View Profile: talien - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
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    Yesterday, 11:30 AM
    At first glance it would be easy to dismiss Runequest: Glorantha as just another addition to the pile of fantasy RPGs clogging up the shelves of your local store, but if you delve beneath the surface you’ll find a fascinating blend of wild heroism and ruthless simulation that goes to create a game that offers something utterly unique – so long as the players are willing to put in the effort, that...
    2 replies | 1027 view(s)
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    Yesterday, 06:30 AM
    The animated television series Adventure Time concluded last month after an eight year run and ten seasons. Drawing inspiration from a variety of sources including Dungeons & Dragons, creator Pendleton Ward later returned the favor as a story consultant for Tomb of Annihilation. Here's why it matters. The First AdventureAdventure Time is the story of a young human boy named Finn...
    11 replies | 3696 view(s)
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    Sunday, 23rd September, 2018, 09:28 PM
    Hello again friends and welcome to the newest edition of the PAIZO NEWS ROUNDUP! The Golem marches on and so do we! Even as we move forward to Pathfinder 2nd edition, Paizo isn’t about to leave us first edition diehards hanging in the breeze, so there are plenty of things to look forward to in the coming weeks. Let’s get started! First and foremost, Pocket Editions! As has been discussed...
    2 replies | 1138 view(s)
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    Sunday, 23rd September, 2018, 11:30 AM
    Sometimes the mists part in the City and you see monsters behind the mundane. Then mythic power infuses your normal reality, striving to turn you from your normal life into a mythic legend. Can you walk a path between the two extremes while trying to see what is hiding in a City of Mist? Kickstarted in 2016 by Son of Oak Game Studio City of Mist offers 512 full-color pages of superhero...
    6 replies | 941 view(s)
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    Sunday, 23rd September, 2018, 11:00 AM
    The Dungeons & Dragons Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica debuts in November. But you don’t have to wait until then to gain inspiration for your D&D game. The art and text from Magic the Gathering cards for Ravnica are filled with ideas to untap. A trailer from YouTube from 2012 depicts many buildings in Ravnica and describes the guilds. Watching it immerses a DM in the setting. Jace, keeper...
    25 replies | 1266 view(s)
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    Saturday, 22nd September, 2018, 11:30 AM
    The Dragon Issue 12 was published in February 1978. It is 32 pages long, with a cover price of $1.50. This issue saw the appearance of great Cthulhu! Editor Tim Kask proudly points to the magazine's first statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation, printed in compliance with US postal law. It shows that the Dragon has a circulation of 7500 as of the most recent issue. Kask says: ...
    13 replies | 1222 view(s)
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    Friday, 21st September, 2018, 11:30 AM
    Morale is vitally important in real battles. Units didn’t become hors de combat because most of the unit was dead or wounded, instead their morale broke when there was still a majority able to fight, and they fled. Morale has fallen out of use in RPGs – why? Photo by Joshua Ness on Unsplash "Two armies are two bodies which meet and try to frighten each other." "An army's effectiveness...
    30 replies | 1099 view(s)
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    Thursday, 20th September, 2018, 11:30 AM
    Everything goes through cycles of being large to small to large again, like cellphones. So after a long trend of “megadungeons” Tiny Dungeon 2E is a refreshing change of pace. The “tiny” is less about size than simplicity, and it's a full game system, not just a setting. In fact, it comes with 20 micro settings that can be fleshed out as much as you want, making Tiny Dungeons more...
    6 replies | 2699 view(s)
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    Wednesday, 19th September, 2018, 11:30 AM
    Hello esteemed readers of EN World and welcome back to the PAIZO NEWS ROUNDUP! The Paizo site blackout no doubt had all of you worried, but FEAR NOT! The Paizo News Roundup is here and all of its links should be working. Now, let’s see what the Golem has in store for us! It seems like you Starfinder GMs are already asking for new and exciting ways to send your players to a galaxy of...
    3 replies | 2245 view(s)
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    Tuesday, 18th September, 2018, 11:30 AM
    Have you ever wondered what might have happened if the Roman Empire had not fallen? Have you ever imagined living in the Roman world, working for the Empire as an agent in distant lands? Well Lex Arcana, the most successful Italian role-playing game, has allowed players to do that for over two decades. With the announcement that there will be a Kickstarter for a second edition to Lex Arcana, EN...
    16 replies | 2465 view(s)
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    Tuesday, 18th September, 2018, 11:30 AM
    In this column, we take common D & D questions posed on Quora and attempt to answer them in a friendly, practical and informative way. Today's question: “As a D & D player, what is the worst thing your DM could do to take the fun out of playing?” Pictured sourced from Pixabay I regularly DM my games—I can count on one hand the number of times I've played as PC—but the one thing that...
    272 replies | 2553 view(s)
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    Monday, 17th September, 2018, 11:30 AM
    To make our dreams come true, sometimes the dream must be open to interpretation. Do you want a job in tabletop gaming? Is the “tabletop” portion an absolute? There are good jobs that are important parts of the gaming industry but are not directly tabletop gaming jobs. In this RPG jobs roundup, Mike Tresca and I curated several opportunities that exist in the periphery of the traditional tabletop...
    4 replies | 2685 view(s)
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    Monday, 17th September, 2018, 06:00 AM
    Tabletop role-playing games have experienced a surge of interest thanks to the rise of online video, which makes the hobby much more accessible. But playing in-person is usually limited to finding other players and local hobby stores. Thanks to The RPG Tour, there’s now an opportunity to introduce role-playing to the masses, and it may be coming to a town near you. Taking the TourThe RPG...
    1 replies | 1999 view(s)
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    Sunday, 16th September, 2018, 12:00 PM
    Do you want dozens of new D&D monsters from Wizards of the Coast? Does exploring a planet spanning city via membership in one of ten competing guilds sound challenging? If you play or DM Dungeons & Dragons, then Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica will have something for you. Gleaned from WotC interviews and news, this is what we know so far. Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica, releasing in...
    113 replies | 4225 view(s)
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    Sunday, 16th September, 2018, 11:30 AM
    The Dragon Issue 11 was published in December 1977. It is 38 pages long, with a cover price of $1.50. This issue saw the introduction of an important new column. Editor Tim Kask is once more talking about fiction, with a new Fritz Lieber story this issue and upcoming stories from Andre Norton and L. Sprague de Camp. Kask also proudly mentions that one of the Gardner Fox stories they...
    20 replies | 1378 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th September, 2018, 11:30 AM
    I love miniatures. Depending on one's style of play, miniatures can serve an important in-game function or simply be used as a stand-in for some other piece. Some gamers simply paint minis for the joy of the process. The MiniCrate from Privateer Press certainly goes a long way to appeal to the miniature lover in us all. I love it, but is it right for you? What's in the Box For this...
    5 replies | 2170 view(s)
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    Friday, 14th September, 2018, 11:30 AM
    The video game focus on “boss” monsters doesn’t make sense for tabletop RPGs. Video gamers are disappointed if the climactic monster doesn’t kill them several times; in RPGs, once you die, you (usually) don’t respawn. First a little history. Jeffro Johnson asked me if I'd used the monsters I contributed to the D&D Fiend Folio back in the late 70s as bosses. Most of my monsters in FF were...
    78 replies | 2987 view(s)
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    Thursday, 13th September, 2018, 11:30 AM
    This article is the first in a series of guides to building characters in D&D 5E. The plan is to get into some wackier character concepts further down the line, but we’re going to start with something simple (and, conveniently, right at the front of the Player’s Handbook): creating the most durable barbarian possible. Image sourced from Pixabay. When the wild tangle of battle has...
    17 replies | 1993 view(s)
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    Wednesday, 12th September, 2018, 11:30 AM
    Monte Cook Games allows creators to publish their original Cypher System creations and sell them via DriveThruRPG and RPGNow through the Cypher System Creator program. Like ENWorld’s DMs Guild (D&D) and Storyteller's Vault (World of Darkness) roundups, this series looks at the Cypher System’s third party content. Among the options are Mattia Salvetti’s variant rules for the game including...
    0 replies | 1156 view(s)
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    Tuesday, 11th September, 2018, 11:30 AM
    Mike Myler is a staple of EN Publishing, writing for EN World, editing for EN5ider, and designing on N.O.W. To add to that workload, he publishes a variety of RPG supplements, and has a Kickstarter funding a pair of eastern fantasy books for Dungeons & Dragons 5e and Shadow of the Demon Lord. Taking time from his busy schedule, Mike shared some thoughts on the Kickstarter*, the books, and how he...
    8 replies | 1633 view(s)
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    Tuesday, 11th September, 2018, 11:00 AM
    Since the majority of official D&D adventures have been set in dungeons (or the equivalent) and wilderness areas, making the latest hardcover adventure, Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, a city-based adventure is a breath of fresh air. It's also a great chance to give the Sword Coast's most cosmopolitan city some 5th Edition attention. In Waterdeep: Dragon Heist – no spoilers – a half a...
    38 replies | 5892 view(s)
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    Monday, 10th September, 2018, 11:30 AM
    I wanted to give you an update on the EN World User-Generated Content program and how it's changed, as well as some staff updates. A lot of shuffling has happened behind the scenes, so we thought now would be a good time to announce those changes. The first major change is that Christopher Helton, who established the User-Generated Content (UGC) program, has moved on to a new position...
    1 replies | 1356 view(s)
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    Sunday, 9th September, 2018, 11:30 AM
    Bear with me a while, as the following becomes a lesson for writing stories in RPGs. My wife and I have been watching the HBO Game of Thrones series on DVD. We’re now into the fifth season. Not long ago she started to read the Song of Ice and Fire books (I read them long ago, and only remember major events). It’s interesting to hear how the show simplifies things, and sometimes drops characters...
    39 replies | 2083 view(s)
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    Friday, 7th September, 2018, 11:30 AM
    I love heist/caper stories and urban fantasy adventures so the minute the D&D team announced Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Now that I've got it? I'm still excited. My full review will follow after I finish reading the book but a few quick impressions. The choice of four villains to choose from is a nice touch for...
    110 replies | 12741 view(s)
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    Thursday, 6th September, 2018, 11:30 AM
    The main purpose of RPGs is to have fun but ensuring that everyone enjoys themselves is tricky. First you have to agree on a game, then a play style. A dozen or more things after that can make or ruin a game. John Stavropoulos created an elegant solution to a common fun killer by creating the X-Card. Whether a GM is running a store-bought adventure or their own campaign, no GM is a mind...
    150 replies | 3968 view(s)
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    Wednesday, 5th September, 2018, 11:30 AM
    If you are a creator roving John Wick Presents' 7th Sea 2e then the Explorer's Society is for you. The society is an online marketplace that sells original, crowd-sourced products (as well as a group within the game). As with ENWorld’s DMs Guild (D&D) and Storyteller's Vault (World of Darkness) roundups, I’m exploring a pair of books. The first review is of Don Bisdorf’s The Ninth Eye,...
    1 replies | 1105 view(s)
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    Tuesday, 4th September, 2018, 11:30 AM
    Curious about monthly subscription boxes aimed at tabletop gamers? Take a look at the boxes you can get from Dice Envy! Online retailer Dice Envy offers subscription boxes at three different tiers: Original, Basic, and Sampler. Each tier can be ordered month to month, or you can prepay for a subscription of six months or 12 months. The prepaid plans cost a bit less per month than the...
    9 replies | 2267 view(s)
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    Monday, 3rd September, 2018, 11:00 AM
    In light of the Labor Day celebrations happening in the U.S., now's a good time to look at the amount of effort tabletop role-playing takes. Is it holding the hobby back from a bigger audience? Why Oh Why Won't They DM?Dungeons & Dragons and many tabletop role-playing games that debuted after its release have struggled with an inherent part of its structure: one of its participants has a...
    106 replies | 5616 view(s)
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    Sunday, 2nd September, 2018, 11:30 AM
    The Dragon Issue 9 was published in September 1977. It is 32 pages long, with a cover price of $1.50. This issue saw the introduction of one of D&D's most beloved characters. Tim Kask's editorial is all about Origins '77. Kask has little positive to say regarding the convention, noting that "It seems to have fallen short of the rather optimistic attendance predictions" and also saying "We...
    15 replies | 1742 view(s)
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    Saturday, 1st September, 2018, 01:00 PM
    There are plenty of interesting ideas and novel approaches to adapting parts of the videogame to the tabletop, but The Witcher is tough as dragonhide and as intimidating as any wraith. But if you already love the series and are comfortable with simulationist RPGs, it’s a great way to forge your own stories in its dark, deadly world. Make no mistake, there is a lot to like about this game....
    11 replies | 4142 view(s)
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    Friday, 31st August, 2018, 11:30 AM
    Some of you have seen Peter's "Evil Overlord List" from 1996-97. It's "The Top 100 Things I'd Do If I Ever Became An Evil Overlord" such as "Shooting is not too good for my enemies." If you've not read it before, it may help you make your opponents-for-adventurers more effective. It seems only fair that a similar list should exist for the heroes. Photo by Pawel Janiak on Unsplash ...
    32 replies | 2198 view(s)
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    Thursday, 30th August, 2018, 11:30 AM
    I pick up the first book and hand it to my partner. “Look at this.” I say. Not, “check out the system” or “this is like this game, television show, or book.” No I just hand the book over and let her look at it. She begins turning the pages, looking through the art, and just feeling the heft of the book. I can tell that she is already hooked and when I ask her, she agrees that she is ready to try...
    6 replies | 1757 view(s)
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    Wednesday, 29th August, 2018, 11:30 AM
    Held from June 13th to the 17th, 2018 in Columbus, Ohio, Origins Game Fair competes for the 4th or 5th position on the list of largest tabletop gaming conventions. It is an extravaganza taking over both the convention center and adjoining Hyatt and is too large to cover in toto. Instead, there were three moments that encapsulated my Origins experience. The Origins gaming experience that...
    5 replies | 1745 view(s)
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    Tuesday, 28th August, 2018, 11:30 AM
    Legendary Games’ ENnie Award nominated game, Legendary Beginnings: A Feast of Flavor by Rachel Ventura, is an all-ages tabletop RPG adventure waiting to be played at the kids’ gaming table. How does this 72-page, all-ages adventure – available for either 5e or Pathfinder – measure up at the adult’s table? This review examines the 5e version of the game, however, it is also available for...
    4 replies | 2522 view(s)
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    Monday, 27th August, 2018, 11:00 AM
    Dungeons & Dragons has a multitude of gaming and literary influences, but two that stand out are H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos and the sword-swinging barbarian character Conan by R.E. Howard. D&D brings the two together in a fashion that's become standard fantasy now, but was revolutionary for a role-playing game. Lovecraft's D&D InfluenceOf the two influences, H.P. Lovecraft's...
    27 replies | 2824 view(s)
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About talien

Basic Information

Date of Birth
November 1, 1972 (45)
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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Sex:
Male
Age Group:
Over 40
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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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Delving Beneath the Surface of Runequest: Glorantha Yesterday 11:31 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.

Tuesday, 18th September, 2018


Friday, 7th September, 2018


Thursday, 6th September, 2018


Wednesday, 5th September, 2018


Tuesday, 4th September, 2018


Monday, 3rd September, 2018


Wednesday, 29th August, 2018


Tuesday, 28th August, 2018


Monday, 27th August, 2018


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 pińatas." 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, 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. ;)
  • 03:18 PM - Bagpuss quoted talien in post Why Did "Solo" and "Rogue One" Feel Like RPG Sessions?
    If you saw the two most recent "Star Wars Story" movies--Solo or Rogue One Ah you're one of those people that pretends The Last Jedi never happened.
  • 02:59 PM - Eltab quoted talien in post Why Did "Solo" and "Rogue One" Feel Like RPG Sessions?
    But why now? Disney's success with interweaving Marvel stories -- something long-established in comics -- is certainly part of it: -Quotation 1- Two factors are coming together to make this kind of storytelling popular. Millennials are interested in storytelling and the Internet's fondness for mashups: -Quotation 2- Were these quotations intended to be so similar? Disney seems to be doing better 'filling in the blanks' of the Star Wars universe than in writing all-new stuff. Hopefully they can learn from experience faster than Lucas did with the prequels. A thought-provoking piece. I'm going to have to digest this for a while.

Tuesday, 5th June, 2018

  • 08:16 AM - MNblockhead quoted talien in post D&D: The New Poker?
    We've rehashed professional DMs before, but the reason I bring it up is that there are adults out there who want to game badly enough that they're willing to pay for an in-person experience. I find that a fascinating shift in "gamers come of age." For busy professionals, this is likely just as natural as outsourcing any other activity -- paying for a movie, watching a baseball game, going to a play. The difference is it's D&D. Exactly. Not only an "in person" experience, I'm will pay for a one-off VTT. My problem is that there are not enough professional DMs. I would love to be able to schedule a 4-6 hour one-off game that fits my schedule, but it is difficult to find one off games, on short notice, that fit my schedule.

Monday, 4th June, 2018


Wednesday, 30th May, 2018



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