Friday, August 31, 2012

RPG News you can Peruse - RedBrick stepping out of RPG publishing

Well I have been expecting this after hearing James being interviewed at GenCon.

This is an open letter to the game community and to fans of RedBrick.
In a couple of months, RedBrick will be nine years old. We started in 2003 with the Earthdawn license, picking up Fading Suns in 2007, Blue Planet in 2008, and Demonworld in 2011. During this time, the number of people involved waxed and waned. Everyone was part-time (we still are), but we had dozens of talented people contributing in different ways to their favorite games at any one time.

The company was born by accident -- an email sent without my knowledge, in fact -- and it became an opportunity to work with emerging technologies, print-on-demand and e-publishing being key. RedBrick was an early supporter of DriveThruRPG (now OneBookShelf) and an early adopter of Lulu's POD services.

We suffered ups and downs, as all companies do. Some of those were decisions made by myself; others, through the vagaries of real life intervening on members of the RedBrick team. Personally, one life-changing event meant the company relocated from New Zealand to the United States, where it is based today.

But all things have their time. Different opportunities arise and we need to embrace them for what they are. In this case, RedBrick has served its purpose and now it is time for it to become something else.

At Gen Con Indy 2012, RedBrick shared a booth with FASA. There are several interviews on the Internet recorded at Gen Con that summarize the changes and plans going on at present. As is the way of things, there will no doubt be rumor and speculation and all the usual interplay that happens on the Internet. But the reasons for RedBrick's retirement from game publishing are actually very simple, and much of this is just timing:
Business: You could call this lessons learned about people and business. I've made both good decisions and (very) poor decisions; I've been both hands on and (very) uninvolved in how the business runs; I've made many friends along the way, and I've dropped the ball and lost some of those friends also. Overall, I think we had more wins than losses, but it's time for the old ways of doing business to change.
Personal: Part of the reason for setting up RedBrick was to involve my late son in the company (he was a gifted child, very social and intelligent, and crazy about gaming). This isn't going to happen and I need to move on and get some closure.
Opportunity: I was offered an opportunity to work with people far more experienced in this industry than I am. Such opportunities do not come up often, so the answer was yes. To that end, I have accepted a position as President of FASA Games, Inc., working with one of the original founders and owner of FASA Corporation. The upcoming effort and commitment required, however, means that I cannot run multiple game publishing businesses and a day job.
Timing: Well, this is always in the hands of fate. The opportunity came up earlier this year, but the pace of change required to implement it has meant a LOT of work in a very short time, especially with commitments to Gen Con already in hand. So we've had to roll with the punches a lot, sorry.
Here's a summary of what's happening with various game lines previously held by RedBrick:
Earthdawn, Demonworld: These licenses reverted back to FASA Corporation and have been subsequently picked up by FASA Games, Inc.
Fading Suns, Noble Armada, Blue Planet: These licenses reverted back to their licensors and have been subsequently picked up by FASA Games, Inc.
Any future plans that RedBrick had in place or announced are now void or being reviewed. While some RedBrick personnel are working for FASA, not everyone has come across. FASA will be running with Revised Editions of Earthdawn, Blue Planet, and Fading Suns. The Savage Worlds and Pathfinder game lines for Earthdawn are coming across, along with Demonworld. For the most part, it's status quo across the board. "Business as usual."
The RedBrick Forums and Online Store will remain in place, even after the FASA web presence becomes operational in the next month or so. During this transition period, RedBrick is happy to share resources with FASA -- we will sell FASA products on the RedBrick Shop, for instance. Until FASA is fully operational, we will make announcements for new products on the RedBrick web site. In this respect, no change is expected for a while. However, most, if not all, of the ebook products currently sold by RedBrick on OneBookShelf will be going away in the very near future. Many of these will not be coming back.
FASA will make their own announcements in due course, but with the cat out of the bag after Gen Con, it seemed appropriate to let people know what was happening with RedBrick. I do want to be very clear that the decisions to retire RedBrick and the transition to FASA are completely independent and unrelated to recent changes within RedBrick. I do admit, however, that the opportunity to work with FASA did change the timing of RedBrick's retirement, bringing it forward.
So what is happening to RedBrick after this transition is complete? Well, we'll still be around. Many years ago, I promised my late son that he and I would work on some books together. We talked about some ideas and it's time to start getting those down on paper and into print. RedBrick will become an imprint for fiction, no longer publishing games. And at a personal level, I'm hoping it will help achieve the aforementioned closure. "And so to bed."
Lastly, I want to thank the fans and developers who have supported RedBrick over the last nine years. It has been a truly exciting, scary, emotional, sometimes sad, but overall fun journey and everyone who has been a part of it should be proud of being part of the community. You are all a talented bunch and I'm proud that we have collectively been a part of the history of our hobby.
"And so we dim the lights and pour a glass of wine. It is a time for reflection, a time for change."
Thank you all very much.
Kind regards,
James SuttonManaging Partner, RedBrick LLC

James, I'm personally thanking you for keeping Earthdawn alive for the last 10 years, I can only imagine what it would be like to lose my boys, hell I get teary when I think of them moving out. You kept my favorite game alive, and I have watched it improve over the last several years with the Mongoose 3rd edition. With FASA Back in control, I hope to see Earthdawn rise to take its proper place in the gaming industry, High Fantasy done right!

May you find closure with this change...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

More Changes inbound

So, joined Goodreads, I'll have a link up soon, if you're curious about what books I like. (I'll have the boys join after they turn 13 at the end of the September.

I'm moving the Moderne Worlds of 2039 stuff to a new linked blog.

I'm also changing the one sentence reviews I WAS going to do, to be three sentence reviews, not really enough to review in 1 sentence, but in 3 I can convey a bit more.

Abandoned Arts shot 4 more archetype Class Acts over, so I'll be reviewing those over the next week or so. And I believe, I'll be getting the Iron Kingdoms RPG in the mail really soon.

Make your Voice heard

If there's a review I've done and you completely disagree with it, by all means, comment on it...I'm all about opinions, and impressions. I've been at this a long time, I have my opinions, we don't have to agree, and I'm open to discussion.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Events for September

Gateway 2012 is rushing up for this Labor Day weekend.


In addition, Gam3rCon Gameday is coming up on September 22nd.  It's only $5 for a whole day of gaming right here in San Diego.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Updated review - Abandoned Arts archetypes

Just finished the review of the Wizard archetypes for Abandoned Arts. I finished the rogues over the weekend...

Here's the link to the updated article.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Reviews - Ultimate Equipment (PFRPG)

Ultimate Equipment - Paizo Publishing

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Equipment (OGL)

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (in reverse order)

OK, I decided to sit on reviewing this book in the hopes that it would grow on me. It hasn't, it's a standard compilation book of gear, with some new items added in. It could have been better, I expected better, I expected more. 

I had hoped to see the Wand Rifle from one of the 3.5 adventures brought into Pathfinder. This was the perfect opportunity to gather all of the Equipment tricks into one book and greatly expand them. 

The Ugly
I, unlike some others, dislike the new format, I think it worked for the Beginner Box, I don't think it works for Ultimate Combat. It feels, wrong, color header after color header for EVERY item, it hurts my brain to look at it. I hate it. It makes the book feel like a 4th edition book.

The Bad
I HATED the pilum picture in Ultimate Combat, I still hate the SAME picture. It's NOT a pilum. The description for a pilum is wrong as well, that's not how they work. Why is it we get all these card pictures, which I've never been a fan of, for items we can find anywhere, but when it comes to all these exotic pre-historic weapons, nothing. How many new players know what an atlatl looks like? For some reason the wushu dart is wooden. Why is the wushu dart wooden?

There's no equipment tricks, Paizo created equipment tricks, this is the Ultimate Equipment book, why are there ultimately no equipment tricks?? Having a dozen or more new tricks would have really made the book more worth it.

$45 for an Equipment guide, it's 400 pages , but most of it is reprinted stuff, so while it is a big book, it's not a wholly original book. I appreciate the work that went into organization, but this one book is making me temper my Core subscription.

This should have been the perfect opportunity to add other prices for items so players in PFS don't outgrow certain "unique" items, just because you can't something like "Celestial Armor" in PFS into say...+4 chainmail, by paying the difference between a +3 and +4 armor bonus. Or at least adding "Celestial" into the Special Ability section. According to the magic item creation rules, it should be allowed, but it's a constant point of contention between GMs and players.

Mock armor...mockable...or...I do see an application in Golarion in having a Rasmiran 'priest' wear it to emulate a cleric's ability to wear armor.

The Good
It compiles equipment spread out in multiple locations into a single book.  I especially like the special material section.

The best part is the RPG Superstar items that made it into the book, wish mine was in there, but oh well.

Poison Rules, awesome. (was it published elsewhere first? I can't remember, I know however I sued similar rules houseruled earlier.) There should be similar rules for making alchemical items better, otherwise they're a low level only item.

Treasure generator...very reminiscent of the AD&D treasure generator, updated but not entirely innovative as the back-cover says.

The Color coding and page edge organization is brilliant, good job.

Yup, it has artwork, I just wish they'd stop using the card artwork, It usually is sporadic as to whether is actually fits the piece. I know they want to push the equipment cards, but they're just not all that. For example, in the picture above, that blue shield, under Celestial Shield, the description says, this gold-edged, yup the picture is gold edged, but the shield is scaled with a dragon skull on it, BAD art choice for a CELESTIAL shield, a silver and gold shield with an angel on it, that I would believe, but a blue scaled look with a dragon skull?

On the other hand the chapter artwork is as always gorgeous.

Value: This book should be indispensable, and to some people I'm sure it is,  but I don't absolutely need it...d20PFSRD has been doing just fine for locating stuff. It's a must-have PDF, it's a decent addition to a Pathfinder library for Gamemasters, I personally would get annoyed with players using it as a gear bible though.

Overall Rating:

12 of 20

I actually wish I had waited, I would buy the PDF separately, but the book to me isn't up to par. Had I seen it before the subscription kicked in, I would not have bought it.

I will be adding to the review as I look at it more. It's a big book, I'm sure I'll find more of the good, the bad and the ugly.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Reviews - Deluge inbound.

The rest of this week and next week will be spent catching up on reviews, so look for review after review to come out over the next 10 days.

I have several products to review from Abandoned Arts still.

I will be doing a review on Ultimate Equipment, and how I'm very unimpressed with it, as in it's probably the lowest rating I'm going to have for a Paizo product to date.

I'm also going to attempt to start cataloging all the books I own with a rating. I will also include a single sentence about it. One Sentence Reviews.

Reviews - Earthdawn Player's Guide (Pathfinder Edition) Updated

I'm finally getting back to update the review of Earthdawn - PF edition after it was updated in response to player feedback. Some of the changes were minor, some were sweeping, overall it does bring it more in line with what Pathfinder players expect to see, and making it much easier to use existing modules and monsters in an Earthdawn Pathfinder Game. 

Earthdawn Player's Guide (Pathfinder Edition) Updated
Produced by: RedBrick, LLC under license from FASA Corporation.
Written by: Hank Woon.

Before science, before history, there was an Age of Legend... For years humanity huddled in underground kaers, as the astral beings known as the Horrors ravaged the land in an orgy of terror and destruction. Now the long, dark age of the Scourge has passed, and the brave adventurers emerge to reclaim their world.
Elf, ork, t'skrang, human, and other wondrous races explore a world that teems with strange creatures and unseen dangers; a world of lost cities, or ancient, long-forgotten treasures and idescribable wonders; a world where the very earth and sky vibrate with powerful arcane energies.
The Earthdawn® Player's Guide contains what every Pathfinder Roleplaying Game player needs to create one of these brave heroes and help rekindle the glory of days past, including new races, equipment, skills, spells, feats, and rules for being an Adept. Join the adventure and begin roleplaying in Earthdawn, the Age of Legend!

Earthdawn® Player's Guide™
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Edition Core Rulebook
Published by RedBrick LLC
Format: 284 pages, 6.14" x 9.21", B+W Interior

Wow, where to begin? Let's begin with the disclaimer, the PDF was provided to me by RedBrick for the purposes of review. Getting that out of the way; Earthdawn requires a different view of gaming, so the rules for the Pathfinder version Do Not, I repeat do not stick to pure Pathfinder Rules. This is going to upset some people looking to just have a Barsaive campaign setting using Earthdawn rules (If you want that, use the basic rules and just use the background info.) The rules presented in the EDPG (PFRPG) are more of a hybridization of Pathfinder and Earthdawn.  The updated version brings the game to Pathfinder levels. I will do a break-down of the races using the ARG at a later date. I think the addition of the Discipline Feats is similar to adding 2 traits; as in, roughly the equivalent of an additional feat. While it allows access to special skills, it's not all empowering.

My background, I'm a huge Earthdawn fan, I have a near complete set of 1st edition books (missing the Blades adventure, and the Earthdawn Journals). I have the LRG 2nd edition, and I have 3rd edition (all core plus Cathay). I've been involved with Pathfinder since Alpha Testing, and I am an Adventure Path charter subscriber. So I know both systems well.

The book starts out with the standard fluff that is in the Earthdawn books, including reference to spell matrices, which aren't included in the spell casting system. During Character creation you can use the standard Pathfinder point buy system, or you can use the optional point buy system that more resembles the traditional Earthdawn point buy chart. The races have different stat modifier numbers than normal PFRPG players are used to seeing, but, that is in the tradition of Earthdawn, so I see what direction the designers are coming from. In the current update,

Chapter 1 being an introduction to game concepts. Playing Earthdawn, Adepts, blood magic, karma, the importance of names, what the Horrors are and an introduction to the gods of Earthdawn, ascended mortals called passions. Chapter 2 is 14 pages of History, more fluff which is copied from the Earthdawn RPG, this covers the large amount of background information about why the inhabitants of Barsaive fled to their underground Kaers, to escape the monstrous Horrors. The history of the Barsaive province and their struggles with the nation of Thera. 

Chapter 3 launches into Character creation.  Note: This is where I need to do some play-testing and character creation to really see how everything is going to pan out.  Character creation is pretty Pathfinder standard, using Earthdawn races for ability modifiers, then choosing a class that qualifies for a discipline. Once you've chosen a discipline by selecting the bonus discipline feat, you gain access to the Adept skills in Chapter 5. Each discipline has access to different Adept skills. Earthdawn presents some standard races, alongside non-standard races. Dwarves, humans, and elves are the standard races, while orks, and trolls are classic monsters that are name giver races. (Name givers being the designation for the races which are true races, as they give themselves names, and all that goes along with those names.) The last three races are the capricious windlings (18" tall fairies effectively), and the pteradon-headed like t'skrang, who are the possibly the most flamboyant creatures in the Age of Legend, and the asexual beings that resemble rock, the obsidimen. One more name-giver race exists, but they are the dragons, but they are most definitely NPCs. An example of the attribute spread of the windlind: Tiny size, +1 Dex, -4 Str, -3 Con, +1 Int, +2 Cha. (These are in line with the original Earthdawn stats, and are counter-balanced with 40' flight, Dex based combat maneuvers, tiny size and a +8 size bonus to stealth attempts, windling spellcasters are nasty fellows.)

Each discipline has a prerequisite, for example, the Air Sailor currently requires the sneak attack class feature (this may change in the next week). Now, only the Sky Raider has a pre-req now, which is the rage class feature. Adepts gain adept skills as class skills, for example the Air sailor gains Air Sailing, Defense, Endure Cold, Great Leap, Thread Weaving [sky weaving], and Wind Catcher; while a Thief Adept acquires Fence, Gold Sense, Lip Reading, Quickblade, Sense Poison, Slough Blame and Thread Weaving [thief weaving]. So you can see where discipline choice grants special skills which are not available otherwise. 

Chapter 4 is the fluff about role-playing these different disciplines, it covers more than 100 pages of the book.  This covers the reason adepts are different, each Discipline has its own mind-set, its way of viewing the world.  In Earthdawn 3e, this was compiled from multiple sources from the older editions, there's vast amounts of information for each discipline, and the majority of people who've played in games I've played in don't really read all this information, but those that do definitely have good direction as to how to play their characters. 

Chapter 5 covers Adept skills.
In this chapter is some of the major crunch. Adept skills are all (Su) abilities, and many are powered by karma. Karma being the magical energy all adepts tap into to power their mystical abilities. An example of an Adept skill would be the Air Dance skill for warriors, by using karma, the warrior is able to use this skill rank to add to their initiative roll. If they score high enough they even get an additional attack, as if affected by haste. Each discipline has access to skills which in some cases are unique, such as the air dance, or common, such a durability. Combining some of the Adept skills with certain feats, archetypes or class combinations in Ultimate Magic, Ultimate Combat or Advanced Player's Guide might have some serious balance issues, but Earthdawn is supposed to be high fantasy, so just throw bigger Horrors at them. 

Chapter 6 is Adept Feats
Adept Feats are all powered by karma, but are feat-like rather than skill based. It makes sense really, Pathfinder uses skills and feats, so Earthdawn uses both elements to encompass the slew of talents adepts in Earthdawn have. There are 113 Adept feats, from the Weaponsmith's Abate Curse to the Warrior Adept's wood skin feat. These are the heart of each discipline, the powerful abilities. The more powerful Adept Feats might require multiple karma points to use. 

Chapter 7: Magic
This isn't the spell casting chapter, this is the mostly fluff chapter regarding all things magic, from Astral space, to naming, blood magic, pattern items and of course, thread weaving. Effectively, the Age of Legend is teeming with magical energy, people places and items all have names, the more well-known it is, the more powerful those things can be. When someone says "Luke Skywalker" you automatically know who that is, where he's from, and what he's done, that's his legend, when you say "Darth Vader" you know who he is, and that his legend is different than "Anakin Skywalker", because the name change changed his pattern. 

Chapter 8: spells
This is the location of the spells for the four spell casting disciplines of Earthdawn, the Elementalist, Illusionist, Nethermancer, and of course the Wizard. While this chapter brings the specific spells from Earthdawn into Pathfinder Earthdawn, characters can still receive additional spells from the normal Pathfinder books. (Not in my game however...sorry no disintegrate or globe of invulnerability). 

Chapter 9: Equipment
Equipment, what characters need to survive, from the exotic blood pebble armor, to the horrific obsidimen skin armor. One thing I'm quite happy with is that they kept the silver standard in Earthdawn, so all the charts and tables are based around the use of the silver coin. The chapter includes all the mundane gear, and minor magic charms, plus trade goods, animals and transport. 

Chapter 10: Religion
In normal Earthdawn games, the Passions aren't truly gods, they're ascended mortals, who are looked upon as examples to strive toward. Questors attempt to gain favor by performing acts in the name of the passions, though three of the passions didn't survive the Scourge with their minds in tact. Dis, Raggok and Vestrial, are mad passions, they've taken their old portfolio and corrupted it. Each passion has a portfolio they represent thus a typical group of passions might worship them over another, Garlen the healer is less enticing to a warrior than Thystonius, who is the Passion of Physical conflict and valor, though pacifistic warriors might prefer following Garlen, as they know war is a horrible thing and aid and comfort must follow in the wake of conflict. 

Chapter 11: Barsaive 
This covers the province of Barsaive, formerly a part of the Theran Empire, one which refuses to allow Thera to regain control. Barsaive is a primarily dwarven province, with over 40% of the population being dwarves. 

There are definitely elements I wish I had seen in this edition that weren't there. I wish the spell system was there from Earthdawn, I love spell threads and spell matrixes. It is one of the things that set Earthdawn apart from D&D back in the day, the lack of the Vancian spell magic system.

Is this the game I would have done for Earthdawn Pathfinder? Not completely, (but what system is when I'm concerned, just me, the tinkerer.) I would have focused on using a different magic system which was more akin to Earthdawn.  I need to see what the Game Master's guide is like to make a really good assessment of the entire system. If the legendary items aren't an awesome system, then I don't know what to do.

I will definitely be trying the system out, there's a lot to it, and it will REALLY require some getting used to. But I might just prefer the Original Earthdawn, as it is one of my favorite systems. I think that the system has plenty of elements that bring the feeling of Earthdawn to Pathfinder. I will definitely have a different magic system in place, one that includes skill-based thread weaving, and the use of spell matrices. Without those two things in place, the threat of tainted astral space and casting raw just isn't there. Effectively all casting classes would need access to the spell matrix feats, they would have those spells in their matrix, and do a standard thread weaving check to make sure they can swap them out. This removes the 15 minute day that plagues Pathfinder to this day. (On retrospective, I suppose allowing characters to cast spells raw would mean they can cast any spell they know, without having memorized it. This brings raw casting back in line without having to throw the baby out with the bathwater, it's a quick fix which bring the temptation of raw casting back.)

Cost: $29.99 for hard copy (when it becomes available), and $14.99 for PDF available at DriveThru RPG.

Value: It's on par with other PDF sales, it's hard to compete with the $9.99 Paizo PDF model, but this isn't bad pricing. 

Artwork: It features pretty much the same artwork from the older editions of Earthdawn (minus the crazy Mayan style covers from 3rd edition). Jeff Laubenstein set the tone for both Earthdawn and Shadowrun, and that is as it should be.


of 20

This bump in rating is because RedBrick listened to the fans, and changed their vision to be more in line with Pathfinder.

Earthdawn® is a registered trademark of FASA Corporation. Barsaive™, The Adept’s Way™, and Earthdawn® Player’s Guide™ are trademarks of FASA Corporation. Earthdawn® First Edition Material copyright © 1993–2012 FASA Corporation. Published by RedBrick LLC under license from FASA Corporation—Made in the USA. Copyright © 2012 FASA Corporation, RedBrick LLC. All rights reserved. Pathfinder is a registered trademark of Paizo Publishing, LLC, and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatibility Logo are trademarks of Paizo Publishing, LLC, and are used under the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatibility License. See for more information on the compatibility license. Compatibility with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game requires the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game from Paizo Publishing, LLC. See for more information on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Paizo Publishing, LLC does not guarantee compatibility, and does not endorse this product.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Reward and Advancement in RPGs

Gonna ramble a bit.

One of the things that is so addictive in MMORPGs is the instant gratification of little improvements. Whether this is in the form of a new weapon, or a level advancement. Improvement is what drives certain types of games, more than storyline. I know what I enjoy in Earthdawn is that Legend points can be spent after every session, or during a session if you gain a thread weapon which you can weave a thread to.

Certain FATE systems which focus more on story than advancement. In these systems you don't advance, you can just rearrange your skills into a different pyramid. This is not one of my personal favored systems. Pathfinder is good at first with advancement, levels come quickly, but as encounters begin to slow and take longer to complete, this goes from 1 or 2 sessions to level to 3 or 4, or more sessions. Is this one of the reasons some people consider 6 or 8 to be the sweet spot of Pathfinder/d20? Where advancement and combat are still quick?

Different games handle it differently, but some of my favorite games are more along the lines of instant gratification.

Monday, August 20, 2012

speculation - Earthdawn expands with FASA revival.

After looking at FASA Games I was noticing some new trademarks...Below is the copyright which appears at the bottom of the page. I have highlighted in RED are the words of interest...Earthrise, Earthdusk and Earthfall...I know from listening to TJIFGC, that James mentioned that they were working on a post-apocalyptic game, I'm thinking that is Earthfall. I'm super excited!

Earthdawn is a registered trademark of FASA Corporation. 1879, FASA, and the FASA logo are trademarks of FASA Corporation. Demonworld is a trademark of FASA Corporation and its subsidiary Ral Partha Europe Ltd. Fading Suns and Noble Armada are trademarks of Holistic Design, Inc. Blue Planet is a trademark of Biohazard Games. Anachrocosm, Earthrise, Earthdusk, and Earthfall are trademarks of FASA Games, Inc. Used under license where applicable. Copyright © 2012 FASA Games, Inc. All rights reserved.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

GenCon Announcements - ENnie Winners list.

Here's the list of all the Ennie Winners! Congrats to the Winners and to those nominated, what an honor!
Cool that some of the stuff I voted for got gold, lots of stuff I voted for didn't, but hey that's what voting is about. Paizo walked away with 9 out of 10 awards, 6 of them golds.

Best Adventure
Best Aid/Accessory
Best Art, Cover
Best Art, Interior
Best Blog
Best Cartography
Best Electronic Book
Best Free Product
Best Game
Best Miniatures Product
Best Monster/Adversary
Best Podcast
Best Production Values
Best RPG Related Product
Best Rules
Best Setting
Best Supplement
Best Website
Best Writing
Product of the Year
Fan’s Favorite Publisher
Judges’ Spotlight Award

GenCon announcements Day3 (Updated)

So last bit of news from Saturday...FASA is back, as heard on This Just in from GenCon...James Sutton was on with the crew, and this is the first I found out about this info! Also, Jeff Laubenstein is back as Art Director, which is great, his artwork made Shadowrun and Earthdawn the games they were! A 6th world game is in the works, as a post-apocalyptic game. James says to watch out for what's coming out. Even numbered ages are the high magic ages. It looks like RedBrick is moving away from RPGs, while FASA will reabsorb Earthdawn, and RedBrick's current licenses, as I understand it from the interview they did with James Sutton.

If you're a Star Wars fan, and have been waiting for a new Star Wars RPG to hit, Fantasy Flight Games has released a beta of their new Star Wars Beta for the first of their new line of Star Wars RPGs. Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Beta They're following in the steps of Paizo by releasing a Beta version, but I don't see a PDF Beta yet, I think not releasing a PDF version would be a misstep. Especially at a $29.95 price tag for a Beta test....

Fantasy Flight Games is pleased to invite you to the Star Wars®: Edge of the Empire beta test! For over three decades, the Star Wars universe has inspired the imaginations and captured the hearts of generations of fans. Now, we invite you to indulge your creativity and lose yourselves in the fantastic world of the Star Wars Roleplaying experience.

To encapsulate the operatic grandeur of the Star Wars universe, the Star Wars Roleplaying Game will be presented in three epic installments. These take place during the height of the Rebel Alliance’s struggle against the Galactic Empire. Star Wars: Edge of the Empire is the first of these installments, focusing on the fringes of society, on the scum and villainy of the galaxy and the explorers and colonists of the Outer Rim. 
In this game, players take on the roles of hard-hearted bounty hunters, roguish scoundrels, charming smugglers, or fearless explorers trying to survive and thrive on the edges of civilization. Visit our description page to learn more.
In the second installment, Star Wars: Age of Rebellion, the players take the fight to the oppressive Galactic Empire as cunning spies, cocky pilots, and dedicated soldiers in the Rebel Alliance. Finally, in Star Wars: Force and Destiny, the players become figures of legend; the last surviving Force users in the galaxy. Hunted by the Empire, they must stay alive, and more importantly, stay true to the ideals of their forebearers—the fabled Jedi. Each of these independent game lines stands alone as a unique gaming experience while fully integrating with the others to form a single unified system.
We here at FFG invite you to join us in the process of creating the best Star Wars Roleplaying experience possible. The Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Beta is a limited edition, 224-page softcover rulebook, and it's a complete game that provides players and Game Masters with all the tools they need to play countless games of Edge of the Empire.
However, it is important to note that some of the elements in this beta are not representative of the final product. Much of the art and background material has been removed to provide a more concise playtesting experience.

Protagonist Games RAWR RPG, A kid's oriented RPG, with a simple system designed for the short attention span crowd. Kids versus the things that go bump in the night...

Pelgrane Press released 11 items at GenCon, that's a LOT. The most intriguing for me is Night's Black Agents by Ken Hite dropped at GenCon, this is the first I'd heard about it, a modern era horror game, where you play ex-agents hunting down monsters...nice.

nba cover

From listening to the podcasts, it seems the Con is expanding, the game community is expanding, more kids, and females and older folks attending GenCon, that's encouraging!

Friday, August 17, 2012

GenCon Announcements Day 2

Super Dungeon Explore Caverns of Roxor expansions dropped at GenCon

After listening to This Just in from GenCon Friday night edition:

From what Shane Hensley said, the Hell on Earth - Reloaded (the Savage Worlds edition is) nearly sold out on day 2. Pretty epic. And the Explorer's edition of SW Deluxe is selling well...the $10 pocket edition...awesome! Shane Also said that Cartoon Network basically squashed a pitch for an Adventure Time RPG, because they wanted a couple more 00s on the end of the license...thanks a lot Cartoon Network...

The Iron Kingdoms RPG Sold out on Thursday!! That's pretty Epic!!!

White Wolf games have licensed some of the White Wolf products out, so a lot of the OOP editions will be coming back to the shelves again.

The NetRunner reprint sold out already

Eastern Front Studios is now the official miniature producer for Kobold Quarterly starting with their Midgard line of miniatures, more official news to follow at Gencon this week from Wolfgang Baur owner of KQ.

Of course the big news is that the Ennies are happening, and I'll have a full post of all the winners tomorrow.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Gen Con announcements Day 1

So not a huge amount of news coming out of GenCon today. You know the best thing about not going to GenCon, is the not assault on my nostrils....heh. But seriously, I'm really hoping next year will be our first GenCon!

Paizo announced that Steve Jackson Games' next Munchkin set will be the Pathfinder Munchkin set!

From the Paizo Blog:

Lisa Stevens signs the contract with Steve Jackson Games for Munchkin card game!
Thu, Aug 16, 2012 at 02:57 PM Pacific
   The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game™ from Paizo Publishing is one of the world’s best-selling fantasy roleplaying games, in the true spirit of the classic dungeon crawl. Now Steve Jackson Games is proud to announce that Pathfinder is getting the full Munchkintreatment in a brand new core set...combining the unique features of the Pathfinder setting with Munchkin's irreverent sense of humor.   "We’re honored to be working with Paizo on Munchkin Pathfinder," said Andrew Hackard, Munchkin Brand Manager for Steve Jackson Games. "Pathfinder is a wonderfully rich world to play in."
   Steve had no direct comment, as he was snickering and rubbing his hands together in contemplation of parodying TWO of the most popular fantasy roleplaying games of all time.
   "We all love Munchkin here at Paizo Publishing, so this is a match was a no brainer," Lisa Stevens, CEO of Paizo Publishing stated matter of factly. "But of course," she whispered conspiratorially, "I really just wanted to see John Kovalic draw our iconic sorceress, Seoni!"
Munchkin Pathfinder will be a 168-card set, designed by Steve Jackson and Andrew Hackard and illustrated by John Kovalic. It will be playable as a standalone game or with any other Munchkin set. Look for it in stores in Fall 2013.

Privateer Press of course is debuting the Iron Kingdoms RPG!! Now this is something I'm really excited about. After talking to Simon at SDCC, I know that the game is based upon the Warmachine/Hordes  miniature game rules, rather than the OGL 3rd edition rules. Can't wait to get a good look at the rules.

Wyrd miniatures delayed the release of one of their Malifaux miniatures, due to Quality Control issues, that's reassuring, as quality is more important than a GenCon release!

When I find out more, so will you!

Listen to This Just in from GenCon!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Kickstarter projects of note

So lots of interesting Kickstarters are up for funding currently. I love Kickstarter, I hope to one day run a Kickstarter for Moderne Worlds of 2039. Also just found out about the which is a pledge  system for successfully Kickstarted projects to give back to the community, by kickstarting projects with a percentage of profits.

This first Kickstarter: Wild Card Creator for Savage Worlds is pledging 5% of profits to fund future kickstarter projects.


Monte Cook has a Sci-Fantasy RPG he's going to make: Numenera

Louis Porter Jr. Has reached funding levels with his Obsidian Apocalypse setting, but 18 days remain for additional funding.


An interesting concept, a PDF module that is much more (probably using layering and other adobe tools). Just wish it had an actual name.

Here's a neat one for the ICONS rpg Stark City

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Far West Edges & Wuxia

So Gareth Michael Skarka set over chapters 4 & 5 of Far West. These two chapters cover Edges and Kung Fu styles.

Edges feel familiar as well, similar to d20 feats/class abilities or edges of Savage Worlds, they allow you to create a classless character. For example you start with 6 edges at Novice, and can gain more during play. One edge that looks very familiar is of course, Evasion, which emulate improved evasion on a successful REF save. Other edges that might look familiar but operate differently are dodge, and improve critical. With 56 current edges, I'm sure their might be more when it goes to printing, this makes character creation have some depth. For those interested in having a Kung Fu fighter, the path is simple, one of your edges is Martial Training.

The kung fu styles are built, ala carte from a list, at a minimum the style will cost 1 spirit to drop into the style, and has a plethora of choices when building a style. Fircst choose a damage, then stunt ability modifier, combat bonus, weapons & armor, bonus edges available while you're in the style, flaws, invulnerability, maneuvers, saves, side effects and specials. Total up the spirit costs, and give it a name. Want another kung fu style? Grab the Martial Training edge again.

It appears to be a robust and balanced system, very nice..

More to come when I get more chapters (after GenCon, because GMS & crew are heading to Indy.)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Reviews - Abandoned Arts Class Acts Archetype series

Review finalized

Here we go with another set of stuff from Abandoned Arts. These guys are producing faster than rabbits it seems! (Again I will be returning to this thread as I complete the reviews)

This new series of supplements focuses on, one of my favorite aspects that Pathfinder introduced, archetypes. The reason I enjoy archetypes so much is that they allow tweaking of the classes without creating an entirely new class. The first four the guys sent to me for review are the core classes:


Four Page supplement that has 1-2/3 pages of crunch. Page 1 is the cover, first 1/3 of page 2 is the description of an archetype, the rest is the Miracle Worker. Page 3 is the Voodoo Priest, and page 4 is the OGL.
Two new archetypes, The Miracle Worker and the Voodoo Priest.

The Miracle Worker strays from traditional archetypes a bit, but that's what archetypes can be, unique. The miracle worker is complex, as it gives up channeling for the ability to add secondary spell effects when certain conditions are met. Such as adding a prepared shatter spell to a 5th level or higher spell cast with the air or sound descriptor as a swift action. Interesting, and very complex. It's complex enough that I can't really go into it without reprinting the entire description.

The Voodoo Priest is great. I think it captures the essence of the Voodoo priest very well.  The class gives up medium armor, shield and has a very limited selection of weapons. The channeling works differently as they channel loa, rather than a god's power, making it very useful for NPCs and not as useful as a character class. They gain a Loa Patron instead of a deity, which grants them two sets of domain choices, however they don't gain domain powers, just the spell slots, which makes them similar to a divine witch.

I think I would only use the Voodoo priest personally, it would make an interesting PF Goblin Spiritual Leader. I think the Miracle Worker is more player oriented, but the loss of Channeling is very painful to a small party, as a secondary healer, awesome. (Though it might have been a better Oracle). Ruinous Belief is a powerful ability, allowing the priest to add meta-magic feats to their spells which can only be cast on those previously scared by either a priests' spell (shaken, panicked or frightened), or intimidated by the priest (aka give your NPC Voodoo priests high intimidation skills.) Finally the Voodoo Priest gain Voodoo Poppet, to create Voodoo dolls, oh yeah, awesome.

Overall it's a unique, well-written supplement with two archetypes of limited use.
16 of 20

Three archetypes are presented, The Lasher (perfect Golarion gnoll archetype), The Sentinel and The Soldier.
The Lasher - This is a master of chain and whip, giving up heavier armor and tower shield for mastery of a brutal combat style. A Gnoll packmaster might be one of these brutal combatants, or perhaps a nasty addition to a Kyton. This is a brilliant archetype, well written, not over-powered and full of flavorful abilities. I really like punishing lash, which allows the lasher to suppress beneficial morale bonuses after a successful intimidate check.

The Sentinel - A bodyguard style archetype. It's already been done, but always nice to have a different take on it, especially for a non-dwarf. With only 3 abilities, this is a good fit as a defensive archetype, though it loses weapon mastery 1-4, but gains the Bodyguard feat in lieu of Armor Training 1. It will be a good class archtype for defending that goblin voodoo priest.

The Soldier - The soldier has an issue with its first level fighter bonus feat, I think the must take a teamwork feat was overwritten by the Trained Fighter ability which replaces the Fighter's 1st level bonus feat. Loyalty is a very weak class feature, replacing armor 1, but only granting minor bonus to Will saves versus charm/compulsion, don't get me wrong, it's good to have more will for a fighter, but its limited. Disciplined defense is nice, granting a +1 attack bonus (evolving), on AoOs.  Heroic beyond death replacing the normal fighter capstone, is better for people who knew the fighter before his death (probably caused by no Weapon Mastery).

17 of 20

Four Archetypes: Hoodwink, Lookout, Urban Stalker, and The Wormtongue.
(I think sometime I'll create a rogue's Guild that contains at least 1 of every archetype, it would make for a unique, albeit, complicated guild-crawl...heh)

Hoodwink -  The hoodwink is a slippery sneak with an uncanny ability to stay one step ahead of stronger or more powerful opponents. This tricky scoundrel excels at frustrating and harrying opponents with assorted tricks and traps. It consists of 2 class abilities, Bag of Tricks (ex), and Addling attack (ex). Bag of Tricks is about bonuses to bluff, craft(traps) and disguise as well as caltrop attacks, giving up trapfinding. Addling attack switches out sneak attack damage for rounds of confusion, with a Will save. Great archetype.

Lookout - Lookouts are wary rogues with an emphasis on scouting, keeping watch, identifying danger, and taking point positions. Truly an asset to any team of adventurers or dungeon-delvers, the lookout’s job is simple: to keep his allies alive in the field. This archetype also swaps out 2 abilities, gaining Eye for Danger and Nose for Trouble for 4th and 8th level rogue talents. Good archetype for possibly thwarting enemy rogues.

Urban Stalker - Urban predators and serial murderers, these deranged and deadly rogues earn a deservedly-fearsome reputation. A gruesome breed of sadistic killers, the urban stalker takes perverse pleasure in the fear he inspires and the pain he inflicts.  This is the archeytpe you want if you're wanting to create a brutal antagonist, Infamous Deeds, Urban Predator, Bloody Senak Attack, and Heartless capture the feeling of the homocidal serial killer.

Wormtongue - Truly a master of deception, the wormtongue is a consummate liar and a manipulator without peer. Blending subtle magic with expert skills and slippery social graces, the wormtongue is a dangerously skilled schemer. This archetype is the polar opposite of the Urban Stalker, the silvertongued manipulator. Five abilities make this a very different feel. Web of Lies (ex) makes them amazing liars. Betrayer (ex) grants a feat in place of evasion, minor enchantments (ex) is nice because it lets the rogue select minor and major magic multiple times with enchantment spells, while Talented Enchanter (ex) makes those same enchantments harder to resist. The final ability, Sow Dissent (su) lets the wormtongue influence enemies with great effectiveness. My favorite archetype in this supplement.

17 of 20...+1 for GMs looking for some great archetypes to throw their players off-balance.

Again, Two archetypes: The Animist, and the Guild Scholar.
Saved the best for last in this series of reviews...

The Animist studies an arcane art long since lost to most wizardly schools and practices – the strange and wondrous ability to bestow the inanimate with a semblance of life! I think perhaps should be called the Animator, however that's the only issue I have with this product. (Animist is more about all objects having souls than about animating said objects, which is what this archetype is about.) These are the transmuters which are masters of animating objects, even their own weaponry, gaining Hand of the Animist, at first level which is identical to Hand of the apprentice, replacing telekinetic fist. Object Familiar (su) replaces Arcane Bond, and provides an animated object as a familiar, which is built using 1 Construction Point utilizing the Animate object rules in ultimate magic. Replacing the Shape Change ability is the Empower Familiar class ability, which allows an increasing of the animated object (including additional Construction Pts.)  The Final ability replaces the 10th and 20th level bonus feats, but grants animate object and the ability to swap construction points for special attacks with the objects. This ONE archetype is worth the price of admission. amazing NPC diviner is also added.

The Guild Scholar - Promising arcane academics sometimes pursue a unique training program that emphasizes research and study, both mundane and divinatory, and delves deep into the arcane sciences of glyphs, symbols, and other runic spells.
It fills an oft overlooked archetypical gap, that of a guild trained wizard researcher. While it's not a great PC archetype, I love the flavor of it, from the Bonded spellbook, to erase (simple but very flavorful to the class), Guild Runic (granting special powers when modifying scrolls and symbols. Guild researcher is perfect for representing the NPC Sage that you go to to look for answers to the hardest questions at breakfast, and then come back at tea time for your answer. Finally, the Capstone, the Guild scholar becomes an intelligent magic item book...a VERY intelligent one. Amazing way to pass down your old character's legacy to a new one, or as a piece of crucial treasure. Great for an NPC, decent for a player.

It's a Solid 19 of 20, almost as good as it gets.

Friday, August 10, 2012

News - AD&D Reprints

Well Game Empire seems to have over ordered the ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS reprints, So Cliff has slashed the prices on them.

$26.99 for the DMG
$20.99 for the Monster Manual and Player's Handbook

So if you've been saving up to get the reprints, or thought, man, if they were a little cheaper....Now is your chance, strike while the iron is hot, get them before they're gone...cuz they won't be that cheap again...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

News - Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer's Edition

That's right, the explorer's edition is back for Savage Worlds. It's currently available for pre-order, and should be available at stores on the 13th, just in Time for GenCon!!!
Once more, the edition that gets you into the Savage Worlds system for under $10 is back. Check it out!

On being a gamer dad

I love having kids that are gamers, now, if they weren't gamers I'd still love them just as much, But having kids who game is EPIC! There's nothing like sitting down with a new rule system and bringing the game to life for your family.

Gaming helps with so many things, from vocabulary and math skills, to imagination and creative writing. RPG/Fantasy novels while not heaving reading can be gateway novels to classics. Sean started reading Dragonlance when he was 10, but has now read two of the three Lord of the Rings novels. Ian who used to hate reading now is an avid reader.

I remember being a geek before I started gaming, I was a big sufferer from ADD, so my frustration levels often caused me to cry, which lead to 'crybaby' and worse admonishments from my peers in elementary school. I even remember being chased around the school by a bunch of bullying kids in like 3rd grade, before I ran face first into a pole. Glad the schools these days don't let that happen any more.

Anyway, I wish I was able to sit down and game with the kids every night, but getting home at 6:15 isn't really conducive to that schedule, especially with school coming up again.

Another aspect of gamer dadism falls under wargaming...and painting miniatures. The boys put the first coats on their Malifaux miniatures last night, and hopefully they listened to the lessons given. Once they finish their first pieces (Dr. McMourning for Sean and The Ice Golem for Ian), I will post pics for all to see.

The only problem with being a gamer dad is that it will end when they move out...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Doctor Who RPG

So I missed this little bit on 1 August...

If you're a fan of Matt Smith's Doctor more than David Tenant's 10th doctor, then happy days for you!

The Eleventh Doctor version of The Doctor Who RPG is now available at Cubicle 7.

Now we got to play Doctor Who at Kingdom Con 2, and it was a blast. But we have the 10th Doctor edition, which Sean is supposed to be running and reporting on stand by...

One of the things I really like about the Doctor Who system is the way successes and failures are done.

Success and...
Success but...
Failure but...
Failure AND...

It makes it easier for the Game Master to tell a story. Here's some examples:

You're able to hack into the system, and you are able to loopback the system so it is relaying the same image over and over to the guards.
You're able to hack the system, what now?
You're able to hack the system, but you alerted the guards to your presence
You fail to hack the system, but you didn't alert the guards
You fail to hack the system, care to try again?
You not only don't hack the security system, AND you activate deadlock...