Hello gamers, Abstruse here with your latest news on the games you love to play. First, we have a review of ACCURSED, a SAVAGE WORLDS campaign setting from Melior Via. The short version: We did an awards show on my podcast , Gamer’s Tavern where I chose ACCURSED as Best Campaign Setting for 2013 (which I had to fight for because the host of my podcast, Ross Watson, also designed ACCURSED and didn’t want me to nominate it).
The guys at Melior Via quoted me on their Kickstarter when I looked over the playtest version of game and said, “It’s like you secretly slipped RAVENLOFT some PCP.” Months later with the final product, I can definitely stand by that statement. ACCURSED is an exploration into the classic tropes of the golden age of monsters, drawing inspiration from the best of the classics. Somehow, the guys managed to somehow take these icons and breathe new life into them without making them feel out of place.
ACCURSED takes place in the land of Morden, where the Grand Coven of Witches launched an invasion. They turned thousands of innocent people into their weapons, the Accursed. Your Witchmark changes you into a creature of the night. Now that the invasion has stalled, you’ve been abandoned and left with your curse. Your homeland rejects you because of your monstrous nature. The only group accepting of you is the Order of St. Vitus, also known as the Order of the Penitent, an organization sheltering Accursed and attempting to free the lands still occupied by the forces of darkness.
There’s eight different Witchbreeds you can choose from in this book, Dhampir (living vampires), Golems (your mind transferred to an artificial body), Mongrels (humans fused with animal parts), Mummies (reanimated corpses with a death mask), Ophidians (snake-men), Revenants (avenging turbo-zombies), Shades (ghosts), and Vargr (wolfmen). Each one is presented in a way that makes the monsters interesting and intriguing. Each Witchbreed also has two advancement paths; one where you reject the darkness inside you and try to gain your humanity back, and one where you revel in your curse and become the monster you were cursed to be.
While this is a setting for SAVAGE WORLDS and the rules are written for that system in mind (SAVAGE WORLDS rulebook), the setting is so rich and in-depth and the rules so clear even if you’re not that familiar with the system, you can easily use it just for the fluff and adapt it with a little tinkering to another system. Either way, this game is GORGEOUS. The production values are through the roof and every single dot of ink in this book adds to the flavor and tone of the setting. The art is just flat out amazing, and honestly it’s worth the price just to look at it. The short fiction in the book also fits perfectly. A lot of publishers go overboard with the fiction, adding so much it feels like padding. Not here, as the stories get to the point quickly and are spaced just enough that they overshadow the actual game information.
The guys behind ACCURSED have a lot of experience in the game industry and it shows. The book is the perfect campaign setting, giving you enough background to pique your imagination without giving so much detail that there’s no room for you to tell your stories. It’s just amazing on every level and I cannot recommend it highly enough. This is what the VAN HELSING movie wanted to be, a badass action-filled world with the classic 19th/early 20th century monsters imagined in a way that pays homage to their origins while bringing them to a new audience. If you’re a fan of dark fantasy, this is a must-have book.
Lots of D&D news this week. First, Wizards of the Coast released the newest Encounters season as a Drive Thru RPG exclusive. Continuing the story of The Sundering in Forgotten Realms, this season moves solely to the D&D Next playtest rules with no 3.5 of 4th Edition support. It helpfully includes the most recent version of the rules (the last set that came out in October 2013) so if you missed getting the rules before they closed the playtest, this is the only legal avenue to get in.
To further support D&D Next, WizKids announced they signed a deal with Wizards of the Coast to sell pre-painted plastic DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Miniatures. This is a great move in my opinion because it outsources something that might be too distracting to Wizards of the Coast. Every time they’ve done pre-paints, they tie it to another skirmish game with varying results.
Finally, a bit of amusing news. Apparently, one of the new DUNGEONS & DRAGONS audio books will be read by rapper-turned-actor Ice T, who had an interesting reaction to the world of fantasy roleplay in his podcast. While he called it “some of the most crazy, deep, deep nerd shit” and said “motherfuckers live in places that don’t even exist, and it comes with a map”, he seemed positive about the experience and his reaction seems to be more one of confusion and culture clash than nerd-bashing. “It’ll be a treat to watch me, with my South Central-educated ass, trying to read some Dungeons & Dragons shit.”
Bad news on the FIREFLY ROLE PLAYING GAME front. Due to delays in getting final approval from 20th Century Fox, they’re not going to hit their February 18th release date since they can’t send it to the printers until then. However, they’ve stated that the game will go straight to Drive Thru RPG with pre-orders getting their redemption codes immediately. Pre-orders of physical copies should receive theirs in late March, with retail stores getting theirs in April. As a tease, Margaret Weis Productions provided the current table of contents for the game, giving us a hint of what to expect from the game.
A story broke recently about very high-quality counterfeit MAGIC: THE GATHERING cards hitting the market. As someone who got out of MAGIC due to the high cost, this is reprehensible. If I spent a shitload of money on a rare card, I want to know that I’m getting the real thing and the market isn’t being saturated by fakes. I don’t know how this company is staying in business, but WotC isn’t taking this laying down. They were vague in their comments (as expected when legal matters are involved), but made it clear they’re working to shut these assholes down.
In something that might be of interest to an Ain’t It Cool News reader, CINELINX is a card game where you make connections in an attempt to match films, directors, actors, quotes, scenes, etc. to one another. The game starts with a random card, with each player having a hand of 10 cards. You take turns attempting to play a card that connects to one on the board, like Tom Hanks connects to APOLLO 13 which connects to Ron Howard which connects to A BEAUTIFUL MIND and so on. You can connect on any of the four sides of the card, creating a sprawl of different trivia. As a side note, this is one of the best laid-out Kickstarter pages I’ve seen in a long time. The game is well-presented and there’s a very clear guide to what rewards you get for what pledge levels, and on top of that, they’re incredibly transparent with where the money is going. The core set is available for $20, and you can get the Red Band expansion as well for $30 in this fully-funded Kickstarter running until February 15
I talked about HIGH HEAVENS back when the original Kickstarter launched, and now Ryan Lesser is Kickstarting the first expansion for this mythological tactical combat game. This game is very well designed with amazingly sculpted minis and, if you picked up the original HIGH HEAVEN, this is a no-brainer. You can get the expansion for $35 adding the Egyptian, Medusa, and Valkyrie expansions. If you want to get the core game, you can get that plus the Medusa and Valkyrie expansions for $90. And don’t worry if you already pledged for these expansions in the original Kickstarter, you’re getting those no matter what. This Kickstarter is funded and runs until February 23.
Finally, we have Modiphus Kickstarting the 3rd edition of MUTANT CHRONICLES. I’m sure I’m not the only one who remembers this dieselpunk RPG gracing the shelves of the local game store. This is a British Kickstarter, so exchange rates are in effect here. The Player’s Guide PDF is available for £10 (approx. $16), the Core Rulebook is £20 (approx. $32), and the core rulebook in print (including PDF copies of the player’s guide and core rulebook) for £40 (approx. $64). This project quickly funded and runs until March 9th.
That’s it for this week. We’ve got some fun stuff going on over at Gamer’s Tavern if you haven’t checked it out recently. There’s one big announcement up already with a second coming very, very soon (possibly by the time this post goes up). You can also reach me with any gaming related news at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow me on Twitter @Abstruse for more gaming news.