Category: Pick of the Day

Owen K.C. Stephens Week continues with a Pick that goes to a different place and time (so to speak). Owen is perhaps the leading expert (certainly in the top five) on wrapping Pathfinder rules around just about anything; this is what made him the perfect choice for leading the Starfinder design.

Here, he tackles pulp-style derring-do for Pathfinder fans.

Prepare for Pulp Adventure!

Want two-fisted action? Dapper heroes with ESP, strong-jawed adventurers who run in, guns blazing, and sophisticated great detectives? Love the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, but you’re looking for pulp adventure stories from the late 1700s to the 1940s? Then you want Anachronistic Adventures!

This pulp genre toolbox works seamlessly with the existing Pathfinder Roleplaying Game rules, and presents:

  • Six new 20-level classes (Cogitator, Daredevil, Enforcer, Luminary, Sensitive, and Tough) representing iconic pulp heroes concepts!
  • More than a score of archetypes that let you fine tune unique modern age characters!
  • Rules for modern firearms, heroes without armor, low-magic campaigns, and everything else you need to run anachronistic adventures or create your own anachronistic 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!

A second Pick to make up for missing yesterday.

Being Owen K.C. Stephens Week here at the SPOD, let’s go with this gem from Green Ronin, featuring a cast of all-stars including Owen. Bringing the ever-popular pirate city of Freeport to the Pathfinder fans was a great idea, and this one gives them all the monsters and bad guys they need to endless adventures and swashbuckling action there.

The world of Freeport is a perilous one, as any swab can attest. Sailors face monsters like ocean wyrms and sail dragons, explorers must deal with ghost eaters and harpoon crabs, and city dwellers may be surprised by burnlings and flayed men. You’ll find all these creatures and many more in the Freeport Bestiary for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game!

This 180-page full color sourcebook includes a wide variety of threats, from classic Freeport adversaries like serpentmen and fire spectres to new monsters like corsair drakes and witch beasts. It’s the perfect complement to Freeport: The City of Adventure and can be used to add spice to any Pathfinder Roleplaying Game 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!

Sorry I missed yesterday. I arrived home in the wee hours from Gen Con, totally wiped out. Here’s my makeup pick for Monday.

In honor of the unbelievable 6-hour sell-out of Paizo’s Starfinder core book on Thursday of the convention, I am dedicating this week to my good friend, Owen K.C. Stephens, one of the key architects behind this huge hit. Owen is good people, and I will always be grateful to him for helping me through a dark moment at this year’s show, and for just being a tremendous human being. In honor of him, this will be Owen K.C. Stephens Week here at the SPOD!

Starfarer’s Companion is the perfectly-timed release from Owen’s Rogue Genius Games in conjunction with Starfinder – a set of expanded options for that game from the house that has the official license to craft them!

A Companion to Adventure Across the Stars!

An expansion to the Starfinder Core Rulebook, adding both classic character concepts and brand new options to expand the variety in your fantastic galaxy!

  • Races – Aasimar, Catfolk, Deoxyians, Dhampirs, Grippli, Ifrit, Kitsune, Kobolds, Mechanoi, Nagaji, Oreads, Samsarans, Suli, Sylphs, Tengu, Tieflings, Undine, Vanaras, Vishkanya, and Wayangs!
  • Classes – Updated versions of the Bard, Cleric, Magus, Paladin, Ranger, and Wizard!
  • Companions – Paladins and rangers have lots of cool companion options.
  • Feats – Support feats for the new class options, plus fun possibilities for characters of any race or class!
  • Computers – New modules and upgrades, plus tons of pregenerated computers to save GMs and players both considerable effort!
  • Starships – More options, and lots of pregenerated Starships to drool over!
  • Spells – 7th, 8th, and 9th level spells, plus lots of old favorites brought into the Starfaring Age!

And More! All ready for any campaign, but including the flavor needed to integrate smoothly with RGG’s Blood Space setting, the background flavor in the Starfarer’s Companion can be a stand-alone adventure ground, or just Another Place in the Galaxy of Your Games.

The Starfarer Companion is written by Alex Augunas and Matt Morris, with the assistance of Matt Banach and Owen K.C. Stephens.

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!

Amidst the chaos and clamor of Gen Con 50 – where I am wandering the halls or rolling some dice as you read this – I am closing out my Super Games Week with a fantastic gem created by my dear friend and partner-in-crime, Leonard Pimentel. This is the first edition of his Prowlers & Paragons superhero game system, and it’s absolutely brilliant in its design and execution. He and I are even now preparing to release the Ultimate Edition, which will take this from a really fun superhero game to what I believe will become “the next Champions.”

Take a look, enjoy the simplicity and the excellent player-narrative elements mixed with elegant straightforward mechanics, and watch for the next iteration to absolutely knock your socks off!

(Then again, if you’d rather not wait and want to see it “in progress,” come check out my Patreon…)

Prowlers & Paragons (or P&P) is a tabletop roleplaying game with a narration-driven, rules-light system designed to emulate four-color superhero comics. Let’s break that down so you can see what you’re getting yourself into.

P&P is a tabletop roleplaying game. We’re going to assume you’ve got this one covered.

P&P is a narration-driven system. The rules in this game are not effects driven. For the most part, they don’t tell you what happens. Instead, they tell you who gets to describe what happens. And that’s what it’s all about in P&P: describing what happens. Both the players and the gamemaster (GM) take turns narrating events in the game world. This makes P&P feel more like an exercise in collaborative storytelling than a typical roleplaying game. However, P&P isn’t totally freeform and open-ended either. There are rules that help determine what characters can do and how they compare to one another, especially in combat! This prevents the game from devolving into a never-ending debate about what is and isn’t reasonable.

P&P is rules light. It’s chock full of gross oversimplifications and blatant inaccuracies that mimic comic book tropes rather than real-world facts. This also makes P&P a simple game with a streamlined set of rules. Once you know what you’re doing, you should be able to play without ever opening the book.

Finally, P&P is designed to emulate four-color superhero comics. This game is about the heroic things the characters do and the heroic burdens they shoulder. Mundane matters get little attention. There aren’t any detailed rules for dealing with money and wealth, but there most definitely is a rule for smashing into a bank vault. Let’s be perfectly clear: This is not a deep and cerebral game. P&P was designed to let you play stories about super heroes who save the world and beat the snot out of villains who richly deserve it. Like so much of the genre, P&P is a gleefully unapologetic exercise in heroic wish fulfillment.

Core Rules!

The core rules are finally here! 

Included here are 2 versions of the game, one in full beautiful color and one with crisp, black-and-white line art so that your printer won’t break up with you for printing it out. Both are 142 pages long and include:

Chapter 1: Introduction:  Um … it’s an introduction.  What did you expect?

Chapter 2: Action: This chapter include most of the rules you need to play the game, including rules for narrative task resolution and comic book slugfests!

Chapter 3: Characters: Here is where you learn how to make heroes!  We have full character creation rules that allow you to create street level prowlers, cosmic paragons, and everything in between.

Chapter 4: Heroism: This chapter explains the use of Resolve and Adversity, the narrative currency that players and gamemasters use to bend the rules of the game and even the game world itself in their favor.

Chapter 5: Wonderful Toys: You like gear?  Then this is the chapter for you.  This chapter includes weapons, armor, miscellaneous equipment, vehicles (and yes, vehicle combat rules), and even rules for creating your own makeshift items on the fly in the middle of a story.  What could possibly go wrong?

Chapter 6: Big Bad World: It’s a big world full of bad stuff that give heroes headaches.  Disasters, Diseases, Hazards … ther’re all in here.

Chapter 7: Friends & Foes: A veritable rogues gallery at your disposal. A host of mundane (and not so mundane) npcs, from Athletes to Zombies, a large number of animals from Bats to Zebras (yes, of course there are dinosaurs in there), and a collection of archetypal supers from the Acrobat to the Weather Controller that you can used as villains, or even as heroes if you’re in a rush.

Chapter 8: Playing the Game: This chapter provides both players and gamemasters (but mostly gamemasters) with tools, tips, and tricks for running the best super hero roleplaying game they can run.  We give you our thoughts about playing and running roleplaying games while desperately trying not to sound patronizing.

Chapter 9: From the Ashes: A light-hearted (and rather forgiving) introductory adventurefor a group of heroes of standard power level.

The world needs heroes.

Take a Stand!  Join the Fight!

BE A HERO!

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, Super Games Week featured Steve Kenson’s exceptionally light-and-fun ICONSToday, we take a look at the other end of the spectrum, the very expansive and complete Mutants & Masterminds Deluxe (3rd Edition) rules. Considerably more complex, M&M is founded on a d20-oriented engine, but it diverges considerably from the standard OGL experience. Fans love the enormous flexibility, and the “saving throw” orientation of the resolution system is novel and effective.

This is arguably the top superhero game in the marketplace, or at least one of them.

Fly into super-heroic battle with Mutants & Masterminds! You and your friends take on the roles of super-powered heroes in a world of criminal masterminds, paranormal terrorists, destructive brutes, and other insidious villains. You get to thwart their evil plans and bring them to justice!

Since 2002, Mutants & Masterminds has earned its title as the World’s Greatest Superhero RPG, inspiring countless game sessions and winning many awards for excellence. The Deluxe Hero’s Handbook is the revised and expanded core rulebook of the game’s Third Edition and it gives you everything you need to have your own super-heroic adventures:

  • A flexible and powerful system for creating the hero that you want to play.
  • A huge variety of super powers, skills, and advantages to choose from and customize.
  • A core system that emphasizes action and uses only a single 20-sided die.
  • Integrated rules for gadgets, vehicles, and headquarters.
  • Ready-to-play archetypes and a Quickstart Character Generator if you want to get to the action even faster.
  • Advice for Gamemasters on creating and running your own adventure series.
  • Introductions to Mutants & MasterMinds premier settings, Emerald City and Freedom City.
  • Two brand new adventures, Ghost Town by Seth Johnson and Time of the Apes by Christopher McGlothlin.

So what are you waiting for? Choose your powers. Put on your mask. Fight the forces of evil and… Save the world!

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!

Arguably one of the easiest-yet-most-satisfying superhero games ever created, ICONS is Steve Kenson’s love-letter to the original Marvel Superheroeswith just a dash of FATE-ish influence to dig into the 21st-Century style of gaming. This is our Pick for today’s Super Games Week!

Those looking for deep character-building experiences won’t find that here (instead, look to tomorrow’s Pick, Mutants & Masterminds, also by the incomparable Mr. Kenson), but for fun (and random) characters in a quick-and-easy superpowered bash of a game, you cannot go wrong here.

 

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!

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!

 

Super Games Week flies on even as we begin to gather for Gen Con 50. One of the great wargame companies in gaming history, Avalon Hill, lives on with more RPG offerings here in the 21st Century. This includes their take on d20-driven superhero gaming, and they’ve adapted their popular OGL/Pathfinder-driven Heroes Wear Masks game to the 5th Edition of D&D.

Dungeons & Dragons has always been a game about bravery and heroism, an adventurer fighting to survive in a world beset by magic and evil. It’s a very short trip from there to the world of superheroes.

D&D games and superhero fiction have a lot in common. They are both tales of powerful, extraordinary individuals, some heroic, some definitely not, who go out and have adventures. Saving a town from being destroyed by a rampaging monster works equally well as a Dungeons & Dragons sessions or an issue of a comic book. The core experiences fundamentally click.

The original Heroes Wear Masks sought to bring superheroes to Pathfinder.

This version gives the same treatment to Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition.

If you are familiar with Fifth Edition, you will recognize most of the rules. If you are familiar with superheroes, you will be familiar with most of the setting. If you are familiar with both, you will be right at home here. 

A metropolis strains under the weight of crime. The police are helpless against a new breed of costumed super-being. The city cries out for heroes.

Will you answer the call, or help burn it to the ground?

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!

Bear with me, this will make sense in a minute…

It’s Gen Con, many, many years ago. It’s in Milwaukee still, which should tell you something. It’s early 90s, though I just can’t remember the specific year (I am terrible with that kind of thing, always remembering experiences, never really dates).

It’s my first Gen Con, though, and it’s alongside some of the most amazing people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with – Steve Peterson, George MacDonald, Ray Greer, Bruce Harlick, and Rob Bell among them. I’ve just fully launched my career as a writer and game designer in the tabletop RPG industry, you see, and this was my chance to be at the Big Show with those who took a chance on me with a couple of books – High Tech Enemies and Champions Universe, in specific.

This was also the era of “The Big Blue Book,” the George Perez-covered Champions 4th Edition. I will forever have a permanent place, center-stage, in my heart-of-hearts for this game, and especially this edition (which, for me, will always remain the best version of the penultimate* superhero game of our hobby).

Thus, for me, Gen Con 50 represents Super Games Week! Five core superhero games, representing this incredible RPG genre that launched my career.

(*) – Yes, I have a thoroughly biased reason for saying it that way, which will become very clear in the months to come (unless you’re already following my Patreon).

Champions is simply the best super role-playing game ever created. It gives you complete control over every aspect of your superhero and your world. Champions is all that is needed to bring the four-color heroics of comic books to life. This contains the award winning HERO system rules, The Champions source book, as well as Campaign Book: everything necessary for instant heroic super team!

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 Fun With 5th Edition week with the latest release for Adventures in Middle-earth. The ultimate (and, dare I say, inevitable) marriage between D&D and one of its most influential inspirations is a rather exceptional example of bonding game to setting in a beautiful and effective way. This product represents an easy-access adventure, a number of ready-to-play characters, some lovely optional rules for a couple of the classes, and a set of pages that will make the Loremaster’s job significantly easier.

The Eaves of Mirkwood and Loremaster’s Screen is an invaluable accessory pack for the Loremaster, aimed to introduce players to Adventures in Middle-earth.

It contains: 

• The Eaves of Mirkwood: a 32-page adventure that makes a perfect introduction to Adventures in Middle-earth for new players, or a handy episode to drop into your existing campaign. The Company finds themselves setting out from Woodmen-town to travel through the Eaves of Mirkwood towards Lake-town. When the Journey goes awry they must draw swords in aid of a village beleaguered by the dreaded Greymuzzle Hob. Using cut down rules and offering lots of advice, Eaves of Mirkwood is a great starting point for your Adventures in Middle-earth. 

• The PDF version of the beautiful and functional four panel, heavyweight Loremaster’s Screen, featuring a collection of handy reference tables, broken into pages for the PDF, to keep your games flowing seamlessly on the other.

• Six pre-generated characters in a separate file. 

• A 2 page PDF file of suggested optional rules for the Warden and Scholar classes.

What you’ll need to play The Eaves of Mirkwood

• The 5e rules – these are available free online – or the hard copy player’s rules. 

• It would be extremely helpful to have access to the Adventures in Middle-earth Player’s Guide and Loremaster’s Guide. But Eaves of Mirkwood can be run without them.

• A passing knowledge of Middle-earth. You don’t need to be an expert, nor do the players. If you’ve seen the movies that will serve you well. If you’ve read the books so much the better. The more you know of  Middle-earth the more of its special atmosphere you can impart, but you do not need to be an expert.

About Adventures in Middle-earth

At last, you can officially play the world’s favourite RPG in Middle-earth! Offering Middle-earth specific classes, cultures and backgrounds, as well as new rules for Journeys, Audiences, Scenery in Combat, Corruption, and unique Middle-earth adversaries, Adventures in Middle-earth has been both a huge popular and critical success. With gorgeous artwork, and an adaptation that’s as faithful to the source material as it is possible to be, Adventures in Middle-earth is simply a must have purchase for 5e gamers.

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 the Fun With 5th Edition Week with this gem from Fat Goblin Games. A compilation of Ismael Alvarez’s Sidebar columns dealing with enhanced versions of 5e mundane gear and its use, this also adds a bunch of new stuff to make it a fantastic supplement to any current-version D&D game.

Ismael Alvarez’ fantastic Sidebar columns explored the power and creativity of mundane 5th edition equipment. First there were weapons, then he talked about armor and finally equipment! Now those Sidebar’s have been compiled and enhanced in one complete volume! What do we mean when we say Amazing Weapons, Armor, and Equipment?

  • Mundane armors with qualities like Basher, Durable, Nimble, and more!
  • Quality Weapons that allow for Fine Edge, Protecting, Opportunistic, and Quick effects!
  • Quality Equipment that adds bonuses and other enhancements to your kits, packs, and packages!
  • Weapons Charms which give slightly magical properties to your weapons!

And much more!

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!