GM’s Day Sale – Philippine Gamer’s Picks: Crafty Games

Today we’re looking at the best games you ought to have with a focus on the excellent RPGs from Crafty Games. Crafty Games have been hard at work churning out some of the most well designed work in the industry. While they may fall on the crunchier side of rules complexity, reading their games is like looking into the inner workings of a wristwatch. Even the tiniest of parts contributes to the greater whole.

Spycraft 2.0, Second Printing

Spycraft was the game that put Crafty Games on the map. If you’re looking for a ruleset that can run any modern-day action / espionage game then your search stops here. Excellent mechanics with an eye towards simulating your favorite techno-thriller / espionage tales make this a solid addition to any GM’s collection of games.

Mistborn Adventure Game

Based on the best-selling novels by Brandon Sanderson, the Mistborn Adventure Game shows that Crafty Games can do “rules light” without losing their touch. Weighing in at an impressive 585 pages, the Mistborn Adventure Game is full of information for fans of the novel and has all the rules you need to run a crew in the ash-covered world of Scadrial.

Fantasy Craft Adventure Companion

If you haven’t checked out Fantasy Craft by now, you have no idea what you’ve been missing. More than a D&D clone, Fantasy Craft offers a toolkit approach to heroic fantasy that can go from swords & sorcery to wuxia in one book. The Adventure companion expands the already formidable corebook with three new settings and a ton of new character options to make Fantasy Craft even broader.

Games To Look Out For In 2011

My sudden absence from blogging came from an unfortunate combination of a sudden deluge of work, and the fact that my home internet connection died.  That said, I’m back, and blogging, and today we’re looking at several game lines that I’m keeping an eye on that will hopefully be coming out this year.

I’ll be doing a run-through of the games that I know of by company as it seems to be the best way to go about it at the moment:

Crafty-Games has two game lines and several supplements coming out this year, and I’ll definitely be looking out to reviewing them on the blog:

  • Spycraft Third Edition – Spycraft was the original flagship property of Crafty-Games, and I’m very happy to see that we’re getting a 3rd edition this year.  While Crafty-Games has a reputation for having a preference for heavy crunch, I’ve yet to see a game actually do Espionage as well or as thoroughly as Spycraft does.
  • Spellbound – A supplement for Crafty-Games’ Fantasy Craft game line, Spellbound promises to expand the base magic system even more with new Classes, Feats, Spells and other character options.  Some people felt that Fantasy Craft was pretty awesome, but the magic chapter was a little thin… Spellbound should fix that pretty well.
  • Ten Thousand Bullets – is a new Mastercraft line for Urban Adventure.  From Modern Crime to Police Procedurals, this game takes things to the mean streets instead of the life of glamor and intrigue of Spycraft.  I was initially concerned that there might be some overlap between the two games, but thinking about it, the two genres are distinct enough to stand on their own, and the overlaps will only enhance both games as opposed to diminishing them.

I’ve already gone into detail with the upcoming books from AEG for their Legend of the Five Rings RPG.  Lot’s of good potential in those books and the print quality is gorgeous.  Definitely worth keeping an eye out for those.

There’s some solid progress going on over at RedBrick LLC with regards to the 3rd edition of the much beloved Fading Suns space opera RPG.  Fellow Philippine rpg blog The Armchair Gamer has been watching any and all developments on this line like a hawk, so I’d make sure to check with him now and then.

Good news to early adapters to the innovative small press RPG Spellbound Kingdoms, as the author is looking to release an updated version, and he’s promised to have improved the already impressive effort he’s done.  I’ve yet to run this game, but I’m pretty sure that an opportunity to do so won’t be too far off now.

These aren’t the only games coming out of course but these are the ones that I currently have my eye on.  How about you guys?  Are there any new games that I ought to be paying attention to?  If so, bring it up, I’m pretty open to checking out new and interesting things and if I pick it up, I might review it here and give take it out for a spin for my group.

Shifting Gears, or Altering the Gravitas

After running a string of relatively high concept games which deal with heavier themes, I think it’s about time that I take a break from the super-serious stuff and come up for air.  One thing I’ve learned to avoid burnout is to switch gears now and then, taking a moment to break out of your established conventions to try something new.

While this doesn’t necessarily mean a comedy-type game for me, there are other genres with lighter, but no less entertaining stories to tell.  My first HERO campaign was like this, with young heroes dealing with everyday problems with school and life along with occasionally kicking super villain butt.

And so I’m considering my options.  I’ve got the rest of the L5R campaign to play through, and a continuation of my “Exalted for People Who Don’t Like Exalted” campaign after that but once both of those are over, I’d like to think that I have a clean slate by which to explore something new.

Of course changing the usual campaigns I run to something less than standard is always a gamble.  Pitches have to be done carefully on my end, as anything that doesn’t elicit a “Hell Yeah!” from the players will mean that there won’t be enough player driven momentum to keep the game running.  That said, there’s got to be a few games ideas from my old notes or work-addled brain that should be worth a shot:

  • Spycraft is a definite contender.  A small team of specialists on rogue missions for fun an profit is always a good idea, though I’ll hold off until Spycraft 3.0 comes out before I give it a spin.
  • D&D 4e is another option.  I had a good experience with D&D 4e, as long as expectations are appropriately calibrated, and the fights not drawn out to forever it might actually work.
  • A Supers Campaign is always a good thing in my books.  Whether it’s DC Adventures or HERO 6th is up in the air, but I should focus on something a lot lighter in tone.  Up to the DC Animated universe level of seriousness is good… but Batman: The Brave and the Bold might be too much.
  • Metabarons is an oldie but definitely a goodie.  Thanks to the fact that it’s actually D6 Space Opera, there’s a wealth of information I can skim from in other D6 products (Starwars D6 I’m looking at you.)  Just add a ton of sugar to my double power expresso and I should be able to run this no problem.
  • 7th Sea is a game that is just begging to be ran.  I’ve had the books for years now but I’ve only run them in convention one shots.  This error has to be corrected.
  • Deadlands is another good choice.  I enjoyed the Crew of Nine campaign I ran before, when I was learning the ropes of Savage Worlds.  It was a fun campaign with lots of laughs, so I’d mark that as a winner in my books.

All of these campaign options are fun, with systems that don’t necessarily get too complex (oh, except for maybe Spycraft and HERO, but their complexity is often a good thing)  but most importantly they can provide a good, fun time without having to go high concept.

[Fantasy Craft] Video Interview at Stargazer’s World

I’ve been a fan of Fantasy Craft from Crafty-Games pretty much ever since it first came out, and as soon as I got the book was was floored by just how much effort they put into taking the OGL ruleset and hammering out something awesome out of it.  Despite the complexity of the book, and the learning curve, I was very impressed with the results.

Being unable to visit GenCon, I was excited to see that Stargazer managed to score an interview with the people of Crafty Games over at his blog.  The details of the various adventure settings they were teasing were definitely interesting, especially “Epic” described as “Conan… Frank Frazetta-esque, Native Americans versus Demons in a Frozen World.”

I’m also glad to hear that Spycraft 3.0 is going to be extremely flexible, though I don’t expect it to be any less crunchy than Fantasy Craft was.  Definitely a must-buy for me as I’ve always had a soft spot for Espionage.

Campaigns I’d Love to Play: July 2010 Edition

As a pen & paper rpg enthusiast that’s often saddled with GMing duties, it’s probably not really all that surprising to see me put up a post now and then about games or campaigns I’d love to play in.  I know I’m subject to the GM Curse but that doesn’t mean I can’t dream, right?  So, perhaps for the sake of venting, allow me to list games I’d love to play in (but probably never will.)

  • A Supers game – Many of my players will laugh when they see this one.  A supers game is a pipe dream for me, especially since none of the other GMs are really all that interested in running a true-blue superhero setting.
  • An honest-to-goodness Vanilla Exalted game – Take Exalted, take it and run a campaign in one of its myriad of funky non-standard fantasy cities and nations.  Run it without fear of the mature elements of the setting, and touch on the topics that don’t show up in your standard western fantasy.  It’s a setting so ripe for exploring mature, non-standard themes… so why are we stuck playing bizarre anime rehash 120,657 times in a row?  It’s not like I’m asking for La Blue Girl.
  • A Sci-Fi game – Sci-Fi is terribly underrepresented in our gaming group.  We’ve tried, but majority of the sci-fi games have floundered.  Like exalted, Sci-Fi allows for you to ask big questions, and demand bigger answers about the human condition.  Heck, we can even go for the Sense of Wonder angle… Dyson Spheres, Aliens made of Energy, Weapons that can kill someone from a galaxy away, where the target can do nothing but sit and wait out his last remaining fifty minutes praying to his gods.
  • A Western – No kidding.  I’d gladly play Deadlands… if I wasn’t always running it.  Having played Red Dead Redemption doesn’t help me at all.  There’s so much you can do in a western, but there’s not enough interest to get another game going if I’m not running it.
  • Mage: the Awakening – Yes.  Someone run this already.  I will play.  Also, don’t hold back.  Tempt my character with Hubris, make him forget his morals and his ethics for the sake of doing “what’s right”.
  • Spycraft – I’m not even sure if I can pull off modern action / espionage, but if someone runs this, consider me sold on the campaign.  Give me James Bond, Solid Snake, the A-Team or the Expendables.  I’ll be there in less than a heartbeat.
  • Legend of the Five Rings – With the upcoming L5r 4th edition book, I’m really stoked about playing in another campaign, hopefully one that isn’t too far divorced from the baseline setting.

Technically Fantasy Craft is on this list, but there’s a strong probability that I’ll be playing it soon, so I’m not adding it to the list just yet.  I find it kind of funny that the games I want to play are the ones I am most likely to end up running.  How about you guys?  What campaigns / games do you guys find yourselves wanting to play?

Spycraft 3.0 Coming Soon…

I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting this… but I’m glad that it’s happening:

Crafty Games Announces Spycraft 3.0

Omaha, NE, March 16, 2010 – Crafty Games today announces that its award-winning OGL action and intrigue game, Spycraft, will see a Third Edition, powered by the acclaimed Mastercraft system and with a renewed focus on espionage, in Spring 2011

“We’ve been considering the merits of a new edition for some time and with the incredible success of Fantasy Craft and the Mastercraft system the pieces just came together,” said Patrick Kapera, Crafty Games partner. “Updating Spycraft gives us the chance not only to synchronize rules across all our core games but also lets us bring the focus of the Spycraft brand back to espionage. We can still stretch the genre with dedicated supplements and — with products like Ten Thousand Bullets — other compatible Mastercraft core books, and this really frees us up to dig into the Great Game in ways that we’ve never done before. This time around you can expect a lot more tradecraft and as much real world intelligence detail as we can manage (without getting our offices raided, of course).”

“Third Edition will be all about customization,” said Crafty Games partner Alex Flagg. “You’ll be able to build your own home office and your GM will be able to create criminal masterminds, henchmen, and minions of all stripes, and place them at the head of any type of organization he can imagine. Super-science will be adjustable as well, letting you run a game with everything from completely realistic gear to over-the-top gadgets bordering on magic. And of course the Mastercraft system lets you tweak the rules to support any flavor of play you want as well, though we’ll be expanding the rules for the heightened lethality so popular in recent spy thrillers.”

Crafty Games plans to release a final series of Spycraft 2.0 products through the summer, including the last of its Saturday Morning Spycraft PDFs and new fiction and adventures set in the World on Fire. The final Spycraft 2.0 product will be World on Fire: Born of Ashes, a definitive guide to the setting’s heroic factions along with the grand finale to the setting’s huge story arc and a new campaign for those setting their sights on the Alliance of Evil Geniuses.

Crafty Games, LLC was founded in 2005 by the creative team behind the popular Spycraft, Stargate SG-1, and Spycraft 2.0 roleplaying games, and offers an array of critically acclaimed products in print and PDF. Its reputation for high-quality, engaging games has earned nominations for multiple EN World (“ENnie”) fan awards and the prestigious Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming. Crafty Games’ newest project, Fantasy Craft, is available now. Find out more at www.crafty-games.com

Crafty Games books are available from Studio 2 Publishing. Distributors and retailers interested in stocking our catalog should contact our print representative, Jim Searcy.

Jim Searcy
(865) 637-0616
FAX: (865) 637-0619

Studio 2 Publishing
1828 Midpark Rd. Suite I
Knoxville, TN 37921

It’s taken a lot of people by surprise, but Crafty Games has been pretty up front about the fact that 2010 is a year full of stuff, as evidenced by their State of the Company: Spring 2010 article.

I honestly missed the Spycraft boat when it first came out and I was intimidated by the Gear System of Spycraft 2.0.  I don’t know what changes they have in mind yet, but given how impressed I was with Fantasy Craft, I have high hopes for the newest iteration of this Espionage Classic.

%d bloggers like this: