Showing posts with label news. Show all posts
Showing posts with label news. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Let's Go To Gen Con GoFundMe Campaign


As we all know, going to Gen Con isn't cheap. Even writing for EN World doesn't help to offset all of the costs of going and covering the convention for you, the readers. I started a GoFundMe campaign to help with some of the costs. In addition to just straight donations, I have a couple of fun pledge levels for it, working around the idea that not everyone can go to Gen Con, but they still want to have some of the experiences of the show.

  • For $5 I will track down a person, place or thing at the convention (1. it has to be gaming related and 2. it has to be safe for work) and take a picture of it. I will then post the picture to an online gallery here and to social media. If you have a Twitter account, I will also tag you in the post.
  • For $10 I will track down a designer or publisher of your request, ask them a couple of questions and post a video of the questions to my YouTube channel. Sorry, but I determine the questions. If the person will not consent to being recorded, unfortunately there aren't any refunds. I will try my best to convince them to let me record them for posterity.
There may be other pledge levels coming, but those are the main ones. They are a good way to augment my coverage of the convention. If you have any questions about the campaign, or would like to know if you can donate in other ways, contact me via the contact box to the left of this post.

I hope to see you at Gen Con this year!



Saturday, January 14, 2017

Galileo Games And Brooklyn Indie Games Announce Merger


Brooklyn Indie Games, a boutique tabletop role-playing, board, and card game publisher, is merging with Galileo Games, publisher of fiction and tabletop role-playing games. The Brooklyn Indie Games brand will continue as an imprint under the Galileo Games label. Brooklyn Indie Games owner Tim Rodriguez will be joining Galileo Games as Vice President, Galileo Games’ Brennan Taylor will remain as President.
By bringing on the board game production and design expertise of Brooklyn Indie Games, Galileo Games plans to expand their footprint in the hobby games market, producing innovative card and board games to complement and expand the role-playing games they already offer. Galileo views this as a merger of equals, and the Galileo corporate identity will survive by virtue of its longer history and greater name recognition. With the additional experience and manpower of two companies becoming one, Galileo plans to increase their production schedule and offer a wider variety of products through the retail and direct sales channels.
"Brooklyn Indie is excited to join with Galileo Games," said new Galileo Games Vice President Tim Rodriguez. "They’re a significant player in the industry, having been around since 1995, and Brennan is personally responsible for many innovations that help the indie games industry run as smoothly as it does today."
"I am so pleased to have Tim Rodriguez joining Galileo Games," said Galileo Games President Brennan Taylor. "Tim is one of the best card game designers in the industry, and having him developing our line of board and card game products will make Galileo more competitive in that market. Tim is also a good friend and a person whose interests and business sensibilities are extremely compatible with my own. This is going to be a great partnership, and I’m looking forward to what Galileo will be coming up with as we move into 2017."
Between the two of them, Brennan Taylor and Tim Rodriguez bring over 30 years of game design and production experience to the merged company.
About Galileo Games, Inc.
Galileo Games, Inc. is a publisher of innovative role-playing games and fiction. Galileo was founded in 1995 by Brennan Taylor and Krista White. Since that time, Galileo has grown, publishing a variety of game and fiction titles, including Bulldogs!, The Ministry InitiativeShelter in PlaceKingdom of NothingMortal Coil, and How We Came to Live Here. Galileo Games, Inc. proudly works with great game designers, including Jeff Himmelman, Ralph Mazza, J.R. Blackwell, Kenneth Hite, and Fred Hicks, and talented writers, including Will Hindmarch, Mur Lafferty, Peter Woodworth, Greg Stolze, and Nathan Lowell. Products from Galileo Games are available through distribution via ACD, Lion Rampant, Golden Distribution, and Indie Press Revolution. Products may also be purchased directly by consumers via Indie Press Revolution and DriveThruRPG. More information can be found at Galileo Games’ web site www.galileogames.com.
About Brooklyn Indie Games
Brooklyn Indie Games is a small game publisher and professional services provider in the wilds of Brooklyn that brings independent designers and artists together to create great games. Brooklyn Indie Games has created and published Ghost Pirates, Backstory Cards, Omega Zone, and Heartcatchers. More information can be found at Brooklyn Indie Games’ web site www.brooklynindiegames.com.



Tuesday, May 31, 2016

More Copyright Protection For Game Mechanics?


I've seen a blog post from an Intellectual Property lawyer who specializes in video and board games being passed around my social media circles recently, and I think that it is something that needs to be looked at.

Keep in mind that I am not a lawyer, so don't take anything that I talk about as any sort of legal advice. Find someone who specializes in intellectual property law and get their two cents first.

The way that copyright and game rules intersected in the past was basically along these lines: you can copyright the exact expression of the rules, but not the underlying ideas of the rules. If you re-expressed the rules with your own wording, you were free of infringement. There were a few restrictions on that, like saying that mathematical expressions used to determine parts of your rules could be copyrighted, which lead people to finding new math that was close enough to the old math for government work.

This is what lead us to games like Mongoose's version of the Runequest game, and large swaths of Old School Renaissance clones of early editions of Dungeons & Dragons.

The case that looks to have changed this was between two board games, one of which effectively cloned parts of the mechanics of the other game (you can find more detail at the link in the first paragraph, I'll let the expert do the real explaining of this issue). The first game's publisher sued the second game's publisher for infringement and eventually won.

According to Zachary Strebeck, the lawyer who originally blogged about this, the suing publisher's case was based on an earlier precedence that "the plot and gameplay progression of something like The Legend of Zelda would most likely be protectable." However the court did not feel that the allegedly infringing game fit that definition.
The court points out that “Unlike a book or movie plot, the rules and procedures, including the winning conditions, that make up a card-game system of play do not themselves produce the artistic or literary content that is the hallmark of protectable expression.” They note that past game copyright victories were won by parties based on infringement of visual appearance or other protectable elements. Pac-man’s gameplay, they recall, was not considered protectable back in 1982.
Given these rules and precedent, the court looked at the issue in the case – that of the similarity between “the roles and characters and their interactions” in the two games. Ziko argued that these roles and interactions were no different than other rules and mechanics in the game, and therefore were unprotectable. DaVinci, on the other hand, argued that those roles and interactions were protected, using precedent from the Triple Town case.
 The court distinguished this case from the Triple Town case, though. In Triple Town, that court analogized the gameplay hierarchy in Triple Town to the plot of a movie. In doing so, they imbued it with copyright protection.
The "Triple Town Case" refers to a 2012 case between EA and Zynga overly game apps Triple Town and Yeti Town. One of the stipulations in that case made by the court was that "the object hierarchy coupled with the depiction of the field of play comprise a setting and theme that is similar to Triple Town’s. A snowfield is not so different from a meadow, bears and yetis are both wild creatures, and the construction of a 'plain' is not plausibly similar to the construction of a 'patch.'"

Where things get interesting for the cloning communities in tabletop RPGs is in this analysis of the case:
The assessment of each game’s UI gets to the heart of the EA-Zynga dispute.  Like Yeti Town, Zynga allegedly copied the basic gameplay from EA and then put its own lightly modified UI elements on top of that gameplay.  Indeed, as alleged by EA, Zynga probably did less to modify its UI than Yeti Town did.  The Triple Town ruling suggests that Zynga probably can’t score a quick win.
The two ended up settling because a precedence setting win would have ended up having long term ramifications in a business where "borrowing" from other games is such a fundamental part of game design.

Like I said at the beginning, I'm not a lawyer and I'm not going to attempt to try to explain this complicated material. I suggest looking at the information and thinking what would happen if there were a change of the people in power at Wizards of the Coast, and they decided that they didn't like the cloning of their systems.

Material used directly from the OGLs would still be usable, but what about the "extrapolations" to make the OGL material play more like older systems? What about designers who make "diceless" RPGs by re-expressing the old rules with their new language? In what ways could the assumptions of copyright law change for them dramatically?


Friday, February 05, 2016

Steve Perrin Joins RuneQuest Development Team




In the spirit of bringing the band back together, Chaosium is delighted to announce that Steve Perrin is joining the design team for Chaosium's new edition of RuneQuest. "We knew that Steve Perrin’s place at the table, as both the creator and lead author of the original groundbreaking ‘78 and ‘79 editions of game, was a natural fit that harkens back to the genius and originality of RuneQuest", said Rick Meints, President of Chaosium.

In late 2015 Moon Design Publications and Chaosium successfully Kickstarted the RuneQuest Classic Edition campaign, a triumphant reissue of the iconic 2nd Edition of the RuneQuest rules and the supplements produced for it: Cults of Prax, Pavis, Big Rubble, Griffin Mountain, TrollPak and many others.

"We want to usher in the newest exploration of Glorantha with a tribute to the masterpiece opus of work that has come before. Part of Steve's role is to help insure that this edition contains the best possible game mechanics while maintaining backwards compatibility with RuneQuest 2", said Jeff Richard, creative director at Chaosium.

The new version of RuneQuest maintains backwards compatibility with earlier editions, while also containing a number of unique innovations that resonate with Glorantha, Greg Stafford's mythical campaign setting where RuneQuest started and to which it returns. This new edition incorporates Runes directly into both your character and the magic system you use, including their passions and motivations.

"The rules reinforce immersion in the setting even more than the original RuneQuest rules did, and ideas experimentally brought forth in Griffin Mountain reach their fruition", said Richard.

Seizing this unique chance to get this right, Chaosium has brought in a team of notable game designers to support Chaosium's rebirth of RuneQuest, including Sandy Petersen (Call of Cthulhu), Ken Rolston (Paranoia, Elder Scrolls, RQ3),  Chris Klug (James Bond 007 RPG, DragonQuest) and Jason Durall (BRP, Conan).

A special pre-release version of the new rules will be revealed at Gen Con later this year, along with introductory scenario sessions. A wealth of all-new campaign material and supplements for the new edition will follow.



Thursday, February 04, 2016

Heavy Metal Meets Big Hero Six In Skydoll

Skydoll is one of those European comics that I have always been curious about. It hits those spots for SF and cutsey that lay deep, deep inside of my soul. Now, thanks to Titans Comics, it looks like I might finally get to see what's up with it.

"Including work previously unpublished in English, Skydoll: Decade contains the first three books of the series with new lettering and translation, the 10-page "art book comic" Sky Doll #0, 12 unpublished pages from Heaven Doll, and 40 pages of tributes from artists including  Claire Wendling, Lostfish, Marguerite Sauvage, Lilidoll, Mijn Schatje, and Benjamin."

"When Noa the Sky Doll is liberated from her life of drudgery by missionaries, it turns out that she is more than just a pretty android built for pleasure. With religion, sensuality and what it means to be human all at stake, Noa must find her true purpose in life."







SKYDOLL: DECADE
Writers: Alessandro Barbucci and Barbara Canepa
Artists: Alessandro Barbucci and Barbara Canepa
Cover: Alessandro Barbucci and Barbara Canepa
Publisher: Titan Comics
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 232
ISBN: 9781782767367
Price: $19.99
On Sale Now


Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Heavy Metal debuts on comiXology and Amazon’s Kindle Store


February 3rd, 2015 — New York, NY— Heavy Metal, comiXology and Amazon announced today a distribution agreement to sell Heavy Metal’s fan-favorite science fiction, fantasy and horror digital comics and magazine across the comiXology platform as well as Amazon’s Kindle Store. Today’s debut sees the addition of the acclaimed science fiction and fantasy anthology, as well as two new original comic series on both comiXology and the Kindle Store.

“We’re excited to finally bring longtime Heavy Metal fans a first class digital reading experience, and equally excited to introduce this classic anthology to a whole new generation of readers thanks to comiXology and Amazon,” said Heavy Metal co-CEO Jeff Krelitz. “Blowing the minds of first-time Heavy Metal readers is something that never gets old!”

“At comiXology, we’re thrilled to carry such an established publisher as Heavy Metal and we’re sure that sci-fi, fantasy, and horror comics fans everywhere feel the same,” said comiXology CEO and co-founder, David Steinberger. “Heavy Metal brings an edge to comics that we’re happy to have join us on comiXology and Kindle.”

Today’s digital debut of Heavy Metal on comiXology and the Kindle Store sees the following titles available, including two comic debuts:

  • Interceptor by Donny Cates and Dylan Burnett
  • Narcopolis based on the UK film
  • Heavy Metal #280

The Kindle Store gives readers access to millions of books on the most popular devices and platforms, including Fire tablets, Kindle e-readers, iOS, Android and more.

With over 75,000 comics, graphic novels and manga from more than 75 publishers, comiXology offers the widest selection of digital comics in the world. ComiXology’s immense catalog and cinematic Guided View reading experience make it the best digital platform for comic fans worldwide.

About Heavy Metal
Heavy Metal is an American science fiction and fantasy comics magazine, known primarily for its blend of dark fantasy/science fiction and erotica. The fourth oldest American comics publisher at nearly 40 years of age, some of the greatest European and American comic book writers and artists in history have appeared in the pages of Heavy Metal. Since the magazine’s inception in 1977, the Heavy Metal banner has been seen in video games, television, and a 1981 animated feature film. In 2015 the brand established it’s first-ever line of traditional monthly American comics.

About comiXology
ComiXology, an Amazon.com, Inc. subsidiary (NASDAQ:AMZN), has revolutionized the comic book and graphic novel industry by delivering a cloud-based digital comics platform that makes discovering, buying and reading comics more fun than ever before. ComiXology's Guided View reading technology transforms the comic book medium into an immersive and cinematic experience, helping comiXology become a top ten grossing iPad app in 2011 and 2012 and the top grossing non-game iPad app in 2012 and 2013. Offering the broadest library of comic book content from over 75 publishers - and independent creators as well - comiXology will not stop until everyone on the face of the planet has become a comic book fan. ComiXology is based in New York City, with operations in Seattle, Los Angeles and Paris. For more information visit www.comixology.com.

About Amazon
Amazon.com opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995. The company is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit www.amazon.com/about.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Dennis Detwiller To Join Monte Cook Games


Illustrator, writer, editor and designer Dennis Detwiller will be joining the team at Monte Cook Games as a Managing Editor. Detwiller and Monte Cook first worked together on the Call of Cthulhu d20 adaptation at Wizards of the Coast. Detwiller leaves the video game design studio of Harebrained Studios to take this new position with Monte Cook Games. Detwiller has worked on Magic: The Gathering, the [PROTOTYPE] series for Activision, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Nickelodeon, and Delta Green, GODLIKE, and Wild Talents for Arc Dream Publishing. Detwiller is also a multiple Origins and ENnies awards winner.


Detwiller responded, in true editorial fashion, to my "tense" issue on Twitter:
Monte Cook Games already has one of the strongest teams in tabletop role-playing, and the addition of Detwiller only makes that team stronger.



Friday, December 18, 2015

Martin Ericsson On World Of Darkness -- "My Goal Is Getting Adults To Play"


We know that the World of Darkness is coming back, after having been purchased by Paradox Interactive. This is old news.

I think that some are going to purposefully misinterpret the quote that I used in the headline. Yes, adults are already playing role-playing games. That isn't the point of that quote, although I could be putting words into Ericsson's mouth, but I see it as the company wanting to bring more adults into the fold of tabletop RPGs. Expanding the number of people playing games is a good thing across the board...whether you play World of Darkness games, or whether you play D&D or Pathfinder. Or if you play Fiasco or Sorcerer.

You can watch the presentation made by Ericsson and Tobias Sjögren recent World of Darkness fan convention in Cologne. I think it is worth watching if you are interesting in seeing where the World of Darkness is going, or if you have been on the fence about the game in light of all of the recent announcements and purchases.


One of the best quotes from the presentation is probably this one from Ericsson: "The best way to save the fucking planet is to get people to walk a mile in someone else's shoes and empathize through the power of play."

Now, I'm not the most kid-friendly gamer on the planet. I respect those who play with kids, and who want games for their kids, but it always makes me happy when I see games that are being promised for a grownup audience. Nothing against "all ages" entertainment, but there has to be a place for people who want more "adult" forms of entertainment, too. Variety is the spice of life.

Sjögren mentions an emphasis on "mature entertainment," and Ericsson goes even farther saying, "while we might approach really difficult subjects, I think it is important for us to not just flash [I think I heard him right on the video, but the sound quality isn't always the best]them as gratuitous images, but actually go deep and finish the conversation about really, really hard stuff." Ericsson goes on to add that this "requires time and depth, and a high level of intellectual discourse around it."

As someone who isn't invested in the World of Darkness, or White Wolf games in general, this is a selling point for me. I played in my first World of Darkness game back earlier this summer, a Werewolf 20 game run by +Stacy Dellorfano. In January, we're going to turn this into an ongoing game, so I am excited for that. We aren't playing in the World of Darkness per se, but drawing on more contemporary urban fantasy and paranormal romance influences for the game. However, it is still very much a game for grownups that we're playing.

Where the previous incarnations of the World of Darkness always intrigued me, they never drew me into their "embrace" quite like the talk around this relaunch has. I will probably wait until they get to Werewolf, because that interests me more than Vampire does, but I will be watching to see what is next from White Wolf Publishing, and I urge fans of horror and dark fantasy gaming to do the same.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

John Wick Presents Purchases Publication Rights To 7th Sea From AEG


There was a not unsizeable gaming announcement made today:
AEG is excited to announce that we have entered into a deal with John Wick Presents to sell back the publication rights for the 7th Sea game line. AEG will still retain rights to publish a number of products within that line over the next few years and we are negotiating and planning what that will be but have no announcements at this time.
 +John Wick also announced this on his YouTube channel:


Wick originally codesigned 7th Sea with Jennifer Wick and Kevin Wilson.

At the end of his YouTube video, Wick announced that he would be doing a new edition of the game in 2016.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Harebrained Schemes Returns To Kickstarter...With Battletech

I'm not even at the airport to head to Gen Con yet, and this news happened (I'm blogging on my phone from the shuttle):

TACTICAL ‘MECH COMBAT RETURNS TO THE PC. Harebrained Schemes is pleased to announce their return to Kickstarter this Fall to partner with backers in co-funding the creation of BATTLETECH. Jordan Weisman, the creator of BattleTech and MechWarrior, is back with the first turn-based BattleTech game for PC in over two decades. Steeped in the feudal political intrigue of the BattleTech universe, the game will feature an open-ended Mercenaries-style campaign that blends RPG ‘Mech and MechWarrior management with modern turn-based tactics.

Sorry that the presentation is ugly, there aren't a lot of frills from the phone version,  but I wanted to get the basics out. I'll pretty this up, and get more details to you when I'm at an actual computer.


Friday, July 24, 2015

The End Of An Era For GURPS Traveller


This came over the wires the other day:
Since 1998, Steve Jackson Games has published GURPS Traveller source books under license from Far Future Enterprises. Traveller, a science fiction game of merchant princes and mercenaries, has long been a favorite of gamers everywhere. On December 31, 2015, Steve Jackson Games’ Traveller license will expire, and will not be renewed.
What does this mean for GURPS Traveller fans? This: You should go directly to Warehouse 23 (warehouse23.com) and purchase any downloadable GURPS Traveller books you’re missing; they’ll no longer be available after 2015. Items in print will be available until the current stock runs out.
"All good things must come to an end," said Loren Wiseman, GURPS Traveller Line Editor for Steve Jackson Games. "After over 50 products, not counting T-shirts and the like, working with Traveller has been more fun than human beings should be allowed to have, and we at Steve Jackson Games would like to thank Marc Miller and everyone else connected with Traveller for allowing us to play with our version of the game for 17 years. Thanks!"
This is the end of an era for a lot of gamers, because I have known a lot of people who have played or used GURPS Traveller over the years. Having seen the licensing belt for Traveller tightened as Traveller 5 was in the works, I hope that this doesn't mean that the only version of Traveller that gamers will be left with will be the mega-tome of Traveller 5. I would hate to see Mongoose Traveller go away, only because it is the only version of Traveller now that appeals to me, and it appears to be about the only thing by Mongoose actually still available in print.

Traveller fans are used to versions of the game coming and going. I hope that this won't be the last version of the game that we see licensed for another system as well. That would be a shame.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Sale of Cthulhu (And Other Fine Chaosium Consumables)


It turns out that Chaosium has a warehouse that is overfilled with books and stuff. To fix this they are having a huge sale that can only benefit you, the gamer. They're getting rid of a lot of their old remaining Eternal Champion stock, among other things.

Forgive all the caps, its copypasta.
THE STARS ARE RIGHT… FOR A BLOW-OUT SALE!
WE’RE HERE TO SELL GAMES, AND CHEW BUBBLEGUM. AND WE’RE ALL OUT OF BUBBLEGUM.
OVER THE YEARS, OUR WAREHOUSE HAS BECOME STUFFED FULL OF MORE CTHULHUY GOODNESS THAN THE MARTENSE MANSION. WE’RE BURSTING AT THE SEAMS AND NEED TO MAKE ROOM FOR THE NEW THINGS COMING IN!
WE’VE DECIDED TO BLOW THE DOORS OFF CTHULHU’S TOMB, AND CLOSE OUT ALL THE “NON-STANDARD” ITEMS IN OUR WAREHOUSE.
SO NOW’S YOUR CHANCE TO GET DEEP DISCOUNTS ON MONOGRAPHS, FANTASY FLIGHT GAMES’ CTHULHU GAMES, NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE EDITIONS OF OUR GAMES, CDS, MAGAZINES, THE LAUNDRY RPG, MINIATURES AND MUCH MORE!
THUS, WE HAVE 50% OFF THE FOLLOWING: ALL BRP AND CALL OF CTHULHU MONOGRAPHS! NOVELTIES & ACCESSORIES! ALL LICENSED CALL OF CTHULHU PRODUCTS, INCLUDING FANTASY FLIGHT GAMES BOARDGAMES AND MINIATURES, CUBICLE 7 BOOKS, GOLDEN GOBLIN, ARC DREAMS, AND MORE! ALL NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE BOOKS! NEPHILIM!  (THESE BOOKS WILL NOT BE REPRINTED OR REORDERED ONCE THEY’RE GONE!)
ALSO, WE HAVE 75% OFF ALL THE REMAINING STOCK OF ETERNAL CHAMPION GAMES AND D20 CALL OF CTHULHU GAMEMASTER’S PACKS! (LAST CHANCE!)
PLUS, LOOK FOR SPECIAL BUNDLE PACKS OF ETERNAL CHAMPION AND NEPHILIM BOOKS!
LASTLY, AS AN ADDED INCENTIVE, TAKE 10% OFF EVERYTHING ELSE WE SELL. JUST BECAUSE WE LOVE YOU SO MUCH.
IA! IA! DISCOUNTS FHTAGN!
Read that carefully because the discounts aren't listed (but will be applied in your shopping cart). There is a lot of really good gaming stuff there, so don't miss out.

Further Rumor And Speculation About Chaosium Games


Sandy Petersen, of Call of Cthulhu and Cthulhu Wars fame, game an interview to the owner of Yog-Sothoth.com the other day about the changes going on at Chaosium.



It is an interesting interview, I suggest giving it a listen. Some of it lines up with my own blatant and baseless speculation about some of the classic Chaosium lines like Pendragon and Runequest at least being distributed through Chaosium once again. I know that the rights to Runequest and Glorantha have been assigned over to Moon Design (who in turn has been licensing the Runequest name to the Design Mechanism people. But while Runequest is under and excellent stewardship with Design Mechanism, they don't seem to have gotten the penetration into the American marketplace that the game had once upon a time. Would Chaosium distributing Runequest get the game the attention that it once had? Maybe. I think that a lot of the lack of luster that Runequest has had of late is lingering from the Mongoose era. It seems that the once mighty RPG is having difficulty in recovering from the "control" of Mongoose.

This is all still rumor, of course, but I think that it could help not only Chaosium, but the individual game lines as well. Gamers could see the reunion of these lines and their original publisher as the return of a dream team, and it would give a spark to everything. There really is no lose in this situation.

With the resurgence of interest and popularity of "old school" games, there is a lot that Chaosium could do to ride on that wave again. Even a publisher like Flying Buffalo has produced "facsimile editions" of their early editions of Tunnels & Trolls and Monsters! Monsters! for new audiences. Chaosium already publishes Runequest 3e in everything but name with their Basic Fantasy monographs: Basic Gamemaster, Basic Creatures and The Magic Book (unfortunately it doesn't look like the Player's Book is offered through DriveThru/RPGnow). The Magic Book also makes a nice supplement for Magic World and the BRP gold book as well.

Doing a Runequest 2e "facsimile" would probably make for a lot of very happy gamers. I know that I would personally love a copy.

Now, with further rumor-mongoring...

I have heard that there is renewed interest as well in Greg Stafford's other Arthurian role-playing game. For those who may not know, Chaosium once produced a licensed RPG based on the Prince Valiant comic strip, using another stripped down variant of the BRP system (closer to the rules of Pendragon than Runequest, but still built from the same foundations). Obviously they couldn't bring this back as Prince Valiant, but the system is really (I mean really) good for that sort of low/no magic style of fantasy play and would make for a great game even stripped from the previously published setting. It wouldn't even have to be an Arthurian game. Maybe a game in the spirit of Prince Valiant's a-historical approach, you could set the game in the court of Charlemagne and introduce Viking and/or Native American warriors to the mix. Yeah, I know that it sounds like a fan-favorite comic from the 80s (please keep in mind that this part of this post isn't even rumor, it is me saying what I would love to see done with the game).

Could we see a new/old "Courtly" fantasy game from Chaosium? Maybe. Time will tell.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

This Just In... Precis Intermedia Acquires Mystic Ages Publishing Properties

Precis Intermedia (publishers of Shatterzone and  Masterbook, as well as the GenreDiversions games among others) has acquired the rights to the Eldritch Ass Kicking, Barbarians Versus and Foreign Element games written by Nathan Hill and published by his Mystic Ages Publishing imprint.

The PDF of the science fiction game Foreign Element is already available through the Precis Intermedia webstore.

The description of Foreign Element from the Precis Intermedia page:
Humanity's ambush push into the stars is halted with a mysterious event known as the Great Blackout. Thousands of colonies, space stations, and space craft go silent in a matter of days and weeks. Now, the Interplanetary Union is scrambling to discover what happened, sending out RX teams to diagnose the rot spread through known space. Infiltrate remote outposts, hack into corporate secrets, and blast your way through enemy hordes as you unlock this mystery and your hero's destiny.
  • Fast-paced, rules light system utilizes six-sided dice.
  • Six archetype characters, ready to play -- or create your own desperate or courageous citizen.
  • Heroes don't die -- nano robotic technology in the distant future regenerates a dead comrade in days.
  • No equipment lists to maintain -- a dice pool mechanic increases as you scavenge ruined tech and decreases as you use it to do cool things.
  • Some battles and tasks have deadlines -- face consequences if you can't hack the mainframe in time!
  • Missions within missions -- earn extra credits working for shadowy sources, and spend them upgrading your hero with self-help services in space!
  • The mystery is left up to you -- you decide what caused the Great Blackout and whether it might happen again.
I'm sure that we'll see other former Mystic Ages games making their way up on the Precis Intermedia website, and eventually on the OneBookShelf sites.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Valiant Next - The Next Wave From Valiant Comics

In 2015…the story starts here!


Valiant Entertainment is proud to announce VALIANT NEXT – an all-new wave of ongoing series and prestige format projects from some of the premier creative talents in comics today. Beginning in December with THE VALIANT #1 (of 4) by Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, and Paolo Rivera, VALIANT NEXT continues with five blockbuster new series in 2015:

  • IVAR, TIMEWALKER #1 by Fred Van Lente and Clayton Henry in January
  • DIVINITY #1 (of 4) by Matt Kindt and Trevor Hairsine in February
  • IMPERIUM #1 by Joshua Dysart and Doug Braithwaite in February
  • NINJAK #1 by Matt Kindt and Clay Mann in March
  • BLOODSHOT REBORN #1 by Jeff Lemire and Mico Suayan in April

Following the critically acclaimed, smash-hit success of VALIANT FIRST in 2014, VALIANT NEXT will present six new starting points perfect for readers new and old. Featuring an exciting selection of new series starring Valiant’s biggest, most-demanded heroes alongside all-new, never before seen characters, VALIANT NEXT is the next epic evolution of Valiant's best-selling, fan-favorite publishing line.

"We've spent two years building an award-winning publishing line, pouring our hearts into re-imagining X-O MANOWAR, HARBINGER and the rest of the Valiant Universe for the modern day. Now it’s time to take it to the next level,” said Valiant CEO and Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani. “VALIANT NEXT taps into the same creative energy that made Valiant one of the most legendary comic book companies of all time. When I was a kid, one of the best things about Valiant was picking up an issue with a brand new character, like X-O MANOWAR or NINJAK. I’m excited that we’re doing that again now with series like DIVINITY and IMPERIUM. And that’s only a fraction of what we have coming next.”

"Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt and Paolo Rivera are delivering an absolute monster of a book with THE VALIANT and it’s the perfect title to lead off VALIANT NEXT," said Valiant Editor-In-Chief Warren Simons. "This is our most ambitious initiative yet, and everyone’s bringing their A-game. The creative team of ARCHER & ARMSTRONG reuniting to launch IVAR, TIMEWALKER. Clay Mann on NINJAK – his first ongoing series at Valiant. Mico Suayan tearing it up with Jeff Lemire on BLOODSHOT REBORN. Joshua Dysart and Doug Braithwaite together for the first time for the devastating events of IMPERIUM. Not to mention the introduction of an all-new, all-powerful force in DIVINITY from the minds of Matt Kindt and Trevor Hairsine. It’s a kick-ass time to be a Valiant fan."


THE VALIANT #1 (of 4)
Written by JEFF LEMIRE & MATT KINDT
Art by PAOLO RIVERA
PRESTIGE FORMAT LIMITED SERIES | BEGINNING DECEMBER 2014

A battle ten millennia in the making…

The Eternal Warrior has protected the Earth for more than 10,000 years. A master of countless weapons and long forgotten martial arts, he is guided by the Geomancers – those who speak for the Earth. During his long watch, the Eternal Warrior has failed three times. Each time, the Geomancer was killed…and a new dark age for humanity began. Each time, he was unable to stop The Immortal Enemy – a monstrous force of nature. A civilization killer. A horror that appears differently each time it arrives…and whose seemingly only purpose is to bring disorder and darkness to the world. Now, the time has come for The Immortal Enemy to return once more. But, this time, the Eternal Warrior will be ready. This time, he has a force greater than any single warrior. This time, he has…THE VALIANT.






IVAR, TIMEWALKER #1
Written by FRED VAN LENTE
Art by CLAYTON HENRY
ONGOING SERIES | BEGINNING JANUARY 2015

From the award-winning team that brought you ARCHER & ARMSTRONG, New York Times best-selling creators Fred Van Lente and Clayton Henry present a centuries-spanning race against the clock!

At this very moment in Geneva, Switzerland, history is being made. A thousand meters underground inside the Large Hadron Collider, researcher Neela Sethi is about to discover time travel – and jeopardize her life in the process.  But she doesn't know that yet. Ten minutes from now, every deadbeat chrononaut, wannabe conqueror, and misguided protector of the timestream will be banging down her door. Good thing that the legendary Ivar, Timewalker, got there first…right?  Now it's down to history's most jaded, most tempestuous time traveler to stop the worst of everything that is, was, and will be...before time runs out!

DIVINITY #1 (of 4)
Written by MATT KINDT
Art by TREVOR HAIRSINE
PRESTIGE FORMAT LIMITED SERIES | BEGINNING FEBRUARY 2015

At the height of the Cold War, the Soviet Union – determined to win the Space Race at any cost – green lit a dangerously advanced mission. They sent a man farther into the cosmos than anyone has gone before or since. Lost in the stars, he encountered something unknown. Something that...changed him.

Long thought lost and erased from the history books, he has suddenly returned, crash-landing in the Australian Outback. The few that have been able to reach him believe him to be a deity -– one who turned the scorched desert into a lush oasis. They say he can bend matter, space, and even time to his will. Earth is about to meet a new god. And he's a communist.

How long can it be before the first confrontation between mankind and DIVINITY begins?

From New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt and blockbuster artist Trevor Hairsine comes a shocking new vision of 21st century science fiction in an all-new prestige format limited series.

IMPERIUM #1
Written by JOSHUA DYSART
Art by DOUG BRAITHWAITE
ONGOING SERIES | BEGINNING FEBRUARY 2015

A daring new superhero saga from New York Times best-selling creator Joshua Dysart – writer of of the Harvey-Award nominated series Harbinger – and superstar artist Doug Braithwaite!

Toyo Harada is the most dangerous human being on the planet. Imbued with incredible powers of the mind, he has spent his life guiding humanity from the shadows. But today he is a wanted man.  His powers are public knowledge, his allies have turned to enemies, and he is hunted by every government on the planet.

Instead of surrendering, Harada has one last unthinkable gambit to play: to achieve more, faster, and with less, he will build a coalition of the powerful, the unscrupulous and the insane. No longer content to demand a better future, he will recruit a violent legion from the darkest corners of the Earth to fight for it. The battle for utopia begins now.

NINJAK #1 
Written by MATT KINDT
Art by CLAY MANN
ONGOING SERIES | BEGINNING MARCH 2015 

Then: Meet inexperienced MI-6 recruit Colin King on his first mission in the field as he learns the basics of spycraft and counterintelligence, and develops a volatile relationship with his first handler.  
 
Now: Colin King is Ninjak, the world's foremost intelligence operative, weapons expert, and master assassin.  And he's hunting the Shadow Seven – a secret cabal of shinobi masters with mysterious ties to his training and tragic past.  

For the first time, Ninjak's past and future collide in the pages of an all-new ongoing series from New York Times bestselling writer Matt Kindt and superstar artist Clay Mann!



BLOODSHOT REBORN #1 
Written by JEFF LEMIRE
Art by MICO SUAYAN with JEFF LEMIRE
Colors by DAVID BARON
ONGOING SERIES | BEGINNING APRIL 2015

From New York Times best-selling writer Jeff Lemire and red-hot rising star Mico Suayan, Valiant delivers an all-new ongoing series for Valiant's most unrelenting hero!

Bloodshot's nanites made him a nearly unstoppable killing machine. His enhanced strength, speed, endurance, and healing made him the perfect weapon, and he served his masters at Project Rising Spirit – a private contractor trafficking in violence – very well. 

Now, Bloodshot is a shadow of his former self. He lives in self-imposed exile, reeling from the consequences of his past life and the recent events that nearly drove him mad. But when a rash of shootings by gunmen who appear to look just like Bloodshot begin, his guilt will send him on a mission to stop the killers, even if it means diving headlong into the violence that nearly destroyed him.






For more information on VALIANT NEXT, join Valiant this week at New York Comic Con 2014 for the VALIANT COMICS: THE VALIANT, RAI, X-O MANOWAR, AND BEYOND panel presentation on Friday, October 10th at 12:15 pm. Featuring Matt Kindt (THE VALIANTNINJAK, DIVINITY), Jeff Lemire (THE VALIANTBLOODSHOT REBORN), Paolo Rivera (THE VALIANT), Fred Van Lente (IVAR, TIMEWALKER), Robert Venditti (X-O MANOWAR), Editor-in-Chief Warren Simons, and Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani, get your first look inside each VALIANT NEXT release right here, only at New York Comic Con!

Monday, June 30, 2014

ICONS Superpowered Roleplaying: The Assembled Edition Is Up For Preorder

The new edition of Steve Kenson's ICONS Superpowered Roleplaying is up for preorder over at the Green Ronin website.

While the previous edition suffered from some controversy and late/cancelled titles with the previous publisher, rights have returned to Kenson and he is publishing this new, definitive, edition through his Ad Infinitum Adventures imprint, with distribution via Green Ronin.

From Kenson's website, here are some of the differences in this new edition:

  • Adjectives (from Weak to Supreme) see a bit more use in talking about abilities on the scale.
  • Actions characters can perform during their panel are better defined. Supplemental actions are gone; as feedback indicated they were confusing and folks tended not to use them or the associated modifiers. Instead, characters get an Action, a Move, and a number of opportunities to React and Interact.
  • The Benchmarks Table from Great Power is included.
  • The term “Determination Points” (DP) is used to differentiate the resource players spend from the Determination ability level.
  • The default die rolling method is: Effort (Acting Ability + d6) – Difficulty (Opposing Ability/Level + d6) = Outcome. The math is the same, it just equalizes the die-rolling equation so there isn’t a need to “reverse” all the action formulae when its GM characters acting rather than heroes, or vice versa. The original d6-d6 method (along with a couple of others) are optional rules.
  • There is a marginal degree of success, allowing for one of seven degrees of outcome: Massive, Major, and Moderate Failure, and Marginal, Moderate, Major, and Massive Success.
  • The Combined Effort rules are more broadly applied for “stacking” instances.
  • Pyramid Tests (which first appeared in Sidereal Schemes of Dr. Zodiac) are in the Basics chapter, along with all the Pyramid Test modifiers and variations from Team-Up.
  • Challenges are consolidated into qualities, and the baseline number of qualities is reduced to three to start. Qualities are activated both to create advantage and to cause trouble for characters.
  • The Qualities section has expanded information on creating and learning qualities, removing temporary qualities, and activating qualities through maneuvers and tactics as well as spending Determination Points.
  • Determined Effort is replaced by a simpler Improved Effort that is just a flat +2 bonus, dropping the various requirements that no one really used anyway. Focused Effort is folded in the stunt mechanics (substituting one level for another in a test or effect), a Push Ability option is added.
  • Trouble caused by activating qualities includes Challenge, Compulsion, Disability, Increased Difficulty, and Lost Panel. I may write at some point about the notion of “Editorial Interference” as trouble, but that concept didn’t make the cut (too meta and, frankly, rooting in comics fan cynicism).
  • The Stunts section has expanded to include using superhuman (level 7+) abilities and Master Specialties for stunts, as well as powers.
  • The Damage section include options for minions, more lethal damage, lasting injuries, and different damage effects (from the standard Slam, Stun, and Kill effects).
  • There are two expanded examples of play, one in the Basics chapter and one in the Taking Action chapter.
  • The random Power Type table is tweaked slightly to change the probabilities of generating certain powers (mainly making Movement Powers more common than Mental Powers).
  • There is an optional table for randomly rolling Specialties (if you want, otherwise you just choose them as before).
  • Powers have generally been brought in-line with the material in Great Power and make more reference to qualities for modifiers. The focus is on the “core” powers, with condensed descriptions, leaving the more detailed descriptions, extra and limit lists, and “reskinned” powers for Great Power to cover.
  • Extras and limits from Great Power are included.
  • Power descriptions are now all listed in alphabetical order, for easier reference.
  • A condensed version of the Devices from Great Power is included, with lots of sample equipment.
  • A simple initiative system is included (Coordination test, highest outcome goes first).
  • Actions are broken out by different types (Movement, Action, Reaction, Interaction) and more clearly detailed.
  • An option for Interludes (narrative based scenes that activate qualities and award DP, which can be saved or spent immediately for insight, retcons, or recovery) is in the Game Mastering chapter.
  • Some expanded and cleaned-up Game Master advice.
  • A system of Achievements & Changes for character development.
  • The villain creation system from Villainomicon is included.
  • A slightly updated version of the Universe Creation system from Team-Up is included.
  • Nine sample heroes and nine sample villains are included. There is no sample adventure (as I’m not a big fan of sample adventures in the core rulebook itself). I might look at revising the four-page Wages of Sin from the original Icons book as a free downloadable sample adventure.
  • A glossary of terms is included at the end.
  • And, of course, the Assembled Edition benefits from new art and new layout by Dan Houser and Daniel Solis, very much in the style of Great Power.

You can also find some sample characters in the new edition over on Kenson's site as well. Currently, the new edition is scheduled for a Gen Con release. If you are a fan of light and flexible super-hero RPGs, and for some reason you haven't checked out ICONS yet, this is your chance. Kenson is one of the great designers and he has an understanding of the super-hero genre unlike few designers. If you miss out on this game you will regret that.


Friday, February 28, 2014

Aaron Allston 1960-2014

News shotgunned through the wires last night that designer and novelist Aaron Allston collapsed at a convention, followed shortly by reports of his dead. Unfortunately, those reports were verified on Facebook and by email this morning.

Some may know of Allston's work through his Star Wars novels, or his original Doc Sidhe novel. Some may know of him through his work on Champions, Justice, Inc. or Lands of Mystery. Some may know of him through his revision of the D&D rules published as the Rules Cyclopedia, or the Hollow World setting for that. Some may know of him for his early work at Steve Jackson Games and on Space Gamer. He was all of these things and more.

I never knew Allston, but his work spoke to me, first as a gamer and then as a designer. He was one of a small handful of designers who were authoritative on the genres of comic book super-heroes and the pulps. Both Justice, Inc. and Lands of Mystery had an impact on my pulp gaming, and on my designs for pulp games. I don't know if he ever saw Pulp Fantasy, but he was one of the inspirations to which it was indebted.

His version of the D&D rules have been my definitive version for so long that, outside of my playing Swords & Wizardry, I'm not sure if I will ever have, or need, another version of Dungeons & Dragons.

I went through my game library and took a few photos of the things in it that he produced.





Today in the Daily Illuminator electronic newsletter, Steve Jackson had this to say:
Aaron was also the best GM I've ever known. The Champions campaign he ran for the SJ Games staff was memorable. A couple of us didn't actually know the Champions system at all, but Aaron made it not matter, and we all had a fantastic time.
Over on G+, +Allen Varney crafted this eloquent obtituary and tribute to Allston:



Aaron Allston, 1960 to 2014. You wrote large upon all of our lives, and you will not be forgotten.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Gygax Memorial To Honor "Father Of RPGs"

In 1974, the world changed forever when Gary Gygax introduced the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. The legacy of his innovative ideas continues to influence games to this day, forty years later. As Wizards of the Coast prepares to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the brand in 2014, the “Father of Roleplaying Games” will be honored with a memorial statue in his hometown of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin via a partnership between Wizards of the Coast and the Gygax Memorial Fund. Read more about the memorial at http://www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4news/gygaxmemorial2 and https://www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4news/gygaxmemorial
 
To further honor the memory and work of Gygax, Wizards of the Coast created limited edition premium-covered reprints of his original three Dungeons & Dragons tomes that were released over the course of the last year. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of these monumental books was set aside as a donation to the Gygax Memorial Fund, in addition to a sizeable contribution from Wizards of the Coast to help further the development of the memorial.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Bruce Cordell Leaves Wizards of the Coast

courtesy Wikipedia
Over at his blog, Bruce Cordell announced that he was leaving Wizards of the Coast:
It’s with mixed emotions that I announce the end of my 18-year run at Wizards (and TSR before that). I gave my notice last week and will be leaving the company.

This isn’t an easy departure for me, both because of my long history with Wizards, and my recent good luck to be a member on the D&D Next design team. I’m thrilled to have been part of Next, and proud of what we accomplished: a kick-ass set of D&D rules. The team is on track to carry D&D Next to wide success.
 Hired by TSR in 1995, Cordell worked in both game design and fiction, writing adventures, sourcebooks and novels for both TSR and Wizards of the Coast. Outside of novels such as Plague of Spells and City of Torment, Cordell is probably best known for seminal adventures such as Return to the Tomb of Horrors and Die, Vecna, Die (both for AD&D 2nd Editions), as well as for writing (and re-writing) the D&D 3.5 psionics rules (both officially in the Psionics Handbook and Complete Psionnics, and "unofficially" in Malhavoc Press' If Thoughts Could Kill and Hyperconscious supplements).

Hopefully his next work will as inspiring to gamers. We all look forward to seeing what he does next.