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[UPDATED] Rick Loomis, Rex Draconis, Justice Velocity, Wranglers of Westhallow, Broken, and More – It’s an RPG Project and News Roundup!

One of my buddies, Wolf (read some of the articles he did here and here), requested I help to spread the word about one of gaming’s greats and his struggles.

“Rick Loomis was one of the founding members of the Game Manufacturing Association, serving as its president several times. He started Flying Buffalo Games, was one of the first people to ever run a Play-by-Mail game, and published numerous pieces of gaming goodness including Tunnels & Trolls and Grimtooth’s Traps.

Unfortunately, he was also recently diagnosed with lymphatic cancer.
There is a GoFundMe set up to help his family to pay his medical bills.”
Another option to help launched yesterday at Bundle of Holding. From their site:
“Adventurer! In a good cause we’ve revived our July 2017 Catalyst Bundle, featuring the Catalyst line and other tabletop fantasy roleplaying game .PDF ebooks from Flying BuffaloRick Loomis, founder of Flying Buffalo, publisher of Tunnels & Trolls, and designer of the first-ever solitaire adventure (Buffalo Castle), is facing overwhelming medical bills from his treatment for lymphatic cancer. Rick’s family has started a GoFundMe campaign, and we’re also helping with this great collection of Buffalo’s Catalyst supplements that work with any fantasy RPG. Notably, the CityBook series presents dozens of individual shops, establishments, and characters you can add to any urban fantasy adventure.”

***UPDATED 2019-08-24 at 20:00***

From Steve Crompton’s post to the GoFundMe page:
“Fate is a strange mistress. For today is August 24th and that is Rick’s Birthday. Unfortunately today is also the sad, sad day that I have to tell you all that Rick Loomis passed away, just seven hours before his birthday of complications of his cancer.”
More in the link here.
The industry has lost a legend and many people have lost Rick in their lives. My heart goes out to Rick’s family and friends in this tragic time.

 

Pictures taken from the Rex Draconis Facebook page.

Rex Draconis RPG, based on the novel series by Richard A. Knaak, and the RPG by Richard, Phil Beckwith, and Micah Watt, is available in-print via DriveThruRPG. Rex Draconis is something I’ve written several articles about as I see it as the best love letter to Dragonlance there is.


 

Speaking of Phil Beckwith, he has a 5e RPG on Kickstarter ending soon.

Wranglers of Westhallow (for D&D 5E) from P.B. Publishing on Kickstarter

END DATE: Sun, August 25 2019 8:57 AM EDT.

“Wranglers of Westhallow is a rootin-tootin, yeehaw Wild West D&D 5E adventure book with focus on lighthearted comedic fun.”


 

Dungeons&Lazers sent a message about how well their tabletop miniatures Kickstarter is going. The Facebook post above gives an idea of what they’ve unlocked so far. Check out the Kickstarter here before it ends on Tuesday, August 27 2019 1:00 PM EDT.


 

The Esper Genesis Threats Database is available with over 200 sci-fi monsters and NPCs for 5e at DriveThruRPG.


 

Justice Velocity from Polyhedra is live at DriveThruRPG and worth checking out! My copy arrived yesterday and it looks great! Check out their press releases here and here for more details.


 

M.T. Black, my fellow journalist at EN World, has another DMs Guild project live:

The Lonely Scroll Adventure Contest: Saltmarsh

“Lonely Scroll Adventure Contest: Saltmarsh book. This volume contains 47 “one-page adventures” created for the Lonely Scroll Adventure Contest around the theme of “Saltmarsh”. The entrants included new talent, rising stars, and a few veteran designers as well.

The competition was founded and curated by M.T. Black. The judge was Tony Petrecca.”


 

Another project that’s worth looking at before it ends:

Cities of Hârn by Columbia Games

END DATE: Mon, August 26 2019 2:59 AM EDT.

Cities of Hârn is a medieval RPG setting. All seven cities will be updated, colorized, with more content than ever before!”


 

I had a chance to do a short interview with WS Quinton about his Broken RPG Kickstarter.

 

Broken! ~ A Break KickStarter created TTRPG from Sinopa Publishing LLC on Kickstarter

END DATE: Wed, September 11 2019 11:59 PM EDT.

“Get the game for $1 Get the game and vote on design for $5 Exercise the power of your voice & vote to create a fun RPG 5E or M.A.R.S?”

 

EGG: Looking at Broken, I’m into the idea of what you’re doing and think it has a lot of potential. That said, the goal is $15k, but the pledge levels are $1 and $5. That requires 3,000 backers at $5. What do you have in mind to reach that number of backers? Or will there be higher pledge levels?

WS QUINTON: Nope, $5 is highest. We’re looking for those 3k backers. The $15,000 is needed for all the art and layout, editing etc. I’m just hoping we can stir up enough interest to bring out a well crafted game that folks want to play. It’s ambitious as hell and will be hard to fund. But I want folks to be able to get the game regardless of their means. Which is one big reason the tiers are so low. As far as reaching backers, I’m reaching out to every blogger, podcaster and YouTuber I know, and several I don’t. I’m asking backers to advocate on social media for their choices to help bring in more backers to their own preferences.

 

EGG: Are you planning to run this for thirty days or longer so you can get more feedback from backers?

WSQ: Thirty days, then we’ll work and get the playtest out in December and spend the next six months digesting feedback to make the final version the best we can. Also I showed the preview to one of the directors at Kickstarter. Because they’re really pushing the Break Kickstarter theme. I got a response back that was very encouraging as well as her saying she was showing it to folks at Kickstarter so they could watch for it. With luck maybe we’ll get a project we love nod.

 

EGG: That is excellent news! Do you have any thoughts for backers who vote for an option that does not come to pass?

WSQ: Yes, enjoy Broken in its final form. Let us know what you want in the flavor that didn’t come out on top. If there is enough interest we’ll bring that option again to a future campaign. In the meantime, enjoy the game.

 

EGG: Going back to the number of backers, you’re looking for around the same number as Grimmerspace, Old-School Essentials, Kids on Bikes, and Pugmire, to name a few. If you achieve that kind of reach, what are you expecting in terms of product? Size, shape, contents?

WSQ: We’re aiming for at least 160 pages for first book. Probably more like 200 if we get MARS selected as game mechanics. Again these are our minimum projections. 6-by-9 inch digest format as that was very well received with Whispers of Persephone. Its also an economical option for print on demand copy cost considerations. We really want this game to be high quality at low cost and easily accessible to everyone. Yeah, we need huge numbers of backers. But that is the burden we bear for low tier costs and a lot of full color original art. It is clearly unconventional so the Break Kickstarter theme fits nicely.


 

I want to thank Scott Woodard and the Pinnacle Entertainment Group for writing a post about my review of their book, Flash Gordon™ Roleplaying Game core rulebook. I really enjoyed the game and I’m glad that they liked my review enough to honor me by spilling some digital ink onto the [web] page. Check out Pinnacle’s post.

My review on d20 Radio.


 

This week, I had a ridiculous number of articles published:

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

  • Tessera Guild – This article right here. It was a good week.

Dragon Con – Everything Pop Culture

My wife heard an advertisement on the radio today about Dragon Con which said that its focus is “Everything Pop Culture”.

I guess that is true. Or maybe, that’s become true.

There are a few ways to look at it. I immediately jumped to the idea that Dragon Con has grown (for better or worse) into this Convention Behemoth. In my previous Dragon Con reviews, I’ve mentioned that I’ve been going for probably 25 years at this point. I’ve watched it twist and change and contort itself over that amount of time. And really, it doesn’t share those old focuses anymore. Whether it is the idea of not supporting comic books for the better part of a decade (at least) to the point that the amount of “artist alley” folks could fit into what really was a glorified closet… or whether it is pushing some of the roleplaying related things out as well (tons of companies used to be there). Those things were traded over time to focus on other things. Things that were still very much “nerd culture”, just in the form of cartoons and tv shows (think Xena and Battlestar Galactica) and movies that only those of us there had ever really heard of (Firefly, Dresden Files). Even embracing the costuming/cosplay people with open arms, giving them a place to fly their own geek flags.

It’s all been about changing from what it was way back then.

And don’t miss the mark- this isn’t one of those things where the old man goes off on how things were “better in my day”. Do I miss some of that stuff? Yeah, sure, but I don’t dislike what it has become either. The fact that it is now showcasing things which are considered “Pop Culture” and it isn’t said in a derogatory fashion. It’s crazy.

Courtney, upon hearing this, took it to mean exactly that. Being able to go and see the actors from your favorite shows/movies, but still having the ability to showcase some of the “other” stuff in there as well. She would have never enjoyed that mid-90s version of Dragon Con. She likes the stars and the panels where they talk to us about their current projects and what might be coming down the line.

And that’s great.

I also love that authors are beyond welcome at Dragon Con. That many of them make it a specific point to venture down to Atlanta for the show. I can’t count the number of panels with novelists and RPG creators I’ve sat in on trying to glean some pieces of insight. That’s not an opportunity every convention can offer.

Or what about that lost decade for comic books and related panels? With the Marvel movies setting records over and over, the comic books have been let back into play with everyone else. They now have a whole floor at the Apparel Mart where the artists can show their wares.

Really, what it gets back to is this idea that everything doesn’t have to be for you (me in this case) to enjoy it. But to have things you do enjoy being embraced by this convention in any fashion only will create more possibilities in the future. One of my co-workers sees the convention entirely differently than I do. He and his girlfriend don’t really get going until the late afternoon. They are there for the concerts and the late-night festivities. I wouldn’t know what any of that even is.

And that’s the beauty of Dragon Con.

***

John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. The Trade paperback collecting the first 4 issues is finally back from the printers! If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

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.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow EmpireBeyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

[UPDATED] 2019 ENnie Awards Dream Date Guide 

UPDATED 2019-07-22:

After most of the first round of auctions closed, two were re-listed for a second shot at them!

 

Alligator Alley #1 – 2019 ENnie Dream Date!

AUCTION ENDS: Sunday, 28th July, 2019 at 1:30 PM EST 

AWARDS 

  • Attend the ENnie Awards 2019 with the team at Alligator Alley Entertainment  
  • Some amazing swag from Alligator Alley Entertainment 

 

Petersen Games – Dream Date with Sandy #2 at the 2019 ENnie Awards

AUCTION ENDS: Sunday, 28th July, 2019 at 2:17 PM EST 

AWARDS 

  • Attend the ENnie Awards 2019 with the Petersen Games team   
  • Some Petersen Games swag! 

 

NOT A RE-LIST BUT ENDS THIS WEEK:

Dwarven Forge. – 2019 ENnie Awards Dream Date

AUCTION ENDS: Wednesday, 24th July, 2019 at 3:32 PM EST 

REWARDS 

  • Attend the ENnie Awards 2019 with the Dwarven Forge team
  • “A painted Starter Dungeon set! The set includes 19 pieces in pure Dwarvenite to start off (or top off) your dungeon. This set comes fully hand painted”

 

ORIGINAL ARTICLE:

Want to step up your RPG freelancing game? RPG publisher looking to shake up the industry? Are you a fan of award-winning RPGs? Going to the ENnie Awards at Gen Con 2019? Chaosium, Cubicle 7, Magpie Games, Pelgrane Press, Petersen Games, and more will be there and they want to hang out with you! The ENnie Awards (the Oscars of tabletop RPGs) are auctioning off seats with these publishers as well as swag. On eBay, they’re offering you the chance to get some one-on-one time with some of the best creators in the industry!  

Each year, I write an “ENnie Awards Dream Date Guide” to share these fantastic opportunities for fans, freelancers, and publishers. Curious what the prior options? Check them out here: 2017 and 2018. 

In 2017, I won a “date” with Cubicle 7 and could not have been happier with the experience then and since. We sat at a table right in front of the stage, they shared industry tales, introduced me to other creators, and hooked me up with Adventures in Middle-earth books and maps (print and PDF). The cherry on that night was when they won an award while I was there. I went from random fan to someone that C7 talks with every time I see them. The experience boosted me as an RPG fan, journalist, and creator, and I would recommend it to anyone that’s interested in RPGs whether a fan, a freelancer, or a publisher. To that end, let’s review these dates! 

Cubicle 7 and Egg (shorts) at the ENnie Awards 2017. [Egg is going for a record for re-using this image.]

But, before we do, here’s a few notes: 

The 2019 ENnie Awards are held August 2nd, 2019 at 8pm at Gen Con! Don’t forget to vote for the ENnie Awards here. [Auction] winners must have a valid Gen Con badge [not provided] to attend the ENnie Awards and [the winners are] responsible for any associated expenses with attending Gen Con in Indianapolis, IN. All proceeds from the Dream Date auction are used to fund the production of the ENnie Awards each year. Egg Embry is not a part of the ENnie Awards. He writes these dream date guides for fun.  

See all of the auctions here. 

Cubicle 7 – 2019 ENnie Dream Date! 

AUCTION ENDS: Saturday, 20th July, 2019 at 3:30 PM EST 

AWARDS 

  • Attend the ENnie Awards 2019 with the Cubicle 7 creative team 
  • A signed copy of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Core Rulebook - Up for two ENnies this year! 

Cubicle 7 is the creative team behind many ENnie nominated and winning products! These include 2019 nominated Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Fourth Edition, The One Ring Roleplaying Game, Adventures in Middle-earth, Age of Sigmar Roleplaying Game, The Doctor Who Card Game, Doctor Who Roleplaying Game, and many, many more. 

EGG’S THOUGHTSI’ve met C7 on multiple occasions and they’re nice, nice, nice. You’ll have a good time, they’ll keep you entertained, and, if you’re interested in one of their properties (Lord of the Rings, Warhammer, Doctor Who), they will share more insight into their worlds than you can handle.  

But one of the hottest options for this night is the swag. If C7’s Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Core Rulebook picks up either, or both, of the ENnies it’s up for, your signed copy will become something of a gaming artifact: The signed ENnie Awards Dream Date Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Core Rulebookfrom the night it won ENnies.  

Pelgrane Press – 2019 ENnie Dream Date! 

AUCTION ENDS: Saturday, 20th July, 2019 at 1:45 PM EST 

AWARDS 

  • Attend the ENnie Awards 2019 with the Pelgrane Press team including CathrionaCat” Tobin, Ken Hite and Robin Laws 
  • Hideous Creatures t-shirt  
  • Hideous Creatures – Bestiary of the Cthulhu Mythos book  
  • A GM ribbon  
  • Pelgrane Press button 

Pelgrane Press Ltd is a British role-playing game publishing company behind many ENnieAward winning products! This year is no exception, as they are up for multiple 2019 ENnies! Pelgrane Press currently produces Fall of Delta Green, Trail of Cthulhu, Night’s Black Agents, 13th Age, the Diana Jones award-winning Hillfolk RPG, the Dying Earth Roleplaying Game, and other related products. 

EGG’S THOUGHTS: Hideous Creatures – Bestiary of the Cthulhu Mythos is up for an ENnie Award this year and is a part of the swag the winner of this auction gets. As I mentioned with C7’s swag above, if this book wins then your copy defaults to a piece of gaming history, the ENnie Awards Dream Date Hideous Creatures – Bestiary of the Cthulhu Mythos.

2019 JUDGES ENnie Awards Dream Date 

AUCTION ENDS: Sunday, 21st July, 2019 at 12:30 PM EST 

AWARDS 

  • Attend the ENnie Awards 2019 with 2019 ENnie Awards judges, Brian Nowak, Ben Adelman and Chris Gath  
  • The winner will also receive some amazing swag custom tailored to your gaming interests. Value of the prize pack will be at least $50 over that final auction bid!
    At end of the auction, winner will receive an email asking for your tastes in genre (Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, board games, etc…) We will do our best to match it with a selection of items that have been submitted to the ENnies and award them to you the night of the awards 

EGG’S THOUGHTSIf you’re a gamer, this will probably be the best swag deal of the convention as they’ll provide you with a lot of games (the judges get plenty throughout the year).

If you’re a publisher, it might open doors to talk with the judges to learn more about judging criteria, which could lead to improved products through your studio.  

 

Magpie Games – ENnie Awards Dream Date 2019 

AUCTION ENDS: Sunday, 21st July, 2019 at 1:00 PM EST 

AWARDS 

  • Attend the ENnie Awards 2019 with Magpie Games team  
  • One of Magpie’s main product lines:  
    • Masks pack - a copy of the core book, supplement, one deck and a set of dice  

 Or  

    • Zombie World pack - a copy of the core book, both supplements, and a set of Kickstarter Exclusive Cards 

Magpie Games is a multi-ENnie Award nominated and winning game development and production company devoted to creating interesting, innovative, boundary-pushing, and most of all high-quality games across a wide variety of genres and styles. The majority of Magpie’s productions are tabletop roleplaying games, ranging from games designed to recreate disaster movies, to games designed to tell the stories of baby dragons on adventures, to gritty games about supernatural criminals and power brokers. Since its inception, Magpie Games has released many games, including Urban Shadows, Epyllion: A Dragon Epic, Masks: A New GenerationandBluebeard’s Bride. 

Petersen Games – Dream Date with Sandy #1 at the 2019 ENnie Awards 

AUCTION ENDS: Sunday, 21st July, 2019 at 1:15 PM EST 

Petersen Games – Dream Date with Sandy #2 at the 2019 ENnie Awards 

AUCTION ENDS: Sunday, 21st July, 2019 at 2:15 PM EST 

Petersen Games – Dream Date with Sandy #3 at the 2019 ENnie Awards 

AUCTION ENDS: Sunday, 21st July, 2019 at 3:15 PM EST 

NOTEThere are three dream dates being hosted by the Petersen Games team 

AWARDS 

  • Attend the ENnie Awards 2019 with the Petersen Games team   
  • Some Petersen Games swag! 

Petersen Games was founded to make games with top-grade components, amazing art, and great depth of gameplay. Their games include the immensely popular Cthulhu Wars, All Orcs Must Die! and Theomachy. In addition, Sandy Petersen’s Cthulhu Mythos for 5E is up for an ENnie this year! 

Game Designer,Sandy Petersenfirst conceived of the idea of doing a roleplaying game based on H. P. Lovecraft’s stories. That original idea, the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game, is still in print today. Since that time, Sandy has worked on many tabletop products, including helping develop the original Arkham Horror board game. He also spent almost 20 years in the computer gaming industry, as a designer on the teams that produced Civilization, Doom, Quake, the Age of Empire series, and Halo Wars. He returned to the world of tabletop gaming with the famed Cthulhu Wars strategy game, and now he is Chief Creative Officer of his own company. 

EGG’S THOUGHTSI’m hoping the “Petersen Games swag” includes a copy of Sandy Petersen’s Cthulhu Mythos for 5E since it is up for an ENnie this year. Obviously, it’s not mentioned in the swag (that’s ambiguous), but if the game wins, having a copy gotten at the awards ceremony will be a special memento of gaming.  

Alligator Alley #1 – 2019 ENnie Dream Date! 

AUCTION ENDS: Sunday, 21st July, 2019 at 1:30 PM EST 

Alligator Alley #2 – 2019 ENnie Dream Date! 

AUCTION ENDS: Sunday, 21st July, 2019 at 2:30 PM EST 

NOTE: There are two dream dates being hosted by Alligator Alley Entertainment 

AWARDS 

  • Attend the ENnie Awards 2019 with the team at Alligator Alley Entertainment  
  • Some amazing swag from Alligator Alley Entertainment 

Alligator Alley Entertainment is the publisher of adventure games including Witch Hunter: the Invisible World,Esper Genesis, andDemonbane Chronicles 

EGG’S THOUGHTS: Alligator Alley is the company behind Esper Genesis (sci-fi D&D 5e), which I reviewed for Knights of the Dinner Table #262. When I see them at cons, they’re always ready to talk and share lots of good information about being a small publisher that is making it. Plus, freelancer tales and more. Well worth checking out.  

Executive Creative Director of Games at Andrews McMeel Universal, Daniel D. Fox. HONEST! Would I lie?!

Andrews McMeel Universal and Grim & Perilous Studios – 2019 ENnie Dream Date! 

AUCTION ENDS: Sunday, 21st July, 2019 at 2:00 PM EST 

Andrews McMeel Universal and Grim & Perilous Studios #2- 2019 ENnie Dream Date! 

AUCTION ENDS: Sunday, 21st July, 2019 at 3:00 PM EST 

NOTE: There are two dream dates for the Andrews McMeel Universal and Grim & Perilous Studios table 

AWARDS 

  • Attend the ENnie Awards 2019 with the team at Andrews McMeel Universal and Grim & Perilous Studios, the team behind the twice GoldENnie winner from 2018! 
  • Zweihänder(pdf and print) 
  • Main Gauche (pdf and print) 
  • Character Folio(pdf and print) 
  • GM screen (pdf and print) 
  • Monster Cards (pdf+print) 
  • Injury & Mishap Cards (pdf and print) 
  • One voucher of Zweihander Player’s Handbook(pdf and print) as it releases in December 
  • Drinks at the ENnies (must be over 21) 

Andrews McMeel Universal (AMU) is an American media corporation based in Kansas City, Missouri. It was founded in 1970 by Jim Andrews and John McMeel. AMU is passionate about discovering authors and creators who have a distinct point of view. They nurture humorous and inspirational voices that they believe have the potential to be both profound and popular. They respect the creator’s vision as the primary source of inspiration at every stage, offering an individualized, flexible approach to publishing success. 

Daniel D. Fox is the founder of Grim & Perilous Studios, an independent publisher of over 30 titles since its inception. Dan is an author and game designer, having won the gold ENnie for Best Game and Product of the Year at Gen Con 2018 for ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG. His break-out success withZWEIHÄNDER was featured on Forbes.com, and recognized by Kickstarter as one of their Projects We Love. ZWEIHÄNDER is ranked one of the best-selling tabletop games of all time at DriveThruRPG, with over 90,000 copies sold worldwide. Daniel is the Executive Creative Director of Games at Andrews McMeel Universal. 

EGG’S THOUGHTS: First, the winning bid gets hundreds of dollars worth of great gaming!

Second, I interviewed Daniel D. Fox (Zweihänder) at Origins Game Fair and can say he’s a fun guy to hang out with. Creators and publishers, part of Daniel’s job at Andrews McMeel Universal is finding the next hit RPG and bringing it to AMU. AMU has lent muscle to ZWEIHÄNDER as they’re stocked at Barnes & Nobles next to D&D, Pathfinder, Starfinder, and Star Wars. I am *NOT* saying Daniel will take your pitch or product, but I am saying that AMU is going to be a growing player in the world of RPG and it’d be good to talk to their ECD of Games.  

Chaosium Inc. – 2019 ENnie Awards Dream Date 

AUCTION ENDS: Sunday, 21st July, 2019 at 4:00 PM EST 

AWARDS 

  • Attend the ENnie Awards 2019 with the Chaosium team  
  • Miskatonic University the Restricted Collection Boardgame 
  • Chaosium Clandestine Game case Poker Chip set (special item from Horror on the Orient Express Kickstarter) 
  • Chaosium “tuxedo”black t-shirt 
  • One of these three premium game sets: 
    • RuneQuest:Roleplaying in Glorantha slipcase Set + PDF 

 OR  

    • Call of Cthulhu slipcase set + PDF 

 OR  

    • Masks of Nyarlathotep slipcase set + PDF 

Chaosium was founded by visionary game designer Greg Stafford in 1975. For more than forty years, Chaosium has captivated gamers, readers and mythic adventurers worldwide. Its award-winning roleplaying games, boardgames and fiction have been acclaimed as some of the most engaging and innovative of all time. 

EGG’S THOUGHTS: Picking your swag will be a challenge as your choices include more than one product that is up for an ENnie this year. This is a good problem for the winner to have because they know they’re choosing between strength and strength. 

Dwarven Forge. – 2019 ENnie Awards Dream Date

AUCTION ENDS: Wednesday, 24th July, 2019 at 3:32 PM EST 

REWARDS 

  • Attend the ENnie Awards 2019 with the Dwarven Forge team
  • “A painted Starter Dungeon set! The set includes 19 pieces in pure Dwarvenite to start off (or top off) your dungeon. This set comes fully hand painted”

Dwarven Forge was founded in 1996 by artist Stefan Pokorny, a medieval fantasy devotee and an avid Dungeons and Dragons enthusiast. After many months of painstaking design, sculpting and painting, he introduced the world’s finest pre-painted miniature terrain in 1996. Since then, Dwarven Forge has released many new sets, each fully compatible with the others, and each a new step forward in terrain design, yet maintaining a dedication to fine craft and excellent durability. These sets are built to last, and many collectors are now sharing them with their children and grandchildren.”

Again, don’t forget to vote for the ENnie Awards here then see all of the eBay auctions hereAuctions end between Saturday, 20th July, 2019 at 1:45 PM EST and Wednesday, 24th July, 2019 at 3:32 PM EST.

Press Release: The Spy Game

Modern 5e Tabletop Roleplaying Game “The Spy Game” Coming to Kickstarter in July, Contributors to include Eric Campbell 

LONDON, ENGLAND – June 11th 2019: Tabletop roleplaying is about to go covert, as Black Cats Gaming announces a modern 5E roleplaying game, The Spy Game, coming to Kickstarter on July 2, with a preview quickstart PDF available now from DriveThruRPG.com  – See https://bit.ly/2KzAoZJ  

The Spy Game is billed as an action & espionage tabletop RPG, independently developed by Sam Webb (Head of RPG Development at Modiphius Entertainment), that invites you into the world of the Agencies, to take your place as a world-class spy. Together with your crew of specialists, infiltrators, con-artists, and hackers, you fight an array of shadowy villains and high-tech megalomaniacs. 

The Spy Game is being published under the Open Gaming License, and is powered by 5E for a modern slant on the world’s most famous roleplaying game. You can choose from a range of brand new character classes and new takes on old favorites, as well as choosing from a range of incredible gadgets, tools and equipment to allow you to complete your missions. Any play style, from true-to-life thriller experiences to high octane action movies, is possible in this standalone roleplaying game. 

Eric Campbell (Shield of Tomorrow, Callisto 6, Your Best Game Ever!) is confirmed as a guest writer on the book, offering his game mastering talent to the “Running the Game” section, as well as an original spy adventure as a stretch goal. 

Rob Wieland (Geek & Sundry, Star Wars Saga Edition, Firefly RPG) will also lend his voice to the game, guiding game masters with his incredible knowledge of the spy genre. 

The game is the first tabletop roleplaying game by Black Cats Gaming, the independent publisher founded by Sam Webb and James Barry in 2018. Sam has previously produced several award winning tabletop RPG titles for Modiphius Entertainment in recent years, including Star Trek AdventuresConan the BarbarianAchtung! Cthulhu, and John Carter of Mars, and is currently developing the Dune and Fallout roleplaying games for the company. James helped produce Dropzone Commander for Hawk Wargames, as well as Fallout: Wasteland Warfare, Kung Fu Panda, and Star Trek Adventures for Modiphius Entertainment. 

Speaking about the game, Sam Webb said, “I’ve always enjoyed modern roleplaying games, I loved playing Spycraft, and see this game as a spiritual successor to games like that and d20 Modern. 5E is such a flexible, refined set of rules, and The Spy Game should feel familiar but be a great toolkit for any kind of spy story you want to play.” 

For more information you can go to www.blackcatsgaming.com, @followblackcats on Twitter, /BlackCatsGaming on Facebook, and find Sam on twitch.tv/RPGWebby and @RPGWebby on Twitter. 

 

Press Release: PAIZOCON 2019 CELEBRATES TABLETOP GAMING IN SEATTLE AND ON TWITCH!

PAIZOCON 2019 CELEBRATES TABLETOP GAMING

IN SEATTLE AND ON TWITCH!

REDMOND, WASHINGTON (May 23, 2019): PaizoCon 2019, the 11th annual 4-day hobby game convention with gaming, workshops, panels, and more, runs this Memorial Day weekend (Friday, May 24 through Monday, May 27) at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotels, at the SeaTac Airport. Many events will also be live-streamed on Twitch. Badges will be available onsite.

This year’s PaizoCon lets gamers play the Pathfinder Second Edition roleplaying game for the first time, plus adventure through the all-new Pathfinder Adventure Card Game! Quick games of both Pathfinder and the Starfinder Beginner Box will be available through the demos near registration, and Pathfinder Society and Starfinder Society organized play events will be occurring throughout the weekend. Stop by, roll up a character, and have some fun!

PaizoCon also welcomes author Liane Merciel, artist Wayne Reynolds, and the Glass Cannon Network! Stop by and get an autograph, a signed print, or shop at the Paizo store onsite.

Paizo and Know Direction Network will be partnering to stream select PaizoCon seminars live on the OfficialPaizo Twitch channel https://www.twitch.tv/officialpaizo. The scheduled topics include Ask the Paizo GMs, Secrets of Golarion, Worldbuilding with Liane Merciel, Secrets of the Pact Worlds, Oblivion Oath, and more.

The PaizoCon Banquet will be held on Saturday, May 25 at 7:00 PM Pacific time and emceed by Paizo Publisher, Erik Mona. It will preview future 2019 product releases across the Pathfinder Second Edition and Starfinder product lines, along with Pathfinder and Starfinder society revelations.

Single Day Badges will be available at the PaizoCon Convention store. Regular Single Day Badges will be $25 each, and Single Day Kid’s Badges will be $15 each.

Fans can learn more at paizocon.com. Find more information on Twitch at https://www.twitch.tv/officialpaizo.

About Liane Merciel

Liane Merciel is the author of critically acclaimed novels including The River Kings’ Road, Dragon Age: Last Flight, and Pathfinder Tales: Hellknight. She has also contributed to game materials such as Paizo’s Nidal: Land of Shadows and Faiths of Golarion. Liane lives in Philadelphia with two unruly mutts, her husband, and an extremely funny adventure toddler.

About Wayne Reynolds

Wayne Reynolds is a freelance illustrator with over 20 years of experience contributing artwork to the publishing industry, with his work appearing in games, comics, novels, and more. Reynolds has defined the look and feel of Pathfinder’s iconic characters, and his work graces the cover of the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook, as well as every Pathfinder hardcover Paizo has published since. Wayne continues to work with Paizo’s designers to reveal never-before-seen corners of Golarion, bringing the most exciting elements of the Pathfinder RPG to life.

 

About Glass Cannon

Following the rules of the Pathfinder and Starfinder RPGs, The Glass Cannon Network endeavors to create weekly captivating epic fantasy stories accessible to gamers and non-gamers alike. Interweaving immersive storytelling with irreverent, improvised humor, the GM and players deliver the experience of what it’s really like to sit around a table rolling dice with your closest friends. Professional high-quality audio, complex and memorable three-dimensional characters, instructional elements designed to enlighten both new and veteran players, and a commitment to community-building among fans all combine to make The Glass Cannon an exciting and innovative voice in podcasting.

About Know Direction Network

The Know Direction Network is the premier source for Pathfinder audio, video, and blog coverage. Their flagship podcast, Know Direction, is the number one source for Pathfinder news, reviews, and interviews, as well as convention coverage. Stay informed with the latest Pathfinder info. Recorded live twice monthly on their YouTube channel. Know Direction: Beyond takes coverage to the future, bringing you the best of Starfinder news, reviews, and interviews, released twice monthly both as audio, and video on their YouTube channel. The Private Sanctuary focuses on game topics, going in depth on the rules, classes, flavor, and the running of the game. Geek Together is where they get their nerd on. From TV shows, movies, comics, and cartoons old and new, tune in weekly to enjoy geek culture. And of course, they have original articles and content posted regularly for your reading pleasure!

 

About Paizo

Paizo Inc. is one of the world’s leading hobby game publishers. Since 2002, millions of players have joined the goblin army by playing the Pathfinder® and Starfinder® roleplaying games across tabletops, at conventions, at their favorite local game store, and digitally on virtual tabletops. Paizo.com is an online retail hobby destination for gamers that carries the latest products from top hobby game publishers. Players also find accessories, like dice and maps, miniatures, T-shirts, goblin plush toys, and the newest releases to quickly replenish those adventuring supplies for the next dungeon run.

PRESS RELEASE: PRE-ORDERS FOR FREE LEAGUE’S ALIEN RPG BEGIN ON MAY 25 WITH A SURPRISE DEBUT OF THEIR FIRST CINEMATIC MODULE

Free League Publishing

PRE-ORDERS FOR FREE LEAGUE’S ALIEN RPG BEGIN ON MAY 25 WITH A SURPRISE DEBUT OF THEIR FIRST CINEMATIC MODULE

Free League Publishing – May 22, 2019 17:10 BST

The ALIEN Roleplaying Game Pre-Order Bundle

LOS ANGELES, CA (May 22, 2019) – On May 25, 1979, Alien first graced the silver screen. Forty years after the Alien franchise first inspired and shocked the world, Free League Publishing has a xenomorphic surprise of their own in store. Quite literally.

Last month on Alien Day (4/26), Free League and 20th Century Fox Consumer Products announced their upcoming tabletop RPG series set within the Alien universe, which is set to release this holiday season. Yet for fans eager to explore that universe for themselves, they don’t need to wait any longer.

In celebration of the official 40th Anniversary this Saturday, Free League will offer a meaty 168-page Cinematic Starter Kit for their highly-anticipated Alien RPG – debuting their first Cinematic module Chariot of the Gods written by Alien RPG setting writer and sci-fi novelist Andrew E.C. Gaska – as a complimentary bonus gift for anyone who pre-orders the Alien RPG Core Rulebook at alien-rpg.com. The Cinematic Starter Kit will be available for download as soon as the pre-order purchase is confirmed.

Based upon Free League’s award-winning Year Zero game engine, the full Alien RPG Core Rulebook contains 300+ pages of mythology, artwork, and custom mechanics for open-world campaigns and deep, diverse space explorations on the Frontier. While Campaign Mode provides the tools for long-term gameplay, Cinematic Mode challenges players to start and complete an accessible, authentic tabletop RPG experience in one game session with no prior preparation necessary. A streamlined version of the Year Zero engine, Cinematics deliver only the most crucial game rules for each scenario with pre-generated characters, stories, and challenges – capturing the intense drama of an Alien film.

Free League has big plans for Alien and their new Cinematic mode, which is why they’re sharing the Starter Kit months ahead of the Core Rulebook.

“We’re trying something new and we want to know what people think,” says Free League co-founder and Alien RPG game director Tomas Härenstam. “In fact, anyone who pre-orders the Core Rulebook will receive exclusive access to our development process with opportunities to provide feedback and earn a play-tester credit in the final publication.”

The Starter Kit isn’t the last Cinematic module that fans can expect from Free League. “Chariot is the first in a trilogy of Cinematic modules from Andrew E.C. Gaska in the future,” shares Härenstam. Each Cinematic in the trilogy will explore a different style of gameplay, introducing a different perspective in the Alien universe and a different source of antagonism. Yet while each Cinematic module is designed as a stand-alone experience with new characters, settings, and challenges, the overarching narrative of the trilogy is connected – telling one complete, canonical story by the end.

“That’s what so liberating/challenging about designing and playing in Cinematic mode. You could be space truckers one session. Colonial Marines the next,” says Gaska. “The fun is figuring out how to work together, learn on the fly when the stakes are high, and try your best to survive the night. The constraints really make the whole experience feel more thrilling and terrifying. Like you’ve been dropped into your own Alien movie. And even if your character dies, the night is far from over for you as a player.”

As all characters aren’t likely to survive, Cinematics are engineered with death and replay value in mind, providing an ensemble cast of playable characters and branching narratives with multiple story paths and possible endings. “It’s rewarding to play and replay each Cinematic event, as you learn with experience, try new characters and creative solutions, and encounter new challenges over time,” shares Gaska.

Starting on May 25, Free League will accept pre-orders for the Alien tabletop RPG Core Rulebook and a variety of limited-edition 40th Anniversary goodies and gear exclusively at alien-rpg.com:

  • STANDARD EDITION includes the Alien RPG Core Rulebook in a hardcover format with approximately 300 full-color pages of beautiful artwork and complete game rules for both the Cinematic and long-term Campaign game modes. A PDF of the book is included. Price: $49.99
  • STANDARD BUNDLE includes the standard Alien RPG Core Rulebook, along with a deluxe Gamemaster Screen, two sets of custom dice (one set of 10 Base Dice and one set of 10 Stress Dice), a set of 50 custom cards (for initiative, weapons, and NPCs), and a set of useful maps and markers. A PDF of the book is included. Price: $99.99 ($50 discount on the total retail price)
  • 40th ANNIVERSARY LIMITED-EDITION offers the Alien RPG Core Rulebook with a special commemorative book cover. Exclusive to this pre-order campaign, the 40th Anniversary Limited-Edition will never be printed again. A PDF of the book is included. Price: $89.99
  • 40th ANNIVERSARY BUNDLE includes the Alien RPG 40th Anniversary Limited-Edition Core Rulebook, along with the deluxe gamemaster screen, two sets of custom dice (one set of 10 Base Dice and one set of 10 Stress Dice), a set of 50 custom cards (for initiative, weapons, and NPCs), and a set of useful maps and markers. A PDF of the book is included. Price: $139.99
  • THE COMPANY SPECIAL EDITION includes everything from the 40th Anniversary Limited-Edition Bundle, as well as signatures from the Free League team on both the commemorative cover and a Limited-Edition 27” X 40” poster of the Alien RPG cover art by Martin Grip. Price: $249.99

Fans can also customize their own package with individually priced add-ons.

The 40th Anniversary Edition of the Alien RPG Core Rulebook is exclusive to the Free League storeand its 40th Anniversary Pre-Order Event, which begins 5/25/19 at 9am EST and ends 8/4/2019 at 11:59pm EST. Official retail solicitations for the Standard Edition will begin in July, but retailers are encouraged to contact Free League with any questions to welcome them into the 40th Anniversary fun as well.

For more news and previews on the Alien RPG series, visitalien-rpg.com. Then follow Free League Publishing on Twitter and Facebook, where fans can discover art and gameplay development ahead of the game’s release.

ABOUT 20TH CENTURY FOX CONSUMER PRODUCTS

20th Century Fox Consumer Products licenses and markets properties worldwide on behalf of 20th Century Fox Film, 20th Century Fox Television and FX Networks, as well as third party lines. The division is aligned with 20th Century Fox Television, the flagship studio leading the industry in supplying award-winning and blockbuster primetime television programming and entertainment content and 20th Century Fox Film, one of the world’s largest producers and distributors of motion pictures throughout the world. For more information on all Alien products and activities, go to www.AlienUniverse.com.

ABOUT FREE LEAGUE PUBLISHING

Free League is a critically acclaimed Swedish publisher of speculative fiction, dedicated to publishing award-winning tabletop role-playing games, board games, and art books set in strange and wondrous worlds. Our best-selling RPG Tales from the Loop swept the 2017 ENnie Awards, winning five Gold ENnies for Best Setting, Best Writing, Best Art, Best Game, and Product of the Year. The game is inspired by a series of iconic art books published by Free League – Tales from the Loop, Things from the Flood, and The Electric State – exploring artist Simon Stålenhag’s original sci-fi universe soon to be realized in the upcoming TV series from Amazon Studios. Most recently, our fantasy RPG Forbidden Lands became the 3rd most successful RPG Kickstarter of 2017 and dubbed one of the best RPGs of 2018. Other tabletop work includes the post-apocalyptic RPG Mutant: Year Zero, the sci-fi RPG Coriolis – The Third Horizon, the fantasy RPG Symbaroum, and the Crusader Kings board game. To learn more, visit freeleaguepublishing.com.

ABOUT GENUINE ENTERTAINMENT

Genuine Entertainment is an award-winning producer and paladin in genre entertainment, specializing in strategic licensing for entertainment franchises and fandoms that demand quality and authenticity in equal measure. It’s our mission to build brands by building worlds and fan communities, making meaningful contributions with premium content and consumer products that extend brands into new markets and genuinely connect with fans across multiple categories. Recent collaborations include such genre greats as Alien, Altered Carbon, Avengers: Infinity War, Blade Runner 2049, Dune, Game of Thrones, and World of Darkness. To learn more, visit: www.genuineent.com.

MEDIA CONTACTS

Free League Publishing

pr@frialigan.se

Genuine Entertainment

contact@genuineent.com

Free League Publishing is a Swedish publisher dedicated to speculative fiction. We have published several award-winning tabletop role-playing games and critically acclaimed art books set in strange and wondrous worlds.

Our upcoming games includes the alternate 90s Things from the Flood RPG, the sequel to the award-winning Tales from the Loop RPG and Crusader Kings the Board Game, a medieval soap opera of war, assassination and marriage.

The post-apocalyptic Mutant: Year Zero was awarded a Silver ENnie for Best Rules 2015. The sci-fi adventure Coriolis – The Third Horizon, was awarded a Judge’s Spotlight Award at Gencon. The dark fantasy roleplaying game Symbaroum has earned several nominations and awards, including a Best Game nomination at the Origins Awards 2016. And we are proud to say that our roleplaying game Tales from the Loop RPG based on Simon Stålenhags iconic artbooks made a grand slam at the ENnie Awards 2017, winning five Gold ENnies – among them Best Game. Our latest fantasy RPG is Forbidden Lands, recently named one of the best RPGs of 2018 by Geek & Sundry.

We have also released the critically acclaimed art books Things from the Flood and Tales from the Loopby artist Simon Stålenhag. His third book The Electric State has been released by Free League Publishing exclusively to the backers of the kickstarter campaign.

Website: www.freeleaguepublishing.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/FriaLigan
Instagram: http://instagram.com/frialigan/
Youtube: www.youtube.com/c/FrialiganSe
Twitter: http://twitter.com/FriaLigan

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PRE-ORDERS FOR FREE LEAGUE’S ALIEN RPG BEGIN ON MAY 25 WITH A SURPRISE DEBUT OF THEIR FIRST CINEMATIC MODULE

Resource links

ALIEN RPG Website   Direct Link to Alien RPG Trailer   Free League on Facebook

What Kickstarters Excite Creators? Swordsfall, CAPERS Noir, Justice Velocity, and Snowhaven

After so many nice things were said about Welcome to Tikor last week, I reached out to Brandon Dixon to find out what RPG Kickstarters he’s looking forward to. As well as his reviews, there are a number of nice things said about a personal favorite of mine, Critical Core, plus we hear about a convention. Let’s see what RPG Kickstarters these creators are looking forward to:

 

Snowhaven for Fifth Edition by High Level Games

Ends: Sun, March 31 2019 11:56 AM EDT.

Snowhaven is a Snowpunk Fantasy setting for the 5th Edition of the world’s oldest and most popular roleplaying game system.”

High Level Games recommends:

Swordsfall is amazing, it’s a project creating an afro-futurist world and the depth of the worldbuilding on display is staggering, in a good way. The project has gone through the roof and I’d love to see this go even higher. The more diverse and deep projects we have out there the better.

Which brings me to my second suggestion, which is Critical Core by Game to Grow. This project presents a game system for autistic youth. As I’m a huge fan of working with kids interested in gaming and helping use games as therapeutic devices this just checks all the boxes for me.”

 

Welcome to Tikor | The Swordsfall RPG Setting and Art Book by Brandon Dixon

Ends: Wed, April 10 2019 11:01 AM EDT.

“An Afropunk Sci-Fantasy world brimming with ancient magic and future tech.”

Brandon Dixon recommends:

Critical Core looks fantastic. I’m a big fan of products that seek to involve marginalized groups and make them apart of the experience. It has a such a cool story behind it as well. It was created by a father who wanted to help his autistic son get into gaming.

Veil of the Void is doing great work with their game. I have nothing but love for a sci-fi project by another person of color. I really want to see them get funded, they’re a bit over 50% with two weeks to go. I really want to see them win. The art is great and the book direction is amazing.”

 

Justice Velocity: An Action Movie Inspired Tabletop RPG by Polyhedra Games

Ends: Thu, April 4 2019 12:24 PM EDT.

“A D6-based tabletop roleplaying game inspired by the action movie universe”

Clipper Arnold of Polyhedra Games recommends:

Manifest RPG‘s space western setting looks really unique and interesting. The style of the cover art, especially, looks great. There are major Firefly vibes for sure–and rolling a fist of D20s sounds like a lot of fun.

Prowlers and Paragons Ultimate Edition also looks really great. The art looks really top notch, and I’m a fan of D6 systems. I’ve never played P&P or Champions, but have had a lot of fun with stuff like Mutants & Masterminds. I have high hopes from the team working on this as they all appear to be game design veterans.”

 

CAPERS Noir RPG by NerdBurger Games

Ends: Thu, April 11 2019 9:00 PM EDT.

“An RPG of Criminals, Cops, Mystery, and Monsters…with Super-Powers!”

Craig Campbell of NerdBurger Games recommends:

“I’ve been a guest at AcadeCon the past two years and will be again this year.

AcadeCon is my favorite convention. It’s small and intimate, maybe 500-600 attendees. It’s RPG heavy. It has bunches of great guests from both the RPG design world and the podcast world. The RPG Academy has built a great community around their podcasts and that community shows up for AcadeCon. It’s inviting, friendly, inclusive, and fun. I have never regretted going.”

NOTE: I featured CAPERS Noir before (here) but I added it again after Craig and I talked about AcadeCon and their Kickstarter, and he gave it a glowing recommendation.

 

***

The project selections and opinions expressed by the contributors are solely their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Egg Embry or the Tessera Guild.

Unbreakable Glass

I got the call from my former roommate. He kept telling me that I needed to go see this movie. That it was actually killing him a little bit that I hadn’t gone to see it yet. And it was on my radar, life just had gotten busy. So my future wife and I sat down on a weekend night in late 2000 to watch this movie he was absolutely sure I needed to see. I’m not sure if Courtney knew what the movie was going to be about… I didn’t have a clue aside from maybe one trailer.

And then the following text greeted us:

“There are 35 pages and 124 illustrations in the average comic book.

A single issue ranges in price from $1.00 to over $140,000.

172,000 comics are sold in the U.S. every day.

Over 62,780,000 each year.

The average comic collector owns 3,312 comics and will spend approximately 1 year of his or her life reading them.”

Courtney looks at me and says, “What have you taken me to see?”

“I don’t know.”

See, this isn’t like it is now, with a new superhero movie coming to theaters every couple of months. Or that a new tv show premieres every year (and sometimes on multiple networks). It had been a couple of years since the last Batman movie (the less said about that one the better) and X-Men had come out earlier in 2000. But this wasn’t something to be expected.

If you’ve seen Unbreakable you either love it or you just didn’t care. And after all, M. Night Shyamalan had just come off of The Sixth Sense. Unbreakable wasn’t exactly what people were hoping for.

For a guy who was a part of the stats above (only 3,312 comics though? Lightweights!), the movie was this idea that just felt perfect. In fact, when others said they didn’t like it, I was ok with it because it was something for ME and not them.

***

Flash forward some 16 years later and his new movie Split comes out. And it looks interesting enough, but I hear a little mixed reviews. Maybe I’ll catch it on HBO at some point.

And then I read a spoiler about Split: David Dunn (from Unbreakable) is in the movie.

$#@$!

So it’s in the same universe?

And then they announce Glass.

So the week before we see Glass we watch Split. And I get the initial mixed reviews. MCAvoy is amazing in the role. Taylor-Joy gives an excellent show as our eyes and ears. Frightened and fearless at the same time. The movie itself feels like it wants to be bigger. And when we get to the scene that connects it with Unbreakable… it feels right.

 

***

Glass was unexpected. And expected. And everything I didn’t know I wanted.

Glass is something that we’d been asking for since Unbreakable, even if we didn’t know how it could be done. Something a couple of friends could talk about. Come up with potential ideas for storylines that they might follow. But then you’d end the conversation the same way: acknowledging that it might be better to not have anything else. To let this movie just stand on its own as this powerful thing.

And it may be something that needed 18 plus years to cook. For the characters to grow older. For the son to be an adult.

I don’t want to spoil anything in Glass. Like any M. Night film, there are twists and turns. Some hit me with the same force that the ending of Unbreakable did all those years earlier. That understanding which comes with a revelation that is both out of the blue and so obvious at the same time. McAvoy is truly the missing piece to their puzzle.

And much like all those comics upstairs, it did what the best of them always do… it stays with you in the hours and days after you have finished with it. You look forward to when it will be time to give it another viewing. When those pages with burst forth from your hands and burrow into your brain. You’ll look at each moment to see if there was anything you’d missed.

In the way that Glass connects to a time before comics took over everything, you get to relive a smaller world. Maybe even connecting to the you of a decade earlier as you began your journey down the path with that very first comic.

***

John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. The Trade paperback collecting the first 4 issues is finally back from the printers! If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

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.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow EmpireBeyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

Five Years In

We actually passed our 5 year anniversary on the site a couple of months ago. Normally, I take some time to reflect on the previous year’s blog postings and highlight a few that either were favorites according to the Site’s Stats or some I really liked that maybe slipped through the cracks. After another 52 weeks (plus a few) that is bound to happen.

Unfinished Business

Some writers keep notebooks of old ideas. Some keep files on their computers of half-written stories and blogs and novels and comics and… Well, at least I do that stuff. And that’s what this is about – looking through your old ideas and trying to bring them back from the brink. However, I wanted to highlight this one because it actually is part of the initial genesis for the novel I’m working on right now comes, in part, from this very blog. But not in the way you might think after reading the blog.

Kindle Worlds Closing

Ever since the show Veronica Mars (which I have written about here and here ) debuted, it has utterly captivated my bride. So when the opportunity to write a story set in the same world was made possible by Amazon – we jumped all over it. The benefit of telling a story together (which we’d never done before) was awesome and being able to make some pizza money for our “work” was just a bonus. Yet, all things must come to an end. While the subject matter might not be the favorite of my blogs, the impact was one of the highest.

The Novels of My Youth: Richard A Knaak

I believe that throughout a writer’s life there are stepping stones and building blocks which lead that person to put words to paper. Knaak’s novels are definitely a few of those bricks which helped me gain a further love of books and world development. It helped me to see that you can create a playground and then have other people get in the sandbox (and see how far I can take the metaphor!). Regardless, it was awesome to be able to shine a little light on another of Knaak’s projects while reminiscing about works that had an effect on my life.

Black Mirror, Season 4 Review

One day I’m going to sit down and rewatch the Twilight Zone and do some blog posts about that. But until I get around to that, I have Black Mirror to talk about (new season has to be around the corner, right?). Hang the DJ immediately became a favorite… though, I’m beginning to believe that all I need from a Black Mirror episode is two people who are in love, are falling in love, or who are desperately trying to regain that love, and I’ll love it. And while every episode isn’t a “hit” every time, the ones that do get there for me are so much better than anything else on tv… it’s not even close.

Not a Review – A Quiet Place

Was this my April Fools post? Who decides to sit down and write a blog post about a movie they haven’t even seen? This guy right here. The trailers impacted me, invaded my dreams, so I decided to write my review BEFORE I saw the movie. Sadly, I still haven’t seen the movie (but it is on the list for the holiday week!).

Stan Lee

To talk about the bricks of my creative life… Stan Lee is one of the largest pillars. I don’t try to put celebrities on a pedestal… there just isn’t a need for that in my life. But I’ve known that there are a handful of people that when they passed would have a big impact on me. This blog was my attempt to put it out there, what his work meant to the 12-year-old me and the 42-year-old me and every age in between.   ***

John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. The Trade paperback collecting the first 4 issues is finally back from the printers! If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

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.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow EmpireBeyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

9 QUESTIONS WITH CRAIG CAMPBELL (NERD BURGER GAMES) ABOUT DIE LAUGHING

I met Craig Campbell of Nerdburger Games at the Atlanta Science Fiction and Fantasy Expo. He was at a table with pre-ENnie Award winner, Derek Kamal (of Heavy Metal Thunder Mouse fame). We chatted for a minute and he pitched me on two of his projects, CAPERS RPG and Die Laughing. I bought the CAPERS Quickstart and, later on, did an interview with Craig about CAPERS (here). At AndoCon, I ran into Craig again and he invited me to try out Die Laughing. That was an excellent time! Let me quote the quick pitch for Die Laughing:

“The zero-prep, horror-comedy RPG that puts the laughter in slaughter. […] Everyone’s going to die. It’s just a matter of when and how funny you can make it. Even after your character is gone, there are multiple ways for you to remain involved and influence the story right up until the bloody end.”

With the Kickstarter is running until November 21st, I wanted to talk with Craig about CAPERS, Die Laughing, and highlight the fact that the game is just $10 so price is kept low so it’s not a barrier!

EGG EMBRY (EGG): Craig, thanks for talking RPGs with me. Let’s start with your Kickstarter for Die Laughing. I played the preview version of Die Laughing at AndoCon. I don’t know whether I did good or bad, but I survived the game, so I never got to play as a producer. How does the producer role impact player engagement compared to an RPG where your character dies and you spend the rest of the night rolling up a new one?

CC: In Die Laughing, when your character dies, and most of them do, you take on the role of producer for the rest of the game (in addition to a few other things). You have producer points that you can spend once per scene to do something to affect the scene, such as lowering the effects budget or introducing positive test scores for a character, forcing them into the scene because the test audience likes them.

While you don’t necessarily spend a point every scene, I’ve had players remark that they remain very engaged with the story, plotting for the perfect time to mess with the story. Producers play a little mind game by themselves (and sometimes with other producers), seeking out a chance to really impact what’s going on in the movie you’re all creating at the table.

EGG: This game is mostly done, correct? How quickly do you hope to deliver the finished product to backers?

CC: Everything is written and playtested. I’ve added a few things that will need an editing pass. Much of the artwork is done, with a few illustrations left to go. The basic layout template is complete and much of it is laid out.

I MIGHT release a “first cut” of the game with whatever’s done, just as a PDF, right after the Kickstarter ends. This will be a playable game but won’t have all the alternate rules and additional monsters/characters that still need illustration and layout. We’ll finish all of that up and release a “final cut” of the game, hopefully within 2-3 months. But that will depend on how fast we can get a print proof turned around. November and December are notoriously slow months for ordering physical books from DriveThruRPG.com. Darn those holidays and all that wonderful gift-giving!

EGG: Despite being largely in the can, this game has some options to be expanded. In your wildest dreams [nightmares], what are you aiming for with this project?

CC: The hope is 24 characters, 24 monsters, a bunch of alternate rules and play aids, along with the core rules. I think it’ll come in around 100 or so pages. That would be the “Director’s Cut” of the game, so to speak. The biggest and best version of the game.

EGG: The number of backer rewards is ballooning quickly! 😛 This started with one option – Die Laughing for $10. What else have you decided to offer?

CC: That’s the “Victim” level. There are three “Survivor” levels that also get you the PDF for one or both of my previous RPGs (Murders & Acquisitions and CAPERS). Essentially, each adds an additional $10 to your pledge (while the PDFs are normally a $15 value). The Survivor levels have proven to be pretty popular.

EGG: You recently fulfilled your last Kickstarter, CAPERS RPG. What is CAPERS about? How has the reaction been?

CC: CAPERS is a super-powered game of gangsters in the Roaring Twenties. Players portray criminals using their powers to create their empire OR members of law enforcement using their powers to bring those criminals to justice. The Kickstarter for CAPERS went very well and well over 500 people are enjoying their Kickstarter rewards (which included not just the game book but also all sorts of PDF support materials and play aids).

The reaction has been incredibly positive. I’ve started to see a nice little community growing on the NerdBurger Games Discord. People are talking about hacking/houseruling the game. Questions are asked and answered. People are being friendly and talking about other geeky stuff. Every time a new person starts talking on the Discord or sends me a photo of their just-received CAPERS book on social media, I get a little more joy and feel a little more proud of CAPERS.

EGG: You run Nerdburger Games and do a podcast. Creator, publisher, advertiser, and local game organizer [NOTE: Craig and I are building an Atlanta-based indy RPG group. In Atlanta and want to game? Ping one of us]. Why wear all the hats instead of letting another company publish your work or the like?

CC: It all sort of happened by accident. I created Murders & Acquisitions and decided to Kickstart it myself. That went well and while I was wrapping it up, I started on CAPERS. Once I had M&A in the bag, it only seemed natural to just forge ahead as NerdBurger Games and continue self-publishing my games.

Doing it all myself has downsides. It’s a LOT of work, but I don’t mind it. Creating RPG stuff is something I would do anyway. I’m able to create these little, niche games that I love and that I can make exactly how I want them to be. That affords me the ability to NOT have to answer to others in what the games should be. It’s incredibly liberating to share my creative vision on my own terms.

And that’s a BIG upside that far outweighs the downsides of having to do all the work myself. Though, truth be told, I don’t do it all myself. I have enlisted a wide variety of very capable and talented freelancers to do the things I can’t and have found a nice little cadre of fans who love playtesting my games. It’s a group effort, for sure.

EGG: What is your podcast? What do you cover on it?

CC: I’ve been doing the NerdBurger Podcast for well over five years now with my good friend Mike (who has also contributed his art and layout talents to my games). The podcast is a weekly, hour-long potpourri of nerdy/geeky discussion on all manner of topics, all slathered over with a healthy dose of humor and camaraderie.

We have a rotating panel of regular guests and bring in special guests as well. We keep things very conversational. Over five years of a new episode every single Wednesday.

EGG: What else are you working on right now?

CC: As CAPERS finishes out its fulfillment and Die Laughing wraps up, the next big thing is CAPERS Noir. This supplement to the CAPERS game progresses the game from the 1920s to the 1940s. Gone is Prohibition era gangster action. CAPERS Noir is a crime noir game. You need the CAPERS core game to play it, but CAPERS Noir will be filled with 50 or so pages of new character options, new rules (including investigation rules), new powers, an L.A. backdrop, and some other surprises. It just went into playtesting.

If CAPERS Noir is well-received, I have plans for two more supplements. CAPERS Covert will take things to the 1960s in Las Vegas and be a crime/law story pastiche built around old-school, James Bond style agents and villains. CAPERS Offworld will tie all three eras together and bring CAPERS to outer space with Buck Rogers/Flash Gordon style interstellar crime fun in an old-school ray-gun and alien style.

EGG: For fans interested in your Kickstarter, where can they find it and you?

CC: The Die Laughing Kickstarter ends on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. As an indie creator, I strive to be as accessible and transparent as possible. My fans mean the world to me.

If you dig my games, swing on by the NerdBurger Games website. I blog fairly regularly and love sharing what I’m working on at the moment.

And I’m on a bunch of social media where I love chatting with folks.

Links

 

This Kickstarter end on Wed, November 21 2018 9:00 PM EST. Click here to check it out.

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Disclosures: This article contains affiliate links.

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™
Freelancer for EN WorldKnights of the Dinner TableOpen Gaming Network, and the Tessera Guild.
Want your RPG Kickstarter reviewed? Want to share news? Press releases? Rumors? Sneak peeks? Deals? Have some RPG wanna-lancer thoughts to share? Contact me here or on Facebook (Egg Embry) or on Google Plus (+Egg Embry).

Missing Dragonlance? Try Rex Draconis by Richard A. Knaak

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Dragonlance. The world of Kyrnn. The continent of Ansalon. The Companions. Camaron. Raistlin. Takhisis. Paladine. Kitiara. Lord Soth. Chronicles. Legends. Margaret Weis. Tracy Hickman. The Legend of Huma. Kaz the Minotaur. Richard A. Knaak.  

Those settings, characters, books, and authors summarize of my love for D&D’s Dragonlance. The setting was popular in AD&D, 2e, 3e, 3.5e, and the SAGA system (the last module, for 3.5e, was published in 2008 by Sovereign Press, one of Margaret Weis’ companies and the official licensor of Dragonlance at that time). Beyond the RPG books and sets there were tie-in novels published from 1984 until early 2010 (fellow Tessera Guilder, John McGuire, wrote about those early Dragonlance novels recently), comic books, video games, and a 2008 animated movie. While there was a tip of the hat in a 5e Unearthed Arcana to Krynn’s minotaurs (here), Wizards of the Coast has not published any new Dragonlance game material for a decade, and no new novels in nearing that time span.  

While the full list of every author that touched Dragonlance over those two decades is extensive, the list of authors that most defined Dragonlance novels throughout their existence is four: Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman, Douglas Niles, and Richard A. Knaak. Their prose gave the world its voice and structure, gifting it with flavor while crafting a complex history. Everyone involved did an excellent job of building the world of Krynn into one of D&D’s premier settings. Knaak built up the world’s history while cementing the sailor minotaurs and Knights of Solamnia and other critical facets of the world. He curved out a section of Krynn that might be dubbed “his” part of Ansalon. However, the downside of working on corporate properties is when the publisher stops producing them, your contract ends, and the sun on your part of the world sets, sometimes forever.  

Knaak worked on other properties (World of Warcraft, Conan, Diablo, and several of his own series including Dragonrealm), yet the stories of Dragonlance must have continued to percolate in his mind. In 2017, he delivered the first book in a new fantasy series, Rex Draconis. The first novella, Rex Draconis: Under the Dragon Moon, lays out the opening shots of the series. I didn’t read Rex Draconis: Under the Dragon Moon, instead I did the Audible as read by Julie-Ann Amos. For those not versed in audiobooks, an Audible is the same as reading, only it’s not. Julie-Ann Amos elevated the work through her voice acting. Her characters had a life and presence that you do not hear in every audiobook and are not always present in your head as you read.  

The superficial bits of the novella marked the series as the spiritual successor to Dragonlance. But, it’s not a cloned-Krynn, it’s a skillful homage to Knaak’s corner of Ansalon. A love letter so compelling that it’s inspired Knaak to work with Phil Beckwith of P.B. Publishing and Micah Watt of Pyromaniac Press to convert this prose into a tabletop RPG setting for D&D 5e and Pathfinder 1e (the Kickstarter for is live here until Sun, October 21 2018 10:02 PM EDT). I covered the Kickstarter here, and interviewed Knaak and the rest of the creative team on the Open Gaming Network 

What is Dragonlance about this series? Sailor minotaurs. Kwillum, a kender-like species that make more sense than kender. Two species of dragonfolk that have a light resemblance to draconians. Three-ish moons of differing hues. There’s more that, once you see those parts, make the other pieces fit a jigsaw puzzle of a Larry Elmore Dragonlance painting, but on examination it feels more like forcing the pieces to fit. The semi-befuddled mage, Knights of the Shield/Knights of the Grey Hand, the prominence of the gods as components of the sky, the tinker dwarf. Those pieces could be viewed as being taken from Ansalon, yet powerful mages, knightly orders, gods, and steampunk humanoids are common fantasy tropes. It is only when the other pieces are invoked that they form the tapestry of Krynn.  

Despite the elevator pitch that this is Dragonlance revisited, and some similarities, Rex Draconis is not Dragonlance. Taken as a whole, it is its own world. The minotaur empire is pushing against the human’s world, the “orcs” of this world are the wheyr, a race of jackelpeople who have massive numbers and, thanks to some captured and copied minotaur ships, are a threat at sea, dragonfolk aren’t rooting for an evil goddess or defending mankind, instead, everyone are their pawns, the third moon is visible and shattered into the shape of a dragon, the kwillum are looking for something. There are layers to this world and this first novella offers a taste of each.  

Who is Rex Draconis: Under the Dragon Moon for? Sword and sorcery fans. Fans of Richard A. Knaak. Fans missing their Dragonlance fix that are ok with a reimagined version of the world. D&D fans that want the feel of those worlds back in print. But mostly fans looking for a fantasy world that is fully realized, with interesting takes on the battle between good and evil, one where the series is ongoing and being transferred across medias to work with D&D 5e and Pathfinder 1e on Kickstarter (here) 

 

Find Richard A. Knaak’s Rex Draconis: Under the Dragon Moon here.

UPDATE: The second novella in the series, Rex Draconis: Lords of the Dragon Moon, is available here.

Try the Audible here.  

Support the Rex Draconis RPG – Rising Tides Kickstarter, which ends on Sunday, October 21 2018 10:02 PM EDT, here. 

 

Richard A. Knaak, author of Dragonlance novels for over 20 years: 

  • Dragonlance: The Legend of Huma (1988) 
  • Dragonlance: Kaz the Minotaur (1990) 
  • Dragonlance: Land of the Minotaurs (1996) 
  • Dragonlance: Reavers of the Blood Sea (1999)
  • Dragonlance: The Citadel (2000) 
  • Dragonlance: Minotaur Wars: Night of Blood (2003) 
  • Dragonlance: Minotaur Wars: Tide of Blood (2004) 
  • Dragonlance: Minotaur Wars: Empire of Blood (2005) 
  • Dragonlance: Ogre Titans: The Black Talon (2007) 
  • Dragonlance: Ogre Titans: The Fire Rose (2008) 
  • Dragonlance: Ogre Titans: The Gargoyle King (2009) 

Along with two decades of Dragonlance short stories and novelettes:  

  • Dragonlance: Tales I: Wayward Children (1987) 
  • Dragonlance: Tales I: Definitions of Honor (1987) 
  • Dragonlance: Tales I: By the Measure (1987) 
  • Dragonlance: Tales II: Colors of Belief (1992) 
  • Dragonlance: Tales II: Into Shadow, Into Light (1992) 
  • Dragonlance: Tales II: The Hand That Feeds (1992) 
  • Dragonlance: The Dragons Anthologies: Kaz and the Dragon’s Children (1994) 
  • Dragonlance: The Dragons Anthologies: The Son of Huma (1997) 
  • Dragonlance: Tales of the Fifth Age: Sword of Tears (1998) 
  • Dragonlance: Tales of the Fifth Age: The Thief in the Mirror (1999) 
  • Dragonlance: Tales of the Fifth Age: Tactics (2000) 
  • Dragonlance: The Search for Magic: Tales from the War of Souls vol I: Hunger (2001) 
  • Dragonlance: The Players of Gilean: Tales from the World of Krynn: A Matter of Honor (2003) 
  • Dragonlance: The Search for Power: Dragons from the War of Souls: Loyalty (2004) 
  • Dragonlance: Dragons of Time: The Vow (2007) 

 

 

 

 

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Disclosures: This article contains affiliate links.

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™
Freelancer for EN WorldKnights of the Dinner TableOpen Gaming Network, and the Tessera Guild.
Want your RPG Kickstarter reviewed? Want to share news? Press releases? Rumors? Sneak peeks? Deals? Have some RPG wanna-lancer thoughts to share? Contact me here or on Facebook (Egg Embry) or on Google Plus (+Egg Embry).

[UPDATED] 3 RPG Kickstarters Adapting – Things From the Flood, Richard A. Knaak’s Rex Draconis, and Judge Dredd

This week’s theme, tabletop RPG adaptations, let’s me share Simon Stålenhag’s artbook, Richard A. Knaak’s newest fantasy series, and the famous judge created by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra (who just passed away). All of these projects are live on Kickstarter. If you want to play as a teenager in the technopast 1990s using the Mutant: Year Zero system, or as a fantasy minotaur using either the D&D 5th edition or Pathfinder 1e rules, or as the law using What’s OLD is NEW (WOIN) game system, there are games waiting for you.

 

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Things from the Flood – Sequel to Tales from the Loop RPG by Fria Ligan/Free League
Ends on Tue, October 9 2018 3:00 PM EDT.

 

“Return to Simon Stålenhag’s world of the Loop in this new RPG. It’s the ’90s now, and things are different. This time, you can die.

It started on Christmas Day in 1994. Dark water suddenly rose from the land, invading our homes and lives. They say it came from the depths inside the Loop. Whatever it was the Flood changed everything. Nothing would ever be the same again.

Welcome back to the Loop. Things are different now. 

In 2017, we released Tales from the Loop the tabletop roleplaying game based on Stålenhag’s first art book. That game was an instant hit, selling out its two initial print runs and winning no less than five ENnies (including Best Game and Product of the Year) as well as three Golden Geek Awards (including Best RPG).

Now, it’s time to return to the Loop and continue the story. In Things from the Flood you play Teens in the 1990s – a decade of change and disaster. You’re still balancing day to day life with solving exciting mysteries with your friends. But this is a darker time, and the stakes are higher.

We are the Free League, creators and publishers of roleplaying games such as Mutant: Year ZeroCoriolis – The Third HorizonTales from the Loop and Forbidden Lands. As well as the original publishers of Simon Stålenhag’s art books. The lead writer of this book is the seasoned Swedish game writer Nils Hintze, backed up by the entire Free League team who handle project management, editing, and graphic design.

The vast majority of the art in the game is done by Simon Stålenhag himself. Most of the art will be drawn from the pages of the Things from the Flood artbook – many scenarios in the game are based directly on illustrations in the artbook – but the RPG will contain some new original art as well, including the cover image.

The book will have approximately 200 pages, in the US Letter format.

Tales from the Loop Backer? If you backed the original Tales from the Loop RPG back in late 2016, you will get a PDF of the Things from the Flood core book, including the digital stretch goals in this Kickstarter, at no extra cost. You can still join this Kickstarter to get the printed book.

Things are different now.

The world does not seem so innocent anymore.

Its the ‘90s and the once mighty Loop has been shut down, the experiment abandonded and the land bought by Krafta, a powerful corporation. You are no Kids anymore, but Teens trying to find your way in a decade of change – both within and around you.

The Flood has transformed the once pastoral islands into a dark marshland. Some say that the dark water pouring out of the ground comes from within the Loop itself. Machines are afflicted by a strange virus turning them unreliable and dangerous.

Still, your lives go on as before. You go to school, fall miserably in love, try to do everything possible to fend off boredom. When you hear about other teens going missing, and even turning up dead, you realize its time to gather the group again.

One way or another you fill find out what these Things from the Flood really are.

You play Teens growing up in the 1990s, trying to balance everyday life while at the same time solving dark mysteries together with your friends.

The core of the game is the same as in Tales from the Loop, but the themes are different. Gone are the childlike tales of wonder and discovery, in their place are dark threats to the Teens and their world. Everything is changing, everything is falling apart. Figuring out how to deal with this is a big part of the game.

You are no kid anymore, the world is both more exciting and more dangerous. Teenagers can get hurt – and even die. The stakes are higher than ever.

Both! Things from the Flood expands the scope of Tales from the Loop to the 1990s. You can continue your campaign with the Kids from the original game or create brand new player characters. We call it a “standalone expansion” because everything that is needed to play the game is included in the book. That’s right, no previous experience is needed at all, just get the book and start playing right away.

If you’ve read and played the Tales from the Loop RPG, you will find yourself right at home, this book expands the setting and introduces new exciting mysteries and threats to explore.

The game engine of Things from the Flood is the same as the one for Tales from the LoopRPG and is based on our previous game Mutant: Year Zero, that was awarded with a Silver ENnie for Best Rules at Gencon 2015.

The core mechanic is the same: To make a skill roll, you simply grab a number of dice for your attribute score, skill level and gear, and roll them all together. You need at least one six to succeed, and extra sixes can give you stunts and other bonus effects.

The acclaimed artist, concept designer and author of the art books Tales from the Loop (2015), Things from the Flood (2016) and The Electric State (2017). Simon Stålenhag is best known for his highly imaginative images and stories portraying illusive sci-fi phenomena in mundane, hyper-realistic Scandinavian landscapes (expanded into America in his latest book The Electric State). Tales from the Loop was ranked by The Guardian as one of the “10 Best Dystopias,” in the company of works such as Franz Kafka’s The Trial and Andrew Niccol’s Gattaca.

Not only have Stålenhag’s unique and cinematic images earned him a worldwide fan base, but have also made him a go-to storyteller, concept artist and illustrator for both the film and computer gaming industry. This year it was announced that The Electric State will be turned into a major motion picture and Amazon Prime ordered a full season of a TV show based on Tales from the Loop.

During his twelve years as a game writer, Nils Hintze has written a great number of scenarios, articles and reviews, as well as being the main author of critically praised and award winning Tales from the Loop roleplaying game. Previously he has written plays for theatre groups.

Nils is known for his ability to create scenarios which allow the players to explore their characters and their relationships while facing dangers and solving mysteries. The conflicts in his games are often built on personal dilemmas, where thrill and mystery is not seldom mixed with humor.

Nils is educated in creative writing, but he normally works as a psychologist. Nils is also one of the three creators of the Swedish role-playing podcast Podcon.

Free League Publishing is the international name of Swedish game and book publisher Fria Ligan AB. Since 2011 we have produced a range of pen and paper RPG’s, and have won several awards in the process.

Our first international game, Mutant: Year Zero, co-published with Modiphius Entertainment, was awarded a Silver ENnie for Best Rules at Gencon 2015. Last year Tales from the Loopwon five Gold ENnies (including Best Game and Product of the Year) as well as three Golden Geek awards. We have also created and published Coriolis – The Third Horizon (2017) and Forbidden Lands (2018).

Our Kickstarter fulfillment and shipping is handled by GamesQuest in the UK, and we have a partnership with Modiphius Entertainment for international retail distribution.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

Tales from the Loop won five 2017 ENnie Awards (Best Game, Best Setting, Best Writing, Best Internal Art and Product of the Year) plus several Golden Geek Awards (Game of the Year, Runner-up Best Artwork & Presentation). Fellow Guilder, John McGuire, did two articles on Tales from the Loop, the prequel to Things from the Flood. The first is his thoughts about the game from playing it at Gen Con, the second is a traditional review. It can be said that “roleplaying in the ’80s that never was” is a winner. The sequel pushes the clock forward from being kids in the 80s to being “teens in the 1990s – a decade of change and disaster.” The world is darker, the stakes are higher, the first bits of the internet are forming, and you are old enough to drive in a world that is turning into a dark horror. This standalone expansion (you don’t need TftL to play this) is waiting for you here.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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Rex Draconis RPG – Rising Tides by P.B. Publishing
Ends on Sun, October 21 2018 10:02 PM EDT.

 

“The first adventure in a trilogy based on NY Times Bestselling author Richard A. Knaak’s: Rex Draconis fantasy setting.

Welcome to the Rex Draconis RPG

Set in the world of Tiberos, the Rex Draconis RPG setting allows you to experience the epic fantasy of Richard A Knaak’s new world, dubbed by many as ‘the spiritual successor to Dragonlance’.

Against the backdrop of war, play as honourable Minotaur, chivalrous knights, mischievous Kwillum or powerful wizards, as you thwart the warmongering of the savage Wheyr and the machinations of the mysterious draconic Fafni and Afafni.

The Rex Draconis RPG is written for the D&D 5th edition and Pathfinder rules sets, and feature setting material that can be easily imported to any RPG system of your choice.

The Rex Draconis RPG is being produced in conjunction with an active novel line. While the novels are not required to use and enjoy the RPG, this structure allows you to interact with and fight alongside your favourite characters in a living, growing setting that evolves as Richard envisions. It is also important to note that the RPG storyline is a separate and unique story, that interestingly crosses paths with the novel line.

Map of Tiberos
Map of Tiberos

What is Rex Draconis?

Rex Draconis is the latest offering from Richard A Knaak, renowned fantasy author, and creator of some of the most iconic elements of the Dragonlance world. Richard is credited with the strong development of the Minotaur culture and the Solamnic Knights, as well as many other elements that made Dragonlance such a unique setting.

After many years, Richard has chosen to breathe new life into these embers, in an all-new high fantasy setting that combines favourite elements with an exciting new world, characters, monsters and  storylines.

The first novella – Under the Dragon Moon (Hydra Publications) – has been released, and the second – Lords of the Dragon Moon – is due for release shortly. Work has already begun on the next installment.

Why Kickstart?

With the success of the new novels, Richard would like to see the setting become a playable world for Table Top Roleplaying, much like its predecessor, the Dragonlance setting. Rex Draconis is wholely Richard’s creation, over which he has, and would like to retain, full creative control.

Bringing on Phil and Micah adds significant indie RPG experience, with numerous successful products and projects and a proven track record. However without the funding of a large game company, alternative funding needs to be sourced for professional art, editing and layout, as well as production of both PDF & physical products.

Considerable time, effort and expense has already been invested in the project, but to do it justice and create a standard we – and you – are satisfied with, further funding is required.

Rewards

While a full RPG world setting is in development, this first kickstarter will focus on launching the line with the following three main products, digital art and map pack, and a smaller, exclusive mini-adventure;

The Rex Draconis Player’s Guide – This book is primarily an adaptation guide, offering rules changes to the chosen official rulesets to ensure compatability with Tiberos – the world of Rex Draconis. This book will include new races, classes, archetypes, rules and more, as well as advice on adapting the material from your favourite RPG systems to create a more personalised Rex Draconis experience for your tastes.

Rising Tides – Adventure 1 – The first adventure in a series, Rising Tides allows players to foreshadow the action of the novels, playing roles that interact with the story in meaningful and lasting ways. In Tiberos, there is more than one story being told in this war. Rising Tides acts as a prequel to the official novel storyline and takes thre characters on a journey of discovery across this fantastic new world.

Amble’s Guide to Avondale – This book is the first of the setting content, a complete guide to Avondale, the capital city of Dracoma, home of the Knights of Dracoma. This guide provides all you need to launch your own adventures in Tiberos.

Digital Art & Map Pack – All art and maps produced for the project will be offered to eligible backers as a digital pack for personal use.

Misunderstandings – A mini adventure to whet your appetite for the unique qualities of the setting. This adventure is a Kickstarter EXCLUSIVE, and will not be reporoduced anywhere else.

We know that everyone is different, and will desire different rewards. PDF or physical copy, pathfinder or 5th edition rulesets, or both. We have arranged the rewards in a number of Backer Tiers that allow you to choose the rewards you want. We also have a special early adopter reward tier for the digital products.

Who Are We?

Phil Beckwith 

IT Project Manager by day, owner of P.B. Publishing by night, known mostly for many bestselling and successful titles on the DMs Guild, including the highly rated horror adventure – The Haunt, the 200 page hardcover tome Adventure Anthology, and a co-creator for the best-selling Monsters of the Guild.

Micah Watt

Owner of Pyromaniac Press, Micah is a successful Pathfinder and D&D 5e designer, known widely for his adventure path ‘What Lies Beyond Reason’, and the epic D&D 5e hardcover deity supplement; Faiths of the Forgotten Realms. Having run successful Kickstarters previously, Micah comes on board as our Pathfinder and Kickstarter expert.

Richard A. Knaak 

The creative genius behind Rex Draconis. Richard builds the world of Tiberos in his brand new novel series; Rex Draconis. He is known worldwide as a New York Times Bestselling author of novels in the Dragonlance, Diablo, World of Warcraft, Pathfinder, and Dragonrealm series. Richard provides creative consultancy and canon authority for the Rex Draconis RPG team.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

In my youth, Richard A. Knaak’s Dragonlance novels, The Legend of Huma and Kaz the Minotaur, were huge influences on me and, after Weis and Hickman’s Dragonlance trilogies, solidified my love of Krynn. If you’d like to read more about how influential those novels were, you can read fellow Tessera Guilder, John McGuire, give his thoughts on them here. Add to them the Dragonrealm series, and I have been a lifelong Knaak fan. His new series, Rex Draconis, introduces a world that is a love letter to Dragonlance. It’s less Weis/Hickman’s version and closer to the focus of Knaak’s corner of the world, yet manages to be greater than its inspiration.

Knaak’s strengths and knowledge of Ansalon let him touch all of the right moments from that world without the work ever descending into being a pale shadow of the better known property like Go-Bots to the Transformers. Rex Draconis remains its own world and story. While the focus of the series are the minotaurs and the not-Knights of Solamnia, they are handled in an earnest manner. There’s more to compare between the series. The kender (the group of annoying Hobbits that would have been wiped out just to end their unrepentant kleptomania) are replaced with the kwillum, a race that look like 10-year-old children who are also porcupine quicklings that are hunting something (in every pouch and coin purse that they pass). They are fast and have quills making them difficult to kill and, while they steal, they don’t do it aimlessly (they’re looking for something). The dragons are not flying mounts for the characters to ride into battle; instead, they’re D&D master monsters. The dragons, starkly good and evil in D&D, are neither in regards to humans in Rex Draconis, they see all bipeds as pawns in their wars so it changes the traditional pulp relationship between the powers that be. This series analog of the black moon of Dragonlance was shattered 400 years ago, which makes it visible as pieces that, I’m guessing, are leaning into the atmosphere a bit much. Every piece has a touch of the old with a nice twist that makes it new.

Continuing its homage of Dragonlance, Knaak wants to build the world into a D&D setting and, to do that, he’s working with Phil Beckwith and Micah Watt to make it happen. I’ve backed this and recommend checking out the setting as well as the first novella in the Rex Draconis series.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

UPDATE: [Q&A] #randomworlds welcomes Phil Beckwith (Rex Draconis) 10/05/2018 8:30 p.m. CDT! If you can make it, you can ask Phil your questions here: https://tinyurl.com/randomworlds-chat In case you missed it, Dan Davenport (the host) has the complete transcript here: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com

 

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Judge Dredd & The Worlds of 2000 AD Roleplaying Game by EN Publishing
Ends on Thu, October 25 2018 7:00 PM EDT.

 

“Explore Mega-City One and beyond with the official tabletop roleplaying game for the galaxy’s greatest comic!

Judge. Jury. Executioner. Play as a Judge of Mega-City One and bust perps, Sov spies, and mutant raiders in this action-packed standalone tabletop roleplaying game, bringing to life the iconic characters and worlds found in the legendary British comic 2000 AD. This book is your introduction to Mega-City One, and your gateway to a line of supplements based on 2000 AD’s many characters and settings.

These books are brought to you by Darren Pearce (Doctor Who; Lone Wolf), Robert Schwalb (Dungeons & Dragons; Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay), Andrew Peregrine (Doctor Who; Firefly; Buffy The Vampire Slayer), Russ Morrissey (What’s OLD is NEW), and Nick Robinson.

Limited & Standard Edition Rulebooks, GM Screen, Counter Set, and The Robot Wars
Limited & Standard Edition Rulebooks, GM Screen, Counter Set, and The Robot Wars
  • Full colour 270-page hardcover Judge Dredd & The Worlds of 2000 AD core rulebook!
  • The Robot Wars, 100-pages, the first in a series of softcover sourcebooks and adventures!
  • Sturdy two-sided cardboard 4-panel GM screen full of handy reference charts and tables!
  • Beautiful cardstock tokens to represent your characters and their foes!
  • Also, we are offering a limited edition version of the core rulebook with a special cover exclusive to this Kickstarter!
GM Screen (Front) - note that we include player useful info, such as typical crime sentences, on the player facing side of the GM screen
GM Screen (Front) – note that we include player useful info, such as typical crime sentences, on the player facing side of the GM screen
GM Screen (Back)
GM Screen (Back)
Nearly 100 full-colour cardstock tokens to represent your characters and their foes!
Nearly 100 full-colour cardstock tokens to represent your characters and their foes!

 

We are producing a full-colour hardcover core rulebook for the all-new Judge Dredd & The Worlds of 2000 AD tabletop roleplaying game. This book contains all the rules and setting information you need to play any character in Mega-City One, and is the core rulebook for the entire line of 2000 AD settings and worlds.

  • Play a Judge, Civilian, or Perp!
  • Choose from Humans, Clones, Robots, Mutants, Chimps, Gorillas, and Orangutans!
  • Wield the iconic Lawgiver sidearm and ride the mighty Lawmaster motorcycle!
  • Read about Mega-City One, as well as other worlds of 2000 AD!
  • Core rulebook contains everything you need to play in Mega-City One, and provides the core rules upon which the many worlds of 2000 AD are based!
Limited & Standard Edition Core Rulebooks
Limited & Standard Edition Core Rulebooks

Judge Dredd & The Worlds of 2000 AD is a standalone roleplaying game. You do not need any other books in order to play. This 250+ page book introduces you to Mega-City One, and allows you to play Judges, Perps, or Civilians in that futuristic metropolis. This is also the core rulebook for future setting books which will detail many of your favourite 2000 ADproperties, such as Rogue Trooper, Sláine, Strontium Dog, ABC Warriors, and many more!

Check out these previews of the game!

 

2000 AD is a multi-award winning weekly British cult-sci-fi comic anthology that has been running since 1977. Having featured dozens of writers and artists over the years, including Pat Mills, Alan Grant, Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, John Wagner and Alan Moore, 2000 ADbrings you an explosive cocktail of sci-fi and fantasy, infused with a mean streak of irony and wry black humour.

2000 AD is future lawmen in vast megacities. It is post apocalyptic wastelands filled with mutants. It is celtic barbarians and druids fighting evil drunelords. It is robot warriors taming a lawless Mars. It is ancient accords between the British Crown and Hell. It is intergalactic cargo trucks adventuring through space. It is extra-dimensional agencies who repair anomalies across the alternate realities. It is Houdini, Lovecraft, and Doyle as paranormal investigators in the 1920s. It is alien freedom fighters seeking to end the tyranny of humans on a far future Earth. It is genetically engineered soldiers bred for war. And it is much, much more.

The worlds of 2000 AD are diverse indeed. And you can play in them all!

 Judge Dredd & The Worlds of 2000 AD uses the What’s OLD is NEW (WOIN) game system. Here are some of the features of that system:

  • d6 dice pools. Judge Dredd & The Worlds of 2000 AD uses d6 dice pools to resolve actions. You form a dice pool by adding dice from an attribute, a skill, and equipment. For example, a burglar trying to pick a lock might have 3d6 from her AGILITY attribute, 2d6 from her thievery skill, and 1d6 from her high quality thieves tools, meaning she gets to roll 6d6. The dice are added together and compared to a target number. Detailed rules for simple tasks, extended tasks, and competitive tasks using the same core mechanic allow for a flexible variety of challenges.
  • Life-path careers system. Judge Dredd & The Worlds of 2000 AD uses a “life-path” system for character creation. You create a character by selecting a number of sequential careers which represent periods of your character’s life since childhood. Each career adds to your character’s age, and increases various attributes and skills, as well as granting a special ability while adding to your character’s history and backstory.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

Disclaimer: I freelance for ENWorld, which is published by EN Publishing who are behind Judge Dredd & The Worlds of 2000 AD.

Judge Dredd, while known in the US, has never taken root as it did in its native country, the UK. The best illustration of the difference in markets is the 2012 movie, Dredd. For that movie, the US and Canada (population north of 350,000,000) spent $13,414,714 on the entire run of that film while the UK (64,000,000) spent $6,929,744 on seeing the film. [Numbers from BoxOfficeMojo here.] A population that is less than a 5th the size of the US/Canada bought about half as many tickets as the larger group. That speaks to how much larger the fanbase is in the UK than North America. Add to that, in this Kickstarter, as of this writing, the number of American and Canadian backers combined (477) just edges out the UK (441).

Should you back this Kickstarter? Does national origin make any difference? I’d say you should, because what makes the difference in audience participation is, in my opinion, The Law tends to display a certain amount of English wit that does not always connect in the US. Yet, in my experience, that wit lives at the gaming table. Judge Dredd has the range to feel pulpy, humorous, and dark all in a single story. Using the WOIN system combined with the player’s natural tendency to take all situations to the extreme, this will be an excellent RPG and I can’t wait to test it out.

While this is a hype piece (call a spade), I’m compelled to note that the world of art is poorer today for the passing of Carlos Ezquerra, the character designer of Judge Dredd. His artwork will be missed, and my thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

UPDATE: A free quickstart of the game is available here.

 

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Disclosures: This article contains affiliate links.

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™
Freelancer for EN WorldKnights of the Dinner TableOpen Gaming Network, and the Tessera Guild.
Want your RPG Kickstarter reviewed? Want to share news? Press releases? Rumors? Sneak peeks? Deals? Have some RPG wanna-lancer thoughts to share? Contact me here or on Facebook (Egg Embry) or on Google Plus (+Egg Embry).

4 RPG Kickstarters You Should Back – Something Is Wrong Here, Jack Hack, Occam’s Razor, and Prism

For this week’s RPG Kickstarter roundup, I’m looking at games that deal in Lovecraftian horror, surrealism, and relationships. These games look both forward into the relationships of today and the future while others expose the dark soul of the past. All are worth backing.

 

Prism by Whitney M. Delaglio
Ends on Fri, September 28 2018 10:00 PM EDT.

 

“A diceless roleplaying game about relationships and conflict resolution in an aquatic world.

“Once upon a time, there was a barren planet without life, an ocean, or vegetation. Six gods in coalition made the world habitable. Five of the six gods each took an island for their own and molded it into the home they wanted to leave behind, for the life they had created and for the generations to come. The Blue Realm was created beneath the waves, built atop sand where merfolk could thrive. They lived there as mortals until their deaths, returning to their godly forms to observe from afar.”

Prism is a roleplaying game about relationships (both platonic and romantic) and conflict resolution set in an aquatic world. There are six realms in the game with their own culture, code of ethics, and deity. The setting of the game promotes a sex positive environment and a safe space to explore intimate character interactions.

Prism is also a world of elemental magic, but the mechanics are light and conversational. The rest of the rules rely less on crunch, and more on negotiations between players and the GM. There are three core mechanics in the game. The first is each character starts out with at least one relationship with another character in the game. Depending how they feel about the other person, they’ll receive a unique bonus. The second is instead of using dice, characters rely on predetermined levels of expertise in skills such as swimming, dancing, and following protocol to solve narrative conflicts, and interact with the world around them. The third mechanic is each character is loyal to a realm, and depending on their behavior, they can be punished or rewarded by the god that watches over the realm they are loyal to.

“Prism offers players a chance to think about their characters emotional lives in a way that is really fresh. I love the way in Prism what your character feels, and how they relate to the world – and the world, to them – actually matters.” – Jason Morningstar

“This is a delightful work. I am reminded again at how calm it makes me feel to read it. That is also a testament to her choices of words and phrasing.” – Cam Banks

“Character creation was a delight. Character creation is my least favorite thing about RPGs, so this is the highest compliment to pay.” – Elizabeth Stong

Since the core of the game is relationships between player and non-player characters, it’s intended for a maximum of four players. For a really intimate experience, Prism can even be played one-on-one with the GM!

“I love Prism’s attention to the dynamic nature of our relationships, and there is no better way to explore that theme than in a game where it’s just you and the GM. Experiencing love and loss through such a highly-focused lens was powerful and inspiring. I have never felt so affected by a single session of any game.” – Andrea Gaulke

“Prism was rich with opportunities, fun to explore, and intimate without being overwhelming. I felt like my character could stand alone during the adventure, but I also had the sense that if the game expanded to include more players, it could be just as fun.” – Kimberley Lam

All the writing, and most of the art was done by yours truly. The rulebook has over 50 full color illustrations. I collaborated with one of my best friends, Maria Smith, to complete the artwork for the Almanac.

The physical copy of the book is 6×9 softcover, full color, and 48 pages in length. The great thing about this campaign is the digital version has already been finalized. Which means once it has ended, printing and fulfillment can begin soon after.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

Let’s do the list of why this is an idea that’s worth checking out:

  • Diceless? Check
  • Aquatic? Check
  • “[P]romotes a sex positive environment and a safe space to explore intimate character interactions”? Check

Normally a game tries one “new”, or rarely used, concept. Prism is a grab bag of ideas that, after reading the campaign, feel like they belong together. This RPG is opening new doors and stepping through, and I cannot wait to see how it plays!

 

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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The Jack Hack Complete. A Dark Victorian role-playing game by John R Davis
Ends on Sun, September 30 2018 1:30 PM EDT.

 

“The Jack Hack is a rpg of trying to beat the odds in the depravity of late Victorian London. It was inspired by the Black Hack OSR rpg

The Goal of this Kickstarter.

To create an updated version of the Jack Hack rpg including a limited printed box set.

The Jack Hack is a Role-Playing Game of Victorian Villains.   It was originally inspired by  The Black Hack rpg by David Black & my love of Victorian Adventuring. The release will contain a full rules set based on the Black Hack, modified to fit the setting.

You were once quite worthy fellows. Something terrible happened and you hit rock bottom. Were it not for a mysterious benefactor you would have died. Maybe you would have been better off that way. Your life is one long fight to survive in the twisting, dank alleyways of the Whitechapel area of London.  And now rumour has it there is a serial killer on the loose“.

The main thrust of the The Jack Hack as a game is trying to beat the odds in the depravity of late Victorian London. It has a particular focus on the Whitechapel area just before, and around the time of the infamous Jack the Ripper murders.  The PCs aren’t heroes, but aren’t meant to be down-right cruel either. They are trying to get by- but situations, events and adventures keep coming their way.

Clearly the Whitechapel Murders were a terrible event but the mystery and legend about them is perfect for game creativity.  

The Jack Hack Complete (Or The Jack Hack-The Complete Rip-Off, if you forgive the terrible pun) is produced as a set of five A5 sized books each about 60 pages in length. Parts of it have previously been released on ‘DriveThruRPG.com’ where it is a Silver Seller. This release will contain much more material, a good edit throughout, and more art and images.  As well as a set of new cover art.

The following details the five books

  • The Jack Hack Basic Book. This includes the rules.
  • Ripper Fhtagn. A game book of Mythos, Mesmerism and Monsters.
  • Dead London. A game book of Martian Invasion and Steampunk.
  • Carved In Flesh. 5 scenarios based around the Whitechapel Murders.
  • The Great Game. A game book of Anarchists, Political Intrique and Spies.
The Jack Hack Basic Book
The Jack Hack Basic Book

The Jack Hack. This contains all the rules needed to play and stacks of random tables and adventure seeds.

The game features 5  classes:

  • The Broken. Former military tough or pit-fighter, now a shallow shell of a man.
  • The Night-Flower. A singer, actress; now working girl unable to rise out of the squalor.
  • The Cokum. A street swindler, hypnotist, false nobility or fake folk hero. ·
  • The Disgraced. A former doctor, scientist, lawyer, politician; abandoned by friends and family. ·
  • The Fine-Wire. Once a master criminal, now mocked by both police and thieves.
One born every minute....
One born every minute….

It also features two usage dice:

The White. This usage dice represents your ‘outer’ influence, infamy, contacts and place in the Whitechapel area. You can use it to quickly gather information, find a safe house, find a short cut, or anything your group deems relevant.

The Black. This usage dice represents the ‘inner’ torment you suffer. You can call on it to complete a task, but the GM can force its use when she (or you) thinks a recent setback may cause you to go into a downward spiral and you need to face your demons.

Most classes start with a d6 to a d10 in a usage dice. When they are called on, the relevant dice is rolled to ensure you just get through that situation. If a 1-2 is rolled the dice is degraded one step (d10 to d8, d6 to d4) to represent you using up any influence and resources you may have; also your will, sanity, and/or self discipline being worn away.

The Rest of the book is ‘Welcome to Whitechapel’ and contains lots of random stuff to see, do and suffer! Images and Maps. There are many random tables such as:

  •  20 things found floating in the Thames.
  •  20 things a street vendor may sell you.
  •  20 places to wake up the morning after.
  •  20 petty criminals.
  •  20 words a gentleman wouldn’t call his wife.
Sample d20 things
Sample d20 things

There are about two dozen of these in total. There are also many lists of places to visit, and numerous adventure seeds to start your Jack Hack.

Fear Itself
Fear Itself
Who would have believed.......
Who would have believed…….
There will be blood
There will be blood
The Games Afoot
The Games Afoot

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

I’m a John R Davis fan! In the days when I backed projects to write for them (and build my resume), I did some NPCs and location creation for his book, The Cruellest Mistress of All. I’ve interviewed him over on the Open Gaming Network (here). Through it all, I’ve found John to be an easy to get along with creator. Now he’s combining his version of the OSR, The Black Hack, with Victorian England. With the artwork above, I’m sold!

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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Occam’s Razor, a collection of scenarios for Call of Cthulhu by Stygian Fox Publishing
Ends on Mon, October 1 2018 12:16 PM EDT.

 

“A series of adventures where evil and the Cthulhu mythos is not what it seems.

Occam’s Razor is a collection of modern scenarios by horror author and Call of Cthulhu stalwart Brian M. Sammons for Chaosium Inc’s 7th edition Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game. It has a dark tone, like most Stygian Fox titles, more akin to True Detective and American Horror Story and is written for Mature Gamers Only. The scenarios look into the dark heart of humanity and the mythos… but this book has a twist.

One of the problems long term Keepers can face when running Call of Cthulhu is their players becoming too jaded or blasé regarding the Cthulhu mythos.

“Oh, Deep Ones? Yeah, we’ve killed these before. Open fire.”
Rather than; “Oh my God! They’re real! Run!”

It’s difficult to maintain that suspension of belief when you have been facing the same creatures year after year. This is where Occam’s Razor comes in, being a collection of scenarios where initially they seem to be linked to the mythos but they have mundane causes and outcomes.

I have run these type of scenarios for twenty years and every time they sucker players in and help them see how paranoid their characters have become and, more importantly, when it comes time to face the actual mythos again, many players believe the adventure will have a mundane cause. When interspersed with mythos adventures this leads to some serious panic when the players realise that this is real. Used sparingly, these adventures lull players into a false sense of security and make the next real mythos encounter all the more vivid.

One of my players had his character just stand and watch as a colleague was eaten by a dark shadow in a toy store because the player refused to believe it was a mythos entity. This was a ten year veteran of the game.

Of course, a separate sidebar is provided for each adventure if you wish to have actual mythos elements in your game.

Call of Cthulhu is the Registered Trademark of Chaosium Inc., and is used with their permission. www.chaosium.com

 Brian M. Sammons has created 6 scenarios which tease at mythos causes but will ultimately lead to a mundane resolution. A murder is just a murder, a cult site is just kids with spray paints, etc. Here is a summary of the scenarios contained within the book.

Deep and Dark – the investigators find a snuff film on the dark web, but one of a pretty girl getting mauled by a Fishman monster. Did the deep ones mess up and accidentally get filmed in this modern world where everyone has a camera phone or is it something else?

Eye of the Beholder – an art student goes missing while doing late night research in a museum with ties to the local university. Maybe it’s a coincidence that the museum just got in a huge statue from South America of a little-known death god called Thul’Cathul. Yep, total coincidence.

The Watchers – a woman living alone in an apartment in the big city notices that people are watching her. Following her. They even broke into her home. But why? What do they want and how far will they go?

A Whole Pack of Trouble – a group of film school students go to an isolated, abandoned, and reportedly haunted asylum to make a found-footage horror movie and make a fortune? Whatever could go wrong with that? Well, when the filmmakers go missing the investigators will have to find out.

A Cleansing Flame – People are dying by fire. No one knows why and no one knows how. When the latest victim is a friend to one of the investigators and an astronomer who reportedly made a recent discovery of note, it’s up to the investigators to put out these flames.

Visions From Beyond – Tommy is a friend who makes some new friends. That’s nice. Unfortunately those friends have a strange reputation, they get up to some bizarre practices, and then one night Tommy calls one of the investigators in terror, begging for help, then the line goes dead. What’s a friend and an investigator of the Mythos to do?

The book will be in PDF, ePub, Softcover, and hardcover formats and will be full colour.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

Modern horror adventures for Chaosium Inc’s Call of Cthulhu’s 7e written for mature audiences. Stygian Fox Publishing purchased four titles from Miskatonic River Press and is bringing them back (read some of the details here). Judging by those titles, Stygian has an eye for quality horror and I expect these scenarios will be excellent.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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Something Is Wrong Here: A Roleplaying Game by Kira Magrann
Ends on Thu, October 4 2018 8:00 PM EDT.

 

“Uncanny surrealist roleplaying, inspired by TWIN PEAKS, MULHOLLAND DRIVE, and the other dark works of DAVID LYNCH.

Something Is Wrong Here is a Roleplaying Game of uncanny surrealism designed by Kira Magrann. In this game you’ll play troubled humans who struggle with their dark pasts and inner demons in order to make meaningful, potentially healing connections with each other. At some small town diner with a neon sign, in a broken down car on the highway, in someone’s wallpapered living room, at the old roadhouse down the way, unsettling scenes of Americana unfold as the game heads down it’s inevitable nightmarish path.

This game can be played in one night, in the intimacy of your living room or a private convention room. The line between player and character is intentionally drawn thin, causing feelings to bleed from one to the other. This game is atmospheric, emotional, and personal. Don’t worry though players, there’s safety mechanics to guide you through these dreamy paths of the subconscious mind.

The game’s themes and characters are inspired by the horrific surrealism of David Lynch’s work, specifically the quirky and supernatural characters from Twin Peaks, the nightmarish identity confusion from Mulholland Drive, and the lurid truths that lie beneath mundane Americana in Blue Velvet.

all art by Elissa Leach
all art by Elissa Leach

Dark and Dreamy

With the Return of Twin Peaks last year I became re-obsessed with the spooky dreamlike worlds of David Lynch’s work. This game is an homage to those worlds, and is meant to evoke the same types of unsettling, horrific, and identity/reality questioning feelings. The characters struggle with their darker selves, the setting is surreal and Americana, and there aren’t any satisfying answers at the end of the story.

Much like a David Lynch film, this game has postmodern references to breaking the fourth wall. It encourages overlap between real life feelings and a character’s feelings. What this means is that it’s likely players will feel a little vulnerable playing this game. There are safety guidelines included about how to play with intention, and how to debrief with aftercare for any troubling feelings that might arise while playing this game. This allows players to experiment with these feelings, and explore them in play, with a safety net built into the game.

What Play is Like

Everything needed to play Something Is Wrong Here is on a deck of cards. The only props needed are a mirror and a box. Character costuming is optional, but generic enough for thrifted or piecemeal wardrobe elements to work. A few songs are integral to mood making but can be played on any device.

Something Is Wrong Here can be played in a living room or any private room where you can control the atmosphere. While embodying your character in a series of scenes, you’re encouraged to use the space either sitting or standing, since there’s no dice involved. Cards are where the characters, roleplaying prompts, and instructions for play exist. Play is a series of scenes that the Facilitator of the game will guide players through, just like a TV show or movie.

I’ve designed this game to be as accessible as possible to new players, so I’m hoping that other David Lynch fans who have never played a game like this before can easily play, or gamers who’ve never seen a David Lynch gig don’t have to worry about matching genre conventions.

The Facilitator is in charge of knowing the entire game, spoilers and all. Their job is to tell players of characters what scenes they’re in, keep time for the game, and explain the basic rules of what the players need to do throughout the game.

Players will act the part of troubled characters in a surreal America. Each character has a personality, goals, and relationships with the other characters. There are six characters to choose from, each with their own specific issues to work through and personality quirks.

There are Two Acts in the game.

Act One establishes the characters in the surreal Americana settings. Their goal during play is to try and evoke a certain emotion in each scene together. They have a list of emotions to portray collaboratively in this series of scenes, and after each scene a corresponding card is drawn. This card gives them some narrative power over the next scene they’re in, stealing this power from the auteur Facilitator.

Emotions are things like:

  • The feeling of something new on the horizon
  •  A genuine closeness

Narrative Control cards are things like:

  • In the next scene you’re in, you can’t quite hear what the other people are saying. Ask them to repeat things.
  • In the next scene you’re in, take over any part of the facilitator’s role that you like.

Mixed in-between these scenes are surreal interludes called Mirror Scenes. They allow characters to monologue about where they are internally, how they’re feeling, while looking into the mirror. Disturbing music plays.

Act Two takes a plot twist and contains a major spoiler, but it is reality changing for the characters. Scenes are then acted out with new sets of nightmarish cue cards that apply specifically to each character’s psyche, with haunting music. This is where characters, and players, decide the fate of their relationships with themselves and the other characters. It’s an internal emotional exploration, told on a supernatural stage reminiscent of red curtained stages and black striped floors.

The stats for this game are below.

  • Players: 5-6 + Facilitator
  • Time: 4 hours
  • Rating: 18+
  • Materials: Character Nametags, Game Cards, Music, Box, Mirror (floor length if possible), Drinks & Costumes (optional)
  • Keywords: Identity Confusion, Surrealism, Uncanny, David Lynch, Americana, Non-linear, Meta, Narrative Control, Unsettling, Emotional, Personal”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

Kira Magrann has tapped a vain: David Lynch, the card-based RPG. There’s one card you can read with only a light tilt of the head [enlarged below] and, taken with the David Lynch muse, it tells you what you’re getting. What are you getting? The tea leaves say it’ll be a unique experience. That’s the genius of this game, it is more than a linear RPG, this is an atmospheric experience that you will think about as often as you ponder a David Lynch production. It is worth trying out.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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Disclosures: This article contains affiliate links.

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™
Freelancer for EN WorldKnights of the Dinner TableOpen Gaming Network, and the Tessera Guild.
Want your RPG Kickstarter reviewed? Want to share news? Press releases? Rumors? Sneak peeks? Deals? Have some RPG wanna-lancer thoughts to share? Contact me here or on Facebook (Egg Embry) or on Google Plus (+Egg Embry).

4 RPG Kickstarters You Should Back – Tiny Supers, Spacecraft 2000 to 2100 AD, Art of War, and Power Outage

I’m back from Gen Con 2018 [you can read Part One of John McGuire’s review of our trip here] and ready to focus on some amazing RPGs available via Kickstarter. These are projects that I have connection to (I’m friends with the creators or they are an all-ages game) and that look amazing! Let’s dive in!

 

Tiny Supers: Minimalist Superhero Roleplaying by Gallant Knight Games
Ends on Fri, August 10 2018 7:25 PM EDT.

“Tiny Supers – Minimalist, four-color tabletop superhero roleplaying based on the TinyD6 system!

Gallant Knight Games is happy to present the latest genre-book for our TinyD6 minimalist roleplaying system: Tiny Supers!

Using the rules in this book, you’ll be able to play superheroes of all types, from paragons and exemplars, to super-science heroes of the future or past, to cosmic guardians defending the far-reaches of the galactic civilizations from untold threats!

Alan was on Victory Condition Gaming talking about Tiny Supers! While the video is 40 minutes long, the first 5 to 10 minutes are hyper focused on the game and the contents of the campaign (but you can listen to the whole thing if you want!)

The Iconic Hero and paragon of the GallantVerse, Gallant! Art by Nicolas Giacondino
The Iconic Hero and paragon of the GallantVerse, Gallant! Art by Nicolas Giacondino

Character creation is simple, fast, and exciting. You pick your character archetype based on the exciting stories your Game Master is going to tell, you pick a few Traits or Powers that each grant a single benefit, and you’re done!

For the first time ever, a TinyD6 game will have it’s own detailed setting, as we bring the GallantVerse to you!

You can read more about the GallantVerse below!

Ryker Swift, aka Velocity! One of our Iconic GallantVerse Heroes. Art by Nicolás Giacondino
Ryker Swift, aka Velocity! One of our Iconic GallantVerse Heroes. Art by Nicolás Giacondino

Sometimes as the GM, you don’t have time to plot lengthy, detailed worlds, but you want that experience. Well, we’ve got your back, and that support comes in the form of micro-verses and our signature setting, The GallantVerse!

Micro-verses are short settings filled with adventure hooks, and designed to put your adventures and campaigns into high action-adventure.

Our goal is to fund a softcover edition, a limited number of hardcover collector’s editions, and the Tiny Supers dice. We’ve planned several stretch goals which will increase page count, add more art, add more special rules but all of our goals will provide you with more fun and engaging superhero tabletop content!

You might notice that our funding goal is much higher than previous TinyD6 Kickstarters. One of our goals with this project is to fund a full-color book, replete with gorgeous art from the very talented Nicolás Giacondino, with posters and covers by a variety of talented artists.

Additionally, the writing on the GallantVerse is being handled by top industry talent. We’re set on paying all our contributors well, and our goal reflects our commitment to an ethical pay rate for our writers, artists, and team members.

Pulsewave, one of our GallantVerse Iconics! Art by Nicolás Giacondino
Pulsewave, one of our GallantVerse Iconics! Art by Nicolás Giacondino

Tiny Supers uses a simple, fast, and dynamic ruleset to handle actions. The game uses up to three six-sided dice as part of action resolution.

If you roll a “5” or “6” on a die, your check succeeds. Most checks are made with two dice. However, if you are deemed to have “advantage” on a roll, you gain a third die to roll. If you have disadvantage, you lose a dice (rolling only a single die).

Characters are made quickly and easily. You will select a superheroic archetype (such as Paragon, Gadgeteer, Defender, Mastermind or more), three traits or powers, and write down some basic information and you are ready to play!

Bastion, one of our GallantVerse Iconics! Art by Nicolás Giacondino
Bastion, one of our GallantVerse Iconics! Art by Nicolás Giacondino

If you’re familiar with the TinyD6 ruleset, you’re probably wondering how Power Traits are different than Traits?

Well, Power Traits are new traits that gain better versions of themselves as you take them again and again. Let’s use an example, like SuperSpeed (Alan’s favorite power.) SuperSpeed has 3 Tiers. The first time a Trait choice is spent to select SuperSpeed.

  • Tier One: Any turn in which you move, you also count as having taken the Evade action.

If a Hero were to select the Super-Speed Power Trait again with a Trait Choice, they’d gain the Tier Two Power:

  • Tier Two: You can take a move action once per turn, without using up one of your two actions for the turn.

If they repeated it a third time, they’d gain the third and final power:

  • Tier Three: When you take a move action, you can move three times.

All the PowerTraits in Tiny Supers function on a level similar to this. There is a wide swath of powers, making almost any super imaginable!

Darklight, one of our Iconic GallantVerse Villains! Art by Nicolás Giacondino
Darklight, one of our Iconic GallantVerse Villains! Art by Nicolás Giacondino

The GallantVerse is the standard superheroic setting for Tiny Supers! Conceived by Alan Bahr, the GallantVerse is a near-future setting, where superheroes have recently come into being!

The GallantVerse is a setting focused on heroic and exciting heroes, with a slight science fiction bent and a focus on hope and optimistic heroism! All your favorite comic book angles are here, from mystical occultists, to mutants, to paragons of science and technology, and massive cosmic threats! We’re hitting all the notes!

Our core of the setting is the coastal city of Sentry City! A technological hotspot, Sentry City is the birthplace of superheroes and the central piece of the GallantVerse.

As the first cohesive core campaign setting for the TinyD6 line, GallantVerse is being overseen by Alan, with writing by an excellent troupe of freelancers!

The Eagle! One of our GallantVerse Iconics. Art by Nicolás Giacondino
The Eagle! One of our GallantVerse Iconics. Art by Nicolás Giacondino

Micro-settings are unique, small universes that exist in alternate dimensions adjacent to theGallantVerse!

They are specifically designed to be used as a tool, resource, or spring-board for your own campaigns.

All of the micro-verses come with some story and some fluff that is designed to be unique to that particular micro-verse.

The core book comes with some very different micro-verses, all of them written by those we selected from our Tiny Supers Open Call! 

Further down the page (and revealed as they’re unlocked) are the micro-verses that are included in Tiny Supers! All of them were unlocked by stretch goals, and we’ve compiled them below!

Asher Solomon, the Immortal Magus and GallantVerse Iconic! Art by Nicolás Giacondino
Asher Solomon, the Immortal Magus and GallantVerse Iconic! Art by Nicolás Giacondino

Gallant Knight Games is a indie game company ran by Alan and Erin Bahr. This is our 10th GKG Kickstarter!

Our previous TinyD6 Kickstarters (Tiny Frontiers and Tiny Frontiers: Mecha & Monsters) delivered early to backers (4 months in the case of Tiny Frontiers), and Tiny Dungeon 2e was on time!

Our micro-settings are written by some of the most talented freelancers in the RPG business!

Tiny Supers has been in development since late 2016 and been in play-testing for 12 months! The art is all in, and paid for (with the exception of any stetch goals). The goal of this Kickstarter is to pay for the print run and unlock our stretch goals, making this a truly gorgeous book.

Montebank, an Iconic Occult Villain! Art by Nicolas Giacondino
Montebank, an Iconic Occult Villain! Art by Nicolas Giacondino

As we continue along, we’ll be previewing bios of our fantastic freelancers and writers here!”

Egg’s Thoughts:

This year I met Alan (Gallant Knight Games) Bahr at Gen Con (it’s nice to put a face with a name). During another campaign, I interviewed Alan Bahr about Tiny Dungeon 2nd Edition here (Tiny Supers uses the same core mechanic). The system is simple enough that it can be viewed as an all-ages option (which I love), but not so simple there’s no joy in playing it. TinyD6 is a popular system and it spans a variety of genres.

  • Tiny Frontiers: Minimalist Science Fiction Roleplaying – 403 backers pledged $12,413
  • Tiny Frontiers: Mecha and Monsters – 352 backers pledged $13,310
  • Tiny Dungeon: Second Edition – 1,661 backers pledged $62,585
  • Tiny Wastelands: Minimalist Post-Apocalyptic Roleplaying – 910 backers pledged $32,353

Of the Tiny-verse, only the campaign for Tiny Dungeon: Second Edition has more backers and pledges. Add to this, Fat Goblin Games will be creating “roleplaying game supplements based on the popular TinyD6 Engine” [read the press release here], this is a good time to try TinyD6!

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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Spacecraft 2000 to 2100 AD (40th Anniversary Reprint) by Battlefield Press International (DriveThruRPG or Open Gaming Network)
Ends on Sat, August 11 2018 12:59 AM EDT.

“A Terran Trade Authority Handbook. Full color reprint of the original books by Stewart Cowley.

No one would have believed, in the closing years of the 1970’s, that science fiction was to experience a boom that would last through to the present day. The summer blockbuster had only just been invented. There was only one Star Wars movie. The voyage of the Battlestar Galactica had only just begun, and Buck Rogers had yet to conquer television. But between the pages of the Terran Trade Authority handbooks, enthralled readers were discovering a beautiful and brightly-coloured vision of the future, where wondrous spacecraft explored strange planets, navigated shimmering nebulae and fought desperate battles among the stars. Illustrated by some of the world’s greatest science fiction artists and written by Stewart Cowley, the handbooks told the tale of mankind’s expansion into the unknown and the trials and wonders they encountered. Conceived of as a “Jane’s Guide” for the future, the books made use of the stunning artwork produced for the paperback science fiction market at the time, reproducing them in lush colour and on glossy paper. Beginning with Spacecraft 2000-2100 AD in 1978, the Terran Trade Authority series went on to become a cult phenomenon, loved and fondly remembered by all who came across them. The Terran Trade Authority presented a bright vision of the future, optimistic about man’s place in the universe, and featuring a strong undercurrent of mystery, wonder and adventure. In recent years the volumes have become collectors’ items – expensive and rarely found, but never forgotten – and have gone on to influence creators around the globe. The setting has spawned two role-playing games and has been cited as a clear inspiration for the best-selling computer game No Man’s Sky. Within the pages of the books are a veritable who’s who of science fiction art, including such names as Jim Burns, Alan Daniels, Peter Elson, Fred Gambino, Colin Hay, Robin Hiddon, Bob Layzell, Angus McKie, Chris Foss, Chris Moore, Tony Roberts, and Trevor Webb. Now, with your help, we are proud to present a special 40th Anniversary Edition of the first of the TTA handbooks; Spacecraft 2000-2100 AD. It’s time to return to the future!

ACM 113, Fatboy
ACM 113, Fatboy

About Spacecraft 2000 to 2100 AD

The Terran Trade Authority is an original science-fiction setting first presented in four large-format full-colour illustrated books, published between 1978 and 1980. Each book is presented as an “in-universe” document, detailing the history of the Terran Trade Authority and their spectacular spacecraft. This book covers the events immediately before and after the Proximan War Era, and is presented in the same manner as an aircraft recognition guide, made up entirely of spacecraft descriptions and art accompanied by details of their role and performance in the war, and occasionally their history afterwards.

Nomad Industrial Complex
Nomad Industrial Complex

Foreword to Spacecraft 2000 to 2100 AD: 40th Anniversary Edition

During the heady days of the Russian-American space race and the globally televised Apollo missions, the world watched enthralled as humans took the first faltering steps beyond gravity’s grip. But as time passed public enthusiasm waned. The value and relevance of space research and its huge costs were questioned In the face of global social, political and economic pressures. But eventually, popular interest in space exploration re-emerged. A major imperative was the growing awareness of Planet Earth’s fragility in the face of the demands we made on it. However successful we were in conserving our world’s resources and developing new forms of energy, the fact remained that we were simply outgrowing our homeworld. The search for Earth-like planets and the technology to travel there became of paramount importance. The post-Apollo drop in popular enthusiasm for space research did not mean that the scientific community relaxed their search for answers. On the contrary, a growing number of major players brought fresh resources to the table. In addition to NASA and Roscosmos, the Russian Federal Space Agency, China, Japan, India, the European Space Agency and even private enterprise grew our knowledge base. Not just in how we would travel in space but where we might go. A major contributor was NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope. Launched in 2009 to seek out exoplanets – planets beyond our own solar system – Kepler soon identified over 1000 of them. Only a dozen or so were Earth-like, as to qualify, planets could not be much larger than twice Earth’s size and therefore rocky, in order to increases the probability of surface water. Such planets also had to orbit the ‘habitable zone’ of its sun where the average temperature allowed water to exist in liquid form. Identifying the ‘Where’ brought us to the ‘How’, the greatest challenge of all. Entirely new aspects of astrophysics had to explored and manipulated for interstellar travel to become a reality. The strongest contenders were forms of Warp Drive where the space-time continuum, the actual fabric of space, is distorted. Work by NASA’s Dr. Harold ‘Sonny’ White made significant advances in Warp Drive technology using advanced Quantum Optics to create a space-time bubble around a craft that would enable it to move independently from the rest of space. By compressing space-time in front of the vessel and expanding it behind, faster-than-light speeds became possible. The key point in making interstellar travel a reality came about in 2012 with the founding of the 100 YSS (100 Year Star Ship Project) funded initially by NASA and DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). The formation of Icarus Interstellar in 2011 and its Starship Congress of 2013 combined with the introduction of Brane Cosmology took faster-than-light (FTL) research to a new level. The creation of the Terran Trade Authority harnessed global research and made Warp Drive systems and our journey to the stars a reality.

~ CMDR Stewart Cowley Terran Trade Authority

Colonial III, Angus McKie
Colonial III, Angus McKie

Add-Ons

RPG Add-on

Terran Trade Authority: The Proxima War. This is the setting book written for the Savage Worlds game system. For an additional $15 you will be able to purchase a PDF of the book, for an additional $25 you will be able to purchase a softcover copy of the book. Shipping to be figured after the end of this kickstarter. 

Promotional Opportunity 

We know that as midshipmen, it can take forever to qualify for that promotion in the Terran Navy, so why not do what good midshipmen have done for ages, bribe your way up the chain of command. You can just add an amount for which ever rank you request promotion, you will be listed in the back of the book with a dedication to you at that rank. It’s the easiest way to be promoted. Ship assignments, where necessary, will be posted on the order sheet detailed in the back of the book.

  • +$10 Ensign. While its not a high rank, it does put you in the officers core.
  • +$15 Lieutenant. It’s a little higher on the chain of command, Captains are still above you, but you get to command Ensigns and midshipmen. You get to look forward to your own ship command one of these days.
  • +$20 Captain. Here you are, you immediately will be assigned to your own starship, at the assignment of the Admiralty when needed. The Admiralty will randomly assign you a ship (type and name) for your command.
  • +$25 Rear Admiral. You are in command of a squadron, imagine being in command of a fleet of ships. Its not easy baring that responsibility, but you are pretty sure you have the chops for it. The admiralty will give you a random assignment for your fleet, something like Terran Defense Command or Terran Training Command.

Book Specs

  • Author and Artist: Stewart Cowley and company (this book will contain all the original artwork)
  • Size: the print book will be a 8.5 x 11 book, either in softcover or hardcover, depending on your choice.
  • Layout: New layout will be done by J Gray.
  • 40th Anniversary logo is by Ian Stead 

Stretch Goals

  • $13000 – Terran Trade Authority RPG material for the Starfinder Role Playing Game published by Paizo Publishing in PDF. A POD version will be made available for purchase should we reach this stretch goal.
  • $15000 – Terran Trade Authority RPG sourcebook for the Cepheus Engine (A current Mongoose Traveller 1e clone) in PDF. A POD version will be made available for purchase should we reach this stretch goal.

SHIPPING THE REWARDS

Shipping is not included in the pledge levels. That’s because for this Kickstarter campaign, we’re going to send out surveys and collect shipping fees through BackerKit once we’re ready to ship out all physical rewards. This not only means all funds raised in the Kickstarter are going towards covering the costs of production (creating an electronic edition from a print is not cheap. The cost of production include licensing fees, layout, and printing) but it gives us plenty of time to source the best and least expensive international shipping options through fulfilment agents in Europe and Asia. Thanks for being understanding! We know that for some it’s much easier just to take care of the total costs all at once upon pledging, but we hope you’ll see that this approach is not only better for the project but affords you the lowest shipping costs when the time comes.

Cyclops, Colin Hay
Cyclops, Colin Hay

Spacecraft 2000 to 2100 AD is (c) 1978 Stewart Cowley. All art is (c) 1978 to the respective artist. All work used herein is used with permission and under license.

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

This is a campaign to reprint the first in a series of books, it has a stretch goal to make it the setting for two RPG systems (Starfinder [a new stretch goal] and the Cepheus Engine), and it will be beautiful. Everyone involved in this has a great deal of love for this series. On the Open Gaming Network, I interviewed Jonathan Thompson about this campaign (here), and it covers so much ground. If you’re on the fence, I recommend that interview.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here or at the OpenGamingStore here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

* * *

 

Art of War for Savage Worlds by Amora Game (DriveThruRPG or Open Gaming Network)
Ends on Thu, August 16 2018 5:31 PM EDT.

“Art of War (relaunch): The Martial Arts Setting in a Fantasy Anime World. Powered by Savage Worlds. Be a Hero. Be a Legend.

Art of War is an anime inspired setting of over-the-top action. Art of War combines the exciting influences of Heroes of the East mixed with Samurai Champloo. A high-flying martial arts campaign where Players and Game Masters can tell epic stories of Outlaws of the Marsh and Forty-Seven Ronin using Savage Worlds.

Welcome to the San Empire…

It is the rise of a new dynasty for the people of the San Empire. After an invasion of an Oni horde, the Three Clans attempt to rebuild a nation with the help of a new Emperor. The proud Kitsune Clan slowly relinquishes territory to the Imperial Court. Members of the Tiger Clan work to restore the peoples faith in the land with the guidance of the Jade Stratagem. The leaders of the Serpent Clan remain silent keeping their plans secret.

Mock up only. Cover arrangement may change.
Mock up only. Cover arrangement may change.

Art of War introduces new features for Savage Worlds® fans and RPG enthusiasts. It offers unique &  updated setting rules inspired by the tropes of Anime, Samurai Sagas, and Wuxia Epics. These include:

Tropes: Adapted from the Iconic Framework character creation rules of Savage Rifts® and the standard archetypes, Tropes offer a chance for a player to choose a starting package and jumping off point of skills and abilities that reflect their role in the story. This is a simple “plug-in” to the core Savage Worlds® character creation process.

Chi System: A streamlined rule set based of the Power system of the core rules allowing for a combination of cinematic game play and martial arts flavor. Designed for ease of use, it syncs with the core philosophy of the Fast, Furious, Fun role-playing you have come except out of a Savage Worlds® game.

Glory & Honor System: For those that want to introduce a more social system, we have created an optional rule designed just for you. The Glory & Honor System is designed to track a Wild Card’s fame, honor, reputation and even notoriety throughout the course of a game in the world of Art of War.

New Races: While humans are the default race across the Empire, we pull from anime and have created the Kemonomimi and Terracotta. Animal spirits that grew by the side of mankind are the Kemonomimi. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but only seven species are prominent. The Terracotta are clay vessels that hold the spirit of those that have passed and have been given a second chance at life.

New Edges: New Combat, Racial, Social, and Weird Edges are introduced to add character background and story hooks for Game Masters.

New Hindrances: The epic folklore and inspiring tales of the past, humanize mythic heroes and make them relatable. It is the same for the stories that we tell in our home games. While not everyone’s favorite part, we introduce new hindrances to add both serious (like the Mute Hindrance) and comedic value (such as Nosebleed) to play.

New Skills: Two new skills are introduced, Acrobatics and Meditation.

Tropes & Races
Tropes & Races
  • Declaration of Red Pass ends the war between the Tiger and Kitsune Clans.
  • A horde of Oni invade from the southern wastelands, slaughtering everything in their path as they move up the coastline to the East.
  • Tiger and Kitsune launch a combined two year campaign expelling the Oni from the San Empire. Southern Wall is erected to keep the Oni at bay. Once completed, the ruling Emperor, Liu Shan, passes away leaving an empty throne and no heirs.
  • From the Northern Mountains the Serpent Clan emerges from hiding with a decedent from the First Emperor.
  • The Serpent Clan, Tiger Clan and the majority of the Kitsune Clan accept Wu Zhang as the new Emperor.
Not the final map.
Not the final map.

While welfare and prosperity is on the rise, the San Empire is not entirely stable. Along the eastern coast lies the loose alliance of feudal lands of former clan members who refuse to recognize Emperor Wu Zhang.

Rebellions of the poor and destitute cry for help. Hauntings from the wrongfully dead plague the lands after the sun goes down. Patches of Oni have been sighted north of the Wall. Each clan has internal power struggles as they clamor for favor with the new Emperor.

Players take up the mantle of Heroes in a land of need. Will they fall to the clan politics and internal struggle. Or will they rise to become Legends and carve their names into the scroll of history?

Art Montage 1
Art Montage 1

Imperial Scribe – Wojciech “Drejk” Gruchala (Contributing Writer): Drejk was born in the country historically marking the border between the West and the East, during the times when communist regime faded to democracy, in a city sporting an actual dragon cave. He was fan of SF and Fantasy since he can remember, having learned to read on a fairy tale book. He also discovered games when he was but a wee hatchling, starting with early computer games and board games, followed by more complex wargames, and then role playing games. Assembling worlds and creating snippets of fictional cosmology, history, culture, and science is his favorite part of role playing games. You can find his work on his blog: Shaper of Worlds

Ukiyo-e – Sasha Turk (Artist and sole Illustrator): Sasha Turk is a freelance concept artist. For three years, she has been published in several Amora Game products. Her most notable character designs appear in Kemonomimi: Moe Races and Xeno Files Issue 5. Sasha lives in Lake Forest, California. You can find her online portfolio here, and see sneak peaks of work for Art of War.

Humble Peasant – Greg LaRose (Creator & Publisher): Greg is the owner and operator of Amora Game, LLC. Art of War has been a labor of love and is happy to see it come to production. You can find Amora Game published works here.

This game references the Savage Worlds game system, available from Pinnacle Entertainment Group at www.peginc.com. Savage Worlds and all associated logos and trademarks are copyrights of Pinnacle Entertainment Group. Used with permission. Pinnacle makes no representation or warranty as to the quality, viability, or suitability for purpose of this product.

Art Montage 2
Art Montage 2

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

This is a relaunch of this campaign with new additions and a better goal (which it’s already met). For the first iteration, I interviewed Greg here and much of that still applies. I thought this looked strong on the first try and looks strong again here. But, don’t take my word for it, try some samples:

Download Goodies:

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here or at the OpenGamingStore here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

* * *

 

Power Outage – A TRPG for Kids and Adults by Bebarce El-Tayib
Ends on Sun, August 19 2018 12:00 AM EDT.

“Power Outage is a kid-friendly, kid-focused Superhero roleplaying game, that focuses on accessibility, learning, teamwork, and fun!

Power Outage is a kid-friendly, kid-focused Supers roleplaying game where it’s all about being the hero, taking down villains, and being accessible to the widest audience as possible.

It started out originally as a personal project to introduce my own children into the world of tabletop gaming. But Power Outage has grown and is now ready to bring a new generation into the world of tabletop role-playing.

A UNIQUE CHARACTER CREATION SYSTEM  

Power Outage does not have classes or races. If your kids want to make a Human, a Robot, an Alien, a Ghost, or an 8-foot tall anthropomorphic zebra girl they can. Powers come from a library of effects that kids get to apply their own characteristics.

STREAMLINED CHOOSE-YOUR-OWN-ADVENTURES

Power Outage makes use of a CAPE (Combat, Alternative, Puzzle, Exploration) component technique that allows you to easily build your own adventures, or allows you to choose your own path through pre-made modules.

FOCUS ON ACCESSIBILITY

Power Outage offers guidance for gaming with kids of various ages and abilities. Through Differentiation and Accessibility guidance, GMs can make the table fun for everyone.

A COMPLETE PACKAGE  

Power Outage contains player instructions, GM guidance, a compendium of villains, and a complete adventure to play with! You supply dice and an imagination, and we will take care of the rest!

Mrs. Robotto
Mrs. Robotto

EASY ON RULES, BIG ON COOL

Power Outage focuses on the concept of guidance rather than hard set rules. You take from the book what you need, and build the game as you go. But there is enough guidance built in that you don’t need to question how to play. Free resources are also available for characters, powers, and adventures. The mechanics are easy enough to pick up in a half hour, but not boring or overly simplified. You’ll constantly find yourself rolling and strategizing.

THE POWER TO LEARN  

Power Outage is built not only as a game but a potential educational tool. The game slots in perfectly with a gamified classroom, but also works tremendously in counseling as well. Villains also have weaknesses based off of Meta actions that allow your players actions outside of the game to impact the world of Outage.

PLAY THE GAME YOU WANT  

5 distinct regions allow you to customize a game you want in this safe and wonderous sandbox world. Do you want to create a fantasy adventure? Try The Overgrowth or The Sink! Looking for your classic Super Hero Beatum Up? Turn to the soaring futuristic heights of Shorai City! Looking for a gritty detective story. Try delving into the murky alleyways of the Atomic Punk ever-night Atomnyy Zavod. The entire mythos is built into this single book.

WHY SO SERIOUS  

Well, it’s not. Power Outage is filled with fun adventures, puns, and references that even adults will enjoy. In fact, Power Outage is just as often played by groups of adults as it is by groups of kids. With villains like Break Fast, InstaGator, The Bulshefist, and heroes like SuburbanKnight, Rockin Troll, and Pocket Protector, the adventures are off the wall fun.

Product Information

Power Outage is currently sitting at roughly 160 pages in its rough draft form. That number might change during the edit and design process, which is this Kickstarter is funding.  Currently, the plan is to have this printed in Hardcover format at 8.5×11, with options for digital copies in PDF at its outset.  As mentioned the game is intended to be GMed by adults, but kids are welcome to try their hand at it.  The game can be played with as few as one player and one gm.  The core rulebook offers differentiation and accessibility guidance that allows you to play the game with varying abilities.

Power Outage 1.4 Cover
Power Outage 1.4 Cover

The core rulebook includes the following sections:

  • Quick Play Instructions –  A 4-page primer that gets you playing or demoing a game in only a few minutes
  • What Is Power Outage – An introductory to Power Outage, Tabletop RPGs, and external resources
  • Mechanics – Gameplay mechanics for Players or GMs
  • Heroes – Creating Heroes including Powers, Guidance, and Crafting Unique Experiences, as well a Character Sheet
  • The World – Information on the history and current standing of Outage, Its five primary regions, adventure hooks, travel information, notable villains and heroes, and region-specific roll tables that add complexities to your adventures
  • Villain Files – Information, stats and weaknesses for 120 villains, sorted by Region and leading Villain
  • Gaming with Kids – Guidance for playing with kids at different age ranges (from as early as 4 years old), abilities, and how to manage differentiated game tables where kids have varying degrees of capabilities
  • Accessibility Accommodations – Guidance for playing with kids that have disabilities, including Pre-Session communication, general guidance, and information pertaining to five accessibility domains (Physical, Communicative/Receptive, Behavioral, Cognitive, and Emotional)
  • Free Play Guide – A full guide on how to create your own adventures using the resources within the book
  • Trading Spaces – A level 1 to 4 adventure set in Shorai City against the villain Mrs. Roboto.
RoboTrouper
RoboTrouper

A majority of the Kickstarter funding is going toward art, design, editing, and some other miscellaneous production costs.

Here is an example of the quality of change that can be achieved.  While my design was serviceable, Rosanna Spucces will take the design to the next level.  To something that is professional.

Power Outage Character Sheet Redesign
Power Outage Character Sheet Redesign

My Designer and Editor will be Rosanna Spucces of https://www.rsdesignsnyc.com/

My Artist is Abhishek Ghimire”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

This is the second superhero game on here and the second all-ages RPG system. The system, just from a small sampling, looks more rules-heavy than most all-ages games. It’s a bold choice and I’m curious to get the rules details. The art looks great and I’m eager to see how it plays.

 

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

* * * * * *

 

Disclosures: This article contains affiliate links.

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™
Freelancer for EN WorldKnights of the Dinner TableOpen Gaming Network, and the Tessera Guild.
Want your RPG Kickstarter reviewed? Want to share news? Press releases? Rumors? Sneak peeks? Deals? Have some RPG wanna-lancer thoughts to share? Contact me here or on Facebook (Egg Embry) or on Google Plus (+Egg Embry).

8 ENnie Awards Dream Dates for Gen Con 2018!

Going to Gen Con? Need a “date” for the ENnie Awards on Friday, August 3rd 2018 at 8pm? Want a great seat for the event all while getting to know some of the premier publishers in the industry and some excellent swag? Then look no further, these RPG publishers and judges have you covered with the second annual ENnie Awards Dream Dates! [To read my review of last year’s ENnie Awards Dream Dates, click here.]

The best reason to go is the chance to talk gaming with some of the best creators in the industry and make a connection. But, if that does not move you to bid, keep in mind that the swag tends to be some of each publishers premier materials. Which publishers?

The ENnie Awards Dream Date Auctions on eBay “All proceeds from the Dream Date auction[s] are used to fund the production of the ENnie Awards each year.”

Want to “date” Cubicle 7 AND get swag? Here’s your chance!

What is Gen Con? “The largest gaming convention in the world held annually in Indianapolis, Indiana.” [August 2-5, 2018]

What are the ENnie Awards? “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.”

Vote for the 2018 ENnie Awards here.

 

Cubicle 7 (with Egg [shorts]) at the ENnie Awards 2017 where C7 won the Silver ENnie (Best Rules) for Adventures in Middle-Earth Player’s Guide, and Egg *almost* got to bask in the spotlight of their success (literally… I tried elbowing poor Dominic out of the light…).

Cubicle 7 – ENnie Awards Dream Date 2018
Ends on July 22nd, 2018 – Sunday, 5:30PM EDT

Come experience the excitement of the ENnie Awards with Cubicle 7!

Winner of this auction will receive the opportunity to join the Cubicle 7 team at a specially designated table right in front of the stage at the 2018 ENnie Awards, held August 3rd 2018 at 8pm at Gen Con! You may also receive a gift from the publisher.

 

Why do you wanna “date” Cubicle 7? They’re the publishers of:

  • Adventures in Middle-earth (for D&D 5e)
  • The One Ring Roleplaying Game
  • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Fourth Edition
  • Age of Sigmar Roleplaying Game
  • The Doctor Who Card Game
  • Doctor Who Roleplaying Game
  • Winners of multiple ENnie Awards, Origin Awards, and more
  • You may also receive a gift from the publisher
  • Last year, beyond the pleasant evening of hilarious stories, they rewarded me with every Adventures in Middle-earth book they had out at the time (hardcover and PDF) as well as maps. I was HAPPY with that but I was happier at Origins Game Fair 2018 (9 or 10 months later) when we had a chance to talk again and catch up. They are a lovely group of people and whoever gets to “date” them this year is in for a treat! 

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

 

Click here to bid on Cubicle 7 – ENnie Awards Dream Date 2018

 

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Chaosium Inc. – ENnie Awards Dream Date 2018
Ends on July 22nd, 2018 – Sunday, 5:45PM EDT

“Come experience the excitement of the ENnie Awards with Chaosium Inc.!

Winner of this auction will receive the opportunity to join the Chaosium team at a specially designated table right in front of the stage at the 2018 ENnie Awards, held August 3rd 2018 at 8pm at Gen Con!

You will also receive your choice of one of the following:

RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha, 13th Age Glorantha, and Glorantha Sourcebook + PDFs

OR Call of Cthulhu slipcase set + PDF

OR Masks of Nyarlathotep slipcase set + PDF

Khan of Khans special “dwarven metal” tin-box edition
—An additional slipcase you can fill with any of our current releases of your choosing.
Chaosium “tuxedo”black t-shirt

For over forty years, Chaosium has captivated gamers, readers and mythic adventurers worldwide. Its award-winning roleplaying games, board games and fiction have been acclaimed as some of the most engaging and innovative of all time.

Up for Best Free Supplement

Why do you wanna “date” Chaosium? They’re the publishers of:

  • Call of Cthulhu
  • Runequest
  • Khan of Khans
    I only listed three games but CoC has a depth of catalogue that can only be compared to D&D, which is to say it’s massive.
  • Winners of multiple ENnie Awards, Origin Awards, and more
  • The swag they’re offering is epic, especially the Khan of Khans special edition since it’s up for two awards that night

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

Up for Best Free Product

 

Click here to bid on Chaosium Inc. – ENnie Awards Dream Date 2018

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Pelgrane Press Table One – ENnie Awards Dream Date 2018
Ends on July 22nd, 2018 – Sunday, 5:55PM EDT

Pelgrane Press Table Two – ENnie Awards Dream Date 2018
Ends on July 22nd, 2018 – Sunday, 6:15PM EDT

“Come experience the excitement of the ENnie Awards with Pelgrane Press!

Winner of this auction will receive the opportunity to join the Pelgrane Press team at a specially designated table right in front of the stage at the 2018 ENnie Awards, held August 3rd, 2018 at 8pm at Gen Con!

You will also receive a signed, limited edition copy of the Fall of DELTA GREEN, along with an exclusive Fall of DELTA GREEN t-shirt from the Pelgane Press team.

Established in 2000, Pelgrane Press Ltd publishes award-winning tabletop roleplaying games, including 13th Age by Rob Heinsoo and JonathanTweet, Trail of Cthulhu and Night’s Black Agents by Kenneth Hite, and The Dying Earth, The Esoterrorists, Hillfolk and Ashen Stars by Robin D Laws.

Their groundbreaking GUMSHOE investigative roleplaying system shifts the focus of investigative play from finding clues (or worse, not finding them) to interpreting clues, solving mysteries, and moving the action forward.

Pelgrane Press is also the home of the webzine Page XX, The Birds comic, and RPGsoundtracks by James Semple and fellow composers.

Up for Best Rules

Why do you wanna “date” Pelgrane Press? They’re the publishers of:

  • #Feminism
  • 13th Age
  • Cthulhu Confidential
  • Dying Earth and Gaean Reach
  • The Fall of DELTA GREEN
  • TimeWatch
  • Trail of Cthulhu
  • The Yellow King
    [I apologize that I’m skipping so many of their best games]
  • Winners of multiple gaming awards
  • From either table you’ll get a “signed, limited edition copy of the Fall of DELTA GREEN, along with an exclusive Fall of DELTA GREEN t-shirt”

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

  • BEST RPG RELATED PRODUCT – #feminism
  • BEST RULES – Cthulhu Confidential, Authors: Robin D. Laws, Chris Spivey, Ruth Tillman [NOTE – Curious about Cthulhu Confidential and want to try a sample? Try it here.] 

 

Click here to bid on Pelgrane Press Table One – ENnie Awards Dream Date 2018 OR Pelgrane Press Table Two – ENnie Awards Dream Date 2018 (it’s the same reward for each, just different tables).

 

Up for Best Rules. Try the free sampler here.

 

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ENnie Awards Judges Dream Date 2018
Ends on July 22nd, 2018 – Sunday, 6:11PM EDT

“Come experience the excitement of the ENnie Awards with the 2018 ENnie Award judges!

The winner of this auction will receive the opportunity to sit with this year’s panel of judges at the 2018 ENnie Awards, held August 3rd, 2018 at 8pm at Gen Con! Sean McCoy, Reece Carter, Kurt Wiegel, and Brian Nowak spent this past year reviewing over 500 different submissions to determine the nominee list.

You will also receive a swag bag of RPG related items!

 

Why do you wanna “date” the 2018 ENnie Award judges?

  • These are the individuals that decide the ENnie nominees
  • To talk about 2017/2018 RPGs with some of the best informed individuals in the industry (after all, they looked at over 500 submissions)
  • To learn more about the process and decide if you want to be a judge
  • I’m going to combine two quotes and let you decide what it portends – “over 500 different submissions” [PLUS] “You will also receive a swag bag of RPG related items”
    I’m not in the know, I’m not saying that you’ll get amazing stuff, but there exists some possibilities…

 

Click here to bid on ENnie Awards Judges Dream Date 2018

 

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Modiphius Entertainment – ENnie Awards Dream Date 2018
Ends on July 22nd, 2018 – Sunday, 6:18PM EDT

Come experience the excitement of the ENnie Awards with Modiphius Entertainment!

Winner of this auction will receive the opportunity to join the Modiphius Entertainment team at a specially designated table right in front of the stage at the 2018 ENnie Awards, held August 3rd, 2018 at 8pm at Gen Con!  [You will also receive copies of both the Star Trek and Conan corebooks both signed by their team at Gen Con!]

Modiphius Entertainment is a British Entertainment publisher partnering with global creative talent to develop unique creative properties. 

Modiphius Entertainment has a wide range of worlds to explore, including their own terrifying vision of World War Two – Achtung! Cthulhu, a roleplaying setting for Call of Cthulhu and Savage Worlds.They have re-booted the fantastic sci-fi dieselpunk world of Mutant Chronicles with the 3rd Edition of the roleplaying game and the new edition of the Siege of the Citadel board game. They launched the official RPG for Corvus Belli’s Infinity universe, the Thunderbirds co-op board game by Matt Leacock, Airfix Battles, a new introductory wargame, Robert E. Howards CONAN -Adventures In An Age Undreamed Of! and Star Trek Adventures, the 4th edition of this fantastic roleplaying universe. Fallout: Wasteland Warfare is launching soon, a miniatures game set in Bethesda’s fantastic video game universe and now the official Kung Fu Panda board game!

Why do you wanna “date” Modiphius? They’re the publishers of:

  • Star Trek Adventures
  • Achtung! Cthulhu
  • Mutant Chronicles
  • CONAN -Adventures In An Age Undreamed Of!
  • Tales from the Loop as well as other Free League games
  • Vampire: The Masqurade 5th Edition from White Wolf
  • Winners of multiple gaming awards
  • You’ll receive a signed copy of the Star Trek Adventures: Core Rulebook and a signed copy of the Conan core rulebook

You’ll be at the table with Modiphius when they learn if they won an ENnie Award for:

 

Click here to bid on Modiphius Entertainment – ENnie Awards Dream Date 2018

 

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Gaming Paper – ENnie Awards Dream Date 2018
Ends on July 22nd, 2018 – Sunday, 6:38PM EDT

Come experience the excitement of the ENnie Awards with Gaming Paper!

Winner of this auction will receive the opportunity to join the Gaming Paper team at a specially designated table right in front of the stage at the 2018 ENnie Awards, held August 3rd, 2018 at 8pm at Gen Con!  You will also receive a massive prize pack of Gaming Paper swag!

Gaming Paper started as a single product -an inexpensive, reusable, and disposable 30 sq. ft roll of 1″ squares  paper. They have since grown into a variety of products that include additional color options, 8-½” x11″ single sheetswrapping paper, dry erase gaming tiles, and our own roleplaying adventures!

Why do you wanna “date” Gaming Paper?

  • If you play tabletop RPGs around the, you know, tabletop, their products make for a more fun experience
  • If you’re looking for some direction on how to enter the gaming market with something other than a game, this company has blazed that path and, I’m guessing, have some advice to share
  • You will also receive a massive prize pack of Gaming Paper swag!

You’ll be at the table with Gaming Paper when they learn if they won an ENnie Award for:

 

Click here to bid on Gaming Paper – ENnie Awards Dream Date 2018

 

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Magpie Games – ENnie Awards Dream Date 2018
Ends on July 22nd, 2018 – Sunday, 6:53PM EDT

Come experience the excitement of the ENnie Awards with Magpie Games!

Winner of this auction will receive the opportunity to join the Magpie Games team at a specially designated table right in front of the stage at the 2018 ENnie Awards, held August 3rd, 2018 at 8pm at Gen Con!  

The winner will also receive a choice of a pack of one of Magpie’s main product lines, for example: 

Bluebeard’s Bride pack – a copy of the core book, Book of Rooms, and the play materials, which include a silkscreened playsheet, tokens, and a set of Bluebeard’s Bride branded dice, 

or

The Masks pack – a copy of the core book, Halycon City Herald Collection, choice of either the Deck of Influence or the Deck of Villainy, and a set of Masks branded dice.

Magpie Games is a game development and production company devoted to creating interesting, innovative,boundary-pushing, and most of all high-quality games across a wide variety of genres and styles. The majority of Magpie’s productions are tabletop roleplaying games, ranging from games designed to recreate disaster movies, to games designed to tell the stories of baby dragons on adventures, to gritty games about supernatural criminals and power brokers.  Since its inception, Magpie Games has released many games, including Urban Shadows, Epyllion: A Dragon Epic, Masks: A New Generation, and Bluebeard’s Bride.

Why do you wanna “date” Magpie Games? They’re the publishers of:

  • Epyllion: A Dragon Epic
  • Bluebeard’s Bride
  • Masks: A New Generation
  • Urban Shadows
  • And other award winning games
  • You’re going to go home with everything you need to enjoy Bluebeard’s Bride or Masks and, either way, that’s a crit!

You’ll be at the table with Magpie Games when they learn if they won an ENnie Award for:

Click here to bid on Magpie Games – ENnie Awards Dream Date 2018

 

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Don’t need a “date”? With a badge to Gen Con, tickets to the ENnie Awards are free (click here to secure yours). There’s also a silent auction – ENnies Cocktail Reception & Silent Auction – just before the awards ceremony available here. And, again, vote for the ENnie Awards here.

 

* * * * * *

 

This arrived in my inbox from Pelgrane Press just as I went to press:

The innovative noir-themed one-player, one-GM game Cthulhu Confidential and award-winning RPG anthology #Feminism are available at 25% off unti the end of July.

Both books have been nominated for ENnie awards, and we’d love you to consider voting for them. Voting ends at 11 PM EST on July 21st.

Cthulhu Confidential drops your hero into the noir nightscape of hardboiled Los Angeles, New York, or Washington, D.C. Meet powerbrokers and politicians, and rub shoulders with Hollywood studio bosses and fiery evangelists. But beneath it all, under the scrim of all this human endeavour, lives corruption so old and inhuman you’ll need all your courage and resourcefulness to face it. Download sampler>>

Written by feminists from eleven different countries, #Feminism offers bite-sized takes on contemporary feminist issues. Each of the 34 nano-games in this collection requires between three and five participants, simple (if any) props, and up to an hour of play time. Download sampler>>

 

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Disclosures: I freelance for EN World, host of the ENnie Awards. However, I am not involved in the ENnie Awards.

This article contains affiliate links.

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™
Freelancer for EN World, Knights of the Dinner Table, Open Gaming Network, and the Tessera Guild.
Want your RPG Kickstarter reviewed? Want to share news? Rumors? Sneak peeks? Deals? Have some RPG wanna-lancer thoughts to share? Contact me here or on Facebook (Egg Embry) or on Google Plus (+Egg Embry).

4 Cyberpunk RPG Kickstarters You Should Back – Velvet Generation, Dark Times, The Host, and Blackwind Project

Officially, these are not four cyberpunk RPGs on Kickstarter… I mean, three of them are, but the fourth is a looser connection to that genre. That said, here’s four cyberpunk RPGs using everything from Fate to original systems to share their tales of future rebellion.

 

The Host – A cybernetic setting guide for Warsong by Higher Ground Publishing
Ends on .

“A detailed sourcebook for artificial life in Warsong: Second Edition!

It started with an idea.

“What are the consequences of our actions?”

The idea that fate was malleable was the founding concept of Warsong 2nd Edition. The idea that our actions really do matter. It was a concept that I felt was neglected in other role-playing games. Fate was something I wanted to explore thoroughly in Warsong. And as the setting grew into its own unique life form, another creature began to emerge.

Artificial Sentient Life.

They are the products of man-made ingenuity and madness. Years of knowledge and sorcery culminating into a tool to be used. What happens, then, when that tool becomes aware of its purpose? What happens when the tools we use to make our lives easier become aware that they are slaves to their creators?

Warsong 2nd Edition explores the infamous Machine War that followed in the wake of The Source, an interconnected web of technology throughout Lemuria, becoming self-aware.

Warsong: The Host explores Lemuria from the artificial eyes of living machines.

The Host includes:
• 
Rules for creating and playing artificial life such as Awakened machinesliving programs and advanced Synths.
 New rules, powers and abilities for the machines and cybernetic implants in humans.
 New setting information and revelations regarding the Emperor and the Treaty of Parnassus.
 Setting information for the City of Kojo – a machine settlement governed by The Source.
• New information regarding The Host, a group of living machines born directly from The Source when it tried to calculate morality.

What Are The Host?

The best way to answer that question is to ask another: “What would happen when a machine tries to calculate human morality?”

The Host are a very small portion of the machine population, but are arguably the most widely known, and rightly feared among their species. They are the seraphim and devils of Lemuria. They can be winged saviors of humanity, or horned corruptors who seek only the desolation and destruction of everything around them.

They are, in a sense, every facet in the spectrum of human morality given life and form.

Why The Host?

The Host represents a turning point in the setting of Warsong Second Edition and this book will help bring to life an entirely new species of creature within the setting. It will give players a new and valuable outlook of the world from the view of the machines and even give players new revelations directly from The Source itself.

The book will include more detailed information on the Treaty Of Parnassus and what exactly happened when the Emperor and The Source forged peace at the end of a seven year long Machine War. It will also give Game Masters valuable tools to use if they wish to include The Emperor’s whereabouts in their own games.

The book is called The Host because, while The Host themselves comprise only a small part of the machine population, they are arguably the most well-known and feared.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

I completed a review of Warsong 2e that will be published soon. This RPG is an ambitious Fate-based game built around a unique idea/setting – Sengoku Punk. Sengoku Punk combines the ideals (and technology and wardrobe) of cyberpunk with an ancient Asian world. The setting is very stylistic and worth checking out – try out the quickstart rules here if you need some encouragement – and, once you are a convert, you’ll want to add this expansion to increase the world’s depth.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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Blackwind Project: A new plot-driven tabletop RPG by Elisa Mignemi
Ends on .

“Blackwind brings the plot back in the spotlight with modern rules, dynamic mechanics and unmatched creative freedom.

The Blackwind Core Manual is the foundation of our project: it is a new core system that improves on many aspects of tabletop roleplay, designed to make the game easier to understand, fun to play, and full of exciting adventures. The Blackwind system works with any setting, from classic tabletop to the worlds of games, movies and novels, and allows you to play any concept that fits the tone of the story.

The two main features are plot-making tools and dynamic mechanics. Game Masters (called Directors) assemble the story like a jigsaw, allowing to create complex plots with ease and to keep the story flexible. The strength of characters may vary, sometimes dramatically, depending on their contribution to immersion, general amusement, narrative, beating in-built challenges and interaction with key plot points, keeping their statistics fluid.

Cover Mockup and Layout
Cover Mockup and Layout

Regardless, even the weakest characters will be able to attempt incredible feats, and will be rewarded in case of success. On the other hand not even the strongest characters will be completely immune to failure. Likewise, no character death will be misplaced or pointless as plot armour will apply early in the game, but not even the main protagonists will be completely safe during showdowns.

We balanced out the roles of Directors and Players: the latter will have a greater impact in casting the foundations of the story, as well as shaping it. Players will decide what kind of adventure will be played, the adventure genre, context, theme, plot type, story structure, story ticket, casting list, may introduce their own subplots and NPCs and generally have more narrative wriggle room.

Spread with Illustration
Spread with Illustration

Difficulty checks take into account a few additional things: who is attempting what? What kind of story are you playing? What is the context? Hurling a person-sized boulder across a room will be impossible in a realistic thriller, and ordinary routine in a superhero adventure.

For more information visit https://blackwindrpg.wordpress.com/. You may find out more about the game, articles and additional information: keep checking for updates, articles and previews!

Arena, a Space Opera adventure
Arena, a Space Opera adventure

Additionally, you may find the link to download our FREE starter adventure on the main page of our website. Arena is good example of the simplest, most straightforward way to play Blackwind.

The game is ready, the rules are tested, and the largest modules are under development. Then, what do we need your help with? Simple: we want to offer the best modules, expansion rulebooks and quality add-ons we can, as often as possible. Your support would allow us to upgrade our equipment, publish content faster, and to polish the final product to a mirror sheen.

The Treasure of Maracaibo, our first pirate-themed module, is complete. We are working on editing and polishing around 100 pages of scurvy adventures. We planned seven additional modules (Noir, Steampunk, Fantasy, Post Atomic, Thriller, Western, Cyberpunk) and the only reason we decided to remove voting is that some of them are already in an advanced stage of development.”

Euromorph, upcoming Cyberpunk module
Euromorph, upcoming Cyberpunk module

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

While this is not just cyberpunk, Blackwind Project is a core rulebook that will include modules that cover Pirates, Noir, Steampunk, Fantasy, Post Atomic, Thriller, Western, and Cyberpunk. This system is meant to be incredibly versatile allowing for a variety of settings and options. With art that is stylistically similar enough to give the entire package a uniform feel that allows you to envision a campaign in one setting that jumps to another genre. If you’re looking for more details, check out Dan Davenport’s Q&A with the creators here. If you’re ready for more cyberpunk (and most genre) options, go on and back it!

 

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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Velvet Generation by XIG Games
Ends on .

“The Starchildren came looking for the home of rock music, only to find it outlawed. Fight back in the RPG of rock & roll revolution!

A century ago, radio transmissions from Earth passed through a strange ripple in space, causing rock music to fall upon the mystified ears of an alien world. For five glorious years, the aliens grew to love the magical planet they believed to be on the other end of that beautiful signal. When the music cut off as mysteriously as it began, the aliens embarked on a generational pilgrimage to discover the source of that music.

Nearly a century later, the aliens have arrived, but Earth is not what they expected. Humanity has taken a dark turn, silencing music, the arts, literature…any kind of expression they believed could inspire “dangerous” thoughts. The Ministry of Music looms large over the entire world, stamping out rebellious culture with steel-sheathed jackboots.

With nowhere to go but forward, the Starchildren descended, joining the few Earthlings still carrying a spark of rock and roll. They catalyzed a new rock & roll revolution that will break the Ministry’s chains on the soul of humanity.

This is the Velvet Generation.

“One of the most quietly influential card-based RPGs ever…Starchildren: Velvet Generation, is back 1.6 decades after its original publication. And… um, it doesn’t have cards any more, but that’s okay. Regardless, in an age with concentration camps on US soil, it could not be more topical. Check it out.” – Mike Selinker

“I was very impressed with the first edition way back when and it’s only gotten better since then.” – Kenneth Hite

Velvet Generation is the new iteration of 2002’s Starchildren: Velvet Generation, a role-playing game unlike any other. The original 2002 creative team is back with a fresh look at the music-starved dystopia in which the Starchildren find themselves stranded. The new custom rules engine is tightly focused on group collaboration, intra-band relationships and musical performances that will take your band from the garage to global superstardom. The campaign rules let your band use their fame against the oppressive Ministry of Music, while those same authoritarian forces hunt them down for the crime of expression.

The Starchildren came on the scene in the form of dreamlike rock idols: luminescent, androgynous and mysterious beings that seem to float in an electric haze of glamour. They do their best to blend in with the drab creatures Earthlings have become since they lost the gift of music. Their very presence on the planet sent a shockwave through the collective subconscious, awakening something long since buried, and neither species will ever be the the same again.

Players portray the renegade rockers of the Velvet Generation, whether they be the alien Starchildren or the Earthlings pining for their lost rock & roll. Start your campaign out as unknown outlaw rockers, seeking out space to rehearse and play while evading the watchful electric eye of the Ministry of Music and spinning lies to get time off from your day job. Join the revolution by allying with the idealistic visionaries of Velvet or the violent hardliners of the Blue Army. Ascend to the leadership of regional and national cells as your band becomes a household name, finally toppling the Ministry of Music with the power of rock & roll.

This iteration uses a completely new rules engine from the 2002 original. The rules allow your group to riff off of one another onstage and off, and the revolutionary campaign system lets you build from game session to game session to fight back against the Ministry of Music to carry out a global rock and roll revolution.

A Little Help From Your Friends

In Velvet Generation, whenever your band is together, they’re collaborating on their goals, whether that’s to play a solid show, to sneak past a security guard or fighting off a gang of anti-rock yahoos. Each player rolls a pool of six-sided dice for themselves, trying to find matched sets (two, three or more dice with the same number showing). But every time you go, you either get to leave one of your dice on the table for your comrades, or you get to pick up dice that match the ones you’re playing to do even better. If that’s not enough, the social relations between band members help more. Give a die to your lover or your friend; steal a die from your rival…develop these relationships within your group to work together even better.

Hazy Cosmic Jive

The real action in Velvet Generation happens in front of crowds of underground fans, getting their rock fix wherever they can hide away from the Ministry’s prying eyes. Your band taking the stage is the focus here as much as fighting or kicking down doors is in a lot of other games. Use the full range of your talents to create the show: vocals and instruments of course, but also dance, stage presence and the roadie’s skills at setting up and running the tech. Everyone in the group has a part to play in the show; while the crowd may go home remembering the lead singer’s wail or a shredding guitar solo, your rhythm section makes that possible by giving the leads something to build off of, and the techs are there to cover the occasional screw-up. Every show gives you a shot at hitting the next level of fame, until you really take off.

It’s a dangerous game, though. There’s always the temptation to grab a little more of that glory for yourself by upstaging your bandmates. While you’re all working together onstage, someone is always the Star of the Show, even if different characters spend their own time in the spotlight. Rep-hungry rockers might build themselves up at the expense of the group itself. That can breed jealousy among the group, and that’s a force that can tear apart the greatest of bands.

Rock the Planet

The Ministry of Music has plenty of ways to keep you down. They alienate you from the safe and sterile society of everyday life. They push propaganda against rockers and marginalized people. They use the full surveillance state to keep a close watch on dissidents. They try to subvert your allies and contacts. And there is always the threat of violence at the hands of the regime. But as your band grows in fame and recognition, you can strike back against the Ministry of Music with the new revolutionary campaign system.

The fight against the Ministry happens between game sessions over the course of your entire Velvet Generation campaign. As you grow in fame, the authorities target you with more extreme tactics of oppression, but you use your fame against them in revolutionary praxis of your own. Distribute illicit samizdat works of art and music. Build solidarity with allies in other marginalized communities. Create subsistence networks to provide aid and comfort for those outside polite society. Poison the regime’s intelligence networks with disinformation. Or dazzle the public with a brazen spectacle so they can’t ignore you anymore. Every blow you strike against the Ministry leaves the regime a little bit weaker, until the entire thing comes crashing down to the wail of electric guitars.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

Music is dead and aliens have come to Earth to save it! If that pitch doesn’t get you, then read the campaign or check out the PWYW first edition or the free ashcan for this game.

Sometimes the reason I check out an RPG on Kickstarter is a creator recommendation. At AndoCon, I played Pugmire with DriveThruRPG’s Chris Tang and his character work was master class level. Chris rarely pushes a specific RPG online (his job with DTRPG likely requires he be more impartial), so when he gave something of a testimonial for Velvet Underground, I stood up and took notice. I’m glad I did. Add the art to the game’s idea – it’s like a wave of music artwork that never was, stylized, fun, and musical – it speaks to the possibilities of this world.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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Dark Times- Cyberpunk/Supers RPG by The Polyhedral Knights
Ends on .

“A Role-Playing game in a Cyberpunk setting where corporations have created Superhumans and see them as company property.

The trains don’t run through this part of town anymore. Not since someone stood on the tracks and tried to rob one.

Thirteen years ago, he would’ve just ended up in the obituaries, but instead he melted the engine with an energy blast from his hand and thirty seven people were injured. 

 Downtown, they have “Peacekeepers” to prevent that. Dressed in their corporate power armor, they stand on every street corner, looming over the pedestrians. Waiting for an excuse. 

 Here, things work a little differently. People pay their protection money to crooked supers. Folks grumble about it, but when a man who can shoot lighting from his fingers floats down from the sky and demands you call him king, you call him king. 

 The corporations say they are doing their best to round up the renegade creations they made, but there are a few good Enhanced out there too, caught between the corps and their own kin.

Blaster Archetype
Blaster Archetype

This is the world of Dark Times: a tabletop roleplaying game about superheroes in the corporate slum that has swallowed up most of the United States.

Twenty six years ago a man named Dr. Anton Valasakis changed everything with the discovery of a gene that unlocked superhuman powers. He started his experiments at pharmaceutical supergiant Prometheus Medical, working first on “willing volunteers”, and soon he was sanctioned by the government.

By this time Prometheus Medical was already a powerful corporation and had its hooks deep in controlling many politicians. Many of the first test subjects were prisoner who were on death row. This was a chance for them to gain a chance at life. Many died, and not much is known about this few who survived.

The experiments continued and soon a rash of industrial espionage broke out. Many large corporations, seeing the potential in customized superhuman technology, were now in a race to have their own Enhanced on their payroll. These laboratory creations were treated as slaves and many fled their masters, hiding in the slums. Some of the ones that got away even had kids.

Now there exists a second generation of Enhanced and still the corporations view them as company property. By now the laws had been warped to protect the rights of the corporations and their “investments” and not the people.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Hunted Mutant
Hunted Mutant

In Dark Times, players work together with their powers, protect their people, and build their community, all under the shadow of a corporation that has replaced the government and seeks to enslave them since they are viewed as “company property”.

With a little bit of cyberpunk, a little bit of noir, and a whole lot of superpowers, Dark Times mixes old-school and new-school design to create a game that is fast, pulpy, immersive, and fun to play.

PDF Expansions

In addition to the core book for Dark Times, we will also produce the following PDF expansions. These expansions will be available to any backer level that receives them as part of their rewards.

Merc Work – This book is made of up fully detailed scenarios, designed to introduce a gaming group to the world of Dark Times.

Villains, Allies, and Corporate Files – This book will include a variety of people that could be good, bad, or neutral as well as corporation write ups. These characters will have stats, plot hooks, and other ways to use them in your campaign.

Steele City Sourcebook – This book will open up and detail more of Steele City. A valuable resource for many adventures and filled with a lot of information.

Solar System Book – The corporations understood they already have drained a lot of earth’s resources and look to conquer the solar system. This book talks about the colonization and industry that exists in our own solar system.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

I covered Wicked Pacts here (and have a review of it coming up in a future issue of Knights of the Dinner Table) so I’m predisposed to like this. Superheroes and cyberpunk sounds like an interesting combination – the ultimate group that cares about society juxtaposed to the group that cares the least for the status quo. It should be an interesting game as you work within and outside of the system.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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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).

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links to DriveThruRPG.com and Amazon.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 a variety of companies:

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

4 RPG Kickstarters Ending This Week – Quest, Champions Now, 5th Evolution, and Secret Agents of CROSS

There are a number of excellent RPG Kickstarters that end this week but I want to focus on four of them. From superheroes to fantasy, original systems to Savage Worlds, these four campaigns are worth your time.

 

Champions Now by Hero Games
Ends on .

“Recovery and re-imagining of first-generation Champions role-playing.

The first wave of role-playing design was its own Renaissance, marked by greatness of all kinds. If you were playing then, you’ll remember. And if you weren’t, you’d be amazed at what that wave held. One of them was Champions, the Super Role-Playing Game.

Hero Games is proud to present Champions Now, to be created by pioneering game designer Ron Edwards, author of Sorcerer and co-founder of The Forge. Ron will revisit the original three editions of first-generation Champions (1981 to 1988), recovering the power of this foundational era of superhero roleplaying.

We know that time and tides went elsewhere. Fourth edition Champions and the Hero System have their own storied history beginning 1987-1989. Steve Long revised and expanded this body of work into the Hero System Fifth Edition in 2001, and then revised and expanded it again in 2009. There were lots of good books, lots of great games, and lots and lots of superheroing.

And that’s fine. Things change. Only… there is one little point, one observation, one wholecreative superhero subculture left back there in the past. One that just happened to rock the hobby to its foundations and train a whole generation of play and design, including a bunch of Big Ass Names who wrote the Big Ass Games you know well.

So our goal for Champions Now? To show you why the original Champions created by George MacDonald and Steve Peterson was actually just that good. To celebrate and recover that explosive quality. The final work will include best practices for the original rules and a new rules-set to bring their strengths forward, as well as practical essays about superhero comics and gaming.

It will also include you. See these people playing this game?

Right here is a very sketchy yet usable playtest document. We’re playing this thing right now and so can you. We want to know what you do with it! Pledging playtesters get serious props right there in the text, saying what they said and what it means.

Halfway there breaking news! Hero Games is providing the PDFs for Champions 3rd edition and for the supplements Champions II and Champions III to all backers at named tiers at the completion of the campaign. The playtest document was written assuming you’d have these in hand, and now you totally will, as of July 1.

That’s why you see that long delivery period – so you can play. This isn’t a pre-order for a prefabricated product that would have been pumped out anyway. The point of crowdfunding is inclusion, and this is how that happens.

Another example are Ron’s short videos, like this one, which initially appear as updates and are archived into a public resource at Adept Play. What you tell us about how you play and what happened – that’s what upcoming videos are made to address. If you want, you might even get to be in one!

Ron Edwards is a wanderin’ Californian who has wound up in Sweden. He is the co-founder of the legendary website The Forge, a creator-owned-game publisher site, and the author of some notions about role-playing. His previous works include Sorcerer, Trollbabe, Spione, and Circle of Hands. He won the second Diana Jones Award for “excellence in gaming” in 2002, and is the author and creator of this project.

Steven S. Long is a role-playing game author and one of the owners of Hero Games. He has written for numerous companies, including White Wolf Publishing, Pinnacle Entertainment Group, Steve Jackson Games, Last Unicorn Games, and Chameleon Eclectic. He has written, co-authored, edited, or developed over 200 RPG products. Steve will be assisting in the development and playtesting phase of this project.

Jason S. Walters is an author, essayist, and publisher best known for running Indie Press Revolution (IPR), a distributor of micro-published roleplaying games. He is also one of a small group of investors that purchased Hero Games in 2001, and serves as its CEO. He is the developer of numerous roleplaying games, including Champions Complete, Fantasy Hero Complete, and At The Hands of An Angry God. Jason is the publisher for this project.

Ruben Smith-Zempel was made in Oregon. He showed his creativity at an early age, charging his 3rd grade classmates 25 cents for paper and cardboard army vehicles (for the G.I. Joe’s, of course). Thus was born an artist who would never shy away from creating things important to his hobbies. Ruben has served as head graphic designer on dozens of RPG projects and will be handling layout and graphic design for this project.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

As a kid, the ads for the historic versions of these games always captured my attention creating a nostalgia for this campaign as much as the game itself. I want to see how this game plays today (and how this campaign plays out).

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here or at the OpenGamingStore here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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Quest: the roleplaying adventure game for everyone by The Adventure Guild
Ends on Sat, June 30 2018 12:00 AM EDT.

“Everything you need to begin an exciting adventure with your friends that you won’t forget

Quest is the roleplaying game for everyone.

If you’re completely new to this type of game, we’ll have a friendly conversation with you about how to play. Quest is fast, fun, and easy to learn. We hope to show you how intuitive and immersive storytelling games can and should be. And if you’re already an experienced player, you’ll find a surprisingly deep game with a refreshing set of modern rules.

This is a game about becoming an extraordinary person in a dangerous world. You’ll explore wondrous places, meet fascinating and mysterious people, witness magical events, and answer the call to go on an exciting adventure. What happens in this world is based on the choices you and your friends make.

Curious? Excited? Ready?  

Let’s begin.

Quest is a way to tell an exciting story with your friends. You don’t have to be an improv actor or a mathematician to be good at it – you just need to open your mind and use a little imagination. The rules of the game are intuitive and help you imagine where the story might go.

These are just some of the ways Quest will help you quickly begin your adventure, and potentially carry it with you for years to come.

The Friendly Guide. Everyone deserves to feel like a hero with their friends at the table, so we wrote a book that feels inviting. It’s not a textbook – it’s a conversation. Along the way, you’ll see a running dialog from a fictional group of players, to help you see how the rules of the game are used to tell the story.

The way it works is simple. Read the left side of the player’s guide to learn the basics, and if you want to learn a little more, see the right side of the book. Here’s what it looks like:

A page spread from the Quest Game Book
A page spread from the Quest Game Book

The Essential Deck. Quest features a deck of cards with all of the game’s special moves, so that you can reference them at the table without having to flip through a book. The Essential Deck makes it easy and fun to grow as a character. When you begin the game, you’ll start with a few moves that make your character special. As you grow during your adventure, you’ll get to collect more cards that tell you how to do amazing things.

Essential Deck cards showing Quest's 8 hero roles
Essential Deck cards showing Quest’s 8 hero roles

The Story Engine. Quest only uses a single (but powerful) die – the twenty-sided die, or “d20.” When the stakes are high in your adventure, rolling the die will help you imagine what happens. Sometimes you’ll use it to walk a tightrope, make a sweet move, or witness the results of an unpredictable spell.

You only need to roll once to see what happens. And if you’re really good at something, you’ll get a bonus. Then, you’ll check to see what the consequences are from an easy-to-remember set of outcomes.

The story engine keeps the game moving fast by letting you succeed a lot. But when you fail, the consequences will be meaningful. Every choice you make matters.

If you’re an experienced player and want to know more about Quest’s rules, check out our Kickstarter FAQ. Or visit our website for even more advanced details about our rules. 

“Quest breaks from the war gaming history of more classic tabletop RPGs to bring a more narrative driven approach both in and out of combat. I love D&D, but it is structurally, by the design and history of war gaming that it comes out of, a game that encourages players into the murderhobo mindset. Quest feels like a game that is trying push back on that inclination systemically. A lot of the spells and skills tend to be a bit more narrative driven which gives a lot more room for encounters that aren’t about just about killing monsters.”

– Andrew Simone, game tester

Spells that tell tales. We think everything you can do in a tabletop roleplaying game should be surprising and delightful. So we created skills and abilities with a focus on narrative and fun. Quest’s skills and spells – the special things your adventurer gets to do – are meant to inspire your own silly, dramatic and unexpected ideas. Here are a few examples:

There are over 300 spells and skills in Quest that you can learn and use. Follow us on Twitter to see more examples, where we’ll be posting more previews of Quest’s spells, abilities, and items every day.

Play a little, or a lot. You can play Quest just once, or a few times, with groups of any size. You don’t have to make a long-term commitment to play, and with our first adventure format, you’re not obligated to play every time your group meets; you can easily rejoin the story down the road, if you want. But for groups that want to tell an epic story over months or years, Quest is deep enough to let your character learn and grow over time.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

An easy, inclusive fantasy RPG that has, as of this writing, around 1,200 backers. I think they’ve found the secret sauce and that level of excitement alone is reason enough to check this out. Want more details? Dan Davenport hosted a Q&A with T.C. Sottek about Quest and has a copy here: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com

 

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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5th Evolution: New Genres for Your 5E Game! by Limitless Adventures
Ends on Sat, June 30 2018 12:59 AM EDT.

“5th Evolution (5Evo) takes the wildly popular 5E game mechanics and applies them to new genres: super heroes, WW2, and 80s horror.

What is 5th Evolution?

5th Evolution (5Evo) takes the wildly popular 5e game mechanics and applies them to new genres. 5Evo products are a marriage of comics and roleplaying.

Learn more about 5Evo with this explainer comic!

Why 5E?

5th Evolution is intended for gamers who enjoy the 5E game engine and would like to use it in other genres. 5E is wildly popular, has been extensively play-tested, and is easy for new players to learn. Many players familiar with 5E are hesitant to learn a new system, and 5Evo allows them to explore new worlds and genres of play seamlessly.

What does this Kickstarter Contain?

This project is made up of three separate graphic novel-sized softcover books in three different genres: WW2, Super Heroes, and 80’s Horror. Each book contains three parts:

  • Part 1: the comic. Each 5Evo book opens with a comic that GMs will share digitally with their players prior to the gaming session. These comics serve to introduce the genre and setting, as well as to get players invested in the coming adventure.
  • Part 2: the adventure. The second section of each 5Evo book is a one-shot adventure, complete with pregenerated characters, that picks up where the comic left off.
  • Part 3: the source guide. Finally, the third section of each 5Evo book is a source guide that gives the GM the monsters, equipment, and characters to create their own adventures in that particular genre.

The Books

World War II – Set in North Africa in 1942, you’ll crew an M5A1 Stuart tank on a special mission during Operation Torch. This book contains the adversaries, equipment, characters, and vehicles to run a WW2 North Africa campaign with or without supernatural elements.

Source guide includes:

  • 4 American WW2 solider archetypes
  • Period specific tanks and trucks
  • Meticulously researched, period specific firearms
  • Customizable enemy combatants

Super Heroes – Set in Carbide City in the present day, you are part of a team of the super heroes trying to stop a gang of super villains wreaking havoc downtown. This book contains the super villains, equipment, and player archetypes to run a supers campaign.

Source guide includes:

  • 13 of Carbide City’s worst super villains
  • Customizable non-super enemies
  • Future tech equipment
  • 10 character archetypes

80s Horror Films – Set in the small town of Woodhaven  in 1985, you and your friends get in over your heads and uncover a dark plot while seeking a party. This book contains the monsters, equipment, and teen hero archetypes needed to run a horror campaign set in the 1980s.

Source guide includes:

  • 10 1980s horror movie monsters
  • Customizable non-monster threats
  • 6 teen hero archetypes & 6 variants
  • Variant rules for younger characters

Sample(s)

Download “No Going Back”, our free sample comic and adventure PDF.
Download "No Going Back" - a sample comic and adventure PDF
Download “No Going Back” – a sample comic and adventure PDF
View Boost full size by clicking the image below:
Meet "Boost" - A 5Evo NPC!
Meet “Boost” – A 5Evo NPC!

Note: This is not a stand alone game, these books still require DnD5e core books or rules from the SRD. We recommend 5thSRD.org.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

The 5e mechanics you [likely] already know applied to superheroes, soldiers, and 80s horror. If you’re a 5e fan, this will expand your table options!

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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Secret Agents of CROSS for Savage Worlds by Blessed Machine 
Ends on Sun, July 1 2018 12:59 AM EDT.

“Secret Agents of CROSS is a tabletop RPG where Catholic agents protect the flock from supernatural horrors, demons, and terrorists.

CROSS is a clandestine spy agency also known as the Catholic Response Organization to Strategize and Strike. CROSS was created by rogue Cardinal James McDonnell to take the Pope’s prayers and convert them into actions.  He and his command staff create missions to protect the flock from evil using cutting-edge technology coupled with saintly magic honed over 2000 years of history.

The CROSS organization was originally created as part of a Champions game years ago.   When I decided to create a setting around it, I wanted to capture my vision of an organization that only includes agents that are the best of the best.  They are the only people suited for the types of adversaries that they will face.  I wanted the players to feel like they were playing competent characters from the start.  When I discovered Savage Worlds, I felt that the exploding dice aspect of Savage Worlds along with the bennies system modeled that feeling. After a few sessions at Garycon, I knew this was the system for Secret Agents of CROSS.

Please note, you will need a copy of Savage Worlds to play Secret Agents of CROSS. You can find out more about Savage Worlds here.

You will receive the Secret Agents of CROSS book, a Savage Worlds setting in full color with approximately 170 pages of never-before-seen content.  This book is your guide on how the world of CROSS operates, how to make player characters, and how to run CROSS missions that are steeped in secret spy stuff, religious history, modern terrorism, and the supernatural.

For Players and GMs:

  • A brief history of Biblical events that affect the modern world of CROSS.
  • A detailed history of the creation of CROSS and the entire command staff.
  • 10 Roles for players to choose from to promote CROSS’s setting feel.  Optional rules to expand, create, or change Roles.
  • New Edges and Hindrances to help capture the setting feel of Catholic secret agents.
  • Over 40 unique weapons created by the engineers of CROSS.

For GMs:

  • Suggestions for how to handle the nature of supernatural things and how they are affected by normal and supernatural powers.
  • Suggestions for the use of CROSS in various genres including Fantasy, Horror, and Superhero settings.
  • Suggestions on how to provide the best gaming experience for each archetype.
  • Double-secret-GM’s-eyes-only section of secrets not revealed in the other chapters.
  • Over 30 powerful relics and artifacts to place into missions.
  • Over 30 adversaries to interact with your agents.  Some good, some bad, some hard to tell.
  • 3 complete missions for your agents to begin defending the flock.
  • A detailed mission generator.
  • High-quality color pdf and printing fulfilled with DriveThruRPG in standard 8.5″ x 11″ size.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

Pete Ruttman of Blessed Machine reached out over a month before this campaign began to share his enthusiasm for his game. The concept – literal warriors of Christ – is an obvious idea (D&D Paladins brought to today), yet it has only been lightly explored in the [largely secular] gaming industry. Since the engine is Savage Worlds, the question of deciding whether to back this or not becomes if you like that system and this setting for it.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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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).

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links to DriveThruRPG.com and Amazon.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 a variety of companies:

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

4 OSR Kickstarters – NSFW – The Black Hack 2e, No One Warps for Free!, Advanced Labyrinth Lord, and The Peasants’ Fell Bargain

I just returned from Origins 2018. It was a blast meeting the folks that I write about, joining in the community, and gaming! One of the many games I played there was Eric Bloat’s OSR, Survive This!! Zombies! That inspired me to look at what OSRs are currently on Kickstarter where I found a few winners.

 

NSFW – This article is Not Safe For Work. OSRs are fun but they’re not without controversy and NSFW art so, dive in at your own risk.

 

The Peasants’ Fell Bargain: DCC™-Compatible RPG Adventure by Gaming Honors
Ends on .

“Role-Playing Game (RPG) Adventure Module Inspired by Classic Tales of Horror. Dungeon Crawl Classics(TM)-Compatible Zero-Level Funnel.

The Peasants’ Fell Bargain is a zero-level adventure compatible with the Dungeon Crawl Classics™ Role-Playing Game. Available in print or PDF and featuring twenty-eight action-packed pages, this fully-illustrated adventure inspired by classic horror tales will put your peasants to the ultimate test as they search for the Lord Stenorian’s missing son.

A Bargain of Fire and Blood

For generations your village has lived and worked in the shadow of the Stenorian estate, which sits perched like an ancient bird of prey on a promontory at the edge of the mountains. You eked out a hard living through logging, mining, or planting the rocky Stenorian lands. Each year you made the three-mile trip up the mountain to pay rent and tribute to the men-at-arms standing watch at the keep’s gate….The years went by, and nothing changed.

Now the Lord Stenorian himself has come, begging for your help. “My men are slain, my father is missing, and I have nowhere else to turn. My son! My son Michael is still hiding somewhere in the keep. Find him! Save him! Do this for me, and I will reward you beyond your wildest imaginings.” His eyes burn with a frightening intensity. “Hear me. Return my boy to me, and ask what you will. I promise you, if it is in my power, I will grant it.” These last words seem to echo inside your minds as visions of a new future for you and your family float before you.

Meaningful Choices and Motivations

The Peasants’ Fell Bargain invites you to be a hero—you are ten-year-old Michael’s only hope—or a mercenary. After all, Lord Stenorian promises you rewards beyond your imaginings: all you have to do is find the boy. No matter the motive, agreeing to serve Stenorian will bring you power you’ve never known.

But as the stories tell us, power always comes at a price, promises can be impossible to keep, and even the purest motives can lead to unspeakable evil…

An Adventure of Mayhem and Mystery

In the best tradition of Dungeon Crawl Classics™, Goodman Games’ incomparable system of classic RPG adventure, The Peasants’ Fell Bargain pits hapless gongfarmers and blacksmiths against monsters from their worst nightmares. You will test your pitchforks and slings against new and deadly adversaries.

At the same time, you will need to examine clues in the Stenorian manor to uncover the horror hiding behind the keep’s high stone walls. The mystery of the Stenorian family unfolds as your party explores the scene and pieces together the evidence. Handouts allow you to discover the story as you go—and what you learn may very well force you to reconsider your assumptions, your plans…

And perhaps even your promises.

Deals with the Devil: A New Game Mechanic

Like many classic tales, The Peasants’ Fell Bargain turns on a pact made between the PCs and a figure of awesome power. Adventurers who choose to strike a bargain with Lord Stenorian will be rewarded with powers determined by a d20 roll on the custom “Fell Bargain Table.”

This funnel also provides an alternate “Monkey’s Paw Table” for use in other adventures and campaigns. Like the story from which it gets its name, the “Monkey’s Paw Table” can extract a high price for the boons granted.

It is not for the faint of heart.

(Art in progress)

A Module Crammed with Content

The Peasants’ Fell Bargain is packed with 28 pages of adventure, illustrations, and game supplements, including “Encounter Cards” that judges can photocopy, cut out, and use to run combats.

Back our Kickstarter, and see what surprises await. With your help, The Peasants’ Fell Bargain will be a funnel you and your party will never forget.

So what do you say?

Do we have a bargain?

Say, what is this Dungeon Crawl Classics™ of which you speak?

Dungeon Crawl Classics™ is the amazing role-playing game from Goodman Games that takes you back to those all-night odysseys in your parents’ basement, when all a good adventurer needed was a map, a sword, and some guts, and all a player needed was paper and pencil, some dice, and imagination. Magic is mysterious and powerful, monsters are menacing and unpredictable, and Luck matters—A LOT more than min-maxing and statistical analysis. DCC takes the best parts of the game you remember and combines it with the wisdom gained from over fifty years of role-playing to create the one-of-a-kind experience that got you rolling dice in the first place.  If you haven’t checked out the rulebook, what are you waiting for?”

 

Egg’s Thoughts: 

 

At MomoCon 2018, I picked up Dungeon Crawl Classics from the Goodman Games boothDCC is an OSR that is gonzo awesomeness! Getting to start at zero-level with this adventure is worth checking out because it lets you really stretch your creative legs and build something fun.

 

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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No One Warps For Free! by Kort’thalis Publishing 
Ends on .

“Yet another adventure for the Alpha Blue roleplaying game! Sleazy space opera that parodies many existing scifi franchises.

Hi.  I’m Venger As’Nas Satanis, author of classics such as The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence, How to Game Master like a Fucking Boss, and Adventure Writing like a Fucking Boss.  What’s up?

I’m Kickstarting the Alpha Blue supplement Alien Ass, Hydrogen Gas, or Cosmic Grass… No One Warps For Free!  

Yes, it’s a silly title (a prominent member of the Kort’thalis Publishing g+ community, MoonSylver, came up with it), but it’s the kind of inappropriate, over-the-top, ridiculously awesome kind of thing that Alpha Blue excels at.

This book will be full-color and feature fantastic artwork.  I got the taste for color with Blood Dark Thirst and Battle Star: Trek Wars… now, there’s no going back!

Here’s a look at the interior layout for both the PDF and (CreateSpace / Amazon) softcover by Glynn Seal of MonkeyBlood Design.  He does awesome work and Kort’thalis Publishing is fortunate to have his services at our slimy pink and blue disposal.

What is Alpha Blue?  As I look around me, it seems the vast majority of RPG rules/mechanics are being swallowed up by either old standbys or the new hotness.  Well, this particular game is one of the few holdouts that hasn’t become a D&D clone, Fate thing, Apocalypse Powered, or Savage World.  And yet, Alpha Blue is vaguely similar to D&D, has a few story-game elements, and wild dice-swinging action.

Alpha Blue has been my most successful RPG line (that includes Crimson Dragon Slayerand The Outer Presence) – numerous supplements have been created over the last 3 years.  It’s rules-light (traditional and contemporary hybrid with d6 dice pools), juvenile, and a lot of fun.

Still curious?  Play a little choose your own adventure:   http://www.sleazyscifi.com/#/

For the most part, it’ll be adventures that parody established scifi franchises.  The amount of raunchy, gonzo comedy depends on individual tastes.  Not everyone is going to want to playAlpha Blue like a Star Wars porn parody – and that’s ok.  Many gamers only want a hint of 70’s era exploitation.  And not that you need it, but you’re given “permission” to mix and match less-hard scifi, such as Ice Pirates, Flash Gordon, and Heavy Metal with familiar pop-cultural icons.

Besides several scenarios (see the next few paragraphs), there will be tons of random tables – ice cream, menstruation, tattoos, and so much more!  Random tables are kind of my thang and nobody does them better (plus, I get crowd-sourcing help from dozens of contributors who love Alpha Blue and everything it stands for).  These tables can be used in multiple adventures, campaigns, and the comedic / gonzo / sleazy RPG of your choice.

  • Among others, the zenobites will be back in a Hellraiser tribute scenario called “Skinless and Horny.”
  • It’s spring break somewhere in the Federation, and college kids need transport from Margaritaville to Pina Coladaburg.  Wouldn’t it be a shame if convicts from a women’s prison broke out and tried to commandeer the PCs’ ship?  That’s a sexy mission if ever there was one.
  • Terrorists within the Interstellar Caliphate are strapping themselves with suicide vest explosives on their way to the space station of love – Alpha Blue.  Admiral Ackbar!  Let’s go kill those freedom hating, bastards!!!

There will be pre-generated characters for quick-start games like introductory demos, virtual tabletop, conventions, etc.

Optional rules, helpful suggestions, and neat mechanical bits and pieces will be interspersed throughout the text in sidebars.

Plus, new “classes.”  Really, these are just character concepts that will give you some idea of where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Here’s a quick overview…

Primitive Screw-head – you’re a savage barbarian and dumb as a box of space rocks.  But you can smash real good, intimidate those low-muscle cerebral types to the point of “pee fright,” and get in the way of delicate high-tech operations like nobody’s business.

Quantum Sorcerer – you travel the universe, casting spells for fun and profit.  Yep, you’re a magic-user among the stars.  Several new spells will be offered, though the system is so light-weight and malleable that official “spell lists” are unnecessary.

Bard – yes, that’s right.  The most useless adventuring profession in the universe – and you can play one!  Learn an instrument… or a thousand instruments (doesn’t matter, you’re still going to die horribly) and join the Guild of Performing Arts.  The GoPA will assign your bard to a special crew of hand-selected spacers who probably won’t eat you if the food runs out andmight not consider your instrument a portable latrine.

Space Ranger – you’re part of an elite team of highly unorganized cops protecting the innocent and hunting down the worst of the worst.  At one time, the space rangers were affiliated with the Federation – not any more.  The Federation has grown too corrupt to police itself, let alone the entire universe. You’re a vigilante with a badge!

This book will be 30 pages at a minimum.  See the stretch goals for possible extras…”

 

Egg’s Thoughts: 

 

Looking for a sleazy sci-fi RPG? Something simple system-wise, but full of sex tropes from the 70s and 80s? Venger Satanis, as always, has you covered. Since the Trinity of Awesome Returns, I’ve covered Venger’s Kickstarters. While he’s a font of RPG business wisdom and he’s published some of my first RPG work, he’s also said things I cannot co-sign, so promoting his OSR work – which is an unashamed system-light RPG love letter to the 70s/80s era of low-budget, sleazy sexploitation fantasy and sci-fi movies – goes from let’s-do-it to am-I-going-to-lose-friends-for-this. [For whatever it’s worth, Venger writes me pretty often to see if I’m still upright and drawing breath.] With that, let me share this RPG and let you make your own decision about his subset of OSR – he’s dubbed it “O5R” – that’s “[s]leazy space opera that parodies many existing scifi franchises”.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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The Black Hack RPG Second Edition by Gold Piece Publications
Ends on .

“The award winning, super-streamlined, oldschool fanstasy roleplaying game returns with its expanded, content packed second edition.

The Kickstarter for the original edition of The Black Hack funded in just 5 days, raising over 1000% of its goal amount – more importantly however, it marked the moment a small set of house rules evolved into a fully-fledged DIY rpg movement. Today, I’m proud to launch this new Kickstarter as another evolution in the life of The Black Hack — turning it into the most comprehensive and lightweight old school system available — with all the gorgeous layout, artwork and trappings that it deserves.

The engine and design behind The Black Hack (TBH) is a simple, straightforward game written in a logical conversational tone. It provides all the experiences you’d expect a traditional fantasy RPG to deliver without clunky rules getting in the way of the action and the emerging character stories.

TBH doesn’t force a trite grand fantasy setting upon the players either. Instead it comes accompanied by a full-suite of tools flavoured with old school fantasy sensibilities – culminating in a game that provides a foundation of preparation or improvisation for the imaginations of the GM and the players.

Peter Regan of Squarehex/Gold Piece Publications has assembled a legendary team to support the writing and design of the game. Artists Karl Sternjberg, Sean Poppe and Jeff Call will be providing detailed, evocative, old school art to fuel the readers’ imaginations and Pookie will be providing editing duties to ensure the writing and rules are water tight.

The beta document has been written, laid out and is going through final playtesting sessions – now all we need to do is have it looked over by an editor, commission the final pieces of monster artwork and print it, which we aim to have done by October. If you pledge at a level that comes with print version of the main rulebook you will gain access to the production ‘beta’ document as soon as the project funds are transferred (normally 2 weeks after the project funding period ends). Thank you for taking the time to read this, but most of all thank you for sharing and supporting this campaign and the DIY RPG movement.

– David Black

The Black Booklet – ‘Quickstart rules for players’ 300gsm matt laminated cover, 170gsm silk art pages.

The Black Hack – ‘All the rules, all the things’ Hardback matt laminated cover, 120gsm internal pages, black end papers.

The Black Hack – ‘All the rules, all the things’ Hardback with cloth/silver foiled cover, 120gsm internal pages, black end papers. Kickstarter Exclusive.

GM’s Screen – ‘Inspiration and GM tools’ 3xA5 panels 300gsm matt laminated card.

Illustrated Character Sheets – Double sided a4 OSR style playbooks, one for each class.

The Black Box – ‘Goodies’ Matt black 1.5mm board with a silver foil printed lid. Dimensions are: 230x165x50mm. Dice are opaque black with white numbering. The dice pouches are black velvet. The pencils are matt black with black wood and black erasers printed in white.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts: 

 

I reviewed the Basic Hack, which is born from the Black Hack. My editor at EN World, Chris Helton, reviewed the first edition of the Black Hack and praised it. I’ve read endless good things about it and talked to Eric Bloat about it during Origins where he said he is backing the new edition. When a successful OSR publisher backs your product, it speaks volumes.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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Advanced Labyrinth Lord by Goblinoid Games
Ends on .

 

“Fans have been demanding a combined Labyrinth Lord/Advanced Edition Companion book for a long time…here it is!

Advanced Labyrinth Lord

Labyrinth Lord was first published in 2007, and for over 10 years has been one of the premier old-school “retro-clone” games. Its wildly popular supplement, the Advanced Edition Companion, adds all of the “advanced” first edition options for Labyrinth Lord, all while keeping compatibility with the B/X basic fantasy game.

For the first time, Labyrinth Lord and the Advanced Edition Companion will be seamlessly combined into one volume! Fans have been asking for this for several years, and it is my pleasure to make it happen! All of the basic and advanced options, magic items, and monsters will be brought together under one cover for easy reference.

Here are some facts about the combined book:

  • This is not a new game.
  • This is simply a combined book.
  • You will still be able to separate “basic” from “advanced” game options.
  • Much interior art will carry over from the original books, but new interior art will be featured in addition.
  • This combined book does not replace the current separate books. Those books will remain in print.

 

Egg’s Thoughts: 

 

This book is a combination of two OSR books, not a new edition of LL or a new game. Clearly, there is a market for this as fans are pledging. Never heard of Labyrinth Lord and want to try before you buy? Find free versions of Labyrinth Lord: Revised Edition (no-art version) and Advanced Edition Companion (Labyrinth Lord, no-art version) here so you can decide for yourself.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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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).

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links to DriveThruRPG.com and Amazon.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 a variety of companies:

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

Origins Game Fair Spotlight – Halls of the Nephilim

There’s a game creator and <gasp> blogger out there, playing RPGs with Eric Bloat at Origins Game Fair 2018 and writing posts about using Bloat Games Survive This!! Zombies! with the movie The Stake Land, or stat’ing at the monster from the short film, The Birch. Be on the lookout for Justin Ryan Isaac of the PunVerse blogspot and Halls of the Nephilim as he’s got some clever ideas for games for fans and can be a solid promoter for game creators.

 

 

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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).

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links to DriveThruRPG.com and Amazon.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 a variety of companies:

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

Origins Game Fair Spotlight – Fearlight Games

Want to be Sherlock or Robin Hood or try a new game at Origins Game Fair 2018? Read on. In October, 2017, I covered the Baker Street: Strange Cases and Hood: Beyond the Forest by Fearlight Games‘ Kickstarter. Through that and a mutual friend, I met Bryce Whitacre who shared the fruits of his Kickstarter with me. Baker Street and Hood are fun tabletop RPGs and, during Origins Game Fair 2018, Fearlight Games Bryce Whitacre will be at booth 240 selling them. As well, if you want to play Baker Street or Hood or demo their soon-to-be-Kickstarted social deduction card game, they’re waiting at b230.

From Bryce – “[I]f you have a spare 20 minutes to try the [new social deduction card] game, just stop by between 8 and 11 PM in the game room b230.” I hope to see you there.

 

Baker Street: Strange Cases by Fearlight Games 

“Sherlock Holmes is Missing and Presumed Dead!

Intrepid investigators are asked by the stoic Dr. Watson to take cases out of Baker Street in Holmes’s absence. Victorian streets, foggy nights, and crime most foul await. Will the nefarious plans of crafty villains come to fruition or can the champions of justice from Baker Street save the day?

Baker Street is a Role Playing Game in which the players attempt to solve some of the most baffling crimes in history. Featuring over 30 careers, 25 unique criminal extras, and rules for making your own nefarious villains, Baker Street features a robust investigation mechanic, easy character generation, and rules for making your own mystery.”


 

Hood: Beyond the Forest by Fearlight Games 

“Sherwood Forest:

The small band of outlaws gathers around the trysting tree. Prince John and the Sherriff of Nottingham are making life impossible for the villagers of Sherwood and Barnsdale. Only these outlaws can fight back and preserve the English way of life until good King Richard returns. Don the Lincoln green, grab your arrows, and join the Merry Men!

This book contains:

  • Adventuring mechanics that feature a narrative style of storytelling and derring-do.
  • NPCs and legendary characters you can add to any campaign.
  • Historical information on locations and events in Robin’s life.
  • A “Clash of Blades” system that brings back the tension and drama of classic movie sword duels.
  • Rules for Pluck, Swashbuckling Momentum, and a stunt system that unleashes the swashbuckler in you!”


 

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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).

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links to DriveThruRPG.com and Amazon.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 a variety of companies:

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

Origins Game Fair Spotlight – Survive This!! Zombies! from Bloat Games

It’s the first day of Origins Game Fair 2018 and the first game I’m scheduled to play is Eric Bloat’s Survive This!! Zombies! from Bloat Games at 2PM. OSR plus near-future zombie-ocalypse. I covered the SURVIVE THIS!! Dark Places & Demogorgons RPG Core Rulebook Kickstarter in October 2017. I’ve been eager to try a SURVIVE THIS!! game since then! If you’re interested in more from Bloat Games, Eric has a Kickstarter coming up on June 26th. If you’re interested in updates, you can follow him on Kickstarter here.

 

SURVIVE THIS!! – Zombies! by Bloat Games

“They’re coming to get you Barbara . . .”

That’s the line that started it all.  Sure, there were other zombies in movies and literature prior to the delivery of that iconic quote but George A. Romero’s Night of The Living Dead kicked off the modern zombie craze for sure.  From Day of the Dead to Return of the Living Dead to Dawn of the Dead to Shaun of the Dead to The Walking Dead, people can’t get enough of The Dead!  Zombies can be found in abundance in film, TV, comic books, literature, video games, board games, card games, dice games and yes, of course, roleplaying games.  That is where we come in.

SURVIVE THIS!! – Zombies! is the first in the line of SURVIVE THIS!! Roleplaying Games to be released by indy publisher, Bloat Games.  SURVIVE THIS!! is a retroclone of the world’s most popular fantasy roleplaying game.  Mixing the familiar rules of the Old School Renaissance and a near future zombie apocalypse, SURVIVE THIS!! – Zombies! aims to please giving any zombie lover a fast, fun and wild ride, that’s easy to pick up but hard to put down.

In SURVIVE THIS!! – Zombies! players take on the roles of survivors in a zombie apocalypse.  This Collected Edition is the complete game and contains all 4 booklets (Introduction, Survivor’s Handbook, Zombie Master’s Guide & Zombie Manual).  Don’t miss out!  Pick up all four books today and try to SURVIVE THIS!!”


 

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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).

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links to DriveThruRPG.com and Amazon.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 a variety of companies:

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

Kindle Worlds – Looking Forward Back

“I’ve come to bury Kindle Worlds, not to praise it.”

***

In Indy publishing, the big worry is What is Amazon going to do? For so many independent writers, Amazon has provided them with a steady income to turn their hobby of creating fiction into a true job. They see that constant stream coming in, month by month and believe it will never end. So they up and quit their day jobs only to see their returns begin to dry up. And why does this happen? Many times it is due to Amazon changing their algorithms in how your books get presented to the book-buying public. If your title gets some extra love from Amazon, maybe it takes off into the Top lists for your category or even for the whole of the store itself. That one thing can be the difference between pizza money and a house payment.

But the whispers are always there:

What if Amazon changes something?

What if Amazon decides to overhaul their programs?

What if they decide to get rid of some aspect of the program?

Some people worry and diversify their writings to other sellers (Smashwords, Draft2Digital, Barnes and Noble, etc.) and others say they’ll cross that bridge when they come to it.

For those people making more than pizza money on their Kindle Worlds stories, the end is nigh (see the email here). And much like those oracles had predicted… you never know when or if it is going to happen (and my follow-up).

***

For the two Veronica Mars Kindle Worlds Courtney and I wrote (still available here and here!), it was always on the pizza money side of things. Four years ago I wrote a post talking about writing in that universe and the birth of a story (here). Last year we finally followed up that one with another book, which I wrote about (here).

Prior to Kindle Worlds existing, I didn’t get Fan Fiction. I certainly didn’t understand that there were tons of places on the internet where you could go and read about your favorite tv show or movie characters further adventures. Did you want to know what would happen if Show X crossed over with Show Y? There’s probably a whole subgroup for that. And, if there isn’t, you could always invent the genre!

But writing Fan Fiction isn’t that different from many things I’ve done over the years playing RPGs or coming up with my comic book pitches that will never be read by anyone over at Marvel or DC (but seriously, I have a 60 issue pitch for Moon Knight that you wouldn’t believe!). I’m still not sure how I feel about the whole Fifty Shades origins, but clearly, it worked, so who am I to judge?

So the announcement last week that this was all going away hit me well and good. Not because they were selling thousands of copies, but because it helped me convince my wife to write with me. Or maybe it was her telling me that we WERE going to write something together once it was known that Veronica Mars was going to be a destination spot within the program.

The nice thing about the program is/was that there really wasn’t any pressure. I’m not saying we didn’t put our best work out there… I think we did a great job working within the world of the TV show. I just mean that this was something on the shorter side (just over 10,000 words in each of the two novellas) that we could put out for consumption pretty quick. A full-length novel takes me months/years to write a draft, then do another draft, then set it aside for a while, then hire an editor…

These were different.

In addition, I wanted to make sure all those hours of her watching and rewatching the show could suddenly be called RESEARCH! 🙂

There was always good and bad with creating these stories though. We knew that if Veronica Mars removed herself from the program, the books wouldn’t really have a home anymore other than on the Kindles who’d already bought them and our hard drive. We also knew these weren’t our toys; they would need to be returned to the toy box. I’ve only had a couple of occasions in my writing projects where I wasn’t the one creating the story and characters and worlds. These two projects allowed me to stretch a different kind of writing muscle. Hopefully, it made me a better collaborator and writer for it.

***

I want to thank everyone who has downloaded them over the years and appreciate the reviews that have been left. These two stories are going to become this thing we did. Maybe some other program will come along allowing us to display our works once again.

***

John McGuire has co-written, along with his wife, two Kindle Worlds novellas set in the world of Veronica Mars: Theft & Therapy and There’s Something About Mac.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. The Trade paperback collecting the first 4 issues is finally back from the printers! If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

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.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow EmpireBeyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

8 Questions About Art of War: Bushido/Wuxia Setting for Savage Worlds & 5e With Greg LaRose (Amora Game)

Greg LaRose (TentacleGreg on Open Gaming Network, where I write some articles) of Amora Game is running a Kickstarter for his latest creation, Art of War: Bushido/Wuxia Setting for Savage Worlds and 5e.

EGG EMBRY – Thanks for taking the time to talk about your project – What is Art of War?

GREG LAROSE – Hey, thanks for having me. Art of War is a dream project I have always had in my head brewing for years. Art of War is an epic storytelling action focused campaign setting inspired by the influences of Chia-Liang Liu martial arts films (The 36th Chamber of Shaolin & Heroes of the East), Akira Kurosawa samurai films (Seven Samurai & Yojimbo), Dynasty Warriors video game series, and a various anime (Basilisk, Naruto, etc).

It is a setting where the people of the San Empire are pulling themselves out of the chaos of a civil war, an invasion of flesh eating Oni, and a return of the restoration of the original royal bloodline. One role the players can take on as heroes is trying to restore hope back to the population. There are plenty of opportunities to play the hometown hero, indulge in a political landscape of deception, or to stand on the Wall and slay some monsters.

It is my love affair with Chinese and Japanese cultures, histories, and mythology.

 

EGG – This project is for two different systems, Savage Worlds and 5e. How are you interpreting the setting to get the most out of each of those systems?

GREG LAROSE – As a whole, the setting is a rich tapestry that easily be played with any system out there. It has access points for any type of story a group would want to play.

System mechanics wise, we adapted the setting to several systems over the past two years with Savage Worlds and 5e acting as solid frameworks to use. Moreover, what I mean is that both are flexible and “rules light” so that you can shape them. This gives us the ability to interject a power point-like system that can added to each rule set. You can scale it up or down to help determine how grounded or fantastical you want the game and characters to be. We call it the Chi System.

These power points fuel different additional rules that give the action movie feel we wanted to achieve. The system also supports Chi Techniques that give the character a specialization of power. Think of the youxia that can run up a bamboo tree and balance on a tiny branch without falling off or having it give to heavy weight. Or the samurai standing on bridge by himself against a squad of archers and he gives a deafening yell. Chi Techniques are those types of powers translated to simple and easy game mechanics.

Besides those being in common with these systems, the Savage Worlds version introduces Tropes that act as frameworks for the creation of heroes. For those familiar with Savage Worlds, think of them as beefed up archetypes or concepts. We also include new Edges and Hindrances. We adapted the classic nosebleed scenario found in anime as a Hindrance to add some comedic relief. I’m also excited to introduce two new Skills to the Savage Worlds ruleset, Acrobatics and Meditation.

Tropes in the 5th edition version, act as character paths for various classes. The Shinobi trope is a path for the rogue class. The fighter receives the Path of the Samurai as a viable option. The Youxia trope is available to both rogues, rangers and fighters, each one taking on a variation of the concept. We are also supporting numerous new Backgrounds, Inspirations, Feats, and equipment.

 

EGG – A number of Amora Game‘s products are for Pathfinder, why not offer a PF version of Art of War?

GREG LAROSE – Great question. We started to use Pathfinder as one of the systems to publish in and the project was called “Hands-Over-Fisticuffs”, but it quickly became overwhelming. There is a lot of amazing source material to pull from to get the mechanics right. But that was also the problem; we needed to pull rules for the revised action economy from this book, convert rules from that book, use OGL from this company. Develop a new class or archetype to handle this, spend more time playtesting to check the math on that. It became heavy, bulky, clunky and imbalanced.

We wanted something that wasn’t cumbersome for new players to jump in and play without multiple rules and errata. Light and flexible is what we wanted to focus on.

In addition, timing played a major factor. With the announcement of Pathfinder 2.0, we would rather see how the new system plays out then produce for an old system where support might fall to the wayside. While we have 200 pages worth material for a Pathfinder edition, it just doesn’t hold the feel we wanted for the setting.

 

EGG – You did not skimp on the previews. How have they been received, and which system is getting more interest from Art of War fans, Savage Worlds or 5e?

GREG LAROSE – Surprisingly they have almost equal numbers. Art of War teaser for Savage Worlds is racing ahead of Kemonomimi Race preview for 5th Edition. But I have been shocked that the 5th edition of South of the Wall has pulled down a few more numbers than the Savage Worlds version. In contrast, we have more backers on the Kickstarter buying in for the Savage Worlds. Ahead of that, is the backer level where you get both versions of Art of War. I’ve been happy with the turnout.

 

EGG – When I first approached you about doing an interview, I didn’t connect you were TentacleGreg on Open Gaming Network. For those who don’t know, what types of articles do you do on Open Gaming Network?

GREG LAROSE – So far I have focused on Starfinder articles. Showing off future archetypes and playing with Faction idea write-ups. Open Gaming Articles are a fun sandbox to play in at the moment. In one of the first articles, I rant about what I feel a Third Party Publisher Organized play society would allow and not allow. After the Kickstarter, I have a few 5e articles for character paths, more factions for Starfinder, and my lost notes for Pathfinder articles.

 

EGG – What was the game that made you into a gamer?

GREG LAROSE – Techno Wizard in the Rifts setting for the Palladium system was the first character I ever created. My Tremere for Vampire: The Masquerade was the first character I ever played in a game. West End Games d6 Star Wars was the first system I ever fell in love with. Shadowrun was my introduction into the world of cyberpunk and magic. Big Eyes, Small Mouth Third Edition was the birth of Art of War. I have fond memories of L5R and Magic the Gathering card games. But the game that made me a gamer? Well there are two of them: Mage the Ascension & Eberron campaign setting for 3.5 D&D rules.

My love for these two settings and rulesets are unparalleled to anything else. Mage being the handful of d10 Storyteller System and the other using the precursor to Pathfinder. I still have my original books on the shelves and go back to read through them. You can see an early inspiration for the Pathfinder Society concept in Eberron, when it was called the Wayfinder Foundation. Interesting name isn’t it?

You can see that is the name of a compass in Pathfinder. Coincidence? Maybe. Conspiracy theory of that being a key source of influence for a certain big company? Probably, yes.

EGG – Why did you start Amora Game?

GREG LAROSE – I started Amora Game in 2012 as an actual TTRPG publishing company, but we were a playtest company well before then. My gaming group was always home-brewing rules, classes, and all sorts of things. We liked using fan created material and pushing the limits see if they were broken or if we could break them. Over time we reached out to a few publishers and game designers looking for playtesters. One thing led to another and then we were holding playtesting sessions once or twice a month for several hours a session. Word got around and people started seeking us out to playtest, and paying us.

After a year or so after of messing around and playing with other people’s toys, I decided I would do my own. At the time I was playing Pathfinder after a gaming group converted over from 3.5 and just sort of went with it. I started publishing, hiring freelancers and artist. Here we are today.

EGG – For those interested in learning more about you, your upcoming projects, and Amora Game, where can they go?

GREG LAROSE – Currently we are focusing on two product lines. One is our monthly/bimonthly science fiction e-mag called Xeno Files. This is laying the foundation for our Xeno’Verse campaign setting. It focuses on Starjammer, Starfinder, and Savage Worlds rulesets. Exotic space places and exotic space races. Our second, of course is the Art of War line, which we are going to continue to push for a release date, even if the Kickstarter is unsuccessful. It will just take a little more time.

Where can you find us? Our facebook page is the most active spot. You can get there by typing in our website: AmoreGame.com, and it will direct you to it. After the kickstarter, I’m going try and put an article up twice a month in the Open Gaming Network site. You will also be able to catch those articles and anime ramblings on my blog under the same pen name: TentacleGreg.com

 

Amora Game has products available on DriveThruRPG and Open Gaming Store.

 

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

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links to DriveThruRPG.com and Amazon.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 onFacebook (Egg Embry) or on Google Plus (+Egg Embry).

Steampunk Friday – Interview with the creators of The Invention of E.J. Whitaker

In scouring the web for Steampunk comics sometimes you hit upon one that you are interested in, but have completely missed the Kickstarter for. Even so, I felt compelled to give it a Kickstart the Comic treatment. At the same time, I reached out to the women behind the comic for an interview and with the official release of the comic today, it seems like a great time to catch up with Shawnee´Gibbs and Shawnelle Gibbs.

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How long have you been creating/working in comics?

SHAWNEE´: Shawnelle and I have been working in comics since 2011 when we started writing our comedic sci-fi series “Fashion Forward.” We’d been working in independent animation before that and comic books just felt like a natural step, since we loved telling stories through art. In addition to the “Fashion Forward” series, we’ve written short stories for anthologies, including several for Graham Cracker Comic’s Ladies Night Anthology, a great women in comics organization based out of Chicago. 

At what point did you sit down to become writers? Do you remember the first thing you wrote?

SHAWNEE´: When we were kids in elementary school, we’d staple together lined paper and create our own little homemade comics to sell to kids for a quarter. I remember those stories being about cartoon characters, not unlike the animated shows we were seeing on tv at the time. Imagining fictional worlds and writing about them was something that began early for us. It was an awesome way of entertaining ourselves and our friends and a surprisingly great way to make candy money. 

Who inspires you? Or do you have a favorite artist or creator?

SHAWNELLE: We are inspired heavily by our mother, who set us on this path with her eternal love of illustration and stories and our strong desire not to bring shame upon her head (laughs). Octavia Butler who we discovered in our youth, and whose stories spoke to our souls, and the work and careers of a host of writers and artists such as Vera Brogosol, Nnedi Okorafor, Sonny Liew, Vashti Harrison, and the list goes on and on. In terms of our own work, Shawnee and I are forever inspired by life itself, history and the human condition. We’re constantly getting hit with shocks of inspiration, our notes applications in our phones are a laundry list of thoughts and ideas for stories and projects.

How do you manage your daily/family life with your creative work? Is this your 9 to 5 or is this your 10 to 2?

SHAWNELLE: We’re still working on it, actually. I think it’s a lifelong process. Shawnee and I don’t have families of our own at the moment, but it’s something we constantly think about, carving out time to stop and smell the roses and spend time with our partners, friends, and families. We both make our living in creative and demanding jobs, and write and produce our own content independent of that. It helps to have the resources to take trips and take breaks when we can, it’s just a matter of taking breaks. We both have incorporated sacred time for meditation and stillness that has been really helpful to how we approach the days and weeks. Having a partner to help get the check-off list of things to do helps tremendously as well. So that when we need to tap out for a day or two, there’s someone there to carry the torch.

Working with your sister has to be both amazing and bring an entirely different set of challenges. What’s your process look like when you’re writing? Do you go with the full outline? Or are you a fly by the seat of your pants type?

SHAWNELLE: Having some level of organization and a plan when it comes to writing has always been a big part of our process. But when we first started writing together, we’d outline together and then try and sit down at one computer and write together as a team….and….it was difficult, to say the least, and SLOW. We’d spend more time debating about dialogue than actually getting it on the page (laughs). But over the years, we definitely have found our groove in respect to writing and most things. These days we’ve learned to work more remotely, and we’ll come up with an outline that we both are excited about, split it in a way that makes sense, and have at it separately. That way we can swap pages, make scene and dialogue punches without getting into long western-movie-style stare-downs (laughs).

What inspired you to create The Invention of E.J. Whitaker?

SHAWNEE´: While working on the story for “Fashion Forward,” which is a time travel adventure that jumps time between present day New York and a New York twenty five years in the future. We were also writing a screenplay about an African American entertainer who lived during the early 1900s. 

So we were simultaneously looking at historic photos of African Americans from the early part of the 20th century, while also perusing designs and concept art of what the world would look like in the near future. And an idea started to emerge about a young black woman of the Victorian Era who had dreams of becoming an inventor. Once we started fleshing out the details and knew there’d be flying machines and robots and fanciful gadgets involved, we thought comics would be the perfect medium for it. 

Was this a case of coming up with the story first and then the setting or vice versa?

SHAWNEE´: I think as the story started to take shape, the setting pretty quickly followed. As a historical fiction piece, we wanted to anchor The Invention of E.J. Whitaker in an America that actually really existed. Since our heroine, Ada, is an inventing phenom, we thought placing her on the campus of Tuskegee University, where legendary inventor George Washington Carver taught and lived would be the perfect place for her. 

We also knew that one of the most challenging places to be black and a woman at the time was the Deep South. So having our adventure get underway in both Alabama and Texas gave the story real palpable tension and danger. 

What’s been the reaction to the book?

SHAWNELLE: We’re really thrilled that our readers are enjoying the beginning of the series, and the steampunk community has also embraced it as well. In our early reviews, they’ve been really positive and it helps as we’re digging into the second book to have that level of reaction. It’s very validating.

Are there themes and/or subjects you find yourself drawn to again and again in your work?

SHAWNELLE: Science Fiction, Adventure, and History are recurring themes in our work, and there’s always some level of comedy sprinkled in somehow, someway. For some reason, orphans are a recurring part of our narrative universe, probably because we grew up in a single-parent family and were “half-orphans” (as we’ve phrased it) ourselves. We’d need to get a psychologist in to help answer this one (laughs). Women overcoming obstacles to find their way/place in the world is always part of the undertone to our stories, I believe, because essentially that is a big part of our own journeys.

After running a successful Kickstarter for The Invention of E.J. Whitaker, what have you learned about the process of Kickstarter? What do you think has contributed to hitting your goals on The Invention of E.J. Whitaker? Do you view the platform as a testing ground for the concepts?

SHAWNEE´:  It is an incredible tool for testing concepts and finding people who may be interested in what you do. But I’ve gotta admit, Kickstarter can be a terrifying platform—I think both our knees were probably trembling a little as we hit that “Launch” buttonBeing as organized and as prepared as you can for crowdfunding, and researching firsthand accounts of both successes (and failures) was key for us. There will be unexpected bumps in the road on your journey, but staying committed and never being deterred by hiccups will help you reach your goals and cross the finish line.

We are super thankful to our Kickstarter supporters for believing in an unconventional story about one young woman’s courage to dream big despite the cultural and societal limitations surrounding her. We were floored that so many people believed in our little steampunk tale enough to help over fund it by $10,000.

Comics is an amazing collaborative medium, and it looks like you’ve managed to gather a talented team of co-creators around you. Tell me a little about working with the pencillers, inkers, colorists, and designers.

SHAWNELLE: Independent comics allow us to realize the worlds and stories of our dreams with a small team of people. On The Invention of E.J. Whitaker, we were able to call upon a couple of incredible artist/friends we’ve worked with in the past. That’s Mark Hernandez (Penciller) Hasani McIntosh (Colors), Earl Womack (short story) that we knew and worked with beforehand. Mark and Hasani we worked with on a beautiful, animated project some years ago, and we met Earl “amazing artist/kindred spirit” Womack at Long Beach Comic Con about five years ago, and have been looking for ways to work together since.  We met Shanna Lim (Inker) June Park (Graphics) and were lucky to work with ladies from the LNA anthology series we’ve contributed to in the past —Lauren Burke (Copy Editor) and Emi Rosen (Letterer). We truly became a small comics publishing house with this one.

The process went pretty much like this — After finishing up all of our concept art and character sheets with Mark and Hasani, it continued with the script that we workshopped with Mark to get ready for Shanna for inks, and finally Hasani for colors. Over several months, we had a rotation of pages of art with each artist/“department” if you will, until it was finally ready. And we love our team, because like us, everyone was working full time jobs, heading families, having life happen, etc., and their time, commitment, and care with it continues to warm our hearts. It took a little longer than we initially anticipated to finish it, but the team rallied (shoutout to Mark and Hasani who divided the lions share of it!). We are so proud of what we were able to to do together and what’s possible for the future.

Where’s the best place to find out more about The Invention of E.J. Whitaker and the rest of your works?

SHAWNEE´: You can find out more about The Invention of E.J. Whitaker at http://www.ejwhitaker.com and find the rest of our work at http://www.gibbsisters.com

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The Gibbs Sisters are an award-winning hybrid team with credits in writing, producing, and animation. The twin sisters and collaborators have created a brand of quirky, fun projects that have entertained audiences across the globe. They are the creators of the popular online animated series’ Adopted by Aliens and Old Ladies Driving, and the YA time-travel comic book series, Fashion Forward. Their comic book adventure series, The Invention of E.J. Whitaker, a diverse re-imagining of the early 20th century, makes its comic book debut March 30th, 2018 published by BopSee Books. 

 The Gibbs Sisters are members of Writers Guild of America, West, The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and the Organization of Black Screenwriters. Their combined credits included Producing for Emmy-Award winning series’ Top Chef and Project Runway, and popular television series’ X-FactorThe Ultimate Fighter, Food Network’s  Holiday Baking ChampionshipCupcake Wars, Discovery Network’s Shark Week and National Geographic’s Wicked Tuna, as well as contributions to Disney’s Emmy winning sitcom, Wizards of Waverly Place.

 The pair are also alumni of the renowned USC Guy Hanks & Marvin Miller Screenwriters Fellowship.

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The Invention of E.J. Whitaker: Issue #1

Written By: Shawnee´Gibbs, Shawnelle Gibbs

Pencils by: Mark Hernandez

Colors by: Hasani McIntosh

Inks by: Shanna Lim

Short Story Art by: Earl Womack

Letters by: Emi Roze

Cover Art by: Mark Hernandez, June Park, Sharifa Patrick

Copy Editor: Lauren Burke

Published by: BopSee Books

Release Date: Friday, March 30th, 2018

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I want to thank Shawnee’ and Shawnelle Gibbs for their time in answering these questions. Be sure to check out the first issue of The Invention of E.J. Whitaker today!

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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.

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 Savage Worlds RPG Kickstarters You Should Back – Freedom Squadron, Savage Tokusatsu, and The Dinosaur Protocol

Kickstarter has several Savage Worlds settings funding at the moment. Want to do your own 1980s-style GI Joe vs COBRA? Thinking you’d like to see giant robots versus monsters? What about post-apocalyptic dinosaurs? Right now on Kickstarter, Savage Worlds await you!

Freedom Squadron – A Savage Worlds Setting by SpyGlass Games
Ends on .

“Freedom Squadron is a high-octane “Love Letter to 80’s Cartoon Action Heroes,” featuring new rules and new options for Savage Worlds.

It is the year 2051. After the startling discovery of VENOM—a paramilitary organization and global conspiracy that’s been interfering in world events since the end of the 19th century—the United Nations and leaders of the free world have been shaken to their core. In the aftermath of World War III, which they started, VENOM’s clear goal is world domination, and they will stop at nothing to achieve it.

The world’s response? Choose the greatest hero of the war, General Abraham Steel, and charge him to recruit an elite fighting force to oppose VENOM and protect liberty for all. That force, comprised of the best-of-the-best from all over the globe, is Freedom Squadron!

Players take on the role of those who’ve heeded the call to action. They are new Recruits who must first earn their stripes to become Commandos. Eventually, if they live up to the expectations of trainers like Sandbar, Corporal Carnage, Preedatore, and Blindsight, they may earn their Code Names and carry the fight to VENOM anywhere in the world… and beyond!

“Savage Worlds was created to handle the kinds of games I often like to play and run, where you can be a badass fighter or wizard or whatever, but you can also be a leader. A planner. I’m proud of how the game accommodates that, and my friend Sean Patrick Fannon has added even more to it in Freedom Squadron.

I had a blast in the Plans & Operations phase riffing off the other players, figuring out how best to use our individual characters’ skills, and then watching it all come together in the adventures that followed. Sean isn’t afraid of big games and big ideas, and this may be his best yet. I can’t wait to back, buy, and run it myself!”

Shane Lacy Hensley (Code Name: BUBBLES), veteran author and game designer, creator of Savage Worlds®, CEO Pinnacle Entertainment Group

Freedom Squadron has many new features for Savage Worlds® fans. Written and designed by Sean Patrick Fannon (ShaintarSavage Rifts®), these are special rules both inspired by his previous work and brand new for this setting. These include:

    • Plans & Operations: A unique combination of core Savage Worlds® game play elements that allows players to engage in multiple missions and actions in an “action cinema montage” style. Intelligence gathering, tactical positioning, investigations, covert insertions, computer hacking—anything and everything special ops Commandos might do between their epic battles with VENOM and other enemies. Fast-paced, inclusive, and designed to feature all of a hero’s skills, the Plans & Operations rules are sure to enhance any Savage Worlds® game.

 

  • Vocation Frameworks and Specializations: Inspired and adapted from the character creation rules of Savage Rifts®, these allow the player to choose a starting package of skills and abilities that reflect their primary role in the team, while also gaining cool extra abilities rolled randomly from various interesting charts. This is all on top of the usual core Savage Worlds® character building process.
  • New Edges: like Fighting Style, Operational Planning, Qi Focus, Strange DNA, and the innovative Zone Specialist (allowing heroes to truly shine in various environments like Arctic, Mountain, or Sea Zones).
  • Skill Focuses, Gear Points, and much, much more!
Psi War Big Epic Game at Ghengis Con
Psi War Big Epic Game at Ghengis Con

Freedom Squadron for Savage Worlds®, is based on VENOM Assault®, the board game created by SpyGlass Games. Evil Beagle Games has worked with World Designer Michael Knight to not only bring the world to life, but to expand on it as well.

Supplemental gaming accessories not included. Final design subject to change.
Supplemental gaming accessories not included. Final design subject to change.

While VENOM Assault® is not required at all in order to immerse yourself in the world of Freedom Squadron, you can check out SpyGlass Games’ website to view many character bios and even purchase the game!

Pinnacle Entertainment Group has created one of the most popular game systems in the world with Savage Worlds®, specifically oriented towards pulp and cinema action experiences. Sean Patrick Fannon of Evil Beagle Games has worked with them for years, and is the mastermind behind Savage Rifts®. Creating Freedom Squadron for Savage Worlds® was never a question.

With Pinnacle’s new release of Flash Gordon™ the Roleplaying Game, featuring many new rules updates, Freedom Squadron® is completely up-to-date and represents the state-of-the-art for Savage Worlds® fans.

New To Savage Worlds?

If you’re new to the Savage Worlds® rules system, Freedom Squadron® does require the core rulebook to play. You can get it in print and PDF from Pinnacle’s website. Pinnacle Entertainment Group publishes and manufactures the Savage Worlds® rules book, and maintains this website.

“Freedom Squadron offers an RPG experience like no other. This game is bursting with nostalgic tropes and themes, added to the rock-solid gameplay of the Savage Worlds system. The Plans & Operations rules are an innovative mechanic that focuses the action right where it belongs: on your characters facing down VENOM. Freedom Squadron is the perfect way to take on the roles of an elite, highly-trained special mission force and go on exciting adventures in this fully-realized setting!” – Ross Watson (Code Name: SKIPPER), Product Line Manager Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay: Wrath & Glory; Lead Developer, Savage Rifts; Lead Writer/Designer, Accursed

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

Let’s call this what it is – 1980s GI Joe! The setup, the execution, the names, the file card feel of the bios, the art that’s reminiscent of Tim Seeley’s GI Joe comic work from a decade ago, it’s the feel of my youth and one of my favorite toy lines/cartoons. But, there’s one difference, this is going to be the best version of that era of GI Joe, it’s going to be your version and your stories. This is not to say this is an officially licensed GI Joe product, it’s not; instead, this RPG is based on the board game, VENOM Assault. Regardless of that, the concept will put you back in your childhood and wondering if you should crack open eBay and buy some figures.

But will it be a good Savage Worlds setting? Well, I think the answer to that question is Sean Patrick Fannon. I had the pleasure of roleplaying with Sean at AndoCon 2018 (read about it here). He’s excellent at his craft and he’s the lead designer and brand manager for Pinnacle Entertainment’s Savage Rifts and I’d say he’s the perfect project lead for Freedom Squadron, an individual who loves the craft and the content. His presence as lead designer gives this a big stamp of approval. [By the by, Sean’ll be on this list twice.]

 

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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The Dinosaur Protocol (for Savage Worlds) by Battlefield Press International
Ends on .

[Disclosure: One of this project’s stretch goals is “$3850 – Stretch Goal #2 – One Sheet Adventure by Egg Embry“.]

“A post-apocalyptic table top role playing game of adventure and discovery in the jungles and plains of a world grown wild and strange.

65 million years have separated the ages of man and dinosaur. Until now.

“Some time in the 21st Century, something broke the world. No one knows for sure what happened. Solar flares, war, global warming, pollution and environmental collapse, or perhaps a combination of all of them. Perhaps it was something much stranger. All we know is that mankind fled the surface, retreating into vast underground shelters where they could wait out the centuries until the earth was habitable once more. But when we emerged from the darkness and prepared to retake our world, it was not as we remembered it. Something had happened to the world that once was. In the centuries without man, nature wound back the clock, returning the planet to an earlier, cleaner, more primal age. An age of dinosaurs.

Now humanity must choose – do we fight to reclaim our past, or do we make peace with the present and embrace a simpler future? Armed with the skills and technologies of our ancestors, do we struggle to recreate former glories, or will we use the second chance we have been given to avoid the mistakes of the past? Will human nature even give us the choice? Will we exterminate the reborn dinosaurs, enslave them, or something else? What will be our Dinosaur Protocol?” – From the journals of Archivist Roebuck

Written for the award-winning Savage Worlds game engine by Chris Halliday and Jonathan M. Thompson, The Dinosaur Protocol is a game of mystery, exploration, discovery and adventure. Players take the role of explorers, scientists, scavengers, hunters and traders, trying to survive a world whose first masters have returned. Will they stay at home and build their settlement, or blaze new trails through the saurian jungles of a World Reborn? Will they extend the hand of friendship to other settlements, or war for valuable resources? Will they hunt the dinosaurs, or study them? Where did the dinosaurs come from, and what other mysteries lie hidden in the ruined cities, dense jungles and empty deserts? Just who – or what – else is out there?

The Dinosaur Protocol presents a bestiary of prehistoric life, rules for encountering, battling and wrangling dinosaurs, details on how to carve your own settlement from the primeval jungle, rules for scavenging ruined cities and ancient installations, and a guide to the World Reborn… everything you need to create your own Dinosaur Protocol campaign.

A post-apocalyptic table top role playing game of adventure and discovery in the jungles and plains of a world grown wild and strange for the Savage Worlds Game Engine.

Alternate campaign frameworks will include:

Blast to the Past: Something went wrong the day they tested the weapon, and the sky tore open. Now your hometown is millions of years in the past, and you and your neighbours must survive a world you never thought you’d encounter.

The Broken World: Time has shattered. Imperial Rome has mingled with modern Europe. Blood runs down the step pyramids of Mexico, and at the bottom of your street is a jungle that wasn’t there yesterday. A jungle from which thunderous footsteps and distant roaring can be heard…

On Safari: Time travel has allowed humanity to retrieve extinct species from the past, and correct some of our worst mistakes, but it’s expensive. Chronos Corp allows universities and research institutes access to their Deep Time stations, while paying customers and their guides hunt the most savage and successful creatures in history. But something has gone wrong at the station. They’ve lost contact with home, the power is failing, and there’s a horde of hungry raptors gathering beyond the security fence…

Inside the Triangle: It was supposed to be a holiday, time off in the sun to recover from the stresses and strains of modern life. Only something hit the plane and now you’ve come down near an island that doesn’t show up on any map, populated by creatures that should have been dead for millions of years. Can you survive, let alone find a way home?

The New World: When scientists discover a crack in time leading to the distant past of a nearby timeline, it seemed like a gift from the gods, a means to escape an overcrowded world strangling to death on pollution. Now you and your family are pilgrims exploring a frontier like no other, building a new life in a primal land. But the factions and pressures of the old world may just have followed you here, and you no longer know who you can trust.

Cover Image is “Laelaps” by Charles Knight”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

[Disclosure: One of this project’s stretch goals is “$3850 – Stretch Goal #2 – One Sheet Adventure by Egg Embry“. You have been warned twice now. 😉 ]

Per the disclaimer, this project inspires me. For this action RPG, let’s strip out the need for superpowers, mutants, supernatural monsters, aliens, gods, magic, and made-up weapons, and get back to the reason we build homes in communities – Humanity vs Nature [in this scenario, Dinosaurs]. The idea of co-existing with the Earth’s apex predators is going to be the fuel for great battles at the gaming table! With the focus on the thunder lizards, expect all of the tools you’ll need to make your table Jurassic role-play as you tell stories of living in a world where humanity is an appetizer!

Oh, and Jonathan M. Thompson, co-creator on this project, loves him some dinosaurs and Savage Worlds! This is your chance to partake in his dinosaur love and see how well it will fit with the Savage Worlds rule set!

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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Savage Tokusatsu: Kaiju, Mechs, and Heroes for Savage Worlds by BPB Games
Ends on Fri, April 13 2018 11:59 AM EDT.

“Transforming heroes, kaiju running amok, giant robots versus the monster of the week, and more built for the Savage Worlds rule set.

Tokusatsu is the Japanese word for any live action movie or television show that makes heavy use of special effects. The word’s literal translation is “Special Filming.”

Even if you aren’t familiar with the word itself, you are familiar with the works that fall under its umbrella. Giant, lizard-like kaiju that breathe atomic energy, quirky teens that transform into superheroes to fight against aliens from the moon, and giant robots going blow for blow with one another are all fundamental works within the genre of tokusatsu.

Savage Tokusatsu is a game built from the ground up specifically for the Savage Worldsroleplaying game. Within the pages of this softcover book are new rules and character options to help you capture the feel of any tokusatsu story in the collaborative storytelling experience that is tabletop roleplaying.

You can be the transforming team of heroes working together to control a giant mech simultaneously. You can play the desperate humans trying to halt the advance of an unstoppable monster that towers above skyscrapers. All this and more is possible with Savage Tokusatsu.

Savage Tokusatsu is a Savage Worlds supplement with approximately 100 pages of new content to help you take your game from mundane to kaiju-sized.

It contains:

  • Frameworks to represent the diversity of the many transforming heroes genres of tokusatsu.
  • New Edges that encourage an even greater degree of cooperation and teamwork amongst teammates.
  • New Hindrances that capture the feel of youthful characters trying to find their way in the world.
  • Multiple new Optional Rules to help you capture the specific feel of whatever genre of tokusatsu you seek to emulate. Lighthearted action and grim, pessimistic horror are all just as welcome as the next.
  • An in-depth but highly intuitive system for designing iconic weaponry and suits of armorfor transforming heroes and special agents alike.
  • An in-depth but not intrusive system for designing challenging monsters for our more mechanically-inclined friends.
  • A simple Hero Tier system to help groups wishing to avoid Toughness Bloat work giant robots, kaiju, and normal-sized people into the same sessions.
  • A streamlined way to approach high Toughness creatures for groups looking to capture the durability and desperation of facing down skyscraper-sized beasts with a column of tanks.
  • Over 40 new statblocks including heroes, kaiju, monsters of the week, and big bads that give detailed examples for each type of playstyle.
  • full Plot Point Campaign for a light-hearted, transforming hero themed tokusatsu adventure with several Savage Tales.
  • High quality printing fulfilled with DriveThruRPG. The book will fit right in with your other 6.625″ x 10.25″ Savage Worlds books on the bookshelf!
  •  A collaborative system for creating and controlling a shared pilot mech.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

Giant robots vs giant monsters using Savage Worlds! This is going to be big, dumb, action fun and I can’t wait for it! Want to test it out? They have a free test drive here. Add to that Sean Patrick Fannon’s second appearance on this list, this time as a guest writer for the project… which makes sense since he’s the lead designer for Pinnacle Entertainment’s Savage Rifts and he will bring the giant personalities this game needs to compete with its mechs and leviathans!

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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

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

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

 

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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!

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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 onFacebook (Egg Embry) or on Google Plus (+Egg Embry).

10 Questions about the Capers RPG with Craig Campbell (NerdBurger Games)

During AndoCon 2018 in Atlanta, I had the pleasure of playing Craig Campbell’s GM-less RPG, Die Laughing. Craig supervised (and Tweeted) some of the best moments from this horror-comedy-movie romp in which the point is to die onscreen hilariously and come back as… a movie producer! It’s a fun party game on the lighter side of RPG. During the con he also discussed another RPG gem (for which he’s running a Kickstarter), CAPERS.

EGG EMBRY – Craig, thanks for talking CAPERS RPG here. What’s it about?

CRAIG CAMPBELLCAPERS is a superpowered game of gangsters in the Roaring Twenties. You play gangsters and bootleggers looking to make your fortunes. Alternatively, you can portray members of law enforcement looking to bring these criminals to justice. Either way, you have superpowers!

 

EGG – What inspired the idea of superpowered gangsters?

CRAIG CAMPBELL – It started as wanting to make a supers game but not one set in the modern day. There are plenty of RPGs that do that. So I want looking into history. After trying a few ideas on, I settled into the 1920s, a period I find fascinating. As I worked on the game, it became apparent to me that I wasn’t designing a supers game, not really. And it certainly wasn’t a superHEROES game. I was designing a gangster game where the gangsters happen to have powers. That realization informed every design decision I made moving forward.

EGG – I talked about your GM-less, comedy RPG, Die Laughing, in the opening of this article. How different will CAPERS RPG be from that experience?

CRAIG CAMPBELL – Well, they’re both RPGs. Beyond that, they’re pretty different. CAPERS is a more traditional RPG. A bunch of players portraying characters with a GM guiding everything. You can play one shots or a campaign. There’s character advancement and rewards. Recurring antagonists and exploration of themes and tropes over a period of time. Die Laughing is a GM-less, short-play story game that’s designed to be run as a one-shot. It’s also much funnier and laced through with exaggeration, hyperbole, and a self-awareness of horror movie tropes.

 

EGG – Do you think The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults would have been better with booby-traps?

CRAIG CAMPBELL – For sure. That said, it would have been better if there had been ANYTHING in the vault. Anything at all.

EGG – Ha! True, true, true!

Moving on, as the publisher, can you highlight one pledge level/backer reward from that campaign that you think is the standout for CAPERS RPG?

CRAIG CAMPBELL – I love all my babies equally. That said, the Jacks and Jills level is the “super-fan” level. All the PDFs. A book and CAPERS themed deck of playing cards shipped to you. You get to create an NPC who fills an important role in the game. And the illustration for this NPC is your likeness, appearing both in the book and on one of the jacks in the playing card deck.

 

EGG – I love getting to participate in the game with a NPC. Very cool reward!

Tell us a little about you, what was the game that changed you into a gamer?

CRAIG CAMPBELL – D&D was my first RPG experience, specifically a Ravenloft game (which is poetic since I’m a horror movie fan). I played a bunch of RPGs throughout college, not just D&D. I think it was that experience as a whole that transformed me into a gamer, knowing that there were so many different games and getting a chance to play a bunch of them.

EGG – What prompted you to create NerdBurger Games?

CRAIG CAMPBELL – I had been freelancing for D&D (along with a little Pathfinder, Gamma World, and Iron Kingdoms) for several years. As Wizards of the Coast ramped down D&D 4E and started playtesting 5E, my freelancing started to dry up. So like a sucker, I decided to try to make my own RPG. That became Murders & Acquisitions and the beginning of NerdBurger Games.

 

EGG – As a Kickstarter veteran, what have you learned from your prior gaming Kickstarters?

CRAIG CAMPBELL – Kickstarters are a lot of work. People told me that before the first one. I said, “yeah, yeah, mine is a little game and I probably won’t even get that many backers.” Eight months later, after the Kickstarter and the publishing/fulfillment stages took up a significant amount of my free time, I understand. Now I understand.

EGG – What other projects are you currently developing?

CRAIG CAMPBELL – Die Laughing is the big one. It’s likely to be the next RPG from NerdBurger Games. I’m also tinkering with a very simple RPG that parents and kids can play together. And I have an idea for a sort of, kind of science fiction-ish game that takes place during an apocalypse that features an interesting twist.

EGG – Any parting thoughts? Where can we find out more about CAPERS RPG and NerdBurger Games?

CRAIG CAMPBELL – Thanks so much for having me do this interview. And thanks to all the people who have backed CAPERS so far. I hope to be able to say that to many more people in the coming days. You can learn more about my game stuff at NerdBurgerGames.com. On Twitter, I’m @NerdBurgerCraig. You can buy stuff at DriveThruRPG.com, but check the CAPERS Kickstarter first. M&A is an add-on there. So if you like both games, you can get a sweet deal.

 

You can find out more about the campaign here – CAPERS.

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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).

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links to DriveThruRPG.com and Amazon.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).

9 Questions about Era: The Empowered with Ed Jowett (Shades of Vengeance)

Superhero. RPG. Kickstarter. I’m talking to Ed Jowett of Shades of Vengeance about his superpowered RPG, Era: The Empowered campaign.

EGG EMBRY – Ed, thanks for joining me, as always. What’s Era: The Empowered about?

ED JOWETT – Thanks very much, it’s a pleasure to be back!

Era: The Empowered is an epic RPG which tells the story of the emergence of superheroes – Empowered – on a world called Terra.

Rather than offering only one scenario within the setting, the game’s timeline follows through 10 years, providing access to every sub-genre of superhero story you could want. For example, at the start, the first telltale signs of Empowered appear and vigilantes emerge to fight the supervillains who rise up. Following that, Atlantis’s forces rise from the ocean to attack the surface. Next, the supervillains and superheroes form groups to fight the larger threats to their goals. When the Old Gods of legend return and claim part of the planet as their domain, Empowered have to choose whether to try to fight them back or join them. When that threat is destroyed, the Assassins’ Guild begins to target Empowered individuals, attempting to eliminate them all, one by one. Before long, the UN supports the formation of the “Empowered Department”, a superhero police force which reports to them and operates in every country of the world. And, finally, the planet is attacked by a huge, extra-terrestrial force named “The Hunger”, which seeks to wipe out all Empowered on Terra.

That is Era: The Empowered – it’s a game designed to let you play any type of superhero game you like, just by choosing where in the timeline the characters exist!

 

EGG – This isn’t your first foray into the world of The Empowered. How did your “Tales of the Empowered” anthology influencing this RPG?

ED JOWETT – Actually, it’s my third foray into the world of The Empowered!

A little over two years ago, I created the Rulebook Primer for the game, which ran a successful Kickstarter Campaign. In fact, if you search Kickstarter for “Era: The Empowered”, you’ll find that project, which is long since closed. That book had an older style of artwork and didn’t include character creation rules or any of the history. I always intended to do more, and it’s taken me 3 years to get everything together for that book alongside the other projects I’ve been doing.

The Tales of the Empowered Anthology was devised thanks to the Kickstarter “Make100” initiative. They ask you to make 100 of something, as a limited reward on the Kickstarter.

I chose to offer 100 people the chance to add their own superhero to the Era: The Empowered universe. I took submissions from various backers, and we formed the “Tales of the Empowered” anthology from the stories we wrote for those people, plus the stories which had been written during the three years of development but weren’t going to make it into the Core Rulebook.

It’s come out very nicely, and makes a rather nice anthology. I’ve already sent it to backers and the physical version is about to go to print, well ahead of schedule.

So, the answer is that Tales of the Empowered isn’t influencing this RPG, it’s effectively filling in extra Empowered and describing what they were doing during the various events that take place throughout the timeline. There are many more Empowered than could possibly be featured in the main storyline I described above, and this was my way to include a few of them!

EGG – You’ve written a variety of comics. Which ones co-exist with Era: The Empowered and what inspired them?

ED JOWETT – The comics are either related to Era: The Consortium or Era: The Empowered. They tell a few extra stories which, again, we didn’t want or need to put in the Core Rulebook.

We wanted to expand the universe further – we really love these characters and the universe – and this was a fantastic opportunity to do so!

So far, there’s Lacuna, Blue-Shift and Penumbra #1 and #2 in the Empowered universe.

In fact, Blue-Shift is just running its own Kickstarter [ https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sovcomics/blue-shift-frenemies?ref=ewlorb ], and has passed multiple Stretch Goals!

Each of these comics is linked to the others and also to the timeline we use in the Core Rulebook. They feature one of the major characters from the game, exploring an aspect of their origin. In the case of Lacuna and Blue-Shift, the comics look at the first time they fought supervillains, while Penumbra focuses on the stories of her various heists (she’s an Empowered thief, which one of your colleagues here wrote an article about previously: http://tesseraguild.com/kickstart-the-comic-penumbra-fear-the-bunny-lord/

While Penumbra is more light-hearted and the others are more “serious”, they all exist in the same universe.

 

EGG Era: The Empowered has a 5-year timeline. What are some of the other defining moments for the in-game history?

ED JOWETT – Well, I covered most of the main points above, although there are a few others.

The first time that heroes work together is when the main supervillain, “Harbinger”, traps them within a bubble universe. Lacuna, Penumbra and several others are forced to work together in order to escape this prison. Most of these individuals have never worked with anyone else before (although Lacuna and Penumbra have met during the events of the Lacuna #1 comic!) and the revelation that that is possible leads to some very interesting consequences…

The second one that springs to mind is the destruction of the robot supervillain, Hack. He’s not, in fact destroyed and, in the best traditions of Ultron, sits at the bottom of the ocean and self-repairs. While people on the surface consider his threat resolved – his creator even moves on to building a cyborg, which he hopes will be more stable! – he enters Atlantis and begins to destroy it. That’s the cause of the war between Atlantis and the surface world!

And one final event out of the timeline (although there are many, many more, of course!) is the realization of a character called Cecropia that when she kills another Empowered, she increases her own sound-based powers. When she finds out about the Hunger and the speed with which it is approaching, she takes over the Assassin’s Guild with one purpose: to eliminate all Empowered. That includes herself. She is going to save the world.

There are so many interesting events in this timeline, many of which have been contributed to by a 15-year veteran of comic writing, that I couldn’t possibly go into them all… but that’s a taster of just a few! If you want to know more, get hold of the book and immerse yourself in this rich, detailed story.

EGG – From a certain point of view, RPG was born of D&D, which could be seen as the celebration of fantasy England/Europe. From that same point of view, superhero comics tend to be the celebration of fantasy New York City/United States of America. Do you see Era: The Empowered through that prism or does it have its own niche within the superhero genre?

ED JOWETT – Honestly, I’ve never really thought about it in that light.

That said, the influences on the universe are going to be pretty clear: it’s a universe which has certain parallels to those of Marvel and DC – quite deliberately – with our own twists and turns within the story and the way it plays out.

We set out to create a superhero universe that was evocative of those, but told its own story and went its own way, both through the roleplaying game and the comics and stories which accompany it.

I’d like to believe that anyone can enjoy playing this, no matter their background, because whether fantasy, Sci-Fi or superheroes.

 

EGG – That brings up, who is your favorite superhero? And better yet, who is your favorite supervillain?

ED JOWETT – My favourite superhero is split between two, so I’m going to cheat!

Martian Manhunter is a fundamentally kind and good individual in most incarnations. You have to respect that from a person who is the last of their kind because their race was wiped out in a war. I also happen to love the possibilities involved with both telepathy and density shifting!

Iron Man is… well, we all know what he is. But, as is pointed out in the Avengers movie, what he is without the armour is *the guy who made the armour*. I respect intellect, and I always prefer someone who made themselves into what they are than someone who randomly had a mutation appear and their struggle is just about coming to terms with their nature. I like to imagine that people can change who and what they are, which I guess is the appeal there.

As for supervillains, it’s fairly clear, and follows the same sorts of lines for one of the classics: Dr Doom. “For those of superior intellect, words *are* weapons.” This guy is hated by everyone in the world, except for the population of the country he actually rules. He’s loved there, they have amazing living conditions and are, generally, extremely happy. There’s a duality in that which I find interesting – someone who will fight everyone else in the world, usually for very little obvious purpose (although Doom does always have a plan!), and yet is loved by his own people.

 

EGG – With Era: The Empowered, are their specifics for how to play a villain or a league of supervillains?

ED JOWETT – Absolutely, just as there are specifics for how to play heroes. Because, like most RPGs, it’s essentially a team game, you’ll often find yourself working with others, even if you aren’t officially a league.

In fact, one of our playtests involved two groups, where one played as the heroes and another played as the villains. After a couple of sessions, we all came together and had a big battle royale to see who was really superior! Great fun.

(The villains won. Obviously!)

 

EGG – How many Era settings have you developed? Do you have an idea of how many settings are yet to be born?

ED JOWETT – I have developed and released seven Era settings so far – Era: The Consortium, Era: Lyres, Era: The Empowered, Era: Survival, Era: Silence, Era: Hitman and Era: Balam.

I am currently working on a number more!

Era: The Chosen is a horror game, where creatures from another universe are invading ours and only a chosen few are able to see them. The game spans over 100 years of this war with the Anonassi, and sees development of technology from a renaissance level to a modern level, offering a few things we’ve not ever done before. Mechanically, of course, it also includes rules around terror and a descent into madness from the horrors you will experience in the Lost Lands!

Era: Atlantis is a game based around an underwater civilization, which is set upon by Humans from one side and great sea creatures from another. You’ll play as half-Human sea-life with various abilities, and a big part of the game will be appeasing your gods!

We’re working on several other games as well, which don’t yet have full titles, but there’s a High Fantasy game, which I ran a session of at a recent convention and was very well-received, a cyberpunk game where you’ll get the ability to do matrix-like reality manipulation, a JRPG-inspired game along the lines of Final Fantasy, and quite a few more.

In total, I currently have seven more Era games in development, not including expansions for Era: The Consortium or the game based on Richard Tongue’s Sci-Fi novels, Battlecruiser Alamo.

There’s a lot more to come from Shades of Vengeance, I think!

 

EGG – To that end, where can fans find out more about your Kickstarter and projects?

ED JOWETT – The best place is always our website, http://www.shadesofvengeance.com. Another good place is our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/shadesofvengeance/. For Era: The Empowered, we actually have a Facebook group, where daily posts are giving sneak peeks of stories, images and info about the book. If you’re not sure whether you want it, there’s no better place to learn more about Era: The Empowered! https://www.facebook.com/groups/eratheempowered/

Thanks very much for inviting me back, Egg, and I hope to speak with you again soon, about one of the other exciting projects we have coming up!

For more on Ed’s superpowered RPG Kickstarter, click here – Era: The Empowered.

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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).

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links to DriveThruRPG.com and Amazon.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 Comic – Transylvanian Knights Issue 1

Gothic Horror, Weird West, Steampunk… in my mind they are separate and yet they fit together in very satisfying ways within my mind. Because what is Steampunk about, if not the horror of the past and the future fighting without any idea of exactly what will be left behind.

Plus, I’m a sucker for these other stories of Dracula…

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Transylvanian Knights Issue 1

Published by Comichaus

Writer/Co-Creator – James McCulloch

Artist/Co-Creator – Jonny Cannon

Letterer – Robin Jones

Design – Gavin Boyle

Editor – Pete Genepool

Cover by Jonny Cannon and Gavin Boyle

Kickstarter Campaign ends on Sunday, February 18, 2018 at 12:00 PM EST.

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The Pitch:

The 40-page first issue featuring classic characters from Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker in an all-new horror adventure.

The Story:

10 years after the vampire war, Transylvania is yet again under threat from Count Dracula, but as General Van Helsing hunts down the Count, two weary circus performers stumble onto a secret that could change everything.

Coming from a love of old monster movies, James McCulloch and Jonny Cannon come together to take the classic characters Count Dracula, Van Helsing, Frankenstein’s Monster and the Wolfman on a new adventure.

John’s Thoughts:

From the preview pages… it just feels like something right out of the old Marvel Monster books. I actually have a couple of them on my shelf (the black and white phone book sized ones) and what I see makes me think this could slide right alongside of those and feel right at home.

These pages begin to paint a picture of the history of this world. Of an ever-vigilant Van Helsing who cannot rest until he finds Dracula. And so while everyone sleeps, he becomes the soldier on the wall… waiting for his nemesis to return.

And now it seems he might have.

The Rewards:

40 pages of adventure horror for the low digital price of $1.39… that seems like a deal in and of itself. You can also get the print version for only $7. Moving to some of the higher values (which end at the $69 level) are original pieces of art from the comic itself (limited to 20 total backers at this level).

The Verdict:

It is a very modest goal needing only about $20 at the time of this writing. Mostly it has the feel of something that if you are into Dracula and how those characters could/would have continued onward from their last stories, then this might be the answer you are looking for.

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To find out more about Transylvanian Knights, check them out here.

***

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.

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

 

Steampunk Fridays – Looking Forward Back

 

I started doing this series of blog posts at the beginning of July. My thinking was two-fold:

1 – Check out who might be producing Steampunk comics.

Obviously, I write a Steampunk comic (The Gilded Age), so I’m already interested in the genre. However, aside from the DC covers they did that one month or something else random to come out which might mimic the ascetics, I really didn’t know what other indy creators might be doing within the genre.

2 – Help potentially spread the word for those creators.

Comics should be this thing where we are always helping each other up. And if I like something why wouldn’t I try to get another person to like it?

3 – Content for the blog.

Some weeks are easier than others to figure out a topic. This really gave me a direction that the Wednesday blog sometimes doesn’t have (which I like the free-form, but this is focused – or as focused as I’m going to get).

4 – See what was successful for other Kickstarters (especially those in the Steampunk realm).

As I was pretty sure I’d be kicking off a Kickstarter sometime in the Fall, this was an excuse to start to drill down and see what might be working and what wasn’t. Looking at the pages for how they were laid out, the various Reward levels, and just the level of artwork on the page. I took notes of what I liked and what I didn’t like.

So if you missed any of the weeks, here’s a handy recap of 2017!

Interviews

Interview with Ken Reynolds

Ken Reynolds is the creator of the comic Cognition: a comic where the lead characters are a clockwork and an evil rat who stop supernatural entities.

And if your brain didn’t begin dripping from your ears, you need to check this out.

Seriously, the comic is all sorts of cool.

Interview with the Creators of Arcane Sally & Mr Steam

The team over at the Arcane Sally & Mr. Steam comic are clearly doing something with their Steampunk… Ghost Story… Victorian supernatural action-adventure… Love Story?

Interview with the Creator of Hinges

What I wrote in the introduction still holds true:

There are moments when you start reading a comic and you just know there is something about it which speaks to you. And maybe you don’t understand every little thing which has been set out in front of you… maybe those are the things you’ll figure out on a reread. But when you lock in, that’s all it takes.

When I sat down to check out some Steampunkish comics a couple of weeks ago and came across Hinges by Meredith McClaren, I thought I’d read a few pages and move on with my life.Bauble and Orio had other plans for me.

Bauble and Orio had other plans for me.

Interview with the Creator of The Legend of Everett Forge

Everett Forge is in the mold of many of those same Westerns. He’s clearly a man on a mission to destroy Omega’s entire livelihood. He’s a myth, a ghost story the Robots tell each other at night – make sure you lube all your joints of Everett Forge will get you.

Interview with the Creator of Boston Metaphysical Society

Take the X-Files, set it in an alternate history of Boston, and force the characters to have to deal with a different set of social mores and expectation than we deal with today. BMS has run a handful of successful Kickstarters (and have 6 issues collected in their trade), so you are going to get your full story.

The Gilded Age Interviews

As part of my month-long Gilded Age Kickstarter campaign, I collected the various interviews I’d conducted with much of the team over the previous year. There are still a couple of people left to talk to… it’s on the to do list.

Interview with the Creator of Monstrous

Monstrous stems from a lifelong fascination with monster movies and their misunderstood heroes.  Even when they’re completing evil, monsters are always the most compelling thing about the stories they occupy.  I’ve always loved the Universal Studios monsters and Ghostbusters and the Hammer Studios movies.  I threw all of those influences together with plots from John Wayne westerns in this strange steampunk hybrid. Monstrous is like all of these things I’ve loved for years having a party together.

Interview with one of the Creators of The Jekyll Island Chronicles

The Jekyll Island Chronicles is a graphic novel adventure series blending historical fact with heavy doses of alternate history and adventure. Book One, The Machine Age War, opens the story in the days following The Great War – a time when a brief glimmer of peace and hope quickly fades as a cryptic organization moves to threaten fragile governments and their people with a campaign of chaos and terror. 

 

 

Kickstart the Comic

Word Smith

This was the first of the series, focusing on Victoria who crafts words. Through the use of this magic, she is able to affect the world around her. This Kickstarter ended up funding, and I have my digital copy!

Imaginary Voyages of Edgar Allan Poer #1 KS Exclusive

Edgar Allan Poe has lost everyone he ever loved and now he is losing his mind. Haunted by his wife’s ghost and his many literary failures, the poet tumbles into a fantastical world created by his genius…and his madness. This world called Terra Somnium is a nightmare region that merges his macabre literary creations and mythological gods and monsters of old, all hell-bent on stopping him from escaping the land of dreams.

This Kickstarter funded and I believe the second issue was funded as well, so if you missed them, keep an eye out for issue 3.

The Invention of EJ. Whitaker

This was a case where the Kickstarter was long over, but I still wanted to shine a little light on the project. In fact, I need to reach out to the creators about an interview I’ve been promised!

When Ada Turner, a young Inventor’s apprentice, creates a flying machine in 1901, she’s introduced to the dangerous side of the Industrial Age.

Blood & Dust Volume 2

The Old West is really that last bastion before the industrial revolution kicks into high gear. But there is plenty of bleed between the two areas, the same as Steampunk and Weird West style stories. That Gothic Horror feel of monsters being in a place where, by all rights, they should not be. And whether it is a Steampowered invention needing to put the darkness back in its place or the sidearm of a cowboy – it feels all connected even if it isn’t a 100% match of genres all the time.

The Death Defying #1

Arthur Conan Doyle & Harry Houdini.

The writer and the magician.

They were once the best of Friends.

When their friendship went to hell, 

The world wasn’t very far behind.

Stoker and Wells – The Graphic Novel

In 1894 London, a 20-something H.G. Wells and a 40-something Bram Stoker meet and have a very unexpected 48-hour adventure that leads to the creative inspiration for both writer’s first great success – THE TIME MACHINE for Wells and DRACULA for Stoker.  It is not only a thrilling, scary, fun, and beautifully drawn adventure tale, but also a story about putting aside fear and insecurity and stepping into your true identity.

Kickstart the Game

1879 London Adventure and Sourcebook

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.

Westbound: Revolvers and Rituals

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.

Game Reviews

Space: 1889

As I said in the breakdown of the RPG Quickstart rules: Take the best parts of John Carter, Warlord of Mars, a mix of the crazy-fun science fiction of Jules Verne and HG Wells, and top it off with some of the pulp stories from the 30’s and 40’s about adventures on other planets (before pesky real science ruined it for everyone). The Imperial nations of Europe decided to look to the stars to appease their appetites for materials for Queen and Country (or Kaiser and Country as the case may be).

Other

5 Steampunk Movies You Should Watch

As I was coming up with this list of 5 Steampunk movies, I had to admit that there aren’t as many as you might think there are considering the number of costumes I see posted all over the web (or at conventions like Dragon Con). The following aren’t necessarily the best, but these are ones who contribute in their own way to the genre.

Short Film – Eye of the Storm

This is a music video. This is a short film. This is amazing looking.

The story centers around a sky captain making his way across the sky, making peace with what came before and steadying himself on what may come next. Accompanied by a large dog-sized dragon, he sees the green glow just past an oncoming storm and must make his decision on how to deal with it. Whether he should avoid it or push through to the other side.

Batman: Gotham by Gaslight

With the trailer for the animated movie debuting, I thought it was more than time to give a little focus on a Batman related Steampunk story… that I have not read as of yet. Share in the story of my failure…

Gears and Cogs

A few of the things that had caught my eye over that week: Draw with Jazza, They are Billions (video game), and Brass Empire (card game).

***

I’m looking forward to even more this next year!

***

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.

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

 

In the Future, Retread the Past

We come to the beginning of the year and with it a chance to reflect on the previous year’s accomplishments and failures and set those goals for the following year. Every year I set out goals, but manage to only hit a small portion of what I had planned for the coming year. Sometimes the reasons are other projects which suddenly demanded my attention and other times it is a time squeeze or not managing my time just right or perhaps I’m setting my goals too high?

The thing is that each of these projects are like open boxes in my mind. If I’m not careful I’ll continue to open new boxes… which is great! However, if you never close any of the boxes, that can be worse than not having them in the first place.

2018 has to be about closing boxes so that new boxes can be worked on. And a big piece of that puzzle was actually accomplished late last year with the Gilded Age Kickstarter funding. Shutting the box (completing the graphic novel) doesn’t mean I’m finished with the Gilded Age, but instead means I have something I can point at and feel that sense of accomplishment we all get when we complete those large tasks.

The Look Back – 2017

Reviewing my previous to-do list is a little depressing because I can feel the frustration of my previous self. 2017 was to be the end of this “5-year plan” where… well I don’t exactly know what it is I was expecting.

The White Effect

I have one more path for this book before I do self-publish it. I entered it into the Angry Robot open submissions during the holidays. One way or another this must become a box that gets closed.

Edge of the World

Not much movement here. I still need to finish my self-edit. I would still like to send out query letters.

S.O.U.L. Mate

Above, I mentioned that having too many open boxes is better than the alternative, but in this case, the old Writer’s Block came to visit me. It was surprising considering I had the book outlined out… until I realized I didn’t have parts of it outlined out… and that brought me to a screeching halt.

The Gilded Age

This is where I can pat myself (and all those who supported the Kickstarter) on our collective backs. After helping out on the Route 3 Kickstarter, I was both excited and worried about launching my own. But when I finally pulled the trigger… it was even more nerve-wracking than I would have thought!

Regardless, this is a big success, and I’m looking forward to holding the trade in my hands.

Veronica Mars Novella 2

This was published earlier in the year and somewhat showed me that everything is timing. When the Kindle Worlds had just launched, we were pretty much ready with the 1st novella… and while it didn’t break the bank, it was a consistent seller, a handful here or there every month. This novella was released a couple of years later. There wasn’t a new book or movie or really much in the way of Veronica Mars news, and the sales of both books prove that out.

I’m still extremely happy to have published the story.

Short Stories

This was a very nebulous one and I did finish up a couple of stories, but they are still on the hard drive, so maybe I’ll give myself half credit.

Blogging

Another success story in that I still didn’t miss a week (though I came close a couple of times), but the other aspect was to be a little more focused with the Kickstart the Comic series or the Behind the Comic series… and I think I did a better job of it. My blog is probably still a little too scattered, but I like that.

Plus, I also launched a second blog over the summer in Steampunk Fridays… and let me tell you it is both a blessing and a curse to have a focused blog. Sometimes it means you have plenty of things to write about, interviews to run, reviews, or Kickstarters, and other times there is next to nothing happening. Very feast or famine.

I took the last couple of weeks off for the holidays, but I’m hoping to keep at it in the coming year.

Looking Ahead to 2018

What are my goals this year? How about forward motion on closing those open boxes? How about opening new boxes? How about publishing another book? How about selling books at conventions?

How about a little of all those bits and pieces? Things I’d like to work on in the coming year:

The Gilded Age

The White Effect

The Edge of the World

S.O.U.L. Mate

The Crossing

Ravensgate

Short Stories

The Next Big Idea for a Novel Series

Hollow Empire Season 2

You Must Be This Tall To Ride

Entropy

Lightning

The blog(s)

Something I didn’t even have an idea was on the horizon

I want to be excited by the paths I choose. I want to have some success. I want to get the books into people’s hands and have them love the ride.

So what are you doing this year?

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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.

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