Saturday, June 17, 2017

Free RPG Day 2017: Random Encounters

So I've been checking drivethru on their EVERY DAY is FREE RPG DAY promotion and fell in love at least twice. There's some great stuff out there, but I want to highlight just a couple of items I think worthwhile for one reason or another. Here we go ... Free RPG Day!

FIRST IMPRESSION: Nice Cover, name-drops the Space Dandy ... good enough for me.

FIRST LOOK: A short one with 21 pages. The players are bounty hunters IN SPACE, the DM is actually the opposition, trying to get rid of the players. The engine is card based and uses poker chips as currency. No chips and you are out of the game ... Clean layout, no artwork, has a character sheet at the end.

VERDICT: I like it. Seems to be a fun one-shot game if all players and the DM are on the same page. Only thing I'd house rule immediately is that players need to be out of the game once the character is dead. "Need to be" because the DM wins if all players lose all their chips and the players win if the DM loses all of his chips ... so creating a new character and bringing new chips to the table might be a no-no. But it is easily enough fixed by having them work for the opposition (they get the chips they lost to play some opposing force supporting the DM, maybe?). Or something. Anyway, seems like a fun little game and you can get it FOR FREE! (PWYW)

FIRST IMPRESSION: Nomadic tribes on a landscape made out of flesh ... very weird, good enough for me.

FIRST LOOK: Evocative layout and art, very rules lite, just 8 pages long. Players are leaders of a tribe trying to survive in a very weird environment. Wizards are called "Moulders", which is quite nice. Sounds like fun, too.

VERDICT: This is a gorgeous little booklet, lovely done. If you are into rules lite systems, this works as-is, but it's easily enough used as a setting book for anything you want to use. Very much worth checking out, imo. And you can get it for free, of course! (PWYW)

FIRST IMPRESSION: I liked title and cover, actually reminded me of Wall-E for some reason before I read a word about it ... good enough for me.

FIRST LOOK: The first surprise is that this is a big one. A completely fleshed out rpg running 150 pages. The premise is interesting, too. Humanity is gone and left all kinds of service robots behind. Players play those robots and explore the apocalyptic wastelands for a number of reasons (purpose, spare parts, energy) ... yeah, that's Wall-E alright.

But it's also so much more. Spielberg's horror movie A.I. is in there (that movie is so cruel ...), some Philip K. Dick, a bit Star Wars, the Hitchhiker's Guide, lots and lots of sources can fuel a setting like this. The system seems a bit inspired by White Wolf's d10-system, which I like quite a lot, so that's a plus. It also has lots of moving parts, random creation of ruins, sample characters and lots of scenarios. Good advice, too.

VERDICT: This is the full package! I love it and I want it in dead tree format. I'm really happy I stumbled across this game. Concept, layout, game design, all top notch and it sounds like a fun game. Definitely something I'd like to DM. And it is FREE! (maybe just for the Free RPG Day promotion, so you might want to get into that action ...)

FIRST IMPRESSION: Liked the cover, name-drops DieselPunk ... you guessed it.

FIRST LOOK: A complete game, 210 pages strong. Chapters are hyperlinked, which is a nice touch. Artwork is public domain or free and all over the place. The whole thing has a strong DIY-vibe and is full with ideas and concepts. Took me a while to realize that the first half is a rather generic system you can use for everything and the second half is where it gets into DieselPunk as one possible scenario. The writing is excellent if you like funny and the system seems to be very light.

VERDICT: I'm not sure I'll ever get to DM it, but it's one hell of a good read and I'd definitely play a character in that system. While my first impression had been less favorable, it grew on me while I read parts here and there and I got to say, if this is a hobby effort, it's quite impressive. Good show and, of course, FREE! (PWYW)

FIRST IMPRESSION: I had read good things about this game, remembered it ... and here we are.

FIRST LOOK: 77 pages, professional layout and artwork, there is a epub-version with the download. Very rules lite and kid friendly, as you'd maybe expect from a game like this. It goes after a short introduction directly into character creation, which I think is a mistake (it should give at least a basic concept of what the game is about and how it works before going into detail, me thinks). On the other hand, it's all atmosphere and setting. I respect that.

VERDICT: Lots of flavor and lots of OZ to get here. The system is "roll under" which is something like personal Kryptonite for me (I just can't roll that way ... early conditioning or whatever, sorry GURPS), but that's changed easy enough (it's really a very light system). It's as much usable for something of an "adult" campaign as you'd expect from a game like that: not at all. This is a game you play with children, maybe after you've read the books with them to let them explore OZ themselves. But that's not a bad thing. On the contrary, I think it might be a great way to get young ones into the hobby. Highly recommended if you can find use for it, even just as a setting book. And it is [drum roll] FREE! (PWYW)

Honorable Mentions

The Maze Of Memory (fun little OSR-rpg with a great premise ... free for the weekend, I think)

Wolf-packs and Winter Snow (primeval LotFP clone, could go well with Fleshscape above ...)

Motobushido (card-based rpg about motorbike-riding Samurai in a post-apocalyptic world ... great fun)

SLÜGS! (LotFP last years entry for Free RPG Day ... a great read from cover to cover)

And that's that. I know there is lots and lots more like it. If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments for others (and me!) to check out. I know I fell in love with Engine Heart. What a great little game, definitely recommended! So happy :)

Also, I have a little PWYW module out there in the wild: Monkey Business! So maybe you want to check it out while you are over there looting (if you haven't already).

I wanted to end this with something like "Now go and hunt for those magical Vaginas!", but thought better of it ... Have fun gaming and sharing the love, folks!