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Announcing Party First – An Alt History 1980s Game of Pulp Horror


Party First, a dark, alternate universe RPG is coming soon!
Gamenomicon is excited to announce the creation of a new horror universe, THE TWILIGHT WORLD, and the first game set within it, Party First.

Party First is a dark pulp horror roleplaying game of dark tension in a world that is a twisted mirror of our own a few short years ago. In it, characters will strive to survive and overcome that darkness and the depraved horrors that thrive within it.

The first release in THE TWILIGHT WORLD is a tabletop role-playing game designed by Will Lentz and Brett Zeiler, expected to release in Q4 2019.
The sun sets slowly on the horizon as fingers of ruddy light compete to turn the sky various shades of red. Dimly, it illuminates the world that you know, changed and shrouded by lengthening shadows. The line between what was safe and what was not, between the real and the unreal begins to fade away, even as you watch. Such is THE TWILIGHT WORLD….

Here, history has taken a decidedly darker turn than our own. While the very broad strokes of events may remain similar, a great deal has not occurred as you might expect it, or has occurred with different entities than you are used to. You may see some aspects that you recognize, and in most cases, it is by design. Other aspects will be more overemphasized, dramatized, or horrific than the world you are familiar with.

The biggest difference you will see is that of the horrors of THE TWILIGHT WORLD. Monsters are real here. The majority of humans have no idea what sort of horrors wait just outside their narrow scope of the world and yet their presence has shaped and influenced the course of human history from time immemorial to now.
“Sure it’s a little weird, a little niche, but with tabletop gaming growing so fast, there’s only going to be a growing niche of players who are interested in our weird little corner of an alternate universe world.
Plus, I really love researching and working through ideas for alternate worlds and histories.”
Will Lentz, Creator of Party First
“ I literally don’t have the words to describe my excitement.”
Brett Zeiler, Co-Creator of Party First

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And our overview is up at www.gamenomicon.com:

Party First is a dark, alternate universe RPG, but what does that mean more specifically?

Mechanically, Party First is a d6 based roll and keep style system designed for narrative storytelling in a pulp horror world. It is inspired by a variety of 80s classics and modern hits including, but not limited to Red Dawn, Rocky IV, From Russia With Love, Ice Station Zebra, The Thing, Poltergeist, The Fly, and Stranger Things.

Here in the TWILIGHT WORLD of Party First, however, your perspective has shifted. Here, players take on the roll of various citizens of the USRA (United Socialist Republic Alliance), the continent spanning communist nation of this world. In the TWILIGHT WORLD, history has played out as though a dark mirror of our own. Events may be similar. People may echo those you’ve heard of. But this is not our world. Here, the monsters are real.

In Party First, the players must not only navigate the murky political waters of a 1980s where the Long War that devastated Europa and toppled the empire of the Rus to bring the USRA to power and the decades long Twilight War still rages, but they must also do so while surviving the onslaught of eldritch horrors, cruel experiments, and atomic abominations that hover at the fringes of the known world. In this world, bureaucracy may be as deadly as the monsters.

Are you a true believer? PARTY FIRST!

Highlights of Party First:

Roll and Keep: In Party First, players assemble a pool of d6 according to their skills plus their attributes and rolls these dice, while selecting two from the rolled dice to use as their result. This result is then compared against the GM’s roll or the Tension Pool.

Party Skill and Party Points: However, there’s a twist! Thanks to the USRA’s red tape, players are by default only able to use the Party’s Skill in any particular situation. This is equal to the lowest value in that skill possessed by any player character in the game. In times of need, however, players are able to increase their chances and use their character’s personal skill value by spending Party Points. Party Points may also be spent to activate some character abilities and advantages.

But don’t do so too often, because pushing the envelope tends to create even more tension about what might happen next.

Tension Points and Tension Pool: Game Masters have the Tension Points resource to spend on various enemy abilities. Additionally, the total number of Tension Points are tracked as the Tension Pool. If this ever hits a multiple of 10, it explodes, causing semi-random chaos and horrifying events to unfold upon the player characters.

Classes and Advantages: Player characters may be fully customized, not only with allocation of points to Attributes and Skills, but also by selecting from one of 8 classes which provide a variety of story hooks, stat boosts, and unique abilities. Players may also select from a pool of Advantages to further customize their characters and give them more tempting ways to spend their Party Points.

One Shot and Campaign: While Party First is generally designed for one shot scenarios to offer a glimpse into life in the USRA, optional advancement rules are also included so that the same characters can grow and change over the course of a campaign.

Cold and Radiation: The core rulebook also includes two one shot scenarios for players to get a taste of the world and mechanics, The Research Station and Radiation Spike.

There’s much more to the world and the game, as you will see in the full document, available soon through DriveThruRPG.

We’re excited about the possibilities of this game and look forward to many more adventures there.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!


Peace Among Worlds
Two 3 important questions ok fine 2 reasonably important questions and 1 very important point of advice:

a) are you looking for freelancers to write for this (supplements, adventures, in-universe fiction, whatever)?
b) do you have money dollars to pay freelancers to write for this?
c) ADVICE: for PDFs use itch.io not DriveThruRPG: DriveThru takes a 30% cut (maybe even 33% or 34%, don't recall) for simply hosting a file which is preposterously extortionate. itch's default cut is 10% but you can give it as much or as little profit share as you want. You could even give them 0% and keep 100% of the MSRP if you wanted to (personally, the fact that they are asking for less money makes me want to give them more money, or at least some). Also, you can do any sale of any kind that you want at any time for any length of time, you don't get automatically opted in to site-wide sales. For dead tree, though, you're stuck with DriveThru, but trust me, go itch for the PDFs. I got a strong feeling I'd be a much happier, less emotionally damaged human being right now if someone had told me that back in 2015 when itch was brand new. The only argument against it is that itch is primarily known for videogames, not tabletop games, and OneBookShelf (parent company of drivethru) has cornered the market on roleplaying games the way that Amazon has cornered the market on...ok basically everything. But every single time a pen and paper game goes up for sale on itch, that argument gets weaker and weaker-- and they go up every day.

Being 1980s pulp horror it is rather extremely RELEVANT TO MY INTERESTS. And to be clear by that I mean I designed and wrote an entire full-size full-length 211 page Best Free RPG ENnie-award-nominated game in essentially that genre.

PM me if you want you don't have to respond here.

Spoilered for unsolicited and cynical advice.
I saw this after I made my original post and I had to respond:

“Sure it’s a little weird, a little niche, but with tabletop gaming growing so fast, there’s only going to be a growing niche of players who are interested in our weird little corner of an alternate universe world."

Oh, you poor, poor clueless kids, how I pity you. Because I done BEEN you. I spent over half a decade trying to do what you're trying to do otherwise I'd never speak this bluntly to anyone and I never feel comfortable speaking with authority on any topic but...this is something I spent a significant chunk of my adult life trying to do and not just failing but really fucking my life up in the process. So whenever I see a bright eyed young man about to venture down that road, it feels wrong to say nothing.

The first thing you must understand is that matter how much the hobby grows, at least 70% of that growth is going to go into the big leagues, i.e. D&D and Pathfinder (maybe a 50/20 split dunno). Then the true medium-sized companies: Catalyst Game Labs (Shadowrun), PEG (Savage Worlds), Modiphius (a whole lot of licensed stuff, including Fallout), Cubicle 7 (Dr. Who), Chaosium (Call of Cthulhu), Evil Hat (FATE), Arc Dream (Delta Green) et al. are fighting over the next 25%, leaving that last 5% of the market share of a niche industry for LITERALLY EVERY OTHER RPG PUBLISHER TO FIGHT OVER. So the industry growing isn't going to help you: the SIZE of the industry will change, the SHAPE will not.

Depending on what your goals are and how you define success (my own definition was actually to make enough to at least contribute as my ex did to the family I planned on us eventually having, which was setting the bar way too high and also super stupid in a half-dozen other ways I'm not gonna get into) you might do very well. I have a couple ENnie nominations and some Silver best-sellers on DriveThru: not a bad takeaway, but nowhere near worth the physical and emotional scars that I also walked away from the industry with. I'm not saying your game is bad. I'm not saying no one will buy it.

I'm not even saying it's technically impossible for you to make real money off of it: not impossible, but statistically, it's about as plausible for any true independent in this business (opposed to say, a company attaching itself to a preexisting fad) as it is that you'd win the lottery and be struck by lightning on the same day: with the distinction that you need to prove you're incredibly creative, talented, skilled, dedicated, and perserverant before the guy at the convenience store will even sell you the lotto ticket or you're you're even able to go outside when it's raining.
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We’re excited to announce that the Party First line of RPG products is continuing to expand! Today, we launch our first of these smaller PDF only products, Twilight Sites.

Party First: Twilight Sites expands the depth of the TWILIGHT WORLD with the addition of five brand new secretive bases and locations. These are the places that someone doesn’t want you to know exist. Or at the very least, they don’t want you to know the truth of what happens there. In this PDF, you’ll find information on that site’s location, history and purpose, as well as details on particular people of importance in that area.
These include:
  • Tsibernia Facility T-07: A re-education camp with an even darker secret at the heart of their methods.
  • Research Lab AT-355: Publicly, a training camp for elite Athenian athletes. Secretly much more.
  • Jakimov Base: Headquarters of the USRA in East Berburg with deep secrets in its walls.
  • Yesmik Village: A hidden village still practicing some very old ways.
  • Kuras Point: A well known cosmos observatory. What could such a public place be hiding?
Pick it up on DriveThruRPG or on Itch.io.

Would you be interested in joining me for a Q&A in my chatroom, #randomworlds?

Past guests include Kenneth Hite, Robin D. Laws, Greg Stafford, Greg Stolze, Marc Miller, Jonathan Tweet, Margaret Weis, Mike Pondsmith, and Mark Rein•Hagen.

This is a free service, although tips are welcome at Buy Dan Davenport a Coffee. ko-fi.com/gmshoe. Your Q&A will be promoted on my Facebook feed, at six Facebook groups -- nine if it is a Kickstarter -- and on three major RPG web forums (TheRPGSite, RPGPub, and Enworld). In addition, the log of the Q&A will be maintained on my blog.

Here's the schedule: #randomworlds Q&A Schedule

(The standard time slots are 7:30-9:30 p.m. Central, Monday-Thursday except where otherwise noted. However, I can sometimes manage to do a session from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Central Monday-Thursday or from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Central on Fridays.)

Here's the shortcut to the chatroom: Mibbit IRC client widget or Kiwi IRC - The web IRC client

Here's my blog, where I save the Q&A logs: The Hardboiled GMshoe's Office

And here's the Q&A format: Q&A format

We also have a secondary chatroom on Discord: Join the Randomworlds Discord Server!

I should also mention that game authors are always welcome to hang out with us and discuss their products, and we have quite a few authors who do so on a regular basis. A Q&A simply gives you the floor to yourself. :)


Our first new adventure, The Butcher, The Baker, and the Drekavac Maker is available now.

Party First: The Butcher, The Baker, and The Drekavac Maker is the first new adventure for the Party First roleplaying game and the TWILIGHT WORLD as a whole. Here, the players will explore a slice of rural life in the USRA and discover that , even in a sleepy little village may hide horrifying secrets.

The Party has been sent to investigate the hamlet of Proshi, a location where mysterious ghostly sightings of the mystic Yefim have been reported. This is deeply troubling to the Party establishment and must be quelled immediately. Unfortunately, all is not what it seems and they soon uncover a many layered web of con men, cults, and conspiracies that may cause them to question their very sanity

Available on DriveThruRPG.


Patrick Kanouse over at Black Gate Magazine recently wrote up a great review of Party First. We’re very glad that they took the time to go over the game and provide us a little publicity. If you’ve been on the fence about checking the game out, please get a feel for it with this review. Likewise, be sure to check out a lot of their other great content. Chances are, if you like games like Party First, you’ll probably like the rest of Black Gate Magazine.

Party First Review on Black Gate Magazine.

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