Game Design

Interactive Stories for the Masses - by Sande Chen

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 5 October 2017 - 6:34am
In this article, game writer Sande Chen delves into the history of interactive movies and how kids today might benefit from interactive stories.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Focus for your Game Dev Career - by Kevin Murphy

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 5 October 2017 - 6:33am
This gives an overview of (at least the majority of) all possible stages in a game dev career. For each stage it gives example goals and lists unique challenges and freedoms for that stage. Has proven useful particularly with students & hobbyists so far.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Why making a game about women in tech is necessary to me - by Tabea Iseli

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 5 October 2017 - 6:33am
Creating a game is a time consuming undertaking, so you should be able to identify with the games message. The blog outlines why I want my next game to be about women in tech.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Temple of Athena - by Regis Jerry

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 5 October 2017 - 6:32am
A while back I created a quick map in Unreal Tournament that went unfinished called Temple of Athena. I will be doing a full release with all assets of the level being modeled and textured by myself.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Moon Hook Blog: Backlog - by Conor Dalton

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 5 October 2017 - 6:29am
It's been a while but we've had a busy couple of weeks. We're Moon Hook, a student dev team for SMU-Guildhall working on our Capstone game project, and this is our dev blog. I'm the producer for the team, and herein are our stories and learning moments.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

The Good (and Not So Good) Video Games Based on TV Series - by Peter Smalls

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 5 October 2017 - 6:29am
This is a list of the best and the worst video games that are based on TV series.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Open Beta for Legend of the Five Rings RPG Now Available

Tabletop Gaming News - 5 October 2017 - 6:00am
Fantasy Flight Games has posted up the open beta rules for the Legend of the Five Rings RPG. If you’ve been re-excited about all things Rokugan from the recent re-launch of the card game, now’s your chance to create your own character and leave your own mark on the land. So, what clan will you […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

101 5th Level Spells (5E)

New RPG Product Reviews - 5 October 2017 - 2:23am
Publisher: Rite Publishing
Rating: 4
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This collection of spells clocks in at 37 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 34 pages of content, so let’s take a look!


This review was moved up in my reviewing-queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreons. I did receive this pdf prior to public release in order to allow for a speedy release of the review.


We begin this supplement with massive lists of the respective spells by class, before moving on the alphabetic presentation of spells. Now, obviously, I can’t go through each and every spell contained here, but I’ll try to give you a good idea of what to expect. Let’s begin with the first spell, alter metal. This spell modifies the damage threshold of affected objects and is particularly potent when affecting armor etc. – the spell properly differentiates between attended and unattended, magical and nonmagical and even intelligent items. Kudos. Fans of Diablo and similar franchises will also enjoy a spell, which renders skeletons into ticking shrapnel bombs.


Now damage spells herein generally sport a valid alternative and contextualization compared to core spells. Take e.g. arrow storm. The spell inflicts 8d6 piercing damage to all creatures within 30 ft. of a point in range (150 ft.), potentially inflicting the restrained condition as well on a failed save, necessitating cover or a Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) to end the condition. The affected area may be farther away than e.g. that of cone of cold, but the PHB’s spell affects a larger area, has a slightly superior damage type and, with d8 damage-dice, a slightly higher average damage output. In another example, namely force ram, we have 12d4 damage and an unerring, automatic hit – but also the danger that shield completely negates the spell.


There also are utility type spells herein – or spells that you’d consider to be more relevant for the purpose of the more narrative aspects of the game: The befoul spring ritual can, for example, taint a water source. Bitter vintage can render wine into poison, with the caster gaining several different options regarding which poison to transform the vintage into. And yes, the transformation may be detected by savvy PCs. On a minor complaint regarding the formatting: The “At Higher Levels.” Has not been bolded and italicized properly here. There are spells like blood to sap – the spell deals poison damage on a failed Constitution saving throw and poisons the target for the duration, which reduced the target’s speed and imposes disadvantage on Dex saves, but also provides an AC bonus. Regarding damaging spells that also impose negative conditions, it is nice to observe a lack of save-less spells and the fact that the conditions and their potency receive the respect they should have. The pdf does sport some evocative visuals in the damaging spells it has, e.g. in brimstone cloud.


Campfire lullaby is interesting, in that it allows a character to get the benefits of completing a long rest more than once per 24 hours – the long casting time and duration and the caveat that lets it affect a character only once in 5 days act as good balancing mechanisms for this potent spell, though. There are carpets of fire and options to chastise foes with psychic damage. There is a means to generate circles of moonlight, protection against shapechangers and the undead. The pdf also sports a contingent healing spell, which is neat – and yes, these cannot be stacked…and they can be used offensively versus the undead. There also is a long-range curing spell – which is pretty cool, aye, but considering the impact of long-range healing on the game, it deserves to be noted that it may not be for all groups. Speaking of which: Eternal charm is permanent. Whether or not you like the ramifications of this depends on the type of game you run.


Sifting through thoughts via crystal probe, cursing targets with narcissism…what about changing the look of terrain and hiding it from the prying eyes of enemy spellcasters? There is also a powerful spell to compel targets to deliver messages for you. You can conjure forth earth barriers that bludgeon those foolhardy enough to attack you. Elfhome attunes an area in forests to elves and creatures, providing climb speed and quicker movement. What about first conjuring a tree and then having it fall on enemies? Really cool: Flatten makes you two-dimensional. Guard Dog conjures forth a variant dire wolf with modified stats to guard an area and the knave purge ritual provides a type of magic protection against thieves. Minor complaint – spell-references in the text tend to lack the italicizations.


We can find one-way pain circuits, the ability to travel through stone, several pahnatsms (lichs, nymphs, swarms…) – there are a lot of spells, some of which provide significant changes to the engine: Take remove condition, for example: The spell can even negate instantaneous effects like petrification via magic and may end the attunement to a magic item causing the condition, though curses are maintained. Now personally, I like this for the ability to make more controlled use of items with big drawbacks, but it does remain an aesthetic preference. Speaking of spells I like: Scry reverse does exactly what you’d think it does. I like the tactical option, but I can see some Gms not being as in love with it.


There also would be a powerful spell that requires the willing sacrifice of a mortal being to enhance your powers – suffice to say, that one is evil to the core. Potent songs that suppress spellcasting and magic item use make for amazing tools in the arsenal of bards – really cool. Spell grounding is a very potent defensive option: While within the range of a spell that does not have a range of touch, you may use your reaction to negate the spell, ending all effects and damage. No check, no differentiation between spell levels, no discharging of the spell – personally, I believe that this should have an “At Higher Levels”-scaling for maximum spell level affected and it should also have some wording regarding interaction of enspelled terrain into which you move – which imho should be exempt. While it is clear that this is supposed to work only for rays and chains, RAW, it is much more flexible, depending on your reading of the spell.


Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, bordering on very goo: I noticed a couple of missed italicizations and a few rules-language points that could be slightly clearer, but, as a whole, this is a well-made supplement. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing’s two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports fitting full-color artwork, mostly stock. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Ed Kabara’s conversion of Steven D. Russell’s classic spells does a valiant job at translating the vast plethora of spells to 5e. As a whole, the balancing of the material herein is pretty tight. The spells generally fit their respective levels. There are some spells that change how some aspects of the game work, which may be a matter of taste. Beyond the few hiccups herein, there is one aspect to be aware of: 5e sports less flexibility with the spells offered than PFRPG – spells have a higher value in direct comparison, often being entwined, availability-wise, with class features or feats as a kind of pay-off. This book does not provide the like or a means to contextualize the spells themselves – it literally only presents a ton of spells. Just putting them all in the game will, by necessity, generate a power-increase, courtesy of the increased flexibility. This is not bad, mind you, but something 5e-GMs should nevertheless be aware of.


As a whole, I consider this collection of spells a good example of how Rite Publishing has stepped up its 5e-content’s quality – of all the spell-collections I have read so far, this is by far the most refined. All in all a worthwhile collection of spells to grab and choose from – my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Tales from the Rocket House: Which Bonus is Best?

RPGNet - 5 October 2017 - 12:00am
Number crunching OSR.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Ogre Gate Inn and the Strange Land of Li Fan Available For Wandering Heroes of the Ogre Gate

Tabletop Gaming News - 4 October 2017 - 3:00pm
The Ogre Gate Inn and the Strange Land of Li Fan is a new sourcebook for Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate. If you’re interested in some wuxia RP action, you’ll want to check it out. It will take players to the land of Li Fan, where restless ghosts and other spirits haunt the living. Dare […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

S.P.Q.R. Fantasy Football Team Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 4 October 2017 - 2:00pm
The American Football season is well under way. And I’m sure many of you have tabletop football seasons going as well. If you’d like to expand out your roster with a new team, you can do so over on Kickstarter. Atlas Miniatures is running a campaign to fund their S.P.Q.R. team of Ogres and Snotlings. […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Worlds of Empyrea Fantasy RPG Setting Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 4 October 2017 - 1:00pm
Worlds of Empyrea, written by Frank Mentzer (famed Dungeons & Dragons author) is a setting book with a difference. It’s not written for just one system. Or two. Or three. It’s written with rules for 10 different gaming systems. If you’re wanting a new place for your game to be set and don’t want to […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Fortnite: Battle Royale prompted engine-wide Unreal improvements

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 4 October 2017 - 12:14pm

Epic Games, the creator of both Fortnite and the Unreal Engine, says that developing the game's recent battle royale mode led to a number of optimizations headed to the next few Unreal updates. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Oscar’s Hot Night Out Card Game Now Available

Tabletop Gaming News - 4 October 2017 - 12:00pm
Just about any group of friends has come up with names for situations they’ve been in. You know, semi-vague sayings that hint at what happened, but don’t really give it all away. Many are rife with innuendo. Well, Oscar’s Hot Night Out is a game designed to help you come up with names for crazy, […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Midweek Snippets

Tabletop Gaming News - 4 October 2017 - 11:00am
It’s halfway over. The work week is about half-done for most of us. With any luck, you’re looking forward to a weekend of gaming. I might be doing some of that. But I can guarantee that I’ll be doing some baking. Actually, that’ll start tomorrow. We’re having a chili and dessert cook-off here at the […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Free-to-play Fortnite: Battle Royale saw 7M players its first week

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 4 October 2017 - 10:29am

Epic Games says that its PUBG-like Fortnite: Battle Royale has passed 7 million players at the close of its first week out in the world. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Star Trek Adventures Quickstart

New RPG Product Reviews - 4 October 2017 - 10:22am
Publisher: Modiphius
Rating: 5
After a couple of pages advertising assorted Star Trek miniatures, the full rules and other accessories, we get to Chapter 1: Quickstart Rules. This consists of an introduction, basic operations and combat. The introduction provides brief basic details of what the game is about and what you need to play it, then there's a run-through of how a character is described in terms of attributes, skills and so on, and how these are used in play. There's a lot packed in, and as well as providing the detail you need to run the Quickstart could make a good introduction for new players joining an existing game. Finally, there's sufficient information for running a brawl. The concentration is on person-on-person combat, but there's a nice sketch of a Galaxy-class starship showing where all the weapons are located.

Chapter 2: Away Mission 'Signals' contains a short adventure. Apparently a small vessel, a runabout, has gone missing whilst investigating a mysterious signal emanating from the Carina Nebula, and the party's starship has been tasked to investigate. Finding a planet, the characters are beamed down to the surface as an away party, and that's when the fun begins... settlers and Romulans provide opposition, and there's the source of that signal to sort out as well. The notes are full of advice for the first-time GM, explaining how to use the rules to best effect throughout.

Finally, six pregenerated characters are provided: first officer, science officer, medic, engineer, a bridge officer, and the security chief. Amongst this we have a Vulcan, an Andorian and a Trill. Quite a bit of variety for the players to try out.

This presents a good introduction to an excellent interpretation of Star Trek as a role-playing game, with an adventure that captures the spirit of the show well. The illustrations and style of the whole thing suggests The New Era, but it would adapt reasonably to a different era if you insist. It certainly leaves you wanting to play some more of this game!
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Green Fairy Studios LLC Releases Lygari! Card Game

Tabletop Gaming News - 4 October 2017 - 10:00am
We’ve all told tall tales from our past. It was really a $5 bill and not a $100 you found that one time on the ground. The fish you caught was only 2lbs and not 10lbs. You only defeated 3 frost giants and not 16. You know how it goes. But sometimes you might be […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

NecroMech Dieselpunk RPG Releases Version 1.2 Playtest

Tabletop Gaming News - 4 October 2017 - 9:00am
These days, the world of the digital and tabletop are blending together more and more. You’ve got board games that have apps that not only help run them, but are vital to the play experience. Well, Alchimie Inc. is blending technology and umm… non-technology in NecroMech, their upcoming Dieselpunk RPG. They’ve recently released the latest […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Mini Gangs Skirmish Game Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 4 October 2017 - 8:00am
Ramshackle Games is looking to bring a new set of rules to your tabletops. It’s called Mini Gangs and, as one would expect, it puts you in charge of your own post-apocalyptic gang. It’s designed to be quick to play, without lots of charts and rules, in three different rules tiers, depending on how in-depth […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

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