Women of Color – Khepera Publishing Needs You!

This post originally appeared on Black Girl Nerds. You can read it here. We reprinted it here with Jerry’s permission, but strongly encourage you to visit and support the Black Girl Nerds site & Twitter feed, through both your views and reshares. You can also find their Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/blackgirlnerds


Khepera Publishing Jerry Grayson 2017

I publish small independent tabletop roleplaying games and have done so since 2002. Whenever the subject of diversity comes up, a handful of people of color are invoked as part of the community. If the RPG industry is the Peanuts Gang, I’m the Franklin, the black guy.

There is never a lot of us, and it’s usually the same people. Occasionally, a new guy will pop up, but it’s just that, a new GUY.

Where are the Black, Latina, Native American, Indian, and Middle Eastern women game designers, writers, artist, and publishers?

I know that women of color play roleplaying games, I see them at conventions and game gatherings. Sometimes they sit at my table and play. I know there are more than I’m seeing but I want to be aware of you all. I want to know you, be mindful of you, follow and support you.

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IGDN Scholarship Winners Games at Metatopia

Metatopia 2017 Double Exposure, Inc. 2017

We announced our winners for the Metatopia Scholarship earlier, but now that Metatopia weekend is here you can go check out their games at the convention!

​Mike Espinoza​

Mike is running five sessions of Nahual. A Mexican role playing game Powered by the Apocalypse set on the universe created by the comic book artist Edgar Clément, started in the graphic novel Operacion Bolivar. In Nahual players are angel hunters, descendants from the powerful brujos nahuales that fought against the invading angels that came with the conquistadores. They have the dormant gifts that allow them to touch the gods and their harbingers, but their memory is lost, impoverishing the greatness of these wonders. Many angel hunters just struggle for survival, some crave power, others look for answers at the end they all agree in one thing: A nahual lives to hunt down angels.

You can find the game at one of these times.

R164: Friday, 11:00AM – 1:00PM; Serious, 18 & Over ONLY.
R287: Friday, 4:00PM – 6:00PM; Serious, 18 & Over ONLY.
R514: Saturday, 11:00AM – 1:00PM; Serious, 18 & Over ONLY. This is a HI-TEST session.
R631: Saturday, 4:00PM – 6:00PM; Serious, 18 & Over ONLY.
R804: Sunday, 10:00AM – 12:00PM; Serious, 18 & Over ONLY. ***ONLY ONE SEAT LEFT!***

Jessie Yaternick​

Is running two games in three slots. The first game is Capodecina, a gangster card game where players try to build themselves a crew to successfully pull off heists. You can choose to work with other players to complete the crew and share the rewards of a job. You can help other players out of jail or the hospital but you also have the choice to rat them out, shoot them, or steal their crew members. The first player to obtain enough reputation becomes the new “Boss” and wins.

You can find Capodecina at these times:

B177: Friday, 2:00PM – 4:00PM; Fun, All Ages. This is a HI-TEST session.
B813: Sunday, 12:00PM – 2:00PM; Fun, All Ages

The second game is Quarantine Heroes which is a cooperative card game where the players must keep themselves and civilians alive against the threat of disease. Your team must handle exposures and control infections by finding and equipping gear, managing resources, and sheer luck. If anyone player or a civilian dies, then the game is lost.

You can find Quarantine Heroes at this time:

B540: Saturday, 2:00PM – 4:00PM; Fun, All Ages. There are 2 seats left.

​Justin Rogers​

Justin is running three slots of Family Without Values. It’s a dysfunctional family comedy RPG built off the mechanics of the game Swords Without Master by Epidiah Ravachol. In it, each player will choose a playbook a la Apocalypse World and answer some questions to create their scheming, narcissistic, and foolish family member, then begin playing out scenes as creators, actors, and audience. Dice are rolled to determine the overtone of the scene and the tone of each action — will they be “Cheeky and Fun,” or “Tragic and Cruel”? Players slip and struggle against the manipulations of other family members and their own inadequacies until, presumably, nothing is accomplished

You can find it during these times:

R219: Friday, 2:00PM – 4:00PM; Fun, 18 & Over ONLY.There are 3 seats left.
[FILLED] R627: Saturday, 4:00PM – 6:00PM; Fun, 18 & Over ONLY.
R841: Sunday, 12:00PM – 2:00PM; Fun, 18 & Over ONLY. This is a HI-TEST session. There are 2 seats left.

​Victoria Cana​

Victoria is running six slots of Gladius, a betting game about guts, glory, and gambling! Over the course of five rounds, players bet on teams of gladiators and play influence cards to alter the outcome of each event. Your goal is to make sure you’re on the winning end by any means necessary. Can you outwit your opponents to profit off of the gladiatorial games, or will you be left empty-handed?

B246: Friday, 4:00PM – 6:00PM; Fun, All Ages. There are 4 seats left.
B321: Friday, 8:00PM – 10:00PM; Fun, All Ages. This is a HI-TEST session. There are 4 seats left.
B531: Saturday, 2:00PM – 4:00PM; Fun, All Ages. There are 5 seats left.
B583: Saturday, 4:00PM – 6:00PM; Fun, All Ages. There are 5 seats left.
B823: Sunday, 12:00PM – 2:00PM; Fun, All Ages. There are 5 seats left.
B858: Sunday, 3:00PM – 5:00PM; Fun, All Ages. There are 5 seats left.

J​acqueline Beckwith​

Jacqueline is running two sessions of Cobblestone,  A gothic horror PbtA game where the mundane walk among the monstrous. How do you handle being powerless in a world of strange power? How do you make your own empowerment? Manage the delicate balance of your mind and emotions as you seek to understand, destroy, or simply cope with the supernatural. In the end, maybe the true horror is in how we handle it. Take up your lanterns and walk the Cobblestone. Both are filled, but with the way the convention goes someone might need a last minute spot so be aware of this anyway.

[FILLED] R406: Friday, 10:00PM – 12:00AM; Fun, 18 & Over ONLY. This is a HI-TEST session.
[FILLED] R750: Saturday, 10:00PM – 12:00AM; Fun, 18 & Over ONLY. There are 0 seats left

​Jeeyon Shim​

Is running two games with one slot each. The first is In the Vein a game where your last year at Fog Mountain’s School of Magic feels as though it will never end – not least because you managed to land yourself, yet again, in advisory review. You and your other unfortunate peers must pass the school’s most dangerous professor’s tests of your knowledge – even if it costs you your life. In this Trackers Earth LARP, intense interpersonal drama intertwines with herbalism and our Curriculum of Shadows, Trackers’ unique method of teaching stealth and tracking. Players will learn an introduction to the vast array of medicinal – and poisonous – plants that grow in California as well as camouflage with natural materials. Be prepared to get dirty!

L450: Saturday, 9:00AM – 11:00AM; Fun, All Ages. There are 6 seats left.

The second game is Hellboy LARP. Have you ever wanted to work alongside Hellboy as an investigator in the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense? Dark Horse Comics joins forces with Trackers Earth to bring you the only officially licensed Hellboy LARP in the country, a truly unique exploration of the supernatural and real world survival skills. Be the first to workshop this exciting collaboration!

L746: [ALPHA TEST] Saturday, 10:00PM – 12:00AM; Fun, 18 & Over ONLY. This is a HI-TEST session. There are 3 seats left.

Camdon Wright

Camdon is running two slots of One Child’s Heart.  There are moments from childhood that alter the course of a life with their weight. Science has given you the chance to enter the memories of a child drifting toward life’s darkness. Can you, and the rest of your team, support, nurture, and protect a stranger when they need you the most? A heart is a fragile object that contains the power of humanity. Content warning: This game explores traumatic childhood issues like poverty, neglect, malnutrition, and bullying.

R356: Friday, 8:00PM – 10:00PM; Very Serious, 18 & Over ONLY.
R634: Saturday, 4:00PM – 6:00PM; Very Serious, 18 & Over ONLY. There are 4 seats left.

Jefferson Lee

Jefferson is running three slots of The City. A game where the COMPANY barely tolerates operations by The OPPOSITION, even if they all act under the same OATH, but sometimes national security requires their special brand of graceful brutality. So when something terrible happens and The Opposition shows up in your city, you know that there will be very little room for Traitors like you. You have to do what you can to protect your secrets, your future, and in the process, maybe do some good in the city that you love. The City is a Poker card based game that takes place in Portland, OR. It is a rules-lite storytelling game that has its heart in noir, but borrows some of its style and class from an espionage thriller.

R296: Friday, 4:00PM – 6:00PM; Fun, All Ages. This is a HI-TEST session.
R413: Friday, 10:00PM – 12:00AM; Fun, All Ages. There are 5 seats left.
R712: Saturday, 8:00PM – 10:00PM; Fun, All Ages. There are 5 seats left

CAPERS Preview Edition Available!

Capers Nerdburger 2017

Heads up, Macs and Janes. The CAPERS Preview Edition is available at DriveThruRPG.com. $4 PDF. $10 softcover. Grab a copy, throw on your fanciest duds, and take a stiff shot of hooch cuz CAPERS is the bee’s knees.

Capers Nerdburger 2017CAPERS is a super-powered game of 1920s gangsters. Players portray gangsters and bootleggers looking to make their fortunes in illegal alcohol, gambling, prostitution, and racketeering. And they have superpowers. But so do the feds. It’s the Jazz Age with Tommy guns and eye beams!

http://drivethrurpg.com/product/221668/CAPERS-Preview-Edition&affiliate_id=362474

This 44-page preview edition of CAPERS gives you everything you need to give the game a whirl. Full rules, some setting info, a smattering of powers, an introductory adventure, and some pre-generated characters. This version features simple layout and b/w artwork. The final version of the game will be much fancier and 150+ pages of full color super-powered gangster fun.

The game uses playing cards rather than dice as the randomizing element. Each player has their own deck, as does the GM. For each trait check, you will be able to flip a limited number of cards, stopping at the card you want to keep. The card describes success vs. failure (the pip value) as well as degree of success/failure (the suit). So, you might succeed, but barely, and choose to gamble for a better success by flipping another card…only to fail in the end.

You can learn more about CAPERS and NerdBurger Games at NerdBurgerGames.com

Nerdburger Craig Campbell 2017

The Blog page is full of info on how the game has progressed, from initial inception to current efforts. There’s info on their first game, Murders & Acquisitions, a bunch of free, 1-page micro-games, the lead designer’s upcoming convention schedules, and more!

http://www.nerdburgergames.com/

CAPERS will go to Kickstarter on Tuesday, March 6th, 2018 to fund final artwork, layout, and a few other things. So stay tuned!

CAPERS is the second RPG from NerdBurger Games, the game design imprint of Craig Campbell.

Grappling with Game Mechanics

Domstollinn Gaming Ballistic 2017Douglas Cole (me) of Gaming Ballistic, LLC spent over an hour on the air with ever-welcoming host James Introcaso on Episode 40 of Table Top Babble.

James and I have chatted before, once on The Firing Squad on the Gaming Ballistic Blog, and another session during my previous Kickstarter, Dungeon Grappling.

James had heard that Gaming Ballistic was launching another Kickstarter, this time for a 5e adventure, and wanted to chat with me about lessons learned from the process coming in as a relative newcomer.

The discussion started with a chat about grappling in games, and why one of the oldest forms of combat, and the one featured prominently in the first known recorded epic tale (Gilgamesh), has gotten the short end of the proverbial stick in most game systems.

Dungeon Grappling Gaming Ballistic 2017

The discussion covered how grappling can (and in the author’s opinion, should) utilize the same basic game mechanics as the primary striking system, and achieve very dynamic and fun results with perhaps even a decrease in felt complexity at the table. Plus, it enables great storytelling when the mechanics an enable some of the more visceral fears: being eaten by an animal, or carried away helpless by a giant monster.

From there, James smoothly pivoted to the Kickstarter process, and had me walk through both my first kickstarter and the upcoming one for the new adventure Lost Hall of Tyr.

We discuss what to do ahead of time (everything that physically and financially can be done), as well as how much to plan in advance (everything that can logistically and reasonably be planned!) in order to fulfill the First Rule of Kickstarters, which to paraphrase Mal Reynolds: “You do the job on time, and then you get paid.”

Oh, and of course the other Big Rule of writing: I don’t care how good a writer you are, you need an editor. Hire one. RPG writing shouldn’t be dry or boring, but it’s also in many cases writing an instruction manual for fun, rather than writing fiction.

We discussed the importance of “doing your homework” by examining existing products for what went into them, as well as working out business arrangements before a Kickstarter goes live. Finally, making sure you set expectations clearly, and then ensure you meet them.

The discussion talked about a few fine points such as ISBN acquisition, and what all of the different roles that must be filled – even if the same person does all the rules – in order to bring a product to reality.

After all of the general Kickstarter chat, we got into some details about the upcoming adventure, Lost Hall of Tyr, which is designed around 4-8 players of roughly level 4 in the 5e rules. It uses the same setting (in this case implied) that is used in the eventually-forthcoming Dragon Heresy RPG, and strongly supports (but doesn’t require) the Dungeon Grappling alternate rules, including a two-page Quick-Start to cover the basics.

It’s a fun chat, and covers a lot of ground. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much I enjoyed recording it! You can listen to it here: https://dontsplitthepodcastnetwork.com/table-top-babble/2017/10/2/ugsi4rkqi19tqjjki0nc8wa5fhnwn6

2017 Metatopia Scholarship Winners

Becoming a successful game designer and self-publisher is not an easy task, one each of us struggles with on a daily basis. Getting your foot in the door to start a burgeoning career designing board games, card games, and tabletop roleplaying games can be daunting for many and some traditionally have a harder time than others. It’s for this reason the IGDN, in partnership with Double Exposure Inc., created the Metatopia Scholarship program.

The goal of the program is to help expand the diversity of talent in the independent market by providing them with travel expenses, accommodation, and badges to this year’s Metatopia, an annual game design and publishing conference located in New Jersey. You can learn more about Metatopia on their website.

Thanks to donations from people like yourself and our 2017 partners (Ottawa Story Games, Big Bad Con, Nerd ABQ, and Games To Gather), we’re extremely pleased to announce this year’s eight Scholarship winners. That’s right – eight brand new faces are going to Metatopia! It’s the most we’ve ever been able to assist with the Scholarship and we want to thank all of our donators and the committee members who sifted through the 30+ applications to make these difficult final decisions. Continue reading

Just Got Real: Own it now on DriveThruRPG!

Just Got Real Saddle Shaped Games 2017

Don’t let the movies fool you.  Being a hero is hard work.  When stuff gets real, it takes the right person, in the right place, with the right skills.  It’s a hard, long fight to save the day, no matter whether you’re fighting with words, stealth, brains, speed, or big guns – or even all of the above!  Then just enough time to catch a good night’s sleep and probably do it all again tomorrow.  It takes a special kind of person to fill those shoes.

That’s why they hired you, isn’t it?

An INTERPOL monster hunter.  A hacker who never shows her face.  Two-finger Tess.  An urban dryad.  A electromagnetic cyborg.  A living lava man who carries part of the soul of the Earth.  A psychic crystal lifeform.  And yes, even Jet Law, a guy with two .45s and an endless supply of wisecracks.  Anyone can be an action hero.  Who will you be when the chips are down?  Will that be enough to save the day one more time? 

It will be.  But only if you step up to the plate.

Just Got Real is a collaborative, rules-light, action movie roleplaying game that plays in about as much time as it takes to watch an action movie.  Quick, collaborative scenarios and setting agnostic rules mean you can bring what you watch to the table in minutes.  Just watched John Wick?  Play as a circle of professional assassins.  Wonder Woman?  Be a kickass, fish-out-of-water superhero and her team of companions.

Get Just Got Real on DriveThruRPG in digital PDF and in print-on-demand softcover digest formats today!

Just Got Real features:

  • Collaborative, zero prep scenario generation – who do you want to be, and where do you want to go?  The table can figure that out together instead of putting it all on the GM.
  • Quick character and challenge generation keep prep time between acts to mere minutes.
  • The Element Trio, a customizable set of traits that reinforce who you are and what you can do, setting up narrative callbacks to earlier action at the same time.
  • Mechanics for scene framing and economy, including Montages, Challenges, and Character Scenes, ensure a tightly focused experience where no screen time goes to waste and the spotlight keeps moving.
  • With pacing-forward design and beginner-friendly GM tools, you can experience an entire three-act action scenario in under three hours.

Just Got Real makes use of a simple six-sided dice pool system to determine the results of important actions – but if that’s not enough to save the day, your powers, talents, and quirks can save you from disaster in the nick of time!  If you’ve watched action cinema or television of any subgenre, you’ve got the knowledge to set a scenario in Just Got Real:  Rush Hour, Underworld, MacGyver, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and more.

It’s time to get real.  Just Got Real: collaborative, rules-light action movie roleplaying, coming soon to a gaming table near you.  Own it now on DriveThruRPG: http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/218716/Just-Got-Real

Cast Off – Early Release

Cast Off Jonathan Lavallee & Steve Radabaugh 2017

In a world where the auditions are all mixed up …

IGDN members Steve Radabaugh and Jonathan Lavallee are working together to bring you Cast Off! The Game of Hilariously Inappropriate Casting! for iOS and Android devices!

Cast Off is a movie trivia game with funny voices. Break into teams, choose movie lines and the voice of a well known person who is auditioning for that role. You’ll hand your choices over to your opponents and watch them perform while their teammates try to guess who they’re impersonating and facts about the film in question.

If you love movies, Cast Off is the game for you!

You can check out the video for more details on how to play!

https://youtu.be/iQeAgISj2sQ

Look forward to 5 sets of cards from various movie genres so you can pick and choose what type of films you like, and laugh with your friends! The game comes with the comedy and drama set, but there’s also superhero and animated, science fiction and fantasy, crime and horror, and sports and action.

Read lines from movies like Die Hard, Blues Brothers, Avatar, Ghost Busters, The Dark Knight, and many more.

Jonathan Lavallee is the designer of the original card game. He’s got years of experience making all types of games, from RPGs to Card games to video games. With a particular brand of whimsy and fun Jonathan has worked on Critical!: Go Westerly with Geoff Bottone.

Steve Radabaugh of Radical Bomb Games has been working on the convergence of digital and analogue games since 2013. He has created tools for board games such as Damage Report. He also makes RPG aids, the most popular of which is Fate Core Folio.

Cast Off! Coming soon to a phone or tablet near you! It’s also currently available on DriveThru Cards from Firestorm Ink!

Synthicide online store now open!

You can now order PDFs, books, dice, and GM screens through the Synthicide online store!

store.synthiciderpg.com

The Story

Synthicide has been described as “Firefly meets Terminator.” You and your fellow players crew a spaceship, trying to scrape by in a galaxy where robots have rights but humans do not.

Civilization collapsed long ago in the wake of mutant warfare. Survivors toil beneath the bootheel of their privileged Synthetic overlords. The Tharnaxist Church, a corrupt machine cult, suffocates the Galaxy with their tyrannical dogma. Yet you and your friends make a name for yourselves as sharpers, lowly space criminals contracting with gangs and mega-corporations alike.

Dominant Themes

  • Scarcity: You start out broke and starving, though you have plenty of bullets and a ship to fix that.
  • Violence: Murder is not a crime. However, showing a little mercy might just make you a friend in this crazy Galaxy.
  • Corruption: Almost every institution is looking out for itself, and sees humans as disposable pawns. If you can raise up the ranks, you could change this or sway it to your advantage.
  • Mystery: You may have a spaceship, but you don’t know much about what’s left of the Galaxy. As you and your allies make names for yourself, you will get caught in a mess of faction intrigue and ancient discoveries.
  • Synthicide: It’s the name of the game, and it’s inescapable. A robot will oppose you at some point, whether you’re hired to kill it or not. In order to survive, you will have to commit the one crime that still counts.

The Game

Use Synthicide‘s simple 1d10 system to breeze through high-action stories of violence, corruption, and betrayal. Battle mechanics are quick and brutal, yet multi-dimensional. You can imagine clever ways to get the upper hand. Sow chaos by overloading a generator, blast everything out the airlock or pin enemies with covering fire; it’s up to you. Earn enough money to buy your next meal or a better gun, and try to stay one step ahead of your enemies!

Game Mastering

Synthicide is focused on supporting the GM with quick tools, speeding up session planning and improvisation. These automated tools take care of the heavy lifting so you can focus on storytelling. While easy to use, they keep the game mechanics concrete, so you as you tell the story, you can get as deep and gamey as you want. Try it out! Check out following links:

NPC Generator

Select a level, character type, a power, and then you’re off! You created a unique NPC that can help or harm the players. Try it here: http://www.synthiciderpg.com/generator/npcGenerator.html

Trap Generator

Need a trap? Set a level, affected attributes, and what knowledge is needed to overcome it. No longer must you dig through pages of trapped doors and whirling blades to surprise your players. Try it here: http://www.synthiciderpg.com/generator/trapGenerator.html

Mission Generator

If the players want to pick up a quick job for some easy cash, use the Mission Generator! It will provide a randomized outline for objectives, challenges, and fair payment. Try it here: http://www.synthiciderpg.com/generator/missionGenerator.html

Buying Options

The hardcover book + PDF is $60. A bundle of the book, custom metal dice, and the case-made GM screen is available for $100.

store.synthiciderpg.com

Tobie Abad back in local news!

7th Sea: Pirate Nations John Wick Presents 2017

Pinoy’s contribution to an award winning role-playing book celebrated in local news!

Tobie Abad of TAG Sessions was once again featured in GMA Network’s online portal on September 13, 2017. The article this time focused on his participation and contribution as a freelancer to the book, 7th Sea: Pirate Nations, which won a silver ENnie in the Best Supplement category.

In the Philippines, interest in role-playing games was prevalent during the mid 90s but dropped steeply with the influx of MMORPRGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing games) and the negative press coming from religious camps. The recent upswing in interest in tabletop hobbies can be attributed to the rising interest in board games as well as the active efforts of various groups to introduce the hobby via small conventions and open table events.  Given local news typically features articles on showbiz and politics, the small focus on the hobby was quite unexpected. GMA Network is one of the two major news outlets in the Philippines. Hopefully, this also can reflect an upward trend in the interest in table top gaming as a hobby and perhaps inspire more people to try getting into gaming.

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Fraser Ronald Launches His Patreon!

Patreon Covers Swords Edge Publishing 2017

Fraser Ronald, the RPG designer behind Sword’s Edge, Nefertiti Overdrive, Centurion, and Sword Noir, has launched his Patreon. His fiction has been published in On Spec, Black Gate, and Fantastic Stories. He was a co-host on the modern gaming podcast the Accidental Survivors and is now a co-host on the Ottawa Game Publishers Podcast.

This Patreon will support monthly electronic releases of adventures, games, and some genre fiction. Some of the adventures will be designed for convention play, meaning they are one-shots that run about four hours. Other adventures will be longer stories designed as campaigns. The RPGs will be under 50 pages, with simple mechanics geared toward supporting strong narratives. The genre fiction will be mostly fantasy short stories, but may also include novel-sized serial fiction.

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