Teach Your Kids To Game – Day 2

Today we give you not one game to teach your kids but we point you towards a publisher who is producing fantastic quality roleplaying games that are suitable for all ages and particularly for the family group.  Today in the second of our Publisher Spotlight series we are pleased to feature Beyond Belief Games.

Simon Washbourne runs Beyond Belief Games, and they started publishing role-playing games in 2003, with their first title Lashings of Ginger Beer (more of which later).  Since then, Beyond Belief Games has become known for producing well-received role playing games, largely in the traditional (old school) style, that often combine unusual subject matter with good value.  Beyond Belief Games sells it’s products predominantly via DriveThruRPG and its sister sites and as well as through LULU.COM providing a good quality print on demand publishing service.

Barbariasn Of LemuriaBeyond Belief Games are probably best known for the highly successful “Barbarians of Lemuria” a fantastic swords and sorcery game, which for me really is one of the best in the genre.  I have used it in the past to run games based on the Brian Lumley tales of Tarra Khash the Hrossak barbarian and other stories set in the Primal Land (possibly not child friendly the way I ran it) – and to be honest, Swords and Sorcery in a Barbarian world, (think Conan or Kull the Conqueror), may not be suitable for children of all ages, but for those that are old enough it is a simple and engaging game and the Lemuria setting gives you everything you could want.  Due to it’s success Barbarians of Lemuria, along with a number of other titles, has now gone into general distribution in a deal between Beyond Belief Games and Cubicle 7 publishers of The Laundry RPG and the Dr. Who Adventure Game.

Beyond Belief Games have much more than Barbarians of Lemuria to offer though, and for a great family game you really could do much worse than take a look at Woodland Warriors.

Woodland Warriors is a fantastic little role playing game suitable for kids and adults alike.Woodland Warriors It uses the popular Swords & Wizardry Core mechanics. Fans of any animal-based fiction, (especially things like Brian Jacques “Redwall” novels), or cartoon movies will love this game.  The setting is the Alder Vale, Stonewell Abbey is a place of learning for the Kind and Murkenhill Fort is a bastion against evil.  Players take the role of Mice, Moles, Hedgehogs, Squirrels and Badgers, who must protect their homes against the Verminous Rats and Weasels that pour down from the Murkenhills, intent on pillage and plunder.  Danger and adventure awaits – will your Woodland Warriors be brave enough to put their swords to the defence of The Alder Vale?

Woodland Warriors is available for pocket money prices, only $5.00 for the 115-page pdf from DriveThruRPG or as a print on demand title from LULU.COM for just $12.00.  There are also two supplements for Woodland Warriors, again both available as pdf downloads from DriveThruRPG or as print on demand titles from LULU.COM

Greyrock Isle & Out WestGreyrock Isle is a mini-campaign setting and sourcebook. With new classes and new woodland creatures the Otters and Hares for your players to choose from. It introduces a once idyllic island setting that has been overrun by the evil Vorstang and his minions.

Woodland Warriors: Out West, this introduces a whole new genre and setting for players – the days of the Wild West.  Raccoon cardsharps, prairie dog braves, badger rowdies and mouse gunslingers all mixed together in the lawless gold-hungry Golden Valley.  Included are simple rules for guns, a gorgeous map by Gill Pearce and details of the towns and characters of Golden Valley.

All of the above games are great value, beautifully thought through and well presented, but there is still plenty more to be had at Beyond Belief Games, to get a taste of their work there are a number of free downloads which I would urge you to look at, not least of which is Lashings Of Ginger Beer, a game about nosey schoolchildren investigating real or imagined crimes in Idyllic England. You just need to think of the Famous Five, Secret Seven or maybe even Just William and his gang the Outlaws.  You can download the complete Lashings Of Ginger Beer RPG for free here.

In addition “Tombs & Terrors” – Classic Old School roleplaying, “Go Fer Yer Gun” – a simple but effective western game, and “Medieval Mysteries” – historical sleuthing,(think of Ellis Peters Cadfael novels or Susanna Gregory’s Thomas Challoner and Mathew Bartholemew stories).  All of these use a simplified version of the WoTC OGL system and are easy to pick up and play.

In summary, Beyond Belief Games produce some fantastic games, any of which would be great things to play with your children.  Although our recommendation for today has to be Woodland Warriors.

Ia! F’tagn!


Teach Your Kids To Game – Day 1

To get “Teach Your Kids to Game Week” underway here is one for the big kids amongst you; the subject matter is suitable for kids of most ages but the games system might be a little on the complicated side for the youngest of our adventurers.

Marvel Super Heroes Roleplaying Game, was originally published by TSR from 1984 to early 1990’s and has long been out of print.  You can pick up the occasional set or supplement from ebay for reasonable prices although it has become quite a collectible in its own right.

Marvel Super HeroesPlaying MSH with younger children is great, so many are familiar with Spiderman, the Hulk and the X-Men, but there are also so many other heroes and villains for them to learn about.  It’s a genre of RPG that truly unites many generations of roleplayer.  As introductory RPGs go, this is a very good one. The rules are relatively simple, and the Universal table, used to resolve the outome of actions, is a straightforward and effective mechanic.  The game was very popular in its day and its appeal is such that I understand that there may be a re-launch during 2012 with Margaret Weis Productions being rumored to have acquired the license to publish an RPG based on Marvel superheroes – watch this space, we will let you know.

If you are interested in playing MSH there is an amazing website that you need to visit.  ClassicMarvelForever.com is an almost complete net resource for everything related to the Marvel Super Heroes game and this includes downloads of almost everything you could possibly wish for.

For the big kids, ClassicMarvelForever.com has so much material, not only can you download PDF’s of almost every published rulebook and supplement but there are many fan and net updates to be found there.  The site itself contains a wealth of house rules, background information and more.  There is truly more than you could ever need to run a huge MSH campaign, literally hundreds of hours of games material.

So kick off the week and Teach Your Kids To Game with Marvel Super Heroes, but as Uncle Owen once said to Peter Parker; “with great power comes great roleplaying”… well I’m sure it was words to that effect.

Ia! F’tagn!


Teaching Kids To Game Week

Teaching Kids To Game WeekNext week, commencing 14/11 is “Teaching Kids To Game Week” at DriveThruRPG and in support of this miskatonic.co.uk will be running a daily set of posts with ideas and links for games suitable for kids of all ages.  So watch this space, we hope to point you in the direction of some of the best kid friendly games on the weird wide web all at what we hope will be pocket money prices or better.  We aren’t going to limit ourselves to publications available from DriveThruRPG or its sister sites, and we hope to bring ideas and inspiration for everyone.

Ia! F’tagn!


Apocalypse World Playbooks – updated

Apocalypse WorldHaving recently posted about how much I like Lumpley Games, “Apocalypse World” I now find myself caught up in the fascinating struggle to obtain the full set of “official” playbooks, of which there are currently five:

The MAESTRO D’, was given to people who preordered Apocalypse World at its initial release. The Maestro D’ runs a social establishment, like a bar, a drug den or a bordello.

The FACELESS (codesigned by Bret Gillan), was for people who buy, play, or run Apocalypse World at conventions. The Faceless is a giant unstoppable killing machine, but built for tragedy.

The QUARANTINE, for people who supported Joshua A.C. Newman’s kickstart for Shock:Human Contact. The Quarantine is a soldier from the past who’s been in stasis since the apocalypse.

The HOARDER (codesigned by Elizabeth Shoemaker Sampat), for people who contributed to Elizabeth’s Sight for Sore Eyes benefit. The Hoarder is a creepy character with a powerful collection of goods and a uniquely appraising vision.

And the TOUCHSTONE, for everyone who buys Apocalypse World on or after April 1, 2011. The Touchstone hopes and fights for a better future that only she can see.

The author, Vincent Baker, recommends trading with others to acquire playbooks you don’t have… So, I currently have the HOARDER, the QUARANTINE and the TOUCHSTONE playbooks and would love to trade those for the MAESTRO D’ and the FACELESS.  If you can help then drop me a line derek at miskatonic.co.uk

Ia! F’tagn.


Apocalypse World

Apocalypse WorldSomething’s wrong with the world and I don’t know what it is.

“It used to be better, of course it did. In the golden age of legend, when there was enough to eat and enough hope, when there was one nation under god and people could lift their eyes and see beyond the horizon, beyond the day. Children were born happy and grew up rich.

Now that’s now what we’ve got. Now we’ve got this. Hardholders stand against the screaming elements and all comers, keeping safe as many as they can. Angels and savvyheads run constant battle against there’s not enough and bullets fly and everything breaks. Hocuses gather people around them, and are they protectors, saviors, visionaries, or just wishful thinkers? Choppers, gunluggers and battlebabes carve out what they can and defend it with blood and bullets. Drivers and operators search and scavenge, looking for that opportunity, that one perfect chance. Skinners remember beauty, or invent beauty anew, cup it in their hands and whisper come and see, and don’t worry now about what it will cost you. And brainers, oh, brainers see what none of the rest of us will: the world’s psychic maelstrom, the terrible desperation and hate pressing in at the edge of all perception, it is the world now.

And you, who are you? This is what we’ve got, yes. What are you going to make of it?”

You might think that there are already enough post apocalyptic roleplay games, do we really need another?  Well I would argue that there is space for this one, I’ve been a fan of Lumpley Games and the work of D Vincent Baker ever since I stumbled across a group playing Dogs In The Vineyard at an RPG Convention a few years back.  The emphasis with Dogs was on the storytelling, the setting was important but its not overburdened with rules and tables and Apocalypse World is in that vein, good solid story-led roleplaying.  Maybe its something that roleplayers of a certain age begin to get bleary eyed about but I find that I am more and more about games that fall into this camp, of course the mechanics have to work, but its all about the story.

I haven’t seen the printed book but I understand it is digest-sized (5.5” x 8.5” ), and is 300+ pages with a colour cover, black and white interior. It also comes with the PDF for no extra charge.  The PDF is described on the un-store as “just the print file”, with no fancy PDF tricks. Don’t let that understatement put you off its a superbly produced PDF and comes in printer-friendly and a prettier printer less-friendly version.  Shipped worldwide the book costs $40, but remember it includes the PDF which retails alone for $15.  For some free downloads, which will give you a better taste than my ramblings and generally more info, visit apocalypse-world.com.

If you haven’t already got a copy of Dogs In The Vineyard or Apocalypse World, you might want to consider spending a measly $25 on “The Lumpley Games Library“, That’s “Apocalypse World”, “Dogs in the Vineyard”, “Kill Puppies for Satan”, “In a Wicked Age”, “Mechaton”, and “Poison’d”, all for the unbelievably low price of $25. Saving nearly $40 on the individual PDF cover prices.  As always with Lumpley Games this includes free lifetime upgrades/revisions. It also includes a couple of Apocalypse World’s limited edition character play-books.

Lumpley Games are a real independent publisher, they fulfil PDF’s manually, using the Forge Bookshelf, and if you order at the weekend bear in mind that it may take an little extra time to process your order. Treat yourself today,

Ia! F’tagn,