Category Archives: RPG

Some Thoughts on Technoir

Technoir, Jeremy Keller’s cyberpunk roleplaying game, was one of the first Kickstarter projects I supported back in 2011. The video he created to promote his game blew me away, and I was excited to get my grubby little hands on a modern cyberpunk game with easy to learn rules.

The Kickstarter was a moderate success (compared with the ones we saw later) with 622 backers pledging $24,255. This was almost 10 times the initial goal of mere $2500. During the Kickstarter several bonus goals had been unlocked including MechNoir (Mechas etc.), HexNoir (Magic) and MoreNoir (which was meant as a toolbox for GMs). Alas only MechNoir was released and the last official update on both the KS page and the official Technoir site is over 2 years old. Obviously the official support is dead.

Overall I don’t regret backing Technoir at all. The game itself has some interesting rules, the book looks good, and it’s the first game of its kind I’ve seen which focuses on story instead of combat, weapon stats and long lists of cyberware. Alas this can be seen as both a good and a bad thing. Technoir feels terribly generic. On the one hand that might be great if you have a strong setting in the back of your mind, but if you don’t, you’re basically on your own.

One of the plans I had when I finally got my hands on the book, was to run a Shadowrun game with it. But instead of creating some house rules for Shadowrun’s fantasy elements I waited for HexNoir instead – which never showed up. So Technoir ended up on one of my “looks-interesting-but-I-can’t-use-it-right-now” shelves.

I pretty much forgot about the game until recently. I’ve been playing in a Shadowrun 3rd Edition campaign which made me interested in all things cyberpunk again. So I checked the Technoir KS page for updates, only to notice that there are none. I still think that Technoir had and has a lot of promise but the lack of official support – please excuse my language – sucks!

First Impressions: Beyond The Wall

hodgson-coverYesterday evening I had the chance to create my first character for Beyond The Wall by Flatland Games. I have a digital copy of this fine game on my harddrive but alas I haven’t had the time to give it a closer look. So I was glad about being given the opportunity to actually play it.

Beyond The Wall is a very interesting D&D retro-clone which combines elements of old-school gaming with a couple of more recent ideas. The rules mechanics are clearly based on D&D, while character and setting creation reminded me of what I’ve seen in games like Apocalypse World or various Fate games.

You start creating characters by picking one of the available playbooks. I chose the Self-Taught Mage, which turned out to be a pretty cool choice. But the other playbooks are definitely as interesting. After that you can note down your starting stats. In my case, my character had an intelligence of 12 and all other attributes started at 8.

The next step is rolling on a table from the playbook which tells you something about your childhood. In my case I found out that my father was a stern but fair watchman. This also raised a couple of my character’s attributes. This step was done by every player at the table. The important part is that everyone in the group knows the story of the other players since the members of the group are meant to be childhood friends.

During character creation we slowly revealed more information about our characters’ backgrounds. Each step provided each character with more story details, improved their stats and provided them with skills, items, and spells. During several steps the players were allowed to add a place to the town map or write down an important person. All these information is later used by the GM to generate an adventure.

Continue reading First Impressions: Beyond The Wall

Freebie: Ultima X Odyssey Soundtrack

I love using music in my games. A well-chosen soundtrack can massively improve the atmosphere in most games. Especially horror roleplaying games benefit a lot from background music. So it’s no surprise I am always on the look-out for new music.

Recently while reading up on the canceled Ultima MMO called Ultima X Odyssey I’ve found out that the soundtrack had already been produced by the time the game development was stopped. And composer Chris Field was kind enough to provide the blog Video Game Music Daily with a copy they were allowed to share freely.

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The music is perfectly suited for any fantasy roleplaying game and most tracks can be played in the background without diverting too much attention from the actual game. There are a couple of more dramatic pieces which work well for combat scenes.

Chris Field has done a great job with the UXO soundtrack. Each track – there are 31 – is a pleasure listening to, even when you’re not gaming. Kudos to Mr. Field for sharing his music with us freely!

Check out Video Game Music Daily for more details and a download link.

Update: The FLAC version download link doesn’t work, but the MP3 version is still available. Click here to download the soundtrack.