Category Archives: Tabletop

What’s Up With Arium? Actual Plays.

Hey all! Zorro: The Roleplaying Game is now available in digital format via DriveThruRPG. Did you know? A link, if you’re lazy like me: Zorro.


While the final bits of the Zorro project are in the publisher’s hands, I’ve turned my primary focus to Arium (my RPG passion project) over the past couple of months. Well, primary focus after time spent dealing with unforeseen work and life circumstance. And scavenging for toilet paper. You get the point.

Some good news: the Arium team is marching toward completion, and while that is in progress, we’ll be hosting a weekly actual play on the Adept Icarus YouTube channel. Swing on by if you’d like an idea of what we’ve been up to!

Watch Arium Actual Play Episode One!

RPG I Love You: Cold Shadows

WILL RAMBLES

Hey folks! It’s been a while. I’ve been avoiding writing “reviews” since I officially joined the indie publisher club. This is not an RPG Review (although I’ve had one queued up for Cold Shadows for a while). I’m doing a new thing I’ll call an RPG I Love You where I’ll point out games I love and the reasons I love them. Honestly, I’ve never reviewed an RPG I actively dislike… it’s not really how I roll. Maybe there’ll be some mention about the things I DON’T love in an RPG I Love You, but that’s not the focus. Oh, and one more thing, the rating system I’ve done in the past is gone. Kaput. Finito.

Now that we’re done with the meta stuff, let’s see if I can still do this…

Cold Shadows is one of the games whose Kickstarter ran while Gallant Knight Games was an imprint of Nocturnal Media. Sadly, the death of RPG industry legend and luminary Stewart Wieck of Nocturnal came before the final product delivered. As fans of role-playing games, we are all in debt to Stewart on a level similar to that of Gary Gygax and Greg Stafford and the other progenitors of our favorite hobby. Mr. Wieck’s contributions are multitude, and when he was at White Wolf, he changed the industry forever with the World of Darkness line of games.

This RPG I Love You is dedicated to Stewart.

ColdShadows

I LOVE YOU, COLD SHADOW

Today I’m looking back on the Kickstarter edition of Cold Shadows, the narrative Cold War spy roleplaying game by Gallant Knight Games.

Cold Shadows enables groups to tell John LeCarre-style spy stories full of tense scenarios where agencies are the greater whole and agents serve the agency’s purposes– mostly.

It’s based on the Blood and Honor ruleset by John Wick Presents. I’ve played that one as well, and I’d recommend it for groups looking to tell narrative samurai stories. If your tastes run more toward samurai noir during the industrialization of Japan, you should also check out World of Dew by Woerner’s Wonderworks. Ben Woerner was heavily involved in Cold Shadows as well.

This game, like its predecessors makes certain assumptions about both the group and the GM and their capability to narratively describe things on the fly. Additionally, its focus on Agency first and above all is not just lip service, it’s driven both mechanically and thematically throughout the game.

If your game group likes a realistic spy stories and a good roleplaying good challenge, you’re in the right place!


Size and Production Quality 

Very nice book with quality semigloss paper and good binding. It’s not the biggest RPG in my collection, but there is plenty of content between the core book and the additional goodies (Cities in Shadow and The Black Book). Probably approaching couple hundred pages total in digest size format. Additionally, the page layouts are very thematic and aesthetically pleasing.

Art

The cover art you seen. Interior art is mainly photographic and thematic. It fits the style well. I’m a big fan.

Content and Rules

The theme of the content is very nice, although it can be challenging to find what you’re looking for in the book. Luckily, it’s not huge, so a little page flipping won’t be too painful. As previously mentioned, the rules are based on Blood and Honor. It’s a roll and keep system I haven’t seen in any games besides this line.

The gist is this, you have a pool of D6s for a given task based on your character’s setup. You’re going to choose how many you want to roll to try to hit your target. The remainder you keep, and each one allows you to say true things about your success (provided you did succeed). It can be a lot of fun when the group gets into this.

There are also subsystems for all sorts of assets spies might have access to in and around their bases of operation. This is a lot of fun to peruse and set up.

Overall, I think the system is extremely cool, but I’ll also allow that it may require an adjustment period for some players. Dropping a group of murder hobos into Cold Shadows probably won’t lead to a satisfying experience.

GM Tools and/or Pre-made Adventure

There’s a ton here, and I’m sure to miss something. Between Cold Shadows, Cities in Shadow, and The Black Book, there is plenty of content and information to run a game set all over the world and in varying time periods. I won’t go too into depth, but I will say if you have a historical campaign based in this world, there’s a ton of good content here written by some very talented folks. For the game itself, there are lots of fully realized agencies and cities you can put on the “board” for your players to explore.


Final Thoughts

I’m happy I was a backer of Cold Shadows. I even had the opportunity to do a bit of writing for The Black Book. It’s an excellent game (the best spy game on my shelves, and yes, I have a few). I had a chance to play a short campaign run by one of my teammates at work. Super fun time.

If you’re having trouble finding a copy, Cold Shadows and its supplements can be found on DriveThruRPG.

TOR No More

I can’t write this without the feels.

The One Ring Roleplaying Game (and its 5e ruled companion, Adventures in Middle Earth) by Cubicle 7 are soon to be no more. TOR 2e was fast approaching, and is cancelled. We’ll never see the glorious Moria boxed set we were promised.

I am heartbroken. Some of you may remember the review I wrote for TOR. It’s one of my favorite games of all time. https://liamwrites.com/2018/01/10/rpg-review-the-one-ring/

This is all apparently due to some licensing dispute whose details remain wrapped in shadow. https://www.cubicle7games.com/unexpected-tor2-update/

The elves (Cubicle 7) are leaving Middle Earth.

It’s taken me nearly a full day to recover enough to react. Now it’s Thanksgiving in the US, so I’ll try to end on a positive note.

Everything TOR and AiME is on sale via the Cubicle 7 website at a steep discount, and this is the last chance to own it. The game line is fantastic, and I already own everything in it. Maybe you could too? https://www.cubicle7games.com/?s=The+One+Ring&post_type=product

The What and Why of Crowdfunding A Roleplaying Game

Crowdfunding is new in the grand scheme of things, and completely new to many of my family/friends. I’m going to do my best to explain it, and why spreading the word to anyone you know who likes roleplaying games (RPGs) can be a huge help in our Zorro campaign.

Zorro: The Roleplaying Game is crowdfunded on Kickstarter (we get the money we need to make the game from people who want to see it made) AND funded (we have the minimum amount of money we need to publish the book). This is great! People love both Zorro and RPGs!

However, we have quite a few additional things we’d like to add to our game book if we had a little more money for economies of scale (printing books is considerably cheaper the more copies you make and we are making a gorgeous full-color hardbound 200-page book).

These crowdfunding campaigns fail or succeed based on the interest of a few people who want to see them made. Right now we have about 500 people backing for an eBook or hardcover copy. Every additional person who backs puts us that much closer to our stretch goals.

So, what would help?
Spreading the word to anyone you know who likes RPGs.
Being patient with my continuing crowdfunding posts for a few more days until we are done with the Zorro Kickstarter campaign.

For those playing the home game, here is a nice link you can share!

It’s Alive! Zorro Kickstarter

Zorro: The Roleplaying Game Kickstarter
A swashbuckling and heroic roleplaying game using the
brand new West End Games D6 2nd Edition system!

I’ve been working with Alan Bahr and Gallant Knight Games on getting Zorro to Kickstarter for nearly a year. It’s there now. Thought I’d post here just in case anyone missed all my crazy blasting of every social media platform known to people on the planet earth.

In short:
I AM EXTREMELY EXCITED.
WE ARE FUNDED.
HAPPY DANCE.
EXCLAMATION POINTS.

Zorro funded on the first day, and we have TONS of awesome stretch goals lined up. If you know anyone who likes tabletop RPGs or Zorro, I’ll love you forever if you tell them about it. Who am I kidding? I’ll love you forever anyway. You’re wonderful people.

Here it is on Kickstarter.

Kickstarter – Zorro: The Roleplaying Game

Here’s the blog post I wrote about it, in case you missed it. Blogged – Zorro: the Roleplaying Game

Zorro: the Roleplaying Game

Hi friends! More announcements rolling in. Please bear with me. This is why I’ve been so quiet recently. I’ve been working on top secret stuff!

I’m a co-producer and writer for the upcoming Zorro: the Roleplaying Game by Gallant Knight Games. Zorro Kickstarts starting this Wednesday at 10AM Mountain. Expect my social media feeds to be full of Zorro news for a while. I APOLOGIZE FOR NOTHING. Bringing this spectacular game to life during the 100th anniversary of Zorro is a once-in-a-lifetime gig, and I’m gonna be talking about it. A lot.

Truth is, when Alan Bahr told me he was getting the rights to make a Zorro RPG, I was ecstatic for him and GKG, and I knew I had to work on the project. Zorro was the first true North American vigilante hero and one I’ve loved since I was a kid playing with stick swords in rural Oregon. My dad always loved old shows and movies of daring do, and we watched the greats together whenever we could tune in on our old console TV. It’s one of my favorite memories of him.

It’s a delight and an honor to be a part of bringing a complete Zorro RPG to the tabletop for the first time ever! I’m over the moon to be working with Gallant Knight Games and the fantastic team lined up for Zorro. I’m excited to up my participation in the game industry and learn from the experienced folks I’m getting to work with!

The Kickstarter is live now! Check it out!

Adept Icarus Launch

It’s been a spell. I’m not ignoring you, loyal readers. I’ve been busy working on something I think many of you will enjoy.

I launched an indie tabletop game company!

You can read more about the company and such at https://adepticarus.com and the press release of the launch is HERE.

For those who may be wondering what this means for liamwrites.com, I’ll lay it out plain and simple.

  1. I’m still going to post here. This is a place where I talk in my own voice and keep it pretty informal. You won’t see duplicate press releases from Adept Icarus.
  2. I won’t be writing “reviews” per se of products that compete directly with Adept Icarus. I’ll probably still gush about stuff I love. You can’t stop the love!
  3. I think that’s it? Please check out Adept Icarus, and watch for new game announcements in the coming months. We have quite a few things in development!

-Will