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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

Radio Active #74: The Sound of Distant Crashing Xboxes

by Ken Newquist / December 2, 2008

On this episode of Nuketown Radio Active, I dream of a good night’s sleep, remember  the adventure that is potty training my son, recount my Xbox 360 "Red Ring of Death" woes and talk about the boatload of games I’ve been reviewing.

In Netheads, I try out the “Is Gd” url shortner, test drive the Obsidian Portal gaming wiki, and round out the show by geeking out over the Star Wars RPG game master’s screen.

Getting the Show

There are several ways to get the podcast:

Show Notes

  • Nuketown News
    • Potty Training Redux!
      • NeutronLad decides he’s had enough diapers.
    • My Xbox 360 died dead.
      • For the second time in 2.5 years, my Xbox 360 is dead. This time though, it wasn’t covered by the Best Buy service plan, so I had send it back to Microsoft … right while I was reviewing an avalanche of games.
      • Turns out renting one is next to impossible, but borrowing well, that’s easier.
      • Jordan missed the Xbox terribly.
    • New game reviews: DeadSpace, Fallout 3, DC Universe
      • DeadSpace:
        • Solid horror shooter that mixes things up with cool zero gravity mechanics and a location-based space zombie killing mechanic.
        • Rating: B+
        • Read the review on
      • Fallout 3
        • Loyal to the original game, even if it shifts from third person to first person perspective. Not as deep or extensive as Oblivion, but this is a good thing as you’ll actually be able to replay it. Makes me want to play Gamma World with Star Wars: Saga-spawned rules.
        • Rating: B+ (but a really solid B+).
        • Read the review on
      • Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe
    • The Secret Lair: Review of The Sky People by SM Stirling
  • Promo: Accidental Survivors Shoutout
  • Netheads
    • Is.Gd: URL Shortener
      • Twitter needs short URLs. Tiny URL is flaky, so when I saw friends using over the summer, I decided to try it.
    • Obsidian Portal
      • Free campaign wikis
      • You can create:
        • Adventure Logs
          • posts as public, but can be flagged as GM only
          • content can be broken down within the post to public vs. GM only, which is nice.
          • Posts can be tagged
        • Wiki
          • Functions as a traditional wiki, including mediawiki style bracketed hyperlinks.
          • Every wiki page has a GM secret area.
        • NPC Tracker
          • Allows you to quickly add and tag NPCs, then go in and edit their details (level, species, bio, etc.)
        • Comments
          • Simple comment page.
        • Map Upload
          • No map creation or pre-gens (wouldn’t THAT be nice?)
        • Terms of service based on WordPRess TOS.
      • Prime plans can restrict access to members of their party or friends.
      • Site map shows locations of campaigns around the country.
      • Can share information with third party sites, e.g. posting wiki updates to blog syndication services.
      • Could really use a forum associated with the campaign site; that would be particularly handy for play-by-posts, but you could get away with comment threads in adventure logs.
  • Promo: RPG Podcasts
  • Game News: Star Wars: KOTOR campaign begins!
    • Campaign site up at
    • Plays very fast … so fast that players aren’t ready for their action because they’re used to waiting.
    • Find myself trying to retrain my brain to do scifi … and less monster slaying.
    • Playtest notes for Sessions #1 and #2 are up now. Session #3, which featured skill challenges, will be up this week.
  • Review: Star Wars Game Master's Screen
    • MSRP: $12.95
    • Quick-reference screen/fortress of solitude for game masters running Star Wars: Saga Edition RPG.
    • The screen is low and wide – only 8.4 inches tall, but two feet long – and is comprised of four panels (check)
    • Built from heavy, laminated cardboard; much stronger/solid than previous edition screens (or D&D screens)
    • Cover art is a montage of video captures and artwork from the Star Wars films and Extended Universe.
    • Panel by Panel:
      • First Panel:
        • Statistics for Objects,  Statistics for Substances, Weapon Ranges, Restricted Objects
      • Second Panel
        • Actions, Combat Modifies, Condition Track, Vehicle Actions, Size, Vehicle Weapon Ranges
      • Third Panel:
        • Sample Skill DCs, Climb Check DCs, Deceptions, Average Skill Bonuses, Attitude Steps, Perception DCs, Gather Information DCs, Treat Injuries DCs, Computer Attitude Steps
      • Fourth Panel
        • Cone Diagram, Experience Points and Rewards, Force Powers (Core book)
      • All panels are white and light blue on a black background.
    • We’ve been moving away from GM screens in our game, but I like this style of low screen; it’s less of a barrier and more of a game aid. You can still roll those secret rolls, but you don’t have this huge wall in front of it.
    • Everything on these screens is something that I’ve needed in our playtests (especially skill DCs, weapon ranges and – as of last Friday – cone diagrams).
    • Also love that this screen perfectly fits my downstairs work area; I can wrap it around my laptop and still see everything I need. I think this may be
    • Some complained that weapons damages weren’t listed, but honestly I’m ok with that. Players have that stuff on their sheets; they don’t generally have weapon ranges.
    • Artwork is not particularly inspired. Really liked the cover sleeve (with Darth Vader and the partially completed Death Star) and wish they’d carried that to the screen, but what they have is adequate
  • Promo: Yog Radio
  • Outro
Audio icon NuRA-2008-12-01.mp322.16 MB


I have not played an RPG since 2007 GenCon! I thought, after listening to you, Fallout 3 might be a good buy, but it won't run on my computers. I purchased SWSE Core Rules (very nice). I've got the "no RPG" blues. Could you guys recommend to me a PC RPG that will run on one of my machines ( one has a blazing fast Core2 prosessor but no video card, the other has a Pent.2 and an older vid card)

Hmmm. Does it have an integrated video card? I'm thinking a newer machine would (so even if it's not a dedicated one, it could handle some low-end graphics). That's really more a question for Erilar, so hopefully he'll wander by.

In terms of what cames it or your older machine could play, I'd look to the classics. Balder's Gate II and its expansions, Neverwinter Nights and its expansions (the original, not the sequel),  Icewind Dale and its expansions/sequels, etc.

 I suspect most of those would be able to run on your older computer, although then the challenge becomes tracking down the games in the first place...

Hey Bob!

First, on the Core2 processor, you should spend $100 for a separate video card. The integrated card is sufficient for regular stuff but games, especially older games, are designed for separate video cards (and more importantly, separate video RAM, which may or may not be present on integrated video). Sometimes integrated cards will work, sometimes not.

Second, for somewhat older RPGs, I have several recommendations! :)
1) Fallout 1 (post apocolype)
2) Fallout 2 (post apocolype)
3) Knights of the Old Republic (Star Wars setting)
4) Knights of the Old Republic 2 (Star Wars setting)

All are very cool games with good stories. The Fallout games are strictly turn based combat (which is your preference) and the Knights of the Old Republic games are a blend of turn based and real time (you can easily stop the action after each of your actions and choose your next action).

Once you get through those, I'll have more for you. :)


I co-run Obsidian Portal, and I just wanted to say thanks for the nice review! It really makes my day to hear that someone is using the site and likes it.

As to your note about per-campaign forums, we've been kicking the idea around. I don't think we'll go with a full-featured forum, but we might try and implement something like the Basecamp message feature. Simple and direct without a lot of whiz-bang features.

Anyways, thanks for the mention!

You're very welcome. Messaging a la Basecamp would be helpful; my own gaming group uses our online forum extenstively for coordinating each week's session (as well as lots of out-of-game conversation). That said, I know that other groups aren't nearly as chatty as we are, so a simpler solution would likely work well for them.

Thanks for creating such a cool tool!


Played Fallout 1 & 2. Both were great . . . F2 was frickin' GREAT!!
I wasn't overly interested when KOTOR came out, perhaps I shall look again.