Ryan Dancey, the former VP at Wizards of the Coast and one of the major players in D&D 3rd Edition and the d20 OGL movement, has posted some rather dire predictions in his blog. But at the end is one small nugget of hope...

It occurred to me not long ago that during the heyday of Dungeons & Dragons in the 1980s, not only were the movies full of Fantasy (as covered in a series I wrote here on Gamegrene), but so was television. Here is a list of cartoons that I can remember airing in the 1980s that featured heavy fantasy or medieval elements. Can you think of any I missed?

In the late 1970s and early 80's there was a profusion of RPGs unmatched until the dawn of D20 OGL. The difference being that in the earlier renaissance each game came with an entirely new mechanic. Many of these games were amalgams of other systems where authors stuck things together that probably shouldn't have gone. During that bygone era, this game would have rocked.

Some of us are less game 'designers' than game 'providers'. In my castle, I am the master-at-arms of gaming and it is among my duties to seek and provide appropriate amusements. Some might say that makes me the jester or a common fool. The lady of the castle would likely not disagree with you. It is not a bad thing, laughter and fun are important things. But the kingdom's coffers and lady's leisure time are not endless. Great care must be taken in managing the entertainment provisions. And for this I depend on player analysis just as designers might.

I find it extremely interested to watch and learn the way that people approach making characters for games. How do YOU make characters?

When polled for their top three favorite games, NGW Members gave hundreds... and at their events of course played thousands, at 7,483 events this year. We hereby present you with the top 100, for National Games Week 2006, as named by the Members themselves. Your favorites can be in on the list for 2007- join, for free, at www.nationalgamesweek.net.

Gamegrene is taking some time off to enjoy the holidays. We hope everyone out there has a great holiday season, and that you get many, many gaming-related presents, be they under a tree, in a stocking, or otherwise. Be sure to post in this thread to let everyone know what great gaming gifts you got. We'll see you in 2007.

Player Considerations is part-2 of the Design Essentials discussion series. The topic opens with the question of player analysis as an element for game design and works out toward identifying specific player interests and desires.

Empty Room Studios does more than just role-playing. While they are the guys behind PIG's Steampunk Musha (an alternate setting for Iron Gauntlets), they're also a full service art studio, with over 17 members. We talked with Rick Hershey about what they're up to and what's on the horizon.

The second part of a series of "How-I" articles. This specific article covers what I (as a GM) determine regarding characters and character creation, before the players get their hands on the issue. An ambitious, generous, or ambivalent GM might discuss these things with his/her potential players and collect feedback, but it's not a democracy; the GM should enjoy the game also. "How-to" implies that there is a best way. There might be, and this might be it, or maybe not. This is how I do it.

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