Monthly Archives: February 2018

Today features Crystal Frasier’s choice as we celebrate BAMFsies Week! It’s a straight-up adventure (with that classic “module” feel from the 80s) for Mutants & Masterminds. Here’s what Crystal has to say about Instant Circus Is Going to Get You!

“It’s a classic, silver-age-minded adventure built around the classic “evil circus” trope that was everywhere in comics back in the age when they had an official cap on the number of gorillas you could use every month. Also, you get to fight an elephant! That’s classic superhero action.”

The circus has come to town, but it’s not the kind anyone should attend! A troop of super-powered villains have been hired to put on a show as a cover to test a powerful new crowd-control product. Unfortunately, the citizens of the fair city are the unwitting guineas pigs. Even some members of the local police force have fallen prey to these criminals. Can a team of costumed vigilantes to any better?

Which leads to the question: Will this instant circus get you too?!

Heroic Havoc #1: Instant Circus Is Going to Get You!™ is a scenario for Mutants & Masterminds™ characters of Power Level 10 to 11. This module includes write-ups of the villains (with drawings and backgrounds), a map of the encounter areas, introductory material to assist getting the heroes into the encounter, and suggestions for follow-up adventures.

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!

DriveThruRPG is currently celebrating the BAMFsies Awards, of which I was proud to once again be a part. Myself, Steve Kenson, Chris Rutkowsky, and Crystal Frasier were all judges this year, so I’ve selected the Judge’s Choice from each, plus the Gamer’s Choice Award for the year, to spotlight. Time to dive into the best of the superheroic gaming action of 2017!

This one is Steve Kenson’s choice, so I’ll let his words take the stage – “2017 was once again a great year to be a superhero gamer, and it was hard to choose just one product, but ultimately, The Mighty Protectors won out for me. You see, the classic Villains & Vigilantes was the first superhero RPG I ever bought and played back in the 1980s, and The Mighty Protectors is the latest incarnation of that system, by its creators, Jeff Dee and Jack Herman, featuring Dee’s art, both classic and modern.” Click here for more of what he had to say.

You can combat the forces of evil! Find their hidden enclaves with your super-senses, and bust your way in with powerful fists! Use your incredible agility or invulnerability to ward off their attacks as you blast away with energy bolts, or confront them with your martial arts or weapon skills! Drag them squirming and cursing to prison, to be brought to justice! Become a champion of truth and an idol of millions!

Villains and VigilantesTM – the world’s first complete superhero role-playing game – is back again. V&V 3.0 Mighty Protectors® features dynamic random & point-balanced character creation, accessible fast-paced rules, brand new powers, streamlined mechanics, all-new illustrations, and an imaginative, far-ranging campaign setting – The Mighty Protectors® Multiverse – created by Jack Herman and Jeff Dee!

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!

Been a while since I’ve done one of these, but I intend to get back to it at least semi-regularly. After all, I have a couple of major Kickstarters of my own coming this year, and I know I will appreciate promotional support. So check these out!

First up, one from a local colleague that fits nicely with my Steam & Steel Week Picks.

An historical steampunk fantasy RPG where the Age of Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution engage Fantasy Sword and Sorcery action.

A new age has dawned.  

It is an age of innovation, discovery, and progress. New frontiers await to be explored, from the vast expanses of undiscovered continents, to the technological potential of steam and clockwork, to mysterious planes of spirit and magic. 

It is an age where massive armies square off on smoke-shrouded fields armed with muskets and bayonets, and dashing rogues live and die by their skill with a blade. Where wealthy nobles sail the skies on massive airships and the unwashed masses eke out a living in the shadow of growing industries. 

It is an age where new ideas of science and reason challenge the old order of superstition and mysticism. Where the oppressed underclasses cry out for revolution against the depredations of the wealthy, the ennobled, and the privileged. 

Welcome to an age where science, magic, and industry have become inexorably intertwined to produce unprecedented wonders. 

Welcome to the Age of Æther.  

The Setting

Imagine if a traditional fantasy setting advanced out of the medieval era, and into an age of Enlightenment, Exploration, and Industrialization. Set in an alternate 18th century, the Age of Enlightenment has only just chased away the superstitions of the dark ages. Settled colonies thrive on the melding of steam and arcana, the foundations of industry. The steady march of the Industrial Revolution has left its mark on the economy, but despite this progress, conflict lurks. National rulers engage in a deadly game of chess, buying and selling territory with the lives of their soldiers while ignoring the needs of their people. Enlightened thinkers and the common folk question the nobility’s right to rule. Those in power are reluctant to relinquish it while those left behind by the advancement of time await their chance for revolution…

The System

Age of Æther’s game system is designed to work with your character and your gamemaster. Bonuses and penalties change your die type and character traits directly influence the story.

Because Age of Æther is designed around the principles of imagination and potential, character generation is open-ended, allowing you to create the exact character that you want to play. A powerful mage can swagger about with a broadsword on one hip and a six-gun on the other, and the burly orc with a mean right hook may also be an intelligent and nimble thief. With advancement, you may buy any upgrade desired, learning new skills and abilities that your original character never possessed, allowing you to alter your play style with the same character you spent so long building and enjoying…

Here’s one you want to get in on ASAP – another licensing masterstroke for Modiphius that’s under two days from closing.

Adventures on The Dying World of Barsoom. A planetary romance tabletop roleplaying game from the mind of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

John Carter of Mars – Adventures on The Dying World of Barsoom is a planetary romance tabletop role-playing game. We’ve created it under license and with the cooperation of the estate of Edgar Rice Burroughs, author of the original Barsoom novels. We’ve also had guidance of Scott Tracy Griffin one of the leading scholars of his works to ensure utmost authenticity. Using a pulp-action inspired narrative variant of Modiphius’ 2d20 system, Momentum, John Carter of Mars allows players to take the role of various adventurers and heroes as they travel, battle, and romance their way across the wondrous and dangerous world known to its natives as Barsoom. Play as John Carter, the princess Dejah Thoris or the fearsome Thark warrior Tars Tarkas – or create your own new heroes from a wide variety of options.

Next there’s this gem from Insane Angel Studios. They do excellent 5e support, and this one is specifically aimed at young DMs and players wanting to get into the hobby on their own.

An RPG adventure for beginning Dungeon Masters and 1st-level characters — Written for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons

Every Young Hero Needs Somewhere to Start

The Hidden Halls of Hazakor is a fully illustrated, 64+ page starter adventure for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons — and written with a special focus on young, beginning Dungeon Masters.

Created by designer and editor Scott Fitzgerald Gray, The Hidden Halls of Hazakor is a perfect introduction to classic dungeon-crawl adventuring for young DMs of ages 12 and up. In a friendly and straightforward fashion, it demonstrates some of the ways a good fantasy RPG adventure can be put together, and talks about some of the tricks and knowledge that all good DMs learn through the experience of running games — but which aren’t always instinctive for a young player sitting in the DM’s chair for the first time.

This adventure builds on the rules and information presented in the D&D core rulebooks and the D&D Starter Set, and on the first-time DM’s experience of having previously been a player in the game. A beginning DM running the adventure will learn to think about the ways in which the story can go in different directions based on what the characters do — and how to not be scared when it does. They’ll practice bringing NPCs to life by way of interesting quirks, to help the players engage with and remember them. They’ll get tips on running fun combat sessions, building from an initial slate of simple, single-foe encounters to more complex fights. And they’ll learn to use humor as a tool to make the game interesting and memorable, especially for other younger players.

The adventure’s approach to humor fits perfectly with the work of artist and comic creator Jackie Musto, whose full-color illustrations will bring The Hidden Halls of Hazakor to life. (And if you’d like the young gamer in your life immortalized as their very own RPG hero, Jackie will be doing a limited number of original illustrations as part of the Kickstarter campaign’s “Eternal Hero!” reward tier.)

Finally, here’s the Kickstarter for my friends’ convention in Arizona. They are good people, and it’s a great time organized by truly innovative folks showing how it’s done.

Crit Hit! is Phoenix’s Tabletop Gaming Retreat, featuring board/card games & tabletop RPGs. Returning for our 3rd year July 13-15.

Crit Hit! Is a tabletop gaming retreat held July 13th -15th at the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Phoenix. Now back for our 3rd year and we are going bigger and better than ever before! From Role Playing Games, Board /Card Games, to panels and night time entertainment, Crit Hit is a weekend of adventure and fun!

MEET. LEARN. PLAY.

  • Meet new players and GM’s, socialize and maybe find a new game to join after the event is over, enjoy a panel or other social event at Crit Hit!
  • Learn about some of the best indie RPG and Board Games around, from award winning designers, to highly experienced GM’s, you will walk away from Crit Hit having learned about something new in our hobby!
  • Play games, enjoy yourself and consider Crit Hit your gaming retreat. Life is hectic, and finding time to game is difficult. Set a side 3 days to do what you love!
  • Crit Hit 3: Murder Hobos On Holiday will be July 13-15th At Doubletree Suites By Hilton Hotel Airport Phoenix 
  • Arizona’s ONLY 18+ Tabletop Gaming Retreat
  • The theme is Murder Hobos On Holiday- A celebration of the Old School Revival of 80s Style RPG games and dungeon crawling in general
  • Crit Hit is known for our selection of indie RPG’s and that will continue in 2018 Private gaming rooms for indie rpg games, minimizing noise and helping to create an immerse space 
  • Dedicated “Dragon Hall” for D&D and Pathfinder games Expanded board games with unique experience in mind. We will focus on “dungeon in a box” dungeon crawl style board games such as Decent, D&D board games, Mice and Mystics, etc. 
  • Big Fu*king Games- we will run through campaign games like Twilight Imperium and Gloomhaven, giving you a full complex game experience over the weekend 
  • Panels by industry guests and podcasters and expanded Vendor Hall, both FREE TO ATTEND (no badge required)
  • 1hr breaks between game blocks (RPG’s are 4hr blocks, board games are 1hr but grouped by blocks of 4hrs so everyone is on break at the same time) to encourage socializing  

There’s the Roundup this time around. Check and see if there’s something here you want to support!

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!

(Note – the linked article has some harsh language).

I was tagged by someone I interact frequently with in regards to the issues we have in the tabletop/adventure gaming community. As much as I love to talk about my gaming family and community – how awesome they are, how supportive – I often get called out for not seeing “the other, ugly side” of it all.

We are now having those conversations, and as someone with a voice in the larger community, it’s long past time I help this conversation happen.

This article strike home harder than it might seem it should. What does hiking long distances have to do with gaming? Very little, certainly.

But the concept of culture, community, and conflict within is almost identically the same in any sub-culture that supposedly welcomes all… yet fails utterly to do so.

I challenge you to read this. Substitute the hiking elements with the concepts of going to gaming conventions and stores, and the rest slides directly and accurately into place.

This is us, folks. Not all of us… but enough of us to warrant some serious consideration and house-cleaning.

Why I Got Off the Pacific Crest Trail After 454 Miles Instead of Walking All the Way to Canada

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 come to the end of Steam & Steel Week with The Widening Gyre, written and designed by my friend and Evil Beagle Games partner, Bill “teh ebil bunneh” Keyes. While there’s also a Hero System version, the one that sings for most folks is this Savage Worlds iteration. Bill has an exceptional sense of storytelling-mixed-with-style, and he groks the steampunk genre in a way few others do; he gets that it’s about more than wearing brown stylishly and sticking some gears on your goggles*.

(*) – Don’t get me wrong – I love wearing brown and sticking gears on my goggles. Just saying the deeper aesthetic definitely permeates through Bill’s work here.

Welcome to The 19th Century That Never Was!

It is a world of wonder, of horror, of adventure, of magic, of strange technology and unprecedented cultural revolution. This is the age that nearly was, filled with radium-powered flying machines, clockwork automata, and steam-driven computers. It is an age of dark magic, sinister secrets, and unholy cults. It is a time in which the world teeters on the edge of disaster, where the enlightened scientific mind battled against ancient superstition and ignorance, in which the souls of all mankind hung in the balance.

The Widening Gyre presents an original steampunk campaign setting designed for use with the Savage Worlds rules. Recommended for experienced GMs and players looking to game in the Industrial Age As It Should Have Been, this worldbook includes…

A comprehensive and immersive campaign background detailing the fantastical Victorian world of The Widening Gyre.

-Character archetypes to play a wide variety of 19th century adventurers − Airship Pirates, Clockwork Men, Consulting Detectives, and more!

-Rules for wild steampunk technology and sorcery, including weapons, armor, vehicles, bizarre Victorian devices, and magic spells.

-Full stats for dozens of characters the heroes will encounter on their journeys, ranging from helpful allies to evil technologists to monstrous beasts from a darker era.

-New Skills, Edges, and Hindrances.

-A full bestiary with over 40 monsters and opponents.

-A fully detailed campaign, six full adventures, and four variant campaign ideas.

-Nearly twenty Savage Tales, a dozen one-sentence adventure ideas, plus an easy-to-use adventure generator to help put together quick adventures on the fly.

-Enter a world of adventuring daredevils and academics, occultist thrill-seekers and Savants both heroic and insane, in which a secretive organization of benevolent technologists seeks to prevent the dark monsters of humanity’s past from overwhelming its bright and burgeoning future.

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 delve into Steam & Steel Week takes us Eastward and into a variant form of the steampunk genre that works wuxia into the mix. Jadepunk goes to some similar visual places as the movies The Man with the Iron Fists, Tai Chi 0, and Bunraku. More importantly, one of the key elements of steampunk outside of the visual aesthetic is the theme of the working class fighting oppression, and this setting goes there all the way.

Overthrow oppression in Jadepunk! You are the Jianghu – a loose society of likeminded, yet quarrelsome, individuals and organizations. Using powerful Jadetech devices and martial arts techniques, you stand against oppression and injustice. Though you are few, the Council fears you, for you have the most powerful weapon in Kausao City – the hearts and minds of the people. Unite them, and they will fight with you.

Jadepunk: Tales From Kausao City is a Fate Core roleplaying game about rebellious wuxia heroes in a fictional steampunk setting. Within its pages you will find:

  • An original setting that fuses the themes of Western steampunk and Asian wuxia.
  • The “Storytelling System” of creating character aspects that immerses them into the setting.
  • A comprehensive Asset system that lets you make any kind of device, martial arts technique, or companion you can imagine.
  • New dueling mechanics that use the contest system for fast and furious combat that won’t have the rest of your group sitting idly by.
  • Streamlined rules for gamemasters that give them the power to create scenes on the fly with the use of the “Scene Fractal”.
  • A new way of creating minor NPCs that takes no prep time. “Faces” give you everything you need to make an unimportant NPC feel alive and memorable.

What are you waiting for? The people call for warriors to champion them against the oppressive forces of the Council of Nine. Take up your Jadetech weapon, prime the engines on your airship, and lead the fight for justice!

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!

(Long day, sorry for the late posting.)

Another “miniatures-to-RPG” translation, Iron Kingdoms is a multi-award-winning effort all its own and a fan-favorite for those who want a whole lot of “clank” in their steampunk. Interestingly, the rules are an expansion from the Warmachine and Hordes miniatures rules, which makes translating your favorite stuff from the latter to the roleplaying experience much easier.

Embark upon a journey of adventure and intrigue in a steam-powered world fueled by magic and contested with gunfire and steel. Armed with mechanika and accompanied by mighty steamjacks, explore the soot-covered cities of the Iron Kingdoms and the fell ruins of ancient powers.

This essential full-color guide to the award-winning Iron Kingdoms setting equips you with:

  • A robust, elegant rules system crafted especially for the world of the Iron Kingdoms. This system builds upon the rules foundation of the critically acclaimed WARMACHINE and HORDES miniatures games to meet the complex needs of a roleplaying game.
  • Rules for character creation and advancement that let you take on the role of iconic Iron Kingdoms characters like fell callers, field mechaniks, gun mages, warcasters, and more.
  • Details on diverse playable races: humans, gobbers, Iosans, Nyss, ogrun, Rhulfolk, and trollkin.
  • Crafting systems that enable you to explore the mysteries of mechanika and alchemy.
  • A comprehensive overview of life in the Iron Kingdoms and the history of western Immoren.

A WORLD OF ADVENTURE AWAITS IN THE IRON KINGDOMS

2013 ENnies Awards winner in 4 categories

Best Game (Gold)

Best Art, Cover (Gold)

Best Rules (Silver)

Best Production Values (Silver)

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 chug and clank along for Steam & Steel Week with this RPG adaptation of the popular minis-game world of Malifaux. Through the Breach is very notable for its use of a standard playing card deck instead of dice for task and challenge resolutions. The concept of Fate runs strong through the world via these mechanics. It’s a dark realm where fantasy crashes headlong into steampunk, and lots of folks just love it. My personal experience with the setting includes playing a fantasy-themed gunslinger blowing away demon trolls, and that was fun.

Control your destiny.

Journey back to the early 1900s, where a dimensional rift leading to the magical world of Malifaux has changed human history. Steam power and steel collide with magic and monsters in this dangerous and exciting roleplaying game. Are you brave enough to change your destiny?

This second edition rulebook has been designed to be backwards compatible with all first edition Through the Breach supplements and adventures.

The Core Rules contain all the information players need to begin adventuring in the world of Malifaux!

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’re launching Steam & Steel Week with a product I had a brief history with, which the good folks at FASA have parlayed into a miniatures game line and an RPG. This one leans heavily on the “alt-history’ part of steampunk, opening the way with the line 

This isn’t your great-great-grandfather’s London!

Welcome to 1879and discover the history that wasn’t.

Victoria and Albert rule over a steam-powered British Empire that spans two worlds. Thanks to the portal known as the Rabbit Hole, a train ride away from London lies the Grosvenor Land, a new world of fertile plains, towering mountains, giant insects, and Babylonians with weird science zombies. Seems they got there first, three thousand years ago, and they’re not exactly the welcoming sort. The Saurid tribes, lizard-like folk who ride theropods and pteranodons, complicate matters further. Back home on Earth, clockwork engineering has brought mechanical computing to the world, and micro-steam engines drive airships through the sky. Stranger things are afoot, too, as a bit of magic seems to have come into the world with the opening of the portal. People are changing. Secret societies are finding their ancient occult practices a bit more effective. Who knows what might be lurking in the forests these days, or in that shipment from China?

The 1879 Players Guide provides everything needed to play the game for characters in the Initiate, Novice, and Journeyman Tiers of advancement, from character generation to combat and from obscure magic to the latest in Victorian technology. An overview of the game world is included for player reference, along with multiple short fiction examples of the sorts of stories that can be told! From the heights of society to the depths of the criminal underworld, from the high street of London to the mountains of the Gruv, adventure is calling. There are worlds to explore, fortunes to be won, and battles to be fought. 

Onward!
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!

This line sells it like I never could – “On the edges of fairy tales live members of the Company—collateral damage from someone else’s Happily Ever After.

(Seriously, if you ever want a lesson on how to write a piece of sales text for a property, there it is.)

We close out Tales of the Fairies with this extraordinary premise for a fairytale-based RPG – what happens after Happily Ever After, if it wasn’t your fairy tale ending? Find out in Loose Threads.

On the edges of fairy tales live members of the Company—collateral damage from someone else’s Happily Ever After.

Maybe their fairy godmother got lost on the way, or they failed to solve the riddle, or their siblings forgot to save them before riding off into the sunset. Now Company members live on the edges of tales and travel the In-Betweens, helping others like them who need rescuing from ogres, reversing of curses, and freedom from the evil clutches of bandits. People who the stories have forgotten. It’s difficult work, and every story must end eventually.

How will yours turn out?

Will you be a dashing damsel, a prince in distress, a charming witch, or something else new and interesting that breaks the mold? Find out in Loose Threads by Tara Zuber.

Loose Threads requires Fate Core to play. This 42-page supplement includes:

  • New aspect categories, including the Heart’s Desire, to create characters worthy of a fairy tale
  • A scaled tension aspect that allows characters to slide between two dueling ideas, states, or desires
  • A system for fairy tale favors—a new kind of boost
  • Ideas on how to create a fairy tale story in a non-traditional setting like a space station or a high school
  • A phase trio character creation adventure—Mr. Fox—and a sample adventure—Pecked to Death

Everyone has a tale to tell in Loose Threads. What’s yours?

The Fate Adventures & Worlds line provides compact, rich, affordable, gorgeous settings with a ready-to-go adventure for GMs in a pinch. Buy one this afternoon, be ready to run this evening.

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!