It has been a very thought provoking week. Unlike normal weeks where I bring out the best materials that give good advice on various subjects about the game, this week has been filled with commentaries and opinions about so many topics on RPGs that has stirred interesting debates and discussion.
Some lucky bloggers even got on their hands on a pre-release copy of the Player's Handbook 2 and they have been posting about it just to taunt us. Also, the smoke of an edition war seems to be clouding the blogging community which has nothing to do with the war blog carnival this month (though it could be).
This is not to say that there is a shortage of good tips, advice or handy tools shared by bloggers this week, you can still find them here.
So enjoy this week's rundown, and it's going to be long.
A Butterfly Dreaming
What is D&D, Anyway?
Musings about old school and new school D&D.
Advanced Gaming & Theory
Managing Treasure Successfully
A veteran adventure giving some good advice on handling treasure.
How to Design a Skill Challenge Part 5: Cycling
How to keep skill challenges iterative but dynamic.
Bard of Valiant
Add a Comic to your Newsletter
A web-based tool for creating your own comic.
Make a Magazine Cover
Use well known magazine templates and put your own label on it.
Vocal commands to cue your Computer
For Vista users, learn how to cue music or files by using voice recognition. Very useful for creating atmosphere.
Bat in the Attic
Roles and roleplaying, this argument feels familiar
A continuation on the debate about role and roleplaying after receiving numerous comments from his earlier post.
50 Barbarian Hooks for Player's Handbook 2
No previews for this one but as a consolation, here's 50 ways to incorporate them into your game.
Chgowiz's Old Guy RPG Blog
Medieval Music Discovery
Free medieval music for listening purposes. There's a whole list of selections to choose from.
Gaming at the FLGS
The Old Guy sharing the situation of his FLGS hoping to keep them alive.
The PHB2 Druid - Nature's Schizophrenic
A preview of the druid.
Avengers: Batman is a Divine Striker
A preview of the Avenger.
How To Make Monster Stat Cards
A free editor template for making your own monster stat cards.
How to Build a Dungeon Your Player Will Love to Hate
A useful dungeon checklist to make sure that your dungeons has all the bases covered.
Requiem for a Game Store
Another brick and mortar game store goes down and why do we still need them.
Is 4E the deadliest D&D?
5 reasons why 4E combat is deadly or is it?
Sizing Up The State of D&D Insider
A review of the D&D Insider so far and should you get it.
4 Reasons Why Invokers Aren't What You Think
The true identity of the Invoker.
Playing Characters With Low Ability Scores
How to deal with players who can't roleplay the dumb stat and stay in character.
Exchange of Realities
When Is It Too Late to Change History?
How to work with inconsistency and the hidden opportunities of having things unexplained.
Player's Handbook 2: A Look at the Shaman
A preview of the Shaman.
Kids will be kids: Rethinking my 4e school game
Video gaminizing D&D for the kids.
4E Kid Campaign - further musings
Temple of the Elemental Evil for 4E. Really?
Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Preview
A slapstick preview of what 5th edition would look like in the future.
Gaming In Code
Can PDFs Replace Printed Books
A well researched article on how digital media is taking over the real things. Are our books going to be a thing of the past one day?
NBOS Software's Character Sheet Designer - Nice Tool, Great Price
I like free stuff. This time, the gnomes have recommended a free........character sheet designer?
Player's Handbook 2 Preview: A Veteran GM's Take on GMing and the PHB 2
Have fears about what your players will be able to use with the PHB 2? A GM's review of the PHB 2 and how will it affect your game.
20 Reasons Why the Dragons is in the Dungeon
The game is called Dungeons & Dragons afterall, how on earth did it get in there?
Janx (ENWorld Blog)
Gaming with a story
A style of gaming to interactively create a story. I've been trying to do something similar and am curious if this works.
How Often Should An RPG Company Publish Supplements?
A interesting discussion about RPG company publishing habits.
Mad Brew Labs
Tested: Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition
The final results after experimentation and testing are out from the Labs. A full review.
No Minis for 4ed
More ideas on how to play 4E without minis (see below).
Musings of the Chatty DM
Players' Handbook 2 Preview: The Warden
The Chatty DM can't stop talking about the Warden.
Nameless Kingdom Tabletop Gaming
Social Skills versus Acting Skills in RPG's
How players can find roleplaying difficult and a way to encourage it.
Points of Light
Role-Playing and Social Skills
Focus on the roleplaying and social skills of the character, not the player.
Using a Campaign Theme
A very good list of ideas on incorporating a theme into your campaign, how to do it and what to keep in mind.
Stumbling Blocks To Starting A New Campaign
7 obstacles before starting a new campaign to avoid.
Building Realism: Morals and Ethics
How to make your game morally ambigious and more gritty.
RPG Blog II
Interview With Pathfinder Editor-In-Chief James Jacobs
Zach got himself an exclusive interview with James Jacobs, Editor-in-Chief of Pathfinder where they talk about various topics. A very interesting read. Good job on getting that interview.
The future of D&D
What lies ahead for D&D and what will it become in the future?
The way it's meant ot be played
A voice of reason in the old school vs. new school debacle.
Asking the question of what is old school.
The Sorcerer: Destruction Personified
A preview of the Sorcerer class.
Customizing Your Character with the PHB2
A preview of the new options in the PHB 2; backgrounds and the variant ritual book.
PHB2, Races New and Old!
A look at the new races, Deva, Goliath and Shifter in the PHB 2 and the racial paragon paths.
The Bone Scroll
Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail....
How's the weather in your game?
The Core Mechanic
Old School vs. New School: Have we lost our way?
Is the debate even relevant anymore? Why are we still fighting? If there's one thing that stays edition-less is the DM.
10 Ways to Save Your Friendly Local Game Shop
Don't want to see your FLGS go? Follow these 10 ways!
Players Handbook 2: The Invoker ... a REAL Bad Ass
A preview of the Invoker class.
Grognards and 4'Teens - Making them all happy at the same time
What houserules will be needed to be make old school and 4Eers play on the same table?
The Fine Art of the TPK
Old School vs. New School - Or how to properly destroy something all profess to love
Donny shares his thoughts on the old school vs. new school debate.
The Keep on the Gaming Lands
No Minis, No Problem
Mike Mearls proposing a way to play 4E without minis. For real.
The Curse of the Missing Player
How to deal with those absent players and their characters.
The Spirits of Eden
The Nature of the DM
The ups and downs of being an evil DM.
Tome and Tomb (ENWorld Blog)
Why the World Exists
Does the world exist for the characters or characters exist in the world? A very interesting observation.
Player's Handbook 2: Bring on the Bards
A preview of the bard.
Player's Handbook 2: Gnomes Return
Uncle Bear rejoicing the return of the gnomes.
Worlds in a Handful of Dice
Pathfinder Society - A Long, Hard Look
A peculiar review on Paizo's organised play. It's worth a read if you are thinking of jumping in.