Interview with James Sutter – Co-Creator of Pathfinder & Creative Director of Starfinder

First off, what sorts of things do you make & and how would you summarize your career with tabletop gaming?

I’m currently a Creative Director with Paizo Inc., in charge of both the Pathfinder novel line and our new Starfinder RPG, but I’ve been working in tabletop since I was 20. I started out as an intern on Dungeon and Dragon magazines and worked my way up to being an editor and developer there, then helped create both Pathfinder Adventure Path and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Over the years I’ve played a lot of different roles for Paizo and Pathfinder, from development and world design to editing to management, but these days I spend most of my time getting this new science-fantasy RPG off the ground (launching Gen Con 2017!), managing the authors in the Pathfinder Tales novel line, and helping to set the overall creative and strategic vision for the company.

Overwatch as a Tabletop RPG Campaign Setting

In May 2016, Blizzard launched Overwatch, a game where players clash with colorful heroes on battlefields around the globe in the near future. Last time on the Campaign Trail, I looked at the Chrono Rogue, inspired by the video game Overwatch. This week, I’m returning to my campaign setting series, looking at the world of the video game Overwatch. The developers of Overwatch have provided details of the world and its characters with bios, webcomics, tweets, blog posts, animated shorts and more, but they haven’t provided all the details. All of this provides an excellent base for a setting that let’s the gamemaster and players extend with their own details.

Star Trek Adventures – RPG Public Playtest & Minis Line

Modiphius announced that they are going to be launching a playtest for a new Star Trek RPG and miniatures line at this year’s Gen Con. This is good news for Star Trek fans hungry for a new RPG, since the last one was launched in way back in 2002.

Star Trek Adventures will use the Modiphius 2d20 game system and this “news comes as Star Trek fans worldwide celebrate Star Trek’s 50th anniversary in 2016.”

Fifth Edition’s Content Strategy

In various communities around the internet, I’ve seen a lot of people complain about WotC’s glacially slow publication schedule for 5e, often suggesting that they do not understand why WotC is making these choices. I don’t have any insider knowledge, but I pay attention to what people like Mike Mearls, Monte Cook, and Ryan Dancey have said, and I’ve watched the successes and failures of other content models.

If it helps my credibility, I did successfully predict the DM’s Guild back in 2012. Considering that RPGNow got its start in 2001, this wasn’t exactly a revolutionary idea! It was just the right combination of WotC and OneBookShelf getting paid. I’ll come back to this.

The Age of Retiarius

I had something else planned for this week, but then I read the July round of rules answers  in Sage Advice. One of the questions was about the net, and if attacks with the net were always made with disadvantage. The answer was the net was specifically designed so a net attack was always made with disadvantage, without an intervening factor, like a special feature, advantage to offset through something like faerie fire, or the net itself is special. Unfortunately, neither barbarian or fighter seems to have a special feature to offset this penalty in the core materials. Alas, it is up to all kind folk to make an impassioned defense of the retiarius, the net-fighter.

Goodman Games’ Mutant Crawl Classics – Kickstarter

This is the last day for everyone to join in and support the new Mutant Crawl Classics by Jim Wampler. The kickstarter has already been funded, and they almost at 1000% of their goal.  There are only hours left, so hurry up and back this great project so that more stretch goals can be crushed! Delivery of the books for backers are planned to start Summer 2017. Here are the details from the kickstarter:

Drafting in the MF0 Universe

Drafting; where each player starts with a set number of booster packs and makes a deck from them, is a much-loved variant in the world of trading card games. In tabletops, this is a little more difficult as there are usually well-defined tracks for each player to move through in the form of classes. Randomizing stats is common, but randomizing abilities, even within a single class, could quickly lead to characters that are essentially unplayable.

But what about a tabletop war-game like Mobile Frame Zero? I submit that this is a great way to spend an afternoon. Small sets can easily take the place of booster packs, and the rules for frames are loose enough that you can build a decently equipped army out of a random collection of parts. There are plenty of ways to draft MF0, depending on your budget and how difficult you want army building to be.

Interview with Mike Myler – Writer and Game-Designer of Hypercorps, Veranthea Codex, and Mists of Akuma

Mike Myler -game designer and writer- was kind enough to take the time to be interviewed about his work, Pathfinder, and living a creative life.

First off, what sorts of things do you make & and how would you summarize your career with tabletop gaming?

I’m a full-time freelance author and game designer that creates all kinds of content (taking particular delight in world building). A few years ago I started writing material for several different companies and as the years progressed, worked extremely hard to develop my own intellectual properties in the background. At this point the situation is starting to reverse (commanding three product lines) and now world-building is emerging as the focus of my career—which I’m starting to suspect was an inevitability.

What systems do you play/make for? Or is your work agnostic of system?

I designed N.O.W. for the What’s O.L.D. is N.E.W. RPG from EN Publishing,

Rules Answers July 2016 – Jeremy Crawford

There is a new article on D&D Wizard’s of the Coast website by Jeremy Crawford. He has complied a listing of Twitter questions and his answers. As always, these are his rulings, and the DM at your table can play the game and have different rulings than these. Let’s emphasize that, Jeremy’s rulings do not override the decisions of the Dungeon Master. As he says in the article these are to assist the DM in adjudicating the game. This is not a tool for a player to argue with a DM’s decision. They could be a conversation starter for a player to discuss though.

The Earl of Lemongrab and Antagonists

“I have to use my sound sword now! It’s a sound sword!”

-Lemongrab, Earl of Lemongrab

The current trend of power fantasy poses some interesting challenges for the modern GM. Anecdotally speaking, players are less fearful than ever, and engagement is only the barest of excuses to quip and preen. Again, this isn’t every game. Nor is it every player. It’s just a common enough trend amongst the people I know and the games I hear about to warrant some discussion. Let’s say you are in this situation. Fear isn’t something the party is willing to acknowledge, and being continually on the edge of death in combat can wear on any group. Variety is the spice of life, bro. So, what can you do to present a challenge to the players that encourages players to engage on multiple levels without violence and fear? When life gives you lemons, make Lemongrabs.