Fantasy Flight Games is at it again with their open beta tests, this time for the Legend of the Five Rings RPG! L5R, as it is often abbreviated as, was originally published back in ’95 by Alderac Entertainment Group, and is set in the feudal-pseudo-Japan setting of Rokugan, a land of samurai, shugenja, and courtiers fulfilling their duties and struggling amongst themselves in the Emerald Empire. The roleplaying game got through four editions under AEG before the property was sold to FFG in late 2015, and fans have been waiting to see what FFG would make of it since. Now that the beta version is in our hands (for free, thankfully), let’s see what they’ve put together!
Keandra Hunt spent a long time working the journalism beat in Halcyon City, eventually rising to Editor-in-Chief of the Halcyon City Herald and its many associated publications. Nobody can stay in this business forever though, tracking down the truth of the City and its many superpowered events. Hunt is finally moving on, but she’s got one last bit of editing to do. She’s leaving behind a portfolio of interviews, articles, reports, and pictures all selected from her time as Editor-in-Chief. Her successor will get it as an inspiration, a challenge, and a warning. We get it as the Halcyon City Herald Collection, the first supplement for Masks: A New Generation!
Just because Asmodeus is top dog in the Nine Hells doesn’t mean he’s the only source of fiendish influence on the material plane. Even the Nine Hells as a whole don’t have a monopoly on it; the demons of the Abyss certainly have their own goals and influence, decidedly messier though they may be. From different breeds of Tiefling to infernal cults to abyssal champions, the latest Unearthed Arcana presents us with all sorts of new Fiendish Options, for both sides of the DM’s screen.
You are a tabletop gaming enthusiast, wandering through your local bookstore for the next bit of literature to capture your attention with. By chance you wander into the comic/graphic novel section, idly browsing, wondering if you’ll find something a little different this time. As it so happens a slim graphic novel catches your eye; you recognize the creator and game mentioned on the spine. It is called “Rise of the Dungeon Master: Gary Gygax and the Creation of D&D”. Do you take it off the shelf?
Unearthed Arcana took a step back from Dungeon Master-level rules and hopped back over the screen to the player’s side of things this month – but it seems they may have over shot a bit and landed out among the planes! This time we’re getting material from the ethereal Astral Plane, the roiling chaos of Limbo, and the seasonal extremes of the Feywild with a new race and new subraces for 5th Edition player characters: the Githyanki, Githzerai, and Eladrin!
The “Three Pillars” are a long-held ideal of what a Dungeons and Dragons campaign should be focusing on: Combat, Social Interaction, and Exploration. The ideal, more or less, states that each should have an equal share in the adventuring career of the party. That comes down to the personal tastes of the DM, the party as a whole, and even particular players, but it has definitely been true that when it comes to gaining experience points in 5th Edition D&D Combat has been the one bearing the most weight. Monsters have easily defined and consistent XP values, while the same cannot be said for Exploration or Social Interaction. Now, in the latest Unearthed Arcana, they’re presenting some options for changing that.
I met our own Level One Wonk via a gaming group that actually spends most of its time playing games online; although the core of original members were all playing together in college, these days they (now we) primarily play over Skype/Twiddla/Google+/etc. However, starting six years ago, we have all gathered together in Delaware once a year to trade stories, raise a few glasses, and play a bunch of games over the course of a long weekend. I’m writing this in Delaware, most of our way through Beach Weekend VI (which I suppose could also, given that the pair of us did most of the GMing, be thought of as Cannibal Halfling Con I), and I’ve definitely learned a few things over the years about turning tabletop roleplaying into a marathon affair.
When it comes to playing any tabletop RPG, it’s all about the story. Maybe that story is simple, with a certain amount of murderhobo-ing, minimal ‘story’ in the traditional sense, and lots of loot spent on getting better at being a murderhobo. Maybe that story is quite complex, with character development, multiple arcs, themes and motifs and the like. No matter what, it’s a story of sorts, and everyone around the table is telling it. But what about when parts of that story have been told by someone else? Not just things you’ve used to inspire your game, no. I mean, how does playing in a pre-established setting change things and challenge your group?
The onslaught of Unearthed Arcana continues for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition, and this time we’ve been presented with Mk. III of a UA subject: the psionic Mystic! The two previous iterations of the Mystic included a limited number of builds and only got as far up the ladder as Level 10, but this time we have all 20 levels and another four builds to work with. Psionics can always be an interesting subject for D&D, and with unique mechanics and loads of new material there’s a lot to mull over here, so let’s dig through it and see what the Mystic has to offer!
Among the hustle and bustle of a Sunday crowd of a certain PAX East, I found myself running to and fro through the tabletop area. It was the only day I was able to attend, and I had actually been somewhat forced to go by loved ones because life had sprung some nasty surprises recently (a long story for another time, perhaps), so I was determined to see and do as much as I could. As I actually rushed out of the tabletop area for a panel I came across an old friend from high school I hadn’t seen in a while; we exchanged greetings and well-wishes, then went our separate ways. After that weekend he got in touch, expressing a regret that he’d never gotten to play D&D and that he was wondering if I could help him out with that. Sure enough, I was able to put together a group, and we started playing. That was in 2013. The party reached Level 24 this past Wednesday.