Category: GM’s Pick of the Day

Yesterday, for Take to the Stars Week, I Picked something that represents the all-time classic of sci-fi gaming. Today, I want to show you something newer (but clearly inspired by the foundations laid by Traveller). What’s intriguing about this RPG is the ability to play at any time during a 500 year span of time. The premise is strong, and it looks like a really interesting set of mechanics, too.

Humanity has left Earth over a thousand years behind, landing on a new planet and founding a new government. The Consortium is an inspiring ideal – three star systems teaming with life and four species living and working together. As time passes, however, cracks are showing in the Humanity-led society and those less scrupulous have taken power.

Enter at any point in 500 years of playable story, following the Consortium’s growth from a small colony to a multi-system economic and political establishment. Explore new worlds and encounter alien races, direct or fight in battles which span a solar system and will decide the future of the Consortium or join a Resistance movement against the government to save or destroy billions of lives!

What you decide will define the fate of the Consortium…

If you’d like to know more about the setting, please check out our website’s Backstory Page.

There are 8 released expansions for this book, giving the rules and background for psionics, a fifth alien race, the chance to play as secret agents, survival horror rules and much more! You can grab them right here!

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The Era d10 ruleset is designed to allow you to experience this universe in a way that is as unobtrusive as possible without being misrepresentative. By choosing your skills carefully, your character can dominate in any of 5 forms of combat, talk their way out of any situation or protect their teammates from harm.

The rules could be described as “A Success-counting dice pool system where you roll Attribute + Skill in d10s and the difficulty of the task determines which numbers count as Successes.”

In case that was a bit too brief or jargony, here’s a bit more detail:

The system is based around multiple dice – the more skilled you are, the more dice you have – and a variable goal based on activity difficulty.

Using an Attribute and Skill system, which each define their own areas of influence, you roll your dice depending on what you’re attempting – whether Dexterity + Engineering for a precision piece of work, Intelligence + Engineering for a more theoretical problem or Luck + Engineering for a complete long shot, you’ll be able to adapt to your circumstances and focus on your strengths.

Although you roll more dice the more skilled you are, the number you are attempting to reach varies depending on the difficulty of the action – if shooting someone in clear conditions, the GM would ask for a 7. If someone was laying a mine, more likely a 6. Firing over your shoulder at someone 30 metres away, while crouching behind a low wall would definitely be a 10!

If you would like to try the rules, please see our Quickstart Pack!

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!

In honor of this seriously fun trip in the wayback machine, I’m declaring this Take to the Stars Week, a celebration of space-faring sci-fi RPG products. Of course, I must open with this update of the very classic that fun random generator pays homage to. This is, friends, the Great Grandfather of all interstellar science-fiction games.

This is Free Trader Beowulf, calling anyone… 
Mayday, Mayday…We are under attack… 
Main drive is gone…Turret number one not responding… 
Mayday…Losing cabin pressure fast calling anyone… 
Please help…This is Free Trader Beowulf… 

…Mayday…

A brand new edition of Traveller is now available – based on the original but tweaked, finessed and updated through a massive months-long beta playtest by you, the players!  

Traveller is a science fiction roleplaying game of bold explorers and brave adventurers. The Traveller Core Rulebook contains everything you need to create one of these adventurers and begin exploring the galaxy.

Spaceports, ancient civilisations, air/rafts, cold steel blades, laser carbines, far distant worlds, and exotic alien beasts – this is the futuristic universe of Traveller, the original and classic science fiction roleplaying game.

Come visit the 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!

We continue ENnie Nominee Week with a selection from the Best Setting Category. These are the places in which your player characters will live, explore, and do great (and/or terrible) things. The other wonderful entries in this category are:

A lot of attention’s been given Tales from the Loop for very good reason, and this is one you absolutely should check out.

“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!

As we continue to celebrate ENnie Nominee Week, today’s Pick comes from the Best Writing Category, which also includes:

This is a celebration of the enormous creativity and talent that goes into the heart of any RPG product – the words by which the creators convey to you everything you need to know about the subject. You know best how to play in a world and engage its meaningful elements when the writers give you a clear and captivating description and set of instructions.

This particular Pick focuses on a book useful not only to TimeWatch players, but anyone who wants to introduce time travel and all of the strangeness and idiosyncrasies thereof.

On 1st May 1895 a young gentleman — a recently admitted solicitor from the West Country — called upon the offices of Pelgrane Press bearing a manuscript loosely bound in waxed paper and string, together with a small steamer trunk packed with an assortment of curios. Acting under instructions from his anonymous client, he passed these items to me together with a banker’s draft drawn on the Bank of England for a substantial sum.

The book itself is a work of scientific romance, a gallimaufry of fables in the manner of The Time Machine by H.  G. Wells. To what end it was written, and for whom, I may never know, but I hope you, Gentle Reader, find it of use, whoever you are, wherever you may travel and whenever you read it.

The Book of Changing Years is a collection of time travellers’ tales and curios put together on the quiet by agents of TimeWatch and secreted in an innocuous drawer in the Citadel – TimeWatch HQ.  It’s an in-world book of clues and mysteries for players of the TimeWatch RPG in the style of The Book of the Smoke and Dracula Unredacted.

  • Why are there too many cats in London in 1840 and no dogs at all, and how does that relate to the pyramids of Kush?
  • Why is Edward V scouring the time lines for  Caravaggios?
  • Who time-pranked Alexander Graham Bell into thinking he’d heard spirit voices on his new invention?

Fire up your autochron, unhook your tethers and dive into the gaps between the chimes.

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!

Since I missed yesterday (due to travel back from Magic City Con), I’m making a bonus ENnie Nominee Week Pick today from the Best Electronic Book category. The other books in this category for the year are:

Masterpiece 77 is one of many funky, rockin’ adventures for Monkeyfun’s AWE-driven Spirit of 77 game.

Well met, Rock Stars!

This is a special Spirit of 77 adventure that takes place in the world of William Shakespeare, with the players taking the roles of the famous “survivors” of the Bard’s most famous plays. Although it’s intended as a one-shot adventure (and requires an understanding of the Spirit of 77 game system), we’re hoping this provides your gaming table with laughs and adventure while making you brush up on your English literature. (Don’t worry, we slept through that class too).

This Very Special Episode includes:

  • Seven Pre-Generated Characters – Each of these Shakespeare characters is built in the Spirit of 77 system, ready to play.
  • New Adventure: The Play is Still The Thing – This adventure transports your Masterpiece 77 players to Denmark and Castle Elsinore, a year after the bloody events depicted within Hamlet. Luckily, things are going to be much smoother this time. 
  • New Mini-Adventure: Huzzah To The Funk! – Want to transport your pre-existing Spirit of 77 characters to the Elizabethan action? We got you covered with this mini-adventure framework that will let you use the Masterpiece 77 adventure in a modern setting.

Huzzah and Keep on Truckin’

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!

In addition to being the 4th of July – kind of an explosive deal here in the U.S. – it’s also the day we see the nominations for this year’s ENnie Awards. So that’s the theme for the week – ENnie Nominations!

Today’s Pick focuses on one of the nominees for Best Game. The other games in this category are:

I am particularly proud and pleased for my friend, Eloy Lasanta, for getting a nod for something that definitely steps outside of what he normally produces. A clever set of mechanics for a twisted concept.

Today is the day you find out that your soul was sold long before you were born. Now it’s time for you to continue the legacy your family has held for generations in service to the Dark Lord. This quirky RPG is filled with dark humor and devilish depravity, as every character sets out to fulfill their Debt and explore what makes a person good or bad. Are you forever destined to be a minion of hell?

Sins of the Father takes players down a dark path and focuses on how the Seven Deadly Sins can become warped. It features a simple-to-use, card-based resolution system that allows for flexibility and focuses on the story.

Includes: 

  • All rules needed to play the game
  • Several sample Dark Lords and playtable characters
  • Unique system utilzing playing cards.

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!

In Honor of Stewart Wieck (1968-2017), one of the founders of White Wolf and one of the original creators of Mage.

Finishing up It’s a Kind of Magic Week, it feels like there’s not a better final Pick than one of the iterations of what many feel is the ultimate iteration of “gaming the arcane.” By my Belovedest Carinn’s estimation, M20 represents the best version of Mage, so I am going with it as today’s Pick. However, there’s a few flavors of “agents of change” for your consideration, including Mage: The Ascension (Revised) and Mage: The Awakening (2nd Edition).

I tell you this: We are Divinity. 

Reality is ours to bend. To subvert. To command.
We have that power – all of us. 

Not everyone knows what to do with it, or uses it well.
Most of us never realize just what it is we are or how much we can do. 

Those of us who do well, some of us are monsters.
Manipulators. Parasites. Tyrants. Fanatics. 

And the rest of us never see that monster in our own mirror, only in the reflections of those folks who are not “us.” 

Here’s the truth, though: We are ALL “us.” We are ALL gifted, 

We can ALL change the world. Most of us remain asleep. 

A blessed few Awaken. Fewer still use that power wisely.
And none without consequences. 

And so, reality is up for grabs. Where do you stand?

And will you Fall… or Ascend? 

What’s in it?

• Updated profiles of the Council of Nine Traditions, the Technocratic Union, and the Disparate Crafts… with many unexpected developments. 

• An epic history of magick and its factions.  

• A compilation and clarification of essential and optional rules, including martial arts, vehicles, hazards, cybernetics, the Otherworlds, and far more besides. 

• Overviews of paradigms, practices and tools – the focus of your Art. 

• Detailed explorations of the epic concepts involved in Mage. 

• Chilling looks at the Nephandi and Marauders. 

• The Nine Spheres, plus their Technocratic variants. 

• Old favorites and new faces from among the Awakened Ones. 

• Reality Zones, Paradox, Quiet, the “coincidental vs. vulgar magick” debate, and far, far more…  

• New full color original art by Michael William Kaluta, Echo Chernik, Steve Prescott, Christopher Shy, Larry MacDougall, and other classic Mage artists, as well as classic B&W pieces carefully chosen from the earlier editions.

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 part of It’s a Kind of Magic Week, I wanted to include this gem. It’s a highly valuable exploration of world-building and campaign management of a believable, Western society-influenced setting in which magic plays a part. History-mixed-with-magic, if you will, and exceptionally helpful to anyone who wants to add elements of believable, immersive reality into their efforts.

What happens when high-level wizards and clerics can alter the course of fate, history, economies, and wars in a medieval-era world?

Read on!

 

This third edition of A Magical Medieval Society: Western Europe adds an entirely new chapter about how to make realistic place names. A total of 18 new pages of material are contained in the 3rd edition. The below quote was said about the 1st Edition of A Magical Medieval Society: Western Europe.

“If you’re a DM and running a D&D game, you should have this book. Period.” Monte Cook, author of the 3E Dungeon Master’s Guide, and owner of Monte Cook games.

This 208-page supplement is for GMs and players who wish to add a touch of realism to their game. It’s for the people who’d like to flesh out the background of their gaming world, but don’t have the time to dig through scholarly books. A Magical Medieval Society: Western Europe provides you flexibility and advice in creating your own world. It contains a massive amount of game-usable information about the medieval period and focuses on how D20 magic could change a traditional medieval setting. Generation systems for kingdoms, cities, manors, aristocratic wealth and landholding; a thorough construction system; and an economic simulator allow GMs to recreate the high middle ages feel with ease.

A Magical Medieval Society: Western Europe solves age-old dilemmas like: How much does it cost for my PCs to repair the formerly-orc-infested abandoned keep they want to use as a home base? What would happen, politically, were the PCs to set up their keep? How big is my city of 15,000 people? How many buildings are in my city? What do all the NPCs do? How do I start my PCs on the road to becoming kings? Just how much does a king earn a year anyway? What about just a regular noble? How big is a kingdom of 5,000,000 people? How many cultivated acres does it take to feed them? How should I map towns, cities, and smaller communities within my kingdom? What type of government should I use for my kingdom? How does magical religion really work? Just what do those NPCs do with all their time?

The questions plaguing DMs and world-builders for the past twenty-five years have now been answered!

…and now with the 3rd edition, you’ll get advice on how to name places in a realistic manner, with a comprehensive list of place names culled from UK topographical history, allowing you to systemically name your world as you see fit!

 

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 world of Jim Butcher‘s Harry Dresden continues to draw gamers in. Really, this is no surprise, considering the man is a long-time gamer himself, and fans of his work who are also roleplayers sense the connection. The world Harry navigates (and barely survives) is a compelling realm of modern fantasy and very much a place for heroes and other interesting folks to gather and try to stem the tide of chaos and evil that might otherwise shatter the veil between everyday life and the worst parts of magic and monsters. There’s been a full-on FATE-driven iteration for a while; now Evil Hat wants to open the world up to even more folks with the much-lauded Accelerated version of the rules (featuring the work of my friend, Leonard Balsera among other great folks).

Welcome to Day Two of It’s a Kind of Magic Week!

PARKOUR! Leap right into the Dresdenverse!

Welcome to Dresden Files Accelerated, a pared-down, pick up and play RPG set in the world of Jim Butcher’s NYT bestselling Dresden Files series. Take a jaunt through the Nevernever, stand up to the Black Court, and sit down for a pint at Mac’s. This book contains all you need to make it happen.

In this book, Ivy—a.k.a. the Archive—will walk you through everything you need to know to get your game running, including:

  • An introduction to the major super­natural players in the Dresdenverse and the places you might meet them.
  • A new mantle system that speeds up character creation and gets you into the game fast.
  • Faction-based campaign creation that creates immediate drama and action for your group.
  • A scale system to support interacting with and playing at various power levels.
  • Easy-to-learn Fate Accelerated style gameplay, with a few clever Dresdenverse tweaks.

Dresden Files Accelerated.
Fun. Fast. FUEGO!

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!

I think I’ll try to stick with Theme Weeks every week, and see how it goes. This is an It’s a Kind of Magic Week, with a decided arcane theme.

The rollout of all-things-Rifts continues from Palladium, with one of their most important and popular books finally in PDF. Many hundreds of spells, magic items, and everything to do with magic all over the Megaverse.

The ultimate Rifts® reference on magic

This is it, the ultimate guide to magic for Rifts Earth. All the magic spells, magic tattoos, Techno-Wizard items, magic weapons, equipment, body armor, restraints, parasites, symbiotes, magic items, armor, automatons, Iron Juggernauts, and more from Rifts® World Books 1-23, Sourcebooks 1-4, and Siege on Tolkeen 1-6, collected into one big reference.

  • 850+ spells of great variety.
  • 370+ magic items, weapons and devices.
  • Elemental Magic, Temporal Magic, Ley Line Magic, Cloud Magic and Necromancy.
  • Tattoo Magic, Nazca Line Magic, Nature Magic, Whalesongs and Ocean Magic, and more.
  • Magic Songs, Chants, Biomancy, and Iron Juggernauts.
  • Techno-Wizard weapons and devices, Rune Weapons, Millennium Tree wands and other magic items.
  • Magic herbs, plants, components and symbiotes.
  • Shamanistic magic, Fetishes, Talismans and more.
  • Comprehensive index of Practitioners of Magic.
  • Designer notes, comments, tips & hints for running magic characters.
  • 352 pages of magic and wonderment.

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!