Stranger Things Dungeons and Dragons is a real thing

You can pre-order an official Dungeons and Dragons/Stranger Things RPG, packaged like a pre-distressed Red Box Basic D&D box, including a (barely) painted and unpainted demogorgon mini, character sheets, a starter campaign, a rulebook, and a set of polyhedral dice: $25 at Big Bad Toy Store. I've been recreating my perfect RPG shelf in pieces, and this kind of thing skewers me right through the guts. (via Super Punch) Read the rest

Make: a 3D printed replica of the shrine from Deities and Demigods, sized for D&D minis

Deities and Demigods is a storied resource book from the first edition of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons: between being copyright trolled by false claims of infringement on the Lovecraft estate (and a more valid copyright claim over the use of Elric of Melnibon mythos), and the general uselessness of gods and demigods to the vast majority of D&D campaigns, and the book's usefulness to nutjobs who claimed that D&D was a trojan horse for occult indoctrination, Deities and Demigods is a title whose reputation redounds even today. Read the rest

Braille RPG dice

Jack Berberette's Dots RPG project creates free, CC-licensed shapefiles for RPG dice with Braille faces (you can order readymades from Shapeways); they're part of a larger project to produce accessible RPG materials of all kinds for people with visual disabilities. (via the-a-r-t-i-s-t) Read the rest

Checking out Bexim's Bazaar, a wonderful new zine for tabletop game crafters

As we have written about before, the game crafting (or dungeon crafting) scene has exploded over the past few years. There are dozens of websites and YouTube channels devoted to every aspect of making and crafting for the tabletop and RPG gaming hobbies, from building custom gaming tables, to crafting terrain and miniature dungeons, to making DM screens, dice towers, modeling, converting, and painting miniatures, and much more.

One of my maker pals, James Floyd Kelly (a tech book author and long-time Make: contributor), jumped onto the game crafting bandwagon last year when he launched his Game Terrain Engineering YouTube channel. Jim's channel grew very quickly and he has now become one of the rising stars in that community. And with good reason. Jim is ambitious and clever. And relentless. By the end of the year, he had decided to go into producing game crafting media as a full-time job. He relaunched his YT channel as The Tabletop Engineer and announced that he was launching a new monthly magazine devoted to the gaming hobby, especially focusing on game crafting.

Called Bexim's Bazaar, the magazine will be monthly. It will mainly exist as a PDF publication, but on-demand print copies will also be available. The PDF version is yours after you become a Patreon sponsor of The Tabletop Engineer for US$2/month. Print copies of the issues (around 90 pages) are available on Blurb for $18.

In this recent video from Jeremy of Black Magic Craft, he discusses the import of this new hobby zine and does a page-by-page flick-through of a print copy of Issue #1. Read the rest

Deborah Ann Woll and Joe Manganiello talk about acting, roleplaying, and D&D's unique form of storytelling

I really enjoyed these two interviews on the D&D Beyond channel with actors Deborah Ann Woll (True Blood, Daredevil) and Joe Manganiello (True Blood, Justice League, Magic Mike), both D&D fanatics. In Deborah's interview, she talks about how she got started in the hobby, what kind of characters she likes to play (fighters, surprisingly enough), and her thoughts on the current D&D renaissance.

One interesting observation she makes about RPGs as a unique form of acting/theater: When a party saves a character or survives an ordeal, or otherwise experiences a dramatic moment, there's often an intense, visceral response from the players that she says she doesn't experience in any other type of acting. As an actor, she longs to evoke this kind of response in people, so that's one of the things that draws her to D&D.

In the Joe Manganiello video, we get a tour of his E. Gary Gygax Memorial Dungeon (think: MTV Cribs for nerds) and hear about how he got back into the hobby after a long hiatus and how he went about converting his basement wine cellar into this enviable game space. The large dragon, beholder, and mind flayer sculptures are very cool. Joe also talks about the impact that D&D had on him as a kid and how he learned foundational skills in storytelling, world-building, and acting that he later employed as a professional actor. D&D was his gateway drug.

In mid-December of 2018, Geek & Sundry announced a new D&D-themed show, coming in February, starring Deborah Woll. Read the rest

Chicagoans can actually play "Machine Learning President," the election RPG

After the 2016 elections, Scout.ai and a group of technology activists created Machine Learning President, designed for "scenario planning to game out how tech might impact future elections, as a way to think through the potential challenges and pitfalls that might eat away at democracy." Read the rest

The amazing deluxe commemorative edition of The Art of Dungeons and Dragons is out today

Today marks the publication of the $100 Dungeons and Dragons Art and Arcana box-set, which contains a 400-page retrospective of the classic art of D&D, a reprint of the notoriously hard Tomb of Horrors module (designed by Gary Gygax to challenge the most overpowered characters), and frameable lithos. Read the rest

"Critical Failure" D20s, whispering what's in every roller's heart

The world has long celebrated the "critical hit" D20 face, the elusive 20 that doubles the damage and sets the players around the table baying with elation; but consider its opposite face, the lowly 1, the "critical failure" that lets a sadistic DM dream up all kinds of pratfalls and own-goals to punish the luckless player with. Read the rest

Procedurally generated maps of medieval cities, suitable for RPGs

The Medieval Fantasy City Generator; fill in a few options and press go, and voila! I have no idea how plausible these are, but they're MUCH better than anything I ever came up with as a Dungeon Master. Read the rest

Kickstarting a new edition of Steve Jackson's long-lost masterpiece "Melee"

Stefan Jones writes, "While Dungeons & Dragons (1973) had its roots in miniatures wargaming, it really didn't coherently integrate boardgame-style maneuvers into its combat system. Steve Jackson changed that a few years later with Melee, the first segment in what would be a full-fledged fantasy role playing game system, The Fantasy Trip. It was a lot better developed than D&D, and was supported by GMd adventures and solotaire adventures." Read the rest

Kickstarting Flotsam, an RPG about "marginalized people in space"

Josh writes, "Imagine the Belters of the Expanse watching as Earth and Mars shape their lives, the civilians in Battlestar Galactica living with the decisions made by the military and the folk of Downbelow in Babylon 5, abandoned to destitution and squalor by those who built the station. Flotsam is a game is about characters like that. In Flotsam you play outcasts, renegades and misfits trying to make their way in a world where poverty and gang conflict sit alongside alien technology and supernatural weirdness. You play through their lives, their interpersonal relationships and small-scale drama against the epic backdrop of space." Read the rest

Modded, post-apocalyptic Hot Wheels cars

Back when I was a teen Car Wars player, one of my great pleasures was kit-bashing toy cars together with arms and armor from tank models to make Mad Max-ish battlewagons to use in our autoduels (a friend with family in the USA used to help us blow up our cars with smuggled in firecrackers to make "battle-damaged" models -- pretty much the perfect dangerous, stupid teen boy activity) (sorry, Mom). Read the rest

How to get started painting RPG miniatures without going broke

I love the Super Punch roundups of gorgeously painted role-playing game miniatures ganked from social media; they fill me with joy and envy, as I've always been an enthusiastic, if not very talented, miniature painter. Read the rest

Kickstarting a gorgeous, thoughtfully designed hardcover notebooks for RPG campaigns

The Game Master's Tome & Player's Compendium are a pair of A5-sized, Moleskine-like notebook with custom interiors designed for RPG gamemasters and players, with 480 pages' worth of hex maps, worldbuilding note sections, character sheets, quest-notes, etc; the stretch-goals include more pages, paper edging, endpaper art, and larger sizes. Read the rest

Pencil dice: a D6 in pencil form

Roll Sebastian Bergne's $3.33 pencil dice across the table to get a randomish value from 1-6. Useful for writing choose-your-own-adventures! (via Geekologie) Read the rest

The secret RPG history of an enabler of America's border child kidnapping policy

When Bryant Durrell was in college, he played D&D with an amazing Dungeon Master, Eric, who was obsessed with the moral dimension of the game, constructing thoughtful, elaborate campaigns to get the players to reflect on the nature of good and evil -- the players jokingly called the setting Eric created "Catholic World." Read the rest

Rebooting Tomb of Horrors, Gary Gygax's incredibly hard D&D module for "invincible characters"

In 1975, Gary Gygax revealed the Tomb of Horrors module at the first Origins convention, presenting it as a campaign that would specifically challenge overpowered characters who would have to rely on their wits to outsmart incredibly lethal, subtle traps, rather than using their almighty THACOs to fell trash-mobs of orcs or other low-level monsters. Read the rest

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