Sean's Picks of the Week (0101-0105) - New Year, New Game Week!
  • Sean's Picks of the Week (0101-0105) - New Year, New Game Week!


    I kind of got the jump on DriveThruRPG with my New Year, New Game Week, but I was rushing out the door for our visit with friends and family back east for the holidays, and it just made sense for the very first week of 2018. I hope you all had a grand time with your holidays, and I hope you have a great year of gaming ahead of you. Here's some solid suggestions for you to explore...


    STARS WITHOUT NUMBER

    It’s the first week of 2018, so I’m going to go with a popular theme we created back when I still worked for DriveThruRPG – New Year, New Game Week. We’re gonna focus on very recent releases that represent a new possible game for you to explore this year.

    First up is the newest version of Stars Without Number, an OSR-driven hard sci-fi game that’s been reworked thoroughly.

    The year is 3200 and mankind’s empire lies in ashes.

    The Jump Gates fell six hundred years ago, severing the links between the myriad worlds of the human diaspora.

    Now, the long isolation of the Silence falls away as men and women return to the skies above their scattered worlds.

    Will you be among them once more?

    Stars Without Number: Revised Edition is an old-school-inspired game of sci-fi adventure, one built from the ground up to encourage sandbox play and simplify a GM’s job in providing it. Familiar mechanics are employed to forge new worlds and explore new possibilities, guidelines built on long experience used to help a group venture in wholly new directions. Within the full-color pages of Stars Without Number: Revised Edition, you’ll find… .

    • Backwards compatibility, as the Revised Edition is built to work cleanly with existing Stars Without Number supplements and materials. The new systems slot in smoothly, and you can take or leave them individually as your group prefers.
    • Expanded character creation, with PCs now customized by special talents and character foci, new options for psychic characters, and new ways to make your hero mechanically distinct. Yet the process is still smooth and quick, with a special quick generator spread to create a hero from nothing more than a half-dozen die rolls.
    • Refined psionics, with more options to distinguish your psychic hero’s powers and more flexible choices for their abilities. Tailor your psychic to your concept, whether as a cynical gunslinging brainguard or an ascetic psychic healer from a world of austere psionic scholars.
    • Improved starship combat, with decisive roles for every member of the party. Build your own starships with the included system and employ new hardware and new starship mods to make your ungainly crate the fastest contraband runner this side of the Veil Nebula.
    • New systems to support additional types of play, including rules for hacking, remote drones, and expert technical modification of gear and starships.
    • Upgraded tools for sandbox sector creation, with forty new world tags to help define a GM’s stellar creations, guides for adding additional system points of interest, and material to help a GM define the interesting traits of the worlds they create. These tools aren’t just a clump of random tables, they’re a framework to boost your own creativity and help you make fast, good, playable material for your game.
    • Augmented adventure creation guidelines. Aside from a hundred piping-hot adventure seeds that mesh smoothly with the world creation tools, Stars Without Number: Revised Edition also includes content to help you turn your vague ideas into a playable evening’s adventure. Guidelines on challenges, rewards, and complications in play are all aimed toward the working GM, the man or woman who’s not just theorizing their adventures, but actually responsible for making something fun for the whole group.
    • Tools for creating aliens, Virtual Intelligences, and hostile human foes, with guidelines for handling potentially-hostile encounters and creating the kind of fearsome xenobeasts that can challenge the doughtiest explorer. Or perhaps you want to be an alien or robot? You’ll find the tools for that in Stars Without Number: Revised Edition.
    • Faction rules, for handling the background warring and intrigues of hostile groups. Need to add life and motion to your stellar sectors? Sprinkle in a few factions to make news for the PCs to respond to, or use these rules to handle the colonies, spy agencies, mercenary companies, or other enterprises your heroes establish.


    And these things? They’re all in the free version. Yes, just like the original edition, Stars Without Number: Revised Edition has a free PDF edition to share with your friends and pass around to interested parties. Those daring stellar freebooters who purchase this deluxe version will get…

    • Transhuman tech, with rules for bodyswapping, digital identities, post-scarcity economics, and just as importantly, GM guidelines on making exciting adventures when all the old pillars of familiarity have fallen away.
    • True AIs, the vast and terrible intellects that can bring forth wonders and ruin in equal measure. Playing a synthetic VI or aspiring organic godmind? Learn how your PC can accumulate the tech they need to ascend to this new plane of being.
    • Mechs, for those GMs who relish the thunder of steel titans on their far-future battlefields.
    • Heroic PCs, for groups that want to trade the gritty, lethal tone of a standard campaign for classic space opera, with larger-than-life heroes and superhuman skills.
    • Society creation, customizing a world or a hab with its own culture and history, pre-designed with fault lines and conflicts to engage your heroes. You’ll get more than a dry recounting of details; you’ll get the information you need to build adventures that fit with this world’s smouldering tensions.
    • Space Magic, with rules and guidelines for introducing sorcerous powers and old-school magic into your starfaring adventurers, with sagacious Magisters, versatile Arcanists, and Adepts graced with supernatural powers.


    So leap forward, brave adventurer! The stars await you, and the wild glories of an untamed sky!



    HEROQUEST GLORANTHA

    One of the oldest and most respected fantasy settings ever created for RPGs, Glorantha is the brainchild of legendary game writer and designer Greg Stafford. Crafted in 1975 for the board game White Bear and Red Moon, it became the heart of the first major challenger to D&D, RuneQuest. Now it’s back and represented in a system specifically crafted for it – HeroQuest Glorantha, making it a great choice for New Year, New Game Week.

    A Marvelous Roleplaying System

    The book includes everything you need to have to start a campaign in Glorantha: basic overview of the setting; character creation; magic rules for spirit magic, rune magic, sorcery, and Lunar magic; seven complete cult write ups; heroquesting rules and explanations; monster descriptions; themes of Glorantha; and even an introductory adventure that will take your heroes on a heroquest into the Underworld!

    A World of Gods, Heroes, and Mythic Fantasy

    Glorantha is the most elegant, original, and imaginative fantasy setting since Middle Earth. It is a world of exotic myth and awesome magic, self-contained and unique in its creation. The existence and use of the magical and mythic realms are central to the physics of Glorantha. Here the gods and heroes guard and guide their followers, sharing magics while pursuing their own enigmatic ends.

    Glorantha’s detailed cultures, histories, and myths are shaped by gods, heroes, and magic, and yet are plausible and logically self-consistent. Glorantha has been the setting for the Dragon Pass board game, the original RuneQuest roleplaying game, and the award-winning computer game King of Dragon Pass. Glorantha is fully described in the Guide to Glorantha, available from Moon Design Publications.

    A Complete Roleplaying Game

    HeroQuest Glorantha is the HeroQuest 2 rules system specifically tailored for Glorantha. It presents a simple rules system that allows Game Masters to run games modeled on ancient myth, epic sagas, and tales of high adventure. HeroQuest encourages creative input from players, resulting in an exciting, unpredictable narrative created through group play.



    HERALD: LOVECRAFT & TESLA

    New Year, New Games Week continues with this fun new game from Ravendesk Games. It’s another in the many, many Savage Worlds settings now available, but it’s definitely something new to explore. Imagine a pulp-flavored alternate history where H.P. Lovecraft was trying to warn us (rather than just scare us), and he teamed up with Nikola Tesla and other brilliant, brave souls to protect the world from evils both terrestrial and from far beyond the stars! This is the world of Herald: Lovecraft & Tesla.

    Welcome to the Roaring Twenties!

    A decade filled with adventure and the spirit of invention.

    This is the Jazz Age, the days of dangerous new technology, of cults, talismans, kidnappings, coded messages, mafia-controlled moonshine, mysterious transatlantic plane disappearances, stunning astronomical discoveries and breakthroughs in the burgeoning field of quantum physics. Underneath it all, a cabal of smiling villains pushes their plan to relegtate humanity to the ash heap of unrecorded history.

    But there are those who do their part to keep the world safe from the unnatural invaders from beyond the stars. Yes, beyond! Unspeakable elder gods and Mythos creatures are arriving from far, far away, while other are awakening at last from deep below.

    This is where you come in. Welcome to the Mythos Resistance.

    Science meets fiction in the Roaring Twenties.

    This sourcebook greatly expands the Action Lab comic book series into a fully realized, officially licensed Savage Worlds setting.

    New options for player characters include new Edges, new Hindrances, over 50 pregenerated ready-to-play historical characters, Tesla-tech weapons and inventions, dozens of 1920s vehicles, items, and NPCs, H.P.’s Mythos creature bestiary, detailed maps and location information for Providence, Arkham, Miskatonic University, and many of the other hot-spots around the world, One Sheets, adventures, plot-point campaigns, and much, much more.



    UNMASKED

    New Year, New Game Week rolls on with on of the latest and greatest Cypher System supers game, Unmasked from Monte Cook Games themselves. It’s superheroes-meets-80s-era-teen-horror (the latter being the “current big thing” these days).

    Superpowers and Horror in a Dark Eighties

    Top Gun is in theaters. “Papa Don’t Preach” is on the radio. Halley’s Comet is in the sky, and Iran-Contra is in the news. The Soviets are in Afghanistan, and the Doomsday Clock is at 3 minutes until midnight. But there’s something else going on—something even bigger. At school, at the mall, down by the 7-Eleven, you’ve started noticing things. Is that troll doll really glowing? Is that cassette tape calling to you? Why doesn’t anyone else seem to notice?

    And when you follow that strange compulsion to create a mask from these items, you become . . . someone else. Someone with capabilities the world has never seen and goals that may not be your own. The mask gives you unimaginable power, but can you resist its agenda? And there are others starting to show up, too, who may have embraced their masks’ dark sides. Maybe that Doomsday Clock matters after all . . .

    This book includes:

    • A complete, ready-to-play campaign setting of superpowers and psychological horror for the Cypher System.
    • Four new types and a load of new foci—and a new approach to superpowers. In your mask form you might be a Metal Head Smasher who Lives on the Dark Side or a Show-O Changer who Flies by Night, but on school days you’re a regular teen dealing with bullies, grades, and New Wave fashion.
    • The complete, ready-to-use town of Boundary Bay, NY, as well as detailed information and guidance on creating your own small-town setting—or using your own town, circa 1986!
    • New creatures, NPCs, and threats.
    • A complete adventure set in Ocean View High School, plus a plethora of tools and advice for building your own adventures and campaigns based around the mystery of the masks.


    Unmasked is a complete campaign setting for the Cypher System. You need the Cypher System Rulebook to play Unmasked.



    FAITH

    In the days of “The Last Jedi,” it seems somehow appropriate to both begin and end New Year, New Game Week with sci-fi Picks. This one is a gorgeous result of a highly-successful Kickstarter and an excellent example of the great RPG stuff coming out of Europe.

    FAITH is an expansive setting and game that’s meant to bring you all kinds of sci-fi gaming options, ranging from cyberpunk to intergalactic warfare and everything else.

    The Universe of FAITH is at the brink of collapse. Two powerful species have struggled to coexist for decades, and now a terrible menace is dawning on them from the edges of known space. Meanwhile, humans are a second-tier species, fighting for relevance in a changing cosmos.

    The cold war between civilizations heats up. Sabotage and espionage are part of the intergalactic tapestry. Religious wars proliferate in dangerous fashion. Someone, somewhere, is profiting from all of it. Will it be you?

    Your options as a player are as vast as the cosmos itself: play a CYBERPUNK adventure in the Corvo megacapital of Tiantang; find the shortcomings of the SOCIAL UTOPIA of Al’ameen, the capital of the communal Iz’kal; discover SPACE-FEUDALISM in the frozen Heimis, home to the feral Raag; survive in the POST APOCALYPTIC environment of Earth, the mythical home planet of Humanity; join the Coalition and wage WAR against the Ravager; devout yourself to your God and become the world’s most powerful SOULBENDER.

    IN THIS 2ND EDITION YOU’LL FIND:

    > 300 pages of setting filled with adventure seeds.

    > Full 2.0 rules of the revolutionary RPC Engine.

    > Character creation for four different species.

    > Rules to customize and play your own spacecraft.

    > Introductory adventure to get you started.

    > Over 120 NPCs and pieces of gear.


    -----

    And there's our first week of Picks for 2018. I have high hopes for this being a better year for everyone, across the board, in all sorts of ways. This weekend is kind of the last-gasp holiday celebrations for us; we're having a party for myself, my daughter Sammi, and our friend Jesi (AKA "Cupcake") in celebration of recent birthdays.

    Sunday, the Storm Knights return to action in my Prowlers & Paragons: Ultimate Edition Modern Gods campaign, starting up the gaming of the year. Monday night, it's back to the Old Republic in my Savage Star Wars campaign.

    Hope you've got lots of great gaming ahead!

    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!
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