Thursday, August 30, 2007

Some Gaming News

I was in Powell’s Books the other day and happened across a copy of the new Hawkmoon RPG by Mongoose. I didn’t have a lot of time to look through it but the art looked very amateurish, and the overall book design uninspiring. While I was happy to see familiar Basic Role-playing Stats I wasn’t impressed with the mutation rules. I filed that away. When I read a review at my doubts were confirmed.

the book is too short, the space between paragraphs is really huge and the page borders are enormous. This means that we have around 120 pages of real text, not enough for a traditional core book, and the consequences are huge. The rules are explained lightly, not improving the short descriptions from the SRD and lacking many examples, and the background is sparse.
The writing style is functional but never managed to catch my imagination, and the few interior illustrations are not good nor bad. At least the Tragic Europe map is adequate and well done…

…The game should be cool, but it's not, and I don't know what has happened. Maybe the Tragic Millennium is not suited for an RPG, or the book needed another focus and writing style.

For 30 bucks a pop it ought to be much better. Also, considering Mongoose is usually very good with design this is somewhat of a surprise. More books are coming so the world of Hawkmoon will be much more fleshed out and it’s compatible with all the other Runequest games published by Mongoose so that’s something. I guess I’ll wait for another edition down the road if I buy it at all.

Speaking of Mongoose, I’ve noticed that Conan 2nd Edition is a little late. It’s now coming out early September. I hope I still get the copy I ordered. Another Book, the Conan Bestiary has completely disappeared from their site. I was look forward to that one.

The big news that’s fired up the gamming community it the announcement of D&D 4th edition for 2008. From here:

Wizards of the Coast announced at Gen Con Indy Aug. 16 that the much-rumored fourth edition of the seminal role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons will be released in May 2008. However, several D&D support products…

D&D 4th Edition will continue to use the d20 game system — according to Wizards of the Coasts designers, the 4th Edition rules will be an “evolution of the system, not a revolution.” 4th Edition play is designed to be faster and easier for the Dungeon Master to adjudicate. Each character class will have a specific, defined role within an adventuring party, and the designers’ goal was to give each class interesting options for gameplay at every level. Character races have undergone a similar overhaul, with at least two new player races included in the Player's Handbook, and the core rules now go up to level 30 for characters; with the levels divided into three tiers: heroic for levels 1-10, paragon for 11-20, and epic for 21-30. One goal was to avoid having a single “sweet spot” — a specific range in levels where everyone wants to play. In D&D 3.5, this tends to be levels 7-13. For Dungeon Masters, the new edition includes new ways to build encounters by giving every monster in an encounter a role to play, and addresses or removes “game-stopping” rules like grappling in combat.

In addition to the physical rulebooks and supplements, a major component of 4th Edition will be digital. Wizards has launched a free beta version of Dungeons & Dragons Insider, the online component for 4th Edition, shortly after the Gen Con announcement. D&D Insider will change over to a subscription model around the time the new Player’s Handbook is released. For a monthly fee, D&D fans will have access to the online versions of Dragon and Dungeon magazines; online tools for players and DMs, including a character creator and map, encounter, and adventure building tools; D&D Anytime, a round-the-clock virtual game table which will allow gaming groups to get together and play D&D online; and forums and other community features.

I’m not mad I knew this was coming. I was thinking more like 2009. I’m not using the tons of 3.5 books I bought because I rarely role-play anyway. Oh well. It’s a good time to quit Dungeons and Dragons, although haven’t purchased anything new since 2006.

The future digital component of D&D explains why both Dragon and Dungeon magazines were cancelled. The final publication of these magazines was this month in fact. I thought about picking up that last Dragon, issue #359, because it’s supposed to have a retrospective, but most of it is info I wouldn’t use. So Long Dragon, I will miss the art.


Don Snabulus said...

Our generation is losing its vice-like control on popular culture. So sad. Damn kids.

Arkonbey said...

snab- there's always rampant nostalgia!

Dragon was a cool mag, but it was obvious it couldn't last in the internet age, what with geeks being their target audience. I found a bunch in a milk crate on the side of the street (in the East Coast Portland). The art was fantastic.

I miss RPG-ing (what my friends and I call 'geek-gaming'). The only GM I'd play with now lives 250 miles away. We tried, but it's hard to keep a tri-monthly game going...

ladybug said...

That's a bummer, I used to pick up Dragon from time to time, and purely for the art. I actually did like several of the articles as well.

Sounds like another mag folks "read for the articles"!!!! I guess it was my dirty little secret.

Swinebread said...

snab - we already lost it.

arkonbey - I liked the art in Dragon too. I think it was this mag the helped elevate production values for all role-playing games. When it first started, the art was much better than the art in the rulebooks.

I'm not gamming much either... *sniff*

LB - Nah, it’s well known that Dragon had great art, nothing to be ashamed of there. You might be interested in The Art Of Dragon Magazine. I saw this book at Powell’s.

Arkonbey said...

Oh, man, the rule books' art. Literally, except for one artist, the rest ranged from bad to insulting to look at.

Swinebread said...

Weird stuff for sure! Why didn't they get more comic guys to do the art?

Dean Wormer said...

I have the best of Dragon somewhere on CD. It has all the mags through about five years ago.

sad. What will Phineas Fingers do?

Swinebread said...

Go on-line I guess

Unknown said...