Vajra Enterprises Releases This is a Dark Ride Second Edition, Free for First Edition Owners

Dark Ride 2nd Edition coverVajra Enterprises has just released the second edition of This is a Dark Ride, the sourcebook for In Dark Alleys about the world’s most famous amusement park. It contains 9 additional pages of material, including a description of the Deserted City’s own amusement park, and an easier-to-read page layout. People who own the first edition can download the second edition for free here.

CHARIOT: Fantasy Role-Playing in an Age of Miracles – now available

Chariot coverAtlantis nears its fall. An empire founded on a dream tears itself apart. Slaves make one last bid for freedom. The precursors of the human race rail against extinction.

You came from this world. Fated to witness the end of the age of miracles, you have the power to make one final difference. You will love and hate for the fate of a world you will not live to see.

Your future lies in the cards. Endings, catastrophe, triumph. Death, the Tower, the Chariot.

What wrongs will you right?
Whom will you save?
What will be your legacy?
Where will you stand in the face of the coming wave?

A game based upon theosophical myth, outsider art, and the dreams of youth by Howard David Ingham (Promethean: the Created, Vampire: the Requiem and Changeling: the Lost).

Chariot looks at the occult Atlantis with fresh eyes, criticising race, class and empire. The game’s Tarot card-based system rewards the building of relationships and the proactive pursuit of conflict.

You can buy Chariot at:

Threadbare RPG Kickstarter!

ThreadbarePlushie or Plastic, mate? The Threadbare RPG Kickstarter is live and running through June 8th!

Threadbare RPG is a role-playing story game in which you and your fellow players play the parts of broken, damaged, and abandoned toys in a world where the humans are all gone. All hope is not gone, however, as you try to fix and rebuild a world that is now broken, dirty, and dangerous!

  • Cooperative role-playing with an emphasis on building and “hacking” new things out of old.
  • Speedy combat “rules:” all combat is resolved in an elegant “montage” sequence that takes less time to describe than a single round of combat in a traditional RPG.
  • Kid-friendly: emphasis on conflict resolution through building friendships and compromise.
  • Adult-friendly: Hits the nostalgia “sweet spot” for playing favorite toys with a grown-up tone.

For 3-6 players ages 10 and up, including GM.

Powered by the Apocalypse World game engine (2d6+)

Growling Door Games Announces the Release of SAVE: The Eternal Society

SAVE The Eternal SocietyFollowing a successful Kickstarter campaign, Growling Door Games is pleased to announce the release of the first sourcebook for its Chill Third Edition game line, entitled SAVE: The Eternal Society. SAVE will be available in PDF via DriveThruRPG on June 8, 2016, and in softcover through Indie Press Revolution in August 2016.
“The truth is that no manifesto can save the world, no set of laws will save us from the clawing, lurking hands of the Unknown that surround us. At the end of the night, our envoys fight alone against the darkness. When the world stands at the brink of destruction, only those who are ready and able to defend it can say just how far they need to go to ensure our survival.

“When everything has gone wrong, our envoys will stand and make their choices free of any rules, and we will pray they make the right ones.”

—Hayat Nejem, “How to SAVE the World”

SAVE: The Eternal Society looks at the type of people who join the Societas Argenti Viae Eternitata. It examines the history of the organization and the rise of Hayat Nejem’s cell-based approach to fighting the Unknown, and provides and expanded system for building a SAVE HQ for your Chill stories. In addition, this book provides four new cases for SAVE envoys to experience, and 10 new creatures to bedevil and terrify them.

Anyone can join the Society. All that’s required is the will to face the Unknown. Do you have it?

Red Markets live on Kickstarter

Red Markets coverRed Markets is a tabletop RPG about economic horror.

In Red Markets, characters risk their lives trading between the massive quarantine zones containing a zombie outbreak and the remains of civilization. They are Takers: mercenary entrepreneurs unwilling to accept their abandonment, seeking to profit from mankind’s near-extinction before it claims them. They must hustle, scheme, and scam as hard as they fight if they hope to survive the competing factions and undead hordes the GM throws at them.

Takers that are quick, clever, or brutal enough might live to see retirement in a safe zone, but many discover too late that the cycle of poverty proves harder to escape than the hordes of undead.

Red Markets uses the traditional zombie genre to tell a story about surviving on the wrong end of the economy. It’s cut-throat capitalism with its knife on your neck.

The game runs off Profit, a mechanics system designed to allow players to customize their experience to taste. Red Markets can be played as a pure story game, a tactical combat challenge, or any combination in-between. Other features of the game’s setting and system include…

  • Unique Theme: The threat of monsters is nothing compared to the weight of economy. Supernatural threats join the horror of trying to escape poverty to make a powerful, relatable storytelling experience.
  • Strategic Social Combat: Profit’s Negotiation mechanics put as much weight on skillful roleplaying and social engineering as traditional RPG combat.
  • Player-generated Setting and Scenarios: Make your own survivor enclave, simulate the fluctuations of its economy, and design opportunities for your characters to exploit.
  • Near-future Technology: No luddites allowed in this apocalypse: use drones, prosthetic limbs, and 3D printed guns to hold back the undead hordes!
  • Modular Scenario Design: Sessions and campaigns can be as long or as short as you want them to be, focusing on interpersonal roleplay, tactical combat, or some mixture of the two.
  • Scalable Difficulty: Rules variants allow the GM to plan for care-free zombie slaying romps or grim, rogue-like character meatgrinders.

Those that want to know more can find full AP recordings of the game and development diaries found on Role-Playing Public Radio. Listen to the entire history of the game’s development on the RPPR Game Designer’s Workshop podcast, or listen to an entire playtest campaign called “The Brutalists.”

Red Markets is currently live on Kickstarter.

Member Spotlight: Fraser Ronald on Historical Games: Authentically Inauthentic

IGDN’s Member Spotlight series is a chance for our members to share their interests. Each Member Spotlight post reflects the unique viewpoint of the author, and does not represent the views of the rest of the IGDN or its membership.

Games set in historical settings generally face constraints and expectations that those set in secondary worlds do not. While these can be both benefit and hazard, historical games have an undeniable appeal to a subset of gamers and designers.

When approaching the design of a role-playing game set in a historical period, the first question you needs to ask yourself is, how rigidly will your game adhere to history. I would argue this is not a binary, but a continuum, and there is no best level of historicity. Whichever approach you take will condemned by some and lauded by others, so figure out what you want to do and go with that.

I’ve published three historical games, and I’d like to use those as examples. The first of these was Kiss My Axe, which is an RPG of Viking mayhem. While the dial on this one is well into the authentic region of the continuum, a major inspirational factor was the Viking sagas, and so magic, monsters, and superhuman feats were baked into the rules. Further along the continuum of historicity was Centurion, a game of Roman legionaries. Centurion was heavily researched and its setting was the Roman Empire as we know it, with no magic or other alterations. Finally, Nefertiti Overdrive was grounded in the historical Egypt of the 25th Dynasty, but envisioned the Assyrian invasion that ended that dynasty as a martial arts action movie, in a manner completely contrary to the existing history. This, more so than the other two, declined to accept the social norms of the time and overlaid twenty-first century ideas atop of the society of the time.

I had expected Kiss My Axe to sit in a sweet spot for gamers. If one wants to play a Viking game, one likely knows at least something about Vikings, and so a game that adheres to history will likely provide most of what one is seeking. But along with history, it offered fantasy, with giants and witches with whom to fight or ally. It offered magic not as a superstition but as a tool that could be used just as one’s sword could.

That said, it was my least successful game. I don’t want to read too much into that.

The work that is required for any specific level of historicity — or let’s call it authenticity, perceived authenticity for certain, but that is kind of how it is measured — is varied, but that is not a reason to choose a lower level. Research is required no matter your purpose, and a lack of research when working on a historical setting will almost certainly be seen as laziness. I would say my level of research was greater for Centurion than for the other two, but not by very much, and that in no way slowed the game’s creation or design.

Research is an undeniable part of the historical game. If you are not interested in doing the research, I would strongly suggest a second world setting. This allows a designer to take inspiration from history without being held to it.

Even with the statement that a game is not rigidly historical, if it exists within our world, it will create expectations. Right from the outset, I made clear that Nefertiti Overdrive was not a “historical” game although it was a game set in Egyptian history. This is did not allow me to ignore the history of the 25th Dynasty and the Assyrian invasion, it only gave the players and GMs who run the game license to create their own version of history.

And to include kung fu. Because that’s what history was missing. I just fixed it.

I would strongly argue that the choice of authenticity should not be about a fear of research or of getting history “wrong.” It needs to be fed directly by the motivation that is driving you to create your game or setting. If you want a game to be set in the English Civil Wars, then you should be striving for a higher level of authenticity. If you want to have a game of witches hunting warlocks in the English Civil Wars, you must still understand and research that period, but now there’s magic as well! Maybe you want supernatural artillery and vampire generals in the same. Not a problem. On the continuum you’re pretty much at the far end away from authenticity, but there’s obviously something about the English Civil Wars period that inspires and fascinates you. Don’t do that a disservice by relying on Wikipedia for your research. The more you know about the period, the more confident you will be writing about and explaining how those vampire generals and their supernatural artillery got there.

As a sidenote, I don’t want to belittle Wikipedia. It is a great place to start, but should not be the start, middle, and end of your research journey.

Writing about a historical period does not mean you cannot have fun with it and make it your own. You can have spell-slinging martial artists during the Ancient Regime of France, but do the Ancien Regime justice.

Prepare to Join the Ninja Crusade—Pre-orders for 2nd Edition Now Available

Ninja Crusade Second Edition coverPick your Clan…
Pick your Jutsu…
Take on an army!

It’s time to muster for battle. Third Eye Games is now taking pre-orders for The Ninja Crusade 2nd Edition hardcover, coming this April. Even if you missed the Kickstarter, there’s still time to be among the first to get your copy of this beautifully-illustrated game of high flying martial arts action.

In The Ninja Crusade you’ll play as ninja battling against the evil Izou Empire which seeks to eradicate your kind. Make tenuous alliances with other clans, forge deals with powerful oni, and summon spirit animals to aid you in your fight for survival. You’ll need to forge strong bonds if you wish to outlast your enemy, but that isn’t always easy when your new allies were once your enemies as well.

Reserve your print edition of The Ninja Crusade 2nd Edition today and get a free copy of the PDF to get started in your adventures. Visit the 3EG Online Store to place your order now.

Fated Minions of the Source Now Available from Third Eye Games

Fated Minions of the Source coverThird Eye Games has once again teamed up with Encoded Designs to bring you Fated Minions of the Source, the second sourcebook for the Fate powered conversion of the popular Part-Time Gods RPG.

Fated Minions of the Source details the elusive entity known as the Source and the Outsiders who do its bidding. This book contains over 40 new Outsiders and Relics to add to your game, including Manticores, Black-Eyed Children and the mighty Sphinx. It also includes three new Theologies and a brand new adventure to tie everything together.

In Part-Time Gods of Fate, you take on the life of a mortal who has gained the divine Spark. You now have godly powers and all the worshipers you can muster, but no matter how cool it is to be the god of fire it still doesn’t pay the rent. You must learn to balance your divine and mortal responsibilities—save the world from the Source’s minions, but make sure you’re home on time for your daughter’s recital or you’ll have bigger things to worry about.

Don’t let the Source ruin your day. Pick up Fated Minions of the Source today from DriveThruRPG or the 3EG Online Store.

Member Spotlight: Dustin DePenning on Market Differences: Hobby and Mass-market Games

IGDN’s Member Spotlight series is a chance for our members to share their interests. Each Member Spotlight post reflects the unique viewpoint of the author, and does not represent the views of the rest of the IGDN or its membership.

I grew up playing Magic, D&D, Warhammer, and other games you find at hobby stores. Nowadays, I design games for families and children that are purchased by mainstream consumers at retailers like Target and Wal-Mart. Involvement in both worlds has taught me about a few differences between these markets.

1. Mass-market companies expect a large volume of sales.
It is important to understand the difference in scale between the hobby and mainstream games. Mass-market games I have designed which sold from 20,000 to 100,000 units were considered failures, even though these numbers sound large in the hobby market. Only games that sold 200,000 or more units in a year were seen as successes. Results like this often require immense efforts from skilled designers and large marketing teams.

2. Casual and hobby gamers want different things from games.
In contrast to hobby gamers, mass-market gamers (“casuals”) prefer simple games. Some people attribute this to a casual gamer’s intelligence. This is an insulting assumption. The true difference is hobby gamers are interested in gaming as a primary source of entertainment. Casuals see games as a fun distraction, but their primary interests are elsewhere.

3. Interest is the key driver behind what you choose to play.
Hobby gamers will sit down to play a complex game they know nothing about to broaden their experience. However, casual gamers worry about losing time and mental energy that could be spent on something they might enjoy more. As such, it’s difficult to get casuals to risk playing – and especially purchase – an unfamiliar game. You have to find powerful communication to capture their attention, time, and money.

4. Investment shapes communication.
Highly invested gamers have acquired a subconscious cluster of visual cues, game mechanics, story themes, jargon, etc., to interpret new experiences. Uninitiated casuals have no such advantage. This makes simple and culturally familiar experiences easier to communicate. They perceive such games as lower-risk investments.

This phenomenon makes classic games such as Sorry and Monopoly everlasting, despite some opinions they aren’t very fun. When the occasional mood to play a board game strikes, Sorry offers an experience both simple and familiar. Monopoly isn’t simple compared to Sorry, but is so widely known that it’s a cultural icon.

5. Designing new experiences for casual consumers is difficult.
It is difficult to make something that feels familiar and is easy to learn, yet still fresh and fun. The palette of mechanics you can employ is limited, and themes must be inherently appealing or trendy. This balancing act can apply to hobby gamers as well, but they have a wider language of mechanics and theme trends. Finding the perfect intersection of fresh and familiar is extremely difficult. It can take collective knowledge of an entire team to get it right.

6. The American game audience is changing.
For designers of hobby games, the good news is that the market is growing every day. Video games and apps have made complex game mechanics accessible, and digital gaming’s high entertainment value makes classic board games less appealing. Consumers are starting to desire more novel experiences found in hobby games, and each year it becomes easier to turn an uninterested gamer into an engaged one.

Dustin DePenning has worked in the gaming industry since 2008, first at Hasbro and now at Spin Master Games. In his off-time, he is developing an RPG called Synthicide.

The Ninja Crusade 2nd Edition Now Available in PDF

Ninja Crusade Second Edition coverPick your Clan…
Pick your Jutsu…
Take on an army!

Third Eye Games presents The Ninja Crusade 2nd Edition, an RPG of mysticism and high-flying martial arts. This edition expands the world of ninja and introduces an entirely new system designed from the ground up to deliver intense anime-inspired action and creative storytelling.

In this game, you’ll build your ninja using a lifepath character creation system, create tenuous truces with members of rival clans, and use your jutsu against the evil Izou Empire whose mission is to wipe your kind from the face of the planet.

The new Chakra System provides plenty of depth without sacrificing flexibility. Choose from 10 ninja clans (plus an 11th clanless option), power up with jutsu chosen from 20 jutsu paths and select from skills and backgrounds to define your character.

The Ninja Crusade, 2nd Edition is now available in PDF with a hardcover print edition coming soon. Capture your copy today at DriveThruRPG or the 3EG Online Store.