New Review at RPGnet - Wolfsbane.

White Wolf continues its line of antagonist books with one for Werewolf: The Forsaken, and it's excellent. Whether you want more mundane, small town villainy or epic spirits of alien concepts, Wolfsbane does an excellent job all the way through. Review.

I've also received an early review copy of PHB 3 and am answering questions in this thread at RPGnet.

New Review at RPGnet - Trail of Cthulhu

I'm a fan of Call of Cthulhu and after finding Esoterrorists to be a little lackluster I wasn't terribly excited about Trail. After thumbing through the book at Gen Con 08, though, I couldn't help but be enthralled by the incredible presentation. Simon was kind enough to provide me with a review copy, and I'm glad he did as I've had a great time with this take on Mythos roleplaying. Ken Hite does a wonderful job of both presenting the classic Mythos while spinning new ideas onto favor concepts while he's at it. In play the system was fun and my group had a genuinely memorable play experience. It's definitely not a game for everyone, but it is one I'd be happy to play again. Review.

New review at RPGnet - Night Horrors: Wicked Dead (Vampire)

I'm not dead, I've just been moving to a nicer place and it has taken me a while to find my review copies. I, of course, put them all together so I wouldn't lose them. This resulted in my immediate loss of them until last week. Fortunately, all hurdles have been overcome and I'm excited to be posting something again now that things are returning to normal.

This week it's the surprisingly good Wicked Dead. I like White Wolf overall, though sometimes I find various supplements to be of middling quality. I was pleased to see that what could have been a throw away title of vampire-oriented antagonists is actually a very useful, and beautifully put together, supplement that has inspired me to add at least one of the antagonists to my current Dresden game. I've been really happy with the antagonists books for the lines on the whole, and I find them to be more immediately useful at the table than setting books that simply develop the idea of a single Clan or Covenant. Review.

New Review at RPGnet - Geist

We had a good time with Geist, but I'm afraid I don't consider it to be an exceptional game. That's ok, though. Average games can deliver a lot of fun in the right hands, and for a group that really digs the concept that alone will push it over the edge. I hope to see more ideas along the direction of the Key/Manifestation system in future books, as anything that deviates from the classic World of Darkness presentation is refreshing. Review.

New Review at RPGnet - Draconomicon.

I've been very pleased with the Draconomicon in play. This past Sunday the group fought Ashar Dalon, a 30th level dragon with a Balor living inside it. The encounter is well done and interesting, allowing for mechanical options that makes fighting Ashar Dalon feel unique from simply fighting another red dragon. In fact, Sunday ended the year long 4E Planescape campaign and I can say that the Draconomicon has been a wonderful tool since I picked it up. Were I to run another campaign I'd be very tempted to base the entire game around this book, as I like the support for low to mid level dragons.

Review here!

New Review and Column at RPGnet.

For those interested in 4E supplements, I consider Martial Power to be quite good once the errata is taken into account. The options are a little closer to the power level of the PHB than later class splats, and I'm generally impressed with the authors' ability to give us lots of options around the same mechanical theme (e.g. defense) while making them quite varied in play. Review.

I've also asked RPGnet to re-post my Guide to RPG Reviews as the first of a column series on writing them. In addition to actual concerns centered around reviewing games, I'm discussing the comped side of the equation and how to go about developing relationships with publishers. Hopefully it will be useful for some folk, or at least an enjoyable read, so if you've never read the first article then take a look.

New Review at RPGnet - Diaspora.

Diaspora showcases the sort of awesome play ideas that come from gaming groups working together to share their creativity with everyone else. It takes the FATE 3 engine and does far more than simply copying it, instead introducing excellent new systems and a creative setting creation mechanic. For human-driven hard science fiction that's more interested in a person's ability than a computer's effectiveness it can't be beat. Review.

Newish Reviews at RPGnet - Monster Manual 2 and Chronica Feudalis.

Work has been tough lately, so my apologies for not updating on time. In the last week or so RPGnet has issued reviews of Monster Manual 2 and Chronica Feudalis. Monster Manual 2 really doesn't even need a review except to say that it's more monsters and it works well in play. Anything to help me further diversify 4E encounters is very welcome, as mixing odd monsters doesn't work well for me conceptually. MM 2 Review.

Chronica Feudalis has a lot of potential, but I don't think it goes far enough in breaking new ground. It copies Aspects and dice size escalation straight over from other games and does little to improve upon them. However, the game definitely has heart and I'm sure it will work well for plenty of groups. If you're interested in historical medieval adventure then be sure to check out my review.

I have another Changeling book to give away.


RPGnet doesn't seem to want to support a contest. ENWorld has little interest in Changeling. Other forums, including the WW forums, don't seen to have a whole lot of activity.

I also don't know what kind of contest I'd like to do. I thought about making it review based as a simple award just for writing a World of Darkness review or something like that, as at least then the overall community benefits from another review or three.

The Changeling contest comes to an end!

The Changeling Contest at RPGnet has come to an end. Thanks to all those who participated, here's the winning post by San Dee Jota.

Goblin Television
Sitting on top of the TV set is a strange black metal box, wired into the jacks on the back of the set. If you opened the box inside you might find some marbles, a piece of quartz, thirteen Kewpie doll heads, and the rotting heart of an owl. Or maybe you’d just find a loose wad of torn pennies from 1986, fast food burger wrappers from around the world, and thirteen used condoms, all stuffed inside a costume wizard’s hat. Each box contains a different mixture of garbage, whimsy, and disgust, tailor made for its user.

What makes Goblin Television so special is that it broadcasts the shows it owner most wants to see. The still ongoing seasons of shows canceled before their time, the season’s worth of reality police episodes where the police officers have to shoot and kill one’s frenzied ex-lovers, entertaining commercials for products that sound good, movies recast with different actors or dead actors in their prime, or news programs from a world where political events turned out differently and better. None of it is real, but it’s comforting to those who watch. And every spring and fall, new programming options become available on GTV’s 13 channels. There’s always something good to watch.

But Goblin Television is jealous and easily provoked to anger. Those who use the GTV adapter boxes can’t watch any other television network provider; not at home or elsewhere, although friends are always welcome to come over and watch GTV on the customer’s set. They can’t use DVR or VCR technologies; GTV gives no consent to illegal recordings, but at least the commercials are interesting too. Finally, no remote channel changer is included with the service and modifying the adapter box to use one will break the terms of service; you have to change the channel by hand. Breaking any of these rules results in the GTV adapter ceasing to work, and the customer is banned from ever receiving Goblin Television services again.

But while the terms of service may seem harsh, the fees are worse. To keep service, the customer must break someone’s heart somehow. The greater the break, the longer the customer’s account is paid up. Breaking a child’s favorite toy is worth maybe a week or two, but if the customer breaks the favorite toy of his own child, that could be worth a full year. It’s rumored that a circle of TV executives for a major network keep their fees paid by promoting brilliant new shows on their network, only to kill the shows after a single season or two. The sorrow it creates is quite small, but spread over even a couple million of people it adds up quickly.