RPG Print News – Chaosium, Goodman Games, and More

The 90s are back with both Rifts and Vampire the Masquerade core rulebooks in print. D&D gets all the adventures of course and the most expensive GM screen I’ve ever seen. Call of Cthulhu gets an updated starter set. And Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG gets supplements. Finally, The Expanse Roleplaying Game goes beyond the ring and into whole new worlds of adventure.

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Note: RPG Print News covers new RPG releases and some classics, reprints, and sales available from retailers. It does not cover products that are only available directly to customers through kickstarter or as print on demand.

Rifts (Ultimate Edition) | The Compendium of Modern Weapons (2022 Printing) by Palladium
  • SYSTEM: Palladium game system
  • PRODUCT TYPE: softcover core rules/supplement
  • RETAIL PRICE: $34.99/$26.95
  • DESCRIPTION: Rifts. Just look at that cover. PCs may bump into a dragon, cyborg, monster, giant robot, alien, vampire, or even a god. PCs enjoy wonder, danger, courage, and endless adventure in a post-apocalyptic Earth setting. Humanity battles for survival against aliens and supernatural invaders from the Rifts. Magic and technology both exist and often clash. PCs options include Dragon Hatchlings, Cyber-Knights, Glitter Boys, Ley Line Walkers, Techno-Wizards, Crazies, and Juicers. Features: cyborgs, robots, power armors, weapons, armor, vehicles, equipment, 140+ magic spells, 90 psionic powers, and a world overview. If you look up the word gonzo in the dictionary don’t be surprised if you see this book cover. The Compendium of Modern Weapons covers 450+ weapons from around the world, listed by country and type. 106 small arms – pistols and revolvers. 92 military grade rifles. 68 submachine-guns. 43 anti-tank weapons. 38 hand grenades & pyrotechnic devices. 28 machine-guns. 25 grenade launchers. 13 shotguns. 17 anti-aircraft, light support, and mortars. 21 armored vehicles. 17 types of body armor. Flamethrowers, EOD (explosive ordinance disposal), and riot control gear. Plus some bayonets, special magazines, scopes, and accessories. Historically and technically accurate. Suitable for most game systems.
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Necropolis (5E) | Necropolis (S&W) | Necropolis GM Screen (5E) | Necropolis (5E) (Leatherbound Edition) | Necropolis (S&W) (Leatherbound Edition) by Frog God Games
  • SYSTEM: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition or Swords & Wizardry
  • PRODUCT TYPE: hardcover supplements/GM screen/leatherbound exclusive hardcovers
  • RETAIL PRICE: $55/$60/$200
  • DESCRIPTION: Necropolis is designed for a party of six to eight seasoned characters starting between 7th and 9th level and will challenge even the most experienced players. Based on an original work by Gary Gygax, Necropolis is a desert adventure set in the triple Kingdom of Khemit, on the continent of Libynos in the Lost Lands. The GM Screen depicts an epic battle in a continuous full-color image across four landscape panels. The inside has information for DMs to help run the adventure. The leatherbound edition is library-bound and stitched, cased in natural black leather, and available in a limited quantity.
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Quests of Doom #1 Volume 1 | Quests of Doom #1 Volume 2 | Quests of Doom #2 by Frog God Games
  • SYSTEM: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition
  • PRODUCT TYPE: hardcover adventures
  • RETAIL PRICE: $40.00/$25/$25
  • DESCRIPTION: Quests of Doom Volume 1 contains 12 adventures with an AD&D 1E feel. Examples: Emeralds of Highfang by Ed Greenwood (Emeralds of Highfang), Deep in the Vale by Jim Ward, and The Dead from Above by Michael Curtis. Volume 2 contains six adventures such as Dread Dragon Temple by Jim War and The Darkening of Namjan Forest by Michael Curtis. Quests of Doom 2 covers six adventures for 1st to 6th level PCs. This sequel to the two-volume Quests of Doom offers adventures from the weird and terrifying interior of the Spire of Iron and Crystal (depicted on the cover) to the heat-misted Jungle Ruins of Madaro-Shanti.
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Call of Cthulhu Starter Set (40th Anniversary) | Cults of Cthulhu by Chaosium
  • SYSTEM: Call of Cthulhu
  • PRODUCT TYPE: box set
  • RETAIL PRICE: $24.99
  • DESCRIPTION: Horror RPG with many mysteries, insanity, and mind bending monsters and spells. Inside this box: Book One: introduction and Alone Against The Flames - a solo introductory adventure to teach the basics. Book Two: the basic rules needed for starting play. Book Three: three starter adventures. Also includes five ready-to-play game characters, blank character sheets, six polyhedral dice, and handouts. Cults of Cthulhu delves into the human side of the dark and horrific world of those who worship the dead yet dreaming abominations known as Great Cthulhu. Inside: a history of Cthulhu cults from the Victorian era to Modern-Day. five Cthulhu cults, detailed guidance on designing cults and their leaders including a special “Cults Worksheet”, profiles for a range of cultists, monsters, artifacts, spells, and three scenarios: Gaslight Victorian, Modern-Day, and 1920s.
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Chanters in the Dark | The Book of Fallen Gods by Goodman Games
  • SYSTEM: Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG
  • PRODUCT TYPE: softcover supplements
  • RETAIL PRICE: $10 each
  • DESCRIPTION: In Chanters in the Dark, deep below Aereth and stranded on a dark stony beach, the PCs must deal with beast-men, strange growths, and the Caretaker if they wish to escape. The PCs must uncover the Chanters in the Dark secrets if they ever wish to see the sun again. The Book of Fallen Gods introduces seven new with powers ranging from love to destruction.
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Vampire the Masquerade (5th Edition, 3rd Printing) by Renegade Games
  • SYSTEM: Storyteller
  • PRODUCT TYPE: hardcover core rulebook
  • RETAIL PRICE: $55
  • DESCRIPTION: PCs are creepy predatory vampires. They play a Storytelling game of personal and political horror and remain fearful of the inhuman conspiracies that surround them. As a vampire, PCs suffer the pangs of the Hunger, the relentless and terrible thirst for human blood. If they refuse to deal with it, it will overcome their mind and drive them to terrible acts to slake it. Like drinking too much and getting Taco Bell at midnight. So many regrets. While the rules have been redesigned, this new edition honors the deep story of the original, advancing the metaplot from where it left off and detailing exactly what has happened in the world of the Kindred up until recently.
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Beyond the Ring by Green Ronin
  • SYSTEM: The Expanse Roleplaying Game
  • PRODUCT TYPE: softcover supplement
  • RETAIL PRICE: $34.95
  • DESCRIPTION: Advances the timeline to the fourth novel in the The Expanse series and details the Ring, a portal centered on an ancient alien station that connects to more than a thousand other portals leading to a thousand different star systems. Includes tools for Game Masters to design their own systems for characters to explore as the unlocking of the ring gates has opened vast frontiers for human settlement and exploration.
 

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Charles Dunwoody

Charles Dunwoody




Teo Twawki

Coffee ruminator
As a vampire, PCs suffer the pangs of the Hunger, the relentless and terrible thirst for human blood. If they refuse to deal with it, it will overcome their mind and drive them to terrible acts to slake it. Like drinking too much and getting Taco Bell at midnight.
Isn't drinking too much and getting Taco Bell at midnight the perfect bait to kill a vampire? :unsure:
Vampire lives a thousand years until they chomp a human after midnight at a Taco Bell... :sick:

So many regrets.
One final and fatal regret for the neckbiter.
 

wellis

Explorer
How is the Palladium game system doing? I've heard so much of how screwed up the rules are, how Siembieda backseat GMing in the rulebooks was annoying, how silly the Mach numbers in space were, how rigid the metaplot was, and so on it's a wonder they're still in business.
 

How is the Palladium game system doing? I've heard so much of how screwed up the rules are, how Siembieda backseat GMing in the rulebooks was annoying, how silly the Mach numbers in space were, how rigid the metaplot was, and so on it's a wonder they're still in business.

Palladium

I don't play their RPGs but they seem to be doing well with a professional website and an active forum. Any rumors online are usually worse than what is actually happening around game tables in many cases I've found.
 

aramis erak

Legend
How is the Palladium game system doing? I've heard so much of how screwed up the rules are, how Siembieda backseat GMing in the rulebooks was annoying, how silly the Mach numbers in space were, how rigid the metaplot was, and so on it's a wonder they're still in business.
Palladium's games tend to do well with middle-school and high school students.
The combat mechanic is a simple d20 sequential rolls (attack, parry/dodge, roll with impact); simple, fairly quick, but also very wiffy.
The skill mechanic is simple: 1d100 < Skill + mods
All skills advance in lockstep as the character levels.
HP are low gain for all...
The settings are a bit over the top, the mecha combat rife with almost meaningless hit locations and only a few with randomization of location hit. But the settings are also rich, written in an accessible style,, well illustrated...

So, they have a strong fanbase, steady sales, and, thanks to a financial crisis, the Rifts setting ported to Savage Worlds
 


TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
Palladium's games tend to do well with middle-school and high school students.
The combat mechanic is a simple d20 sequential rolls (attack, parry/dodge, roll with impact); simple, fairly quick, but also very wiffy.
The skill mechanic is simple: 1d100 < Skill + mods
All skills advance in lockstep as the character levels.
HP are low gain for all...
The settings are a bit over the top, the mecha combat rife with almost meaningless hit locations and only a few with randomization of location hit. But the settings are also rich, written in an accessible style,, well illustrated...

So, they have a strong fanbase, steady sales, and, thanks to a financial crisis, the Rifts setting ported to Savage Worlds
It’s sort of an ultimate fantasy heartbreaker thing. But actually making money, kinda.

And there is a lot creativity across a lot of games.
 

It’s sort of an ultimate fantasy heartbreaker thing. But actually making money, kinda.

And there is a lot creativity across a lot of games.

And it is no small thing for an RPG company to still be in business since its first product in 1981 with a fairly consistent game system and vision. And the rules mostly cross over between RPGs which was a huge new idea in the 80s. TSR didn't publish RPGs that way.
 

aramis erak

Legend
And it is no small thing for an RPG company to still be in business since its first product in 1981 with a fairly consistent game system and vision. And the rules mostly cross over between RPGs which was a huge new idea in the 80s. TSR didn't publish RPGs that way.
TSR did for a bit... GW, MSH/AMSH, Conan, and Star Frontiers all had versions of the color table engine.
TSR also did Amazing Engine... often noted for being amazingly bad... which was included standalone core + setting book packages.

poly-setting engines of note include Chaosium/BRP, Amazing Engine, Palladium, GURPS, Hero System, d6 System, Masterbook, D20, D20M, Tri-Stat, and more recently, D&D 4e, D&D 5E, Zweihander, 2d20, and YZE.

They fall into four basic clades:
Engine Only: The engine is the same, but the cores aren't labeled as compatible, and major changes are present.
Adapted Core: the rules are mostly the same, but adapted to the setting.
Co-packaged Core+Setting Book: a non-adapted corebook
Core sold separately

Engine OnlyAdapted CoresCore & Setting in PackageSeparate Core
AD&D 2E & Buck Rogers & Gamma World 4eChaosium's BRP³"Powered By GURPS"GURPS
AD&D 1E & Gamma World¹Hero System (before 4E)⁵⁹Masterbook⁶Hero System (4/5/6E cores)
TSR Color Table games²⁹RTG InterlockAmazing EngineChaosium's BRP⁴
TORG, Shatterzone⁶d6 system⁷BRP: Worlds of Wonder³d6 system⁷
Palladium⁸Palladium Multiverse⁸Plainlable RPG
Fuzion⁹2d20 System¹⁰
AWE/PBTAYear Zero Engine¹¹
TSR Saga¹²GURPS Dungeon Fantasy
¹: GWEditions 1 & 2 used the AD&D 1E core mechanics with variations. Compatibility not listed, but crossover rules
²: Marvel Super Heroes, Advanced Marvel Super Heroes, Conan, one edition of Gamma World, added to Star Frontiers in a supplement. Retrocloned as ZeFRS and 4-Color
³: RuneQuest, ElfQuest, Ringworld, Call of Cthulhu, Worlds Beyond. Worlds of Wonder has a very short core, plus 3 sourcebooks, in one box
⁴: Many newer settings use the generic core
: Champions 1-3e, Fantasy Hero, Robot Warriors, Justice Inc, Star Hero - most of which get 4e/5e/6e sourcebooks instead
⁶: Same engine; compatibility not noted until the Masterbook line. Note that TORG uses 1d20 rather than 2d10, and Shatterzone has two extra cards; otherwise, they're all the same engine. Masterbook titles include Indianna Jones, Tank Girl, Bloodshadows, Species, Necroscope,
⁷: all commercial releases I'm aware of before 1996 used adapted cores save the genericized "d6 System"; 4 genericized core rulebooks released (d6 System, D6 Space, D6 Fantasy, D6 Adventure), and the latter 3 genericized were released by WEG as "all text open content" just before WEG was sold off in pieces. Titles of the WEG lines include Star Wars, Ghostbusters, Hercules & Xena, MIB, Indianna Jones.
⁸: Palladium's Mechanoids and 1st Edition Palladium Fantasy RPG have some minor differences, and weren't indicated as cross compatible; only after Robotech was the cross-compatibility noted...
⁹ Fuzion is the superset of the open subset of Interlock and open subset of Hero System 4. It's technically open licensed, but not OGL, not CC, not GNU FDL.
RTG Interlock includes all editions of Cyberpunk, Mekton, and the severely adapted Teenagers from Outer Space & its sequel, Star Riders.
Most Fuzion games are heavily Interlock, but some are almost purely Hero System, and a few are in the middle.
¹⁰: Mutant Chronicles 3, Conan, John Carter of Mars, Star Trek Adventures, Dune, Fallout, and several others. While mechanically close, there ARE several gotcha-level differences... MC3 and Conan seem the closest to each other, with STA & Dune being closer to each other than to JCOM, Conan, or MC3.
¹¹: Coriolis, Mutant Year Zero, Alien, Forbidden Land, Vaesen, Tales from the Loop, Twilight 2000, Blade Runner.
¹²: Not even compatible decks! Core mechanics related, players can cross easily between, but characters cannot. Games are Dragonlance 5th Age and Marvel Super Heroes Adventure Game. I'd love to see MSHAG rereleased
 



aramis erak

Legend
That is an amazingly detailed response.
Triggered by a mild manic fluctuation and the assertion (in error) about TSR. Most just aren't aware that TSR was doing so since the 1970's.
Gamma World and D&D have almost always been close variants of each other, save for the color table edition, which was the same mechanics as MSH and Conan. Which is part of why Gamma World is as successful as it is: it's D&D with high tech nonsense
As an interesting side note, the D&D 4E version of GW doesn't seem to be on DTRPG.

If I wasn't already married, I would have proposed to @aramis erak. Those footnotes were sexy.
I'll take that as a compliment.
I'm already married to a gamer.
 

Triggered by a mild manic fluctuation and the assertion (in error) about TSR. Most just aren't aware that TSR was doing so since the 1970's.

I appreciate your effort and enthusiasm, but what you said about TSR is actually not true. And your assumption about me is wrong as well. Gamma World 1E has its own mechanics which are distinct from D&D. So does Star Frontiers. And Marvel Super Heroes I ran all those games and still have copies of GW and SF. I didn't play or run Boot Hill or Top Secret but I know those RPGs didn't use D&D's system. The AD&D 1E DMG had conversion guides for many of those games in fact. Amazing Engine didn't come out until the 90s. I ran that too and have a copy of Bughunters. So no, in the 80s TSR did not have a unified mechanic.

They didn't in the 90s either. They tried Amazing Engine and then Alternity while at the same time keeping D&D going until they went bust in the late 90s. In the late 90s they also converted Dragonlance and Marvel Super Heroes to the SAGA system which was card driven.

I've run many of TSR's games and few of their RPGs used the same engine. Heck, they even had two slightly different versions of D&D going at the same time for several years. There is even a magic item in Basic D&D that summons a bard who mutters about incompatibility. Those were weird times in some ways....
 
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aramis erak

Legend
I appreciate your effort and enthusiasm, but what you said about TSR is actually not true. And your assumption about me is wrong as well. Gamma World 1E has its own mechanics which are distinct from D&D. So does Star Frontiers. And Marvel Super Heroes I ran all those games and still have copies of GW and SF. I didn't play or run Boot Hill or Top Secret but I know those RPGs didn't use D&D's system. The AD&D 1E DMG had conversion guides for many of those games in fact. Amazing Engine didn't come out until the 90s. I ran that too and have a copy of Bughunters. So no, in the 80s TSR did not have a unified mechanic.

They didn't in the 90s either. They tried Amazing Engine and then Alternity while at the same time keeping D&D going until they went bust in the late 90s. In the late 90s they also converted Dragonlance and Marvel Super Heroes to the SAGA system which was card driven.

I've run many of TSR's games and few of their RPGs used the same engine. Heck, they even had two slightly different versions of D&D going at the same time for several years. There is even a magic item in Basic D&D that summons a bard who mutters about incompatibility. Those were weird times in some ways....
They used several mechanical sets over the years; so did Palladium. (Palladium has 3 core engines - the Multiversal, the Recon one, and the Amber one... whether one considers Valley of the Pharaohs to be a separate engine is arguable either way, so I'm not counting it.)

Fact: Amazing Engine is a core+sourcebook system, where the core is bound into each unit. I never claimed it to use AD&D's engine.
Fact: Buck Rogers system is based upon AD&D 2E and this is stated in the rules.
Most descriptions of GW 1E and 2E (which I've read, but not run, specifically because they're using the AD&D style mechanics) note the derivation of the rules. That you cannot see/admit that doesn't make it untrue.
 

They used several mechanical sets over the years; so did Palladium. (Palladium has 3 core engines - the Multiversal, the Recon one, and the Amber one... whether one considers Valley of the Pharaohs to be a separate engine is arguable either way, so I'm not counting it.)

Fact: Amazing Engine is a core+sourcebook system, where the core is bound into each unit. I never claimed it to use AD&D's engine.
Fact: Buck Rogers system is based upon AD&D 2E and this is stated in the rules.
Most descriptions of GW 1E and 2E (which I've read, but not run, specifically because they're using the AD&D style mechanics) note the derivation of the rules. That you cannot see/admit that doesn't make it untrue.

Not going to argue on the internet. You do you.
 

Battlemaster

Villager
The 90s, you say?

How about Battlelords of the 23rd century? It's back with a new edition and a new company.


BL23C has stayed true to it's 90s roots, it still uses a crunchy system and is mainly about military type action, often as mercenaries. The system hasn't dumbed down and the setting hasn't woke up.

Here's a nice review.


Another review.


The game seems to be getting some hostility from both sides of the American social spectrum due to its adherence to it's 90s roots.

A video reviewer disliked the way it portrayed unregulated corporate controlled capitalism and 'megacorporations' fairly negatively, decrying it as having a ''socialist'' feel.

Other people seem to be negative towards it for having 'racial' ( maybe 'species' would be a better term) animosity being a factor in the game. Unlike some SF settings in general there are certain common feelings species have towards other, alien, species in BL23C. This is understandable since many of them fought very bloody wars against each other earlier. Some species were nearly annihiliated by others. This seems to offend some people who believe in some sort of Utopian dream of perfect acceptance of all, as long as they utterly submit to their views on every single issue and never utter a syllable of disagreement.

Frankly I like having a game with a huge list of gear that that gives me vast options to customize my characters, I also like a game that doesn't constantly flash trendy social virtue signals at me from every page. These are BL23Cs biggest selling points to me.
 
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