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Sean's Picks of the Week (1207-1211) - Alt History, Retro Sci-Fi, Winter Terrain, and the Doctor!

December rolls on at a lightning pace. The sights and sounds of the holidays surround us, immersing us in the impending experience of the most incredible holiday celebration weekend of all - December 18th-20th - Star Wars: The Force Awakens! OK, so there's also that Christmas thing, but for most the geeks I know, the weekend before is the biggest deal of the year. Still, with the impending holidays, gift-giving is a thing for a lot of folks, and there's always more new awesome things to get your favorite gamers. This week's Picks are a wonderful assortment of ideas for just about anyone on your list. On top of the usual Picks, there's the spotlight on the Roleplaying Game Creators Relief Fund Holiday Bundle - which is also full of amazing things you can give as gifts!

Operation: Apocalypse

If you’re playing DUST, or looking to dive in, here’s a great starting point – pre-gen characters, lots of information added to the setting library, and a full campaign of adventure.

From a London invaded by Axis forces to the pre-Mayan ruins in the Amazon jungle, from the secrets of the Grand Canyon to a mystery as old as The Bible, Operation: Apocalypse takes you on a whirlwind campaign pitting an elite Allied team against the Axis, SSU, remnant Nazis and a mysterious cult in search of the legendary Seven Seals. Mysteries never before revealed about the Dust backstory are uncovered by the player characterâs as they discover new parts of the Dust world and secrets mankind has forgotten for twelve millennia.

Highlights include:

– Details on Dust nations such as America, Turkey, Thailand and the Philippines
– An expansion on the Dust background and introduction of a new alien species fighting the Vrill!
– The secret history of the two species and their intergalactic war
– New information on all three blocs including an epic action set-piece on a top secret Axis aircraft carrier
– Full compatible with Dust Tactics, you can play some of the larger military battles in the game with your miniatures and Dust Tactics or Dust Warfare rules.
– An expansive, deep campaign in the tradition of Masks of Nyarlathotep, Operation: Apocalypse will satisfy old fans and new alike.
– Pre-generated characters to get you playing right away

Requires the DUST Adventures Core Book

DUST Adventures RPG is a rules-light exciting roleplaying game set in Paolo Parente’s DUST Universe and inspired by the epic tales arising from the DUST Tactics miniatures game.

RCRF Help for the Holidays Bundle

The Roleplaying Game Creators Relief Fund (RCRF) is a special fund, administered by long-time game professionals who seek only to ensure when a crisis strikes, we can be there to help our colleagues in their time of need. Naturally, this means we need to constantly bring in donations of funds so we have something we can contribute, whether it’s for a medical hardship, a burned-down home, or any number of other circumstances where a writer, artist, publisher, editor, or anyone else who helps bring your favorite games and gaming materials to life may need a helping hand to get by.

This holiday season, we are extremely thrilled to offer a special bundle, worth nearly $260.00 in value, for only $25.00! Featuring contributions from companies like Pinnacle Entertainment, Spectrum Games, Melior Via, DWD Studios, Third Eye Games, Green Ronin, John Brazer Enterprises, Rite Publishing, Legendary Games, Silver Games, and Schwalb Entertainment, there are over thirty products spanning the full breadth of gaming today! Each and every product was donated for free so that we could take 100% of our revenue and apply it to building up the RCRF funds.

This would make a great “gift pack,” either for yourself or your favorite Game Master, so be sure to grab it while it’s available for the holidays! If you want to know more about the RCRF, please check out our website at http://www.rcrfcharity.org/.

Winter Adventures

It’s been entirely too long since I last featured some of the fantastic DIY tabletop terrain from my good friend, Tom Tullis and Fat Dragon Games. Everything looks different when the white of winter is in play…

WINTER ADVENTURES allows you to create massive winter layouts, quickly and easily, while offering our exclusive FOLD-FLAT tree designs for easy storage.

This set includes:

• Bare tree (simple)
• Bare tree (complex)
• Coniferous tree
• Wooden bridge
• Snow/Ice bridge
• Snow/Ice caverns
• Waterfall
• Outdoor tiles including water & frozen water options
• Full color instructions
• Beginner’s Guide to Card Modeling

The Widening Gyre

I’ve never really hidden the fact that nepotism is a tad rampant here at the Pick, which is why I also go out of my way to find the odder, less-spotlighted products to also give some shine to.

Today, however, it’s back to being that Friend in High Places, because my friend Bill Keyes has his amazing Savage Steampunk setting, The Widening Gyre, now available in both PDF and available as print-on-demand! It’s not “merely” steamy, mind you – this is a very deep, intriguing setting written by someone with a deep appreciation of both history and alt-history, and it shines through in his work.

Welcome to The 19th Century That Never Was!

It is a world of wonder, of horror, of adventure, of magic, of strange technology and unprecedented cultural revolution. This is the age that nearly was, filled with radium-powered flying machines, clockwork automata, and steam-driven computers. It is an age of dark magic, sinister secrets, and unholy cults. It is a time in which the world teeters on the edge of disaster, where the enlightened scientific mind battled against ancient superstition and ignorance, in which the souls of all mankind hung in the balance.

The Widening Gyre presents an original steampunk campaign setting designed for use with the Savage Worlds rules. Recommended for experienced GMs and players looking to game in the Industrial Age As It Should Have Been, this worldbook includes…

A comprehensive and immersive campaign background detailing the fantastical Victorian world of The Widening Gyre.

-Character archetypes to play a wide variety of 19th century adventurers − Airship Pirates, Clockwork Men, Consulting Detectives, and more!

-Rules for wild steampunk technology and sorcery, including weapons, armor, vehicles, bizarre Victorian devices, and magic spells.

-Full stats for dozens of characters the heroes will encounter on their journeys, ranging from helpful allies to evil technologists to monstrous beasts from a darker era.

-New Skills, Edges, and Hindrances.

-A full bestiary with over 40 monsters and opponents.

-A fully detailed campaign, six full adventures, and four variant campaign ideas.

-Nearly twenty Savage Tales, a dozen one-sentence adventure ideas, plus an easy-to-use adventure generator to help put together quick adventures on the fly.

-Enter a world of adventuring daredevils and academics, occultist thrill-seekers and Savants both heroic and insane, in which a secretive organization of benevolent technologists seeks to prevent the dark monsters of humanity’s past from overwhelming its bright and burgeoning future.


Spectrum Games specializes in genre-emulation games (Cartoon Action Hour; Slasher Flick; Capes, Cowls and Villains Foul); games designed from the floor up specifically around the concept intended, with a heavy emphasis on a media-driven experience (TV, movies, comic books).

This highly-anticipated new entry on their digital shelves opens with a dedication to Glen A. Larson (Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century).

`Nuff said.

Science fiction (n.): fiction dealing principally with the impact of actual or imagined science on society or individuals or having a scientific factor as an essential orienting component.

Now, add disco. This is Retrostar.

Retrostar is a story-driven roleplaying game that faithfully and meticulously emulates the science fiction television shows of the 1970s. The game is powered by the Intention System, which places a sizeable portion of the narrative control in the players’ hands, while still maintaining the traditional roleplaying game structure.

Like all of Spectrum’s “genre emulation” games, Retrostar is not simply a universal RPG that just happens to be adorned with genre-appropriate art. Every single design decision was made with the purpose of bringing to life the sci-fi TV shows of yesteryear, right at your gaming table. The rules even take into consideration the fact that these shows were created with very limited budgets at their disposal!

Everything you need to play Retrostar is included in the rulebook. Some of the features include:

Simple and Elegant Task Resolution: The core of the Intention System revolves around rolling a certain number of six-sided dice (usually between two and four) and adding together either the two lowest results or the two highest results, depending on the rating of the Trait (Adventure, Thought or Drama) being used, the situation at hand and a few other factors. The higher the roll, the better. Based on that total, the character will either fail or succeed, though whether the player has to briefly cede control of the character is also determined here. There are more wrinkles to it, but that’s the gist of how it works.

Series Creation: The Showrunner creates the Series in which the game will take place and there are full rules and guidelines for doing exactly that. You’ll devise a setting, set up Dials that will help you generate Episodes on the fly, create supporting characters and flesh out all the fun details (terminology, styles, common special effects, etc.). It’s a great deal of fun, without a bunch of complicated rules and number-crunching to bog the process down.

Time and Budget Management: In order to reflect the time restrictions these shows faced, the players are limited to twelve rolls (called Intents) in a given Act, of which each Episode has five. Characters will receive a certain amount of SFX—the exact amount is determined by the Series’ “SFX” Dial—to spend in order to activate cool effects that would require expenditure of the show’s budget (impressive stunts, special effects and so forth).

The Spotlight: Just like in the TV shows of old, the heroes are all given a chance to have the spotlight shine on them. In Retrostar, this is represented by a communal pool of Spotlight Tokens that can be spent to showcase an appropriate aspect of a PC and giving them bonus dice for an Intent. For example, if a PC has a phrase in their Background that says “Best friends since childhood with Malcolm (the name of another PC)” the player can grab a Spotlight Token when Malcolm is in trouble…

All of Time and Space, Vol. 1

The Doctor Who Revival among all of geekdom continues, including among us in RPG land. Coming up with how to run something in this setting (infinity of settings, really) is rightfully considered something of a real challenge. Here’s some help.

All of Time and Space Volume 1 is the first collection of scenarios for Doctor Who Roleplaying Game. This 96 page, full colour hardback provides a convenient collection of four high quality Doctor Who scenarios so that you and your players can dive right into the adventure!

“I am not a bad man. I am not a hero. And I’m definitely not a president. And no, I’m not an officer. Do you know what I am? I am an idiot, with a box and a screwdriver. Just passing through, helping out, learning. I don’t need an army. I never have, because I’ve got them. Always them.” – The Doctor

All of Time and Space Volume 1 takes the Doctor and his companions to strange new lands and into conflict with even stranger alien foes. From alien artefacts in the Tomb of Cleopatra to ghosts in the tunnels beneath Victorian London, from silver rats and strange plagues in Elizabethan England to a mysterious space station straddling parallel universes, adventure is never far away when you’re the Doctor and his companions!


For most groups, the holidays wreck utter havoc on gaming schedules. At the same time, there are days off and other opportunities that might present extra chances to get a game in. For some groups, this might be a great time to take a crack at a brand new game and see if you like it.

For ourselves, this weekend is a mixed bag. Tonight, I'm running a "pick up" game of my Modern Gods setting (the Storm Wardens: Storm Island gang, which is also what I will be running for Monday Night Savages for a while).

Tomorrow, it's time spent with friends we see far too little of, so no idea for sure what we will do. I have little doubt, however, that gaming of some kind is in the offing. The only downside is that we're expecting a good bit of snow starting tonight. Then again, this is Denver, CO... they know how to handle snow here.

Sunday, we return to the realms of Birthright, under the skilled GMing of Ross Watson and using D&D 5th rules.

As always, I hope you have some fun stuff planned because, as always...

The Adventure Continues!




Ooo, Dust. I've always been interested in the tabletop miniatures wargame but was never able to play or find people around me who played. I keep missing Modiphius's kickstarters, which sucks as I like a lot of their products.

Ooo, Dust. I've always been interested in the tabletop miniatures wargame but was never able to play or find people around me who played. I keep missing Modiphius's kickstarters, which sucks as I like a lot of their products.
We didn't do a KS for Dust. It was self-funded. Hope you like it if you play!

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