Top Ten RPGs of 2017

Like last year, I’m doing a non-review of my favorite RPG products of the year.

I don’t review RPG products anymore, but I can certainly tell you what I loved. This is simply my impressions and responses to products that have come out.

Consider these recommendations, but there are so many great RPGs out there. It was hard to choose the best of list, and there are many more I wish I could mention.

It’s been a rough year for a lot of folks, and gaming is a great way to cope with life stresses!

I also never put my games on this list. But if you want to buy my games, there’s links in the menu on the left!


RIFTS_PG_Cover_90010.) Savage Rifts: Technically, this was a 2016 release, but I didn’t get my print copies from the Kickstarter until January 2017, so I think it counts. It wouldn’t be a Best of list for me without at least one Savage Worlds game on it!

An update of Palladium’s Rifts setting to the excellent Savage World ruleset, Savage Rifts brings the gonzo and weird Rifts world into an accessible ruleset.

It doesn’t feel like Savage Worlds, instead feeling like Savage Worlds reflected through a funhouse mirror. All distorted, weird and fun.

It’s imminently accessible, the books are a fantastically fun read.


pic3689282_md9.) Starfinder: There’s a lot of Science Fiction on my list this year, which is interesting.

Starfinder is a great book. I’d pretty much gotten off the Pathfinder bandwagon when D&D 5e came out (I preferred the streamlined nature of 5e), but man, if Starfinder hasn’t grabbed the lapels of my attention and stared me down.

It’s got great art, a fun setting, and a strong focus on streamlining some of the crunchy bits of Pathfinder, while still obviously being Pathfinder.

It’s still a bit crunchy for me, but unlike Pathfinder, I can actually see myself attempting to run Starfinder.


pic3537715_md8.)  Changeling: The Dreaming – 20th Anniversary Edition: I missed the boat with the original editions of Changeling, but man, if I am not fully on board now.

These edition is gorgeous. It’s equal parts throw-back to the early editions (which I now have and own), and equal parts advancement.

The art lands, the prose is exactly what I’ve had expected, and this is a game that knows what it wants to be.

I love it.


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7.) Tomb of Annihilation: As long as Wizards of the Coast keeps pumping out great 5e products for D&D, I don’t see  it’s inclusion on this list fading. This year, there’s actually two D&D products.

First, is the Tomb of Annihilation. A modernized homage to the classic Tomb of Horrors, it’s a huge campaign with lots of cool pieces (like dinosaur races), and a fun setting.

It’s got a good mix of the “old-school” feel, while still being squarely the modern D&D we know and love.


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6.) Xanathar’s Guide to Everything: Oh look, the second D&D 5e product.

About three years into the D&D 5e life-cycle, Wizards has released it’s first major “crunch” update, providing tons of options for players to change, improve and differentiate their characters.

Lots of cool subclasses. Lots of cool feats.

Just, lots of cool here. I see this being an essential tome at my table.


pic3340551_md5.) Blue Rose: So I never played the previous True20 edition of Blue Rose, but I remember it catching my eye on the shelf.

This new edition is a massive tome, chock full of content. It’s got a super developed setting that feels very different from other fantasy settings, a complete inclusion of the Fantasy Age ruleset, and a lot more!

I really dug this book, and while we didn’t play a campaign very long, I can see myself returning to it.


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4.) DEGENESIS: The Killing Game: So, DEGENESIS is one of the prettiest (if not the prettiest) RPGs on the market. Period.

The ruleset is fantastic, and The Killing Game is an amazing adventure/campaign for the DEGENESIS setting. It’s just packed with amazing art, stunning layout, and it’s visually, just a work of art that I can’t help but stare out.

The game deserves far more attention and market penetration than it’s getting.


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3.) Paranoia: Red Clearance Edition: Man, I dig Paranoia. Always have. I loved the zany rules, the crazy take on satire.

This new edition is a surprising amount of content in a tiny box. A totally revised ruleset, with lots of new elements, a shift in focus (no longer Communists, but Terrorists), and a lot to love, I can’t recommend it enough.

It’s a steal for what you get at the price point, and we’ve already had hours of fun from it.


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2.) Middermark: So, I’ve not played Torchbearer in the Middarmark setting yet, but hot damn, I love this book.

It’s a work of art. Carefully crafted and an obvious labor of love by the lead writer, Thor, Middarmark pushed my like of Torchbearer into a full-blown love affair.

It introduces new rules, a new class, tons of wonderful world building (tree and weather tables, a throwback to Greyhawk,) with evocative and great art throughout.

I absolutely adore this book, and it is just amazing.


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1.) Star Trek: Adventures: So yeah. This is absolutely the best game of the year. Let me list the reasons why.

I love Star Trek. It’s a two decade long love, and it shows no signs of abating (despite Discovery’s attempt to kill it.)

I love this version of the 2d20 ruleset. It’s a perfect match, and it’s clear the designers of this game are on the same page as I when it comes to what makes Star Trek, Star Trek.

It’s a fun, easy read.

It’s huge. Just packed with stuff. It’s crunchy in all the right places, while simple and fast in the right places.

Yeah. It’s the perfect Star Trek RPG!

 

 

Alan talks on Writing Excuses

At LTUE 2017, I got a chance to sit down with the talented Writing Excuses crew and talk about how to turn ideas and stories into games!

You can listen to it HERE.

We talk about Planet MercenaryTiny Frontiers, and various components of games. Luckily my fantastic hosts make me sound smart, and we had a great time.

I certainly hope I get the chance to do it again!

 

 

 

Gallant Knight Games and the Future

I’ve received a few questions on what is happening to the TinyD6 line, and the products I had brought with me and created with Nocturnal Media in the aftermath of Stewart Wieck’s passing.

This is the official statement:


Effective August 1st, Gallant Knight Games will be stepping back out from underneath the Nocturnal Media publishing umbrella.

As Stewart’s brother Steve steps in to manage things at Nocturnal Media, it’s clear that Steve cannot put the same full-time energy into Nocturnal (given his other job running DriveThruRPG) and thus Nocturnal cannot continue to serve as a publishing partner for the full scope of projects it planned to release. Nocturnal is returning many projects it planned to publish back into their creators’ hands, even strong-selling games like the TinyD6 line. As Steve said, “Stewart’s ghost would smite me down if Nocturnal continued to hold onto the rights to publish these projects and then underserved the creators.”

I will still be working at Nocturnal Media to help project manage and deliver on outstanding Kickstarters, current projects (such as PALADIN) and some future unannounced projects.

Nocturnal Media will continue to fulfill the outstanding Cold Shadows Kickstarter, but the rights to that game, The [REDACTED] Hack, and the TinyD6 line and all its pieces will be back in my hands. 

Other games of mine that aren’t out, will also come back to me. This includes unannounced games, games I’d developed prior to the buyout, and some IPs I brought with me. 

The Tiny Dungeon 2e Kickstarter scheduled for August 1st is being rescheduled for September 5th (to allow me to accommodate for my Nocturnal work load, and wrap up the existing projects and products).


You can expect some more news from me in the near future.

In Memoriam: Stewart Wieck

On Thursday, June 22nd, my employer, mentor, and close friend Stewart Wieck passed.

A great many folks said very nice things about Stewart, such as HERE on rpg.net, HERE at Chaosium’s website, and HERE on Onyx Path’s website. (There’s many more, but those are a few).

Stewart touched a lot of lives, and much will be said about his career in the game industry, the boundaries he pushed, and all of those things are essential. World of Darkness formed an indelible part of my formative gaming. I talked to Stewart every day for the last 8 months (as we worked together, we had lots to discuss), and those conversations were full of his enthusiasm for gaming, life, philosophy, esoteric topics, and reading. We shared previews of projects he knew I was excited for (both mine and others), and eagerly asked and followed up on my personal life.

 



 

One of my earliest interactions with Stewart as an employee was around the failure of IVF for my wife and I. We were on our fourth cycle, had undergone a majorly invasive surgery to set this one up for success, and had spent two years and almost immeasurable dollars on IVF (I say almost, I am acutely aware of how much we’ve spent).

Stewart had known I’d be unavailable the day of the results, and when I didn’t respond with good news, he reached out and asked how we were. We chatted briefly, and he gave us his good wishes.

A week or two later, he asked what our plans were, and I informed him we were going to stop trying IVF and take some time to sort out the future. He commented that he understood, and asked if it was financial (I’d made a comment about the excessive cost to success rate we were experiencing at this juncture), and offered me an advance against royalties to do another round.

IVF is not cheap. And here, my boss who’d I’d worked for about a month, was offering me a significant advance because 1.) he cared about our family, and wanted to help, and 2.) he believed in my quality enough to have the confidence he’d make his money back.

We didn’t take the advance (we’re trying private adoption), but I kept that number in mind as a bench mark, quietly tracking when I’d have earned out that advance and could justify his faith in me.

If you discount Kickstarters (which I do), I would have earned that advance out right around this week.

 



 

More than anything, Stewart left a mark on me in the way a publisher, game designer, and individual could behave. There was no malice in him. He welcomed designers new and old to the Nocturnal fold, helping to put their games out there, wanting to teach everyone about the joy in gaming. He was quite literally, a paladin and champion for the virtues and transcendental abilities of gaming.

I have three moments in my life that I consider defining. The first was my marriage. The second was the Planet Mercenary project and running that game for Steve Jackson.

The third was a conversation I had with Stewart after I’d joined the team, where I asked him quite bluntly why he felt my company and time were worth an acquisition and salaried position.

He told me that he felt I understood the potential of gaming to change lives as he did, and that after we’d spoken, he’d felt I’d be a partner who would focus on uplifting the industry. I left that conversation feeling as though I’d just won the lottery.

That was Stewart in a nutshell. That response is exemplary of the sort of person Stewart was. Not just a brilliant, boundary pushing game designer. Not just a giant in the gaming industry, who molded and challenged us all. But at the most essential and fundamental level, he was a good, kind person.

That’s the legacy I’ll remember most of all. That’s what I will try to emulate and carry forth, more than all the other pieces of his legacy.

 



 

No matter what the future holds, Stewart helped me set a course that I can be proud of. He showed me how to be a good person, a good businessman, and a good friend.

His loss is a hole I won’t ever fill.

Thank you Stewart. For everything.

-Alan

The Beginning of a Saga

SAGA_Rulebook_35238Recently, Wife (whom I’ve been trying to get into wargaming with me) and I decided to give the historical war game Saga a try.

I’m a huge sucker for historical war games, and even more of a sucker for 28mm or 15mm war games. However, locally, 32mm science fiction and fantasy rule the game tables, so I’ve never taken the plunge and just bought in. My flirtation with historical wargaming has always fallen flat, or opponent-less. Well thanks to marriage, and the fact my wife is forced to do my hobbies with me, this is a problem no longer!

So we took a bit of a gamble on Saga (but with the added benefit and insurance that even if we don’t play it, I can use the minis as Saxons and other enemies for Pendragon RPG nights). I’m going to be pseudo-documenting our journey into this game as we go!


We each got an army:

Saga covers a wide variety of armies and times (Roman/Arthurian Briton, Crusades, Viking Age), but we wanted to stick into one set game at the start. As the Saga: Dark Ages rulebook was all our local shop had in stock and this was an impulse purchase, Viking Age it is!

Two armies, two sets of custom dice, one rulebook later, and here I am assembling the minis.

Part of the deal of getting Wife into a wargame is I have to do some of the annoying parts (assembly), so I assembled our two boxes!

Let’s talk about that.

First, I assembled mine to get a feel for it. It wasn’t too bad. Most models need an arm or two, a head, and a shield attached, and then bases and done!

When doing my wife’s I took some photos of the process. Without further ado, here is a stream of terrible photos!

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The box (in case that wasn’t clear). The box contains a full starter war-band (you need about two more units to fill up to a “full” army (as their rules indicate).

 

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Sprues and bases!

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The Viking Warlord in full assembly.

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Started by separating out all the bases and begun with working on the Hirdmen, the elite guard unit for the Warlord. IMG_20170416_0839470

In order to make things a little easier on first time wargamer Wife, I kept the weapons consistent for each unit of 4 Hirdmen. The game requires some unit cohesion, so to make things simpler and less complicated up front, each unit has the same weapons. Mechanically, they’ll function the same, but it makes spotting the units faster and just…better. I didn’t think to do this for mine, but I’m wishing I had.

So one unit of hand weapon Hirdmen, and one unit of Spear Hirdmen

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While the Hirdmen were drying and setting, I started working on her Bondi (Warriors). These are sort of the rank and file of the game.

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Hirdmen with heads and shields!

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Spear Hirdmen with heads and shields!

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Headless Bonid, armed with hand weapons. I did the same thing for the Bondi that I did for the Hirdmen and kept the weapons similar inside each unit to make quick spotting easier.


Not a bad day of assembly. 16 Bondi, 8 Hirdmen, and a Warlord took about 90 minutes.

The smaller scale took a bit to get used to and it’ll be interesting to paint. Luckily, I’m really excited about these ones, so I’m looking forward to getting to work with them. Post painting up my warband (Wife will paint hers), I plan to work up terrain. Yay for terraining (which is my favorite part of wargaming).

My goal is to get a starter game in this week and write up a battle report about how it went.

This looks like a fun road to journey down.

Alan’s Unofficial (& Totally Biased) Essential Pendragon RPG Book Guide

A friend asked me to respond to this article with my thoughts. As my thoughts were longer than the communication medium (Twitter) allowed me to respond easily, I decided to collate them into this blog post. I mostly agreed, but I felt my own article on my favorite RPG would be worth it (plus I needed to write a blog post!).

Thus, I present to you, Alan’s Unofficial (& Totally Biased) Essential Pendragon RPG Book Guide!

My love affair with Pendragon as the best RPG I’ve ever played is well documented on this blog, and it doesn’t bear repeating (I love Pendragon so much. It’s the absolute best RPG I’ve played, if not the best you can buy).

I’ve divided these into categories, start with Must Buy, and getting all the way to Don’t Really Need. You can click on the titles or the pictures for links to the purchase site (all of them on DriveThru). I’ll primarily focus on 5.X Edition (the current and my favorite) because it’s both readily available in PDF and Print (thanks to Print on Demand at DriveThru) and because I’m wildly biased (again, my favorite).

And if you don’t know, I do work for Nocturnal Media, but not on Pendragon. I’ve loved Pendragon since long before I worked at Nocturnal Media.

EDIT: That changed. For a short while, I also worked as the project manager and publisher on Pendragon books! However, Pendragon returned home to Chaosium, and I returned to being an avid fan!


MUST BUY

King Arthur Pendragon 5.2: You have to start with the corebook of course, so you can play the game! King Arthur Pendragon 5.2 is the most up to date (and prettiest) version of Pendragon you can get.

If you have to have it in print, it’s coming out soon, but 5.1 will also suffice (5.2 is mostly cleaned up errata, some clarified rules, full color and with really nice art). 

The Great Pendragon CampaignIn a large aspect, the point of playing the Pendragon RPG is for this campaign. The Great Pendragon Campaign (or GPC) is a massive tome that covers year by year recounting of Uther’s reign through the end of Arthurs, along with adventures and yearly plots for your players to take part in. It’s massive, it’s directed, and it’s fantastically researched, written and very enjoyable. You need to have this book if you want to play Pendragon.

The Book of Knights and Ladies: If Pendragon has one failing, it’s the fact that the core book only allows for characters to be from one very specific region of Arthurian England (Salisbury). This book address that issue, by opening a lot more regions to the players to be from. Everything from France to Viking to Faire(!?) origins are in this book. You’ll want it, and your players will want it.

It also has some excellent expansions to corebook rules such as Family History charts and characteristics, luck tables, and more. A+ expansion.


BEST OPTIONS TO BUY FOR MORE AWESOME

If you want to add more awesome to your already awesome Pendragon RPG these books below will serve you nicely. I use all of them almost every session we play.

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The Book of Feasts: The Book of Feasts fixes one of the weakest parts of Pendragon (that was hard for me to write!) and adds a lot of context, mechanics, and excitements around feasts!

The accompanying Feast Deck really punches up the action, and I consider this book an absolute add to your game.

[Bonus tidbet: This is my first credit as a publisher on a Nocturnal Media product and a Pendragon product.]

 

 

The Book of Uther: I reviewed the Book of Uther before, so you can find out my thoughts there. If you’re playing the GPC, this book adds a 5 year expansion to the front of the campaign, and gives you (the GM) a lot of useful information that will help you set the tone of the world and game with a lot of “accuracy” (for a game about romantic myth and magic swords in lakes).

I consider this game an absolute must for my games, and suggest you buy this after you buy the three above. 

The Book of the ManorThe Book of the Manor is in a weird place. It’s sort of (but not really?) superseded by Book of the Estate (we’ll get there soon). The Book of the Manor deals with rules for managing Manors (or the lands your knights individually hold) on a singular level. Rules on upgrading, managing, and maintaining individual manors are here. It doesn’t help you manage huge tracts of land (hah!), and it can become sort of “book-keepy” and lead to some Knights having massive amounts of money, but if the GM is prepared for it, and your players love that level of management, you can’t go wrong.  I’d suggest you buy Book of the Estate before you buy Book of the Manor however (see why below). 

The Book of the Estate: One of the other land management books, the Book of the Estate is written to compliment the Book of the Warlord. The Book of the Estate is designed to replace Book of the Manor in part, and address some of the issues with economic inflation and book-keeping present in Book of the Manor. However, it’s less detailed and can be a bit less interesting then Book of the Manor. I tend to use both, starting with Manor and moving to estate when a Knight has more than 2 Manors to manage. Your mileage may vary. I’d suggest you buy Book of the Estate before you buy Book of the Manor.

The Book of the WarlordWritten to be a companion with Book of the Estate, the Book of the Warlord is designed to be a reference book for managing lesser nobility (Barons and Earls) in the time of Uther and the first era of Arthur’s reign. It’s land management at a larger scale than Book of the Estate, and forms a sort of natural progression (Book of the Manor to Book of the Estate to Book of the Warlord) for how much land one might own. It’s also exceptionally interesting in it’s own right. Buy this after you buy Book of the Estate. It’s less useful in all circumstances.

The Book of Battle: This book expands upon the battle rules in the core rule book. It’s more complicated and requires players and the GM to be familiar with it’s changes to mechanics.  However, it adds a lot of depth, fun and excitement to the game, and if you’re willing to put the time in, it greatly enhances the core value of the game.

Buy this one after the rest on this list.


COOL, BUT HOW OFTEN WILL YOU USE THEM?

Our next section is supplements that add more to the game, but aren’t resources you’ll readily be pulling out on a regular basis.

The Book of Armies: This book is really interesting and very good. It’s basically a collection of rules and stats about various armies through out the GPC. But you won’ use it every session. Every year doesn’t have battles, and every army is not in every battle. It’s nice. I like it. But I wouldn’t call it “essential”. You can get everything you need from the Book of Battle.

But if you want more, this is a really nice add-on and compliment to the Book of Battle.

The Book of the EntourageNot based on the TV series, this book handles rules for servants, squires, more detail about wives (which is a bit of a big deal in Pendragon), and lots of rules about people your Knights might hire to aid them.

It’s good. But I find, it tends to come up a lot less than you’d expect, as the core rules for hirelings are solid, quick and serviceable, and a lot of players don’t care to micro-manage “employees”

If you want it, or love the idea of it, you wont’ regret it. I just find I use it less.


There’s a lot more Pendragon stuff out there on DriveThruRPG. A lot of the old adventures are easily compatible or moved over to the new edition, so if you’re looking for things to jog your inspiration, I’d suggest you just find what fits you there.

I could quadruple the length of this post going over the previous editions material, but I don’t think it’s necessary. After these books, I think anyone would have a good feel for what they need or want later, so you can make your own judgements! Just be forewarned that some conversion work might need to be done.

I hope this helps prospective Pendragon fans or players, and gets you started!

Crazy End to a Crazy Year.

Wow. 2016 has been a pretty bonkers year as far as things go. Shall we recap?

1.) I ran my first Kickstarter  for a Gallant Knight Games product! (Tiny Frontiers!)

  • We delivered the PDF 5 months early, and the physical book 3 months early.
  • Reviews have been good! Especially for a first effort. Is it perfect? No, but I’m very proud of the quality of work our little team did on this game. It’ll only get better as the line expands…

2.) Speaking of which: We Kickstarted the first Tiny Frontiers expansion: Tiny Frontiers: Mecha & Monsters! Also…fairly crazy. That delivered TODAY to the Kickstarter Backers, the PDF being a month early. This one is full art, gorgeous, and 160 pages, 40 pages BIGGER than it’s sourcebook. And none of that increase is rules. Awesome.

  • TF:M&M will be on time. Which is great.
  • Reviews are super positive already. I’m over the moon. Again, our little team knocked it out of the park.

3.) Power Mage RPG. We launched and ran the Kickstarter for the Powder Mage RPG. We’re gonna be really rolling on that very soon, so we can get that out. Really exciting.

4.) The sale to Nocturnal Media.

  • Yeah. That happened today too.

What a 2016. If 2017 looks halfway like this, I don’t know what I’m going to do.

Just really grateful and lucky to be where I am today.

Top Ten RPGs of 2016

So, I’m doing a non-review of my favorite RPG products of the year. I don’t review RPG products anymore, but I can certainly tell you what I loved. This is simply my impressions and responses to products that have come out.

Consider these recommendations, but there are so many great RPGs out there. It was hard to choose the best of list, and there are many more I wish I could mention.


1051yd0i7mrxl-_sx380_bo1204203200_.) Volo’s Guide to Monsters

So, there was a small slew of Dungeons & Dragons 5e product this year (all of which is excellent), but Volo’s stood out. Volo’s is a book best described as luxurious. Entire page spreads dedicated to details about monsters, where they live, their cultures, and so much more.

It’s clearly a labor of love from game designers who love what they do, and want to share that with fans. Additionally, the addition of several new playable races to the D&D 5e ruleset is fantastic.

If you dig D&D, and you really wanna dive into monsters, this book is perfect.


horselordsofrohancovermockup-793x10249.) Horse-Lords of Rohan

First off, my love for The One Ring is entirely unabashed. I consider it a triumph in the RPG space, and one of the best made and most beautiful games I play and own. Cubicle 7 does a great job with the line, and I’m ecstatic with every release they do.

That being said, this book delivers the piece that was always missing, that of Rohan and the Rohirrim. I’ve been in love with the culture, vision, and style of Rohan since I read the books as a teen, and my single biggest complaint with TOR has always been the lack of playable cultures.

Well no more! This book is beautiful, full of maps, locations, stories, two new cultures to play, rules for mounted combat, and hits every button for me.


haiku-warrior-cover-scaled-downwithtagline38.) Haiku Warrior

Hm. Not really an RPG, but a card game. But it’s a card game that tells a RPG like story. Through Haiku. Pretty cool.

I demoed it at GenCon and loved it. I’ve got a copy on the way, and I can not wait to introduce it to my group. It’s fun, clever, and beautiful, marrying card game mechanics, roleplaying game fun, and clever design into a wonderful experience.

I can’t recommend this one enough.

 


7.) Weird War Iwwi_pg_cover-455x700

I’m a big Savage World fan and a big fan of their pseudo-historical Weird Wars game line. Weird War I is the perfect fit into the game line and expands to a perfect place.

The morally grey era of World War 1 is a stark contrast to the more black and white conflicts of World War 2. The use of various components (zeppelins, cavalry, melee weapons), puts the warfare here into a less familiar but very surreal place.

Battling a Zeppelin crewed by the living dead is a unique experience, and Weird Wars 1 delivers on those sorts of stories repeatedly and with the ease and elegance of the Savage Worlds ruleset.


keepercover6.) Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition

The return of Chaosium’s flagship roleplaying game is one of the best produced books of the year. The standard editions are gorgeous, full-color books (they even have ribbons!), and I adored the rules updates to the game.

They felt appropriate, streamlined, and pulled Call of Cthulhu into a more narrative space, while retaining the good horror elements.

It’s a great example of how an ongoing and evolving ruleset can stay true to the roots, without having to sit stagnant (You can see my review of Mutants and Masterminds 3rd Edition for another example of that).


unnamed5.) Polaris

I missed the Kickstarter on Polaris (due to already throwing piles of money at other projects), and waited to get it until it was out retail.

Well it is! And it’s a stunningly pretty book.

Seriously. For no other reason than you will own one of the prettiest RPGs made, you should buy this.

The ruleset is solid (it’s similar to Pendragon), and the setting is evocative and delicious. There’s so much to read and explore here. A purchase I would repeat in a heartbeat.


scarredlands4.) Scarred Lands Player Handbook 5e

Wow.

I think I found my new default setting for my 5th Edition games.

This book is a triumph on so many levels. The mechanical design is rock solid.

The art is top notch.

The graphic design is great.

The setting is evocative, dramatic, and intense, and the book serves as wonderful introduction to someone who has never experienced the Scarred Lands before. Right now I only have the PDF, but I’ll be getting the physical as soon as I can. Really regretting not Kickstarting this one.


rhune3.) Rhune

D&D 5e replaced Pathfinder for me a while ago, but this book constantly drives me to want to run Pathfinder. It’s a great production, and something about the setting really grabs me.

I love the new races, new classes, new abilities, and there’s so much in here that is so well done.

There’s something for everyone here (unless you hate awesome), and it’s just a great book. I’m glad I have this one on my shelf, even if I never run it.


174365-thumb140.jpg1.) A Single Moment

Ah. #1 on my list for the year, is a tie! Let’s go over the first one.

A Single Moment is a masterpiece. An RPG for two players, A Single Moment stands apart in a crowd of indie games due to the brilliant design behind it.

There’s a strong focus on theme and mechanics that support theme, while allowing for dramatic and personal storytelling.

The designer of this game will be one to watch for a long time to come.I just couldn’t place this game any lower than number one.


regular_cover_ryuutama1.) Ryuutama

Much like A Single MomentRyuutama is a force of RPG ingenuity and deserves the highest accolades. The focus on the journey as the best part of the game (both thematically and mechanically), and it’s JRPG design notes, while remaining fully in the tabletop RPG space all come together.

Ryuutama is a game I could wax poetical about for a long time to come. Instead I’ll say you should pick it up for yourself if you want to try it.


 

Halloween Game 2016

It’s that time of the year! I ran my annual Halloween game.

This year, we did Science Fiction horror using the Savage Worlds rule-set, and played for about 4 hours.

I ran two separate games, with two different groups.

Highlight for me: The Asteroid Encounter. It went off even better than I expected.

Basic premise: Amnesic spacers wake up on their spaceship, and have to deal with finding equipment to repair their engine, while being harassed and attacked  by demonic entities!

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RPG Retrospective: Halloween 2015

Some context. Every year, I build a massive Halloween game, where I go all out on minis, terrain, costumes, food, and just an overall gaming environment. Today, I started prepping for the 2016 run, and I thought it’d be fun to share some photos of last years!

These are in as much chronological order as I can summon.

The RPG of choice that year was Numenera, and the theme was trying to determine the strange goings on in a blasted clockwork town to the North.

Of course, as befits Numenera, there was some…shenanigans going on.

2325

 

 

 

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