Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Parable of Rulings, or "It's Okay To Make a Freaking Decision"

Warning: The following story has spoilers for The Curse of Strahd...but it's not really about The Curse of Strahd. Just didn't want anyone to walk in blind.
















Monday, November 6, 2017

Savage Worlds Setting Rule: Plot Armor

Savage Worlds combat can be wild and explosive. This can be fun and amazing...and some people find it anticlimactic when a Big Bad is blasted by one exploding hit, inflicting more Wounds than can be realistically soaked without a similar bout of luck on the Soak roll. So I propose a modest solution: Plot Armor.

Plot Armor - When a Wild Card makes a soak roll and fails to soak all Wounds from an attack, they may immediately spend a second benny to soak all the Wounds from the attack. However, the spent benny immediately goes to the attacker's benny pool as a reward for forcing the Wild Card to use the Plot Armor. This does not remove any existing Wounds.

The idea behind this is that it removes the possibility of a Wild Card being wiped out in one hit, but also helps rapidly deplete the Wild Card's resources and rewards the attacker so it doesn't feel as though they were completely ripped off.

Obviously, only use this if you have a problem with one hit kills. I don't, personally, and we've gotten great stories out of one hit kills, but it's a common enough complaint about Savage Worlds that I thought I'd toss it out there.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Kickstarter Exclusive Halloween Adventure Written by Me - Available RIGHT NOW

Some of you may or may not know that I have been working with CCS Games and Fabled Environments on the Monster Hunters' Club Kickstarter for Savage Worlds.

I was approached by Darren over the summer to take on editing duties and I loved the idea so much that I jumped at it. Inspired by Stranger Things, IT, Goonies, The Monster Squad, The Lost Boys, The Quest (one of my favorite obscure films starring ET's Henry Thomas) and more, it is a love letter to 80s kid-centric action horror. We released a free preview a month ago, but tonight we have released a free adventure, complete with 6 pregenerated characters, written by me, to give you a taste of the setting this Halloween. All you have to do is back the Kickstarter (even as low as the $2 level) and go to Update 8 (which is Backers Only), and download the documents (complete with amazing graphic design by Karl Keesler.

If you like it, consider pledging for a PDF, softcover book or hardcover book. Thank you for your time, I hope you check it out, and I hope you have a Happy Halloween.

Oh, did I mention that I'm signed on for a stretch goal that would involve a whole campaign featuring adults returning to the scene of their childhood horrors and flashing back to the events they thought they were escaping? Juuuust over $1000 away from that one.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Long Overdue

Almost two months?


The blog seems to have been steadily winding down for a while. Looks like it petered out on its own.

Too much real life. Work. Depression. No real gaming going on. It's kinda killed my energy, enthusiasm and desire to do a lot of RPG reading and reviewing.

It's okay, though. There's lots better bloggers out there.

I'm probably not taking this blog down, and I'm not 100% saying I'll never start posting regularly again, but I don't see it happening for a good long time. Trying to write comics again, handling real world stuff, all that.

Sorry to anyone that was hoping for a new review. In the meantime, absolutely check out blogs like Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque, Wine & Savages and Life and Times of a Phillippine Gamer.

Their stuff is worth your eyeballs.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Buccaneer: Through Hell or High Water, The Blackwood and Tall Pines Kickstarters

A trio of Kickstarters caught my attention, so I thought I would bring them to yours:

Buccaneer: Through Hell or High Water

Powered by Savage Worlds, Buccaneer looks to pretty much cover the Pirates of the Caribbean niche (and just in time for the new movie), being more grounded than fan favorite 50 Fathoms, but more fantastical than Pirates of the Spanish Main. Being released through a partnership between Fabled Environments (of Olympus Inc fame), and Yellow Piece Games, Buccaneer promises new ship combat and customization, new Edges and Hindrances and even a new Encounter mechanic. It's already passed its funding goal and is working on stretch goals. You can buy in for the PDF at $15, the print book at $25 and there are all kinds of interesting add-ons you can get, such as gold doubloons, captain's journals and even a telescope. This isn't Fabled Environments' first rodeo, so I'd classify this as a pretty low risk prospect, and worth looking into if you're wanting to scratch that Pirates of the Caribbean itch this summer.

The Blackwood

Another Savage Worlds Kickstarter (shocking that I gravitate towards those, right?), The Blackwood promises a wuxia setting inspired by American and German folklore. Per the Kickstarter, you will need the Fantasy Companion in addition to the core rules, but they have a free setting primer, archetypes and four one sheets up as a bundle on RPGNow so you can get a taste of it yourself. With 6 days left to go, it's struggling to the finish line, which is a shame as it's one of the more unique settings I've seen come down the Kickstarter pipeline lately. You can get the PDF for $10 or the print book for $20. It's got some top lads involved, whose works I've been a fan of, such as Eric Lamoureux, Richard Woolcock, Karl Keesler and Nathan D. Paoletta. Download that free bundle and check it out this weekend before the Kickstarter ends.

Tall Pines - A Surreal Murder Mystery Roleplaying Game 

I love quirky games I never get to play, and I love quirky small town shows. This Kickstarter is timed perfectly with the revival of Twin Peaks, and seeks to emulate just that kinda storytelling. And no, this one's not powered by Savage Worlds. I don't know as much about this one other than the Kickstarter looks neat, but it's a card based game divided into three acts. They say it's already finished, they're basically just trying to raise the art and printing budget. $10 gets you the print and play, while $25 gets you the print game plus any stretch goals. They have 15 days to go and are juuuust under budget right now.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Shaintar: Thundering Skies Campaign Ending Soon

The Shaintar: Thundering Skies Kickstarter is 6 days away from ending, and could use your attention.

The Kickstarter is for a full campaign book, the first plot point campaign for Shaintar, which is pretty much the gold standard for fantasy in Savage Worlds. It kind of pioneered, if informally, some of the higher powered mechanics that Sean Patrick Fannon brought to bear in the Savage Rifts adaptation. After Sean moved on to other projects, the setting landed into the capable hands of Darren Pearce, who has exhaustively detailed seemingly every nook and cranny of the setting.

The Kickstarter is still more than $3000 away from funding, and the full PDF can be had for the $20 pledge, while the physical book is a $45 pledge. You can bump up your pledge to get anything currently available for Shaintar, if you're new to the party...and, if you're a Fantasy Grounds gamer, you can sign up for the Fantasy Grounds version of the campaign for $20.

Shaintar is explicitly heroic in nature, which actually kinda separates it from the pack in this age of antiheroes and dark settings, and if you sign up for one of the collaboration tiers, you can make your mark on the setting by helping create villains, allies or even plot twists.

I'm a big fan of the Shaintar setting (especially loving the higher powered slant of the Legends Unleashed book), and would love to see it carry on into the future with this campaign, so check it out, see if it's your thing, and sign up if it is!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Tommy's Take on Arthur Lives! 2nd Edition

I do like Greek Myth, and  I like Arthurian Myth just as well. So it makes sense to end the week reviewing Arthur Lives! 2nd Edition as it closes in on the halfway mark of its Kickstarter.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Tommy's Take on Olympus, Inc.

I was going to open with something witty...but I'm not very witty.

Today I'm reviewing Olympus, Inc. by Fabled Environments, powered by Savage Worlds!

Friday, April 7, 2017

A Pair of Kickstarters From a Pair of My Favorite Writers

Two of my favorite writers have Kickstarters running right now, so I thought I'd bring them to your attention.

Arthur Lives! 2nd Edition

Powered by Fate Core, Arthur Lives! 2nd Edition is an urban fantasy RPG by Jason "Doctor Comics" Tondro. Jason, who was actually my first (technically only) D&D 5th Edition DM, is a big Arthurian nut, and wrote Arthur Lives! for the True20 system.

Arthur Lives! is an RPG about aspects of the Arthurian legends returning to life via reincarnation in modern times. The interesting hook is that it is only aspects that are reincarnating, meaning that there are multiple "Arthurs", multiple "Lancelots" and so on kicking around.

I read the old first edition years ago, but haven't had a chance to read the Fate Core version yet. You can - sans art and layout, by backing at the $5 level (the full eventual PDF release requires a pledge of $20 or more).

The Kickstarter is a little over 50% funded with 24 days to go.

Leagues of Gothic Horror: Ministry & Mordavia Books and Dice

Paul "Wiggy" Wade-Williams - whose impressive resume includes Hellfrost, All for One: Regime Diabolique and Leagues of Adventure - is expanding the Leagues of Gothic Horror line with the Guide to the Ministry of Unusual Affairs and the Guide to Mordavia: Land of Horror books.

Leagues of Adventure is a pulpy, globetrotting game, powered by the Ubiquity system. The Leagues of Gothic Horror line expands that pulpy adventure into darker, more horrific places, and is already supported by guides to Apparitions, Mummies, Black Magic, Vampires and Shapeshifters. This Kickstarter will shed light on the Ministry of Unusual Affairs, the Crown's response to the horrible things in the world, and the land of Mordavia. The Mordavia book promises flexibility, as each major character will have two backstories, and you pick the one that applies in your campaign.

The campaign is just over $1000 away from reaching its goal, and has 11 days to get there. A stretch goal is out there to unlock a Guide to the Walking Dead as well.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Tommy's Take on The Goon RPG

Got a chance to crack into the second book in Pinnacle's current double shot Kickstarter, The Goon. People say they sometimes like to hear my thoughts on these things, so here we are.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Tommy's Take on Fear Agent The Roleplaying Game

As I noted the other day, Pinnacle has a pair of new Kickstarters running: Fear Agent and The Goon, both based on comics by Dark Horse.

Today, I decided to take a look at Fear Agent.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

BAMFsies, Kickstarters and Patreon, Oh My!

Been a couple of days since I posted, so I thought I'd mention a few things that popped up recently.


The BAMFsies returned, with superhero experts like Steve Trustrum, Steve Kenson and Jacob Blackmon. Check it out for the only RPG awards that focus specifically on superhero RPGs.

Zenith Comics Patreon

Andrew Collas and Zenith Comics have launched a Patreon for the Zenith Comics Heroic Handbook, which will provide game stats for the HEROIC universe, Zenith Comics' superhero setting.

Pip Core System Kickstarter

Eloy Lasanta and Third Eye Games have launched a Kickstarter for the Pip System Core Book. This will be a core book for the system that powers family games such as Mermaid Adventures and Camp Myth. In addition to the rulebook, they are trying to unlock The Kid's Guide to Monster Hunting. Buy in is as low as $15, and Third Eye Games has a great track record with Kickstarter fulfillment.

Fear Agent & The Goon Kickstarter Double Shot

Pinnacle, makers of Savage Worlds, have launched a pair of licensed RPG Kickstarters, for Dark Horse Comics' Fear Agent and The Goon! The Goon is outperforming Fear Agent just a hair, but both are funded and working on stretch goals. You can go as simple as PDFs, but there are minis and bennies available for both books as well. Written by John Goff (Fear Agent) and Matthew Cutter (The Goon), Pinnacle is bringing their "A-Game", as usual...and Pinnacle's Kickstarter fulfillment track record is impeccable.

I have a slew of reviews I'm working on. No promises on the schedule, but check out all of these worthy endeavours and allocate your gaming funds accordingly.

Keep the dice dizzy!


Sunday, January 1, 2017

No Top Six and No Giveaway

Just in case anyone was planning to stop in today for the annual tradition:

There is no Tommy's Top Six this year, and no Birthday Blog Giveaway.

This is due in part to my pathetically low review output and in part to the incredibly low number of entries last year.

I do hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year. Many of you seem to have had a very hard time in 2016, and I sincerely hope that changes over the next 12 months.