Era: The Consortium – Gameplay Review of The Stiletto Unit Adventure

At AetherCon VI* on November 12, 2017, I had the opportunity to play in an Era: The Consortium** adventure with Shades of Vengeance owner and Era d10*** creator, Ed Jowett. [Before we go any further, here’s the disclosure: I’m freelancing for Ed on an Era: The Consortium product here.] The adventure we played at AetherCon was an excellent opportunity to be at the same table as the game’s creator and get the rules as well as the spirit of the game right from the source. This session brought the mechanics and the intent of the game into focus and from it I want to share two scenes to discuss the gameplay but without giving away the whole plot. That said, light SPOILERS ahead for this Stiletto Unit adventure.

If this product interests you, Shades of Vengeance is running a Kickstarter right now for Era: The Consortium – A Universe of Expansions 2 which adds more rules and species and adventures to the Consortium universe, including one by me (if the stretch goal is reached).

 

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Before we get into the review, Era: The Consortium uses the Era d10*** system which is explained in more detail below, but the quick version of it is:

  • a d10 dice pool system generally created by adding an Attribute plus a Skill and rolling against an Action Difficulty/target number where each die could be a success or a fumble.

We opened the Google Hangouts session by picking our pre-generated characters from Stiletto Unit, a band of freedom fighters that are a part of the Resistance against the Consortium. What’s to resist? Era: The Consortium is a far flung future in which companies openly run the worlds. The “openly” part is key – companies are the government and you’re a part of a group that’s fighting that status quo. In the adventure Ximian politician and Resistance backer, Ixitixl, has Stiletto Unit investigate a Moritagas Pharmaceuticals base on Arawn looking for a superweapon that will destroy all of the Resistance. With that setup, we got into the game.

 

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How well do non-combat skills work? 

After the fight at Moritagas Pharmaceuticals’ base on Arawn. The first mission and combat of the adventure came about when we failed to covertly infiltrate Moritagas Pharmaceuticals’ base forcing <gasp!> combat. After the combat and some meaningful story clues, Stiletto Unit boards their spacecraft and we have a chance to work on some non-combat skills.

Zeelaay, our pilot, used [Attribute] Wits + [Skill] Pilot against an Action Difficulty of 7 and rolled 2 successes to launch our ship into space. Onboard, after a series of events set off an EMP that knocked out our cybernetic implants, Dr. Curay and Styxtirian [me], a Ximian engineer, combined actions to repair each cybernetic implant (Int + Medicine for 3 successes from Dr. Curay and Int (1d10) + Engineering (4d10) for 5d10 and 2 successes from Styxtirian). Another Stiletto, Takahashi, had a stealth suit (think Predator) that was burned out in the combat (first combat and your character’s “gimmick” is wiped out early, always fun!). Aboard the ship, the character repaired the suit with 4 successes.

Era d10 Non-Combat Skills Pros:

There’s enough range and options to cover every situation that we encountered without being overwhelmed with choices. Standard Action Difficulty is 7 and that made it so most dice pools (which ranged from 4 or 5 dice up to 22 in one instance) had successes. The logic of why X+X forms the dice pool worked well and led to moments where we could name what we wanted to do and the dice supported our decisions.

Era d10 Non-Combat Skills Cons:

The GM is needed for a lot of pre-roll decisions. What Attribute and what Skill produces the result you’re going for? For many of these actions there’s a set combo of Attribute and Skill but there’s enough variation that alternative combinations can be introduced and that requires GM approval. Another common question for the GM is “What’s the Action Difficulty?” While 7 is the default, the GM may set the bar higher and there are scenarios (using Luck, having a situation-specific Speciality) that alter the number, which means that every player needs to talk to the GM before rolling to be sure they’re getting the right dice pool and difficulty. It’s not a problem because the rulebook has all of these instances well-defined, but it does slow the process down a bit when you’re new to the setup.

 

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How well do combat skills work? 

Fighting a Smertios Security (DIS)ARM. Our next mini-mission within the larger mission was to board a capital ship (we did) which led to the six PCs facing off against one of the game’s superpowered battlesuits, the (DIS)ARM.

(DIS)ARM

As a group, we turned the corner and there’s the (DIS)ARM and it’s round 1! We roll initiative and in Era d10 you only roll 1d10 and add the number of levels you have in Willpower and Wits to that. In Styxtirian’s case, that’s 1d10+5 (from 3x Willpower and 2x Wits).

The (DIS)ARM went first and and off the bat it fumbles (rolling more 1s than successes in its attack dice pool) so its mini-gun falls off of the armor.

Quick note about combat. You succeed on your roll to hit, you roll a number of damage dice equal to the number of your to hit successes. The damage dice have two Action Difficulties/Thresholds, one is to damage and one is to kill (so, for example, a roll of a 6 deals damage but a 9 kills). Thus ends the lesson.

Two of the PCs shoot the (DIS)ARM doing damage to its shield though no harm to the unit or the pilot, just the shields. Zeelaay, the pilot, also loves rockets and shoots 4 into the ceiling above the (DIS)ARM because dropping debris (with 8 damage) incapacitates the armor beneath the wreckage. One of the Stilettos, Gyter, decides that his mission’s to crack open the armor, get the pilot out, and take it for himself. He gets on top of the immobilized armor and does a called shot with armor piercing rounds. A called shot halves your dice pool of Wits + Gunnery to hit but lowers the kill threshold for a called shot to the head. Gyter’s shot hit but because shields deflect armor piercing rounds and the (DIS)ARM’s shields were still up the shot goes wild. Takahashi goes into stealth mode and attempts to slip around the (DIS)ARM in the corridor. Dex + Stealth for the pool so 8 dice and she succeeds against an Action Difficulty of 10, which allows her to sneak behind the mech and attempt to interface with it in a contest to control it. For the contest, it’s a series of roll-offs as Takahashi and the AI both try to reach 10 successes and mastery of the computer first. For Takahashi, it was Intelligence + Computer (8 dice with an Action Difficulty of 7), however they both reach 10 successes on the same round so there is no winner. Styxtirian (me) is a strong Ximian and a melee combatant. He’s going to try and rip open the armor which should be easy for him with 16 dice (Str + Brawl)… I got 3 successes (I roll badly in most games) so Styx was unable to rip the armor open.

Round 2. Still immobilized, the (DIS)ARM throws Gyter off of him and across the hall leaving a spot for Steve Adams to land on. Dr. Curay injects Styxtirian with a drug that will amp his Str from 6 to 11 for 5 minutes and then after that it will be a Str of 5. Gyter shoots at the (DIS)ARM’s faceplate to no effect. Takahashi is still digitally wrestling with the unit and tries to overcome it again and Ed (the GM) rolled a fumble so, as long as Takahashi did not fumble, she could override the AI. After accessing the (DIS)ARM, her only option is to activate its self-destruct and she does. The (DIS)ARM explodes. The denotation rips a hole in the ship’s haul forcing everyone to leap into the next section before the bulkheads seal.

Unfortunately, Gyter never got his (DIS)ARM[or] and Styx had to wait until the next combat to get any advantage from the drug he was injected with. The entire party survived the combat with a minimum of wounds mostly because of the fumbled loss of the mini-gun at the start and Zeelaay’s decision and amazing roll to drop the ceiling onto the (DIS)ARM.

Era d10 Combat Rolls Pros:

I’m sure that reads like a lot of actions but in under two full rounds a very tough unit was defeated and several combat styles were utilized (melee, range, area of effect, digital) with interesting scenarios generated by each. It moved quickly and logically as we never had any disagreement about the outcome of a situation. As a *TERRIBLE* dice roller, I liked that there was an option for the damage dice to do wounds or an insta-kill. Having a chance to close out the combat is a win (no pun intended) in my opinion.

Era d10 Combat Rolls Cons:

As above with the non-combat skills, the GM is pulled into a bit of discussion as to what needs to be rolled. It was not as much as non-combat skills, but its presence slowed the game a bit.

 

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Era d10 Conclusion:

 

I’m freelancing for Ed (the GM) on Era: The Consortium so I’m not apt to dislike the setting or the GM (ha!). For this review, I wanted to focus on the Era: d10 system to share how it works and feels. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Ed has an innovative system that feels right for the sci-fi genre.

If I had to say that there’s one thing I’d do away with, it’s the fumble. This is not specific to Era: The Consortium, it’s a general distain. I believe that the fumble is the in-game mechanic that leads from serious RPG to goofing around. In the adventure, I fumbled… twice, I think? Ed fumbled three times. Dr. Curay fumbled once and so did another character. In game, fumbles are likely to have one of two effects:

  • The opponent gains a critical or deadly advantage and you roll up a new character
  • Something Monty Python happens

Which route does your table go?

Having read the rules, written scenarios, and played the Era d10 system, I can say I’m excited to do it again. The game is a lot of fun, it’s logical, and led to some fun in-game scenarios with a lot of heart and humor. The story Ed told was epic and achievable in a single sitting and I’d recommend the adventure to anyone wanting to try out Era: The Consortium. I want to thank AetherCon, Ed Jowett, and all of the players for the experience.

 

If you want to try the game yourself, there’s a Kickstarter for the Era: The Consortium – A Universe of Expansions 2 that ends on 

 

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*What is AetherCon?

AetherCon is a free to attend, free to partake, non-profit initiative. Throughout the weekend there will be a plethora of tabletop RPGs on offer for all to play in. All games will be run on the free, browser-based virtual table top Roll20 and/or Google Hangouts. This program will allow GMs and players alike to simply click on a link and enter the playing area as opposed to needing to download and install the software to participate.

 

**What is Era: The Consortium RPG?

Humanity has left Earth over a thousand years behind, landing on a new planet and founding a new government. The Consortium is an inspiring ideal – three star systems teaming with life and four species living and working together. As time passes, however, cracks are showing in the Humanity-led society and those less scrupulous have taken power.

Enter at any point in 500 years of playable story, following the Consortium’s growth from a small colony to a multi-system economic and political establishment. Explore new worls and encounter alien races, direct or fight in battles which span a solar system and will decide the future of the Consortium or join a Resistance movement against the government to save or destroy billions of lives!

What you decide will define the fate of the Consortium…

 

***What is the Era d10 system?

“The Era d10 ruleset is designed to allow you to experience this universe in a way that is as unobtrusive as possible without being misrepresentative. By choosing your skills carefully, your character can dominate in any of 5 forms of combat, talk their way out of any situation or protect their teammates from harm.

The rules could be described as “A Success-counting dice pool system where you roll Attribute + Skill in d10s and the difficulty of the task determines which numbers count as Successes.”

In case that was a bit too brief or jargony, here’s a bit more detail:

The system is based around multiple dice – the more skilled you are, the more dice you have – and a variable goal based on activity difficulty.

Using an Attribute and Skill system, which each define their own areas of influence, you roll your dice depending on what you’re attempting – whether Dexterity + Engineering for a precision piece of work, Intelligence + Engineering for a more theoretical problem or Luck + Engineering for a complete long shot, you’ll be able to adapt to your circumstances and focus on your strengths.

Although you roll more dice the more skilled you are, the number you are attempting to reach varies depending on the difficulty of the action – if shooting someone in clear conditions, the GM would ask for a 7. If someone was laying a mine, more likely a 6. Firing over your shoulder at someone 30 metres away, while crouching behind a low wall would definitely be a 10!

If you would like to try the rules, please see our Quickstart Pack!

 

Read my interview with Ed Jowett of Shades of Vengeance here.

You can check out Era: The Consortium RPG on DriveThruRPG here.

 

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Shades of Vengeance Signal Boost:

 

1) Era: The Consortium – A Universe of Expansions 2 by Shades of Vengeance 
The critically acclaimed Sci-Fi RPG returns to Kickstarter: get expansions to the universe, as well as the Definitive Edition Rulebook!
Ends on .

Want to know more about the game? You can get the (free) Quickstart pack right here and try it out!

Why signal boost this? Because I’ll be writing one of the stretch goals – Sirona Specials Part 1 (Sessions 1-10)!

 

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2) Penumbra: Fear the Bunny Lord! by Shades of Vengeance
Everyone’s favorite mistress of shadows is back! But can she defeat the bunny lord?
Ends on Sun, December 3 2017 9:34 AM EST.

 

 

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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:

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).

5 Gamebook, Prose, and Comic Kickstarters You Should Read – Malika, Neverland, The Awakened III, Penumbra, and Decision Underground

After reading the Kickstarter for the gamebook, Rider of the Black Sun, its rekindled my love for Choose Your Own Adventure-style projects. Putting my RPG review aside for a day, I look at two gamebooks, two comics, and a fantasy prose anthology as I combine all of my interests – games, comics, and writing – in one article!

 


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

 

Malika – Warrior Queen Part Two by You Neek Studios
Ends on .

“Malika – Warrior Queen is a historical fantasy that takes place in a 15th-century West Africa. Part Two concludes Malika’s epic story!

 

Set in fifteenth-century West Africa, Malika (pronounced “Ma-LIE-ka”): Warrior Queen follows the exploits of queen and military commander Malika, who struggles to keep the peace in her ever-expanding empire. In Part Two of the hit graphic novel series, Malika uncovers a painful betrayal by one of the people closest to her. The treachery unnerves a usually stoic and composed Malika, allowing her enemies both known and unknown, internal as well as external, encircle her, positioning themselves for the destruction of Azzaz, the empire she spent her entire adult life building. Can Malika recompose herself and save her people once again? Or is this betrayal the beginning of the end for Malika and the people of Azzaz? Only time will tell.

Malika prepares to address the crowd at the Hall of Hassan
Malika prepares to address the crowd at the Hall of Hassan

It’s been amazing to see how well Malika has been received since it’s release in May. One of the most rewarding experiences was having chapter one of the graphic novel selected for Diamond Comic’s Free Comic Book Day event in May, where it was one of the most sought-after and best-reviewed books of the bunch!

Producing this series has definitely been the most painstaking for me as a writer. The last two years have been filled with sleepless nights, months of research, moments of self-doubt and more. But I’ve loved every minute of it. Why? Because as much as this is a fictional story, it is both heavily inspired and framed by African history. I drew inspiration for some aspects of Malika’s story from one of West Africa’s most significant female rulers. Queen Amina of Zazzau. In addition to that, Malika’s empire, Azzaz, is surrounded by African kingdoms and empires that existed before colonization. Africa has a wealth of history and mythology that is yet to become mainstream knowledge for everyone to experience and be inspired by. My hope is that the Malika series slowly begins to change that.”

The Olon Jin make their first appearance
The Olon Jin make their first appearance
And its not pretty
And its not pretty

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

I’m a fan of diversity in gaming – Mythic d6, A Far Off Land, AMP: Year Four, Seven Worlds – and comics – Niobe, Route 3, Sorghum & Spear – so I’m excited to see the sequel to the Free Comic Book Day Malika #1 on Kickstarter! This comic offers sword and soul and is something I am eager to read. I’d love to see this go the distance and make it over to be a RPG!

 

The first graphic novel is available through Amazon here.

You can support the Kickstarter here.

 

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NEVERLAND – Here Be Monsters! by Jonathan Green
Ends on Sat, December 2 2017 5:00 PM EST.

“J. M. Barrie’s ‘Peter Pan and Wendy’ meets Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘The Lost World’ in this brand-new, thrilling gamebook adventure!

NEVERLAND is a brand new adventure gamebook – a multi-path book, very much in the style of Choose Your Own Adventure or Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, in which you choose the course of the story – inspired by both Peter Pan and Wendy, by J. M. Barrie, and The Lost World, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

It’s Treasure Island meets Jurassic Park! It’s Cutthroat Island meets King Kong! It’s Pirates of the Caribbean meets The Land That Time Forgot! It’s Pirates versus Dinosaurs! And you can play as either shipwreck survivor Wendy Darling or automaton avenger Peter Pan. Anybody who has read and played The Wicked Wizard of Oz or Alice’s Nightmare in Wonderland will have a very clear idea of what to expect!

My name is Jonathan Green and I am an author, editor and games designer. I am probably best known for my Fighting Fantasy adventure gamebooks, as well as YOU ARE THE HERO – A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, and my Pax Britannia steampunk novels.”

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Amazon UK links have been replaced with affiliate Amazon US links.]

Adventure gamebooks written by Jonathan Green
Adventure gamebooks written by Jonathan Green

                                                                           

Pax Britannia steampunk novels by Jonathan Green
Pax Britannia steampunk novels by Jonathan Green

                                                                           

YOU ARE THE HERO - A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks - Parts 1 & 2
YOU ARE THE HERO – A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks – Parts 1 & 2

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

I’m a fan of gamebooks/Choose Your Own Adventures/Tunnels & Trolls’ solo adventures and I’m a fan of Peter Pan so this book is the concept. What would you do as Peter Pan? Jonathan Green lets you decide.

 

More books by Jonathan Green are available through Amazon here:

You can support the Kickstarter here.

 

* * * * * * 

 

Penumbra: Fear the Bunny Lord! by Shades of Vengeance
Ends on Sun, December 3 2017 9:34 AM EST.

“Everyone’s favorite mistress of shadows is back! But can she defeat the bunny lord?

Penumbra: Fear the Bunny Lord, is the story of the Mistress of Shadows meeting her greatest foe, a lagomorph with great night vision!

On a heist to steal a piece of alien technology, rumored to increase the abilities of any Empowered who holds it, she faces off against Wild Hare. He has an aim to test his skills against the slickest of escape artist. Together with the small army of security, Wild Hare will make sure it isn’t Penumbra’s lucky day.

Will she succeed? Will she get paid? Did she think to bring carrots? Back the comic and you’ll find the story in your email before even Penumra could steal it!”

 

UPDATE 2017-11-15 10:15AM – Ed Jowett shared the creative team with me:

  • Written by Johnathan Lewis
  • Art by Sebastian Sala
  • Colours by Slamet Mujiono
  • Penumra created by Ed Jowett

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

[Disclosure: I am working for Shades of Vengeance on their Era: The Consortium RPG.]

 

Ed Jowett of Shades of Vengeance is a nice guy who does gaming and comics and employees lil’ Egg Embry. He has two Kickstarters up right now, this one and the Era: The Consortium – A Universe of Expansions 2. He’s one of the hardest working folks in gaming and this comic is a product of that work-ethic. Zany heroic comedy as a thief faces a bunny-man!

 

To see more comics, and books, from Shades of Vengeance, click here.

You can support the Kickstarter here.

 

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The Awakened III Anthology by Battlefield Press International and Samurai Sheepdog
Ends on Wed, December 6 2017 9:54 PM EST.

“The Awakened III brings together several amazing authors to tell their stories of triumph, failure, fear, and acceptance.

On the world of Grimaton, turning nineteen is more than just a rite of passage into adulthood. When the two moons cross, it can also change your life forever. As awakened, the men and women of Grimaton are possessed of magic in the form of a special bond with an animal or a knack for manipulating the underlying energies of the land. They throw rainbow fire, swim beside alligators, or shape the blood of their enemies into weapons.

Join us for a third time as publishers Battlefield Press International and Samurai Sheepdog work together to bring ten amazing authors together. In our latest anthology you’ll find tales of triumph, failure, fear, and acceptance set once again in the fantasy world of Grimaton. Enjoy new stories with the heroes and villains from Book I. Meet entirely new characters as interesting and dynamic as the rest. Return to the fictional realm of the awakened and watch as its remarkable history continues to grow. When the moons cross, anything can happen.

  • Ed Greenwood
  • Darrin Drader
  • Darren W. Pearce
  • Ty Johnston
  • Doug Herring
  • Ted Fauster
  • Torah Cottrill
  • Rosemary Jones
  • Jonathan M. Thompson
  • Hal Greenberg and Ken Shannon
  • Kevin Glusing
  • Interior art by Ruth Ducko”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

When Jonathan M. Thompson of Battlefield Press International told me about this – that his company was trying out prose publishing – I was excited by the prospect and even more interested after seeing the contributor’s list! It’s sword, it’s sorcery, it’s prose, it’s a series, and it’s a win! They have two prior anthologies to sample (links below).

 

More books from this series are available through DriveThruFiction (here) or Amazon:

You can support the Kickstarter here.

Read an interview with Jonathan M. Thompson about a prior project here.

 

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Decision Underground: A Choice-Based Criminal Adventure by Jimbo Mclaughlin
Ends on Tue, December 12 2017 7:12 PM EST.

What is Decision Underground?

Decision Underground is a choice-based novel in which you must choose your own path through a dangerous and twisted criminal underworld where making the wrong decision could lead to very serious consequences ranging anywhere from getting locked up for the rest of your life to being murdered horribly. Choosing wisely however, could lead to stacks of cash, infamy, and most importantly; your freedom and your life.

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

Like I mentioned with Rider of the Black Sun and NEVERLAND – Here Be Monsters!, I am a fan of solo adventures/CYOA/gamebooks and this one is, to me, unique – a Choose Your Own Crime. Instead of being set in fantasy or sci-fi or superhero worlds, it’s set in our world and you’re a nogoodnik. Grand Theft Auto the book, I like the concept and want to see how it goes… I mean, how many endings are death and how many are jail?

 

You can support the Kickstarter here.

 

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Signal Boost:

 

Era: The Consortium – A Universe of Expansions 2 by Shades of Vengeance 
The critically acclaimed Sci-Fi RPG returns to Kickstarter: get expansions to the universe, as well as the Definitive Edition Rulebook!
Ends on .

Read my interview with Ed Jowett of Shades of Vengeance here.

Want to know more about the game? You can get the (free) Quickstart pack right here and try it out!

Why signal boost this? Because I’ll be writing one of the stretch goals – Sirona Specials Part 1 (Sessions 1-10)!

 

* * * * * *

 

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:

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).

12 QUESTIONS ABOUT Era: The Consortium – A Universe of Expansions 2 WITH Ed Jowett (Shades of Vengeance)

I’ve interviewed Ed Jowett of Shades of Vengeance before about his Era: Balam Kickstarter. Well, he’s nearly fulfilled that one and back with a new project. For my part, I’m excited about his latest Kickstarter because I’m freelancing on one of the stretch goals, Sirona Specials Part I (Sessions 1-10). Since the project is up and running, it felt like a good time to speak with Ed again.

 


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

 

EGG EMBRY – I want to thank you for agreeing to another batch of questions, Ed. Let’s start out with the big ones, what is Era: The Consortium? And what is the Era: The Consortium expansion that you’re kickstarting?

ED JOWETT – I am always happy to answer any questions you have, Egg – it’s a pleasure to be back!

Era: The Consortium is an epic Sci-Fi RPG with 500 years of playable history. It follows the story of a group of Humans who have left Earth and travelled for over 1000 years to reach a new region of space. They encounter new alien races, explore this new region of space and continue to expand during the presented history.

This amount of history sounds like a lot to read and understand, but the reason that this amount exists is that the intention of the game is to enable the players to explore any sub-genre of Sci-Fi that they wish. If you’re interested in exploring space and encountering new species, the history allows that fairly early in the timeline, and adapting to live with the species you encounter follows on naturally from that. From facing an alien race which is hell-bent on the destruction of the Consortium to a peaceful society with transhumanist tendencies and from cyberpunk style hi-tech dungeon crawl to standing up to an evil government and dismantling their schemes, every form of Sci-Fi which you can imagine is available within Era: The Consortium‘s timeline.

These options mean that it’s very hard to explain in just a few words what Era: The Consortium is – a significant amount of that answer is up to the player! However, I hope that people who have read this understand what I mean when describe it as an epic Sci-Fi RPG!

Just as there’s not one answer for what Era: The Consortium is about, I’m actually Kickstarting quite a number of expansions (anywhere up to 18!).

I should mention before I leap into those that if you’re new to Era: The Consortium, there is a chance to get your hands on everything that already exists in a handy reward tier as well – both the Definitive Edition Rulebook and all of the expansions exist (8 so far!) in Digital Format at the £25 tier, which will add all of the books which we unlock with the Kickstarter.

The first three new expansions are already unlocked by the Funded Campaign:

  • Free Trader gives rules for trading and piracy through the Consortium, with over 30 Trading Posts across the various planets and the prices for 40 cargo types at each one!
  • New Worlds offers the chance to explore a new solar system at the end of the timeline, 250 years after the last one was discovered and explored, providing all the needed equipment and rules to do so.
  • Predictive Genetic Algorithm allows players to create their own alien race for gameplay, with a huge variety of bonuses and penalties, including those available on the current playable alien races!

Beyond that, we’re unlocking a number more expansions, including:

  • The next part of the Time Travel Campaign (Part 4), which explores what would happen if a group of agents went back in time to the start of the Consortium to reshape it.
  • Home Base, which offers the chance to build (and defend) a base of your own. It also provides the rules for building facilities within the base, which give you various bonuses as a result of their existence!
  • Sirona Specials, which you ask me about in a later question.
  • Creatures Of The Outsystem, which offers 30 encounters with strange and amazing life forms on the edge of Consortium space.
  • And much more…

Every Stretch Goal we meet will unlock a new expansion, and every Reward Tier includes whatever we unlock in Digital Format, meaning no-one will miss out!

 

EGG EMBRY – Tell us about the Era d10 Rule Set that you use for all of the Era games and why it’s so versatile?

ED JOWETT – The Era d10 Rule Set was designed to be a system which could work with any genre from the start, which had a significant impact on its versatility. It’s also designed to be simple to learn but complex to master – I’ve been playing for 4 years with a group of mathematicians, computer scientists and physicists and none of them have cracked it yet!

The difference between games is modular, with the majority of the rules remaining the same. This means that every game has a familiar feel and most of the rules are reasonably intuitive once you’ve played for a while. Beyond that, though, it allows people to take modules from one game and transpose it into others. For example, the rules in the Revival Expansion (one of my absolute favourite books we’ve written!) are actually the rules from Era: Survival, presented in a Sci-Fi context.

This provides the versatility that you’re talking about, in my opinion: if I need to add some new rules, I make sure that they follow the same paradigm and add a new module for the game.

 

EGG EMBRY – You just finished the Era: Balam Kickstarter and have already shipped the rewards, correct? What brings you back to Era: The Consortium at this point?

ED JOWETT – Era: Balam was completed and shipped for all physical and Era d10 rewards. I, personally, have completed everything except layout work on the Fate and Savage Worlds books, so I’m finished on that project until the awesome people – who are much more expert than I in those systems – complete their review of the work I’ve done, and their own writing. As a result, I’ve got a bit of a hole in my schedule, which lets me look at another project.

All of that said, Era: The Consortium is a game that I never really leave, to be honest! Between the end of the Kickstarter almost exactly a year ago and this year, I’ve come up with 8 additional expansion ideas for the existing timeline (not including things I have thought of for the next 500 years!).

I’ll be honest, out of the games I’ve created, this is my personal favourite because of the universe it offers. I’m very proud of the other games as well, but I could happily play this game for the rest of my RPG life, personally. As a result, I never want to stop making things for it, as long as people still want to get them… and it’s clear from some of the feedback I’ve already had that the people backing the Kickstarter definitely want me to continue!

 

EGG – I’ve asked a variation of this question to several interviewees lately – SoV has a free preview of Era: The Consortium, how has it “tracked” so far and have you seen an uptick in interest since the latest Kickstarter launched?

ED JOWETT – That’s an interesting question. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but we actually offer the free preview all the time. I would say there’s been a minor uptick from the Kickstarter traffic, but a lot less than there was a year ago.

 

EGG – I mentioned that I’m assisting on the Sirona Specials Part I (Sessions 1-10) stretch goal and since it’s difficult for me as the freelancer to tease what it’s about in your interview, can you tell the audience what the setup for this campaign expansion is?

ED JOWETT – Sirona Specials is the story of a group of prisoners who are offered their freedom in exchange for using their… talents. It will follow their adventures through the Consortium as they help the company which has offered them this deal improve their standing within society.

If they do enough, they will be given new identities and set free, and as they achieve success they are given more tangible perks, such as good meals and better living quarters!

It’s said no-one escapes Sirona. Of course, if they aren’t prisoners any more, it wouldn’t really be escaping, right?

 

EGG – What inspired the idea that the Consortium would have something between a chain gang and DC’s Suicide Squad in the form of the Sirona Specials?

ED JOWETT – That’s quite simple – companies in the Consortium are all always vying for power. Crone Correction holds some of the true masters of their craft – the people who were good enough to commit crimes to the extent that a sentence on Sirona was the only way to keep them out of circulation.

I find it hard to believe that Crone Correction, even though it is mandated to exist by the Consortium Charter, is satisfied with its position. The leaders of the company want what every CEO in the Consortium wants: more power… and they wouldn’t be afraid to use the assets they have to achieve it!

To me, this was a logical step, and I was glad to run into someone else who agreed it was a fun idea for an RPG campaign!

[Editor’s Note: Egg is the someone else. Egg is proud to be the someone else. Victory = Egg!]

 

EGG – As the publisher, can you highlight one pledge level/backer reward that you think is the standout for Era: The Consortium – A Universe of Expansions 2?

ED JOWETT – I’m going to highlight two, but for a good reason!

If you‘ve never heard of Era: The Consortium before, then you can get hold of everything that exists for Era: The Consortium (currently 11 books, with an additional one unlocked by each Stretch Goal!) with several of the tiers in this Kickstarter.

To those people, I’d recommend the £40 tier, Katana Unit, because I think that nothing beats holding the book in your hands when you’re playing these games. The games are available in Digital only, as well, of course.

If you’re an Era: The Consortium veteran, I’d say you can’t go wrong with the other £40 tier, Scimitar Unit, which offers all newly unlocked expansions in Digital Format, along with your choice of 3 in Paperback! This includes not only the new expansions, but also the older ones as well, so you can get hold of A New Dawn, Revival and Free Trader if you like (for example!).

 

EGG – Recently, Shades of Vengeance attended MCM Comicon, what games did you demonstrate while you were there? How was the response to them? And what upcoming conventions will you attend?

ED JOWETT – We had an absolute blast at MCM Comicon – I don’t think we’ve ever sat down so many people at our gaming tables over a weekend!

We demonstrated all of our games: Era: The Consortium, Era: Lyres, Era: The Empowered, Era: Survival, Era: Silence, Era: Hitman and Era: Balam, as well as both of our card games, Champion of Earth and Evil Overlord’s prototype!

We had an overwhelmingly positive response, which is always inspiring to see, but the best thing is always when we see people who had never heard of roleplaying or didn’t really think they would ever try it sit down and play, and instantly fall in love! I know that my team loves running these conventions as much as the players enjoy attending and trying out whatever we have new – we certainly have a lot of “repeat offenders” these days, who remember us from previous conventions and came searching for us!

We’ve got a couple more this year, AetherCon is this weekend and we will be there inside the virtual environments they are offering! We will be running three games – one of Era: The Consortium, which is full, along with one of Era: Lyres and one of Era: The Empowered.

It’s actually a fantastic time to join us for games, because it’s something that is totally virtual and we play via Google Hangout, so you can join us from the comfort of your own living room!

If you’d like to join us, you can grab a free ticket for the games here:

Era: Lyres (Friday): http://aethercon.com/ACEventMan/Tickets/viewevent.asp?EventID=137

Era: The Empowered (Saturday): http://aethercon.com/ACEventMan/Tickets/viewevent.asp?EventID=136

We’ll also be doing an entire segment on what’s coming in the future for us! If you want to know more about what we have planned for the Era universe, you can join us for here: http://aethercon.com/ACEventMan/Tickets/viewevent.asp?EventID=39

Beyond AetherCon, we have Dragonmeet in London to finish off our year! That’s at the start of December, and we’ll be there demonstrating all the games we have, as usual!

 

EGG – Since I have you here and we talked about Era: Balam last time, how would you rate the outcome of that Kickstarter in terms of fan response and what you delivered?

ED JOWETT – Interestingly, the primary response that I’ve heard to Era: Balam is how interested people are to integrate the rules into Era: The Consortium‘s gameplay!

The Era d10 version of Era: Balam has been received very well, with about 75% of people who backed the Kickstarter choosing to receive it. I think, overall, the project has been a great success, as well as proof that Era: The Consortium does still have more things that could be done, if people think there is more that could be added!

 

EGG – Era: The Consortium has received a great deal of praise, what’s the quote that gives you the warm and fuzzies as a creator?

ED JOWETT – Oh, that’s easy. There’s a review that was done very early on by RPG Knights who really inspired me to continue. In the low moments, I come back to it – I figure if one person likes the game this much, there will be others who like it just as much as well!

“It is literally the best sci-fi Role Playing Game I have ever seen and hence Era The Consortium is the game that I have been looking for.”

http://rpgknights.com/era-the-consortium-a-review/

 

EGG – What other RPG projects are you currently developing for Shades of Vengeance?

ED JOWETT – I currently have 9 active RPG projects! I can’t talk about all of them, but here’s what I can say!

The Core Rulebook for Era: The Empowered is close to completion. We expect to have all of the writing and artwork completed by the end of the year. That means we’re going to be looking closely at launching early next year on Kickstarter. This Core Rulebook will include the full character creation rules (which I finished writing on Saturday!), along with a complete history and multiple different types of superhero sub-genres to explore!

Era: The Chosen is something I’ve been working on for a while now (I recently realized I actually started artwork for it in January, although it had a bit of a break mid-year!). I also expect that to be done by the end of the year, and it is a bit of a race between Empowered and Chosen to see which one will get out first. Era: The Chosen is a Horror RPG – think Dr Who meets Turok 2: horrible creatures are snatching people from our world… will you be able to stop them? It also features some brand new rules around being terrified!

We’re also working on two high fantasy games with very different aims, which I expect to get at least one of finished this year. We’re working on a cyberpunk game, inspired by the Matrix, where you can actually modify reality as you travel through it…

And the last one I can talk about for now is one which is inspired by Final Fantasy in particular and JRPGs in general. I’m working with the talented Mr Mark Miller on the levelling up methods in order to get them nice and authentic with the correct feel.

There is one other game that I am not currently at liberty to announce… but I will be in 3 more days! Please join us at the AetherCon panel about what is to come to find out more [here].

 

EGG – Any parting thoughts? Where can we find out more about Ed Jowett and Shades of Vengeance?

ED JOWETT – You can find us at www.shadesofvengeance.com , where our news is always kept up to date. You can also look for us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/shadesofvengeance/) or Twitter (www.twitter.com/Shades_of_Venge). Finally, you can follow us on Kickstarter (and if you want to know what’s just become available, that’s the best place!): https://www.kickstarter.com/profile/shadesofvengeance/about

I’d like to thank everyone for reading! I hope to see you at Era: The Consortium – A Universe of Expansions 2 [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

 

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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 or wall 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 on Facebook (Egg Embry) or on Google Plus (+Egg Embry).

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Egg’s Thoughts:

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

 

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

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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

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

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

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

Then, there are the adventurers. 

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

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

 

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

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

Egg’s Thoughts:

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

 

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

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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

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

Your money will bring our Henchmen to life.

The Premise

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

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

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

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

Wanna-lancer Reward Levels:

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

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

Includes:

  • Credit as a Contributing Designer”

Egg’s Thoughts:

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

 

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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

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

IDENTECO

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Wanna-lancer Reward Levels:

“Pledge $150 OR $250
Entrepreneur OR Greaser

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

Egg’s Thoughts:

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

 

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

 

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

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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5) Westbound: Revolvers and Rituals by Island of Bees 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Solar Dragon by Tanyaporn Sangsnit
Solar Dragon by Tanyaporn Sangsnit

Wanna-lancer Reward Add-ons:

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

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

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

Ysoki Rogue by Arrahman Rendi

Egg’s Thoughts:

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

 

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

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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

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

SideQuests are back!

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

SideQuests II: The Covers
SideQuests II: The Covers

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

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

 

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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

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

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

Secrets of Oyster Cove

Places by the Way

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

 

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

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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

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

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

Book Specs

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

 

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

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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

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

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

 

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Signal Boost:

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

 

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

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

 

* * * * * *

 

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

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

* * * * * *

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

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

11 QUESTIONS ABOUT THE ERA: BALAM RPG WITH ED JOWETT (SHADES OF VENGEANCE)

I first discovered Shades of Vengeance when I covered their Era: Hitman Kickstarter for my blog. The idea behind the game – “Be a super-powered assassin” – spoke to me because it’s charmingly action movie and engaging. Who doesn’t want to be the bad guy and mind blast someone? Discussing the article with Ed Jowett, owner of SoV, led to working on an adventure for him and we’ve stayed in touch since. When he launched Era: Balam, I knew I wanted him to lead my new RPG Kickstarter interview column. So, let’s talk Ed, SoV, Era: Balam and more!

EGG EMBRY – Thanks for joining us, Ed. If you don’t mind, let’s dive in – Tell us about your current Kickstarter campaign, Era: Balam? What is it about? Why should fans back it?

ED JOWETT – Era: Balam is the latest in our series of Era games, the seventh entry in the group. It’s a game which focuses on the theme of a pilot and their ship being an entity together. It provides exploration, and alien threat to fight against and the chance to save Humanity from invasion!

This game is also offering something new for us – a version in Era d10, but also one in FATE and one in Savage Worlds! You can choose which you prefer from the Kickstarter.

 

 

EGG – Why did you make Era: Balam a part of Kickstarter’s Project of Earth initiative?

ED JOWETT – When Kickstarter launched their Project of Earth initiative for the anniversaries of the Voyager probes, I was inspired not by what Earth is today, or what kind of message I might send into space, but by what might happen to a probe when it arrived on an alien world. What reaction would aliens have to it? How would they respond to this thing appearing? I took that one step further – what would happen if it accidentally did damage to their society?

On the surface, that seems bleak, but while I wanted to make an interesting story, bear in mind everything that this implies – our probes reached other solar systems, travelling across the vastness of space and no matter what happened afterwards, it contacted an alien race for Humanity. Is that not what we all dream of when we send probes like Voyager into interstellar space?

 

Landing on Balam, the main Human colony…

EGG – How does Era: Balam relate to your other sci-fi setting, Era: The Consortium?

ED JOWETT – It relates in the sense that both originate with colony ships from Earth – the colonies in the system where Era: Balam is based are an offshoot of a main colony ship that was nearby.

The rules are extremely compatible, though, and Era: Balam offers one of the few things that can expand the Sci-Fi experience of Era: The Consortium – while the latter game offers space combat, it’s primarily focused around larger ships with crews. You can fly a fighter, but it’s not usually an even match and most of the larger ships have great point defence. In Era: Balam, you get the chance to conduct dog fights on a relatively equal footing with the aliens – huge fleets of fighters exist on both sides and it gives the chance to face a different sort of threat to what you’re likely to face in the Consortium’s region of space.

 

 

EGG – As the publisher, can you highlight one pledge level/backer reward that you think is the standout for Era: Balam?

ED JOWETT – I’d have to highlight the £55 or more pledge, “SPECIAL REQUEST – All the Sci-Fi Eras!”

I’ve had a lot of questions about Era: Balam and how it relates to Era: The Consortium. There’s a lot of possibility there for cross-play. It gets better – you get not only the physical of Era d10 Balam and Era: The Consortium, but you get the Definitive Edition Rulebook of Era: The Consortium, with loads of extra content, along with your choice of rule set for Digital Era: Balam!

It’s giving you loads of amazing stuff for just £55, along with the discount on retail prices on that entire bundle.

 

 

EGG – What inspired you to create the Era d10 gaming system? What makes it stand out from other RPG systems?

ED JOWETTEra d10 was the answer to what my group and I wanted out of rules: I roll terribly, so I hate single dice systems. With Era d10 providing multiple dice, along with flexibility of matching any Attribute with any Skill built into the system itself, you both combat the “I roll badly” factor and min-maxing at the same time – a min-maxed character with no Intelligence could well struggle in certain situations!

It also provided a combat system, particularly around Brawling, that was playable to a greater degree than other things out there: any Brawl action can be described in a single-page flow chart.

I think it stands out because it’s easy to learn, extremely flexible and intuitive – everything works in the same way and once you know the core of the rules, it’s not hard to guess. I’ve had a lot of people comment that they could not find a rule so they guessed and when they found it later on a read-through, they were completely correct.

 

From Era: The Consortium

EGG – What was the game that changed you into a gamer?

ED JOWETT – A combination of things, but I’d probably have to say somewhere between Paranoia and World of Darkness.

Paranoia was the first game I played and then GM’d 2 weeks later. We used a non-standard rule set – not that any of the players knew that, of course (because, for anyone who doesn’t know, it’s against the rules for the players to know the rules in Paranoia…).

That got me into gaming, but what secured my attention – because the Paranoia rules we used was a one dice system! – was a World of Darkness homebrew we made which will be very familiar to anyone who knows Era: The Consortium. It was very much the predecessor of the game you’re playing today, created by those of us who were running a local 24-hour game!

 

 

EGG – Tell us why you jumped from gamer to publisher and created your company, Shades of Vengeance?

ED JOWETT – It was a friend of mine, actually, who convinced me to publish! I’d finished my first campaign and my brother wanted to try running one, so I was writing down the rules. Dru, my friend, was chatting and I showed him what I was working on. He said I should publish it, and things just spiraled from there!

 

Their reaction was fairly… extreme!

EGG EMBRYShades of Vengeance has completed Kickstarters for both RPGs and card games; are there any difference in how you run a RPG Kickstarter versus a card game Kickstarter?

ED JOWETT – Good question! The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that I don’t know entirely what that difference is and don’t yet consider myself as much of an expert on card game Kickstarters as I do on RPG ones…

I have a lot more card games in the works, so I expect to continue learning!

 

 

EGG – As a Kickstarter veteran, what advice would you give others thinking about launching a gaming Kickstarter?

ED JOWETT – Know your domain on Kickstarter. Know what the bottom end of projects get before you start, because that is where you will sit with your first Kickstarter. Don’t look at Seventh Sea for RPGs and expect to get that, look at the new people. That means scrolling all the way to the bottom of the Tabletop Games list and looking at those. Set a realistic goal for where you are at.

And, if you don’t know what you’re doing, get some help! One of the things Shades of Vengeance does is assist people with getting their games on Kickstarter.

 

Kurmaja Park remains the centre of the Consortium

EGG – What projects are you currently developing?

ED JOWETT – When I counted just recently, I realised I had 9 projects on the go, so I have quite a bit going on.

The next one people will see is the Era: The Consortium – A Universe of Expansions 2 Kickstarter. The last one we did funded 8 expansions to Era: The Consortium, but I had 26 ideas at the time. I’d like to get more of those out there, and I’m looking forward to the chance to do it!

After that, you’ll start seeing Era: The Empowered, our superheroes game, Era: The Chosen, our brand new horror game and Era: Legends, a Fantasy game, popping up. We’ve also got more card games, including a “sequel” to Champion of Earth, called “Evil Overlord”, Era: Survival Colony and one based in the Era: The Consortium universe!

We’ve got loads more on the way, including a matrix-inspired cyberpunk game, a JRPG-style game and a High Fantasy game. We’re definitely hard at work here, with an ambitious 2-year plan and a desire to see it fulfilled!

 

 

 

EGG – Any parting thoughts? Where can we find out more about Shades of Vengeance?

ED JOWETT – I’d like to thank Egg for his time and the chance to talk about the thing I enjoy most – gaming! There’s a lot more to come from Shades of Vengeance and I hope you’ll consider keeping an eye on us, because we’re doing great things.

If you want to know more about Shades of Vengeance, you should glance at our Kickstarters, or at our website blog (http://www.shadesofvengeance.com/blog/) or Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/shadesofvengeance)!

 

To see more games by Shades of Vengeance, check them out on DriveThruRPG here.

To back their Kickstarter campaign for Era: Balam, click here.

 

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

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

 

* * * * * *

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

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

 

* * * * * *

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

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

 

You can find HC SVNT DRACONES’ core rulebook here.

You can find this Kickstarter here.

 

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

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

TL;DR: The Value Proposition

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

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

Art credit Jack Kaiser
Art credit Jack Kaiser

What is This Book?

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

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

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

Creative Input Add-Ons

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

Egg’s Thoughts:

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

 

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

You can find this Kickstarter here.

 

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3) Sixty Mile Sky by Benjamin Arndt
Ends on .

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

What is Sixty Mile Sky?

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

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

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

Egg’s Thoughts:

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

 

You can find this Kickstarter here.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Egg’s Thoughts:

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

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

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

 

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

You can find this Kickstarter here.

 

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

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

Artist's impression of the finished book

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

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

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

Egg’s Thoughts:

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

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

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

 

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

You can find this Kickstarter here.

Spire RPG

 

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Signal Boosting

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

 

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

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

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

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

Egg’s Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

 

You can find this Kickstarter here.

 

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

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

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

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

 

You can find this Kickstarter here.

 

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

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

 

* * * * * *

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

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

* * * * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bea and Tessa.

Egg’s Thoughts:

Plush Bea-Holder!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

You can back this Kickstarter here.

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pledge £30 or more
ABOUT $38

Client

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

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

INCLUDES:

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

Era: Hitman

Egg’s Thoughts: 

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

Perfect.

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

Need more? They have a quickstart guide here.

 

You can back this Kickstarter here.

 

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

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

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

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

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

Samyaza Floating City

Egg’s Thoughts:

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

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

 

You can back this Kickstarter here.

 

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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 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: