I started role-playing in 1977 when I went to university (Cardiff), haven't really stopped since. True to form, met my husband in a castle dungeon (Treasure Trap, the first live roleplay site) in 1982.
After a doctorate in botany (York), turned to computing and worked in a software house writing planned maintenance systems, then wandered into this new-fangled web thing early and after some freelance work got hired by the local college as webmaster where I hit on the idea of using it to support and enhance learning and teaching rather than just advertise the place...this led to my current role as 'ILT Champion' (how's that for a job title?) at Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College, teaching computing and spreading the word about uses of technology whatever you're teaching... and got made a Fellow of the British Computer Society in 2007.
And of course the role-playing continues, and I'm never without the plotbook. I run RPG Resource and if I ever get bored there's my other website, Medals.org.uk.
Posted on December 18, 2012 by Megan
Packed into but four pages (the other four being filled with a fancy cover, the credits and an introduction explaining what it’s all about, and a page of adverts for other Legendary Games product) here is a wealth of material designed to support and enhance one of Paizo’s Adventure Paths. As explained in the introduction, they have chosen not to mention just which Adventure Path (so as to avoid even suspicion of using Paizo’s intellectual property) but as I am GMing the one in question at the moment, it’s not too hard to guess. (‘Carrion Crown’ if you really want to know!)
Posted on December 10, 2012 by Megan
The Zalozhniy Quartet provides resources necessary to running a complete campaign utilising the Night’s Black Agents concept and ruleset to the full. It’s not, however, something you can flip through and then run, like the game itself it requires thorough preparation and planning by the Director (GM) in advance, but will repay that effort by inspiring an epic and memorable experience for all involved.
Involving the core concept of the game – a vampire-led conspiracy across post-Cold War Europe – the book presents a detailed Conspyramid (the mechanic used to map the conspiracy player-character agents are combating) that spreads its tentacles from central Europe clear across to Baghdad. Resources provided include allies as well as enemies, locations in several cities, complete city details, maps and an almost bewildering array of events that you can throw at your characters… even some pre-generated ones, of particular use should someone fall by the wayside as the adventures proceed.
Posted on November 16, 2012 by Megan
The Introduction lays out the basic premise. This is not just any spy game. It has a very specific slant, taking the view that in the aftermath of the Cold War a lot of people who’d been earning their keep on the back of the efforts of East and West to monitor (and interfere with) each other now found themselves at a loose end, and had to put their somewhat dubious skills to profitable use in a freelance market – mercenary spies for hire, if you will. Frequent reference is made to movies and TV shows that present the appropriate feel, and if you enjoy them, it’s likely that this game will work for you, at least at the ‘spy’ level. As has been done with other GUMSHOE games, there are various ‘modes’ in which you can run your game and each is denoted by a small symbol – these are used to denote optional rules appropriate to your chosen mode, and other snippets of information useful to that style of game. This allows you to fine-tune the mood of your game so that it becomes precisely what you are after.
Posted on October 26, 2012 by Megan
This adventure is located in Raging Swan’s Lonely Coast campaign setting but, as it deals with remnants of a far-distant past just about everybody has forgotten about, it can be placed in a suitable location in your own campaign world with minimal effort. Before getting into the adventure, however, there is a very clear explanation of how encounters are set out showing you exactly where to find each item of information you might need whilst running it. A lot of people lay encounters out clearly, but actually explaining your methods in advance is a nice touch. Traps and monster stat blocks are similarly laid out in detail, and this is followed by an overview of the Lonely Coast, to enable you to establish the adventure’s location easily, complete with a good map.
Posted on October 10, 2012 by Megan
Do not be deluded by terms like ‘basic’ and ‘introductory’… this adventure promises full-bore excitement, well-resourced and smooth to run, no matter whether players or GM are novices or experienced. It takes place in a wilderness area near to a rural village called Gafolweed, which can be placed anywhere suitable in your campaign world; those who have played the adventure Fangs from the Past may recognise some NPCs and locations, but it is not necessary to have done so to get full enjoyment from this scenario.
Posted on August 17, 2012 by Megan
A short piece of fiction depicts a fragment of a ‘run: the forcible extraction of, of all targets, an opera singer! Then some recent history, beginning with an earthquake in 2005 that caused many people and companies to leave, and others to offer to cover the costs of rebuilding in return for deregulation, freeing the city to grow in its own sweet way. Whilst bodies like the New York Stock Exchange and the United Nations left, a new body – the Corporate Court – established its headquarters there, paving the way for a new role for the city as massive extra-national corporations developed. Much of Manhatten – the primary focus of this book – was paved over and new corporate skyscrapers built on top. Much of the subway and other below-ground areas, if not destroyed in the ‘quake, remain as the domain of the dispossessed and those who nibble around the fringes… and, of course, shadowrunners and their contacts!
Posted on August 13, 2012 by Megan
Many years ago, in a scene that came straight out of these pages, a car drew up outside my house and the driver handed me a copy of this book before whizzing off again! Unfortunately, it was a loan, but the release of a PDF version gives me the urge and wherewithall to sit down and review it.
It opens with a facsimile letter, the rant of an aging veteran steeped in disgust at the modern world and in the urban myths of conspiracy theories about Roswell aliens and military-industrial complexes… or is it a clear-headed look at what many do not, cannot see? This is followed by the Introduction, blending the real reasons for general public mistrust of government seamlessly into the alternate reality of Call of Cthulhu where the Cthulhu Mythos is all too terribly real and ready to drive those who investigate it insane. This book brings the whole Mythos bang up to date, bringing forth a group, Delta Green, dedicated to combating it wherever it dares raise a slimy tentacle, keeping the world, unknowingly, safe one day at a time.
Posted on July 31, 2012 by Megan
Those wizards! Give them half a chance and they will conduct bizarre experiments without a thought for their neighbours… and this adventure, designed for 8-10 2nd-level characters, is all about stopping one such wizard in his tracks. He lives on a clifftop near a village, and the rascal has even been using some of the locals in his experiments. Maybe some of the locals were friends or relatives of the characters, or maybe these budding heroes have been asked to help out.
Posted on July 26, 2012 by Megan
Back in the mists of time, I wandered into a meeting of the university’s then wargames club and over the sound of jawbones hitting the floor at the sight of a woman, a lanky fellow asked “Would you like to play D&D?”
Opening this work takes me back to the sheer wonders and excitement that followed. The whole style, the artwork, the words, are redolent of those early books that soon found their way onto my bookshelves alongside the botany textbooks… and yet, this isn’t merely another retro-clone, it is a coherent game in its own right, bringing its own freshness and elegance to the core of fantasy role-playing: the small band of adventurers battling enormous odds and terrifying monsters in search of awesome magics and heaps of treasure.
Posted on July 4, 2012 by Megan
Whether or not you believe, you’ll have heard of the concept of sin… going your own way, indulging in your own desires, rather than paying attention to the wishes of your deity. This is the first in a series of resources focusing on the so-called ‘seven deadly sins’ and providing ample material for GMs to lead characters astray…
Avarice – the desire to accumulate wealth and resources far beyond what you actually need – is a sin that probably besets most fantasy adventurers every so often.
Posted on June 1, 2012 by Megan
The brief introduction lays out this product’s purpose: it is not just an introductory adventure for four new characters beginning their adventuring careers, it is also designed with the novice GM in mind, replete with hints and tips to aid good gamemastering from the start – the sort of things a more experienced friend might whisper in your ear the first time you try to run a game. It’s an admirable intention…
OK, so roll up some characters and let’s get going. The introduction to the adventure contains a story commonly told in the village of Galfolweed, the characters being either locals or youngsters who have set out from a nearby town in search of adventure and ended up here in the village tavern. It is a nicely-written tale, suitable to be recounted in the bardic storytelling style – indeed the GM notes suggest that whilst you can mine the story for hints for the characters to pick up in conversation, one of the village elders is renowned for his dramatic recitation of this tale and can easily be persuaded to perform!
Posted on May 29, 2012 by Megan
If you go down to the woods today… the surprise will not be teddy bears eating al fresco! Whilst the introduction tells an intriguing and innovative backstory as to who really is there for the GM’s eyes, the characters will first be approached by a worried village mayor who is concerned by the absence of a local hunter who was hired by a shepherd who feared that a bold wolf has been snacking on his sheep…
The village has had other problems, the sage’s house was broken into and books and alchemical equipment stolen. It seems that something is afoot, and the characters, as passing adventurers, are asked to help. Assuming that they do, a trail will be found that leads into the Dark Wood and whatever it is that lies in wait for them there.
Posted on May 7, 2012 by Megan
Hmm… an Editorial on that contentious question: semi-naked female characters. Traditional game fare, perhaps, but provoking comment. Being of the female persuasion but pragmatic rather than sexist, my only complaint is that if I were participating in a fantasy adventure I’d want a decent layer of armour between me and the monsters – and that doesn’t mean hiding behind the nearest paladin! A few bare-chested blokes would be nice, to maintain balance, though.
The first article proper introduces a Shaman character class for Pathfinder. Opening with an evocative narration of a shaman performing a divination (not for the squeamish, she’s using rabbit entrails!), the class is described as very druid-like, recognising the spirit with all components of nature. They are shape-shifters and healers, whilst the most powerful can send their very essence forth from their mortal body on a spirit quest. Spell lists are limited, but unlike most divine casters a Shaman does not have to prepare but can cast any spell he knows, up to his limit, when he chooses. They have a bond with an animal spirit, which takes the form of the animal in question and acts pretty much like a companion.
Posted on May 1, 2012 by Megan
Opening with a truly beautiful plan of the ship itself, and detailed background that explains how The Green Lady came to be drifting empty, Marie Celeste-style across the face of the ocean, we continue with little ado into various ways in which your characters can be enticed to explore, to risk the unknown dangers that await… Perhaps the ship they are on is sinking? Or someone aboard the ship owed one of them money? Or they heard a rumour about treasure concealed aboard? Or… maybe you have a better hook, you know what intrigues and attracts them, after all. There are even ideas to deal with the minor hindrance of the group not being at sea when you want to run the adventure!
Posted on April 10, 2012 by Megan
The Introduction recounts some of the inspirations for this game, the chief being Robert Graves’s I, Claudius and Claudius the God novels, brought to the TV as a mini-series 35 years ago… just when I was taking a classical literature course in high school and discovering the pleasures of Roman history! Based in an alterate history world, this game aims to recreate the intrigue, adventure and mystery of the Roman Empire in its heyday, a heady mix to explore.
Chapter 1: Servants of Gaius goes into more detail of what the game entails. Set in Rome, the core concept is that something threatens the well-being of the Empire and of Caligula the Emperor, and the characters are tasked to deal with it… once they have discovered what it is!
Posted on April 2, 2012 by Megan
The Introduction launches straight in to a discussion of the role of magic items in Arcanis. In a word, they’re unusual! Even magic armour and weapons are rare. They are hard to make, involving meticulous preparation, precise crafting and arduous rituals. Few but the dwarves even bother. They should appear only as significant elements in your plots, the object of a quest, perhaps, or reward for some major exploit. So it is worthwhile to make some effort over the ones you include, for they will become notable artefacts, the sort legends build up around and about which songs are sung!
General rules are also dealt with here, mostly concerning how many magical items a character can use at any one time, and explaining the way in which the descriptions of the ones that form the majority of the book are laid out.
Posted on March 27, 2012 by Megan
No fantasy world is complete without monsters to pit your wits – and sword-arms – against, and despite the rich heritage already in place for the Arcanis campaign world, a completely new ruleset requires new monsters to be written to accommodate it.
The nice thing is, this book is as much a ‘how-to’ build your own monsters (or adapt existing ones from other games) as it is a selection of beasties with which to threaten your players. Whilst this is in part necessity: it’s plain not possible to provide the wealth of monsters that most gamers have become accustomed to, it also provides for the creativity of the average gamer to be supported… and enables individual gamers to ‘convert’ their favourite beasties which cannot be presented under this ruleset for copyright reasons!
Posted on March 19, 2012 by Megan
Like many people, I’ve enjoyed adventuring in the world of Arcanis as presented for the Dungeons and Dragons 3e ruleset for a good ten years now. It’s good to see innovative alternate realities survive the game mechanics that they were originally written for, but whilst many survive version changes it is less common for an entirely new game to be created just so that alternate reality will continue to thrive. This mighty tome has set out to provide a comprehensive system rooted in the Arcanis we already know and love, whilst introducing that world clearly to those who have not ventured there before.
The work is made up of four sections, and begins with the Codex of Arcanis, thus getting you all excited (for the first time or anew) to go visit, with subsequent sections explaining the mechanics of doing so. A sweeping overview of history catches you up, event piling upon event to lay the groundwork for the current situation, underpinning the traditions and customs prevalent today.
Posted on February 22, 2012 by Megan
This mighty tome, over 500 pages long, contains everything that you need to start adventuring in the world conjoured up by author Brandon Sanderson… who has not only allowed the use of his setting, he’s written fiction especially for the game, has added comments throughout, and was even involved in the playtesting!
First up, the treat of an original short story set in the Mistborn world called The Elventh Metal. It tells of a small group of malcontents, seeking revenge, seeking change, and introduces a world rich and strange – metals that burn within and confer power, swirling mists, ash that falls from the sky, twisted exotic buildings. And so the strangeness, the richness of this setting is revealed: allomancy. Familiar if you know the novels on which this game is based yet brought magnificently into prominence whether or not you have read them – by utilising mystic powers different metals can be used to bring about a range of spell-like effects. Learn the tricks of their use, or perish miserably!
Posted on February 2, 2012 by Megan
Whether you are looking for inspiration, want a few well-detailed NPCs to act as associates or rivals, or need a character (or whole party) in a hurry, this product will fill your purposes admirably.
Herein are eight fully-developed characters, set up as an integrated crew. Each one gets a couple of pages – one a filled-out character sheets with all the necessary game stats, and the other a write-up of the character’s background, including a brief history, notes on personality and motivations and even what he thinks about the other members of the group. There is also a sketch of the character to enable you to visualise him.
A fairly shady group they are, too. The leader is one Beck, a fixer – the sort of fellow who can get you whatever you want, no questions asked, provided you are willing to pay his price.