The first iPad showed up at my gaming table two weeks ago, and I have to say -- it was pretty damn cool. It's got a bright, clean screen, and while my friend didn't have a native PDF viewer on the device, I can definitely see the potential there. Comic books looked beautiful, and surfing with it was a breeze. That said, not everyone's sold on the iPad, and I haven't seen any reviews of it up on RPG blogs -- if you've done one, please let me now in the comments.
That said, there are other tablet computers out there, and Chaos Crenade looks at one with A Tabletop Gamer Look: ASUS T91 Tablet PC. It's a netbook-style computer running Windows XP, and the reviewer takes a look at how well common RPG tooks like the D&D Character Builder and Hero Lab work on the device.
Wizards of the Coast has been busy with D&D 4E since the last time I did a reviews round up. The first of the big 2010 releases is Player's Handbook 3, which includes the bedrock psionics character classes needed to power the Dark Sun Campaign Setting being released in August. Critical Hits reviewed the book and liked what they saw. This lengthy review offers an overview (and thoughts on) all of the new races, classes and skill powers.
Wizards of the Coast's Star Wars license expires in May, and their web site is going away in August, so they're posting as much of their unpublished content as possible to the web. There's so much, in fact, that I can't include it all in one round up -- look for another edition later this month.
My review of Scavenger’s Guide to Droids is up on GameCryer.com. Scavenger’s Guide to Droids is the definitive droid sourcebook for Star Wars: Saga Edition, introducing a new chassis-based system for creating droids, a new streamlined "protocol" format that lets players run droids as equipment rather than NPCs, new droid manufacturing traits and personality quirks and a 96-page codex containing dozens of droids.
The Six-Shooters & Spaceships sourcebook for the Serenity RPG provides plenty of what a body needs to stay alive in Joss Whedon’s space western universe: weapons, equipment and spaceships. My review of the book is up on GameCryer.com.
Paizo Publishing is launching a fiction line to support the Pathfinder RPG and Pathfinder Campaign Setting. TSR/Wizards of the Coast had good luck with this strategy, and it only makes sense that Paizo would give it a try.
The first two books on the schedule are:
Fantasy Flight Games has announced the Deathwatch Role-Playing Game, the much-anticipated third core rule book for Warhammer 40k. Players take on the role of Deathwatch Marines fighting a desperate war to restore Imperial oversight of the Jericho Reach. Space Marines are one of the most iconic aspects of the 40K universe, and I know a lot of people have been eager to get their hands on this sort of source book.
The redesigned version of the Griffin's Crier, my gaming group's web site, is now up and running -- you can check it out at www.griffcrier.com. The GriffCrier has been around for more than a decade; our Blackrazor Guild gaming group first launched the site in 1998 as an archive for our World of Greyhawk campaign. Over time, our gaming group's evolved and added new web apps -- we now have a dedicated forum for in and out of game conversations, the archival D&D content has been moved to a Greyhawk wiki, and we've spawned several additional blogs and wikis in support of the other RPGs we play
Over time, the role of the Griffin's Crier diminished, and it was time to bring it back. Four of us are blogging now, and even more are using Twitter. We've got two campaign blogs and two corresponding wikis, all of which are producing RSS. In recent years, the home page of the Crier had been static as content was updated elsewhere; I wanted to change that by pulling in headlines from across the Blackrazor blogosphere.
Ever since Chewbacca defeated R2-D2 in holochess, geeks have wanted a virtual table top for their games. Things have taken a major step in that direction with SurfaceScapes, a proof-of-concept app for Microsoft surface created by students at Carnegie Mellon University. It's based on the D&D 4th Edition rules, and those who've seen it are suitably impressed:
- blog.seattlepi.com: Dungeons & Dragons, Microsoft Surface are a match made in Blackmoor
- KoboldQuarterly.com: The Perfect Table: A Return to D&D SurfaceScapes
For those who haven't seen it before, Microsoft Surface is a sort of digital coffee table; it's got a large, flat touch sensitive screen (kind of like an upsized and hard-to-move iPhone. SurfaceScapes puts an interactive map on the Surface, which you can interact with by moving around specially designed miniatures. All of the rules you need to run the game (e.g. movement, powers, etc.) are built into the game, and you can interact with your character through a handheld device (e.g. an iPod touch or smart phone).
The Gamer Traveler has posted a round up of the "Games & Travel" blog carnival from January 2010. This was a cool topic, and one I wish I'd taken the time to participate in (perhaps I will, retroactively).
While I think many campaigns tend to hand-wave away travel (perhaps after one too many random wilderness encounters during their Advanced Dungeons & Dragons days) it can make for some great adventures. Heck, one of our most memorable Star Wars campaign arcs involved our heroes bouncing out of hyperspace into a proto-star nebula. They barely escaped the nebula with their lives, the ship's outer hull having been melted into what we're now calling "star forged armor".