Posts Tagged ‘Roleplaying Games’


I’ve been absent from the blog for a bit of time due to sheer work, but I’ve had a little time to myself and I’d like to take a moment to put my thoughts to paper with regards to something my wife and I were talking about the other night.

She’d mentioned that ever since she’d given birth to our (now 2 and a half year old ) little boy, I seem to have lost my enthusiasm for certain games that I long considered my specialties. Among these would be Mage: the Awakening and perhaps to a lesser extent games like Exalted.

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Still love this image, though

As with most things, she’s right. It was a strange phase in my gaming career as a GM where I couldn’t really get my head in the game. And it was only a few nights ago, over dinner that we were able to determine why.

I’m currently running two campaigns: an all-Scorpion Clan game of Legend of the Five Rings, and the stellar Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign for Call of Cthulhu. And in both of these, my wife felt that I was much more my old self. That got us thinking about why that was.

Ultimately, we settled on the fact that my outlook on life has been altered somewhat by the birth of our son. Before then, I was perfectly happy to run games that was full of darkness and vain hope. John Constantine’s Hellblazer was a big thing for me, and a part of me actually enjoyed the fact that the Exalts were doomed to repeat the mistakes of their past in Exalted.

It finally dawned on me as to what made playing these games (CoD, WoD, Scion and Exalted) so difficult now: The player characters are essentially their own worst enemy. Each one of the characters are fundamentally flawed to the point that they are doomed to sabotage their own efforts at finding happiness.

And I can’t subscribe to that mindset anymore.

But now that I’m caring for a little version of myself, I find it much for more difficult for me to get into that headspace. Instead, I’m gravitating towards games where the player character motives are ultimately better than those of the bad guys.

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Prettier too

So where does this leave me with regards to those other games then? Well, for now, they’ve earned their place on my shelf, and I’ve made many, many good memories from running Mage and Exalted. But that said, I think it’s time for me to retire them from my rotation for now, and focus on learning (and running) other games, like Modiphius’ stellar lineup of games like Star Trek Adventures, Conan and Achtung! Cthulhu.

I’m also looking into learning games I’ve skipped before during the haze that was my wife’s pregnancy and the first year of my son’s life. I’ve been reading up on 7th Sea in hopes of being able to run it, and Shadowrun 5th Edition has been something of a personal challenge to figure out.

In any case, all of this thinking has left me somewhat more optimistic. There’s a huge amount of RPGs out there that are worth checking out, and if anything I’ve found a new kind of freedom in this new state of mine.

Onward, and upward we go!

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Welcome back!

We’ve spent quite a bit of time poring over the rules for Combat, so it’s time for us to start putting it into a bit of practice.

For the purpose of this example, we’ll be using Sadiya, our sample character from part 2 as she confronts a mob of Cultists in a forest at night. But before that we’ll have to go over a few quick rules again, just for the Cultists in question.

(more…)


Welcome back!

Today’s entry is about The Third Horizon, and will briefly touch upon what kind of information you can expect to find in the book. Take note that in Coriolis, there are no less than seven chapters devoted to the various facets setting.

The Third Horizon is the chapter that gives you a history of the setting, a thorough treatment of the key moments that made The Third Horizon what it is today. From the First and Second Horizons, to the coming of the Zenith and the establishment of Coriolis, the chapter gives a great overview of the big events that shook the setting and gave it form.

Factions, is a fairly self-explanatory chapter, one that delves into the history, culture and nature of the various power-wielding factions of the setting. Divided into two main types of being either Zenithian or Firstcome, each of the factions is a pillar of society in The Third Horizon, even if some of them are involved in some truly dark deeds, like The Syndicate. Each of the factions has sufficient detail to satisfy any setting-junkie, and is loaded with interesting tidbits that an enterprising GM can spin off as a plot hook.

The People Of The Horizon is the chapter that goes into the details of culture, and traditions of The Third Horizon. There are broad notes on the various cultural lines between different colonies, and an overview of the daily life in the Horizon, from the point of view of people on the colonies, the space stations, the cities and as a nomad. Everyday technology and communication are also given treatment here, to give players a sense of what is “normal” in the setting. This chapter sums up quite nicely with a treatment of the Icons, their religion and myths and how this is expressed in a setting so highly steeped in technology as Coriolis.

Coriolis is the chapter that talks about the Coriolis space station, cradle and holy shrine to the Zenithian civilization. This chapter pulls out all the stops to describe all the various locations and details of the Coriolis station, making it an easy “urban” setting in itself for games of espionage. One could run an entire campaign without setting a foot outside of Coriolis if one wanted, and you’d still have plenty of space and plot hooks untouched.

The Kua System discusses the star system that surrounds Coriolis Station. Each of the primary planets is discussed with a profile of each one presented in a neat snapshot, along with notes on life and notable features in each.

Atlas Of The Third Horizon pulls the lens back to a macro view, and talks about the various star systems of The Third Horizon. Each of the thirty-six(!) different star systems gets a snapshot and encyclopedia-like entry discussing the system and what it has in store for adventurers, while leaving plenty of room for GM to improvise.

Beasts and Djinni is the bestiary chapter, and displays the myriad strange things that can be encountered in the various adventures of Coriolis. Given the wide range of different group concepts supported by the game, this chapter has an equally diverse selection of threats. From wild beasts to strange automatons, and even creatures that defy logic or are born from superstition and myth, there’s room for pretty much anything in Coriolis. I would definitely recommend that GMs choose their opponents to their players wisely, as it is rather tempting to throw just about anything at them, though that would sacrifice consistency and theme.


If it’s setting details you want, then Coriolis will not let you down. There’s a hefty amount of everything in this single book, a trend that I heartily encourage in other RPGs. While it does require a bit of effort to go through everything, Coriolis can’t ever be accused of  being short on detail.

Next up, a bit on running games of Coriolis, and wrapping up my review!


Hello, and welcome to the Philippine Gamer Workshop! Over the past years, Life and Times of a Philippine Gamer has grown from a hobby blog to dispensing GMing advice and most recently a home for the extensive Let’s Study series of game reviews.

With my current state as a parent and the inherent additional financial strain of providing for my son, I’m looking for new ways to earn though my enjoyment of the hobby.

Today, we’re looking at a new angle of growth for the Philippine Gamer, where I’ll be putting up small tabletop RPG games with a minimal development budget. These projects will will grow and evolve with the inputs and suggestions of the people who play them.

At the end of each year, the Workshop’s outputs will be collected, edited and polished up as a collection of mini games available for purchase. Crowdfunding might be an option to be able to afford artwork and layout to spruce up each volume further.

It’s a crazy idea, but I’m looking forward to giving it a shot.

I’ve got a small handful of ideas bouncing around in my head, and I’ve been meaning to resurrect some old concepts that have never seen completion. I guess it’s time to put them to work!

Nice! How can I help?

I’ve had a Patreon account for a while, but it was initially keyed to charge whenever I put out a complete Let’s Study review series. You can place you pledge there, and I’ll charge whenever I finish an RPG game for public consumption.

Don’t worry, each game will be complete and playable, no half-baked projects here!


Coriolis is the new RPG release by Free League Publishing. Enthusiastically described as “Arabian Nights in Space” and citing inspirations from Joss Whedon’s Firefly universe, this title has pretty much dropped all the citations for me to invest.

And invest I did. I backed the game on Kickstarter on a pledge level that gives me a print copy of a whole boatload of stuff. While the boatload of stuff is still on the slow boat from wherever it’s being printed, I’ve been able to secure a copy of the PDF which I am going to be reviewing now.

Let your heart decide

Coriolis – The Third Horizon assumes that the players take on the role of a crew of adventurers in a space opera setting that draws influence from the Arabian Nights, full of exotic locations, strange artifacts and mysterious secrets.

As you might have noticed, this leaves a big question wide open: Just who are the player characters, and what are they meant to do?

Well, Coriolis sort of flips this on its head by being open to a large spectrum of possible play styles. Depending on the nature of the Crew and what side of the Coriolis universe they want to explore, games of Coriolis can be anywhere from high adventure to techno-thrillers to even Space Horror.

Shining, shimmering, splendid

In order to sustain this kind of open sandbox, a game needs to have a solid setting. Coriolis is set in a region of space known as The Third Horizon, a collection of 36 Star Systems joined through space and time by mystic portals, making The Third Horizon a massive melting pot of cultures, peoples and factions.

The history of the setting is one full of classic tropes from Space Opera. Mankind set off from Earth on 2 massive ark ships named the Zenith and Nadir respectively., towards the distant star of Aldebaran. Only the Zenith made the voyage successfully, and discovered that they did not make it there first.

Instead, Mankind had discovered the ancient portals in space, and they used them to establish distant colonies, one of which is the Third Horizon. During Zenith’s travel time, a great war broke out among the colonies, resulting in the Third Horizon closing off all portals outside of itself.

When the Zenith arrived, they had to meet and get along with a civilisation of humans that had been there before. Sending word to the Third Horizon’s Firstcome denizens, the Zenithians established a council for peace and trade. While it wasn’t a perfect solution, it did help in the integration of the Zenithians to the existing Firstcome cultures and led to a time of relative cooperation.

But just as things were settling in, a mysterious race known as the Emissaries arrived and demanded a seat in the Council. Nobody knows what game the Emissaries are playing, or even who they truly are, but the trouble they’re stirring up among the factions can only mean trouble.

A new fantastic point of view

Coriolis is a new spin an an old Space Opera setup. The elements of Arabian culture definitely give it a different feel, while still being accessible to fans of Space Opera that might find the themes a little different from what they’re used to.

Overall, while I don’t see anything super unique in the broad strokes of Coriolis, the devil (as they say) is in the details. It’s an accessible Space Opera setting with many similarities to popular Space Opera worlds that will make it friendly for people what will want to try it without being too intimidated.

Next up, we’ll take a look at character creation in Coriolis, and see how they were able to take Mutant Year Zero’s rules and apply it here.