Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hero 5e Sale

From Dec. 10 - Dec. 24 Hero Games is offering their Hero 5th edition products at a 25% discount. If you are a 5e player who is still missing some books or even if you just want to try 5e this seems like a good deal. Especially if you buy the pdfs, some of which are around $13.

Check out the Hero Games store.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pathfinder listed in shopping list of Game Informer

I read Game Informer as it is one of the best video game magazine out there. This last issue they made a christmas wish list. In that list under fantasy section of the wish list the number 1 item listed was the Pathfidner Roleplaying Game. The following is the write up that they put with the caption.

"This huge role-playing book includes all the info you need to get started and have a blast with your friends. A smarter skill system, improved classes, and streamlines combat systems highlight the list of gameplay to explore. Gorgeous art and smart, revised design ideas fill the pages, but everything is compatible with the old D&D 3.5 edition rules through only minor alterations. If you're ready for something new, don't miss out on 4th edition D&D. but if dramatic changes to your role-playing hobby terrify you. Pathfinder should be right up your alley."

I know that there is a pretty good following to Pathfinder and this should help the cause. I also wanted to mention Savage Worlds just released the fantasy companion to the Savage Worlds rule set. I am looking forward to checking that out in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

D&D in 3D

If you have not seen this yet you should take a second to look at it. Surfacescapes a new technology from Microsoft could change the way D&D and other role playing games are played and viewed. This might be the first time technology has really helped roleplaying. From the standpoint the online rpg games have taken people away from the game this could help bring them back. This is a step in the right direction for using Technology to make a roleplaying experience even better.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What is wrong with Wonder Woman?

I have often wondered what has kept Wonder Woman from being as popular as the other two big heroes at DC comics, Superman and Batman.

Wonder Woman is part of the holy trinity at DC, she's as powerful as Superman, as smart as Batman and wears almost no clothes, why isn't she more popular?

I think DC does a fair job of promoting the character. She is part of nearly every major story, she is looked upon with reverance, just like Supes and Bats, by other DC heroes, but the guys have multiple titles (regular monthly series as well as one-shots and mini-series) coming out each month as well as decades worth of staring roles in movies, tv shows and cartoons.

What does Wonder Woman have? One book coming out each month in which she is the star and that is it. Though she does usually appear in the JLA team book as well as several special appearances in other titles, she can barely support the one title in which she stars. Personally I think there are two reasons Wonder Woman has such as difficult time breaking the "glass ceiling" of the comic book world.

First, no one understands the character because there is no definitive version of WW. Is she kind and loving? Is she a hard as nails warrior woman? Is she butch or feminine? No one really knowns and if you read her book over the years you will see various versions of the character. Under one creative team she is very butch looking and feminist. Yet under another group of creators she is a dangerous thing of beauty, a warrior and a goddess. No one actually gets her, which leads me to my second point. Fans can't relate to her like they can to Supes and Bats or even Spiderman and the Hulk, but let's stick with DC comics for this.

Superman is the last of his race(not really but that is a discussion for another time), an alien with godlike powers, but in some ways he is the epitome of what it means to be human. We can all identify with feeling alone, or like an outcast even amont friends and family. Superman lost his family and his whole world just as everyone experiences loss at some point in their lives, we can relate. Superman was raised by ideal parents, the kind of understanding and loving folks that everyone wants to have. Superman has the powers we all want to have, every child and most adults daydream about flying and he fulfills that wish. Superman has all of this incredible power and could easily subjugate the world to his will, yet he spends his days saving us all from external and internal menaces. Superman represents both a messianic protector, and the model of what all people believe they can be. There are tons of other things that allow people to connect with the Superman, but to put it simply, he represents everything that is good about humanity. Superman is who we all want to be, at least in some way.

Now for Batman, who is a little more obvious. He is a normal human, who saw both of his parents gunned down before his eyes. Rather than whine and cry he pushed himself to become the ultimate representation of vengeance and justice. Batman is the things that villains fear more than the law. Sure Bruce Wayne is a billionaire, but that is just the facade for Batman. Everyone has multiple faces that we wear in life. For some it is the work face, the home face, etc... We can all relate to having to be "someone else" depending on our situation.

Where as Superman represents the purity of spirit, the alturistic nature buried in every person, Batman represents the rage and desire to punish those that scare us. To exorcise and beat down our inner demons. Whether people like to admit it or not we are all scared of the world around us and would love to overcome that fear of the dark and make it afraid of us. Like Superman there are so many ways that people can relate to Batman I could write a thesis paper on either character regarding this subject. I think I've made my point well enough to move on to the reason for this post.

Despite being of our Earth, Wonder Woman is more of an alien than Superman in every way. First she isn't even human. Her mother formed her from clay and the gods breathed life into her. She is a princess, trained to be a warrior that grew up in paradise surrounded by nothing but women. Then she was sent to man's world to show us how to live peacefully, or something like that. Now I for one don't see how a non-human, warrior princess, raised on a tropic isle, and who is much more aloof and removed from humanity than an alien from Krypton who was raised in middle America, could possibly understand, much less relate to the rest of humanity. Who the hell is she to tell us how to live?

Don't get me wrong, I like Wonder Woman. For the most part when she appears in other books, besides her own, she is an interesting character. Even in the occassional issues of her own books she is pretty interesting, but it never lasts. There is just too much about the character that is too "alien" for most of us. Other than the feminist angle, which to be honest a lot of people just don't associate with, WW just doesn't have the ability to connect with readers in the way so many other characters do. I think she is a great character and deserves to be in DC's big 3, but they need to work a little harder to make her more accessible and popular with readers.

Another thing that I think hurts Wonder Woman's popularity is her lack of cool villains. Superman has his arch nemisis Lex Luthor, not to mention Mxyplyzyk, Parasite, Doomsday, The evil Kryptonians (especially Zod), Toyman, and let's not forget Bizarro. Batman has his arch nemisis the Joker, plus probably one of the all time best and most well known rogues galleries in comics history. C'mon everyone at least knows the Joker, Penguin, Catwoman and Riddler.

Besides cool villians Superman and Batman have well known supporting characters. Alfred, Robin, Commisioner Gordon, Batgirl, Supergirl, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Superboy, and Perry White are pretty well known even by non-comic book fans. It is sad that Wonder Woman's supporting characters, though not as well known in the mainstream as Batman's and Superman's, are probably more popular with fans than WW. Donna Troy and Wondergirl (Cassie) are pretty strong heroes in their own right that are much easier to associate with, more likeable and most would say more popular.

When you say Wonder Woman what villains or supporting characters come to most people's minds?

Sure if you are a comic book fan you can think of a few villians like Cheetah, Circe or Silver Swan. You may even thinkof her love interest Steve Trevor, but what if you asked non-comic book fans? I think it would be safe to say not one average person who only knows the character from the 70's TV show or from the Superfriends cartoon could not come up with a single Wonder Woman character. Yet those same people could probably associate three or more names with Superman and Batman.

The few female comic fans, or at least women who can appreciate comics , that I know don't like Wonder Woman very much, and few of the guys do. As much as it may upset those that like the feminist image of WW, the angry feminist angle is not appealing and gets old kind of quick for guys.( I know that his a sexist thing to say, but let's face it the majority of comic book readers are male.) Few guys and apparently few women want to read about a love sick, warrior princess or a bitchy, super powered feminist. There needs to be a more accessible version of the character presented, a version to which both male and female fans can relate. Wonder Woman has the potential and deserves to be one of the greatest comic books superheroes in more than just title alone.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Goodbye RPGBN, it has been fun

I applied for membership with the RPG Bloggers Network not long after it was formed and was accepted. For this I have been thankful.

My thankfulness is not due to any financial benefit or recognition that I have received. Those are not the reasons I even mess with this blog. Granted being a part of the network has increased traffic to this site a little, which is nice, but the most positive part of my membership comes from the opportunity I have had to participate in this community of bloggers. Being a part of this community has put me in contact with some really great people and some really great blogs.

Since I became a member the number of blogs seems to have grown by leaps and bounds. While I followed some of the blogs belonging to other RPGBN members long before the network was created, many others I never knew existed until they became members. The network has definitely worked to expose members and readers to new and entertaining content.

Sure, there have been things that I have disagreed with, choices and opinions, but if we all agreed this whole community would be pretty dull. I pay absolutely nothing for the benefits of my membership and though I have made the rare suggestions when things were brought up to the community, I took no offense when they were ignored. The point being this is not a democracy, my vote doesn't need to count, nor does my opinion. I just appreciate the fact that the views and opinions I do express on my site are allowed to be shared on the network. The founders of this network may not agree or even care about what I have to say, but they give me a larger venue to express those views. Thanks.

Recently when a blogger's application for membership was turned down, many in the community became upset and openly spoke out against those that make the decisions, and since this is a free country they had every right to do so. While I did not agree with their decision, I didn't really speak up. As I said before I'm not the one who pays for and maintains this network, the decision is not mine to make. When I joined I agreed to the rules and other than a few times I mistagged some posts, I have been left alone to do my thing. If the powers that be felt the blog was inappropriate, then so be it. That decision doesn't mean I can't read that particular blog or promote it on my site. The way I understand things, the reaction to their decision has brought them to the conclusion they need to turn the network over to someone else. It saddens me that the very people that created the network no longer feel they belong here, that their creation has turned agains them.

The founders of this network did us all a truly great service and asked only minor compliance for our voluntary participation. We are all free to leave at any time, no questions asked. I make no money from this site, all of the for profit writing I do has absolutely nothing to do with this blog or the RPG industry.My site is nothing more than a minor hobby, something I do for fun. From what little I know about the inner workings of this network, they have never tried to force members to give them money or a share of profits from the bloggers who do make some money from their sites. Sites that likely saw an increase in traffic due to the network, maybe not substantial, but there had to be an increase. To me that is a pretty nice thing for them to do.

While I have nothing but praise for this network and have truly enjoyed my participation, everything has not been peaches and cream. As with any group of diverse personalities, I have seen an increase in animosity and, to be blunt, dick wagging from some members. Just like most message boards, there has been an increase in the number of elitists that take all of this and themselves far too seriously and feel that they somehow know more or are better than others. I find this type of behavior disappointing, but understand that it is simply the way of the world, especially on the internet.

The elitists among us will continue to think very highly of themselves and that is fine, a positive self image is a great thing to have. Unfortunately, they seem to only be able to maintain that self image by trying to prove their superiority and get their jollies by insulting others and creating turmoil. Now that the network is up for grabs, those same elitists have the opportunity to gain control and bask in their delusions of grandeur. I just don't want to be here to see this network go down the toilet if that happens. Too much good has and still could come from this community but I don't have a good feeling about the future direction of the network. Hopefully I am wrong, the community will rebound from this, remain strong and it won't be left to the elitists and their sycophants.

In a recent discussion the fact was brought up that most of the readers of rpg blogs are other bloggers, not the much larger community of gamers and industry professionals. Though I do know that some pros read at least a few of the blogs, there are far more gamers that have no idea we exist than there are people who read our blogs. Granted a few truly dedicated and talented among us will be able to turn their blogs into a career in the industry, but they are the exceptions that would have succeeded with or without the network. For the most part this community is about us patting each other on the back and complimenting each other on posts, which is all fine and good, but in the grand scheme of things means nothing. In our small corner of the multiverse, megaverse if you are a Palladium fan, we get to feel that we are contributing something, but realistically we're just a bunch of fans sharing ideas. The fate of the industry does not fall on our shoulders. Our bitching and whining won't make 4e go away or make Palladium/HEX/d6/Savage Worlds.... the most popular rpg in the world.

I won't lie, recent events on the network have soured me on blogging and I apologize if my attitude seems overly cynical. The fact I have become disillusioned is why I am planning to take a little break from the Geek Gazette and if that means I get removed from the network, then so be it. It is probably for the best anyway. I have a book to finish, a family to support, campaigns to plan and a Masters degree to earn, blogging just doesn't seem that important at the moment. I wish everyone on the network the best of luck in the future and I definitely want to thank Phil, Dave, Danny and Graham for all their often unappreciated hard work as well as the opportunity to participate in what they created.

Happy Halloween and best witches,

PC/NPC Portraits

Image From Fantasy Clip Inks Warriors Set 1

This weeks image courtesy of William McAusland and the gang over at Outland Arts.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Scooby Doo vs Cthulhu

I found this site with Call of Cthulhu stats for Scooby and the gang and thought this might be of some interest to those running CoC this Halloween. If nothing else this would be a fun way to run a light hearted CoC game with everyone's favorite paranormal investigators.

Scooby Doo Cthulhu

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Star Wars and Zombies?

As a Star Wars fan I am intrigued by the release of Death Troopers, the first ever horror novel for the Star Wars universe. The books is written by Joe Schreiber and should be available in a bookstore near you, or online, Tuesday October 13th. I've already got mine ordered.
I don't really play Star Wars RPGs anymore, but I may break out my d6 or d20 SW book and try running a one-shot based on this premise. As a lifelong fan of zombie horror and of Star Wars this seems like genre mixing made in geek heaven.
While it is gratifying that there is so much zombie activity in nearly every form of media, and very cool to have zombies in SW, it is also kind of sad that someone felt it was necessary use a gimmick like this in the Star Wars universe. Still I'm a sucker, I did buy all of the Marvel Zombies comics after all, so I have to get this book. Besides, it would make a good halloween game for Star Wars gamers.

Death Troopers (

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Inspriation for your Halloween Games

It is the Halloween season once again, my favorite time of year. If, like me, you are planning on running a game or games filled with conspiracies, horror and the paranormal this month nothing makes your game better than adding a little dose of the real world. I have compiled a list of places I go for inspiration when I want to inject a some realism and familiar elements into my games. These are just a few of the places I frequent and shows that I listen to, I may post a more extensive list at a later date.

Paranormal Podcast(my personal favorite paranormal internet show)
Paratopia Podcast
Paranormal News
Eerie Radio
Above Top Secret
Urban Legens and Superstitions
Coast to Coast AM
Fortean Times
Black Vault Radio
The Unexplained World

All of the podcasts I've listed should be available for download on both the show's website and itunes.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

More Halloween Gaming

The other day I was reading through the new Mysteries of the Hollow Earth book and it hit me, HEX would be great for running horror games. Now I've only played the Ubiquity system a few times but I really liked it. The game is fast, fun and character creation is a snap. I hate having to roll tons of dice to get results, but that is easily fixed by taking the average, or just have the GM and player both roll a d20 and which ever number is higher "wins".
There are hints in the books of Cthulhu mythos possibilities, the game is a pulp setting and just because it is set in a reality where the earth is hollow doesn't mean you have to have every adventure set below ground. There are still plenty of surface world adventures to be had.
The characters have low health, so they have to be cautious, and and if you pick up the Danger Magnet 2008 Halloween special there are articles for running horror themed games. Including Cthulhu, zombies and one about killer dolls, which reminds me of the Supernatural episode I watched last night.
I personally think that HEX is a good system for running these types of games, especially with a group of occult and paranormal investigators. I wonder why they haven't put out a Horrors of the Hollow Earth sourcebook?
Exile Game Studio

Also I completely forgot to mention a great horror themed setting for Rifts players, Madhaven. Of the Rifts sourcebooks I own, which are more than I have ever actually used, this is probably my favorite. There are some great creatures as well as rules for using them in Beyond the Supernatural. Definitely worth checking out.

Now before I start hearing lectures about how any system can be used to run any type of game I want to say that I know. I do, however, think that some systems are better suited for certain types of play than others. One example of this is Mutants and Masterminds. Despite a couple of the books having stats for Cthulhuish creatures, I think one of them was Book of Magic, the game just doesn't feel right for that type of game. I think this point is even brought up in at least one of the books. Sure you could reduce the power levels to the point it could work, but the game is meant to be run as a superhero game, something the game does extremely well. For me atleast this is the best superhero system out there, but for horror, not so much. Now if you want to have your supers go up against an elder god, like in that episode of JLU, you can, but I still don't like the system for horror. Sci-fi, supers and some fantasy, yes, horror, no.
Of course the same argument could be made for Rifts, and I would not disagree. Which is why I recommend using a lower powered party if you want to use the setting in Rifts, at which point I think it would work very well. Otherwise just use the monsters in the book for a Beyond the Supernatural game.
Image From Fantasy Clip Inks Spell Casters Set 1

Image courtesy of William McAusland and the gang over at Outland Arts.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Books for Halloween 2009

I am an avid reader and naturally gravitate towards horror books at this time of year. What follows are some of my all time favorite books that get me in the Halloween spirit. Most of which are great for coming up with ideas for your Halloween RPG session. Especially the H.P. Lovecraft stuff if you are a Call of Cthulhu player.

  1. Don't Open This Book
  2. Everything's Eventual
  3. Nightmares and Dreamscapes
  4. Black Seas of Infinity
  5. The Bad Place
  6. Skeleton Crew
  7. World War Z
  8. Waking Up Screaming
  9. Book of the Dead
  10. Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark(I read this every year when I was a kid)

Interesting UFO video

I don't know if this is real or a fake, but it is still a pretty cool video. My first instinct is to assume it is a staged event, but it seems real enough to make me consider the possibility. If this is not a fake it would be the best UFO video footage I've ever seen.
Here is the link.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Our Legendary Campaign....(Repost)

Maybe once in a DM’s life they will have that one campaign that they and the players will never forget, their Mona Lisa, the highlight of their DMing career; the legendary campaign.

A legendary campaign is one that keeps the players begging for more, people who have never played it know about it and for those involved few, if any, other games will ever be quite as good. While some groups may never give the DM the satisfaction of saying the campaign was legendary, everyone involved will know if it happens.

While any smart DM will take credit for the brilliance of this campaign when it happens, a good DM knows that they only played a part in making it great. It takes the right mixture of ideas, a lot of quick thinking, preparation and of course just the right player mood and chemistry.

My legendary campaign happened not long after D&D 3e came out and I found myself as the newly christened DM for my new gaming group. The group was small consisting of myself and 4 players (there were 3-4 other players that would drift in from time to time but I’m focusing on the core group) who were still using 2e and had been gaming together for quite a while. I had only sat in with them a few times and other than that hadn’t really played for years. I was a little intimidated to say the least. Yet there I was, the new kid on the block, taking over their group and introducing new rules to boot. I knew my first run had to be something big or else they might not trust me to DM again, so I had to pull out all the stops.

I spent nearly a week just coming up with ideas and fleshing out the campaign setting before I even started putting the first session together. I did the standard DM prep, creating NPC’s, preparing encounters and coming up with the most brilliant villain ever, or so I thought at the time. Game night came and after converting some of their 2e characters to 3e we ventured into the homebrew campaign that eventually came to be known as "The 5 Towers".

Before I get into the specifics of the game, I would like to give you a little insight into this campaign. The back story for the 5 towers was a little convoluted to say the least. The old gods created the universe, and then they created the elder races (dragons, elves, etc). The gods felt that something was missing because there was no race that truly conveyed the brilliance of the gods, so they created man. The ruler of the gods had two sons. One was very wise and would one day take his father’s place as ruler of the gods. The other son was a selfish, little brat who despised his brother.

The brat decided that since man was favored by the gods he would turn them against their creators. So he went down and started pointing out to the humans that if they were favored by the gods then why weren’t they as powerful as the dragons, and why didn’t they live as long as the elves. Being the conniving brat he was, he also worked to make the elder races jealous of the humans since they were favored, yet were “inferior” to the elder races. Of course everyone began to question the gods and the races declared war on each other. All the while the bratty god was conspiring with some evil outsiders to invade the gods’ domain so he could take over. Then, as the gods dealt with the war between all the races, the bratty god and his army of outsiders stormed the gods’ domain and he attempted to over throw his father.Naturally he failed.

Once the races were placated, and the outsider invasion was driven back the king of the gods turned his sights on his treacherous child. As punishment he took his son down to “earth” and in front of all the races he broke him into 5 pieces and placed each piece into a crystal. Each piece contained a portion of the bad son’s godly knowledge and powers and the only way his son could be made whole was by bringing the crystals together. Each of these 5 crystals were placed in one of 5 towers, each tower had a key that the gods hid.

As if this all wasn’t complicated enough, the gods placed each of the towers and each of the keys in different dimensions/realms that they controlled. Then to make it even harder to rejoin the pieces each tower and each key would periodically shift to a different dimension/plane, but no single piece would ever appear in the same dimension as another piece, so the gods thought that there was absolutely no way for the bad son to every be made whole.

Jump ahead quite a few years to a magic school where a young mage finds a tome with the details of the events I have just described. He is intrigued and wants to harness the bad son’s powers for his own. So like any good villain, he becomes obsessed with this quest and becomes an evil wizard in the process. Just as he is on the cusp of finding the first key our heroes are recruited by an emissary of the gods to stop him.

In hindsight I can see that my main villain and even the campaign itself was mediocre at best. I tried too hard to come up with a great idea and honestly ended up with a complicated back story (believe me the version you have just read is an overly simplified version) and a crappy, cardboard villain. If someone else had told me this idea I would have told them it was too complicated and the villain was too bland. How did this become our legendary campaign? The thing that elevated this campaign to legendary status was some quick thinking on my part, some good NPCs, interesting supporting villains and the brilliant, often hilarious, roleplaying by the group.

The first hour or so of the game was less than great, in truth it stunk. Everyone was brought together and naturally accepted the quest, gathered their gear and went on their merry way. They found out which key the evil wizard was going after (you had to have a key before you could unlock the corresponding tower) and decided to beat him to it. Naturally they were too late, but it was around this stage of the game where things got interesting.

While racing to find the first key they stumbled upon a laboratory. The place was covered in blood and body parts were scattered everywhere. As the group’s ranger, wizard and necromancer scoured the area looking for anything of use, two small children entered the room. They told the group how they had come in search of their parents who had been kidnapped and brought here and asked the group to help them. Naturally the group agreed, and boy did they regret that.

Soon the group found themselves being tortured by the two children who ended up being two of the most sadistic villains I have ever created. I won’t go into any details about what happened but needless to say if I ever needed to get the player’s attention in future campaigns, all I had to do was mention the fact there were children present. I may have gone a little over the top with these two but they definitely left their mark on the group, in more ways than one.

The PC’s managed to escape using team work and a lot of dumb luck only to end up watching the first tower disappear just as they reached the door. (Each time you unlocked a tower it would return to the spot where the bratty god was ripped to pieces.) This is when someone in the group had an idea. Instead of racing to keep the bad guy from making off with the towers, they should just go after the keys that the villain hadn’t gotten yet and hold on to them. Everyone agreed and once they found his next target they went dimension hopping in the opposite direction.

From a GM’s point of view this was brilliant move on their part as it turned the tables and forced the villains to start chasing them. The PC’s ended up being the ones on the run and it led to some great chases, unforgettable battles and most of all some of the best roleplaying I have had the good fortune to encounter. The whole dimension/plane hopping aspect was really fun as well because I was able to drop them into nearly any fantasy setting I could come up with (I'm a fan of the show Sliders in case you hadn't figured that one out). They visited almost everything from the Forgotten Realms to Middle Earth to the Wheel of Time world. They even picked up a stray Warder whose Aes Sedai had died trying to help them.

Now the demon twins, as they came to be known, were not the only memorable NPC/supporting villains I pulled out of my bag of tricks. The group’s emissary to the gods had a twin sister who worked for the other team and when the evil twin impersonated her sister to throw the group off track they began to distrust everyone, which created a lot of conflict and kept the group on edge.

They encountered a “friendly” vampire who informed the group they were not the first, but the third group the gods had recruited for this quest. With the exception of the vampire all the other groups had perished, which made the PCs suspicious of the whole mission and question their chances of success. So again some one had the idea that they should one up everyone else and keep the towers for themselves and again they all agreed. (This group never played truly good PC’s) Now they were not only trying to keep the first villain from attaining the keys but also trying to avoid the new group the gods had recruited to stop them; no matter where they went someone was after them.

This campaign went on every weekend, and some week nights, for nearly six months and only continued to improve each session. In that time I threw everything I could at them, I had the group change bodies with some of the villain’s minions, one member of the group even sacrificed themselves and remained in the body of a goblin just to return the others to their rightful forms. They got caught in the middle of a dragon war, one PC became a vampire and was subsequently beheaded by another PC (they were later brought back), they battled evil copies of themselves, one PC was cursed with killer BO, they found creative uses for a mirror that would randomly teleport them to another dimension and fought valiantly in the final battle between all the various factions.

For my first run as a DM in this group I was proud of what we had created and no game since has had quite the same spark. Sure there were a lot of other fun campaigns, and a few that I would venture to say were great, but none were quite as perfect as "The 5 Towers". As time went by problems arose within the group, and players began to move on, some even quit gaming completely. Every once in a while some of us would get together and try to get things going again, but something always got in the way. Often during these get togethers, usually when there was a new player to impress, someone would bring up "The 5 Towers" and all of our faces would light up as we told old war stories. We even tried to play through it again, to let the new kids see what a great campaign it really was, but it was never the same.

Eventually I took the campaign notes and filed them away in my closet, but occasionally I drag them out, read them and reminisce. There was something magical about that campaign and that group. Somehow we took a mediocre campaign and turned it into something great, something that all of us were a part of and that will forever live on in our memories. As a DM or even as a player I may never be fortunate enough to find that perfect mix again, but I count myself as one lucky gamer for being a part of it.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Something funny going on

I have no idea why some of the post I have scheduled for upcoming dates are appearing before their time. Granted some of them are re-posts and it doesn't really matter but still it is annoying to me. It's weird that only some of the scheduled posts are doing this and not all.
Anyway, just pretend that you have the ability to see into the future, at least until I get the problem figured out.

Halloween Gaming

For the month of October I plan to run my annual horror games. This year I plan to run a zombie game, an X-files inspired game and a Cthulhu themed game.
While planning these one shot games I have been reviewing the various game system that I own trying to determine which ones or one would be best suited for this year's games. Since I have two member in my gaming group who are new to RPGs(both teenagers who have been completely enthusiastic about the whole experience, which gives me hope for the survival of the hobby) and who also only have experience with the d20 system(D&D/Pathfinder) I have pretty much determined that I will keep with that system for their benefit. At least until they are a little more experienced and comfortable enough with gaming to allow me to expand beyond d20.
Since I've been going back and reading most of my game books over the past few weeks I thought I'd share my personal picks for running Horror themed games for Halloween.
In my list of games you will find links to each game's website(when applicable), as well as places you can buy the game online. Of course I recommend you check with your local game shop to find a copy of the game, but if you don't have a shop near you, or are strapped for cash the online options are a good alternative.

Call of Cthulhu

CoC is a given when it comes to running horror themed games. It is probably the first game that comes to mind for most gamers.

Call of Cthulhu d20
The system is familiar to anyone that has played 3e D&D and though it may not be considered the best iteration of the Cthulhu game system, I like it.
RPGNow(supplements and adventures)

All Flesh Must Be Eaten
What's cooler than zombies? Pretty good game and most people consider this to be THE zombie game.

Dead Reign
I am a fan of Palladium books and while I admit the system needs an upgrade, this is by far my favorite zombie setting.
RPGNow(Rifter 40 preview of the game)

Beyond the Supernatural
This Palladium game/setting is one part X-files, and one part Cthulhu with some Buffy wrapped up in the Palladium system. There are some classes that use Psychic energy, but for me the game is better run using non-powered PCs.
RPGNow(1st edition of the rules plus there are copies of Rifter that have material for the game all in pdf.)

I have never actually played this game, but it seems to be fairly popular with Palladium fans. To me it seems like Palladium's version of the World of Darkness setting.

True 20
I like this game, but it wouldn't be my first choice for a horror game. However, it does have a setting for horror themed games.
RPGNow($9.99 pdf)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Ok I admit that I'm a Buffy fan and thus a little biased, but I do like this game. I will say that I think it is better for a more horror-lite game.
RPGNow($10 in pdf)

I haven't bought my copy of this game yet, but I like the show and MWP always puts out quality products.

Heroes of Horror
This 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons supplement is a good guide for helping DMs come up with ideas for running horror themed fantasy games.

Book of Vile Darkness
This 3rd edition D&D supplement is a great book if you want to run a game with evil PCs or if you just want to add some real wickedness to your game.

Grave Secrets

This 4e supplement is a good choice if you want to include undead in your 4e campaign.

d20 Modern
If you like 3rd edition it is pretty easy to run a horror game with this system using creatures in your D&D monster manuals or the Dark Matter setting.
Amazon (Core rulebook)
Amazon (Dark Matter setting)

Monte Cook's World of Darkness
When I think about running a d20 horror themed game, this is the book I reach for first. I recommend this book to everyone, even if you don't run a d20 game, simply because the setting is soo cool.

White Wolf system(World of Darkness, Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, Changeling, Hunter, Promethean, Geist)
Every gamer is likely familiar with the various settings available from White Wolf and have probably played them at one time or another. While I personally am not a fan of the system, of course it has been many, many years since I've played the system, I do remember the books as being excellent reading material and a great source for game ideas. Though I have to admit that the new game Geist has piqued my interest and I may pick up a copy.

Since my good friend, and occasional contributor, Jason James suggested it I am adding Ravenloft to my list. As you can see in the comments below, I own both the 2nd and 3rd editions of this setting, but have never even read the books. Much like the lady who swallowed the fly I don't know why...
If you've played D&D you know what Ravenloft is and you probably know more about it than I do.
Ravenloft 3e Freebies on the White Wolf website

Ok there you have it, my picks for running horror themed games during this Halloween season. While I will probably run Call of Cthulhu and Monte Cook's World of Darkness using the d20 system, I may squeeze in one of these other games if my group is up to it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New RPG "The World of Chronos Guidebook"

The World of Chronos gaming company is proud to announce the release of their newest role-playing game called, "The World of Chronos Guidebook". The guidebook, the first for the fledgling company, is sure to catch the attention of the gaming community because of its 100% character customization. Unlike other games in the RPG genre, the World of Chronos Guidebook doesn't utilize any set templates; instead, players choose abilities for their characters using a point system, allowing for every character to be completely unique from all others. The World of Chronos gaming company feels this game will re-invigorate the role-playing game genre and bring the company to the forefront of the gaming industry. For more information, visit the website at

Sounds like it could be fun, besides the company is right here in my home state.

Jason James

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

ElfQuest Online.

The comic book Elfquest has always been a favorite of mine. One because I'm a gamer and have used the plots from the books in numerous campaigns and two because I'm a comic book fan. The books are actually a good resource for gamers that I think gets overlooked far too often. It's a comic book about elves for Pete's sake!
Granted the characters tend to have a little bit of a Saturday morning cartoon feel, but I think that is because the more delicate topics like sexuality were handled very maturely by the creators, so that it wasn't "shocking" and could be enjoyed by readers of many different ages. For the most part the stories are very good and easily adaptable to pretty much any basic fantasy setting. To me Elfquest always felt a little like old school D&D.

So if you need some campaign ideas, are a comic book fan or just love Elfquest you should be happy to know that you can read them online. I have been going through the site and it seems to me that pretty much every book, and there have been quite a few, is available to read, for free, on the Elfquest site. Check them out here.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Mutant Epoch

The Mutant Epoch is a science-fantasy role playing game coming out from Outland Arts in early 2010. The game takes place in the 27th century where bio engineering, and contamination has caused plant and animal life to evolve quickly and in “fantastic” ways.
Mutant Epoch uses the Outland System Game Mechanic and while the system may be unique to Outland Arts it is still a traditional role playing system. From what I have read it is meant to allow “fast paced adventure action “ and still have “as much character to character interaction and story narrative as desired.” Like most games it is advised that the game master be familiar with the rules (a GM’s work is never done), but the game is designed to allow even a new player to catch on quickly, without worrying about a lot of reading or complicated math.
The game uses character types in place of races, as all the characters are assumed to be of human ancestry. There seems to be quite a variety of player character types such as Clones, Bioreplicas, Cyborgs, Mutants and unmutated humans. The Beta copy I have also mentions that there will be other character types available through the Mutant Epoch electronic magazine and expansion rule books that will be released to support the game.
Character generation seems like it will be fairly similar to most rpg’s and relatively easy to understand. Mutant Epoch uses the percentile (d100) dice for combat and character generation but all the standard polyhedron dice gamers are familiar with are used in the game. PC’s will have 8 basic traits in place of ability scores and as your PC goes up in rank (similar to leveling up) they will gain bonuses to their traits. They can also acquire permanent penalties to their scores in the event of serious injures or illness.
The main objective of the game seems to be more focused on survival in this harsh futuristic world than the old standard of adventuring for treasure; although I am sure you can do that too.. While I have only had glimpses of the world and the creatures that the characters will encounter I have to say I am intrigued by this game. The setting and character types seem to be flexible and varied enough to satisfy any type of gamer. I will definitely be sharing more information about this Mutant Epoch as I find it. In the mean time go to the site and check it out for yourself.
There are several nice downloads so you can preview the game on the site.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mazes & Minotaurs

I stumbled upon this game while looking up some info for my next campaign and thought I had found some lost treasure. All the information showed this game called Mazes and Minotaurs from 1972 ,very much like D&D except that it was based on Greek Mythology and not Tolkien fantasy. The site has links so that you can download the original 1972 game books as pdfs, or you can download the revised 1987 books, all for free.
I scanned the books and though they were pretty bare bones, the game did seem to be pretty good and I became even more curious about why I had never heard of it. So back to the internet I went.
You remember the Sentry hoax that Marvel pulled on us some years ago. The one where they claimed their version of Superman, Sentry, was created in the 60's and had been "lost", but it turned out to be a publicity stunt. That is what this is.
Mazes and Minotaurs was made a few years ago and apparently stemmed from an article about what if game designers had gotten their inspiration from Jason and the Argonauts instead of Lord of the Rings. The 1972 version was actually released in 2006. The revised 1987 version in 2007. Both versions are actually pretty good, though the books are pretty short running under 50 pages for the most part. It is basically a simple D&D based on Greek instead of European fantasy. There is even an ezine for the game called Minotaur Quarterly with 2 issues available for download, Fall 07 and Spring 08.
Thanks to the internet I wasn't fooled by this for long, but I still don't feel cheated. I may not have have discovered a long lost game, but I did find a pretty interesting little rpg. I think my group may be going Greek in the near future.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Gnomes are Evil!!!

I thought I would repost this one because I have seen several Gnome, UFO and Chupacabra articles over the past few monts.
I've never liked Gnomes and generally banned them from all of my games, until Pathfinder was released. I like that PfRPG Gnomes are more Fey and less tinkerer or illusionist than previous versions. So I ammend my comment, only pre-Pathfinder Gnomes are evil. ;-)

Have a Great Memorial Day!

Click on the links below to see video and articles that prove once and for all that gnomes are evil little creatures. This only justifies my complete dislike of the little monsters and one of the many reasons why I don't let the creepy bastards in my games.

Evil Gnome Video
Evil Gnome News Article

Friday, September 4, 2009


I'm kind of busy with Grad School, and life in general at the moment and will be reposting a few of the older entries here and there.
This particular blog entry was actually relevant to my last game session, so I figured it would be a good candidate for repost.

Since joining the RPGbloggers network , I have been trying to keep up with all the great RPG blogs affiliated with the network. Recently (today) I was reading an article on Gnome Stew regarding GMPCs, player characters run by the GM. The comments given by some of the posters really got me to thinking, because I have done this off and on in my games for years.

There has been more than one occasion where the group decides to play all fighter type characters, but the adventure I have spent a week preparing needs a magic user of some kind and I don't feel like tweaking it all at the last minute. So to fill the void I roll up an appropriate GMPC and throw them in the game. Usually my GMPC, which I tend to think of as nothing more than an involved NPC, is there to fill a void and that's all. Though I have come to notice that since I am always the GM/DM (I prefer DM when I play D&D...that's what is has always been and what it will always be to me. GM is appropriate for when we run other game systems. But that's a topic for another post.) I never get to play a PC and have come to like throwing a character in to tag along. Sure they may not do much, and they are not big on taking their share of the treasure, but I like having them around. My group has even become accustomed to me having an "avatar" and being directly involved with what they are doing. On the occasions where I don't want to have a GMPC in the game they always wonder why. Several NPCs, good and bad, have even evolved into GMPCs.

You see the GMPC, at least for me, is a very helpful tool. I've been DMing for a number of years and I like to think I am fairly good at it, but even I need some help every once in a while and that is where the GMPC comes in. When prepping a game I try to come up with several ways the PCs can get the information they need to get to the next stage of an adventure, but sometimes they just don't get it. To me it may seem obvious and I try to make each clue/hint progressively easier until they finally do get it, but sometimes that just doesn't work. This is where the GMPC comes in. After several attempts of trying to get the players to figure it out on their own, the GMPC can go "Maybe it means..." and at least give them a nudge in the right direction.

Sometimes my brilliance is just too much for them and they need that extra little push to get their brains working like mine. Why? Because even the best of gamers gets stuck once in a while.

To be honest I have run into players that try to rely on the GMPC and drag things out until I give them some help, through the GMPC, but it doesn't work. When there is a GMPC in the game they have no more knowledge than the PCs, in regards to what is going on, unless they are designed that way. I have created GMPCs that are actually enemy spies whose only goal is to screw with the PCs and keep them from succeeding, still they have none of my GM's knowledge, I am very careful about that. There have been several times that my avatar has guessed wrong, simply because they failed a roll. Still the fact that they even brought up an alternative the PCs hadn't though of only helped the players to look at things more closely or in a different way than they had been. The GMPCs incorrect guess still helped the PCs come to the correct conclusion, by making them reevaluate what they thought they knew.

If a GMPC is not knowledgeable about elven history or language they do not suddenly develop that skill to help the campaign along. They are subject to the same rules and limitations as the players and I don't give them an advantage, more than one has died in a game while the PCs survived. They make the same rolls, they do not have meta game knowledge and they are not invulnerable. They are however a good way for me to help the players in a not so obvious way.

So do I support using GMPCs? Yes and no.
Yes if the DM/GM is capable of treating the character just like any other PC/NPC and uses them as nothing more than an element to help keep the game going with some amount of direction.
No if the DM/GM tries to play a character simply for the fact they would rather be a player. Especially if they are so attached to the GMPC that he/she miraculously survives or benefits where the actual PCs do not.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Just for the hell of it, here is a race I'm testing for my Pathfinder Game.

Goblings are the unfortunate offspring of a Goblin and a Halfling, more often than not the result of a non-consensual union. Goblings generally become people pleasers that feel the need to continually prove their worth in an attempt to gain the acceptance and trust of those around them. Goblings don't like to be seen as weak and often show an incredible amount of determination, refusing to accept failure. Because of their seemingly unfaltering determination Goblings tend to earn the respect of those close to them.
As a result of their Goblin heritage Goblings tend to be less even-tempered and more prone to violence than their Halfling kin.

Physical Description: Both genders of Goblings stand between 3-4 feet tall. Their heads are slightly larger than those of a Halfling with a backward sloping forehead, which often seems somewhat disproportional to their slender bodies. Goblings have a broad nose, and wide mouth, with small fangs. Their ears, which are proportional to their heads, are pointed and somewhat larger than those of a Halfling. A Gobling’s arms are longer than normal, almost hanging to their knees, and slightly shorter than a Goblin’s but longer than a Halfling’s. Their feet are undeniably those of a Halfling, broad and covered with brown or black hair. Their Goblin heritage gives their skin a slight tint that can be yellowish, light brown or green. Usually their skin color can be easily hidden beneath a cloak and is barely noticable from a distance.
A Gobling’s hair is either brown or black and heir eyes are brown, or yellow in color.

Society: Goblings have no culture of their own and tend to adhere to the traditions of the culture in which they were raised. They can generally pass themselves off Halflings or are assumed to be Gnomes by other races unless they are put under close scrutiny. Goblings raised by Halflings tend to be fairly well tolerated and generally treated with kindness by their easygoing kin. Usually this kindness is the result of pity as Goblings are seen as creatures that suffer from an illness or disability. Goblings raised by Halflings are allowed to participate in many parts of their society, but are generally treated as simple minded or like children and not taken very seriously. This generally motivates a Gobling to continually try and prove their worth, to others and to themselves. Due to their more violent nature Goblings can gain some amount of respect in Halfling society as warriors, but are never given any positions of great authority.
Goblings are generally not raised in Goblin society, as Goblins do not think highly of their Gobling offspring and tend to kill them them while they are still infants. Those that do survive become slaves while a select few may become vicious warriors in order to survive. Their ferocity gains them some minor amount of respect, but they continually have to watch those around them for signs of treachery, as other Goblins will continually plot their demise. Those raised in Goblin societies tend to adhere to the traditions of their society and are usually no different in nature than the rest of their tribe.

Relations: Goblings are usually more accepted by other races than Half-orcs due to their less threatening stature, and are often under estimated by the larger races. Halfling raised Goblings have a more positive view of the other races and life in general, than their Goblin raised brethren. Goblings understand that they are different and are prone to feel isolated and out of place, even among friends. Goblings make strong attachments and are fiercely loyal to those they feel truly accept them. This attachment often results in a Gobling that is ready and willing to lay down their life, or to take some one else’s, to protect those they care about and consider friends.

Alignment and Religion: While Goblings can be of any alignment, most strive to be good, but not necessarily lawful. While trying to protect their friends and those close to them a Gobling will show little regard for any alignment or ideology, even if that means committing an evil or unlawful act. Goblings tend to honor the same gods as those who raised them, but have been known to adopt the beliefs of their close friends or others that they respect.
Adventurers: Many Goblings suffer from the same wanderlust as their Halfling kin, while others just want to find a place in the world where they can belong. This often leads them to adventure whether they are looking for it or not.

Male Names: Prataal, Trin, Garen, Kelan, Bringam, Shilos
Female Names: Aria, Rya, Hila, Meria, Nika, Zora

Gobling Racial Traits
+2 Dexterity, +2Charisma, -2 Intelligence: Much like a Halfing, Goblings are nimble and strong willed, but suffer from the simple minded nature of their Goblin heritage.

Small: Goblings are Small creatures and gain a +1 sice bonus to their AC, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a –1 penalty on their Combat Maneuver Bonus and Combat Maneuver Defense and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks.

Slow Speed: Goblings have a base speed of 20 feet

Darkvision: Goblings can see in the dark up to 60 ft.

Determination: Goblings get a +1 racial bonus on all Will and Fortitude saving throws.

People Pleaser: Goblings receive a +2 racial bonus on Diplomacy skill checks

Keen Senses: Goblings receive a +2 racial bonus on Perceptions skill checks

Weapon Familiarity: A Gobling can treat any weapon with either the word “Halfling” or the word “Goblin”, but not both, in the name as a martial weapon.

Languages: Goblins can speak Common and Halfling.(Those raised in Goblin communities can choose to know Common and Goblin instead). Goblings with a high intelligence score can choose from the following, Dwarven, Elven, Gnome, and Goblin

Another Pathfinder site and playing online

It is late so this is quick and to the point.

The webiste Pathfinder Chronicler is "a group of professional and non-professional writers creating works based on Paizo’s Pathfinder® world of Golarion. Our goal is to create “publishable works” that we can proudly present on our website."

Check them out here.

Also I found a thread over on the Dragonlance Nexus forums about a site called macrayskeep that facilitates playing on line. I haven't checked out the site yet, but I'm pretty sure it is play by post. Check out the Dragonlance Nexus forums for a list of the available games, which range from 2nd edtion D&D to Palladiums System games, as well as another link to the site.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Spreading the Word

After my last post I'm now trying to think of new ways to "spread the word" about games other than D&D.
The only problem is that I'm not exactly sure what would be the optimal way to do this. I mean I can blog about it all day but I doubt that will be very effective. Mostly because we bloggers are predominately blogging for each other and not really exposing many other gamers to what we know and love outside of D&D.
I have discussed other games with the group I DM for, but again that is a fairly self contained group and the discussion doesn't generally go beyond my dining room walls.
I had thought about making flyers for the RPG Bloggers Network and hanging them in various comic book/gaming shops, as well as non-gaming stores but again I'm not sure how effective that would be. I mean really, who looks at those flyers anyway.
So I'm asking the bloggers and readers of the RPGBN to make some suggestions. I'll keep thinking and trying to come up with good ideas, posting them for feedback from on occassion, but I am happy to use or take part in someone else's idea. Also I wouldn't be against this being a group effort. After all we are a pretty resourceful group of gamers, from all walks of life, located all over the country/world, surely together we can come up with something.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Is D&D really all that most gamer know?

Usually when I stop by Emipre Comics to pick up my books, I am either heading to or from work/school so I don't get a chance to browse and chit chat. I tend to run in and out with little more than a polite "hello" and "see ya next time" , but the other day I was fortunate enough to have a few minutes to browse and actually have a short but thought provoking conversation with the shop's owner and another customer.
The conversation started after I took a few minutes to browse around the gaming area of the store, which I had never really done before. I was checking out some of the newer 4e Dungeons & Dragons books when I noticed a shelf that still held many 3e/3.5 books. Upon noticing these older books I immediately glanced around to see if there was a copy of Pathfinder on any of the shelves. There wasn't.
I already own a copy of the Pathfinder RPG Core book, which I pre-ordered on Amazon as soon as it was available, but I was a little disappointed to not see a copy on the shelves. As a Paizo fan and 3.5 supporter, there is definitely a part of me that wants to see the system not only succed but thrive. I freely admit that I do entertain the fantasy that PfRPG could knock the industry giant off its pedestal. I know this is unlikely, much like the super hot lady that wears chainmail bikinis and finds your character concept to be fascinating, but it is my fantasy after all.
I walked up to the counter and waited for the owner to get my comics from my file before asking him if he was planning to carry Pathfider. He said that he was planning to carry and support the game if he could ever get a copy. Now the owner is a pretty smart guy so he began to talk about print runs, small publishers, and things of that nature. Things that I have heard/read and discussed on the various forums or RPG blogs. He also mentioned that people had started coming in asking for Paizo products, or products that Paizo happens to produce as if they were new concepts, despite the fact he has carried them for years. This made me feel a bit hopeful that my desire to see Paizo become one of the gaming industries big dogs would come to be. But then he said some things that honestly took me by surprise.
He mentioned the fact that the customers, more specifically experienced gamers, had been asking about Paizo and Pathfinder because they had just recently heard about them/it. As I said before, I was taken by surprise and could not believe that anyone who had ever gamed did not know about Pathfider. After all it has been discussed on every message board and blog on the net for over a year. I expressed this to George who replied that most gamers didn't even know that games other than D&D even existed. I believe the number he used was 1 out of every 30 had played other systems, which I felt was ridiculous.
I was about to tell him this when I thought about the people I had gamed with over the years, including my current group. Sure I own a ridiculous amount of gaming books and have almost an obssessive desire to keep up with the latests and greatest systems, but everyone else I have played with pretty much only owned D&D.
The group I originally played with as a kid naturally all just owned D&D, that was back in the 1e & 2e days, but we were kids with very limited funds and new to gaming so that was understandable. That group grew up and we all went our seperate ways, but I branched out and started buying new systems. I assumed that those in the original group that kept gaming had done the same. Never really considering that maybe that hadn't.
Then I thought about the short lived 2e groups I had in my early 20's and realized that once again, other than myself, they had all owned only D&D with few exceptions. Granted there were a few guys I gamed with during that time that had played Champions or Palladium systems, and natrually Magic the Gathering, but they never asked to play anything but D&D/AD&D.
After those groups I didn't game for 3-4 years, until finding the foundations of the group I currently play with, and have mentioned a few times in various posts. Of that group only 1 guy still remains as a full time member, though my fiance who was also in that group still sits in on the rare game. Most quit playing all together or due to various circumstances (divorce, broken friendships) moved on to other groups. Yet when I think about them only one, the guy that is still in the group, had every played anything but D&D, and maybe Vampire. As a matter of fact, at the time I started gaming with them none of them even knew 3e was coming out until I took over DMing duties and switched the group from 2e to 3e. Naturally the last remaining member has played a few of the systems I own over the years and is a little more amiable to trying new systems, but he only owns D&D. Until I brought up the fact that Pathfinder was coming out, he had no idea it even existed and assumed we would continue as a 4e group or go back to our 3e books given that we were only moderately happy with 4e.
Of my current group 2 of the regular players are teenagers, and are new to gaming so their lack of knowledge is understandable, but the other 2-3 have been gaming as long, if not longer,than I have, one still runs a 2e game with another group. How could they not know about games other than D&D?
Because of the internet, the countless blogs and messageboards I have erroneously assumed that every gamer is as well versed as those of us that blog or post. I was apparently way off base.
D&D is the industry giant not only because it was the foundation of the industry, but because that is all most gamers know. Since D&D is generally the game we start out with, I can completely understand that newer gamers have yet to be exposed to the other great systems being produced. But what about the older, more experienced gamers? Outside of D&D, and more specifially the system they are currently playing, nothing else seems to exists to them.
Now it could be argued that those of us that do expand beyond D&D are more "hardcore" or that those other gamers are more casual. Yet the groups I have played with, regularly played weekly if not more often. That's not really casual in my book.
I started to argue the point with my comics shop's owner that as a member of the RPG Bloggers Network, there are tons of gamers out there that have played and own other systems. After all there have been numerous posts about how many books we all own since the network came into existence. Surely, the gamers in my area are a fluke, an anomoly in the gaming world.
Then it hit me that many of the same people on the RPGBN are the ones who are posting on the message boards, producing podcasts and leaving comments on the various blogs. Then I thought about the various posts on the RPGBN, the majority of which are about D&D. I had no argument. We are not the standard in gaming, at least given the circumstantial evidence I can come up with.
So what is the point of this post? Honestly I'm not 100% sure. I just found the revelation a bit surprising and suppose I am curious to see if this is something that others have encountered. Are those of us on the RPGBN and the various message boards, numerous though we seem, really in the minority? Are the majority of our fellow gamers really so isolated and uninformed about what else exists in this age where information about nearly any topic is just a Google search away?
If this is the case and our fellow gamers are caught up in a world where D&D is all that exists, how can we change that? Surely there is some way to "spread the word" and get D&D only players to try other systems. I'm not saying that they should abandon D&D, I love the game too, but they should know there are other options available to them.
I'm open to suggestions.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

RPG Blog II: Erik Mona Interview: Pathfinder, Customer Service, and Old School

RPG Blog II: Erik Mona Interview: Pathfinder, Customer Service, and Old School

This is a great interview, though I would love to see a longer, more detailed interview or one with another Paizo staff.
I just got my print copy of Pathfinder, I got the pdf the day it was released, and could not be happier. With the exception of DM prep-time still being kind of time consuming, though there is some improvement made in that area, the game improves every issue I had with 3.5 and adds to the rules in a very good way.
I hope Paizo only continues to grow and put out the high quality products I have come to expect from them.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Team Fortress 2 RPG

I just found an article that came out earlier this month in regards to a rpg being home brewed based on Team Fortress 2.

Not sure how many of you have seen it as I missed it the first time around.

Friday, July 24, 2009

I voted, why haven't you?

Gen Con is getting closer and naturally that means it is time for the Ennies once again. Voting is going on now and I encourage everyone who loves gaming to vote for their favorites. If like me you will be unable to attend Gen Con this year, that still doesn't give you an excuse for not voting. So click the link, support your favorites, and make your opinion known.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

A few intersting tidbits.

In keeping with my current Pathfinder obsession I thought I would bring another Pathfinder site you everyone's attention. The Pathfinder Database is a new site that is supposed to eventually have useful information for those, like myself, who will be playing PRPG. The site " aims to provide a home for Pathfinder RPG fan-created content and will go live on August 13th 2009"
If you have an account, it's free, you can add your own races, creatures, NPCs and adventures for others to use. Apparently pretty much everything you want to publish is fair game, except house rules. It isn't active yet, but it couldn't hurt to go ahead and get you account set up now.

Pathfinder Database website.

On a side note has anyone been keeping up with the Blackest Night storyline running through Green Lantern comics? If not you should, it looks to be frakkin awesome! The first issues of the mini come out... this week I think.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Paizo Summer Sale 2009

Keeping with what seems to be my Paizo theme for the last few posts, I want to make sure everyone knows about Paizo's Summer Sale 2009.
The Paizo store has over 2,000 products that are on sale for 20-90% off of retail price. I only nosed around for a few minutes, but in that time found some 3.x edition D&D books for under $10. For those of us that are sticking with the previous edition that is a pretty good deal.
However, don't be mistaken that think this sale is just a 3.x clearance. There are products from Kenzer, Fantasy Flight as many other companies included in this sale.
Check it out.

Paizo Alliance Summer Sale 2009

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Paizo's 7-7-7 Sale

In response to a post on the message boards, Paizo is celebrating their 7th anniversary by giving fans a deal on Paizo products.
Starting 7/1 and lasting until 7/7 Paizo has 7 products that are going to be priced at $7. 7 days, 7 products for $7, that seems like a pretty good deal to me.
The products listed at this price are The Seven Swords of Sin module, Pathfinder #7- Curse of the Crimson Throne Chapter 1, a Harrow Deck, Rise of the Runelords map Folio, Map Pack: Trounament and Flip-Mat: Mountain Pass as well as The Anubis Murders, a novel by Gary Gygax.

So check out the deals and pick up some deals while they last.

Link to the 7-7-7 Paizo page.

Keeping 3.x alive

I, like many other fans of 3rd edition D&D (3e - Pathfinder), have been eagerly awaiting the release of the Pathfinder RPG core book, but I can't help wondering exactly why we are so looking forward to this rules revision.
Granted many of the "broken" mechanics in 3.x are to be resolved in the PfRPG and the rules set as a whole is expected, given what we've seen in the beta, to be better. However, the game is only a tweaked version of 3.x and Paizo has stated that it is intended to keep the books we already have useful. Which is what 3.x fans want.
Most of us have house ruled the broken parts of 3.x to the point it is "better" than the original, at least in terms of how we play individually with our groups. We all have tons of books to reference and years of familiarity with the system and our house rules. The thing that kind of puzzles me, and I'm as guilty of it as anyone else, is if we all want to keep playing 3.x why do we need a new revision and more books? Why don't we stick with the current version and the house rules we've come up with? Also if Paizo is making Pathfinder compatible with the books we already own, what is our motivation to buy anything other than their Core Book, the Beastiary and maybe the GM guide?
Here are some of my "theories" regarding these questions:
1. We love Paizo and want to support them. They made great material for 3.x and we are confident that if D&D can be fixed, they can do it much better than WotC. I think it comes down to a "stick it to the man/evil corporation that royally pissed us off" type of mentality. We want Paizo to succeed and WotC to fail out of some motivation to prove that we were "right" and WotC was wrong. Then when Paizo steps in to buy the D&D brand all will be better again... at least that is how some seem to imagine it happening. I'm not saying I'm one of them but I can't deny that the thought has crossed my mind. Of course it will never happen.
2. We want an official "fixed" version of the game. Our house rules may be great, but we want something that comes from professional game designers. This actually seems like the most likely reason and my primary motivation for buying Pathfinder. I like their version better than my house ruled version.
3. We've come to enjoy and think of 3.x as the true/best version of D&D and dismiss 4e. I know that 4e is the official version of D&D, but when I play the game, which I happen to like, it doesn't feel like D&D to me. It is a really good game on its own, but it just doesn't feel right to me personally. I have no better explanation than that. It is a matter of personal preference.
4. WotC has just pissed us(me)off too many times. Which could have some influence on how 4e is perceived by fans. A lot of people can forgive and forget, but I and many other still hold a grudge for the attitude that WotC has had as well as some of their actions over the past few years. While they are both companies whose goal is to sell product and turn a profit, Paizo seems much more customer oriented and fan friendly. Paizo staff actually post and interact with fans on the message boards on a regular basis. They seem to actually listen to what fans have to say about their products. They released the core rules beta, a nearly 500 page book, for everyone to download for free! How could you not like them?
5. Paizo seems to have a better track record of getting product out when they say and so far hasn't promoted anything that they can't deliver.
6. All during the 3.x era Paizo put out some damn good D&D content. Most of it was better (IMO) than what the WotC team put out. Of course this can be said of several other companies as well,but Paizo is the one that decided to keep 3.x alive. We/I trust them to continue that tradition.
7. We like buying new books. As loyal fans of 3.x we want to keep using our current books and system, but we want new books to add to our library with updated info. Paizo is making this happen.

On a bit of a side note, if we want the 3rd edition rules to stay strong, that means buying more new books. Paizo wouldn't release this product unless they expected fans to buy the products that support it. That means we will be expected to buy the settings, sourcebooks and subscriptions to Paizo's Pathfinder line of products.
Granted Paizo gives us good reason to buy those supporting products, but when you think about it, many of the complaints we had with 4e, such as buying new books are made moot. We will be doing exactly what we complained about in the first place. The only difference being it is the same system, just revised... even though it is technically a completely different game.
PfRPG is different enough that it can stand on its own with out every 3.x book that has been released thus far, but it is made to be compatible with what we already have. So it is possible that those of us cheering that our library of books will not be made obsolete, will only end up with an even larger library much of which is likely to be "revised" versions of books we already own. Which, unless I missed something, still ends up making the books we own "obsolete". If we don't buy new products 3.x will die off and become another old system that is only supported by fans and maybe some smaller publishers. This has kind of created a vicious cycle.
If we don't buy the new books, the system is likely to fail. Yet the fact it is compatible with the books we already own, thus not requiring the purchase of new books, is the reason so many of us like Pathfinder. If we don't buy the new stuff, 3.x dies (in the sense that no new products are being released) and if we do we just end up replacing what we already own anyway.... ad nauseum.
I still plan on buying and supporting Pathfinder, but I did kind of think all of this was odd when looked at from a different perspective. I don't begrudge and won't belittle anyone who chooses 4e as their default fantasy setting anymore than I would someone for choosing Spirit of the Century over Hollow Earth Expedition for pulp games, but I can kind of see the hypocrisy in it all.
It is all a matter of personal choice and nothing more.

*** Update: I have seen on the Paizo message boards that, according to Eric Mona, Paizo plans to release 2-3 sourcebooks for Pathfinder each year. Not 6-10, but 2-3. Of course there will still be their modules and adventure paths for those that want to buy/subscribe to them, but fewer actual sorcebooks will be released in an attemtp to control rules bloating.***

By the way I don't know if this is current or if I missed this at some earlier date or just forgot about it but I found a page with a pdf deal from Paizo. If you enter "PDFLove" at check out when purchasing a pdf @ Paizo's store you get 35% off your purchase. If it is old and I forgot about it, the deal may have expired, if not then I may be buying some new pdfs.

35% off deal.

Here is what I can only assume is an April Fools joke from Paizo about the d21 system. Some how I missed it until tonight.

Pathfinder RPG

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

RPGB Network in wikipedia?

This has only the slightest relevance to anything, but I was looking for some Pathfinder news/info on the web and decided to see what wikipedia had to say on the subject. To my surprise there were actual posts by Chad Perrin: SOB used as a reference. How Paizo fixed D&D and What does "compatibility" mean for Pathfinder? were both listed in the External Links and Reference section, as are the Pathfinder Wiki, Pathfinder SRD and PfSRD.
While I know that wikipedia can be edited by anyone I just thought that it was interesting to see a fellow RPGBN member's blog posts listed there as a reference. Even more interesting is the fact there are 2 SRD sites for a game that is not even released yet... at least not officially.
I've said it before and honestly just feel like saying it again. I am really looking forward to the release of Pathfinder and plan to be gaming with the 3.x rules for many years to come.

Wikipedia page for Pathfinder

Also in Pathfinder news, and while it is rather old news at this point I haven't seen much about it, but Monte Cook has joined the Pathfinder team as a rules consultant. A friend of mine says that should give Pathfinder a little more cred as the true successor of 3.5. Personally I think Paizo produced enough quality content for 3.x ( a lot of it better than WotC) that they don't need anymore credibility, but I won't complain if Cook is onboard.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I'd buy that for $1

A Latvian firm is giving loans of $100-1000 in exchange for their souls. The borrowers have 90 days to pay back the money or they take possession of their soul. How does that work exactly?

Original article

Monday, June 29, 2009

$1.99 comics

According to Bon Alimagno over at Vampirella comics are going to attempt selling the book for $1.99. This is an attempt to bring back readers and get the character back into the top 100. They are calling for fans to join their Myspace page and Twitter to help promote the character's 40th anniversary. They claim they might be able to do the lower price, unlike Marvel and DC, due to low overhead and smaller staffing.
While Vampirella has never been one of my all time favorite characters, I have enjoyed the book the few times I picked it up in the past. For $1.99 I'm willing to give it a try.

Original Article
Myspace page

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The dead are rising...

Everyone pretty much knew it was going to happen but the original Captain America is defintely coming back from the dead. The news of his return can be found all over the net and from what I hear it made it to some of the major news networks as well.
I for one am a bit disappointed. While I thought it was idiotic to break the "only Bucky and Uncle Ben stay dead" rule, I admit that Bucky Cap has had some of the best Captain America stories I have ever read. I would say that Captain America's book has been one of the best books at Marvel with Bucky at the helm. Steve Rogers was going to come back, that was no secret, but Marvel had a good thing going with the current star of the book. It would have been nice to get to know the character a little bit better before they brought the old guard back.
Marvel is also rumored to be bringing back the Scarlet Spider over in the Spiderman books. Now I was a fan of the character when he was originally introduced and was disappointed when they killed him off. I actually quit reading Spidey for a while. I even liked his low budget costume, which was much more realistic than Peter Parker, a teenage boy when he got his powers, sewing a costume with a very complicated design. I admit the whole clone saga was a pretty crappy story as a whole, but a character with a lot of potential came from that story. Unfortunately he paid the price for the horrible taste the story that spawned him left with fans. Hopefully, Marvel will bring old Ben back with a bit more dignified story this time around.
We all know Dick Grayson has replaced Bruce as Batman and Damian has taken up the mantle of Robin, for now. DC seems to have plans for the new dynamic duo for at least the next year, so when will Bruce return? My vote is never. Even though they've only been a team a short while, I am already enjoying the new direction of the Batbooks more than I have in years. I say it is time for a changing of the guard... permenantly. Of course we all know that won't happen. Bruce will be back in the cowl in the near future, my guess is next summer.
Who else has returned from the dead in recent years? Here is a list of the characters from DC and Marvel who are again among the living. These are just the ones I can recall off the top of my head. If I think of more I'll add them later.

Superman... although that was a long time ago I decided to add it to the list anyway.
Aunt May (not sure how that happened. her death story, the start of the clone saga, was a really good Spidey story. Then she almost died recently to start the OMD story.. or as I call it WTF.. she is a tough old bat.)
Barry Allen (Flash)
Bart Allen (Kid Flash... still think the explaination for that was a bit dumb... he wasn't even that important of a character and he didn't die using the speedforce like every other speedster that has come back... he was beat to death! )
Wally West (not really dead... living in another dimension for a little bit??? that's dumb)
Green Arrow
Green Lantern (Hal Jordan)
Superboy (Connor Kent)
Jason Todd... he still sucked the second time around.
Captain Marvel (the Marvel comics version... not the real one)
Blue Beete (Ted Kord...temporarily taken out of the time stream, don't know if he is actually dead again or not??? Also isn't he suppose to be coming back as a Black Lantern/Zombie? Will there be 2 Teds running around? I hate time travel)
Norman Obsorn
Harry Osborn( he was dead wasn't he?)
Wilson Fisk
Ghost Rider(s) (haven't both of them died at some point? if not they will)
Jericho (how many times has this guy died anyway? Didn't his dad gut him or something?)

Dead Characters that will more than likely be returning soon:
Martian Manhunter
Bruce Wayne
Blue Beetle (Ted)
Jason Todd... didn't they kill him again? If not they should.
Reverse Flash

** *Blackest Night may make the returning soon list much longer. I didn't add those characters, such as Bruce's parents, because I think they are just going to be zombie like things. Even though zombies rock, they do not count as living and were not added. That may change as the story unfolds.***

Characters that should be killed off permenantly just because I don't like them ;-) or I like/would like newer versions better.
John Stewart
Martian Manhunter
Charles Xavier (is he dead now or alive? He's died and came back so many times I can't keep track)
Magneto (same as Xavier)
Jason Todd
Flash (Barry)
Batman (Bruce... I like the character, really, but it is Mr. Grayon's turn to prove himself as the new Dark Knight... he's earned it and I bet most fans like it.)
Captain America (Steve Rogers... again I like the character, but the current stories are just so damn good I hate to see them screw it up with an event.)
All of the New Gods, except Darkseid... he is one bad mamajama....
All those damn Kryptonians... How can you be the Last Son of Krypton when there is 100,000 other Kryptonians running around? Not to mention the dogs and cats and monkeys, it's ridiculous.. although I do want to see a super badger. It could dig a Burrow of Solitude and fight for animal injustice... and table scraps. What do badgers eat anyway?(Update.. wikipedia says badgers eat worms, small mammals and poisonous snakes... badgers are bad @$$)

FYI for all the fans of the characters I listed in the "should be killed" list... these are just characters I personally don't like and you should not take this opportunity to be offended. I have no control over the creative direction of these characters and my opinion has no impact on the characters. This is just my opinion and should be taken as the good natured jab it is intended to be. Despite the fact that I am right and most of those characters suck, the list was made in jest and should be seen as such.