Three Roleplaying Games to Check Out
As we zero in on the Weekend this Friday, today is the day that I was thinking about a spotlight. What product, Kickstarter or thing could I shine a light on for Exiled News. I was having a conversation with a friend about various roleplaying games, and she suggested that I talk about three of them that I have been having fun with over the last few years.
So here it is all, three RPGs that I recommend you check out.
Brought to you by Pelgrane Press and created with the combined talents of Jonathan Tweet and Rob Heinsoo, 13th Age is a different, lighter take on D&D mechanics. An OGL system which borrows ideas from 4th Edition, but pushes the whole thing in a different direction. There’s an emphasis on Theatre of the Mind combat, unique character builds, and levelling up through story rather than the accumulation of experience points in monster-soaked battles.
You can still have those battles, it’s just that milestones will be your primary way to gain levels as the GM tells their story.
13th Age also brings to the table the concept of One Unique Thing. A truly unique trait of the character, which cannot be used in combat, but sets them apart from the rest of the world. A good example would be rather than ‘Works for the City Guard’ – ‘I am the guard who solved the famous arsonist case of Whitestone Brewery.’
Shadow of the Demon Lord
Robert J Schwalb needs no real introduction, and stands as a top-tier game designer in the field of RPGs. Rob has been in the industry a long time, contributed to the likes of Warhammer Fantasy RP and worked on various incarnations of D&D. He runs Schwalb Entertainment and created the fantastic, creepy, dark, and vicious grim fantasy RPG – Shadow of the Demon Lord. Rob’s RPG takes the things he loves about Warhammer and D&D and crafts a d20 based system which throws modifier tables, and skill lists out. You get a fast, fun, easy to learn system that works of one roll of a d20, plus a mod based on the attribute, and the concept of Boons and Banes.
Boons and Banes are D6s that you roll, they either add or subtract from the roll to change the outcome of the target number. Boones and Banes cancel each other out 1 to 1.
A Boon could be as simple as knowledge of a former criminal’s activities when using a roll to track them down, which would give you a D6 to roll and add to your actual roll. A Bane could be that you’re not well liked by the criminal’s associates after previous dealings with them. In which case they’d cancel and you’d get the straight roll.
If you had done them a favor in the story, you might have 2 Boons. In which case you roll 2D6 and pick the best.
SotDL also features no XP levelling, a career path-based system, and a flexible magic system as well. Rob has also produced a lot of books for the system which are worth diving into.
If you want something that’s a bit different, and not the 80’s grunge-tech future created by the likes of William Gibson, or the grandfather of RPG cyberpunk, Mike Pondsmith (Cyberpunk 2013, 2020, Cyberpunk RED) then you can’t go far wrong with the D&D 5th Edition based: Carbon 2185. The brain-child of Robert Marriner Dodds of Dragon Turtle Games, and set in the distant future, Carbon is a cyberpunk roleplaying game with its eye firmly fixed on the future. The world of Carbon allows for a speculative science fiction take, with an emphasis on a more modern take on tech, as well as the genre itself. Using D&D’s 5th Edition ruleset, changed, and slimmed down – Robert (All the best RPG designers are Rob’s) has taken a fun approach to the system to allow for more roleplaying and action at the table. Carbon 2185 also has a great timeline, and more than a few nods to Cowboy BeBop in there. If you look at Carbon’s currency, which is Wonlong you might get an idea Rob is a bit of a fan of that too.
Carbon is a cyberpunk RPG with its finger on the pulse of modern tech, but also the trigger of clever design. It has a passionate fanbase, and if you read this and want to talk to Robert – he will be at Dragonmeet tomorrow in London according to some of his posts.
Carbon also vowed to put the punk back into cyberpunk, and released a combined cities book with London as one of the cities. Definitely one to keep an eye on if you want more sci-fi in your cyberpunk!