Archive for July, 2011

Truth be told I have never liked modules, at least as a GM. Going back as long as I have ran games canned adventures have never really fit my GM style.  I picked up shrink wrapped booklets for everything from Star Frontiers to D6 Star Wars amazing cover art and an intriguing  pitch on the back always lead to disappointment later.  If I was lucky I could salvage a good map or bit of gear or an NPC that I could repurpose.  This is not to say I don’t understand the value of such products as time savers, especially as the other obligations in life take up much more time than they did when I was a teenager getting into the hobby.

The good folks over at Gnome Stew have come out with a couple of great tools for the GMs toolkit Eureka 501  Adventure Plots To Inspire Game Masters and Masks: 1000 Memorable NPCs For Any Roleplaying Game.  Eureka features well 501 story plots. They are organized and cross indexed by genre, sub-genre and action description(combat heavy, RP heavy, etc). All of this is supported on George Polti’s 36 Dramatic situations.

None of the plots are system specific so its up to you the GM to stat out anything you think needs stating, tweeking elements of the plot that would make it fit into your game.  I have used a couple of plots in my Shadowrun game and have written up a few more for future use. So far I have been very happy with the results in play nothing feels like a canned adventure, and everything has been very easy to tweek and put into my campaign.

The Second product is on pre-order for a hard copy but I do have the PDF. Masks 1000 Memorable NPCs is just what the title says it is 1000 NPCs.  The characters within are divided into Fantasy Sci-Fi and Modern genres, and then further divided into villains, allies and neutrals.  Many of the NPCs are interesting on their own to hand a session or two on.  All the NPCs have description, roleplaying tips, motivation and a back story, traits also listed are searchable in the index in hte back of the book.  I am looking forward to the hardcopy for more thorough examination of the book as my browsing on PDF is never quite as fruitful


A couple of weeks ago I hit the big four-oh and one of my gifts from my wife Kala was the new Shadowrun sourcebook, Attitude. The book is a guide to the culture of the 2070s a bit like Shadowbeat and portions of the Neo-Anarchists  Guide to North America were in second edition Shadowrun.  The first thing you notice is the cover by Echo Chernik. Its a very striking cover, one of the best the line has had, chainmail bikini or otherwise.

The content of the book is what some would disparage as “fluff” as it is all about setting, and giving you the feel of the Shadowrun world. The opening chapter  “The Untethered Life” is written from the perspective of a mage who is a Shadowrunner and part-time academic, and looks into why people become Shadowrunners, and I think everyone playing the game should read it before they build a character, or even after to give some thought to who their character is.

From there the book takes a look at street etiquette and codes in the free lance criminal underworld, for GMs looking for  adding detail and nuance its golden. Much of the rest of the book looks at the pop culture and other distractions. Music, Film, Trideo(3D-TV), and Simsense (including Better-Than-Life) are all given coverage with lots of  information a GM could form a story around, or at least create some good complications. Sports of 2073 are also covered, a handy thing in my current game as one of  the characters wants to become a pro-athele in Combat Biking.

Bottomline I recomend this book for GMs and players, although if you prefer rules to setting background you might be disappointed, but for me it gives the feel of the game and will be a great help in making the game world pop, adding those bits of detail, and personality that make a fictional place feel more real. Oh and just an FYI Attiude has received two ENnies nominations, best sourcebook and best cover art, i hope it does well.