Friday, December 27, 2013

Fate Core - The Fate Codex

I owe many of my projects over the last couple of years to the Kickstarter crowdsourcing platform. Crowdsourcing is still a young concept and watching its growth and evolution is fascinating. Another style of crowdsourcing I've seen more of is the site Patreon, where you sign up to back a person, rather than a project. One of these persons is Mark Diaz Truman and first project is The Fate Codex.

The Fate Codex will be a small electronic magazine featuring rules, hacks, fiction and settings from Fate creators across the board.  It's no coincidence that Mark's talked to several of the folks who worked on the Fate Worlds books, since almost all of us have been hounding Fred about when the next ones should come out. I don't think Mark will have much trouble getting some awesome designers to put out some neat ideas for the game.

The hacks I post here are a good way for me to stretch my legs as a designer and not get wrapped up in my pro work all the time. Fate is a flexible and durable system and I'm very happy with the response I've gotten for my work here. I hope that similar work shows up in The Fate Codex, since working with Mark is a great pleasure.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Fate Accelerated - Shadowrun 2070

My Fate Core hack for 2050 could probably use some polish, but until I get a chance to get back to it, I decided to put together a hack to run Shadowrun's modern version using Fate Accelerated.  The goal here is to let folks who love the setting but are less enamored of the system still shoot elves in the face for money. The hack is after the jump, chummer!

This also works for other cyberpunk settings, like Deux Ex or Android.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Fate Core/Fate Accelerated Hack - Crimson Skies

This hack is likely pretty obscure, but it's been a Great White Whale for a while. I love the Crimson Skies universe. It's a settign where the US broke up shortly after the Great War, and, because of it, air shipping has come into vogue. Which means air pirates, cocky pilots and zeppelins full of loot.

Crimson Skies has been a board game, a Clix game, a computer game, and Xbox game and now it's compatible with both Fate Core and Fate Accelerated.

This is about designing the planes as Extras. Everyone should have one, since they are as common as cars in the setting. The only difference is splitting up stress between the separate tracks in Fate Core. 

This hack could also be used for any setting where vehicles play a big part in the action like Car Wars or Battletech. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Fiasco - Clock Blockers

It's been a crazy, crazy year for me. I've worked with amazing people, had a hand in designing some awesome games and been part of hard charging Kickstarters that are changing the face of the industry. Everything awesome that happened this year got started right around this time in 2012, so I wanted to commemorate a great year with something fun.

I present my very own Fiasco playset entitled Clock Blockers. It's about time travelers using their machine for their own fun and profit rather than worrying about stepping on butterflies. Maybe you put right what once went wrong. Or you decide to sink Noah's Ark and corner the market on giraffes.

Special thanks to BVB Design for taking time out of their busy schedule to make this playset look awesome. I love the cover so much.

Praise for Clock Blockers:

"It's a great playset, right in the zone!" - Dan Curtis Johnson

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Fate Accelerated - 7th Sea

I was happy to see folks interested in both a Core and Accelerated hack of 7th Sea. This one will be much shorter, since I'm less concerned with modeling system elements here.

Thanks to +Ryan Macklin for inspiring me on the Approaches. The hack hits after the jump!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fate Core Hack - 7th Sea

Many years ago, my first published work was for Alderac's 7th Sea shortly after it became Swashbuckling Adventures. 7th Sea holds a special place in my heart for a variety of reasons. It was my first published work. It was the game I ran for almost everyone in college. It gave me a life long love of swashbuckling movies long before Johnny Depp brought them back into vogue.

I've eyed a Fate hack for 7th Sea for a while. I originally set out to do one with Spirit of the Century to allow PCs that were on the same level as the influential characters in the setting. I wanted to be able to have PCs that could match wits with Cardinal Verdugo and trade blows with Captain Reis. I wanted the sorceries to reflect the fiction. I want this rich setting to live on.

This hack also works for The Three Musketeers, Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Princess Bride.
All hands on deck! The hack begins after the jump!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Firefly - Freedom Flyer

Today marks the release of the fourth Echoes of War adventure. Freedom Flyer comes to us from Nicole Wakelin. The Crew has to help an old friend get out from under a bounty on her head to start a new life out in the black. Nicole was great to work with and, as always, Monica Valentinelli and Mark Diaz Truman did a great job making this tale razor sharp.

I spoil my favorite sequence after the jump.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Fate Core Hack - Parliament of Dragons

Like many entries, this began as a simple hack. I picked up the Council of Wyrms boxed set at a local used bookstore. TSR pumped out a lot of great settings and content that's ripe for a Fate conversion. The boxed set is full of a lot of great ideas, and it is especially interesting to see a game that tries to recast the popularity of Vampire's "PCs scheming vs. PCs" in terms a different audience can understand.

Playing dragons as PCs is a no brainer. The elapsed time from the moment someone first said "Wow, I can't believe we killed that thing!" to "Hey, how come I can't play that thing?" was likely less than two seconds. I ran a fairly lengthy game of FFG's Fireborn and coming up with challenges for such powerful characters was part of the fun. The trick is to properly convey the scope of the PC's power, while still coming up for interesting things to do. the Council offers a great setting that mixes intrigues in the halls of power and heading out to the islands to lay waste to some armies.

This is still primarily a hack for Council of Wyrms, though you can get away with playing this setting without needing the boxed set. You'd have to make up your own fantasy world for your PCs to lord over, but that doesn't seem too hard. Either you've got a couple soaking up a few spiral notebooks (I know I do) or you can generate one using Fate Core's setting creation guidelines.

Consider this a gift to all the people who made Fate Core a two-fisted success this year and all the fan that said such nice things about Camelot Trigger. The rules for Parliament of Dragons begin after the jump!

This hack works for Council of Wyrms, Fireborn or any setting where the PCs are masters of their domain.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Plot Points - Ravenloft

Three of my dear friends have started a podcast in which they read and review classic RPG adventures. Check out their first review of the classic Ravenloft adventure!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Fate Worlds Release Party - Wrap-Up

Photos by Steve Greenwood

Over a dozen folks showed up for Fate Worlds Release Party held at Board Game Barrister this afternoon. It was a nice mix of folks who were veterans, Kickstarter backers who hadn't gotten to play, and fresh faced rookies who never played Fate in any form. My full report is after the jump!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

CAMELOT Trigger - Character Sheet

An amazing character sheet from the Fate Core community. Thanks to F. Andrés Domene Cáliz for the design. Just in time for my game at the Fate Worlds Release Party!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Firefly - The Three T's

A blog post discussing my adventure development philosophy, along with a preview of our next Echoes of War adventure, Freedom Flyer!

Friday, November 22, 2013

13th Age Bestiary - Naga

EN World posted an exclusive preview of the naga, one of the monsters I worked on for the Bestiary. Rob Heinsoo really did a great job with tweaking the mechanics to make this a monster your players will love to hate.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Fate Worlds Release Party - Saturday, November 30th

I partnered with Board Game Barrister for a Fate Worlds Release Party. Get a chance to play some Fate, as well as hang out with me and other fans of Fate. If you've never played Fate or never tried gaming, this is a great event for you!

Where: Board Game Barrister - Greefield
6120 West Layton Avenue
Greenfield, WI 53220Phone: 414-423-7100

Located next to the Speedway gas station at the corner of 60th and Layton.
When: Saturday, November 30th, Noon

Event info:

Try out the Fate RPG system and celebrate the release of the Fate Worlds books at a special Fate RPG event starting at noon. Multiple Fate GMs will be on hand to show you the ropes. Simply choose a session and start playing! 
Session possibilities include: 
-Fate Core: Build and Play (Create characters, a world and play a session all in one afternoon!) 
-Fate Core: Camelot Trigger 
-Fate Accelerated: Back to the Future 
-Fate Accelerated: Supernatural 
-Fate Accelerated: Weird Western

I will also be signing copies of Worlds in Shadow and there's a chance to win free copies of Fate Accelerated!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Review - Worlds in Shadow

A lovely video review of Worlds In Shadow, featuring some lovely things said about CAMELOT Trigger.

Don't worry about getting my name wrong, mate. It happens all the time.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Firefly - Corebook Pre-Order is Live!

In case you want to skip the lines and get the Firefly RPG Corebook directly mailed to you (along with the PDF emailed the moment it is ready), you may do so here from Margaret Weis Productions directly. I did a little work on the Corebook directly, but a lot of my work from the Exclusive also carried over. And yes, it is fully compatible with our lovely Echoes of War supplements.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Firefly - Friends in Low Places

Today, the latest Echoes of War adventure in the Firefly universe goes live. Friends In Low Places puts the Crew in a bad place between a low down dirty trader and an Alliance officer trying to bring him to justice. Monica Valentinelli did a great job pulling together a plot driven by some hard choices, and Mark Diaz Truman helped me sharpen the mechanics to razor deadliness. I go into fiurther detail after the jump, which involve spoilers.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

AV Club - Intergalactic Nemesis

Here's an interview with a show that mixes old radio plays and graphic novels.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

13th Age Bestiary - Hatchling Edition

Pre-orders for the 13th Age Bestiary are live. If you order now, you get a basic PDF immediately as well as a chance to playtest the monsters, plus an upgrade to the full PDF and book when it's ready.

I got to have a lot of fun with this book, which is full of D&D monsters with unique twists. +Rob Heinsoo revealed two of the monsters I worked on, which I tease a bit more below. I even put it past a jump for the spoiler averse. (Though, I guess if you are pre-ordering, you don't have to worry about spoilers.)

I'll also take a moment to plug the blog for my own 13th Age game, which has its second episode this Friday.

Monday, September 23, 2013

AV Club - Cinematic Titanic Review

As promised, my review of the shows over the weekend. Good crowd, bad movies, great riffs.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

AV Club - Cinematic Titanic

Not only will I be covering both shows again this year, but I got to do an interview with Joel, J. Elvis, Trace and Mary Jo. It was a surreal moment talking with Joel about the Dells for a few minutes before starting the interview proper.

Reprinted text after the jump.

Friday, September 13, 2013

AV Club - Galloping Ghost

Back-to-back articles this week with my profile on the Galloping Ghost Arcade. This is a great place full of great games that is worth a trip, especially if you grew up in arcades like I did.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

AV Club - Pokemon Gallery Night

Milwaukee has a strong geek heart. We've got a nerd bar and were the original home of Gen Con. Having a Pokemon themed gallery night makes sense.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Interview - Brett Barkley

For those lucky Fate fans who backed the Kickstarter, the PDFs of the Fate Worlds books are in their hands. It feels so crazy that something that was just an idea for a Fate game I had a couple years a go is now going to be immortalized in a setting book from the company that created one of my favorite rules sets. The book should be going on pre-order shortly. When paired with the first volume, you'll be getting a dozen settings from some of the best Fate designers out there.

To celebrate this fact, I did an interview with Brett Barkley, the cover artist of the book and the artist for the section on CAMELOT Trigger. Brett blew me away with his work on the project. You can see his enthusiasm in every piece. I can't think of any other artist that could fit the setting so perfectly, even as fans put together awesome character sheets featuring their own Armours. If you'd like to hear about how Brett came to be a part of this project, his interview is available after the jump.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Firefly - Echoes of War Begins

Check out my first line developer blog post that discusses out first three products in the Echoes of War line.

Monday, August 26, 2013

AV Club - John Kovalic

I got a chance to talk with John Kovalic for The Onion A.V. Club. He's the artist and designer behind Munchkin, Apples to Apples and Dork Tower, so if you've played games with me, chances are you've seen his squiggles.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Geek Kon - Instant Classic Con Report

High light: A great local con that continues to grow out of its anime con roots to provide fun to geeks of all stripes.

Low light: Geek Kon's move to the week after Gen Con got a lot of "I'd love to go, but I'm broke/tired/sick" response from people who normally would have gone.

Best experience: Being on four panels and getting to talk about Firefly, Star Wars, Shadowrun and tabletop RPGs as if I were an expert on these subjects.

Worst experience: Only doing fly-bys of most of my Madison peeps.

Best bargain (had to buy it, no freebies): The only thing I bought at the show was Sentinels of the Multiverse, but Pegasus Games had it on sale.

Best Freebie: Two words: per diem. 

Most welcome surprise: Spending time with my Madison friends.

Most unwelcome surprise: Dashing off to panels instead of spending time with my Madison friends.

Best costume: As much as steampunk feels played out, there were some good examples here.

Best costume try: Doctor Who costumes are quickly becoming the Jedi robes of the decade.

Stuff bought:
Sentinels of the Multiverse

Stuff got for free:
Guest of honor badge

Best Quote:
"I can't believe I just made a room full of people laugh at a joke about lung cancer."

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Geek Kon 2013 - Schedule

No rest for the wicked. This Saturday, I'll be a guest of honor at Geek Kon. I'm on a bunch of panels involving the various games I write for, including Firefly, Star Wars and Shadowrun. My schedule is after the jump.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Gen Con - Instant Classic Wrap-Up 2013

High light: The Diana Jones Awards is always a chance to meet new people, connect with Twitter buddies, and catch up with old friends. This year, I also got to meet Wil Wheaton, who won the award for his game-changing Tabletop web series. We even exchanged quips!

Low light: The fact that everyone I knew except Sarah, who is a huuuuuuuuge Wil Wheaton fan, somehow ran into him at some point during the con.

Best experience: A steak dinner discussing an upcoming project that I get more excited about the more I think about it.

Worst experience: The balance between connecting with people, professional obligations and fun time seriously clashed. 

Best bargain (had to buy it, no freebies): Pelgrane's 4-for-3 deal continues to seriously impress, especially since they throw in the PDFs for free. I wish every booth threw in the PDFs for free, since it seems like a cheap way to run a con special.

Best Freebie: The hotel room graciously provided by Brad and Sarah. This place was spuer fancy and right on the monument circle.

Most welcome surprise: A lovely lunch on Saturday featuring one of my oldest friends and one of my newest friends that I met at the con.

Most unwelcome surprise: My trusty Harley backpack broke a strap right as I set it down in the hotel room. I got a new bag at the show, but it was hard to not bring it back for a proper Viking funeral.

Best costume: The Serenity Crew that observed my Firefly game on Saturday.

Best costume try: Looking back, I guess I pseudo-cosplayed Jayne with a brown shirt, camo shorts, and a cunning hat my wife made for me.

Most amusing costume: Steampunk Ghostbusters, including a stay-puft Marshmallow man with a monocle.

Coolest booth and why: The Gale Force Nine booth had some awesome demo and tables of the Firefly board game, complete with a plastic dinosaur as the turn marker.

Strangest moment: Riding a pedicab (rickshaw) back from the Exhibit Hall because I had so many books in a broken backpack.

Favorite item available in the Exhibit Hall: The Firefly RPG book. Yeah, I'm biased, but it was awesome to see fans' eyes light up when they saw it on the table.

Stuff bought:
Dungeon Roll
Hillfolk (for my mum)
Blood on the Snow
13th Age
Eternal Lies
Esoterrorists 2nd Edition
Farewell to Fear
Shadowrun 5th Limited Edition
13th Age Limited Edition
Fate Accelerated Edition
X-Wing Miniatures (used): Core Set, TIE Advanced, Tie Interceptor, Y-Wing, Millennium Falcon
New Top Secret nerd bag
Shadowrun logo patch

Stuff got for free:
Firefly companion
Firefly GC 2013 Exclusive
Night's Black Agents: Double Tap
Tremulus hardcover + dice
Machine Zeit
Fiasco app
Fiasco playsets
Firefly buttons
Catalyst tote
Shadowrun posters and Quick-starts

Stuff that was wanted that was unavailable:
Firefly Board Game
Eldritch Horror

Things to buy after Gen Con:
Firefly Board Game

Best Quote:
"Wil Wheaton told us about it. Didn't he call you?"

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Gen Con - Public Schedule

Next week is Gen Con, the biggest gaming convention in the world. While I will miss the ease of rolling out of bed and heading into downtown when it was in Milwaukee, I really love how Indianapolis has embraced the show. This year is more excitign because I'll be coming home with hard copies of several different projects I worked on and some Kickstarters I backed.

I will be running Games on Demand events on Thursday and Saturday. The games I have volunteered to run are Firefly, Leverage, Camelot Trigger and 13th Age.

I will be part of the signing event on Thursday at the Pelgrane Press booth from 3 PM to 4 PM. I'm there to sign for Mafia Century inside Hillfolk, but if you want me to sign a copy of Double Tap, I will also oblige.

Friday marks some time in the Margaret Weis booth, where I'll be running 5-minute demos of Firefly and Leverage as well as signing Exclusives and discussing Echoes of War. I'll be there from Noon to 2 PM. In the evening, I'll be part of the Evil Hat table at the Ennie Awards. That event runs from 6:30-10PM

Saturday I'll be wandering the floor and trying to figure out how I'm going to get all the stuff I bought back home.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

AV Club - RenQuest

My yearly trip to Bristol was to cover RenQuest, a chance to wander around the park with a purpose and interact with some of the talented performers there.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hillfolk - Mafia Century

Hillfolk, the Dramasystem RPG by living legend +Robin Laws , is now available for pre-order. Robin generously allowed dozens of designers to pitch additional series for inclusion in the core book as well as the Kickstarter dictated companion, Blood on the Snow. My first contribution, Mafia Century, allows your table to play the rise and fall of an organized crime family throughout the 20th century. My upcoming series pitch, Encore, lets your table tell the stories of a touring musical company, complete with rules for using music at the table. If you missed out on the Kickstarter, now is your chance to pick up two books full of settings, advice and a system built to run TV shows like The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and Boardwalk Empire.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Firefly RPG - Wedding Planners Cortex Classic Set

Today marks a big day for Browncoats everywhere. This first adventure for the Firefly RPG is available for download. It's written by Margaret Weis and Monica Valentinelli, developed by me, and packed full of hickory smoked 'Verse flavor. There's still a few weeks before the Firefly RPG sees its debut at Gen Con, but this release offers a sneak peek at the line I'm developing. It also offers a chance for fans of the old Serenity RPG to play the first adventure using that system, before hopefully picking up the new Firefly RPG.

Serenity the RPG was the most successful release in the history of Margaret Weis Productions. Serenity and Firefly are two different RPGs. Two different licenses in fact - Serenity couldn't use anything from the show, and Firefly won't use anything from the movie. It's important to let folks know who bought Serenity that Firefly is coming. This release is meant as a thank you to all those fans who picked up the game so many years ago.

So what comes in the Cortex Classic Set?

  • Wedding Planners: This adventure involved Serenity being hired by Badger to escort the daughter of a rich baron to her wedding to avoid the press and some unsavory folks threatening her life. Things don't go smooth, of course, and the Crew soon finds itself caught up between true love, naked greed and Blue Sun.
  • Cortex Classic Rules: This release uses Cortex Classic, which is the same system that came out of Serenity. Don't worry if you can't find your old Serenity rulebook - there's a copy of Cortex Classic included as part of the bundle.
  • Serenity Crew: The stats for the best crew in the 'Verse.
  • Serenity Poster: The stunning cross section of the ship perfect for printing and hanging on the wall next to your holographic bar window.

The Cortex Plus version of this adventure will show up in two places - as part of the Gen Con Exclusive (which you can order print copies here and the PDF here) and as a later release on its own. Wedding Planners is the first part of Echoes of War, which will be Cortex Plus for the rest of the line.

This is also the first release in the Echoes of War line that I'm developing. This is my first gig as a line developer, not just as a hired gun. I can't wait for people to see the stories we're going to tell.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

AV Club - Hidden Gems

It is well and truly summer, since it's time for my Ren Faire preview article! I will also be checking out RenQuest a little later this summer. Who wants to come with?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Fate Core Hack - Ghostbusters

This month's hack is of a setting that's near and dear to many a gamer's heart. The original RPG was a watershed in design that spun off one of the most influential RPGs made (Star Wars). It first brought forth many of the concepts that Fate and other indie games brought to the forefronts of their design. Not only am I lucky enough to own a copy of the boxed set, but a trip to see Dan Aykroyd with the local chapter allowed me to get it signed. The game is long since out of print, but I consulted with it a lot during this hack. I also wanted to get something out now that Fate core is hitting mailboxes across the country.

So strap on your proton pack, gas up your Ectomobile and slide down the firepole. Fate Ghostbusters is after the jump!

Additional uses: Ghostbusters and Men In Black always seemed pretty closely related. Maybe some Eureka and Warehouse 13 too.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Gen Con - Evil Hat Dream Date

My time at Gen Con this year is at a premium. I'm involved in Firefly RPG events, Games on Demand, and also actually enjoying the show as a gamer. I am also excited to be a part of the Evil Hat Dream Date table for the ENnies Awards on Saturday night. Not only do you get a signed copy of Fate Core and Fate Accelerated, you get to hang out with John Adamus, Leonard Balsera, Brian Engard, Sean Nittner and me. It's my first ENnies!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

CAMELOT Trigger - Actual Play II

Novelist Selene O'Rourke took CAMELOT Trigger out for a spin and blogged about the results. She also integrated a bit of Robin Hood into her story by turning the Merry Men into a combining armour squadron.

If CAMELOT Trigger hits your table, send me a link to the write-up and I'll be happy to link to it. It's so cool to see people playing it in the wild.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

CAMELOT Trigger - Art Previews

In case you aren't on the Facebook or the Twitters, Fred Hicks has been showing off some of the artwork from Camelot Trigger in the upcoming Book of Shadows. Brett Barkley floored me with these awesome pieces. I've collected them after the jump.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Podcast - State of the Hat

I'll be part of a Google Hangout featuring the authors of Worlds in Shadow. The Fate Worlds books got split in two and CAMELOT Trigger will be on the cover of this book. The hangout is Tuesday, June 18th from 8-9 PM CST. I hope you'll join me, Fred Hicks, JR Blackwell, and Mike Olson to chat about our book, our worlds, and Fate in general.

EDIT: Here's a link to the Hangout. I talk about CAMELOT Trigger and gesture broadly!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

MKERPG @ 42 Lounge

Two things I love are coming together in a great way. MKERPG is a local collective of gamers who host monthly game nights. 42 Lounge is Milwaukee's first geek bar. MKERPG is trying to raise funds for podcasting equipment and 42 Lounge graciously offered to host the event.

The fundraiser is on Saturday, June 15th from 1 to 5 PM. MKERPG will be selling used gaming books and raffle tickets to raise money. One of the raffle prizes is a game run by me! I'll be happy to run almost anything I've worked on. Plus, the bar has a lot of neat, geek themed drinks as well as free-to-play Xbox 360s. I may also be convinced to run something during the event. I know, I know, twist my arm.

If you're near the Milwaukee area, please consider coming out and helping us raise some money!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Geek Kon - Guest of Honor

I'm happy to announce I'll be at Geek Kon Saturday, August 24th in Madison. I'll be talking Star Wars Saga Edition, Shadowrun, Firefly RPG, Fate, CAMELOT Trigger and more!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

FLAG Force - The Pitch and Pretend History

I've been knee deep in various projects, but I thought I'd take a moment to share with you the series that's going to be part of the release for Cartoon Action Hour: Season Three. Cynthia also announced a stretch goal that will see this setting in print. Cynthia just approved it, so I'm happy to announce I'm working on FLAG Force! 

Tagline "It's U.N. Vs. Them!"

The Earth surrendered to the Starmada five years ago. They came in peace, but when their true agenda was discovered, the Starmada destroyed the world's armies and occupied humanity's largest cities across the world. The aliens rule by fear, with superior technology able to stand up to any army.

Enter the FLAG Force - an international group of resistance fighters known only by their codenames to protect their family and friends. They battle to release the iron grip the Starmada has on the world by turning their own weapons against them. Join Stars, Stripes, Kage, Caliente and the other members of FLAG force to strike a blow for Freedom, Law, And Goodness! Join FLAG Force today! 

And yes, I also worked out some information on the toy line it supported:

I imagine it got two seasons - one where it was kind of a GIJOE/MASK mashup, and a second darker season where figures had weapons that transformed from normal looking stuff to weapons. Everybody was aboard the Starmada mothership over NY which crashed at the end of the second season in one of those awful unresolved cliffhangers.

There's also a chase figure because the lead alien scientist went from a bad guy to a good guy over the first season, and his second season good guy figure is very rare.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Kickstarter - Cartoon Action Hour Season 3

My Year of Stretch Goals continues. Cartoon Action Hour is an RPG developed to emulate those 30-minute toy commercials I grew up loving, like G.I. Joe and Transformers. Season 3 refines the mechanics and also has a series of excellent authors lined up for additional settings as stretch goals, like Eddy Webb, Matt Forbeck, John Wick, Jason Blair, Shane Hensley, Bull Ratkovich, and Steve Long. I crashed the party late, but Cynthia Celeste-Miller, the creator of the game, graciously set me up as an early stretch goal at $6500.

Series one is FLAG Force, in which a multinational force of freedom fighters battle against aliens that have conquered the world. The tagline is "It's UN Vs.Them!"
Series two is still brewing. I have an idea that its Ghostbusters by way of Scooby-Doo: kid protagonists, gadget hunting monsters/ghosts, probably an evil corporation called Hexxon. That's all I've got so far.

If you have a preference (especially if you back it), let me know in the comments.

Friday, May 3, 2013

AV Club - May the Fourth

I wrote up a little note about this weekend's events. Iron Man 3, Free Comic Book Day and May the Fourth  make this a good weekend to be a geek.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Old School Con Report - c2e2 2013

High light: Running into and catching up with old college buddies, professional colleagues, and spending time with one of my best buddies.

Low light: Not spending more time with the various groups that came down on Saturday.

Best experience: Dinner at a small cantina followed by three hours of nostalgia courtesy of Galloping Ghost arcade.

Worst experience: Having to walk even farther to get non-ballpark priced food options.

Best bargain (had to buy it, no freebies): The 5 for $25 Marvel booth was out of stock finally. But the "double feature" DVD of Cast A Deadly Spell and Witch Hunt for $10 was worth it.

Best freebie: Not much in the way of freebies this year, though I will always welcome a free tote bag.

Best Photo Op: Best bet for getting pictures was out front of the exhibition hall.

Most welcome surprise: Running out of cards both days of the show. Here's hoping something comes of it.

Most unwelcome surprise:  No DC booth. You'd think they would be pushing the hell out of Man of Steel.

Best costume:  Though I didn;t see him directly, the 9 foot tall Jack Skellington on stilts was awesome.

Best costume try: There was a Hit Girl that was maybe 5 that was adorable and murderous.

Most amusing costume: A lot of good mashups this year. Too close to call.

Coolest booth: The collective, because my old college buddy aaron Hoffman was working it!

Strangest moment: Watching two guys in suits from the banker's convention wander into the hall. 

Favorite item available in the Exhibit Hall: The Oregon Trail/zombie mashup.

Stuff bought:
Jonah Hex trades
Marvel Star Wars trades
All-Star Western
American Vampire
Cast a Deadly Spell DVD

Stuff got for free:
Marvel coasters
Mouse Guard comics
Awesome costume shots
Ren Fair tickets

Stuff that was wanted that was unavailable:
Atomic Robo trades

Things to buy after c2e2:
The rest of the Atomic Robo collection

Best Quote: "These are our costumes!"  - the misplaced bankers

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Firefly RPG - Echoes of War

I am pleased to announce my position as Lead Developer for the Echoes of War line connected to the upcoming Firefly RPG. The line is a series of adventures that can be played either by the Serenity crew or by a crew you create on your own.

Here's the official press release, where Firefly RPG Lead Developer Monica Valentinelli says some very nice things about me.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Fate Accelerated Hack - PPV

The pre-release PDF of Fate Accelerated has been released to the backers. I've been busy with a few other projects, but this one just sort of came to me while working on Other Secret Stuff. I've been a wrestling fan for many years. I frequently buy the WWE games even if I don't watch the shows regularly anymore. The best wrestling RPG out there is Wild World Wrestling, aka the Know Your Role d20 RPG. This hack is inspired by that game, but it is definitely worth checking out on its own. Without further delay, it's time to step into the squared circle! Presenting PPV: Pro Wrestling rules for Fate Accelerated!

This hack may also be used for fighting games, boxing stories and Fight Club.

AV Club - 42 Lounge

Milwaukee has its first nerd bar. I spent my birthday here and had a blast. If you are anywhere near Milwaukee, I recommend checking it out. And order a LeChuck.

Reprinted text after the jump.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

CAMELOT Trigger - Actual Play

Evil Hat's project manager took Fate Core for a spin using CAMELOT Trigger. He nailed the feel perfectly.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Kickstarter - Evil Hat's Fate Dice

So you've seen one of my hacks for Fate Core or CAMELOT Trigger but are having a heck of a time finding Fudge Dice. D6 dice work okay, but having the symbols on the dice makes things work so much more quickly. Evil Hat has finally gotten into the game with their own branded dice. You don't have to buy them now, they will be available after the Kickstarter, but once you see them you'll want to. They are gorgeous.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Our Last Best Hope - Expansion

Our Last Best Hope is an RPG that does for disaster movies what Fiasco does for Coen Brothers style neo-noir. Today, the expansion provides other disasters, and incorporates a few cool hacks. I put together a mission set for giant monsters. Now you can use the game to play everything from kaiju battles to the most recent Syfy Original starring your favorite faded 90's TV stars.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Gameological - Brian Clevinger Interview

Here's my first article as a writer for The Onion AV Club's sister site. Gameological, in case you were stumped, focuses on games. This interview with the creator of Atomic Robo, one of the best comics out there, talks about what he's playing, the recent mobile game featuring his character, and the upcoming Atomic Robo RPG coming from Evil Hat.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

AV Club - Brass Rooster

Kickstarter isn't just for gaming. One of our local shops launched one to finance a line of handmade hats.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

AV Club - Leonard Cohen

A survey of some of the better films that use Cohen's music. He's coming to Milwaukee tomorrow. You can tell I wrote it because of the reference to the short-lived Kindred: The Embraced TV show.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

AV Club - Gary Con

Not only is it St. Patrick's Day, but it's the anniversary of Gary Gygax's death. This convention sprung out of his funeral and offers some old school con flavor.

AV Club - D&D Burlesque

Polly Amour has been part of our Nerds@Heart panels since last year. This Saturday, her Dainty Rogues mix D&D with burlesque.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

AV Club - Board Game Barrister

Running a Friendly Local Gaming Store is hard enough without your landlord being a jerk.

Monday, February 25, 2013

AV Club - Local Restaurants That Should Be Chains

Here's some of the best food Milwaukee has to offer, that should move in to your town soon!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Kickstarter - Interface Zero 2.0

The next Kickstarter project I'm involved with ends this week. The game is called Interface Zero 2.0. It's a cyberpunk setting for Savage Worlds that's very cool. I write a small piece of the core book detailing New York. In the setting, New York was abandoned after the seas claimed coastal areas. The image of the New York skyline sticking up from the ocean was a visual I couldn't shake. It was exciting to explore one one of my favorite genres and get a blank canvas to paint. My part is due this week and I'm excited to see what David at Gun Metal Games thinks.

The core book is all about setting up conflicts for GMs and players to run with. The game is currently 13k away from 70k. That amount unlocks a stretch goal where I get to do a whole sourcebook on New York and start knocking down some of the pins I've set up. My own sourcebook is something I'm excited to do, so if you like games like Deux Ex, Android, Cyberpunk and, of course Shadowrun, check out the link above and consider helping me raise the Big Apple from beneath the sea.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Fate Core Hack - Transformers

One of the most exciting things about this project is watching fans hack FATE Core to their favorite worlds. +Ron Frazier used CAMELOT Trigger to put together some rules for everyone's favorite heroes that are More Than Meets The Eye. With his permission, I'm reposting the hack here. Get ready to roll out with Transformers!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

AV Club - Robot Cabaret

Today's article is an interview with the director of Robot Cabaret. This young theater company has some very interesting things going on this season.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Podcast - #FatePoints

Here's a link to the first episode of this Fate Core podcast. Jake and Stacey had me on as their first guest to talk about CAMELOT Trigger. Future guests include fellow Fate Core writers Mark Diaz Truman, Filamena  Young, and Jason Morningstar.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Fate Core Hack - Mechwarrior

This week begins the final draft and art notes stages for CAMELOT Trigger. One of the most helpful members of the community in catching errors and asking for clarifications has been +Ryan M. Danks . He took it upon himself to adapt the mecha rules for the Battletech universe on his blog. The response to the mecha rules has been great, and I hope to see more excellent adaptations like this of the Fate core settings.

Also, I'd be remiss to not mention tonight's #FatePoints hangout, where I'll be answering questions about CAMELOT Trigger, Fate Core, and my upcoming projects. See you there!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Fate Hack - The Phaser Chase

Love is in the air this month. I love being able to read some of the other great Fate Core settings with the rest of the backers. This month's hack offers a chance to play Young Starfleet Officers in Love. +Filamena Young's White Picket Witches catches the feel of a CW soap opera perfectly. Mix that with the young, hotblooded officers from the J.J. Abrams Star Trek reboot, and you've got a recipe for drama, love and loss at Starfleet Academy.  Will your first experience with Romulan ale cost your 4.0? How will you handle the Kobayashi Maru? What happens when you and your true love get postings on different ships?

The Phaser Chase begins after the jump!

Additional uses: This hack works well for Your Favorite Trek just as well, be it Original Series, Next Generation or Star Fleet Battles. It also can be further tweaked for Your Favorite Wizard School, Superhero School for the Gifted, or Crazy Anime High School.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

CAMELOT Trigger - #FatePoints

I am the inaugural guest on #FatePoints, a Google Hangout by Fate Core fans for Fate Core fans. It takes place on Monday at 7 PM CST. If you have a question about CAMELOT Trigger, Fate Core, or any of my other projects you'd like to see me answer, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

CAMELOT Trigger - Character Sheets

Check out these awesome character sheets done up by Fate Core G+ Community member Josh Leavitt. They even have a space for your knight's coat of arms!

We're at the end of the cut material from the draft. If you have an element of the setting or rules you'd like to discuss, leave a comment here or on the Fate G+ Community. If you hop in some armour and take the setting for a spin, please let me know so I can link to it from the blog. I'll have information on my upcoming projects here as well as a few hacks of existing settings for Fate.

Monday, January 28, 2013

AV Club - Symphony of the Goddesses

Here's my review of the latest video game symphony that came through town.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Fate Core Hack - Fate of the Red Death

The success of the Fate Core Kickstarter brought a new audience to the blog thanks to CAMELOT Trigger. To keep the party going, I will update from time to time with hacks on how to run other games using Fate Core. I started an In Nomine hack, but that is going on hold until I'm less busy. I'm going to concentrate on smaller hacks instead that can fit in a single blog entry.

If you like or use this hack, please let me know. Thanks to +Jacob Poss  for coming up with some neat D&D style magic rules that I adapted for a better feel.

After the jump, I present the first hack - Masque of the Red Death!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

CAMELOT Trigger - Hostage Armour & Patchwork Knights

We are almost to the end of the Fate Core Kickstarter. In case you haven't heard, the final stretch goal is an adaptation of the awesome Dresden Files RPG for the Fate Accelerated Edition. If you haven't backed the Kickstarter yet, you should consider it, because you get an insane value for $10. My contribution is just one part. Evil Hat has been awesome to work with and I hope to get to work with them again soon, hopefully on  the other projects the Kickstarter unlocked.

After the jump I include more cut text from the backer draft. The information deals with the Petty Barons of Jupiter and the knights of the Saturnine Senate. If you have any feedback, suggestions, compliments or complaints, leave them here, the Fate Core G+ group, or contact me @robowieland on Twitter.

Monday, January 21, 2013


Response to CAMELOT Trigger has been great. We've gotten a lot of good feedback from backers who were excited from the word go, as well as quite a few who came around to enjoying the setting after reading the full release. I look forward to hearing actual play reports and additional suggestions on how to make things cooler. Hearing backers discuss using the armour mechanics for everything from Eclipse Phase to Rifts is awesome. Thank you all once again for your support. Take to your favorite social media to spread the love for FATE Core and CAMELOT Trigger in the final week of the Kickstarter.

As promised, this is the first blog entry featuring material cut from the general release. Tom Cadorette was my editor on CAMELOT Trigger. Nothing makes a writer feel better than "This is great, but we have to cut it for space." The project was originally 10,000 words but Fred opened up the word count to range between 10,000 and 15,000 words. It was enthusiasm for these blogs that pushed me to hit that upper limit, and I even ended up going a bit over. Items were also cut to make room for some examples of mechanics, so I have a few of these entries planned to highlight some additional elements to bring to your CAMELOT Trigger game. Consider these additional plot hooks to inspire.

After the jump, I talk about PASTAC, an organization that thinks Earth needs to return to the way it was before technology. I wanted a reason for armour to mix against the visual of old castles and carts. PASTAC was born of that desire. The name came from Tom's suggestion, and it solves a unique problem with the setting.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Camelot Trigger is GO!

The bad news is that I won't be able to post the previews I originally intended.  The good news is that it's because the backer draft of CAMELOT Trigger was released! I'm so excited to get it out to everyone and get some feedback. This draft went through a few rounds of edits, but I hope from the 7000(!) backers to catch more mistakes and suggest additional edits for clarity.

Please leave your comments here, on the FATE Core G+ group, or in the Kickstarter comments.

Next week, I'll post some of the stuff that was cut for space that digs a little deeper in the setting. Until then, read, enjoy and make haste to armour launch!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

AV Club - Grand Avenue

My editor and I discuss strategies for how we would fix the downtown mall in Milwaukee.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

AV Club - Midwinter 2013

I'll be at the Midwinter Gaming Convention this Saturday. I'm on a panel for Nerds at Heart starting at 4, but I'll be wandering around the show before that playing games, like nerds do.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Podcast - Jennisodes

If you miss the sound of my voice (or love it as much as I do), check out this episode of Jennisodes. I talk about CAMELOT Trigger, Mafia Century, Encore, FATE, Shadowrun and more!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

FATE Core - In Nomine Hack:The Basics

I posted a question to the Fate Core Google Community to keep my busy while CAMELOT Trigger is in edits. After a spirited discussion, I decided to take on one of Those Games Where You Love The setting But Hate The System. The In Nomine books by Steve Jackson hold a special place in my heart. The right mix of drama, humor and horror. But the system was just horror to me. I tried running the game a few times and the story never got a grip because of the rules.

This began as a DFRPG hack with the help of my friend and awesome In Nomine GM Brent. He crafted a game that his players still remember fondly to this day, which is no mean feat with the D666 system. This is meant to get the feel of the fiction right rather than convert the mechanics. Although, the mechanics that I did like I did try to save.

If you're just here for CAMELOT Trigger, I hope to have news soon. Otherwise, check out the jump for the first part of the hack. If you want me continue, please let me know here, on the G+ community, or

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Cortex - A Mass Effect Hack

I'm heading out of town for the weekend. CAMELOT Trigger's second draft is currently safely ensconced at Evil Hat HQ. I've pieced together a hack for another game system I love, the Marvel version of Cortex+. It's for the Mass Effect universe. The information is located after the jump. If you would like for me to continue, drop me a line or leave a comment. Otherwise, we'll see you next week.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

CAMELOT Trigger - The Peril of Sir Malcolm

The important points of the playtest:

  • The new shutdown rules work well.  Having the opponent choose to hit a system for more stress relief really digs in some hard choices.
  • Contests are fun to run, especially when someone spends a Fate point to force a tie.
  • Still unhappy with how siege armours feel. They work okay but not quite the 'boss monster' feel I want.
  • Boosts are fun - ties mean something now.
  • Having someone play a character is a great way to find typos on their character sheet.
  • Creating the settlement H377 on the fly was great. Thanks Steven!
  • Watching a player new to FATE cook up their first aspect is fun. 
More information about the scenario after the jump. As always, drop me a line in the comments or @robowieland to discuss.

Friday, January 4, 2013

CAMELOT Trigger - A Run Through The Wyrmgates

The next draft is finishing completion. I thought I'd take this entry to talk about how the knights travel around our solar system.

The Wyrmgates are jumpgates built at each of the major inhabited planets in the system. They stretch from Mercury to Saturn, each a different color. They were built in the style of giant dragon heads. To travel through the gate a knight steps through the dragon's mouth into a strange dimension known as The Breach.

MerLN uploaded himself to the Wyrmgates as a measure to control access. As long as he is in control, MerGN-A can't use them. MerLN often speaks with knights during their time in The Breach, learning about humanity as best he can.

After the jump, let's about the planets in the setting. We're entering Spoiler Territory here, so if you want to save yourself for when the full draft hits, you make want to turn back now and skip out of the comments. Keep following my posts on Twitter @robowieland and on the Fate Core G+ community. Once again, thanks to everyone who has shown their love for the setting.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

CAMELOT Trigger - Armour Aspects?

The manuscript is currently working its way through rewrites and edits. One of the areas currently under debate is whether or not armour should have Aspects.

Currently, armour is built entirely of stunts. A few readers have expressed wanting a better connection with their armour though an aspect or two on the armour itself. I feel like once players get a chance to build armours and flavor systems, they will have a good connection.

I'm still leaning towards no Aspect on the armour. Between the five aspects of each character, scene aspects and the ones players drop by creating advantage, I'm afraid that any flavor created by the Aspect would get lost in the shuffle. Most players are going to have high concepts they can use in battle reliably. If a player wants an aspect like My Father's Armour, having that come up in the phase trio seems like the best place to do it.

What do you think?