Game Design

Z-Man Posts New Lowlands Preview

Tabletop Gaming News - 29 March 2018 - 10:00am
Running a farm certainly isn’t easy. It could be argued that running a farm along the cost of the North Sea is even tougher. But that’s what you’re tasked with in Lowlands, the upcoming farming game from Z-Man Games. In this preview, we get a deeper look at what it takes to work the land […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

GDC Wrap-up Part 1: Notes on Indie Publishing (Spring 2018) - by Adam Saltsman

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 29 March 2018 - 9:46am
Quick review to the best of my ability the current state of small- and medium-size publishers and publishing deals across the game industry, including terms and advice about how to launch your new indie game.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

To prevent toxicity, design games with community management in mind

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 29 March 2018 - 9:10am

"Community is now, more than ever, an actual part of game design," argued Flaregames' Tara Brannigan. "It's not something you staple on the end." ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

IELLO Announces Calendar Contest

Tabletop Gaming News - 29 March 2018 - 9:00am
Calendars are good to have around. It’s good to know what day it is. Helps you plan for the future. And if you’ve got some cool pictures to go with it, all the better. IELLO wants to create a new gaming calendar and they’d like your help with the photographs. They’re launching a Calendar Contest […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Dark.Net Now Available From WizKids

Tabletop Gaming News - 29 March 2018 - 8:00am
In a not-too-distant future, four giant corporations have taken over every aspect of life. Those that live in this dystopian world can choose to either just go and work for one of them, or live life out on the edge. There, reputation is everything and information is the most valuable currency. In Dark.Net, players find […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

CE 9 - Both Foul and Deep

New RPG Product Reviews - 29 March 2018 - 7:45am
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
Rating: 5
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This DCC-toolkit clocks in at 53 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages SRD, leaving us with a massive 50 pages of content, though these are formatted for 6’’ by 9’’ digest size (A5), which means you can fit multiple pages on one sheet of paper.


This review was moved up in my reviewing queue at the request of my patreons.


So, first things first, in case you’re new to the series: The Campaign Elements-series is basically a collection of set-pieces supplemented with rules, intended to be dropped as is into an ongoing campaign…or to be used as a scavenging ground. As such, this sits squarely on the line between modules and setting supplements – while it can be used as written, it is just as useful as a file to supplement other modules; take e.g. “The Jeweler that dealt in Stardust” – the module assumes that the smartest way for the PCs to enter the locale would be via the sewers, but there isn’t much going on there. This is where an enterprising judge can employ this supplement, as we get a ton of material for sewers.


Wait. I know. Sewer levels/environments have a bad reputation. I can name, at the top of my head, a ton of modules that take place in sewers. Among these, 10%, at most, are worthwhile. But what if you want/need to run such a module? Well, this pdf pretty much helps dealing with that issue. We begin with a summary of different hooks to get the PCs down into the sewers. From there, we move on to general terrain features, the first thing a lot of modules in sewers fail to properly take into account. So yes, falling into sewage is a BAD idea – 6 different diseases can be found herein, ranging from mites and parasitic worms and scarlet rash. The second component many sewer-scenarios get wrong is that they depict, ironically, I might add, sewers as a mechanically sterile environment – this pdf does help here quite a bit: We get a d30 random encounter table, which brings me to one of the main components of this pdf.


You see, we not only get the usual people of the sewers (including secret taverns, cultists, etc.), but also a bunch of components we usually don’t see: Filthlarks, for example, the scavengers of the filthy places, gentlemen clubbers going to a clandestine meeting…and there are resurrection men; basically grave robbers in the name of science. Beyond those, we also get what amounts to a pretty massive bestiary section: We get albino alligators, aliens rats from another world, blood slugs, centipedes that seek to burrow into your flesh, carrion moths that spread hallucinogenic powder via their wings…even cooler: What about the cessceada? These swarming insects can cause the skin of those infected to slough off. There are beetles that can be sold to the dyer’s guild for profit, particularly agile drain runner foes, disgusting oozes, filth elementals… Have I mentioned the globlins that split by fission? Hellspore fungi and lamprey swarms are cool, and in the dark recesses, there also is the terrifying loathly one; there are phantom gentlemen…and more. This bestiary section is really cool, with each of the entries breathing some form of truly intriguing and captivating idea, in spite of the sometimes down to earth theme.


The pdf also provides the patron Squallas, mistress of the night soil rivers, but we only get the invoke patron table here – no custom spells, patron taint or spellburn, but all right. This would btw. be as well a place as any, there are quite a few really nice full-color illustrations throughout the pdf – particularly the sewer troll image is nice.


At this point, it should be noted that judges with an extensive library of books may find some nice easter eggs here and there – in the case of the troll, for example, a nod to the upcoming, Angels, Daemons and Beings Between II by Shinobi 27 Press. These nods are unobtrusive enough to not impede your enjoyment of the content, but certainly should be fun for quite a few judges…and they provide obscure and potentially easily ignored links you can further develop…but I digress.


Now, so far, I have mainly commented on the toolbox-y aspects of this pdf, but it is also an adventure locale. We get a solid b/w-map of the sewer-area depicted AND a player-friendly iteration, which is a huge plus, as far as I’m concerned. Now, the keyed encounter areas provided for the judge come with well-written read-aloud text (we have come to expect nothing less from Daniel J. Bishop!), but also feature unique hazards and creatures beyond the ones already mentioned – some are obviously intended as plot-threads for the judge to further develop, while others are just amazing; the image of a massive spider that carries its brood on its back is great, and just let it be known that just because corpses move doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily undead…which can result in a rather cool scene. Oh, and the line from the core book? Yes, there is a means to learn a spell from the mouth of a dead man…and how that phrase is twisted is really cool. I could explain all of the 9 keyed encounters here, but I’d frankly do the book a disservice.


You see, the series has traditionally a “squeezing it dry”-section, wherein you can find further suggestions to get the maximum amount of mileage out of the book – considering how strongly the toolbox/bestiary aspect is emphasized here, I can most definitely see judges employ this pdf’s contents far beyond the exploration of the sewers presented here.


Conclusion:

Editing and formatting re very good, I noticed no serious glitches. Layout adheres to a 1-column b/w-standard that is pretty printer-friendly. The full-color artworks are captivating, cool and deserve a big shout-out. The cartography featuring a player-friendly map is really cool. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with detailed, nested bookmarks, making navigation comfortable.


Daniel J. Bishop’s name on a book is, for the most part, a great indicator that it will rock – in fact, even if you do not play DCC, both new school and old school games can get something out of his offerings. There is a crisp quality to his prose, an overarching vision that not only gets the peculiarities of DCC, but, more importantly, really understands the tone and what makes it stand out. There is always an aspect of the weird here, one that feels like it was drawn straight from the greats. In fact, much like Leiber or Howard, he is adept at using precious few words to inspire; his fantasy, infused with a little dose of gonzo and the soul of sword and sorcery, has a distinct tone that is both grounded and wondrous, that retains this strange, captivating sense of plausibility. This booklet brings this aesthetic to sewers, perhaps the most maligned of adventuring locales, and elevates them. In short, this little booklet is one of the very few supplements/modules dealing with sewers that I’d consider superb – the monsters are so cool and interesting that quite a few may well warrant conversion. DCC judges, the primary audience of this book, should consider this a must-purchase anyway. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Dragon Ball Z: Perfect Cell Now Available

Tabletop Gaming News - 29 March 2018 - 7:00am
Cell is supposedly the perfect fighting machine. The Dragon Ball crew, on the other hand, disagree, and they’ve come to the Cell Games to prove it (and to keep Cell from blowing up the Earth, too. There is that part to consider). In Dragon Ball Z: Perfect Cell, players will take on the role of […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Steamforged Previews Veteran Decimate For Guild Ball

Tabletop Gaming News - 29 March 2018 - 6:00am
The Union in Chains event for Guild Ball saw the Union players spread out among the other Guilds. In the case of Decimate, she’s ended up with the Brewer’s Guild. Her knowledge with the sword is no longer employed with a foil or rapier, but a broadsword. So, what sort of changes does that mean […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

An Open Letter About Making Gaming Work for You (and building your strengths through role play)

Gnome Stew - 29 March 2018 - 5:00am
This week at the Stew, some of us were inspired by a series of disparate recent events to send some love and sentiments out to young gamers, especially those who are marginalized. We wrote these letters to our younger selves, because in you, we see ourselves, and we hope that we can give you the […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Words on a Screen: Accounting is Fun

RPGNet - 29 March 2018 - 12:00am
Information tracking in PbPs.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Dragon-Blooded: What Fire Has Wrought For Exalted Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 28 March 2018 - 3:00pm
Having more options for building your character is always good. Players want to be able to make the character they really want. And GMs want to have resources they can put into NPCs if necessary. Well, for those that play Exalted 3rd edition, a new option will soon be available. Dragon-Blooded: What Fire Has Wrought […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Arena: the Contest Board Game Kickstarter Running Now

Tabletop Gaming News - 28 March 2018 - 2:00pm
A new dungeon-crawl board game is about to hit the block. Dragori Games has launched their Kickstarter campaign for Arena: The Contest. Grab your heroes and head into the dark spaces to clear out the monsters, vanquish the evil, and, most importantly, get that loot! The game can be played solo, cooperatively, or competitively. From […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Maximum Apocalypse: Gothic Horrors Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 28 March 2018 - 1:00pm
Well, it would seem as though the apocalypse has come early. Rock Manor Games has gone and launched their Kickstarter campaign for Maximum Apocalypse: Gothic Horrors. This new, deluxe expansion brings in two new scenarios, as well as several new classes, including the Priest and Ronin. The campaign reached its goal almost immediately, so it’s […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Wyrd’s Easter Sale Happening Now

Tabletop Gaming News - 28 March 2018 - 12:00pm
A holiday’s coming up, and that means Wyrd’s rolling out the special holiday sale stuff, as they always do. I love seeing all the alternate minis that they come up with. They’re a great way to inject some special flavor into your force. And this sale is no different, as there’s several new alt. sculpts, […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Midweek Snippets

Tabletop Gaming News - 28 March 2018 - 11:00am
We’re halfway through the week, folks (well, those of us that work Monday-Friday, that is). I hope your week is going along well. For mine, I’ve been coming up with a new character for a D&D game starting up soon. I’ve never made a 5th Edition character before, but I’ve made dozens of them for […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Microsoft says Sea of Thieves sold well, even without counting Game Pass copies

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 28 March 2018 - 10:08am

With over 2M players, Microsoft has hailed the game as its "fastest-selling first-party new IP of this generation" and notes that that praise is without counting copies given away through Game Pass.  ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Fantasy Football: Alastoran – Demons and Chaos Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 28 March 2018 - 10:00am
While the American Football season might be a while away, you can get yourself a game of tabletop fantasy football just about any time. But you might be thinking you’d like a new team to hit the field. Have no fear, for Greebo Games is here with just that. Well, maybe fear a little. They […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

GDC celebrates record-breaking attendance and confirms 2019 dates!

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 28 March 2018 - 9:01am

The 32nd edition of GDC is over, and in its wake organizers confirm it hosted over 28,000 attendees (a new record!) and will return next year the week of Monday, March 18 to Friday, March 22! ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

IDW Games Moves Galaxy Hunters Kickstarter To April 11th

Tabletop Gaming News - 28 March 2018 - 9:00am
Originally, I was planning on typing up “IDW Games Launches Galaxy Hunters Kickstarter” as a news story. However, that will not be the case. Instead, I’m updating you to let you know that you will have to wait a little longer for your giant-robot-fighting action. The campaign will now launch on April 11th. From the […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Ludus Magnus Studio Announces Black Rose Wars

Tabletop Gaming News - 28 March 2018 - 8:00am
Ludus Magnus Studio has been working on a new board game designed to introduce players into their Nova Aetas realm. The game will pit players against their foes as they look to become the new Magister by competing in powerful mage battles, looking to prove that they are the ones best-suited to hold the title […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

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