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, we take a look at an old school classic with a new school twist: Savage Rifts!
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.
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!
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!
Adventuring can be thirsty work, in-character and out-of-character. Many a gaming group shares a few cold drinks around the table as their characters slay goblins, loot treasure, and explore fantastic locales. The poor characters, meanwhile, have to wait until they get back to a tavern, and they can’t exactly share your drinks. Not only is that rough on the characters, it’s bad for morale. You and your characters are a team, after all, and you should be able to bond over your adventures, your tankards, and your hangovers. Not every sort of adventure gives you that chance: for this, you’ll need a Drinking Quest!
The Human Empire spans galaxies, its size difficult to truly comprehend, it’s bureaucracy enough to make Kafka weep. As a result the universe is one of amazing technology, ancient mysticism, and near-constant despair and darkness. The Emperor sits upon His throne on the Imperial Homeworld, consulting only with His Inner Circle, using fear, intimidation, and unlimited resources to oppress all who would oppose Him. To that end, He dispatches teams of elite agents to execute his will across the Empire. These agents are highly skilled, but their skill is matched only by their treachery and ambition. Each has their own agenda, and will do anything to see it carried out, even as they work to CRUSH the REBELLION.
The legend of King Arthur, Camelot, and the Knights of the Round Table has always been a popular one. Part of the legend is that Arthur and his Knights will one day return to the world, bringing Camelot back to life. Of course, this is merely legend. Time moves on, and instead of a shining new Camelot the towers of the corporations have risen to kiss the sky. The legend fades into memory, and Arthur’s promised return is forgotten . . . until the Flux. Magic bursts upon the world, unleashing sorcery and cryptids that the corporations begin to squabble over. The Knights of the Round Table are returning, reincarnated in new bodies by the Flux . . . but Arthur is nowhere to be found. You are a member of the Knightwatch, and it’s up to you to maintain the balance between Order and Chaos. Welcome to Corporia.
It’s been a long, hard day of adventuring in the wild places and ancient dungeons of the world. Now, like every adventurer, it’s time to return to something resembling civilization so that you can rest. But you’re not going to just fall into bed the moment you arrive. No, you’re an adventurer, and you and your party have victories to celebrate and loot to spend! What better way to do so than with a night of drinking, gambling, roughhousing, and chaos at the (in)famous Red Dragon Inn! Oh, just try not to pass out or end up sleeping in the stables.