Wednesday, August 7, 2013

White Dwarf Wednesday #75

White Dwarf #75 takes us back to March 1986 with new(ish) Editor-in-chief Ian Livingstone.
The cover is a very Call of Cthulhuesque one with Buckaroo Banzai and Elvira battling a creature on a chees board floor.  Just out of curiosity I wonder if One Night in Bangkok had be released in the UK at this point? (yes...almost a year before.)
Ian Livingstone gets right in and talks about the changes that have been happening and more are on the way.  But we knew that really.  The changes we are seeing here are not really abrupt; they have been happening for a while now, but they do become apparent in later issues.

Open box is getting into a wider variety of games, but a lot of them seem to come from Games Workshop:  There is the Supervisor's Kit for Golden Heroes (8/10), Terror of the Lichemaster for Warhammer (9/10), Judgement Day for Judge Dredd (9/10) and Cosmic Encounter Boardgame (8/10).  The only non-GW game this issue is Fragments of Fear by Chaosium for Call of Cthulhu (7/10).  Detecting a trend here.

Critical Mass is back.  I only want to touch on a couple of things here.  Dave Langford talks about how long C. J. Cherryh's Forty Thousand in Gehenna is.  I agree. But that didn't stop me from using it and going back to it time and time again for ideas for my AD&D games (despite it being Scifi).  There is also a title I have never seen before, "Sex Secrets of Ancient Atlantis".  Looks fun.

2020 covers some mid 80s horror  movies. The Return of the Living Dead and Fright Night are featured.  I enjoyed the heck out of Fright Night despite (or because of) the gruesomeness that reviewer Colin Greenland seems to disdain.  Word of advice, if you don't like gore, don't review horror movies.  He also mentions Teen Wolf which is horror only in the way that connecting puberty to lycanthropy in the hands of Micheal J. Fox can be.  Which is to say, not at all.  Granted it isn't a horror movie.  To see a much better take on this idea see Ginger Snaps.

Oliver Dickinson has some thoughts on the upcoming RuneQuest 3.
Pete Tamlyn has ideas on Superhero games. There are ideas here to make Superhero games, and by proxy comics, more adult oriented (not themed) and they are not bad.  This article though fails today because it was too close, but on the other side, of the great breakout of the Graphic Novel.  Yes, the Dark Knight Returns was just out and Watchmen was on the way, it was still just a little too late (or early depending on your view) for the masses.

Gamemanship covers some idea on how to put the mystery back into AD&D.  Some of the ideas would later see similar treatments in AD&D titles like Ravenloft and eventually story-based gaming.  Most of it is still good advice today.

Mass Media by Andrew Swift covers how the news is delivered in various Tech Levels in Traveller.  My personal favorite is his predictions of the smart phone-like device in which to read the news on (TL 10) AND Google Glass (TL 11).  I mock Traveller often, and really unfairly so, for it's ideas on computers.  But this one was really fun to read.  There are ideas for characters too.  I now have a desire to play or run a bunch of intrepid reporters and muckrakers for the Galactic News Service.

Graeme Davis gives us "Nightmare in Green" an AD&D adventure for 4-8 4th-6th level characters.   There is the adventure and a few new monsters which is nice.  I like adventures that introduce a new, maybe one-off monster. Also it helps make up for the loss of Fiend Factory.

The Heart of the Dark is a Call of Cthulhu scenario.  It deals with a murder and you know it only gets worse from there.  I have always liked WD Call of Cthulhu adventures.  Actually most of their adventures for any game are rather good.

Treasure Chest has something really nice, a system for Character Backgrounds for AD&D.  Today we add a +2 to some skill that you had before you took up the adventuring life, but since AD&D is not like that this works out rather nice.

Tabletop Heroes covers oil painting.

Not a bad start to the stewardship of Ian Livingstone.  The articles and adventures are good.  Open Box seems a bit doggy to me, even given the gushing reviews gamers typically give their favorite games.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Where do you create?

I have been watching more videos of late of various designers, hobbyists and writers of all stripes and it got me thinking.  Is that where their ideas are born?  Now I am not going to start posting video blogs. I don't honestly think anyone wants to see and hear me rattle on about things.  But all the same, here are pictures of where I do my own creating.

Here is my main computer, Frankencomputer.  It's not much more than a web-machine and word processor which is what I want when I am writing.  The keyboard is actually worth more to me than the rest of the computer.  If I am going to sit and pound away on a keyboard then it needs to be comfortable to me.

My new work laptop.  Since Frankencomputer is Unbutu and the laptop is Windows I have been using Google Drive to edit docs.  Underneath is "Son of Frankencomputer" which I still need to drop another harddrive into to get working.  I like to rebuild computers.

My game room.  Shelves full of games I am currently playing and/or reading. The rocker was from when my kids were babies.  Still the best chair to fall asleep in read a book in.

Underneath are my lower shelves. Or the stuff I am not using as much.  These are most of my Modern games.

So how about you all?  Where do you create worlds and fates of characters?
Share your work areas/game rooms!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Happy Birthday Larry Elmore

Today is Larry Elmore's birthday. I have not posted this in the past because I am usually at Gen Con at this time and wish him a happy birthday personally.

Elmore usually gets shorted by the proponents of pure  old-school proponents.  Some associate his art with what they have felt was the decline of the old-school or even 1st generation mentality of *D&D.  His art appears very prominently in the Mentzer versions of the D&D Basic rules, and on through the BECMI series.  His art is central to the Dragonlance modules and books, so he gets lumped in with people feelings about that; good and ill.

I am a fan. I always have been. I like his work and I like the man.  Plus he does some damn fine witches.
So I want to wish him a Happy Birthday today!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Zatannurday: More SDCC 2013 Cosplay

Found a bunch of more Cosplay from San Diego Comic Con.
So here they are for your enjoyment!

Also check out the Amazon Princess blog for some great Wonder Woman cosplay too!

Ani mia and Lady Pepper

Ani Mia

Ani Mia and Ivy Doom Kitty

Valerie Perez

Friday, August 2, 2013

A New Hope: DriveThruRPG Charity Bundle

Got this email the other day:
Fat Goblin Games has teamed up with a dozen great publishers to bring you an amazing bundle of products. A NEW HOPE Bundle includes 107 pdf books and game aids for only $25!

That's over $450 in gaming material! And all the money goes to helping out Fat Goblin co-owner and veteran industry professional, Rick Hershey and his family! Learn more about the charity from him:

A New Hope

My name is Rick Hershey. I've worked in the game industry for over 12 years now, doing illustration, graphic design, cartography, writing, game design, publishing, and much more. I love this industry, I love making games, and I love the people I've worked with over the years.

I have an amazing wife, Tristan Hershey, and four wonderful children (Mya, Marilyn, Madilyn, and Ricky). Shortly after my wife and I were married, she was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease and all our hopes, dreams, and plans were altered. For the last six years we've struggled to fight her disease (which also has given her constant kidney stones, rhumatoid arthritus, anemia, and a mini-stroke) while raising our children and trying to better our lives. I support our family on freelancing and publishing as I need to be home daily in case she is

The NEW HOPE BUNDLE is a means for my family to get the start to prosper we would o! f had without her disease. It's a means to overcome the debt from her illness and to start a new life with a chance to succeed.

What We Need & What You Get
When you purchase the NEW HOPE BUNDLE you get tons of pdf books from your favorite publishers, including the bulk of Fat Goblin Games products. That is hundreds of dollars of gaming goodness for a small price.
The money we earn goes directly to the Hershey family and will allow us to pay off bills, move to a better residence, and help eleviate the burden this disease has caused.

In addition, a portion of the money raised will go to establishing a non-profit group to help aid other game designers, writers, artists, and members of the game industry in their times of need.

The Impact
Working in the gaming industry doesn't make most of us rich. I work hard to provide for my family as well as producing fun content for my own products and those of my clients. By purchasing the NEW HOPE BUNDLE you will remove an immense amount of stress from my family and allow us to worry about important things such as my wife's ongoing health and our children's happiness.

Other Ways You Can Help
There are many ways you can help, if you get the bundle or not. Please take a moment and share the link to this bundle on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. There are buttons at the top to make this even easier. Post in groups, on forums, and tell your friends. Make a big deal about this bundle and the value of these products and how everyone can help a family of the gaming industry.

If you are publisher and want to contribute to the bundle, that is great as well, and will be very m! uch appreciated. Contact me and I'll give you the info to add your own products to the NEW HOPE BUNDLE.

There you go.  Pick this up, spend a little and get a lot. Click on the link to see what they have to offer.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Running the Classics

I don't consider myself to be one of those GMs/Players with "Gammer ADHD".  I like to make a plan and stick with it.  My BIG PLAN for some time now has been to run my kids through all the classic D&D modules in some form or another.

I have detailed my attempts here and here. Since that time we have gotten new reprints from WotC and the DNDClassics PDF store opened up.  My kids also dropped 4e in favor of 1st Ed Ad&D.

So I have an embarrassment of riches here.  I have the systems, I have the modules and I even have the willing players.  What I lack is time to do it all.

I guess the only thing for it is to make the time. That and stop buying games.

In my kid's 3.x game we are going to do the Tomb of Horror and I'll talk about that one later.
In their 1st ed game they are still investigating the Caves of Chaos.  After that that we are doing T1 and L1 before moving on to the A series, to eventually do the GDQ series.  I'll work other classics in there where they fit.

Here is my plan so far.

  • B1 In Search of the Unknown, levels 1-3 (played at Gen Con 2012)
  • B2 Keep on the Borderlands, levels 1-3
  • T1 Village of Hommlet, Intro-levels
  • L1 The Secret of Bone Hill, levels 2-4
  • A0 to A4, levels 4-7
  • A5, The Last Slave Lord, levels 5-9
  • G123, levels 8-12
  • D12, levels 9-14
  • D3, levels 10-14
  • Q1, levels 10-14

The trouble is that living in a post-Drow world the impact of GDQ is just not the same unless I make them very different.
Also while Queen of the Demon web pits is fun, it lacks the final confrontation that I would like to do with a "big bad".  Plus I'd like to go to 20th level.

I could scale everything up a little and stick I1, Dwellers of the Forbidden City in there before the A series.
Other candidates are X2 (I already took them through X1), C1 and C2.

That would round out the classics really.  Here is how they stack;

  • X2 Castle Amber, levels 3-6 (after L1)
  • I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City, levels 4-7 (after A but before G)
  • C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan, levels 5-7 (after A but before G)
  • C2 The Ghost Tower of Inverness, levels 5-7 (after A but before G)

Not to bad really.
It's not too difficult to turn the GDQ series up anyway, but are the drow and Lolth interesting enough?
Since this is the "NextGen" game after my 3.x one maybe Lolth is taking some revenge for her ally Tiamat, or moving into the recently vacated "most evil goddess" role.

While I don't need it a huge Lolth figure would be nice.

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