2021 Convention Updates

Posted in Conventions with tags , , , on March 17, 2021 by boccobsblog

This been quite the week for convention updates! Here are the details for three major Midwestern cons: Gen Con, Origins, and Gamehole Con. I will be at each of these cons representing Limitless Adventures & Cheatin’ Fair Games. I hope to see you there!

Gen Con 2021 Moved to September

According to an update on Gencon.com, on March 17th, 2021:

Today, we’re announcing that we are postponing Gen Con 2021 as originally planned for August 5-8 in Indianapolis and announcing plans for a hybrid slate of concurrent in-person and online experiences, including the rescheduled Indy convention, this September 16-19, 2021. We believe this is the best approach both to meet the many challenges of the moment and to explore possibilities for the future.

By offering a flexible range of opportunities to participate, we hope to safely include the largest number of people in the Gen Con experience this year and adapt to conditions as they are in September: in-person at Gen Con in Indianapolis with capped attendance and a modified format, from home through Gen Con Online events and livestreaming, and at local game stores through Pop-Up Gen Con retail activations.

With the rollout of effective vaccines, we look forward to an end to the COVID-19 pandemic and an eventual return to normal convention conditions, but the timeline is far from certain. In consultation with public health experts and local partners, with community feedback in mind, and with cautious optimism, we are moving forward with planning while maintaining the ability to shift course as needed to meet the requirements of changing conditions.

Convention planning happens on a long timeline, and we appreciate your continued patience as we tread these murky waters. By postponing our dates and expanding our approach, we hope to provide you with the best experience we can this year. With so many pieces in motion, we aren’t yet announcing dates for badge, hotel, and event registration, but we will announce those decisions soon as we advance to the next stages of planning.

Origins Game Fair 2021 (Sept. 30 – Oct. 3)

According to originsgamefair.com:

Based on the hopeful news that COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed and reports from the CDC that community events and conventions should be able to resume later this year, we have made the decision to move this year’s Origins Game Fair from our usual June weekend to September 30 – October 3, 2021

Safety is our primary concern, and we believe holding Origins later in the year provides the best path forward to have an in-person event this year.

We are working with other game convention organizers to develop guidelines for safe events, including, but not limited to:

* Requiring Face Masks

*Temperature Checks

*Hand Sanitizing Stations

In the interim, we encourage everyone to help fight the pandemic by wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, washing your hands, and getting the vaccine when you are able. Together we can work towards returning back to normal.

We are monitoring the COVID-19 situation and will provide updates as we get closer to the event.  Exhibitor and sponsorship information will be available on February 16. If you have any questions, please email registration@gama.org. 

Gamehole Con (Oct. 21 – 24)

May be an illustration of text that says 'GAME HARDER! OCTOBER 21ST- 24TH ALLIANT ENERGY CENTER Badge Registration: JULY 1ST Event Registration: SEPTEMBER 1ST Registration and info at GAMEHOLECON.COM AMEH CON VIIT The midwest's premier tabletop gaming convention returns for 2021'

From the Gamehole Con newsletter sent on March 15th, 2021:

Hello Gamers!

As we emerge from the deep freeze that is the upper Midwest this time of year, we are becoming increasingly optimistic about the prospects of having our show this fall. Our dates for this fall are October 21-24. We are told by Public Health and by Dane County that it is expected to see all Covid related restrictions removed by late summer, should the vaccine rollout continue at its current pace and we not see any major setbacks due to a new CV variant/strain.

So, with this cautious optimism in hand, we have assembled a schedule of dates to lead us up to Gamehole Con in October. The first significant date is the opening of the Housing Portal. This will take place at noon central time on April 1st. Remember, all rooms are fully refundable for any reason, which of course includes if we are forced to cancel for Covid reasons.

The second important date is the opening of Event Submission on May 1st. To make our comeback, getting great games in from you all is crucial. So please, begin thinking about some games that you would like to run for our fantastic attendees.

We are in the process of selling the remaining few Dealer Hall booths that we still have available and inviting Special Guests.

Finally, we want to make this perfectly clear: We will not hold a show if it is unsafe for us to do so. We will 100% rely on our local public health experts when it comes to having our show and under what circumstances.

Because this is a very fluid situation and we are talking about an event that is still many months away, we do not have firm policies set when it comes to Covid. We of course will keep you posted as we get closer to our show dates.

That is all for now. We hope that you all have a great early spring, and until we speak again, great gaming!

Gamehole Con 2021 Schedule:

  • Housing Portal Opens – April 1st at noon CDT
  • Event Submissions Open – May 1st noon CDT
  • VIG Renewals Open – June 15th noon CDT
  • Main Registration Opens – July 1st noon CDT
  • VIG Event Registration Opens – August 15th noon CDT
  • General Event Registration Opens – September 1st noon CDT
  • Pre-registration and Event Submission Closes – October 1st
  • Gamehole Con! – Oct. 21st – Oct. 24th

Candlekeep Mysteries Drops Today!

Posted in D&D 5e, D&D Fifth Edition, D&D Next, Dungeons and Dragons, Wizards of the Coast with tags on March 16, 2021 by boccobsblog

According to the WotC website:

Great Books Hide Their Secrets Well

An anthology of seventeen mystery-themed adventures for the world’s greatest roleplaying game.

Candlekeep attracts scholars like a flame attracts moths. Historians, sages, and others who crave knowledge flock to this library fortress to peruse its vast collection of books, scribbled into which are the answers to the mysteries that bedevil them. Many of these books contain their own mysteries—each one a doorway to adventure. Dare you cross that threshold?

Candlekeep Mysteries is a collection of seventeen short, stand-alone D&D adventures designed for characters of levels 1-16. Each adventure begins with the discovery of a book, and each book is the key to a door behind which danger and glory await. These adventures can be run as one-shot games, plugged into an existing Forgotten Realms campaign, or adapted for other campaign settings.

This book also includes a poster map of the library fortress and detailed descriptions of Candlekeep and its inhabitants.

Adventure authors include: Graeme Barber, Kelly Lynne D’angelo, Alison Huang, Mark Hulmes, Jennifer Kretchmer, Daniel Kwan, Adam Lee, Ari Levitch, Sarah Madsen, Christopher Perkins, Michael Polkinghorn, Taymoor Rehman, Derek Ruiz, Kienna Shaw, Brandes Stoddard, Amy Vorpahl, and Toni Winslow-Brill.

Candlekeep Mysteries Alternate Cover

Grab your copy today!

MORE Ravenloft!!!

Posted in D&D 5e, D&D Fifth Edition, D&D Next, Dungeons and Dragons with tags , , on February 23, 2021 by boccobsblog

Fans of the demiplane of dread will be happy to hear that Wizards of the Coast is releasing Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft.
According to the WotC D&D Facebook page:

Fans of horror in Dungeons & Dragons know there is much more beyond the Gothic horror in 2016’s Curse of Strahd. That’s where Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft comes in with a refresh of more than 30 Domains of Dread and their infamous Dark Lords. Want to know what’s happening in the surreal fairy tale landscape of Dementlieu? Or in the dark jungles of Valachan? Or what magical horrors D&D players with Dark Gifts will have to contend against in Haslan? Van Richten will be your guide when the mist beckons on May 18th!

Monsters of the Wild

Posted in D&D 5e, D&D Fifth Edition, D&D Next, Dungeons and Dragons, Kickstarter with tags , , on February 19, 2021 by boccobsblog

Andrew Cawood and and his crew of creatives are back with the fourth title in the Monster series: Monsters of the Wilderness – Oswald’s Curse. While the other three titles focused on one environment, Oswald’s Curse traverses seven different biomes, each defined by unique monsters. This beautiful collection of over 100 5e monsters (more if we hit those stretch goals) is entwined with the story of Oswald Myrr, a powerful, and seemingly mad, wizard bent on revenge.

According to their press release:

Now on Kickstarter! Monsters of the Wilderness is the 4th book in our bestselling 5E Monster Series! 140-160 pages, fully-illustrated, full-color with hardcover, softcover, and PDF versions. Up to 120 monsters in 7 distinct regions, adventure hooks, encounter tables, events tables, locations tables, GM advice, and more. Stretch goals include extra monsters, PC subclasses, interior cover art, and custom-made dice from Q-workshop.

 Oswald Myrr is a legendary wizard who has been banished by the Wizard Council. This crazy spellcaster has unleashed a curse on the world after opening numerous portals called ‘Riftgates’. These openings enable travel around the world and to other planes. However, many evil creatures from other worlds and strange, dark energies have come through the Riftgates. 

The book is divided into 7 wilderness regions: Ocean, Arctic, Desert, Swamp/Jungle, Forest, Hills/Lakes, and Mountains. Each region has a wizard or witch from the Wizard Council and a monstrous titan (see below). 

This book features artwork by Travis Hanson. Hanson is the creator of the Life of the Party, and Beam, tabletop RPG comic strips. Hanson has provided the artwork for the previous monster books and given the line a solid, cohesive feel.

Monsters of the Wilderness: Oswald’s Curse is funding now on Kickstarter. Funding will continue until Thu, March 4 2021 7:59 PM CST. Check it out! You can learn more about Cawood Publishing, and grab their D&D5e adventures at worldofmyrr.com

Interview with Author Jean Rabe

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on January 25, 2021 by boccobsblog

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Jean Rabe about her latest novel, Black Heart of the Dragon God! I met Jean a few years ago at FlatCon and can honestly say that she is an amazing writer, cunning gamer, and sincere animal-lover.

While your most recent works have been modern mysteries, you’re no stranger to fantasy. How many D&D novels have you written?

A bunch. My first was Red Magic, a Harper’s book, it came out in 1991 … yeah, a good while back. I wrote two pick-a-path novels after that, also set in the D&D realms, then moved to Dragonlance, where I wrote three trilogies and three standalones. So … fifteen!

What is the weirdest thing you learned while writing this novel?

That female mountain goats have horns. I don’t suppose that’s a weird thing … but it was something I hadn’t known.

Did your experience writing Dragonlance novels prepare you for this project?

Certainly. I was a news reporter before I wrote fiction, and so I started with a tight style and used complete sentences. It took Bill Larson, the editor of Red Magic, to get me to relax. He insisted I sit and listen to strangers in cafes and in the park. “People do not talk in complete sentences.” At least not all the time. So I followed his advice, and my dialog got better and better. I still sit and listen to people in the park and in cafes, always with a notebook in hand.

Patrick McGilligan, who edited my Dragonlance novels, taught me to “take time with magic.” He said magic is awesome and amazing, and when you use it, draw it out with imagery. So I never had a character cast a magic missile spell. I had a character who concentrated, thrust out his arm and extended his fingers, felt his skin itch and warm, and then watched as darts of hot, bright light shot forth.

Brian Thomsen, who ran the book department for a while, and who later edited my novels for Tor, taught me to limit magic. The fewer characters able to cast it, the less magic in your world, the more special and wondrous the magic you employ comes across.

So writing Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance gave me better preparation for my own fiction, including Black Heart of the Dragon God.

What sets your protagonist, Goranth, apart?

He’s a musclebound former pirate who is wildly strong, wholly embraces life … and yet has a soft side and is willing to stick his neck out for strangers. He loves wealth, but he’s not greedy about it; he only wants his share.

Where would he land on the pineapple on pizza debate?

Never pineapple on pizza. Just meat.

Have you and Craig Martelle worked together before?

Craig edited an anthology called Metamorphosis Alpha 3: A Generation Ship Catastrophe Survived (Chronicles from the Warden). Here’s the link. I had a story in it; robots that went deadly nuts. Craig emailed me and asked why we hadn’t written anything together. I had a sword & sorcery novel outline in my computer that I’d not gotten around to writing. I sent it to him, asked if he was interested. I had such great fun writing with him. It turned into Black Heart of the Dragon God. We hope to get another Goranth the Mighty book out by summer’s end.

How does the sword & sorcery genre differ from high fantasy?

Hmmmmmmmm. I think sword & sorcery can be high fantasy, but not all high fantasy can be considered sword & sorcery. To me, a good sword & sorcery yarn is gritty, magic is limited, the main character is big and bold, and there is a good amount of blood. A lot of sword fights. I think high fantasy can be more polite and more politically complex. But … that’s just my take.

Could Goranth defeat Eleanor Roosevelt in a thumb wrestling match?

No. Goranth the Mighty would not participate in a thumb-wrestling match. Thumb wrestling is for children and drunkards.

Who is your cover artist?

Ain’t he great? Goranth’s artist is Didier Graffet, a French painter who specializes in fantasy and steampunk.

What was the most difficult part of writing this novel?

The death scenes. I love to kill characters. I think it makes the struggle or goal or prize more costly and feel more real when you off characters. Hopefully it gives readers a bit of a “gut punch.” But I also hate to kill characters … saying goodbye to someone you crafted.

Where can B3 readers purchase a copy of Black Heart of the Dragon God?

It goes on sale January 25th. It is available for pre-order now in ebook form. Paperbacks can be ordered on the twenty-fifth. I think people will want a paper copy because of the gorgeous Didier cover. Here’s the link.

An old friend gave us an awesome blurb/review. I feel compelled to share:

Ed Greenwood, Internationally Bestselling creator of Forgotten Realms had this to say…What if Conan wasn’t a grim loner, but a stalwart in a band who banter, bicker, and brawl their way through life? Then he’d be one of the heroes in Black Heart of the Dragon God. Real people, in the heart of adventure. This tale plunges you into their midst, to see and smell and feel what they do–as they change the world. And they’re good company; I can’t wait for sequels! Dangerous company, though. They start by hunting dragons…

My web page: www.jeanrabe.com

I am on Twitter

My Amazon author page

I have a newsletter filled with tidbits about weird news items, pics of my dogs, discussions of upcoming books, reviews of things I’m reading, and writing advice. You can subscribe here.



The Great Dulmuti is Here!

Posted in Dungeons and Dragons, Magic the Gathering, Wizards of the Coast with tags , on November 17, 2020 by boccobsblog

The Great Dulmuti

The Great Dulmuti was a game by Magic: the Gathering creator Richard Garfield. Garfield based the game on a much older card game called, President, and published it in 1995. Now WotC has revised the game and given it a D&D theme. According to their website:

A Fast-Paced Card Game of One-Upmanship

Sometimes you roll a 1…

… and sometimes you roll a 20 and crush it! In the Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game, the dice may control your fate, but in The Great Dalmuti, it’s about how cleverly you play the cards you’re dealt. One round you’re polishing your royal crown, and the next you’re whacking rats in a filthy alley. It’s a gloat-filled, winner-take-all contest in this D&D-themed version of the classic card game.

Item details

Price: $14.99
Release Date: 17 November, 2020
Format: 4-8 players, ages 8 and up

Here are some samples of the cards:

You can see all the cards here. Do you use game like this or Three-Dragon Ante in your campaign?  The Great Dulmuti is available at your FLGS and Amazon.

Ravenloft Revamped

Posted in D&D Fifth Edition, D&D Next, Dungeons and Dragons with tags , , on October 20, 2020 by boccobsblog

WotC has revised the Curse of Strahd adventure, and released it as a boxed set. According to WotC:

Bury Yourself in Gothic Horror

Unearth the terror of Ravenloft in this boxed adventure for the world’s greatest roleplaying game.

Under raging storm clouds, the vampire Count Strahd von Zarovich stands silhouetted against the ancient walls of Castle Ravenloft. Rumbling thunder pounds the castle spires. The wind’s howling increases as he turns his gaze down toward the village of Barovia.

Far below, yet not beyond his keen eyesight, a party of adventurers has just entered his domain. Strahd’s face forms the barest hint of a smile as his dark plan unfolds. He knew they were coming, and he knows why they came—all according to his plan.

A lightning flash rips through the darkness, but Strahd is gone. Only the howling of the wind fills the midnight air. The master of Castle Ravenloft is having guests for dinner. And you are invited.

Coffin Components

Curse of Strahd, one of the most popular Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game products of all time, split into three parts: a 224-page perfect-bound adventure for characters of levels 1–10, a 20-page Creatures of Horror booklet of new monsters that appear in the adventure, and an 8-page Tarokka Deck booklet.

A cover sheet with Strahd von Zarovich’s image on one side and Strahd’s monster stat block on the other.

A sturdy, four-panel Dungeon Master’s screen designed for use with the adventure.

A double-sided poster map showing the domain of Barovia on one side and Castle Ravenloft on the other.

54 foil-stamped Tarokka cards, which help determine the heroes’ path through the adventure.

A tuck box to hold the Tarokka deck.

12 postcards (3 copies each of 4 different cards), which you can use to invite friends to your game.

Is this new boxed set just a money grab? Is it in response to recent criticism to WotC handling of the handicapped NPC or the Vistini? In either case, will you be taking your players through the mists to the Demiplane of Dread?

Natural 20 Shirts

Posted in Dungeons and Dragons, Product Review with tags , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2020 by boccobsblog

Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with Carl Huber of Natural 20 Shirts. Carl asked me to review his line of gamer T-shirts. Natural 20 has a variety of nerdy tees. There is a virtual treasure trove of original D&D designs, as well as Bob’s Burgers and Rick and Morty merch.

According to their website:

We specialize in Dungeons & Dragons tshirts, and nerdy tshirts of all kinds. Find your favorite TV show here, like Bob’s Burgers tshirts or Rick and Morty tshirts. Find Star Trek tshirts and more! Don’t forget we also offer our designs on coffee mugs, notebooks, stickers, and all sorts of great items.

Quality

I own the Dungeon Master tee shown above. It fits great, is soft, and the images are high-quality. I’ve worn my shirt several times since getting it in the mail and it has held up well to being washed. Compared to other D&D T-shirts (and I own several), the Natural 20 shirts are superior.

Variety

Natural 20 Shirts uses Teepublic, Threadless, and Redbubble to produce and deliver their products, this allows customers to use a website they prefer and trust, as well as get the design of their choosing on mugs, phone cases, pillows, notebooks, etc.

Natural 20 Shirts has the best collection of D&D gifts, merch, and clothing, hands down. I love the original designs. Often social media is crammed with the same old puns and images on D&D shirts.

Check them out!

D&D Adventure Begins

Posted in board game, Dungeons and Dragons with tags , , on October 1, 2020 by boccobsblog

Looking for a gateway game to get the next generation hooked on Dungeons and Dragons? WotC has a new D&D themed board game for children ages ten and up. According to their website:

Your Fast, Fun Entry into the World of D&D

Step into the exciting world of D&D with the Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Begins board game! Choose your character and work together along the journey through the lands of Neverwinter, facing fantastic obstacles, battling monsters, and defeating the boss monster terrorizing the realm. The role of Dungeon Master passes from player to player with each turn, so everyone gets to be part of the storytelling.

Features

QUICK ENTRY TO DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: Step into the exciting world of D&D with the Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Begins board game. Designed for 2-4 players, ages 10 and up.
COOPERATIVE FANTASY GAME: This fantasy board game is a portal to the monsters, magic, and heroes of Dungeons & Dragons. Players work together as they journey through the lands of Neverwinter.

QUICK GAMEPLAY: Players can choose and customize their heroes, battle iconic D&D monsters, and experience a new adventure every time. So, step forward, brave heroes; adventure awaits!

CHOOSE A JOURNEY FOR YOUR PARTY: Choose a journey and which Boss your party of heroes will fight in the end. Choose from Felbris (Beholder), Orn (Fire Giant), Deathsleep (Green Dragon), and the Kraken.

D&D MINIATURE FIGURES: The game includes 4 plastic mini figures that correspond with the heroes featured in gameplay.

This isn’t the first D&D themed board game for kids, Dungeon has been around nearly as long as D&D itself. But Adventure Begins does look pretty awesome!

 

Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden

Posted in D&D 5e, D&D Fifth Edition, D&D Next, Dungeons and Dragons with tags , on September 15, 2020 by boccobsblog

Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden drops today. This arctic-themed adventure, set in Icewind Dale, takes players from level 1 through 12.

According to WotC:

Some Secrets are Worth Dying For

Feel the cold touch of death in this adventure for the world’s greatest roleplaying game.

In Icewind Dale, adventure is a dish best served cold.

Beneath the unyielding night sky, you stand before a towering glacier and recite an ancient rhyme, causing a crack to form in the great wall of ice. Beyond this yawning fissure, the Caves of Hunger await. And past this icy dungeon is a secret so old and terrifying that few dare speak of it. The mad wizards of the Arcane Brotherhood long to possess that which the god of winter’s wrath has so coldly preserved—as do you! What fantastic secrets and treasures are entombed in the sunless heart of the glacier, and what will their discovery mean for the denizens of Icewind Dale? Can you save Ten-Towns from the Frostmaiden’s everlasting night?

Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden is a tale of dark terror that revisits the forlorn, flickering candlelights of civilization known as Ten-Towns and sheds light on the many bone-chilling locations that surround these frontier settlements.

Item details

Price: $49.95
Release Date: 15 September, 2020
Format: Hardcover

Will you be taking your players to the frozen wastes of Icewind Dale?