The Christmas classic Santa Claus Conquers the Martians turns 50 years old this year. To celebrate, Berin Kinsman – who previously brought the Martians to Pathfinder – has created Santa Claus Conquers the Martians: The Roleplaying Game!

In an alternate dimension (my favorite kind!), the movie spun off a popular television show, and using the FATE system as an engine, SCCtM lets you play in that playground:

This roleplaying game is based on the expanded universe of that television series! Powered by the Fate Accelerated Edition rules, you can play a human, an elf, a Martian, a robot, or even Santa Claus himself! Battle the forces of Voldar’s rebellion! Oppose the secret agents of NYET, who think Santa has the key to winning the Space Race! Spread joy and good cheer to all of the good girls and boys, on Earth and Mars!

Find out more and pick up a copy at DriveThruRPG!

 

If the recently released Mad Max: Fury Road trailer has you jonesing to run a post-apocalyptish, car-combatesque RPG session, RPGNow has Colin Chapman’s Atomic Highway RPG and the Irradiated Freaks supplement for free.

You’re welcome.

It’s the last day of our 2013 calendar, and I and my family are getting ready to visit friends and play lots of games (as we often do to commemorate New Year’s Eve and Day). But there are still a few holiday RPG goodies in the bottom of this year’s bag, so let’s dig them out!

 

Adventure Seed – The Christmas Robbery is a plot seed for Mongoose’s Traveller RPG that features the characters, and factions surrounding a Christmastime bank heist – you supply the players, and the hooks to get them involved in the story. This adventure seed package is a Pay What You Want product, which means that you get to decide the price (But please be generous! It’s the holidays!)

Get The Christmas Robbery at DriveThruRPG.

Next up – It wouldn’t be Christmas without some Krampus, would it? Xion Studios brings our favorite holiday demon to the Mutants & Masterminds system with Acts of Villainy – The Krampus!

“Locked away in another dimension until the last month of every year, The Krampus has been set loose on the world yet again! Lock your doors and bar your windows, for he’s on the hunt for naughty boys and girls all around the world and has picked the heroes city for this year’s pickings! The Krampus, only in Acts of Villainy: Solo #53 and only only 99¢!”

Get your copy of Acts of Villainy – The Krampus at RPGNow.

 

Finally, there’s something for the kids! Yuletide Journey is an adventure for Hero Kids, an excellent introductory RPGs for young people. In this adventure, the kids must bring a tribute to Father Odin to regain his favor, and to keep the sun’s light from fading. This package includes character cards, maps, and paper miniatures for the heroes and their adversaries.

Get your copy of Yuletide Journey at DriveThruRPG.

 

And that does it for this year’s 1d12 Days of Christmas! I hope everyone had a great 2013, and here’s hoping that 2014 will be filled of all new adventures!

Teratic Tome is a retro-styled monster manual compatible with OSRIC and other old-school fantasy role-playing games. The cover and interior have been designed to capture the look and feel of some of the classic AD&D hardcover books of the early to mid-80s – the fonts, organization, and colors are all there, and a dead tree copy of this tome would fit right in next to the original orange-spined core books.

The monsters within are truly monstrous, not just big and hairy, and could easily cover a shift to let one of Clive Barker’s Cenobites have a day off. There seems to be a strong theme of creatures that seek out specific victims – the Acronical, for example, is an insectile beast created by ancient priests to find and destroy those who have been unfaithful to their spouses, as well as any who have aided and abetted such activity. The Epexiant is a tentacled serpent who seeks out those who are so wracked with grief that they do not wish to carry on with their lives. (What it does when it finds one, I won’t go into.) And these are not even entries from the demon or devil sections!

These are not monsters for a cheerful, fairy-taleish dungeon crawl. The dragons feature a list of horrific events that occur to herald their approach – unnatural weather, animal slaughter, and much worse. The halflings keep hell hounds as pets, and torture their captives for entertainment. If you’ve been looking for a bestiary to flesh out a Lovecraftian mythos styled fantasy campaign, I think you need look no further.

The artwork is superb, and other than a few typos and a section where some paragraphs were repeated, the layout and content is excellent. It’s difficult to read most of the entries without getting ideas about how to work them into a game, even as you’re shuddering at the thought. And that’s really where Teratic Tome shines – the attention to the details and motivations of the creatures really brings them off of the page.

As a side note – there’s an interesting twist on the way treasure is handled that would be worth using in most of your OSR games, even if you don’t get a lot of use out of the monsters.

Because I review a lot of RPG products with young people in mind, I feel obligated to say that these are NOT monsters to put into a campaign that you’re going to run for your kids. Please don’t. Save these for the grownups. And only the grownups with strong stomachs. Please.

My two gripes: The beautiful retro-styled cover isn’t a part of the PDF, and I think reading the monster entries before bed every night for the last few days may have given me nightmares. And some plot ideas. Okay, make that one gripe. (EDIT: Rafael informs me that the cover is now part of the PDF, so I am out of gripes.)

Check out Teratic Tome at DriveThruRPG

Well the holiday season is mostly over – but I’ve spotted a couple of leftover goodies at the bottom of the ol’ bag of holding! Let’s drag them out and see what we’ve got.

– Floor tiles and fantasy buildings: Courtesy of Billiam Babble (who himself creates some excellent floor tiles of his own that are not all free but well worth what he’s charging) is a link to the Black Ronin Roleplaying Games website, which has a bunch of free dungeon floortiles, sci-fi floor tiles, and fantasy wargame buildings that are yours for a click.  If you like what you see and get some use out of it, consider buying some of their other products (only two are available at present – river tiles and street tiles – and they are very reasonably priced) and keeping an eye on them for upcoming releases.

Character development: Someone on Google+ asked about tables that you can use to build backstory and life events for characters, and I mentioned the  Central Casting books which usually provide some very crazy results, but are a goldmine for ideas. While searching for a link for more info, I discovered that all three books in the series are available (legally) for free on scribd – Heroes of Legend, Heroes Now!, and Heroes for Tomorrow. You can read each online or download them as TXT or PDF files. Start rolling on tables and making notes the way Jacquays intended, or just leaf through them and see what catches your eye – either way, you’ll get a more colorful, interesting character in the end. (EDIT: My friend Marques asked if Central Casting: Dungeons was also available, and it is! I didn’t even know that one existed, and it looks like a pretty neat supplement for fleshing out a dungeon crawl. Grab it, too!)  (Sorry guys, looks like these aren’t legal after all. My apologies to the authors and publishers.)

– Lastly, there’s this marvelous thing – Dave’s Mapper, a widget that spits out random hand-drawn dungeons. You can make a dungeon from a mix of different artists, or narrow it down to a few or even just one, then export the result to PNG to print out and stock with monsters, traps, and treasure. It’s a lot of fun to play with.

Enjoy, and I’ll be back soon to talk about this year’s New Year, New Game project!

The family and I are leaving in a few hours to visit with friends over New Year’s Eve and Day, but I still have a few Christmas goodies to share with you – so I guess I’ll have to cram them all into one final post.

First up is Book of Beasts: War on Yuletide from Jon Brazer Enterprises. This is a short bestiary of very silly Pathfinder compatible holiday themed monsters. You get the Aberrant Fruitcake, Clockwork Nutcracker, Gingerbread Golem, Eggnog Pudding, Dreidel Swarm, and four others in this collection.

As silly as they are, each entry is given a bit of background info that is well written, and will make it a bit easier for you to find a place for these creatures in your campaign. Just be sure to expect some eye-rolling from your players once they figure out what they’re fighting next. Get your copy at RPGNow.

 

 

Next is another freebie from Spectrum Games – this time in the superhero vein. Christmas Comes But Once A Year is a mini-supplement for the Capes, Cowls and Villains Foul RPG, detailing Holly Daye, a supervillain who wants to take Christmas into her own hands. Driven by her superpower – a radar ability that can tell her who is naughty and who is nice – Holly has been known to steal presents and replace them with coal, destroy Christmas displays, and has a distinct hatred for anyone trying to impersonate the One True Santa!

This mini-supplement is mostly character lore, so it would be very easy to convert Holly to any superhero RPG that you prefer. Get your free copy at RPGNow.

 

 

 

 

Finally, there’s Winter’s Majesty, a collection of evocative background music for your winter-themed RPGs. The music here is clear and shining, hopeful and spooky, all at once. Most of the material is original, with two exceptions – “Scarborough Fair” and “We Three Kings,” and the majority of the music is instrumental, making it a good fit for non-obtrusive background music. (The DTRPG copy protection appears after a delay at the end of every track, so you may want to have a hand on the “Next” button to prevent it from breaking the mood).

Get your copy of Winter’s Majesty at RPGNow.

And that does it for this year’s 1d12 Days of Christmas! I hope everyone has been enjoying the holiday season, and I wish us all a prosperous and adventure-filled 2013!

Looks like I let a few days slide by whilst preparing for Christmas festivities in the Walton household. Sorry about that, kids. To make up for it, here is a double dose of Krampus freebie goodness!

  • First up is Krampus Race, a mini holiday boardgame you can play with the whole family! Sure, it pretty much has all of the strategical opportunities of Candyland (or Driedel, for that matter), but who can resist a game where you’re snatching up naughty children to punish? Get your copy at DriveThruRPG.
  • Next is The Shadow of Krampus, a supplement for the excellent Macabre Tales horror RPG. For those who aren’t aware, Macabre Tales is a Lovecraftian horror RPG for one player and a GM that uses dominoes for task resolution (read my review here). This mini supplement puts Krampus in a Lovecraftian context, stats him up for MT, and has a handful of ideas for bringing our furry friend into your game. A great little supplement that you can use in any horror game, not just Macabre Tales. Get your copy at DriveThruRPG.

 

That’s all for now! Remember to be good, or you might hear some cloven hooves on your doorstep this Christmas Eve!