Inkarnate Entertainment Team Interview

If you’re like me, your love for RPGs goes hand in hand with a love for maps. From the first time I read The Hobbit and the Dragonlance series, to when I first opened the original Forgotten Realms boxed set, I’ve been obsessed with maps. My long running homebrewed campaign actually began with a crude map I drew and has grown from there. Through the years I’ve created maps various ways, hand drawn, electronic tools, old school hex maps, but the search for tools to create maps with never ends.

That’s how I came to discover Inkarnate Worlds. Some months ago someone shared their webpage on Facebook and when I gave it a try I was really impressed. They describe their tools on their Facebook page as follows: Inkarnate is a web app with a video-game-like interface that makes Table Top RPGs easier to play, and more fun.” Their current tool, Worlds, allows you to create truly beautiful maps through a really intuitive and easy to use interface. You can create a free account and begin creating your maps, saving them on their site, I’m really impressed!

A little googling allowed me to find out they began this journey through an unsuccessful Kickstarter Campaign, and despite that obstacle, they soldiered on and currently have this tool available. I sent the team a message and they were kind enough to answer my questions… Then I sat on this interview almost two months! Let me publicly apologize to them.

If you follow me on social media you may be aware that I underwent surgery in early October, then three family members have been sick, two hospitalized more than once. Times have been hectic to say the least, but they seem to be calming down. I’ve recuperated, the family members are doing better, and I owe it to these gentlemen to finally publish the interview. Here we go!

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Kickstarter: Mindjammer – The Roleplaying Game

Sarah Newton’s Mindjammer is one of my favorite roleplaying game settings. It’s one of the few transhumanist SF settings which I can wrap my head around. One reason is probably that Sarah’s novel “Mindjammer” is a perfect introduction to this far future world, and a perfect example of how a modern SF novel should be: exciting, cinematic, but also thought-provoking.

The Mindjammer Roleplaying Game, a hardcover book with the full Fate Core rules included, has been out for quite a while now, but Sarah has a lot of exciting ideas for the setting. So she recently started a new Kickstarter which is not only meant to help her fund the release of her latest adventure “The City People” in full-color softback but also as a way to fund future supplement, adventures way into 2016 and beyond.

Within a short few hours the Kickstarter project was funded and eventually reached over 11,000 £ (more than double the initial goal). Stretchgoals include (but are not limited to) a new Mindjammer short stories, maps and handouts for “The City People”, a Mindjammer Player’s Guide, a Mindjammer companion, and even a rulebook that allows you to play in Sarah’s universe using Traveller rules!

If you love Sarah’s work as much as I do, you should definitely give the Kickstarter a look!

Is Anyone Still Playing Alternity?

TSR’s Alternity Roleplaying Game is one of my favorite games which I never actually played. It’s a generic science fiction roleplaying game which has some interesting mechanics, is somewhat related to AD&D, and powered a couple of interesting settings. If you want to learn more about this out-of-print game, I can recommend checking out AlternityRPG.net or Shaun Welsh’s review here on the blog.

So why am I writing about a rather obscure and out-of-print roleplaýing game today? I guess I am in a somewhat nostalgic mood and I am always thinking about this great SF campaign I want to run someday. When it comes to systems I could use for that project, Alternity is pretty high on my list.

The majority of games I enjoy are rather rules-light but Alternity is an exception. I guess you could call it rules-medium, especially if you add in all the optional subsystems like FX (supernatural abilities like magic etc.), psionics, space combat and so on. In Alternity every weapon causes different damage according to the degree of success of the attack roll, and armor has different armor values for each type of damage (low impact, high impact, energy). For some this might be a tad too fiddly, but I think it fits the genre nicely.

The skill system is also quite intersting with broad skills (think of skill categories) which can only be bought once (and will not be improved afterwards) and speciality skills which allow the characters to specialize within these broad fields. Again this is a bit more complex than my usual fare, but it fits the scifi genre perfectly, especially if you’re favoring realism.

For several reasons Alternity never was a huge success. It had been released at a time when WotC had already been bought by WotC (or shortly before that) and WotC obviously favored a 3rd Edition of D&D over continued support for Alternity. At least some of the elements from Alternity made a reappearance in WotC’s d20 Modern line. Sometimes I wish they would at least make the Alternity books available in PDF form, as they’ve done with older editions of D&D. But I doubt that will happen anytime soon.

Since I am thinking about using Alternity as the rule system for a campaign I want to run in the future, I am interested in your thoughts on the system. Is anyone still playing Alternity? Has the system worked for you so far, or do you houserule a lot? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

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