Welcome, and well met!

I'm a fan of pen-and-paper RPG's. That's what you are going to find on this site. Sometimes there might be a blurb about the Secret World MMO; but the focus here is my drifting through Wisconsin's gaming communities.

Links will be added as cons are visited, games are played, and authoring is published.

Wander around. Grab a tankard. Relax and immerse yourself into polyhedron geekness, Wisconsin style!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Era IV: 2002 The Publisher Explosion Part Deux

Taking a page from last year, this is a huge one for new publishers, games and systems. The level of research is getting to be a little dense for a week-by-week writing. It will probably become bi-weekly from here on out.

Paizo Publishing opens its doors as the publisher of Dragon and Dungeon magazine under license from WotC. Morbidgames opens its doors with Ave’Molech. Bards and Sages opens its doors. Arc Dream Publishing is founded. In India. Archaia Studios Press opens its doors as a comic book publisher. PH Games opens its doors.  Pinnacle Entertainment Group is renamed Great White Games. Last Unicorn Games is purchased by Decipher Inc. Human Head Studios opens a non-PC game branch and begins publishing RPGs as well. Hogshead Publishing closes its doors; but its partner Nightfall Games continues on with the SLA Industries RPG line.

Human Head Studios begins publishing RPGs: Redhurst Academy of Magic.
EverQuest RPG by Sword & Sorcery (White Wolf). Tied to the OGL game of the same name, based in the world of Norrath.
Ave’Molech by Morbidgames. Based upon modules designed for Bioware’s Neverwitner Nights game. This is a post-apocalyptic world of magic and steampunk tech.
Neiyar: Land of Heaven and the Abyss and Koboldnomicon by Bards and Sages. These two SRD versions of the d20 game system feature heaven / hell and kobolds in gaming, respectively.
Nobilis is published by Guardians of Order. The second edition of the World Ash and the unique characters sovereign power.
The Game of Powers LARP: by Hogshead Publishing. LARP rules for the Nobilis game.
Stormbringer by Chaosium. This is the fifth edition of the dark fantasy RPG based upon the books about Elric.
Jadeclaw: Anthromorphic Fantasy Role Playing by Sanguine Productions. Become an anthropomorphic wuxia martial artist in mythic China!
Donjon by Anvilwerks. A fantasy dungeon crawl game that gives the players narrative control over the results of dice rolls.
The Riddle of Steel by Driftwood Publishing. Welcome to the low-fantasy world of Weyrth, where Spiritual Attributes enhance one of the lethal and exact combat systems.
Paladin by CRN Games. A pulpy generic setting game where holy warriors face tests of both Light and Dark.
Trollbabe by Adept Press. A narrative fantasy RPG that is light and comic like.
Tearra Primate by Eden Studios, Inc. Intelligent apes set in one of several ‘Apeworlds’.

Children of the Sun by Misguided Games. A dieselpunk game that uses aether magic, war, and arcane sciences.
InSpectres by Memento Mori Theatricks. Light-hearted “Scooby Doo” meets “Ghostbusters” RPG.
Dust Devils by Chimera Creative. A purely Old West RPG.
Call of Cthulhu d20 by Wizards of the Coast. More Lovecraft!
Monster Island: The Game of Giant Monster Combat by Firefly Games. Walk into the world of atomic B-films and kaiju cinema! Rumble in the jungle with giants.
Silver Age Sentinels RPG is published by Guardians of Order, using an early variant of the upcoming Tri-Stat dX system combined with a d20 system for superheroes.
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai is published by Guardians of Order. Using the Tri-Stat 2 system, play ‘everyman’ in a mafia controlled city.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG from Eden Studios. Set in the television universe of the same name, using the Unisystem rule set.
Demon: The Fallen is published as part of the Storyteller System.
Dark Ages: Mage by White Wolf Publishing.
Dark Ages: Vampire by White Wolf Publishing.
Night Wizard! Is published by F.E.A.R. Using the Seven Fortress system, this is a Japanese contemporary RPG where wizards fight against the Emulators and the lord Mao while they explore dungeons built by said ‘world enemies’.
Exalted is published as part of the Storyteller System by White Wolf.
Mummy: The Resurrection is published as part of the Storyteller System by White Wolf.
M-Force: Monster Hunting in the 21st Century by ­Hex Games. Go big-monster-hunting in this contemporary d20 game system.
Dread: The First Book of Pandemonium by Malignant Games. Demon hunting.
Spycraft by Crafty Games and AEG. A d20 variant and superspy action cinema RPG.
Mutants & Masterminds by Green Ronin Publishing. A superhero setting using the d20 SRD.

Shadowrun 3e by FanPro using the Shadowrun 3 system.
Tokyo NOVA: The Revolution REVISED is a cyberpunk RPG 3.5 edition is published by F.E.A.R.
Alshard RPG, published by Enterbrain and playing much like the tech-fantasy world of Final Fantasy.
octaNe by Memento Mori Theatricks. Rock and roll post-apocalyptic mutant psychotropic RPG.
Tribe 8 by Dream Pod 9. The second edition of the post-apocalyptic game world.
Engel by Sword and Sorcery Studios. Set in 2654 when Europe flooded and a new, quasi-medieval period swept the world. The characters are ‘angels’ descending from space platforms.
Judge Dredd RPG by Mongoose Publishing. This uses the d20 system and is set in the worlds created by 2000 AD.
The End by Tyranny Games. The d20 game where ‘meek’ players who are left behind must survive in a world of post-biblical apocalypse.

Sweet Chariot by Flying Mice. A StarCluster 1.9 setting where folks live in the upper mountain region of a planet whose lower reaches are the argon-gas-filled Deathlands.
Mechanical Dream by SteamLogic. No human or elf PCs set on a steampunk alien planet.
Red Dwarf by Deep 7. Head out into space with a boy and his cat.
Farscape Roleplaying Game By AEG. Enter the universe of Crichton and the crew, along with new races!
Starcluster by Flying Mice. A hard science space opera set in a time after Sol has gone supernova.
Star Wars Core Rulebook by WoC. Part of the d20 OGL system.
Star Trek Narrator’s Guide by Decipher. Using the CODA system.
Prime Directive RPG released by Amarillo Design Bureau Inc (formerly Task Force Games in 1993). Based upon the Star Fleet Battles wargame, this version allows players to adventure in an alternative Star Trek universe.
Spaceship Zero by Green Ronin Publishing. Based on the madness of a BTL star drive error, 13 billion years of deconstituted hypersleep, and a re-born universe.
Traveller by Quick Link Interactive / RPG Realms Publishing. This is the d20 version set in the Imperial year 990.
Star Hero by Hero Games. This is a sci fi setting RPG using the Hero System 5e.

Active Exploits diceless RPG by Precis Intermedia Gaming. Generic setting for both tabletop and LARP gaming.
The Cortex System, based upon the Sovereign Stone System is published by Margaret Weis Productions.
Universalis by Ramshead Publishing. Although there are multiple characters played, this ‘RPG’ is highly experimental in nature, being more of a shared dialogue than a crunchy rule set.
d20 Modern RPG by WoC. Modern equipment and class rules for the d20 OGL system.
Random Anime by  Infernal Funhouse Games. A generic system and simulation of (most) anime TV shows. Giant robots to magic fox girls.

GURPS: Castle Falkenstein by SJG. The latest edition of the Steampunk fantasy world.
GURPS: Transhuman Space by SJG. Set in 2100 as humanity begins to colonize the Solar System; a “postcyberpunk” themed game of a Third Industrial Revolution.
GURPS: Hellboy by SJG. Join the team and fight some monsters!
GURPS: Star Trek
GURPS: Traveller 25 Anniversary Set
GURPS 3: Mars
GURPS 3: Modern Firepower
GURPS 3: Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri

Online RPG games offer game altering choices:  Gothic II. The second single-player RPG following in the footsteps of Gothic by JoWooD Entertainment / Atari.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Era IV: 2001 What Will You Do To Get What You Want?

This is a DENSE year! Lots of stuff to cover. There seems to be some leaning toward the 19th and early 20th century Earth cultures and alternate history / universes in this year.

Indy RPG’s take a firm foothold during this period. PDF and other online publishers begin to shine. The Forge, RPGNOW, and DrivethruRPG pick up traction. Lots of stuff hits the shelves this year, probably held back from last year’s OGL from Wizards.

Skirmisher Publishing LLC begins ‘doing business’, but will not officially open its doors until 2005. Mongoose Publishing also opens its doors this year, developing after a strong focus was put on the monsters of the d20 system. Hawthorn Hobgoblynn Press opens to publish the game Godlike. Goodman Games, Sovereign Press, Inc, and Vajra Enterprises are founded. Highlander Designs goes bankrupt and is bought out by Brittannia Game Designs Ltd. ICE’s assets are purchased by Aurigas Aldebaron LLC (intellectual property ownership company), assets are further licensed by Aurigas Aldebaron LLC to Mholnir LLC.

In 2001, when FASA closed, FanPro founded a sister company based in Chicago, although most of its employees worked remotely. This sister company was named FanPro LLC, and is sometimes referred to as FanPro USA or Fantasy Productions USA, although neither title is correct. FanPro LLC initially licensed the rights to produce English-language Shadowrun books in early 2001, and by the summer of 2001 had also signed an agreement to publish Classic BattleTech in English.

RuneSlayer (RuneQuest: Slayers) by J.C. Connors and Christopher Lawrence. First developed by Avalon Hill as a sequel to RuneQuest, but play system rights were not part of the property. The authors developed it from notes and published it as a free PDF.
Creation (Exalted) by White Wolf Publishing. This is a d10 variant to the Storyteller System. This ‘high fantasy’ Tolken-esque game titled ‘Creation’ then changed to ‘Exalted’.
Arcanis by Paradigm Concepts and was originally a campaign setting for D&D. This game focuses on moral ambiguity and political intrigues.
Earthdawn 2e by Living Room Games. Second edition of the D&D meets RuneQuest fantasy world.
Legend of the Five Rings RPG second edition by AEG. This is the hardcover core book where honor must prove that it is stronger than steel.
Drakar & Demoner, by Riotminds as a sixth edition based upon a customization of Basic Role-Playing game system. This release included a poorly-received ‘level’ system called ‘yrkesnivaer’.
d20 System is published by Wizards of the Coast, originally developed for the third edition of D&D.
Corum by Darcsyde Production. Enter the Stormbringer realm of the Five Planes where the elder races fight against the Mabden.
Agone by Multisim Publishing. Play in the Twilight Realms from anything from sprites to giants as PCs. Magic is either art-based or ‘dancer’-based.
Warhammer Fantasy Battle 6e by Games Workshop. This edition focuses on troop movement and combat, with heroes and wizards being less ‘twinked’.
Iron Kingdoms by Privateer Press. This is a fantasy / steampunk “Full Metal Fantasy” game environment.
Arrowflight by Deep7. High Renaissance fantasy with a swashbuckling feel.
HackMaster by Kenzer & Co. This initial edition is based upon the most ludicrous aspects of D&D.
Talislanta 4e by Shooting Iron. Flamboyantly diverse fantasy pulp-era settings within the world of Archaus.
Chivalry & Sorcery Rebirth edition by Brittannia Game Designs Ltd. This re-release and technical 4th edition expanded some of the combat and magic mechanics.
FVLMINATA: Armed with Lightning by Thyrsus Games. A fantasy-light altered-historical game set in ancient Rome.
Dragonstar by Fantasy Flight Games for the d20 OGL. This space opera game with the universe under control of 10 dragon Houses and looking at the galaxy filled with fantasy races and powers.
Dying Earth Roleplaying Game by Pelgrane Press. Based in the Jack Vance fantasy world of a future Earth.

Fading Suns by Holistic Design, Inc. This is a space opera d20 OGL edition, akin to a 2.5 edition. This is a hard science universe that has fallen to medieval trappings.
Metabarons by West End Games, but published under Humanoids Inc. This is a d6 space opera, where a person works for the metabarons and adhere to specific codes.
Synergy by Fantasy Flight Games. Set on the planet Poseidon in the year 2199.

Kult by Seventh Circle. The setting is a nightmare parallel universe that is heavy with Gnostic trappings.
Little Fears by  Key 20 Publishing. Play children haunted by horrors, supernatural, or mundane terrors!
Pokethulhu by Dork Storm Press. The second incarnation of this game, where you use the Shining Dodecahedron to capture things to battle for sport.
Cthulhu Live: Delta Green LARP: by  Fantasy Flight Games. This supplement for Cthulhu Live covers Delta Green Ops.
De Profundis: Letters From the Abyss by Hogshead Publishing. A Lovecraftian horror game where the primary mechanic is players writing letters to one-another.
The Last Exodus by Synister Creative Systems. Set in 2001 after a ‘quiet apocalypse’ opened the door for thousands Messiahs and Antichrists set to lead humanity back to Eden.
Deadlands d20 by Pinnacle. An OGL rule set for the previous edition’s of Deadlands.

Sorcerer by Adept Press using the Sorcerer system. It addresses the question of what would one do to garnish power, using a Humanity mechanic to measure the cost. Various supplements provide a variety of game settings and time periods.
Laws of Ascension by White Wolf Pub. Minds Eye theater rules for the Mage: the Ascension game world.
Laws of the Night LARP: by White Wolf Pub. Minds Eye theater rules for the Vampire game world.
Laws of the Wild LARP: by White Wolf Pub. Minds Eye theater rules for the Werewolf game world.

BESM 2e (Big Eyes Small Mouth) is published by Guardians of Order. Return to the action of anime and manga through Guardians’ “Ultimate Fan Guides”.
Tenchi Muyo and Demon City Shinjuku is published by Guardians of Order. Enter the worlds of these anime properties and experience the action.
El-Hazard by Guardians of Order. Set in the anime and manga franchise of humans transported from Earth to the planet El-Hazard.

Terra Incognita by Grey Ghost Press. This pulpy rpg of exploration, intrigue, and mystery set in early 20th century Earth.
Gear Krieg by Dream Pod 9. An alternate-WWII game system with Jules Verne-esque tones of giant tanks and walking attack pods.
Adventure! by White Wolf Publishing. The third book in the Trinity Universe, set in the 1920’s, and sporting ‘inspired’ characters gathered by Mr. Maxwell Mercer.
Terra the Gunslinger is a western steampunk rpg published by F.E.A.R.
Weird War II: Blood on the Rhine by Pinnacle. A d20 OGL where vamps and lycanthropes are among the WWII troops.
Godlike by Hobgoblynn Press. A superhero rpg set in WWII that also allows for magic-like powers and effects.
Double Cross RPG is a superhero game published by F.E.A.R.

Risus: The Anything RPG by Cumberland Games is a rules light generic system. It is named for the Latin word for ‘laughter’, and is based upon the earlier GUCS: The Generic Universal Comedy System.

This year, Steve Jackson Games produced:
Vigilante. This is a tongue-in-cheek LARP vehicle that illuminates urban violence, Tarantino-style.
GURPS 3: Cops
GURPS 3: Cabal
GURPS 3: Discworld
GURPS 3: Atlantis
GURPS 3: Deadlands
GURPS 3: Low-Tech
GURPS 3: Screampunk
GURPS 3: Spirits

Hosted blog tools born in the previous years (Open Diary, LiveJournal, Pitas.com, and Blogger) begins to rapidly expand the RPG remote gaming capability. Online RPG games offer: Gothic by Pirahna Bytes; medieval fantasy battles between humans losing a war against the orcs.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Era IV: 2000 Millennium’s Passage

Let’s see… we’ve survived the predictions of the apocalypse for the turn of this millennium. Not a huge year for new games and systems, but I suspect that the plans of Wizards of the Coast kept a number of publications from hitting the market until next year.

With that being said, a couple of terms are birthed around this time: “OGL” which means Open Game License; and “SRD” which means Systems Reference Document. OGL unlocked the popular D&D system to third-party publishers, allowing the D&D system to become even more expansive and widely used as a generic SRD. In this case, OGL is published by WotC to license the D&D game as an SRD, spearheaded by Ryan Dancey. This resulted in a number of new publishers and D&D ‘clones’ with varying flavors of game ‘worlds’:
Green Ronin Publishing is founded this year off of the bones of Ronin Publishing.
Necromancer Games is founded, partnering with several other game companies to release various products. They released the first OGL product: The Wizard’s Amulet; an adventure for the d20 system.
Paradigm Concepts is founded. Arcanis hits the shelves a year later.
Privateer Press is founded with the plans to publish is own unique d20-based books.
Troll Lord Games is founded and the Castles & Crusades RPG as well as various other contributions from Gary Gygax.

Spycraft 2.0 by Alderac Entertainment Group. Superspies and modern action and equipment!

Prime Directive d20 and Prime Directive PD20 Modern by Amarillo Design Bureau, Inc. These are the SRD versions of the earlier Prime Directive RPG set in the Star Trek universe.

Not so much attached to the OGL movement of the day, Darcsyde Productions also opens its doors in Australia this year.
With that being said, on to the game releases!

FUDGE expanded, by Grey Ghost Press.

Pantheon and Other RPGs by Hogshead Publishing. This introduced the “Narrative Cage Match” using a system of beads, d6, and creative narratives.

Lost Souls LARP: by Fantasy Flight Games. Part of the Cthulhu Live 2 system.

Laws of the Wild LARP: by White Wolf Publishing. Based on Werewolf: The Apocalypse.

Mage: The Ascension by White Wolf Publishing. The revised 2nd edition.

UnderWorld by Synister Creative Systems. Discover the magic and mystery that lurk beneath the streets of New York City.

Og 2e (Land of Og) by Wingnut Games. Cave men, dinos, and a 17-word vocabulary.

Eon 2e by Neogames out of Sweden. Return to Mundana in this new edition.

Ork! The RPG by Green Ronin Publishing. Engage in blood-soaked ‘merriment’ as you play despicable monsters from other game systems.

Deluxe Hero Wars by Issaries. A bundle of books designed to be Glorantha setting aids.

Legend of the Five Rings 2e by AEG.

World Tree by Padwolf Publishing. Play one of 8 animal-humanoids who lives within sight of Treverre’s snaky walls and have the power to experience everything.

Tenchi Muyo! by Guardians of Order. Dedicated to the 14 episode OAV series.

Blue Planet Moderator’s Guide 2e by Fantasy Flight Games. Uses the Synergy Game System.

Battlelords of the Twenty-Third Century 6e by SSDC. Final space operatic edition.

Dune: Chronicles of the Imperium by Last Unicorn Games. This was a limited edition 3000 book run that was then discontinued.

Gamma World 5e by Alternity. Aliens arrive and we respond with our nukes.

Steve Jackson Games, you’re up!
Ogre / G.E.V. , a more detailed version and map system for the basic Ogre wargame.
GURPS 3: Celtic Myth
GURPS 3: In Nomine
GURPS 3: Ogre
GURPS 3: Steampunk

Instant Lightspeed is a self-published game, that is based on the Instant Fuzion system. This is a space opera game where pseudo-Star Trek squares off against pseudo-Star Wars; but includes concepts from Stargate, Alien Xenomorphs, and Predator film critters.

Online RPG games offer Orphen: Scion of Sorcery.for Playstation 2. This is a single player puzzle-solving and battle game.