Advance Scout

Guided by his dimensional compass, the Scout roams the infinite universes, ever treading from world to world and plane to plane, seeking the latest tidings of new RPG-related releases...

Hi gamers. This week will mark something of a departure from the norm for Advance Scout, as I will be relaying information about a number of different items of interest to the gaming community, instead of describing one product in-depth, as I have done in past weeks. I plan in the future to get back to reviewing a single item each week, but this week I just felt like doing things a little differently. I hope you don't mind, after all, variety is the spice of life, no? Or is that melange...

Ever wanted to have a sketch of your character but not able to draw very well? Well, there's a new computer program out there that may be able to help you, called (appropriately enough) The Character Sketcher v2.0, from NBOS Software. According to the makers, this software allows you to draw your characters by mixing and matching pre-drawn facial features, clothing, and armor, and it features all new, professionally drawn art, JPEG file format support, and a modern, easy to use interface. It's not free, unfortunately, but it might be worth the price if you want to be able to draw your game's characters without being an artist. You can find out more about The Character Sketcher at http://www.nbos.com, and also find out about their other RPG-related products. One item, PC-GP, is a database/information accounting system for RPGs, and is available for free download. They also have a fractal mapping program for sale if that's your cup of tea (or flagon of ale).

I hope that Mayhem doesn't mind my providing links to a couple of sites like that. Just to be on the safe side, though, I'll get back to the games. I'd like to let you know about a few new items that aren't RPGs but may be of interest to gamers anyway. One is the Xena: Warrior Princess collectible card game, which has been available for a couple of weeks and seems to be doing fairly brisk business, at least 'round these parts. This could be due to the television show's popularity, or the fact that Xena starter decks and booster packs are a little cheaper than most other CCGs, or maybe folks just like the game. Haven't played it myself, but I wanted to let you know it's there. Also released recently is INWO: Subgenius, which is a 100-card set that can be played either as a stand-alone game or in combination with other INWO cards. You will Get Slack Now if you buy this game, and you can enjoy playing it for another four-and-a-half weeks until the saucers arrive from Planet X. Also due out imminently from Steve Jackson Games is Knightmare Chess Set 2, an all-new 80-card set that's compatible with the original Knightmare Chess cards. Knightmare Chess adds a healthy portion of chaos to the game of chess, and the artwork on the cards is excellent. I'm a big fan of this game, and am personally looking forward to the new set of cards. For more info, visit Steve Jackson Games at http://www.sjgames.com.

June will see the release of the new Marvel Super Heroes roleplaying game from TSR. The new Marvel will incorporate the SAGA Game Rules, which were debuted in the Dragonlance: Fifth Age game, and which involve the use of a deck of Fate Cards to bring the action to life. This will obviously differ from the game mechanics of the Marvel Super Heroes RPG that TSR produced in the 80's, but conversion tables will reportedly be included in the new game for those players who wish to migrate from the old game system to the new. I had a lot of great times playing the old Marvel RPG, and I will definitely be looking into the new one as soon as I can get my investigatin' hands on it.

Armageddon is the name of a new RPG from Phalanx Games Design available only on the Web. The game is set on the planet Earth some 25,000 years in the future, but characters are from our own time, having been transported to this strange and dangerous future through an unexpected time warp. For more information and free downloadable maps, visit http://www.fandom.net/~PGD/index.htm. Armageddon costs $18 for 380 pages of game material, and comes in three PDF files: Basic Rules; Here and Now (Modern Characters and Background); and There and Then (The World of the 25th Millennia).

Gaming Intelligence reports that Third Millenium Games is looking for interior artists, as well as graphic designers who have done work designing insignia and logos. Many of the groups and organizations of their upcoming SF RPG, Fourth Millenium, require interesting and well-designed symbols. These symbols will be used in the basic rulebook and as guidelines for the artists. Prospective artists should visit http://www.interlog.com/~maliszew/guide.html for information about styles and payment.

The Origin Awards are coming up pretty soon, and if you've got a favorite game you think deserves an award, why don't you vote and let GAMA know! The RPGs nominated this year for Best Roleplaying Game are Big Eyes, Small Mouth; Blue Planet; Domains of Dread; Legends of the Five Rings RPG; Saga Game Rules/Fate Deck; and The Babylon Project; but you can always write in a vote for another game if you think it deserves the award. There are also awards given for Best RPG Supplement, Best RPG Adventure, and Best Game-Related Novel and Short Fiction. You can download the ballot at http://www.gama.org/downloads/OrgnsAwd.pdf . This is an Adobe Acrobat file -- print it, vote on the printed sheet, and then mail it by postal mail to the address on the sheet by June 17th.

I'll close this week's new game grab bag with mention of two other items due out from TSR this month. June's new supplement for the new sci-fi game Alternity is the "Campaign Kit," which is essentially a four-panel referee screen and 32 pages of record-keeping aids, like character sheets, record logs, and other forms. Not really a necessity, but certainly a handy item to pick up for players and GMs of Alternity. And coming out for AD&D is the adventure module A Darkness Gathering, which has a fairly interesting storyline. In it, the player characters are pitted against the sinister illithids, who are attempting to extinguish the sun. This is the first of a three-part series of adventures, with parts two and three to be released later this year, but it also can work as a stand-alone adventure.

Well, if all goes according to plan, I'll have a detailed review of a new release for you next week, but I hope you've enjoyed this little jaunt among some of the more interesting new items out there in the world of gaming. Have fun, Scout out.


Wish you could tell the Scout what you think of this area? Ala-kazam, just e-mail me. As always, your comments, suggestions, or complaints are welcome. You can also send the Scout mail if you want to see a particular game covered here, or even if you just want to say hi.


a.k.a. Scott T. Watkins

RPG Scout