Posts relating to role-playing games.
The first role-playing game I ever played was Dungeons & Dragons. The second was Star Frontiers. Saying I "played" Star Frontiers is something of a stretch; I game mastered one or two sessions in 8th grade and that was pretty much it. Except … it was much more than that. Star Frontiers grabbed the world-building part of my brain, and wouldn't let go. I created the Starrior star system, and populated it with the benevolent megacorp known as Astro Mining & Freighting (or simply AMF). I detailed the vast starfleets of the United Planetary Federation and the smaller – yet still formidable – Starrior Milita.
I filled a three-ring binder background information, fleet configurations, and star maps that depicted the growing Starrior Republic which – looking back – was a sort of proto free market republic dedicated to fighting the threats that the UPF was too cowardly to engage (namely the vile Sathar invaders).
The first DC Comics book, DC ADVENTURES drops in August 2010. Three subsequent books detailing heroes and villains will be released later this year and in 2011. Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition will use the same ruleset, and be released in Fall 2011.
At the same time Savage Worlds Super Powers Companion is now available in print (it had been out in PDF earlier this year).
I love Savage Worlds. Half of the guys in my group love Savage Worlds. But part of what keeps the other half from jumping on board, at least for a fantasy campaign, is the lack of a Vancian magic system (aka the "fire and forget" memorization system from Jack Vance's Dying Earth series and popularized in Dungeons & Dragons). I know that many Savage Worlds fans see this as a feature rather than a bug, but it's a concern with the Blackrazors, who have 12+ years of D&D 2E/3E under their belts.
So what would a Vancian magic system look like in Savage Worlds? There are two key elements to a Vancian system: discovery and flexibility. Discovery comes from being able to find spells in scrolls and spellbooks, and add them to your own growing library. Flexibility comes from being able to pick the right spell for the right job, and not being locked down to a pre-determined power suite.
Recreating a Vancian system in Savage Worlds requires you to retain these discovery and flexibility while still working with its default power point system. Here's my take on it.
Dark Sun, the grim, post-apocalyptic fantasy setting for Dungeons & Dragons is re-launching this summer for D&D 4E. In honor of that, I'm writing my next "Summon WebScryer" column for Knights of the Dinner Table about Dark Sun ... but I need your help.
I need web sites dedicated to the setting. I've found a bunch, but I'd like more, particularly ones dealing with the intersections of D&D 4E, psionics and Dark Sun. Old school D&D sites are also welcome of course, but obviously 4E ones are a bit more timely.
The cornucopia of Star Wars: Saga Edition content continues this week with a 5-part series from Wizards of the Coast about "Mythmaking in Star Wars", which talks about adapting Joseph Campbell's monomyth theories to role-playing games. They've also go two new ships detailed in "Message to Spaces": Crusader-class Corvette and the Heraklon-class Transport.
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.
When we were starting our Star Wars campaign and were kicking around where we wanted it to fall within the Knights of the Old Republic timeline, we struck up on the idea of the Mandalorian Interlude.
We knew we want to start the campaign in the Restoration Period -- a relatively quiet, calm time after the Great Sith Wars -- but at some point we'd enter the Mandalorian Wars, followed by the Jedi Civil War.
What we didn't want to do was slog through every era. The idea was to skip the campaign forward every few levels, allowing us to hit the high points of each era, but not get bogged down in none of them. At the same time though, we thought simply skipping forward 3-4 levels and five years would feel disjointed without some sort of transition.
Enter the Mandalorian Interlude.
For 6-8 self-contained adventures we're going to trade in our regular characters for Mandalorians from Clan Olan. They're old school, individualist Mandalorians who aren't sure what to make of the neocrusaders who are trying to establish order and conformity throughout the clans. The interlude gets everyone -- casual and diehard Star Wars fans -- up to speed on the Mandalorians and their culture while simultaneously showing everyone exactly what it is the Mandos are fighting for.
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.
For decades Dungeons & Dragons players have wanted the ability to play as a dragon. Any DM worth his screen knew that it was a bad idea to give a player that kind of power. Dragons were monsters after all. So other alternatives were created. The half-dragon, the dragon blooded, even the sorcerer class was set up so you could tie yourself to a draconic ancestor. So when 4th edition rolled around the developers decided to make a draconic race. What they came up with was the Dragonborn.