Wizards of the Coast Wants to Pay YOU to Scan Their OLD D&D Books!

Through the years movie studios have remastered their movies by digitizing the master film and converting it into a high quality film for home use.  The process is difficult, and in some rare cases cleaning up the film just cannot be done because the master film is too far gone or has been lost forever.

olddndbooks

In a similar fashion, Wizards of the Coast is looking to create a master database of ALL Dungeons and Dragons books.  The problem is, back in the 1970’s and early to mid 1980’s there was really nothing in place to back up the original books.  Keep in mind too that Wizards of the Coast was not always the owner of the Dungeons and Dragons brand, so many of those original books from TSR simply are not present in Wizard’s library.

This is where you, the fans and players of D&D, come in.

DriveThruRPG and Wizards of the Coast are now asking YOU to help preserve the history of Dungeons and Dragons by asking you to scan in old book and convert them to PDF format.  Ge this, by doing so, you will get a $50.00 bounty per title!  This bounty can be cashed out via PayPal or spent on their site.

Wizards of the Coast is keeping an up to date spreadsheet (made publicly available on Google Docs), which details just over 600 titles they are looking for.

To do this, Wizards and DriveThruRPG are obviously wanting the highest quality scans possible.  There is also a fairly large FAQ that details all of the requirements (like what exactly is expected from the scans) and exactly how they will pay users.

You can read the DriveThruRPG FAQ HERE

You can check out the Wizards of the Coast Title Document HERE

lootfeb2016

Loot Crate : Dead February 2016 Unboxing & Review

February 2016 Loot Crate Dead Unboxing and Review

Dead is the theme for February’s Loot Crate. It’s all about Deadpool and The Walking Dead.  You guys will note that my last Loot Crate review was back in October of 2014.  I got a bit dismayed with the program and killed my subscription, but I had heard that this month’s was going to be all about… well.. Deadpool and The Walking Dead (I think I already mentioned that – sorry).  Let’s see if my return was worth it.

My Video of Unboxing:

The Breakdown:

Monthly Sub is $13.37 plus $6.00 for shipping. Loot Crate states there will be $40.00 worth of goodies in each box.  I’m going to list the contents and their respective prices so we can add them up and see if this month’s Loot Crate was worth it.

lootfeb2016

I really am excited for this one, I’m a big fan of both Deadpool and The Walking Dead, so I really hope Loot Crate does good here.

First up is..

Deadpool T-Shirt:

deadpoolshirt

Deadpool and Tacos sound like a plan to me!  Seriously, this is one hell of a cool t-shirt!  I really dig it and will certainly wear it on my next viewing of Deadpool!  Value: $16.00  (based on similar styles found at Hot Topix).

Deadpool Q Figure:

deadpoolfigure

This is an exclusive for Loot Crate, and features Deadpool flying forth from a large explosion.  Or maybe he just farted.. The figure is not massive, but it’s big enough, about 5″ tall (a-hem). My understanding is that Loot Crate also did a variant that is in white which is also fairly rare.  This one, however, is the common one and as such has a Value: $15.00 (based on QMX’s prices of similar figures in similar sized boxes).

The Walking Dead Figure:

walkingdeadfigureA

I normally don’t open these things.. but this one I had to.. I really wanted that charred zombie..  Let’s see what I got…

walkingdeadfigureB

I got big head Rick Grimes.  That’s cool, 1 in 3 chance I suppose.  But what ticks me off is.. what if I want that Zombie or Daryl?  How do I get them?  Ah well.. I included the quarter in the photo to show you the size of these, they are about 2″ tall. Value: $3.00 (based off of previous series big head figures found on McFarlane’s website).

Walking Dead Soap Ears on a Rope:

ears

While this is somewhat neat, it’s a bit dated…  Seeing as this “prop” comes from Season TWO and we are 1/2 way into Season FIVE…  Value $10.00 (this is a guestimate because I can’t find anything close to it anywhere, and I know that I wouldn’t pay more than $10.00 for it ’cause.. it’s.. soap.  on a rope. Funny for the novelty, I suppose).

The Box, The Pin, and The Book:

boxpinbook

The box is cool, but has zero value.

The book explains what is what in the box and has some neat info and articles, but, like the box has zero value.

The pin, however, is neat.  They have moved away from traditional stick pin and have gone to a collectible post pin design (and I know those things aren’t cheap to get made), and this one also allows you to go to Loot Crate’s website and get a digital code (although at the time of my writing this review they have not yet unlocked the code for this pin).  This one gets you a Carl Grimes character for The Walking Dead game found at the App Store.  Value: $10.00

Was It Worth It?

Deadpool Shirt: $16.00

Deadpool Figure: $15.00

Walking Dead Figure: $3.00

Walking Dead Soap: $10.00

Loot Crate Pin: $10.00

Total: $54.00

Yeah, technically they hit above their $40.00 claim.  I feel.. off.. about this Loot Crate month.  4 items?  I guess the two Deadpool items are higher in quality than previous months, but the tiny Walking Dead figure and the Season 2 ears of soap.. I’m disappointed in that.  I REALLY would have loved to have seen a The Walking Deadpool crossover exclusive Loot Crate item.  I think that would have really hit it out of the ballpark.  I mean, after all, Loot Crate did do a Joker – Loki crossover several months back..

Dunno, you see what was in it this month.  It’s now up to you to decide.

 

 

RPG Crate – Newest Subscription Box for Gamers!

A few days ago I was playing with some D20’s (I actually rolled 3 20’s in a roll – too bad I wasn’t actually playing a D&D game at the time) when I got a Facebook alert.  I tabbed over to see what was up and found that one of my Facebook friends, Chris, had sent me an invite to a new page he had created.

Now, I don’t go hitting like buttons all willy-nilly so I first set myself to check the page out.  A few moments later I was clicking the like button.  The page that I liked was for a small business that Chris was putting together called RPG Crate.

rpgcrate

As you can guess, based on the name, it’s a subscription box that caters to gamers.  At least, it will be.

RPG Crate is a little past it’s infancy stage, but they are not shipping just yet.  My next step was to hit Chris up for some info.  I needed to know more…

GM:  How far into the process are you?

Chris: RPGCrate is in pre-launch, collecting interested party emails, and getting the minstrels ready to take stage and sing a song of treasures!

GM: Do you have some big names lined up for inclusion into the crates/boxes?

Chris: I can’t let the kobold out of the bag just yet, but we’re working with some incredibly talented and popular content providers.  Some of the names will be well known, and some will be more INDIE style.  One thing is for sure, you don’t want to miss out.

GM: About what average size would the crates/boxes be?

Chris: I’m working with a custom box manufacturer now, so the final box isn’t finished yet but my goal is 12x10x4-ish, which will allow me to include full sized hardback books.

GM: Do you have an estimated time frame for the 1st shipment?

Chris: Launch early-mid summer 2016. Pre-orders will begin about 30 days prior to Alpha Launch.

GM: Do you have a rough subscription price plan set up?

Chris: This is an excellent question and I want the value as well as quality to be earth elemental solid.  It seems $35-$55 is a good starting price.  Best of all, I plan to have a couple options; something for the bargain hunter as well as the serious gamer…

GM: Will there be different crate type options?

Chris: Multiple tiers – not all classes fit a player, not all boxes fit a wallet, but RPGCrate fits everyone! 

GM: Will this include all forms of RPG games, from fantasy (like D&D), to Sci-Fi, to modern?

Chris: Alpha & Beta Box will be Fantasy RPG – more themes will be launched afterwards (probably quarterly themes).

GM: What are some example items that you are going to include? Dice, minis, etc?

Chris: In RPGCrate you can expect to see treasures like modules, books, dice, miniatures, maps, full rule systems, and all sorts of other accessories.

GM: About how many people do you have signed up so far, or is it at that point yet?

Chris: 1200+ people signed up to the mailing list in the first week! I’ve stopped quoting numbers – it’s growing too quickly to keep up.

As a RPG gamer I love, LOVE, this idea.  As you guys know I have subscribed to Loot Crate in the past, and I currently am getting Horror Block for review on my ZombieMall.com website.  What that means is that RPG Crate is most certainly going to be a natural fit for both ME and for content for this website.

You can find more info about RPG Crate here:

Their main website, currently taking emails that will in turn alert you to when it all starts to happen: RPGCrate.com

Their Facebook page, great for getting up to date news: RPGCrate Facebook

On Twitter? They are too! RPGCrate Twitter

Instagram also! RPGCrate Instagram
Tumblr too? Tumbler too! RPGCrate Tumblr

 

Check em out and break out your wallets, I for one am ready to throw some cash to this!

Satellite Internet and Streaming Video Games

I live out in the sticks.  I mean waaaay out in the middle of nowhere land.
For me, the only option for internet is Dial-Up (yeah, that still exists) or Satellite Internet.  I can’t even get decent 4G coverage out here.  Maybe if I hold a spoon in one hand and lean to my left side – then I might get 1 bar of 4G.

Point is, I have satellite internet and for a gamer, that’s harsh.

An Observation:
I’ve been a gamer since I was 8.
Zork, an all text adventure game was my first delve into the gaming world and I’ve never looked back.

Currently I am able to play some online games on my PC.  I can play Hearthstone and Warcraft, stuff like that.  But forget trying to go on raids, there is a tendency to experience what we call latency spikes, and when that happens, you can wipe the raid and not even know it.  Literally, you’ll still be fighting then things will speed up in fast-forward and then you are dead.

Fast Forward to Yesterday and Today..
I have a somewhat successful website here with GameMasters.  We do lots of reviews and other fun stuff so a logical step for me is to stream some game play and try my hand at monetizing that.
I’ve just always figured that satellite internet simply wouldn’t allow for it. Regardless, I signed up for a Twitch account (mainly because I’ve seen how much money some of these pro-gamers can make on there) and decided to give it a run.
I figured because of the latency that there would be issues, and I discovered that, for the most part, it really wasn’t an issue (at least not in terms of game play). There was latency in the game itself due to the satellite connection, but it’s always been like that. The streaming was fairly smooth.

However…
I did a 30 minute game session on Twitch… During that time things did slow down about 5 times that were fairly major (about a good 30 to 50 second “lag”). When I watched the play back I noticed that the times that it would “lag” that my stream went into an automatic Be-Right-Back mode until the “connection” was “re-established”. Certainly not good for someone who is wanting to monetize their game-play stream, as the moment you go into a BRB mode, you stand to lose viewers thus dropping your monetizing potential. When it happens 5ish times per 30 minutes, you might as well not even try.

Further…
I was also wondering how it would mess with my data plan. I figured that since I was streaming UP to Twitch’s servers that it (my data plan) would see it as an “upload”.

Not so!

I was streaming at 480p and that 30 minutes chewed up roughly 500MB. I’d really not want to stream at a resolution any lower than that, in fact, I really don’t want to stream lower than 720p, but the 480p was just a test really to see how much data would be used.

nostream

Ouch…
A lot of game-streamers will stream for 8 hours at a time, 5 days a week and they can make some MAD cash doing that! When you extrapolate that out; an average of 500MB per 30 minutes, OR 1GB per hour, you are looking at 8GB per day in streaming, OR 40GB to 48GB per week!  Toss in that I have a fairly high data plan (as far as satellite plans go), which is 50GB per month.

Suddenly, the option to monetize your game streams with satellite just become hopeless.

The Future…
Hopefully as we move into the future, faster and better internet access will become available to me, but for now…  I guess I won’t be streaming any of my games any time soon.

Photo Friday #1 – Wampa

I like to take photos.  Generally of landscapes, but I also take a lot for my various websites.

I present to you a new weekly addition here to GameMasters: Photo Friday!  Each friday I am going to add a new photo (and I’ll do my best to keep it game, geek, entertainment related).

We had a slight dusting of snow last night… and well… I couldn’t resist…

wampa1

D&D5E: Return to Ravenloft with Curse of Strahd

Vampires + Werewolves + Horror = Ravenloft!

Wizards of the Coast announced today that the original authors of Ravenloft, Tracy and Laura Hickman, are revamping (pun totally intended) the classic adventure for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition.

Originally published in 1983, Ravenloft quickly became the nightmare fuel that made many an adventurer scared to fall asleep. One could easily sit back while on watch while the party was resting, only to witness a sinister fog (they called it The Mists) slowly creep in. Within that fog something wicked happens, for when that fog lifts, the party finds themselves in a horror filled land called Barovia.

What was so sinister about Ravenloft is that it’s setting could be incorporated into almost any D&D setting, from Forgotten Realms to Greyhawk to Dark Sun to even Top Secret (trust me, that’s a tale for another day). Essentially The Mists was a fog and since fog can be created in any adventure setting, it’s a damn near perfect catalyst to throw players into the realm of Strahd.

Fast forward to now.

Curse of Strahd - Cover Art

As mentioned, Wizards of the Coast announced today the release of Curse of Strahd as well as a physical Tarroka deck produced by Gale Force 9.

Curse of Strahd will be a fantasy-horror adventure for characters levels 1 – 10.

It is set to be released on March 15th, 2016.

“Revisiting the land of Barovia with the creators of the original Ravenloft adventure has been a highlight of my professional career,” said Chris Perkins, principal story designer at Wizards of the Coast. “Tracy and Laura Hickman created a timeless villain whose faults reflect the darkest traits of humanity. I can’t begin to describe what it’s like to walk through the halls of Castle Ravenloft with its creators as your guides.”

CurseStrahd

Keep in mind that this is an adventure itself, not a campaign setting, although there should be more than enough information provided to tailor fit it and create a lengthy campaign.  Being that it is an all in one adventure there is a catalyst that propels the tale forward through a mysterious forune teller named Madam Eva.

Madam Eva makes use of her tarroka deck, which in turn will direct adventurers around Strand’s land in search of artifacts and allies.

CurseStrahdVamp

While you wait for this book to be released, Madam Eva is already working hard to help you.  Head on over to Twitter and retweet the official @Wizards_DnD Twitter account using the hashtag #DNDFortune (OR you can simply retweet the Pinned Tweet that is already there). Madam Eva’s fortunes are based on which random card she draws from her tarokka deck and displays for each reading. Check back each day with Madam Eva to see what your #DNDFortune will foretell.

Hearthstone Howling Mine Deck

I enjoy playing card games.  I go all the way back to Alpha days of Magic: The Gathering.  In fact, I can recall a buddy of mine, Jody, getting me a deck and 3 boosters of Beta.  I opened them and got a Mox Pearl.  I never cared for White decks and never in a million years would I have every thought that the value of these cards would amount to anything.  I played a Black deck, and I was drastically low on swamps.

I traded that Mox Pearl for 10 Swamps.

In my defense, I won 7 games in a row after I built that deck with those ten swamps…

It was a Howling Mine deck, one that was designed to run you out of cards and win me the game (when Antiquities came out, I tossed Millstone in and that sped things up tremendously).

When Hearthstone came out, I set out to build a Howling Mine / Millstone deck as well.  Obviously Hearthstone does not have Howling Mine / Millstone, but it does have cards that effectively do the same thing.

I tried several classes out to try build this deck, and ended up settling on a Rogue.

It works about 65% of the time, so I’m looking to vastly improve it, but when it does work, it WORKS.

The deck:

rogue2x Backstab
1x Preparation
2x Shadowstep
2x Betrayal
1x Eviscerate
2x Gang Up
2x Sap
1x Doomsayer
1x Ironbeak Owl
2x Patient Assassin
1x Youthful Brewmaster
1x Beneath the Grounds
2x Coldlight Oracle
2x Dancing Swords
1x Sabotage
2x Antique Healbot
1x Dark Iron Skulker
1x Loatheb
2x Vanish
1x Ragnaros the Firelord

How the deck works:

The entire focus of the deck is to burn your opponent’s cards down so they start taking burn damage.

Starting you want to have a Shadowstep, a Coldlight Oracle, and/or a Gang Up in your opening hand.  Those are priority.

You cannot toss out the Oracle without first having one of those cards, as the Oracle is the engine that makes this entire deck work.  Usually around turn 3 or 4 (depending of it you go first or not) you can start priming the engine.

Backstab is also for creature control.

Preparation is specifically for Vanish (makes it’s cost 3 mana instead of 6).

Shadowstep is specifically for your Oracles, make your opponent draw 4 cards in one turn filling their hand and making the extra cards poof.

Betrayal is also for creature control.

Eviscerate is also for creature control OR to hit your opponent to help drop them in health.

Gang Up is specifically for your Oracles ONLY.  Because you too are drawing cards, you don’t want to run out, this effectively adds 6 more cards into your deck.

Sap is also for creature control.

Doomsayer is typically played mid game and is a subterfuge card.  That is, it’s going to do one of two things.. You opponent is either going to ignore it, which will allow it to wipe the board, or your opponent will try to kill it, thus holding off at least 7 damage from being dealt to you that turn.

Ironbeak Owl is also for creature control.  Sortav.  He is best used against something that’s just nasty to deal with.

The Patient Assassins are there for creature control and are good to toss out early.

Youthful Brewmaster is specifically for your Oracles again, just keep them bouncing back into your hand.

Beneath the Grounds, well, your opponent is going to be drawing cards fast, how nice is it of them to give you three 4/4 creatures in the process?

Coldlight Oracle these guys are the engine that make the deck work.  Protect them and keep them bouncing back into your hand as often as you can.

Dancing Swords is another subterfuge card.  You opponent will see it as a nasty 4/4 that they have to get rid of and they get to draw a card when they do.  Little do they know that for each card they draw, that’s just one step closer to them burning.  And when able, attack the opponent to help whittle that life down for when they do start taking draw burn.

Sabotage is great because of all of the other creature control you have, you should be able to control the amount of enemies on the board and usually when this card is played there is typically only one minion on the board.

Antique Healbot is new for this deck.  I kept running low on health and getting down to the wire, however, with two of these in the deck and the speed at which I can draw them, I’ve got access to additional 16 life.

Dark Iron Skulker is a good early to mid-game card.  Being able to dish out 2 damage to all enemy minions is always helpful.

Loatheb is questionable in this deck.  5 mana is kindav expensive but I’ve ended up playing it more as a subterfuge card.  Mainly because my opponent usually goes after it instead of me thus saving me from taking 5 damage that turn.

Vanish is best played when you have 9 mana.  Drop an oracle first, draw two cards (and fill your opponent’s hand with their own minions and they draw two cards) and watch as they burn a card or two because their hand is full.

Ragnaros the Firelord…  this one works some of the time.  I usually end up using my Coin if I go first and drop him when I have 7 mana.  My opponent usually has no choice but to focus on that guy instead of me.

You can also see the deck in action here:

Feel free to hit me up for Hearthstone (Or Warcraft); my Battletag is : flisk#1211

Major Twitter Update for GameMasters

Major Twitter Update:

After 3 YEARS of trying to get the correct name on Twitter for this site, I finally have the correct name back!

I am unsure of exactly what happened, perhaps it was an ex-employee that registered the name (gamemasters) on Twitter thus preventing me from really being able to brand myself and this website over there, or perhaps it was a random namesake.  Regardless, I finally have it secured!

Current followers won’t see too much of a change, but for new ones, please head over to:  https://twitter.com/gamemasters and give me a follow!

You’ll love the game news we bring you!

 

-GameMasters.com

Dungeon Masters Guild Opens as a Marketplace for D&D Creations

I remember back when Dungeons & Dragons came out with the Forgotten Realms gray boxed set.. I also remember submitting an original adventure to the publisher based on an area in the Forgotten Realms.

I was about 14 at the time and was rejected (this was back when TSR ran D&D).  My adventure was rejected that is.  Well, as a kid I was rejected too but that’s for a different post at a different time.

They cited that I was too young to enter into a contract and they had to reject the adventure based on that.  That was kind of them, but I’m sure there were other reasons (like maybe it wasn’t that good of an adventure, but they didn’t want to flat out state that)..

Anywho…

That didn’t stop me from creating my own adventure to run my friends through.  I was obsessed with D&D and role playing games and the thought of creating an entire world was cool.  The thought of being able to share that world with others was, well, the thought of it was out of this world!

I never did try to resubmit it, but I did polish it and perfect it.  In fact, it was a launch pad that branched off into a 9 year campaign.

Thanks to an email I received today, however, I may very well brush it off and update it and resubmit my adventure.  First off, Wizards of the Coast ROCKS, I think that they have done wonderous things with Dungeons & Dragons.  Second off, What I’m about to reveal will change the game, literally, for ever, again all thanks to Wizards of the Coast.

The email?  Oh, I’ll talk about that in a moment.  First, however, know that you too can create an original adventure based in the Forgotten Realms setting and make money off of it!

Ahhh, now it sounds like I’m making a sales pitch!  Not at all.

Now for the email:

It starts off:

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 Masters Guild puts the power to share that creativity firmly in the hands of the DM.

Oh this is sounding mega-wicked-cool!

It continues:

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.

Are you starting to see the Oh-Crap-This-Is-Sweet element yet?

The email continues:

For the first time ever, you’ll be able to self-publish material set in the Forgotten Realms using monsters, spells, characters, and locations previously unavailable. Set your side trek in Neverwinter or Baldur’s Gate, have your characters go toe-to-toe with the Xanathar, the beholder crime lord of Waterdeep, or fall in with some traitorous drow in Menzoberranzan. With some exceptions noted on the DMs Guild website, the Forgotten Realms is at your fingertips.
You can set whatever price you like for your creation; you can give your new monster away for free or charge a few gold coins. If you do decide to ask for money, you’ll get half of the revenue while DriveThruRPG and Dungeons & Dragons will split the other. We care about our creators and that’s why they get the biggest cut!
Did you see it??  Did you???  YOU can make money off of your home brew Forgotten Realms creations!
The email also delves into a little bit of detail:
Creators can upload whatever kind of Forgotten Realms material they’d like to the Dungeon Masters Guild, but we’ll be featuring side treks, monsters, and backgrounds on the site. For now, the Guild is only accepting Forgotten Realms material that uses the fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons rules. For everything else, we’ve updated the Open Gaming License so that publishers can continue releasing their own material. Read more about the updated OGL here.
Head to dungeonmastersguild.com to see what’s available to download right now.
Yeah, my mind is exploding with adventures now.  I’m seriously excited to try my hand at creating some new adventures and making some cash in the process!
To read up on more details about what all the “fine print” is check out this link:
Once you have set up an adventure and have it listed, let me know!  I’ll be among the first to buy it and recommend it to others!

 

2016 Video Game Master List (release dates)

Let’s start off the New Year of 2016 by showing you guys a list of all the major games coming out this year! I have scoured the web, cross referenced with my contacts, and in some cases confirmed with my list of publishers the release dates of the following games. Keep in mind that this list may change over the course of the year (hey, delays happen, and as Alpha testing moves to Beta testing things can pop up that force the publisher to change release dates), but for the most part this list should be fairly accurate. Keep in mind too that the further we look into 2016, the more “wiggle” room there may be for the dates listed.

Feel free to bookmark this post (and let your gamer friends know too) and check back so you can plan to make your purchase when the games are released! Also note that as I find more games and as games get solid and confirmed release dates, I’ll be updating this master list!

With that, let’s see what video games are coming out in 2016!

2016AC

January

4th
Shooting Stars (PC)

5th
Amplitude (PS4)
Hardware: Rivals (PS4)
Volume (PSVita)

6th
Lovely Planet (XB1)

12th
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India (XB1, PS4, PC) Read more »

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