Ravnica & Eberron Announced – Tale of Two Settings

By Jacky Leung     Twitter

The long-awaited announcement for the Dungeons and Dragons settings came Monday morning (Pacific Time) on July 23rd was met with overall excitement from the D&D community though not without some hiccups. Wizards of the Coast released details on their collaboration with D&D and Magic: the Gathering to bring Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica with a release date on November 20th and that the Eberron setting will be making its triumphant return to the franchise as well. Eberron’s return starts with a digital PDF release of Wayfinder’s Guide to Eberron on the DMsGuild marketplace by Keith Baker in collaboration with the creative team at Wizards of the Coast.

What you need to know about Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica:

  • Release Date: 20 November 2018
  • Price: $49.95 USD
  • Accessories include a Map Pack and a premium dice set featuring the Guilds of Ravnica
  • Ravnica is a plane of existence in Wizard of the Coast’s Magic the Gathering franchise, released originally in 2005 in Ravnica: City of Guilds, followed with a revisit in Return to Ravnica in 2012, with a planned third Ravnica return in Guilds of Ravnica to be released in October 2018 & spring 2019.
  • Ravnica is an ecumenopolis, a vast city that encompasses an entire planet. Like Coruscant in Star Wars
  • There are ten iconic guilds in Ravnica that serve unique functions in the daily life within the city, with their brand of rivalries and adversaries, all governed by an oath known as the Guildpact. Not every citizen is part of a guild, but their presence is felt throughout Ravnica.
  • The current price point suggests a product akin to Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide.

The news about Ravnica was unintentionally leaked on Amazon Brazil’s website site with product pages screenshotted across Reddit and later on other social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter sometime on Sunday, July 22nd. News and speculation on the authenticity of the screenshots & cover art were eventually confirmed by the cover artist later on. The story left many fans with a mixed reception.

There was even a poll on the r/Dndnext subreddit with close to half of voters displeased with the setting choice.

While Nathan Stewart, director of D&D, indicated that “fans of Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering have been asking for years about when these two amazing brands would play together.” Impressions from the Magic: the Gathering community seemed pleased with the official product news. Various MtG pundits were excited upon the leak on Sunday, with notable individuals such as Evan Erwin showcasing his excitement. The early leak only heightened the general anticipation for the Monday announcements from Wizards of the Coast.

The second setting announced was Eberron, a beloved setting created by Keith Baker for the Fantasy Setting Search in 2002. Content creators on the DMsGuild took note of a new setting category option titled “Eberron” early Monday morning almost 6 hours before any formal declaration. Wizards revealed an ebook product, Wayfinder’s Guide to Eberron, with a collaboration between the creative team and Keith Baker that would serve as a “living document” for feedback before any official product is released.

What you need to know about Wayfinder’s Guide to Eberron:

 

  • Product Type: Digital PDF
  • Price: $19.99 USD
  • A 175-page book that encompasses playtest materials that include unique races, an overview of Khorvaire and the city of Sharn, dragonmarks, magic items, and a host of backgrounds to jumpstart players and DMs to their Eberron adventures
  • Iconic races: Shifters, Changelings, and Warforged make their 5th Edition debut from the mind of its creator, Keith Baker.
  • The release of Wayfinder grants DMsGuild content creators the ability to create and distribute content within the Eberron setting.
  • According to the Introduction by Keith Baker, this content is considered a playtest or a draft and therefore is not applicable for official Adventurer’s League use. If an official Eberron product is released, Wayfinders will complement the officially released material according to D&D creative lead, Mike Mearls. Mearls also commented that the product would eventually have a Print-on-Demand option for purchase later.

Initial confusion of the “official” status of Wayfinders as an official D&D resource left fans, and consumers concerned with their purchase of this playtest document.

Previous playtest documents by Wizards have been free in the past. When the official announcement was published, the lack of a playtest description on the official Twitter and Facebook posts felt misleading. At the time of this article, official Wizards staff have clarified that Wayfinder’s Guide to Eberron is indeed a playtest document and the DMsGuild product includes this detail.

There is an “if” in front of the possibility for an Eberron print product with a clarification of additional content in THAT product with Wayfinder to complement it. You’re paying for two products, one that is not an official product that is labeled as a living playtest document (until otherwise), and then the probable (but not guaranteed) Eberron product.

Warning Signs?

Playtest documents for tabletop RPGs tend to change, as with the case of Wizard’s Unearthed Arcana column where some content was adjusted from player feedback. The practice to buy playtests seems to secure capital from dedicated die-hard fans possibly to ensure a quality product. The video game industry suffered backlash to Early Access business models for games due to extended production times and incomplete work with some games suffering from the inability to fulfill expectations. The practice has become unpopular, with many developers returning to traditional development timelines.

This Early Access practice has been seen with Paizo’s Pathfinder 2nd Edition playtest where prospective fans can purchase physical hardcover copies of the material. Paizo is a leading competitor for Wizards of the Coast on tabletop RPGs, though there are no sales figures to make any conclusions, the initial hype from the 2nd Edition announcement was met with enthusiasm.

Ultimately, Monday was supposedly Wizard of the Coast’s big day to shine and present their newest offerings. Instead, half of the surprise was leaked prematurely, and the other half was miscommunicated to the fans but before over a thousand copies were sold. One cannot help but feel somewhat entertained by the mishaps this Monday, the 23rd of July. Nonetheless, I am excited about the latest offerings and look forward to Ravnica and the future of Eberron.

Announcing: Capharnaum – The Tales of the Dragon-Marked

Today we’re delighted to announce the release of Capharnaum – The Tales of the Dragon-Marked, a brand new roleplaying game and a major new release from Mindjammer Press. Translated from the original French and edited and produced by ENnie-award winning writer Sarah Newton (Mindjammer, Legends of Anglerre, Achtung! Cthulhu, Monsters & Magic), this gorgeous 384-page full-colour PDF is the first in a series of releases for this exciting and action-packed game.

“I CAME SEEKING ADVENTURE… AND I FOUND CAPHARNAUM…

It called to me with its ancient gods and enmities, its mysterious quests, desert caravans, and dusty souks. I was tracking a djinn, one of the worst, a marid risen in rebellion against Marduk the Dragon. In the depths of the desert I had a vision of a thousand warriors crossing this scorching land. Here everything is in motion, wind and sand, and the night has a thousand colours. Everything is struggle – even for those who seek a peaceful life…”

You bear the Dragon Mark. You are destined for great things, adventures where you’ll write the history of the world. In a land of mysteries and magic, where East meets West on the burning sands of Jazirat, your future awaits. Discover a whole new world, confront djinn, gods, and dragons, and take your place among the heroes of the age!

Capharnaum – The Tales of the Dragon-Marked is a fantasy roleplaying game set in a world of Arabian Nights, Argonauts, and Adventure. Inspired by the One Thousand and One Nights, the myths of ancient Greece, and the legends of the Crusades, it’s where history meets myth, and where legends are born.

This gorgeous 384-page full colour PDF contains:

    • A whole new world of history, legend, and myth – a profound and original setting.
    • Simple yet flexible rules encouraging player inventiveness up to epic levels of play.
    • Peoples, gazetteer, and bestiary for the land of Jazirat, inspired by Middle- Eastern history and myth.
    • Gorgeous maps and full-colour artwork.

The PDF version of Capharnaum – The Tales of the Dragon-Marked is available immediately and the full-colour 384-page hardback will be available for preorder from the 25th July, shipping in August.

We hope you enjoy this exciting new roleplaying game, which joins other Mindjammer Press products such as Mindjammer – The Roleplaying Game and the Monsters & Magic RPG. Grab your scimitar, mount your camel, and enter the djinn-haunted ruins in the desert wastes. Adventure awaits!

Why you should be excited for Warhammer Fantasy RPG 4th edition

by Ex_Libris85   Twitch   Twitter 

 

Cubicle 7’s release of the next installment of the popular Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying Game is imminent and we over here at Encounter Roleplay couldn’t be more excited. Warhammer’s grim and dark fantasy world of survival and corruption holds a special place in our hearts.

Here is why we are excited:

 

They are keeping a lot of the things that make the game great

The D100 percentile system returns as well as the recognizable Warhammer stat block. This is a very well rounded and well-thought-out block that served the previous editions well for decades.

Careers are also making a comeback as they are one of the most unique things about Warhammer RPG. They help immerse the player in the world and allow for more nuanced character choices.

She is lucky her GM lets her pick instead of roll

 

They are making smart changes to the stat block

Something new is the addition of a “dexterity” stat. This is to stand out from “agility” which is general acrobatics and ability to move and dodge quickly, while dexterity is more about meticulous and delicate work with the hands, like lock picking or jewelry crafting.

This is an agility check and not dexterity

 

Combat is more interactive

Combat in previous editions of Warhammer was brutal and very tactical, but suffered from several problems, the biggest of which was both players and enemies missing round after round.

To alleviate this Cubicle 7 has created the “advantage” system, which lets the combatant gain bonuses to their rolls, and by making a single attack action opposing rolls between both combatants. In a round of combat attacker and defender both roll against weapon skill and measure success. If attacker wins he does damage and gains advantage, if defender wins no damage is done and he gains advantage.

Artist’s depiction of 2nd edition combat encounter

 

 

GMs have more freedom on resolving player actions and rolls

The designers have created 3 separate ways to help keep the pace of the game up while allowing for complexity of action.

  • Simple pass/fail

Sometimes the best way to resolve an action with a possibility of failure is to just roll and see if you make it or not.

That’s a fail

  • Degrees of failure/success

Things such as climbing a rope on a tower, if you fail do you fall? Or rather how far do you fall? If you succeed do you simply make it to the top or do you make it up so quick you can gain a surprise attack on the wizard at the top?

When you make a low roll on a D100

  • GM Fiat

Need to make a 4 ft jump? Do you have both legs? Okay you pass, no need to get dice involved here.

mom get the camera

 

 

 

I think Cubicle 7 have nailed the sweet spot of keeping the spirit of the popular older editions while making important updates to the ruleset that make things a bit smoother to play.

I am incredibly excited for my character to be burned at the stake for religious heresy and thank you to Cubicle 7 for bringing the game I love into the modern age.

Explore Extraplanar Worlds of Imagination with Paizo’s June Product Releases!

EXPLORE EXTRAPLANAR WORLDS OF IMAGINATION WITH PAIZO’S JUNE PRODUCT RELEASES

Game adventures and accessories take players from pubs and villages to distant dimensions.

RPaizo has released seven new game products for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game and Pathfinder Adventure Card Game to expand the boundaries of your imagination. These products are available for purchase at game retailers and paizo.com now.

  • Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Planar Adventures
  • Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Distant Realms
  • Pathfinder Adventure Path: The Reaper’s Right Hand (War for the Crown 5 of 6)
  • Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Bigger Village
  • Pathfinder Flip-Mat Classics: Pub Crawl
  • Starfinder Adventure Path: Empire of Bones (Dead Suns 6 of 6)
  • Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Ultimate Equipment Add-On Deck

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Planar Adventures

From Heaven to Hell

There are worlds beyond the one we know: Planes of Fire and Water, Heaven and Hell, Dimensions of Dreams and Time. These are the realms of angels and demons, gods and goddesses—entire new realities where anything can happen!

Planar Adventures expands the world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and transports your characters and campaigns into uncanny new worlds rife with both perilous dangers and unimaginable rewards. In these infinite planes of reality, characters will test more than just their mettle against the daunting challenges that confront them—they’ll test their very souls!

Planar Adventures includes:

  • All-new archetypes, feats, magic items, and spells to give plane-hopping PCs a bounty of options during their travels.
  • A presentation of the 20 core deities of the Pathfinder RPG, including divine gifts they can grant their faithful.
  • An exploration of the major planes of existence and several strange demiplanes from the Pathfinder campaign setting.
  • Nearly two dozen new monsters, including three new races appropriate for use as player characters.
  • … and much, much more!

Product Link: http://paizo.com/products/btpya1am?Pathfinder-Roleplaying-Game-Planar-Adventures

Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Distant Realms

Planar Urban Sprawl

Before the first inklings of civilization rose up upon the mortal world, magnificent cities already existed within the vast corners of the multiverse. Distant Realms offers a look into six of these extraplanar cities that are ripe for exploration by planar travelers. Each entry includes a full-page map and a stat block for the city, a history of the city and its current major players, and a gazetteer of the city’s most interesting locales. Within these pages, you’ll find details about the following cities, and more:

  • The darkly perfect city of Dis, home of the First King Dispater and his fiendish court.
  • The isle of Yulgamot, a haven of flowing time within the ageless seas of the Astral Plane.
  • The trade hub of Shadow Absalom, lit by the mysterious Glare and ringed by an ocean of dust.
  • The philosophical haven of Basrakal, where outsiders aid each other to defy their own natures.

Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Distant Realms is intended for use with the Pathfinder campaign setting of Golarion, but it can be easily adapted to any fantasy world.

Product Link: http://paizo.com/products/btpya1b8?Pathfinder-Campaign-Setting-Distant-Realms

Pathfinder Adventure Path: The Reaper’s Right Hand (War for the Crown 5 of 6)

The Grace in Your Eyes

When no one sits upon the Lion Throne, all shall try! As a final act of vengeance, High Strategos Pythareus’s agents release evidence that the entire Stavian family line may be illegitimate, and now every noble in Taldor is willing to risk civil war to stake a claim to the crown. Can the PCs discover the remains of the First Emperor’s tomb and seek his blessing to prove Eutropia’s fitness to rule? And if the spirit of Taldor’s founder cannot answer their prayers, can they answer his?

This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path continues the War for the Crown Adventure Path and includes:

  • “The Reaper’s Right Hand,” an extraplanar Pathfinder RPG adventure for 13th-level characters, by John Compton.
  • A gazetteer of the district of Sayashto, an upscale neighborhood in the infinite city of Axis, by John Compton.
  • A look at Thamir Gixx, the Silent Blade, the wicked halfling god of murderers and assassins, by Jason Keeley.
  • An overview of the major noble lines of Taldor, by Crystal Malarsky.
  • Five creatures born to the absolute law of the planar metropolis of Axis, including the high-minded impariut inevitable and the cosmic majesty of the edict dragon, by John Compton, Nathan King, and Greg A. Vaughan.

Product Link: http://paizo.com/products/btpya17y?Pathfinder-Adventure-Path-131-The-Reapers-Right-Hand

Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Bigger Village

It Takes a Village

Whether your players are exploring some far-flung desert market or defending a village nestled within the hill country from a horde of rampaging orcs, Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Bigger Village has you covered. Unfolded, the mat is 27” x 39” with 1” squares on each side. With an area that’s 45% larger than normal Pathfinder Flip-Mats at their disposal, Game Masters can now dream even bigger! This massive gaming accessory provides a pair of large villages ready for discovery, defense, exploration, and maybe a bit of shenanigans and larceny. It’s all up to you and your players.

Don’t waste your time drawing every hovel, path, and wall. With Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Bigger Village, you’ll be ready next time your players want to seek out danger, excitement, or profit in a sizable village!

Product Link: http://paizo.com/products/btpya1b0?Pathfinder-FlipMat-Bigger-Village

Pathfinder Flip-Mat Classics: Pub Crawl

Paint the town red with Flip-Mat Classics: Pub Crawl, a gorgeous double-sided battle-scale map of two tavern-filled street scenes! One side features several bars and taverns in a nice part of town, while the flip-side extends the scene on Flip-Mat: Warehouse to flesh out the seedier side of town! Both sides show interiors and exteriors, for when the inevitable brawls spill out onto the city streets!

The most-popular Pathfinder Flip-Mats in history return! These fan-favorite maps feature versatile adventure settings—city streets, forests, ships, taverns, and more—and now they’re back for a repeat performance. Durable and lavishly detailed, these essential adventure set pieces are sure to bring excitement to your game table for years to come!

A special coating on each Flip-Mat allows you to use wet erase, dry erase, AND permanent markers with ease! Removing permanent ink is easy—simply trace over any permanent mark with a dry erase marker, wait 10 seconds, then wipe off both marks with a dry cloth or paper towel. Each Flip-Mat measures 24″ x 30″ unfolded, and 8″ x 10″ folded.

Product Link: http://paizo.com/products/btpy9y20?Pathfinder-FlipMat-Classics-Pub-Crawl

Starfinder Adventure Path: Empire of Bones (Dead Suns 6 of 6)

A Near-Death Experience

The undead Corpse Fleet has appeared in orbit above the Gate of Twelve Suns, intent on seizing the ancient alien superweapon called the Stellar Degenerator. The heroes are massively outgunned, and their only hope to defeat the Corpse Fleet is by infiltrating the fleet’s flagship and taking control of the vessel’s bridge. Only then can the heroes pilot the ship on a collision course with the superweapon in a desperate bid to end both threats at once. If successful, the heroes can destroy the Stellar Degenerator, but they’ll need to escape the carnage to live to tell the tale!

This volume of Starfinder Adventure Path concludes the Dead Suns Adventure Path and includes:

  • “Empire of Bones,” a Starfinder adventure for 11th-level characters, by Owen K.C. Stephens.
  • Advice on how you can continue your campaign past the final encounter and details on the devastation inflicted on the galaxy should the heroes fail, by John Compton.
  • Technological specifications for starships of extraordinary size and power, by Owen K.C. Stephens.
  • A collection of starships from the dreaded undead navy known as the Corpse Fleet, by Jason Keeley.
  • An archive of new creatures, including a plethora of undead monstrosities and a crystalline humanoid that can redirect blasts of energy, by Owen K.C. Stephens and Larry Wilhelm.
  • Statistics and deck plans for a massive undead flagship, by Owen K.C. Stephens, plus an introduction to a planet constantly wracked by energy storms, by Larry Wilhelm.

Product Link: http://paizo.com/products/btpya1ai?Starfinder-Adventure-Path-Empire-of-Bones

About Paizo

Paizo Inc. is one of the world’s leading hobby game publishers. Since 2002, millions of players have joined the goblin army by playing the Pathfinder® and Starfinder® roleplaying games across tabletops, at conventions, at their favorite local game store, and digitally on virtual tabletops. Paizo.com is an online retail hobby destination for millions of gamers that carries the latest products from top hobby game publishers. Players also find accessories, like dice and maps, miniatures, T-shirts, goblin plush toys, and the newest releases to quickly replenish those adventuring supplies for the next dungeon run.

Chaosium Relaunches Official Fiction Program

Chaosium, Inc., publisher of the celebrated roleplaying games Call of Cthulhu and RuneQuest, announces the relaunch of their fiction program.

The Chaosium fiction line originally launched in 1992 and was suspended in 2015 during a general company restructuring. Subsequently, Chaosium management brought on publishing and gaming industry veteran James Lowder as a consulting editor to help resolve any outstanding contract and payment issues with authors, editors, and artists.

Lowder then drafted new, creator-friendly contracts for the department, worked with SFWA to register the company as a qualifying professional market, and then commissioned a schedule of new, creator-owned fiction releases, in both print and e-book formats.

With the line’s relaunch, Lowder will assume the title executive editor of fiction for Chaosium.

James Lowder’s previous editorial experience includes serving as the Forgotten Realms and Ravenloft fiction line editor for TSR, executive editor for Green Knight’s Arthurian fiction program, and freelance editor for dozens of novels and anthologies. Lowder has also written several bestselling dark fantasy novels, as well as short fiction, comic book scripts, critical essays, and roleplaying game material. His work as an editor and author has received five Origins Awards and two ENnie Awards, and been among the finalists for the International Horror Guild Award and the Stoker Award.

“I’ve been a regular reader of Chaosium’s fiction releases since the line’s inception and look forward to adding new works to the already-impressive catalog,” Lowder notes. “For many years Chaosium was a leading publisher of classic Mythos fiction reprints, along with original Mythos-steeped anthologies and novels. Given the current Mythos renaissance in pop culture, it’s a great time for the line to return.”

Chaosium to release three new fiction titles in 2018

 
In SEPTEMBER, the humorous picture book H.P. Lovecraft’s Dagon for Beginning Readers, by R.J. Ivankovic; Dagon is a follow-up to Ivankovic’s popular H.P. Lovecraft’s Call of Cthulhu for Beginning Readers, also published by Chaosium.

Cover by R.J. Ivankovic.

In OCTOBERSisterhood: Dark Tales and Secret Histories, a trade paperback anthology of horror and Mythos stories set in female religious communities around the globe and across the centuries.Sisterhood is edited by Nate Pedersen and features stories penned by some of the genre’s leading female voices, including Nadia Bulkin, Livia Llewellyn, Molly Tanzer, Sun Yung Shin, Penelope Love, and Damien Angelica Walters.

​Cover by Liv Rainey-Smith and Inkspiral Designs.

Finally, in NOVEMBER, the trade paperback The Leaves of a Necronomicon, a braided novel revealing the fates of the doomed owners of one particular copy of that infamous cursed tome. Leaves is edited by Shirley Jackson Award-winning editor Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. and features stories by Nick Mamatas, S.P. Miskowski, Jeffrey Thomas, Anna Tambour, and Michael Cisco.In 2019, Chaosium’s Mythos and weird fiction titles—which will eventually include anthologies, novels, novellas, single-author collections, and select non-fiction—will see release on a roughly quarterly schedule, along with other special fiction and non-fiction projects scattered throughout the year. All titles will be available through traditional book channels, as well as through game shops, DriveThruFiction.com, and the Chaosium website.

For further information:
Fiction submissions guidelines
—Michael O’Brien – mob@chaosium.com
—James Lowder – james@chaosium.com

About Chaosium: Chaosium was founded by visionary game designer Greg Stafford in 1975. For more than forty years, Chaosium has captivated gamers, readers, and mythic adventurers worldwide. Its award-winning roleplaying games, board games, and fiction have been acclaimed as some of the most engaging and innovative of all time. 

Going Beyond the Game: Call of Cthulhu

GOING BEYOND THE GAME

CALL OF CTHULHU: DEPTHS OF MADNESS

Michael Bertolini

I didn’t intend to write one of these articles concerning the topic; but, if you haven’t already heard, Focus Home Interactive is releasing a video game called Call Of Cthulhu: Depths of Madness based upon the rpg created by Chaosium of the same name (if you haven’t watched Encounter Roleplay play various modules of Call Of Cthulhu on Twitch, you’re missing out). While not a direct adaptation of any game module you may be familiar with, Call Of Cthulhu: Depths of Madness promises to give players that have played Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu an experience that they’ve come to expect while not forcing away people unfamiliar with the tabletop franchise.
In the game, you play as Edward Pierce as he investigates the rise of Cthulhu near Boston, Massachusetts. The game is a mixture of stealth and investigation in a semi-open world of heavily Lovecraftian themes.
“A Private Detective, Edward Pierce is a mission to find the truth behind the death of an acclaimed artist and her family on a backwater island. Pierce is used to trusting his instincts, but with whale mutilations and disappearing bodies, this is only the beginning as reality becomes skewed. As your investigation leads you closer to the sphere of influence of the Great Dreamer, you will start to doubt everything you see. You will have to find balance between your own sanity, and your determination in finding out what lurks in the shadows – as they say that madness is the only way that can bring you to the truth.”
Focus first announced the game’s development in 2014 and the first trailer was shown at E3 in 2016. The game had been scheduled to be released in late 2017 but was delayed to 2018. As of yet, an official release date has yet to be set. However, if you’re excited about Focus’ new endeavors into some Lovecraftian themes and rpg gameplay, consider some of Focus’ other games: Vampyr (June 5, 2018) and The Council (March 15, 2018). If I had to speculate, I’d suggest that Call of Cthulhu will either be released sometime around Halloween or Christmas, depending on what other titles are going to be released around that time. Or, Focus could surprise me and be released on some random date.
The biggest influence of gameplay will be sanity, and how the loss of sanity affects everything else in the world; an aspect of games that has rarely been successful. Since you’re an investigator, your sanity will determine whether or not your investigation is headed in the right direction. You won’t necessarily be able to trust your own eyes as the things you see might not be real; though you will believe what you see to the point that you could develop new paranoias that can betray you or even hurt you.

If you haven’t checked out Encounter Roleplay on Twitch, you can find it here.

Going Beyond the Game

GOING BEYOND THE GAME

Michael Bertolini

 

CALL OF CTHULHU COMING TO SYRINSCAPE

Syrinscape and Chaosium Inc. Announce Partnership to Create Official Sounds for Legendary Game of Mystery and Horror.

Today Syrinscape, the award-winning app that creates movie-like, immersive sound for tabletop games and Chaosium Inc., acclaimed publisher of award-winning books, roleplaying games, board games, fiction and more, announced their partnership to create the official sounds for the Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying Game. With a suite of sounds for the base game as well as various modules in the works, players will experience this renowned game like never before. The first custom SoundSet, Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition: Masks of Nyarlathotep, is set for release at Gen Con 2018.

The new edition of Masks of Nyarlathotep is a complete reanimation of the classic multi-part campaign for the Call of Cthulhu game, with a new chapter and full-color all new maps, handouts and artwork. Set in 1925, the steadfast investigators must unravel secrets and battle the minions of darkness in an attempt to stop world-shattering events from destroying humanity. The Masks of Nyarlahotep PDF will release in May 2018, with the published edition coming out at Gen Con 2018.

To accompany the new edition, Call of Cthulhu gets its first official sounds from Syrinscape in the Masks of Nyarlahotep SoundSet, which will be available for sale individually on Syrinscape.com or as part of a subscription. Set for release in conjunction with the module, gamers will be able to play Call of Cthulhu like never before in dynamic, realistic, cosmic horror sound.

“Call of Cthulhu is one of my top three games of all time and the opportunity to bring it to life through the power of Syrinscape sound is l’ mgfm’latghnanah!,” says Benjamin Loomes, CEO of Syrinscape.

As players take on the role of investigators to uncover the secrets of the cosmos, they find themselves battling against crazy cults and horrors from beyond space. Created by gaming legend Sandy Petersen and now in its seventh edition, Call of Cthulhu is the definitive horror RPG and has won over 90 awards including being inducted into the Academy of Adventure Gaming Art and Design Hall of Fame.

 “Call of Cthulhu games often involve creating more of an immersive experience than many other types of games. Just like our games often feature elaborate handouts and props, we have also noticed that our players often crave soundtracks that help build that sense of unease, suspense and dread at the gaming table, punctuated by moments of horror and excitement! Syrinscape’s sounds provide exactly that, and we are proud to be partnering with them,” says Chaosium president, Rick Meints.

Syrinscape creates the official sounds of the Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder RPG, Mutants & Masterminds RPG, Shadows of Esteren RPG, Boss Monster CCG and more, and also features a massive library of custom, realistic sounds, with new releases every month to accompany nearly any tabletop roleplaying, card or board game.

Black Void Kickstarter

At the time of the Babylonian Empire, humanity was sucked from the safety and order of the Cosmos into a realm of chaos called the Void. Humanity was scattered among the stars. Some managed to find their way to the eternal city of Llyhn, where they were able to band together in order to survive in the alien cosmopolis. This is the scene that Christoffer Schultz Sevaldsen has set for us in his cosmic survival horror RPG Black Void.

What I like about what I’ve seen of Black Void is that it depicts humanity in a weak and vulnerable position. In Llynh, humans have managed to carve out their own district, but it is a slum in comparison to the opulent alien districts nearby. In this caste-based urban society, humans are at the bottom of the ladder, and there are a lot of aliens who would like to destroy or enslave them. Because the city is so diversely alien there is no standard morality. Morals are a point of view. The city is founded at the border between the Cosmos and the Void, where the veil between the two is thin, and it seems like this makes it an attractive place for alien cults who worship the strange and powerful entities that live there.

When it comes to making player characters, Black Void is very nonlinear and modular. All player characters are human (although there are options for creating ‘halfbreed’ characters with alien traits) and abilities are acquired or improved using a point-buy system. At the game master’s discression, player characters can also increase in enlightenment (by increasing their knowledge of the Void) or influence (by gaining power over others).

In the quickstart rules there are options for gaining boons through blood magic. To use blood magic, a character has to ritually sacrifice another creature. Depending on how the ceremony goes, they will get access to a range of beneficial options. There’s also a chance of a botched ritual, which might lead to negative effects. I like the fact that this makes magic seem a bit more dangerous and costly. It seems more like how I would expect magic to work in the ancient human world, and also helps to make the setting seem strange and alien.

The Black Void Kickstarter campaign launches April 11. In the meantime, you can get the quickstart rules and adventure via the form here.

By Chris Booth Twitter  Instagram  Website

Dragons Conquer America Kickstarter

What if Saint George didn’t slay the dragon, but instead converted it to Christianity? That’s part of the backstory to Dragons Conquer America, a new tabletop RPG that is currently being Kickstarted by Burning Games. (This is a second attempt. Last year’s Kickstarter had some hiccups and was cancelled, but the new campaign seems much more viable.) The Spanish conquistadors arrive in the Americas with their trained dragons. It turns out the Mexica (you might have also heard them referred to as Aztecs) have their own dragons – and theirs are untamable.

I’m quite excited to play this game not just as a break from the familiar medieval European style fantasy but because it also has some interesting mechanics which could also be used to add new elements to other tabletop RPGs.

One of the elements that I think will be most interesting is the prejudice mechanic. To reflect the Sixteenth Century era, player characters start off with some prejudices that make it difficult for them to get along with other characters because of their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. You can develop your character by overcoming your prejudices.

Another aspect that I think you should take a look at is the corruption mechanic. Player characters use a statistic called Spirit to cast spells, which represents their holiness. The thing is, each player character doesn’t know exactly how holy they are. Only the game master knows that. This means it is possible for a player character to overreach when they cast spells (especially if they believe they are exceptionally holy) and open themselves up to corruption. Corruption manifests itself as various forms of curse, derived from the player character’s religion.

I should acknowledge that not everyone has been happy about the news of this game. There have been concerns about the portrayal of Mexica and a perceived lack of involvement of Mexica in the development of the game. It seems to me like Burning Games is listening to those concerns, and I’m not sure that the critiques are entirely accurate. That doesn’t mean that there will not be problems, but I hope that when problems do come up there they can be discussed and addressed. I think a game like this could be an opportunity for intercultural collaboration if we’re open to it.

If this sounds like the kind of game you want to play, get behind their Kickstarter! In the meantime you can also play an introductory adventure that has been released as a preview – The Coatli Stone.

You can find the Kickstarter for Dragons Conquer America here. It ends on April 12. It costs €39 if you just want the basic PDF set, with larger pledges for paper books.
You can also download the free quickstart adventure, The Coatli Stone here. If you don’t mind spoilers, there’s also a playthrough of the adventure, which Carlos from Burning Games ran on our stream last year, and you can watch that here.

By Chris Booth Twitter  Instagram  Website

SOURCES OF THE UNKNOWN: MORDENKAINEN’S TOME OF FOES

SOURCES OF THE UNKNOWN

 

MICHAEL BERTOLINI

 

This series will give you insight into games and expansions that you might not have ever heard of before.  Most of these titles are exclusive to certain online retailers and can be applied to games that you currently play or add more to your home-brew games.  If you know of a book or game that’s just released or about to be released let me know; @mbertolini

 

MORDENKAINEN’S TOME OF FOES

 

“Discover the truth about the great conflicts of the D&D multiverse in this supplement for the world’s greatest roleplaying game.”

 

That’s the tag-line for Wizard of the Coast’s book, ‘Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes’, to be released May 29th; it might be a supplement beyond the core rules which will likely appeal to DMs more than players, but it will bring into focus the current multi-verse.  Every iteration of Dungeons and Dragons has involved a shift in the multi-verse in some way; previous editions of the game have hinted at it in various books that the DM could use to bring players into The Forgotten Realms or Gray  Hawk, but these are books that are not only meant for players to know about (and use beyond aspects of character creation) but experience.  Almost every player of Dungeons and Dragons has heard of Mordenkainen, and players can even get some of these books (and the knowledge they contain) in various Dungeons and Dragons games (Volo’s Guide to Monsters).  There’s no reason to think that Tome of Foes and Guide to Monsters will be much different aside from the focus of observation; Tome of Foes will focus heavily on the Dungeons and Dragons multi-verse and likely concern itself with many of the popular monsters we’ve seen from there aside from any new monsters it introduces.

Despite what you might be thinking right now, this article is not entirely about Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes; I am going to visit one of the monsters from the past of Dungeons and Dragons that originates from the multiverse yet has gone on to fill our imaginations and homebrew games over the past few decades.  Specifically, I’m going to to discuss a monster that hearkens back to the start of Dungeons and Dragons; The Balor.

The Balor is a fiend, huge in size, from the abyss.  It doesn’t wear armor but relies on its natural physical defense to give it an armor class rating of 19 (not to mention immunities to Fire and Poison).  It can fly much faster than it walks and it possesses enough HP to make some adventurers question their decisions to bring them face to face with such a creature.

However; the Balor can be defeated.  It is weak to Ice and Lightning magic, as well as most weapons, and though physically strong it is cumbersome and its size can be used against it by resourceful players.  It won’t be an easy fight, and the chances of a TPK (Total Party Kill) are high, especially at a low level, but victory can be achieved by any players willing to embrace the fire that envelops the Balor.

There is more to the multi-verse than the abyss; and it will be up to books like Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes to get us deeper.

Pathfinder Playtest

Pathfinder Playtest

It’s ten years on from when the original Pathfinder playtest began in 2008, and Paizo are about to start the process all over again. The playtest for Pathfinder 2nd Edition will begin on August 2 this year. In the meantime, Paizo are previewing some of the features of the new iteration.

I think it makes sense to develop a new ruleset at this point because the pool of people who play tabletop roleplaying has changed (it’s become larger and broader). I think that’s partly because of the accessibility of Dungeons & Dragons’ 5th Edition rules, which I think have lowered the barrier to entry for many people, myself included. I think the original Pathfinder rules still create a high barrier to entry, like previous editions of D&D. It sounds like Paizo wants to make sure Pathfinder 2nd Edition is more easily accessible while still offering plenty of crunch.

So what do we know at this stage? Alchemists will be included from the start as one of twelve iconic classes. Goblins will also be included as an option for player characters from the outset. I think that makes a lot of sense since goblins are one of the most recognisable things about Pathfinder. 10th-level spells will also be included from the beginning.

Pathfinder 2nd Edition will focus on exploration and encounters (encounters means combat, punctuated by breaks for downtime. Hazards such as traps, poisons and diseases will be more dangerous. There’ll be traps that player character have to actively fight against in order to survive. Rangers will also have the ability to set traps. It should also be easier for game masters to design or modify monsters.

In the leadup to the beginning of the playtest, Paizo are publishing regular previews on their blog. Here’s what I’ve gleaned from them so far:

Actions

In this new ruleset, Paizo is trying to simplify actions. In combat, player characters will be able to take three per turn. If they choose to they can use all their actions to move or use all of them to attack. (If you use all your actions to attack, the attacks will grow progressively less accurate, though.) Most spells take two actions to cast, but some only take one – so I’m guessing player characters will be able to cast two spells in a turn if they have a one-action spell available? Player characters also get one reaction (such as making a classic attack of opportunity) each round, which can be used outside their turn if the circumstances are correct.

Levelling up

In Pathfinder 2nd Edition, player characters will level up whenever they earn another 1000 experience points, and there will be choices to make each time. Every time a character levels up they will have the opportunity to choose feats rather than getting set abilities. The feats a player chooses for their character will determine that character’s abilities and actions. It sounds like there will be a lot of options from the beginning. Paizo say they’ve created a formatting system which should make it easy to see what feats do with just a glance. If a player changes their mind about the feats they’ve chosen for their character, they will have the option of retraining.

If you want to participate in the playtest you will be able to download the playtest rulebook and the playtest adventure Doomsday Dawn on August 2 2018. If you want to make sure you get your paper copies, you will be able to preorder from March 20 (that’s Tuesday next week). Pathfinder 2nd Edition will officially launch in August 2019.

By Chris Booth Twitter  Instagram  Website

Good Society: A Jane Austen RPG

Good Society: A Jane Austen RPG

By Chris Booth Twitter  Instagram  Website

Good Society is a tabletop roleplaying game currently being developed by Story Brewers, based in Sydney. They’re currently running a Kickstarter campaign to publish the game. Good Society seeks to recreate the feel of Jane Austen’s novels, with a focus on reputation, family obligations, ambition and secret longing.

Good Society has a focus on collaboration between the game master (referred to as the facilitator) and the players. Before the game begins, the facilitator and players work out together what kind of story they want to tell – for example whether the game will be historically accurate or whether it will mess around with regency era gender roles; whether the storyline will be dramatic or comedic.

Players each control a create a main character, but they also control a minor character who is connected to another player’s main character. Each player’s main character also has an established connection with another main character. Part of the character creation stage includes assigning each main a secret desire that they are persuing throughout the game.

Good Society doesn’t use dice, and the mechanics seem to encourage a lot of free roleplaying roleplaying. However, players get a few tokens each session which they can use to direct the story. Players and the facilitator can spend tokens to cause a significant event to interrupt the story. This might create a setback for another player’s main character, although the rules emphasis the importance of the other player’s consent, so as to emphasis collaboration. Players also have the opportunity during to spend a token to compell another player to perform an interior monologue, so that the other players know what their main character is thinking and planning at that moment.

Each session of the game cycles through five phases:

  • the novel phase, when players roleplay a social situation (such as a dinner party, a meeting or a ball) in which main character try to pursue their goals while also minding their manners and protecting their reputation
  • the rumors and scandal phase, when each player gets two opportunities to either start a new rumour or confirm an existing rumour
  • the third phase is the epistlatory phase, when each character has the opportunity to narrate a letter that their main character is writing to another character
  • after the first three phases there is a second novel phase and a second epistlatory phase completing the cycle – although a session of Good Society may consist of more than one complete cycle.

If you’re not so into the Jane Austen theme, I think this idea could also be reskinned as a more ruthless intrigue-type game set in a fantasy city like Menzoberranzan, Kings Landing or Ankh-Morepork. A couple of the stretch goals also add expansions which integrate magic and swordplay into the game which would come in handy if you were attempting this.

You can get behind the Good Society Kickstarter campaign for AU$10. (There’s also a discounted option for folks experiencing financial hardship.) The Kickstarter ends on Tuesday March 6, Sydney time. If you’d like to watch a demonstration, you can find live play videos here and here.