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  • talien's Avatar
    Saturday, 17th November, 2018, 05:00 PM
    The holidays are coming up so it's time to start thinking about what to buy your fellow gamers, especially the critically underappreciated game master in your life. But what to buy? Take this poll and let us know!
    21 replies | 1147 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Saturday, 17th November, 2018, 02:46 PM
    The holidays are coming up so it's time to start thinking about what to buy your fellow gamers, especially the critically underappreciated game master in your life. But what to buy? Take this poll and let us know!
    21 replies | 378 view(s)
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  • talien's Avatar
    Friday, 16th November, 2018, 12:30 PM
    How much you like Guildmasters' Guide to Ravnica will depend upon what you want. If you're a Magic the Gathering player who wants an RPG version of Ravnica, GGtR may or may not satisfy you, depending upon how much setting depth you want from MtG. If you're looking for a full setting like the old Dungeons & Dragons' box sets, then you'll probably be disappointed because this is more of a slice of...
    7 replies | 1691 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Wednesday, 14th November, 2018, 12:30 PM
    Invisible Sun, the surrealist RPG by Monte Cook Games is definitely unique in many ways. While premium or high production value board games and LARPs have become increasingly common, the RPG industry version has been tame by comparison. Invisible Sun blows the concept out of the water. I've never seen an RPG that had shelving before. Originally Kickstarted in 2016, Invisible Sun has a...
    27 replies | 2808 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Tuesday, 13th November, 2018, 12:48 PM
    Wizards of the Coast has worked hard to provide a variety of adventure types for 5th Edition and with Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage they're tackling megadungeons. Mad Mage can be played on its own, if the players begin with 5th characters or better, or it can follow up the Waterdeep: Dragon Heist adventure, which is for 1st through 6th level characters. Please note: This review contains...
    32 replies | 3743 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Tuesday, 13th November, 2018, 12:30 PM
    Is your gaming table ready for Victorian horror using Dungeons & Dragons 5e rules crafted by one of Kobold Press’ designers? Matt Corley takes the time to discuss his first Kickstarter (but not his first game), Lamp’s Light Sanitarium. As well, he shares an exciting exclusive preview to his dark setting and adventure. EGG EMBRY (EGG): Your Kickstarter is not for the normal Dungeons &...
    2 replies | 1257 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Monday, 12th November, 2018, 11:30 AM
    I hope I showed in my last piece that "science vs magic" is not a sufficient way to differentiate fantasy from science fiction. What about other ways? Sourced from Pixabay What about the size (and speed) of typical vehicles as a separator? Science fiction often has vast spaceships that you "never" see in fantasy, yet even fantasy can have small space-traveling ships as in the Spelljammer...
    36 replies | 1231 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Saturday, 10th November, 2018, 07:54 PM
    A segment of the Dungeons & Dragons' fan base have been clamoring for setting releases and while Guildmasters Guide to Ravnica won't appease those who want a 5th Edition update of an older setting like Greyhawk, Planescape or Spelljammer, it is a fresh setting that Wizards of the Coast clearly hopes will bring the Magic the Gathering crowd to D&D. So what's my first impression of...
    142 replies | 7157 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Saturday, 10th November, 2018, 02:42 PM
    Calling Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage the “dungeon to end all dungeons” would be a mistake but clearly Wizards of the Coast is aiming for fans of such things. While it's big, it's not the biggest dungeon ever produced. It is, however, the biggest ever produced for 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons and Undermountain is considered the largest, deepest Forgotten Realms dungeon. My full...
    42 replies | 9843 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Friday, 9th November, 2018, 12:10 AM
    Hello again Paizo fans! We’re back once again to bring you slightly-belated news of the latest updates coming for the Pathfinder Playtest – complete with the final chapter of the Doomsday Dawn playtest adventure. Strap in, because there’s a whole mess of changes incoming in Update 1.6! First and foremost, the playtest adventure. Heroes new and old have been struggling to understand and...
    4 replies | 3134 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Thursday, 8th November, 2018, 12:30 PM
    Hello my fellow Paizo fans and welcome to the latest-breaking edition of your Paizo news! A number of fun things were scheduled for the golem’s December schedule, including a fair amount of fun for Pathfinder 1E, so let’s get into the details! The Return of the Runelords Adventure Path is still going strong, building up to a fond farewell to Pathfinder 1E. In the latest volume of the...
    2 replies | 2031 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Wednesday, 7th November, 2018, 11:30 AM
    Are you in the market for a science fantasy role playing game that runs on the 5E engine (SRD)? Well Esper Genesis might be the easy port over from D&D that you and your group are looking for. Esper Genesis is a science fantasy rpg from Alligator Alley Entertainment, with Rich Lescouflair as the lead designer. Certainly the team assembled to produce EG has experience and plenty to...
    71 replies | 2671 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Monday, 5th November, 2018, 11:30 AM
    Delta Green Night at the Opera is a 204 page full color PDF by Arc Dream Publishing and written by Dennis Detwiller, Shane Ivey, and Greg Stolze. It includes six adventures previously available separately in PDF and is available for pre-order in print. Agents call a Delta Green operation a night at the opera. Delta Green operations tend to be violent, bloody, and terrifying just like the...
    1 replies | 866 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Sunday, 4th November, 2018, 11:30 AM
    The Dragon Issue 16 was published in July 1978. It is 40 pages long, with a cover price of $1.50. In this issue we Eric Holmes talks Cthulhu, we learn why clerics and wizards can't use swords, and Gary Gygax hits back at his critics and talks about realism in D&D! I must start by mentioning the wonderfully dramatic cover by Dean Morrissey, depicting an ancient warrior reaching for his...
    46 replies | 2289 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Saturday, 3rd November, 2018, 11:30 AM
    Dungeons & Dragons Endless Quest gamebooks are back in the wild! The series, which ran in the mid-80s and again in the mid-90s, returned with new books written by Matt Forbeck released by Penguin Random House and Candlewick Entertainment through a deal with Wizards of the Coast. What are they? D&D gamebooks. They’re squarely Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA)/Endless Quest (EQ) style...
    15 replies | 2856 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Friday, 2nd November, 2018, 11:30 AM
    This is a broader question than just RPGs but the same arguments apply. It’s important for RPG designers, for consistency and to avoid immersion-breaking, but it’s probably not important to players. Sourced from Pixabay. After making some notes to try to answer this question for myself, I googled it, and I also asked for suggestions on Twitter. It’s the kind of situation where most...
    67 replies | 1598 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Thursday, 1st November, 2018, 11:30 AM
    It seems every RPG Kickstarter claims to do something different. Most aren't, but Orun by New Agenda Publishing definitely is — a “Post-Apotheosis, Afro-futuristic Sci-fi RPG mixing Mysticism and Adventure to create a unique gaming experience.” If you've never heard of New Agenda Publishing, that's because Orun is its first project. Founders Misha Bushyager, Jerry D. Grayson and Eloy...
    33 replies | 2287 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Wednesday, 31st October, 2018, 11:30 AM
    The twisted horrors and blood-crazed cultists of Masks of Nyarlathotep helped define the feel of Lovecraftian roleplaying more than three decades ago, and while this sprawling update weighs heavily on both the wallet and the bookshelf it does an excellent job of adapting the classic campaign for more modern tastes. If you haven’t encountered it before, however, you may be wondering why...
    10 replies | 2067 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Tuesday, 30th October, 2018, 11:30 AM
    Dungeon in a Box is a monthly subscription service which bills itself as a complete package of materials to run a D&D 5th Edition adventure. The box includes an adventure and a variety of accessories to go with it. The modules are designed to work as standalone games, but if you subscribe monthly, the adventures work together to build an overall, year-long narrative. Downloadable digital content...
    13 replies | 2458 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Monday, 29th October, 2018, 06:00 AM
    Join us this October as we look into the horrifying meme-beasts that haunt the Internet and trace their roots back to literature and role-playing games. In this final installment we meet the most popular of all the meme-monsters: Slender Man, a shadowy being whose legend has grown to monstrous proportions in a very short period of time. Image courtesy of Harem Malik Slender Who? Slender...
    4 replies | 1341 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Sunday, 28th October, 2018, 11:30 AM
    In today’s Burning Question we discuss: In D&D, why do DMs limit spells, feats, races, books, etc. when they have been play-tested by Wizards of the Coast? Photo by Mark Duffel on Unsplash The Short Answer
    267 replies | 5205 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Saturday, 27th October, 2018, 11:30 AM
    Are your Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate tough enough to face the horrific tortured denizens of a haunted demon house? Do you have the fast fists and wuxia mastery to survive the buzzing demon wasps and leather skinned martial artists of the House of Paper Shadows? House of Paper Shadows is a soft cover horror wuxia adventure for the free Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate by Bedrock Games. The...
    1 replies | 1427 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Friday, 26th October, 2018, 11:30 AM
    What makes an RPG a tabletop hobby RPG? An RPG, as we talk about them in the hobby, is a human‑opposed co‑operative game. I describe some characteristics. Picture sourced from Pixabay. I must be crazy to try to define/characterize a segment as large and diverse as this one in a few words. But here goes. There are two ways to define something: 1) specific (as in a dictionary), but this...
    50 replies | 1728 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Thursday, 25th October, 2018, 11:30 AM
    Give your players a Halloween treat without running an actual horror RPG. Any role-playing game can have a dose of spookiness. Photo by Robert Heiser on Unsplash The genre of the RPG doesn't matter. Everything from epic fantasy to science fiction to superhero games can be made creepy. After all, the movie Alien is essentially a haunted house in space. The upcoming New Mutants movie...
    0 replies | 1408 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Wednesday, 24th October, 2018, 11:30 AM
    Dungeons and Flagons is a discord server that brings gamers together online for Adventurers League play, while also raising money for charity. Every few months they host an Adventurers League Epic event to raise money for kids and all the while promoting the game we all love. On the 26th and 27th of October Dungeons and Flagons will be hosting the Adventurers League Epic Event DDEP4 The...
    0 replies | 1286 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Wednesday, 24th October, 2018, 03:44 AM
    Hello Paizo news junkies and welcome to our first rapid-fire update! Man does it feel weird not including an all-caps title. Well, the past is the past, and we, like the Golem, must move on. So onward an upward to our first piece of news: the latest update for the Pathfinder Playtest! As with all updates for the Pathfinder Playtest, this one comes with another chapter in the Doomsday...
    5 replies | 4192 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Tuesday, 23rd October, 2018, 11:30 AM
    Looking for a gaming-related fulltime job? Interested in a part-time, freelance position? Do you have a short story you’d like to be paid to write? In this RPG jobs roundup, there are opportunities to share your work while being paid for, to raise your profile as a creator, game organizer, as an author, or a combination. These are not all of the gaming jobs available, and they may close at any...
    0 replies | 2435 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Tuesday, 23rd October, 2018, 06:00 AM
    Art & Arcana is out today in both Standard ($50 MSRP) and Special ($150) Editions. Is the Special Edition worth the additional $100? Let’s find out! The first thing you’ll notice about this Special Edition is Hydro74’s (Joshua Smith) gold leaf cover on a black slipcase. Smith is the go-to artist for Wizard of the Coast’s special editions and it’s drawn in his distinctive style. You...
    13 replies | 2399 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd October, 2018, 11:00 AM
    Tim Hutchings is putting out a game about playing a Thousand Year Old Vampire called, ironically enough, Thousand Year Old Vampire. EN World talked to Tim about his history of game design and Thousand Year Old Vampire itself. Sean Hillman (SH): Tim, before we get into Thousand Year Old Vampire, can you tell folks about how you got into gaming and game design? What were the biggest...
    0 replies | 1486 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st October, 2018, 11:30 AM
    The Dragon Issue 15 was published in June 1978. It is 36 pages long, with a cover price of $1.50. In this issue we get a whole bunch of random tables, Monty Haul returns, and a legendary RPG designer makes his debut! Editor Tim Kask celebrates another milestone while decrying some poor service: "Welcome to the third printing year for THE DRAGON. I’m still amazed at how far we’ve...
    13 replies | 1490 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th October, 2018, 09:39 PM
    Hello friends and welcome back to your Paizo news and reviews! Today we have an entire update dedicated to a single book: the STARFINDER ALIEN ARCHIVE 2! That’s enough preamble; let’s get to it! First impressions, like the rest of the book to follow, are mixed. Paizo knows that presentation is vital in this business, and this book, like all the rest of the Paizo lineup, looks gorgeous. At...
    0 replies | 1331 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Friday, 19th October, 2018, 11:30 AM
    Part 2. Continuing to describe the “All About Me” style, and asking why it’s popular. It has to do with player (not character) backgrounds, certainly. Is it generational in some way? Photo by Hello I'm Nik on Unsplash Last time I talked about the “All About Me” RPG style, and how it differed so drastically from the semi-military style I’ve always been accustomed to. I’ve...
    52 replies | 1796 view(s)
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About talien

Basic Information

Date of Birth
November 1, 1972 (46)
About talien
About Me:
Michael "Talien" Tresca is a game designer, author, communicator, and artist. He was the National RPG and Sci-Fi Movie Examiner for six years and published three books, the non-fiction history of gaming, The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games from McFarland Publishing, his fantasy fiction debut, The Well of Stars, from Three Ravens Books, and the young adult fantasy Awfully Familiar from Dark Quest Books. Michael has authored numerous supplements and adventures for publishers of Open Game License and D20-compatible games, including AEG, MonkeyGod Enterprises, Goodman Games, Otherworld Creations, Privateer Press, RPGObjects and Ronin Arts. A top reviewer for Amazon, his articles and reviews have appeared in Allgame.com, D20 Filtered, Dragon Magazine, Gamers.com, Pyramid, RPG.net, and Sharktopus. He has participated in panels about electronic and tabletop role-playing games at ConnectiCon, Dragon*Con, and I-Con.

When he's not writing, Michael can be found as his alter ego, Talien, on RetroMUD as an administrator. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and two children.
Location:
Fairfield, CT
Disable sharing sidebar?:
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Sex:
Male
Age Group:
Over 40
Social Networking

If you can be contacted on social networks, feel free to mention it here.

Google+:
miketresca
Twitter:
dreadspace
Facebook:
talien
YouTube:
Trescami
My Game Details

Details of games currently playing and games being sought.

State:
New York
Country:
USA
Game Details:
This story hour is an ongoing account of our D20 Modern conspiracy game. It follows the missions of Majestic-12 agents battling Lovecraftian horrors in a world rife with conspiracy and the occult. I also write a column about action horror gaming in general at RPG.net titled The Horror! and I'm the National RPG writer for the Examiner.
More information:
http://www.enworld.org/forum/story-hour/214026-modern-delta-green-beginning-end-updated-daily-april-6-a.html
My Character:
* Game Master: Michael Tresca
* Joseph “Archive” Fontaine (Dedicated Hero) played by Joe Lalumia: A licensed private detective and master of the mystical arts, Archive wanted to be a priest once. He freelances for X-investigations, a glamorous private detective agency that specializes in the occult. When he crossed paths with the Traveler and mistakenly identified it as a body-hopping demon, Majestic-12 recruited him for some much needed mystical backup.
* Jim “Jim-Bean” Baxter (Charismatic Hero) played by Jeremy Ortiz: A former British SAS and PISCES agent, Jim-Bean lost his partners to what can only be called "brain spiders." Although he's also psychic, Jim-Bean loathes his abilities and considers the majority of supernatural events to be bunk. He's also a wiseass.
* Hank “Guppy” Gupta (Smart Hero) played by Joseph Tresca: An American-born Indian, Guppy was abducted by aliens once, or so he believes, on an expedition to South America. He has never recovered, losing his girlfriend and his promising degree. Majestic-12 sprung him from the Van Dyson Institute for reasons known only to them. Guppy's the first one to panic, but fancies himself a kind of McGyver.
* Kurtis “Hammer” Grange (Fast Hero) played by George Webster: One of the agents who had a former government affiliation, Hammer was on a mission for the CIA when he encountered the "brain spiders." He lost both his partners. Hammer's the most level-headed of the group, and the only trained investigator among them.
* Jake “Blade” Iron Shirt (Strong Hero) played by Matt Hammer: A Native American bruiser and former Ultimate Fighting Champion, Blade is the only famous agent on the team. Unfortunately, he's famous for all the wrong reasons: his romance with the woman he was assigned to protect, Christine Dee; the birth of their child, Alex; his subsequent divorce and spiral into alcoholism. Blade is desperate to get visiting rights to see his son. Stephen Alzis has an unhealthy interest in Blade's family dynamics as well.
* Sebastian “Caprice” Creed (Fast/Smart Hero) played by Bill Countiss: An American engineer, Caprice is the closest agent who was "normal" before he joined Majestic-12. His fast thinking on his feet has proved useful on more than one occassion, especially when hunting down body-hopping aliens.

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Poll of the Week: What's the best gift for your GM? Saturday, 17th November, 2018 02:46 PM

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My Game Details
State:
New York
Country:
USA
Game Details:
This story hour is an ongoing account of our D20 Modern conspiracy game. It follows the missions of Majestic-12 agents battling Lovecraftian horrors in a world rife with conspiracy and the occult. I also write a column about action horror gaming in general at RPG.net titled The Horror! and I'm the National RPG writer for the Examiner.
More information:
http://www.enworld.org/forum/story-hour/214026-modern-delta-green-beginning-end-updated-daily-april-6-a.html
My Character:
* Game Master: Michael Tresca
* Joseph “Archive” Fontaine (Dedicated Hero) played by Joe Lalumia: A licensed private detective and master of the mystical arts, Archive wanted to be a priest once. He freelances for X-investigations, a glamorous private detective agency that specializes in the occult. When he crossed paths with the Traveler and mistakenly identified it as a body-hopping demon, Majestic-12 recruited him for some much needed mystical backup.
* Jim “Jim-Bean” Baxter (Charismatic Hero) played by Jeremy Ortiz: A former British SAS and PISCES agent, Jim-Bean lost his partners to what can only be called "brain spiders." Although he's also psychic, Jim-Bean loathes his abilities and considers the majority of supernatural events to be bunk. He's also a wiseass.
* Hank “Guppy” Gupta (Smart Hero) played by Joseph Tresca: An American-born Indian, Guppy was abducted by aliens once, or so he believes, on an expedition to South America. He has never recovered, losing his girlfriend and his promising degree. Majestic-12 sprung him from the Van Dyson Institute for reasons known only to them. Guppy's the first one to panic, but fancies himself a kind of McGyver.
* Kurtis “Hammer” Grange (Fast Hero) played by George Webster: One of the agents who had a former government affiliation, Hammer was on a mission for the CIA when he encountered the "brain spiders." He lost both his partners. Hammer's the most level-headed of the group, and the only trained investigator among them.
* Jake “Blade” Iron Shirt (Strong Hero) played by Matt Hammer: A Native American bruiser and former Ultimate Fighting Champion, Blade is the only famous agent on the team. Unfortunately, he's famous for all the wrong reasons: his romance with the woman he was assigned to protect, Christine Dee; the birth of their child, Alex; his subsequent divorce and spiral into alcoholism. Blade is desperate to get visiting rights to see his son. Stephen Alzis has an unhealthy interest in Blade's family dynamics as well.
* Sebastian “Caprice” Creed (Fast/Smart Hero) played by Bill Countiss: An American engineer, Caprice is the closest agent who was "normal" before he joined Majestic-12. His fast thinking on his feet has proved useful on more than one occassion, especially when hunting down body-hopping aliens.

Sunday, 18th November, 2018


Tuesday, 23rd October, 2018


Sunday, 21st October, 2018


Saturday, 20th October, 2018

  • 05:50 PM - Gradine mentioned talien in post General Roleplaying Board spammed by blank Starfinder threads
    I don’t know if anyone else is dealing with this, but the General Roleplaying Games Discussion board is full of threads started by talien that have the same title as LongGoneWriter’s post reviewing Starfinder’s Alien Archives 2. They all say the same thing: This post was generated by a news article which your device or browser is not displaying directly. You can view the article directly here. I am on the desktop site on my iPhone, if that somehow makes a difference.

Monday, 3rd September, 2018

  • 02:31 PM - Aldarc mentioned talien in post D&D = American + European Fantasy
    talien, thank you for this article. You hit the nail on the head. This discussion reminds me of a similar discussion of genre in regards to Star Wars. Many people classify Star Wars not so much as Sci-Fi, but as Science Fantasy. But a number of film critics note how much of Star Wars, particularly the first film, is rooted in the American Western, arguably making Star Wars a Sci-Fantasy Space Western. With even another strong influence on Star Wars, Akira Kurosawa, having pulled heavily from American Westerns. Not to mention other early pulp sci-fi stories and serials (e.g., Flash Gordon, John Carter of Mars) that also drew from American Westerns. You can watch Star Wars (A New Hope) as an American Western. The first part of the film focuses on a frontier desert region with dangerous natives. There is a retired gunslinger who takes on a farm kid wearing a poncho. A saloon scene. An outlaw smuggler and his exotic "Indian" sidekick armed with a bow evading bounty hunters with a stage coach ...

Monday, 25th June, 2018

  • 09:44 PM - Mistwell mentioned talien in post Gatekeeping, Edition Wars, and Fandom
    I know I can block people in forums, but will that also block them from the front page? Because I can do without the armchair psychology assessment that attacks the entire membership of this website. It's a shame too, because at least the first 2/3rds was a cool collection of block quotes from better writers. Agreed. I don't recall talien asking fans why they do the things they do, and engaging in a conversation with them so he can get a better grasp on their differing perspectives, so he can gather the data necessary to even begin to draw a psychological conclusion about their motives. That line just struck me as outright rude. As for why he decided to be rude...I'd have to ask him. See how that works Talien?

Wednesday, 16th May, 2018

  • 10:55 AM - Cergorach mentioned talien in post Is It Worth Printing Your Own Miniatures?
    talien: Do me a favor, print the best model Beholder from Thingiverse in a similar size as the Wizkids unpainted model, ink both and make a photograph. Use the default settings for this, do another print with the best settings for this kind of model on your printer. Then explain how much time you've spent printing with your printer to get these 'better' results. Thingiverse is hit or miss in their model quality, 99,99% is just crap. The question is whether that 0,01% contains what you want. And if not, does someone else sell those models and what do they cost? Someone else said it better then me: "Getting into 3D printing isn't like buying a normal printer, it's like getting into another expensive hobby (in both time and money)." Also, if you need 5 Wargs and you don't care about legalities, why not buy the model, create a silicon mold and cast them in resin, then sell the original model. Chances are that you can get it cheaper then even 3D printing... I'm not advocating this, bu...

Tuesday, 8th May, 2018

  • 12:33 PM - Cergorach mentioned talien in post How Long Before the Digital Dam Breaks?
    talien: Do you have any experience printing HIPS? Marvel Unlimited is awesome! Services like Humble Bundle and Bundle of Holding are great, for a small fee you get introduced to a small selection of 'new' material. The intention of course is to get you interested and buying the rest of the material. Computer games are far more advanced in this market then comics, rpg pdfs, ebooks, etc. Things like Steam have been around for ages, GOG is also wel established, Blizzard of course with Battlenet 2.0, even EA Origins is a good service these days (they also have a game subscription service). Consoles also have such services, but I'm not a console player, so my knowledge of those is only anecdotal.

Thursday, 5th April, 2018

  • 05:27 PM - pemerton mentioned talien in post Do We Still Need "Race" in D&D?
    you are confusing the evil use of race as a concept in our world with the accurate use of a word as a rule in D&D. The word race is not bad at all, it is the theory that humans have races and that some or one is better than the others is the evil. To say that elves and humans are different races is not the same and to claim they are is confused logic. I don't think you read my reasons closely at all. I didn't say anything about elves. And I offered no complaint about the word "race" - in fact I said that it is a crucial but challenging concept in social explanation. But when you refer to the accurate use of the word "race", what do you mean? Clearly not that. I'm pretty sure I know what you mean: and that's why I would like some sort of change along the lines described by talien in the OP. Because I would like my family and friends to be able to engage with my hobby without having to wade their way through all this . . . residue . . . that I have to explain away, or apologise for, as legacy baggage of the fantasy tradition.

Tuesday, 3rd April, 2018

  • 12:56 PM - Ancalagon mentioned talien in post Do We Still Need "Race" in D&D?
    I thought that the OP was commisioned by the website owner to write articles. Well, there's only one way to settle this... .... Yo talien, were you commissioned by Morrus to write this?

Wednesday, 28th March, 2018

  • 07:54 AM - pemerton mentioned talien in post From Dogs to Dragons: Kobold Evolution
    ...here and they are rightfully scared. They are cautious and worried and whatnot. Tell them that there is a cave of goblins over there and it's "Wahoo, xp piñatas." Because, frankly, that's pretty much how humanoids are presented in the game.Well, if you look at it in wargame terms, there has to be some piece that's at the bottom of the power gradient. Kobolds and goblins are it! And looked at in genre terms, there's also a certain logic to it. In LotR the orcs of Cirith Ungol are worried that a single great Elven or Numenorean warrior might be asaulting their tower. And the heroes of the Silmarillion are pretty good at orc-hewing. If the system supports character growth to those sorts of legendary degrees, then it follows that ordinary troops (including orcs, goblins, kobolds, etc) will eventually be fairly easily overcome. There's a tradition in classic D&D design of coming up with threats to PCs that do an end-run around the level mechanics, but - as I posted in reply to talien upthread - I'm not a big fan, because these seem like rules exploits rather than genuinely fair play (your save vs poison gets better with level, and your ability to survive pit traps gets better with level because of hp, but because Gygax never bothered to write in any quicksand rules then your 12th level fighter is as vulnerable to submerging and drowning as your 1st level one? - that seems like a cheat to me). If you want to have "squad leader" style play in a humanoid lair like Caves of Chaos, then use 2nd or maybe 3rd level PCs. That should do the job.

Thursday, 10th August, 2017

  • 04:54 PM - LordEntrails mentioned talien in post When the Sharks Finally Catch You: The Death of Geek Chic
    Have to say that when I saw this title I was expecting to hear some information on what has happened since the announcement. Sorry talien, but this news is almost 2 months old. Your article is good, but not very timely. I appreciate the background info, but if there are current lawsuits, who is suing who and why? What about customers that have paid and have yet (if ever) to recieve their tables? Has CGT said anything else since the first week?

Thursday, 26th November, 2015


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Tuesday, 23rd October, 2018

  • 04:41 PM - Ralif Redhammer quoted talien in post Art & Arcana Review: Leveling Up with a Special Edition
    Looking forward to cracking this open when I get home, hopefully! Totally agree on that SKT artwork. I’m not squeamish, but I kinda hate that piece. I had a character portfolio with that art on it, because that was the only option at the time, but I replaced it as soon as something better came along. Rather than focusing on the heroic parts, you can’t help but focus on the headless body and severed head with its ugly expression. Most puzzling of all is the decision to make the largest foldout poster an interior painting from Storm King’s Thunder (2016) by Chris Rahn. It shows a graphic depiction of a decapitated giant. It’s gross – my son and daughter don’t even want to look at it – and while Rahn does an excellent job, this is not something I would want to frame.

Saturday, 20th October, 2018

  • 05:50 PM - Gradine quoted talien in post General Roleplaying Board spammed by blank Starfinder threads
    I don’t know if anyone else is dealing with this, but the General Roleplaying Games Discussion board is full of threads started by talien that have the same title as LongGoneWriter’s post reviewing Starfinder’s Alien Archives 2. They all say the same thing: This post was generated by a news article which your device or browser is not displaying directly. You can view the article directly here. I am on the desktop site on my iPhone, if that somehow makes a difference.

Monday, 15th October, 2018

  • 04:22 PM - Ralif Redhammer quoted talien in post Art & Arcana Review: A Sumptuous Feast for the Eyes
    Hahahah, clever and appropriate! I will say that I thought 4e’s art to be an up-tick in quality from 3e. I never liked 3e preponderance of screaming faces and people without any context or background. This is a great review, and has me so excited for my copy to arrive. Art is a huge part of the game’s appeal. Again, going back to the Red Box, the dragon, the golden hoard of treasure, the glowing bade, all was this wonderful call to adventure. And in case you’re wondering, 4th Edition is referenced as Maze.

Sunday, 14th October, 2018

  • 01:55 PM - schneeland quoted talien in post Art & Arcana Review: A Sumptuous Feast for the Eyes
    That was a really nice review! I often think that ENWorld articles end up somewhat on the short side of what I prefer, but this one really hit the mark! Like dave2008, I didn't expect there to be so much D&D history in the book; makes me even happier with my pre-order of the limited edition. Minor thing: During the 1970s, Gary Gygax spent years refining and tinkering with the rules, always in an effort to bring balance to the game, sometimes overcompensating where he thought there was potential for unfair advantage, as with supernatural races…In this way, the original game steered player characters away from the seductive, shot-term bonuses of non-human characters, always in favor of…bland humanity. The removal of class and race restrictions in 3rd edition set a tone for exciting new combinations, but also sent a strong social message: this game is for everyone, and you can be whatever you want to be. Typo on your side or in the book? (I assume that's supposed to be "sho...

Monday, 1st October, 2018

  • 03:28 PM - Ralif Redhammer quoted talien in post Shootout at the D&D Corral
    I remember when Rob Zombie was attached, for better or worse, to the Conan the Barbarian movie, he outright said that he was going to approach it as a bloody, violent, western. I remember those old tables, alongside the Gamma World conversion tables. Never did get to use either, as I was more of a genre purist (with surety of youth) back then, alas. The second of Gygax’s sources, Howard’s Conan, is similar. Howard was a Texan who wrote Westerns along with his fantasy stories, cowboys-in-the-Middle East stories, and boxing stories. It’s frequently argued that Conan is a Western hero. His martial skills allow him to triumph over the lawless savages and over the decadent “civilized” folk of his wild land. That’s what cowboys do.

Monday, 27th August, 2018

  • 04:02 PM - Ralif Redhammer quoted talien in post When Conan Punched Cthulhu
    FYI, it’s “Appendix N,” and also that link isn’t working for me. In the course of his adventures, Conan faced off against numerous sanity-straining eldritch monsters. Yet, as stated, he always triumphed. Debatably, the Howardian Cosmic Horror mode works better for extended play than the Lovecraftian (since for all the horror of Howard’s stories, he never gave up the belief that a person brave enough couldn’t find a way to somehow fight back). Back in the day, I wanted to do a Call of Cthulhu-Stormbringer mash-up, since they both used the same system, more or less. My brother, who was running CoC at the time, didn’t see the possibilities, shall we say. Gary Gygax, cited R.E. Howard's Conan series as inspiration in his "Appendix Z."

Tuesday, 21st August, 2018

  • 05:08 PM - dragoner quoted talien in post D&D = American + European Fantasy
    Dungeons & Dragons draws on a rich mythology ... As does this article, drawing upon myths such as American Exceptionalism, and the Protestant Work Ethic. At this point, however, D&D is creating it's own mythology, and drawing from that.

Monday, 20th August, 2018

  • 05:40 PM - GrahamWills quoted talien in post D&D = American + European Fantasy
    D&D has come full circle to influence the fantasy that created it. You can see its motley pedigree's fingerprints on sweeping fantasies like Game of Thrones. Ummm. Actually no I can't. Honestly I don't see a lot of the extras D&D throws on top of classic fantasy appear in modern media. Spell memorization is probably the most D&D-ish trope, and I don't see much of that. What else is D&D that isn't classic fantasy? I guess "dwarves with Scottish accents" might have been a D&D-derived meme? Are clerics not allowed used edged weapons in GoT? Do we have character who cannot be injuries, just go from fully-effective to dead? Evidence of strong classes? I know it's pleasant to think that your hobby is changing the world, but I'm not convinced.

Friday, 17th August, 2018

  • 03:01 AM - Shasarak quoted talien in post Tink-Tink-Boom vs. the Death Spiral: The Damage Mechanic in RPGs
    What do you say, gentle reader? Is the simplicity of the TTN system not worth the loss of realism? Is the Death Spiral too brutal, or is it grimly satisfying? And is that grim satisfaction worth the extra variables required of the players and GM to track? The irony is that TTB systems are actually more realistic then Death Spiral systems.

Monday, 23rd July, 2018

  • 06:40 PM - Tony Vargas quoted talien in post D&D: The Board Game?
    Dungeons & Dragons' classification has sometimes befuddled stores in how to place it on shelves. Is it a book? A game? A toy? Of the three: a game. It was originally a miniatures wargame, an outgrowth of Chainmail. It quickly became recognized as the first Table Top Roleplaying Game. It was also immediately, as you note, knocked off by actual boardgames like Dungeon! or Talisman, and early text-based adventure games like Zork. Then there were actual D&D-IP CRPGs. And it's been knocked off by MMOs, as well (and by their MUD precursors, obviously). Hasbro has put out multiple boardgams using D&D's IP, including the ones you mentioned, which retain a few D&D-ish rules, and others, like Lords of Waterdeep, that do not. (With boardgames so hot the last few years, it's odd they're not pushing those harder. Or, maybe they are and I just haven't noticed, as I'm not so into bardgames in the first place.) But, D&D, itself, is a TTRPG. Period. Heck, it's /the/ TTRPG.

Monday, 9th July, 2018

  • 11:19 PM - Les Moore quoted talien in post An Army in the Dungeon
    The very fact that Grenadier produced an entire boxed set filled with torch bearers, guys toting treasure chests, and even a "potion tester" (he's figure E in the image above) tells you far more about the way D&D was played back in the day than I ever could. What it tells me is Grenadier was interested in selling large groups of miniatures, which could be handy, to represent different party members, NPCs, and also townsfolk. I remember many a party of half a dozen PCs, back during AD&D, and usually we played NPCs to compensate for parties smaller than 5 or six. NPCs had the additional issue of tripping traps set for the PCs by the DM. Granted it is absolutely true that D&D's roots can be traced directly back to wargaming.

Tuesday, 3rd July, 2018

  • 01:00 AM - Tony Vargas quoted talien in post Games Are (Still) Not the Problem
    If the latest craze is any indication, games will be dogged by accusations that they corrupt young minds as long as kids are playing them. We can only hope. Nothing sells to that demographic like fears it might 'corrupt' them.

Monday, 2nd July, 2018

  • 07:57 PM - TheCosmicKid quoted talien in post Games Are (Still) Not the Problem
    Jane McGonigal, game designer and advocate, argued on Twitter: Videogame "addiction" is compensatory, escapist behavior stemming from untreated depression or anxiety. You can't treat this by focusing on games. You treat this by targeting the real underlying problem, which by the way -- for many gamers is tied to large, systemic issues of economic insecurity, social alienation, fear of violence, trauma from serving in wars, the daily grind of suffering racism and sexism and lack of compassion in our elected leaders... I mean JUST STOP BLAMING GAMES. Whether or not a nine-year-old English girl's mental health troubles can be ultimately laid at the feet of economic insecurity or battlefield trauma or [insert disfavored politician here], getting her off Fortnite is probably going to be an important step in her recovery process. The game is not to blame in the sense that Fortnite's designers are bad people who have maliciously released a dangerous product*. But neither is it just a symptom. O...
  • 02:28 PM - Eltab quoted talien in post Games Are (Still) Not the Problem
    The problem is sometimes they're more boogeyman than threat My family and I soured on MMOs when my grade-school-aged son started playing one, went through a lot of in-game work to get the raw materials for a piece of equipment, had it built … and an IRL classmate so-called friend hacked his account to steal the completed work. This is not the game's fault, the "friend" had low character and the game gave him the opportunity to express it.

Monday, 25th June, 2018

  • 07:23 PM - Tony Vargas quoted talien in post Gatekeeping, Edition Wars, and Fandom
    Fandom, and its ability to influence the material that created it, all began with Sherlock Holmes. I always thought it started with religion, or tribal affiliation, back in pre-history somehwere. It's just, that, with rise of sciene and nation-states, those old ties were weakened or lost, and sometimes in that lack, projected on trivial comonalities, like team sports or fiction franchises or designer labels, (other times on political parties, race, gang membership, etc). It was in fan communities (specifically fantasy and science fiction fans) that Dungeons and Dragons (Deb) first became popular, and it has retained its popularity in these communities (Mackay, 2001, p. 16). In fact, Crawford and Rutter (2007) suggest that gaming in general should be considered as a part of studying fandom (p. 271). Can TRPG players be considered just another group within the larger fandom subculture or does it represent its own culture? Perhaps gaming is a part of fandom as a whole. We don't even get to ...
  • 06:36 PM - Ralif Redhammer quoted talien in post Gatekeeping, Edition Wars, and Fandom
    The Complete Oracle as a fun read and return to a prior age of the game. But this quote struck me when I first read it, and it still resonates. It really captures part of what makes this game so magical. As for gatekeeping, it avails little, and comes off as pretty silly (if not downright jerkish). As a Goth of old, over the years, I’ve seen so many arguments on what IS or ISN’T Goth, not to mention slinging around of that most dire of labels, POSEUR. Eventually one realizes that it doesn’t really make you any cooler or more Goth whether you prefer Valor or Rozz. Dr. Richard Forest explained how D&D propagates itself in The Complete Oracle: [HQ][INDENT]The genius of Dungeons & Dragons is that it is a machine that makes more Dungeons & Dragons, and it does this right at your table. D&D is not in the books. It is at the game table. It is in our scribbled notes. It is in our maps, in our jokes, in our daydreams during dull classes or meetings, in our forum posts from work, in our blo...

Monday, 18th June, 2018

  • 06:25 PM - Dire Bare quoted talien in post Everybody Cheats?
    Well I WAS going to write an article titled "Nobody Cheats" but unfortunately we have data points (both research and surveys) to the contrary. I'm not sure why some are giving you hassle. A few posters almost seem to be taking this as a personal attack, or an attack on their beloved hobby. "Are you calling me a cheater Tresca?" Your article is on point, cheating is rampant in our hobby . . . so much so that some folks criticizing your points literally describe themselves cheating. It's somewhat normalized in our hobby culture, as you point out in the article. I think cheating was more common back in the day and that as game design has advanced to take some of the randomness out, and some of the strict prereqs out (high scores to play a paladin), cheating has become less common. However, I can't remember playing a session when someone didn't appear to be cheating in some way. Of course, how you define "cheating" and how serious of a problem it is varies with individuals and groups....

Tuesday, 12th June, 2018

  • 11:56 PM - evileeyore quoted talien in post D&D: The New Poker?
    Is D&D now being used to network and blow off steam the way adults play poker? In this aspect? Maybe? Will D&D replace poker as the weekly adult get-together for busy professionals? Personally I think boardgames have replaced poker. At least in my circles it was poker† as the pick-up game, then it was M:tG, now it's boardgames. † As in 'card games', like poker variants, spade, hearts, etc. Professional DMs fundamentally change the game for everyone involved and not for the better. The DMs role becomes that of a paid entertainer rather then a collaborative storyteller. I could never take a penny for running a game and never will. That's all you. I for one have been paid to run games† (LARPs specifically). Nothing wrong with it. † Not sure I'd take money for running a non-LARP as ... well... I'm not as good a sit-down GM as I am a LARP GM. It's a whole different style of running game. I'd describe LARP GMing as "herding cats by alternatively tossing cat-nip and...
  • 01:21 AM - dragoner quoted talien in post Everybody Loves Lovecraft?
    Lovecraft's racism is troubling, more so when one reads his letters which were published later on, so like many, I liked the books until I read his published collection of letters, where even his friends such as Howard criticized him for it. He’s an author who encouraged others to expand on his ideas, to set their own stories in what would become known as the Cthulhu Mythos. He created an open source, creative commons universe decades before those ideas were to become in vogue. If he did none of this, his work would have certainly died when he did. He originally took inspiration from Poe, "the Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym", is definitely the precursor to "At the Mountains of Madness". Also Chambers "The King in Yellow", and not merely influences, things directly lifted. Things really got rolling when Greg Stafford attended NecronomiCon (1992?) — a Lovecraftian convention held in Massachusetts — and realized that the Lovecraft community of the early ’90s was made up of two classe...

Monday, 11th June, 2018

  • 11:43 PM - Bagpuss quoted talien in post Why Did "Solo" and "Rogue One" Feel Like RPG Sessions?
    I'm specifically referencing "A Star Wars Story" which is a different kind of movie from the main trilogies. So Last Jedi happened, but totally distinct from these new "side quests." EDIT: Two other people pointed this out before I read all the way down, didn't mean to pile on! You don't deny it though. ;)


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Who You Gonna Call?
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d20 Hellraiser supplement for Call of Cthulhu d20.
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d20 Terminator: Future Fate.
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d20 Aliens: Game Over.
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d20 Matrix.
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D20 Evil Dead
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