Wednesday, February 29, 2012


So about 10 years ago now, I had designed a merit and flaw system for Earthdawn...I found it while preparing to move. My system was designed for 1st/2nd edition, so I'm going to revamp it for 3rd edition, and then I'll repost it.

I was doing it for my campaign called "Shadow of the Mountain", wherein the player characters learn that Mountainshadow has devised a way to allow humans to transition to becoming drakes (Similar to Dragon Disciples in D&D/Pathfinder). Unfortunately with only 2 players in that game it died off around circle 4 if memory serves.

Crossed Swords crossword answers

Sales! White Wolf SAS System Sale at Drivethru RPG/RPGNow

Another forward from my emails.

Scenes of the Embrace Seeds of Tomorrow Paterfamilias
White Wolf is having a one day super sale on the Storytelling Adventure System line of products at DriveThruRPG & RPGNow!

White Wolf’s Storytelling Adventure System (SAS for short) is a series of stories in PDF format for the various Storytelling game lines (World of Darkness, Scion, Exalted, etc). The basic parts that make up most SAS stories are simple: Storyteller characters, scenes and some advice on how you can put them together. Each of them can be used in different ways to keep the story building towards its climactic end.

This sale includes all of the SAS eBooks currently available on DriveThruRPG and RPGNow and has them all priced at $2.29 for one day only!

Get Bad Night at Blackmoon Farm for Hunter: The Vigil, Daughter of Nexus for Exalted, Lines of Power for Mage: The Awakening, The Rose-Bride’s Plight for Changeling: The Lost, Through the Ebon Gate for Geist: The Sin-Eaters, To the Flame for Promethean: the Created, City in the Sand for Mind's Eye Theatre and many more for only $2.29 each for today only (2/29/12).

Check out the complete line of Storytelling Adventure System products at

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Review - Pathfinder Setting Distant Worlds

This is the book I had been waiting for!!! From the time I first read about the additional planets of the Golarion Solar System, I was excited to know more! As a fan of Burrough's Red Planet books, I wanted to know about Akiton and the other planets, now the Pathfinder Campaign Setting supplement "Distant Worlds" brings more to light. 

Overview: This is a perfect bound, full-color 64 page supplement produced by Paizo Publishing, LLC for the Pathfinder Role-Playing Game system. Available in print and PDF formats. Written by James Stutter.

Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Distant Worlds (PFRPG)
Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Distant Worlds (PFRPG)

5x5 5x5
Golarion is the primary world of the Pathfinder campaign setting, but it is not alone. Far beyond its lands and seas, sister worlds revolve around the same sun, their residents connected by magical portals or ships of terrifying magic and technology. Now take your game off-planet and explore these weird new worlds for yourself!This book offers a detailed introduction to the science-fantasy worlds of Golarion’s solar system, each complete with its own mysterious locations and cultures. Discover how your swords and spells match up against the trench dwellers of the Red Planet or the angelic Sarcesians who soar between asteroids. Research the mysterious origins of the sealed world-ship of Apostae, or hunt vortex sharks in the freezing seas of Kalo-Mahoi. Though strange and new, each of these worlds uses the same Pathfinder Roleplaying Game rules as Golarion itself.
    Within this 64-page book, you’ll find:
  • Gazetteers of every planet and major moon in Golarion’s system, from the steamy jungles of Castrovel and the machine-ruled rock of Aballon to post-apocalyptic Eox and divided Verces, where one side is always day and the other night. Plus, uncover information on the residents of the sun, Golarion’s moon, the asteroid belt called the Diaspora, the dark regions beyond mysterious Aucturn, and more!
  • Introductions to the major cultures inhabiting the system. Will you join Castrovel’s beautiful Lashunta, fight beside the four-armed giants of Akiton, study with the hyper-evolved Contemplatives of Ashok, petition the undead Bone Sages of Eox, or face down the insectile legions of the Forever Queen?
  • Easy new rules for adventuring on other planets, including discussions on gravity, temperature, time, vacuum, and traveling between worlds.
  • Adventure hooks for every world, tailored for GMs currently playing on Golarion.
  • Six brand-new alien monsters, from intelligent dragonkin who bond with humanoids to the great oma space-whales and amorphous, blimplike Brethedans.
Distant Worlds is intended for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the Pathfinder campaign setting, but can easily be used in any fantasy game setting.
ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-403-0

Quick Impression: As I look through the book it's actually quite difficult to not stop and read, as the images draw me in, I WANT to read the book from cover to cover immediately. I was drawn to stop at multiple places within the book, just because something caught my eye. The artwork is awesome, especially since each planet is presented in full-color.

Main Review: Here we go, whether you want to run a game using a space faring Spelljammer variant, or a Stargate style game, this books provides the framework needed for either. The Sun and each of the 12 solar system locations. Each solar body is broken down into 5 sections; a planetary stat block with size, mass, gravity, atmosphere and orbit; an basic description section, adventuring, gazetteer, and adventure hooks. Each planet is very distinct as was laid out in the Inner Sea World Guide. Castrovel being the original home of the elves, Akiton is the analogue for Burrough's Red Planet, complete with four-armed giants. Verces is a fun tidally locked planet that reminds me of the Jack of Shadows world by Zelazny. Eox the world of the Bone Sages.  The section finishes off with the Constellations, The Cosmic Caravan (providing a full astrology), Cynosure, the Ice Belt and most importantly The Dark Tapestry, which provides for the nameless horrors of the void, those of the Mythos.
   Stellar adventures section covers Travel, via portals, spells or vessels; Environment, atmosphere and vacuum, gravity, temperature and time (length of day). Two new spells and a magic item, the Pressure Suit are also presented in this section.
   The final section is Aliens. The bestiary of the Solar System. It starts off listing existing creatures in the environments. It finishes with six new creatures.

Artwork: Most of the artwork is incredible, some of it is just decent. My personal favorite is the picture of Merisiel in the mystic space suit. The inside cover is a full sheet solar system view. Each of the planets (including Golarion's moon is laid out with an image of the planet (typically a dual hemisphere image, but in the case of the gas giants, it shows moons above the surface), and an additional image, typically a humanoid, but there is some variation. As there's a constellation listing, I wish that they had deemed it wise to create a constellation image as well. There are several other pieces, I especially like the image of The Seraph in the stellar travel section. Cover art by Kerim Beyit. Interior art by Raven Mimura, Scott Purdy, Mike Sass, and Ilker Serdar Yildiz.

Cost: The print version costs $19.99 and the PDF version runs $13.99

Value: This supplement expands the entire solar system, giving plenty of background for spacefaring adventures.

Epic Rating: 


Re-posted from my email:

GG Logo Goodman Games Update
February 27, 2012
Quick links: Contact UsComing SoonForumsDCC RPG
Pre-Order DCC RPG and Get an Exclusive Adventure Module!

foil cover DCC 665

Pre-order DCC RPG for a great special offer! Place your order by April 1 to receive:

  • A free PDF e-book edition of DCC RPG, sent via e-mail when DCC RPG goes to the printer (approximately 4-6 weeks before it is available to the general public).
  • A free copy of DCC #66.5: Doom of the Savage Kings, shipped with your pre-order copy of the core rules, available exclusively in the first 1,000 printed copies of DCC RPG.
DCC #66.5: Doom of the Savage Kings is available exclusively by pre-ordering DCC RPG before it releases. The first 1,000 copies of DCC RPG will have this adventure module inserted as a free pre-order incentive. It is not available for sale separately. Did we mention the limited edition gold foil cover? The awesome one with the vintage 1970's styling, complete with a hidden message in the art? The pre-order offer is valid with pre-orders of both the regular color-cover version of DCC RPG and the limited edition gold foil cover (available only at launch).
Visit our web site for additional details on pre-ordering at a retail store and upgrading an existing pre-order to the gold foil edition!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Review - Pirates of the Inner Sea

Pathfinder Player Companion
Pirates of the Inner Sea

Pathfinder Player Companion: Pirates of the Inner Sea (PFRPG)

Draw your cutlass and set sail for adventure! 
For thousands of years, pirates have captured the imagination, their rough-and-tumble lives filled with a boundless lust for blood, gold, and glory. Being a pirate is the ultimate freedom—freedom to take what you want and never apologize. Whether from the decks of massive slave galleons or beneath the sails of swift ships, pirates hunt the seas, singing chanteys and hoisting the Jolly Roger as they seek out the next unsuspecting merchant. They are the wolves of the sea, and their hunger can never be sated.
Whether you want to abandon the life of a landlubber to join a pirate crew, hunt down their murderous ships in the name of justice, or simply follow a mysterious map to buried treasure, Pirates of the Inner Sea has everything you need to know about piracy on Golarion, all of it one hundred percent player-friendly and ready to guide you on your journey.

    Inside this book, you’ll find:
  • In-depth overviews of six major pirate organizations in the Inner Sea region, including the government-backed privateers of Andoran, the slavers of Okeno, the high-seas buccaneers of Riddleport and the Shackles, and the quick-moving brigands of the River Kingdoms. Each entry details the pirates’ history, notable captains, activities and hideouts, preferred ships, and more.
  • Pages of new pirate weapons and equipment, from hook hands, cutlasses, and tar bombs to peg legs, treasure chests, and grog.
  • New pirate archetypes for several different classes, including the buccaneer bard, the freebooter fighter, the corsair ranger, and the smuggler rogue.
  • The Inner Sea pirate prestige class.
  • A detailed look at the faith of Besmara the Pirate Queen, goddess of all those who make their living spilling blood on the water.
  • New pirate-themed spells for casters of numerous types and faiths.
  • New character traits to help you customize your pirate character mechanically as well as thematically.
  • Sample pirate codes, minor pirate groups, a timeline of important pirate events, and more!
This Pathfinder Player Companion is intended for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and Pathfind  er campaign setting, but can easily be used in any fantasy game setting. In addition, it is particularly useful for players of the Skull & Shackles Adventure Path.
Written by Amber E. Scott

First Glance:  Nice little supplement for players who want to play a pirate, or a complete pirate adventure, like the Skull & Shackles AP. This is a 32 page supplement for the Pathfinder Role-playing Game. Full color . The book is organized into fluff and crunch sections effectively, though the organizations include one of my favorite aspects of Pathfinder...traits, 4 per each of the six organizations; NOW, many of these are just the standard rewritten intimidate, with over a dozen traits that grant intimidate bonus/class skill available, shouldn't be hard to intimidate in Pathfinder....heh. Anyway, I digress. The art is great as always, Paizo always tries to have the best artwork for their products. After the organizations comes the crunchier bits, from pirate gear and archetypes, to a new prestige class, magic, and then some fluffier info on Besmara, the pirate goddess, and pirates codes.

Full Review: 12 pages cover six pirate organizations, more like loose affiliations; Andoran, Mediogalti, Okeno, Riddleport, River Kingdoms, and The Shackles. Each organization gives a history, notable captains, ships, hideouts, activity, and four traits. Each one has its own feel, and goals. The next two groups cover minor groups. The next four pages cover pirate gear, from cutlass to boarding axe, 10 weapons are covered, some new, others, revamped such as the harpoon. Then additional equipment from such consummate sailor gear as astrolabes and sextants, to the cliche peg leg and grog. Finally you can't have a pirate campaign without ships.

The four archetypes follow.
    The Buccaneer for the bard is a non-lethal specialist. Hilt Bash lets the bard make a non-lethal attack with lethal weapons, he gains song of surrender and mass song of surrender, and knock out though this is a weak ability as its usable a limited number of times per day.
    The Corsair is an archetype for Fighters, including a pirate weapons group, deck fighting in which cleave replaces the 2nd level bonus feat, but without penalty to the cleave attack; which improves at 6th level to great cleave. Armored Pirate is a scaling ability that eventually grants heavy armor with no penalty to acrobatics or swim checks.
   The Freebooter ranger archetype is probably the best of the four archetypes, granting bonuses to his allies, with Freebooters Bane and Freebooter's Bond, finally finishing with Fast Swimmer, granting much improved swim speeds.
   The Smuggler is a primarily role-play oriented archetype for rogues. With Bribery, Conceal Item and Distraction, allowing them to move items though checkpoints with ease. It doesn't have any offensive power and gives up trap sense, trapfinding and evasion.
   The Inner Sea Pirate prestige class takes up two pages and is a rogue-like 10 level PrC. It grants sneak attacks and pirate tricks, strangely it doesn't include a blackpowder trick or access to actual rogue talents. There's a typo in the pirate tricks description that contradicts the table. (Use the table).
  The Faith section covers Besmara, the Pirate Queen and her faithful, lots of fluff but the only crunch is 2 religion traits, Cheat Death, and Expert Boarder.  I would have liked to seen a Besmara based spell here.
   The Magic section presents six new spells, from the insidious Black Spot to an actual Skeleton Crew spell which makes skeletons from corpses that possess profession (sailor). The other 4 spells are Buoyancy, Salvage, Track Ship and Unseen Crew.
   The final pages for the Social section, including the Pirate's Code, Privateer's Code, Shipboard Conduct and Pirate Slang (though there are only 27 expressions for the slang, so it's a bit light).

Artwork: 13 pirates adorn the pages with a dynamic illustration on page 2, with the cover illustration repeated on the inside back cover; all very well done. Cover illustration by Kieran Yanner, interior art by Dmitry Burmak and Michelle Chang.

Cost: $10.99 for the print copy and $7.99 for the PDF.

Value: This is one of those small books that provides a lot of information. If you're looking to play a pirate in your Pathfinder role-playing game, pick this up.

Rating: 18 of 20

Sunday, February 26, 2012

News - FGS Newsletter repost

Shawn from FGS sent this over, March Miniature Madness on Saturday.... March 3rd
Newsletter from Fanatical Gamers Society sent on February 26 2012
By: Shawn Topic: March Miniature Madness
Greetings Fanatics,
March Miniature Madness
This is a casual play event of multiple miniature games. The event starts at noon and runs until 6pm. There is a $10 buy in which all goes to prize support.
The goal of the event is to try out different miniature games gaining points for each game played.
There will also be trivia questions that if you answer correctly will gain you additional points and in the spirit of the March Madness basketball tournament there will be a nerf basketball hoop where you may also gain points.
So break out your miniature's and bring them to the event so everyone can try out your favorite game. Please ensure that the game is currently available.
If you have any questions please let me know.
Some of the games that may be in attendance are Warmachine, Hordes, Warhammer Fantasy, Warhammer 40K, Dreadfleet, Infinity, Malifaux, Battletech, Heroclix, Lord of the Rings, Battles of Westeros, Bloodbowl, and hopefully many others.
We hope to see you there.
Thanks for your time!

Links - Pathfinder article

This article is pretty cool, talking about how while all the kerfuffle about 5th edition is going on, that the powers that be are ignoring the little engine that could.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

March Conventions

So just a reminder,

ConDor and Anime Conji are BOTH coming up in the next few weeks.

I don't think we'll be able to make ConDor, since we got a 60 day notice to move, so we have packing to do.

I'll definitely be trying to get to Anime Conji with the boys however.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fun Fridays - Crossed Swords Crossword I

Here's the Crossed Swords Crossword I
0.  A Grimm role-playing game…
3. GunMetal Game’s Cyberpunk setting
6. The Ascension
7. Mechanized Combat in the 31st Century
9. Not TSR’s Spelljammer
11. 3.5 Thrives
15. Space Opera game using the Victory Point System
16. Cyberpunk with Trolls
19. Palladium’s RPG for Eastman & Laird’s Comic series (abbreviation)
20. World’s Most Popular RPG
23. The first samurai RPG published in 1979
28. Abbreviation for Role-Playing Game
30. Aspect based Heroics
33. Darkest of the Hillside Thickets had a hand in this game
34. Fantasy precursor to the Megaverse
35. FATE System game based on the UK Comic not the  anime
36. Role-playing in the Weird West
37. The apocalypse in the World of Darkness
1. TSR’s western RPG
2. The Computer is your friend
3a. the 1994 version of this mecha RPG was the Zeta edition
4. “Fast, Fun and Furious” system
5. Mastering the Role playing game, a table for everything
8. Mythos & mecha
10. Post-apocalyptic, magic, science, and MDC
12. “Step” up for “legendary” fantasy in the Age of Legend
13. Adventures in Time and Space
14. Fantasy setting with “No Elves”
18. Superhero setting for Hero system
21. It’s generic and universal
22. Rules for playing in Glorantha
24. Abbreviation for this retro-clone
25. Grim & Gritty superhero game with ‘Chuck D Day’
26. Vietnam War role-playing
27. Post apocalyptic RPG with Black Rays & Badders
29. currently produced by Mongoose, uses the Universal Profile
31. Abbreviation Role-playing in Tolkien’s world

note: I had an issue with numbering, I missed a couple while I was creating the matrix, thus the 0 across and 3a down

Also note: Due to the difficulty in keeping previous entries kind of logical, the dungeon madness series will stop being a continuing story, and become individual madness that will each stand on their own. This will also allow me to make larger ones and not have to worry about any perceived continuity.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

News - Earthdawn and RedBrick

So I've been wondering what's been going on with Earthdawn over the last few months, now I know...

State of the Brick

Some interesting stuff in there, including Earthdawn for Pathfinder and Earthdawn of Savage Worlds. There's a LOT of information about the changes, read the entire post if you're interested...

Hank Woon (Lost Dynasty, Cathay, Dark Shadows, and Immortal Twilight) is the Line Developer for the Earthdawn Savage Worlds and Pathfinder game lines. These are being developed and released independently of Earthdawn Third Edition and are intended for players of the Savage Worlds and Pathfinder game systems who have not had the pleasure of gaming in the world of Earthdawn. Both editions are based on Earthdawn First Edition.

Hank’s team is also working on producing Adventure modules to support the Savage Worlds and Pathfinder editions. Access to the core Savage Worlds and Pathfinder rulebooks is a prerequisite, but there’s a lot of products coming out for these lines. At time of writing, the schedule for 2012/early-2013 looks like this (for each game system):

2012/Q2: Player’s and GM’s Guides, Parlainth Setting Guide
2012/Q3: Denizens of Barsaive I, Parlainth Adventure #1 and #2, Creatures of Barsaive I
2012/Q4: Adventure Compendium I and II, Parlainth Adventures #3, Horrors I
2013/Q1: Parlainth Adventure #4 and #5, Player’s Companion
2013/Q2: Parlainth Adventure #6, Skypoint & Vivane Setting Guide

Earthdawn and Mongoose...

Let’s make things official: RedBrick has ended its relationship with Mongoose Publishing. We have enjoyed working with Matthew and the Mongoose team over the last three years—they have been incredibly supportive of RedBrick and Earthdawn during the difficult years of 2009 through 2011 and we owe them a lot. Our contract period with Flaming Cobra expires around the end of June, so you won’t be seeing any new Earthdawn books or reprints until after then. The ED3 sale is still underway and the prices are excellent—ebook prices are still lower than usual—so there has never been a better time to get hold of Earthdawn Third Edition books (and there won’t be again!). 

No new books until after Q3 of this coming year for Earthdawn....(Though this doesn't include the SW/Pathfinder line as those weren't in the contract.)

Get your Earthdawn 3rd edition books now, or wait for the Revised ED3 in it's new smaller format (similar to Savage worlds.)
Fading Suns
Blue Planet
& More

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Free RPGs - Witchcraft, Tri-stat, New Argonauts AND d6

I've been checking out Drivethru for free stuff, cuz, you know, I love free stuff.  Here's what I found that might be of interest...

The New Argonauts - an older low magic d20 system by Sean K Reynolds.

Updated: This new version of the file has easier-to-read maps and corrections to the feats and monsters sections.

This book by Sean K Reynolds gives you everything you need to run a campaign in mythic Greece. Rather than cramming dwarves, paladins, and otyughs into a Greek setting, The New Argonauts presents a low-magic campaign (but still with a touch of the fantastic and divine) where the focus is on Greek-style heroes, their battles against strange monsters, and great quests. This book gives insights on how a low-magic campaign affects character concepts and game balance, an overview of Greek culture, history, the Olympian pantheon, the original Olympic Games, and advice on running a mythic Greek campaign. Gamers who love crunchy bits can find new feats and spells, a set of heroic powers derived from godly bloodlines, a campaign-themed spellcasting class, simple magic items based on parts from mythic monsters, and over thirty monsters drawn from the Greek myths (many rewritten from the core version to suit a low-magic campaign).

WitchCraft is a game of modern magic and dark secrets. Player characters are the Gifted. Feared for their unique powers, they have been hounded for centuries, and forced to practice their Arts in secret. The time for hiding is over. A Time of Reckoning draws near. It marks the end of an era and the beginning of a new one or the destruction of all things. The choices the Gifted make will determine what our future will be like.

WitchCraft is a complete roleplaying game, with rules to create Gifted and Mundane characters, an overview of a modern world beset by supernatural danger, and the Unisystem, a set of game mechanics that can use dice, cards or be completely story-driven to fit the needs and desires of your gaming group.

The revised Eden Studios, Inc. Second Edition WitchCraft main rulebook corrects typos, clarifies rules, smooths the organization and adds several new features, including an index, detailed table of contents and some new game rules. For those with First Edition WitchCraft, the Mystery Codex prints the major rule changes and additions.

Widely regarded as one of the best rules-light role-playing game systems ever published (as presented in over a dozen RPGs), the Tri-Stat System is the ideal game engine for all your campaign needs. Featuring a scalable system, point-based character creation, and intuitive combat and task resolution, Tri-Stat dX: Core System is an inexpensive exploration into essential and advanced role-playing techniques and methods. It’s the only role-playing game you’ll ever need.

Now, I haven't read this system, (unless it is the base system for all the White Wolf Games...)
but I'm going to, but it's free so no reason not to check it out....unless you just don't like White Wolf...

   A mad scientist needs only one more part to complete his doomsday device ? and you?ve been hired to protect it...
   As part of a covert operations team, you need to infiltrate a government embassy and retrieve important files...
   Along with a clairvoyant kid and a quirky mystic, you use your own extraordinary abilities to fight crime in the big city...

Combining the best of over 15 years of D6 System design, D6 Adventure Rulebook provides you with the basics for playing in a wide range of modern settings, from the Wild West to the Near Future, such as pulp action, espionage, and low-powered super heroes. You'll get everything you need to add the popular D6 System to your favorite setting, including:

three different yet compatible methods for creating characters ? customizing pre-constructed templates, using defined dice distribution limits, and distributing a pool of points; 

over 80 character options (Disadvantages, Advantages, and Special Abilities) plus numerous variations of each that allow you to further customize your character; 

your choice of relying on a Body Points or Wounds damage systems, both equally interchangeable with a single combat system; 

detailed rules for psionics and magic (including numerous sample spells);
dozens of generic equipment and character examples to get you started in your adventures;
the essential rules separated from the optional rules, to allow you to decide on the level of complexity. The accessible format includes an introduction to using the book and the system, a solo adventure to test out the rules, and ?what's in this chapter? introductions to help you locate the information you need. This electronic version incorporates errata. Originally published in 2004 by Purgatory Publishing. Find more information about the D6 System at the West End Games Web site. 142-page, 8.5x11, one-color game rulebook. Extensive art.

What's really amazing about the d6 system is that there is a plethora of FREE options with it!!!
You can run this game for the cost of printing it...West End Games must know people will buy hard copies if they use the free stuff enough...

Monday, February 20, 2012

RPG Crossword coming to Fun Fridays

I'll be alternating Dungeon Madness with Crosswords and Word Searches to provide more fun on Fridays.

BTW we just started watching, The IT Crowd...hilarious!!! (language)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Orc Con 2012

Orc Con is in progress right now.

We're not there because we've been sick for awhile now. Wish we were and we WILL get up there some time, but coverage of San Diego is more important currently.

$30 for a Sunday pass, kids 12&under $5 with adult admission. Shopping pass is FREE!
$10 for a Monday pass, kids 12&under $5 with adult admission. Shopping pass is FREE!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Quick Review - Battletech Introductory Set

     So the boys decided to go in on the Battletech Introductory Set for their mad money from their good grades for the first semester of school. I used to play Battletech a lot in Junior High and High School, I mean we'd actually play a bit before school and at lunch. When I found other wargames I abandoned BattleTech as a primitive tick based game. I think of it as more of a simple and fun game.

Review: Really this is a pretty good deal, 24 moderate quality miniatures, and 2 Hi Quality Omni mechs, two thick hexmaps, all the basic rules you need to get started, covers everything back from the classic days. The boys really really enjoy it so far, I think it's one of their favorites so far. The one minor misstep in the marketting is that they say the box set contains EVERYTHING needed to play...but there are no dice included...since it uses d6s, that's not a BIG deal, but it is a little misleading. Besides the lack of dice, the layout is nice, and it has actually drawn me back into the game.

The rulebooks are full color, and contains plenty of examples, and color plates to help visually learn the game. It also contains a full section on painting the minis. So it covers all bases. From Basic Rules, to Standard Rules, this game is easily adaptable.

Family Rating: Rated PG, it's violent, it's a wargame, but it's Sci-Fi. The biggest problem would be with younger kids eating the pieces. The benefits would be teaching kids tactical thinking, and basic math skills. More advanced skills would come about when the kids start to tweak the mechs, or create mechs from scratch, as the basic mech creation rules are included at the back of the Rulebook.

Overall Rating: Awesome Fun, and the boys give it an Epic!!

Value: It's pretty expensive at $59.99, but considering you get 26 miniatures, 2 high quality double-sided maps, and multiple full color rulebooks, it's a great value. I mean I think my original Battletech box set cost about $20 or $25 back in the late 80s, it was black and white with cardboard stand-ups.

From the Battletech website:

25th Anniversary Introductory Box Set
Strap yourself into the ultimate suit of armor: the BattleMech. Thirty feet tall and weighing up to a hundred tons, this humanoid engine of destruction is a walking arsenal with enough firepower to level a city block. The BattleTech game system takes you into the world of the 31st Century, where war has become a way of life. You are a MechWarrior. You are in command of the most powerful machine on the battlefield, and hold the fate of empires in your hand!

The BattleTech 25th Anniversary Introductory Box Set thrusts you onto the battlefields of the 31st century. This box contains everything needed to play:
24 unpainted, ready-to-play plastic BattleMech minis
2 unpainted, premium-quality plastic BattleMech minis
One 12-page full-color quick-start rulebook will have players into the action in minutes
36-page book of pre-generated BattleMech Record Sheets
One 80-page full-color rulebook
Inner Sphere at a Glance, a 56-page full-color book of universe
background and BattleMech technical data
One 16-page full-color Painting and Tactics Guide
Two heavy-duty cards of compiled tables
Two 18″ x 24″ game-board quality maps

Unable to find the BattleTech 25th Anniversary Introductory Box Set at your local game store? 

Order direct: BattleTech 25th Anniversary Introductory Box Set at
Price: $59.99

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Review - Interface Zero Boston

Boston: The Broken Cradle of Liberty

An Interface Zero supplement produced by GunMetal Games under license for the Savage Worlds Role-Playing Game.

Disclaimer: This is a review of the PDF version, provided for review purposes. 

First Glance: You get a full-color PDF that runs 60 pages. Artwork as always is very nice, I especially like the picture of the pizza delivery car mounting massive weaponry on it. A pizza delivery subscription...There's an idea I can get behind!

Core: This is another great supplement by GunMetal Games. If you've already read my review of San Francisco Ruins by the Bay, this review will run about the same. The book is laid out the same. It begins with a quick overview of the area. Followed by a dozen pages on areas of interest, now I'm not familiar with Boston, but these areas give me enough to work with to have a functional game in Boston. Next up is the organizations, similar to San Francisco, which makes sense, as Boston was published first, this section covers the ACF (Atlantica Combined armed forces), Atlantica Governement, Atlantica Police Force, Emperor Pharmaceuticals (A Pharma MegaCorp), Harvard University & Technical Institute (Which absorbed all the other schools in Boston...), Pinkerton Security (yup they're still around), The Scions of Liberty (a nasty bunch of anarchists), and finally, The Ship Rats (Boston's organized crime syndicate). Again, like San Fran, this book has the "Declassified" sidebar running throughout most of the book, giving 'commentary' on the fluff, by the locals, kinda like Anon+Wikileaks combined.

CRUNCH TIME! Oh this is definitely a crunchy product, the crunch is packed into the rear half of the book, but it's delicious. First is the new Hindrance: Zealot, that's a great hindrance, great for antagonistic NPCs and for characters who just can't keep their mouth SHUT! Love it an it's easily portable to other games. Several new edges are presented, I especially like the Run & Gun edge, and Off the Grid, though the Bodyguard Professional edge is well written and very useful. We finish out the character stuff with two occupations, The fisherman and pharmacy tech. Neither is a glamorous occupation, but they both have their beneficial perks. Not Bad.
     Now to the MalMart updates, my most favoritist (bad grammar intentional) part of the book!!! Armor and clothing, if you're trying to infiltrate a base, you should pick up some of the surplus uniforms, while the city is under martial law, the riot armor, helmets and shields will let you blend...or piss off those who've already been suppressed. The final bit, brings a little steam to the cyber, with victorian clothing from "What the Dickens". You can see "Mistress Lilly" from the Declassified site modelling it in the artwork...Looks a bit mixed up, Cyber/Lolita/Gothy...nice art though, the ride she's on is Wicked Sick!
GUNS!!! GUNS ARE NEXT!!! First up is the Watchdog, nice, but you're quickly distracted by the TAW2022 surplus Combat Assault packs a 5.56mm assault Rifle, 12g shotgun AND an under rifle Grenade Launcher, this thing would make Rambo throw away his M60. Finally we get satchel packs and 6-packs of Molotov Specials..
     Then it gets to the vehicle section....Plug into your 'Vicky', or VCI, Vehicle Control Rig and get ready to rumble in several armored vehicles, from the Armored Bus, and Limo to the Armored Taxi, you need armor to get around the mean streets of Boston. The VTOL capable LAV Loader is used primarily for unloading ships, but with its Terminator machine stylings, it would make a sweet ride for a team of mercs. Finally the Razorback APC...brutal and very stylized, though I'm not quite sure what the wheels are about, they look like a road crews worst nightmare. Cool picture, just a bit odd.
     Continuing on finds you looking at a flying drone, then cybernetics with the purely fashion forward N-Vogue line of nanotech additions. This is where is gets into some crazy Sci-Fi. Cybernetic eye glow, and Nanite Hair that you code with a spray paint can, as well as the N-Vogue "Mood Skin" That is some ORIGINAL ideas, and I something I could see for the rich kiddies of the future; no matter how insane it sounds.
     The section rounds out with Sage Medical Team Coverage, and you might need it if you get hooked on "Jet"...a highly potent Meth.

A Couple pages in City trappings are similar if not exactly the same as SanFran...No big deal to me if they're the same rules...because as I said in the SanFran review, it's brilliant! Next up is the Gangs of Bostons, which gives you some tools for creating the gangs of Boston. Including a handy dandy gang name generator. Pages 49-54 are an adventure to run, just add heroes...err...mercs, hmmm....characters. Plot Hooks are presented from 55-58, giving you lots of tools for running a game in Boston.

Artwork: One of the things GMG does, is make sure the artwork is top notch. And really, that's one of the reasons I love Interface Zero so much, is that artwork, it really brings the world to life, in all its scary glory.

Family Rating: PG-13. As with the rest of the setting, it's a dark future, with sex, violence, drugs, and murder. It's not for young kids.

Value: Love it, IZ is one of my favorite settings, and this product is up there. It has the same layout issues as San Fran, but the layering is spot on and it's easy to turn off the background and the sidebar layers to provide faster viewing and easy printing. At $8.99 it's a great value.

Overall Rating: Epic! Another solid offering from GunMetal Games

Available at RPGNow for $8.99

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Epic RPG Blog - RPG Design (genre)

So I've been brainstorming over the different genres, here's a list of what I've come up with (note: some of these I'd never touch in this attempt at creating an RPG)

Alterna History
-Diesel Punk

Furry Fantasy
High Fantasy
Gritty/Low Fantasy
Sword & Sorcery
Cthulhu Fantasy (Mythos)

- Noir
- Action/Adventure
- Cthulhu/Mythos

Hard Sci-fi
Space Opera
Sword & Raygun

Post Apocalyptic
- Nuclear
- Zombie
- Cataclysm
- Alien Invasion
- AlternaHistory
- Oil Crisis
- Mad Max/Diesel

- Spy
- Warfare
- Horror

Mixed genre


So obviously that's a lot of genres I've identified, many I wouldn't know where to begin, while I was in the military, I was in the Navy, so I know a little bit about the maintenance side, but not actual operations.

I have studied many forms of Kung Fu, but I'm no expert on it.

There are some genres I really like, but fantasy generally comes out on top, Steampunk is awesome, I've loved steam punk forever, but to make a Free RPG based on it right now might get buried...

Little more though needs to go into which genre....stay tuned.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Epic RPG Blog - RPG Design

So as I previously posted, theFreeRPGBlog has design guidelines, so I will be designing a Free RPG using that blog as a design reference.

Dice Mechanics!
Obviously if you've been paying attention to this blog, I won't be using a d20 system. I dislike single dice rolls, they lack any sort of balanced average. I do however like exploding dice. Earthdawn is a system which uses a step system and exploding dice has always been one of my favorites...however it can be daunting to track increases and decreases in dice steps and constantly having to look up steps. I think I will use an attribute die and skill die added to the throw. Kind of like Savage Worlds, or rather how I think SW should be.

Next up: Concept

Free RPGs

So I found a cool blog about publishing FREE RPGs, TheFreeRPGBlog. Looks like it has a lot of great advice on it, I've always had too many ideas floating around in my head; and not enough direction.

Epic the RPG Blog is about providing entertainment and education for new players to RPGs. So over the next year or so I will be trying to get some of these ideas out and publish a free RPG for everyone to enjoy. (Next year as time allows). As I've said before, I have been playing RPGs for 60% of my life, I started when I was 12 and I just turned 41.

I'll even ask for some interaction with everyone, using my little community as a sounding board for ideas. And of course free playtesting. While I have plenty of ideas for OGL Products, I'll be publishing it under a CCNA license, so I will steer away from OGL gaming.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Inspiration - Sci Fi Planets

So if we're looking for inspiration for cool planets for your sci-fi games, you can look to the movies or to real life planets.

Riddick has been to some wicked planets
Crematoria - a planet so close to its sun that it jumps from 300 below to freezing in a matter of minutes every few hours as it rotates.

The planet where Pitch Black is set is also an interesting planet, being in a binary-trinary system it is constantly bathed in light, except for several days every twenty two years as the planets and stars align just right to create an eclipse.

 SG-1 visited a lot of planets that looked like British Columbia...but there were some which were CGI created that didn't look like Earth.

George Lucas creates planets that are pretty earthlike, though with the new movies he is able to create some incredible realms on those worlds, and he has been able to make more vibrant locations. I'm not going to post pictures of Lucasarts owned copyrights, I don't need the legal notices...however you can easily find links to the planets.

Also check out this article from Note: contains some PG13 language.

Novels provide some great inspiration as well. Check out Deathworld by Harry Harrison for a deadly deadly planet named Pyrrus. I'm trying to locate another book I read 20 years ago, that was a jungle planet, with different levels of canopy, the lower and upper levels were filled with massive carnivores...must go to library to find google fu is not working for it.

Over 6000!

Another thousand hits in the last 2 months, Hopefully as this is the anniversary week we can push it to twice that many for next year, I hope by February 2013 to be reporting 20k hits!

I still have lots to do, but this last couple weeks has had me down with a nasty cold...I am doing a review of Interface Zero's Boston supplement currently.

The boys bought the Battletech Introductory set with their grades reward for the first semester, and I picked up the new Lord of the Rings Heroclix, so I'll have some more stuff to report on soon.

I have the At Ease Games Store spotlight to upload, and I still haven't work out the video situation, but I hope to iron that out over the next month or so.

Oh, I also got Hirst Molds for my Birthday!! So I'll be able to report on how easy or difficult they are to use as well.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Review - Earthdawn, Namegivers of Barsaive

Namegivers of Barsaive 
Earthdawn 3rd edition
This product is produced by Mongoose Publishing, on their Flaming Cobra imprint, licensed by RedBrick Ltd under the original FASA license. (yes, it's a complex arrangement.)

First Impressions: The print version is hardbound and  runs 256 pages. You flip through the book, you notice that there's lots of information. The first half of the book is fluff, that last half is pure crunch.

Art: The art is black and white except for the cover art, much of it is recycled from previous editions, but there are some nice new pieces of art, especially in the disciplines section of the book (which is nice in the PDF version because it's pretty easy to make stand up copies from it). Laubenstein's art is prevalent throughout the book, which is excellent, because his art is the soul of Earthdawn. 

Fluff: The first half of the book is pure fluff for the races. Most people can imagine how to play a dwarf or even an elf easily, but, how do you play an obsidimen, troll, or t'skrang? This book gives you all the information you need to truly understand any of the name-giver races. 

Crunch: This book compiles the original information from several 1st edition books. It is packed with crunch. The second half of the book is pure crunch, each race has at least one discipline that is race specific.  Fifteen disciplines are presented, now these are disciplines which have appeared in previous books, but have been updated to the 3rd edition. The disciplines covered are as follows: Boatman, Horror Stalker, Journeyman, Liberator, Messenger, Outcast Warrior, Purifier, Shaman, Songsmith, Taildancer, Traveled Scholar, Winddancer, Windmaster, Windscout and Woodsman. After the disciplines, is the talent discriptions for the new disciplines, and talent knacks. Skill versions of the same talents. The last big section of the book is the Goods and Services section covering armor, weapons, blood charms, potions, etc. 

Cost:  The print copy $39.99. The PDF costs $19.99 at Drivethru RPG.

Value: If you're getting into Earthdawn, this should be the 3rd book you buy, (second if you're a player). The companions are for Warden level and above (9th circle). 

Rating: Epic! Earthdawn is my favorite system for a reason, it is high fantasy that deals with magic is a unique manner. 

Earthdawn buying guide for players

Earthdawn buying guide for GMs

1 Year Anniversary

So this is the week of the idealist inception of Epic the RPG Blog. It took a few days to get everything set-up and the very first post up, but conceptually, Epic the RPG Blog was born on my own Birthday.

So Happy 41st Birthday Me, Happy 1st Birthday Blog!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Zombie Plans and SPEW


The tagline of Outbreak Undead, and probably truth. We're watching the Walking Dead TV Show right now, and man is it full of failed Zombie Survival Plan...

How would you do during the Zombie Apocalypse?

Play Outbreak Undead and find out...

Also, you can actually play yourself with stats generated from the SPEW-AI program on the website!

Outbreak Undead available in print at your FLGS or in PDF format from ($19.99 for PDF, $49.99 for print.)

You can peruse the Free Quickstart at Drivethru RPG as well. Free like Zero Dollars...then you'll know what those SPEW stats represent!!!

We got to play this at Gam3rCon last summer, and it was a blast...Sean had Zombie Kill of the Week! It was....EPIC!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Traveller Elegance of the 2d6 system

The 2d6 system for TRAVELLER seems to be a very simple system, and you would be right, it is. The beauty of it is, that a skill of 1 can make a huge difference on the roll, for example, it makes a normal difficulty action go from 8+ to 7+, which of course is the average roll for 2d6.

Possible Combinations on 2d6
2  1+1  1 in 36 or 2.78%
3  1+2,2+1   2 in 36 or 5.56%
4  1+3, 2+2, 3+1  3 in 36 or 8.33%
5 1+4, 2+3, 3+2, 4+1  4 in 36 or  11.11 %
6  1+5, 2+4, 3+3,4+2,5+1  5 in 36 or 13.89%
7  1+6,2+5,3+4,4+3,5+2,6+1  6 in 36 or 16.67%
8  2+6,3+5,4+4,5+3,6+2  5 in 36 or  13.89%
9  3+6,4+5,5+4,6+3  4 in 36 or 11.11%
10 4+6,5+5,6+4  3 in 36 or 8.33%
11 5+6,6+5  2 in 36 or 5.56%
12 6+6  1 in 36 or 2.78%

So a character with a 0 skill, and 0 stat modifier will succeed a standard difficulty of 8, 15 out of 36 times, or 41% of the time. Bring that character up to +1 modifier in either Skill or Stat and that becomes 21 of 36 successes; or 58.33%. The same character with a skill of 2 and a stat of +1 brings the chance to 30 of 36 chance or 83.33% chance. This system requires very little math, making it very simple, a game that can be learned in one sitting. The system scales well with more difficult or routine tasks. Say, a simple task requires a roll of 4+, most characters will succeed at this roll most of the time as there's only a 16.67% chance of failure (6 in 36), a skilled character will typically only fail under adverse conditions.

Every roll in  TRAVELLER  uses the same mechanics.
a 2d6 roll using positive and negative modifiers against a target number.

Very Simple, Very Elegant; a tried and true method for a role-playing game.

Check out Traveller by buying Book 0: Introduction to Traveller PDF from only $2.97 at time of posting. This is a 32 page rulebook, that contains the core rules.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Ubiquitous Tavern Scene

If you've played Role-playing games for any length of time, you've had the Ubiquitous Tavern Scene. The players all meeting in the tavern to learn what the next adventure is. Now there's plenty of other ways to start an adventure. You don't have to railroad the players into the tavern. It's easy to just drop players into the tavern...but what other hooks are there? We can look to MMORPGs for some guidance, as they have taken plenty of RPG tropes.

- There's the jobs board. Now this is about as MMORPG trope as you can get. It's a good place to find adventures, but not to bring a party together.

- A Contact that all the players know, even if the players don't know each other. This doesn't cement the bonds of a group together however.

- Writing the other players into the background of your own character is often the best way to create a solid group. It does require forethought however. I like the way Traveller does it, when you have a joint event, you actually get a bonus skill point. This can easily be transferred to other games like Pathfinder, by granting either a bonus skill point, class skill or even a trait as a reward.

- My favorite system so far is the Dresden Files and the other FATE games. With the Aspect system it really helps tie characters together. I really like that the characters can make the city, the movers and shakers, and the conflicts. This requires the players to actually do some thinking, but really makes for some dynamic characters.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Earthdawn - At Kingdom Con - Peril in Parlainth

If you've been paying attention to the blog, you now I'll be running Earthdawn at Kingdom Con. Now, I'll be running the game at 4th Circle, which is at the top of the Journeyman range, Why am I doing it at this level of play, won't that be confusing to new players? It might, but, 4th circle with when players can weave threads to items, when you get to see the actual brilliance of the game. Personally in home games, I'm moving Thread Weaving for other classes to 2nd circle. 

There's no major reason to prevent players from having access to thread items until 4th circle. Magicians will retain access at 1st circle, and all other classes will have it moved to the optionals for Journeyman. Durability becomes automatic at 2nd circle, not an optional. 

But keeping with the Rules as Written for the Convention, 4th circle it is, the players will be playing in Parlainth, the Lost City. Peril in Parlainth will pit these journeymen players against one of the most deadly RPG cities ever created, where a dragon named Charcoalgrin isn't the most powerful creature there. Where traps which have been destroyed on one trip by the intrepid adventurers might be magically recreated by minor horrors. Where mock warfare is played out in one of the quarters of the city by leftover constructs. Where Twiceborn rules the dead. Where Therans and Barsaivians live side by side, in the City of Haven, a frontier city of adventurers carved from the ruins of the Lost City.

Come learn a new game at Kingdom Con, come play Earthdawn, Peril in Parlainth.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

FLGS Visit...What's New

So Epic Sean, Ian, and I were in Poway this morning and dropped by At Ease Games to see what was new. 
Well first we found Waldo...


Not a lot on the RPG Front, but Ron just got in a whole slew of Clix games! Star Trek Clix, Street Fighter clix, and some sweet looking accessories. Ron made sure to have plenty of Lord of the Rings Clix too. 

Ron unboxed a bunch of the new Pathfinder minis, so I took some pictures for you to see. Not too bad, I just wish they weren't random...

Nexus Ops is a new board game that came in, haven't seen that one before.
 Ron also got in several sets of the BattleTech introductory box, so if you've been looking for this, At Ease has copies!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Fun Friday - Dungeon Madness IV Standby

Had a cold this week, please standby...Sorry no Fun Friday today...

It will return next week! I will replace the current text with the Fun Friday text

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

News! - Gamecrafter RPG Challenge

Gamecrafter RPG Challenge

The RPG Challenge is on!
The Game Crafter is pleased to announce the RPG Challenge! We want you to design a role-playing game in the form of a board or card game. It doesn’t matter whether you build a dungeon crawler like Descent, or more of a story telling game like Betrayal at House on the Hill, or a funny little card game like Munchkin; all that matters is that it takes the form of a role-playing game. It also doesn’t matter whether your game requires a game master, or if the adventure is random, or if there are predefined adventures. 

There are very few rules to this contest, but for your game to be considered, you must stay within them:
  1. Each player must control exactly one “character” or “role” within the game. 
  2. Each character or role must have some unique attributes that sets it apart from the others in the game.
  3. The characters must engage in an adventure or scenario together. This does not mean they necessarily have to work as a team, only that they must be on the same adventure at the same time.
  4. The game must be playable in 90 minutes or less, with 4 or less players.
  5. Your game must not cost more than $19.99 to manufacture, and the game packaging must be included in the manufacturing cost.
  6. Your game need not be published to the shop by the end of the contest, but it must comply with all shop publishing standards so that it is publish ready.
  7. This must be an original game created for this contest. You may not use one of your previously published works.
  8. You must submit your game to the crafter points submission form no later than April 15, 2012 at 10pm US Central Time.  
  9. We reserve the right to reject submissions that infringe upon intellectual property, that are excessively vulgar, or that look like they have been slapped together in an afternoon.
There will be many prizes awarded as part of this contest. 
  • Grand Prize: 100,000 crafter points (aka 100 days of featured status for your game), and listed in our hall of fame. And you win the right to judge the next contest.
  • Optional Grand Prize: Instead of the 100,000 crafter points, you can choose a free half-day slot at our booth at Gen Con. Note that if you want to slot at Gen Con you should pay for it first, and then we’ll refund your money if you win the contest. If you don’t then there might not be any slots left by the time the contest is over.
  • Every Valid Submission: 5,000 crafter points.
  • Plus the games are yours to sell in the shop afterwards, and any profits are yours to keep.
  • We will also be awarding 10,000 bonus crafter points for each of three categories: best artwork, most creative game, and best written rules.
Looks like a pretty cool contest, however you need to be on your game, you have about 3 months to have a product ready to ship out the door! I know I could come up with a game, I just don't think I would be able to get the art all together in time...I'll think about it.