I was fortunate enough to catch up with Keith Baker at PAX Unplugged 2019, and was doubly so that he was able and willing to take the time to sit down with me for an interview! What follows is our conversation as Baker talks about the Eberron setting, Rising from the Last War, exploring things further, the DM’s Guild, telling stories in The Adventure Zone with Twogether Studios, his favorite among a wide variety of hats, and what he finds most compelling about the roleplaying game experience.
The Battle of Ettenmark was supposed to be the end of it. A great host of armies from the Eastern Kingdoms marching west, led by the divinely-blessed Chosen, to strike down the Cinder King and his undead host once and for all. Instead, it was a slaughter. Some of the Chosen were Broken in the previous conflcits, and no one was prepared for the horrors they’ve created for their new liege. Now the Legion is a mercenary band all on its own – except for a single Chosen who helped to pull it out of the fire. Command has decided that the company’s only hope is to march back east, making for Skydagger Keep. If it can be reached, the Legion might just be able to hold the undead back long enough for the Eastern Kingdoms to find some way to save humanity. But the Broken are in pursuit, and winter is closing in . . . it’s going to be a hard campaign for this Band of Blades from Off Guard Games and Evil Hat Productions!
A Rolls-Royce Phantom peels around a corner, stray dollar bills from the sacks in the back fluttering out the open windows, as a pair of police cars howl in pursuit. A man in the rear seat leans out and chatters a string of bullets from his tommy gun at the coppers, but his shots go wide and the gun jams. Cursing, he leans back in to try and fix his weapon, yelling at the woman riding shotgun to handle it. She leans out her own window, raises a hand . . .and a beam of cold energy shoots out of it, creating an ice slick right in front of one of the police cars. The vehicle swerves, skids, and slams into a street lamp, but the second pursuit vehicle gets around it and draws closer. Suddenly, there’s a flash of energy from behind the windshield of the crashed car as one of its occupants steps through a dimensional gate and appears perched on the hood of the Phantom, shotgun in hand, demanding the gangsters pull over in the name of the law. It’s the 1920s. Alcohol is Prohibited, crime pays very well, the law does what it can. And, of course, there are superpowers. This is the BAMFsie-award-winning roleplaying game CAPERS from NerdBurger Games!
In case that is wasn’t obvious from our Reviews, Adventure Logs, and Table Fiction, many of the writers here at Cannibal Halfling gaming are huge fans of the products from Magpie Games, Masks: A New Generation in particular. Seamus previously had the opportunity to interview the developer, Brendan Conway back in 2017, but since then Magpie has released several new supplements that fleshed out the universe, added new playbooks for players, and even offered new storylines to match different genres. With all these changes, we wanted to know more about what went into them, and what fans might see in the future. As luck would have it, Brendon was attending PAX Unplugged to help promote the newest expansion, Masks: Unbound, and he was gracious enough to take some time to speak with me.
Kickstarter is a wild frontier of new games and new gaming ideas; the wide range of what’s out there is one reason I try to write about it every month. Every once in a while, though, an idea emerges that keys into something and gets people excited. While the Kickstarter for Something Is Wrong Here showed up too late for Kickstarter Wonk this month, I backed the game after seeing friends recommend it. As soon as I shared the campaign to my Facebook page, more of my friends lit up. “Twin Peaks RPG” and “David Lynch RPG” were pushing all the right buttons for many people I knew.
Worlds and plot hooks come together, tension rises, heroes struggle against their foes, and as the dust settles we see the end of the tale. So go movies, books, shows, and no small number of roleplaying games – but there’s a new one coming onto the market that puts that plot progression front and center, and even makes its creation and development the main mechanic of the game. Blackwind by Elisa Mignemi and Allan Kelley is
currently running through its Kickstarter project now live on DriveThruRPG, and they were kind enough to give us a look at the finished product and answer some questions about the game!
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!
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.
The security guard walked backwards down the hallway, chest heaving with panicked breath and flashlight darting from shadow to shadow. There was something in here. Whatever it was, it had definitely been following him. Flickering lights, unsettling skittering noises, warm breath on the back of his neck. He had to find it before it found him . . . he turned around sharply when he heard a small noise, as if something was clearing its throat. There, right there in the beam of his flashlight, was some furry . . .thing!Despite being apparently headless the thing shrieked, rushing towards him on the legs of a spider, waving tentacles in the air and brandishing the spikes all over its body. The guard let out a matching shriek of terror, turning to run and dropping the flashlight. As he ran, not looking back, one of the monster’s tentacles held up a stone, which began to glow brightly. Excellent! Enough fear to fulfill tonight’s contract and then some. A good haul for any Fear Fetcher!
Drinking Quest, the ‘original drinking RPG’ that emphasizes fun, wacky antics, ease-of-play, and sharing a few drinks with your friends (and your characters), was recently the subject of A Glimpse Into the Vault. In it I talked about the original version of Drinking Quest, as well as its two follow-up games and the Trilogy Edition that brought them all together. Towards the very end, I mentioned that Jason Anarchy, the creator of the series, was currently Kickstarting a fourth game: Journey into Draught. Shortly after the article went live Mr. Anarchy got in touch with me himself, wondering if I had any questions for him. Of course, I answered him in the affirmative, and we quickly got down to business: lessons learned over the course of Drinking Quest’s lifespan, what makes Journey into Draught a substantial addition to the series, and other/future projects!