Category: GM’s Pick of the Day

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!

Of course, I must end GM Toolkit Week with the eponymous bundle that shares the name. The folks at Engine Publishing are friends, I won’t lie, and I highly respect their contributions to the state-of-the-art when it comes to discussions and guides for making gaming better. Mike Lythgoe, if you want the “boxed set” of awesome for your digital shelf, this is it.

(Text from Eureka: 501 Adventure Plots to Inspire Game Masters, one of the six amazing sources in this bundle.)

“Much more than a simple book of plots, Eureka! stands as one of those essential tools that GMs and game designers will find themselves reaching for again and again.” — Game designer Wolfgang Baur, Kobold Quarterly review

2010 Golden Geek Award nominee for Best Supplement

Featuring a foreword by gaming industry legend Monte Cook, Eureka contains 501 complete adventure plots usable with almost any roleplaying game, plus GMing advice and tools for making the most of every plot.

If you game once a week, that’s nearly 10 years of adventures, all right here in the largest collection of its kind ever published. Written by nine veteran game masters — the authors of the most widely read game mastering blog on the planet, Gnome Stew — Eureka is more than just adventure seeds.

Each plot includes a hook to draw your players in, an outline detailing enough material for a complete adventure, generally in the form of 3-5 meaty encounters, and any game mastering notes, plot twists, and advice you might need to turn that plot into a fun night of gaming.

Adventure hooks alone don’t give you much to work with, but fully developed adventures can be hard to personalize and fit into an ongoing game. Eureka is the perfect middle ground: We provide the main ingredients, and you decide how to prepare them.

Packed with ideas and inspiration and including DRM-free PDF, EPUB, MOBI, and text versions of the book, this massive collection is designed to be the ultimate adventure toolkit:

  • Fantasy, science fiction, and horror plots: 167 of each, all easily adaptable to multiple genres
  • Clear, concise game mastering advice: We show you how to adapt plots to other genres (effectively giving you 464 fantasy, 420 sci-fi, and 338 horror plots) and how to turn Eureka plots into full-blown adventures
  • The tools you need: Plots are grouped by theme, from “Revolt” to “Mistaken Jealousy,” and categorized by tags like intrigue, exploration, and combat-heavy
  • Four indexes: Quickly find a plot for any situation by genre, tag, title, or author
  • No game mechanics and no proper names: These system-neutral plots are simple to use and easy to personalize to your game
  • Fully hyperlinked and bookmarked: We’ve made Eureka as user-friendly and GM-friendly as possible

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 KOBOLD folks provide an entire excellent series of advice and tools for GMs to use in improving their craft and enhancing their games. Alongside the fantastic KOBOLD Guide to Worldbuilding, I highly recommend this useful tome to aid Game Masters seeking step-by-step guidance in putting together a campaign. Just look at the list of writers!

Run Your Best Campaign Yet

Whether you’re a new gamemaster or a seasoned vet looking for a new angle to shake up your game, these 19 essays by expert gamemasters help construct your campaign from the ground up—and keep your players engaged until the dramatic conclusion.

Kobold Guide to Plots & Campaigns shows how to begin a new campaign, use published adventures or loot them for the best ideas, build toward cliffhangers, and design a game that can enthrall your players for month or even years. Want to run an evil campaign, or hurl the characters into unusual otherworldly settings? Want to ensure that you’re creating memorable and effective NPCs and villains? We’ve got you covered.

Complete with discussions on plotting, tone, branching storytelling, pacing, and crafting action scenes, you’ll find all the tips and advice you need to take on the best role in roleplaying—and become an expert gamemaster, too! Featuring essays by Wolfgang Baur, Jeff Grubb, David “Zeb” Cook, Margaret Weis, Robert J. Schwalb, Steve Winter, and other game professionals.

This latest volume in the best-selling and award-winning series of Kobold Guides tackles the storytelling and campaign planning at the heart of any great RPG. Improve your game and expand your plotting and scheming skills with the Kobold Guide to Plots & Campaigns!

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!

No GM Toolkit Week would be right without bringing out AEG‘s Ultimate Toolbox. This one really is system-agnostic, meant to help GMs running any game with a fantasy motif.

Based on the award-winning RPG book Toolbox, the Ultimate Toolbox starts off where the original stopped. Focusing on inspiration, the Ultimate Toolbox is 400 pages of the best charts, tables, and seeds of gaming adventure. From character backgrounds and world building to pirate lore and magical portals, every page is the key to adventure.

Covering seven distinct and ever-important topics, the Ultimate Toolbox is a must for any GM. Whether your games take place in the city, dungeon, wilds, or even at sea, there’s a chapter dedicated to it. Even PCs, NPCs, and magical creations get their fair share of attention, as well as advice and charts for building an adventure or campaign from scratch.

Begin your journey now.

This book can be used with any fantasy game system. There are no rules, no powers, no stats of any kind-merely page after page of charts, tables, advice and good solid gaming inspiration. With over 1,000 never-before-seen tables and a fully-loaded index, what else could you ever need?

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’s rare I pick an entire company’s catalog of products, but with it being GM Toolkit Week, how can I not point out the entire collection of amazing game aids that Ennead Games provides? A randomized list for just about every single thing I might imagine needing a list for, and tons of stuff I never imagined (but they did!). Names, equipment… rules for defining an entire plane of existence!

Ennead Games – A company dedicated to making materials for use in rpgs and writing, from Fantasy to Sci-Fi.

Seriously, just click the link and wander around their page.

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!