Posted on May 20, 2011 by Flames
While at PAX East this year, I had the pleasure of sitting in on a panel on developing independent RPGs. Vincent Baker was among the panelists, and I was incredibly excited to see the man who had created the well-known and critically acclaimed Dogs in the Vineyard. Immediately after the panel I went to his booth and saw that he had another game for sale, Apocalypse World. Its cover, featuring a nude, ambiguous form in a gas mask, haunched over and lit from behind, intrigued me– I had just finished my thesis on Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and was on an apocalypse kick, so although I had gone to the booth expecting to pick up DitV, I came away with a game I hadn’t even heard of before.
With Apocalypse World I didn’t really know what to expect. I admit, I don’t have very many systems under my belt– I’ve read far more games than I’ve actually played, and I don’t like to pass judgment on a system without actually playing it. But just from the get-go, Apocalypse World had a lot going for it.
Posted on October 15, 2010 by Megan
The underlying concept to this game seems simple: you set up a situation in which things will go wrong, disastrously so, and then play it out as a collaborative story-telling game, taking the part of the main protagonists. That’s straightforward enough, but bolted on is a complex resolution mechanic that jolts you out of storytelling mode to administer – while giving structure to what could otherwise dissolve into chaos around the game-table (as opposed to in the situation you’re playing, where you WANT chaos!) it detracts from the interactive no-holds-barred narrative flow of the game.
Designed for 3-5 players (no GM required) and to take about three hours to play out, even the design process is very structured. Called The Setup, you start by determining when and where the game will take place, and then insert relationships and details to engineer your situation. But it’s not done by purely throwing out ideas until your mix feels explosive enough to begin, but through a system called a Playset. As a scenario-design system, it’s quite a beautiful mix of creativity and randomization. Each Playset comes with lists, you see, and once you have chosen a published one or made up your own, you roll a whole bunch of dice and take turns to choose items from the lists, each time using a die that’s rolled the appropriate number.
Posted on July 28, 2010 by Flames
Last week David Hill shared some of his thoughts on the creative process that went into the new RPG, Maschine Zeit in an essay called: Ghost Stories on Space Stations here at Flames Rising.
Now we’re pleased to show you a sneak peek at the setting of this game with a little bit of fiction called The Scholar and The Sages.
Maschine Zeit is available now at the Flames Rising RPGNow Shop.
Posted on July 19, 2010 by davidahilljr
Game Designer, David Hill jumps into our design essay series with some notes on the development of the Maschine Zeit RPG. David tells us about some of the cinematic inspirations for the setting of this new RPG as well as the goals that went into the initial development of the system.
When I advertise Maschine Zeit, I call it, “Ghost Stories on Space Stations.” I wanted to talk briefly on that. Over the years, there’s been this sub-genre of horror films that are fundamentally haunted house stories, set in science fiction environments. The sub-genre really got its chops with the release of Ridley Scott’s masterpiece, Alien. Looking around at various RPGs, I didn’t feel that the genre had been properly emulated, so that’s what I’d set out to do. What this resulted in was an RPG that, in my opinion, shares a number of conventions with popular games, while eschewing many.
Posted on June 20, 2010 by Flames
DOJ Inc. is proud to announce that they have closed a deal to acquire a majority share of Indie Press Revolution, the industry’s leading direct-sales network of high-quality small press game publishers, and will be taking over administrative operations of the company beginning July 1st, 2010. The minority shareholders have all approved the sale and will be retaining their ownership shares in the company.
“I’m delighted to be taking over a sales organization with the brand strength and reputation for quality that IPR has built over the last several years,” says Darren Watts, President of DOJ Inc. “IPR has a very strong business model and has done an outstanding job representing its client creator-publishers, and we intend to carry forward with the same philosophy in order to bring great new games to the public from the cutting edge of game design.”
Posted on May 24, 2010 by spikexan
There are many ways to tackle a horror game. What one finds in a Call of Cthulhu game isn’t what they find in Geist. Heck, What you find in Call of Cthulhu isn’t really what you find in Cthulhutech. This is a great thing. Some groups want to spend the night warding off hordes of zombified neighbors while others want to take on the personas of uberpowerful creatures of the night. I mention this because I will be putting Bogeyman (Sane Studios, 164 pages) into a box with other games of a Clive Barker feel.
The chief feature to Bogeyman is that it’s runs off a card-based mechanic rather than dice. In fact, each player needs their own deck while game masters require two (and you want to keep them separate). Beyond that, the typical gaming fare–character sheets, snacks, pens, paper–mostly fill out this game’s requirements. The only bit lacking are the “beads of sweat,” which I think is a terrifically named aspect. These little tokens have many uses, most of which are linked to impulses.
Posted on April 11, 2010 by Flames
We all have our little secrets.
Some are big, others small. They may be dirty, shameful or dire, soaked in the blood of the victims they claimed, burning in the embarrassment of their memory or the raging madness that can lurk behind even the kindest eyes. For some secrets, their keepers would die if they should be revealed. For others…
Would you kill to keep your secrets, or would your secrets kill for you?
Bogeyman is a role-playing game of personal horror, where ordinary folk struggle against fearsome creatures born of the dark recesses of their own minds. This 164 page book contains a complete role-playing system specially designed with horror in mind.
Posted on March 26, 2010 by Megan
The Introduction – or “Translator’s Foreword” – sets the scene magnificently. This is not, we are told, a modern game of mediaeval times but a role-playing game written in mediaeval times by some monks seeking a pastime, an imaginative entertainment. This delightful conceit is continued throughout the entire book, complete with mediaeval-style illustration.
The first chapter, Imagine, describes what the game is about. Beginning with a series of pen-pictures describing dramatic scenes from mediaeval life, the author explains how a group of young monks play a game of ‘Imaginings’ wherein they pretend to be other people: a brave knight or a cunning thief, perhaps.
Posted on December 28, 2009 by Megan
Who watched cartoons when they were growing up? Or still watches them, perhaps covertly, today? (You don’t need to answer that!) In the Foreword the point is made that not only are cartoons very entertaining for youngsters, they also provided a fertile inspiration for games on the playground… so why not for role-playing as well?
Channel 1: Introduction (to promote the TV show feeling, ‘chapters’ are called ‘channels’!) begins by attempting to define what sort of cartoons this game is intended to emulate – the 1980s action-adventure ones, which have been grouped together as ‘retro-toons.’ Now I’m a bit old to have been entranced by them (I graduated in 1980!), but certainly caught the odd episode and can see the appeal. Typified by boundless enthusiasm, violence that was brief and never seemed to draw blood (although robots came apart a lot) and no difficulty whatsoever in distinguishing between the Good Guys and the Bad ‘Uns, the sheer innocence and capacity for boundless fun is at the center of their appeal.
Posted on November 16, 2009 by spikexan
There are two ways to go about writing a super hero RPG. The first is to focus on the Heroes, such as with Marvel Super Heroes, DC Heroes, or Godlike. These games are interested in the setting and world view. They have rules, but aren’t really dictated by them. The second way is to study the philosophy of Super Heroics and then apply some mechanics to it. It is here that we find games like Capes, Truth and Justice, and eCollapse. Here we find ourselves asking questions like “what does it mean to be a hero” or “what kind of choices can I live with.” Both roads can lead to some excellent gaming, but I usually find myself playing the former and reading the latter.
Posted on October 26, 2009 by Flames
Spectrum Games is pleased to announce the release of the Killer Collection, the very first hardcopy supplement for the Slasher Flick RPG.
The Killer Collection is a compilation of three supplements previously only released as PDF products, plus a brand new 24-page mini-supplement that will also be released as a PDF soon. That’s four supplements in one book!
It features CASTING CALL (offering 100 pre-made characters, each of which is completely customizable), HORROR ISLAND (A full length adventure that sends the characters to a remote island that isn’t as uninhabited as they thought), DELETED SCENES (Rules and information that was cut from the rulebook due to space limitations) and SPECIAL FEATURES (Yet more new material, including random character creation, new special abilities, Director’s advice and three ready-to-use killers that have several plot seeds each).
Posted on October 13, 2009 by Flames
Our game design series continues with a new essay from Bill White telling us about his fantasy RPG, Ganakagok.
Ganakagok is a fantasy where characters are members of a tribe that lives in a night-time world on an island of ice who must deal with the coming of the Dawn and the changes it brings. Play involves the use of a deck of cards to generate situation, prompt narration, and inspire characters; each session produces an authentic-seeming myth of an imaginary people.
When people ask me what my game Ganakagok is about, I say, “It’s a fantasy.” I tell them that it’s about a people called the Nitu, who live on a starlit island of ice in a world where the sun has never risen. They live in darkness, revering the Stars, honoring their Ancestors, and marveling at the handiwork of the Forgotten Ones, who long ago wrought Ganakagok into its current form.
Posted on August 5, 2009 by jasonlblair
Welcome to the third of the 13 Doors: an exclusive look behind the door at the upcoming Little Fears Nightmare Edition – The Game of Childhood Terror.
Door #3: Monster Factory
Little Fears Nightmare Edition is a game about kids fighting monsters. We already know about the kids, so what about the monsters?
The monsters in Little Fears Nightmare Edition can come from anywhere, that’s part of what makes them so much fun. Monsters can come from your own bad dreams, the fears of the players, urban legends, myths, cryptozoology, regular old zoology, a movie, literature—anywhere. Monsters in Little Fears are anything people fear. Fear is what gives them life, shape, form, power. Without people fearing them, they’re not really monsters at all.
Posted on June 8, 2009 by Flames
As the Last War rages, ancient adversaries emerge. But new heroes rise, armed with terrifying abilities and the darkest of magics.
Written by Enrique Cachafeiro, Dire: The First Creed of Pandemonium is a new sourcebook for Dread that expands the Pandemonium Universe into strange new directions. Published by Pandora Peeks Press, this 48-page sourcebook features:
25 mind-bending new spells, including Detritavore, Pinata, Sangrial, Ferialis, Versacrum, Dispater, Actaeon, and Nero.
The Meiga, a new character class. Deformed and inhumane, Meigas wield the powers of demonkind to stalk, hunt, and defile. This power comes at a price, though, because Meigas who can’t learn to control these abilities can lose their humanity, becoming just like the demons that they fight.
Dire: The First Creed of Pandemonium is available at the Flames Rising RPGNow Shop.
Posted on April 15, 2009 by GRIM
MSG™ Executive Edition is a satirical RPG about what I shall reservedly term ‘Corporate marketing bollocks’ and the rat race. Players take on the roles of company representatives, ‘reps’ and each turn The Company (the role of which shifts between players) tries to crush the players or get them to crush each other. Yes, it’s one of those new-wave poncey indie games under the thick shell of satire and piss-taking. In spite of that, for an indie game, it’s a fairly weighty 130+ pages.
MSG™ Executive Edition is a story-focussed, semi-GMless, resource management and risk assessment oriented indie game. That’s a torrent of buzzwords that wouldn’t be out of place in the game itself. To clarify…
This is a fairly rules-light game thereby focusing more intently on the story and drama, rather than complex rules mechanics.
Review by James ‘Grim’ Desborough
Posted on March 23, 2009 by Flames
Spectrum Games is pleased to announce the release of Slasher Flick, the role-playing game that brings the thrills and chills of the “psycho killer” horror movies from the screen to your tabletop.
According to Cynthia Celeste Miller, “As with any of our games that emulate a particular genre or medium, Slasher Flick was designed to reflect every aspect of the source material. This isn’t a universal system. It was created specifically to feel like a slasher film in play. And I’m extremely confident that the game does exactly that. One of the most important keys to capturing the feel of the slasher movies was the implementation of something we call ‘kill scenes’. A kill scene begins when the killer appears in any given scene and ends when the character(s) present drops to below zero survival points (death) or gains a total of eight survival points (escape). Survival points are gained and lost by making crucial stat checks throughout the kill scene.
Posted on March 16, 2009 by alymonster
Burning Wheel Fantasy Roleplaying System (BW) isn’t like other RPGs. Yes, that first sentence is maddening; “What is BW like, then?!” you shout, frustrated. Let me sum up…
First off, Burning Wheel is a story-driven game. Kept simple, the rules are astonishingly playable, with sample-of-play threads written throughout the main book and the supplements that remind the GM and the players that they are sharing a story that they tell together. The entire point is to be fun; well, isn’t that the point of hobbies?
Review by Aly Condon
Posted on May 5, 2008 by Flames
The new game by the Origins Award-winning author of Legend of the Five Rings and 7th Sea!
Ambition. Lust. Revenge. You cannot have one without the others.
Thousands of years ago, the ven ruled the world. They were a passionate people, obsessed with Romance and Revenge, opera and theater, and all the forbidden delights their decadent culture provided. In the end, that which made them beautiful was also the key to their own destruction. Houses of the Blooded is a game about tragic obsession. Set in the fantastic world of ven myth and legend, players take the roles of powerful characters bent on conquering their world, destroying their enemies and possessing all they desire.
Posted on December 21, 2006 by Flames
“The planets line up, magic comes back in a torrent of confusion and mass panic, and what’s left of the general public is in chaos.” Chaos University is a tongue in cheek roleplaying game of magic and the occult published by Firewater Productions. Written by Jennifer and Daniel Schoonover, the Chaos University Student Handbook (i.e., […]
Posted on November 11, 2005 by Monica Valentinelli
Useful supplements are hard to come by nowadays; not only does the information in it have to be worth the price you pay, but the information needs to be useful in a way that you’d want to incorporate it into your gaming. Cold, Hard World is an expansion for the roleplaying game Dead Inside—offering more nuts and bolts to the original game than fluff. The supplement is a seventy-four page expansion of the first three chapters of the corebook.
Similar to Dead Inside, the pdf is written with definitive voice changes throughout. Dead Inside draws you in at key moments by addressing the reader; other times you’ll hear the voice of an instructor showing you how to play the game.