D&D Starter Set Walkthrough: What’s In the Box

Over the weekend during a monthly Lamentations of the Flame Princess Game run by a good friend, I was gifted the recently available D&D Starter Set for the Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition rules set. I was very excited to get this as I had already planned on purchasing it on Amazon, where you can currently get it for under $12.

Since this is a major release of one of the original role playing games, I am going to review this, step by step, in a kind of a walk through.  This first article in this series covers the presentation of the game. It will go into much greater detail than the final review, but Ill link back to these individual posts. Continue reading D&D Starter Set Walkthrough: What’s In the Box

H.P. Lovecraft: The Decline of the West Review

As a part of my research into developing Lovecraft: The RPG, I have been researching both the original stories by H P Lovecraft and also some of the academic research available. I just finished H.P. Lovecraft: The Decline of the West by S T Joshi.  Here is a brief review for your interest. Continue reading H.P. Lovecraft: The Decline of the West Review

The Legend of the Eight Samurai

Legend of the Eight SamuraiHow often do you get to play a Japanese themed RPG? A few games like Sengoku or the classic game Bushido focus more on history than on mythology. Quite a few samurai movies also provide inspiration. Ill touch on a few of these over the next few posts, starting with the 1983 Kinji Fukasaku directed Legend of the Eight Samurai. Continue reading The Legend of the Eight Samurai

Basic D&D (D&D 5) Will Be Free

According to WotC / Hasbro Senior Manager for Research, D&D Mike Mearls, Basic Dungeons & Dragons will be free in PDF format. This makes a whole lot of sense.  A great number of games including Paizo Publishing’s Pathfinder RPG have versions you can download in PDF format or access for free online, as well as the many great retro-clones of D&D.

D&D 5 (WotC wants to strip away the “5” for marketing purposes, but we need to know what version we are talking about), is due later 2014 with the release of the D&D Starter Set, Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual and Dungeon Master’s Guide.

Twin Peaks 2014: I’ll See You Again in 25 Years

The original Twin Peaks took place in 1989, meaning the ominous meeting of Laura Palmer and a much older Dale Cooper is about to take place. Even though its clear that David Lynch is going to do the forthcoming Blu Ray version of Twin Peaks some justice, it seems very unlikely we’ll actually get a 25 years later story.

This is what I would do to kick off a first episode of a new Twin Peaks show… Continue reading Twin Peaks 2014: I’ll See You Again in 25 Years

Lulu POD: Zozer Game’s Orbital and Outpost Mars

I took advantage of the recent sale on Lulu for the print on demand versions of Zozer Game’s Orbital setting for Traveller, as well as the Outpost Mars book. The concept behind the Orbital campaign setting is that its a bit harder science and TL 8-9, meaning its a SOL solar system only setting, with a cold war taking place between the Earth Union and the Lunar Republic. Continue reading Lulu POD: Zozer Game’s Orbital and Outpost Mars

No Plots Please, Im Playing an RPG

I have a lot of gaming friends who are writers. They don’t make games for a living, but they do a lot of writing for their work. Some are marketing tools, others write textbooks and manuals. A few have published stories and poetry. But most have tried to shoehorn game sessions and campaigns into a story-like structure. Certain required things that have to happen, have to happen because the characters have to do them. If the characters don’t actually do whatever it is, it tends to happen anyway.

This isn’t quite the same thing as railroading. Railroading happens more often during a particular adventure, and those only last for so many sessions. My Failed Sanity Check game that I have run at the last several PaizoCons (except for 2013, when Paizo eliminated volunteer sessions) is basically an escape adventure – if the characters escape, there’s a final battle and then its done.  The premise of escape presupposes being captured – so sort of a railroad. But you have to start someplace, especially if the game has to finish within three hours. Not the same thing as having a campaign in which your PC is a character in a story.