Archive for the ‘News, Previews & Reviews’ Category

To the War Table!

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Favicon-jpgInquisition_war_room_conceptOne of the more innovative and engrossing additions to the RPG video game genre is the War Table in Dragon Age: Inquisition. In short, your war council of advisors helps identify, lead and complete missions using markers on a sprawling world map.

The war table adds a strategic, higher level RPG element to the classic first-person RPG missions you take on with your character and small party of adventurers.  Which member of your council leads a specific effort matters as far as results and rewards, as they have different personalities, methods and contacts.

Some efforts are brief and simple (e.g. gathering raw materials), while others are complex and lengthy, involving political alliances, underground contacts or long investigations of people or locales.  The War Table adds more stories to your story, in short, as you coordinate the efforts of others across the world.

Having just completed this tremendous game, the richness of the War Table reminds us to make sure “the world turns” while the PC party goes on its own adventures – or as they participate in or even lead their own war.  There are always more missions, more quests, and more stakes – connected to and beyond the PCs’ desires and reach.  And, through the War Table, a reminder that you have close friends and allies who will help you pursue greater, even global interests.

And having just caught up on the latest season of Vikings, here’s to your inner circles being less like those and more like Dragon Age!

Sword Coast Legends: The Next Generation

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Favicon-jpgSword Coast Legends looks like our beloved Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale CRPGs: The Next Generation!

And it gets better: the director of Dragon Age: Origins (also a beloved CRPG and instant classic) is bringing us Sword Coast Legends.

Dragon Age: Origins goodness meets D&D’s best CRPGs of all time?  And you can play old school single player with your party (love it!) or multi-player as a party – or… you can DM, too?

Am I dreaming?  This is awesome!!

 

 

DMG Wishes: 5 Things to Look For

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

Favicon-jpgDnD_DMGSoon the D&D 5th edition core rules will be complete and ours for the creative taking!  The D&D 5th edition Dungeon Master’s Guide will finally slay shelves and be in our hands in less than ten days.

There are a few particular things I can’t wait to investigate… or devour!  Here are five things I’ll be searching its hallowed pages for immediately:

  • Critical Hit Alternative Rules. It’s no secret I love impactful critical hits in my D&D.  Who wants critical hits that don’t… feel critical?  Crits that aren’t scary, that disappoint?  The 5e critical hit is flawed in that you can actually end up with less than a normal strike’s maximum damage, which I find to be no less than ridiculous.  Surely, there’s other options to consider, like a few of those during playtest?  I personally enjoyed the “max your damage and then roll one more die” critical hit from playtest.  But I can do even better!  See my Stop Rolling Your Bonus Crit Dice article for cooler, deadlier crit options for your D&D game.

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D&D 5e Countdown: D&D Starter Set Previews

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Favicon-jpgdnd_products_dndacc_starterset_pic3_enWe’re only two short weeks away from the D&D Starter Set release on July 15th!

And you know what that means: the core books will soon be ours, starting with the 5th edition D&D Player’s Handbook on August 19th!

Until then, in case you’ve missed out on some of the playtest packets or haven’t seen the Starter Set Previews yet, click and enjoy:

What else comes with the Starter Set?  Read about the adventure, characters, dice and more here.

And now back to my wickedly fun Murder in Baldur’s Gate D&D Next campaign!  See you and our new D&D game in July!

P.S. Not sure which D&D 5e products you should start with or grab?  This might help.

 

D&D Next: The Final Packet Frontier – To the Realms!

Friday, January 31st, 2014

MiBGFavicon-jpgI’m excited: I’m finally digging into the last rules packet plus my two D&D Next super adventures are on their way!

Murder in Baldur’s Gate and Legacy of the Crystal Shard are now officially on the table as we wrap up our tremendous Dragon Age campaign.  I might use these Forgotten Realms adventures mostly as is, or for inspiration for a new D&D Next mini-campaign.  My last “Seascape” D&D Next mini-campaign was well received – though admittedly the stories, adventures and personalities moreso than the chaos of the playtest packets – so I’m looking forward to putting the DM hat back on in February.

If you haven’t seen them yet, you get D&D Next DM Screens (awesome!) with these Realms adventures, plus they’re sourcebooks too – great value!  And sure, the playtest packets – even the final one – are “unfinished” D&D 2014, but they’re as close as we can get till the real thing hits shelves in mid or late 2014 – and that day I can’t wait for!

The playtest experience was new to everyone, so my playgroup’s reaction was mixed.  I can see where it’s frustrating changing back and forth on rules, and wondering why certain rules are so vague or plain missing.  But then again, like the packets say – it’s playtesting!  You have to expect some of that.  And ultimately, I personally enjoyed being part of the experience and sending them survey feedback. (more…)

Give the Gift of Faster Combat: Now With Metamagic!

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Favicon-jpgfc-guide-cover-250x325-230x300Looking for a great book for your nice – or naughty! – gamers this year?

Give the gift of Faster Combat!

And great news, we’ve expanded our reach like only a metamagic feat could: find How to Run Fast and Exciting Combats on sale now at epic RPG gaming sites like:

Want to make your GM, DM or PC allies happier, and more importantly - faster - when the action is most furious?  Give them Faster Combat – and watch as each helpful gaming lesson amps up your game!

Happy Holidays!

Tony

Praise Them: Give Thanks to Your Gamers

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Favicon-jpgWhat would RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons and Dragon Age be without our playgroup’s insane-yet-brilliant ideas, rib-splitting wit and thundering critical hits?

Or without the vivid, breathtaking and sometimes haunting sights and sounds evoked by our game masters?

It’s a time for thanks – and turkey! – so tell your gaming group they’re why you love to play.  Praise them.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving – and your games!

~Tony

Halloween Treat: D&D’s What Monster Are You?

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Favicon-jpgowlbear-HalloweenD&DquizJust in time for your Halloween parties, tricks and definitely the treats, D&D’s Bart Carroll just posted a “What Monster are You?” quiz.

It’s quick, fun and filled with my kind of humor!  As a bonus, its party questions have amped up my excitement for the Halloween party I’ll be going to!

Oh, and me turning out to be an… OWLBEAR, one of my favorite D&D monsters ever, was awesome – only a girallon, displacer beast or beholder would have been as cool!

So, what monster are you

 

Enjoy and Happy Halloween!  (Great time to try some dark fantasy gaming like Dragon Age, isn’t it?)

 

P.S.  Is it 5e yet?  No?  Looks like more Lords of Waterdeep (just got its suddenly rare Scoundrels of Skullport expansion thanks to my awesome brother critting on his Perception check, YESSS!) and Dragon Age for me!

D&D Next Playtest Ends: Final Thoughts

Monday, September 30th, 2013

DnD-NextFavicon-jpg About ten days ago, the final D&D Next playtest packet was announced and released.

What a wonderful, unique opportunity it’s been to playtest and provide feedback to the designers of D&D’s upcoming 40th anniversary edition.  It’s been up and down for everyone, as playtesting is even more chaotic than I anticipated, but ultimately, we all had our fun as we test drove different rules and evolutions of the rules as the playtest went on.

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GM University: Beyond Faster Combat!

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Faster Combat GM CourseFavicon-jpgHey everyone, Johnn and I have been plotting and plot twisting away on the follow-up course to our highly successful Faster Combat course and we’d love your opinion on the next exciting offering in our GM University series: Beginner GMs.

Like Faster Combat, we’ll take you step-to-step through your first session as GM, with an initial focus on how best to prepare for your very first game as the storyteller-in-charge!  Best of all, you’ll master this course in record time: 30 days.  That’s “turn efficiency” Faster Combat would be proud of!

After the focus on prep, then you’ll be ready for the next two 30-day micro-courses which focus on in-game and post-game success for Beginner GMs.

So what do you think fellow GMs?  Do you think this course would be helpful for new GMs?  As a smart way to introduce players in your playgroup to GMing?  As a focused refresher for existing GMs?  What do you think of the 30 day goals?  Share your ideas in the comments section and vote on the poll right here.  Thanks for your help!

Would a focused 30-day Beginner GM Prep course help you, someone you play with, or any new GM?

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-Tony and Johnn