Category: GM’s Pick of the Day

Yes, today’s ENnie Nom-Nom Week Pick is very near and dear to my heart, but I feel fully justified in Picking it, as I had nothing whatsoever to do with the art (other than saying “Holy crap! Most awesome thing evar!”). Today, we’re looking at the Best Art, Cover Category for the ENnies (DON’T FORGET TO VOTE!), which also includes:

The cover is the grabber, the thing that gets people to seriously look at something as it sits on the shelf. Even in this day of “digital shelves,” that cover makes all the difference as eyes scan screens, looking at what they might click on to discover more. The essence of a product has to be summed up in the cover, but a cover also inspires, making a player want to delve into the world depicted and making a GM want to present something memorable.

I am pretty sure the cover of our Savage Foes book wants to make people get right with whatever they believe in before the inevitable…

IN A WORLD FULL OF MONSTERS AND MADNESS, IT’S GOOD TO KNOW WHAT’S COMING.

One day, your heroes may face a heavily mechanized patrol of Coalition Soldiers. The next, they’re trading lasers and mystic bolts with a horde of cybernetic-loving demons called Brodkil. Next week, a gargantuan tentacled horror from a Rift threatens every living thing in the region, and it’s up to the Tomorrow Legion to stop it…somehow.

Rifts®: Savage Foes of North America contains stats and descriptions for all of the major monsters and enemies a group of heroes might face as they serve in the Tomorrow Legion: the Coalition States, the Federation of Magic, the Black Market, the 1st Apocalyptic Cavalry, the bandits of the Pecos Empire, and much, much more. Important key figures, such as Emperor Prosek, Lord Alistair Dunscon, and Sabre Lasar are included. For those times when a Rift opens and you want randomly figure out what comes out of it, there’s an extensive Creatures from the Rifts Generator to help you.

This book requires the Savage Worlds core rulesRifts®: The Tomorrow Legion Player’s Guide, and (also ENnie-nominated) Rifts®: Game Master’s Handbook to play.

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

ENnie Nom-Nom Week continues with a Pick from the Best Family Game Category. You definitely don’t want to miss out on voting, as this is your chance to select who the winners of one of the most prestigious awards in the RPG hobby are. In addition to Epyllion, this category also includes:

These are the games that the ENnie Judges feel are best for folks to play with the youngest gamers in their circles, so they’re extra-important to me.

Do you want new gamers? Because this is how you get new gamers!

Dragonia faces a threat we dragons have all but forgotten. Inside each of us are seeds of Darkness waiting to take root in doubt, anger, and sorrow. You and your fellow dragons— although small now—must protect Dragonia from the growing Darkness…and learn what it means to be a true friend.  — Tass the Gigantic, Councilmember

Epyllion is a tabletop role playing game about young drakes who investigate rumors, solve problems, and discover the truth of a growing evil in Dragonia. While you play, you and your friends tell awesome stories, explore what it means to be a drake of Dragonia, and discover the value of friendship through magical, whimsical, and heartfelt adventures.

This easy-to-learn adventure game helps you tell the stories of a brave clutch of young dragons through a supportive yet simple system that promotes active listening, creativity, and cooperative play.

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

Gen Con loometh, so let’s take another week to spotlight some of the nominees. Oh, hey, don’t forget to vote! As the second week I’m Picking ENnie nominees, let’s call this theme week ENnie Nom-Nom Week.

(What? I just got back from a con. Leave me alone…)

We’ll start with one of the Judges Spotlight Winners (which also includes Rippers Resurrected, and The Ninja Crusade). Coriolis would have also been a great Pick for last week as part of Take to the Stars, being a kind of “Arabian Nights in space” experience.

“I’m getting a signal.” Dalil’s voice crackled over the com. “We’re close.” The navigator gazed into the darkness ahead, his face ghostly pale in the cold glow from the tabula in his hands.

Radwa nodded silently for her comrades to advance, approaching the strange ruins in the moonscape. The only sound they could hear was their own breathing through the air filters, and the soft crunch under their boots.The floodlights from the freighter Narzalus behind them cast long shadows of the trio.

“Something is wrong, boss.” The sharp voice of Jhara broke the silence. Her vulcan rifle hummed as the tall woman from Sadaal activated her weapon. Without turning, Radwa raised her hand to still her friend.

“Easy, Jha,” she whispered over the com.

The explorers shone their suit-mounted flashlights over the ruins. Alien signs were carved into the smooth dark surfaces. In the light, they seemed to be glowing.

Something slowly unraveled before them. A darkness rose from the surface of the dead moon, reaching towards the starry sky above them.

“Mercy of the Icons!” Radwa gasped, and felt a chill spread throughout her body.

Coriolis – The Third Horizon is a science fiction role-playing game from the makers of critically acclaimed Mutant: Year Zero (six-time nominee and winner of a Silver Ennie for Best Rules 2015).

Features:

  • Create your unique player character – including skills, talents, gear and relationships – in mere minutes.
  • Fight fast and furious battles, praying to the Icons to overcome your enemies.
  • Build and crew your own spaceship, to explore the many star systems of the Third Horizon.
  • Experience thrilling spaceship duels, using a game system that puts all player characters at the heart of the action.
  • Take part in the intrigue between powerful factions on the majestic space station Coriolis.
  • Uncover the mysteries of the Third Horizon, a rich tapestry of cultures that have settled the stars.

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!

It seems only fitting to close out Take to the Stars Week with the game that goes “where no one has gone before,” Modiphius’ take on a setting near-and-dear to sci-fi-fan hearts the world over. Many attempts have been made to craft a playable experience in the Star Trek universe, with various levels of success. This time around, a rather all-star cast of writers and designers (including folks involved in previous versions) hopes the first Star Trek RPG in over a decade is the crowning effort. The fact that it’s set in the era defined by The Next GenerationVoyager, and Deep Space Nine will make many, many fans happy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Onward through Take to the Stars Week with a supplement for the Apocalypse World Engine-driven Uncharted Worlds. This adds a number of elements to your space opera game, and is designed to do so in a modular fashion so as to serve whatever needs the GM and players want.

Beyond the worlds we know lies a universe of wonder and terror. Beyond the bounds of mere humanity lies the perfection of flesh and soul.

Far Beyond Humanity is an expansion of the Uncharted Worlds space opera roleplaying game. It adds alien societies, cybernetics, psionics and much more to the core rules.

The elements in the book are designed to be picked and mixed to customize a campaign setting. Any genre of sci fi can be turned into a campaign with FBH, from intense xeno-politics, to sci fi horror. From dystopian cyberscapes, to giant robot battles against monstrous invaders.

Pick up Far Beyond Humanity, and expand the possibilities of your Uncharted Worlds campaigns beyond the worlds we know.

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 Take to the Stars Week with the space-exploration-and-adventure setting from Pinnacle that Shane Hensley says was, in great part, inspired by the classic space opera RPG Star Frontiers. To get the most use out of this, you’ll need both the Savage Worlds (still only $10) core rules and the Science Fiction Companion (which, by themselves, are indispensable to anyone interested in Savage Worlds).

FROM THE KNOWN WORLDS …

Take a tour of Sol’s galactic neighborhood, where hundreds of slower-than-light missions into unknown reaches resulted in a far-flung assortment of human worlds, and discovery of alien civilizations as well. Then join JumpCorp’s interstellar exploration teams as they travel to the limits of Known Space and beyond…

… TO THE LAST PARSEC!

This book contains background and Setting Rules to create action-packed scifi adventures in The Last Parsec. Learn about the Known Worlds, their sapient races, JumpCorp operational details, and a dazzling assortment of galactic personalities—plus new gear, vehicles, and even an adventure generator you can use to inspire your own journeys into deep space!

*** About The Last Parsec ***

Faster-than-light travel has finally allowed humanity to spread beyond its lonely corner of the Milky Way. In the depths of space these explorers found millions of star systems, strange planets, and exotic alien races. Centuries later, they form the Known Worlds, a vital region of trade and technology where empires grow and business thrives.

It is an unparalleled age. Cutting edge science has opened limitless frontiers of space and consciousness, and has even begun to hint at the mysteries of the universe itself. But to find them, one must travel beyond the familiar, to the last parsecs of reality.

This Primer paves the way for an expanded core book to come!

The Last Parsec is a science fiction roleplaying game of exploration and adventure. It requires the Savage Worlds core rules and the Savage Worlds Science Fiction Companion to play.

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

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!