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.

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!

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.

Mace “Chopped” Terrain Contest

This year at Mace I competed in the “Chopped” terrain contest. This was the second terrain contest that the convention has held in as many years. In 2017 the contest was a build it and bring event. DM Scotty was the Judge, and it was a fun event that they decided to grow. In 2018 they decided to change it up and introduced the “Chopped” contest theme. Myself I hope that they continue to run this in the coming years. This year the competition had a chance to bring home a 3D printer for winning first place. 

For us, the “Chopped” contest was going to be a special challenge. I decided that it would be a great way to still do something other than vending while at the con. Better yet it would also be something that Missy and I could do together since she had not signed up to play any games this year as well. 

The Chopped Contest Details

The contest was a blind box 22-hour timed event. With only a single rule, you must use most of what was in the given “mystery” box. The boxes were passed out at 8pm on Friday, and the event ended at 7pm Saturday. I will be the first person to tell you that this ensured everyone that competed was pressed for time. I will say that the vast number of us that were in the competition were lucky to manage to put a solid 6-8 hours in on the projects. 

The box that we received contained a ton of raw materials. That proved to be the first challenge as we needed to sort through everything and decide what we were going to build from it. The second challenge that we faced was that we had entered into a terrain building contest and had never built a single piece of terrain EVER! 

Regrettably, we were so overwhelmed with the contents of the box no one thought to take a picture of what all was it. On the 10th floor, there was a paint area and some items like proxxon cutters provided. But what follows is a little list to give you an idea. 

  • 1 Roll of toilet paper
  • 2 solid cardstock tubes 
  • 1 Foam core board
  • styrofoam
  • pink insulation foam
  • polymer clay
  • several sizes of popsicle sticks
  • string
  • bendy straws 
  • Aluminum foil 
  • 1 Tea Light
  • A plastic skull 
  • some random plastic items 
  • Army painter tufts of grass & flock. 
  • A sheet of cardboard 
  • 1 Glue Gun with Glue sticks
  • Utility knife
  • a few clay tools
  • several types of glue 

The Resut

After some thought, we dove in and I was determined to want to build terrain that served more than one purpose. We settled on a working dice tower that would roll into a dice tray. The tower would look like a creepy lighthouse type tower. The dice would then roll into what was intended to look like a sewer well with pipes and bodies inside. 

We pulled it off, with some effort a little bit of burnt flesh and a whole lot of panic that we would not ever finish it in time we got the whole thing together painted and turned in. Better yet for our first piece of terrain that we built during a timed competition, we even pulled off a working dice tower! 

Much of the material we had an easy time working with. The only exception was that GOD DAMN pink foam.. It is an hateful unforgiving medium to first time crafters in my opinion. Mind you we were working with it at a 4 foot table behind a vendor booth so my feelings about it might be a bit jaded. 

Honestly, were pretty proud of the ugly beast but it did not place. That’s alright though we finished and we had fun doing it! And not only did we use most of the items listed above but we even cut the box up and used it as well! 

We were only given green brown and grey for colors, and honestly, we were so far behind at the time we got to the paint stage we just were hoping to get full coverage on the blasted thing lol. Maybe we will make some more terrain between now and next MACE and we will see how we do next year. 

If you would like to see a craft that we were able to take our time on. Use the following link and enjoy!

 https://runkleplaysgames.com/2018/08/09/crafting-thursday-making-d12-containers/

RPG PATREON LINK

Tempting Fate with FATE Dice in D&D

Recently on Twitter, I saw a Tweet from Mike Mearls on the topic of Using Fate Dice in a game of D&D. The idea was to allow players to tempt the fates for luck. His example in the game he ran was this.

House rule I used in AD&D this last weekend: Get a big pile of FATE dice, d6s with two blank sides, two with plus signs, two with a minus. At any time, a player can tempt fate and roll the whole mess of them. More pluses, something good happens, more minuses, something bad happens Literally works for almost any RPG ever invented, so how is that for platform-independent design? Best sequence was a horrid role leading to the party stumbling across a huge guard patrol, and then a crazy good role leading to the guards mistaking the PCs for new recruits.

Now, this got me thinking about how I might use a rule like this at my table. Essentially it is just the implementation of a narration dice into your game. This mechanic has existed in one form or another in several tabletop games over the years. They are an excellent tool to add a bit of creativity and storytelling into even in the simplest of dice rolls that occur at the table. In many RPGs like the newest edition of Star Wars, narration dice have been implemented wonder into their games.

My Take on the Idea

Use one Fate dice along with all your D20 rolls. You could use it as a narration aid. The blank = result as expected, on D20 + = Something beneficial in addition to dice result. A – = Something Negative occours. 

So my thought process on the topic is this. When you want to add a mechanic to your game you need to take into account a few things.

  • Will it improve an aspect of your game?
  • Is there already a rule that exists for this?
  • Is this a needed rule?

 


A narration or fate dice might improve aspects of your game if you as a GM like prompts of this type to help you add a deeper element to your game. There really are no rules that exist at this time that could do it better. Lastly, if you want to add more narration elements to your game then the could be an easily adopted rule.  Just remember when you want to insert new mechanics like this into your game.  You need to make sure it adds to the game and does not complicate or slow the game down.  This is the reason why I would choose not to roll a handful of dice but just one FATE die with a D20.  

Do you think this could help your game? Could you see your group adopting something like this at your table?

If using FATE dice in your D&D game is going too far, or not far enough.. Give a look at my mini review of FATE Freeport!

FATE Freeport My Impressions & a Mini Review

Writing for Myself Again.

To be honest, writing this year has been a bit of a struggle for me on my blog. Last year I raised my personal expectations for the blog through the roof. The result in doing so I missed the mark utterly. The popularity of my blog under a year ago came from the fact that it was me spilling my thoughts on the page about topics that I was passionate about. Personally, I still am shocked that anyone ever reads my blog, but I am thankful of you’re here. Where it began to go wrong was when I started caring about its growth. I was trying to grow the blog instead of continuing to do what was growing it in the first place.

The Result

I began to change, I began writing about things that I thought would attract more people to the blog, and In doing so I became disenchanted and burned out trying to keep up the pace. Then in the early part of the year it happened, I hit the wall and found myself at a point where I would dread even logging in some days. This quickly led to delays in promised posts & reviews and just an overall drop in my blogs signal.

Lets me be honest for a moment, if it were not for Missy, and PookasKreations stepping bring fresh posts and content to the blog. This year might have experienced several weeks at a time without a post. Thank you Missy for all of the help you have brought to the blog.

At the start of the month, I had declared a comback of sorts with RPGaDay. That turned into a short lived endevoer this time around. As I was excited at having some blog content ideas that would get me back in the saddle again. Yet again this turned out to be content NOT for me but an audience. I realized I had immediately slipped right back inhabit habbit that had caused me so many issues in recent months. So I set it aside shortly after the first week and did something that I have never done in the time I have had this blog. Other than scheduled posts I just didn’t open WordPress for a few days. I just hit the mental reset button.

Mistakes

So I have looked back at this year and I want to acknolage some of my mistakes.

  •  I stoped writting about what I want to blog about.
  •  Honestly got a bit of a big head, I had the pleasure of many amazing people giving me the opertuinty to write quality reviews on some amzaing products. I reached a point that I just assumed. That when they would make new projects they would naturaly just send new reviews and such away. But who can blame anyone for not sending review work to a bloger who is barely bloging.
  •  My hopes were to high, as was evidnece in my first format of my patreon. I have reassesed and now i think  it has realistic goals.

 

Now What?

Going forward, I am going to make an effort to go back to the basics, I writing started this silly blog only for me. So I am going back to the drawing board and writting for myself again. If you are still here wonderful. I can not say enough how thankfull I am to everyone that has been along for the ride so far.

Likely I will be changing the look of the page a bit, change is good from time to time I think. Also kind of want to embrace some of my old formats again and going back to my roots a little. Call it nostagla, I am looking to find myself once more. I will give you this warning as the next few weeks of blogs might look like I am just throwing topics at the wall to see what sticks in an effort to get me writting again.

There will still be reviews, But I am going to go out and review what I want to review for awhile. And expect an announcement on RunklesRankings in the next few days.

Expect to see more crafting posts in the coming days as well. With my ramping up for Mace Con and my growing love of crafting, Its about time it gets a bigger presence on the blog.

I will keep the Patreon but it will be seeing some changes coming soon as well. I have a few ideas cooking up like giveaways, candle or bath bomb subscriptions and things of that nature. Keep your eyes out for more news soon.

As always thank you for your support!

 

 

If you want to become a bigger part of the blog consider joining the patron.

2018 Questions

#RPGaDay2018 Upping the Stakes in game

How can players make the stakes important? 

Personally, I find today’s question goes hand in hand with yesterday’s question as well. Because, no matter what a GM does to make the stakes feel more important in the game. If the players have not bought into the story, there is nothing you can do to make anything feel important in your game. They will just go through the motions. So let’s assume that you have already done what is needed before the game and during session zero to create good player buy-in. How do you as a GM make the stakes important to your players in the game?

 

 

 

Campaign Stakes

I want to touch on two things here that will help your game overall when it comes to raising the stakes. My first tip is first is let your players fail. The second is learning not to play to the same tropes repeatedly.

 

Failure

Let your players fail, failure should always be an option in your game. If your players have failed at some point in your game, then they know that a failure can happen. Once this has been established when you up the stakes in the game, your players will react to these moments differently.

 

Don’t Overuse “Saving the World” Tropes

If your players are constantly “Saving the World” the trope will not only get old the players will come to expect it. Kinda like Starkiller base being another Star Destroyer in TLJ. (Yeah I went there, but so did they) If every campaign you have chosen is a “The players need to save the multiverse” story. Well the stakes don’t get much higher and the players will get pretty bored fast. You lose the tension from repetitively revisiting high stakes like this regularly.

 

Game Session & Encounter Stakes

Now sometimes when you up the stakes in a game you want the player to feel short bursts of tension. There are a few ways you can archive this and thankfully many of them are easy. The following is only a small sample of ways you can get creative about upping the stakes in the game.

 

Against the Clock

By using timers or telling your players they are on a time limit that won’t allow them to properly rest or resupply. 

Here is a short example.

 

Your players learn of an impending invasion. If they stop and rest the enemy forces will beat them to the border and begin sacking unprotected villages.

This sets the party in a situation where they may not be able to rest for several days and they will be forced to manage their supplies and spells during the journey. The stakes are higher because they know they will likely miss several rests and even exhaustion could become a factor the longer that it goes on.  Now even without putting the players against a super powerful evil you have raised the stakes of the session. they know they are on a tight time limit and they understand the consequences of failing.

 

Encounter Timers

Now let’s say that the party indeed manages to make it to the border and warn the towns in time. They are ragged and exhausted, they know relief is on the way, and troops are coming to their aid. They just need to hold out until they arrive. 

Yet the enemy forces are here, and they must only hold out for “x” number of waves of the invasion or rounds of battle, or all will be lost. This may normally seem easy if the players were fully rested. But they needed to push to get here. Will they have the reserves left to hold out?

That my friends is high stakes.

 

 

So, until next time!

 

Check out some of these previous RPGaDay questions!

 

#RPGaDay2017 25th Day. What is the Best way to Thank Your GM? SAY IT!!

 

#RPGaDay2017 1st Day What Published RPG do you wish you were playing right now?