Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Preview Of d20 For Complete Characters

Building a masterpiece takes time

I know I've been fairly absent, but it's not all for nothing. Just a quick hit for now, demonstrating some progress on Complete Characters. I even think it's pretty sexy, as gaming goes.

The plan here is for Complete Characters to begin to incorporate stats from one or more OGL gaming systems, most notably d20. My love for D6 will likely bring me to stat out at least some characters in the system as well, but going with the gold standard in open gaming seemed the best place to start.

Read on for a visual preview and some discussion of the upcoming updates to Complete Characters, including bonus stats for existing free downloads.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

d20 Help! My Appeal To Better Geeks Than Me

Help me figure this thing out

Help me out, fellow gamers. But first, a confession: I have never played d20. By that, I mean no D&D, no Pathfinder, no d20 Star Wars. Nothing. The closest I've come is playing Knights of the Old Republic, which I understand is exactly the same thing, but somewhat more limited. Knowing that, I just need a little help getting acclimated so that I may better serve you, the gaming community.

The next phase of my Complete Characters is adding stats from various relevant open gaming systems, and obviously the d20 fantasy/modern are at the top of that list. It's everywhere, thanks to its place as the original system to go OGL. If aliens are watching us from the upper atmosphere, peering through telescopes and furiously typing notes on their space-Macs, trying to learn our language, it's the d20 lingo that they undoubtedly think is Earth Geek Standard. I, too, must learn to speak it.

I'm a relatively accomplished gamer, so the system doesn't really intimidate me. I understand stat builds and Occupations and Feats and Skills with very little difficulty, and when I trip and fall on these basic mechanical issues, I'm caught by the loving arms of the Internet and its various resources. What there is no substitute for, however, is live repetitions. I have no in-game context to gauge some of the finer points of the system, and that's where I need your help today.

If I may, please allow me to get your thoughts on a few subjects by jumping below the fold. Pretty please?


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Complete Characters Review


Good morning, Internet.

Just a quick hit, pointing you toward a review of Complete Characters that is up at the greatness of RPG Blog 2. Zack does a rundown of the seventh issue, Sir Aric Devilkin. So, check out his review, and then head over to DriveThru and give the download a try. Don't forget to peruse the entire catalog while you're there, including five offerings that are still free, for now.

Thanks to Zack for taking the time to do the review! If anyone else has a blog or other online outlet and would like to do a review, drop me a line at jasonrichards.net@gmail.com and I'll be happy to send you a comp copy.

I'm still working hard to bring you quality gaming modules at an affordable price. What's up next? How about a pulp supersoldier, a noble obsessed with immortality, and an espionage agent with computers in his brain? Stay tuned.

Happy gaming!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Quick Hit: New Stuff, Early Success


Just a quick hit tonight, but it's a good one!

I just posted Complete Characters #7: Sir Aric Devilkin, Evil Knight, Demon's Son up at DriveThru. I'm hoping that it will fly off the metaphorical shelves, seeing as it's perfect for any fantasy campaign, whether it's D&D, Pathfinder, Palladium, or whatever. It features more stellar artwork from Joseph Scott Lawn, who I have now convinced to blog, so check him out. First person to purchase this Complete Character gets the next one (also for your fantasy game) for free!

Complete Characters #6: Noriax, Ancient Robotic Terror has been up for 72 hours now and is doing well. Actually, I'm pleased to report that it's currently #58 on the Top 100 Small Press list at DriveThru. It's a great addition to your space opera/sci-fi/mecha/futuristic game.

More detailed descriptions of each follow, so go get 'em while they're hot! And don't forget that #1-#5 are still up for free download as well.


Sir Aric Devilkin and his dark attendants have been searching the country for some unknown treasure for the past two years, laying waste to town after town along the way. He does nothing to deny the whispers that he's the son of a demon, and his cruelty only enforces it. Within this premium RPG module you'll find the complete description of Sir Aric, his immediate history, and his nefarious methods, plus stats on his minions, rumors of items of power, and tons of optional tweaks and adventure hooks. Perfect for your fantasy campaign, and suitable for quick adaptation to any game system.

An ancient race was once locked in a war for its survival. Its greatest weapon, a massive robotic drone known as Noriax, was left behind and has now been activated, unleashing its indiscriminate, unstoppable force against the whole of the known galaxy. Get full stats, custom illustration, and source material on Noriax, plus adventure hooks and details on its path of destruction so far. As a bonus, get full stats and description of the ancient Eirie, the ancient race that created Noriax.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My First Publishing Dollar

Suitable for framing

"Here goes nothing." That was my thought at about 1:30 this morning when I uploaded the file for Complete Characters #6: Noriax, Ancient Robotic Terror to the server at DriveThruRPG.com. In that mouse click was carried far more anxiety than I had anticipated, which is why I was about two and a half hours beyond my desired release. That time was spent poring over every word choice and graphic placement, and I'm still sure there's something that I missed; it was 1:30 AM, after all.

Read on to find out if there was stunning success or hilarious failure.

Friday, November 5, 2010

A New Rifts Chaos Earth Sourcebook, and Other Notes

Motivate the clock

I have several notes his morning as I stare, bleary-eyed at my computer screen. But hey, it's Friday, which means that the day will get progressively better as the hours roll off the clock. In the meantime, let me project a number of announcements and notes out onto the Internet, in no particular order.

Read for more on Rifts, awesome writing, Complete Characters, and winning free stuff.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Free For All! Complete Characters So Far.


Rule of life: Everything worth doing is harder than it looks.

I talked yesterday about getting things going with Jason Richards Publishing, mostly just announcing that such a thing exists and that you can run over to DriveThruRPG and download some great gaming materials, for free. I thought that tonight I would go a little deeper and talk about the waves of emotion that I've endured these last few days.

Don't worry, I won't get girly or anything. Read on and maybe, just maybe, I'll have something inspirational to say.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Welcome to Jason Richards Publishing!



It's finally here! Jason Richards Publishing is up and running with our first offerings after many months of planning. If this is your first time on the blog, or if you're rediscovering this ridiculous corner of the Internet, I welcome you. Look around and let me know what you think.

Read more about what we're offering today, this week, and into the future, below the fold.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Games done right: Lessons from Force Unleashed


For starters, let me clarify that this blog post is about the original Force Unleashed, not the newly-released sequel. If it seems weird that I'm talking about a game that has been on the market for two years, you must be new to the blog. I never played Guitar Hero in any incarnation until about nine months ago. I'm still occasionally working on unlocking everything in the 2006 hit, Marvel Ultimate Alliance. I grabbed Bioshock for Christmas and have yet to load the disk, and I just grabbed Arkham Asylum a couple of weeks ago. When it comes to video games, I'm not really on top of things.

However, let's not think of this post as a discussion of the merits of what is effectively ancient gaming history, but about why I think the folks at LucasArts really got some things right with this one, and why game designers from both the digital and tabletop genres can take some things away from this.

Read on for my brilliant ideas.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rifts Lawsuit Settlement? Call Your Shot.


Good afternoon, dear Internet. It appears that it may be a great day for fans of Rifts, but we don't yet know any details. It was reported today on the amazing livingdice.com that the Trion Worlds versus Palladium Books legal battle may have finally come to a close.

If you're just joining us and don't want to go through the whole story as I lay it out here, for the past several months the video game developer, Trion Worlds, and the RPG publisher, Palladium Books, have been in a war of words and letters and statements over Palladium's claim to hold the trademark for naming a video game "Rifts." This, naturally, was a big deal to Trion and their in-development MMO, Rift: Planes of Telera. There are numerous side issues and developments, but ultimately Palladium wants the name of Trion's game to be changed, while Trion claims that Palladium's trademark is invalid or even fraudulent.

But, as it appears that this has now been somehow settled out of court, and as we have no official announcement as to the terms, it's time to do what any good citizen of the Internet would do given this situation: speculate! Let's examine how this could have gone, and then you can go on record with how you think it played out.

Read on for more.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Return of Complete Characters

I have returned

I'm not going to go into my mysterious absence in any sort of detail. Let's just say there were monkeys. Lots and lots of monkeys. I really can't say anything more. I'm back now, and we're together. Isn't that what really matters? Let's not dwell on my many failings as a blogger, but instead talk about the gift I have for you, my cherished readers, brought back with me from exotic places afar.

Step inside, where we can be a bit more comfortable.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

40K Rogue Trader's Rising Star


A quick hit today, as I frantically attend to matters of business across the real world and Internet. This absolutely deserves a post, however, so I will proceed.

Jason Marker, the man behind Motor City Gamewerks, is one of my very dearest friends on the planet. Despite our close personal and professional associations, he has somehow managed to rise above and continues to impress in the freelance game design and writing industry, proving that daily communicating with me will not kill your career as previously suspected. I know the guys at Fantasy Flight are loving his contributions to their Rogue Trader line, as evidenced by the latest posting on their website.

So, without further ado, read the latest developer's journal for Rogue Trader, then be sure to drop Marker a line and issue your congrats.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Thinking Like An Artist



I always loved to draw, and I guess I still do, but my problem is that I can never get that image in my head to appear properly on the paper. It seems like it should be such an easy thing to do, but it's one of those genes that I just don't have, like caring about cars or understanding the appeal of reality television. Luckily, there are qualified artists out there willing to tolerate me long enough to illustrate my thoughts as best I can describe them.

That leads me to this point: I often find it hard to think like an artist. What's worse is that I'm sure that I think I can think like an artist, but I can't. Follow me on that one? While I have this image in my head that I can't draw, I have myself convinced that surely I can describe it using words, right? After all, that's what I do! I'm a writer! If only it were that easy.

Let's talk about the challenges of communicating with your artists. Read on for more.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Discussion: Gaming With Family


It's been a while since we had an old-fashioned discussion here on Jason Richards cannot be trusted, so I thought that today would be as good a day as any to take a stab at another one. I was a little curious as to exactly how many readers here regularly game with family. Do you game with a spouse? Kids? Siblings? Parents? I know that a lot of us get introduced to games through family, and I figure that most of us have good family gaming stories.

I'll give a couple of my family gaming tales below the fold, but in the meantime, feel free to drop a comment and share your stories and experiences with the class.



Thursday, July 22, 2010

Qucik Hit: My Fantasy Writing Retreat

Ah, to be alone with my pen

As my writing "to do" list picks up and the day job continues to pile on its burdens, I find myself fantasizing about getting away from it all. I've often wanted to just take a week off, get out of the house with nothing but a stack of notebooks and a box of pencils, and just write until my fingers bleed.

What little free time I have to write is taken up by little things, here and there, that while they are related to writing, lack the full creative release. This blog is one of those things that I love to do, but it doesn't produce material that can be packaged and sold. Other things include handling the financial side of publishing, or getting contracts written and distributed. Artists need to be contacted and their work reviewed. That's in addition to responsibilities at work, with the family, and at church. It all adds up to a hectic life, at times.

I wonder how much work I could get done if I had nothing to do except write. No Internet. No television. No video games. Just a good, long week alone at the family ranch where I can sit on the back porch and watch the cattle graze, or make a couple of sandwiches and find some shade by one of our stock tanks. I keep telling myself that getting away for a week of relative solitude would be good for me, and that everyone should do it, but I haven't been able to pull the trigger.

I've also often talked with colleagues about getting together in a group to pound out some manuscript or other in a week-long writing and gaming marathon. That would be a real blast, and I'm working on some way to make that happen. I get to see them far too infrequently as it is, so some quality buddy time would be very welcome, and isolated from the world I feel like we could produce some sort of quality supplement in the course of a week.

Alas, vacation time is in short supply and the rest of life presses on. I'll do it someday, soon. Hopefully.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Ensemble Cast Of Characters In RPGs


What if you're not just a one-character kind of guy (or girl, if any of you mythical female gamers are reading)? The role-playing hobby teaches us that we should create a character and hold on to it, pouring ourselves into that stat sheet and working hard toward achieving that character's hopes, dreams, and goals. We become incredibly attached to these fictional people because, most of the time, they are reflections on ourselves.

However, in my greater effort to personally examine individual trends, mechanics, and stations in hobby gaming that we all take for granted, I have begun to ask myself whether or not it's best that we all play only a single player in a game from session to session. That's how it has "always been," but that's never a good reason to keep on doing something if it's the only reason. What if it were more important to the game that you challenged yourself to play new types of characters, take up different roles within the group, or simply to pick up a stat sheet for a session that is better suited to that particular adventure or mission than your standard character?

Let's talk about it. Read on for more.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Read My New Comic Book Online, TODAY!


What an amazing day!

I'm very pleased to announce the online release of my new comic book, The Uniques Tales #5: Around the World. I'm grinning from ear to ear as I read the final product, and I can't be more thrilled.

I was approached some time ago, probably six months or more, about writing an installment of an ongoing project for the dynamic team of Adam Withers and Comfort Love. These amazing artists and writers are the creative force behind The Uniques, a terrific supers-genre indy comic. If you're not reading it, you should.

Read on for the tale of how I managed to swing this incredible opportunity.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Train-Wreck: Some Of My RPG Writing Failures



Some things go horribly, horribly wrong. Actually, make that most things. Despite my best efforts, I have often fallen short of the mark on a number of my RPG-writing endeavors. Let's turn the spotlight on some of my blunders and broken promises, shall we?

Read on for more.




Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hypothetical: Buying A Custom Campaign


This came up in the discussion from earlier this week about how much players should know about a given game session, be it the adventure, the stats for monsters, the layout of the dungeon, etc. With how accessible game information is to players, be it online or in soucebooks that a given player is likely to own, the theoretical was raised about having a professional game designer write a custom game module, exclusively for a Game Master.

How much would such a service cost? Let's assume it includes the following:
  • At least one annotated map of a dungeon, town, castle, etc.
  • A key villain, with full background and stats
  • Several quick-stat NPCs important to the game
  • At least one monster, creature, unique item, or other special one-of-a-kind point of interest
  • An outlined setup of the adventure, including a hook, descriptions of half a dozen possible/optional encounters, and written storyline as you might expect from a canned adventure found in a sourcebook
  • All in all, roughly 12-14 pages in a printable PDF or hard copy
So, how much for a truly special and unique adventure that would get your players through two or three gaming sessions? $100? $150? $214? I really have no idea. While it's certainly a luxury that most GMs would never utilize, it's not so terribly different than having a professional artist render a group's portrait, right?

Just a funny musing for a Saturday morning. Sound off, below.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Trion Adding Insult to Injury?


Trion is now just trying to mess with Palladium's collective head. I just read over at mmorpg.com about the new character class for Rift: Planes of Telera, the upcoming MMO game that has resulted in legal battles with Palladium Books. What's this new class?

The Rift Walker.

Of course, to fans of Palladium's Rifts RPG, this invokes the imagery of the iconic Ley Line Walker. Maybe it's a coincidence, but I have a hard time believing that.

A Palladium Fan Boycott Of Trion? Not So Fast


For weeks now, we've been following the legal struggle between traditional RPG publisher, Palladium Books, and the up-and-coming MMO developer, Trion Worlds. The issue at hand? The rights to the title, "Rift" for a video game. I won't relive the whole saga here and now, but if you want to catch up, you can view all of the relevant posts about it here.

Today, we don't have a new development in the case, which is churning behind the scenes as we lead up to the September 10 court date. Instead, I wanted to talk a little bit about fan sentiment, and where we lovers of Palladium could potentially veer off into the realm of doing more harm than good. Recently I've seen it suggested around the Internet, in all its collective wisdom, that Palladium fans should boycott any and all products of Trion Worlds.

Not so fast, my friends. In my opinion, this is not the right course of action. Let's talk about it below the fold. Read on for more.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Update On "The Uniques Tales" Comic


Just a quick hit here. The comic book that I penned in the amazing series, The Uniques Tales, is going to be released online on Wednesday, July 14th, instead of today. Nothing big or tragic or anything, but the holiday weekend got in the way of some contributors wrapping things up. The header image is the first page of the comic, without lettering. Jeremy Dale did an amazing job on the art.

In the meantime, head over and read the first four editions of The Uniques Tales at UniquesComic.com to prepare for my chapter. You won't regret it!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

How Much Should Players Know?



I was musing to myself while mowing the yard yesterday, in addition to how much of a pain home ownership can be, about how role-playing sourcebooks are put together, to whom they are targeted, and how I, as a game designer, can create the most utility in my products for the widest possible scope of gamers. So, here I am bringing these thoughts to you, instead of speaking aloud to my yard equipment. Let's start with how we can make game supplements useful to Game Masters, without spoiling the good stuff for the players. Read on for more.


Friday, July 2, 2010

Complete Characters #19: Jake Avery, Haunted Police Officer


We're starting off July with some strong and scary Complete Characters action! Not only is this exciting because I like the character, but because it was made with new and fancy software, which I would like to go on about for a while, singing praises and raising cheers.

Before that, let me tell you a little bit about the character. I started out writing a "cop who has seen it all," but I settled into a groove of a character that has had one truly horrifying, life-changing experience. I think it came out very well, and in fact as I write this post, it's nearly midnight and I've sorta scared myself a little bit. I'll be checking the closets before I hit the hay.

I have a lot more to say, so please read on. If you just can't wait to get to the good stuff, you'll find the link to the right of your screen.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Palladium Fires Back At Trion Over Rifts Trademark


News, news, and more news out of the battle over the rights to the name "Rifts" in the video game world. Trask at livingdice.com continues to rule over this story, posting legal goodness and keeping everyone up to date, so I'll refer you to him for the broad stroke. He presents it far better than I would, and I'd hate to step on his toes and steal his material. Well, maybe I wouldn't hate it, but I'm still not going to do it.

There actually isn't that much new to report, as Palladium basically just responded to Trion's lawsuit over Palladium's Rifts trademark. There are a few things worthy of mention, however, so I'll dive into those below the fold. If you feel like refreshing yourself on the ins and outs of this case as it has developed, and get my thoughts as a Rifts author and Palladium freelancer, you may view all such posts here.

Read on for more.



Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Build A Better RPG

Innovation is key

I'm not much of an expert when it comes to game design. I've never published a role-playing mechanics set that stands on its own. I haven't even played that many different systems. I am a gamer, however, and I have sat behind a screen with my head in my hands from time to time thinking, "Isn't there a better way?"

Lately I've been considering many aspects of game design, and how it is approached by many of the pros out there. As something of a designer, myself, and more importantly as someone who must work within existing canon rules as a game author, and even more importantly as someone who enjoys the role of Game Master at my table, I have some thoughts and advice. Please take them as you will. Read on for more.



Friday, June 25, 2010

What Palladium Should Be Doing Today



It's been a legal-intensive week for me. I've spent the greater portion of it serving on a jury, hearing a very difficult and complicated criminal case. One side effect of being so occupied is that I haven't been here on the blog quite so much, meaning that I have not been able to comment on the latest in what started out as Palladium Books vs. Trion Worlds, but is now actually the other way around since Trion filed its lawsuit in California last week.

To briefly recap, the whole fuss is about whether or not Palladium Books, publisher of the traditional "pen and paper" Rifts RPG, has a valid and applicable trademark over the term "Rift" as the title of a "massive multiplayer online" RPG. There are various shades and nuances of the case, but that's what it comes down to, more or less. If you want all of the facts, I'll refer you over to livingdice.com, where Trask has done an excellent job tracking the story. For more information and for my thoughts on the issue as a Rifts RPG author, you can view those posts here.

Today we sit together at our electronic table to talk about what Palladium should be doing in the months leading up to its newly-assigned court date of September 10, 2010. I don't mean what it should be doing in terms of legal preparations or filing motions or conducting lawyering in general, but what Palladium should do to as a game-producing company as it awaits its day in court. I've spent some time thinking it over, and here is what I've come up with. Read on for more.



Monday, June 21, 2010

My Bundle Of Joy: Jason Richards Publishing



I won't be around as much as I would like this week, as I have had the honor of being put on a jury for the next few days. However, I did make good use of my time at the courthouse today, filing my paperwork to register my official business name. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Jason Richards Publishing to the world. Light up a cigar!

Why is this significant? Well, let me tell you. I now have the means to employ artists and writers as I press forward on this great adventure in the written word. I have hopes and dreams, many of which will see the light of day sooner than later.

I'm very excited to bring you only the best in all manner of content, and it will all start right here on this blog, so stay tuned.

Friday, June 18, 2010

More Star Wars NPCs For Your Pleasure


So, I continue working. I updated the last ones posted with some little tweaks, and am plugging away at new characters. I'm continuing to give each their own little special trait or ability for use in the coming one shot, which you can read more about here.

Read on for the character sheets.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Star Wars Lives! The Proxis Prospecting Co.


I am quite excited for my upcoming Star Wars game, and I'm always somehow surprised at how easy and fun character generation is in the D6 system is. Every character is different, there are really no "set" classes or templates, and tweaking the ruleset is easier than bullseyeing womp rats in your T-16 back home.

In all the excitement, I have three new characters to share with you tonight, complete with some fun and easy custom rules for each character, and some talk about how they'll be used. Read on for more.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Trion Renews Legal Assault Over Rifts


The hits keep on coming, don't they? I spent much of the weekend wondering how Palladium would respond to the news that the Michigan courts dismissed its lawsuit against Trion Worlds over the name of their new MMO, Rift: Planes of Telera. Palladium, as I'm sure you're aware, publishes the traditional tabletop RPG, Rifts. Now, all of my speculation is for nothing, as Trion has thrown the first punch of Round 2. Read on for the story, and my reactions as a Palladium Books freelancer and Rifts author.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Star Wars Lives Again


Just a quick hit tonight. I'm sitting here, watching Firefly on Netflix, and making Star Wars RPG characters. How is that for an awesome evening? I'm even going so far as to build a good character sheet, all typed out on the official template with character art worthy of posting.

In fact, here's a preview of the character I'm working on right now (click the image for a larger view). Pretty rad, huh? I loves me some Star Wars.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Palladium's Lawsuit Dismissed By Judge


Palladium Books was dealt an incredible blow today as a Michigan judge dismissed the lawsuit against Trion Worlds. Palladium argued that Trion's new MMO, "Rift: Planes of Telera," infringed on its trademark on Rifts for use in video games.

Here is the final portion of the decision:
For the reasons stated above, the Court grants Trion’s motion to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2) for lack of personal jurisdiction. In addition, the Court denies Palladium’s request for expedited discovery. Finally, Palladium’s motion for a preliminary injunction is denied for lack of personal jurisdiction.
Thanks to Trask at livingdice.com for breaking the story. If you're looking for all of the facts, documents, and background, that's the place to go. Tell him I sent you and he'll give you a cookie.

Part 2 of NERD FIGHT! The Rifts Trademark Battle


Welcome back, one and all. Just a brief recap, for anyone with a short memory or who happened to miss Part 1 of this discussion. In the ongoing legal battle between Palladium Book (publisher of the Rifts RPG) and Trion Worlds (publisher of the upcoming Rift: Planes of Telera MMORPG), there have been some haymakers thrown. Some have hit for crushing impact, while others have missed hilariously in a cartoonish fashion. I have read the many, many pages of legal documents and now bring you the highlights.

In Part 1, the following distinctions were awarded:
  • Biggest waste of time
  • Most embarrassing argument
  • Funniest line
Let's continue, shall we? Read on for more, below the fold.



Thursday, June 10, 2010

Is Palladium's Rifts Trademark Legit?


This is just a quick hit as I write tomorrow's blog post. This bit of information doesn't really fit in with the rest of the article, but I felt like this was an important distinction.

When I read Palladium's Rifts trademark as it applies to movies, which you can read here, I started to wonder if it really was intended to cover a video game, or simply a utility such as the old Rifts Game Master Companion (RGMC), which allegedly was the basis for the trademark in the first place in 1995. The trademark reads:
FOR: COMPUTER GAME SOFTWARE AND COMPUTER GAME PROGRAMS CONTAINING ROLE PLAYING GAMES INVOLVING SCIENCE FICTION OR FANTASY ADVENTURES, OR INVOLVING CHARACTER GENERATION OR SCENARIO GENERATION.
Pretty vague, right? I could see how that might just cover something such as the RGMC. So, I dug around and found the trademark for a video game that we all know and love, Wolfenstein 3D. I've posted the document here if you're interested, but this is what it says:
FOR: COMPUTER SOFTWARE GAMES AND COMPUTER GAME PROGRAMS.
I guess that settles that. I was shocked at how simple the language was back then. For comparison, check out how much more detailed the trademark claim for Promise of Power is, below, or check it out here.
FOR: VIDEO GAME CARTRIDGES; VIDEO GAME DISCS; VIDEO GAME INTERACTIVE CONTROL FLOOR PADS OR MATS; VIDEO GAME INTERACTIVE REMOTE CONTROL UNITS; VIDEO GAME JOYSTICKS; VIDEO GAME MACHINES FOR USE WITH TELEVISIONS; VIDEO GAME SOFTWARE; VIDEO GAME TAPE CASSETTES.
And that's in addition to another big paragraph about toys and cheat guides and dozens of other things. Amazing.

I think Palladium is covered in this case, so long as the trademark isn't found to be fraudulent, as Trion claims. More on that in the morning. Just thought this might interest some people.

Also, how do you like the new logo for this article series?

NERD FIGHT! The Highlights Of Palladium Vs Trion


In some ways, when you step back and look at the Palladium Books and Trion Worlds battle over the right to name a game "Rift," it's a little silly. It's a game, after all. Does it really matter? In a world where children are starving and wars are raging and BP is trying to give Mother Earth a Jheri Curl, is this really something that we want to fight about, hold grudges over, and for which will be spent untold amounts of money? Really?

But, hey, that's the world in which we live. For better or worse, however we got here and whatever has come before, this is now a knock-down, drag out fight that could potentially rule the fortunes of dozens or hundreds of people. In the end, there's a chance that someone is going to wish they hadn't tied on their gloves.

We've had several developments in this story, many of which are just amazing to behold. Thanks to the detective work of livingdice.com, we have our hands on a number of court documents detailing Palladium's beef with Trion, Trion's response to Palladium, and then Palladium's rebuttal to Trion's response to Palladium. Confused yet? All told, there are in excess of 50 pages of legalese through which to swim, but luckily, I've already read them all so you just have to enjoy the highlights as I detail them below. You'll laugh. You'll cringe. You'll roll your eyes. It's like Thanksgiving with the in-laws, and it's right here on Jason Richards cannot be trusted. Read on for the greatness.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bad News For Palladium?


Cue the dramatic music. Trion Worlds has come out swinging against Palladium's legal actions against their new MMO, Rift: Planes of Telera. A day ahead of their meeting before a judge, Trion has finally responded to Palladium's allegations.

Thanks to livingdice.com, we have the documents. I'd encourage you to read the summary found there for the time being, and I'll be back tonight or first thing in the morning here. I'll give you my initial reactions, however, below.


Adding To The Star Wars Legacy


I'm not less than three weeks away from running my first of three Star Wars RPG one-shot adventures, all of which will lead up to the start of a new campaign. I thought I'd spend a few minutes discussing the setting, my plans, and what is in store for the players.

For starters, you might consider catching up on what was discussed a few weeks back on this subject, where I asked a number of questions about what I might or might not include. Once you've done that, feel free to read on for the details of the campaign. Where will it be set? And when? And who will populate this world? Answers follow.



Saturday, June 5, 2010

Quick Hit: Geek Itinerary


Lots to do this weekend, my friends. Lost to do.

I have before me a rare weekend that presents to me no extraneous "to do" list. I don't have to go anywhere. I don't have to do yard work. I'm not being called into the office. To my knowledge, the wife does not have any surprises to drop on me at the last minute. This means that I can get some other work done, namely the type of geekery work that I so enjoy.

Read on for the extremely geeky "to do" list.


Friday, June 4, 2010

Complete Characters #18: The Kavanagh Twins, Villainous Arms Developers

Enjoy today's Complete Character jam session

We have a special jam session today on Jason Richards cannot be trusted in the form of a collaborative guest appearance. Today's Complete Character, which is actually two characters, was provided by realityrefracted.com. A.L. stepped up to the plate and I think you'll be happy with the results.

Read on for the scoop on what is sure to be a classic Complete Character.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Judge Rules On Rifts Restraining Order


There has been a development in the legal battle between Palladium Books and Trion Worlds over the software developer's new MMO, Rift. If this is the first you're hearing about this, be sure to check out the original post for the story on the origin of the lawsuit, and my thoughts as a Rifts author.

Apparently, Palladium also asked for a restraining order against Trion, seeking to prevent their use of the "Rift" moniker. Read on to see how it turned out.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

New Super Mario Is The Devil



I've often been the victim of that bag of chips from which I can't seem to stop snacking. I've stuck with that television show long after it jumped the shark and yet I couldn't look away. I've even been lured into the web of that girl who I know isn't really interested, but flirts just enough to give me that sliver of false hope. Yes, these things are evil, and I have a new demon to add to the list: New Super Mario Bros Wii.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Another Free Comic, Complete With Awesome


Adam and Comfort have done it once again, with another great addition to their comic series, The Uniques Tales. These stories take place in the generations leading up to their amazing regular work, The Uniques. This time it's a 1940s tale, straight from the battlefield of WWII.

Each issue, all of which are free, is written and illustrated by a different team. The author this time around is Bryan J. L. Glass, art by Charles Holbert, with Adam and Comfort tackling the coloring. I can vouch for how fun this sort of project is to tackle, as I had the pleasure of writing The Uniques Tales #5, due out in a couple of months. Adam and Comfort are great to work with, and their world a vibrant and fun one to explore.

Check it out. Right now.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hal Jordan For Congress


Just a super quick hit today. Do you think that prospective U.S. Representative Hal Jordan of North Carolina understands why his website gets so many random hits? I'd love to see his Google Analytics report to see what searches bring people to his website. It would be awesome if he turns out to be a former test pilot. There's a "DC" joke in there somewhere, as well.

While we're noting which of our favorite comic book characters are in public office, I should point out that I know a City Engineer named Steve Rogers. Maybe there's something to this.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Unforgivable Geek Behaviors


As the duly-appointed final authority on all things, I have some announcements to make. I think it's high time that we, as a geek culture, had a talk. We have been letting some things slide, and it's high time that we laid down some ground rules that must be followed by all of us, for our own good.

Before we get too far into things, what's a geek? Consulting Merriam-Webster provides us with these definitions:

1 : a carnival performer often billed as a wild man whose act usually includes biting the head off a live chicken or snake
2 : a person often of an intellectual bent who is disliked
3 : an enthusiast or expert especially in a technological field or activity

Now, I can't say that I've ever personally known someone conforming to definition #1, but I'd say that I more or less agree with definitions #2 and #3. My personal definition has always been that a geek is someone who is waaaaay into something that most people don't understand, or in which the general public has little interest.

Doesn't that describe everyone, in one way or another? With that established, I think we need to take a good, long look at ourselves, and do some soul-searching. Allow me to begin with a personal experience.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Spend Two Minutes To Benefit The Gaming Hobby


Happy Monday, gamers. I'm sure, like me, you're struggling through your work day, fueled only by caffeine and the thoughts of the upcoming weekend, which is probably a long one if you're here in the States.

To help you survive the drag of this most hellish of all days, I invite you to take two minutes to give something back to the gaming hobby. Find out more, below.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Complete Characters #17: Tarash Cyn, Space Station Operator


Seems like it's been a lot of news and current events on the blog, lately, so it's nice to sit down and work on something that we can all use at the table. We are continuing some recent trends, however, as this character is only thinly veiled against its intended setting, Star Wars. My first one-shot game leading up to my Star Wars D6 campaign starts in a couple of weeks, and if you're one of my players, you can expect to see Tarash Cyn show up at some point.

Read on to learn more about this character, and the space station that he operates for the star system's independent operators.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Palladium Sues MMO Developer: A Rifts Author's Thoughts


I first read yesterday morning about Palladium's lawsuit against Trion Worlds over their new name for an MMO in development: Rift: Planes of Telara. Palladium Books, as I'm sure you know, has been long-publishing the very popular and often maligned tabletop RPG, Rifts. That's basically all there is to the story, that the new MMO shares a name with Palladium's flagship title. There are other blogs and news sites covering this better than could I, so I'll refer you to massively.com, which even has screen captures of the MMO. I thought that for my part, I'd offer some commentary on my thoughts.

For more on what I think as a Palladium freelancer and Rifts author, please read on.