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Gnome Stew Reader Mailbag: Gaming Stuff You Should Check Out

In the past few days, five people have sent us email asking the gnomes to check out something nifty of theirs. Since my time to do link roundups (which I miss!) has been limited lately, I thought I’d peek at them here instead of in private, and share them with you.


GOLD [1] is like King of Kong, but with professional D&D (sorry, “Goblins & Gold”) players — and YouTube this ain’t. They have writers, actual cinematography, and production values that belie the self-produced nature of the show.

I watched the Prologue ( found here [2]) and enjoyed it; I plan to go back for more. I’d describe it as awkward-funny — if you’ve ever seen the British show The Office, or watched Trekkies, the vibe is similar.

Kudos to the GOLD guys for producing something that really stands out. It’s quirky, and I like it.

Epic Words

Epic Words [3] is a campaign management site that gives you a way to keep track of character journals, loot lists, XP, and other common campaign elements. It looks good — I dig the handwritten theme they have going on — and there’s quite a bit you can do with it (there’s a full breakdown on the features page [4]).

They’re also making a business of it: You can run one campaign with three characters for free; for a fee, you get a gig of storage and can run 10 campaigns with 15 characters. I’m a bit unclear on how the number of characters ties into the price — is that PCs in a given campaign, characters with journal and wiki access, or something else?

I’m also interested to see that this space is large enough to support at least two sites with the same mission: Epic Words is up against Obsidian Portal [5], which is a phenomenal campaign management site. I’ve watched Obsidian Portal grow from a small venture to something much bigger, and it’s an awesome resource. I’d love to see a comparison of the two sites.


Polyhedral [6] is an RPG blog with a focus on D&D, and there isn’t much there yet (it’s quite new). But what is there looks promising: Try the Dwarven Gate Puzzle [7] for a taste — it’s not just a puzzle, it’s a puzzle with a cool prop and plenty of thought behind it, including consideration of how puzzles often go awry.

I like the clean layout and color scheme, the writing is good, and the site has heart. I always like seeing more RPG blogs — so many gamers have knowledge, hard-won tricks and tips, and funny stories to share that it’s a real shame more folks don’t start blogs — and this one is off to a good start.

Introduction to Irrin

You may know my friend Zachary Houghton from his excellent gaming blog, RPG Blog II [8], or his stint as en ENnies judge — he’s an all-around good guy, and a dedicated old school gamer. He’s just released Introduction to Irrin [9], a labor-of-love PDF detailing a system-less “vanilla fantasy” world in the vein of classic campaign primers from the OD&D days.

Along with the PDF ($3.50) and the print version ($10), there’s a free map and some Irrin heraldry for download at his storefront. The map makes me think back (with great and enjoyable nostalgia) to the hours I spent drawing maps like that back in the day. If you get the same fuzzy feeling when you see it, check out the PDF.

Runes of Gallidon

Gallidon [10] takes a simple idea — create a fantasy world as a sandbox for others to play in and add to, and license it through Creative Commons — and spins it into something I haven’t seen before. It’s not just a hosted wiki and a desperate plea to post any old crap: There are submission guidelines, the word “artisan” is used with sincerity, and (a common theme for all of the sites I’ve talked about today) there’s a whole lot of heart.

And they’re after more than just text — their vision is for the site to include images, audio, music, and other media built around the shared concepts their users create. That’s a pretty cool idea, and I hope it turns out well.

Thanks to David (GOLD), Rebecca (Epic Words), Jens (Polyhedral), Zachary (Introduction to Irrin), and Tony (Runes of Gallidon) for the email, and best of luck to all of you in your respective ventures!

4 Comments (Open | Close)

4 Comments To "Gnome Stew Reader Mailbag: Gaming Stuff You Should Check Out"

#1 Comment By Scott Martin On January 30, 2009 @ 12:40 pm

Here are some links that interested me earlier this week.

I like the look of the [12]. The system looks good too.
A cool. human indexed Roleplaying Search Engine is [13]. It’s pretty handy.
For 4e, I’m going to look at [14]. Though the 4e character generator looks like it does a good job for low level characters.
This looks like a [15].
[16] sounds like a huge labor of love.
Greywulf’s Random dungeon builder looks like a decent way to get some solo dungeon crawling in.

#2 Comment By Martin Ralya On January 30, 2009 @ 9:47 pm

My group is starting a 4e campaign shortly, and I went with the power cards from [17] — they’re fabulous. For $3 (and bringing my own cardstock), I printed all the fighter powers from levels 1-5, and they came out great.

One neat thing about the site is that you don’t have to print huge batches of cards: You can select only the powers you want, and print only the ones you need. I printed all of them just so I’d have options.

I have no idea how long the site will last, but in the void WotC left unfilled by not having these available at launch, I’ll be glad for as long as it does last.

#3 Comment By troilus1 On January 31, 2009 @ 9:52 am

Martin —

Thanks for the really nice words about GOLD. We (the performers and production team) are a motley mix of gamers, artists and gamer/artists (multi-class, baby), and this is a huge labor of love for us. We’ve got 3 more episodes in post-production now, and we shoot the season finale in a few weeks. This kind of feedback and support from inside the gaming community is paramount to us being able to continue to a second season.

Thanks again, and keep up the RPG evangelism.

creator, GOLD
can you take the hits?

#4 Comment By nblade On February 1, 2009 @ 9:46 am

For those interested in “Introduction to Irrin”, I did do a review of the product on my [19] at the invitation of the author.