Category Archives: RPG

Free D&D 5e Campaign Settings for Magic Fans

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For a while now Wizards of the Coast have been releasing free material for D&D 5th Edition based on the settings they created for Magic: The Gathering. In order to use these worlds you just need the free D&D Basic rules available from the official D&D site and perhaps a copy of the gorgeous “Art of …” artbooks containing artwork and background information on these settings.

Even back in the 90s when I first played Magic: The Gathering I thought it would be cool to be able to roleplay in the worlds hinted at on the cards. Sometimes an image or a quote summoned up whole worlds with strange artifacts, bold heroes and impressive magic.  And finally WotC has actually done just that and released free material for three of the Magic: The Gathering worlds: Innistrad, Zendikar, and Kaladesh.

Unfortunately finding anything on the WotC site is a chore, so I did the work for you and provide you with the direct links to the PDFs below, accompanied by a quote from the world descriptions.

  • Plane Shift: Innistrad
    image”On the plane of Innistrad, horrors stalk the shadows and scratch at doors in the night. Humanity is beset on all sides: vampires thirst for human blood, werewolves live for the thrill of the hunt, the restless spirits of the dead haunt the living, and no corpse is safe from reanimation at the hands of cruel necromancers or cunning scientists. Only their grim determination—and their staunch faith in the protection of their patron archangel, Avacyn—has allowed humans to survive in this nightmarish realm.
    The people of Innistrad are surrounded by monsters. Almost without exception, anything that is not human, whether it’s a rat or an angel, is a potential enemy. Even the traditional allies of humanity—from angels and gryffs to herons and hounds—are unreliable at best, as the madness that grips the angels seems to seep into every living thing. And at the same time, humanity’s age-old enemies grow ever more dangerous.”
  • Plane Shift: Zendikar
    image”Zendikar is a dangerous world of lethal risks and priceless rewards. From the perspective of its inhabitants, it is a hostile place that seems to be actively trying to kill any creature that has the audacity to live there. The danger is unrelenting. Precarious terrain, cunning predators, and natural disasters on a massive scale all present a constant challenge to survival— as do the unpredictable ripples of change that wash through the plane, known to its people as the Roil. Even the mana that suffuses the land is wild and hard to tame. It feels almost alive to those who wield it, and sometimes causes the land to manifest magical effects much like spells. Zendikar is a plane of deadly peril, but the denizens of that plane grow up strong and resilient, prepared for the dangers of the only world they know.”
  • Plane Shift: Kaladesh
    image”Kaladesh is a living work of art—a vibrant, beautiful plane where anything is possible. Optimism, innovation, and the spirit of creativity fuel an intoxicating renaissance of invention and artifice across Kaladesh. Its inhabitants frequently assert that “anything can be built,” and brilliant inventors seem to prove that saying every day. Clockwork automatons walk the streets, acting as servants and bodyguards, soldiers and sentries, mounts, and even pets. Soaring airships provide transport both within and between the cities and villages of the plane, and carry prospectors high into the sky to draw on limitless reserves of magical aether.”

The setting documents are meant for D&D 5th Edition, but I am pretty sure you can easily convert the material to older editions of D&D or simulacra thereof. Enjoy!

EN Publishing and the Worlds of 2000AD

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A couple of days ago I got an email by Angus Abranson with a press release from EN Publishing. It was about their acquisition of the 2000AD license for tabletop roleplaying games. Wow, that’s a big one. For one I didn’t know Angus was involved with EN Publishing and secondly this might push EN Publishing more into the limelight.

I have to admit that I never paid much attention to EN Publishing’s products. For the most time they were for the d20 System which I wasn’t that interested in at the time. Their W.O.I.N. (What Old Is New) System managed to intruige me, but unfortunately it felt a bit too rules-heavy for my tastes.

The 2000AD license obviously includes the rights to use all 2000AD properties including but not limited to the infamous Judge Dredd. This might also be the one franchise most international gamers are familiar with and most interested in. So it’s no surprise that the core rules will be written with Judge Dredd in mind and future supplements will allow you to run games in other 2000AD settings.

The Judge Dredd & The Worlds of 2000 AD Tabletop Adventure Game (wow, that’s a mouthful!) will be powered by EN Publishing’s W.O.I.N. rules, which is really no big surprise. Again, I wasn’t really thrilled about this particular rules system, but I might give it another chance if reviews of the Judge Dredd game are favorable.

Overall this is a very interesting development. Let’s just hope that EN Publishing has the means and the talent to do the worlds of 2000AD justice – but I am cautiously optimistic.

What are your thoughts on this? Have you ever tried the W.O.I.N. system? Are you intrigued by a new series of 2000AD-based pen & paper roleplaying games? Please share your thoughts below!

First Look: Kaigaku by Jacob Ross

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UPDATE: Kaigaku Premium Edition is now available in print from DriveThruRPG!

A while ago Jacob Ross contacted me and asked me if I was interested in reviewing his game Kaigaku. Kaigaku is a roleplaying game based on the Black Hack mechanics and set in a pseudo-Japan setting. From what I’ve seen so far, most Black Hack hacks are only a couple of pages long, but Kaigaku has actually 72 pages. What it sets apart from other games of this kind is the setting included in the book. If you want to experience adventures in a land inspired by feudal Japan and its myths, Kaigaku includes everything you need to delve right in.

Kaigaku, as the other Black Hack games, uses a very simplified version of the OD&D rules. If you’re familiar with any edition of D&D you should get into the rules pretty quickly, especially if you have played any other retroclone or D&D 5th Edition recently. Kaigaku (and I suppose other Black Hack games as well) even borrowed the IMHO ingenious Advantage & Disadvantage mechanics from D&D 5th Edition. Kaigaku also adds a Honor and Dishonor mechanic to the mix, which makes a lot of sense considering the setting. Continue reading First Look: Kaigaku by Jacob Ross