Decorative vs functional housing #EverquestII #Wildstar


A recent post about SWTOR housing over at Going Commando, and subsequent comments, started me thinking about what I look for from player housing in MMORPGs. Most of the blog posts I’ve seen about housing relate to decoration – the default style of the housing itself, ways to decorate it, sought after items or decoration projects underway.

Reading the above linked post, I was reminded that player housing doesn’t have to only be about decoration though. I do really appreciate housing in the MMORPGs that have it, but to me it tends to be a more functional relationship than decorative. To many MMO housing enthusiasts the collection of housing items, and the decoration of one or more housing plots with those items is a major source of gameplay – a very different style of endgame indeed.

I, sadly, lack the artistic mindset and the patience to enjoy that aspect…

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From the DM’s Chair: Session 7, Ambuscade


When running D&D, it’s important for the players to have fun. A fact that is rarely considered alongside this is that as a Dungeon Master, you have to have fun too. The role of Dungeon Master is, in itself, a weird position. You are playing with your friends but clearly apart from them, both an ally and a enemy, a referee and a storyteller. It’s all a big balancing act with a lot of risk. You want to strive to make a equilibrium between a challenging experience and an enjoyable one. After all, D&D is still a game and a game without the possibility of loss isn’t worth playing, but a game you can’t win is similarly not worth indulging. As a DM, when I throw my antagonists at my players, I want the villains to miss their mark so our heroes can prevail.

Sometimes, however, it’s good to give…

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Is Xbox All Access a Game-Changer?


Image © Microsoft

Taking a potentially bold step forward, Microsoft recently announced Xbox All Access. Signing up for the two-year, monthly payment program will not only get you a brand new Xbox – the Xbox One S or Xbox One X – but also two years of Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass. There’s a nice breakdown on Venture Beat that lists out the particulars cost-wise, and most importantly, you keep what you’re paying for. This isn’t some sort of shady lease deal. Make your payments, and at the end of two years, the console is all yours. (Granted, you’d then have to re-subscribe to Xbox Live Gold and Game Pass, but only if you wanted to.) Looking solely at the numbers, it’s not a bad deal — $22/month for the Xbox one S and $35/month for the Xbox One X. That’s certainly in line with, if not…

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Is there any point to playing an MMO “once in a while?”

Bio Break

As I’ve expressed in the past, in an ideal world where I had all the time to game I wanted in addition to everything else in my life, I would most likely be playing (and blogging about) a lot more things. I’ve tried to figure out ways to maximize my limited time, and to an extent, that has helped. But there’s a huge wall when it comes to the idea of logging into an MMO that I do kind of want to play — but I don’t have the time to do it more than once in a while.

The thought process goes like this:

  • “Oh, I haven’t played or would like to play GAME X! Maybe I should log in tonight…?”
  • “Maybe. But what’s the point if you’re not really getting into it? What can you get out of just one or two sessions here or there?”
  • “I… could…

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The Caves of Chaos – Dyson Logos Edition!

Dyson's Dodecahedron

I’ve been posting the individual Caves of Chaos redrawn in my style (Caves A-F) (Caves G-K) – so this was pretty much inevitable. Here they are all collected into a single massive map. This was done at 1200 dpi at ledger size (11 x 17 inches) so you can print it out, fold it in half, and slip it into your module (probably between the cover and the module proper).

Each of these files is roughly 6 megs, far larger than most of the maps posted to the blog. Click on them to get to the full-sized 1200 dpi version.

The Caves of Chaos - Assembled The Caves of Chaos – Assembled

Originally I made this just as an accessory to go with the original map and adventure. Something a little more clear to my eyes without the contour lines, trees, numbers, and in black instead of blue because I’m an old…

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Now Arriving: Games of September 2018

Gamer Crash

Here we go, everyone. In years past, September really signaled the start of the Fall/Holiday rush and based on what I’m seeing for 2018, that is absolutely true. After a relative drought of big-name releases, September starts out with a bang and doesn’t let up.

Arguably the biggest name this month is Destiny 2: Forsaken, the highly anticipated expansion that looks to transform the base game in a way that The Taken King did for its predecessor. Things began evolving earlier in the week following the massive sandbox update and once this arrives, new content, modes, loot, and abilities will continue the evolutionary process.

However, that’s definitely not all. A few days later, Insomniac and Marvel release the open world action superhero game, Spider-Man.

Not good enough? Fine! If you’re in the mood to explore then you can step into the shoes of Lara Croft in Shadow of…

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D&D Classics Review: The Grand Duchy of Karameikos

The Learning DM

gaz1It’s a quiet time for the D&D fan. 4th Edition is done, but the new version of the game (whatever it might be called) is months away. Coupled with this lull in activity is a sense of nostalgia due to the 40th anniversary. These two factors have caused me to turn my eye to the digital offerings at D&D Classics. Having the chance to purchase a few titles from the glory days of my youth is certainly worth a few bucks. Today, I am taking a look back at GAZ1 The Grand Duchy of Karameikos, a book I absolutely loved when it was released. Does this first Gazetteer hold up to the modern eye?

The first thing that struck me about reading through GAZ1 after all these years was the sheer amount of text. There are extensive sections without any illustrations, charts, maps, or anything of the sort. The…

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The Independents: Operators

Cannibal Halfling Gaming

Welcome back to The Independents! It’s time for a gear-up montage as we check out a new offering from the sibling-run outfit Samjoko Publishing! Action movies and RPGs both grew up around the same time, and during the 80s when both forms were fresh, there was some crossover. The James Bond RPG, Ninjas and Superspies, and later Feng Shui and Spycraft all approached movie tropes when developing their playstyles. Now, though, the feel and, dare I say it, choreography of modern action movies has come to RPGs in the form of Operators. Kyle Simons has taken a very different approach from other games in developing Operators, focusing on the fast pace and tight camera work of movies like The Bourne Identity and Mission: Impossible instead of the technical details of their cars, gadgets, and guns. While the game hasn’t been fully released on retail sites like DriveThruRPG, physical rewards have…

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Fifth Time is the Charm

The Learning DM


It has been a long, long time since I have posted. After reviewing a couple D&D Classics releases this past winter, this blog went silent. In April, I made a half-hearted attempt at a post entitled “D&Doldrums”. It was almost as boring to write as it would have been to read. And so, almost five months went by.

As the news of 5th edition’s release drew near, my anticipation grew by leaps and bounds. I picked up the new Starter Set on release day, downloaded the Basic Rules, and consumed them. Much has been said by many more experienced reviewers than I, so I won’t go into too much detail. Suffice it to say that I think the Starter Set is a fantastic bargain, and the Basic Rules are a solid starting place for anyone who is interested in D&D. Both products are exactly what they need to be.


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