Sunday, May 22, 2022

This Just In: Latest Arrivals

So, more Kickstarters have shown up at Grubb Street, along with the occasional purchase from local brick and mortars and one author copy. As always, I want to note that these are not reviews so much as "first looks", and in most cases I have not read them cover to cover nor tested out their mechanics. But I still want folk to know what's out and what's happening, as opposed to doing a thorough deep dive and getting back to around, let's say ... Christmas.So this is a better approach for me.

And what do we have in this collection, Johnny?

Grimstone Roleplaying Game (Angelos Krypianos, Writer/Creator Spiral Lane Productions, 126 page Hardback). Greek writers, Greek publisher, this is part of what I was talking about last time in the global nature of RPG design. This is actually the crunchiest of this collection of games, with a great backstory - all of the races are human, but made up of different parts of the Sun and Moon. A nice setting, low-magic, with a unique RPG system.

Ships of the Expanse (Keith Garret, Lem Lemke, Mari Murdock, Nicole Winchester, Writers/Designers, Green Ronin Games, 144 page Hardback). I have not played the Expanse RPG, but I really like the design of the games in this line, and the spaceships in general. It scratches that Traveller itch of my game design history. The Ronins have done a fantastic job with this production, not only on presenting the ships but also talking about hard-science intra-solar system space travel. And I want to unleash these deck plans on others, now. Picked this copy up at Olympic Cards and Comics down in Lacey, which has a LOT of non-traditional RPGs that I don't find elsewhere..

Coyote & Crow (Conor Alexander, Creator/Writer/Developer), Coyote & Crow LLC, 474 Page hardback) There has been a strong movement for authenticity in game design, in particular for games which find their origins in other cultures and heritages. Coyote & Crow, rooted in Native American heritageis created by mostly Native American talents. The game deals with an alternate cyberpunk North America on a world where the European colonizers were wiped out by a space anomaly before they could get up to any mischief, and the survivors on this side of the planet gained low-level magical abilities. The book is a massive full-size, full-color hardcover. The system itself looks like Shadowrun with d12s, and the worldbuilding itself is interesting. It has also was nominated for a Nebula, which is a rare thing for RPGs (Alas it lost out to Thirsty Sword Lesbians, which was covered in an earlier writeup).

Marvel Multiverse Role-Playing Game Playtest Rulebook (Matt Forbeck, Writer, Marvel Worldwide, Inc, 120 page softbound). Got this at Fantasium, my local comic store as an inexpensive addition to my weekly comics pull, and read through it over the weekend of its release. It is the "playtest copy", but it compares favorably with the now-ancient Yellow Box Marvel. Amused that the ability scores spell out MARVEL instead of FASERIP, and there are diceworks that echo the old D6 system from West End (it has botch dice, which can be negated by .... Karma!). It is what it says on the tin - a playtest copy, so it is not a complete overview of all of Marvel and its powers, and I don't think it has anything for experience and character advancement. Inexpensive and definitely worth checking out (And I welcome Matt into the "Brotherhood of Marvel RPG Game Designers" - next week we fight the Great Lakes Avengers!).

Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding Volume 2 (John Joseph Adams, Editor, Kobold Press, 108 page softbound digest). The Kobold Guides are just fantastic reads - essays by some of the best and brightest in the field on a variety of subjects. The books are veritable wonderland of insights and commentary on various components of campaign, fiction, and world design. An excellent product. Oh, did I mention that I have an essay in this edition? I talk about Space Hamsters.

Corsairs of Cthulhu, Fighting Mythos in the Golden Age of Piracy (Ben Burns, Writer, New Comet Games, 297 page hardback) Pirates Vs. Cthulhu! Who could argue with that? The book consists of a set of modifications to the core Cthulhu rules (the Investigators are now Corsairs, and have skills like Alchemy and Artillery), and a huge world-sweeping adventure. I like some of New Comet's Games (Devil's Swamp was quite good), and don't care for others (A Time for Sacrifice  left me cold). Leafing through Corsairs, the adventure itself looks like they have everything and the kitchen sink involved here. Looks very interesting, and may yet get to my gaming table..

Remarkable Cults & Their Followers (JVC Perry, Jeff Lee, RP Davis, Writers, LoreSmyth, 180 page softbound). This is a 21st century version of the Book of Vile Darkness, though its definition of cults extends to factions and secret societies, but has enough that are just Evil Evil Evil. This is a really beautiful book that deals with a great subject for players - Setting up and running cults both as opponents and as player organizations. They have about a dozen cults/secret societies/factions that can be dropped in (including maps of their secret headquarters), along with rules for setting up your own. Plus evil artifacts! It is "system-neutral", which means it plays well with 5E. Of this group, I particularly like the layout and art.

And that's about it for this haul. Did I mention that I have an essay in The Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding, Volume 2? As luck would have it, I talk about Space Hamsters.

More later,