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Knights of Pen and Paper Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on November 5th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: I WANNA CAST MAGIC MISSILE!
Knights of Pen and Paper puts players in the unique position of acting as both Dungeon Master and Adventurer in a tabletop RPG, and it's ridiculously awesome.
Read The Full Review »

Put on a Lined Coat and Grab a Smart Gun, Shadowrun is Coming Back

Posted by Rob Rich on April 27th, 2012

In some ways the original Shadowrun was a little before my time. Only a little, though. I was actually just too young to appreciate tabletop role playing games when I was eight. But I did appreciate the kick-ass SNES video game spin-off, and I even managed to come back to (and run) the pen and paper original in high school. Like many people I have very fond memories of street samurai and wage mages, so the news that Jordan Weisman (the original creator) plans to bring it back to PC, Mac, and tablets fills me with glee and makes me squeal like an excited school girl. Complete with jumping up and down repeatedly.

As is the apparently very successful trend right now, Harebrained Schemes has taken their idea to the Kickstarter community instead of a publisher. Ordinarily I’d try to rally the troops in an attempt to ensure that they meet their goal but that’s already happened. Like, a while ago. The developer is already at three times their goal to start working on the turn-based, player-driven RPG. That’s not to say that people should stop donating, though. If they can make another 200K or so (reaching 1.75 million) then Physical Adepts will be added. As one of many who have “seen” what physical adepts are capable of, this excites me.

The project still has a little over two days before it’s finished so we all have time to make our pledges. Virtually all of the game is pure speculation at this point, but I have every confidence in Mr. Weisman and his team. And I could not be looking forward to raiding mega corporations more.

[Via Kickstarter]

Clean House or Die Trying in The Keep of the Lich-Lord

Posted by Rob Rich on March 21st, 2012

Megara Entertainment, crafters of the rather popular Fabled Lands, has just released their latest stand alone "choose-your-own-adventure" rpg. The Keep of the Lich-Lord is adapted from a tale of the name from the Fighting Fantasy series of gamebooks, penned by none other than illustrious interactive fiction authors Dave Morris and Jamie Thomson. Expect much decision-making and dice-rolling, naturally.

All the expected and classic gamebook gameplay is present and accounted for. Players can choose between two distinct classes this time around (Rogue or Paladin) and enjoy close to 100 color illustrations along with the orchestrated score. This isn't a mere straight port, however. Megara has added some new story twists along the way, so even battle-hardened veterans might find a few surprises. Heck, they could even stumble across a new magical item or two that could make a huge difference down the line.

iPad-owning gamebook fans should head on over to the App Store right now and grab The Keep of the Lich-Lord for the measly $4.99 asking price. I mean, it's not like that newly-resurrected necromancer is going to change his mind about tearing the land apart, right? At least, not without a little "encouragement."

iD&D Company Spotlight: Level 99 Games

Posted by Ryan Wood on March 31st, 2011

Hello fellow RPGers. After a short hiatus, iD&D is back. This month we take a look at a company who is doing the right thing for RPG players throughout the genres, Level 99 Games. I caught up with the Supreme Overlord of Level 99 Games, Brad Talton, for a quick overview of his company.

Brad's basis for creating Level 99 Games came from his personal interest in the field of RPGs. "I created Level 99 Games with two ideas in mind: Expression and Immersion. The first is the idea that games are a form of personal expression. RPGs especially allow players to take the game and make it their own by adding content, creating characters, and planning their own adventures."

Immersion is found much more in their competitive titles, such as the companies recent release of Super Psychic Chibi Fighters 3. "...players want to become immersed in games that deepen and grow the more they are played and examined. For this reason, I try to create games with many layers of strategy."

Level 99 Games boasts an impressive library of tools and games for various interest levels. For iD&D, of course, we're especially interested in pen and paper titles. Below is a brief summary of the titles currently available from Brad and his company.

iD&D: Dice Rollers Part 1

Posted by Ryan Wood on September 30th, 2010

Welcome, readers, to another edition of iD&D. Last month we took an epic journey through the inner workings of the app store map power house, Battle Map. Our review took readers through the powerful tools that Battle Map offers, and showed the versatility of customization and real time interaction through the external monitor options. Check out the newest update for Battle Map in the app store now.

This month, we’re taking a dip into the wide world of dice rollers. They come in all shapes and sizes, from bare bones options to the extremely customizable and programmable options. There are tons of dice rollers out there, so we’ve decided to take a closer look at 3 different apps this month, three different apps next month, and provide a comparative analysis of each of these 6 apps. Well, I’m “die”ing to get into this month’s article so let’s jump right in.

Pip, from Mystery Coconut Games, offers beauty in a simplistic package. Pip is, simply put, a dice roller. Pip includes the standard 7 dice that are required in a d20 game: d20, d12, d10, d8, d6, d4, and a percentile. These are dragged onto the “table” from a side menu showing each of the 7 dice. Only the color is customizable. It’s like having a dice bag filled with as many of the standard 7 as you could ever need.

Pip uses an actual table that is rolled by shaking the iPod or iPhone. The physics engine powering Pip does a great job of emulating the actual movement that dice would make if shaken in a specific way. Pip offers multiple tables as well. These tables can be scrolled through with a swipe of the finger, offering some versatility in its simplicity.

Who Pip is for: Pip shines at the basic users must have dice roller. Its basic design and intuitive control structure make it an absolute asset in games.
Who Pip is not for: Pip isn’t for a complex player looking to calculate complex equations in a single roll. There is no “d20-4” options, so you’ll be doing your own math if you use Pip.
Issues: Pip’s drag and drop display is somewhat cut off on my 3rd gen iPod, making it difficult (but not impossible) to drag the percentile from the menu to the table.
Recommendation: If you’re looking for a simplistic dice roller, you cannot find a better option than Pip.
Side Note: In case you were not aware, a pip is the dot usually found on 6 sided dice that come with games such as monopoly. True to its name, Pip (the app) keeps the dots on 6 sided die. Good show!

Update: The tab button that hides and shows the dice panel can actually be dragged up and down, showing access to fudge and average dice, as well as a delete all button. With the additional dice options and the ability to scroll through the dice, my main issue with Pip is cleared up. Thanks to Coconut Games for clearing that up for me.

Mach Dice takes the general ideas evident within Pip, and splashes in a few additional options. Graphically Mach Dice is a bit less appealing, though respectable in its own right. It’s the options that really help set Mach Dice up as the next step in dice rolling needs. Aesthetic options such as d6 edges, numerical or pip display, and background colors are mixed in with such utilization options like tilt and shake sensitivity, labels on d10 and d3 (Fudge or standard), and how the physics work.

Perhaps the key difference between Pip and Mach Dice is the ability for Mach Dice to add variables into the equation. A very basic screen can be brought up allowing for d(variable) to be added or subtracted from ability scores, etc. or from other d(variable) rolls. Mach Dice offers five different tables, with differing backgrounds and arrows to scroll between. Each table can have a different set of dice on it, and a history list shows a seemingly endless set of previous rolls.

Who Mach Dice is for: The users who need a little more versatility than Pip, while being ok with a step down in graphical design. The inclusion of the variable sided die with added modifiers is a big jump from Pip. FUDGE gamers will find the required dice in Mach Dice’s options.
Who Mach Dice is not for: With added features comes added interaction. Where Pip has a simple drag and drop interface, Mach Dice requires equations to be input into the system to work properly.
Issues: Changing the color of dice is somewhat forced into the input screen. It’s an extremely distracting method to change the color of dice. Also, I’ve had instances where one of the tables come up without any graphics at all, and I can only see the top and bottom interface bars.
Recommendation: Mach Dice isn’t as crisp an experience as Pip, but still offers additional versatility without sacrificing simplicity. It’s an extremely cheap option at $0.99, and really is a great choice for the individual looking to gain an added level of customization. It’s by far the simple option for any Do-It-Yourself Gaming System (FUDGE) gamer.
Side Note: The developer recently updated Mach Dice to include the FUDGE dice, and based on his blog posting on his website, plans at least a few additional updates in the future. Support = Win!

Quick Roll is the first feature powerhouse app on the list, and is dangerously close to becoming my must have companion for all of my gaming adventures. Quick Roll throws the graphical representation of Pip and Mach Dice out the window, and frankly I think it’s a great decision. Five tabs separate the different screens available in Quick Roll including a pre-programmable roll tab, an attack tab, a roll history tab, a profile tab, and a free form tab. These features work together to make a truly winning app.

Who Quick Roll is for: Quick Roll is for the guy with multiple characters, multiple rolls, complicated character sheets, and a need to get everything under one nice umbrella app.
Who Quick Roll is not for: Quick Roll steps out of the realm of graphics and into the realm of power. It’s a lot of versatility, and if you can’t see yourself using it to its full potential, I would recommend sticking with a lighter roller.
Issues: The attack tab is good in theory, but is limited in customization making it difficult to use for people with multiple attacks w/ differing damage rolls.
Recommendation: Quick Roll provides me with everything I need, without offering me things I don’t. It’s not pretty, it doesn’t have a physics engine or a nice graphical roller, but it fits my needs. If you need power without beauty, get Quick Roll. Its slick design will keep you happy for a long time.
Side Note: Quick Roll takes a lot of up-front work, especially if you

Next month we will conclude our two part special on Dice Rollers. We will be taking a look at Multi Dice Roller, RPG Calc, and the powerhouse Dicenomicon.

Is there a dice roller that you use that's not on this list? Let us know what it is? What do you like about it? How does it compare to the above apps?