Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Free RPG Day 2014

I usually try to get my Free RPG Day post up immediately following a Free RPG Day weekend, but this year was so lackluster that I didn't bother.

The morning of June 21, Nicole of A Really Well-Made Buttonhole fame, E. M. Lamb of (the now-defunct) Malleus Blogstrorum fame, and I made the trek to our usual spot, Big Planet Comics, and found that they were limiting the haul to one item per customer this year.  Nicole was prepared for such an event, and had directions to Game On! Comics.  They gave the distinct impression that they were only handing out items to people who were going to run something, so we mumbled something about food and skedaddled.  Finally, we headed to what longtime readers would know to be my last resort — we ended up at The Compleat Strategist, which was similarly limiting to one or two items per customer.

I guess the economy has been hard on everyone.

We didn't get most of the fiddly bits — the adventure cards and the dice, and we missed a couple of the modules for Castles & Crusades and Godsfall — but we did grab a couple of adventures.  They are:

  • 13th Age: the rules-lite, story-game answer to D&D 4e variant from Pelgrane Press, 13th Age features all the classic fantasy tropes amidst the struggles of the Icons — major world powers with whom the PCs have some manner of relationship.  This year's offering is "Make Your Own Luck," in which the PCs' patron has asked them to defend a treasure from any who would attempt to take it.  And then the trolls show up...
  • Cosmic Patrol: long-time sponsor Catalyst Game Labs had Cosmic Patrol back for another round.  (They also had Shadowrun, Battletech, and some new game based on the Valiant Comics universe, but we didn't manage to get any of those.)  A retro-futurist game of science-fantasy — I'm told heavily inspired by the various B-movies shown on Mystery Science Theater 3000 — this year's offering is "The Continuance Contingency," a rescue operation involving the recovery of the captain and crew of Rocketship Supernova following their report that they noted something strange nearby and were going to investigate.
  • Dungeon Crawl Classics: long-time sponsor Goodman Games has returned with their 3e/oD&D mash-up.  This year's offering is "Elzemon and the Blood-Drinking Box," an adventure for Level 1 characters.  The PCs are hired by a wizard, Rhalabhast of Many Eyes, to steal a box in a rival's sanctum.  The catch?  The box contains some manner of prisoner, and the characters need to feed the box the blood of Lawful creatures to maintain the containment.
  • Lamentations of the Flame Princess: appearing for the second straight year, small Finnish OSR publisher Lamentations of the Flame Princess brings another adventure.  I backed this one, so I only grabbed it to look at it and then pass it on.  This year's offering is "Doom Cave of the Crystal-Headed Children," a dungeon crawl about exactly what it says on the tin.  As per Raggi, it's weird, anachronistic (as one might expect of the mystical enlightenment of Wiki Dot Pod), and probably offensive.
  • Mage 20: Onyx Path/White Wolf presents Mage: the Ascension, their game about...wait, what year is it?  As they have been doing for their other classic World of Darkness lines, Onyx Path is slowly releasing 20th anniversary editions of their classic games, and Mage: the Ascension is currently on the agenda.  (It looks like they also brought back the "k" in "magick.")  This year's quickstart guide includes the offering "Toll for the Trolls," a sandbox of characters and plot hooks to use with the included Bridge Troll Cabal based out of Seattle, WA.
  • Pathfinder: the D&D 3.5 variant from Paizo Publishing set in their own world of Golarion.  This year's offering is "Risen from the Sands," an Egyptian-themed dungeon crawl featuring pregenerated characters from the upcoming Pathfinder RPG Advanced Class Guide.
  • Xcrawl: Xcrawl, also from Goodman Games, is packaged this year in the Dungeon Crawl Classics book.  Under the title Maximum Xcrawl, it has been updated to the Pathfinder rules.  Xcrawl depicts a modern fantasy world in which dungeons are built and delved for televised sport, like Ninja Warrior with higher casualties.  This year's offering is "Dungeon Detonation," a one-level dungeon being delved for charity.

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