RPG a Day: Anticipation

31. What’s an awesome thing you anticipate for gaming in 2018?

I usually have no idea what’s going to be most amazing in gaming that year until I stumble on it. That’s OK, I enjoy the surprise. But even as I realize that the best part of my gaming experiences will continue to surprise me, there are a few things I look forward to.

First, a passel of projects I’m managing for Evil Hat Productions will likely hit the shelves in 2018 (fingers crossed.) I have high hopes for several of the new Fate Toolkits, and a few gems I can’t wait for you to see.

Second, I really look forward to Cam Banks’ Cortex Prime (Magic Vacuum Design Studio). I especially hope that it will have tools to lighten the game-master’s load and make it easier to improvise in response to players’ actions.

Finally, I have been keeping an eye on Nahual, Miguel Angel Espinoza and Edgar Clément’s upcoming game Powered by the Apocalypse. Nahual is a Mexican role-playing game set on the universe created by comic book artist Clément, started in the graphic novel Operación Bolivar. I really hope we can see its release in 2018.

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RPG a Day: Mashups

30. What is an RPG genre-mashup you really enjoyed?

Today’s question was “What is an RPG genre-mashup you would most like to see?” but I rephrased it to my liking so I would have an excuse to mention a few of my favourites.

  • Godlike (Hobgoblynn Press): World War II + gritty superheroes.
  • Motobushido (Alliterated Games): Post-apocalyptic biker gangs + ronin code of honour.
  • Roma Imperious (HinterWelt Enterprises): Victorious Roman Empire + magic.
  • Threadbare RPG (Stephanie Bryant): Toys + punk aesthetics + brokenness.
  • TORG: All the genres, colliding.
  • X-Crawl (Pandahead Publishing/Goodman Games): Dungeon-crawling as a televised extreme sporting event.

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Big Bad Con games – Expanded

An updated version of my game offerings for Big Bad Con, October 13-15. Let’s see if you can guess what my theme is…

Scheduled Events

Alas for the Awful Sea

A role-playing game created by Australians Hayley Gordon and Veronica Hendro at Storybrewers Roleplaying, thanks to a successful Kickstarter funding campaign.

The premise: It’s the 19th century and unnatural storms forced your vessel to seek refuge in a poor, troubled little coastal town. Expect intrigue, desperation, betrayal, and supernatural mysteries. The game system is a mean, unforgiving, stripped-down Powered by the Apocalypse.

You can see my game blurb in the schedule  here.

Tortuga 1667

Another successful Kickstarter baby, a card/board game created by Travis and Holly Hancock at Facade Games.

The premise: Two pirate ships, one Spanish galleon, and Tortuga Island between them. Treasure, mutineers, and divided loyalties. Up to nine players vie for the gold amid shifting alliances and tides in this social deduction game.

You can see my game blurb in the schedule here.

Salem 1692

Another social deduction card game from Travis and Holly Hancock at Facade Games. Because the Tortuga 1667 Kickstarter campaign was so successful, Facade games was able to launch a new printing of this game that has already been a success in the last couple of years.

The premise: Up to 12 people play witch hunters and inhabitants of Salem, Massachusetts, who must find the witches before being accused themselves! Much fun, paranoia, and religious extremism will be had by all.

You can see my game blurb in the schedule here.

Games On Demand

To the Temple of Doom! To Defeat the Ancient Evil!

A no-prep, mini-roleplaying game by Hayley Gordon and Veronica Hendro at Storybrewers Roleplaying, which they offer free for download.

I submitted this as part of the line-up I want to offer at Games on Demand. Participating game-masters each offer a choice of two or more games for walk-in players, typically run in two-hour time blocks.

The premise: Play archaeologists portrayed in the vein of action movies like the Indiana  Jones series, The Mummy, etc. An ancient evil stirs, waking deep within the bowels of an untouched temple.  An evil that will end the world as we know it. Only you and your fellow archeologists can examine the clues, unravel the mysteries, and uncover the method to subdue this terrible threat.  It’s reportedly very rare to finish a game without a few characters dead or at least cursed…

Loose Threads: A Fate World of Adventure

A lovely adventure for Fate Core by Tara Zuber, published by Evil Hat Productions. I was lucky enough to try it when Tara playtested it and I greatly enjoyed it. Now I’m offering it for Games on Demand.

The premise: You play a secondary character from a fairy tale, one that was forgotten by the heroes of the tale but has since managed to make a life for themselves helping others avoid being the collateral damage of a happy ending.  You and the rest of your Company break curses, retrieve stolen keepsakes and lost children, and chase ogres away.

The Quiet Year

A meditative, map-based story game by Avery Alder (Buried Without Ceremony).

The premise: You define the struggles of a post-apocalyptic community, and attempt to build something good within their quiet year. Every decision and every action is set against a backdrop of dwindling time and rising concern.

The game is played using a deck of cards – each of the 52 cards corresponds to a week during the quiet year. Each card triggers certain events – bringing bad news, good omens, project delays and sudden changes in luck. At the end of the quiet year, the Frost Shepherds will come, ending the game.

At the Stroke of Midnight

In 2015, Meguey created a series of eight seasonal wishing and fortune-telling games to see her patrons through the year; this was the final game in the series. It seems like a good subject for October!

The premise: The sun sinks in the sky, bringing long shadows and a wisp of cool air. In a handful of hours it will be midnight. The veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is growing thinner with each passing moment. At midnight it will open, and those who are able to stand unshaken before the Beloved Dead will be allowed a boon. You and your friends set out for the graveyard, each eager to meet the Beloved Dead and ask a favor from those who have gone before.

The game is played with dice and looking for patterns, Yahtzee-style, that will allow you to influence the story.

 

 

RPG a Day: Kickstarters

29. What’s an RPG Kickstarter you have backed that was very well run?

Uh, I don’t know how qualified I am to say when a Kickstarter campaign is well run or not. After a few bad experiences at the beginning, most of the campaigns I have backed have delivered the products they promised. KS saw fit to label me a “super backer”, which clearly means that I spend too much on new games, so I’m guessing that as long as backers pay a little attention to what they sign up for, they will rarely be disappointed.

That said, yes, Evil Hat Productions has been the tightest, promptest to deliver on my list. Atlas Games, Vigilance Press, Modiphius, Pelgrane Press, Green Ronin Publishing, and Magpie Games have also run solid campaigns and fully delivered on promises.

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RPG a Day: Treasure

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.

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RPG a Day: Beautiful Inside

12. Which RPG item has awesomely inspiring interior art?

I love good RPG art, but I know my tastes aren’t necessarily those of the majority of gamers. For example, I prefer pencil or ink line art and sketches to painterly renderings, and watercolours to airbrush work. But let me pick a few recent examples of interior art I love. To even out the playing field, I will exclude games based on licensed properties. To narrow that field, I will also select from recently published games, and I will pick items that I feel have been underappreciated.

Atlantis: The Second Age (Khepera Publishing)

Continue reading “RPG a Day: Beautiful Inside”

RPG a Day: Two Hours!

8. What is a good RPG to play for sessions of 2 hours or less?

[Wherein I give up on picking a single option.]

If you’re going to plan on a 2-hour game, you had better use a streamlined system with rapid character creation. Systems that are well-suited include Fate Accelerated, The Shadow of Yesterday, PDQ, Wushu, Over The Edge, etc.

Continue reading “RPG a Day: Two Hours!”

RPG a Day: Sweeps Week

6. You can game every day for a week. Describe what you’d do!

I used to game five days a week on a regular basis. In the mid-1990s, when I had just arrived in the San Francisco Bay Area, and busy making new friends, I played AD&D, Hero/Champions, Vampire: The Masquerade, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, and pretty much anything my new friends would run for a one-off; and I ran Mage: The Ascension.

Continue reading “RPG a Day: Sweeps Week”

RPG a Day: Judging a Book by its Cover

5. What’s an RPG item cover that awesomely captures the spirit of the game?

Today’s question is another toughie. A lot of roleplaying games have excellent, imagination-grabbing covers that really convey the feel of the game. To name a few from the top of my head: Castle Falkenstein (R. Talsorian Games), Burning Empires (Burning Wheel Headquarters), Young Centurions (Evil Hat Productions), Blue Rose (Green Ronin Publishing), Hollow Earth Expedition (Exile Studio), Xcrawl (Pandahead Productions/Goodman Games), Deadlands (pretty much any edition—Pinnacle Entertainment Group), etc.

However, I have to select Tianxia: Blood, Silk & Jade (Vigilance Press), with a cover so delightful that it convinced me back in 2013 to change my Kickstarter pledge from PDF-only to hardcover. This cover turned out to be very truthful to the play experience, which in turn was so much fun that I ended up writing for this game line.

Why do I think it best captures the spirit of the game? Because it shows two very different characters, both very true to the wuxia genre; because it is explosively dynamic; because it is structure around a taijitu (yin-yang symbol), representing a balance which really does infuse the game; and because it really makes me want to play these characters.  Continue reading “RPG a Day: Judging a Book by its Cover”

RPG a Day: I’d love to see…

2. What’s an RPG item you would love to see published?

Eh, I tend to adapt systems and settings to my needs. It’s relatively easy for publishers to wow me with ideas I had not thought of, or with high-quality implementations, but if I thought of a game I really wanted to play, I probably already scribbled a homebrew.

That said, I would love to see a well-done, attractive, crunchy-but-not-too-crunchy, not-too-many-splatbooks game for the setting of The Expanse, and near-future mostly-realistic space exploration, etc. Fortunately, the Fate Space Toolkit will be released next year… 🙂

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