Category: Pick of the Day

As I have not one but two Game Masters about to start up some Torg Eternity campaign action around these parts, I am naturally very keen about the Infiniverse Exchange that Ulisses North America set up for folks to indulge their creativity in this realm of infinite possibilities. Another selection for Community Content Week, this one opens the door for all of those great ideas you might think up playing the current version, or all the ideas you had the first time you played Torg all those years ago.

Welcome to the Infiniverse Exchange!

The Infiniverse Exchange is a program that allows you to create content (Adventures, Places, Threats, and more!) for Torg Eternity using the intellectual property of Ulisses North America. Create your own Torg Eternity titles according to the content guidelines of the program, upload your titles to the Ulisses e-book marketplace or to DriveThruRPG and share them with other Torg Fans. You can earn money and delight the community.

How do I start?

To participate, you just have to read the Content Guidelines and create your own content. Ulisses has made a Layout-Building-Kit and a Illustrations-Pack available, which allow you to ensure that your titles look great.

Once you have created your title, visit the Account page and look in the My Content section. There you will find the link “Enter New Community Created Title”. If you upload a new title, you must agree to a community content author agreement with OneBookShelf. OneBookShelf is the US company that manages DriveThruRPG. It also manages the Infiniverse Exchange program (licensed under Ulisses North America).

After you have published your work, all Infiniverse Exchange content is available at DriveThruRPG and RPGNow. You can view reviews and fan discussions of your works, and from the Account page you can check the sales history of your titles and withdraw your royalties through PayPal. To boost sales, we advise you to create an eye-catching title for your work and some publicity on social networks and other reputable media where you can find Torg fans. 

To see what Torg Eternity Fans have created as part of the Infiniverse Exchange Program, look at the titles (at the bottom of the linked page).

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!

 

This week is Community Content Week as I focus on (a) all the new material fans of various systems and settings are bringing out for you to enjoy and (b) how you can get in on creation material, as well. We open up with Canis Minor, the program for fans of Pugmire to craft new ideas, adventures, and other material for this most excellent fantasy setting by Eddy Webb.

Welcome to Pugmire: Canis Minor!

As a Guide for Pugmire, you might be looking for something new for your chronicle. A new story, perhaps, or some new enemies to thwart your good dogs. Or maybe you’ve come up with something amazing, and you want to share it with the world. Canis Minor can help!

Canis Minor is our imprint that allows you — our Pugmire community — to create and sell self-published material for the Pugmire roleplaying game. You can offer your work for free, set a price, or make it pay-what-you-want. We’ll give you some resources to help you out, and a marketplace for other Pugmire fans to use.

If you’re just a busy Guide who needs a little something extra, you’ll find ready-to-run stories, along with enemies and non-player characters to menace your players with. You can also find new spells and tricks, in case you want to throw your players a bone. And that’s only the beginning!

How do I publish content for the Canis Minor?

Your first step is to read the Canis Minor Content Guidelines and our Frequently Asked Questions, to get a sense of what you can and can’t put up for sale. Our creator resources include templates and artwork for you to use that meet our specifications for Canis Minor content.

After creating your content, go to your account page and look in the “My Content” section. You can use the “Add a new title” link after you agree to the Community Content Agreement.

Once content is published, it can be found with the rest of the Canis Minor. You’ll be able to check your sales history, view reviews, and check on book royalties using your Account page on DriveThruRPG. The My Money section of your Account page will allow you to withdraw royalties via PayPal.

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!

The close of It’s In the Cards Week brings us to one of the most famous and beloved examples of card-based games ever published – Castle FalkensteinThough the poker-deck mechanics were a bit difficult for many to wrap their heads around, the setting carried the day as one of the earliest examples of steampunk at the RPG table. The game lay fallow for quite a while, but Fat Goblin Games revived it with an entire line of products dedicated to updating and expanding the Falkenstein experience.

SPELLNAPPED!

When computer game designer Tom Olam found himself sorcerously shanghaied by a rogue Wizard and a Faerie Lord, little did he suspect that he would soon become the pivotal force in the struggle to control an alternate Victorian Universe. But before the deadly game could end, he would first have to battle gigantic Landfortresses, outwit Dragons, romance a beautiful Adventuress, and defeat the Evil legions of a Dark Court determined to destroy him at all costs. 
Then maybe, just maybe, he could find a way home again …

It’s a novel. It’s a game. It’s both. It’s Castle Falkenstein™, an amazing journey into another universe just a few steps away from our own: a place where Dragons and Steampower rule the skies, Faerie Lords duel atop the battlements, and where the forces of Wizardry and Magick meet the gaslight streets of the Victorian Age. But with Castle Falkenstein™, the story never ends, as you too take up saber and spell to adventure in a distant world on the other side of the mysterious Faerie Veil: a world of Swashbuckling Fantasy, High Romance, and Magickal Technology. The world of—Castle Falkenstein

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 really aren’t that many games that fit the bill for It’s In the Cards Week, but here’s another Tarot-driven one that can also be played with standard (poker) playing cards. Trials of the Magi falls firmly in the 21st-century realms of player narrative and innovation, though there are firm mechanics in place. Intended to help bring players new to the concept of roleplaying into the hobby, the game focuses on allowing players to essentially “be themselves” while the explore the concepts of RP and shared fiction.

Trials of the Magi is a tabletop role-playing game centered around the idea that arcane spell casters known as Magi exist within our world and have kept their existence hidden for thousands of years. Those with the potential to learn magic are scouted out and must prove themselves worthy by undergoing a specialized exam.

Inside each session of this narrative card game a group of Candidates attempt to overcome the surreal and magical challenges put before them by the Arcane Scout. Where each success bringing them one step closer to becoming fledgling Magi.


Who is this game for:

While any group of players can pick up and play the game, Trials of the Magi was developed as a tool to introduce new players to the hobby of role-playing games. This goal is achieved through the game’s quick to learn, tactile mechanics and the ease of roleplaying within the game’s fiction.

In contrast with most role-playing games, the characters that the players control in Trials of the Magi are direct representations of themselves known as Personas. These imagined characters look, act and talk just as the player would, making it easy for some one new to the hobby to step into their first game.


How the game is played:

The Candidates construct their personas by choosing 3 cards from the four possible Tarot suits of Swords, Wands, Cups or Coins. Then by answering a suit specific question they determine the source of the cards power, and write it on the card. This written word shapes the narrative capabilities of each card, as it represents what form of magic the Persona has access to within the mental landscapes of the trials.

Each Tarot suit represents a type of playstyle, and by picking a combination of 3 cards, you tailor your gameplaying interactions effectively create your own custom “character class”.

This hand of cards comprises the entirety of each player’s Persona, and gameplay revolves around each player’s ability to effectively manage how their cards cycle between the three positions of, in their hand, on the table, or discarded. This is crucial because if all of the players are forced to discard all of their cards, they fail the trial.

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!

If you have a Tarot deck of any kind, you can play Reign of Terror, based on the Tarochi card game that uses such decks, and the latest entry in the It’s In the Cards Week theme. In this setting, you face the utter terror and devastation of the French Revolution while investigating what sinister forces might be pulling the strings behind it all.

The Terror, during the French Revolution, was one of the most horrific moments in history. At its height, thousands were imprisoned or executed.  But what if the Terror wasn’t just happenstance? What if there were dark forces at play behind those, and other, historical events? 

In Reign of Terror play the part of a Revolutionary seeking to find the truth behind the Revolution and Robespierre’s Reign of Terror. This book contains everything you need to start playing, including: 

  • an original system based on Tarochi, a Tarot-based card game
  • the detailed history of the French Revolution
  • a chapter devoted to the daily life of people in Revolutionary France
  • a simple character creation system that gets you playing within minutes
  • a Cast of Characters: over 60 historical figures described for the game

Be a Revolutionary! Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity! Or, Death! 

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!

Not much chance of doing an It’s In the Cards Week without talking about one of the style’s more standout examples. Based on the Malifaux miniatures gaming universeThrough the Breach makes use of regular playing cards to move players through character creation as well as task resolution.

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!

The long-awaited James Wallis art-as-RPG, Alas Vegasis finally available for purchase, and it’s led me to launch It’s In the Cards Week – a week dedicated to games that eschew dice in favor of cards for gameplay and task resolution.

This game was Kickstarted five years ago, and various elements in play pushed its final delivery out quite a ways. However, the wait is more than worthwhile as “the Godfather of Indie Games” (as anointed by Robin Laws), along with a truly all-star cast, brings us one of the most innovative immersive story ideas with a gameplay style that will throw you for a loop while it drags you into a story you help unveil as the clock keeps ticking.

BAD BETS, BAD DEBTS AND BAD DEATHS

You wake in a shallow grave in the desert. It’s night. You have no memory of how you got here, or who you are, or the location of your clothes. A scar of neon in the shape of a city squats on the horizon. There are answers there. And trouble.

ALAS VEGAS is a dark journey through a bizarre and terrifying casino city where everything has a cost. Caught in a war between the Rat Packers who run the place, the players must find allies, the truth, and a way to escape. Memories are recovered, secrets are revealed, old debts are settled, and nothing is what it seems.

Your character sheet starts as blank as your memories, but your character gains skills by having flashbacks to their previous life, so as the game progesses their backstory does too – creating a twisted web between the characters, as they piece their past together and work out how that fits with what’s happening to them.

The mechanics are based on the casino game Blackjack played with Tarot cards, creating high-stakes narrative showdowns, and spinning elements of the game’s story from the cards that come up in play.

‘Alas Vegas’ lasts four sessions, structured like a high-budget HBO miniseries, leading to a revelatory final climax that’s a fitting end of the campaign. It’s Franz Kafka’s Fear and Loathing. It’s The Hangover meets The Prisoner. It’s Ocean’s Eleven directed by David Lynch. It’s like nothing you’ve played before.

PLUS THREE EXTRA CAMPAIGNS

ALAS VEGAS runs on the Fugue game system, built to tell stories of characters with amnesia. It uses Tarot cards and rotating GMs to create unique, high-tension adventures, heavy on character and narrative. As well as ‘Alas Vegas’ itself, the book contains three extra complete Fugue campaigns:

  • YET ALREADY, frantic time-travel to save a chaotic, collapsing universe, written by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan;
  • WARLOCK KINGS, paladins returned to life as generals of a dark army, by Allen Varney and Johnstone Metzger;
  • REMEMBERING COSMIC MAN, in which you play two characters: one of a gang of superheroes whose leader has just been found dead, and one of the police investigating the crime, by Laurent Devernay and Jerome Larre.

Plus all the Fugue mechanics, of course.

PLUS A HOST OF STARS

ALAS VEGAS also contains articles by some of the finest games writers of the last two decades:

  • Kenneth Hite contributes a complete stand-alone story-game set in the blood-red heart of classic Vegas, ‘Killing Bugsy Siegel’;
  • Robin D. Laws tells you how to use tarot cards to create game narratives on the fly in ‘Tarot-Jumping Other Games’;
  • Mike Selinker adds a bizarre casino in which your characters can place bets on their own chances of success in the adventure;
  • Matt Forbeck details the ins and outs of running gambling games in RPGs ;
  • Richard Dansky expands the Alas Vegas setting in ‘Grifts, Scams and Making it’;
  • John Scott Tynes serves up cocktails in ‘The Guide To Drinking Heavily In Vegas’;
  • Eye-popping interior art by World Fantasy Award-winner John Coulthart and Dennis Detwiller;
  • John Kovalic contributes an exclusive in-game comic strip!
  • And Sean Smith describes how to… but you have to let us keep a few secrets.

 

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!

Closing out Tales of the Five Editions Week with, naturally, a 5th Edition product. One of the coolest things about the latest iteration of D&D is the Dungeon Masters Guild, a place where creators of all types can bring their best and most interesting ideas to life for other fans of the system. The Mines of Chult is actually the inspiration for these week’s theme, one of the latest such presentations that features the top-three selling creators on that site.

Presenting The Mines of Chult! This Savage Encounters adventure supplement features nine mini adventures from three best-selling DMs Guild authors. Featuring adventures for character levels 1 through 16, your PCs will challenge several new monsters, discover fascinating new magic items, and interact with some wickedly fun NPCs.  Though designed with Tomb of Annihilation in mind, each of these adventures can be easily adapted to any campaign setting. With over sixty pages of thrilling 5th Edition D&D adventures ready to go, what are you waiting for? Dig in to The Mines of Chult!

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!

The Fourth Edition gets a lot of bad press (and, frankly, it’s not all undeserved), but as we roll on through Tales of the Five Editions Week, it’s important to acknowledge the edition that (a) lots of people still love and (b) brought many new gamers to the table. The attempt at appealing to the computer gaming crowd met with mixed results, but there’s a lot of noteworthy innovation to give a positive nod towards.

As anyone who’s followed me over the years knows, I will always have a special place in my heart for the Keep on the Borderlands. The very first module to bear that name came in my first D&D boxed set. Upon its foundations, Shaintar was built.

At Restwell Keep, you’ve heard that fortune and glory await those bold enough to brave the dangers of the Chaos Scar, a valley carved ages ago by a fallen star. The same tales warn that this Chaos Scar draws wickedness to it. Perhaps you can help stem this tide… and gain some treasure along the way.

(Excerpts from the Product History)

“Keep on the Borderlands: A Season of Serpents,” by Chris Sims, is the adventure series for Season 3 of D&D Encounters. It was released for play in Fall and Winter 2010.

Continuing the Encounters. “Season of Serpents” generally follows the model of the previous season’s adventure, “Dark Sun: Fury of the Wastewalker” (2010). It presents a multi-week adventure as a set of individual encounters, each of which is meant to be run as a single session lasting 1.5 to 2 hours. Again, the adventure is broken up into chapters, each of which contains multiple encounters; at the end of each chapter, characters are given the opportunity to rest.

“Season of Serpents” is the longest Encounters season ever, with five chapters of four encounters each, resulting in 20 total sessions of play. Considerable effort is expended to differentiate the chapters and the overall play experience; thus, PCs adventure in broadly different areas during each chapter of play. Nonetheless, many GMs found the adventure too long—mainly because it made it hard to bring in new players late in the season, something that matters more in an organized play environment.

Each chapter of “Season of Serpents” was released to DMs as an individual booklet, which was the same format used for “Fury of the Wastewalker,” the only Encounters season divided up in this way.

About the Homage. Though the first two Encounters seasons returned to the classic settings of Undermountain and Dark Sun, they weren’t exactly homages: Rather, they were totally new stories told in the old settings. That changed with “Season of Serpents,” which is obviously an homage to B2: “The Keep on the Borderlands”(1980). It’s probably no accident that this Encounters season went hand-in-hand with the introductory red box for D&D Essentials—just as the original “Keep” was packaged with D&D’s first red box (1981).

(OK, technically the 1981 edition is now widely called the “magenta box,” to differentiate it from the 1983 edition, but you get the idea.)

That said, “Season of Serpents” is not a return to the actual setting of the original “Keep on the Borderlands”; it’s more of a thematic homage. You get the story of a civilized keep and nearby monstrous lands: Here, the stronghold is the dwarven-built Restwell Keep, while the monstrous lairs are in the Chaos Scar, a location that also received considerable attention in the online Dungeon magazine.

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 the day we look at the third of five in our Tales of the Five Editions Week. When 3e came out, it had been quite a while since D&D had gone through a major change, and it was one of the Big Events of gaming history. The Red Hand of Doom is one of the most highly praised and respected adventures to come out of that time – called a “super adventure,” it’s pretty much a campaign all its own.

Who Can Stand Against the Son of the Dragon?

The Wyrmsmoke Mountains shook with the thunder of ten thousand screaming hobgoblin soldiers. From the phalanx emerged a single champion. One by one the tribes fell silent as the warlord rose up, blue scales gleaming along his shoulders, horns swept back from his head. A hundred bright yellow banners stood beneath him, each marked with a great red hand. He stood upon a precipice and raised his arms. “I am Azarr Kul, Son of the Dragon!” the warlord bellowed.

“Hear me! Tomorrow we march to war!”

Red Hand of Doom is a DUNGEONS & DRAGONS® adventure designed to take characters from the 6th level to the 12th level. Confronted with the relentless advance of Azurr Kul’s horde, the characters must undertake vital missions to influence the outcome of the war. Can they shatter the armies of the enemy, or will Azarr Kul’s dreams rain destruction upon the human lands?

(Excerpts from the Product History)

Red Hand of Doom (2006), by Richard Baker and James Jacobs, is a super-adventure for D&D 3E. It was published in February 2006.

Continuing the Super Adventures. D&D adventures from Wizards of the Coast were shockingly rare during the 3E era (2000-2008). That’s because they expected d20 licensees to focus on adventure publication, taking the brunt of one of the least profitable sorts of RPG publication.

Super-adventures from Wizards that were larger and more important were even rarer. Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil (2001) and City of the Spider Queen(2002) were the only two in the early 3E era, then Wizards almost totally abandoned adventures for three years, with the exception of some Eberron modules. Red Hand of Doom thus marked a big return for Wizards. It would be followed by several other Wizards adventures in the final 3E years, most of them in the “Expedition” series (2006-2007).

To qualify Red Hand of Doom as a super-adventure, designers Baker and Jacobs made sure it was both “huge” and “epic”. Though it’s not a full-fledged adventure path, it should support 6 months of play.

Origins. Red Hand of Doom was written as a classic adventure that could be used in any setting. To make the adventure classic, Baker and Jacobs focused on one of best-known races of old: goblinoids, with plenty of class levels to make them dangerous foes. To make the adventure generic, they created a new locale, the Elsir Vale, that could be placed in any setting.

Sources. Baker based the plot of Red Hand of Doom on something he’d seen in many fantasy novels, but that was less common in D&D adventures: “the Army of Evil … trying to conquer everything.” He didn’t muddy that concept with dungeon delves or macguffins — instead wanting to focus on the armies themselves and the sort of challenges that they presented. It was an adventure style that hadn’t been seen much since the “Bloodstone Pass” adventure series (1985-1988).

Jacobs notes a few more disparate influences: the Return of the King movie (2003), World of Warcraft (2003), and a Chris Thomasson adventure called “Foundation of Flame”, which appeared in Dungeon #113 (August 2004).

Hail to the Designers Notes! The biggest innovation in Red Hand of Doom is the inclusion of about a dozen designers’ notes. These boxed notes talk about the philosophies and expectations behind some of the encounters. Wizards had never done anything of the sort before.

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!