RPGs

Save Money on Select Star Wars Roleplaying Game Books on Amazon Right Now

Star Wars Force and Destiny Nexus of Power

Star Wars Force and Destiny Nexus of Power

I don’t know how long they will last, but right now, there are some really good Amazon deals on some of the roleplaying game books from Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars line. This is a game that I really enjoy and will be starting up again in a month or two (or three).

Like I said, I don’t know how long the deals will last (it’s Amazon after all and deals vanish fast), but I wanted to pass the info along in a quick post. Right now, you can find:

I’ve picked up a couple I don’t have because prices like this don’t happen every day. Go get those deals before they are gone and let me know of any I missed.

Note: The links in this post are affiliate links, so I will get a small percentage of the sale. This helps to keep the site running.

Quick Review of Starfinder Alien Archive 3

Starfinder Alien Archive 3

Starfinder Alien Archive 3

I enjoy a lot of science fiction, particularly the subgenres of sci-fantasy and space opera, so it is no wonder that I really like the entire concept behind Starfinder. That said, I currently have all of the Starfinder books, and I have been pleasantly surprised by the Alien Archive series. As with the other bestiaries from Paizo, you can expect a lot of quality art along with a host of interesting creatures and species. These are not the massive - some would say bloated - bestiaries from Pathfinder with 300 to 400 pages of monsters that most people will never use. Alien Archive 3 comes in slimmer at a little more than 160 pages, but that certainly does not detract from the quality of content.

Types of Monsters in Alien Archive 3

The latest release has a host of cool monsters that can be added to your game. Let’s take a quick look at just a couple of them.

Starmetal Dragons brings in several new types of metallic dragons to your game. There are grafts for five of these dragons based on these, well, “star metals”, including the Noqual Dragon, which hunts down and fights evil spellcasters.

There are also denizens of The Drift, such as the Driftdead and Drift Natives like the Time Eaters. The entire concept of The Drift in Starfinder is strange and nightmarish to me, and I imagine there could be some really cool stories told about mishaps in this infinite hyperspace plane.

I imagine that most people will enjoy the Giant Space Tardigrade, as well, which is so large that it is only able to engage in starship combat. These are massive creatures that look just like the tardigrades of earth, except for their size. Some have been known to hold grudges against starships that may have fought and damaged them in the past. Imagine the fun you could have telling a Moby Dick story with a mad starship captain and a great white giant space tardigrade (this is a sentence I never imagined writing).

There are new takes on golems, gremlins, and trolls, as well as a host of other creatures to help keep your games interesting and weird for a long time to come.

New Races and Creature Companions Round Out a Great Book

One of the other benefits of the book is that it will add even more player races to the mix as we’ve seen with other supplements. In all, there are 20 new races in this book that can be used with your GM’s permission.

Some of my favorites include the Brenneri who are essentially adorable otter people who make great diplomats, Espraksa, who are bird people, and the Telia, who are turtle people. Of course, the aforementioned races have far more to offer than just “looking like an earth animal”. To be honest, it just gets weirder from there with these and other species options in the book. Needless to say, there are some really fun options that will make for memorable NPCs and PCs that break out of the standard mold.

The book also has an entire section on creature companions including a list of creature companion feats, which essentially improve your character’s working relationship with the creature. Sure, this might not apply to a lot of players out there, but you know there are plenty out there who want pets. Some options include empathic spiders and canines that can shoot frikkin’ laser beams out of their heads.

Overall, this is a solid addition to the Starfinder line, and if you love the universe Paizo has created, it is well worth picking up and adding to your collection. If you like Starfinder and would like to see more content here, please let me know.

Should You Buy the Star Trek Starter Set from Modiphius

Are you a fan of Star Trek? While I will admit that my knowledge of the lore and history of the Star Trek universe is woefully inadequate compared with many out there, I enjoy it immensely and have seen most of the shows – still need to go through Enterprise and Discovery. I started the latter but didn’t quite get hooked yet. I want to give it a full shot, though. So, when Modiphius released Star Trek Adventures using their 2d20 system a couple of years ago, I picked up a copy of the Collector’s Edition. I read through it, enjoyed what the book offered, and watched a number of live plays, such as Shield of Tomorrow.

I wanted to play or run a game but didn’t have anyone I knew that was into the idea. So, it sat on my shelf with a lot of other games I own. Still, I liked the game and when I found the Star Trek Adventures Starter Set for a good price, I decided to pick that up as well. I was hoping that it might be laid out in a way that would make it easy to help me teach others how to play the game.

I’m happy to say that it does this job remarkably well. In fact, it’s one of the best starter sets that I’ve ever had, and other companies would do well to follow this model.

What Does the Starter Set Include?

The Starter Rules booklet contains all of the basic rules you are going to need, including starship combat. Everything is laid out in a logical manner that will make it easy for people to pick up the gist of the 2d20 system quickly and easily. If you have ever played any of the other 2d20 systems from Modiphius, you will feel right at home here. The rules are written clearly, too, which is nice. There are some RPGs that have language that seems purposefully obtuse, but Star Trek Adventures doesn’t suffer from that problem. The concisely and clearly present the rules in about 20 pages.

In addition to the Starter Rules booklet, you will also find 5 premade PC sheets, as well as a sheet that describes the abilities and stats of the PC’s ship, the USS Magellan. “A Star Beyond the Stars” is the starter campaign, which is split into three adventures that should be run one after the other. The Starter Campaign booklet is about 50 pages.

One of the best things about this set is the campaign. It is laid out in a very easy to read and understand manner that slowly guides the GM, introducing different rolls and aspects of gameplay slowly, so they and the players can get used to them. By the time you finish with the campaign (and likely well before you finish), you will be able to run a session easily.

The adventures also provide a lot of the lingo and tech-speak, which is nice. Like I said, when it comes to Star Trek, I’m not the most knowledgeable. The way it’s written can make me seem far more competent than I am. The way the adventures in this campaign (and others I have) are written makes them sound and feel like a real episode of the show, which is great.

Do You Need Special Dice for the Game?

The Starter Set also comes with a set of special Star Trek dice, but special dice aren’t needed in order to play. The d20 rolls don’t need any conversions (they are just d20s), and the d6 conversion is very simple. Literally, just remember that 3 and 4 on a d6 mean no damage and 5 and 6 mean a point of damage with an effect. It’s easy. Also, the price of the special sets of Star Trek dice online is very overpriced if you ask me. The dice are cool, but you are paying for the licensing.

Do I Recommend the Star Trek Adventures Starter Set?

If you love Star Trek and roleplaying games, and you want to start playing a great game that does a good job at capturing the feel and flavor of the setting, this is it. The starter set is a perfect introduction, and I highly recommend it. In fact, I enjoyed the starter set enough that I’ve dusted off my core book, bought the GM screen, and the Star Trek Adventures Beta Quadrant Sourcebook, not to mention a bunch of PDF adventures.

Go ahead and check it out. I have a feeling you might like it.

On a side note, I swear, if I don’t find some people near me that want to play, this might end up being one of the online games that I plan to start running toward the end of this year.

My Story "Red Skies" for the Dark Era TTRPG is Available to Read

Photo by Darren Robertson from FreeImages

Photo by Darren Robertson from FreeImages

Just a very short and quick post for today. I wanted to let folks know that the short story “Red Skies” that I had written for the Dark Era RPG is now available at their website.

I would love if you would go and check out the story. It has some horror, a little bit of that 60s-style pseudo science fiction, and some grossness. I thought it was quite fun to write, too, and I am proud that it will be a part of this game.

You can read the story by visiting https://darkerarpg.com/red-skies. It won’t cost you a thing other than the time it takes to read it. Plus, you can check out the rest of the Dark Era site to learn more about their roleplaying game.

A Quick Glance: Chicago by Night for Vampire the Masquerade 5E

World of Darkness Chicago By Night (V5).jpg

This morning, I woke up to find that the PDF for Chicago by Night, the Onyx Path book that I backed on Kickstarter last year, was finally out. I’ve loved the World of Darkness setting ever since I first saw the Vampire the Masquerade and Werewolf the Apocalypse books sitting on the shelf of Game Towne in Old Town, San Diego back in the mid-90s. I started to buy and collect the books, even though everyone I knew that the time was invested in Dungeons & Dragons.

I love my D&D as much as everyone else, but I also love the idea of horror games where you got to be the monster and you didn’t always have to be heroic. Needless to say, the idea really grabbed me, and I bought a lot of books. I did not get to play or run as much as I would have liked, but I was hooked on the setting. Unfortunately, those books that I had are now gone, but the love never left. A few years ago, I started collecting them again.

When the new version of Vampire the Masquerade was released, I snapped it up, naturally. I really like the way the new system works so far, and it’s not too different from what came before. As soon as the Kickstarter for Chicago by Night was live last year, I pledged. Onyx Path is a company that has rarely disappointed me, and I knew that the updated book would be in good hands. Matthew Dawkins, who is the lead designer for the book, loves the setting and knows it inside and out.

And now, I have the digital version sitting before me – and am still eagerly awaiting the hardcover down the line.

Since I just got the book, I haven’t had time to really read it, but I did want to provide a very brief look at the contents to give people an idea of what it contains. This contains only the briefest of looks. Those who are interested and who want to know more can let me know and I can do a deeper review down the road.

What’s in It?

As always, there is plenty of fiction in this World of Darkness book. I generally like the fiction (I’m a writer, so go figure), as it can help to provide readers with an idea of the tone and feel of the setting that you might not always get through the rules and descriptions alone.

There is:

  • Historical information about the city

  • Aspects of Chicago viewed through the lens of being Kindred

  • Information on Clan Lasombra

  • Key locations in the city that you can use

  • Information on areas around the city, such as Joliet and Gary, Indiana

  • Kindred and coteries in the city

  • Hooks for chronicles

  • A full chronicle called The Sacrifice

  • Lots more

The artwork is fantastic throughout, as well. Of course, I’ve come to expect that from Onyx Path.

Oh Yeah, the Werewolves

I was hoping that there would be some information on my beloved and fearsome werewolves. Given the history of the city, I couldn’t imagine there not being. There’s actually quite a bit of information and plot seeds that I saw with a quick glance. I haven’t delved too deep yet, but I am interested to see all that’s there for the werewolves. I’m also awaiting the next editions of Werewolf and Mage. I’m hoping they aren’t too far off.

There’s a lot to digest with this book, but there’s enough information here that I feel I could easily set a Chronicle here instead of San Diego or Los Angeles, to cities with which I am far more familiar. I’ve only glanced at it and read a small amount so far, but I am loving what I am seeing.

As I said before, if you want to know more about the book and want a full review, let me know in the comments. It’s going to take a while to get through it, though.

Check Out the Christmas in July Sale at DriveThruRPG.com

Great deals currently on DriveThruRPG

Great deals currently on DriveThruRPG

If you have a little bit of extra money to spend, and you are looking for some roleplaying supplements for your favorite games, or you are looking to try out a brand new game and system, you are in luck. The Christmas in July Sale over at DriveThruRPG.com (a site I’ve loved and used for years) has many thousands of products that are currently 25% off.

While I certainly don’t have the time to talk about all of the products that are on sale here, I can let you know a little about a few gems that I have found and that you might like, as well. Just a blurb on these for now, as I will be reading them and figuring out how to play them over the next few weeks or so.

The Dawnline

dawnline.png

In this game from Voidspiral Entertainment, players are a group of vampires who protect a nomadic village of humans on the world of Janus. This village is always on the move, always trying to stay within the moving twilight. They need to remain ahead of dawn but not too deep into the darkness ahead where terrible things live.

Why do the vampires help the village? It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. There are dangers in the twilight, as well. There are ruins to explore for supplies, terrible monsters, other villages, bandits, and much more. The village needs the protection of the vampires, and the vampires need the blood of the village. They also need a connection to humanity, so they do not lose all of their own.

The vampires are also not run of the mill vamps. Most of the types are… different. And it’s kind of incredible.

This is a weird and cool setting that I feel needs more attention, and I can’t do it justice in this space. Go and check out The Dawnline on DriveThruRPG.com. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

H.P. Lovecraft Preparatory Academy

HP Academy.jpg

What you get with this game is exactly what you would expect from the title. Imagine the Cthulhu Mythos mixed with Harry Potter. You play as first-year students at the H.P. Lovecraft Preparatory Academy, and you can choose from six different character classes including witch, mad scientist, summoner, hybrids, dreamers, and Mondays (mundane folk). As you can imagine, there’s a lot of humor, not just horror, in this setting.

The book is 366 pages and is filled with fun info that can help to make for some great sessions. It features a full, detailed campus with a lot of nods to mythos fiction and other horror luminaries. For example, there is King Hall, Barker Hall, Cushing Hall, and Stoker Hall. You could also take some of your adventures off the campus and out into the town of Arkham and the world beyond.

It looks like a lot of fun! There is even a Savage Worlds ruleset for those who prefer it.

So Many Others

I don’t have too much time for this mid-week post, but I did want to list a couple of other cool games that I’ve either bought during this sale, have had for a while, or that I would like to get in the near future.

There are a lot of options, but it is extremely late at the time I am writing this and I am tired. I’m only missing High Plains Samurai and Würm from this list right now, and I plan to remedy that by the weekend. As an aside, Unity and Overlight are both beautiful books (I have both the pdfs and the hardcovers for each of those).

Whether any of these games interest you or not, do yourself a favor and go check out the discounts on the site before the sale is over. You are sure to find something that you’ll enjoy.

If any of the above games are of interest, and you might like to see an actual review, let me know. I will try to schedule it for an upcoming article.

As a note, the links I have provided above are affiliate links, which help to pay for the site.

Upcoming Tabletop RPG Dark Era from West Legacy Games Explores Alien Conspiracies and More

Full disclosure, I’ve written a story called “Red Skies” that will be appearing in the Dark Era© roleplaying game, and which might appear on their website, as well – I will let you know more when I know more. That said, I love the concept behind the game and would have promoted it regardless of whether I was in the book or not.

DE logo.png

Dark Era is a roleplaying game currently in development by West Legacy Games out of Australia. The players will typically take on the role of agents who are investigating and fighting against alien incursions. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to be an agent that works for the government or another law enforcement organization, although that’s a common choice. You could be just about anyone from any walk of life that gets embroiled in alien conspiracies and incursions.

You can think of shows Project Blue Book, Dark Skies, or The X-Files to get an idea of the type of mood that you can evoke with the game, and it skews toward the horrific. I think it has the potential to work very well for evoking horror and paranoia, especially given that the first setting for the game is 1963 with other settings planned (past and future). This is a decade when a lot of conspiracy theories started to take off, particularly after the JFK assassination.

After all, how do you know that your boss at the agency hasn’t been influenced by the greys? Are you sure the civilians you just rescued haven’t been infected by whatever extraterrestrial entity was slithering through the sewers with them? Why does your neighbor keep staring at you out her window whenever you come home? Why are you getting strange calls in the middle of the night with whispering voices on the other end of the line that beg you to go to Mt. Rainier? GMs can have a lot of fun making the characters, and their players, paranoid of just about everything.

I already have a lot of creepy game ideas in my head for this RPG, and I’m sure you will, as well.

Of course, GMs are always free to run the game in whatever setting and with whatever tone they might want. Maybe they want a little more humor rather than horror, as found in the Men in Black films. Of course, if your game group is like most, humor is going to be present no matter what type of game you’re playing.

Easy to Learn System that Continues to Evolve

The core mechanic is a 3d6 + attribute rank + skill rank + modifiers system that is relatively easy to learn. Everything is quick to learn, including character creation and combat. You take actions with Action Points, which can be used for Tactical, Defensive, and Offensive actions. I’d also like to say that the art that’s being used for the game does a great job of evoking the mood and setting. The game is still being created and is developing and improving with each update.

You can learn more about Dark Era, which is still being finished and tested, by visiting their website and signing up to be part of the playtest group and even provide feedback. If this sort of setting intrigues, check it out.

Check Out These Great Roleplaying Games with a Stranger Things "Vibe"

Stranger Things Season 3

Stranger Things Season 3

Now that you’ve binged the entire third season of Stranger Things, what are you going to do when those pangs of nostalgia make you want to return to the 1980s for some good and creepy fun?

Well, there’s always roleplaying games.

Sure, you could play Dungeons & Dragons. It’s the game I run and play the most right now even though I love a ton of other games too. Hasbro even has a Stranger Things Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set that features an adventure called Hunt for the Thessalhydra “written by” Mike Wheeler, the character from the show. Luring people in with the siren song of Stranger Things can be a good way to get people into D&D. However, what if you don’t want to play in the typical fantasy setting?

What if you want to portray your own group of kids in the 1980s that are uncovering dark secrets, enjoying the freedom of childhood, and fighting and fleeing from terrible monsters? Well, you are in luck because there are plenty of roleplaying games that do specifically that.

Let’s take a look at a short list of options that you might want to check out further.

Tales from the Loop

Tales from the Loop

Tales from the Loop

Tales from the Loop, from Free League and Modiphius, is a fantastic game based on the world created by artist Simon Stålenhag. It takes place in a very different, yet familiar, version of the 1980s. The setting is full of advanced technology along with Research in High Energy Physics facilities, also called Loops.

Two locations (one in the U.S. and one in Sweden) with Loops are detailed in the book., along with advice on creating a town of your own with a Loop facility. A range of secret experiments occurs in these particle accelerators, as well as accidents including rips in the space-time continuum, illnesses, strange machinery, cyborgs, robots, strange beasts and much more.

Really, you can tailor the setting to how you what and the types of creatures and obstacles you want to face.

It is a simple d6 system. Ratings determine the number of dice you roll, and you will need to get a 6 on at least one of the dice for success. Most of the time, you will only be required to get one success.

More to Love

There is also a new Loop game called Things from the Flood, which is something of a sequel. You can play older kids, it takes place in the 90s, and this game can be lethal, whereas the kids in Tales from the Loop don’t die.

Guess what? Tales from the Loop is also being turned into a TV series by Amazon. Let’s hope they took a cue from the artwork because I really want to see Stålenhag’s work come to visual life.

Another beautiful image from Tales from the Loop

Another beautiful image from Tales from the Loop

Kids on Bikes

Kids on Bikes

Kids on Bikes

I recently talked about Kids on Bikes in a recent post you can find here, so I won’t bore you with all of that same information again. The thing that really helps to make this feel like Stranger Things is the fact that there can be a powered character in the game, like Eleven. Instead of having one player as the powered characters, they are controlled by the entire group of PCs. It is another very simple rules system, too, so it shouldn’t take long to get a game going.

If you are interested, there is a cool live play that’s on YouTube called Kollok 1991 that uses this system.

Dark Places & Demogorgons

Dark Places & Demogorgons

Dark Places & Demogorgons

Dark Places & Demogorgons from Bloat Games is an Old School Revival (OSR) game that uses a somewhat modified version of the classic rules from Dungeons & Dragons in the 1970s. The rules are simple, and there is a target number guideline table for difficulty checks and relatively simple combat.

Keep in mind that like the other games on this list, it tends to be less about combat than it is about investigation and finding ways to take care of the problems without fighting. After all, a group of kids might be able to stand up to bullies but confronting a raging werewolf head on and without anything to aid them is likely to lead to characters getting ripped apart.

That’s not to say that you can’t have combat. The kids should be smart about how they take down the monsters, and they should be rewarded for it. The GM should also try to come up with multiple methods of dealing with a problem and reward the players for thinking outside of the box.

With this system, there are some optional rules for character classes. In addition to the “typical” types of kid and teen classes, you could play as someone with psionics, an experiment, a Firestarter, or a telekinetic. Unlike Kids on Bikes, players can create powered characters, as long as the GM allows it in their game.

If you are familiar with D&D and like how the system works, it shouldn’t take long for you to understand how to play and run the game. In addition to the Dark Places & Demogorgons core book, there are quite a few supplements available for it already. These include a werewolf sourcebook, a vampire sourcebook, a UFO investigator’s handbook, a ghost hunter’s handbook, and a cryptic manual.

I’ve run a couple of sessions of this game, and it’s a lot of fun. It was easy to get people already accustomed to D&D on board.

Stranger Stuff

Stranger Stuff

Stranger Stuff

With this option from Fat Goblin Games, the similarity is right in the title. At the time of this writing, there is only a PDF available, but it’s likely that there will be a print on demand option coming from DriveThruRPG.com before too long. It is based on a game called vs. Stranger Stuff – Season 2, also from Fat Goblin Games, but has been adapted to use with the TinyD6 system.

When the player attempts something that could fail, they will roll 2d6. If they roll a 5 of 6, it is a success. In some circumstances, the player might get advantage, which allows them to roll 3d6. Disadvantage would allow the players to roll only 1d6. Combat is slightly more complicated, but it is still easy to learn.

I really like the style, layout, and the art of Stranger Stuff. It’s another rules-lite system, and it is easy to pick up and get a game going without too much work on the part of the GM.

What Else?

These are some of the games that I know about and own that work well for emulating stories like those you might find in Stranger Things. I’m sure there are plenty of other games out there that can do the same. Feel free to talk about them in the comments.

5 Things I Love About Ghosts of Saltmarsh

Ghosts of Saltmarsh

Ghosts of Saltmarsh

I’ve finally had some time to go through the latest offering from Dungeons & Dragons, Ghosts of Saltmarsh and thought I would let folks know about a few of the things that I really enjoyed and found useful from the book. I imagine that some others will find these to be useful, as well, and it might help them in their buying decisions. So, let’s take a look at five things that I love about this supplement.

Thing the First: The Town of Saltmarsh

All seven of the adventures in the book take place in and around the area of Saltmarsh, which really could be placed in just about any campaign world with very little tweaking. The town itself has quite a bit of background information provided, and it might be fun to have characters from the town or a nearby settlement. There are even some new backgrounds, along with tips on how to use backgrounds from the Player’s Handbook in the setting. New backgrounds include Fisher, Marine, Shipwright, and Smuggler.

The town and the region are well-detailed with plenty of places to go, factions, NPCs to interact with, locales for adventure, and more. Geographic features of interested include The Dreadwood, Drowned Forest, and Hool Marshes.

There is plenty to mine from in the book even if you don’t use the adventures as they are written. I usually pick and choose with these sorts of books, and there is a lot here, as you will see. Actually, this is one that I might try to run some of the adventures closer to how they are written rather than just mining from them.

Thing the Second: The Ships, Crew, and Upgrades

There are several stat blocks and maps for different types of ships including:

  • Galleys

  • Keelboats

  • Longships

  • Rowboats

  • Sailing ships

  • Warships

There’s some brief information on crew members and officers that a ship would need, there are hull and movement upgrades that can be added to ships, weapon upgrades, figurehead upgrades, and more. One of my favorites, because it is weird, is the Death Vessel hull upgrade, which uses materials harvested from the Shadowfell to provide the ship with an aura of dread… that just sounds neato.

Thing the Third: Combat, Travel, and Hazards on the Seas

The rules for ship combat and travel on the seas are straightforward and simple, which I like. Everything is streamlined in combat and the travel portions. DMs can learn how to add various types of hazards to the travel, and to the combat, such as having a fire erupt on a ship while it is in combat. There are simple tables to help deal with a range of issues that could crop up, and best of all, it really helps to ignite my imagination.

Thing the Fourth: Ocean Environs and Ship Encounters

This section of the book deals with all of the strangeness and awesomeness of the sea. You will find information on blue holes, sandbars, coral reefs, learn how currents can affect travel, and learn more about the dangers of the depths. Some of the other fun environs detailed include kelp forests, Kraken graves, eldritch mist, magical storms, and… you get the idea. There is a lot, and they all have DCs or tables with them to make them easy to use.

The Ship Encounters section is great too, making it easy to come up with random encounters quickly. The ship name generator is a lot of fun, as is the crew name generator.

Thing the Fifth: Mysterious Islands

This is a great feature and a simple way to set up some wild and fun encounters for your players. You roll to determine the theme of the island, the leader of the island, and story hooks. Very simple, but great for getting the imagination going. Let’s take a look at a random result that I will roll right now (mainly because I want to roll some dice). And for the fun of it, I rolled up a crew member name.

So…

Our crew member, Drizzly Mast (I swear that’s a possible combo in the book), finds a mysterious island that is about two miles long and five miles wide. Since good ol’ Drizzly has been in the tropics, he will come across a tropical island. It has an “alien” theme and the island leader is a beholder. Some of the inhabitants on the island are cult fanatics who refuse to interact with the characters, seeing them as lesser beings. The story hook rolled for the island is that the leader has a spell scroll of true resurrection in its belongings.

It is a quick and easy encounter that could be a lot of fun and quite a challenge.

These are just five of the things that I love about the book. There are more, but I am already getting dangerously close to 1,000 words.

Do You Need to Buy Ghosts of Saltmarsh?

As with most of the Dungeons & Dragons books that are not a part of the core three (Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and the Monster Manual), you don’t need them. However, there are some fun adventures in the book, along with the other elements that I discussed above.

It has a lot going for it in my opinion, and if you like nautical adventures and you plan to have some seafaring in your campaign, this is a great way to get some new backgrounds, additional rules, and new creatures that you can use. If you are on the fence and you have the money for it, I’d say go for it. For me, it was well worth the money.

Just the Gist: Two Interesting Roleplaying Games to Check Out

Are you looking for a game to try that’s a bit different from the typical Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder? Maybe you want to run a one-shot or a short campaign, or you are looking for something brand new to play for a longer spell.

While I haven’t played the games below yet, I’ve read through the books and am excited about the possibilities they can offer. Instead of providing a deep and in-depth review, I figured that I would give you just the gist of what the basics of the setting and core mechanic are like to see if you might be interested. I will do these types of posts with games that I find and like every once in a while.

Of course, if enough people would like to know more about the games, let me know, and I could do a full review. Until then, here are two cool games that you might want to consider. You can find these on places like Amazon and DriveThruRPG.com. The links I’ve included are affiliate links, and they help out the site.

Colonial Gothic

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I find something really fricking cool about the Colonial-era aesthetic, especially when paired with the supernatural. Imagine a dark and fog-shrouded forest. It is the middle of the night, damp and desolate. A woman wearing a tricorn hat and long coat, sword in one hand, a pistol in the other. Fog swirls around her as howls grow closer and closer. Now, this might seem like it’s part and parcel of fantasy fare. However, now imagine that she’s a spy for George Washington and she’s carrying a message to the general, while a pack of ravenous werewolves attacks her on the road. Are they merely hungry or are they working for the British?

The system is simple enough with the core mechanic revolving around 2d12 for all actions. You roll the 2d12 and add modifiers to hit the target number. If it hits the target or is higher, it succeeds. It is a nice and simple system. Lots of story possibilities with this setting, and it could be fun to draw on real history, meet historical characters, and take on all manner of supernatural foes.

It has magic, monsters, and more, including a lot of historical info to help GMs and players nail the setting. I’d say it’s worth checking out. There are options for Kindle, as well as PDF and print options. Those who have Kindle Unlimited will be able to read this book and a range of the supplementary books with their subscription, which is nice. I’d love the print, but I will probably wait a bit to order it through DriveThruRPG.com until I can find more people who want to play.

Kids on Bikes

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Over the past few years, there have been a number of games that have been influenced by Stranger Things and many novels, films, and television shows from the 1980s (Dark Places & Demogorgons, Tales from the Loop). Kids on Bikes has a very similar feel in terms of the tone and the setting. The stories take place in any small town prior to things like cellphones and other bits of modern technology.

Players can create trope characters like the Popular Kid, the Scout, or the Young Provider. It’s a fast and easy way to get up and running. Of course, players who don’t want to use one of the tropes can work with the GM to come up with something unique. If you have the time, I suggest doing this to have just the character you want. Maybe you want a smart jock, for example. Also, while the focus of the game does tend to be on kids and teens, there are options to play as adults, with the trope of the Overprotective Parent, as an example.

A jock, for example, might have a d20 in Brawn and a d12 in Fight, but only a d6 in brains. The GM comes up with the difficulty number, which is from 1 to 20, with 20 being the highest. If the player rolls the highest number on their die, such as a 4 on a 1d4, the dice “explodes” and they roll again. The die can keep exploding up until they hit the target number. Of course, there are other game elements that can come into play, but that’s the basics of the core mechanic.

The rules are simple, which is good, at least to a certain point. It has the potential to become problematic. They are bare bones, which means it will require good judgment for making decisions on the fly on the part of the GM. They need to make sure that their rulings are consistent, as well. While I haven’t played yet, I imagine that it wouldn’t really be much of an issue with a good group with a fair GM.

There aren’t hit points in the game, but there is a table that can help the GM come up with narrative results for combat. This is a rules-light game that works best when there is a good back and forth between the players and the GM to come up with the world and to narrate what happens.

One element that makes Kids on Bikes a bit different is the addition of a powered character. Think Eleven from Stranger Things. However, this character is not played by just one player. The responsibility of the powered character is shared among the players at the table. Each player controls different aspects of that character.

I believe that there is some great potential with this game, but I haven’t played it yet. I’d like to run something similar to Stephen King’s It, where we start out with the kids are young and dealing with some type of horror, and then run again when they are adults. Stats and even character types could change as the kids grow up and become adults. For a game like this, I might even scrap the idea of a powered character.

There is the regular print and PDF versions of the game, as well as a version that’s free and contains the ashcan rules for the game, so you can give it a shot without spending money. You can also head to Renegade Games and pick up the deluxe hardcover, which is what I did.

Anyway, that’s just the gist of two roleplaying games that I think look like a lot of fun and that I’d love to play or run at some point. What other great games are out there?

A Quick Review of Festivals, Feasts and Fairs by Ashley May

An easy to use and affordable resource for Dungeon Masters.

An easy to use and affordable resource for Dungeon Masters.

I do a lot of homebrewing and I often have to come up with ideas on the fly… which can sometimes be more taxing than I really like. This is especially true after a long week of writing for my day job. That’s why I really appreciate products like Festivals, Feasts and Fairs by Ashley May. This book is fun and filled to the brim with useful information.

Available on the DM’s Guild, this .pdf is filled with easy to use, fun activities/ideas that you can throw into your Dungeons & Dragons games for when the characters have a little bit of downtime. There will be plenty of fun interactive activities, which you can incorporate into more than just fairs and festivals.

Although the book is only about 40 pages, it is full of great information that makes it easy to create holiday celebrations for a town or city, to create a carnival or circus, to create festivals, feasts, fairs, and to round them out with a wealth of activities.

You will even find rules for archery contests, arm wrestling, drinking contests, eating contests, jousting, milking cows, pig calling, carnival games, and… so much more. It gets even better. The book has information about vendors of different types, fortune telling, different types of items that can be found around a carnival or fair, six new magic items, two new backgrounds – carnie and mummer.

Lots of content that will be easy to integrate into just about any campaign.

Lots of content that will be easy to integrate into just about any campaign.

The book gives you plenty of information to put a festival or event (or even an entire traveling carnival) together relatively quickly and easily, which is a huge benefit to me. You will even find sample festivals that can be quickly re-skinned and slipped right into your campaign.

I’ve already used information from the book a couple of times, and I will be doing so in the future, as well. It’s one of my favorite purchases from the DM’s Guild thus far.

For less than $4, I highly recommend this for any overworked DMs who might want to have a simple way to put together some fast, fun things for the players to do. And like I said, it’s likely to ignite your imagination and provide you with some interesting story ideas. Check it out.

Odyssey of the Dragonlords – A Short and Sweet Look

Odyssey of the Dragonlords from Arcanum Worlds and Modiphius

Odyssey of the Dragonlords from Arcanum Worlds and Modiphius

I have been looking for a good setting for Dungeons & Dragons 5E that features the look and feel of Ancient Greece and Greek mythology for a while now, and I think I might have finally found what I’m looking for. Odyssey of the Dragonlords, created by James Ohlen and Jesse Sky from Arcanum Worlds, is being published by Modiphius and should come out later this year. From what I’ve seen so far, it rings all the right bells for me. It is a setting, as well as a campaign, and it should be able to provide the type of flavor that I am looking for.

The project successfully finished its Kickstarter recently, but that doesn’t mean that you’ve missed out – which is fortunate because I am still trying to put aside some extra money to get it through Modiphius when it releases. If this type of setting and adventure interests you, go check out what’s available to order.

Odyssey of the Dragonlords Player’s Guide

Odyssey of the Dragonlords Player’s Guide

Even better, you can check out the Player’s Guide, which is currently FREE on the Modiphius site. Head there (or to DriveThruRPG.com) and download it and check it out for yourself. The free guide is only about 30 pages long right now, but it is full of great information – you could even get started adventuring in Thylea before the main product releases. The Players Guide contains the history of the land of Thylea, the kingdoms and factions of the land, the myths, the laws, new playable races, backgrounds, epic paths, information on the gods and Titans, the Dragonlords, and more. I’ve read through it a few times already, and I can’t wait until the whole product releases.

If you’ve ever wanted to play in a Greek-style setting that has its own mythology rather than being tied to real-world myths (which your players are probably already familiar with), this could be the setting for you. I’m seriously looking forward this set and will be purchasing the Gold Medalist late pledge through Modiphius in a couple of weeks.

From the setting to the fantastic art and writing, this is a land I can’t wait to adventure in… although let’s be honest, I’ll probably still be the DM rather than a player. I know my lot in life. I can already think of plenty of ways that I want to take Greek myths and twist them and reconfigure them to fit into this setting – familiar, but able to keep players who know mythology on their toes.

Anyway, go check it out!

New RPG Content on the Way

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

We aren’t gone, but there has been a bit of a hiatus that will – hopefully – be over for a while. I have a lot of article ideas to get up, along with a host of reviews that I am slowly working on for games like:

Cool on Kickstarter – City of Mist: Nights of Payne Town

Without a doubt, one of the coolest games with one of the most beautiful books to have come out in recent memory is City of Mist, created and designed by Amit Moshe, along with his team. Now, they have launched a new Kickstarter that looks very promising. First, though, it’s important to learn a bit about City of Mist.

10+ Roleplaying Games to Play that Aren’t Dungeons & Dragons

This book is gorgeous and the game is great!

This book is gorgeous and the game is great!

Okay, first things first. I love Dungeons & Dragons. It was the first RPG that I ever played and it is likely one that l will end up playing forever. However, there are plenty of other games out there that I really love. Some I have played (well, run, since I don’t get to play very often) and others I want to start playing/running.

Of course, that would also mean that I need to find a lot more time, since I don’t have much, and more people who want to play. I tend to talk about all those games I want to play from time to time, mostly when I get wistful that I might never get the chance to play them all. The list of games changes sometimes, mostly when new games come out. But for now, I’ve compiled a list of 10 games (I cheated, and it’s technically way more than 10) that I want to play more often, or at all, and I thought that you might want to check out and try some of them out if you haven’t already.

I look forward to running all sorts of games with this system.

I look forward to running all sorts of games with this system.

If I’m being honest, this really just scratches the surface of the games that are out there that I want to play… and more seem to be coming out all the time from large publishers and independent publishers alike. There’s stuff like Mutant: Year Zero, Blue Rose, 7th Sea, Shadow of the Demon Lord, Grimm, Starfinder and so many more. The list literally goes on and on. I will likely be doing some reviews of all the above games, when I get a chance to go through them and play or at least get a good sense of them. I there’s anything you want to know more about sooner, let me know in the comments.

What games might you want to play if you had more time? What games should I be playing that aren’t on this list? Also, how the hell do I find more time to do all of this? If anyone has a time machine or something, let me know.

(Note: The links that I’ve placed in the post are affiliate links, as they often are, which means if you decide to buy anything, I will get a cut of it. Not much, but every little bit is going to help to keep the site running.)

Basics of What You Need to Know About Wayfinder’s Guide to Eberron

Well, the Eberron campaign guide is here. Well, it’s mostly here. Currently, you can pick up a PDF version of the guide, which is called Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron, on the DM’s Guild by clicking the link. The current cost is $19.99, and having had a quick look at it, I have to say that thus far, there is quite a bit to enjoy.

What I’ve read so far is well-written and engaging, and there appears to be quite a lot that I will want to use. It also makes me want to run a setting in Eberron, which is saying quite a lot since I am mainly a homebrewer.

However, there’s a bit to unpack when it comes to exactly what this book is and why there is not currently a hardback release, as one might initially expect from a D&D release from Wizards of the Coast.

Rumors for New Dungeons & Dragons 5E Settings - Will Eberron Be Coming Soon? What About Other Settings, Like Planescape?

It's been an unfortunately long time since I've been able to post, mostly because the day writing job as a freelancer and the work on other personal writing projects has impacted just how much time I have to write posts. It happens. Hopefully, things will change to give me more time sooner rather than later.

For now, though,  here's a short post based on some rumors and, well, some decent evidence. @BrainClouds (David Flor) posted on Twitter that he discovered that the DM's Guild is adding a setting that many people already know and love - Eberron. It looks like Wizards of the Coast might have leaked their own secret a bit early through the DM's Guild, and David was keen-eyed enough to spot it.

Northeastern Olandara: My First Map for the New Campaign World With Inkarnate Pro

I haven’t had much of a chance to put up as many posts as I would like, and a big part of that is due to the amount of work I’ve been putting into a massive Dungeons & Dragons project that will eventually (hopefully) see the light of day – we’re pushing for fall of 2018. Of course, this will all depend on a range of factors, and one of those is my ability to take care of a bunch or preproduction and production stuff. But that’s not really the focus of this article. This is about my experience with Inkarnate, an online map making tool.

5 Things Game Masters Wish Players Did

If you love playing Dungeons & Dragons, Starfinder, and other tabletop roleplaying games, you are going to want to help keep your game master sane and happy. After all, they are doing all of the behind the scenes work to help make the game as fun as possible. While I’ve been quite lucky with the players that I’ve had (at least over the past year or so), not all GMs are quite so fortunate. So, players out there, if you want to make sure your GM is happy, there are a few things that you can do.

Don’t Be a Backseat DM: Let the Dungeon Master Handle the Game

In the last article, I talked about some tips for those who were new to DMing and gamemastering. I thought it was appropriate to follow up with a quick bit of advice for Dungeon Masters who are now players in campaigns whether they are run by experienced or novice DMs. As the title states, don’t be a backseat DM. What does this mean though?