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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Role-Playing Games

Necessary Evil: Explorer's Edition

by Ken Newquist / August 22, 2012

 Explorer's EditionAliens. We always knew they were out there, ready to invade our planet, enslave the population and strip mine its resources. But we also knew that if they should try it, Earth’s greatest superheroes would rise up and save us.

We were wrong.

When the V’Sori came they slaughtered our super-powered defenders just as easily as they did our armies. Now our cities are conquered, our people are terrorized, and the job of saving the world has fallen to the most unlikely of people: Earth’s super villains.

Delve into action with Dragon Age Stunts

by Ken Newquist / August 21, 2012

 Dragon Age, Set 2The dwarven warrior D'klar Ironforge stood on the Deep Roads bridge eying the darkspawn before him. Spittle from the creature's mongrel face glistened in the reflected light of the lava far below. Covering its black-furred hide were the crudely-arranged castoffs of dwarven chain and planted, while its obsidian-clawed hands held a short sword wet with the blood of Ironforge's kin.

With a guttural shout, he charged the creature, bringing his battle axe down in a killing arc that sliced through the cracks in darkspawn's armor, cleaving its spine and sending it crumbling to the stone. The dwarf hefted the axe from the corpse and looked up. The rest of the darkspawn horde stood at the other end of the bridge. He grinned. "Who's next?"

Scenes like this one are something we love to recreate in fantasy pen-and-paper role-playing games. How you do it depends: it could be an improved critical feat in Pathfinder or an armor-piercing daily power in Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, or it could just be flavor text added afterwards. It works well enough, but the game mechanic geek in me finds the feat/power option too limiting. Sure, I want to bury my axe into the darkspawn scum … but when fighting a dragon, I just might rather hit and run instead of going toe-to-toe with the beast.

Exploring RPG Uses of Pinterest

by Ken Newquist / August 16, 2012

 Ragnarok at PinterestPinterest is a social bookmarking site for images: you find photographs, illustrations, or posters or other images that you like an "pin" them to a collection of boards. It's like dumping a stack of art catalogs onto your desk, cutting out the illustrations you like best, and then thumbtacking them to your bulletin board.

The site's popular with crafters, and when I was casting about for ideas for a recent "Summon WebScryer" column for Knights of the Dinner Table I decided to see if it could be used for gaming.

Star Wars Round Up: AGE of Rebellion, X-Wing Mini Game, new d20 rules

by Ken Newquist / August 14, 2012

It is a dark time for Star Wars role-playing games. There's no official role-playing game being released, and fan-generated content for older games is tapering off. Fortunately though the Order 66 podcast continues to pump out new content for Saga Edition, there's a new AGE-powered Rebellion Era playtest document, and an X-Wing miniatures game from Fantasy Flight Games.

Game Day: Walking the Adventure Path

by Ken Newquist / August 12, 2012

It's been a year and a half since we started Paizo's Second Darkness adventure path. The first two books -- The Shadow in the Sky and Children of the Void are done. The characters are 5th level and the third book -- The Armageddon Echo -- is on hold while they level up to the recommended 6th.

D&D Next: You had me at "Pelor"

by Ken Newquist / May 27, 2012

After braving the rings of fire, the digital quicksand, and the firewall of eternity, I managed to download a copy of the D&D Next playtest. Unpacking the zip file and looking over the files, I had to smile. There was the cleric of Pelor. And a cleric of Moradin. A high elf wizard. A dungeon called "Caves of Chaos".

A strong wave of nostalgia hit me, bringing with it memories of cracking open an ancient Red Boxed set and finding a module called "B2 Keep of the Borderlands" inside. A thousand memories of my Greyhawk campaign came rushing forward, carrying names like Kalib, Scrappy, Merwyn, Tanevier, Obsidian Bay and the Cult of Death Undying.

And all that was without opening the PDFs.

Get lost in a new reality with the Inner Sea World Guide

by Ken Newquist / May 22, 2012

 Inner Sea World GuideThe Inner Sea World Guide is Paizo's third iteration of its Golarion campaign guide. The first was released when D&D 3.5 was still Wizard of the Coast's flagship fantasy game; the second came with the release of Paizo's own 3.5-derived Pathfinder RPG. The latest iteration reflects the growing maturity of the Pathfinder product line. Within its pages players will find that redundant material – such as class write-ups now included in the Pathfinder core rulebook – removed in favor of extended write-ups on the world itself.

And what a world it is. While evoking spirit of World of Greyhawk, Golarion excels at tweaking standard fantasy formula. Within its pages – including 64 pages of new content – you'll find Cheliax, a kingdom that embraced devil worship in order to save its empire, as well as Galt, a country that threw off its imperial Cheliax masters and descended into a never-ending bloodthirsty revolution. There are the mountaintop citadels constructed after the dwarves completed their quest for the sky, and a frozen kingdom ruled by the daughters of Baba Yaga. It's a setting that feels familiar and new at the same time, and like Pathfinder itself, it's a worthy successor to the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons.

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