All posts by Stargazer

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team.

In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games.

Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

There will be an Expanse RPG

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A while ago, I was wondering why there was no roleplaying game based on Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham’s The Expanse book series which was recently turned into a successful TV series. What a lot of people don’t know is that the setting was initially designed as the background for a MMO and later was run as a roleplaying game by Ty Franck.

From what I could find out he actually used d20 Modern (and probably d20 Future) and the game was run on a forum. The protagonists of the series are based on the characters Ty Franck’s players played in that game.

As it now turns out, Green Ronin has successfully secured the license for the Expanse RPG and will release the game in 2018. The game will be powered by Green Ronin’s AGE system, which is among my favorite game systems right now. But what I am really hoping for are lots of background information. The Expanse not only shines because of its story and characters but also because of the highly exciting and detailed setting.

When Green Ronin’s Chris Pramas hinted at an exciting announcement for today, I was actually hoping for an AGE-powered Mass Effect RPG (which will probably never see the light of day), but a game based on The Expanse may be even better!

I might not be done with Fate after all

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About a year ago, I wrote a post about how I decided Fate was not for me. I’ve struggled with the game for quite some time, loving it on the one hand and having trouble really getting it on the other hand. So in last July I decided it wasn’t worth my time wasting it on that struggle anymore.

Now a year later, I’ve changed my mind. In the midst of my self-chosen GMing hiatus, I am eager to make a break to give Fate another chance. I have hand-picked a few players, who are open to giving it a try. Instead of going into it totally unprepared, this time I plan to do some more research first. I have started by watching a couple of actual play videos to get a better feel for how other people play Fate.

There’s a lot about Fate I love: the skill system, stress and consequences, the way how advancement is handled. Aspects sometimes still give me headaches and some of the more meta aspects (no pun intended) of the mechanics are sometimes hard to swallow for me. But I am not willing to give up that easily.

Instead of using a setting of my own design, or adapting something from a book, movie, or TV series, this time I plan to use one of the official Fate Core settings from Evil Hat. I am especially tempted to run either Dresden Files Accelerated or Atomic Robo. It might be a one-shot adventure or a short campaign with only a couple of sessions, but a longer campaign is definitely off the table.

It’s meant as an experiment to me. I am trying to see if I can get Fate to work for me, and I want to see if I am ready to take on the GM’s mantle again. If this works out fine, I might ask the same players to try a couple other indie games with me, particularly some PbtA games, HeroQuest 2nd Edition and perhaps Other Worlds. These are all games I am very interested in, but which I want to try with a smaller, more dedicated group first. Wish us luck!

First Look: The Frontier by One Dwarf Army

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imageDo you like science fiction? Guns? Action? Games like Borderlands or Destiny? The d20 System? Then The Frontier may be for you. The Frontier by One Dwarf Army is a no-frills 90-paged pen & paper roleplaying game core book inspired by the aforementioned computer games and based on a simplified d20 System which should also appeal to old-school fans. Disclaimer: This first look is based on a complementary copy provided by the author. Thanks again, George.

The Frontier is definitely not a very beautiful book. It lacks artwork and has a very simple design. But what it lacks in frills it makes up in sheer badassery. The setting is the far-away world of Prometheus, a planet mostly covered in land and rife with opportunities and people to shoot.

imageThe system has a mixed OSR/d20 System heritage and is very easy to pick up and play if you know anything remotely D&D-related. The classes offered are The Commando, The Shadow, The Wirehead, and The Telepath. The Commando is more or less your standard soldier, while the Shadow is a more roguish type. The Wirehead uses various programs that can even affect their enviroment, while the Telepath has a slew of psychic abilities. Most abilities are combat-based, which is not surprising given the material which inspired The Frontier. I’ve included one of the Wirehead’s programs to the right as an example.

imageThe Gear chapter is definitely where The Frontier shines. There are various kinds of armor, from simple Common Armor to more special suits of armor, like the Asclepius armor, which can heal its user, or the Behemoth, which also protects against various kinds of enviromental damage. The weapon list is not any less impressive. You get stats for everything from a knive to a bazooka. There are of course also special weapons like the Alchemist, which is a shotgun which also causes Acid damage. Fun stuff!

The book also has an extensive section on Enemies which include bandits, mechs, mercenaries and exotic beasts common to Prometheus. The book concludes with an introductionary adventure. Unfortunately there’s no index, but the Table of Contents are fully bookmarked.

Overall The Frontier is an enjoyable read and I am sure its fun to play. The setting is nothing special, but should work great as a backdrop for a short campaign. The game doesn’t look much because of the lack of artwork and simple design, but it rules are solid, and you can easily see that it was a work of love. If you can look beyond the presentation you’re getting a fun little game that should be right up your alley if you enjoy games like the Borderlands series.

The Frontier is avaliabe digitally on RPGNow for the low price of $4.99.