Do It In Public!

readrpgs-anibuttonRead an RPG Book in Public, that is! Why, what were you…naughty!

Promoted tri-annually by The Escapist, Read an RPG Book in Public week is meant to raise the profile of the role-playing hobby and show our love for what is normally a behind-closed-doors activity. You grab a favourite RPG book, find a public area to relax for a little while, and get to reading. That simple.

I’ve done it when possible in past years, and always enjoyed it. I’ve endured very little in the way of any negative response to it; the occasional strange look to be sure, but nothing like actual harassment. Most of the time, when folks approach me it’s to tell me that they play or used to play, and occasionally we end up swapping stories of games gone wrong (or right). And I’ve even had a few people ask about how one gets in to the hobby, what they need to buy, where to find players, and so on. So if I’ve managed to inspire even one person to join our geeky ranks, it’s been worth it.

So get on out there and post your pics of you reading an RPG in public. Spread the nerd love wide this week. And please feel free to share your pics in the comments below, I’d love to see what you’re reading. I’ll be posting my pics here as I take them, so stop back and see what I’ve got on the go.

ENnies Voting is Now Live!

That’s right, fellow gamers, RPG award season is upon us and 2016 ENnies voting is now live. I don’t have a horse in this race at all, so this post is not an endorsement of any of the nominees. But it is an endorsement of voting for your favourite games. If you’ve really enjoyed a particular product and want to show your support, this is a great way to do that. The nominee’s list is also a great way to discover things you might have missed, as it has links to the nominated products and companies. I always find some games which have slipped through my radar on the nominee list, and the ENnies always manage to expand my game library.

Check them out, and let me know what some of your favs were in the comments. Maze of the Blue Medusa got a lot of my votes, for instance.

Encounter Locations – Part 2

Last time we talked about what inspires encounter location design, and how to start the cropped-cropped-brent-chibi-96.jpgprocess. Inspiration for an encounter location can really come from anywhere, so when you have an idea make sure to record it. You may not get to it right away, but it’s great to have a list of ideas on hand. If you’ve ever been faced with needing to run something for your players on the fly, you’ll find such a list invaluable.

But that’s not you right now. Right now you have your brilliant encounter locale idea, and you want to flesh it out. So let’s look at next steps. These steps don’t have to be followed in any particular order. And in fact, you will likely find yourself tweaking and adjusting each area as you go, based on something you come up with in another step. That’s good. Nothing is set in stone until the players get there, and even then it’s less stone and more a really solid but malleable clay.

The Environment

Think about the details of the setting’s environment. How is it going to impact the characters? Is interacting in the environment difficult, or is the locale outright hostile to people? Many of these details will have a mechanical impact on the characters, either damaging, debilitating, or in some cases even enhancing them. For instance, if your locale is an underground magma flow you may have to look up your game’s rules for high-temperature environments.

Not everything in your setting will have, or needs to have, a mechanical effect. Sometimes it’s just as useful for the setting to evoke a particular feeling or mood. I’ve definitely tailored my abandoned crossroads station around a particular mood, dread. The area around the crossroads is very open and bare, so the man-made features, like the gallows and the tower, stand out. But while those might be the most noticeable things from a distance, there are also features revealed as the characters draw closer. If you look at the map from the previous article you’ll see what appears to be an empty field in the northern corner of the crossroads. That field is anything but empty, but the players won’t know that until their characters get closer. Then it will become apparent that the empty, grassy field is packed with a series of small mounds, not unlike unmarked graves. None of them look like they’ve been disturbed (for now). But imagine describing this field of mounds, the wind rustling through the grass (almost sounds like whispering…), and across the field, ropes dancing in the wind, stands a gallows. Yep, can’t wait for my group to go there.

What Lives There?

Once you’ve filled out some of the details of your location’s environment, it’s time to think about what might live there. Looking at the magma cavern example again, fire elementals and fire giants would be really obvious ones (nothing wrong with obvious, by the way, as long as your players have fun). But there could also be creatures that just enjoy being warm, that have taken advantage of the magma flow to take up residence in side caverns close by. Duergar (or even just a group of regular dwarves) could have set up shop, taking advantage of the flow to aid in smithing or ore processing. Maybe the local goblins use the location for ceremonies, and the rare occasions they want to cook meat quickly.

Also take a moment to consider whether what lives in your location might have predators. I don’t know what might hunt fire elementals regularly, but if there was something, they’d likely be keeping an eye on local magma flows. If dwarves are using the location maybe orcs want to take it from them; the characters could arrive in the middle of such an attack. Conflict is always exciting, so think of ways such conflict might exist at your location.

Conversely, who is allied with the creatures in your encounter? If Duergar have set up shop at the magma flow, can drow seeking trade be far behind? Any number of subterranean races could trade with the grey dwarves in this situation, and it might be the perfect way to introduce your players to some creature they might not encounter without weeks of underground travel. Or if goblins are using the location for ceremonies, maybe there is a fire elemental smart enough to pretend to be a god, demanding tribute from the goblins in return for favours.

The more layers of creatures you can add to the environment, the more “lived-in” it will feel. That doesn’t mean you have to force something to be there if it doesn’t fit. And sometimes the environment is so hostile that your creature pool is limited. But do give some thought to the creatures you place in your locale beyond their stats and treasure.

Speaking of Treasure…

You’ve created a location interesting enough for the players to send their characters to investigate. You’ve given them cool creatures and challenges to overcome when they arrive. Now what do they get out of it? Sure, sometimes killing monsters is its own reward, but is doesn’t buy you a round back at the inn.

The most obvious sources of treasure are, of course, the creatures you’ve placed there. Duergar or dwarves will have items they’ve created, as well as the raw materials for making those items. Heck, the smithy itself is treasure, when looked at from a certain point of view. The goblins will have whatever they’ve been giving to their fire elemental god, as well as whatever they’ve been holding back from their fire elemental god. If creatures have lived in the location long enough, they’ll have likely collected a number of interesting and potentially valuable items.

Maybe your group of adventurers weren’t the first to find and explore the location, they’re just the first to do it casualty-free. Bodies of previous explorers are a time-honoured way to get loot into the hands of the next generation of adventurers (especially if that loot is cursed, or has a mind of its own). Who knows, somewhere down the line your player’s characters might continue that tradition.

This is a good time to think about what might have been in the location before the current creatures. Maybe there are items hidden away by the previous inhabitants, as yet undiscovered. May the current inhabitants have only just recently discovered hidden items or treasures, and the adventurers arrive just in time to take them away. Maybe the hidden item is why the characters journeyed there in the first place, only to find your creatures in the way. Hilarity ensues.

Is the location itself a treasure? Does, the burbling fountain in the corner, once part of an ancient temple, bestow some type of benefit if drank from? Is the magma actually the molten form of a very rare metal, and can it be harvested? If you spend the night in the haunted mansion, do you actually get to make a wish like the local rumours say? Never be afraid to make your location, or even just a part of it, something wonderful and precious. Then make the players work to earn the benefit.

That’s it for this post. Next time we’ll look in a bit more detail at how I’ve combined some of these elements in my abandoned crossroads station. And I may even have a nicer map to show you! Until then, feel free to leave a comment below and share your encounter thoughts and ideas.

Encounter Locations – Part 1

One of the things I’m enjoying about running a D&D 5e campaign is a return to setting creation. I talked a bit in an earlier post about the world I created for the campaign, and what a welcome change that was after years of pre-written material. As a busy GM I’m not knocking published material by any means; I’m not certain I could have run as much Pathfinder as I did without it. But to use Paizo as an example, their material is of such good quality that, except for adjustments I made to better suit my party and their specific narrative, I didn’t have to change the much of anything. So I was getting to check the box on the performer side of GMing, but I wasn’t getting to create much of anything.

Enter D&D 5e, and my creator itch is getting soundly scratched. Not only world creation, but locations in that world, and monsters, and magic items, and…let’s just say my group is in for some excitement in the weeks and months to come.

Today I wanted to focus a bit on encounter location creation, some of the steps I took (and take) when creating an adventure locale, and give a real example from my campaign. The example I’m going to use is an abandoned crossroads watchtower, something the group will come across as they explore the lands around the town they are currently in. I’ll be talking about this location over several posts, so I’m going to save the “big reveal” about what’s really there until after the group has explored the location. I know at least one of my players reads my blog so I don’t want to spoil anything (hi, Crystal et al!).

Getting Started

Location design can start in many different ways. Maybe you have a cool idea for a trap, and you build the location around that. Or you’ve designed a monster or NPC, and now you’re building its lair. In my case, I was doodling a map on some graph paper, just a tower at a crossroads, when I started to get ideas about what was going to live there. The ideas took further shape when I drew in a gallows on one corner of the crossroads. That little addition pretty much set the tone for what my players will encounter.

Abandoned Crossroads Tower

The map that started it all. Eventually I’ll fill in terrain details, but I usually start with a simple line map. The gallows (built for four) are on the eastern corner of the crossroads.

Try to figure out early on the defining feature of your encounter location. Usually that will be whatever inspired your location choice in the first place, but that may also evolve as you flesh-out the details. But there should ideally be one dramatic feature which sets the tone for the site. Is your location near magma? Maybe the cave is near deafening with the sound of ocean surf constantly crashing through the tunnels. Or your villain could lair in an abandoned knackery (slaughterhouse), and the smell is the first thing the characters notice. Pick one memorable detail to set the location in the players’ minds. In my case, one of the first things the characters will see is a lonely gallows set on a crossroad, drawing the eye even though there is a 50’ tall watchtower on another corner. Despite the wear and obvious age of the tower and outbuildings, the gallows seems oddly well-preserved in comparison…

As the examples above show, don’t be afraid to engage other senses besides sight. Yes, we want to tell our players what they’re seeing. But throw in details about notable sounds and smells, or describe the temperature. Though technically a visual description, give them an idea of texture as well. Is the wood worn and cracked, or new and freshly varnished? Is the stonework freshly fitted, or crumbling with age? Clean or dusty? Did the character get a face full of cobwebs when they walked in the door? If so, better get ready for possible vermin, hefty size or not. Don’t be afraid to use real world examples to help the players understand the environment you’ve created. In the case of the knackery example above, ask the players if they’ve ever smelled spoiled food, especially meat. Smell is one of our strongest sense memories, so if even one of them has you’ve just made that encounter a little more vivid for that player.

One note: Be careful in describing particularly gory scenes in your games. Not everyone has the same tolerance for gore, or descriptions of disease and so on. Be mindful, and check with your players ahead of time if you aren’t sure of their tolerances.

Next post, we’ll look at filling in the details around your initial idea to bring your new location to life. Meanwhile, feel free to share any tips or ideas you have in the comments.

Summer Kickstarter Picks!

kickstarter-logo-lightMy Kickstarter “problem” (I can quit any time) continues, and I have three campaigns I’m currently backing which I think will be of particular interest to all of you. I’m talking about them in order of closing soonest to closing, uh, not-soonest.

Knuckle Sammich – I have been an unabashed fan of the Kobolds Ate My Baby! RPG since I first discovered it at my FLGS *mumble, mumble* years ago. So it was a no-brainer that I would back Knuckle Sammich, a KAMB! card game based around my favourite baby-eating psychopaths. It seems King Torg (ALL HAIL KING TORG!) wants lunch. But so do you and all the other kobolds, so it’s a race to make your sammich before the other kobolds get theirs. I could explain further, but really, you should go to the Kickstarter page and watch the musical introduction to the game. I mean why would I deprive you of that, I’m not a monster. The jumping-on point for a physical copy is pretty darn good, too, at just $19 (plus shipping). And with delivery expected in January 2017, you’ll have a sweet post-holiday game to wile away those cold winter evenings. Did I mention baby-eating kobolds? Get this game!

Attacking the Darkness – A Feature Mockumentary – The folks over at Zombie Orpheus Entertainment are back again, lining up another satirical shot at the anti-gaming movement. Attacking the Darkness follows the efforts of a church group to create the ultimate anti-gamer movie, and all the hilarity which ensues. While I didn’t have to endure too much in the way of Christian anti-gamer hysteria (growing up in Canada has many perks), I still take every opportunity to laugh at the ridiculousness of that movement. And you should, too! $12 gets you the DRM-free download, $25 gets you the physical DVD (or Bluray, is stretch goals are hit) as well as the download. The best part? The film is in the can; this Kickstarter is for distribution only, so your product is ready, just waiting to come your way in November of this year. I plan to curl up Christmas morn with eggnog and my copy. You know, really celebrate the holidays the right way.

Massive Darkness – Okay, I’ll admit, the price point for CoolMiniOrNot’s Massive Darkness is not for the faint of heart. I may or may not have let a whimper escape my lips when I clicked my backer level. But one look at the minis included with this board game, and I knew I had to have it on my shelf. I haven’t even looked at what the game is about, really, because…the minis! The minis are just so damned pretty; in the parlance of the kids today, I can’t even. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll play the heck out of the board game, because I think I and my friends will have a blast. But I’m backing the game as much to have sweet new miniatures for my RPG table as anything else. Painting them will be as much fun for me as playing the game, so a little involuntary whimpering wasn’t going to dissuade me. If you agree, this is definitely a game to back.

Those are my picks. What’s got you excited on Kickstarter these days? Drop a comment and let me know!

Sounds Like Fun!

cropped-cropped-brent-chibi-96.jpgI haven’t always been great about including sound in my role-playing sessions. I used to at least run an iTunes playlist of cool fantasy/sci-fi soundtracks in the background, but even that has fallen by the wayside in the last few years. But I’m starting to look at audio options for my games again, for a few reasons. Mainly, I just really like having that audio component and I’ve missed it. Even if it’s just a playlist of appropriate background music, I’d forgotten how much music can keep the players focused on the game, and help them become immersed in the session.

But a second contributing factor (and one which you might get sick of hearing about) is Matt Mercer’s DMing on Critical Role. Recently Matt has been using Syrinscape to build custom audio files for his sessions. I didn’t notice it right away, and then only when he brought it up during a special Goblins episode of Critical Role. But once I noticed the sweet background music and sounds, I realized how effective it was at enhancing each session. Going back and listening to earlier episodes I found that, while still enjoyable, the absence of background music/soundscape was definitely odd.

So audio is returning to my sessions. I’m starting slow, not just for myself but for my players. I don’t want to go from no audio to full-on customized soundscape; I think that will be jarring for everyone involved. Plus, using a system like Syrinscape has a bit of a learning curve, and I’d rather overcome that away from the table before I try to make it a part of my GMing routine. So we’re going to start with some background music during sessions, just to ease everyone back in to hearing something besides my mellifluous tones during the game. I’ve got an extensive collection of movie and gaming soundtracks, so it should be pretty easy to put together a 4-5 hour playlist of suitable music.

If you aren’t as well-stocked with soundtrack music, I highly recommend two resources to use at your table. The first is Radio Rivendell, an online radio station which streams music from various video games, new age albums, and fantasy soundtracks. Very few commercials most days, so it makes perfect background music for your game as long as you don’t mind having no say over the music you get. If you want a bit more control, I recommend getting a Spotify account (or using it for free, but get used to periodic commercials during your games). Spotify allows you to build playlists, and you have access to a damn extensive library of music to pull from. You can get as granular as you like, pulling together lists of music to suit whatever campaign you are running.

Later, once I have a handle on how to use Syrinscape, I’ll introduce more focused soundscapes to my sessions. I might start by using them just during “boss fights”, and then introduce them in to other situations until I’m comfortable using the system. I’d recommend taking a look at Syrinscape, even if you don’t think it’s for you. It appears to be pretty user-friendly, and I think I’m going to have a lot of fun with it. Count on a full report of my experiences with it in future posts.

Have you been using sound in your games? How much or how little? Let me know in the comments.

Update: Ran a session of my Council of Thieves campaign yesterday afternoon, and contrary to what I said about easing in to Syrinscape use, I went full Syrinscape during the session. And it worked! Players enjoyed it, it wasn’t distracting, and it did help focus the players (and me) on the game. 10/10 would use again.

Start GMing Now

cropped-cropped-brent-chibi-96.jpgIn honour of International GM’s Day, held each year on the anniversary of Gary Gygax’s passing, it seemed only right to post something about starting your GMing career.

If you’ve never game mastered before, it can seem like a pretty daunting task. And it isn’t for everyone; many gamers I know go their entire time in the hobby without running a single RPG session. There’s nothing wrong with that. As with most things we do for fun, there’s no point in doing it if it isn’t going to bring you enjoyment. But if you have ever thought you’d like to see what it’s like on the other side of the GM screen (and we’ll talk about those in a moment), then here are some tips to make that transition easier.

1) Gather Resources – There are plenty of resources out there to make a GM’s life easier, most of them available on-line and many for free or extremely cheap. If you haven’t quite decided what game you want to run, your first stop should be Drive-Thru RPG. Use “Free” as your search term, and then settle in for some serious scrolling and clicking. There are a metric buttload (yes, we use the metric buttload here in Canada. It’s about 2.67 of your Imperial Buttloads) of RPG material available for free on Drive-Thru. If you haven’t picked a game yet, you want to keep an eye out for anything marked as Quick Start rules. That will give you a bunch of options to choose from for your first game. Even if you’ve decided to run a standard Pathfinder or D&D game, there are pages and pages of free adventures to get you started, as well as PDFs of paper miniatures and map sheets. Yes, you’ll have to spend some time searching, but I did mention free, right?

If you have decided to run either Pathfinder or D&D, then I also recommend checking out the Paizo and Wizard’s of the Coast sites, respectively. Both have fantastic resources available, many of them free for download. At the time I write this, Paizo is running a Humble Bundle for charity. The value of the PDFs available is over $350, and you can get everything for about a $17 donation, an amazing deal by any standard. WotC will likely have similar deals available through Humble Bundle at some point, so it’s a site worth keeping on your radar.

2) Plan the First Session – Resources in hand, you can begin planning your first session. The details of how to plan are the subject of a separate article, so I won’t delve in to them here. But don’t bother planning any more sessions just yet. After all, your first may be your last, depending on how your players feel about the game, the setting, and a bunch of other details which have nothing to do with you. Probably the best way to plan the first session, and show off the game in its best light, is to treat it like this is the only chance you have to play it. That way you won’t be tempted to hold anything cool back for a future session. Why bother? Get all the cool stuff about the game in there right away. If the game is about exploring strange and dangerous old ruins, get them stuck into a weird old ruin right away. If the game is about mech warriors, get them in the pilot seat. Whatever is cool about that game should make an appearance as soon as possible, so your players can get excited. Then if you do go ahead with more sessions, your players are more willing to sit through quieter, slower bits because they know coolness is just around the corner.

Your first session is definitely one where you want to over-plan and under-deliver. Don’t worry that you won’t get to everything you came up with; you won’t. But you want more adventure than you think you’ll get to, just in case your players do something you didn’t expect. And as a new GM, that may happen a lot at first, so it pays to be ready. Don’t worry that you wasted that effort if the players don’t get to everything you’ve prepared for them. Just save it, make some changes, and use it for another session. All your players know about the game world is what you tell them, so they never need to know what they would have found if they went left instead of right. The left-hand encounter can show up later, with them none the wiser.

3) Gather the Players – Game chosen, an evening’s entertainment put together, it’s now time to gather your players. I’m assuming that you’ve come to GMing in the traditional fashion; a bunch of your friends were sitting around, lamenting they didn’t have a game, and you volunteered. But maybe you’re new to the hobby as well, and figured sitting in the GM’s chair was the best way to get your equally green friends to play. Whatever the case, the key to gathering your players is to pitch them on what’s exciting about the game. Easy enough to do, since you focused on that very thing during your preparation, right? Now is the time to really sell it to your potential victims…er, players.

Another part of successfully pitching the game is also knowing what your players like. If you’re pitching to veteran RPGers in search of a new game, you have a good idea of what they might like to play. But even if they are new to the hobby, you can usually find the not-so-subtle clues that point you to RPGs they might like. Did your group of friends flip over the Avengers movies? I see super-hero RPGs on your horizon. Are they action-movie crazy, or do they gather and discuss the latest fantasy epic? You might want to look at a cinematic action RPG like Feng Shui for the former, whereas the latter will be right at home in whatever fantasy RPG you land on. The point is, if you want them excited to play, pick a game based on something which already excites them. And remember, it’s just one session for now. If it doesn’t work, pick another game and repeat until something clicks. Hanging with friends and trying a bunch of different RPGs sounds pretty awesome in its own right anyway. And maybe you can convince everyone to take turns GMing for a session, so you get some play time as well.

Hope that helps convince you to take the GMing plunge. I’ll have plenty of GMing tips and tricks down the line (and you can search for past articles right now), so please come back for a visit any time. If you’ve got a specific question regarding GMing, or playing, or about RPGs in general, send your question to RenaissanceDork@gmail.com. I’ll answer when I can, and may save up questions for a Q&A post here.

The Lazy Gamer

81391af9b3cf660f8386f934e1d06577_originalOkay, so I’m talking about Kickstarter so much this week, you’d think I had stocks in the company. *checks portfolio again* Still nope. But there is just so much cool stuff I can’t get away. And when that cool thing is locally made, how can I not support it? I can’t not, that’s how! (English is my gooder speaked language)

The Lazy Gamer is a new product from Edmonton-based company Team Tabletop. As the name suggests, the Lazy Gamer is a “lazy susan” for gamers; it sits in the center of your gaming table and allows you to turn the board to face specific players. It currently comes in two styles, perfect for a variety of board game sizes, and the construction on it looks solid, with a side of bad-ass. Both styles boast a 1.25-inch clearance from the table, which means players can still lay out their cards on the table surface without fear they’ll be swept away as the Lazy Gamer turns. This looks like a beautiful and elegant solution to the space problem facing a lot of gamers.

And the price point isn’t bad, either. If you live here in Edmonton, or are close enough to come and pick up, the smaller Baron will run you $140, while the larger Goliath is only $30 more. If you need to have it shipped, obviously there’s shipping costs on top of that, and they’ve provided estimates on the campaign page. But I honestly think this is such a good deal, it will be the very rare local board gamer who won’t try to jump on this deal. I did, minutes after I first heard about it. Yes, I am weak.

So check it out. You’ve got 29 more days to decide, and the project is already fully funded so it will happen. I’m curious to see what stretch goals come as the numbers climb. And I’m seriously debating whether I need a second one…

Happy ‘Read an RPG Book in Public Week’!

readrpgs-anibuttonAs made up holidays go, I prefer them nerdy and fun. So Read an RPG Book in Public Week, an artificial construct of The Escapist, fits my criteria perfectly. As an introvert, sometimes reading RPG books is as fun as playing RPGs, and I can spend hours reading even bad ones. So at some point this week let your geek flag fly and post a picture of yourself reading an RPG book in public. Or don’t, I’m not the DM of you (and if I am the DM of you, I’ll give you extra XP for posting).

     *      *     *

Last week I posted about some RPG projects burning up Kickstarter, and I asked anyone who had or knew of a cool RPG Kickstarter campaign to contact me.To my great surprise someone did! Even better, the Kickstarter campaign I was contacted about was pretty cool so I’m happy to talk about it.

World Architect Cards is the newest offering from Simian Circle Games, and a follow-up to their popular Dungeon Architect Cards. This deck of 54 cards allows the busy GM to quickly build overland features for your world on the fly. Alternately, you can use the deck to help build your campaign world, adjusting the results as you like and allowing the deck to inspire you.

I backed it, so I’m looking forward to getting both decks, World and Dungeon. I’m always on the hunt for cool little RPG products which make my GMing life easier. Next to dice, GM and player aids are my big weakness. I can get a big, thick RPG book and be content; give me some little GMing aid and I will fiddle with that for hours, giddy like a kid. So naturally I recommend World Architect Cards, and I look forward to taking them out for a spin.

What are you backing on Kickstarter these days? Drop a comment and let me know.

Kickstarter is RPG Hot!

cropped-chibi-brent.jpgI’m not going to waste time explaining Kickstarter; you know what it is, and if you don’t a few clicks of the mouse can educate you. If you’ve been paying attention to Kickstarter lately, you may have noticed that it is bursting with sweet RPG goodness recently. In case you haven’t been following along, here’s what should have your attention:

7th Sea: Second Edition –  7Th Sea was a surprise hit when it first came out in 1999 and quickly amassed a loyal following. This rollicking RPG of high seas and piracy languished somewhat in the intervening years, however. With the rules firmly back in the hands of its creator, John Wick, the opportunity has been seized to Kickstart a second edition. And well seized it is; the Kickstarter campaign for 7th Sea: Second Edition is on its way to becoming the highest grossing RPG Kickstarter campaign in the history of the crowdfunding site. If you are at all interested in this game, you need to jump on-board before the campaign ends on March 13. The lowest pledge level ($20) gets you the PDF of the rulebook, but for just $40 you get PDFs of all the books unlocked during the campaign (currently 7 additional books), plus the entire 1st edition PDF collection. That’s $300-400 worth of sourcebooks for one-tenth the price. You’d be a foolish lubber not to sign on and set sail with this campaign!

Pugmire Fantasy Tabletop RPG – Sometimes an RPG premise catches my fancy, and I can’t not back it. Pugmire RPG is such a game. Created by Eddy Webb, he describes it as, “…Lord of the Rings meets Planet of the Apes, but with dogs.” Set in the far future, in the ashes of a world man destroyed, Pugmire is the largest of the kingdoms ruled by caninekind. This family-friendly RPG sees you playing the pup of your choice, as you fight horrific monsters in a never-ending quest to be a Good Boy. Closing on March 8th, the campaign has already reached its goal and blown past some enticing stretch-goals and add-ons. These include dice, a GM’s Screen, a set of 13 pins, a shirt, fiction, and bunch of adventures and supplements. If you loved the dog from Up!, chances are you’ll love this game.

Conan Roleplaying Game – In the fine tradition of mining the past for RPG gold, Modiphius Entertainment is bringing us role-playing in the Hyborian Age. Obviously your excitement for this new version of a Conan RPG will depend on how much you enjoy Conan and his savage sword. But there is a lot of love for the sword and sorcery style of Robert E. Howard, and a few of us remember with fondness the Conan RPG from TSR. While I am tempted to grab some hardcovers from the Kickstarter, the material is shipping from England, which does temper that desire. I’ve settled in at the PDF Master level which will get me all the PDFs generated by the campaign, no nasty shipping bill included. If you aren’t a fan of Conan, you can definitely let this one slide by. But if you can quote all of Arnie’s line from one or both movies, you might want to drop some coin on this one.

I’ll save others for another post, but in the meantime, what are you excited about on Kickstarter? Drop a note in the comments and let me know. And if you are running an RPG Kickstarter, let me know about it so I can check it out.