Ah, GURPS. One of the most comprehensive toolkits on the RPG market, GURPS and its plethora of supplements offer the ability to play in almost any genre at almost any complexity level. The tradeoff here is that when you open the GURPS Basic Set for the first time, you are dazzled and overwhelmed by a vast range of options to select, dials to adjust, and levers to pull. Coming from a game like D&D, a GM starting with GURPS isn’t going to know where to, ahem, start. Steve Jackson Games realized that, and recruited two GURPS veterans to write How To Be A GURPS GM. While this slim volume is thin on generalizable GMing advice (with admittedly good reason), it does exactly what it says on the tin, and provides some guidance on how to actually make GURPS do what you want it to do.
This week in the vault, we are going to reach for something a little…different. In fact, you could say it is EFFIN’ EPIC. OH YEAHHHHHH! There has been recurring jokes in many campaigns that I’ve been in, certain over the top scenes deserve to be airbrushed on the side of whatever transport we have that counts as a van. (Once game had a space Winnebago, so let’s not judge). So when I say that Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards is over the top, I mean that playing 80s metal over your play would be a thematic decision which would work. This is a game that found the top, and magically kicked its ass so hard it saw the curvature of the Earth. As the game phrases itself in its own rulebook, it is about “Ball Rocking Magic” and it crams every bit of over the top, Rule of Cool justification to cover its play.
A hush falls over Megapolis City. Citizen Dawn stands from atop his platform, looking over the destruction that her minions have wrought. “I am burdened with a great purpose.” Her voice, though not raised, seems to echo in the dead silence of the normally bustling street. “The bright lure of freedom has led you away from the joy of service. Service to people like me. I am here to correct that mistake.”
Splash Page: “Not if we have anything to say about it!” *The Freedom Five burst into frame* “Let’s go team!”
Based on the popular fixed-deck card game Sentinels of the Multiverse by Greater Than Games, Sentinel Comics: The Roleplaying Game takes you inside the capes of its heroes, pitting them against various dangers and threats which plague the city. Players take up the mantles of very familiar sounding superheroes, combining the backstory from the card games with fresh RPG mechanics and greater narrative freedom. The Starter Kit provides a copy of the rule book, six characters to choose from, and a number of missions, enough to get a campaign of your adventures in Megapolis City going.
Welcome to Kickstarter Wonk! The month of June was an embarrassment of riches for RPG Kickstarters, but I’ve taken on the sobering duty of narrowing the month down to my top ten projects. Here you see some inventive games, some games by rising stars in game design, and some games that just need to be seen. Check it out!
Raid the dungeon. Take the treasure. Don’t get killed by the dragon. Backstab your buddies? This might sound like a standard Dungeons and Dragon campaign (maybe not the backstab your buddy part), but it is one way to summarize Clank!: A Deck Building Adventure by Renegade Game Studios. Rather than picking up a character sheet and some dice, Clank! instead operates as a combination of a deck building game (such as Ascension or the DC Comics card game) and a more standard board game.
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.
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!
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.
When Genesys was released late in 2017, it was a product with a lot of promise for fans of generic systems. As shown in our review, the core rulebook presented the Narrative Dice System from FFG’s earlier Star Wars games in a clear manner with a lot of solid design tools for aspiring hackers and designers. At the same time, the amount of supporting material in the core book was thin, especially when it came to pre-existing items and opponents. Realms of Terrinoth is the first supplement for Genesys, and gamers are expecting that this supplement and the ones that follow will fill the gaps in the core book. From my read, they won’t be disappointed. In addition to a comprehensive gazetteer of Terrinoth and other areas in the world of Mennara, Realms of Terrinoth includes all the necessary widgets to run a fantasy game in Genesys, whether you use the Runebound setting or create your own.