Category: Pick of the Day

Today’s Wildest of the West Pick is one that mixes dimensional rifts, steampunk, dark fantasy, and a card-driven game mechanic to bring you one of the more evocative RPG experiences out there. Through the Breach definitely scratches the gunslinging itch, but you trade a lot of historical Wild West elements for more of what the world of Malifaux brings into the picture.

Control your destiny.

Journey back to the early 1900s, where a dimensional rift leading to the magical world of Malifaux has changed human history. Steam power and steel collide with magic and monsters in this dangerous and exciting roleplaying game. Are you brave enough to change your destiny?

This second edition rulebook has been designed to be backwards compatible with all first edition Through the Breach supplements and adventures.

The Core Rules contain all the information players need to begin adventuring in the world of Malifaux!

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!

While not strictly Western, Raiders of R’lyeh has that feel through-and-through and can certainly take that spin with all the material and rules presented. It’s a stand-on-its-own, old-school Runequest-driven RPG where your group can explore “forbidden frontiers” in the years between 1900-1913. Considering there were still cowboys and bandits riding the wilds at that point, this is a fine way to mix wild west and eldritch horror (which seems to be a popular way to explore the Wildest of the West for most designers and gamers).

RAIDERS of R’LYEH is a stand-alone roleplaying game and sourcebook in which mercenary rogues explore forbidden frontiers, unearth ancient artifacts, and outwit villainous scum. Derived partly from the Runequest rules that have been released under the Open Game License, the game is crafted to emulate not only adventure in the CTHULHU MYTHOS of H.P. Lovecraft and his circle of influences, but especially the savage and evocative feel of Robert E. Howard’s Mythos and Weird menace stories.

Attention has been made to keep the game mechanics compatible with other percentile systems — while innovating additional rulesets unique to the setting and atmosphere — so those players wishing only to use Raiders of R’lyeh as an Edwardian era adventure sourcebook will have a massive global setting to explore and use in their preexisting Mythos campaign, as well as modular adventure, monster and scenario resources for gaming in 1900-1913. Those players wanting a standalone rulebook with its adventure modes of play, will have a complete toolkit for interacting with the Cthulhu Mythos.

  • A complete sourcebook for expeditions, intrigues and adventures in the pre-Great War Edwardian period (can be used as a rules-independent sourcebook)
  • A wealth of resources about technology, inventions, architecture, weapons, gear, currencies, class structure, etiquette, vehicles, mounts, ports of call, and travel for the period
  • An expansive monster construction kit, with new weird monsters and twists on old favorites from the Mythos, drawn from the works of Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, M.R. James, William Hope Hodgson, Clark Ashton Smith, Algernon Blackwood, Lafcadio Hearn, among others
  • Hundreds of pages of GM support and world building resources for developing adventures, enemies and organizations
  • A global network of back-alley criminals, controlling gentry, avaricious smugglers and a campaign-spanning conspiracy known only as “The Glove,” drawn from the pre-War era and tradition of Weird adventure
  • Setting creation support — including a collection of organizations from the era, from intelligence agencies to detective bureaus and secret society lodges, as well as ideas for secret factions and cults within these organizations or as separate entities, NPC stats for warlords, criminals, soldiers, spies, thugs, beasts…all the added Kickstarter-backed NPCs and organizations…and more
  • Faction rules, with a complete toolkit for developing your own factions
  • Guidelines for facilitating node-based investigation, using Circles of Influence (derived from other systems), Clue Webs and Scenario Nodes, Networking and Connections rules, and Organization Responses and Hierarchies
  • A robust and extensive chapter on magic, sorcerers, occult works and artifacts from the world of 1910
  • A simple yet robust sanity system integrated into the PC and NPC motives and bonds
  • Options for “pulpier” occultists and occult detectives adventurers — akin to much of Lovecraft’s original material and most of Howard’s, and to the occult detectives in the works of various weird writers such as William Hope Hodgson, Arthur Machen, and so on — for players who want to incorporate pulpier magic into their mythos game
  • New adventurer roles, drives, bonds, and special abilities for players that emulate the period and feel of Weird menace and adventure
  • And much more: new skills, new gear, basic and tactical combat rules, chase rules, etc.
  • Includes an OGL and bibliography of sources, with support for open-ended customization, enabling designers to adapt the game and hack their own settings and derived rules

As a bonus, you receive with your purchase “Dark Swamp,” a 27-page introductory scenario plus an expanded toolkit for developing and using the artifacts, legends, minions and magic of Tsathoggua in your campaign

At over 500 pages, BW, Raiders of R’lyeh comes with a vast assortment of toolkits to build and run your own adventures set in the Mythos!

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!

Continuing the genre-driven theme weeks, I’m going with the Wildest of the West Week this time out. Since there’s not a huge amount of properly-themed products coming out for this particular style of gaming, these won’t all be particularly new – but they’ll certainly be about gunslingers, wild frontiers, and similar tropes you can play with at the table. I am opening up with a new release, albeit for a very old (as in, the first major release of this genre) game – BH1: Mad Mesa, the very first module crafted for TSR’s original Boot Hill. Though, oddly enough, the first edition of that game isn’t available, both the Second Edition and (the much more well-received) Third Edition are both available, and this module is easily converted to either of them. Honestly, its entire structure and storytelling approach makes it exceedingly useful to any Western-themed game.

Mad Mesa Gazette

Volume 6 — Scott Randolph – Editor — Number 12

Jack Maxwell in Coma

More fire was recently added to the Kane-Russell feud. It seems that several unidentified men jumped Malachai Kane and a Bar-K hand by the name of Jack Maxwell. The two men were taken completely unawares and beaten until they were unconscious. One attacker continued to kick the men when they were down. Jack Maxwell was kicked in the head so hard that he has not yet recovered consciousness. The Kanes have claimed that this was obviously the work of the Russells. The Russells were unavailable for comment.

Sheep Herder Fleeced

Sam Archer – well known barfly and sheep herder – is having problems, once again, with those sheep that he loves so dearly. It seems that Sam’s sheep just keep on disappearing, a lot l!ke those l!ttle varmints make the grass disappear from our beloved prairie. Now we don’t want to spread any suspicion, but if we were Sam we might check the stewing pots of those foreigners that he keeps as shepherds. ‘Course, since the smell of sheep don’t wash off once you been around them this probably won’t yield no results. Besides, it’s only justice that them critters are being stolen, seeing as how we all know that Sam could never have afforded to buy them in the first place. They’re probably just another thing he picked up while he was just a child in his folks’ gypsy camp.

DEATHS

MR. and MRS. JOHN P. SMITH – Cut down in the prime of their lives at the Lazy A Hotel when discovered by Mr. Smith’s wife , Doris Fontane.

MR. BRET M. GARNER, famous card sharp – Mortally wounded when a dispute broke out over the four aces which he held in his hand.

MR. and MRS. JOSIAH CABE – Killed when their small house was burned to the ground by a masked outlaw.

MR. LENNARD RANGER, drifter – Shot from the back of his white horse. Was mistaken for an outlaw reported to be in the area.

MR. JAY RATHER – Hung himself after mistakenly shooting Mr . L. Ranger in the back.

MISS SADIE CLAMHA WK – Slipped on a bar of soap while scrubbing a floor and broke her neck.

MOVED OUT

K. H. Scott and wife Stephanie to Boston, Massachusetts. Seeking buyers for their small ranch outside of town.

James Halter to Cleveland, Ohio. Seeking to improve his education by attending some fancy eastern college. Apparently this town ain’t good enough for him.

WANTED

Home for collie dog previously owned by Mister J. Rather. Good with children.

**********************************

As you approach the small town of Mad Mesa you hear the loud, explosive bursts of guns being fired. Passing the road sign indicating the town of Mad Mesa, you notice that the population number on the sign has been written over and reduced more than once. You realize that maybe a night’s stay in Mad Mesa might not be as restful as you had hoped it would be. Yet, you and your horse are tired, so you cautiously enter Mad Mesa wondering what to expect next.

Mad Mesa is the first in the series of modules for use with the Boot HillTM game system. This module not only offers the usual multiplayer, role-playing adventure, but also a special solo 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!

We’re closing out Horrific New Horror Week with this suggestion from my friend, Mark Carroll, a true aficionado of good horror gaming. Designed as a self-contained single session RPG experience, The Shivering Circle also serves just fine as the launch for an entire campaign of nerve-wracking and psychologically-bending horror gaming. It’s also an excellent delve into British folklore.

WE DON’T GO BACK…

An abandoned landscape, soaked with unresolved histories; 
a village, hiding an age-old conspiracy;  
a shadowy thing, whispering terrible secrets to children; 
a tortured house, playing back the traumas of the past;
a stone circle, where the ley lines meet.

Although you don’t belong here… 
although you don’t understand this place… 
it was you they wanted all along.

A ­complete role-playing game for one-shot or prolonged play.

The Shivering Circle has a rules-light, intuitive system designed for quick pick-up horror games and a brief sample setting allowing you to dive into the haunted territories of British folk horror. 

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 not purely horror, the inclusion of a “Strands of Cthulhu” section makes this enhanced version of Fate (naturally called Strands of Fate) from Void Star a fine inclusion in Horrific New Horror Week. It’s a complete game system, not requiring any other core Fate books – pretty much Mike McConnell‘s vision for how you can expand the system to a bit more detail without sacrificing its core ideas.

The wizard’s staff hums with the power of an unleashed spell.

The assassin’s cybernetic arm ejects a hidden blade.

The super-powered defender of New York melts the robots to slag with his heat vision.

The intrepid investigator stands firm against the mind wrenching eldritch horror before him.


Cleaner, clearer and more concise, Strands of Fate 2nd Edition continues down the path set forth by the original Strands of Fate; providing a stand-alone set of core rules for using the Fate game system to tell exciting stories of action, adventure, horror and intrigue across an infinite variety of time periods and genres.

Strands of Fate 2nd Edition contains…

  • Core Rules – This book is fully self-contained, and contains all the rules you need for making characters and playing the game.
  • Aspects – Full rules for the creation and use of Aspects, the popular narrative mechanic that has defined the Fate game system since its inception.
  • Strands– There are guidelines for creating them, as well as four sample Strands you can use as written, alter to suit your needs, or use as examples when creating your own. These include:
    • Strands of Cthulhu – In which desperate investigators confront the minions of the Elder Gods.
    • Strands of Fantasy – In which bold adventurers fight against savage and ancient evils for honor and treasure.
    • Strands of Valor – In which heroes imbued with super powers stand against tyranny and annihilation.
    • Strands of Neon and Chrome – In which cybernetically enhanced underdogs fight back against the oppressive mega-corporate elite.
  • Perks and Powers – The extraordinary and supernatural advantages that separate your characters from the masses. Whether a mutant psychic, a crusty old wizard, a crazed cultist, an ancient vampire, a cross wielding priest, or a genetically enhanced cyber-soldier, we’ve got you covered. Powers are presented as self-contained special abilities that are defined with Aspects, and further detailed through the application of Limitations and Enhancements.
  • Deviations – An entire chapter is dedicated to providing modular, variant rules that are added to, subtracted from, or used in place of the standard core rules. Deviations serve as a series of dials and switches, which can be used to tune the rules to better suit the story you want to tell.
  • Antagonists – The Game Mastery chapter contains a number of sample NPCs and creature to challenge your PCs with, or to serve as examples when creating your own.

Strands of Fate 2nd Edition is a fully self-contained Fate game, and requires no other supplements for its use. It is built upon the branch of Fate rules originally published in Strands of Fate 1st Edition and later refined in Nova Praxis.

Note: This is an “Augmented” PDF, and was designed with laptops, tablets and smartphones in mind. It is filled with useful links, and features a special layout purpose built to speed up navigation on a digital device.

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!

Today’s Horrific New Horror Pick is a simple, grab-and-go game that hearkens back to the “Golden Age” of comics tales of horror adventure. There’s also a lot of assumption in Terror Tales X! about your casual knowledge of d20-driven gaming of the Old School variety. It’s cheap and interesting, and certainly worth a look (along with the rest of the Beyond Belief Games series).

Weird! Baffling! Terrifying! Rousing tales of macabre adventure using familiar rules! Who wants to read through reams of text just to get to the action? No-one right? These rules assume you know how to role play. They assume you know about “Golden Age” comic book pulp mystery fiction. (Thrilling adventures through a retro lens). They assume you know how OSR products work. There, it’s done. You know how to play already. Just get on with it. Two-fisted tales and mysterious investigations.

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!

Today’s Horrific New Horror Week Pick is a special resource for anyone running any version of Lovecraftian horror, no matter the system. The folks at Cthulhu Reborn crafted this immersive prop that enables players to search through the articles and adverts to find valuable clues and tantalizing references, enhancing their in-game experience and while providing GMs more hooks to play off of.

Bring H.P. Lovecraft’s Arkham to Life with a Lavish and Detailed in-world prop: a full cover-to-cover issue of the Arkham Advertiser from 1928.

“It may be that centuries of dark brooding had given to crumbling, whisper-haunted Arkham a peculiar vulnerability as regards such shadows …” – H.P. Lovecraft, “The Shadow Out Of Time”

Arkham is one of H.P. Lovecraft’s most enduring creation, a witch-haunted town of clustering gambrel roofs, and home to the notorious Miskatonic University. It’s also a great place to set your investigative scenarios of Mythos-fueled darkness and horror. One of the best tools for bring such classic backdrops to vivid life is the use of “in-world” props and handouts. The act of receiving clues which evoke the rich tapestry of 1920s Arkham can draw players further into the setting and make everything seem that much more ‘real.’

Dateline: Lovecraft Issue #1 is a system-independent resource to help both Game Moderators and players of investigative horror games evoke a more nuanced and vibrant Arkham. The core of the package is a large and lavishly-researched and period-authentic newspaper prop, the full edition of the Arkham Advertiser for the day of Monday, 15 October, 1928.

Buried in the thousands of words of news, advertisements, editorials, columns, society pages, and other weirdness, lies a wealth of out-of-the-ordinary hooks which can be used as the basis for game scenarios. Picking up some of these strands, an imaginative Game Moderator can weave his or her own evocative Arkham tales of terror. Tales imbued with an authentic 1920s tone, and the unique quirky feel of H.P. Lovecraft’s brooding town.

The core broadsheet newspaper prop comprises 12 very large pages (each approximately 6 x US Letter / A4 sheets). In addition, the Dateline: Lovecraft Issue #1package contains a 58-page guidebook PDF which includes:

  • Detailed instructions on using the newspaper prop PDF to create physical handouts for players, with a variety of different effects;
  • A system of quickly finding relevant clippings from throughout the newspaper, and extensive indices of every person, place, and address mentioned anywhere in the paper;
  • Advice and ideas about using newspaper clippings as a springboard for adventures, or clues for investigation;
  • A campaign frame, “Inkhounds of the Miskatonic Valley”; and
  • A sample system-independent investigative horror scenario which ties closely into articles from the newspaper.

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’m baaaack! Last week was the Gathering of Champions Epic Road Trip, and this week, I am at Denver Startup Week with my COO, Michael Surbrook, as we explore “next level” efforts for Evil Beagle. Still, gonna try to get this week’s Picks done as I go, and it’s Horrific New Horror Week this time around, starting with Fat Goblin‘s 5th Edition Horror. The book is dedicated to taking your 5th edition fantasy gaming deep into the territories of dread, madness, terror, and darkness, and Fat Goblin is a solid house doing great work.

Horror is a feeling, a place in your mind, and for some, a final destination. Some mad few wish to know the little terrors and the vast dead that populate the dark places between the light, be they candles or stars. The only thing between you and the fiends and fright contained within is the heartbeat that it takes to access the forbidden knowledge within.

If you have ever wanted to play in a 5th Edition Fantasy setting that is heavily influenced by horrors of madness, violence, and grotesqueness, by all means, acquire this book. 

It Included the following elements for a dastardly campaign of fear and folly:

* Character archetypes for every core class.
* A brand new class, the Apothecary, that mixes potions and uses new and untested sciences to explore a dangerous world.
* New spells, feats, and even modified skills to help you gear your game towards a horror campaign.
* A multitude of new monsters meant to turn your stomach, addle your mind, and haunt your dreams.
* A treatise on villainy, with modifications for deranged murderers and disturbed masterminds.
* Advice on how to make your games spooky, dreadful, devilishly short, or even existentially doomed.

There is plenty for player and game master alike to fuel a campaign of horror for 5th edition fantasy, and enough to paint a character or setting into dreary stories of woe and ruin. Seek it out at your own risk.

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!

And we end Super New Week with a major product for one of the preeminent superhero RPGs of all time, the Mutants & Masterminds Basic Hero’s Handbook. Recognizing they’ve added a lot of stuff to the 3rd edition, the Green Ronin folks figured it would be a good idea to put out a beginner’s manual to help newbies get started.

Hope you all are having a grand time – tomorrow is the Big Game I am running for some of superhero gaming’s royalty!

Every hero needs an origin story and this can be yours! Written with new gamers in mind, the Basic Hero’s Handbook streamlines and clarifies the flexible, robust third edition rules of Mutants & Masterminds. With simplified character creation and a selection of ready-made adventures, the Mutants & Masterminds Basic Hero’s Handbook lets players jump right into the action. The book is fully compatible with the Deluxe Hero’s Handbook and the entire library of third edition Mutants & Masterminds supplements, instantly expanding your character options and adventure potential. Whether you’re just getting started, or want an extra player-friendly reference at the table, the Mutants & Masterminds Basic Hero’s Handbook is the choice for your world-saving needs!

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!

Ah, the rolling hills and crashing waves of Northern California (especially San Francisco!). Love it here! Meanwhile, I hope you’re loving Super New Week, with today’s Pick – Era: The Empowered – giving you a new way to play superheroes. The premise here is a “real” world where superpowers emerge (but they go way farther than Heroes ever did).

Era: The Empowered is a Tabletop RPG based in a world where superpowers are real. Across the world, individuals are emerging as heroes and villains.

You will play as one of these “Empowered” with remarkable abilities. Whether your ability is to harness the power of flame, read others’ minds or super strength, both sides will be interested in you…

Five years in the making, Era: The Empowered offers an opportunity for balanced characters with all types of abilities, from super strength to resurrection! The innovative Power Tree mechanic, designed and integrated into the Era d10 rule set for this game, provides the opportunity to build whatever powers you want.

The game’s timeline follows through 5 years, during which the first telltale signs of Empowered appear, Atlantis’s forces rise from the ocean to attack the surface, the return of the Old Gods and culminates in the formation of the Empowered Department. 

Through these events, it’s possible to play any type of superhero game you like, just by choosing where in the timeline the characters exist!

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!