The #RPGaDay2015 blogathon is upon us, and this post is Held Action sprinting to catch up with the first ten. Thanks go to Dave Chapman of Autocratik for taking up the cause once more and composing this year’s topics. Be sure to check out Dave’s YouTube channel for his own thoughts.
1. Forthcoming Game You’re Most Looking Forward To
A month ago, my answer would have been No Soul Left Behind or Mage‘s 20th anniversary edition. Now, I think I’d have to say Unknown Armies, which is somewhere in the development of its third edition. The game of transcendental horror has thirteen years of new obsessions, memetic infections and inexplicable reality to build on. I’m expecting an almost entirely new roster of avatars and adept school, and a heavy implication that the Invisible Clergy reached 333 members at least once since the events of To Go.
2. Kickstarted Game Most Pleased You Backed
Easily No Soul Left Behind. I feel like I’ve gotten to known the author, Caleb Stokes, through his appearances on Role Playing Public Radio and related media, like their actual play recordings. Listening to The Spared and the Spoiled, which is what became No Soul Left Behind, sold me on the premise and I became personally invested in seeing Caleb’s ideas become something more people could experience.
I don’t know how Caleb and Arc Dream felt about the campaign’s progress, but at the time, it did feel as though that getting the word out made a difference in how much they could achieve. Making a PDF happen seemed very attainable, but the campaign got all the way to a full color, printable book, and I like to think I had a hand in reaching that, even if only because I fronted some cash.
3. Favorite New Game of the Last 12 Months
I keep an eye on things through social media and RPG.net, but the interest I take in new games is certainly at a low point, maybe the lowest since my engagement in the hobby began. I blame crowdfunding marketing campaign fatigue. Pass.
4. Most Surprising Game
Pathfinder continues to surprise me with the ever-unfolding complexity of new material. “Oh, you’re tired of fighters? Let’s alter the flavor a bit and really crunch things up. You know, so you’re feeling every modifier get stuck on the tip of your tongue in the middle of a combat scene.”
5. Most Recent RPG Purchase
Not counting crowdfunding, because that model’s most ardent supporters will remind us that’s not ordering a product but giving away money and sometimes being lucky enough to get a predetermined gift, I think the last RPG thing I bought was The Madness Dossier. A mini-setting from GURPS Horror that was a long, long time in the production of an independent PDF to complement to the fourth edition of the genre book, Madness Dossier posits that human history is a collective illusion, a defense mechanism to hide the awful truth that humans were the adoring slaves of the annunaki — until the timeline shifted and the annunaki had never existed. Only they do still exist in pockets of lost time and they are very interested in reclaiming their original role in the global hierarchy.
It’s a pretty bleak life, fighting the annunaki’s servants and mind-wiping humans so that knowledge of the truth doesn’t cause some kind of shift in the psychic water table.
6. Most Recent RPG Played
That would be Pathfinder. Last fall, I was playing in the Mummy’s Mask adventure path, but then life got busy.
7. Favorite Free RPG
We have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to free role-playing games. There are the games intended from the beginning to be open content, to facilitate third party publisher support. There are the quick little games that someone worked on and sent out into the world to see what happens.
But I like Theron’s selection, over at My Dice Are Older Than You: WitchCraft! It’s urban fantasy. It’s an entire core book. And it’s free, blessedly free! Eden Studios released the core book to entice people to pick up the rest of the line, and there was a brief time when it looked like WitchCraft had all sorts of good stuff in the pipeline. But Eden hit hard times, and most of that never materialized. We’ve got this free book, though, and the rest of WitchCraft is very much worth your time for urban fantasy and thrillerish horror.
8. Favorite Appearance of RPGs in the Media
Freaks and Geeks stands out in my mind for the episode “Discos and Dragons,” where the titular geeks find themselves playing Dungeons & Dragons with a “freak” played by James Franco, who decides he’ll play Carlos the Dwarf that evening.
Community has probably done more to make the appeal of role-playing games comprehensible and accessible to the mainstream public, but I always found Freaks and Geeks‘ treatment of the hobby touching and authentic.
9. Favorite Media You Wish Was an RPG
The halls of Evenmere, the High House, are seemingly endless. Paneled corridors stretch for miles. Stairways lead to dark depths and long-undisturbed attics. Evenmere enfolds whole nations within its halls, touching on their shores and hosting its people within suites and complexes of rooms. The Master of the High House is charged with keeping the darkness out of Creation, as the agents of chaos are always seeking to infiltrate the inner corridors and subvert the magic of Evenmere.
James Stoddard wrote two books about Evenmere, The High House and The False House, with a third reportedly in the offing this summer. It’s a sort of wainscot fantasy, seemingly normal at first, but as you push deeper into Evenmere, you realize these halls are not ending any time soon, and then a door opens out on an alien shore. While the books focus on the Master of the House, I think there’s a great campaign framework here. The Master can’t be everywhere at once, and we’ve seen there are servants of the house with unique skills and abilities of their own empowered to act on his behalf. Sounds like a great set-up for the traditional array of mismatched characters, drawn from the inner corridors and the outer nations of the High House, called to serve.
10. Favorite RPG Publisher
No comment on this one. I’m too biased. My first instinct is to think of game publishers as businesses first, but I know there are many, many people out there publishing because they love the hobby. After all, the best way to make a small fortune in game publishing is to start with a larger one.
 Which is where you get completely fed up with seemingly everyone on your social media channels being in the midst of a marketing campaign to drum up backing for their current creative project. There are a number of otherwise very interesting people whom I no longer follow for their interesting thoughts because they kept asking for money — or maybe more fairly, were the most recent in a string of otherwise unrelated people, all of whom in turn were asking for backing.