Tag Archives: new releases

CC’s Free Pulp RPG – Peeking at Character Creation and why it’s easy to pick up

Today we’re going to give you a sneaky look at character creation for CC’s Pulp RPG.

There are a few very simple criteria about how we design things, here’s the major one; character creation must be simple and swift so as to be friendly for your new players, yet possess infinite customization with levels of depth for your more experienced players. To tackle this problem, we considered all manner of mechanics but we’ve settled on a few solid ones.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So, let’s get into it…

There are four attributes which will be familiar to players of RPGs but we’ll go into a  bit of detail here. The power level is unlike most styles of RPGs and since most pulp fiction characters are simple humans we feel the need to stress this. In Pulp RPG there are four main attributes that make up a character:

The physical attribute describes your athletic ability as a whole; shooting requires physical effort to aim and stay steady, running long distances is tiring, swimming through river rapids is difficult, and holding open a stone trapdoor requires technique and brawn – all these describe your physical attribute, sort of a doing statistic.

Intellect covers elements from academic learning, logical reasoning, to understanding sciences and engineering. Recalling ancient lore, deciphering complex codes, repairing a vehicle and understanding schematics – all these describe your intellect attribute, a sort of thinking statistic.

The charisma attribute describes your social acumen. Being heard over an argument, convincing others to help, wooing another person or calming a spooked horse. Charisma is almost always a competitive roll and acts like your characters presence in the room..

Finally, the luck attribute – which is used during the game to turn aside a poor result, avoid catastrophe or really hammer home a good shot. The luck attribute is also rolled in games sessions where pure chance can make you feel lucky, such as when determining which character is going to be targeted by an enemy. In these situations, rolling the dice of the luck attribute means the lowest score loses the contest and becomes the target of the attack.

Luck also plays another important part during the game for the little things; is that guard looking in my direction? Roll your luck dice pool and let’s see how fate decides! In this way, the excitement can be shared by the players and the games master without derailing the story or side stepping role-play.

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At character creation a player decides which of their attributes will be their characters best, good, average and poor attributes, which confer 4 dice, 3 dice, 2 dice and 1 dice respectively to their dice pools. It may sound a little restrictive but at character creation it can be very quick to decide what sort of character you wish to play and gives each character a known balance. The infinite customization comes in the next section; character skills.

Character Skills

We’re still working on the skills a character can take, but the idea is relatively simple; you choose your skills based on a broad spectrum of a life role or profession. A character has several skills depending on their Intellect attribute. Here’s an example based on a character who is a farm worker:

  • Farming Know-how – crop rotations, irrigation systems, flora and fauna knowledge.
  • Mechanics – the ability to repair or modify vehicles on the farm.
  • Animal Welfare – to care for livestock in all forms with simple veterinary skills
  • Firearms – to guard and protect the land or livestock from predators or thieves.

Its important to note that skills are not specific to any single attribute, instead they are fluid meaning that a physically weak character may be able to think their way out of the box.

Getting across a cavern is rarely a simple physical task, sometimes you have to use brains to determine the best point to jump, the right angle and speed to jump from, be warned though; if you stretch the concept too far and you risk the idea backfiring; try and suggest you can charm your way across is doomed to fail!

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That about covers today’s development blog. Over the next couple of days we’ll give you some insight into basic and competitive rollinginitiative and combat.

Stay tuned and we’ll give you some more meaty bits as the week comes to an end!

J.D. Ferris, C.C

What do these 90’s games and Cthulhu Mythos (5th Edition) have in Common?

What do DOOM, Age of Empires, Quake, Sid Meier’s Pirates, Wolfenstein 3D, West End Games’ Ghostbusters RPG, Runequest, Games Workshop and Chaosism’s Call of Cthulhu  RPG all have in common?

(Apart from being awesome with childhood memories added on top!)

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Shooting Nazis was a preteen hobby before the internet…

It’s actually a guy called Sandy Petersen.

Apparently, a god, responsible for most of my childhood dreams, nightmares and a huge inspiration to the gaming community on and off the digital board. Since 1989 Petersen is credited with nearly 20 digital games, 6 board games (including Cthulhu Wars, a 3500% over-pledge success on Kickstarter), executive producer of a single film and the legendary Call of Cthulhu RPG (1981).

Not bad for a family guy and Mormon, eh?

The guy has worked in every game industry I was aware of as a much younger nerd, Micropose (remember them!) id Software (does anyone remember Commander Keen?) and finally Ensemble Studios.

And now the guy is combining some of my favourite things (which is yet to be identified as good or bad).

Want to play Call of Cthulhu but don’t want to deviate from the mainstream D&D engine?

Sure: it’s called Cthulhu Mythos and it’s set to be a grim and gritty lovechild of Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition fantasy and Call of Cthulhu, a grand re-imagining of an older Pathfinder edition.

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And it can be yours early if you’re willing to back the new Kickstarter project.

Boasting its funding goal in less than 30 minutes, it’s currently at £59K of its £7.5K target. And there’s still 19 days to go.

It’s a little pricier than some games, coming in at approximately £38 (not including the postage) but its default format is a swish-looking hardback book.

It is meant to be 400 pages of full colour horror, which is nice but it may take away some of that black and white charm you get with older editions of Call of Cthulhu by Chaosism.

But oh ye gods! Some of the new artwork is so finely detailed you can’t help but gawp in wonder!

But here’s some of the cooler bits:

There are rules (shall we say guidelines?) which allow you to play unusual races featured in the Cthulhu setting, rules for insanity and dreaming, which will hopefully blend much better than those found in the current Dungeon Masters Guide.

You can take a look at some of the content here in their free 25-page preview (it’s a lovely PDF format) with colour and stuff.

There’s even an option for miniatures if you’re the sort of gamer willing to pay for good models of stuff.

The Kickstarter is due to ship to backers in May / June time.

Exciting? Let us know!

Why you should try Tales from the Loop…

2017 – Sweden

Are you ready to return to that (your) age of wonder?

Since 2011, Fria Liga (Free League), have released a host of interesting and unique RPGs. Their latest, Things from the Flood (TFTL) has a massive 2.79 million Krona pledged of their 100,000 Krona goal. They’re doing great!

So great, Fria Liga have won a guh’Jillion awards already. Shiny gold ones, too.

Based on the strange technology inspired artwork from Simon Stalenhag, TFTL is a retro RPG set in the “80’s that never was” complete with elements of Stranger Things, ET and perhaps even the Goonies.

After the completion of an underground particle accelerator in 1969, things start to get weird. Machines start to populate the landscape and unusual events pull you away from your family life.

You start the game playing as kids in a juvenile and private era of wonder, exploration and mystery. The secretive world of kids on the loose… are yours again.

There’s no death in TFTL – you just get too old and leave for your adult life of humdrum – but there are still dangers.

So why is it good and why should you try it?

The primary element of play-ability is that you play a child… again. Let’s say your character is 10 years old – hey you can role-play that already, you were there once! The concept is much easier to comprehend than playing a 300-year-old elven wizard in a culture you’ve never seen before!

I’m agreeing with Fria Liga; this game is newbie safe.

The adventures are more like mysteries in which the characters have to solve the enigma in a world that is only slightly different from our own. I think Stranger Things is a good way of looking at it.

Check out some of the art work:

my old volvo

And as ever, it gets better.

2018 – Things from the Flood.

So, it’s a decade later, you’re now in your teenage years and life is different. You’re growing up, changing not just in yourself but in a world that is rapidly developing. And the dark waters have risen.

Things from the Flood brings new elements of danger and “raises the stakes” to Fria Liga’s previous game.

I wonder if they’re going to go all the way into retirement?

With familiar iconic archetypes such as the outsider and the party animal (available in the Kickstarter project) you’ll not be in over your head for character concepts.

The Kickstarter is still open with just a week left to go.

Grab your copy for about £30 (not including the postage) with the extra bits for backing the Kickstarter project and seek out those mysteries!

I’m waiting eagerly to see how it goes!

TFTF book cover

Escape the Dark Castle – A game to introduce people to your hobby

It’s like a gateway drug.

You’ll want to play it with your friends, even your friends not into gaming. Then they’ll want to play it more, and before you know it, it’ll all be your fault they can’t stand the sunlight and hiss at passing cats.

2017…

Themeborne, an independent group of game developers based in Nottingham, UK, kicked off their new endeavour with the amazing Escape the Dark Castle – frankly, one the coolest games you can learn to play, and teach your newbie mates.

An elegant cooperative card game you’ll want to play / smash in the face again and again.

I’ll get to telling you why shortly, but first, let’s meet the gang.

Thomas Pike, games writer and critic; Alex Crispin, designer, illustrator and mask wearer also a musician and composer (guess that’s where the cassette tape came from); and James Shelton, co-designer with experience in film making (he did the promotional trailer).

Escape the Dark Castle (EDC) was successfully funded on Kickstarter at the end of June 2017, gaining a cool 2119 backers and smashing their £11K target with nearly £90K pledged.

What made it so good?

The game. Duh.

EDC puts you in the shoes of one of the several medieval citizens imprisoned in the Dark Castle, the cook, the smith and so on. Each character has particular strengths in one of three attributes; Might, Cunning and Wisdom.

Each character has a single special dice which they roll when the time comes and the combined rolls of all the characters determines their success or failure of certain goals in their epic escape.

You find loot, special items, magical googaws and the iconic GOLDEN AXE (which can backfire a little) which was available to Kickstarter backers and will be made available again in the upgrade box.

etDC Kit

The theme of the game is very much 1980’s fantasy – the artwork is black ink on white, reminiscent of the glorious Hero Quest days when artists couldn’t afford paints and printing technologies were not as they are now (it also explains the cassette tape bonus on the Kickstarter project, retro). The art, the concept tape and the amusing 80’s style trailer all add to that nostalgic feel – rekindling some long-forgotten childhood memories (which I embrace).

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Ahh, memories…

Here’s some tasty boasting from the Kickstarter which I can confirm, having the played the game extensively… the perfect selling points are:

  • Its super quick to setup, learn and play (you can go at your own pace though!)
  • It doesn’t exclude totally new players to the game, the genre or the hobby. The rules are that efficient.
  • It’s a totally social game – no one gets left out, most age groups can play it and enjoy it fully, and you can drink tea, eat biscuits or get smashed on looted grog.
  • It’s random each game, so you’ll never play the exact same game twice.
  • It’s actually hard. I think we win on average 25% of the time. There will always be a crux moment where you realise that the game just got much harder to do!

EDC does all of these things, and I can’t wait to play it by candle light on a stormy night in the middle of winter and feel that sweet cosiness.

And what is even better, there’s already an expansion out, Cult of the Death Knight!

Escape the Dark Castle is priced at around £30, with the expansion a pleasant £15 available on the Theme Borne website or your local retailers.

2018 AND IT GETS BETTER!

They are currently working on their latest Kickstarter which is due to ship sometime this year.

There’re 2 more expansions – Scourge of the Undead Queen and Blight of the Plague Lord.

Watch this space!

Orktober Begins! (Get Excited Ya Git!)

The time has come for every Ork player to both hold their breath in anticipation and quake in their boots a little bit at what Games Workshop is going to do with the Orks next.

The road has not been kind to us Ork players over the years: the edition before this one (Seventh) saw us having to retreat more often than not, causing your WAAAGH! to feel as anaemic white bread; coupled with the crap rules for vehicles, old kits, hardly any looted vehicles any more and stalled forgeworld releases, we haven’t been treated very well at all!

This month promises to at least let us know what we have in store for the future. Games Workshop have really turned it around in recent years: their new community site has allowed fans and newbies alike to keep in touch with the Warhammer world (and it’s associated specialist games) by giving us sneak peeks, news and hype leading up to new releases. Well, last month, to coincide with the NOVA open, GW published a post detailing the up and coming projects for this year and into the next.

https://www.warhammer-community.com/2018/08/30/breaking-previews-and-reveals-from-novagw-homepage-post-1/

And there it is; a whole section dedicated to our beloved greenskinned roustabouts, a new specialist game called Speed Freeks (owing to the focus on the Speed Freeks faction inside the Orks for the new releases). So we have some new, shiny vehicles to goggle over and add spiky bitz and more dakka to!

The game looks like GorkaMorka of old but simplified, which I don’t really mind, there are plenty of examples of complex games in the GW sphere these days. I’m sure it will be nice to have a simple and smashy good time game to whip out at the weekends.

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We also had some new rules explanations and teasers for the new Ork codex (A long time in the releasing, we haven’t had a new codex since fifth edition in 2008), giving a tantalising and juicy look into what we can expect. Namely lots and lots of Dakka for our Boyz!

So this is just the beginning. New models are already teased and I fully expect a codex release in the next few weeks. I’ll be sure to bring you all the latest for our green guyz.

Keep Krumpin Ya Zoggin Gitz!

J.A.Steadman.

Speed Freeks Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0v7QiQ9ika0