Scary on the Choo-Choo 4: Thorn Amongst the Roses

Ross of purple, orange, green, and aquamarine

The party makes it to Paris to start looking for the first piece of the Sedefkar Simulacrum, one failed skill check at a time.

Featuring Aser, Eli, Megan, Phil and Zach. Music by Kevin MacLeod, “Alchemist’s Tower.”

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What’s Cool on Kickstarter

There’s many interesting items to be found on Kickstarter, but these are the coolest ones this week.

Apocalypse World, 2nd Edition

Apocalypse World powers a lot of the great new games out on the market like Monsterhearts, Urban Shadows, and tremulus. The second edition promises to build upon the existing system, while improving mechanics from the first edition.

“Apocalypse World is a critically acclaimed and award-winning tabletop roleplaying game. It’s a sexy, cinematic post-apocalypse, full of action, danger, mystery, romance, and horror. We first published it in 2010, and after five years of intensive play we’ve decided it’s time for a second edition.

We’re running a stripped-down and straightforward campaign just to get the second edition book out. The game design is done, the writing is done; we’re down to rewrites, editing, and book design. We want to finish the book, print it, and get it into your hands, no delays, no distractions.

If you’re already familiar with Apocalypse World and you’re interested in the changes we’re making, stay tuned for our updates. You’ll see a couple of obvious, big changes—streamlined Hx, a whole new set of battle moves, a threat map instead of fronts—and if you know your stuff, you’ll be able to spot a bunch of smaller changes too.”
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February Release Schedule

Map of Vebar, an underground city located in the stalactites

What are we playing this month? As you may have heard, Megan and Aser are getting married this year! Unfortunately, that means there’s less time for editing until after the wedding in April. Thanks for understanding, and we can’t wait to get back to a full schedule in May!

February 7, 2016Scary on the Choo-Choo 4: Thorn Amongst the Roses
The party makes it to Paris to start looking for the first piece of the Sedefkar Simulacrum, one failed skill check at a time.

February 21, 2016Mysteries of the Ninth World 13: The Long Drop
The party meets some new friends and heads into a city amongst stalactites to find Kellnar.

Mysteries of the Ninth World 12: Something Smells Fishy to Me


Freed from their parasites, the party emerges from the tunnels to find their supposed benefactor dead, and need to stop the plans he set in motion.

Featuring Aser, Ash, Landan, Megan, and Shaunna. Music by Kevin MacLeod, “Decisions.”

Curious about Notable Ninth Worlders? Check it out on DriveThruRPG. You can also find Love and Sex in the Ninth World on there.

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What’s Cool on Kickstarter

There’s many interesting items to be found on Kickstarter, but these are the coolest ones this week.

Handcrafted Dice Trays
Dice Trays are great addition to your table, especially since they prevent escaping dice and guarantee a flat surface for rolling. These dice trays are gorgeous, especially with the carving. I also really like the groove to hold the dice you aren’t rolling yet, which would help prevent confusion when you make your roll.

“Featuring: Carved from Solid Hardwood, Magnetic lid for storage, real leather rolling surface, dice channel to hold extra dice when in use, and artwork and rationalization available.”

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A Rune Awakening 9: Taking Care of Business

The sihedron medallion

Our heroes finish the first module of Rise of the Runelords and find that an adventurer’s work is never done.

Featuring Aser, James, Jonn, Landan, Megan, and Patrick. Music by Kevin MacLeod, “Battle of Five Armies.” Edited by Steph Kingston. 

Direct Download!

What’s Cool on Kickstarter

There’s many interesting items to be found on Kickstarter, but these are the coolest ones this week.

Swirled Chocolate and Gummy Dice
If you have a gamer that you love, you need to check out this Kickstarter. They’ve promised delivery by Valentine’s day, and what better way to say I love you then a set of delicious dice. The gummy dice come in a variety of colors, and you can get the chocolate dice swirled as well. If you don’t want a whole set, you can just buy a huge d20!

Campaign image showing various gummy and chocolate dice.

“We are C.W. and Daemon Wolf, of Lunar Wolf Treats! Our Etsy shop has practically exploded with orders over the past year and a half as we expanded our selection of chocolates and gummies for geeks and gamers! We started out simple enough, with a TARDIS and Dalek mold set and a large D20 mold, and we’ve been growing our collection from there!

Recently we came up with the idea of mixing chocolates together in a swirl pattern inside the actual mold, to create swirled chocolate dice that resemble some of our favorite patterns of dice in real life.”

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Beyond the Threshold 8: Putting the AK Back in Alaska


As the team flees San Francisco, Alice finds that there might be trouble on her boyfriend’s continued fishing adventures and persuades everyone to head to the Last Frontier

Featuring Aser, Matt, Megan, and Phil. Music by Kevin MacLeod, “Hitman.”

Direct Download!

Narrative Combat

While many if not most modern RPGs tend to favor some other aspects such as investigation, discovery or collaborative narration, the time often comes for the knives to come out. As someone who tends to enjoy these sorts of systems more, but still enjoys a good melee, I thought I’d share some thoughts on combat’s roles and best practices for the more narrative-minded GM.

Don’t Overdo It
-Not every session needs a fight, don’t force one just because it feels like you’re missing out. More importantly, the threat of conflict can sometimes prove more tense than the grimmest firefight, and avoiding it as harrowing a conclusion as a pitched cavalry charge. For your players cast in the role of protectors, their characters can be treated to all sorts of ordeals other than stand up fights: identifying potential threats for instance, or simply being a fish out of water.

Don’t Drag it Out
-I loved techno-thrillers growing up, and what separated a page-turner from a snoozer was the author’s ability to keep the dance between combatants interesting and know how to satisfyingly end things just before that breaking point. When you aren’t in a dungeon crawl killing things to steal their stuff and gain experience points or meticulously modeling the 37th day of the Battle of Stalingrad then, there’’s nothing wrong with a retreat (panicked or planned), a surrender, or even an act of God: where thematically appropriate of course.

Make it Feel Real
-This isn’t so much about accuracy to any sort of reality or fictional continuity, but a basic reminder to keep your players immersed in the story you’re telling. This might be leaning heavily on movie tropes if you have no other background or more reliable common point of reference. Don’t just move miniatures around the tactical grid or tokens on the virtual table, tell your players how the bad guys are walking, talking, using cover, shooting around things. Tell them how well-trained their character thinks the opposition can be, and as always, be ready with the cinematic details.

Don’t Be Afraid to Fudge
-Your job is to tell a story. Don’t let any game element get in the way of that, not even the dice. The one exception to this is your PCs: pay attention to what they’re doing and what they want: don’t get in their way either…

Make it Count
-So you’ve paced the campaign to have one or two pivotal clashes between the good guys and bad, you know just what the bad guys will do and how they’ll do it in a timely way, and you have a few aces up your sleeve; now you can begin to make the PCs care about fighting. Give them something to fight for, something to risk, often best provided by the players themselves. Now set the stakes appropriately high. The rest writes itself.

What’s Cool on Kickstarter

There’s many interesting items to be found on Kickstarter, but these are the coolest ones this week.

Swans of Black
I’m a really big fan of Ryan Chaddock’s supplements for Numenera and The Strange. He does some great work filling in the little gaps in the world. He’s started a new company, and this product looks like a great start. It focuses on scalable events and creatures for 5e.

An orc stands looking over a town that's taken over by a huge wave from the nearby harbor.

“Welcome to our Kickstarter campaign! We’re Scrivened, a newly formed company comprised of up-and-coming RPG professionals. Our first project is Swans of Black, an 80+ page tome providing a number of Swans: scalable events for your story-crafting pleasure. Each Swan is a tool for the DM, containing storylines, encounters, NPCs, monsters, and more. It’s also valuable tool for the player, as it features numerous character archetypes, feats, spells, equipment, and character portraits. These rules are designed to be compatible with the relatively new 5th edition of Dungeons & Dragons. In short, we want to make stories DMs want to run and players want to take ownership over. We want to provide awesome tools as well as inspire new ideas.”

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