Tales From the Loop – Thoughts About the Best Game I Played At GenCon

Check out John McGuire’s The Gilded Age steampunk graphic novel on Kickstarter!

I’m not burying the lead on this one. Heck, I put it right there in the title. Tales from the Loop was the best game experience I had at Gen Con. To the point that I talked about the game session to my wife like I was telling her about some awesome movie I’d seen (ask her about my retelling of How to Train Your Dragon – the rated R version – now full of lots of swearing!). I told my sister, a nut for everything 80s, because the game does a great job at delivering on a premise.

So what is Tales from the Loop – Roleplaying in the 80s that never was?

Think about your favorite kid led movies from the 1980s. Do you have a list in your head?

Goonies?

Flight of the Navigator?

E.T.?

Stand by Me?

Monster Squad?

Explorers?

Cloak and Dagger?

Short Circuit?

D.A.R.Y.L.?

These are the movies just before you get to the John Hughes films in your mid-teens. These are the movies where the kids are the heroes. Where they aren’t treated as dummies just because they aren’t the adults. If anything, the adults are normally the clueless ones who have no idea that a bigger world exists around the next corner, but their kids know it all too well.

This is the feeling Tales from the Loop taps into the nostalgia of that time when you both couldn’t wait to grow up, but also began to understand that it was pretty cool to be a kid sometimes. When you created adventures with your friends, when you bike was your gateway to the larger world, and when the woods were a sanctuary from whatever bothered you.

Tales is a game that takes that premise and puts it into a world very much like our own (or any of the worlds from those movies) but uses the backdrop of artist Simon Stålenhag’s paintings where fantastical machines are becoming more and more commonplace. From the Kickstarter page:

In 1954, the Swedish government ordered the construction of the world’s largest particle accelerator. The facility was complete in 1969, located deep below the pastoral countryside of Mälaröarna. The local population called this marvel of technology The Loop.

While it is a Swedish game, one of the stretch goals set up an American counterpart Loop in Boulder City, Colorado. Again, the thing is you could set this game in the town you grew up in. Those memories of growing up on the coast or in the mountains or playing in the creek or riding your bike through the subdivisions are what the game evokes within the players. It becomes easy to play because you’re tapping into a piece of you from Before you got old(er) and had adult responsibilities.

***

When Egg mentioned adding Tales from the Loop to our game schedule, I had no idea what he was talking about. I just smiled and said, “Yeah, whatever. I’m just glad to be going.” Later I looked up the game’s Kickstarter and thought, “Interesting. A game where you play kids in a 1980s style setting.”

Then promptly forgot about it again until the Friday night of GenCon.

Egg was unable to attend the session as he was Cubical 7’s guest at the Ennie Awards. So Lee and I made our way to the room where the game was to take place. After a few minutes our Game Master, Bill Carter, appeared, having hustled from another game. For a while, it was just the three of us. Lucky for us that Alan Precourt and David Cochran decided to swing by and see how things were going. Bill “convinced” them to join in the game, realizing that 4 would probably be better than 2. And off we went into character creation.

Many games we played during the weekend were pregenerated. They had their own stats and histories and connections to the other pregenerated characters. So it can be a bit of a crap-shoot as you’re never 100% on how they are going to work, especially if you’ve never played the system.

However, Bill had us create characters for this game, and I’m especially glad he did.

You pick out an archetype: The Loner, The Jock, The Computer Nerd, etc. in order to have a little bit of framework for your character. But the thing is, you’re a kid, you’re not going to be great at 100 different things like some games. You have 4 main attributes: Body, Tech, Heart, and Mind. You’ll divide up your character points here among those.

Oh, how many character points do you get? How old is your character? Pick a starting age between 10 and 15. Got it? That’s how many points you have to divide.

Pretty cool, right?

Art by Simon Stålenhag

Ah, but there is a catch. There is one other main stat: Luck. Much like other games, using a Luck point lets you reroll a failed roll. So how many Luck points do you get? 15 minus your age. So the younger you are, the luckier you are, but the fewer Build points you’ll have.

The thing that any roleplayer will tell you is that your stats are only part of the story for your character. The story… who you are… what are you afraid of… what do you aspire to be? These are the keys to not only your character but will potentially inform your relationships with the other kids. And that may be the biggest piece of this game. Your kids are going to be friends and it’s really up to the players to figure out why.

In our particular game, I chose the Rocker. A bit of a clumsy, still growing into himself, an 11-year-old kid whose brother had passed away maybe a year or so prior. His parents rode him – trying to have him live up to be his brother, but in his grief, he found his brother’s old guitar and something clicked.

So, I had a background, but how to tie it into the other characters. Why are you friends?

Well… what if the Computer Nerd was helping me actually record something?

What if the Skater-Jock was just big enough to protect the Computer Nerd from the school bully?

And what if the Hick and the Rocker had found friendship in the older brother’s death?

Sounds like we’ve got some friendships going.

And just like that, we were ready to play.

I don’t want to give away the details in case Bill wants to run it again (or maybe publish it at some point). Suffice to say, our four kids immediately noticed something was wrong while at school. You might say that Strange(r) Things were afoot… and it was up to us to figure out why the world seemed to blink or why the robots were acting strange or why- seriously, I probably should stop.

Our attempt at Taunting the missing Egg Embry

***

After the game, Lee and I met back up with Egg and proceeded to talk his ear off about the session, about the people we’d played with, and just the joy of the session. I’m sure he was tired of hearing about it by the time we went to bed that night. The next morning we made a b-line to the Modiphius booth where I snagged a hard copy of the game (when we swung back by later that afternoon, they were sold out).

The book comes with all the rules needed to play as well as 4 adventures to get everyone started. So far I haven’t had a chance to bust the game out and play, but I did look to see if they were running any adventures at Dragon Con a couple of weeks later (if they were, I didn’t see any). Regardless, I’m looking forward to jumping into that world!

***

For more information about Tales from the Loop, check out the Modiphius Entertainment site here.

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novellas Theft & Therapy and There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

9 RPG Kickstarters You Should Back – Alien Bestiary, Artifices of Quartztoil Tower, IDENTECO, SideQuests II, and more

For this post, I’m reviewing nine RPG Kickstarters that are powered by the D&D 5e, Era d10, FATE, Pathfinder, Savage Worlds, Starfinder, and more systems. Nine RPGs that are running campaigns and hoping you’ll back them. Let’s count’em down!

 

9) Era: Balam by Shades of Vengeance
Ends on Sun, September 24 2017 6:59 PM EDT.

“Explore a solar system and defend Humanity from an alien fleet! Era: Balam runs on your choice of Era d10, FATE or Savage Worlds!

In this game, you are a pilot, with your own “Paladin” one-man ship, sent out to explore space and defend Humanity! Together with other pilots, you’ll form a squadron and head out into the black…

This game offers rules for space combat, salvaging materials and upgrading your fighter, a list of bases you can visit (both friendly and not-so-friendly), space-based dogfights and a variety of weapons from bullet-based to plasma cannons!

If you like games such as Homeworld, Freelancer or Elite: Dangerous, this is the RPG for you!

In Era: Balam, your ship is a part of your character, as much as the pilot.

It defines most of your physical statistics, providing a duality to this game which I’ve never explored before: while a pilot may technically survive without their ship, it will feel like they have lost a part of themselves.

A Paladin and its Pilot are a single character in this game, working together!
A Paladin and its Pilot are a single character in this game, working together!

The Paladin ships which appear in this game are fully upgradable, and provide various options as the players progress, including painlessly changing “Class” by replacing the Main Module!”

Want to learn more? Here’s the link to my interview with Ed Jowett about Era: Balam.

Egg’s Thoughts:

I’ve covered several Shades of Vengeance games in this column, I’ve interviewed Ed Jowett of SoV, and I’m freelancing on an Era d10 project for SoV, clearly I’m all for Vengeance. But among SoV’s games, what makes Era: Balam stand out? In a word, expansion. In this game you’re both your character and your ship, which explains this game’s setup concisely while offering a lot of cool options. Both the person and the tool have a role to play and together they elevate this RPG to be something akin to Star Wars: Rogue Squadron or Battlestar: Galactica. Add to that, this RPG is available for Savage Worlds, FATE, or Shades of Vengeance’s house system, Era d10, and you have a winner.

 

You can see examples of Shades of Vengeance’s work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

* * * * * *

 

8) Pathfinder Modern Adventures by Higher Grounds Publishing, LLC
Ends on Mon, September 25 2017 2:00 PM EDT.

“Take up sword and gun to seek fame and fortune in this gritty fantasy game set in modern-day Earth.

“I know what you’re thinkin’, kid. With all the stuff out there, all the cash, treasure, monsters and adventure waiting to be had.. what the hell is anyone doing in a nine-to-five, waste-of-time job?”, the old dwarf grunted with a voice like rolling gravel. “Well, I’ll tell ya, it sure as shit doesn’t have anything to do with really livin’, that’s for sure.” The dwarf was eye level with the kid, even though the human boy was probably only a small fraction of his own age. Stubby fingers curled around his massive, braided beard and stroked downward, flattening out a few stray red-and-gray hairs that had gone astray. “It’s all about security. See, cities like this one got all kinds of that stuff. Vancouver. Atlanta. Hell, even the most dangerous hood in Detroit ain’t got nothin’ on the shit you’ll find taking up gun and sword and heading off into the tombs. Most folks’ll tell you that, and most folks are right. I done seen more death and carnage than any CEO could ever dream about in an entire lifetime. I’m the sole survivor of a group of seven of us.” the dwarf said with a half-psychotic grimace that may have been mistaken for a smile, showing off those yellowed teeth interspersed with gold ones that replaced the teeth that had been knocked out by god-knows-what. “It’s a shit life, being an adventurer. You’re going to go hungry. You’re going to get hurt. Shit, you will probably even die.” he said with a chuckle. “So why do I do it?” the dwarf peered at the kid with his one good eye and got close enough that the boy could smell the leather of his armor and the whiskey on his breath, “Kid. If you gotta ask, you ain’t ever gonna know.”

Pathfinder: Modern Adventures is a game of fantasy based in the real-world. It’s Earth, with a twist. Humans are not alone. There are elves, gnomes, dwarves and all manner of other strange creatures, hybrids and half-bloods earning a living and trying to get by. Nearly everyone just wants a comfortable, safe life where they are free to exist in peace, earn a liveable wage and die with a few grandchildren under foot.

Then, there are the adventurers. 

The adventurers make their living by scouring the lands trying to find old tombs, abandoned catecombs and places lost to time. They battle monsters, brave dangerous traps and explore the unknown. Some do it in the hopes of getting rich. Others do it to earn a name. Some simply want to test their own mettle. Adventurer’s leave the relative safety of the lives they know, working jobs, tending their home or living on the streets in order to explore parts of the world that no sane person would ever enter.

From the veil of the city, you might never see the truth of the world beyond. All the magic and monsters that only rarely creep into the cities themselves are waiting for a brave soul to come and face them, and earn vast richest and fame in so doing.”

 

Here’s my Q&A with Ray Machuga about Pathfinder Modern Adventures.

To read Dan Davenport’s Q&A with Ray, click here.

Egg’s Thoughts:

Ray Machuga of Higher Ground Publishing messaged me about this project before it came out (the press release is here) and the concept hooked me. The timing for a Pathfinder product that sits, more or less, squarely in the middle of the timeline between Pathfinder and Starfinder could not have been better timed. Starfinder is a hit and Ray’s product is the logical outgrowth of that – Modern Adventures. How would elves and trolls and mortgages and gazebos live together today? This is the game to answer that and offer new levels of adventures.

 

You can see examples of Higher Ground Publishing’s work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

* * * * * *

 

7) Henchmen – A Fate RPG campaign world by Canterbury Games Studio 
Ends on Thu, September 28 2017 12:00 AM EDT.

“A Fate Core campaign setting of villainous henchmen in a hero thwarts Doomsday device world.

Your money will bring our Henchmen to life.

The Premise

Henchmen is a game in which characters get to explore the trials and tribulations of being little cogs in the grand machine of an evil organisation.  While many games focus on gaining power and overcoming foes, this game takes a slightly different approach.

You can play the game any way you want to, but we envisage Henchmen being played in two ways, the ‘day in the life’ tribulations of an expendable goon squad, or as a long ‘Villains Journey’ campaign. For the latter, we have outlined a ‘development arc’ of significant milestones, linked to each character’s personal journey from nobody to nightmare.

Unlike more ‘heroic’ games, Henchmen is not predicated on PCs succeeding on their various errands and missions.  Success might be achieved of course, but often failure, disaster and doom must be coped with, blame must be deflected and whatever credit is left must be seized.

The Evil Organisation is a unique Fate Fractal for Henchmen, with its own aspects, skills, Fate points and perks.  You might even think of the PCs as its stress boxes, since it will expend them to protect itself from consequences.”

Wanna-lancer Reward Levels:

“Recruited to Evil / Master of Evil / Master of Good
Pledge £100 ($129) or £150 ($193) depending on reward level 

Work with our team to design a Henchman/an evil organisation/an opponent for the Henchmen to join our existing examples. Cast yourself, a friend or a favoured character as…

Includes:

  • Credit as a Contributing Designer”

Egg’s Thoughts:

Want to be the villain? This setting is founded to be the stage for that idea as you play the no-goodniks! Canterbury Games Studio is offering several options to create NPCs or an evil organization for their FATE-based setting; so, if creating enemies using FATE is your idea of fun, Canterbury Games has you covered.

 

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

* * * * * *

 

6) IDENTECO Core Rule Book by Humanoid Games
Ends on Thu, September 28 2017 1:00 PM EDT.

“A new cyberpunk-themed tabletop roleplaying game where your identity has become the most valuable commodity on the planet.

IDENTECO

IDENTECO is a game about the struggle to define humanity and retain identity in the highly digital era known as “The Static Age.” Corporations hold more power over the people in the world. They have created ways to monetize and commoditize a person’s identity using massive data farms and social engineering hacks to influence everyday life. Through carefully crafted marketing and slick branding, the Corps don’t force their will onto people, as much as they enforce their worth in people’s minds.

You play a character trying to survive in the Static Age, starting at the bottom and working your way up the social or corporate ladder by any means necessary.

IDENTECO is built on an new, modern D20-based system that emphasizes fast gameplay and rewards social interaction and role playing. Every interaction builds onto the story and the legacy of the characters. The more you play the game, the more you construct your character’s identity, or possibly identities. As the game progresses the thin line between famous and infamous depends solely on who’s watching.

 

​The year is 2099. The world is a much different place.

After a series of devastating terrorist attacks on America’s heartland by an unseen enemy the government was in disarray. The corporations were the only thing left to protect the populace and rebuild society. So they did. Like technocratic gods they rebuilt America™ in their image, and then used new economies of scale and political financial systems to reshape the globe. As a reaction to the attacks, the U.N. created the Centralized Human Identity Program (C.H.I.P.), a sort of universal I.D. program for the world. The C.H.I.P. is implanted in your arm when you are born and is encrypted using your unique DNA sequence. It standardized passports, medical records, employment histories, education records, and much more. It’s a sort of living history, if you will. And Corps have figured out ways to use this information for dubious means.

Now neon-speckled city-states called megaplexes have sprung up around the world. These enormous urban areas have reshaped the landscape, blending tech and corporate culture into shiny playgrounds for consumers and industries alike. There is a steep divide between the haves and the have-nots; those in the city, and those on the fringe.

Outside the cities, non-CHIPed folk live off what is left in the wasteland areas in between cities. Small settlements and simple cities act as rest stops for weary travelers and nomadic tribes. Out in the wastes, you battle beast and man to live a “free” life away from corporate influence. It’s a simpler, but no less deadly, place.”

Wanna-lancer Reward Levels:

“Pledge $150 OR $250
Entrepreneur OR Greaser

You get to work with the designers to create a custom Corporation OR a custom R.O.V. [Remotely Operated Vehicle] that will appear in the Core Rule Book, plus all the rewards at the Operative level.”

Egg’s Thoughts:

To help establish the feel of this RPG, Humanoid Games produced a prose anthology set in their world (you can check it out on Amazon here). This will give you a better idea of whether this game is for you. For me, post-apocalyptic cyberpunk presented in a variant d20 system with great art and wanna-lancer* options where I get to create a corporation and then fight it in the game has my interest piqued! Bring it on!

 

*Wanna-lancer™ – A gamer that’s pursuing freelance RPG work. Some back RPG Kickstarters that offer rewards to create NPCs, spells, items, adventures, etc. in order to build up their resume, make contact with publishers, and learn what’s expected on assignments.

 

You can see examples of Humanoid Games’ work at Amazon here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

* * * * * *

 

5) Westbound: Revolvers and Rituals by Island of Bees 

Because John McGuire has an in-depth review of this campaign on the Tessera Guild, I’m going to link it here and let you absorb his thoughts on it. Steampunk Fridays – Kickstart the Game – Westbound: Revolvers and Rituals

 

* * * * * *

 

4) Alien Bestiary for 5E, Starfinder, and Pathfinder RPG by Legendary Games 
Ends on Sun, October 1 2017 12:59 AM EDT.

“A massive tome of nearly 300 out-of-this-world creatures for 5E, Starfinder, and Pathfinder sci-fi and space adventures!

In space, maybe no one else can hear you scream, but those cries of terror are music to the GM’s ears. While there are monster books aplenty for fantasy games, there has never been a truly encyclopedic tome of terrors from beyond the stars… until now!

Cover image is a placeholder. The final cover piece is out of this world!
Cover image is a placeholder. The final cover piece is out of this world!

The Alien Bestiary brings you hundreds of monsters for your space and sci-fi game, whether you play with the brand-new Starfinder Roleplaying Game or the 5th Edition of the world’s most famous RPG!

In addition, by popular demand we have added the Alien Bestiary Companion for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, which is now available to bring all of our awesome new monsters and your favorites from our More Monsters polls together, with an appendix guiding you to other awesome extraterrestrials already published in official Pathfinder sources.

The Alien Bestiary is a full-sized, full-color bestiary features at least incredible aliens of every description, from tiny robot walking eyes to Lovecraftian Great Old Ones, from humanoid races both friendly and foul to inhuman abominations from the darkest nebulas. Of course, fans of the star-spanning Legendary Planet saga will recognize the fiendish foes like the savage klaven footsoldiers, sinister jagladine genetic engineers, warmongering bil’djooli shock troopers, and many, many more!

Bil'djooli Shock Trooper, by Lance Red
Bil’djooli Shock Trooper, by Lance Red

In addition, as part of our continued partnership with Robert Brookes and the gang at Encounter Table Publishing, fans of the awe-inspiring Aethera Campaign Setting will also find more exciting additions to their spacefaring saga, from the invading taur and aether-touched infused to the organic symbionts, living machine phalanx, and, of course, the magnificently malevolent kytons!

That promise of 200 pages of marvelous monsters is just the starting point. As our Kickstarter goes along, we’ll be adding tons of terrific space-dwelling monsters from across the fantasy/sci-fi legendarium, from insidious intellect devourers and aboleth to parasitic viper vines, brain-eating neh-thalggu, space-warping hounds of Tindalos, murderous gugs, lethal lunarmas, a regiment of robots, and spectacular star-soaring solar dragons! Best of all, when you back this project YOU get to help decide which monsters make the cut! Vote early and often for your favorite featured creatures as we keep adding more and more to this beautiful book!”

Solar Dragon by Tanyaporn Sangsnit
Solar Dragon by Tanyaporn Sangsnit

Wanna-lancer Reward Add-ons:

Xenobiologist: Add $150 to select an existing monster from any published source; your monster automatically gets added to the Alien Bestiary and converted for Starfinder and 5th Edition rules. We can’t duplicate creatures from non-OGL sources, like 2nd Edition space-fantasy games involving a Jammer of Spells, but we’ll work with you to create something awesome and evocative of the original! Your pledge includes a beautiful illustration to accompany whatever you create, and you’ll be listed in that compendium’s credits as a Xenobiologist and you’ll receive a high-res PDF (and high-quality print along with a print order) of your sponsored creature!

Join the Space Program: Add $200 to submit a Starfinder or 5th Edition character for one of the races in the Alien Codex (or any of the standard Starfinder RPG races)! Your character will be included as one of the standard NPCs for your chosen race, and your character will be beautifully illustrated. You’ll be listed in the credits as a Astronaut Adventurer and you’ll receive a high-res PDF (and high-quality print along with a print order) of your sponsored illustration!

It Came from Outer Space! Add $300 to help design a new monster for inclusion in the Alien Bestiary! Your name will be listed in the final compilation as a Space Spawner and you’ll receive a high-res PDF (and high-quality print along with a print order) of the monster you create!”

Ysoki Rogue by Arrahman Rendi

Egg’s Thoughts:

Monsters for 5e, Pathfinder, or Starfinder, and you can create a monster for it, and they have art like the Solar Dragon… I know my level of interest is through the roof! I believe that this does not need any more selling, you know if you need this in your library or not so here’s the link.

 

You can see examples of Legendary Games work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

* * * * * *

 

3) SideQuests II: More Easy Adventure Modules for 5E DnD by Dominic M.
Ends on Sun, October 1 2017 5:02 PM EDT.

“Another collection of one-shot 5E Dungeons & Dragons adventures, designed to easily implement into your campaign setting.

SideQuests are back!

SideQuests are a collection of short adventures designed for Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons. These one-shot style campaigns are designed to be compelling standalone stories that can be implemented, played through, and completed in just a few sessions. Whether you’re using them as a filler adventure between your own major story arcs, as one-offs to play with people unfamiliar to D&D, or just because you forgot to plan your next session, the second edition of SideQuests aims to be even more invaluable tools for your DM toolbox.

SideQuests II: The Covers
SideQuests II: The Covers

Each campaign comes with a variety of customization features: Adventure Hooks and Epilogues — so you can naturally ease your players in and out of each and every quest. SideQuests are designed to work in tandem with your own campaigns, so you can easily substitute anything within the modules for your own original content. Each volume also comes with a variety of role-playing, puzzle, looting, and combat scenarios, so players will enjoy them no matter what they personally value in a roleplaying adventure.

Every adventure module comes as a full-colour, beautifully designed PDF, as well as a more minimal print version: So you can either print the modules off, or run them digitally straight off of your laptop or tablet. Every module features stunning design, original artwork, and gorgeous photography.”

 

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

* * * * * *

 

2) Dungeons & Dragons 5E Module: Secrets of Oyster Cove by Ramen Sandwich Press
Ends on Sun, October 1 2017 8:34 PM EDT.

“Places by the Way #3: Secrets of Oyster Cove is a short location module for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition.

Welcome to Ramen Sandwich Press’ third Kickstarter campaign in support of Places by the Way. This campaign offers one last chance to pre-order copies of the Limited Edition of Places by the Way #3: Secrets of Oyster Cove.

Secrets of Oyster Cove

Places by the Way

For those of you who missed our first two campaigns, Places by the Way is a series of short modules that I’m creating for use with Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. They work fine as short stand-alone adventures, but each Places by the Way module is meant to be a kit for creating a memorable interlude in a larger campaign. Each entry in the series consists of two versions sold separately but similar in content. One version is set in the Forgotten Realms, so Ramen Sandwich Press sells it exclusively through Dungeon Masters Guild. The other version assumes a generic setting and complies with WotC’s Open Game License. It’s available through DriveThru RPG, RPGNow and Dungeon Masters Guild, and a print version is available through Amazon and other online outlets.”

 

You can see examples of Ramen Sandwich Press work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

* * * * * *

 

1) Artifices of Quartztoil Tower – 5E Adventure – Only $10! by Nord Games 
Ends on Wed, October 4 2017 12:00 AM EDT.

“An exciting 3-5 session adventure playable at any level for use as a side quest or part of a main storyline!

A town is beset by incursions from strange creatures; constructs of metal, magic, and old bones. All signs point to the mysterious Quartztoil Tower, standing tall over the mountains to the north, and thought long abandoned. Rumors of the magical secrets contained within have not gone unnoticed, however, and others are drawn to the tower by dark dreams, and darker voices…

Book Specs

Page Count: 50-60
Color: Full Color
Binding: Perfect Bound Softcover
Paper: Glossy”

 

You can see examples of Nord Games work at DMsGuild  here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

* * * * * *

 

Egg’s Thoughts for SideQuests II, Secrets of Oyster Cove, and Artifices of Quartztoil Tower:

SideQuests and Secrets of Oyster Cove and Artifices of Quartztoil Tower are one-shot modules for 5e. They’re meant to be insert adventures between a larger campaign. They all have a great deal to offer and could fill a hole in your campaign or, collectively, be your campaign.

I want to draw attention to Artifices of Quartztoil Tower because the art is amazing and Nord Games has produced some outstanding products. Top that off with a $10 price tag and it’s a winner!

 

* * * * * *

 

Signal Boost:

Robert Asprin’s The Cold Cash War – A role playing game setting, for the Savage Worlds and Cepheus System, based on Robert Asprin’s The Cold Cash War. From Battlefield Press International

 

* * * * * *

 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links to DriveThruRPG.com.

Savage Worlds: Fast, Furious, and Fun! - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com

 

* * * * * *

 

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

Interested in being a wanna-lancer? Start with the official Wanna-lancer Checklist t-shirt orwall clock or ice tea glass!

* * * * * *

Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. His purchases have been published by:

Want your RPG Kickstarter reviewed? Have some RPG wanna-lancer thoughts to share? Contact me here or on Facebook (Egg Embry) or on Google Plus (+Egg Embry).

Steampunk Fridays – Kickstart the Game – Westbound: Revolvers and Rituals

Check out John McGuire’s The Gilded Age steampunk graphic novel on Kickstarter!

Magic and technology colliding… that’s what we’re talking about here. An untamed wild where anything can be done and the only person stopping you from living your dreams is you. Take that smoke wagon from its holster and fire again and again on your orcish enemies. Dodge dragon fire while riding on horseback.

I mean, that’s what being in the Weird West is all about!

***

Westbound: Revolvers and Rituals

From Island of Bees

Kickstarter campaign ends on Friday, September 29, 2017, at 1:59 AM EDT.

***

The Pitch

Westbound is a game of adventure on the frontier. You’ll explore the magical wild west, encounter other frontiersmen, fight strange new creatures, and strike gold or die trying. Robbing trains, shooting up saloons, and rescuing damsels is all apart of a days work for a Westbounder.

When the soil’s turned sour,

And the well all dried up.

When men in suits put a gun in your hand

And send you to war.

When there’s nothing left of your home,

But ash and regret.

It’s time to turn Westbound.

The Game

This Kickstarter is for the full version of the game, but they did put a free Basic version and a Quickstart adventure to “try before you back”. In addition, there are also a handful of videos to help walk through some of the basics.

Reading through those Quickstart Rules, the big idea here is that there aren’t any dice, but instead it uses a deck of 52 cards to help define your character. But more than that, it appears to combine some aspects of collectible card games in that “The Deck is Your Stamina”. As such, it appears that as you make your way through the day there is a tangible and very visual way to determine not only your health but the potential strength of a character through simple current deck sizing.

The free adventure, Triumph at Saint Kiaro is worth checking out as well. Not only does it provide some visuals as far as how the decks are laid out, but there are premade characters to let you jump right into things.

Final Verdict

Westbound is definitely a game that falls more within the Weird West genre than all the way in the Steampunk one, but, as with many things, I believe those aspects play off of each other fairly well. I love the fact that not only is there a Quickstart Guide available, but there is also a scenario to play through so you can really take the game out for a test spin.

One interesting idea with using a deck of cards as both your stamina and how you do checks is that as you proceed through the day, it might make sense not to take a rest if you have a bunch of higher value cards left in the deck (you wouldn’t want those lower tier cards suddenly showing back up in the deck). While there is some level of randomization even with what can get shuffled back into the deck, this creates a different sort of strain on your character – something not really available in dice games.

This is one of those games I’d like to play in person. The decks of cards make good reminders, plus I can see where if you were to do a campaign, you might have a specific “special” deck for each one (character accessories are always fun). Some of the stretch goals seem to lend themselves to this very idea.

***

For more information on Westbound: Revolvers and Rituals check them out here.

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. Want to read the first issue for free? Click here! Already read it and eager for more?

Click here to join John’s mailing list to learn about the upcoming The Gilded Age Kickstarter.

His prose appears in The Dark That FollowsTheft & TherapyThere’s Something About MacHollow EmpireBeyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

Dragon Con 2017 Recap

Dragon Con always feels a bit like coming home. Even when the numbers of attendees keep going up and up, even when more hotels are added, and even when we take over more and more of downtown, there is just something about Dragon Con that makes it feel different. Long before Georgia became Hollywood South, this was the place for those actors on the shows and movies we all loved would come by for a visit. They would gather us all around and tell their stories to all who would listen.

And for a little while, the gulf between our lives and their lives disappeared.

I hadn’t thought about it much before Friday night, but I’ve been coming to Dragon Con since 1993 when Chad Shonk’s father dropped us off at the entrance to the hotel and we made our way to see Todd McFarlane.

I still have my signed Amazing Spider-Man 300.

It was my first convention. Heck, it was pretty much my first idea that such things even existed. You mean creators of the Funny Books I love to read are coming to my town? I’m sold.

About 10 years ago I convinced my wife to come to Dragon Con for a day. Serenity either had just come out or was coming out, so virtually the entire cast was going to be there. She went, had a great time, and while it took a couple of years before she would be a regular, it has become our little vacation in the city for Labor Day Weekend.

2017

My big take aways for this year were:

  • Standing in lines is not a lot of fun.
  • Standing in lines and not getting into the panel you wanted is really no fun.
  • Being in the overflow room for a panel and then having the feed cut out is just right out.
  • Avoid the dealer’s room on Saturday if at all possible.
  • There are a lot of people in Downtown Atlanta on Labor Day weekend!
  • It never gets old to see the people coming in for the Chic-fil-a Kickoff Classic (college football game for those who don’t know) have confused looks on their faces at the various costumes running around.
  • The costumes continue to impress me year after year. I stand in awe to those people’s dedication to their craft.
  • I love listening to the actors when they are passionate about their work.
  • Catching up with friends might be the single best part.

This year took a different turn when the day before we were to go downtown, Courtney found a hotel room available within 2 blocks of the Hyatt. And we could get it for only Friday and Saturday night. Since we normally don’t go down until Friday and almost never go on Monday, this worked out perfectly.

Throughout the course of the weekend, we’re always amazed at the level of costumes and the creativity everyone has. Whether it is the Zoltar machine from the movie BIG to a robot controlled Stewie from Family Guy, people continue to push the boundaries for the next cool thing. Which is awesome to see, even if I don’t envy the amount of time it might take them to create.

Friday

Somehow on Friday morning, even after getting there at 9:30 for a 10:00 panel, we were forced to the overflow for Nathan Fillion. No biggie. He’s honestly entertaining enough that after a few minutes I mostly forgot he wasn’t in the room… until the Feed cut out for about 10 minutes, and then when they got the audio back, it was probably another 5 before we got the visual. Not anything crushing, but not the way we want to start things off. After seeing him, I realized we’re not doing our due diligence having not seen Con Men (though it was on this weekend, so I have them recorded).

After an aborted attempt to see Wallace Shawn (Inconceivable!) and a decision not to try to fight my way into the Stan Lee panel (they started lining up 2+ hours early), we decided to venture over to the dealer’s room in an attempt to see the wares before the craziness of the weekend really kicked into gear. Last year there was a line to get in by about 2:30, so we made sure we showed up closer to when it opened at 1.

Here’s the thing about the Dealer’s room that I’ll never understand: why is it people stand in the middle of the aisles and talk to each other? I don’t mean the “hey, let’s go this way” but full conversations. Given how packed the room gets, I’d think you’d want to do such things in an area where you wouldn’t be obstructing traffic.

While Friday’s trip was more about identifying potential buys on Sunday, Egg had put me on the look out for Kevin Hearne‘s Iron Druid Chronicles which my wife pointed out after about 2 minutes in the room. I ended up speaking with Kevin for a few minutes and grabbed a couple of copies of the comic.

The final panel attempt on Friday was one for the Gilmore Girls featuring Sean Gunn. Apparently, a room which holds 350 people is not enough by about 50 people and superfan that my wife is – was shut out.

I feel like this is the second time we’ve missed out on a Gilmore Girls/Sean Gunn panel… but maybe it’s just a false feeling of Deja vu?

We dropped in on TesseraGuild’s own Amanda Makepeace (and daughter) who was busy holding down her table in the art area. Prints were flying off her table and, spoiler alert, she ended up winning the “Best Space Scene” at the Dragon Con Art Show!

War for Jupiter

Saturday

Waking up on Saturday with an extra hour of sleep (due to not having to drive into downtown) was nice. I also realized that the 10 AM panels don’t necessarily fill up (unless you’re Nathan Fillion, I guess). There was no line, the Con could let you right into the room.

John Cusack was interesting as he’d never been to Dragon Con before, but he also wasn’t there to actively promote a project. So it really became a series of questions from the audience about all of his movies. I wasn’t sure if he just wasn’t as comfortable in such a setting or what. You could tell when he was really engaged with a question based solely on the length of his responses. Possibly because he’d answered the question a million time previously, some of his answers ended up being slightly longer Yes/No responses.

Though, I don’t want it to seem like it was a bad panel, far from it. Just that many times on these type question/answer sessions the worry is always “how many questions can we get them to answer?” and this was a bit more like “I’m going to get through all the questions.”

The highlight question was:

“Do you ever get stopped in real life by someone who wants 2 dollars?”

A laugh. “Every day… every day.”

The Flash panel reminded me that it is beyond cool that John Wesley Shipp is a part of the cast. To have that link to the old show and to see how much he respects these actors and the work they put in… it’s amazing. Danielle Panabaker was definitely the star of the panel as the majority of the questions went to her (many with the questions centered around her Killer Frost alter-ego).

The highlight of the evening was supposed to be The Barrowman Show. As soon as we saw such a thing existed we were set ongoing. Apparently, everyone else at Dragon Con had the same idea and it filled up completely. I can only imagine the craziness that went on behind closed doors.

Sunday

On Sunday, we began with another DC Universe panel: Arrow.

One thing about the highly entertaining Arrow panel or as it came to be called: Game of Arrow. Thea (Willa Holland) was/is clearly obsessed with the show. She had theories, she had thoughts about the end of the season. It was hilarious how she’d get going on a rant before the moderator tried to steer things back to Arrow. And then one of the others would push her to keep talking about it.

She says she wants to guest on a podcast to talk about it. I think you could do far worse than her. Plus she clearly knows her stuff. At the very least she’d bring a passion about the show!

Then it was onto a fan run panel about LEGION. If you haven’t seen the show, you can check out my review here. Lots of theories and thoughts were thrown out. I even supplied my own thoughts about the show – how maybe the reason we’re not sure of when exactly takes place is that just like any memories you have – we’re always wrong about when they take place. I mean, how many times have you thought a movie was only 5 years old when it came out over a decade ago?

In what has become a staple at Dragon Con over the last few years, I end up closing out things in the Venture Bros panel. Regardless of whether the show has a season ongoing or about to come out or nowhere near debuting… things are going to be funny and weird. This year the panel was made up of many of the voices from the show (including Dr. Venture and Wide Whale). Sadly, Doc Hammer and Jackson Public weren’t able to be there – apparently hard at work on the next season!

So I suppose I forgive them.

They showed off a book of artwork, sketches, character designs, etc. coming out in late Fall from Dark Horse which looked very cool (and something I need to add to the old wishlist). The trailer is here.

We capped off the evening with dinner with a couple of friends where we occupied that poor server’s table for far too long, but it had been far too long since we’d seen John and Jeane, so we didn’t have much of a choice!

I also attended a writing workshop session (as well as another writing related panel – at this point I couldn’t tell you what days they were actually held!) run by Michael Stackpole: 21 Days to a Novel. I still need to transcribe my notes, but I’m interested in giving the technique a proper try on my next project.

As we made our drive back, a little of the con depression began to creep in, but considering my month of Gen Con and then this convention that might have been exhaustion more than anything else.

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. Want to read the first issue for free? Click here! Already read it and eager for more?

Click here to join John’s mailing list to learn about the upcoming The Gilded Age Kickstarter.

His prose appears in The Dark That FollowsTheft & TherapyThere’s Something About MacHollow EmpireBeyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

 

4 RPG Kickstarters You Should Back – Sins, Vanagard, Pythos, and Vasty Wilds

This week I look at RPG Kickstarters for two narrative/storytelling games, two games featuring anthropomorphic animals, one high fantasy game, and one game called SINS and in my mind, those numbers total four games. Let’s count’em down!

 

4) Vanagard by Pendelhaven
Ends on Thu, September 14 2017 6:16 AM EDT.

“Vanagard is a collaborative table-top story telling game.

 

When the world was young, the Vanir gods explored the world tree and established their home in Vanagard. Freya, goddess of life and death gave birth to her Vanfolk- anthropomorphic animals with amazing talents and unbridled curiosity.

The Vanfolk come in many forms: wolves, bears, ravens, rabbits, among many other shapes and sizes. Their home is known as Phantom-Wood and many memorable stories can be forged within this mystical glade.

More often then not, Vanfolk curiosity and wanderlust lure them beyond the boundaries of their home. As they explore the world tree Yggdrasil, adventure is sure to find them.

When faced with challenges, the Vanfolk collaborate in order to persevere. Their teamwork forges their legacy as one of the most amazing creatures to inhabit this brave new world.

To get more of an idea of the possible stories, you can visit: Vanagard Stories

Vanagard is a collaborative story telling game that utilizes some role-playing and board-game elements. At its core, it’s a game of exploration, teamwork and adventure.

2-6 players will take turns revealing story cards and weaving a continuous story that will take their Vanfolk on an unforgettable adventure. While one player weaves a tale inspired by the story card, the others will play their Vanfolk, overcoming the challenges presented. Each player at the table will get a chance to reveal a story card and will get to spin their portion of the story. If you like the stories of Narnia and Red Wall, this game is for you.

The simple core mechanics ensure that Vanagard is playable by a wide range of player, from age 7 to 77. There are 6 talents in the game, and they appear on both Nature cards and Talent cards. These talents are used to overcome the challenges presented in the scene. Runes are drawn to set type and difficulty of the challenge.

Players may create their Vanfolk characters as they play, ensuring that you can jump right into the action from the moment you open up the box.

EXTEND the game with new card decks. As the Vanfolk increase their level, add-on decks present a natural evolution to the rules. These add-on decks include magic items (relics), spells, profession cards and other goodies that evolve the Vanfolk as they embark on a series of adventures.

Add-on decks will also include new tools for the story-teller, in the form of challenge decks, story plots and many more interesting features. All of these are optional add-ons allowing you to tailor the game experience to your personal taste.

You can check out an example of BETA play on our youtube channel: Example Play and Kids at Play

We will be uploading more videos during the kickstarter, so stay tuned!”

Egg’s Thoughts:

The art is fully human-anthropomorphic Watership Down featuring beasts facing the end times; their mission would be called a forlorn hope, but there is no hope – That’s the art. The game’s synopsis is not that dark, but these creatures rendered with thousand-yard stares evoke a world that has seen too much and is hurling toward its conclusion. There is pain and a tone that screams keep it serious and meaningful at the table and tell stories with gravity and that’s what Vanagard is, a collaborative storytelling game with elements of RPG and board games. As a system, it’s the gaming smorgasbord. As a setting, I’d love to tell tales that compliment the art.

 

You can see examples of Pendelhaven work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

* * * * * *

 

3) Pythos Tabletop RPG by Star Lit Games
Ends on Fri, September 15 2017 10:00 PM EDT.

“Simultaneous action combat in a world of mythological fantasy, inspired by ancient myths and cultures from around the world.

Playtester Praise:

“I loved the ease of the system. Simple to pick up and use.”

“Straight forward and nicely balanced in complexity.”

“Really fun and unique.”

“Very simple and adaptable.”

“Great for a beginner to acclimate to a gaming system.”

“Having combat phases execute simultaneously lends itself to significantly more cerebral, methodical pace-making decisions; and larger, long-term plans are rewarded over spontaneous decisions.”

“Removes the ‘What is the optimal move?’ discussion from the table”

(On the topic of running combat) “It is very simple and straightforward to run. I was thinking ‘There’s got to be more to this.’ It is surprisingly easy.”

Pythòs is a high-magic fantasy campaign setting, but one shrouded in a mysterious veil of powers beyond mortal control. Gods are most certainly real, but their powers are limited and their ways unknown. Very few mortals can grasp their intentions, but everyone has their own beliefs. The practice of every form of worship (or lack thereof) can likely be found somewhere.

Even more terrifying than the gods, titans of colossal size and enormous power have existed since before the first dawn on Pythòs, longer even than the gods themselves. Many believe them to be physical embodiments of the forces of nature; their immense presence is only ever felt when they awaken from slumber for short periods of seemingly mindless destruction.

The people of Pythòs, referred to as mortals, are as diverse as the people of Earth. Mortals vary in size, features, skin color, temperament, and ideals; even more so with the existence of magic and mysterious heritages. There also exists vast cultural and technological diversity, with only a couple civilizations having discovered the strength of steel, while others having not yet realized the utility of iron or even bronze.

Much of this world was inspired by mythologies and ancient cultures on Earth. Some names of locations, peoples, monsters, gods, and titans can be easily recognized by those with an eye for history and culture, while other influences are more subtle. The result of this melting pot of ideas is a unique world where many mythologies come together to bring out fantastic stories of heroes and legends, war and magic, terrible devastations and glorious triumphs.”

Pythos Worldmap by Cornelia Yoder, http://www.corneliayoder.com
Pythos Worldmap by Cornelia Yoder, http://www.corneliayoder.com

Wanna-lancer™ Reward:

“Pledge $500 or more

Legendary Hero

Contribute a legendary character to the Pythòs core book (see the full description in the “Rewards” section of the story for details), and everything included at the “Virtual Pythos with the Creator” level.

Includes:

  • Contribute a Legendary Character to the Core Book
  • Play Pythos with the Creator Online
  • Pythos Core Book
  • Set of Action Cards
  • Set of Maneuver Cards
  • Everything in the “PDF Package”

Egg’s Thoughts:

Pythos is a high fantasy setting and a new system that features simultaneous action combat. If you’re curious about the mechanics, they have a video on the Kickstarter that explains how they address action. If their system interests you, they have a wanna-lancer* pledge level that allows you to leave an impression on the game by creating a legendary character for the core rulebook.

 

*Wanna-lancer™ – A gamer that’s pursuing freelance RPG work. Some back RPG Kickstarters that offer rewards to create NPCs, spells, items, adventures, etc. in order to build up their resume, make contact with publishers, and learn what’s expected on assignments.

 

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

* * * * * *

 

2) Vasty Wilds: The Card-Based Board Game by Chuck Stover 
Ends on Mon, September 18 2017 12:06 AM EDT.

“A card-based board game for 2-4 players aged 12+. Expand the forest to gain progress and to bring misfortune for your opponent.

“One day, the Humans had tormented the Earth until it could take no more, and the Humans ended. Then the Voles created their civilization and disturbed the smaller things of the Earth until the Voles ended as well. Now the tiny creatures of the forest compete to find the artifacts and knowledge left by the fallen empires so that they too can mess it all up in their turn.”

In Vasty Wilds, players take on the role of a small forest creature chasing after objectives in an ever-expanding forest. The player who collects all her goals first wins! The variable setup of each game means the shape of the forest (the board) will be different with each playthrough.”

Clockwise: An arboreal squid, a confused messenger, and a brush quagga
Clockwise: An arboreal squid, a confused messenger, and a brush quagga

Egg’s Thoughts:

Not a role-playing game or a wanna-lancer opportunity, instead I am reviewing Vasty Wilds because the art made me stop and stare. It has shades of Mouse Guard in its subject matter and palette. I’m a fan that owns the Mouse Guard comics and RPG so when I say that Chuck Stover’s art reminds me of the work by his fellow Michigander, David Peterson, I mean it as a compliment.

The art is enough to make me curious about this card/board game and I may buy it just to look at the check out the pretty pictures. If you love anthropomorphic animals and great art, click the link to the campaign.

Oh… and this art…

Flying squirrel with a fork. Victory!!!!!

 

 

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

* * * * * *

 

1) SINS – The Roleplaying Game by Paul Moore
Ends on Tue, September 19 2017 7:40 AM EDT.

SINS

“A narrative-driven tabletop Roleplaying game focused on telling the stories of powerful beings known as Nemissaries in a dying world.

At its heart, SINS is a narrative role-playing game, specifically focused on telling the stories of powerful entities known as Nemissaries – reborn individuals back from the dead with a wealth of mysterious powers, who have risen once more to fight an eldritch hive-mind of the undying, known as the Brood, in the post-apocalyptic ruins of a 22nd Century Earth.

For all its high-octane combat and supernatural forces, SINS is a cinematic game about choice, morality and the consequences which come from wielding great and terrible power in a world desperate for heroes and leaders. It’s also about embarking on life-changing adventures, battling supernatural horrors, and often, simply surviving life in an unforgiving world fraught with danger, where even the Nemissaries’ great powers won’t necessarily protect them.”

SINS

Wanna-lancer™ Reward:

“Pledge £150 or more
About $193

SINS – Shardwalker

– The opportunity to liaison and work directly with our writers to have an appropriated character of your own design put into our next book and first supplement – SINS: Manifest Destiny – as a Major NPC. This character will be worked into the lore of the SINS world, and fully illustrated in the book by our artist Will Kirkby. You will also receive a print of the original artwork.
– The opportunity to have one of our writers GM a session of SINS for you. We will liason directly with you to make travel and hosting arrangements for the game. Subject to travel costs and location.
– And more.”

Egg’s Thoughts:

SINS is a narrative game set in the post-apocalypse that features great art – that skull art is tattoo-tastic – and a wanna-lancer opportunity. Your character can appear in the book as drawn by Will Kirkby. If I backed this one, I’d have to tell the story of that skull.

 

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

* * * * * *

 

Signal Boost:

Modern Adventures Tabletop RPG – Take up sword and gun to seek fame and fortune in this gritty fantasy game set in modern-day Earth. For the Pathfinder RPG system. From Higher Grounds Publishing.

 

Jump in your Starfighter for Era: Balam – A Project Of Earth – Explore a solar system and defend Humanity from an alien fleet! Era: Balam runs on your choice of Era d10, FATE or Savage Worlds! From Shades of Vengeance.

 

Robert Asprin’s The Cold Cash War – A role playing game setting, for the Savage Worlds and Cepheus System, based on Robert Asprin’s The Cold Cash War. From Battlefield Press, Inc.

 

* * * * * *

 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links to DriveThruRPG.com.

Savage Worlds: Fast, Furious, and Fun! - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com

 

* * * * * *

 

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

Interested in being a wanna-lancer? Start with the official Wanna-lancer Checklist t-shirt orwall clock or ice tea glass!

* * * * * *

Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. His purchases have been published by:

Want your RPG Kickstarter reviewed? Have some RPG wanna-lancer thoughts to share? Contact me here or on Facebook (Egg Embry) or on Google Plus (+Egg Embry).

 

 

 

 

Gen Con 2017 Recap – Part Two

You can read Part One Here.

Day 1 Continued

The thing no one realizes is that navigating the Dealer’s Room requires a commitment of time. As it turned out, we had about an hour and a half before the room closed on the day. The goal became see as much as possible while also visiting with some contacts and old friends.

While not the largest Dealers’ Room I’ve been in (New York Comic Con takes that prize), Gen Con doesn’t short change you on the options. Who knew there were so many board, roleplaying, and card games being developed and played?

We immediately ran into David Rodriguez, of Skylanders, Destiny, IDW’s First Strike comic series, and about a billion other things that I’m forgetting right now. I met David many years ago (through Egg) when we roomed together at Chicago Comic Con. It’s always nice to see the successes he’s had over the years, and it led to one of my favorite conversations ever:

Egg – So what are you working on these days?

David – Destiny.

Egg – … um, what’s Destiny?

Yes, Egg doesn’t know what Destiny is. I thought we were going to have to pull David off of him. Luckily, calmer minds prevailed.

After our examining of 5% of the Dealer’s Room, it was on to the game library inside of Lucas Oil Stadium. I’m not sure I’m ever going to be in Indianapolis for a football game, so it was cool to be on the field in an empty stadium.

The Game Library was pretty extensive. So extensive that after our failed attempt to play Arkham House (I’d suggest if you are going to play really complicated games that you get someone who has played the game previously to be around to assist). As it was we spent over an hour setting the game up, played a bit, realized we were playing wrong, still couldn’t figure out how the good guys might end up winning, and put the game away.

At this point, we were saved from our own indecision by Ben. Ben was just looking to game and luckily had bought a copy of Hero Realms earlier that day. It was a fun game (I ended up winning our 4 player game). Pretty easy to teach the rules, and seemed like it had a fair amount of replay value. After the game, though, it was nearly 2 in the morning and time to get back to the hotel and catch some sleep.

Day 2

Friday was a tale of 2 different games: Call of Cthulhu and Tales from the Loop.

Call of Cthulhu is one of those games I often read about. People love Lovecraft and to hear it spoken about in such high regard made it one of those games we had to check out. It also helped that Danny O’Neil was our GM for the session (this was just Egg, Lee, and myself). Egg had contributed to the Dread House Kickstarter, so we were interested to see how it played. Luckily the scenario wasn’t the one he wrote for.

It felt like CoC was very much a Roleplaying game vs. a Roll-playing game. Yes, there are dice rolls, but much of the beginning session was spent gathering clues, talking to NPCs, and interacting in character with each other. When the weirdness began and Sanity checks were called for, it was almost more fun when you failed a check. What did that mean for your character? How would you react to the next bit of oddness? And would you have anything left when it was finished (my character’s answer was a NO, as he failed nearly all of his checks)?

I had a great time. Danny was an excellent GM. It would definitely end up as one I’d like to play again next year.

Tales from the Loop was the second game we played. It was just Lee and I as Egg was the Ebay high bid to be the guest of Cubicle 7 at the Ennies. And from what I understand, he had a great time. But I still feel a little bad for him, because after playing Tales from the Loop we proceeded to talk about it for the rest of the weekend.

There is a reason it won Game of the Year.

I want to write more about it, so I’m not going to go into a ton of detail about the session (in a forthcoming post). What I will say is that all those 80’s kids movies where all sorts of crazy nonsense seem to happen when the parents are away: Goonies, Explorers, Monster Squad, etc., well, that’s what this game is. It takes the best of that genre and lets you play as a kid.

Do yourself a favor and check out the game.

Day 3

Lesson Learned from Gen Con: don’t schedule things at 8 in the morning. That is waaaaay too early. You will skip it.

So it was that Mouse Guard was our first session. I really like the comics, so I was interested to see how the system worked. The basic setup was our group of Mouse Guard needed to find a snake’s nest and deal with the eggs we found there. Using pre-gens, each character had a few roleplaying style traits that they could appeal to during the course of play. Say that you often put other’s needs above your own – you might get a bonus dice to help with that particular skill check. In addition, if someone wanted to assist another character with a check, they could as long as they were willing to accept a condition (tired, injured, etc.) if the roll backfired.

The bigger question I had about the system was more that one of your Skills was your Mouse Nature. You could use this skill when nothing else seemed to fit (or pretty much whenever it might make sense – which could be nearly every time you checked something). As my character’s Nature was probably his best stat, I wasn’t so sure why I would ever use anything else. Perhaps it works itself out in longer campaigns?

The final Boss battle was very different. Basically, you could choose one of 4 different tactics (Defense, Feint, Attack, and Maneuver) as did the GM and then one by one you would almost play a game of Paper Rock Scissors where however the cards came up different things happened. In the end, the Guard was trying to reduce the enemy to 0 before they were reduced to 0 (this was a team determined score). A very interesting idea, but for some of the characters, there wasn’t much to decide. If you were primarily a defensive character, you should probably go with your strengths, but this would leave your combat turns more or less the same. Again, in a longer campaign, I could see a metagame forming as the DM tries to anticipate your moves based off previous battles.

The evening saw us play 7th Sea. Egg and I had supported the 2nd edition Kickstarter and now have more pdfs than I could read in a hundred lifetimes (seriously, it is the gift that keeps on giving). In regards to the session itself…

The successes (known as Raises) work well enough, but my problem is things don’t always feel balanced. The number of Raises you get basically helps to determine the number of things you can accomplish in a round (# of actions you get). Multiple times I saw people get 5 and 6 Raises to my 2 or 3, which meant that they were getting to just do more things. Over a short combat this is less of an issue, but as the rounds increase, the difference of 2 additional “things” means one of the players just isn’t able to do as much.

So while the over the top play was fun, the actual rules didn’t sit well with me.

Day 4

Did I mention not to schedule things at 8 AM?

In the morning.

When you should be sleeping?

Because we didn’t make that session either.

Since this was get-away day, we tried to do the remainder of the Dealer’s Room (you know, that last 95%). I’m proud to say that I think I saw nearly everything, even if it was a drive-by. One of the stand-outs was Shadows of Esteren, a series of RPG books that I nearly bought just to look at the beautiful artwork. It’s definitely one I’m going to keep my eye on for possibly adding to my pdf collection.

As to purchases, I did get a copy of Tales from the Loop (I told you I really liked the game) and a card game called Brass Empire (go figure a Steampunk game MIGHT appeal to me). Still, haven’t busted either of them out to play, but I’m looking forward to doing so.

Wrap Up

Would I go back? Absolutely.There are so many things that I would have liked to do. I’d never roleplayed at a convention before, so this was an eye-opening experience to that. There were tons of games and systems I would have liked to

There are so many things that I would have liked to do. I’d never roleplayed at a convention before, so this was an eye-opening experience to that. There were tons of games and systems I would have liked to play, so those would go to the top of the list.

So did the Convention live up to what I had in my head? Yes and then some.

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. Want to read the first issue for free? Click here! Already read it and eager for more?

Click here to join John’s mailing list to learn about the upcoming The Gilded Age Kickstarter.

His prose appears in The Dark That FollowsTheft & TherapyThere’s Something About MacHollow EmpireBeyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

 

3 RPG Kickstarters You Should Back – City of Seven Seraphs, Quests of Doom 4, and Gauntlets & Goblins

This week, I look at three amazing RPG Kickstarters. One for kids, one for 5e, and one with vibrant art that fits the angelic theme. Let’s count them down.

 

3) Gauntlets & Goblins by Ian Gibson
Ends on Saturday, September 9 2017 8:18 AM EDT.

“A Role-playing game for adults to play with kids. Simple and engaging.

Gauntlets & Goblins is the result of my nephew’s desire to play the kind of games that mommy, daddy, and his uncle played. I took the concepts of conventional RPGs and boiled them down to the absolute simplest form. As a result, G&G has all the essence of a full fledged experience in a package that a six year old can understand.

Gameplay: We use cards and symbols to make the game as manageable as possible for young players. Dice mechanics are simple, roll a set amount and count your successes. Spellcasting is a breeze with easy to grasp, conceptual spells like fly, enlarge, or disguise. Combat is engaging and exciting, but not overly threatening. If you run out of heart cards, you just fall down until it’s over.

Game will contain:

  • Four character classes, warrior, thief, mage, and cleric. Each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
  • Equipment cards of three quality levels. Swords, spell books, holy symbols and more.
  • Magic item cards to enhance your adventuring experience.
  • Spell cards that grant you magic that can be used as much as you like.

Try the playtest now! www.gauntletsandgoblins.com

Wanna-lancer™ Reward:

“Pledge $200 or more

Glittering Gold

You will work with us to create a magic item card for inclusion with the game. See the FAQ for guidelines.

You also get the physical edition of the game.”

Egg’s Thoughts:

Gauntlets and Goblins is an all-ages RPG on Kickstarter with an option to create content for the game. Why am I sold? Because I write all-ages game reviews at EN World and I review RPG Kickstarters with wanna-lancer* rewards right here. This is the crossroads of “journalist” Egg and wanna-lancer Egg. Getting to design for an all-ages game would be awesome! Need more details? Try Dan Davenport’s Q&A with Ian Gibson of G&G here. You can find the playtest for G&G here. This is worth checking out!

 

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

*Wanna-lancer™ – A gamer that’s pursuing freelance RPG work. Some back RPG Kickstarters that offer rewards to create NPCs, spells, items, adventures, etc. in order to build up their resume, make contact with publishers, and learn what’s expected on assignments.

 

* * * * * *

 

2) Quests of Doom 4 by Frog God Games
Ends on Sun, September 10 2017 12:33 AM EDT.

“Adventures worth winning for Fifth Edition, Swords and Wizardry, and Pathfinder.

Frog God Games wants your help in bringing to life 16 exciting and challenging adventure modules in the Quests of Doom series. Each adventure is already written and converted, and the maps and art are paid for – they only need to go through layout. After layout, they need to be printed, which is where you all come in!

Art from Quests of Doom 4

Each individual adventure was designed by a veteran author to offer a fun, exciting challenge to your players, and to easily integrate into your game world. If you prefer the Lost Lands Campaign Setting, each module includes specific location details and lore that fit seamlessly into the Lost Lands.”

Egg’s Thoughts:

Fifth edition rules, first edition feel; FGG lives that ethos. It’s Frog God Games, you can’t go wrong. Their work and track record speaks for itself. If you have not experienced it, instead of reading my thoughts, try some of their work like the Sword and Wizardry Complete Rulebook at a suggested PWYW of $0.00 here. After you read that, it will make backing this 5e, Pathfinder, or Swords and Wizardry Kickstarter campaign an easy choice.

 

You can see examples of Frog God Games work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

* * * * * *

 

1) City of Seven Seraphs – A Planar Campaign Capstone for PFRPG by Lost Spheres Publishing
Ends on Sunday, September 10 2017 1:59 AM EDT.

“The City of Seven Seraphs is a fully developed Planar Metropolis for the Pathfinder RPG available in full-color Hardcover and PDF.

Nexus Base Class - Michael Sayre/Design, Liz Courts/Layout & Graphics, Vincent Coviello/Artist for Iconic
Nexus Base Class – Michael Sayre/Design, Liz Courts/Layout & Graphics, Vincent Coviello/Artist for Iconic

The City of Seven Seraphs is a Campaign Capstone sourcebook for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game©. Inspired by epic adventures in the Planes of the 2nd Edtion of the World’s Oldest Fantasy RPG, The City of Seven Seraphs will bring a home to planar adventure for the Pathfinder gaming community and infuse existing campaigns with a new level of otherworldly reality.

Amethyst Angel of the Eternal Dawning
Amethyst Angel of the Eternal Dawning

A fully-realized Planar Metropolis, the City of Seven Seraphs will be a 300+ page full-color, hardcover gaming manual with exclusive content for the Pathfinder RPG system including: 

  • Rich NPCs and Organizations: 14 Planar Organizations, the Parities, which focus on the core Dualities of the Multiverse. Each Parity will have its own story themes and mechanical support such as Archetypes, Prestige Classes, feats and more.
  • 8 Distinct City Districts: Each section of the City of Seven Seraphs will be fully expanded with its own section in the book with plots, locations and mechanical elements to create a vivid tapestry of planar possibility.
  • Planar Mechanics: Dozens of Feats, Spells, and Archetypes to support the Parities and allow your characters to take on the powers of the planes both in the City and in the worlds Beyond.
  • Bestiary & NPC Codex: Dozens of foes and allies statistics for easy use in your planar games. Varied CRs from 1-20+.
  • Expanded Compatibility: Full Support for both the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Occult Adventures system AND the Ultimate Psionics system from Dreamscarred Press. Optional support for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Mythic Adventures and Ultimate series expanded rules (including vehicles, social combat and intrigue).
  • New Base Classes: The book contains new base classes, the Nexus, a veilweaving class which gains the ability to take on the mantles of various outsiders to allow PCs to gain the powers of the Planes, and the Shadewalker a traveler of the dark roads between. Could there be more? We seem awfully fond of 7s.
  • New Races and fresh takes OGL Classic Races: New races like the judow, and inevitable-spawn people influenced by kyton or the a fresh-look at the ceptu (from Epidemic Books Oathbound: Seven) a races of telekinetic invertibrates!
  • Campaign Toolkit: Rules for planar adventure, intrigue and advice on how the City connects to your existing campaigns and links them to each other!”
New Nexus Base Class
New Nexus Base Class

Contributor:

N. Jolly (Racial Design and Planar Mechanics): “N. Jolly is widely regarded as a hero by most, having been involved in numerous successful kickstarter projects including the Forest Kingdom Campaign Compendium and Spheres of Might. Known for his skill with mechanics as well as flavor, he’s a well seasoned writer who brings his own unique flair to this project in order to make sure it turns out ehncredible.” Patreon link.

Egg’s Thoughts:

This art! It’s Pathfinder, it’s an interesting concept, but it’s Vincent Coviello’s art that pushes it over the top! Follow the link and check it out, it’s worth taking a peak just to see Vincent’s artistic skills.

Also, N. Jolly is contributing to this project. I’m shouting him out for no reasons other than he’s a nice dude and his work on this product is going to help knock it out of the park and it leads to my signal boost below.

 

You can see examples of Lost Spheres Publishing work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

Art from the City of Seven Seraphs… I mean, come on! This is soooooo nice looking!

 

* * * * * *

 

Signal Boost:

Let’s bridge to this first signal boost by mentioning that N. Jolly (from City of Seven Seraphs above) is working on Modern Adventures.

Modern Adventures Tabletop RPG – Take up sword and gun to seek fame and fortune in this gritty fantasy game set in modern-day Earth. For the Pathfinder RPG system. From Higher Grounds Publishing.

Read more about N. Jolly on this project here.

 

Jump in your Starfighter for Era: Balam – A Project Of Earth – Explore a solar system and defend Humanity from an alien fleet! Era: Balam runs on your choice of Era d10, FATE or Savage Worlds! From Shades of Vengeance.

 

Robert Asprin’s The Cold Cash War – A role playing game setting, for the Savage Worlds and Cepheus System, based on Robert Asprin’s The Cold Cash War. From Battlefield Press, Inc.

 

* * * * * *

 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links to DriveThruRPG.com.

Savage Worlds: Fast, Furious, and Fun! - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com

 

* * * * * *

 

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

Interested in being a wanna-lancer? Start with the official Wanna-lancer Checklist t-shirt or wall clock or ice tea glass!

* * * * * *

Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. His purchases have been published by:

Want your RPG Kickstarter reviewed? Have some RPG wanna-lancer thoughts to share? Contact me here or on Facebook (Egg Embry) or on Google Plus (+Egg Embry).

Gen Con 2017 Recap – Part One

You can read Part Two Here.

Before

For as long as I can remember, for as soon as we learned of its existence, there was talk among my gaming crew about going to Gen Con.

“More games than you can imagine.”

“Artists all over the place.”

“Play games until you can’t see anymore. Then wake up and do it again.”

Yet, it might as well have been El Dorado or some other bit of myth. When you are in Georgia, Wisconsin or Indiana or wherever the convention was being held (“somewhere in the Midwest, right?”), that might as well be on the other side of the globe. Add to the fact that none of us had any money at this point.

A pipe dream. And like most pipe dreams it lingered for a while. Random mentions of it throughout our college years, but no one was ever serious. Heck, we had Dragon Con for all of that “stuff” right in our back yard.

Then as our college days faded and with it all the extra time we seem to have in our youth… well, now we had money, but no time to go do it. And even though we still got together from time to time, many of us had moved away, got married, etc.

You know, the adult stuff.

But it was an itch for one of my friends, Lee. He had always been the one to bring it up. Sometimes out of the blue, always trying to gauge potential interest. Even as people wearied of Dragon Con embracing other “stuff”, he continued to look north.

Last year he was convinced. Sort of a now or never some 25+ years since originally bringing it up. Egg Embry joined him and off to Indiana they went.

I must admit I was jealous. I had the opportunity, but after the trip to Alaska at the beginning of summer, a trip to Indiana didn’t seem the best decision.

When they got back the talk had changed. It was no longer something they wanted to do again… at some point in the future, but they were already planning for 2017. And there was no reason for me not to crash their party this time.

Who would have thought the nerds and geeks would need to take over the football stadium. Awesome!

Day 0

As a comic writer, I’ve done a few conventions over the years, but aside from Dragon Con and New York Comic Con, nothing else compares to the size of Gen Con. They took over Lucas Oil Stadium (where the Colts play) this year because the Convention Center didn’t have enough room. 4-day badges sold out. 60,000+ people.

And every one of them either want to play games, buy games, sell games, or maybe just soak it all up.

We arrived on Wednesday night, managed to get checked into our hotel room, and then headed out to see what trouble we could get into, maybe grab a bite to eat, get the lay of the land.

Indianapolis is flat.

And after a few hours of walking around, I was extremely happy with this situation.

We’d already planned out our gaming sessions back in May/June. The goal was to play about 7 different gaming systems. You see, we’ve been pretty much Dungeons and Dragons players most of our gaming lives. We’ve dabbled in the White Wolf Vampire/Werewolf games. There were at least one West End Games Star Wars campaigns. Even a bunch of one-offs with Palladium’s Rifts and Macros sessions. But this was an opportunity to play different things, branch out a little bit, maybe even figure out that the might be *gasp* a better system than D&D.

Day 1

Vampire 5th edition was held at 10 AM on Thursday, which also coincides with the actual “start” of the convention (basically when the dealer room actually opens). What this really means is a mass of people – and by mass of people I mean thousands of people – are lined up in the convention center waiting to be let in. It was so packed in that area there was enough room for two people to walk past each other if you sucked in your gut and possibly leaned into the other people pressed against the wall.

So it would reason our game was at the far end of this area. If only we had Fezik to clear a path… drowning in the sea of people we somehow pushed, slipped, sidestepped, and probably pissed off a handful of people who thought we were trying to cut in line, we made it to the room and a short time after we started the game.

This was actually a playtest. Whether you’d played Vampire back in the day or not, they were making tweaks to the rules (a good thing for me because all I remembered of the system was that I rolled a lot of 10-sided dice). For the adventure, we were provided pre-generated characters. They had their various stats right there as well as a brief background and desires. Well, I say brief, but it was two pages worth of information before you even reached the stats.

The story was one of a drug deal gone sideways. Personally one of the best moments of the session was when the Game Master said to us “yeah, you’re pretty much off script at this point”. In my head, it was like we had figured out a loophole in the story – and since this was a playtest, it kind of meant we actually were contributing to making the adventure better down the road.

As to the system itself – I enjoyed that when you’re playing a vampire the Hunger is always present. Mechanically they simulated that by having one of your die a different color (red anyone?) and if you rolled a 10 on the special die then things could get… messy.

I did see something in this game that would come up again and again in other games we ended up playing over the weekend. Playing non-combat focused characters works really well in a campaign as there will be plenty of places to really roleplay your abilities, but in a four-hour session where you’ll never play that particular character again… well, it makes things a bit more awkward once combat actually breaks out. It’s not so much that I mind other players being able to do cool things in battle, but more that I wasn’t sure how I might contribute with sub par physical stats.

Lil’ Egg Embry Reporting…

After the game, we rushed out to meet Dan Davenport and his wife, Lisa, for lunch (both extremely nice people who made the wait for our food all the more bearable) (check out Dan’s Blog here). Egg had connected with him online, so this became a great opportunity to put a face to each other. Of course, I’m not sure they knew what they signed up for as Egg peppered the two of them for a complete history of their gaming days. I kept waiting for him to say”Egg Embry, press corps, follow up question on my previous question about the

“Egg Embry, press corps, follow up question on my previous question about the aforementioned item…”

When lunch was finished, we made our way back to the convention center and dove into the Dealer’s room…

***

Hope you enjoyed Part 1, Part 2 will be up next week.

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. Want to read the first issue for free? Click here! Already read it and eager for more?

Click here to join John’s mailing list to learn about the upcoming The Gilded Age Kickstarter.

His prose appears in The Dark That FollowsTheft & TherapyThere’s Something About MacHollow EmpireBeyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

8 Independent RPG Kickstarters You Should Back – Redshirts (Starfinder), Lion’s Vault, Mysterious Happenings at Furlong Down, Wicked Pacts, and more

A lot of good RPG Kickstarters get overshadowed by better known publishers or titles. Others, like third-party 5e or Pathfinder products, have to compete against a sea of competition. This week, I’m counting down eight [Good gravy!!!] RPG campaigns that deserve a look. Some of these offer wanna-lancer* rewards that are worth considering into if you want to build your RPG resume.

*Wanna-lancer™ – A gamer that’s pursuing freelance RPG work. Some back RPG Kickstarters that offer rewards to create NPCs, spells, items, adventures, etc. in order to build up their resume, make contact with publishers, and learn what’s expected on assignments.

 

8) Wicked Pacts by The Polyhedral Knights
Ends on Thursday, August 31 2017 10:14 PM EDT.

“A modern day Roleplaying game where players create various types of magic users. Urban fantasy magic meets gritty crime drama.

Wicked Pacts – Grunt Archetype

Unknown to the general public, there are chaotic societies filled with magic, supernatural creatures, and other beings trying to establish themselves in the enchanted world and to promote their self interests regardless of the conflict that ensues. Meanwhile, many of the responsible magic practitioners do their best to shield the Ungifted from the reality of their existence to avoid a modern day witch hunt.  It is in everyone’s best interest not to draw attention to their mystical world.

In Wicked Pacts players create magic users from various types of blood lines, from Pure blooded, half-blooded, Angel blooded, or Demon Blooded. Furthermore, there are a wide variety of magic training thus forging them into an archetype they can pick from in the game. Wicked Pacts features Talents, Complications, and a ton of Spells.

The game mechanics are designed to be fast and easy to learn, but not too easy it waters down the play and detail of the action. Wicked Pacts uses the regular polyhedral dice set and also what we call our Tarot Card element. Each character is linked to an Arcana card in a Tarot Deck. This card and many other cards can be used as fuel for the GM or the Player to affect various elements in the storytelling.”

Wanna-lancer™ Reward:

“Pledge $100 or more
Enchanter

For your pledge, you will be able to work with the creator to help design either a supernatural monster, organization or ultimate bad guy or adventure with full credit to your contribution.”

Egg’s Thoughts:

This is a new dice and Tarot Card combo gaming system that you can help fund. Or, if you want to create content for this setting/system, you can pledge to create a substantial element for it. You can write up an organization or adventure which could have an impact on the direction of this game. Their wanna-lancer reward gives you the chance to influence Wicked Pacts from the start.

 

You can see examples of The Polyhedral Knights work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

* * * * * *

 

7) Lion’s Vault Module for 5th Edition D&D & Pathfinder RPG by 2CGaming
Ends on Friday, September 1 2017 12:00 AM EDT.

“The Lion’s Vault – Part 3 of the Fate of the Forebears adventure path for 5th Edition D&D and Pathfinder RPG.

Lion’s Vault is the third chapter of the Fate of the Forebears Adventure Path, beginning immediately after the close of City of Sands module. The players must now venture out into the desert wastes of the Mirrored Steppes to uncover the secrets of an ancient city in ruins. Characters must withstand an ever-present corruption that feasts on their will, while they race treasure hunters and bandits through trapped-filled ruins to find the corruption’s source, an unspeakable horror protected by an ageless guardian.

The 80+ page adventure is setting agnostic, but with original locations and written for both Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition as well as the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. The module will take characters from level 9 to level 11 and brings them through three narrative acts of a story arc, yielding 10-12 sessions of play. It is the continuation of the second module of Fate of the Forebears AP, City of Sands, which, in turn, picks up after the first module, Domes of Ishaq-Zahur.

In addition to the module, there will be an opportunity to pledge for digital assets in addition to PDF and print versions, which will allow you to easily run it online through virtual tabletop as well as at your table.

The destruction and terror the Nartheneen scepter caused on the metropolis of Archensheen will mark the city for decades. But even as the warring factions of the city fell to its power, it was clear that its evil source came from somewhere. Following a trail of disreputable treasure hunters, it is learned that a long-ruined Nartheneen city in the wastes of the Mirrored Steppes was the source of not only that scepter but all manner of evil and corrupted artifacts.

A dark corruption lies beneath the Nartheneen ruins, tainting everything around it—and this corruption is protected by ancient guardians who will stop at nothing to protect their secrets. What extremes must the adventurers reach to reveal the Nartheneen secrets and what horrors will awaken when they do?”

Egg’s Thoughts:

This is the first of five RPGs that are for either 5e or Pathfinder or both (six if you count Starfinder since it’s akin to Pathfinder/3.5e). With that in mind, each of these 5e/PF adventures deserves a look because they all have something to offer.

 

 

You can see examples of 2CGaming work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

* * * * * *

 

6) The Mysterious Happenings at Furlong Down. 5th ed Adventure by John R Davis
Ends on Friday, September 1 2017 5:31 AM EDT.

“The Mysterious Happenings at Furlong Down is an adventure landscape (mini campaign) for 5th edition D&D. It is for 4-6 2nd level PCs.

The Restless Dead

The Restless Dead

The Mysterious Happenings at Furlong Down is an adventure landscape (mini campaign) for use with 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons. It pays homage to early 1st edition modules such as Bone Hill, Sinister Secret of the Saltmarsh and Against the Cult of the Reptile God. It also draws specific inspiration from the following 1980s small press publications: Starstone by Paul Vernon & the Adventures in Tortured Souls Magazine.

There are at least 20 quests / plots / mysteries to resolve. There is plenty for the PC’s to do.

This Kickstarter is to raise funds to pay for editing and to add as much art, from the most excellent Jonny Gray,  as possible. Some draft illustrations are shown.

This publication will contain:

  • A rural village to investigate, and save?
  • 20 wilderness encounters to overcome.
  • 10 site based adventure areas (with 11 maps), containing about a 100 dungeon ‘rooms’.
  • A random encounter table for the various terrains.
  • A table of rumour, worry and gossip.
  • A map for Hexploration outlining the ranges of the many foul, and fair, creatures that roam the land.
  • Total 32-36 page count PDF in two column format. Size 11 font. Approximately 20,000 words.
  • Access to an at cost Print On Demand.
Torbin, the Village Reeve, is a worried man
Torbin, the Village Reeve, is a worried man

A call for help from a PC’s relative takes the party to the area around the village of Furlong Down. All is not well. A strange pallor has afflicted the village teenagers; farmers report sightings of dangerous beasts. The county was once plagued by a now destroyed vampire, but it still casts a shadow the village cannot escape from.

The half elf scout, Eldrin, brings ill tidings
The half elf scout, Eldrin, brings ill tidings

The PCs should be 5th level by the time they have made the land safe once more. The adventure is suitable for a whole range of classes, and races.”

Wanna-lancer™ Reward:

Too many to list. They start at £7 (about $9) and let you create undead, sprites, warriors, and more.

Jared, Volunteer for the Village Patrol, is no match for the challenges ahead

Egg’s Thoughts on The Cruellest Mistress Of All:

I backed John R. Davis’ The Cruellest Mistress Of All Kickstarter and pledged for a vanity press reward. My pledge allowed me to get the adventure and the prequel as well as create and write a setting and NPCs. The reward let me write a location but John let me sneak in a pair of NPCs to enhance the flavoring. John was easy to work with, very open to my ideas, and offered a lot of praise (and may use the setting/NPCs in a future volume of his adventure path. That was a validating conversation). CMoA was a nice addition to my RPG resume and pleasant work experience.

For John’s campaign, I gave £15 (about $24 at the time). If I hadn’t pledged for that, I would have gone with the Forgotten Souls level (£14 or about $21) that included the prequel adventure, the adventure for CMoA and the gazetteer. My wanna-lancer cost was a pound or about $3 (all January, 2016 conversions and poor rounding). The adventure is fun, the art is solid, and my writing appears in the product. I count this as a win!

[UPDATE – 2017-08-29 at 13:23 – After I messaged John R Davis about this post, he emailed me about my CMoA submission –

Hi Egg
Thanks for the support
One of your merfolk is pencilled in to become sea-dragon food in Part 4 of Keranow! Might feel a bit guilty about that now!
regards
John

John cracks me up! Support his newest campaign here.]

Egg’s Thoughts on The Mysterious Happenings at Furlong Down. 5th ed Adventure:

Based on my experience with John R. Davis, this is an easy recommendation. I expect a great adventure, great art, probably some extras, and John is very open to including your ideas. The base cost is £5/$7 or you can create content for £7/$9. The extra cost is negligible and a great resume builder. I cannot recommend it enough!

 

You can see examples of John R. Davis’ work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

* * * * * *

 

5) Redshirts: A Starfinder Comedy Adventure Path (Levels 1-3) by Happy Gnome Publishing
Ends on Friday, September 1 2017 6:49 PM EDT.

“Sometimes the greatest adventure in space is simply surviving the orders of your captain. Redshirts brings laughs to your gaming table.

Chief of Security, Mitzy Stuffington

Redshirts: Adventures in Absurdity (Vol. 1) is a Starfinder compatible Adventure Path, guaranteed to have your PCs laughing hysterically from one end of the galaxy to the other.

Critics have called it “The Office meets Survivor…in space.”

Unlike most RPGs which set up the PCs to achieve great heroic victories over threats to the very existence of the world, Redshirts is more a game of survival, as in can the PCs survive the ridiculous orders of the command crew. Redshirts is perfect for players wishing to emulate the tone of comedic Space-Opera settings such as Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Futurama, or Spaceballs. It parodies and builds upon popular Sci-fi settings and tropes, while building its own niche.

The final product will be between 100-120 pages, and will include 5 pre-gen characters for those that just want to pick up and play. It is available in PDF, softback, and hardcover (all in full color).

Redshirts plays like a combination of a Role-playing game and an improv comedy routine (always say “yes”), as the PCs run the crew’s most dangerous errands. Vol. 1 encompasses the first three “missions” and takes the PCs from level 1 to level 3.

  • Mission 1: The Terrible Tacos: When Captain Ginny wakes up after a weekend bender with an intense craving for tacos, she decides to send her newly arrived recruits on their first mission. Unfortunately for the recruits, the local Taco Galaxy is under deadly new management.
  • Mission 2: The Cheaper Cleaner: Stuck in a surveillance mission around a dying star, first officer Laisse Faire decides to save a few credits and send the PCs to pick up his dry cleaning instead of paying for delivery. He’s sure the quarantine around the planet won’t be a problem.
  • Mission 3: The Pirate Bonanza: When several important pieces of the ship’s engine go missing, the PCs are sent shopping at the local space pirate flea market with a budget of $0 and the Captain expecting change back. Can the PCs get the ship back in working order or will they end up swabbing the decks of a pirate ship for the rest of their days?

Redshirts: Adventure in Absurdity (Vol. 1) will include the following new things that can be used in any Starfinder game:

3 new specific settings (2 space stations and a planet) which will include statistics and maps.

6 new playable races including: Door-tu-Dorans, Plushians, Aggressians, Mongrels, Pointers, and Beardies.

15 new monsters/NPCs to challenge your PCs, each with full stat blocks and artwork.

Detailed backstory for the Confederation of United Nebuls, Terrestials, and Sidereals (The people who pay the PCs tiny salary). The name of this huge bureaucracy refers to the three types of creatures eligible for citizenship in the Confederation:

  • Nebuls (creatures born on non-human worlds or races without significant amounts of human DNA)
  • Terrestials (Creatures born on human worlds with a significant amount of human DNA)
  • Sidereals (creatures naturally born in space or difficult to categorize)”

Wanna-lancer™ Reward:

“Pledge $200 or more
Design an NPC

Backers at this level will work with the design team to create an NPC crew member that will appear throughout the Redshirts adventure path. This character can be of any race that exists or we can design a new one to fit it. The character will receive a prominent role in the overall storyline, and will have original artwork designed for it. This backer level will also receive front cover credit as a designer…

Pledge $500 or more
Design a mission

A backer at this level can work with us to design an entire 25-35 page mission including creating new NPCS, races, monsters, and a planetary (or space based) setting. Includes up to 5 pieces of original artwork based on your creation. Backers at this level will be credited in the front cover as a designer.”

Egg’s Thoughts:

Paizo’s Starfinder was crazy popular at Gen Con 50 and sold out in seven hours on the first day of the show. Rumor at the con was Paizo brought 150% of the largest inventory they’d ever brought to a show. 7 hours ate that. Demos for Starfinder had hour-long lines even on Sunday. There is an appetite for Starfinder that Paizo and third party publishers are working to meet. That brings us to Redshirts: A Starfinder Comedy Adventure Path (Levels 1-3) by Happy Gnome Publishing. Launched with a 60-day funding period, this Kickstarter used its longer-than-normal length to ride the growing wave of interest in Starfinder and reach a wider audience. They’re developing a setting that lampoons Star Trek within the Starfinder setting. Interested in designing a NPC or an adventure early in the lifecycle of Starfinder? This campaign offers an opportunity to do just that. You can show off your chops with one of the hottest games in 2017.

 

You can see examples of Happy Gnome Publishing work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

* * * * * *

 

4) The Draw of Glenfallow, a 5th edition adventure module by Sinopa Publishing LLC
Ends on Friday, September 1 2017 9:00 PM EDT

“A role playing game adventure module for the 5th edition game mechanic. If you like Dungeons and Dragons this is for you. RPG DND 5e

Sample image from play test draft
Sample image from play test draft

Pieron was just another commoner until an encounter with a mysterious woman and a magical deck of cards changed his destiny.  Now Pieron is seeking out stout companions to aid him in claiming his birthright, the Keep at Glenfallow.

Overrun by monsters a century ago, the keep at Glenfallow now lies in ruin.

Will you help Pieron face unknown peril?  Would you dare to stand beside the future lord of Glenfallow as he struggles to retake what it is rightfully his?  Can you forge the destiny of a newly minted lord?

A host of monsters stand between Pieron and his destiny.  The malicious goblin chief lords over his subjects, and dark creatures stir in the catacombs beneath the keep.

Will you gamble your future on The Draw of Glenfallow?”

Egg’s Thoughts:

This is the third of five RPGs that are for either 5e or Pathfinder or both in this post. The Draw of Glenfallow is the first in a series from Sinopa Publishing LLC. This adventure is currently 48 pages and should grow a bit with maps and art. At $5 for “a PDF copy of the module, … [and] the Encounter Scale System printable encounter map pack”, the price is hard to argue with.

 

You can see examples of Sinopa Publishing LLC work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

* * * * * *

 

3) What Lies Beyond Reason Part 2; Adventures for Pathfinder/5e by Pyromaniac Press
Ends on Sunday, September 3 2017 8:18 PM EDT.

“An epic adventure that explores themes of madness and obsession, of betrayal and consequence, and the hope of redemption.

The Mad God’s legacy continues to plague the Eternal City!

The Echo of Faith, a twisted spirit obsessed with atoning for her crime of deicide, plunges Anduria deeper into the darkness of the void. Her plans bring the unsuspecting citizens that much closer to the brink of annihilation.

Only a handful of souls are even aware of the coming darkness, and most of those cannot be trusted. The characters are all that stand between the city and utter ruin.

Having survived the mind bending energies of corrupt artifacts, the hungry predation of nightmarish creatures and the plans of sorcerers and devil worshipers, the characters stand on the cusp of understanding just how deep the crisis goes…

The continuing adventures begin to peel away the final layers to allow the players to see the bigger picture at play. All the hints and clues they have gathered so far begin to fit together.

“Sanitarium” (Adventure 4) details the fall from grace of the Healing Hands, an altruistic organisation that has been secretly harboring the divine corpse of the Mad God Aether. The acolytes are about to learn that the aphorism “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” holds truth, as their attempts to siphon off divine energies only accelerate the city’s woes, and that deals with infernal organisations never end well – for anyone. The city will never be the same.

As the dust settles, the characters, armed with knowledge of an arcane ritual that might arrest the slide into madness, must uncover why the city has been bled dry of much needed silver. “Seeking Silver” (Adventure 5) sees the characters uncover the oppression of a nearby mining community at the hands of evil forces and amoral merchants, and the seemingly unconnected events that are actually derived from the same source as the city’s troubles. They must confront a fallen ally and offer them one last chance at redemption…”

Wanna-lancer™ Reward:

“Pledge AU$ 70 (About $55)
Pyromaniac

…the naming and description rights (and statistical input) on an NPC Hero or Villain that will appear in the “Seeking Silver” adventure (submission guidelines apply). Your creation will have bust artwork in the book based on your specifications.”

Egg’s Thoughts:

Another option for the world’s most popular role-playing games, What Lies Beyond Reason offers an epic adventure. What’s the quality like? You can try the What Lies Beyond Reason Player’s Guide for free here. If you like it, they offer a chance for you to submit a NPC to the adventure and get the character drawn.

Also, let’s quote about…

“All of the products from the first kickstarter have received strongly positive reader reviews, but they have also been critiqued by Endzeitgeist a respected and impartial critic who is widely held to be the most prolific reviewer of 3rd party Pathfinder and OSR material to date, with a continually expanding catalogue. He has more recently added 5th edition material to his reviews. He has no compunctions about disassembling material and spotlighting its flaws.

All five products (6 if you count the Player’s Guide) were rated 4.5 stars or better (on a 5 star scale), with two – the Campaign Guide for pathfinder and From the Ashes (adventure 3) for both pathfinder/5th ed – receiving his personal recommendation.

This is a passion project for me – you will only ever get my best work. You don’t have to simply take my word for it, you can read the reviews here.”

You can see examples of Pyromaniac Press work at DriveThruRPG here and their free What Lies Beyond Reason Player’s Guide here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

* * * * * *

 

2) Dimgaard Vol. XXI – 5e DnD Adventures by Dan Hass Endeavors
Ends on Monday, September 4 2017 12:59 AM EDT.

“6 5th edition adventures within 2 story arcs & 2 supplements: Blood Hunter CR0-20 & 1st level Adventuring Days

Dimgaard

Welcome to the 20th volume of Dimgaard’s 5th edition adventures. Thanks for the consideration. If you want to see what a Dimgaard adventure module looks like, here is a sample (the first episode of this volume’s Tyranny in Purple). Also, here is the first episode of the Fey Secrets series.

In this volume we continue with Fey Secrets. We present episodes 16 through 18. We also continue with episodes 5 through 7 of Tyranny in Purple. As bonuses we have the supplement GLD21 Blood Hunter CR0-20 and DGS30 Adventuring Days I (for 1st level PCs).”

Wanna-lancer™ Reward:

“Pledge $100 or more
Sponsor

…Have a favorite PC that you would like to see become a permanent NPC — cool. If you have a reasonable idea, we’ll probably be receptive.”

Egg’s Thoughts:

The Dimgaard adventure path series is huge. Want to try the campaign guide for free, DriveThruRPG has it available here. Want to be a part of one of the longest-running (if not the longest) Kickstarted 5e adventure paths? Here’s your chance to be a part of volume 20. Have a NPC or another cool idea that you want to use to help build this world? Dan Hass Endeavors is open to your ideas.

 

You can see examples of Dan Hass Endeavors work at DriveThruRPG here and the campaign guide for free here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

* * * * * *

 

1) Raids: The storytelling RPG by Liam Thornton
Ends on Thursday, September 7 2017 7:00 AM EDT.

“A tabletop roleplaying game with dice. Quick to learn for gamers of all experiences, Raids lets players tell the stories they want to.

What is Raids?

Raids is an immersive storytelling role playing game. I use that description because the focus should be on the stories that the players are creating, with the rules acting as a framework and a guide, rather than constricting them. That’s not to say that Raids won’t offer a challenge for veteran gamers- the base setting is a dark fantasy world, where you’ll need to think carefully about your actions or else you’ll find it very challenging.”

Wanna-lancer™ Reward:

“Pledge £70 or (About $91)
Guest designer bundle

…PLUS- You will get to help design and name a creature OR a location that will be included in the rulebook with you listed as designer on the page, and receive an exclusive print of your creation’s artwork.

(Please note that we reserve the rights to make any necessary changes to the created creature or location, to ensure copyright laws are not breached and that it does not contain any offensive material.”

Egg’s Thoughts:

If storytelling RPGs are what you’re looking for, Raids offers a new system to consider. On top of that, you can create a creature or, exercising more of the creative-chops, you can create a location. The location could let you spread your wings a bit wider and add more to the world.

 

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

A human spellcaster by Kyle Wright

From RAIDS – A human spellcaster by Kyle Wright

 

* * * * * *

 

Let me give a quick signal boost to two games that just launched:

 

Modern Adventures Tabletop RPG – Take up sword and gun to seek fame and fortune in this gritty fantasy game set in modern-day Earth. For the Pathfinder RPG system. From Higher Grounds Publishing.

 

Jump in your Starfighter for Era: Balam – A Project Of Earth – Explore a solar system and defend Humanity from an alien fleet! Era: Balam runs on your choice of Era d10, FATE or Savage Worlds! From Shades of Vengeance.

* * * * * *

 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links to DriveThruRPG.com.

Savage Worlds: Fast, Furious, and Fun! - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com

 

* * * * * *

 

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

Interested in being a wanna-lancer? Start with the official Wanna-lancer Checklist t-shirt or wall clock or ice tea glass!

* * * * * *

Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. His purchases have been published by:

Want your RPG Kickstarter reviewed? Have some RPG wanna-lancer thoughts to share? Contact me here or on Facebook (Egg Embry) or on Google Plus (+Egg Embry).

3 Kickstarters You Should Back – Legacy: Life Among the Ruins 2e, Luminous Echo, and Heroines of the First Age

It’s Gen Con 50 this week. I’ll be in Indianapolis gaming, meeting folks, and continuing my quest to jump from wanna-lancer* to freelancer. As I’m headed out of the door, let’s countdown three RPG Kickstarters that you should check out.

 

*A wanna-lancer is a gamer that wants to become a freelance writer.

* * * * * *

3) Heroines of the First Age by Voidspiral Entertainment
Ends on Friday, August 18 2017 1:01 AM EDT.

“An epic fantasy tabletop RPG about the larger-than-life legends and the mythical monsters that lived at the dawn of time!

 

 

HFA is a tabletop role-playing game about larger-than-life monsters and the dawn of civilization. HFA is the intersection between monstergirls, RPGs, and myth & legend. It will be delivered in color printed glory and instant PDF downloadability.

Heroines of the First Age is Powered by the Apocalypse, which focuses on the actions, reactions, and consequences of the things the players do in the game.

Inspirational Media: Utawarerumono, Nibelinglied, Maoyusha, Wintersun, The Epic of Gilgamesh, Monster Musume, Conan the Barbarian, Beowulf, Kobayashi chi no Maid Dragon, Black God’s Kiss, Everyday Life with Monstergirls, The Iliad, 12 Beast, Enuma Elish, Monstress, Myth, & Legend.

The Broad Strokes

There are two main assumptions that Heroines of the First Age makes:

Monsters make up at least a portion of the civilized peoples in the world. The Player Characters are heroines and heroes drawn from these demi-humans. There may or may not be baseline humans, depending on how your group wants to roll.

This is the First Age. It is the dawn of civilization. People are just coming out of the forests and caves to create towns and agriculture. Grand armies are being assembled for the first time in history. The world is fresh, new, and exciting, and there’s so much of it that has never been explored before.”

Egg’s Thoughts: 

They’re offering rewards that let you design a character, an archetype, and the chance to create a short story for their fiction anthology. “Story Commission – We’ll work with you to create a short story about a character of your choosing! It will be included in the fiction anthology PDF.” Want to publish a short story? This offer scratches that itch and adds to your RPG resume.

 

You can find additional products from Voidspiral Entertainment at DriveThruRPG here.

You can find this Kickstarter here.

 

* * * * * *

2) Luminous Echo: The Forgotten King extended campaign by Project Lux
Ends on Friday, August 18 2017 12:55 PM EDT.

“Be part of the expansion of the beautiful realms of Mhodica and The dream World

Luminous Echo is a world containing ten years worth of lore, characters, artifacts, and amazing weapons by world renowned artist Wen-M.

Our first project on Kickstarter, “The World Compendium” showcases these beautiful arts as well as an outline of the two realms. The campaign was a huge success exceeding over 300% of the goal thanks to 500+ backers. We were also able to expand the book by 25% as well as introduce base stats for 3 popular RPG systems of the community’s choosing. (DnD 5e, Anima, and Pathfinder.) We also invited some of our most beloved artists to participate.

Since our first campaign concluded last year, the book has certainly come a long way.”

Egg’s Thoughts: 

I reviewed the parent project to this Kickstarter months ago (here). The word for that Kickstarter and this one is “ART”! Gorgeous, evocative, detailed, and lovingly rendered art. It’s worth looking at just to drink in Wen-M’s stunning work.

In this Kickstarter, the vanity press reward allows you to design a weapon and a short story or a character and a short story. Both are good rewards and resume builders, but the real win is Wen-M will draw it and you get a sketch. The art for this is gorgeous enough to make that beyond tempting.

 

You can find this Kickstarter here.

 

* * * * * *

1) Legacy: Life Among the Ruins 2nd Edition by Modiphius Entertainment
Ends on Thursday, August 24 2017 12:07 PM EDT

“A tabletop RPG about rebuilding after the apocalypse, now funding its second edition. Tell your saga of rediscovery across generations!

Legacy Life Among the Ruines 2e

The World Before is fallen, torn apart by an apocalypse so extreme that reality itself was shredded and warped in its wake. 

Your ancestors survived thanks to a combination of luck, preparation and grit, and now the time has come to leave their shelters and start rebuilding the world. 

You soon find the wasteland has other inhabitants: families with different perspectives on the world, secretive factions with the own agendas, and bizarre monsters stalking the wasteland. 

As generations pass and your family makes sweeping changes to the world, what stories will you tell?

The first edition of Legacy: Life Among the Ruins was one of the first wave of Apocalypse World-inspired games, bringing a grander scale to the post-apocalyptic genre. Three years down the line, we’re making a second edition that brings together all the great things from the first edition and makes the changes needed for the game to be the best it can be.

With your help, I hope to fund a beautiful print run of the game to end up in your hands and in shops worldwide. I also hope to fund some cool extras: Legacy-themed dice, upgrades to make the book even nicer, dry-erase playbook handouts, alternate takes on Legacy from other writers, and more!

If you’d like to take a closer look at the game, I’ve put together a quickstart. This document gives you a jumping-on point for Legacy, letting you try out the core game rules and pre-generated player options before breaking open the full suite of options available in the main book.”

Egg’s Thoughts: 

Artistically, this project delivers all the images you could want of the back-of-the-figure-standing-defiantly-before-the-post-apocalypse-landscape-art! Two covers so far and they both scream against-all-odds.

What’s the system? A version of Power by the Apocalypse. I had a chance to exchange a line or two on Google+ with Douglas Santana Mota who is working on Legacy. He shared his thoughts on the system, “We believe it’s a game that is poised to satisfy gamers quite outside the [Power by the Apocalypse] tribe”. It looks and reads strong. How do I know? Well, they believe in the project enough to offer a quickstart. Read it and I think this will be an easy decision.

What wanna-lancer options do they have? Create a character playbook, a family playbook, or your own apocalypse. Create. Your. Own. Apocalypse. The Purple Spaghetti Apocalypse. It’s an option.

 

You can find additional products from Modiphius Entertainment at DriveThruRPG here.

You can find this Kickstarter here.

 

* * * * * *

 

Signal Boosting

Why am I signal boosting my EN World review of Hero Kids? Because that’s a fun all-ages game and well worth checking out! Why am I talking about Shades of Vengeance‘s Champion of Earth again? Because Ed Jowett is a nice dude and, if you’ve been following my blog, that’s my kryptonite.

[DISCLAIMER] I am in the beginning stages of doing freelance work for SoV.

 

* * * * * *

 

Gaming At The Kids’ Table With Hero Kids
Posted Monday, 14th August, 2017 03:46 PM

Read my review here or check out the game on DriveThruRPG here.

 

* * * * * *

 

Champion of Earth: Robots & Cyborgs join the invasion! by Shades of Vengeance
Ends on Saturday, August 19 2017 6:59 PM EDT.

In the first expansion to our fan favourite card game, new enemies join the invasion! Defend the Earth with brand new weapons!

You can find this Kickstarter here.

 

* * * * * *

 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links to DriveThruRPG.com.

Savage Worlds: Fast, Furious, and Fun! - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com

 

See you at Gen Con 50!

 

* * * * * *

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

Interested in being a wanna-lancer? Start with the official Wanna-lancer Checklist t-shirt or wall clock or ice tea glass!

* * * * * *

Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. His purchases have been published by:

How gratuitous violence in video games became a cliché

Guest post by Tessera contributor – Katie Green

 * * *

In the modern gaming world, it appears that over-the-top violence for the sake of violence has lost its appeal. Gamers no longer care about ripping off their opponent’s arms and beating them to death with the bloody appendages. Over-the-top killing in video games is a cliché at this point in time, hardly a selling point for any new title – in this article I will examine what led us here.

The video game moral panic of the early 90s was led by Mortal Kombat. I don’t need to explain what Mortal Kombat is, but we should examine what it was – the heralding of an age of deadly finishing moves, flying blood sprites, and outraged parents. In comes Senator Joe Lieberman, the ESRB rating, and CBS 60 Minutes documentaries, stirring up all this controversy around 2D characters decapitating each other.

Now quickly fast forward to modern era, before we jump back in time again – Mortal Kombat X topped the sales charts in 2015, selling over 5 million copies worldwide. But was this due to the appeal factor of extreme game violence, or simply a successful franchise releasing a highly polished product that captured a nostalgia factor? Because we should take into consideration that MK 2011 sold only 2m units, and MK: Armageddon has sold around 1m units between 2007 and today.

So after the Mortal Kombat controversy of the 90s, video game developers started pushing the envelope – one title, Thrill Kill, was infamously scrapped by EA just weeks before shipping the final product, because they didn’t want to “publish such a senselessly violent game”.

Thrill Kill was pretty much finished and ready to ship before it was cancelled, and members of the development team leaked copies, so you can download it on various emulator websites to experience what never was. But the gameplay itself, hyped up by promises of ultra-violence, “really sucked” according to Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine.

Now I don’t want this article to be a history of violent video games, so bear with me for just a few more titles – Grand Theft Auto obviously generated loads of controversy. Postal 2 sort of flew under the radar, despite being one of the most senselessly violent games in history, because it was primarily sold online instead of retail stores.

Postal 2 was a sandbox-style first-person shooter, where you could literally decapitate people with a shovel, pour gasoline on their body, light a match, then urinate on the flames.

Manhunt also achieved a good amount of controversy, and – you know what, I could list controversial titles all day. But here’s the point I want to make – all of these titles I’m naming are from the 90s to mid-2000s era. What is the last controversial game you can think of? I mean truly controversial, moral panics and all that. None, zero, nada, right? Okay, maybe the “No Russian” level from Call of Duty. But the moral panic of video game violence has pretty much reached its peak and jumped off, and modern titles attempting to cash in on the controversial are jumping the shark, as I’ll show next.

Let’s examine the most recent title that could have generated controversy the likes of which have never seen before. Hatred, developed in 2015 for PC, released via Steam Greenlight. It was basically every Columbine, Aurora theatre, Sandy Hook Elementary public shootings rolled into one game. You played a psychopath mass murderer on a killing spree, mercilessly slaughtering civilians left and right. Not only that, but it was disturbingly graphic – this wasn’t the cartoon violence of Grand Theft Auto / Mortal Kombat, this was a “realistic” portrayal of mass murder – people wept and begged you for their lives as you stabbed them to death in Hatred.

So because gamers love video game violence, Hatred has sold millions of copies, right? Gone on to become the top-selling video game of all time, marketing fueled by Joe Lieberman and an army of CBS 60 Minutes reporters? Wrong. Hatred was panned by critics and gamers alike, before it was even released. Hatred has sold a total of around 155,000+ copies, despite being easily accessible through Steam. User reviews are fairly apathetic to its “violent appeal”, let me paste a few from Steam:

  • “it’s cool for a couple minutes but then it’s kinda lame”
  • “Killing everyone for no reason. Alien shooter or GTA is more fun than this. Waste of money”
  • “bored of it within half an hour”
  • “Bleeds edgy angst that seems more “try hard” then scary. Like your goth friend in high school that makes everything into a violent tragedy.”

 

So I’ll just come out and state the obvious – video game violence is no longer shocking. Decapitating 3D people and setting the bodies on fire is like, so totally 2007. Either we’re desensitized to it by now, or we’ve realized it for the gimmick it always was and expect more from developers than head-ripping fatalities.

The truly humorous thing about all this is the complete 180 the video game market has done. The most popular titles nowadays are cutesy, casual games – I mean even simple online .io games Agar.io and UNO Online get peaks of 200,000 simultaneous players per day, more than what Hatred has sold 2 years. If you’re reading this, game developers of the world, want to know the secret to truly shocking your audience? Release a good game.

* * *

 Katie Green

Contributor – ReadWrite.com, BusinessInsider.com, Cvent.com
Loves – Gaming, Travelling, Business, Tech

Steampunk Fridays – Kickstart the Game- 1879 London Adventure and Sourcebook

Check out John McGuire’s The Gilded Age steampunk graphic novel on Kickstarter!

As a roleplayer, I’m always on the look out for games that I might get to play. Sometimes it’s because of the rule systems, sometimes it is because of the setting, and sometimes it’s just something that catches your eye. You know those games. The ones where you end up reading the sourcebooks cover to cover. You let your mind take it all in long before you ever break out a character sheet.

***

1879 London Adventure and Sourcebook

From FASA Corporation

Kickstarter campaign ends on Monday, August 21, 2017, at 9:00 AM EDT.

***

The Pitch:

1879 is FASA’s steamweird roleplaying game, that takes the place of Shadowrun in our cosmology. Due to a weird science experiment that opens a stable wormhole, Earth’s magic cycle gets jumpstarted in the late Victorian era, leading to a Gilded Age with elves, dwarves, snarks, and trolls. As the world adjusts to its new races, technological progress races forward, as the Age of Steam begins to give way to the Age of Electricity. Clockwork computers exchange data over telegraph wires, steam-powered airships chug through the sky, and industrial applications of magic churn out new wonders daily.

In the new world, the British army faces off against the Samsut, descendants of the Babylonians and Akkadians with their own Weird Science that allows them to raise the dead and use zombies as shock troops and skeletons as fire and forget munitions. The Saurids, the true native race of the Grosvenor World, aren’t happy about either Terrestrial civilization, and may yet manage to unite their fragmented tribes and create a second front.

Play it as steampunk corporate espionage if you like, or court intrigue, or lost world pulp adventure – yes, there are dinosaurs!

Adventure awaits!”

The Game:

This particular Kickstarter is actually for Book 1 in The Akkadian Trilogy (Big Trouble in Little Soho) and/or the London Gazetteer (London, or The Haunted City). In addition, at a couple of the higher Reward levels, you can get both of those as well as the Players Guide, the GM’s Guide, and the GM Screen ($138 and up).

Big Trouble in Little Soho looks to be the big jumping off point for a potential adventure path. The basic set up is that there is a drug that grants “explosive strength”… and it ends up “in  the wrong hands.”

“The book runs 96 pages, digest size, perfect bound, with a full-color cover and black and white interior art. Layout is complete; backers will receive immediate access to the galley proof.”

London, or The Haunted City is the breakdown of the city of London within the game. From the breakdown, it details the every piece of the city, with potential adventure hooks when the PCs decide they want to just wander around (as PCs always seem to do). Then there is a breakdown on the technology, the politics, and even the various criminals and activities they might… entice your players with.

In addition, you also get “a complete adventure, Baby Boojum, in which a kidnapping goes hysterically wrong.”

“The book runs 256 pages, digest size, perfect bound unless we meet our first Stretch Goal, with a full-color cover and black and white interior art. Layout is complete; backers will receive immediate access to the galley proof.”

Passenger Giffard by Yad Mui, vehicles artist

Final Verdict:

Since Steampunk kind of occupies this odd space where everything is potentially available to you within a band of a few decades (late 1800s…-ish), sometimes that isn’t enough to entice potential players. They are looking for something a little more than just (forgive me)… gears and corsets. They need a unique Divergent Point. They need to know why your world is more appealing than the next.

From the FASA Games website:

“The Silver Exhibition, London, 1876. Twenty-five years after the Crystal Palace Exhibition, another is held to showcase the technological wonders of Britain. An ambitious inventor shows off his device to view great distances, but something goes wrong and the machine explodes and vanishes. In its place is left a circular field of … something.

One year to the day of the incident, the field opens. The portal reveals a vast new world of great resources, wonders, and terrors. By 1879 the Empire has a foothold in this new world. A massive fortification named Fort Alice is established at the end of the passage, which has been dubbed the Rabbit Hole.”

So it is with great curiosity that in the 1879 setting we’re dealing with a pair of worlds… seemingly leaking into each other. Our world is on its way to steam power and technology booms while the world on the other side of the wormhole is one where more fantastic creatures and magic are accepted as the norm. A place where our world is the invaders but also potentially the saviors.

I love the idea that an adventure could start on our world and end up on the other side of the portal (or vice versa). That maybe things which work a certain way here might be upside down over there.

And the character roleplaying potential is there, cooked in the bones of this world(s). Do you want to play the fish out of water? Not a problem since probably half the time you’re not going to be on your home world. Want to learn magic? Want to see the wonders of this new technology? All of it is available to you.

Just pass through the Rabbit Hole.

***

For more information about 1879 and other FASA Games, check out their website here.

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novellas Theft & Therapy and There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

 

 

 

5 RPG Kickstarters You Should Back – Spire, HC SVNT DRACONES, Dark Obelisk, Sixty Mile Sky, and Befouled Maze of the Demi-Lich

The maze of a demi-lich, good dark elves, dark obelisk, mechs in space, and furries in space. Kickstarter is offering some variety in the RPG choices this week. Let’s count them down (and show some love to Battle for the Purple Islands and the Champion of Earth card game).

 

5) HC SVNT DRACONES: Sound and Silence by Weapons Grade Funk
Ends on .

“Sound and Silence is a comprehensive setting guide and lore expansion for the HC SVNT DRACONES role playing universe.

Sound and Silence is the first setting guide to the HC SVNT DRACONES role playing game. This is a lore book, full of beautiful artwork, expansive stories, and detailed information about the HSD setting and the roles players can embody there. For Guides, players, and fans alike, this book is the quintisential reference for culture, setting info, and history that didn’t make it into the rulebooks.

Sound and Silence is a single book broken down into two parts:

Sound is the name of the lore compendium intended for everyone’s use. It contains story ideas, descriptions of corp activity, layouts of cities, details on agent interaction so you can flavor your characters better, and a descriptions of unique grottos and universities for inclusion in your stories. Players and Guides can both go through this book without worry of spoiling anything in-game. Sound contains over 100 pages of content and is a great way to inspire people looking for character ideas for themselves of their NPCs.

Don’t know what this is… Other than weirdly awesome!

Silence is the second half of the book, containing detailed accounts of many of the aspects left vague in the HSD core rulebook. Things like the origins of the Palemen, what’s going on with Earth, and who the Shadow Presidents are. It has large sections on the nature of Transcendent technology and what humanity actually found when they made use of Hydra. This book is primarily for Guides, to give them fun things to let the players discover through play. It’s about 100 pages long and includes stories and behind-the-scenes info that make for great hooks in large operations.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

This campaign gives you the setting for the HC SVNT DRACONES rules system. The art for this project is beautiful. For most fans, sci-fi anthropomorphic decides their level of interest. In space, no one can hear you meow. At the gaming table, no one judges you. (Save the GM… literally part of their job.) A good rule set and a fun setting – like Sound and Silence appears to be – are going to go far toward creating a fun gaming night. Well worth checking out!

 

You can find HC SVNT DRACONES’ core rulebook here.

You can find this Kickstarter here.

 

* * * * * *

 

4) Dark Obelisk: Druid Enclave (Pathfinder/5E RPG City Setting) by Infinium Game Studio
Ends on .

“A richly-detailed RPG city campaign setting, the Druid Enclave from Dark Obelisk 2 has NPCs, Quests, lore, >100 maps, and much more!

TL;DR: The Value Proposition

If you’re looking for a richly-detailed, lavishly-mapped city campaign setting with plenty to do and see, Druid Enclave is an outstanding gaming asset for any Pathfinder or 5E/Fifth Editiongaming context.

If you want to get on board with Dark Obelisk, or if you are playing any Pathfinder or 5Eadventure that involves any city or Druid context, and want a way of fleshing out some detail, this book will be valuable to you.

Art credit Jack Kaiser
Art credit Jack Kaiser

What is This Book?

This product is a 300+ page full-color PDF and hardcover roleplaying supplement that will enhance any Pathfinder or 5E campaign in any setting.

The Druid Enclave will be a richly detailed hardcover gaming sourcebook, and companion to one of the most ambitious and massive indie RPG adventures in recent memory.

Finally, if you’re new to it, this campaign is the quickest, easiest, and best-value way to get on board with thousands of pages of adventure.

Creative Input Add-Ons

  • $75 Muse: Design a Character: Name, and help design, a character. Your character will be included in the book, and have custom full-color artwork associated with him/her/it. These Add-Ons will be limited to 5.
  • $125 Vibrant Muse: As Muse, but the character will have a persistent role to play in the greater Realm of Aquilae mythology and Dark Obelisk Adventure Path storyline. These Add-Ons will be limited to 2.”

Egg’s Thoughts:

I’ve mentioned the Dark Obelisk series before. This outing is more great fantasy material for Pathfinder. This project continues Infinium’s streak of beautiful art which is made all the more awesome because you can opt to design a NPC and have it drawn.

 

Want to sample some of Infinium Game’s work, they have several free products on DriveThurRPG here.

You can find this Kickstarter here.

 

* * * * * *

 

3) Sixty Mile Sky by Benjamin Arndt
Ends on .

“A game ruleset designed to run a Sci-Fi roleplaying game in a variety of worlds. This game uses a d10 system powered by the apocalypse.

What is Sixty Mile Sky?

There was a need for a sci-fi role-playing game that did not downplay the lethality of space, but remained story-focused and gave players a variety of explicit mechanics to deal with problems in non-violent ways. This game is build to fill that need.

Campaign design in Sixty Mile Sky is structured to create episodic sessions that all drive toward a main goal. That goal may change, or evolve as mysteries are solved or allegiances shift, but there is always a sense of overall purpose.

Mechanically inspired by games like Dungeon World, Blades in the Dark, and Dungeons & Dragons, Sixty Mile Sky is a d10 based game, where classes are equipped with moves to help guide the story and create dynamic answers to conflicts.”

Egg’s Thoughts:

This is a relaunch of the Sixty Mile Sky Kickstarter with a lower goal (already achieved). Everything that I liked about the original campaign is still in place. Still using the Powered by the Apocalypse system, still offering the option to design a NPC, weapon, or tool, and still a game that plays more heavily in sci-fi. Well worth a look.

 

You can find this Kickstarter here.

 

* * * * * *

 

2) Befouled Maze of the Demi-Lich, 5e DnD Adventure Module by Wyrmkeep Entertainment
Ends on .

“An adventure for 10th to 12th level characters who embark on a rescue mission against a lich and his bewitched maze.

Are you a gamemaster looking for an interesting and challenging adventure for your players that can be completed in one session? Well, I have just what you want: Befouled Maze of the Demi-Lich is a fantasy role-playing game mini-adventure module designed for a band of 6-8 5e DnD characters of 10th to 12th level.

A common saying among the wise is “Curiosity kills the rogue,” but sometimes interesting possibilities seek you out instead of the other way around. And so it is with a party of adventurers who decide to veer into the forest to investigate some strange lights. They find a small shine inhabited by a old, wizened man in grey robes.

He greats the travelers and reveals to them, via a tarot card reading, an intriguing side quest: saving a demigoddess’ beloved companion, who was kidnapping by a lich named Ulsus Malachite and held in a bewitched hedge maze.

The party is a little apprehensive about contending against a lich, even if the undead fiend is in a weakened state, but the old man’s hint of priceless rewards for a successful rescue, including one heart’s desire, makes the endeavor seem worthwhile.

Of course, this maze will surely be full of terrible beasts and devious traps ready to destroy the unwary, but such is way of the adventurer. Will the party survive to claim the prize? And what exactly does the lich gain by this kidnapping? So many mysteries…”

Egg’s Thoughts:

This game was on my radar to review and then the creator, Joe Pearce, reached out to discuss the book. I was happy he did (it’s nice to hear from the creators, especially the nice ones).

I love the OSR look of the project combined with 5e guts. The adventure revolves around a maze so the wanna-lancer* options are unique – dedicate a bench in the maze that offers a piece of the maze’s puzzle. I dig that it’s an out of the box vanity press reward. Well worth checking out.

*Wanna-lancer™ is a gamer questing to become a RPG freelancer.

 

Want to sample some of Wyrmkeep Entertainment’s modules, check out their DriveThurRPG here.

You can find this Kickstarter here.

 

* * * * * *

 

1) Spire RPG by Grant Howitt/Serious Business
Ends on .

“Join the dark elf resistance against their cruel high elf overlords in this urban fantasy-punk tabletop RPG.

Artist's impression of the finished book

You are a dark elf. The touch of the sun burns your grey skin, and you hide from the light in twisting corridors, crumbling temples and the lawless undercity of the metropolis known as Spire. The high elves, rulers of the city, alien and capricious, allow you to live here as an underclass forced to beg for scraps.

Your religion, your culture, and your people are being destroyed all around you. You have seen your fathers, your mothers, your grandparents subjugated by the high elves, and you have had enough. You have joined the resistance: the ministry of Our Hidden Mistress, worshippers of a forbidden goddess.

You have sworn in blood that the high elves will fall, that you will destroy them through subterfuge, and insurrection, and terror.”

Egg’s Thoughts:

Evil high elves versus good dark elves in a fantasy-punk world. The stylized art from Adiran Stone brings to life the idea of fantasy-punk with just the right amount of elves gone punk. Like so many projects, the art speaks volumes and this one puts me in mind of the setting.

For the wanna-lancers, their £165 pledge, Make a Mark, offers either an amazing deal… or they’re calling you a rube. You decide.

“You will be immortalised in the game as a hapless rube for the player characters to take advantage of, complete with a brief backstory and a suitably changed-up Spire name. We’ll work with you to make the NPC as gullible as possible (subject to final approval by the creators).”

 

Want to sample some of Serious Business’ games, check out their DriveThurRPG here.

You can find this Kickstarter here.

Spire RPG

 

* * * * * *

Signal Boosting

Why am I signal boosting projects from Kort’thalis Publishing and Shades of Vengeance? Because they speak to the RPG/CCG fan in me, and [DISCLAIMER the First] I am in the beginning stages of doing freelance work for each of these companies,  and [DISCLAIMER the Second] I have a small bit of material appearing in the Battle for the Purple Islands. Very excited about that last bit!

 

1) Battle For The Purple Islands by Kort’thalis Publishing
Ends on Thursday, August 10 2017 11:23 PM EDT.

“The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence returns; OSR scenario of warring factions competing for dominance in a purple world gone mad.

The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence has done well as an O5R campaign setting. I’ve been asked countless times if I’m ever going to go back to the purple islands.  Well, this Kickstarter is a resounding “YES!” to that query.

The purple islands (there’s three of them very close together, and are usually considered a single place) is an eldritch science-fantasy setting with gonzo sword & sorcery.  Both books will be usable with any sort of Lost World, Mars, Dream Lands, Hyborian Age, alternate Earth ruled by civilized apes or menaced by dinosaurs and sleestak, or a world of savagery, super-science, and sorcery.”

Egg’s Thoughts:

I covered this (and praised Venger) last week, it says it all. Well, not all… I have a small bit appearing in this Kickstarter. I’m proud of that.

Love. Me. Some. Venger. Through RPG, I’ve met a legion of incredibly nice folks. Jeff Duncan, Dan Davenport, Dan Dillon, Ed Jowett, Nathan Tucker, Chris Helton, Justin Halliday, BJ Hensley, and so many more that I’m forgetting. They’ve all been welcoming and I could not be happier to know them. High on my list of RPG friends is Venger. He’s helped me with direction, published some of my work via his recent NSFW Trinity of Awesome Returns series – Stairwell of V’dreenHis Flesh is Key, and High-Stakes Q’uay-Q’uar – and always been open to helping me along the path to RPG freelancer. When he launched his sequel to The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence, I was happy to support it.

Why should you check out Battle for the Purple Islands? Because it’s unlimited budget grindhouse glory in the form of a RPG! It may be purple, but Venger creates some dark games!

Why should you support Venger? Because, if you’re like Egg and you want to create fantastic games, reach out to Venger on Google+ or at his blog. He has worthwhile advice (and books of advice) to share. He’s open and direct with what works and what doesn’t. He’s worth talking to.

 

You can find this Kickstarter here.

 

* * * * * *

 

2) Champion of Earth: Robots & Cyborgs join the invasion! by Shades of Vengeance
Ends on Saturday, August 19 2017 6:59 PM EDT.

In the first expansion to our fan favourite card game, new enemies join the invasion! Defend the Earth with brand new weapons!

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

Shades of Vengeance is offering the core card game and/or their first expansion for it. It’s everything and the kitchen sink sci-fi which looks hilarious. I’m looking forward to the game.

 

You can find this Kickstarter here.

 

* * * * * *

 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links to DriveThruRPG.com.

Savage Worlds: Fast, Furious, and Fun! - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com

 

* * * * * *

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

Interested in being a wanna-lancer? Start with the official Wanna-lancer Checklist t-shirt or wall clock or ice tea glass!

* * * * * *

Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. His purchases have been published by:

3 Political RPG Kickstarters You Should Back – Top Secret, Misspent Youth, and Revolutionaries

This week, the Kickstarter gods rolled up three political [Editor’s Note – Using the term “political” is a stretch] RPGs that you should check out. Be a spy, be a rebel, or be a revolutionary! In this post we count down the latest political RPGs.

3) Top Secret: New World Order – the espionage roleplaying game by TSR Games
Ends on Thursday, July 27 2017 12:42 PM EDT.

“Top Secret: New World Order is the all-new tabletop RPG by Merle M. Rasmussen, creator of the first espionage role-playing game in 1980

TOP SECRET: NEW WORLD ORDER is the brand-new espionage role-playing game by Merle M. Rasmussen.

You are an agent of ICON, the International Covert Operatives Network. Working alone or with a team, you are tasked with the missions that other agencies can not, or will not, handle.

TOP SECRET: NEW WORLD ORDER is set in today’s world of shadowy organizations, shifting alliances, high technology, and unpredictable threats.

What’s in the box?

 

The writers’ guidelines for Top Secret: New World Order are available now! Get them here.

The guidelines are for:

  • Writers interested in being published by TSR
  • Publishing companies who want to release products compatible with Top Secret: New World Order
  • Writers planning to self-publish

The writers’ guidelines will be updated from time to time, so always visit http://topsecretnwo.com/writers-guidelines/ to make sure you’re viewing the most recent version.”

Want some more details about the game from the Q&A session they did with Dan Davenport? Click here.

Egg’s Thoughts:

Top Secret, the 1980s TSR RPG of spies, is back! This version is by the original creator, Merle M. Rasmussen. Do you want to spy? If so, it’s waiting for you to check out the Kickstarter and sling some dice. That alone is exciting, but what makes this a victory for wanna-lancers – RPG fans that want to become freelancers – is the free writer’s guidelines. You have the opportunity to write on Top Secret for TSGames or work on your own Top Secret content! With the free writer’s guidelines and a PDF of the core rules ($10), this is the wanna-lancing triple crown:

  • Work on D&D [Well, it’s not D&D, but it is one of TSR’s other hits, Top Secret!]
  • With Gary Gygax [or his sons, Luke and Ernie Gygax!]
  • At TSR [Sure it’s the spiritual successor to the original TSR, but it’s TSR!]

Who wants to be a tabletop RPG freelancer on TSR Games‘ Top Secret: New World Order – the espionage roleplaying game? This is the chance to fulfill that dream! You can find the link to their writer’s guidelines here.

You can find this Kickstarter here.

UPDATE – 2017-07-25 17:00 – The first third party production for Top Secret has been announced.
“Louis Porter Jr. Designs (LPJ Designs) is our first third-party publisher to begin the approval process for officially licensed Top Secret: New World Order missions. http://www.lpjdesign.com/

* * * * * *

Misspent Youth RPG Sell Out With Me

2) Misspent Youth RPG: Sell Out with Me! by Robert Bohl 
Ends on Thursday, July 27 2017 7:00 PM EDT.

“Misspent Youth: Teenage rebellion in a fucked-up future! Play the only kids that can stop some asshole from turning the world to shit.

The game

Misspent Youth is a tabletop RPG about friendship, standing up to bullies, and changing the world. The game is for 4 to 6 people, one of whom plays The Authority, the force that’s making the world a shitty place to live. The others all play Youthful Offenders (YOs), the only ones who can redeem the future from this pack of assholes trying to fuck it up.

Ever wanted to play The Hunger Games (but focused on friends), Clockwork Orange (but with heroic droogies), Hackers (but less goofy), Mad Max: Fury Road (but, again, with teenagers), or Avatar: The Last Airbender (but sci-fi)? This is the game for you. It’s fucking awesome; if you want to see for yourself how awesome, check out the full text of issue 1.1 on my site, for free download.”

Egg’s Thoughts:

Fight the system! Whether that system is the government or your GM, fight it! [Editor’s Note – Fight the GM!]

As RPGs go, this game ranks among the most meta. You are fighting the Authority and the GM is playing the Authority. It’s very on the nose as to how many tables role-play (players vs GM). There could be a year’s worth of Knights of the Dinner Table about this system.

For wanna-lancers, the cover fee includes a chance to game with Misspent Youth creator Robert Bohl online, or Pax Unplugged 2017, or Metatopia 2017. It’s like getting to jam with the band… but not because the bassist quit on the day of the show and forgot to tell anyone and you happened to have your bass in the trunk of your mom’s car… nothing like that…

You can find this Kickstarter here.

* * * * * *

1) REVOLUTIONARIES — American War of Independence RPG by Make-Believe Games 
Ends on Tueday, August 1 2017 12:32 PM EDT.

“Revolutionaries is a tabletop RPG set during the American War of Independence, where history’s truths hide a secret war.

Travel back in time to colonial America and an age of high-stakes diplomacy and perilous revolution in this roleplaying game of colonial struggle for independence. Experience first-hand the gripping drama of the politics and the grim realities of the war and not only meet the founding heroes who helped a nation break free, but become one yourself.

In this storytelling game you make history come alive by bearing witness to the events that gave birth to a mighty nation. But before it was history, it was news. Tell your own story within the sweeping saga of the “shot heard around the world” and do something few games have allowed before: make the difference and change the course of history.

A front-row view of the revolution that changed the history of the world, Revolutionaries is the game every history buff needs to have in their collection.”

Want more details, read their press release here.

Egg’s Thoughts:

Want to create a revolutionary or a soldier or civilian from the American revolution? This game offers that vanity press option for you to write up a character that Make-Believe Games will weave into the mythology of the American Revolution. It’s an interesting offer.

For the game, I am curious how it will address the darker aspects of the founding of the United States? Slavery? Woman’s [lack of] rights? Native American genocide? The controversial nature of the Second Amendment? And, of course, zombies? [Several of the reward tiers bundle in the games I Am Zombie and Toxicity.] To find these out, I hope I can attend the online Q&A with the creators that Dan Davenport is hosting. If you’re interested in learning more about the game, check out Dan Davenport’s Q&A with Make-Believe Games on Friday, July 28th, 2017 from 20:30 to 22:30 Central Time.

You can find this Kickstarter here.

 

* * * * * *

 

Let’s cover a bonus RPG.

BONUS) Overkill: The Action Movie Roleplaying Game by Joseph Barber 
Ends on Friday, July 28 2017 3:05 AM EDT.

“Overkill is a tabletop roleplaying game designed to make you feel like an action hero.

I have always loved action movies, since I was five and watching Indiana Jones and Star Wars. Though I haven’t loved roleplaying games quite as long, I started around 10 with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and have been fascinated with them ever since. I’ve played through all sorts of other systems, and while any number of them allow someone to play out various action movie scenarios, none of them seemed quite perfect for it.

Overkill is a system designed from the ground up to be easy to get into, and it’s designed to allow for rapid generation of characters and enemies meaning it can be less than half an hour from picking up the book to starting your first game. To help with this instead of using various different dice, the game uses playing cards, any old deck will do. This allows it to be played in a cabin in the middle of nowhere, on a plane, or at the classic basement table.

* * * * * *

Bigger Bad – New Zealand Dollars $150

A game like this is full of examples, and at this level you get to put your own ideas into the game. Make up a character using the rules in the book, and even improvise a little bit if you are feeling spicy. I will then add your character to the examples at the back of the character creation section. You also get all the previous stuff.

Biggest Bad – New Zealand Dollars $150

Have you ever wanted to be a game designer? Well now you don’t have to. I will talk to you through whatever means you want, email, skype, phone, and we will collectively develop a custom path, or a few feats, or whatever you want. This is for the creatively minded out there who want to have their own devious mind gunk put out there for all to see. And of course you get all the previous stuff as well.”

Want some more details about the game from the Q&A session they did with Dan Davenport? Click here.

Egg’s Thoughts:

For those that want to develop content, Overkill offers a new game system and, in this Kickstarter, you can design a NPC and/or a part of the game mechanics. You’ll work with Joseph Barber to create this and be a part of the fabric of this game. It’s an opportunity to be on the ground floor of a new system and leave your imprint on it.

You can find this Kickstarter here.

 

* * * * * *

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

Interested in being a wanna-lancer? Start with the official Wanna-lancer Checklist t-shirt or wall clock or ice tea glass!

* * *

Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. His purchases have been published by:

13th Doctor Who: Roleplaying Game

“Jodie Whittaker is a woman and the 13th Doctor.” The most controversial event of July 16th, 2017. It split the inter-webs into two opposed camps:

  1. Greatest actor of her generation
  2. The “D” in “Doctor” stands for “Dicks”

Jodie Whitaker composed as Doctor Who from Metro.co.uk

I chose the Greatest Actress camp before turning my mind to what possibilities a female Doctor will create for Doctor Who: RPG? Will this be doom or opportunity for Cubicle 7‘s game series? Before I get into the peaks and valleys of my speculations, let me offer some background.

* * * * * *

BACKGROUND

Example Page from Sword & Wizardry

Tabletop role-playing games are synonymous with sword and sorcery. With so many fantasy systems to choose from, companies look for ways to make theirs stand out. Frog God Games came up with an elegant way to ensure that the 3rd printing of their retro-clone, Swords and Wizardry, had the broadest appeal possible. They hired Stacy Dellorfano (of ConTessa fame) to lead an all-female design staff for the newest printing of their ENnie Awardwinning game. What inspired this? Frog God Games shared this on their Kickstarter:

…we were talking with designer Stacy Dellorfano about the fact that many OSR games have a physical appearance and presentation that really targets the 40 year old guys who’ve been gaming since forever, and doesn’t have nearly as much appeal to younger or female gamers of the generations following that first wave of players from the 1980s. In point of fact, old-school games, with their light-rules aspect and emphasis on a game master’s “common sense” interpretation of situations, are actually a really good tool for anyone who feels like rules-lawyers may be spoiling the game by trying to be over-authoritative or even overbearing with a GM. But if the appearance and presentation make the game look like it’s purely a throwback and not a modern tool for good gaming, then there’s a real obstacle to the game’s push into the mainstream gaming community.

As a result of this analysis, we engaged Stacy as a designer to produce an edition that’s no less appealing to older male gamers, while being MORE appealing to younger and to female gamers. Stacy put together a team, all women, to address this dual objective. We think her team has done an awesome job, and when you see the design results, we think you’ll agree.

This project came out of a discussion largely about how to get more women interested in OSR games, and evolved into a request to create a product that would appeal to all genders and challenge the idea of what an OSR game should look like. For many of the women who illustrated the book, this is their first foray into freelancing in the tabletop RPG industry. By participating in this project, we’re raising their visibility and adding more female voices to the industry.

What this is not is an “RPG for women”. This is Swords & Wizardry the same as it’s been for the last two printings, just with new artwork and layout for the new printing.

Yet the naysayers say to me – “But Egg, can women – WOMEN?! – design the look of a REAL retro-clone?”

Absolutely, Mr. Naysayer! Stacy and crew produced an iconic S&W 3e! Every page looks phenomenal and the book flows! This printing is beautiful. 1,213 backers on Kickstarter agree.

“But Egg, that’s the drawings! What about the… the writings? What about the WRITINGS, Egg?!”

Since S&W kept the existing writing with upgraded art, let’s look at a different project, Atlas Animalia by Metal Weave Games. This book covers the biology, game hooks, and more for monsters designed for 5e, Pathfinder, FATE, and more, including OSRs. This is a book of terrifying beasts to slaughter, or be slaughtered by, for your RPG of choice and there are no men listed as writers or editors. The project looks first rate (as the image below shows). I was excited about this campaign (I covered it here) and I was not alone, 798 backers pledged their money on Kickstarter.

Atlas Animalia example page – LAND SHARK!

“Um, well… but Egg, how do those numbers compare to games designed by mixed gender or ALL-MALE creative teams? Egg, I bet if we whip’em out and compare, the number of S&W 3e or Atlas Animalia backers on Kickstarter will be WAY smaller!”

Ok, let’s compare the number of backers for some retro-clones, monster manuals, and remakes on Kickstarter. I’ve picked out a few games that are close in nature to S&W 3e:

Based on this limited sampling (it’s not even close to exhaustive), S&W 3e had two to six times as many backers as the other OSRs in this list. S&W 3e had more backers than some new editions of older games/settings (Alternity and Scarred Lands) while not as many as others (Torg: Eternity and Scion).

While looking for RPG products that are, more or less, apples-to-apples comparisons with Atlas Animalia was more difficult. Still, there were a few:

Atlas Animalia fell into the middle of the range for these campaigns. If these lists (OSRs and monster manuals) were blended, Atlas would be on the upper half of the combined listing.

While this is a drop in the ocean of market research, I’d still hypothesize that RPGs created and written by women do well in the gaming market.

Do you think Frog God Games and Metal Weave Games made the right choice for their respective products?

END BACKGROUND

* * * * * *

Jodie Whittaker is the 13th Doctor and Cubicle 7 makes Doctor Who: Roleplaying Game. When it comes time to produce the Doctor Who Adventures in Time and Space: The Thirteenth Doctor Sourcebook (2017-20??), should Cubicle 7 put a female lead designer/female writing staff in place to handle this project?

Doctor Who Adventures in Time and Space:
The Thirteenth Doctor Sourcebook (2017-20??)
The first female doctor by [INSERT ROCKING FEMALE RPG CREATOR]

Jodie Whittaker as Doctor Who from DoctorWhoTV.co.uk

This is the opportunity to hire a heavily female (or completely female) staff to deliver this sourcebook. Frog God Games and Metal Weave Games had successes with female crews developing their products. There’s no reason to believe that a female Cubicle 7 team would not produce yet another AAA Doctor Who product. The serendipity-by-design of this would be the way to market it.

That said, while they’ll likely update the core rulebook to include the 13th Doctor in the near-term, Cubicle 7 releases their Doctor Who sourcebooks after the current Doctor passes the torch. We’re years away from the release of their 13th Doctor sourcebook. This debate has time for nuance.

This article is not a condemnation of Cubicle 7. It’s the opposite. I’m a fan of C7. For Gen Con 50, I won the dream “date” to attend the ENnie Awards with them. I’m excited about meeting them at the show (and I hope they win some ENnies – Don’t forget to vote!)

As a company, they’re doing a rocking job with the Doctor Who RPG. As such, when I composed this article I hated to suggest that they mess with a winning formula. If they keep with their current creative teams, I know they will deliver an excellent product.

C7 has not announced their plans related to the 13th Doctor sourcebook and they should not until Jodie is ready to pass on the role. With the lead time that Cubicle 7 has on this, a company as competent as they are will gather together the perfect team to knock this out of the park! With their track record, I am confident they’ll make the best decision for their fans.

 

* * * * * *

 

SWORDS & WIZARDRY 3RD EDITION CHALLENGE!

Am I telling the truth about Swords & Wizardry 3rd Edition? Does it really look amazing? Can women design the look of a retro-clone? Why, yes they can, but you say you need proof, naysayer? The proof is in the product and the product is a single dollar in PDF format. Over at Frog God Games’ website, you can pick up the PDF for a buck and find out for yourself.

NOTE – When you’re doing the dropdown, it’ll say “-$33.99”. It’s confusing but you’ll see it’s one dollar at check out.

Frog God Games’ Swords and Wizardry 3rd Edition PDF

 

* * * * * *

 

Does S&W 3e and Atlas Animalia sound good to you but you wish there were a female-created board game? How about SPARKED: The hilarious and inspiring board game for women? A board game created entirely by women. 758 backers on Kickstarter.

 

* * * * * *

 

I’d like to thank every woman that ever gamed or created games or created art for games or thought kindly toward a gamer. You have made this world a better place. Thank you for all you’ve done for me. I cannot say that loud enough.

Sincerely,

Egg Embry

 

* * * * * *

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

Interested in being a wanna-lancer? Start with the official Wanna-lancer Checklist t-shirt or wall clock or ice tea glass!

* * *

Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. His purchases have been published by:

PRESS RELEASE – WILD SKIES: EUROPA TEMPEST

WILD SKIES: EUROPA TEMPEST RELEASE

Contact

Brandon K. Aten

Telephone

502-693-5319

Email

WetInkGames@gmail.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 14, 2017

Wild Skies: Europa Tempest Release

A complete Role-Playing Game by Wet Ink Games, LLC

Louisville, KY, July 14, 2017– Wet Ink Games, LLC has released a digital version of the all new complete RPG, Wild Skies: Europa Tempest.

Wild Skies: Europa Tempest, designed and written by Brandon K. Aten and Matthew Orr, is the core rulebook of the Wild Skies setting in which players take control of anthropomorphic animal characters in a post-World War I alternate history Europe. Pulp-style technology and unique animal abilities contribute to the narrative storytelling of the game.

The game uses the new Compass SystemTM which merges traditional alignment and experience systems, allowing players to integrate their character’s personal motivations with rewards of their own choosing. With 40 animal types, 20 careers, and 80 skill specialties, players have a wealth of options at their fingertips. The book also includes 16 ready to play characters.

Wild Skies: Europa Tempest is available from DriverThruRPG.com as PDF for $13.49, and will be available in Q3 as softcover for $34.99 and hardcover for $44.99.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Brandon K. Aten at 502-693-5319 or email at WetInkGames@gmail.com.

PRESS RELEASE – REVOLUTIONARIES FROM MAKE BELIEVE GAMES ON KICKSTARTER NOW!

REVOLUTIONARIES FROM MAKE BELIEVE GAMES ON KICKSTARTER NOW!

MEDIA RELEASE
7th July 2017

Revolutionaries: Now on Kickstarter.

Washington, DC (07/12/17): 

Make Believe Games is pleased to announce its latest game is now live onKickstarter. Revolutionaries is a tabletop roleplaying game set during the American War of Independence.

Travel back in time to colonial America and an age of high-stakes diplomacy and perilous revolution in this roleplaying game of colonial struggle for independence. Experience first-hand the gripping drama of the politics and the grim realities of the war and not only meet the founding heroes who helped a nation break free, but become one yourself.

MBG is pleased to have several amazing guest writers and artists involved as stretch goals in the kickstarter campaign. These include award-winning designers Owen K.C. Stephens and Matt Forbeck, as well as the dazzling cartography skills of Alyssa Faden.

Backers of the Kickstarter are also invited to participate in the Decipher the Code promotion! Decrypt and discover four pieces of Culper code over the course of the campaign for a chance to win a copy of Revolutionaries, the I AM ZOMBIE Field Manual, and Vampire: The Masquerade (1st ed.), all signed by Mark Rein-Hagen.

Become part of Washington’s spy network across the United States and throughout Europe. Conduct secret missions for the commander in chief and his senior wardens, Tallmadge and Hamilton. Help Benjamin Franklin recruit allies in France and other parts of Europe. Take the fight to the enemy and shake an empire to its very core.

Contact Make Believe Games:
Nathan Tucker
nt@makebelievegames.com
http://makebelievegames.com/

Find Out More

3 RPG Kickstarters You Should Back – Plush ConTessa Mascots, Era: Hitman, and Samyaza

We’re going to go from hitmen to stuffed animals as we look at tabletop role-playing games on Kickstarter you should back! Let’s count’em down!

Bea the Eyeball Monster from the Plush ConTessa Mascots Kickstarter says “Fund me, Seymour!”

3) Plush ConTessa Mascots by Stacy Dellorfano of ConTessa
Ends on Sunday, July 16 2017 5:31 PM EDT.

“Support ConTessa’s mission of diversity in tabletop gaming by funding plush versions of our mascots!

For nearly five years, ConTessa has been changing the face of gaming through the awesome power of positive representation. To pay for all that, we sell ConTessa merchandise in the form of pinback buttons, magnets, lanyards, and t-shirts. Through these sales, we’ve been able to grow the program, allowing us to run bigger events at more conventions where we can reach even more people.

One of the most commonly requested forms of merchandise we’ve been asked for are plush versions of our adorable mascots, which we had commissioned years ago as illustrations for both merchandising and promotional purposes. Until now, that possibility was too expensive, but thanks to a combination of our growth, and the fine folks at Budsies, we’re finally able to offer up plush mascots – with your pledge!

We’ve set this Kickstarter up so we only have to sell 50 toys in order to create 100, so your purchase not only helps us create the toys, it also helps us build stock we can sell to fund our trips to conventions all over the US (and hopefully, someday, the world).”

Bea and Tessa.

Egg’s Thoughts:

Plush Bea-Holder!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

If this were QVC, you know my grandparents would already be dialing the 800 number! “I know lil’ Egg sure likes The Dee and Dees…” They’d get me Bea and Tessa plus the upsell fuzzy dice!

To get Bea the Eyeball Monster unlocked, this campaign needs to reach $5,000. Don’t let Bea down!

Ok, Egg, I love the plushes! But what do they have to do with your experiment? What can stuffed animals do for the wanna-lancers* around the world?

Glad you asked. This Kickstarter offers the opportunity to play a RPG with members of the gaming industry. This is a chance to put a face with the dice, so to speak. What better way to get to know someone than gaming with them? This is a golden opportunity to combine work and pleasure! The professionals and games are:

  • Stacy Dellorfano: Swords & Wizardry: Zaya’s Promise
  • Darcy Ross: Numenera: The Nightmare Switch
  • Senda Linaugh: Love & Justice (a hack of Lasers & Feelings)
  • Emily Morgan: All Outta Bubblegum: Attack of the Kraken
  • Pranks Paul: Star Wars Edge of the Empire: The Tail of Cat Bane

Ok, let me jump from what passes for Egg-humor to why this project is on my mind: These plushes are more than stuffed animals. They represent a real opportunity to help expand the gaming industry by making it as inclusive as possible. ConTessa is “…an organization dedicated to increasing diverse representation in tabletop gaming by running events led entirely by marginalized people, and enjoyed by everyone. We run our own conventions online, and attend popular conventions around the United States, bringing games, seminars, workshops, and panels using our innovative convention-within-a-convention format. We aim to provide open, inclusive, and safe environments that diversify what a leader looks like within our hobby.” This is for a good cause… whether that’s diversity or Plush Bea-Holder is entirely up to you.

 

You can back this Kickstarter here.

 

*Wanna-lancers are RPG fans that want to be RPG freelancers. In Egg’s case, he’s building a resume of RPG writing credits by backing Kickstarters offering rewards like creating NPCs, magic items, adventures, and more.

 

* * *

2) Era: Hitman by Shades of Vengeance
Ends on Sunday, July 16 2017 6:59 PM EDT.

“Be a super-powered assassin – Era: Hitman, now in Paperback!

The much-loved super-powered assassin RPG returns to Kickstarter to bring you a printed Rulebook for the first time!

In this game, you are a hitman, an assassin who eliminates targets for anyone paying the right amount. 

Whether your skill is stealth, approaching your enemies unseen, firing a bullet from a neighbouring rooftop, hacking automated defences or demolishing a building to eliminate everyone inside, you are always in demand. With the protection of the Guild, you need not fear retribution once you escape the scene of the crime – the scrubbers have your back. Every trace of you, every piece of camera footage, everyone who will testify that you were there will vanish without a trace. 

All that falls to you is the kill itself and, in that, you’re an expert.

Pledge £30 or more
ABOUT $38

Client

You get to submit an idea for an assassination mission, which we will put into the list of backup challenges on the Shades of Vengeance website, with credit to you for the idea!

You also get the Physical and Digital Versions of Era: Hitman, along with the Digital Extras!

INCLUDES:

  • Create a Session!
  • Digital Rulebook
  • Digital Extras – Bonus Campaign and Extra Material
  • Paperback Rulebook
  • Name on Contributors List”

Era: Hitman

Egg’s Thoughts: 

The concept for Era: Hitman is on the nose for RPGs are played – killing for cash. Maybe I’ve played at too many violent tables, but Era: Hitman’s lack of pretense spoke to me. Hack. All. Day. Long.

Perfect.

Building from that core, they’re able to seamlessly expand it with their wanna-lancer/vanity press reward, Client. The game’s about hitmen and in this reward, you’re the client and you create the mission. It is immersive and you can already envision the whole project from this reward.

Need more? They have a quickstart guide here.

 

You can back this Kickstarter here.

 

* * *

1) Samyaza: A Cyber-Fantasy RPG Roleplaying Game by Craig Gladden
Ends on .

“Samyaza is a table top role-playing game built to tackle a more technologically advanced world with magical and fantastic undertones.

Samyaza is a tabletop role-playing game setting using a mixture of cyberpunk, fantasy, and science fiction. The Samyaza setting spans from the years 1995-2230. I’ve built a setting that uses real world issues of today, what the 80’s thought the future would look like, and some fun twists to keep you on your toes. You will be able to explore the world’s newest marvel, Samyaza, the first city to take flight. Or, should you choose, fight on the ground in New York as the city rebels against it’s corporate overlords. You even have the option of exploring the new Martian front in the year 2230, as the “native” life pushes back. I wanted to create a setting that was flexible and allowed my imagination to really run wild.

I wanted to have the freedom to create whatever story I wanted and add any enemy without worrying about it not fitting within a specific setting. This brought me to Samyaza’s first campaign books, the Utah Saga. It’s a two part story built with cyberpunk at the helm but fantasy as it’s second mate.

“The year is 2079, our heroes find themselves in Salt Lake City, home to the mega corp The Church ™, a company that makes it’s money from the public’s fear of the after life. Just as the churches of old, this company has taken up the belief that God will forgive all of your sins, but for the right price. Yet there seems to be something more to them. They had been witnessed at recent sites which the news reported as comet crash sites, only to find that the news had been falsified and that the comets were, in reality, relics from the moon. Weapons made for the 1st Lunar War (2033), made of technology beyond their years. The relics seem to call out to the heroes, expressing a need to return to the moon. As the heroes look up towards the moon, they feel a shift in the wind. Maybe The Church ™ isn’t what it seems, maybe there are forces they don’t yet see at work fighting to change the very course of history.””

Samyaza Floating City

Egg’s Thoughts:

Samyaza is a new system and setting for a cyber-fantasy campaign. With this Kickstarter, you get that plus the opportunity to design a NPC, weapons, vehicles, cyber-enhancements, or a whole party. If you’ve been itching to make something for the near-future set, this may be the one for you.

For a fantastic Q&A about this game, visit Dan Davenport’s blog here. Dan hosts a range of RPG Q&As with game creators and they are a wealth of knowledge about the products.

 

You can back this Kickstarter here.

 

* * *

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

Interested in being a wanna-lancer? Start with the official Wanna-lancer Checklist t-shirt or wall clock or ice tea glass!

* * *

Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. His purchases have been published by:

8 Wanna-lancer Dream Dates for Gen Con 50!

Going to the ENnie Awards at Gen Con 50 in Indianapolis, Indiana? Need a date to the ENnies on Friday, August 18th, 2017? Then the ENnies have you covered – on eBay. There you can bid on eight dates with RPG companies and creators that are a wanna-lancer’s dream! Get gifts, meet the professionals behind them, and see them win awards all in one magical night!

The ENnie Awards Date Auction
Avoid going stag and get bonus swag!
[EDITOR’S NOTE – The slogans made up by Egg Embry are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the creative abilities of the editorial staff of the ENnies Awards.]

What swag? Owen KC Stephens comes with an autographed Starfinder Core Rulebook (system premiering at Gen Con 50).

What is Gen Con? “The largest gaming convention in the world held annually in Indianapolis, Indiana.”

What are the ENnies? “The Gen Con EN World RPG Awards (the “ENnies“) are an annual fan-based celebration of excellence in tabletop roleplaying gaming. The ENnies give game designers, writers and artists the recognition they deserve. It is a peoples’ choice award, and the final winners are voted upon online by the gaming public.”

This year, the Mistress of Ceremonies for the ENnies is Stacy Dellorfano, one of the most prominent individuals in gaming and the founder of ConTessa.

What is a “wanna-lancer”? A tabletop RPG fan that wants to become a tabletop RPG freelancer (i.e., Egg Embry).

What are you getting yourself into by bidding on one of these dates? A cocktail reception, an awards ceremony, four-and-a-half-hours to pester your “date” for Gary Gygax stories, swag (some of which is highly sought after), and the chance to network with some of the largest tabletop RPG publishers and professionals in the gaming world. If you want to talk with Chaosium, Cubicle 7, Monte Cook Games, and Pelgrane Press, or gain industry insights from Sean Patrick FannonStacy Muth, and Owen KC Stephens, these are the wanna-lancer dream dates for you!

 

1) ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Cubicle 7
Ends on Friday, 7/14 at 3:00PM EST

This year, the highest bidder will meet the staff of Cubicle 7.
If you win, you will meet up at the cocktail reception starting at 6:30pm and sit with them during the 2017 ENnie Awards ceremony taking place at Gen Con on Friday, August 18th, at 8:00pm in the Grand Ballroom of Union Station.
You will also receive their first three Adventures in Middle-earth books!

Why do I wanna date Cubicle 7

Publishers of:

  • The One Ring
  • Adventures in Middle-Earth [Tolkien’s world for 5e]
  • Doctor Who RPG
  • and more here

Egg’s Thoughts:

How much value is this? The cover price of “their first three Adventures in Middle-earth books” in US dollars is nearly $120. Until the eBay bids reach above that level, meeting the staff of Cubicle 7 is gravy. The books are almost – almost – the win. But keep in mind, meeting Cubicle 7 is going to be good gravy. Do you love Tolkien-based RPGs? Do you love games featuring The Doctor? Is this a no-brainer? Trust them. They’re The Doctors [of RPG].

You’ll be at the table with Cubicle 7 when they learn if they won ENnie Awards for:

Go here to bid on this ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Cubicle 7

 

* * * * *

2) ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Sean Patrick Fannon!
Ends on Friday, 7/14 at 3:00PM EST

This year, the highest bidder will meet Sean Patrick Fannon!
If you win, you will meet up at the cocktail reception starting at 6:30pm and sit with him during the 2017 ENnie Awards ceremony taking place at Gen Con on Friday, August 18th, at 8:00pm in the Grand Ballroom of Union Station.
You will also receive swag!

Why do I wanna attend the ENnies with Sean Patrick Fannon

Creator/contributor on:

  • Brand Manager for the Savage Rifts
  • Savage Worlds – Shaintar: Immortal Legends
  • Savage World – Primeval Thule (Thule is always near and dear to my wanna-lancer heart)
  • Star Wars RPG
  • and many more here

Egg’s Thoughts:

Sean Patrick Fannon has been making a living gaming for going on 20 years. He’s worked for, helped run, and created with a who’s who of the major players in the games industry. Based on the games he’s created, he knows how to make an engaging product for the whole table to play. Your bid lets you sit down with him and hear about his journey or pick his brain for more good game design tips than you could learn in a year of production.

You’ll be with Sean when he learns if Pinnacle Entertainment Group won ENnie Awards for:

Go here to bid on this ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Sean Patrick Fannon!

UPDATED on 13:25 2017-07-11 – From Sean Patrick Fannon Facebook post: “Plus I promise good swag, even if it’s from my private stock.” To help make the ENnies a success, Sean is going above and beyond for this.

 

* * * * *

3) ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Monte Cook Games!
Ends on Friday, 7/14 at 3:00PM EST

This year, the highest bidder will meet the design team of Monte Cook Games!
If you win, you will meet up at the cocktail reception starting at 6:30pm and sit with him during the 2017 ENnie Awards ceremony taking place at Gen Con on Friday, August 18th, at 8:00pm in the Grand Ballroom of Union Station.
You will also receive swag!

UPDATE: On Jul-11-17 at 11:57:25 PDT, seller added the following information:

We promise the Dream Date swag bag will contain really cool, high-end, one-of-a kind items.

Why do I wanna date Monte Cook Games

Publishers of:

  • Numenera
  • The Strange
  • The Cypher System Rulebook
  • No Thank You, Evil!

Egg’s Thoughts:

I really want to play No Thank You, Evil! for my EN World column about games for all ages. Also because I hear it is everything that is good in this world. If that makes it into the swag bag, so much the better! [Just putting that into the atmosphere… <wink, wink>]

If you win this auction, you’ll have a chance to politely inquire about Numenera or The Strange or Cypher System or game design or marketing or STUNNING art or what’s coming next? Do not miss this table!

You’ll be with Monte Cook Games when they learn if they won ENnie Awards for:

Go here to bid on this ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Monte Cook Games!

 

* * * * *

4) ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Owen KC Stephens!
Ends on Friday, 7/14 at 3:00PM EST

This year, the highest bidder will meet Owen KC Stephens!
If you win, you will meet up at the cocktail reception starting at 6:30pm and sit with him during the 2017 ENnie Awards ceremony taking place at Gen Con on Friday, August 18th, at 8:00pm in the Grand Ballroom of Union Station.
You will also receive:

  • a signed hardback copy of the Starfinder Roleplaying Game
  • the Starfinder GM Screen
  • the Starfinder Player Character Folio
  • the Starfinder Core Rulebook Pawn Collection

Why do I wanna attend the ENnies with Owen KC Stephens

Creator/contributor on:

  • Starfinder Design Lead
  • Developer at Paizo
  • Pathfinder Developer at Green Ronin Publishing

Egg’s Thoughts:

What comes with this “date” is just shy of $115 worth of Starfinder products. It’ll save you standing in line to get them, and I think that’s going to be a LONG line at Paizo’s booth. Why will it be a long line? Because Gen Con 50 is the launch of Paizo’s Starfinder. Those books are likely to be on many must-have lists. The debut is going to be the defining memory for many attendees of this convention. For one winning bidder, they’ll get to sit with the design lead for the system. That’s going to be its own story. “Yeah, at Gen Con 50 I got to attend the ENnies with Owen as Starfinder was dropping. Oh, let me tell you what happened…” and stories shall follow.

You’ll be with Owen when he learns if Paizo won an ENnie Award for:

Go here to bid on this ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Owen KC Stephens!

 

* * * * *

5 and 6) ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Table 1 of Pelgrane Press!
and ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Table 2 of Pelgrane Press!
Ends on Friday, 7/14 at 3:00PM EST

This year, the highest bidder will meet the staff of Pelgrane Press and sit with them at [one of their two tables]!
If you win, you will meet up at the cocktail reception starting at 6:30pm and sit with him during the 2017 ENnie Awards ceremony taking place at Gen Con on Friday, August 18th, at 8:00pm in the Grand Ballroom of Union Station.
You will also receive  autographed copy of Cthulhu Confidential and a t-shirt!

Why do I wanna date Pelgrane Press

Publishers of:

  • 13th Age
  • The Yellow King [Currently wrecking Kickstarter]
  • Trail of Cthulhu
  • and many more here

Egg’s Thoughts:

Not to take away from Pelgrane’s other products, but The Yellow King is making itself known on Kickstarter. It’s doing impressive numbers! For the winning bidder for the Pelgrane dates (there’s two), they’ll get to sit down with the Pelgrane staff and find out more about that game as well as the rest of their catalog. I’m looking at you, 13th Age.

As an added bonus, Pelgrane Press is up for ENnie Awards for:

NOTE – There are two different opportunities to “date” the lovely Pelgrane Press staff!

Go here to bid on these ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Table 1 of Pelgrane Press!
or ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Table 2 of Pelgrane Press!

 

* * * * *

Russ Morrissey of EN World and the ENnies promises “some exciting new ENnies stage dressing!” Come see it!

7) ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Ennies Judge and new Business Manager!
Ends on Friday, 7/14 at 3:00PM EST

This year, the highest bidder will meet Stacy Muth, our new business manager and one of our judges for 2016!
If you win, you will meet up at the cocktail reception starting at 6:30pm and sit with her during the 2017 ENnie Awards ceremony taking place at Gen Con on Friday, August 18th, at 8:00pm in the Grand Ballroom of Union Station.
You will also receive swag!

Why do I wanna attend the ENnies with Stacy Muth

Publisher and hosts of the ENnie Awards.

Egg’s Thoughts:

Do you want to be an ENnie’s judge? How is it done? How many games do you get handed to judge? What goes into the legwork of picking the award nominees? What’s the business side of awards like? Stacy will know.

Go here to bid on this ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Ennies Judge and new Business Manager!

 

* * * * *

8) ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Chaosium!
Ends on Friday, 7/14 at 3:00PM EST

This year, the highest bidder will meet the team of Chaosium!
If you win, you will meet up at the cocktail reception starting at 6:30pm and sit with her during the 2017 ENnie Awards ceremony taking place at Gen Con on Friday, August 18th, at 8:00pm in the Grand Ballroom of Union Station.
You will also receive swag!
Swag Will Be: In honor of Gen Cons’s 50th and to celebrate the 40-odd years Chaosium has had a booth at Gen Con, we offer up a nostalgic mix of old and new goodies from the vaults and also hot off the presses.

Included in your swag box will be:
1. Call of Cthulhu 7th edition slipcase set.
2. An additional CoC slipcase you can fill with any of our 7th edition releases of your choosing.
3. Chaosium “tuxedo” black t-shirt
4. Cthulhu for President Y2K Kit (1999)
5. Mint Copy of Lords of the Middle Sea (1978)

Why do I wanna date Chaosium?

Publisher of:

  • Call of Cthulhu
  • Runequest
  • Heroquest
  • and more here

Egg’s Thoughts:

Sanity check. The items they’re giving away are worth a pretty penny (several hundred dollars worth). I can’t predict the final bids but this auction may give you enough swag that meeting the Chaosium team is just a wonderful bonus. You’ll have enough Cthulhu product to make you something like a minor young one… right? Right? No? Ok…

Chaosium is up for 10 ENnie Awards. Between them walking up to get their awards, you can ask about Call of Cthulhu and RuneQuest and more. With this many awards, this is going to be an adrenaline rush of a night!

You’ll be at the table with Chaosium when they learn if they won ENnie Awards for:

Go here to bid on this ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Chaosium!

 

* * * * *

 

So, what company or creator is your dream RPG date?

 

* * * * *

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

Interested in being a wanna-lancer? Start with the official Wanna-lancer Checklist t-shirt or wall clock or ice tea glass!

* * *

Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. His purchases have been published by:

3 RPG & 1 Comic Kickstarter You Need To Back – Torg Eternity, The Lost Citadel, Triten, and Angelica Reigns

Need a genre-crossing tabletop RPG system and setting? Want to read supernatural fantasy? Interested in a wanna-lancer opportunity or concrete steps to expand gaming? I’m counting down four Kickstarter projects that range from fantasy zombie apocalypse to samurai on motorcycles and all of them look awesome!

 

4) Triten Gaming System by David Prizio
Ends on Thursday, June 29 2017 2:31 AM EDT.

“The Triten Gaming System is a fun and innovative new framework for tabletop Pen & Paper RPG’s designed to be simple and robust.

The Triten Gaming System is a whole new system of Pen & Paper RPG mechanics designed from the ground up to be both straightforward and robust, allowing for a relatively simple set of rules to work for an extremely diverse set of circumstances.  The Fantasy Manual is the first version of the Triten Gaming System which is focused on medieval fantasy.  Along with the manual, all you and your friends need are some polyhedral dice, pencils, paper, and your imagination!

Triten uses a skill-based structure instead of a level-based structure of character advancement.  Individual experience points earned as a character progresses through the world can be directly applied to any of dozens of different broadly-used Skills and additional specific, individual abilities called Talents.  Characters can also craft or purchase a wide variety of equipment and learn hundreds of different spells over 7 unique schools of magic.

This system has been in development for many years and has been though numerous playtesting campaigns with a diverse group of experienced Pen & Paper gamers who have dedicated countless hours to making this the best system it could possibly be.  The manual is now complete and is in the final stages of editing, layout, and illustrations!  We are confident that new and experienced Pen & Paper gamers alike will love this system as much as all of our playtesters have.  We just need your help to bring Triten to market!”

Egg’s Thoughts:

Let’s start with this – David Prizio, creator of the Triten gaming system, is a nice individual. I was not aware of Triten until I met David through #rpgnet. We discussed my wanna-lancer experiment and he shared his Kickstarter that happens to have some vanity press options with it. For the wanna-lancers of the world, this campaign offers the chance to create a NPC using their proprietary system and have a custom illustration done. Immortalize your character at the ground floor of a new RPG. A lot of opportunity with this. But what is the Kickstarter for? Triten is a single system that will span a variety of settings. For the opening, they’re offering a fantasy setting. I recommend checking it out if for not other reason than David is a good guy.

You can find the campaign here – Triten Gaming System

 

* * *

3) Angelica Reigns #1 by SFC
Ends on Thursday, June 29 2017 1:05 PM EDT. 

“Angelica Reigns: The Faith is a 22 page, full color action comic about a young woman being hunted by an ancient religious cult.

What are you Kickstarting?

Angelica Reigns is the first solo series of the SFC Comics line. SFC is world of super powered sports entertainment. These solo series are a chance to get to know the characters outside of the ring.

The Story: Angelica is trying to establish a life outside of the shadow of her mother’s cult and Qakare’s power. She’s a young woman in a new city making new connections. All of that is put on hold when she becomes prey to a secret society called, The Faith. They are a faceless, timeless, and secret organization with roots that go back to the crusades. Their mission is to bring purity back to this world. They have ways to track and monitor dark magic.”

Egg’s Thoughts:

Let’s do another guy post – Marcel Dupree is one of the most pleasant people in comics, and the writer of Angelica Reigns. If you float around enough Kickstarters, you’ll find some incredibly likeable people. Marcel is near the top of my list. He pinged me on Facebook one day to see if I’d look at his Delilah Blast #1 Kickstarter. I did and it sold itself. Since then, we talk here and there and I follow his comic wisdom and crowd participation insights. If you are interested in knowing how the sausage of indie comics is made, I’d suggest following Marcel on Facebook.

I could talk about Angelica Reigns but Tessera Guild-mate John McGuire already has here. Let me quote him:

“This one has the feel of maybe a Buffy style of story for Angelica. A young girl, fighting against supernatural forces bigger than herself, and, from the looks of it, has a couple of friends to help her on her travels. Consider me intrigued by the overall idea.

In addition, the work Federico Sabbatini is doing on the various images they’ve shown on the Kickstarter page are very nice, almost as if someone took a series of animated cells from a tv show or movie and put them on the page.”

You can find the campaign here – Angelica Reigns #1

 

* * *

2) Torg Eternity by Ulisses Spiele
Ends on Friday, June 30 2017 9:00 PM EDT. 

“The classic cinematic multi-genre RPG returns with updated rules, settings, full-color art, and a whole new Possibility War!

Torg Eternity is a table-top roleplaying game based on the original 1990 version of Torg created by West End Games. It has been re-imagined and updated for the Near Now.

The “High Lords” came from other cosms—other realities—conquerors joined together to steal the Earth’s living energy…to consume its very Possibilities!

Each Reality Raider brought his or her own reality, or “cosm”…

…from the dark fantasy of Aysle

…to the technological oppression of the Cyberpapacy

…the savagery and exploration of the Living Land

…the diabolical pulp villains of the Nile Empire

…the Gothic horror of Orrorsh

…the action and intrigue of Pan-Pacifica

…and the terrifying, demon-ruled wasteland of Tharkold!

The High Lords impose their reality and transform everything within, draining the Earth of its Possibilities in the hopes that one of them will become an ancient and all-powerful being called the “Torg!””

Egg’s Thoughts:

While this RPG does not include any wanna-lancer/vanity press rewards, it doesn’t have to, it’s Torg! A branching from the original Torg RPG (1990s), this Kickstarter is a re-launch/expansion with revised mechanics, yet they do not invalidate the previous meta-story of Torg 1e. Not only do they have 2e available, this campaign includes everything that was ever published for Torg 1e.

I picked up the Free RPG Day Torg Eternity quickstart. It’s a variation on the upcoming Torg 2e rules. Made without using any cards (they play a large role in the standard game), this version of the rules still gives a feel of how much potential this game has. It’s an interesting concept combining genres into a single world. If you’re looking for an in-depth view of this, I attended an online Q&A with Darrell Hayhurst about Torg Eternity and Dan Davenport has the questions and answers on his blog. Read about the game from Torg Eternity game designer, Darrell Hayhurst.

By the by, Dan Davenport is as nice a person as you’ll meet. Darrell Hayhurst was extremely pleasant during the Q&A.

You can find the campaign here – Torg Eternity

 

* * *

1) The Lost Citadel — Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy Roleplaying by Green Ronin Publishing
Ends on Monday, July 3 2017 3:00 AM EDT.

“Fifth Edition roleplaying in a world ravaged by death and undeath.

                                 The city is called Redoubt.

                     And as far as anyone knows, it is the last.

(map by Andrew Law)
(map by Andrew Law)

Seven decades ago, there were cities upon cities.

Kingdoms and nations; the remains of ancient empire. Cultures at war and cultures at trade. Humans, dwarves, elves, and others. Magic and monsters, rare but real. And so it was for millennia, through two dynamic ages the lorekeepers and scribes called Ascensions. 

Until the world ended.

Most call it the Fall, but whatever term a given people choose to use, it marked the time when everything changed. 

Nations crumbled. Races died. Magic sputtered. Nature sickened.

The dead woke.

Egg’s Thoughts:

When Green Ronin Publishing first discussed this product, it was in conjunction with an opportunity for women to freelance on The Lost Citadel. They didn’t talk so much about the product as what they wanted it to offer, greater diversity. I was excited about the possibility. More female representation in gaming everything benefits us all. More gamers, more GMs, more stores, more designers, more publishers, more ideas. For me, this contest is the chance to expand the industry in a real way. Green Ronin is embracing a huge swath of humanity and gaming as a whole will benefit from it. To see Green Ronin, a major 3PP (third party publisher), do this is inspiring. And I want to say congratulations to the winners: Kate Baker and Anna Landin. [EGG’S NOTE – I wish I could continue the “nice person” theme of this article but I have never spoken with K. Baker or A. Landin. That said, I’m sure they’re outstanding people. They’re certainly keeping good company.]

Beyond that freelancer opportunity, this is a 5e setting/expansion. It seems like it will be a moody combination of The Walking Dead meets Attack on Titan. Last fantasy city in a zombie apocalypse. Tragic, hopeless, dark fantasy. This Kickstarter does an excellent job of conveying the feel of the product they’re creating. I am looking forward to reading this setting and the adventure that Kate Baker and Anna Landin are designing. And I hope to see more opportunities to expand the industry coming from all quarters.

You can find the campaign here – The Lost Citadel — Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy Roleplaying

The Lost Citadel – Amarset, God of the Dead

 

* * *

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

Interested in being a wanna-lancer? Start with the official Wanna-lancer Checklist t-shirt or wall clock or ice tea glass!

* * *

Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. His purchases have been published by:

4 RPG & 1 Comic Kickstarter You Need To Back – Monarchies of Mau, Buccaneer: Through Hell & High Water, Route 3, A Delve in the Cave, and The S’rulyan Vault II

Want to immortalize your cat (in art)? Design a pirate or a townie NPC? Ever want to read a comic about the road trip from Hell? Need a map through the mega dungeon? Want to meet fun tabletop gamers? If you answered, yes, then you might be building a RPG resume to go from wanna-lancer to freelancer and these are some of the best vanity press crowdfunding rewards that help you learn the RPG ropes. Let’s count these campaigns down!

 

* * *

 

5) Monarchies of Mau Fantasy Tabletop RPG by Onyx Path Publishing
Ends on Thursday, June 15 2017 12:00 PM EDT. 

“Contribute to help us create a beautiful traditionally printed fantasy game book featuring cat monarchies – and get it into stores.

We want to talk to you about Monarchies of Mau. It’s a complete tabletop roleplaying game that acts as a companion game to, and is totally compatible with, my first RPG, Pugmire. The Monarchies of Mau is a nation of cats tenuously comprised of six city-states.”

Monarchies of Mau

Egg’s Thoughts:

Cats with Swords!

You either raised an eyebrow and want to click the link to the Kickstarter for this anthropomorphic cat-people in a feline fantasy setting OR you rolled your eyes and thought, “Puss in Boots… bah, Antonio Banderas! My arch-nemesis strikes again…” Clearly, you’re either pro-Planet of the Cats or you’ll be canned as Fancy Feast! There is no third option!

[EDITOR’S NOTE – Don’t listen to Egg. He wrote “cats with swords” and felt it was defining. Make your own decision on this one because he’s going to be Fancy Feast no matter what.
As always, may Gary Gygax keep and protect your dice.
]

As an added bonus, Monarchies of Mau has a pledge level in this campaign to name a feline (or canine) NPC and have it illustrated to resemble your pet. It’s an opportunity to immortalize a member of the family.

Check out Cats with Swords… er, Monarchies of Mau Fantasy Tabletop RPG by Onyx Path Publishing here.

 

* * *

 

4) 5E Adventure: A Delve in the Cave by Jamie Chambers
Ends on Friday, June 16 2017.

“A curse. A cave. A crawl. 5E fantasy adventure by Jamie Chambers!

Returning to my personal and professional gaming roots with a short adventure for 5E of the original fantasy roleplaying game—a cavern crawl built to please hack-and-slash groups and storytellers alike!

It All Started When …

I accidentally wrote a 5E fantasy RPG adventure! Wanna help me print it? This is a short campaign … it ends on June 16, 2017.”

Jamie Chamber’s Gaming Table

Egg’s Thoughts:

Due to the limited number of details about this cave crawl – it’s for 5e, there’s a curse, and a cave – you’ll need to decide on this project based on the strength of who Jamie Chambers is. So, who is he? Jamie Chambers runs Signal Fire Studios, home of the revised Metamorphosis Alpha RPG, he was a designer and line editor for TSR’s Dragonlance, and a former Vice President on the board of directors for GAMA (Game Manufacturers Association). So, who is he? He’s a gamer with a resume that speaks volumes about his skill. Top that with the fact that I discussed his IndieGoGo campaign last week and suggested that, in a perfect world and since he’s local to me, it’d be cool to meet him. He read the article and said we should make plans. Like so many folks I’ve met through wanna-lancing and gaming and comicing, Jamie’s a nice guy and for that alone this campaign is worth backing.

But, because I’m a wanna-lancer, let me add this reason to back the campaign over and above his resume and affable personality, you can create a NPC and/or playtest this adventure online with Jamie. It’s a nice extra.

You can find the IndieGoGo campaign here.

 

* * *

 

3) Route 3 by Robert Jeffrey II and Sean Damien Hill
Ends on .

“Centuries old prophecies. Shadowy government conspiracies. Super heroic action. Just a typical day for teenager Sean Anderson. Route 3.

Route 3 is a super-powered road trip from hell. A Stone Mountain, GA teen finds out he’s been granted with a set of spectacular abilities, that he knows nothing about. He’s now on the run from a wide array of folks in a sort of super powered arms race across the Southeastern United States. Explosions, gunfights, telekinetic feats of awesomeness, and a little personal growth are all thrown into the mix.

We’ve collected all three issues of the first story arc into a superb collected edition that also includes a cover page gallery, “DVD” extras, and a forward by the talented artist/ writer Takeia Marie (Contributor to Rosarium Publishing’s APB: Artists Against Police Brutality).”

Route 3

Egg’s Thoughts:

Because Robert Jeffrey is our guildmate, and we love him and Route 3, we’ve shouted out this Kickstarter as much as possible on the Tessera Guild. It’s exceeded its goal (so the collected first story arc is coming) and the campaign is moving through stretch goals. I’m a fan of the series and ready to read more of Sean Anderson’s adventures!

Check out the Kickstarter here – Route 3

 

* * *

 

2) Buccaneer: Through Hell & High Water for Savage Worlds by Fabled Environments and Yellow Piece Games
Ends on Tuesday, June 20 2017 9:00 PM EDT.

“Pirates, Vodouisants, and Witch Hunters battle each other and beasts of legend in the mystic waters of the Caribbean. Climb aboard!”

Egg’s Thoughts:

Are you a fan of Savage Worlds (2003 Origin Gamers’ Choice Award for best role-playing game)? Oh, you don’t own the rules? Well, Pinnacle Entertainment has you covered because the core rule book is $9.99 in softcover.

To compliment the game and price point, Yellow Piece Games is kickstarting their pirate setting for Savage Rules. For $15, you get a PDF of the setting and customized rules and also a PDF of pirate NPCs that you get to contribute to. For my wanna-lancer resume, this adds experience with Savage Worlds and another NPC, all for a low price point.

Check out the Kickstarter here – Buccaneer: Through Hell & High Water for Savage Worlds.

 

* * *

 

1) The S’rulyan Vault II by Kort’thalis Publishing
Ends on Thursday, June 22 2017 10:46 AM EDT.

“This project is a file/PDF for a high-resolution, printable map in both old school module blue and white, as well as, parchment color.

Basically, this is a continuation of the first S’rulyan Vault which funded on Kickstarter just over a year ago.

The S’rulyan Vault II is more of the same… but different.  Obviously, there will be a totally new dungeon layout with lots of interesting things going on.  The files can be printed off so you’ve got one massive map or four quadrants in order to easily mix and match them with each other and the previous S’rulyan Vault.

This is the DriveThruRPG product listing for the original S’rulyan Vault.

Glynn Seal of MonkeyBlood Design will be doing the cartography, layout, and file preparation.

As for the accompanying PDF full of useful random tables and such for creating and running your own damn megadungeon!  On the fly, if you wish.  Here’s an example from Draconic Magazine.”

Example Map from the S’rulyan Vault II

Egg’s Thoughts:

Kort’thalis Publishing’s CEO (Cthulhu Excreted Officer) Venger Satanis is another nice soul. When I mentioned that I wouldn’t mind a RPG mentor in an article, Venger reached out and offered helpful advice, wanna-lancing opportunities, and, if everything works out, freelance RPG work.His help has been awesome and I cannot ask for more from a RPG professional.

Through Kort’thalis Publishing, Venger is making RPG magic. His current Kickstarter is an old-school megadungeon map. Do you need one or two system agnostic megadungeon maps? Yes. Yes, you do, and Venger has you covered.

Venger is also offering another opportunity – paid GM’ing. If you go to a con and run 8 hours of games using one of his systems/settings – Alpha Blue, Crimson Dragon Slayer, CDS 1.11, or The Outer Presence – he’ll pay you for in swag or money. You’ll need to read the description first and talk with Venger about it before you go, but being paid to GM is a cool job.

Check out the Kickstarter here – The S’rulyan Vault II. Check out his offer of paid GM’ing here.

 

* * *

 

There are a lot of great Kickstarters out there so let me add one more to the pile:

Grond 3

Grond #3 by Michael Phillips
Ends on .

“Grond is now Kallok. Obberoth is dead. Valara’s fate is decided by Ugreth. Oublar is close to getting what he desires, being Mok’Dar.”

Catch up on the back issues and support the creation of the current issue on Kickstarter here – Grond #3

 

 

* * *

 

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

Interested in being a wanna-lancer? Start with the official Wanna-lancer Checklist t-shirt or wall clock or ice tea glass!

* * *

Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. His purchases have been published by:

Vanity Press: What Kickstarter RPG Rewards Are Available? – Dark Obelisk & A Delve in the Cave

Sometimes (all of the time), wanna-lancing is about gaining the experience needed to become a tabletop RPG freelancer. Other times, it’s about meeting people in the industry. This week, I look at crowdfundings that offer one of each scenario.

Dark Obelisk:Artifacts & Artifice Collection (Pathfinder/5E) by J. Evans Payne
Kickstarter campaign ends on Monday, June 12 2017 8:47 AM EDT.

Dark Obelisk – Artifacts & Artifice

“200+pp color PDF/hardcover with a wealth of magical items, each with quests, backstory, NPCs, and integration with the Dark Obelisk AP.

TL;DR: The Value Proposition

If you play Pathfinder or 5E/Fifth Edition, this book will be valuable to you.

On the fence? Check out the sample magical item, Abhorrent Naginata, available for free only during this KS campaign. It’s 10 pages of lavishly-detailed goodness, all dedicated to a single, nifty magic weapon. It’s a good example of what to expect… times dozens of items!

Obelisk-Shard Dagger illustration credit Jack Kaiser

This product is a massive, 200+ page full-color PDF and hardcover roleplaying supplement that will enhance any Pathfinder or 5E campaign in any setting.

 

Artifacts & Artifice will be a richly detailed hardcover gaming sourcebook, and companion to one of the most ambitious and massive indie RPG adventures in recent memory.”

Egg’s Thoughts:

Infinium Game Studios is offering a free sample of the type of product that they’re developing through this Kickstarter. If you need major items for your campaign along with detailed backstories, related NPCs, and adventures, this has got you covered. Add to it, you can design a NPC related to one of those items or a magic item to appear in one of their two books or you can design both and an adventure. Lots of vanity press options. For these books, they’re a good mix of RPG crunch and wanna-lancing opportunity.

You can find the Kickstarter campaign here.

* * *

5E Adventure: A Delve in the Cave by Jamie Chambers
IndieGoGo (originally on GoFundMe) campaign ends on Saturday, June 17 2017.

“I accidentally wrote a 5E fantasy RPG adventure! Wanna help me print it? This is a short campaign … it ends on June 11, 2017.”

Egg’s Thoughts:

Jamie Chambers wrote more on his GoFundMe page [UPDATED – This has moved from GoFundMe to IndieGoGo here. The GoFundMe total counts toward the overall total] detailing the experience of/reason for writing this adventure, not so much about the adventure itself. Let’s assume it’s a good dungeon crawl for 5e and it’s worth entertaining a quick inspection of it and its crowdfunding campaign.

From a wanna-lancing point of view, this campaign offers the opportunity to help craft a NPC and/or playtest the product with the creator. This offers the potential for face-to-face contact instead of everything between you and an established pro being type, type, type, type, type, type, and more type.

For Egg, there’s one additional opportunity here. While looking up Jamie Chambers, it turns out he lives a town or two away from where my humble home. One of the challenges of any type of entertainment freelancing is location. Live too far from where the wider professional community sits and you’re dependent on computer and phone contacts. Face-to-face causes some professionals/editors/publishers to become more invested in you as a person and creator. Human contact and all.

For my end, I live in Georgia, which has taken on a degree of prominence in the TV production world. But, for many other creative endeavors, it’s pretty far from where the action’s at. The potential to meet a local creator to network with is an opportunity to break out my rusty speaking skills instead of typing… Always typing. Will Jamie want to meet me? That’s CLEARLY not part of the crowdfunding campaign so I have no illusions that he’s dying to meet a dude named Egg. Heck, he’s not too far away, he may know some Embry’s and be feeling Hatfield toward McCoy, you know. Still, an interesting possibility of an “extra”. When looking at wanna-lancer opportunities, this is a bonus. The potential to meet someone in the industry outside of a convention is worth looking into.

You can find the IndieGoGo campaign here.

 

* * *

 

 

My Tessera Guild-mate, Robert (Route 3) Jeffrey II, is still running his Kickstarter as is my friend and publisher, Michael (Grond) Phillips. I cannot recommend checking out these Kickstarters enough!

Route 3

Route 3 by Robert Jeffrey II and Sean Damien Hill
Ends on .

“Centuries old prophecies. Shadowy government conspiracies. Super heroic action. Just a typical day for teenager Sean Anderson. Route 3.”

Check out the Kickstarter here – Route 3

Grond 3

Grond #3 by Michael Phillips
Ends on .

“Grond is now Kallok. Obberoth is dead. Valara’s fate is decided by Ugreth. Oublar is close to getting what he desires, being Mok’Dar.”

Catch up on the back issues and support the creation of the current issue on Kickstarter here – Grond #3

 

 

* * *

 

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

Interested in being a wanna-lancer? Start with the official Wanna-lancer Checklist t-shirt or wall clock or ice tea glass!

* * *

Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. His purchases have been published by:

200 Word RPG – Memories

In my experiment to jump from tabletop RPG wanna-lancer to freelancer, there are games and games and games that need to be read and played. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

Every new game is a chance to learn or a chance to be awed. Today’s inspirational game is a find from the 200 Word RPG Challenge. Since 2015, the 200 Word RPG Challenge solicits game designers to create a full RPG using only 200 words. For the uninitiated, most RPGs can’t get across their full rules in 200 pages. Putting a hard limit on the number of words you can use to describe the game rules, and setting that number lower than a post-bankruptcy credit score, makes this difficult in the extreme. To design any coherent game with that word limit is an amazing accomplishment. Santiago Eximeno’s Memories doesn’t just answer the challenge, it offers a game that is an emotional roller coaster. That’s delivering so much in so small a package that I had to share this game and take my hat off to the creator’s accomplishment.

Santiago Eximeno‘s Memories, reprinted in its entirety under the CC-BY-4.0 License.

Memories • 2017rpgwinner

Santiago Eximeno • www.eximeno.com

You are elderly people in a Nursing home. No one comes to see you anymore. You want to talk with others, tell them about your life, your dreams, and your memories.

Sit around a table. Get nine matches and an ashtray. Cut a paper sheet in nine pieces and write a word in each piece. These words are your conversation topics.

CHILD  LOVE  SPOUSE  WORK  FRIEND  GAME  TRAVEL  GRANDCHILD  HOME

One of you take a piece of paper and begins to talk about the topic in it. While speaking he lights a match and set fire to the paper in the ashtray. All of you talk about the proposed topic until the paper is consumed. Then a new elder takes another piece of paper and proceeds in the same way, but all of you have forgotten your memories related to the previous topic. You cannot use them in the new conversation. If the memories are necessary (for example, you must have CHILD in order to have GRANDCHILD), you must justify it in another way.

Finish when the nine pieces of paper have been burned —and, with them, all your memories.

 

200 Word RPG Challenge judge Brent Newhall called this game a “gut punch”. I’ve never played a game that crafts this amount of emotion through the rules. I’ve had emotional gaming sessions but the rules rarely drove the sentiment. The flames and the burning of memories while you are trying to maintain a coherent character and personality is a challenge that calls for a special kind of player. The frustration that the player experiences as they realize that they cannot use that prior memory because it’s gone evokes the exact atmosphere this game dwells in. Memories is a well-considered and realized approach to gaming in 200 words. It proves that amazing games are not just found in thick tomes, that the execution of the concept is what matters. Clearly, this would not be an easy game to play from an emotional point of view but one that may generate a lasting memory.

Santiago Eximeno’s website is here and find Memories on his website here. The 200 Word RPG Challenge, with more free entries to play, can be found here.

 

 

* * *

 

 

My Tessera Guild-mate, Robert (Route 3) Jeffrey II, is still running his Kickstarter as is my friend and publisher, Michael (Grond) Phillips. I cannot recommend checking out these Kickstarters enough!

Route 3

Route 3 by Robert Jeffrey II and Sean Damien Hill
Ends on .

“Centuries old prophecies. Shadowy government conspiracies. Super heroic action. Just a typical day for teenager Sean Anderson. Route 3.”

Check out the Kickstarter here – Route 3

Grond 3

Grond #3 by Michael Phillips
Ends on .

“Grond is now Kallok. Obberoth is dead. Valara’s fate is decided by Ugreth. Oublar is close to getting what he desires, being Mok’Dar.”

Catch up on the back issues and support the creation of the current issue on Kickstarter here – Grond #3

 

 

* * *

 

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

Interested in being a wanna-lancer? Start with the official Wanna-lancer Checklist t-shirt or wall clock or ice tea glass!

* * *

Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. His purchases have been published by:

Vanity Press: What Kickstarter RPG Rewards Are Available? – Maximum Mayhem Dungeons: Monsters of Mayhem #1 & Opilan: Destiny Rising

Want to expand your tabletop RPG writing and resume? In the process of broadening your horizons, do you want to create an alien superhero near-god? Want to make a monster with a wicked twist and have it drawn? Then these role-playing game Kickstarters offer just the opportunities for you.

* * *

Opilan Destiny Rising

Opilan: Destiny Rising by Andrew Gillies
Kickstarter campaign ends on Sunday, June 4 2017 9:01 AM EDT.

“A Superpower Tabletop Pen and Paper game with heavy mytho-scifi overtones. Prove your worth, become a God!

What is Opilan: Destiny Rising?

Intended to be a superhero pen and paper roleplaying game, this original idea has been taken to a new level, involving 12 distinct races (including humanity), a pantheon of 11 gods, and a galactic setting of intrigue and lore. The game is highly variable for Narrators (GMs) who want to have truly unique campaigns that cross genres and levels of technology in their campaigns. Mythos, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Superhero are all fair game in ODR. We wanted to make the game that we wanted to play and so we drew inspiration from our favorite games, movies, comics, myths, and stories into this original concept. Chances are if you want to make a character parallel to your favorite character from any media, you have that option. With an engaging system that grows in complexity as characters do, the pace of play and breadth of your adventure comes down to what kind of experience you want to gain.

Find out more at deadlydemongames.com

The System

The game utilizes a complete D6 (six sided die) system and builds in complexity at higher levels for characters in a natural progression which won’t bog down beginners. Central to the entire game are the Methods and Powers which make up the Origins of characters who are not limited to perusing only one avenue to true greatness. In order for players to feel like a superhero, and to further the sense of growing power, damage has a multiplier, specific to a character’s prowess. To accelerate character progression and further engage players, we added a means of gaining experience for each action performed without bloating the system. Incorporated into the system are rule-sets which can adjust the standard rules. These can be taken whole, or piecemeal, allowing a Narrator to tailor the game to their specific group of players.

Opilan Destiny Rising

Tier 6 to 8 Contributors includes:

  • Player’s Handbook – Hardcover
  • Beta Narrator’s Guide – PDF
  • Beta Story Arc – PDF
  • Tier 6 – Create a Character – Cameo ($50)
  • Tier 7 – Create a Character – Serial ($100)
  • Tier 8 – Create a Monster ($150)”

* * *

Egg’s Thoughts:

The setting appears to mix religion and powers and sci-fi to create a universe of options. The gods provide some powers while technology provides others. The odd race out are the humans… What is this species origin? Evolution or divine creation or something else?

With Opilan: Destiny Rising, you get to work within a brand new role-playing game system and create a NPC or monster from a literal universe of options. It’s the ground floor of a new creative endeavor and the chance to go wild with a character/creature that does not have to be from the “logic” of our world, this is a winner! The possibilities make this a system worth checking out.

 

Find this Kickstarter campaign here – Opilan: Destiny Rising

 

* * *

 

Maximum Mayhem Dungeons- Monsters of Mayhem #1 Cover

Maximum Mayhem Dungeons: Monsters of Mayhem #1 by Mark Taormino
Kickstarter campaign ends on .

“Monsters supplement used with OSRIC or adapted to 1st Ed AD&D, 5e, DCC, Pathfinder, D20, Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry

Are you a DM looking for something offbeat and different than the usual monster supplements? Do you like our Maximum Mayhem classic old school dungeon modules with outrageous villains, over the top monsters and wicked encounters? Do you want some cinematic, fun, memorable, challenging monsters to coldly and callously toss at your players to crush and destroy them in awesome and humiliating ways?

If you answered “HELL YES!” to those questions then Maximum Mayhem Dungeons: Monsters of Mayhem #1 is the supplement for your campaign and adventures!

MONSTERS OF MAYHEM #1 is 32+ page SOFTCOVER PRINT BOOK or PDF ONLY BOOK of new monsters with stats, descriptions and lots of cool original artwork! This supplement contains dozens of new creatures written with the usual Maximum Mayhem style humor and wickedness with hit dice ranging from 1 to 14. These all can be played with the OSRIC system or easily adapted to AD&D, D&D 1e to 5e, Pathfinder, D20 System, etc or any fantasy role playing system you may want to use!

Example art for Maximum Mayhem Dungeons- Monsters of Mayhem

Pledge $75 or more

MAKE A MONSTER AND GIVE ME IT ALL!

You get to create a monster in the supplement! (pending Dark Wizard Games overall edits and approval) You will get the PDF file of our Maximum Mayhem Dungeons: Monsters of Mayhem #1 book and ALL FOUR of our previous Maximum Mayhem Dungeon PDF modules: Hanging Coffins of the Vampire Queen, Secret Machines of the Star Spawn, Villains of the Undercity and Vault of the Dwarven King! Each PDF module will also include the PDF rewards associated with the respective module as well! You will also get a poster size 24″ x 36″ PDF file of the front cover of the supplement and our PDF of SIX different classic player character sheet designs!

Their tiers above this also include monster creation.”

* * *

Egg’s Thoughts:

Want to design a monster? Something twisted and worthy of the gaming table? Believe in yourself because you know you have one (or a dozen) of them in you… Hmm, that might be a real concern… Sorry… I shouldn’t judge your inner-internet-troll… Nevertheless, this is the opportunity to share it with the world! Design an in-depth monster and let the world see it!

ART! This Kickstarter is not shy about sharing their art and it ranges from cartoony to serious pen and ink. That’s a good choice on their part because this campaign stands out for its beautiful artwork that recalls superhero comic books and Frank Frazetta’s pencils and inks. It gives the products a unique, sharp look.

Maximum Mayhem Dungeons- Monsters of Mayhem

Because of their art, the sweet spot for this Kickstarter is the $125 pledge level – get the book, PDFs, design a monster, and they’ll draw it! As stellar as their art is, it’d be worth the extra money to see your monster fully visualized. Of course, that means you need to step up the visuals of your monster. No gelatinous cubes will work here. This needs to be a monster that is as visually scary as it is psychologically engaging at the gaming table and something that an artist will enjoy bringing to life.

 

Find this Kickstarter campaign here – Maximum Mayhem Dungeons: Monsters of Mayhem #1

 

 

* * *

 

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

Interested in being a wanna-lancer? Start with the official Wanna-lancer Checklist t-shirt or wall clock or ice tea glass!

* * *

Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. His purchases have been published by:

Kickstart the Game – Heroes of the Great War: Limanowa 1914

Since the start of writing words on the Tessera Guild, I’ve focused my column on tabletop RPG Kickstarters with a vanity press reward level. It’s helped me to build a RPG resume, write amazingly fun content, participate in contributing content for a Kickstarted project, obtain freelance work, get to co-write a comic book one-shot as well as a mini-series, and, best of all, get to talk to new folks across the world about gaming of all types. Being a wanna-lancer has been a win for me and will continue to be as I write articles about my experiment.

However, this week, I’m kicking off another series – Kickstart the Game (thanks for the title, John). This series will focus on gaming Kickstarters that look like they’re worth every penny and then some but do not offer any vanity press options. Instead, they make up for it awesomeness.

To kick this series off, I took a suggestion to look at a WWI board game…

Heroes of the Great War: Limanowa 1914 by Gladiator Games
Kickstarter campaign ends on Friday, June 2 2017 6:00 AM EDT

Heroes of the Great War Limanowa 1914

“Command genuine Great War units, cooperate with your allies and rewrite history in this tactical-scale war board game for 1-4 players.

Heroes of the Great War: Limanowa 1914 is a tactical board game set in the Eastern Front of World War I, focusing on the events near Krakow and the region of Galicia in December 1914. This territory was under heavy attack by the Tsarist Russian Empire, which tried to break through the ever thinner lines of the Austro-Hungarian armies. Over two-thirds of the well-equipped Russian forces were pushed against this front, winning victory after victory, occupying city after city, gaining the infamous name, the Russian Steamroller. In November 1914 the Austro-Hungarian High Command planned a desperate counterattack, by taking advantage of what seemed to be an error in the Russian maneuvers.

Heroes of the Great War Limanowa 1914 – Example Miniatures

Players can choose to assume the command of both fighting sides, either leading the VIIth or VIIIth Russian Corps to victory or facing the enemy with either the Hadfy Group or Szurmay Group. With the help of their combat units, each represented by highly detailed 28mm miniatures, players lead skirmishes, plan maneuvers over various terrains, set traps using secret battlecards and lay sieges to fortified towns. The units are based on real life Great War-era military units, mimicking their functionality and looks as much as possible. Except of some smaller scenarios, the armies are accompanied by one or more Generals, each based on battle hardened men of their own time, coming with combat abilities special to them.

Heroes of the Great War Limanowa 1914 – Map

The Hussar Colonel Box is our all-in-one offer: it includes the base game, all miniatures and stretch goals, and a Kickstarter Exclusive, metallic Acting Player badge – a total value of £90 for the price of £70. This box is only available during the Kickstarter campaign, and won’t be released in retail – this is your only chance to get one!”

Egg’s Thoughts:

Irma Dalakanitzkova pointed out this board game and Kickstarter in the comments of another article I did here on the Guild. I wanted to launch a side column that focuses on non-vanity press Kickstarters and this board game felt like an excellent start.

Heroes of the Great War: Limanowa 1914 follows a key, but underreported, World War I battle that could have hastened the outcome of the entire conflict. Like so much of WWI, the battle had the potential to change the world but, instead, of knocking the Central Powers out of the war before 1918, it led to more slaughter, no immediate victory, and stagnation.

As a subject, WWI is the study of carnage and mismanagement of such epic proportions it is morbidly fascinating. Setting a strategy game of this quality (and apparent cost) among a war famous for its trench warfare and general lack of strategic execution is bolder than Lawrence’s attempts to ignite an Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire. By having Heroes of the Great War focus on a campaign from the Eastern Front, the creators have the opportunity to show a different view of the war with both sides moving and operating at a reasonably effective and lethal ability when engaging each other. The game offers a number of gaming options (versus, solo, cooperative) in a product as professional looking as the British Expeditionary Force at the start of the Great War.

Heroes of the Great War – Example Figures

If you’re curious about how the game will be presented and play, there are a number of video examples of what you’ll receive and how it’ll work on your tabletop. The miniatures and map look crisp and offer a view of the level of quality they’re striving for. This game has the potential to remake the perception of WWI as *just* a trench war and shed light on the other major front and the strategy utilized there.

If you’re looking for a board game that allows you to re-create history, check out the Kickstarter for Heroes of the Great War: Limanowa 1914 by Gladiator Games.

 

 

* * *

 

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

Interested in being a wanna-lancer? Start with the official Wanna-lancer Checklist t-shirt or wall clock or ice tea glass!

* * *

Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. His purchases have been published by:

Three Gaming Kickstarters You Need To Back (by May 24th, 2017)

Ever want to role-play a western? Want to make your 5e fighters even more lethal? Got a board game idea and you just need the pieces to get it started? If that’s the case, Kickstarter has a game and two game aids that end by Wednesday May 24th that are begging for your attention! The countdown is on!

The White Box

 

3) The White Box: A Game Design Workshop-in-a-Box by Gameplaywright
Ends on Wednesday, May 17 2017 9:00 PM EDT.

Who wants to build a better board game? Or any board game? Need the components and some pointers from the professionals? The White Box is the product for you. Get the parts you need to build your game, a book of professional essays on the subject of game-making, and make it happen!

My write up of this product is here and the link to the Kickstarter campaign is here.

Fifth Edition Fighter Folio

 

2) Fifth Edition Fighter Folio & Condition Cards by Total Party Kill Games
Ends on Monday, May 22 2017 12:59 AM EDT.

Want to make your 5e fighter the best they can be? Want to use ideas from a company called Total Party Kill Games that strives to live up to their name? The Fifth Edition Fighter Folio & Condition Cards are for you! I am proud that I had the chance to contribute some ideas to this product and I can’t wait to read them in print!

My write up of the folio is here and the campaign is here.

 

1) Aces & Eights: Reloaded by Kenzer & Company
Ends on Wednesday, May 24 2017 12:00 AM EDT.

Want to role-play in an alternate history wild west? Want to “relive the glory days of the ‘West that never was’?” Aces & Eights: Reloaded is the second edition and 10th anniversary edition “of the world’s best selling, state-of-the-art, game-of-the-year wild west role playing game”. This isn’t just the game of western shootouts, this is the game of the 1800s with all professions open to you. This is the game could answer how the west was won.

For those looking to add a wanna-lancer, vanity press RPG credit to their resume, this campaign has several options to immortalize your NPC in a supplement or the main book. You can create an original Woman With No Name and have her live out countless stories across the wild west from the tabletops of gamers everywhere.

You can reach the Kickstarter campaign here.

Aces & Eights Reloaded

 

 

 

* * *

 

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

Interested in being a wanna-lancer? Start with the official Wanna-lancer Checklist t-shirt or wall clock or ice tea glass!

* * *

Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. His purchases have been published by:

Vanity Press: What Kickstarter RPG Rewards Are Available? – The White Box: A Game Design Workshop-in-a-Box

Do you want to create a board game? Have an idea but need the board and pieces to test it out? Looking for design ideas from professionals? This may be the option you didn’t even realize you needed.

The White Box: A Game Design Workshop-in-a-Box by Gameplaywright

“From savvy advice to myriad bits, The White Box has everything you need to start creating the game in your head.

Almost everyone who’s ever played a game has had an idea for how to make it better. To tweak it, improve it, or even build something new from its miniatures, cards, cubes, and concepts.

At Gameplaywright and Atlas Games, we think making games is awesome. We believe it’s one of the most challenging, fun, rewarding things you can do. If you’ve ever thought about making a game of your own, we want to help.

We made The White Box for you.

The White Box is a learning, planning, and prototyping tool for tabletop game designers.

It contains a book of 18 essays on game design and production, covering subjects like where to find a great concept, how to use randomness, what to ask playtesters, and whether it’s wise to self-publish.

It includes an abundance of components to get you started right away, from cubes and meeples to dice, discs, and chits.

Maybe you have a golden idea inside you burning to come out. Maybe you want to tell a story or explore a problem. Do you dream of seeing your name on a box at your local game store? Or perhaps you see game design as a path to fame, fortune, and a satisfying career.

The White Box is for aspiring professionals, creative young people, and literally anyone who’s ever wanted to build their own game without having to plunder their game library for bits.

If you believe creating games is awesome, The White Box is for you.

 

* * *

 

The White Box

Egg’s Thoughts:

Let’s step away from my usual topic – vanity press tabletop RPGs and resume building – and look at a board game. Not a playable board game, but one you’ll create. If you want to construct your own board game, this is going to simplify the process by giving you all of the building blocks.

The White Box offers all the parts you’ll need to design your own game. No need to cut out pieces to play with or get poster board game maps that cannot be folded up or spend time addressing the components needed to play instead of, you know, playtesting your idea. With the White Box, you have the pieces needed to go right into rolling dice for your ideas, all in one box. Add to that, a book loaded with design philosophy and you’re ready to hit the ground running.

Like the Kickstarter says, “[y]ou have a golden game inside of you” and I agree. I have one that’s been in my head for about a year and the White Box will help to bring it into the physical world. For the price – $38 shipped in the US – you can take a chance and design that game that’s been waiting to leap out of your head.

 

* * *

 

Fifth Edition Fighter Folio by TPK Games

 

Let me shift the focus from board games back to my usual love, RPGs. In this case, the Kickstarter for TPK Games’ Fifth Edition Fighter Folio & Condition Cards. Through my wanna-lancing, I contributed some fighter subclass ideas for this project and I can’t wait to read the finalized versions. Last week, I did a write up of my involvement here. Take a moment to check out their Kickstarter. This is going to add flavor and challenge enough to your gaming table to live up to the company’s name – Total Party Kill.

 

* * *

 

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

Interested in being a wanna-lancer? Start with the official Wanna-lancer Checklist t-shirt or wall clock or ice tea glass!

* * *

Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. His purchases have been published by:

Vanity Press: What Kickstarter RPG Rewards Are Available? – Fifth Edition Fighter Folio & Condition Cards

One of the tabletop RPG Kickstarters that I backed and did a vanity press contribution to – Slaughter at Splinterfang Gorge by Total Party Kill Games – led to an opportunity to contribute ideas to their latest Kickstarter project, the Fifth Edition Fighter Folio. Want to amp up your 5e fighters? Read on.

Fifth Edition Fighter Folio by TPK Games

Fifth Edition Fighter Folio & Condition Cards by Total Party Kill Games

“We are making a Fighter’s Handbook character resource and Condition Cards compatible with 5E Dungeons & Dragons.

Fight for glory… fight for honor… but know HOW to fight!

Total Party Kill Games presents The Fighter Folio, a player and GM sourcebook compatible with the fifth edition (5E) of the Dungeons & Dragons tabletop roleplaying game. Also included is a gorgeous set of our 5E condition cards, giving you four of every condition, including the ones from TPK’s hugely popular Fifth Edition Options title.”

Preview of Fifth Edition Fighter Folio Pages 11 and 12

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

TPK Games 5e Products

Total Party Kill Games has a list of 5e products. The one I’m most familiar with is Slaughter at Splinterfang Gorge. This adventure was a hard slog that was well worth the price of admission. That is what TPK Games is known for, hard fights, no cakewalks.

I had the chance to contribute some magic items to Slaughter at Splinterfang Gorge. Those items led to an invitation to contribute sub-classes to the Fifth Edition Fighter Folio. I was honored to be allowed to contribute to both products. With their latest Kickstarter, I expect the Fifth Edition Fighters Folio to add a new level of challenge to 5e.

While I am biased (I had a lot of fun working on both projects), I recommend checking out Fifth Edition Fighter Folio & Condition Cards by Total Party Kill Games. I am ready to add the finished product to my gaming table.

 

 

* * *

 

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

Interested in being a wanna-lancer? Start with the official Wanna-lancer Checklist t-shirt or wall clock or ice tea glass!

* * *

Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. His purchases have been published by:

Vanity Press: What Kickstarter RPG Rewards Are Available? – Alternity 2017 and Green Ronin Publishing Talent Search

Ready to design a planet? Seriously, a planet. Your business card could read, “[INSERT NAME], Planetary Architect and Wanna-lancer”. If that, or trying out for Green Ronin Publishing’s female-centric RPG talent hunt, appeals to you, read on.

Alternity from Sasquatch Game Studio

Alternity 2017 – A Science Fiction Roleplaying Game by Sasquatch Game Studio LLC
Kickstarter campaign ends on Thursday, May 4 2017 11:59 PM EDT.

“A modular Science Fiction Tabletop Roleplaying game limited only by your imagination. Choose your future!

Alternity is back—and it’s better than ever!

Strange new worlds and deadly aliens? Mercenaries for hire? Post-apocalyptic survival? Explore your favorite visions of sci-fi adventure in the new Alternity Science Fiction Roleplaying Game from Sasquatch Game Studio.

Many Worlds, One Game: The Alternity Core Rulebook includes a wealth of campaign-building guidance and a modular rules design so that you can model your favorite SF setting or create your own. We’re also launching with one “pre-built” setting, our Protostar universe . . . but we’ve got plans for more worlds if you want ’em! We plan to unlock at least one more setting through our stretch goals for the project.

Alternity Rule Books

What’s your future?

In 1997, Bill Slavicsek and Richard Baker created the original Alternity game—a powerful tabletop RPG engine for science fiction adventure across a wide range of genres. Now, twenty years later, Sasquatch Game Studio is creating a new sci-fi RPG inspired by the original game. We’re rebuilding the game mechanics to take advantage of 20 years of advancement in the art of game design. We’re marrying bold new ideas and exciting new subgenres to the original scope and vision of the Alternity game. And we’re bringing it all together in a convenient, full-color, handsomely illustrated Core Rulebook with supporting adventures and sourcebooks.

But don’t wait for the Kickstarter to finish! A Beta Test release of the Alternity game is currently available as a free download on DriveThruRPG! The Beta release includes an overview of the rules, an introductory scenario, and a sample adventure. We’ll be collecting feedback from testers and backers throughout the coming weeks to make Alternity awesome!

Want to see more about the development process? Visit our website at: http://www.sasquatchgamestudio.com/Alternity and check out our Alternity Design Blogs!

* * *

Alternity or Primeval Thule? Alternity is going to look amazing!

Sasquatch Game Studio is the design team behind the Primeval Thule Campaign Setting and the Princes of the Apocalypse campaign adventure for 5e. Our Alternity team includes the creators of the original game published by TSR. You can learn more about us and our products at www.sasquatchgamestudio.com.”

* * *

Egg’s Thoughts:

Sasquatch Game Studio, the designers behind Primeval Thule Campaign Setting, produced the first vanity press purchase I participated in. That setting – best described as Conan meets Cthulhu – stands tall among the 5e products I’ve bought along the way. The quality of their production (writing, direction, and art) is second to none.

Using Primeval Thule as a guide post, I think Alternity will be one of the best sci-fi products available. Being a new, wholly original iteration of the original TSR game, Alternity will provide both a retro-fix and break new ground.

As an added bonus, they have a vanity press pledge level that allows you to name and design a planet for their Protostar Mission Guide, the first campaign setting for Alternity. Ever had a whole sci-fi planet you wanted to design? Here’s your chance to do that and work with some of the top talent in the RPG industry. Based on my experience, I cannot recommend this enough.

* * *

Green Ronin Publishing’s Talent Search Submissions are open!

“This is just one part of Green Ronin’s larger and ongoing diversity initiative. In this specific case, we’re interested in hearing from women-identified and non-binary individuals with a passion for dark fantasy. What we’d like to see are writing samples that illustrate a grasp of the elements typically involved in RPGs: rules design, world-building/setting write-ups, character profiles, and fiction vignettes, as well as writing that aims to hybridize these elements. Familiarity with the Lost Citadel property is not a requirement at this stage.

We will be accepting your submissions from today until May 15th and the winner will be announced to the public as part of our Lost Citadel Kickstarter on June 6th.

  • Submissions should be no longer than 3,000 total words.
  • Submissions should be sent with an introductory email that includes your name and contact information; during the evaluation stage we will be stripping the submissions of identifying information and assigning each a code number as part of a blind reading so they can be judged without regard to name, existing reputation (or lack thereof), or anything other than the quality of the work.
  • Submissions should be saved as a document file and sent as an email attachment to lostcitadelrpg@greenronin.com. Don’t worry about heavy formatting, tone-appropriate font choices, or other stylistic flourishes.

While the setting is dark fantasy and its core expression will be in 5E, you are NOT required to adhere to those specifics in your submissions. We welcome submissions featuring mechanics from any edition, or those for our in-house system (AGE), or even those featuring other popular systems you feel might be dark fantasy-appropriate.

Green Ronin Publishing – Lost Citadel

Keep in mind that this is not a math test disguised as a talent search. While submitting a well constructed Pathfinder stat block may be acceptable, it doesn’t go very far toward showcasing one’s talent and/or ability as a writer, only one’s ability to do math. Remember, the idea is to make a strong impression with your writing.

By submitting your work for evaluation, you represent that you are the sole author of the material being submitted, agree that Green Ronin and its agents have the right to read your submissions for the purposes of this search, and acknowledge that Green Ronin is under no obligation to use, buy, license, or adapt your talent search submission for any other use.”

* * *

Egg’s Manplanation:

Green Ronin Publishing is a Top Five RPG publisher. To be picked by them during this talent search would be a career jumpstart. Add to that, they’re targeting the expansion of the RPG industry by getting more women behind the keyboard. If you meet the above criteria and want to test out the freelance RPG waters, this is the talent hunt for you.

* * *

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

Interested in being a wanna-lancer? Start with the official Wanna-lancer Checklist t-shirt or wall clock or ice tea glass!

* * *

Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. His purchases have been published by:

Wanna-Lancer Opportunity – EN World Freelancer

This week, I’m looking at a success – I translated my wanna-lancer credits into a freelance opportunity and you can, too. Become a freelance RPG journalist through the open call on this major RPG news site. Read on for more details.

* * *

EN World – Freelance Columnists Required!

EN World, one of the largest “DUNGEONS & DRAGONS and PATHFINDER RPG news” websites in the world, is looking for new contributors for their community-generated content program. They’re requesting pitches for ongoing 500-word articles examining RPG news, industry coverage, commentary on gaming and the gaming community, gamer-interest profiles, and focused reviews of games. It’s an exciting offer because, if they accept your pitch, it’s freelancer work that grows your RPG profile.

If you want to write about games and be paid for it, you can find their open call for freelance columnists here. Their guidelines and how to contact them are here.

* * *

My favorite piece of art from the FirstFable Guide Book. Art by Charlie Bates

After reading about this opportunity, I pitched several column series ideas, and my wanna-lancer resume, to EN World. A portion of one of the ideas caught the submissions editor’s interest. He asked for a new pitch focusing on reviews for children’s games. I was stoked that he spotted a diamond in the rough. I re-wrote the pitch, he approved it. I wrote my first article, he had only short, helpful notes. I adjusted the article and the review, entitled Gaming at the Kids’ Table: The FirstFable RPG, can be read on EN World here.

My blog series on the Tessera Guild is about buying and building my RPG resume to move from a wanna-lancer to a freelancer. A big piece of the puzzle has been filled in with this freelance column on EN World. Does this mean that wanna-lancing is over? No. One assignment does not a freelancer make. But, it’s a positive step.

I want to thank EN World for offering this opportunity. A big thank you to Submissions Editor Christopher Helton for seeing something worth publishing. I also want to thank the Tessera Guild for letting me write here. Every article exercises the writing gears and helps get me ready for future assignments.

Thank you all!

* * *

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

Interested in being a wanna-lancer? Start with the official Wanna-lancer Checklist t-shirt or wall clock or ice tea glass!

* * *

Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. His purchases have been published by: