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.

Friday, January 20, 2017

On the Ghostly Horizon

File this one under "Things to keep an eye out for" - at the end of last year, The Renaissance Troll previewed an upcoming project from Osprey Publishing* called Frostgrave: The Ghost Archipelago. Now, I'm not much of a wargamer, but the setting description (via Amazon) sounds like it's right up my alley:

A vast island chain, covered in the ruins of ancient and otherworldly civilizations, the Archipelago appears every few centuries, far out in the southern ocean. At such times, pirates, adventurers, wizards, and legendary heroes all descend upon the islands in the hopes of finding lost treasures and powerful artefacts. A few, drawn by the blood of their ancestors, search for the fabled Crystal Pool, whose waters grant abilities far beyond those of normal men. It is only the bravest, however, who venture into the islands, for they are filled with numerous deadly threats. Cannibal tribes, sorcerous serpent-men, and poisonous water-beasts all inhabit the island ruins, guarding their treasure hordes and setting traps for the unwary.

If nothing else, it sounds like it could be a great addition to the vaguely-imagined World of Pirating setting I'd like to run someday. I'm not so sure about this whole pool-granted superpowers thing, but I suppose it parallels the setup from the original Frostgrave game** (which this announcement has got me vastly more interested in) of the party being basically an adventuring wizard and his hired help. Time will tell if the Ghost Archipelago has the staying power of the Frozen City, but given the genres involved I think it's quite promising.

* Which, in the past few years, seems to have gone from "Research materials for historical wargamers" to "Research materials for historical, fantasy, and High Weirdness** wargamers" to "You know what? We're just going to cut out the middleman here and publish the wargames themselves".

**All Drive-Thru links go through their affiliate program, which means that if you use them I get paid, and it costs you nothing extra! Such a deal.