Horror gaming has a long and storied history, starting as far back as 1981 with Call of Cthulhu. When Vampire: The Masquerade came out a decade later, new fans were drawn into RPGs by the appeal of a game that combined horror, violence, and romance. Both of these properties are still going strong, alongside other games that emphasize the supernatural (like Urban Shadows) or the Mythos (like Delta Green). When you combine the popularity of these games with the multitude of genres that use horror elements (Ravenloft or Warhammer in fantasy, Eclipse Phase in science fiction), it’s easy to see that horror is a big draw at the gaming table, even if it can be difficult to do right. Here to help, for one of the unlikeliest systems possible, is Evil Hat, with the Fate Horror Toolkit.
Welcome back prospective GMs! Last week, we started off intrigue and mystery in the City of Brotherly Love using Dresden Files Accelerated from Evil Hat Productions. In Break & Enter, the players discovered a Fomor burglary ring attempting to steal a mysterious document from a wealthy collector. In Group Texts a missing researcher found himself seized by a spirit beyond his control, looking to tap into a well of power.
I also encouraged GMs to take some time with Case Files of their own in order to address plot elements brought in with the players. While this isn’t necessary, it does help people flesh out their characters. However, if you are feeling anxious and want to get right into the action, we will bring this plot arc to a head with Raising Cain and Court Summons.
Transcribed by Bigby, stolen by Shemeshka, dictated by Mordenkainen, and drawing from the many worlds of the multiverse, the Tome of Foes has arrived! Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes is, of course, the latest supplement for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition, following in the footsteps of Volo’s Guide to Monsters and Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. It has lore, character options, and foes aplenty for us to check out, so let’s get started! I’ll be taking us through chapter by chapter, seeing what Mordenkainen has left for us to read, and comparing the final product to the various bits of Unearthed Arcana that got it started!
The adventurers rested, either leaning against the altar with weapons in hand, or scrambling around the spare furnishings of the temple. The Shadows moved faster than Folk did, and they didn’t have much time until the ten of them that were released found the way up and out of the crypt. Ander and Jethro found glass bottles in the Undertaker’s apartment and filled them with water for their skins, setting the bottles and some of the silver they gathered from the Keep in front of Hugh, who performed a ceremony to bless the water. Holy water seemed to be a potent ally in the fight against what was to come. Clouds gathered over the temple, and the adventurers prepared for a fight. As the sky darkened, the adventurers scrambled to the squares of sunlight made by the overhead windows; shadows didn’t usually exist in daylight, and the adventurers needed all the help they could get. The Shadows ascended the crypt stairs in groups of two and three, met by eldritch blasts, sacred weapons, and holy water. Now, with time to prepare and adequate supplies, the adventurers drove back the Shadows with only a few wounds and a little strength sapped. Not yet ready to return to the crypt, Hrive went outside the walls to retrieve his mule, and the group foraged old abandoned gardens for food. Sleep came easier in the keep without gnolls to harry them, but the adventurers were still wary.
Welcome back prospective players and GMs! Last week we took a crash course to learn about a slew of the movers and shakers of Supernatural Philadelphia for a Dresden Files Accelerated campaign, and some advice about aspects for the city. Now, we’ll start with some Case Files for GMs to use for their players. These, quite obviously, contain spoilers, but a clever GM can have ways to use that to their advantage if they discover that players are planning things to go exactly to script.
Here’s the thing about adventuring parties, ad hoc teams, and ragtag starship crews: they don’t always get along with one another. Whether it’s past associations, disagreements over a course of action, or basic personality conflicts, every group is going to have moments where they’re fighting among themselves (hopefully only verbally). The crew of the Lost and Found is no different. Carga found himself joining up with Zaja’s eccentric crew of data pirates, and has even gotten along with the curmudgeonly technician Thraga, but the fact is that the crew has both an ex-Rebel and an ex-Imperial on the roster, and that was bound to come to a head at some point . . .
Theories are tools for understanding and explaining any number of different subjects. As role-playing games began to increase in subject matter breadth, there immediately followed an attempt to explain what different games do, and what games do best. Unsurprisingly, attempts to “explain” the range of games on the market were typically incomplete and sometimes dreadfully inaccurate. Despite this, some theories stuck around, usually because they were punchy and easy to remember, and were “close enough” to work as a shorthand. Today, the Level One Wonk is going to look a bit at game design theory, and use one of the most popular theories as a springboard to discussion about RPG Theory as a whole and what it’s trying to accomplish. As George Box once said, “All models are wrong, but some are useful.” That is the best way to understand many RPG Theories, including the GNS Model.
Greetings everyone. We will be trying something new in the following weeks. We will be publishing our first set of player made modules, ready for use for GMs who need a bit of structure to get a game off the ground! Shortly after we published Meet the Party: Dresden Files Accelerated, someone in the comment section over at Evil Hat said something along the lines of: “This is great, but what about a few loosely laid storylines for a GM to get started with?” We thought it was a great idea, and one we are going to unabashedly pretend that we were planning all along. While we’ve been backed up with some other things, it’s been simmering on the back burner. Today is the first part in a three part series where we give interested GMs the background on the setting and the factions withing it, and a series of four interconnected Case Files for which to create a story arc for their players.
Marvel has S.H.I.E.L.D., DC has A.R.G.U.S., and Masks: A New Generation has A.E.G.I.S., the Advanced Expert Group for Intervention and Security. In Halcyon City and beyond, while superheroes are wearing flashy colors and punching their enemies through buildings it’s the agents of A.E.G.I.S. who fill in the gaps, clean up the messes, nip nascent threats in the bud, and keep an eye on everything in the name of protecting everyone. A.E.G.I.S. has always been a factor for the New Generation to consider, but we can now learn the Secrets of A.E.G.I.S. in the second Masks supplement from Magpie Games!
There are stories that require a different approach than the traditional party-based RPG. Epic stories, with scales vastly larger than just the four to six people in an adventuring party, have proven difficult in this format, though many have tried. A story-game approach can give the flexibility for telling big stories; that was one of the thoughts behind Ben Robbins’s games Kingdom and Microscope. Now, there is a new designer entering the space: Aaron Reed has created a story-game of epic science fiction stories, Archives of the Sky.