Archive for September, 2003

WotC’s spin control on D20 STL changes

Sunday, September 14th, 2003

WotC’s RPG category manager talks to ICv2 about the decency clause. He claims that Anthony Valterra was actually in on the beginnings of the decision, that the Book of Vile Darkness will remain in print, and that indie publishers have no more to fear from this version of the license than from previous versions.

German engineering finds allies in Washington

Wednesday, September 10th, 2003

Via slashdot again, The Washington Post on the resurgence of what they call “specialty board-games.” If anyone finds a permanent link to this article that doesn’t ask you to name your first born, post it in comments, ‘kay? (Some of the comments at the slashdot posting are interesting too.)

Avalanche Press goes OGL, makes big deal of it

Wednesday, September 10th, 2003

Avalanche Press is having a sale for a reason: they’ve decided to abandon use of the D20 logo. You know how CEOs always say when they get canned that they’re “pursuing other interests”? ” ‘The changes we are proposing are really things we have been discussing internally anyway,’ commented Mike Bennighof, Avalanche Press CEO.” To be fair, Avalanche has been moving towards complete campaign worlds for a while and it does make sense to make them complete games, but to leave out of your press release all mention of the potential conflict between cheesecake covers and a decency clause is a little disingenuous. So anyway, we have a first mover. I doubt, though, that AP is a strong candidate for poster child of the revolution – unless we want boobs on the poster. Complete press release below.

OgreCave P3 contest winner

Tuesday, September 9th, 2003

We’ve gathered up all the correct answers in our OgreCave P3 Contest, and have determined a winner. We’ll also tell you the answer to the simple question “What console system does Phil Reed use?” You could’ve learned it for yourself at Phil’s site, but you’d rather just see who won, right? No problem, have a look.

Virtual chits don’t blow away when someone opens the garage door

Tuesday, September 9th, 2003

Via Slashdot Games, an intriguing editorial on the state of independent, digital wargaming. Produced by small development shops and sold almost exclusively online, these games are near-duplicates of old-school SPI hex-map cardboard-counter throwdowns, sometimes souped up with online play or even (gasp!) 3D graphics. Party like it’s 1977. (For those unfamiliar, here’s some opinionated history on the hobby that gave rise to D&D, and its major players.)

New review: Twilight of Atlantis

Monday, September 8th, 2003

Matthew gives us a look at another cheesecake-wrapped d20 supplement from Avalanche Press, and doesn’t seem to have been impressed by this one. In fact, his review of Twilight of Atlantis points out everything the book should have included, but didn’t. Sad, really.

The Hasbro meltdown begins: content restrictions added to D20 license

Monday, September 8th, 2003

It took a while, but Wizards of the Coast’s corporate masters are finally setting about ruining a perfectly good product. The full scoop is available on that there GR page, featuring an eloquent anonymously-posted comment signed “Ryan Dancey.” The relevant chunk of the revised D20 STL is included below – basically, WotC may deny you the use of the D20 logo if your product doesn’t meet their standards of “decency.”

Anne Rice is pretty sexy for a big red marshmallow

Monday, September 8th, 2003

Penny Arcade weighs in on the White Wolf vs. Sony suit today. The comic distorts things a lot, but the news post is balanced and entertaining – that’s just how they do up in the P.A. They have also “secured” a copy of the legal filing as a PDF (from a publically-accessible federal website where you can find this kind of thing – we sat on a copy of it all weekend wondering if it would really shed any light on anything). Have fun!

The werewolves are like Spider-Man. There’s no infrin… um… oops

Friday, September 5th, 2003

I don’t actually know Gothic literature well enough to say whether the World of Darkness’ feud between vamps and werewolves is original. Nor have any of us seen the list that WW claims it has, the list of “60 points of unique similarity” between WoD material and the upcoming Kate Leatherpants film Underworld. In any case, the timing of this lawsuit’s announcement is a bit odd. Who is this supposed to be publicity for, anyway?

In other news, Orpheus, World of Darkness hardcover game number umpty-ump, actually looks kind of interesting: original, not overly tied to the rest of the world, still saddled with the misnamed Storyteller system but otherwise kinda Delta Green-ish and tasty-looking. I have every confidence that the next five books in the limited run of material to which Orpheus belongs will both A) be what brings about the announced end of the WoD, and B) hopelessly muddle what currently looks like a fun game. That doesn’t change that this book looks good, though.

It has ‘synergy’ in the title but it isn’t a business game – how refreshing

Thursday, September 4th, 2003

I saw Strange Synergy on the shelves last week and thought, that’s… uh… strange; why didn’t I see any hype about this? In case you’re in the same boat as I was, the idea is superhero combat, with teams of superheroes drawn from no fewer than 100 power cards. Sounds like a chaotic, exception-based game, but I have yet to investigate fully. I still think someone should design a card game wherein your goal is to create the character that kicks the most ass, and take up the entire RPG-playing time your GM had alloted, so you get to leave with all your snacks. The superhero genre seems well suited to the task, but I could be wrong. There could be a storytelling component, as in Nanofictionary or The Big Idea, perhaps. Or not.

WarCraft RPG to add war in upcoming supplement

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2003

The anonymous comment at the end of this review of Sword and Sorcery’s WarCraft RPG claims that the mass combat system in the upcoming/available-now-if-you-like-PDFs Malhavoc book Cry Havoc will be included in a future WarCraft supplement. That’s pretty much rumor, and should be treated as such. Presumably, there will eventually be a WCRPG supplement for craft as well. You know… um… baskets. War baskets.

Mage Knight ad infinitum

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2003

If you haven’t seen this yet, and you’re a collectible minis game player, you should have a look. If you’re not a CMG player, you should still have a look.

Damn funny.

Not Shy about Ronin Arts

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2003

I can’t improve much on how Phil Reed tells it, so I’ll just repost his email:

Christopher Shy, the artist for such beautiful products as D20 Call of Cthulhu, Urban Arcana, and Forgotten Realms: City of the Spider Queen has released World of Ronin Arts: Character Portfolio One, a collection of 12 color paintings that may be used royalty-free in print or electronic publications.

Though mainly an offering for publishers, it’s interesting to see new sales approaches being tried out.

CyberNet thrown on industry by Mongoose

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2003

The collection of companies with openly licenced games grows ever larger. Mongoose has announced its upcoming D20 CyberNet core rulebook, due in October, will be released under the Open Game Licence, and that other publishers can contact Mongoose to be allowed to start using CyberNet in their own publications. As the press release below states, an electronic copy of the rulebook and logo will be provided to interested parties, who only have to be publishing already to qualify. Okay, not news that directly affects that many of us, but it could mean we’ll be seeing CyberNet products all over the place soon. Mongoose also plans to extend the offer to D20 Horror, D20 Steampunk and D20 Ancients when they’re ready for prime time. Gee, Mongoose is resembling WotC more and more every day…