Open Gaming
  • Open Gaming

    One of my favorite retroclones has long been Chris Gonnerman's work of love, the Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game. Basic Fantasy (as I'll shorten the title to for the rest of this piece) flies under the radar of a lot of gamers, even those among the old school fandoms, because it isn't a flashy game, and it doesn't feature the works of creators who spend their copious free time being edgy online. What the game does is to be a solid presentation of a fantasy ruleset that builds off of the 3.x SRD material in a way that is simple and to the point. It combines a reverence for the old with a respect for the last thirty years of game design. And, it does all of this with one of the most engaged fanbases that I think I have seen online.

    For Free RPG Day 2017, Pelgrane Press distributed the TimeWatch: Font of Knowledge/13th Age: Swords Against Owlbears double feature while Paizo shared a teaser for their upcoming system, Starfinder. These products offered a taste of adventure at the perfect price point, free. Warning: This article contains adventure spoilers.

    Rabbits & Rangers is a collection of character options and alternative rules that support cartoonish fantasy. It is explicitly compatible with Labyrinth Lord and, by extension, other B/X D&D and AD&D simulacrums. The silliness factor is pretty high, and if an adventuring party comprised of a Crow Magic-User, a Rooster Fighting-Man, an Owl Cleric, and a Skunk Thief riding snailodons and domesticated lizard mounts doesn’t get your engine revving, this supplement might not

    I considered filling this lede with as many revolution jokes as word count would allow. I decided against doing that. Revolution D100 is the latest entry into the already busy marketplace of percentile-based games inspired by the various works from the history of Chaosium and derived from the SRDs that Mongoose Publishing has released upon the world. Published by Alephtar Games, Revolution D100 is a multi-genre system akin to the wonderfully robust Big Gold Book (the fan nickname for the generic Basic Roleplaying Game (BRP) book published by another incarnation of Chaosium a few years back, and compiled and designed by Jason Durall and Sam Johnson).

    Frog God Games' successful Kickstarter for the third printing of the Swords & Wizardry complete rules funded last Fall, and over the past couple of weeks books started rolling out to those who pledged for the just core book. As more of the add ons are finished and go out to backers, this will be the culmination of a multi-year project that brings another level of diversity to our role-playing games.

    Hubris is a project that I have had an eye on since Mike Evans started talking about it over at his blog, and running online games that I unfortunately could not attend. What came out of all of this is a big, fat module / supplement / adventure book for the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG that bristles with energy and playability.

    There has always been a history of amateur publications in role-playing games, going back as far as Lee Gold's influential APA zine Alarums & Excursions started in the 70s. With the resurgence of zine publishing there has been an explosion of people publishing zines again, and the RPG field isn't alone in this. There is even a local record store that hosts workshops on zine production, and networking events.

    One of the reasons to keep up with the Bundle of Holding is because you never know when you're going to find that interesting new game that you didn't know about before. As a case in point, I follow the games of Troll Lord Games, and I still wouldn't have known about Harvesters by John Seibel without the Bundle of Holding. Admittedly, a game where you play small animals in a fantasy would is outside of what I would normally be interested in playing, but I have also played in fun games of Bunnies and Burrows at conventions in the past.

    Hello everyone, Darryl here to recap the biggest stories of 2016 in this year in review! A lot of big events happened in tabletop gaming this past year, and I’m going to go through what I consider the most significant stories of the year!

    For many gamers, horror role-playing is something that happens once a year, with special Halloween games that take them away from the settings and systems that they are used to, and into the unspeakable worlds that make up the scarier side of role-playing games. Those of us who more regularly partake of the more noxious forms of gaming look forward to the release of games like the Delta Green Agent's Handbook from the minds at Arc Dream Publishing.

    Welcome back to our weekly look at tabletop roleplaying game, and accessories, crowdfunding roundup! Each week we’ll be looking at a few campaigns currently running that have caught our eye as well as occasionally speaking to some of the creators about their campaigns, or looking at some of the ‘behind the scenes’ business aspects of putting together, launching, operating and then delivering a crowdfunded project. If you have anything you’d like us to cover, or questions about anything we talk about, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact me directly.

    One of gaming's greats, Ed Greenwood, steps up with Critical Role star Matthew Mercer in creating Amaurea's Dawn as part of the Open Legend RPG Kickstarter.

    I have said a few times that I like to focus on the works of people in the smaller press, and the people who are the self-publishers, because the big companies generate plenty of press on their own by being the big companies. Designer Chris Kutalik, through publishing collective The Hydra Collective, has published a trilogy of adventure/setting books that I am loosely calling the Slumbering Ursine Dunes trilogy (after the first book in the set). These books utilize an old school design sensibility to create a setting through implicit and explicit methods. While the rules that the books are designed for is Daniel Proctor's B/X inspired retroclone Labyrinth Lord, they can easily be adapted to any of the many D&Dish games that are currently available in the world.

    While Icons: The Assembled Edition is already a superb super-hero role-playing game (available from creator Steve Kenson's Ad Infinitum Adventures and in print from Green Ronin Publishing), The Super Villain Handbook by Jason Tondro and published by Fainting Goat Games manages to elevate that system into an even greater game.

    Wizards of the Coast's famous experiment in open design allowed more game designers to contribute to Dungeons & Dragons than ever before. But the same freedom to publish compatible games resulted in a glut of products that confused consumers and clogged game store shelves, resulting in the D20 "bubble" bursting. With the arrival of a new open game license from Wizards of the Coast, will history repeat itself?

    Billing itself as the home of open gaming, particularly D&D 5th Edition OGL products, a new online store has just opened up. It has been planned by a consortium of top OGL-supporting companies, including Kobold Press, Frog God Games, Troll Lord Games, Green Ronin, Rite Publishing, Super Genius Games, Expeditious Retreat Games, Hero Games, and more. Already it stocks 5E products from these companies, both in electronic and print form. The store is called Tabletop Library. They have announced themselves with a press release which you can see below.

    Yesterday, WotC's Mike Mearls (Senior Manager, D&D R&D), Chris Lindsay (D&D Product Manager), and Trevor Kidd (WotC Community Manager) answered a whole pile of questions about the new Dungeon Master's Guild and D&D Adventurer's League (along with an assortment of other questions) in an AMA on Reddit. I have compiled their answers here, divided up into topic categories to make it easier to find the information you're interested in. I haven't necessarily included every single answer - only those which I thought added some interesting new information or important clarifications. I also haven't included personal questions, things like "What's your favourite class?" type stuff, or rules questions, though there wasn't much of that. It's a lot of information, so grab a coffee before you sit down to read it!

    With all this information about OGLs and SRDs and other acronyms flying around, I thought I'd write a quick primer for those who aren't familiar with the concepts. This is not legal advice in any way, shape, or form - it's just a basic explanation of what these things are and what they mean. For the purposes of this article, I'm not including the Dungeon Master's Guild material, which is an entirely different structure and set of rules. Also, as it's not legal advice, I'm not going into detail on the nuances of the license - it's literally just a cursory overview of the concept, not a detailed analysis of the text. I hope it helps!

    As long as we’re exploring the lighter side of gaming, let’s go into a genre that is near and dear to my heart: super-heroes. Last year at Gen Con, I picked up a copy of Steve Kenson’s latest super-heroic role-playing game Icons. One of the big Gen Con releases (for me at least) was a new edition of the game. While I liked the fundamentals of the first edition of the game, it came across as rushed and unfinished, so I was excited to see what would happen to the game if it had a bit more polish put to it.

    I like light systems, and I cannot lie. Sunday I moved all of my comics and games out of the storage unit where they’ve been for the last month. One of the things that unpacking and organizing all of these boxes of games has pointed out to me is how much I have changed as a gamer over the years. Looking at my shelf of GURPS boxes as I arranged them in their new home reaffirmed my preference nowadays for lighter games systems.It doesn’t take away all the fun that I had over the years with these games, and I might revisit those games someday, but for now my eye has wandered to the lighter end of the gaming spectrum.
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