Monthly Archives: February 2012

Weekly Assembly: Create Something New Right Now

This week we’re talking about Getting Excited and Making Things in various forms. Enjoy the links and let them inspire you to explore and create!

At Home

Articles posted here on The Gamer Assembly.

  • March’s Blog Theme at The Gamer Assembly is “Gaming in the Modern Age”. Have an RPG article idea set in Information Age earth? Contact us for guest blogger opportunities!
  • Campaign Season is upon us. Sign Up for our military-themed RPG Blog Festival hosted here at The Gamer Assembly. It runs from 19-26 March 2012.
  • Only 39 Gaming Days Until PAX East! If you’ll be in Boston on Easter weekend April 6-8, you owe it to yourself to attend the best gaming con. Three-day passes have sold out, but you can still pick up day passes. We’ll be there running the “Fix Your RPG Problems with the RPG Doctor and Gamer Assembly” panel on Saturday, April 7 at 12:30pm in the Merman Theatre. Will we see you there?
  • The Call To Assembly, Volume 1, our collection of the first 2 months of Gamer Assembly posts is now available as a free PDF at RPG Now and as a not-free printed magazine at Lulu!

Away

Content from people involved with The Gamer Assembly posted elsewhere across the Internet.

Notes From Abroad

Other interesting articles and cool links.

Wizards of the Coast went public with their announcement about the next edition of D&D on Monday 09 January 2012. We’re collecting D&D Next links in our wiki. If we’ve missed any good ones that you’ve read, feel free to let us know in the comments or join us in the chat.

  • The Singer-Songwriter Uber Alles? lets us know that it’s every bit as awesome to use published materials in your home game as it is to write everything yourself.
  • You can also check out examples of Marvel play posted at the rpg.net forums: Post 1 and Post 2.
  • The Days Of Wonder CEO explains how the iPad version of Ticket To Ride boosted sales of the board game over at Penny Arcade. Interesting thoughts about they synergy between the digital and physical forms of a single game.
  • Nukemap will show you just how far the fireball from a 350 kiloton nuclear warhead will extend from ground zero. Ideal for modern doomsday games or Twilight: 2000.
  • Given the resurgence of OSR topics lately, How to Publish a Fanzine by Mike Gunderloy published by Loompanics might be of interest.

MetaRoundup

A roundup of roundups featuring links of interest to the tabletop RPG community.
Please let us know about other weekly roundups in the comments!

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Do Something Original

'absolute' by dexxus on Flickr

'absolute' by dexxus on Flickr

I challenge you to create an RPG thing–creature, location, adventure, setting; whatever–that does not contain:

  • Dragons
  • Orcs
  • Elves (of any kind)
  • Dwarves
  • Zombies
  • Kobolds
  • Goblins
  • Vampires
  • Werewolves
  • Ninjas
  • Steampunk
  • Cowboys
  • Xenophobic aliens
  • Mummies
  • A Quentin Tarantino aesthetic
  • Anything Cthulhu

You may well ask: Well what does that leave?

Exactly. Think about that.

Note that this list does not mention samurai, lizard people, fish people, mummies, giant worms, jellyfish, ringworlds, sentient plants, huge floating brains, tiny people, dinosaurs, psionics, carnivorous bathtubs, kung fu, gun fu, the Crusades, Atlantis, Dyson spheres, animal familiars, creatures made of light, or giant insects.

So, post your original creation in the comments. Show the world what you can do.

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Filed under Miscellaneous

Useful Charts: Treasure by Party Level and Sly Flourish’s DM Cheat Sheet

Back when I started running a 4th Edition D&D campaign, the one thing I always lamented as being absent was a decent way to randomly generate sweet, sweet loot for my players to encounter. Then along came the Essentials Dungeon Master Guide, and in the back of it on page 248 was a beautiful little chart titled “Treasure by Party Level”. My prayers were answered, and now I use that chart to fill out my adventure planning.

As a refresher on how to use the chart if you haven’t used it recently or before, you roll 1d20 once for each reward type. The table assumes a 5-person party, so if you have a different party size, subtract 2 for each person under 5 and add 2 for each person over 5. If you roll a 20 on any field, always take the best result regardless of the party size modifier. Personally, I also modify gold rewards by d%, but that’s because I find round amounts of gold a bit silly. ;)

I’ve transcribed the chart to a Google Document at http://bit.ly/zf1S48 for your pleasure. (There’s two sheets on this document: the first one should be readable on your monitor, the second is larger and should print to exactly one full page.) If you enjoy it, consider picking up the Essentials Dungeon Master’s Kit. The smaller form factor book is easy to carry around, and its comes with other useful tools and tokens.

Lastly, I cannot post one useful chart without referencing what many of us agree to be the penultimate Useful 4th Ed Chart: Sly Flourish’s Master DM Cheat Sheet. It contains standard DCs, damages, defenses, HPs and attack rolls for every level and is invaluable for those of us who make on-the-fly decisions in the game. You can access the PDF at Sly’s website at http://slyflourish.com by selecting “dm cheat sheet” from the right side column.

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Filed under D&D 4E, GM Tools

Weekly Assembly: School Vacation Week

You’d think that the gaming would slow down over a school vacation week with so many students on vacation. While it feels like things have slowed down here at the Gamer Assembly, it looks like blogging has picked up across the ‘Net. We’re always looking for guest bloggers if you want to give us a shout. I’ll be putting together a post about that soon, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, enjoy the links!

At Home

Articles posted here on The Gamer Assembly.

  • March’s Blog Theme at The Gamer Assembly is “Gaming in the Modern Age”. Have an RPG article idea set in Information Age Earth? Contact us for guest blogger opportunities!
  • Campaign Season is upon us. Sign Up for our military-themed RPG Blog Festival hosted here at The Gamer Assembly. It runs from 19-26 March 2012.
  • Only 45 Gaming Days Until PAX East! If you’ll be in Boston on Easter weekend April 6-8, you owe it to yourself to attend the best gaming con. Three-day passes have sold out, but you can still pick up day passes. We’ll be there running a panel on Saturday, April 7 at 12:30pm in the Merman Theatre. Will we see you there?

Away

Content from people involved with The Gamer Assembly posted elsewhere across the Internet.

  • On Keeping Time by T.W.Wombat muses about timekeeping methods without clocks. Bonus pics of the proposed Trainhenge project at Stockton-on-Tees.

Notes From Abroad

Other interesting articles and cool links.

Wizards of the Coast went public with their announcement about the next edition of D&D on Monday 09 January 2012. We’re collecting D&D Next links in our wiki. If we’ve missed any good ones that you’ve read, feel free to let us know in the comments or join us in the chat.

  • The Best of 2011 Podcast at RPG Countdown counts down the top 100 best-selling gaming items of 2011. Take a listen, then buy one from your local game store. If you mail your receipt to RPG Countdown, you and your FLGS are both in the running for $2011 (cash for you, online ads for your FLGS).
  • In Places Deep has an ongoing Monster Monday series including this week’s twisted Treant variant, The Groan. It’s written for AD&D, but it’s another great series to mine for ideas to use in any system.
  • Map Fu gives us some mapping tips from Chris Perkins to make your Battlemat downright attractive at your game table.
  • Piracy’s antidote involves customer service: giving the customer what they want for a decent price. The Oatmeal tried to watch Game Of Thrones and this is what happened.

MetaRoundup

A roundup of roundups featuring links of interest to the tabletop RPG community.
Please let us know about other weekly roundups in the comments!

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How’d you like a print tabletop RPG magazine?

Call to Assembly, issue 1

Call to Assembly, issue 1

We love print magazines. We love the feel of paper, the ability to curl up in bed and peruse the corners of a publication stuffed with content.

So, we’ve collected a bunch of our best blog posts into the Call to Assembly, the first issue of a print magazine. This issue is 36 pages, and covers our first two months’ worth of blog posts. You can download the PDF for free or buy a physical copy on Lulu for US $7.99 (plus shipping).

This issue includes most of the content from our post-apocalyptic setting 3 Generations After The End, Brian Liberge’s Weeping Angels creature from StufferShack, and much more.

Enjoy!

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Filed under Miscellaneous

Modern Assembly: A 4e Hack

Detective Shoot by Jef Harris

I’ve wanted to work on a modern update of 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons for a long time. It may seem counter intuitive at first glance. D&D is not a modern game. Dungeons and Dragons celebrates medieval fantasy where the most modern piece of technology is a trebuchet (if even that) and magic isn’t just a tale but is a real part of many people’s daily life. Seems like a strange place for guns and computers.

It turns out I’m not the only person who thinks this is a good idea, so the Gamer Assembly is joining me on this quest. We’re not the first to do this. Dave Chalker worked on the 4th Power Project a couple of years ago. Casey Steven Ross wrote about his work updating d20 Modern for his home game over on DMG 42. There was an even fuller project I found linked on Enworld as well, but as of this writing their forums are down.

So if so many people have done this before, why are we doing it again? Well, what’s come before just isn’t exactly what we want. I absolutely respect the work they’ve done, and they’ve given us a reference that makes our job a lot easier. They have updated d20 Modern so that it’s more in line with the feeling of 4e and its mechanics. We are not doing that. We’re giving 4e Modern options.

I love 4th Edition. It’s the game my players want to play. I just want guns and cars!

We are building an expansion to the current version of Dungeons & Dragons. We want you to be able to play that new cleric build you’ve been looking at. We want your rogue to hack the Lich’s Defense Grid. We want you to be able to gun down a Dragon! Perhaps, most importantly, we want you to be able to do this while still playing the game you love.

Modern Assembly is being built with a few major goals in mind:

  1. Keep as much of the currently available 4e content as straight-out-of-the-box useful as possible.
  2. Only create what needs to be created, with a focus on mechanics that are modular and/or easily incorporated.
  3. Support as many variations of modern fantasy as possible.
  4. Keep it fun and action focused.

To that end, we are not designing any new races or classes. Most Modern Fantasy games are already human centric. Any additional races needed will be very dependent on the setting that you choose to play in. They may already exist, like the Vampires from Heroes of Shadow, or are likely easily skin-able (Warforged can easily replace most robots or cyborgs). Either way, new races would be better suited to a setting supplement and not this core set.

The current list of classes available in 4e is a long one. They run the gamut of power sources, ranges, and roles. Modern humans aren’t more powerful than capable of medieval humans, we’ve just have more knowledge and more stuff. We’ve broken the 4e mechanics slightly to accommodate this. Instead of writing new classes based around knowledge and equipment, we’re making new backgrounds and themes, that grant you the ability to take Modern Skills and Modern Equipment. So if you want to play a trained mercenary you could take the Ranger or Warlord Class with an Ex-Military Background. A nerdy librarian might be an Ardent, Bard or Rogue with the Scholar Theme.

This is an ongoing project, instead of a monthly theme like 3 Generations from the End. That means you’ll occasionally see posts on it, but you should still see other things churning through at the same time. There’s also no hard end date on the project, but a personal goal of mine is to be able to run a Play Test at PAXEast.

If you have any ideas, comments, or concerns please throw us a comment. We love to have feedback. Otherwise keep your eyes on this page for new Modern Assembly content coming soon.

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