Sean's Picks of the Week (1127-1201) - Around the World Week!
  • Sean's Picks of the Week (1127-1201) - Around the World Week!


    While a great many tabletop RPG products are created and published in the United States, more and more fantastic and top-quality products are coming from amazingly talented folks from all over the world. With the release of Awaken from Croatia's The Games Collective, I decided to take a look at other non-US companies and point out some top-notch stuff. Let's take a tour!


    AWAKEN

    With the release of Awaken from The Games Collective out of Croatia, I’m declaring this Around the World Week at the SPOD. We’ll feature games from non-U.S. teams all week, showing off the creativity and talent of designers and publishers all over the globe. Suggestions welcome!

    This is a dark fantasy setting that delves into “Slavic and Mediterranean folklore” as the heart of its source material. Gorgeous, as are many of the games and products coming out of the Eastern Europe region.

    Become a Vasall in Awaken, join the world of battles against the darkness, political struggles and discover the price of retaining humanity in the ruthless world!

    Awaken is a tabletop roleplaying game set in a dark, war-ravaged fantasy world heavily influenced by Slavic and Mediterranean folklore, where the forgotten mythologies have resurfaced as Vasalli, powerful humans gifted with abilities capable of changing the course of history.

    Inside the Awaken rulebook you’ll find:

    • A dark, war-ravaged fantasy universe influenced by Slavic and Mediterranean folklore.
    • A complete game system with intuitive and light rules, which help you tell a story rather than burden you down.
    • Streamlined rules for Character creation and guidelines for Narrators, including examples of antagonists.
    • A Story suitable for venturing into the world of Awaken.



    AVENTURIA ALMANAC

    Day Two of Around the World Week takes us to Germany and my friends at Ulisses Spiele and their Dark Eye product line. Massively popular in Europe, now Aventuria comes to the English-speaking world in full force. The Silver ENnie Award-winning Aventuria Almanac is your guide to the setting, and it’s (as of this posting) over half off, so it’s a great time to pick it up and find out why Dark Eye is the most popular RPG setting in Germany and beyond.

    Oh, and don’t miss out on their Aventuria Compendium Kickstarter, which is almost over! It’s a great jump-on point for the entire line!

    Explore the many facets of The Dark Eye with the Aventuria Almanac, your guide to the official setting for the fantasy role playing game. Immerse yourself in this exciting world and learn why the fantastic continent of Aventuria is like no other.

    This indispensable guide is designed both for players and GMs. Explore the regions, kingdoms, and history of Aventuria in detail. Entries for key cities cover inhabitants, customs, trade, science, law and order, magic, and the works of the gods. Learn about the icy wastes of the Far North, the many provinces of the Middenrealm, and the mysterious home of the elves in the verdant woods of the Salamander Stones. Travel the merchant routes of the Khôm Desert, face the perils of the Lizard Swamps and the steaming jungles of Meridiana, and delve into the hidden mines of the dwarves.

    The Aventuria Almanac also includes two large-format poster maps of the continent, stats for new creatures and useful plants, and fascinating new mysteries for the heroes to investigate.



    THE BOOK OF CONTEMPORARY MAGICAL THINGS

    Day Three of Around the World Week brings us to Wales, and the company of Stephanie McAlea, Stygian Fox. Artist, writer, designer, and all-around-great person, Stephanie joined with my friend Darren Pearce and Colin Dunn to craft a system-agnostic source of really cool modern-day items imbued with magical powers. The Book of Contemporary Magical Things is a ready-to-hand kind of sourcebook for any GM running modern day urban fantasy, horror, supers, or related types of settings.

    The Book of Contemporary Magical Things is 134 pages of modern, seemingly mundane, items that are imbued with magical power. Some are quite minor; A tuning fork that will quiet a room, a pair cufflinks that tell you the name and family details of those with whom you shake hands, a set of polyhedral dice that temporarily change the fortune of the roller, but some are spectacular, or dangerously malevolent. From minor items to Earth shattering forces, these items are there for you to use as a Gamesmaster in your modern, horror, or superhero campaigns.


    BLOOD OF THE INNOCENT

    Today, our Around the World Week tour takes us to Australia’s StoryWeaver. They co a lot of Savage Worlds development, but they’ve got some other interesting things going on as well. This particular Pick is a callback to one of Pinnacles older Weird War settings, Tour of Darkness. Blood of the Innocent is a dark, violent immersion in the hell of the Vietnam War, with plenty of even darker and more horrible elements at work.

    Vietnam 1968: As the Tet Offensive pushes forward and casualties mount, dark secrets are at play. Amongst the bloodshed, an ancient evil struggles to be reborn deep in the jungles. They say that in war innocence is the first to die… but it’s certainly not the last.

    Blood of the Innocent is a Savage Worlds adventure of grim horror set in the chaos of the Vietnam War. As a ready-to-go adventure for an existing modern military campaign, or as a single-shot game, Blood of the Innocent drags your heroes kicking and screaming through the most dangerous and horrifying of war stories. Be warned… Blood of the Innocent is not for the weak of heart.

    Features: 46 pages of mayhem and terror, including…

    • Detailed setting and descriptions
    • Printable area maps
    • Player characters to die for!
    • Dozens of fully developed extras & NPCs
    • Customizable character sheets
    • New monsters to battle
    • New spells and artifacts


    Plus bonus 45 pages of printable extras gives you everything you need to start playing right away!

    • 38 beautiful 7×7″ battlemap tiles suitable for ANY mini’s game.
    • 2 pages of character tokens, featuring US troops, Vietcong, villagers and monsters!
    • Military area map.
    • Savage world licensed product



    TENRA BANSHO ZERO

    And we head off to Japan for the last Pick for Around the World Week, this one representing one of the most critically-acclaimed and popular tabletop RPGs from the Land of the Rising Sun. Tenra Bansho Zero tags all the major touchstones of what the original creator called a “hyper Asian” kind of game that lovers of anime and Final Fantasy will grok and love.

    Almost a decade ago, Japanese artist and game designer Junichi Inoue sat down to create what was, in his own words, a uniquely and unmistakably “Hyper Asian” Japanese world: a world of magic and technology, of samurai and Taoist sorcery, of powerful mecha and cultured geisha. The world was named Tenra, and the game was named Tenra Bansho, or “Everything in Heaven and Earth.”

    With a rulebook dripping cover-to-cover with high-quality anime-style art, a setting rich in culture both real and fantastical, and a revised and simplified rules system that focused with precision on roleplaying and character drama, this game took the Japanese tabletop RPG market by storm and spearheaded both a renaissance and revolution in the Japanese gaming industry.

    Years later, this unique and revolutionary game has finally been painstakingly translated into English for play in the West!

    Tenra Bansho Zero is a unique tabletop roleplaying experience, and it features the following:

    PDF Optimization

    This product contains two versions of the game:

    • The original high-quality art-filled, full-color setting and rules books, together in electronic tablet-optimized US graphic novel size (700 total pages)
    • A text-only indexed version of all of the content of the setting and rules books at US Letter/A4 size for easy reference and printing (510 total pages; with large font and spacing for readability; effectively 150 pages of text for normal book proportions)


    Breathtaking Art

    Over 300 unique pieces of art appear throughout; there are 33 full-color manga story pages that introduce players to the world and setting features, and ten rules explanations, also in manga form, assist with fast rules retention. The art is done by the formidable hand of Junichi Inoue, the fine brush-work of Hiroyuki Ishida, the comical impact of Hayami Rasenjin, and more!

    With layout for the English edition by industry expert Luke Crane (Mouse Guard RPG, Burning Wheel RPG), you’ve never seen a game like this.

    Incredible Content

    Two books: A full-color Setting book and a black-and-white Rules and Play book. The books together boast a page count of almost 700 total pages! The huge amount of art, combined with the detailed deep-dive explanations and play advice, will give you your money’s worth in usable content.

    Incomparable Richness

    A rich Japanese setting involving a planet in a constant state of war, where magic fuels technology and the culture is an analogue of the “Warring States” (Sengoku) era of Japan. Mecha, sorcery, samurai, geisha, monks, cyborgs, annelid-users, and more make this game a truly unique – and deeply Japanese – experience.

    Quick to Learn

    A simple-to-understand rules system utilizing regular six-sided dice, cleverly explained in both detailed text examples and amusing full-page manga art. On top of a woven system of skills, attributes, action, and combat is overlaid a deeper system of kabuki theater-style play: Focusing very specifically on play through Acts, Scenes, and Intermissions, the players of this game are both the actors and audience: As actors, they focus on roleplay in a scene with other actors; and as audience (much like the audience of a kabuki play), they focus on the drama that unfolds, rewarding the players for dramatic actions and cool ad-libbed lines.

    Speed

    An entire campaign, a story from start to finish, can be told over the space of one to two sessions! You can then choose to play the same characters in another tale, or perhaps retire them to look at another facet of life on Tenra.

    All-in-One

    The original Japanese game had a core rulebook, a supplement, and later several mail-order-only mini-supplements. The data/rules content and much of the art has been ported and folded into the English book set (originally $145 USD for all of that material if you were to buy it when it came out), including errata and designer suggestions.

    This is a truly updated version of the game!


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    For someone who started working in this business near the beginning, I have to say I am just thrilled to see so much great stuff coming from teams and talented individuals across the globe. There's so much great stuff from sources most of us in the US know very little about, and we are all uplifted by more voices heard and more ideas shared.

    I don't know how many of you follow me on Facebook, but lately I've been doing a kind of "daily affirmation" thing related to RPGs. I figured I might start collecting the week's posts and sharing them here for you. So the "#RPGsAndOtherwise" posts this week -

    • You know that "first impression" thing? Intensely true when it comes to a first gaming experience.
    • Sometimes my "auteur" nature gets in the way of where the game actually wants to go. Still need to watch that...
    • There comes a point where all the great ideas mean nothing if you don't write them down.
    • The best players look not only for their moments, but the moments they can share with others.
    • Remember, getting outside and being "in the world" helps you make more out of your gaming experiences. Also, it's healthier.


    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 1 Comment
    1. Yaarel -
      Awaken by The Games Collective, looks good. Its system is solid too. It has three attributes: Sociality, Intellectuality, and Physicality − then skill sets within each attribute. Clear, balanced, and useful. I plan to look more into this.
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