Roleplaying Games

I’ve been doing teaching certification, teaching at the local community college, keeping the seven year busy, and engrossed in pushing two books out the door for Black Campbell Entertainment (Airships of the Pulp Era and Sky Pirates of the Mediterranean), so I’ve been remiss in doing some stuff for various games, and posting play sessions.

We’ve finished this portion of the late Roman/early Arthurian Britain campaign, and have rolled back onto Hollow Earth Expedition — which has seen some fun moments — so I’m hoping to drop a couple of play reports soon.


At long last we’ve got the proofs back for the print version of Sky Pirates of the Mediterranean and the book looks great! So as of August 30, our new pulp setting Sky Pirates of the Mediterranean is now available on DriveThruRPG and RPG Now in PRINT and as a PDF. The setting is available for the Ubiquity role playing engine and for FATE. The ebook is $9.99, and the print version is $19.99.

The Ubiquity version runs 144 pages long, the FATE version 148 pages. Included is an alternate history of the interwar Mediterranean, profiles on the various gangs and their leaders, new planes and airships to use, and new Dogfight and “Hop Up” rules for whichever system-specific book bought.

Simple: To get my daughter into the hobby. She’s already fond of adult-level board games, and she loves sitting in to roll dice for me on game night. She wants to play the Star Wars campaign upcoming, and wants to be a death trooper. So there’s that.


I’m assuming they mean what game released or that I noticed this year has “had an impact” on what I want to play, or has had bits ripped off to cram into the systems we’re using right now.

If the first — Tales From the Loop. I’m an early ’80s kid and the movies it’s evoking were the movies I was watching in high school. I love the art, although its art book quality was why I was initially put off until I thumbed through the dead simple rules one day at the local game store. They’re so good, I bought the Bundle of Holding on Mutant Zero, which is where the mechanics evolved from. I’m liking what I’m seeing in MZ, although the nuclear wasteland mutant theme isn’t really my cup of tea, there’s a lot to like there. So Mutant Zero would be another.

I wanted to like the 2d20 system powering Star Trek and Conan, and John Carter and which we were on the initial playtesting. We found the mechanics were overly complex and the writing to describe them so unbearably bad as to be nearly incomprehensible. When you can’t quite figure out the basic resolution mechanic, there’s a problem.

Funnily, all of these examples are out of the Mödiphiüs stable.

As for RPGs that have influenced actual play, it’s the return of d6 Star Wars, which was rereleased by Fantasy Flight Games (whose new SW game has the same annoying proprietary dice thing a lot of games are doing these days, and whose half dozen “core books” are a blatant rip-job on their customers.) I cribbing Hollow Earth Expedition‘s take the average mechanic for the massive dice pools that come with starship combat, rather than buying a gross of d6s and a wheelbarrow.

If you read this blog regularly, you’ll probably guess my answer on this one.

This question depends on what kind of recognition. I think James Bond: 007 was one of the best examples of innovative game design for the introduction of Hero Points, for a relatively realistic combat damage system, and especially for capturing the flavor of the source material.

If we’re talking about a RPG system that didn’t get enough recognition and was unceremoniously dumped for essentially a better version of Fate, I’d have to say Cortex. It’s one of the few systems that can flex well for almost any setting, yet keep a certain level of crunch that Fate and Apocalypse World don’t have. The math of the system is solid, character creation is excellent.

I’ve got two top pics on this one: Space:1889 and Battlestar Galactica.

The first is a great setting and Clockwerk has been doing yeoman’s work on producing new material for it. Using the Ubiquity engine is also a plus, as the group knows it well. The original game mechanics were crap. The setting, however, was so good it led me into studying history.

Second, the only campaign I’ve ever missed — Battlestar Galactica. It was such a good game, with great players, characters, and one of my best bits of GMing that I’d like to give it another shot. After all, all of this has happened before, and all of it will happen again.

Hands down, I liked the playing card based randomizer of Castle Falkenstein. It was simple and elegant, and allowed the player to plan their actions knowing what they had in their hand. Looks like a fight’s coming, but you’ve got good cards for a social test (like talking your way out of the fight?” Try it.

The combat system was a hot mess, but we did a house mechanic that worked quite well.


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