I was going thru my Blogroll, and now I'm fairly certain I've missed some outstanding RPG blogs out there. Lets be honest, I might be solidly in the OSR Corner of the Blogosphere, but I've covered independent RPGs in my reviews and no one says you must be true to only one type of play or style of game.
So, any suggestions for me to add to my blog roll? Old or new, something that I've overlooked? Heck, pimp your own blog if you want. I feel it's time to expand my vision.
Besides, 5E is in the air. I'd like to find the new blogs before the next edition war breaks out ;)
If somehow, someway you missed out on the Legend RPG Core Rulebook from Mongoose for a buck (still a buck, so you can grab Legend here - I'll wait). Got it? Good. Now, that core book does not include the standard fantasy races (or any race besides human) nor does it include your monstrous adversaries. This is where Monsters of Legend comes in.
Dwarves? Check! Elves? Yep. Pretty much your standard fantasy good and evil races are included.
The book is broken down by the following categories: Humanoids, Invertebrates, Dinosaurs and Reptiles, Creatures of Legend and Natural Life. It's enough to start you off, but if you are used to the huge encyclopedic source of monsters nearly every edition of D&D has had, you might feel that it's a little light. That's to be expected, as it is the core monster book. I expect there will be further volumes later.
The artwork is very nice. I'm no expert, so I can't tell if it's washed inks or charcoal (I think it's mostly washed inks) but it is very evocative. It's all black and white, no color.
The PDF itself is bookmarked, but just the sections. So you can go to the start of the Invertebrates section, but you can't go right to Crab, Giant.
It's basically a catalogue of monstrous adversaries for your players. It fills that role well. I just wish it was filled with a bit more.
Oh, and for the OSR crowd, it features a nice Chaos Creature Feature Random Table. I'm going to yoke this.
From the blurb:
Foes, beasts and creatures from every corner of the world can be found in this tome, ready to use in your games of Legend! Whether you are looking to populate your world with rare and exotic fiends to foil your players, or simply provide them with some gladiatorial entertainment, this book contains just what you need for the new Legend rules.
Like the Legend Core Rulebook, Monsters of Legend is released under the Open Game Licence.
The city authorities have informed me that a privy fed scrying pool in the tavern's basement is against the health code - who knew? So, before we drain the pool for good, here's a few final Dungeons & Dragons 5e predictions:
6 - The "very core" of the system will probably be released in some sort of "SRD", but the bits and pieces, the optional rules included with 5e that allow you to tweak it into an infinite number of play styles - those specific rules will be covered under a separate license. Yeah, doesn't make sense to me either, but I am looking in a shit filled scrying pool ;)
7 - A return of Planscape, either at release or shortly there after. You know you want it. I'm sure Monte does too. Besides, multiple planes is an easy way to feed multiple play styles.
8 - A new D&D powered MMORPG - Dungeons & Dragons Unlimited is going to be TWO editions old when 5e releases. Time for a revamp / reboot / reinvention.
9 - Fiction - Whatever world they decide to run with (Greyhawk anyone?), it's going to spawn a new series of books. There will be at least one coinciding with the release of 5e.
10- No "Edition Wars" - at least, not as bad as the last round. No one will be pissing on 4e because a new edition is coming out. Not even at WotC. They are looking to unify, not divide.
10A - Gnomes - they're not going to fuck the gnomes like they did with the release of 4e. Not that I particularly like them, but they are part of what most gamers see as the core D&D classes.
10B - Player Races in General - back to the core. Human, Elf, Dwarf, Halfling, Gnome, Half-Elf and maybe even Half-Orc. The extra 4e races will follow up in a supplement shortly after release.
Alright, draining the pool. I've hired some kobolds to cart out the waste and give it a scrubbing. Also hired an angry halfling ranger to keep them in line and out of the pub's kegs!
It is generally pretty hard to pull off a truly "generic" RPG scenario, as the underlying system often shows through somewhere. That happens with Toys For the Sandbox: Fairy Glade. It's not a bad thing, as it obviously draws upon the OGL/D&D as it's base. There are no stats, but trust me, it's are in roots D&D (and not 4e, but I'm sure it would work there too).
That's not what you want to know. What you want to know is if you get value for your 99 cents. The answer is, yes, you do. A map, 6 plot hooks, each with 3 possible twists, allows you to tailor this in the direction you want it to go. It IS perfect for throwing in front of your party as they are exploring YOUR sandbox (and we all know how important the sandbox is in the OSR).
Color me impressed. I wasn't expecting much in 4 pages, and what I got is a lot, and it's good.
From the blurb:
It is Game Night, you have spent the week developing an adventure for that will blow the party’s mind. Then it happens, they zig when you thought they would zag, and wind up traveling away from the dungeon you spent all week making.
Toys for the Sandboxis here to help. Each one contains a map, named NPCs, rumors, encounters and plot hooks all centered on a different location. With Toys for the Sandbox you can look prepared even when you are not
All the talk about Dungeons & Dragons 5e got me thinking about the fairly large number of OSR games that I've preordered via Kickstarter and such that are due for release in 2012. I'm actually pretty amazed:
Delving Deeper - I mentioned this yesterday. Brave Halfling always puts out a top notch product.
Crypts & Things - Swords & Sorcery using the S&W engine if I am not mistaken.
Dungeon Crawls Classics - This has the chance to be a breakout hit - or not. I don't see much middle ground in this, and Goodman Games has a lot riding on it's success.
Adventurer Conquerer King System - the PDF may be going out to Kickstarter supporters this weekend. It's a nice system that handles everything from adventuring to running your own kingdom. If nothing else, great support material for your other OSR games.
Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - Looks very cool from what I've read about it so far. Another Swords & Sorcery option for the OSR.
My lord, I'm going to have a crapload of options as to what system to run. Best thing is, my players won't need their own copies (although they should want one) as knowledge of any of the OSR systems should ground them fairly well.
No, I'm not the Amazing Kreskin, nor do we have him working here at the tavern. We do, however, have a scrying pool in the basement. It's filled with runoff from the privy above, so you know what it's full of ;)
Anyhow, here's my 5E predictions:
1 - Boxed Sets - Because boxed sets can actually get retail shelf space in places like Walmart and Target. (Book stores and Hobby stores are so 2002) B/E/C/M/I type set, with one time codes to activate your boxed set via the DDI codes packaged inside, with "bonus material" only available online.
2 - Expect some really onerous DRM for the online DDI/Whatever they're gonna call it. Because that's going to be the only way they'll put stuff online beyond what they do now.
3 - D&D VVTT - The Vaporish Virtual Table Top - Wasn't this promised with the release of 4E? They even had this awesome die roller video (lifted from Fantasy Grounds). You were supposed to be able to buy digital figures and such. Would have been a nice money maker. I haven't checked on the VTT Beta in a while, but I suspect it's going to get a heavy push in 5E. Full release of the D&D VTT will come with 5E. Expect a fee system on a monthly basis, to get some of that World of Warcraft gold.
4 - A return to "RolePlaying" - shorter combats, less need for battle-maps (but a robust system for those that like battle-map encounters), more unique character building, stats that actually mean something, rolling for Hit Points, etc. Still, expect a rule for everything and everything has a rule. Which sucks for roleplaying.
5 - Even more "Organized Play" - Organized Play gives you repeat customers and brings people into their local game stores, which means more sales (at least one hopes so). If they can charge a small yearly fee, they will. I'm sure different fees will be part of a forthcoming survey.
Alright, the fumes from the scrying pool have become a bit much. I'll return with more D&D 5E predictions from Tenkar's Tavern's Privy-fed Scrying Pool after I disinfect myself. Talk about still waters, it almost looks like mud...
And no, I'm not talking about my other 2 blogs (that have been pretty much neglected as I'e been fighting off my illness). New blogs that have hit the RPG scene. Or new blogs to me. Or blog that have recently hit their stride. Or whatnot. So, I'll be bringing back the "Overlooked Blog Collection", where I highlight a blog I feel has been overlooked. Aiming for once a week, but time will tell.
I'm also going to go back and re-explore the virtual table tops I own. Yes, own, as in purchased. Okay, I'll look at Maptools too, but I'll be putting fresh eyes on Fantasy Grounds 2, BattleGrounds RPG, iTableTop/Pandoren (which is free now, but expensive as all hell when i bought TWO lifetime licenses - but it went to a good cause), Klooge (if I can find my codes), ScreenMonkey, EpicTable (currently in Beta) and any others you might want to point me in the direction of.
It's a New Year, and I'm gonna run some gosh darned RPG campaign in 2012! And it's gonna be via a VTT, cause that way I can play in my underwear and no one can complain (unless it's via iTableTop / Skype / Google+ or anything else with video - then I'll have to be presentable). That, and it really cuts down on the game commute.
Announce a new edition of Dungeons & Dragons, yet give no details as to said edition.
Is it be called 5E? Doesn't look like it.
I'm going to place my bet and guess it's going to be called Dungeons & Dragons Unlimited (so they can continue with the theme that it encompasses players of all previous editions.)
I'm going to also state that I expect a return to Vancian Magic with some sort of "at will power".
I don't expect anything game changing to the point that 4e separated itself from 3x. I do expect something closer to 3x then 4e.
I DO NOT expect it to be OGL. Possibly released under a kinder, softer GSL.
I expect gamers to care whether or not WotC succeeds with the newest, latest and greatest version of D&D. Like it or not, D&D get's lots of shelf space at the few remaining books stores. It's a recognizable name. It's Kleenex when the rest of the hobby is "facial tissues". A successful release of a new edition of D&D can only help the hobby in general.
Me? I'm a gamer in suspense. I want to know more. Which I'm sure I will as soon as the 5e PDF starts making the rounds in the torrent sites. You know - the "pre-beta" version the press got to play with ;)
One of the things that I want to kick myself for is not having a full collection of Christian's past zines. I should, as I have his first zine, and I at one point had each and every one, but I never realized how much I missed his older stuff until Loviatar came along. Loviatar hits the same buttons that the best of his past stuff hit for me. It's just that good.
Now, I'm going to start out I love the Hex 00X series he started in issue #6, By itself it is worth the price of admission (and as the price is 3 bucks an issue, mailed to you house, how can you go wrong?). I don't recall what the scale of each hex is, but what he has given us in the last two issues is a growing sandbox to explore. It should work with any of the OSR games that draw on D&D for inspiration, but could even work with Tunnels and Trolls with very little work.
Thursday Night Fight Club is Christian's first dabbling into Basic Roleplaying. While I own the latest rules (and even the Fantasy Grounds 2 mod) I haven't played with the system or any of it's close cousins in years. Still, Christian is always top notch with character descriptions - they are never just a bunch of stats - that knowing the system doesn't matter all that much. A perfect NPC for any modern RPG system.
The last article details 2 NPCs for Vampire: The Requiem. I owned the whole first generation of the World of Darkness Core books and never ran the system. Could never get my group into it. Maybe I didn't understand the whole setting behind the closed doors and I couldn't sell it to my friends. Christian understands it. Well done as always.
So, simply put, an excellent source for any game master to find inspiration.
Time to pour myself of free tap beer from my Beertender and toast Christian. Heineken Light lad, but the wife is returning with a mini keg of Newcastle Brown Ale for when this run out ;)
D "Infinity" (because I can't end a font with an infinity symbol) is a strange little bird. It's a magazine that tries to cover many different RPG systems from many different publishers. It's hard to tie down the notch it covers as it covers so many niches. The question then becomes, does it cover them well?
Surprisingly enough, I think it does. That is due, in no small part, to some decent writing and editing. For an article about a game I do not play to have value to me, the writing must be strong enough to go beyond game mechanics. On the whole D "infinity" # 3 does it's job pretty well.
Oh, lest I forget: The index is actually hyperlinked to the articles it lists. Well done!
It starts with a Tile Based game called The Search for Bigfoot. If you remember the old Tom Wham games that used to be stuck in occasional issues of Dragon Magazine, the concepts are similar. For the price of a magazine, you get a free game included. In this case, you have to print out the pieces, and I suspect you'll need to use some card stock or such to print it out if you want it to survive more then one sitting. Can't tell you how well the game plays, but the tiles look well done.
There is an interview with Andy Hopp. I don't know his work as an author or artist, but the art used is pretty weird but very good.
There is a Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide. Written fairly well, but all this should be pretty standard tactics for most Roleplayers. Still, useable in an of your modern zombie games.
Digital Dice - It deals with mapping programs. Including many free ones (I think they are already listed on the left side of this blog but I need to see if I missed any). Nice article but fairly short.
One Starry Night - A Call of Cthulhu / Cthulhu Live scenario set in the modern day. I'm about 20 years removed from my last CoC game and I've never run a "Live" style RPG. So I was fairly lost reading this. I need to refresh my CoC knowledge. It does include some nice looking handouts.
The Prop Room is an article detailing how to make some fake dragon teeth (well, if you could make "real" dragon teeth it would be a different kind of article). Not sure how useful it is as an article, but it was damn interesting and kinda cool. I guess if I was a LARPer it would be much more useful. I'm not ;)
A look at some of the guilds in the city of Kos. Actually, it's one guild made up of multiple professions. It's okay.
Then we get some stuff for use with "Basic System". I though that meant it was going to be used with Chaosium's Basic RPG. Nope, its for use with OSR type systems. Go figure. Still, 8 pages of naturalish type monsters is never bad and can keep players on their toes by keeping things fresh. Did I mention the art if pretty good though out the magazine? It is. Oh, and an article on Mutation Artifacts for Mutant Future. Wait, theres more: Some Orc Spells.
Then we go OGL, or rather 3X. Another preview of Cooper's Corrected Summon Monsters series of PDFs. If I recall correctly, he did this with the monster manual too. I don't play 3X, but this may be of value to those that do, assuming you believe it all needs to be fixed.
Next we get a page of Character Caricatures. Decent art. 'nuff said.
Hey, an OGL article about Plague & Rabies, written by an MD, with game effects and treatment. Wan't I just wondering about stuff like this?
Some sci-fi OGL stuff. I forget, this is a partial house organ for Skirmisher Games.
Some hybrid races for Pathfinder. Half-ghouls. Damn!
Alien Vegetable Monstrosities for Pathfinder. Yeah. Interesting painted minis.
An article for 4e, but as the system is a dead system, I didn't bother reading it. Doh!
All in all, a decent bang for you buck. Which is surprising, as usually the attempt to please all means you please none.
Had to get that outa the way. Anyhow, ever since AD&D the game has grownprogressedevolvedchanged in "Half Steps", although it was rarely honest in it's labeling of such.
AD&D had its Point Five moment with the release of Unearthed Arcana. You either played with UA or you didn't (I never saw a group that had a middle ground back then), but the power level with UA changed the game play. It was a Half Step Edition.
AD&D 2e had Skills & Powers as it's Point Five moment, although it could certainly be argued that the Complete Series of Handbooks to Remove the Player From His Cash were the Point Five Moment and that Skills & Powers were nothing more then a chance to experiment with concepts that were to come in 3e.
Dungeons & Dragons 3e (because calling it Advanced was so limiting) had it's Point Five moment with the release of Dungeons & Dragons 3.5e, which was the first (and only time) that the publisher of the Dungeons & Dragons game was honest with an upgrade to the RPG in the middle of the life of the edition. Then again, they didn't have much of a choice, as 3.5e had many compatibility issues with 3e. God, I just love multiple editions, don't you?
Dungeons & Dragons 4e, under the glorious days of the GSL (which also was revised to go from Ominous to Slightly Less So) recently had it's Point Five moment with the release of the Essentials Line. WotC refuses to call it a Point Five moment, but as the class abilities in Essentials are different than the ones in the 4e Player's Handbook, I'd call it a Point Five moment. Oh, and a money grab, as it was a way to repackage and slightly revise material that was already published in an attempt to soak the loyal player base. It's dangerous to be a loyal follower of the D&D Brand. One needs deep pockets or a serious line of credit. Thank God for the OSR.
Now, the game NOT to be Called Dungeons & Dragons 5e, for although it is the 5th glorious edition of ADVANCED Dungeons & Dragons (otherwise it would be 8e or 9e depending on who is counting) apparently want to shed it's edition counting, much like Microsoft shed it's numbering by year, and went to edition number.
I suggest we refer to the new Dungeons & Dragons game as D&D 2012. Even though it will probably release in 2013, because that's how Microsoft usually did it, by lagging a year. We can use the Mayan calendar and safely announce that it doesn't refer to the end of the world, but the end of Dungeons & Dragons as a table top MMO impersonator.
Nope, D&D 2012 is going to be full contact medieval reenactment combat. Screw dice, it will require real player skill. And if the DM isn't careful, he might just get himself killed.
On second thought, it's probably going to be more like Magic the Gathering. You get a random assortment of pages from the Player's Skills & Powers Deck, and if you want more options, you need to buy boosters.
I really want Wizards to succeed, but they can't be The One Ring to Rule Them All (besides the fact that the Tolkien Estate probably has that trademarked already). They won't be bringing back many that turned their noses at 4e and essentially stayed with 3Xe by going Pathfinder, unless they out do Pathfinder. That's a tall order, and to do so they'll be working against the 4e they built up (and now have to bad mouth to start the tear down) and Pathfinder (which they essentially also built). It's like a bunch of fucked up clones, same yet different, fighting each other to the death.
As for the OSR corner, some may dabble in the new edition, but few will fully give themselves to The Dark Side. I'll probably dabble, as I'll be curious. I might even, if it's really good, keep 5e as my "Bim on the Side". But she better be damn good ;)
Just like Specialists in the Weird Fantasy Grindhouse Edition, Bards must be unencumbered to use many of their class skills. The skills that fall under the encumbrance restriction are Inspire, Performance and Fascinate. Oh, and Spell Casting, as that will generally require the use of an instrument. I just thought of that.
So, less is more as far as what they carry. The instrument will add to that encumbrance (or maybe that could be excluded as a class feature... hmm).
In general, Bards tend to be lightly armored and gravitate towards smaller, lighter weaponry.
They favor brightly colored clothing when in urban areas, but have been known to "tone it down" while adventuring.
I'd be open to letting Bards be of any race with no racial benefits given.
It's a huge announcement, right? Lets see where Wizards of the Coast have it linked on their website: Homepage? Nope. But look, Magic the Gathering comics are coming! yay! That's the headline announcement, from 9/1/11. Four months ago. MtG comics come before a new Edition of Dungeons & Dragons, the game that launched the RPG industry. I'd go with comics too! Wait, if I check the Twitter feed on the page there is something about a big announcement - good going guys, your webmaster sucks!
How about the D&D Brand Homepage (and how depressing is it that D&D is a "brand")? Well, if you wait long enough, the main graphic will rotate in a link so you can "Sign Up Today and Be a Part of Gaming History". Clicking that put's you on a page for the WotC mailing list for the 5e play test info. But wait, on the left side there is a small caption about Charting the Course of D&D! Whee! We found our link!
These are the fucktards that are going to make D&D viable in the eyes of Hasbro? They can't even post the announcement on their site the right way.
Wait a second? Didn't we just get D&D Essentials, the "essential" way to play 4e. Oh, and when I say we, I don't mean me, as I don't play 4e, I mean "we" as in "you".
Not that this announcement is all that surprising. Ever since Monte returned ("All Hail Monte, Lord of 3e and in turn, the trickle down known as The OSR") to WotC we (now I mean "me", but probably "you" too) knew that 5e was coming sooner then later.
So, 4e has run it's course. Stick a fork it it and the abysmal GSL. Game over Johnny. Now, obviously they talk their parents at Hasbro that 2012 was going to be a wash for the D&D Brand, and they were saving all their pennies for the launch of 5e and the return of Wizards to a viable component of Hasbro. Either that or we get the D&D RPG shelved for a few years, it whatever iteration it ends at.
What is 5e supposed to accomplish (besides making money for WotC / Hasbro in a shrinking market)? Apparently they want to bring all the disillusioned D&D / Pathfinder / OSR / OGL gamers back into the fold. Because then they might actually have a market sizable enough to keep the brand afloat. Good luck with that one lads. You fucked with a lot of gamers' (and publishers') goodwill when you released a Dungeons & Dragons game barely recognizable to it's long term fans, with a screwed up licensing scheme on top of that. You think many will trust you this time?
Maybe that's part of the reason for bringing back Monte Cook. He makes the newest, latest edition possibly redeemable. He's also a face and a name that the 3e generation know and respect. Monte's got impossible job if it's to integrate players from 0e to 4e, and all the "E's" between.
Me? I hope they can accomplish 10% of what they hope for, as that will still be 100% more then 4e added to my gaming enjoyment. Maybe I'll be surprised. I'm certain this is far from the last I'll be posting on this.
Going to give a big shout out to Akrasia from the Akratic Wizardry blog for bringing this to the attention of the Blogosphere. An assortment of Gloranthan and some other Mongoose RuneQuest products available in PDF at OneBookShelf affiliated storefronts (RPGNow / DriveThruRPG) for a buck a piece. The MRQ2 stuff is full compatible with Legend (Mongoose's OGL version of the RQ2 rules, also for a buck). MRQ1 products are less compatible, but are easily mined. MRQ1 and MRQ2 are both apparently compatible with the upcoming RuneQuest 6. Follow all that so far?
Glorantha: the Second Age (MRQ2) Cults of Glorantha (MRQ2) The Abiding Book (MRQ2) Pavis Rises (MRQ2) Dwarfs (MRQ1) Dragonewts (MRQ1) Ducks (MRQ1) Elfs (MRQ1) Blood of Orlanth (MRQ2) Dara Happa Stirs (MRQ1) Fronela
For that price I'm buying the lot. I'm going to have WAY too much on my plate to read, but that is better then too little. I haven't run a RuneQuest Campaign since RQ2 and RQ3 (I actually went back from RQ3 to RG2, but that's a whole other story ;)
I've been delving fairly heavily into Carcosa during my previous bed bound two days. It was probably the prefect way to first really read Carcosa, as it made the sick stuff seem even sicker and otherworldly. I haven't looked that closely at the rituals, as I suspect they won't come much into use except as tools for NPCs, plot hooks and the like, but I did start to poke around the Hex Crawl, and there is much to like. I'll return to Carcosa later.
In the meantime, I've been spending more time reading the Isle of the Unknown, which is a more standard fantasy style Hex Crawl. Much to like here. I could run a campaign using this fairly easily with what I've reads far. (Carcosa would be much harder for ME to run without some heavy tweaking - but that's me.
I've also spent some time with the Weird Adventures from Trey Causey. This is actually fun to read! I'm not saying that reading RPG material isn't enjoyable, but Trey works well with the Pulpy source material. He had fun putting this together and it show. More when I've gotten thru more.
Off the next two days (thanks Doc!) so expect me to get some more non-feverish reading done. I still don't know which came first: me reading Carcosa or me getting sick ;)
Crap, I need to get back to building my LotFP Bard class too!
The Minotaur for Old-School Essentials
*Requirements:* Minimum STR 9, Minimum CON 9
*Prime Requisite:* STR and CON
*Hit Dice:* 1d10
*Maximum Level:* 8
*Armor:* Leather, including shield...