Saturday, August 16, 2008

Maztica... Alive!?

Even though I could not attend Gen Con this year, I've been whining about the fact in my posts over the past few days in case you missed them, I have been doing my best to keep up with what is going on. For that I have to give thanks to my RPG blogging brethren as a great deal of info has come from them, but I also check the various company websites daily.

Today I was on WotC's site looking at their daily Gen Con coverage and general Forgotten Realms info when I found this little tidbit.

"What happened to other areas of the Realms?
In part, Maztica has been moved to Abeir; Kara-Tur is mentioned briefly in the Hordelands section of the FR Campaign Guide."

Does this mean I will have updated material for my Maztica Campaign? As I have mentioned before I have very little experience or knowleged when it comes to playing in the Realms. The only time I've used the setting was way back in 2e and that was exclusively in Maztica. Even though I have ordered the 4e FR setting, I must confess a bit of ignorance here. From the way it sounds on my end Maztica is not wholly gone, but merged with another part of the realms. Which seems to be contrary to previous information and good news for me.

The article also has somef informaiton about happenings and changes in the Realms and the NPCs that inhabit the setting such as Elminster and Drizzt.

So if you are an FR fan and you didn't make it to Gen Con read the whole article here.

Congratulations Ennie Winners!

You can read the full list of winners here.
I just wanted to send a congratulatory shout out to a couple of the winners that I voted for. who got the gold for Best Fan Product.
Paizo Publishing who got gold for Best Cover Art, Best Adventure, Best Setting, Best Adversary/Monster Product, Best Aid or Accessory, Best Free Product or Web Enhancement, and the award for Fan Choice Best Publishers.

Let's hope that the Pathfinder RPG and Setting keeps Paizo on top for next year's Ennies as well. Despite being a 4e fan I admit that there is a part of me that wants to see Paizo stick it to WotC and become the gaming company of choice for D&D/fantasy gamers.

Other Cons

Since I am at home wallowing in self pity instead of at Gen Con, I have decided to look for even more gaming conventions I can attend. I really don't want to wait until next August to get my game on.
Frankly there aren't a whole lot of big cons, or cons of any kind in my area but I have found a few. I've also stumbled upon some cons located around the country. So if you are like me and you didn't make it to Indy this year, maybe you'll find a con on my list that is close to you.

I've listed every gaming/sci-fi con that I could find, in no particular order, that takes place between now and next August. If you know of a con in your area that I left off the list let me know and I will keep looking and adding cons as I find them.

Conglomeration- Louisville, Ky (the site is for the 08 con, but there should be another one next spring)
Origins Game Fair- Columbus, OH- 2009: June 24-28
DunDraCon -San Ramon, CA
Dragon Con - Atlanta, GA
ArmadilloCon - Austin, TX
Fan Expo Canada - Toronto, Ontario
Bubonicon - Albuquerque, NEW MEXICO
CogCon - MO
ConQuest -
Gen Con UK - Reading, BERKS
Palladium Open House- Westland, MI
PAX Penny Arcade Expo - Seattle, WA
TCEP 15: The Elder Party - Laurel, MD
Protocon 10 - College Station, Texas
Gamer's Reunion - Rochester, MN
Conception: UK
Aurora-Con - Anchorage, Alaska
Games Day Memphis - Memphis, TN
Winter Dark - Lake Geneva, WI
Con on the Cob - Akron, Ohio
Archon - St. Louis Metro Area, Missouri / Illinois
Nuke-Con - Council Bluffs, IA
FlatCon - Bloomington, IL
ConClave - Romulus, MI
Necronomicon - St. Petersburg , Florida
OshCon - Oshkosh, WI
TRAVELLERcon - Lancaster, Pennsylvania
FurFright - Waterbury, Connecticut
CharCon - Charleston, WV
ClineCON - Pittsburgh, PA
Ancient City Con- Northeast Florida
Bakuretsucon - Colchester, Vermont
Con-Fusion - Victoria, BC
HallowCon - Chattanooga, TN
Youmacon- Dearborn, Michigan
Carnagecon - Fairlee, Vermont
BGG.CON- Irving, TX
Philcon - Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Scarefest- Lexington, KY
U-Con - Ann Arbor, MI
Kajonk-a-Con - Knoxville, Tennessee
Chattacon - Chattanooga, TN
GottaCon - Victoria, BC
Con Nooga - Chattanooga, TN
PrezCon - Charlottesville, Va
Starcon - Rochester, Michigan
PointCon - Stevens Point, Wisconsin
MisCon 23 - Missoula, Montana
Strategicon: Los Angeles, CA

Friday, August 15, 2008

DC has high hopes for Watchmen

With the Watchmen trailer running before the mega hit The Dark Knight, interest in the Watchmen graphic novel is running high. Watchmen pretty much maintains the spot as number one selling graphic novel, but the recent resurgence of interest prompted DC to print another million or so copies. Apparently they are expecting interest in the movie to drive sales of the graphic novel through the roof. I for one hope they are right. I also hope the movie, which looks incredible in the trailer, will do justice to one of my all time favorite graphic novels.
Interest is so strong that there is even an "animated" version of the graphic novel being released in installments on itunes.

Paizo Rocks!

I just downloaded the Beta for the Pathfinder RPG and while I haven't read the whole thing I have to admit that I am blown away by the size of it. The main book is 410 pages and the download comes with an additional 65 page supplement. That is a a total of 475 pages of potentially free 3.75 material. This is also just the playtest material, not the finished game. I have to give Paizo kudos for pulling a stunt like this. They must be very sure of the quality of the game, and be interested in getting as many 3e gamers behind it as possible to make that much free material available. That is how you promote a product! Gamers love free stuff.
Like I said I haven't finished reading it, actually I've just begun, but I will be posting my thoughts once I am done. Paizo made the download for this product free to anyone who is interested. Granted the print version will cost you, but even that price ($24.99) is still cheaper than most gaming products.

Gen Con 08 is big news for Indy

According to the's Business section, Indianapolis is expecting 85,000 gamers to converge on the city for Gen Con 08. The article states that gamers will spend about $30,000,000 (yes that is 30 million dollars) at restaurants and shops in Indianapolis and use the equivalent of 16,000 hotel room nights during the 4 days the con is going on. I've seen estimates on other sites that say the total spent by gamers each August is well over $40 million. That is a lot of money brought into the city each year.

The article goes on to discuss the history of the con and the fact that Gen Con has been there since 2003 and will remain until at least 2010. There is a very brief description of what goes on and some mention of the exhibits and companies that will be present. I knew the con was pretty big, but it seems to keep growing. The only thing that bothers me is the fact that I won't be attending this year. If the con only stays in my back yard until 2010, that means I only have 2 more years to enjoy Gen Con because there is no telling where it may move after their commitment to Indy expires. If that happens it looks like I will be attending Origins instead, since it is the closest big con in my area.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Geek Music

I am a geek, thus the name of the blog. As such I tend to like music about and/or made by geeks and nerds. So I have compiled a list of my top 10 favorite geeky songs. These are some of my favs and they are about a wide range of topics, from gaming to sci fi. My official "Geek Gazette Music to Listen To While Driving to Gen Con" soundtrack contains songs by each of these artist and makes that hour and a half drive much easier to make. Of course I won't be needed it this year (grumble... grumble) but that is a different story.
If you have never heard of some of these artist click on the links and check them out. You may find your next favorite song or artist.

  1. In the Garage by Weezer
  2. Nerdcore Rising by MC Frontalot
  3. White and Nerdy by Weird Al
  4. D&D by Stephen Lynch
  5. The Future Soon by Jonathan Coulton
  6. Nerd Alert! by The Aquabats
  7. Particle Man by They Might Be Giants
  8. Dugdig by YT Cracker
  9. Pork and Beans by Weezer
  10. Fette's Vette by MC Chris
Artists that deserve Honorable Mentions
  1. MC Hawking
  2. Futuristic Sex Robotz
  3. Tom Lehrer
If you know of anymore geeky artists that I have neglected to mention let me know and I will check them out.

Life without Gen Con

This is the first year since Gen Con moved to Indianapolis, Indiana that I will not be able to attend. I know I'm only an hour and a half away, but I just can't make it this year. I want to go really I do, but unfortunately this year real life got in the way. Luckily it isn't some horrible or traumatic event, just a case of bad timing. Still I, like many gamers, spend my whole year looking forward to these 4 days in August, but not this year.

So while the other bloggers are posting about how they are getting ready for the con, I'm sitting here in front of my computer seething with jealousy. I know there are many like me that will not be making the trip this year and others who have never had the experience, so I should just be glad that I'm only missing one year and will have another chance next August.

Damn it I wanna go!

Ok, now that I have that bit of whining out of my system... I still don't feel any better. So for all of you who get to go I hope you have fun and when you are in the middle of a game and need a high roll... I hope you get a 1!
Just kidding.
Have fun and have a safe trip. That way you can rub it in and make me even more envious when you get back.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

4e is perfect! Well, except for the mistakes...

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition has barely been on shelves for 2 months and we have already seen 2 sets of errata released. What the hell is up with that? I mean haven't they been working on this release secretly for a few years now, all the while lying to us?

So why would a thoroughly playtested product that has been in the works for years be released with so many mistakes? I don't know and honestly I don't want Wizards of the Coast to tell me. With as many times as they have dropped the ball over the past year, or done things that flat out made gamers mad I just don't think I could handle more excuses. I guess I should be glad that they have taken the time to release the fixes, but I'm not. To be blunt it kind of pisses me off.

I know that 3e had its share of mistakes and they released errata for it as well. Hell every game has fixes that get released at some point. No game designer is perfect. Still when you add this to every other thing that seems messed up involving 4e it just seems like too much.

I was reading a post over at Greywulf's Lair (click the link and check it out) that does a great job of summing up and listing the missteps that WotC has made in regards to 4e. When I see them all in one place it is very upsetting. I wonder how a company that has the kind of backing that WotC has could possibly screw up at nearly every turn.

Granted D&D could be the bastard child in the eyes of Hasbro and perhaps they want the brand to die off. Maybe the brand is in trouble and Hasbro has pulled a lot of financial backing unless the WotC guys turn D&D into a big money maker. After all the suits at Hasbro are probably like many other suits... it must earn X amount or it is a failure. So the poor WotC guys are busting their humps to make Papa Hasbro happy. Then again I am probably just making excuses for them and they should hire me. I can screw things up and make excuses with the best of them. In truth I feel that WotC got a little big for their britches and may be very deserving of the crap us gamers have been giving them. I still like 4e, but WotC just keeps losing credibilty in my eyes.

From my POV here is how things look.
  1. They canceled my 2 favorite gaming magazines and moved them online. While this was annoying I eventually dealt with it by turning to other magazines. Then to make matters worse they only put out sporadic material for about a year.
  2. They not only lied to us about the development of 4e, they made fun of us for talking about it.
  3. They had what I think was likely the best and most succesful version of D&D, and dropped it rather than make it better.
  4. See # 3 and add the fact that they let other publishers (Paizo) make their product better than they did. (While I haven't read all of Pathfinder, the playtest version does look pretty good)
  5. D&D insider... nuff said. (OK, the Bonus Tools and Rules Compendium are up and they have made improvements/updates so that they are kind of useful now. That is something nice to say about it, but that is all I've got so far.)
  6. To borrow from Greywulf, they narrowed their demographic and potential sales arena far too much. With the backing of Hasbro they could have made D&D as well as D&D minis the biggest brand name in all of gaming, not just in the roleplaying world.
  7. Take all of the above and then release the much hyped, greatly blogged about game with mistakes that need to be fixed within the first 2 months, at least the ones that have been found so far, as well as components that are basically non existent. But do they offer free downloads of the full books as replacements to all of us that bought them? Nope. We don't even warrant a "sorry about that guys and gals here is your code for free 6 mth member ship of DDi, which isn't up yet" or even "here is a coupon for $10 off your next purchase of a WotC product" just some pages of errata.
  8. They are about to start charging us for D&D insider and the damn thing isn't even up and running yet! What about the free preview of the virtual table top and character generator that I was promised? Sure we got some pretty good material out of recent Dragon and Dungeons articles, but wait... didn't we get pretty much the same thing for free on the D&D website all through the life of 3e? Now you want to charge us for it? I don't think so.
Granted my group is still new to 4e, having only a few games under our belts, so we haven't noticed the mistakes/problems yet. We also really like 4e which makes me even more upset. Sure they gave us the errata, but do you really want to print that crap out and stick it in your books? Books that I might add you have already bought with the assumption that you were getting a thoroughly playtested and developed game. A game that has been secretly in the works for years. One that was suppose to be everything that 3e wasn't. All I can say is that the experience with 3e wasn't this disappointing.

I gave 4e a chance, changed my tune and found I do like the system. 4e has the potential to be truly great, but untapped potential is only good if you actually apply it. Though I will hang in there a bit longer I have to confess to being annoyed with the company and some of their decisions. I have kept trying to be optimistic about WotC and what they have planned, but it seems like every week there is something trying to convince me I'm wrong. Why do they seem to keep trying to crush my hope at every turn? Did I kill a goblin friend of someone at WotC in a dungeon somewhere and not know about it? Maybe they are related to my ex... that would explain a lot. Or maybe the Gnomes are behind this mess... damn Gnomes.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

RPGNow Down

As of right now the RPG Now site as well as Drive Thru RPG are both down.
The page just gives you the following message with no date regarding when they will be up and running again.
" will be temporarily unavailable while we perform database maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience."

So if you like to buy your pdfs from either site you may have to wait a few days.

GSL & SRD Revision

Well it looks like there were enough 3rd party publishers saying "Hell No!" to 4e that WotC decided to change its tune. They have announced that they will be making revisions to the GSL & SRD in the near future.

“We recognize the important role third party publishing support plays in the success of the 4th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons. We have listened to the community and our valued colleagues and have taken their concerns and recommendations to heart. Our commitment to the health of the industry and hobby gaming lifestyle is reflected in the revisions to the Game System License.”
--Linae Foster D&D Licensing Manager

I guess the big guys finally decided to listen to what everyone else has to say. I think it is safe to say all the bad feelings from gamers and publishers alike had something to do with it. Honestly have you been reading the message boards lately? You would think WotC was a terrorist cell. Of course I would not discount Paizo and the fan base that is rising around Pathfinder from being somewhat influential as well.

Even while WotC's most loyal fans are supporting 4e they still seem to be raking them over the coals over their poor handling of the product's release, especially in regards to the DDi . Then publishers who previously backed them are now backing out on them. Kenzer & Co, one of my favorite publishers, has even updated the Kalamar setting without the permission of WotC, another snub. Some fans and publishers are holding firm with 3e and then, or course, there is Paizo. Paizo garnered a lot of favor with gamers, D&D players in particular, with their quality treatment of Dragon and Dugeon magazines and then they turn around and decide to "fix" 3.5e and make it their own instead of supporting 4e.

On one hand I applaud WotC for listening to what people are saying and then with the other I suppress a chuckle. In some small way I really think that fans of 3rd edition D&D made a difference here. Granted we don't know what changes they will make to the GSL or SRD, but I can't help feeling a bit optimistic. The support for keeping things in 3e and resistance to moving to 4e seems to be much bigger than when D&D went from 2nd to 3rd edition. Perhaps we can thank the internet and blogosphere for making it appear this way, but it really seems different this time. Even though I am honestly a 4e supporter and I like the game, I have been giving some serious thought to picking up Pathfinder. If Paizo has indeed fixed what was broke, 4e may become the back up game for my group.

So I remain hopeful that WotC has decided to actually give in, quit the strong arm tactics we have seen of late, and allow the kind of "freedom" that everyone has enjoyed over the past 8 years. Granted this will allow a lot of crap to fill store shelves, but it will also allow quality publishers to put out some truly great material unhampered by the extremely restrictive guidelines that WotC laid down for 4e. We might even see 3rd party Ravenloft, Dragonlance or Maztica revisions! Like I said, I'm being optimistic.

***** I realized after I posted this there are 5000 blog posts on the net about this same topic. So while my opinion is a little different than some, I apologize to readers who have seen this upteen gazillion times today already. Then again if you watch the news, no matter the station, you will likely hear the same stories. So that must mean bloggers are doing something right, staying on top of things and that this is something that needs to be shared.********