Foster Leathercraft Leather Wallet Game Screen

The Idea

A while back I had an inspiration for a portable magnetic game screen to use for tabletop gaming. Since this idea was more for a game master on the go than a home-based gamer. What I would need was as a screen for keeping a few notes and to roll dice behind nothing more. But I still wanted it to be as functional as possible while looking great on the table.

Bringing the Game Screen To Life

I turned to Foster Leathercraft for the assist in bringing my idea to reality. The Result was this beautify crafted Leather wallet style game screen with magnetic backing and index card Inserts. I honestly could not be more impressed with the finished product. It was an absolute treat watching its development take place. Over the course of a few months, Foster Leathercraft and I discussed the progress and hurdles of the game screens creation. The idea was simple enough, economically bringing it to life would prove to be more difficult than expected. We soon learned to cut and insert the sturdy panels for the game screen proved to be the most complicated portion of the design. Cutting the steel inserts to size proved both quiet time consuming and costly. After many broken blades, Foster devised a process to affordably cut the steel inserts. Once this was overcome he had a prototype crafted in short order.

Finished Product

The game screen itself is nothing short of a work of art. The craftsmanship is top-notch. Its appearance will only get better with use as the leather ages. Taking on the character of the sessions, months and years of gaming it will see. The artwork is in the style of the first edition of D&D core books. This also complements the art on the Dice Cups that he crafts as well. This will make a nice looking set at the table of any game session. The screen itself measures just over 16 inches long and shy of 5 inches high. Making it large for some pockets but in reality, is only slightly bigger than my iPhone plus when folded. Thus making it perfect for travel for me. I use a couple of disk magnets to keep it game screen securely closed when not in use. It turned out looking amazing but a bit smaller than my first plan. I had originally wanted the screen sized for 4×6 inch index cards. But with the finished wallet in hand, I now think that it would have been too large.

At The Table

When it comes to gameplay, space is not at a premium by design. That said, with the use of flat disk rare earth magnets that I keep my wallet game screen closed. I can place twenty, three by five index cards in the wallet and still securely close it without issue.

How Will I Use It?

I break my sessions into three Acts. Each act has a number of index cards with notes for how things will play out in the game. I keep things sorted by placing each of these Acts in their respective panel from left to right in the game wallet. With this method between my notes and my phone or my iPad, I can run anything I need during the game.

I also discovered that with the magnets. I also have the ability to snap my Paizo face cards to the game screen for added depth of role play. Allowing my players to add faces to the NPC’s they meet. This is a huge benefit when traveling. In a convention setting your players will need all the help, they can get to remember who they encounter. I am looking forward to this year’s upcoming MACE convention to show this awesome wallet game screen off to my friends and fellow gamers. If you think this is as nice a portable screen as I do and you would like one of your own. Give a shout out to my friend Fosters Leathercraft and let him know that this is a must-have for you as well!

Hands on look at the D&D 5E GM Screen Reincarnated

img_3097

I know I’m a little late to the party in my review of the 5e reincarnated DM screen. So let’s get right into it and take a look at what we got. Personally Even with much of the cover art is pretty blank the picture is beautiful. I much prefer the Dungeons and Dragons logo as well as ampersand compared to that of the old 5e symbol on the original GM screen.

So for this review, I’ll be looking at the panels from left to right for my review. The left panel has the most changes overall this product. The tables for NPC characteristics, NPC ideas, NPC flaws and bonds and the Name Generator all have been removed.

In their place, we have a Actions in Combat table that describes in detail everything that a player can do in a combat round. This table covers Attack, Cast Spells, Dash, Dodge, Help, Hide and Ready Actions as well as Search, Use A Magic Item, Use an Object and Use a Special Ability actions.

img_3098

We are also given a table with some rules that are not always easy to remember and will save you time looking things up like Long and High Jump, Suffocation and the easiest of all to remember Concentration. As easy as the concentration check is to remember it’s still good to have it here. Additionally, they managed to squeeze in one more little section on this panel for things that you can do in a turn listing everything that a player can do as a little quick reminder.

This panel does have one piece of art and I like it! The art is straight out of the player’s handbook and it is the of “Points of Origin” of Area Spell Effects. I really like this because one of my biggest criticisms of the old GM screen was the art wasn’t helpful and it took up to much real estate on the screen. By comparison, this art doesn’t take up a lot of space and it’s very helpful for a GM.

Myself I actually used these tables fairly often and will be sad to see them go. That said overall the replacement tables that they have put in this panel are a far better choice and if I myself had to make the choice to decide which of these panels to keep I would have gone with the new panels in the reincarnated GM screen as well.

The 2nd panel covers Conditions and is exactly the same as the old GM screen right down to the artwork. Again my complaint on the conditions panel is much the same as it was before. Granted conditions are likely the main thing we will be looking up as a GM’s during a game. I just feel that a panel and a half of the GM screen is just too much real estate for this information. Simply by sacrificing the artwork for the conditions table, they could have condensed a panel a half worth of information into one panel. This would have remained just as effective and we would have gotten more space for use out of this GM screen.

img_3099

The new and old GM screen third panels are very similar. The last half of the Conditions Table and the Exhaustion Chart are exactly the same on both of these panels. The only tables remaining the same are the Skills And Ability Table and the Setting A DC table. The tables of Light Obscured Areas and Cover we’re moved to the fourth panel on the new GM screen. In their place, the tables of Damage By Level of Severity, Object Hit Points, Object Armor Class, Setting A DC and Tracking DC’s tables have now taken their place.

Lastly, the fourth panel has changed quite a bit. Gone is my much-disliked artwork of the Tarrasque. This has been replaced by another piece of art comparing the sizes of creatures from tiny, small, medium, large, huge and gargantuan creatures.

The Something Happens table that I really wasn’t a fan of his now gone as well as the Quick Finds table. In my opinion, it is an improvement that they have been removed. The Travel Pace table and Encounter Distance tables have remained. Lastly, we’ve been given two new tables that I think are an excellent addition to the D5e DM Reincarnated screen. These tables are Food Drink and Lodging And Services both of these tables I think will see a lot of use in most players games.

img_3100

Runkle’s Ranking

The last GM screen I gave it abysmal 6 to even though I came back earlier and had given an almost to 7, All Things Considered, there’s not a whole lot been changed in this GM screen but it is far more useful I will give this screen a rating of a 13. It’s landscape, it’s useful, it has many tables now that it didn’t have before that will be helpful for a GM. The artwork has been reduced and its overall an improvement over its predecessor. D20 #11-14

So what keeps up with such a low ranking for me? The simple fact that it doesn’t have inserts. it’s only useful for one thing and that is base generic 5e. With Gale Force 9 producing a GM screen for every new campaign setting that comes out. A much-improved GM screen reincarnated would have been a landscape GM screen with insertable sheets. Then we could customize each screen, and every time we ran a particular campaign we could pick and choose the tables and maps that we would wish to add to your particular screen.

Final thoughts

If you already own a GM screen you will be able to make do without this product. If you do not have one this is a better choice over the old one. If you are willing to make your own screen then I would suggest a GM screen with inserts that you can customise.

If you want to pick up one of these hit up your FLGS and grab one or head on over to Amazon to get yours.

dmscreen_productshot_wrap_04

Or if you prefer to pick up a customisable screen you can get one at your FLGS as well or grab one off Amazon as well. I recommend the landscape screen by Hammerdog, You can also pick up a non-landscape version if you prefer or the screen that I use. The Hammerdog Mini.

twgs-silver-both-sides-1024x832

#RPGaDay2017 22nd Day Which RPGs are the Easiest for you to run? #DND Homebrew

fb_img_1500709153124 HI REZ

Today I will be running with the majority of the blogger’s and vloggers with my answer of Dungeons and Dragons and Dragons. I cut my Teeth on D&D and after more than 30 years of running games, it is hard to think of any game that comes to me easier. Roll in my personal homebrew content and it is it’s like inviting an old friend to the table. I just love running my world, because it is mine.

Star Wars RPG rolls in for me in a close second. I love Star Wars as you know if you have read my blog for any amount of time! Running games for Star Wars comes easy for me, made easier by the fact that it fits naturally into one shot or episodic formats. With that in mind, WHY HAVE WE NOT HAD A STAR WARS TV SHOW YET FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!

Lastly, I will go with a newer game as I feel Cypher System games are very easy to run. All I have to do is pick my plot points and a few images for encounter locations and foes. The rest for me as the Story Teller is to sit back and focus on the game and let the players roll all the dice.

 

 

#RPGaDay2017 Day 18: Which RPG Have you Played the Most in Your Life? #StarWars #DND

DFqLiyIVYAA690g

For as much as I talk about D&D and as many years and editions of D&D that I have played. It might be surprising to hear that even having played D&D since I was 9, Star Wars RPG might just edge out D&D slightly for the game that I have played more than any other. Truly I can’t be sure. D&D probably is the real winner of the two because as a child we would play D&D everywhere.
Riding on Bikes heading to our friend’s house with no dice, Pick a number 1-10.. nothing stopped us from gaming. My players and I frequently had character sheets in back pockets and wallets. We were never unprepared.

Fast forward to my years in the armed service and D&D fell out of favor. The gaming friends that I had made were playing Star Wars, Rifts & Shadowrun. For many years I played and ran games every day. The vast majority of those games were Star Wars.

From the 90s all the way up to the introduction of 3.5 I continued to play a far more amount of Star Wars than any other game. God, I love that game.

Since 3.5 was introduced and West End Games went into hibernation D&D was back to the game of choice all the way up to FFG. It has seen a fair bit of play at the table as well over the years. So there you go. I’ll call it a Tie.

Setting the Scene, Tournament Session!

Setting a good scene can be one of the more rewarding parts of running a good game. Ask yourself how often do you recall great encounters your players have been in but you can not recall where those encounters have been set? A good scene location can lay the foundation of a great encounter. A Tourney can further that and provide us with the foundation for several great Scenes!

Not only can a tournament event be set as a backdrop for your adventure but you can bring it to the forefront and make it the center of one or several game sessions. There were several types of tournaments that were held In medieval times and all were held over the period of several days of celebration and feasting.

The advantages of running a tournament were many. Chiefly among them was the notoriety and power it could bring to a region. Tourneys brought nobility to one location. If it’s a large enough tourney lords from far off kingdoms may even make an appearance. Giving your players a fun opportunity to meet and role play with nobility on potently neutral ground and possibility make contacts allies or even have to opportunity for travel to distant locations later in your campaign. But if you are going to have a Tournaments in your game you are going to need some events for everyone to participate in. The goal of each will be brief so that they do not bog down your game but add to it.

If you are going to have a Tournaments in your game you are going to need some events and Scenes for everyone to participate in. Here are a few ideas of events you could run during a tourney for your players. Or you can make up some of your own.

Melee:
1250x814_10223_Knight_Fight_2d_fantasy_knights_fight_picture_image_digital_artRunning a Historical Melee would be a mess to run at the game table. Why you ask? Well basically because the Melee was a mass combat with the goal of capturing your opponent’s men for ransom. Each side would face one and other mounted and armed with lances. They would charge into the center and then wheel around and make a second pass or single out downed opponents to capture. The Melee could take place on an open field or stretch over several miles of area. In game terms, it is nothing less than a small-scale mock war.

So if I were to run Melee I would instead turn to movies like A Knights Tale, First Knight, and Excalibur. A test of the master of the sword. One on one combat with blunted weapons as a test of skills. Thus keeping everyone involved alive yet proving themselves in a test of combat. The first competitor to five successful strikes is the victor. All combatants are expressly forbidden to use magic arms or armor. And no spells of buffs allowed during the contest.

This is a contest of skill, not a test of magical resources. Run a melee tourney event just like a standard melee combat. Each competitor may take as many attacks as they have per turn as per a normal combat. Whichever combatant strikes more blows in a melee round gets a point for that round. The winner of the round is announced to the crowd and the next round begins. If after five rounds there is a tie the combatants move on to sudden death. Where each blow landed counts as a point. This continues until there is a winner in one round.

Rules for the Melee:
Each Round Lasts 5 rounds of combat (roughly 30-second rounds)
Track all hits on your opponent for scoring.
The highest number of hits wins the round.
Repeat for three rounds to determine the victor.
If tied continue until there is a victor of one round.

The Joust: 
10886_1222833600The Joust is as old as the Tournament itself yet the melee was the preferred event in the beginning And for a time it was occasionally banned from some events that held Melee due to the exhausting nature of the Joust would leave warriors at a disadvantage when the Melee event would begin. Over the years the Joust became the more popular event.
The concept is simple two horsemen with lances meet on the field of battle known as the Lists. The two ride at each other from opposite ends of the field. The goal was not always the same. Some Jousts the goal was to unseat your opponent from his horse and others was to shatter your lance on your foe’s body.  And the popularized movie version of both shatter and unhorsing your foe.

Conducting the Joust

All combatants are expressly forbidden to use magic arms or armor. And no spells of buffs allowed during the contest. 
At the signal (usually a trumpet charge), the opponents ride at each other, carrying only a lance and a shield, (make a ride check higher roll attacks first (simultaneous on tie).You may use three lance’s in each jousting match.

Scoring
You receive one point for breaking your lance on your opponent’s chest.
You receive two points for breaking your lance on your opponent’s helmet.
You receive three points for knocking your opponent off from his horse.
An “unhorsing” ends the match.
Once your three lances have shattered, the jousting match is over.
If you do not break your lance, it is considered a glancing blow and does not count for points, unless you manage to unhorse your opponent in that charge.

Game Rules Note:
All attacks that hit strike your opponent’s Chest.
All attacks that crit are strikes to your opponent’s Head
Any attack that strikes and deals damage results in a ride check DC=10+1/2 Damage
Lances break on a roll of 1 or missing your targets AC by 5 or more.
Archery contests.
Three rounds of three shots much like darts.
Hit strikes outer ring.  Scoring 1 Points
17 hits blue ring              Scoring 2 Points
18 hits red ring                Scoring 3 Points
19 hits yellow ring         Scoring  4 Points
20 hits Bullseye               Scoring 5 Points

Hunting and Falconry.
These tests of skill and training can be conducted with a series of Skill checks. Each day the hunters roll a survival check to see how much food they are able to provide for the nightly feast. On the last day, the huntsman who provided the most is awarded the title of Grand Master of the Hunt until next tourney.

NOTE: Any of these events can still be used as backdrops for Roleplaying scene if your players have no interest in taking part. Anything from Gambling to assassination might be taking place under the cover of the cheer of the crowds.

Other Tourney events! 

Feast
filename-50-jpg-thumbnail0As important a part of any great tourney is the nightlife! Great feasts on an epic scale of decadence. Entertainment from around the realms. This is the prefect time for your not combat players to get involved in what they do the best.
Bards and Rouges can ply their trade among the crowds while the warriors of the day recover from their bruised bodies and egos from the day’s events.  Wine and Ale flow and stories of adventure are shared. The opportunity to make a powerful ally or enemy might just hang on a simple word. So tread wisely and enjoy tournament session.

Song & Dance
When the sun goes down and feast ends then the revelry begins. The backdrop makes a perfect setting for your players to come face to face with foes in an environment where combat is likely the absolute last course of action that they can take. It also sets a great stage for overt diplomacy or back room dealings. These kinds of scenes can enrich your game and if the right deals are struck. Maybe even have long lasting repercussions in your game world if things go poorly.

Ceremonies:
Let’s not forget all of the ceremonies that we can use have. Maybe your players are going to be given Land or title. Why just handwave this, a tourney with a ceremony presenting the players with their lands grants or title is the perfect time to lay in some politics for your group. This can also be a good scene for awarding and acknowledging any players that did well in the tourney events.

Have you run Tourney in any of your games? Would you run aTournamentt now ? Are there some other events that you think I should add to the list here? I welcome your thoughts!

R.P.G. Reviews:Dungeons & Dragons Dungeonology

Come fellow adventurers sit with me and feast your eyes on this breathtakingly crafted tome. Dungeons & Dragons Dungeonolgy.

I have the great pleasure and honor to have been given a copy of Dungeonology for review. My first impression of the book was the cover art, the raised Foil image of the Mind Flayer is striking. The oversized style of the Ology line makes you feel like a kid again when you crack the binding and open the book for the first time.

From the moment you open the book, it begins to draw you in. You don’t just read an ology Book you experience it. With a letter from the great Elminster himself to the writing style, this book is written to draw the reader in. You the reader are about to set down the path of a glorious and deadly profession, Adventurer! This guidebook has been written to help you along the way.

This guidebook covers the basics introducing new adventures over the course of several chapters (Pages) to their new profession. 

Each of these pages focuse on elements of what it is like to be an adventure in a Dungeons & Dragons game. From the people you will travel with the the equipment that you will need to survie in the world. 

Allies you can find along the way and the monsters and villans  you will face with thoes companions.

In true Ology book form and like the Pop-out flip books of our childhood almost every page has some form of interactive element to draw you further into the product. Dungeonology is wonderful for young and old readers alike. With a few surprises you might not expect.Trust me I did not expect to find THIS! A nearly two-foot MAP of Volo’s favorite stomping grounds.

The Writing is excellent and the art is beautiful even if largely if not entirely reprinted from other existing sources. The layout is second to none. The book’s pages will stand up to countless flip-throughs. Several of the pages when folded out give the reader two full foot of reading surface when laying flat.

I only have one complaint about this product and that would be the spine of this book. I only have one other Ology book to compare it with but I think it might have been a page count issue. The other books are a slight bit thicker. With the Ology style poster print pages, they take up a lot more space in the books binding. Dungeonology ends up for all of its beauty to have an awkward appearance on the table and feel in the hand because of this. That said it is not a large enough issue to detract from the content within.

 

Like other Ology books in the series, Dungeonology makes a beautiful book for your coffee table to show off your passion for the game you love. It also would be a treasured edition to add to any young readers collection who might be a fan of fantasy books or about to be introduced to the hobby of Dungeons & Dragons. Pair this with the D&D 5E starter  box set as a Christmas gift and you will be giving the gift on a hobby to your children are likely to treasure for a lifetime!

About the Author

Matt Forbeck, an award-winning and New York Times best-selling author and games designer, has been playing Dungeons & Dragons since he was thirteen. After earning his degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan, he embarked on a prolific writing career that included working with the late legendary Dungeons & Dragons co-creator, Gary Gygax. He is the author of the well-received Secret of the Spiritkeeper, the first book in the Knights of the Silver Dragon series. Matt Forbeck lives in Wisconsin with his wife and five children.

Runkles Ranking

D20 #17I give Dungeons & Dragons Dungeonology a 17 out of 20. This would make an excellent addition to your gaming collection and a fine coffee table book to show off to guests. More than that it would make a wonderful companion book to give to anyone as an introduction to the wonderful hobby of Dungeons & Dragons. As well as an excellent gift for children or collectors of the Ology lines of books.

You can pick up a copy by clicking any of the images below. It also helps out my blogs!

61w4pp9tirl-_sx422_bo1204203200_

51ykm93n8ml-_sx389_bo1204203200_

 

 

The Attack of the Pat. Hilariously still trying to stay relevant.

Here we go again, Pat Robertson is serving it up talking crazy about D&D. But yet again no one is buying what he has to sell. We’re not in the 80s anymore Pat, gaming has gone full on mainstream now and that crazy talk that you spun back then that did so much damage to the hobby will get you nothing but laughter now.

So here you go for your enjoyment. Pat is so out of touch these days that he can’t even recall the name Dungeons & Dragons and Its likely games like World of Warcraft and such that would be the other online game.. he was trying to recall.

Thankfully D&D survived the witch hunts of the Pat and others that felt the need to try and demonise punish and shame people for playing a game they did not understand or even take the time to take a deeper look into the facts that were being blamed on the game.