Monthly Archives: December 2018

Closing out Teach Your Kids to Game Week with Mouse Guard (2d Edition) just makes too much sense to me. This is one of the definitive games when it comes to kid-friendly concepts. It doesn’t pull punches so much as it appeals to imagination and introduces hard ideas in a way that are easy for everyone at the table to grasp. It’s a classic graphic novel series, and the artist/creator (David Petersen) is also deeply involved with this RPG (which features the writing and design talents of Luke Crane).

For Mouse Guard fans who own the original Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game Box Set, or anyone who’d like to enlist in the Mouse Guard for the first time, the second edition of the rule book is available separately as a PDF with all-new art from David Petersen.

Mouse Guard RPG 2nd Edition contains everything players need to know about the world of the Guard, including rules for forming patrols and leading missions into the beleaguered territories.

This PDF does not include the Action, Weapon, and Condition cards.

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!

My Thursdays sometimes get way out of my control, and the added pressures of Christmas… yeah, anyway, there’s no way to talk about Teach Your Kids to Game Week without covering Hero Kids. It’s the top of the heap when it comes to kid-friendly RPGs, and there’s a ton of support and expanded options, now.

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.

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!

This “Complete Kids’ RPG” is a natural choice for Teach Your Kids to Game Week, designed for kids around 4 years old and up with parents and guardians. It’s meant to function like an interactive bedtime story, or otherwise serve as a way to engage youngsters in creative story play. 

Amazing Tales is also a critical darling – 

EN World described Amazing Tales as “perfect for its target audience and a great first time RPG.”

BoingBoing said “a huge smash hit”

The GMs Table said “if you have kids I’d suggest it”

Amazing Tales is a roleplaying game, written to be played by children aged four and over together with their parents. With your child you will create an amazing tale, in about the time it takes to read a bedtime story.

Your child invents a hero, and decides what they will do at every step, while you conjure up a world of adventure. At key moments the dice will decide if the hero succeeds.

In the book you will find –

The short and simple Amazing Tales rules. So simple a four year old will be able to explain them. Flexible enough to cope with the most imaginative requests. 

Advice on creating Amazing Tales with your child. Covering the specific challenges of making up stories that work for kids, different ways of handling fights in children’s games and ways to keep magic magic.

Four sample settings for Amazing Tales, each with suggested characters and skills, tips for story tellers and ten story seeds – ideas just waiting to become Amazing Tales.

The settings are…

The Deep Dark Wood: In the Deep Dark Wood you will find trees that move by themselves, animals that talk, and fairies who look after the forest. Enter the woods as a fairy, or a talking animal.

Magical Kingdoms Long Ago: In the magical kingdoms you will find kings and queens, warriors and wizards, dragons, unicorns and giants. Explore the kingdoms as a prince or princess, witch or wizard, knight or explorer.

Pirate Seas: The Pirate Seas are an exciting and dangerous place. Set sail as a pirate to hunt for treasure, explore forgotten islands, befriend the mermaids, fight seas monsters, and brave the wild blue yonder.

Adventures Beyond the Stars: Far beyond Planet Earth lies a world of adventure. Gleaming spaceships voyage from planet to planet, man meets alien, robots talk, and a universe awaits to be explored. Take to the stars as a space ranger, robot, alien, or scientist.

Amazing Tales can be played with a single six sided dice. But a set of four dice with six, eight, ten and twelve sides are recommended. 

Amazing Tales was written to be played sitting at a table, curled up on a sofa or snuggled up in bed by a parent and one or two children.

Amazing Tales lets your children make up any kind of character they want, such as aliens, robots, dinosaurs, fairies, knights, cowboys or superheroes. Amazing Tales was also designed to require no preparation on the parent’s side. If your children are in the mood for a game you can grab the dice and get started.  

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!

Superheroes are hot, and kids are easily enticed to gaming with the promise of that kind of experience. The two systems I think are well-suited to younger players are Steve Kenson‘s ICONS and Chris Rutkowski‘s BASH!

Steve specifically set out to create a low-complexity, easy-access supers game as a counterpoint to his highly-successful and genre-defining Mutants & Masterminds, and he excelled with ICONS

Chris literally wanted to create a game to teach extended multiplication and other math skills through RPGs, which is exactly what BASH! does. Hell, I recalled some of my own fundamentals while playing and running it!

Icons Assemble!

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!


BASH! – This book has everything you need to create characters and run super-heroic adventures within minutes. The rules are light and easy all you need are two ordinary dice, a piece of paper, and this book. Character generation is so simple, you could fit all the info you need on a 3×5 card, but we included a sheet anyway.

Do not assume that by simple, we mean incomplete, either. BASH! UE has over 50 versatile super powers, numerous skills, and even rules for collateral damage. The action is fast and furious, paced over a series of panels, pages, and issues, just like a comic book.

BASH! has undergone some changes over the years, with updates in Megapolis and BAM! and we have incorporated many of these into a single rules set. In addition to an expanded, revised version of the game, you will also find:

Updated to coincide with the new Second Printing.  New Powers, Advantages, and more

Less record-keeping, more Awesome. Energy is no longer the “default” rule for handling powers– so you have less to keep track of during play. Hero dice, Hero points, and team-work maneuvers are now a part of the core system, so you can really bring it to the bad-guys!

Easier to read layout, better explained rules, including many examples.

Character Archetypes: Writeups of various iconic superhero & villain archetypes such as the Brick, Martial Artist, and Blaster. These templates can be easily tweaked to quickly have a custom character!

Hordes of Minions! Fleets of Vehicles! Random Encounters!

Eras & Subgenres: One of the things BASH! Fantasy & Sci-Fi editions did was extensive work on the subgenres of Fantasy and Sci-Fi, such as Steam-Punk or Space Pulp. BASH! Ultimate Edition will do the same thing for Superheroes, enabling you to run a game with the theme & tone of the Gold, Silver, Bronze, or Iron Ages. There are also sections on Super Teens, Science Fiction, Fantasy, as well as Cosmic Superheroes.

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 run up to Christmas, DriveThruRPG is running their Teach Your Kids to Game promo, so we’ll theme the week accordingly. The first standout Pick for this week is Michtim: Fluffy Adventures, a game definitely all about appealing to kids and the kid in all of us. 

Straight up, you’re playing “Cute Heroes With Special Powers,” and the demo video has a puppet of a cute fuzzy as the GM. There’s a significant focus on inclusivity, and a proud affirmation of “indie” development.

Cute Heroes with Special Powers

Michtims are easily mistaken for hamsters at first glance, yet they have access to magic, technology and nature’s allies. They are in constant struggle with human’s plans to take down their sacred Immergrummel woods. Nevertheless, they also know how to have a good time, because bakery festivals are an important part of their culture.

Easy to Learn / Fun to Tinker with

The core rules are taught in steps. The game is playable with just the basic rules (that are also reproduced on the character sheet for your convenience). If the Michtims grow experienced enough, the game master will introduce Callings and Gear to offer more complexity. Players are able to create new material, based on the existing framework or change the fiction aspect of established content.

Personality as Core Mechanic

Michtims are very emotional. Their abilities are directly based on five emotions. Anger is used to attack foes, while Love allows the Michtim to tend the wounds of friends. Joy provides mobility and perception, while Fear is used to hide or evade attacks. Grief, on the other hand, allows the Michtim to weep to reduce incoming damage.

A Blend of Magic, Tech and Nature

Michtims rely on these three things. There are several magical Callings that provide for spellcasting in the fiction, like the Sorcerer or Witch. Technology is also a viable path to power for Machinists and Cybertooths. All Michtims have the ability to speak with animals, so Nature is a strong ally to all Michtims. Players can take any Calling and change its meaning in the fiction, by providing new themes for existing mechanics.

100% Indie / 100% Inclusive

The art, game design, graphic design and writing were all created by Georg Mir, and are thus guided by a single vision: to create a game that will be a welcoming place to all kinds of people, no matter their gender, sexual orientation or ethnic background.

[There’s a lot more shared on the actual sales page…]

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!

I make no apologies for the fact that Eddy Webb is both one of my favorite people and favorite creators, so it’s no surprise that the crowning Pick for New Games for Christmas Week is his much-anticipated Monarchies of Mau. The natural follow-up to Pugmire, this is nonetheless a standalone game that takes on the same world from the perspective of the cats that trust their instincts.

It’s all fully compatible, as I can attest due to a wonderful crossover game Eddy ran at AndoCon last year.

Before we were six. Now we are one. We differ on many points, but on these we agree: Always trust our instincts, always reward loyalty, and always pounce upon minions of the Unseen. Without these tenets, we are no longer worthy of the adoration of Man. 

Monarch Trillani Persian von Mau, deceased

Cats have inherited the world, unifying their six fractious monarchies after untold centuries. These cats 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 given to them by their lost worshippers. Others seek to create a cohesive nation, using Precepts of Mau agreed to after years of political conflict. The world is dangerous and mysterious, but the instincts of a good cat will always be true.

Some highlights of Monarchies of Mau 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 cats, with an emphasis on cooperation and action over competition and violence.
  • A variety of callings and houses that give access to several fun and interesting secrets.
  • Rival species to interact with, like dogs and mice, along with terrifying and dangerous monsters that roam the landscape.

Will you trust your instincts?

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 looking at New Games for Christmas, here’s a recent release from the brilliant Rose Bailey. Featuring a unique system, round-robin Game Mastering, and special Plot Cards that help you tell your story, you examine what it means to be really good at what you do, yet being rejected for being who you are.

And your story is one of spies, espionage, and finding your way in a world where you’ve been cast out and need to make use of skills that hardly fit in a 9-5 pattern. Rejected by your original agency for being “out” in one way or another, now you work for the Ministry in a “60s” that never was – and it might be the 1960s, the 1760s, or even the 1260s. If you’re On Nobody’s Side, what do you stand for?

Thrown Out for Being Out

You were the best at what you did, and what you did was as lethal as it was quiet. But you weren’t quiet enough about something else… your gender, your orientation, your ancestry. Your employers didn’t like who you really were, and they threw you out without ceremony or dignity.

A License to Live

But no one wants an unemployed spy. The Ministry approached you, and gave you the chance to once again fight for the free world… or at least the free market. In exchange, on your off time, you get to be yourself, without fear of prosecution or persecution.

Are you loyal to your masters or your friends? To your country or your principles? Or are you…

On Nobody’s Side

On Nobody’s Side is a spy thriller set in the 60s… any 60s you like, any midcentury flashpoint when everything’s to play for. You and your friends create spies, their contacts, and their enemies. You rotate the GM position, telling interweaving stories of action, intrigue, and betrayal.

Features

  • Take risks to get more dice, while matches open up opportunities and rain down consequences.
  • Use plot cards like Irresistible Attraction, Desperate Chase, or I Expect You to Die to guide your story toward iconic spy moments.
  • As Controller, put your spy into deadly situations, fix deals with dangerous factions, and confront other agents.

Your download includes the 24-page core rulebook and 38 plot cards, in both VTT-friendly image and tabletop print-and-play formats.

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!

This one falls well within the “gaming as exploration of current events and eternal struggles” realm. Dream Askew/Dream Apart is also a definitively 21st century indie design (“no dice, no masters system”).

There are actually two games here (hence the title), each dealing with the concept of belonging while not belonging. Emotional examinations, philosophical considerations, and community building are the vectors of play. If you’re ready to move beyond traditional gaming – even if only for a short diversion – this is a solid choice to take a detour with.

This book contains two games of belonging outside belonging. Dream Askew explores the story of a queer enclave amid the collapse of civilization. Dream Apartexplores the story of a Jewish shtetl in a fantastical version of nineteenth-century Eastern Europe.

Both games are about a marginalized group of people living together in precarious community. They use a simple no dice, no masters system that puts the focus on relationships. community struggles, and player choice.

Build a community together, and then make trouble within it!

This book is organized into four chapters:

Playing the Dream
A thorough, beginner-friendly guide on how to play Dream Askew, Dream Apart, and other games of belonging outside belonging. Includes detailed running examples.

Dream Askew
Everything you need to play Dream Askew – the character roles, setting elements, enclave worksheet, design notes, a mediography, and a recipe to serve your friends before playing.

Dream Apart
Everything you need to play Dream Apart – the character roles, setting elements, shtetl worksheet, design notes, mediography, glossary, list of regional names, and a recipe for borsht.

Designing New Games
A step-by-step guide to designing your own games of belonging outside belonging, with wisdom on both the thematic and mechanical aspects of game design.

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!

Today’s New Games for Christmas Pick is a 5e-compatible (meaning you’ll still want the core D&D books for maximum effectiveness) setting and expansion of rules that spans the sci-fi gamut of space opera, interstellar horror, and post-humanity chrome-and-grit. Spaceships and Starwyrms is newer-than-new, so you’ve got a great chance of being one of the first kids on your block to own and run it – or to get your favorite GM to run it, if you give it to them for Christmas!

A wiry Human woman guns the throttle of a contraband military vessel while navigating through an asteroid field. Her copilot, a round, squat creature with one eye on a long stalk, gleefully fires the ship’s plasma cannon at the pursuing bounty hunters. A gnarled hunk of meteorite lays in the hold. It pulses with the ultraviolet glow of dark matter magic. A vaguely humanoid android snaps a jeweler’s monocle into place on their optical sensor to get a closer look as a feline man takes a wrench to the smoking engine room.

This vignette is a glimpse into one of many space adventures that you can bring to your table with Spaceships and Starwyrms. S&S is a comprehensive 5th edition supplement that gives you nearly 400 pages of science fiction flavor and rules to transform your 5e experience. The supplement includes:

  • 13 playable species
  • 5 new classes
  • 2 augmented classes
  • Archetypes for bards, fighters, rogues, paladins, and sorcerers
  • 16 new backgrounds
  • New equipment, including armor, weapons, and vehicles
  • A whole chapter on spaceships and spaceship combat
  • Hacking rules
  • New cover rules
  • Environmental rules for zero gravity, radiation, and more
  • New monsters, including robots, abominations, and starwyrms
  • A brand-new setting to play in
  • A custom character sheet

The S&S Core Sourcebook provides everything you need to play in and run all sorts of science fiction adventures, from space operas to cyberpunk runs to exploration missions and everything in between! So buckle up, spacers, and get ready to dive in at warp speed.

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!