Sunday, August 21, 2011

Power to the Power Gamers! - Lair Assault Begins Soon!!

LAIR ASSAULT IS FINALLY HERE!!!... then again, I'm not, so what am I so excited about??   :P

No, but really, I guess I belong to that hated group of gamers who really enjoy power gaming and optimization.  I think a lot of us math nerds get our kicks through stuff like this.  The strategies and tactics of power gaming can be so much fun, are you in?

Today, August 22nd, Wizards released a bit more news talking about their Lair Assault program and exactly what that would entail.  The game sounds like it is going to be a barrel of fun.  I would love to be the DM running that, but at the same time, I think I would love to run through it once as a player first, mainly to see if I am up to the challenge, and can actually get through all those waves of killer monsters in what could be one of the most difficult encounters that WotC has put out.

Needless to say, I will be keeping my eyes out for copies of the DM kit as they show up on Ebay and used book stores/game shops.  I hope people enjoy the encounters and come home wary from the thrill of total party annihilation.

If I have the time, I might post some of my favorite optimized character concepts for your collective perusal. Also, if you happen to be reading this blog and plan on partaking in this event, I encourage you to post links to your optimized character for the full benefit of the world at large.  We would love to see what you have in store for Forge of the Dawn Titan!

Some Changes Coming...

Up until now, I have had a very odd way of writing reviews (I guess).  I have tried doing a spotlight format where I highlight some of the interesting areas of an RPG book as I read through it, essentially going through my read of the book with the people who read the blog.  I have kind of started to dislike this style and will be moving away from it.  In light of that information, my current spotlight on L5R Enemies of the Empire is going to be changed into a standard Review of the book over at Stargazer's World.  I may end up talking more about the book, after the review, here, on my blog, but the full review of the book is going to be the first thing you see from here on out.  I think that is just about the only way I am ever going to get through all of the material that is piling up here on my end.  Stay tuned for when my review of Enemies of the Empire comes out some time this week, or maybe next.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Spotlight - Enemies of the Empire for L5R 4th Edition

Yay! I'm finally kicking off another one of my product spotlights!! I have so many of these to get through it isn't even funny.  I will be trying to get through two more of these very quickly here, then I will be getting into my giant review season of all the Cubicle 7 books I have.  But right now, I am very happy to announce that I will be starting my review of Enemies of the Empire for Legends of Five Rings 4th Edition.

You may have caught my review of the core rule book earlier this year.  I really thought the book was one of the best ones I have read through in a long time and really represented some of the best Eastern-culture themed gaming out there.

This review got bumped up a little bit, mainly because I am starting up an L5R campaign right now via Google+ (made a post about it earlier this week).  I also happen to be running an L5R home game with my wife now, which may or may not turn out to be a good time.  Either way, the combination of both of these games going off right now means that it is time to actually use some of these rules in play! which means that my review might actually have a bit more meaning.  So, stay tuned this week for my notes regarding the contents of this beautiful book.

As far as the books specs go, it is almost 300 full color pages.  The artwork is just as gorgeous as the core book, so you are already getting a lot for the full retail price, which is mercifully cheaper than the core book, but still very expensive ( $39.99 for the hardcover, but also available from for the reduced price of $23.99 for the PDF).  AEG really puts out books that you want to take very, very good care of.  I almost want to put this hardcover into another cardboard hardcover like you do with comic books.  You could kind of characterize this book as something of a monster manual aimed at use by the GM.  That is somewhat accurate, but the book is much deeper than that; it isn't just a collection of a crap-ton of monsters, it has a LOT of plot, story, history, and general fluff.  I'll go into all the contents in my next post in the series very, very soon.  Stay tuned!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

RPG Blogger Carnival - Animals in RPG's: Does your pet need a new crib?

First we had Zombie Resistant houses; what's next? Well, considering that this month's Carnival is themed around Animals in RPG's, and yesterday I posted about my Hybrid Animal races, I thought I'd keep this month's theme up with a post about your pet's humble (or not) abodes.

Through twitter, I caught wind of this awesome Japanese cat house.  Literally, this place is all designed to be as hospitable to your cat as possible.  You can see some of the vertical use of space in the picture to the right.  These little shelves turn your house/apartment into a veritable cat paradise.  Check out to see all the pics of the house and to read more about it in the gritty little details.

Think about the design of this house and you might be able to develop some really cool pet oriented houses for your RPG Characters.  Maybe most RPG Characters aren't so wholly interested in the specifics of what their pet might be doing, but hell, you never know?? Maybe you want to play a crazy-cat-lady-wizard who really likes pimping out her castle for her favorite kitty Ms. Muffins.  Maybe your pet bat needs a really cool batcave of his own.  Adding bits of flavor into the description of your home that take into account your pets and familiars is a surefire way to give a lot of character to an otherwise standard place of residence.


Monday, August 8, 2011

RPG Blogger Carnival - Animals in RPG's: Beastfolk Races

This month, the RPG Blogger Carnival is being hosted by Tower of the Archmage.  What an interesting topic we have this month! Animals in RPG's is something that is actually remarkably interesting and nuanced as a topic for an RPG Carnival; it's suprising how little the topic actually gets brought up round the RPG Blogosphere.  Glad they decided to give it some thought.

I'm not sure I have tons of stuff to contribute to this topic, as really, animals haven't come up in my games nearly as much as I would like to have them.  However, what I will throw up here right to start are some links to the various human animal hybrid races that I brewed up for my 4e D&D campaign setting.

You can find my various "Beastfolk" races, based off the various Zodiac signs, below.
Tora (Tiger-folk)
Inu (Dog-folk)
Tori (Chicken-folk)
Saru (Monkey-folk)
Uma (Horse-folk)
Inoshishi (Boar-folk)
Hebi (Snake-folk)
Nezumi (Rat-folk)
Usagi (Rabbit-folk)
Ibixians (Ram-folk) - update to the 3.5 edition.

I intend to continue this series, as I get more time to devote to it.  I still have 4 animals to finish up.  Those animals are the Ox and Dragon.  I have plans to do a Minotaur variant and a Eastern-themed Dragon-folk.  I haven't added much fluff to these yet, which is something I regret, but I will... in time... and once I figure out the role each one of these races is going to play in my current/future campaign setting.

Hopefully, at some point, this will all get compiled into a neat little PDF and get thrown up on RPGNow or someplace similar.  I'd love to get somebody to do art for these races, but that is going to be something to dream about.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Using Google+ Circles for Play by Post Style Game

There have been a lot of people talking about using Google+ functions as a means to run a roleplaying game.  Up until now, the most popular method, that I have heard of, has to be using the hangout ability to run a video-chat style game.  This kind of works like running Skype video chat, but with Google+.  I haven't had a chance to use the hangout ability of Google+ yet, but I hope to try it out soon.

However, I have started up a game of L5R with a few people from Twitter and a few from Google+.  We are experimenting with a game using the Circle functionality to try and run a pure PbP style game.  We'll see how it works out, but right now, here is basically how we are working it, and also what we are hoping to see with Google+ in the future that would make it work perfectly.

Each of the players in the group has set up an L5R Campaign Group Circle.  When I want a post to go out that is only relevant to the people in that game, I post it to that circle.  People who aren't playing in the game don't see these game related posts.  Easy enough.  Right?

Also, with the Google+ alert function, I can see when players have responded to a game post very easily.  If I'm on Gmail or using my reader, then things are very simple to just slide up to the G+ toolbar and respond to game posts quickly and easily.

The problem with this style of game using G+ right now is that when I want to browse my L5R Campaign Circle posts, then unfortunately, I also have to browse through all the non-game related posts by the members of the game (unless those other players are not sharing anything with me that is not game related).  The Circle function does not yet have a tag function, which would allow me to only view posts in that circle which are relevant to our game.

What we basically want is a way to tag all of our posts with #L5R; then, we want the ability, when we make our Circle, to only view posts from X people who make posts tagged with #L5R.  This essentially works like a reverse sharing function.  If that were installed, this PbP would be sooooooooo easy and very, very awesome.  As it stands right now, I still like it a lot.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Amethyst Evolution - Out Now! PDF on RPGNow in Radiohead Fashion!!

How did I miss this?!  Well, real life sometimes gets in the way of the hobby and the blog.  But, now that I have caught it, it needs to be said here.  Amethyst Evolution, the second book in the Amethyst universe, has now come out!!

You may have caught a little bit of my preview article for Amethyst Evolution a little bit ago.  You will recall I was really, really excited to see that there were going to be some awesome new organizations coming around as well as some new Techan classes and a few new races.  Things are just getting better and better.  Dias Ex Machina is going to be striking again with this awesome book.

As for a little blurb of what you'll find in this book, here's a snippet from the Dias Ex Machina site which explains what you'll find in Amethyst Evolution:

Lifepaths: New lifepaths are being introduced including options for divine and evil characters.
Races: Kodiak, pagus, and tenenbri are introduced as playable races. In addition, all the old races of Foundations are reprinted and revised to match up with the developing 4 th Edition philosophy.
Classes: Get up close and personal with a new techan class, the vanguard. Older techan classes are expanded and revised with alternate class features and powers. Also included are revised Foundations classes presented with simplified abilities and fixed level features instead of encounter and/or daily powers. These classes may replace original Foundations classes in your current game if it permits these alternative classes. These do not replace the classes from Foundations ; both versions are compatible with each other and players can elect either option in a game without upsetting game balance.
Paragon Paths: New paths are available for new races as well as options for classic races and classes.
Feats: Dozens of new feats are offered, including martial arts and explosive feats.
Epic Destinies: New epic paths are now available for both echan and techan characters.
Equipment: Nuclear weapons (yes nuclear weapons) are available. Look for larger power armor and aircraft. Players can now (clumsily) wield super heavy weapons.

Sounds pretty awesome right?!  Nuclear Weapons!!!  Awesome.  That sounds sufficiently EPIC to me.  You can get the book off of RPGNow right now! and guess what?!  In very Radiohead Fashion, the publishers have decided to let you choose how much you want to pay for the book!!!!  There are two price points available for Amethyst Evolution; you can pick it up for $14.99 or $9.99 whichever you feel is the fair price to pay.  They would love to have the support I am sure, so consider popping for the extra $5 when you buy the book.  Also, the print edition of the book will be available soon.  I love my hardcover print copy.  You might want to also consider their PDF/Print bundle which is also available now.  This pack ensures that you'll be getting the print version when it comes out.  Very cool.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

What's Coming Down the Road

Well, it has been a busy couple of months and I am officially derailed from my goals for posting this year.  I hoped to be able to dedicate more time to the blog, but it just hasn't been working out as I had planned.  Family life and work have gotten in the way, but that is all changing soon!!  YAY!!  I am currently on my summer vacation, which means that I have to come to work, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  Wow.  The Japanese education system is pretty crazy.  No actual work to do, but I do have to sit in the chair at the desk and try to get things done.  What this basically boils down to is 8 hours of down time away from the kid and the wife and away from any usable video games... this means more time for the blog and for reading through RPG books.  Thank god!

So, now that I can sit down and think about the blog and what I need to work on, I thought it would be nice to kind of give a bit of a preview of what will be coming for my site.

One of the things I am most excited about this summer is going to be the series of game reviews that I have coming.  I talked with some of the folks down at Cubicle 7 and they were nice enough to send me several of their games to try out.  You may have heard about their big news, with the Lord of the Rings RPG coming down the line, but maybe you don't know about some of their older titles.  I'll be bringing you reviews of:

Qin the Warring States - set in semi-historical China, this French made RPG is certainly very interesting and offers another option for gamers that are interested in an oriental setting outside of Japan and games like L5R.

Victoriana - Steampunk? I'm in.  This system and this setting are pretty cool and the artwork in the book is definitely interesting.  Looking forward to giving this a review in greater detail!

Legends of Anglerre - This is one hefty tome.  It runs with the FATE system, is full of some of the coolest, nuanced artwork that I have seen in an RPG that is both comic-book and old school at the same time.  Did I mention that the book is huge?  Awesome.  Stargazer is reading through this one right now as well! What a coincidence.  Looking forward to bringing you this review soon enough.  This review will be Dump Stat only! You won't need to go anywhere else to hear my opinions on how this book works. 

But, Cubicle 7 aren't the only folks I am looking forward to reviewing products for.  I also happen to have another L5R book to review! I will be reviewing Enemies of the Empire, for L5R, brought to you by AEG.  This book is pretty awesome from an appearance point of view.  The artwork, just from a precursory glance is just as beautiful as the stuff you saw in the core book.  I LOVED the artwork in that book.  This one doesn't disappoint either.  I really can't wait to give that book a review and then make use of that in my current game...

L5R over Google+ !!

I put out a call on Google+ and on Twitter to see if anybody would be interested in trying to do a PbP style game using the circle function in an experimental kind of way.  The response was pretty immense.  7 people volunteered for the game in 24 hours.  Seven.  I can definitely see some Seven Samurai jokes being brought in here.  I can't wait to discover how this whole Google+ thing can be used to run an RPG.  I feel like it has a lot of potential, even outside of the Video Chat method.  I might even try to use that at some point, but who knows. This is going to be a very big test, we'll see if our group can pass.

So, that is just a hint at what is coming from my site.  I hope you all stay tuned to the Dump State even when we aren't putting out 2 posts a week.  Game on!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Knights of Badassdom Trailer

Considering that this month, the RPG Blog Carnival is regarding the topic of Badass RPG's, I thought I should throw this trailer up on the site.  Yes.  This is going to be very, very Badass.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Review of "Crime Pays: A Godfather's Grimoire" Up at SGW

I finally bring my spotlight on Crime Pays: A Godfather's Grimoire to a close.  My review is now up on Stargazer's World.  I hope that you all check it out.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

RPG Blogger Carnival - Bad Ass Gaming - The Most Badass Kickstarter Ever!

You all know how much a fan I am of the RPG Blogger Carnival! Right?!  Well, this month, the Carnival is being hosted by none other than Nevermet Press!! How cool is that?  I had kind of liked there original idea for the carnival this month - technology at the gaming table - but the new topic is just as... well, BADASS!!

So, I guess the big question to you is...

What the hell actually is Badass???!!!

I find the term Badass to be a bit vague.  I love the term, but everyone really has their own definition for the word and so I guess it really all boils down to personal choice.

For me, Badass is all about emotion.  There are points in a TV show or in a Movie that you can point to and say "that was Badass" as you get that little snicker on your face.  The movie 300 had a lot of "That was Badass" moments in it... hell, the whole damn movie was full of Badass moments.  It was a freaking Badass movie.

Instead of talking about the Badass RPG's I've played, today, I really want to bring to you one of the most Badass RPG's that I have never played.  In fact, I don't even know if the game is done yet, but it looks like it has some serious potential.

A friend of mine, one Mr. Highmoon, directed me to this game and I have to say it looks so BADASS!!!  I am always really happy to see all of these RPG's getting backers and getting completed.  The development of the game seems to be pretty cool.  The fan community for the game has had a huge impact on how it has come together, and it seems like they have some big plans for the Far West "franchise" going forward.  If you check out their Five Movements, they even have plans to develop a web series based off of this.  BADASS!!

One of the things that I like the most about this game is how much the artwork reflects one of my favorite little movies, "Sukiyaki Django".  That film is BADASS!!  If you haven't seen it, you need to go and check it out.

If I had my way, I think I'd be playing this game on a weekly basis.  Check it out and if you have the spare cash, back the project.  They are getting really, really close to finishing it up.  Take a peak at the website for Far West as well!

Monday, July 11, 2011

XDMC 29 - Design a Haunt!

It's that time again for the next Expert Dungeon Master's Competition! This time around we have #29


Taken from the Competition Page:

The topic for this competition is Haunt. Fear and terror are staples of the fantasy genre, but it is not easy to create a locale that can terrify the larger-than-life heroes your players control. Creating a truly terrifying location requires the work of an Expert DM! This competition asks you to create an encounter location designed to strike fear into the hearts of heroes.

Required Elements

In order to enter this competition, your entry must fulfill the following required elements:

  • Name: Name your haunt.
  • Lore: Describe what is commonly known about the haunt. The haunt's reputation must be such that even heroes may believe themselves to be in mortal danger within.
  • Lure: Describe one or more ways an adventuring party may be lured to the haunt.
  • Lair: Describe what the heroes will find in the haunt. You may, but need not, include stat blocks for any NPCs, items, terrain, or other objects or effects in the haunt.

If you do not include a required element, you will receive a score of zero in Themes. Please note that a significant portion of your score in Creativity and Themes will be based on how scary you make the haunt's reputation and/or location.

Optional Elements

Your story must include at least three of the following optional elements:

  • Can Nothing Stop It?: The haunt threatens the world outside its walls (i.e., it begins expanding uncontrollably) unless the heroes accomplish a task described in the entry.
  • The Curse is Broken!: The haunt can become a haven to the heroes, or a resident of the haunt can become a companion to the party, if a task described in the entry is completed.
  • Guys? Where Are You?: One feature of the haunt is designed to split the party.
  • It's Alive!: The haunt's interior physically changes at least twice while the heroes are within it.
  • It's Not Human!: The haunt has one or more residents, but none are of the humanoid type.
  • It All Started When...: Surpassing one or more obstacles becomes easier if the heroes learn the haunt's history, as described in the entry.
  • Looks Fine to Me: To the outside world, the haunt appears completely mundane.
  • What Have You Done?!: The haunt rewards characters who interfere with or harm one another.
  • We're Trapped!: Once inside the haunt, the characters cannot leave until accomplishing a difficult task described in the entry, and which does not require combat.
  • What's That Doing Here?: The haunt has one or more residents, but none are of the aberrant or shadow origin, or of the undead or shapechanger subtype.
  • You Startled Me!: The players are asked to roll initiative checks against something that intends their characters no harm.
  • You Were Dead... I Saw the Body!: The heroes must defeat some aspect or resident of the haunt twice or more.

Sounds like a lot of fun.  This might be a really good way for me to get back into the blog again now that my schedule has cleared up a bit.  I'll be trying to pull this off, maybe with the help of my wifey who is actually making an effort to get involved in my hobby once again.  I wish you all the best! Good luck!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dungeons & Anime - AMV

Found this the other day when I was checking out some of the Anime Music Videos (AMV's) that came out of Anime Expo 2011.  I thought it was pretty funny.  Most people know the song, by Stephen Lynch, but the composition of that song with all these anime clips is pretty humorous.  Not surprised that it didn't win the comedy category of the competition, but it still rocks.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Find out your Dungeons and Dragons stats.. or.. How many push-ups can you do??

I saw a post over on Grognardling the other day about turning yourself into a D&D character.  Thomas, left this link in one of the comments.  I thought it was a kick and posted my results to twitter, but thought I might as well bring it up here on the blog as well.

Apparently my stats are:

Strength: 9
Dexterity: 15
Constitution: 7
Intelligence: 13
Wisdom: 10
Charisma: 16

Based on those stats, what character class do you think I am most suited for?

Well, I've been giving it some thought and looking over some of the classes in the 4th edition rule books.  It seems like I would make a pretty good bard if I knew how to play a musical instrument... I guess I am good enough with story telling and whistling that I could get by in that profession, but I might struggle a bit without being able to strum up a tune.  I guess I know how to belt out some metal, though I'm not sure how charming that would be.

I could also make a potentially powerful warlock or maybe even a sorcerer...  Regardless, this affirms my long held belief that I would be much better with a knife/bow then I would with a big, long sword.

What did your stats turn out as?  What does that make you?  

Thursday, June 23, 2011

This Just In... From GenCon 2011 - Crowd Funding

I had meant to post about this sooner, but I just haven't had much time for blogging lately.  One of my very good internet pals, Daniel M. Perez, is going to be one of the two co-hosts for this year's 2011 This Just In... From GenCon.  Living in Japan, I kind of have to live vicariously though other people when it comes to Cons, especially GenCon.  They are getting very close to their goal, but still need help, so if you can, click below to head over to their Kickstarter Page and learn some more about what they need, and what you'll be getting in return for your wonderfully donated hard cash.

Spotlight - Crime Pays - The Gritty Details

Last time, in my previous post in this product spotlight, I basically gave an overview of the book, but now I am going to get a bit more into the gritty details of Crime Pays.  The Yakuza gang war which has been driving me bloody crazy recently has apparently died down enough that they have moved away from the direct area around my apartment and are no longer keeping me up at night with their goings on. So, let's get right down to it.

Crime Pays provides you with a macro, domain level system for managing your mob and using them to make money.  That is putting it pretty simply.  In the fashion of 4e, this domain level system uses a refined and modified version of skill checks/skill challenges in order to perform crimes and run your mob.

As the leader of the mob, you are the hand that moves everything from behind the scenes.  This means that you direct the big "jobs" that your mob is going to pull in your territory.  These crimes have the chance to earn you and your mob some cold hard cash, which you will probably then have to use to pay off all the people in your family and take care of the daily upkeep of your mob.

Basically, what the mob turn gets you is a chance to pull off a crime once a month and make some money.  For example, you could direct your mob to Smuggle something, which could earn you up to 2d100 GP.  There is decidedly more to it honestly; playing through these rules means that you also have options for random events, random law events, and random underworld events, which may cause problems for your family.  Some of these events can be pretty crazy - war, in particular, might end with your entire burning to the ground as the local prince laughs at you from his tower perched above the city.

Ultimately however, this is all just a very big and complex method of installing a generator for adventure hooks and establishing a crime campaign.  One interesting passage, in chapter 5 notes that, "unless a mob is both very aggressive and very lucky, it is unlikely that any mob is financially sustainable. Left to their own devices,
most mobs run themselves into the ground in a matter of a few months."  This rules set provides some interesting domain level mechanics, but you can't run Crime Pays as a purely "domain level" style of game.  The book is really just a tool set for providing adventure hooks for a group of players hoping to have an awesome urban campaign built on being the money-interested bad guys.

Next time, you can check out my full review of the book at SGW where I finally finish up this review and I provide my opinions of the book.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Spotlight - Crime Pays Overview

I find it very odd that I was extremely late in writing this spotlight, but the timing turned out to be quite perfect. Apparently starting last week, a full fledged gang war broke out in my prefecture in Japan. This particular gang war involves several extremely powerful Yakuza groups; one family, attempted to break off from the most powerful Yakuza in Japan, but that certainly wasn’t going to fly. They have since begun fighting in several of the major cities in the prefecture, including mine! With that premise, I can now actually bring you the first part of my spotlight on Crime Pays: A Godfather’s Grimoire by Goodman Games.

So, what is this book actually? Well, Crime Pays is NOT a simple guidebook for Rogue characters. If you were hoping that in this book you would find a host of feats and new magic items to outfit your thief character with, you’re going to be quite sadly disappointed. Crime Pays offers a methodology to play more of a macro level D&D style game, which has the player at the head of a mob. Crime Pays is essentially the guide for players who want to become a mob boss – a Godfather.

By this book’s definition, a mob is a family that runs a particular territory. The book offers a very detailed explanation for what that entails in quite a bit of detail. It also implements a very interesting style of “domain level” play but from the perspective of the crime boss. There are lots of random generation tables as well. But I’ll get into more of those details in the next installment of my spotlight… now it’s time for me to go dodge some Yakuza :P

Monday, June 20, 2011

Space Cowboy

My Smuggler/Gunslinger character concept for a Star Wars D6 pbp. Pretty happy with the look of it. Take the cowboy concept and put it to space.

Friday, June 10, 2011

RPG Blogger Carnival - Wrapping it all up!

Well, it's come a bit late, but I do declare the May 2011 RPG Blogger Carnival as closed! It has been a pretty good one, I was satisfied with the turnout of posts.  I have certainly seen months with considerably more, but given the fact that I was not really able to do as much as I wanted for the month, I am really happy with all the contributions.

So, let's talk about those contributions.

Berin Kinsman provided three great posts this month.  The first post provides a fantastic little intro to this month's carnival.  He actually does a better job of it than I could ever have with his post:  Mixing Genres.  He also has provided two great posts regarding Kitchen Sink Settings and the different ways to pull them off:  Samurai Jack Style and Encounter Critical Style.

My old friend, Dyson Logos, of A Character for Every Game, was nice enough to add in his contributions as well with: Genre Bending With Dream Park and Cybercelt - Where Slaine Hacks the Corporate Masters.  He is, as always, elegant in both his prose and his presentation.  Good stuff.

Da'Vane actually pointed out that their RPG D-Jumpers is an RPG that focuses very closely on mixing Genres.  You might want to check them out.  They are doing some cool stuff and could really use some feedback regarding their current RPG line in order to improve those games.  In addition to the RPG's which they already put out, they even put out a couple articles for this month:  The Gate Keeper Redux and Genre Blending.  These posts range in topics, but the first one, which I found really interesting, talks about running a Dimension Hopping campaign.  Good stuff.

This month, the Random GM put together a great little table for mixing Genres.  You should check it out: Genre Mashups Table.

We also had contributions by quite a few other people with topics ranging from Genre Bending in Munchkin to how to blend Sci-fi into Fantasy.  Check these out below:

The Pendulum Method - In Which the Warlock Swings on the Pendulum Once More

KORPG Games - Dinosaur Wranglers d6-lite! an actual 1-page RPG!!

Nuketown - Crisis on Infinite Munchkins

This is My Game by @ObsidianCrane - Acrana Punk: A World of Magic

Grumpy Old Gamers - Putting Your Own Twist on Genre Mashups

Surprise Round - Genre Bending

Dark Dungeons 2nd Edition - Mixing Sci-fi into Fantasy 

The RPG Guy - 4 Tips to Combine Genres for Your RPG

Wombat's Gaming Den of Iniquity - Crossing Genres

Seriously people, great stuff!! Thank you so much for your contributions.  I am really afraid that I might have missed somebody.  I should probably have turned trackbacks on for this, but I'm really behind the times when it comes to tech and internet stuff.  If I did happen to leave you out of the wrap-up, just post a link in the comments and I'll edit the post to include your contributions! Thanks again everybody for your help with making May a month of genre bending good times.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Giant Fire Breathing Robot Approaches!

Don't you dare close your eyes! The Giant Fire Breathing Robots are invading!!  If you're not familiar with them, Giant Fire Breathing Robot is both a web site and a podcast which covers all manner of nerdy, cool stuff.  You can find their podcast on iTunes or off of their website.  I have been a pretty big fan of the podcast for a long time, at least the last 9 months or so I'd say (I think I started listening when they were still in their 20's or so).

The show, which is put out twice a week, covers topics including anime, RPG's, comics, and board games.  They are the self-proclaimed "Talk Radio for Generation Nerd".  All of the folks on the show have a really fun, geeky banter, and they seem to actually like each other, which is a real plus when you're listening to someone talk for an hour on end.  They also like to use adult language, which is really great, because honestly, I like knowing that I am not the only person who  curses like a sailor.

GFB Robot is not just a podcast; they have an awesome website which covers all kinds of geek related stuff.  They have quite a bit of RPG related, and board game related content, which makes this site highly relevant to the interests of the collective RPG blogosphere. I'm

But, one of the other awesome things about GFB Robot, is I will now be writing for them! I have been in talks with their Editor in Chief Andrew, the host of the podcast, about writing for them and helping them fill a spot in their anime department.  It should probably come as no surprise to you that I'm a big anime lover.  I had an anime blog at one point, which never really went too far (it actually died when I decided to focus on The Dump Stat).  Living in Japan, I get to catch a lot of stuff on TV before folks in the states get to see it, and, I also live really close to some of the biggest anime centers in the world, namely Akihabara, but also the biggest manga and anime conventions such as the bi-annual Comic Market (Comiket).  So, you'll be able to hear my thoughts on anime once a week over on their site.  You can check out my author feed in order to see all of my  articles, the first of which, a short newsy bit about Durarara!! coming to Adult Swim very soon, is up now. I highly encourage you to explore the site and check out what they have to offer.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Spotlight - Crime Pays: A Godfather's Grimoire by Goodman Games

I have been having a pretty hard and busy month(s) so my blogging has come to a very hard stall.  But, in an attempt to get it back up and running again smoothly, and in a timely fashion, I am now kicking off my spotlight on Crime Pays: A Godfather's Grimoire by Goodman Games.  The folks at Goodman Games were nice enough to send me over a review copy of the book quite a while ago, around the release, but with everything going on in my life at the moment, I just didn't have enough time to get around and review it.  I want to remedy that fact now and so over the next week (or so) you'll be getting my review of this book up here on my blog and over at Stargazer's World.
Crime Pays is an officially licensed GSL book for use with 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons.  I would alternatively title this book "The Complete Mob" in old 3.5 fashion.  It has all the rules you need to run your own little underworld.  The book comes in right around 100 pages and is filled to the brim with tips and tables for the aspiring crime lord.  If that sounds interesting to you, I hope you give my spotlight a read through and go over and pick up the book in either print or PDF.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Why Mix RPG Genres?

This month’s theme for the RPG Blogger Carnival is Mixing Genres. This month’s carnival is being hosted by… oh wait… I’m hosting the Carnival this month… damn. I really should have gotten these posts done earlier. This month has been a bit rough for me, but I’m going to plug ahead and try to get at least a few of my thoughts on this subject out there.

One of the first things that I ask myself when I think about mixing genres for a game is: why? Why are you doing this? You’re just going to make things harder on yourself. You have enough to do as it is. Do you really think you can pull it off?? Ok. That’s not exactly what I think about, but the “why?” question is a good one. To be a bit more precise, what you should be asking yourself is: “What effect are you trying to accomplish by mixing two or more genres together?” Basically, I think the reasons for genre mixing are as follows:

Just for Kicks
I really like mixing genres simply for the sake of doing it and having fun. Sometimes mixing two totally different, and wildly opposing genres together can be a total blast and really make for some fun gaming. It might not last very long as a campaign, and the effect of the game might wear off more quickly, but sometimes combining something like the Wild Wild West with Survival Horror can be quite enjoyable and really make for an entertaining game night for the whole group. These quirky, fun games, when pulled off right, can excite your players and generate a barrel of laughs for everyone.

The Unique Factor
Sometimes mixing genres can be something of a quest to find that unique niche to fill for your game. Actually, there are a lot of games that fall into this category that have made it big and are now fairly well known as household names in the RPG world. For example, “Shadowrun”, would fall into this category. “Shadowrun” combines the Cyberpunk world that you get in movies like “Bladerunner” with the Fantasy World of traditional D&D. One runner might be hacking a computer, while another runner might be going feral and hacking robots to bits with an axe. You get the picture. “Shadowrun” found that unique niche and was able to make something awesome out of it.

Combating Boredom with the Gentle Transition
Though this motivation is very similar to the one explained above, the reason the GM, or game creator decides to play this kind of game is very different. Sometimes game groups can get very, very stale. I’ve been playing RPG’s for almost 10 years now and I have seen a lot of groups fall apart because a campaign gets stale and nobody takes the time and effort to fix the problem. When the group gets tired of playing vanilla fantasy, maybe things need to get shaken up a bit. By mixing the fantasy genre, that you’ve been playing in for a long time, with something a bit different, things can change just enough that a game group gets saved without sacrificing the current campaign. Let’s say for example, that group X has been playing D&D 4e for almost 2 years and is getting pretty burned out. Well, looking at some of the game books out there which are compatible with D&D 4e, you find that Amethyst gives you enough rules to work with that you can transition your current campaign from being strict fantasy into something a bit different. With a little deft handling by a skilled GM, the characters can stay the same, but the world, and the plot of the campaign, shifts towards something totally different.

That is my brief take on the reasons to mix RPG Genres. If you have any other reasons of your own, feel free to leave some ideas in the comments. Thanks for sticking around this month!  Also, just a note.  Though I'm keeping the Carnival open for about one more week, just to catch any stragglers (such as myself) the new Carnival will be starting up soonish.  Make sure to give it plenty of attention!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Need inspiration for your Zombie Proof Compound???

Found a link to this in a forum that I happen to troll and I thought it was worth pointing out.  Considering how many survival horror games there are out there, and the popularity of Zombie filled Fantasy RPG plots, these pics might come in handy for some inspiration.  This, is the first Zombie Proof House.

The place has a bloody indoor pool and a drawbridge. The only thing that I see missing is a stairwell that leads to the roof where turret mounted machine guns are mounted.  Also, the property needs a robot that will dig graves and clean corpses because nobody really wants to have their lawn all covered in zombie parts.  It totally ruins the view.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Join the (RPGB)Alliance Today - Help fight the Empire!

If you've been living under a rock, or have been away on vacation, you might not have heard about the RPG Bloggers Alliance.  Founded by some of the guys behind The RPG Circus Podcast, with the help of THE Stargazer himself, the RPGBA aims to be a new community for us all to call our home.  The site features the aggregated feed for all the members on the network (something you got with the RPGBN), but also has a dedicated forum, which has been up and running for quite a while, serving as the forums for the RPG Circus and other sites (including mine :P ).   The site also features a wiki, which is still in development, but which will most likely be up and running in no time at all considering how much support has already been shown for the site in just a week or so.  At the time I'm writing this, there are already 100 members; I'm positive that number will increase very, very soon.  Join the RPGBA and enjoy.  In honor of the RPGBA, I thought I would post some Alliance Recruitment posters from around the web.  

Thursday, May 26, 2011

XDMC 28 - Muster a Constabulary

Do you know what a constabulary is?? If you do, you're going to like this month's Expert Dungeon Master Competition hosted over on the Wizards of the Coast forums.  This month's topic is:


Here's the starter post that kicks off the competition this month.

The topic for this competition is Constabulary. Player characters often work outside the law, but are also generally trying to uphold the law. This can place them into a strained, yet dramatic and often entertaining, relationship with the local government. You must design a constabulary that is charged with enforcing the law in a population center who will interact with the player characters in entertaining and memorable fashions.
Required Elements
In order to enter this competition, your entry must fulfill the following required elements:
Name: Name your entry.
Constablewick: Describe the area in which the constablulary has jurisdiction.
Leadership: Describe the individuals in charge of the constabulary. You may, but need not, include stat blocks for these individuals.
Roster: Describe the composition and organization of the constabulary. You may, but need not, include stat blocks for these individuals.
Friend and Foe: Describe at least one encounter in which the constabulary might support the player characters and at least one encounter in which the constabulary may oppose the player characters.
Optional Elements
Your story must include at least three of the following optional elements:
Bigoted: The constabulary either favors or disfavors one specific faith, race or culture.
Disreputable: The constabulary has a poor reputation in the constablewick, whether deserved or undeserved.
Elite: The constabulary acts only when the constablewick needs its specialized expertise.
Inhuman: No member of the constabulary is humanoid.
Insubordinate: The constabulary directly or indirectly supports an agenda opposed by the entity it ostensibly serves.
Military: The constabulary also serves as the constablewick's military.
Nongovernmental: The constabulary does not work for the government, but rather (i) for coin, (ii) for a guild, (iii) for a church, and/or (iv) as a vigilante organization.
Police State: The constabulary controls the entity it ostensibly serves.
Rural: At least one of the encounters does not occur in an urban setting.
Secret Police: The entity the constabulary ostensibly serves does not officially sanction or recognize it.
Voluntary: Those members of the constabulary who are not in leadership positions receive no remuneration for their participation.
List the optional elements you intend to include. If you do not, the judges will credit you only for the optional elements they happen to notice.

You can read the rest of the rules, etc. in the forum thread itself.  The deadline for this one is midnight on the 10th of June.  That's coming up pretty quick!

Sounds pretty fun right?  I am excited for this one and will probably put together an entry.  A couple people, myself included, have already talked about rolling up some of the more famous Constabularies out there... Batman, The Doctor, etc.  Give it a try and see how you do.  This competition always proves to be a great place to hone your writing skills.  It's worth the effort.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

RPG Blogger Carnival - Time is running out for mixing genres!

Well, there is not much left of the month of May, so I want to make sure that people who are interested in writing about mixing Genres for the Carnival this month get there stuff posted.  I have been working on a few posts myself, which will probably come out right at the end of the month; it's been a pretty busy month for me, so not much posting has been happening.  I'll probably do the wrap-up a week or so into June.  Hoping that people do some more awesome posts by then.  There have already been a bunch of great ones so far.  Check out the announcement post and the comments and you'll see a pretty good selection of them.

Caladon Falls - Fundraising Project!

I was alerted earlier today about this little fundraising project on twitter and I thought I would do what I could to help out.  Savage Mojo is trying to get their setting book, for the Savage World's RPG printed and ready for Gen Con 2011!  They need your help and have set up a fundraising project to try and meet some of the financial needs.  I should make it pretty clear, I have never actually played a game of Savage Worlds.  I would very much like to give it a try at some point, but for now, I am left waiting.  I have however gotten a chance to look at this book, in PDF form, and I can tell you that it is 150 pages of pretty awesome stuff.  I haven't had a chance to give it a full read yet, and there is a lot of rules specific stuff that I don't quite understand (given my lack of Savage Worlds rules knowledge) but the setting itself seems to be made of awesome and I can totally see myself playing a game or three (or four... or many more) in this setting.

Currently, they are about one third of the way into their $7500 goal with only about 11 days left on the clock.  Time's ticking.  Here's some more info regarding the project and what they are aiming to accomplish with this fundraising effort.

Our Story
Caladon Falls is Savage Mojo’s first foray into fantasy setting books designed for Savage Suzerain, using Pinnacle's award-winning Savage Worlds rules. Kicked off in November as a PDF, we’ve been asked repeatedly when it will be in print. With your help, we’d like to answer that with, “Before Gen Con 2011!”
As the trailer shows, there are a lot of people who have worked their hearts out to produce a top-notch, high-art, high-quality roleplaying game (RPG) book packed with stunning visuals, intriguing plots, and inventive prose. Caladon Falls is brought to you by names you’ll know and those we hope will become some of your new favorites. And every one of us wants you to experience Caladon Falls the most complete way possible: by owning it for yourself – in print.
The Impact
Funds raised through this campaign go toward the production costs of a 750 book, limited edition print-run for Caladon Falls in its full glory. Each book is hard cover containing full-color interiors on high-quality paper. Those who choose to support us at qualifying tiers will get a copy shipped to them along with any other goodies at their chosen tier. Your generosity will help us gain the ability to put additional books on retailers’ shelves for others to access, increasing awareness of our company and introducing more gamers to the Suzerain Universe. If we do not meet our full goal, the funds will still be used to provide the perks promised and put some copies on our convention tables by way of an alternative printing plan.
What We Need & What You Get
We have twelve tiers to enable you to help as you wish. Every sponsor matters and every increment helps! From $1 to simply be remembered as helping to $39 to get not just the physical book, but also the accompanying PDFs of both the full GM's book and the player's guide to our super-crazy, $549 Patron of Suzerain tier with so much stuff you won't believe we're offering it. Printed Gamescapes maps, custom character sheets, short stories dedicated to you, and so much more are available just because you want to help us reach our goals.

It definitely seems like a worthy cause to me.  Try to do what you can! I'm sure they will appreciate it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The New Dump Stat Logo's... They'll do for now...

Now that the RPGBA has come along, I think it's finally time I give myself a logo.  This is really just a place holder until I can get something better together, but I like the concept at least.

Not bad right?  What do you think???

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Amethyst Evolutions - My first look at something awesome

Chris Dias, of Dias Ex Machina, was nice enough to send me an advanced copy of one of the chapters from the upcoming Amethyst Evolutions.  I can't exactly show off the chapter itself, but he did give me permission to talk about it.  I have not yet had time enough to print the chapter out, lay on the floor, and then play in all the pages, but that is pretty much the extent of how amazing the chapter was.  Chapter 2 of the book brings several new interpretations of the older races, some new races (including the Kodiaks, which I showed off in one of my earlier sneak peak photos from the book) as well as the thing that I wanted the most... ORGANIZATIONS.  I thought the organizations in the first book were awesome, but I wanted more.  These are awesome as well, and I STILL WANT MORE!!!  I think I might have to beg Chris to do a book full of just organizations at some point.  It's like giving your adventuring group a nice big club to be a part of.  If you hadn't seen the cover to the book yet, it has been up on the Dias Ex Machina site since the end of March, but I haven't had a chance to throw it up here on the site yet.  He said they are getting pretty close to completing it, so I am very much looking forward to reviewing it and bringing you all of the juicy Amethyst details when they finally come out.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

One Page Dungeon Contest 2011 Ends. Winners Announced!

As much as I would have liked to be among the chosen few, considering it was my first attempt, I didn't really think it would happen.  This is my way of leading into the fact that the 2011 One Page Dungeon Contest Results Have been posted.  I was unfortunately not chosen to be among the top few.  However, among the winners, Dyson Logos (a friend of the blog) picked up the Best Old-School Dungeon Award! Congrats.

If you want to check out the full list of all the winners, or download the complete list for yourself, head over to the One Page Dungeon Contest website and give all the entries a look.  Might want to just give mine a look see while you are there as well.  ;)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

L5R Art Contest - Week 4

This last piece of the contest is probably my favorite one and among my favorite piece overall actually.
Once again back stories could be many, so how about a Ronin assassin on on the look out for is quarry? He lost his Katana at the same time as his honor and family, and has now become a expert at the short sword technique, relying on his Wakisahi for his kills.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


As some of you know, I've been out sick pretty badly for the last few weeks, so it has put me out of blogging condition and away from the keyboard, but now that I'm gradually on the bend, I thought I would take the time to at least start off the May RPG Blogger Carnival which this month is being hosted by none other than yours truly here at The Dump Stat!

The topic for this month's carnival is genre mixing.  Genre mixing in RPG's is the process of taking two or more genres of game and mixing them together.  This month, I want to hear about your experiences mixing RPG Genres together and how that experience turned out.

For example, you could mix the Super Hero Genre with the Fantasy Genre and come out with something really, really cool.  Maybe you want to mix Steampunk and Horror, or Comedy.  Whatever.  I want to hear about your experiences mixing different genres together.  If you have tips or advice feel free to post as well!  Make sure to leave a comment linking to your posts here on the kickoff post so that I can find them easier! Take care all and happy blogging.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Blogging from A to Z: O is for Opulence

Every player wants the best for his character.  They might not come right out and say it, but in their heads, they are thinking it.  Everybody wants to be rich, but we're not all that lucky.  So, maybe the closest thing we get to true wealth comes through our RPG characters.

Opulence comes when you get to that point of wealth where you can pretty much just stop asking how much things cost.  You've got the money to do whatever you want.  For most RPG characters, true Opulence is something that you're never going to pull off, mostly for reasons of game balance.  When it comes to games like D&D 4e for example, where your GP plays such a huge part in the power of your character, you're very unlikely to ever reach that point of wealth where you can start to gold plate your horses or buy yourself a yacht which comes equipped with a large golf course.  But man, wouldn't that be awesome?  Then again, a lot of D&D characters are going to be rolling in money by the time they hit Epic levels, and, in all honesty, you've probably got enough GP to buy yourself a small country by the time you get there (but still not a full set of 25th level items for all your slots).  That is the very odd fact of wealth in RPG's.  The stuff that has a value to your character, the magic items, etc. are very rarely actually something that screams "opulence".  Instead, Opulence is more often a sign of a character's fluff.  Opulence comes in the story rather than the "crunch".  That works too.

When your players reach that point in their careers that they should start seeing some serious wealth, give it to them.  You can always use factors such as item availability to limit your players ability to pick up more crunch specific magic items.  Let your players have that massive palatial estate which is completely manufactured out of human happiness.  Let them have the gold and the jewels.  That stuff is all just a sign of status and position, something that your characters earn through adventuring.  That is one seriously cool reward.  Let your characters' opulence also be used as a tool, or hook, for starting adventures.  Maybe somebody stole something of incredible personal value to one of your players, or maybe somebody came in and vandalized your PC's crazy cool mansion.  Use those opportunities as a chance to get an awesome adventure under way.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Blogging from A to Z: N is for "No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die"

got sicker all of a sudden, going back to the hospital in the morning to get checked out.  Here are some funny pics of one of my favorite catch phrases : "No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die."