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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

Thoughts on a One-Hour D&D Game

by Ken Newquist / March 22, 2012

Mike Mearls talks about the concept of a one-hour D&D game in his latest Legends & Lore post. The goal here isn't to boil all D&D games down to 1-hour, but rather to benchmark what you can actually do in an hour. No doubt inspired by his lunchtime D&D sessions, Mearls envisions a game in which you can get in a role-playing encounter, a few quick encounters with traps and/or enemies, and a boss fight.

NukemCon 2012: Lessons from a homegrown convention

by Ken Newquist / March 18, 2012

The Blackrazor Guild held its semi-annual homegrown convention in late February 2012. About 18 people attended NukemCon 2012, some long-time members of the gaming group, others friends who join us from time to time.

NukemCons have become a standard part of our gaming group; we first started holding them because we missed our annual pilgrimages to GenCon. We missed being able to hangout, talk, and have a few beers while throwing dice. NukemCon solved that problem.

What I want from D&D Next

by Ken Newquist / January 22, 2012

Wizards of the Coast has announced D&D Next, the successor to D&D 4th Edition aimed squarely at unifying the game's fractured fan base. My gaming group is practically a case study for 5th Edition -- we played 2nd Edition, 3rd Edition (both flavors), and 4th Edition, but finally gave up on the game when the group couldn't agree on which version to play. 60% of the group wanted to play D&D 3x or the Pathfinder Beta, 40% wanted to play D&D 4th Edition. We split the difference and played Star Wars: Saga Edition, which addressed many of our issues with both systems, and gave us a much needed break from the fantasy genre.

We've since returned to fantasy ... but not D&D. Instead we're playing the Pathfinder RPG and Paizo's Second Darkness adventure path. I can't speculate on what it would take to bring the Blackrazor Guild back to D&D -- we simply haven't talked about it enough -- but I know that I am looking for.

Game Day: Second Darkness

by Ken Newquist / October 16, 2011

I did something I've never done before in September: I kicked off someone else's campaign. Ok, technically it's still my campaign, but material belongs to Pazio. The campaign is the Second Darkness adventure path, and if all goes according to plan, it will see our seven freshly-minted heroes face the ancient hidden evil of the drow in an attempt to save the world from a second apocalypse.

I've been running my own campaigns -- for D&D, Star Wars, and Savage Worlds -- for 15 years. Over that time I've made liberal use of material from a variety of source books, including more than a few one-shot adventures, but by and large I was the one writing each week's episode. It was fun ... but it was also tremendously time consuming.

When the time game to launch a new campaign, Paizo's Pathfinder Role-Playing Game was an obvious choice. It preserved the strain of Dungeons & Dragons that my gaming group preferred, and enhanced it just enough to get rid of the things that had been driving us crazy in the 3.x branch. But the challenge with Pathfinder is that it's a crunchy, rules heavy game. When we ran Star Wars, I could easily knock out non-player characters in a night, but going with Pathfinder meant a return to magic and all its inherent complexity.

Game Day: The Saga Ends

by Ken Newquist / August 28, 2011

Cover: Star Wars: Saga Edition Core RulebookAfter 47 chapters, 10 episodes, and 2.5 years, our Star Wars: Shadows of the Force campaign has come to an end. What started with a fight against pirates on the jungle world of Zebulon Prime ended with against grey market salvagers in the depths of a planetary nebula. In between we saw the rise of Binary Transports, the promotion of three Jedi Knights, the training of two padawans, the discovery of an alien holocron , and numerous battles against the Force knowledge cult known as the Sith Ascendancy.

But the campaign was about far more than numbers. Along the way we changed how we play RPGs, incorporating narrative mechanics like skill challenges that created truly exceptional, truly memorable encounters, including hot-wiring a speeder while fending off high plains lizards and bouncing a starship through a proto-star nebula. We also told some really cool stories, including the adoption of a young Force sensitive Twi’lik and his training as a padawan, the epic battle with the fleet of the pirate lord Ral Duris, and lightsaber duels amid alien ruins in the sunward desert of Ryloth.

Searching for Mac RPG Tools

by Ken Newquist / July 24, 2011

I'm in the progress of updating Nuketown's Mac Role-Playing Game Tools page, which has developed an embarassing case of bitrot.

Unfortunately some of the more stalwart tools, like Crystal Ball, as well as one-offs like the Town Creator and D&D Manager, are no longer available, and their sites have gone to the Great Bit Bucket in the Sky. Still others, like Dunjinni, no longer work with under Mac OS Lion and don't seem likely to be updated any time soon.

Savage Worlds Deluxe on sale at DriveThru RPG

by Ken Newquist / July 5, 2011

 Savage Worlds Explorers EditionSavage Worlds Deluxe, a hardcover version of the Savage Worlds core rules, is available as a PDF through DriveThruRPG.com. It's being pitched as a sort of special edition of the rules that expands upon, but doesn't invalidate, what came before. This version adds new setting-specific options, rules for social conflict, better and expanded examples, new artwork, and rules commentary from the creators.

I'm looking forward to the new book. I love the Explorers Edition's sleek digest format, which launched a Savage Worlds renaissance in my gaming group, but there are aspects of the rules (movement, rate of fire, vehicle chases) that I'd appreciate some elaboration on.

Tablets at the Table, 2011 Edition

by Ken Newquist / May 31, 2011

When the iPad hit a little over a year ago, there was a flurry of posts in RPG circles about tablet gaming. Since then we haven’t seen a lot of talk about them – I’m not sure if folks grew bored with the topic, or if they’ve now become so common place that they’re not worth commenting on any more.

Star Wars Roundup: New Starships, Threat Detected Podcast, Battlestations

by Ken Newquist / May 9, 2011

For years, Order 66 was the only Star Wars: Saga Edition podcast. Now there are two, thanks to Threat Detected, a show dedicated to playing through the Dawn of Defiance campaign. In other Star Wars RPG news, Saga-Edition.com resumes publication with write-ups for the VCX-700 Heavy Courier and the HWK-290 while Dice of Doom tries out the RPG, and likes what they find.

Semi-Official Posts

The official Star Wars: Saga Edition web site is no more, but there are still the occasional posts by former Saga writers.

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