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So, I said I would talk about FFG’s new Star Wars Beginner Game awhile back. I’ve been out of the loop in the blogosphere for a few months, and I suspect this has already been done to death, but I wanted to give a bit of commentary on it from a player’s point of view.

I played through the Box Set adventure twice, once by myself and once with our old WFRP group. Since I’ve most recently been playing Vampire, my tactics were a bit different when by myself than when with the group; I ended up exploring quite a bit more and doing more RP than fighting. Still, the two experiences had some key similarities that reveal quite a bit about the system itself. I didn’t GM this, nor did I look extensively through the books. Star Wars is my husband’s specialty, and I’d never want to GM it for him because he’s the sort who knows that “they don’t have that kind of electronic lock on Tattooine” and so on. So fair warning: this isn’t a review from a GM’s point of view.

Production Value:
Like all FFG products, Star Wars has outstanding production value. Included are full-color premade character folios with a couple of levels of stats, a picture of the character, and the character’s history on the back. Lavish full-color maps of the city and starport also add quite a bit to the game, although the scale doesn’t accommodate minis well, if that’s the direction you want to head. I only gave a cursory flip-through to the books, but they seem just as lovely as everything else FFG creates, with lots of full-color images on every page. The colored, custom dice are high quality, as is the dice app, which we had to use because you can’t yet buy dice separately and we needed more than two sets to make a four-player game run smoothly. (To be fair, we’re quite a dice-greedy group; normal humans could probably just share.) The dice app includes some “fun” SW sound effects that are way too distracting for the gaming table, but it’s easy enough to turn down the sound on your phone.

dicephone

Adventure:
The included adventure cleverly introduces new players to the game. Each new encounter teaches you a bit more of the rules. By the end, you’ve mastered not only social and combat tactics, but you’ve also had a chance to try out space combat. Each section includes complete descriptions of the logic behind the rules so that the GM can explain to the players not only their options, but also how the game works from the GM’s side of the screen. It’s a neat idea that other games with unusual mechanics might consider.

Players have a clear goal with several obstacles that can be solved either through violence or wit, and there’s a section where the players can wander around the town and get into trouble they create if they wish. If you’ve spent your entire life under a rock and don’t know much about Star Wars, I fear for your sanity, but you’d get a pretty good introduction to the feel of the series from the adventure. The one thing that didn’t thrill me was the fact that the “wander about” section feels forced and mechanical since you’re supposedly running from a powerful enemy. Why would I take time to go window shopping with a crazy pursuer on my heels? Further, since there’s not a lot of ‘there’ to this adventure, so you’re unlikely to get into deep RP, but again, since this is an intro, that might not bother you.

Mechanics:
What can I say? It’s watered-down WFRP, but not necessarily in a bad way. FFG has removed the stance trackers, party sheet, cards, and the million fiddly tokens, which, in many ways, is a relief. (I know, I know. I defended those bits vehemently elsewhere on this blog and on the internet, but they annoyed even me after awhile.) You build dice pools in much the same way as in WFRP, adding ability dice and proficiency dice to represent your character’s core capabilities in an area, boost dice to show effects in the general area that would aid in his/her action, and difficulty, setback, and challenge dice to represent the NPCs and environmental factors that would oppose your action. Rolls then indicate successes and allow players and GMs to spend additional rolled points on other effects. As with WFRP, the system works well if you have a group that wants to narrate its own outcomes, because the dice give both players and GMs the flexibility to have a bit of wiggle room in their interpretation of events. The premade character sheets show you clearly what types of dice will make up your pool, so players can easily get everything ready before their GM adds difficulty/setback/challenge dice.

The Destiny Point tokens provide a nice mechanic for bonuses. Tokens begin either on the Light Side or Dark Side; players can use the tokens to give their abilities a boost when tokens are turned to the Light Side, but each time they use  a boost, they must flip the token to the Dark Side; then the GM has the ability to use the same boost for one of his rolls.

Overall, game play is pretty straightforward and streamlined. As I say, I think the system intends for players to narrate their successes and GMs to push back a little by narrative negatives, adding a dimension of gameplay around the negotiation of outcomes itself, although that’s not really how our group has played in the past, so it’s not how we played Star Wars.

Play:
Play went relatively smoothly for us, but then again, it should have gone relatively smoothly for us, since we were already familiar with WFRP. Our group playthrough skewed towards the silly, with one of our players deciding to change the medical droid’s background so that he had once been a sex droid. The Wookiee PC character invites all kinds of hilarious language barrier problems, so if you’re not up for that kind of hilarity, you might want to take that character off of the table. On the other hand, the SW universe invites that kind of silliness to a certain extent, so that tendency isn’t as game-breaking as it might be in another genre.

Missing From the Box:
There are no chargen rules in the Box, and the Bestiary only includes a handful of enemies. Having adapted a bunch of 2e WFRP before to FFG’s system, I suspect that NPC creation isn’t too hard; you can take material from other systems and pretty easily scale it for this edition, which my husband did when he added in a handful of encounters to the middle of the adventure. Not having the bestiary isn’t a big deal, then, especially if you have the old d20 Star Wars books and can crib from them. Chargen is a bit more of a problem. You could easily work out characters similar to those in the Box, but obviously there’d be no way to branch out to new skills.

Looking Forward:
FFG’s SW seems like a solid system with many of WFRP’s strengths and fewer of its bits. FFG has already released a longer adventure arc for the premade PCs that a GM could follow until the complete set comes out in April, so if your group eagerly wants to keep this rolling, it certainly can. The opening adventure felt a bit canned, but then again, all opening adventures feel a bit canned, and FFG’s main goal was to teach the system, not come up with a stellar storytelling experience. I haven’t taken a look at the rest of the existing story arc to see how it plays out. Having worked with the premade material for WFRP, I do know that FFG has a tendency to release uneven adventure content; GMs will find a few moments of utterly brilliant writing mired under a whole bunch of junk meant to justify new mechanics. On the other hand, perhaps Star Wars will remain free of some of that nonsense since FFG doesn’t seem to want to follow its earlier “buy lots of bits” strategy and therefore won’t have to use adventures to justify a million new mechanics.

I can certainly say that I’d be up for playing this system again, although I must admit that after playing Vampire, it felt really mechanics-focused. On the other hand, it’s hard to tell if that’s because of the system itself or because the designers wrote the first adventure to highlight the mechanics…or because practically anything might feel really mechanics-focused to me at this point.

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Generally speaking, our V:tM Storyteller is Not Screwing Around. He’s pretty serious about keeping us wholly engaged, minimizing PC downtime, and delivering the evening’s story. This is, of course, in direct contrast to my WFRP3e GMing style, which consisted of large stretches of screwing around momentarily interrupted by occasional tidbits of focus. Of course, part of that has to do with the games themselves; the dark atmosphere of Vampire is way more likely to get ruined by rampant silliness, while WFRP has some silly built in. Plus, I was always having to rearrange the WFRP components, which, unfortunately, gave my PCs plenty of time to wander off track. Heh.

Since our ST generally does stay so focused and serious, though, it’s even more amusing when he says something hilarious. Here are a few awesome tidbits:

Sh*t Our Storyteller Says

(Before rolling a major damage roll against a PC named Marcus): “If it makes any difference, I really liked Marcus.”
“Oh! This is the best thing that could have happened! You are currently on fire.”
(Before describing a building we were about to enter): “I just want you guys to know that I did NOT do this. This is NOT my fault.”
(With genuine regret): “Am I gonna do something really mean right now? Yeah. I am.”

In other news, I got two little boxes of Chessex ten-siders for Christmas. Inexplicably, I didn’t have any purple d10s, which is obviously a situation that couldn’t continue. I honestly can’t think of the last time I had a set of all ten-siders; it must have

Same dice box I had in college, too. The ST used to rattle it when he wanted the group's attention.

Same dice box I had in college, too. The ST used to rattle it when he wanted the group’s attention.

been back in Chicago in the 90s, at that comic book store on the North Side. Moon-something, maybe? Can’t remember the name of it for the life of me. Turns out I had a handful of those Chessex V:tM dice in my box, too, which must have come from the same store. Either that, or they belonged to someone from our 90s campaign and wandered their way into my set. Hard to say. I have to admit that after playing so many FFG RPGs of late, it does feel a little weird to have standard dice–identical standard dice–in one’s dice bag.

Speaking of FFG RPGs, we are set to try out Star Wars today with a full party. We’ll see how it goes. I’m excited to see the pared-down mechanics from WFRP put to use with a full group. I have to admit that as much as I loved WFRP, combat did slow things down a lot, and playing Vampire has made me appreciate simplicity and speed of game mechanics. Ultimately, I’d much rather investigate than fight, though, but I’m not sure that FFG tends in those directions, even when the source material might make that more appropriate. Anyway, I’ll have a review up of that sometime in the near future.

Hope you’re all having a good weekend and are getting some gaming in!

Since we have a lot of stuff, we tend to take a lot of stuff with us when we attend conventions. And when we go on vacation. And when we go away for the weekend. Actually, we end up hauling board games or RPGs pretty much everywhere we go. It’s not like that’s necessarily easy; board games are heavy, especially since we like Fantasy Flight games with tons of bits. RPGs can be as easy as a dice bag and a few books, but as you can tell from the blog, that’s not really how we roll; we go in for box sets and lots of props. That being said, we’ve perfected the art of carrying game stuff with us over the past few years. Here are some protips:

  • Useful Bag #1: the LL Bean XL Boat and Tote bag. I got one of these from my work a few years back, and it’s a lifesaver. The thick canvas ensures that it won’t break under the weight of your heaviest games, and the sides stay upright and sturdy to keep your boxes from sliding around in transit. These have a kind of uncool middle-aged mom-vibe which I don’t love, but if you can get your games to fit in them, they’re probably the safest way to go. Tuck a rain jacket in on top to make sure that nothing gets wet on the way into the building.
  • Useful Bag #2: the IKEA bag. Those big-box FFG games won’t fit in an LL Bean tote, but they’ll fit in one of those huge, tarp-material IKEA bags. (I learned while writing this post that they’re called FRAKTA bags. I will now insist on calling them “the FRAKTAS” in an annoying voice from here on out.) Since they’re designed to fold up after use, the IKEA bags have flimsy sides and won’t keep your stuff from sliding around in the car, so make sure you Tetris anything you put in these bags into the back of your car carefully so your stuff doesn’t go flying when you take a left turn.
  • Useful Tip #1: Keep your dice separate from everything else in a handy dice bag. I like the FFG bags, although many people I know swear by DragonChow bags. Little dice bags can get lost in the mess of everything else you’re carrying, so stash them in a smaller bag that you mean to take with you. Lots of games use standard sets of dice, so having a set handy means you’ll have your own handy.
  • Box it: Staples carries Really Useful Boxes, which are my favorite way of carrying little bits and organizing them at the table, but any crafting store will have an assortment of plastic boxes ideal for carrying bits in their beading section. If you store your things in crafting boxes when you put your games away, you’ll have a handy way to keep them tidy on the table, too.
  • Take the right equipment: I’m fond of my cardstock buildings, but they don’t travel well. Pulling out Paizo or D&D map tiles allow for a variety of quick scenery changes without taking up a ton of space.

After mouthing off about how the Dreadfleet Captains POD expansion wasn’t stupid or useless back here, I passionately put off buying it for several more months. We recently passed through our favorite gaming store on the way home from vacation, though, and that gaming store has a Seductive Wall of Fantasy Flight Things with FFGTV. Seduced by the Wall, I threw a whole bunch of FFG stuff into our basket that I didn’t need, and the Dreadfleet Captains expansion made its way in. Having now made time to take a look, I thought I’d say a few words about it.

First of all, to its critics: yep. You’re not going to use this one often, so there’s no need to pick it up unless you have a specific idea about how to work it into your campaign or you’re a completist like me. In the box are ten quirky NPCs from the Dreadfleet ships, ten new sailing/pirate-related actions such as “Conjure Wind Spirit” or “Fysh Bite,” six location cards for places on and around a ship, and ten standee cards.

I’m impressed by how much info about the game mechanics FFG crammed onto the playing-sized cards; you have everything you need to run the NPC in a fight right at your fingertips, plus a small portrait. Turn the card over to reveal a slightly larger picture that you can share with your players. Each of the Captains has a couple of special abilities to make him a more challenging combat opponent. The action and location cards are standard stuff, although I’m very fond of the Overboard card with its jaunty octopus tentacles reaching up menacingly from the sea. I am also rather amused by the standee cards. Although I use miniatures, FFG has gone out of its way to ensure that players have a (relatively) inexpensive alternative with the cardboard standups generously provided with each set. Flattening those and providing them in card form cleverly continues this trend.

What’s sorely missing in this set, of course, is the fluff. Who are these guys? What’s their story? What are they like? With the sheer strangeness of the captains and so much existing lore, it’s a shame that you have to go elsewhere to find out, but there’s no lack of material out there. You can pick up the Dreadfleet battle game or read the Black Library Dreadfleet novel. (It’s available on iBooks!) Games Workshop will be delighted to sell you more stuff, have no fear.

Overall, FFG’s Dreadfleet Captains is a vaguely interesting but quirky expansion that nobody needs to play WFRP. If you’ve got some decent reason to feature the captains or would like fifteen location and action cards that have to do with ships and pirates, though, you might find it a good use of your $10.

Emirikol, one of the most active members of the FFG Warhammer community, recently started a thread to gauge interest in a 3rd edition scenario contest. He’s going to sponsor the prizes himself, and the submissions will likely start a new little library of convention scenario content on the Liber Fanatica site. Although there’s currently some discussion about what the final submission requirements will be, Emirikol’s hoping to give us GMs a choice of convention scenarios that we run at local cons to widen the fanbase–something we’re currently sorely lacking.

I’ll probably enter if the competition goes official. If you’re at all interested, see the proposed details below, then throw your hat in the ring by responding to the thread here.

Proposal: 3rd Edition Convention-Playable Scenario Contest:

PROPOSED Deadline: November 1st, 2012

Assumptions: It is assumed that GMs running the scenario have access to the Core set, Winds of Magic, Signs of Faith and Adventurer’s Toolkit (i.e. everything included in the Player’s Guide and GM’s Guide). References beyond those should be summarized in a sidebar where possible.

Minimum Scenario Content: Scenario must be all-new/original.  Not including pre-generated characters, the length should be from 10-40 pages or between 5000-13,000 words and be playable in 3.5-4 hours. Part-II should be added as a separate entry if scenario is expected to go over this time with additional expected play-time listed (shoot for an additional 4 hours). Adaptations to previous editions may be included in a separate appendix.

Submission Formatting Recommendations: 11 or 12 point readable fonts 2-column except for appendix, maps or handouts, and 1 inch margins maximum.

Pre-Gen Character Formatting: If pre-generated characters are included the following format is recommended: Section 1 – Character sheet, Section 2- summary of cards needed, Section 3 – Attitudes towards other PCs. It is ok to instead reference specific Liber Fanatica 7 pre-gens rather than including new ones, but you may wish to include attitudes towards other PCs section.

Formatting layout: Page 1 – Title Page with Blurb, Author(s), and legal disclaimer.  Other minimum formatting requirements: rank/career minimum expected to play, course of expected play (scenario synopsis), background, content (by Act and Encounter). It does not have to be a railroad, but it does require a “most common course of expected play.”

Stat Block: It is assumed that all GMs have the Core Boxed Set, but not the Creature Guide or Creature Vault. Monsters found in the Core Set may simply be referenced, otherwise more complete information or summary side-bar. NEED STAT BLOCK FORMAT

Judging: Liber Fanatica and anyone who wants to help, including writers who submit (can’t vote for your own).

1e, 2e adaptations: Appendices with 1e, 2e, or Zweihander adaptation stat blocks, etc. do not count towards word count.

Prizes : Each author that meets at least minimum content standards get a copy of DLSS (official print copy, max 1) and hosted on Liber Fanatica website. Runner up gets the printed J2BFP.  Winner gets: Journey to Blackfire Pass (with cardstock pregen’s- official copy) and some gift certificates or dice or something (TBD).

Awesome! I talked awhile back about how RPG scenario writers might put iBooks Author to good use, so I was excited to see the announcement on Twitter today that Games Workshop plans to release a line of iBooks supplements for its wargame. GW plans to release a handful of texts each month, and the company has obviously dumped some real money into making their initial offerings both useful and beautiful. The official video shows some of the etexts’ innovations. 3D images of their models that readers can rotate to view from all sides seem like a good way to get a sense of whether or not you really want a particular miniature, and videos and slideshows that explain how to paint models so that they look like the ones shown in particular scenarios will help those who want to learn good painting techniques. The video also goes out of its to point out that the search functions and the notation functions of iBooks will make using rules from these texts easy mid-game.

I’m really glad to see some gaming companies jumping onto iBooks and using the Author tools. I do wonder how much crossover there is between the GW crowd and the Apple crowd; they wouldn’t have struck me as quite the same people, for the most part, but I’m glad to see gaming companies make use of this technology. I’m going to wait until the Codex: Space Marines hits the virtual shelves, and then I’ll do a review of it. I can’t wait to see what it’s like! In the future, I hope that companies like GW expand their use of the functions of iBooks to some of their fiction offerings, and I’d love to see Fantasy Flight jump on the bandwagon and release some of their WFRP3e materials in this format, too.

So, that whole thing where I was going to update last weekend didn’t happen, largely because I had a massive headache on Sunday. Whether or not that was because of stress or because I sat in front of Mass Effect 3  multiplayer for five straight hours is up for grabs. I’m going to go with stress. Following that weekend, my workweek included four 15+ hour days in a row, but luckily, a broken water main in my city has rendered my place of work unusable, so I have today off! Huzzah!

Since I’ve been so busy, I haven’t had a lot of time to read RPG stuff, but there are two things that I might as well mention on this glorious, work-free Friday.

FFG announced its new Warhammer-themed RPG, Only War, focused on the Imperial Guardsman in the 41st Millennium. It doesn’t look like my thing, so much, since I primarily like the religious and fantasy elements of 40K, and this seems to be focused more on helmets, chains of command, and jungles, if the artwork and descriptions are any indicators. I’m not super interested in the romance and adventure of the military, so I doubt I’ll run this. Can’t say if I’ll pick it up, either, honestly, but we’ll see what the reviews say. (We all know, though, that if they put out a CE, I’ll be tempted.)

I’m not sure I follow FFG’s business model. Why are they churning out so many parallel rules systems dealing with slightly different iterations of the 40K universe (Rogue Trader, Black Crusade, Dark Heresy, and Death Watch)? Why would you not dedicate yourself to building a stronger fanbase for one or two of these products by introducing materials for conventions, instituting scenario competitions, or creating product for Free RPG day, then bolstering the line with many different scenarios? Why not put all of the additional types of play in supplements? I know I sound like one of the grumbling oldtimers here, but seriously…this seems a little flawed. I don’t really need a whole new set of ways to roll dice in the grim futuristic world. I need a set of things to do with the dice I already know how to roll.

Of course, I’m sure that FFG has a market analyst who tells them that creating different systems is the most lucrative way to milk GW’s IP, and who am I to argue with a professional? I mean, after all, having the professional assistance of the suits at Hasbro definitely helped WotC and the D&D line. Oh, wait…

The real problem with my going to the FFG website to worry about their marketing strategy, though, is that I find out problematic information like the fact that there’s a CE of Deathwatch that I missed. An awesome CE with chains on it. I need a CE of Deathwatch like I need another hole in my head, but let’s face it: it has chains on it. Who can resist chains?! Plus, my Black Crusade CE looks rather lonely on the mantelpiece.

For all my griping about output, though, I have to say that Warhammer’s fan base continues to amaze me with its high-quality and thoughtful submissions for play. I’ll talk a bit about some fan-based offerings in my next post, but for now, I’m going to get to a place that has running water.

So, FFG now offers a POD Dreadfleet-themed NPC expansion for WFRP 3e, Legends of the Warhammer High Seas. As usual in the Warhammer FRP fandom, some people immediately experienced searing chest pains because this is a “shameless corporate tie-in” and, you know, Warhammer is the Bible and Jesus action figures are sacrilegious. Or something.

I’m being snarky, but I do get the criticism. Is this a rather gimmicky marketing attempt to get some crossover love between minis gamers and WFRP fans? Sure. Is it a necessary or even particularly useful item for most GMs? Not at all. Will it be awkward to stick these NPCs in the middle of most WFRP campaigns? Of course, especially since the Captains skew towards higher-fantasy content than a lot of the rest of the WFRP canon. Will the product make ridiculous completist fangirls like me rush out and buy it in a frenzy of “gotta catch ’em all” in a way that makes 1e/2e players cringe? Yep, although to tell the truth, I’m a bit behind on my WFRP-purchasing fanaticism at the moment.

All that being said, though, I think a good GM could use these cards for some excellent crossover gaming if his group plays both RPGs and board games. I’d arrange the sessions something like this:

Let your players pick boats via a lottery system or somesuch; I’d probably let a player who had contributed a lot of intangibles or gotten a lot of kudos for RP in my main campaign pick first. Give everyone a week to read the background for his captain and the rules of the game. Play the “one player per boat” variation of the Dreadfleet game. Document what happens to each boat over the course of the session.

Now go back and pick a boat that played a particularly dramatic role in the battle. A GM might choose the winning ship, or he might choose the ship that got destroyed near a rock, leaving its passengers adrift in the ocean. Did the crew make it to that rock, or did they get devoured by sea creatures? With your play-by-play of the “big picture” from the Dreadfleet session, set up a one-off or a couple of one-off sessions in which your players roleplay through what happened on one or two of the ships. What was it like for that captain and his crew during the sea battle? What occurred before the ship sailed? If the ship and crew survived, what happened afterwards? Perhaps they experienced something even more horrifying than the ferocious sea battle itself!

Now, here’s the thing: your players will already know the outcome of this particular scenario, since they ‘lived’ it the session before. If you have a group that loves to enact character drama, the chance to act out what happened behind-the-scenes might make for enough fun to keep them busy. If you’ve got a more tactical or puzzle-oriented group, give them a secondary objective. Sure, they “know” (on a meta-game level) that their ship will eventually sink, but they’ve got to save MacGuffin X before it does. Alternately, you might have the chosen captain experience the Dreadfleet session as a dream, and the players must work hard to keep the tide of battle moving in the right direction. Players react differently when they think they know the outcome of a story, and a skilful GM can use that to his advantage as he plans the session. Surprise excites players even more when they don’t expect it. You’ll also get to delight some players by allowing them to play high-level NPCs as PCs; in fact, I would envision breaking up the retelling of the story into short “chapters,” letting a different player take the role of the captain in each chapter so that everyone gets a chance to play a badass.

Either way, I see this expansion as a way for players to experience a different aspect of the WFRP universe in their storytelling. It won’t present quite the same level of oppressive misery as the majority of traditional WFRP scenarios in which PCs have to slog through knee-deep manure in the freezing rain while being chased by orcs and carrying a small child who might turn into a chaos beast at any moment, but let’s face it…any Warhammer GM worth his salt can find a way to make the PCs miserable on a boat.

GM hall of fame, by the way, goes to anyone who can work a Chaos-tainted nautical-themed pashmina afghan into his scenario.

Well, my Black Crusade Collector’s Edition showed up today in the mail. I was tempted to take pictures of it during my lunch hour, but I decided to hold off until the end of the day. That was a good call, since I got some irritating news at the end of the day, but this awesome little trinket turned my bad mood around.

Typical unboxing pics:

The case is a lightweight yet substantive resin. It’s not at all flimsy or poorly made, but it doesn’t make the book hard to lift, either. Quite nicely done.

The detailing on the case is awesome! Just check out this chipper little worm crawling his way out of the filth on the cover:

The book itself is heavy, bound in a sturdy red leatherette with gilt edges and a big ribbon bookmark.

The interior of the book includes FFG’s trademark full-color and wonderful art direction. Here’s the inside cover:

I’m actually pleased that the Writ of Execution is firmly attached to the inside of the book. Now I don’t have to figure out what to do with it. Was I supposed to frame it? Give it to my mom to hang at her house? Put it on the wall at work? I’ll just leave it in the book, then.

All in all, it’s a delightful purchase. (Am I allowed to call something about the forces of Chaos “delightful”?) As I said before, I’m not sure we’ll play this system with the RAW, but I am interested in the fluff included in the book. They’ve done a great job with the detail on the slipcase, and the book itself is a step above FFG’s already high production value. This probably won’t go down in history as my most useful RPG purchase, but it looks pretty cool on our mantlepiece.

Between my illness and the work-related demands of this time of year, I find myself stuck with a gigantic stack of paper to review this weekend. In great detail. So I’m a bit too swamped to blog much at the moment.

Nevertheless, I have two quick things:

1) The FFG store tells me that my Black Crusade Collector’s Edition shipped yesterday! Hooray! I’ll post pics as soon as I get it. (I have plans for that fluff; I certainly do. I have almost no plans for the ruleset itself, which I plan on dumping ASAP.)

2) I assume most of you are aware of the sheer awesomeness of Radio Rivendell, but just in case you aren’t, there it is. I tend to listen to it while I’m working–it’s going to get a lot of listen from me this weekend, in fact. But I also tend to keep a paper and pen handy so I can jot down musical titles that I think will be useful for my games. Among other songs, the station plays quite a bit of soundtrack music from TV shows, movies, and video games, so it’s a good way to get your hands on tracks that might work for you without having to sift through a list of iTunes previews which might not give the flavor of the whole track. The station also hosts some surprising music that’s off the beaten path, so you’ll hear all sorts of interesting pieces you won’t find on iTunes/Amazon or at your local store, but you can often order those albums directly from their creators. I tend to listen on my iPad with Tunemark because the app allows you to save a list of the music you want to remember, although I’m sure many other apps do the same. Listening to Rivendell gives me the chance to stop and prep for my game while doing respectable, rent-paying work! Score!

At any rate, I hope to see you midweek when my BCCE arrives. Until then, have a good weekend! I’ll be trying to shove aside thoughts of my Skaven game so that I can get some “real” work done. (And incidentally, if you have other thoughts about how to sneak in RPG prep during work time, I’d love to hear them.)

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