Dark Matter is my new favorite Sci-Fi RPG

BY EX_LIBRIS85   TWITCH   TWITTER

 

The RPG community has been itching for a quality science fiction RPG for quite some time. The current market offerings leaves much to be desired, but Mage Hand Press has just released an Alpha of their Dark Matter rulebook and I expect this to become everyone’s favorite sci-fi RPG.

The Dark Matter ruleset is based upon Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition and even though that has a high magic fantasy focus the DnD rules are beautifully and seamlessly woven into this space setting. Stats and skills are very familiar and players who are used to DnD will need not fret about learning a whole new system.

 

Races

In addition to the traditional races offered in the 5e Player’s Handbook, Dark Matter offers several new space-faring races and sub-races to explore the galaxy. This includes the shape changing Ameoboids, the bird-like Avia-Ra, the insectoid Skathari, and more. Each race is depicted with beautiful artwork and plenty of backstory and lore that brings these creatures to life. Racial traits are reasonably balanced for a 5e based game and there are lots of flair and character written into them. There is also a “near human” variant race that is rather generic but I am assuming purposefully so, as it gives a lot of leeway for the player to define their own character or own race as they see fit.

 

Classes

Dark Matter presents a whole host of new subclasses for the traditional DnD classes (they still have bards and fighters in space!) and they introduce their own new class: the Gadgeteer. Barbarians can now choose the path of the wrecker and focus on smashing machines, Clerics can venerate the domain of the Void, Fighters can be the iconic space marine, Rogues can become infiltrators and focus on teleportation technology, and much, much more. They even include options for Mage Hand Press’ own class creations such as the Gunslinger, Shugenja, and Warmage.

 

Skills, Feats, and Backgrounds

More character options available in Dark Matter include a new set skills such as Data, Piloting, and Technology (proficiency determined by class as usual). Based upon your intelligence stat these skills add a lot more options to interact with the environment than the basic DnD ones. There is a large list of feats available as well, divided between general (available to all) racial, faction-based, and role (specifically starship roles like engineer or pilot). Add to these several new space inspired backgrounds to choose from such as Technologist or Exile and you have yourself a hell of a character.

 

 

Vehicles

The section I am most excited about is the spaceships. I have fond memories of playing Star Wars D20 and my favorite thing to do was pilot around the galaxy getting into trouble and I have no doubt Dark Matter is going to give me that same feeling. The vehicle chapter is chocked full of information about ship types, speeds, distances, weapons, combat maneuvers, Racial and Legendary spaceships and more. The amount of information here is very impressive and I am eager to give it a shot in a long campaign.

 

Spells and Monsters

The book ends with two large and extensive chapters detailing their own monster manual and spell lists. The monsters are varied and interesting from rogue AIs to psionic squirrels to giant space worms. It is an impressive list of foes and NPCs and I think some of the best art in the book comes from this section.

The spell list adds a few dozen space inspired spells, in addition to the ones already offered by the official Dnd books. They include comet strikes, Logic bomb (for computers), intensify gravity, and more. It is a good solid list of spells and I am curious to see what players come up with as far combinations of arcane and scifi spells.

 

Dark Matter comes with its own setting and lore, but you don’t have to stick with it if you don’t want to. It is flexible enough to run Star Wars, Star Trek, Warhammer 40k, Firefly, or any of your favorite sci fi properties without any problem.

Mage Hand Press have a real gem on their hands, Dark Matter is one of the best RPG books I have seen in the last 2 years, and that includes offerings from industry giants like Wizards of the Coast and Chaosium. There is a huge demand in the TTRPG community for a science fiction space game and I think this is going to be a big hit.

 

Check out Mage Hand Press Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/mfov

And stay up to date on MHP news and releases on their blog: http://mfov.magehandpress.com/

And you can get your own copy of Dark Matter (currently in Alpha) here: https://darkmatter.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders

Forbidden Lands by Free League Publishing Worldwide Release

By Jacky Leung     Twitter

Enjoy the chaotic, the grim yet heroic world of settings such as Conan the Barbarian, John Carter of Mars, or Fire and Ice? What about iconic settings like Dark Sun or Mad Max but with a fantasy twist to do them? What about Netflix’s the Dragon Prince or He-Man and the Masters of the Universe? Strap on your raider’s mask, delve for lost and forgotten treasures from a bygone age and face harrowing adventures in Free League Publishing’s Forbidden Lands, released today for worldwide distribution.

Check out their YouTube trailer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgpOkhsvPvM

Forbidden Lands is a grimdark fantasy tabletop roleplaying game with a detailed history that provides many legends, secrets, and mysteries for players to find and solve. Players will assume roles of the many possible races and creatures that have endured in the Forbidden Lands since the creation of the Iron Lock. Character creation is something that can be a personal choice or randomly generated by dice rolls. Most of the major dice rolls utilize a d3, 2d6, and d66 with the occasional d8, d10, and d12. The d66 is a unique percentile dice, with one die referring to the tens place and the other representing the single digits with results ranging from 11 to 66 as outcomes.

Set in a fantasy world, where elves, dwarves, and humans lived separated by a mountain range called the Divide. After several centuries of peace, war erupted, a powerful sorcerer took over the region north of the Divide, demons poured through a mystical gate which made the area inhospitable. An effort to create a great wall severed the lands to the north from the south which became known as the Forbidden Lands. Travel was made impossible due to the Blood Mist for nearly three centuries until it inexplicably vanished. New opportunities for exploration and conquest have risen, with many secrets of the land hidden, waiting to be discovered. Additionally, the Gamemaster’s Guide provides tips and details about incorporating the game’s mechanics and sandbox campaign setting into your settings and games.

 

The Forbidden Lands boxed set, includes the Player’s and Gamemaster’s Guides


Each character has four primary attributes: Strength, Agility, Wits, and Empathy. A character’s race or “kin” and profession affect their attributes, while each kin entry provides suggested professions they are not necessarily bound to them. A character’s Dark Secret and relationship with the other player characters are essential to developing the bonds of the party to adventure together. There are some remarkably familiar aspects of character creation akin to Cubicle 7’s Warhammer Fantasy RPG 4th Edition except minus the percentile statistics and percentile dice though I found Forbidden Lands to be quick and painless with smaller numbers for attribute and skill assignment.  

The game mechanics can be best described as an admixture of d6 dice pools determined by attribute, skills, and gear. Success is defined by having at least dice result with a 6, while failure is any result with no 6’s rolled. There is a mechanic to allow a character to “push” their rolls, which offers a reroll of any dice that did not come up as a 6 or any 1’s. Any 1’s that appear after pushing your dice can result in wounds, exhaustion, or damaged gear depending on the dice category. It’s heavily suggested that you have three colored sets of d6s, along with a d8, d10, and a d12. The latter group of dice is reserved for magical artifacts that players will come across during their adventures, which are rolled along the gear dice.
Characters in the Forbidden Lands have a varied set of tricks and abilities which are defined as talents, separated by three categories: kin talents, profession talents, and general talents. Kin and Profession talents are more potent than general talents and require the expenditure of Willpower to activate. Willpower is generated whenever a player character pushes on their dice rolls. Each kin has a primary talent, then each profession has a trio of talents to select, and then a more extensive list of general talents. Players may invest ranks into some of these talents to unlock additional features, up to a maximum of rank 3. Casting spells in Forbidden Lands will always happen but require expending Willpower which may have the chance to either overcharge the spell, or the player suffers a magical mishap. Ultimately, the hope is that players will incur riches, boons, reputation, and influence to establish their own stronghold. After all, while the nomadic adventurer’s life can be glamorous, having a safe place to return after an excursion is always lovely.

Many creatures, dangers, and mysteries wait in the Forbidden Lands

The setting brings many unexplored horizons, taking less the role of heroes and more of individuals thriving under a dark regime. While delving into the material, the inclusion of additional legends and backstories for the players during character creation enrich the experience and the setting.  Especially if the group decides to go the alternative character creation route which includes a randomized generation of race and professions. This is a game about thriving in a bleak existence where evil reigns but vast treasures from centuries ago lie hidden and forgotten by time. When players tally experience for their characters, it’s in the form of a questionnaire (you’ll find this familiar with games like Tales from the Loop), as the premise stems from the idea of the characters learning from their adventures to become wiser and smarter. Additionally, your character’s pride, dark secrets, and relationships are free to be changed across gameplay which provides a profound metaphor on the nature of growth and development.

You can find Free League Publishing’s Forbidden Lands in their storefront here: http://frialigan.se/en/store/?collection_id=84541866032

Additionally, Free League Publishing also launched the Raven’s Purge Campaign Book which as an epic campaign module for Forbidden Lands that can have a profound influence over the region. Unlike traditional story modules, there are no clear objectives but plenty of material for legends, locales, and individuals to interact.

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th Edition Pre-Generated Player Characters

by Ex_Libris85   Twitch   Twitter 

 

Here are some pre-gen player character sheets for Warhammer 4e so you can jump right into an adventure. All of these PCs were created by the rules stated in the book with some of them rolling random for race/class and some of them choosing their careers and races, which gave them variable amounts of XP to spend on advances. They are all legitimate by-the-book starting PCs.

 

 

Click the pictures to be taken to a link where you can download each characters sheet. The sheets used is the same one created by me on this link:

https://www.encounterroleplay.com/warhammer-fantasy-roleplay-4th-edition-fillable-pdf-character-sheet/

 

Human Artist

 

Dwarf Engineer

 

Human Flagellant

 

Human Rat Catcher

 

High Elf Seaman

 

Human Warrior Priest

 

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th Edition Fillable PDF Character sheet version 2

by Ex_Libris85   Twitch   Twitter 

 

I have created a fillable pdf character sheet for Warhammer 4th edition. I have also added a third page for nothing but notes as I find you can quickly run out of space for skills, talents, trappings, corruption and mutations and whatnot. I hope you enjoy using it!

 

Version 2 now live with clickable buttons that keep track of your advantage and auto fill skill blocks from your current characteristics blocks.

Please click the image below to be taken to the sheet. You can download it from there.

 

 

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th Edition PDF Character Sheet

GOING BEYOND THE GAME: PLASTIC OR PAPER

GOING BEYOND THE GAME

 

PLASTIC OR PAPER

MICHAEL BERTOLINI

With the growing popularity of web servers like Roll20 there is something to be said concerning the use of visuals in some tabletop RPGs; especially focused on the use of miniatures.  Games that were traditionally pen and paper are blending with games of miniature armies.  I’m not going to attempt to discuss the merits of that evolution in this article; however, what I am going to talk about is this: if you choose to use miniatures in your tabletop game, should you use plastic miniatures or paper miniatures?

I’m of the opinion that the deciding factor in your choice will come down to one thing: cost; the cost of the miniatures, the cost of supplies, and the cost of time.  The cost of plastic miniatures amounts to price of the miniature (which can range anywhere between a few dollars and a little time to most of your paycheck and a week’s time) versus paper miniatures which amounts to the cost of cardstock and something to weigh the miniature down like a washer.

You may choose plastic miniatures because paper miniatures may be good for your home but aren’t allowed in most public tournaments; keep that in mind.  When starting out, consider buying pre-painted plastic miniatures.  You can buy new miniatures with a fair amount of ease but the cost of a handful could be well over $10.  I recommend buying them used; they might not be current but they’re still legal for most public use.  You can also get a lot of miniatures for the same price you would have just been able to get a few.

If you’re experienced in the art of painting on such a small scale consider buying an unpainted miniature or a miniature from a different game and rebasing it.  There are plenty of videos online regarding painting miniatures and rebasing miniatures from other games, so I won’t get into it here; just know that if you choose to paint miniatures, you will be able to customize them as you need (in the event that you’re building a small army, this might be appealing).  Unpainted miniatures are available at various price points, plastic cheaper than metal.

If you’re building a large force to use at home, or the miniature you’re looking for is too expensive to justify, consider paper miniatures.  Unless blessed with extreme artistic talent and an enormous amount of free time you’ll be limited in what you can create by the imagination of others.  I won’t go into the details concerning how to make paper miniatures (suffice it to say you need a good printer), there are videos available on Youtube for that; the overall cost is minimal.  If you’re on a strict budget, and you already possess the essential items needed to make paper miniatures, this is the way to go.

In the end, do what suits you best.  If you don’t want miniatures anywhere near your gaming table, don’t bother with either option; but if you do want miniatures, cost will determine what route you take.  If you want my advice, consider plastic miniatures (that you’ve painted, if you can invest the time) for important characters like PCs and often-used NPCs; make paper miniatures for bulk usage like filler NPCs and low-level enemies.  There’s no rule saying that you must choose one over the other, do whatever suits you best and works best for you.

 

This article is part of a series I’ll be writing concerning what other approaches to take to role playing games; if you have any ideas or things that I should look at, let me know on Twitter (and if you do some of your own crafts related to gaming, feel free to share photos): @mbertolini