Tumblr is one of those sites I find myself stumbling across time and again, but never lingering on. I suppose that's by design; it's meant to be a platform for quick hit updates, somewhere between the microbursts of Twitter and the full-on blogging of WordPress.
Pandemic is Z-Man Games' globe-spanning game of viral infection in which 2-4 players travel from city to city trying to prevent local outbreaks from turning into full-blown pandemics.
The game is played on a map of the Earth, with major cities connected by highways and flight paths. At the start of the game, color-coded cards keyed to the cities are drawn from the Infection Deck, indicating which metropolises have seen virus outbreaks. There are four viruses in all; the goal of the game is to cure the viruses before the planet succumbs to rampant disease.
It didn't take long for Monte Cook to find something to do after his much-discussed departure from the D&D Next design team. He's launched a Kickstarter to fund Numenera, a rules-light, far future role-playing game
Here's how he describes it:
I've played in a few RPG sessions, mostly one-shots, involving giant rampaging monsters. They've been disappointing because they focus on killing the monster, which reduces this huge lumbering horror to litte more than a 40-story sack of hit points.
At the opposite extreme are monsters who can't be defeated (and I'll admit to unleashing one of these in my campaign; a CR 35 horror that destroyed the city of Stoneheim in the World of Greyhawk). Those can be equally disappointing for players because characters (especially high level ones) think they can defeat anything.
Then again, maybe that's missing the point.
A year after announcing they secured the licence, Fantasy Flight Games released details on their upcoming Star Wars Role-Playing Game and launched a beta test.
There's not much in the way of details about how the game is played. Based on the beta FAQ, it apparently uses custom dice like Warhammer Fantasty; the beta book apparently includes stickers you can put on your own polyhedral dice to emulate the final dice.
Aliens. We always knew they were out there, ready to invade our planet, enslave the population and strip mine its resources. But we also knew that if they should try it, Earth’s greatest superheroes would rise up and save us.
We were wrong.
When the V’Sori came they slaughtered our super-powered defenders just as easily as they did our armies. Now our cities are conquered, our people are terrorized, and the job of saving the world has fallen to the most unlikely of people: Earth’s super villains.
The dwarven warrior D'klar Ironforge stood on the Deep Roads bridge eying the darkspawn before him. Spittle from the creature's mongrel face glistened in the reflected light of the lava far below. Covering its black-furred hide were the crudely-arranged castoffs of dwarven chain and planted, while its obsidian-clawed hands held a short sword wet with the blood of Ironforge's kin.
With a guttural shout, he charged the creature, bringing his battle axe down in a killing arc that sliced through the cracks in darkspawn's armor, cleaving its spine and sending it crumbling to the stone. The dwarf hefted the axe from the corpse and looked up. The rest of the darkspawn horde stood at the other end of the bridge. He grinned. "Who's next?"
Scenes like this one are something we love to recreate in fantasy pen-and-paper role-playing games. How you do it depends: it could be an improved critical feat in Pathfinder or an armor-piercing daily power in Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, or it could just be flavor text added afterwards. It works well enough, but the game mechanic geek in me finds the feat/power option too limiting. Sure, I want to bury my axe into the darkspawn scum … but when fighting a dragon, I just might rather hit and run instead of going toe-to-toe with the beast.
Delta Green, the 1990s era game of espionage, intrigue, and cyclopian madness, is available in PDF and print-on-demand formats from DriveThru RPG. Released by by Pagan Publishing, the new high-quality PDFs scans of the original books. So far the sourcebooks Delta Green and Delta Green: Countdown and Delta Green have been released. Two short fiction anthologies, Alien Intelligence and Dark Theatres, are also available.
This is great news. Although it's dated now, Delta Green remains a fantastic read, and it perfectly captures the conspiratorial/millennial anxiety that was so common in the late 1990s. The books have long been out of print, and at times have been hard to find, so it's good to seem them back in print (or something resembling print)
A new RPG system, a credit card and iPad are a dangerous combination. Especially when the game is Pathfinder, the company is Paizo, and the PDFs are priced at $9.99 a piece.