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.

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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

D10 engagement ring


Dragonslorefury posted this wonderful D10 RPG-player's engagement ring to DeviantArt, along with these notes:

My engagement ring, designed by myself and a reality thanks to my amazing jeweller father. Yes that is a D10 (10 sided dice for those not used to the lingo XP), me and my partner are quite frequent roleplayers and I'm a huuuge geek and odd-ball. I wanted my ring to be one-of-a-kind and personal to me any my amazing finace so I eventually came up with this idea. If I want the dice can also be removed and replaced with a stone of my choice ^_^ Happy to be engaged to my amazing partner and to have my awesome engagement ring. <3

My Engagement Ring (via Geekologie)

Topless dungeon master sought

A Craigslist poster is looking for a woman to dungeon-master a D&D game/bachelor party. DM must be familiar with D&D 3.0 or 3.5, and topless. C-cup or greater preferred. "There will be 5 'guys' that will be participation (sic) including myself. We are at all above the age of 24. Each of us are gentlemen and will treat the Dungeon Master with the utmost of respect." Cory

Kickstarting a book of homemade D&D modules from the 1980s


Plagmada -- the Play Generated Map and Document Archive -- is kickstarting a book of homebrew D&D modules made by game-geeks in their misspent youth. The lead title is the remarkable The Habitition of the Stone Giant Lord, created by 13-year-old Gaius Stern in 1981. The book will contain other homebrew adventures, and is seeking your contributions, which you can email to collections@plagmada.org, for inclusion in the book, which will be called "The Habitition of the Stone Giant Lord and Other Adventures from Our Collective Youth."

The Habitition of the Stone Giant Lord & Other Adventures (Thanks, Tim!)

CC-licensed nerdy feature film breaks Kickstarter record

Ben sez, "Our feature film comedy about roleplaying gamers and collectible card games, The Gamers: Hands of Fate, is just finishing up a very successful campaign on Kickstarter [ed: $384,174 and rising at the time of writing] and we wouldn't be here without Boing Boing. Reading this site taught us how to go directly to the fans, stop worrying about piracy, and embrace a 'dandelion' distribution model. We are now just a few thousand away from becoming the most-funded film on Kickstarter to date, for a movie about gaming that will be released online for free under a Creative Commons license. Thank you for the many years of content and commentary that convinced us to go this direction, rather than getting stuck in Hollywood!" (Thanks, Ben!)

RPG miniatures Kickstarter hits $1M

Matt writes in with news of the Reaper Miniatures Bones Kickstarter, which has hit an eyepopping $1M with five days to spare. Reaper makes paintable RPG miniatures and paints, and they're rather good (I have several sugrued to the top of my monitor, bought expertly painted at the Orcs Nest in Covent Garden).

Matt sez, "Even if you just want paints it's a great deal. The paint sets are $18 more for a set of 12, which is half or less what you pay retail. For minis the $100 is up to 182 plastic minis. Reapers claim, and the reviews agree, that their products are flexible hard to break and don't need primer (though you can use it). Among the minis there are some that are steampunk (the Chronoscope minis). Who wouldn't want a cybernetic gorilla? There are pirates and horror as well. You can also add for a little more cash a clockwork dragon, a jabberwocky, and a set including Cthulhu."

Some of the highest pledge levels include minis cast in sterling silver, as well as original molds.

Reaper Miniatures Bones: An Evolution Of Gaming Miniatures (Thanks, Matt!)