Hey everyone, apologies for not being able to post as often. My home PC decided to die on me a few days back, but that won’t stop me from posting about one of my favorite annual sales from DriveThruRPG!

Their Christmas in July Sale is a great way to save 25% while picking up some of the best titles the industry has to offer.

Here are some of my favorite titles on sale now:

 

 


Hey there, I know everyone’s talking about D&D right now, but I figure it would still be worth trying out the character creation system for a bit to see how well it works in the new edition.

Today we’re putting together a character with a Wuxia theme using the D&D Basic rules for the heck of it. I figure that it should be easy enough to put Xian Kairan into a party for D&D basic so consider this an experiment for that.

Now then, let’s get started.

Capture

1. Choose a Race

Being a Wuxia game, I’m sticking to all humans for now.

This grants Xiang Kairan the following Traits:

Ability Scores: All +1
Size: medium
Speed: 30ft

Nothing too surprising here, but admittedly getting a +1 boost to all the stats is a nice touch.

2. Choose a Class

For this example, we’re going with Xiang Kairan to be a Fighter. Much in the traditional Wuxia fashion, he’s an up and coming swordsman with exceptional potential.

As a Fighter, he gets access to the following:

HIT POINTS
Hit Points: 10+CON modifier

PROFICIENCIES:
Armor: All Armor, shields
Weapons: Simple, Martial
Tools: none

Saving Throws: Strength, Constitution
Skills: Acrobatics, Athletics

EQUIPMENT:
For free equipment I’ll start him off with the basics: Leather, longbow and 20 arrows.

FIGHTING STYLE:
Dueling

CLASS FEATURES:
Second Wind

3. Determine Ability Scores

I’m opting for the standard Ability Score Spread for this example, giving me the following to work with (15,14,13,12,10,08)

I’m seeing Kairan to be the speedy sort, so I’ll distribute the scoreS and add the +1 from the Human race bonus:

STR 11 (+0)
DEX 16 (+3)
CON 13 (+1)
INT 14 (+2)
WIS 09 (-1)
CHA 14 (+2)

This reflects the fact that Kairan is quick, and bright as well as reasonably charismatic. His big problem is that he’s rather naive, fitting for the hot-blooded Wuxia hero stereotype.

4. Determine Traits

Alignment: Chaotic Good, Kairan’s quick to do what he feels is the right thing in any situation.

Personality Traits:

Hot-Blooded Hero – Kairan is far too eager to prove himself as a hero, and is often too naive to usually think a little more deeply about what he’s being asked to do.

Not from around here – Kairan’s a Xia, a wandering knight-errant from far away Kara-Tur. He’s a far way from his home and doesn’t quite understand how things work in terms of societal norms.

Ideals:

The Warrior’s Code of the Wuxia – Kairan holds himself to the highest standards of heroism of the Xia in hopes that his deeds will also be immortalized in legend.

Bonds:

His Sister, Xiang Ming – Taken away by a foreign sorcerer years ago, Kairan travelled out of Kara-Tur in hopes of getting her back.

Flaws:

Terrified of Necromancy – In his native land, Necromancy is considered to be the most terrifying act of hubris. Kairan will fight when threatened by undead, but it will take a lot of convincing to make him willingly desecrate a tomb.

Backgrounds: Folk Hero

Skill Proficiencies: Animal Handling, Survival
Tool Proficiencies: One type of artisan’s tools, vehicles (land)
Equipment: Artisan’s tools, a shovel, a set of common clothes, a belt pouch with 10gp.

Feature: Rustic Hospitality

5. Purchase Equipment

Given that he’s already gotten leather armor, and a bow, I’m handing Kairan a Rapier to go with his weapon to simulate the scholar’s sword of his native land. The Finesse property of the weapon means that he may choose to use his Strength or Dexterity modifier for his attack and damage rolls.

IMPRESSIONS:

Overall, character creation (for a Fighter) at least seems pretty straightforward. There’s the usual stuff that is present across 3rd and 4th editions (the ones I’m familiar with) while adding a new structure for hanging plot hooks on in a more defined fashion with the traits. I’m pretty amused by how this turned out, and wouldn’t mind playing Kairan in a game at all, and I hope that the background I’ve provided will make him an interesting addition to any game.

 


Hello everyone, glad to be back and posting again after a hectic workweek. Today we’re staring our coverage of the Achtung! Cthulhu Keeper’s Guide, the other half of the game reserved for the GMs.

I have to admit that I’ve been looking forward to checking this out as I’m quite used to being a GM and if this game is going to get any play time in my table, I suspect I’m going to have to be the one to run it.

Anyway, let’s get started with the first chapter of the book, which gives us a very quick introduction to the game, and immediately launches into what might be my favorite part: The Secret Chronology of a World at War.

As with the Investigator’s Guide, this Chronology is straightforward, mixing historical stuff with the occult events in the game. It’s a compelling read, and while I’m no expert in history, the plot hooks were practically all over this timeline.

As a side note, adding the page references to entries that are mentioned in the book are a nice touch, if only to bring attention to things that are discussed later on.

Sidebars are still here, with mention of the other interesting trivia in the timeline often talking about remarkable characters or special operations conducted in the time.

The next chapter, Inside the Reich, talks about the Germans, and leaves the choice of playing German Investigators up to individual groups. That said it still has a small sidebar talking about how games centered on German players can involve Espionage and Infiltration.

Special attention must be called to a short Essay by Kenneth Hite warning about the dehumanization of the Germans just because they’re painted by history as the enemy in World War Two. It’s a great piece and one that I was certainly looking for when I saw that they were going to discuss Germany in the Keeper’s Guide. It’s important to remember that all sides of the war were human, and majority of them didn’t want to be involved in the atrocities that were committed at the time.

The rest of the chapter portrays a non-secret history timeline of events from a German perspective, further adding to just how well Achtung! Cthulhu manages to portray all the sides of the conflict in a respectful fashion, while still keeping things interesting from a game perspective.

The Keeper’s Guide is off to a great start. I’m impressed by how the game handled the subject matter of the Germans in World War 2 with an eye towards presenting them as people and not as targets. It’s a solid move and one that I definitely count as a big plus.

Next up we’ll be taking a look at the next two chapters: Might Makes Right? & The Other Secret War

For those interested and would like to follow along, you can get a copy of the Achtung! Cthulhu Books in PDF format from DriveThruRPG


The Investigator’s Guide wraps up with a handy guide to the various tools, weapons and equipment that you can expect to run into in a game set in World War 2.

I felt that this was a great addition to the game, as each item has a fairly detailed description and any differences between similar items between countries is given attention to as well.

Again from the point of view of a GM, it’s an opportunity to convey the flavor of the setting. From the differences of the Entrenching Tools to the military rations of the time, it’s a good way to immerse players in the game.

Of course, aside from the descriptions, there’s also the mechanical side of things. Each system has their own sets of tables detailing the various weapons, from Rifles and Shotguns all the way to heavier weapons and grenades.

Other equipment are mentioned here as well, including a small section on Covert Equipment, with interesting gear like a key copying kit and sub-miniature cameras that will certainly be of use in more espionage-oriented adventures.

The book ends with a quick-play guide for the different systems and sums up with a list of media and research sources for inspirations to players.

Overall the Investigator’s Guide is a solid piece of work. Easy to read layout and evocative art is found throughout the book, and there’s just enough information to get the players into the setting without spoiling anything else.

I like how the book really helps set things up for a campaign, giving players the kind of support they need to make a character and jump into a WW2 campaign with the necessary background knowledge to operate under the setting without feeling lost.

Next week I turn my attentions towards the Keeper’s Guide, the other half of Achtung! Cthulhu, and discover what the authors have in mind in how to run this game.

For those interested and would like to follow along, you can get a copy of the Achtung! Cthulhu Books in PDF format from DriveThruRPG


I know everyone’s looking forward to the D&D launch today, but right now I’ve got my sights set completing today’s character creation for Achtung! Cthulhu with the Fate Core rules!

Character creation in Fate is very quick, but as with the previous two rules systems, Achtung! Cthulhu puts their own spin on things.

One of the handy bits in the Fate Investigator’s Guide is the fact that they have a sidebar detailing the general differences of Fate from standard Fate core. The presence of a sanity system in particular stands out to keep things in line with the two other systems and to reflect the Lovecraftian nature of the game.

Character creation is very straightforward as with any game that uses Fate Core. Every character starts with a High Concept and a Trouble Aspect.

High concepts should be phrased in a manner that says not just what the character is, but what they’re good at. An example in the book is “Veteran sniper of Stalingrad”

Meanwhile, Trouble Aspects should also be something that fits the setting. I especially like the one example of: “Can’t resist punching a Nazi”

The Phase Trio of Achtung! Cthulhu is interesting as it is set in 3 specific eras: Getting Noticed By Your Organization, Life Before the War, and then Crossing Paths.

Achtung! Cthulhu also features more skills than basic Fate Core and the characters begin with more skill points to compensate for this.

Stress and Consequences are pretty much the same as in Fate Core, but the next bit is more noteworthy. All characters begin with a Sanity track, which is a 3-tier stress track that begins with “Of Sound Mind” with 10 boxes, “Disturbed” with 8 boxes and finally Unhinged with 6 boxes. It feels like a lot right now, but I think having a lot of boxes is a good thing considering the kind of setting Achtung! Cthulhu is.

Skills in the Fate implementation of the Investigator’s guide are fairly straightforward, with the addition of a few interesting ones such as Mythos, and Tradecraft, all of which are described with a few sample stunts as well.

Achtung! Cthulhu’s Fate Core character creation sticks to the Fate Core level of complexity, but still adheres to simulating the themes of the setting well. It’s a good implementation that manages to retain a lot of the mood of WW2 even if Fate Core is inherently Pulp-y.

I like that the Sanity mechanics are present and seem to be implemented in a fashion that is easy for Fate players to utilize. Again Achtung! Cthulhu’s team shows off just how good they are at adapting their setting to different systems.

Tomorrow we’ll take a quick look at the remaining chapters of the Investigator’s Guide before hopping over to check out the Keeper’s Guide for the next half of this series of Let’s Study Achtung! Cthulhu!

For those interested and would like to follow along, you can get a copy of the Achtung! Cthulhu Books in PDF format from DriveThruRPG