Survive The Night: A Horror RPG Review

With Halloween approaching I felt this was the perfect time to cozy up to Horror RPG for a review. After some careful consideration and the irony of fate, I picked Survive the Night. It has been on my review radar since March of this year. While at MACE West I had the absolute pleasure of playing in a pick-up game of the RPG ran by DM Scotty (Linked to his video of StN). It left such an impression on me that I reached out to the creator and asked if I might have a copy for review. They were more than happy to provide me with one in short order. As fate would have it, I was unable to write my review of the game at the time. Now both the season and timing are perfect. Survive the Night just became available on DTRPG.

Can You Survive The Night?

Survive the night knows at its core it is a narrative one-shot horror game. It wastes no time like other horror products with things like a leveling up system. The Game Mechanics are simple, smooth and designed to get out of the players way letting the story take center stage.

Mechanics

The only dice you need to play is a single D6. With that one die, you can do everything in the game. At first, I thought rolling only one dice would bother me, dare I say even lessen the experience. Instead, it further pushed focus to the action taking place in the game. Dice rolls didn’t become an afterthought. They became exciting. Everyone at the table knew a roll of a six occurs great things are about to happen… Yet, that 1… Might be the roll that sends you to the grave.

Characters

There are four classes in the game and each class has three character types. These classes are by design Tropeish, further setting the atmosphere of the game. 12 pre-gen characters are included with the product if you want to just get right into the game. Or if you prefer you can make your own character via a point-buy system. Players assign a class and choose from a selection of 18 skill and 24 traits.

Narrator’s Guide & Adventure Section

The Narrators section is short sweet and to the point. There are no special rules that you need to know. All of the rules of the game are provided in the player’s section of the book. This section focuses as a guide to assist in running a session of Survive the Night. What you will find in this section are tips on controlling the mood and, setting the pace of play. This is important in a game where a total party kill is likely a great end to a fun night of gaming. The last section of the book is four full adventures spanning over 50 pages.

Final Thoughts

If you enjoy a good horror one shot from time to time, but you do not want to learn another rules heavy system. Survive the night is exactly what you are looking for. The gameplay is fast and fun. It’s easy to learn in a matter of a few dice rolls. Leaving you all the time to dive deep into the story and lose yourself in the game. I highly recommend picking up a copy of this game.

Crafting a Dragon

Crafting a Dragon Dice Holder

For a while I have been making cute little Dice Holder Beholders. They were a hit at on Etsy and at conventions where I have vended. They have been fun to make and I have enjoyed making everyone of of them.Since my blog talking about about the cute dice holders, I have begun calling them Dice Buddies. Additionally, I send them with a little adoption certificates and name tags. A big thank you to one of my customers for this idea. Since I started making the dice beholders I now feel that I am ready for crafting something more complex. Something like a cute cuddly awesome dragon dice holder companion! Trust me, if you take a walk through the internet you will find there are a ton of these magnificent creations out there. I am going to join the ranks of my fellow creators bringing them to life as also.

Dragon Dice Holder Research

With the day of the convention rapidly approaching. I decided it is the perfect time to try my hand at making one of these adorable, fun, and intimidating creations. Let’s talk about the way it came together! The fist steps was to build out body shape. After taking some time and looking carefully at the steps of crafting Sculpey Dragon figures. I realized I would need to watch a few Sculpey tutorials. After viewing several I rapidly became less intimidated by the process.

The Build

I used some tinfoil to build a skeleton to wrap my Sculpey around. The reason for this:

  • Keeps the Sculpey thickness consistent for baking times.
  • Provides you with considerably more product to work with.
  • It provides strength to your craft.

After rolling the first bit of Sculpey out and applying it to the skeleton this is the result was a nice Nessie looking body. The rest came together in short order. I surprised myself that the more that I began to work on my Dragon it began to understand how simple its complexity actually was. The things that were intimidating became easier and less stressful to work on as time past. When you look at the finished dragon figures they have much detail to take in. Because of this they look more complex then they are. In reality the Dragons are simply a collection of cones and cylinders. With a few additional pieces added for extra flare.

The Result

Pictured is the finished version of my first Dragon Dice Holder. Overall for the first one that I did I am very proud of the results. As the person that has crafted it I see several errors and mistakes that I need to work on. In future dragons, but I am confident that I will nail them as time goes by. With each one I will get better. Have you seen any other fun looking Sculpey dice holders that you think would be fun to try? Feel free to let me know, I have discovered I enjoy making these things. If you would like one of these creations check out my Etsy store!

Foster Leathercraft Leather Wallet Game Screen

The Idea

A while back I had an inspiration for a portable magnetic game screen to use for tabletop gaming. Since this idea was more for a game master on the go than a home-based gamer. What I would need was as a screen for keeping a few notes and to roll dice behind nothing more. But I still wanted it to be as functional as possible while looking great on the table.

Bringing the Game Screen To Life

I turned to Foster Leathercraft for the assist in bringing my idea to reality. The Result was this beautify crafted Leather wallet style game screen with magnetic backing and index card Inserts. I honestly could not be more impressed with the finished product. It was an absolute treat watching its development take place. Over the course of a few months, Foster Leathercraft and I discussed the progress and hurdles of the game screens creation. The idea was simple enough, economically bringing it to life would prove to be more difficult than expected. We soon learned to cut and insert the sturdy panels for the game screen proved to be the most complicated portion of the design. Cutting the steel inserts to size proved both quiet time consuming and costly. After many broken blades, Foster devised a process to affordably cut the steel inserts. Once this was overcome he had a prototype crafted in short order.

Finished Product

The game screen itself is nothing short of a work of art. The craftsmanship is top-notch. Its appearance will only get better with use as the leather ages. Taking on the character of the sessions, months and years of gaming it will see. The artwork is in the style of the first edition of D&D core books. This also complements the art on the Dice Cups that he crafts as well. This will make a nice looking set at the table of any game session. The screen itself measures just over 16 inches long and shy of 5 inches high. Making it large for some pockets but in reality, is only slightly bigger than my iPhone plus when folded. Thus making it perfect for travel for me. I use a couple of disk magnets to keep it game screen securely closed when not in use. It turned out looking amazing but a bit smaller than my first plan. I had originally wanted the screen sized for 4×6 inch index cards. But with the finished wallet in hand, I now think that it would have been too large.

At The Table

When it comes to gameplay, space is not at a premium by design. That said, with the use of flat disk rare earth magnets that I keep my wallet game screen closed. I can place twenty, three by five index cards in the wallet and still securely close it without issue.

How Will I Use It?

I break my sessions into three Acts. Each act has a number of index cards with notes for how things will play out in the game. I keep things sorted by placing each of these Acts in their respective panel from left to right in the game wallet. With this method between my notes and my phone or my iPad, I can run anything I need during the game.

I also discovered that with the magnets. I also have the ability to snap my Paizo face cards to the game screen for added depth of role play. Allowing my players to add faces to the NPC’s they meet. This is a huge benefit when traveling. In a convention setting your players will need all the help, they can get to remember who they encounter. I am looking forward to this year’s upcoming MACE convention to show this awesome wallet game screen off to my friends and fellow gamers. If you think this is as nice a portable screen as I do and you would like one of your own. Give a shout out to my friend Fosters Leathercraft and let him know that this is a must-have for you as well!

Runkle Plays Games, Post Game Wrap-Up

So when your weekly tabletop RPG is wrapping up and you have a week or two until your next game session. When does your game prep start? For me it begins before my players even leave the table.

Post Game Wrap Up

Post game I often have two things that I try and do after every session. One is game related the other is to prevent complacency as a GM and promote communication.

One of the first things I do after a game, is ask my players what they thought of the game! This is a key part of my game prep. I also want my players to know the lines of communication are always open with me. During this time I am seeking feedback and insights from my players, good or bad. Often it is in these brief interactions in the few min while game is wrapping up that players will open up and share their thoughts more candidly. Often I am also able to take away deeper insights as to what the players may be thinking is going on in the greater story as well.

I think that it is important to note that I used to ask if my players “Had Fun”. This prompt too often would result in comments like “Good Game” Or “Yah it was Great”. By not priming the conversation with a leading question I found I get much better feedback. I find that asking “What did you think? or How was game?” Often gets you a far more in depth on topic response about the game itself.

Get Feedback

Take Notes

Luckily for me often after game is over I have some quiet time where I can reflect on the game. During this time I take notes about what happened during the session for my upcoming game prep. This is never a very extensive note taking session as often five to ten minutes of note taking is all I need for a 4-6 hour game. Even if the game session has taken a hard turn and we have ventured into uncharted territory I keep this bit of my game prep short. I Never spend more than 20 min or so on this step of my game prep.

Next Time Downtime & Session Prep…

Next time I will share some of the things things I do between game sessions and before game day itself that I personally find make for a better game master experience for me at the table from week to week.

First Looks Relics a Game of Angels RPG Kickstater

Relics by Tin Star games made its way onto my radar by way of Twitter recently. A fellow blogger and friend of mine pointed this project out to me when they had commented that they were still looking for another review or two leading up to their project launch on Kickstarter.

After learning in short back and forth with the developer that they were designing an RPG that was drawing inspiration from sources like:

  • Prophecy
  • Dogma
  • Wings of Desire

They had drawn further inspiration from Steve Jackson In Nomine I was eager to want to give this RPG a look. Now I will say that I was not able to give this product a full deep dive that others before me might have. I only had the product for a few days and I wanted to get a thoughts review out before or at the Kickstarter Launch for both the Developer and Backers. So lets get down to it.

First Impressions

This right off the rip is a very complete product. In years past with Kickstarter products often reviewers and backers would be told that the writer or developer has a solid outline and rule-set. This product is an example that these days are past. Weighing in at 275 pages of art free content in its current state. I imagine that this project will push well into the 300 page mark depending on if the Kickstarter will add content or not.

Relics is packed to the gills with depth. There is so much content to draw inspiration from that it is shocking that Tin Star was able to jam this much information in just 275 pages.

At the point where I thought i had have seen all that Relics had to offer me I was further surprised. At the back of the book is you are presented with a set of several ENTIRELY different set of setting ideas to run as settings for the Relics as further inspiration. I absolutely love this! Tin Star knowingly created a product that is deep and rich and then thrusts it into the owners hands and says.. MAKE IT YOUR OWN!

The Setting

Relics takes place in a world where you play Angles that have fallen to earth after god barred anyone from passing again through the gates of heaven. Now a mad race for immensely powerful relics has ensued and you are far from the only ones that are in search of these celestially powered items. This is a world where myth and legends real, but the real story behind their power was told by humans. Who could not possibly understand what it was that they were really witness too.

The tone of the game is a mature one with the understanding that this game takes place in a darker and slightly more gritty world than our own reality. The world is a complicated place the players may have been here for centuries, but they are still strangers in a strange land.
The book also goes into some detail about the following things and how they affect play in the game:

  • The Bible got most of it wrong
  • Strangers in a strange land
  • You can’t go home again
  • Fallen angels filled the world with magical items
  • An arms race has begun
  • Thou shalt steal
  • Angels are a product of all they remember
  • The path is unclear
  • Everyone wants you dead
  • You can’t trust anyone

The System

Relics is a narrative RPG that focuses on the players crafting and developing the story of their world at the table. The game encourages you to do much of this outside of the system itself. When the need arises the system that is used to resolve rules and outcomes is the Fugue System. This system was created by James Wallis and first appeared in his game Alas Vegas. It was released under the Creative Commons license.

The Fugue system has two main parts to it: it uses a tarot deck to generate random outcomes, and it is designed for the personas to begin as amnesiacs, who discover who they are through the play of the game. The personas in Relics do not have amnesia, but still use the concept of memories in the same way: flashback scenes triggered by players provide personas with character abilities they can then to use to impact on their environment.

Myself I have never used this system but I have always been intrigued by the idea of a Tarot card system. Something about it adds flavor that goes beyond just rolling dice. But I can not place much opinion of if it is really the case. So I will leave it at that.

Final Thoughts

I wish I would have had a little more time to dig deeper in this product, There was so much that it offers. But what I am sure of

  • I think this RPG offers a ton of Homebrew opportunity.
  • It has a creative Tarot Card mechanic to propel its narrative.
  • The Product itself offers a exceptionally deep setting to draw inspiration from.
  • My review barely scratches the surface of what this RPG offers.
  • It is already a completed RPG book short of artwork insertion.

Overall, If you have the money to spare this should be a kickstarter you will want to keep your eye on. Especially if you like narrative based games with alternative resolution mechanics and a ton of depth.

Dog Might Games: Countdown Action Edition Review

Above are my thoughts on Dog Might Games review copy of Countdown Action Edition. I found the game to be to be an excellent party game with a fun theme. One of the best features of Countdown Action Edition as a party game is that no one ever has to sit out till the end of the round. Many of these style games will have a players vote to remove “innocents” in an effort to find the villain or monster. In this game a player “Hostage” that has been released can be secured if the Action Hero thinks that he has made a wrong choice.

The Art

The artwork is wonderful and helps set that action movie vibe.

A Minor Issue I had.

There are only two concerns that I had with the game and both are rather minor.

  • Count Down To Action Edition requires 5 players.
  • There were a small number of cards that I felt broke the sense of theme and mood of the game in play.

Admittedly, the first issue is minor as it is a party game. I only mention it because it impacted the timing of this review. I took it to a local board game night and my own weekly RPG group when I received my copy. Both times I was able to find 4 of us that were willing or eager to play but had issues tracking down a 5th player. I doubt this will happen for most of the time, but it was worth mentioning. Also this comes with the territory of party games.

So really the only issue I would say that I took with the game were a small number of cards that I felt took us out of the moment. There were 5 cards that asked players things like:

  • Who do you think will win the game?
  • what is a card that you passed on?

A similar things along this line. As I say in my video, my suggestion is to just remove them from play if you want deeper RP. Or Keep them in if you are more of a strategy gamer.

Do I recommend it ?

As Far as party games go I highly recommend this one. All of the elements are there to get that thematic RP fun going while playing a wonderfully 80s themed Action movie. You heard it here Dog Might Makes more than just good boxes. Thanks Lumberjacks!

Crafting Thursday, Making D12 Containers

Well, today was day 8 of #RPGaDay but I was not really a fan of the question. So instead of picking an alternative question, I decided it was going to be a craft day for me. About two weeks ago I picked up found these vases pictured below in the store. I have been itching to turn these tabletop geometric vases into D12 containers. So I picked up a pad of numbered stickers and set about putting the numbers on each of them.

I chose to make the numbers look as authentic as a D12 dice would look on the table. In the end, the dice lover in me won and I did indeed set myself to put the right number on each side facing properly. It just looks RIGHT this way.

I know at this stage it looks like they only remember D12s in shape. When the stickers were finally on it did begin to feel like I just might pull this off. I picked out a  few colors and gave each of them a few layers of each coat and left them out to dry. Once they were dry I sat down with an X-acto knife and one by one removed the stickers. Once they were all cleaned up I gave them each a couple of layers of gloss coat so they would look nice.

 

The Results D12’s!

  

 

 

I am pretty happy with the end result! I have one more dice to do in the next few days I just ran out of stickers for my templates.

Well, I hope you all enjoyed this short easy craft. It was fun and the most time-consuming part was getting the numbers lined up.
Until next time!

 

Here are some links to other crafts I have done in the past.

 

Tabletop Crafting Project: Laser Puzzle

 

They look suspiciously like Rocks…