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February 2003 Archive

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February 28, 2003

11:35 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
New Review: Book of More Flesh

Merwin was so moved by Eden Studios' zombie fiction anthology, The Book of More Flesh, that he composed OgreCave's first song. Yeah, you heard me. Sing along! Just follow the bouncing corpse. Don't let it bite you, though.

11:02 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Check yer d20, Mister?

The folks over at The Game Mechanics have just released a second d20 resource, Staves of Ascendance. Written by Rich Redman (Savage Species, d20 Modern, Monster Manual II), the supplement shows players and GMs how a mystical staff or rod can be the stuff of legends. Twelve powerful tools that slowly reveal their true potential are presented, as well as four prestige classes that grant characters the ability to discern even greater powers within such awe-inspiring staves. The 37-page PDF is available from RPGNow for a paltry $5.

02:32 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
OgreCave Interview: Silverthorne Games

Joe has needled new d20 company Silverthorne Games with enough questions to form our latest interview. See what the young game company has to say about the industry, PDF publishing, and finding a voice amidst all the other products out there.

February 27, 2003

03:50 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
'Elric Saga' optioned by Universal

On the other hand, this story serves to remind us that most big-studio options are never produced, and we'll be seeing a lot of crappy bandwagon-jumping sword-and-sorcery pics soon.

03:47 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
MechWarrior soon to be a medium-to-major motion picture?

It's currently the top item, dated 3-27-03 for some reason, on this news page from one of the producers of last year's deliberately campy CGI-fest Eight Legged Freaks. "I'm crazy about the material and this is a real passion project for me," says Dean Devlin in an annoying Flash-text page you can't copy and paste from. Man, if you thought the netgeeks jumping on Peter Jackson were ferocious, wait until aficionados of the five kajillion years of BattleTech storylines get on this guy's case. Still, it's nice to see cheap CG make a thousand flowers bloom, and maybe something good will come of this.

February 25, 2003

10:52 AM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Preliminary Babylon 5 RPG schedule

Mongoose has decided to further stimulate your salivary glands with a tentative schedule of Babylon 5 RPG releases. At least one release is planned per month, starting the same time as the main rulebook's release in May. Here's the quick rundown of anticipated products, and you can click the "Read more" link for the details:

  • Babylon 5 Roleplaying Game Main Rulebook (May)
  • The Fiery Trial (May)
  • The Coming of Shadows (June)
  • The Earth Alliance (July)
  • The Minbari Federation (August)
  • Point of No Return (September)
  • The Centauri Republic (October)
  • The Narn Regime (November)

    Looks like they'll be keeping my wallet busy this year.

  • 01:07 AM: Craig Robertson says...
    The Cold War (Still) Isn't Over...

    Far Future Enterprises has announced that the first volume of their Twilight 2000 reprint series will be shipping to distributors on March 1. It will contain the complete version 1.0 rules, plus four adventures set in Europe: The Free City of Krakow, Pirates of the Vistula, The Ruins of Warsaw, and The Black Madonna. Now if I can only remember where I parked the Bradley...

    We should also see more Classic Traveller reprints with the release of Alien Modules 1-4 earlier this month, and Alien Modules 5-8 by the end of March. With all of these nostalgic reprintings and revisions, I think my old pocket protectors and slide rule might just come back into fashion. Watch out, Ladies, here I come!

    February 24, 2003

    11:34 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
    New Review: Construct Mechanus

    Frank brings his first contribution to the Cave's hoard of reviews, as he takes a look at Construct Mechanus from Philip J. Reed. Will the d20 supplement function as a well-oiled machine in his game sessions, or be left to rust on the shelf? Have a look and find out.

    February 23, 2003

    11:37 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
    Mongoose releases book of vile secretions

    Mongoose Publishing's Encyclopaedia Arcane: Nymphology has been released on what it seems to be using as the industry's equivalent to straight-to-video, RPGNow. Written by the author of the Slayer’s Guide to Rules Lawyers and Female Gamers, this eldritch tome promises rules for prestige classes including "Mystic Pimp, Seduction Mage and, of course, the Peeping Scryer," plus plenty more tools to go where you would never possibly want to go with your gaming friends. No page count is listed - maybe they come pre-stuck together.

    February 21, 2003

    12:20 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
    The Last, Best Hope for Roleplaying

    True to its promise, Mongoose Publishing has at last revealed the RPG project hinted at last December: a new Babylon 5 RPG. Having received the roleplaying license from Warner Brothers, the d20 game will be available in May. You can click the "Read more" link below for the full press release and Q&A, but here's the highlights: the main hardback rulebook will be over 300 pages, with full color throughout and plenty of still shots from the series. An agressive support product schedule is already planned, and if the Judge Dredd line is any indication, Mongoose should have no trouble following through. Bruce Graw, formerly of Agents of Gaming (B5 Wars), will be writing a few supplements for the game. Between the B5 RPG, Lone Wolf RPG, Judge Dredd RPG and the Conan RPG early next year, Mongoose is fast becoming a champion of gamers everywhere. Or those that can tolerate d20, at least.

    February 20, 2003

    07:23 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
    Crimson Skies: rules sold separately

    Here are all four products that'll street in May, and while it is still not technically collectible, it is shaping up to be rather expensive. Four planes for $16, and you will likely need both of those packs for a game, plus the Aces will double that, and the rules and necessary accessories come in an $8 box? This doesn't look disastrous yet but it sure is confusing.

    February 19, 2003

    01:28 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
    Possible licensed sourcebook for Mutants and Masterminds?

    The Green Ronin superhero RPG may, or may not, be doing a sourcebook-slash-standalone-game based on the intensely Halloweeny pulp-style comic The Nocturnals. That's what the news right here says, but the source article to which it points looks to have been deleted. We'll try and follow up on this for you. If true, this could be interesting, seeing as how the Nocturnals characters hew pretty close to White Wolf archetypes.

    01:18 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
    There is no CCG, and I still need a damn spoon

    Although it's reported here as a card game, it's not. If you read the article, you can tell that. Thought I'd save you even that much work... although to see what I'm talking about, you'll have to read the article. Welcome to the desert of the real; have a pina colada. (Enough hints yet?) Update 2/19 11:01 PM: Someone at GamingReport has corrected the headline to remove any reference to a game. All's well that ends well.

    February 17, 2003

    12:23 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
    2nd MechWarrior expansion coming in like a minute and a half

    Less than three months after the release of Fire For Effect will come Death From Above, a MechWarrior: Dark Age expansion featuring, for the first time in MW, helicopters and air combat. All we've seen so far is the flyer linked to above, but damn... saturating the market much?

    12:17 AM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
    Shadowrun: Duels officially announced at Toy Fair

    Yup, WizKids is doing a Shadowrun game with six-inch figures. Here's the official release. This doesn't strike me as a great idea, but it doesn't strike me as a bomb either. We'll see. Is it still a miniatures game? Apparently, figure articulation will figure (urk) into the rules somehow, making this "World's first Action Figure Game" even more similar to Z-G. There's also now an official WizKids press release for Creepy Freaks if you're into that. A DVD will be going into every Creepy Freaks starter, which is a nice way to kill both the CD-ROM tutorial and the lack-of-a-TV-show with one stone.

    February 16, 2003

    02:12 PM: Greg Kessler says...
    Rocketmen Fly Again

    Big time miniature sculptor Bob Murch (Wizards of the Coast, AEG, etc) has posted a preview of his upcoming figures he creates for his own specialty company, Pulp Figures. If you have not checked out their page before, their figures are for pulp era games like Call of Cthulhu and yes the ever cool, Space 1889. The new previews are of the tried and true U.S. Rocket Corp. They are slated for release around April of this year. If you have not seen this guy’s work, check it out.

    02:10 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
    Steve Jackson Doesn't Acquire Issaries

    No, he never announced he was acquiring Issaries; we heard it that way first, then we actually checked, and, well, here: so yesterday, we heard here at the con that Greg Stafford had left the country. Or, actually, he hasn't left yet, but it's funnier that way. He's preparing to spend a year or so teaching English abroad, possibly in Mexico. Today, we learned that he has handed off marketing and distribution details to Steve Jackson Games, who will distribute existing Hero Wars books effective immediately, and put their logo alongside Issaries' on future Hero Wars and HeroQuest books. 24 hours ago, it maybe wasn't looking so good for HeroQuest making it out there in the near future, but this move makes sense - I'm surprised we don't see more deals in paper gaming that are this similar to the kind of developer-and-publisher arrangements you see in video gaming. What do you think: triumphant return, or first step on the road to GURPS Glorantha?


    02:01 PM: Greg Kessler says...
    You People Gossip Worse than a Bunch of Old Ladies

    For the last few months there have been announcements and rumors about a new license at WizKids. Well the rumormongers over at have offered up what they say is the definitive last and final truth. The story at Gamingreport is that the new license is nothing less than a new Shadowrun click game. The new figures are supposed to be typical action figure size. You can read the whole story here. If the story is true the whole thing has been sort of a con. WizKids might as well own Shadowrun, seeing as how the founder of WizKids, Jordan Weisman, helped design the game and his old company (FASA) published it. Regardless, I am looking forward to the whole thing.

    February 15, 2003

    08:43 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
    Live from DunDraCon

    Yeah, there's actually some news: nothing short of a potential new hit, in fact. Citizen Games' Dungeoneer is a common sight on bar tables and floor corners as I write this - incidentally, I write this via a wireless Internet connection in the Marriott lobby. (Attention GAMA: how about leasing a DSL line and borrowing a wireless router for Origins? We are geeks, you know.)

    Dungeoneer is a two-to-four-player tile-based floors-and-corridors kinda card game, that plays like Talisman on speed, with an elegant mechanic for throwing N points of monsters at someone depending on how much danger they've accumulated in their dungeon wanderings. No, it's not collectible. The art's gorgeous and... well, you get used to the card design. And you can buy four of them for the price of the Talisman reprint!

    In other news, Tom Jolly's Light Speed (evidently too new to have a web page) has gotten a gorgeous full-color treatment from Cheapass' Hip Pocket line. However, Tom notes that his request to add a line saying that the game's perfectly playable as a turn-based game, rather than real time, didn't get represented in the final product. So, if the real-time thing bothers you, buy this anyway, so Tom can buy more things. Everyone likes... things.

    February 14, 2003

    11:56 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...

    The uproar today in the d20 portion of the industry is WotC's recent changes to the System Reference Document, which tells all the d20 publishers out there what they can and can't make use of from established D&D rules. Why the concern? Well, apparently several creatures that were in the old version of the SRD are now conspicuously absent, which would seem to say non-WotC game developers can't use them anymore. Missing in action from the revised SRD are the Beholder, Carrion Crawler, Displacer Beast, Kuo-toa, Mind Flayer, Slaad, Umber Hulk, and Yuan-ti. What will this mean for upcoming products such as Goodman Games' Complete Guide to Beholders (recently announced to distributors)? Damn good question, I'd say.


    03:34 PM: Demian Katz says...
    Being the last man alive has never been such fun...

    After a whole lot of anticipation, it's nearly here. Deep7 has just begun accepting pre-orders for their new RPG based on the Red Dwarf sci-fi/comedy series. If you haven't seen the show, you really should, and if you have, you're probably wondering just how much longer you have to wait to experience the terrible loneliness of the universe for yourself. Well, we're nearly there -- the books should be back from the printers in just a couple of weeks. This is the company's first hardback release, and it looks likely to attract them a lot of attention. This should be interesting!

    February 13, 2003

    05:40 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
    Ding-dong! Donjon calling!

    We just got word from Clinton R. Nixon of Anvilwerks that the first supplement for Donjon is now available. Donjon Pak B1: Men of Steel and Beasts of Terror!is described as "a bestiary of 41 friends and foes for your Donjon campaign, and includes such creatures as the foul Kubera Demon, the intrepid Crimefighter, the wily Cloud Dragon, the dread Behemoth, and a Zombie that puts others to shame." The PDF supplement provides full-color art of each creature, and costs a mere $5 to pick up. Hey, any supplement for Donjon is a friend of mine.

    05:27 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
    Wingnut Games Promotes Good Hygiene

    The latest nuttiness from Wingnut Games, Soap: The game of soap opera mayhem, has returned from the printer and will be heading out to distributors after the weekend. Expect to see the sudsy game in stores late next week. I'm seeing a great promotional opportunity with Soap at game conventions. You know: conventions, unwashed gamers... you do the math.

    February 12, 2003

    09:04 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
    Warmachine gets tuneup before leaving factory floor

    This wouldn't be news, but a friend who now calls himself a former 40K player gave the previous version of the Warmachine Quick Start rules two big thumbs up. (I should clarify that it isn't this game that made him a former 40K player... it's 40K that made him a former 40K player. But yeah.) He's now played the revised Quick Start rules and he loves it even more. He plays it with Warhammer Fantasy figures and 40K dreadnaughts; I think I might try it with MK Dungeons guys and some Powerpuff Girls pencil sharpeners I got. That's right, the rules are a free download, making further expenditure at least a little bit optional - but leadheads I know are drooling over the Warmachine leads proper. The starter boxes should be in stores by the end of the month.

    05:00 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
    Two Towers up for Best Picture Oscar

    As if there was any doubt. According to the official Oscars website, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is nominated for Best Picture of 2002. It has some stiff competition in the form of fellow nominees The Hours, Gangs of New York, and The Pianist (as well as Chicago, but if Two Towers gets beat by that, I'll eat my dice). Of course, Two Towers is also nominated in the categories of Art Direction, Sound, Sound Editing, Visual Effects, and Film Editing, so it's bound to win something. Just probably not the big prize, as usual.

    February 10, 2003

    03:14 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
    Oh, for god's sake: WotC to publish NeoPets CCG

    What do you do when your trendy card game based on a trendy TV show sinks as trends inevitably do, taking with it the value of all that inventory you printed back when you thought everything would keep on growing? Base your next game on a theoretically trendy kids' website, of course. Do numbers like "45 million accounts" sound inflated to anyone else? I mean, how many of those still log in ever? And if this card game crashes and burns (can you tell what my money's on?), won't it just be that much longer before major entertainment corporations consider the Web a viable source of new creative properties? Looks like a lose-lose deal if you ask me. Maybe Hasbro is making WotC into its redshirt: "you go first, brave little subsidiary. We'll follow with a full line of plush toys! *cough*If you survive.*cough*"

    02:18 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
    Village of Briarton review

    Gold Rush Games' upcoming d20 village-book, The Village of Briarton, was offered up for review, so we accepted it for review, then reviewed it. And now, it is reviewed. Check it out before it hits your store shelves!

    02:13 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
    WizKids posts official Crimson Skies page

    Hey, look: planes. Officially out in May, the Crimson Skies CMG has some freakishly large pilots as well. Apparently they will get sold in "Ace Packs," two per. That's news to me.

    08:51 AM: Craig Robertson says...
    New Resource for Military Roleplayers

    Have you ever wondered what Army regulations are really trying to say? Wonder no longer. With The 213 Things Skippy is No Longer Allowed to Do in the US Army, you will learn exactly which deeds are most forbidden to soldiers in a modern fighting force. Don't try these at home, kids.

    08:43 AM: Craig Robertson says...
    Nurse, Give me 15 cc's of Goblin Green, STAT!

    They cost eight bucks a pop, look great when done well, and are sitting in their thousands in the box under your bed. What are you going to do with all those minis? Have no fear, the Doctor is here. Doctor Faust's Painting Clinic features tutorials, reviews, and how-to articles on all aspects of miniature painting and conversion. I think I'll go in for a checkup myself.

    February 07, 2003

    01:05 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
    Good old rock. Nothing beats rock

    Rock Scissors Blog is a team blog by a collection of freelance game writers, posting great ruminations on (mostly) role-playing games, their opportunities, and their limitations. I'm having a great time reading it. Don't forget the comments.

    12:20 PM: Mike Sugarbaker says...
    Fantasy Setting Search has a winner already

    Congratulations to Keith Baker, former Icehouse world co-champion and winner of the WotC Fantasy Setting Search. Baker got paid 100 grand for the 100-page setting bible he wrote, which, as I understand it, is an above-average page rate for the industry. Still no word on the content of this new setting or when, precisely, any products will see release. They say details in the summer.

    01:08 AM: Craig Robertson says...
    New Downloads from Heresy Games

    Heresy Games has just posted slick new wallpaper and a sneak peek at the technology of Victoriana. Victoriana sets a new spin to steampunk, highlighting social turmoil and the wonders of magic rather than the tawdry glories of mad science. Now you too can play a halfling abolitionist or a half-ogre suffragette. Three hundred beautiful pages will be coming to a store near you in May.

    February 06, 2003

    03:01 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
    New Marvel RPG on Horizon

    Marvel Enterprises will continue to ride their cresting wave of popularity with a new roleplaying game this May. The word on some industry mailing lists is that some of the "people who brought you Paranoia" will be involved. Whether that means Greg Costikyan, some other former West End Games designers, or something entirely different remains to be seen. Gaming Report has reported that the system will be diceless, which if true, might spell an early death for Marvel's new game. Gamer sentiment towards diceless RPGs has been historically negative, even with the recent success of Nobilis. Guess we'll see how the 128-page hardcover game's received in May.

    02:05 PM: Allan Sugarbaker says...
    HeroClix: It's Costuming Time!!

    We've been alerted to a planned full-size HeroClix demo. Yes, full-size, as in 1:1 scale, human-sized figures. No, they don't come in booster packs, unless you count a car as the packaging. Yes, the idea's a bit frightening.

    February 03, 2003

    07:29 PM: Greg Kessler says...
    The Hog has a New Head

    Yes the rumors are true; the recently defunct Hogshead Publishing has risen from the ashes under new management. Mark Ricketts, an industry new comer, has purchased the former powerhouse from head hog, James Wallis (although after Wallis had sold off all of the important properties that Hogshead owned). Even though Hogshead will not be publishing the games that made them famous they will be retaining their full-time production editor, Carol Johnson, who has been working at Hogshead since 2000. In the full press release, the new company has announced its intention to join the OGL fracas. You can read the entire press release here.

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