View Profile: talien - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
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  • talien's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:30 AM
    I’m looking at RPG Kickstarters that end between June 28th and July 4th. I feature several that complete on July 4th, America’s Independence Day holiday, which makes the end date interesting – will the holiday impact final day pledge amounts? Check them out to see. Quietus: a roleplaying game of melancholy horror by Oli Jeffery END DATE: Sun, June 30 2019 11:31 AM EDT. ...
    2 replies | 1277 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th June, 2019, 11:30 AM
    The USCSS Montero starfreighter diverts to check out the distress call of the USCSS Cronus science exploration ship. As the crew unravels what is happening stress builds sharpening skills and creating panic. Bodies pile up and conflicting agendas demonstrate that in some ways humans are worse than aliens. Alien the Roleplaying Game debuts in December with pre-order customers receiving...
    5 replies | 1589 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Monday, 17th June, 2019, 05:41 PM
    Acquisitions Inc. has earned a special, beloved place in the actual play segment of the game industry. In 2009, long before Critical Role, Sirens of the Realms, or Dice, Camera, Action, Penny Arcade debuted D&D games presented as podcasts. They later transitioned to video and live-play in front of an audience at conventions, and have even had a comic book. Crowds for those live events have grown...
    76 replies | 4143 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Monday, 17th June, 2019, 11:30 AM
    With so many geek franchises coming to a close this year, it feels like we're reaching a milestone in geek fandom. From Star Wars to Game of Thrones, Avengers to The Big Bang Theory, many long-running series on big and small screens are wrapping up. What does that mean for geekdom? Picture courtesy of Pixabay. It's Been a Long, Wild RideTo put these franchises in perspective, Game of...
    55 replies | 1433 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 11:30 AM
    I was editing an old (1984) adventure I’d written, in order to include it in reprints of my articles from back then, when it occurred to me that adventures often have particular cores, a particular “something” that makes them go. The idea is to build the adventure around the core. It’s “the star of the show” in other words. Picture courtesy of Pixabay. “It’s a dangerous business,...
    8 replies | 1841 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 11:30 AM
    The Dragon Issue 22 was published in February 1979. It is 56 pages long, with a cover price of $2.00. In this issue, Little Wars meets The Dragon, we get a sneak preview of the upcoming Dungeon Masters Guide, and Gary Gygax talks about the future of D&D! Editor Tim Kask starts by informing us that this issue consists of two magazines, The Dragon and Little Wars, combined into one. Little...
    19 replies | 1435 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 11:30 AM
    From the projects ending between June 21 to 27, I look at 9 crowdfunding RPGs and 6 dice Kickstarters. Normally I’d try to feature one or two dice offerings, but with six, I bundled them all here with pictures of the dice for us to drool over. Grimmerspace by Iron GM Games END DATE: Sun, June 23 2019 11:59 PM EDT. SYSTEM(S): Starfinder
    8 replies | 2159 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 11:30 AM
    Good evening fellow Storm Knights, travelers of the Cosms, and veterans of The Possibility Wars! Last time we met, I brought you the knowledge and wisdom of our benefactor Darrell Hayhurst. Today, we bring you a glimpse of what's happening in the world of Torg Eternity and a few other Ulisses North America properties. Morrus recently reported on Wrath & Glory mysteriously disappearing...
    2 replies | 1516 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 11:30 AM
    When Disney took over the Star Wars universe, the press release called out role-playing games as part of the new Star Wars canon. Since then, Pablo Hidalgo has been a champion of bringing content established in West End Games' (WEG) tabletop role-playing Star Wars books into the movies and cartoons. But it all started with Bill Slavicsek, who sets the record straight in his new book, Defining a...
    12 replies | 1965 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Friday, 7th June, 2019, 11:30 AM
    After ten weeks of teaching a game design workshop to 20+ BSA Scouts, it was time for the Scouts to deliver their own games. This is where I discovered how interested and motivated our Scouts were to finish the badge. If you missed it, here's the other articles in the series: Week 1: What's a Game? Week 2: Jenga
    1 replies | 1122 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Thursday, 6th June, 2019, 11:30 AM
    My first “mainstream” freelance RPG column came as a result of Chris Helton’s open call for EN World columnists. I pitched him some articles and, as my editor, Chris helped to refine my ideas and skills as we worked together. He taught me a great deal about RPG journalism and guided me through my early days writing about RPGs. He’s moved on from EN World, but he’s still a part of gaming and right...
    2 replies | 1086 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Wednesday, 5th June, 2019, 11:30 AM
    Here is a sampling of ten RPG Kickstarters ending between June 14th and 20th. Some of these end during Origins Game Fair and Free RPG Day so if you’re attending either event, I recommend noting the end dates of your favorite projects. If you’ll be at Origins, don’t be afraid to stop me and say, “Hi.” Pirates of Pugmire - A Realms of Pugmire Tabletop RPG by Onyx Path Publishing /...
    2 replies | 2075 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Tuesday, 4th June, 2019, 11:30 AM
    Uncaged Volume I sprang onto the scene in early March of 2019 and quickly became one of the best selling products on the DMs Guild. We caught up with Ashley Warren, who sparked a small fire that turned into a conflagration of creativity, and asked her a few questions about Uncaged and how it has grown. SM Hillman (SMH): Ashley, how did you become involved in the Uncaged project? What...
    4 replies | 1801 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Monday, 3rd June, 2019, 11:30 AM
    Through the Quickstarter article I did on EN World, I met Phil Reed, CEO of Steven Jackson Games and, from time-to-time, I ask him to share his thoughts. With their current Kickstarter for The Fantasy Trip: Decks of Destiny live, it’s the right time to do a full-blown interview. What follows is a discussion of Decks of Destiny, TFT in general, the second issue of their TFT zine, Hexagram, demand...
    8 replies | 1858 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Friday, 31st May, 2019, 11:30 AM
    The gaming industry is generally a very helpful and friendly place. But sometimes relationships can be strained between the very people whose partnership is the heart of the industry: producers and retailers. In the age of digital publishing and internet ordering, it has become harder and harder to do well as a games retailer. In this article I hope to offer some insight into where the...
    37 replies | 2296 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Thursday, 30th May, 2019, 11:30 AM
    Three worlds: fantasy, supernatural space fantasy, and weird western. One book filled with strange vistas, otherworldly threats, maps, and adventure ideas awaits you in Index Card RPG Worlds. ICRPG Worlds is the 122 page second book for the Index Card RPG. Along with additional character rules, it details three worlds and while designed for ICRPG it can be used for other RPGs like D&D. ...
    3 replies | 3034 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Wednesday, 29th May, 2019, 11:30 AM
    Between June 7th to 13th (overlapping Origins Game Fair and leading into Free RPG Day weekend), at least 16 RPG and RPG-related crowdfunding projects end. Below are nine of those and three from prior weeks that I wanted to make sure got a shout out before they end. Four Perilous Journeys: New Adventures for The Fantasy Trip by Gaming Ballistic END DATE: Sat, June 8...
    20 replies | 3162 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Tuesday, 28th May, 2019, 11:30 AM
    “My adventures are inspired by the weather-stained heroism of Middle Earth, the grounded, emotional honesty of Earthsea, and the fantastic whimsy of stories like Rupert Bear,” says Michael Prescott. Trilemma combines detailed fantasy locations with a campaign hex map to offer GMs a world of adventure. Trilemma is home to Tristhmus a crossroads location where three continents meet. The...
    1 replies | 1490 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Monday, 27th May, 2019, 11:30 AM
    We've known tabletop role-playing games have been on the rise and that professional creatives like actors and writers have been publicly embracing their inner geek recently. For more evidence, look no further than the many tabletop role-playing game episodes featuring in cartoons for kids and adults, some of them released the same week. These call-outs have shifted from simple RPG references to...
    6 replies | 2167 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Friday, 24th May, 2019, 11:30 AM
    In the early 1980s I wrote a column in Dragon Magazine called “The Role of Books.” I described nonfiction books so that Dragon readers could decide whether to read them as a source of ideas. But people have changed how they their ideas and inspiration. Keep in mind this was only a decade after the invention of fantasy role-playing games. The expectation was that players and GMs would come...
    23 replies | 1567 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 11:30 AM
    In 2017, Eric Bloat launched his first kickstarter Dark Places & Demogorgons (review) via his company Bloat Games. He expanded on his Survive This!! ruleset from Survive This!! Zombies to introduce an 80s town overrun by monsters. He also releases RPGs and supplements on DriveThruRPG.com. Eric fulfilled three kickstarters in 2018 and has three so far through April 2019. He started...
    3 replies | 1748 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 11:30 AM
    May 31st to June 6th sees the end of nearly 30 RPG crowdfunding projects including the newly extended Kingmaker project. Projects from Steve Jackson Games, Paizo, Kobold Press, and many more end end during those seven days. From among that distinguished crowd, I look at eleven of them. Empire of the Ghouls: A 5th Edition Campaign vs. the Undead by Kobold Press END DATE: Fri, May 31 2019...
    11 replies | 3402 view(s)
  • talien's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 11:30 AM
    Ghosts of Saltmarsh brings seafaring adventure to D&D 5E. While it updates ten adventures, there are many more settings and adventures to explore via ship and beneath the waves. Here are additional settings and adventures for maritime D&D adventures. Basic D&D and Dungeon Crawl Classics explore fantasy seafaring and the Sea of Dread is well detailed above the waves and below. An entire...
    17 replies | 2161 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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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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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.

Monday, 10th June, 2019


Monday, 27th May, 2019


Thursday, 23rd May, 2019


Tuesday, 21st May, 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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Saturday, 15th June, 2019

  • 03:46 PM - Bobble quoted talien in post Who Playtested This Anyway?
    That alignment happened around Fourth Edition, which was when D&D started borrowing elements of video game development for its roll-out, including playtesting. And that produced a very craptastic, smelly cow patty. That almost destroyed the line. I don't think S/W testing procedures are needed. Play testing should be VERY late in the process. Your marketing work should tell you the basic data you need in order to design your game. The 4E crew could not conduct good market research to save their lives. If you cannot design, no amount of play testing is going to help you. DESIGNING the mechanics is NOT the job of testers; See Marc's disaster with Traveller. If you design well and get a good person to be your Editor you should just need a few rounds of limited playing testing to find the holes in the rules, streamline, clarify and polish. 99% of the job shroud be done BEFORE play testing.

Monday, 15th April, 2019

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

Saturday, 13th April, 2019

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

Saturday, 6th April, 2019

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

Friday, 5th April, 2019

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

Friday, 22nd March, 2019

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

Monday, 4th March, 2019

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

Thursday, 21st February, 2019


Friday, 15th February, 2019


Thursday, 14th February, 2019


Tuesday, 29th January, 2019

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

Saturday, 12th January, 2019


Friday, 11th January, 2019

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

Tuesday, 23rd October, 2018

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

Saturday, 20th October, 2018

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


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