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Sean's Picks of the Week (0219-0223) - Special Ops Gaming Week!

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!


Missed yesterday (this was originally posted on my SPOD page on Tuesday, Feb 20th) due to post-con recovery and going to see Black Panther (hint: DON’T MISS THIS!). So today, you get a Double Pick as we launch into Special Ops Gaming Week in anticipation of the impending launch of the Freedom Squadron Kickstarter. I wanted to take a look at some of the great gaming products that came before, leading the way to what I hope will be a new chapter in great action-adventure, cool guns and cooler stunts kind of gaming experience.

Representing opposite ends of the complexity spectrum, we have Len Pimentel’s Magnum Fury (an incredibly light, fast, fun-as-hell game with an almost-PBtA element) and GURPS Special Ops (a 3rd edition era product, complete and resplendent with tons of useful and intriguing information about what a special operations game experience should contain).

GURPS Special Ops - The Third Edition of this popular military sourcebook is massively updated and lengthened. Roleplay behind-the-lines strikes, hostage rescue, guerrilla warfare, and other special-ops missions. There’s lots of detail on weaponry and information on the world’s top unconventional-warfare units . . . Rangers, Delta Force, Spetsnaz, SEALs, Special Air Service, Sayeret Matkal, and more.

Magnum Fury - “I was a 98 pound weakling who used to get sand kicked in my face at the beach. At least, that was until Magnum Fury came along!” ~Nobody Ever Said This

MAGNUM (n): a really big bullet or gun that is awesome and in no way intended to compensate for any unspecified size-related deficiency.

FURY (n): the kind of anger that makes you an unstoppable juggernaut of ass-kickery who can perform heroic feats normal wimps couldn’t even dream of.


A tabletop roleplaying game about action movies, especially those of the 80s and early 90s, Magnum Fury is designed to play the kind of fast combat and intense action scenes action movies are known for. Magnum Fury was heavily inspired by—and pokes a lot of fun at—the action movies and action comedies of the 80s and early 90s, but it can be used to play any kind of action adventure from any genre. It uses a simple set of rules that focus on the heroes and allow you and your friends to imitate your favorite action movies or make up your own. You can create your very own badass action hero in less than a minute, and game prep requires nothing more than a few ideas about how you plan to abuse the heroes.


We continue to recon through Special Ops Gaming Week – celebrating many of the great games and ideas that inspired the upcoming Freedom Squadron – with one of my favorite things my friend Eddy Webb ever created. Dark Brigade is a Cartoon Action Hour: Season 3 series that focuses on paranormal special ops agents going head-to-head with a truly evil bunch of monsters to save the world. I had a chance to play this at AndoCon* a few years back, and it was just a whole lot of fun! Definitely an inspiration to my own work.

(*) – I am a Guest again this year, all for the launch of our Freedom Squadron Kickstarter!

Eleven years and two Cartoon Action Hour editions later, the Dark Brigade series (by Eddy himself) is back due to popular demand!

In this deluxe Cartoon Action Hour: Season 3 series book, the elite para-military group known as the Dark Brigade finds itself at odds with the vampiric Lord Syn and his vile Brotherhood of Death, as they wage war all over the world in an exciting struggle of good versus evil!

• Information about the fictitious cartoon series.

• Exhaustive details about the two factions and their various ally groups such as EVE X and the Order of Charr.

• Write-ups and stats for 15 Game Master Characters, 9 vehicles, 2 playsets, 6 weapons, 5 types of Goons and 3 generic minor villains.

• Information about the various supernatural races found in the series, including two varieties of zombie, ghouls, gillmen, two varieties of vampires, wolfmen, goblins, witches, mummies and golems.

• Details for creating your own Player Characters.

• Twelve episode seeds, including the epic “Darkness Unleashed”, The Dark Brigade movie. Additionally, each seed includes advice for setting up and running it.

• Tons of fantastic art!


So it’s fair to say Freedom Squadron isn’t the first to delve into the action-cartoon field of over-the-top special operations action. The Crafty Games gang got there with their d20-driven Spycraft a few years ago, and folks loved it. Everyone in this industry stands on the shoulders of giants.

So here’s the latest Pick for Special Ops Gaming Week – the very Saturday morning friendly Real American H.E.R.O.es.

This release is also part of the Saturday Morning Spycraft series, which explores your favorite 80s cartoon properties using the Spycraft 2.0 system. In this release you can…

Fight for freedom – or crush it – in a brand new world of four-color military fantasy! Real American H.E.R.O.es is a mini-setting where the good guys wear green, the bad guys wear blue, and great notions like democracy and justice prevail over evil in half-hour segments! This huge Spycraft 2.0 expansion is jam-packed with everything you need to join America’s elite special missions force – or bring the world to its knees!

  • Join the battle on any side – with the U.S. Headquarters for Eminent Risk Oversight (H.E.R.O.), the paramilitary legions of National Military Exports (N.M.E.), the cunning arms dealers at Morrigna Corporation, the mysterious elders of the Shirobikou ninja clan, or the anarchist Wrecker biker tribe.
  • Build your own unique H.E.R.O. with new Origins and feats, plus two Master Classes: the savvy Commandant and the maniacal Overlord.
  • Expand your arsenal with vehicles and weapons right out of your favorite Saturday morning cartoons.
  • Devise exciting military adventures with rules for Rank and Allegiance, plus the Diabolical Plot and McGuffin of the Week generators and all-new campaign qualities.
  • Forge alliances and lifelong nemeses among dozens of NPCs from every side of the conflict (including winners of Crafty Games’ Build-a-Hero contest).

Do you have the guts to be a Real American H.E.R.O.? Or are you more interested in the fast-growing field of global appropriation? Perhaps a lucrative Morrigna franchise, study under the Shirobikou masters, or a rowdy tour of the world’s darkest roads is more your speed? No matter your flag, recruiting starts now!


For those who like their military-flavored games full of tactical crunch and percentile-driven resolutions, there’s CONTACT. Set in a near future where anyone with any useful skills might get recruited to combat both terrestrial evil and extraterrestrial threat, this game feels like a solid way to end Special Ops Gaming Week.

Are you the type to ask too many questions? Are you infamous for being over-prepared for any situation you encounter? Do people marvel at your outside-the-box thinking and inventiveness? Could you be a scientific genius, an athlete, a mastermind of espionage? Or, do you just excel at crushing your opponents?

The year is 2047 A.D., and a clandestine agency called OMEGA has just recruited you into their ranks of international operatives: soldiers, scientists, spooks, bureaucrats and diplomats, from around the world, all of whom who have already caught a faint glimpse of the impending doom.

Technology has evolved. War has evolved. Unfortunately, trapped in the human condition, Earth’s dominant species hasn’t. People from all walks of life are still puzzled in the face of a threat that’s overshadowed human history for millennia, eluding their grasp, and always lurking beneath layers of lies and deceit.

In this politically-charged future, you will pit your wits and resources against multiple hostile extraterrestrial factions while trying to put an end to the domestic dangers of human lunacy and corporate greed. Enter a vibrant world of UFO madness, mystery, and cutting-edge technology… if you have what it takes to be the last line of defense for your entire planet.

It is time to change the game.

Command. Research. Fight Back.

CONTACT – Tactical Alien Defense Role Playing Game

Finally available in English, CONTACT is a full-blown, standalone science fiction tabletop role-playing game, authored by Robert Hamberger. It comes with its own custom point-based action combat mechanics, and uses percentile dice for most in-game resolutions. More in-depth game mechanics, such as advanced combat tactics and vehicular fighting, are handled in a modular fashion so that the game can be kept to a minimum amount of complexity for casual gamers. Advanced players will enjoy the added blend of comprehensive strategy and simulation elements such as research and development.

The English language core rulebook is a high-resolution, full color PDF, containing 290 pages of illustration, a hyper-linked index, and other interactive functions which will take you anywhere you need in the blink of an eye. CONTACT has been beautifully illustrated by the prolific U.S. / New Zealand artist Anthony “ACS” Scroggins. This digital product contains everything you will need, including such extras as background information on the game world, an introductory campaign, sample hero characters, assorted sinister alien archetypes, and loads of kick-ass military hardware.


So obviously I mentioned Freedom Squadron quite a bit, and I greatly appreciate your collective indulgence. Hopefully, you will find this next part an adequate reward - I'd like to share the amazing promotional video crafted by the wizardry of Cheyenne Wright and featuring the stunning art of Phil Cho.


If you'd like to check more cool vids created for the setting, take a look at our official YouTube channel. Of course, I'd love to invite you to follow the official Freedom Squadron Facebook page.

Whatever your gaming preferences are, I hope you get to do some this weekend, and thank you for your kind indulgence as I share my own efforts while sharing the efforts of others.

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!