Sean's Picks of the Week (0703-0707) - ENnie Nominee Week!
  • Licensed Role-Playing Games: Threat Or Menace?

    Let's just get the controversial statement out of the way: I'm not a fan of licensed settings in role-playing games. Today's column is rolling out of a Skype conversation that I had with a friend the other day. There's a lot of cool RPGs out there that are based upon cool movies, comic books, novels and cartoons. None of them are bad, and I'm not...

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    ZEITGEIST #1 (Act 1): Island at the Axis of the...

    The long-awaited first part of the critically acclaimed adventure path is here, and available exclusively on EN5ider, the 5th Edition Patreon! In factories throughout the city of Flint, months of ceasless toil by mages, engineers, and shipbuilders have finally concluded. Now well-wishers from across the nation of Risur have come to witness the launch...

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    Paizo News Roundup For July

    Hey y’all, it’s time for another edition of the PAIZO NEWS ROUNDUP! As before, my name is Ben, and I’m going to use this space to fill you in on some of the ins and outs what’s happening in the Paizo world. The good folks at Paizo have been releasing updates for their upcoming Starfinder product launch left, right, and center....

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  • Sean's Picks of the Week (0703-0707) - ENnie Nominee Week!


    Hey, guess what? They've announced the ENnie Award Nominees this week, so I made the Picks all about them as a celebration! I am particularly thrilled to see so many diverse products on that list, and some serious contenders that don't necessarily represent the "folks who always win." I've enjoyed looking through all of this and picking out some products you should definitely take an interest in. I'll probably use the ENnies for some future Theme Weeks as we go, as well.


    SINS OF THE FATHER

    In addition to being the 4th of July – kind of an explosive deal here in the U.S. – it’s also the day we see the nominations for this year’s ENnie Awards. So that’s the theme for the week – ENnie Nominations!

    Today’s Pick focuses on one of the nominees for Best Game. The other games in this category are:



    I am particularly proud and pleased for my friend, Eloy Lasanta, for getting a nod for something that definitely steps outside of what he normally produces. A clever set of mechanics for a twisted concept.

    Today is the day you find out that your soul was sold long before you were born. Now it’s time for you to continue the legacy your family has held for generations in service to the Dark Lord. This quirky RPG is filled with dark humor and devilish depravity, as every character sets out to fulfill their Debt and explore what makes a person good or bad. Are you forever destined to be a minion of hell?

    Sins of the Father takes players down a dark path and focuses on how the Seven Deadly Sins can become warped. It features a simple-to-use, card-based resolution system that allows for flexibility and focuses on the story.

    Includes:

    • All rules needed to play the game
    • Several sample Dark Lords and playtable characters
    • Unique system utilzing playing cards.



    SPIRIT OF 77: MASTERPIECE 77

    Since I missed Monday the 3rd (due to travel back from Magic City Con), I’m making a bonus ENnie Nominee Week Pick today from the Best Electronic Book category. The other books in this category for the year are:



    Masterpiece 77 is one of many funky, rockin’ adventures for Monkeyfun’s AWE-driven Spirit of 77 game.

    Well met, Rock Stars!

    This is a special Spirit of 77 adventure that takes place in the world of William Shakespeare, with the players taking the roles of the famous “survivors” of the Bard’s most famous plays. Although it’s intended as a one-shot adventure (and requires an understanding of the Spirit of 77 game system), we’re hoping this provides your gaming table with laughs and adventure while making you brush up on your English literature. (Don’t worry, we slept through that class too).

    This Very Special Episode includes:

    • Seven Pre-Generated Characters – Each of these Shakespeare characters is built in the Spirit of 77 system, ready to play.
    • New Adventure: The Play is Still The Thing – This adventure transports your Masterpiece 77 players to Denmark and Castle Elsinore, a year after the bloody events depicted within Hamlet. Luckily, things are going to be much smoother this time.
    • New Mini-Adventure: Huzzah To The Funk! – Want to transport your pre-existing Spirit of 77 characters to the Elizabethan action? We got you covered with this mini-adventure framework that will let you use the Masterpiece 77 adventure in a modern setting.


    Huzzah and Keep on Truckin’



    THE BOOK OF CHANGING YEARS

    As we continue to celebrate ENnie Nominee Week, today’s Pick comes from the Best Writing Category, which also includes:



    This is a celebration of the enormous creativity and talent that goes into the heart of any RPG product – the words by which the creators convey to you everything you need to know about the subject. You know best how to play in a world and engage its meaningful elements when the writers give you a clear and captivating description and set of instructions.

    This particular Pick focuses on a book useful not only to TimeWatch players, but anyone who wants to introduce time travel and all of the strangeness and idiosyncrasies thereof.

    On 1st May 1895 a young gentleman — a recently admitted solicitor from the West Country — called upon the offices of Pelgrane Press bearing a manuscript loosely bound in waxed paper and string, together with a small steamer trunk packed with an assortment of curios. Acting under instructions from his anonymous client, he passed these items to me together with a banker’s draft drawn on the Bank of England for a substantial sum.

    The book itself is a work of scientific romance, a gallimaufry of fables in the manner of The Time Machine by H. G. Wells. To what end it was written, and for whom, I may never know, but I hope you, Gentle Reader, find it of use, whoever you are, wherever you may travel and whenever you read it.

    The Book of Changing Years is a collection of time travellers’ tales and curios put together on the quiet by agents of TimeWatch and secreted in an innocuous drawer in the Citadel – TimeWatch HQ. It’s an in-world book of clues and mysteries for players of the TimeWatch RPG in the style of The Book of the Smoke and Dracula Unredacted.

    • Why are there too many cats in London in 1840 and no dogs at all, and how does that relate to the pyramids of Kush?
    • Why is Edward V scouring the time lines for Caravaggios?
    • Who time-pranked Alexander Graham Bell into thinking he’d heard spirit voices on his new invention?


    Fire up your autochron, unhook your tethers and dive into the gaps between the chimes.



    TALES FROM THE LOOP

    We continue ENnie Nominee Week with a selection from the Best Setting Category. These are the places in which your player characters will live, explore, and do great (and/or terrible) things. The other wonderful entries in this category are:



    A lot of attention’s been given Tales from the Loop for very good reason, and this is one you absolutely should check out.

    “RPG Tales from the Loop lets you channel Stranger Things and ET.”
    The Verge

    “Tales From The Loop could very well be the RPG phenomenon of 2017.”
    Geek & Sundry

    The landscape was full of machines and scrap metal connected to the facility in one way or another. Always present on the horizon were the colossal cooling towers, with their green obstruction lights. If you put your ear to the ground, you could hear the heartbeat of the Loop – the purring of the Gravitron, the central piece of engineering magic that was the focus of the Loop’s experiments. The facility was the largest of its kind in the world, and it was said that its forces could bend space-time itself.

    Scifi artist Simon Stålenhag’s paintings of Swedish 1980s suburbia, populated by fantastic machines and strange beasts, have won global acclaim. Now, you can step into the amazing world of the Loop.

    In this roleplaying game in the vein of E.T. and Stranger Things, you’ll play teenagers solving mysteries connected to the Loop. The game rules are based on Mutant: Year Zero, which was awarded with a Silver ENnie for Best Rules at Gencon 2015.

    Key features:

    • Create your unique player character – including skills, items, prides, problems, and relationships – in mere minutes.
    • Explore the secrets of the Loop in two main game settings – one based on the Swedish Mälaren Islands, the other on Boulder City, Nevada.
    • Investigate mysteries and overcome trouble using fast and effective rules, based on the Mutant: Year Zero game engine.
    • Play the four complete scenarios included, tied together in the campaign named Four Seasons of Mad Science.



    ADVENTURE IN MIDDLE-EARTH PLAYER'S GUIDE

    We finish up ENnie Nominee Week with the Best Rules Category, and I am incredibly grateful and excited to have one of my own efforts included in the list of nominees:



    Today’s Pick is something pretty spectacular – an honest-to-Light official adaptation of the Middle-earth world and mythos to a version of Dungeons & Dragons. For as long as the two have been so intimately intertwined, it’s only now that we have some rather exceptionally-crafted and officially-licensed rules with which to play in Middle-earth.

    In Adventures in Middle-earth™ the greatest fantasy setting of all time comes to the world’s favourite roleplaying game rules! Take your gaming group to Middle-earth with this thematic and atmospheric, OGL-compatible setting guide.

    Smaug has been defeated, the Battle of Five Armies has been won, and Bilbo has returned to the Shire. But much danger still remains, and from the Orc-holds of the mountains to the dark and corrupt depths of Mirkwood a darkness waits, recovering its strength, laying its plans, and slowly extending its shadow…

    In Dale, King Bard sends out a call for brave adventurers to journey to Laketown and assist him in restoring the glory of the North.

    Adventurers come from all the Free Peoples of Wilderland and beyond, all heeding the call to adventure. Spurred on by diverse callings – whether it be the lure of the road, the hunger for ancient lore, or the simple urge to defend hearth and kin, adventurers from across Wilderland are preparing to explore Middle-earth and to battle the rising threat of The Shadow wherever it may be found.

    The Player’s Guide gives you the Middle-earth setting-specific rules and guidance to create your characters and adventure in the world of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings using the OGL 5e ruleset.

    Character creation features Cultures and Classes designed for Middle-earth to help you get deep into the setting from the very start of your adventures. New rules add excitement to your journeys and encounters, and chart the corruption of the Shadow in the unwary or unwise.

    The Quest begins with this lavishly illustrated, hardcover Adventures in Middle-earth Player’s Guide, followed by the equally beautiful and useful Adventures in Middle-earth Loremaster’s Guide. You can start playing right away with this Player’s Guide, and the latest edition of the world’s most popular roleplaying game rules.

    Adventures in Middle-earth: Players Guide contains:
    • 11 Middle-earth specific playable Cultures
    • 6 New and unique Classes
    • 13 New Backgrounds custom-made for Middle-earth
    • Middle-earth appropriate arms and armour
    • Unique Journey rules
    • New rules for Corruption
    • New Audience rules
    • Rules for The Fellowship Phase
    • Middle-earth maps (as the end papers) for Players and Loremasters


    -----
    And there we have our first of what will likely be a few Theme Weeks between now and Gen Con as relates to the ENnie Awards. For those attending and who would like a chance to hang out with me at the ENnie Awards event, you can bid on having me as your ENnies Dream Date. We'll chat gaming, what's going on with the awards, and anything else you'd like to talk about.

    I am in "convention travel hell" mode, to be honest; just got back from Magic City Con, and in a couple of weeks, I am heading to Crit Hit! in Phoenix. Two weeks later, I am in L.A. for the memorial service for my dear friend, Albert Deschesne. A week after that, it's MALCon, and then in two more weeks, it's off to Gen Con. I... wow. Yeah, I am just nuts.

    This weekend, I hope to be running my Modern Gods campaign on Friday, but the rest of the weekend is pretty wide open. I suspect I will be using the time to catch up on my desperately-behind writing and design work.

    I hope all of those who celebrate Independence Day had a grand and safe time, and I hope this weekend shapes up to be a great time for all of you.

    The Adventure Continues!

    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!
    Comments 7 Comments
    1. Pandatheist's Avatar
      Pandatheist -
      I hope there will be spotlights of other nominees coming up, because putting a bunch of large pictures of nominees on the front page of enworld so close to voting feels like an endorsement, and could affect the results.
    1. msmaenza's Avatar
      msmaenza -
      Quote Originally Posted by Pandatheist View Post
      I hope there will be spotlights of other nominees coming up, because putting a bunch of large pictures of nominees on the front page of enworld so close to voting feels like an endorsement, and could affect the results.
      Agreed. Would have rather have had an overview of a nominee category with a quick write up on each nominee.
    1. ilsundal's Avatar
      ilsundal -
      Yes, agree.
    1. Over the Hill Gamer's Avatar
      Over the Hill Gamer -
      Especially when one's friends are involved.
    1. Dire Bare's Avatar
      Dire Bare -
      Endorsements!?

      Where's the rolls eyes emoji when you need it. Fannon's column has always highlighted works by folks he knows in the industry, although not exclusively. And I'm okay with that, as he's a part of the industry and knows a lot of the folks in it! This week's column just has an "ENNIES" theme, it isn't the official ENWorld thread that says "vote for this game".

      Keep up the fun columns Sean, I enjoy reading about games I'm unfamiliar with, regardless of whether they have contributions by friends of yours or not.

      Heck, even if this column could be considered an endorsement for the listed games, it's Fannon's endorsement, not ENWorld's. And what would be wrong with that?
    1. TerraDave's Avatar
      TerraDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dire Bare View Post
      Endorsements!?

      Where's the rolls eyes emoji when you need it. Fannon's column has always highlighted works by folks he knows in the industry, although not exclusively. And I'm okay with that, as he's a part of the industry and knows a lot of the folks in it! This week's column just has an "ENNIES" theme, it isn't the official ENWorld thread that says "vote for this game".

      Keep up the fun columns Sean, I enjoy reading about games I'm unfamiliar with, regardless of whether they have contributions by friends of yours or not.

      Heck, even if this column could be considered an endorsement for the listed games, it's Fannon's endorsement, not ENWorld's. And what would be wrong with that?
      +1, the coverage is definitely welcome!
    1. Aurélien V's Avatar
      Aurélien V -
      In the Best Rules category and Best Writing category, there is also Veins of the Earth.
    Comments Leave Comment