Monthly Archives: May 2012

Weekly Assembly: Playtesting Next and Editors

Plenty of hubbub about D&D Next hit the blogosphere this week. We took a small cross-section of feedback this week, and tried to balance it with all the other great articles that came out. Please let us know how we did. Enjoy this week’s links!

At Home

Articles posted here on The Gamer Assembly.

Nothing this week, but stay tuned for more posts about the fantasy setting we’re developing.

Away

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

Notes From Abroad

Other interesting articles and cool links.

  • UK D&D Drowathon Promotional Blog at UK D&D Drowathon: Check out the UK D&D Drowathon Promotional Blog. If you’re anywhere near Nottingham on Saturday 12 May, get yourself over to Mondo Comico by 11AM to play The Sun Never Rises, which starts the whole Rise of the Underdark storyline, and the first session of the Web of the Spider Queen encounters season.
  • Editing Gaming Products: Part 1 at Gothridge Manor: This series of articles deals with the editing process in RPG products. This first article gives reasons and motivation to set aside some resources (time and/or money) exclusively devoted to editing.
  • A Few Tips to Editors at Ryan Macklin: For aspiring editors out there, here’s a short list of what an editor does and doesn’t do from the mind of Evil Hat editor Ryan Macklin.
  • Dungeon Crawl Classics 0-Level Party Generator at Penny Arcade: As the title suggests, this online generator from Purple Sorcerer Games makes a PDF containing four zero-level characters for Dungeon Crawl Classics. Less awesome folks can feel free to roll 4d6 for stats instead of the far more awesome 3d6.
  • On Optimzation at Hack & Slash: An article on game balance and optimization. What if character design choices spring from the story rather than from pure game mechanics?
  • On the Front Burner: Terrorform at Sand & Steam: Tracy at Sand & Steam Productions provides an introduction to a multi-generational post-apocalyptic game idea, in which the players are people left behind during a terraforming of Earth.

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!

  • Roving Band of Misfits publishes their Weekly Roundup column every Sunday. This week’s D&D Next Playtest Is Here Edition gives us lessons learned from D&D 4e, interviews with Mike Mearls, and using Lords of Waterdeep as a plot generator for your tabletop RPG. Also, kudos on the RPG Charity Pack Match effort to help out the Wayne Foundation!
  • Keith Davies maintains In My Campaign and on Mondays he publishes a collection of Links of the Week including recommended Kickstarter projects and interesting YouTube videos. Take a look at this week’s collection which includes Fantastic Maps from Jonathan Roberts, an analysis of 2d20 Advantage and Disadvantage effects in D&D Next, and the Star Wars Radio Play which will have you laughing for the entire 80 minute video.
  • Gaming As Women gathers links in their This Week in Gaming and This Week in Feminism series of articles on Sundays. Both series are collected under the News category. This Week in Gaming features guidelines to make gaming events more welcoming to female gamers, intentionally de-identifying yourself as a geek, and ways to get more women speakers at your event.

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Weekly Assembly: Database as Firehose

Wow. I guess the list of links is back, and now generated from a searchable database of RPG links we’re developing. You bloggers and journalists out there need to stop posting such cool stuff because it’s terribly distracting. But for now, enjoy the links!

At Home

Articles posted here on The Gamer Assembly.

Away

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

Notes From Abroad

Other interesting articles and cool links.

  • On Sorrow at Hack & Slash: 14 sad little vignettes for use as RPG adventure seeds or inspiration for depression in a fantasy world.
  • Schley Stack at Wizards of the Coast: Chris Perkins uploads 39 maps from his personal stash. All of them were created by Mike Schley, an excellent RPG cartographer.
  • History of Dice at Awesome Dice Blog: Check out this timeline of dice from the archaeological record, including a Roman icosahedron (that’s a d20) from 100AD.
  • Charting the Unknown at DMG 42: An example of interactive world building, where the entire gaming group uncovers new islands and new adventures together. I really like the zodiac compass.
  • Colossal in Scale, Appalling in Complexity: The Believer looks at the works of Norman Bel Geddes, a New York designer who created a tabletop golf course, an insanely popular mechanical horseracing game that the mafioso kept offering to buy, and possibly the most detailed and realistic wargame of all time. He went on to make Futurama, the birds eye vision of America’s future circa 1960 and the hit of the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

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!

  • Roving Band of Misfits publishes their Weekly Roundup column every Sunday. This week’s Tweet RPG Edition gives us how to run a great convention game, a discussion on what the playtest process is all about, and a woman gamer’s perspective on not feeling “geek enough”.
  • Keith Davies maintains In My Campaign and on Mondays he publishes a collection of Links of the Week including recommended Kickstarter projects and interesting YouTube videos. Take a look at this week’s collection which includes a collection of gorgeous maps and associated map making tutorials, the latest downloadable rules for Heroes Against Darkness, and the kickstarter for The Doom that Came to Atlantic City which looks like it should be subtitled “Elder Gods Playing Monopoly”.
  • Gaming As Women gathers links in their This Week in Gaming and This Week in Feminism series of articles on Sundays. Both series are collected under the News category. This Week in Gaming features gender issues in video games, including a kickstarter for a video about tropes vs. women in video games, and John Scalzi’s article about how “Straight White Male” is modern western culture’s version of Easy Mode.

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How do you test a setting?

Testing, in its many forms, is a key component to many activities. Testing is now de rigueur in mechanical processes, and has gained traction in the creative world over the past century or so, thanks to the proliferation of writer’s circles and proofreaders.

Last week saw a test, as part of the confluence of two neat things: a game of the RPG Warrior, Rogue & Mage, and an RPG setting that we’ve been building here at the Gamer Assembly. This was the first public test of the setting, though it was mostly a backdrop.

I described the overall history of the world at an extremely high level in a few sentences, explaining how that history has shaped modern society. I then described the empire in which the game would be played, and we launched the adventure.

I asked for no feedback; I just wanted to see how the players would react. I got nods and a “Cool.”

That was all I needed. For a setting that still being built, I mainly want to know one thing: can it be quickly and easily explained? So far, so good.

Here’s a cleaned-up version of the introduction. Does this make sense to you?

Far back in history, in the beginning, there were the Old Ones. They ruled over the world, creating all the humanoid races.

After many years of toil, the humanoids allied with the dragons and killed the Old Ones. The dragons taught the humanoids magic, and all went well until two crises appeared.

The first was the Dragon Plague. Many humanoids and dragons died before a multi-racial party of adventurers found a cure. Meanwhile, many dragons left this plane of existence, some returning much later. Those who remained sequestered themselves into their own burrows and caves, and they were somehow changed. The dragons of old were brilliant thinkers and social; today’s dragons are barely more than beasts.

The second crisis began with the Ascendancy of Ana-Lesh, an elven mage who learned the secret of godhood and became a god herself. Soon, others followed, until the paths to godhood were closed.

Today, this history has created an intensely multi-cultural world. There are no racial empires; instead, three empires now rule the land.

This game is set in the Empire of Illusion, a magical oligarchy ruled by a cabal of extremely powerful wizards. They maintain a secret police, the Wolves of Shadow, who deal with any large-scale problems. Otherwise, the populace is left on its own, so petty crime is rampant.

However, there’s a large middle ground of dangers that may one day threaten the empire, but are too small for the Wolves to bother themselves with. For these, the Wolves have built a network of adventurers. Individuals will be summoned into teams, who are sent out on missions for the Wolves, who at least pay handsomely.

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Weekly Assembly: Two Doctors for Marvel

This week: Dueling Doctor Whos! Two writeups of The Doctor for Marvel Heroic Roleplaying hit The Gamer Assembly this week. Enjoy them and the rest of this week’s links.

At Home

Articles posted here on The Gamer Assembly.

  • The Call To Assembly, Volume 2, our 2nd collection of Gamer Assembly posts is now available as a free PDF at RPG Now and as a not-free printed magazine at Lulu!

Both of these writeups for The Doctor completely nail it. Who says there’s only one way to do something?

Away

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

Notes From Abroad

Other interesting articles and cool links.

  • Underwater Cloak Monster: This article from Business Insider shows underwater footage of a type of jellyfish that’s basically one big undulating sheet.
  • I’m a Bad Geek at Dread Gazebo: Dread Gazebo shares his thoughts on the current state of the RPG blogosphere, and his relationship to it.
  • Dave’s Mapper: A wonderful random dungeon generator, using multiple old-school-style tile sets.

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!

  • Keith Davies maintains In My Campaign and on Mondays he publishes a collection of Links of the Week including recommended Kickstarter projects and interesting YouTube videos. Take a look at this week’s collection which includes the arcane and awesome-looking Serpent’s Tongue Kickstarter, Gaiman on Copyright, and the release of Heroes Against Darkness.
  • Gaming As Women gathers links in their This Week in Gaming and This Week in Feminism series of articles on Sundays. Both series are collected under the News category. This Week in Gaming features Lizzie Stark’s book Leaving Mundania: Inside the Transformative World of Live Action Role Playing Games and sightings of Monsterhearts in the wild.

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Another Doctor for Marvel Heroic Roleplaying

So when recently reading an Excalibur Graphic Novel I came across a biography for Marvel’s version of the famed Wizard Merlin. Multiple times it mentioned his experience with “the time travelling Doctor”. This immediately got my interest and I found his file on the official Marvel wiki. In the GA Chat we began speculating about how he might be stated up for the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game, though in only a half serious manner.

As the conversation turned to other topics both Brent and I kept thinking about the concept of a Doctor Datafile and each created our own file. Both owe credit to our conversation, with others, in the chat room, which accounts for some similarities.

So without further ado, here is yet another Datafile for The Doctor. Click the image for a full printable version.

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Doctor Who in Marvel Heroic Roleplaying

Here’s a modern Doctor, statted up for Marvel Heroic Roleplaying:

Affiliations

Solo d8, Buddy d10, Team d6

Distinctions

  • On The Run
  • Guns Are Bad
  • Allons-y! / Geronimo!

Power Sets

Time Lord

  • Enhanced Durability d8
  • Enhanced Stamina d8

SFX: Ridiculous Explanation. Use multiple specialties in your dice pool when inflicting mental stress then add your effect die to the Doom Pool.

Limit: Complicated Plot: Earn 1 PP and add 2d12 to the Doom Pool when your actions make the plot too complicated to follow.

Specialties

  • Cosmic Master d10
  • Covert Expert d8
  • Medical Expert d8
  • Science Master d10
  • Tech Master d10
  • Vehicles Master d10

Milestones

All We’ve Got Is Each Other

  • 1 XP when you aid a chosen companion
  • 3 XP when you save a companion’s life
  • 10 XP when you leave a companion in a safe place permanently

Just This Once, Everybody Lives

  • 1 XP when you keep another character from taking physical stress
  • 3 XP when you deal no physical stress in a scene
  • 10 XP when you deal no physical stress in an act

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