After the success of the trip last year (which you can read about here and here) (you know, none of us killed any of the others after being together non-stop for the better part of 5 days), Lee, Egg Embry, and I took a drive back to the land of corn and at one point Peyton Manning.
This year continued the idea of checking out all the gaming systems we’d never had the opportunity to play previously. In fact, much of the last year or we’ve played a handful of games just to get that different kind of exposure.
Thursday started off with a trip to the Dealers’ Room. I’m not sure if I mentioned it last year, but the room is enormous. Even if you were moving quickly and barely taking any time to look around it would probably be a couple of hours. Throughout the weekend we’d squeeze an hour here or an hour there to try to slowly move through the building and even then it was easier said than done. In addition, you have all the game demos going on, but if you are only in the room on a scattered basis, there is almost no way to fit it in. The best we can figure is MAYBE you set aside Thursday and not do anything but go through the room playing demos and squeezing everything you can out of that room and then basically be done with it.
However, we couldn’t do that, and after a couple of hours, it was on to the first game.
Flash Gordon (Savage Worlds)
While I’d like to claim that I have an in-depth knowledge of the old serials or the cartoons or even the comics, my brush with Flash Gordon is limited to three things:
The Queen Soundtrack
The 80’s Movie
And explaining to people that the Flash and Flash Gordon are two entirely different characters.
Savage Worlds is an interesting system in that the is probably just enough complexity to give those people who really like the more Crunchy systems, but for the most part, it was fairly easy to understand. We were introduced to the “Exploding Dice” mechanic which basically means that if you roll the maximum value on a dice you get to roll again (so a 6 on a d6 would mean a reroll and add it to the first result). I enjoyed the system enough that I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more of it at some point.
Given that we were playing in a pulpy game setting with ray guns and short skirts and evil robots, Lee and Egg told me that I had to use my newsreel voice for whatever character I get (to get an idea of what that might sound like, think about the old movies where the news was also played along with the film and how the narrator might have sounded). I chose a Mad Scientist type character and put maximum effort into the voice. I hope that the other players had fun because I had a ball (as goofy as it might have been to say “What’s that dame up to now?” or “This just in, we need to get the hell out of here!”).
Rest easy, we stopped Ming’s latest plot to destroy the Earth, so you can thank me the next time you see me!
I didn’t have any idea what Wicked Pacts might have been, but it was pretty easy to figure out as it plays in the Modern Day (Urban Fantasy, where the supernatural are all too real, and you get to play a magic user of some type). The system combined Tarot cards along with D10s. The DM did a great job, and the players seemed like they were having a good time as well. There were minor things that I wasn’t overly thrilled with in regards to the system, but there was plenty of good as well. I think that if you wanted to play a Dresden Files type of game this would be a good one to check out!
We had it all figured out. A five-hour session playing Geist (a Storyteller/World of Darkness Game). We visited Onyx Press’s booth on Thursday and talked to one of the guys who had worked on the 2nd edition of the game. And promptly got screwed up… on the time and place of our game. He said he was running the demo at 10 AM and that was the time we had set up for our game. But it was actually in the dealers’ room – something none of us had done before. Still, we didn’t think anything of it until the game ended about an hour and a half… it was a five-hour session. At which point Lee double checked the ticket and realized we were in the wrong place!
The game just completed a Kickstarter for the 2nd edition we played. You can check that out here.
As to the game demo itself, I’ve now played Storyteller games a few times in the last year, so the familiarity is now there. I was more concerned with the story. I know nothing of the original 1st edition Geist, but this idea of people who deal with ghosts while dealing with the fact they’d come back to life in another way. Even as a simple short story, it suddenly clicked on how you could do a full campaign with the system and really have some fun with local ghost stories in your area.
Hmmm, research, where I have to visit creepy places in and around Atlanta, may not be the best idea…
Hope you enjoyed Part 1, Part 2 will be up next week.
A lot of good RPG Kickstarters get overshadowed by better known publishers or titles. Others, like third-party 5e or Pathfinder products, have to compete against a sea of competition. This week, I’m counting down eight [Good gravy!!!] RPG campaigns that deserve a look. Some of these offer wanna-lancer* rewards that are worth considering into if you want to build your RPG resume.
*Wanna-lancer™ – A gamer that’s pursuing freelance RPG work. Some back RPG Kickstarters that offer rewards to create NPCs, spells, items, adventures, etc. in order to build up their resume, make contact with publishers, and learn what’s expected on assignments.
“A modern day Roleplaying game where players create various types of magic users. Urban fantasy magic meets gritty crime drama.
Wicked Pacts – Grunt Archetype
Unknown to the general public, there are chaotic societies filled with magic, supernatural creatures, and other beings trying to establish themselves in the enchanted world and to promote their self interests regardless of the conflict that ensues. Meanwhile, many of the responsible magic practitioners do their best to shield the Ungifted from the reality of their existence to avoid a modern day witch hunt. It is in everyone’s best interest not to draw attention to their mystical world.
In Wicked Pacts players create magic users from various types of blood lines, from Pure blooded, half-blooded, Angel blooded, or Demon Blooded. Furthermore, there are a wide variety of magic training thus forging them into an archetype they can pick from in the game. Wicked Pacts features Talents, Complications, and a ton of Spells.
The game mechanics are designed to be fast and easy to learn, but not too easy it waters down the play and detail of the action. Wicked Pacts uses the regular polyhedral dice set and also what we call our Tarot Card element. Each character is linked to an Arcana card in a Tarot Deck. This card and many other cards can be used as fuel for the GM or the Player to affect various elements in the storytelling.”
“Pledge $100 or more
For your pledge, you will be able to work with the creator to help design either a supernatural monster, organization or ultimate bad guy or adventure with full credit to your contribution.”
This is a new dice and Tarot Card combo gaming system that you can help fund. Or, if you want to create content for this setting/system, you can pledge to create a substantial element for it. You can write up an organization or adventure which could have an impact on the direction of this game. Their wanna-lancer reward gives you the chance to influence Wicked Pacts from the start.
You can see examples of The Polyhedral Knights work at DriveThruRPG here.
“The Lion’s Vault – Part 3 of the Fate of the Forebears adventure path for 5th Edition D&D and Pathfinder RPG.
Lion’s Vault is the third chapter of the Fate of the Forebears Adventure Path, beginning immediately after the close of City of Sands module. The players must now venture out into the desert wastes of the Mirrored Steppes to uncover the secrets of an ancient city in ruins. Characters must withstand an ever-present corruption that feasts on their will, while they race treasure hunters and bandits through trapped-filled ruins to find the corruption’s source, an unspeakable horror protected by an ageless guardian.
The 80+ page adventure is setting agnostic, but with original locations and written for both Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition as well as the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. The module will take characters from level 9 to level 11 and brings them through three narrative acts of a story arc, yielding 10-12 sessions of play. It is the continuation of the second module of Fate of the Forebears AP, City of Sands, which, in turn, picks up after the first module, Domes of Ishaq-Zahur.
In addition to the module, there will be an opportunity to pledge for digital assets in addition to PDF and print versions, which will allow you to easily run it online through virtual tabletop as well as at your table.
The destruction and terror the Nartheneen scepter caused on the metropolis of Archensheen will mark the city for decades. But even as the warring factions of the city fell to its power, it was clear that its evil source came from somewhere. Following a trail of disreputable treasure hunters, it is learned that a long-ruined Nartheneen city in the wastes of the Mirrored Steppes was the source of not only that scepter but all manner of evil and corrupted artifacts.
A dark corruption lies beneath the Nartheneen ruins, tainting everything around it—and this corruption is protected by ancient guardians who will stop at nothing to protect their secrets. What extremes must the adventurers reach to reveal the Nartheneen secrets and what horrors will awaken when they do?”
This is the first of five RPGs that are for either 5e or Pathfinder or both (six if you count Starfinder since it’s akin to Pathfinder/3.5e). With that in mind, each of these 5e/PF adventures deserves a look because they all have something to offer.
You can see examples of 2CGaming work at DriveThruRPG here.
“The Mysterious Happenings at Furlong Down is an adventure landscape (mini campaign) for 5th edition D&D. It is for 4-6 2nd level PCs.
The Restless Dead
The Mysterious Happenings at Furlong Down is an adventure landscape (mini campaign) for use with 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons. It pays homage to early 1st edition modules such as Bone Hill, Sinister Secret of the Saltmarsh and Against the Cult of the Reptile God. It also draws specific inspiration from the following 1980s small press publications: Starstone by Paul Vernon & the Adventures in Tortured Souls Magazine.
There are at least 20 quests / plots / mysteries to resolve. There is plenty for the PC’s to do.
This Kickstarter is to raise funds to pay for editing and to add as much art, from the most excellent Jonny Gray, as possible. Some draft illustrations are shown.
This publication will contain:
A rural village to investigate, and save?
20 wilderness encounters to overcome.
10 site based adventure areas (with 11 maps), containing about a 100 dungeon ‘rooms’.
A random encounter table for the various terrains.
A table of rumour, worry and gossip.
A map for Hexploration outlining the ranges of the many foul, and fair, creatures that roam the land.
Total 32-36 page count PDF in two column format. Size 11 font. Approximately 20,000 words.
Access to an at cost Print On Demand.
A call for help from a PC’s relative takes the party to the area around the village of Furlong Down. All is not well. A strange pallor has afflicted the village teenagers; farmers report sightings of dangerous beasts. The county was once plagued by a now destroyed vampire, but it still casts a shadow the village cannot escape from.
The PCs should be 5th level by the time they have made the land safe once more. The adventure is suitable for a whole range of classes, and races.”
Too many to list. They start at £7 (about $9) and let you create undead, sprites, warriors, and more.
Jared, Volunteer for the Village Patrol, is no match for the challenges ahead
Egg’s Thoughts on The Cruellest Mistress Of All:
I backed John R. Davis’ The Cruellest Mistress Of All Kickstarter and pledged for a vanity press reward. My pledge allowed me to get the adventure and the prequel as well as create and write a setting and NPCs. The reward let me write a location but John let me sneak in a pair of NPCs to enhance the flavoring. John was easy to work with, very open to my ideas, and offered a lot of praise (and may use the setting/NPCs in a future volume of his adventure path. That was a validating conversation). CMoA was a nice addition to my RPG resume and pleasant work experience.
For John’s campaign, I gave £15 (about $24 at the time). If I hadn’t pledged for that, I would have gone with the Forgotten Souls level (£14 or about $21) that included the prequel adventure, the adventure for CMoA and the gazetteer. My wanna-lancer cost was a pound or about $3 (all January, 2016 conversions and poor rounding). The adventure is fun, the art is solid, and my writing appears in the product. I count this as a win!
[UPDATE – 2017-08-29 at 13:23 – After I messaged John R Davis about this post, he emailed me about my CMoA submission –
“Hi Egg Thanks for the support One of your merfolk is pencilled in to become sea-dragon food in Part 4 of Keranow! Might feel a bit guilty about that now! regards John“
John cracks me up! Support his newest campaign here.]
Egg’s Thoughts on The Mysterious Happenings at Furlong Down. 5th ed Adventure:
Based on my experience with John R. Davis, this is an easy recommendation. I expect a great adventure, great art, probably some extras, and John is very open to including your ideas. The base cost is £5/$7 or you can create content for £7/$9. The extra cost is negligible and a great resume builder. I cannot recommend it enough!
You can see examples of John R. Davis’ work at DriveThruRPG here.
“Sometimes the greatest adventure in space is simply surviving the orders of your captain. Redshirts brings laughs to your gaming table.
Chief of Security, Mitzy Stuffington
Redshirts: Adventures in Absurdity (Vol. 1) is a Starfinder compatible Adventure Path, guaranteed to have your PCs laughing hysterically from one end of the galaxy to the other.
Critics have called it “The Office meets Survivor…in space.”
Unlike most RPGs which set up the PCs to achieve great heroic victories over threats to the very existence of the world, Redshirts is more a game of survival, as in can the PCs survive the ridiculous orders of the command crew. Redshirts is perfect for players wishing to emulate the tone of comedic Space-Opera settings such as Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Futurama, or Spaceballs. It parodies and builds upon popular Sci-fi settings and tropes, while building its own niche.
The final product will be between 100-120 pages, and will include 5 pre-gen characters for those that just want to pick up and play. It is available in PDF, softback, and hardcover (all in full color).
Redshirts plays like a combination of a Role-playing game and an improv comedy routine (always say “yes”), as the PCs run the crew’s most dangerous errands. Vol. 1 encompasses the first three “missions” and takes the PCs from level 1 to level 3.
Mission 1: The Terrible Tacos: When Captain Ginny wakes up after a weekend bender with an intense craving for tacos, she decides to send her newly arrived recruits on their first mission. Unfortunately for the recruits, the local Taco Galaxy is under deadly new management.
Mission 2: The Cheaper Cleaner: Stuck in a surveillance mission around a dying star, first officer Laisse Faire decides to save a few credits and send the PCs to pick up his dry cleaning instead of paying for delivery. He’s sure the quarantine around the planet won’t be a problem.
Mission 3: The Pirate Bonanza: When several important pieces of the ship’s engine go missing, the PCs are sent shopping at the local space pirate flea market with a budget of $0 and the Captain expecting change back. Can the PCs get the ship back in working order or will they end up swabbing the decks of a pirate ship for the rest of their days?
Redshirts: Adventure in Absurdity (Vol. 1) will include the following new things that can be used in any Starfinder game:
3 new specific settings (2 space stations and a planet) which will include statistics and maps.
6 new playable races including: Door-tu-Dorans, Plushians, Aggressians, Mongrels, Pointers, and Beardies.
15 new monsters/NPCs to challenge your PCs, each with full stat blocks and artwork.
Detailed backstory for the Confederation of United Nebuls, Terrestials, and Sidereals (The people who pay the PCs tiny salary). The name of this huge bureaucracy refers to the three types of creatures eligible for citizenship in the Confederation:
Nebuls (creatures born on non-human worlds or races without significant amounts of human DNA)
Terrestials (Creatures born on human worlds with a significant amount of human DNA)
Sidereals (creatures naturally born in space or difficult to categorize)”
“Pledge $200 or more
Design an NPC
Backers at this level will work with the design team to create an NPC crew member that will appear throughout the Redshirts adventure path. This character can be of any race that exists or we can design a new one to fit it. The character will receive a prominent role in the overall storyline, and will have original artwork designed for it. This backer level will also receive front cover credit as a designer…
Pledge $500 or more
Design a mission
A backer at this level can work with us to design an entire 25-35 page mission including creating new NPCS, races, monsters, and a planetary (or space based) setting. Includes up to 5 pieces of original artwork based on your creation. Backers at this level will be credited in the front cover as a designer.”
Paizo’s Starfinder was crazy popular at Gen Con 50 and sold out in seven hours on the first day of the show. Rumor at the con was Paizo brought 150% of the largest inventory they’d ever brought to a show. 7 hours ate that. Demos for Starfinder had hour-long lines even on Sunday. There is an appetite for Starfinder that Paizo and third party publishers are working to meet. That brings us to Redshirts: A Starfinder Comedy Adventure Path (Levels 1-3) by Happy Gnome Publishing. Launched with a 60-day funding period, this Kickstarter used its longer-than-normal length to ride the growing wave of interest in Starfinder and reach a wider audience. They’re developing a setting that lampoons Star Trek within the Starfinder setting. Interested in designing a NPC or an adventure early in the lifecycle of Starfinder? This campaign offers an opportunity to do just that. You can show off your chops with one of the hottest games in 2017.
You can see examples of Happy Gnome Publishing work at DriveThruRPG here.
“A role playing game adventure module for the 5th edition game mechanic. If you like Dungeons and Dragons this is for you. RPG DND 5e
Sample image from play test draft
Pieron was just another commoner until an encounter with a mysterious woman and a magical deck of cards changed his destiny. Now Pieron is seeking out stout companions to aid him in claiming his birthright, the Keep at Glenfallow.
Overrun by monsters a century ago, the keep at Glenfallow now lies in ruin.
Will you help Pieron face unknown peril? Would you dare to stand beside the future lord of Glenfallow as he struggles to retake what it is rightfully his? Can you forge the destiny of a newly minted lord?
A host of monsters stand between Pieron and his destiny. The malicious goblin chief lords over his subjects, and dark creatures stir in the catacombs beneath the keep.
Will you gamble your future on The Draw of Glenfallow?”
This is the third of five RPGs that are for either 5e or Pathfinder or both in this post. The Draw of Glenfallow is the first in a series from Sinopa Publishing LLC. This adventure is currently 48 pages and should grow a bit with maps and art. At $5 for “a PDF copy of the module, … [and] the Encounter Scale System printable encounter map pack”, the price is hard to argue with.
You can see examples of Sinopa Publishing LLC work at DriveThruRPG here.
“An epic adventure that explores themes of madness and obsession, of betrayal and consequence, and the hope of redemption.
The Mad God’s legacy continues to plague the Eternal City!
The Echo of Faith, a twisted spirit obsessed with atoning for her crime of deicide, plunges Anduria deeper into the darkness of the void. Her plans bring the unsuspecting citizens that much closer to the brink of annihilation.
Only a handful of souls are even aware of the coming darkness, and most of those cannot be trusted. The characters are all that stand between the city and utter ruin.
Having survived the mind bending energies of corrupt artifacts, the hungry predation of nightmarish creatures and the plans of sorcerers and devil worshipers, the characters stand on the cusp of understanding just how deep the crisis goes…
The continuing adventures begin to peel away the final layers to allow the players to see the bigger picture at play. All the hints and clues they have gathered so far begin to fit together.
“Sanitarium” (Adventure 4) details the fall from grace of the Healing Hands, an altruistic organisation that has been secretly harboring the divine corpse of the Mad God Aether. The acolytes are about to learn that the aphorism “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” holds truth, as their attempts to siphon off divine energies only accelerate the city’s woes, and that deals with infernal organisations never end well – for anyone. The city will never be the same.
As the dust settles, the characters, armed with knowledge of an arcane ritual that might arrest the slide into madness, must uncover why the city has been bled dry of much needed silver. “Seeking Silver” (Adventure 5) sees the characters uncover the oppression of a nearby mining community at the hands of evil forces and amoral merchants, and the seemingly unconnected events that are actually derived from the same source as the city’s troubles. They must confront a fallen ally and offer them one last chance at redemption…”
“Pledge AU$ 70 (About $55) Pyromaniac
…the naming and description rights (and statistical input) on an NPC Hero or Villain that will appear in the “Seeking Silver” adventure (submission guidelines apply). Your creation will have bust artwork in the book based on your specifications.”
Another option for the world’s most popular role-playing games, What Lies Beyond Reason offers an epic adventure. What’s the quality like? You can try the What Lies Beyond Reason Player’s Guide for free here. If you like it, they offer a chance for you to submit a NPC to the adventure and get the character drawn.
Also, let’s quote about…
“All of the products from the first kickstarter have received strongly positive reader reviews, but they have also been critiqued by Endzeitgeist a respected and impartial critic who is widely held to be the most prolific reviewer of 3rd party Pathfinder and OSR material to date, with a continually expanding catalogue. He has more recently added 5th edition material to his reviews. He has no compunctions about disassembling material and spotlighting its flaws.
All five products (6 if you count the Player’s Guide) were rated 4.5 stars or better (on a 5 star scale), with two – the Campaign Guide for pathfinder and From the Ashes (adventure 3) for both pathfinder/5th ed – receiving his personal recommendation.
This is a passion project for me – you will only ever get my best work. You don’t have to simply take my word for it, you can read the reviews here.”
You can see examples of Pyromaniac Press work at DriveThruRPG here and their free What Lies Beyond Reason Player’s Guide here.
“6 5th edition adventures within 2 story arcs & 2 supplements: Blood Hunter CR0-20 & 1st level Adventuring Days
Welcome to the 20th volume of Dimgaard’s 5th edition adventures. Thanks for the consideration. If you want to see what a Dimgaard adventure module looks like, here is a sample (the first episode of this volume’s Tyranny in Purple). Also, here is the first episode of the Fey Secrets series.
In this volume we continue with Fey Secrets. We present episodes 16 through 18. We also continue with episodes 5 through 7 of Tyranny in Purple. As bonuses we have the supplement GLD21 Blood Hunter CR0-20 and DGS30 Adventuring Days I (for 1st level PCs).”
“Pledge $100 or more
…Have a favorite PC that you would like to see become a permanent NPC — cool. If you have a reasonable idea, we’ll probably be receptive.”
The Dimgaard adventure path series is huge. Want to try the campaign guide for free, DriveThruRPG has it available here. Want to be a part of one of the longest-running (if not the longest) Kickstarted 5e adventure paths? Here’s your chance to be a part of volume 20. Have a NPC or another cool idea that you want to use to help build this world? Dan Hass Endeavors is open to your ideas.
You can see examples of Dan Hass Endeavors work at DriveThruRPG here and the campaign guide for free here.
“A tabletop roleplaying game with dice. Quick to learn for gamers of all experiences, Raids lets players tell the stories they want to.
What is Raids?
Raids is an immersive storytelling role playing game. I use that description because the focus should be on the stories that the players are creating, with the rules acting as a framework and a guide, rather than constricting them. That’s not to say that Raids won’t offer a challenge for veteran gamers- the base setting is a dark fantasy world, where you’ll need to think carefully about your actions or else you’ll find it very challenging.”
“Pledge £70 or (About $91) Guest designer bundle
…PLUS- You will get to help design and name a creature OR a location that will be included in the rulebook with you listed as designer on the page, and receive an exclusive print of your creation’s artwork.
(Please note that we reserve the rights to make any necessary changes to the created creature or location, to ensure copyright laws are not breached and that it does not contain any offensive material.”
If storytelling RPGs are what you’re looking for, Raids offers a new system to consider. On top of that, you can create a creature or, exercising more of the creative-chops, you can create a location. The location could let you spread your wings a bit wider and add more to the world.
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: