Today’s Daily D4 is all about Free RPG Day, which was yesterday in case you missed it. I was stuck working throughout most of the day so I didn’t get a chance to play any games, but I did make it out to check out some of the things that were on offer. There were a ton of great quick-start rules, gaming accessories, and one-shot adventures being given away. Since I got there so late in the day I also got to snag more goodies that people who arrived earlier because these were the things that were left after the mob had been given their say. In fact I ended up getting so much stuff that I couldn’t even fit it all in a single installment of the Daily D4.
Now I’m not trying to give you all a proper summary of these systems because that would take far too long, I just want to praise a few and point out the highlights in my mind.
Valiant Universe RPG
As I’ve said many, many times in the past I love superhero RPGs like Mutants and Masterminds, DC Adventures, Bash, and the Marvel Heroic RPG. I’ve been reading comics since I was a kid so anything with superheroes can usually win me over pretty easily. When I saw the Valiant Universe RPG quick-start rules I thought it looked like an interesting take on the superhero genre so I decided to pick it up. Up until now I’ve never read anything that has been put out as part of the Valiant Universe so I feel like I can be really objective about what Catalyst Game Labs has put forth here.
In the quick-start rules you’ll find a simple explanation of the basic rules of the system, an brief adventure called Rumble in the Bay, and stats for four characters from the Valiant Universe as well as a few NPCs. Now I don’t want to spoil the adventure for anyone whose planning to play it at some point so I won’t be providing any details about it here. I will say that one thing about this system fascinated me right away, namely the fact that the role of Game Master is replaced with what’s called a Lead Narrator, a role which is rotated between players throughout the game. You can have a fixed Lead Narrator, but it is by no means a requirement of the system which makes it really unique. I love the idea of passing of the narration of an adventure between players, and I definitely want to give it a try.
The four characters featured in the book are Bloodshot, Livewire, Faith, and Torque. As I said before I know next to nothing about these characters or their universe but the dossiers in the book give me all the information I need to understand their powers, personalities, and ambitions.
If you’re wandering through a friendly local game store and you see this quick-start pick it up and give it a look, I would definitely recommend it as being worthy of a place in the game night line-up.
Cosmic Patrol is a game the jumped off of the cover of a pulp magazine from the last previous century. That may be why I love it so much and I snagged one of the copies of the quick-start rules eagerly. In this game players take on the roles of Patrolmen, essentially mankind’s only defenders in a galaxy full of meteor showers, mysterious plagues, genocidal warlords, and monsters who find them to be delicious. The characters on offer are Captain Tim “Trigeerfinger” Flash, Darjah a warrior woman from Mars who looks like she could tear through the hull of a spacecraft with her bare hands,and Sirra a computer scientist from Venus who seems trapped in a world of adventure and heroes much to her chagrin.
I love the idea of a game that builds a narrative using cues and characters that are light-hearted and fun. Much as I love science fiction it has suffered over the years from becoming ever darker and painting an increasingly bleak vision of the future. This pokes fun at the threats plaguing the galaxy and allows you to laugh at the alien ghost simian haunting the swamp moons of Saturn.
The rules also encourage players to write down their stories and share them with others in the true pulp style.
Atlantis: The Second Age Prelude to Adventure
The cover for Atlantis: Second Age Prelude to Adventure is a fantastic piece of artwork as you see a massive hydra staring down at a warrior armed only with a spear. From Khepera Publishing this stand alone product provides everything that players need to enjoy the game, and if you like it there is a core book with additional material that’s already available in stores. This is a sword and sorcery game where players survive by relying on their cunning, the strength of their backs, and the allies at their side. The book comes with five pre-made characters including Tyyawdi a human burglar, Donobey a human solider, Agathon a human saint in the service of Obatala the god of the sun, law, and love, Caerwyn a lemurian scholar, and Thalmia a triton sorcerer. There’s also a brief adventure that will allow you to test these characters and the system out if you’re interested.
This is a great product and I liked it so much I actually bought the core book along with it, just because I wanted to be able to give it a look. If you enjoy games that are filled with unique races, allow you to build detailed and intricate stories centered around your characters, and that are a bit grittier than some of the other sword and sorcery games out there this is definitely worth taking a look at.
Fifth Edition Fantasy #5: Into the Dragon’s Maw
In the most recent episode of the podcast we delved into Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition by playing the first part of Hoard of the Dragon Queen. When I saw that Goodman Games was producing material using the rules for 5th edition I was pleased as I think there are a ton of really creative people out there, all of whom can come up with unique and wonderful stories that others might enjoy as well. This adventure finds your party searching for Dragon’s Maw Waterfall, and according to local legends that very waterfall served as the entrance to a cavern that was once the home of a mighty dragon. Prophecies, the potential to plunder a dragon’s unguarded hoard, and an arduous trek through a deadly jungle sound like great things to throw at a party. Now if you’re new to 5th Edition be warned, this adventure is for level twelve characters. You could build level 12 characters easily enough, or try scaling the adventure down so that a lower level party could take a run at it, but I would advise folding it into an ongoing campaign if you’re interested in giving it a try.
Without a doubt my favorite thing about the book were the magical items in the back. There’s a manticore shield in there that aside from being a nice looking shield, can fire barbs as projectiles! Tired of finding yourself without a ranged weapon or reaching for your quiver only to find you used your last arrow on that pesky goblin? Well now you can alleviate that problem by peppering your foes with spikes. I am considering using this in our Hoard of the Dragon Queen campaign because I think it sounds like a ton of fun.