Monday, February 2, 2015

Best Reads of the Week January 1 - 9, 2015

Welcome back to the Best Reads of the Week! Every week I read through more than 350 blogs looking for the best rpg related articles to bring them directly to you. This week we've got advice on how to make the most of your villains; rage against terrorists; alternative spellbooks; dealing with burnout; and fighting on the internet where everybody wins! If you see a post that you like be sure and tell the author how much you enjoyed it!

If you've got any questions about this month's lists be sure and check out the FAQ. And as always, thank you for your comments, shares, plus 1s, and for taking the time to read this list. See you on the next set!

JANUARY 1 - 9, 2015

Don't Prep Plots - "You Will Rue This Day, Heroes!" (The Principles of RPG Villainy) by Justin Alexander, from the blog The Alexandrian: Creating a memorable villain that doesn't require you to use a convoluted series of roadblocks to keep them alive can be a trying thing for newer Game Masters. This post by Justin Alexander attempts to provide both the prospective Game Master and the Old Hand a series of principals to keep in mind so that such things aren't necessary.

In Praise of Defiance and Pride by Sophie Lagacé, from the blog The Reef: The attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine shook up a lot of people. For some this became a moment when they began to ask "Should we be drawing cartoons of Muhammad?" Others used it as an opportunity to further their own political agendas by drawing broad and wildly inaccurate conclusions about people based on their race and religious beliefs. Sophie Lagacé has some words for such people that begin with F and with u.

Shadowrun Rat's Nest: Flamethrowers by Jedediah, from the blog Book Scorpion's Lair: There are times when it's easy to pontificate about how you should play the game, but more often than not I'm left feeling that most of these discussions are carried out by people who aren't playing with others. So it's really enjoyable to read about a Game Master who takes a chance with their players and something really cool happens as a result!

What's in the Spell Book of the Evil Wizard or Sorceress? by Lum, from the blog Built by Gods Long Forgotten: If you're looking to add some spice to your evil magic-users than these four spells by Lum are a great place to start. Not only are they perfect for any evil wizard but they have enough quirk to them to help provide your players with some great gaming experiences. I especially enjoyed Desiccate and Slime Ray.

Lost Songs of the Nibelungs - OSR Role Playing Game of Germanic-Noir Tentacle Horror (another exorcism of ideas) by +Jens D., from the blog The Disoriented Ranger: While this post is not the best in the series it represents the beginning of an amazing project that continues to express a fantastic gaming ethos.

Five New or Different Rules in the Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons Game by DM David, from the blog DM David: Since the completion of the Core Rules release for Fifth Edition the open analysis of the rules and changes has begun in earnest. Across the hobby, in forums and blogs, people have begun to discuss what has changed and why. DM David's discussion of these five rules is among the best to come out so far.

Thoughts on the Neverwinter MMO by Mike Shea, from the blog Sly Flourish: If you have been thinking about playing the Neverwinter MMO then this short review/guide by Mike Shea is a good place to start looking.

Like tabletop roleplaying games? GET ON GOOGLE PLUS! by  +Jay Exonauts, from the blog EXONAUTS!: Jay Exonauts has done a service for all of us in this post. Not only has he assembled a list of Google+ RPG Communities but he's given a brief description of each of them. For those of you looking to get involved in the wider hobby this is a great place to start looking!

Phosma and Blue Devil Death by +Arnold K., from the blog Goblin Punch: Three days into the new year and Arnold is already challenging my notions on what the sun at the center of a hollow earth might actually be. This blog is one of my favorite reads not only because the author is capable of challenging the traditional notions of where we game and what happens there, but because he is able to write at a level that few others can accomplish. If you haven't been reading Arnold this is a great place to start.

Petty Gods: The Fireside Visitor, A Tale of the Jale God by mwschmeer, from the blog Rended Press: I am a sucker for a good story and this short one by mwschmeer is just that. Designed to add some additional background for the Petty Gods project it not only accomplishes its mission of expanding the narrative but made me pick up the book. Great job all the way around!

Social Conflict Resolution by +Nick Foster, from the blog Rumors of War: This post typifies why I make a point of reading everything Nick Foster writes.  Not only is he striving to create a better method for handling social conflicts in the game but you can actually see how his thoughts on the subject are solidifying and creating a way forward for everyone involved. If you're not reading Nick then you are missing out on one of the treasures of the RPG blogging scene.

Stocking a Dungeon by +Ramanan S, from the blog Save vs. Total Party Kill: One of the aspects of Dungeon Mastering that can become a real bear for new Game Masters is stocking a dungeon in a way that feels right for the game. Thankfully Ramanan has collected some fantastic posts on that very subject and linked them to answer all your questions on the subject.

Burnout by the Angry DM, from the blog The Mad Adventure Society: Dealing with creative burnout as a Game Master is a constant threat for most of us. It's there for the Angry DM too, but his advice goes beyond the traditional platitudes and directly towards actual, helpful, advice. Well worth reading for any Game Master dealing with burnout or worried that such things might be fast coming.

No Dear, This is What Happens when You Engage by +Charles Akins, from the blog Dyvers: There are people out there who want to convince you that the only way to deal with people is to mouth behind their backs, hiding away from the consequences. Then when they actually engage they hold up the hostility as proof of their positions while pretending that they had never done a thing wrong in the first place. I am no such wilting flower.

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