All RPGs and Storygames by Tod Foley are now available at DrivethruRPG and RPGnow. Bring these games to your table!
Learn how to update your content model to use media entities without the overhead of a traditional migration.
Welcome to the latest edition of the top modules for Drupal 8! Below I recap my newest list that I presented at Drupalcon, Nashville along with updated descriptions. I have also included labels to indicate which modules are best suited for intermediate users versus modules that are universally easy to install and configure.
Just run “composer create-project mediacurrent/mc_top_modules” to get started in minutes, enjoy!ESSENTIALS LIST
- Admin Toolbar (Beginner) - The admin toolbar. It’s a module that you might think would just be in core. We use this on every project because navigating through menus in Drupal is a real pain without rollover menus.
- Component Libraries (Intermediate) - If you are doing any Twig theming this module is going to help you with your Twig file includes.
- Devel (Intermediate) - Devel can help you debug problems in Twig templates. Another feature that is handy is the ability to generate dummy content.
- Entity Browser / Media Entity Browser (Beginner) - The Media Entity Browser module gives you the ability to use a nice little library pop-up to upload, browse and search for different types of media.
- Field Group (Beginner) - This is a helpful module for cleaning up your content types. You can organize fields into tabs, accordions, etc. to give your content editors a better experience.
- Google Analytics (Beginner) - Google Analytics is a simple module that allows site admins the ability to easily add basic tracking.
- Linkit (Beginner) - This module gives you an autocomplete popup inside of Wysiwyg for adding links.
- Metatag (Beginner) - Maintained by Mediacurrent’s very own Damien McKenna, this module lets you configure all of your meta tags for SEO purpose.
- Panels / CTools / Page Manager (Intermediate) - Panels is a great site building tool for creating custom layouts with a drag and drop interface.
- Paragraphs / Entity Reference Revisions (Intermediate) - The paragraphs module is a Mediacurrent favorite for a couple of reasons. Paragraphs are like mini-content types that can handle a variety of use cases.
- Pathauto / Token (Beginner) - The pathauto module lets you set up clean alias patterns for all of your content. If you want all of your blogs to have the path /blog/[title of the blog with hyphens instead of spaces] - this will be the module that you use.
- Redirect (Beginner) - Almost every new site needs to incorporate 301 redirects for old page URLs. The redirect module gives site admins an easy interface for creating those redirects in Drupal.
- Search API (Intermediate) - The Search API suite of modules is a fantastic way to configure your site searches. By default this Search API DB is enabled but you can easily swap out for Apache Solr. The Search API Pages module is also handy for getting a site search up and running quickly.
- Simple Sitemap (Intermediate) - A pretty easy to configure module for creating XML sitemaps for search engines.
- Stage file proxy (Beginner) - A great module for downloading images to your local environment auto-magically rather than having to continually migrate those images manually.
- Webform (Beginner) - This module is awesome because it makes it easy to make any and all kinds of forms on your site. This is a must-have module if you plan on managing forms within Drupal.
Below are a list of notable mentions that didn’t make the essentials list but are still worth checking out.
- CKEditor Media Embed (Beginner) - A lot of content out there on the web includes social media callouts. This module makes it a lot to easier to include that content inside of your Wysiwyg.
- Colorbox (Beginner) - The Colorbox module integrates is a popular lightbox library of the same name with Drupal Views and fields. You will need to download the Colorbox library to your libraries folder, otherwise this module is very easy to set up.
- Commerce (Intermediate) - If you have done any e-Commerce you have probably heard about the Commerce suite of modules for Drupal. This allows you to add products to your site and checkouts, payment options and more.
- DropzoneJS (Intermediate) - Pretty much everywhere you go on the web you see a drag and drop upload option. So why not have that in your Drupal project? This module makes it relatively easy to do so but there is some configuration required along with the need to download the DropzoneJS library.
- Entity embed / Embed (Intermediate) - This module lets you embed any Drupal entity anywhere. The most common use case for this is embedding media within Wysiwyg. When paired with the Media Entity Browser, for example this gives editors a powerful tool for embedding media from a library. Both the Lightning & Thunder distributions have good examples of this implementation.
- External Links (Beginner) - Over the years we have seen that most clients want the option to force external links to open up in a new window or tab. This module makes that feature request very easy. All you do is check one checkbox and essentially you are done.
- Focal point / Crop (Intermediate) - The problem we are trying to solve with these modules is supporting different kinds of crops from the same source image. This solution is probably the easiest I’ve found both on the developer and the content editor. This module tries to crop around the focus of the image rather than just arbitrarily cropping from the center.
- Geolocation (Beginner) - I like that the Geolocation module makes it simple to add a point on a map and have that map render in a field. Easy to input and easy to format, with plenty of options for configuration.
- Honeypot (Beginner) - Do you ever get spam? While there are a lot of options for anti-spam measures (including captches) this solution has an algorithm that does not burden the end user and is pretty effective.
- Lightning Install Profile (Beginner) - Lightning is a general purpose Drupal distribution that focuses on the media and editorial enhancements. Not only is it a good started distribution for Drupal development, it is also a good learning tool. It often is easier to learn how to configure and use a module by examining how it’s implemented on a pre-configured distribution like Lightning.
- Scheduler (Beginner) - The scheduler module lets you schedule the publishing and unpublishing of your content. Note that it is going to use cron to make this happen so you need to verify that your cron is configured correctly.
- Slick / Slick views / Slick media (Intermediate) - The Slick suite of modules adds functionality to allow site builders to create slideshows and carousels. There are several related modules that integrate with every aspect of Drupal. The hardest part is the initial setup of library dependencies. Once that is done these modules are very easy to configure within the Drupal admin.
- Taxonomy Access Fix (Beginner) - This project addresses the fact that core doesn’t have granular enough permissions. The Taxonomy Access Fix module therefore adds in additional permissions to fill in the gaps.
- Viewsreference (Beginner) - Last but not least the Viewsreference module gives editors the ability to select a View from a field. At Mediacurrent we combine this field with a Paragraph type to give editors an easy, flexible interface for embedding Views onto a page.
Did I miss any modules you think should have made this list? Let me know on Twitter at @drupalninja!
Roleplaying games have been tied to fantasy literature since the original Dungeons and Dragons boxed set started to circulate in 1974. Many people see the heroic fantasy influences of Tolkien’s Middle-earth books, but the original play style (adventurers trying to get rich, famous, and powerful) is much more inspired by grittier fiction, like Leiber’s Lankhmar stories or Howard’s Conan.
Tolkien, Leiber, or Howard, the focus of much fantasy roleplaying has been on adventurers, in an adventuring party, taking on challenges from a shared perspective. Most fantasy roleplaying looks at the how the party tackles traps, monsters, and puzzles, and how they spend their rewards. While there have certainly been games that focus on politics and economics (Dungeons and Dragons had a whole setting dedicated to this principle in Birthright), that style of game isn’t always what springs to mind first and foremost when gamers discuss fantasy roleplaying.
In the modern era, writers like George R. R. Martin and Joe Abercrombie have written popular fantasy stories where the protagonists aren’t really heroes (in the modern sense), the world is gritty, and the movers and shakers of the setting can make decisions that affect entire societies. While there is plenty of one on one swordplay, there are also coronations, wars, espionage, and vast criminal empires.
The product I’m looking at today, The Sword, The Crown, and the Unspeakable Power by Wheel Tree Press, is a Powered by the Apocalypse game that takes its cues from authors like Martin and Abercrombie when it comes to the focus of play.Reading the Signs
This review is based on the PDF for The Sword, The Crown, and the Unspeakable Power. The PDF is 295 pages, and includes a single page index at the end. Normally, I would throw in how long supplemental material like the rules summary in the index are in this section, but . . . we’ll get to that.
The cover is in color, in reds, oranges, and yellows, and the interior of the book is all in black and white. There are “illumination” style boarders and chapter headings, and the artwork is stylized, taking its cue from various medieval cultures across the world. The layout is easy to read, with clear headers and a single column format.Introduction and the Basics
The introduction is very brief, and mentions the original Apocalypse World, as well as a host of games that inspired the design and tone of this game. In fact, the book spends more time discussing game inspirations than addressing the media that has shaped the genre that the game is attempting to emulate. If you weren’t sure what this game is attempting to bring to the table, the concept is pitched as “a fantasy game, but where politics is more important than adventuring.”
The Basics walks through the core mechanics common to most Powered by the Apocalypse games, and touches on some specifics of this game. This includes how a group moves the scale of things like harm taken or inflicted up or down, the character classes, tracked resources like barter and honor, and patrons. There is also an outline of what happens in the first session of play.Moves and Character Classes
While the basic structure of how a move works was laid out in the previous chapter, the Moves chapter spells out what all the basic, peripheral, and honor moves do. The character classes section lays out the different types of characters available to players in the game.
One thing that often comes up when looking at Powered by the Apocalypse games is “what is the general move for avoiding something bad,” and if that move isn’t obvious, you may need to adjust your thinking on how to present threats. In this case, there is an obvious move that covers this territory, called Face Duress.
The basic moves in the game are:
- Face Duress
- Threaten with Force
- Engage in Combat
- Persuade with Leverage
- Study a Situation
- Study a Person
- Whisper to the Unspeakable Power
Whisper to the Unspeakable Power is an interesting move, because it’s the “supernatural” move for people that aren’t supernatural types. The character classes that interact with magic have their own specialized moves, but this move is for characters who do things like saying “I’d sell my soul for X,” or “for all the things you have done to me and my family, I’ll call a curse down upon you.”
The Peripheral moves are:
- Patron Move
- Help or Interfere
- Taking Harm
- Market Move
The patron move is a move to determine if you are still on your patron’s good side. Help or Interfere will be familiar to anyone familiar with Powered by the Apocalypse games. Taking harm is similar to other moves where you might have a secondary effect beyond just the harm your character marks, and the Market Move determines how easy it is to find something you are looking for.
Honor moves are moves that interact with your honor score, and include the following:
- Do You Know Who I Am?
- Call on Your Faction
- Refuse an Obligation, Duty, or Debt
There is also a section with moves clarifications. This struck me as an odd choice for organization, since the moves chapter had in-depth discussions of the moves with examples. If there are further clarifications, why not roll those into the actual expanded move explanations?
In the Character Classes section, we have the following characters detailed:
- The Adept
- The Beloved
- The Black Hood
- The Bloodletter
- The Crown
- The Gauntlet
- The Hex
- The Lyre
- The Screw
- The Spur
- The Voice
They are roughly organized into the titular categories, with classes that lean on martial power under The Sword, classes that lean on political power under The Crown, and classes that lean on supernatural power under The Unspeakable Power.
I love the stylized images of the various classes, and my favorite visual cue in the whole game is using a hand to represent how much harm a character can take, with players drawing a line through each finger as they take harm.
Each character class has a section on relationships, where you determine how the characters know one another. Unlike some Powered by the Apocalypse games, these relationships only direct you to inform a player of the connection, without a follow up question to add context or details.
Each of these classes has a sex move. If you aren’t familiar with the concept, that’s a move that triggers when the character has sex with another, and it’s a concept introduced in Apocalypse World. Given the genre, it is very appropriate, but I’m still a little wary of some of the moves. Not because of what triggers them, but because so many of them can be used antagonistically, against other PCs. While entirely appropriate for the genre, it is another thing that reminds me that we haven’t had a safety talk integrated into the text at this point, just a referral to the safety section at the end of the book.
While we’re talking about safety—The Screw is specifically a character class about torturing people for information. I’ll be honest, I loved Sandan Glokta, the torturer from the First Law books. He’s sarcastic and ironic, and the comic relief is almost a necessary element to be able to stomach the character in the first place. I’m not sure how well that plays out at the table, and I almost wish there had been a more general “Inquisitor” playbook that was equally good at threatening economic or social well-being.Mythology Creation, Patrons, Factions, and Honor, and Weapons, Armor, Gear, and Tags
I’m grouping these chapters together because they have a lot to do with how the Master of Ceremonies and the players work together to define the world. Each chapter has some bullet pointed lists to walk the MC and players through the questions they should be answering, and what they need to have in place at the beginning of the game.
Since the text alludes to The Unspeakable Power being something dangerous or malevolent, I had expected the source of power to come up in the mythology creation. This is more about establishing what the prevailing culture believes to be the defining elements of history and folklore.
PCs that aren’t at the top of their faction’s answer to patrons, and everybody has a faction. These both relate to how a character gains, loses, and spends honor. Additionally, a character may have another PC as a patron, and there are rules to determine the difference between an NPC patron and a PC patron.
Weapons, armor, and gear get assigned various tags to determine what they are and how narrative elements around them might be manipulated.Advancement, The Master of Ceremonies, and Threats
Advancement explains how a character earns advancement points and how they can spend those advancement points to get access to new moves and advanced moves. The means of advancement are:
- Rolling a Highlighted Stat
- Using an Honor Move
- Triggering an Advancement Point from A Class Specific Move
Each class has a list of entanglements, and each session the MC will choose one of those entanglements as active. I really like that, because the entanglements are tied to the class and what that class’ “story” would be. Using an honor move only triggers once per session, but it relates to the PC choosing to bank on their reputation. Then there is rolling a highlighted stat.
I’ve never been a fan of highlighting stats in Powered by the Apocalypse games. I understand that it can mean that other players are asking you to tell stories where those stats are important to your character’s development. In practice, given that these games are very “fiction forward,” it feels odd to highlight a stat, when assigning a move comes after determining what the character is doing.
The End of Season moves are all very emblematic of the twist of fate elements that happen in the source material that inspired the game. In most of them, you are essentially picking how your character will exit the game, and what kind of countdown you are tracking to see when that happens. These are one of the best tools to reinforce the tone of the genre, and I like the flavor in them, but since all of them are optional, and separated from the basic information and the character classes, I worry that it’s easy to forget about them.
The MC section gives solid Powered by the Apocalypse advice, and spells out MC moves and details agendas, but I feel as if the agendas could be a little more pointed than they are. Making life interesting, dealing with adversity, and paying for what you get make sense in a lot of genres, but it seems like in this genre there should be a bit more “wondering if it was worth the cost,” and “giving up one thing you love for something you think you want.”
The examples make it clear that player versus player situations are expected in this game, but there isn’t a lot of meta-discussion on managing that. There are mechanical explanations of what moves mean when used against PCs versus when they are used against NPCs, but it feels like a little more discussion could have been centered around how to deal with a game where PCs are expected to thwart one another and have conflicting goals.
The Threats section gives you a series of bullet points to help you detail the adversaries that will challenge the PCs over the course of a campaign. These are some useful questions to help flesh out not just what the threat will do, but what it wants, and why it wants that thing. This section is a good reminder of what makes a good threat for just about any game, not just this one.Odds and Ends and Play Resources
This is section contains several essays on playing the game in different ways, in different settings, and on the inspiration material for the game. It also contains an appendix on safety. This organization feels a little odd to me.
When I read RPG products, I read them front to back, every page, while taking notes, and then refer to sections that I might have highlighted in my notes. But that’s my process, and I’m also reading these products for review. I’m not sure that the average player, when they read an RPG product, assumes that an appendix or an essay is relatively integral to understanding the game. It’s a “bonus” aspect of the product that might give more insight, like the extras on a Blu-ray. They might be fun and informative, but they aren’t the core essential experience.
In this case, the inspirational media and its tropes, the expected play style, and the very important section on safety, are all part of this section. This section is good, I’m just concerned that the way this section is labeled, it may be skipped over by people that pick up the game for the first time. This section not only dives into the inspirational media more fully, it also makes it clear that the expected play style may not only put the PCs at odds with one another, but it might mean that they don’t directly interact with one another for several sessions at a time, meaning that the expected play experience is like running multiple smaller single player games in the same setting.
It isn’t just the Odds and Ends chapter that has more integral information in it, however. Play Resources looks like it is going to be a table friendly resource summarizing the moves and various checklists for at the table play, but it also contains multiple example settings for the game, which I think are important to examine to get a good feel for what the game should look like in use.Seizing the Crown
There are a lot of strong individual tools for running a political fantasy game using the Powered by the Apocalypse framework. The tracked resources make sense, the bullet points make the process for assigning details very clear, and various visual flourishes, like the finger based harm tracking, are great. The checklist for creating a mythology and detailing a threat would be broadly useful even outside of this game.A Wedding of Sanguine Coloration This game has the tools to emulate political dark fantasy, and it has some nice checklists to help you flesh out your setting’s history and adversaries, but it may take a little bit of work to connect those tools in a satisfying manner.
In several places, the naming conventions go for practical over evocative. Safety discussions need to happen more often, and in a more integrated fashion. Influences and expected play arcs don’t come into play until late in the book.
Organization decisions had me scratching my head a few times, such as adding clarifications to the moves after the detailed discussion of moves, and mentioning that weapons should be detailed in a similar manner to harm moves for the Unspeakable Power in a later chapter, instead of rolling that into the character sheets. There are a lot of individual tools that could be tied together a little more tightly, instead of occupying separate spaces in the game. A lot more guidance could be added into the game for players being widely separated and directly acting against each other’s interests, other than simply explaining how that works mechanically.Tenuous Recommendation–The product has positive aspects, but buyers may want to make sure the positive aspects align with their tastes before moving this up their list of what to purchase next.
This game has the tools to emulate political dark fantasy, and it has some nice checklists to help you flesh out your setting’s history and adversaries, but it may take a little bit of work to connect those tools in a satisfying manner. This isn’t a game where you can read a few obvious key sections and get it to the table, because the organization distributes the important bits all around the book. If you are drawn to the political side of the game, and not the “nobody gets a happy ending” aspect of the inspirational media, there may be other games to check into as well.
What are your favorite dark fantasy games? What kinds of mechanics help to reinforce that genre? Let me know in the comments, and feel free mention new games you want to see reviewed in the future.
Enabling this module provides new webform element, the Popup Box. By placing fields inside this container, it will show those fields under Popup Box whenever we try to submit webform.
Jacob Rockowitz: It is okay for you to plan an exit strategy, we should be okay with off-boarding contributors, and everyone says goodbye
People come and go from open source projects and communities
Most people would agree that everyone should contribute something back to Open Source at some point in their careers. We have to realize that an ongoing Open Source contribution to a project can't be sustained forever. We might graduate from college, get a new job, need a break to travel, have kids, help raise grandkids, retire and even get bored with a project. While we need to improve open source sustainability, we also need to accept the reality that people continually come and go from open source projects.
Developer burnout should not be part of open source
Up until recently, I felt that 'burnout' was the only talked about method when people left the Drupal community. Up until DrupalCon, I thought that once I committed to supporting something, like a module, I was obligated indefinitely or at least until I burned-out from supporting it.
In my new year blog post title, Webform, Drupal, and Open Source...Where are we going?, I stated…
...and I don't think I am the only one.
Are we expecting too much?
Jeff Eaton's presentation titled "You Matter More Than The Cause" addresses burnout and how it impacts the sustainability of teams and he says…
I think we need to stomp out the concept of developer burnout in Open Source and equate developer burnout to poorly-managed companies and organizations.
Planning an exit strategy can prevent burnout
One of many valuable lessons I learned at Adam Goodman's Teamwork and Leadership Workshop at DrupalCon Nashville was that it’s okay to plan an exit strategy, it’s even something that can ultimately help the community and potentially...Read More
The Case Insensitive Files module allows users to use case insensitive URLs to request static files, even when Apache `mod_rewite` is used to generate SEO-friendly URLs. While this should not be necessary when using the Apache `mod_speling` module with `CheckSpelling on` and `CheckCaseOnly on`, the issue is that `mod_rewrite` has priority over `mod_speling`. So if one specifies a file with the wrong case in /sites/all/files, it handled by Drupal, which does a case-sensitive look-up and returns a 404.