News from Around the Net: 20-MAY-2011

Yes! It’s Friday finally… I’m excited about this weekend and the city-wide gaming event I’m going to try and cover for GKR. I may include some pics, some video, and some text, but I’m not quite sure how it will ferment by the time it gets posted next week. It’ll be an adventure.

That said, let’s dive into the week’s mix of news, gaming articles, and food for thought!

  • Amazing cartographer Jonathan Roberts has illustrated why he’s one of the best again with his map of the City of Redwall. Absolutely beautiful, but practical as well showing not only the city buildings and districts, but as he puts it the “sense of order of the city.”
  • In recent months, there’s been quite a bit of discussion about “living documents” vs. dead ones as far as products that don’t stop at release, but continue to have additions/clarifications that are released to customers in the future. This week saw Chris at 6d6 announce his own Living Documents project and Da’vane at DVOID Systems talking about D-Jumpers the RPG. This is a definite win for the consumer, who never has to wonder if they have the most recent/updated/best copy of a particular book!
  • As a fan of Warrior, Rogue & Mage from Stargazer Games, I’m always excited to see other gamers converted to the cause of rules-light gaming with the system. Ronin78 over at Gaming Ronin recently discovered WR&M and offered a great review of the game.
  • Over at the NewbieDM blog this week, newbie has posted a great introduction to the D&D Bookshelf for new players. With all the books coming out, it’s tough to tell where to start, so this kind of resource is spot on for gamers to get going with confidence.
  • I know that “Enter the Dragon” – a short D&D documentary at Vimeo – has been getting a lot of press lately. We as gamers often are shunned, so it’s nice to see something positive come out. (See Corvus’ article about negative gamer stereotypes for a good summary of the problem of negative press as well as the way we in the hobby perpetuate the stereotypes as well…) Though I appreciate the positive message, I still have some issues with this which I’ll have to rant about in a Gassy Gnoll column at some point…
  • Stone statues (Moai) on Easter Island

    Image via Wikipedia

    In today’s “strange but compelling monster” category we have an article from Beedo over at Dreams in the Lich House about some interesting carved heads… These creepy things hit me like the Moai on Easter Island. Big stone heads looking out to sea. In Beedo’s case, his “Watchers” might try to kill a PC in one of a few ways (impalement is ugly!)… Check it out. The art from Felt really sells these alien statues.

  • Also on the monster front, Mike at Campaign Mastery mulls over how to design monsters more effectively in “Some Musing on the Design of Monsters.” It’s hard to argue with the fact that we need a better, more consistent way to describe monsters these days. I’d even go so far as saying it would be nice to have a generic monster description that could be converted to any of a number of systems easily.
  • I’ve been chatting off and on with Pixel Scum over at the Stargazer Games IRC room quite a bit over the last few weeks and he definitely has an interesting perspective on gaming. He recently wrote a cool article about GM and player psychology that is definitely worth pondering at Sandwich Palsy and RPGs
  • Robin D. Laws always offers good food for thought as well. This week he mused about three types of heroes in games… Iconic, Dramatic, and Picaresque. I have to admit I’d never quite thought of PC heroes in those terms before, so it was enlightening!
  • Holy warriors. Paladins. Usually they have a “holier than thou” mindset simply because they are more holy than you are. Unfortunately that doesn’t reduce the ego quotient. Anyway, John Laviolette at The Nine and Thirty Kingdoms proposes to revamp the Paladin class a bit by taking away cleric spells. And honestly I think, aside from the occasional miracle, paladins are merely fighters with strong belief in a cause – so why not revamp them a bit?
  • Dungeon crawls. Love ’em or hate ’em, they’re a part of the classic fantasy RPG. Matthew J. Neagley over at Gnome Stew suggests some ways to reduce your prep time for the classic dungeon crawl, building on DNAPhil’s article about prep-light maps. GMs never have enough time, so tips like these may save you some sanity!
  • Connie Thomson at Geek’s Dream Girl offers some great suggestions on when to ignore the rules. As a beginning GM or player, sometimes this is a tough thing to learn. But the rules are there to be learned and broken when necessary. As Connie says in the article “Go with what works. Forget what doesn’t.”
  • GenCon is just around the corner this August in Indianapolis. New hosts Daniel M. Perez and Rich Rogers will be joining founder Ryan Macklin this year on the “This Just In… From Gen Con!” podcast produced live in Indy. Congrats guys and good luck! Since I won’t be attending, I’ll have to be there vicariously through the podcast this year!
  • In publisher news, Erin D. Smale announced this week the 5th printing of Chimera Basic. A hearty congrats to Erin on another big release!
  • Palladium Books’ new website is live this week and they’re chugging right along working on new Palladium content! The great redesign goes along with all the terrific art and books from Kevin Siembada and his crew! Their weekly update provides details on the website and continued development efforts on Rifts Vampire Kingdoms and other upcoming products.
  • Also announced this week was Catalyst Games’ release of Spy Games! It’s great seeing new content for Shadowrun – especially when it pertains to the “Treaty of Denver!”
  • In the “food for thought” category, if you’re looking for inspiration from old books, it’s tough not to love that Google Books has been scanning more and more of them. There are some gorgeous scans of books from the 16th and 17th centuries available now for your perusal. It’s amazing to see the works of early printing presses re-emerge into the light of the technological age. What would Gutenberg think?

What did I miss? Do you have a link I should include? Drop me a line at the GKR Contact page and let me know!

Have a great weekend!!

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8 comments to News from Around the Net: 20-MAY-2011

  • Thanks a lot for the compliments! The Redwall map has been crazy popular, and I just want to mention it was created for the stormpunk Pathfinder setting of Rhune: Dawn of Twilight. If you like the city map, you’re going to love some of the art that’s coming from that world.

    Great review of the week’s gaming news. Now I have some reading to get through!

    • Fitz

      @Jon Roberts – You bet! It’s fun to compile lists of news from the RPG world… And I love maps though I have no art talent at all. But I can appreciate it in those who do. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Wow… the gallery at the Rhune site is definitely very cool! Thanks for the link!

  • Hi Fitz,

    Thanks so much for the mention of Chimera Basic. Now that the foundation is stable, I’m building on it with a fantasy supplement. No dates yet, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoy Chimera Basic. Thanks again!

    • Fitz

      @Erin – No worries at all. Always happy to help and toot the horn for folks publishing games!! Would still love to review Chimera Basic at some point and am definitely interested in the fantasy variant when you get it ready.

  • Connie Thomson

    Thank you so much for the shout-out! I’m always thrilled to hear when someone enjoys my articles. ๐Ÿ˜€

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