[generic] What rpgs have you read recently?

I've just finished reading Oaths of the Riddermark for The One Ring. It's good. Very good. But it's also very specific.

So it's a set of six closely linked adventures set in the faction-riven Rohan described in Horse Lords of Rohan. Much more closely-linked than the adventures in Tales from Wilderland for example, let alone Ruins of the North, with events from one adventure affecting others down the line. And they're complete adventures, unlike those in The Darkening of Mirkwood. They are also rather good, and form a nice "run directly out of the book" campaign. For me the final adventure needs some work to bash into shape and isn't quite up to the standard of the others. But the first five are very good indeed, and something I fancy running.

But the campaign is quite narrow in scope. This is it's point- its about Rohirrim characters doing things in Rohan. It doesn't feel as epic or as fully Middle Earth as other possibilities. I can't complain, and there are some wonderful bits, but there is a certain narrower scope. It's not what I think of as a "typical" One Ring experience. I also worry a bit about the amount of variation in a party of five or so Rohirrim characters, all built from essentially the same template.

Despite these caveats, I'd gleefully play, and would like to run it at some point. Maybe I'd do it with mostly Rohirrim, with the possibility of a few visitors from other cultures (a Man of Gondor or incognito Ranger would work alongside the Rohan characters for example, as long as we had a few Rohirrim along for the journey). I'm certainly not complaining about it being all Rohan (without even Fangorn or Isengard being mentioned), since that's its premise! It's good.

Maybe one to wheel out as a much shorter special at some point.
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I'm simultaneously reading:
Land of Ice & Stone from Mongoose. I'm a sucker for Stone Age RPGs, so have several. I've put this one aside several times as, despite mentioning Clan of the Cave Bear series as one of its inspirations, it is very much of the 'Men do heroic things, women are rubbish' ethos. It thinks it isn't, because it has women chiefs and women shamans mentioned, but it ignores all the tropes of modern 'prehistorical' novels, then it clobbers you with sexism such as "women, children, old men, the crippled and infirm do gathering" or game mechanics where women have to make 3 resilience rolls during pregnancy or they will have some complication and possibly die (they haven't done the maths, so the probability of NOT having a complication in their system is about 1% for an average woman and 17% for the rufty-tuftiest Neanderthal woman).

There are lies, damned lies, and game designers who don't understand statistics! :)

Cold & Dark from Modiphius/Wicked World Games. I'm enjoying reading this much more. It wears its inspirations (Aliens, Event Horizon, Pitch Black, the reaver bits of Firefly) very much on its sleeve, and has a d8 dice pool system which looks as if it will be simple to use. Nice art, and an appreciated paucity of women showing their cleavage. There's only 1 woman with her tits out and since it is clear from the picture that she's as mad as a bucket of frogs (very much an axe murderer vibe), I'm prepared to forgive her. The setting is interesting, and I'm already having ideas for scenarios. I think I need to read more about the sanity mechanic to see how fast/slow it is likely to render characters into gibbering loons. I like this better than Cthulhu in Spaaaaaace, because it isn't mythos monsters. It's Reavers, communicable PTSD, 28 Days Later style zombie virus, and accidentally switching on the defences for an alien artifact.

My only bugbear is that it has a weird attitude to science. It states up front that it is going for Style over Science. I'm fine with that - games where movie logic trumps real world science are cool. However then it has pages and pages of nitty gritty detail on the science/tech, like to make a reactor core you have to heat coreanium crystals to exactly 5982.3 Celsius and the anti-gravity drive is a silvery cube with sides of 11.26 cm. Because it is very important for the GM or engineer character to know things like that to several decimal places???
I read Hive of the Overmind for Mutant Crawl Classics over brekkie this morning (Coming soon to a Convention in that there Leicester and sooner to a Free RPG Day event in Bournemouth ;-)) Hooboy there's a lot of fun and opportunity for senseless ignominious death among those covers. Ingenious stuff and I'm looking forward to it all hugely :)

First Age

D&D h@ck3r and Hopepunk
Staff member
I've blasted through the Everywhen Community V2 edition in anticipation of the new book. My goodness, we have a great little system there with lots of possibilities. Light trad, multi-genre, 2d6 9+ with Savage like twiddles. I'm in.
Hostile for Traveller/Cepheus by Paul Elliott (Zozer Games). I'll be running Traveller shortly and not quite sure whether to use this or place it in the more traditional setting and run Pirates of Drinax.
Also bought and read Hostile recently, plus the companion cyberpunk game Zaibatsu.
I recently read Mythras and did a review of it :) I feel late to the party saying how classy and fantastic it is :)

The Black Hack (1st Edtion) got a re-read ahead of an appreciation I did of it, and I was reminded why its found a place in my ageing gamer's heart. i.e. its well written, very short, plays to all the old classic tropes while bringing something new to the table. Backed the 2nd Edition in a heartbeat.

James Raggi' IV's Eldrich Cock - a lovely little hardcover given away on Free RPG Day, about the size of an old Ladybird book - full of Lamentations of the Flame Princess goodness. An alternative Magic system (basically no levels to spells, cast as much as you want as powerful as you want, but there's' a chance to f**k up), a short essay about where LoTFP stands in the world of D&D (covers its attitude to sex and violence), and then 22 new spells named from Death Metal songs wtih a gorgeous colour picture (equivalent to a painted cover) for each. Finally, there are some clever little playtest rules that while keeping compatible with other Class/Level games make LoFP its own game.

The Sword of Rami by Troll Lord Games
- another Free RPG Day book, which is almost the inverse of the above. ie. Boring, Dull, Colourless, Safe. In a word Dismal. Basically a 16 pamphlet adventure advertising the upcoming Kickstarter setting that they are putting out for Fifth Editon. Its pedestrian, predictable, and suffers greatly from all there "read more in our upcoming book from the Kickstarter". Oh and its black and white throughout, with one illustration of a wood. That's right a wood. Easily the most rubbish thing I've read/looked at in a long time.
I just read Vagabonds of Dyfed which is a recently Kickstarted PbtA game which uses OSR style of GMing. It seems really interesting for short to medium length games. It uses classless character creation and only goes to 6th level. It expands on the original PbtA dice system by rolling with advantage or disadvantage when appropriate and allowing players to choose risky, standard and careful approaches which affect the scope of the results.

I've just had a look at Ironsworn (which is free on Drivethrurgp.com) and will be reading that over the next few days. It also uses PbtA as a starting point but has some creative changes. It is a heroic medieval game by default but is easily re-skinned into sci-fi, or other genres.
Should I read it? I mean, should I understand it before going to Cons where the only games I can get into are SW ones?
IMHO -nope.

I often end up playing it at cons without the faintest idea what’s going on. I’ve been happily just rolling the dice and spending bennies. As long as you’ve got pregens everything you need is on the sheet. It’s far from rocket science.