Category: Big Irish Thoughts

Hey, folks! Like I said, I want to start using this thing for more than just the usual Picks. My roommate and Evil Beagle Games partner, Ross Watson and I talk RPG setting world building with Christopher “Savage Bull” Landauer for this latest episode. It was a great discussion. There’s a bunch more they talk about, all related to gaming in general and Pinnacle/Savage Worlds in particular.

Ross Watson of Accursed fame and Shaintar’s Sean Patrick Fannon join us for the first of our World Builders interviews. We’ve been talking about our World Builder interviews since the start of the show so we’re excited to bring you the first in what we hope is a long series delving into the thought process behind bringing you many and varied settings to play in.

SBN Podcast says goodbye after 41 episodes

Fear the Boot celebrates 10 years and over 400 episodes

Savage Bull is now helping with the setting Savage Mommy is currently working on. More info later.

Hit the link for more information and to listen to the podcast.


Now that I am getting past the insanity of the Savage Rifts Kickstarter (though there’s still plenty of work ahead), I plan to get back to using this space for more sharing of thoughts and ideas and generally neat geekery.

Today, I’d like to share this really charming cartoon/article from the Washington Post by Josh Kramer, exploring the concept that lots of folks are either returning to the RPG table, or are deciding to join us all for the first time in their adulthood. I sincerely believe there are more of us than there’s ever been, and I love seeing articles like this.

As I am fond of saying every time we recognize one of the Tribe while out-and-about (I have an instinct for it, though admittedly, various kinds of T-shirts and other paraphernalia usually give it away, either on my end or theirs), “We are everywhere, and we are legion.”

Hit the image or the link above to see the whole thing.

The following linked article is making the rounds on my social network, posted and re-posted primarily by women who love and support and do fantastic things in this hobby and industry that I love. They are hurt, sickened, and angry, and they have every right to be. So, too, anyone who faces discrimination, bullying, and ostracization from those who feel that gaming somehow belongs only to them.

Fair warning – there’s some very dark and disturbing things revealed in this article. The author shares some terrible things done to her, and to others.

It’s important that we acknowledge and deal with this. We are supposed to be better than this. We must become better than this.

Tabletop Gaming has a White Male Terrorism Problem

One more thing – if you disagree, fine, do so openly and with a focus on discussion and debate. If you’re the kind of piece of work that makes death threats and anonymous trolling posts because “Hurrrr, hurrr, you cain’t take mah hobbee frum me,” just do us all a favor and find a hole to fall very far down. There are plenty of troglodytes to share the depths with you down there.

I’ve not really been doing much blogging with this thing, but that changes today. A discussion broke out on a page on Facebook that touches on something I am very passionate about, and I’ve decided my ultimate response on that page will be my first blog on here. I hope to do more as time permits and ideas flow.

Why Punish Your Friends?

Seriously, I want to challenge all of you who are in the “You don’t play, you get no XP” camp to consider these questions:
What is the real, tangible benefit of denying one of the players XP for missing a game?

What do you, the GM, gain from it?

What do your players gain from it?

What does the player who missed gain from it?

I am not talking about people who blow the game off for something else they’d rather do. I am not talking about players who don’t show and never bother to let you know and never really explain why. I am not talking about players who simply won’t commit to the campaign when everyone else has.
Those folks are rude and either need to be disinvited (if it really matters to you and your group) or, sure, dock them XPs. Negative reinforcement for negative behavior. I can live with that.
The people I am talking about have children who need them to talk to their teachers. They have parents with medical conditions that cause emergencies to crop up. They have jobs that demand overtime hours at the worst moments. They get sick from any number of things and don’t want to make their friends sick.
These are good people with lives that cause issues, and they are your friends and fellow gamers who want to be there – would have way more fun being there than whatever else it is they are dealing with – and it sucks that they had to miss while you and everyone else had a good time.
So what do you gain – seriously, what is the tangible or emotional GAIN – from letting their characters fall behind in XP and growth? If it’s a cooperative game where the abilities of all the characters contributes to the group’s dynamics and success, what is the reward for the GM and the other players that comes from punishing the one who had to miss?

Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends and Fans of RPGs,

It’s time. It’s time to support a project that represents the very best of who we are and where we came from. A project that celebrates a fantastic mind and great human being, taken away from us far too soon.

It’s time to get on board with the Kickstarter for Aaron Allston’s Strike Force, a combination revival of his most important work in the RPG field and a tribute to a fine man and immense talent.

Take a look at the very first book ever published that not only described an established campaign – one of the most famous in superhero gaming – it showed us how to set up and run something that was more than a series of interesting fights and challenges. Through Aaron’s wisdom and words, we first learned how to really master the game and run a campaign.

This new edition not only includes numerous tributes to the man from industry greats past and present, it also dramatically updates his original work. Aaron always wanted to do a new version, and Michael Surbrook has done an incredible job taking the vast amount of added material Aaron had saved up and working it into this wholly new book.

Join High Rock Press, Evil Beagle Games, and a galaxy of gaming stars in celebrating this great man and good friend.

Be a hero, and join Aaron Allston’s Strike Force!

This is one of those times when I feel it’s very important to use the SPOD to get the word out about something important to all of us.

Dungeons & Dragons is all about creativity. For more than 40 years, the folks who spent the bulk of their time creating amazing adventures, those noble Dungeon Masters, did not have a convenient outlet to share them with the gamers who weren’t sitting at their table. You either had to raise money to publish a physical book or zine on your own, or convince a publisher you had the chops.

Now, the Dungeon Master’s Guild puts the power to share that creativity firmly in the hands of the DM.

The Dungeon Masters Guild is a collaboration between Dungeons & Dragons and our friends at DriveThruRPG, and it is designed to support and reward you – whether you’re an experienced DM or just starting out. Today, you can upload your creations to the DMs Guild website, as well as browse submissions from some of gaming’s most esteemed designers.

Read more of the news at my friends’ site – Flames Rising – or click to logo to go straight to the Guild page.

Straight from the DriveThruRPG folks –

New Year, New Game – the date may have passed, but the games are here!

d20 Future Bundle – Save 60%! – The future is what you make of it. With access to space travel, cybernetics, mutations, mecha, and more in d20 Future, heroes may battle across alien worlds, survive on postapocalyptic Earth, voyage to distant galaxies, and explore alternate dimensions.

Demon: the Descent Bundle – Save 62%! – They are under the everyday world, behind it, beyond it. They are sent by the God-Machine to enact its will through time and space, delivering messages, building infrastructure, protecting some people, killing others. You were one of those angels…

Mutant Year Zero Bundle – Save 61%! – The cities are wastelands, winds sweeping along streets turned graveyards. But among the ruins, the People live. You are the heir of humanity – but not quite human anymore. Your body and mind are capable of superhuman feats. You are mutant.

Shadow of the Demon Lord Bundle – Save 62%! – In the desperation of the last days, the world must take what saviors it can: heroes, blackguards, madmen, whoever is willing to stand against the coming darkness. Will you fight the demons, or will you burn it all down and dance among the ashes?

Conspiracy X 2.0 Bundle – Save 62%! – Conspiracy X takes place in a world of dark secrets and hidden agendas, where the only certainty is nothing is what it seems. The president might not be human… and the madman on the corner ranting about CIA mind control satellites may very well be right.

Dying Earth Bundle – Save 61%! – The sun is now a swollen maroon orb. It stutters and blinks. At any moment it may go out. Dig anywhere and find a buried city or the shore of a vanished sea. Deodand-haunted woods stretch from decadent Kaiin to the Land of the Falling Wall.

Want even more savings? Nearly 1,000 more core books, all on sale for 25% off! Click here!

Seriously, friends, these are some amazing deals. Do not miss out!

One of the best things you can get for your favorite gaming friends is straight-up store credit at DriveThruRPG. You simply pay it straight in, then re-allocate the credit to whoever you like (you just need their email address that they use for the site).

Here’s a FAQ page for more information on how these Gift Certificates work.

So forget last-minute driving around or poking into Amazon wish lists – get them what they really want!

I’ve never really hidden the fact that nepotism is a tad rampant here at the Pick, which is why I also go out of my way to find the odder, less-spotlighted products to also give some shine to.

Today, however, it’s back to being that Friend in High Places, because my friend Bill Keyes has his amazing Savage Steampunk setting, The Widening Gyre, now available in both PDF and available as print-on-demand! It’s not “merely” steamy, mind you – this is a very deep, intriguing setting written by someone with a deep appreciation of both history and alt-history, and it shines through in his work.

Welcome to The 19th Century That Never Was!

It is a world of wonder, of horror, of adventure, of magic, of strange technology and unprecedented cultural revolution. This is the age that nearly was, filled with radium-powered flying machines, clockwork automata, and steam-driven computers. It is an age of dark magic, sinister secrets, and unholy cults. It is a time in which the world teeters on the edge of disaster, where the enlightened scientific mind battled against ancient superstition and ignorance, in which the souls of all mankind hung in the balance.

The Widening Gyre presents an original steampunk campaign setting designed for use with the Savage Worlds rules. Recommended for experienced GMs and players looking to game in the Industrial Age As It Should Have Been, this worldbook includes…

A comprehensive and immersive campaign background detailing the fantastical Victorian world of The Widening Gyre.

-Character archetypes to play a wide variety of 19th century adventurers − Airship Pirates, Clockwork Men, Consulting Detectives, and more!

-Rules for wild steampunk technology and sorcery, including weapons, armor, vehicles, bizarre Victorian devices, and magic spells.

-Full stats for dozens of characters the heroes will encounter on their journeys, ranging from helpful allies to evil technologists to monstrous beasts from a darker era.

-New Skills, Edges, and Hindrances.

-A full bestiary with over 40 monsters and opponents.

-A fully detailed campaign, six full adventures, and four variant campaign ideas.

-Nearly twenty Savage Tales, a dozen one-sentence adventure ideas, plus an easy-to-use adventure generator to help put together quick adventures on the fly.

-Enter a world of adventuring daredevils and academics, occultist thrill-seekers and Savants both heroic and insane, in which a secretive organization of benevolent technologists seeks to prevent the dark monsters of humanity’s past from overwhelming its bright and burgeoning future.

The Roleplaying Game Creators Relief Fund (RCRF) is a special fund, administered by long-time game professionals who seek only to ensure when a crisis strikes, we can be there to help our colleagues in their time of need. Naturally, this means we need to constantly bring in donations of funds so we have something we can contribute, whether it’s for a medical hardship, a burned-down home, or any number of other circumstances where a writer, artist, publisher, editor, or anyone else who helps bring your favorite games and gaming materials to life may need a helping hand to get by.
This holiday season, we are extremely thrilled to offer a special bundle, worth nearly $260.00 in value, for only $25.00! Featuring contributions from companies like Pinnacle Entertainment, Spectrum Games, Melior Via, DWD Studios, Third Eye Games, Green Ronin, John Brazer Enterprises, Rite Publishing, Legendary Games, Silver Games, and Schwalb Entertainment, there are over thirty products spanning the full breadth of gaming today! Each and every product was donated for free so that we could take 100% of our revenue and apply it to building up the RCRF funds.
This would make a great “gift pack,” either for yourself or your favorite Game Master, so be sure to grab it while it’s available for the holidays! If you want to know more about the RCRF, please check out our website at