March 31, 2010

Checking In...

I got an email today from someone asking me if this blog was dead.

Gods I hope not!

I'm just up to my eyeballs in projects and unable to find adequate time to blog - yunno - for personal fun. There's this review of Lunch Money I've been wanting to write, and a round up of all the Gaming Art blogs I read - but they haven't made it out of the drafting house yet.

What am I working on these days? Well - you probably already know that Open Game Table (vol.2) is in high-gear. The editors and I are busily grinding away at copy editing the manuscript, while I am working with the artists to get some illustrations done to accompany the book (more artists wanted!). Hopefully the copy editing will be done in the next week or so, and then I'll be able to focus on getting the artwork in that we want and get [someone unnamed] to write the Foreword.

In addition to OGT - I'm managing several parallel projects over at Nevermet Press which include three upcoming eBooks and three adventure campaign settings; as well as acting as the lead developing for one of them (Loaerth & Feywyrd). We recently actually had our first meeting - so NMP should perhaps be called something else - my business partner (the author behind Mad Brew Labs) drove some 600 miles to my place in MD to talk shop, sign paperwork (NMP is a "real" LLC now), and brainstorm about future projects and transmedia endeavors. It was awesome.

All this - plus the Jay O Bee - are kinda keeping TCM on the back burner these days. There's barely time for much else.

I'll be in touch soon - hopefully with something more interesting. Thanks for hanging with me!

(just broke a blogger rule: don't blog about having nothing to blog about. Barnacles!!! )

March 17, 2010

Open Game Table Volume 2 -Participating Blog List!

I'm amazed at the quality of the blogs that have been selected for inclusion into the upcoming Open Game Table, Volume 2. It seems the work we put into developing the new nomination and peer review system really worked out extremely well. As you will see from the list of blogs that will be included in the upcoming anthology, the editorial board had their work cut out for them. It wasn't easy, but we finally have narrowed the final list to 32.

What I love about this list, and the list of all the nominations, is that there are just as many popular blogs as there are "new discoveries".

The professionals make an appearance this time. I'm very happy to say that the blogs written by Mike Mearls, Justin Achilli, and Monte Cooke are excellent examples of industry professionals who also love to blog about games. They -get- the (often scrappy) RPG blogging community too, and it should go without saying that we are stoked (!) that they will be included in the Anthology this time around.

There are also the extremely popular RPG blogs such as Kobold Quarterly, Critical-Hits, Dungeon Mastering, and Gnome Stew. Everyone wants to take these blogs to the Prom. They represent pinnacles of RPG blogging and have huge followings because the writing is excellent, on topic, and just plain fun to read. Honestly, the peer reviewers picked out more than a couple articles to print from these blogs, so the editors were tasked with making the hard choices and cutting some of these articles out.

What was a real surprise were the blogs that I (we?) didn't really follow before they popped up in the nominations list, made it through the peer reviews, and landed on the final list of 72 posts. These were an absolute pleasure to read both because the writing was excellent and entertaining, and because there's this inherent underdog quality to them. I'm referring to blogs such as Buried Without Ceremony, This Way Lies Madness, Kingworks Creative, The RPG Athenaeum and a few others.

It's really a great mix. And now we have the task of putting it all together for you. Art included. Hopefully we'll be done in time to print by GenCon. Wish us luck, and stay tuned.
- You can help Open Game Table too by getting the word out. We are still looking for artists who are interested in contributing. See here for more info -
In the meantime, enjoy this list of old and new favorites, all of them will feature articles in the upcoming Open Game Table, Volume 2*.

Until next time -- GAME ON!

* Well, technically I still have to receive formal permission to reprint material from 2 or 3 outstanding blogs. Nearly everyone else has given us permission to include their material in the Anthology; which is a good thing!

March 10, 2010


Well, the Open Game Table Editorial Board has finally finished going through all 900+ peer reviews of the 370+ nominations. We have picked about 72 articles from our list, but no doubt the final list will be shorter. Open Game Table Vol. 1 had about 48 articles included so we are probably going to cut out a few to get closer to that number. Either way though, it was extremely tough to make those calls, and all of us had to choose just 20 (!) from the top posts that were scored by the reviewers. I'm happy this part is over, and now we can focus on getting author permissions, artists to participate, and firming up the draft manuscript.
Which blogs articles made the "semi-finals"? Well, I can't spill the beans just yet - but just like we did for Volume 1; we will eventually release the list of blogs who were selected and who agreed to participate. I know, it's a process - but patience will be well worth it. The final list of articles has some simply incredible posts. In the meantime, feast your eyes on the complete list of nominations.

Starting today, Open Game Table will be canvassing heavily for Artists to participate in the project. We already have a few who have signed up, but we are looking for more. Interested illustrators, painters, and graphic designers who have a love for table top role playing games should contact me ( directly with any questions. Also, please include a link to an online gallery of your work.

What do Artists get in return for participating Open Game Table? If you are an artist - then please consider some of the highlights:
  1. Exposure. Your artwork will be showcased in a printed book along side some of the most highly regarded writing in the RPG blogging universe. The printed book will enter retail distribution via Studio 2 Publishing, featured at their GenCon 2010 booth, and sold online at The eBook version of OGTv2 will also be distributed by One Book Shelf, the company behind the RPG eBook selling sites and
  2. Satisfaction. By participating you will be helping a completely grass roots project focused on bringing light to the best roleplaying game blogs on the the Net.Your work will enhance the reading experience of Open Game Table Volume 2, and bring a new level of enjoyment to everyone who opens the book. I'll also buy you a beer when I see you at GenCon. Free beer is the best kind of satisfaction.
  3. Experience. Talented, early career artists are expected to be in the majority of artists who participate. By joining the Open Game Table project will be updated regularly on the project's progress, get to see how it evolves from nominations to manuscript to finished book, see the book launch into distribution, and connect with everyone else involved in the OGT project from start to finish. I know, that's laying it on a bit thick -- but you will get to participate in the process of getting OGTv2 out the door. The OGT volunteers are expected to play an active role in the creation of the Anthology. Give input whenever you want, and we do our best to accommodate, make changes, improve the book along those lines.
The goal of Open Game Table Vol.1 was to bring the best in RPG blogging into the hands of gamers everywhere. With over 1,500 RPG related blog articles  written every month in the blogosphere...  the goals are the same for Volume 2.

So... for the love of games - please spread the word. Tweets and all the Link Love you can muster to support OGT will be extremely helpful. The more exposure we can get the better. Thank you!

-- Jonathan

March 6, 2010

Savage Worlds On REDDIT

This post is just a quick pointer to a REDDIT I created specifically for Savage Worlds related links and topics on the web. It's just starting out and could use some additional input - so if you are a Savage Worlds fan please stop by the reddit page for SW and drop some links or comments. If you are a Savage Blogger, Savage Worlds fan, or just curious about Savage Worlds - then you might consider dropping by and sharing some links, starting a conversation, leaving a comment, or voting on what's already there.

If you are not sure what the heck reddit is all about, then stop by reddit/rpg (4,000 readers) or reddit/gaming (100K+ readers) to find out. It's a great, lightweight social networking service where people can submit links, ask questions, post topics, etc and everyone else can vote them up or down. The most popular links bubble up to the top. It's a great way to find new stuff on the net that google missed. As a blogger, it's also a great way to have new people visit your blog.

Did I mention that each subreddit has its own RSS feed too? That makes our lives much easier for tracking what's new @reddit.

March 3, 2010

Popular Topics In The RPG Blogosphere

The Editorial Board* of Open Game Table Vol.2 has been slogging though the nearly 1000 nomination reviews that were handed in by the Peer Reviewers last week. It's tough work, but extremely enjoyable to see all these amazing hidden gems of the RPG blogging community come to light.

Along the way, one of the things we asked the reviewers to do (in addition to commenting and scoring) was to TAG each nomination - in true tradition of blogging we didn't ask them to stick to any preset terms list either. We just wanted them to give each nomination at least two terms that described the post. Well... the graphic above shows all those terms visually.

It's a feast for your mind's eye. Over 500 terms are up there that the Peer Reviewers spontaneously came up with.

Not surprisingly... GM ADVICE was #1.

A complete listing of ALL the terms, ordered by frequency is available here (if you are interested).

* The OGT Editorial Board is made up of Jonathan Jacobs (me), Berin Kinsman, Kameron Franklin, Tony Law, and Ben McFarland.

** The above image was created using Wordle, a great little app for visualizing the prevalence of words.


OneBookshelf, the company the owns and (and all the related speciality sites) is having it's annual GameMaster's Sale. It's the single biggest sales event of the year at those sites - and it's the best time to get the deepest discounts on literally thousands of PDFs. This is no Joke. That sale runs March 3rd through March 8th and all the eBooks from participating publishers are 25% off!!!

So, if you are hankering to catch up on your eBook/PDF gaming fix AND you don't mind supporting The Core Mechanic, please click the link below or the image above.

* The Core Mechanic is an OneBookShelf affiliate site, so I'll earn a small commission and you'll be supporting us if you do. Thank you!