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Sean's Picks of the Week (1019-1023) - So Much D&D, Plus Savage Worlds and Steam

I go where my muse takes me, and this week, it wandered mostly through various editions of D&D, plus a couple of Savage Worlds settings. Things got steamy a couple of times, and I even threw in a Bonus Pick from DriveThruCards. I want to go ahead and head off any trolling about my Pick of the 4e Player's Handbook. Love it or hate it, there's no denying its importance. Interestingly, I've heard many highly respected colleagues refer to it as a "great game, just not really a great D&D edition." Others maintain that it's a fine D&D game. All opinions are valid, and reasoned discussion is welcome - just keep it cool and calm.

The Rising Knight

Still in northern Ohio today (Con on the Cob was an exceptional experience, as always), so while Carinn is lovingly figuring out the load-out for us, I’m getting a Pick up while I can. Today, I’m showcasing how Troll Lord is joining the ranks of companies getting 5th Edition D&D material out to the fans, starting with this introductory module, The Rising Knight.

Complete with customized anchored hyperlinks! Click on the map for locations in the Rising Knight!

This is an introductory adventure for those playing the 5th Edition of the world’s best known and oldest RPG. The module has been designed to allow for the players and Game Master alike to begin play immediately.

The Drunderry River runs narrow and fast through much of its course, before tumbling into the lowlands beneath the Fallow Hills, in the shadows of the Blacktooth Ridge. From there, the river spreads out across fertile plains, laboring slowly to the south before emptying into the Elmarsh Lake. Until recently this area was unsettled, but a writ of the King’s has brought many people to the area. The village of Malforten, nesteld along the banks fo the Drunderry River, near the Fallow Hills, is just such a place.

A quiet village with simple people, they learned the hard way the Blacktooth Ridge casts a deep and dark shadow. Seeing rich prizes in cattle and grain, people and other movables, Gritznak the Gnoll has come down from the Blacktooth with loot on his mind.

All they’ve done to drive him off have failed, at their wits end the villagers turn to others, more experienced in combatting evil. They look to a rising knight to save them . . . .

Playable in the world of Aihrde, available here!

Steamscapes: Asia

So, yeah, seems a lot of steampunk is crossing my desk lately. Somehow, I blame Bill “Teh Ebil Bunneh” Keyes.

This one is fairly fascinating, in that it leaves the pleasant lands of England (and the rest of Europe), instead exploring the exotic East.

See where else Steampunk can take you…

Asia in 1872 has thrown off the yoke of colonialism and embraced the industrial age. The nations of the Indian Alliance unite the subcontinent with railroads. Buddhist apothecaries from Viet Nam spread advanced medicinal learning throughout the region. Japanese war automatons sweep into Chinese territory while the Qing Dynasty responds with its terrifying Dragon Airships. Thai elephant cavalry face off against Burmese airboats as tensions rise along their border. Meanwhile, sea and air pirates threaten trade throughout the island and coastal nations of Southeast Asia.

Steamscapes: Asia is the second major setting book for Steamscapes. It includes extensive alternative historical backgrounds for over a dozen nations and regions. It offers detailed martial arts rules including full coverage of fifteen different historical forms from across the continent. It introduces the Apothecary profession, elephant cavalry rules, rocketry indirect fire rules, new airships, new weapons, and a new racial template for Japanese war automatons. It also provides several introductory scenarios and a variety of character templates so GMs and players can jump right in and start playing.

Steamscapes: Asia requires the Savage Worlds core rulebook to play. Steamscapes: North America is also recommended but not required.

Winter Eternal

Yes, another Savage Worlds Pick. What can I say, except (a) it’s an ever-more-popular game system and (b) that’s the kind of thing people keep sending me for Pick of the Day.

Oh, did you not know I accept nominations? All the time, as a matter of fact. If you care to nominate a Pick of the Day, either as a publisher/creator or just as a fan, by all means drop me a line at seanpatfan {at} gmail {dot} com. Please include a link to it’s page on DriveThruRPG (that’s a must for it to be a Pick, please).

So a talented bloke from South Africa (I believe this is my first Pick for something from that nation) put together this interesting after-the-apocalypse setting.

Winter Eternal is not a post apocalyptic setting. It’s about what comes after the disaster, many years later when civilization is starting to thrive again.

When the sun exploded, the continent of Ehlerrac survived the wave of flames because it was on the night side of the planet. Then the earthquakes and tsunamis hit and thousands died as cities fell and the landscape were torn apart. The dark world started cooling rapidly and the survivors struggled to find food and shelter.

A group of Nature Wardens started camps and used their magic to grow food. People of many different races came stumbling out of the darkness into these camps, grateful for the protection.

Now, hundreds of years later, the 6 camps are giant, cramped cities, heated and lit by magic. Two cities are underground and one is build on the inside edges of a chasm. The cities are now connected by enclosed roads called Archways and travel is now much safer.

A few years ago explorers came upon orange crystals in an old crater. When light shone on the crystals, it generated a massive amount of heat. Artificers are now using these “sunshards” to help Ehlerrac to take it’s first tentative steps into an industrial and steam age.

This is an exciting time on Ehlerrac and its up to Savage worlds game groups to tell the stories of this dark, cold , but not dead world.

The Tekumel Sourcebook

I’m really glad to see more and more of Professor Barker’s exquisite Tekumel and Empire of the Petal Throne material finding its way to the digital bookshelves. There can be no arguing that every other fantasy game setting owes a large debt to his painstaking efforts to craft and present a world for others to tell their own stories within.

The Tekumel Sourcebook provides a wide-ranging survey of the World of Tekumel, specifically the Five Empires and surrounding lands as of 2358 A.S. – history, geography, customs, architecture, religion, magic, languages and much, much more! An invaluable resource for players and gamemasters of Tekumel!

This is a reprint of the original Gamescience edition of the Tekumel Sourcebook, published in 1983 as a boxed set with maps as Swords & Glory, Volume 1. The new printing includes an index and glossary, entirely new to this edition. (The maps are sold separately.)

Today, an Bonus Pick as I point you once again towards the sister site to DriveThruRPG, DriveThruCards. My buddy Ian Price has a cool new card game up called Bad Decisions, and there’s lots more to check out there, besides.

Who doesn’t love making fun of Bad Decisions made by Fools reacting to unexpected Crises? Bad Decisions, a new card-matching storytelling party game, can be played for a few minutes by 3-4 people or for an entire evening by up to a dozen friends. 660 cards, ages 13+.

Player’s Handbook (4e)

No matter where you served during the Great Edition Wars, this is a fairly important PDF you may want to have on your virtual bookshelves. Though many felt it was much too far a departure from what they wanted for their D&D experience, there’s no denying its efficacy as a game. As well, it was part of the greater well of “Good Ideas” that the designers of 5e drew from.

The Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game has defined the medieval fantasy genre and the tabletop RPG industry for more than 30 years. In the D&D game, players create characters that band together to explore dungeons, slay monsters, and find treasure. The 4th Edition D&D rules offer the best possible play experience by presenting exciting character options, an elegant and robust rules system, and handy storytelling tools for the Dungeon Master.

The Player’s Handbook presents the official Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game rules as well as everything a player needs to create D&D characters worthy of song and legend: new character races, base classes, paragon paths, epic destinies, powers, more magic items, weapons, armor, and much more.

Moving Toward D&D 4e. The path to D&D 4e began in early 2005 when D&D’s managers began looking for a team to write the new edition of D&D that would follow D&D 3e (2000) and D&D 3.5e (2003). They quickly decided on Rob Heinsoo, Andy Collins, and James Wyatt, who held their first design workshop in May 2005. These core designers led a few different teams that worked on the game through September 2006. They then began finalizing what would go into the new Player’s Handbook and Monster Manual. Writing followed in April and May of 2007.

Meanwhile, the 4e design team was trying out some of their ideas in live products. Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords (2006) tested the idea of fighters having active powers, while the Star Wars Saga Edition (2007) also contained many design ideas which were at the time a part of D&D 4e. (Not all of them made the cut.)

The general public had been speculating about a new fourth edition since at least 2006; they finally got their confirmation at Gen Con Indy 2007. A countdown on the Wizards of the Coast web site revealed forthcoming “A4venture” (or perhaps “Adventure”) just as the D&D team announced the new edition at the convention.

In the year between the “Big Announcement” and the release of the new game, D&D publication was very light. Eberron was one of the few lines that filled the gap, while many publications were editionless — including The Grand History of the Realms (2007), Dungeon Survival Guide (2007), and An Adventurers Guide to Eberron (2008).

Wizards also spent that year previewing the upcoming game. Wizards Present: Races and Classes (2007) and Wizards Presents: Worlds and Monsters (2008) laid out some of the philosophy of the new game and hinted at the massive changes to D&D fluff. Players then got to try out the new edition at D&D eXPerience 2008, from February 28 to March 2, 2008.

Publication for the fourth edition finally began in May 2008 … with an quickstart adventure, H1: “The Keep on the Shadowfell” (2008). Then on June 6, 2008, all three core books hit, the bringing Dungeons & Dragons game into a new era… (For more info, hit the link and read the entire product history section).


And there you have this week's Picks, including a Bonus Pick from DriveThruCards. I may try to have at least one Bonus Pick like that a week, now.

While I am at it, let me also point you at the latest Bundle of Holding, this one called Bundle of Nerves +3. A lot of good stuff from some dear friends and colleagues, including Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer's Edition, The Savage Worlds Horror Companion, Silent Legions, Accursed, Rippers and the Rippers Companion, and Shadows of Esteren, all for about $20.

OK, now I am off to MileHiCon, where I'll be on some panels and running yet more Savage Rifts sessions. I'll be doing the same tomorrow, but I'll also be appearing at the local NRW Shocktober event as one-half of #TheInterestedParties (featuring me as Big Irish and my friend Donavin as the Big Don).

No, we don't wrestle, but we've got some story stuff we do with the promotion.

Because, as you know,

The Adventure Continues!



Von Ether

Am I missing somethilng? Is WotC giving out licences or something? I know they've been outsourcing to third parties for the adventures and thus assumed anything else put out by those select parties must of had WotC's blessing.

From what I've seen, WotC is in no rush to go OGL this time for various reasons (power creep from 3rd vendors in class books, finding out that 3rd party vendors would make setitng books too [where the real money was], the backlash of trying to reconstruct the 4e OGL to avoid those same issues, etc.)


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