Fate World: Loose Threads
24. Share a PWYW publisher who should be charging more.
I confess, I don’t know many publishers who only use the pay-what-you-want (PWYW) model. However, I know that all of Evil Hat Publishing’s PWYW offerings are high-quality books they would certainly be in their rights to charge good money for. In fact, I think all their products are under-priced. (Disclaimer: I write and do project management for Evil Hat as a freelancer.)
Then there are the periodic Bundle of Holding offers for ebook collections. You get stunning value for PWYW bundles, and if you pay more than the threshold price for that bundle, you unlock even more goodness. It’s a great place to round your game collection without busting either your budget or your shelves. I’d say all publishers who agree to release a bundle that way are deliberately under-charging.
23. What’s an RPG item that has a jaw-dropping layout?
My favourite RPG layout is the one created by Dale Horstman for War of Ashes: Fate of Agaptus (Evil Hat), but I admit I am a tad biased. So I will say instead the layout that Daniel Solis created for his delightful game Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple (Evil Hat). The layout makes avery step of the game so clear, it’s a pleasure to play. It makes it easy to grasp the rules of the game either when reading in advance to learn the game or in the middle of play.
Shout-outs for Sarah Robinson’s work on Numenéra (Monte Cook), Michael Chaney’s on Owl Hoot Trail (Pelgrane Press), and Hal Mangold’s on Blue Rose (Green Ronin), all gorgeous books.
I’d also like to drop a word here for well-designed official character sheets, such as those for Night Witches (Bully Pulpit Games), The Lost Age (Leiker Games), Atomic Robo RPG (Evil Hat), Golden Sky Stories (Starline Publishing), and even Numenéra, despite the fact that the latter is a little distracting.
A final shout-out for the design of an accessory, the Deck of Fate (Evil Hat Productions, graphic design by Fred Hicks, IIRC.) I love how it packs a lot of usable information without looking cluttered.
22. What are some awesome fan-made RPG resources?
Today’s default question was too similar to others I’ve just answered (”What RPGs are easy for you to run?” calls for an answer that’s pretty close to the one I gave for “What is an awesome RPG you enjoy adapting?”) So I decided to ask myself a different question, and answer it. 🙂
I want to celebrate fan-made and shared materials. There are so many, so I will just point to a few of different types.
Yes, I do realize that the distinction between fan and professional is very subjective in the world of role-playing games. I’m just trying to shine a spotlight on quality resources created for love of the game and generously shared.
Credits: Image by Ali Edwards, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
21. What’s an RPG item that does a lot with few words?
There are so many mini RPGs and related items that do a lot with few or even no words: the D&D Deck of Many Things, for example; or the many 24-hour RPGs and even 100-word RPGs. Many of the favourites I keep mentioning (Roanoke, Urchin, Cat, PDQ, etc.) are quite short as well.
Let’s bring back a game I have not mentioned in a long while, vs. Outlaws by Phil Reed (Ronin Arts). It was published as a standalone game but is so small, it’s printed on a CD sleeve insert. Despite this, it does include rules with full character creation, and a setting with locations, NPCs, and plots! I reviewed it nearly a decade ago, check it out for link to actual play reports too.
The first game to use the vsM Engine was vs. Monsters, created as a 24-hour RPG and still available through Paizo (including the original, free edition and a Deluxe, more detailed version.) In recent years, Fat Goblin Games have released more games using the same engine including vs. Ghosts, vs. Moon Men, vs. Stranger Stuff, and a bevvy of small inexpensive supplements that let you play something similar to the popular Netflix show Stranger Things.
20. What’s an awesome source for out-of-print RPG items?
The best places I know for RPG treasure finds are (1) the used game section at some Friendly Local Gaming Stores such as EndGame in Oakland, and (2) Half Price Books. Although my greatest finds lately have been from nice people in the gaming community looking for a good home to their books when clearing shelf space!
Unknown Armies 3
19. What’s an RPG item that features awesome writing?
Here are three role-playing games I’ve enjoyed reading as much or even more than I have enjoyed playing.
Weapons of the Gods (Eos Press) featured Brad Elliott as primary system writer, and Rebecca Borgstrom (now Jenna Moran) authoring the fiction and setting material. It is one of a very few RPGs containing fiction I enjoyed for its own sake.
Unknown Armies (Atlas Games) is best known for Greg Stolze and (in the first two editions) John Tynes’ snarky, idiosyncratic, witty writing. I have loved every edition and I was honoured to have a small part in helping write the third edition.
Mutants & Masterminds (Green Ronin Publishing) is another that has known three editions, every one of which I loved. I particularly enjoyed Steve Kenson’s sharing of his thorough knowledge of the superhero genre and explaining his reasoning in making design choices so that game-masters can use the same tools. It really helped me realize what I’m looking for in GM advice.
Over the Edge
18. What’s an RPG item you have played a lot in your life?
The game I got the most play from is probably 7th Sea (Alderac Entertainment Games), since that was a regular, reliable campaign that went on for at least four years. It’s the campaign I have most enjoyed playing in my life.
The game that I have been playing the longest and continue to play is Over The Edge (Atlas Games). I have been playing for 23 or 24 years and it’s still a go-to.
17. What’s an RPG item you have owned for a long time but not played?
I have had The Committee for the Exploration of Mysteries (Eric J. Boyd Designs) since it was first released in 2007—ten years and three days, to be exact. I had the perfect group to play this back in Seattle, and I thought it would make a wonderful back-up game to play between our various regular games, whenever nobody had anything ready to run.
Unfortunately, it sat on my shelf for a few months, then I lost my job and we had to move back to California for my new employment, and I never got to play it. It’s not by far the oldest unused item on my shelves, but it’s the one I still want to play!
By the way, even though the original cover is not my cup of tea at all (ha-ha), the inside layout is excellent. A Jubilee Edition was released later and is still available; I liked that cover better.
16. What is an awesome RPG you enjoy using as-is?
That’s a tricky question, since some games are meant to be tinkered with—all those “universal” systems from Hero to Fate Core, from GURPS to Savage Worlds, etc.. So if I say West End Games’ Masterbook, am I cheating? Although it’s a complex system, evolved from the original TORG and its follow-up Shatterzone, I really like the way it works. In all three games, I’m a big fan of the Master Deck/Drama Deck.
15. What is an awesome RPG you enjoy adapting?
Ah well, I keep mentioning these names but in terms of flexibility, my favourite systems are Fate Accelerated (Evil Hat Productions), HeroQuest (Moon Design/Issaries/Chaosium) and PDQ (Atomic Sock Monkey Press). They are easy to adapt, easy to explain, and easy to run.