As promised, here is part 2 of the Little Wars holiday gift guide. It focuses on roleplaying games. As with part 1, I'll try to keep it to five recent releases that can be had for under $50.
So, without further adieu...
Thanks to all of the amazing work Cubicle 7 has been doing for years for The One Ring Roleplaying Game, the amount of material released for D&D 5e compatible Adventures in Middle-earth over the past two years has been truly impressive.
Of all the great AiMe recent releases , I chose the Mirkwood Campaign . Part framework, part setting supplement à la The Great Pendragon Campaign, the Mirkwood Campaign provides Loremasters and Player-heroes enough material to set in motion and support decades of in-game play. Experiencing Adventures in Middle-earth in this manner allows you to get a real sense of the setting and explore themes central to the fiction.
Mirkwood Campaign from Cubicle 7
Cubicle 7's entire The One Ring Roleplaying Game line is known for writing, rules, and art that powerfully evoke J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth. The recently released Bree sourcebook is no exception and, as such, would make a welcome addition to the collection of any fan of TOR, Tolkien, or RPGs in general.
I ran a campaign set in Eriador using the Rivendell setting supplement and the Ruins of the North adventure supplement. I thoroughly enjoyed fleshing out Bree from the novels, I.C.E.’s Middle-earth Roleplaying, and Karen Wynn Fonstad’s The Atlas of Middle-earth. That said, given the number of times the company passed through Bree, this setting supplement from Cubicle 7 would have come handy as yet another source for bringing this rare town of both big and little folk alive.
Bree from Cubicle 7
Chaosium had me with the cover of the Down Darker Trails supplement for Call of Cthulhu (I mean that skull - come on). Be assured, though - the contents are just as captivating.
There’s something about the people and places of the American West - Deadwood, Crazy Horse, Dodge City, Wild Bill Hickok - that just seem to work with the Cthulhu Mythos. Perhaps it’s because the West itself seems as mythic as it does real. Down Darker Trials provides Keepers and Investigators everything they need to bring the mysteries and horrors of the Great Old Ones to the West including new skills and talents, two complete towns, and two introductory adventures.
As an aside, I’ve been working on a historical RPG set in North America in the 18th century and the maps, illustrations, NPCs, and towns of Down Darker Trails have provided real inspiration.
Down Darker Trails from Chaosium
Torchbearer is one of my favorite takes on the dungeon crawl genre. I’ve always enjoyed the opening instruction to Game Masters to create a setting that contains an Elfland, Dwarven Halls, a Religious Bastion, a Bustling Metropolis, a Wizard’s Tower, a Remote Village, and a Busy Crossroads as well as mountains, rivers, roads, coasts, and forests. I mean, what more could you need to set out for a life of murder-hoboism?
The answer is Middarmark, Thor Olavsrud’s Scandinavian inspired setting for Torchbearer. Chock full of adventure hooks, NPCs, settlements, legends, lore, magic, monsters, and more, Middarmark has everything you need to run Torchearer as a full-blown, gritty fantasy campaign.
Middarmark from Burning Wheel
As I've written before, the full name of Modiphius' excellent 2d20 Conan roleplaying game is a real mouthful, so I'll just refer to it as Conan for the purposes of this post.
Conan is a comprehensive, beautifully illustrated tome for anyone looking to venture forth into Robert E. Howard’s Hyborian Age. I’ve ran two sessions of the game this year and, so far, I’ve found it to be fast paced, appropriately deadly, and full of the fine detail needed to bring the Conan stories to life. And, like the stories themselves, Conan lends itself to episodic play, making it easy to fit in a session here and there no matter how busy your gaming schedule (and, er, real life) is.
Conan from Modiphius
The List Goes On
I still have shopping and working and packing and gaming and traveling to do (oh my!) before the holidays kick off in earnest for me and mine. Otherwise, I’d keep writing and share thoughts about other amazing 2017 releases like the rest of the Adventures in Middle-earth and The One Ring releases, Star Trek Adventures, Story, Please!, Tales from the Loop, Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, and so many more.
As I said recently to my friend Michael, the blessing and curse of living in a golden age of gaming is that there are so many amazing games released every year. It’s difficult to collect and, even more so, play them all. There are certainly worse problems to have.
P.S. You can read part 1 of the holiday gift guide here.Tags: Adventures in Middle-earth, Conan, Cubicle 7, Modiphius, The One Ring, Torchbearer, Call of Cthulhu