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Sensor Sweep: RPG Theory, Paizo, Grimdark vs. YA, Lankhmar RPG, Prydain –

Sensor Sweep: RPG Theory, Paizo, Grimdark vs. YA, Lankhmar RPG, Prydain

Monday , 4, February 2019 Leave a comment

RPG (RPG Pundit): There’s a whole generation of new D&D gamers who missed all the long history of people studying and debating RPG theory, and the thinking behind the conclusion that regular RPGs are not a good medium for ‘making story’.  And a lot of them have been fed the same old bullshit as in the old days, being told that’s what D&D is for.


Gaming (Niche Gamer): Following the news that Deep Silver has dropped the Steam release of for an Epic Games Store-exclusive release, many fans were understandably frustrated with the decision and began to review bomb the entire series on Steam.

To combat review bombing, Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney noted the Epic Games Store will soon get an opt-in review system. The store itself is based on the Unreal Engine marketplace, and so too will be the reviews – because in the marketplace user reviews aren’t required either.

“We think this is best because review bombing and other gaming-the-system is a real problem,” Sweeney explained.


Gaming (Table Top Gaming News): I’m a big fan of having the right mini out on the table when fighting in an RPG. That can sometimes be tough, if you don’t quite have the mini you need, or maybe too many minis of the same exact type and you can’t tell them apart. Thankfully, WizKids and Paizo are coming out with a new Pathfinder Battlesset, the Ruins of Lastwall, that will help with that. Check out the new preview Paizo posted.


Writing (Noblebright): Grimdark is “a subgenre or a way to describe the tone, style or setting of speculative fiction that is particularly dystopian, amoral, or violent,” according to popular sources.

It has spread thanks to the success of A Song of Ice and Fire, The Walking Dead, Dark Souls, and similar emotionally mutilating franchises. We are seeing new Grimdark pop-up every day in video games, film, TV, and books, even self-proclaimed Young Adult titles.

But I’m not convinced something can be YA and grimdark.


RPG (Confessions of a Reformed RPGer): I mentioned this before in my litany of stuff I used to play, but I wanted to drill down on this because I’m going to be talking about campaigns and how I run them and why I run them the way I do. It’s mostly because of Lankhmar: City of Adventure.

Back in the 1980s I was a good li’l consumer of TSR’s stuff. I kept up with new releases, back when you actually HAD – TO –  KEEP – UP with stuff; there was no button to click, no page to “like.” You had to remember to call the hobby shop or the bookstore once a month.


Fiction (Black Gate): The Tower of the Elephant is #1!

That’s the chant I heard rising above the darkened canopy shrouding the mighty yews and other overgrown vegetation blocking any chance I might have had to see the Pictish village. The heavy hand upon my shoulder kept me from ever knowing if the wattle huts truly stood there, cavernous doorways gaping wide like entrances to giant earthworm tunnels, shadowed gates to a scarcely known past few dared to poke and muck about in.

Pulled backward until I was off my feet and set hard upon the trunk of a fallen giant, I craned to my left to see my captor. A mane of black hair, shaggy strands barely covering the flash of sullen eyes, twisted away, the hand that had never left my neck squeezed tight, forced my face forward.


Fiction (DMR Books): Celtic-infused fantasy wasn’t always a thing. Neither was young adult fantasy. With the Chronicles of Prydain, five books loosely cribbed from the Welsh Mabinogion, Lloyd Alexander did much to pave the way for both.

From an early age Alexander wanted to be a writer. In an interview he said:

“My parents never read a book. I never in all my life saw them sit down and read a book. So it was always a mystery to them—where do these books come from, and who actually writes them? And our son wants to go into a business like that?!!”


Pulp (True Pulp Fiction): Blue Book was the main market for H. Bedford-Jones’ serial anthologies of thematically-related stories. The gimmick gave him an excuse to surround each actual story with some framing device when they could well have stood well on their own, but his approach certainly paid more. HBJ had two separate series going on in the July 1937 issue: “Ships and Men,” written in collaboration with Captain L. B. Williams — that is, in collaboration with himself — and “Warriors in Exile,” represented in this issue by “A Touch of Sun.” 


Pulp (Pulp Flakes): Index to the Weird Tales Collector fanzine

Stealing this description from the excellent Tellers of Weird Tales blog:

As a writer, editor, publisher, fan, and collector, Mr. Weinberg did more than anyone, I think, to carry Weird Tales from the defunct era of the pulps into the 1970s and beyond. He acquired the Weird Tales property from Leo Margulies in the mid 1970s and immediately set about reviving the title and the franchise with WT 50: A Tribute to Weird Tales (1974), a self-published paperback that included material both old and new. Mr. Weinberg followed up that effort with the hardbound volume The Weird Tales Story in 1977 and a six-part serial, The Weird Tales Collector, published from 1977 to 1980. 


Fiction (Paperback Warrior): Released in 2017, “Quarry’s Climax” is the 14th novel in the Max Allan Collins series starring the nameless Vietnam veteran hitman code-named Quarry. The chronology of the series is a bit of a morass, but if such things are important to you, this one takes place in 1975 – five years into Quarry’s domestic murder-for-here career when he was still taking assignments from The Broker.



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