There is a reason I do not read blogs a lot. Most people are not qualified to be giving sugar to their neighbors let alone advice on anything important. And though there are a few folk in the RPG world with enough experience and command over the hobby to iterate sound opinions, most people who think they are in the RPG world have little understanding of writing and running games.
So its no surprise that Open Game Table: The Anthology of Role Playing Game Blogs Volume 1 is a mixed bag of crazy man rants and knock out D&D Gems.
I am not a fan of celebrity endorsements, and though famed RPG writer Wolfgang Baur is publishing the book and providing the foreword, he has very little presence in the book. Instead we have a book comprised of bloggers from across the net.
The 142 pg book has a simple, sometimes mashed layout with no bookmarks, which makes it difficult to navigate. The Game Blogs is divided into nine chapters, each a collection of similar blogs. The ideas are incredibly diverse from one another, some even directly contradicting one another. Many go on past the point of boring rhetoric as the editor attempted to keep the entire blog of an individual in tact. For the sake of brevity it would have been a better choice to cut some places. One blogger goes on and on about introducing a lazier style of D&D preparation because “all DMs” are lazy and all players are never on time. Like I said, mixed bag.
The good thing is that the juicy parts of the bag are downright good, which makes enduring the poorly written parts agonizing, but worth it.
For the Player
The book dedicates an entire chapter to 4th edition, providing optional elements such as firearms and a new pact for warlocks. Though it would be nice if there was an OGL material portion, the material introduced brings some strong points especially to the use of Action Points to improve the cinematic effect of 4th edition. Phil Menard really lays out a more stylish use of action points that can easily be applied to OGL and Pathfinder games. Tony Law does an advice to the players blog that every player should read. Honestly this should not even have to be stated and should just be basic common courtesy.
For the Dungeon Master
Enrique Bertan does a great article on creating counters from your game for free. Despite the less than stellar blog that comes after it, Fang Langford’s The Most Important Game Master Tool is the kind of advice that every Dungeon Master needs to know. I had the opportunity of training some young dungeon masters for the Iron Player Championship and the subject of pacing came up more than enough.
The Iron Word
Open Game Table: The Anthology of Role Playing Game Blogs Volume 1 needs a better layout person and stricter editing. It is very difficult to navigate and one-third of the material is long, diatribes of writings by people who should never quit their day job. Thankfully, two-thirds of the material is really good advice by really strong writers and worth the painful exploration to reach.
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