Nathanael Cole / Alliterated Games

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I’m an Evil King in the Vow of Honor RPG

I’m way behind on posting a link to this (because again, I keep forgetting that I even have this site these days). A while back I backed the creation of a wonderful role-playing game from Sigil Stone, called Vow of Honor. It intrigued me as it really focused on the core of what I felt being a “good” character should play like in a tabletop game. In a sea of mostly-amoral gray-shaded games, it read like a breath of fresh air. As a firm believer that Lawful Good is the best of all alignments, I was hooked, and I ended up backing at a high enough level to get my own character portrait right there in the book.

And of course, being me, I had to have a villainous portrayal. Hey, I love me some LG, but I also equally love a well-done villain!

From the game’s description:

Uphold your vows to the Tenets of Honor and become a paragon of justice in a broken, cruel world.

The world of Sasara, your home, is broken and depraved. Despots rule over isolated city-states, indifferent to the suffering and squalor of the people. In the shadows of the enigmatic Ruins – the last vestiges of a prosperous era long forgotten – the vile terrorize the innocent few without fear of retribution. Until now.

You are an Arbiter, protector of all that is good in Sasara. Only as you embody the Tenets of Honor will you be empowered to protect the weak, avenge the victims of the wicked, and unlock the knowledge of the ancient Forebears to usher in a new age of peace. Will you take the Vow of Honor? Will you do what is necessary to save your home?

Vow of Honor is a tabletop roleplaying game focusing on the Arbiters of Fasann: icons of justice sworn to the Tenets of Honor.

Check it out here!

Behold my sinister majesty!

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HAMMERCRAWL! is now a full game!

It’s been a long while coming, but I’m pleased to finally announce that after much tooling around and growing dissatisfaction with games that I’ve played this process with, HAMMERCRAWL! is now being developed as a complete new game from the ground up. If you aren’t familiar with the concept, HAMMERCRAWL! started as my own home-brew method of running “classic” style D&D-based tournament pick-up games with 100% randomly-generated components. I originally meant for it to be a “method” applied to existing games, but none of the games I played quite satisfied my needs for this experiment. I got tired of shoe-horning the current popular games of the “scene” into the process, and just decided to approach the whole thing from a fresh perspective.

The result if the new HAMMERCRAWL! core game. It’s meant to be a simple, familiar, and cross-compatible “classic” style dungeon crawl, for pick up and play gaming with new and experienced players alike. Best part is it is entirely free! You can follow the development at its official public GitHub repo, and I welcome any contributions and input you may have.

Oh yeah, and there’s a fully-functional character generator program for it, too!

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Ride the SAVAGE Motorcycle-Samurai Highway!

Hello fellow Savages! A number of you have been routed this way from the Pinnacle Website, and I want to introduce myself and the new game. I’m N. Phillip Cole, creator of Motobushido, the Motorcycle-Samurai Roleplaying game. Back in 2014 I had the pleasure of sitting with Shane Hensley on a design panel at a local convention here in Portland, OR, where he was attending as one of our guests of honor. I managed to fanboyishly slip a copy of my original Motobushido game book into his hands, and shortly after he approached me about the possibility of writing a brand new Savage Worlds version of that game. Cue my head exploding of awesome!

Thus was born Motobushido: Crimson Blossoms, a 100% Savaged reimagining of those motorcycle-riding samurai adventures, now with a fully-detailed setting. The Crimson Isles are lands steeped in ancestral conquest and inner turmoil, inspired by history and folktalkes of Japan and the nearby mainlands. Following the honorable Old Ways of a fallen empire, the samurai-biker motobushi have been pushed into the far Fringes of the Isles by the new Dominion that rules over all with an oppressive steel gauntlet. It’s Seven Samurai meets Sons of Anarchy with an entirely new take on samurai heroics.

Motobushido: Crimson Blossoms currently exists as three fully-written books that now need a final round of end-stage playtesting. Initially conceived as an official Pinnacle product, we’ve decided to skip ahead of the release cycle by returning it to my own domain as an officially-licensed Savage Worlds setting. Over 100k+ words have been written, including a Player’s Guide, a Companion book and Plot Point Campaign, and a new illustrated GM screen and accompanying adventure.

The best part is that the books are 100% written. The cover art is complete, the internal art mostly done, and the layout templates are nearing finalization. The fabulous team at Pinnacle has gone above and beyond so far, and now it’s time to bring in the community. I’ve been playtesting this setting for three years now, and I’m hoping to bring other groups into the mix for your valuable input – and some sweet playtester credits in print!

If you’re interested and want to know more about the setting and its current draft, drop a comment here, and we’ll get you in on that playtesting action. You can also join the official Alliterated Game Discord server and chat me and others up at any time. And my deepest thanks for your interest and support!

.NPC.

“MotoBushido struck me as something clever and original right from the start. After meeting Nathanael I knew he and the game itself would make a great addition to our family and we quickly struck a deal. The problem is Pinnacle’s growing pains. We’ve got too many projects on the plate now and I couldn’t in good conscience make Nathanael wait for a slot in our packed production schedule any longer. And to be honest, I just want to play it. The best way to do right by Nathanael and get the game out there is to put it back in his capable hands with the full support of our staff to get it done and out in the world… where I can play it!”

Shane Hensley, 2017

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Savage Worlds Motobushido is Officially Seeking Playtesters!

(I posted this earlier today directly to the original Kickstarter page, but with an official announcement pending I am putting this post up as an official rally point.)

Hello folks! So a while back, I got contracted to write a Savage Worlds version of Motobushido for Pinnacle. To make a long story short, that version (three books!) is now completely written, back under my domain and direction as a licensed Savage Worlds release, and is being geared up for an actual public release.

This is a completely new campaign setting and extended rules set for Savage Worlds, inspired by but not tired to the original Motobushido game. The new books feature all new layout and art. The original Motobushido artist Rick Marcks is back with a huge heap of brand new artwork, bringing back that faux ukiyo-e style that made the original game so visually astounding. And this edition brings two new covers and a full Savage Worlds GM Screen, all illustrated by Jeremy Wilson.

As we near completion of the final product, I am in desperate need of external playtesters. I need people that are not me to read the books, run them, and give me feedback on the setting, the writing style, and most of all: the mechanics.

Is your gaming group well-versed in Savage Worlds? Do you have a strong interest in playtesting the Completely Written and Ready for Layout books? Do you want to provide feedback on them, and get recognized playtester credit in the final print? If so, comment here, or message me directly! I’ll get back to you one on one, and hook you up with the details of our playtest distribution and discussion forum (I’m currently using a private Google Plus Community for playtest discussion and feedback).

And to provide some teaser inspiration, here’s a sample of the cover art for the new book!

cb cover

And here’s some of the new art from Rick, too!

rick_convoy

rick_dominion

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HAMMERCRAWL! RPG Method version 2.2 is now live

After a bit of work over the past weekend, I finally assembled a newer, crisper version of the HAMMERCRAWL! gaming method outline document. This current version is a refinement of the last blog post I wrote on the matter, taking a lot of those pieces and reorganizing them into a usable-at-the-table reference text. Like all my current and planned future work, this new document can be found on GitHub: https://github.com/nonplayer/hammercrawl

I’ll be running this again in two nights at this weekend’s upcoming Gamestorm convention here in Portland. I’d love to hear from anyone else who has read this and given it a shot, too!

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Homerules: Something Unexpected Happened Along the Way

In this post I want to share the “Random Encounters and Vistas” house rules that we use in my ongoing D&D campaign. This set of rules has crossed game editions from OD&D (using the Rules Cyclopedia) through 2nd Edition AD&D and into today’s 5th Edition D&D incarnation of this campaign. Before you say it, yes, I know, every D&D blog under the Sun has their own random encounter rules. While some groups out there find the very concept of random encounters completely anathema to their style of play, there are still dozens of approaches to the rules for groups that find them useful. That’s one of my favorite parts about this grand new digital age for my most beloved hobby: there’s any number of ways to do any one thing in your games, something for everyone and then some. So here are mine.

jlnmx

Lately we’ve been playing a lot of exploration-heavy games in our main group. Be it exploring a newly-discovered southern continent in our Forthalome campaign (which I swear I will get back to some day), or traveling cross-country back in the northernmost reaches of the homeland in our Northwarde campaign, the process of The Journey has become a core focus in many of our sessions. The flow we use is in many ways similar to the “Hex Crawl” approach to gaming, albeit with a few personal twists and less of a main stage focus. For us, we always have a starting point and a destination in mind, and everything in between is largely undefined. Random encounters mixed with direct requests for improvisational player input help us flesh out all of that intervening space while also making it an active play event at the table. Read More »

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