Reliquary -- Part IV

Continued from the previous section.  Click HERE to go back.

Areas 6-12, Underground Terminals

These 30x30' cells are destination points for the teleporters in Area 5 on top of Towers A-G.  A globe enchanted with a continual light hovers near the ceiling.  Magical circles in these cells aren't "password-protected", although they do require a command word (the corresponding immortal's name) to activate.  Whichever tower PC's visited last will connect with Area 6.  Remaining teleporters connect with the other towers, following a clockwork scheme.  Scribble the names of the corresponding immortals on the map.  White robes from Area 13 [...]

[COMPETITION] Last Chance For DARK SHADOWS Giveaway!!!

The HeroPress Dark Shadows Blu-Ray Giveaway closes on Sunday, so get your entries in as soon as possible!
UK only!

If causality proven, begin attempting to narrow down the variables

Though there is plenty of correlative data indicating role-playing gamers seem to have many advantages in skills and cognitive benefits over those that do not engage in role-playing gaming, it will take time to find out if it is just those kinds of people drawn to RPGs to exercise those skills, or if anyone that participates in RPGs can actually benefit.

If the research begins to show that those who never gamed before, begin showing results in the before,during, and after tests indicating changes, then it will establish some level of causality (depending on the levels of controls and blinds used [...]

The Maiden, The Mother, The Crone

One of my favorite game writers, Timothy Brannan has released a new book, "The Witch."

Here's the description from DrvieThru RPG:

The Witch covers the Witch character class and the various traditions of witchcraft one might encounter in an old-school fantasy game. This sourcebook contains plenty of information for players and game masters alike, including new spells, powers, magic items, and monsters. Compatible with original Basic Edition fantasy games, or your favorite retroclone!

I haven't snagged it yet, but I plan on getting it soon. Tim's an excellent writer and his witch material is always entertaining. You [...]

Daily Cosplay

Famous Last Words Friday: I Know An Illusion...

This Famous Last Words Friday! Last week we had death before dishonor and this week we have the art of illusion spotting. Don’t be fooled. It’s probably an illusion.

Check out the old school famous last words section in the GameWyrd archives.

The Weight of Things: Introduction

Do you remember the last time you were racing through a back alley and wanted to throw a couch at the night guard to slow them down? Was there twenty minutes of discussion about how heavy a couch is and … Continue reading →

Music -- Drudkh, Wind of the Night Forests

Road of the Dead (Pathfinder) RPG Review

Available at RPGNow.com

This adventure is located in Raging Swan’s Lonely Coast campaign setting but, as it deals with remnants of a far-distant past just about everybody has forgotten about, it can be placed in a suitable location in your own campaign world with minimal effort. Before getting into the adventure, however, there is a very clear explanation of how encounters are set out showing you exactly where to find each item of information you might need whilst running it. A lot of people lay encounters out clearly, but actually explaining your methods in advance is a nice touch. Traps [...]

Furious Friday!!

I have a lot going on today!  So let's get to it.

First a reminders about the MONSTROUS MONDAY Blogfest on Monday.
If you are participating you need to have your  image and link back here by Monday 12:01 AM CST.
I will be checking and sending out emails over the weekend.  You can still sign up after that time.

If you are not participating, then please stop by and see my post and visit all the sites.  If you are a gamer there will be a lot of great monsters for your use.  If you are not [...]

Children of the Revolution for Vampire: the Masquerade Available Now!

Children of the Revolution tells the stories of noteworthy or notorious Kindred of the modern nights whose Embraces came in times of unrest, rebellion, or open revolution. The circumstances of these revolutions might have been mortal or undead, martial or cultural. These Kindred joined the ranks of the Damned under tides of war or cultural upheaval, and their blood bears the mark of change from one paradigm into another. Sometimes they are the agents of change. For others, their revolution drags them in its wake.

The world of the Kindred is always fraught with blood and danger, and Embrace amid the [...]

Saturday Seed 127 (Leagues of Adventure)

The Seed This week's Saturday Seed is the last of our four Halloween-themed one-shot scenarios which might take-off into longer flights of gaming. This seed, if you are feeling your oats, can in one evening jump between generations, but will not suffer for remaining in one. Intended for Leagues of Adventure and posted here in … Read more

D&D Next - the Wargame

Session 3 continued from here


Aha - high elf sorcerer
Darrien - human cleric of Pelor
Erevan - high elf rogue
Rajabu - dwarf fighter

On two successive nights, Darrien, followed by Aha, were dumped down into the ghoul level by the orcs above, and finally the party was reunited.  Reunited perhaps, but Aha and Darrien were very worse for wear.  To make matters worse, all but Erevan had had their gear and their rations confiscated by the orcs when they had been captured.  The matter of what to eat suddenly became important.  Although Erevan still [...]

Megadungeon: Equipment

I don't like the standard D&D system of equipment on multiple levels. In general, the equipment and magic item rules in 4E D&D are pointless and tedious.

In actual play, I find that the 4E magic item distribution rules encourage hoarding of consumable items, which essentially removes those items completely from play as the dungeoneers are always holding onto them for some non-existent"Final Need".

I don't like tracking encumbrance; at best it is tedious, at worst it is ignored. An ignored rule has no effect on the game and thus might as well not exist.

Badass.Additionally, I find that wealth and coinage in [...]

The Return of Conan

Peter Bradley sent me a happy happy fun time link last night. I loved the first Conan movie, way back in the early 80s. Especially the fight scene in the underhalls where they rescue Valaria, but the final battle on the hill was pure awesome.

The second Conan movie was fair to middling, and this latest one a good watch. But it would seem that the hold team is getting back together!

Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed with Universal to reprise the role of Conan in the The Legend of Conan. This could be pure awesome. Arnold is older [...]

War of Everlasting Darkness

Got a message from Wizards of the Coast. If I had a store in the area running D&D Encounters, this would definitely bring me in to play. Here’s their press release.

This week marked the start of the newest D&D Encounters season, War of Everlasting Darkness, at participating Wizards Play Network stores across the country! Running through December 19, War of Everlasting Darkness is the final D&D Encounters season in the Rise of the Underdark storyline, [...]

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