Category: Pick of the Day

As Sci-Fi Adventure Week warps along, we check out the Powered by the Apocalypse entry in the field garnering serious attention, Uncharted Worlds. This one mixes one part Serenity/Firefly, one part Star Trek, and one part Star Wars with three parts narrative-driven science-fiction. For the AWE fans out there, I suspect this is the no-brainer.

Uncharted Worlds is a space opera of discovery and adventure, which explores a universe full of deadly beauty, hostile frontiers, rapacious organisations, and crippling debt. It’s a story-building game where dramatic encounters drive the narrative ever onward, building a solid, memorable universe that’s unique to each group. If you want to pilot your ship across the reaches of space, be the first human to make landfall on alien shores, bring back hard-won exotic cargo, deal with galactic corporations, go toe-to-toe corrupt empires and rebel scum, face down ruthless pirates (or perhaps engage in a bit of interstellar piracy yourself)… then strap yourself in, disengage your mooring clamps and prepare for one hell of a Wild Jump.

Also available – Uncharted Worlds: Far Beyond Humanitythe expansion to Uncharted Worlds.

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

As we blast on through Sci-Fi Adventure Week, we note the newest version of Stars Without Number is tearing up the sales charts. Arguably the most successful of all the OSR science-fictions games, this newest iteration still calls back to the glory days of science fiction gaming where jumping into a ship and just seeing what’s out there was the major reason to sit at the table. Interstellar nation building, transhumanism, giant war machines, and “space magic” are all part of the offerings.

The year is 3200 and mankind’s empire lies in ashes.

The Jump Gates fell six hundred years ago, severing the links between the myriad worlds of the human diaspora.

Now, the long isolation of the Silence falls away as men and women return to the skies above their scattered worlds.

Will you be among them once more?

Stars Without Number: Revised Edition is an old-school-inspired game of sci-fi adventure, one built from the ground up to encourage sandbox play and simplify a GM’s job in providing it. Familiar mechanics are employed to forge new worlds and explore new possibilities, guidelines built on long experience used to help a group venture in wholly new directions. Within the full-color pages of Stars Without Number: Revised Edition, you’ll find… .

  • Backwards compatibility, as the Revised Edition is built to work cleanly with existing Stars Without Number supplements and materials. The new systems slot in smoothly, and you can take or leave them individually as your group prefers.
  • Expanded character creation, with PCs now customized by special talents and character foci, new options for psychic characters, and new ways to make your hero mechanically distinct. Yet the process is still smooth and quick, with a special quick generator spread to create a hero from nothing more than a half-dozen die rolls.
  • Refined psionics, with more options to distinguish your psychic hero’s powers and more flexible choices for their abilities. Tailor your psychic to your concept, whether as a cynical gunslinging brainguard or an ascetic psychic healer from a world of austere psionic scholars.
  • Improved starship combat, with decisive roles for every member of the party. Build your own starships with the included system and employ new hardware and new starship mods to make your ungainly crate the fastest contraband runner this side of the Veil Nebula.
  • New systems to support additional types of play, including rules for hacking, remote drones, and expert technical modification of gear and starships.
  • Upgraded tools for sandbox sector creation, with forty new world tags to help define a GM’s stellar creations, guides for adding additional system points of interest, and material to help a GM define the interesting traits of the worlds they create. These tools aren’t just a clump of random tables, they’re a framework to boost your own creativity and help you make fast, good, playable material for your game.
  • Augmented adventure creation guidelines. Aside from a hundred piping-hot adventure seeds that mesh smoothly with the world creation tools, Stars Without Number: Revised Edition also includes content to help you turn your vague ideas into a playable evening’s adventure. Guidelines on challenges, rewards, and complications in play are all aimed toward the working GM, the man or woman who’s not just theorizing their adventures, but actually responsible for making something fun for the whole group.
  • Tools for creating aliens, Virtual Intelligences, and hostile human foes, with guidelines for handling potentially-hostile encounters and creating the kind of fearsome xenobeasts that can challenge the doughtiest explorer. Or perhaps you want to be an alien or robot? You’ll find the tools for that in Stars Without Number: Revised Edition.
  • Faction rules, for handling the background warring and intrigues of hostile groups. Need to add life and motion to your stellar sectors? Sprinkle in a few factions to make news for the PCs to respond to, or use these rules to handle the colonies, spy agencies, mercenary companies, or other enterprises your heroes establish.

And these things? They’re all in the free version. Yes, just like the original edition, Stars Without Number: Revised Edition has a free PDF edition to share with your friends and pass around to interested parties. Those daring stellar freebooters who purchase this deluxe version will get…

  • Transhuman tech, with rules for bodyswapping, digital identities, post-scarcity economics, and just as importantly, GM guidelines on making exciting adventures when all the old pillars of familiarity have fallen away.
  • True AIs, the vast and terrible intellects that can bring forth wonders and ruin in equal measure. Playing a synthetic VI or aspiring organic godmind? Learn how your PC can accumulate the tech they need to ascend to this new plane of being.
  • Mechs, for those GMs who relish the thunder of steel titans on their far-future battlefields.
  • Heroic PCs, for groups that want to trade the gritty, lethal tone of a standard campaign for classic space opera, with larger-than-life heroes and superhuman skills.
  • Society creation, customizing a world or a hab with its own culture and history, pre-designed with fault lines and conflicts to engage your heroes. You’ll get more than a dry recounting of details; you’ll get the information you need to build adventures that fit with this world’s smouldering tensions.
  • Space Magic, with rules and guidelines for introducing sorcerous powers and old-school magic into your starfaring adventurers, with sagacious Magisters, versatile Arcanists, and Adepts graced with supernatural powers.

So leap forward, brave adventurer! The stars await you, and the wild glories of an untamed sky!

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

I’ve really been enjoying The Expanse (just finished the second season on Amazon Prime), which is a pleasant surprise to me. In the past, I’ve not always been as strongly attracted to “hard” sci-fi; I suppose my palate has matured? At any rate, I’m calling this Sci-Fi Adventure Week and opening up with a great 5E-driven entry called Esper Genesis

I think I’ll let the two great reviewer statements they go speak for the rest of it –

“This is not a game that wants to be the property-of-your-choice, it’s a game that embraces sci-fi’s adventurous side. It is sci-fi with room for excitement and wonder. And 5E proves an excellent match for this, since EG’s relationship to sci-fi is much like 5E’s relationship to fantasy – it is part of the landscape, but the first priority is to play a game.” — Rob Donoghue, Evil Hat Productions

“Esper Genesis takes a proven system we all know and maps it onto an exciting new science fiction setting. These folks have really drilled down into 5th edition rules and popular cinematic sci-fi and made it all work together.” — Cam Banks, RPG Designer

Galaxies at war, high-tech gadgets and weapons, robots, aliens, starfighters, and ancient machines with the power to shape reality – All of these make the core of Esper Genesis, powered by the 5th Edition rules of the world’s greatest roleplaying game. Taking on the role of a galactic hero, you can forge your destiny within a universe of advanced technologies and hidden mysteries.

Heroic Sci-fi Roleplaying

The Esper Genesis Roleplaying Game is a powerhouse of awesome sci-fi adventure. The Core Manual is the first of three rulebooks, containing character creation rules new sci-fi races, character classes, backgrounds, skills, gear, rules for planetary exploration, high-tech weapon combat, starship combat, esper powers, and so much more!

Full 5E Compatibility

Esper Genesis is designed with an infinite universe in mind, powered by the 5th edition rules of the world’s greatest roleplaying game. If you’ve played any 5E game, you already know how to play Esper Genesis.  Though the system is easily integrated into any 5E setting, it is also a standalone product. You do not need the D&D rulebooks or any other 5E product in order to play.

This product contains:

  • Nine playable character races from the Silrayne Arc galactic setting.
  • Eight Character Classes
  • Sci-fi tailored backgrounds, equipment, and gear to round out your galactic pioneer
  • A full list of esper powers, allowing your characters to warp time, space, and matter
  • High-tech gear and weapons, including rules for modern weapons, burst fire, and explosives
  • Rules and options for modern and futuristic vehicles, space travel, and galactic exploration
  • A fully integrated starship combat system
  • A brief overview of the galaxy, people, and cultures
Remember to pick up your free download of the official ESPER GENESIS CHARACTER SHEET and the GAME MASTER BASIC RULES, which include sci-fi threats, special item enhancements, and setting development aids.
Visit the official Esper Genesis homepage at espergenesis.com for project updates, gaming events, and special offers.
Sean Patrick Fannon
Writer & Game Designer: Shaintar, Star Wars, Savage Rifts, Freedom Squadron, and much more!
Please check out my Patreon and get involved directly with my next projects!

Rounding out our Go West, Young Gamer Week is what many view as the grandest expression of gaming set in that era – Deadlands ClassicThis is the extra-special 20th Anniversary Edition, lovingly put together by the original gang of Shane Hensley, John Hopler, Matt Forbeck, and Hal Mangold, along with a ton of folks involved all along the way. It even has the original Bruce Campbell Foreward, where everyone gets called a Knucklehead.

It’s the classic, through-and-through… just cleaned up a little and integrating the player and Marshall stuff in one grand book.

This is the best version of Deadlands Classic, including both the original Player’s Guide and Marshal’s Handbook, with FULL COLOR art lovingly re-colored by Pinnacle’s top artists!

(If you already have the original Deadlands Classic Player’s Guide and Marshal’s Handbooks, this book does notpresent new material. It is a re-release of the original with a little cleanup and all the art re-rendered in gorgeous full-color.)

Deadlands Classic was originally released in 1996. This is the 20th Anniversary Edition, republished in full color in 2016.

Deadlands Classic was a surprise hit when it was originally released at GenCon ’96. The setting, the character types, the art, and even the poker-inspired mechanics combined to make an experience that won every major award the industry had to offer…and then some!

Here are a few reminders about the Classic Deadlands rules:

  • A standard deck of playing cards with the Jokers left in is used for initiative, as well as for hucksters to “deal with the devil” or the Marshal to determine the outcome of your character’s transition to Harrowed. You even use a deck of cards to build your character! Beware the Jokers!
  • A set of poker chips in white, red, and blue mixed in a “Fate Pot” are drawn blind by players and Marshal alike, and when spent, they go back into the pot. You gotta work for those Legend chips, pardner!
  • Dice? Deadlands Classic uses ALL of them. And lots of them. It’s not uncommon to need five or six sets of dice from d4 to d20. And yes, they Ace! When you roll more “1s” than anything else, you go “bust” and your character fails catastrophically. Rolling the bones is not always a metaphor in this game…
  • Part of the character build process is to figure out what scares your sodbuster the most. Your Worst Nightmare can most certainly come true!
  • “Wind” is a derived statistic used rather like hit points. Wounds knock you down a few pegs…
  • The Game Master is called the Marshal, and the characters the posse. Some things have stayed the same! Deadlands Classic also uses Traits, Edges, and Hindrances!

One book has all the information needed to play. Players and Marshals read the front and the Marshal reads the last half to figure out what makes the West so Weird.

This book does not require Savage Worlds or Deadlands Reloaded to play. It is a stand-alone game compatible with all the books labeled Deadlands Classic. Deadlands Reloaded is the later edition of the game that uses the Savage Worlds core rules. 

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

In the original World of Darkness, the were-folk fought the Wyrm for a long time, and that battle raged through the Old West for a time. With an all-star cast in the writing credits (Justin Achilli, Nicky Rea, Phil Brucato, Rich Dansky, Jackie Cassada, Tim Byrd, Heather Heckel, and many more), Werewolf: the Wild West is a wild run through the Wild West and a fine entry for our Go West, Young Gamer Week.

A Storytelling Game of Horror in Times Past

Blood’s been spilled on these plains by the gallon.
The humans, our families, are killing each other.
Blue fights Grey. Red tussles with White-
And then there’s us.

The sun burns pretty hot by day.
That’s all right.
We burn even hotter down inside.
And when the sweet moon shines down by night.
There’s no fort or camp so strong they can keep us out.

We run on wolf-paws faster than any horse.
We’re stronger than the buffalo, deadlier than the rattlesnake.
We walk the spirit-paths between this world and the next.
We can’t be killed by lead nor flint.
We are teh favored ones.

There’s a storm thundering on the other side of the sunset.
And there’s something coming to eat it.

It’ll have to get through us first.

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

As we mosey on through Go West, Young Gamer Week, this neat piece from Dog House Rules stands out as mighty useful for anyone running a Western game. It’s especially helpful if that game is Savage, whether it’s Deadlands or a more traditional romp through the Savage West.

Whether you’re running it in SW or not, there’s over 150 pages of detailed material fully fleshing out this frontier fort and town for you to set a band of cowboys and adventurers bound for the promise of freedom and discovery beyond the Mississippi. Check out Frontier Towns: Fort Griffin (Savaged)!

This Wild West setting is a completely re-visioned version of DHR’s Fort Griffin, Texas setting, designed for Savage Worlds.

The Savaged version of Fort Griffin contains all 17 fully-described establishments, 90 NPCs (historical and fictional), and more than 100 adventure hooks (with DHR’s world-famous “Forks in the Road” alternatives for many of the hooks). This whole kit and caboodle contains all new maps, Setting Rules, historical sidebars, and a passel of weird ideas. 

The GM (the Dog House Gang prefers ‘Judge’) will get all of the following:

  • Fort Griffin main document – 154 pages containing descriptions of the town — affectionately known as The Flat — with detailed establishments, embedded maps, personalities and plenty of adventure hooks to keep players busy for ages.
  • The Flat Personality Pack – 37 pages, containing character “cards” to aid the Judge in a fast and furious game pace, whether gunfire breaks out or because a PC interaction with a prominent personality needs a quick-as-lightning Trait test resolution.
  • The Flat Map Pack – A set of files with all the maps a Judge might need, including tiled versions for printing a tabletop map (with or without a grid) as well as VTT versions for folks who prefer one of those newfangled electronic tabletop contraptions.

Every establishment comes with a thorough description of its history, current proprietor and other notables, as well as maps and room-by-room details. The personalities that make each place come alive are furnished with statistics for Savage Worlds. And a number of important characters have original illustrations to boot. Even if a Judge prefers not to use the stats, or decides to cherry-pick favorite elements for addition to an existing milieu, there’s plenty of content packed in those pages to make Fort Griffin Savaged suitable — and downright useful, we hope — for any Wild West game.

Fort Griffin Savaged comes with the following establishments designed for a hootin’-hollerin’ time in an Old West burg. A word to the wise, pard, things ain’t always what they seem . . . .

Saloons, Lodging and Entertainment

  • Shannsey’s Saloon
  • Beehive Saloon
  • Doney’s Saloon
  • Frontier House
  • Planters Hotel

Goods and Supplies

  • York and Meyers Outfitters
  • Post Office and Drug Store
  • Louis Woolform’s Bakery

Professional Services

  • Pete Haverty’s Livery
  • Chen’s Laundry
  • Earl’s Shave and Bathe
  • Clampitt Wagon Yard
  • African Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Doc Culver’s
  • F.B. York’s Bank
  • Thorp Blacksmith
  • Fort Griffin Jail (Picket Jail)

Last but not least, Fort Griffin Savaged contains a final chapter with personalities and adventure hooks, titled Just Passing Through and Tying It All Together. We reckon the chapter title is sufficiently self-explanatory.

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

There’s an interesting “sub-genre” where Asian fantasy runs smack into the Wild West and mixes it up beautifully; I was introduced to it via a strange and fun movie called “Bunraku,” and I know there are many others (we are, in fact, watching “The Good, the Bad, the Weird” this coming Wednesday for our Evil Beagle Movie Club showing).

Naturally, you’ll find these mashups permeating the gaming space, and Jadepunk: Tales from Kausao City is a standout example thereof. This is the West as wild as it gets, with full-bore steampunk meeting Wuxia excitement in the FATE system.

Go West, Young Gamer Week steams onward…

 

Overthrow oppression in Jadepunk! You are the Jianghu – a loose society of likeminded, yet quarrelsome, individuals and organizations. Using powerful Jadetech devices and martial arts techniques, you stand against oppression and injustice. Though you are few, the Council fears you, for you have the most powerful weapon in Kausao City – the hearts and minds of the people. Unite them, and they will fight with you.

Jadepunk: Tales From Kausao City is a Fate Core roleplaying game about rebellious wuxia heroes in a fictional steampunk setting. Within its pages you will find:

  • An original setting that fuses the themes of Western steampunk and Asian wuxia.
  • The “Storytelling System” of creating character aspects that immerses them into the setting.
  • A comprehensive Asset system that lets you make any kind of device, martial arts technique, or companion you can imagine.
  • New dueling mechanics that use the contest system for fast and furious combat that won’t have the rest of your group sitting idly by.
  • Streamlined rules for gamemasters that give them the power to create scenes on the fly with the use of the “Scene Fractal”.
  • A new way of creating minor NPCs that takes no prep time. “Faces” give you everything you need to make an unimportant NPC feel alive and memorable.

What are you waiting for? The people call for warriors to champion them against the oppressive forces of the Council of Nine. Take up your Jadetech weapon, prime the engines on your airship, and lead the fight for justice!

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

Copies sell on Amazon $125 or more, making the recent release of Boot Hill Wild West Roleplaying Game (3rd Edition) on DriveThruRPG a pretty big damn deal. Originally released in 1990, this was Steve Winter (with some help from Gary Gygax and Brian Blume, before the war between them changed everything) taking one last crack at doing a compelling Western-themed RPG for TSR… and by many accounts, succeeding very admirably.

And, yes, it’s available in softcover print-on-demand.

Welcome to Go West, Young Gamer Week!

Two rows of unpainted wooden buildings face each other across the wide, dirt street. A signboard creaks mournfully in the hot wind. Down this track rides a lone figures, tired but alert. His boots, hat, and buckskin jacket are alayered with dust. But the ivory-handled revolver on his hip is spotless and cool. Neither a beacon nor a threat, it’s simply there, a part of the man.

Drift back to the days of cattle drives, dance halls, range wars, and gunslingers. The BOOT HILL Wild west role-Playing Game lets you relive the grand adventure of the American Frontier. It’s a wide open land where a man with strength, determination, and courage can carve a place for himself.

This 3rd edition of the classic BOOT HILL game is thoroughly revised and updated.

It includes:

  • Fully rounded characters with over 60 skills to choose from;
  • Revised rules for shootouts and fistfights emphasizing quick thinking and quick action;
  • Extensive campaign guidelines plus historical background and a timeline of the Old West;
  • Two historical gunfight scenarios plus numerous short adventures;
  • Fold-out maps of Promise City and the surrounding territory.

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

An old school D&D approach to playing Lovecraftian horror? Sounds like a great final Pick for Not My Dungeon, Not My Dragons Week, the celebration of all the other things you can do using the most popular and known RPG engine ever crafted. The direct link is through the free Stars Without Number version of the engine, but anyone who groks d20-driven games will be able to dive right into sandbox-style horror investigation with this much-liked game – Silent Legions.

The world is broken in hidden ways. The truth is concealed for the sake of mortal minds. The unendurable reality that boils behind the stars is veiled by the pleasant blindness that human sanity requires. Yet every comforting shroud must fall in time, and for these investigators, that time is now.

Silent Legions is a game of modern-day Lovecraftian horror, one carefully designed to support sandbox adventures by hard-bitten investigators and fearless hunters of the dark. Its clean, lightweight old-school rules are compatible with the free Stars Without Number sci-fi game and give both GM and players a steady framework for plumbing the unspeakable secrets of the eldritch night. Now, after a successful Kickstarter with more than 1,100 backers, a Kickstartercompleted a month early, this tome of dark secrets can be yours.

Silent Legions isn’t just about traditional Yog-Sothothery. Silent Legions is a creation kit, a toolbox in the Sine Nomine style for creating your own Mythos, with all-new deities, alien entities, foul magics, accursed artifacts, unaussprechlichen kulten, and diabolical dream-worlds to bedevil your players. These tools are system-neutral, so even fans of other Lovecraftian gaming systems can scoop them up to add a splash of fresh horror to their more familiar tentacular abominations.

Not only that, but Silent Legions is built to help the GM create investigative adventures with minimal strain. Within these pages you’ll find a modular set of templates and adventure guides that help you snap together an evening’s intrepid investigation and fit it neatly into your campaign setting. Like the Mythos creation tools, these guides are system-neutral and can be exported for any occasion when you need something wicked to this way come.

So seize now upon this opportunity! Plunder this vault of forgotten lore. Grasp these dark tools of creation and wield their power to fashion your own nightmarish reality. Perhaps none dare name the things that await your animating will, but soon enough the world will know them well….

Like this game and want more? Grab some more compatible games from Sine Nomine, like the free edition of the Stars Without Number sci-fi RPG, the post-apocalyptic wasteland adventures of Other Dust, or the Africana-inspired fantasy of Spears of the Dawn.

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

Though best known as a Savage Worlds joint, Gun Metal Games has gone to great effort to bring their Interface Zero setting to players of other game systems. This particular effort – today’s Pick for Not My Dungeon, Not My Dragons Week – is directly combined with RPG Objects‘ Modern20 rules hack for D&D. I don’t think Gary or Dave ever imagined cyberware, ultra-hacking the environment, or corporate machinations for their beloved fantasy RPG… but that just goes to show how creative you can really get with this stuff.

Welcome to the Future!

Interface-Zero, is the first book in the Interface-Zero Cyberpunk Setting by Reality Deviant Publications. IZ brings your Modern20 game up to speed with the dark, frenetic world of 2088. Future sourcebooks and adventures will further add to the bleeding edge setting presented in this core setting book.

Didja Bring Your Gun?

Within the pages of Interface-Zero, you can match wits with ancient triad lodge masters, anarchist hackers and digitized corporate moguls. Thwart the machinations of the New Chinese Mandarinate, or the Theocratic UCSA. Stare down the end of your gauss rifle at or match nano-woven steel with ganglanders, gene-spliced hybrids and borg shock troopers.

How About Your Hacker?

Interface-Zero is 120 pages full of setting, history, rules, and mechanics you can use to upgrade any Modern20 game. IZ’s main book includes:

* Expanded Computer Rules!
* Armor, Equipment, Robots, Weapons and Vehicles!
* New Feats!
* Viruses, and Do-it-yourself programs!
* New Cybernetics and Biogenetic Upgrade Rules!
* Megaconglomerations and Rogue Nations-States!
* Tips for Players and Narrators both new and veteran!
* Over 40 Allies, Antagonists and Threats for use in your game

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