[generic] What rpgs have you read recently?

I read The Watch, a PbtA game by Anna Kreider and Andrew Medeiros: I was really impressed by how the rules strongly support the fiction. For example, as freedom fighters resisting the encroachment of the darkly sorcerous Shadow, the PCs must not give in to their baser urges... so there is no 'use force against others' move, but there is a move to calm a situation down and stop a fight. If a PC insists on initiating a conflict, the MC has the option to say "Sure, you can do that... but it will give the Shadow an opening to possess you, even for a moment. Do you still do it?"

Also, there's a great mission system, somewhat reminiscent of 3:16's, but everything is reduced to a set of rolls made by the PCs performing different functions on the mission, e.g. drawing up tactics, providing a lookout and so on. The more failed rolls on this, the more fallout the players have to choose from their mission, like losing supplies or having to let important NPCs die, but the mission still succeeds. This allows the whole game to borrow a structure from classic fantasy trilogies, where you know certain things are going to happen on the way to finally overcoming the Shadow, but you don't know what prices the main characters will pay to get there, including their own lives.

There's even a nice 'weariness' system, where PCs can become battle-hardened veterans but at the expense of having seen too much and survived it, so they can retire through burn-out rather than death.
I've just finished reading the Glorantha Sourcebook. It was a fascinating read into Gloranthan myth, seeing just how deep the setting can be. And I now have a good grasp on such beings as Humakt, Orlanth, and Yelm. The thing I absolutely loved though (and this surprised me, bearing in mind how human-centric I generally like my fantasy) was the take on the trolls, dwarves, elves, and of course dragonnewts. The trolls and dwarves in particular were new to me. So, yay!

But I found it more interesting than directly useful for gaming. I can't at the moment see myself running something set in the Dragon Pass in the Gloranthan Third Age. But it will be fun should I play something Gloranthan, and as less direct inspiration, it's great. I need to emphasise again how much I enjoyed the read, and not end on a dour note.
Warhammer FRP 1st ed. I'm planning to run WFRP, but don't want to get into the 4th ed, when 1st ed is good enough already (maybe with a few fixes).
Lords of Olympus - I want to run a diceless Amber-like game, without the Amber trappings/background. I can't really get into the Grand Staircase of Lords of Gossamer & Shadow, so LoO looks like the winner.
Been reading Vampire The Masquerade 5th edition. The new Hunger mechanics look interesting, and they seem to have toned down the most munchkiny powers, and made some 'indie' stuff like relationship maps and touchstones part of the game.

However it isn't written like a newbie's introduction to the World of Darkness - they name drop people and clans and setting history like you are supposed to know who the frak they all are. And despite the background now being 'the Camarilla are in decline and the Anarchs are a major power', they dedicate tons of space to the Camarilla and next to nothing on the Anarchs.

Needless to say, and annoyingly, the Tremere still receive more love than the other clans. Namely, getting 3 more points than anyone else in character gen (a free Ritual) and having their weakness merely upgraded from the old one of "this is totally irrelevant in game play and has no game mechanic effects" to a new one of "this is highly likely to be irrelevant in most game play, and the game mechanics aren't the sort that matter in a conflict scene". Specifically they can't blood bond vampires, and ghouls have to drink their blood more times than the usual 3 to get bonded.

Good points about the new setting is that organisations like Homeland Security and MI5 know about vampires and are hunting them down and killing them all to death. That appeals to me, as I was never convinced of the World of Darkness' insistence that no government agency had ever noticed this huge conspiracy. Especially as vampire Princes only ever ruled their own little feudal patch, so the Prince of London had absolutely no way to stop YouTube videos of vampires being uploaded in Melbourne or Seattle...


I read Raven's Purge, for Fria Ligan's new Forbidden Lands RPG, this week. This is the default adventure campaign, but don't think you are getting something like The Temple of Elemental Evil or one of the other epic TSR sets. Instead, expect a pretty well written group of adventure locations which mesh together in a unique way for every GM as they will have to place artefacts and use rumours and NPCs to draw the PCs into the heart of the plot. This has more in common with GDW's Twilight's Peak for Traveller than the old epic D&D scenarios.

There's a lot to draw on here, nicely presented. That said, I think the GM will have to put some work in getting this ready (or be ready to manipulate it on the fly). There are a lot of core NPCs which can have varying motivations at varying places. I think the key to this would be to bring it in as a slow burn; ultimately, the characters may end up leading an army to attach the evil Sorceror that dominates the Forbidden Lands, but they need to grow into that.

The only concern I have is that the game is very lethal, so the chance of playing through with the same characters may be lower than you'd like. That said, this is good stuff.
Fria Ligan's Forbidden Lands, obviously.

Though with FirstAge in the role of Game Master, I had to skip the final version of the Game Master's Guide and just focus on the players' books.

Very nice retro hex crawl using Fria Ligan's award winning d6 game engine that powers Tales from the Loop but modified for magic, and a slice of tactical combat using combat maneuvers with cards.

And, yes, this is a very deadly game, with critical tables of d66 options and 65 or 66 offer instant death if triggered.

I have rolled up a coterie of characters to fill in the void of inevitable PC death (including from thirst, starvation and disease).
Warhammer FRP 1st ed. I'm planning to run WFRP, but don't want to get into the 4th ed, when 1st ed is good enough already (maybe with a few fixes).
Lords of Olympus - I want to run a diceless Amber-like game, without the Amber trappings/background. I can't really get into the Grand Staircase of Lords of Gossamer & Shadow, so LoO looks like the winner.
Warhammer Fantasy Role Play 4th Edition by Cubicle Seven pays great homage to the first and second editions with a few great upgrades along the way, especially the more fluid combat mechanics.

"WFRP4e uses the d100 percentile dice with degrees of success called Success Levels (SL). Each attack in combat is an opposed roll between the participants. If an attacker rolls on Weapon Skill and gets a success of 2SL and you compare that to the defender who succeeds as well on a 3SL then the defender has won the round and takes no damage. This type of opposed roll comparing SLs also means that even if both parties miss, damage can still be dealt and there can be a winner of each round."

Evil Gaz ran a session for us and it truly feels like an uplift to the original while retaining many tropes that made the original so great. The classic character classes remain tool from the gritty fame of the ratcatcher to the often overlooked peddler.

Many great reviews too, maybe they could change your mind for this well crafted product:

Last night I read The Spire of Quetzel for Fria Ligan's Forbidden Lands RPG. This is a homage to the OSR movement and presents four adventure locations. The title adventure, written by Patrick Stuart, has the characters entering a spire to face a Demon-Queen. The blurb claims that it is very Moorcockian, and I think that's right as I could easily imagine running this with Stormbringer. The second adventure, 'The Bright Vault', sees the characters entering a vault that imprisons demon-spawn that could threaten the world. The sibling spawn all have different needs and motivations which can be played against each other.

The third scenario, Hexenwald, has witches and necromancy, set in an area of forests and lakes not unlike the Black Forest or Russia. The NPCs all have interesting motivations and rivalries that leave plenty of opportunities for adventure. The final scenario, The Graveyard of Thunder, has the characters drawn to an adventure site where one of the last of the Thunder Lizards prepares for its death. They face orc rivals and the threats of a guardian.

I liked this collection, my favourites being 'Hexenwald' and 'The Spire of Quetzel', both of which I'd like to run. This is a short collection of good adventures that will certainly be remembered by the players.
I can answer that one! In combat, rolls are opposed and compare degrees of success (or failure). So there's a 50% chance of hitting someone of the same skill level as you, even if you've both got really poor combat skills.

The standard test difficulty level seems to give a +20% bonus for ordinary tests.

(Edit: I'm talking about Warhammer Fantasy Role Play 4e)
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Continuing my Gloranthan delving, I've just finished Dara Happa Stirs. A campaign for 2nd Age Glorantha, picked up on a whim from Patriot Games because it was heavily reduced in price. And you know what...it's absolutely brilliant. A good read, a colourful and well-explained corner of the setting, a mixture of mythic and political elements in the adventure.

So it's something I rather fancy running. I understand the 2nd Age Glorantha books do not have a great reputation, but this really draws me in. I'd also, for reasons of convenience, be most likely to use OpenQuest as the engine. But yay!