View Profile: talien - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
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  • talien's Avatar
    Friday, 19th April, 2019, 11:30 AM
    Commercial RPGs have existed for some 45 years. Where RPG ideas are concerned, there's not much new under the sun. Then why do people keep writing new RPGs? It's a LOT of work, even if you don't do it well. I think of composer Sir William Walton's remark after writing his only opera: "don't write an opera. Too many notes." Change that to "RPG" and "words" and you have my point of view. We're...
    15 replies | 1159 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th April, 2019, 11:30 AM
    The Stranger Things Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set was pretty much inevitable. From the moment we saw Mike DM D&D for his friends early in the first session of the Netflix series, the clock started ticking when some crossover product would be released. Announced at Toy Fair earlier this year, Hasbro is heavily gearing this product to the mass market, not just hobby game stores. Modeled on...
    35 replies | 2799 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th April, 2019, 11:30 AM
    This list opens with two RPG Kickstarters that are education-based. Critical Core focuses on children along the spectrum, something important to me, and STEAM Hack hopes to inspire the next generation of scientists. Beyond these two great projects, The Grande Temple of Jing boasts one of the strongest lineups of creators I’ve seen including Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Ed Greenwood, Jim Ward,...
    11 replies | 2268 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th April, 2019, 11:30 AM
    I’ve created this guide to help RPG creators understand the current market rates for freelancers across a range of activities. I recall how hard it was to find this information when I was starting out, so I think there is clearly a need for this sort of a guide. In this installment, I include rate information for layout, illustration, and cartography. Picture courtesy of Pixabay. Where...
    10 replies | 2001 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Monday, 15th April, 2019, 11:30 AM
    I embarked on a seven-week long journey to teach 20 Boy Scouts about game design, and learned a lot along the way. Our first of four games we studied was Jenga, and it was about as chaotic as you might expect. Of the four games the Boys voted highest (D&D, 1-2-Switch, Jenga, and Star Wars Family Feud), Jenga got the least votes but still more than several other games. Jenga is a surprisingly...
    7 replies | 482 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Friday, 12th April, 2019, 11:30 AM
    Amid the backdrop of a dank cave, two adventurers prepare for battle with a man in the process of transforming into a werewolf. A lone treasure chest sits at the foot of the warrior as a spider looms above. Below, this issue promises to teach readers how to paint Conan and do some solo dungeon mapping. Within the Pages of the Old Tome One of my favorite things about these older issues of...
    15 replies | 1566 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th April, 2019, 11:30 AM
    When the owner of an ENnie Award-nominated site like Tribality reached out to share a nautical-themed D&D 5e project they have on Kickstarter, I had questions. To hear that a publisher like Tribality is on the same wavelength as Wizards of the Coast and planning a book dedicated to 5e and the sea, I wanted to know more. What started as curiosity became an interview about Seas of Vodair, a 5e...
    10 replies | 3473 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th April, 2019, 11:30 AM
    Between April 19th and 25th, there are at least 18 RPG and RPG-related Kickstarters ending. Of those, I look at ten including the largest animation/RPG project ever on Kickstarter, Critical Role, as well as five third-party products for Dungeons & Dragons, two original systems, some odds and ends, and a Storyteller game. Let’s kick it off with: Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina...
    8 replies | 4094 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th April, 2019, 11:30 AM
    Most companies design an RPG and use the same rule set, with or without new editions, for everything. With NerdBurger Games, Craig Campbell created three RPGs using three very different sets of original mechanics. Murders & Acquisitions was Campbell's first original RPG, and it toys with the concept of "cut throat" business. "The game’s built from mundane, typical things you might...
    0 replies | 993 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Sunday, 7th April, 2019, 07:05 PM
    Commercial RPGs have existed for some 45 years. Where RPG ideas are concerned, there's not much new under the sun. Then why do people keep writing new RPGs? It's a LOT of work, even if you don't do it well. I think of composer Sir William Walton's remark after writing his only opera: "don't write an opera. Too many notes." Change that to "RPG" and "words" and you have my point of view. ...
    17 replies | 766 view(s)
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  • talien's Avatar
    Friday, 5th April, 2019, 07:37 PM
    We’re back, my wonderful friends! A single update wasn’t enough to contain everything Paizo, so here we are with another edition of the PAIZO NEWS UPDATE! There’s plenty of goodness to be had here in the twilight of Pathfinder 1E for both GMs and players, so let’s dig in to the juicy details! First and foremost, a product near and dear to my heart as both a GM and a cartographer....
    5 replies | 2436 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Friday, 5th April, 2019, 11:30 AM
    I’ve created this guide to help RPG creators understand the current market rates for freelancers across a range of activities. I recall how hard it was to find this information when I was starting out, so I think there is clearly a need for this sort of a guide. In this installment, I include rate information for writing and editing. Picture courtesy of Pixabay. Where available, I’ve...
    40 replies | 3756 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Thursday, 4th April, 2019, 11:41 AM
    Hello again my lovelies and welcome once more to your favorite compilation of all things from the Golem – that’s right, it’s time for the PAIZO NEWS UPDATE! How spoiled are we that once again the new month brings such bounty it cannot be contained to a single update? Keep your eyes peeled for the next Update when it drops. But now, on to the news! Fans of Pathfinder Adventure Paths and...
    6 replies | 3309 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Wednesday, 3rd April, 2019, 11:30 AM
    The number of Kickstarters have decreased from the highs of February and March. Between April 12th and the 18th, there are 9 RPG Kickstarters and 1 RPG zine ending, all covered below. 5e sees products for the seas, Numenera, and more, there’s original systems, one of the largest Pathfinder 1e products in some time, and a convention for you to back. Arcana of the Ancients, a 5E...
    9 replies | 3297 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Tuesday, 2nd April, 2019, 11:30 AM
    In January, our contacts over at Ulisses North America arranged an interview with EN World. Ostensibly about the Torg Eternity: the Nile Empire (the massively successful Kickstarter had just finished), the interview eventually expanded into more about role-playing, the world of Torg, the challenges of game design and adaptation, and a few bits about other Ulisses North America products. So,...
    4 replies | 817 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Monday, 1st April, 2019, 11:30 AM
    With April fool’s day upon us, it may be time to take a break from anything grim and perilous or gothically dark and try something a little sillier. There are a lot of comedy games out there, and while not all of them play well as a campaign they can offer memorable one off adventures. Playing something a little silly can also be a good way to clean the palate. They are usually very simple to...
    8 replies | 1833 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Friday, 29th March, 2019, 11:30 AM
    February and March have brought us some great new titles to explore! This includes a new Guild Adept title and a couple of small press Guild products to enhance your campaigns. From the Guild Adepts! Technically, Dragon Heist: Forgotten Tales came out in later January, but who's counting? For fans of Waterdeep: Dragon Heist this supplement is designed to increase the replay value of the...
    4 replies | 2396 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th March, 2019, 11:30 AM
    It's been a few weeks since the last Ulisses North America update, but there’s a very good reason why. We have some exciting news today. In January, our contacts over at Ulisses North America arranged an interview with EN World. Ostensibly about the Torg Eternity: the Nile Empire (the massively successful Kickstarter had just finished), the interview eventually expanded into more about...
    2 replies | 1833 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th March, 2019, 11:30 AM
    With the end (more or less) of Zine Quest, it’s time to shine the spotlight on the RPG Kickstarters ending between April 5th and the 11th. I’m covering 11 RPG Kickstarters, 1 gaming convention, and 4 RPG zines, and yet, that’s not all of them that are available. That said, it’s a large percentage so let’s dive in. Witch+Craft, a 5e Supplemental by Astrologo Press END DATE: Fri,...
    2 replies | 3952 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Tuesday, 26th March, 2019, 11:30 AM
    If you have been following along, then you will be glad to know that we have been busy covering Zine Quest. In this article, we talk to some of the creators who are launching zines through Kickstarter’s Zine Quest initiative. Let’s talk to these creative people to discover what prompted them to create their zine. By way of quick introductions, let’s go ahead and list all the folks,...
    2 replies | 1355 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Monday, 25th March, 2019, 11:00 AM
    Dungeons & Dragons set up many of the tropes that have since influenced computer and video role-playing games, but one of the more interesting offsets of this is how D&D handles food. Which is to say, it doesn't have particularly sophisticated mechanics to manage hunger in a stark departure from the electronic games that followed. Picture courtesy of Pixabay. The Original RulesThe...
    25 replies | 2118 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Friday, 22nd March, 2019, 11:30 AM
    If you're new to the game industry, you've probably heard a lot of myths about publishing. The truth is more complicated -- and, if you're planning to publish your new game, perhaps more encouraging. Picture sourced from Pixabay. “PDFs should be free!”It costs nothing to copy a PDF, everyone knows that. Digital books are no more complicated to produce than it is to move a mouse. So, games...
    46 replies | 5882 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
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Over 40
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If you can be contacted on social networks, feel free to mention it here.

Google+:
miketresca
Twitter:
dreadspace
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YouTube:
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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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Worlds of Design: Why Would Anyone Write a RPG? Friday, 19th April, 2019 11:33 AM

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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.

Thursday, 11th April, 2019


Monday, 8th April, 2019


Friday, 5th April, 2019


Monday, 25th March, 2019


Friday, 22nd March, 2019


Friday, 18th January, 2019

  • 01:48 PM - Ovinomancer mentioned talien in post Worlds of Design: How "Precise" Should RPG Rules Be?
    I started reading this and was wondering why talien had written an article like lewpuls -- was he trying to rehabilitate the last set of articles (poorly)? Then I got to the byline at the end and the strange terminology, lack of understanding of games like FATE, and random video gane bashing made sense. As did the article never going anywhere. While less overtly insulting than the last set, this article continues to show that lewpuls doesn't grasp the subject matter he keeps trying to articulate. And that he's a disorganized writer, by that's forgivable.

Friday, 11th January, 2019

  • 06:05 PM - Blue mentioned talien in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 2 and 3 Rules, Pacing, Non-RPGs, and Gameplay
    ...ersonal mode of play. However the 3 parts to this article come by as very dismissive of other methods of play, injecting personal preference in the guise of factual information and putting down foreign types of play as BADWRONGFUN. I wish these articles approached the differences in a positive style that highlighted where each can make good games to fit the differing needs of various tables instead of coming across as screeds putting down certain ways of enjoying our shared hobby. To compound it issue, judging from the responses on parts 1 plus 2&3 they seem to have been poorly researched, with a superficial understanding of new school games. Even if articles are about something that may not appeal to the whole audience, approaching it in a positive way to talk out a particular stance would be better then tearing apart a different stance. It would be very possible to write articles espousing old school gaming (or new school gaming) which would have an audience. Please ENworld, talien, hold the articles to a high standard.

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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Monday, 15th April, 2019

  • 07:58 PM - Von Ether quoted talien in post Game Design Like a Boy Scout: Week 2 - Jenga
    The issue using Jenga in a D20 Modern game was that it was essentially another form of resolution, like dice, but it had player-skill consequences. I could easily see using Jenga to represent picking a lock or something like that, but with Dread it's the entire mechanic, so you know what you're getting into. With Jenga in conjunction with a traditional RPG, it puts the burden on players in a way that rolling dice does not. One of my players' hands shook, so it put him at a disadvantage. Also, Jenga is super impractical at a table that's not specifically focused on it. We only used Jenga sporadically, and rolling dice (intentionally throwing things at a table) and keeping the Jenga tower stable are cross-purposes. The Jenga tower fell down more than once just because we were more concerned with rolling dice. Ah. There needs to be a separate Jenga table. And players with near the same level of dexterity.
  • 06:08 PM - jmucchiello quoted talien in post Game Design Like a Boy Scout: Week 2 - Jenga
    Also, Jenga is super impractical at a table that's not specifically focused on it. We only used Jenga sporadically, and rolling dice (intentionally throwing things at a table) and keeping the Jenga tower stable are cross-purposes. The Jenga tower fell down more than once just because we were more concerned with rolling dice. In Dread, any fall of the tower causes someone to die, regardless of whether a pull was in progress. The threat of the tower falling is what gives Dread an added measure of verisimilitude.
  • 01:46 PM - darkbard quoted talien in post Game Design Like a Boy Scout: Week 2 - Jenga
    There is a horror role-playing game called Dread that uses Jenga to resolve mechanics -- this creates a tension in the game, which reinforces the fear and anxiety of the game itself. I used this mechanic in my own D20 Call of Cthulhu game Good write up! And I've heard about the above mechanic before but never seen it spelled out. How have you (and others) applied Jenga to resolution mechanics in TTRPGs? I'm intrigued by the mounting tension of the players mirroring the imagined tension of PCs....

Saturday, 13th April, 2019

  • 05:50 PM - DMMike quoted talien in post Game Design Like a Boy Scout: Week 1 - What’s a Game?
    Games are a form of play. Most games are played for recreation, others are played by amateurs and professionals alike, and some are even used as tools for training and education. Games have objectives or goals that players work to achieve. Games have rules. Rules govern the components of the game and the ways that players interact with those components and each other. Games have feedback. As players work toward their goals, the game provides information about how they are doing. Scores are a form of feedback. Games have challenges. In the vast majority of games, the rules, other players, or other elements impede player progress toward the objectives. Games employ a variety of skills. These include physical abilities, communication, strategic thinking, patience, observation, and problem solving. Games present choices. Players make meaningful decisions in order to affect game outcomes. Games are participatory. Unlike many other forms of entertainment, games are not just abo...

Saturday, 6th April, 2019

  • 03:00 PM - Immortal Sun quoted talien in post The Fortenite-ification of Everything
    Kinda skimmed the article the first time, so went back and re-read so I can better respond. Fortnite's success rests on three pillars, as outlined by Fortune: accessibility, sociability, and spectacle. Accessibility On video game platforms, different gaming consoles created different experiences. A player on a laptop could not play with another play on a mobile device, or a Playstation, Xbox, or Nintendo Switch. Fortnite cracked that code. Now all players are playing in the same world -- a world that is easy to play immediately -- and play in the same game. The effects of this are huge, creating a gaming community that is agnostic of which device you play on. This, however, makes for a poor comparison. Playstation (Sony), Xbox (Microsoft), Nintendo (duh) and "PC" are all separate competing entities. A better comparison would not be to different versions of D&D or different worlds but to Paizo vs. WotC. Arguably, both rule sets are compatible, though you'll still find some players wh...

Friday, 5th April, 2019

  • 07:57 PM - Paragon Lost quoted talien in post Paizo Product Roundup: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Dawn of Flame and Tyrant's Grasp Adventure Paths
    What's wrong with the layout? I'm responsible for posting ENWC articles so if there's a layout issue it's on me to fix it and I'm happy to do so. It looks okay to me though? It does now Talien. :) Which is what Robus was commenting on from the post above yours. When it was first posted we were seeing the layout as your write up and at the bottom of the article was a 4 attached/downloadable files. :) This happens off and on which is what as I said Robus and I were commenting about. My personal gripe is about that enworld.org doesn't use https. Which isn't really a layout thing. :)

Friday, 22nd March, 2019

  • 10:40 AM - pemerton quoted talien in post Who Killed the Megaverse?
    We are a generation used to mix sci-fi and fantasy, not only in the superheroes comics but also some franchises as He-Man and the master of the Universe, what is like mixing Flash Gordon and Conan de barbarian. But in the RPGs is different. The balance of power between superpowers, ranged and melee weapons is difficult, at least with the d20 system. You make a good point, which is that by creating definitions of what "fits" in a game, it makes the game rules a little more balanced. As D&D's rules have become more codified, a side effect is that it reinforces the genre. Rifts, in contrast, doesn't worry too much about balance which allows cross-pollination of multiple genres.This is all about d20. It's not very hard to have a mechanically balanced RPG that allows mixing genres. Cortex+ Heroic (derived from Marvel Heroic RP) and HeroQuest revised are too that come to mind; Fate might be able to handle this too, though I don't know it as well. It is a spotlight issue. It is hard to jus...

Monday, 4th March, 2019

  • 07:22 PM - billd91 quoted talien in post Momo is Still Not Real (But Memes Are)
    As someone who was targeted by religious groups in school, for a long time I reflexively felt that there was nothing wrong with how D&D presented itself. But after re-reading Art & Arcana and looking at the art through the eyes of a parent...yep, I would have had a problem with it. I think D&D's split focus was largely to blame for this. D&D co-opted a variety of religions in Deities & Demigods and the Monster Manual -- and none of that was an issue. I think that came from wargaming, where there was a certain deatchment from the whole thing -- replaying historical events didn't mean you agreed with the nation's policies that you played -- and so D&D treated religions like more data, independent of cultural concerns. And that's all fine and good in the scholarly world of wargaming played by adults. It falls apart when you have Basic D&D, which was marketed to kids, that was meant to be a stepping stone to Advanced gaming. The disconnect was sharp -- Basic D&D was almost independent of Ga...

Thursday, 21st February, 2019


Friday, 15th February, 2019


Thursday, 14th February, 2019


Tuesday, 29th January, 2019

  • 12:38 AM - Rygar quoted talien in post Blockchain and RPGs: When Fantasy Meets (Digital) Reality
    Right! To that point, it's really what the motivation to have a "secure" virtual object is. As the examples I think illustrate, money is usually that factor -- which is where competitive play/esports potentially becomes that motivation. What gets interesting is if that extra layer of security makes it feasible to say, play at home, and bring the character to an official session with the implication that it's "more official" than just jotting something on your character sheet. This is overkill. A QR code with a log can do the same thing and is an order of magnitude more simple in RPGs, or signed certificates, etc. " Cryptokitty demonstrated that permanency has long-reaching effects for the value of a virtual object, and even a virtual being. Which is where RPGs come into the picture." I can replace "Cryptokitty" with "Everquest", "Asheron's Call", "Magic the Gathering Online", and many many others and pull up the same statement someone made years ago. Virtual objects have no value, beca...

Saturday, 12th January, 2019


Friday, 11th January, 2019

  • 08:04 PM - Umbran quoted talien in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 2 and 3 Rules, Pacing, Non-RPGs, and Gameplay
    Hi All, In the interest of helping Lew make his entire point, I've added in his third installment to this article just so that it's presented together as a whole. Much of his point was made with the "grey goo" quote. It sets a tone that is... unwelcoming to anyone who happens to enjoy other styles of gaming. The rest of it seems poorly researched, as there are other folks around here and elsewhere who seem to have thought more deeply (and I'd say more evenhandedly) about this subject, and the author seems ignorant of that. The author probably should have gotten himself up to speed on the state of scholarship and theory (such as it may be, it is better than his) before starting to write. His use of loaded terms and factually incorrect absolute statements do not strengthen his arguments. Maybe some discussion with *current* designers of games would have been helpful, too. And, to answer his final question - No particular gamer has to like all kinds of games. But, around ...
  • 04:29 PM - Immortal Sun quoted talien in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 2 and 3 Rules, Pacing, Non-RPGs, and Gameplay
    Hi All, In the interest of helping Lew make his entire point, I've added in his third installment to this article just so that it's presented together as a whole. I realize not every article is for everyone and appreciate the constructive criticism. We'll keep that in mind for future articles. Thanks for your feedback! Here's my feedback: Lew writes terrible articles. He is insulting, demeaning and outright rude. His threads (i went back and read a few) would by most other posters be considered violations of the rules (edition warring). Why you staff him is beyond me except to cater to a few grogs who hate everything that isn't their favorite edition. And are those really the kinds of people you want to toss a bone to?
  • 03:40 PM - 5ekyu quoted talien in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 2 and 3 Rules, Pacing, Non-RPGs, and Gameplay
    Hi All, In the interest of helping Lew make his entire point, I've added in his third installment to this article just so that it's presented together as a whole. I realize not every article is for everyone and appreciate the constructive criticism. We'll keep that in mind for future articles. Thanks for your feedback!In the interest of fairness, gotta say, I dont think that helped but rather hurt as the third section is even more hostile in its tenor - but it foes st least help wrap context on the other. But I gotta say, I get the sense that if I took half thing statements made in that article about what the author claims a game of x type does and I took those claims and put a forum poster name on them "5ekyu games do..." I would be at least dancing on the border if not over the line for forum regs regarding attacks or misrepresenting others. Maybe it's ore ok on this forum to essentially insult or malign an entire class of gamers or style of gaming as long as you avoid pointing at...
  • 03:30 PM - darkbard quoted talien in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 2 and 3 Rules, Pacing, Non-RPGs, and Gameplay
    Hi All, In the interest of helping Lew make his entire point, I've added in his third installment to this article just so that it's presented together as a whole. I realize not every article is for everyone and appreciate the constructive criticism. We'll keep that in mind for future articles. Thanks for your feedback! IMO, one of the great advantages in a serial publication (like a planned 3-part essay) is the opportunity to revise each piece in response to feedback on the preceding installment. The decision to publish Lew's third piece immediately upon the negative reception of part two implies nothing of the sort happened here, or even had the possibility of happening. I.e., the pieces were all writtten and would be published as is, regardless of responses that make clarification seem like a good idea, introduce an unconsidered (or ill considered) viewpoint, etc.

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.


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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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