Bruce Whitacre, who wrote Colonial Gothic: French & Indian War as well as The Defeated Dead, has a Kickstarter campaign underway. The campaign is for a game he has designed titled Coffin and Tombstones. In short the game is:
Coffins and Tombstones is the first in a series that Fearlight Games is going to produce. Powered by the Spectrum System, a ruleset that uses d6’s to determine the outcome of a character’s action; these are a set of miniatures skirmish games that are not tied to a specific set of miniatures, scale, genre, or setting. It does not use target numbers, but instead allows both players to make die rolls and then compare their numbers of successes.
I have always loved the Old West, and the game, from all the information on the Kickstarter page, and the website, looks to be in the sweet spot of rule complexity.
Anyway, if you want to back the project, here is the direct link:
I just backed it myself.
I have been a huge fan of The Artifact RPG since it’s initial release. For my money, it has one of the things that I like, a hook.
I have never been a huge fan of science fiction. It just really never struck me, but I still try to find and play games that are in the genre in hopes that something will click.
The Artifact RPG is one of those games that have clicked, and still clicks with me.
The premise of the game is simple:
The Year is 2085 and long range teleportation technology has made faster than light travel possible, In an attempt to find habitable planets earth’s governments send out probes into deep space.They found something. . .Welcome to the Artifact, a world foreign to our own Earth in many ways. A world that was manufactured for some as yet unknown purpose. Here you will encounter hostile aliens like the Kelrath and the Chezbah, and those that will seek your aid, like the Scimrahn. Races that appear human but are different from us in many ways. Then there are those that hide in the shadows, like the giant Tanroc Fredar, and the thing called Loc, revered as a god by some, despised as a demon by others.
Anyway, they have launched a Kickstarter for a new edition of this game, and I really think, that if you like sci-fi games, this game has something different to offer. It has been free since it’s first release, and it has grown into a nice game. If you do not believe me, check out the review that The Free RPG Blog did (http://www.thefreerpgblog.com/2010/12/epic-science-fiction-homebrew-genius-in.html).
So if you feel like supporting a game that is unique, I hope you support this one.
Please not, I am not getting anything out of this. I simply really like this game, and would love to see it succeed with the Kickstarter.
What type of help? Here’s the list:
- Suggestions on what you would like to see for Shadow, Sword & Spell and Colonial Gothic.
- Adventure submissions for both Shadow, Sword & Spell and Colonial Gothic.
- Content for both wikis
- Writers who are willing to take my notes and outlines for adventures and run with them.
Those three things would be a great help too me. Why? I cannot do it all myself. I’ve been bogged down with not only art school, but my graphic design work, as well as the big projects for Rogue Games. I want to do more, but I just do not have the time to write as much as I like. So I throw it out to you: help me.
If you want to try your hand at adventure writing, or have ideas for adventures, shoot me an email. This is a perfect opportunity for those who have never tried their hand at this.
At the end of said conversation we had rethought and remapped the release schedule between now and the end of next year. Said schedule is packed with some cool things. Counting Shadow, Sword & Spell, there are thirteen releases planned. If we take out the Shadow, Sword & Spell releases, we are looking at 11 new books for Colonial Gothic. Some of these books will be familiar, due to the fact they have existed as original PDFs.
We have decided that some of the older PDFs have been showing their age, and are in the process of reediting, and laying them out for print release. By doing this, we can now offer them to gamers who might have passed up on them due to their availability being as PDFs. So which PDFs are being promoted if you will? Here’s the list:
All three will be released throughout next year as new print books.
In addition, a few of the PDFs, will be added to upcoming releases. One of them, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, is going to see some major additions. Why? It is important to the first half of Flames of Freedom: Shadows on the Hudson. Some out there got a small taste of this in a few games I have run.
What else is in store? Some very cool things for the summer and winter of 2012. I do not want to spoil it all, but if you love this game, as much as I do, there will be some cool releases which will make you very happy. Looking ahead to 2013 (yeah that far) I know there is at least one book I am writing due out in January 2013.
When I look at Shadow, Sword & Spell, Threats will be out the start of the year, and Companion at the end of the year. As for the middle of the year? Something is coming.
So why have things been a little slow as of late? Life has stepped in the way. The summer was very rough, and a bout of sickness slowed me down. Now that it is over, and a lot of the hurdles have been cleared, things are coming back online. One of the big changes is that Rogue Games will be taking over distribution of our own titles. Come January 1, 2011, we will no longer be represented by Studio 2. As a result of this, I’ve been busy signing with distributors to insure that our games are available, and that no delays happen. How has this gone? I am happy to report very good. I am heartened at the responses I have gotten, and who have decided to pick us up.
January 2012 is going to be a big year for Rogue Games. There is a lot planned and a lot of surprises in store for you through out the year. Have no doubt, that the countdown to 12-12-12 12:12:12 is no joke. Those who know what is coming, are very happy. :)
So that is where things stand. Over the next week I will have posted the schedule for the next six months.
Thank you for your patience and thank you for your support.
Found in all cities of the world, scattered along the street, filing the squares and hiding in the shadows of the alleys are those who’ve slipped through the cracks and eek out a living amongst civilizations scraps. Beggars, due to their living on the streets see and hear many things. They are skilled in scrounging, both for wealth as well as information.
Skills: Acrobatics (Contortion), Bargain (Haggling) Dodge, Observe, Stealth (Shadowing), Streetwise (Scrounging) Subterfuge (Pick Pocket)
Gear: Staff, Clay Bowl
Every city found throughout The World, has men and women selling their services as guides and escorts to the newly arrived. Bawds are those who know every nook and cranny of their chosen city, and are so tuned into it they are able to get a person what they need. In addition, bawds allow outsiders to gain access to areas or information they might not know.
Skills: Bargain (Bribery), Defend (Parry), Diplomacy (Negotiation), Gaming (Dice), Language (Trade plus one other), Lore (Specific City), Melee (Club), Observe, Streetwise (Criminal Contacts)
Found in the City States of Doarn, as well as the League of Merchants, barbers are a group of people skilled in many areas dealing with the body. More that hair cutters, they are dentists, doctors as well as sources of information. Plying their trade in cities, those unable to afford the cost of a physician, often find themselves under a barber’s care.
Skills: Bargain (Charm), Brawl (Dirty Fighting), Heal, Melee (Knife), Observe, Physick (First Aid), Socialize (Carousing), Streetwise (Criminal Contacts), Subterfuge (Sleight of Hand), Throw (Knife)
Character templates are designed to make character creation not only quicker, but easier. They supplement the cultures and modifiers given in Shadow, Sword & Spell: Basic and Expert by adding more detail according to a more specific character concept.
Players can use character templates for suggestions on spending points on abilities and skills, buying equipment, and creating Hooks for a Hero. GMs can use them as a quick way to create NPCs of a desired type.
Nothing in any character template is mandatory. Their purpose is to aid in character creation, not restrict it. However, when departing from a character template, it can be helpful to think about why this particular character is different from the norm; doing so will help flesh out the character’s background and personality.
Though there are those who sell their skills and offer to kill others, and rumors abound that the Veil of Caim hire their services out, there are those who train and enter the ranks of professional killers. Known as assassins, they organize themselves into small guilds and gangs, and ply their trade for a price. Found in all major cities, assassins are dispassionate killers.
Skills: Archery (Crossbow), Athletics (Climbing), Brawl (Punching), Defend (Parry), Herbalist (Poison Making), Intimidation (Torture), Melee (Knife, Sword), Observe, Stealth (Shadowing), Throw (Knife)
Gear: Short Sword, 3 Knives, …..
- It is not personal it is only business.
- Your death will bring me great wealth.
- Let it not be said, I did not kill my target.
- No one weeps for your death.
- I have a message for you, it is a simple one: die.
Starting today, I plan on starting a series known as In the Raw. This series will be a peak into the notebooks I write in, and give you a taste of some of the things I am working on. The material that will put up will be in a ready to run format. Basically you can take these ideas and run with them as is. The material slated to show up will find its’ way into upcoming projects.
So what do you have to look forward to? Things for Shadow, Sword & Spell, Colonial Gothic, and Thousand Suns. This is material that needs a polish, but it is ready for you to pull apart.
Coming up first is going to be a preview of Shadow, Sword & Spell: Templates. Over the next few weeks, there will be a slew of templates coming your way.
So this morning, the book to the right was closed and I finished the adventure I plan on running for people at a GenCon pick up game. The adventure is something that has been kicking around in my head for a while and deals with something I’ve been wanting to try for a while. A large chunk of this eventually will make its’ way into the third part of Flames of Freedom, but for now the adventure will, hopefully, become a very good memory for the ones playing this.
The first thing you need to get your hands on is limiting options. Unlike modern settings (I will throw Call of Cthulhu Gaslight into this broad category as well) during the 18th century investigators will not have access to the tools they are use to having. There are very few libraries they can walk into and research, mail takes a very long time to reach its' destination. Though newspapers exist, they are found mainly in the larger urban areas, and when available outside of these areas, the news is usually at least a few days old. What I do is follow the model laid out in Burton's "Sleepy Hollow" as well as the movie "Brotherhood of the Wolf."
Investigation is going to involve a lot of interviewing, as well as snooping. Books, which are rare due to expense, need to be obtained or found. For my campaign the players have developed a large source of contacts allowing them to call upon them for aid and information. One player has went out of her way to establish contacts with people in other Colonial cities (due to adventuring) and keeps in touch with them regularly -- more on this in another blog post -- allowing her to have sources of information in specific cities, as well as sources via post. Using her contacts, as well as the other contacts of the players, my group have ways to gain information, and I have a way to pass on clues as well as spur adventure.
Besides contacts, another thing to keep in mind is that investigations require Diplomacy or Intimidation Tests which allow for learning clues and information. Most of the time players forget this, but the use of these skills often turn up just enough information to move forward. ANother skill to use Spot and these tests allow for the discovery of physical evidence.
Though you cannot run CSI type events in Colonial Gothic, you can allow for body searches to discover how victims have died. I want to go back to books for a second. Though public libraries do not exist, some of the Colonial colleges did have them, but they are not massive. To access them you need to have a contact that will let you in, or be a graduate from said college. There are two other ways to gain access to research books: reading societies and personal libraries.
Reading societies are small social circles of people who pool their books together, and allow members to borrow tomes. Yearly membership dues are typically a few shillings, as well as a having a collection of books, but members gain access to the groups books. Private libraries, are another form of reading societies, but only allows members to enter and read. Typically these libraries are connected to a college or private group. These type of societies offer many opportunities for roleplaying as well as adventure hooks.
As for personal libraries, they are just that, personal libraries. Books cost a lot, but a hero with their own library do not have the issues of access. However, the downside is that it is difficult to carry a personal library on adventures, Heroes then need to pick and choose which tomes to bring with them, or always return to their library to conduct research.
My best advice, is to look at how Poe, Doyle, and Lovecraft handle investigations, but keep in mind the low tech of the period.