Top Ten RPGs of 2020

As always and like last year, I’m doing a non-review of my favorite RPG products of the year.

I don’t review RPG products, but I can certainly tell you what I loved and make recommendations. I love playing games and talking about the games I love is big source of joy to me.

This is simply my impressions and responses to products that have come out throughout the year that I felt were some of the best I had the chance to experience (either through reading, playing or other methods.) There are of course, dozens more games and while these games were the ones that spoke to me, they won’t speak to everyone (nor will all games speak to me!)

Consider these recommendations, but there are so many great RPGs out there. It was hard to choose the “best of” and I certainly can’t play and read everything. There are many more I wish I could mention. And I barely play and read a fraction of the games that came out, so if you have recommendations or your own list, fire it at me!

I also never put my games on this list. (That feels wrong to me.)


10.) Warlock!

This is a great, classic adventure style game with a lot of “lo-fi” charm. It says on the tin that it’s “British-tabletop” inspired, and while I admit to not quite knowing what makes it uniquely British, I can confirm it certainly feels culturally unique when you read and experience it. It’s a weird dichotomy I’m still processing and I love it.

The art has exactly the right vibe to invoke late-70s fantasy, the rules are a weirdly intoxicating blend of simple, complicated, and esoteric (all in a lot of the right places), and it’s really well supported.

There’s a lot to like and enjoy, and it was a really fun read and I can’t wait to get it to the table and dig in!


9.) The Vagrant’s Guide to Surviving the Wild

My love of the Torchbearer game is no secret, and this was a delightful expansion to the system.

The addition of the expedition conflict type, the new characters and sample settlements all expand Torchbearer (and Middermark, which made my list previously in 2018 at #2) nicely.

It’s full of great drop and play tools ( new enemies, magic items, equipment, travelling gear) that will help me get my Torchbearer to the table a little easier (always a hurdle with new groups.)

I really, really, like this book.

I really, really like it.


8.) Sword Chronicle

Sword Chronicle is powered by the same ruleset that Green Ronin used in their A Song of Ice and Fire roleplaying game, but stripped of IP and released in a generic ruleset.

While I haven’t played this exact iteration, I have played the ASOIAF RPG, and the game is functionally the same in most regards.

There’s a lot to like in Sword Chronicle. It’s got a lot of the RPG macro-games I like (intrigue system, house building, elements that make the world larger than the character), and it’s powered by a solidly good system.

For generic fantasy, I’m a big fan of this game and I’ll likely use it to replace a few others that hit my table going forward.


7.) Feretory

Unfortunately I didn’t get Mork Borg until this year, so it can’t make my list, but I did get it’s excellent expansion Feretory this year.

Mork Borg is bonkers, and Feretory is an acid trip that doubles down on the death and doom found in the original book. It’s got loads of optional rules that really expand the utility (of the already jam-packed) Mork Borg. Adventures, rules for travelling, monster generators, random tables, and just….64 pages that reads like 128 pages. It’s insane in all the best ways.

I can’t imagine playing Mork Borg without this book, and having to make such a statement means Feretory makes the list.


6.) Acts of Malice

It’s not super surprising that this product made the list. A Town Called Malice was on my list last year, and I’m wildly in love with the expanded playtests here.

David Kizzia takes the nordic noir ideas of the core game and applies them to interesting and new genres (including science fiction) and moving the ideas in Malice forward.

I’m always a big fan of genre-emulation games that seek to alter and evolve the genre they emulate, and Acts of Malice does just thought and in excellent fashion!


5.) The Bitter Reach

I love Forbidden Lands. If I’d played it the year it came out, it’d have made that list as well. (I’m seeing a trend with Free League produced material at this point.)

An excellent expansion, with new rules, new profession, awesome monsters and a really compelling new campaign that dovetails nicely to the core experience, the production quality on the Forbidden Lands line never dips.

It’s so enjoyable to play, I can’t stop suggesting it to my groups.


4.) Those Dark Places

I love science fiction, I live dark science fiction, and I love junkverses (grimy, used, industrial settings).

Those Dark Places gives me all of that, in a tight little game, with a great ruleset, engaging and clever writing, and excellent art. The minimalistic rules are easy enough to teach and learn without bogging down in complication and it works great.

The game wears it’s inspiration (Outland, Alien, Blade Runner, Dead Space) on the sleeve, and that’s a good thing. While oftentimes “homage” games can feel derivative, Those Dark Places never does. It feels lovingly crafted and it hits all the right spots for me.


3.) Vaesen

Vaesen hits a lot of my buttons! Great art, great rules, a stellar theme (gothic, folkloric), and all wrapped around a physical presentation that is amazing.

Vaesen is probably my favorite interpretation of the Year Zero Engine thus far, with the right amount of rules-light narrative, but deep and interesting rules where they should be.

This game already is getting a lot of my time and I don’t think that’ll stop anytime soon.


2.) 2 Women, 12 Games

Elizabeth Chaipraditkul and Steffie de Vaan make great games on their Patreon. They’re some of the best writers in the tabletop industry right now

This anthology product from their patreon games is great for two reasons:

First, it’s twelve games, almost all mechanically unique (I think they all are, but I’m hedging in case I’m wrong). One of the games involves coloring unicorns as a mechanic!

Almost all the themes are relatively unique, often the ones you don’t see in RPGs or might not have thought about.

You want to expand your library, your RPG tastes and some experiences you might never have had otherwise, this is the book for you. It’s amazing.


1.) Henshin!

I love, love, love sentai media. Absolutely adore it.

I also love this game. It’s diceless, true to the genre, exciting to play, but best of all: it’s designed in such a way that the sentai genre becomes accessible to those who aren’t familiar with it.

There’s a lot of clever narrative currency in this game that moves back and forth, aided by clear text and attention to mechanical guiderails to emulation (often a difficult task to master.)

I really love everything happening in this game. The art is bright, colorful and a blast to see. It’s fun, a giant love-letter, and it works for me in a way no other game did this year.

I can’t wait to play it more.


While I don’t include my own/company work on this list, I will say: if reading me talk about games has made you more interested in my RPGs, you can find them at shop.gallantknightgames.com, DriveThruRPG, or physical copies in local game stores and online webstores!

You can also support the GKG Patreon for ongoing content.

Halloween Game 2019

Geez. It’s been two months since my Halloween game? Feels like yesterday. Ugh.

(All images from the second game. I didn’t get pictures of first one due to our illustrious Joseph Reidhead only being in the second game.)

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This year I ran two games, using two different rulesets but using a similar (zombie/demon shambler) theme.

I ran All Flesh Must Be Eaten for the first game and Mothership for the second. Similar themes, but wildly different rulesets.


Rules Changes For Moar Horror

None this year! Both games are well rooted in the horror genre.

For AFMBE, everyone took on the role of a survivor in a zombie apocalypse.

For Mothership, everyone was a member of a mining ship sent to mine an asteroid.

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The Food

For the AFMBE game, I had them starting as a group in an Irish Pub & Resturant so I made these! Custom menus.

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I also made everything on that menu. That’ll never happen again. Almost all those recipes other than the cider (which I’ve shown here before), were from this cookbook. (Amazon Link).

The second group had a much less extreme menu due to dietary restrictions, not much to report here on that!


The Game

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Horror was had by all! The big set pieces for the first game was a massive multi-terrain piece military compound, as well as custom rules for scavenging gear in those locations. I’ll try to take some pictures later with those. It was a lot of stuff. Over 70 zombie minis, survivor minis, cars, set pieces, a military installation to search, and then a final desperate escape attempt at a farm. Lots going.

The second game reused Sedition War miniatures from a previous Halloween game to drive home the sci-fi horror elements.


The games were a blast. I’m trying to decide what to do next year. I’m leaning towards something like:

  • Superheroes
  • Napoleonic
  • Stone Age

We’ll see.

Top Ten RPGs of 2019

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 throughout the year that I felt were some of the best I had the chance to experience.

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. And I barely play and read a fraction of the games that came out, so if you have recommendations or your own list, fire it at me!

I also never put my games on this list. (That feels wrong to me.)


10.) Band of Blades: This game is clever. And it can be hard to find clever games.

It’s basically the plot of Glen Cook’s Black Company novels, wrapped around a really slick Forged in the Dark system that plays out over a limited campaign number of sessions, towards a fixed endpoint.

It’s got lots of cool campaign frames and customization built into the narrative, and I’m a really big fan of what’s going on here.

I haven’t ran it yet, but even reading it was really inspiring. It’s tightly made.


9.) Savage Worlds Adventure Edition: Shocking no one, a Savage Worlds product appears on my list! It seems to be a yearly tradition, because the fine folks at Pinnacle keep putting out AMAZING games.

This new edition is damn near perfect. It streamlines the game in all the right places, while still remaining noticeably Savage Worlds and keeps all the bits I love.

In my eyes, it’s the definitive all-purpose action system and I am constantly ransacking my brain on a way to run it…

I’m sure I can figure something out…


8.) Afterlife: Wandering Souls: The team at Angry Hamster Publishing is one of my favorites in the industry, and I think this is one of their strongest books. It certainly is my favorite of theirs.

It’s weird, afterlife centered horror and exploration, around the goal of recovering memories, exploring a bizarre and unknowable afterlife where despair and hope are juxtaposed against it’s surreal inhabitants.

It’s delightfully different, and as befits my tastes, has wonderful rules-light mechanics. You want to try something unusual and esoteric? This is your game. Don’t miss out on it.


7.) Miseries & Misfortunes:
This is one of the best books I bought at GenCon and bought it again just to have a spare copy.

It’s a delightful blend of life-path mechanics, Burning Wheel-style character driven mechanics, with one of the most interesting XP systems I’ve ever read, coupled with an OSR inspired resolution system, all tied to a gritty Dumas-style French setting.

I’ve been vocal about my adoration for Luke Crane’s design philosophy and I’m 100% in love with this game.


6.) Shadow of Esteren: Book 3 – Dearg: The team at Agate RPG is one of my favorites to read and every product they make is of the highest quality.

Dearg is one of the best RPG campaigns I’ve ever read, and coupled the rest of the moody, Byronic Esteren line, it completes the game in a delightfully fantastic way.

The art, layout, and text are stunning and top notch, and the game aids provided create one of the most complete campaigns I’ve ever read.

High marks for Agate, as always.


5.) Five Torches Deep: I like Ben Dutter on a personal level, and I like Ben Dutter’s game design work a lot.

FTD is a fantastic 5e adaptation that takes all the good elements of 5e, all the good elements of the old-school revival movement, and mashes them together in a compact, beautifully arted, and stunningly concise book.

It’s worth every penny and is one of my new favorite go-to fantasy dungeon crawler systems.

More of this please, Ben.


4.) Praxis: House of Keys: I’m a big fan of post world games and jim pinto’s work in RPGs. He writes really great narrative style systems with lots of awesome character and story hooks in his games.

This one is a beautiful horror-themed game inspired by Eastern European cultures and folklore. It’s evocative, creepy, and just loads of cool fun.

This version uses his Praxis system, but he’s also got a Protocol Squared version if you’re into that. I think either one is a steal, though I prefer the Praxis systems myself.


3.) Fateforge:  Fateforge is a new setting for D&D 5e from the folks at Agate RPG (the Shadows of Esteren team I raved about earlier.)

It’s a fresh and new feeling fantasy setting, with all the wonderful detail, art, and writing that Agate RPG always brings to the table.

It made 5e feel fresh again, after a small drought and I’m really excited to dig in to this and play it!

If you’re looking to kick up your 5e game, this is the one for me.


2.) A Town Called Malice: This one was a surprise to me this year.

I managed to catch it on POD on DriveThruRPG (missed the Kickstarter) and I’m just head over heels for this game.

It’s a nordic noir storytelling game with a strong horror bent. Think The Snowman meets The Thing and you’re on the right track. I’ve always wanted a nordic noir RPG (it’s a favorite literary genre for me).

David Kizzia does a fantastic job of creating a wonderful atmosphere and the feel of the book is spot on. I love this game and I can tell it’s going to become a go to for me.


1.) Hypertullurians: Hypertellurians is the best RPG I’ve read this year.

Full stop.

It’s exceptionally well-written, well-grounded, thematic, fun to read, and beautifully laid-out and illustrated.

It evokes all the great pulpy paperback covers I remember laying around houses when I was a kid (not my house, but houses we’d go to). It’s just peak 70s pulp science fantasy and I love everything about it here.

I love this game and it’s now my go-to science fantasy game.

 

Halloween Game 2018 – Mythras (Mythic Rome)

It’s that time of the year again! Halloweeeeeen gammeeee! *cue spooky music.*

I elected to run Mythras from The Design Mechanism, using their Mythic Rome sourcebook. (You can find all of these books on their website or DriveThruRPG.)

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Rules Changes for Moar Horror

None! The combat rules in Mythras are pretty horrific already (in terms of body horror), and as I was going for a bit of a Lovecraftian Roman Sex Cult vibe, I just cribbed from Chaosium’s excellent 7th edition of Call of Cthulhu (since both games share a similar d100 engine history and are largely easily converted between.)

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Everyone took on the role of a Gladiator or Charioteer (only one Charioteer though), and served in a gladiatorial school (called a Ludus) in northern Africa in Roman Carthage.


The Food

Halloween game is a chance for me to explore another favorite hobby of mine, cooking. I made the following items for them:

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THE GAME

Their owner, Marius was losing money due to cheating from a rival ludus known as Ludus XIII. Marius suspected that Scyllah (the owner of Ludus XIII) was cheating somehow and instructed his gladiators to “desert”, swearing their allegiance to Scyllah and investigating what was going on.

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We had a training match to teach the combat mechanics (the rest of the game is fairly straight forward.)

They staged an escape, in which an overly abusive guard was slain rather brutally.

After that, at Ludus XIII, the Lovecraftian tension started to amp up as one of the gladiatrs was bedded by Scyllah, and it only got weirder from there.

The big set piece was the “scale” Hippodrome I build. It was converted for a 16mm chariot scale and based on the measurements of archeological references for Roman Carthage.

The track itself was over 6 feet long and the gladiators have to survive a death race against ghostly Roman Chariots and strange monsters.

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Overall, it was a great experience, and the sheer amount of fun really made me want to start planning next years already (which is a good sign!)

I’d been growing burned out, so it was wonderful to feel that sense of love of gaming coming back!

 

 

 

Life Changes / Don’t Panic

I’ve been full-time in the game industry for almost 18 months now. It’s been awesome. I love what I do, I love my friends (I can’t rightly call them fans/customers as we’re all in this together as a community).

But sometimes life throws you a curve-ball, and you have to adjust.

The wife and I have been trying to start a family for a few years now. IVF, hormone treatments, surgeries, the whole thing. No luck. So we are preparing for foster care.

Foster care comes with some life adjustments, primarily kids who will likely have medical needs (both physical and mental/emotional.) There’s resources out there, but they can take time, approvals, or more. If we’re going to take in foster kids, we want to give them the best home possible. While Gallant Knight Games provides the income my wife and I need (in addition to her job), we decided we’d rather have a more secure safety net if we’re going to bring children into our home in the near future.

To this end, I’ve gotten a full-time job back in my old career of data analytics! YAY! It’s a great job with amazing insurance, adoption assistance, parental leave, and great pay. It’s basically the dream considering our situations.

However it does mean some changes for GKG and my game career. Nothing major, but some reorganization.

We have 3 existing projects (3.5 technically) that are outstanding: Cold Shadows, Tiny Dungeon 2e (the .5 in the 3.5), Tiny Wastelands and Monster Hunter International. Cold Shadows is on it’s way for fulfillment. Tiny Dungeon 2e is waiting on two books (one almost done, the other headed for pre-press soon), and then wave two shipping. Tiny Wastelands is moving along on track, as is MHI.

However, a full-time job will slow me down. When I started GKG, I was working full-time outside of creating games, and I’m well aware of the limitations and effort it’ll take as I get back into that.

Tiny Supers was scheduled for a mid-May Kickstarter. We’re pushing it back until the PDFs for all our outstanding commitments at GKG (for our GKG specific products) are out. Once PDFs are out, that means books go to print, and we can start the next project.  (Our partner projects are unaffected by this, as we are not as directly involved in the day to day there.)

Based on our timeline, this will likely push it to late June/early July for a Kickstarter, but we’ll see. We don’t wanna jeopardize our quality or results. Our backers and supporters deserve better for that.

Everything else is spaced out enough that we feel comfortable leaving it on the schedule (such as D6 System 2e in September/October) and we’ve got exciting news coming this month about some new stuff in the works we think you’re going to love!

My Infinity War

This blog post deals with mental illness, depression, suicide attempts, and stuff like that. It’s not light. Also terrible pictures of me culled from Facebook.


It’s been ten years since Marvel’s Iron Man hit theaters, a fact not lost on the marketing team for Avengers: Infinity War, comic fans, movie fans, or really anyone remotely plugged into pop culture.

It’s also been a decade since my last suicide attempt. My 4th.

I was a recently diagnosed patient of bipolar disorder, and struggling with the medicines I was on.

I was on a lot of medicine. Some of it prescribed. Some of it not.

One night I took too many. By a lot.

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The only good picture of Alan circa 2008


I’m not good at writing this sorta thing. So be forewarned. It’ll all tie together eventually.

I’d been reading comics from a young age. Stuff I picked up at garage sales, graphic novels at libraries, that sorta thing. We didn’t have a comic shop where I lived at the time (not one I knew of at least), and so I was a tangential comic fan in a lot of ways. X-Men and Spiderman movies were my big exposure at the time.

Those sorta dried up around Superman Returns (which I still maintain has the best opening third of a Superman movie ever)  and X-3.

Not a big deal, I was dealing with some other stuff at the time.

Around then-ish, I started hanging out at a local comic and game store, mostly for the tabletop stuff, but I started picking up a few comics again (Captain America primarily, he’s my boy.)

I also started treatment for bipolar disorder.

I think you see where this collides.

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2012


Late that April (the 26th to be precise – you tend to remember these things), I OD’d pretty hard on sleeping pills. I woke up on the 27th, violently ill, but alive. No one had noticed. (It’s not their fault. I was adept at hiding it at that point.)

With nothing to do (no job at the time, due to mismanaging my depression), I ended up wandering down to the comic store a day or two later. I bought some graphic novels that were on sale in the discount bin.

One was The Infinity Gauntlet trade paperback. I no longer own that book, as it logged many hours of reading, water damage, food stains, moving day trauma and more, until it split and fell into it’s component pages.

However, I vividly recall Thanos and his motivation speaking to me. His nihilist take on the universe dovetailed precisely with my mental state at the time. A Mad Titan, who had amassed power that undermines the pinnings of the universe, pining for Death, and driven by ego?

Yeah. That was my bipolar summed up nicely. I was living with my own Thanos in my head, my emotions, and my intellect.

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2014


I recall being vaguely disappointed the heroes saved the day in Infinity War. I remember reading other comics.

And then I remember seeing Iron Man when it came out about a weekish later.

Despite all my comic reading, for some reason the idea of the hero’s public and heroic identity being the same had never clicked for me. But seeing Tony Stark, on the big screen, ending the movie with “I am Iron Man” jarred something in me.

A decade later, it’s all a haze, and while I could put fancy words to some lesson here, coming off where I was into a movie where a hero owned their identity somehow felt like a revelation to me. Good, bad, and all the in-between, Tony Stark was facing down himself, his weaknesses, and was gonna win.

The idea of the MCU didn’t matter to me, but I will admit, something about that ending for Iron Man spoke to me.


I am not gonna claim the MCU saved me, or Marvel kept me alive. Therapy, medication, and emotional/mental honesty about my illness saved me. There’s nothing romantic about it. It was hard work, medicine, science, and a lot of struggle.

But comics. Comics were a constant companion during the harder times there. Distractions, refreshing heroism, new stories, weaknesses and triumphs. I took some solace in those stories.

I read comics a lot less than I used to, but they still matter to me. I follow and read reviews. I read articles. I buy graphic novels and catch up on my friends at Marvel (sorry DC, Marvel’s my jam. The Superman Family is great though. For real.)

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2016 (with my best friend/wife)


Here’s the thing.  

It’s not some serendipitous thing that Infinity War hits theaters this weekend. It’s just what it is.

But, it’s been a decade, and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that going to see Infinity War on the 26th (I got tickets!) doesn’t hold some level of triumph for me. I don’t know what’ll happen to the heroes in the movie any more than I know what’ll happen to me in the next decade.

But I made it a decade. And, I plan to celebrate by seeing my favorite heroes punch a bad guy I no longer empathize with, as I sit there with my best friend and wife. Maybe it’ll be sad. I’m sure parts will be exciting, happy, and triumphant. I’ll almost certainly cry.

But the thing that matters the most is then I’ll come home, to the best life I could imagine, and I’ll get to wake up the next morning. I’m healthier than I’ve ever been (mentally and socially), I’ve grown in ways I never anticipated, and I actually think life is pretty good most of the time.

Ten years ago, I didn’t think I’d ever get that.

So I hope you had a pretty good decade MCU. I’m pretty happy with how mine turned out after all. I’ll see you tomorrow.


 

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2018 (with the best friend/wife again!)

 

 

Alan’s Unofficial (& Totally Biased) Essential The One Ring RPG Guide

My Pendragon guide was very popular. One of my top three blog posts! So I’m doing more for other RPGs I love.

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

I adore The One Ring (also called TOR.) My love of Tolkien runs deep and nostalgic, and TOR captures everything I adore about Tolkien into a game that I consider near perfect. Cubicle 7 crushed it. Their team has made an amazing game that I’m always excited to buy and play.

I’ve divided these into categories, start with Must Buy, and getting all the way to Optionals. You can click on the titles or the pictures for links to the purchase site (all of them on Cubicle 7’s website). I’ll primarily focus on The One Ring Edition (not Adventures in Middle-Earth, but AEM is amazing!) because it’s both readily available in PDF and Print and because I’m wildly biased (again, my favorite Tolkien RPG ever).

Note, just because something isn’t “Must Buy” doesn’t mean I think it’s bad or don’t use it. Often the opposite! But if I am coming into the game, or recommending purchasing orders to folks, this is how I would recommend it.

 


MUST BUY

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The Core Rulebook: You have to always start with the corebook! Luckily, this scorebook is a 336 page tome full of gorgeous full-color art, easy to read and learn rules, and everything you need to play!

Bestiary, pregens, a small adventure, storytelling advice. It’s pretty much spot on and perfect!TOR_Dice3

 

The Dice SetWhile the dice set is not officially required, I really like having the official dice for this game. They make play much smoother, it’s easier to teach, and it generally improves the experience.

I consider them a must buy if you’re going to play TOR. You won’t go wrong.

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The Adventurer’s Companion: Us roleplaying fanatics love our options, and The Adventurer’s Guide gives us so many more options. A useful book if you want to expand outside of the core options, this book is a must have at any table.

It also includes some unique Fellowship Phase options, and some extra rules to add a bit more crunch and character development to the very streamlined ruleset.

It also has a catalog of all the Fellowship options up to that point, and it adds Generational Play (a favorite of mine design-wise.) Yes please.


BEST OPTIONS TO BUY FOR MORE AWESOME

If you want to add more awesome to your already awesome The One Ring game nights, these books will serve you nicely. I have all of them and regularly use them all.

JourneysAndMaps600Journeys & MapsI love this product. Big, folded maps that I can lay on the table and teach folks with, or show their travels and journeys? Yeah, this is a win.

With the beautifully thought-out travel rules in the core, I consider this product just below Must Have, and it’s an absolutely valuable resource at my table.

The only real issue is that future & new maps aren’t/won’t be in it. Here’s hoping for a Journeys & Maps II or similar product.

 

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The Loremaster’s Screen: Well, how are you going to go wrong with a Loremaster’s Screen for TOR? The back end of it is fantastic, with tons of useful rules information and guides to playing.

Plus as a bonus, you get the Lake-Town rules (for playing Men of the Lake) and some new Fellowship options.

Unfortunately (kinda?), those are reprinted in The Adventurer’s Companion, so if you aren’t the sort of LM who wants a screen, you might not find full value in this.  It’s still beautiful, and I still consider it useful, but I don’t consider it a must have.

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The Heart of the WildThis book introduces River Hobbits, so it’s pretty much perfect from the get-go!

However, it also adds a lot more detail to the Wilderland (the default locale in the corebook), more enemies, more Cultures, and lots more excellent options, like those above.

However, lots of this book (new cultures, added Fellowship phase options) is repeated in The Adventurer’s Guide, so it’s hard to justify on the table at times (for me.)


MORE AWESOME OPTIONS (BUT LESS ESSENTIAL THAN ABOVE!)

So, this is where it gets weird. These options are pretty great! And I love and use them all, but they’re a bit more…precise in what you might want or need.

The books below expand the core experience out of the Wilderlands (the area around The Lonely Mountain) and add new cultures and locales to the game.

However, if you’re not planning to travel to these locations in the game, nor play a culture from there, they are relatively superfluous in your game.

Instead of going over which is in each of these in particular, I’m going to simply show you what they are, and give you a brief overview of how these are all set up.

  • They generally introduce a new culture or two.
  • They introduce specific rules for that culture (such as Horses for Rohan, Dragons & Dwarven Artifacts for Erebor, etc.)
  • They add a new map and new pregenerated characters.

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ADVENTURES!

The One Ring has oodles of adventures. Just so many. And they’re all great. But if you don’t do premade adventures, they’re less useful.

So, mileage might vary! Most of the adventure books are tied to one of the locale expansions above (Tales from the Wilderland being tied to the Corebook, and The Darkening of Mirkwood being stand alone.)tfw_fc800.jpg

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That art though… *faints*

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Pendragon Halloween Game Recipes

Cooking with Alan Time!

Some folks asked for the recipes I used for the Pendragon Halloween Game. Here they are!

You’ll have to bear with me, I’ve never written recipes on this blog before.

These recipes are deliberately medieval-styled, but obviously benefit from modern advances. I used this site to do my best to use ingredients that were as authentic as possible. But I didn’t break my back, as I was more concerned about “feel” than accuracy.

The stew (except for potatoes & the Lea and Perrins) is fairly authentic to some historical recipes that have been studied/cataloged. Obviously Guinness wasn’t around in the same way, but one can safely assume some form of beer was. Now, I’m not a scholar, so that information might be outdated, but I did do some research (yay internet and some free books!) to figure out how close I was.

The Berry crumble is a take on a Scandinavian recipe, and is a pretty reasonable extrapolation of a possible dessert (but there’s no evidence they actually ate dessert in the way we consider it now.)

As for the cider, well, that’s just really good. And it has the benefit of being possible. There’s Saxon and other cultural chronicles that indicate cider was drank regularly! So….yeah.

Not accurate, but a lazy effort!

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Halloween Game 2017 – Pendragon

This is a really late update, but hey. Here we go.

I ran a Pendragon one-off for my Halloween game in 2017.


Rules Changes for MOAR HORROR

I introduced a new “Curse” mechanic to the players. I had a giant d20 on the table set at ‘1’. Every time a player rolled a result equal to that number on the d20 (or lower) I increased the D20 by 1 and then they had to draw a Curse Card from the Curse Deck.

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There were 4 types of curses. They had more “purple” names on the cards, but functionally:

  • Blood Curse (They took more damage and dealt more damage.)
  • Corruption Curse (big penalty on rolls.)
  • Cowardice Curse (had to make severe Valorous checks to do certain things.)
  • Death Curse (only one of these in the deck, but you had to make a Valorous test or take damage for each curse you had, then all the Curses in play shuffled back into the deck.)

The basic setup put them in a cursed faerie forest, trying to rescue their wives, who were kidnapped by an evil Fae-Skeleton.

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FOOD!

I made the following meal for them:

  • Guinness Stew consisting of carrots, beef, potatoes, a Guinness broth with a few secret ingredients of my own.
  • Homemade Apple Cider with a spice recipe I learned from Mom.
  • Cloudberry Crumble, a dessert made from green apples, cloudberry jam, brown suger, and flower.

There was various assorted modern drinks too. You can find the recipes here.

We ate on wooden dishes and utensils for extra immersion!

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Cider

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Stew

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Cloudberry Crumble


The Game

It was a blast! We had a great time, full of awesome moments. All of these players learned Pendragon for the first time (except one.)

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In the other room, I’d set up the castle I’d bought and painted along with special minis for them and their knights (plus all the enemies) which ended with a climatic battle, where all the Knights but one died, and the survivor was cursed to be a werewolf (some seriously bad luck.)

It was a blast and I’m already mapping out this years Halloween game.