dev_chieftain: (leonard roland)
[personal profile] dev_chieftain
Welcome! Welcome, one and all!

Let me tell you a little bit about this community, what it stands for and what I'm hoping to accomplish with it.

I'm a tabletop RPG fan, myself. Can't get enough of the stuff. Once I finally got the chance to try it out, I was absolutely thrilled to discover how much of a culture there is for this kind of game, and I didn't ever want to go back. I've played card games and boardgames too, and I've gotten to try a fair number of RPG systems so far. I don't know much about wargaming, but the whole point of this community, in my eyes, is to try to encourage an online community for tabletop of all ilks, even the kind I might not have a personal, vested interest in.

More or less, I wanted to try getting a community going to talk about the systems out there that I know of, encourage people to talk about the systems they're using, the games they're running, or playing, or making, and be a resource for people who might just be getting started, or want a fresh perspective on the hobby of their choice. So, what you can expect to see here are:

-Product Reviews (published RPGs, board games, etc, and a review of that product)
-Projects (in-progress games or projects to create new games that people are working on and might need help with)
-Contests and Holiday Exchanges (to encourage the creation of new games, new campaign settings, new miniatures, and to reward those ideas and share them with the whole community!)
-Calls for Players (for both online and in-person games, made by community members preparing new games and new ideas)
-News (on upcoming products that might excite us gamerfolk-- the latest edition of Shadowrun, or the newest series of M:tG cards)

Posts will always be organized in an effort to make it as easy to follow the hobbies you're actually interested in (and not hobbies that might bore you) as possible. To this end, posters are required to format their subject lines to include the relevant keywords to help make it clear what they're talking about, and encouraged to use the tag system to make searching through the community easier in the future!

Rules of conduct are very simple:

1. Treat all community members with respect; if something is not your bag, simply avoid commenting on that entry.
2. If someone is starting trouble instead of discussion, please notify the mod(s), and refrain from responding to the person who you feel is being inflammatory.
3. Posts to the community will be moderated to ensure that inflammatory reviews do not go up and start us off with trouble. Remember, all hobbies are pursued in the interest of having fun! It's not necessary to put down someone else's hobby in order to establish the validity of your own: all hobbies are considered equal and equally fun here.

The community's 'rating' is currently set to the equivalent of family-friendly, but that can be raised if our posts tend to include content that is not suitable for kids. Please contact the mods if, on perusing the community, you feel that the warning level should be changed so we can take that into consideration.

Again, welcome, and I hope you'll be able to find all kinds of fun and excitement here!

Two eBay Auctions

Thursday, March 7th, 2013 02:40 pm
gridlore: A Roman 20 sided die, made from green stone (Gaming - Roman d20)
[personal profile] gridlore
I'm selling off a large portion of my gaming collection, and have put two collectibles up on eBay:

  • World of Greyhawk This is the 1993 boxed set. The box is long gone, but the books and maps are in good condition. Currently stored in a ziplock bag.

  • Thieves World There is some scuffing on the box edges, but the books and maps are in near-mint condition.

Bid early and often, all proceeds go to my bicycles fund.

Another campaign idea

Saturday, August 4th, 2012 11:55 am
gridlore: A Roman 20 sided die, made from green stone (Gaming - Roman d20)
[personal profile] gridlore
Just finished the epic history of Byzantium I've been reading. (Spoiler: Constantinople falls at the end. Also, Manuel II Palaiologos was actually Keyser Söze.)

Which led me to consider yet another fun campaign setting.

One of the biggest trade items in Medieval Europe was in holy relics. No monastery or cathedral was complete without a reliquary stuffed with bones, vials of blood, bits of clothing, and other tangible remains of the saints. Constantinople boasted of owning, along with the True Cross, the crown of thorns, Jesus' blood, his robe, three robes worn by the Virgin May, her shoes, and a letter written by Jesus. All of which protected the city. Relics were also placed in charms and in the hilts of weapons to bring the protection of God.

Now, about the Eastern Roman Empire. After centuries of warfare against the Sassanid Empire, both states were shocked by the explosive expansion of Islam in the seventh century. The Persian states simply vanished, while the Byzantines began a centuries-long defense of Europe, slowly losing ground to the Arab states.

Now replace the Islamic states (which in many ways were better organized and better run than their Christian counterparts; witness what the Crusaders did when they entered Jerusalem vs. what the Muslim Army did when they retook the city) with your monstrous horde of choice. Hordes of orcs pouring out of Arabia and seeping over the cities of the Levant and Anatolia. States crumbling overnight, and hordes of refugees fleeing west. Half the empire is lost in a matter of years. This is pretty much what happened in reality.

But rather than the highly organized and empire-minded Muslims, these are monsters. So the ruined cities still hold their treasures, for the most part. More importantly, the abandoned churches probably still hold their relics! The Empire is too weak, and beset by foes to organize a crusade, and the near-barbarians of the West are too fractured and quarreling to come to the aid of the Center of the World.

So it falls to small bands of brave heroes to venture into the lost lands and rescue the lost relics (along with a lot of gold and magic) and maybe eventually lead the Crusade against the dark forces.

One thing I'm not addressing is what cause the monster invasion. Something off-screen, deep in Arabia, caused this massive migration. That can be a late-campaign quest.

What do y'all think?

crossposted to [personal profile] gridlore and [community profile] tabletop


Thursday, March 8th, 2012 12:06 pm
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Goth)
[personal profile] gridlore
  • Or, On The Subject of Barbarians in FRPGs.

    Ah, the noble barbarian. The ferocious warrior clad in loincloth and little else, wielding a bloody great axe or sword and (since D&D 3rd edition anyway) raging all over the place, lordly in his disdain of the weak and effeminate civilized peoples. Robert E. Howard's Conan is the basis of a thousand grunting killing machines hacking their way through dungeons.

    Pity it's all based on a really bad reading of history.

    OK, here's the facts. Starting in about the 5rd Century CE, Europe was subjected to a nearly continuous series of invasions coming off the vast steppes of what is now Russia. Goths, Vandals, Lombards, Suebi, Frisii, FranksHuns, Avars, Slavs, Bulgars and Alans all wandered westward in the V√∂lkerwanderung from roughly 400 to 800 CE. All were pushed west by exploding populations, pressures from other tribes, and the promise of better land in Europe. For the most part, these tribal nations lived up to the barbarian stereotype. They raped, looted, pillaged, and burned their way westward. Then they settled down, adopted Roman ways, and became fodder for the next wave of nomadic peoples. Even the most famous barbarian of them all, Attila the Hun, was a Christian who spoke good Latin and desired recognition and land for his peoples. It wasn't until the Magyar invasions of the 10th century that the migrations finally ended. (The Mongol invasions were more a military expansion than migration.)

    The problem from the gaming point of view is that the barbarians quickly became settled peoples. The Ostrogoths, who supplanted the Western Roman Empire under Theodoric the Great were utterly civilized by the time Theodoric claimed the throne. His empire was overthrown by the Lombards, who were equally quick in shortening their names and elbowing their way into all the best country clubs. Barbarians just don't last! Civilization is just to profitable to ignore, and every hopped-up barbarian chieftain wanted recognition and titles from Rome or Constantinople, along with good land and payments for not pillaging. Three generations later an they are good Romans.

    So, how do we keep our gaming barbarians nasty, brutish, and mostly naked?

    • It's an Orc thing, you wouldn't understand.  The easiest way is to make your barbarians one of the nastier humanoid races. Orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, all make great foes and they aren't normally given to compromise and could care less about good farm land. Human tribal nations that border on such humanoids would likely remain pretty barbaric (in civilized eyes) as any attempt to Romanize invites immediate attack.

    • No offense, but burning your city is a religious thing. In a typical FRP setting where the gods are quite real and have a clergy capable of real miracles, the term "crusade" takes on new meaning. If the barbarians follow a god that demands pillage and condemns the softness of civilizations, you have great potential hordes. An empire will need to spend a lot of money just containing such tribal states. Here's a free plot idea: Out in the wild lands a new prophet of Whargarble has arisen, and is preaching a unity of clans to destroy the Nice Kingdom of Low Taxes. The panicked government is promising money, land, titles, and your choice of eligible princesses if you kill this prophet and break up his alliance of tribes.

    • May you live in interesting times. The characters are "lucky" enough to live during the period where the barbarians are still barbarians and actively invading. Some of the barbarians would have wandered off, and could make good PCs. However, they might have complex clan loyalties that prevent them from attacking certain targets. A longer campaign could tackle the problem of what prompted this series of barbarian migrations.


A combination of all three would make for an epic campaign.

dev_chieftain: (rain)
[personal profile] dev_chieftain
Plans to make D&D 5th edition have been officially announced as of yesterday, alongside a potential offering to work with the D&D community.

Read about WotC's stance here: NY Times: "Dungeons & Dragons Remake Uses Players' Input"

And read Mike Mearls' thoughts here: Charting the Course for D&D

Second link also provides access to sign up for playtesting and be a part of the current creative process for D&D 5th edition.

As it stands, Wizards of the Coast appears to be offering only part of the olive branch to the tabletop community. They have a definitive interest in improving the sales of their product, but it is difficult to tell how sincere is their desire to make an improved and enjoyable game.

Bloggers have expressed mistrust of the gesture and numerous voices for older editions of the game have already cast their vote as uninterested in partaking in the venture. Initial information from WotC suggests that playtesting the game blind may be the extent of what they want in terms of fan input, which might not be enough.

Some responses to the announcement:

Jeff Rients: Open Letter to WotC - Calling for WotC to prove their sincerity by making the .pdfs of elder editions available again, in order to encourage their playtesters to be well-informed.

GeekDad: 5th Edition D&D is in development-- should we care? - Hoping for a system that will actually work with the playtesters and stand a chance of uniting the D&D community instead of further fragmenting it.

It appears that the recently re-hired Monte Cook and Mike Mearls may be heavily involved with the creation of this product.

(Any other sources or input that can be linked will be added to this post as an update!)


Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 03:02 pm
dev_chieftain: (leonard roland)
[personal profile] dev_chieftain
Please post any questions you may have to this entry as a comment. Comments will be responded to with an answer, but FAQ entry will also be updated to reflect questions and their answers.


Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 02:59 pm
dev_chieftain: (leonard roland)
[personal profile] dev_chieftain
If you have any suggestions for upcoming projects or improvements to the community, please comment with them here!

Some things I could really use suggestions for:
-additional tags to represent games and game systems currently not represented
-products to review (or if you have a product review all handy, you can also become a member and submit your own product review as well!)


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