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Blades in the Dark is a new Genre Blending narrative Tabletop RPG designed by John Harper (also creator of Lady Blackbird) and published by one.Seven design in early this 2017, following his very successful Kickstarter campaign back in 2015. Currently materials and game aides are being published by Evil Hat Productions. Blades is a game of desperate criminals meeking by in an industrial almost steampunk dystopia, taking heavy inspiration from TV shows like Peaky Blinders, video games like Dishonored, movies like Gangs of New York and novels like The Gentlemen Bastards. Players take on the roles of a criminal crew trying to survive on the streets of Duskwall as they are squeezed between the law and rival criminals on all sides as they attempt to build a place for their ‘Crew’.
The main setting in a fictional post-apocalypse, gaslight fantasy London-Venice-Prague mashup called Doskvol. The world essentially ended long ago with the destruction of the gates of death, with the land masses breaking apart to form the massive island nations of the Shattered Isles. No one has seen the sun clearly in ages. The dead never seem to find rest. The seas are a black ink full of horrors but the blood of those horrors is needed to power massive lightning barriers around cities that try to keep out the dead.
The game’s mechanics are deeply rooted in Apocalypse World, but in a completely unique and original system. It puts a heavy emphasis on fiction-first gameplay which I enjoy but also makes sure to sport a high level of crunch. How well does that combination work? I can tell you it makes for one smooth Criminal!
Blades in the Dark pulls a high class heist in regards to character creation! They use a style that as a Game Master I like more and more as more games are now utilizing Player Character Playbooks. Once a player picks their class, nearly everything they need to know is right there on the Class Playbook sheets. Every skill in the game is on the sheet, as well as all their special abilities. This speeds up the Character creation process considerably and makes everyone’s life easier.
The Class Playbooks much like in Mutant Year Zero provides a good balance between structured career and free-form character creation. Each class defines what special abilities a character has and what they have access to. Players are then given skill points to customize and flush out their characters. One player’s ‘Cutter’ might be a smooth talker as well as the classes default fighting skills, while another player’s ‘Cutter’ has the special ability to fight ghost with his bare hands! The game gives players just enough points to make very playable characters, and rules on how those points can be spent prevent the risk of super-specialized Min-Maxed PCs who can only do one thing, which is a good thing when your a prowling the streets up to no good!
There’s no HP’s on this street!
Blades in the Dark doesn’t use traditional Hit Points. Instead it uses Stress and Harm. Stress is both the game’s meta currency and a major consequence of any failed or partial success rolls. Player Characters give themselves stress to get extra dice or to help out their friends, and they gain stress when they choose resisting taking harm. Players must play a dangerous balancing act, deciding if they should just accept the broken leg or risk the stress needed to avoid it. The broken leg comes with some serious penalties, but getting too much stress can take the character out of the action completely.
This resource-management angle adds a great tactical element to play, making sure the more mechanically oriented players always have something to do. It also shows that a character is deeply affected by their experiences. Plus there’s a FLASH BACK Mechanic that uses stress but more on that later.
Now Stress is a pain to clear but, Between heists, Characters have an opportunity to reduce their stress by indulging in vices. These vices are your characters favorite indulgences and run the gamut from traditional favorites like Alcohol or drugs to truly bizarre options like locking oneself in a room and staring at a creepy alter for a few days straight. Whatever your vice, just like in real life, indulging in it carries a few dangers. A Character might overindulge or get pinched by the Bluecoats. There’s even a chance that the character could go on a multi-week-long bender, and their player will need a backup character for the next game session. But this is a great opportunity to add another proper villain to the crew! Characters that ignore their vices accumulate more and more stress until they are in real trouble and can suffer truly traumatic consequences. It’s both great to roleplay and offers a meta level of play.
And Now its time for a Flashback…
Actually this is the coolest rule in the game and one that should be used in so many other RPGS! The Flashback Rules Are Fun! Blades in the Dark really discourages players from planning, or over planning their scores ahead of time. Instead, the GM is supposed to start things off when the Player Characters run into their first obstacle in the heist: a locked window, a Bluecoat walking the beat, an angry ghost, etc. The group then deal with each obstacle as it arises, and they can add planning via flashback typical of heist shows like Leverage and oceans eleven.
For example: If the group encounters a locked cellar door, one of them can say “Ahhhh, but I got the key for this door before we went on the mission.” Then they’d narrate how they stole the key, made a wax impression and filed a copy… but they need get the GM’s approval, and roll to see if they were successful.
The flashbacks are a blast to use, no question about it. They make the score feel like a classic heist like Ocean’s movies and since each flashback can cost stress depending on complexity, they add to the stress management system as well. Players must decide if an obstacle is difficult enough to justify a flashback or if they’ll deal with it in the here and now.
The rules say that flashbacks can’t override anything that’s already been established in the group narrative especially if they fail their roll in a flashback. If they take an injury as a result, the GM and Player should reflect it that they were hiding that they had the injury or consequence the whole time. GM’s this is a time to be really creative!
In practice I’ve seen flashbacks can be frustrating to players who enjoy planning out every detail of a score and I know those players! Those players can end up feeling like they’re being charged stress for something they would have taken care of ahead of time if the rules had let them. But honestly after a few game sessions they will love the idea of planning for flash backs, or even suggesting them to there fellow villains! Flashbacks are a ton of fun, especially the get out of cliff hanger situations!
Now lets talk the Dice!
Now is the part of the system I’m not a huge fan of but success and failure and degrees of success have to be rolled some how…
It has all the problems of the system used for Masks and Dungeon World, Players roll a number of d6 equal to the skill they’re using, with a few opportunities for extra dice. The only die that matters is the single highest one. If it’s a six, that’s a complete success. If it’s a 4-5, that’s a partial success. A 1-3 is a failure.
Once players get a hefty 4 to 5 dice pool. Which for the most part they can not do in character creation, unless they try really hard and set their minds to it. Their chances of total success exceed 50%. Blades adds two mechanics to effect every roll. The first is position, the worse a character’s situation is, the bigger their penalties for failure, and the second is effect, a general measure of how much impact their roll has on the narrative.
I like this as these two mechanics mean every roll has a bunch of possible outcomes, now there are no solid guidelines for deciding which outcome to choose but this is something I like as it leaves the options in the GM’s hands so it can mean a partial success and the PC suffers a wound, or it can mean a complication occurs, their effect is reduced, and their position is worsened. It’s entirely at the GM’s discretion which is great! This allows more difficult tasks to carry greater risks, but only in what happens if the character fails. A six is still always a success and two sixes is a critical success!
Like other loose game mechanics I feel many a new GM may feel Effect will be difficult to manage as it’s not always clear what extra or reduced effect can do. As advice to fellow GM’s just relax and flow with the narrative and just roll with it as there are multiple factors to consider when deciding if a character’s abilities will grant them extra effect. Until you dive in and just play with it and I’m sure you and the Players will find your stride and have fun. The whole system is a bit complex an not what I call a starter level RPG.
Finally a proper bunch of villains…
To be honest the game takes the stance and flavor that the group will pick their ‘Crews’ theme and almost all will be villains or Anti heroes with options like Assassins, Cult, Smugglers and Bravos to name a few that will lead you into wielding blades in the dark, see where I went there 😉
Now in normal RPGs it can be a struggle to keep the party from dipping into dark and heinous behavior, Blades in the Dark is the exact opposite in theme, feel and gameplay. It encourages the PCs to be proper villains. This has a good chance to end up with a group that’s less like the characters of Assassin creed syndicate, Taboo or Gentlemen Bastards and more like a group of serial killers but then they will pay for it in generating to much ‘Heat’, a metric sort of like Grand thief auto and hitting 5 stars.
Not all groups will succumb to the dark side (or they cover their tracks well), and not all GMs will have issue with dancing in the dark streets and allies, but be warned if you’re considering this game and don’t want to run the Evil League of Evil, spend some time thinking of a premise that will give your group more noble ambitions and goals. The PCs could be part of a revolutionary movement, good lost religion or a bunch of Robin Hoods, so long as it provides some pushback against the worst of the streets.
Blades in the Dark has so much going for it and so much a ton of game testing put into it and I adore it, meaning I recommend it a lot. The faction rules are amazing and worth reading even if you never plan to run the game but can be used in other games to breath new life into them. GMs who can tap dance around the dice mechanic can have a lot of fun with the game and rolls. Players will enjoy their abundance of success, but eventually it can get boring if your GM doesn’t use all his tools. The game makes it difficult to provide effective opposition as it’s normally just players rolling to act, attack or defend. Please as a GM insure that your players meet effective opposition or the game might not be very interesting. It puts a heavy emphasis on fiction-first gameplay but also has a high level of crunch. How well does that combination work? Let’s find out!
Check out the maps here: https://www.evilhat.com/home/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/blades_sheets_v8_1_Doksvol_Maps.pdf
“For centuries, wars and climatic catastrophes have ravaged the surface of the earth, making it uninhabitable by all but the mutated and monstrous. Humanity, searching for refuge, combs the world’s oceans and finds sanctuary…and more. Welcome to Polaris!”
– POLARIS, the RPG.
POLARIS is a French tabletop RPG, set in a post-apocalyptic sci-fi atmosphere, where survival is first and foremost. What attracted me was the sci-fi with a seasoning of horror and weirdness setting. Thanks to a very successful Kickstarter Campaign in early 2016, Black Book Editions are finally able to expand the product line and publish this game for the first time ever in an English language edition and now it has begun to wash up on our shores across the pond!
As you might have guessed from above description, the world of Polaris is a dark, cold, wet place. Mankind in its folly has rendered the surface of the earth uninhabitable, and even with the help of some ominous benefactors known as The Geneticians, they fled beneath the waves to survive in any way possible. However Mankind’s baser instincts gets the best of them and before long, war and bloodshed begin to stain the seas as red as the toxic surface! New factions rise and new grudges evolve as the water becomes spotted with the blood of both the innocent and the guilty. Unknown centuries of squabbling ensue ever diminishing resources, and it seems the end is nigh until a phenomenon known as The Polaris Effect instills select individuals with powers that science cannot adequately define or explain.
There is zero question that Polaris is gorgeous. The layout and art are a testament to the care and craftsmanship the good people at Black Box Editions bring to the table. The world map is beautiful and very impressive – something big happened to the Earth’s surface, and sizable chunks of the surface are completely submerged. There’s an ocean through the middle of North America and Australia both, Greenland’s heart is submerged, and much of South America is gone. It’ll be very interesting to see if we get to find out what the heck happened to the world, or if it’ll be a mystery of the ages…
The default game setting takes place after all of this has transpired and more, The Geneticians are in hiding…or gone. The great city of Equinox is the oceans last best hope for peace…or disaster as it is the hub of all the political powers and controlled by the powers who wield the Polaris effect!
In this post-apocalyptic sci-fi atmosphere, where survival is key the Player Characters can take the role of the usual post-apocalyptic types: mercenaries, soldiers, doctors, as well as devotees of The Cult of Trident, whose members tend to be proficient in the manipulation of The Polaris Effect to create amazing feats. The group can encounter as much or as little political and cold war intrigue since there are a several major powers settled about the globe, as well as groups can either align themselves with one of the smaller geographically locked factions or open the engines up and travel The Seven Seas in search of adventure. But beware for under the sea man isn’t the only thing that lurks beneath the surface as it is so not safe to go back in the water as mysterious monsters, mutants and nature await the adventurous and foolhardy.
One thing I could so see one of our groups doing is use something like Mutant Year Zero’s Ark rules to build the groups own community under the sea and doing missions to help the community as a whole to grow and evolve.
Here is a quick over view of the books and items out as of this post, don’t worry I will so do more detailed and visual reviews over the next few months as all of these products are all beautifully illustrated and laid out, and that includes the PDFs
Now to be honest this is an abridged version of the adventure in Core Rulebook 1 and the Pre gen Characters are great and its FREE on DriveThruRPG.Com!
A great and free teaser to the Polaris setting
Fiction, World Setting with a ton of plot hooks, Character creation, and Rules!
Mystery, Underwater combat and Vehicles, Mermaids (Not those kind!) and other sea creatures, Tech and most importantly fixing gear, and ‘Advanced Rules’!
Together both rulebooks do come with a lovely cardstock ‘Slipcase’ to keep them both safely in. Between the two you have everything your need to play the Polaris RPG! Together over 500 pages of full cover loveliness!
Another lovely hardcover book weighing in at 48 pages, that goes further into the equally mysterious and majestic city of Equinox. This neutral Freeport of a floating city in the sea is home to the ‘Cult of the Trident’ the systems mysterious users of the Polaris Effect! It does a good job of giving a ton of good plot hooks as well as including the adventure “Industrial Espionage”.
I LOVE these for you Polaris players! This 16-page full color Character folio have EVERYTHING a player needs to play including rules and charts from Core Book 1! Just check out the publisher’s description:
A gaming aid for all Players of Polaris RPG! It introduces in a few pages the world and timeline of the game, and describes the major factions and the most important nations of the Deep. The helpful summary of Character Creation and basic Combat Rules helps players and GM’s alike speed up the gameplay!
On the 8 pages dedicated entirely to your Character’s abilities and equipment as well as your progression you get plenty of space to detail your Adventurer!
The woodfree paper lets you write and erase on the pages! This booklet is aimed at Polaris RPG players, supplied in packs of five Character Files, shrink wrapped together to accommodate a whole gaming table.
16 pages, softcover, woodfree paper, full-color • Map of the World of the Deep • Character Creation Summary • 8 page character sheet • Essential Rules Reminder
This pack contains 16 different location maps where underwater adventurers are likely to roam! Each map exists in a version with full captions, and a spoiler free plain version so players can discover it during gameplay.
The locations included in this pack:
- Equinox: Level 1
- Vessek Rental Hangar
- Vessel Assembly Yard
- Combat Arena
- Mining Zone
- Experimental Hydro-Farm
- Secret Laboratory
- Isolated Station
- Network of Infested Tunnels
- Surface Bunker
- Light Frigate Class
- Unknown Ship Wreck
Style up your game with a set of these Polaris dice! Contains 7 dice (3d6, 3d10, 1xd20)
Check out their awesome website HERE!
Polaris RPG nominated for 4 ENnies in 2017!
As more detailed reviews come outI will link them here, plus see our earlier Summer one shot article HERE.
Through the Rift: Rifts Source book 1 (updated, Revised & extended)
Listen to our Podcast Review episode HERE
The original version of this book was one of the first Rifts books I picked up after getting the original Rifts base book for Christmas one year back in the 90’s.
This book had everything I was hoping for to add to my gaming group and gave some great reading material. Now mind you you’ll be hearing these words repeated in these Rifts book reviews, mainly since the format that the books are written is both reference material and a multi book story adding layer upon layer of new materials.
One of the first teasers I got to see in the book was the add in marvel comics depicting two dynobots going at it beating each other up and wow did it look good!
The original cover depicted Hagan Lonovich (a partner of the new big bad A.R.C.H.I.E. Three) and robotic minions. The book was the first real glimpse of A.R.C.H.I.E. Three and how he was a big bad of Rifts and a savior at the same time, A.R.C.H.I.E. Three supplied and protected humanity against the likes of hes dreaded enemy the Splugorth of Atlantis!
I would say this book did a great job of being updated and cleaned up, so that a lot of redundant information that appears in other books but great for those new to the game and coming in from Savage Rifts! For the older Gamers who’ve been around a while and still play Rifts, it’s worth considering picking up this book. A lot of information has really been cleaned up and there’s new, worthwhile information to get in this book.
In the Rifts core rulebook a brief overview was given to the movers and shakers of the Rifts setting. One of the biggest players was the Coalition military group, and the sourcebook gives us a really good picture of the upper echelon of their leadership. We are introduced the Proseks, their generals and even more information is given in regards to soldier armaments, Coalition ideals and practices as well as ample discussion regarding various errata or player questions raised by the original release of the RPG. Where this sourcebook really shined for me was in the inclusion of A.R.C.H.I.E. Three, the maniacal computer system from our past that survived the apocalypse. A series of adventure hooks are given, and a decent little adventure unfolds as we learn about this unknown menace, mind you over 20+ years every group I’ve had play the adventure have all enjoyed it and everyone ended differently too boot!
The expanded info introduces a new faction I’ve loved since their introduction in Chaos earth, NEMA the North American Military Alliance, better yet they become a faction that for good or evil has even infiltrated the coalition), the Republicans! A secret branch of the old American Government and Military that’s still operating in secret around Archie’s Facilities. Keeping it interesting are the ties to NEMA for those who’ve picked up the Rifts Chaos Earth series and a several new Power Armors and equipment. Your player group could even be NEMA solders in cryo from the ‘golden age’ that even though A.R.C.H.I.E. Three thinks it’s too soon for you to wake up in this dangerous world ‘he’ll’ still equip you as best he can. Just thinking of the possibilities of what a Savage Rifts group can do with this little 160 page sourcebook are huge!
Palladium has always been kind of hit or miss with rules, playing sort of fast and loose and leaving it up to the GM to sort out any discrepancies which has always been a plus for me, and this book is no exception but frankly I can’t say enough, it was just plain fun to read, and that is saying something too. Ultimately, Siembieda does what he is known for and writes a fast-paced narrative that gets you entrenched in the setting quickly. In the revised edition, as a whole this will always be one of my favorite purchases from Palladium.
(Here’s that Dynabot picture from Sourcebook one)
The last section of the book is a monster manual of sorts. All of the information is updated and some, like the Simvan Monster Riders have been dropped as they appear in Rifts Lone Star and quick stats for the Xiticix are included here as they’re something else that was also dropped with the RUE book.
All in All this book is a Natural 20 and should be picked up!
I’m super excited to receive my Kickstarter backer kit! But why the face lift for RIfts from the Palladium system?
“Over 25 years after its original release, Rifts® continues to inspire players around the world with its gonzo, big-guns-and-super-magic world of adventure. Savage Worlds is a game system dedicated to infinite potential combined with ease of play.
Unifying the two means bringing the magic and mayhem of Rifts® to countless new players, as well as calling out to original fans with a new avenue to dive back into this famous world.”
Now we’ve loved the Savage Worlds game system since they picked up Dead Lands and we played the heck out of that!(Though it was before we did the little podcast thing.)
Now onto what we got:
-The Tomorrow Legion Player’s Guide in PDF and Limited Edition hardcover
-Game Master’s Handbook in PDF and Limited Edition hardcover
-Savage Foes of North America in PDF and Limited Edition hardcover
-GM Screen and Garnet Town Gambit adventure in PDF and print
-Poster Map: North America + Castle Refuge in PDF and print
-Combat Map 1: Rift + Ley Line in PDF and print
-Combat Map 2: Portal + Nexus Point in PDF and print
-Savage Rifts Dice Set
-Savage Rifts Bennies
-Savage Rifts T shirt
-Savage Rifts Messenger Bag
…and all digital and physical stretch goal items.
Hey guys Jim here from creative playing podcast network I’ve got a great tip for this weeks blog. Our top five games that I would get for a new gamer in your household.
All right so for this post well be under the pretense of this is for someone who pretty much wants to get into role-playing games but hasn’t played much, so here goes:
Number Five: Dungeon World!
The last few years have seen a lot of new ideas and awesome game mechanics come into the RPG world, and Dungeon World is a prime example of this rebirth. Dungeon World is the answer to the age old question, “What if D&D were an Indie RPG?” and it does a great job of establishing itself. It is the fantasy setting version of the game Apocalypse World, but Dungeon World draws nicely from two of my favorite games like FATE (for rules and heart) and Dungeons & Dragons (for feels and soul).
One reason its on this list is for new players and GM’s, there is a focus on rules that influence the story in a meta capacity or mechanics let you control the narrative in a more abstract way than D&D does. Dungeon World brings a lot of ideas the rules of Dungeon World are shaped around a very specific old-school play style but use modern rules and game design that has the advantage of being very easy homebrew rules to add in your own elements.
Dungeon World is built to introduce people easily to the D&D-style gaming experience. There is a strong emphasis on the 1980s, 4X style of D&D play (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate) and rules exist for setting camp, keeping henchmen in line, exploring, etc. Dungeon World breaks what seems to be a cardinal Indie RPG rule design by keeping races and classes from D&D, which does a lot to help it keep its essential flavor.
As a GM I love one of the base ideas of the game: “Running a game shouldn’t be a pain. Dungeon World gives the GM all the tools to run a game quickly and easily. Fronts help you keep the world around the players living and evolving. Moves are ways to drive your game forward. And your Agenda keeps you on track.” -Dungeon World
Number Four: Star Wars Force and Destiny RPG Beginner Game
The Star Wars: Force and Destiny Beginner Game by Fantasy Flight Games is a complete and excellent stand alone introduction to roleplaying in the Star Wars universe! Force and Destiny is the third installment in Fantasy Flights series of Star Wars roleplaying games and yes you’ll be hearing more about the others below on this list. Whether you are new to roleplaying or just new to Force and Destiny, the Beginner Game is a great starting point.
The starter set contains everything you need to learn and play the game. the 4 per-generated characters are amazingly put together in the style Fantasy Flight are now known for!
what you get:
1 adventure book
1 introduction sheet
1 map double sided
4 pre-generated characters
14 custom dice (not as scary as they look to learn)
8 destiny tokens
55 character tokens
… and if you go to the Fantasy Flight website you are able to download additional characters and an additional adventure, how’s that for boom for your buck!
Personally the only reason this isn’t higher ranked is learning to use force powers has a bit of a learning curve unlike the other two Fantasy Fight beginner boxes that ranked better.
Number Three: Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set: Fantasy Roleplaying Game Starter Set
Number Three is near and dear to my heart since it was the start of our podcast DND Journey of the fifth edition
Ideal for a group of 4 – 6, What you get:
the Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set includes a 64-page adventure book with everything the Dungeon Master needs to get started a 32-page rulebook for playing characters level 1 – 5 , 5 pre-generated characters, each with a character sheet and supporting reference material and classic 6 dice.
This Starter box is the bench mark of RPG’s for the fifth edition they did a great job on an adventure that takes the group to three different major locals and 5 levels so you will definitely get a ton of play out of this box as opposed to the 1-2 session boxes from most other companies. the Pre-gen characters are expertly put together explaining the new game mechanic introduced in fifth edition “inspiration system” and they lay out leveling up so its fast and smooth. Buy this set and you wont be disappointed!
Number Two: Star Wars RPG: Age of Rebellion Beginner Game
Can you say Rogue One!
yep classic Star Wars fighting the good fight against the empire! Or like we’ve modified it on our Star Wars Podcast games you can play it Empire vs rebels or clone war era.
The starter set contains everything you need to learn and play the game. the 4 per-generated characters are amazingly put together in the style Fantasy Flight are now known for!
what you get:
1 adventure book
1 introduction sheet
1 map (double sided)
4 pre-generated characters (with two more downloadable online)
14 custom dice (not as scary as they look to learn)
8 destiny tokens
55 character tokens
… and if you go to the Fantasy Flight website you are able to download additional characters and an additional adventure, how’s that for boom for your buck!
I’m a huge fan of the Fantasy Flight Dice system and their beautifully put together starter sets, character sheets that are god looking and super helpful with charts, suggestions and all a player needs in one folio!
and this leads me to…
OK so my number one is the Edge of the Empire Beginner Game! This is a great starter game I personally have to say everyone who plays the beginner game box has loved to have loved it! The characters are set up is such a way anyone can pick it up and game!so that way anyone can learn to play fantasy flights edge for GM’s within 30 minutes of opening the box your ready to confidently GM! Now pick it up and get your Crew away from Teemo the Hutt!
Here’s our play through and review from two years ago:
do you have some games you’d like added to this list?
And you thought Rifts Earth was a savage place to live before!!!
I’m super excited to see how Rifts plays out in the Savage Worlds system. Just to take a second and date myself, I was in High school as Rifts was rolling out in the 90’s and dove greedily into a worlds were dragons and power armored warriors clashed and rediscovered magic are being used and new forms of Techno-wizards appear (Mind you those Leather fighter pilot goggle wearing magic item makers were one of the early Steampunk character types I’d ever seen in a game not D&D at the time and I always loved playing them!!!). Rifts was a huge game world that has grown more and more over the decades with multiple book shelves of mine filled with world books that just add so much more to the setting and Character options.
I know there are a lot of voices that see the game mechanic as a negative when reviewing the system as a hole and the MDC system as being past its time. Others I know love the system. Personally I know it does slow the game momentum down and causes TPK’s or issues balancing groups but a good GM will talk with his players on what should and shouldn’t be used in the game (Nothing worse than being a glitter boy pilot stuck without your suit in a city storyline).
But back on point here, The Rifts IP from Palladium books is getting a refreshing face list, same old world but with some new faces, Character creation and System mechanics. Next Saturday I’ll be At Isle of Games getting my first taste of the game with the Savage Worlds system and I really looking forward to it!!!
Along with getting a sneak peak of the books that will be coming out I already backed the new Kickstarter for the book, which by the way hit their goal in the first TWO MINUTES of launching!
I of course jumped in after the first day so a TON of limited edition things had been scooped up already but I’m pledged on the “Everything GM level” so you’ll definitely be seeing some reviews and showcasing of the products here, on the podcast and on our YouTube channel At this point they’ve unlocked over 24 Stretch goals and the number keep raising!
I hope if you get a chance you can check out the Kickstarter and show it a little love.
Two lovers who have long been under the same umbrella are finally kissing and getting truly together!
Dungeon & Dragons and Magic the Gathering are finally mingling their intellectual property, In a great article on Magic.Wizard.com HERE. The beautiful “adventure world” of magic “The Plane of Zendikar” where groups of brave and daring adventures delve into dungeons and search for lost wonders of bygone ages lied in the roots of our beloved D&D. Wizard of the Coast are finally officially letting Magic the Gathering (MTG) and Dungeons and Dragons get into bed together and I think it’s going to be awesome!
If you do get a chance to look through The Art of Magic The Gathering: Zendikar you’ve seen the BEAUTIFUL art that MTG has collected from near and far to flesh out the card game, and I for one enjoyed looking at it to get visual references for stuff I use in D&D Journey of the Fifth edition, especially with the new group “The lady Knights of Adventure” (who’s first episode I’ll be posting next week!).
Well Back to the big news! Wizard has published an almost official free pdf of the game world and different things belonging to it! Currently its 38 pages long and comes with the caveat of “The mechanics in this supplement are usable in your D&D campaign but are not fully tempered by playtests and design iterations. For these reasons, Material in this supplement is not legal in D&D Organized Play events”. But hey totally cool to use in your games. I know I so want to run a few One-Shot trilogies ( a One Shot, Three session game: 12-18 hours of gameplay).
The Races included are the Humans (a strong militarized force scattered about), the Kor (a Tall, slener ivory skinned race associated with white mana and magic communicating with hand signs), MerFolk (More aquatic race love! Natural scholars and amphibious explorers), Vampires (I’m super excited about this one actually, I so want to kill a group of players and bring them back as vampires!!!! Though in this context:“The vampires of Zendikar are not undead. Rather, their unique nature comes from an eldritch disease that turns their flesh cold, makes their gray or purple skin feel dead to the touch, and enables them to drain energy from the blood of other living creatures”), GOBLINS! (Ok I love running goblin player groups, since slowly groups evolve into goblin play style =D, and the tree tribes have great abilities!), elves (I love the different ‘Nations’ of elves! Mask of the wild and the Death and poison dealing Mul Daya Nation!)! All of this adds great flavor text and a ton of new options for your D&D games!!!!
Then comes the Beastiary adding local flavor to monster manual classics like Angels, Griffins and more. Wait till your players look at the Felidars!!!! They will fall in love with this as a possible mount! (“Felidars consent to be ridden only by knights they consider virtuous.”) Krakens have been released! These massive lightning tossing Jr Chuthulu’s will be the storm giants of the sea! By the way you’ll really enjoy the Troll Picture in here! You’ll love how at the end they give great advise on how to redress and repurpose other monsters for the use of Lesser Eldrazi.
Definitely check this out and download a copy while it here, since you never know how long till it gets to the D&D DriveThru RPG site!
Thank you Wizard of the Coast for letting these IP’s merge for us fans of both Dungeons & Dragons and Magic the Gathering!
What is Twitch?
Twitch.tv was launched in 2011 as a video game, or video game competition, broadcasting branch of Justin.tv, which is a personal streaming service website similar to Ustream.
On it, gamers and gaming enthusiasts create their own Twitch channels to either broadcast live PC or console gameplay or host their own video game-themed video podcast programs for others to watch.
The site has also become known for broadcasting live video game trade shows and video game competitions, where it hosts hundreds of thousands of viewers at the same time for live events like videogame tournaments. Last March, half a million people tuned in to Twitch to watch people play games like Activision Blizzard’s “StarCraft”.
Twitch is now regarded to be the most popular services of its kind for gamers, with over 100 million unique visitors monthly. That’s up from 30 million unique visitors last year. In terms of bandwidth, Twitch’s traffic is higher than Hulu, Amazon, and Facebook. It’s mammoth, even if you’ve never heard of it.
I honestly have to say getting started on Twitch is SUPER EASY! I mean, I logged in and within a minute I had a free account and was watching videos and connecting with content creators! From the gaming angle It took a little work and a YouTube video while killing time before I got home and I was online with my PS4 in minutes as well! Things were going so smoothly I was concerned but my friends on Twitch were like, “Nope, its that easy!” and I definitely have to agree!
I’m just getting started with last night being my first twitch cast at www.twitch.tv/creativeplayandpodcast and it was super easy to do, as well as log in on my phone and keep an eye on what was being broadcasted. One fun thing was the 15 second delay we all noticed
Like a friend said last night, “Chat room…I haven’t been in a chat room since AOL!” It’s true Chat rooms have gone the way of the Dodo for the most part bit in Twitch it is really cool that folks can watch you play and can chat to you onscreen so it doesn’t distract you till your free to look over and see it on the side of the screen
Do they have Ad free service?
Why yes they do for a fee, Twitch Turbo for $8.99 a month will make your service Ad free as well as adding Custom Emotes, a shiny new Chat badge and more chat colors and more importantly they hold your videos for 60 days.
How long do they hold your video?
Ths was a question I immediately asked myself 😉 According the Blog.Twitch.tv:
“Past broadcasts will begin to be removed from Twitch servers. This also marks the beginning of the new VOD storage system:
- Past broadcasts will now be saved for 14 days for all broadcasters,
- And 60 days for Twitch Turbo subscribers and members of the Twitch Partner Program.
If you would like to keep your past broadcasts, you can easily export them to YouTube or create highlights with our new Video Manager. Additionally, you can save locally right when you start broadcasting.
These changes take us one step closer to our ultimate goal: to deliver the highest quality video across multiple platforms. As we mentioned three weeks ago, the new VOD system will support the features you’ve requested, like:
- Better VOD quality of service for international viewers,
- The ability to watch VODs on mobile and other platforms,
- Secure storage of past broadcasts (triple redundancy),
- And more.
This is an incredibly exciting time for Twitch, and we’re thrilled to have your support! Thank you for patience and your understanding while we work to create the best broadcasting experience for you and your communities.“
Let me know what ou guys would like to see us do on Twitch? We were thinking of doing some chat Q&A while PS4 gaming is going on =D
Recently I came across Polygon’s Board game geeks’ review of 2015, which you can read HERE (Charlie Hall you rock!). It really is a great list and some of the Kickstarters I’ve backed are on it and deservingly so!
The team at BoardGameGeek.com did do a great job in digging into and playing a ton of games last year, and a great year it was thanks to numerous kick starters and gaming companies for all over the world cross marketing and bring new ideas and systems to the USA!
I’ll be making a poll at @CreativePPNet to see which of these your make your top one pick today and check it out HERE.
So on to the list! I know for some groups its hard to break out of your usual gaming system weither it’s Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Scion or Edge of Empire like our groups. But going outside your comfort zone and learning new games can be hugely rewarding in different ideas and points of view (I know I absolutely fell in love with the Dresden files/Fate world building idea and the Edge of Empire narrative dice!!!).
“Sherlock Holmes is Missing and Presumed Dead! Intrepid investigators are asked by the stoic Dr. Watson to take cases out of Baker Street in Holmes’s absence. Victorian streets, foggy nights, and crime most foul await. Will the nefarious plans of crafty villains come to fruition or can the champions of justice from Baker Street save the day?
“Baker Street is a Role Playing Game in which the players attempt to solve some of the most baffling crimes in history. Featuring over 30 careers, 25 unique criminal extras, and rules for making your own nefarious villains, Baker Street features a robust investigation mechanic, easy character generation, and rules for making your own mystery.”
I’ve had friends who backed the Kickstarter and play this and they let me know it is really fun, currently it’s available as a print-and-play download through DriveThruRPG.
This Next game I backed on Kickstarter and am super excited to get my hands on the final edition in hardbound:
Stealing our attention with this awesome RPG from tabletop designer John Harper, Blades in the Dark raised $180,000+ in funding last year and was selected as a Kickstarter Staff Pick! Not only that but Blades in the Dark was also the winner of this year’s Golden Geek Award for RPG of the year, and is in early access right now.
“The streets of Duskwall are haunted. By vengeful ghosts and cruel demons. By the masked spirit wardens and their lightning-hooks. By sharp-eyed inspectors and their gossiping crows. By the alluring hawkers of vice and pleasure. By thieves and killers and scoundrels like you — the Blades in the Dark.
The noble elite grow ever richer from the profits of their leviathan-hunting fleets and electroplasm refineries. The Bluecoats of the constabulary crack skulls and line their pockets with graft. The powerful crime syndicates leech coin from every business, brothel, drug den, and gambling house. And then there’s your crew of scoundrels: all the way down at the bottom rung. Can you make it to the top? What are you willing to do to get there? There’s only one way to find out…”
I love this games defining teamwork system as well as using flashback scenes to replace long drawn out planning sessions to ‘cut’ right to the action!
The Next Pick needs no decoding and is of no surprise to see:
Monte Cook’s Cypher system is a true GM’s dream system it takes the GM to being the story teller and pulls so much stress of conflict off the story that this system makes running a game super easy for a new or time stressed GM in my opinion!
“A Cypher System campaign of Victorian Horror? High Fantasy? Espionage? Galaxy-spanning Space Opera? The Cypher System Rulebook gives players loads of new rules content for their Numenera campaign, as well as everything they need to use Numenera’s Cypher System to run campaigns in virtually any setting and genre they like.”
“New and improved, Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls. T&T is the second ever fantasy role playing game, and the easiest to use. This book contains everything you need to play the game solo (with the many solo adventures) or with a group of friends. Includes a lot of extra material and descriptions of the worlds played in by the designer and his friends back in the late 1970’s. The first 166 pages are the core rules, followed by the Elaborations section which has optional rules and systems you can pick and choose from to add to your T&T games. “
It is a super flexible system with a ton of content in the rulebook weighing in at 360 pages of this definitive edition of a game that’s been growing and evolving over 40+ years! Available on Amazon and DrivethruRPG.com
The next few I have little experience with but asked around and after looking into them I am very interested indeed and slipping these onto my Christmas wish list!
Caroline Hobbs’ creation is an RPG has a group of up to 3 players working over 2-4 hours creating an Apocalyptic story world together, a well as the main character who will have a tragic odyssey that personally reflects the world created, in a word Epic!
“Downfall is a tabletop role-playing game that explores the collapse of a society, a cataclysm brought about by a fatal Flaw at work within it. First you sit down and build your world, then you destroy it. You tell the story of a hero who tries to save their home. But in Downfall, the hero fails.
The game works in any kind of setting, from mythical fantasy to the real world to high-flying science fiction.”
This sounds like it would be a blast to podcast with some friends!
Faith is a beautiful amalgam of tabletop RPGs, board games and living card games. The core set includes everything you need to play in its unique science fiction universe. This is a BEAUTIFUL game! Unfortunately it is currently a victim of its success as it is out of print and super rare to find! Also the game system is also available in Spanish.
The system seems pretty clever in that it plays like a standard pen-and-paper RPG, but without the pen and paper.
Another collaborative storytelling game and this one sounds so epic I ordered it right off the bat! The heart and soul centerpiece of this game is a handmade, silk-screened, five-foot-long scroll. It’s also one of the few games on the list that’s suitable for kids, and plays well with ages eight and up and the optional languages aside form English are French, Italian and Japanese!
“Magic is dying, and the Magus is dying with it. We travel together to the realm of Umbra where magic was born.
Fall of Magic is a collaborative story game in the tradition of the fantasy journey where the landscape, hospitality, and exploration of our character’s relationships take center stage.
We begin by choosing a name and title for our characters. Each turn we chose an area on the map and use the prompt there to inspire the next part of our story. The character of the Magus is shared between us and on your turn you may choose to play as the Magus, advancing us along the road to a new place on the map.
The map itself is a hand silk-screened scroll, over 5’ (1.5m) in length that unrolls as we travel revealing perilous roads, strange hosts, and fantastic locals, masterfully illustrated by award-winning artists, Doug Keith and Taylor Dow.”
And if you’re interested the rules are free online and can be found HERE.
The Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook is your entry point to tabletop roleplaying. Now you can be the hero in your own sword and sorcery adventures! This is the game played on Wil Wheaton’s new tabletop RPG show, Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana. The Adventure Game Engine (AGE) rules are easy to learn, and feature an innovative stunt system that keeps the action tense and exciting. This Basic Rulebook includes full 20 level advancement for all three classes, a new magic system, advice for players and GMs, and an introductory adventure so you can get started right away. You can useFantasy AGE to run adventures in the campaign setting of your choice or a world of your own creation. A new AGE is upon us!
Wil Wheaton has an amazing intro to the game here:
This is where will end Part one, but fear not Part Two will be out next week! And some much more awesome games to cover! I’d just like to say thank you to the Board Game Geek for coming up with such an awesome list of top games of 2015!