Monthly Archives: August 2017

Yesterday, Super Games Week featured Steve Kenson’s exceptionally light-and-fun ICONSToday, we take a look at the other end of the spectrum, the very expansive and complete Mutants & Masterminds Deluxe (3rd Edition) rules. Considerably more complex, M&M is founded on a d20-oriented engine, but it diverges considerably from the standard OGL experience. Fans love the enormous flexibility, and the “saving throw” orientation of the resolution system is novel and effective.

This is arguably the top superhero game in the marketplace, or at least one of them.

Fly into super-heroic battle with Mutants & Masterminds! You and your friends take on the roles of super-powered heroes in a world of criminal masterminds, paranormal terrorists, destructive brutes, and other insidious villains. You get to thwart their evil plans and bring them to justice!

Since 2002, Mutants & Masterminds has earned its title as the World’s Greatest Superhero RPG, inspiring countless game sessions and winning many awards for excellence. The Deluxe Hero’s Handbook is the revised and expanded core rulebook of the game’s Third Edition and it gives you everything you need to have your own super-heroic adventures:

  • A flexible and powerful system for creating the hero that you want to play.
  • A huge variety of super powers, skills, and advantages to choose from and customize.
  • A core system that emphasizes action and uses only a single 20-sided die.
  • Integrated rules for gadgets, vehicles, and headquarters.
  • Ready-to-play archetypes and a Quickstart Character Generator if you want to get to the action even faster.
  • Advice for Gamemasters on creating and running your own adventure series.
  • Introductions to Mutants & MasterMinds premier settings, Emerald City and Freedom City.
  • Two brand new adventures, Ghost Town by Seth Johnson and Time of the Apes by Christopher McGlothlin.

So what are you waiting for? Choose your powers. Put on your mask. Fight the forces of evil and… Save the world!

Sean Patrick Fannon
Writer & Game Designer: Shaintar, Star Wars, Savage Rifts, much more
Please check out my Patreon and get involved directly with my next projects!

Arguably one of the easiest-yet-most-satisfying superhero games ever created, ICONS is Steve Kenson’s love-letter to the original Marvel Superheroeswith just a dash of FATE-ish influence to dig into the 21st-Century style of gaming. This is our Pick for today’s Super Games Week!

Those looking for deep character-building experiences won’t find that here (instead, look to tomorrow’s Pick, Mutants & Masterminds, also by the incomparable Mr. Kenson), but for fun (and random) characters in a quick-and-easy superpowered bash of a game, you cannot go wrong here.

 

It’s time to be a hero!

Icons is a tabletop game of superhero adventure, creating exciting stories of the imagination with your friends, based around the heroes you create. The Assembled Edition of the game features:

  • Quick Hero Creation! A few die rolls are all it takes to create your hero, giving you the spark for your imagination to bring it all together. Describe character abilities on a numerical scale, or use adjectives like “Great” and “Amazing,” as best suits your style and situation.
  • Flexible System! Just a few basic game mechanics resolve in-game actions, but they expand to cover a wide range of options, making Icons easy to learn, but broad enough to keep things interesting.
  • Heroic Determination! Bring the qualities of your heroes into play to gain advantages or perform amazing stunts, or to create trouble, from personal drama to weaknesses, in order to make your hero even more determined to save the day!
  • Universe Creation! Collaborate to create your own comic book universe and play out the stories of the different heroes in it.

Icons is your all-in-one package for superhero roleplaying adventure: quick, easy, descriptive, and fun!

Steve Kenson, designer of the best-selling Mutants & Masterminds delivers a superpowered role-playing game inspired by the fast-playing old-school games and the new generation of narrative role-play! Within its pages are complete rules for character creation, abilities and powers, random adventure generation, a rogue’s gallery of villains, and all the superheroic action you can handle!

Sean Patrick Fannon
Writer & Game Designer: Shaintar, Star Wars, Savage Rifts, much more
Please check out my Patreon and get involved directly with my next projects!

 

Super Games Week flies on even as we begin to gather for Gen Con 50. One of the great wargame companies in gaming history, Avalon Hill, lives on with more RPG offerings here in the 21st Century. This includes their take on d20-driven superhero gaming, and they’ve adapted their popular OGL/Pathfinder-driven Heroes Wear Masks game to the 5th Edition of D&D.

Dungeons & Dragons has always been a game about bravery and heroism, an adventurer fighting to survive in a world beset by magic and evil. It’s a very short trip from there to the world of superheroes.

D&D games and superhero fiction have a lot in common. They are both tales of powerful, extraordinary individuals, some heroic, some definitely not, who go out and have adventures. Saving a town from being destroyed by a rampaging monster works equally well as a Dungeons & Dragons sessions or an issue of a comic book. The core experiences fundamentally click.

The original Heroes Wear Masks sought to bring superheroes to Pathfinder.

This version gives the same treatment to Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition.

If you are familiar with Fifth Edition, you will recognize most of the rules. If you are familiar with superheroes, you will be familiar with most of the setting. If you are familiar with both, you will be right at home here. 

A metropolis strains under the weight of crime. The police are helpless against a new breed of costumed super-being. The city cries out for heroes.

Will you answer the call, or help burn it to the ground?

Sean Patrick Fannon
Writer & Game Designer: Shaintar, Star Wars, Savage Rifts, much more
Please check out my Patreon and get involved directly with my next projects!

Bear with me, this will make sense in a minute…

It’s Gen Con, many, many years ago. It’s in Milwaukee still, which should tell you something. It’s early 90s, though I just can’t remember the specific year (I am terrible with that kind of thing, always remembering experiences, never really dates).

It’s my first Gen Con, though, and it’s alongside some of the most amazing people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with – Steve Peterson, George MacDonald, Ray Greer, Bruce Harlick, and Rob Bell among them. I’ve just fully launched my career as a writer and game designer in the tabletop RPG industry, you see, and this was my chance to be at the Big Show with those who took a chance on me with a couple of books – High Tech Enemies and Champions Universe, in specific.

This was also the era of “The Big Blue Book,” the George Perez-covered Champions 4th Edition. I will forever have a permanent place, center-stage, in my heart-of-hearts for this game, and especially this edition (which, for me, will always remain the best version of the penultimate* superhero game of our hobby).

Thus, for me, Gen Con 50 represents Super Games Week! Five core superhero games, representing this incredible RPG genre that launched my career.

(*) – Yes, I have a thoroughly biased reason for saying it that way, which will become very clear in the months to come (unless you’re already following my Patreon).

Champions is simply the best super role-playing game ever created. It gives you complete control over every aspect of your superhero and your world. Champions is all that is needed to bring the four-color heroics of comic books to life. This contains the award winning HERO system rules, The Champions source book, as well as Campaign Book: everything necessary for instant heroic super team!

Sean Patrick Fannon
Writer & Game Designer: Shaintar, Star Wars, Savage Rifts, much more
Please check out my Patreon and get involved directly with my next projects!

It seems only fitting to close out Fun With 5th Edition week with the latest release for Adventures in Middle-earth. The ultimate (and, dare I say, inevitable) marriage between D&D and one of its most influential inspirations is a rather exceptional example of bonding game to setting in a beautiful and effective way. This product represents an easy-access adventure, a number of ready-to-play characters, some lovely optional rules for a couple of the classes, and a set of pages that will make the Loremaster’s job significantly easier.

The Eaves of Mirkwood and Loremaster’s Screen is an invaluable accessory pack for the Loremaster, aimed to introduce players to Adventures in Middle-earth.

It contains: 

• The Eaves of Mirkwood: a 32-page adventure that makes a perfect introduction to Adventures in Middle-earth for new players, or a handy episode to drop into your existing campaign. The Company finds themselves setting out from Woodmen-town to travel through the Eaves of Mirkwood towards Lake-town. When the Journey goes awry they must draw swords in aid of a village beleaguered by the dreaded Greymuzzle Hob. Using cut down rules and offering lots of advice, Eaves of Mirkwood is a great starting point for your Adventures in Middle-earth. 

• The PDF version of the beautiful and functional four panel, heavyweight Loremaster’s Screen, featuring a collection of handy reference tables, broken into pages for the PDF, to keep your games flowing seamlessly on the other.

• Six pre-generated characters in a separate file. 

• A 2 page PDF file of suggested optional rules for the Warden and Scholar classes.

What you’ll need to play The Eaves of Mirkwood

• The 5e rules – these are available free online – or the hard copy player’s rules. 

• It would be extremely helpful to have access to the Adventures in Middle-earth Player’s Guide and Loremaster’s Guide. But Eaves of Mirkwood can be run without them.

• A passing knowledge of Middle-earth. You don’t need to be an expert, nor do the players. If you’ve seen the movies that will serve you well. If you’ve read the books so much the better. The more you know of  Middle-earth the more of its special atmosphere you can impart, but you do not need to be an expert.

About Adventures in Middle-earth

At last, you can officially play the world’s favourite RPG in Middle-earth! Offering Middle-earth specific classes, cultures and backgrounds, as well as new rules for Journeys, Audiences, Scenery in Combat, Corruption, and unique Middle-earth adversaries, Adventures in Middle-earth has been both a huge popular and critical success. With gorgeous artwork, and an adaptation that’s as faithful to the source material as it is possible to be, Adventures in Middle-earth is simply a must have purchase for 5e gamers.

Sean Patrick Fannon
Writer & Game Designer: Shaintar, Star Wars, Savage Rifts, much more
Please check out my Patreon and get involved directly with my next projects!

We continue the Fun With 5th Edition Week with this gem from Fat Goblin Games. A compilation of Ismael Alvarez’s Sidebar columns dealing with enhanced versions of 5e mundane gear and its use, this also adds a bunch of new stuff to make it a fantastic supplement to any current-version D&D game.

Ismael Alvarez’ fantastic Sidebar columns explored the power and creativity of mundane 5th edition equipment. First there were weapons, then he talked about armor and finally equipment! Now those Sidebar’s have been compiled and enhanced in one complete volume! What do we mean when we say Amazing Weapons, Armor, and Equipment?

  • Mundane armors with qualities like Basher, Durable, Nimble, and more!
  • Quality Weapons that allow for Fine Edge, Protecting, Opportunistic, and Quick effects!
  • Quality Equipment that adds bonuses and other enhancements to your kits, packs, and packages!
  • Weapons Charms which give slightly magical properties to your weapons!

And much more!

Sean Patrick Fannon
Writer & Game Designer: Shaintar, Star Wars, Savage Rifts, much more
Please check out my Patreon and get involved directly with my next projects!

Two of the excellent people I met at Albert Deschesne’s memorial were “Fritters” Tays and Martin Tays. Martin is an aspiring author with a new book coming out August 19th, and everything I’ve seen so far is very impressive. A fun, humorous science fiction romp, and I think folks are really going to enjoy helping help Martin kick is writing career into high gear.

To find out more, listen in on his interview on Krypton Radio’s Event Horizon this Saturday and Sunday at 4pm (Pacific). The interview will be available later as a podcast.

Seriously, I’ve had some fantastic conversations with this guy, and I think he’s going to impress you all!

It’s been almost 500 years since humanity first ventured into space, hopeful and eager to explore, to discover, to find alien civilizations and friends.

There was just one problem.

After exploring 22 star systems, we had found no other life. Not no other intelligent life, but no other life at all. Period. Eventually exploration just… stopped, because humans had more than enough room and not near enough hope.

And then one day there was a signal, one no one chose to believe was real. No one except one hopeful, sarcastic and professionally drunken 487 year old ex-spacer. He, his 42 year old girlfriend, and a group of friends too young to have given up on that hope, set out to steal a mothballed spaceship and go find the source.

Humor, intrigue, romance, inter-species warfare, and one hundred and twenty five thousand, three hundred and fourteen pair of shoes ensue.

And the universe, for humans, will change forever.

Sean Patrick Fannon
Writer & Game Designer: Shaintar, Star Wars, Savage Rifts, much more
Please check out my Patreon and get involved directly with my next projects!

Today’s Fun With 5th Edition Pick takes the latest version of the “World’s Most Popular Roleplaying Game” into the stars in action-cinema style. It’s one of the most popular 5e-driven products on DriveThruRPG, so well worth a look for anyone who wants to see what the game looks like in a galaxy far, far away where no one has gone before.

Adventure at hyperspeed, smirking at the authorities along the way. Tramp around a hostile galaxy in a starship held together with spit and pluck. You’re a motley crew of misfits, gathered by chance, venting your frustrations through witty barbs and alien howls.  

Strap in, kid. We’re gunna burn across the sky ‘til the stars become lines.

HYPERLANES is the gaming technology that takes you there. We begin with all new Classes and Archetypes, reverse engineered from the basic building blocks of the D&D Player’s Handbook, but reprogrammed for scifi adventuring among the stars, integrating starship battle abilities from the ground up. We splice in all new Feats for cinematic action, systems for building alien species and robot chassis as Races, and iconic Backgrounds to add dimensionality to your spacer. 

We don’t stop there.  

We hook up a hard hitting chapter on armor clad soldiers, fringe-planet crime lords, and monstrous alien threats. We install a honed system for enabling memorable space battles, designed to send a chill up your spine as you blast hostile spacecraft out of the starry sky. We bury you in “magical items” recast as scientific marvels and scavenged technology from forgotten civilizations.  

HYPERLANES is a humming engine of science fiction action and it’s what you need to adapt your favorite star spanning adventure setting to your living room cockpit. We take inspiration from such classics as Star Wars, Firefly, Cowboy Bebop, and Guardians of the Galaxy. We’re pretty sure this is the action scifi supplement you’ve been looking for.

This book was Kickstarted in December 2016 and we are happy to report that it successfully funded at over $40,000. Stretch goals from such an amazing total allowed us to hire on additional writers and artists and really make this book something memorable.

Thankyou to all our wonderful backers.

Sean Patrick Fannon
Writer & Game Designer: Shaintar, Star Wars, Savage Rifts, much more
Please check out my Patreon and get involved directly with my next projects!

Sincerest apologies for missing the Pick yesterday; I am back to giving platelets at the local center every two weeks, and it took way more out of me than I anticipated. “Backdating” this as yesterday’s Pick to make up for it.

Fun With 5th Edition Week continues with a powerful Pick from the Dungeon Masters Guild, a very high level adventure set in the Forgotten Realms with some solid reviews attached to it.

How many times have you started a campaign and it dissolved before you reached the top tier? How many builds have you made, all of them assuming reaching level 20, but you have never managed to try them out? Put your regular campaign on hold and see what happens when PCs reach level 20!

“Finders Keepers” is an epic Dungeons and Dragons adventure, set in Forgotten Realms and beyond. The stakes are high: the location of one of the legendary Books of Keeping has been discovered, and now various powers of the universe vie for control over that power… Devils, demons and fallen angels; the mighty shall fall and who is going to be left smelling the ashes?

The adventure starts with a fight with an ancient red dragon. Then things escalate and your players will have their 20th level spells, powers, and skills tested! Battle the game’s most powerful beings, visit distant planes and make world-shaping decisions! The fate of Toril is in their hands…

With this purchase you will get:

  • 15-25 hours of gameplay
  • Custom made art
  • Map of Phlan by Elven Tower
  • 3 custom made maps, each provided in grid/no-grid, for players/for DM versions
  • Set of 11 pre-generated 20th level Player Characters*
  • A 10-page article about the process of making “Finders Keepers”

* (These are just stats, to spare you the headache of making builds etc.! I’m sure your players will love to create backgrounds for them, make up the heroic deeds their PCs performed on their way to level 20, after all: that’s what roleplaying is about!)

Sean Patrick Fannon
Writer & Game Designer: Shaintar, Star Wars, Savage Rifts, much more
Please check out my Patreon and get involved directly with my next projects!

The release of the “Internet famous” Matthew Mercer‘s Tal’Dorei campaign – the setting featured on his Critical Role vidcast – inspired my choice for the theme of this week:

Fun With 5th Edition!

Critical Role has taken the roleplaying world by storm. Now, you can join the adventure!

Until now, the wondrous and dangerous lands of Tal’Dorei have been the sole stomping grounds of the show’s adventuring company, Vox Machina. But now, you can explore these realms in a tome from the pen of Game Master Matt Mercer himself!

Will you find one of the revered Vestiges of Divergence or perhaps discover part of the Chroma Conclave’s legacy? Can you help the Ashari in their sacred charge to prevent the elemental vortices from overwhelming the world, or will you find yourself embroiled in the machinations of the Clasp?

This setting book takes an in-depth look at the history, people, and places of Tal’Dorei, and includes new backgrounds, magic items, and monsters for the Fifth Edition rules.

Sean Patrick Fannon
Writer & Game Designer: Shaintar, Star Wars, Savage Rifts, much more
Please check out my Patreon and get involved directly with my next projects!