27 August 2015

New Tolkien novel

For someone who has been under the sod for more than four decades, J.R.R. Tolkien certainly is quite prolific.  He has a new novel out: The Story of Kullervo!

I have yet to read The Children of Húrin.  Now I think that I'll read the two novels together sometime this autumn.

08 August 2015

The future of RuneQuest and the Call of Cthulhu

The dramatic recent developments at Chaosium, and its new relationship with the Design Mechanism, generated a fair amount of discussion on a number of RPG discussion boards (e.g., RPGnet, BRP Central, and the DM forum).  Overall, though, I think that these changes clearly bode well for the future of both the RuneQuest and the Call of Cthulhu games.

The biggest downside to the new arrangement, in my view, is the likely disappearance of an in-print setting-free version of RuneQuest one year from now.  That’s a real pity.  I worry that baking Glorantha into the RQ core book will create a barrier for potential players who are interested in RQ – say, for their own settings, or for those supported by the DM (e.g., Mythic Britain, Luther Arkwright, Classic Fantasy) – but not in Glorantha.  I have nothing against Glorantha.  (It’s not really my cup of tea, so it’s unlikely that I would ever run games in it myself, but I’d be fine with playing in a Glorantha campaign.)  I just think that everyone would be better served with a setting-free version of the RQ core rules and a separate campaign book for Glorantha.  It’s early days, though, so perhaps a setting-free version of RQ (even simply the ‘RQ Essentials’ PDF) might survive.

That complaint aside, though, having RuneQuest distributed alongside Chaosium’s other games will be a great boon for the game and its community.

As for the Call of Cthulhu, the print version of the new edition has been stalled for far too long, and the PDF version needs to be cleaned up.  Getting the 7th edition rules finished up and in stores is key to keeping the game and its community healthy.  Right now one can purchase modules that use the 7e CoC rules in game shops, but not the rule books for those modules.  Fixing up, publishing, and distributing 7e CoC is the top priority for the ‘new’ Chaosium, and rightfully so.  Whatever one thinks of the 7e version of CoC (I think it’s fine, though I thought 6e was just fine as well), it is time to get those wheels turning!

In short, with the new leadership at Chaosium, and its new relationship with the Design Mechanism, the future for the two premier ‘BRP’ (‘d100’) games – RuneQuest and Call of Cthulhu – looks very bright.

05 August 2015

Six-packs of Ancient Greece

Ever wonder why the cuirasses of those ancient hoplites had such well-sculpted muscles?  Well here is the answer.

03 August 2015

A new Dungeons and Dragons movie? Uh oh...

[How can the 2000 film ever be topped?]

Make a saving roll versus aesthetic outrage.  Apparently there is a new Dungeons and Dragons film in the works:
The upcoming Warner Bros motion picture will be based on a script by David Leslie Johnson (Wrath of the Titans) and produced by Roy Lee (The Lego Movie, How To Train Your Dragon) with the involvement of Hasbro chief executive Brian Goldner and chief content officer Stephen Davis. It will take place in the popular D&D campaign setting of the Forgotten Realms.
Well, at least it's not going to be based on those horrible Dragonlance novels.

More details here.

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I'm a Canadian political philosopher who lives primarily in Toronto but teaches in Milwaukee (sometimes in person, sometimes online).