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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

Geek Gazette for June/July 2007: Dragon/Dungeon Cancellation, Spider-man 3 Review, Mutant Epoch Preview

by Ken Newquist / May 15, 2007

The demise of Dragon and Dungeon magazines captures the front page of Geek Gazette's June/July edition as editor M. Scott editorializes on the wisdom of ditching print for an all-online edition … and charging for said edition. Also included in this edition are reviews of Spider-man 3 and Ghost Rider, a rundown of fan film web sites, a discussion of radio shows, a preview of the Mutant Epoch science fiction RPG, and thoughts on how to start your own hobby shop. Download the issue from the Geek Gazette home page.

The Troll Whisperer

by Ken Newquist / May 15, 2007

Cory Doctorow's posted some thoughts on how to deal with the trolls that inevitably show up in online forums and proceed to sow chaos, poison and discord among a previously happy community. It's partly in response to Tim O'Reilly's suggestion that we have an official "Bloggers Code of Conduct" establishing rules for posting comments to a site (such as no anonymous posting) designed to prevent trolls from getting a foothold.

197 lbs.: Breaking the 200 Barrier

by Ken Newquist / May 13, 2007

For the first time in years -- actually, probably a decade -- I weigh less than 200 lbs. I wish I could say some great feat of willpower brought me to this point, but it was more likely the nasty hacking cough and sinus infection that I've been fighting for the last two-to-three weeks that did the trick. As I've written before, I almost always lose weight when I'm sick as my appetite evaporates, and I've already upticked a few pounds from 195.

CNN: iPods can make pacemakers malfunction

by Ken Newquist / May 11, 2007

Hopefully I'll never have to worry about this, but older geeks out there might. A recent study of 100 people with pacemakers determined that iPods can generate electrical interference that can cause implantable pacemakers to malfunction, recording erroneous data and even stopping all together in one case.

Game Day: The Tarokka of Ravenloft

by Ken Newquist / May 11, 2007
Cover Art: Ravenloft Tarokka Deck

There comes a point in every expedition to Ravenloft Castle where the stalwart adventurers must seek out a certain Vistani woman for advice … and to have their "Tarokka" (a fantasy version of the Tarot) read. The cards drawn set the objectives of the expedition, and determine where certain random elements -- like the fabled sun sword -- can be found.

We have reached that point. Tonight we will visit the fortuneteller, get our futures told … and the real adventure will begin.

Gaming in the Round: Lessons from the Dark City

by Ken Newquist / May 8, 2007

A few years ago, I decided I wanted to try a different kind of role-playing game campaign: a medieval urban fantasy that combined traditional story telling with the sort of open-ended, sandbox-like openness of games like Grand Theft Auto.

The setting would be Obsidian Bay, the homegrown metropolis that my friends and I had spent the last seven years building and using as the base of operations for our Blackrazor Guild campaign. The city had expanded haphazardly to fit the needs of our campaign: new non-player characters arose when some new niche needed filling, or at the service of some ongoing story. Even so, while the city was home to most of the player characters, the lion's share of adventures happened elsewhere, outside the city limits.