It’s been awhile since I did one of these, but here goes:
-I finished reading a pre-release copy of Shadow, Sword, and Spell, the pulp fantasy RPG coming up from Rogue Games. James Maliszewski and Richard Iorio have really found the strengths of their 12° system. I was able to explain the system yesterday to a buddy in about 20 seconds. There’s a lot of fantasy games on the market, but I really think this one is a winner, by merit of ease of play and a nice rules balance between customization and simplicity. And $13 for a print copy of a 154-page book? I can’t wait for it to be released at Gen Con!
-The more I play with the ICONS RPG and the character folio program, the more enamored I am with this game. It’s much lighter than Mutants & Masterminds, which I like, but let’s be clear, this is not a game for differentiating to the umpteenth decimal of who’s stronger between Superman and Captain Marvel. Someone said the default level of a superhero in the game is somewhere around that of the X-Men, but I would say it feels more like a group with a wider scale of powers, say like members of the Justice League, or the TV show Justice League Unlimited. I’ve had a wide range of characters come out, and I’d say in power levels they’ve ranged between Wonder Woman or Batman to guys like The Question or Green Arrow. None have been useless, or conversely supreme in all areas.
-A friend of mine last night said “your ideal RPG would have 32 pages of random tables, followed by 32 pages of actual rules”. He’s probably more right than he knows.
-I would like to see James Raggi selling his products at Gen Con Indy next year (sure, no problem, right, what with hotel, and transatlantic airfare, and…). I can’t help but think that would be one entertaining booth.
The ENnies made the right decision in handling the entire Kennon Bauman issue. Basically, Kennon had sent out an email in which he told people to vote for him from multiple computers. Given the sensitivity of ballot-stuffing in the ENnies (see: the removal of Fear the Boot from the nominations a few years ago, and the furor over Shelly Mazzanoble doing something similar), there really isn’t much room for compromise on the issue, especially when it comes to judges that should be above reproach or suspicion. The ENnies were quickly responsive and sensitive to the issue, and Mr. Bauman did the right thing in withdrawing his name this year.
-The number of people now crashing at my house for this year’s Gen Con numbers at least 3, assuming none of my local buddies sleep over so we can get an earlier start (it will be early already!). To me, everyone gaming their butts off, then crashing hard to do it all again the next morning is part of the experience (and possibly a rite of passage) at Gen Con. Next year, instead of commuting in, I hope to afford a hotel room right by the convention center. But it will likely be filled with gamers then, too.