Monthly Archives: December 2017

I’m closing out Best of 2017 Week (and the entire year of 2017) with one of the absolute best-of-best for this and, well, any year. The ENnie Gold winner for Product of the Year and a massively popular/best-selling title, Tales from the Loop is the first and finest of the games to tap into the “Stranger Things” vibe that’s taken hold across popular culture. Grab your flashlight and your bicycle and explore the 80s That Never Were.

Also, don’t miss out on the recent release for this product line, Our Friends the Machines & Other Mysteries.

Winner of five ENnies in 2017 including Best Game, Best Setting, Best Writing and Product of the Year!

“RPG Tales from the Loop lets you channel Stranger Things and ET.”
The Verge

“Tales From The Loop could very well be the RPG phenomenon of 2017.”
Geek & Sundry

The landscape was full of machines and scrap metal connected to the facility in one way or another. Always present on the horizon were the colossal cooling towers, with their green obstruction lights. If you put your ear to the ground, you could hear the heartbeat of the Loop – the purring of the Gravitron, the central piece of engineering magic that was the focus of the Loop’s experiments. The facility was the largest of its kind in the world, and it was said that its forces could bend space-time itself.

Scifi artist Simon Stålenhag’s paintings of Swedish 1980s suburbia, populated by fantastic machines and strange beasts, have won global acclaim. Now, you can step into the amazing world of the Loop.
In this roleplaying game in the vein of E.T. and Stranger Things, you’ll play teenagers solving mysteries connected to the Loop. The game rules are based on Mutant: Year Zero, which was awarded with a Silver ENnie for Best Rules at Gencon 2015. 

Key features:

  • Create your unique player character – including skills, items, prides, problems, and relationships – in mere minutes.
  • Explore the secrets of the Loop in two main game settings – one based on the Swedish Mälaren Islands, the other on Boulder City, Nevada.
  • Investigate mysteries and overcome trouble using fast and effective rules, based on the Mutant: Year Zero game engine.
  • Play the four complete scenarios included, tied together in the campaign named Four Seasons of Mad Science.

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!

Another huge seller and another huge title that fans went nuts over this year, Blades in the Dark combines an enticing concept (criminal crew teamed up to do Bad Guy things and make some money) with innovative mechanics designed specifically around the premise of the game.

This is another Best of 2017 Week selection.

Winner: 2015 Golden Geek, RPG of the Year

Winner: 2016 Indie RPG Award, Game of the Year (also Best Production and Best Support)

Blades in the Dark is a tabletop role-playing game about a crew of daring scoundrels seeking their fortunes on the haunted streets of an industrial-fantasy city. There are heists, chases, occult mysteries, dangerous bargains, bloody skirmishes, and, above all, riches to be had — if you’re bold enough to seize them.

You and your fledgling crew must thrive amidst the threats of rival gangs, powerful noble families, vengeful ghosts, the Bluecoats of the city watch, and the siren song of your scoundrel’s own vices. Will you rise to power in the criminal underworld? What are you willing to do to get to the top?

In this stand-alone game, you’ll find:

  • Rules to create your scoundrel using the following character archetypes: the Cutter, the Hound, the Leech, the Lurk, the Slide, the Spider, or the Whisper.
  • Rules to create your crew, built from types like AssassinsBravos, a CultHawkersShadows, or Smugglers.
  • A robust core mechanic which puts the fiction first—the strength of a character’s position (desperate, risky, or controlled) matters just as much as the character’s ability scores.
  • A lightning-fast mechanic for planning criminal operations to cut through the usual slog of planning at the game table.
  • Rules for alchemical experiments, gadget tinkering, and weird occult powers—including rules for playing Ghosts and other strange beings.
  • A setting guide to the haunted city of Doskvol, with all the maps, factions, NPCs, schemes, and opportunities you need to run an exciting sandbox game.

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!

As we make our way through this holiday week, here’s the Golden ENnie Winner for Best Rules (among many other awards). 7th Sea returned in a huge way in 2017, and fans rewarded John Wick and his team with massive support and adulation. There’s many reasons for that – check it out and see for yourself, if you haven’t already.

7th Sea is a tabletop roleplaying game of swashbuckling and intrigue, exploration and adventure, taking place on the continent of Theah, a land of magic and mystery inspired by our own Europe. Players take the roles of heroes thrown into global conspiracies and sinister plots, exploring ancient ruins of a race long vanished and protecting the rightful kings and queens of Theah from murderous villains.

Save the Queen of Avalon from treacherous blackmail!

Thwart a dastardly assassination attempt on the Cardinal of Castille!

Raid the villainous fleets of Vodacce Merchant Princes!

Free the Prince of the Sarmatian Commonwealth from a mysterious curse!

Make decisions that alter the very course of Thean history!

In 7th Sea, you are a Hero, an icon of Theah ready to live and die for causes that matter. You bravely take on a dozen thugs with swords, knives and guns all on your own. You are the trusted knight, a loyal bodyguard or even an adventuring queen herself.

In other words—you are d’Artagnan, Milady de Winter, the Dread Pirate Roberts, Jack Sparrow, Julie d’Aubigney, and the Scarlet Pimpernel all rolled up in one!

This is a game of high adventure, mystery and action. This is a game of intrigue and romance.

This is 7th Sea

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!

Another massive hit for the year, Star Trek Adventures is the second selection for this Best of 2017 Week. Fans have waited a long time for another RPG to come along that might effectively bring the specific sci-fi experience of Star Trek to the table, and Modiphius seems to be on a serious role when it comes to grabbing major licenses and doing impressive things with them.

“Star Trek Adventures finally corrects the injustice of not having a Star Trek game around at the same time Star Trek Discovery is ripping through TV sets and data streams…. the gaming experience feels exactly like Star Trek. Sit on the commander’s chair, take a deep breath, and engage. Star Trek is not just back; it is here to stay.” RPG.net review

Starfleet Needs A New Crew!

Welcome to your new assignment, Captain. Your continuing mission, to explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before…

Star Trek Adventures takes you to the Final Frontier of the Galaxy, where new discoveries await keen explorers of Starfleet. Your duties may take you to the edges of known space, or to Federation colonies in need, to the borders of neighbouring galactic powers or into the eye of interstellar phenomena. Your ship and your crew epitomise the best Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets has to offer, and you are needed more than ever.

A new threat looms from across the Gamma Quadrant, as it is confirmed by Commander Sisko and his crew that the Dominion, led by the Founders, represent a significant threat to the Alpha Quadrant. Tension is already high in the region of Bajor and Deep Space 9, as the Maquis continue to act against the Cardassian-Federation peace treaty, with Captain Janeway and the crew of the U.S.S. Voyager preparing for their mission in the Badlands. It is a volatile time for the Federation and new crews have never been in higher demand.

• Create your own Star Trek stories of discovery and adventure on the Final Frontier with 368 pages of content in the full colour PDF. 

• The Star Trek Adventures Hardcover Colour Book comes in a full colour edition with black text on a white background exclusive to DTRPG!

• Complete 2d20 game system from Modiphius Entertainment adapted for Star Trek Adventures, used in Mutant Chronicles, Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of, John Carter of Mars and the Infinity RPG.

• An extensive exploration of the United Federation of Planets and its galactic neighbours in the Alpha, Beta and Gamma Quadrants.

• Guidelines for Gamemasters old and new, on how to run an adventure of exploration and discovery for the crew of a Federation starship.

• A full catalogue of aliens and antagonists including Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians, the Borg and the Dominion.

• Brought to you by a team of expert Star Trek writers including writers from previous editions of Star Trek roleplaying games and other gaming talent.

• Personal logs and intercepted communications by Starfleet Intelligence provide a new perspective on Star Trek and its events. 

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!

Top sellers and award winners – that’s what this week’s theme is all about. It’s Best of 2017 Week as we close out the year here at Sean’s Pick of the Day. We’ll celebrate this Christmas Day with the current hottest seller on DriveThruRPG (at least, Number One as of this writing). It’s also one of the more anticipated titles to come along – Genesys, the core “house rules” of Fantasy Flight Games (the engine powering their Star Wars line).

Just be prepared to buy either a set of funky dice or get the special app for it.

Face down a dragon as a brave knight, hack into a corporate security system as an elite runner, set sail in your airship. Unlimited adventure awaits you in Genesys,  a new roleplaying system designed for a variety of settings and limited only by your imagination.

The Genesys experience begins with the Genesys Core Rulebook, which features an explanation of the innovative narrative dice system and core mechanics of the game, an overview of five different settings in which to place campaigns, and advice for Game Masters to craft a myriad of adventures with unparalleled freedom.

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!

“Dogs and cats living together…”

Sorry, couldn’t resist. Seriously, Pugmire is sweet, wonderful, full of great storytelling and uplifting ideas, and a genuinely great entry point for any younger gamer to immerse in the joys of fantasy adventure and shared storytelling. Truly a pet project of my friend and colleague, Eddy Webb, not only does this game stand as a beautiful memorial to the beloved Murraypug, but it’s just a great game for all ages.

Be a Good Dog!

“Be a good dog. Protect your home. Be loyal to those who are true. These are the words of the Code of Man.”

— Sister Picassa Collie, Shepherd of the Church of Man

Dogs have inherited the world, building the kingdom of Pugmire untold centuries after the Ages of Man are over. These dogs have been uplifted to use tools and language, and they seek to rediscover the ruins of the Old Ones. Some have learned to use the leftover technology of humanity, but they believe it to be magic handed to them by their lost gods. Others seek to create an ideal civilization, using a Code of Man compiled from ancient, fragmentary lore left behind by humanity. The world is dangerous and mysterious, but good dogs will persevere.

Some highlights of Pugmire include:

  • An evocative and mysterious setting that’s both family friendly and deep enough to create compelling stories.
  • A traditional fantasy rules system redesigned for streamlined play and easy creation of heroic dogs, with an emphasis on cooperation and action over competition and violence.
  • A variety of callings and breeds that give access to several fun and interesting tricks.
  • Rival species to interact with, like cats and badgers, along with terrifying and dangerous monsters that roam the landscape.

Will you be a good dog?

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!

As we close in on the end of Teach Your Kids to Game Week, I want to point out a game that should have won ENnie Award for best Family Game – Mermaid AdventuresEloy Lasanta is one of the best designers and nicest people in this industry, and he’s got a childlike heart that translates wonderfully into this game where imagination is king and where diversity is celebrated beautifully.

As for its “kids credentials,” it’s the first game my daughter, Samantha, wanted to learn to run as a GM.

Mermaid Adventures Revised

Updated using the new Pip System Corebook rules! Dive into adventure and fun! Mermaid Adventures is a game that lets you and your friends become mermaids, forming friendships, fighting sea monsters and solving strange undersea mysteries. Great for families and players of all ages! 

Includes:

  • 10 different kinds of merfolk, including Eelfolk, Lobsterfolk, and Turtlefolk
  • Colorful, eye-catching illustrations 
  • 5 Sample Adventures to get you going
  • Even more options compatible with the Pip System Corebook
Mermaid Adventures Revised requires the Pip System Corebook to play.
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 rocket through Teach Your Kids to Game Week with this callback to when Saturday morning and after-school hours were all about exciting toy commercials disguised as cartoons! Cynical snark aside, we really did love our action cartoons – and still do! Genre-specialists Spectrum Games did their best work with this homage to shouted (if sometimes stilted) dialogue, colorful explosions, and important lessons learned. A great vehicle to get your more action-oriented kids excited about rolling dice and telling stories – Cartoon Action Hour!

Remember those bygone Saturday mornings and weekday afternoons spent in front of our television sets back in the ’80s? Remember how we watched the eternal struggle between the forces of good and evil unfold right before our young eyes as our heroes stopped at nothing to out the kibosh on the seemingly endless machinations of the villains? Remember how these wondrously cheesy shows drw us in and spoke to us on a personal level, all the while trying to sell us action figures?

We remember it too! 

Cartoon Action Hour: Season 3 is the third edition of the game that was nominated for  “Best RPG” at the 2004 Origins Awards. The game faithfully and meticulously emulates the action-adventure cartoons of the 1980s, using “cartoon logic” as the basis for every aspect of the system. This is not just a universal game that just happens to be adorned with genre-appropriate art. Every single design decision was made with the purpose of bringing to life the retro-toons of yesteryear, right at your gaming table.

Everything you need to play Cartoon Action Hour is included in this full-color rulebook. Some of the features include:

Sleek and Exciting Game System: You roll a d12 and add one or two ratings to it. That’s the core of the system, making it extremely easy to jump right into the animated fray. Every nuance of the system (transformation, vehicles, playsets, etc.) utilize the same game mechanics as a whole. 

Action Scenes: In Cartoon Action Hour, there is no “combat system”. In its place is the “action scene” system, which covers far more than just a slugfest or a laser-filled shootout. Violence is de-emphasized and players are rewarded for making indirect attacks of a less overt nature (“I shoot the tree branch, so that it falls on top of the enemy!”). Characters can be given Setback Tokens, representing anything from physical damage to confusion and everything in between.

Series Creation: The GM and the players work together to construct the series via the series creation system, which includes character creation. Speaking of which, creating characters has never been this easy in previous versions of the game, as the bookkeeping is now very minimal indeed.

Sample Series: The book includes eight series seeds and one more detailed sample series.

26-Page Action Scene Example: This ultra-detailed example of an action scene answers any question you care to ask.

Preface by Flint Dille: The legendary cartoon writer offers up an insightful preface that discusses the way cartoons were created in the 1980s.

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 Teach Your Kids to Game Week with this favorite Pick by Internet sensation and gaming-with-kids guru, GeekDad. I’ll let him tell the take from here –

“When my kids were younger, I couldn’t wait to introduce them to role-playing games, but the “Age: 12+” on D&D‘s Red Box taunted me like a shadow dragon guarding a tremendous hoard of gold. We ended up getting started with Dungeons & Dragons well before the twelfth birthday rolled around, but we weren’t idle until then. Over the years, I tried a number of RPGs aimed at younger kids. I wrote about some of them here, at GeekDad. While many of them were fun and a very good time, they were nowhere near as good as the recently released Little Wizards from Crafty Games.”

Kids Are Magic

The kids in our lives all dream of visiting other worlds, of being heroes in their own special Tales. Here’s their chance! Little Wizards is a storytelling roleplaying game for inventive and inquisitive kids ages 6-10, developed to introduce them to the magic of creating their own characters and stepping into a whole new world. It’s simple enough to learn in just a few minutes and engaging enough for older kids and adults to play with their little ones. Packed with advice for gaming with youngsters, this is a perfect introduction for everyone.

Originally designed for the French market as Contes Ensorcelés by Antoine Bauza (7 Wonders, Ghost Stories) and published by Le Septième Cercle (Qin, Z-Corps), this English-language edition features updated rules and game content developed by Amanda Valentine (Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, The Dresden Files RPG).

The basic and form-fillable versions of the character sheet are available at the Little Wizards Downloads page

This file is fully hyperlinked, bookmarked, and cross-referenced, and features layers you can turn off for easy printing. This file is 100% DRM-free.

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 folks at DriveThruRPG decided to push their annual Teach Your Kids to Game Week to right before Christmas, which I think is a fine idea (and I helped come up with that promotion when I was still working for them). So that’s what we’re doing this week – pointing out great family-friendly games that serve as excellent vehicles for the older generations to bring the young ones to the table.

The perfect opening, of course, is Hero Kids – an entire, brilliant line oriented around making gaming fun and engaging for the young and young-at-heart.

(From the core release, Hero Kids Fantasy RPG) –

Hero Kids is the ENnie award-winning fantasy RPG for kids aged from 4 to 10.  This game offers a fast and fun introduction to RPGs, perfect for younger kids who are just getting interested in role-playing games.

EXTRA NOTE: The Hero Kids – Complete Fantasy PDF Bundle includes 50% discount coupons for the softcover print versions of Hero Kids – Fantasy RPG and the Hero Kids – Fantasy Expansion – Monster Compendium (the coupons are emailed to you when you buy the bundle).  So if you want the whole lot (PDFs and print version of the rules), buy the bundle then use the coupon to buy the softcover print version of Hero Kids – Fantasy RPG for half price!

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!