Are you a Butt-Kicker, a Specialist, or a Story-Teller? There is a huge world of games out there to satisfy every player’s and group’s style. And while there are academic discussions in every corner of the internet, sometimes it’s best to start at level one. Join the Level One Wonk in exploring the possibilities that RPGs have to offer, from Aberrant to Zorcerer of Zo. This week’s offering: the Powered by the Apocalypse System!
The immortal Lord Ruler reigns over a land of ash, where it is a daily struggle simply to keep crops growing. Nobles play games of intrigue and lead lives of luxury while an entire peasant/slave caste known as the skaa toil away with no rewards other than enough food to survive and maybe fewer beatings. Every night the land is cloaked in mists, and the skaa whisper of monsters and demons and people who can use metals to perform magic. Among all this are the crews, those who go beyond their station and beyond the Lord Ruler’s laws to try and accomplish their goals. One way or another, the outlaw crews fight back against the world that seeks to oppress them. This is the world of Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn novel series, and this is the setting of the Mistborn Adventure Game from Crafty Games!
Cole ran for the cockpit, leaping into the pilot chair and desperately trying to get the Borrowed Time up and running even as Bas did the same in the engine room. Nak dropped into the dorsal turret and strapped in, swinging the blaster cannons towards the blown-open hangar doors. Verjylla was on the ship’s comm, reporting what was going on as Bee’f left her in a dash for the boarding ramp. The Wookiee and Shikte rushed into the hangar bay at the head of two squads of Alliance infantry trainees, while in the base’s armory Caleb hurried to don his new armor. In Bolthole Station’s command center, Patience was trying to figure out exactly what was going on, but at least part of it became clear as a full platoon of Stormtroopers – 60 strong – charged through the hangar doors with blaster rifles blazing.
For the old hands it’s sometimes difficult to remember what it was like when we first got started. You had whatever starter weapons you’d managed to hang on to or find in your previous life, a couple of gold pieces, a few spells at your fingertips if you were magically inclined, and the clothes on your back. Not for you, yet, were stories of grand heroism or dire villains. Instead there was the tavern in the bad part of town, with whatever work you could find that might pay enough for your next meal and maybe some better gear. So, for old times’ sake and for the truly new to the trade, let’s Meet the Party all the way back at Level 1 for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition.
Having successfully engaged more of the Empire’s Inquisitors, managing to kill the Mandalorian Inquisitor Skirata and rescuing a young Force-sensitive Mirialan and her parents in the process, the Borrowed Time crew made a call to Alliance High Command once they were clear of The Wheel. Now that they had non-combatant passengers they wanted to check in. High Command congratulated them on their success, and agreed that the rescue changed things. Lacking an immediate solution, High Command ordered the Borrowed Time to head for the planet Dahvil, off the beaten path of the hyperlanes and home to a secret Rebel installation. The crew were going to get a chance to rest while they waited for further instructions.
It’s 1950, and you find yourself assigned to the 8099th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, posted to the embattled South Korea. North Korea has invaded their southern neighbor, and the United States and the United Nations have begun a ‘police action’ that will one day be known as the Korean War. Casualties pour in, and whether you’re a surgeon or a nurse or just a grunt who got stuck here you find yourself responsible for trying to save them body, mind, and maybe even soul. The days are long, the sights grisly, the fighting never too far away, and the stress unimaginable. Rotation home seems a long way away, and you’ll have to rely on your fellows to keep yourself alive and sane enough to make it. This is what it is to be a player character in MASHED from Brabblemark Press.
In one of the vast hangar bays of the space station known as The Wheel a grate covering a ventilation shaft shuddered once, twice, and then fell to the deck unnoticed among the bay’s hustle and bustle. A moment later a particularly dusty Bothan slid out before reaching back in and hauling his gear out; as promised, Bee’f had managed to slip free from the Customs officials and made his own way to the station. Sure enough the Borrowed Time was right there, but she was locked up tight. Clearly the others had gone ahead. Bee’f pulled out a comlink and tried to get in touch, but the immediate response was a lot of yelling about lightsabers, Mandalorians, and security forces.
The owner of a post-apocalyptic truck stop with a shotgun under the counter and debts to pay. A valkyrie of the wasteland, beautiful in the deadliest way with ice water in her veins. A traveler who lives and who’ll die behind the wheel of his ride, but not any time soon if he can help it. A tech expert who swears the machines talk to them, who’s so damn weird not even gunfire can faze them. Every Meet the Party article gives you an entire group of ready-to-play adventurers (maybe even some heroes) for your gaming needs for a variety of systems and settings. Get ready to open your brain to the psychic maelstrom, because we’re going to Meet the Party for the 2nd Edition of Apocalypse World from D. Vincent Baker and Meguey Baker!
Several days after the near-destruction or capture of the Shadow Raptor and the destruction of the ISD Iceheart, the crew of the Borrowed Time joined General Cracken and much of the Raptor’screw for a funeral service in the forward hangar bay of the frigate. Crewmen killed in the fighting, either by droids or by ion fire from the Iceheart, Intelligence operatives who’d fallen retaking the ship, a pair of Y-Wing pilots who’d been shot down, and an Intelligence Major who had died rather than unlock the datacore, were laid out in coffins. The ship’s cook, an Ithorian, was the closest they had to a spiritual figure, and gave a short speech about consigning their comrades and friends to the cosmos and the cycle of life. Cracken himself then spoke of how their sacrifice would not be in vain, before the coffins were launched towards a star. The crew were dismissed, but the Borrowed Time rebels were quickly pulled aside for a new briefing. It was time to go back to work.
Many stories (and games) define the winner by who has the best . . . well, everything, really. Who won the most glory and money, who found True Love, who lived to see a Happily Ever After. And that’s all well and good. But it can get a little boring after a while, can’t it? Maybe you’re interested in a game (and some stories) that go to some really dark, nasty places where Happily Ever After is replaced by Six Feet Under. If that’s the case, then you just might be interested in a game ‘of Inauspicious Incidents and Grave Consequences’: Gloom, a card game from Atlas Games!