Archive for the ‘RPGs’ Category

Natural Twenty

June 6, 2008

The fourth edition of Dungeons & Dragons hit bookstore shelves today. I picked up the Player’s Handbook this morning. I will be spending my day geeking out over hit points and armor classes. I’m not sure if I’ll ever actually sit down and play the game again — but, at least today, I can relive something that was a very important part of my growing up.


May 31, 2008

In about a week — Saturday, June 7th, to be exact — the latest edition of the world’s most famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) role playing game will “officially” roll out. The old school pen & paper role playing gamer in me is really looking forward to the release of the new Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition.

As I’ve posted before (Must… Make… Willpower Saving Throw), I grew up playing role playing games. This was way before the time of World of Warcraft. That’s right kiddies, we used to have to gather around mom’s kitchen table and roll multi-sided dice, write on character sheets, and if we were lucky, we had miniatures to use as tokens. I played for many years, and I played many different titles — but the grandfather of them all was clearly Dungeons & Dragons.

Now, with the release of an all new edition of D&D on the way, the geek in me is beginning to salivate like Pavlov’s Dog. I’ve been reading up on what the new edition will contain, following threads over at the EN World message boards, and perusing all of the official pre-release sneak peeks.

Am I going to buy the Players Handbook, Dungeon Masters Guide, and Monster Manual when they come out? Yeah. Am I actually going to play the game? That’s a dragon of a different color. The ol’ gang that I used to play with back in the day have gone out and moved all over the world and have families and careers. (Damn them.) I’m not really sure if I can put together a new group of role playing gamers from within the circles of friends that I currently run with. But, I might just see if I can incorporate my long-time love affair with the game into my writing.

Eight To Anticipate In June

March 27, 2008

Last month I flipped through the pages of March’s Previews catalog of comics, graphic novels, games, toys, and more being solicited for May release to comic book shops. The April Previews catalog dropped yesterday for items shipping in June — and in flipping through the pages, here are the eight choices I’m most anticipating…

trin_cv1_june.jpgTrinity #1-4 (DC Comics) — DC’s new weekly series TRINITY explodes in an extra-sized debut issue featuring art by fan-favorite Mark Bagley (Ultimate Spider-Man) & Art Thibert with lead stories and dialogue by Kurt Busiek (SUPERMAN, ASTRO CITY)! The lead feature explores the unusual bond — and importance — of DC’s top three characters, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, as a mysterious dream links them together and may prophesy important changes in their trinity! Plus, a co-feature in issue #1 explores the mysterious connection between several villains who are watching the Trinity — as well as the near future for these characters and their surrounding world! Co-features in issues #2-4 fill in back-story on some of the other important players in this major storyline.

Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman — I’m on board. Sure, I might not stay on top of everything each of the three super heroes are currently doing, but if you’re going to give me all three scoops in one sundae I’ll dig in. The fact that it’s a four-issue weekly series makes it even that much sweeter.

ny4_june.jpgThe New York Four (DC Comic/Minx) — A new Minx graphic novel from acclaimed writer Brian Wood (DEMO, DMZ)! Just starting her freshman year at NYU, Riley is about to find out what an adventure — and a mystery — living in New York City can be. The ultimate insider’s guide to NYC is seen through the eyes of Brooklyn-born Riley. Raised by stuffy, literati parents, Riley’s a shy, straight-A student who convinces three other NYU brainiacs to join a research group for fast cash. What Riley doesn’t bank on is accidentally falling in love.

Supermarket, which was also penned by Wood, was one of my favorite titles that I worked on when I served as editor at IDW, so that’s one plus. Another is, having never been to New York myself, this looks like a great insider’s look at the city with Wood’s attention to details and from what I’ve seen of Ryan Kelly’s artwork, he doesn’t skimp on the details either.

talesof_starlight_june.jpgTales of the Starlight Drive-In (Image Comics) — Writer MIKE SAN GIACOMO presents 32 stories taking place over 50 years at a Drive-In Theater, featuring 21 artists from around the world. Stories stand-alone, mirroring life and the cinema with tales of crime, romance, science fiction, musicals, even a western. The stories combine to create a single novel with a powerful, shocking finale you won’t forget. Fascinating characters, imaginative stories and clever twists will make STARLIGHT the surprise hit of the year.

This is one of those titles and concepts that has me thinking to myself, “Damn, I wish I would’ve thought of that first.” Writing a number of short comic stories to be done by different artists, and then collected within a single theme has always been a project that I’ve wanted to do. And, this is also giving me a sort of Cinema Paradiso vibe — a film that I love.

shebucaneer_june.jpgThe Voyages of She Buccaneer (Great Big Comics) — Her beauty is matched only by the savagery of her cutlass. The She-Buccaneer, along with the crew of the pirate ship Queen’s Vengeance, searches the sea for the seven gems that will open the ancient gates of Eden and free her beloved Calico jack Rocham from the devil’s grasp. On her voyages she will battle dragons, cannibalistic giants, evil genies, lusty sultans and all the mythic beasts of the deep dark sea.

Being that I’m a guy writing a comic book series called Pirat Tales: The Legend of the Cat O’ Nine Tails I’m automatically interested in comic that deals with pirates. From what I’ve seen of the artwork I dig the style. This sounds and looks like it’ll be swashbuckling — albeit risqué — fun.

atomicrobo_june.jpgAtomic Robo Volume 1 (Red 5 Comics) — ATOMIC ROBO takes on Nazis, giant ants, clockwork mummies, walking pyramids, Mars, cyborgs and his nemesis, Baron von Helsingard, in his first trade paperback graphic novel. This edition collects the hard-to-find, sold-out, debut issues of ATOMIC ROBO #1 through #6, complete with cover gallery, pin-ups, concept sketches and bonus stories.

I missed out on the first hard-to-find issue of this series, so I’ve been patiently waiting for the release of the trade paperback. I’ve heard nothing but great things about this series, and it sounds right up my alley — giant ants and clockwork mummies. I’m sold!

dnd4e_june.jpgDungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast) — The Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game has defined the medieval fantasy genre and the tabletop RPG industry for more than 30 years. In the D&D game, players create characters that band together to explore dungeons, slay monsters, and find treasure. The 4th Edition D&D rules offer the best possible play experience by presenting exciting character options, an elegant and robust rules system, and handy storytelling tools for the Dungeon Master. The Player’s Handbook presents the official Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game rules as well as everything a player needs to create D&D characters worthy of song and legend: new character races, base classes, paragon paths, epic destinies, powers, more magic items, weapons, armor, and much more. The Dungeon Master’s Guide gives the Dungeon Master helpful tools to build exciting encounters, adventures, and campaigns for the 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game, as well as advice for running great game sessions, ready-to-use traps and non-player characters, and more. In addition, it presents a fully detailed town that can serve as a starting point for any D&D game. The Monster Manual presents more than 300 official Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game monsters for all levels of play, from aboleth to zombie. Each monster is illustrated and comes with complete game statistics and tips for the Dungeon Master on how best to use the monster in D&D encounters.

Yeah, these three books count as selections 6, 7, and 8. What can I say? I first played Dungeons & Dragons back when I was nine years old and I’m eagerly anticipating what the fourth edition of the premiere title of all role-playing games has to offer. Sure, I haven’t played D&D for years, but the geeky nerd in me can’t make my saving throw to not be compelled to search out and retrieve these tomes. See? I’m already starting to talk like I’m in a game.

Okay, that’s two months in a row that I’ve pulled off my “Eight To Anticipate In…” preview from the current Diamond Comic Book Distributors’ monthly catalog, Previews. The third time will the the charm.

E. Gary Gygax 1938 – 2008

March 4, 2008

gygax1.jpgE. Gary Gygax played an undeniable role in my life growing up in regards to my creativity and imagination. Mr. Gygax was the co-creator of the original fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons — a dominant aspect of my life from my childhood, through my teens, and into my early twenties. I was eight years old — even before I would see Star Wars, which would also have a huge creative impact on my life — when I purchased the original Dungeons & Dragons box set of three mini rule books. Though I didn’t understand all of the rules at that time, it was the beginning of my D&D days that would run on and off for over three decades. I was even involved in a regular weekly D&D session that lasted nearly two years around the time that the Third Edition of Dungeons & Dragons was released.

With last summer’s announcement of a new Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition I’ve found myself reading up on news regarding the game’s development as well as looking forward to its release this June. I have even been thinking of writing a project that would combine my work with comic books and that of the new D&D 4E — a comic book/supplement for the role-playing game.

I’m saddened with the news of Mr. Gygax’s passing, but am very grateful the creative spark that he provided some thirty plus years ago that ignited my imagination.

Must… Make… Willpower Saving Throw

November 6, 2007

Okay, big shocker news here… Growing up I was a role playing game (i.e., Dungeons & Dragons) enthusiast. I started playing in the third grade and I owned the original Dungeons & Dragons small box set of three books that I bought at a comic book shop. The next year with the release of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons I became more immersed in the game. I played D&D and other RPGs (role-playing games) like Gamma World, Champions, and GURPS. I played a lot through high school, but sort of fell out of playing when I attended college. Even though I didn’t play anymore I still paid attention to what was going on with the various RPGs — I’d still buy the books and such. Role-playing games became a more of a collector’s hobby for me than a player’s hobby. I always found RPG rule-books and supplements interesting reads — sort of like guidebooks for story telling and world creation.

About six months before the release of Dungeons & Dragons Third Edition (2000) I found a group to game with once again and played on a weekly schedule. When D&D 3E was released I really got into the notion of the new revised “d20” system and the various game publishers that seemed to spring up out of nowhere and were offering various role-playing game products by utilizing the Standard Rule Document (SRD) and the Open Gaming License (OGL) and the D20STL (d20 System Trademark License). In fact, I even toyed with the idea of jumping into the RPG publishing ring myself. The group I gamed with started playing the third edition, but after a few months the group broke up — not to lack of interest, just real-life commitments getting in the way.


Last August a new edition of Dungeons & Dragons was announced — a 4th Edition. And in a strange coincidence, I happen to find my old dice pouch. Hmmm… I think the RPG gods are trying to drag me back in. While I’m currently eBaying a bunch of my old RPG books, and the last RPG product that I bought was the Serenity RPG (mostly because I’m a Firefly/Serenity freak as opposed to thinking of actually playing the game), I’m feeling that there may be forces beyond my control trying to call me back.

Maybe I’ll migrate back in that direction, but with a more definite plan. With writing and working on projects like Pirat Tales and Hero Happy Hour, maybe there’s something to be said about using these RPG tools to help create those worlds. Or maybe — just maybe — the world is ready for a Ninja Bandito role-playing game.