GenCon Journal 2014: Pinnacle Entertainment Group

genconThere was no way that I was going to Gen Con and not seeing what was up with Pinnacle Entertainment Group. They are the company that makes Savage Worlds that powers the game behind Knight of Reignsborough.

You are listening to Knights of Reignsborough right?


They wasted no time with pleasantries and jumped right into the meat of the seminar. It turns out that their game Deadlands Noir had won a silver Ennie for best setting and their book Weird Wars: Rome had achieved a Judge’s spotlight award. Awards are always great things.

For me as somewhat of an outsider, the news that the company was going to expand. It not only tells me that the hobby is healthy and growing but that Pinnacle is ready to go as well. Shane Hensley stated that he was going to be doing more delegation which is always a good thing.

logo_phpBBThe list of things coming from Pinnacle is big and interesting. The first thing they mention was turning their award winning game, Deadlands Noir into a card game. Deadlands Noir: The Big Easy is a card game for 2 to 4 players that takes 30 minutes to an hour to play. In the game, you take on the roles of detectives trying to solve a crime in the Deadlands Noir setting. It sounded interesting and I look forward to getting a chance to play it.

One of the other settings Pinnacle has is called Rippers. In this setting you are monster hunters keeping the world safe. Players are able to capture the essence of the monsters they hunt down and added them to their own abilities. There are always risks though. Rippers is currently out of print but they plan on bringing it back. The plan is to have two books. it sounds like an interesting setting with a unique take on the monster hunting trope. I am glad to hear that it is making a comeback.

Another big announcement was that Pinnacle Entertainment has the license for an RPG based upon the comic The sixth Gun. This is a weird west story set after the civil war. Tehir are six guns each with a special power that tie themselves to their owner until their death. Each one is unique. Being the creators of Deadlands, weird west personified, their isn’t a better company to do this game. I look forward to seeing this as well.

Next up on the agenda was what I was waiting for, Necessary Evil: Breakout. Necessary Evil is their super hero setting where all the heroes have perished and all that are left are the villains. This setting is excellent and I enjoyed playing it a lot. Seeing another book for it made me very happy. The plan is to continue expanding this setting to include Necropolis, a horror variant as well as a cosmic level setting. More supers? Why yes, I think I will!

Deadlands is getting a lot of love coming up. On the slate is Stone and a hard place. This is book that fills out the back story of Stone. It will have tons of information for those chomping at the bit to know more about it. It is currently in layout. A Relic book is also in the works which will provide more gear for those adventuring in the weird west. I was a little sketchy on the next item which was the Hell on Earth Companion. It sounds like a plot point campaign that begins 6 moths after unit. I was lost at this point and the publisher pointed out that this was a major battle between the Reckoners and the forces of good. It sounded neat but I was a little confused and didn’t have time to ask about it as the seminar ran a little over and everyone had to rush out. Lost colony wraps up the love for Deadlands. It addresses what happens on Banshee. This a space colony that has been cut off from earth for some time. Cowboys in space? Yes, Please!

Pinnacle is planning a Savage Worlds horror setting. Currently there is no title but the plan is for three books and five adventures. Something to look forward too.

Their next Kickstarter Project, slated for September 23rd, is Last Parsec. This will be a game of planetary exploration which will have ships maps and minis. It will be comprised of three setting books. As a fan of science fiction rpgs, I am looking forward to seeing the Kickstarter and getting in at the ground floor. The thing that piqued my interest here, besides sci-fi, was that it will be in a graphic novel format. I liked the idea as it makes it easier to fit the books on my shelves. The company decided to go with this format as it increases the availability of the book reduces cost, easier to read, and makes entry into Pinnacle simpler. I think it is a great idea and look forward to getting to see how it is executed.

Their are lots of cool things on the horizon for Pinnacle Entertainment group and I can not wait to see Last Parsec and Breakout!

Destiny: A Review After One Week


Without a doubt, one of the most anticipated games of the year is Bungie’s “Destiny”.  It’s not just me saying that, multiple media outlets are reporting that “Destiny” is the #1 Best Selling New IP of all time.  It really does deserve it, in my opinion.  It’s story is engaging enough to grab you, the game-play and mechanics are solid, and the visuals are stunning.  All that being said, each of those points has their flaws.  After a lot of thought, I’d compare “Destiny” to that cute girl you dated for a few years back in high school.  She was absolutely beautiful, you got along famously, and she was great fun to play with, however there was just something missing there.  Just like those high school relationships, if Bungie doesn’t come through and deliver, this is one of those relationships I don’t see lasting too long, but I’ll have fond memories of it for a long time to come.

Sorry. You're great and all, but you need to do some growing up before we can really make this relationship work.

Sorry. You’re great and all, but you need to do some growing up before we can really make this relationship work.

Read more

GenCon Journal 2014: What’s up with the New World of Darkness

genconThe world of Darkness, both old and new, are games that I have always enjoyed. I have played many a game of Vampire, Werewolf, and Mage over my long time in the table top role playing game hobby. I have been following what is going on with the old World of Darkness but had lost track of what was going on in the new line that had started up a few years back. I wanted to get back up to speed while I was at Gen Con so I took the time to attend Onyx Path Publishing’s seminar “What’s up with the New World of Darkness.”

The panel was huge. I was busy trying to take notes on everyone involved and got behind. So, I apologize for leaving anyone out that participated in the panel but the names were flying fast and furious. The Panel was headed by Rich Thomas, CEO of Onyx Path Publishing. Eddy Web, CCP consultant for Licensing was also in attendance. Rose Bailey, Neil Price, Matt McFarland, and Ian Watson were also present.

OPpThe first thing that was brought up was the Chronicle books. These had been used as a way of cleaning up each of the core books when they were released. They had worked well but through talks with CCP Onyx Path had been given the green light to do second editions of all the New World of Darkness books. The Chronicle books that were currently in production were going to get a kind of retrofit. They were going to become the second edition of the games with which they were connected. The Chronicles would be incorporated into the second edition. I was very happy to hear this. A new edition of each book with a built-in chronicle was an excellent idea. The hardest part of the new World of Darkness had been that lack of story that I and everyone else I knew had come to expect from World of Darkness. This addition of an entire Chronicle in each base book will make it easier to dive into these games.

There are several interesting books for this fall. The one that I am most interested in is entitled Dark Eras. This is a project designed to give each monster in the New World of Darkness a new historical era. The one slated for Vampire is the Elizabethan era which sounds like a hit to me. I am looking forward to seeing what is going to be the era used for Werewolf, Mummy, and Mage as well. Vampire will be getting an all-in-one volume that addresses the covenants of the vampires in the same fashion that each clan was addressed. The bulk of the book will be setting material with a mechanics appendix.

The rest of the fall slate is rounded out by Werewolf 2nd edition featuring the Idigram Chronicle, Demon Translation Guide, Demon Storyteller’s Guide, and Curse of the Blue Nile, five novellas based on the guilds in Mummy.

The winter season has me chomping at the bit for the book entitles 1000 Years of Night, an Elder source book. I will admit that I love playing elder campaigns. I have played more neonates than I can shake a stick at but but my heart sings when I get to play an elder vampire. This book sounds like it will scratch that itch for me. It has information on running generational chronicles as well as running elders as a conspiracy game. Half Damned is slated for a winter release as well. This book will deal with ghouls, revenants, and dhampir. This sounded interesting as it refers back to hints played out in Secrets of the Covenants.  Winter finishes up with Promethean fiction consisting of ten new stories.

Spring sees the release of Shards of Power for Mage. This book will treat characters as supernatural investigators. One of the interesting things mentioned about this book was the inclusion of the ability by mages to sense any supernatural events. It is a built in plot hook that gets the game running. The book will include magical tools, imbued items, artifacts, and supernal verges. Promethean 2nd Edition will be available at this time as well and include the Firestorm Chronicle. What I liked hearing about this iteration of Promethean was that it was designed to make it more accessible. I have the first edition and it has set on my shelf as I labored to connect with the material. I am hoping this new iteration will make this less of an issue for me.

We come full circle with the return to summer and the release of The Hurt Locker. This book will be done in a vein similar to the Armory book. It will deal with combat and violence within the 2nd Edition rules set. Changeling will get a fiction anthology as well as a 2nd Edition. The thing that has me impatient is Beast: The Primordial. This will be a book based monsters from the primal nightmares of humanity. Instead of morality, characters will have a hunger rating with the satiety being the determining factor of how things progress. It is through the mismanagement of hunger that things spiral out of control and heroes then must arise to confront the beast.I was absolutely giddy hearing about this book! There was a neat question in regards to beast and crossovers. It was stated that Beasts see other supernaturals as family. There are planned kinship powers that would take this into account with both Beasts and those they see as family.

The one question that I thought that was relevant was retail support. I tend to buy my games from my local game store. The response was that they are working on a beta program with Drive thru RPG. This program would provide discounted print on demand books for retailers. Onyx Path is trying to make their books available at the local level but how this program will turn out is still in question.

This was great seminar with tons of good information about the New World of Darkness line. the only downside is how long I have to wait to pick up beast.


Reign of Ironclaw: An Explosive Evening!

kor_s03e02.fwOur exploration of the Age of Ironclaw continues!  The noble houses of the United Tribes and the Aquian Empire are to be joined in marriage.  The great powers of the world are gathered to witness this grand union while terrorists lurk in the shadows…

We’d love to hear from you! Give us a call at 972-763-5903 and share your comments, questions, and suggestions. If we use your voicemail in the show, you’ll win an Ideology of Madness SurPrize!

GM’s note: Knights of Reignsborough: Reign of Ironclaw is a role playing game actual play podcast. It is not our intent to teach a system, rather to entertain. As such, much of the game mechanic discussion has been edited from the audio.

Knights of Reignsborough: Reign of Ironclaw is on a bi-weekly release schedule.  Episode 2 will be released the weekend of September 26.


Funny Looks and Failure, Part 2…or, How The Eighties Prepared Me To Be A Dad

Click here to read part one.

So, in my last post I promised to share the crazy idea that I’ve been working on for the last year.

Personally, I feel that I can lay the blame for this whole thing on Devin Montgomery.  See, he conducted a successful Kickstarter (one of my regular internet compulsions) for a clock that hides a secret book.  I’ve always loved stories about treasure hunts, so I naturally wanted to get one of these for my daughters, and use it to kick off their own literary treasure hunt.  But, if you’re going to have a treasure hunt, you need some treasure at the end, right?  Otherwise, what’s the point?

And the only reasonable place to keep treasure is in a treasure chest.

"Carruthers!  Take half my fortune and put it into treasure chests.  Take the rest and invest it in...oh, I don't know...zeppelins or something."

“Carruthers! Take half my fortune and put it into treasure chests. Take the rest and invest it in…oh, I don’t know…zeppelins or something.”

Now, your average treasure chest is locked, naturally, else any fool (or Carruthers) could just wander by and make off with your treasure.  But, I wanted the treasure hunt to be a collaborative effort by the girls, which meant that I wanted opening the chest to be collaborative as well. This meant that I needed 3 keys. Read more

Funnybooks with Aron and Paulie: Back to the Funnybooks!


Funnybooks is 250 episodes old! How do we celebrate? Well…by having another awesome episode, of course! We talk about the new Doctor Who, which leads into a conversation about our favorite method of time travel. Then…after we talk about this week’s new comics, we do a special version of What If We Were Writing…, where we discuss our take on a Marvel Vs. DC!

  • The New Who
  • Our preferred mode of Time Travel
  • Cloaks #1 – PAT
  • The Death Defying Mr. Mirage #1 – A
  • Moon Knight #7 – PA
  • The Death of Wolverine #1 – PTW
  • The Rock is…BLACK ADAM!
  • Justice League #33 – PAT
  • Original Sin #8 – A
  • What if we were writing…Marvel v. DC 2
  • Giant Robot Warrior Maintenance Crew #1

Check out the Ideology of Madness YouTube Channel for enhanced content!

Despite what is mentioned in the show, Knights of Reignsborough Season 3, Episode 2 is slightly delayed due to technical difficulties.  Please stand by!


PHN 2014: Halloween Horror Nights 24 Media Preview Event!

01_HHN24 LogoIt’s that time of year again when the smell of pumpkin spice lattes have permeated the air, craft breweries have generated more pumpkin type beers than our shelves can handle, and our local theme parks have gone full threat level orange. And, like an overstimulated Jack Skellington, the Halloween community is waiting on pins and needles to say, “What’s this?” to Universal’s annual offerings.

We shall wait no more, as Universal held their annual media preview event last night and we were there to scope out all of the features that this year’s Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) event will deliver.

Universal will offer 8 unique haunted houses, comprised of 5 licensed properties and 3 original creations. In addition to these haunted houses, Universal returns to using 4 separate street experience scare zones. Universal will also present updated versions of their “Rocky Horror Picture Show – A Tribute” and “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure” shows.

Universal Studios Orlando’s Director of Entertainment – Creative Development, Michael Aiello reviewed this year’s crop of scares with the gushing enthusiasm that every new parent has when they show off their new babies. Michael’s inner fan favorite of the year is a long desired house based on the initial John Carptenter film, “Halloween”. According to Michael, this house was discussed as a possibility for many years, but the timing and logistics never fell into place until now. We were very pleasantly surprised that Universal allowed us to take a sneak peek run
through the “Halloween” house while it was in full technical (dress) rehearsal last night.

Read the rest after the jump! Read more

PHN 2014: Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights Media Preview Event!

The Pauloween season is almost in full swing again, boils and ghouls! Last night, our buddy Kyle from View From The Cheap Seats attended the Media Preview Event, and we’ve got the awesome video below covering the event!

Our full write-up of the event, with photos, will be posted later!

GenCon Journal 2014: Under the Hat

genconOne of the things that I wanted to do at Gen Con this year was to delve beneath the surface of a game company. There were so many companies that make games I enjoy that I was suffering from analysis paralysis. Luckily, I was provided some direction from the guys on Funnybooks. If you listen to the podcasts here on Ideology of Madness, then you are aware that the guys are fans of a few game systems. One of them happens to be Atomic Robo which is made by Evil Hat and powered by their Fate system.

Luckily, Evil Hat was doing a seminar entitled Under the Hat where they would talk about the business of Evil Hat. The panel at the seminar consisted of the key players at Evil Hat:

EHP-Logo-SquareFred Hicks – Operations

Chris Hanrahan – Business Director

Rob Donoghue – Brain Trust

Sean Nittner -Project Manager

Carrie Harris – Marketing Manager

Out of the gate, it was interesting to learn that the hardest part for Fred Hicks, founding member of Evil Hat, was defining the roles of these various people. He pointed out that he is very much a hands-on person and has difficulty putting responsibilities into other people’s hands. Not that he doesn’t think they can not do it, Just that he could do it and should. The thing that he ran up against, especially with the Fate Core Kickstarter, was that there was too much for him to do. With so much going on, defining these roles made it easier for him to hand over responsibilities which in turn allowed Evil Hat to function even better. Read more

Nine Inch Nails – Best Band Ever or Greatest Band Ever?


In the interest of full journalistic disclosure, I love Nine Inch Nails. Trent Reznor could read a phone book (if he could find one) in front of a blank sheet for an hour and a half and I would find it fascinating. That out of the way, I recently saw the Soundgarden – Nine Inch Nails tour. And since I geeked about it, I must now speak about it.

The location for the show was the Gexa Energy Pavillion, a semi-outdoor venue that is basically a fenced in field with concession stands, a paved courtyard, a big grass area and a roof over a stage and seats. The stage areas has walls on three sides but randomly enough, the open side faces due West. I mention this navigational point only because designing it that way was a questionable decision at best. Given that most of what goes on at Gexa are concerts and other forms of entertainment that start in the late afternoon or night, in the summer, in Texas, there is generally long time while the sun is setting, it just shines directly on the stage and into the eyes of the performers. Read more

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