Monthly Archives: June 2015

My fascination with card-driven RPG mechanics continues to grow, and I am really glad to see these decks supplied as very useful accessories for this interesting game from Skirmisher.

Skirmisher Publishing LLC is pleased to announce the release of eight custom decks of cards for use with the Cards & Quests fantasy role-playing game! 

In Cards & Quest, conflict, magic, and skills can all be resolved using a standard deck of 52 poker cards in a system that is intuitive, fun, and simple and which presents an enjoyable combination of chance and strategy. Each of the custom decks has printed on it for quick reference and seamless game play the Combat Actions available to characters affiliated with one of eight elements, Earth, Fire, Heaven, Lake, Mountain, Thunder, Water, and Wind.

For everyone who’s been wanting a properly fairy-tale-themed adventure for their d20 rolling time, this one may just well be your Huckleberry.

Mirror, mirror on the wall…

Before you is a dark forest with trees rising as much as a hundred feet into the air. Foreboding and sorrow seem to emanate from within. Occasionally, shadowy creatures are glimpsed moving among the trees. Slow, plaintive howls echo among the dark branches as a cool wind begins to blow, as if whispering barely discernable words…

“She has returned. She has returned. She has returned.”

Shadows of the Dusk Queen is a Pathfinder Roleplaying Game compatible adventure for 8th-level characters that takes players deep into a forest out of a dark fairy tale, where a long-imprisoned fey queen has returned – and evil creatures are stirring.

Featuring full-color art by Brian Syme, Shadows of the Dusk Queen is great for groups who love dark fantasy adventure, or for GMs looking to shake things up by bringing a little fear to the table.

The whispers are getting louder. Do you dare take the forest path, and learn the secrets of the Dusk Queen?

Talk about your immersion! Globally-revered game designer and wargame enthusiast, Green Ronin’s own Chris Pramas, brings you a look at orc military structure and warfare in a way that lets you totally suspend disbelief and really get into the nitty-gritty of this ubiquitous fantasy race. Orc Warfare is not a game manual, but a treatise that reads like a historian’s colorful review and analysis.

Born and bred for war, orcs are a nasty, brutish, violent race and, despite their propensity for infighting and backstabbing, their horde armies remain a dire threat to all races.

This book compiles all of the information known about these vicious killers and how they practice war. From an initial examination of the fighting methods of the individual orc warrior, it expands to look at how they do battle in both small warbands and in vast armies.

It covers all of their forces from lightly armed archers and heavily armored shock troops to their wolf cavalry and siege engines, making note of regional variations and highly specialized fighters such as berserkers and charioteers.

Also covered are the various allied contingents that often march to war with orcs such as trolls and human mercenaries. Finally, the book examines a few specific battles in great detail in order to fully demonstrate the orc way of war.

The World of Darkness remains a very rich territory to explore, and this latest book in the V20 line brings a lot of character – literally – to the mix.

There are some threats that transcend a local Prince’s domain and become enemies of every Kindred in the Camarilla. These Anathema become targets of a global Blood Hunt for their crimes. Not just political enemies, the monsters on the Red List have been named enemies of the entire Camarilla by the Justicars.

Dread Names, Red List explores the Camarilla’s “Most Wanted” List, naming those deemed most dangerous by the Justicars and their chosen deputies, the Alastors. Included are details on the Anathema that occupy the Red List, as well as details on those who hunt them. Storytellers are also given a toolkit for running Alastor-focused chronicles.

Dread Names, Red List includes:

  • An in depth look at the 13 beings named Anathema by the Camarilla’s Justicars.
  • A history of the Red List from the earliest nights of the Sect to the present.
  • Advice on creating Alastor characters and running Alastor Chronicles.
  • New systems including the Path of Evil Revelations and Dark Thaumaturgy Rituals.

It’s time to get all celestial in your Pathfinder game! Blow the trumpet, take to the skies, and bring on the wrath!

In the Company of Angels

Not a half-celestial, not a plane-touched aasimar, but an ANGEL!

The Grigori, servants of the Heavens, are a race blessed by providence and heavenly gifts and, while immortal, they love the mortal races. They are a race that cares for the fate of every soul, but who don’t necessarily care about saving your life. They can become astral deva, bralani, ghaele, hound archons, lantern archons, lilends, planetars, solars, trumpet archons and so much more, yet many are in exile from Heaven searching for atonement.

Create the angel you want to play in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. This product includes the new celestial race the grigori, racial traits, alternate racial traits, favored class bonuses, the paragon racial class, along with archon and azata archetypes, as well as celestial feats, all so you can play angels alongside any other player character in any high fantasy campaign setting.

I am proud to have my name in this one, a rather masterful treatment of transhumanist science fiction for Savage Worlds. This is the Augmented PDF version, something creator Mike McConnell is an expert with. It makes the document very optimized for digital use.

This is a special PDF version of Nova Praxis: Savage Worlds Edition. It is not just a fully bookmarked and linked PDF version of the book. The Augmented PDF has gone through an entirely separate layout process, developed from the ground up to run on widescreen laptop screens and tablets. 

The Augmented PDF also features a built in form-fillable character sheet, and a number of navigational aids that allow you to reference the PDF far faster than using bookmarks or text searches.

Nova Praxis is a post-singularity sci-fi setting that explores transhumanism and post-scarcity societies against a backdrop of action, adventure, conspiracy, and intrigue.

Nova Praxis is…

…a tabletop role-playing game featuring the Savage Worlds Role-Playing Game System, tailored specifically for Nova Praxis.

…compatible with, but does not require, the Savage Worlds Science Fiction Companion.

…a relatively “hard sci-fi” setting that takes place during the aftermath of a short-lived technological singularity.

…an exploration of the tropes of transhuman sci-fi: mind uploading, resleeving, artificial intelligence, and augmentation.

…an exploration of the societal impacts of a reputation-based post-scarcity economy.

…a game in which players play characters who slip between the cracks of civilization and perform jobs their patrons would rather keep off the books.

…a setting full of conflict. The Houses wage a secret Shadow War against each other, purist and transhuman ideologies clash violently, and apostates rebel against the oppression of the Coalition government.

…home to railguns, powered armor, starships, security drones, bipedal combat frames, swarms of nanomachines, kill-sats, and the horrors of accelerated evolution gone wrong.

We open this week with something oddly wonderful from Japan, a game designed as a gateway into RPGs that invites folks of all ages to enjoy story and wonder in ways very new to the average gamer, I think.

Ryuutama is an RPG developed in Japan by designer Atsuhiro Okada. It is set in a world where the “NPCs” of the village–the bakers, farmers, shopkeepers and healers–set off on a wonderful adventure exploring a fantasy world together. Some people colloquially call it “Hayao Miyazaki’s Oregon Trail“, because of its heartwarming (in Japanese “honobono“) feel of family anime, and its focus on traveling and wonder over combat and treasure.

The characters are travelers in a world without classical fantasy wizards and warriors. Instead, the characters are minstrels, merchants, healers, hunters, artisans, farmers and nobles who decide (or were fated) to leave their towns and explore the world. Using a light rules system based on polyhedral dice where the randomness in results leads to more story development, Ryuutama provides a framework for travel-focused stories fun for adults and enjoyable for all ages. 

The game master also creates a special character with its own unique character sheet, called the “Ryuujin“. The half-dragon Ryuujin remains “offscreen” most of the time, but watches over the other characters, and can provide limited spells and abilies to support them. The GM provides adversity that the players have to overcome, but at the same time they protect and nurture the characters.

  • Experience is gained in Ryuutama primarily by making difficult journeys to new places, far more than monster slaying.
  • Magic is based on seasonal essenses, and focuses on the classic creative use of magic to overcome problems, over combat-themed spells.
  • Combat is simple and fun, featuring a classic console style “Front/Back Line Battle Mat”
  • The players at the table have a hand in creating the towns that their characters visit together, so that everyone has an interest in the next leg of the journel!
  • Critical fumbles (rolling 1s on both dice) hurt, but all the characters at the table get a bonus to a future roll in return.

The game was produced as a flagship project in Japan to easily get people into playing and GMing RPGs; to that end there’s a lot of advice for brand new GMs, including scenario creation. There are lots of sheets and templates to help brand new or novice GMs develop great Ryuutama-worthy scenarios.

Let’s end the week with some D&D action. Specifically, that amazing world that truly speaks to the Dragon part of the Grand Old Game.

The mortal races of Krynn can see the presence of the gods by simply turning their gaze to the night sky. There the constellations of the gods of good, evil, and balance wheel about in silent struggle to influence their children who live and die on the world below. The gods have blessed the world with miracles of healing and salvation, but so also have they inflicted war and terrible cataclysms.

Clerics, holy warriors, and people of strong belief serve the gods, working to bring about the aims and ends given to them through prayer and meditation. They wield the divine powers of true healing and magic, and most will live and die for their cause. Powerful champions wield holy artifacts, some created by the gods themselves.

Holy Orders of the Stars is a resource for games set in the world of DRAGONLANCE. Contained within these pages are resources for players, including information on the gods and the races of Krynn, new prestige classes, spells, and magical items. Detailed descriptions of the churches of all of Krynn’s gods are present, including the “lost” gods, Paladine and Takhisis. Dungeon Masters will discover resources on the gods and their aims, including their various aspects—ideal for incorporating divine forces into an ongoing campaign. All information within this volume is fully compatible with the revised edition of the d20 System game.

Hollow Earth Expedition fans have a new reason to rejoice, as the adventures of this outstanding pulp setting take to the stars and bring the action to the fantastic surface of Mars. Discover the Revelations of Mars!

This sourcebook expands Hollow Earth Expedition to include Mars, a dying and dangerous planet filled with strange aliens, bizarre creatures, and vast, inhospitable wastelands. Fight for survival or vie for supremacy as a marauding sky pirate, powerful robot bodyguard, or conniving Martian noble. Experience Hollow Earth Expedition from an outside perspective—one that wields powerful weapons and hungers for earthly treasures as much as any terrestrial power.

Inside you will find everything you need to run out-of-this-world adventures or give your existing Hollow Earth games a bizarre twist: guidelines for creating robot and alien player characters; new and expanded psychic powers; an unearthly bestiary and equipment list; and details on strange Martian inhabitants and extraterrestrial locations. Hollow Earth Expedition: Discover a whole new world of adventure!

I am truly grateful to my Belovedest, Carinn Seabolt (Editor-in-Chief and Shaintar Lead Developer, Evil Beagle Games) for covering the Picks for me for the last couple of days. Expect to see that again in the future, as I have a crazy travel schedule developing.

But I am back, and I have a huge one to share today. As we continue seeing reboots and call-backs to some of the great settings of old, updated to new mechanics and new ways of thinking, the long-awaited Metamorphosis Alpha is finally available to you all.

It was the very first science fiction RPG ever published, created by James M. Ward and released by TSR. He’s teamed up with Jamie Chambers to bring it back to the gaming world with a new system and new sensibilities.

A human barbarian cuts through enemies with her sharp blade. A blue-skinned man uses the power of his mind to confuse and evade. A bipedal leopard teleports behind prey before rending with claw and tooth. A shambling tree ventures beyond its grove, peaceful until provoked. They explore strange lands and face many dangers … until they reach the wall at the end of the world.

Metamorphosis Alpha contains endless possibilities aboard the starship Warden, built as a gigantic generational colony ship filled with all examples of life on Earth, now a derelict “world” filled with malfunction and mutants who no longer realize they are on a ship at all. This book uses the System 26 game rules for fast-paced action and intuitive conflict resolution. Grab pre-made characters or create anything from pure humans to mutant animals and plants! Enjoy the exploration of classic dungeon crawl, the mutant powers of your favorite comics, and the technology of spacefaring science fiction in an exciting mashup as first revealed in the original science fiction roleplaying game first published in 1976. All you need to play is this book, a group of friends, and six-sided dice.