It’s time again for that timeless Tuesday tradition!
Try to take over the world! Post some cool links! This week, we cover everything from very old maps, to very new books; from skill systems, to time machines, to mind-controlling parasites. Some of those aren’t even fiction. Intrigued? Read on!
Surviving the Dark Age
Last week, I mentioned the big three game killers: holidays, summer, and other games. The former two are approaching as inexorably as the next tick of the clock, and the latter is almost as inevitable. How can our campaigns survive these game Dark Ages?
Luckly, David Miller, guest author at Gnome Stew, was here this week with a few words of advice on the subject. Don’t let your carfully built RPG empire fall!
Wait, We Need To Talk More?
If you read much gaming advice, you’ll find a common theme. It seems like everybody’s trying to get gamers to talk to each other. As clichéd as the phrase “talk to your players” might get, though, that doesn’t make it wrong.
In this internet age, more and more of that communication is going to be done online, increasingly on social networks. How can we use these tools, normally reserved for disseminating “chain statuses” and pictures of cats, for gaming purposes? In another Gnome Stew guest post (I assume the regular Gnomes are all reveling in Indiana’s gamer mecca), Grayson Davis is here with some tips for using social media for your game.
A Place to Stand, and A Lever
Among last week’s links was a post giving tips on how to run a time travel game. It was left as an exercise for the reader to figure out how to send the players off through time in the first place, assuming we don’t have a blue police box handy. Conveniently enough, Dave from Ménage à Monster has tailored a timely technology to toss the team through time. Eh?
So Many Games, So Little Time…
Do you like old editions of D&D? Do you feel that they’d be better if you could pull the good bits out of each, and put them all together? Do you feel safer at night having played a game with a prominent ampersand?
If so, Keith Davies is here with a review of Blood & Treasure. This game attempts to gather in some of the better ideas from across the wide expanse of D&D history. (Where have I heard that before?)
Skills, and Their Problems
I’ve never been quite satisfied by any implementation of skills in D&D. Perhaps it’s the inevitable uncomfortable pairing of skill to attribute, like groomsmen and bridesmaids, strangers forced by age-old tradition to dance for one awkward song.
Also, what happens when the game depends on one roll? Will you let the party fall to their deaths because the Ranger rolled a 1 on his Use Rope? After the party has fought through an entire adventure, are you going to let it fizzle because they can’t find the secret door hiding the evil wizard’s lair? If not, why did you make them roll?
But you don’t need to get your curmudgeoness from me. Steve Winter has some articles at Howling Tower on this very subject, and, unlike me, he offers some suggestions for fixing the problem.
I’ve never met a gamer who didn’t like maps. We’ll spend hours making them, and put in extra effort to make them look old. Even better than fake old maps, though, are real old maps.
In another entry from Keith Davies, he provides a link to the David Rumsey Map Collection. If you don’t hear from me for a while, I’ll probably be browsing over there.
The Butcher’s Back In Town
(Sung to the Thin Lizzy tune)
Since we’re playing the Dresden Files RPG right now, albeit in the Victorian Era, I’m going to say this one is RPG-related. Anyway, damn that Jim Butcher. He can somehow manage to resolve a novel, while still leaving everything completely open, so you have to know what happens in the next one.
If you’re as curious as I am how Harry can pick up the pieces after Ghost Story, then you’ll be glad to know that Cold Days, his next installment of urban fantasy crack, is on the way. Now we’ve only got three months to wait. Like I said, damn that Jim Butcher.
Are your thoughts your own? What if another being were subtly controlling your mind? How would you know?
It’s the stuff of sci-fi horror movies. In this case, though, it might be a really, really freaky example of fact being stranger than fiction. A relatively common parasite, once thought to be benign, may actually be increasing the chances of their hosts committing suicide. How’s that for a Dread game idea?