Sean Patrick Fannon
  • Sean Patrick Fannon

    The mechanisms (legal, financial, and production-wise) WotC crafted with DriveThruRPG for the Dungeon Masters Guild launched a whole new concept in our hobby and industry. Community created content has always been a part of gaming (see the Perrin Conventions of 1976), but never has the concept been so well-supported - encouraged, even - to include the capacity for fans to actually earn money for the things they create in support of their favorite systems and settings. This week was a celebration of that rather powerful set of tools.

    Possibly one of my strangest theme weeks ever, this one is devoted to games that feature either Tarot or poker decks as the main mechanism for task resolution. Inspired by the release of James Wallis' Alas Vegas, I decided to take a look at other games that feature card-driven gameplay. There's... not that many. Still, some standout examples can be found below; just be careful you don't accidentally summon a doom of some kind upon yourself while laying the cards out!

    The World's Most Popular Roleplaying Game - Dungeons & Dragons - inspires more discourse and controversy over rules decisions than any other game I've ever known (RPG or not). OK, no, Magic the Gathering creates more, but D&D is up there. Every iteration has its diehard fans, and there are always solid reasons for that. So this week, inspired by a submission for the Picks from some DM's Guild folks, I decided to take a walk through the Five Editions and show a neat thing from each...

    Perhaps one of my odder choices for a theme week, but I do find it fascinating how many creators and fans are drawn to the idea of mice (and rats, and related critters) as heroes and villains within genre stories. I mean, let's face it, Secret of NIMH remains one of the most fascinating and well-done "not-Disney" cartoon movies of the 20th century. It also seems using mice is a neat way to get kids interested, as many of these games and products indicate. Last (but most assuredly not least), I get the impression a lot of artists just really enjoy drawing mice in cool costumes...

    As of this being published, you have only a couple of days left to take advantage of the amazing 33% off thousands of products on DriveThruRPG as part of the GM's Day Sale. I decided to point out some of the top-selling items that folks are grabbing even as you read this. This is flat out one of the best sales you'll ever see on DTRPG, so you want to get on that right away, yeah? It's over on the 11th!

    Gamers love bundle deals. We discovered this when I was still the Marketing & Communications Director for DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, and we did the Haiti Earthquake Relief Bundle way back when. Sure, it was for charity, which also drove interest... but the unbelievable deal folks got by paying just a few dollars to get a massive electronic treasure trove of products wasn't forgotten. This week, we take a look at some great bundle offers you may have missed or were just released. Unfortunately, one of them went off sale during the week, so there's only four to share today.

    This week I admittedly indulge a bit in some self-promotion for the upcoming Freedom Squadron Kickstarter, but I do so by pointing out a number of other great products oriented around military, paramilitary, and special operations in roleplaying. All who design in this field stand on the shoulders of giants, and I am thrilled that others have created such interesting and exceptional products to support that style of exciting and intriguing game play. Check them out!

    On February 8th, the folks involved with the BAMF Podcast announced the winners of their 2017 BAMFsies Awards. Once again, I was honored to be one of the judges, and there's some great superhero gaming stuff for you to check out from last year. As well, don't miss out on the giant superhero sale going in celebration at DriveThruRPG.

    From the focus on alt-history to the over-the-top gears-and-lightning fantastical, steampunk remains a compelling and entertaining genre that gains much of its life in the tabletop RPG world. As the company named for one of steampunk's greatest inspirations launches a car into space, it seemed like an apt time to take a look at some of the great genre offerings.

    Sometimes I get my themes for the weekly Picks from the most fun and interesting places. In this case, my friend Lana Smith (AKA Alana Smith Brown of King of the Geeks fame) was asking about games in which her group could play fairies and experience fairy-tale style storytelling. Since I delved into the subject on her behalf, anyway, here's the fruits of that labor. There's some very fascinating games and ideas below, great for kids and adults alike! PS - Changed the order from the original posting due to Faery's Tale Deluxe having too small an image.

    Welcome to Guiding the Players Week for the Picks this week, dedicated to books designed specifically (or at least primarily) for players to craft their character and enhance their overall play experience with a game or setting. These may or may not have "all-in-one" characteristics that allow for full game play (though if you have at least the rules for combat in the book, you can generally craft or fake the rest). In each case, they are meant to either be the foundation of character creation and advancement, or they greatly enhance that aspect of the game.

    This week we went exploring at the SPOD - exploring the world of maps for RPGs. Maps have been a treasured part of the hobby since the very beginning, when Dave Arneson took some basic graph paper, crafted a dungeon, and had his friends explore it in search of the daughter of the Elven King. That, my friends, was the true birth of the classic RPG experience as we now know it. To that end, here's a bunch of map-oriented products for the physical and virtual tables.

    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...

    As we all enjoy this last week of 2017, here's my presentation of some of the best and brightest of the year. Some are chosen for popularity and sales, while others are selected for the awards and accolades they've received. All are, in my opinion, more than worthy of a look at what 2017 brought to the gaming table. Cheers and have some more eggnog!

    This week, both DriveThruRPG and I are celebrating Teach Your Kids to Game Week. After all, I helped come up with this idea back when I worked for them, and I remain a huge proponent of bringing newer and younger gamers into our beloved hobby. What follows is a collection of great games and settings designed to appeal to a younger crowd of roleplayers, engaging their imaginations while not overwhelming them with overly-complex game mechanics. Here's hoping you get some great gaming in at home with the family this holiday season!

    This week I decided to go with the theme of Rules Don't Matter Week. Not because I actually believe that, but because there are a lot of good products out there designed to help your game with material outside of actual game mechanics. I think this is a growing space for writers, designers, and artists, and I think a lot of GMs and players can get some serious use out of materials that inspire and assist them with their gaming efforts. Let's dive in, shall we!

    We definitely took a crime-and-punishment approach to the Picks this week, inspired by the release of the preview version of Capers. These are products that focus on either the commission of crimes or playing the folks who take up the cause and the badge to deal with criminal intent. Whether you're looking to play gangsters and cutthroats trying to make a dishonest living, or the lawbringers who put it all on the line to protect the public.

    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!

    As you read this, it's likely the shopping extravaganza that marks the days after the American holiday, Thanksgiving, has begun. From Black Friday through the following Cyber Monday, those who create, make, and sell things are doing anything they can to get everyone else to buy things, so it's a good time to look for special deals and offers. It's also the time of year folks save up to get those extra-special things (like big-ticket gaming products) they've wanted all year long...

    Those in the know spent this week checking the temperature in the Nether Realms and wondering if Beelzebub might not be trying on ice skates. Why? Because that which never seemed possible came to pass - Steve Jackson Games is now on DriveThruRPG, currently selling 4th Edition GURPS products. They are also challenging the notion that PDFs must inherently be devalued (which, for those of us who strive to make a living at this, is a pretty big deal). Onward!
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