Boing Boing 

Kickstarting a fun time-travel RPG

Laura sez, "For fans of investigative gaming, there's a new time-travel RPG burning up the Kickstarter charts. TimeWatch by Kevin Kulp adapts the GUMSHOE System for a fast-paced romp through alternate timelines. Someone is rewriting history, and it's your mission to get things back on track and bring the culprits to justice. You may even get a helping hand from your future self, Bill-and-Ted-style. The TimeWatch Kickstarter campaign is less than a week old, and has already brought in more than seven times its goal - two campaign extensions and three mission hooks have been unlocked so far. If you've ever wanted to match wits with a psychic time-traveling velociraptor, this is your dream come true."

$10 gets you a PDF, $40 gets you the printed edition.

TimeWatch: GUMSHOE Investigative Time Travel RPG

Celebrate D&D's 40th: AMA with author of "Playing at the World"


Jayson from Gygax Magazine sez, "This Sunday, January 26th, marks the 40th anniversary of the first publication of Dungeons & Dragons. To mark the occasion, Jon Peterson, author of Playing at the World and writer for Gygax Magazine, will be holding an AMA ("Ask Me Anything") on Reddit."

Read the rest

12 Days of Christmas D12s


Eric sez, "I created these dice last night, with barely any time to spare before the 'twelve days of Christmas' begin (from 25 December until 6 January). I thought you might like to see what Leaping Lords, Milking Maids, and Turtle Doves look like when engraved onto a 12-sided die."

Eric'll make you a custom D12 for $4, which is a steal.

Twelve Days Of Christmas

HOWTO make gingerbread polyhedral dice

Our Nerd Home has a great guide to the finicky, difficult, but ultimately incredible art of constructing gingerbread polyhedral dice, with a little help from our old friends, graham crackers.

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D20 ice-molds


Thinkgeek sells a set of silicone D20 ice-molds for $12. I've never had good luck with two-part molds, but that product-shot is pretty spectacular, and the documentation makes reference to an ingenious-sounding interlock system that has you freezing the bottom half of the mold, locking the top on, filling it up and refreezing. If that works for you, you can also get a Death Star ice-mold.

Critical Hit d20 Ice Mold (via Geeks Are Sexy)

Name-your-price bundle of kid-friendly RPGs

Bundle of Holding -- a name-your-price download service -- is currently promoting a collection of family-friendly RPGs, including several games that are suitable for age 5 and up. Ten percent of the purchase price goes to two worthy kids' charities (Save the Children and St Jude's Children's Hospital), and you can choose how much you pay (the recommended payment is $17). If you give more than $14.14, you get six bonus games, as well. Click through below for a list of the games in the bundle:

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D&D-Themed movie Zero Charisma pits Nerds vs. Hipsters

Ethan Gilsdorf reviews Katie Graham and Andrew Matthews' darkly comic fable of nerdliness, rivalry and belonging.Read the rest

D&D with toddlers


Gygax Magazine has posted my article about playng D&D with your toddlers on their site; it describes how I came up with a stripped-down set of D&D-like rules for gaming with my then-four-year-old daughter, Poesy. We had a whale of a time!

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Kickstarting laser-cut RPG terrain

Infinite Crypt, a Kickstarter project aiming to raise £6,000, is a system for building relatively cheap tabletop RPG terrain in quantity, using snap-together, laser-cut materials.

The pieces are architecturally ambitious and the accompanying photos show how great they look when painted. I don't buy a lot of RPG terrain stuff, so I can't really tell if £59 is a cheap price for the materials to build "a large room, a colonnade or a key intersection." But what's immediately obvious is that these pieces are gorgeous and well-designed, and that the project itself has pretty modest and sensible goals -- give us money to buy a laser. More money? We'll buy another laser. More money? We'll make more stuff.

As with all crowdfunded projects, you should be prepared for the eventuality that nothing will come of it, and you'll lose your money. That said, project founder James Wallbank runs a successful hackspace in Sheffield, and seems to be a together sort of dude. So caveat emptor, but also, FWOAR.

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Astounding game-tokens from Cthulhu Wars, the $1.4M kickstarted board-game


I'm the guest of honor this weekend at Fencon in Dallas, which is just getting started. One of the exhibitors is Cthulhu Wars, the Lovecraftian boardgame that raised over $1.4M on Kickstarter (they were looking for $40K). They've brought along the prototype for the game, and the tokens are amazing. They were kind enough to let me photograph them, and I've uploaded the hi-rezes to my Flickr; there's a gallery of some of the best after the jump.

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Critical Hits: a history of a the battle between gamers and game-designers for nuance in combat systems


A reader writes, "The early history of role-playing games seems like a constant battle between the creators of Dungeons & Dragons and its fans. Sometimes, like with critical hits, the fans wanted the game to be one way, but Gary Gygax and the folks at TSR just wouldn't have it. The case of critical hits shows that the fans have the real power, and that even if it takes decades, eventually D&D will implement critical hits, damn it."

The history of critical hits was written by Jon Peterson, author of the fantastic-looking Playing at the World, a history of wargames and RPGs. Looks like an excellent companion to David Ewalt's Of Dice and Men.

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Becoming a Web developer as an RPG skill-tree


Dungeons & Developers is a cute and useful "skill tree" in the style of an RPG levelling guide. It starts with basic HTML and works its way through various skills all the way to master Web developer. Each skill-box comes with links to free online tutorials and training materials, and the flowchart suggests a logical progression through all the varied topics.

Dungeons & Developers (via Hacker News)

Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and The People Who Play It

David Ewalt's Of Dice and Men is a wonderful, energetic and personal history of Dungeons and Dragons. Ewalt -- an editor and writer at Forbes magazine -- played D&D as a geeky adolescent, gave it up through his early adulthood, then fell in love with it again. Dice and Men is the story of his journey in D&D and the history of the game itself.

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Assault on Equestria: My Little Pony themed D&D game with a young kid!


The debut issue of Gygax magazine (a reborn version of the classic Dragon gaming mag) carried an article I wrote explaining the variant D&D rules my then-four-year-old daughter an I were using. It involved a blend of random toys from the living room, painted D&D miniatures, dice, and pennies from the piggy-bank for scorekeeping.

Now, one of Gygax's readers has posted his experience playing the game with his own daughter. He used a set of My Little Pony toys (including an awesome MLP castle) to build a campaign called "Assault on Equestria" and it sounds like his daughter had an amazing time -- as did he! It's been a while since I've played D&D with my kid; this makes me want to go dig out the dice-bag!

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What FRPGs can teach us about gold

"Look at games like World of Warcraft, Diablo, Dungeons and Dragons, or the original Final Fantasy. In those games, gold is the money, and you often get gold not by doing an honest day's work, but by running around and beating people up and taking their gold. In other words, the entire world of modern fantasy role-playing is a subtle joke on gold's unsuitability as a medium of exchange." -Noah Smith (via Making Light)

Anti-D&D video warns of satanic Dungeon Masters

In "Dungeons and Dragons, Satan's Game," we learn that D&D is a gateway to Satanism and human sacrifice. I remember being a young gamer in the early 1980s and meeting people who'd warn me about the peril it presented to my immortal soul.

D&D to a Fundie (via Christian Nightmares)

Kickstarting a spellbook for Pathfinder RPG

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/350683997/deep-magic-a-tome-of-new-spells-for-pathfinder-rpg

Wade sez, "Wolfgang Baur, roleplaying game designer and publisher of the late, lamented Kobold Quarterly magazine (successor to Dragon) has launched the Deep Magic Kickstarter bringing 300 new spells to Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Deep Magic smashed through its $10k funding goal in six hours and less than a week later is about to hit $50k. Deep Magic contributors include Forgotten Realms creator Ed Greenwood and Pathfinder creator Jason Bulmahn, along with an array of other award-winning game designers and developers."

$35 is the minimum pledge for your own copy (normal crowdfunding caveat applies: you may get nothing for your money, though this one looks like a good bet for completion, given its principals' publishing experience).

Deep Magic is the ultimate sourcebook for new and variant magic in any fantasy setting, offering a bare minimum of 112 full-color pages. They feature:

* At least 12 new schools and styles of magic, including blood magic, clockwork magic, diabolism, dragon magic, grudge magic, ink magic, ley line magic, star & shadow magic, and several more
* 12 magic colleges and academies, each home to a magical style or tradition
* More than 300 new spells, including new ones for every spellcasting class in the Pathfinder RPG
* New spellcasting archetypes and new mythic spells
* And much more!

Deep Magic: A Tome of New Spells for Pathfinder RPG (Thanks, Wade!)

Raging Heroes: kickstarting all-woman armies of RPG miniatures


Raging Heroes is a spectacularly successful new Kickstarter to produce 150 female warrior miniatures divided into three armies. They were looking for $12,000 and hit that in 30 seconds. Now they're over $300K and still rising, with over 1,400 backers. The minis are very beautiful, and the studio, based in France, has a textbook-example, perfectly structured KS. But 30 seconds. Wow.

Raging Heroes - The Toughest Girls of the Galaxy (Thanks, Alice)

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Kickstarting an RPG for kids 8 and up

An illustrator and games publisher have teamed up to kickstart "Adventure Maximus!", a streamlined, cards-and-dice RPG aimed at kids eight and up (though there's an endorsement from a six-year-old on the site). The gameplay looks pretty clever and I really like the art. It's a minimum $35 pledge to get a finished game, though you can get a PDF of it for a pledge of $15. They're looking to raise $12K for manufacturing, marketing, and administration.

Adventure MAXIMUS! is a card based, introductory Role Playing Game for players 8 years-of-age and up. Players can take on roles from eight different races. Working together as a famous "Adventure Company" based in the fantastic, post-apocalyptic world of Ex-Machina where they can become heroes of legend.

When there is trouble, or innocent people need protection from the fierce creatures that populate Ex-Machina, they call on Adventure Companies to save the day!

Adventure MAXIMUS! follows the classic role playing game format consisting of someone who runs the adventure (who we call a Maximus Master) and 2 or more players who interact with the adventure. Inexperienced Maximus Masters will find using our Adventure Creation System helpful when making their first adventure. Also, the role of Maximus Master can be taken over by a player in mid adventure so that everyone gets a chance to play!

Players will be asked to make heroic actions fueled by Action Points. Players receive a limited amount of Action Points each round, so they must be budgeted. The bigger the action, the greater the cost. Action Points replenish each round. Racial Abilities, Class Abilities, Action Powers, Spells and Items all have Action Point costs printed on their cards.

As with all Kickstarters, you should be aware that you may get nothing for your money, in the event that the creators of the project flake out or just totally underestimate the amount of money they'll need to meet their obligations.

Adventure Maximus!

Old School Dungeons & Dragons: Wizards of the Coast’s Problem Child

As Dungeons and Dragons became more rulebound and combat-oriented, some players revived older, more expressive forms of the game. But is the Old School Renaissance itself just more nerd fundamentalism?Read the rest

Trial of the Clone: great choose-your-own-adventure from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal creator


Last summer, Zach Weiner (creator the most excellent Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal webcomic) ran a monumentally successful Kickstarter for a CC-licensed Choose-Your-Own-Adventure title called Trial of the Clone: An Interactive Adventure!.

I've finally gotten around to reading my copy and it's an absolute delight. Not only is it witty and often laugh-aloud funny -- it's also got a novel and well-thought-through game mechanic that introduces an element of tabletop RPG-playing to the system (instead of rolling dice, you flip randomly through the book and get your roll-value from the number at the bottom corner of the page).

The premise is a fun spoof of the Star Wars trilogy. You're an orphaned clone (they decanted you in order to fill a hot market wherein rich people competed to adopt orphans, quickly exhausting the existing pool of orphans and giving rise to the practice of cloning; alas you were decanted just as the market crashed) and you're sent to live with a mystic cult of warriors who train you and enlist you in an intergalactic war. The humor is trenchant, never too on-the-nose, and never gets in the way of what turns out to be rather a good story. As an added bonus, "nearly all the proper names in the book are dirty words in Czech."

Profits from this book are donated to Fight for the Future, one of the activist groups that led the charge that killed SOPA last year.

Trial of the Clone [Amazon]

Trial of the Clone [SMBC]

Opponents Wanted: forgotten gaming mags find new life on the net

Oh, those glorious gaming magazines! From Ares, to The General, to The Dragon, the original thrill and excitement of pen 'n' paper gaming is there to be experienced at the Internet Archive and other online haunts.Read the rest

RPG inside an Excel workbook


Cary Walkin, an accountant in Toronto, knows a thing or two about Excel. So great is his expertise that he was able to create a full-fledged RPG inside of its scripting environment, called Arena.Xlsm. I couldn't get it to run in LibreOffice, but it sounds like it's very featurful and fun, provided that you're willing to use Microsoft products:

* Random enemies: Over 2000 possible enemies with different AI abilities.
* Random items: 39 item modifiers result in over 1000 possible item combinations and attributes.
* An interesting story with 4 different endings depending on how the player has played the game.
* 8 boss encounters, each with their own tactics.
* 4 pre-programmed arenas followed by procedurally generated arenas. Each play-through has its own challenges.
* 31 Spells. There are many different strategies for success.
* 15 Unique items. Unique items have special properties and can only drop from specific enemies.
* 36 Achievements.
* This is all in a Microsoft Excel workbook.

Arena.Xlsm Released! (via Digg)

Geek A Week's Len Peralta Draws Your D & D and RPG Characters


Len sez, "A few years ago, you posted about my Monster By Mail project. Since then I've drawn a lot of things including Cory for my Geek A Week project. Now I am doing something similar to Monster By Mail with RPG and D&D characters. I'm drawing people's characters for their character sheets. They get an 8.5 x 11 drawing and a 72 dpi version for their character sheet and online use. As long as it is not a licensed character, I will draw it. You can see all the characters I've drawn so far here."

Geek A Week's Len Peralta Draws Your D & D and RPG Characters (Thanks, Len!)

Gygax Magazine: Dragon reborn

Jayson sez, "Gygax magazine is a quarterly adventure-gaming magazine, created in the spirit of such iconic '80s journals as Dragon, White Dwarf, Adventure Gaming, and Pegasus. At the helm are Gary Gygax's two eldest sons, Luke & Ernest Gary Gygax Jr., along with Jayson Elliot, and Dragon magazine founder Tim Kask. The first issue includes an article by Cory Doctorow on DMing for toddlers, as well as new comics from Phil Foglio (What's New With Phil & Dixie) and Rich Burlew (The Order of the Stick). Gygax will launch its first issue this Saturday at The Brooklyn Strategist. The event, which is open to the public, will also have lots of gaming (including a massive AD&D 1E dungeon delve with the founder of Dwarven Forge) and a video Q&A with the staff. The whole event will be live-streamed at GygaxMagazine.com."

Gygax Magazine

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Kickstarter to revive Tunnels and Trolls, the sillier, more casual early cousin of D&D

Stefan Jones sez,

One of the problems faced by early enthusiasts of Dungeons & Dragons was a severe shortage of the actual game. Tactical Studies Rules wasn't up to the job of supplying sufficient copies of a game that burst out of its traditional audience of miniatures wargamers. I remember photocopied sets of the first printing were ubiquitous at gaming hang-outs.

There was an alternative. Long before I was finally able to get my hands on a "white box" edition of Dungeons & Dragons, I was able to get my own copy low-rent competitor, Tunnels & Trolls.

Ken St. Andre's creation was sillier and far more casual than D&D, but you could use it to create adventures just as satisfying. Its basic design also made more sense than Gygax & Arneson's mutant offspring of miniature's rules: The characters' attributes played a direct role in game mechanics.

T&T never had the success of Dungeons & Dragons, but it was responsible for one major innovation (paragraph-based solitaire adventures) and has been through several editions. (One of the works of game writing I'm most proud of is Dark Temple, an epic solo adventure published back in 1994.)

After several years of being out of print, a new edition of T&T is in the works. To fund the development work, the original artistic and design team has put together a Kickstarter, with plenty of interesting reward levels and swag.

Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls

Autobiographical D&D maps kickstarter: TWO HOURS TO GO!

You've got TWO HOURS to get in on Jeffrey Beebe's Kickstarter to produce limited edition prints of his maps of Refactoria, an autobiographical D&D style kingdom, previously featured here on Boing Boing!

Printing the Map of Western Refractoria (Thanks, Jeffrey!)

3D printed, hand-painted miniatures


These 3D printed, hand-painted white nylon miniatures are rather special:

Take a look atTurtleWorks shop on Shapeways that does not contain any turtles, but does contain many more 3D printed miniatures that you can order in the material of your choice then customize by hand painting for yourself.  We also have an entire gallery of3D printed miniatures on Shapeways, if any of your models are suitable to be included in this category, be surte to assign them in your product page.

Amazing Hand Painted, 3D Printed Miniatures

Hand-drawn maps of an imaginary kingdom are artist's autobiography/confessional



Alain sez, "Artist Jeffrey Beebe's website dedicated to his autobiographical/imaginary world called Refractoria; the website features dozens hand-drawn geopolitical maps, city maps, celestial charts, genealogical charts, etc. profoundly influenced by OD&D/AD&D 1st Edition and various fantasy maps."

Map of Refractoria (Thanks, Alain!)

Kickstarter to revive Glorantha, old RPG that was eclipsed by D&D

Robert sez, "Glorantha is one of the oldest role-playing worlds in the history of the genre. Unfortunately, due to many reasons, the world never really found traction after D&D conquered RPGs back in the early 1980s. Now, thanks to Rick Meints of Moon Design Publications, they are finally beginning to get some traction again. Now the company has a Kickstarter raising funds for a complete guide to Glorantha (which has been needed for decades)."


The Kickstarter's already met its minimum, but there's lots of cool stuff in the stretch goals.

The Guide to Glorantha