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, November 23, 2014

Era V: 2011 Ugh. Gloom and Doom Year.

Like, it is SO the end of the world this year. No zombies though, at least it isn’t 2008’s zombie apocalypse redux. The films Killer Tattoo and Aeon Flux take place in this year.

Both apocalyptic. Go fig.

Z-Man Games is bought out by Filosofia.
Pacesetter Ltd’s Timemaster 2e
SLA Industries, returns fully to Nightfall Games, but continues to use Cubicle 7 Entertainment as their publisher.
ICE licensing is transferred to Guild Companion Publications Ltd. From this point, comprehensive rebranding and recovery of products from the 30 years of ICE publications (including unpublished properties) begins. HARP SF, HARP Xtreme, and the Shadow World RPG are the current releases.
Cheapass Games returns, selling their goods as PDF formats.

Punk / Apocalyptic
Mutant Epoch Hub Rules by Outland Arts. A hardcore post apocalyptic game of an age of rediscovery.
Degenesis by Posthuman Studios / Sighpress. Asteroids, next Ice Age, now a post-apocalyptic dark age.
Remnants by Outrider Studios. Ride your mecha across the Broken Lands of the desolate future.

Sci Fi
Bulldogs! by Galileo Games. The d20 / 3.5 and Fate 3 core rules for the sci fi action game!!!!!
Ashen Stars by Pelgrane Press. A space opera game using the GUMSHOE system.
Stars Without Number by Mongoose Pub. The sci fi PDF put out in 2010 is released in hardcover form this year.

Modern / Last Century
The Tools of Ignorance  by Flying Mice.was released on January 31, 2011. This game is a baseball RPG, centered around a baseball game simulator. Players play baseball player characters and create a team, then play the characters through the team's season. The title refers to the mask and padding worn by the catcher. A very small game, it is about 11% the size of either of the two most recent previous releases.
Hollowpoint by VSCA Publishing. A crime-riddled contemporary single-session game.
Kingdom of Nothing by Galileo Games. Take on the role of a forgotten person; a transient who has fallen through the cracks of life. Now they must confront the memory-chewing Nothing and re-create the intense drama that allowed the Nothing to consume them.
Part-Time Gods by Third Eye Games. Play a modern person gifted with a ‘spark of divinity’.

Horror / thriller
GURPS Horror: Sorry, SJG, if you are going to only release one new core rule, then you must get in the line with the rest. A genre toolkit designed to help folks create horror campaigns, looking at trends and tropes.
Nightmare Kingdom by Rite Publishing. Using diceless mechanics to create a setting based on a realm of pure fear.
Outremer by Flying Mice. was released on July 1, 2011. Outremer is a game set contemporaneously with On Her Majesty's Arcane Service, the 16th century, but in an alt-historical world where the Crusader States survived into the Renaissance.

Science Fantasy
Black Crusade by FFG. Warhammer 40K’s sci fantasy chaos crew.
Legend Tabletop RPG by Rule of Cool Gaming. This sci-fantasy game of a post-apocalyptic world is where elves live in the hallows created by gigantic constructs that predate the fall of the world.

Chivalry & Sorcery Essence v1.1 by Brittannia Game Designs. This is an ‘unrelated’ C&S game system designed to provide the same flavor as the core C&S system.
Pathfinder Beginner Box by Paizo Publishing. The boxed version of the 3.5 clone!
Concquest of Nerath by WoC. This is a one-off for the D&D 4e world, where war has swept the world!
Chronicles of Arax: Solo Adventure Game by  Crystal Star Games. A sword and sorcery game designed to play SOLO.
Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG by Goodman Games. Inspired by solid, old school D&D but meshes a number of game systems (OGL, Appendix N, 3E…)
The One Ring: Adventures over the Edge of the Wild by Cubicle 7 Entertainment. A Middle Earth fantasy game box set.
Lorefinder by Pelgrane Press. A fantasy game where mystery meets adventure.

Child oriented
DO: Pilgrims of the Floating Temple: A storytelling, text-based game aimed at a younger audience. The game will take 1-2 hours.
   Character creation is simple; each player chooses a helping attribute and a ‘get into trouble’ attribute. The over-arcing goal is bound to these two attributes.
   The mechanic is based upon drawing out of a bag containing 20 black and 20 white stones –and- a ‘trouble token’ that will be placed on the character sheet when trouble affects that character.
The game begins with a letter, which defines plot hook, setting, and the plots victory condition.
   Within this letter are also 10-20 highlighted key words that must be used in the prose accounting of the game to score enough ‘points’ to achieve the Parades Ending (everyone wins). The mechanical challenge comes from the stones themselves. To make a key word count in the prose, 2 stones of the same color must be set upon it. However, the game will end when 1 character gains 8+ stones on their character sheet. Not achieving the letter’s winning condition forces the characters out of the game (the locals show up with pitchforks and chases the characters away).
   Character advancement is defined as well, being based upon growing up, rather than improving stats. This is reflected in choosing a new helping –or- trouble aspect for the character to try out. In the end of a character’s career, they are assumed to have found their fated destiny, and the player is encouraged to write an epilogue about their lives as an adult.

Generic / Non-genre
FU: Free, Universal RPG by Peril Planet. A generic game system for any setting.
Microscope by Lame Mage Productions. A diceless and GM-less generic game

That’s all I got for this go-around.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Era V: 2010: Brick, motor, and inkwells.

With the digital revolution age fully upon the world, RPGs speed up. One-shots and short scenarios become popular against the more time-requiring ‘saga’ RPGs. Oh, the longer games are still produced, but the gamer cells begin trending to fast games where the characters are pre-canned and the adventures are played out over the course of one or three sessions.

Bits and Mortar initiative.

“We love real, physical brick and mortar game stores, and we want to see them survive — and thrive — even as the digital content options for gaming become more prevalent. Today's game-buying customers want the best of both worlds: the portability of an e-book, and the lasting durability of one made out of paper, glue, and ink. They want to be able to support their favorite local game stores, and they want to be able to support their favorite publishers. The Bits and Mortar initiative is all about making sure they don’t have to choose one or the other. We want them to choose both, every time.”

A’n’SR entertainments is created, providing online distributions for in-house products.
Eldritch Enterprises formed by D&D alum Tim Kask, Frank Mentzer, Jim Ward, and Chris Clark.
The Cortex Plus system is released by Margaret Weis Productions for Leverage: The Roleplaying Game.
The Powered by the Apocalypse (PbtA) system is produced by Lumpley Games for the Apocalypse World RPG.

FUBAR by Vulpinoid Studios. Become a cutthroat merc out for revenge!
Remember Tomorrow by Box Ninja. A quick & dirty cyberpunk game.
Rise of Aester LARP: by Aesterlight Steampunk Studios. Includes costuming, set and prop building advice.

Sci Fi
In Harm's Way: StarCluster by Flying Mice. was released on February 22, 2010. This game is a resetting of StarCluster 2E using the StarCluster 3 system, with emphasis on the Cluster military. On the same day, StarCluster 2E was released for Free Download. In Harm's Way: StarCluster won the Gaming Genius Award for Best Setting in 2011.
StarCluster 3 by Flying Mice. was released on September 29, 2010. This is a complete re-imagining of the StarCluster 2E game, concentrating on civilians in the Cluster. It was released in two pdf editions - a Developer's Edition with special appendix and commercial license, and a Standard Edition without - and a print version of the Standard Edition. Later, a Light edition for players only was released. It was named "Best Game of 2010" by the influential RPGBlog.
Fires of Heaven by BTRC. A science fiction setting with the United Worlds against the Vorn seeming to have ended under mysterious circumstances.
Stars without Number by Sine Nomine Publishing. Play old school sci fi that feels like D&D in space.
After the War a MechWarrior edition released by Catalyst Game Labs in the line of Total Warfare.
Deathwatch by FFG. Set in the Warhammer 40K universe where you play a member of the Adeptus Astartes genetic super-soldiers.

Modern / Last Century
Leverage RPG by Margaret Weis Productions. This is a contemporary crime game based on the TV show Leverage.
The Laundry by Cubicle 7 Entertainment. In this dark horror send up of weird things from space-time, you play a member of the British secret service.
ICONS by Cubicle 7 Entertainment. A generic setting superhero game.
Smallville RPG by Margaret Weis Productions. Based on the Superman TV show.
Adventures in Oz 2010 F. Douglas Wall Publishing.
Skulduggery by Pelgrane Press. Any genre, fast play game of ‘verbal fireworks & sudden reversals’.
Untold by Wondering Men Studios. CCG’s meet RPG where there are no rulebooks, only cards with directions and stats!
The Dresden Files RPG by Evil Hat Productions. Based on the book series and using the SRD Fate system.
Progenitor by Arc Dream Publishing. A superhero game for Wild Talents 2.
Wild World Wrestling by Timeout Diversions. ‘Nuff said.

GURPS Low-Tech:  Up through the Age of Sail handbook that provides GURPS stats.

Inou Taskai second edition by Enterbrain and Game Field. Japanese superheroes based on legends and ethnic cultures.
Wu Xing: the Ninja Crusade by Third Eye Games. This anime is set in the army of the Lotus Coalition where chi powers are used with sword and shuriken.

Blood and Tears by Wicked Dead Brewing. LARP rules for 2008’s Houses of the Blooded dark fantasy RPG.
Ythrek by BTRC. Return to this v1.1 low tech / fantasy setting.
Legend of the Five Rings Role-Playing Game  4th edition is released.
EABAlarp - a live action role-playing version of the EABA rules.
EABAanywhere - a highly trimmed version of the rules, focusing on portability and playability
Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy RPG by Lamentations of the Flame Princess. A generic fantasy setting with demonic underpinnings and weird magics.
Shadow, Sword, & Spell by Rogue Games. In this sword & sorcery fantasy (generic) game settings, you play in a customizable world awash in conflict and danger.
RuneQuest II / Legend by Mongoose Publishing
Aftermath! Magic! by FGU. This is an ‘other rules’ book where you adventure in a world after magic has collapsed.
Reign Enchiridion by Cubicle 7 Entertainment / Arc Dream Publishing. A stripped down version of the ORE system Reign rules and supplements.
Legends of Anglerre by Cubicle 7 Entertainment. Action-packed sword & sorcery game using the Starblazer system.
RuneQuest II by Mongoose Pub. The revised game from the 80’s is back!
C&C Flip Book by Troll Lord Games. The PH and Monster / treasure books printed back to back in a flip / upside down style.
Warhammer 8e by Fantasy Flight Games. The eighth edition for the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3 system.

Child oriented
rpgKids by Highmoon Games. This d12 game system is designed to introduce kids to the world of RPG’s.
Bean!  by Fabled Worlds. Simple, versatile, and silly!

Generic / Non-genre
Strands of Fate by Void Star Games. A generic genre rule set for the FATE 3 system.
Savage Worlds Starter Kit by Pinnacle.
Mini Six: Bare Bones Ed by AntiPaladin Games. This is a streamlined version of WEG’s Generic, open d6 system.

From the self-published side of things…
Nanopunk by K. Green using the FATE 3 system. Play a nanotech-imbued character and design the corporation who controls them.
Misspent Youth by Robert Bohl. Play a teen beating down authority as only street punks can, then feel the hubris ooze in. Easily a dark ‘R-rated’ game.

This years onlike RPG games include: World of Warcraft: Cataclysm,  Alpha Protocol, and the cult hit NIER. NIER is a multi-genre action-RPG with a heavy emphasis on 2D and 3D Bullet hell game mechanics. Knights in the Nightmare is an RPG with Real Time Strategy/Bullet hell gameplay.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Era V: Questing Technology of 2010 and beyooooooooooond!

The era if iPhone RPG’s is dawning. Games such as Yipe 5 and Cavern boast retro styled dungeon crawling games.

Then 2010 hit.

A quick count of roughly 70 iPhone RPG titles hit in 2010. Game books with interactive maps, hack’n slashes, MUDs, side scrolling, word puzzles, chess-based, sci-fi, Sega retro’s, and even Steve Jackson’s Sorcery!

Virtual tabletops; although not a new thing for this era, expanded in options as the technology did. Everything from game-centric tables such as Ars Magica’s Sessions to the very robust and versatile Fantasy Grounds. Free tabletops such as RPTools expand in versatility in the same way OGL expanded D&D 3.5.

MMO’s exploded and FPS games began to blur into group settings as linked consoles opened the doors for ‘face to face’ real time action games with the players never having to leave the comfort of their own homes.

With that in mind, we enter the pen-and-paper core rules released in the year 2010...

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Era IV: 2009: Noir and a LOT of retreads.

Rick Eddleman pleads guilty to embezzling over $1.5 million from Depipher. The losses contributed to the company being forced to lay off more than 90 employees.

Cheapass Games awakens from ‘hibernation’ and creates the Button Men app for iPhone.

Spite: The Second Book of Pandemonium by Neoplastic Press. Enter this splatterpunk war of angels and demons.

Sci Fi
Commonwealth Space by Flying Mice. This game is set in the Cold Space/FTL Now universe, and is contemporaneous with both other games, but seen from the perspective of the Commonwealth Colonisation Agency.
Shadowrun by Catalyst Game Labs. The 20th anniversary release of the cyberpunk game.
Rogue Trader by Fantasy Flight Games. Set in the Rogue Trader segment of the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space by Cubicle 7 Entertainment. Once again, travel in time and space with the Doctor.
Eclipse Phase by  Catalyst Game Labs / Sandstorm Productions / Posthuman Studios. Set in an post-apocalyptic world where aliens infused our technology to work against us.
Diaspora by VSCA Publishing. In this hard-ish sci-fi game, players collaborate to develop a handful of worlds and the politics that function between them.
Judge Dredd RPG by Mongoose Publishing.
Traveller Mongoose by Mongoose Publishing. How to run Traveller using the Mongoose system.
Hardwired Hinterland by Tri Tac. A generic setting sci-fi RPG rule set.

Geist: The Sin-Eaters by White Wolf. Play a spirit bound into a once-dead person.
Noctum by Mongoose Pub and Wicked World Games. The 3rd edition of this survivor horror RPG.
Dead Reign by Palladium Books is a post-apocalyptic zombie world RPG.

Modern / Last Century
Mutant City Blues by Pelgrane Press. 2009
Fiasco by Bully Pulpit Games. A three-act LARP-meets-RPG modern crime noir game where relationships, needs and objects are created and resolved over a game session.
Slasher Flick by Spectrum Games. What it says on the can, folks!
Beat to Quarters by Omnihedron Games. A Napolionic Era historical RPG.
Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies by  Atomic Sock Monkey / Evil Hat Productions.

On Her Majesty's Arcane Service by Flying Mice. This game is set in Elizabethan England, and uses the Blood Games II game rules, being essentially a prequel to Blood Games II.
Montsegur 1244 is a game about the fall of Monstsegur Castle, held by the Cathars. The plot is pre-scripted and leads to the question which of the characters burn for heresy, and does one of them escape into the night?
Fringeworthy by . This is the 4th edition of the alternate history game.
Chronica Feudalis by Cellar Games. In this historical game set in medieval Europe, a political, war, and social order game.

Big Eyes Small Mouth (BESM) by . This is the third (?) edition of the game.
Centauri Knights (BESM) 2009
Witch Girls Adventures by Channel M Publishing. A modern fantasy game set in the Willow-Misst High School anime.

FantasyCraft by Mongoose Publishing / Crafty Games. Generic fantasy game system set to the SpyCraft game engine.
Sword World 2.0 published by Fujimi Shobo, using a 2d6 system.
OpenQuest by D101 Games. A fantasy game set in the Empire of Gatan.
A Song of Ice and Fire RPG by Green Ronin Publishing. Enter Westros and play within the game of thrones.
3D&T Alpha is released, bringing the 3D&T game back from the ashes by .
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay by FFG.
Swords & Wizardry White Box by Mythmere Games. An old-school D&D flavored boxed game.
Spellcraft & swordplay by Elf Lair Games. An old-school D&D flavored boxed game.
Earthdawn 3e by Mongoose Publishing / Redbrick. The third edition of the Earthdawn RPG.
Jaws of the Six Serpents by Silver Branch Games. A dark fantasy sword and sorcery game.
Dragon Age Set 1 by Green Ronin Publishing.
HackMaster Basic by Kenzer & co.
Shard by Shard Studios. A martial art fantasy in the world of Dardunah.
Vorkosigan Saga Sourcebook and Roleplaying Game: Sourcebook of Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga. Part of the fictional settings set of design.

Generic / Non-genre
Ultimate Toolbox by AEG. A generic setting.
Hero System 6e by Hero Games. A generic core rule book.

GURPS Monster Hunter (var): Rules for modern ‘monster hunting’ gaming.
GURPS Martial Arts: Gladiators: Part of the fictional settings set of design.
GURPS Gun Fu: Part of the fictional settings set of design.
GURPS Lacations: Metro of Madness: Part of the fictional settings set of design.
GURPS Hot Spots: Renaissance Florence: Part of the fictional settings set of design.

From the self-published side of things…
Hyperborean Mice by Frank Sronce. Sword & Sorcery of the ancient White (mice) Lords.
Secrets & Lies by Daniel Bayn. A rules-light no DM rpg that emulates films of murder, blackmail, larceny, and extortion.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Era IV: 2008: The Circle Feeds Back Upon Itself…

Travel well, Gary. You will be missed. Gary Con is created from the mourning.

“I would like the world to remember me as the guy who really enjoyed playing games and sharing his knowledge and his fun pastimes with everybody else.”

This is the year that D&D 4e breaks onto the scene. Playing very much like hyper-structured MMO’s; with World of Warcraft coming to mind, this new system rebuilt the worlds of D&D. Its strengths were expedited DM prep time, using a plug-and-play kind of game build. Group-wise, the game was far more balanced and greatly enhanced team-based tactics. The down side was the sense of ‘rinse-and-repeat’ redundancy that would eventually give rise to third-party game concepts such as Fourthcore.
The 4th edition Game System License was released to the public on June 17, 2008. This public copyright license is similar to, but more restrictive than, the Open Game License (OGL) that was created for 3rd edition of Dungeons & Dragons. The license allows third-party publishers to create products using the intellectual property of Dungeons and Dragons. At Origins 2008, WotC brought the Greyhawk line to a conclusion, not updating the game world to the 4th edition rules.

This license differs from the previous OGL in several ways. People wishing to use this license are allowed and granted a logo that must be placed onto their products to state that they are compatible with Dungeon & Dragons 4th Edition. The license also can be updated by Wizards of the Coast and updates affect all licensees; in case of litigation the licensees must pay the legal costs of Wizards of the Coast.

Paizo Publishing introduces the “Pathfinder Society Organized Play” which would release 28 scenarios each year.
Apex Magazine breaks as a webzine from its previous incarnation of Apex Digest.
Black Industries, the role-playing division of BL Publishing (part of Games Workshop) ceases operations, with GW giving new license to Fantasy Flight Games.
Day Dreamer Interactive is founded in Winnipeg.


Sweet Chariot 2 was released on January 1, 2008 by Flying Mice.. This sci-fi steampunk game is a complete rework of 2003's Sweet Chariot, with a new dice pool task resolution system, and all new illustrations.


Trail of Cthulhu by Pelgrane Press. Updated GUMSHOE system that supports both the pulp and purist styles of play.
Zombie Cinema by Arkenstone Publishing. This US version of the 2006 Finnish game of post-apocalypse zombie-infested gaming.
Dead Reign: published by Palladium Books. Trot out another zombie apocalypse RPG!
Hunter: The Vigil by White Wolf Publishing. Hunt the monsters in WWP’s other game core books using magic and tech!
World of Darkness: Innocents by White Wolf Publishing. Play a child in this Storytelling System, who sees the horrors of the world ignored by adults.
Apocalypse Prevention Inc by Third Eye Games. Join in this horror / action game in protecting the earth from the shadow agents of the unknown!


Bubblegum Crisis by R. Talsorian Games. Set in 2033 after hardsuit blueprints become common commodities. Knight Saber groups are global.

Modern Settings (past century)

The Squared Circle: Wrestling RPG by Day Dreamer Interactive. A professional wrestling RPG.
Chimaera by Chimaera Studios. Modern age super heroes and sci fi!
Rocketship Empires 1936 by StoryART Games. A pulpy sci-fi game putting WWII in spaaaaaaace!
A Dirty World by Schroedinger’s Cat Press. Film noir rpg.
Maid: The RPG by Diamond Sutra. A lighthearted game about being a maid in a mansion.
Hot War by Contested GroundStudios. A horror-themed game based in a post-nuclear war 1960’s.
Summerland by Fire Ruby Designs. The apocalypse has come with the sudden growth and rise of the Sea of Leaves, a vast and malevolent forest that has blanketed the globe.
In Harm's Way: Wild Blue was released on March 31, 2008 by Flying Mice.. This game is specifically designed for roleplaying modern mercenary characters. It uses the base
GURPS Action (var): How to GURPS-play 1980’s action flicks.
GURPS Power-Ups series (var): New GURPS abilities for characters. 5 volumes.


The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchaunsen by Mongoose Pub. This is the second edition of the game first published in 1998.
In Harm's Way: Dragons! was released on October 20, 2008 by Flying Mice.. This game is set in an alternate Napoleonic Age where dragons are real and comprise the air arm of the Napoleonic era forces. It is completely compatible with In Harm's Way: A Napoleonic Naval RPG.


Dominion Rules by Dominion Games. 3rd edition of this historical fantasy RPG conceptual approach.
Houses of the Blooded by Wicked Dead Brewing. A dark fantasy / political game about Ambistion, Love, and revenge.
D&D 4e by Wizards of the Coast. And so the polarization of gamers finds crystallization…
Desolation by Greymalkin Designs. Set 18 months after a high-fantasy world has been devastated by apocalyptic events.
Karma Quick Guide by Bards and Sages. A free PDF download that outlines the core game mechanic for the Karma game system.
Wayfarers by Ye Olde Gaming Companye. A fantasy setting in the world of Twylos.
Pathfinder RPG by Paizo. An improved version of the D&D 3.5 ruleset.
Legend of the Five Rings Role-Playing Game (Origins Award winner) by AEG. This is the revised, third edition.
Dragon Warriors by Mongoose Pub. A re-collection of the 1985/6 fantasy series.


B3YOND game engine by PH Games. A generic RPG engine, expanding on the non-conventional gameplay mechanics of HGII, it added Reflex Time and Two World Mechanics.
Anima: Beyond Fantasy by FFG. This is a generic-setting (Gaia) fantasy game based on virtually any Anima series that can be found.
Cartoon Action Hour by Spectrum Games. The 2nd edition of the game that allows you to relive classic 80’s cartoons.
Dragon Warrior by  Mongoose Publishing. This is a slightly improved version of the earlier game system.


Dark Heresy by FFG. Warhammer 40,000’s RPG game.
3:16 Carnage Amongst the Stars by Box Ninja. Sci-fi bug hunt game.
Shadowrun HC by  Catalyst Game Labs using the Shadowrun 4 system. This is the third publisher buy-out of the title and the 11th edition of the game.
Alpha Omega: The Beginning and the End by  Mindstorm Labs. A science fantasy game of far flung future where angels and demons wander the mega-cities.
Starblazer Adventures by Cubicle 7 Entertainment. Based on the 1970 through 80’s comic series.
Star Trek a d20 modern take on the classic TV show.
Hellas: World of Sun and Stone by Khepera Publishing / aethereal FORGE. Ancient Greece set in a space opera fantasy.
Traveller Core Rulebook by Mongoose Publishing. The most recent version.
Thousand Suns by Rogue Games. A deep space RPG.
WarpWorld by BTRC. Set in 2312 in a post nuclear apocalyptic world.
CthulhuTech Developed by WildFire LLC, printed and distributed by Mongoose. Catalyst Game Labs no longer publishes, and has returned the license.


The PS238 Roleplaying Game by Hero Games. A superhero game for younger players!
Mouse Guard RPG by Archaia Studios Press. Is based on Petersen’s Mouse Guard comic and graphic novel series.

World of Warcraft: Lich King kicked off this year.
A RPS (Role Play Shooter) game titled Fallout 3, and the release of the espionage game White Gold: War in Paradise.