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.