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Polaris the RPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“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

Quickstart/adventure on Drive Thru RPG

 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!

Polaris the RPG – Quick Start #1 Universe

A great and free teaser to the Polaris setting

Polaris Core Rulebook 1

Fiction, World Setting with a ton of plot hooks, Character creation, and Rules!     

Polaris Core Rulebook 2

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!

Equinox setting book

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”.

 

Polaris Character File

 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 

 

Location Map Foli

I’ve only seen digital copies of these but wow they are beautiful!

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
  • Bar
  • Hotel
  • Vessel Assembly Yard
  • Cabaret
  • Combat Arena
  • Prison
  • Mining Zone
  • Experimental Hydro-Farm
  • Secret Laboratory
  • Isolated Station
  • Network of Infested Tunnels
  • Surface Bunker
  • Light Frigate Class
  • Unknown Ship Wreck

 Polaris RPG: Dice Set 

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.

-Jim 

The Walking dead finale! (No spoilers!)

Wow! Just Wow! I am already Sooooo looking forward to season 8 this Fall!

I wanted to wait to post this so that all my friends who wait till the next weekend to catch up on Tivo/DVR could catch up J

Ok so one of the first thing I have to say is if I wrote my RPG Adventures like the writers have been writing the Walking Dead story since the Saviors joined the series every one of my  players would leave my game table and I would not blame them! 

One bad thing that is really bugging me is that the Saviors are infallible and always in the loop of all the plans against them and the going on’s of all the small groups. For a few seasons now the writers are so over playing the trope of the bad guys having the “perfect luck” in every situation and I’m definitely sick of it!

All in all though it was a great season finale and a powerhouse of emotional wrap up of the season making you want more walking dead and some Talking dead to help get the feels out and see the guests cast on Chris Hardwicks couch!

Plus keep an eye out for Chris Hardwicks new show its going to be a great addition to the Walking Dead off season!

As usual, there are still many questions to ponder as fans embrace next season. Gregory’s intentions for leaving The Hilltop is still unknown. Now that he has been shaken up a bit, curiosity peaks as to what Negan’s next play will be seeing as he had upper hand for quite some time.

 Interesting note over 200 weapons were used by the prop team for the finale! 

Khary Payton as Ezekiel, Cooper Andrews as Jerry – The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 16 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

 Keep on Keeping on Walking dead!

 -Jim

Through the Rift: Rifts Source book 1 (updated, Revised & extended)

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.

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(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!

We’re spending time in Victorian London in Assassins Creed Syndicate!

It’s been a long time since Twitch deleted the Assassins Creed Syndicate videos so I figured I’d replay and do it on our YouTube page (Since they don’t delete the videos after a few weeks 🙁 ).

Part One:

Part Two:

 

Keep an eye out, I’m only 7% completed with the game and we be doing a little every other night after 10 pm PST on the PS4!

Feel free to join me and chat during the game!

 

A Ruse you say!

The name of the game we enjoyed this weekend at The grand opening of Tucson Games and Gadgets new Tucson mall store game is remarkably appropriate RUSE– it comes in a extremely large box and could true fit into the three custom poker card deck sized boxes (or one of those tuck boxes). It masquerades as a board game, but is real alibi is it is a very enjoyable card game with some lovely improv/RPG elements. One of Kellie’s selling points is it also comes with a solitaire dice game and is really just a chance to roll some dice cool custom dice a few times.

(You can find it here on Amazon)

Ruse is a murder mystery game, similar to many murder mystery games, except that in Ruse, the whole point is to create eloquent stories. The actual game play is not immensely difficult  – you assign motive, method and opportunity cards to your opponents, and they have to counter with alibi cards or simply hide the evidence. You play this crazy game with a deck of 54 special playing cards with jokers. Half of the cards are accusations, and half are alibis, and there are also two jokers that can be redeemed for a one-time get-out-of-having-done-the-murder escape. Also, you could play poker with these cards, but you wouldn’t want to, because well you all know when it comes to poker I perfer Texas hold’em with Zombies!

But the real purpose behind Ruse is not to play a straight-forward card game that requires very little strategy. The real point here is to create wonderfully colorful stories. You’re each assigned a character, and when someone hits you with an accusation, they have to tell a little bit of a story to go with it. You don’t just play the Victim’s Personal Chef card. You slap down the card and say, ‘Professor, I happen to know that your romantic liaisons with poor, deceased Captain Demetrius regularly involved you baking him a variety of exotic pastries. It would have been a simple matter to kill him while he ate!’

It gets better from there, too. Because Ruse turns into a sort of guided improv, the story develops as you play. One player might accuse another of using a steam-powered gatling gun, pointing out that the victim was punctured several times with poison darts and mentioning that Amelia had just recently come into possession of said high-powered murder weapon. Later, Amelia is cleared – but that doesn’t matter as much as the fact that from now on, everyone has to go along with the suggestion that the expired Captain was filled with poison darts.

And then there are the alibi cards. These also help to play out story elements, because when you play one, you have to explain how you’re cleared. Sure, you’ll say, I owned a clockwork rifle – but it is common knowledge that I am deathly afraid of firearms, and only had the weapon because I was shooting him with his medicine! (That was awesome Jess!)

The best part comes when someone finally accumulates a method, motive and opportunity, and now has to cop to the crime. When you’re caught out, you have to explain how the three elements in front of you weave together a tale of treachery and misery that ended in you putting the deceased in his rightful place – six feet under. Say our dear Airship Captain was caught with ‘steampunk golem,’ ‘alone with the victim’ and ‘heir to the victim’s fortune.’ now I would have to explain how he lured Duchess Von Brandywine to her room aboard the zeppelin and ordered her golem – which had thus far been thought to be merely a valet – to fire a barrage of poison darts from a hidden compartment in his chest, and all because the overly trusting sap had willed me her magnificent airship.

Ruse is especially entertaining because the setting is all steampunk. Sure, steampunk is romanticized and completely out of touch with the actual horrors of the Industrial Revolution, but in this case, it’s just plain fun which I and many of my fellow Steampunks consider the heart and soul of this whimsical genre. The fantastic elements of lightning generators and steam-powered monsters combine with the upper-crust silliness that makes everybody in steampunk a member of the gentrified upper class, and it makes for some entertaining stories. The game itself would be boring without the mandatory story-telling, but this is one game where a great theme is executed well and nobody much cares how you get there.

Story-telling games are some of my absolute favorites as most of you know, because I love to tell stories. I had fun coming up with many who done it’s, and that wasn’t nearly as much fun as playing the game with a handful of people who are all on board for a rather silly and thoroughly enchanting half-hour of improvisational make-believe. A limited imagination or a devotion to complex games will absolutely ruin Ruse for you, but just have fun and go with it and you’ll be laughing while they haul you off to prison, which will definitely be atop in a helium driven air gulag  or some such wonderful ridiculousness!!!

a solid 20 on the D20 scale for fun, interaction and replay ability.

Thanks as always-
Jim

Sy Fy’s Aftermath!

As I’ve been know to say it’s an interesting show that ends the world in all the ways including the kitchen sink!

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Most folks who know me know I love end of the world Fiction and what if ideas so it comes as no surprise that I enjoy Sy Fy’s new show that’s been quietly plugging away on Sy Fy and Chiller channels. The show has the classic trope of a family unit at the end of the world, only its a little of all cultures worst end of days at once!

Our survivors the Copeland family must face terrifying supernatural creatures and unprecedented disasters, including massive storms, earthquakes, skinwalkers, meteor impacts, plague, rabies, rogue soldiers, wyvern or Quetzals, sea goblins, mass adductions, volcanoes and the rapid decline of civilization. Will they be able to make it through – and figure out how to stop it?

I’m enjoying the show and the writing is good andI love that the roles have been swapped with ‘Mom’ being the military trained bad a$$ and ‘Dad’ is the professor skilled in myth and lore acting as the talking head for mythical creatures and biblical records. I really do hope this show gets a good following and Sy Fy keeps it alive and get some budget increases as the drama and story lines are intensifying!

Let’s see if the Copeland family – Karen, Josh, Dana, Brianna and Matt – can and will fight for their survival while piecing together clues from old tomes, spirit wheels, adepts and cryptic cave paintings on how to save what’s left of humanity… if anyone’s else is worth saving that is!


On SyFy network Tuesday’s 10/9pm
Plus all the episodes up to date are on Syfy.Com !


Freemakers assemble!

It is a Golden age for Star Wars!

It’s true in my opinion this is the best time to be a Star Wars fan! Currently there area new novels filling out back stories, new comic books coming out, TV shows (Star Wars Rebels and Lego Star Wars The Freemaker Adventures), a whole line of RPGs (by fantasy flight) and Star Wars Rogue one coming in a few months!

One spotlight I really want to share is the Lego Star Wars Freemaker Adventures. It’s true it’s a kids show and Legos and all but I honestly need to say their creators love Star Wars!!!!

Set in post Episode 4: Empire strikes back era (Due to Lando’s episode where hes in hiding and banished from cloud city) the concept is a family of salvage experts and the characters are definitely from the Edge of Empire book;) of these family members, and their reprogrammed B1 battle droid, the youngest sibling has a little force sensing abilities in regards to “the Kyber saber crystals”. Once all these crystals are found they create a legendary light saber made of crystal. The really cool thing is the show takes play in so many known Star Wars locations and spot lights so many characters from the Star Wars universe. Heck they even have a force wielder who acts a lot like a ‘Hand of the Emperor’ and Dangar gets a lot of screen time.
Lando fans will love his episode! Give the show a try I’m sure it’ll be something that can inspire you Star Wars RPG games.

I give this show a solid 18 on the D20 scale! Its super kid friendly and if you adults have to sit through it you’ll actually find yourself enjoying it!

Also keep an probe droid out for season three of Star Wars Rebels! The preview looks like some time has passed possibly putting the show at Rouge Ones era???

Whats your favorite Star Wars items coming out now and from back in the day? (Here’s a Hint I know Kellie’s is her R2D2 purse ;))

-Jim

The Great Crate uncrating!

Just a heads up guys we’re now doing Loot Crate, Geek Fuel and Dungeon Crate unboxing on our YouTube channel. =D Let us know if there’s anything you’d like to see more of?

 

 

 

Savage Rifts!

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.

Rifts® for Savage Worlds

 

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!

rif

I hope if you get a chance you can check out the Kickstarter and show it a little love.

 

 

-Jim

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!

 

~Jim

 

http://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/arcana/announcing-art-magic-gathering-zendikar-2015-08-31

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