Okay so only a very few players out there would try to charm Cthulhu. But inevitably, love and all things emotional come into play in most fantasy game worlds. You gotta be bashing goblins for something, right? If it's not a god, why not some dame or dude the character is jonesin' for? But, oh wise article writer, you ask, how do I, a mere, geeky GM, have my characters fall in love? Without it turning into some horrible encounter best left to those instant messaging at 3:30 in the morning?

For most RPGers, rules are a necessity. They guide the creation of a character, influence the shape of a story, and generally set the tone for the entire world. However, there are different levels of freedom depending on the particular RPG you're playing.


Role-playing has always been a big thing for me: "House" as a kid, "Cops & Robbers" after that. When I first discovered the Internet in 1997 (go ahead and laugh), I stumbled upon "Yahoo! Chat" and before I knew it I was freeform role-playing online. The world it opened for me was immense.

I don't really know what things are like where you live, but everywhere I have lived had at least one local hobby shop every gamer knew by name. It may be a comic shop, or a collectable card shop, or even a bookstore. But every community seems to have at least one, and some places more. When I moved to Santa Rosa in the mid nineties our shop was a place called Fantasy Books and Games. It was huge, and carried every comic, RPG product, miniature, anime, or card game you could hope for. It was the gaming Mecca for Sonoma County, and of course had the requisite bulletin board I used to meet many of our group members over the years.

So. You went out and you bought into this cool new gaming system. You bought the first release and it played so well you bought every expansion that was printed. You built decks, you tweaked them, you traded for just the right cards - and when you couldn't find those, you even bought singles online. You played in league, you competed in tournaments, and you even collected all the promos.

Lately, I've gotten back into gaming. After my drought of playing video games, I decided why not give it another try? So of course I throw myself in headfirst, without thinking of the consequences. My first game was Starcraft, which is an extremely enjoyable battle-sim. . . when played properly. I began to go to a few games, and things work out fine. About my fifth game, I got a short, albeit quick, reminder of why I quit in the first place. Just as I'm wiping out a colony of the enemy, they (for reasons still unknown to me) reveal they were hacking. Enraged, I decided to just give up that day.

Aaaaggghhh!! The sun!That's what many of us think when I bring up the out-of-doors. I realize, gentle readers, there are yeti out there, but the places outside of your hermitage hold rich and thrilling opportunities for role-playing, just right to spice up a tabletop game that may be suffering a little between the Elvis on black velvet and shag carpet.

You're a filthy thief, d20 system. You've robbed me of fun! How dare you pilfer my precious rule systems, those which I have massaged to yield the fruits of less frustrating game play, and molded in my image of Game-Master, Game-God. Your beastly watering down of complex rules assaults my delicate sensibilities and forces me to launch into this well-thought out rant for the pleasure of Gamegrene's readership. Damn you!

(Press Release)-Massive Games Announces it's Spring 2003 Line-up of New ReleasesHarvey Cruikshank, President, Owner, Designer, Writer, Artist, and Gopher of Massive Games has finally revealed the long-anticipated supplements to its wildly successful "JustOneDie" Core Book.

There is little more confusing in the D&D universe than the concept of alignment. This said, I would also venture to surmise there are fewer articles written about alignment than any other subject in D&D.

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