There is something that’s been bugging me recently about fantasy races (again): they wouldn’t stay so starkly different if others existed.

There are two main thrusts of this argument: the first being a biological one and the second being a cultural one. Allowances must be made for hand waving these or explaining them away with setting but I’m looking at three primary sources for “traditional” fantasy races: Lord of the Rings, Dungeons and Dragons (3.5–5th edition), and Pathfinder (1st and 2nd Edition).

Biologically speaking the fantasy races* can interbreed. (*See my article on “Race vs Species” terminology. Species is probably…

I want to talk about the difference between race vs species in fantasy games and literature. This is going to be one of those topics that has a lot of nooks and crannies that we can talk more on in the comments. Please do and I beg that you give me the benefit of the doubt when reading this- it’s a thorny subject and I’m jumping into the briar patch.

Let’s start with a definition of terms:

  • Race: A race is a group of people who are related by some common ancestry and/or physical or cultural aspects.
  • Culture: The customary…

I’ve been obsessed with the notion of merging non-human art/artistic elements and human ones. The idea of taking something procedurally or semi-randomly generated and combining it with the intuition/abstract association of a human is facinating to me. I ended up hiring an artist to work with me on transforming a piece of artwork I had procedurally generated into a “real” piece of human-made art. Read on for more.

Ready for “a white male game designer in his 30s gives his take on if orcs are racist in Tolkien’s work and beyond?”. That aside, I do have some credentials regarding this. I literally have a degree in this kind of stuff; my undergrad in Game Development actually had a class specifically on Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and my term paper was on the metaphor of sexual dymorphic traits as embodied by elves and dwarves. I’ve also published fantasy works for the better part of a decade and made at least part of my living on it. …

So Pathfinder Second Edition just launched and a lot of folks are wondering if it’s worth it. I’ve worked on Pathfinder material for about 8 years as a third party developer and I’ve been able to play with the system behind the scenes for a while now and I wanted to give my initial thoughts to people who might be on the fence. Let’s start with some burning questions I’m sure you have:

“Is it Like 1st Edition?”: Yes and no. It’s the same “core” stuff (roll a d20, add modifiers, try to beat a DC) but it is definitely…

Ok so I just finished watching Amazon’s “The Boys”- a dark and gritty satire of superhero comics based on the comic by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson. I’m a huge comic buff but, I’ll be honest, I did not read The Boys.

The Basics (Spoiler Free)

  • Grade- B+ A solid series with a lot to love about it but it all feels like it’s been done before, to death. Some SERIOUSLY COOL superhero stuff, great characters, and a twisting and depraved plot.
  • Content Warning All of them. Death, sex, drugs, gory deaths, etc. (And it’s a lot of fun) I will particularly warn folks…

So Avengers: Endgame came out and your kids are probably begging you to go see it (or maybe vice versa…) but it can be a tough call to bring your kids to a movie like Endgame. Here’s what you’ll need to know going in:

Rating: PG-13
Violence: Lots of fighting but nothing visceral.
Language: A few swears. Nothing your kids will be repeating.
Sex/Nudity: None.

My Score: 98/1000

Post Credits Scenes: None (just the sound of a hammer forging something- probably just a callback to Iron Man 1).

Will You Enjoy It?: If you like Marvel movies- yeah. 1,000%. If…

Since the internet seems obsessed with my obsession for once, let’s talk about Dune. In specific, I want to give people an overview of the books that have been released because it’s a complex topic that confuses some people.

The first is a legend, the second and third (Dune Messiah and Children of Dune) are solid and tackle different things with a clever perspective shift, and the fourth (God Emperor of Dune) is super dry and philosophical but good all the same. These ones are all pretty universally agreed to be pretty good.

From “Voice of America” (Public Domain)

Something Trump said in his speech, where he declares our recent national emergency got to me:

“So I’m going to be signing a national emergency, and it’s been signed many times before. It’s been signed by other presidents, from 1977 or so, it gave the presidents the power. There has rarely been a problem. They sign it. Nobody cares. I guess they weren’t very exciting. They sign it for far less important things in some cases, in many cases.”

That is correct, but context matters.

Pathfinder and D&D assume you are running a game with 4–6 players but sometimes you find yourself with far over that. I’ve been GMing for over a decade, used to run a 12 players game for 2+ years, regularly run 8–12 player one shot games online, and have run an RPG publishing studio for a 10 years. I’m gonna share with you a few of my tips to manage big games. You’ll notice the first two are also found on my list of 10 Favorite Game Master Tips for Pathfinder / D&D (but they fit here too):

Five Minute Turns for Bigger Groups

When groups get…

Scott Gladstein

Game Developer (Little Red Goblin Games LLC), MBA, Absurdist, Nerd, Indie Dude, Comic Reviewer, and SCA Rapier Fencer.

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