Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Kickstarters Coming and Going

With the advent of Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms, it seems there's always a neat gaming-related project running. To illustrate this point, I'm going to highlight a couple that I'm currently backing, one that's just started and one that's almost out of time.

First off, Secrets of the Nethercity by Autarch is ending in just a couple of days. This project is actually two books, a city guide and a "kilodungeon"* filled with the remnants of a necromancy-fueled elf culture, both obviously intended for use with Autarch's Adventurer, Conquerer, King System** but easily adapted to the OSR system of your choice. While it's reached its funding goal, there are several stretch goals to go that will add details to the city setting, many of which will be unlocked in just a few thousand more dollars.

While I'm a bit behind in reading it all, I've been a big fan of Autarch's output thus far. I can also vouch for their customer service, having had a small problem during the fulfillment of their last Kickstarter, which was remedied within a day. So if you want to uncover the Secrets of the Nethercity, I certainly encourage backing it.

As for the new one, what it lacks in direct RPG content it more than makes up for in style and good ideas. I'm speaking of Cirsova Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine, which is currently in the process of funding its 9th and 10th issues.

 Or rather, it's funding Volume II, since the editor of Cirsova, P. Alexander, has said that even if the Kickstarter fails to fund, these two issues will be released on Amazon. Still, the Kickstarter price for these two magazines starts at just $1 for digital copies of both, so there's incentive to back now instead of later.

So what do you get for your $1? For the past few years, Cirsova has been publishing some of the best short fiction available in a pulpy/Appendix N/Weird Tales mode. While it tends towards Burroughsesque Planetary Romance, strict genre lines take a backseat to action and plot - the latest released issue includes cyberpunk, urban fantasy, and space pirates, while the first three issues available for free on the website include swashbucklers, Lovecraftian sword-and-sorcery, and weird Colonial-era yarns. No matter your taste in fiction, there's probably something here for you.

And as for gaming utility, there are a few stat blocks and one-page dungeons scattered throughout the magazine's run, but the real utility is giving a GM a wide variety of incidents, characters, and details to work into their own games - much as the original Appendix N did, and continues to do.

Like with Autarch, I'm a happy previous backer of Cirsova magazine. Neither of these fine publishers have any idea I'm writing this, my only benefit is that more backers means more and better content for everyone. So if either of these interests you, by all means help them out!

*Because it's big, but smaller than a megadungeon, you see.

**DriveThru affiliate link - generates a small percentage paid to me at no additional cost to you. Thanks in advance!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Discovery of the Day

While noodling about on eBay this afternoon looking for cheap copies of old Conan modules, I happened across the most interesting thing - a book called Conan and the Prophecy, published by TSR in the '80s as part of something called "Endless Quest" books.
Probably not by the Bond actor.
Further investigation shows that this was a line of choose-your-own-adventure type books taking place in various TSR properties - mostly Dungeons and Dragons, but also including Star Frontiers and a total of three Conan books.























Details of the plots are a bit on the scarce side, but what information is available suggests that these books are based more on Arnold Schwarzenegger than Robert E. Howard. To be fair, though, this was pretty much right when Conan the Barbarian was first released, so this is to be expected.

Less expected is the pair of Tarzan books that are also part of the Endless Quest lineup.























Unless I missed something rather major, the presence of Lord Greystoke is something of a puzzler. Edgar Rice Burroughs is, of course, in the famed Dungeons & Dragons  Appendix N, but for John Carter and Barsoom, not Tarzan's Africa. I actually can't think of any RPG that's based on Tarzan particularly, though his archetype often comes up as a character option in pulp-genre games. I've only read a few of the Tarzan novels, but there's enough of them that now I'm wondering if it would make a viable setting (and what you would do there besides be Tarzan). I do know he visits Burroughs' version of the Hollow Earth at one point, but again I can't recall a Hollow Earth setting that is Pellucidar, specifically, rather than just being heavily influenced by it.

Sadly, all five of these books seem to be quite rare and expensive now, I know I'll be keeping an eye out at garage sales and thrift stores for them. Like their digital descendant eBay, you never quite know what you might uncover . . .

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

6 Setting Crossovers for Your Savage Monster Hunter International Game

Unlike last time, as the current Monster Hunter International RPG Kickstarter has been going on, I've been refraining from giving constant updates on its status. Suffice to say that at this point, just 24 hours from ending, all the stretch goals have been hit and the deal is better than ever.

But perhaps you're unsure about how useful the new material will be. In that case, let me show you how it could easily mesh with some of your favorite Savage Settings:

East Texas University*: Probably the easiest setting to mesh with Monster Hunter International, as the basic premise is playing occult-investigating college students. As the typical ETU campaign has a built-in endpoint (graduation), it might be fun to have a recruiter from MHI show up to attract promising graduates. On the other hand, the college-town setting of Pinebox would be a good place to base a Hunter team out of, even if the PCs weren't enrolled in the school.

Chuck Finley: Zombie Hunter!
Tropicana*: A tropical island city-state crawling with spies, jet-setters, criminals, and modern-day adventurers of all sorts is almost guaranteed to have some monsters crawling around at the fringes. The company is called Monster Hunter International, after all, and wouldn't the PCs just love to take a job in a Caribbean paradise? Co-starring Bruce Campbell!

Deadlands*: It almost seems like cheating to mention this one, but as the Old West monster-hunting setting (now expanded to what the old MHI RPG called the Pulp Era*!) it's definitely worth a look. Of course it's a pretty crazy-gonzo alternate history, what with California falling into the sea, the Four Horsemen empowering undead monstrosities and mad scientists alike, and, worst of all for the Alabama-based Professional Monster Killers, a Union-Confederacy cease-fire.

Rippers*: For a slightly less gonzo 19th-Century monster-hunting experience, the world of Rippers is much closer to that of Monster Hunter International, by which I mean it's like the real world, except all the classic horror-movie monsters really exist. And while Bubba Shackleford may be reluctant to indulge in Rippertech, some of the other Hunter groups that existed back then may be less choosy . . .

50 Fathoms*: OK, this is an odd one, being a swashbuckling fantasy setting. It is, however, a swashbuckling fantasy setting that expects the PCs to be visitors from Earth, and there's nothing to say that those visitors couldn't be from the 21st rather than the 17th century! Whether they get caught up in the hag-curse related metaplot or just indulge in fish-out-of-water goofiness, a brief trip to Caribdus would be just the thing to shake up a Hunter team based out of Hawaii or Miami - or Tropicana, for that matter.

The Day After Ragnarok*: I love this setting, I really do. From the incomparable mind of Ken Hite comes an alternate world where Nazi sorcery unleashed a giant serpent on Europe, bringing about the ruin of every nation that touches the Atlantic. With the Confederacy on the rise (again) and snake-based monsters and magic popping up everywhere, there's plenty for WWII-era Hunters to involve themselves in, either as their standard globe-trotting adventurous selves, or perhaps pulling a Newton Knight and setting up their own independent settlement. Especially if they can navigate the wreckage of Europe and link up somewhere in there with Franks, who is undoubtedly beyond pissed at all this.

*Affiliate link. Provides extra gaming money to me at no cost to you.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Monster Hunter International Gets Savage!

Are you a fan of Larry Correia's Monster Hunter International series, but not of the HERO system* used in the 2012 RPG? Well, fret no more, because there's a new MHI RPG in town:


Currently just over 200% funded after just twelve house on Kickstarter, this version is being published by Gallant Knight Games* and will be using the Savage Worlds* rules.

But there's a lot more of interest here besides a less crunchy ruleset. For one thing, there's about twice as many books in the Monster Hunter International novel series as there were five years ago - which means lots of new characters and critters to get statted up, though admittedly some of these are from the 1980s-set trilogy Larry is co-writing with John Ringo, and the sub-setting for that era is one of the upcoming stretch goals.

Speaking of stretch goals, one of them has already been hit - an Old West sub-setting starring MHI founder Bubba Shackleford and his Professional Monster Killers, whom Larry wrote a short story about for a Weird West anthology last summer.

Other stretch goals add more content, including the aforementioned Monster Hunter Memoirs sub-setting, a Larry-written adventure, and non-human character options; plus there's some fun stuff like a challenge coin and coloring book.

Amusingly, the new MHI dice will have the logo on the six.
Notably absent from the stretch goal list is custom dice, although they won't be absent from the project as a whole - they're already part of the reward structure, with every physical backer getting at least one (as well as a deck of MHI playing cards), which with the "single softcover" price point at $30 strikes me as quite the bargain.

Interested? The Kickstarter's right here.

* Remember, folks, DriveThru links pay me if you use them, and it doesn't cost you a thing!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

What a Lovely Day!

Via The Watch House comes word of a new miniature skirmish game with an . . . unusual premise.


Emerging from the heat shimmer they come in a roar of sound and fury, the nomad brigands and road pilots. Chrome, dust and rust in your rearview mirror are the first harbingers of impending doom. Then the incessant chatter of twin Vickers fills your ears and your auto begins to disentegrate around you.
It's the Dirty Thirties and you're having a bad day...
Pray Maximillian is out there somewhere!

The product of two (naturally) Australian companies - Eureka Miniatures and Mana Press - the cover art alone is evocative enough for an entire RPG campaign. I'm reminded quite a bit of Crimson Skies, that early-2000s computer/board game franchise with a similar pulp-era apocalypse feeling, only with an aviation focus. I expect certain conceptual similarities with Car Wars as well, although the alt-1930s setting should serve to differentiate it quite well.

Interested parties can get a digital copy of the rules from DriveThru, with the usual caveat about affiliate links.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

When White Stars Are Right

Over at Tenkar's Tavern, the latest entry on the rumors table is that White Star* and White Star Companion*, the Swords & Wizardry-derived Space Opera RPG from James Spahn and Barrel Rider Games, are now priced on DriveThruRPG as Pay-What-You-Want. If you haven't already, I can highly recommend checking them out, as I think that White Star is my favorite entry in the admittedly well-trodden "Space Opera OSR" sub-genre. Certainly it's the one that has taken off (heh) the hardest, with a variety of other supplements available from both Barrel Rider Games* and others*, not to mention all the fan-made content in the OSR Blog community (a self-referential example). Much of this is designed with an eye towards tailoring your campaign to a specific sub-genre, or even recreating a specific franchise.
In a way, that gets at the heart of what I find so endearing about the system, or rather the implied setting. While most RPG settings, I suspect, have at their base the attempted emulation of a favorite genre or piece of entertainment, the implied setting of White Star is a glorious mash-up of influences, with only the tiniest effort made towards disguising their origins. I mean, you want "Star Knights" and their evil counterparts "Void Knights"? Check. "Qinlons" and "Assimilants", or alternatively Assimilants and "Cannicks"? Check. Something more classic, like "Thronks" or "Wellsians"? Check. All of these together? Go for it! And toss in anything else you can think of - heck, there are even two different versions of Ewoks, "Fluffs" for random encounters and "Yabnabs" for a PC option (capped at Level 4).

If you have even the slightest interest in the genre, there's really no reason not to check these out. It's even got me pondering some new ideas for a mashup setting based on not filing off those serial numbers . . .

*Remember, folks, that any DTRPG links on this blog are affiliate links that pay me a small fee when you use them. Relax, it doesn't cost you a thing.