(Note – the linked article has some harsh language).

I was tagged by someone I interact frequently with in regards to the issues we have in the tabletop/adventure gaming community. As much as I love to talk about my gaming family and community – how awesome they are, how supportive – I often get called out for not seeing “the other, ugly side” of it all.

We are now having those conversations, and as someone with a voice in the larger community, it’s long past time I help this conversation happen.

This article strike home harder than it might seem it should. What does hiking long distances have to do with gaming? Very little, certainly.

But the concept of culture, community, and conflict within is almost identically the same in any sub-culture that supposedly welcomes all… yet fails utterly to do so.

I challenge you to read this. Substitute the hiking elements with the concepts of going to gaming conventions and stores, and the rest slides directly and accurately into place.

This is us, folks. Not all of us… but enough of us to warrant some serious consideration and house-cleaning.

Why I Got Off the Pacific Crest Trail After 454 Miles Instead of Walking All the Way to Canada

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 come to the end of Steam & Steel Week with The Widening Gyre, written and designed by my friend and Evil Beagle Games partner, Bill “teh ebil bunneh” Keyes. While there’s also a Hero System version, the one that sings for most folks is this Savage Worlds iteration. Bill has an exceptional sense of storytelling-mixed-with-style, and he groks the steampunk genre in a way few others do; he gets that it’s about more than wearing brown stylishly and sticking some gears on your goggles*.

(*) – Don’t get me wrong – I love wearing brown and sticking gears on my goggles. Just saying the deeper aesthetic definitely permeates through Bill’s work here.

Welcome to The 19th Century That Never Was!

It is a world of wonder, of horror, of adventure, of magic, of strange technology and unprecedented cultural revolution. This is the age that nearly was, filled with radium-powered flying machines, clockwork automata, and steam-driven computers. It is an age of dark magic, sinister secrets, and unholy cults. It is a time in which the world teeters on the edge of disaster, where the enlightened scientific mind battled against ancient superstition and ignorance, in which the souls of all mankind hung in the balance.

The Widening Gyre presents an original steampunk campaign setting designed for use with the Savage Worlds rules. Recommended for experienced GMs and players looking to game in the Industrial Age As It Should Have Been, this worldbook includes…

A comprehensive and immersive campaign background detailing the fantastical Victorian world of The Widening Gyre.

-Character archetypes to play a wide variety of 19th century adventurers − Airship Pirates, Clockwork Men, Consulting Detectives, and more!

-Rules for wild steampunk technology and sorcery, including weapons, armor, vehicles, bizarre Victorian devices, and magic spells.

-Full stats for dozens of characters the heroes will encounter on their journeys, ranging from helpful allies to evil technologists to monstrous beasts from a darker era.

-New Skills, Edges, and Hindrances.

-A full bestiary with over 40 monsters and opponents.

-A fully detailed campaign, six full adventures, and four variant campaign ideas.

-Nearly twenty Savage Tales, a dozen one-sentence adventure ideas, plus an easy-to-use adventure generator to help put together quick adventures on the fly.

-Enter a world of adventuring daredevils and academics, occultist thrill-seekers and Savants both heroic and insane, in which a secretive organization of benevolent technologists seeks to prevent the dark monsters of humanity’s past from overwhelming its bright and burgeoning future.

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’s delve into Steam & Steel Week takes us Eastward and into a variant form of the steampunk genre that works wuxia into the mix. Jadepunk goes to some similar visual places as the movies The Man with the Iron Fists, Tai Chi 0, and Bunraku. More importantly, one of the key elements of steampunk outside of the visual aesthetic is the theme of the working class fighting oppression, and this setting goes there all the way.

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

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

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

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

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

(Long day, sorry for the late posting.)

Another “miniatures-to-RPG” translation, Iron Kingdoms is a multi-award-winning effort all its own and a fan-favorite for those who want a whole lot of “clank” in their steampunk. Interestingly, the rules are an expansion from the Warmachine and Hordes miniatures rules, which makes translating your favorite stuff from the latter to the roleplaying experience much easier.

Embark upon a journey of adventure and intrigue in a steam-powered world fueled by magic and contested with gunfire and steel. Armed with mechanika and accompanied by mighty steamjacks, explore the soot-covered cities of the Iron Kingdoms and the fell ruins of ancient powers.

This essential full-color guide to the award-winning Iron Kingdoms setting equips you with:

  • A robust, elegant rules system crafted especially for the world of the Iron Kingdoms. This system builds upon the rules foundation of the critically acclaimed WARMACHINE and HORDES miniatures games to meet the complex needs of a roleplaying game.
  • Rules for character creation and advancement that let you take on the role of iconic Iron Kingdoms characters like fell callers, field mechaniks, gun mages, warcasters, and more.
  • Details on diverse playable races: humans, gobbers, Iosans, Nyss, ogrun, Rhulfolk, and trollkin.
  • Crafting systems that enable you to explore the mysteries of mechanika and alchemy.
  • A comprehensive overview of life in the Iron Kingdoms and the history of western Immoren.

A WORLD OF ADVENTURE AWAITS IN THE IRON KINGDOMS

2013 ENnies Awards winner in 4 categories

Best Game (Gold)

Best Art, Cover (Gold)

Best Rules (Silver)

Best Production Values (Silver)

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 chug and clank along for Steam & Steel Week with this RPG adaptation of the popular minis-game world of Malifaux. Through the Breach is very notable for its use of a standard playing card deck instead of dice for task and challenge resolutions. The concept of Fate runs strong through the world via these mechanics. It’s a dark realm where fantasy crashes headlong into steampunk, and lots of folks just love it. My personal experience with the setting includes playing a fantasy-themed gunslinger blowing away demon trolls, and that was fun.

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, much more
Please check out my Patreon and get involved directly with my next projects!

We’re launching Steam & Steel Week with a product I had a brief history with, which the good folks at FASA have parlayed into a miniatures game line and an RPG. This one leans heavily on the “alt-history’ part of steampunk, opening the way with the line 

This isn’t your great-great-grandfather’s London!

Welcome to 1879and discover the history that wasn’t.

Victoria and Albert rule over a steam-powered British Empire that spans two worlds. Thanks to the portal known as the Rabbit Hole, a train ride away from London lies the Grosvenor Land, a new world of fertile plains, towering mountains, giant insects, and Babylonians with weird science zombies. Seems they got there first, three thousand years ago, and they’re not exactly the welcoming sort. The Saurid tribes, lizard-like folk who ride theropods and pteranodons, complicate matters further. Back home on Earth, clockwork engineering has brought mechanical computing to the world, and micro-steam engines drive airships through the sky. Stranger things are afoot, too, as a bit of magic seems to have come into the world with the opening of the portal. People are changing. Secret societies are finding their ancient occult practices a bit more effective. Who knows what might be lurking in the forests these days, or in that shipment from China?

The 1879 Players Guide provides everything needed to play the game for characters in the Initiate, Novice, and Journeyman Tiers of advancement, from character generation to combat and from obscure magic to the latest in Victorian technology. An overview of the game world is included for player reference, along with multiple short fiction examples of the sorts of stories that can be told! From the heights of society to the depths of the criminal underworld, from the high street of London to the mountains of the Gruv, adventure is calling. There are worlds to explore, fortunes to be won, and battles to be fought. 

Onward!
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!

This line sells it like I never could – “On the edges of fairy tales live members of the Company—collateral damage from someone else’s Happily Ever After.

(Seriously, if you ever want a lesson on how to write a piece of sales text for a property, there it is.)

We close out Tales of the Fairies with this extraordinary premise for a fairytale-based RPG – what happens after Happily Ever After, if it wasn’t your fairy tale ending? Find out in Loose Threads.

On the edges of fairy tales live members of the Company—collateral damage from someone else’s Happily Ever After.

Maybe their fairy godmother got lost on the way, or they failed to solve the riddle, or their siblings forgot to save them before riding off into the sunset. Now Company members live on the edges of tales and travel the In-Betweens, helping others like them who need rescuing from ogres, reversing of curses, and freedom from the evil clutches of bandits. People who the stories have forgotten. It’s difficult work, and every story must end eventually.

How will yours turn out?

Will you be a dashing damsel, a prince in distress, a charming witch, or something else new and interesting that breaks the mold? Find out in Loose Threads by Tara Zuber.

Loose Threads requires Fate Core to play. This 42-page supplement includes:

  • New aspect categories, including the Heart’s Desire, to create characters worthy of a fairy tale
  • A scaled tension aspect that allows characters to slide between two dueling ideas, states, or desires
  • A system for fairy tale favors—a new kind of boost
  • Ideas on how to create a fairy tale story in a non-traditional setting like a space station or a high school
  • A phase trio character creation adventure—Mr. Fox—and a sample adventure—Pecked to Death

Everyone has a tale to tell in Loose Threads. What’s yours?

The Fate Adventures & Worlds line provides compact, rich, affordable, gorgeous settings with a ready-to-go adventure for GMs in a pinch. Buy one this afternoon, be ready to run this evening.

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!

Flitting along through Tales of the Fairies Week, we stop to explore the lands of Zo in this lovingly-crafted full-on setting + game by Atomic Sock Monkey. It’s “its own thang,” but it’s also intentionally a guide on how to run a fairy-tale style game as opposed to more traditional RPG adventure experiences. That makes The Zorcerer of Zo both a great game and a great source for research.

Once Upon a Time, in the Zantabulous Land of Zo…

Tailors face giants, enchanted queens dance with human peasants, talking creatures perform domestic duties, witches cast curses and fairies grant blessings. And all are seeking their Happily Ever After.

Fairy tales and folktales have served as fertile ground for many stories, novels, cartoons, movies, and games. They speak to common – possibly timeless – human emotional concerns. Despite being retold again and again until they are cliche and their images instantly familiar, something about fairytales always remains fresh and new, speaking expressively to even long-familiar readers or hearers. Fairytales unite the ordinary and the extraordinary in stories full of magic, wonder, and moral lessons.

The Zorcerer of Zo (ZoZ) is a fairytale RPG by Atomic Sock Monkey Press, publishers of Dead Inside and Truth & Justice. Inside ZoZ, you’ll find:

  • An extensive discussion on fairytales, their nature and tropes.
  • An evocative game setting: the Zantabulous Land of Zo (and its five Kingdoms) — strongly influenced by much-beloved fairytale otherworlds like Oz (naturally), Narnia, Wonderland, Fantastica, The Neighborhood of Make-Believe. Florin & Guilder, Neverland, Living Island — and how it developed in-play with the help of the author’s gaming group.
  • The “Good Parts” PDQ System — a slimmed-down version of the PDQ Core Rules, complete in itself, suitable for fast-paced, straightforward fairytale play.
  • Extensive notes on how the initial ZoZ campaign was begun, the setting and episodes were developed, how the game was run, and the campaign came to an exciting climax (and advice on how you can do the same yourself).
  • Two “DVD commentary tracks” of textboxes — one from the author/GM and one from the players of the PCs — on the Actual Play of the campaign.
  • An appendix with Bonus Material like campaign production notes and additional NPCs.

In the words of Willy Wonka:

Close your eyes.
Make a wish. 
Count to three. 
Come with me 
And you’ll be 
In a world of 
Pure imagination. . . 

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 part of the Evil Beagle Movie Club, we’ve watched a few Studio Ghibli movies, and Chuubo’s Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine definitely skews in that direction (though it still relies on Western themes and ideas, too). There’s lots of fairy-tale aspects, especially if you also pick up The Chuubo’s Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine RPG Halloween Specialwhich very specifically serves as an “introduction to its “Fairy Tales” genre.”

The Chuubo’s Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine RPG is the new diceless RPG from Jenna Katerin Moran, author of the well-regarded Nobilis and an important contributor to Eos’ Weapons of the Gods and White Wolf’s Exalted RPG.

It’s a progressive, warm-hearted game that focuses on adventure and slice-of-life stories — think Laputa: Castle in the Sky or Kiki’s Delivery Service, but also Western stuff like Friendship is Magic, Harry Potter, and Adventure Time!

Pursue fabulous quests.

Progress through Issues.

And find a place for yourself in a world of breathtaking beauty.

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!

Onward through Tales of the Fairies Week with this fun gem that features fairies changing character abilities as fast as they can change clothing.

Nope, not even kidding a little bit. It’s fantasy fae mischief as one never-ending costume party. Costume Fairy Adventures is one of those “fun for everyone” games, clearly – kids, kids-at-heart, and anyone who thought putting on a costume should come with extra awesomeness.

Welcome to Costume Fairy Adventures, a game about fairies. In costumes. Having adventures.

(Fairies are not good at creative titles.)

From enchanted forests to star-faring spaceships, and even to your own backyard, fairies can be found just about anywhere – and where fairies go, shenanigans are sure to follow! Drawing magic from the power of mischief, fairies can turn the world upside-down with whimsical wishes and preternatural pranks – and when their usual tricks aren’t enough, new talents are only a change of clothes away.

Costume Fairy Adventures is an improvisational roleplaying game for 2 to 7 players. Gather your friends and a handful of six-sided dice and take on the role of a fairy of your very own. With lightning-fast character creation, over 100 ready-to-wear costumes courtesy of the Core Costume Deck, and a whole passel of pregenerated pranking patsies – including fuddled philosophers, solicitous spiders, and gnefarious gnomish gnecromancers – you’ll be ready for mischief in mere minutes.

What are you waiting for? Adventure awaits!

This product includes:

  • The Costume Fairy Adventures Core Rulebook PDF, in both singles (one-up) and spreads (two-up) formats
  • A 108-card print-and-play Core Costume Deck PDF
  • A zipfile containing high-resolution images of all 108 cards (for use in online tabletop apps)
  • A freely distributable Costume Reference Booklet PDF (for use in online games that aren’t using a tabletop app)*
  • Character record sheet PDFs in both printable and form-fillable formats*

* The indicated items are also available for download from the Penguin King Games website at www.penguinking.com.

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!