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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

Games

RPG Lessons from Cloverfield

by Ken Newquist / August 27, 2012

 CloverfieldI've played in a few RPG sessions, mostly one-shots, involving giant rampaging monsters. They've been disappointing because they focus on killing the monster, which reduces this huge lumbering horror to litte more than a 40-story sack of hit points.

At the opposite extreme are monsters who can't be defeated (and I'll admit to unleashing one of these in my campaign; a CR 35 horror that destroyed the city of Stoneheim in the World of Greyhawk). Those can be equally disappointing for players because characters (especially high level ones) think they can defeat anything.

Then again, maybe that's missing the point.

Fantasy Flight Games Announces Star Wars RPG, Launches Beta

by Ken Newquist / August 23, 2012

 Edge of the EmpireA year after announcing they secured the licence, Fantasy Flight Games released details on their upcoming Star Wars Role-Playing Game and launched a beta test.

There's not much in the way of details about how the game is played. Based on the beta FAQ, it apparently uses custom dice like Warhammer Fantasty; the beta book apparently includes stickers you can put on your own polyhedral dice to emulate the final dice.

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.

Delta Green available in PDF, Print on Demand

by Ken Newquist / August 20, 2012

 Delta GreenDelta Green, the 1990s era game of espionage, intrigue, and cyclopian madness, is available in PDF and print-on-demand formats from DriveThru RPG. Released by by Pagan Publishing, the new high-quality PDFs scans of the original books. So far the sourcebooks Delta Green and Delta Green: Countdown and Delta Green have been released. Two short fiction anthologies, Alien Intelligence and Dark Theatres, are also available.

This is great news. Although it's dated now, Delta Green remains a fantastic read, and it perfectly captures the conspiratorial/millennial anxiety that was so common in the late 1990s. The books have long been out of print, and at times have been hard to find, so it's good to seem them back in print (or something resembling print)

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.

Munchkin Level Counter

by Ken Newquist / August 15, 2012

 Munchkin CounterAt its heart, Steve Jackson’s Munchkin is a simple game. Players assume the role of adventurers hacking, slashing, and looting their way through a dungeon, fighting monsters (and often each other) on a quest to reach level 10.

These power-hungry munchkins can play all manner of cards to help them, including weapons, armor and other magic items, as well as special species and class cards. It’s simple … but often devilishly hard to track. The Munchkin Level Counter app ($4.99, Steve Jackson Games) adds to the complexity, but also brings some new tools for managing it.

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