role playing

WizKids have been releasing pre-painted miniatures, called Icons of the Realms, for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game from Wizards of the Coast. Since the release of the 5th Edition of D&D they’ve been releasing products as a collective theme as part of a story. Waterdeep Dragon Heist is the latest story, releasing this Fall, and WizKids are releasing miniatures to match.

Ranging from the heroic to the villainous, you can find a Human Warlock of the Fiend, a Devilish Pit Fiend, a Founder of the Zhentarim, Dire Wolf, vicious Brown Bear, and a mysterious Manshoon, among the 44 figures released as part of Icons of the Realms: Waterdeep Dragon Heist. The miniatures are released in random boosters which contain 4 figures: 1 Large or unique Huge figure, and 3 Medium or Small figures.

Customers who pre-order an Icons of the Realms: Waterdeep Dragon Heist standard booster case will be able to buy the City of the Dead Statues & Monuments case incentive promotional set while stocks last. It has statues and monument miniatures which can further enrich the settings you play in, especially when combined with the Fantasy Terrain: Pools & Pillars miniatures set.

One of the most exciting and memorable events for Gen Con attendees during the past 14 years has been True Dungeon. This live-action role-playing experience allows teams of players to tackle challenging stories, puzzles, and NPCs with cunning, dexterity, and sometimes appropriately luck. While True Dungeon has certainly grown to offer new scenarios each year, it has also started to branch out to other locations throughout the United States and this year will be the events first time at Origins Game Fair. As stated in their press release:

 “At Origins 2017, True Dungeon will be offering two completely different two-hour, live-action D&D events that will immerse players in adventures featuring amazing sets, animatronic monsters, costumed NPCs and high-quality props.  The two adventures have sequential background stories, but they can be played in any order and enjoyed.”

This is a great opportunity for Origins attendees to get in on the remarkable action, and for dungeoneering veterans this is an excellent opportunity to get their hands on 2017 loot tokens before the main event at Gen Con 50. Origins 2017 will take place June 14-18 and is already shaping up to be a convention to look forward to. Be sure to follow the Origins website for more information and announcements, and visit the True Dungeon website itself for more information on other 2017 events, loot tokens, and more.

Fans of science fiction and the role-playing system Fate may be familiar with Bulldogs!, the fast and furious space-faring campaign setting. Where Fate is a more in-your-face style of tabletop role-playing, so too does Bulldogs! skip much of the math and buggery to produce instead more action-packed sequences of heroics and daring-do.

Yet like space exploration, even in a pulp-style narrative, it becomes necessary to broaden horizons and Heart of the Fury seeks to do just that. The recently released supplement book adds a lot more to see, fight, and deal with in Bulldogs! adventures, as explained via the press release:

 “This 260-page adventure campaign includes a dozen different adventures and new rules for Bulldogs! campaigns. Heart of the Fury adds a new Psychic skill and stunts to add mental powers to the game, three new playable alien species, and an excellent example of how to craft a full arc campaign to players’ own Bulldogs! game.”

Developed with the help of Gareth Hanrahan, Heart of the Fury is thicker than the core book and runs on the latest version of the Fate Core System to deliver long-lasting stories for those that seek them. As said by Hanrahan himself, “The Bulldogs! setting has a number of guns built into it, and I took great and unbridled glee in running around pulling as many triggers as I could. Now, it’s up to the player characters to start dodging.” For those interested, check out publisher Galileo Games’ own website to find all the appropriate avenues of procuring a copy and expanding your Bulldogs! adventures.

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Paizo has announced a new science fiction role-playing game entitled Starfinder, a universe set thousands of years in Pathfinder’s future.  Starfinder is a stand-alone RPG evolved from Pathfinder’s ruleset in which players take on the role of alien races both new and familiar as they explore the mysteries of a weird galaxy.  Your starship’s crew can be made up of such character archetypes as:

  • android assassins
  • ratfolk mechanics
  • lashunta technomancers
  • human pilots
  • and many more!

The Starfinder line will include:

  • a hardcover core rulebook
  • hardcover rules supplements
  • a monthly Starfinder Adventure Path with epic campaigns, expanded rules elements, and new monsters
  • integrates easily with the Pathfinder roleplaying game

The Starfinder system will release in August of 2017.  For more information, visit the product announcement here.

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Wizards of the Coast owns two of the most iconic brands in tabletop gaming, and now after many years fans of either game can now enjoy the rich lore of Magic: the Gathering along with the flexible toolkit of the Dungeons and Dragons role-playing system. Plane Shift: Zendikar is a free PDF download that provides official rules, settings, and information needed to bring the world of the Planewalkers to anyone’s RPG excursion. Most notably, there are now Wizards-ordained racial modifiers and abilities for the Kor, Merfolk, Goblins, and more!

You can think of Plane Shift: Zendikar  as a sort of supplement to The Art of Magic: The Gathering—Zendikar, designed to help you take the world details and story seeds contained in that book and turn them into an exciting D&D campaign. The easiest way to approach a D&D campaign set on Zendikar is to use the rules that D&D provides mostly as written: a druid on Zendikar might call on green mana and cast spells like giant growth, but she’s still just a druid in the D&D rules (perhaps casting giant insect).

The two come together like ice cream and pie, and I feel like the timing is perfect given the steady progression of MtG’s story and settings as of recent years. Fans of one franchise are rarely stranger to the other, and I’m particularly glad to see the marriage of the two come in such a convenient PDF format. Check out the official Magic webpage for more updates and information.

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Organize your gaming supplies in this high quality, customizable sheath. This solid piece of hardware is designed specifically for tabletop and RPG gamers – you pick the wood, the sculpts on each side, and the interior chamber.

Dog Might Games now offers a hand-sculpted, wooden carrying case for your RPG and gaming gear.  These elegant carrying cases come in a variety of woods, colors, and interiors.

Measuring approximately 8.5″ x 2.25″ x 2.0″, Dragon Sheaths are double coated with a custom mixed varnish, and use magnets that are 0.25″ rare earth neodymium and “give a satisfying snap when closed (they are incredibly strong!).”

This project offers at least ten different customized interiors, with more being created through feedback during the project.  For more information and to support this project, visit its Kickstarter page.

genghis con

Genghis Con 2016 is right around the corner, being held from February 11-14, 2016, in Aurora, Colorado at the Radisson Southeast.

Genghis Con will feature many opportunities in gaming, such as:

  • Role-playing games (Savage Worlds, D&D, and Hero’s RPG)
  • Access to the Gen Con board game library, with over 700 games (Board Game Ribbon required to access)
  • Auction
  • Catan Regional Championship qualifier (winner will compete at Gen Con 2016)
  • Miniatures room run by Gamer’s Haven game store
  • Envoy Games regional championships in Diamonds, Game of 49, Spellcaster, Nevermore, Skull King, and Wizard
  • Artemis Bridge Simulator
  • Cosplay contest
  • Live-action role-playing
  • Dungeon Crawl of Awesome featuring an entire floor for a sic-fi dungeon crawl

Hotel rooms are available for $89/night with the group code “Gen Con”.  For more information, visit the convention’s web site at www.genghiscondenver.com.

Modiphius Entertainment announces two new releases: Achtung! Cthulhu: Dark Tales from the Secret War and Dust Adventures: Operation Apocalypse.

Dark Tales from the Secret War

This is a collection of 13 stories that mixes the H.P. Lovecraft mythos with mankind’s finest and darkest hour in World War II.  This series of stories expand and expound the Achtung! Cthulhu universe, allowing players to “peer deeper into the sinister cult of the Black Sun, the terrifying technology of Nachtwolfe and gain valuable insight into the brave men and women of Section M and Majestic who oppose them, in a series of tales which will thrill and delight and even inspire even more Achtung! Cthulhu adventures.”  Dark Tales is available in print or in PDF format.

Operation Apocalypse

This is a 136-page campaign for the Dust Adventures RPG series that will take players to the pre-Mayan ruins in the Amazon jungle.  Highlights of the campaign include:

  •  A globe-trotting story that will take you to such places as South America, Turkey, Thailand, and the Philippines.
  • The introduction of a new alien species fighting the Vrill, as well as the secret history of their intergalactic war.
  • All-new information on the three blocs.
  • Epic action set-pieces, including a battle aboard a top secret Axis aircraft carrier.
  • Dust Tactics and Dust Warfare scenarios for the large-scale battles of the campaign.

For more information, visit the Modiphius website here.

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BGG.Con is underway and amidst the excitement and eager gamers, Artana sat down with our own Eric Summerer to show off a very intriguing new title – Chronicles: Origins. Designed by Dirk Knemeyer and Rob Daviau, Origins very literally will be the first of the chronicles series which will take players on a journey of creating a new world from scratch! Via it’s BGG entry:

First, players take the role of leaders of a small and emerging tribe, collaborating to avoid threats, exploit opportunities, and build the tribe to a position of growth and stability. Then, once a variety of tribes have been created, players take leadership of a city-state that evolved from an original tribe and contest the region with their opponents who are the leaders of city-states of their own.

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The game features the legacy mechanism that has been popularized by Risk: Legacy and the recently released Pandemic: Legacy. Judging by the information available, it seems that Artana is differentiating their product from those powerhouses, which turned hour-long classics into week-long affairs, by adapting the evolving game with specialized components, chits, and tried-and-true role playing elements. What really makes it stand out, though, is something called the “Echo System”, which allows the unique creations of each player that stands it’s test of time to easily transfer and continue to later releases of the series. For fans of legacy games, this is a good step forward. We now have a game that’s preparing itself at release for expansive content that allows the legacy game to continue to live and breathe beyond it’s shelf-life. The potential for this design step is incredible, to say the least. I look forward to hearing more about it.

 

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‘Playing Roles’ is our ongoing spotlight on tabletop roleplaying games, dedicated to introducing this wonderful hobby to the board gaming community. We’ll be looking at strategies for getting started, interesting developments in the industry, special events, and other topics pertaining to all things roleplaying. If you have any questions, hit me up on Twitter at @GCPDblue.

One Ring to Rule Them All

As many of you know, this week marks the high point of the gaming convention season. Gen Con is, without a doubt, the biggest gaming convention in the United States bringing in legions of publishers, retailers, press, and most importantly, gamers. It’s an unbelievable celebration of everything we love. Whether you’re going there to play demos of unpublished games, get the scoop on upcoming releases, buy limited print runs of games, or just spend some quality time with your fellow geeks, Gen Con is the right place to be. What you might not know, however, is that Gen Con is home to a slew of exciting roleplaying events as well.

One Ring to Find Them

One look at the Gen Con schedule this year and you can see how much goblin slaying and magic missile casting is done each and every day of the convention.  Events are divided into Role Playing Games (RPG), Role Playing Gamers Association (RPGA) games, and Live Action Role Playing (LARP). What does all that mean?

Role Playing Games are what you want, especially if you’re a beginner. These are one-shot games that take just a few hours to play. The gamemasters that run these sessions provide pre-generated characters, dice, and everything else you might need, and unless otherwise stated, these games are welcome to experienced and inexperienced roleplayers alike.  All you have to bring is your curiosity and a positive attitude.

RPGA games are organized events. These are akin to tournaments, though not necessarily competitive, and are designed for career roleplayers to bring their unique characters to the next chapter of an ongoing campaign. These sessions are certainly fascinating to watch, but definitely work best for experienced gamers that are very familiar with the systems being played.

Finally there’s LARP, which is a special category of roleplaying that melds stagecraft with traditional roleplaying. Players participating in LARP embody their characters often through costumes, gear, accents, and other affectations common to live theater. Even the mechanisms of the games are adapted to fit this hyper real approach to roleplaying with padded weaponry, vials of colored water representing potions, special lighting and sound effects, and more. It’s not to everyone’s taste, but you have to applaud the commitment these gamers have to the hobby.

One Ring to Bring Them All

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If you’re attending Gen Con this year, I recommend signing up for a session or two of regular roleplaying. The great thing about convention RPGs is that they’re meant to be self-contained and full of big memorable set pieces. As I mentioned earlier, these sessions are tailored for players of all experience levels (unless stated otherwise) and will often favor story and fun over rules lawyering and pedantry.

For a gaming experience that won’t have you scrambling to understand the rules, I recommend sessions that use the new Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, Fantasy Flight Games’s Star Wars games (Edge of the Empire, Age of Rebellion, or Force & Destiny), Fate Accelerated (FAE), or Savage Worlds for a good well-rounded easy-to-grasp experience. That said, no matter how esoteric the game or the system sounds, it won’t take long to grasp the rules and start chucking dice.

And in the Darkness, Bind Them

true dungeon beholder

Finally I wanted to spotlight something very unique to Gen Con: True Dungeon. True Dungeon is a live action cooperative roleplaying experience like no other. The organizers, consisting of hundreds of volunteers each year, erect amazing fantasy sets, covering over 40,000 square feet of convention space, full of devious puzzles and challenging encounters. Players take on the role of wizards, fighters, and rogues applying their specialized skills to defeat creatures and disarm complex traps. All of this is done through the use of item tokens, memory and dexterity puzzles, animatronics, actors, audio and video presentations, and props of all kinds. If you think of the escape room phenomenon that’s sweeping the country right now, you’ll be on the right track. This introductory video does a nice job of showing what True Dungeon has to offer.

Every year, True Dungeon ups the ante even more with harder to solve puzzles and ingenious interactive elements. With a brand new storyline starting next year, I can’t wait to see what they’ll do to top previous True Dungeon events. If you have the opportunity to give this event a try sometime, I highly recommend it even with the high cost of entry. It’s not exactly traditional roleplaying, but you’ll have a great time and that’s really what’s important.