It always strikes me as strange that some gamers play every race, character class, and minute variation that their favorite system has to offer, yet never dare vary the gender of their character from their own. There's nothing wrong with having a favored character gender, any more than there is with having a favorite race or class, but there's nothing wrong with branching out either.

Few fantasy writers (and computer role-playing game designers) have the time or the patience to create an entire working language for their worlds, and use it to create wholly original, intelligent names. There's nothing wrong with that. Even without an original language, there are still plenty of good ways to create plausible names... yet how do so many people get it so wrong?

The Visions in Color show (ViC) is an online show originated by Dominic Heutelbeck (a German miniatures painter of no small talent) and hosted on his painting website. I recently interviewed Bob Lippman, a long-time participant, Jason Moses, who's only been able to join in once, and Dominic via email to see what they had to say about this unique show.

SOAP is an unusual, action-packed game in which "your character is likely to be shot by ex-lovers, have a life-threatening operation, save a family member and have a car crash, all in the space of 30 minutes." That's right - SOAP is meant to be an RPG-style approximation of TV soap operas.

This is the tale of an elf and her armour... but it was no common elf, and no common armour. It happened long ago, far ahead, and miles away from here... but the tale affects us still. And much more than many of us will be willing to admit in public, no doubt.

Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings is hot property at the moment - everyone is buying into it. Hate it or love it, movie merchandising and related advertising is big bucks, and as such, bound to happen. Certain movies have a better chance for a successful franchise, based on a number of factors.

There's conflict over the best way to prime a miniature, which goes to suggest that people will fight over any damn thing that has more than one option available. And while this perhaps doesn't have the broad, metaphysical qualities of a debate like Coke vs. Pepsi (vs. RC vs. Chek Cola vs. etc.) it's just the thing for the mini-gamer who's sick of the typical: a balanced approach.

No one could ever accuse RPG characters of having boring lives. They go on quests, slay dragons, save entire kingdoms, win treasure and other fabulous prizes, and (usually) live to regale their friends with the tale over a pint or three at the local inn. But if you look a little closer you'll find that the lives of most gaming characters lack something that is a major (and some would say essential) part of the average person's life: love.

Bad horror film. Bad romance film. Bad historical film. Bad action film. Wonderful fantasy film. That's really the only way I can describe Brotherhood of the Wolf (Le Pacte des Loups), a French film about a werewolf that's not a werewolf, two hunters who aren't hunters, a conspiracy that's not really a conspiracy, and a plot that's just begging to be stolen for your role-playing group. Shhhh. Don't tell your players!

For the new year, we're starting a brand new feature here at Gamegrene.com. Our Open Forum is a place for you, our readers, to post your comments and chat with other readers about whatever strikes your fancy. Got a game-related website you want to plug? Want to talk about this summer's glut of fantasy and sci-fi sequels? Interested in discussing a console or PC game that's slipped our notice? This is the place to do it.

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