Sean's Picks of the Week (0515-0519) 5e Wizarding School, FATE Supers & Wuxia, 7th Sea, and O.L.D.!
  • Sean's Picks of the Week (0515-0519) 5e Wizarding School, FATE Supers & Wuxia, 7th Sea, and O.L.D.!

    This week, I confronted my complicated relationship with FATE* (as well as my even more complicated relationship with grimdark and horror gaming**), which led to some really interesting discussions. Not a lot of grimdark among this week's Picks, but there's two FATE games, both of which I'd love to try as part of my exploration of this very popular game system. There's also the latest in the 7th Sea revival, a wizarding school setting for 5e fans, and our illustrious Russ Morrissey's O.L.D. entry in the WOIN revolution.


    The wizarding world of Harry Potter set off a phenomenon across pop culture and all forms of media, so it’s no wonder folks are offering you chances to play out your own “young wizard fantasies” at the tabletop.

    I think the following exchange in the comments for the product may be relevant to your interests, if you’re exploring it –

    “How does this campaign setting deal with players that do not want to play a spell caster, or say cleric type of casters?” – Potential Buyer

    “Good question. Scarthey might be an Arcane University, but it has druidic roots and has expanded over time to cater to divine and psychic magic users too. Non-casters are less likely to study at the University – unless they’re studying arcane subjects – but can be found within the Rectors, an organisation of adventurers associated with Scarthey. To answer your question more specifically, the book suggests 3 campaign modes: Students Only, Rectors Only, and Mixed.” – Creator and Publisher Rodney Sloan

    Shades of Ars Magica!

    Admissions Now Open, Enroll Today

    From J. K. Rowling’s Hogwarts to Terry Pratchett’s Unseen University, magic schools and universities abound with fantastic adventures. Now you can join the adventure and enroll at Scarthey, University of the Arcane. Live and breathe the magic, wander the halls alongside wise wizards, discover hidden secrets, and battle fearsome foes.

    Welcome to Scarthey — University of the Arcane is the ultimate student’s guide to the University of Scarthey, including everything you need for fantastic adventures in the exciting and unpredictable world of magical studies. Compatible with the Fifth Edition of the Dungeons & Dragons game, this 66 page book includes:

    • An exploration of the tumultuous history of the University of Scarthey.
    • An introduction to the staff and faculties of the University.
    • A look at the four Houses of Scarthey, including campaign traits for each House.
    • A map of the University and descriptions of all the major locations around Scarthey’s campus.
    • A guide to the surrounding town of Scartheyton.
    • A practical guide to the gruesome sport of cackleball and the competitive sport of dragon boat racing.
    • Both a Single Page Spread PDF and a Double Page Spread PDF, stunningly illustrated, for your viewing pleasure.

    Get that Degree in the Arcane Arts! Enroll Today!

    Are you a Pathfinder Roleplaying Game player? Grab the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game compatible version of this product here.


    There was N.E.W.: The Science Fiction Roleplaying Game, and now comes O.L.D. – same engine, entirely different areas of focus.

    Stoic rangers track their prey across the unkempt wilderness. Shining knights with sword and lance charge heroically at their foes. Weathered watchmen investigate a murder in a scummy tavern. Masters of the dark arts bring the dead back to life. Ernest clerics turn back vampires in deep, unholy crypts. Mighty warriors battle ice dragons in the arctic wastes. Pale alchemists mix complex ingredients for their latest concoctions.

    Play a brave knight, a cunning burglar, a serene warrior-monk, or a brilliant firemage. Are you a wild berserker, a deadly assassin, or a swashbuckling musketeer? Dozens of fantasy careers await you!

    Features the innovative freeform magic system based on Elements of Magic – weave new and unique spells on the go by combining magical skills and secrets!


    This roleplaying game allows you to create and run adventures in a fantasy setting of your own creation!

    *A selection of fantasy races, and over 40 careers which allow you to create any fantasy character with a fun intuitive life-path system.

    *A wide array of medieval and fantasy equipment, including weapons, armor, herbs, mounts, magical items, tools, and more. Wield anything from a zweihänder to a musket; wear ringmail or Eastern lamellar armor; don a great helm or a pair of spiked gauntlets.

    *Full rules for running the game, including fast but tactical combat, environments, and extended alchemical and herbalism tasks.

    *A flexible magic system which allows you to devise spells on the go, using a freeform verb-noun system able to accommodate any magical effect by spending Magic Points.

    *Rules for wilderness travel, stronghold building, and warfare.

    *Extensive guidelines for building a fantasy game setting, with detailed rules for creating races, careers, monsters, and more, along with discussion on genre, theme, and technology.

    Whether you’re a fellowship sneaking into enemy terrain, watchmen protecting a rain-sodden town, hunting a mighty fire dragon, or exploring the dark depths of places best left alone, O.L.D. has you covered!

    This is a What’s O.L.D. is N.E.W. core rulebook.


    I’ve been on something of a quest to have someone run some kind of FATE game for me that I might enjoy. I’ve not yet really experienced the system in a way that left me with a positive impression, much like my endless frustrations with the Apocalypse World Engine.

    This looks very much like a FATE game I might enjoy, if the right person ran it and the right folks played. It’s based on the highly acclaimed superhero novels by Marion G. Harmon – who, incidentally, is the lead writer and designer for the RPG as well.

    Cape (plural capes): literally, a sleeveless garment hanging from the neck over the back and shoulders; figuratively, a superhuman who has chosen to act as a superhero. Synonyms: hero, mask, super, superhero. Connotations: ‘cape’ is used as both a familiar and derogatory term for superheroes, who often casually refer to themselves as capes but generally consider it a demeaning term when applied to them by the press.

    Barlow’s Guide to Superhumans

    What if the world changed?

    Ten years ago, everything did. The world we knew ended with The Event and the appearance of hundreds, thousands of superhuman individuals—ordinary men and women empowered in the blink of an eye, between one breath and the next, transformed or given extraordinary gifts. With this gamebook, you can take on the roll of a superhuman—a breakthrough—who has chosen to “wear the cape” and become a superhero. Or at least come as close to one as you can in a world with legal institutions that are averse to the idea of super-powered vigilantes!

    Wearing the Cape

    In 2011, Marion G. Harmon indie-published Wearing the Cape, a superhero novel. WtC was enthusiastically received by fans looking for good superhero fiction, and it and its six sequels have consistently been ranked in the top of their genre category. The books have introduced Astra, Artemis, and other “capes” to a growing legion of fans. Many of these fans are also avid superhero RPG superhero gamers, who expressed a keen interest in seeing the world of the books given its own sourcebook or gamebook. And so…

    Wearing the Cape: The Roleplaying Game

    Built on the FATE CORE system by Evil Hat Productions, Wearing the Cape: The Roleplaying Game uses an open system of Aspects, Ratings, and Stunts to describe any conceivable character and superhuman power, as well as organizations, cities, regions, and any kind of environment the heroes may encounter. 220 pages of gamebook, with 30 dense pages of Post-Event World background to provide endless ideas for locations and threats, Wearing the Cape: The Roleplaying Game is a gateway for anyone who wishes to adventure in the world of the novels, or who wishes to make a world of their own!


    The latest in the juggernaut that is 7th Sea, expanding your game with new options for character creation while expanding your campaign with tons of added material about these important, intrigue-laden nations undergoing massive upheaval.

    PS – I’ve never been able to correctly pronounce “Vestenmennavenjar.” It is my secret shame.

    Liberty! Equality! Freedom!

    Change is coming to Theah’s western nations. Tensions rise as disenfranchised, war-weary people grow restless under the unrelenting rule of the nobility. Now, the people look towards revolution as the only respite.

    This book contains material for 7th Sea: Second Edition including new Backgrounds, Advantages, Dueling styles and new monsters. It also includes expanded setting information for Theah’s four western nations.

    • Avalon,including a look at Queen Elaine’s Court, the Sidhe, various locations in the Glamour Isles and an expansion on Glamour Sorcery

    • Castille,including an inside view into the Church and Inquisition, the ducados of Castille and Alquimia, an all new Sorcery for Castille

    • Montaigne, including a look into the royal family and l’Empereur’s court, the Montaigne countryside and an expansion on Porte Sorcery

    • Vestenmennavenjar, including a look into the Vendel League, the jarls of Vesten, the ongoings of the various cities in Vesten and Galdr, an all new Sorcery for Vesten

    Adventure, political intrigue and upheaval lurk around every corner. Are you ready to take up the cause?


    In light of the rather amazing discussion about FATE that’s happened this week (due to a previous Pick), I’ve decided to go with another FATE game. This also dovetails nicely with yet another Pick, making it not quite a Theme Week, but… well, enough of that tangled connection thinking.

    Anyway, my friends at Vigilance Press are adding more awesome to their amazing Tianxia setting with this book dedicated to piracy, thieving, and cults to the grand kung-fu action mix! This is yet another setting for this system I’d dearly love someone to give me a chance to play within.

    Pirates and Triads and Leopards, Ahoy!

    Tianxia: Blood, Silk & Jade brought Kung Fu to the Fate Core System… now Tianxia: Strife, Fire & Smoke brings Pirates and Thieves to the world of Tianxia!

    Tianxia is about to go South

    Tianxia: Strife, Fire & Smoke expands the world of Tianxia, detailing the two Southernmost povinces: Gaozhou and Guangzhou. From White Tiger Plateau to Jade Dragon Peak, discover new territories filled with adventure.

    Triads, Pirates, and Cults

    Discover new characters and factions whose Kung Fu skills are matched only by their hunger for power. Herein you will learn the secrets of the three triads, the Queen of Pirates, and the Devil Mirror Sect!

    The Leopard Waits in Shadow

    Prepare to master the new Leopard styles of Kung Fu. From Forest Leopard to Storm Leopard, many new options are available for Wuxia heroes. Test your might against our latest iconic hero, the daring pirate renegade Tian Fei!

    Tianxia: Strife, Fire & Smoke is written by Jack Norris, with full-color art by series illustrator Dionysia Jones and regional map by Marco Morte. Designed to work with the Fate Core System!

    * - If you're interested in the FATE discussion.

    ** - If you're interested in the horror and grimdark discussion.

    I really am interested in giving FATE another run or two, because it seems like there's stuff in there that should appeal to me - player empowerment, narrative influence, cinematic elements. I've just not grokked it up to now. Some of that is because the opportunities I've had skewed to very bizarre, silly, and/or other areas that just don't appeal. Show me the game in a more straight-up adventure mode and let me see how it plays in that space.

    Where horror and grimdark are concerned - not so much. I've never enjoyed it, don't anticipate that ever changing. I've just been trying to get a handle on why, as well as why so many others do. In part, I am trying to get over my inner child demanding that people stop enjoying such gaming - it's caused some difficult social interactions, and I need to get that under control.

    Tonight, it's board gaming at the Silver Unicorn Pub. Not sure what, yet, but I am half-tempted to drag out my old Descent set and give that another run. Maybe...

    Tomorrow, we have our all-day ship's meeting/party for the HMS Reliant. That should be... something to behold. Plus - TACO BAR!

    Sunday, we return to the Prowlers & Paragons: Ultimate Edition Epic Age campaign. Started by Ed Doolittle, but co-run by Lee Langston (since Ed decided that seeing U2 in Los Angeles was somehow more important that running a game for us), I am thrilled to see how our new superteam comes together! Here's my guy, Reliant!

    Come Monday, it's a road trip to MN, where I am both a Gaming Guest of Honor and representing my TRMN ship, HMS Reliant, at Manticon!

    Note that I use affiliate links in all my posts as a way to generate additional revenue for my efforts; I make my Picks and other article choices, however, based on the desire to share a wide variety of things with you. Thank you for your support.

    Sean Patrick Fannon
    Writer & Game Designer: Shaintar, Star Wars, Savage Rifts, much more
    Please check out my Patreon and get involved directly with my next projects!

    The Adventure Continues...

    Comments 4 Comments
    1. TreChriron's Avatar
      TreChriron -
      I'm really digging OLD. There is some savvy ideas in here. It's a less swingy system perched deliciously between 5e and Pathfinder in crunch. This game needs more buzz and more eyeballs, it's seriously under-appreciated right now.
    1. thzero -
      Death to the Royal Manticornian Navy and especially those annoying tree cats!
    1. buda's Avatar
      buda -
      I joined a FATE session at DragonCon a few years back. It was fun, but I don't see it as something I'd want to use for a home campaign. Although that didn't stop me from buying Atomic Robo RPG.
    1. Robot Hyena Ghost -
      Sean, have you ever laid out your gripes with the Apocalypse World system somewhere? I'd be interested to hear your take.
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