Masks: 1,000 Memorable NPCs for Any Roleplaying Game is a fire hose of inspiration aimed directly at your brain. It's a massive collection of non-player characters for the fantasy, science fiction, and modern genres designed to make the game master's life easier.
When it comes to operating systems, I'm not an early adopter. Part of this is work -- our support for the most recent Mac operating system tends to lag a few months behind the official release as we wait for software and network partners to replace upgrades that run with the OS. I'm also gun shy when it comes to upgrading my core operating system; when I have things working the last thing I want to do is break it.
My "Lunchtime After Ragnarok" campaign has resumed after a too-long hiatus. We had to hit pause for a variety of reasons ranging from too-busy work schedules to the birth of a baby, but as summer wound down we down we finally got back to the table. As before we're playing over lunch in Kenneth Hite's The Day After Ragnarok campaign setting using the Savage Worlds rules. We usually get in 1-2 games a week, each lasting 45-60 minutes.
It's the little things that kill you. Most of the broad strokes of the Nuketown Redesign are done: I have template for pages, nodes, microcontent, and blocks, and the site renders under the new theme without any major errors. Since last month my work has focused on building out the nooks and cranies of the theme. It's stuff like block headers, the "read more" links, and sidebar bulleted lists.
In short, the little stuff ... and it's time consuming. Each component takes about two hours to knock out (though in the case of captions for images that's more like 8 hours ... and I'm still not done) as I tweak css and tweak template files. It is satisfying, in that each small piece that I complete brings its own sense of accomplishment but man, there are a lot of pieces.
I was distracted from my theming adventures by needing to re-jigger how Nuketown 7 handles Twitter updates but that landed in a good place.
One of my goals for the Nuketown 7 redesign project was to tightly integrate social media options into it. In particular I wanted to be able to capture all of that microcontent -- the quick movie and book reviews, the game news, the retweets -- that the site currently misses and incorporate it into the design. The key here isn't that I'm simply trying to post tweets about new articles; I want to make microcontent an integral part of the site.
To do that the tweets needed to be captured as nodes, which would then allow me to manipulate and display them however I see fit. I accomplished this by creating a "microcontent" content type and then setting up the Feeds module to import tweets from my NuketownSF account via RSS.
Naturally once I got this working Twitter deprecated RSS feeds. As of March 2013, you'll no longer be able to use them ... and Nuketown's microcontent import would cease to function.
Fortunately I have a Plan B: the Twitter module. When I started building out Nuketown7 I'd considered using this module, but it had two drawbacks:
One of the good things about Dungeons & Dragons next-generation inspired publishing hiatus is that it gives other games a chance to shine. While I doubt gamers are suddenly diverting all of their D&D 4th Edition buying power toward other games, I do hope (and anecdotally this seems to be the case) that it gives folks a chance to try something new.
One of those new thing's that's generated a fair amount of buzz has been Margaret Weis Production's Marvel Heroic Role-Playing, which is a Cortex-infused take on the superhero genere. I bought the core rulebook early in the summer and paged through it. Based on that initial glance, I liked what I saw, particularly with how it handled the superhero tropes of particularly solo vs. duo vs. team match-ups, but I give it a more through read-through.
The Unknown Regions is the final sourcebook for Wizards of the Coast's Star Wars: Saga Edition Role-Playing Game. The book serves as a placeholder for all the books left unpublished, and promises to carry players to the unexplored corners of the Star Wars galaxy. It does this by venturing into The Unknown Regions to explore what fans know -- the Chiss, the Rakata and the Sorcerers of Rhand -- and plenty that they don't.
The Unknown Regions details eight worlds created just for the book, introduces a planet generator that game masters can use to make their own, and debuts creature generation rules to populate them. Since Scouts are essential to exploring these brave new worlds, they get a variety of feats and talents, and because no final frontier should be without its dangerous challenges, the book re-envisions "Hazards" as Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition-style threats that require a combination of brawn and skill to defeat. The end result is a tool kit that gives players everything they need to continue their adventures beyond the last book in the Star Wars Saga Editions line.
I backed the Numenera Kickstarter today after I had a moment of panic over breakfast that I'd missed the deadline. The kickstarter for Monte Cook's far-future science fantasy role-playing game has four days left to go, and has hit the amazing total of $338,450.
That's just ... huge. The kickstarter has broken all of Monte's stretch goals and yielded an impressive line up of game materials. You can read about them on his web site. Of course, the question now becomes ... can he deliver? Given his track record with Dungeons & Dragons, Arcana Unearthed, and Malhavoc Press in general, I'm confident he will. Or at least, I'm confident in the print materials. I'm not so sure about the character creator; that strikes me as being more complicated than he might originally have anticipated (just look at how long for D&D to get a worthwhile character creator).
In the real world, our gaming group's seen numerous weddings (and will see yet another this fall), but in the game world our heroes never got hitched. Until tonight.
Ultima IV is one of my favorite computer games. Released in 1985, it was the first computer RPG that I truly lost myself in, spending hour upon hour chronicling its expansive world. The setup of the game -- that you're an every day person drawn into the world of Britannia, and set on series of virtuous quests -- remains unique to this day, but what really got me was the multi-character parties. At a time when I was in love with Dungeons & Dragons, Ultima IV let me assemble a party of warriors, wizards, rogues, and tinkers and then use them to explore dungeons, towns, and ultimately the Abyss.
And now it's returning. Not the Ultima I knew -- I doubt many would want to play a game with its cutting edge 1985 graphics -- but a new game inspired Ultima IV's DNA called Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar. CNN has an article explaining the new game, which is based on a free-to-play model for PCs and iPad.