This book is the first in the innovative Masters and Minions series from Behemoth3. The series takes a second, closer look at monsters from the early days of D&D, and provides GMs with something much, much more than just a goofy looking critter to suck hit points from the PCs before they meet the villain. A Swarm of Stirges gives the stirge some things it has always lacked: a complete life-cycle, a place in the ecosystem, a raison d'etre. Unfortunately, Stirges is a collection of many incredibly cool ideas and one monumentally bad one.

 
 

It features a 6,000 square foot medieval village, complete with tavern. It's filled with intricate puzzles and monsters. Those who survive are rewarded for their efforts with treasure. It sold out last year at GenCon, and is scheduled to sell out again. And Wil Wheaton once played a bard who got killed by a giant spider. It could only be True Dungeon.

Nocturnum is a product published by Fantasy Flight Games for use with the d20 Call of Cthulhu rules system. Weighing in at 270 pages of content, not counting credits, ads and handouts, Nocturnum truly is an epic campaign. Fans of Call of Cthulhu, both d20 and Chaosium, will not be disappointed by this masterwork.

When the call went out for someone to write an article about PARANOIA for Gamegrene, I immediately volunteered. Not only did I want to explain to the uninitiated exactly what makes PARANOIA a joy to play, but to repay a personal debt I owed to the game. You see, PARANOIA returned me to role-playing.

Atlas Games is probably best known to gamers as the first to have a non-WOTC d20 product available for sale (John Tynes' Three Days To Kill). But there's much more to their story, from their humble beginnings in 1990 to their recent success with Ars Magica. We talked with John Nephew, the man behind the myth, about the past, the present, the future and a little bit more.

I've always liked NPCs. Those who know me might even say that I'm obsessed by them. There are times, it seems, that I'm more interested in NPCs than PCs. I've been known to get bogged down in describing some "off-camera" scenes involving NPC action. I've also been known to over-extend a bantering session between a PC and a NPC - sometimes the play-acting and dialog are just too good to let go, though such things may ruin the pace of a game. But, I'd also like to think those are exceptions, not the rule. And I'd like to think that my obsession with NPCs help make my games cool.

Metal Gear Solid. Rambo. Rambo II. That other movie with the guy who fought in that one place that one time. At least one of these should flash through your mind when you think of the popular culture conception of a "mercenary." If you've ever wanted to run a mercenary campaign, The Modern: Mercenary Manual from Ronin Arts contains a plethora of rules that will have you parachuting behind enemy lines, negotiating mercenary contracts with morally bankrupt dictatorships, and, most importantly, shooting stuff. A lot. With guns.

Time for a throwback to days of yore, when Dungeons & Dragons books, filled with demonic imagery, bare breasts and scary-sounding spells like "Tasha's Hideous Laughter", were accused of inciting teens to suicide. A mother has blamed the CCG Yu-Gi-Oh for her son's death.

TimeLords: where you can design yourself. Thrust through time and space by an artifact you don't understand. To go home, you must survive long enough to learn to control the awesome forces at your disposal. But by then, would you want to go back? (A word of warning: TimeLords is a game that strives to be as realistic as possible.)

By sharing with the players your questions and processes in creating the world, you begin to establish the group as a self reflective container. Tell the group a description of the world and how it is a personal reflection of you: what your biases are, or what issues you are going to be looking for. Tell them that they don't have to bring those issues out in the game, but that this is what you are interested in. Often people follow the lead... the deeper and more personal that you set the tone, the more likely they will be to reveal about themselves.

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