Along with thousands of other gamers, I picked up the Gamers Help Haiti bundle from DriveThruRPG. It’s an astonishingly generous offer from the hundreds of publishers involved, giving something like $1400 worth of products away for free with a $20 donation to disaster relief. It’s raised nearly $140,000 at the time of writing.
In a moment of madness, I’ve decided to review each and ever one of the products in the bundle. A few ground rules, first:
- I’m only going to skim most of the products. There’s more stuff here than I have time to read. If something catches my eye, I’ll look at it in more detail, but most products are only going to get short, off-the-cuff reviews.
- I’ll review two to five products per post.
- I’m grabbing products at random, initially. I may do themed posts later on.
- I intend to find something positive about each and every product. Well, I’ll try to do so, anyway.
So, the first to be randomly clicked on is…
eCollapse is a setting book featuring a future that didn’t explode so much as give up in disgust. But a few brave lunatics aren’t ready to surrender. Armed with illegal biotechnology, capes, and an immunity to common sense, the heroes of eCollapse battle for their beliefs, their passions, and their mordant revenges. eCollapse comes complete with its own dedicated rules system, designed to drive character conflict and pointedly raise questions of heroism and villainy. It is also fully statted for use with Wild Talents from Arc Dream publishing.
Ok, step one is get past the cover art. It’s a Greg Stolze game. Greg is gold. Ignore the cover art.
eCollapse reminds me of the old Underground game. Instead of burned-out ex-military superheroes, you’ve got street-level genetically engineered superheroes. There’s a list of a few dozen powers; you pick one. The game’s set in the near future, after the world has gone to crap. Political collapse, economic collapse, ecological collapse… there’s not much left but the shambling zombie husk of society and crazy ideological superheroes.
The big gimmick of the game (again, like Underground) is pushing your ideology to reform society. You might be pro-science, or pro-anarchy, or pro-cannibalism or whatever. My instant reaction was ‘uh-oh, you’re going to end up with six PCs with totally contradictory beliefs’, and to the book’s credit, they discuss how to find the ‘Golden Motivation’ that all the PCs can get behind.
The tone of the book reminds me strongly of Snow Crash and I suspect it would work best as a short (three-five) session game. Keep the game going beyond that, and I think most PC groups would self-destruct under the pressure of competing ideologies.
Tales of Wyn D’Mere
Welcome to the Tales of Wyn D’mere Role Playing Game!
What is the world of Wyn D’mere, one might ask? Well, it is a world somewhat like the Earth are familiar with, filled with people, animals, money, struggles, triumphs, tragedies, and beauty, but also very much unlike the world we know, more similar to a fairy tale or a dream, with magic, monsters, a pantheon of gods and goddesses who manipulate the mortal world, races and beings unbelieved in and treasures unthought of. Wyn D’mere is an amazing place for one to discover, a magical land of unknowns, both wonderful and terrible, a world where anything might happen, and sometimes does.
About 40 pages into the pdf, I had to scroll back up to find out which of the eight attributes was used for the Domestic Urban (Cleaning) skill (it’s Judgement, apparently). This game is deep in Fantasy Heartbreaker territory, and while it certainly looks to be a labour of love, it’s also stuff everyone’s seen before.
There are some nice touches. I particularly like the Dragon background – the dragons are under a curse that prevents them from reproducing normally, so they mate with humans. The resulting offspring are human for a century before maturing into full dragons. The older dragons try to eliminate potential rivals before they mature, so picking the Dragon background is basically asking the GM to make your character’s life hell for a century. Awesome.
Rise of a Legend #1
The Rise Of a Legend Adventure Series is designed to allow players of The Squared Circle Wrestling RPG to play on their own. Now not having a group to play with is no longer a problem!
The adventure series will be a monthly release that will move your character through one month of game time. The book will take the role of the Game Master for the player by using a method similar to the old Choose Your Own Adventure books.
It’s a supplement for the Squared Circle rpg, which is also in the bundle.I know next to nothing about wrestling, so me reviewing this is rather like a small squirrel reviewing the works of Spinoza.
I do like the idea of providing regular single-player support for obscure rpg games like this. I know how frustrating it can be when you’ve got a game you really want to play, but can’t find players for it. I don’t know if this uses the solo player format effectively, but it’s enthusiastic if nothing else. It may all make more sense when I read the core rulebook….