Category: GM’s Pick of the Day

Dark and drizzly outside puts me in a World of Darkness kind of mood, and this Pick is perfect for that. Building on the Lore of the Clans book that did so well on Kickstarter, this takes long-time fans and newcomers back to the stuff that really expanded the WoD the first time around. If you aren’t satisfied just playing a straight-up Ventrue, Tremere, or Malkavian, here’s some of that off-the-path stuff for you to play with.

The Clans are not the only vampires that strut, if I might steal from the Bard, upon this great stage of fools. There are the errant Kindred inaccurately collected under the sobriquet of “bloodlines.” While their role in the eternal conflict between the childer of Caine is small, it is often incredibly impactful. 

As such, I provide this corollary to my original study. It would be the work of several lifetimes to find and document every tiny aberration or fleeting dead end that constitutes a variation from one of the thirteen. Instead, I have focused on nine that I know for certain have an impact in our little culture war of the dead. From the brain-washed abominations of Tremere magic to vampires twisted by demonic will to the remnants of Clans long thought dead, each of these so-called “bloodlines” have their place in society. There is no larger picture for them — for us — to be a part of. Here on the fringes, each vampire’s experience is unique. 

We are free to create our own truths amidst the lies.

Lore of the Bloodlines is a single volume companion to Lore of the Clans that revisits some of the bloodlines in Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition, providing story hooks, character concepts, history, and bloodline-specific rules. The secrets of the Baali, Daughters of Cacophony, Gargoyles, Harbingers of Skulls, Kiasyd, Nagaraja, Salubri, Samedi, and True Brujah are now yours.

Lore of the Bloodlines includes:

  • The history, lore, and nightly practices of nine bloodlines, told from the perspective of the Kindred themselves.
  • New combo Disciplines, powers, Merits, Flaws, and other rules specific to each bloodline.
  • Revisions and updates of more classic Vampire: The Masquerade material to V20.

Lore of the Bloodlines was made possible by the backers of the Lore of the Clans Kickstarter campaign.

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!

Last night, it was time for me to return to the Game Master’s Seat at Monday Night Savages (at our excellent FLGS, Total Escape Games). I’d been promising a return to my Danger International* setting, but I wanted to shift away from the amazing Feng Shui 2 rules to something that worked a bit better for the specifics I was engaged with (mainly, easily customizable to creating famous action heroes of the 80s and 90s).

Just as he did for my quest for superhero gamingLeonard Pimentel struck again with a rather perfect system for exactly what I wanted – action cinema gaming with a decidedly 80s-90s feel. I mean, seriously, it’s right in the description!

A tabletop roleplaying game about action movies, especially those of the 80s and early 90s…

Folks, I’d read the book. I’d never run the game. My friends had never played the game, and most of them barely saw the rules (if at all).

What a rush!

We started pretty late – I think around 6:30pm – and by the time we set up a Big Cliffhanger at 9:15pm, they’d blown through a casino full of Deadites, met up and roleplayed figuring out what was going on, did a huge car chase**, and arrived just outside of Witch Mountain. They then concocted a plan to get inside the base, executed said plan, and all wound up in different, interesting places right before the Siphon showed up to make things even more interesting…

I’ve Picked the game before, but it really deserves extra mention today, because we had an amazing time, and once again, I am blown away by the genius of my friend, Len. This is an approach to the AWE-style of gaming that I grok and love!

(*) – The Cast: V.I. Warshawski, Hannibal Smith, Lara Croft, John Steed, Chiun, Ash, Walker

(**) – Five black operative sedans, two black operative SUVs, and a super turbo-charged, heavily armored “boss SUV” chasing a “crotch rocket” (Lara), an Aston Martin (John, V.I.), a massive pick-up (Walker, Chiun), and an ’73 Oldsmobile Delta 88 (Ash, Hannibal).

Full Disclosure – I hacked the rules to add extra oomph to the heroes. Possibly too much, but they had a great time, so I just need to “oomph” the bad guys a bit more. If you’re interested in the hack, let me know. If you’ve bought the game, I will happily share the hack.

“I was a 98 pound weakling who used to get sand kicked in my face at the beach. At least, that was until Magnum Fury came along!”   ~Nobody Ever Said This

MAGNUM (n): a really big bullet or gun that is awesome and in no way intended to compensate for any unspecified size-related deficiency.

FURY (n): the kind of anger that makes you an unstoppable juggernaut of ass-kickery who can perform heroic feats normal wimps couldn’t even dream of.

MAGNUM FURY

A tabletop roleplaying game about action movies, especially those of the 80s and early 90s, Magnum Fury is designed to play the kind of fast combat and intense action scenes action movies are known for. Magnum Fury was heavily inspired by—and pokes a lot of fun at—the action movies and action comedies of the 80s and early 90s, but it can be used to play any kind of action adventure from any genre. It uses a simple set of rules that focus on the heroes and allow you and your friends to imitate your favorite action movies or make up your own. You can create your very own badass action hero in less than a minute, and game prep requires nothing more than a few ideas about how you plan to abuse the heroes.

If you’re looking for someone to blame for Magnum Fury, look no farther than 48 Hours and Another 48 Hours, Above the Law, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, Aliens, The Beastmaster, Beverly Hills Cop and Beverly Hills Cop 2, Big Trouble in Little China, Bloodsport, Commando, Conan the Barbarian and Conan the Destroyer, The Crow, The Delta Force, Demolition Man, Die Hard, Escape from New York, First Blood and Rambo: First Blood Part 2, Flash Gordon, The Golden Child, Hawk the Slayer, Hard to Kill, Highlander, Invasion U.S.A., Kickboxer, The Last Dragon, Lethal Weapon (all of them), Marked for Death, Predator and Predator 2, Raw Deal, Red Sonja, The Road Warrior and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Roadhouse, Robocop and Robocop 2, Running Man, Tango and Cash, Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day, They Live, Timecop, Total Recall, True Lies, and Under Siege.

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!

For many reasons, this classic and very odd game is getting a lot of new attention. Unsurprisingly, Mongoose is giving us all a brand new, fully-updated version to play with. 6 clones. A laser pistol. A government that makes utterly zero sense, led by…

Yeah, just read it. Trust me, if you never play the game once, the reading is worth the price of admission. Especially since the legendary James Wallis is one of the folks involved.

Welcome to Alpha Complex! Welcome to the ranks of the Troubleshooters! Welcome to Paranoia!

As a Troubleshooter, you are a member of Alpha Complex’s most expendable elite force. Tasked with finding trouble and shooting it, you will be hunting mutants, terrorists, traitors, [CLASSIFIED], secret societies, renegade bots, and DAIVs, which are [REDACTED]. You’ll save Alpha Complex from its greatest threat, unless you accidentally become Alpha Complex’s greatest threat.

Completely rebuilt from the ground up, Paranoia is the classic RPG of a darkly humorous future, rebooted for a humorously dark present. All-new mechanics include a simple yet brilliant character-generation system, a bluffing-based card-driven combat system that encourages creativity, clever moves and lying, a special Computer Dice which means even the simplest interaction can become hilariously fatal, in-game XP point rewards, and more advice to GMs than you can shake a stick at. Three single-session adventures introduce you painlessly to the new mechanics and background, and are designed to be played straight out of the box.

Everything is the same but everything is different.

You look worried, citizen. Relax! It’s still Paranoia. The year is still 214. You still have six clones and a laser pistol. The Computer is still your friend.

Contains:
The Player’s Handbook
The Gamesmaster’s Handbook
The Missions Book
110 Playing Cards
Character 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!

Quick, ready-made stuff to drop into your campaign is one of the best things about today’s publishing landscape for RPGs. The folks of Tricky Troll get that, and here’s a good sign of it. A collection of playable alien races to add to any Savage Worlds sci-fi or related game. This would be a great thing for any Last Parsec or Savage Rifts game, for example.

Savage Species: Aliens is a racial supplement for the Savage Worlds roleplaying game. Inside this PDF you will find statistics for 20 playable races all alien in origin. The races in this product are designed to be used in almost any Sci-Fi setting. So prepare your imagination with Savage Species: Aliens!

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!

PS – Apologies for some inconsistency lately (especially with not posting the Week’s Picks on EN World. Life is a bit… stressful, but I am working on getting back on track.

Synthwave. Stranger Things. David HasselhoffKung FuryBaywatchVoltron. The 80s won’t let us go, and I, for one, don’t want them to.

Enter Tales from the Loop.

“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!

For those still filling out their original Palladium Rifts electronic collection, here’s a recent addition to the online catalog you’ll want to snag for sure. Truth be told, though there’s plenty in there for a GM, this is a hugely useful resource for players as it collects hundreds-upon-hundreds of things from other books into one easy-to-hand reference.

The ultimate Rifts® reference and sourcebook

All the weapons, equipment, body armor, power armor, robots, vehicles, skills and psionics from Rifts® World Books 1-22, Sourcebooks 1-4, and Siege on Tolkeen 1-6, collected into one big reference. Plus maps, lists of O.C.C.s and R.C.C.s, and more.

  • 503 weapons, including explosives, plus E-Clips and ammo notes.
  • 300 skills listed and described.
  • 290 pieces of equipment
  • 104 suits of body armor.
  • 182 vehicles.
  • 86 suits of power armor.
  • 58 robots.
  • New and optional combat rules and examples of play.
  • Comprehensive index of O.C.C.s, R.C.C.s, P.C.C.s, and monsters.
  • Experience tables for scores of character classes.
  • Designer notes, rules clarifications and reference notes.
  • Game Master tips and hints for running Rifts®.
  • Maps, adventure ideas, and a lexicon of terms.
  • 352 pages of reference material galore.

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!

One of the most successful television programs of all time, M*A*S*H is famous for so many things – including lasting longer on television than the actual war it’s based upon lasted. A comedy with frequent and poignant dramatic elements, M*A*S*H united families around the world to both laugh at and think strongly about what war really means, and what it does to those who must endure it.

If there’s one thing the Apocalypse World Engine does well, it’s facilitate engagement with elements of story via gameplay that go beyond “I roll to hit the thing.” This may be one of the most interesting blending of RPG mechanic and storytelling you’ll see in a long time.

MASHED is a tabletop roleplaying game that uses Powered by the Apocalypse rules to explore the value of human life and the stresses of war—but it’s also about relationships. And courage. And laughter. And love.

Although your characters spend long hours performing surgery, MASHED compresses these into short events to focus on the most dramatic moments. Much of the game actually occurs outside of the operating tent, at times when the flow of casualties has ebbed. Here you may fall in or out of love, fight the orders of ineffective top brass, set up pranks, help your South Korean allies, pick fights, seduce your way through the unit, pull rank, and much more.

If you can find ways to relax amid the horrors of surgery and war, you might get rotated home with your sanity intact. Just remember that you’re practicing medicine in a combat zone—and death isn’t confined to the operating tent.

“MASHED weaves history and military procedures through the game in a totally fitting way, doesn’t dwell on or ignore the challenges of the era for modern eyes, and features a brilliant use of countdown clocks and wounds. I cannot wait to see this finished and on the table.” – Meguey Baker, creator of 1001 Nights, co-designer of Apocalypse World

The download includes the MASHED RPG (262-page PDF) and all of the complete handouts designed for print-and-play:

  • 7 playbooks (Angel, Corpsman, Cowboy, Cutter, Doc, Grunt, Padre)
  • 1 character creation guidebook
  • 1 moves summary playsheet (basic and medical)
  • 1 patient playsheet (including 4 patients; 2 per side)
  • 1 tents playsheet (with instructions and handout; 2-sided)
  • 3 CO field manuals (quick reference guidebook, first session workbook, event workbook)
  • 1 personnel tracker (22 pages)
  • 1 calendar covering June 1950 to July 1953 (38 pages)
  • 2 printable camp maps (with and without labels)

The Concept

“Part game, part history lesson, MASHED captures the human drama of battlefield medicine within the context of the Korean War.” – Marshall Miller, creator of The Warren

MASHED is a tabletop roleplaying game for 3+ players, one of whom serves as the Commanding Officer (CO). A single game session can be as short as two hours, or extended into longer multiple sessions to eventually cover all three years of the Korean War.

The game informs and educates through play, helping the reader learn more about the Korean War and the costs that war imposes on those who live through it. However, as Joss Whedon once said “Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, but then, for the love of God, tell a joke.” With that in mind, the book covers the entire Korean War in seven phases, with 30+ threats, 80+ events, and dozens of story questions featuring light comedy, gallows humor, and mature situations, all of which can be combined in new ways to create a multitude of scenarios.

How It Plays

“MASHED uses a system that beats down the characters so they find solace in each other, places it into historical fictional context in which you’re all the foreigners, and primes you for dramatic and challenging play.” – Fraser Simons, creator of The Veil

The rules are based on Vincent and Meguey Baker’s innovative Apocalypse World game engine and inspired by other Powered by the Apocalypse games such as Night Witches, Blades in the Dark, The Warren, Monsterhearts, and others. The core mechanic involves rolling two 6-sided dice and adding a single character stat against results of 10+ (success), 7-9 (success with complications), or 6- (things get worse). 

Major mechanical additions and differences include: Roles (personalities with unique moves), Stress points to affect personalities and change Roles during play, and medical moves with triggers that reinforce the need for teamwork during operating room events.

When an Operating Room event occurs, you and your surgical team use medical moves (Assist, Diagnose, Prescribe, and Treat) in conjunction with a special patient playsheet. You use moves to try and stabilize the patient before the countdown runs out, but failed moves can impose consequences and complications that you’ll have to work together to resolve.

When you create your character, you choose one of seven included Playbooks that provide a template for your character. Each playbook (Angel, Corpsman, Cowboy, Cutter, Doc, Grunt, and Padre) covers one of the MASH’s medical or other Army personnel types, and includes a variety of options for you to customize your character. 

You also choose from one of eight character Roles that represent their personality (Bully, Casanova, Clown, Gray, Misanthrope, Operator, Sky Pilot, and Stickler), each of which contain unique moves (actions). Your playbook stays the same throughout the game, but accumulating Stress points can change your role, thus representing how the war affects your personality. You can embrace the transition to a new role or try to relieve this stress by taking actions appropriate for your current role. Your Role also affects your interactions with other players and how well you’re able to connect with them.

A Note on the Historical Fiction

Your 8099th MASH unit is fictional, but the phases of the war and many of the possible threats, events, and questions are historically inspired. MASHED includes a detailed bibliography of over 60 non-fiction books, interviews, medical journals, and other publications that provided information and inspiration in equal measures.

All names, characters, organizations, places, products, incidents, and locales are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

MASH is the acronym for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. MASHED is not based on or derived from, and should not be implied as being an official or authorized part of, the M*A*S*H media franchise. M*A*S*H is a registered trademark of 20th Century Fox Film Corporation.

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!

Still recovering from a fantastic time at StarFest this weekend, but I had to let you know about this latest offering for Cypher System fans directly from Monte Cook Games. If you want to use this system to make your world and your story ideas come to life, then this book is a vital part of your toolkit.

Where will your campaign take you? What worlds will you build?

The dusty, ruined remains of a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The black expanse of a hard-SF solar system. The gritty streets of film noir. Wherever your vision takes you, the Cypher System can take your campaign. Building on the genres explored in the Cypher System Rulebook, Expanded Worlds gives you tailored rules, advice, tropes, and character options for seven setting genres, along with tools you can use to build any campaign you can imagine.

In Expanded Worlds you’ll find:

  • Advice, equipment, and new rules for running Cypher System games in post-apocalyptic, mythological, fairy tale, childhood adventure, historical, crime and espionage, and hard science fiction settings.
  • Character options, setting guidelines, creatures, equipment, artifacts, and more.
  • Over 40 new foci, such as Changes Shape, Makes Prophecy, Conducts Rocket Science, Hacks the Network, Is Wanted by the Law, Plays Too Many Games, Helps their Friends, and Hunted by Moths.
  • Over 35 creatures and NPCs, including master detectives, midnight scrabblers, cannibals, mad scientists, cryptic moths, glowing roaches, princes and princesses of summer, killer clowns, hydras, and the Father of Monsters, Typhon himself.

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!

One of the greatest things about DriveThruRPG is the capacity to mix “Amazing Deals On Lots of Gaming Stuff” with “Exceptional Opportunity to Help Others.” That’s what this special bundle is about, as you can get 32 products valued at over $230 for…

TWENTY DOLLARS. 

$20 for… what? Holee… you know what, just look below. Grab this while you can, and I promise there’s something in there that will make it worth your while. Meanwhile, here’s who you’re helping, and why –

This is a support product for the Hershey family as they deal with the medical bills and treatment. Unlike other bundles and charity work I’ve done, this bundle is to help out my own family. . . mainly my wife’s ongoing medical expenses and needs. For the last 10 years, she has battled with Crohn’s Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and chronic kidney stones. Paying her medical bills and keeping her as healthy as possible has been a tremendous task, and when emergencies come up, it can be very stressful to meet the needs to get her the help she needs. This bundle will run till the end of the week, check it out, and pick it up if you can. It has a lot of great products from some of our favorite publisher friends. – Rick Hershey

Rick Hershey is a good guy, a talented creator, and a friend. You do me honor if you buy this.

A selection of products you will find within –

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!

Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany AKA Lord Dunsany is one of the most influential figures in the history of fantastic fiction. His more than 80 books and hundreds of short stories and other works inspired almost everything that followed as “modern fantasy,” and his influence can be seen in almost every fantasy RPG we have today. Now we’ve got an entire RPG specifically designed to reflect his works and his ideas.

“Downloaded for free, read it, went back and paid in. I’ll confess to being a pinch bit skeptical but this really is a nice framework to build a Dunsanian fantasy world around. The games bleeds magic and captures a nice level of what I consider a somewhat hallucinogenic fantasy world.” – James M (DriveThruRPG customer)

Welcome to TEQUENDRIA, a world where desert cities move through the sands like a snake, where ancient gods threaten to rise from the ocean, and where legends are forged in magic and steel.

TEQUENDRIA is a fantastical roleplaying game inspired by the works of Lord Dunsany, the grandfather of modern fantasy. In this game you may become a grim Gravekeeper of Zum, a soul-weilding Icur sorceror or even an artificial Doomgaunt. Travel the wilds of Yann where the winter will bite as fiercly as the wolves, or delve in to the ancient Pits of Snood and face the demons within. Magic courses through the veins of Tequendria, meaning every creature is somewhat capable of casting spells. Above the clouds of the world adventurers can take to their aether in mighty vessels, visiting strange alien worlds like Dim Carcosa and the Snurk Pits of the Bounds of Leng. 
  • Play as 20 different weird and wonderful archetypes (roll them randomly if you like)
  • Everyone can cast spells 
  • Setting information for the world of Tequendria
  • A bestiary of deadly creatures
  • A selection of fiction by Lord Dunsany

TEQUENDRIA uses the Unbelievably Simple Roleplaying system, whose mechanics are streamlined and beginner-friendly, but allow for customisation. 

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!