This month's RPG Blog Carnival topic is "Writing the Game", and it got me thinking about my own efforts to get return to "pen and paper" preparation. I say "return" because most of my game prep is digital; sure I have printed books I refer to before and during the game, but even those have PDF equivalents.
Fantasy Flight Games made its name creating huge, sprawling board games with hundreds of fiddly-bits and robust game mechanics that take hours to play. Fans who buy Arkham Horror or Mansions of Madness know they’re getting their money’s worth … and that there’s no way the game will fit in their pockets. With the Elder Sign: Omens app for iPhone ($3.99), Android ($3.99) and iPad ($6.99), they’ve taken a different approach: create a lightweight, fast-playing game that’s as atmospheric as its predecessors but can be played anywhere.
After 18 months of playing Second Darkness our heroes are finally ready to take the fight to the drow. They've skirmished with the dark elves before, but avoided the major battle at the end of Book 2 when they inadvertantly stumbled into the drow lair and had to retreat. The drow then escaped under the cover of night while sending a shadow demon to kill them.
Masks: 1,000 Memorable NPCs for Any Roleplaying Game is a fire hose of inspiration aimed directly at your brain. It's a massive collection of non-player characters for the fantasy, science fiction, and modern genres designed to make the game master's life easier.
My "Lunchtime After Ragnarok" campaign has resumed after a too-long hiatus. We had to hit pause for a variety of reasons ranging from too-busy work schedules to the birth of a baby, but as summer wound down we down we finally got back to the table. As before we're playing over lunch in Kenneth Hite's The Day After Ragnarok campaign setting using the Savage Worlds rules. We usually get in 1-2 games a week, each lasting 45-60 minutes.
One of the good things about Dungeons & Dragons next-generation inspired publishing hiatus is that it gives other games a chance to shine. While I doubt gamers are suddenly diverting all of their D&D 4th Edition buying power toward other games, I do hope (and anecdotally this seems to be the case) that it gives folks a chance to try something new.
One of those new thing's that's generated a fair amount of buzz has been Margaret Weis Production's Marvel Heroic Role-Playing, which is a Cortex-infused take on the superhero genere. I bought the core rulebook early in the summer and paged through it. Based on that initial glance, I liked what I saw, particularly with how it handled the superhero tropes of particularly solo vs. duo vs. team match-ups, but I give it a more through read-through.
The Unknown Regions is the final sourcebook for Wizards of the Coast's Star Wars: Saga Edition Role-Playing Game. The book serves as a placeholder for all the books left unpublished, and promises to carry players to the unexplored corners of the Star Wars galaxy. It does this by venturing into The Unknown Regions to explore what fans know -- the Chiss, the Rakata and the Sorcerers of Rhand -- and plenty that they don't.
The Unknown Regions details eight worlds created just for the book, introduces a planet generator that game masters can use to make their own, and debuts creature generation rules to populate them. Since Scouts are essential to exploring these brave new worlds, they get a variety of feats and talents, and because no final frontier should be without its dangerous challenges, the book re-envisions "Hazards" as Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition-style threats that require a combination of brawn and skill to defeat. The end result is a tool kit that gives players everything they need to continue their adventures beyond the last book in the Star Wars Saga Editions line.