Adventures in Middle-Earth 5e Play Review – The First Journey

The point of this series – a play review for Cubicle 7’s Adventures in Middle-earth for 5e – has been covered here, making my character, a Hobbit Scholar, has been discussed here, the character backstories ran here, and John McGuire shares the backstory for his character, Finn of Gondor, here, so with this column let’s get into the first meeting, the first job, and the first Journey where I discuss some of the Journey mechanics that AiME adds to the existing Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition system (labeled “FIRST JOURNEY” if you wish to skip ahead).

Our Loremaster is Mike and our fellowship consists of:

  • Gwynnestri of Mirkwood (often shortened to Gwynn). An elven Treasure Hunter (read, Rogue). Player: Rebecca
  • Kort, the Hushed, son of Korith, son of Hoin. A mute dwarven Slayer (read, Barbarian). Player: Stephen
  • Finn of Gondor. A 17-year-old human Wanderer (read, Ranger) with several possible backstories. Player: John McGuire (Tessera Guild)
  • Robgud Clarfield (often shortened to Rob). A Hobbit Scholar (read, Cleric). Player: Egg Embry (Tessera Guild)

Despite using this image, the journey we’re on is from the mind of our Loremaster, Mike, and not taken from Cubicle 7’s work.

 

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FIRST MEETING

The story opens five years after the Battle of the Five Armies with our characters, largely unknown to each other, arrived in Esgaroth (Lake-town) for various reasons when Mike (Loremaster/DM) has Gwynn enter the inn. The cliche start to any campaign.

To understand the dynamic of this scene let me share that we’re playing online via Google Hangouts. Upon entering the busy serving room, Gwynnestri spots Kort, the mute dwarf that saved her life. She goes over to “speak” to him when the challenge of playing a mute character online comes up. If you’ve ever had a speech delayed, or mute, individual in your life, you know that communication is paying attention to subtle, and not so subtle, body language. To Stephen’s credit, he worked to create Kort in that space. However, what would be easy to bounce off of and react to if we were playing around a table becomes a concentration challenge online. Until you click on his window at the bottom of the screen, Hangouts cycles around to whoever is talking, which is not the mute character. If you don’t have his screen up, you lose the nuance of his performance and small moments when his character is “speaking”. However, keeping his window up all of the time means you lose out on the visuals of the other players and, especially, the Loremaster who screen shares maps to help with visualizing the settings. It’s a minor issue, but an impact to our play.

If you’ve roleplayed or written a novel/script before, you know that first scene, that first interaction, really sets the tone of your character. Rebecca decided to play Gwynnestri like no elf in Tolkien’s world, instead playing a take-no-guff heavy in the vain of a non-evil version of Marton Csokas’ Quinn from Into the Badlands (a show she’s never seen), or Stephen Amell’s season one Green Arrow from Arrow (not the Oliver character, but the violence-is-solution Arrow). Why did she go that route? Stick with me on this, my dice rolls for D&D combat can be summed up in the term, “apocalyptic”. As I’ve hinted, if my character had an oar, he’d miss water in the ocean. Prior to this campaign, every time Rebecca played a D&D character, it was a butcher. Lowest result? 19 with max damage. You know that player, they don’t participate in group combat, instead they lead the slaughter of wings of great wyrms while the rest of the party stays out of their way. My rolls are bad, but her rolls are the counter, they’re amazing. As such, she can play the violent hero because the dice let her stand tall.

Jolly Blackburn (Kenzer & Co) and Kevin Siembieda (Palladium Books) have *the* character talk. Used with permission from Jolly.

 

INTERLUDE

Rebecca and I played a D&D Adventure League game at Momo Con 2018. We were both 1st level but half of the group (8ish players) were 4th level and the encounters were a bit heavier for us. I, of course, missed everything. Rebecca was playing a 1st level halfling rogue. Her rogue killed… half or three-quarters of the monsters we encountered by herself. The 4th level characters had to defer to her. My session was: “Hey, this is my third CRIT failure in a row… I’m out of weapons to break or drop…” Her session was: “… and you rolled *another* NAT 20! With max damage! That’s another dead lizardfolk! There’s only a dozen left, do you want to charge by yourself or wait for the other players to join the fight? You’ll charge on ahead? Ok. Oh, another NAT 20. Should we just roll damage for fun?”

END INTERLUDE (Hopefully the relevance of the above Jolly/Kevin meme is clear.)

 

Back to surly Gwynnestri meeting mute Kort. It was the first scene of the campaign and one character is meant to be angry, the other quiet, and the scene was dying like casting Tyler Mane’s Sabertooth as Hamlet talking to Teller (of Penn &…) as Yorick. To save it, Mike interjected Robgud Clarfield, Hobbit, who I’d decided to assign a terrible English drawl. The accent I’m affecting is like someone based their English-English on the early punk singing voice of Billie Joe Armstrong when he was influenced by Brit punk but still from California. Shortest individual in the room, I play Rob as the sun rising in the morning on a world of good possibilities. While my counterparts… do not. So there’s a third Shakespearean character and it’s like English Pee Wee Herman. It turns out, that combination of characters was not meant to have deep philosophical talks so the deus ex machina… er, nobleman’s agent enters to offer us a chance to apply for a job.

 

NOTE: I should have stated this earlier, this is an original campaign and NOT a pre-made module. This is all from the head of our Loremaster, Mike. So, despite using the Mirkwood Campaign image above, this is not taken from that (so far as I know. I haven’t read the campaign book so I can approach this fresh).

 

FIRST JOB

We arrive at the noble home of Lord Haldeer. During the job offer we meet, and are paired with, Finn of Gondor, John’s character, a quiet 17-year-old done up in armor. The lord asks us to travel to Sadaphsan to search his ancestral family castle for heirlooms so he might learn more of his family’s history and why they moved from there to Lake-town hundreds of years gone by. We’re offered 1,000 silver pennies (is that a lot in AiME? I cannot say… yet) each for a trek of 150 to 175 miles. In terms of hooks, it’s not as hokey as finding a map leading to a dungeon and treasure, but it’s close. We pack a month-and-a-half’s worth of supplies and head out from Esgaroth along the river into Mirkwood.

FIRST JOURNEY

Our first Journey is from Lake-town to the Hall of the Elven King of Mirkwood to gain said King’s permission to travel through the whole of said realm to the foothills to the north. If you’ve read the Adventures in Middle-earth rules, you’ll know that a big difference between Dungeons & Dragons 5e and AiME is the Journey System. Unlike 5e, AiME has a specific set of phases for travel. These phases, and a change to the Long Rest system that we’ll cover in another post, create a palatable difference between 5e and AiME. In a Journey, there are four jobs that must be done during travel – Guide, Hunter, Look-out, and Scout – that have to be filled and rolled for at different points during the trip. We assigned the roles as follows:

  • Kort, the Hushed, a Slayer, was assigned the Hunter position.
  • Gwynnestri of Mirkwood, Treasure Hunter, ended up as our Scout.
  • Robgud Clarfield, a Hobbit Scholar, ended up as the Guide.
  • Finn of Gondor, a 17-year-old human, took the Look-out assignment.

Thus begins the first Journey. The Loremaster determines the Journey’s Peril Rating based on how difficult the terrain should be. Then the Guide (my character) rolls a d12 plus modifiers against the Embarkation Table. I rolled the maximum, which was a red letter day for me! We got Auspicious Beginnings, which made the journey easy. As well, we received a bonus on our next roll for the Journey Events Table, and Advantage on our first roll once we encountered something related to said table.

For the Journey Events Table, the Loremaster rolls a d12 and adds modifiers. In this case, we reached the middle result, The Wonders of Middle-earth, which gave us a chance to remove a level or Exhaustion or gain one. However, since the journey had been light, this had no impact on us. That said, we rolled well and gained a +1 to our Guide’s Arrival Roll.

For our encounter, we ran into an elven guard. Gwynn, being the elf, was put forward to talk to him. She did and then rolled her Persuasion with Advantage. The result was high and the elven guard turned out to be Adabeuond, who was Gwynnestri’s friend, and he guided us right in where we saw the majesty of the elven realm. No exhaustion, no problems.

For the Arrival Roll… well, we did not get to the Arrival Roll. Why did we skip the Arrival Roll? Learning a new system can cause that kind of challenge, you just miss certain rules.

Regardless, our first Journey was complete. Using AiME’s Journey rules was a smashing success to the point that we had no idea what we were in for with the second Journey. Just none at all… [Next Friday]

 

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Cubicle 7 is taking pre-orders for Adventures in Middle-earth – Bree-land Region Guide + PDF on there site (here). As soon as you order, you get the PDF.

Logo taken from Bundle of Holding’s Adventures in Middle-Earth for D&D 5e offering.

 

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Read my anti-clickbait clickbait article: “Everything We Know About the LORD OF THE RINGS Prequel So Far“! Guaranteed to be clickbait-tastic!

 

Disclaimer: This article may contain affiliated links to DriveThruRPG’s affiliate program and/or Humble Bundle’s Humble Partner program. 

Everything We Know About the LORD OF THE RINGS Prequel So Far

By Egg Embry | September 21, 1937 | Honest!

 

Amazon has let it be known that its forthcoming Tolkien series will be a prequel to JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. While looking for information about this prequel, reporters at the Tessera Guild unearthed a treasure trove of information when they contacted the Tolkien estate, who directed us to a prequel novelization.

While we cannot be assured of the name of the Amazon series, the novel is titled, The Hobbit. Based on the book, some of the characters in the story will be familiar to fans of The Lord of the Rings as it features a younger version of Gandalf who recruits one of the minor characters from LotRs, Bilbo Baggins (Frodo Baggins’ uncle), to thieve. There are dwarves. A mountain described as “lonely”. A dragon, which sounds like they’re already desperate to capture the Game of Thrones audience. After reading the novel, it is quite an unexpected journey.

The only thing that would be more unexpected is a clickbait article purporting to know anything about a series that has yet to be screenplayed. Yet, I’ve seen a variety that do just that.

Writer’s Note: “Screenplayed” is not a word. Which is ok, because this is not an article full of affiliate links to Amazon… er… well, it is that. Speculative clickbait articles that use the term “know” in the title imply factual knowledge instead of the specious fanboy wish fulfillment that they always turn out to be. As a site, if you’re desperate to write an article about something new and Tolkien, might I recommend interviewing publisher Cubicle 7 about their tabletop roleplaying game, Adventures in Middle-earth RPG for Dungeons & Dragons 5e. It’s new and Tolkien and excellent!

 

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliated links to Amazon’s affiliate program.

Adventures in Middle-Earth 5E Play Review – Character Backstory – Finn of Gondor

Egg Embry has been writing about the 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons campaign set in Middle Earth (by Cubicle 7) here and here and here. However, he hit a bit of a snag as either he wasn’t paying attention during the character introductions portion of the first adventure, or I made such a boring character that it has left no discernable impression on his aging mind. To spare my own ego, I’ll assume it was the latter. As such, he’s requested that I provide a backstory for my character Finn of Gondor.

But that would be too easy.

You see, I’m of the firm belief that you don’t really know your character until a few sessions into the game. Oh, you have an idea on what you want to play. Maybe it is why you picked the Race and/or Class. Or maybe you had a backstory already made up and wanted to use it to inform your characters actions. Or you might have a whole idea for a character arc in your mind and this is just step one out of twenty to get you to where you want to be.

With Finn, I’m still figuring certain things out about him. The things we know about him are that he is a 17-year-old human. The chain armor shirt he wears appears a little big on him (as does his clothes, his cloak, and probably his shoes as well). He’s quiet. Unsure of his place in the world and with the group. A group where being a human alongside a Hobbit, an Elf, and a Dwarf sorta makes him the odd one.

In game terms, he is a Wanderer (which for those who have ever played D&D would recognize as a Ranger). But this is someone who hasn’t learned everything he needs to know. The abilities that one gains as they rise in levels must feel earned (in my mind), so I’ve tried to have Finn make sure to study the other characters, whether it is in battle or hunting or tracking or anything else. His eyes are open, ready to soak in as much knowledge as possible. My hope is that since Adventures in Middle Earth is set up to have downtime between adventures (a Fellowship Phase), that I can grow with him as I learn more about the world through his eyes.

As to his backstory itself… well, I’m keeping parts of it close to the vest. So instead, I present 3 possible backstories:

Backstory 1

Finn of Gondor is the fourth son of a low level noble just outside of Palanir (the capital of Gondor). Two of his older brothers, upon coming of adulthood, have taken their place to watch for the Enemy along the border. While things had been somewhat quiet prior to the Battle of Five Armies (5 years ago), there has been more and more activity from the humanoid races.

Finn had a year to go before it was his turn to join them on the border when word had come back that his third brother, Colin, had died from a bandit attack while travelling to Lake Town. Finn’s father, Dervorin, unable to leave himself, was forced to send Finn to help establish connections and handle family business within Lake Town… which is what Finn was doing when he encounters the others.

Backstory 2

Finn of Gondor is not the fourth son of a low level noble just outside of Palanir (the capital of Gondor). He has no older brother. In fact, he has no siblings at all. His father is not Dervorin.

Finn of Gondor is the only son of a servant woman named Morwen, who works in the kitchens of Dervorin’s House. She has served the family as best she could over the years, and they have treated her well enough. Finn, when he wasn’t busy with his daily chores, spent his free time watching the sons of Dervorin learn the way of the sword and the bow. He watched them ride horses and was part of the hunting parties when such things were called for (where his duties consisted of trying to ensure no one’s thirst became too great).

He, like many others not born into wealth, dreams of something more than four gray stone walls and the livestock surrounding it. Finn wants to see the world. He doesn’t know what his purpose might be out there, but it has to be better than the one he was currently tied to.

His clothing, weapons, armor… all stolen from Dervorin’s House.

His mission in Lake Town… white lies to try and get him a leg up in the world… which is what Finn was doing when he encounters the others.

Backstory 3

Finn of Gondor is not the fourth son of a low level noble just outside of Palanir (the capital of Gondor). He has no older brother. In fact, he has no siblings at all. His father is not Dervorin.

Finn of Gondor is not the only son of a servant woman named Morwen, who works in the kitchens of Dervorin’s House.

Finn of Gondor is neither rich nor poor. He’s had no family and had a family of dozens.

Indeed, Finn is not even his real name…

A son of Gondor was killed by bandits, though whether he had three brothers or whether his father was named Dervorin… Finn of Gondor does not know. The bandits took Finn in a long time ago, took pity on him, and allowed him to stay with them for protection. They did things that he did not participate in, but he was as guilty since he didn’t leave. He didn’t know how he could.

And then the son of Gondor was killed by bandits. His armor and weapons and clothes just lying there… waiting for someone to claim them.

So Finn did.

He made his way to Lake Town in order to lose himself in the real world. Make something better than he had before… which is what Finn was doing when he encounters the others.

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So there you go… the backstories of Finn of Gondor. One of them is likely correct and the others falsehoods.

I’m not even sure which one is the true one just yet…

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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

Adventures in Middle-Earth 5e Play Review – Character Backstories

Cubicle 7’s Adventures in Middle-Earth for 5e Bundle of Holding (here) ends January 4th, 2019 at 10PM EST! This article is going up during its final hours. If you have not joined in, now’s the time!

Ends January 4th, 2019 at 10PM EST

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NOTE: This is my third article and my goal was to get through the character backstories and to the first journey. However, I’m over my word limit for this week so the first journey will be next week. Sorry about my poor planning.

TRIGGER WARNING: Discussions of torture and mutilation.

 

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I’ve given my initial reasons for writing a play review of Cubicle 7’s Adventures in Middle-Earth (for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition), I’ve touched on my character creation for the campaign, that leaves the character backstories to wrap up setup (at least, I hope so).

Our fellowship consists of:

  • Gwynnestri of Mirkwood (often shortened to Gwynn). An elven Treasure Hunter (read, Rogue). Player: Rebecca
  • Kort, the Hushed, son of Korith, son of Hoin. A dwarven Slayer (read, Barbarian). Player: Stephen
  • Finn of Gondor. His class has not been revealed yet, but he’s a 17-year-old human. Player: John McGuire (Tessera Guild)
  • Robgud Clarfield (often shortened to Rob). A Hobbit Scholar (read, Cleric). Player: Egg Embry (Tessera Guild)

 

BACKSTORIES

Thanks to Jolly Blackburn of Kenzer & Co for the picture.

Finn of Gondor’s backstory is… well, John hasn’t shared it yet. His character is young and human. [Sharing some website information, the first two Adventures in Middle-Earth articles (here and here) are the highest viewed pieces for the Tessera Guild for the past few weeks. As such, I think I’m going to pressure John to write his character’s backstory for his column next week. Wish me luck!]

[UPDATE: John wrote up the backstory for Finn of Gondor here.]

For the backstories of Gwynnestri of Mirkwood and Kort, son of Korith, son of Hoin, both were present at the Battle of the Five Armies (end of The Hobbit), and share lightly linked backstories.

Gwynnestri was a soldier in the elven army sent to help the humans of Dale to siege the dwarves of the Lonely Mountain.

Kort’s purpose for being there was meant to be in opposition. When word arrived from Thorin II Oakenshield of his desperate situation, his relative, Dáin II Ironfoot of the Iron Hill Dwarves, prepared an army to intervene. In our campaign, before he set out he sent a small group of dwarven scouts to get the lay of the land and make contact with Thorin II. Included in this group was Kort, son of Korith, son of Hoin. As the scouts came ready for the elves and humans, they did not expect the army of goblins and wargs. Most of the scouts were killed while Kort and a few others were captured. The orcs tortured the dwarves to learn what was coming. None broke. As the goblin army was being routed, Kort’s torturer cut out Kort’s tongue, leaving the dwarf to bleed out. But Kort did not. Instead, he freed himself, killed some retreating orcs, including some that were surrounding Gwynnestri, which resulted in saving her, the original enemy’s, life. In the aftermath of the battle, he learned that Thorin II perished. Kort, horribly mutilated, took the news to heart feeling that his failure to reach the Lonely Mountain and serve with Thorin’s company in the battle led to his death. After that, Kort has not been seen in the civilized world until Gwynn encounters him at the inn.

NOTE: Like many 1st-level D&D character backstories, Kort’s would have left him at a level greater than 1st, but he, I guess, learned nothing from all of that so he’s still 1st-level. Such is D&D.

Robgud Clarfield, an offshoot of the Byhills, Hobbit Scholar. Instead of being given to the right fine Hobbit calling of farming and communal interests, Robgud cultivated a particular trade in herbs and curatives and the lore of nature, yet without formal education. Naturally, that left his kin having to defend him against gossip accusing him of being a snake oil peddler, that there was more of Mordor than medicine to his ministrations. True, his doctorings might avail a mischievous stomach, a limb broken in twine, or some of the worst of the gout, but his poultices could smell less of the dung of the big folk’s world and more of the pleasant fragrances of the Shire. Right, now, he could be neater about it, and not offer to help the big folk or, worse, talk of them moving into the Shire. Of course, the Clarfields are from the very limits of the East Farthing and known to conduct a bit of business among the big folk of Bree. The Clarfield family reputation give them to be an unsavory lot for their mingling, and so a son that knows their ways is but to be expected. Rumors have it that Robgud spent time among the Eregionians and learned their particular methods from several of their kind or, possibly, from the elves. Regardless of the facts, either story makes him an embarrassment to the Clarfields, and even more so to all decent Hobbit folk. Robgud’s father and family patriarch, Cefil Clarfield, determined to remove the stain his son’s affairs place on the Clarfield name, and apprenticed him into a most unsavory profession, traveling agent, a mesh mash bit of business entailing travel beyond the Shire’s borders to conduct any number of transactions that no self-respecting, simple Hobbit would willing take up. Cefil Clarfield is only too happy to put his son to backpack and road so the family, and the Shire, might reap some benefit from a starry-eyed Hobbit scholar.

Why is a Hobbit of the Shire like Rodgud Clarfield so far from home, having taken up at Esgaroth? In the aftermath of the resurrection of Bilbo Baggins and the litigation therein (ending of The Hobbit), some here-to-fore unrecovered funds from Biblo’s adventures needed to be secured and returned to Bag End for disbursement. To be clear, Robgud is employed as a temporary agent of the estate, and was assigned this job via messenger never having met either party involved in order to act in a neutral capacity. Upon execution of his duties, his contract is complete and, as the campaign opens, Robgud has dispatched said sums for home and is, at the moment, without employ in Lake-town.

Background: Emissary of Your People

 

Next week… The characters meet up, get their first adventure, and do their first journey…

 

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Interested in trying out Adventures in Middle-Earth for 5e? You can get most of the books as PDFs through Bundle of Holding (here) until January 4th, 2019 at 10PM EST. The price for Adventures in Middle-earth Player’s Guide, Rhovanion Region Guide, The Road Goes Ever On, Loremaster’s Guide, Wilderland Adventures, and the Eaves of Mirkwood & Loremaster Screen is not likely to get cheaper than what BoH and Cubicle 7 have it for there.

As well, Cubicle 7 has started taking pre-orders for Adventures in Middle-earth – Bree-land Region Guide + PDF on there site (here). As soon as you order, you get the PDF.

Logo taken from Bundle of Holding’s Adventures in Middle-Earth for D&D 5e offering.

Disclaimer: This article may contain affiliated links to DriveThruRPG’s affiliate program and/or Humble Bundle’s Humble Partner program. 

Adventures in Middle-Earth 5e Play Review – Preparations and Character Creation and Warden to Scholar

Last week, I rolled out the idea behind this column, doing a play review of Cubicle 7’s Adventures in Middle-Earth for Dungeons & Dragons 5e. Our first session occurred on December 1st, 2018. However, before that session there was a deal of work to be done, standard prep for an extended campaign. As it stood, one of our longtime players, Leland, had to step away for real world reasons. Down a regular, we started out our fellowship with Rebecca, Stephen, John McGuire (Tessera Guild), and myself, while Mike ran the game as the Loremaster. For characters, we each picked what we wanted to play without worrying what the other characters would choose:

  • Rebecca: Gwynnestri of Mirkwood. An elven Treasure Hunter (read, Rogue). Once the game gets rolling, Rebecca will find Gwynn’s voice early, which helps set the tone for the campaign.
  • Stephen: Kort, the Hushed, son of Korith son of Hoin. A dwarven Slayer (read, Barbarian) with a tragic backstory that I’ll share in the coming columns.
  • John McGuire (Tessera Guild): Finn of Gondor. His class has not been revealed yet, but he’s a 17-year-old human, and John is building him as just a pup, new to the wider world.
  • Egg Embry (Tessera Guild): Robgud Clarfield, a Hobbit Scholar (read, Cleric). I knew going in that I did not want to be a “spotlight” character, that I wanted to play a supporting role and that brought Robgud to mind.

[NOTE: In the interest of players enjoying the maximum freedom at the gaming table, I did not ask for their character sheets so stats will only be shared as I learn them in-game.]

Let’s talk about the character creation process for my character, Robgud Clarfield. Why a Hobbit Scholar? Well, that was my second choice. My first choice was a Hobbit Warden. When I envisioned the character, I knew two things:

  1. My dice rolls tend to be so bad that I cannot hit the broadside of a kobold. Decades ago, my 5th or 6th level Ranger, at full HP with a bastard sword, went one-on-one with a single 1e kobold. My Ranger just barely survived. The kobold escaped. That’s what my dice rolls look like in D&D.
  2. I wanted to play something outside of my norm.

Addressing those in reverse order, let’s start with my usual type of characters, which tend to be the whisper-growl of Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer from 24, or the “comic” relief character (without the hindrance of actually being, you know, funny). In other words, murder hobo down the line. For this game, I didn’t want to do that since, obviously, murder hoboing would be off by just a smidge in Tolkien’s world. Instead, I wanted to play my own version of Sean Astin’s Samwise Gamgee, or, for those that know him in life, my Tessera mate, John “Hope Springs Eternal” McGuire. I wanted to play the uplifting character that believes tomorrow will be a bright sunny day.

For my poor rolls… well, if nothing can be done to improve my dice rolls, maybe there was a class that would lessen my poor luck’s impact. To that end, I read the Warden class and really liked the first level ability, Warden’s Gift. As a bonus action that could be used a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier, you grant an ally a d6 to be added to any attack, ability check, or saving throw in the next 10 minutes. Replenish uses on a Long Rest. With that power, I would benefit the fellowship from jump while letting my allies make up for my poor rolls. I also felt that class had some basis in Sam Gamgee making it all the better to choose. As the class says, “Many Hobbit-heroes, for example, are Wardens (when they are not Treasure Hunters!)”

Yet, I’m a Scholar in the game, why’s that? As we got closer to the date, I got the news that ruined that character class for the min-maxer part of me: Stats would be the Standard Array. If you don’t know, the Standard Array in D&D 5e are a predetermined set of base stats (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8). These numbers are modified by Cultural attribute enhancements. In the case of Hobbits of the Shire, that’s +2 to DEX, and then Family Ties elevate them:

  • Harfoot: +1 to WIS
  • Stoor: +2 to CON
  • Fallowhide: +1 to INT

The Warden’s primary ability is Charisma. Using the Standard Array with a Hobbit of any Family Tie meant my maximum starting Charisma would be a 15 without exceeding the rules. That score meant my Warden’s Gift power would have 2 uses per Long Rest. In AiME, Long Rests are rarer than in standard 5e (more on that another time) meaning there’s a fair chance that I’d go several sessions only able to pass out two d6s to help the fellowship, which made the min-maxer in me balk.

Was that a fair assessment of the class? Absolutely not. The Warden has a list of excellent powers and would be a compelling addition to any fellowship, even if your Charisma is not 18. The choice to not pursue this class was is all about my personal hangups. Thus, back to the class options I went and there I discovered the Scholar (read, Cleric).

In hindsight, that hangup would prove to be providence. To learn about that providence, let’s turn to Lake-town and our first session… [Next Friday]

 

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Interested in trying out Adventures in Middle-Earth for 5e? You can get most of the books as PDFs through Bundle of Holding (here) until January 4th, 2019. The price for Adventures in Middle-earth Player’s Guide, Rhovanion Region Guide, The Road Goes Ever On, Loremaster’s Guide, Wilderland Adventures, and the Eaves of Mirkwood & Loremaster Screen is not likely to get cheaper than what BoH and Cubicle 7 have it for there.

As well, Cubicle 7 has started taking pre-orders for Adventures in Middle-earth – Bree-land Region Guide + PDF on there site (here). As soon as you order, you get the PDF.

 

Disclaimer: This article may contain affiliated links to DriveThruRPG’s affiliate program and/or Humble Bundle’s Humble Partner program. 

Adventures in Middle-Earth 5e Play Review – Preparing the Way and a Humble Reward

Since moving my “RPG Kickstarters You Should Back” column from the Guild to the Open Gaming Network, and taking over Angus Abranson’s “RPG Crowdfunding News” column on EN World, I’ve contemplated a new Friday column for the Guild. Something RPG-related, but less Kickstarter. Then, one of my two longtime DMs suggested an ongoing Adventures in Middle-Earth 5e campaign. Doing a campaign review obviously touches on tabletop roleplaying games, and it offers the broadest appeal by combining Dungeons & Dragons and JRR Tolkien’s world. Still, will writing about how my terrible dice rolls in a variant of Dungeons & Dragons 5e be compelling week-after-week? With those questions, I decided to sit on the idea for the time being.

Our first session was Saturday, December 1st, 2018 and, while it was a great start, I still had doubts about it being enough to justify a series to discuss it. Then, on Monday, December 17th, 2018, Adventures in Middle-Earth for 5e rolled out on Bundle of Holding (here) offering most of the books as PDFs. That made this campaign and article series feel more timely. The next day, Cubicle 7 opened up pre-orders for Adventures in Middle-earth – Bree-land Region Guide + PDF (here). Even as I was preparing this article, small pieces were coming together to push this forward like Humble Bundle offering LEGO® Lord of the Rings for free (through Saturday, December 22 at 10 a.m. Pacific time). But the clincher that made me decide that I need to do a play review was the month, December. For me, there is no month I associate with Tolkien’s work more, and that’s because of Peter Jackson’s adaptations:

  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – U.S. release date: December 19, 2001
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – U.S. release date: December 18, 2002
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King – U.S. release date: December 17, 2003
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – U.S. release date: December 12, 2012
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – U.S. release date: December 13, 2013
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – U.S. release date: December 17, 2014

All of that together makes this feel like the right column to tackle right now. It will let me talk about the books, the system, the world, the campaign we’re playing, other adaptations (from the 1966 short animation to the upcoming Amazon series) and the characters. Each article will talk about some aspect of the RPG, Tolkien’s work, the movies, or whatever is appropriate to the moment.

Even with that, this would not have seemed practical without a few more life accomplishments that made playing Adventures in Middle-Earth for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition happen:

Cubicle 7 (left to right: Walt Ciechanowski, Jon Hodgson (holding the Silver ENnie Award – Best Rules), TS Luikart, Egg [*not* a part of C7], and Dominic McDowall) at the ENnie Awards 2017.

Since our last D&D campaign wrapped over a year ago, and I put hands on Adventures in Middle-Earth for 5e, I’ve wanted to play in a Middle-Earth campaign. The circumstances to make that happen came to pass on Saturday, December 1st, 2018 as a fellowship of four of us came together to adventure and, eventually, do some great bit of heroism (maybe). The Loremaster is Mike, and the fellowship consists of Rebecca, John McGuire (Tessera Guild), Stephen, and myself.

 

 

Interested in trying out Adventures in Middle-Earth for 5e? You can get most of the books as PDFs through Bundle of Holding (here) until January 4th, 2019. The price for Adventures in Middle-earth Player’s Guide, Rhovanion Region Guide, The Road Goes Ever On, Loremaster’s Guide, Wilderland Adventures, and the Eaves of Mirkwood & Loremaster Screen is not likely to get cheaper than what BoH and Cubicle 7 have it for there.

As well, Cubicle 7 has started taking pre-orders for Adventures in Middle-earth – Bree-land Region Guide + PDF on there site (here).

 

Let’s round out the introductory post with the variety of RPG systems that existed to bring Tolkien’s work to the tabletop:

  • Middle-earth Role Playing (MERP) from Iron Crown Enterprises (I.C.E.) was published through two editions from 1984 to 1999.
    • Lord of the Rings Adventure Game also from I.C.E. from 1991 to 1993. This game was a beginner’s version of MERP.
  • The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Game by Decipher Inc. that ran from 2002 to 2006.
    • 2002 Origins Award – Best Roleplaying Game
  • The One Ring Roleplaying Game from Cubicle 7 that started in 2011 and is still going.
    • Awards and nominations:
      • 2012 Golden Geek – Best Art and Presentation
      • 2012 Gold ENnie Award – Best Free Product, Golden ENnie Award – Best Art (Interior)
      • 2012 Silver ENnie Award – Best Production Values
      • 2012 Lucca Games’ (an Italian convention) Best of Show for Best Role Play Game
      • 2012 Origins Award Nominee – Best Roleplaying Game
      • 2013 ENnie Award Nominee – Best Accessory for The Loremaster’s Screen and Laketown Book
      • 2015 ENnie Award Nominee – Best Accessory for The Darkening of MirkwoodENnie Award Nominee – Best Accessory for Hobbit Tales
      • 2017 ENnie Award Nominee – Best Supplement for Horse-Lords of RohanENnie Award Nominee – Best Writing for Horse-Lords of Rohan
    • Hobbit Tales from Cubilce 7 is a standalone storytelling card game that could be used with The One Ring Roleplaying Game.
  • Adventures in Middle-earth for Dungeons & Dragons 5e also by Cubicle 7 that began in 2016 and has the distinction of being the first time Tolkien’s works were officially adapted to D&D.
    • Awards:
      • 2017 Silver ENnie Award – Best Rules for Adventures in Middle-Earth Player’s Guide
      • 2018 Origins Award – Best RPG

As I was putting the finishing touches on this article, I received this email from Humble Bundle promoting their LEGO® Lord of the Ring giveaway (talk about nice timing):

“We’re giving away FREE copies of LEGO® Lord of the Rings for 48 hours (or while supplies last) in the Humble Store! This promotion is available from Thursday, December 20 at 10 a.m. Pacific time to Saturday, December 22 at 10 a.m. Pacific time.

Below is your link to LEGO® Lord of the Rings on the Humble Store.

https://www.humblebundle.com/store/lego-the-lord-of-the-rings?partner=eggembry

 

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliated links to DriveThruRPG’s affiliate program and Humble Bundle’s Humble Partner program. 

RPG News, Press Releases, and Conventions – Wraith 5th Ed, Conan Lawsuit, The Fantasy Trip OGL, AetherCon VII, and more

RPG news is delivered in small bites and press releases throughout the week and, as best I can, I filter through them to focus on the under-reported odds and the ends. From White Wolf to Etsy, from upcoming conventions to legal rulings, this week there’s a lot to talk about.

 

NEWS BITES

  • At Gen Con, I had the opportunity to talk with both White Wolf and Onyx Path. While they White Wolf September as the month for a major Werewolf: The Apocalypse announcement, they preceded it on Facebook with a different revelation, Wraith: The Oblivion 5th Edition is on their agenda. What makes the announcement intriguing is Onyx Path’s Wraith: The Oblivion 20th Anniversary Edition (licensed from White Wolf) was Kickstarted and funded in January, 2015 with the PDFs of the core book available as of February, 2018 and the deluxe edition of WtO 20th being printed now. While it’s logical that, with the success of Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition White Wolf will move forward with their other major games, it’s aggressive to announce a new one is coming before the current edition has completed its roll out.

NOTE – There are several White Wolf press releases with even more information about Vampire: The Masquerade games linked below.

Status: Coming Soon!

  • Conan Properties International LLC has successfully sued artist Richardo Jove Sanchez over his unlicensed Conan miniatures. From Amanda Ottaway with Courthouse News Service, “Cracking down on the unauthorized sale of miniature Conan the Barbarian figurines, a federal judge hit a Spanish artist on Wednesday with a $21,000 copyright judgment.” The key point pulled from this is: “Senior U.S. District Judge Frederic Block called it erroneous Wednesday to treat “characters as separate and distinct copyright subject matter, divorced from the works in which they are embodied.”” While I’m not a lawyer and I may be misreading the tea leaves, this ruling could have consequences for “homage” projects or projects that use characters whose founding works are in the public domain, but whose later works are not.

Conan Properties entered a screenshot of this post into evidence to support its copyright claims over figurines of its character, Conan the Barbarian.”

Read the full article on Courthouse News Service here.

Status: Case Closed

Status: Funding

  • On ENWorld, I share a few freelance RPG and fiction writing jobs. Do you want to write superhero fiction or design anthropromorphic adventures, and get paid? Read it all here.

Status: Hiring

Status: Coming Soon From You!

  • Can’t wait until 2019 to create a game? Venger Satanis (Kort’thalis Publishing) announced he is “officially opening up my neo-quasi O5Rish rules-light vampire RPG [Blood Dark Thirst] to those interested in licensing that shit for FREE!!! Yes, you can write, publish, and reap all the rewards for your very own Blood Dark Thirst supplement, sourcebook, or scenario from now until January 1st of 2020.” I’ve spoken to at least one creator that is interested in producing a down and dirty product related to BDT. If you’re interested, you can read the full announcement here.

Status: Venger Satanis-ing

  • On Esty, OddForge is selling a dice tower that clips to your GM screen and can handle or two dice at a time. It’s a 3D printed product, economically sized and ready for your gaming table or a convention.

Status: I like dice towers

  • I’m a part of the CREATE YOUR OWN FANTASY RPG ADVENTURE – RPG RESOURCES BOOKS Kickstarter. Its creator, Matthew A. Bogdan, gave me a glowing write-up on the fifth update for the campaign. I’m humbled and inspired by his praise. Join the whole wide world and read all about me, me, ME! here.

FEMALE HALFLING ROGUE

FEMALE HALFLING ROGUE

Status: I’m proud to be a part of this project!

 

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EGG’S MUSINGS

  • I’ve been reading about the end of the Buffy, the Vampire Slayer license at Dark Horse Comics. It reminded me of Eden Studio’s BtVS and Angel RPGs. It’s interesting that they ceased to be in-print in 2006 but are still available as PDFs at commercial sites. I’ve wondered why this license has not been picked back up, then I see that the original RPG is still available and I wonder, with the BtVS reboot on the horizon, will another company pick up this game?

 

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CONVENTION NEWS BITES

  • Online convention, AetherCon VII, is recruiting publishing companies and GMs for their November 9th to the 11th, 2018 con. It’s online, it’s free, you run games, you *may* win swag.

 

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DEAL

  • Cubicle 7’s The One Ring – Tolkien done right in an RPG! – is on Humble Bundle for $15 for 20ish books and maps and a coupon. This is an unbelievable deal! Go, get it here!
    • The game’s awards include:
      • Lucca Games and Comics Fair 2012 – Best in Show
      • Golden Geek 2012 – Best Art and Presentation
      • Origins Awards 2012 Nomination for Best RPG
      • ENnie Awards 2012 – Silver – Best Production Values
      • ENnie Awards 2012 – Gold – Best Art
      • Golden Geeks 2012 – Best Art and Presentation Nominee

One does not simply skip this deal.

 

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PRESS RELEASES

 

* * *

 

CREATE YOUR OWN FANTASY RPG ADVENTURE – RPG RESOURCES BOOKS by Dark by Dezign (DriveThruRPG or Open Gaming Store)
Ends on Fri, September 14 2018 2:00 PM EDT.

Disclaimer: I am a creator on this project.
“Contributing authors James Ward, Lenard Lakofka and more share some of their pro tips on how to create your first fantasy RPG adventure”
Looking for advice on how to create your tabletop RPG along with stock art to get you going? Learn from ” industry greats and legends James M. Ward, Lenard Lakofka, as well as exceptional talents such as Johnn Four, Rick Hershey, Lucus Palosaari, Kevin Watson, Bobby Nash and Egg Embry.” I’m excited to be a part of this project and offer my insights into the world of crowdfunding!

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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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.

 

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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).

13th Doctor Who: Roleplaying Game

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

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

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

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

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BACKGROUND

Example Page from Sword & Wizardry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Atlas Animalia example page – LAND SHARK!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

END BACKGROUND

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

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

Jodie Whittaker as Doctor Who from DoctorWhoTV.co.uk

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

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

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

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

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

 

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SWORDS & WIZARDRY 3RD EDITION CHALLENGE!

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

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

Frog God Games’ Swords and Wizardry 3rd Edition PDF

 

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

 

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

Sincerely,

Egg Embry

 

* * * * * *

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

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

* * *

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

8 Wanna-lancer Dream Dates for Gen Con 50!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Why do I wanna date Cubicle 7

Publishers of:

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

Egg’s Thoughts:

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

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

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

 

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

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

Why do I wanna attend the ENnies with Sean Patrick Fannon

Creator/contributor on:

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

Egg’s Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

 

* * * * *

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

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

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

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

Why do I wanna date Monte Cook Games

Publishers of:

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

Egg’s Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

 

* * * * *

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

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

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

Why do I wanna attend the ENnies with Owen KC Stephens

Creator/contributor on:

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

Egg’s Thoughts:

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

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

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

 

* * * * *

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

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

Why do I wanna date Pelgrane Press

Publishers of:

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

Egg’s Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

 

* * * * *

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

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

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

Why do I wanna attend the ENnies with Stacy Muth

Publisher and hosts of the ENnie Awards.

Egg’s Thoughts:

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

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

 

* * * * *

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

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

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

Why do I wanna date Chaosium?

Publisher of:

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

Egg’s Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

 

* * * * *

 

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

 

* * * * *

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

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

* * *

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