Monthly Archives: November 2018

Since I missed yesterday (lots of stuff ate my day), here’s a bonus Celebrating InSight Week Pick, Adamant Entertainment‘s Savage Worlds treatment of the Burroughsian vision of the swords-and-lasers fantasy that is Mars. Though many games (including most of the Picks this week) go to this place when exploring Mars, it’s fair to say Gareth Skarka was one of the first to delve this deep and with this much love. There’s also the earlier d20 version.

Not Mars as it is – airless, most likely lifeless, with only the faintest hints of what might have once been a damp, if not necessarily lush and living, world billions of years in the past. No, this is Mars as it should be and as it was once imagined to be – an ancient, dying, but not yet dead world, a world where a vast canal network reaches from pole to pole, bringing water and life to vast and fantastic cities. A Mars where albino apes run a vast empire in the last surviving jungle, a world where warrior tribes of Green Martians raid the outlying cities of the canal dwellers, a world where, in places dark and quiet and forgotten beneath the surface, ancient and terrible intellects plan dark and dire deeds.

It is a Mars of sky-corsairs, of duels with blade and blaster, of vile plots, fantastic inventions, daring rescues, arena battles, and spectacular stunts. It is a Mars where ancient cities can be discovered and their lost treasures plundered, a Mars where a trek across the dry sea bottoms can yield amazing discoveries, where terrible monsters roam the rocky wastes.

It is the Mars of pulp fiction and Saturday morning serials.

It is now yours. 

Adamant Entertainment’s sword-and-planet campaign setting is now available for Savage Worlds! From character creation, to creatures, to tips on the planetary romance genre, MARS: Savage Worlds Edition features everything you need to get started telling savage tales of adventure beneath the moons of Mars.

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

As I close out Celebrating InSight Week, my exaltation of the latest NASA Mars project, we’re taking a look at Mars-specific gaming products. Today’s Pick is from Onyx Path, and it’s yet another Burroughs-inspired space fantasy delve into the mysterious red sands of the warrior planet. Rose Bailey (and a fantastic cast of co-creators, including my old friend and one of my favorite artists, Storn Cook) bring a fresh, loving perspective to this idea, and it’s a clear sign of Onyx Path’s successful exploration of worlds beyond Darkness. Check out Cavaliers of Mars!

Return now to dying Mars in its last age of glory. A world of flashing swords and choking sands, of winking courtesans and lantern-lit canal cities. Mars, where romance and heartbreak are two sides of the same obsidian chit.

Where lost cities are buried in the dunes, and dry oceans stretch out between the last daring bastions of civilization. Where the First Martians, the monument-builders, are but a faded memory. And the Red Martians have become decadent and capricious in their last days. 

Find yourself digging for someone else’s treasure in the lost tombs of Chiaro, or spitting defiance at the Roundhead priests of wild Ziggur, or dashing across the towered crypts of Vance with your long-lost lover. Lock steel with the Princess Invincible, even as your hand reaches towards your flintlaser for insurance.

Cavaliers of Mars includes:

  • A vibrant setting with cultures, careers, characters, and dozens of locations, all organized to get you right into the world of Mars!
  • An all-new system combining your character’s motivations, history, and beliefs with strategic swashbuckling action!
  • Astrology, crafting, psychic powers, and much more!

Created by Rose Bailey

Written by Rose Bailey, Benjamin Baugh, Storn Cook, Steffie de Vaan, Meghan Fitzgerald, Jordan Goldfarb, Danielle Lauzon, Ethan Skemp, Lauren Stone, Travis Stout, and senior writer Audrey Whitman

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

Even as the new robot living on Mars (yes, that’s right, as far as we know, Mars is entirely inhabited by robots), we continue Celebrating InSight Week with yet another Mars-centric Pick, Edgar Rice Burrough’s Mars: Shadows of a Dying World (An OGL Guide to Monsters, Races, and Beasts). A mouthful of a title, but very informative, as well – this is the definitive guide to incorporating the classic science fantasy work into your 3.x/Pathfinder gaming experience. Another solid work from the great folks at Skirmisher.

Set on the red planet not as it exists, but as people at the turn of the 20th century thought it might be, Shadows of a Dying World is drawn from the Mars series of Edgar Rice Burroughs and presents creatures from his world in game terms. Its contents are compatible with any games that use the OGL system and can be inserted into them in whole or in part. 

On this Mars, elegant city-states rise along the banks of world-spanning canals, luxurious airships ply the thin atmosphere, feisty princesses and feckless nobles are menaced by killers of the drear dried-up sea-beds, and skilled swordsmen defend dynasties that have ruled for aeons. Despite both wondrous technology and mysterious mental abilities developed beyond the comprehension of Earthlings, however, the most farsighted of the Martians know that the history of their world is drawing toward its end, and that its life-giving atmosphere and waterways are already sustained only by vast efforts of engineering. 

Shadows of a Dying World presents the unique wonders and dangers posed by the weirdly sentient denizens of Burroughs’ Mars. Creatures covered in Shadows of a Dying World include the Apt, Banth, Calot, Corphal, Great White Ape, Green Martian, Kaldane, Rykor, Plant Man, Silian, Sith, Thoat, Ulsio, and Zitidar. 

Other features of this book include guidelines for using Burroughs’ creatures in both Mars and non-Mars campaign settings, Martian random encounter tables, new Feats, the Class Defense Bonus combat option, and original illustrations by artists Brendan Cass, Sharon Daugherty, William Hazzard II, Amanda Kahl and Geoff Weber. This book also comes with Combined Creature Creation, a 52-page bonus document compiled and used during the creation of this book and provided as a useful tool for game masters.

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

As we continue our Celebrating InSight Week, here’s another look at Mars as a place of adventure in the RPG world. An elaborate adventure and sourcebook for Space: 1889The Complete Canal Priests of Mars restores tons of cut material from the original version and provides a Mars-based mini-campaign that can be the basis for a much longer time spent on the Red Planet.

Serving as an excellent introduction to Space 1889, The Complete Canal Priests of Mars has our heroes help Martians accomplish a holy mission in London, then travel to Mars aboard the Princess Alexandra, the largest and most luxurious ether liner ever built! Throughout their journey they must face the hazards of London, the Ether, and Mars, compounded by mysterious enemies bent on stopping their Martian allies!

The original edition of Canal Priests Of Mars cut slightly over a third of author Marcus L. Rowland’s manuscript to fit GDW’s adventure format.

The Complete Canal Priests Of Mars restores the cut material, features all new artwork by Paul Daly, and adds many useful player handouts. Enjoy the “author’s cut” of a classic Space 1889 adventure, or experience it for the first time!

BASK! In the glory of London, hub of Empire!
TRAVEL! Aboard a luxurious ether liner!
MARVEL! At the wonders of Mars!

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

It’s Celebrating InSight Week as we cheer the successful landing of NASA’s latest exploration of Mars project! So Mars is the theme all week, starting with Blood Red Mars, a sourcebook for Why Not Games‘ Rocket Age RPG. Featuring their Vortex system, this book details a pulpy, wartorn planet with armies in battle and ancient mysteries to uncover – kind of Burroughs-meets-Rocketpunk.

The red sands of Mars are stained dark with the blood of conqueror and conquered, of explorer and savage beast, of alien and native alike. Mars, the Red Planet, named for some long-dead Earthling god of war, has lived up to its namesake. Armies march, archaeologists battle the traps of Ancient Ruins, and warbands of the native Chanari raid the towns of the ‘civilized’ castes with impunity. Life on Mars is one of conflict, of gun and blade, of bow and fang, of ideas. Freedom cry out the Julandri slaves, faith call back the Kastari priestly sects, mine scream the prince and the revolutionaries!

In Blood Red Mars you will find a complete gazetteer of the alien world, listing of its major cities, principalities, physical features, and geographic regions, along with story hooks and example characters for each. There’s also information and rules for the (often-deadly) flora and fauna of Mars including the dreaded silt sea dragons, deadly stigia bird, and ravenous desert well tree; a list of organizations operating on Mars, each with detailed descriptions of their history, operations, and rules and story hooks for using them in the game; a complete adventure set on the Red Planet and more besides!

Can our heroes prosper on Mars, or will their blood too soak into the sands of the Red Planet?

Written by Rocket Age Line Developer Ken Spencer, Blood Red Mars is 160 pages long with black and white artwork by Paul Bourne, Jon Hodgson and Paul Bourne.

About Rocket Age
“It’s alternate history pulpy retro-sci-fi space opera planetary romance. It’s throttled up rocket packs burning radium on the long blast to the farthest reaches of the Solar System. It’s hunting thunder lizards in the upland jungles of Venus. It’s battling Ancient Martian killing machines piloted by the Deutsche Marskorps across the baking red deserts of Mars. It’s exploring the deadly skies of Jupiter under the constant threat of Europan disintegration. It’s RAY gun wielding heroes bulls-eyeing mutants in the blasted ruins of Io” – Ken Spencer, Rocket Age Line Developer

Rocket Age is our new radium-powered game line of interplanetary adventure! Powered by the Vortex System, it’s packed to the fins with all the rules, setting information and game ideas to keep you playing throughout your very own rocket age!

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

There can be no celebration of Extra Large Bowl of Cereal Week without highlighting the ultimate series of books dedicated to the genre of action adventure cartoons. Cynthia Celeste Miller‘s Spectrum Games is all about genre emulation, and their flagship game line is the enormously fun Cartoon Action Hour. Of course, you want the latest core book, CAH: Season 3 (featuring the design work of Cynthia, Barack BlackburnNorbert Franz, and others), but you’ll also want the many fantastic “series” books, such as:

It’s all on sale through the weekend, too, as the Black Friday Through Cyber Monday Sale continues with everything 33% Off.

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, Freedom Squadron, and much more!
Please check out my Patreon and get involved directly with my next projects!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

It’s on the nose for Extra Large Bowl of Cereal Week, which is fine because – let’s face it – all those cartoons were pretty on the nose, too. Saturday Morning Tabletop RPG takes your 5e D&D rules, turns them on their ear, and lets go coo-coo-go-crazy-nuts with over-the-top action and outlandish adventures that would fit on any small screen. Grab the action figures, stat them up, and have a grand time!

Have you ever wanted to play halfling gunslinger or a yeti wizard? Or is a giant sword wielding cat more your style? Awe shux, maybe you’re the kinda person that’ll love playing a dwarven were-bear wrestler who suplexes giants to warm up before the real fight!? Whatever it is, the Saturday Morning Tabletop RPG has it. From the totally insane high fantasy combat to the kinda game that has you uttering “zoinks”, or even “jinkies”, the way you play is totally up to you.

         The Saturday Morning Tabletop RPG was designed using the D&D 5e OGL, but many new rules have been implemented to create a brand new experience while still having a sense of familiarity. Think of SMTT as D&D cranked up to eleventy five! And yes, eleventy five is a real number, just ask anyone under the age of five . . .

       SMTT includes some familiar races and classes, each with a unique spin. Like the massive weapon warrior being able to swing around a tree for a weapon. Included in the core rules are;

  • 28 fun, fantastical & unique race options
  • 9 crazy core classes, with unique archetypes
  • 33 totally unique backgrounds (like “fairy godchild”)
  • 54 cantankerous character options to customize your Saturday Morning hero!
  • 148 spells, & Spellcasting classes that cast those spells each in their own special way. 
  • An included toolkit for creating custom animal companions & followers!
  • An evildoer toolkit! So that maniacal GM can create an endless flood of baddies to be beaten up and bashed back into the boiling pits from whence they came! Or to just trounce on some would be heroes.

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

The “strange critters that are your friends/gladiatorial warriors” craze was after my time as a consumer of cartoons, but it took hold and never went away with shows like Pokemon, Digimon, and Cardcaptors. Now there’s this rather elaborate and engaging tabletop RPG that does its own bit of worldbuilding while empowering creative players to craft their own magical war-monster creations. MagiMonsters is a huge hit with the local crowd here in Denver, and the players spend hours talking about the game between sessions, so Late Knight Games did something right, making this a solid Extra Large Bowl of Cereal Week Pick.

By the way, this and thousands of other titles are currently on sale for 33% off thanks to the Black Friday to Cyber Monday Sale.

You’re about to enter a fantastic place where extraordinary creatures dwell and where extraordinary things can happen. But nothing is more extraordinary than the people that make this world their home—the people who live to challenge Monsters.

The pages in this book invite you to become one of these incredible people, to write your own story.

Who will you be? What Monsters will you face? What story will you tell? Make your decisions wisely, and do not delay… Monsters are coming.


The MajiMonsters Core Rulebook contains…

  • Information on binders, the heroes of the world
  • How to make a customized character
  • Instructions for Game Masters
  • A horde of magical relics to find and use
  • All the rules for combat and playing the game
  • A catalog of all 114 known MajiMonsters
  • Descriptions of over 440 combat techniques
  • Sample NPC allies and rivals
  • Rules for making your very own, custom MajiMonsters!
  • PDF version includes bookmarks

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

Giant bipedal tanks – most often called mecha – were always a huge part of Saturday mornings and after-school cartoons. Most of the animation came from the Pacific Rim (especially Japan), and while the Americanization of the material often leaves “true fans” a bit frustrated, nothing could take away from the sheer badassery of those mega-spectacular combat scenes. I’ve already pointed out Mekton Zeta earlier this month, so let’s take a look at a mecha game many of you might not have known about.

Battle Century G has all the right bits – giant robot armor, super-competent characters, the ability to customize and kit out your mecha, and combat that rewards style as much as tactics. A perfect choice for Extra Large Bowl of Cereal Week.

Big Heroes, Fast Pacing and Dramatic Plays

Battle Century G is a Roleplaying Game for 4-7 Players in the style of Mecha anime and videogames. Big Heroes means the Player Characters are badasses on par with any main character from Mecha fiction. The Fast Pacing is because battles never slow down only getting faster with each passing minute. Finally, combat revolves around making Dramatic Plays through flashy combos, secret techniques, and using weapons inventively.

Battle Century G has style. Super robots powered by the sun and mass-produced suits of power armor both play using the same set of rules. The game is effects-based, so how you do something does not matter as much as what you do. And what you do is pilot a kickass Mecha, command a badass Battleship, or ride a terrifying Kaiju.

Battle Century G has substance. You have to think about your options, choosing your loadout of weapons and how to tackle the challenges that the GM throws at you. What worked against your Rival the last time might not work again, this time they might be prepared. It is a game for smart players who like overcoming difficult challenges.

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

We at Evil Beagle Games just released the Freedom Squadron line to the public today (after getting all the backer stuff out). Thus, my inspiration for Extra Large Bowl of Cereal Week – a celebration of games that take us back to the days when sitting down on a Saturday morning with a box of processed sugar-and-grains and a half-gallon of milk while animated madness filled the TV screen was just what every kid did.

The Freedom Squadron Commando’s Manual is your introduction to a Savage Worlds-driven celebration of the action adventure cartoons, comics, and fully-articulated figures that featured colorful combat uniforms and code names of varying degrees of coolness. However, it also features excellent rules for creating powerful and effective soldiers, spies, combat pilots, adventuring scientists, and many other types of heroes that could inhabit any setting about military action, special ops, and action/thriller stories. GMs will also want to look at the innovative Plans & Operations Manual (and the special P&O Deck that goes with it).

For Freedom!

It’s the year 2051, and World War III only ended two years ago. Even as the world began to rebuild from the conflagration, humanity was rocked by the revelation that a massive organization engaged in a terrible conspiracy to bring Earth to its knees and under their control. VENOM became the enemy of all freedom-loving people, using military might, criminal undertakings, weird science, occult mysteries, and economic warfare to attack humanity and install their mighty leader, VENOM Commander, firmly in control of the world.

But Freedom Squadron has something to say about that! Formed by the allies of the Trans-Atlantic Coalition, under the auspices of the United Nations, Freedom Squadron is an international force comprised of elite soldiers, sailors, pilots, special agents, first responders, and more, all dedicated to protecting the Earth from VENOM and other terrible forces and
strange, mysterious dangers.

The Freedom Squadron Commando’s Manual is everything you need to create a hero ready to take the battle to VENOM, using the Savage Worlds system:

  • Vocation Frameworks like Athlete, Guerilla Fighter, Law Enforcement Officer, Medic, Ninja, Pilot, Sailor, Soldier, Spy, and many more!
  • Hero’s Journey Specialization Tables such as Black Ops, Close Quarters Combat, Command, Intelligence, Naval Operations, Special Operations, Tech & Engineering, and more!
  • New Edges, including Carnage Corps, Fighting Style, Operational Planning, Strange DNA, Zone Specialist, and more!
  • Introducing Focuses, special enhancements to Skills that both simplifies and fleshes out the Skill system of Savage Worlds.
  • Tons of Gear – weapons, armor, vehicles, and more! 

Grab this manual and get started on earning your Code Name, Recruit! Welcome to Freedom Squadron!

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