150013Just recently I had the pleasure of running Worlds In Peril, a superhero RPG by Samjoko Publishing that utilizes rules inspired by Apocalypse World. I bought the game about a month ahead of when I was supposed to run it, and having had no prior experience running anything using Apocalypse World or Dungeon World, I was expecting to struggle a bit.

Imagine my surprise then when (almost) everything clicked in my head in the first read.

Worlds in Peril is surprisingly well done, with rules that help emulate all sorts of superpowers without needing a ton of specific rules describing each and every power (and modifiers that change how those powers work.) It’s elegant, and focused more on telling a good tale of do-gooders punching bad guys than emulating physics by any stretch.

Character creation is a breeze, mechanically, but may trip up a few people who aren’t used to building specifically from a concept. As a game built around the Apocalypse World rules, the mechanics are a simple 2d6+Stat roll with results based off a chart depending on which Moves your character is doing. It’s very different from the games I’m used to running, so the ease of play took me by surprise.

My biggest concern about the rules would probably be the Limitations. The way that they are used is simple enough to understand, but I had to work very hard with my players to get them to understand how Limitations to a character work and how they work with Bonds. Aside from that, the rest of the rules run well.

Worlds in Peril looks great, with wonderful art and good, readable layout. There are a few bits where the writing could be clearer, but after a few re-reads and a one-shot or two I was able to get everything else in order in my head.

If you’re looking for an easy to learn (and fun to play!) superhero game, and you don’t mind a rules-lite approach, definitely give Worlds In Peril a try.

Worlds in Peril is available from DriveThruRPG for $14.99 or roughly Php 690.00


I’m back! After a long, long time of running around with real life stuff, we’re finally settling in to see how to go about building a character for Fragged Empire!

Character Creation in Fragged Empire feels a little bit involved, with some point-based Attributes, a few skills, some traits and then resources. It’s a lot of tiny subsystems, honestly, and I’m curious if it call comes together as elegantly as they did in some of the more impressive rules-heavy games I’ve read, like Fantasy Craft.

Starting Level

Most characters in Fragged Empire start at level 1. Your character also begins with Resources, Influence and Spare Time Points equal to your Level +2. They also begin with 1 Trait.

Pick a Race

Next step would be to pick from one of the four races presented in the earlier chapter.

I’m going Nephilim for this example, so I get the following:

+1 Bio Tech, Engineering and Exotic
+1 to all Spare Time Rolls
+1 Recover
Gain Language, High X’ion or Primal X’ion
-1 Conversation
-2 Culture
Complication: Prejudice from Kaltorans and Legion


Starting characters have 18 points to distribute among six Attributes: Strength, Reflexes, Movement, Focus, Intelligence and perception. Attributes range from 0-5 with 0 representing some sort of impairment and 5 being amazingly gifted.

Strength determines the character’s physical might and general quality of health
Reflexes are all about physical responses to the environment as well as flexibility, and agaility
Movement is how quickly your character can get from one place to another
Focus is your character’s mental strength and ability to focus. This is the attribute used for long-ranged combat.
Intelligence is about the speed of the character’s thought and ability to make quick decisions
Perception is used to determine the accuracy of ranged attacks in combat

After going over the Attributes, I’m going for:

Strength 2
Reflexes 2
Focus 4
Intelligence 3
perception 4

I’m looking at a Nephilim Sniper sort of character so I’ve decided to spend my points accordingly.


The next step involves picking Trained Skills. A Trained Skill grants a +1 bonus to skill rolls, while untrained skills suffer a -2 penalty. Characters pick 6 Primary (Everyday of Professional), 2 Personal Combat Skills, and 2 Vehicle Systems to be trained in.

Looking over the character sheet, these are my picks:

Bio Tech

Personal Combat:



As a level 1 character, I also get to select a Trait, I had to flip around the book to locate where these are listed and found them towards the back.

For the character I’ll go for “Adept” which allows me to spend 1 Fate Point to add an additional 1d6 to any Skill, Attack, System, Healing or Repair Roll.

Resources and Influence

Next step would be assigning Resources and Influence. These represent the ability to maintain weapons and gear, while Influence represents favour with an NPC group.

I start off with 3 points in Resources and Influence. I haven’t gotten to the equipment rules yet so I’ll pass on specifics for this step for now.

Spare Time Points

The rather amusingly named Spare Time Points are a resource unit of time spent by the character doing miscellaneous stuff. The character starts with 3 Spare Time Points, which can then be spent to make Equipment Modifications or to acquire minor items and services.

Overall, character creation is easy enough from the procedural point of view, but it does feel a bit too fiddly. I got strange PTSD flashbacks of trying to build a character for the 3rd edition of the Legend of the Five Rings RPG. I wish it was a little bit simpler, but I understand that the author designed it for a purpose. I’ll figure out eventually if it does meet that objective when we get to the full mechanics of the game.


That’s me standing over to the right. Image courtesy of Rocky Sunico.

Last weekend was when me and a few other volunteer GMs kicked off our biggest attempt at a local mini-convention for tabletop roleplaying games in Manila. We try to run an event every month, and last month was our most ambitious event in the form of the August D&D mini-convention.

While the story behind the conventions and how it turned out is pretty cool, I’ll see if I can dedicate another blog post to talk about that. Today I wanted to share a little about the game I ran for the convention, which I called “Dungeon Delverz Extreme!”

Um, what?

Exactly. Here’s the pitch I gave:

In the near future, the most popular spectator sport to grace the holo-screens of every household is none other than Dungeon Delvers Extreme! Cyber athletes from around the world compete in virtual reality dungeon crawls against other teams, engaging in bloody spectacles of might and sorcery.

You and your team have made it as far as the qualifiers, and this match could mean the difference between moving on to the finals or going home as losers. Which will you be tonight?

As you can tell, there’s a fair amount of recursion here, with Players taking the role of Athletes, who basically take on the role of their virtual reality Avatars. I had initially opened the game up for 4 Players, but by the time the convention rolled around, I had 7.

Given that it was meant to simulate a holo-vid reality show, the experience wouldn’t be complete without a bit of audience participation. So I figured it would be a good idea to have a live audience.

Audience Participation

To get the audience more involved, I also added a small rule to the game.

Once per Encounter, a member of the Audience may request for a specific action to be taken by the party. If a player character is able to execute the action successfully during the encounter, they gain a Favor Token.

On their turn, a player may spend a Favor Token to gain any of the following:

  • Reroll a failed check or save
  • Stabilize and restore to 1 HP
  • Heal 1 Hit Die worth of damage

This let the Audience throw in some interesting curveballs towards the players in each Encounter. This ranged from random product plugs “Quick do an in-character testimonial of how awesome this Hand Santizier is!” to specific actions, “Take the Lizardman’s head off!” and even a few of the more bizarre ones like, “Seduce the dragon!”

That said, despite losing my voice towards the last encounter, the team had a great time, and the audience was getting way into it, thinking of more crazy ideas of what to get the players to do to earn those Favor Tokens.

We’re kicking off this series of Let’s Study posts for Fragged Empire by taking a look at the introductory chapter.

What’s in the name?

I had a bit of a chuckle when I saw this as it directly addressed my first question regarding the game, which was “What the heck is Fragged Empire?”

Turns out that they included the definition of the term, which has something to do with killing off a leader by their own soldiers in a fashion that looks like an accident (such as a dropped fragmentation grenade at their feet) during a battle.

It’s an interesting use for a term that I had come to associate with videogames where Fragged meant to kill something, and it’s a neat bit of trivia.

Key Setting Themes

Ah, Themes, my old friend. Readers will remember that I tend to blather on and on about themes and mood in games at times, so seeing this right off the bat is a welcome sight.

Fragged Empire draws on four themes for the game:

Post-Post-Apocalypitic Setting – With this and Numenera, I’m starting to think that this sort of genre is starting to pick up in popularity. The idea of being that far removed from the apocalypse as to constitute a “do over” of new civilzations is something that certainly has a lot of space for creative types and room for players to explore a world far removed from our normas while still retaining familiar technology

Cultural Tension – Culture is another aspect of games that I love, and I’m glad that it has a shout out so early on. With four distinct races struggling to survive and flourish in the new world of Fragged Empire, I’m looking forward to seeing how the game expands on such a distant future culture. Eclipse Phase and CthulhuTech did a great job at this, so Fragged Empire has a lot to live up to.

Genetic Engineering – In an interesting hint at the setting history, it seems that when humanity died out, their successors were the genetically engineered Archons. Amusingly the Archons also drove themselves into a genocidal war and died out to their own Geneticically Engineered offspring. It’s an interesting bit of history and begs the question of whether the game is hinting that this third generation is doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past two.

Exploration – In a similar note to Numenera, the new generation of player characters exist in a world built atop the ruins of the Archon and Human civilization, leaving a lot of things to be discovered and (mis)understood. Plenty of potential for interesting stories.


The next two pages are a starmap of the Habrixis Sector, as well as a System Map of the Haven System. None of these mean anything to me yet, but will likely make for good reference later on.

Short Story: Galatea

What follows is a short story that introduces some signature characters for Fragged Empire. It’s a good bit of fiction, except for one little line that left me confused involving using a spanner to screw in a bolt. Aside from that, it’s a punchy piece with lot’s of action.

Short Story: History

The next short story is a fiction about two characters discussing the history of the setting. It’s an easier to swallow information dump, but at the same time I was hoping that they’d lay out everything first rather than relay it via the biased views of two characters.

Faction Snapshots

The next section shows the various playable races in the game. Each is given a gorgeous full color single page image, and a one page summary.

The summary is a little bit confusing from an organizational standpoint, as there’s a little bit of character creation (such as how each race affects a character’s traits) stuffed into the summary along with notes on Culture and a summary of who they are.

The factions presented are:

Corporation – Formerly known as the Vagarti, this race was rejected by their creators as inferior. Reorganizing themselves into a massive corporate entity, the Corporation has found new purpose beyond their genetic “heritage”.

Kaltoran – Bearing “genetic memories” Kaltorans are an optimistic and passionate race that want to go past the horrors that they inflicted and were subject to in the war.

Legion – A simian-ish race of disciplined soldiers, the Legion are an army without a war to fight. Bred to become weapons the race now struggles to find purpose for themselves in times of peace.

Nephilim – This “race” of genetically engineered beings are very intellectual and emotionally distant. They are the largest and most powerful military force, but one that is kept in check by the need to cooperate with the others for survival.

Overall, it’s an interesting setup for these individual races and civilization is held together by their interactions.

Rules Introduction

The last section of the Introduction Chapter has a quick summary of the rules. That said the only real mechanical detail in the section is that you use a 3d6 resolution system. There’s mention of things like tactical miniatures combat, the rules being best fit for long sandbox games and a nonlinear character progression.

An “optional” section at the end is a list of Game Types that can be supported by Fragged Empire, such as having surival horror, casual (easy combat) games and one with more story focus. Accompanied by a list of tweaks to accommodate that style of play.

Overall, Fragged Empire is pretty unique. There’s a lot of good ideas, and the organization of the material is a little bit different from what I’m used to. The artwork is, as I said gorgeous, and helps convey a lot of the mood of the game.

Next up, we’ll try to put together a character for Fragged Empire!

This Let’s Study series made possible by Patreon. If you’d like to help me secure more titles to cover in detail, please consider becoming a patron!

Here’s this week’s #RPGaDay2015 catch up post #3! Again, to those unfamiliar with the practice, it’s all about answering a series of questions relating to RPGS. The list of questions can be seen in the graphic found HERE

Day 18: Favorite Sci-Fi RPG

Of all my Sci-Fi RPGs, I’m going to have to give in and say that I’m still a giant fan of the Metabarons RPG. To those unfamiliar with it, it’s a D6 system take on the Metabarons Comic Book universe. With plenty of room for a mad and crazy idea at every turn. The system itself serviceable, and perhaps uninspired, but the setting is ripe with possibilities to leave your players scratching their heads. That said, most of my most insane moments were informed by reading the comic as opposed to the book, which did a pretty poor job of conveying the same manic world of the comics.

Day 19: Favorite Supers RPG

HERO System is perhaps one of my favorite systems since Character Creation is a game in itself. It’s bulky, and confusing at times, but I’ve yet to see a supers game faithfully attempt to simulate a world so thoroughly. You owe it to yourselves to check out at least the Champions Complete book.

Day 20: Favorite Horror RPG

The World of Darkness holds a special place in my heart for Horror RPGs. I’ve run so much Mage and WoD Core stuff that running horror became second nature to me, and resulted in me being typecast as the horror GM, something I’ve been trying to shake off.

Day 21: Favorite RPG Setting

Rokugan, from Legend of the Five Rings. Hard to beat such an extensively detailed world of faux-Japan. It’s not the same, clearly, but it’s accessible enough to scratch the particular itch of wanting to play fantasy samurai in a world that cleaves to a different set of values than traditional western fantasy, and until now I’ve yet to see a setting come close to overthrowing L5R’s position for the best.

Day 22: Perfect Gaming Environment

I honestly love running at home. It’s quiet, you have access to food and drink, and you can play music if necessary. Right now that’s a little difficult given that I have an 8 month old son who is still in need of a lot of attention, but eventually I’ll get started on hosting games again.

Day 23: Perfect Game For You

It’s a toss up between Legend of the Five Rings, 4th Edition and Mage: the Awakening for me right now.

Day 24: Favorite House Rule

I don’t house rule so much, but there’s a little thing I’m planning to implement in a convention game I’m going to be running this weekend for D&D 5e game where the players are part of a Bloodsport-esque gladiatorial combat simulator.

Audience Request

Once per Encounter, a member of the Audience may request for a specific action to be taken by the party. If the party is able to execute the action during the encounter, they gain a Favor Token.

On their turn, an player may spend a Favor Token to gain any of the following:

– Reroll a failed check or save
– Stabilize and restore to 1 HP
– Heal 1 hit die + CON damage

Day 25: Favorite Revolutionary Game Mechanic

As far as games go, there’s a lot of new mechanics I’ve come to learn, but the one I found to be pretty amusing was the addition of an official GMPC in the form of a Ryuujin in Ryuutama. It’s funky since the GM is rewarded for doing his thing, adding extra motivation his way!