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Rogue Games Tabbloid -- July 29, 2010 Edition

Rogue Games Tabbloid -- July 29, 2010 Edition

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Published by Rogue Games
This is the daily PDF collection of the various blog posts made by Rogue Games' Richard Iorio and James Maliszewski. This daily collection is a great mix of gaming history, design notes, and the various topics influencing Richard and James' writing and design work.
This is the daily PDF collection of the various blog posts made by Rogue Games' Richard Iorio and James Maliszewski. This daily collection is a great mix of gaming history, design notes, and the various topics influencing Richard and James' writing and design work.

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Published by: Rogue Games on Jul 31, 2010
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29July2010   
T o d a y s T a b b l o i d    
PERSONALNEWSFOR
r i o r i o 2 @ r o g u e - g a m e s . n e t  
1   
ROGUEFEED    
DwarfRacialClassQuestion   
JUL28,201004:09P.MHere’ssomethingI’veneverquitefiguredout:whyisitthatMoldvay   includedbothincreasedXPcostsperlevelforhisdwarfracialclassand   levellimits?Icanseeitinthecaseoftheelf,becauseit’seffectivelya   multiclassfighter-magic-user,butwhyshoulditcostmoreXPperlevel  tobeadwarf,whenhe’sbasicallyjustafightingmanwhocanonlyreach   12thlevel?Thehalfling,forexample,requiresexactlythesameXPper  levelasahumanfighter,butadwarf,meanwhile,requiresmore.AsIsee   it,ifyourealreadypenalizingdemihumansbylimitingtheir  advancement,thenwhypenalizethemasecondtimebyrequiringmore   XPperlevelbecausetheypossessahandfulofracialabilitiesoflimited   utility?  (There’sal  sotheissu   ethatthere’snoprecedentforthisapproachinthe   LBBsbutt  hat’sanothermatter).ROGUEFEED    
BlueBook,CovertoCover(Part  XVI)  
JUL28,201002:40P.MHolmesincludesasectionentitled“DungeonMasteringasaFineArt,”in    whichhebrieflydiscussesthe(literally)artisticsideofrefereeing:  makingmaps.Henotesthat  Thereshouldbeseverallevelsandeachlevelshouldhave   accessaboveandbelowandbemadeupofinterlocking   corridors,passages,stairs,closedrooms,secretdoors,traps, andsurprisesfortheunwary. Thoughnotadirectquote,thisechoesmuchoftheadvicefoundin    Volume3ofOD&D.;Beneaththesection,there’sthisfamouscross-  section:  Icantcalculatethewaythatthissingleillustrationexertedaninfluence   overmyimagination.Evennow,whenIthinkofadungeon,itsStone   Mountainthatcomestomind.Alsoofinterestisthefactthatthetextof  th   eBlueBooknotesthattheBasicSet“includestheintroductorymodule   I  nSearchoftheUnknown,”eventhoughlaterprintingsincludedThe   KeepontheBorderlandsinsteadNext,Holmesprovidesuswithasectionentitled“SampleFloorPlanPartofFirstLevel.”Beforeheactuallygetsaroundtoshowingushis  sampledungeon,though,hedigressesintoabroaddiscussionofplaying   thegame,includinganexampleofplay.HolmesreiteratesOD&D;by   statingthat“manyroomsshouldbeempty,”two-thirdsoftheminfact. Healsoexplainsthat  Trapsshouldnotbeofthe“Zap!Youredead!”varietybut  thosewhichacharactermightavoidorovercomewithsome   quickthinkingandalittleluckThatsinglesentencealonesaysagreatdealaboutthecultureofplayat  thetime,especiallywhencombinedwiththisone:  Thepossibilityof“death”mustbeveryreal,butplayersmust   beabletowinthroughluckandcourage,ortheywilllose   interestinthegameandnotcomebackTwicenowHolmeshasemphasizedtheimportanceofluck,somethingI  toothinkisessentialtotheappealofroleplayinggames.Hisuseofthe   term“courage”isintriguing.Isuspecthemeant“boldness”or“daring,”  suggestingthatplayersoughtnottobetimidandparanoidandthatbe    willingtotakechancesoftenyieldspositiveresults. Holmesdoessuggestthattheuseof“appropriatespeech”isan   importantpartofthefuninthegame,bywhichheclearlymeans  
 
Today’sTabbloidPERSONALNEWSFOR
r i o r i o 2 @ r o g u e - g a m e s . n e t  
29July2010   
2    
“speakingincharacter.”Healsoprovidesexamplesofswearingby   deities,suchas“Zeus,Crom,Cthulhu,orwhatever,”whichsays  somethingabouthisowninspirations.Ofcourse,helateronaddsthat  TheimaginaryuniverseofDungeons&Dragonsobviously   liesnottoofarfromtheMiddleEarthofJ.R.R.Tolkiens  greatLordoftheRingstrilogy.TheD&D;universealso   impingesonthefantasyworldsofFritzLeiber,RobertEHoward,GardnerF.Fox,classicalmythologyandanyother  sourceofinspirationtheDungeonMasterwantstouse. InadditiontotheusualMapperandCallerpositions,Holmessuggests  thatoneplayer“keepaChronicle’ofthemonsterskilled,treasure   obtained,etc.”ThisisthefirsttimeIveseenreferencetosucharolebut  it’spossibleitismentionedelsewhereInhisexampleofplay,mostofthedialogisbetweentheD.M.andCaller,  withanoccasionalinterjectionfromanotherplayer.What’sinterestingis  that,unlikeinMoldvay,Holmes’sexampleneverreferstocharactersby   theirnames,insteadsayingonly“halfling”or“thefighter.”Myfavorite    bitfromtheexampleisthefollowingexchange:  Caller:“Doeshehearanything?”  D.M.:(Carefullyrollingasecretdieforend-of-turn    wanderingmonster)“No.Butthehalflingguardingthedoor  reportshearingslitheringnoisesoutside.”  Player:“Hey,everybody,Ihearslitheringnoises!”  That’spuregoldrightthere.  Asnotedthroughoutthisseries,Holmesconsiderstheroleofthereferee   paramount,evengoingsofarastonotethat“thesuccessofan   expeditiondependsontheDungeonMasterandhiscreation,the   dungeon.”That’sanunusualperspectivebutonethatcertainlymakes  senseincontextwithouttheDMspreparationbeforehand,thegame    wouldbeimpossible.Holmesthenendshisreferee’ssectionwiththe   followingreminder:  Theserulesareintendedasguidelines.NotwoDungeon   Mastersruntheirdungeonsquitethesameway,asanyone    whohaslearnedthegamewithonegroupandthen   transferredtoanothercaneasilyattest.Youaresureto   encountersituationsnotcoveredbytheserules.Improvise.  Agreeonaprobabilitythataneventwilloccurandconvertit  intoadierollrollthenumberandseewhathappens!The   gameisintendedtobefunandtherulesmodifiedifthe   playersdesire.Donothesitatetoinvent,createand   experimentwithnewideas.Imaginationisthekeytoagood   game.Enjoy!  It’salmostcertainlyanexaggerationtocallthesethisthebestreferee’s  adviceevergiven,butthatshouldnttakeawayfromthefactthatit’s  excellentadvicethatI’vecarriedwithmeeversince1979whenIfirst  readit.Inparticular,thenotionthatnooneshouldexpectanytwo   campaignstobethesameisoneIlikeandonethatIwishhadheldthe   daywithinthehobby.ROGUEFEED    
Retrospective:GriffinMountain   
JUL28,201012:18P.MOriginallypublishedin1981,GriffinMountainhasbeencallednot  unreasonablyoneofthebestRPGproductseverproducedforany   game.Subtitled“ACompleteWildernessCampaignforRuneQuest,”it   waswrittenbyRudyKraftandPaulJaquays,withadditionalmaterialby   GregStaffordanddetailstheGloranthanregionofBalazar,whichisto   thenorthwestofPrax,wheresomanyearlyRuneQuestproductswere   set.  Andthesubtitleisnojoke:GriffinMountainreallyisacomplete   campaigninasingle200-pagebook.Withinitspages,youllfind   informationnotjustonthehistoryandgeographyofBalazar,whichare   prettystandardforsourcebooksofthiskind,butalsoinformationabout  thepeoples,beliefs,andlocationsoftheplace.So,eachsettlementgetsa    write-up,alongwithitsleadersandinhabitants,asdovariouscitadels, caravans,andpointsofinterest.Thereareweathertablesanddozensof  rumors,inadditiontoreactionandencountertables,mapsgalore,andof  courseplentyofscenarios.Inshort,it’stheperfecttoolkitfora   Gloranthansandboxcampaign. IfGriffinMountainhasaflaw,it’sthatitmaybetoocomprehensiveand   gettingahandleonallofitsdetailsisdifficult,evenforanexperienced   referee.Afterall,itdescribesanearly800-kilometerwideareaof   wilderness,inhabitedbythousandsofbarbarichumansandasmany   non-humans.BesidesGriffinMountainitself,there’stheRiverofthe   Damned,DragonnewtPlinth,Firshala’sPrison,andmanymore   significant  locales,eachofwhichgetsafulldescription,includingmaps  inmanyc   ases.Theresalsothefactthat,setasitisinGlorantha,there   areadditionaldetailstoconsider,thosequirkybitsofloreandcontext  thatmakeGloranthatheremarkablefantasysettingthatitis. 
 
Today’sTabbloidPERSONALNEWSFOR
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29July2010   
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ButitcanbeoverwhelmingandtotakefulladvantageofGriffin   Mountain,onewouldneedtospendagreatdealoftimereadingit, takingnotes,andpreparinginadvance.Thisisnotaproductthatcanbe   pickedupandusedwithoutpreparation,evenifthebookdoeshandle   someofthetedioustasksofrefereeingRuneQuest,suchasproviding   statsforallthehumansandmonstersthecharactersarelikelyto   encounter.GriffinMountainisthusverymuchaproductofitstime,  whichistosaythat,despiteitswealthofinformationandprepared   scenarios,it’sstillnotfullyusable“outofthebox.”Itdemandsthatthe   refereeporeoveritspagesandmakeithisown,aprocessthattakes  time,effort,andnosmallamountofcreativitytodoright. Ofcourse,theresultiswellworththeeffort,asGriffinMountainisatrue   masterpieceoftheearlydaysofgaming.Itsagreatexampleofa   sandbox,filledwithpeople,places,andadventurehookstokeepaparty   ofcharactersbusyfori  nnu   m    erablenigh   tsofadventure.Bestofall,none    ofitfeelsheavy-handedorpre-scripted.Instead,whatyougetisalarge   canvasonwhichtocreatestoriesofone’sownagainstthebackdropof  oneregionoftheworldofGlorantha.It’shardtodojusticetoitinafew     wordsand,evenifIdescribeditsentirecontentsexhaustively,itstill   wouldntconveyjustwhatitisthatmakesGriffinMountainso   remarkable.It’sapitythatit’slongoutofprintanddifficulttoobtain   nowadays,becauseI’dwholeheartedlyrecommendittoanyonewho    wantstounderstandwhatsandboxgamingisallabout.Forthatmatter,I  thinksomepublisherscoulddoworsethantoemulateit.Nearly30years  later,itsti  llhasfewcompetitors.ROGUEFEED    
RichardIorio   
JUL28,201011:37A.MI’vebeenplayingwiththenewSafariupdate,andnowyoucanuse   extensionsinthebrowser.Ihateextensions,butthereareafewthatI  like.AnewoneIamplayingwithisScribeFire.Thisallowsyoutowrite   toyourblogfromthebrowser.Sothisisatestofthis. Filedunder:Life,Technology   ROGUEFEED    
 AQuotetoTideYouOver  
JUL27,201009:29P.MItwasabusyanddistractingdaytoday,somyapologiesforalackof  postsandalsomyapologiesfortheemailsI’veyettoanswer.Inbetween   myvariouserrandsandactivities,I’vebeenreadingC.L.Moores  collectedNorthwestSmithstoriesandenjoyingthemgreatly.I’veread   themmanytimebefore,butIrecentlyhadastrangedesiretopickthem    upagainandsoIhave. TheopeningofMoore’sfirststoryintheseries,“Shambleau,”isa   terrificallyevocativeonethatnicelyframesnotjustthetaleitprefaces   butalsoallthosethatfollowManhasconqueredSpacebefore.Youmaybesureofthat. SomewherebeyondtheEgyptians,inthatdimnessoutof   whichcomesechoesofhalf-mythicalnamesAtlantis,Mu—    somewherebackofhistory’sfirstbeginningstheremusthave    beenanagewhenmankind,likeustoday,builtcitiesofsteel  tohouseitsstar-rovingshipsandknewthenamesofthe   planetsintheirownnativetonguesheardVenus’speople   calltheirwetworld“Sha-ardol”inthatsoft,sweet,slurring   speechandmimickedMars’sguttural“Lakkdiz”fromthe   harshtonguesofMars’sdrylanddwellers.Youmaybesureof  that.ManhasconqueredSpacebefore,andoutofthat  conquestfaint,faintechoesrunstillthroughaworldthathas  forgottentheveryfactofcivilizationwhichmusthavebeenas  mightyasourownThat’sheadystuffinmyopinionandIknowit’salreadyinfiltratedmy   imagination,thefruitsofwhichI’lldiscussintheweekstocome.  Anyway,regularpostingresumetomorrow,includingthenext  installmentof“BlueBook,CovertoCover.”

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