Archive for November, 2002

Chains and Misery, without Jacob Morley

Saturday, November 30th, 2002

Chains and Misery has just been released by Skald Books. No, it has nothing to do with Dickens. Instead, it’s a 2.6 Mb PDF for Skald’s Maidenheim Campaign Setting, or any d20 System game, really. Chains and Misery dives into how slavery works “as a legitimized social institution rather than as the fate of those captured on the fringes of civilization.” So, in a medieval world that still accepts slavery, Skald’s product attempts to explain (and provide d20 rules for) the following:

  • Locating, buying, selling, and maintaining slaves
  • The relationship between slaves and their masters
  • Putting slaves to work as leased servants, plantation laborers, miners, or quarry workers.
  • Potential profits received from slave labor or establishing a slaving guild
  • The Slaver core class and Slave Lord Prestige Class
  • Other class options: Slave-Warrior, Gladiator, Slave-Guard, and Slave-Assassin
  • New weapons, equipment, poisons, restraints (ooh, kinky), spells, and magical items used in the slave trade

Now, you may be wondering if this sort of product is a good idea. My stance is I want to have a game world that’s as realistic as possible while still being fun, so rules on slavery, a real event, could be useful. Does Chains and Misery do a good job? Can’t answer that, I haven’t seen it. What I do know is the 97 page PDF is only $7.50, and can be purchased through RPGNow.

Another glimpse of WarMech

Wednesday, November 27th, 2002

Our friends over at ENworld are showing off a 2-page preview from WarMech – Armageddon 2089. The game’s on Mongoose‘s schedule for a March ’03 release, but between this and the background preview, you should be getting a fair idea of what to expect.

Quintessential Samurai art preview

Wednesday, November 27th, 2002

To whet our appetites for next month’s Quintessential Samurai, the guys at Mongoose Publishing have posted an art preview. A few tatoos, an attractive female samurai, and a whole lot of katanas fill the six page PDF. Have a look.

Pinnacle gives away village. Inhabitants not included

Wednesday, November 27th, 2002

Pinnacle has another Thanksgiving freebie for us: a Mexican Villa Map created by Joseph Wolf. You’ll need the Campaign Cartographer Viewer for it, but it could prove useful for your Deadlands, Deadlands: Hell on Earth, or… um… well, anything that needs a Mexican village.

Shadow & Flame for LotR Battle Game

Wednesday, November 27th, 2002

In other Games Workshop news, we’ve been given a first look at some of the miniatures from the first Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game supplement Shadow & Flame, due in stores June 2003. The picture shows Balin and his dwarf guard, painted in the always-excellent GW style.

GW announces date for first West Coast Games Day

Wednesday, November 27th, 2002

This innocuous-looking page is the first public appearance of a firm date for, and open admission of, Games Day Los Angeles. It’s been rumored for a long, long time, but here’s the proof that Games Workshop will be covering both coasts as well as the Midwest with major events in 2003. Between this and Gen Con in 2004, Southern California is heating up. (I wonder how the job market is down there…)

New pix of MechWarrior expansion, due in February

Wednesday, November 27th, 2002

The MW Fire For Effect expansion is getting ready to hit you where it hurts (yes, I mean your wallet. What did you think I meant?) in February. The boosters-only expansion introduces new rules and figures for Artillery, Mercenaries, and Transport Vehicles. All I want to know is, does anyone fire for something other than effect in the MW universe? Is “firing for disaffect” a common thing in the novels? Or maybe this expansion introduces some general whose troops are kind of inept and he gets really snide with ‘em and stuff? Are there new trash-talking rules for your own units? Innuendo bonuses? Irony penalties? OgreCave will keep you posted.

OgreCave Interview: James Wallis/Hogshead Publishing

Tuesday, November 26th, 2002

Now that the news has come out about Hogshead Publishing calling it quits, we can let you see the interview with Hogshead’s Director and all-around nice guy, James Wallis. He explains some of the reasons for the announcement, muses on the state of the industry, and deftly avoids telling us why both he and Nobilis are an unusual size.

Necromancer provides alternative to white or dark meat

Tuesday, November 26th, 2002

Necromancer Games have a pair of d20 downloads to help keep your game going through the holiday weekend. The first is a free Thanksgiving module, Feast of the Gobbler by Casey W. Christofferson, which spans 29 pages and 5.4 mb. The adventure’s for 4-6 characters of 3rd – 5th level, and is particularly disturbing due to the revised Orcus symbol contained therein. Also, a 2.3 mb download of the maps from Rappan Athuk 3 has been added to Necromancer’s product support page. That should hold ya for a while.

Hogshead Publishing calls it quits

Tuesday, November 26th, 2002

For today’s big news, Hogshead Publishing has just announced that as of November 30th, the company will be leaving the adventure-gaming industry. As the press release stated, the company hasn’t gone broke or anything. Instead, the shutdown is because “we are bored, creatively frustrated, and increasingly despondent about the future of the specialist games industry. After our successes in 2002, particularly the mould-breaking and critically acclaimed games Nobilis and De Profundis, we think we’ve gone as far as we can and this seems a suitable high-point on which to call it a day.”

So what’s to become of the Hogshead games, now bereft of a company? Nobilis will now reside at Guardians of Order, while the English-language licence for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay has gone back to Games Workshop. SLA Industries is back under the control of Nightfall Games, and Warpstone magazine will continue under its own imprint. All future products previously announced by Hogshead are cancelled, except for the Nobilis line which GOO is taking over, and the full-length Warhammer FRP adventure Fear the Worst by Michael Mearls, which Hogshead will make available as a free PDF download from its website “as a farewell-and-thank-you present to all our players and fans.” A small amount of backstock has been retained by Hogshead for mail order, which will continue for a while, but the rest has already been sold off to distributors.

Check back with OgreCave later today for our exclusive interview with James Wallis, Director of Hogshead Publishing, on the shutdown decision, the state of the industry today, and whatever else we manage to wring out of him.

Gold Rush at Origins. Get your mining gear

Monday, November 25th, 2002

Gold Rush Games is looking to tempt you into running its games at Origins 2003. If you run 16 hours of registered GRG gaming at Origins, including Sengoku, Usagi Yojimbo, San Angelo: City of Heroes, Action! System or anything else, you’ll get a bonus thank you. Not only will you get your convention registration fee refunded to you, but you’ll get 10% off any purchase from GRG at the convention. If every company isn’t doing something like this to reward their loyal fans’ support, they damn well should.

Wingnut forums launched

Monday, November 25th, 2002

Wingnut Games has launched new forums to discuss their games, see previews of upcoming products, and generally run amuck. Get over there and start harassing Aldo. He likes it.

Origins 2003 online registration begins

Monday, November 25th, 2002

GAMA has announced that online registration and events submissions are now open for Origins 2003, which takes place June 26-29 next year. The deadline to have events listed in the Pre-Reg Book is January 1, so get moving. If you miss that, the deadline for the Onsite Program is April 19. The new online system is reportedly “better than before… stronger… faster…”

Things Just Get Eldritchier

Friday, November 22nd, 2002

Not only has Book of Eldritch Might III: The Nexus just been released to an excellent response, but Monte Cook’s Malhavoc Press has also completed a free patch upgrade for the original Book of Eldritch Might. What does the patch include? Well, according to the Malhavoc website, you can expect:

  • Re-edited text in a printer-friendly layout
  • A redesigned cover to compliment others in the Malhavoc product line
  • Brian LeBlanc’s illustrations from the print version, along with most of the original PDF’s artwork by The Unseelie Court
  • Added Eldritch Might material from Monte’s website: the spell lists and random rune generator already featured in the print edition

Those who own the original BoEM PDF can grab the free patch at RPGNow and, as of yesterday, anyone buying the electronic BoEM will get the updated version which won’t require a patch.

Dystopia is better than Datopia

Thursday, November 21st, 2002

Politically Incorrect Games wants to remind us all to give thanks this Thanksgiving, by pointing out how lucky we are not to live in the setting of Dystopia: America 2155AD. Our world is a cake walk compared to the corporate-controlled, brutal world the 39-page PDF game presents. To make us all feel extra thankful, PI Games has reduced the price for downloading Dystopia to only $5 until Thanksgiving (that’s November 28th for those unfamiliar with the turkey-fest). Grab a copy while they’re cheap over at RPGNow or the RPGnet Mall.

Controversy at Roleplaying Tips Weekly

Thursday, November 21st, 2002

This week’s new issue of Roleplaying Tips Weekly explores the social side of gaming with hints about “Political Incorrectness In RPGs.” Will your Jewish friend mind the Fourth Reik plotline you have planned? How comfortable are your players with contraversial subjects? Did they flock to WotC’s Book of Vile Darkness, or organize a book burning? In any case, there’s some interesting suggestions that could prove useful.

Reasons to Learn Italian Revisited

Thursday, November 21st, 2002

I just received a copy of Roberto Convenevole and Francesco Bottone’s La Storia di Risiko, a recently-published Italian book detailing the history of Risk. Sadly, the majority of the book is in Italian, a language that I cannot read, but the book does include English rules for a new variant of the game called The Missed Link which features blind army placement and adds a new layer of strategy to the proceedings; also included are four attractive fold-out game boards in the back with labels in various languages. Perhaps I’m hopelessly geeky (well, actually, I know that I’m hopelessly geeky), but the idea of a scholarly history of a board game really appeals to me. We need more books like this in English! If you know a bit of Italian and can’t wait for some bold English-language publisher to commission a translation, more information on the book can be found at the publisher’s site.

Unusual Treasures limited run announced

Thursday, November 21st, 2002

Phil Reed has gathered his three d20 PDFs together into a single print version called The Book of Unusual Treasures. Only 100 copies of the book are being made, combining and expanding the information from 101 Spellbooks, 101 Mundane Treasures, and 101 Arcane Spell Components. The book is 100+ pages, 6” x 9” perfect-bound, and is only available through Phil’s website. Those who’ve already bought some or all of the PDFs will get significant discounts off the book’s $18 cover price. They’re going fast.

Gun-Toting made easy by Green Ronin

Wednesday, November 20th, 2002

Green Ronin has just posted an 8-page PDF preview of next month’s Ultramodern Firearms d20. Leading the way in the wave of d20 Modern supplemental products, the 160-page hardcover book reprints and updates the original Ultramodern Firearms by Charles Ryan (who worked on the Wheel of Time RPG and d20 Modern). Detailing over 300 weapons and sights, the book is at the printer now, so we won’t have much longer to wait. The preview includes a bunch of Uzis, the Desert Eagle, and the AI PM Counter-Terrorist sniper rifle, to name a few.

Another Helping of Beasts

Wednesday, November 20th, 2002

Because you can never have enough creatures to harass your players with, another d20 company has formed to bring you even more. DreamReality Press is seeking playtesters for its upcoming product Encyclopedia of Monsters Vol.1. Those who are interested can download the NDA and playtest guidelines from the company’s website, as well as take a peek at the book’s table of contents

New Review: BESM Fantasy Bestiary

Wednesday, November 20th, 2002

Cedric has pawed through the new BESM Fantasy Bestiary from Guardians of Order. This latest Tri-Stat supplement offers creatures galore, but on the whole, how did Cedric rate it? Find out inside.

Deep7 Provides New Excuse to Yell “Arrrrrr!”

Monday, November 18th, 2002

Ever since I ran a few weeks’ worth of Deep7‘s Bloode Island 1PG, certain members of my gaming group have been asking “when’s the Bloode Island XPG coming out?” with some regularity. At last, I can stop their inquiries by loudly proclaiming that it’s here at last! The new release is a complete game in a 67-page .PDF file filled with buried treasure, voodoo and other swashbuckling goodness. This should be fun!

New, improved Star Wars TCG with 80% less cringing!

Monday, November 18th, 2002

That’s right, kids: you might not have noticed, but WotC‘s new-ish Star Wars card game now has starter decks and boosters of A New Hope – cards drawn entirely from the first film (albeit the special edition), not the crap with the teen idol and the Marriage of (*choke* *gasp*) Destiny. Pay no attention to their out-of-date web page! A New Hope is available in your local store, or at least in my local store. But you shouldn’t all go there. Crowding.

Oh, oh – I forgot to add an important detail. In the boosters I picked up, there’s a card called Preemptive Shot. It has Han Solo and Greedo on it. It has a laser bolt on it. The laser bolt is coming from Solo’s blaster. And the card is called Preemptive Shot. That’s right! Fie on you, Lucas and your meddling, says Wizards of the Coast! Big props to the development team for that one. Han shot first, dammit.

New Review: Danger Guy

Monday, November 18th, 2002

Cedric has explored the life-threatening hazards of Danger Guy by Alien Menace, and survived to tell the tale. Is the game a thrill a minute, or a minute thrill? Look inside and find out.

Vin Diesel starting console game company

Monday, November 18th, 2002

Yeah, I know: OgreCave doesn’t generally comment on the electronic stuff. However, since Vin Diesel has admitted to playing and enjoying D&D, and since the suggestion comes up every so often to approach him as a GenCon Guest of Honor, I thought some folks might be interested to hear he’s starting a game company of his own, Tigon Games (tigon: The hybrid offspring of a male tiger and a female lion). According to a recent GameSpy interview, Diesel plans to stay closely involved with Tigon Games, which will produce videogames for the top console platforms. So he just might be willing to go to GenCon soon, though he’d probably be busy pushing his games.