log in or register to remove this ad


Sean's Picks of the Week (0425-0429) - Your PC Backstory, Earth AD, Suzerain Continuum, Black Hack,

So, some of you might have heard about this little Kickstarter I am involved in? Heh, yeah, things are a bit insane for me right now, but fear not! The Picks of the Week march on, and I've got some good ones for you. Have some troubles figuring out a good backstory for your favorite character? There's a great product designed specifically to help you. Want to explore publishing that really cool stuff you've created for Cypher, D&D, Cortex, or Traveller? There's a new venue and set of tools just for that! All that, and the world of Earth AD, the old school Black Hack, and the infinity of the Suzerain Continuum as well!

Background Noise

Occasionally, when I make one of my semi-frequent calls for suggestions of Picks, I get something linked to me that is a callback to a product that was put up for sale a while ago. This is one of those “In Case You Missed It” products, an extremely handy tool to help folks flesh out their fantasy characters’ backgrounds. While there are those for whom crafting the background is a personal work of art, many other players might appreciate a system that helps guide them through a quick-and-easy character history that is nonetheless compelling and fun to play off of. GMs, too, will appreciate a tool that helps them quickly flesh out that support character or other NPC they weren’t expecting to need until just five minutes ago.

Breathe life into your character

Another product in our line of generic supplements, this one allows you to randomly generate a background for any fantasy character. By walking through a series of tables, you will determine:

  • Where the character grew up
  • Who he lived with
  • What his parents did
  • How many siblings he had
  • Any family legacy
  • Events in the character’s childhood
  • Events in the character’s adult life
  • The most significant personality traits of the character
  • and much much more…

With 40 tables and hundreds of options, there are millions of possible combinations, making sure that no two character’s backgrounds are exactly alike.

So add some Background Noise to your character, he’ll thank you for it.

Check out the demo here.


As the Savage Rifts Kickstarter cooks along, folks may be interested to explore the full potential of Savage Worlds and the endless universe of possibilities presented. Today, I’d like to point your attention towards Savage Mojo and their Suzerain Continuum. There are so many worlds to explore – Shaintar, Set Rising, Shanghai Vampocalypse, Millennium Knights, Clockwork Dreams, Dogs of Hades – all with one character, in one campaign.

Just imagine combining that with the possibilities of Savage Rifts?

Suzerain is an Origins Award Nominee from the Savage Mojo design house (who brought you Shaintar and Gamescapes, and are Origins Award winners for Deadlands Reloaded). This edition of Suzerain is written for the Savage Worlds rule system (SW:EX rulebook required), expanding the core rules in a number of key ways – a new approach to races is just the beginning.

Suzerain takes characters from one world to another or even to another time. History and fantasy, past present and future – they are all your playground now. Gaming groups just became…

…a pantheon in the making.

Inside the covers you’ll find:

* All the universe background you’ll need to run games in any time, any place.
* Over 50 new edges, hindrances and powers.
* Stats for over 100 new NPCs and monsters to use as allies and adversaries.
* A vastly expanded system for characters once they hit Heroic rank, with plenty of emphasis on the Legendary experience, and introducing a whole new rank – Demigod.
* 30 scenarios including a campaign spanning the three main eras of a character’s development – Novice, Heroic and Demigod.

Where most Savage Worlds settings finish their campaigns, Suzerain is just getting started. With Suzerain a Novice character can expect to battle his way up to being a true Hero of the universe, to meet deities, and finally to become a god himself!

Earth AD.2 Expanded

Precis Intermedia is one of those companies that rolls out great stuff, but you might miss it due to other companies getting all the press. Just check out the opening comments from fans, though, and you will see a great game that inspires. The theme is something recently familiar to me, as well.

This expanded game compiles the EarthAD.2 core book, companion Enhancement Pack, and Submariners add-on in one book, offering the same content as the softcover.

“Freakin’ awesome…”

“This looks like it could be the best-done GDi game yet.”

“If you want to play in a post-cataclysmic Earth, then these rules are for you. “

“…EarthAD.2 is one DANG fantastic role-playing game.”

“I don’t think my imagination has been this engaged for a long time. I haven’t wanted to sit down and just write up characters for no particular reason in a long time. This game makes me want to play now.”

During the days of Old Earth, man conquered the land. Then the terrible cataclysms came, wiping out civilization as we know it. The land is now filled with all sorts of hazards as it attempts to avenge itself upon man–rogue machines, plagues, beasts, and even man himself. Survivors explore and eke out a meager existence among the wastes and blasted lands. EarthAD 2 includes cybernetic beings, cyborgs, mutants, plague carriers, sentient animals, savage beasts, exotic abilities, makeshift transports, ready-to-play scenarios, reference sheets, and numerous character templates.

EarthAD 2 is a roleplaying game designed to be both easy to learn and fast-paced. The versatile genreDiversion i 2d6 rules make it perfect for one-shot games, extended play, or as a framework for your own ideas. Plus you can combine it with our Active Exploits Diceless System for diceless post-apocalyptic adventure. genreDiversion i games can also be combined to expand gaming options–mix and match custom rules and features from one game with another.

In short, EarthAD 2 is fast, ready-to-use, and adaptable. You don’t have to learn a complicated system, refer to scores of tables, or spend all day creating characters. The basic rules require very little study, and the advanced rules are not much more difficult to pick up. You can either create custom characters for the game or dive right in with any of the included templates. The game is designed to be light; it has a small footprint and extremely low price tag – it’s not overloaded with tons of rules or an excess of information you just won’t need. It’s meant to get you running quickly so you can have a good time.

The setting is very open, taking place on a devastated Earth, that is shattered into regions of desolate Wastes, deadly Roads, untamed Wilds, unexplored Undervalleys, hidden Vaults and Enclaves, inactive Metal Cities, competing Swaying Cities, and more. Man has been fractured into masters, slaves, nomads, cyborgs, and worse. The included scenarios immerse you into the setting, so even if you don’t want to the run them, you’ve still got a lot of info to work with to flavor your setting or inspire ideas. And if you don’t want to use the setting, the rules are flexible enough to handle your own ideas or that of your favorite movie, television program, comic, or novel.


* Optimized System & File
EarthAD.2 includes the revised genreDiversion i rules (1.1) utilizing 2 six-sided dice, which provides flexible and consistent mechanics rules for mutants, cyborgs, and evolved animals; plus land, air, sea, and undersea-based transports.

* Ready-to-use templates to get into the action quickly
Thirty characters that can be used right away, plus stock transports and creatures.

* Ten ready-to-play scenarios
Jump right into the mystery and action.

* Story ideas
Numerous goals and story ideas to help create your own tales of after the cataclysm.

Use with Active Exploits Diceless. Combine with HardNova 2, Coyote Trail, and even Ghostories to broaden the scope of your post-apocalyptic stories.

The Black Hack

So this has been popping up in gamer social media and elsewhere, and a few folks have brought it directly to my attention. By all accounts, it’s a wildly popular retroclone of the original D&D rules, successfully Kickstarted and now available for dirt cheap as a PDF.

What do you think of The Black Hack?

The Black Hack is a super-streamlined roleplaying game that uses the Original 1970s Fantasy Roleplaying Game as a base, and could well be the most straightforward modern OSR compatible clone available. If speed of play and character creation, compatibility, and simple – yet elegant rules are what you yearn for. Look no further!

The Black Hack is a fast playing game and the rules can be picked up in minutes. The full rules fit in a single 20 page A5 book!

Here’s a few quotes from the playtesting sessions of the game:

Mick Reddick – “Black Hack… Played this in beta and can honestly say this is as much fun as you can have with a retro clone! Simple, Streamlined and Superb.”

Tony Tucker – “The Black Hack is so simple and flexible I can run it off the top of my head. Think up some weird monsters, give them some hit dice and go crazy!”

Daniel Sell, Undercroft ‘zine – “David black designs with spunk. Sharp and funny, full of the old spirit.”

Chris McDowall, Into the Odd – “Blackhack is three-chord D&D. It hand picks the best parts of the game’s forty year history and distills it down to its firey, addictive spirit. Everything discarded is soon forgotten.”

Community Content Creator Program

Since I am buried in Savage Rifts KS stuff, I’m going to crib Scott Holden’s message from the DriveThruRPG Newsletter to let you know more about this extremely exciting idea. I mean, “user created content” getting an upgrade for tabletop? Hell, yes!

Big news at DriveThru this week as we share the launch of our newly expanded Community Content Creator Program.

If you’re familiar with the DMs Guild site we launched with Wizards of the Coast earlier this year, then you already understand the concept: Publishers of popular game systems are partnering with DriveThruRPG to let you, their fans and customers, publish material for their properties.

Starting today, three new game systems are available via our Community Creator Program:

Cortex Plus (Margaret Weiss Games)
Cypher System (Monte Cook Games)
Traveller’s Aid Society (Mongoose Publishing)

Please check them out and let us know what you think. And don’t worry: More of your favorite IPs and game systems will be added soon! – SJH

And from the page itself –

Community Content Programs

Bringing Community, Creators, and Content together

DriveThruRPG.com works with game publishers on two types of programs which allow you to create your own content for your favorite games

  • Roleplaying fans can make their own RPG content for D&D and other top roleplaying games through community content programs that allow you to create your own RPG supplements, upload them to DriveThruRPG.com, and offer them to other fans.
  • Card games, board games, and roleplaying game card aids can all utilize our community card creators which allow you to easily create your own custom playing cards that match the official cards for a game. Cards you design can be printed and mailed to you through our high-quality print-on-demand card production. Shuffle in an over-powered joke card, an engagement ring card, or try out your serious game design chops with game expansion cards that you share with the game community.

When you see a title listed on DriveThruRPG.com as Community Content or noted by this icon, then you know it’s produced by the game’s community.

Roleplaying Community Content Programs

Our roleplaying game community content programs began when we launched DMsGuild.com in association with Wizards of the Coast to allow D&D fans to create their own fifth edition titles and offer them for sale to other D&D fans. Then we launched programs with Margaret Weis Productions, Monte Cook Games, and Mongoose Publishing. We’ll be adding programs for more games soon.

Learn how to publish your own creations in Roleplaying Community Content Programs or click a logo below to see the community resources and titles.


And there's the Picks for this week, friends!

I do want to take a moment to thank everyone who's supported our Savage Rifts Kickstarter so far, either by pledging or sharing the news. This is, by far, the biggest thing I've ever had the honor to be professionally involved with, so it means a lot to me that so many of you are helping us make it happen.

I readily admit to needing a bit of break from the roller-coaster ride, so Big Irish returns with his partner, the Big Don, to ringside for another NRW house show. I've not been in a while, so it should be interesting to see what happens.

Tomorrow, I am down in Colorado Springs at GameCon, where I am running two Savage Rifts games. Then it's back home and back to work for the rest of the weekend to get on top of all the amazing things we've promised to have done.

The Adventure Continues!

- Big Irish


Mythological Figures & Maleficent Monsters


Latest threads

Mythological Figures & Maleficent Monsters