As a game master the best present I could ever receive is a setting book that makes me feel that if I got on a horse and rode far enough, I could reach the places it describes. I could smell the dust in the air, hear the sounds of its people, and see the sights change as I moved through it. Give me a world in motion, with fascinating, engaging NPCs, architectural oddities, weird accidents of history, seething tensions, and unexpected alliances. Drop story hooks on every page – some I can riff off on the fly, some so big they could propel multi-session adventures. Lure me with enticing stories and evocative images. That’s what you get with Justitian, an epic two-volume 570-page sourcebook that drops you into the most powerful city in the Protectorate. Itguides you through the surrounding cities, spills the secrets of key NPCs, and reveals long-hidden secrets from the Degenesis metaplot. And it’s available for free. Read more
Cyberpunk Red puts players in the chromed-out retro-future of Night City in the year 2045. This is a game that knows what it is about, and it follows its earlier incarnations without being trapped by them. The mechanics are straightforward, and making interesting and engaging characters is easy. Cyberpunk Red is like an instruction manual – very focused on play, easy to absorb. It’s also full of visual and textual flavor that drops you right into the setting. Whether you use the Jumpstart Kit or the core rulebook, you’ll be getting a quality product. Read on to get more detailed impressions and see the differences between the two products. Read more
With The Elusive Shift Jon Peterson delivers an engaging and thoroughly-researched history of how the first Dungeons & Dragons players discussed, argued about, hacked, and designed alternatives to these loosely-defined rules for fantasy wargaming. These trailblazers hailed from two different traditions – wargaming and science fiction fandom – and the fundamental differences in their approaches led to a range of interpretations about what “roleplaying” even meant. By shedding light on the early days of the hobby, Peterson’s surefooted work also provides context that helps us understand its current state. Read more
TL;DR — This is a nutrient-rich blend of rules additions, lore, and guidance that will help players and the GM create better DEGENESIS campaigns. Whether you’re a DEGENESIS veteran or a newcomer, Artifacts is a must-have. In this review I’ll explain what it provides and give some examples of how it can be put to good use. Read more
The 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set has been with us for five years. It’s sold over 800,000 copies and been hailed as one of the best RPG starter sets ever produced. Now Wizards of the Coast has released its successor, the Dungeons & Dragons Essentials Kit.
Degenesis never fails to amaze. In Black Atlantic (BA), the closure of the Jehammed Trilogy adventures, the game shows its strengths in full. I won’t, very unjustly, go over the excellent production values of the art, typesetting and graphic design. If you’ve seen them you know they knock it out of the park. Degenesis truly sets a new gold standard for the RPG industry. Full stop.
I’d picked up the Degenesis rule books months ago. I’d pored over them, ordered all the published adventures, and written a glowing review (which you’ll probably want to read before this post if you want a broader understanding of the game). Finally I’d found a game that delivered that same feeling of discovery and amazement that RuneQuest had first given me many years earlier. Which is why I approached the act of actually running the game with some trepidation. As anyone who has played tabletop RPGs for a while will tell you, the easiest way to ruin a promising game is to actually play it. Read more
Degenesis: Rebirth is a visually astounding, sumptuous, two-volume, 704-page passion project — a richly-layered, horrific, intrigue-riddled, techno-mystical post-apocalypse Earth that feels like it was discovered rather than created. This is truly a game for players who enjoy being immersed in a deep, artfully-revealed setting. If you are looking for flashy system innovation you’ll have to look elsewhere, but the straightforward KatharSys mechanics incorporate some clever touches and are well-suited to the tone of the game. Read on for more details.
If a biological armageddon hits the United States, how do vaccines reach Americans quickly? In the event of a nuclear war, who gets the word out about who is in charge and what laws are being enacted?
If you’re planning backstory for a post-apocalypse campaign, these little details can add to the verisimilitude you’re trying to invoke. They’re even more useful if you’re planning a near-future apocalypse-in-progress campaign. For example, when the zombies take over, where’s the President of the United States hiding out? As the GM it’d be good to know, right? Read more
I have this odd relationship with Fate Core. The premise excites me, but I’ve never been able to really make it sing as a player or as a GM. Oddly, my best Fate Core experience occurred recently when I ran a one-shot Eclipse Phase scenario using Fate Core rules by way of the Transhumanity’s Fate conversion guide.
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