Sunday, November 11, 2007

"Rush in and Die, Dogs!" or, the Eternal Beauty of the Poet

Cinerati recently waxed eloquent about Conan, and the perceived resurgence of the grim Cimmerian in popular culture:

Howard's typical Cimmerian is similar to that of the classical scholars, and presents a figure most unlikely to advance the literary arts. But this is where Conan differs from his kin. In The Phoenix on the Sword, Conan is an older man who has conquered on of the greatest nations of the Hyborean Age expressly to free them from tyrannical rule. He conquered to rule, and to liberate an oppressed nation. A far cry from the typical barbarian. By separating Conan from his kin, Howard simultaneously increases the audience's sympathy for the barbarian king while enabling the character to advance a theory of the value of literature.

Neat stuff, but I fear Cinerati is too well read for his own good. ;)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Getting Under the Hood of Mongoose's Traveller

Mongoose Publishing is holding an open playtest of their version of the Traveller RPG. The bits leaked so far have been getting lots of good response over at Click here to check it out and post your feedback.

Frankly, I think this is an excellent idea, and I hope it results in an exceptionally fine-tuned game for Mongoose.


Complaints Dept.

People who complain about scantily clad warriors in their fantasy art, saying that they are unrealistic, and that no "real" warrior would ever enter battle barefoot, or so naked without being armoured completely from head to toe, need to


Edited to fix a broken link on 02/11/11.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Sexiest RPG Art at

If you're not getting enough sexy RPG art, there's a new thread just for you over at They quickly brought up and derided the cover to Savant and Sorcerer and the ubiquitous Avalanche Press covers. Now they're digging into the good stuff: Diterlizzi's "Cat Lord", Lim's work for Exalted, and similar goodness.

There's new art over at Ackergard's and Andersson's pages. I'll have a post up about that, and a new artist who has one foot firmly set in the styles of the "old school" of RPG illustration, this weekend, assuming I can get out from under this damned flu long enough to finish it up.

Dragonlance Movie Release Date and Cover Art

Oops! A bit late with this. The Dragonlance straight-to-DVD movie will be released on January 15th of 2008. I have no idea what the market is like for DVDs. Is this too late for the Christmas rush? Or just right for the post-Christmas returns? Anyone know more about how this market operates?

You can find the announcement and a pic of the cover here. Hey, that dragon doesn't look half bad. Maybe I've been unnecessarily pessimistic. Here's hoping...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

William Gibson: Too Lazy to be a Survivalist

Via Instapundit, a short, interesting interview with William Gibson. Spoiler: he's still thinking the worst is yet to come. But don't expect him to do anything about it: "It could all go to gray goo. But it just isn't in my nature to buy a lot of canned food and move to Alaska and try to escape the gray goo."

Friday, November 02, 2007

Merric on 4e

Merric has a nice overview of what we've seen of D&D's 4th edition so far, and his thoughts on same:

There's one thing that has been very nice throughout the 3e era: I've felt like I was Wizards' target audience. Not always, but for most of it. Of course, they occasionally got my tastes dead wrong - there'd be a lot more adventures from Wizards if they were aiming directly at me, and a lot of Greyhawk ones at that! - but ruleswise? Nice going.

The biggest thing about 4e for me is the potential it has to fix the problems I've had with 3e. The biggest disappointment? The way its publicity has been handled.

If there's one thing that really makes me cringe, it's that "teaser" video displaying the "problems" with the previous editions of D&D. Now, I - and most people familiar with 3e - can relate to the problems with Grappling in 3e. (Incidentally, I don't have a problem running Grappling, I just have a problem with how powerful it is with large creatures). However, the problem with AD&D is... you don't know what mini stands for which monster? Huh? How on earth is that a 1st edition problem?

4e got off to a bad start, and things haven't gone smoothly since then.

Myself, I feel oddly disconnected. When 2nd and 3rd editions were rolling out, I was deeply, passionately involved in what was happening, and following every scrap of information with the intensity of a starving wolf tracking a lame caribou. But I've lived without the latest version of D&D for a while now. 4th edition looks interesting, but not nearly as much fun as True20 is right now. My dreams of being a professional pen-and-paper game designer have deflated under the reality of hobbiest wages. I'm just having fun, now. With the net and online play, there's no reason to feel saddled to what the corporations are doing.

On the one hand, I feel liberated. On the other, I recognize that attitudes such as mine are the death-knell of an industry. What will happen when all our games are put out by Forgites and Wayne Reynolds is forced to illustrate get-well and birthday cards to keep a roof over his head? Yeah, there will still be free or cheap content, but you really do get what you pay for.

But all of that isn't really related to Merric's post, just thoughts inspired by it. Merric gives a nice overview of the basic themes we've been able to see about 4th edition so far. If you haven't been keeping up with it, he's written a good primer as to where things stand now.