Category: Pick of the Day

The last couple of Picks for Cops & Robbers Week were pretty focused on the law-and-order side of things, so today we take a look at a game that is entirely about being the Robbers… and Thieves, Assassins, Cutpurses, etc…. Blades in the Dark is a multi-award-winning and critically-acclaimed game that really drills down into concepts and game play elements specifically oriented on putting a crew together and playing out schemes and capers while struggling to survive against rival operations.

Blades in the Dark is a tabletop role-playing game about a crew of daring scoundrels seeking their fortunes on the haunted streets of an industrial-fantasy city. There are heists, chases, occult mysteries, dangerous bargains, bloody skirmishes, and, above all, riches to be had — if you’re bold enough to seize them.

You and your fledgling crew must thrive amidst the threats of rival gangs, powerful noble families, vengeful ghosts, the Bluecoats of the city watch, and the siren song of your scoundrel’s own vices. Will you rise to power in the criminal underworld? What are you willing to do to get to the top?

In this stand-alone game, you’ll find:

  • Rules to create your scoundrel using the following character archetypes: the Cutter, the Hound, the Leech, the Lurk, the Slide, the Spider, or the Whisper.
  • Rules to create your crew, built from types like AssassinsBravos, a CultHawkersShadows, or Smugglers.
  • A robust core mechanic which puts the fiction first—the strength of a character’s position (desperate, risky, or controlled) matters just as much as the character’s ability scores.
  • A lightning-fast mechanic for planning criminal operations to cut through the usual slog of planning at the game table.
  • Rules for alchemical experiments, gadget tinkering, and weird occult powers—including rules for playing Ghosts and other strange beings.
  • A setting guide to the haunted city of Doskvol, with all the maps, factions, NPCs, schemes, and opportunities you need to run an exciting sandbox game.

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!

Here we are in the middle of Cops & Robbers Week with another excellent look at being a police officer in extraordinary circumstances. Featuring the investigation-oriented GUMSHOE system, Mutant City Blues puts the players in the roles of cops attached to a special unit that deals with criminals who have extraordinary powers. It’s crime-solving and takedowns in a world turned just a bit upside-down.

This one is highly-rated and well-respected:

“I loved the way that this linked in with the esoterrorist system. The quade diagram and the ability to create great drama with the system WITHOUT depending on the players getting the clues…..just asking the right questions. When I set it in Detroit with all the google earth maps the setting seemed to really materialize for my players and what they were doing. Great system!”

Steve Kyer, RPGNow.com 5/5 Stars.

“This game was my first exposure to the GUMSHOE system and it made me fall in love with it! This game is extremely fun. I really love how all the mutant powers are related to each other on a diagram, giving more plausibility to super-powers and how they would develop. The world is rich and full of color and interesting ideas. I highly recommend this game.”

Devon Kelley, RPGNow.com Featured Reviewer 5/5 Stars.

A stand-alone GUMSHOE game of contemporary super powers

Ten years ago, 1% of the population gained mutant powers.

1% of the citizens means 1% of the criminals!

…and you’re the cops who clean up the mess.

EVER SINCE the Sudden Mutation Event, people have been able to fly. Phase through walls. Read minds. Shoot bolts of energy from their fingertips. Walk into dreams.

Police work will never be the same.

AS MEMBERS OF the elite Heightened Crime Investigation Unit, you and your fellow detectives solve crimes involving the city’s mutant community. When a mutant power is used to kill, you catch the case. When it’s a mutant victim in the chalk outline, you get the call. And when it comes time for a fight, you deploy your own extraordinary abilities to even the odds.

WITH NEW HUMAN CAPACITY has come new science. Your squad brings forensic science to bear on the solution of mutant crimes. Need to know if a suspect is the victim of mind control or dream observation? Perform an EMAT protocol to detect the telltale signs of external influence. Was your victim killed by a light blast? Use Energy Residue Analysis to match the unique wound pattern to the murderer, as surely as ballistic science links a bullet to a gun.

Does your crime scene yield trace evidence of two separate powers? Use your trusty copy of the Quade Diagram, the infallible map of genetic relationships between mutant powers, to tell if one suspect could have used both—or if you have two perps on your hands.

IF CHASES, INTERROGATIONS and mutant battles weren’t enough to handle, you also serve as a bridge between the authorities and your mutant brethren. To successfully close cases, you must navigate the difficult new politics of post-mutation society, and deal with your own personal issues and mutation-caused defects.

MUTANT CITY BLUES runs on GUMSHOE, the acclaimed investigative rules set powering the hit new game Trail Of Cthulhu. GUMSHOE offers a simple yet revolutionary method for writing, running and playing mystery scenarios. It ensures fast-flowing play, always giving you the informational puzzle pieces you need to propel your latest case toward its exciting final revelations.

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

We continue to explore matters of crime and punishment with Cops & Robbers Week, today focusing on Melior Via‘s Thin Blue Line for Savage Worlds. Lovingly crafted by a man from the very streets he writes about, this setting deals with modern day supernatural horror and the realities of being a police officer in the oldest neighborhood of a Rust Belt iconic city.

“Watch your step rookie, or you’ll end up in Corktown.”

Calamity brews in Detroit. Paranormal activity is on the rise. An angry spirit, a dangerous creature, or a pack of desperate cultists hides under every sewer cover and within every abandoned building. The officers of Corktown Precinct are the only thing standing between the city and paranormal onslaught. Corktown has a secret, though. Its crew of supposed washouts are either psychics or have encountered the paranormal. These damaged, over-worked, and under-paid officers must keep paranormal activity in Detroit under wraps and out of sight. No mean feat in a city as old, large, and haunted as Detroit.

Corktown officers face constant threats from mundane crime, paranormal forces, as well as their inner demons and growing madness. Do they have what it takes? Can they stand against the growing threats, or will they be consumed, along with the city they guard?

The Thin Blue Line is a modern horror setting that requires the Savage Worlds Core Rulebook and the Savage Worlds Horror Companion for use.

This is the full setting for The Thin Blue Line – A Detroit Police Story. It includes detailed information on the setting’s NPCs, paranormal creatures, adventures and an adventure generator, and cursed items.

Buyers also receive PDF character sheets in Printer Friendly and Full color versions. These include standard and form-fillable variants.

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!

With the recent release of CAPERS (Preview Edition), I am calling this Cops & Robbers Week at the SPOD – a week dedicated to playing either criminals or those who track them down and bring them to justice.

CAPERS is all about playing gangsters during the 1920s… but with superpowers! Then again, the coppers have `em, too!

NOTE – This is a preview edition meant to give you a taste of what’s coming via Kickstarter, and to give some feedback for the design. It’s a full game experience, though.

CAPERS is a superpowered RPG of 1920s gangsters. Players portray gangsters and bootleggers looking to make thieir fortunes in a wolrd of illegal alchohol, gambling, prostitution, and racketeering.

And you have superpowers. But so do the cops and feds.

This preview edition of the CAPERS game gives you everything you need to give the game a whirl. Full rules, some setting info, a smattering of powers, an introductory adventure, and some pre-generated characters. This version features simple layout and b/w artwork. The final version of the game will be much fancier and 150+ pages of full color super-powered gangster fun.

NerdBurger Games will be Kickstarting CAPERS on Tuesday, March 6th, 2018 to fund final artwork, layout, and a few other things. So stay tuned!

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!

And we head off to Japan for the last Pick for Around the World Week, this one representing one of the most critically-acclaimed and popular tabletop RPGs from the Land of the Rising Sun. Tenra Bansho Zero tags all the major touchstones of what the original creator called a “hyper Asian” kind of game that lovers of anime and Final Fantasy will grok and love.

Almost a decade ago, Japanese artist and game designer Junichi Inoue sat down to create what was, in his own words, a uniquely and unmistakably “Hyper Asian” Japanese world: a world of magic and technology, of samurai and Taoist sorcery, of powerful mecha and cultured geisha. The world was named Tenra, and the game was named Tenra Bansho, or “Everything in Heaven and Earth.”

With a rulebook dripping cover-to-cover with high-quality anime-style art, a setting rich in culture both real and fantastical, and a revised and simplified rules system that focused with precision on roleplaying and character drama, this game took the Japanese tabletop RPG market by storm and spearheaded both a renaissance and revolution in the Japanese gaming industry.

Years later, this unique and revolutionary game has finally been painstakingly translated into English for play in the West!

Tenra Bansho Zero is a unique tabletop roleplaying experience, and it features the following:

PDF Optimization

This product contains two versions of the game:

  • The original high-quality art-filled, full-color setting and rules books, together in electronic tablet-optimized US graphic novel size (700 total pages)
  • A text-only indexed version of all of the content of the setting and rules books at US Letter/A4 size for easy reference and printing (510 total pages; with large font and spacing for readability; effectively 150 pages of text for normal book proportions)

Breathtaking Art

Over 300 unique pieces of art appear throughout; there are 33 full-color manga story pages that introduce players to the world and setting features, and ten rules explanations, also in manga form, assist with fast rules retention. The art is done by the formidable hand of Junichi Inoue, the fine brush-work of Hiroyuki Ishida, the comical impact of Hayami Rasenjin, and more!

With layout for the English edition by industry expert Luke Crane (Mouse Guard RPG, Burning Wheel RPG), you’ve never seen a game like this.

Incredible Content

Two books: A full-color Setting book and a black-and-white Rules and Play book. The books together boast a page count of almost 700 total pages! The huge amount of art, combined with the detailed deep-dive explanations and play advice, will give you your money’s worth in usable content.

Incomparable Richness

A rich Japanese setting involving a planet in a constant state of war, where magic fuels technology and the culture is an analogue of the “Warring States” (Sengoku) era of Japan. Mecha, sorcery, samurai, geisha, monks, cyborgs, annelid-users, and more make this game a truly unique – and deeply Japanese – experience.

Quick to Learn

A simple-to-understand rules system utilizing regular six-sided dice, cleverly explained in both detailed text examples and amusing full-page manga art. On top of a woven system of skills, attributes, action, and combat is overlaid a deeper system of kabuki theater-style play: Focusing very specifically on play through Acts, Scenes, and Intermissions, the players of this game are both the actors and audience: As actors, they focus on roleplay in a scene with other actors; and as audience (much like the audience of a kabuki play), they focus on the drama that unfolds, rewarding the players for dramatic actions and cool ad-libbed lines. 

Speed

An entire campaign, a story from start to finish, can be told over the space of one to two sessions! You can then choose to play the same characters in another tale, or perhaps retire them to look at another facet of life on Tenra.

All-in-One

The original Japanese game had a core rulebook, a supplement, and later several mail-order-only mini-supplements. The data/rules content and much of the art has been ported and folded into the English book set (originally $145 USD for all of that material if you were to buy it when it came out), including errata and designer suggestions.

This is a truly updated version of the game!

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!

Today, our Around the World Week tour takes us to Australia’s StoryWeaver. They co a lot of Savage Worlds development, but they’ve got some other interesting things going on as well. This particular Pick is a callback to one of Pinnacles older Weird War settings, Tour of DarknessBlood of the Innocent is a dark, violent immersion in the hell of the Vietnam War, with plenty of even darker and more horrible elements at work.

Vietnam 1968: As the Tet Offensive pushes forward and casualties mount, dark secrets are at play. Amongst the bloodshed, an ancient evil struggles to be reborn deep in the jungles. They say that in war innocence is the first to die… but it’s certainly not the last.

Blood of the Innocent is a Savage Worlds adventure of grim horror set in the chaos of the Vietnam War. As a ready-to-go adventure for an existing modern military campaign, or as a single-shot game, Blood of the Innocent drags your heroes kicking and screaming through the most dangerous and horrifying of war stories. Be warned… Blood of the Innocent is not for the weak of heart.

Features: 46 pages of mayhem and terror, including…

  • Detailed setting and descriptions
  • Printable area maps
  • Player characters to die for!
  • Dozens of fully developed extras & NPCs
  • Customizable character sheets
  • New monsters to battle
  • New spells and artifacts

Plus bonus 45 pages of printable extras gives you everything you need to start playing right away!

  • 38 beautiful 7×7″ battlemap tiles suitable for ANY mini’s game.
  • 2 pages of character tokens, featuring US troops, Vietcong, villagers and monsters!
  • Military area map.

Savage world licensed product

 Compatible with Tour of Darkness

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 Three of Around the World Week brings us to Wales, and the company of Stephanie McAleaStygian Fox. Artist, writer, designer, and all-around-great person, Stephanie joined with my friend Darren Pearce and Colin Dunn to craft a system-agnostic source of really cool modern-day items imbued with magical powers. The Book of Contemporary Magical Things is a ready-to-hand kind of sourcebook for any GM running modern day urban fantasy, horror, supers, or related types of settings.

The Book of Contemporary Magical Things is 134 pages of modern, seemingly mundane, items that are imbued with magical power. Some are quite minor; A tuning fork that will quiet a room, a pair cufflinks that tell you the name and family details of those with whom you shake hands, a set of polyhedral dice that temporarily change the fortune of the roller, but some are spectacular, or dangerously malevolent. From minor items to Earth shattering forces, these items are there for you to use as a Gamesmaster in your modern, horror, or superhero campaigns.

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 Around the World Week takes us to Germany and my friends at Ulisses Spiele and their Dark Eye product line. Massively popular in Europe, now Aventuria comes to the English-speaking world in full force. The Silver ENnie Award-winning Aventuria Almanac is your guide to the setting, and it’s (as of this posting) over half off, so it’s a great time to pick it up and find out why Dark Eye is the most popular RPG setting in Germany and beyond.

Oh, and don’t miss out on their Aventuria Compendium Kickstarter, which is almost over! It’s a great jump-on point for the entire line!

Explore the many facets of The Dark Eye with the Aventuria Almanac, your guide to the official setting for the fantasy role playing game. Immerse yourself in this exciting world and learn why the fantastic continent of Aventuria is like no other.

This indispensable guide is designed both for players and GMs. Explore the regions, kingdoms, and history of Aventuria in detail. Entries for key cities cover inhabitants, customs, trade, science, law and order, magic, and the works of the gods. Learn about the icy wastes of the Far North, the many provinces of the Middenrealm, and the mysterious home of the elves in the verdant woods of the Salamander Stones. Travel the merchant routes of the Khôm Desert, face the perils of the Lizard Swamps and the steaming jungles of Meridiana, and delve into the hidden mines of the dwarves.

The Aventuria Almanac also includes two large-format poster maps of the continent, stats for new creatures and useful plants, and fascinating new mysteries for the heroes to investigate.

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!

With the release of Awaken from The Games Collective out of Croatia, I’m declaring this Around the World Week at the SPOD. We’ll feature games from non-U.S. teams all week, showing off the creativity and talent of designers and publishers all over the globe. Suggestions welcome!

This is a dark fantasy setting that delves into “Slavic and Mediterranean folklore” as the heart of its source material. Gorgeous, as are many of the games and products coming out of the Eastern Europe region.

Become a Vasall in Awaken, join the world of battles against the darkness, political struggles and discover the price of retaining humanity in the ruthless world!

Awaken is a tabletop roleplaying game set in a dark, war-ravaged fantasy world heavily influenced by Slavic and Mediterranean folklore, where the forgotten mythologies have resurfaced as Vasalli, powerful humans gifted with abilities capable of changing the course of history.

Inside the Awaken rulebook you’ll find: 

  • A dark, war-ravaged fantasy universe influenced by Slavic and Mediterranean folklore.
  • A complete game system with intuitive and light rules, which help you tell a story rather than burden you down.
  • Streamlined rules for Character creation and guidelines for Narrators, including examples of antagonists.
  • A Story suitable for venturing into the world of Awaken.

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!

And here we are on the eponymous Friday of Black Friday Big Picks Week, with the latest release for the grand-daddy of all fantasy adventure settings, playable in the grand-daddy of all RPG systems, tearing up the sales charts and waiting for you to dive right in for Tolkien-esque adventuring! Adventures in Middle Earth – Mirkwood Campaign takes you to one of the most famous – and dangerous – places the Professor ever imagined.

The Necromancer may have been cast out of Dol Guldur, but a lingering darkness remains over Mirkwood, a shadow that will grow ever longer as the years draw on – unless a fellowship of heroes step forward and hold back the gloom.

The Mirkwood Campaign™ for Adventures in Middle-earth™ includes enough adventure material to keep you playing for months or even years, and includes new rules that give your heroes a real stake in what happens to the world around them.

The Mirkwood Campaign provides unique campaign framework penned by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan and Francesco Nepitello for The One Ring Roleplaying Game, converted to Adventures in Middle-earth by Jacob Rodgers.

Visit the Parliament of Spiders, do battle with the Nazgûl, meddle in the affairs of Wizards and enter the Halls of King Thranduil. Stand firm against the Shadow and maybe the Darkening can be averted. Falter for even a moment and all that you know and love will be lost.

What is the Mirkwood Campaign?
The Mirkwood Campaign began life as The Darkening of Mirkwood for The One Ring. We’ve now converted it to be fully compatible with Adventures in Middle-earth, using the 5th Edition OGL ruleset. It’s a campaign framework that guides your game through 30 years of in-game adventures.

The Mirkwood Campaign covers 30 years from Gollum first passing through Mirkwood in 2947 to the sad death of King Bard.

The supplement breaks these decades into four sections and then further details each year, giving you the major events that happen in an unfolding story. These events cover both the wider world with its unfolding epic as the events of Lord of the Rings draw ever closer, as well as the more personal fate of the Woodmen and the rise of Dol Guldur, into which events the Player-heroes are thrust.

(There’s a lot more to this – hit the link to read it all.)

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!