This week, I’ve scoured the blogosphere for the best Dungeons & Dragons posts. It’s been a while since I last made one of these, so a few of these actually go back as far as September, some further.
Clerics versus Undead Monsters, via Grognardia. James Maliszewski provides his usual insights into the film and literary origins of the cleric class.
Your Whispering Homunculus: When You’re Alone, You’re Alone, via Kobold Quarterly. Dungeon mastering advice on how to create mood in D&D.
Sage Advice Compilation, via Grognardia. James Maliszewski gives his opinion on this archive of D&D Sage Advice questions dating back to Dragon Magazine #31. Really interesting to see how the game’s focus has changed since the 1970s, from world simulation to character development and tactical combat.
"Not as Bad as it Looks" is Still Bad, via RPGpundit’s Xanga. Outspoken critic RPGPundit reports that Paizo’s Pathfinder RPG is tied for sales with D&D 4th edition in hobby stores.
Fatigue: An optional rule for characters without healing surges, via Square Fireballs. A 4E variant rule that allows characters to spend a healing surge after their surges have been depleted, at the cost of being fatigued until they take an extended rest. If they are already fatigued, they are instead weakened and grant combat advantage for one round.
Devil’s Advocate, via Grognardia. James Maliszewski notes an odd coincidence.
Teaching RPGs, a Quick Retrospective, via Critical Hits. The Chatty DM links to a collection of articles on introducing new players to tabletop roleplaying games.
Do the Evolution, via Critical Hits. RPG writer Chris Sims discusses how tabletop RPGs have changed since the original release of Dungeons & Dragons.
Real Steel: The Mystery of Steel—Myth and Fact of Forge Folding, via Kobold Quarterly. Todd Gdula gives a real-world insight into the art of modern and historical weaponsmithing.
Healing Surges revisited, via Square Fireballs. Discussion of D&D 4E’s healing surge mechanic, how it changed the game, and its flaws.
Review: “Gamma World” RPG, via Critical Hits. Dave Chalker reviews Wizards of the Coast’s new wacky mutant future RPG.
Pulp Fantasy Library: Rhialto the Marvellous, via Grognardia. A look at the the literary works that originally inspired Dungeons & Dragons’ magic system and implied setting.
Reexamining the Dungeon, by Robert J. Schwalb. A writer for Wizards of the Coast, Schwalb gives insights into the “tactical encounter” format introduced late in D&D 3rd edition and used heavily by 4th edition. He looks at where the format succeeds, where it fails, and how those issues might be solved.
Re-examining the Dungeon: Section, Factions and Fronts, via Critical Hits. The Chatty DM posts in agreement with Robert J. Schwalb’s deconstruction of the tactical encounter format, and suggests a solution inspired by old Gygax-style dungeon modules.
D&D Trivia Archive May 2010 via Critical Hits. Former Wizards of the Coast game designer Chris Sims shares interesting D&D factoids, including some secrets of 4E’s development. For example, 4E began early playtesting in 2006, the original 4E Monster Manual draft had more fluff, and minions had more hit points but were reduced to 1HP for easier tracking.