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Gnome Rodeo: Everyone’s at GenCon Edition

About half the gnomes are at GenCon, and before they took off in their fancy private jets those bastards chained me to the radiator and said, I quote, “There better be a damned Gnome Rodeo while we’re gone, or there’ll be…trouble.”

They fingered their belt buckles ominously while they said it, which I have to say brought to mind a number of unpleasant mental images. So, uh, here we are!

Gnome Rodeos are our regular link roundups. Provided everyone doesn’t simultaneously stop talking about GMing for a week, you should see one most Fridays.

GMing Regulars

Musings of the Chatty DM [1]: With Chatty on vacation, Berin “UncleBear [2]” Kinsman’s Get Your Dice Off My Lawn! [3] fills the void. It’s one of the best RPG blog posts I’ve read in recent memory. Whether you’re an old-school, “I inked my own damn dice” grognard or a new gamer who has never had to deal with shitty dice, it’ll make you laugh.

GMing All Over the Place

Amagi Games [4]: I love it when the whole party belongs to a hierarchical organization (the Federation, a mercenary company, whatever) — it’s a great way to give a game structure, and it makes adventure hooks a breeze. The Troops [5] is a systemless add-on that makes implementing that structure easier, and it looks like a cool approach.

d&dShoebox [6]: I’ve started using this site to track my small but growing collection of D&D Miniatures, and I love it. Back when I was building my Star Wars Starship Battles collection, I used their sister site, swShoebox [7], to track those, and it worked really well. Having it all online makes avoiding duplicates a lot easier, and blows printed checklists out of the water.

Deeper in the Game [8]: As a term, “creative vector” is an instant eye-glazer for me, but I pushed past it and read Creative Vectors [9] — and I’m glad I did: It’s really sharp work. Over the past couple years of reading Bankeui’s material, I’ve learned a lot about gaming, including some foundation-level stuff that’s completely changed how I think about GMing. This is that kind of post.

The Gamer Dome [10]: Wish the 4e PHB had a longer, more detailed index? Wish no more [11] — Propagandroid has you covered. He did a damned nice job on it, too.

If I Read Japanese I Could Tell You the Site Name [12]: This free online tool converts modern photos into old-timey, turn-of-the-century pictures [12] — absolutely perfect for RPG props for games set in that area (Call of Cthulhu comes to mind, or maybe Cthulhu by Gaslight; Hollow Earth Expedition, too). The finished products look great — you have to give this a try.

The Keep on the Gaming Lands [13]: Mike Mearls starts a new blog, and picks wandering monsters [14] as his first topic. I hate random encounters…but I have to admit that I see Mike’s point about considering them for a 4e campaign.

Nuketown [15]: The excellent geek culture blog Nuketown compares GMing prep for D&D 3.5e to 4e [16]. Ken’s stuff is always worth reading, and this is no exception. I haven’t GMed 4e yet, but from what I’ve seen as a player, his assessment is spot-on.

The RPG Bloggers Network [17]: The network swells to over 55 sites. There’s lots to read here — poke around, see what comes up and try something new.

Stupid Ranger [18]: Stupid Ranger turns one year old [19]. Congrats, SR crew! Vanir’s observations on what has worked well and what hasn’t are very useful for RPG bloggers.

WoAdWriMo [20]: The 2008 Worldwide Adventure Writing Month archive isn’t up yet, but here are links to most of the adventures [21] — including our own Gnomes Gone Wild [22].

I’ll leave you with 59 photos I shot during my group’s five sessions of Keep on the Shadowfell [23] (SPOILERS ABOUND!), which have nothing to do with GMing but might be fun for the seven of you who aren’t in Indianapolis right now.

PS: We’re kicking off our first contest this coming Monday, with three surprising prizes.

7 Comments (Open | Close)

7 Comments To "Gnome Rodeo: Everyone’s at GenCon Edition"

#1 Comment By Scott Martin On August 15, 2008 @ 9:37 am

Thanks for the roundup– it’ll give me something to read while everyone’s off enjoying GenCon. Next year, next year we will go.

#2 Comment By Martin Ralya On August 15, 2008 @ 11:10 am

I was surprised how many links I had to post, given how light GenCon week traditionally is for RPG sites.

Based on the highly scientific metric of our RSS and email subscribers (today’s count: 555, yesterday’s count: 956), about half of Gnome Stew’s regular readers seem to be at GenCon. 😉

#3 Comment By Swordgleam On August 15, 2008 @ 2:10 pm

I hate to break it to you Martin, but a copy of “Gnome Illustrated: The Swimsuit Issue” doesn’t count as surprising. 😉

#4 Comment By Martin Ralya On August 15, 2008 @ 4:50 pm

Gnearly Gnude Gnomes: coming soon to a store near you.

“They’re short, sweet and out of control — and their swimsuits are barely there!”

#5 Comment By Kurt “Telas” Schneider On August 17, 2008 @ 10:12 pm

Agent Telas, checking in from the stinking trash pile that is the leftovers of Gen Con 08…

Good times were had by all. I helped Patrick with the “How to ruin your next session” seminar, and gave one of my own on Leadership and the GM. I played in quite a few games, bought more dice, fell further into lust with Savage Worlds, and incurred a sleep debt of many hours, despite cranking the caffeine IV to the maximum setting.

I hope to post a bit more, but there really wasn’t any Big News like last year. (Which I think is actually a good thing.) There are some rumors and such, but it is the gaming industry, after all.

Apparently Living Forgotten Realms is a big hit; the RPGA room was pretty full most of the time. The second Gamers movie (Dorkness Rising) is on DVD, courtesy of Paizo. Fantasy Flight Games released a Battlestar Galactica boardgame, if you can call 200 units a release.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Ryan Sohmer of [24] at GenCon. I hit his booth on Thursday, and asked if he’d ever been to Gen Con. No, he replied, but he was looking forward to it, despite the somewhat different fan base. I dropped by again on Sunday to see how it went, and his reaction was priceless. “This is the smelliest day I’ve ever had” may not be the direct quote, but it’s close.

I may regret the decision, but I played an NPC for a few hours in True Dungeon this year, and liked it so much that I volunteered to help out in future events. If you played the puzzle version of TD on Friday night, you probably saw me in a monk’s robe. (And you probably killed me, as well, you sadistic bastards.)

Sadly, I only garnered three quotes for my “overheard at Gen Con” collection. Either I’m going deaf or y’all are starting to recognize me…

Oh, and I ordered a custom dice tray. Damn your reviews, Martin!

#6 Comment By Martin Ralya On August 17, 2008 @ 10:18 pm

Thanks for the after-action report, Telas — it sounds like you had a great time. 🙂

The BSG game doesn’t officially come out until October, so I imagine those 200 units went pretty quick. [25], and FFG has a great track record overall.

I’m really curious to see if Gamers 2 lives up to the mind bogglingly long time it’s taken them to put it together. The first one was awesome.

As for the custom dice tray, well, what can I say: I live to convince you to buy things that will make your wife look at you funny. 😉

#7 Comment By Kurt “Telas” Schneider On August 17, 2008 @ 10:27 pm

AAR, hell… that should have been a blog post. I’ll polish it up and submit it this week.

Gamers 2 is good; probably better than the first, although it is a bit different. Aside from the humor and better production values, it deals with above-game questions like, “How do I get my players invested in my game?” and “Why is the GM such a controlling bastard?”