4 Tiny RPGs Good for a One-shot

There are a lot of RPGs out there that contain a lot of words and rules and stuff.  I know that a good system of rules and setting info can really structure a game and give you something to sink your teeth into, but it can sometimes be freeing to get rid of everything but the bare essentials; the DM, the players, and the premise. This is especially true when you just want a quick game at short notice, or a one shot.

Because this games don’t have a lot of structure to work around and build on, they could potentially be a bit difficult for an inexperienced DM to run, especially if they aren’t fairly confident with their improvisation skills. However, with the right DM I think these games can show off the silly fun that can be had with an RPG in a far more easy to digest way for newer players. Rather than giving someone the impression that RPGs are all about numbers, loot, and killing things, these games show off the side of RPGs that are about teamwork, inventive problem solving, and just having fun by telling stories with friends!  Continue reading “4 Tiny RPGs Good for a One-shot”

Geek Etymology – Mana

Today I bring you the next post of Geek Etymology! If you missed my first steps into the past of our favourite geeky terminology then take a look here!

This time I will be tackling the mysterious origins of the word that we give to the power source of wizards and spellcasters, the very essence of magic: Mana! It’s in our name so I thought it was the obvious next choice. Unlike with the Paladin last time, there is far less actual etymology to follow with the evolution of the word, so I won’t be going down much of a rabbit hole this time. The origins of this word are however still rather interesting and maybe unexpected.

mana_potions_by_isaac77598-d6pxj8c Continue reading “Geek Etymology – Mana”

Geek Etymology – The Paladin

Have you ever noticed a recurring word that’s used commonly among various geeky things? It could be a piece of terminology you see only in roleplaying games, or perhaps a word that has been appropriated and changed for use in fantasy or sci-fi settings. I come across a few of these, and I always wonder where they come from, so here I’m going to explore them with Geek Etymology!

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To start with I thought it would be appropriate for me to look into the origins and evolution of the word ‘Paladin’. As most of my friends will tell you, I usually end up playing a paladin or similar character in RPGs, and I also go for a paladin style in other games such as Magic: The Gathering. To be honest it is probably this word alone that got me to think of looking into the origins of words used in RPGs and other geeky stuff, but once I started to look around I found many others that warrant some research.

Before we look into the past of the paladin, let’s see what it means to us today. Although there are some other minor uses, the primary way we see the term used is to describe a fantasy character, either in a narrative sense, or a mechanical sense as the character’s ‘class’. They are usually characterized as a holy warrior who fights for the forces of good against evil, usually heavily armoured, wielding a shield and some holy magic and healing ability. As of today you’ll find the word most closely linked to Dungeons & Dragons, but also plenty of other RPGs which were influenced by D&D, as well as many Videogames. Continue reading “Geek Etymology – The Paladin”

My Top 5 Videogame Soundtracks

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I’ve been listening to a lot of my favourite videogame soundtracks lately, and it got me to thinking about why the music from games can be so great in ways that other mediums can’t accomplish. The music in a game is a very important part of the whole experience. It can give a certain desired feel or encourage different emotions at certain times. Also, when listening back to these tracks they can bring back memories of great moments you had when playing, even years later.

So here I’ve decided to go through my top 5 soundtracks. It was a struggle to get it down to this many, but in the end my criteria for including them on this list meant that I wanted games that I loved to play the most as well as having amazing music. Also, there needed to be more than just a memorable main theme. Game series’ such as The Elder Scrolls or Battlefield have legendary main themes, but the rest of their music is ,while perfect for their games, mostly forgettable. So some of my honorable mentions include various titles such as FTl: Faster Than Light, Frozen Synapse, and Killing Floor. While I both love these games and their soundtracks, they were simply overshadowed by those on this list and would probably feature in a top 10. There are also a couple of games such as Payday: The Heist and Payday 2, as well as Hotline Miami that I really enjoy the soundtracks for, but I simply haven’t played much if at all, and I mostly like their music more than the actual game.

Anyway without further ado, here is my top 5 in no particular order! Continue reading “My Top 5 Videogame Soundtracks”

Making a Fantasy Map

When you’re making an RPG or building a fantasy world the map is a very important part. It helps you visualize what you’ve created, and if it is for a game, then it helps players feel immersed in your world. So when Lilly told me she was making her own world along with and RPG system, I was very interested in having a crack at making a map for it.

Now I’m not very experienced in making maps, but I have given it a go on smaller scales before, so here I’m going to go through how i went from a basic sketch on paper to the (mostly) finished map for the land of Dardenia, with plenty of trial and error along the way.

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So how did I get from Lilly’s first sketch, to this?

Continue reading “Making a Fantasy Map”

Verdun: A WW1 Game Done Right

If you’ve read my previous review of Battlefield 1 then you’ll know what I thought of its attempt of a World War 1 setting. At best it was just a lazy reskin of existing Battlefield mechanics and gameplay, and at worst it was an insult to the reality of the war. Well now allow me to introduce you to a game that is also a multiplayer first person shooter, and yet manages to combine historical authenticity and solid gameplay into something unique and enjoyable.

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Verdun was developed and self-published by two very small development teams based in The Netherlands. It was released as a beta on Steam early access in 2013 and fully released in 2015. The game consists entirely of online multiplayer matches based around one core gametype called ‘Frontlines’, alongside very simple deathmatch, team deathmatch, and wave defense modes. The game boasts a large amount of authentically modelled and functioning WW1 weapons, accurate uniforms and squads for various countries, and maps based on real WW1 battles, mostly consisting of areas around Verdun itself, but also some others based in other areas and later parts of the war.

Now obviously this game is going to be compared to Battlefield 1. There are only a handful of games set in WW1 out there, and as far as I know, these are the only two that are FPS games. So why do I say this game is so much better than Battlefield? Well let’s take it through a few different criteria. Continue reading “Verdun: A WW1 Game Done Right”

Men of War: a brilliant RTS despite its problems

I’ve been a huge fan of real-time strategy (RTS) games since Age of Empires. Unfortunately the RTS genre has been lacking anything decent or interesting for quite a while now, if you exclude Total War. There is however this fairly unknown series of games called Men of War, which I highly suggest you check out if you want an interesting and unique RTS to try… with some issues.

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Continue reading “Men of War: a brilliant RTS despite its problems”