Category: Pick of the Day

I decided to return to the Dungeon Masters Guild to wrap up 5e Week here on SPOD, and I Picked one of the most popular titles on that site – Heroes of the Orient: Player’s and DM’s CompanionD&D fans have long enjoyed importing mythic, fantastic, and historical elements from cultures of the Pacific Rim and beyond, and the author here decided a strong adaptation of what’s come before to 5e was a great way to use the terms of service for the Dungeon Masters Guild. Good on you, Marc Altfuldisch!

This 75-page handbook contains lore, flavor, and rules for creating adventures in the Orient.

Included are also:

  • 6 new races, a new dwarf subrace and an oriental human variant
    • Nezumi – humanoid rats with 3 subraces
    • Hengeyokai – shapeshifting animals with 10 subraces
    • Spirit Folk – descendants of humans and spirits with 3 subraces
    • Vanara – monkey-like humanoids with prehensile tails
    • Hakuma – humans with oni heritage and 3 subraces
    • Serafu – small lizard-like folk with 4 subraces
  • 2 new classes
    • Kensai – a ki-using warrior with a strong bond to a single weapon (includes 5 archetypes)
      • Blademaster – focuses solely on the blade, capable of moving into battle quickly and taking on many enemies at once
      • Master of the Unseen Hand – bolsters melee prowess with telekinetic powers
      • Samurai – an honorable warrior that focuses on versatile stances
      • Shinobi – specializes in infiltration, misdirection, and utilizes the most maneuvers
      • Villainous Class Option: Ravager – a kensai that has been warped by Taint
    • Shogun – a commander who enables new strategies for his allies (includes 7 archetypes)
      • Crawdad – focuses on martial defense
      • Heron – focuses on mobility
      • Pegasus – focuses on mounted combat
      • Phoenix – focuses on magical defense
      • Spider – focuses on trickery
      • Tiger – focuses martial prowess
      • Wyvern – improves the abilities of the base class without focusing on any one area
  • 27 new archetypes for existing classes
    • Barbarian 
      • Path of Brawn – focuses on rage damage and mobility
    • Bard 
      • College of the Geisha – more expertise and good with enchantment and illusion spells
    • Cleric 
      • Shamanism Domain – gains powers depending on a spirit patron (either ancestral, animal, demonic, or primordial)
      • Shugenja Domain – gains elemental powers, focusing on either air, earth, fire, or water
    • Druid 
      • Circle of Chaos – utilizes the Wild Magic Surge table
      • Circle of Elementalism – casts elemental spells efficiently and summons mephits
      • Circle of the Fey Touched – has several fey powers
    • Fighter
      • Bushi – a warrior of the common people, skilled at combat and versatile through stances
      • Hogo-sha – a protector both in and out of battle
      • Satsugai – a swift and ferocious warrior, foregoing heavy armor to better navigate the field of battle
      • Witch Hunter – specializes in fighting aberrations, fiends, and undead
    • Monk
      • Way of Ancient Symbols – gains magical tattoos, offers a ton of customization
      • Way of Purity – a pacifist monk with shapeshifting and utility
      • Way of Righteous Fury – can enter a Ki Frenzy, much like the barbarian’s rage and the bladesinger’s bladesong
    • Paladin
      • Oath of the Stalwart Defender – focuses on defending himself and his allies
    • Ranger
      • Ishi – inspires his allies on the battlefield
      • Niten Master – focuses on dual wielding
    • Rogue
      • Shadow Spy – a master infiltrator and gatherer of intelligence
      • Skirmisher – emphasizes mobility and ranged attacks
    • Sorcerer
      • Void Disciple – manipulates reality and time
    • Warlock
      • The Great Phoenix – grants the warlock powers from the Fires of Life
      • The Great Sylvan – grants the warlock sylvan powers, becoming one with nature
      • The Great Turtle – grants the warlock protective powers and the ability to transform into water
      • The Great Wyrm – grants the warlock power over lightning and thunder, smiting foes in the patron’s name
      • Seishin Mystic – possessed by a spirit, the seishin mystic has an internal patron, rather than an external one
    • Wizard
      • Wu Jen – focuses on the old elements, choosing between earth, fire, metal, water, or wood
      • Villainous Class Option: Maho-Tsukai – a blood mage with three distinct paths: mage, magus, and necromancer
  • 6 new backgrounds
  • 11 new feats
  • 52 new spells.

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!

From the days of yore (when Iron Crown Enterprises introduced their Law series), we’ve had a collective fascination with elaborate random charts for dealing with the extremes of combat. Critical Hit Publishing – aptly named, to be certain – brings you a deck of 75 cards to enhance your 5th Edition game with the insane potential found in a natural 20. Of course, for those who want insanity at the Natural 1 end of the scale, there’s a whole deck for you, too.

It’s all fun and games until someone loses and eye, then it’s a critical hit!

There are many players and GMs out there who feel most role playing games are already quite lethal enough without adding insult to injury. This is obviously not the way we feel at Critical Hit Publishing. In fact, adding an additional layer of risk and lethality to combat can not only enhance the overall excitement of the game, but it can encourage role play in several ways. Firstly, role playing is enhanced by compelling players to consider alternatives to combat. After all, when there is a chance that a lowly orc could slice off a character’s hand in combat, they might want to think twice before simply slaughtering their enemy. Secondly, critical hits can often leave scars or even permanent maimings. It is much more interesting to have a character with an eye patch if you know exactly where and how the eye was lost. Such maimings can offer opportunities for characters to develop prejudices, fears, vendettas, and other personality traits that can become pivotal to the story. And thirdly, critical hits can inspire players to create meaningful descriptions of their actions in combat. So rather than simply saying: “I attack with my sword for 6 points of damage,” they might describe the swing, the look on their face or the face of their opponent, and the result. When the players really start to enjoy describing their scenes, even a massive fumble becomes a fun part of the story, and I guarantee that it will be discussed long after the game is over. “Hey, do you remember that time Borek broke his sword fighting that orc chieftain and he ended up killing him with just the pommel!”

This deck contains 75 unique critical hits that range in severity from simply losing a turn while juggling your weapon to an obliterated head. These large, tarot-sized cards come with instructions, definitions, healing options for critical hits, and a rule variant that allows players to use Inspiration to reduce the effects of the crit. These cards can be used for any weapon, as well as ranged attack spells.

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!

As we delve further with 5e Week, seems only natural we take a look at this mega-bundle of the top stuff from the top creators of the DM’s Guild. In case you missed it, this is where DriveThruRPG and Wizards of the Coast teamed up to let any and all creative folks who love Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition create, present, and sell their best ideas. Enough amazing stuff has been crafted and sold to warrant a top thirty bundle at a rather incredible price.

This collection of Fifth Edition D&D material includes titles selected from among the top thirty bestselling community authors who have published their work on DM’s Guild. And to sweeten the deal, with the permission of those authors, it’s all been marked down to 84% off the cover prices!

Players and Dungeon Masters alike, no matter what the setting, are sure to find something useful inside — whether it’s new class options, feats, and magic items, or new monsters, rules, and adventures.

Get the best of the best now, just $9.95, only for a short time, available only on DMsGuild.com!

Here’s just a handful of the items in this thing –

    

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!

Day Two of 5e Week here at SPOD (that’s “Sean’s Pick of the Day”) features one of the most famous villains in all of D&D history. This just-released bundle features the entire Adventurer’s League run of the 5e campaign that centers on the dark-bound lands of Barovia and an ancient horror that defies normal adventuring expectations.

(From the Wizards of the Coast press release) –

Written in collaboration with Tracy and Laura Hickman, the authors of the original Ravenloft adventure published in 1983, Curse of Strahd pits players against the vampire Strahd von Zarovich…

“Revisiting the land of Barovia with the creators of the original Ravenloft adventure has been a highlight of my professional career,” said Chris Perkins, principal story designer at Wizards of the Coast. “Tracy and Laura Hickman created a timeless villain whose faults reflect the darkest traits of humanity. I can’t begin to describe what it’s like to walk through the halls of Castle Ravenloft with its creators as your guides.”

Heroes from the Forgotten Realms and other D&D worlds can easily be drawn into Strahd’s cursed land. Once there, they must contend with the horrors of Barovia. Its people are melancholy, misshapen and grotesque, living in fear of the wolves and other creatures that serve Strahd’s evil will. The only hope for the trapped adventurers is to heed the warnings of a mysterious fortune-teller named Madam Eva. Drawing random cards from her tarroka deck, she directs adventurers to search Strahd’s domain for artifacts and allies to help the master of Castle Ravenloft. That is, before he orchestrates your demise for his amusement and feasts on your terror.

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!

Years ago, I remarked that Paradigm Concepts – the guys behind Living Arcanis – knew how to build a community and get a living campaign going. Their current Kickstarter, designed to bring Arcanis fully into the 5th Edition, inspires this week’s theme – 5e Week. Though the KS is for the entire Arcanis setting to get translated, they’ve already released on big, useful book for 5e fans to get excited about.

Unlock the Treasures of the Ages…

Legends speak of heroes wielding magical weapons and enchanted relics, battling great evils and righting wrongs throughout the world. Whether created by dwarven master smiths, mage artificers or built by inhuman hands, you’ll find them all here, within this tome.

…And Forge your Legend!

Forged in Magic: REFORGED presents over 400+ magic items for your 5E campaign – from enchanted weapons, armors, rings and shields to mystical potions, magical staffs and a myriad of wondrous items.

You’ll also find a new rules, such as Other Worldly Patrons for Warlocks, new weapons, armors, spells and a Rune Magic system that gives versatility to magic items without unbalancing your game.

This book is an indispensable resource for both players and Game Masters alike.

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!

I felt there was no better way to round out Supers Week than to once again showcase this award-winning revival of one of the greatest superhero gaming (honestly, greatest gaming, genre-be-damned) supplements of all time. Michael Surbrook did a masterful, loving job of going through all the material that the great Aaron Allston left behind, carrying forth Aaron’s desires to publish a new version with all the added insight and campaign information gathered over the years since the original 1988 publication. If you want to run a supers game, you need to read this. I am proud to have had a part in producing it.

A superhero setting like no other. A role-playing game campaign book that includes techniques and lessons from over 22 years of play. A tribute to one of the greatest creators in the RPG industry, created using Champions 6th Edition.

In 1988, Aaron Allston released Strike Force, a supplement detailing the first eight years of his superhero campaign. Noted for its extensive and highly-influential advice to gamemasters on how to run a long-term campaign, Strike Force was a landmark RPG publication.

We have now released an updated version of this classic book for the 21st Century. Aaron himself was designing this new edition of Strike Force before his untimely death, and we wanted to bring his work to life as a monument to Aaron’s lasting influence on the RPG hobby. This updated Strike Force sourcebook includes never-before-seen material detailing Aaron’s multiversal superhero setting, compelling characters and villains, and updated and expanded advice from Superhero RPG veterans like Steve Kenson and Sean Patrick Fannon for how to run a campaign using “the Strike Force method.”

The electronic portion of this product includes character write-ups for Mutants & Masterminds and ICONS.  

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!

As we march on through Supers Week, I wanted to take today to point out the original Prowlers & Paragons rules by Len Pimentel. He and are furiously at work on the new Prowlers & Paragons: Ultimate Edition, which we’re planning to launch later this year (those really wanting to see some preview stuff should check out my Patreon), but this original set is well worth a look to see the core brilliance that let me to choose it as the foundation for my superhero setting efforts. It’s an elegant, deceptively simple game with immense nuance that lends to both satisfying crunchy (yet easy) supers combat, very robust character creation, and a surprising amount of player-empowered narrative influence.

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!

We power through Supers Week with this gem from Cakebread & Walton. Known for charming and eclectic releases (most notably Abney Park‘s Airship Pirates, based on the famous steampunk band), they’ve developed a number of releases based on their OneDice system. This is their supers iteration, offering a special take on high-powered comics-style gaming.

Quick and easy supers role-playing rules

OneDice Supers an easy, quick and flexible role-playing game system for running Superhero games. 

Whether you want to play Supers of your own design, recreate the adventures of your comic book heroes, or play in a world prepared for you, OneDice Supers has been developed to be easily adaptable for your games. Complete with a set of ready-made Supers and an adventure to get you started, everything you need to play is in this book!

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!

Can’t really have a Supers Week without showcasing the current “Superman” of the category, Mutants & Masterminds. This is the latest-and-greatest of the system rules, and it really is a powerhouse of a game.

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!

It’s Supers Week here at the Pick of the Day, and we’re opening up with one of the myriad products from Fainting Goat Games for superhero roleplaying (for lots of systems). This is their latest, specifically for Savage Worlds.

A treasure hunter has uncovered a powerful, arcane artifact that was best left buried! Now, unwillingly transforming into a violent mutant overlord, he poses a dangerous dilemma to the heroes: will they let him suffer the consequences of his actions, or face the ire of the Blood Kings upon themselves?

Savage Worlds and the Super Powers Companion 2nd Ed are required to play.

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!