Archive for July, 2001

Complete Origins 2001 Coverage Feature

Thursday, July 19th, 2001

We’ve created a special archive of all our coverage of Origins 2001, plus some brand new photos. Check ’em out!

Vortex Site Up

Wednesday, July 18th, 2001

At long last, FFG has a web page for Vortex, the new effort from the team that gave you DiskWars. Check out some disk im- sorry, tile images, download sample tiles and rules, and generally sit back and admire.

Cavemen Available Once Again

Tuesday, July 17th, 2001

Wingnut Games wants everyone to know that the second printing of Land of Og is back in stock. So if you couldn’t find it before, try again — it’s worth the effort.

Freeport Enters Arcanis: the World of Shattered Empires
As we mentioned a while back, Paradigm Concepts and Green Ronin have come to an agreement that will allow GR’s City of Freeport to be featured in Paradigm’s setting, Arcanis: the World of Shattered Empires campaign setting. It was more recently decided that Freeport, which earned GR an Origins Award for Death in Freeport, would be more seamlessly adapted into Arcanis by having William Simoni write the section regarding the archipelago where Freeport is located. Simoni was the author of Madness in Freeport, and as such, is highly qualified for this task. In a press release, Chris Pramas, founder of Green Ronin and creator of Freeport, said “I think this sort of alliance is really what the Open Gaming License is all about. If some of our fans discover Arcanis and some of Paradigm’s fans discover Freeport, everyone wins in the end.” Arcanis: the World of Shattered Empires will be decribed in the Codex Arcanis, 192 pages of D20 pleasure scheduled for an August release.

First Look at Bluffside
Thunderhead Games has a preview of the excellent cover art for their impending release of Bluffside: City on the Edge. Apparently, this city is nestled on the edge of a massive crater formed by an asteroid’s impact. So, my question is: how many dice would you roll for that kind of damage? 😉

Rangers of Taradoin Reach Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, July 17th, 2001

Sean Robert-Shaw, an active member of the Lone Wolf community and the author of several interesting online gamebooks, has just announced that Barnes & Noble is now offering his new role-playing game, Rangers of Taradoin, for sale. The book will offer gamebook-style solitaire play as well as traditional multiplayer adventuring, so it should appeal to almost any fantasy gamer. If this release is a success, more will follow, so if you’re a gamebook fan, you’d be wise to support the effort by picking up a copy. If you don’t like Barnes & Noble, just wait a little while — the book should soon be available practically everywhere.

Dogs of War Set Loose

Monday, July 16th, 2001

Earlier today, Troll Lord Games announced its newest D20 adventure, Felsentheim: Dogs of War, is available to the gaming public. The adventure is part three of the Death on the Treklant trilogy. This time, the characters are “fleeing the goblin war parties on their trail, hoping to reach the safety of the borderland town of Felsentheim. For if they do not, no alarm will sound to harken the coming of the Dogs of War!” The adventure is for 4-8 characters of levels 3-5. Us Cave Dwellers will check it out, and let you know what we think.

“You got GURPS in my Blue Planet!” “You got Blue Planet in my GURPS!”

Monday, July 16th, 2001

Continuing the quest to bring their Generic Universal Role-Playing System to as many players as possible, Steve Jackson Games announced their agreement with Fantasy Flight Games to produce GURPS Blue Planet. As the sourcebook is just getting underway, no release date was given, but you can bet the world of Poseidon will be getting the full treatment.

Rate Those Minis!

Monday, July 16th, 2001

You’ve seen Hot or Not, right? The site where you judge everyone by their looks? Well, now there’s Cool Mini or Not, which asks you to do the same for painted miniatures. You can even send in a picture of your own artistic endeavors to be rated by the masses. So, what’s next? Nifty Dicebag or Not? Charming Character or Not? I’ll hold out for Gruesome Death Story or Not. Some of my players would get high ratings. 🙂

The Latest Tips from Roleplaying Tips Weekly

Monday, July 16th, 2001

Has real life been taking too much of your time lately? Me too. Consequently, I’ve fallen a bit behind in my issues of Roleplaying Tips. Let’s play some catch-up:

  • Issue #81explores ways to liven up your cities, and also gives some great ideas on Planning A Group’s Combat Tactics.
  • Issue #82 has more tips for fleshing out your cities.
  • The latest edition, Issue #83, explores how Play By Email (PBeMs) compares to other RPGs.

Mid-July D20 Roundup

Saturday, July 14th, 2001

With the excitement of Origins all wrapped up, and GenCon just around the corner, a lot has been happening in D20. Let’s get to it.

  • Pinnacle released Deadlands D20 at Origins, and are so on top of things, they’ve already posted some errata.
  • Mystic Eye has been busy posting freebies for Pit of Loch-Durnan and a high level mini-adventure called A Lost Art which was in the premier issue of Gaming Frontiers Magazine.
  • Not to be left out, Wizards has posted web enhancements for both Tome & Blood, including a revised spell sheet, and one for Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, which details 20+ new encounter areas.
  • Sovereign Stone, created by Larry Elmore, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, and coming soon to a D20 system near you, has posted an 11 page preview of next month’s campaign book release.
  • Green Ronin’s upcoming Hell in Freeport is, according to them, “even more of an epic than we expected.” The book has been expanded by 24 pages, including an eight page full-color map insert, all for the slight price increase from $14.95 to $18.95. Hell should be unleashed at the end of this month.
  • Living Imagination announced plans to produce the D20 sourcebook Broadsides!, which will detail naval adventuring. An assortment of new skills, prestige classes, feats, and monsters will accompany ship design rules and sample advenutres.

This Could Be Your New Religion

Friday, July 13th, 2001

So I found this flyer at Origins for something called Morton’s List. The web site loads slower than ass, so I’ll quote you some of the flyer first: “There is no board to play on, unless you consider the Earth beneath your feet to be one. Morton’s List is not a role-playing, card, or computer game, so put all that bulls___ off to the side. […] Play begins when a crew comes together and agrees to let Morton’s List give them a randomly determined Quest to do together for an hour. Anything and everything you could ever think of to do for fun (and MORE) is covered by one of these Quests. Some Quests are chaotic, some social, others physical, spiritual, good, or evil… […] you and your crew could find yourselves wearing costumes while sneaking into a community pool after hours, playing a board game at a strip club, or creating a highly volatile chemical mixture.” The only scary thing here is an apparent connection with the Insane Clown Posse, but this should at least be fun to read. The game should be releasing today.

Origins 2001: The Final Mopup

Wednesday, July 11th, 2001

Let’s hope so, anyway. I caught a wicked cold halfway through the con and it’s still messing with me. Don’t sleep with your head too close to the AC, kids.

Series Archer Delayed
I don’t know if any of the rest of you remember back when AEG put up this enigmatic web teaser for a spies-and-conspiracies game called Series Archer… anyway, I talked briefly with John Zinser at the con and he says the Warlord CCG is doing so well that they’re putting off Series Archer until November or March 2002, so it can get the attention it deserves. He also disabused me of my notion, and God only knows where I got the idea, that Series Archer is a card game – it’s actually a fast-playing RPG.

SnarfQuest: The Card Game First Look
The Agents of Gaming folks have done quite a job packaging this game. Every $10 deck comes with a Snarf lead, or one of the other characters – a different lead to match each different card-border color. The deck is the same in every color, but each player can own a different color deck for when you collaboratively construct the play deck. That’s right, it’s a one-big-deck game, but everybody can have their own say as to what goes in. The stone soup theory. The basic rules reminded Allan a little of the Tomb Raider CCG, which I haven’t seen. The leads are part of the game, as the cards form a storyline and Snarf moves around on it. Cards never go into your hand, but instead go into the storyline, and you control Snarf on your turn, trying to claim the good cards for yourself and send clunkers to your enemy. Cards can block your movement in the storyline until someone activates them, some of them have global effects… ultimately, you’re trying to score the most Treasure cards. We definitely look forward to playing this one, although our Elmore-signed cards may be going into cold storage with Allan’s old issues of Dragon if he has anything to say about it.

Lemmings: The Migration Playtest
Before leaving the con, I actually managed to play one of the umpteen little card games I picked up, and it was this Cheapass-style joint from d20ers Vengeance Games that got the treatment. We played with the full allotment of six players, trying to be the last one in the game with any surviving lemmings. Some of the cards are very, very funny, but on the whole it felt a little bit soulless and random. To begin, I just kind of picked somebody to poke first, and then it was poke-poke-poke-poke-poke until somebody won. If you don’t have the cards in your hand to deal with a given problem, you’re pretty much screwed. So, lots and lots of luck in the game and not much skill. “Deep” is definitely not the word I’d use to describe this game, but when all is said and done, I’d probably play it again. It’s only five bucks, so if the thought of rescuing a few stampeding lemmings with an overzealous crossing guard appeals to you, this is your kind of cheap thrill.

Musical Chairs at Wizards

Tuesday, July 10th, 2001

There’s been some job switching at Wizards of the Coast. Chris Perkins, former Star Wars Gamer and Star Wars Insider Editor-in-Chief moved into the Creative Director position for Wizards of the Coast. Dave Gross left his spot as Editor-in-Chief of Dragon Magazine after a five year stint to take Chris’ place. Moving into Dave’s place at the Dragon’s head is Jesse Decker, after working at Topdeck Magazine and the WotC website.

Torg Blow-Out

Tuesday, July 10th, 2001

The High Lords lost their lease! Every alternate reality must go! At least that’s what I envision as a good sales pitch for West End Games’ big summer Torg sale. The main set is on sale for $10, Drama Decks are a mere $3, and anything else from the game is $2. Torg is a great system, breaking new ground when first released in 1990, and I still maintain my Torg campaign between D&D 3 sessions. Head over to the sale, and get ’em while they’re extremely old and discontinued.

Catching Up With Origins 2001

Monday, July 9th, 2001

First, a correction: it’s Risk 2210 A.D., not 2101 A.D. But what’s 109 years between friends, eh? Still no page about this one on the AH web site.

Deadlands D20 Surfaces
Yes, it’s printed, it was at the show. The cover doesn’t look like your conventional Deadlands stuff – it’s brown, it has a portrait of a boy gunslinger and a girl huckster, and the huckster’s cards look like they’re stuck together with bubblegum (magic, I imagine). I didn’t inspect this one closely, but looks like it should be in stores soon, with the very intriguing occult-meets-WWII Weird Wars D20 sourcebook debuting at Gen Con.

Just Tell Mom You’re Collecting Books Now
The good folks at Anoch Game Systems came out of nowhere at last year’s Origins with Mystick: Domination, a fine card game with Tarot-inspired mechanics and beautiful artwork culled from actual classic paintings of the Rennaissance and after. Back then, they said they were working on a Mystick RPG built around competition. This year, they showed prototypes of the “trading book game” that evolved out of that concept. It’s called Avatar: The Chosen (their website is still calling it the Mystick Pocket RPG as of now), and it will ship next April or something, according to Anoch’s booth reps. It’s a combat game in which your character is a stack of books, each book representing an aspect of your character, and when you get smacked, you turn the page. If the base book for your character class closes, you’re dead. They said they’re taking lots of inspiration from computer and console RPGs, which are of course very different from the paper variety. It sounds to me like they’re crossing it with Lost Worlds or something. This will be one to check out, as is the current Mystick Companion standalone expansion set for Mystick. (By the way, they say they will still eventually do a conventional RPG on the Mystick theme.)

Later, I’ll give you my first impressions of the SnarfQuest Card Game, a playtest report on Lemmings: The Migration, and some more rambling. Cheerio!

Third Edition Ravenloft Products Emerge from the Mists

Monday, July 9th, 2001

The Kargatane, official website of D20 Ravenloft, has recently whispered of other product plans by White Wolf’s Arthaus team. After the initial hardcover Ravenloft book in October, Arthaus will reveal Secrets of the Dread Realms, 72 pages of DM-only information, including magic, NPCs, and other info. That will be followed by Denizens of Darkness, a 150 page creature compendium exclusively for Ravenloft. In fact, many of the creatures will be from the Ravenloft Monstrous Compendiums of second edition. Thus, the Mists are returning to D&D. I know my players will be hiding come October.