From Breaking Bad to Narcos – Welcome to Cartel RPG

From Breaking Bad to Narcos – Welcome to Cartel RPG

By Jacky Leung     Twitter

Step into a world of danger, drama, and narcotics in Mark Diaz Truman’s Cartel RPG, a Mexican narcofiction tabletop game. In Cartel, players assume the roles of narcos, their spouses, and even dirty cops tied to a drug cartel in Mexico in the mid-2000s. It’s a dangerous game of drugs, money, and power. The game is inspired by adult fiction such as Breaking Bad, The Wire, and El Mariachi which captivates fans of crime dramas and Mexican melodramas. Previously published as a 50-page preview for Gen-Con 2015, Cartel is now officially ready to be released as a finished product, full-colored and packed with stunning art.

Using the Powered by the Apocalypse engine in its core, Cartel has the mechanics and narrative flexibility to tell tragic stories with a sense of dark humor within the backdrop of what seems like an eternal drug war. Powered by Apocalypse is used in other RPG systems such as Apocalypse World, Urban Shadows, Bluebeard’s Bride, and more. Players take a playbook, which consists of their character sheet and relevant archetypes. Each character has a distinct role, each packed with their mechanical abilities and narrative choices. The base game includes six playbooks, with possibly more pending stretch goals. At the time of this article, three additional playbooks will be added to the game with a possible fourth soon. Truman assures backers that Cartel can facilitate a variety of ways to play, whether it be short or long-term campaigns. The game sports a key-advancement system within their playbooks, each key provides a condition to earn experience points and advancement but at the cost of losing the key. By fluctuating their keys, players can tailor their characters by adjusting how they earn experience points. The campaign provides a quick start PDF on their Kickstarter page for interested backers to review the content and embrace the visual aesthetics of the setting.

According to Truman, Cartel allows players to tell compelling, tense stories through character actions that inevitably ends in a possibly bloody climax. If you’re a fan of other tabletop games such as Fiasco or have seen any of the previous television dramas listed, most of those do not always end with happy endings. Admittedly, Truman was inspired by an episode of Breaking Bad, as it featured his hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico. After completing Urban Shadows, Truman expressed his wish to create a game with a connection to his Latino roots. In the end, Cartel serves to tell a story of the drug war from the perspective of the Mexican people and capture the sprawling human moments amidst the War on Drugs.

Besides the Cartel core rulebook, the Kickstarter also offers the Amigos y Enemigos NPC supplement. Both can be acquired at the $20 pledge level, along with all stretch goals from the campaign. Additionally, backers can pledge $150 for a unique edition cover of Cartel which contains the exclusive print of El Aguila y El Serpiente CIA supplement. Additionally, a location deck can be purchased as an add-on or included in higher pledges which provide details of the setting within Mexico without any gratuitous foreknowledge or prep on the Game Master.

Quick Start link: http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/225344/Cartel-Quickstart

Kickstarter link: http://kck.st/2FmP8G1

Inconceivable! A Princess Bride Tabletop RPG

Inconceivable! A Princess Bride Tabletop RPG

By Jacky Leung     Twitter

Ask anyone growing up in the early to mid-1990s and mention the Princess Bride movie to them; you will instantly be greeted with a smile and fond memories of nostalgia. The 1987 romantic comedy fantasy adventure film, an adaptation of William Goldman’s 1973 novel of the same name, has expanded into the tabletop roleplaying world. The Princess Bride RPG is a cooperative storytelling game within the Princess Bride universe. The game mechanics utilize the Fudge engine, a rules-light RPG system using descriptions, along with the iconic Fudge die, to handle actions and combat resolutions, making it fast-paced and easy to play.

Most of the primary source material is inspired by the movie and less from the book. Players can create their characters, or alternatively, there are stats for all of the main characters from the original film players can use, which provide some additional unique adventures after the events of the movie. Some mechanics pay homage to the original movie and brings some other nuances to the game, such as Grandpa Wait! For viewers who recall the movie, the grandson (played by Fred Savage) would occasionally interrupt this grandfather (played by Peter Falk) whenever a dangerous moment would arise, and the hero’s fate was doomed. You can consider it akin to a second chance mechanic wherein effects are lessened but not rebuked.

Backers can sample the tabletop experience with a downloadable PDF with quick start rules along with five pre-generated characters. The sample rules also include a short adventure to give players a taste of playing the Princess Bride universe. Players familiar with Fate RPG will notice recognizable elements from the Princess Bride RPG and feel at home with playing this game. There are some subtle differences, especially regarding skills and handling of health, but the Fudge RPG does not factor in heroic aspects and instead relies on descriptive modifiers and professions to denote character elements. Additional game elements as such as gifts serve as boons or bonuses with inconveniences to help as character flaws. Game designer and author of the Princess Bride RPG, Steffen O’Sullivan, also designed the Fudge RPG system and also best known for his work on GURPS: Bunnies and Burrows, and GURPS: Swashbuckler.

Backers can pledge $25 USD for a digital PDF copy of the core rulebook. An upgraded pledge of $50 USD provides a physical copy of the core rulebook along with a folded map of the continent of Florin. For more swag, backers can pledge $85 to get a beautiful faux leather cover of the core rulebook along with eight-Fudge dice and the map of Florin. Backers of the Inconceivable Edition receive all of the benefits from the $85 pledge plus a cherrywood box to hold the book and a set of Grandpa Wait! Tokens. The project has been fully funded and currently is in the process of unlocking additional stretch goals.

 

Kickstarter link: http://kck.st/2EGIJsh

Princess Bride RPG Quick Start link: http://www.toyvault.com/princessbriderpg/free-downloads.html

More on Fudge RPG: http://www.fudgerpg.com/about/about-fudge/fudge-overview.html

 

Rule Your Own Fortress with Matt Coville’s Strongholds & Followers

Rule Your Own Fortress with Matt Coville’s Strongholds & Followers

By Jacky Leung     Twitter

One of the many opportunities and joys a group of adventurers has after amassing a substantial wealth is to acquire their castle or keep. Building a fort and filling it with followers is almost as much work as creating a campaign setting sometimes. Matt Coville’s Strongholds & Followers helps characters find ways to spend their considerable sum of loot and influence an area to raise armies, research spells, and maybe even spy on their enemies. The Kickstarter campaign has become quite the talk of the RPG community, breaking records by raising over a million dollars within one week. Strongholds & Followers is a Dungeons & Dragons supplement under the 5th Edition ruleset featuring a style of play that assumes characters in the roleplaying game have interest building a stronghold, providing ample examples of narrative opportunities for players and their Dungeon Masters.

According to the Kickstarter page, the book will provide new character options along with advice and information as the narrative can potentially expand into the political arena. It’s alluded that there are four types of strongholds, each possessing their benefits. Some class options such as the Paladin’s Divine Smite or the Bard’s Bardic Inspiration receive a temporary boon upon the establishment of a new stronghold. Players can attract followers from soldiers to defend the keep while the party goes on adventures, artisans to craft and research, and even give them emissaries to represent their plot of land. Additionally, players can also recruit unique and powerful allies like demons, celestials, or even a dragon! Imagine a dragon ally guarding your keep against enemies. Colville has a draft for potential followers for a Paladin’s stronghold available on the Kickstarter page.

You will note that while there are game mechanics, it serves as a narrative tool to add depth to expand the experience of the campaign for both players and DMs. Much of the inspiration for Strongholds & Followers stemmed from variations of the rules when Colville played D&D back in the 80s, wherein the mechanics and rules adapted to the changing editions of the game.  

The current stretch goals for the campaigns have been met, expanding the list of potential special allies to include the neutral-inclined, psionic gem dragons, new magic items, and an adventure written by the wordsmith himself.

Matt Coville is best known for his YouTube series on dungeon mastering, and he also writes the Critical Role comics. Coville is regarded highly with the D&D community, granting him the status of a “celebrity” DM. The YouTube series provides a wealth of information while with a vast amount of entertainment with Coville “nerding out” on occasion and comes highly recommended. Part of the Kickstarter campaign involves funding for Colville to lease a studio space to stream their next D&D game.

Kickstarter link: http://kck.st/2ExDhaX

Play D&D Anywhere with CharacTable

Play D&D Anywhere with CharacTable

By Jacky Leung     Twitter

With the growth of tabletop roleplaying games, more new players surface to take on this beloved hobby. The advent of virtual tabletop services are well designed, easy to use, and readily available compared to the past, allowing players to play across the world. But the classic approach of a bunch of friends gathered together at a friend’s house to play a roleplaying game remains a staple and part of its fundamental identity. But not every home is equipped to handle a group of five to eight friends huddled together around a kitchen table or even in one’s living room without some loss of play space. Transportation of supplies such as character sheets, sourcebooks, and notepads can be a hassle which often leads to the loss of that snippet about a legendary artifact that you all found last week. Enter the CharacTable, designed by Matthew Lew, where players and their gamemasters can be organized and play virtually anywhere – from the couch to even outside.

CharacTables are portable lap tables that help keep everything organized for players. Each one serves as a lap table that can hold up to twenty character sheets, kept in place with strong neodymium magnets. There are trays to store and roll dice, or they can be rolled on the main board as well. Once you’re finished with your game session, you can put the lid on top, and everything is easily carried and stored safely until next time. There are even slots for keeping your phone or tablet secure during a session, which is excellent in an era of digital resources such as D&D Beyond. There are GM tabs that act as a screen for the Gamemaster board that can be written with a pencil for temporary notes and details or made permanent through Sharpie. CharacTables are designed with the philosophy to free your games to take place without a table. Definitely something worth considering for playgroups with tight gaming space or when there are no available kitchen tables available to play.

Matthew’s twenty years of experience in product design and fabrication, along with thousands of hours of feedback and tests from new and veteran players have to lead to the current models available for backers during this Kickstarter campaign. CharacTable is fully funded and currently unlocked several stretch goals including left-handed models, larger space for US/Canadian paper sizes, velcro book strap to help keep your gamebooks and table together for easy transport, and much more. The Mini-board starts at around £30 (or $42 USD), with the Old-School and Sci-Fi board ranging from £40 ($56 USD) to £45 ($63 USD) respectively. The GM board is structurally a larger board along with more components, topping off at £80 ($112 USD). There are some discounted bundles, such as the Mini-board four pack for £100 ($140 USD) to furnish the typical roleplaying playgroup. Shipping might be a concern for backers due to the weight of these physical rewards, with backers in the UK expecting £12 in shipping fees and backers in the US around £22. The campaign is a worthwhile endeavor for individuals looking to expand their play horizons and be less restricted to the traditional table setting of tabletop RPG.

CharacTable Kickstarter link: http://kck.st/2D7l67Z

Adventure and Raid in Sagas of Midgard RPG

Adventure and Raid in Sagas of Midgard RPG

By Jacky Leung     Twitter

Vikings, Norse gods, and raiding. These were the many things I was introduced to when I recently tried my hand at a new tabletop roleplaying game known as Sagas of Midgard, written by Nick Porter and Dominic De Duonni. Players assume the role of Viking warriors that are defined by their prophecies through surnames, blessed by iconic Norse deities such as Odin, Thor, and Loki, and empowered by Nordic runes. Sagas of Midgard uses cinematic storytelling defined by dice rolls utilizing a d100 on checks across over a hundred skills and specializations. The unique raiding mechanic allows skills and dice results to facilitate and drive the narrative.

Characters in Sagas of Midgard have short lives, fifteen hit points to be exact, but upon their deaths, allies within a specific range gain a boon. So while survival is essential, just like the Viking’s way of life, there is no greater glory than dying on the battlefield. A character’s surname and title define their prophecy, which is chosen from a list that is inspired by Norse mythology that grants bonuses and abilities. From there, players can choose from over a hundred skills across five domains (which correspond with a Norse god) with subdomains to emphasize specializations. There are no character classes in the traditional sense which creates an environment that focuses on roleplay. Characters are also endowed with a minimum of two runes with effects inspired by the Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem. Runes serve as one-time use magic items that can be acquired over the course of play, or a character can start with more runes depending on their surname or title. The runes also grant effects based on their relative position, which provides additional variance in character creation and allowing each character to be genuinely unique.

Gameplay is broken into three phases: Raiding, Heroic Deeds, and Mead-Hall. Raiding is where your Viking characters travel to attack, loot, and plunder settlements. It was designed with the mindset to make the aspect of going to their destinations with your Viking Warband interesting with challenges and obstacles. During a raid scenario, players roll to overcome obstacles and complications may arise on low rolls. Heroic Deeds are what you typically come to find in an adventure tabletop roleplaying experience, they fight creatures and foes, pillage and take the loot. Sometimes they uncover artifacts or runes, sometimes they expand their jarldom, and sometimes they want to explore the world. The Mead-Hall is meant for in-between adventures but serves an important purpose, as the Viking, who boasts of their most glorious of achievement that week and deemed the winner, is awarded skill points.

A Viking’s settlement plays an important in developing upgrades for their characters and whenever they perform raid rolls. Settlements have their own “level” of development, whether it’s one that the Vikings are invading or even the one they call home. Combat is done without a grid, using three concentric circles called “distance increments” from the center of the battlefield. The intention is to produce theater-of-mind gameplay (which reduces clutter and keeps narrative pace uninterrupted).

A mythical Scandinavia inspires the campaign setting for Sagas of Midgard with new geography and points of interest, littered with gods and monsters of yore. Players can even explore the Nine Worlds cosmology, with adventures to provide more details. There is an included cultural guide to the custom setting of Drengrlands, including over 30 monsters pulled from Norse myth and the creators’ imaginations. The core book also contains three fully-fleshed adventures to help ease players into the new mechanics and game system. Additionally, backers can also secure a unique 24-card Rune deck to use during their sessions and character creations.

At the time of this article, Sagas of Midgard has hit over 400% of their funding goal and presently working on achieving stretch goals. The sneak peek worth of materials I was given the opportunity to read has a clean and straightforward structure of play with plenty of room for gamemasters and players to explore and develop their own stories. It genuinely reminds me of a Norse/Viking version of the XCOM video game franchise or even similarly Norse inspired board games such as Champions of Midgard. For a $25 pledge, backers secure a PDF copy of Sagas of Midgard. For an additional $10 to their pledge, backers can include the 24-card Rune deck at the $35 pledge. At the $45 pledge level, backers can acquire a hardcover edition of the core rulebook signed by the creators; at $60, backers get the hardcover copy and the Rune deck.

Kickstarter link: http://kck.st/2GCYZIL

Learn more about Sagas of Midgard: https://sagasofmidgard.com/

 

Get Unlucky with D13 RPG

Get Unlucky with D13 RPG

By Jacky Leung     Twitter

Did you know that there’s a phobia for the number 13? It’s called Triskaidekaphobia. You might start developing it when you start playing the D13 RPG, a horror-centric tabletop roleplaying game by Origins-award-winning game designer Lester Smith (Dark Conspiracy, Mechwarrior 2nd Ed., Serenity RPG). Through a series of horrific adventures set across time and space, characters face the threats such as death or madness in individual adventures. All of which acts as the backdrop for supernatural beings battling a greater darkness.

The system utilizes an attribute-and-skill system with four primary attributes and a variety of skills. Actions are determined through a 1d4 plus 1d10 (read 0-9) for a number range of 1 to 13, wherein low-end doubles provide beneficial boons. The d4 mechanic adds an exciting element to tasks with uncertain results, with the GM rolling these in secret while players roll their d10. Tasks or actions that players should be capable of performing are rolled as usual, with possible rerolls. Any task posed as a moderate challenge can have Game Masters demand a roll and force a reroll of the d4. The unlucky number 13 is a catastrophic result, similar to rolling a natural 1 in a d20 system. Though an 11 or a 12 also result in failure too. Also, psychic abilities are depicted through a tarot deck (or poker card deck) as an homage to the uncertainty and danger of these powers. Combat actions and turn sequence are uniquely determined and tracked through an Ouija board or spirit board.

D13 RPG was designed to tell a horror tale without the traditional flaws experienced with other horror RPGs. The system, according to Smith, can be adapted to any horror story or adventure without the constraints of time, place, or themes from those adventures. Smith also cited that most horror-based RPGs tone down danger to let player characters survive to continue the narrative into the next session, or ingrain them into the plot, or altogether abandon the idea of a campaign in the traditional sense to keep the integrity of the horror dynamic. In essence, D13 RPG provides a solution wherein a Game Master can run these horrifying adventures that can kill characters without murdering the concept of a campaign.

Through the Kickstarter campaign, there are premium editions of the game that signed and numbered in full Smythe-sewn hardbound books. These copies will never be published again, and the slots are for the personalized versions are already gone, with only less than half of the slots left for the premium hardbound copies. Additional stretch goals met will expand the book’s contents and include more art. At the time of this article, the project has already achieved their funding goal and should have a few more days left before the campaign closes. This is an excellent opportunity to try a new horror RPG system, especially from an award-winning game designer with over 30+ years of experience and who worked along with the legendary Gary Gygax. You are in excellent and capable hands.

Kickstarter link: http://kck.st/2FnoAVA

Welcome Back to the Red Dragon Inn

Welcome Back to the Red Dragon Inn

By Jacky Leung     Twitter

After a long day of adventures, what does a party of misfits, thieves, warriors, and mages to do? Many find themselves in the comforts of a seedy tavern full of barmaids and plenty of ale. But be warned, even after fighting dragons and goblins, there are games to be had and bets to be made. This time around, the Wench enters the fun in the latest edition of the Red Dragon Inn series by SlugFest Games. In Red Dragon Inn 7, two to four players play as the staff of the famous tavern, enjoying the night after all the adventuring patrons have gone to bed for the night. Of course, there will be no rest here as players can gamble, brawl, and drink the night away to prove who can keep up with the heroes you serve night after night. The Red Dragon Inn 7 can be combined with all of our previous releases, letting players mix up the characters for games with four or more players. Debauchery and mayhem are expected of course.

The Red Dragon Inn is a fast-paced, light-hearted tabletop card game where players are adventuring companions after a long day of dungeon delving. The heroes have cleaned up, healed up, and ready to grab some drinks at the inn. Players can gamble, brawl, and drink up but keep an eye on their gold or be kicked out. Characters can also become drunk or be too beat up and also be removed from the inn. The Red Dragon Inn is also a modular game with different expansions and box sets that can be mixed and matched for all sorts of antics. While the game features the consumption of alcohol, it is never strictly required, but for those of the legal drinking ages, it produces some memorable nights after a long gaming session.

The characters featured in this iteration of the game include Molly the Stablehand, Jasper the Bouncer, the Wench, and Warthorn Redbeard. Their mechanics and stories will be unveiled as the campaign draws closer to the end. Presently, interested parties can join in SlugFest’s digital playtest group where they host sessions for running the game via Tabletop Simulator.

Unlike their previous Kickstarters, SlugFest Games has reported that there will be no additional stretch goals and instead focus on having the game ready and available to backers as soon as possible. Instead, backers will receive the unlocked content immediately and will be included in their rewards. Besides coasters and promo drink cards, backers of the Collector’s Edition also receive metal turn markers in the shape of their signature Dragon’s Breath Ale. For the daring or a devoted fan, there is a $1000 Designer’s pledge which includes the ability to create a custom drink, along with every Red Dragon Inn product created plus all previous swag from the Collector’s Edition.

Kickstarter link: http://kck.st/2FKVtLU

Old School RPGs go dark with For Coin & Blood

Old School RPGs go dark with For Coin & Blood

By Jacky Leung     Twitter

Old-school fantasy roleplaying games are the heritage to their modern iterations. Over time, some systems have grown in depth with increased complexity. But old-school systems have the charm of being bare bones or gritty, generally to allow for increased opportunities to roleplay and problem solve. These old-school traditions continue to be loved by veterans and newcomers, as game design continues to be streamlined, there is an appeal for the phrase: “sometimes less is more.” For Coin & Blood, created by Gallant Knight Games, utilizes iconic gameplay and turns the players into the villains that typically heroes defeat. It’s a game about antiheroes, thieves, and assassins in a grimdark setting.

For Coin & Blood uses a modified d20 roleplaying system based on classic OSR roleplaying games such as Swords & Wizardry: WhiteBox. The setting sports over 100 pages featuring seven classes, spells, and magic items, along with new mechanics. The classes and spells may sound or look very familiar, but tweaks have been made to bring the old-school play to this setting along with special rules such as new lethality benchmarks, and corruption. Even the new classes are designed to embody the genre. Characters also gain infamy to build and organize criminal syndicates and cults for example.

Unlike traditional Kickstarter campaigns, For Coin & Blood has a short crowdfunding period due in large part to a nearly completed product, this includes written game text, fiction, turned in artwork, and editing finalized. The only aspect left was the layout but was already stated to be nearly finished by the start of the campaign. The PDF of the setting will be available on DriveThruRPG along with the option for print-on-demand, but for a limited time, backers can acquire a limited edition red hardcover copy, a standard edition green hardcover or softcover at-cost of printing. What does at-cost of printing mean? Backers will receive a coupon to receive their physical copies at printing costs, which according to the Kickstarter page, is $4 USD for softcover and $10-12 USD for the hardcover. Backers and future purchasers will still pay the cost of shipping. DriveThruRPG will handle fulfillment in addition to future digital and physical purchases.

Gallant Knight Games wants to produce a complete product and have it immediately in both backers’ hands and ready for purchase for the general public. The crowdfunding increases awareness and promotion, additionally to recoup expenses made from this project. At the end of the campaign, Gallant Knight Games stated that backers would immediately receive their PDFs along with their print-on-demand coupons. Because of the short campaign and focused product development, there are no stretch goals and any additional funds will support future products.

Kickstarter link: http://kck.st/2CLjoJl

Gallant Knight Games Twitter page: https://twitter.com/GallantKGames

Gallant Knight Games website: http://www.gallantknightgames.com/

Save the Dying World of Barsoom in a new John Carter of Mars RPG

Saving the Dying World of Barsoom in a new John Carter of Mars RPG

By Jacky Leung     Twitter

Journey to the world of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom, from the creators at Modiphius, in the upcoming John Carter of Mars roleplaying game coming to Kickstarter this January. The game acts as a planetary romance experience, created with a variant of Modiphius’ 2d20 system called Momentum, allowing players to become adventurers and heroes across the dangerous and wondrous world of Barsoom. Players can assume the roles of the novels’ iconic heroes or create their own. The core book consists of details on technology, creatures, and various cultures; a step-by-step character generation system, sections covering three eras of play from the adventures of John Carter himself, along with overviews to introduce new players to Burroughs’ Barsoom and John Carter of Mars.

The new Momentum system is a streamlined version of the original 2d20 system employed Modiphius’ other products such as Conan, Infinity, Mutant Chronicles, and Star Trek Adventures. It focuses on abilities that ultimately build into talents instead of skills. Characters are described by six attributes to form target numbers for all tests or checks. Talents define how a character uses their traits such as science or piloting but with specific features such as a character taking hours of scrutiny and research to uncover discoveries or instead makes leaps of inspiration while under pressure. The purpose for this 2d20 “lite” version is to accentuate the fast-paced, heart-pounding action just like the adventures from the books.

Time for some backstory. Published in 1912 by Tarzan author Edgar Rice Burroughs, John Carter was a Confederate officer from the American Civil War who found himself transported to a fantastical version of Mars called Barsoom. The John Carter of Mars series would inspire generations of writers to create worlds like Dune, Avatar, and Dungeons & Dragons. The books also inspired the founder of Modiphius, Chris Birch, which seemed fitting that John Carter would be brought to life as a roleplaying game as well. This RPG rendition is a faithful adaptation of Burroughs’ work and draws from the author’s original text.

The John Carter RPG is part of a tabletop gaming product line which will consist of the core book, a set of miniatures along with accompanying rules, and Modiphius has listed a board game as well. Modiphius has planned for the core rulebook to be a landscape book (with a portrait slipcase available) to embrace the vast landscapes of Barsoom and allow for easy-to-read text but a traditional portrait version will also be available. At the time of this article, the Kickstarter is not officially live and Modiphius presently only lists draft pledge levels. Interested backers may sign up for Modiphius’ newsletter to receive updates. But according to Modiphius’ tweet, the Kickstarter officially goes live January 9, 2018.

Modiphius’ Twitter page: https://twitter.com/Modiphius

Modiphius’ John Carter RPG page: https://www.modiphius.com/john-carter.html

John Carter of Mars RPG Kickstarter survey: https://www.modiphius.com/john-carter-kickstarter.html

Update: The John Carter RPG is now live on Kickstarter: http://kck.st/2Fl5G1p

Faith: a Sci-Fi RPG Kickstarter Review

Faith: a Sci-Fi RPG Kickstarter Review

By Jacky Leung     Twitter

In 2016, Burning Games released Faith: Garden of Hell on Kickstarter as an introductory starter kit for their science-fiction setting. The boxed set contained an 80-page campaign booklet with a short campaign, an updated rulebook, a fully illustrated playing deck, a deck for NPCs and gear, four pre-generated character folios, and a campaign outline. Once I received my Kickstarter reward, I was introduced to a vibrant and futuristic setting with plenty of unknown dangers. Besides the lore, Faith employed a card based mechanics system that utilized traits and skills to determine outcomes when resolving scenes. This tactical execution of luck instead of using dice rolls, which according to Burning Games, creates a dynamic and immersive storytelling environment. After their successful Kickstarter, Burning Games returned with a full-fledged hardcover core rulebook as their Kickstarter entry of 2017. The Kickstarter for Faith: the Sci-Fi RPG was a complete success, nearly doubling their €40,000 goal.

In Faith, players assume the roles of space-faring aliens exploring uncharted regions of the universe using a mix of technology, skill, and mystical powers against ruthless organizations, political regimes, and unknown terrors. Players can choose between four playable races with over thirty adventuring seeds and details on over twenty planets and outposts. The system also supports starships and presents over seventy-five non-player characters, including with factions, mega corporations, and galactic level political struggles. There are also the Ravagers, a lifeform consuming species that mutates and twists DNA like an evil blender. The races are united in cooperation in the face of their common threat, but underlying political strife creates the backdrop of a universe full of endless possibilities.

The core of Faith’s mechanics revolves around the use a poker deck to resolve actions and confrontations. At the beginning of every scene, each player, including the Game Master, draws up to 7 cards (or 8 if a character is a human) that will be used to determine the outcome of these confrontations. Additionally, a Skill-Attribute system establishes an action value and how many cards can be played to increase that value. The cards represent a character’s stamina that becomes depleted across the length of a scene and replenishes after being fully rested. The core mechanic allows players to manage their luck and strategize their chances for success. While you can acquire a player deck, which is filled with stunning art set in the world of Faith, buyers can also use generic poker decks from a game shop or if they own one at home. The NPC and Gear decks are a collection of content straight out of the core rulebook but are accessible for Game Masters to run confrontations and hand out items as either loot or rewards to players. Not having the player deck is a passable exclusion for purchase when running this game, but the NPC and Gear decks reduce flipping through pages and making copies of content to improve streamlined gameplay.

Burning Games previously won a Silver ENnie Award for “Best Free Content” in 2016 and received several accolades from Golden Geek Awards. The core rules have undergone revisions, additions, and improvements from their initial release in 2015. The Kickstarter may not be over, but interested gamers can purchase the Faith core rulebook on Burning Game’s website. You can buy the core rulebook for €49.95 ($60), or go for the Believer Pledge for €73.65 ($88) which includes the core rulebook along with the NPC and Gear decks. Curious buyers can try the system by purchasing the starter kit, Faith: Garden in Hell for €29.95 ($36).

Kickstarter link: http://kck.st/2n45VVR

Burning Games website: http://burning-games.com/

Own a copy of Faith: http://bit.ly/2Ew6iAU

Return to the Realms with Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition

Return to the Realms with Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition

By Jacky Leung     Twitter

In the early 2000s, Bioware brought gamers back into the Forgotten Realms with the critically acclaimed video game, Neverwinter Nights. Nearly fifteen years later, the creatives at Beamdog return to enhance this iconic roleplaying game after successfully taking other classic games, like the Baldur’s Gate franchise, and updating them for the modern gamer. Key developers from the original Neverwinter Nights return to upgrade key features that hosted a strong and committed online modding community.

The original Neverwinter Nights was released in June of 2002, taking place in Ed Greenwood’s Forgotten Realms campaign setting and implementing the Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition ruleset. The game engine was designed to support massive multiplayer online games (MMOGs) which allowed users to host game servers, a feature that extended the game’s longevity from its launch.

Game content will remain consistent with Neverwinter Nights: Diamond Edition, which includes the original campaign, both the Shadows of Undrentide and Hordes of the Underdark expansion packs, and the three Bioware premium packs: Kingmaker, ShadowGuard, and Witch’s Wake. You can pre-order the game through Beamdog for the standard version of the game for $19.99. Other premium modules are available as separate purchases, along with the game’s soundtrack, and a portrait pack. A digital deluxe version of the game is available for $39.99 and contains all of the content mentioned above.

The original campaign took place in the city of Neverwinter, located on the Sword Coast of Faerûn. Players can assume any race, class, alignment, background, and specialization through skills and feats to create a character that would be tasked to defeating a powerful cult, collect four reagents to stop a plague, and save the city from an attack. Along the way, players explore the neighboring countryside and the northern city of Luskan with plenty of side quests in between. It is a story of loss, betrayal, rising heroes, and ancient monsters. Shadows of Undrentide takes place in the deserts of Anauroch and the Netherese city of Undrentide. Hordes of the Underdark continued from the previous expansion and led through the subterranean world of the fabled Underdark and the infamous labyrinth dungeons of the Undermountain beneath the city of Waterdeep.

Compared to the original game, the enhanced edition will feature a new user interface, combat bar, and inventory that adjust with higher resolutions such as 1080p and 4k. Modernized graphic filters offer a crisp and cleaner experience. Additionally, the developers have teamed with key members from the Neverwinter Vault community to curate fan-requested improvements to support players, storytellers, and modders. It might be time to dust off your old CDs and flash drives and bring back those beloved characters and stories from years passed. The new enhanced edition also supports backward compatibility for saved games, modules, and mods from the original Neverwinter Nights.

The game’s multiplayer experience separated it from other Dungeons & Dragons games, as it allowed for players to play on many different game servers, potentially supporting close to 90 players and Dungeon Masters. It was a host of different modules of various genres and themes, a hub for player-vs-player scenarios, and even social gatherings akin to chat rooms. The DM Client allowed game masters to tell stories through their modules and have complete control of their server. These persistent worlds allowed DMs to have their games run autonomously but could interject and assume an NPC (non-player character) mid-session to add flexibility and improvisation to their games.

Neverwinter Nights’ legacy influenced many Bioware games including Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: Sith Lords which used a similar game engine. The Witcher, by CD Projekt RED, was also based on the same game engine as Neverwinter Nights. Additionally, prototypes and mockups of Dragon Age: Origins used the game engine. Many modern games have been influenced by Neverwinter Nights, even being ranked No. 4 in 2014 by IGN on their list of “The Top 11 Dungeons & Dragons Games of All Time.”

Pre-order Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition: https://www.beamdog.com/products/neverwinter-nights-enhanced-edition

 

Kobold Press returns with Creature Codex on Kickstarter

Kobold Press returns with Creature Codex on Kickstarter

By Jacky Leung     Twitter

After their successful 2015 Kickstarter campaign for Tome of Beasts, the kobolds return with more monsters and beasts in a brand-new Creature Codex. The latest D&D 5th Edition supplement brings over 300 new monsters to challenge players. All Kickstarter backers can submit an original monster idea for possible publication while higher level backers can commission the team at Kobold Press to design and illustrate their monster.

Backers can choose to participate in playtests or previews of the supplement if they pledge $30 or more. The Kobold Press team plans to provide digital support on platforms such as Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, and Hero Lab after the campaign, though no specifics were given to when it will be implemented. PDFs of the maps and lairs will be available for pledges $30 and above.

There are additional PDFs expected to be included in higher level rewards once unlocked via stretch goals. At the time of this article, it is likely that these goals will be met since the Kickstarter was fully funded in two hours. The pledge for a backer commissioned monster already fulfilled, meaning future backers will have to consider for publication. The campaign includes backer goals to increase the number of monsters published from backer submissions, a great incentive to support Creature Codex even for $1.

Additional pledges include $20 for the book PDF; $30 for the PDF along with maps, lairs and five packs of playtest and previews. The most common tier would be the $45 level reward, granting both the hardcover and digital version of Creature Codex. For a few dollars more at $55, a backer has both versions of the book along with the maps and lairs and preview packs. A pawn set for Creature Codex along with previous rewards at the $90 level. For $125, a backer can acquire the coveted limited edition hardcover of the book.

Limited edition covers for Creature Codex are offered, from an exclusive hardcover of the tome to handbound vellum. Presently, the vellum hardcover is no longer available (due to limited pledges), but the limited edition hardcover is still available. The limited edition cover, limited to 333 signed numbered copies, sports a leatherette cover, oil stamps, ribbon bookmarks, and “as much arcane, monstrous style as we can muster.”

A backer can even pledge to have the kobolds run a D&D game for them in a convention or online featuring maps and monsters from Creature Codex, along with a vellum handbound edition, a regular hardcover, and all previous rewards.

Link to the Kickstarter: http://kck.st/2AZkHHc