Thursday, March 15, 2018

Happy Gnome Publishing: Submissions Open

Happy Gnome Publishing put out the call the beginning of this month, and is looking for freelance writers/designers to create RPG content. Rate of pay is 3 cents/word. T.J. Lantz who is the head of Happy Gnome Publishing says it just as well as I could so... For more info in regards to what he's looking for click here, or check out the link in the image below. As always best of luck to submitters.

Happy Gnome Publishing Open Call

If the submission call for Happy Gnome Publishing isn't your cup of coffee, but you're still interested in writing/creating for the role-playing game (RPG) industry, check out my RPG Submissions Open Page (link to that page); a list of RPG and third party publishing companies, that pay freelancers for RPG content, reviews, news, and various other things. Know of such a company, and aware of an open call? Contact me; drop me line, or leave a comment.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Review Burp: RPG Reviews With EN World & Knights of the Dinner Table

KoDT #252
Krendel Core
Last month I reviewed the Krendel Core RPG in Knights of the Dinner Table (KoDT) issue #252 and Heroes Wear Masks, a superhero themed RPG skinned for use with Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. Both of these products received somewhat mixed reviews. Each had some things that I liked, and each had things I didn't care for.
(Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. I receive a token % if you purchase something on the landing page. Thank you for your support.)
Heroes Wear Masks
Krendel Core is a system-less RPG toolkit. The game encourages somewhat of a story-teller approach to gaming, but this system offers a lot of options in how to approach it. Certainly, a plus side of this product is that it's currently available for free on DriveThruRPG and RPGNow.

Heroes Wear Masks for D&D 5E is Avalon Games reskin of it's popular superhero themed Pathfinder version of the same name... The appeal of this product should be for folks who aren't familiar -or interested, in learning another system other than D&D 5E, but want to play a superhero themed RPG. It certainly has potential. The review on EN World is here.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

RPG Review: The Dark Eye

The Dark Eye RPG
We are taking a brief look at the English edition, portable document format (PDF) of The Dark Eye role playing game (RPG), published by Ulisses Spiele. Many gamers from across the pond boast this RPG as the Dungeons and Dragons of Germany (some say even Europe), while here in that states, gamers have been begging for an English translation to find its way to market. No doubt, those wishes have been answered via Kickstarter and while technically this is the second time this has occurred, it is also a revamped edition. The Dark Eye (and the second English translation) was funded just shy of $150k internet bucks on Kickstarter.

(Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. I receive a token % if you purchase something on the landing page. Thank you for your support.)

The Dark Eye RPG is full color and is a behemoth at 418 pages cover to cover. By page count, the game is by far the largest (single volume) I’ve reviewed for Indy Game Scene (column, at the time). Hopefully that will be the last time I note that… I have no plans to review RPGs bigger than this.

The Dark Eye is a fantasy setting in the world of Aventuria. As far as setting elements go, Aventuria seems to have all the bells and whistles of a typical Tolkien inspired RPG, which many will be familiar with, dwarves, elves, orcs and the like. There is an interesting chapter that distinguishes the many dwarven, elven and human cultures, rather than jamming them all under individual race descriptions, which rounds out the setting nicely. The Dark Eye offers a fantasy realm of gods (and churches) for the characters to worship and magic to wield. The magic is toned down a bit from your usual fantasy RPG, and medieval elements are a bit better detailed than the usual fair. Included with the setting elements is very healthy amount of art, the quality of which is top notch.

I had my concerns (and would understand anyone else’s for that matter) knowing that this product was a translation, but I’m happy to report that my concerns were unfounded. Point of fact the writing really impressed me. While it would seem that 478 Kickstarters backers likely received a thief’s bounty for a mere $20 pledge before we get into the review itself let’s talk about what is, “The Dark Eye,” or the main premise of this RPG.

 “The game is named after the most intriguing magical artifacts it has to offer—the Dark Eyes, extremely powerful orbs that are very rare and hard to find. Wizards of eras long gone used them to look at far distant places, even other worlds, or to glimpse scenes from the distant past. Creating such an artifact calls for very powerful magic and a huge quantity of meteoritic iron. When fashioned into a Dark Eye, the iron takes on the form of an orb or, in very exceptional cases, an eye, hence the name.” (PG 6)

Rolling up a hero in The Dark Eye involves a fifteen step process. The game utilizes a variable point buy system which allows the players to start at a level which best suits the group. There is a lot of detail to character creation and the system allows a campaign that can be built from humble beginnings or one that is epic from the start. There is a fair amount of flexibility throughout the system and in regards to the sort of game/campaign you want to run, but the rules a very thoroughly written. Certainly an RPG cannot be written to cover every possible situation, but I'm confident the writing didn't miss anything for the purpose of gaming it at your table. Beyond character creation the system is well defined. Running a few numbers. the Arcane and clerical magic systems are thoughtfully balanced.

(Note: This review is property of Kenzer and Company and republished here with permission and the format may have been slightly modified from what originally published)

Crunch wise The Dark Eye is a heavy rule set. Though, I would say that some of the crunch will be reduced with familiarity. There are a number of features that differentiate it from other RPGs of the fantasy thread, such as D&D etc. and while good deal of the mechanics will be familiar, the terminology used will require a bit of adjustment. For instance, among these is that in rolling checks -a natural 20 (D20) is a botch or bad result and the use of more than one D20, between 1d20-3d20, for most checks. The ruleset itself is meticulously detailed. If this puts you off just remember your first delves into this wonderful hobby. Thank fully there is good deal of charts, sidebars and tables to help speed comprehension.

Overall, I am very impressed with The Dark Eye RPG. There are plenty of nuggets for a gamer to appreciate. The magic system is well balanced (not unwieldy powerful) and the detail of the system should appeal to most gamers who prefer medium to heavy crunch. About the only criticism I have is that the Bestiary is a little light; however as an introduction to the game everything in this product is beyond adequate. The terminology which is exclusive to this RPG pulls my mind back to middle school when I was first embarking on this wonderful hobby. It was a nice reminder. If you’re in the market for a fantasy RPG you might consider giving The Dark Eye RPG a closer look.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

EN World: An Editor and a Columnist Walk Into...

EN World has begun it's goodbyes and fare thee wells to EN5ider editor James Haeck. No Doubt, the EN5ider Patreon has done well under James' watch, reaching five D&D 5E articles per month, and is currently at just over $2k per month. James is staying on board through March 15th to ease the transition, and the open call for who will replace him is officially out. Think you got the right stuff? Click Here for more info.

EN World

And just as I've starting writing this... I'm reading that the new columnist position to write and post episode recaps for season two of a Critical Role has already been filled. Sorry folks. That's what happens when you don't Facebook for a day.

Still, EN World is (seemingly) always on the search for article writers, so you may still yet have a chance. For more information Click Here. Rate of pay for RPG News & Review pieces is 4 cents/word. If you're more interested in writing game content consider EN5ider (D&D 5E) Trailseeker (Pathfinder) of EONs magazine (WOIN RPG); rate of pay for these is 3 cents/word. Click Here for more information.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

OneDice World War One: RPG Review

OneDice WWI
Welcome to an RPG review of OneDice World War One. This review concerns the portable document format (PDF). Those familiar with some of my reviews know I’ve reviewed a couple of other of Cakebread and Walton’s RPGs and the OneDice game system covers a number of other settings such as steampunk, fantasy, pulp and rather recently space fantasy.

(Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. I receive a token % if you purchase something on the landing page. Thank you for your support.)

OneDice World War One is available in both print (black & white interiors) PDF at DriveThruRPG and RPGNow. If you want to choose the route of frugality, or take a look before you decide, Cakebread and Walton have you covered with a Pay What You Want Quickstart version; here. It’s essentially free, so you have few reasons to not check it out and if you’re looking for a clean and very simple RPG system…

Spoiler Alert: I recommend to give it a read and a run a one shot.

As you might guess, the OneDice system requires the use of one dice. In this case it is a six sided dice (D6). For the most part all conflicts and skill rolls are determined by rolling a D6 against a Target Number (TN) determined by the Game Keeper (GK or Game Master/Narrator etc. in other systems). If the player character exceeds the TN they succeed. If they don’t exceed the TN, the player character might be able to spend some Stunt Points to change the outcome more to their liking. Each player starts the game session with six Stunt Points which cannot be accumulated beyond the session. Stunt Points can be applied a number of different ways to mitigate or change the outcome of specific actions at the cost of one or two points. How Stunt Points can be applied and spent is aptly defined in the ruleset.

Modifiers or bonuses the character might receive in a task roll are calculated on a straight one to one basis. If the Game Keeper determines the task being attempted requires strength and the character has 2 points in the Ability: Strong; those 2 points are added to whatever is rolled on the D6. Most task rolls will be modified by either Abilities (or attributes in other systems) or the amount of skill points the character has, in the relevant skill.

Consistent with everything about this product is that making an adventurer (or character) is quick and simply laid out. Adventurers in OneDice World War One have three abilities: Strong, Clever and Quick and players have six points to distribute among the abilities. Adventurers also have three derivative abilities Health, Defense and Move. For instance Health is calculated as your Strength multiplied times three and the other derivative abilities are similar. Players must then choose one of three, Social Status’ for their Adventurer: Wealthy, Middle Class or Poor which will assist in defining the adventurer's Job Skill Set. This is more of the career that each character starts with giving them two skills to start. Players then receive four more skill points which they can distribute how they see fit and in line with the game and the concept of how they want their character. Skills are numerous (around 30-ish, but described with one sentence or two) and simply laid out, but just in case there are even rules to create new skills.

Beyond creating an adventurer OneDice World War does a good job of defining the setting, as well as provides the GK with a succinct set of rules. Everything presented in Appendices and Game Keeper Section is well presented and should assist in running (if the GK would like) a historical game; the RPG also has some options for including horror or an occult themed skin. The Appendices section has a Timeline which outlines the significant events of World War One as well as an excellent general overview in regards to who was involved and why; and the strengths of the world powers. The Gamekeeper section gives a basic shading of World War One in terms of converting it to a roleplaying experience.

Though I’d liked to have seen a bit more as far as adventure seeds, the setting material does a really excellent job of defining itself to the point where you get a ton of ideas reading through it. About the only criticism I have is a lack of maps in the product itself, but then again the fact that the game is based on real history and being in the day and age of Google means that maps are only a couple of mouse clicks away… Still no Maps!?

Cover to back the PDF of OneDice World War One is 108 pages. Like all products in the OneDice line, it’s a quick read and very easy to get the gist of. Characters can be rolled up in less than 20 minutes (for certain). Art is minimal, but decent.

(This review is property of Kenzer and Company. Republished here with permission)

Overall, OneDice World War One is an excellent product. I’ve been looking for an opportunity to slip in a quick session, or perhaps one of those nights when one of two of my players cancels with my regular D&D Basic game. I did get the opportunity to run OneDice Supers last summer, and it worked pretty well. With how simple OneDice (any system I’ve read so far) is, it makes for an excellent fill-in RPG. Whether it hits your table, I'll leave you to it.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Map! Vast Stars: Digital Release

Map! Vast Stars
Map! Vast Stars is released! This is my last post this month so I wanted to make it a good one. As always this product is PWYW on OBS sites. On with the product blurb...

(Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. I receive a token % if you purchase something on the landing page. Thank you for your support.)

Map! Vast Stars is available on DriveThruRPG: here
& RPGNow: here

To be perfectly honest...  This isn't the best map I've ever made. I made it because star maps are trending, and every map pack I've seen is somewhere between $3-$10. No doubt, those will be superior quality products, but I figured some might not what to pay that much. My products don't cost anything, but if you want to throw some spare change in the tip jar and support what I'm doing, thank you for your patronage.

Map! Products are in full color, providing a visual location for the Referee (GM) to populate, and for the player characters to discover. Each map depicted in the PDF is included in Zipped PNG format. Though it's unlikely you'll use it ,this pack includes a 300 DPI version, and a 100 DPI version for virtual tabletops. For an exact account, click through to the sell you site of preference for a PDF preview.

The Download Contains:

  • Map! Vast Stars PDF (preview)

  • Zip File PNG (300 DPI); four files total 

  • Zip File PNG (100 DPI); four files total

  • My appreciation: Thank you. Please consider taking the time rate, review and comment. Also, what sort of Map! products would you like to see in the future?

Note: Please, This product is not for use in commercial products. 

Monday, February 5, 2018

Review Burp & General Updates

KoDT #251
Last month I reviewed OneDice Supers with EN World, and my review of World War II: Operation Whitebox published in Knights of the Dinner Table #251. Both received positive reviews. Little similarity between the two, other than being complete RPGs.

(Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. I receive a token % if you purchase something on the landing page. Thank you for your support.)

OneDice Supers is Cakebread & Walton's Superhero themed RPG published for their popular OneDice system. Simple. Easy. And though not aimed at youth or people who've never played an RPG before, it should certainly be up to the task. Rare, but I got to run a handful of sessions with this RPG, before I wrote the review. The review on EN World is here.

OneDice Supers
Side Note: A popular purchase through my affiliate links since my review on EN World published is OneDice Space. And if you prefer the route of frugality Cakebread and Walton has you covered  with a Pay What You Want version: OneDice Quickstart.

WWII: Operation Whitebox
World War II Operation Whitebox is exactly the sort of product I like to see from an OSR creator. I wouldn't call myself a "fan," (in fact I somewhat despise the term) but I've had the opportunity to look at few products by Small Niche Games and Operation Whitebox is gem among gold pieces. The game use Swords & Wizardry as the engine, but it has a lot of options for telling stories, dodging grenades, and gaming the deadliest conflict in human history.

Last month was pretty much a total time suck. I made the choice to change how reviews appear on this site, reformatting and editing nearly all of them. I changed some labels, which had me delving into old posts... Finished and published Map! Fief Bend (actually that is a +); and was rather shamelessly promoting it. Added a google search tool, a disclaimer and privacy policy. I'm also taking my second shot as an Amazon affiliate, but nothing to report there. While changing the blog is not exactly a sexy endeavor it might help a bit with SEO (search engine optimization)... Time will tell.


Thursday, February 1, 2018

Hydra Cooperative is seeking articles for Hydrazine: Submissions Open

Hydra Cooperative is getting ready to unleash Hydrazine, a new RPG print magazine which will focus on OGL compatible content (specifically OSR and D&D 5E), as well as aim to produce support material for Hydra Cooperative's already established (Strange Stars, Hill Cantons, Operation Unfathomable) RPG lines. Each issue of the Hydrazine will cater to a theme; for the first two issues the themes are "pointcrawls" & "conspiracies."

Submissions are open at Hydra Cooperative, and submitters are asked to submit a pitch as well as what the proposed length of the article will be, and wait for correspondence. If your idea is approved you'll be expected to write a finished piece of somewhere between 500-1,500 words. Rate of pay is a 5 cents/word and payments cap at $75. 

Hydra Cooperative is promoting diversity in gaming but I'm just going to (quote) take it straight from the horses mouth here:

Diversity in Gaming

The Hydra Cooperative is committed to supporting diversity in gaming. We’re extremely interested in amplifying some of the voices that have always been part of our hobby, but haven’t always been heard or amplified. While we’re accepting applications and manuscripts from everyone interested, we are particularly seeking submissions from creators who are:

* Female or non-binary


* People of color

If this open call has your interest the submission guidelines for Hydrazine is here. As always, best of luck to submitters.

End Note: Because some potential submitters might be asking "what is a pointcrawl?" Here and here are bloggers which define pointcrawls. In summary, the pointcrawl is somewhat a play on the hex crawl. Instead of detailing every aspect of a hex map; major encounters or "points" on the map are focused on, and detailed by the Game Master. There's a bit more to it than that, so certainly check out those blogs.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Map! Fief Bend Digital (PWYW) Release

Map! Fief Bend 'has been released into the digital wilderness. It's available at DriveThruRPG & RPGNow. Like all Map! products you can get it for the exorbitant price of Pay What You Want (PWYW). Map! Fief Bend is finished. This one is pretty decent.

(Disclosure: Product images on this page include affiliate links. I receive a token % if you purchase something on the landing page. Thank you for your support.)

Map! Fief Bend
Map! Fief Bend

Map! Products are in full color, providing a visual location for the Referee (DM/GM) to populate, and for the player characters to discover. This product contains a master PDF (preview). Each map depicted in the PDF is included in Zipped PNG format. Each map format has a print friendly (300 DPI) version, as well as a virtual tabletop (100 DPI) version. For an exact account, click on the image and check it out over at

This Download Contains:

  • Map! Fief Bend PDF (preview)
  • Print Friendly, Zip File PNG (300 DPI); four files total
  • Digital Friendly, Zip File PNG (100 DPI); four files Total
  • My appreciation: Thank you. Please take the time rate, review and comment.

Notes: Hexagon measurements are at 5ft per side; graph is at 5ft sq. (standard). This product is not for use in commercial products.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Maps! Fief Bend & Smugglers Dock

Fief Bend is very close to completion. I wanted this post to actually be the digital release post, but ultimately I've squandered an enormous amount of time this week. Edit Post: Fief Bend is finished you can get it right here.

(Disclosure: This review includes affiliate links. I receive a token % if you purchase something from the landing page.)
I've been busy updating my blog, reading this book: How To Make Money Blogging: How I Replaced My Day Job With My Blog, which is obviously about blogging/money (Ha!); and trying to figure out how "the Facebook" actually functions as a platform. For the most part, two of those were enormous wastes of time... The book was decent enough to get a couple ideas from at least. Also, for once in very long time, I'm very behind on some of my freelance writing stuff.

Map! Fief Bend Working
And because it's been noted twice before... Those little squares in the center is my color palette (will not be in the final render). All that's left on this one, is finishing up the road,  and couple of color details.

Smuggler's Dock is progressing nicely... But with this one I need to do some-things I've never done before. Also, the details of the sandy beach is creating it's own problem; lack of black lines of any kind, beside the buildings & dock, might be another. This one is for an upcoming 5E (I think) adventure book Kickstarter, so maybe I'm trying too hard?

Smuggler's Dock Working

Not that you asked for it but that's that, for the progress report. Though I've certainly noticed each of these projects eating up more and more time... The overall quality has certainly gotten better. If I can get caught up with the writing, Fief Bend should be available for purchase right before the end of this month.

Like all products in the Map! line Fief Bend will be available as a Pay What You Want product at here, and RPGNow here... Essentially free, but if you have guilt about getting something for free... I gladly accept tips! No amount is too small and every little bit helps me keep these projects going. And if you have already: Thank you for your Patronage!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Posthuman Studios: Open Call for Your Whispering Muse

Posthuman Studios is seeking RPG freelancers interested in making their mark on an official Eclipse Phase release; A serial style project titled: "Your Whispering Muse." Article ideas should be refined to a short 100 summary. If your piece is accepted, you'll be expected to expand the summary to a more robust piece at around 3400-5400 words. Rate of pay upon delivery of a final draft, is a flat rate of $200; or roughly about 3 to 6 cents/word.

Posthuman Studios open call page
Details on submitting to "Your Whispering Muse" open call is here. (Posthuman Studios site) Best of luck, if you decide to pitch. I'm thinking of giving this one a shot... The submissions page is encouraging with the sort of content they want; specificity is good thing, as is limiting the pitch to 100 words. They don't want to waste your time and don't want you, to waste theirs.

Disclosure: Product images on this page below this disclosure include affiliate links. I receive a token % if you purchase something on the landing page. Thank you for your support. 

Eclipse Phase 1E & 2E Quickstart Rules
The first and second edition Eclipse Phase Quickstart Rules are on here; or click on the product image above (affiliate links). I'll be looking over these myself and see if I can craft anything before the weekends out!

If the submission call for Eclipse Phase isn't your cup of coffee, but you're still interested in writing/creating for the role-playing game (RPG) industry, check out my RPG Submissions Open Page (link to that page); a list of RPG and third party publishing companies, that pay freelancers for RPG content, reviews, news, and other various things. Know of such a company, and aware of an open call? Contact me, or leave a comment.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

RPG Gag Comic Pinterest; The Gnome Thief

I've been working on a couple of RPG/gag comic ideas for KoDT's Parting Shots and I just realized; I never posted the first edition of the Gnome Thief... Remember, Knights of the Dinner Table (KoDT) is currently looking for gag/comic submissions for Parting Shots. If your submission is accepted, you'll receive a copy of the issue in which the work appears, and flat rate payment of $25. I'm just a self appointed messenger and occasional submitter.

Image Linked to Pinterest Board

Also, I started Pinterest Board for RPG Gag/Comics. Similar to most social media stuff. I'm new. No idea what I'm doing... However, if you'd like to check it out, the board is here. I'd really enjoy including other's work on this Pinterest Board, so if you know someone; please cast your summoning spells, a +name if you're on G+ or via the Facebook. I found nil, nada, nothing, in regards to boards which delve into this niche. If you're aware of such a board, send me a link! (Help!?!)

Details on submitting your comic/gag ideas to Kenzer and Company, for Parting Shots is here.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Gallant Knight Games; Submissions Open

Gallant Knight Games (GKG) recently put out an open call for RPG content. Specifically, they are looking for your best 100 word pitch for a superhero themed, micro-setting. Accepted pitches will be included as stretch goals, as part of the Tiny Supers Kickstarter, which is set to debut this May.

If your pitch is accepted and the stretch goal (for your piece) is met, you'll be expected to expand the 100 word pitch, into a superhero themed, micro-setting of 1500 words. Rate of pay is $0.10/word. I've copy/pasted the call below. But if you're interest click here, and head over to the submission page on GKG's website.

Tiny Supers is coming! And we want you!
We’re opening up the floodgates, and allowing anyone who wants to submit a pitch for a micro-setting to do so. Anyone is welcome to apply, and this is a paying gig, at the Gallant Knight Games standard professional rate.
Some details about micro-settings: 

  • Micro-settings are 1500 words in length.

  • Your pitch shouldn’t be more than 100 words long.

  • There is no rules writing involved (just “fluff”.)

  • You won’t have to start writing until your stretch goal is hit on the Kickstarter.

  • You will be paid the GKG standard rate of $0.10 USD per word (ten cents USD per word.)

  • We’re aiming to have Tiny Supers on Kickstarer in May, and you would be expected to deliver the final product to us for editing by the end of June.
We will be leaving the Open Call open through April 1st, so if you want to submit you have some time!

:::End Snip:::

Many thanks to Egg Embry who shot me an email about GKG's open call.

If the submission call for Gallant Knight Games isn't your cup of coffee, but you're still interested in writing/creating for the role-playing game (RPG) industry, check out my RPG Submissions Open Page (link to that page, which is also a tab at the top); a list of RPG and third party publishing companies, that pay freelancers for RPG content, reviews, news and other various things. Know of such a company, and aware of an open call? Contact me, or leave a comment.    

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Progress on Map! Feif Bend and the Start of Map! Smuggler's Dock

I'm very close to finishing Fief Bend. How close? 100% It will be finished before February. I'd say it's about 50/50, and I might even be able to finish it by next week. (head down, mash buttons) The problem is, I've been slightly distracted with a new project... This is the last project update for Fief Bend before I publish it on One Book Shelf ( &

When we last left off...

And where we are now...

Overall this is ok. I need to figure out what I'm doing with the road. Add some rocks. Greenery and shrubs about the church is a must. With the crop fields? Not sure... Maybe it's early spring? Crops aren't ready?

A screenshot of the new project...

Needless to say this one's in the works... I haven't set the colors yet, or more to point decided if I like the colors I'm using. And I'm only on the first two layers (Buildings & Terrain), and there are a lot of other features of this map... errr... yet to be Mapped!. This is going to be offered as part of a crowdsourcing project (crosses fingers). Technically, this is the first official time I will be paid (real money, yo) for creating a map, for someone's crowdsource... I pumped to do it! I'm labeling this one as: Smuggler's Dock.   

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Review Burp: RPG Review Submission Schedule & Updates

Lots to get to in this months Review Burp. The last few of months (Oct-Dec) I've received an interesting variety of RPGs in the mail. I figured I'd give each of these a good old fashioned product plug going forward; take a pic as they arrive, and include them with my monthly Review Burp posts. Each of these look rather excellent. Here is what has arrived (in no particular order) very recently:

Starfinder Core Book & Alien Archive Pawn Box; Published By Paizo
Linked to Starfinder Site; click and arrive

Operation Whitebox; Published By: Small Niche Games
Pic Affiliate Linked; click and arrive at the product page.

Barbarians of Lemuria: Mythic Edition; Published By: Filigree Forge
Pic is affiliate link to; click and arrive at the product page.

Shattered Dawn Player Guide & Arcmaster Guide; Published By: Shattered Dawn Tabletop Games

Pic is affiliate link to; click to arrive at the publisher page

Also, because it's the top of year I thought now would be a good time to give a basic refresher on the current review schedule. I have a decent sized list for both Knights of the Dinner Table and EN World. Some of these were part of the review call, I put out late summer of last year. Whether the product you sent was a PDF or a physical book, your product review is not forgotten.

EN World (2 reviews per month; average)

Accepted Review Pitch List:
Mazes & Perils Deluxe; PDF, review written
OneDice Supers; PDF, review written
Starfinder: Alien Archive (Pawn Box); Physical Product, started
Heroes Wear Masks; PDF, not yet
Conan; PDF, not yet
Deadlands Players Guide; PDF, not yet

Yet to Pitch:
Shattered Dawn; Physical Product (arrived just after my pitch list to EN World)
Hunted (DMs Guild); PDF
Aces & Eights Reloaded; Pending Kickstarter

KoDT (1 review per month)

On the Schedule:
Operation Whitebox; Physical: review submitted
Krendel Core; PDF: review submitted
Barbarians of Lemuria: Mythic Edition; PDF & Physical Product, review written
Starfinder Core Book; physical product, starting soon
Blood Shadows; PDF, review written
The Crying Blades and/or Crying Hack; PDF, not yet
Save the Day; PDF; started, but asked to hold for updates; not sure
Death of Legends; PDF, not yet
Nefertiti; physical book; holding review, published reviews of other publisher RPGs recently

I plan to keep the list in this order. My RPG Review guidelines are here (or up on the contact me tab), but I'm not accepting PDFs at this time. I'm determined to finish the list of PDFs I currently have. Next review call should be around late summer. While I've been doing my best to get this list knocked out, if you're a publisher of RPGs, here is a couple of RPG Reviewers you might query about reviews... Links to each persons contact info is attached to the name.

RPGs for kids: Egg Embry (EN World, featured reviewer contact page)
RPGs Call of Cthulhu and Lovecraftian inspired: Matthew Pook (on Facebook)

Last month, I published two RPG reviews with EN World and one with Knights of the Dinner Table. I'm shifting the schedule so that my Review Burp will cover RPG reviews from the prior month, and I already wrote content concerning KoDT #250, which came out in December. It's here is you want to look. With EN World I wrote reviews for Sins of the Father by Third Eye Games (link to publisher site) & Swords Edge by Swords Edge Publishing (link to publisher site).

Disclosure: Text and cover images below here, include affiliate links to I receive a token % if you purchase something on the landing page. I don't make much, but thank you for purchasing through these links, they help support me and this blog. Thank you for your support.

Swords Edge
Sins of the Father
Sins of the Father is a unique RPG, which uses standard decks of the playing cards for game mechanics. It's a storyteller RPG, which the character's souls, have been bartered to a Dark Lord in exchange for Dark Gifts. It doesn't come with a setting, but you can scope it how you prefer. I'm imagining it very good for one-shots, or off nights when not all your players show up. The review on EN world is here.

Swords Edge is a storyteller ruleset for a variety of potential settings. One of the most interesting things about this RPG is how the writing encourages story and sharing the narrative. This is Swords Edge Publishing's third successful Kickstarter, and though each RPG has the features common to narrative strong RPGs, each is also rather unique. The setting you'll run with Swords Edge is open, but the ruleset includes five potential setting skins (in brief) to get you started. The review on EN World is here.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Apocalypse Prevention Inc 2nd Edition: RPG Review

API 2nd Edition
Welcome to a review of Apocalypse Prevention Inc., 2nd Edition. This is a review of the PDF, which is available at and as well as at the Third Eye Games Store, (link, to the store). This product is available in full color and black and white; Print and PDF. Apocalypse Prevention Inc., 2nd Edition was brought to life via Kickstarter around the tune of 6.5k internet bucks. Mash some buttons and it can be yours.

Disclosure: Product images on this page and the banner below may include affiliate links. I receive a token % if you purchase something on the landing page. Thank you for your support.  

Apocalypse Prevention Inc. 2nd Edition is an interesting RPG. The product blurb puts this as an RPG which offers action, horror and a twist of humor. The setting is modern day. The player characters will be asserting the role of earth saving, hero agents. The primary duty of each player character is keeping humanity safe from all demonic and supernatural threats. Each character will be a member of a secret organization called (you guessed it!) Apocalypse Prevention Inc. The game borrows its scope from a number popular media franchises, but in my mind given its action heavy combat system, this RPG is custom made to follow either a Hell Boy or Men in Black sort of game experience. I prefer Hell Boy. The wealth of options and detail makes Apocalypse Prevention Inc., 2E a game that you would, and likely should make your own.

Despite itself and this is my first criticism, horror is mentioned as a theme, but beyond character choices I didn’t see enough execution in the writing for horror to fit. Whenever I think of horror I’m looking for mechanics and game themes similar to Call of Cthulhu or to a lesser degree Vampire the Masquerade, or RPGs which feature negative consequences, in some way as a mechanic. What can I say? The horror elements just weren’t dastardly enough. If you’re in the market for a horror RPG API 2E is a tough fit in my mind. What this RPG does feature is an interesting mix of races/demons many of which players have the option of utilizing as characters and in turn the GM may also utilize as foes. You could theme your game towards horror, as many these optional races borrow from classic horror tropes but the manner in which their written really fits the action and humor themes a lot better.

What Apocalypse Prevention Inc., 2E has is a lot of character options, as well as a robust combat system. Since I already started, let’s get into it by talking about some of the fiddly bits otherwise known as game mechanics.

Apocalypse Prevention Inc., 2nd Edition utilizes its own system coined the Dynamic Gaming System 2.0 (DGS). DGS is a medium leaning toward the heavy side of crunch. I’ll let the game speak for itself:

“The DGS 2.0 system uses a combination of bonuses from Attributes, Skills or even Race abilities to accomplish tasks. Most tasks are performed by rolling 1d20 (one twenty-sided die) and applying modifiers (bonuses or penalties) relevant to the situation. For every 5 they roll over their Difficulty, the player receives a Boost (pg. 171) for additional positive effect.” (PG 169)

In most cases, players are hoping to meet or beat the Difficulty set by the GM. However, in cases where the player may have a result within 5 of the Difficulty, this is considered a Near Success. The character accomplishes the task, but also suffers a negative consequence.

Near Successes & Boosts offer an interesting amount of variation to any given check. Though mechanically different, I’m reminded of how HackMaster creates variation with the use of penetration dice (noted as d4p etc.). Near Successes and Boosts also entails that when gauging combat encounters the number of combatants involved (vs. characters) is as equally important from a balance standpoint as the foe(s) being faced. If the characters are outnumbered this is never a good thing. There are also some well laid out suggestions to balance boosts through variation, whether to increase or decrease the number at which boosts are achieved by foes. This in turn could be used to lower the variation overall for both the characters and foes, as well as stretching it further, used to modify Near Successes.

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A bit of an aside but something essential, is that the game offers a lot of functional advice (and advanced options) for using the ruleset in a way more supple than most RPGs. This approach is very effective in allowing players & GMs to tweak the technical/mechanical aspects in a game into a game they want to play. I liked the approach and more importantly the execution of these sections and it is certainly something to consider before letting API 2E find its way to your table.

Since I’m already there, combat is robust and unique. Players roll a D20 and receive an initiative bonus from their agility (AGY) and Intellect (IQ). These scores are added together with the highest number going first. And this number is used as a Staggered Initiative. Each action, which characters and foes perform, has a specific speed rating and whatever this number, that number is subtracted from the characters Staggered Initiative total. Actions are capped at two per round for beginning characters, the amount of actions increase as the character gain experience. Each Reaction has a speed rating, but does not qualify as an action. Actions/Reactions are well defined similar to how spells or psionic abilities are defined in other games. I liked this feature and it provides players and GMs a good definition or theater for combat encounters to happen. The detail of this combat system should make it less daunting to new players. Here are your actions, they take up x speed rating; here are the reactions, the take up y speed rating. It’s involving, but laid out in a straight forward manner.

Character creation in API2 provides a lot of options. Players select a concept then have a choice of either a human character or choosing from among 20 character (species/race) types. All races not human are considered Demons (for their innate and often unnatural aptitudes) many of which hail from distant dimensions. The other types of demons presented are borrowed from classic horror tropes. While it’s aptly presented combining aliens and classic horror will likely make this RPG a bit of a mash for some.

Character creation utilizes a point buy system for players to make the character they prefer without utilizing a character classes. Characters start with twenty-five (25) points to distribute among the six core attributes. How points are distributed is balanced with a soft cap of 8, which is when spending points beyond 8, the cost is doubled. Skills are selected in a similar and utilize a point buy. Next are Gifts and Drawbacks. Each character race starts with a specific listing of Gifts and Drawbacks and is awarded a certain number of Bonus Points (BPs) to spend on Gifts. Drawbacks can be chosen and each has a certain amount of BPs which is awarded to the player character and can be spent with character creation. More likely than not Drawbacks will be chosen based upon the character concept that was put forth in step one. The last steps are choosing gear and calculating Derived Stats of which there are thirteen (13).

Not that it’s a good calculation, because hopefully you will have some peers to help you along, I created three different characters as a test for this system. The very first time it took me just short of two hours (lol), the second and third time each too a little less than an hour. The amount of features and my inherent need to min/max the detail of this system makes character creation probably more fun, than it should be. At least concerning this nerd it did. If you’re looking for a quick game, there is a nice section which features 12 pre-gen agent characters for players to use.

(Disclosure: This review is property of Kenzer and Company and republished here with permission.)

Beyond character creation there are systems in place which feature Magic Disciplines, Fighting Styles and Cybernetics. For a game without character classes players certainly have a lot of way to mix options in the sort of character they can create.

In total Apocalypse Prevention 2E measures in at 231 pages and is laid out in two column style featuring black & white illustrations on the interior. The cover art is by Daniel Wong and the interior art features illustrations by Mike Mumah, Daniel Wong, and Herbert Kwan. Originally, I thought that all the illustrations were by Mumah, but that’s a credit to the production as the art plentiful and consistent throughout.

Overall, I have a favorable impression of Apocalypse Prevention Inc., 2E. Certainly, if I can get some more regular games going this game has a slot-especially if I can convince my group for a few one offs. From there who knows? The only criticisms I have are in regards to horror as a theme which was mentioned previously and that a few sections of the writing (some sentences were a bit long and/or too many commas) could use an edit. Still, the enthusiastic style of the writing is hard to miss and the overall layout is well organized. I defiantly recommend giving it some play.