October 31, 2008

[4E] Magic Halloween Candy

Halloween is finally here, and so I give you 19 new types of consumables for 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons - Halloweeny Candy! You can mix these candies with any of your usual, non-magical candies and make bags of candy for each of your players as gifts. Each bag of candy might contain 2d4 pieces of candy per tier (2d4 for Heroic, 4d4 for Paragon, etc). Your players can trade them back and forth, and surprise their opponents with all sorts of new tricks and treats! Better yet, a mob of trick-or-treating kobolds or goblins might show up with bags and bags of candy, passing themselves off as kids in costumes! Oh what silly fun...

 2d10 Magic Candy
2

Creepy Peepers - These small, fleshy eyes are cream-filled (don't ask) and smell a bit like salted fish. Consuming a Creepy Peeper gives a +5 bonus to Perception Checks until the end of the encounter.
3

Boogymen Lollis - These lollipops are made from poached goblin dwarves which have been dipped in a sugar glaze. They come in many colors, but blue is a favorite. Licking these lollipops as a minor action gives +5 bonus to Stealth skill checks until the beginning of your next turn.
4

Bloodwyrms - These stringy, gum-like "wyrms" come in a variety of colors including red (fire bloodwyrm), blue (ice bloodwyrm), and black (deathwyrms). Each color grants whomever consumes the worm Resist 5 to one type of attack, depending on the wyrm's color. Only one type of bloodwyrm can be in effect at any time.
5

Precious Eel Zappers - These tiny, sqaure eel eggs are a type of hard candy that are usually found in cartridge like dispensers filled with 3d6 of them. Each P.E.Z. gives a +2 electrical bonus to their next attack. Using the P.E.Z. dispenser is a minor action.
6

Finger Pops - These are prized by rogues everywhere. Finger Pops are made from crushed spiders and monkey livers rolled in granola and dipped in a dark Theutotian chocolate. Consuming a Finger Pop two minor actions, but once done they grant a +5 bonus to Thievery skill checks until the end of the encounter.
7

Zombrains - These small silvery packages are covered with strange runes that shimmer in the light. Inside is a spongy like yellow ball that is slightly damp to the touch, and smells of fetid ochre. Consuming this repugnant mess reveals a surprising delicious bouquet of flavors that rush into the eater's mind: lemon, lime, cinnamon, raspberry, vanilla. Quite refreshing - Zombrains also grant a +5 bonus to Arcana skill checks until the end of the encounter.
8

Rat-on-a-Stick - A Halloweeny Classic! These savory, hairless beasts come in three flavors (BBQ, Honey Dijon, and Salt'N Vinegar). Consuming one is a standard action, but once finished the PC immediately gains a number of temporary hit points equal to their healing surge value. 
9

Chocolate Espresso Bean Rat-on-a-Stick - A visionary, new type of candy for this year's Halloweeny celebration! The chocolate version of the Rat-on-a-Stick classic grants a +2 bonus to the PCs next move and they gains 6 temporary hit points in the process.
10

Teefcrunchers - Made from the shells of Artribidge Crabs, this hard candy is meant to be savored and not crunched (or you'll shatter your teeth). For every round a PC savors a Teefcruncher in their mouth (as a minor action), they gain Regeneration 2. One Teefcruncher lasts until the end of the encounter or for 5 minutes.
11

Beetlesnaps - Tiny brown and black beetles are meant to be thrown down on the ground (DO NOT EAT!). Thrown correctly (Dex vs. Reflex), these beetlesnaps burst with load pop and target creature is forced to attack the thrower of the beetlesnaps until the end of their next turn. They are just soooooo annoying!
12

Nailbiters - Tiny sticks of hard-bread baked into the shape of nails are dipped in chocolate or a heavy sugar glaze (sometimes both). Eating one of these as a minor action gives a +2 bonus to your next melee attack roll. Eating more than your constitution modifier's worth of these in a single day has some terrible, foul-smelling side effects...
13

Death Mints - Well.. Halloweeny is "Trick or Treat!" right? Well, Death Mints are more the trick part of things. These tiny mints often look like Precious Eel Zappers or Teefcrunchers, but of course are not. Once eaten, they cuase ongoing Necrotic 2 damage (save ends) and the victim starts uncontrollably moaning like a ghost.
14

Pumpkin Bombs - A classic from days long past, Pumpkin Bombs are back! These fist-sized pumpkins have been stuffed with the best in Gnomish (or Kobold) engineering: explosives! They can be accurately thrown at any square within 6 squares, have a Burst 3 effect that includes a fiery explosion for 3d6 points of damage.
15

Chocolate Treant Bark - The brittle slivers of chocolate are made with chips from real Treant bark.  Once eaten as a minor action, they grant a +2 bonus to armor class until the end of your next turn.
16

Glow Pops - These tiny lollipops glow once unwrapped for 5 minutes or until the end of encounter. The light they shed reaches out to 3 squares, but if eaten the light can be focused from the PCs mouth like a bulls-eye lantern with a range of 6 squares.
17

Wax Lips - The faux lips come in two colors: red and black. The red lips, if eaten, grant a +5 bonus to Diplomacy until the end of the encounter or for 5 minutes. The black variety grants a +5 bonus to Insight until the end of the encounter or for 5 minutes.
18

Grey Ooze Pouch - Yuck! Handle with care! This leathery pouch contains a small grey ooze! Once released, it will dissolve locks and other metal objects it is applied to within 5 minutes, leaving nothing behind. What you do with the ooze once it is done is up to you!
19

Weasel Pops - Similar to Rat-on-a-Stick, these feral pops grant a +5 bonus to Acrobatics skill checks until the end of the encounter or for 5 minutes. Eating one is a standard action.
20

Black Pudding Pouch - Trick! This looks just like a grey ooze, but once opened the Ochre Jelly within slithers out and immediately attacks anyone adjacent to it.

Well, that's it! Let me know if you use any of these items in your game! I had probably too much fun putting this list together.

Nominate your favorite blog post from any RPG blog to
The 2008 Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs!
Also, if you fill out our survey - you may win a free copy of the Anthology! For more information, please visit the
Open Game Table working group.

October 30, 2008

New Memoir by Mark Barrowcliffe: "The Elfish Gene: Dungeons, Dragons and Growing Up Strange"

OK, maybe there's something new for me to point to today. Mark Barrowcliffe's (of "Girlfriend 44" ) new memoir titled "The Elfish Gene: Dungeons, Dragons and Growing Up Strange" has entered the Associated Press data stream - and should be in bookstores November 1st, 2008. Click here for the AP Review of the book. It looks like its going to be a dark and humor filled read with, no doubt, many nerdishly familiar moments.

I personally loved Darkon and Drakmar, so a book along similar veins should be right up my ally. In any case, if you purchase the Barrowcliffe's memoir from Amazon.com, you can also support The Core Mechanic as well. Just click the image and check out the reviews.

See ya tomorrow!

Nothing today... i just posted something over at Kobold Quarterly though...

Not much to say - my Halloweeny contribution is scheduled for tommorrow morning. I did, however, just post something over at Kobold Quarterly's forums.
A few weeks ago there was some hubbub about an unrecognized division in the RPG gaming community between those who are part of the online RPG gaming community (via forums, blogs, wikis, websites, etc) and those who are not. While the gap is probably shrinking, out it all came the understanding that the RPG Blogging community was largely an untapped resource by not only the 'offline' gaming crowd, but also by those who frequent forums as well.


The format of blogging lends itself to a completely different type of content than forums. Good RPG blogs have meaty, in-depth posts that mirror the type of material seen in print journals like Kobold, Dragon, and Polymancer. The content of the very best blogs is also on par, if not better than, many of the published adventures, supplements, and other in-print RPG products available. And it is all out there for the taking - for free.


A huge problem, however, is navigating the blogosphere to find what you want. For an uninitiated 'outsider' of the RPG blogging community, it can be maddeningly frustrating since there is alot of 'crap' along with the juicy good stuff. Of course, people can be pointed to the RPG Bloggers Network for a place to start - a site that is a great leap forward for the community, but that is also like drinking from the proverbial firehouse.


I recently proposed that the RPG blogging community should organize an annual Anthology of that featured the very best in RPG blogging. This printed book would mirror the same effort that was done in the science blogging community with Open Laboratory; albeit with a wholly different audience. A few days later I announced that I would take up the helm myself, and I set up a working group of volunteers to help get things moving. A nomination form followed, as well as a survey for 'market research' etc. Not plug too hard here, but I'm happy to say that the project is moving forward and we've received 48 nominations thus far.


So... why am I posting this here in this forum?


Well, I have found that each online RPG forums is like its own creative pond, largely made up of swimmers and flyers. There are members who fly from pond to pond, inoculating each pond with their own creative input; so too are gaming forums made up of swimmers who prefer the familiar community of the pond they know and can cultivate and take 'ownership'.


I'm curious as to whether the readers of this forum have seen the same divisions I mentioned earlier in this post; those between online and offline RPG gamers. I'm also curious as to the level of "penetrance" the RPG blogging community has in influencing the RPG publishing industry. Finally, how many of you read RPG blogs? And influence, if any, have that community had on your own concepts of the hobby?


Best Regards,


Jonathan.
But that's about it. See ya tommorrow...

October 29, 2008

Looking Back: Dragon Halloweens of the Late 70's and 80's

"For Halloween, we’re got something on tap that will tie past editions to the new edition in a way that just makes the DM in me tingle all over. I’ll talk more about that next month."
-- from Bill Slavicsek, "Ampersand", Dragon #366, August 2008.

I don't think we ever did hear from Mr. Slavicsek as to what was 'coming on tap' for Halloween this year - maybe will find out in a later issue of Dragon? Or maybe tomorrow I've got something cool on tap...

Nevertheless, to go along with the upcoming Halloween holiday, I thought I would bring my own something 'on tap' that tied in past editions for Halloween: a brief look back at a few of the Halloween issues of DRAGON magazine. Not an exhaustive list by any means - but all worth the read if you have access to them. My favorite? It would have to be the 1986 revision of The Witch NPC class. Hands down, best witch class ever.
  1. The Dragon #20 (1978) "The Horrible Halloween Issue" - In addition to a preview of the new animated film "Lord of the Rings", here's a couple of additional selections from this issue of Dragon:
    1. "ANOTHER LOOK AT WITCHES AND WITCHCRAFT IN D&D", by Ronald Pehr
    2. "DEMONOLOGY MADE EASY or, How To Deal With Orcus For Fun and Profit", by Gregory Rihn
    3. "Demonic Possession in the Dungeon", by Chas Sagui
  2. Dragon #42 (1980) - In addition to the awesome illustration by Todd Lockwood, this issue featured a number of sweet Halloween articles, including:
    1. "Demons, Devils and Spirits", by Todd Moldvay
    2. "A new evil... The Possessors", by Arn Ashleigh Parker
    3. "Patron demons", by Lewis Pulsipher
    4. "Restless dead", by George Lakin
    5. "The Mansion of Mad Professor Ludlow", by James M. Ward (Dragon's first haunted house module; remember this was years before Dungeon magazine existed).
  3. Dragon #76 (1983) - The Deathmaster was a magic-user sub-class who dies on Halloween (a.k.a. Orcus's Feast Day) will rise again as one of Orcus's undead minions.
  4. Dragon #114 (1986) - "The Witch", by Bill Muhlhausen was a remake of the classic NPC class from OD&D, and it updated for AD&D rules. The same issue also featured an article entitled "Grave Encounters: Creatures that lurk in cemetaries and crypts", by Nick Kopsinis and Patrick Goshtigian.
  5. Dragon #138 (1988) - This was one of the better Halloween issues from Dragon. It featured four solid 'scarefull' articles with a solidly Lovecraft spin:
    1. The Black Book and the Hunters, by Craig Schaefer
      .... Those who annoy the Old Ones should keep a careful watch behind them.
    2. The Ungrateful Dead, by Tom Moldvay
      .... Beautiful ghouls and titanic zombies: new undead for your AD&D games.
    3. Methods to Your Madness, by Ed Friedlander
      .... A new insanity system that lets a little lunacy go a long way.
    4. The End of the World, by Eileen Lucas
      .... Got an ailing fantasy campaign? Cure it - with the Black Death.
  6. Dragon #150 (1989) - Here's where the CORRECTED Vampire for AD&D was printed. Also, the editors of Dragon were still obsessed with Lovecraftian horror.
    1. The Dragon's Bestiary, by Stephen Inniss
      .... In the lands of the mind flayers live their more monstrous relatives
    2. The Sunset World, by Stephen Inniss
      ..... Illithids welcome all strangers to their homeworld with open tentacles.
    3. Fangs Alot!, by The editors
      .... A Halloween issue without vampires is like a day without sunshine: the revised AD&D® 2nd Edition vampire!
    4. The Well-Rounded Monster Hunter, by Dean Shomshak
      .... Cthulhu doesn't scare me. I have a degree in art design!
Looking back on these old issues, I can't help but wonder "How many of these topics have be unknowingly rehashed and recast by the RPG community over the years? In print, online, in blogs, where ever?" Doesn't it seem to you that reading what has already been written is the only way to contribute something completely new to the arena of Gaming? In science, we use PubMed to track every single research article ever published, as well as the abstracts. Knowing the literature is a fundamental requirement of doing research - you don't want to be one of those scientists who unwittingly "discovers" something novel, only to later find out that it was published years ago in some other journal.

Thinking about this... there could (and maybe should) be a similar database for the gaming community. For example, if there have been more than a dozen articles written about "Vampire Ecology"; do we really need another one? Or more to the point since this is a creative medium; do we really want one? Or is this too scholarly of an approach, and we should just ignore our gaming roots and reinvent the wheel forever?

I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle. It should behoove the authors of all the various blogs that consitute the rpg blogosphere to "know thy history, know thy roots" and then build on what has been done to truly move things in new directions.

As a final comment: from a business standpoint - it is interesting to me how much rehashing the publishers have knowingly done. I mean, do you really think that the recent Dragon about Gnolls and Demons was the first of its kind? The answer is no.

[1] Artwork of Orcus drawn by Todd Lockwood appeared in Dragon #42 (1980).
[2] The Witch image taken from Dragon #114, artist unknown.

Nominate your favorite blog post from any RPG blog to
The 2008 Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs!
Also, if you fill out our survey - you may win a free copy of the Anthology! For more information, please visit the
Open Game Table working group.

October 28, 2008

4E Ritual Javascript...

Many of you know that I maintain a set of Core Lists for 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons. While that project has largely taken a back seat to the RPG Blog Anthology I'm working on, it is not completely abandoned. I'm still working on a web-based tool for generating random encounters that takes into account terrain and climate information for monsters (as well as monster ecology) but it may be a while. In the meantime, I've managed to hack javascript enough to get it to make queries to my Rituals list that is hosted on Google Documents as a public spreadsheet. This is cool, becuase it demonstrates that anyone can set up a google docs spreadsheet and use it as a database - 100% free, no-host required solution. The method uses Javascript + JSON and the (very simple) results are shown below. Keep in mind that 1) I'm limited on time these days and 2) I'm a Perl programmer, so Javascript is still a new tongue to me. If any coders are reading this - feel free to check out the source code for this page and let me know whatever strikes you.

Simple script that accesses my remote google documents spreadsheet and displays the data here on the fly...


4E Rituals by level   


October 27, 2008

Choose a name that means something

A recent post over at DnD Corner about name generator for RPGs linked to an excellent websource called The Bard's Tales. While this is fairly well-known resource for RPGs, I would also point out another site: Behind the Name, The Etymology and History of First Names (BtN).

What is so freakin cool about BtN is the shear number of ways you can look up names, generate new names, and read about what the names mean. A name that means something is doped with all kinds of additional undertones and suggestive feelings that your players may not even realize. "The Dark Forest" pales in comparison to "Nishant Forest" or "The Nishant Timberland". Nishant is a Sanskrit name that means "night's end or dawn". As another example, lets say your party encounters a group of druidic pilgrims who are lost in The Nishant Timberland. The pilgrims' spiritual leader is Vesna, a priestess of the Earth and Moon. The name Vesna is a Slavic name that means "messenger". It was the name of a Slavic spirit associated with the springtime.

Not only can you look names up based on their meaning, but there's a tool to generate random names from categories like "mythic" or "ancient germanic" or "witch". For example - looking for a couple of random names from ancient Celtic mythology? Click this link. Actually, everytime to click that link it will generate a new set of names. It's all very cool, IMHO.

So, how do you choose names for things for your game? What sources do you use to keep the names fresh and evocative?

POST PUBLISH EDIT: This post was originally scheduled for Wednesday, October 29th - but seeing as how The Outsyder's Blog also picked up on this topic; I figured I would just publish now. Once again, I bow to the echo chamber that is the RPG blogosphere!

RPG Blog Anthology Update - More Free Loot For You!

Here's my weekly update on the progress I've made in the last week or so while working on the 2008 Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs. As of writing this post, we have received 46 entries into the Anthology - we have made it almost half-way to my goal of 100 submitted entries in only two weeks! The deadline I have set for nominations of the best examples of RPG blogging is December 1st, 2008; so please nominate someone today! If all of my readers nominated one post, we should easily be able to hit the 100 nominations mark.

Dave "The Game" Chalker made the suggestion that I do some market research so that I might be able to tailor the Anthology better to people's exceptions and desires. Well, I'm always open to taking the advice from my peers - so I created an Anthology Survey for gamers to fill out. Its a short survey (4 questions), and anyone who does so has the option to enter their name into a drawing for a free copy of the Anthology once it is published! In the five days it has been running, 20 people have filled it out.

The Anthology project also has received some continuing support from fellow RPG bloggers The Dwarf & The Basilisk, and also from Unclebear.com. Thanks and big "shout outs" to them for their support! In other news, I sent a letter to ENWorld's Morrus Morrissey asking for their support of the Anthology but have yet to hear a reply. Madbrewlabs also suggested a number of excellent resources about the intersections between copyright law, indie publishing and gaming (THANK YOU!). Wyatt, from Turbulent Thoughts, also asked a few questions about the review and post-edit process which I clarified.

So.. why is "more free loot" listed in the title? Well, as of yesterday, all nominations to the Anthology will now be considered as one entry into a drawing for a free copy of the Anthology once it is printed in early 2009. Nominate five blog posts, consider it five entries into the drawing! Nominate 50? It's 50 entries into the drawing!

While I have not decided exactly how many free copies of the book I will be giving away as yet, but I do know that it will be at least two copies (one for the survey drawing and one for the nominations drawing) and very likely many more than that. It really all depends on how well the project continues to chug along and how much support I continue to recieve from the blogging community. So, make some noise on your own blog about this! And...

October 26, 2008

[4E] New Ranged Weapons for your game

Out of the box, the 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons Players Handbook provides PCs with a somewhat limited set of options for ranged weapons. They are limited to (mostly) using melee weapons that you can throw at things (hammers, daggers, etc), or your usual choices of bow or crossbow.

Oh, and there were slings for the halflings among us and shurikens for the manga fans...

Then the Adventurer's Vault came along. Two more thrown melee weapons were added: Tridents and a new Dragonborn doodad called a Tratnyr™. The AV also included three additional ranged weapons: the Repeating Crossbow, the Greatbow, and the Superior Crossbow. I'll refrain from being critical of these imaginative choices, just say that it was a good thing they included a few more options for people looking to shoot at things.

Then Stargazer introduced a couple of nice firearms into the mix: the Blunderbuss, Dragon Pistol (which rox), and the Musket Rifle. And along came a new weapon group as well: Firearms.

This is all well and good, but I was still thinking there were some things missing. So, with a little bit of research and thought, I'd put together the stats for five additional ranged weapons that you might include into your 4E weapon mix: the Harpoon, Dart, Atlatl, Blowgun, and Barbed Bolas. Introducing these new weapons creates two additional weapon groups (Dart, Net) and two additional new weapon properties (Stealth, Entangling).

Stealth: These weapons allow the attacker to remain hidden even after the attack provided they make a successful Stealth check, with a -5 penalty, against the defender's Passive Perception skill.

Entangling: These weapons are capable of tripping and immobilizing their targets. On a successful hit with an entangling weapon, the attacker is granted a secondary attack versus the defender's Reflex defense. If the secondary attack succeeds, the defender is entangled by the weapon and immobilized (save ends). For entangling, heavy thrown weapons, the defender is also knocked prone if the secondary attack succeeded by 5 or more.

Here are the details for the new ranged weapons...

Weapon Type Prof Hnd Dmg Rng Price Wght Group Properties
Atlatl Military +3 2H 1d6 15/30 10 gp 2 lb. Spear Load minor, high crit
Barbed
bolas
Superior +2 2H 1d3 3/6 10 gp 3 lb. Net Entangling, heavy thrown
Blowgun Superior +2 2H 1 4/8 20 gp 2 lb. Dart Load minor, small, stealth
Dart (10) Simple +2 1H 1d2 3/6 5 gp 1 lb. Dart Light thrown
Harpoon Simple +2 2H 2d4 5/10 5 gp 5 lb. Spear Heavy thrown, high crit

I've also included them in my 4E Core Weapons list - so if you download the new version (2) of that PDF, you'll get them from there as well.


BTW - The "research" I mentioned simply meant that I went back to 1E and dug around in various texts looking for interesting ranged weapons, then walked forward through the editions. So, basically, the above weapons are conversions of the same weapons for compatibility with the 4E ruleset. There are numerous weapons I could have included that have previously been in past editions (thong clubs anyone?), but I left them out for now. The Atlatl, Blowgun and Harpoon are from the 1E Unearthed Arcana. The Barbed Bolas were drawn from 3E Complete Warrior. The Darts... well, that's from OD&D. Come on... my magic-users always had a whole bag of darts to throw when they used up their one spell for the day!

Enjoy the weapons, and let me know what you think!

Art Credits: The inset artwork was taken from the 1st Edition Dungeoneer's Survival Guide (1986). The illustrations were done by Jeff Easley [1] and Jim Roslof [2].

Nominate your favorite blog post from any RPG blog to
The 2008 Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs!
Also, if you fill out our survey - you may win a free copy of the Anthology! For more information, please visit the
Open Game Table working group.

October 25, 2008

Arounds the Blogs... & The Carcosa Incident

It must be Saturday, because its time for my weekly RPG blog round up! But before I get into that... I need to ask that you nominate a blog post and give us feeback for the upcoming 2008 Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs. You could win a free copy of the book once it is in print!

Now, on with my weekly roundup...
  • Geoffrey McKinney's The Carcosa Incident !!!  I'm no doubt missing a bunch of posts... but with all the hub-bub, I figured I might as well link back to the posts I actually read. I just love the echo chamber that is the blogosphere sometimes!
    • Lamentations of the Flame Princess went to great length to explain his position on the bruhahahahahahah about "...Carcosa is an amazing book in every way. It stays true to its source material, embodies the creative and daring spirit that makes this hobby possible at all, eschews artificial limits of commercialism and public opinion and expands what it can mean to play Dungeons and Dragons..." (24 comments) He later followed up with a second post on the subject that featured some of the in-game items found in Carcosa.
    • Tlaloc - Jeff Rient's reponse to the hub bub about Carcosa that appeared on Lamentations of the Flame Princess. "...I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that they took for granted that the reader showed up with his or her own moral compass and didn't really need to be told that killing and eating babies is bad..." (22 comments)
    • Berin Kinsman chimes in too, over at The Dire Cafe. Says Berin, "I might not want to hang out with people who groove on this sort of stuff, but I also wouldn't want to hang out with people who would burn them at the stake, either." (4 pages of comments)
    • Ripper X, over at Advanced Gaming Theory, throws in his 2¢ on The Carcosa Incident. "We always have the final say so, but I do think that D&D is also a teaching tool, and culture shock is a great lesson that we can all stand to learn a bit better." (2 comments).
    • Monsters & Manuals' author noisms added his own voice to the storm as well, although it seemed against the grain of the rest of chest beaters. "...And the moral ambiguities associated with the killing of 'evil' creatures are worthy of exploration. But there is nothing morally ambiguous about, for example, sexual abuse. I don't have any interest in exploring that as an outlet for the player-characters..." Well said, I might add.. (13 comments)
    • Twenty three PAGES of comments are the fire-storm that is The Carcosa Incident over at theRPGSite.net. I'm not even going to touch this one...
    • Wyatt puts his own scholoarly reponse to the page at Turbulent Thoughts. "...Carcosa, and other things like it, are fiction. Violence is visceral and cathartic, and not only that, it is interesting. Violence is a psychological and emotional push. Violence against helpless and innocents even more so..." (17 comments)
    • Honestly... after reading all the above posts and agreeing with both sides, the middle, and even the uncommitted (especially since I have not read Carcosa myself), I stopped following the story. It will still go down, in my books, as The Carcosa Incident.
  • Onto more RPG topics of the week - Stargazer added the stats of a few firearms for 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons. There are just so few ranged weapon options to the game, that this was a welcome addition that I included in my recent list of 4E Weapons.
  • Turtles All The Way Down featured a post about Fantastic Governments. I love this sort of thing becuase it can provide the spark that some GMs might need to build a whole campaign.
  • Pointyman2000 brings to light a beautifully rendered new campaign setting, Illyria, as savory good FREE PDF. When I say beutifully rendered, I'm not joking. Please go check this out.
  • MadBrewLabs writes an excellent piece about the Power of Myths in RPGs and features a specific campaign style for high-epic play. "...I believe a Monomyth based storyline taking the heroes from obscurity to nigh divinity could be very fullfilling for everyone involved..." Worth the read, IMHO.
  • Greek Orthodox posted probably the coolest artwork I've seen all week. This post just blew my socks off. Russian woodblock art... rulz. (see inset above)
And with that, I'll leave it be. There was much more I read this week, but I don't want to overwhelm you.

October 24, 2008

Dragon #7 and TPKs

TPKs don't get much better than this... 


Nominate your favorite blog post from any RPG blog to The 2008 Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs!
Let the us know what you want here - and you may win a free copy of the Anthology!

For more information, please visit the Open Game Table working group.

October 23, 2008

4E Core Weapons List

Just thought I would share a list I made after picking up the Adventurer's Vault. I found it frustrating to have to constantly switch back and forth between the books to compare the stats of different weapons, so I compiled a list and printed it out. The result is a consolidated list (w/stats) of the basic weapon types found in the 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons Players Handbook and the 4E Adventurer's Vault. I also included a couple of real-cool medieval style firearms that Stargazer introduced a while back over on his blog (go there to read the details about them). In the meantime... enjoy!



Nominate your favorite blog post from any RPG blog to The 2008 Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs!
Let the us know what you want here - and you may win a free copy of the Anthology!

For more information, please visit the Open Game Table working group.

2008 Blog Anthology Feedback (WIN A FREE COPY!)

Spurred on by a suggestion from Dave The Game (thanks Dave!), I've put together a survey aimed at doing some "market research" for the 2008 Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs. Feel free to link back to this survey in your own blog and in forums to show your support of the Anthology. The more feedback I receive, the better.
 
Also, if you leave your contact information you will be entered into a drawing for a free-copy of the printed anthology once it is published! 



Powered by Wufoo


Nominate your favorite blog post from any RPG blog to OPEN GAME TABLE: The 2008 Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs. More information, including a call for volunteers to help organize this project, please visit the Open Game Table working group.

October 22, 2008

National Gaming Day - November 15th

An article I just picked up in my RSS news reader indicates that Wizards of the Coast is providing the first 1000 libraries who sign up for National Gaming Day with free D&D books and MtG starter decks, etc.

This is a good thing!

Regardless of whether you can say "I <3 DD" or not, events like this bring new players to the ever-shrinking crowd of table-top gamers. We should all pitch in and support this.

Full coverage of the news can be found at these URLs
Want to change the face of gaming?

Want to get people to realize that D&D players are NOT a bunch of murdering, raping scum-bags that rarely leave their momma's basement?

Yeah? Then contact your local library and volunteer to DM a game on November 15th. Do something good, and spark the imagination of young minds.

Just please (please!) remember to bath before heading outside... =D


Nominate your favorite blog post from any RPG blog to OPEN GAME TABLE: The 2008 Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs. More information, including a call for volunteers to help organize this project, please visit the Open Game Table working group.

October 21, 2008

d20 Cufflinks...

Last Saturday night was one of those "Wait... what was I doing?" nights. Two good friends of mine finally tied the knot and threw a kick ass, open-bar all night with a good DJ kinda wedding. It was a fun time... the kind I rarely get to partake of now that I'm getting grey in the beard.

What does this have to do with gaming? Well.. the bride and groom are both big-time gamers - both are probably as much of a couple of stand up dorks as I am. This post is dedicated to them (you know who you are!). For example, here are the cufflinks the groom had as part of his tuxedo:


Yeah... the picture looks staged, but it wasn't. Them's the real-deal: solid plastic, silver backed black d20's. =D

You can pick up your own pair over at Etsys.com. That whole site has tons of awesome dork-in-the-office-place stuff. Personally, I might have opted for the Green Space LEGO Smiley Silver Cufflinks.

Are you an RPG blogger? Or a reader of RPG blogs? Then nominate your favorite blog post from any blog to OPEN GAME TABLE: The 2008 Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs. More information, including a call for volunteers to help organize this project, can be found here.

October 20, 2008

RPG Blog Anthology - Weekly Update

As I mentioned here, my 'gaming' content is going to have to be put in the passenger seat for while as I focus my efforts on the 2008 RPG Blog Anthology. As a means to connect with my readers, elicit additional support, and keep you "in the loop", I'm going to feature a weekly Monday update focused on the progress I've made towards making this Anthology a reality.

If you are just tuning in - last week I proposed that the RPG blogging community should have an annual anthology that showcases the best writing and creative talent of our community. It would be titled something like "Open Game Table: The 2008 Roleplaying Game Blog Anthology". In order for this to happen though, it will require the sustained efforts of dozens of people willing to volunteer to review, judge, edit, comment, and/or contribute to the Anthology. Some clarifications of my intentions were made; and I have set up a working group for anyone and everyone who would like to volunteer to help as well.

Now for the update on progress - Thanks to a comment left on my blog, I was able to track down a decent contract that I can use to protect both the blog authors and myself (the so-called "Anthologist") in terms of copyright, publishing rights, etc. I'm having two lawyers look it over to make sure it is air tight and gives proper credit where credit is due, etc. Once I've received a nod of approval from them, I'll post it here so that everyone will see what it would look like. Fortunately, both of the attorneys are friends of my family - so they aren't charging me anything; but it may take a week or so for them to get around to giving the contracts a review.

In other progress - I've pitched the idea of this Anthology to a graphic designer / illustrator that I know and a professor of photography at a college in Boston (who also was previously the Editor of Inc. Magazine) and they both love the idea. I also pitched the idea to a poet I know (yes -- a poet) who has been published many times before, and whose work has been included in several anthologies before. She also happens to be a librarian at George Washington Univ. here in DC - so this sort of thing is par for the course for her. I guess I should count my blessings, becuase all three of them have been very supportive of this idea and have offered to help (time allowing).
I'll keep everyone posted as things progress.

Furthermore, the Anthology has been featured on the RPG Bloggers Network (thank you!) and a number of bloggers who have nominated material to the Anthology have also made their own announcements, including Turbulent Thoughts, RPG Blog II, The Art of the Near TPK, and Unnatural 20 (thanks all!!). Someone even submitted a 'news' announcement to The Gaming Report (that made me chuckle... thank you!).

In the meantime - I have recieved 32 nominated blog entries in the last week! If this is a reflection of the community's support for this project; then I'm psyched! Thank you! I do, however, need more submissions. The goal of the Anthology is bridge the gap between the RPG bloggers and the rest of the gaming community by showing off our best and most creative work. In order for that to happen, I'll need at least 100 entries - if not more. The nomination deadline I've set is December 1st, 2008. So take a few minutes - go back through your feed reader's archives and look for old posts by your favorite blogger and nominate their blog post for inclusion into the Anthology.

Lastly, I want to encourage everyone to who has a gaming blog to occasionally 'promote' this Anthology on their own blogs. If this publication comes to be, then we could expect a whole new crowd of readers along with it. Let's move away from 'preaching to the choir', which so often happens for bloggers cut from any thread, and move towards finding new minds for our creative works to inspire and challenge. Let's work together in getting the word out by asking our readers to nominate their favorite blog posts for inclusion into the Anthology.

I hope I have your support -- jonathan.

October 19, 2008

Looking Back: Dragon #5

Here's a note from a MMORPG player about 30 years ahead of his time... in Dragon #5 "Out on a Limb" column...
Dear Mr. Kask:

I would like to tell you about the massive campaign that I have been working on. It is situated on the hypothetical world of Loera, a world of infinite possibility in fantastic adventure. Although it is not our own Earth, it is only about eleven light years from our world, and therefore most of the culture is a parallel of our ancient cultures. However, the scope and size of the campaign is so much that I cannot create and run it all. Therefore, I am putting it on a national basis so as to get the entire campaign running. I need fifty-five DungeonMasters with time, and good judgment, who are willing to run an area about 600 by 600 miles. Each DM would gather up about twenty players, fill in any needed terrain and dungeons, and run that section, sending me monthly reports to keep the campaign up to date. Those who are interested, write to this address: [removed], Muskegon, MI ...

I hope that this campaign will prove to be a melting pot of ideas — sort of a DungeonMaster’s union. And although I may get the help that I need from the fifty-five, I am planning to expand, so any and all applications will be filled, providing that I receive the mailing address of the applicant. I will then send an introductory letter to explain the campaign further, and if they are still interested, I will send a supplement to use with the Loeran campaign. I hope that the Loeran campaign will be successful — it’s a world of ideas. ...
K.A. Abbot.

I just love it... I was 5 at the time (1977) - so I wasn't playing for another 5 or 6 years, but this is just the sort of naive "I can do it!" attitude I love about gamers... the inset image of the Witch was taken from the same issue (although I'm not sure who the artist "JDW" is).

October 18, 2008

Arounds the Blogs...

Well, it's Saturday morning which means its time for my biweekly edition of "Around the Blogs...". Here's my picks of the week - although, again, some of the these posts are more than 2 years old... gems IMHO:
  • I am the Law - "What would govern the relations of the wildly different races? What self respecting dwarf would abide by judicial decisions made by an elf?" I just love it when people go down the rabbit hole...
  • in defense of bog standard fantasy - "To me setting does not necessarily enter the equation. My idea of a campaign is all about what the PCs are doing right now and the record of their deeds performed in actual play." -- i was going to quote the closing punch line of the post - but it is just too good. (from 2006)
  • How to Set Up a Sandbox Campaign - "Sandbox is OLD SCHOOL. Really old school, if you thought you were old school, you probably were not if you sort of feel bad when a player character dies (DM or player)." A relatively new RPG blogger who deserves some attention writes about something I just cant stop thinking about: Sandboxing, and what it means.
  • House Rules: Supplemental Rules - "It’s deceptively easy to believe that a supplemental house rule won’t disrupt the game because you aren’t modifying existing rules, only adding new ones. Unfortunately, that is often not the case." Gnomestew chimes in on the pros/cons of splatbooks, houserules, and supplimental game material. I love their angle on this.
  • Racing in 4th edition - "a system for running foot races in 4th edition, using athletics and endurance checks (and, optionally, acrobatics checks if hurdles are utilized)." This deserves some attention becuase I don't think it has been addressed anywhere else. Bravo!
  • Old School Building Blocks - "My goal is simply to lay down some basic guidelines on mechanical / methodological elements that contribute powerfully to playing D&D √† l'√©cole ancien." Pay special attention to the Gold = XP debate that is included. Tons O' Comments.. worth the read IMHO.
  • Chatty’s Debates: The Relative Merits of Action-Oriented RolePlaying - "Let’s be honest here, D&D has always had the potential to be all about action, but in editions prior to the third one, it was just one of the playstyles the game could easily embrace, especially in the 2nd edition." There you have it - a comment flood - and some really clarifying point about 4E vs. Everything Else.
Well, that about sums it up. Have a good weekend!

    Are you an RPG blogger? Or a reader of RPG blogs? Then submit your favorite blog posts from any blog to OPEN GAME TABLE: The 2008 Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs. More information, including a call for volunteers to help organize this project, can be found here.

    October 17, 2008

    12 Random Questions - time to do some homework...

    So now begins my journey into the wide wide world of ... what was it? Oh yeah.. publishing the 2008 Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs. Did I mention that we have received 30 submissions already? Things are going well so far... but...

    As I've said more than once - I'm a complete novice/amateur when it comes to publishing. No, wait... i have ZERO experience as a publisher; which makes me worse than a novice. I have never even taken a single class in marketing, publishing, or creative [anything] in my whole life. I'm a scientist.. what the hell do I know about publishing a book?

    The closest experience I have with publishing has only been in a professional context as an author of a research paper; which usually involves sending in manuscripts to a journal - getting them reviewed - making edits - and getting it published. Other than line art issues and journal specific document formatting; I don't really have to worry about much beyond that.

    Now, with the Anthology announced and in the works, I suppose _i'm_ sort of the publisher; but I;m flying by the seat of my pants in a vague direction that ends with a book being published. And this book will only come to fruition as a result of loads of hard work by myself and all the very kind people who have volunteered to help. You know you who are... raise your hand!

    But hard work is nothing without knowledge of what the heck you are doing. In short, I need to do my friggen homework. I've done enough homework to know what I need to do more homework about - and I have a fairly good sense of what the major issues (hurdles) will be thus far as well - so I guess it is not all bad. If fact, its quite good i think.

    In the short term, here's a list of topics (brainstorming now) of things I know less than I should about -
    1. How to marketing a book, publication or other print doodad to your target audience?
    2. How to protect myself and the bloggers who are contributing to the Anthology legally from license, copyright, and trademark infringement?
    3. How to organize an anthology?
    4. How to design the internals of an anthology?
    5. What the design/layout (page by page) will look like?
    6. Will there be a logo for OPEN GAME TABLE, and what will it look like?
    7. What will the cover art for the Anthology look like? Would anyone design it for free?
    8. How many pages will it be?
    9. How much money of my own am I willing to throw at this project?
    10. Is LuLu distribution via Amazon.com enough? If I'm interested in the possibility of brick-n-mortar FGLS shops picking it up, how will I do that? Is being listed in Books in Print enough? What about RPGNow.com, would they carry it?
    11. Whats the best way to promote the Anthology without sounding like a broken record? Whats the best way to get people to submit quality posts to the Anthology?
    12. If start up costs become an issue, is sponsorship a reasonable solution?
    All these things are percolating up and down the transmission lines in my head daily now. I feed on unanswered questions... and one of the aspects about this project that I like the most is that it is something I've never done before. And for me, pushing the envelope of what I know how to do is what it is all about...

    How would you answer these questions if you were me?

    What would be your #1 priority issue to get resolved?

    Please leave a comment here, or if you want to help then please head over to Open Game Table and join in the planning and discussion of the Anthology.

    Of course, this may all fall on deaf ears since it IS Friday and the blogosphere is dead on Fridays... now for the footnote you'll be seeing a lot of for a while...

    Are you an RPG blogger? Or a reader of RPG blogs? Then submit your favorite blog posts from any blog to OPEN GAME TABLE: The 2008 Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs. More information about this in-the-works project can be found here.

    October 16, 2008

    I know... my content has been content free lately...

    I just wanted to touch base with everyone who reads The Core Mechanic and let you know why my content has been sorta.. well.. content free lately. Basically it comes down to the fact that I'm up to my eyeballs in projects. Between my RL work, the Core Lists scripts I'm working on (terrain-based 4E encounter generator on the way), and the new RPG Blog Anthology ... I've been extremely busy...

    A note to fellow RPG Bloggers - I have noticed recently that not all of you have the option to subscribe to comments enabled on your blogs. You can leave a comment, but commentators have to remember to check back to see if there is a reply or more comments. Enabling an RSS feed for comments is one option, but the good old "subscribe to comments by email" option is best. Please take a minute, log out - and check to see if you can subscribe to comments on your own blogs. =D

    So, you'll see more useful content coming out in the next week or so (I have 3 or 4 drafts of things in the works). So, in the meantime - why not head over to Open Game Table and join in on the discussion and planning of the upcoming 2008 Roleplaying Game Blog Anthology! After all.. its your anthology! We've received 28 entries thus far for consideration into the Anthology in only 4 days - a pretty solid start in my book. Keep it up! There's no limit to the number of blog posts that can be submitted! Keep that train rollin...


    Are you an RPG blogger? Or a reader of RPG blogs? Then submit your favorite blog posts from any blog to OPEN GAME TABLE: The 2008 Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs. More information about this in-the-works project can be found here.

    October 15, 2008

    The National Institutes of Health & Harry Potter's World - no really...


    There will be a series of talks, seminars (lunch) and an excellent ongoing exhibit here at the NIH's Library of Medicine that aims to explore medieval medicine and the cultural, ethical, and medical underpinnings of Harry Potter's World.

    OK... yes, US tax payer money is paying for this... I won't even ask how... but since I work at the NIH, I'm definitely going and just going to enjoy it.

    Also, the events are open to the public (you have to go through security though, no biggie), so if you are interested and live in the DC area - head over to the above URL and consider coming to the NIH for something different. The exhibit Harry Potter's World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine will be on display at the National Library of Medicine from September 15, 2008 until December 31, 2008.

    Heck, if your planning on coming to any of the events, let me know too!


    Are you an RPG blogger? Or a reader of RPG blogs? Then submit your favorite blog posts from any blog to OPEN GAME TABLE: The 2008 Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs. More information about this in-the-works project can be found here.

    October 14, 2008

    Super Awesome Brain Exploding Exposition

    Maybe you already have the link from Musing of a Chatty DM. Maybe not. So, in case you missed it...

    There's something over at another blog that made my head explode (and I think Chatty's too). Here's an excerpt:

    "...Dungeons & Dragons is of the latter sort - it's a framework for story development, cravenly marketed even now as a combat game with storytelling elements. D&D labours under a lot of deadweight. The worst of it is the need to be a 'fantasy' game - when everyone knows, before the ritual day of their forgetting, that fantasy has no shape and no genre, that its power comes from its shapelessness, its individuality, the rough and dangerous work of sharing it..."
    Follow the link below to


    OK, its late ... and I'm still at the lab waiting for unseen things to happen in tiny little tubes. Maybe I should go get a coffee... in the meantime, enjoy the above linked post.


    Are you an RPG blogger? Or a reader of RPG blogs? Then submit your favorite blog posts from any blog to OPEN GAME TABLE: The 2008 Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs. More information about this in-the-works project can be found here.

    Open Game Table: Clarification and Discussions

    On Sunday I announced a new project named "Open Game Table" which will feature an Anthology of RPG Blogs for 2008 in the next few months. There has been a lively discussion about this over at the RPG Bloggers google group, and I've received a couple of emails as well. Please head over there and take a look at all the issues being discussed.

    If you are interested in helping out - then please go and join the OPEN GAME TABLE google group, and directly hook into the development of the Anthology. I'm looking forward to working with you! In the meantime, allow me to offer some clarifications about the submission of content for the Anthology.

    First of all, anyone can submit to the anthology any blog post from any blog they think is a "must read" for gamers. Have you ever read something written by an RPG blogger and thought "Oh, wow... that's awesome!"? or "I'm definitely going to use that in my game!"? Well, those are the posts I want submitted to the Anthology. Whether you are a blogger or a blog reader or both - your input and contribution to this project is the first and most important ingredient for the projects success. Without submissions, there will be no Anthology and those hard-working bloggers out there who deserve the attention will not receive it! So please use the submission form below and submit not one, but two (or more!) blog posts you've read and thought "WOW!".

    Second clarification - often times bloggers will write a series about something, and it may span many blog posts. Series as well as individual blog posts can both be submitted for consideration in the Anthology. If you want to submit one part of the series, that's OK! If you want to submit the entire series for consideration - that's OK too! Just submit the URL for one or more of them and simply indicate that this post is part of a series - that's it!

    Third clarification - There's been some concern over at the RPG Bloggers google group that the author's work is being submitted without their consent - so I just want to clarify: Nothing will be published in Open Game Table unless the author releases the material for inclusion in the Anthology. Posts are simply submitted for consideration; which is the first step towards identifying the best in RPG blogging. Let me know if you have any questions by leaving a comment here or over at the OPEN GAME TABLE google group. I hope that this clears up any confusion you may have.

    Getting the word out - If you have your own blog or website, and want to help get the word out, please use this URL for the submission for is here: http://rpganthology.wufoo.com/forms/open-game-table-2008/ You can also embed the form directly into your blog using the code below:

    <iframe height="1288" allowTransparency="true" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="width:100%;border:none" src="http://rpganthology.wufoo.com/embed/z7x4m1/"><a href="http://rpganthology.wufoo.com/forms/z7x4m1/" title="OPEN GAME TABLE 2008">Fill out my Wufoo form!</a></iframe><small><a href="http://wufoo.com/">Powered by Wufoo</a></small>


    In the meantime, here's the submission form again. Thank you for all your support!


    Powered by Wufoo

    October 13, 2008

    OPEN GAME TABLE SUBMISSION FORM

    I've gone ahead and created a submission form for "OPEN GAME TABLE: The 2008 Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs". If you are not sure what the heck I am talking about, then please visit the previous post on this project. I'm still in the progress of counting hands and getting volunteers to help out with this project. Thus far, I am very encouraged by everyone's enthusiasm! If you are want to find out how you might help, then follow the link above to the previous post for more information.

    I've embedded the OPEN GAME TABLE submission form below, but if for some reason it does not work or gets formatted strangely, then please use THIS LINK to visit the form directly.



    Powered by Wufoo

    October 12, 2008

    Open Game Table: The 2008 Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs

    I would like to propose a new publication for the RPG community - "Open Game Table: The 2008 Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs".

    I'm not a publisher, but Lulu can take care of that. I'm not a designer, but I'm sure I can get people to help. I'm not a editor, but putting together something like this would give me that experience. I am a, however, passionate about gaming, and the RPG blogging network is one of the better online communities with which I've had the pleasure of interacting. Now, before I explain what the heck "Open Game Table" would be, allow me to provide you with some background.

    Professionally speaking, I'm a scientist. I also have a (much less updated) blog I maintain that is work related (workingthebench.com). My science blog is a bit older than this one, but my interest in updating it daily is fairly low (?). In the time I've been into science blogging, I've discovered that the community of science bloggers has done a couple of things very well: 1) science blogging carnivals are a regular occurrence and cover a wide range of topics; and 2) there is an annual science blog anthology about the best of science blogging that is published each year. The grass roots passion science bloggers have for their subject area is, in all honesty, infective. My involvement with the sciblog community is whole reason why I maintain four blogs right now, with The Core Mechanic the one I enjoy writing the most. There a number of parrallels between the RPG blogging community and that of the science blogging community: 1) passion for the subject area; 2) many topics for active 'discussion' or outright debate; and 3) a constant stream of creative ideas from many talented people. I could even argue that there are similarities between the RPG Bloggers Network and the multimillion dollar ScienceBlogs.com network (not including the money of course).

    The third part above is what I'm concerned about. Yes, concerned. There's an idea out there that internet is a collective stream of consciousness and that information is effectively lost in that stream due to the inherent decentralization of it. Basically, as more and more information gets online - it becomes increasingly hard to find it. Google helps, of course, but there is something else that helps: active aggregation of information. Technorati helps to aggregate, as does the Blog Catalog or any number of other generic services that are on the net (StumbleUpon, Digg, etc). These services aim to make it easier to find blog posts that 'matter' and are inline with whatever your interest is. There's a more grass roots solution to this problem though - and that is for the sources of information (the blogs in this case) to form collectives and focus their communities. For RPG blogs, the RPG Blog Carnival is an example of this sort of activity. The RPG Bloggers Network is another example.

    But even still, information gets lost in the stream.

    The science blogging community has done many things to aggregate its information, but in 2006 they took one more step towards aggregation. One very forward thinking blogger decided to create an annual anthology of science blogs and created, "The Open Laboratory: The Best Writing on Science Blogs 2006". It was a huge success, and they received literally hundreds of submissions. 218 were chosen as a semi-finalists and fifty were accepted . The final blog posts were wrapped up into published book, and sold at Lulu.com as either a PDF or a printed book. The anthology was so successful that they repeated it in 2007 and the competition was even more fierce - 53 posts made it into the 2007 anthology. Currently, the organizers of the anthology are in the process of producing the 2008 anthology.

    Why does this matter at all?

    Well... for me, the very of notion of being a blogger myself can be attributed to the 2006 edition of The Open Laboratory. I was standing in a bookstore, and there it was sitting on the self. I picked it up and was dumbfounded. Here was a collection of articles (posts) written by people with names like "Drug Monkey" or "Bioephemera". A collection of writings that instantly resonated with me. I bought a copy, and even two years later I still occasionally open it up to read something again. And from what I can tell, the presence of the blogging anthology in bookstores (and at conferences) drew a number of new people to the science blogging community who never had blogged before. I was not alone.

    I propose that we create an anthology of RPG blogging entitled "Open Game Table: The 2008 Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs". This will give many people the opportunity to really hone their writing, editing, and design skills and get published. The anthology itself could also bring a whole new flood of new people to the community - thereby expanding our base, while focusing our core. It will also bring attention to many (many!) of the hidden gems that are out there in the RPG blogging community.

    Now, I may be too small of a fish to get this properly started, who knows; so I'll need your help.

    If you are a blogger who would like to support this effort, then please
    1. post a link back to this article on your own blog. The more eyes I have reading this post the better, because I'll need all the help I can get to pull it off.
    2. leave a comment here and let me know if you are willing to help with any of the following, and what your experience level is.
      1. editing entries, layout and design of the document
      2. judging / reviewing entries
      3. contributing artwork (cover art, internal art, etc)
      4. designing a logo for Open Game Table for contributing/supporting blogs and websites to use on their sites.
      5. submitting articles to the anthology.
    My immediate task list for this project is 1) find out who wants to help. 2) figure out the size/scope of the anthology (what is possible realistically to do). and 3) begin accepting and reviewing entries for publication. To get an idea as to the amount of work that is required, and what is involved, please check out the post about how Open Laboratory got started. It's inspiring.

    I'm crossing my fingers - but I am really looking forward to seeing this project come to life.

    EDIT - and update to this announcement was published here : http://thecoremechanic.blogspot.com/2008/10/open-game-table-clarification-and.html

    October 10, 2008

    Diablo III - Wizard Revealed...

    From an article over @ Gamespy.... check it out for some juicy previews



    I recently cut the cord with Warcraft about 6 months ago (after 3+ years) - I doubt I'll ever play another MMORPG again due to its time requirements. The single-player, pick up and play aspect of Diablo was, however, something I always liked about the game. Diablo III looks awesome, and seems like it is going to fill that arcade-style gameplay I'm looking for.

    Anyone else planning on play Diablo III when it comes out? You think WotC will release a 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons supplement for Diablo III, like they did for previous editions?