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RPGG News

A team of hard-hitting investigative reporters brings you the news when it happens, as it happens at the time it happens. Or maybe a little later.

Archive for RPG Related, but not RPG

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This Week in Geek History December 14 - 20

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December 14
1503 - Nostradamus (French astrologer and prophet )
1546 - Danish astronomer and mathematician Tycho Brahe mb
1896 - World War II American air ace "Jimmy" Doolittle mb

December 15
37 - The Roman emperor Nero mb
1859 - Polish linguist Ludwik Zamenhof, creator of the international language Esperanto mb
1950 - Actor Don Johnson mb

December 16
1770 - German composer Ludwig von Beethoven mb
1775 - Novelist Jane Austen mb
1943 - TV Producer Stephen Bochco (Hill Street Blues, Doogie Howser, NYPD Blues)
???? - ealdrich

December 17
1807 - John Greenleaf Whittier (Poet )

December 18
1856 - English physicist Joseph Thompson (Discoverer of the electron )
1870 - British short story writer Saki (H.H. Munro) mb
1963 - Actor Brad Pitt mb

December 19
1906 - Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev mb

December 20
1868 - Industrialist Harvey Firestone mb
1901 - Nuclear physicist Robert Van de Graaff mb

I'm sure this list is incomplete. Feel free to offer suggestions for this and upcoming weeks. If you want your birthday included just add it to this geeklist: RPG Geek Birthday List
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Mon Dec 15, 2014 5:24 am
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A Look Back At 2014: RPG Geek Goals

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As in previous years, we set up a list of RPGG 2014 Goals. These goals were the result of an open community discussion, and without community support, they would be hard or impossible to achieve.

So, what exactly were our goals for 2014, and how did we fare? Here's a summary:

PbF initiative
Achieved! More than forty play-by-forum games were on offer, many newbies signed up, and countless stories, characters, moments, and memories were created! mb

PbV initiative/ VirtuaCon mb
Achieved! The organizers put last year's experience to good use and created another fantastic online convention. Apart from the many games that happened, there were cool panels (which you can still find on Youtube, just like the panels from last year) and many riddles and extra contests on our forums. I fondly remember the pirates of the sinking ship as well as all the riddles that were too hard for me.

800 owners of the RPGG level 1 poster microbadge mb
Achieved! This type of goal was completely new, and we had no idea if it was achievable or out of reach. Turns out we vastly underestimated our own attractiveness (ahem). We started into this year with less than 680 level 1 posters, and now have almost 870 owners of that badge. A hearty welcome to all our new users! We hope you enjoy your time here! mb

3500 Twitter Followers for @rpggeek
Achieved! Currently we have 3,622 twitter followers. On average, we seem to get two new followers every day. Do you listen to @rpggeek? mb

1800 files uploaded to the database
Not achieved: Sometime around May 2014, the browse menue no longer showed the total tally of files in our database. We still can count file entries, but since a file entry can have multiple files, we're a bit in the dark about the exact number of files. Right now, we have 1685 file entries. Based on previous counts, we can make an educated guess that these file entries amount to roughly 1750 files. Close call! By the way, many of the new files are games and scenarios created by our community, especially in our various contests (see below)! mb

6500 reviews + session reports
Achieved! When I last counted on October 1st, we had 3832 reviews and 2914 session reports for a total of 6746. Keep an eye on the front page modules to see all the new posts that keep popping up! mb mb

47,500 RPG Items and Issues in the database
Achieved! Starting into the year, we had 34,000 items and 8,063 issues. Currently, we've passed 39,400 items and 9,000 issues, bringing our total ever closer to 50,000. That's just short of 20 items entered per day, which sounds much less impressive than it actually is. For some of us, it might actually be hard to just name 20 items not yet in this database - much less several thousands. Hats off to all contributors! mb

77,777 articles
Achieved! By mid October, the team of article submitters had entered more than ten thousand articles this year, pushing us over the 77,777 milestone. It's amazing how this endeavour hasn't lost steam since the database got this new feature just a few years ago. Almost 80k articles that, among other things, link scenarios published in periodicals to their RPGs (and vice versa), as well to their authors etc. Also, it turns RPGGeek into the single largest search engine for content published in RPG magazines. mb

6 RPG and Adventure Design Contests
Not achieved: We've had five contents, small and large, and all pretty awesome. But not six. Still, I'm happy with all the creativity I've seen. Let's keep that up!

6 Contests not related to game design (art, comic, lotteries, riddles...)
Achieved! More than a dozen contests and challenges, the majority taking place around Virtuacon! Thanks to all the contest masters!

A Rate, Re-Rate & Comment week mb
Achieved! The Nation of Steves initiated a new installment of these events. The database let's you rate and comment on entries, which is a great way to sum up your impressions and may even turn into a one-sentence review. The more users do this, the more interesting and valuable is the result. Once an items has been rated by five or more users, a ranking is calculated based on these votes. In the ranking list you can compare the popularity of items in our database. Which leads us to...

6500 ranked items + issues
Achieved! We blew past this goal in summer, and are currently at 6,662 ranked rpgitems plus 136 ranked rpgissues, which brings our total to 6,798 ranked items. mb

300 RPGs with at least 30 votes; and 800 items with at least 30 votes
Not achieved! Over on the boardgame side of this website, entries in the database need 30 votes/ user ratings (instead of just five) to be ranked. Of course, with more votes, we can expect the ranking to be more valid and significant. Unfortunately, while we have a few RPGs and items with several hundred user ratings, the number of votes soon drops for less widely played games. At the moment, we have 230 RPGs and 792 RPGitems with at least 30 votes.

Some closing thoughts
These goals cover only a small part of what RPGGeek is and wants to be. They are deliberately restricted to goals that we can gauge and measure. In themselves, they may not have much meaning. In my opinion, their value clearly lies in the inherent fun, information and creativity, and in the community that they ultimately embody or reflect.

Please participate in the discussion for next year's goals which you can find here: RPG Geek 2015 Goals discussion

These goals cannot substitute for broader, more general visions. As part of the geek trio (BGG, VGG, RPGG), we do not have an organizational level for a RPGG mission statement, AFAIK. But this should not keep us from striving for goals beyond these numbers. Please feel free to share and discuss your visions in this geeklist: The Future of RPGGeek: Wishes and Visions
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Sat Nov 29, 2014 5:48 pm
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News Bits (June 2): why not to play games in South Carolina and more links

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Attention, South Carolinians! Did you know that playing games is illegal in your state? According to Purple Pawn, it has been since 1802. Fortunately, the legislature is trying to modernize that rule - to permit game-playing, so long as nobody profits (sorry, game stores and conventions!), so long as all players are members of a club, so long as you don't play on a Sunday, and so long as "no mechanical or electronic devices of any kind...are used or incorporated in any way." Sorry, Hero Lab!

Shannon Appelcline has a new article about "experimental genres" in Dungeons & Dragons on the WotC site. Giant robots, dark fantasy, and more!

Monte Cook has a new article discussing Robert J. Schwalb's new role as a freelancer for Numenera products. Schwalb's first work for the company is now appearing on (virtual) shelves.

Atlas Games has a new post about their Special Ops program for dedicated fans who want to demo Atlas games...or playtest the forthcoming Feng Shui 2 game.

WizKids Games announced a partnership with Wizards of the Coast a few months ago to produce minis and a miniature game. Now that partnership has expanded to include a D&D license for Wizkids' hot new game system, Dice Masters. See here for more information on the Dungeons & Dragons Dice Masters game due by Christmas.

The DragonMeet convention in London is celebrating its 15th show this year - but more importantly those in charge have changed. While Cubicle 7 Entertainment has run the show for quite a while, they are turning it over to Chris Birch (of Modiphius Entertainment) and "music business entrepreneur" Jonathan Rowlands. They are planning to expand the con, but it will remain in the same location. For more details, see here.

Have a news tip for us? Please send it along to rpgg-news@googlegroups.com!
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Mon Jun 2, 2014 6:58 pm
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News Bits (May 12): Game chefs in the kitchen, D&D slots, and play

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Game Chef has begun! The annual game design competition began on May 10 with the announcement of this year's theme (There is no book), which must inspire all entries in some way, and four ingredients (absorb, wild, glitter, and sickle), of which 2-3 must be incorporated into entries. There are competitions in Brazilian Portuguese, Korean, Russian, French, Italian, Slovenian, and Polish this year. Check out the Google+ community for some discussion of the works already in progress! Submissions are due by May 18.

Game designer and publisher Chris Pramas has a nice post about the importance of game designers continuing to play games.

Gaming news website Purple Pawn is reporting the announcement of a set of Dungeons & Dragons-themed slot machines! The video slots will feature "fake stone, glowing runes, hand-painted three-dimensional dragon sculptures, logo emblazoned chairs, and a rotating dragon sign topper." Look out for them on your next casino run!

Entertainment gossip website Ain't It Cool News has posted their latest tabletop gaming update. This month, there's nothing RPG-related in there our readers haven't seen, but you might appreciate a different perspective!

Have a news tip for us? Please send it along to rpgg-news@googlegroups.com!
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Mon May 12, 2014 11:49 am
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News Bits (May 5): a Deadlands drama, free RPGs on their way, and Torchbearer licenses

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Last week, Microsoft announced new content coming soon for their Xbox users: a series of "premium dramas, comedies, documentaries, animation, unscripted shows, and live events." Not normally news for this RPG column...except that one of the projects listed as "in development" is based on the Deadlands franchise!
Xbox Originals wrote:
Deadlands: Xbox Entertainment Studios has committed to a script based on the successful pen-and-paper role playing game created by Shane Lacy Hensley. “Deadlands” is a genre-bending alternative history of the Weird West, filled with undead gunfighters, card-slinging sorcerers, mad scientists, secret societies, and fearsome abominations.

The Xbox Originals shows will only be available on Microsoft devices. The first wave will appear next month, but this show will come later.

Free Comic Book Day has come and gone, and now we can all look forward to Free RPG Day next month (June 21, to be precise). Get yourself ready by checking out this interview with Aldo Ghiozzi, exploring how and why he created the RPG giveaway.

This may not be new news, but the creators of the old-school-inspired, new-school-created Torchbearer RPG have released a pair of licenses for the game: the first for non-commercial fan products is called the Torchbearer Dungeoneers & Dragonslayers non-commercial license, while the second (the Torchbearer Sagas license) allows for commercial products (and requires product review).

Have a news tip for us? Please send it along to rpgg-news@googlegroups.com!
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Mon May 5, 2014 2:46 pm
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Breaking News: Washington Attorney General suing Kickstarter Creator for non-delivery

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Source: http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2023508032_c...

This is "Breaking News" RPGG News style. Many of you might have already heard about this.

The Washington AG is suing Edward Polchlopek III (aka Ed Nash) and his company Altius Management over the non-delivery of Asylum Playing Cards. According to Kickstarter comments, the artist was never paid and US Playing Card Company (who Polchlopek said was doing fulfillment) has never heard of Polchlopek, Nash, Altius, or the project. Rewards were due to backers in December 2012. Backers have not been updated since July 2013.

Switching to Editorial mode...

While not a RPG, I think this is an interesting development since it is gaming related, had $25,146 in pledges, and is less than 2 years late. This fits the parameters of many "troubled" or failed RPG Kickstarter projects. The big difference is that Asylum Playing Cards appears to be a complete scam while the RPG projects failed (or are failing) due to mismanagement.

(Thanks to Steven Warfield for the news tip!)
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Fri May 2, 2014 9:32 pm
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News Bits (March 24): GAMA, accessible pdfs, and RPGs visit the ivory tower

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Last week's GAMA trade show is one of the most important games conventions of the year - but as attendees are people already in the industry (from publisher reps to game store owners), it isn't the sort of convention you probably think of! Regular ICv2 commentator (and game store owner) Scott Thorne offers some observations on this year's show. Most importantly, for us, he says, "This is the strongest showing of RPG companies I remember at GTS in several years.

According to the GAMA presentation by Fantasy Flight Games, Star Wars: Edge of the Empire is already their best-selling RPG of all time. They also noted that the company has grown at least 25% every year since 2000 - an impressive run! Most of that is due to boardgames, of course. (I pulled both of these from the Twitter feed of I'm Board! Games, who live-tweeted the show.)

Historian Andrew Byers and games scholar Francesco Crocco are putting together an academic book on the cultural influence of RPGs, ranging from public responses to the game, influences on other types of games, role-playing in counseling, and representations to and uses of RPGs in media. They are soliciting proposals for contributions to the book through the end of May: see here for details. Final essays would be due by the end of the year if accepted.

Our own Jacob Wood (RPGG user Munkwunk) has posted some helpful advice on how to make a pdf accessible to those with vision difficulties. (He also has lots of other tutorials for the nuts and bolts of putting together a gaming product.)

Thanks to RPGG Newscaster Jonas (jasri) for contributions to the article!

Have a news tip for us? Please send it along to rpgg-news@googlegroups.com!
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Mon Mar 24, 2014 2:34 pm
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Farewell to Aaron Allston, RPG Pioneer

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It is a sad day in the RPG world today, as the great early RPG designer and writer Aaron Allston has passed away at age 53 while attending VisionCon. The causes are apparently unknown, but Allston had suffered from poor health for several years. Allston was best known for his work on Champions (and related lines) and several early editions of Dungeons & Dragons. In the late 1980s he transitioned to fiction writing and has focused on that since then.

There's a very nice obituary by Allen Varney and lots of other appreciations, many by Star Wars fans (a universe for which Allston wrote several novels).

Here's a partial list of Allston's RPG achievements, drawn mostly from Varney's excellent post:
He was amongst the first to tailor RPG rules to genres in Lands of Mystery.
He defined much of the Mystara setting through his strong work on the justly famous GAZ - Gazetteer series.
He wrote one of the best books of GM campaign advice ever in Strike Force.
He wrote one of the best teaching adventures ever in N4: Treasure Hunt.
He designed/edited the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia, regarded as one of the best implementations of the D&D ideal.
And, finally, he basically constructed the way character creation options would work in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (2nd Edition) with his work on PHBR1: The Complete Fighter's Handbook.

You can learn more about Allston's RPG (and life) history on this RPG Pro Interview published by sdonohue about two years ago.

Thanks to RPGG Newscaster Jonas (jasri) for the tip!

Have a news tip for us? Please send it along to rpgg-news@googlegroups.com!
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Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:22 pm
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Knights of Badassdom - a LARP... tragedy?

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Knights of Badassdom, a new movie heavily featuring LARP, has been out a few weeks now. It features actors Ryan Kwanten, Summer Glau, Peter Dinklage, and Steve Zahn. The homepage says it is now playing in select theatres. The movie is about LARPers who conjure up a demon from Hell by mistake and now must deal with the consequences. Here's the trailer:



The movie seems to have been in development hell for some time. According to reviews, it probably should have stayed there.

Shoshana Kessock wrote a detailed review (beware of spoilers) that is insightful and devastating:
Knights of Badassdom: Why We Deserve Better LARP Movies. It is really worth reading, I think. Besides, she has seen the movie, and I haven't.


Some more reviews - take your pick. I've included quotes to give you the gist of the reviews.
Todd Gilchrist on TheWrap.com (a complete failure)
Melissa Molina on ScreenCrave (Was the wait worth it? My answer is a strong no.)
Annalee Newitz on io9 (great flick ... loving tribute to LARP culture... I said earlier that I thought this movie would play best to people in geek subcultures, but honestly I think it's made for anyone with sympathy for outsiders. This is one of those genuinely good-natured comedies that sticks with you, like an old friend.)
Michael Gingold on Fangoria (the movie can’t settle on whether it wants to be an affectionate ribbing of the subculture or a no-holds-barred spoof laughing at them... a series of sketches that don’t connect)
Ryan Turek on ShockTillYouDrop (The Knights of Badassdom that is being unleashed on the world this week is bad. Not a complete atrocity – well, maybe that finale is – but it’s bad... Here’s to hoping a director’s cut will surface.)
Dan Kaufman, Paste Magazine (Those who’ve had Knights of Badassdom on their radar all this time are likely to get some mild amusement and satisfaction out of seeing the LARPing community depicted as something other than viral video fodder. Everyone else will find it a frustrating exercise of missed opportunities, as rough around the edges as the fake Frank Frazetta painting on your cousin’s van.)

A relatively neutral review (Max Nicholson on IGN summarizes:
Quote:
if you can put aside rationale for 85 minutes, Knights of Badassdom is a blast and a half. There are some decent laughs, a couple of fun kills and, as stated, a riotous third act. While it doesn't all mesh completely, it's worth looking into for fans of low-budget comedy-horror flicks.


Prepare thyself? Hmph. My gut feeling is I probably would even regret watching this on a trash movie night.
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Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:56 pm
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News Bits (Feb 10): vote for the Golden Geeks, Ice-T on D&D, and D&D minis make a comeback with Wizkids

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Voting for the 2013 Golden Geeks is here! Voting is now open for the four RPG categories (Game of the Year, Best Artwork and Presentation, Best Supplement, and Best Podcast), each of which has ten fantastic nominees. It will be a tough choice, but be sure to cast your vote by February 17! You can see all the nominees and start the voting process at this thread

Ice-T has become famous as a rap star and television actor. Now he's also moving into reading for audiobooks - but his latest gig didn't go so well. "They didn't tell me this was mother****ing Dungeons And Dragons!" he explains on his latest podcast. The first part of the podcast (beginning at about 2:30) recounts his experiences at the recording session and, well, let's just say it didn't turn him into a gamer, as it took him two days to record a 40 page short story. For the full (very NSFW) experience, listen to the podcast, but heres's my highlight: "Those of y'all out there that don't know, Dungeons and Dragons is some of the most crazy, deep, deep, deep nerd s**t ever invented. Every word you're saying is pretty much made up. Mother****ers talk like Yoda: Outside I go, into the sun thereof, in, out....how do you read this s**t?"

It's also interesting to note that this story has gone viral, most likely providing the most mainstream exposure that D&D is going to get through Gen Con (at least!). There are stories in the Los Angeles Times and Time's newsfeed. The title of the short story or its release date is not yet known, but I fully expect it to hit the bestseller lists on Audible when it is released.

Wizards of the Coast and WizKids Games have announced a partnership to make licensed Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition) pre-painted plastic miniatures. The first set will debut at Gen Con in August and be themed around the Tyranny of Dragons metaplot. You can see the WotC announcement here and the Wizkids announcement (with preview pictures) here. There was also an "Ask Me Anything" on Reddit about the new line here, and Wizkids placed some other info on their Facebook page. (Thanks to RPGG users Stix_Remix and DQuartermane for the tip!)

Your intrepid corresponds was sick all weekend, but fortunately for me (and you!) DQuartermane came to the rescue with this fantastic summary of the important information that has come out. A huge thanks to him for collecting this info:
-There will also be a Flying Dragon skirmish game using the mechanics of Star Trek: Attack Wing (and hence also on the Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game). This will have a starter boxed set and then be expanded with standalone figures. Look for more info to come out at the GAMA trade show next month.
-Wizkids will continue their license with Paizo Publishing to produce licensed miniatures for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
-The first set will likely have about 45 or 50 figures of various sizes, scaled for a one inch grid, just like the old D&D miniatures. They may also produce D&D HeroClix down the line.
-They will be sold in randomized packs. A full case will feature 128 figures. They are aiming to improve their packaging to be more environmentally friendly.
-They are looking at the Pathfinder Battles model of using the same mini with different equipment in some cases.
-There may also be limited, focused packs, as Wizkids have also done for Pathfinder.
-Wizkids has a license to all the D&D IP, and they will be producing minis of famous characters from the game's history (their preview picture contains famous crow drow adventurer Drizzt Do'Urden, for example) but will also be producing "normal" adventurers.

Paizo Publishing's RPG Superstar contest is moving on to the next round! Last week the top 16 were announced; you can read more about them here. Now, having written a wondrous magical item and a new monster, they have each submitted a location, encounter, or map for the next round, which will open for public voting tomorrow and run through February 17.

Have a news tip for us? Please send it along to rpgg-news@googlegroups.com!
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Mon Feb 10, 2014 3:01 pm
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