[generic] What rpgs have you read recently?

I've been dipping into Young Centurions from Evil Hat, a sort of prequel game to Spirit of the Century. Things have certainly changed since the original game, which I pre-ordered in those far-off days before Kickstarter, and the underlying system is greatly improved.

Young Centurions uses Fate Accelerated Edition, which is considerably slimmed down from earlier versions and now feels like something I could actually use, whereas the old versions of Fate seemed cumbersome in use compared with Fudge. Fewer Aspects and a different way of looking at skills and attributes really seems to suit this game of kid heroes.

I picked it up because I wanted a change of pace for my group, not entirely certain of what I'd get, and it's a delightful read. Nothing grim and dark here, even in the face of the looming Great War, and I'm glad of it. Optimistic settings have seemed thin on the ground in recent years, at a time when we could all use a little optimism.



Staff member
I picked up a couple of books I've had on the wishlist for a while with the playmaker award winnings.

What Ho, Frog Demons is the fourth in the Hydra Cooperative Slumbering Ursine Dunes sequence. This is the one that covers the broader Marlinko Canton, rather than specific adventure sites. That said, there are also two specific sites for players to explore. The setting is Slavic-weird, with War Bears and demon cults. I quite like it and this made a pleasing conclusion to the sequence. It does get a bit odd and icky in places but overall it feels very different and I'd love to get some adventurer's loose in the Canton.

Witchburner is also published by the Hydra Cooperative. It's near systemless but does have very basic stats for D&D clones. The characters arrive in the town of Bridge, an isolated settlement between two cities that have often been at war, and there is evidence of witchcraft. They are drawn into the search for those that cause the trouble. Will they find out who it is, or will the mob lose trust in them and perhaps assume that they are responsible. The scenario effectively gives them a month to solve the crime. Each key NPC (30 odd) has a backstory, and details of their household and secrets, and rivalries. The characters will likely tip the balance between factions, and tensions will escalate thanks to a ticking clock of events that the GM has. I'd like to get this one out at a con, but I'm not sure if it would need a double session to play it out. Impressive stuff.

First Age told me I should get something edgy and cool with the winnings - hopefully this is a little of that. However, I did also buy some other stuff so will have more to report soon!


Staff member
Umberwell: Blackened Be Thy Name is the latest from Jack Shear, the creator of Krevborna and Cinderheim. This is near systemless (there are some notes on using this with 5th Edition at the end) setting of a fantasy metropolis sprawling across multiple islands. The writing is terse and focused, and very evocative. You are getting a framework for the imagination to build upon here, rather than a street gazetteer. Gas-lit, corrupt, and full of exiles from wars in other parts of the world, your characters can get drawn into crime, faction-fighting or perhaps something more uplifting as they try to help people. There are some good NPCs to introduce, plot seed generators and some great Appendix N type references for further inspiration. At 134 pages of Digest, it isn't a long book, but it provides focussed inspiration. Recommended.
I've been reading the Fate Horror Toolkit, which has a selection of variant rules for Fate that are supposed to help you evoke the right atmosphere in your horror game. I've not found anything particularly earth-shattering, but there are a few rules that seem like they could be generically applicable. My fave so far is the group Fate points, where you can specify that Fate points from compels go into a group pool that everyone can draw from.

First Age

D&D h@ck3r and Hopepunk
Staff member
I've dipped my toe into the Pathfinder 2e playtest text. :eek::)

Optiontastic. Looks playable to me and I am advised by those that know that the game has been streamlined for play whilst preserving the rich depth of options and builds (now more approachably bundled within class containers).

I'd like to play and run some Pathfinder. There, I've said it. I would have offered the world of Galarion for Thursday nights but Esteren has been demanded.


The Guvnor
Staff member
I didn't, but I feel an urge to confess downloading the original beta. I don't know why, as I never played 3e/3.5e/4e, so it's not like I was rebelling against the man. I suspect it was just that it was free.
I did and ran it, it was a better 3.5 than 3.75.
But I resist splatbooks and and one strongly for all players in RPGs so it was manageable.
I just think 5e is better for me, and allows for a wider range of game/play styles around the same table.
I'd play it, tho!
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Whilst Pathfinder isn't exactly my cup of tea - I can see the appeal:
  • Character building is a mini-game onto itself as there are so many fun options to choose from.
  • The game is incredibly very well supported. There are a subset of RPG'ers who only play one game, and games like Pathfinder can offer them a depth of material to keep it interesting.
  • Strong community involvement with lots of organised play.
The flip side of the character building mini-game means the game can attract players who are more interested in building strong characters than interesting ones.

The flip side of the game being incredibly well supported is that it can be incredibly over-whelming.

For me 5e fired Pathfinder - 5e is a lot smoother and more manageable. However from the quick playtest I did of Pathfinder 2 combat was a lot more dynamic and interesting than 5e combats which can be a bit dull - so while it's unlikely to ever be my game I'm really keen to give the final version a read and give it a quick go.


The Guvnor
Staff member
Whilst Pathfinder ... 2 combat was a lot more dynamic and interesting than 5e combats which can be a bit dull
They are, I port in a lot of 13th Age bits and bobs, not formally but informally... Rolling off means "something" to me for foes
My final analysis and judgement on Pathfinder 1st ed is that If I wasn't already so heavily invested in rules-light story games and OSR nonsense, and starting rpging all over again (i.e had another lifetime ) I'd be all over it.

In fact, I ran it for six months when I was in rented accommodation and dealing with my house extension, and just didn't have time to write the system - write the scenario - prep the game like I normally do. And it was sweet. The players where all seasoned D&D 3.5 veterans who wanted to see what all the fuss was about. So they dealt with all the crunch, while I did my usual 1st ed AD&D GMing lark (ie bring the story, paper over the cracks in the system). We had some great games and some memorable moments. I still well up when I think about the death of Buffo the Dwarfen Druid :(

I have several bricks of books, which despite gathering dust you'd have to prise from my cold dead fingers and are things of beauty. I may get a chance to play them again if my son (who is very literal and already likes fiddly crunchy video games) picks up on it.
I think Pathfinder being great for "one system" gamers, with lots of crunch and nuance, and lots of adventure paths out there as well as splat books is a really good point.

And I do keep wondering about exploring an adventure path, albeit loosely interpreted and with a lighter system.
I think Pathfinder being great for "one system" gamers, with lots of crunch and nuance, and lots of adventure paths out there as well as splat books is a really good point.

And I do keep wondering about exploring an adventure path, albeit loosely interpreted and with a lighter system.
There's a good blog here where the author talks about running a Pathfinder adventure path in HeroQuest: https://andrewjluther.com/2017/10/08/heroquest-and-dd-adventure-breakdown/


Rune Priest
I've just read through The Veggie Patch, as mentioned in the Furry RPGs thread. It's a simple game, 40 pages all-in, complete with a 2-page spread of veggie identification pictures! Quite a whimsical little game, the sort of thing you might be tempted into playing as a one-shot at a con once you've had your fill of meaty dice-rolling action-adventure.

Will the heroic Veggies manage to keep the evil Weeds and the sinister Brassica Collective out of The Patch? Will they survive a journey into The Wilds? And what is hidden inside The Big Shed?


The Guvnor
Staff member
Really enjoying reading Mordenkain's Book of Foes on D&D Beyond, which is actually @pedr copy shared via @DMGuy campaign!
Gosh that's a great resource.
Reading all about the deep racial wars in D&D is filling my head with ideas but is also familiar enough to be comforting.
All works for 13th Age as well.. or not.. since 5e can embrace the anti canonical as well as 13A
Been reading WHFRP 4e as we're about to start a campaign and I'll be running a session at StabCon South in a couple of weeks. Never did the original or 2e at the time but played in a short game of 1e a few years back that was really a bit of a failure due to the GM messing up (we killed an NPC that was vital to a later part of the campaign, oops).

It's really a bit of a mess writing wise as nothing is where you think it ought to be and explanations seem to be written in the most obtuse manner possible as evinced by the huge number of people with questions on the forums and, for example, C7 needing to put our a piece on how shields are supposed to work - never a good sign.

I suspect it's because (I heard) when Zweihander came out C7 realised they'd have to up their game and not just republish 2e and so rushed development to get it out.
I've been reading games for the James & Lloyd Read Indie RPG Blurbs So You Don't Have To podcast: The Incident is a lovely two-hander about a responsible adult and a troubled youth discussing some of their unacceptable behaviour. It's something I've had experience with and it really touched me.

I also read the free version of Die Laughing, a semi-strategic RPG that emulates a comedy-horror movie: lots of randomness and tactical decisions, and even if your PC dies, you get to carry on as a director of the movie and mess up the other characters' scenes!
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