RPG

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.

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.

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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.

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?

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.

D&D Video Update for Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes from Wizards of the Coast

More news (a lot more news) has been released regarding the upcoming D&D book Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, but rather than having me dissect it all and write out a long winded post regarding the book, I thought I would provide you with a video of Dragon Talk from Wizards of the Coast. Hosted by Greg Tito and Shelley Mazzanoble, with guests Kate Irwin and Jeremy Crawford who are working on the book, the video delves into much of what we can expect when we get our hands on the book at the end of May.

I have to say, I'm even more excited now than I was when the first information was released.

Tales from the Loop: Our Friends the Machines Is Out Now

Have you given Tales from the Loop a shot yet? I love the whole theme of the setting (weird crap happening in the 1980s, kids involved in investigating the mysteries, an excuse to break out some old music, etc.) and am getting ready to run a game in a week or two. I have also been wondering just when they would release a new book for the setting. Fortunately, the wait is over.

DM Tips and Opinions: Repurposing Scenarios from Call of Cthulhu for D&D

While I generally make up my own campaigns and adventures for Dungeons & Dragons, I know that it’s not always possible to keep coming up with stories. Sometimes, you want a bit of a break, an easier way of doing things. Many DMs will then turn to D&D modules or campaign books, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. I often mine ideas from those books to reinterpret in my own campaigns.

However, I suggest moving outside of the realm of Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder and looking at modules from other games. For example, many of the Call of Cthulhu modules/adventures over the years have been very good. With just a little bit of work, it is possible to take those adventures and “D&Dify” them. I’m not saying that you should use it as is, but take the framework and then turn it into something that will work with your type of campaign.

DM Tips and Opinions: Different Ways to Start Off Your Campaign

The tavern is brightly lit and filled with patrons, eagerly drinking from their tankards. The dwarf at the bar is serving drinks left and right, not breaking a sweat. As the crowd begins to simmer, the door is slammed open. People shout as they are being set upon by two bloody figures…

Xanathar’s Guide to Everything Is Coming November 21

I am a sucker for RPG books of all sorts, so I’m naturally excited for the upcoming Wizards of the Coast release Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. At the time of writing this, we don’t know too much about what’s going to be in the book, but we do have some information. I’ve also heard that the Dungeons & Dragons site will be releasing some previews, but I haven’t seen anything yet, so you may want to keep checking their site if you are interested in this book. Now, on to the things that we do know.

Matt Mercer's Tal’Dorei Campaign Guide (Critical Role) Not Shipping Until October 17

Like many people, I’ve become addicted to a web series called Critical Role (although I came to the party late – I was always a Dice, Camera, Action sort of guy). Naturally, I was excited when I learned Matt Mercer would be developing a Tal’Dorei campaign setting for 5E Dungeons & Dragons. It’s a big, interesting and fun world that sounds like a blast to explore. What’s not to like?

DM Tips and Opinions: Heroism, Heart, and Humor

When it comes to running a campaign that your players will enjoy and want to keep coming back to time and again, I believe that incorporating what I called the Triumvirate of Hs can help. As you can tell from the title, these are Heroism, Heart, and Humor. I will briefly explain what I mean by each of these things.

Keeping Organized as a GM

As of a few weeks ago I was able to run my own campaign for the first time. I was very nervous, though I am sure that is how everyone feels for the first few times. Luckily everything went smoothly and there were no hiccups! This was thanks in part to how I kept my notes and sheets organized.

Keeping Organized as a Player

I enjoy keeping things organized so it's no surprise to anyone (more specifically Kayla and Jason) when I suggested a few tips. Kayla wasn't too interested, so I more or less got her organized by myself and hoped she liked the outcome. She hasn't complained yet and I'm calling that a win!

Venturing into Virtual Tabletops with Roll20

With my eldest daughter moving out of state for her final two years of college (to add to the three degrees she already has... not sure why both of my daughters are such overachievers when they have me for a father, but I’m happy about it), I’ve decided to delve into the realm of virtual tabletops. Specifically, Roll 20.

Thus Far with Roll20

My Well-Known Secret: Mining Amazon and eBay for Old RPG Books

While I love many of the newer games to have come out over the past few years, including Dungeons& Dragons (5E), Call of Cthulhu (7E), Star Wars, and Starfinder, I have a soft spot for some of the older games, too. Once upon a time, I had quite a few of those old RPGs… I mean, I had a lot. Along the way, I had to get rid of my collection for various reasons, and I really regret doing so today.