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This Just In From Gencon

Morrus: from Enworld

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Gencon!!!!

Hey everyone, each year I try to keep up to date with the goings on at Gencon as I will again (sadly) not be able to attend.  Below are some of the interesting news and events that I’ve heard about so far.

Awards

Indie RPG Awards will be announced at 3 PM on Friday.  While not necessarily a part of Gencon, apparently they will be posted at the con.

The Ennies will be announced with a big award ceremony on Friday night.  You can also check out a live stream if you aren’t able to attend.

Events

Wizards is hosting a sundering partyWish I could be there, as the invitation looks super cool.  

Releases

Boardgamegeek has a list of all the new boardgames releasing at Gencon this year.

20 Board Games to check out at Gencon.

Suggestions on things to do and buy

Story Games has a discussion about games to check out and buy.  Jason Morningstar (Fiasco) popped in and talked up his new game Carolina Death Crawl.  IPR will be there with games like Fate and Dungeon World as well as the Seattle Doomsday Map (which I will be sending my minions to pick up for me).

Other interesting info

A list of where designers and other people will be during Gencon.

Apps for Gencon over at Enworld gives some good suggestions for what to bring on your smartphone, particularly because Gencon is not releasing a phone app this year.

I’ll be posting a twitter list later today of people to follow for gencon news and events.  If you have any suggestions of things to include, that would be great!

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Review of In Hero Years

After 4 chapters, I was ready to give up.  My copy of the ebook was poorly edited, the main character a string of cliches and too many mysteries.  Thankfully, I didn’t give up on it.  The mysteries started to be answered, which in turn revealed other mysteries, and each success by the hero was met by a ante being raised and something else going wrong.

Ultimately, the big twist in the end failed.  The big bad guy, suitably called Mr. Big, did things that seemed pointless and trivial and the actions that were explained to be done by Mr. Big in the end were driven by petty desires.  Mr. Big’s actions didn’t fit with the type of character he was in the comic books, although his changed backstory did help explain some of his behavior.

Still, I really enjoyed this book.  I like almost any alternative take on the mythos of superheros, and the book created a really amazing world, focusing on some of the more interesting ideas in the DC world, namely, the relation between Superman and Batman, and nature of the tiers of superheros.  There was even a fantasy league for superheros (and supervillians) that allowed citizens to play along.

Ultimately, a satisfying read.  Would I have bought it if I hadn’t gotten it as part of the Science Fiction Bundle?  No, probably not.  But I’m glad I read it, and for most of the middle part of the story, I definitely couldn’t put it down.

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Neverwinter MMORPG Review

Let me preface this review with the fact that this is the first MMORPG that I have played and therefore I will not be comparing it to any other online game platform, but it will be more of a firsthand account of entering the world of MMORPGs.  Neverwinter has been a blast to play.  There are numerous features that make the game very playable to someone new to using a keyboard rather than a game controller.  A couple of the major key features that I feel are worth noting are listed below.
Quest Tracking:
The quest tracking in Neverwinter is extremely user friendly and helpful at the onset of the game.  Whether following an optional quest, main storyline quest, or a player generated quest you can have the option of having a ‘quest trail’ guide your way to the next part of the quest.  This is really helpful at the beginning of the storyline when you are still learning your way around.  I have found no problem in having upwards of 5 quests going at once and quickly switching among them in the quest tracker in order to save time.
Player Generated Quests:
So it is sometimes difficult to find people willing to spend the 4-5 hours to really get a good game of D and D going, well the player generated quests that are available in Neverwinter are not quite as good, but can be extremely in depth and challenging.  I have enjoyed playing them not so much for the experience points or the treasures earned, but rather for their unique storylines.  While some are better than others, you have the ability to provide the creators and other players with a review of the quest.
So it all comes down to the question, is it worth spending the space and time to download Neverwinter?  I believe it is, if you enjoy RPGs and have been hesitant about MMORPGs this game is perfect.  I find myself completing quests most of the time, but there are plenty of players that are looking to go on dungeon delves, or fight in skirmishes.  I would say that while the beta remains free, the more people playing the game, and providing quality feedback the game will only grow into a very strong game that I look forward to playing for years to come.

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Roleplaying a Journey in One Session

A common troupe in fantasy literature is the journey. From The Hobbit to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to countless other stories, a major component of the plot is a journey. However, traditional fantasy roleplaying games don't always represent these well, particularly if you are trying to complete a journey in one game session.

My saturday morning group was going to play fiasco, but we didn't have enough time, so instead we continued to try out a friend's game that he's developing. While I don't want to get into much of the actual mechanics with his game until he's ready to share it, I will share some of the rules that I used to make the journey work.

This worked better than I hopped. The story was they lived on the edge of civilization, and the town they lived in was suffering from a strange wasting disease. Few people if any come through their town, and so they must set off on their own to the capital city to find a priest who can cure their people.

Setup

I put a bunch of different titles on notecards, and gave each player 2 cards. The notecards had titles such as the following, and each represented a different location.

  • A small village
  • Eyrewild Forest
  • The Darkmark
  • The Abyss
  • The cavern
  • Castle Ruins
  • The Old Wizards Tower
  • The Impassable Mountains
  • lonely farmhouse
  • ring of stones

The players each wrote a threat and a reward on each notecard. For example, a player wrote on the impassable mountains that the threat was fire giants, but the reward was lots of treasure. Another

I then included a couple more, including a couple forest cards and stretches of roads. I shuffled them all together, and then took the bottom 5 cards and shuffled the city card in with them and added them back to the bottom of the deck. That way, the players would know they are getting close, but not know when they would arrive.

I knew it worked when near the end of their journey they ran into some bandits, and one of the players just said. “Listen, we just survived fire giants, a volcano, a monstrous tree. Just get out of our way.” In that statement, it incapsilated the way I wanted it to feel: they had had a long, trying journey. They had started as locals and became heroes.

Seriously, a fun way to spend the morning. Thanks to Matthew for his game design!

 

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Tacklebox Toolbox

I have been doing a lot of work around the house lately, and grew frustrated with the traditional toolboxes. They were big, and were impossible to keep organized. When I do little projects around the house, I don’t want to spend more time finding the tool I need than actually doing the repair.

I had already been using a tacklebox to organize all my socket wrenches, so I figured, why not all my tools? I picked out a 2 inch deep one to better fit all the tools I might need. The only stumbling block was the hammer, and that was easy enough to fix with a dremel to cut away parts of the sides of one of the rows. I have it resting on the electric screwdriver, so the row isn’t wasted on only the hammer as well.

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Your mileage may vary, but here’s what I have in the tacklebox toolbox. I have put everything in the same compartment on the same line.

Bottom Row:
Variety of screwdrivers, Level, Small crowbar

Second Row:
Hammer, Electric Screwdriver
electric screwdriver power cord

Third Row:
Wrenches and Pliers
Electric tape and Measuring tapes

Top Row:
Hex Wrenches, Small screwdrivers
Socket wrench set

Anything you would recommend that I include?

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If the ground is zero, or, negative floor numbers

I like how the local small shopping mall uses negative numbers for it's floors. This is level -1. Must have been someone a little nerdy, because normally they get a boring label like “level A” or something like that.

 

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