#RPGaDay 19

If you are not familiar with #RPGaDay, then please read this page first. For the 19th day of #RPGaDay the question is:

Which RPG features the best writing?

My tweeted answer is: #RPGaDay 19, #RPG, for me #L5R, more shout-outs at:

Like many others answering this, I’ve decided to go overboard in regards to special shout-outs.


In Nomine, Dogs in the Vineyard, Fading Suns, various GURPS sourcebooks, Exalted, Witchcraft, Cyberpunk’s Night City Sourcebook, Unknown Armies. Maybe even something like H.o.L. 😉

 ‘Old School’

As a kid I thought Manual of the Planes 1st ed. by Jeff Grubb was the greatest sourcebook.  Even to this day that series is still one of my favourite RPG supplements. The writing sets the ideas out well, providing enough metaphysics for the reader to make great games from. Besides his other work, Jeff joined Guild Wars to work on Nightfall and continued to work with ANet leading towards the splendour of Guild Wars 2.  Interestingly Jeff co-wrote the Ghosts of Ascalon, a Guild Wars 2 novel with another RPG standout, Matt Forbeck notable for working on Deadlands, amongst other work.


I really like the way Cryptomancer was written. A key design goal was to explain concepts like hacking, security and privacy concepts. I found Chad Walker’s explanations to be well explained.


I love the writing and diversity of the classic World of Darkness games. From the simple rules, the numerous examples, the amount of short stories and in-character overviews in the various sourcebooks, to the totally in-character books like the Book of Nod or Fragile Path.  I have so many choices from this setting, and of special note Orpheus.


I really enjoyed reading Aberrant. The old Trinity Verse has some exquisite writing, but Aberrant really stands out to me. Besides liking the rules explanation, I particular loved the in-character pieces that made up the first 100 pages of the book. The whole product was superb.


L5R won out for me. The first book presented the massive amounts of cultural detail well. Whilst many other RPGs are great, I feel that L5R went that extra mile. I also found the rules to be quite clear, as I mentioned for Day 16.


Also of note for L5R is the L5R City of Lies boxset, by Greg Stolze. I was part of Greg’s playtest for his game Reign, so I got to see different iterations of that game, and thus Greg’s writing. I find Greg’s work to be enjoyable and accessible, and he has quite a diverse range of games and fiction.

Sunglar’s blog has a great write-up, and I nearly made the same choice, I’ll not spoil it, and I recommend checking it out.

A good breakdown by Runeslinger at Casting Shadows.

Another RPG I’d considered is discussed by Nolinquisitor. A great explanation about why he made his choice:


RSI and gaming, Speech Recognition for GW2: Heart of Thorns Noobgrind article

Before I write about the Heart of Thorns I think it is important to clarify for those that are unfamiliar with chronic long-term problems the mixed opinions of seemingly the majority of people. With short-term injuries/illness it is normal to put most things on hold, since time to rest and heal is required. However, with long-term issues the idea of keeping your life on hold becomes frustrating and possibly infuriating, with often no idea how long things will take to improve, or in some cases knowing that things will never improve.

So deciding when hobbies can be continued is an important part of the decision-making for some semblance of peace of mind. It should be easy for most people to understand that having a hobby taken away from you would be extremely upsetting/annoying, therefore it should not be a big leap of logic to appreciate why people who are not able-bodied, in the average sense, would still try to find a way to carry on with their hobbies.Heart of Thorns Maguuma

Nearly two weeks ago the Guild Wars 2 (GW2) expansion Heart of Thorns came out, which I had pre-ordered when my wrists had not been so bad. So I was faced with a dilemma, whether to try and play the game despite my current RSI wrist problems, or leave it for a few months, or even indefinitely. Fortunately I carried out an experiment using my speech recognition software, Dragon NaturallySpeaking, and this proved to me that it is possible to control my character, but predictably with nowhere near the same efficiency level.

I was really looking forward to playing the Revenant, however due to the nature of using Revenant Heraldspeech recognition to control the character I determined that I wouldn’t be able to do a good job of controlling a profession I did not know. Since GW2 came out my main character has been a Ranger, and fortunately this meant that my best geared character, as well as the profession I am most knowledgeable about also has a better chance of standing at range using the pet to tank. This means my character is rarely close to an enemy, thus in less danger, and therefore better suiting a casual playing style. With the option to give the pet taunt (new to GW2) via its F2 power, this provides an extra margin of control in the fight that I found reduced my need to carry out fewer reactions.

Part of why I enjoy Guild wars 2 is because I love the emphasis on movement, and in particular their dodge system. However, when it comes to minimising keypresses GW2 is not ideal in many of its fights, particularly boss fights. I found that saying “press control V” generally was fast enough for my character to dodge out of the way of danger, and using the various attacks was simple enough, for example “press 1”. With auto run having a key bind, and the fact the character will keep attacking without having to constantly say “press 1”, this is why I consider it playable enough.

Occasionally there is an extra pause whilst the software determines what is being said, and this has led to me learning to be quick with my verbal reactions, which was initially difficult due to it being a different way of playing.

This also meant changing gear away from full Berserker set, to something more survivable. I almost never die in combat, and am very rarely even downed, which I rate as good game play, especially considering how brutal some fights are in Heart of Thorns. Granted I am being a bit more cautious than normal, more attentive, but as with all game play, the player’s decision making and assessment of what they can achieve is a core part of skill. So, maybe oddly to some, I actually enjoyed my time playing, although in part because I have had a break from gaming.

I wrote a review for Noobgrind about a summary of my opinions of Heart of Thorns. The length of the article quickly became an obvious enemy, there is just so much to write about, but since the article was starting to approach two thousand words I decided to keep it brief, and look for bits to cut out. I decided that similar things I want to write about could be in another article.



Article on Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns on Noobgrind.com

My first article on Noobgrind is about the soon to be released Guild Wars 2 expansion, Heart of Thorns.


Unfortunately due to my current pain level with arms, and recently shoulder pain, I won’t be able to play the expansion. Maybe not for quite some time. However GW2 is a game I can normally play a bit, at a casual level without flaring up RSI.

The article is around 2000 words, but considering the good and bad things I could rant about, it is quite short 😉 So much more I would have liked to mention, never mind speculate about, so saving that stuff for a later article.

Calling all Gamer Parents!

Parenting and gamesA friend of mine, Richie Janukowicz announced the following today:

“Calling all Gamer Parents!

I’m writing a book and I’d love to ask you a bunch of questions about being an avid video gamer and a parent.

Email richiejanukowicz@gmail.com and I’ll send you a private message with my interview questions.


What an interesting idea, I haven’t come across anything like it before. My dad was using computers back in the 70s so I was quite privileged in having access to cutting-edge technology from a very young edge, so I am the son of a gamer. I will chat with Richie about submitting a chapter from this perspective.

I am currently writing an article for Noobgrind about the upcoming Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns expansion. I have already submitted an article for the site for this week, but given this imminent release I realised I should prioritise this.