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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

MEPACon Fall 2010 Events: Star Wars, Ragnarok, and Pathfinder

by Ken Newquist / October 7, 2010

My events for MEPACon Fall 2010 are up and ready for registration on Warhorn. The convention is being held Friday, 11/12 through Sunday, 11/14 at the Ramada Clarks Summit in Clarks Summit, PA. I'll be running three events -- "Catch and Release" (Star Wars: Saga Edition), "The Champions of New York" (The Day After Ragnarok), and "The Rise of the Ur-Flan".

Looking for Science Fiction RPG Web Sites

by Ken Newquist / October 5, 2010

I'm looking at doing a Knights of the Dinner Table column on blogs, wikis and other sites dedicated to science fiction role-playing games. Of course this is a bit self serving, as I'm currently running two science fiction games (Star Wars: Saga Edition and The Day After Ragnarok) but it's a niche that could use some attention. The sites don't need to be exclusively science fiction, but some significant portion of their content should deal with the genre.

Keep in mind that I've done columns on Rogue Trader, Star Wars: Saga Edition, Gamma World, and Star Frontiers in the last year so I'm less likely to write about sites that deal with those games.

Here's what I have so far.

Gnome Stew's Eureka Offers a Multiverse of Plot Lines

by Ken Newquist / September 27, 2010

 EurekaAs a thirty-something game master, I find myself torn. As a storyteller I love hand-crafting plots and storylines for my weekly role-playing game sessions. But as a husband and dad with a full-time job, extracurricular activities, and household chores to deal with, finding the time to tell those stories is challenge.

My Three-Page Manifesto helps keep my prep times reasonable, but I can still find myself scrambling for ideas the night before the game. That's why I've found the mini adventures in Star Wars: Scum and Villainy and the random adventure creation tables in The Day After Ragnarok so useful, and why I was happy to see Gnome Stew's Eureka: 501 Adventure Plots to Inspire Game Masters arrive in my inbox.

Star Wars: Scum and Villainy

by Ken Newquist / September 26, 2010

Scum and Villainy is an essential source book for those running a Star Wars: Saga Edition game on the fringes of galactic society, whether that’s trolling for would-be passengers in a Mos Eisley cantina, smuggling spice out of Kessel, or engaging in piracy against the Galactic Empire.

The book does for crime what the earlier Starships of the Galaxy did for starships and space combat, providing scoundrels, bounty hunters and outright criminals with a host of new game rules and options for running a campaign that interacts with the galaxy’s dark underbelly.

The Lunchtime Game Master's Toolkit

by Ken Newquist / September 21, 2010

 RPG Blog CarnivalWhen some co-workers and I decided to try our hand at a lunch-time role-playing campaign, I knew that game prep was going to be critical to making it work. But not the sort of game prep I normally did; this was all about the physical game prep.

We're playing The Day After Ragnarok using the Savage Worlds rules, and thanks to Ken Hite's numerous adventure generation tables, the scenarios practically write themselves. No, the part the essential part of making this campaign work was making sure I knew where my towel was.

Dice. Initiative cards. A battle map. Miniatures. I have all of this stuff in my game room ... but we're not playing there. We're in an under-ventilated, odd-smelling basement conference room whose only virtues are privacy, a table, and a dry erase board.

Harrowing Halls: Taking Dungeon Tiles to the 3rd Dimension

by Ken Newquist / August 31, 2010

 Harrowing HallsHarrowing Halls is a Dungeon Tiles set for Dungeons & Dragons that takes the long-running line to new heights. That's because they're not just dungeon tiles ... they're three dimensional dungeon tiles that can be used to build a staircase, raised platforms, tables, and pedastals, all of which player characters can jump on, leap off of and generally use to their advantage.

It makes a big difference on many fronts, starting with prep time. I got a review copy of Harrowing Halls a few months ago, but since I run a weekly Star Wars game I haven't had much call for a rustic hall/dungeon. That changed when I decided to run an epic showdown with a Jedi master in a temple on a stormwracked backwater world.

Star Wars RPG Round Up: Pop Culture, Campaign Planning, Starships, WotC archive

by Ken Newquist / August 29, 2010

My Star Wars: Saga Edition game has hit the summer doldrums, as our Friday sessions fall victim to August vacations, Musikfest, and back-to-school crush. We're about three-quarters of the way through our Mandalorian Interlude story arc (in which we're all playing Mandos in the opening days of the Mandalorian War), and while it's been fun, we're looking forward to getting back to our regular characters. Thanksfully, the rest of the net is keeping the Saga Edition fires burning during our downtime.

Star Wars: The Storm Dragons of Tarl

by Ken Newquist / July 28, 2010

The storm dragons are magnificent creatures hunt the hurricanes of the storm world of Tarl. The Outer Rim planet's binary stars provide a constant source of energy for its moisture rich atmosphere, giving rise to an unending series of cyclones. The dragons constantly ride these storms, hunting the great airbag herbivores that dwell in storms' eyes and battling each other for arial supremacy.

Predator: 1980s military adventurism meets alien horror

by Ken Newquist / July 27, 2010

 PredatorPredator starts off as a standard 1980s-style military adventure film, not unlike Swartzenager's own Commando. It's got the bad-ass elite soliders (led by Arnold's own Dutch), a bombastic soundtrack, and a pitched firefight with guerillas.

But in between the bouts of testosterone, there's tension. Our troops realize something isn't quite right -- but is it in the mission (fouled by their CIA contact) or something else?

Of course, we know it's something else ... something extraterrestrial, given that an alien spacecraft was dropped to earth by an alien starship just before the opening credits. But as to the nature of their alien adversary, that's a mystery that's revealed ever so slowly.