What will you be playing at midnight on Halloween?
Set the mood with the Dread the role playing game and some spooky music.
Set the mood with the Dread the role playing game and some spooky music.
A great review of Dread from Kristina Answers on YouTube. It's only 2 minutes long.
We were very excited to see this announcement on Twitter a couple of weeks ago. We can't wait!
Unfortunately, Congress has continued to hamstring the US Postal Service, and there has therefore been another huge increase in shipping costs. I just can’t absorb that much of the shipping so I’ll be raising what I charge for shipping. This is your 1-week-ish warning: the plan is on March 15 the new rates will go into effect.
Currently, I’m charging US$8 for shipping to Canada, because the old shipping cost was a bit over US$9 (+ packing materials). The new price is almost US$15.
For most of the rest of the world, the old shipping cost was US$14.40 + packing materials, and I was charging US$12. The new price is US$22.50.
I want people to be able to get the book, which is why I’ve always undercharged a little bit for shipping, but I’m just not willing to eat US$10+ on shipping for a US$24 book. I’ve looked at some other options but everything I’ve found is 3x or more the cost of USPS, so there’s really nothing else I can do. To our international customers: I’m sorry. I’ll keep looking for better options.
Obviously, Dread is my favorite horror RPG. But what if I want to play some other sort of horror RPG? There are a lot of options out there, but here are a few of my favorites. I recommend all of them highly, so if you’re looking for something else, check these out.
Don’t Rest Your Head is a game about insomniacs who see through the veil to the real world, and develop superpowers. Probably. It reminds me a bit of Dark City in both tone and setting. And it has one of the cleverest and most informative dice mechanics I’ve encountered, giving you not only degree of success or failure, but why you succeed, and what consequences come with failure, all in one roll. It does this by having a dice pool system with different colored dice for different aspects of the roll. The relatively simple character mechanics, coupled with some leading questions as part of character creation, make for intense, thematic play, and the dice mechanics make that play fast and simple.
Kult is the horror RPG I’ve always wanted to play. It’s an embodiment of the most extreme elements of the Gnostic worldview: we are gods trapped by the illusion of a false reality and deluded into forsaking our divinity. Those who are depraved or enlightened enough can see through the illusion, or maybe even escape it—but the beings of true reality are horrific to the unprepared mind. I’ve seen it called the darkest horror RPG, but what draws me to it is actually the juxtaposition of darkness and light—it is precisely that it equates enlightenment and depravity, and says that, unlike in Call of Cthulhu and so many other horror RPGs, you can break through the bounds of reality without descending.
My Life With Master is the storygame of minions. No, not the silly yellow guys—more like tragic hunchbacks. The PCs are deeply flawed, inhuman beings, both greater and lesser than humanity, who would like nothing more than to have some semblance of a normal life—or even just their own lives. The mechanics do an amazing job of focusing this tension into a wonderful game, and has led to some of the both funniest and most tragic gaming I’ve ever experienced.
There you have it: three horror RPGs covering a range of both setting and mechanics, from fairly traditional with a few clever twists (Kult) to My Life With Master (where rolls revolve around emotions and the game has win conditions).
Supers is one of my favorite genres for RPGs, which is part of why Four Colors al Fresco exists. But let me tell you a little bit of where it came from—my favorite supers RPG before I created my own.
There are basically two branches of supers RPG design. The first, and older, focuses on modeling the abilities of superheroes. At first, this was done very crudely (with the likes of Superhero 2044 and Villains & Vigilantes), but it got increasingly sophisticated, reaching its pinnacle (so far) in games like Champions 6th edition, Mutants & Masterminds 3rd edition, and Wild Talents 2nd edition, each of which can let you model just about any combination of details for a superhero’s powers.
The 2nd branch, initially driven largely be the Forge, consists of games that focus instead on the drama and character arcs of the typical superhero story. Some of these games don’t even bother trying to quantify powers at all. With Great Power… and Capes are probably the two best examples of this style, but many other games have tried a similar approach. There are also a number of games that pursue a hybrid approach, most notably Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, which has a power-building system (nowhere near the sophistication or complexity of M&MM or Champions, but philosophically on the same wavelength), but a game structure that is all about the storyline and characters.
But that 2nd branch didn’t start with the Forge. A few story-focused supers RPGs predate the Forge-inspired games. Four Colors al Fresco is one of them, but it was in part inspired by another: Panels, a little free web-hosted RPG from the mid-’90s. [Actually, I can no longer remember whether we figured out that trying to create a consistent framework to model superhero comics, where powers and capabilities are wildly inconsistent, was the wrong tack before I discovered Panels, or Panels was the source of that epiphany.] Panels has, unfortunately, long since disappeared from the web, but the Wayback Machine still has most of it. You should check it out. It has a lot in common with With Great Power… and particularly Capes and Truth & Justice, but it also has some original ideas that I’ve not seen anywhere else, particularly the “statures”, which might be the cleverest summary of superhero “types” in an RPG.
When I discovered Panels and wrote Four Colors al Fresco, what I wanted in a supers RPG was one that didn’t involve complex math or try and fail to model superpowers as they show up in comic books. If I hadn’t written my own supers RPG, I might still be playing a variation of Panels.
I finally dug out my notes for playing Rumel with Fudge and D20 System, converted to PDF, and posted to the Ogalepihcra page.
The Fudge rules are in pretty good shape, built upon 5-Point Fudge. They assume a lot of bits from that, and only talk about what is different/added. I also posted a set of example characters from a convention scenario I ran.
The D20 System rules are in much rougher shape. For example, several of the classes are just sketches at this point, because I’ve never created any characters that used them. Some of the Open Game Content is merely referenced, rather than included. And there isn’t a proper OGL attached at this point. There is also a group of example characters from a convention scenario I ran, and stats for a tree wolf.
So, why even post them? Because there is a significant, core element that is done and complete, and which could be easily lifted for any other D20 System game, or to be used as the basis of a new game: social combat rules. These draw heavily on Dynasties & Demagogues, but also borrow some ideas from Aria and The Dying Earth. These rules provide a social conflict system of roughly the complexity and nuance of the physical combat rules in D&D3E. For the Rumel, they replace physical combat, which is instead handled by a few basic skill checks and some feats. But you could use them in addition to detailed physical (or magical, or…) conflict rules.
I have a major doubt about the following rule: “If the player refuses to pull a block, then the character’s attempt fails. This can result in any number of consequences, but none of them may remove the character from the game.” I think this causes a loss of realism in a lot of different scenarios, and even could put the story on hold. What happens when the tower is so unstable that the players simply decide to fail their actions all the time? I know that this will be unlikely most of the time, but you know there are all types of players out there. My question is, there is not a point in a game in which you should face the decision of make a pull or die anyway?
In it, they play the intro scenario from the book, “Beneath a Full Moon”. I didn’t have any advance screening of this, so I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet—but once I do, I’ll let you know what I think.
This has been a long time coming, but The Impossible Dream is going to start charging more for shipping. US postal prices for international shipping went up dramatically on Jan 1, 2013, and I chose to ignore it, continuing to charge the old rates for the most part. They went up a bit again on Jan 1, 2014. So for nearly 2 years, we’ve just been eating the difference between what we’re charging you, and what we’re paying.
With the new website, we’re switching over to a smarter ecommerce plugin, so the good news is I can program in international shipping and give accurate numbers for multiple copies, so I won’t have to do all of these manually any more. I’ll still have to handle it manually for any country I don’t yet know the shipping for, but that should be many fewer.
This may be the right business move, but I feel badly for our international customers, so this is your warning: more-accurate shipping prices will go into affect on Jan 1, 2015.
Oh, the actual prices:
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