August 9

#RPGaDAY2015 – Day 7: Favourite Free RPG

I’ll confess to being something of a system hoarder, if I come across a game that is marked as free then I tend to download it so that I can read it or at least be inspired by it.

There are lots of games to download, I would list them all but someone already has a compendium of Free rpgs which can be found here: The Compendium of Free Role Playing Games

My favourite free game would have to be FATE published by Evil Hat , I know it is technically a game system but you can still do a lot with it and it is very easy to build your own game world using this wonderful toolkit.

I did something similar with my Star Trek game, details can be found here and here.


Category: FATE, pulp, RPG | LEAVE A COMMENT
March 24

Kickstarter – Bulldogs! Fate Core Edition – Sci-Fi That Still Kicks Ass

When I heard about the first Fate edition of Bulldogs I wanted the stretch goal that included a jacket with patches on it but by the time I got around to pledging for the game they’d all gone.   I don’t really have the funds for the big rewards this time but I think I can probably squeeze $10 out of my budget for this one.  The previous Fate edition was pretty spiffy in and of itself, so I can’t wait to see what changes have been made in the new Fate Core Edition.

Fate has been one of my favourite game systems for a while ever since I ran across Spirit of the Century at my FLGS.

February 20

Kickstarter – The Monster Alphabet, with GM Gems

Goodman Games is Kicstarting another project, this time for a pair of system neutral books The Monster Alphabet, with GM Gems described as:

Designing monsters is as easy as A, B, C! Illustrated systems-neutral RPG supplements for creature creation and GM idea generation.

I already own PC Pearls and the Dungeon Alphabet so I’m sure that these two projects will both be first rate.

I’ve backed Goodman Games before and they delivered the goods before so I’m confident that they will make this happen.  As usual, all Kickstarter risks apply so don’t blame me if it doesn’t work 🙂

The deadline for the Kickstarter is 11 March so you have plenty of time to go and become a backer.

Category: fantasy, RPG | LEAVE A COMMENT
January 24

RPG Blog Carnival January 2015 – A New Year, A New World


This months carnival topic is  A New Year, A New World hosted by ContactLight and is about new worlds.  It seems like a perfect opportunity to do some more work on the on hiatus Star Trek Colony game I wrote about a few months ago.  Based upon the blog stats, the Colony idea seems to be a popular one with the people who stop by and read it.

The World.

I spent a long time trying to come up with a name for this world and the ones I selected had already been used in the Trek canon so in the end I just gave it a numerical designation and left it at that.  I mentioned before the problems I had trying to generate a world that wasn’t too Earth like but not too hostile an environment for the players to explore.

I planned on giving them the maps I had generated and ask them where they wanted to situate the main colony site. It was also a nice way for the players to do away missions to likely landing sites once they had completed an orbital survey.

With away missions I could reveal little by little the secrets that this world had, give the players clues and let them write the adventures for me based not only upon what they found but by listening in to their table chatter.  Give them the ability to create the sort of things they wanted to do and also weave them into the over arcing meta-plot I had devised.

We’re not alone.

The campaign was going to touch upon a couple of important points; firstly that the characters weren’t alone on this world, there was a civilization here before them a race of reptiles that had been in suspended animation and that these terrible lizards would be awoken by the second event.


Why use lizards?  Mainly because they are an adaptable species and are suitably alien to make nasty opponents.  Yes, I could have used something arachnid like but I didn’t think they were as cool as lizards to use, what looks cooler?  A giant spider the size of a house or a dinosaur?


Technically this should be the first major campaign event but the reptiles are listed first because this is the main thrust of the campaign.  The war would be a second thread, where a peaceful planet would be devastated by an invading force of Cardassians as the war with the Federation intensified.  At first there would be a series of guerilla actions against the colony before things heated up.


There would be a number of scenarios that could be used to end the campaign, I would play it by ear and see which ones the players would prefer.


I hope you found this an interesting idea for a game.  If you want me to devote more time to fleshing out this world, leave me a note in the comments.




September 23

Star Trek Colony

Note: I started writing this post back on 10  July 2012 and since then it fell by the wayside as things moved on.  Rather than let it go mouldy and have bit rot set in I thought I’d finish it off and post it to the world.  I should also mention that Starblazer Adventures is no longer available and is out of print.

So I’m spending time preparing a stand-by game so that we’ve got something to play when one of us goes on holiday.

I’ve always been enchanted by the various incarnations of the Star Trek RPG; from FASA through Last Unicorn Games and Decipher’s take on things.

Since we’d played the Decipher incarnation of the game I hunted out the books and thats when I hit a snag, a big snag; the important books for the Decipher edition were missing!  Sure I had the players books but the Narrators guide wasn’t there.

So rather than abandon the whole concept I decided to fall back onto another system and hack that to match Star Trek and one book caught my eye; Starblazer Adventures by Cubicle 7.  It’s not hard to see why this book attracted my attention, it is the largest gaming book I own and is over 600 pages of FATE powered Sci-Fi.  The book is crammed to the gills with all sorts of interesting bits and bobs; rules for aliens, starships, mutants and cyborgs.

Of course I had to figure out what parts of the game I needed to keep and how to deal with some specific Trek related themes.   Races became aspects as this seemed to be the best way of handling them, that way you could invoke the aspect to duplicate what we saw of that race in the television series.  Some races were better than others, but then that’s always the way in games.


I had previously run a Trek game set during the Original Series movie era but wanted to move things into the Next Gen side of things. I wanted to run a game that wasn’t the usual Star Trek trope of Federation vs Romulans or Klingons; I wanted to use a villain that would make the campaign stand out and that called for another alien.  I read all sorts of history for research and found an area of space that was between two of the global powers in the game and seemed to be ripe for using; this was between the Federation and the Cardassians.

So with the history done I turned to Starblazer Adventures and started to hack it to be the game I wanted.  I ran into a few problems with how to handle psionics but the game never got beyond the planning stage so I never addressed this issue.


What with the history and the era addressed I needed a world so I decided to generate one from scratch and I used NBOS Software Astrosynthesis to lay down the planetary bodies in the area and followed it up by using the Fractal Terrains software package from ProFanstasy software.

In the end I turned out some interesting planetary maps even if Fractal Terrains kept producing worlds that were a little too Earth like.

Current Status

I don’t want to abandon this idea so that’s why I’m dusting off this old setting and publishing it just to get it out of my system and perhaps revisit the idea soon.

I know if I was to create it now, I would use FATE Core to do so and perhaps the accompanying system toolkit to make it work; or I may use one of the other narrative systems I bought.  When it comes down to things, I feel the mechanics are secondary now to a good idea for a story.

I would reuse the software as they both work very well together and compliment each other perfectly.


Fractal Terrains 3:


FATE Core:

September 10

Top 10 RPG list – number 3 Spirit of the Century

Evil Hat Productions

This game is another example of one of my happy accident purchases.  It all stated when I’d heard a lot of good things online about the upcoming Dresden Files RPG and thought that it may be right up the alley of the gaming group and after seeing the short lived television series of the same name I thought I’d give it a try.

It was only when the game arrived did I realise that it required special Fudge dice to play it and that was something I didn’t have so I visited the website of Leusire Games who had sold me the Dresden Files to see if they had the dice I needed.

As it happens they did have a set of dice, the Fudge Gamesmasters pack which had several sets of dice within and I looked for another game that used them that’s when I saw Spirit of the Century.

I decided to do a little reading on this game and the more I read about it the more I fell in love with it, the whole era of the 1920s which I was a fan of excited me more and more. On top of that it was a pulp genre game, although some critics claim it is a very specific pulp world.

The FATE system is built upon the very flexible but often overlooked FUDGE RPG, which I think is a crying shame.  FUDGE gives you a complete toolkit to make your own game but there is a lot of work involved in setting it up; FATE is FUDGE with some extra house-rules grafted to it.

Character creation is quite easy, just answer a few questions, come up with ties to the other characters, pick skills and stunts and away you go.

Since the release of this excellent game FATE has undergone an evolutionary step going beyond the version here and The Dresden Files into something a little more streamlined. I’m looking forward to seeing the revised Spirit of the Century set in the 1980s when the Evil Hat crew are finished with it.

Honourable mention.

There are a number of pulp themed games on the market and I have several of them which makes picking a runner up hard to do.

Thrilling Tales

Adamant Entertainment

Using the popular Savage Worlds game engine this reasonably priced pulp game has a lot going for it, especially the plot point campaign in the book and the background information on nefarious villains for the PCs to battle.  I’ve never run it just mined it for the background information.


Category: pulp, RPG | LEAVE A COMMENT
August 18

#RPGaDAY Day 18: Favorite game system

Over the decades I’ve played with a good many systems and so picking one as a favorite is going to be tricky.

I guess my favourite system at this time would be FATE as it gives the players a chance to drive the story.

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