Tag Archives: Dungeons & Dragons

GAMING: 3 CLASSIC AND DEATHLESS HORROR RPGS

avatar-scottwoodard81zgv2hxg-lHorror and tabletop roleplaying games have had a strong relationship for decades. From the very beginning, the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS bestiary included ghasts, ghosts, ghouls, mummies, skeletons, vampires, werewolves, and zombies, along with specific rules for how to dispatch them all. While there are plenty of horrific adventures to be had using DUNGEONS & DRAGONS at their core (heck, the classic Ravenloft setting for D&D was completely inspired by gothic horror), games with the supernatural as their focus have also been around for many years, some of which are still creeping along to this day!

CALL OF CTHULHU

71nscrsn70lOriginally released by Chaosium Inc. as a boxed set back in 1981, CALL OF CTHULHU, inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, was the first true horror roleplaying game. So successful was this particular RPG that just this year (2016), the 7th Edition was unleashed at GenCon. If you’re interested in challenging ancient horrors and elder gods with little more than a Tommy gun and a protective elder sign clutched in your hands, then this is the game for you. Note that most CALL OF CTHULHU player characters conclude their runs either dead or insane, often within the first game session following their creation, so if the thought of spending time rolling up a new character only to have them in an institution – or in the ground – by the end of that same night doesn’t appeal, you may want to take a look at some other games.

CHILL

148433Back in 1984, a group of former TSR employees (TSR was the company responsible for the original publication of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS) launched a new gaming company of their own called Pacesetter Ltd. While they would eventually publish a variety of roleplaying games of different genres, including science fiction and time travel, their flagship title was a horror game known as CHILL: ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN. CHILL casts players in the roles of envoys working for a secret organization known as S.A.V.E. These agents work behind the scenes, battling against forces of the Unknown, including everything from Alpine Vampires to Zombie Masters. Originally released as a boxed set, the first edition of CHILL was supported with several fantastic sourcebooks and supplements (including a compilation of short adventures “hosted” by Elvira, Mistress of the Dark!) After Pacesetter met its untimely end, CHILL eventually found its way into the hands of Mayfair Games, who then released a revamped 2nd edition in 1990 that was also supported for a few years with excellent sourcebooks and adventures, until Mayfair shifted its focus to things like a little-known boardgame known as SETTLERS OF CATAN. Thanks to a successful Kickstarter, a third edition of CHILL with a couple rule additions including a clever new Token mechanic was released in 2015 through Growling Door Games, and as of this writing, this edition is still very much alive.

DEADLANDS

dlr_pg_exedAs someone who actually wrote a weird western roleplaying game – THE SIXTH GUN from Pinnacle Entertainment Group – it would be remiss of me not to mention Pinnacle’s DEADLANDS! First released in 1996, DEADLANDS embraces the concept of the “weird west” by mashing up classic westerns, albeit more in the vein of Italian spaghetti westerns, with straight-ahead horror and sorcery. Supported by a ton of source material, including books, novels, miniatures, custom playing card decks, and more, DEADLANDS presents a unique way to explore horror in a new setting devoid of things like cell phones and the internet. Like CALL OF CTHULHU, DEADLANDS has remained in print, in one form or another, in the hands of the same publisher since 1996. In its most popular current form, it uses a slightly modified version of the Savage Worlds rules and is often referred to as DEADLANDS RELOADED. Other adapted versions of the game have been released, including d20 and GURPS editions.

If you’re ready to unleash nightmares upon your tabletop, check out the links throughout the article and don’t forget your silver bullets, your holy water, and of course, your dice! And as always, visit DriveThruRPG for additional tabletop roleplaying games, and be sure to use our affiliate link below!

Huge Discounts on your Favorite RPGs @ DriveThruRPG.com

GAMING: The Art (And Artists) of DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS

avatar-scottwoodardGrowing up as a DUNGEONS & DRAGONS player and occasional Dungeon Master, I spent a lot of my childhood with my nose buried in the many rulebooks published by TSR Games (later TSR Hobbies, Inc.). While the goal was to digest the many arcane rules and scenario details in order to ensure smooth sailing at the game table, the most memorable elements from those rulebooks were, and still are, the many illustrations and full-color paintings that adorned the pages and covers of the various tomes and adventure modules.

Even before the age of 12, I was highlighting my favorite pieces and learning the names of the artists behind them; names like Jeff Dee, Erol Otus, Jim Roslof, Donald C. Sutherland III, and D.A. Trampier appearing on a new product’s title page ensured the reader that the illustrations held within would be of a certain quality and compatible style to previously published works.

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As the years drew on, new names joined their ranks, including Jeff Easley, Larry Elmore, Todd Lockwood, and Keith Parkinson, and soon after that, still more artists like Brom, Jeff Butler, and Tony DiTerlizzi. Now, a new documentary focusing on so many of these incredible artists is in production from X-Ray Films and Cavegirl Productions. Directed by Brian Stillman, Kelley Slagle, and Seth Polansky, EYE OF THE BEHOLDER: THE ART OF DUNGEONS & DRAGONS is described as “an exciting new documentary that explores the history, influence, and stories behind the artwork that helps create the worlds in which we all play. The movie profiles D&D artists – both past and present – and also features former TSR insiders, game designers, authors, and fans. EYE OF THE BEHOLDER: THE ART OF DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS is a celebration of the art we all love so much.”

EYE OF THE BEHOLDER is due to be released in 2017. Keep up with its production via their Facebook page!

GAMING: Making Saving Throws with Producer Dom Zook

avatar-scottwoodardsav·ing throw (sā′vĭng thrō)
n.
1. In DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, a saving throw is an attempt to resist a spell, a trap, a poison, a disease, or a similar threat through the roll of a d20.

2. A group of players and GMs who, through a shared passion of RPGs and filmmaking, have banded together to create RPG content that we as fans would want to see.

The last few years have proven to be quite the renaissance for tabletop roleplaying games! While Wizards of the Coast stumbled a bit with the fourth edition of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS (although I still think it’s a solid design, but YMMV), the latest iteration of the game has proven to be a stupendous success, currently ranked as the best-selling RPG on the market and outselling former juggernaut PATHFINDER (Paizo Publishing) by a wide margin!

As an off-shoot of this terrific hobby, a number of sites, blogs, webseries, and live-streaming game channels have popped up, and truly one of the best is the SAVING THROW SHOW created by filmmaker and gamer Dom Zook. We recently caught up with Dom to find out more about SAVING THROW and what they have in store for the upcoming GenCon 2016 event in Indianapolis, Indiana!

G2V: Dom, I know you’re busy as all get -ut prepping for GenCon, but thanks for taking some time out to chat with us. Can you give us a little history of SAVING THROW? When and how did it all come together?
Dom Zook: SAVING THROW began in 2013 when Tyler Rhoades, Ben Dunn, and I began playing D&D again. As Ben had never played before, and Tyler and I were a few years from our heyday, we went searching for some cohesive tutorials online. Nothing really fit the bill, so we decided to produce our own! First, we made eight episodes of a PATHFINDER tutorial covering the basics. From there we began playing in livestreamed games, playing everything from PATHFINDER to D&D, CALL OF CTHULHU, and STAR WARS. Now we stream five days a week on Twitch and YouTube, with more shows being added all the time!

Can you share any plans for the future of SAVING THROW?
We’re very excited to announce a new series starting Saturday, August 6th at 5pm PDT, exploring the brand new PHOENIX DAWN COMMAND game by veteran designer Keith (GLOOM, EBERRON) Baker. We’ll also be producing an exclusive tutorial series of this system. We’re looking to expand our slate of shows to add more tutorial content and really get back to our roots. Additionally, we’re releasing an album of songs that Amy Vorpahl has written and produced with the help of amazing musician Maxi Morales out of Brazil. Lots of the classic songs from BARKY’S BRIGADE will be on the album. That’s hitting this Fall!

If you had unlimited resources, what would you love to do with SAVING THROW? And if that means a BARKY’S BRIGADE feature film, what would be your dream cast (and I guess we’ll just assume that Amy would be playing the part of Arqe Barky)?
Oh man! When Tyler, Ben, and I initially concepted SAVING THROW, our intention was to edit together the final gameplay into a live-action event with interspersed scripted dialogue to tie things together. I’d still love to go back and tell the BARKY’S story that way. As for casting a movie, I can’t imagine anyone other than our players playing their own characters, but a part of me would love to see Christophe Waltz as Udo Meinhardt!

That’s one casting choice I think we could all get behind! So what is the current schedule for SAVING THROW and where can people watch?
The whole schedule can be found online, or just log in to our Twitch channel to see this week’s line-up and to watch! We also stream to YouTube, so there are a number of ways to catch us!

You guys have some big plans for this year’s GenCon; can you tell us more about them?
This is the largest contingent of Saving Throwers that we’ve sent to GenCon. Not only will I be there, but Tom Lommel (GM of Monday Night DUNGEON FIGHT, and Udo Meinhardt from BARKY’S BRIGADE), Amy Vorpahl (Arqe Barky herself), Tyler Rhoades (Jopper Grow from BARKY’S and producer), Gaurav Gulati (Ruckus P. Fizzlebottom from BARKY’S, Grango from NEVER TELL ME THE ODDS and editor extraordinaire), GM Mason McDaniel (GM of BARKY’S BRIGADE), Shawn Graham (GM of our DARK SUN series, and Donovan Belter from BARKY’S), and Ben Dunn (Thad from BLACK BAG, and host of our PATHFINDER tutorial) will all be there as well!

13653191_1156411381090023_1601904507932852572_oWe’ll also be playing in a live recorded BARKY’S BRIGADE show on Saturday at 6pm in the Westin Grand Ballroom V. It will be similar to our livestreamed shows; in this version, the audience will be able to influence our game! We’ll be giving out tokens and sheets of paper that will play a very important part in the game, and you can get official Barky Bucks (designed by @d20monkey), which you can exchange for tokens! Basically we’re bringing the normal stream show to an IRL audience. It’s going to be a blast, and you can buy tickets for only $2! Steal. 

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Thank you so much, Dom, and best of luck with SAVING THROW! We look forward to meeting up with the whole gang at GenCon!
See you there!

Find SAVING THROW on Twitter and Facebook!

25: Tales of Gloom – with Keith Baker

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He’s the man behind the Eberron campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons, the creator of the Gloom card game, and he might even be able to grab his hat just before the stone wall closes! He’s Keith Baker, game designer extraordinaire, and in this episode Scott and Arnold talk with Keith about his career, his creations, and his critical hit on the hearts and minds of gamers everywhere!

SPECIAL NOTE: There were some minor technical issues with the audio during the interview, but we hope it doesn’t lessen anyone’s enjoyment of the wealth of info and great conversation!

Now also on YouTube!

Additional Show Music by Still Pluto.

As always, we welcome all feedback at contact@g2vpodcast.com or on our Facebook page!

You can also subscribe to us via iTunes!

Please help support the continued production of The G2V Podcast:
Donate Button

SHOW LINKS:
Keith Baker’s Blog

Atlas Games

Gloom

Eberron

Looney Labs

Cthulhu Fluxx

International TableTop Day

Powell’s Books

24: GameMastery 101 – with Ivan Van Norman

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We continue our enthusiastic support for the new web series Saving Throw, a show that will do for roleplaying what TableTop did for boardgames. This time we welcome one of the show’s hosts, Ivan Van Norman!

Roll the dice and join the game – relax, no one will bite…yet!

Now also on YouTube!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZ16M0WWgwQ

Additional Show Music by Still Pluto.

As always, we welcome all feedback at contact@g2vpodcast.com or on our Facebook page!

You can also subscribe to us via iTunes!

Please help support the continued production of The G2V Podcast:
Donate Button

SHOW LINKS:
SAVING THROW – Kickstarter Page

SAVING THROW Official Site

Outbreak: UNDEAD – The Zombie Survival Role Playing Game

Dread

Dungeon Master – The Ultimate Improv Adventure

RPG Background Loops from Plate Mail Games