Archive for March, 2002

Peter Adkison Buys GenCon

Thursday, March 21st, 2002

We are not kidding. Wizards has the press release up. Doesn’t this seem like it could become a bit dodgy? “Here, we’re gonna move the preeminent game convention from its 30-year home to a whole new location, aaaaaaaaaand hereyouhandleeverythingokaycool.” But I can’t imagine Adkison would go into this blind, and I suppose everything will be fine. I’m gonna make an extra effort to catch the con this year before it moves, in any case.

Zombies!!! Returns From Grave, Clutching Clichéd Headline

Wednesday, March 20th, 2002

Todd Breitenstein, veteran of Journeyman Press, has formed Twilight Creations to bring Zombies back to the people. When Darkness Comes takes the variable-board mechanic of Zombies and adds RPG-like character creation. Art is from the original Zombies artists. The base set (yes, there will be expansions) allegedly hits on June 19.

Sovereign Press To Publish Dragonlance D20

Wednesday, March 20th, 2002

It was announced this morning at GAMA – original Dragonlance co-author Margaret Weis’ company, Sovereign Press, will be doing Dragonlance for D&D3. It’s unclear whether this will be a D20 book requiring the Player’s Handbook and published by Sovereign, or some kind of licensed deal with full rules and the WotC logo somewhere. The core book hits in the fall, and there will of course be supplements. The full announcement isn’t up anywhere official yet; EN World has it for now.

Nominations for 2002 Origins Awards

Tuesday, March 19th, 2002

The official site is going to be under construction until last week, so, um, until then, you can get the list of nominees .

GOO Starts Creator-Owned Imprint

Tuesday, March 19th, 2002

Buried under the hailstorm of GAMA stuff on GamingReport yesterday (quick recap: WotC may put restrictions on “trade dress” for certain types of D20 products, the new Star Wars CCG has D20s in it, it’ll have basic common cards for the big characters and then rarer cards you stack up on top of it) is something that I think a lot of RPG creators and would-be creators will be affected by. is , devoted to creator-owned RPGs and supplements using the Tri-Stat System.

Cell Entertainment Plots To Escape Sweden

Monday, March 18th, 2002

Normally I wouldn’t report on news like this, but it’s been such a pain in the ass to get my hands on what I see as really exciting product that I was very happy to see this on GamingReport this morning: Cell Entertainment, manufacturers of great minis games like Lab and Ronin War (as well as, yes, some iffier titles), has with Ed Andrews, a game industry veteran apparently known for his distribution and marketing wherewithal. Cell’s stuff is very difficult for most retailers in the US to get, and little has been done to stimulate consumer demand (huh huh, I said “stimulate”). Hopefully this will all change soon. If you play CCGs and are even the slightest bit curious about minis, get yourself a Lab starter as soon as you can. (Update: my Ronin War stuff got primed without injury to stuff, primer, or human facilitators, so I should be able to play and review it soon. Then I will attempt to paint it, and likely be struck down by Odin as retribution for the results. I’ll keep you posted.)

Godlike: Not D20, But An Incredible Simulation!

Monday, March 18th, 2002

So it turns out there’s something kind of interesting in the appendices of the Godlike book. (To say nothing, for the moment, of the harrowing hazards in the Talent section, the phenomenal detail of the Background section that takes up the middle 151 pages of a 351-page hardcover, and the refreshing and commendable lack of a thick opening section of game fiction – what fiction there is is better written than usual, too.) A section called “Open Source Superhero Rules” has an introductory blurb that begins, “The following rules are designed using the same basic task resolution used by the world’s most popular fantasy role-playing game.” It goes on to give you the rules over again – hyperstats, Talents and all – this time using standard D20 System Reference Document stats and terminology, including character creation and level advancement rules. This is perfectly legal; it’s just the D20 license, not the OGL, that forbids it. The D20 System name and logo appears nowhere in or on the Godlike book.

I’ve been waiting for something like this to happen. Maybe publishers couldn’t get their heads around open source, or couldn’t see the advantage to having the rules but not being able to announce it with the D20 logo. Pagan and Hobgoblynn seem to be providing it as insurance – against those players who hate learning new systems. They certainly aren’t making a lot of noise about it. However, when I jumped up and down and raved about this to the boys at the store, they told me White Wolf is doing the same thing with EverQuest, announced two weeks ago. (*sigh* I can’t do anything original.) And they don’t seem to be using it as a backup, either. By my reading of the licenses, WotC has no grounds to file suit here, but we’ll see what happens. Part of me hopes this starts a dogpile.

Privateer Posts Monsternomicon Preview

Sunday, March 17th, 2002

With the characteristic style of the Iron Kingdoms setting, the Monsternomicon ain’t just another book full of monsters. There’s apparently a prestige class for moster-hunter, or monster-researcher or something, and a bunch of other stuff. Privateer Press slapped up a PDF preview just before running off to GAMA, which Allan also ran off to this morning. He might find a way to post news from the show and he might not, so bear with us if things look a little slow here at the Cave for a few days.

Invisible City Goes Commercial

Sunday, March 17th, 2002

Invisible City Productions, the company known mainly for free monthly games, has announced that their March game will be delayed due to work promoting a forthcoming line of commercial releases. These will include a high-quality version of their popular Run, Hamster, Run along with several completely new designs including Psycho Killer, a slasher-movie board game, Dragon Hatchery, a game for children, and Town Without Pity, the first entry in the Angry Puritan line of adult-oriented releases. 2003 should be an interesting year.

Monte Cook On WotC Layoffs

Saturday, March 16th, 2002

We appreciate your trying to make us feel better, Monte. We’re gonna worry anyway if it’s okay with you. (The latest Line of Sight fleshes out the picture of the recent layoffs a bit more. 50 people, about 10% of total WotC staff, there’s no more Director of Miniatures position at all, et cetera. We’ve been keeping an eye on the Green Ronin page to see if Pramas makes any statement. Most responses to the layoffs from those involved have been pretty accepting, if not exactly sanguine. I guess I can stop fantasizing about a StarCraft minis game now.)

Decipher Rides Frodo To Tenuous Lead

Saturday, March 16th, 2002

According to the April 2002 issue of the trade magazine Comics & Games Retailer, Decipher’s Lord of the Rings CCG was the top-selling CCG in the month of January, displacing Magic: The Gathering for only the second time in history. Decipher also reportedly beat WotC’s overall share of the CCG market for that month, taking all of Decipher’s CCGs into account against the combined forces of Magic, Pokemon and Harry Potter. Interesting; we’ll see if it lasts…

Word From SJG On Frag Deadlands

Saturday, March 16th, 2002

Here’s the World War I flying ace with a response to our playtest report from none other than designer Phil Reed: “Yep, the rules aren’t quite right. We’re working on errata so that: When you roll 1s, you still roll for damage against the target. You then roll for damage against yourself. This makes it a bloodier game.” So, be advised.

FRAG Deadlands Playtest Report

Saturday, March 16th, 2002

You know how people die really fast in Frag? They die reeeallllyyyy slllloooowww in Frag Deadlands. All weapons have a lot more luck in them, partially through the classic Deadlands mechanic of the “pull” (take the top card of the deck and check either the value or suit of the poker card it represents), but also through high-powered weaponry malfunctioning if you roll a one.

You know how you roll lots of dice when you fire a weapon in Frag? Yeah. Even one roll of 1 will scotch it for you. Now, I have to admit that I did not stay in the game for long, and that, despite my protests, we played with the more isolationist lots-of-little-rooms map, which always slows things down. Still, though, the game dragged out far too long and frustrated everyone involved. As in vanilla Frag, not much in the game really gives you deep strategic or tactical options. That’s fine when the game goes fast. However, based on my admittedly limited experience of Frag Deadlands, I have to recommend that you stick with the original. Let me know if you strongly object.

Fast, Heavily-Armed 1PG Spotted

Friday, March 15th, 2002

Deep7 has just released another entry in their long line of 1PGs. The game is called Full Clip, and the subject this time around is the fast-paced world of Hong Kong action cinema. As usual, each game session should play out in about two hours, and five complete and ready-to-play scenarios are included.

Godlike Sighted At Wizard’s Attic

Friday, March 15th, 2002

The much anticipated, slightly overdue release of the Godlike RPG is now at hand. Saw ’em with my own eyes, I did. A whole truckload of the books, in box after glorious box, arrived at Wizard’s Attic, 5,500 copies in all. As I left there at about 1:30 yesterday afternoon, they were being unloaded from the truck in preparation for autoshipping, special orders, and general consumption by the gaming public at large.