April Release Schedule

blood barm

What will we be playing this month?

April 5, 2015 – Mysteries of the Ninth World Episode 7: Captain Morgan and the Pomegranate Beasts
Our brave adventurers take a little boat trip to a city by the sea, and discover the culprit behind a few thefts as they prepare for an aquatic expedition.

April 12, 2015 – A Rune Awakening Episode 4: The Littlest Black Dress
The party ventures into the caverns below Sandpoint to investigate rumors of a Qasit.

April 19, 2015 – Mysteries of the Ninth World Episode 8: That’s Where It’s Better, Down Where It’s Wetter
In order to secure the substance that is needed to rid two of their number of their deadly parasites, our heroes dive into the depths under a raging storm. Are they prepared for what lies beneath…?

April 26, 2015 – Beyond The Threshold 1: Totally Not a Set-up
Four agents are recruited from various agencies to steal back information from a Canadian general. The job seems a bit too easy. Join us for our first episode of Night’s Black Agents!

What’s Cool on Kickstarter

 Dice of Curiously Strong Attraction
I’ve posted magnetic dice before – but in case you missed them and really want some awesome dice for your fridge, here’s your opportunity

 

Game of Thrones Gaming Coins by Shire Mint
I had to snap up a Half-Dragon from House Martell, my personal favorite house, as soon as I saw this. You can get coins from any house, or get sets to use in your games! I have the Iron Coin of Braavos from their last Kickstarter, and it’s pretty impressive.

“Our gaming coins are designed specifically to replace of the cardboard tokens in the A Game of Thrones living card game from Fantasy Flight Games, and may be also be used in many other gaming scenarios.

There are two main denominations, the small “half-penny” replacing the “power” token, and the larger “half-dragon” replacing the “gold” token. Below are photos of the half-dragon types, shown in “mint” condition (top) and “circulated” condition (second row). Mint condition is how coin collectors (numismatists) usually prefer their coins, but others may prefer the coins that have been tumbled and darkened to emulate the darkening and wear of decades of pocket-carry.”

 

U-Dice, the Universal Electronic Dice
If you don’t like needing to carry all your dice around, this little gadget is for you! You can roll up to 6 dice of any standard denomination at a time.

“Could not find the dice for your dice game? Lost one of the needed dice? Annoyed at dice dropping off a table? Tired of summing up the value of several dice? Introducing U-Dice, an universal electronic dice for most dice games. It could have up to 6 dice at one roll, with each die be 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10,12, 20 or 100 faces.”

 

Dino-Light
I love these lamps. They just look so cool. I wish I had somewhere I could display it properly.

“Dino Light is inspired by our childhood memories, while at the same time bringing a fresh and unique perspective to lighting design.

We took a non-conventional approach and applied creative thinking to research and develop our product.

Dino Light is a 90cm (35.5″) lamp in the shape of a dinosaur’s skeleton, made from translucent acrylic with stunning light-reflecting characteristics.”

 

Aza Dice
If you want another interesting and unique d6 for your collection, you should really check this out.

 

Still active!

Tesla vs. Edison
Dungeons on Demand: Instant 5e Dungeons
Miniature Chests
Who is Lovecraft?
Shadow of the Demon Lord
Curse of the Yellow Sign
Blades in the Dark
Neon Sanctum
Chaos of Cthulhu
buddingSTEM
FF6 Dice Prestigious Metal Dice for the Digital Age

A Rune Awakening Episode 3: One Glassy Guy

TRF Favorites: RPG Systems

Of course, we love RPGs here at TRF – and we try to dip our toes into as many systems as possible. However, some of them have a special place in our hearts, and we come back to them time and time again. So, in no particular order, here are our top 5 systems:

1. Numenera. Numenera is actually the longest running campaign we have for TRF – and for good reason. The Ninth World is a treasure trove of weirdness and creativity. The only limit to what can be done is your own creativity. For the main part I’ve only run written adventures for TRF – The Devil’s Spine and Beyond All Worlds. However, the world is open and so easy to integrate into the games. I’ve begun building my own campaign, and going through the Ninth World Guidebook, Core Book, and Bestiary have given me so many ideas of twists and turns to introduce to my characters.

I love the Cypher system as well. It’s all player facing, so the GM rarely has to roll – I only roll to see what cyphers or mutations to hand out to my players. It’s also a d20 system, but doesn’t use modifiers like Pathfinder or D&D. Instead a difficulty is set for each task between 0-10, and the players must roll above the difficulty x 3 in order to succeed. However, they are able to adjust the difficulty, by using effort, spending out of their pools, being trained in the task, or using a cypher. Players earn XP in every session, for playing and through GM intrusions, which means I as the GM offer them XP in exchange for something bad happening to them. The great thing about XP in the Cypher System is that you can spend it. So you roll a one at a crucial moment? You can spend one of your XP to re-roll. Don’t want to take that GM intrusion? Spend an XP to avoid it. I keep finding myself in other systems wishing I could spend that XP for a re-roll, or adjust the difficulty in my favor.

Character creation is also great. There are three archetypes possible: Glaive (the fighter), Nano (the wizard), and Jack (the rogue). Each character gets to pick a descriptor and a foci, so you get to pick characteristics and what is important to your character, and then get the stat bumps to make this possible. When we were going through character creation for the Mysteries of Ninth World, I told the players not to worry about having an even distribution of the character types, because it’s really the foci and descriptors that make and set apart the characters. For instance, Ilvarya and Titania are both Jacks, but they are completely different.  And I can’t emphasize enough how easy I find character creation and leveling up. It feels very natural, and there isn’t too much to keep track of.

I’ve run games in a bunch of different systems, and Numenera is far and away my favorite. The world is so interesting and so deep, and like I said the only limit is your own creativity. The books are gorgeous and simply a joy to read through – the little tidbits scattered throughout are so entertaining.
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Our Episodes

 

2. Final Girl. We record several episodes each week and attempt to balance about 18 different schedules to make sure we can get the whole group there each time. With that many people, it shouldn’t be a surprise that sometimes not everyone can show up. When that happens we have The Final Girl to turn to. This is GM-less system that takes about 5 minutes to set up, and all you need is a deck of cards. In a game of Final Girl, you create your own horror movie and get to wallow in all the great tropes that exist. I love horror movies, I love the tropes, and I love pulling them out in this game.

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Set up is easy and fun and the rules are very simple. As the game progresses everyone gets a chance to play any of the characters as well as the killer, and it becomes more and more of a bloodbath as the game goes on. The only sticking point we’ve ever hit is that sometimes the card draws mean it takes a long time for the killer to succeed in a scene, but things are set up so that eventually they will kill their victim(s).

Worried you can’t come up with a scenario to play in? The back of the book has 52 possibilities, including “Somehow, you have been sucked into Hell. You are trying to escape because it is obviously not a healthy place to be,” “A scientist or scientists plays God and returns the dead to life. They are not grateful,” and “Dracula.”

This is our go-to game for something quick to play because it is honestly the system we’ve probably had the most wacky fun in.
Sadly the site where we purchased this from isn’t up currently. We’ll keep you updated!
Our Episodes

 

3. The Strange. A lot of the praises I sung for Numenera can just be applied here. Both games run off the Cypher system, and what works there works just as great here. What is unique and puts the game on this list is the setting. In this version of our world, other realities exist just below the surface of our perceptions where dwell the embodiment of every fictional construct people have ever believed in. Fantasy worlds where lords and ladies live in magnificent castles and knights and magicians do battle with dragons, mad science dystopias where bioengineering runs amuck and people with psionic powers are as common as graduate students, or any number of post-apocalyptic wasteland, all are not only possible but are reachable by people with the ability to interact with The Strange.

The Strange is a long since defunct dark energy construct underlying our reality that once permitted faster than light travel between the stars. Whoever built it isn’t around anymore though, so there’s been no one around to work on upkeep. What’s worse, there are things that live out there in the dark spaces beyond normal space and time, hungry things. Ever wondered why we haven’t found anyone else out there among the stars? The answer is simple: planetvores found them first.

But that’s the big picture. What The Strange means for most people is that you can travel anywhere and do anything, using characters built using the simple yet deep creation system described above. Then, whenever your character goes to another reality, translates to another recursion as they say in game, you manifest in a new body suitable for that reality and get to pick a different focus. Someone who operates undercover on Earth may channel sinfire in the fantasy kingdoms of Ardeyn, or incorporates weapons in the alien recursion of Ruk where mad science reigns. Each place they go, gives characters a contextually appropriate way in which they can be the hero they want to be. In short, The Strange is the ultimate sandbox.
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Our Episodes

 

4. Trail of Cthulhu. In the second episode of The Redacted Files, our brave heroes barely escaped a terrible fate when they were chased off a mountain by its otherworldly inhabitants and their human intermediary. Then they found an entire town flash frozen, its population of 300 souls wiped out in an instant. Then they failed about half a dozen perception checks and the scenario ended because there was nothing else they could do to get the story back on track. What Trail of Cthulhu was meant to address was this very fundamental shortcoming in any system that relies on pure luck for story element. To put it simply, if you need a piece of information to move forward, the Keeper gives it to you.

Trail of Cthulhu isn’t just a straightforward modification of the Call of Cthulhu framework adapted to Robin D. Laws’s terrific Gumshoe Engine though, far from it. Trail seeks to recapitulate everything that is mythos role-playing into a system more suited to procedural investigation, so that the drama switches from will the investigator find the clue to what can the investigator learn from the clues he or she discovers. What this means is that at the end of the day, though they still probably won’t be prepared for it, the players will get to see what it is they were meant to find, rather than wandering around, looking for the plot until the world ends, sometimes literally.

This mentality of automatic success is taken a bit farther with the use of investigative skills, where point spends can be used to gain just a little bit more information, and general point spends that end up working a little like effort in the Cypher System, enabling that spectacular success just at the right moment.

All in all, Trail is a polished experience that makes searching for the truth behind the mythos and the road to insanity so much smoother.
Buy on DriveThruRPG*
Our Episodes

 

5. Night’s Black Agents. So, what could make Trail of Cthulhu more awesome? What if you replaced the investigators with spies from your favorite espionage thrillers? And what if you replaced Eldritch horrors with vampires behind a global conspiracy with links to the highest levels of the governmental, commercial and criminal elite? Then you’d have an amazingly entertaining roller coaster ride, otherwise known as Night’s Black Agents.

On top of the usual Gumshoe goodness, NBA adds modular vampire creation guidelines, a menu of thriller combat rules, bonuses for players who specialize in certain abilities, guidance on setting up cities in which your agents may wreak havoc and conspiracies whose scope will boggle the players’ minds.

In the hands of a meticulous planner, Night’s Black Agents is a tool that could easily create campaigns that are works of art. In our hands, it makes for a great way to wreck things in new and exciting ways. We can’t wait to share our first adventure at the end of April.
Buy on DriveThruRPG*
Our Episodes – Coming Soon!

*Note: If you purchase these titles from Pelgrane Press, a PDF is included with the book.

–Megan and Aser

Game Review: Love Letter

If there is anything I admire most in game design, it is elegant simplicity. The exacting and realistic detail or infinite customizability possible in many games can prove extremely engaging and entertaining, but a game that manages to create a challenging and fun experience with a simple set of rules is truly noteworthy. Of course then, I was very interested in trying Love Letter from AEG, for what could be simpler than a card game for two to four players with only sixteen cards?

The aforementioned cards all represent members of a princess’s household. Each card has a point value and the quantity of that card in the deck printed above a description of its special ability. Each round represents a day in which the princess’s suitors attempt to smuggle a letter into her hands to win her favor. At the beginning of a round, each player is dealt a card. On his or her turn, a player draws a second card and decides which of the two in their hand to discard, which triggers its special ability. At the end of each round, the princess retires to her room to read the successful suitor’s letter and thus improving their chance at courtship, as represented by a small token. Players achieve this by either knocking out all competitors or holding the card with the highest point value when the supply of cards has been depleted. The game ends when a player collects enough tokens, otherwise known as winning the princess’s love and permission to court her.

Each card in the deck offers an interesting way to interact with other players, anything from letting you guess their card for a chance to knock them out, to making them show your their card or even trade cards sight unseen. Of course you could be holding the princess, a card you may only discard at the cost of losing the round but guarantees success if you can make it to the end of the  pile of available cards. Megan and I played the game twice with each other and once with my sister. Rounds are typically quite fast as the straightforward set of options presented by play make for a delightfully swift experience. Rounds typically take less than a minute and it is very conceivable to blow through many games in a short sitting. While certainly not brimming with tactical depth, Love Letter manages to stay fresh and exciting through multiple play-throughs, particularly with people you know (and like to screw over at the earliest opportunity.)

This game is highly recommended. It is quite inexpensive with many flavors to choose from, including the recently released Batman version. A blind accessibility kit for the original can be purchased from 64 Ounces Games.*

Available on Amazon

* The accessibility kit from 64 Ounces Games used in this review was won by Megan as a prize in a contest run by 64 Ounces Games paired with a copy of the game donated by AEG.

What’s Cool on Kickstarter

Journal of Lovecraftian Science: Volume 1
I love science and I love the Mythos. So this kickstarter is right up my alley. You’ll get a nice set of collected articles on the science of the Mythos, and how Lovecraft integrated science into his work.

“Since September 2013 I have posted numerous articles discussing how Lovecraft used science in his stories.The first series of articles was an expansion on some of the ideas and concepts I presented on the Biology of the Old Ones at the NecronomiCon. Subsequent articles have included investigations on a story-specific basis, as well as on specific subject matters, such as the solar system, the use of Einstein’s theories in Lovecraft’s stories, the role of fungi in Lovecraft’s fiction, and how Lovecraft would actually modify his stories to agree with emerging scientific ideas and discoveries. Some more academic and philosophical subjects were also discussed such as how Lovecraft attempted to use science to justify some of his racist views and how his materialism philosophy impacted his work.I also include artwork from various artists citing the artist and identifying where the artwork was found. One of the artists I most frequently work with is Steve Maschuck.”
Read more…

Trail of Cthulhu: The Millionaire’s Special pt. 2

Despite feelings of certain doom, three passengers on the Titanic investigate a mummy who may doom them first.

Intro music by Keven MacLeod “Classic Horror”.

Direct Download!

What’s Weird on Kickstarter

There’s a lot of cool stuff on Kickstarter. But there’s a lot of other stuff, and some of it is a little…weirder…

I don’t know how many of you have seen the cool pancakes on blogs like www.saipancakes.com but apparently the world is super jealous they don’t have his sweet skills. So when you can’t make it on your own, get a robot to do it! I think the best thing is that this PancakeBot is >400% funded. Everyone wants cool looking pancakes I guess. Seems like too much work for me, I just want to eat them.


Read more…

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Cthulhu Mythos - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com
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–Megan

What’s Cool on Kickstarter

Blades in the Dark
This RPG lets you build your crew of scoundrels and thieves, who are just trying to survive in a corrupt city. I think one really cool aspect of this game is that you level up your crew as a whole as well as your character, so as you progress your crew gets better as a whole.

“Blades in the Dark is a tabletop role-playing game about a gang of criminals seeking their fortunes on the haunted streets of Duskwall. There are heists, chases, occult mysteries, dangerous bargains, bloody skirmishes, and, above all, riches to be had if you’re bold enough.

You play to find out if your fledgling crew can thrive amidst the threats of rival gangs, powerful noble families, malicious ghosts, the Bluecoats of the city watch, and the siren song of your scoundrel’s own vices.”
Read more…

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