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Little Wizards
(Crafty Games)
Pathfinder Card Game
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Cthulhu Invictus Companion
(Chaosium)
Boss Monster!
(Brotherwise Games)
Murder of Crows
(Atlas Games)
Building an Elder God
(Signal Fire Studios)
Cthulhu Gloom
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D&D ShadowPlague v1
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Interviews
James Wallis - Alas Vegas (2/13/13)
Gareth Hanrahan - The Laundry RPG (5/17/10)
Jamie Chambers - Signal Fire Studios (7/21/09)
Darren Watts - Hero Games (5/4/09)
Stan! (11/7/08)
Brendan LaSalle - Pandahead Productions (audio; 9/28/07)
Jonathan Walton - Push (audio; GenCon '06)
Emily Care Boss and Clinton R. Nixon (audio; GenCon '06)
Richard Garfield (10/12/04)
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Poll
What source gets quoted most frequently during your game sessions?
Monty Python (Holy Grail or otherwise)
Star Wars/Star Trek
That Dr. Demento D&D thing ("I cast Magic Missile at the darkness!")
Comic book sources
South Park
Aliens ("Game over, man!")

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Features
Christmas Gift Guide 2010 (11/26/10)
PAX East 2010 report (4/9/10)
Christmas Gift Guide 2009 (12/4/09)
Games of the Ninja 2008 (12/5/08)
Christmas Gift Guide 2008 (11/27/08)
Screams from the Cave 2008
(11/7/08)
Ogres' Choice Awards 2008 (9/12/08)
Christmas Gift Guide 2007 (11/30/07)
Ogres' Choice Awards 2007 (8/17/07)
GAMA Trade Show 2007 report (4/27/07)
Christmas Gift Guide 2006 (11/30/06)
Ogres' Choice Awards 2006 (7/28/06)
Christmas Gift Guide 2005 (11/29/05)
Christmas Gift Guide 2004 (12/10/04)
Night of the Living Gamer
(Halloween RPGs)
(10/22/04)
More...

Archive highlights
GAMA Trade Show 2008 report, part 2
(4/28/08)
GAMA Trade Show 2008 report, part 1
(4/24/08)
Frag Beta Capsule Review (4/14/01)
Battle Cattle Minis Preview (2/28/01)

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Unplugged Gaming News And Views
 
Thursday, January 31, 2002
9:48 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Necromancer Animating New Products Soon
Next month, Necromancer Games will bring us the 96-page Tomb of Aybsthor. The adventure centers on the desecrated tomb of the goddess of paladins, testing the mettle of characters level 2 to 8 or higher. Any tomb romp is worth looking into in my book.

As a teaser for Rappan Athuk 3, Necromancer has posted the cover art. Will this section of the infamous dungeon be a bit deadlier? Oh, judging by the image of Orcus and a pair of multi-armed demon ladies on the cover, I'd say so. Rappan Athuk 3 describes "the 13 deepest levels of this evil dungeon - including the lair of the Demon Prince Orcus himself!" Expect this epic dungeoncrawl/deathtrap to arrive in April.

Necromancer will also be bringing us Gary Gygax's Necropolis, a monstrous 224-page hardback sourcebook. Everything from new cleric domains, dozens of spells, gods, monsters, templates, classes are included in this campaign resource. A black & white version of the product ad shows us what the cover will look like. For characters of levels 12 to 18, this mega-adventure will arrive in June.

Wednesday, January 30, 2002
6:34 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Hellboy RPG Announced
I dedicate this one to my wife Cheryl, a devoted fan of all things Hellboy.

This August, Steve Jackson Games will bring you The Hellboy Roleplaying Game and Sourcebook. Mike Mignola's comic character, and all his cohorts, will bring their occult research agency, the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, to the GURPS system. Written by Phil Masters and Jonathan Woodward, the book will feature a brand new Hellboy story by Christopher Golden. The official announcement page is here, so go take a look and start prancing gleefully. I know my wife will.

3:56 AM: Demian Katz says...
Arrowflight Nearly Upon Us
Arrowflight, the first full-sized, non-electronic role-playing game from Deep7, ships this week. It's been in development for many years, and Deep7's other projects have been interesting, so hopefully it won't turn out to be yet another dull generic fantasy RPG. In any case, it's something to tide us all over until the Red Dwarf game arrives!

Tuesday, January 29, 2002
7:10 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Rock'em Sock'em Mages
The guys at Mongoose have posted details on the next book in their Encyclopedia Arcane d20 series, Battle Magic. In case you don't quite understand what they mean by "Battle Magic," here's a quote from the press release:

You are a battle mage, and you are never going to understand those who use magic for anything but blowing their enemies straight back to hell. ...No subtlety, no clever manipulations, just big, big explosions and buckets of blood.
Two types of mages are mentioned in the press release: the Battle Mage, who throws around majorly destructive spells, and the Eldritch Warrior, "a magical close combat specialist." The book will also come with an ample supply of spells, equipment, feats and a few guilds, but you'll have to wait until April to get your hands on it.

8:10 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Modernizing d20
If the d20 version of Star Wars didn't convince you the d20 System can handle more modern settings, Wizards will be trying to convince you again soon. EN World has an interview with Anthony Valterra on the current WotC plans for d20 Modern. Among other tidbits, Valterra revealed that d20 Modern is scheduled for an early 2003 release, and that WotC will provide some sample settings and at least one fully detailed setting. Support for d20 Modern will likely appear in Dungeon/Polyhedron.

12:28 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Camarilla Wins Temporary Restraining Order Against White Wolf
Shea Porr of the Camarilla player organization announced on a mailing list yesterday that "[a] Utah court has approved, in full, a temporary restraining order against White Wolf. In summary, this order prohibits White Wolf from using the name The Camarilla; restrains them from claiming to be The Camarilla or to be in control of The Camarilla; provides a declaratory judgment that The Camarilla owns the assets which it has trademarked, along with the artwork, rules supplements and other publications its members have developed over the years, and several other items related to infringing our Trademark." The full order is available in PDF format. Porr's email also mentioned a motion on White Wolf's part to move the case's legal venue from Utah to Georgia. The plot thickens. (I should just start saying that at the end of every post.)

Monday, January 28, 2002
11:50 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Faerie Cheesecake, Anyone?
I've just had a look at the d20 supplement Dramatis Personae from new company Archangel Studios, and despite the buxom faerie chick on the front cover, I have to say I'm impressed with this product's style. Subtitled Campaign Ready NPCs, the book has 24 NPCs ready to use, each illustrated by the comic book artists responsible for The Red Star. The artwork and layout of the book is excellent; everything's easy to read and find, the text flows well, complimented by graphics rather than interrupted by them. The book is rounded out with eight pages of magic items, spells, and a pair of feats.

So there's my impressions after flipping through the book. I'll get back to you after I actually read it. :-)

Roleplaying Tips Weekly #108
The latest issue of Roleplaying Tips Weekly suggests enriching your campaign world by fleshing out the ruling class. Some reader submitted tips on creating attractive/effective props are in there too.

11:26 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Green Ronin Takes Necromancers To School
Green Ronin has just announced their May d20 release: Secret College of Necromancy. Put together by David "Zeb" Cook and Wolfgang Baur, the 96-page supplement will cover everything dead -- er, necromancy. Everything from creatures and spells to history of the art will be explored in the book's fell pages. Secret College will also introduce two brand new core classes and "never-before-seen powers for player character wizards and sorcerers willing to walk the path of shadows." I know my players will be lining up to explore the forbidden side of magic. I just hope the local village cemetary has good security.

3:53 AM: Demian Katz says...
Piecepack Games Page Reorganized
Piecepack.org has just reorganized its game page into a tidy table that allows user voting. Whether or not you have already tried out the universal board game kit and its many applications, it's worth taking a look. Even if you don't want to buy the nifty wooden set, you can still get the printable one for free.

Friday, January 25, 2002
9:04 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Vortex Review
I finally decided to go ahead and post my review of Vortex, even though we haven't gotten to test multiplayer quite yet. I think you'll find the article enlightening anyway. And yeah, that sale is still happening. Go to town...

1:37 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Neverwinter Nights Finds Publisher
According to Slashdot, the long-awaited online gaming toolbox Neverwinter Nights will be published by Infogrames sometime in the first half of this year. The press release says nothing about precise dates, however. Other games have tried NWN's model of game-mastered online roleplaying without drawing much interest, but none of them were fully compatible with D&D3. We in the Cave are psyched and relieved that Interplay and BioWare's legal issues have been resolved.

12:01 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Quintessential Fighter Review
Our latest review delves into the pages of The Quintessential Fighter by Mongoose Publishing, wherein d20 warriors can become even more effective at chopping things up. Matthew analyzes how well the rules slice and dice, but can they still cut a tomato? Find out inside.

Thursday, January 24, 2002
10:38 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
White Wolf And Camarilla At Each Other's Throats?
White Wolf and the official live-action Vampire club The Camarilla aren't getting along too well of late. The problems between the two seem to be caused by an inability to agree on the terms of a contract. The Camarilla, a world-wide organization of gamers playing the Mind's Eye Theater LARP, had some concerns about losing control of the club, due in part to vague wording and a dispute over ownership of the member list. These concerns were voiced to the club membership by Camarilla President Shae Porr. White Wolf President Mike Tinney has responded by saying that "At several key points, we have agreed to sign a new contract, only to have the volunteers who sit on the board of directors back out at the moment of commitment."

White Wolf has launched a new page for the fan club, which it claims to be assuming control of. Members have been asked to send their reports to White Wolf instead of the existing club network. The company has also extended all existing memberships until January 1st, 2004, which could have the side-effect of starving the current Camarilla leadership's cash flow. In response, the Camarilla has filed suit against White Wolf.

I don't claim to know who's right, I'm just reporting it. My name's Paul, and this is between y'all.

Cheapass To Retire Safari Jack
Cheapass Games are going to be pulling Safari Jack from their line-up soon. The nifty little tile game of big game hunting is worth having, so grab yours before it's gone.

Wednesday, January 23, 2002
6:05 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Attack To Control The Wayback Machine, Then Set It For 1995...
Illuminati: New World Order was the first CCG I ever played, and more or less re-initiated me into gaming. All these years later, its standard rulebook has just been revised, according to the Daily Illuminator, which is in a position to know. Relive the memories! Or admire its genius for the first time! Or do something, just stop looking at me like that! I'm not old, dammit!

5:54 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
GOO Announces Probable Schedule, Probably
Guardians of Order have been having schedule issues lately, to hear ICv2 tell it. But they now claim to be shipping their trademark Pioneer-licenced sourcebooks for Serial Experiments Lain in February, Parallel Dual in April, and Fushigi Yugi and Trigun in May. Also on the press release is BESM: Dungeon Crawl, which I don't really want to think about right now. No offense.

10:25 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Mage Knight Conquest, And Other WizKids Activities
WizKids continues to build momentum with Mage Knight Conquest. Conquest provides mass combat rules for Mage Knight, allowing players to use armies of 500 - 3,500 per side and still finish in about two hours. The Conquest rules are available on WizKids' game rules page, and will serve to prep MK players for the printed Conquest set coming in April. At that point, the full rules will include a tournament structure outline, scenarios, and campaign rules, and will come with three new siege weapon figures: a Black Powder Rebel Cannon, an Elemental League Ballista, and an Orc Raider Catapult. The package will carry a retail price of $19.95, and will provide an excellent foil to the various Mage Knight Castle sets coming in March. Man, the tower and gatehouse look nice. I may have to invest in some new RPG props soon. Mad props, yo.

Meanwhile, Mage Knight Dungeons is getting an excellent response from gamers I've spoken with. To be honest, I may have to get in on this one. The HeroQuest-ish concept is right up my alley. For those who enjoy some dungeoneering with their minis, a complete figure list has been posted. Start making your checklist.

This May, we can expect to see the following releases from Wiz Kids:Marvel HeroClix: Infinity Challenge starters and boosters, the superhero CMG with rules by Monte Cook; the Radiant Light Dragon for MK; and the Official Collector's Guide to Mage Knight Vol.2.

10:14 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Everyone Wants Buffy
We've just heard that the Buffy The Vampire Slayer CCG has sold out in the U.S. Never fear, though: Score Entertainment is having more printed up that should be available in February. You can stake your claim then.

Battle Cattle Stampede Onto GameTable Online
GameTable Online has made an arrangement with Wingnut Games to bring the bovine glory of Battle Cattle to online gaming. The D&D parody version, Quest for the Holy Pail, is also included in the license, bringing even more cow combat to those poor souls who can't tear themselves away from their monitors to pick up dice. A new "team" feature has been added to GameTable, allowing players to cultivate a whole herd of moo-ing miscreants.

Tuesday, January 22, 2002
11:38 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Gaxmoor Preview At Troll Lord
A preview of The Lost City of Gaxmoor is available from Troll Lord Games. Gaxmoor will be 136 pages of d20 danger, "a city scape maelstrom of Orcs, Hobgoblins, Gnolls, Ogres and you guessed it, a pack of viscious demons adventure." Written by Ernie and Luke Gygax, the book will take characters from 1st level all the way to 8th.

11:23 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Magic Mapped Out By Atlas
Atlas Games has sorted out those other magic systems for your d20 games. You know: Alchemy, Astrology, Geomancy, and the rest. In all, ten new magic systems will be described in Occult Lore, giving spell-users more options than they could ever need. The book will also contain an assortment of new creatures, spells, magic items, PC and NPC classes, prestige classes, and domains We can expect to see the 240-page supplement around May.

Monday, January 21, 2002
11:45 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Vortex Sale At FFG
Vortex is a game worth trying, but its price point combined with its diversity of factions makes it difficult to get what you want for the money. I've spent a hundred bucks on it and a couple of factions still aren't playable. Well, until February 4, FFG is selling all Vortex starters and boosters at a 75% discount. You know, we were going to test it multiplayer first, but I think I'm going to go ahead and post my Vortex review later this week. Along with Z-G, it's one of the neglected bits of fun from late last year.

4:56 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Jade And Steel Review
Thanks to Matthew's efforts, we get a glimpse into the mythic China d20 supplement Jade and Steel by Avalanche Press. Does it have the Ch'i to stand up to his review? Or is Matthew's kung-fu stronger? Have I just mixed terms from multiple cultures? Probably. :-)

4:47 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Misguided Update
Misguided Games is continuing to crank out the freebies in anticipation of their dieselpunk fantasy RPG, Children of the Sun. Heading up a new creatures page is the Wraith Monkeys. As I always say, everything's better with a monkey. On their new downloads page, a desktop image of the upcoming game's cover art is available in multiple resolutions. Hmm... my desktop could use some sprucing up...

Roleplaying Tips Weekly #107, Plus A Bit
Okay, I've been slacking here, so let me get you caught up. Issue #105 of Roleplaying Tips Weekly brings you six tips on romance in RPGs. No, I said "six"; keep your mind on gaming, okay? Issue #106 is a recipe for planning a great game session in two hours or less. Finally, this week's issue #107 provides ideas on how to make the best handouts and props to give your players.

12:37 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Transhuman Space Delayed, Sort Of
Steve Jackson announced recently that, due to apparent snafus with the printing company, their upcoming standalone GURPS Space setting Transhuman Space cannot be completed on time in color. So, in the interest of making it to market on time, the core rules will release as a B&W softcover book for $29.95. Later this year, after some support products are out, the company will release a full-color hardcover version of the rulebook which will pay proper homage to the artwork of Christopher Shy.

12:22 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
I Am Not A Number! I Am A Card Collection!
ICv2 reports that European trading card company Cards Inc. will produce a CCG based on the classic TV series The Prisoner in 2002. I can see it now: the object will be to figure out the rules, and we will all play against the game designer, who will send strange men to our houses and...

Sunday, January 20, 2002
10:20 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Shadowknight Steps From Shadows
Mongoose Publishing has let slip with info about their secret project for the second half of 2002. Popular designer Matt Forbeck will be writing a new RPG for Mongoose called ShadowKnight, "a blend of fantasy and fact taking place on a world the likes of which you have never seen." Okay, I'm curious. Later this week Mongoose will tease us with more info.

Friday, January 18, 2002
11:41 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Great Gobs Of Glorantha
As if spurred into action by my post earlier today, Issaries, Inc has three announcements fans should be aware of. First, as Glorantha fans (you are Glorantha fans, aren't you?), you already know about Greg Stafford's Pre-Finished Works (ordered through Wizard's Attic). Well, now fans in the UK can order those same compilations through The Unspoken Word.

Secondly, Barbarian Adventures, the first book in the Sartar Rising campaign series, is due to ship from Wizard's Attic on January 22 (hey, that's next Tuesday). The second in the series, Orlanth is Dead!, will follow in March.

Finally, Issaries has arranged for Glorantha swag to be sold through CafePress.com. There's a main Glorantha store, an Orlanthi store, and a Lunar store. Get yer mugs, t-shirts and mousepads while the runes are still fresh.

2:31 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
And Issaries Said, "Let There Be Heat," And There Was Heat
A huge thank you and round of applause from my no-longer-numb hands to Stephen Martin, who dwells in the other side of the building at Issaries, Inc. The fine and functional space heater is a life-saver. Okay everyone, go buy Hero Wars. Right now. I'll wait...

12:33 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Review: Book of Eldritch Might
Not sure which d20 supplement has your campaign's magical needs covered? Better read Matthew's latest review to learn about The Book of Eldritch Might by Malhavok Press, and find out what those pesky mages in your game can start drooling over.

Thursday, January 17, 2002
1:27 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Holistic Makes An... Interesting Choice
Holistic Design has updated their product schedule. Note the rather questionable d20 product planned for a June release:

AFGHANISTAN: d20
The first in our new Real Life Roleplaying line, Afghanistan: d20 is a stand alone game supplement providing rules, background, equipment, settings and scenarios that give players a chance to roleplay in the war against terrorism. Now you and your friends can organize Northern Alliance operatives, track down terrorists, outwit the al Qaeda and wipe the floor with Osama!
I hope Holistic meant to list the release date as April 1st, but I don't think we'll be so lucky.

12:23 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Electronic Character Sheets At Wingnut
The newly remodeled Wingnut Games website has posted electronic character sheets for Battle Cattle: Second Edition, Battle Cattle: Quest for the Holy Pail, Land of Og and Stuperpowers. Go grab yourself the ones you need. Regular character sheets simply won't do.

Little Fears Author To Write For The End RPG
Jason Blair of Key 20 Publishing will be writing Salvation’s Tears, an adventure
for the new release of The End RPG by Tyranny Games. Blair, who also wrote the award-winning RPG Little Fears, said, "I am a huge fan of the original game. The concept and backstory blew me away. When I was offered the chance to help support The End's re-release, there was no way I could turn it down." Salvation’s Tears will take place in the thriving colony of God's Glory, New Mexico, and "will focus on the arrival of what some believe to be God's final miracle." An exact release date has not been set for Salvation's Tears, though it should be shortly after the main game's release in late March.

11:39 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
New Website, New Books, Same Privateer Press
Privateer Press, known for their well-received Witchfire Trilogy of d20 adventures, has a new website for all to see. Those who visit the site can get details on the next two Iron Kingdoms products, The Monsternomicon (due to release in April) and the Guide to the Iron Kingdoms (due out in May).

9:37 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Another Damned Boardgame
Living Dead Entertainment, in association with Udo Grebe Gamedesign, has announced plans for The Hellgame, a boardgame wherein each player controls a group of three daemons. Using their triumvirate of evil, each player attempts to gain control of one of Hell's circles and have his claim recognised by Lucifer himself. Designed for 2 - 6 players, The Hellgame is aiming for release into the world this Spring.

Z-Man Sets The Record Straight
In my post yesterday, I said that Z-Man Games' upcoming Playmark Book Game Warchon would have two characters, represented by bookmarks, fighting within the pages of the Warchon book. Z-Man President Zev Shlasinger was kind enough to set me straight by clarifying that while you could play with just one character per side, "there will be forty bookmarks, about 20 units per side - we are talking about combat on the strategic level. Think of an army of minis opposing each other on a tabletop, but the minis are bookmarks and the battlefield is within the pages of the book. It is not strictly one on one combat." Sweet. I'm looking forward to checking it out. So, to read ahead in the book, would you need to send a scout? ;-)

4:01 AM: Demian Katz says...
Industrial Waste, The Vatican and Reiner Knizia
The latest newsletter from Rio Grande Games contains some interesting announcements. Shipping right away are Industrial Waste, the environmentally-conscious business simulation, and The Vatican, a free expansion set for Web of Power. Coming in February are Where's Bob's Hat? and Mexica followed by Puerto Rico, a simulation game set in the New World. Finally, in March, another batch of new titles will appear which includes Halli Galli, a speed-based party game, and two Reiner Knizia designs: Dragonlord and Gladiators. The future looks bright for fans of German imports.

Wednesday, January 16, 2002
3:20 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Buffy CCG Promo Cards Emerge From Darkness
Buffy fans, take note: the official Buffy CCG website is offering a free card for a minimum of work. If you're willing to either fax or mail a printout of this PDF (the contact info's on the PDF), you'll receive a free "Computer Threat" promo card. Players who join in the Valentine's weekend tournament at their local store can also get "VDM1," which sounds like a rare disease, but is actually another nifty promo card. The tournament is on February 16 from noon to 4pm, and the official web site has participating store locations.

2:40 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Dragonstar Starfarer's Handbook Second Look
Okay, I think I posted a little too fast back there. Now that I've thought about it, I think the Starfarer's Handbook actually bucks a lot of the trends I've been complaining to myself about, as I've become more familiar with RPGs over the last year. You know how when you get a new RPG and you want your group to try it, everyone has to read all the details of the game world before they understand what kind of character to make? This process can slow things way down, especially if there's only one copy of the book getting passed around, to the point where everyone just says "forget it" and rolls up a D&D character. The elaborate worlds created in contemporary RPGs are actually a barrier to entry when it comes to playing them... but without all that detail, no one's going to get excited enough about the world to buy the book. That's the catch-22 the industry finds itself in. D&D is perennial because everyone already knows Tolkien-esque fantasy.

So, FFG may actually be doing a very smart thing by modelling their Dragonstar books after the PH and DMG. The Player's Handbook has almost no world info in it, just like the Starfarer's Handbook. The upcoming Galaxy Guide, like the DMG, has more of the goodies. By providing a very complete toolbox for sci-fi fusion gaming in D&D and just enough story to get things going, Fantasy Flight may have made the best possible move. Upon reading the story text more closely, it could still be a little less stiff, but I can't prove that I could do better, and the content is a solid, intriguing treatment of how to make first contact in a fantasy world. So, we here at OgreCave hereby upgrade Dragonstar from "maybe" to "probably." Check it out for yourself if you haven't and see if I'm wrong.

10:59 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Z-Man Announces Playmark Book Game For April
Though gamebook-style games are normally Demian's jurisdiction, I'll risk a story about a new product coming from Z-Man Games this April. Warchon will be the first installment of Z-Man's Playmark Book Game (or PBG, very different than a PBJ), which will have two characters fighting within the pages of a book. The characters will each come on a separate bookmark, or "playmark." No dice, no character sheets, just page flipping, playmarking, and combat. This first book will be a fantasy scenario "featuring the epic battles between the Paladins of the Celestine Order and the Azuthkan desert savages with their demonic allies." Z-Man Games' President Zev Shlasinger emphasized that "The Warchon PBG is a strategy game. It is not a pick-a-path adventure book." Interesting. How similar will this be to Flying Buffalo's Lost World gamebooks? Guess we'll find out in April.

3:49 AM: Demian Katz says...
Invisible City Releases Jam Doodle
Invisible City has released its latest free game: Jam Doodle. In the game, one player draws a doodle and then must describe it in enough detail that the other player can reproduce it without seeing it or asking any questions. Variants are included to allow the game to accomodate up to eight players.

Tuesday, January 15, 2002
4:23 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Ronin Rumblings
Green Ronin has posted an art preview for their upcoming d20 book, Freeport: City of Adventure, due out either late this month or early next. As if that weren't enough, info is up for The Shaman's Handbook, the first in GR's Master Class line. Get your charms and fetishes sorted out when this 80-page book hits stores in April.

Godlike Is Coming...
Gamers haven't much longer to wait before sending super-powered characters to face the Nazi invasion of WWII. According to Dennis Detwiller, co-author of the Godlike RPG, the game will be arriving at Wizard's Attic on February 5th, to then ship out to stores everywhere. In the meantime, we can continue to drool over tidbits that keep turning up at the official website.

Monday, January 14, 2002
10:16 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
I'm Sure She'd Dress Like That In An Ice Age
Cheapass has unveiled Diceland.com, the new web site for James Ernest's intriguing dice game design (and latest attempt at a licensing fiefdom - it's harder to take that aspect seriously after watching entire bins full of licensed Button Men get thrown away at a major gaming fulfillment house, but still). The site features a rundown of the basic rules, some story details, and (ahem) some free desktop wallpaper. This game actually looks like it's going to work... I was skeptical, but now I'm impressed.

2:31 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
First Edition BRAWL Not Long For This World
If you want in on the ground floor of BRAWL (and believe me, you do - the first edition set really is the way to learn the game), get some now. Cheapass Games just announced that the first BRAWL set is going out of print. First come, first served...

1:17 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
SJ Schools 'Em On Origins Awards
Every now and again, close study of the Daily Illuminator is rewarding. Steve Jackson doesn't like the nomination process of the annual Origins Awards, which ends tomorrow (the nomination process, I mean), and today on the Ill, he's telling the world. Interesting read. BTW, the permanent link is here for all you nostalgic archive browsers in the future. (Hey, how is it in the future? Pretty much the same? Yeah, thought so.)

Sunday, January 13, 2002
10:01 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Mucho Mongoose
The cover art for The Slayer's Guide to Sahuagin has been posted on Mongoose Publishing's site. They've also been kind enough to post a release schedule for the next few months, which is as follows:

January 2002
- The Quintessential Fighter
- Encyclopaedia Arcane: Chaos Magic - Wild Sorcery
- Ships of the Elves

February 2002
- The Slayer's Guide to Sahuagin
- The Quintessential Rogue
- Skraag - City of the Orcs

March 2002
- Travellers' Tales: Crusades of Valour
- Travellers' Tales: Ships of War
- Encyclopaedia Arcane: Constructs

April 2002
- The Quintessential Cleric
- The Slayer's Guide to Bugbears
- Encyclopaedia Arcane: Battle Magic
- City of Fantasy: Stormhaven

May 2002
- The Quintessential Wizard
- The Slayer's Guide to Trolls
- Encyclopaedia Divine: Shamans
- The Planes: Feurring - Gateway to Hell

Churning out the hits, aren't they? Guess we'll see how many of those hits are criticals, and how many are paper cuts.

Saturday, January 12, 2002
1:15 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
A Happy Ending
So someone mailed us that they got that Avalanche Press bulletproof-nudity cover back up, and that the guy who emailed never actually saw it go down (so to speak). Different strokes for different folks. Hell, maybe our net just burped. Also, the actual subtitle of the book appears to be "Piracy in the Caribbean," not "Pirates of the Caribbean" as AP's web site still has it.

Friday, January 11, 2002
4:11 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
MK Dungeons Playtest Report
Didn't expect this to happen so fast, but I got to play my first game down at Endgame today. (Actually, I'm still there, posting from the back room. Matt asked me to say "These postings brought to you by Endgame," but I said no. Then he slipped me a twenty.) We played with one starter and one booster - Aaron here at the store told me that a starter's just barely enough to play two-player, and now I see what he means. Your selection of monste-- sorry, Mage Spawn is going to be awfully tight otherwise. As it was, I had one episode of being allowed to place a single, solitary 25-point foe to go beat on Matt, but the highest I could find was a 14. Anyway, there is indeed a lot of convoluted strangeness to the combat rules, which gets even weirder when you throw in the special abilities - they tell me that the Heroes in Dungeons are changing the game a great deal. Where in previous MK games, an average figure would have one special ability, maybe two, the Heroes in MK Dungeons are littered with little colored dots on their stats. (There are no entirely new special abilities in the game - the total menu is the same as it was in Whirlwind. Wow, it almost sounds like I know what I'm talking about.) At any rate, it does matter what Hero you play, as well as how you spend your movement points. Attacking costs you movement, as does opening a chest and, more importantly, disarming it - some chest traps are nasty, as I found out firsthand. As weird and woolly as certain sections of rules get, the overall experience seems balanced, fast, and fun. When you’re killed, you’re not out of the game: you can still use your two activations per turn to move Mage Spawn and try to kill your opponents before they get out with any loot. I’m definitely looking forward to playing more, and I may even be able to get away with it without spending more money. We’ll see.

4:10 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Dragonstar Starfarer's Handbook First Look
You probably got a first look before we did, but hey. Beautiful cover, isn't it? Kind of iffy writing in the opening chapter about the game world, huh? Not bad writing, exactly, but a little dry and stiff. Nice interior art, though, and... hmm, I notice there are no little sidebars with additional story. The info on the races looks complete and interesting... nice interactions there. Then after the color intro chapter and the races, the chapters go Classes, Skills, Feats, Equipment, Combat, Magic, Vehicles. The combat section fleshes out the consequences of firing into a crowd, among other things. Magic seems mostly to cover how wizards use datapads instead of spellbooks, and gives you oodles of spells with names like Refuel, Instant Reboot and Detect Surveillance. Does it make sense to just instantly give magic the tools to deal with technology, or would it be more interesting to have them be at odds somehow, or more difficult to fuse? It may just be that the story is folded into the game text more evenly and picking it all out will take a closer read, but on first glance, it looks like the real character of Dragonstar isn't going to make itself known for a couple of books yet... which may be a serious misstep, but we'll see. It looks like a lot of fun stuff, such as cybernetic spellware, won't surface until the Galaxy Guide hits (FFG has a preview of spellware up at their Dragonstar site).

3:29 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Beware Of Geeks Bearing Gifts?
I admit that all I really know is that Avalanche Press offered several gaming-press websites, via email, the opportunity to host an image of the cover of their new D20 pirate supplement, Black Flag: Pirates of the Caribbean. They may get a phone call from Disney sometime soon, but anyway, the only website we know of that took AP up on their offer has since removed the image. Perhaps it's because their ISP is saying Ouchie. When I first read the offering email, I thought, I've got to hand it to Avalanche: they know how to save on their bandwidth bills. If you've got a cheesecake image that will cause your server to get hammered, "let" the press host it for you! Of course, that's only one possible way it could have happened, but as Bullwinkle once said, "Funnier my way."

Freeport: The Rough Guide!
In less sordid art-related news, the well-dressed folks at Green Ronin have just posted some preview artwork for their upcoming hardcover sourcebook Freeport: The City of Adventure.

Thursday, January 10, 2002
12:28 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Greenrock Review Posted
We've got a new review up, this time from our news cohort Demian. Go take a look at what he had to say about The Secret at Greenrock, a d20 adventure from Citizen Games. I've already read what Demian had to say, and for some odd reason, I got the impression he didn't like it.

Wednesday, January 09, 2002
11:41 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
New Forums Abound At Green Ronin
Sited by the company itself as "a vast improvement," Green Ronin Publishing has replaced its discussion forums with a brand new one. Head on over and post away, or browse for the skinny on GR's latest projects.

Flurry Of Godlike
More Godlike RPG teaser tidbits have been posted to further whip us gamers into a frenzy. Of the six new updates, three are example power packages, one for each type of Godlike campaign: for a High Realism campaign, there's The Tiger; for the slightly looser Cinematic campaign, The Flying Brick; and for a caution-to-the-wind Four-Color campaign, there's Child of the Atom." The next two site updates are individual power descriptions of Plasticine Touch and Unconventional Move. But the most notable site update may be the 15-round example of a Godlike encounter. Go take a look -- Captain Finnerty is waiting for you.

Tuesday, January 08, 2002
11:55 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Details On New BattleTe... Uh, MechWarrior CMG
If you care about collectible miniatures, you were all over this a couple days ago, but if not, hey, we're here for ya! WizKids has posted a lengthy, chatty article about the new collectible BattleTech, now actually titled MechWarrior: Dark Age, which contains more than a few things I didn't know about continuation of the old BT roleplaying titles, as well as somewhat defensive-sounding insistences that the new game will certainly not be for kids.

6:27 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Mage Knight Dungeons First Look
News flash for the inattentive (such as myself): Mage Knight Dungeons is not a Mage Knight expansion. It is not, in fact, a miniatures game. While MK Dungeons does use conventional MK figures, it is played on a square grid, and resembles old dungeon-crawl board games like DungeonQuest more than it does anything Warhammer-like. A cursory glance at the rulebook does reveal a lot of weird leftover minis-game-like cruft, however (your figure's "front arc" matters for some reason, as opposed to, say, which of a big four directions it faces). There are wandering monster tokens, which are replaced with actual figures once they get close enough to a hero. By the way, the heroes are apparently different from basic MK humanoid fighters, because standard troops apparently would get their asses kicked quite rapidly in Dungeons. Also keeping the world a strange place are the Dungeon Builder's Kits, a set of three static, independent sets of smaller cardboard sub-boards, tokens, and scary plastic doors. I was expecting MK Dungeons to be a standard MK expansion along with something like a rubbery, painted-in-China take on Dwarven Forge, and while I'm disappointed not to get the latter, what I did get looks interesting. It also comes at an interesting time, with no equivalent games out there on the market (Wiz-War's buffed out new edition isn't coming for a month or two yet). Whether MK Dungeons merits the expense compared to, say, picking up an old copy of Dungeon! on eBay is a matter for our upcoming playtest report...

2:19 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Godlike Goodies
Hobgoblynn Press has posted multiple Godlike dicerollers, one online and two for download, on their Godlike resources page. There are also some "Glazier" mission reports to peruse. When I try this system, I'll be leaning toward the gritty, realistic, low-powered end of the spectrum. Superheroes that actually die, for example. Oops! Hope my gaming group didn't read that. :-)

12:12 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Hostile Climes For D20 & Other PEG Action
Seems that Pinnacle is working on a new d20 series designed to work with any setting (read:generic) entitled Hostile Climes. The series will concentrate on a particular kind of environment in each book, using new rules, feats, skills, equipment, and some of those new prestige classes all the kids are talking about these days. Each book will also revolve around a primary location that can be dropped into any campaign, and a full-length adventure making use of said location. The first in the series, Depths of Despair, is targeted for release in April. What can we expect when it arrives (other than water)? PEG gives us this teaser:

"...a notorious pirate captain has founded a city of outlaws at the bottom of a mysterious and seemingly permanent hole in the ocean that's over a mile wide. How this strange whirlpool got there is anyone's guess, but if the heroes hope to survive their visit to this submerged kingdom, they're going to have to find out—or die trying!
Depths of Despair will be written by industry veteran Matt Forbeck, and will be followed by a Tim Beach Hostile Clime of "ice and freezing death."

In other PEG news, Weird Wars: Dead From Above and Deadlands HOE: City 'o Sin are both shipping now, so grab yours while the grabbing's good.

Monday, January 07, 2002
11:52 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Catchy News Title #1: Living City Registration Is Organized
The OrganizedPlay website has just posted a Living City campaign page. Registration software for Living City events is now up and running, though the credit card functions may not calculate your charges quite right, so watch yourself. Still no graphic design elements on the site, really, but those aren't nearly as important as getting everything else ready.

Demonic Invasion At Fast Forward
Fast Forward Games has posted new info on their next d20 supplement, Demonic Lairs, along with a look at the cover art. According to the description, the book "details ten devilish and demonic creatures and where these horrific monsters live their day-to-day lives, with complete details of their guards, their treasures, and the secrets they hide. These historical tanar'ri and baatezu are drawn from the Encyclopedia of Demons & Devils (but that volume is not required for play)." Lairs is available now, as is a demonic sample of five selections from the Encyclopedia.

Necromantic News
Necromancer Games has a pair of significant blips on the news radar. Necromancer's Clark Peterson and Bill Webb will be chatting at the WotC chat area tomorrow night (January 8) at 5pm PST. Of particular interest during the chat will be their discussion of Necropolis by Gary Gygax, the next big d20 supplement the company is working on. Also, Necromancer has launched a new messageboard for their fans.

Sunday, January 06, 2002
7:21 PM: Demian Katz says...
Fighting Fantasy is Back
AdvancedFightingFantasy.com has just confirmed the rumors it hinted at a few months back: Fighting Fantasy gamebooks are coming back into print! The first title, Warlock of Firetop Mountain, will be released in the UK in August, and more will follow. The series will be somewhat reordered (presumably just to confuse collectors like myself), and it will now integrate the cleverly-designed Sorcery! epic, which was originally released as a separate series "for older readers." Not surprisingly, the books will have a new look, complete with a redesigned logo and updated cover artwork. Here's hoping that a new generation can pry themselves away from their X-Boxes long enough to get hooked on these things.

7:54 AM: Demian Katz says...
Invisible City Reflects on 2001
Invisible City Productions has just released an article featuring variants and commentary on all of their free games released in 2001. It also has a preview of things to come; not only does it list all of the games planned for release in 2002, but it also suggests that commercial versions of some earlier games may be in the pipeline. The future is definitely looking bright!

Thursday, January 03, 2002
1:21 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Wizards To Publish New Star Wars CCG
As we reported last Friday, the current incarnation of the Star Wars CCG is in peril, as Decipher revealed that Lucasfilm did not renew their license. We also reported that Wizards of the Coast appeared to be the -- um, force driving Lucasfilm's decision. Well, sure enough, WotC just announced their plans to release a new Star Wars TCG in April (which is right after Decipher's sell-off period for the old game). Wizards has brought out Richard Garfield for a show of force (there's that word again), but from the admittedly vague wording of the press release, Garfield seems to have designed the game with the same flaw I disliked in the Decipher game: you need one Light Side player, and one Dark Side player. *sigh* Well, at least George Lucas' Hasbro stock will be getting him a bit extra on his own properties, and WotC can finally claim revenge on Decipher for snagging the Star Trek RPG license back when WotC bought Last Unicorn.

Still, seems like a bad idea all around. But that's just me.

12:41 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Games Workshop Buys Sabertooth Games
I suppose it was inevitable, considering the popularity of the Warhammer 40,000 CCG : Sabertooth Games has had 85% of the company bought by Games Workshop. The prediction is that this will result in higher product quality, a crossover of popular WH40K artists, and a minor delay in the release of Sabertooth's next CCG expansion. For those wary of buyouts and the like, Bob Watts of Sabertooth had this to say: "Unlike the Hasbro/WotC buyout where I believe Hasbro had little to offer WotC, GW has a ton to offer us."

12:33 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Classic Miniatures Change Hands
The Miniatures Page reports that Dark Ages Miniatures has gained ownership of the award winning Grenadier Personality Series One and Series Two miniatures lines sculpted by Julie Guthrie. I own several of these classics, and you probably do too (there were 188 figures total). Emperors Choice, which was bought by the ill-fated Cybergames, was the previous owner.

Wednesday, January 02, 2002
10:55 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
The First Seal Is Broken? Then Why'd I Bother Coming Back To Work?
Tyranny Games has informed us that to announce the upcoming release of the d20 system RPG, The End: Lost Souls Edition, "Pestilence stalks the Earth once again. As The End approaches, Pestilence and its agents bring old and new plagues to the world. New strains of Smallpox, Ebola, and Influenza mix with the mysterious new Gold virus to herald The End." Umm, yikes. Most companies throw a party or something when they release a game, but the folks at Tyranny seem to be going all out. Further updates to the apocalyptic countdown as each seal is broken, as well as other preview art and background stuff, can be found on the official page for The End.

Roleplaying Tips Issues #102, #103, #104 Suddenly Appear
Actually, subscribers received the issues right on time while Johnn Four was on vacation, but now the issues are online and everything's caught up at Roleplaying Tips, everyone can have a look. Here's the links to the issues in question:

Head over and catch up on your GMing hints.


 

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