So, you're heading for the Northlands are you? Well sit down, let me tell you a few things you'll be glad to know, and I'm not talking about the white behemoths or the ice trolls. Everyone who's ever heard a nursery rhyme knows plenty about all that. I'm talking about the toughest people you'll ever have the pleasure of meeting. It's a tribe from the furthest Northwoods, as told by a veteran of the troll wars (and a character for GURPS 3rd edition).

Is it desirable, or undersirable, to have referee moderation of (and intervention in) an imaginary or virtual game world? Is it the sign of a healthy game, or a sick one? Is there such a thing as a perfect set of rules that would never require referee moderation? Are computer games superior to referee-moderated games, due to their enforced consistency and lack of bias? The Lurking Gherkin ponders these questions....

Magic is a fundamental force in many campaign settings. Most players have come to expect it, and a lot of the things you are thinking about adding to your world will rely upon it, so unless the world you are designing is barren of magic it is important to consider some things about how it works. When you are using ideas from pre-published sources, it becomes even more important to take the time to figure out how it's all going to fit together.

Exalted 2! Long-awaited, well-publicized! Was it worth the wait? More importantly, is it worth the $40 price tag? After long-windedly comparing it to the old edition, and trying her best not to cater to her biases, Shataina -- an unabashed fan, former White Wolf intern and late-stage (i.e. ineffectual) Exalted 2 playtester -- emerges with some cautions, and a yes.

By now, you've heard a lot about Dungeons & Dragons Online, and so I won't write this as if you know nothing. For a primer, you can visit the DDO website, or check out one of the more detailed reviews popping up online. What I will do here is share my overall feelings on the game, laying out what I think are the positives and the negatives.

It is much easier to say what is a bad game than what is a good game. Why is that? Why is it much easier to turn people off to a game than to turn them on? Is it really like winning the lottery or catching lightning in a bottle?

A while ago, I asked Ninja Burger's fans to ask me some questions about Ninja Burger and the new 2nd Edition of the Ninja Burger Role-Playing Game. Following are some of those questions, and my answers to them. Gamegrene seemed a good place to post this exclusive Q&A session, so please, enjoy, and feel free to reply with your own followup questions and comments.

Has anyone ever seen a mage who didn't have combat or healing spells? I'm talking about pure mages here, not multi-classed whatevers. I know that there are the illusionists, the occasional thief-like mage, and bards. I know that the rules state that you can play different types of mages, but who does? I've only seen a couple of examples of mages who, while far from worthless, had absolutely no combat or healing magic.

What makes a monster so monstrous? Whutaguy explores the question by talking to the monsters themselves. That's right, it's time for MackTalk. Today's topic: Monsters and the Adventurers Who Fear Them. With special appearances by the Alien, Freddy Krueger and He That Shall Not Be Named.

Powergaming, or "munchkinism", is a common complaint among players and GM's alike. Powergaming is accused of turning the role-play into "roll-play", lowering the worth of other player characters, and overall making the game less fun. But is powergaming really as bad as it is made out to be? Is it truly even bad at all?

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