This is Audio EXP for the 5th of December 2020, and the title of this episode is ‘RPG conversions and community content’.
[The following is a transcript of Audio EXP: #73]
Are you braver than your friends?
That was the question Geek Native readers and listeners had to answer to win a copy of the card game 6 Nimmit back in September.
The answer? No.
46% of people thought they are braver than their friends which means the slim majority, 54% of people, though that their friends are braver than they are.
What started as a poll to give away a card game and produce some quirky stats has caused me some deep philosophical thought. Well, as deep and as philosophical as I go! Which isn’t very far.
What does this say about society if we expect, if we assume, that other people are more likely to be the brave ones?
The write-up of that competition wasn’t the only time the RPG community had me thinking about society this week. Blackfisk Forlag, a Swedish RPG publisher, had to wade in on a row around their currently in playtest game Blood Feud.
We talked about Blood Feud in the last episode of Audio EXP but here’s a quick recap. It’s a Viking RPG about honour, power and toxic masculinity.
The fear that some people had was that it was openly alt-right, but that’s not the case at all.
The argument continued, however, and Blackfisk Forlag was told that two white guy game designers probably weren’t the best people to explore such a sensitive topic. It could easily become an exploration of a power fantasy by two guys.
Well, Blackfisk Forlag put together a response to some of the common concerns. First addressing that the mention of “Toxic Masculinity” was true to the essence of the game and that essence was about exploring the damage it does.
As for two guys creating a power fantasy? One of the two developers is non-binary and queer.
That, surely, will calm the debate up until actual alt-right weirdos react to the use of Vikings in some way.
I guess the other cultural commentary that has been keeping the geek community busy of late is all the cyberpunk stories. We’ll get back to cyberpunk stories in a bit, but the timing is obvious; that Cyberpunk 2077 beast is lurking in the near future.
Dragon Turtle Games, perhaps best known for the cyberpunk Carbon 2185, announced the development of a new RPG. It’s called Solarpunk, but isn’t set on the Sun.
It’s set in a future which seems nice. The sky is blue and cities are clean and green. Scratch beneath that surface, though, and there’s a dark secret.
That’s all they’ve said about the game so far except that Eric Willman is on board to write it. A Kickstarter will happen in 2021.
If you don’t want to wait for your next sci-fi then why not check out Lando Baldur’s free and version 0.01 alpha Vortex Flux.
This sci-fi is 350-pages and yours to download, although as the version number makes clear, it’s a very early release.
Lando has art skills and has taken a bold approach with the layout of the RPG. It’s horizon rather than vertical, to match your desktop monitor and that means there are sometimes six columns per page.
Or, if you’re looking for something from an established designer you’ll struggle to do better than Blades in the Dark John Harper. Harper released the Cold War era sci-fi Chamber this week.
Chamber is a Name Your Own Price offering from Itch.io, and it uses the Paragon system. Now, you can’t buy the Paragon system as a standalone yet and the only place you’ll find it is the Agon RPG Harper wrote for Evil Hat.
So, Chamber looks good, but you do need a copy of Agon to play it. You also get Agon from Itch.io, and if you’re in the United States, you can buy a paper copy from Evil Hat.
In Chamber, a strange signal has been detected coming from space. Players are members of a secret organisation that tracks down to capture or destroy objects that have become infected by the signal.
Or, if you fancy something new but familiar at the same time, there are two excellent fan-made conversions to be aware of this week.
The first up, by Kobayashi89, is Granblue Fantasy: A Skyfarer’s Guide.
The RPG is a D&D 5e conversion of the Granblue Fantasy computer game and the Netflix anime series it spawned.
You’ll be part of a crew who travel from floating island to island on flying ships, you’ll tangle with the Empire and battle in a world of summoned monsters.
Granblue Fantasy: A Skyfarer’s Guide is available on Homebrewery and as a DropBox hosted PDF.
An even more high profile conversion is Dungeons and Destiny. This fan project, backed by a Patreon of hundreds, got mentioned by big computer game blogs like Kotaku.
Why? Well, it takes the multiplayer shooter Destiny and gives it a tabletop RPG powered by 5e. The game does make use of classes already and a levelling system of its own. However, Dungeons and Destiny haven’t done a straight conversion, Stacy Poor and team worked hard to give the game a strong Destiny flavour.
Dungeons & Destiny is available via Google Drive and many folders. It has maps, adventures and three core books. Geek Native has embedded all three of those core rules, using Google Drive’s PDF reader, so you can skim them without downloading anything.
Both conversions, I think, are worth checking out.
If you’re feeling more creative and in mind to expand a world rather than just play in it then there is some community content news for you.
Community content in this context means those rules by which you can create and sell RPG supplements for other games. The most famous might be the DMs Guild and the 5e-license which lets third-party publishers create for D&D.
This week a small company called Nightpath Publishing launched Entromancy Cryptographers Guild.
Entromancy is a cyberpunk RPG powered by 5e. It might not be as famous as, say, Carbon 2185 and it doesn’t have the budget, but I think it’s pretty good.
If you’ve cyberpunk creations, you’d like to write up and sell then the Cryptographers Guild is worth checking out.
A bigger program is Monte Cook Games’ Cypher System Creator Program.
That’s not new, but it did have a significant update this week. It’s now possible to create Cypher content for the multi-fantasy setting of Godforsaken, for the fairy tales of We’re All Mad Here, for the horror of Stay Alive! and the sci-fi of The Stars are Fire. These are all Monte Cook Games genre-based settings.
In the future, you’ll also be able to write for the superheroes Claim the Sky and real-heroes of First Responders.
With all these new ways to create RPGs and a growing audience for them, it’s perhaps no surprise to discover that the Origins Awards had an increase in submissions this year.
As it happens, and despite the cancellation of the associated convention, Origins had a 370% increase in submissions. So, in response, they’ve restructured to break board games and RPGs into many different categories.
I admit, I don’t get it. Board games have the following categories;
Whereas RPGs get
- Family/General Audience
- Science Fiction
I don’t know why Family and General are different things for board game but not RPGs. I don’t know if horror RPGs are welcome.
Of course, Origins and GAMA don’t need to explain themselves to me. I’m not a member, but if people submitting their creations don’t understand how the categories work then the restructuring to cope with the boom in the industry might be more harmful than helpful.
One board game maker that absolutely deserves mention in this week’s Audio EXP is Twogether Studio. They’ve just published The Adventure Zone Board Game but won’t put it on Amazon until after Christmas.
Yes, this makes it a little harder to get hold off, but you can buy it from them. Why do it? They want to help smaller game stores recover from a terrible 2020 and by delaying Amazon from getting hold of the game, they’re doing just that.
Hopefully, 2021 will be a better year for traders that require people to visit them. One of Europe’s biggest tabletop and board game shows is banking on that.
The UK Games Expo has marked 4th to 6th of June as the date for their 2021 event. They hope it’ll be like a normal year, but if not, it’ll be a socially distant meet-up rather than a virtual one.
Now, as it’s the start of the month, it means Geek Native’s Patreon supporters have a poll to vote in; the RPG Publisher Spotlight.
The goal of the Spotlight is to help create some publicity for smaller RPG creatives, and each month there are five candidates and one winner. If you’re a Patreon, here is who you can vote for;
- Newstand Press
- Plate Mail Games
- Parts Per Million
- Sneak Attack Press
Before we go, here’s a D&D competition that anyone in the world can enter. Well, anyone that I can send DMs Guild content too anyway.
The prize is Sun Sailor Games’ Caul of Winter.
Caul of Winter is an expansion, with additional and alternative content, for Rime of the Frostmaiden an official D&D product. I think it’s especially handy if you want to smuggle your players onto that adventure without them clocking what you’re doing.
And let’s wrap it there, keep safe, stay out of melee range and see you next week.
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