We close out Adventures in the East Week with this fantastic smashup of “Eastern Fantasy Noir Steampunk,” Mists of Akuma, specifically designed for the Shadows of the Demon Lord crowd. There’s also a 5e version, but I really wanted to point this one out as I so rarely see stuff that goes out of its way to use SotDL rules for something not in that universe.

Mists of Akuma is a huge, rich, deeply-crafted world with a lot going on. This means a lot to explore, to investigate, and to fight with. The mashup of elements could have turned into a seriously mess of creative slurry. Instead, it’s tight, exciting, and campaign-worthy.

Almost two centuries ago the lightning-powered ships of Ceramia pierced the skies of Soburin heralding an age of oppression that still marks the lands with the resources stripped from the countryside. Ripped away from a long age of peace and broken by soldiers wielding scientifically advanced weaponry, the warriors of the prefectures were drafted into a distant conflict across the edge of the world and ancient traditions of violence have reawakened a thirst for blood in those few that survive the decaying world. Emperor Hitoshi’s rebellion a decade ago threw down foreign rule but an ancient danger has reappeared to push society to the brink of collapse: the Mists of Akuma.

The corrupting fog transforms those within it into bloodthirsty adeddo-oni, monsters that seek only the rending of flesh and the taste of living meat. Nobles have retreated to the cities dotting the countryside leaving the common folk to face the supernatural haze alone, adding to the undead horde. Nature itself has been perilously wounded and the technology that might save the prefectures is shunned and feared by the Masuto Dynasty and Emperor Hitoshi’s subjects.

Mists of Akuma is an eastern fantasy noir steampunk campaign setting for the Shadow of the Demon Lord RPG. Using new mechanics steeped in eastern lore, the book focuses on providing in-depth urban settings and a diverse array of character options to make truly unique parties of adventurers perfectly suited to survive the decay and desperation in Soburin. Bengoshi (governmental agents) empowered to deputize individuals in service of the Masuto Dynasty are attempting to hold the apocalypse at bay but intrigue and graft are as common and deadly as the corrupting fog, and the ancient threat’s influence is spread all the further by the despair of Emperor Hitoshi’s subjects. Death and corruption are everywhere, and only the devious or strong thrive as the world dies around them.

Can you survive the Mists of Akuma?

In the 250 page Mists of Akuma: Shadow of the Demon Lord rulebook you’ll find…

  • An overview of the recent history of Soburin and basic information about the world including the dangerous Mists of Akuma, rules for traveling the prefectures, and what rigors maddened explorers must overcome to visit the apocalypse that has become of the other continents.
  • Over 100 NPCs and monsters ranging from foreign generals to eastern dragons, powerful bengoshi and underlings from each of the 24 unique clans, and more than two dozen kami, oni, and tsukumogami!
  • Cultural practices and traditions for Soburin inspired by and drawn from eastern lore.
  • Gorgeous cover artwork by Claudio Pozas, interior scene illustrations by Indi Martin and Sara Shijo, and character illustrations by Jacob Blackmon and Nathanael Batchelor!
  • A chapter each for three different cities: the capital of the Imperial Prefecture, Sanbaoshi, the advanced mechanical metropolis of Kyofu, and the traditionalist magic-steeped settlement of Nagabuki.
  • Short stories with gorgeous half page illustrations at the start of each chapter to firmly posit the desperation and diversity inherent to adventuring in Soburin!
  • Details on each of the two dozen clans of the prefectures, including the bengoshi that negotiate on the behalf of each ruling family’s lady or lord and how the Kengen Occupation affected each region of Soburin.
  • 6 maps for the continent and its settlements by cartographers Michael McCarthy, Mike Myler, and Tommi Salama!
  • 16 new races to breathe life into Soburin, making it an exotic and unique world that is eager to shrug off the shackles of western imperialism.
  • Ancestral Blessings (to give adventurers an edge in this unforgiving world) and martial arts stances, 3 new magic traditions and various new spells, 11 new expert paths (including ninja, samurai, and wu-jen!), 4 new master paths (for gun priests, misted ragers, and more), and 8 pages of new equipment that ranges from new armor and weapons to steampunk prostheses and vehicles!
  • Revenge of the Pale Master, an epic 25 page mystery adventure for expert adventurers set in the industrialized city of Kizaki beneath the shadow of an ancient, evil necromancer that has the settlement firmly within his ethereal grasp.

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 stomp, blast, and fly our way through Adventures in the East with this venerable, beloved, and still hella-fun anime-flavored mecha game about a dedicated force of pilots and their support structure at war with impossible alien foes. Mekton Zeta is the love-letter to Japanese storytelling and anime that Mike Pondsmith (of Cyberpunk 2077 fame) wrote after years of both fandom and intensive research. The mechanics are slick and the worldbuilding is exquisite.

MASTER YOUR MECHA!

Build it. Fight it. Live it. Screamin’ combat, stylish characters, and amazing “mecha” action! It’s the world of Japanese animated giant robot shows, hitting your TV at the speed of light.

Build it. Now, create your own super combat machines, with streamlined construction rules for all types of mecha, from humanoid warriors, to transformable automobiles, to kilometer-long star-cruisers!

Fight it. Fast, detailed rules covering all kinds of anime combat action, from planet-busting devastation to kung fu blows!

Live it. Now, become the hero of your own anime roleplaying adventures with Mekton Zeta.

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!

Yesterday ate my brain and my life in all kinds of ways, and today did to for a good part of it (if you follow me on Facebook, you’ll know part of that story). So today, as part of Adventures in the East Week, you get two amazing, octane-fueled action games that come right out of the manga, anime, mythology, and cinema of the Pacific Rim.

Feng Shui 2 – Robin Law‘s homage to all things John Woo, Chow Yun Fat, Bruce Lee, Jack Burton, and wuxia (among so many other influences) – remains a go-to for pick-ups and campaigns among my expanded circle of gaming friends for a good reason. It’s a damn fine game. Yes, the shot clock sometimes seems a bit fiddly and unkind to slower characters, but the overall mechanics move so fluidly, it’s fine and it’s fun.

I’ve not had the chance to play OVA: The Anime Roleplaying Game yet, but I’ve heard amazing things about it from many friends and trusted colleagues. It goes to the same space as the venerable (and long-lamented) Big Eyes, Small Mouthbut it does so with a 21st century game design philosophy, making it far more accessible to the latest crop of gamers to come to the table.

A New Edition of the Acclaimed Anime RPG!

OVA: The Anime Role-Playing Game lets you and your friends become your favorite characters from the diverse worlds of Japanese animation. All you need are pencils, paper, dice, and your imagination! Save the princess (or prince!) from a fire-breathing dragon, tackle invading squadrons of giant robots, or find true love amid campus hijinks. It’s all up to you!
 
Create Your Perfect Character
With OVA, there’s no need to worry about rows of numbers and statistics. Creating characters takes just minutes—it’s as simple as describing them!
 
Entertaining and Lavishly Illustrated
Detailed examples and over 65 illustrations featuring OVA’s colorful, recurring characters are presented throughout the book.
 
Easy Yet Versatile
The rules are only as complicated as you want them to be. Whether you keep it simple or fine-tune every detail, OVA is perfect for gamers old and new.

Ancient sorcerers. Slick conspirators. Control freak monks. Cyborg apes.

Armed with the secrets of Feng Shui, all aim to conquer the past, present, and future.

Only you have the guts, guns, and flying feet to stop them!

It’s back in all its explodey, chi-blasting glory — Feng Shui, the classic game of Hong Kong–inspired cinematic action — refurbished with a fresh bag full of ammo for a new roleplaying generation! Original designer Robin D. Laws rushes your way on a bullet-riddled gurney to serve up the thrills fans remember, furiouser and faster than ever.

  • Choose between 36 action flick archetypes. Be an icy-cool killer, a determined martial artist, a maverick cop, a crusty old master, a clanking cyborg, a highway ronin, or a melancholy ghost.
  • Fight with free-flowing bravura! Take out mooks, foes and bosses with guns, fu, magic, creature powers or the genetic mutations of a blasted future. Deploy smarts and skill to find your next fight!
  • Bolster your abilities by capturing special sites of power, the key to the Chi War that secretly commands history’s course.
  • Journey through time portals from contemporary Hong Kong to the Tang Dynasty, from the rebellion-soaked Opium Wars era to scorched, post-apocalyptic roadways.

Loaded with Game Master advice, easier to run than ever, and including a fully fleshed, mayhem-rich introductory adventure, Feng Shui 2 is more than ready for you.

Are you ready for it?

FENG SHUI 2: KICK BUTT • BLOW THINGS UP • SAVE THE WORLD

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!

Fantasy Flight Games picked up the Legend of the Five Rings IP a while back, and while they focused heavily on the card game and board game up front, lots of development happened in the background with a new version of the RPG. Now, we see the corebook for new Legends of the Five Rings out and about, and it looks like they decided on a rather intriguing combination of the original AEG system and the Genesys system started by their Star Wars game. As per their home page for the L5R stuff, regarding the mechanics –

The Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Core Rulebook features a fusion of the Roll and Keep system from previous editions of the Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Game and the Narrative Dice System featured in the Genesys Roleplaying System. Custom dice included in the Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Dice Pack feature a number of unique symbols that will guide you on your adventures. 

Naturally, this is followed by pics and descriptions of these symbols.

And with this Pick, we’re calling it Adventures In the East Week, delving into games and products inspired by China, Japan, and the nations of the Pacific Rim.

It is an era of sudden change and upheaval in Rokugan.

Mortal schemes, natural calamities, and celestial turmoil alike have disrupted the political, military, and spiritual equilibrium of the land. Long-simmering rivalries and fresh betrayals ripple through the courts and on the battlefield. The Chrysanthemum Throne is beset by threats from without and within, and the honor of the seven Great Clans shall be put to the test.

Who among the clans will prove strong enough to guide Rokugan in these tumultuous times? Will their names be lifted up beside those of the honored ancestors, or will they fall among the ranks of the empire’s most infamous villains?

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 close out Time After Time Week with last year’s ENnie-nominated time-traveling phenomenon from Pelgrane Press and my buddy Kevin Kulp, TimeWatch. Using the much-beloved GUMSHOE system (designed by industry icon Robin Laws), this game covers all the adventures-in-time tropes: defending against meddlers and strange entities that can only exist because time is in flux; helping yourself in a combat by jumping backwards in the timestream; and watching out for those all-consuming paradoxes.

Oh, did I mention you can play a velociraptor?

A ROLEPLAYING GAME OF TIME TRAVEL ACTION AND INVESTIGATION

History isn’t written by the victors. It’s written by the people with the time machines.

“Well, that doesn’t look right.” All around you are the abandoned ruins of medieval Paris, with a hundred thousand rotted skulls piled up in a mountain. Your partner draws her pistol and checks the historical record on her holographic tether. “Looks like the Khan didn’t die of alcoholism, and his hordes didn’t stop at Vienna,” she says.

“Then we’d better find whoever decided to save his life.” You punch in the coordinates for Karakorum in the year 1241, and fire up the time machine. As you disappear from the 13th century, you silently hope that it isn’t the roaches again…

In the TimeWatch RPG, your band of TimeWatch agents defend the timestream from radioactive cockroaches, psychic velociraptors, and human meddlers. Go back in time to help yourself in a fight, thwart your foes by targeting their ancestors, or gain a vital clue by checking a scroll out from the Library of Alexandria. But watch out for paradoxes that may erase you from existence… or worse.

If you’ve ever dreamed of going on world-changing adventures from the age of the dinosaurs to the end of the universe, the TimeWatch RPG is for you! The game includes:

  • Rules for thrilling time chases, combat in every era, and the dangers of paradox, powered by the GUMSHOE investigative system.
  • Extensive GM advice for creating and running games where PCs can travel anywhere, anywhen.
  • Fourteen settings where you can face Mythos horrors, slide between alternate universes, steal the treasures of the ages, and more.
  • More than a dozen ready-to-play time seeds, iconic pregenerated characters, and three full adventures.
  • Plenty of options, so you can easily customize the game to match your group’s preferred style of play.

You’ve got a time machine, high-powered weaponry and a whole lot of history to save.

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!

Another classic of early time-travel RPG play, Timemaster is the classic Pacesetter RPG that Goblinoid Games picked up and, with all-new art, has put forth this revised version that’s still very lovingly based in the core concepts of the 1984 version. As Shannon Appelcline said in his Designers & Dragons series, this game “did more to play up the issues of time travel than any of the other scant few games in the genre, past or future”.

NOTE: This is the reprint version, with all new interior art by Mark Allen. This book combines the two books from the original boxed set. The introductory adventure is now provided separately as a free download.

Lurching into action, your battered chronoscooter crosses the void of time and space. Another lurch, and the vertigo fades. The countryside comes into view. Knights in armor battle, clanging sword against shield, and then someone blasts at your neck with a laser beam. Once again, all of Time is a mess, and as an agent of the Time Corps, you must set this world straight or die trying! Adventure to any place, any time, in this universe and beyond! The TimeMaster Roleplaying Game makes you master of the “Fourth Dimension”, guiding you to the ultimate adventure in history, legend, and science fiction. fight cunning aliens and savage renegades who twist Time to their own purposes. Only skill and wit stand between the world you know and absolute chaos!

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!

First off, Happy Halloween for all who celebrate it, and don’t forget to take advantage of all the great deals still going on at DriveThruRPG (including the Trick-or-Treat Pumpkin search).

Today’s Time After Time Week Pick is part of the Black Hack culture of OSR products. The Time Travel Hack is done by my buddy, Mark Stout, a great guy and clever designer who tinkers and makes cool stuff happen. For a buck, you really cannot go wrong grabbing this and either straight-up playing time travel with your d20s or adding it into your d20-driven games.

The Time Travel Hack is a standalone game that lets you play the role of a time traveler. Whether traveling through time and space with a mysterious alien, being part of a team of troubleshooters that go back in time to prevent terrible disasters, hopping through time to stop villains from changing time, or playing police from the future chasing escaped criminals into the past, The Time Travel Hack has it covered.

Based on the popular OSR, rules-light game The Black Hack, by David Black, The Time Travel Hack will have you playing in no time at all.

  • Six classes: Soldier, Scientist, Agent, Tech, Everyman, and Psychic.
  • Four game themes: Lonely Alien Traveler, Disaster Prevention Team, Time Agents, and Time Police.
  • Simple equipment and weapon rules.
  • New rules for psychic powers.
  • Foes ranging from ancient gladiators to futuristic war robots, and suggestions for easy foe creation.

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 wander the whole of space and time with a madman and their box, exploring Time After Time Week with Doctor Who: The Time Traveller’s Companion. A book anyone trying to understand the premise of time travel within any aspect of the Doctor Who RPG series will want to have on hand, this is also a great source for anyone playing with time travel within their game.

Time flies when you’re having fun, but flying through time can present a whole host of problems. Whether accidentally creating paradoxes, upsetting the course of history or trying to Put Things Right, you’re going to need to know your way around the Vortex. You need a guide…a companion.

This supplement for Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space gives more information on Time Lords, temporal mechanics and time machines, including:

  • Gallifreyan culture, history and law
  • New options for creating and playing Time Lord characters
  • More on the physics of Time, temporal phenomena and Time Travel
  • Detailed information on the TARDIS, and rules for creating your own
  • Secrets of the Time Lords…

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!

Brett Bernstein‘s request* for me to Pick Herbie Brennan‘s classic Timeship (originally published by Yaquinto Publications, part of the innovative early wargame publisher’s attempt to get into the RPG market) sets off this week’s theme – Time After Time Week. From here, we’ll look at games that deal with the very exciting and challenging idea of roleplaying stories about time travel.

Timeship was daring as one of the early games to deal with time travel, and one of its innovations was the concept of both Personal Energy and Group Energy to accomplish important things in the game. The early 80s were not known for narrative, player-facing mechanics, so Bernie gets a lot of credit for breaking some ground here.

(*) – Just a reminder that I often make Picks based on someone sending me a suggestion or request (to seanpatfan [at] gmail), and frequently those suggestions become the Theme of the week. Just please remember to choose products that are available on DriveThruRPG.

Precis Intermedia brings back this classic roleplaying game of time travel and adventure (originally published by Yaquinto Publications). 

You are a time traveller, and there are no more barriers. The included time capsules immerse you in both the future and past:

  • Murder at the End of Time: The date is August 25, 600,000,000ad and you stand beneath a blazing, unmoving sun. No crime has been committed on Earth for more than three hundred million years; until now! Your mission is to solve the mystery using the bizarre clues and peculiar witnesses.
  • Assassinate the Fuhrer!: On June 7, 1956, World War Three began when the Nazi government of Argentina, led by Adolph Hitler, invaded Brazil. Hitler had escaped capture at the end of World War II and begun the Fourth Reich in South America. It is now April 30, 1945, and you are stalking Hitler through the bunkers beneath a city in flames. Your mission: find him, then make it look like suicide.
  • The Destruction of Gomorrah: It is May 22, 1979bc and you are surrounded by the sights and sounds of the doomed city, Gomorrah, famous for its vice and corruption. You arrived on a simple Time Traveller’s Holiday, but find you must now stop the destruction to save yourself!

Timeship is also wide open to creating your own adventures. You are free to roam the ages. Journey from the days of the dinosaurs, to the mystics of the ancient world, to the glory of Napoleon. If the past is not enough, adventure in the present with its political intrigue, and brushfire wars; or, for those more adventurous souls, you may transcend the present and visit the future where man’s home is the universe, populated with all manner of strange and alien beings. The potential for adventure and excitement is only limited by your imagination. 

Features:

  • Utilize Personal Energy to perform various time-related activities, such as bringing anachronistic equipment to an earlier period or disguising yourself to blend into the period.
  • Utilize Group Energy to open gateways to other time periods or to supplement Personal Energy.
  • Players can portray themselves with a simple system that starts at average ability levels. Then, each player can evaluate himself by improving some and reducing other abilities — his gaming character mirroring both his positive and negative abilities, based on his own judgment.
  • Alternatively, the Personal/Group Energy mechanics can be easily adapted for use with your favorite roleplaying game.

NOTE: This is a scanned reprint of the classic 1983 boxed set — a must-have for vintage RPG collectors.

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 Of Swords and Lasers Week with this intriguing setting that directly pits swords against lasers. Amethyst: Quintessence is a world where players choose the path of science and technology or the chaos and wonder of fantasy. This is the 5th Edition version, but there’s also Amethyst material for 4e, Pathfinder, Fate, 13th Age, and more.

Which side will you choose? Which weapons will you wield? Earth is torn between the order of science and the chaos of fantasy. These two worlds cannot mix. Venture into lands once claimed by skyscrapers and factories, now overrun by elves, goblins, and dragons. Choose your path and commit to the quest. Monsters will hunt you; machines will track you. No gods will help you; no prophecies will choose you. The fate of the world rests with you.

This rulebook includes…

–A new adaptation of Amethyst based on the 5th edition (5E) of the first fantasy roleplaying game, the defining RPG of the last, current, and most likely next generation.

–New technology-based rules including vehicle combat and firearms compatible with any 5E game.

–Eleven new races and over thirty new backgrounds.

–Eight new classes based around technology. Over thirty new archetypes.

–High Tech Equipment from revolves to railcannons. Powered armor. Both ground vehicles and aircraft.

–Over thirty new monsters.

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!