As I write this, the baseball World Series is going on here in the States and people are looking forward to the World Cup for soccer next summer as the last countries qualify. I’ve never been that into professional sports (and I imagine that I’m not alone in that among RPG enthusiasts) but they’re a great way to add some depth and color to a campaign world. In this post, I go over a few ways to do that.
Naming NPCs is one of the hardest parts of GMing. I know that when I write an adventure I can plan everything out, thinking up plots and enemies and grand castles, but when it comes up to naming people I either name them one of my favorites or a nonsense name that I’m never fully satisfied with. Best to leave it for the professionals.
I’ve been giving some thought lately to rules lite games after a friend of mine sent me the RPG he’d been working on. Anyone who’s tried to get friends interested in a game of Arkham Horror or calmly explained the family trees of Game of Thrones to their parents: these people know that it’s better to start small with some folks and then work your way up. If you’re in this position at your gaming table, here are a few products I’d heartily recommend.
I’m going to call it: we’re living through an epidemic. Since the debut of Dungeons & Dragons 5e there have been several products adding advanced technology to your campaign. In the past year we’ve gotten Ultramodern5 and Hyperlanes and the Pathfinder world has responded with last spring’s Aethera Campaign Setting, the dystopian Hypercorps 2099, and the much-hyped Starfinder that just released. It’s starting to feel crowded!
I love Mutants & Masterminds, particularly the deep setting that Green Ronin has created for the game. Without a single comic book printed, they’ve managed to create a world that feels alive and has the weight of history to it. Likewise, the various product lines by Xion Studios are impressively imaginative and perfect resources for a campaign. Wanting to keep all this stuff straight, I made a spreadsheet that you might appreciate too!
Star Trek Adventures has a lot of great material in it but no game is beyond homebrew expansion. In fact, for me the better the game the more I want to write new material for it as well. Certainly, Modiphius has plenty of supplements planned so we’ll definitely see more but if you want to make more in the meantime where do you start? Allow me to offer some suggestions…
So, I definitely have plans for Star Trek Adventures and to that end I started making up my own quick cheat sheets for the game. As is my philosophy, any resource that’s handy for one GM would be handy for others as well! Check out these two documents and let me know if they help you in your STA game. If you have improvements that you’d like to see, I’m open to those as well!
Quick Reference Guide: A cheat sheet for players and GMs to help them get a handle on the system and jumpstart their campaigns.
Attribute-Discipline Guide: Charts for players and starships that show how the core book recommends combining Attributes and Disciplines (or Systems and Departments for ships).
My son, Little Mephling, is obsessed with the Cat in the Hat. I’ve read it every night for a month despite several plans and sleights-of-hand so I’ve done a deep dive into the story for sure. Around the tenth repetition I realized there was something weird about the cat. He’s not your typical antagonist and his motives are a bit opaque, but I couldn’t put my finger quite on it.
And then it hit me. The Cat in the Hat is the devil.
One question that I have about the currently-Kickstarting Monarchies of Mau is how the game compares to Pugmire. They are the same world so you should be able to have a joint campaign with both games, but how feasible is this? How do cat characters and dog characters compare? Are they too different to be at the same table? Are they different enough that players can feel the divide? How do they cooperate in-game? Come along and we’ll figure it out together!
I’m really psyched about the new Kickstarter for Eclipse Phase Second Edition, and if you are a fan of the game you are probably psyched too. If you aren’t, though, you might want to check out Renegade Octopus’s blog for some reasons to give it a look. For my two cents, just keep reading!