Red Wasp Designs' The Wasted Land takes Call of Cthulhu to the iPad and iPhone, transforming RPG horror into a turn-based squad game that seeks to prevent a German mythos cult from unleashing an army of undead during World War I.
The game unfolds in the No Man's Land between the Allied and German fronts during The Great War. A team of British soldiers, led by the mystic scholar Brightmeer discover that someone is re-animating the dead. It's a classic Call of Cthulhu storyline, ripped form the pages of H.P. Lovecraft's own "Herbert West: Reanimator", with classic CoC rules.
Skills are a hot button subject for my gaming group. Most of the guys in my group loved D&D 3.x's approach to skills, which allowed a high degree of granularity and focus in such mundane concerns as crafting and professions. When the D&D 4th Edition dismissed Craft and Profession as un-fun skills, half our group saw red. They still fume about that given time. Others liked 4th Edition's condensed skill list, and focus on adventuring applications over crafting arrows or performing songs.
Naturally D&D Next is concerned about skills, and based on a recent blog post they are clearly looking to retain the customization options that 3.x offers, while making things more streamlined. First, they're talking about making a lot of your day to day "skill checks" using the ability scores. So instead of making a "Climb check", you'd presumably make a Strength check. Second, they also explicitly state they want to retain true skills so that they have a meaningful impact on the game and allow the sort of customization that we saw in 3E (and to a certain extent, 4E).
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.
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.
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.
The Blackrazors’ annual holiday hiatus will come to an end in a hail of laser fire and missile explosions as we play A Call to Arms: Noble Armada. The Fading Suns-themed successor to Mongoose Publishing’s Babylon 5: A Call to Arms starship battle is fast, fun and often brutal.
It faithfully recreates Wrath of Khan-style slugfests between ships of the line, with the initial weathering of the ship’s shields and hull, and then punch through into critical systems. We’ve had fun in our first three playtests, and I expect more of the same tonight.
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.
In hindsight, we played Dungeons & Dragons for too long. Our World of Greyhawk campaign lasted 12 years, included dozens of characters, hundreds of plots, and forays into Castle Greyhawk, the Temple of Elemental Evil and our own homegrown creations.