Saturday, August 30, 2008
I was first introduced to the Legends of the Five Rings CCG back when it came out (I think it was somewhere around 1994-95) and my group wasn’t exactly impressed. Magic was the big game at the time so L5R was tossed to the side and forgotten.
I like the idea of playing a samurai and over the years wanted to pick up the L5R RPG, but no group I have ever played with shared my interest. So I never bothered buying any oriental themed games or supplements.
At Gen Con 2007 I stopped by the AEG booth and saw that a new edition of L5R had been released. ( Since then the edition has been revised and released as 3.5) No longer would I need to buy multiple books to play as the game only requires just one core rule book. After looking through the new edition and some really good salesmanship from the guy at the booth I gave in and bought it. When I asked if they were running demos I was directed toward the Heroes of Rokugan, L5R version of RPGA, and sat in on a game with the group.
The game is a lot of fun. I’ve never been a big fan of storytelling systems but this game definitely changed my mind. For someone who likes their games simple, L5R is probably not for them. L5R is kind of a living system and the game I sat in on required a lot more actual roleplaying in character than I am use to. Since I had never played the system I picked the "easiest" character to play, a dumb fighter/brute. Howwever, the intense amout of roleplay for this session meant that I pretty much did nothing. My group kept having to talk me out of starting fights, as the game was more political intrigue than hack n slash and I made the mistake of picking the one character that was pretty much useless. The one time I could have had a great fight, the GM told me after the game, was at the end of the adventure but the group all but held me down to stop me from attacking, so I never got the chance to kill anything. I still had a lot of fun though as I never get to be that character in a group, I always GM/DM.
The world of Rokugan is constantly evolving, and the story is constantly being updated which is great if you are that devoted to your system. Players of the CCG will understand this, but the depth and history of this game may be a bit much for the average RPG player.
Now before I scare any potential players away, it is not required that you follow the living world of Rokugan. Like any RPG setting your home games can be and do whatever you like. My home games have a lot more combat that the game I sat in on at Gen Con. The system is not difficult to learn and though it uses only d10, it should be no problem for most gamers.
If you are a d20 fan and you want to introduce your group to L5R you can still find the L5R d20 books on the internet or maybe even your local FLGS. I got mine at Gen Con for $5 each. The d20 version is a more than just D&D Oriental adventures as it still has the feel of the true L5R game, but with the added bonus of being ready to drop into your 3e D&D campaign.
Both the core L5R book and the d20 version are something I highly recommend.
Friday, August 29, 2008
There is also an article about this on ICv2.com.
Many players have written us about recent disparaging D&D references by a John McCain staffer, Michael Goldfarb. I want you to know that everyone at Wizards is offended and baffled by the ignorance. Obviously, this person harbors some retro prejudices and has no idea what D&D is about or who the fans really are. I thought you should know that my colleagues at Hasbro also take offense and sent a letter to Michael Goldfarb (copied below). Wizards will continue to promote D&D as the great heroic fantasy game that it is and we thank you for your continued support and encouragement.
Wizards of the Coast
August 28th, 2008
1235 S. Clark St, Suite M
Arlington, VA 22202
Dear Mr. Goldfarb,
I was disappointed to read the disparaging intent of your comments regarding Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) fans, both in your response to New York Times editors, and on the John McCain campaign website.
Dungeons & Dragons is a global game with millions of consumers in the U.S. and abroad. The brand is owned by Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc.
For fans, the game is essentially about heroism and therefore it is not surprising to us that thousands of military personnel play and enjoy the game. Hasbro, in turn, supports the U.S. Armed Forces by sending multiple crates of game products, including Dungeons & Dragons, to our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Recently a soldier who saw your comments online said, “Wizards of the Coast (the makers of D&D) has sent care packages to the troops on many occasions, providing free gaming supplies in support of our men and women serving the country overseas to help them decompress after hours. McCain's people should really check their facts before they spout off. Does John McCain have no idea how many GIs play D&D?”
We would very much appreciate you not making any more condescending comments about D&D -- as it is a great game enjoyed by millions of people around the world. Thank you.
Senior Vice President
The above was copied directly from Wizards of the Coast's website
Thursday, August 28, 2008
This is the Blue Beetle & Booster Gold PSA by Blinky Productions.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Apparently they will be appearing in the Brave and the Bold comic series and become a part of the DCU at large. On one hand I applaud DC for reviving these character, which I always felt had potential but on the other hand I just don't understand why they are doing it. They aren't mega-popular Golden or Silver Age characters, they are pretty much nobodies except to a few fans like myself but I've always had a soft spot for the 2nd stringers.
I haven't seen anything stating whether these characters were bought by DC from Archie Comics or are simply being leased out. My bet is if they are part of the DCU, they either own them or will in the near future. Of course if they go the way of the Charlton characters (Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, The Question, etc..) that DC bought in the early 80's I feel really sorry for them because they will probably be underused, killed off, change gender, and made into villains.
In another attempt to increase DC's stable of characters they have also announced that they will bring the Milestone characters (Icon, Static, Hardware, etc..) back from oblivion and integrate them into the DCU. Now the Milestone character's run was a bit longer than that of those from the Impact line and one, Static, even got his own animated show. Still I can't help but wonder why in a comic book universe overflowing with characters they would bring in so many more. Especially ones whose roles are already filled by DC mainstays such as Superman. Could it be that DC wants some more minorty characters and the owner of said characters just happens to be working on Justice League? Regardless I am glad to see these characters revived and in use once again.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Fight On!: I have only read the first issue, there are only 2 released thus far, but I like it. The mag has a very old school feel, content that can be used in most games and it is available in pdf or print versions.
Polymancer: A good magazine put out by Polymancer Studio with lots of generic content that is usable in most games. Most of the articles are not only funny but very well thought out. The company did have some hacker problems a while back and the site is still being reconstructed, so you may find some dead links.
Signs and Portents: This mag is to Mongoose Publishing, what Dragon magazine was to D&D. It basically gives material for games published by Mongoose and if you play them it is probably a great read. I don't generally play Conan, or Babylon 5 so while the content looked solid enough, there wasn't much there to my liking. It is free to download in pdf.
Rifter: This is Palladium's version of Dragon magazine. Every issue seems to have a theme or focus on a particular setting/game, but since the Palladium system is used for all their games the content is mostly useful no matter the Palladium game you play. Since I have a fondness for Rifts I do like to pick this quartly mag up when it comes out. Other than issue #0 of Digital Rifter, the only downloadable issue, all the issues are print and can be ordered individually or as a subscription.
Digital Hero: "Digital Hero is a bi-monthly e-zine for all aspects of the HERO System." I have never actually read an issue of this and can not comment on the quality of the content, as I do not play the Hero system... yet. You can buy it as a single download or as a subscription, though I think the subscription option may be a moot point. I have heard that the magazine has been cancelled, but back issues are still available.
Kobold Quarterly: I have never read an issue of this magazine but have heard nothing but good things about it and have just ordered an issue. This is another generic content magazine that is meant to fill the void of Dragon and supply useful content to fantasy gamers. Every time I have gone to the site it seems to be down or have some type of technical problem, but you can buy issues at Paizo's store.
Knights of the Dinner Table: This gaming magazine/comic book put out by Kenzer & Co. is my all time favorite. Not only do you get great article by Ken Newquist (Nuketown) and Mur Lafferty (The Murverse) there is also some really good generic content, content for Kenzer & Co. products and the best, IMO, gaming comic around. Definitely worth checking out. I think a free downloadable version of issue number 132 is still available somewhere on the site.
Pathfinder: I have only read one of these and they do provide some really good generic D&D content. What else would you expect from Paizo? Now that Paizo has adopted and "fixed" the 3e D&D rules the magazines will apparently be switching to official content for their Pathfinder system.
Dragon Roots:Billed as a "Magazine for Gamers by Gamers" according to their site. They actually came to my attention just the other day due to their connection to the "4e killed Gary" t-shirts. They claim they had nothing to do with them and I have never seen one of the shirts, so I don't know if they exist. Having added them to the list at the last minute, I have not had a chance to read one of their issues. Though I do see that pdf and print versions are available.
I have also found a really good fantasy fiction magazine called Black Gate. While it is primarily a short story mag, there are actual articles in it as well. The Summer 08 issue I picked up, issue 12, has an interesting article about solitary RPGs which was worth reading. There is also a Knights of the Dinner Table strip on page 222.
I forgot to mention that Black Gate is allowing people to preview issue #12, the one I bought, by downloading the entire issue for free. Download Issue 12
Just scroll down the page and in the left hand side of the scree you will see Download Black Gate 12 free. Click and you got your free pdf issue.
Here are some other fantasy &/or sci-fi magazines that I recommend checking out:
Fantasy & Science Fiction
Realms of Fantasy
Analog: Science Fiction & Fact