View Profile: talien - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
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  • talien's Avatar
    Today, 12:30 PM
    The first playtests of Dungeons & Dragons were by Gary Gygax, his kids, and his friends. The industry has evolved considerably since then and playtesting along with it. A new playtesting methodology was borrowed from software development, and it's likely to influence how game companies produce products in the future. Photo by Ian Gonzalez on Unsplash The Early PlaytestsGary Gygax,...
    1 replies | 172 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Friday, 15th February, 2019, 12:30 PM
    Now that we've established the four stages of magic, here are some questions to ask yourself as you design your campaign world. You can read parts 1 here and 2 here. Art, Craft, or Science? First, is magic an art, a craft, or a science? If an art, there may be few practitioners, but some few of them may be spectacularly successful. Whereas if magic is a craft, there may be more...
    1 replies | 710 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th February, 2019, 12:30 PM
    Despite the title, Love and Sex in the Ninth World, this supplement, or as Monte Cook Games calls it, “Glimmer,” could be very useful for any GM, not just those that run Numenera. It's also not an invitation to run an X-rated game. The suggestions and advice in LaSitNW can play out in PG-rated games, or even G-rated, not just R. With a discreet fade to black and scene change, no matter...
    10 replies | 1948 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th February, 2019, 12:30 PM
    Between February 22nd and the 28th, there are more than 11 RPG Kickstarters ending. Add to that, there are 15 RPG-related zines from Kickstarter’s Zine Quest ending by the 28th as well. Some of these are RPG powerhouses have already pulled in 5- and 6-figure sums while others are making their 3-figure goals. I’m going to cover as many as possible so let’s dive in. RPG CORE RULEBOOKS...
    0 replies | 1845 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th February, 2019, 12:30 PM
    February is a month of cold temperatures and warm feelings of love and romance. If you’re looking for something to do with friends when it’s too cold to go out, why not stay in and take a look at the Romance Trilogy? A compilation of three games (and much more besides) written by designer Emily Care Boss, the Romance Trilogy includes Breaking the Ice, a game for two players about a new...
    6 replies | 960 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Tuesday, 12th February, 2019, 12:30 PM
    Waiting for Winds of Winter to come out? Does the winter weather give you more inspiration to run your games? Eagerly anticipating the last season of Game of Thrones? Sounds like the perfect time to start an A Song of Ice & Fire (ASOIAF) or Game of Thrones campaign! However, with the license expired in 2017 for Green Ronin’s A Song of Ice & Fire, what system options are available for players? ...
    13 replies | 1828 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Monday, 11th February, 2019, 12:30 PM
    The recent spat between TV host Bill Maher and fans of the late Stan Lee over comic books and their place in a "mature" society has raised a broader question: does being a gamer geek mean you don't participate in adulthood? Photo courtesy of Pixabay. What's Adulthood, Anyway?One of Maher's criticisms was that being an adult is now so uncommon that "adulting" is now something to be proud of. ...
    64 replies | 2990 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Friday, 8th February, 2019, 12:30 PM
    Hello my lovelies, it’s been too long! Thankfully, there is a whole new slate of Pathfinder and Starfinder products previewing online which means it’s time for your favorite article and mine – that’s right, it’s the PAIZO PRODUCT ROUNDUP! Let’s kick things off with a perennially popular Paizo product: adventure paths! First up to bat is the second chapter of the Tyrant’s Grasp Adventure...
    0 replies | 2646 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th February, 2019, 12:30 PM
    Want a fulltime or part-time office job working in a creative field? England and Germany are ready when you are. Disabled and ready to write fiction? There’s a magazine actively seeking out individuals that fit that description for a freelance writing opportunity. This month, there are great careers and assignments waiting for you. Uncanny Magazine - Disabled People Destroy Fantasy...
    2 replies | 2067 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th February, 2019, 12:30 PM
    Looking just at this list of 5 RPGs, it’d appear that RPGs on Kickstarter are back to a manageable number unlike last week’s list of 17. The reason it’s *only* 5 RPG Kickstarters ending between February 15th and the 21st is because the 7 RPG zines from KS’s Zine Quest are in a separate mini-article. That noted, let’s dive into these RPGs. RPG RULESETS Carbon 2185 | A Cyberpunk RPG by...
    1 replies | 2174 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th February, 2019, 12:30 PM
    There are a few fairly simple elements needed to make a solid RPG starter set, and while Warhammer Fantasy RPG 4E’s attempt won’t blow any minds it absolutely nails the fundamentals that new players need to get a game running. When you prise open the box – or possibly unzip the PDFs – you’ll be met with a couple of slim booklets, a half-dozen pre-generated character sheets and a small...
    6 replies | 2144 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th February, 2019, 12:30 PM
    Kickstarter’s February initiative is called, Zine Quest, and it features RPG zines. Built on a nostalgia for the early days of tabletop when zines – single color, hand-folded mini-magazines – were an integral part of the scene, this initiative appears to be reigniting that interest. Over 20 zines have dropped since February 1st and more are lined up. In this article, I look at Zine Quest...
    11 replies | 1564 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Tuesday, 5th February, 2019, 12:30 PM
    After raising $2,121,465, Strongholds & Followers might be the most anticipated Kickstarter RPG (at least until the next record is broken). Of course, the bulk of the money raised went to the “Streaming” part of the Kickstarter so creator Matt Colville could get a proper studio for his very popular YouTube channel. The book definitely fills a need within the 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons...
    24 replies | 3586 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Monday, 4th February, 2019, 12:30 PM
    The recent kerfuffle between Bill Maher and comic fans mourning Stan Lee's passing has illustrated an ugly truth that geeks everywhere continue to face: geekdom is still viewed by some as a sign that society has failed to "grow up." Picture courtesy of Pixabay. It Started with StanThe death of comics legend Stan Lee prompted an outpouring of grief and comedian Bill Maher took his passing as...
    206 replies | 3844 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Friday, 1st February, 2019, 12:30 PM
    The idea that there are natural stages that derive from use of magic is not new. Laying out the stages can help a lot when you’re creating a fantasy setting. Part 2. You can read Part 1 here. Sourced from Pixabay. Senility The fourth stage, Senility or Decadence, is depicted in Larry Niven's fantasies about the end of the magic era and in Jack Vance's Dying Earth and Eyes of the...
    9 replies | 1395 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Thursday, 31st January, 2019, 12:30 PM
    The Dragon Issue 19 was published in October 1978. It is 36 pages long, with a cover price of $2.00. In this issue, GenCon and Origins battle it out for convention supremacy! The issue includes lengthy editorials regarding GenCon XI (which wrapped on August 20th), especially in comparison to Origins 78. Gygax opens with the following statement: "A few months ago in an exchange of...
    20 replies | 1441 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Wednesday, 30th January, 2019, 12:30 PM
    Playing the bad guy can be fun and having the whole party join in can be a great time. But how can this be applied to adventure design? With a bit of forethought and focus, an enjoyable adventure sending scoundrels on an errand for a dark lord can be woven from the threads of heroic adventure. Sourced from Pixabay I recently began work on an adventure using Basic Role-Playing or MERP...
    13 replies | 1419 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Wednesday, 30th January, 2019, 12:30 PM
    This week I’m looking at Kickstarters that close between February 8th and 14th. By my count, that’s 17 projects, too much to cover in full here. As such, I’ll touch on the larger RPGs and end with a few mini-reviews to cover as much ground as possible. Let’s get into it! RPG RULESETS The ADOM (Ancient Domains Of Mystery) Roleplaying Game by Thomas Biskup END DATE: Wed, February 13...
    7 replies | 3520 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Tuesday, 29th January, 2019, 12:30 PM
    A new year and it is time for new campaigns and challenges for your players. The DM Guild is full of new ideas, creators, as well as creations, and shows no sign of slowing down. We are also changing up the format a bit for 2019 to improve the coverage of the DM Guild for players, game masters, and content creators. From the Guild Adepts!Late last November the DM’s Guild Adepts put out a...
    9 replies | 2619 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Monday, 28th January, 2019, 12:30 PM
    The advent of blockchain technology has effectively given the intangible real, permanent value. When it comes to fantasy games largely relegated to the imaginary realm, blockchain technology could now ensure your character's +3 sword is truly unique...and could even be sold to someone else. Image courtesy of Pixabay. Meet BlockchainBlockchain has become a popular term because it backs...
    9 replies | 2173 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Friday, 25th January, 2019, 12:30 PM
    The idea that there are natural stages that derive from use of magic is not new. Figuring out the stages can help a lot when you’re creating a fantasy setting. Sourced from Pixabay. “Generally it appears the case that, when faced with all life's problems, the baby, he wants to cry about everything, the child wants to question everything, the teenager wants to rebel against everything,...
    6 replies | 1980 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Thursday, 24th January, 2019, 12:30 PM
    Plunder lost tombs, fight terrible monsters, wander wild lands, and if you live long enough, build a stronghold. Make your mark on a cursed world and start a new campaign in the Forbidden Lands. Forbidden Lands uses the Year Zero rules previously reviewed. New rule options include talents with three tiers, dice up to d12 for powerful magic effects, and monsters with six attack options....
    14 replies | 3021 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Wednesday, 23rd January, 2019, 12:30 PM
    Tabletop RPGs, by design, tend to be somewhat lopsided affairs. With only one of the typical four to five players taking on the role of Game Master. As a result, many of the games published focus on the larger group of players, offering lots of options to create characters and rules by which characters can interact with the game in unique and exciting ways. Angel Project offers the Game Masters...
    1 replies | 1703 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Wednesday, 23rd January, 2019, 12:30 PM
    With Kickstarters ending February 1st to the 7th, the post-holiday RPG Kickstarter slump is over as new RPGs are waiting to be seen. Three of the tabletop RPGs covered in this article are experiments worthy of a read, a full RPG setup as a trifold record album jacket, a deck of cards that’s an RPG, a superhero setting designed for five RPG systems, and more. Read on to see what is available for...
    15 replies | 2753 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Tuesday, 22nd January, 2019, 12:30 PM
    Kickstarter’s February initiative, Zine Quest, promises to feature a variety of RPG zines to crowdfund. Since its announcement, we’ve been gathering requirements, talking to publishers about the projects they’ve planned for February, and written the first in a series of articles to raise awareness. To that end, we spoke with the project’s originator, Luke Crane, Head of Games @Kickstarter and...
    15 replies | 2890 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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Google+:
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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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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.

Friday, 15th February, 2019


Thursday, 14th February, 2019


Wednesday, 13th February, 2019


Monday, 11th February, 2019


Friday, 8th February, 2019


Wednesday, 6th February, 2019


Monday, 4th February, 2019


Tuesday, 22nd January, 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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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.

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.


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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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