Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pathfinder 65: Into the nightmare rift

Every now and then Pathfinder Adventure Paths crossover with the Cthulhu Mythos (in fact it feels as though it happens frequently enough that it is nice to see a series where it doesn't happen). Shattered Star does that in this issue with a journey to the Plains of Leng.

Now I'm not sure the Mythos works for me when you are meant to be hacking through it with a plus two sword of smiting so mileage is definitely going to vary here. What does work for me is the initial camp of giants who are excavating an tower buried in an ancient lava flow and the blue dragon who forms the boss villain of the adventure.

There are two interesting opportunities for alliances: a rebel fire giant and a drow seeking to become a vampire. Both are interesting ideas for non-good/lawful characters and I like the idea that both might survive to recur later in a campaign.

Overall though this is a bit meh. The parts are more interesting that the sum and I remain unconvinced that heroic fantasy and Cthulhu really mix well.

Friday, January 11, 2013

S/Lay with me

A bit of an oldie but I wanted to get a copy as part of my two-player games binge last year.

The game oozes a pulpy-fantasy atmosphere and deals with three characters: the hero, the monster and the lover. One player takes the role of the hero and the other acts on behalf of the lover to tempt and woo the hero and as the monster to threaten and hurt the hero.

The game is supplied as a black and white booklet (genuinely old-school) but my copy seems to have a few font issues judge from some sans heading with dodgy kerning.

Like Beasthunters the game is designed for at least two playthroughs per session with the players alternating roles.

The rules seem pretty interesting with more emphasis being given to the key decisions the hero has to make about how they choose to deal with the Monster and the Lover. This implies that good play as the Monster/Lover is about understanding what the other player finds interesting and playing on that.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Anticipating 2013

Interestingly enough all my anticipated games for the next year are the physical versions of games that were Kickstarted in 2012. I think this is ample evidence of the way that crowdfunding is changing the dynamics in roleplaying publishing; in theory a publisher never needs to take a punt on something or over-order a print run again.

Pelegrane are producing two of the games Hillfolk and 13th Age. PDF versions of the rules are already available but they are dense and a little inaccessible for me (as they seem to be focussed on the print rather than the screen representation of the text). I think I am going to prefer the print versions.

The other is Numenera by Monte Cook which is in some kind of closed/open playtest at the moment. However I did enjoy Cook's Ptolus and I liked the science-fantasy pitch so I am pretty confident that I am going to like the results this time round.

Other than that the things I enjoyed most this year were mostly indie and were recommended by fellow gamers. I am expecting that what I enjoy most in 2013 is going to be the same, things that I don't know about yet that one of my fellow gamers is going to advocate (or maybe even write).