Tuesday, November 3, 2009

We join the revolution!!!

Power to the People!  The proletariat gaming masses will rise up with one voice and overthrow the shackles of the bourgeoisie opressors who only allow us limited gaming possibilities with no innovation.  WE WILL BE FREE!

um..oops.  Sorry about that.  I got caught up in the power of the revolution.  Not a revolution for politics, or civil rights or anything like that. I'm caught up in an Indie Press Revolution.  If the internet has been a blessing for game manufacturers, it's been a godsend to small press publishers.   In the past, the biggest hurdle to small press RPG's was simply getting the word out.  That's much less of a problem now. (not that a whole bunch of NEW problems have cropped up in their place).

Many people scoff at Indie RPG's.  They seem to think that if the RPG doesn't have a huge marketing campaign, some great IP that they're based off of, or 'conventional' mechanics then it should be avoided.  I really do feel sorry for these people because if you really want to push the envelope and see what's really possible with RPG's then indies are the way to go.   The authors of these games, in order to stand out against the mass market pablum, have to be VERY innovative.  Usually they take some niche, or single concept, and hammer it into an iron hard concept.   I've seen games that use Roulette wheels for resolution, (Fastlane) and one horror game (Dread), uses a Jenga block to simulate the growing horror that a horror RPG SHOULD have. (I've yet to really see horror coveyed properly, with the exception of two RPG's that i've been in.. both were Deadlands game...but I digress).   These games aren't your standard ones, and you will have to accept that some of the conventions you're used to are not only thrown out the window.. they're weighted down with cement blocks and dumped off of a pier without so much as a "badda bing..badda boom".

Today I pulled the trigger on ordering a number of games from Indie Press Revolution.  IPR is a distributor of small press RPG's, and being the awesome folks they are, they also sell to retailers. I've gone through their lists, and picked out some of the ones that look the most intriguing and have them on their way.  With any luck, they'll be here by the end of the week.

There's actually a good amount of risk involved with this.  The RPG market is not strong.  It's not even mediocre.  It pretty much sucks right now.  Sales have consistently been dropping for years.  ICv2, one of the industry watchers, published some figures that would seem to indicate that the RPG market has shed about 50% of it's sales in the past 7 years. Ouch.   My sales haven't been THAT drastic, but RPG sales have certainly been flogging for some time now.  4th ED hasn't sold to the levels that 3.5 did, and aside from a few titles, the entire industry is in a bit of stagnation here and there, punctuated by a few little bright spots.   There's a good part of my business sense that argued hard against bringing these in, but in the end, while I don't think that sales of these Indie RPG's are going to catapult me to new heights, it brings in something new and fresh that we haven't had in a good while. 

So, even if you don't want to pick up a pitchfork and join in with the revolution, check out some of the new titles that we're bringing in.  You might be pleasantly surprised at how much fun you can have from a game you might never have heard of.

Spirit of the Century is a complete, stand-alone pulp role-playing game based on the award-winning Fate system (Indie RPG Awards include: Best Free Game of 2003, Best Support, and Andy's Choice). Spirit features a heavily revised, revisited, and reimagined vision of Fate. Character creation can be done as quickly as a few minutes, or expand to take up an evening; adventure design is a snap with three methods for creating relevant, flavorful, player-focused stories at a moment's notice. Spirit's mission is to deliver an evening of fun, a "pick-up" game that requires little preparation, but provides hours of entertainment.

Trail of Cthulhu is a complete game of investigative horror set in the 1930s based on the work of HP Lovecraft. The game uses an adpated and enlarged version of GUMSHOE system which offers a laser-like focus on investigation, with characters driven to explore and investigate, even at the expense of their own health and sanity.


Agon - Agon is an action-packed roleplaying game about ancient Greek heroes who face brutal tests from the gods. With bravery, cunning, honor, and strength, one hero will prove to be the greatest and secure immortality in legend. Agon supports fast-paced, competitive play, with mechanics designed to create an even playing field for players and the game master. Oath-swearing and trash-talking are highly encouraged.

Esoterrorists - You are elite investigators combating the plots of the Esoterrorists, a loose affiliation of occult terrorists intent on tearing the fabric of the world. The Esoterrorists introduces the GUMSHOE rules system, which revolutionizes investigative scenarios by ensuring that players are never deprived of the crucial clues they need to move the story forward.

Thousand Suns - Strap on your blaster pistol, grab your space suit, and get ready to journey into the future as imagined by the greatest writers of the Golden Age of Science Fiction. Thousand Suns is a science fiction roleplaying game that includes all the rules needed to play. In addition, it describes the Thousand Suns setting, detailing its worlds, alien races, and conflicts. The setting provides not only lots of detail but plenty of options as well, allowing Game Masters to tailor it to suit their needs. Everything from world building to starship combat to alien species creation is here, so that nothing stands in way of creating the ultimate science fiction adventure.

1001 Nights - Mysterious strangers. Beautiful women. Enchanted swords. Talking camels. You play members of the Sultan's Court, whiling away the sultry nights by telling pointed stories to advance your own ambitions. Navigate the social maze and you could win your heart's desire; offend the wrong person and you suffer the Sultan's wrath.

The Arsenal of Heaven - You had normal lives before you were Armed. Now you are plunged into a world of shape-twisted monsters who feed on suffering, sorcerers pursuing forbidden power, crimelords and secret government projects. But that’s okay. You’ve got two things going for you: determination, and the Weapons of the gods. Time to introduce them to the monkey king’s staff, the thunderer’s hammer, the messenger’s sandals, the devil-slaying sword...   'The Arsenal of Heaven' is a roleplaying game of modern supernatural fantasy, based around the short and simple NUGGET rules.

 Reign - A fantasy game of dominion and leadership. Using the One Roll Engine popularized by GODLIKE and WILD TALENTS, this fantasy game puts the characters in the roles of monarchs, generals, ideologues and leaders of movements. In addition to the individual level of personal heroism and infamy, REIGN adds rules to roll the fortunes of churches, great families, conspiracies and kingdoms. History turns on your actions. How will you reign?

A Dirty World - A roleplaying game of angry decisions, ugly ethics, and black city streets. A game of film noir. "A Dirty World" rethinks the One Roll Engine to focus relentlessly on character. Hard-boiled private eyes, dirty cops and femmes fatale make their hard choices and hide their grubby secrets. "A Dirty World" features... * A unified conflict mechanic, where gunfights, duels of deceit and emotional blackmail not only work the same way, but fuse seamlessly. * "Swift Justice" character development. Instead of tracking and spending points, your character's abilities improve in direct reaction to the game's events. * One-Roll Mysteries, a mechanic to spit out intricate plots with one throw of the dice. * Rules that don't merely support drama, they are drama. Only meaningful choices push your character forward. There is no easy way, by definition.

Montsegur 1244 - Do you renounce your heretic beliefs and do you wish to receive the forgiveness of the merciful Father? In March 1244 this question was posed to several hundred Cathars. They had surrendered to the army that had besieged the castle of Montsegur for more than nine months. More than two hundred answered no, and thereby chose death by fire. Who were these people that chose to die for their belief? In Montsegur 1244 the players collaborate to create a story about who these people were. Each player takes on the role of one of the besieged Cathars who will face the choice between life and faith.

 Mist-Robed Gate - There are some things that we value more than life. There are things we're willing to scheme and cry and fight and die for.That's what wuxia cinema is about;fighting and dying for the things we care about. That's what Mist-Robed Gate is about. Presented by Shreyas Sampat and Two Scooters Press, Mist-Robed Gate gives you all the tools and references to fill an evening with martial-arts drama, including a game system, an extensive filmography, and a collection of recipes so you can cook your own kung-fu feast.

Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies - Enter the world of Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies (S7S), the latest game from Chad Underkoffler featuring the PDQ system! In S7S you'll find a richly detailed setting of sky-ships, piracy, intrigue, mysticism, musketeers, and more, whether you're sailing through the haunted Ghost Sky, battling pirates from the inconstant isle of Ilwuz, intriguing in the Spider Empress' court of Barathi, or chasing thieves across the rooftops of Agua Azul.


 Colonial Gothic - All have read about the founding of America. This history shows what led to the American Revolution and the cry for independence. The history is clear, and there is no real dispute over these events. Or is there? There is a secret history, and this history deals with events that took place in the shadows. These events played a role in the history of the American colonies and the Revolution that few know about. The truth is hidden, and plots are afoot. Events are moving behind the scenes, and lurking in the shadows are agents with their own agenda. War is coming. The Siege of Boston is lifted, and General Washington is leading the Continental Army to New York. The enemies are many, but as to who they are, you do not know. Newly revised and expanded, this edition of Colonial Gothic builds upon what has come before and also presents new options and guidelines for running a supernatural historical horror roleplaying game set during the dawn of the American Revolution. Colonial Gothic is a supernatural historical horror roleplaying game set during the dawn of the American Revolution.


  1. Awesome! I can't wait to check these out! Mist Robed Gate is incredibily intriguing...