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Sunday, July 05, 2015

Study Into Convention Attendee Statistics


An email about Eventbrite's study of convention attendees showed up in my inbox the other day. The statistics are interesting, I think:
Gender and the Single's Scene
The demographics of fandom convention attendees are now trending equally male and female. In Eventbrite's survey of the fan community, respondents were 48.9% female, 48.7% male, and 2.4% non-binary/other. Although the split is close to 50-50 male-female for attendees, the survey found differences in male and female attendee's interests. Women reported they were most interested in comic and genre-based media (59%), while men said they were most interested in comics/graphic novels (64%).
Looking at the single's scene, 50% of romantically available attendees are men, while 47% are women. Additionally, the survey found that single men are more likely to go to a fan event alone (29%) than single women (18%).
Any emphasis in the quotes is mine. Yes, the conventions that they did these studies at appear to just be comic-related, but from attendance at Gen Con and other conventions, that my observations hold these statistics across the board. Gaming conventions may not be as close in these numbers, but they really seem to be getting there.
Con Attendees Spend Big
The majority of survey respondents (59%) said they spend between $100 and $500 at fan events they attend, not including basic costs such as tickets, food and parking. Overall, the most popular purchases that fans "always or usually" buy at conventions across all groups surveyed are original art and prints (37%), toys, figures and collectable (28%), fashion merchandise and t-shirts, and collectible comics and graphic novels (both at 27%). And, despite anecdotal reports to the contrary, only around 20% of people reported that they regularly purchase celebrity autographs at conventions. With nearly 38% reporting they "never buy" these items, they ranked among the least popular purchases according to the survey data.
Survey findings also revealed that 10% of con-goers reach into their wallets and shell out $500 or more at fan events over and above logistical costs and more men than women (66% vs. 33%) spend $500 or more at fan events.
Cosplayers Pay to Play
Serious cosplayers are repeat attendees; 64% of them attend three or more fan events per year and 27% attend five or more fan events per year. When they attend, seven in ten will spend $100 or more at the event. Age and gender are also factors; the majority of cosplayers (60%) are between the ages of 23 and 39 and female (65%).
Primary fan interests for cosplayers are unique to that group as well. The top three interests reported by cosplayers were anime/manga (29%), comic and genre-based media/entertainment (21%), and science fiction and/or fantasy (18%).
It is fashionable for other "fandoms" to bash cosplayers, but I think that one thing that gamers and genre fans need to understand is that cosplayers have always been a part of the fandom. If you go back to some of the photos from conventions as far back as the 50s and 60s you'll find a lot of people cosplaying their favorite characters.

We really need to get over this and realize that the thing that all of us wanted has happened: geekery has mainstream appeal and greater numbers of people want to be involved in these fandoms. We need to remember that there aren't rules to being a "true" or "proper" fan of something. You just are a fan.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Zak Smith's A Red & Pleasant Land


Gaming needs to be weird.

We have enough derivative, sanitized content for our games. The family friendly, all-ages part is covered. We need more singular visions and high concepts, and less creation by committee. This is where Zak Smith's A Red & Pleasant Land comes in.

On the surface this supplement for your D&Desque game of your choice is Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures In Wonderland meets Bram Stoker's Dracula, where they get into a sort of first fight, but the complexity in this book is much more than that. There are vampires, and there are weird creatures from beyond the Looking Glass, but there is much more to this book than a rehash of Dungeonland or Ravenloft.

Our group just came off of a six month campaign using this book as one of the inspirations for our game. Instead of D&D or a retroclone, however, we used the classic Marvel Super-Heroes game that TSR put out in the 80s. One of the central conceits of A Red & Pleasant Land (RPL) is that there is a "slow war" going on between vampiric factions in what may, or may not, have once been Wonderland. I interpreted that in our game as the vampires being sort of "unstuck from time," and not experiencing it in the same way that others (in our case the player characters) experienced it. In fact each powerful vampire that they encountered experienced time differently from the others.


Good RPG supplements/adventures are toolkits, whether they are intended to be or not. You should be able to slice and dice a well done RPG supplement and repurpose it to do what you want. RPL passes that test with flying colors. In fact, for many people it is probably for the best that they do dig into the book and make the pieces fit with the sort of games that they run, and the sort of world that they want to create. There is a lot of weirdness in this book, and it isn't all in easy to digest chunks. Smith assumes that there will be some level of remixing done by a GM and presents his material in such a way to make changing the text accessible. He may not make it easy, but he does provide the tools.

Much like in his more explicitly toolbox book Vornheim, RPL has a lot of random tables that allows for the quick creation of random content on the fly. Since players are notorious for zigging when they should zag, it is good to have some back up that allows you to create things as you go. The Alice character's player in our game got extensive use out of the Random Objects table, when she decided that the Alice would be able to randomly pull things from the pocket of her pinafore apron. It is tools like this that makes a GM's job so much easier at times.

In the book Smith gives you all of the pieces that you need to run the "slow war" of the setting. You have all of the important, powerful NPCs and their various "warring" factions. It is easy to take all of these pieces and repurpose them for the game at hand. Don't want to set your game in a loose, fantasy Eastern Europe? Take all of the factions and drop them into a 1970s New York City instead. Use the Pale King and the Colorless Queen as the overlays for famous people of the era and have them play out their strange, involved intrigues against the backdrop of the 70s nightclub scene instead.

Now, if you're playing a D&D game you really don't have to worry about how you're going to fit the pieces of the book into the puzzle of your game, at least not as dramatically as we did for ours. All of the monsters will fit fairly easily into a campaign, and many of them aren't all that much stranger than a lot of the creatures that you would see in the early days of RPGs.

One of the absolutely biggest selling points for me is the Alice class that I mentioned earlier. It is sort of like a Fighter, and sort of like a Thief (Specialist if you play Lamentations of the Flame Princess), with the wit and mercurial nature of Carroll's signature character rolled into the writeup. I like the random special abilities that the character receives at leveling up, because it fits well into the conceit of Carroll's Alice. And, really, are there many other characters who are as ready for the strangeness of a fantasy RPG campaign as Alice?


A Red & Pleasant Land is as much a mimetic weapon pointed at your campaign, infecting it with rogue ideas and strange, impure thoughts, as it is a game supplement. Putting this setting into your game will change it into something that you may not recognize, and that is a good thing. Instead of the stale old dungeon crawls, explore the castles that can jump and shift when your characters are turned around. Where up can be turned into down without you realizing it. If you want a more "social" campaign in your game, there are the factions of the Red King, The Red Queen, The Colorless Queen and all of their servants and creatures aligned, and unaligned, to explore and interact with. The social structures are given as many rules and details as are the monsters that you can fight in the game.

Definitely check out this book and bring it into your games, either in part or in whole. I think that you are going to like the variety that it brings to your game. A Red & Pleasant Land is one of the best books to hit gaming this year, and it is probably one of the best books for gaming in a very long time. Side by side with Smith's earlier Vornheim and his "redo" of James Raggi's DeathFrost Doom you can get a world of gaming that is outside of the ordinary.

Also, be sure to check it out when voting time for the 2015 ENnies happens.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Help Send Annah And Rey To Gen Con


As anyone who has ever gone to Gen Con, or really any major convention, can tell you it isn't cheap. Travel is expensive. Accommodations are expensive. Food is expensive (we all have to eat). So, +Annah Madriñan and +Reynaldo Madriñan are having a fundraiser to help defray some of the expenses of their trip to Gen Con.

Once, a long time ago now, I put up my first ever guest post on the blog, a post about the Maid RPG from a woman who I met through G+ and had some cool things to say about gaming. That woman was Annah. I'm proud to say that I knew her before she was cool (not that she wasn't really cool then).

+Kiel Chenier of the Dungeons & Donuts blog asked for a little bit of a signal boost to help with this fundraising:
Friend of the blog Annah Madriñan is raising money so she and her husband, Reynaldo Madriñan, can afford to go to GenCon 2015! Annah is one of the official ENNIES judges and has been doing great work as one of their few female judges. 
Please consider donating a few dollars to her GenCon fund. Annah is an important voice for women in tabletop gaming, and Reynaldo is one of the masterminds behind BREAK!!
Donate $1 or more and you’ll be sent Von Bottom’s Hoard, a system agnostic adventure PDF we all collaborated on!
You can check out Kiel's full post with details here.

(Full disclosure: I run my own fundraising campaign for Gen Con, to be found at the right. It is expensive for everyone.)


The adventure is pretty cool, and anyone interested in a short, whimsical dungeon crawl type of adventure with anime tropes will enjoy Von Bottom's Hoard. Styled for the concepts of D&D, there really aren't much in the way of mechanics to this adventure, letting you use it under any system. If, for some reason, you don't want to help these people for the contributions that they've given to gaming through their blogging and their social media posting, then do it for the adventure. Von Bottom's Horde makes for an enjoyable night of adventuring that would be fun for the whole family.

Click the blog link above and get the information to support these guys now. Hit the Trouble Alert, call all the Teen Titans and move like you've never moved before.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Cypher System Rulebook From Monte Cook Games


The Cypher System Rulebook is coming from Monte Cook Games (or conversely it might have already arrived by the time that you are reading this). With the Cypher System Rulebook, Monte Cook and company have taken the rules that debuted in their highly successful Numenera RPG, and were further refined in the collaboration between Cook and fellow designer Bruce Cordell in The Strange RPG.

Featuring a streamlined "class" based system for character creation, and simple rules that allow for quick and easy play, the Cypher System rules hit a lot of sweet spots for me. Where Numenera was one of my Must Have games last year at Gen Con, the Cypher System Rulebook will be one of the top games of 2015. Hyperbole? Maybe, but I can count on one hand anymore the number of new games out there that make me want to play them just by reading the rules and the Cypher System Rulebook is one of those games. Is it going to revolutionize gaming? No, probably not, but if it motivates others to want to play it in the way that it does me it is going to build one hell of a following.

Character creation is relatively quick and class-based. The quickness comes in that you get a lot of the basics from the class (called character type in the rules), which you then customize to make the character that you want. Special abilities are given to a character at each tier of progression (think character level) which allow you to fine tune the concept of your character and customize them as their story progresses. Unlike a lot of class and level-based RPGs, however, progressing through the tiers isn't going to mean that your character is going to change a great deal during play, but instead moves along the path of their story, allowing it to change them. Cypher System characters are not zero to hero types, starting as fairly proficient characters and becoming moreso as they go.


There is some of the DNA of the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons to be found in the Cypher System, which makes sense since Cook was one of the main architects of that game. I see these rules as a progression of those, changing as the designer's tastes and interests in gaming change over time. Knowing that Cook had been one of the designers of the fifth edition of D&D, along with The Strange RPG co-creator Cordell, it makes me wonder who much of this system could have been the game that we could have gotten if Cook and Wizards of the Coast had not parted ways? I will say this, if some version of these rules had powered D&D 5e, I would probably still be playing that game now.

Old school players and game masters will find this game an interesting one. Like with the D&D 5e rules, there is a current of influence of the older D&D editions that run through the Cypher System Rulebook. The simplified approach to play, and the ease of character creation, show this influence and the underlying rules for Cyphers in the game hark back to a lot of the handling of magic items and treasure in older editions of D&D. Like in older editions, the stats of characters are relatively unchanging, and not directly linked to play, which leaves transient Cyphers to influence and inspire your character to great heights beyond what the character sheet might tell you during play. Like the potions or belts of power of old, Cyphers help to describe the world that you are playing in and also give edges to the characters during play.

Stats are interesting because, while they can show how strong or quick that a character may be, they don't directly impact play. Unlike the more recent editions of D&D, the stats do not directly modify your rolls they instead provide a pool of points that can be spent to give your character situational benefits, or sometimes help to power special abilities. This abstraction is definitely a feature for me, but I can see where it might bother others. In this approach to stats, the abstraction helps to enforce the cinematic nature of characters and play in a way that makes better sense to me than with some other systems out there.

While character types are fairly generic, which is the point since this is a generic game, you can customize characters for genre or setting through Flavors and Descriptors. Flavors are optional rules, they are basically a separate set of tier-based special abilities that can be swapped for abilities in your character's type that makes them more unique and flavorful. For instance you can apply the Combat Flavor to your Speaker (the charisma-based character type) to make a character that is like a battle-oriented bard. You can add the Magic Flavor to your Explorer to make a street-savvy occult investigator for your game. The idea behind flavors is that they open up the possibilities for your characters, making them more of a part of the world which they are exploring and less a generic "cipher." Flavors are also where GM customization comes in. You can create Flavors that are specific to the game's world.

Descriptors are character traits, terms that help describe your character and can give them some additional special abilities. Think of them almost like a feat in the recent D&D editions, but you only take this once, during character creation.


Other than the special ability choices that come with progressing to each tier, there really aren't a lot of choices to make for a Cypher System character. While you pick a couple of new ones from the list of tier abilities each time your character "levels up," that is it. There are no exploding lists of feats or combat options to bog down character creation, or advancement, or to give players a fatigue of choices. Many of these options, like Flavors, don't have to be used...cutting down on the number of choices that are made at each level. Regardless, you still end up with robust and unique characters at each tier of play, and it is still easy enough to customize characters that a group can have two warriors and they look different from each other in substantive ways.

One thing that might trip up some groups is the fact that players make all of the rolls in a Cypher System game. Players make attack rolls when attacking some monster and players make defense rolls when they are in turn attacked. Yes, you probably could change this, but the way that the system is set up makes doing all of this simple enough that it really shouldn't slow down play.

The lack of GM-oriented rolls are made up for by what the Cypher System calls "GM Intrusions." GM intrusions are where the GM can inject excitement into a game. A character accidentally drops their weapon. A monster is where they aren't supposed to be. Something goes wrong and now the characters have to do something about it. Some might see this as making a rule out of the GM "being a dick," but at its heart it is an abstraction of things like wandering monster tables from the older editions of D&D that could bring sudden action, that the players or characters might not really like, into the game. It can be a pacing mechanism to speed up or slow down play, to punctuation quiet with a bit of excitement or terror for the characters.

The GM intrusion is also one of the methods for giving XP in the game. When the GM makes an intrusion on a character, they are offered 2 XP for that. That player must then turn around and give one of those XP to another player at the table. You can give that XP as a reward for being particularly entertaining during the session, or because their character helped yours out when they needed it.

What differentiates a GM intrusion from something like a wandering monster table is that the player can choose to opt out of an intrusion by paying the GM one of their XP instead. This is a compelling sounding mechanic that might be familiar to some gamers.

The Cypher System Rulebook is rounded out with a selection of creatures for various genres. GMs could also fairly easily adapt creatures from Numenera or The Strange to their games as well. There are also explanations of various popular role-playing genres, and how a GM can customize the rules to be used in those genres. At over 400 pages, this isn't a small book by any stretch of the imagination, but it gives you everything that you need for play. This is not a basic game, or the expert rules. This is a self-contained game.

These rules are built upon a solid foundation of the great rules found in Numenera, and then expanded through The Strange and countless hours of play by the designers and fans. The Cypher System Rulebook does not invalidate those earlier games, but builds upon them. There are options, like Flavors, that can be folded back into the rules of the earlier games as well, expanding your options for those games. The Cypher System Rulebook is a great game and if you haven't already tried one of the other versions of the game, you should definitely check this one out. This game will be good for those who may already have a setting in mind, and just want a set of rules that allow them to play in that world. The Cypher System Rulebook is that set of rules. Check it out and see for yourself.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Mythoard! Mythoard! Mythoard!


It takes a little more than saying its name three time to get a Mythoard subscription box, but if you're a tabletop gamer it is something that you should look into. The June box goes out in a matter of hours from this post, so if you want to get in on the goodness, now would be the time to do so.

I admit that I have been sitting on talking about the April and May boxes for a bit, but I will say that I've followed Mythoard and gotten most of the boxes since its January launch. I love the idea of an inexpensive and diverse "box" of gaming related stuff. If I had a complaint, it would be that there is too much of a reliance on "old school" materials for the boxes. The material is great, don't get me wrong, but it will limit the growth of the service.

Just as an aside, if you are a publisher and you would like to get your stuff into the hands of Mythoard subscribers, you should go to the site's contact page for more information. There is a lot of options available in gaming, and inside of the various "sides" of tabletop players sniping at each other we really should look to more cross-pollination and looking at each other's games. There is a lot of interesting stuff to be found in gaming these days, regardless of what style or approach you have to gaming.

Anyway...


The April box had some interesting stuff to it, including a Dungeon World adventure, and an adventure for Pathfinder. Lichfield looks like an interesting adventure, certainly a bit darker than a lot of published adventures...but I am a big fan of dark fantasy, so this is a selling point for me. I also love the Mike Mignola-styled art throughout the adventure. Good stuff. Don't play Dragon World? It shouldn't be too difficult to figure out a conversion to your favorite fantasy RPG. You know how in the older editions of D&D your character would reach a point in their career where they would build/take a stronghold, or their class' equivalent? Well, the idea of For Rent, Lease or Conquest is build around that idea. Built for 7th level Pathfinder adventurers, this module takes an irreverent look at that idea...and how things can go terribly wrong with it.

Lichfield was also an exclusive item for the April box.

The box is then rounded out with an issue of the the Oubliette zine. Inside you'll find some interesting new spells, magic items and monsters for your fantasy games. They're written for Labyrinth Lord, but easily applicable to your favorite fantasy RPG.

The weak spot of the April box would be the old Judges Guild reproductions. Not that these are bad reproductions, or bad adventures, but both of them are for the long out of print Dragonquest RPG. Why is this bad? Well, at least with the explosion of early edition D&D clones, old material from the early editions of those games can find some use. Not so much with Dragonquest, which has no such clones available. I will admit that I was never a fan of the game, even though I still have my mouldering copy put away with my gaming stuff. I think


The May Mythoard box was interesting, and only one ruleset away from having everything that you need to get a roleplaying game going. This box included a set of very pretty Chessex dice (the second that Mythoard has done). Some people swear by Gamescience (and I have a couple of sets of dice by them, too) but for my money Chessex makes some of the besst, and easiest to read, dice on the market. It is really hard to beat Chessex dice.

The White Box Omnibus by James Spahn's Barrel Rider Games is a nice expansion of Matt Finch's basic Swords & Wizardry White Box rules (linked in PDF form in the paragraph above, if you don't already have a copy of the game). This was a distillation of the earliest version of the D&D game, before Thieves were characters and when all hit dice were d6s. I've played this version of the game, in fact I used White Box to introduce a friend to gaming, but in the long term its appeal for me starts to wear thin. I prefer weapons having a range of damage dice, and the classes having different hit dice. I also think that it isn't D&D without a Thief, but that's just me. Regardless, Spahn has put together an interesting selection of new classes, magic items and creatures for White Box that can be easily adapted to your preferred "old school" rules. There are also a couple of adventures and an overview of a setting that can be used to get your campaign going. Both of which are very important for the harried GM without a lot of time.

I will say that I love the Judges Guild reproductions, even the ones for Dragonquest in the previous box, because they provide us with a snapshot of what people were doing in gaming back in the early days, rather than the supposition and speculation that we get from a lot of blogs. The Dungeoneer reproduction issue gives us a peak into what early gamers were thinking, much like reading old issues of Dragon or White Dwarf. For people interesting in getting a real perspective onto the early years of gaming, this is an invaluable resource. Plus! The Dungeoneer has a vampire class that is useable with OD&D or your favorite retroclone. How cool is that?

The rest of the box is rounded out by a one page adventure and some various GMing aids. The Quest Essentials Doors deck from MillieModels is interesting because it gives you some images of various kinds of doors and traps that could be encountered in the dungeon by adventurers and stats them out (for the Pathfinder RPG, but as always, easy enough to convert to your favorite fantasy game).

So here we have it, the April and May boxes from Mythoard. Both have their pros and cons, but both have materials in them that could be of use to gamers and their games. Like I said earlier, I would like to see more publishers support this undertaking with a greater variety of gaming options. Diversity is always a good thing. I recommend that all publishers who read this check out the Mythoard contact information, and find something, print or electronic, that can be used to support this fine service.

Oh, and if you aren't a subscriber yet...you need to check out Mythoard now.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Sale of Cthulhu (And Other Fine Chaosium Consumables)


It turns out that Chaosium has a warehouse that is overfilled with books and stuff. To fix this they are having a huge sale that can only benefit you, the gamer. They're getting rid of a lot of their old remaining Eternal Champion stock, among other things.

Forgive all the caps, its copypasta.
THE STARS ARE RIGHT… FOR A BLOW-OUT SALE!
WE’RE HERE TO SELL GAMES, AND CHEW BUBBLEGUM. AND WE’RE ALL OUT OF BUBBLEGUM.
OVER THE YEARS, OUR WAREHOUSE HAS BECOME STUFFED FULL OF MORE CTHULHUY GOODNESS THAN THE MARTENSE MANSION. WE’RE BURSTING AT THE SEAMS AND NEED TO MAKE ROOM FOR THE NEW THINGS COMING IN!
WE’VE DECIDED TO BLOW THE DOORS OFF CTHULHU’S TOMB, AND CLOSE OUT ALL THE “NON-STANDARD” ITEMS IN OUR WAREHOUSE.
SO NOW’S YOUR CHANCE TO GET DEEP DISCOUNTS ON MONOGRAPHS, FANTASY FLIGHT GAMES’ CTHULHU GAMES, NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE EDITIONS OF OUR GAMES, CDS, MAGAZINES, THE LAUNDRY RPG, MINIATURES AND MUCH MORE!
THUS, WE HAVE 50% OFF THE FOLLOWING: ALL BRP AND CALL OF CTHULHU MONOGRAPHS! NOVELTIES & ACCESSORIES! ALL LICENSED CALL OF CTHULHU PRODUCTS, INCLUDING FANTASY FLIGHT GAMES BOARDGAMES AND MINIATURES, CUBICLE 7 BOOKS, GOLDEN GOBLIN, ARC DREAMS, AND MORE! ALL NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE BOOKS! NEPHILIM!  (THESE BOOKS WILL NOT BE REPRINTED OR REORDERED ONCE THEY’RE GONE!)
ALSO, WE HAVE 75% OFF ALL THE REMAINING STOCK OF ETERNAL CHAMPION GAMES AND D20 CALL OF CTHULHU GAMEMASTER’S PACKS! (LAST CHANCE!)
PLUS, LOOK FOR SPECIAL BUNDLE PACKS OF ETERNAL CHAMPION AND NEPHILIM BOOKS!
LASTLY, AS AN ADDED INCENTIVE, TAKE 10% OFF EVERYTHING ELSE WE SELL. JUST BECAUSE WE LOVE YOU SO MUCH.
IA! IA! DISCOUNTS FHTAGN!
Read that carefully because the discounts aren't listed (but will be applied in your shopping cart). There is a lot of really good gaming stuff there, so don't miss out.

Chris Gonnerman's Iron Falcon RPG

+Chris Gonnerman is a machine. I think that when Skynet takes over the world he will finally be revealed as the game design arm of the Terminators.

I mean this in a really good way.

Gonnerman's Basic Fantasy RPG, a retroclone (with a few liberties) of the old school D&D B/X rules, is one of the best of the best of the retroclone crowd. It is clear and concise, and in some places it is actually better written than the original material. With Basic Fantasy, Gonnerman has created a functional and playable game that both honors the past and takes it into new directions.

Now, I know that I am a little behind on talking about this new game of his, Iron Falcon, but I'll admit that is because there have been a lot of games for me to read and comment upon over the last few months. Also, I figured that since Iron Falcon is a clone of the original D&D rules that I wouldn't need it because I already had Swords & Wizardry in my toolkit that I wouldn't need another game that covers the same material. Guess what? I was wrong.

Once again Gonnerman knocks a game out of the ballpark. Unlike with Basic Fantasy, where Gonnerman wanted to recreate a version of the game that he was introduced to and prefers to play, Iron Falcon started more as an intellectual exercise. With the existence of Swords & Wizardry, it didn't seem like he felt there was as much of a need for another game that covers this material...however that didn't stop him and boy howdy am I glad that it didn't.

Don't get me wrong, I love Swords & Wizardry. It has been my go-to fantasy game for a few years now (since our online group started up our first game with it), but there are flaws with it. The organization of the book isn't the best. It can be difficult (even after playing for a while) to find certain important tables during play. Iron Falcon doesn't suffer from these issues. One of the halmarks of a Gonnerman game is excellent organization, and with Iron Falcon he does not disappoint on that front.

From a rules perspective, there really isn't a lot of difference between Iron Falcon and Swords & Wizardry. The main difference seems to be that Iron Falcon uses the traditional system of saving throws, rather than Swords & Wizardry's streamlined approach. This is probably more a matter of taste, but I find myself liking the return to the traditional saves more than I thought that I would.

Iron Falcon probably has more magical items than Swords & Wizardry, but for me that is a bonus. I love having magic items in my games more than I like having actual spellcasters. I'm weird that way.

The writing in Iron Falcon is some of the best among those retrocloning old school rules sets. Just like with Basic Fantasy, the writing in Iron Falcon is clear and concise. He goes the extra bit to try to explain confusing and awkward rules, and that makes these rules a solid foundation upon which to build your campaign. There isn't anything new or groundbreaking to be found in these rules, but that's really not the point of them either.

If I had a complaint about Iron Falcon it would be that (unlike the bulk of the Basic Fantasy library) there isn't an editable version of the rules available. Why you gotta hate on those of use who like our house rules, Gonnerman? The lack of this wouldn't keep me from running the game, but if there is a feature request list out there, I would like to put an editable version of the rules onto that list. Hopefully the devoted and prolific community that has gathered around Basic Fantasy will start creating material for this new game as well. I know that I am tempted to do so.

If you're looking for a simple, streamlined fantasy game that gives you everything that you need to play in one source, you should look more closely at Iron Falcon. It may be that I just reach for it the next time I want to run a fantasy game instead of running another game of Swords & Wizardry.

Further Rumor And Speculation About Chaosium Games


Sandy Petersen, of Call of Cthulhu and Cthulhu Wars fame, game an interview to the owner of Yog-Sothoth.com the other day about the changes going on at Chaosium.



It is an interesting interview, I suggest giving it a listen. Some of it lines up with my own blatant and baseless speculation about some of the classic Chaosium lines like Pendragon and Runequest at least being distributed through Chaosium once again. I know that the rights to Runequest and Glorantha have been assigned over to Moon Design (who in turn has been licensing the Runequest name to the Design Mechanism people. But while Runequest is under and excellent stewardship with Design Mechanism, they don't seem to have gotten the penetration into the American marketplace that the game had once upon a time. Would Chaosium distributing Runequest get the game the attention that it once had? Maybe. I think that a lot of the lack of luster that Runequest has had of late is lingering from the Mongoose era. It seems that the once mighty RPG is having difficulty in recovering from the "control" of Mongoose.

This is all still rumor, of course, but I think that it could help not only Chaosium, but the individual game lines as well. Gamers could see the reunion of these lines and their original publisher as the return of a dream team, and it would give a spark to everything. There really is no lose in this situation.

With the resurgence of interest and popularity of "old school" games, there is a lot that Chaosium could do to ride on that wave again. Even a publisher like Flying Buffalo has produced "facsimile editions" of their early editions of Tunnels & Trolls and Monsters! Monsters! for new audiences. Chaosium already publishes Runequest 3e in everything but name with their Basic Fantasy monographs: Basic Gamemaster, Basic Creatures and The Magic Book (unfortunately it doesn't look like the Player's Book is offered through DriveThru/RPGnow). The Magic Book also makes a nice supplement for Magic World and the BRP gold book as well.

Doing a Runequest 2e "facsimile" would probably make for a lot of very happy gamers. I know that I would personally love a copy.

Now, with further rumor-mongoring...

I have heard that there is renewed interest as well in Greg Stafford's other Arthurian role-playing game. For those who may not know, Chaosium once produced a licensed RPG based on the Prince Valiant comic strip, using another stripped down variant of the BRP system (closer to the rules of Pendragon than Runequest, but still built from the same foundations). Obviously they couldn't bring this back as Prince Valiant, but the system is really (I mean really) good for that sort of low/no magic style of fantasy play and would make for a great game even stripped from the previously published setting. It wouldn't even have to be an Arthurian game. Maybe a game in the spirit of Prince Valiant's a-historical approach, you could set the game in the court of Charlemagne and introduce Viking and/or Native American warriors to the mix. Yeah, I know that it sounds like a fan-favorite comic from the 80s (please keep in mind that this part of this post isn't even rumor, it is me saying what I would love to see done with the game).

Could we see a new/old "Courtly" fantasy game from Chaosium? Maybe. Time will tell.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Cosplay Is Not Consent


Convention season is in full swing, and the big cons are just around the corner. And apparently, for some geeks and convention goers, the lesson that you can look at but not touch the people in the costumes is still not being understood. A person dressing up in a costume, no matter how revealing or covering it might be, is not an invitation to touch them.

This past weekend at Atlanta's MomoCon, an anime and gaming convention, a cosplayer not only was repeatedly touched without permission, but the convention organizers and their security staff further harassed the woman and blamed her and her costume for what happened.


What we have here is compounded harassment. This is a major bad on the part of the convention staff. While I wouldn't call them a safe space, a convention should be protecting the safety and well-being of their attendees. Sexual harassment is in any form or shape is not good. I'm not sure who taught these people that it was okay, but it isn't.

How many times are we going to have to say this before it sinks in to the heads of these people? It is never right to touch people in any manner without their consent or approval. Wearing a costume is not consent.

This should also never lead to body shaming or so-called "slut shaming." It doesn't really matter how much skin you think is appropriate, if a person is covered to extent required by local law the rest is moot.  Community standards will also cause this to vary dramatic. I live in Florida, in a beach community, where it isn't unusual to see women in bikinis (or men in swimwear) at grocery stores or gas stations.  I hate the term "slut shaming" because it adds a moral element of "well, your clothing was inappropriate, but we are going to defend it anyway." No, you just defend it.

This is an angry post, because this is something that shouldn't still be going on in an enlightened society. It shouldn't be happening on the streets of our cities, and it shouldn't be happening at conventions. We need to treat each other with the respect that we want to be treated with ourselves.

So, what should you do, when dealing with cosplayers at a convention?

  1. Always ask for permission to take someone's picture. Also make sure that you know a convention's rules for picture taking. Many conventions will have rules that you cannot take a person's picture without asking permission.
  2. If having your picture taken with a cosplayer first ask if you can touch them, and ask them what sort of touch they are comfortable with. Come on, guys, don't just grab their asses or breasts because you think you can. Be as respectful of them at a convention as you would if you were in a restaurant or any other semi-public space. 
  3. Once you know their limits/guidelines, respect them. Don't smile and nod your head in agreement, and then grab them anyway while your friend snaps a picture. This isn't respectful.
If you see harassment of any sort occurring, quickly contact security. If you can't find security, ask the cosplayer if they need help and then help them find security. If see you harassment occurring at a convention you need to make sure that you report it, and don't underestimate the effectiveness of social media.

I know, some will take offense at this post and claim that I am making it just to score points, or (even worse from my view) to get sex. If your world view is so cynical that you see basic human decency as nothing more than currency used to attain sexual favors, I'm not sure that we have anything to talk about. I know that I don't want you reading my blog, if that is how you feel about women and sex.

We need to stop defending this behavior, and we need to call it out when we see it. We need to tell our friends that this is not okay, and harassment is not cool. Hopefully soon enough we won't have the need to keep reminding people of all of this. I'm not going to hold my breath on that.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Lest We Forget...The Goodness of Hulks And Horrors

A couple of years ago, after an ill-fated attempt to run the mess that is Machinations of the Space Princess, and still wanting to give some science fiction role-playing a chance, we switched to Hulks & Horrors for a few sessions for our After Earth campaign. Unfortunately some fluctuations in our group put the kibosh on that game. The one thing that we did enjoy was the system of Hulks & Horrors. This is a great little game that, like so many in our super saturated RPG "market," didn't really gain the foothold that it deserved.

Sadly, there is still a strong "What can I buy now?" element to gaming communities that tend to drive a mentality of "what's next" commercialism. For better or worse, this means that game are bought and then never used before the next wave of games are bought (and not used). I admit that I've never really had a collector's gene (despite all the comics that I own), and the idea of buying things just to collect them, rather than to use them is rather alien to me. My only problem with this whole cycle is that we tend to end up with subpar, or uninspired games that are being produced solely to be put up on a shelf somewhere.

One of the reasons that I liked Hulks & Horrors was because it took the simplicity of a game that I liked (Swords & Wizardry Whitebox) and took out some of the things that I didn't like about that game. As much as I like the simplicity of Whitebox, sooner or later the whole all damage is measured in d6s starts to bother me. Hulks & Horrors isn't derived from Whitebox, so that isn't why I am making the comparison between the two games.  In Hulks & Horrors, Berry went back to the open content of the 3.x SRD and then used them to create his new game, using the paradigms of older editions and an o school style of play.

Part of why Hulks & Horrors succeeded for us was because it was a lot less complicated of a ruleset than Machinations of the Space Princess, in fact Hulks & Horrors succeeded in capturing the old school simplicity that escaped Machinations. Where Machinations added a great deal of unnecessary detail to character creation and combat, Hulks & Horrors kept it simple and made for a much more playable game than Machinations.

Other than the spectacular art from Satine Phoenix, there really wasn't much to Machinations, or to the "Metal Hurlant" atmosphere that it claimed to support. While Hulks & Horrors doesn't claim to support such a style of play, there is also nothing that keeps you from playing this sort of campaign with the game. That is one of the appeals to an old school style of play, the lack of explicit support doesn't mean that you cannot use a game in that style. You can even take Hulks & Horrors sister game (using a variant of the same system), Arcana Rising, and use it to add magic to your science fiction.

From what you get in the game, I think that Hulks & Horrors supports a sort of classic star traveling science fiction with elements of the 40k Universe. You could very easily dial up the 40K-ness of the "setting" of the game with the addition of monsters and some back story.  The existing classes (Pilot, Scientist, Soldier and Psyker) could easily be ramped up to support this. For Judge Dredd fans, you could easily reskin the classes to be departments of the Justice Department and run with it. One of the reasons that I like the Scientist class is because its inspirations are a mashup of Doctor McCoy and the Doctor.

Like many old school inspired games, Hulks & Horrors doesn't have an explicit setting. Instead the ideas of the setting are revealed through the details of the character classes, and through the monsters included. This is what makes games like this so easy to hack. For example, I would say that the one thing that Hulks & Horrors would not do as well out of the box is to support a Star Wars-inspired kind of game. You could add on to it to do that, Jedi-inspired classes are a dime a dozen out there on the internet, and because of the game having the commonality of D&D as the base, conversion is fairly easy.

So, really, this is a lot of words telling you to go back and check out an overlooked game that deserves more love than it receives. I think that it will pay you back with hours of gaming fun, and stories to tell your fellow gamers for years to come.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Go To Hell With The Codex Infernus For Savage Worlds Kickstarter

Update: This Kickstarter was cancelled.

Seriously, go to Hell.

I know, normally Josh would be writing about a Kickstarter, but between his being sick and having finals you ended up with me instead. I'll try to fill his shoes.

Do you remember the time when TSR backpedaled on the infernal in D&D games because they were worried about how the hobby was viewed by outsiders? Yeah, me too. I'm glad that those days are past.

David Jarvis of Gun Metal Games is Kickstarting The Codex Infernus, a guide to Hell and all forms of deviltry for the Savage Worlds game. He has also assembled a pretty good team, including Rob Wieland, Eddy Webb, Eloy Lasanta and Monica Valentinelli. A group of very capable and creative people.

The nice thing about this supplement is that it isn't tied to a specific genre or setting. The collection of new races, Edge, Backgrounds, magic items and rules for things like exorcism, demonic pacts, possession and other infernally fun things will spice up your Savage Worlds games regardless of what they are.

And anyone who is a Rifts fan will see that this supplement will be of great use when the upcoming Rifts Savage Worlds game setting is released. But, really, who doesn't want more demons for their role-playing games?

Jarvis has also assembled a team of adventure writers to round out the supplement. John Dunn is creating an adventure around demonic time travel. Gareth Skarka is crafting an ode to the great supernatural comics of the 1970s (a perennial favorite of mine). Savage Worlds creator Shane Hensley is working on an adventure based around the Shroud of Turin. These three are just the tip of the adventure iceberg as well.

There are still a couple of weeks to go (at the time of this post) and the campaign has not yet reached the goal of $21,000. That is a lot of money, but this is going to be a quality product in the end...packed with new rules, exciting adventure, stunning art and high production values. Get in on The Codex Infernus while the getting is good.

Friday, April 17, 2015

That Big Swords And Wizardry News

There was a quiet announcement made today regarding the next "edition" of the Swords & Wizardry retroclone created by +Matt Finch, and published in its "Complete" version by Frog God Games.

For those who don't know, Swords & Wizardry is a clone of the earliest edition of the Dungeons & Dragons rules, before there were Basic or Expert versions and long before there was an Advanced version. Published as a boxed set, this edition of Dungeons & Dragons was three booklets...Volume 1: Men & Magic, Volume 2: Monsters & Treasure, and Volume 3: Underworld & Wilderness Adventures. There were also a handful of supplements for these rules as well: Greyhawk, Blackmoor, Eldritch Wizardry, Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes, and Swords & Spells.

Swords & Wizardry comes in three versions: Whitebox, Core and Complete. Whitebox covers the initial three booklets of the D&D rules. Core uses the first three supplements and parts of Greyhawk. Core uses the three booklets and the stuff from Greyhawk and Blackmoor. [I'm sure that I got one of those wrong and someone will correct me.]

So, this summer there will be a Kickstarter campaign to raise the money for a new printing/edition of Swords & Wizardry. What makes this newsworthy is that the fact that the graphic design, layout and art direction for this new edition will be an all-woman team of artists and designers lead by +Stacy Dellorfano, the founder of the online gaming convention +ConTessa. The art for the new edition will also feature new iconic characters that are female and people of color. In a way, the old school is stepping into the "new" school and with this edition of Swords & Wizardry we see Frog God Games bucking the perception that OSR/old school gamers are all conservative and reactionary individuals, interested only in continuing the status quo. Good on them for that.

This couldn't have come at a better time. It was only a few months ago that the latest edition of D&D was under fire from conservative elements of the tabletop gaming community for "insufferable PC propagandizing" for putting language saying that it was okay to play gay or transgendered characters in the game (not that anyone really needed permission for that anyway). I have said before, and I say again, that I don't like elements like these to try to claim any form of gaming of their own, and I am more than happy to see tabletop gaming dragged into the 21st century (even if some of the people are kicking and screaming).

There will be more to come on this...

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

R.I.P. Herb Trimpe

For comic fans of a certain age, artist Herb Trimpe was everywhere, and for those of us who were fans of the Shogun Warriors and Godzilla, Trimpe was a defining part of our childhoods.
Herb Trimpe was born in 1939 and raised in Peekskill, New York, where he graduated from Lakeland High School. Of his childhood art and comics influences, he said in 2002, "I really loved the Disney stuff, Donald Duck and characters like that. Funny-animal stuff, that was kind of my favorite, and I liked to draw that kind of thing. And I also liked ... Plastic Man. ... I loved comics since I was a little kid, but I was actually more interested in syndicating a comic strip than working in comics." As well, "I was a really big fan of EC comics and [artist] Jack Davis."
In the 1960s, during the period known as the Silver Age of Comics, Trimpe was assigned to pencil what became his signature character, the Hulk. Beginning with pencil-finishes over Marie Severin layouts in The Incredible Hulk vol. 2, #106 (Aug. 1968), he went on to draw the character for a virtually unbroken run of over seven years, through issue #142 (Aug. 1971), then again from #145–193 (Nov. 1971 – Nov. 1975). Additionally, Trimpe penciled the covers of five Hulk annuals (1969, 1971–72, 1976–77, titled King-Size Special! The Incredible Hulk except for #4, The Incredible Hulk Special), and both penciled and inked the 39-page feature story of The Incredible Hulk Annual #12 (Aug. 1983). Most writers on The Incredible Hulk heavily relied on Trimpe for the plot as well; in most cases he was not even given a written plot, and was left to draw the issue after only a brief story conference. Trimpe has said that he had no difficulty with this level of collaboration, and in fact enjoyed it.
Among the characters co-created by Trimpe during his run on the title were Jim Wilson in issue #131 (Sept. 1970) and Doc Samson in #141 (July 1971).[13] During his time on the comic, he became the first artist to draw for publication the character Wolverine, who would go on to become one of Marvel's most popular. The character, designed by Marvel de facto art director John Romita, Sr., was an antagonist for the Hulk, introduced in the last panel of The Incredible Hulk vol. 2, #180 (Oct. 1974) and making his first full appearance the following issue.[14] Trimpe in 2009 said he "distinctly remembers" Romita's sketch, and that, "The way I see it, [Romita and writer Len Wein] sewed the monster together and I shocked it to life! ... It was just one of those secondary or tertiary characters, actually, that we were using in that particular book with no particular notion of it going anywhere. We did characters in The [Incredible] Hulk all the time that were in [particular] issues and that was the end of them." Trimpe co-created nearly all of the characters introduced during his run on The Incredible Hulk, with Wolverine being a rare exception.
I was lucky that I was able to meet Herb Trimpe a few years ago at a local comic show in Tampa and thank him for everything that he did for my childhood. I was also able to get him to sign an issue of the Shogun Warriors comic for me.

Herb Trimpe drew The Hulk for forever, and even illustrated the Hulk story written by Harlan Ellison. He also drew the first appearance of Wolverine. His fingerprints are on the Marvel Universe until the end of time.

He will be missed.

Over on Twitter, writer Ron Marz made a couple of tweets that should be a reminder to comic fans.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Going Back To Kali

Sure, everybody loves using ninjas in their super-hero campaigns, but what if you want something that is a little different?

Luckily John Ostrander gave us an interesting new option during his run on the Suicide Squad (which I have talked about before) by introducing the Thuggee assassin Ravan in the first arc of that book. He later went on to become a member of the team and added an interesting moral dimension to the team.


There may be historical issues with the existence of the Thuggee, but that rarely gets in the way of good gaming (or comics for that matter). What I liked about Ostrander's incorporation of the cult into the DC Universe was the idea that, while they ostensibly worshiped the dread goddess Kali, their worship was out of fear and the murders that they committed were sacrifices to her in order to forestall the end of the current age and the start of the Age of Chaos, the Kali-Yuga. Ravan's "catchphrase" was "A Thousand Years, O Kali," because each consecrated death to their goddess would stall the coming of the Kali-Yuga by another thousand years.

Ravan, one of these Thuggees, set himself up as a mercenary killer. This way he could not only forestall the coming of Kali, but he could become very rich and live a playboy lifestyle while doing it. No mindless abasement here. He saw himself (as the panel to the right says) as the first of a new Thuggee cult that was in touch with the modern world. He used technology in his kills, using it to augment the traditional tools like the garrote.

Unlike the ninja, there is no running around in their underwear and using of ancient, outdated weapons for this cult. Their mixture of the ancient and the modern makes them an interesting foil for high tech super-heroes, or espionage agents.

So, how do you do this in your campaign? You could easily just reskin whatever passes for a ninja in the existing writeups for the system you are playing and add the bits about "killing for a higher cause" to them. Bam. You have Thuggee. When I introduced them into my Marvel Super-Heroes campaign back in college, that was basically all that I did. I think that my writeup for Ravan was cribbed from the one for The Taskmaster, removing his powers. A Ravan-like enemy should be capable of going toe-to-toe with a Daredevil or Bronze Tiger, but should be outclassed by a Batman or Captain America. Throw in a half dozen generic Thuggee to round things out for the player characters.

When will you use these Thuggee in a campaign? Their "calling" makes them a little more complex than your typical smash and grab type of villain. You can even make the Thuggees in your campaign world into a sort of morally grey hero, after all they are trying to keep the destruction of the world at bay and stop millions from being killed when a mad death goddess incarnates in the world. Sure, their tool for doing this is to kill people, but sometimes you have to break a few eggs to make omelettes. These killers consider themselves to be holy warriors on a mission, and the super-heroes are at odds with that mission.

This can add an interesting moral dimension to a super-hero campaign, particularly if the Thuggees only target evil or criminal individuals for their sacred killings. If there was demonstrated proof that gods like Kali really existed in the world, would that make a hero's choice to stop a killer from killing a killer a more difficult one? It would certainly make it a more interesting choice. Super-heroes, particularly in role-playing games, tend to have a black and whiteness to their morality. The simple addition of a faction like this can spice a game up considerably.

Another way to introduce the Thuggee into the campaign (and this is what we did with our game back in college) is to have one of the heroes be a repentant former member of the cult. This gives an immediate "in" for the cult, and it juices up the backstory of the hero. Did they leave the cult before...or after making their first kill. Is the hero trying to make up for having killed...or are they trying to make up for the deaths that the cult is responsible for. Either choice adds interesting dimension, and motivation, to a character.

This can make a character who is like the Paul Kirk version of Manhunter from the 1970s revamp of the character. The hero is fighting a silent, shadowy war against the cult, which occasionally erupts into the streets of the city, or on some espionage mission, drawing the heroes into the action and giving the former Thuggee some allies for a time.

And if you would prefer to not integrate a real world religion or goddess into your games, then substitute a fiction god or goddess for Kali. Imagine a version of the Cthulhu Cult that isn't trying to raise their god from his watery grave in R'lyeh, but is instead trying to keep him from rising and destroying their world. Imagine a cult that sprung up out of the end of the novel Dracula (or any of the countless adaptations if you prefer) that is taking the blood of victims so that the Count will not once again rise and make his vampiric armies. A concept like this has a lot of applications to a number of different genres of gaming. The idea is that the deaths caused by this religion is supposed to serve a greater good, and by interfering with them the heroes may be dooming their own world.

Of course, it could all just be a lie and, no matter what the members of the religion believe, there is no actual god or goddess or future destruction that they are forestalling, and their murders don't make them any better than any other killer.

Regardless of how you use this concept in your games it will add an interesting morality to them. My only real recommendation would be that whatever variant of this cult that you use in your games, you make them NPCs and any PCs are former members of the group.



Tuesday, April 07, 2015

The Super Villain Handbook Kickstarter


Last year, we had a post and interview about a little supplement that was in development for ICONS -- The Super Villain Handbook. Now, that supplement is being Kickstarted and, at the time of this writing, already nearing its funding goal with over three weeks left to go. For those not in the know, The Super Villain Handbook contains 40 different super villain roles for use with the supers-themed RPG, ICONS. So, if you play ICONS (or are interested in it -- you can grab it here) you'll definitely want to check out the Kickstarter.

Speaking of the Kickstarter, this project is set up fairly simply, but fairly efficient. The video is fairly long, at just over six minutes, but it covers all the information that you could want about the supplement. The text of the page is wordy, but it's written in-character and some may find it entertaining and worth the read specifically for that. Probably the biggest negative I can find is the general lack of imagery for the Kickstarter page -- having a book all about super villains should have some pretty fantastic artwork to tease the potential pledger with.

Some of the biggest positives for this project are on the financial side -- the funding goal is very reasonable and the pledge tiers are well priced. If you'd like to get in, you have some choice, low-cost options available: $1USD gets you the unillustrated PDF version of the rules, $10USD gets you the illustrated PDF version of the rules (and stretch goals) and $25USD includes the PDF, stretch goals and a credit for the print copy (shipping to be handled separately).  The more stretch goals hit, the better the value, to boot.

They have also added stretch goals with support for Fate Core, so fans of that game can now use The Super Villain Handbook in that system as well.


If you'd like to know more about The Super Villain Handbook, be sure to check out its Kickstarter page or its Facebook page.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Car Wars Giveaway: Not An Imaginary Story

This is not a Dream! Not a Joke! Not an Imaginary Story!

I've been threatening a giveaway for a few months, and it is time that I actually do it. I have an extra copy of Car Wars Classic, still in the shrink wrap, that I want to give to someone who reads the blog. In fact it is the copy that I just took a picture of:

First, I am sorry to say, that this contest is only going to be open to people within the United States. Postage anymore has gotten ridiculous, and it is too much (and to much hassle anymore) to send this outside of the U.S. for a giveaway. I will be taking entries from now until the end of April, at which point I will choose a winner.

What is the contest, you may be asking right now? Simple. In the comments of this blog post finish this sentence: "When I rolled into my first autodueling arena I ____________." Don't get carried away, the odds are good that the longer you write, the less interested I will become in your entry. The winner will be judged solely on whether or not their answer amuses me. Also, only enter once.

The box will then be put into a padded mailer and sent via some form of US Postal Service service that will allow me to get a tracking number. There will be no requests for how I send it.

I have to be able to reach the winner and get a real name and address, so if you don't want to do that please don't bother entering.

Direct questions about this contest to me via social media instead of in the comments.

Good luck and Start Your Engines!!! 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Lankhmar: City of Thieves From Pinnacle Entertainment Group

Lankhmar is coming to your Savage Worlds games, and it is coming soon. The PDF of Lankhmar: City of Thieves will be available April 14th, when the print book goes up for preorder.

That is a kickass promo image.


And then, you will most likely see the book in your local game stores this summer. I'll try to take a picture of it, if the book is available at Gen Con in a couple of months.

FINAL FANTASY: Record Keeper launches in US for iOS and Android


There's another Final Fantasy-themed mobile game out in the US -- Final Fantasy: Record Keeper is an RPG set in the universe(s) of Final Fantasy. It's also a free-to-play fix for FF lovers (with some in-app purchases available, too).

So, I've been playing around with the game a bit since its launch -- should you care about it?

Short answer: if you really love the Final Fantasy universe (all of it) and are very familiar with (all of) it, you will likely get some entertainment out of it and might even really enjoy it. If you're new or inexperienced with the Final Fantasy games, there is still a decent game here for you -- with some nice music, graphics and game play. The game is filled with references to the universe(s) and the inexperienced will, likely, have no clue as to why they should care or what's really going on.

Still, it's free and worth a look. Press release below:


DeNA and Square Enix Launch
FINAL FANTASY: Record Keeper in North America

Fans Can Now Battle their Way through the Most Epic FINAL FANTASY Moments

SAN FRANCISCO - March 26, 2015 - DeNA and Square Enix (OTC: SQNXF) today announced the highly-anticipated release of FINAL FANTASY®: Record Keeper™ inNorth America. The first mobile game where players are able to experience the completeFINAL FANTASY universe, FINAL FANTASY: Record Keeper lets fans relive favorite moments across all past FINAL FANTASY installments and build a team of classic characters. FINAL FANTASY: Record Keeper is available on the AppStore for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and Google Play for Android devices beginning today.

FINAL FANTASY: Record Keeper delivers the entire FINAL FANTASY universe directly into the hands of players and fans of the storied franchise. Players can recruit favorite FINAL FANTASY heroes, including Tidus, Lightning, and Cloud, to form the most dynamic team of all time. Characters can each be completely customized and equipped to the fullest with iconic gear, powerful spells, summons, and hundreds of weapons to choose from.

Gameplay in FINAL FANTASY: Record Keeper is as strategic and challenging as ever with the classic FINAL FANTASY Active Time Battle (ATB) system in place. Players battle their way through the most epic FINAL FANTASY moments, woven together for the first time on mobile with an all-new tale. Featuring skill-based interactive gameplay, players plan attacks, carefully choose tactics, and engage enemies in active time battles.

"The wait is finally over for fans who have been anxiously awaiting the release of FINAL FANTASY: Record Keeper in North America," said Shintaro Asako, CEO of DeNA West. "The game truly delivers the entire FINAL FANTASY universe that players know and love in one immersive experience that won't disappoint."

"DeNA and SQUARE ENIX are proud to present the highly anticipated FINAL FANTASY: Record Keeper to players in the US," said Ichiro Hazama, Producer atSQUARE ENIX. "The mobile RPG that took Japan by storm is set to bring that same excitement to US shores."

FINAL FANTASY: Record Keeper is available as a free download on the AppStore for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and Google Play for Android devices beginning today. For more information on the game, visit: http://www.finalfantasyrecordkeeper.comTo download multimedia assets, including screenshots, game logo, and more, visit the game's online press kit.

A gameplay trailer is available to watch and embed on your site via the following YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yivGwd39lSA.

# # #
About FINAL FANTASY
Since the release of FINAL FANTASY in 1987, this unique RPG series continues to showcase the spectacular visuals, highly imaginative worlds and rich stories leading the industry and earning the highest accolades from users around the world. Titles of the series have so far achieved a cumulative shipment of over 110 million units worldwide.

About DeNA
DeNA (pronounced "D-N-A") is a global Internet company that develops and operates a broad range of mobile and online services including games, e-commerce and other diversified offerings. Founded in 1999, DeNA is headquartered in Tokyo with offices and game development studios across the globe. DeNA Co., Ltd. is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (2432). For more information, visit: dena.com

About Square Enix Co., Ltd.
Square Enix Co., Ltd. develops, publishes, distributes and licenses SQUARE ENIX®, EIDOS® and TAITO® branded entertainment content around the world. The Square Enix Group operates a global network of leading development studios and boasts a valuable portfolio of intellectual property, including: FINAL FANTASY, which has sold over 110 million units worldwide, and DRAGON QUEST® which has sold over 64 million units worldwide; TOMB RAIDER®, which has sold over 42 million units worldwide; and the legendary SPACE INVADERS®. Square Enix is a Japan-based, wholly-owned subsidiary of Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd.

More information on Square Enix Co., Ltd. can be found at http://www.jp.square-enix.com/