Saturday, August 23, 2008

Dragons Landing is back!

Now that they have two shows under their belt this month, I guess it is safe to say that the Dragons Landing Podcast is back in business. Chuck and Lonnie apparently took a small break, as they did last year, but are now back in full force. So if you aren't already a regular listenter of the show check it out.

Superheroes, RPGs, and Pagans... Oh My!

I was in Borders picking up a few of my regular magazines when I made an interesting discovery. I am the type of person who wanders around the magazine racks looking at nearly every book that catches my eye. I can easily blow an hour or two going through a large magazine rack and the Borders I go to has a HUGE selection. It is not unusual to see me pick up an issue of Gamepro, Country Cottages, Linux Pro, Dog Fancy( never Cat Fancy... that's just wrong), or even Forbes and thumb through them. The primary reason for my obsession with scouring every magazine rack I come across is finding new gaming, sci-fi or comic book magazines.Which usually doesn't happen, but there is the rare occassion I do find something related to my areas of interst in an unexpected part of the rack.

Case in point is New Witch magazine, issue #17 to be specific. In this issue were two articles I never expected to find in a pagan/witchcraft magazine. The first was a column, I assume it is a regular feature, titled "Chalice and Keybord: Pagans and RPGs". This issue held the second part of the article by Phil Brucato, who apparently has worked as a game designer, that details the influence that gaming had on his life.
At first glace the article brought back visions of the 80's anti-D&D mentality that linked our hobby to "the devil" and branded gamers as evil. My automatic response was to roll my eyes and hope that a politician/religous zealot didn't see this, but after reading the whole thing it was a really good article. The author touched on the 80's D&D "witch hunt", pun intended, but for the most part wrote a fairly responsible piece that included the pros and cons of gaming. He touched on being too into gaming at the expense of the more important parts of your life, the fact that it is a game and gave a very good description of what gaming is all about. Of course there was some mention of how gaming and witches were a good fit, after all it is a magazine for witches.
One of the things I found interesting about the article is the fact that the author did not try to equate being a gamer as a pathway into witchcraft, actually it was quite the opposite. He tended to feel that people who were into paganism were naturally drawn to gaming, but the reverse is not necessarily true. Which I would have to agree with.
The author also gives a very good list of games, game authors and publishers that pretty much covers all the bigger non-WotC game companies and designers as well as some of the smaller ones. Even if paganism isn't your thing, the article is a pretty intersting read.

The second article of interest in this issue was titled "Our Gods Wear Spandex", which was excerpted from the book by Chirstopher Knowles. This was a very interesting article that while regurgitating ideas I've heard for years, presented them in a very respectable way. Basically it is a look at how superheroes are the modern day equivalent to mythic gods.
The author goes on to create parallels between the deities worshipped by the Norse, Greeks, Romans, as well as other ancient cultures and the four color caped crusaders so many of us read about each month. One of the interesting points that the author brings up is the fact that comic book conventions have gone from basically being sad little gatherings of enthusiasts to being mainstream media events. The author also bring up the fact that comic book characters and the medium in general are far more influential in our culture than most people realize. There is even an interesting little article(I'm not sure if it is in the actual book or just an article that happened to fall in the middle of the excerpt) about Wonder Woman and her creator William Marston that gives a brief history of the character and her importance. I may have to check out the actual book because the excerpt provided in the magazine was really interesting.

That just goes to show you that you can find stuff in the most unexpected places. I may never buy another issue of this magazine, but I will be making sure to thumb through future issues to see if these topics pop up again.

Non D&D 4e Post

I and nearly every one else has spent the past couple of months going on and on about the newest release of Dungeons and Dragons. The reason why should be obvious, it is an iconic game and there has been a lot of turmoil surrounding it over the past year or so. However, it is not the only system out there.
Many companies produce quality games with fans that are just as devoted as D&D players. So I have decided to post a list of a few products that are fairly new and some upcoming releases for non-D&D games.

Click on the companies name to go to their website and find out about their other products.

Palladium Publishing
  • Robotech Shadow Chronicles
  • Rifts Dimension Book 11: Dyval-Hell Unleashed
  • Rifts Chaso Earth: NEMA Mission Book One
  • Rifts/Phase World Sourcebook: Heroes of the Megaverse
  • Rifts Dimensino Book 12: Dimension Outbreak
  • Tome Grotesque for Beyond the Supernatural

AEG: Legend of the 5 Rings
  • Masters of Magic
  • Legend of the Five Rings, Third Edition Revised
  • Masters of Court
Fantasy Flight Games
  • Dark Heresy: Core Rules
  • Anima:Beyond Fantasy RPG
Evil Hat Productions
Steve Jackson Games: GURPS 4e
  • Thaumatology
  • High-tech
  • Martial Arts
  • Supers
  • Powers
  • Mysteries
  • Basic Set Campaign
Green Ronin
  • Wild Cards (Mutants & Masterminds)
  • A Song of Fire and Ice RPG
Hero System
  • Book of the Destroyer
  • Monsters, Minions and Marauders
  • Hard Time
Catalyst Game Labs
  • Cthulhu Tech
  • Shadowrun: Runner's Companion
  • Shadowrun: Arsenal
  • Shadowrun: Corporate Enclaves
  • Secrets of Morocco
  • Pulp Cthulhu
Kenzer & Co.
  • Kingdom of Kalamar 4e (ok this one is technically a D&D product, but still worth mentioning)
  • Aces & Eights: Showdown
Mongoose Publishing
  • Traveller Main Rulebook
  • Traveller Mercenary
  • Traveller High Guard
  • Chimaera Universe RPG
White Wolf
  • Books of Sorcery, Vol. V - The Roll of Glorious Divinity II
  • Savage and Macabre: Gangrel
  • Night Horrors: Grim Fears

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Convention List Update

I have more conventions to add to the list.

GAGG: Geneseo, NY
ICon - SUNY Stoneybrook NY
InConJunction: Indianapolis, IN
GASPcon: Pittsburgh, PA
GallowsCon: Merrillville, IN

Remeber, if you have a gaming/sci-fi con in your area let me know. I will add it to the list. I am hoping to compile the most complete list of cons in the US, but I am happy to list cons from around the world as well.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I Won't Be Voting for McCain

I want to thank Mad Brew Labs for posting this and bringing it to our attention. Apparently people in McCain's camp think D&D players and/or gamer in general are a bunch of unpatriotic, ungrateful, sissified, scared, losers who live in their mom's basement. At least according to McCain's blog.

"It may be typical of the pro-Obama Dungeons & Dragons crowd to disparage a fellow countryman's memory of war from the comfort of mom's basement, but most Americans have the humility and gratitude to respect and learn from the memories of men who suffered on behalf of others. John McCain has often said he witnessed a thousand acts of bravery while he was imprisoned, and though not every one has been submitted into the public record, they are remembered by the men who were there (one such only recently reported by Karl Rove though it escaped mention in any of Senator McCain's books). But as Swindle said, this is a "desperate group of people trying to make something out of nothing."

I am definitely breaking one of the rules of blogging right now because this really pisses me off. I have never been a McCain supporter, but I was open to hearing what he had to say. I for once did not make it into the military due to medical reasons, but my dad, brother, cousins, and friends did. Many of them just happen to play D&D as well. I think this ass (Michael Goldfarb, McCains blogger) needs to get his facts straight before he puts it up for all the world to see. Now that I've seen the type of crap he allows to be said in his name, no way will he be getting my vote now. I no longer even want to hear what he has to say.

Since us pansy-ass members of the "Dungeons & Dragons crowd" are good at networking, blogging and spreading info like wildfire, I think we should get this to as many of our brethren as possible. While they feel the need to kiss the butts of many other groups, who aren't any more numerous than gamers, why is it ok to disparage us? Do they not know that we tend to be a very intelligent group of people? We also tend to be the same group of people that are quite proficient with things such as computers and the internet. Do they think we can't read? That we don't follow politics? Screw them!
How is it in America that any group can be disparaged by any member of a presidential candidates campaign and it be ok?

Thanks again to Mad Brew Labs for posting this.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Thanks RPGBloggers Network

The Geek Gazette has only been a blog for around 2-3 months now and in that time I have had no idea how many people have visited the site. I had a pretty good feeling that most of the readers from the old GG e-zine stopped by from time to time, mostly because some of them still emailed me with comments. As for new readers, I wasn't even sure there were any, but as always I remained optimistic.

Then the RPGBloggers Network came into existence and I became a member. I was positive readership went up because of the increase in comments posted(thanks to everyone for some great comments) and emails recieved. The other day I decided to start tracking page hits and I am very pleased. In only 3 days I have had as many hits as I thought the site got in a month. If belonging to the network as done that for my fairly new site I can only imagine what it has done for the more established sites.

So thank you RPGBN for not only increasing traffic, but allowing me to be a member.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Rifts vs Gurps vs Hero vs d20 Modern vs True 20

Since my group is in the system changing mood with our shift to D&D 4e, I have decided I would like to introduce them to a system they have not all played before. Since we have the Sword and Sorcery Fantasy game covered with D&D 4e I want to try something a little more sci-fi oriented. I thought about running Mutants & Masterminds, but since I'm the only comic book reader in the group I decided against that one, for now.
After much deliberation I have narrowed my choices down to Rifts, Gurps, Hero 5e, d20 Modern, and True 20. Each of these systems has the capability of offering what I want, but which is the right system for my group?

Rifts offers an incredibly rich world full of every imaginable combination. We could play in nearly every genre and still use the same characters, which is a plus. I also own 2 Rifts books already, Rifts Ultimate Edition and the Game Masters Guide, another plus for that game.
On the down side the game is pretty awkward and the books are not set up for easy reference if you have a problem. Since we will pretty much be learning the game from scratch as a group, though I have read the 2 books, that is a big negative. Plus there are so many books you need to play a proper game that the cost would be incredible if we decide to stick with the system, another negative.

This system offers the same play any genre environment as Rifts, which is a plus for this system. I don't own a single book for this game, which is a huge negative. Also the cost of buying the books I would need to run a game would be pretty steep given that none of us know how to play, another negative. I also know very little about the system, but according to opinions on various boards it much easier to learn than Rifts.

Hero 5e:
Hero also falls into the do anything category and I also own several books including Champions. So we are back at square one once again. I would only need one or two more books to get what I need and be able to play a game, which is not bad. However, the books that I own are all in pdf which makes it a real pain in the ass to try and learn. I can't stand reading that much material on a computer screen and I sure won't print out a 600 page book on my little printer. Still we could do it if everyone in the group is committed.

d20 Modern:
I have the core book for this as well as the Past supplement and have played this at least a few times with one of the members of my group. It is d20, a plus, and since the other players have played 3e D&D the learning curve is minimal. But to play the game I want to play would require the purchase of another book. Although, I do have tons of 3e material to use. However, the whole point of picking a new system is the fact that we don't know how to play it. So while this would seem the obvious choice, I'm not sure it is the right one.

True 20:
This one seems to have it all. Play in any genre, check. Fairly familiar because it is based on d20, check. Still a different system, check. Plus I do have a printed copy of the main rules. But is it really different enough to make it worth playing? Will it still seem too familiar. I have read the core book and it is different in some ways, but familiar in others. But I still don't know if it is the right system.

I've toyed with the idea of running one game in each of the systems, at least the systems that I own and seeing which one the group prefers. The down side to this is that it would take months and would be a lot of work on my part, especially in terms of teaching.

So I am asking for opinions. Which system would you use? Feel free to post your comments and let me know what you think. Depending on the feedback I get I will make my decision, possibly narrowing it down to two systems. We will try them out and if this works I will post the groups opinions of the games here.