What new tabletop systems have you read or played recently?


My most recent session was playing in a one-shot of Lady Blackbird. It’s John Harper’s cool little steampunk airship game. The playbooks are specific characters in a story, but it’s cool how different it plays each time.

My other recent sessions were of The Watch. The end of the first session was one of the darkest places I’ve gone in a game (I was playing the leader of my military unit, and there was a young boy infected with the “Shadow” involved…).

Before that, I played a short campaign of The Sprawl. I liked how focused and directed it is. The mechanics generally work really well, but I definitely want to try to play some other cyberpunk games that have different directions (instead of the very intense mission focus). Something like The Veil maybe.

I’m in a down period for gaming (end of semester busy-ness) but I want to get my local friends together to play some Fall of Magic in person. It’s such a lovely game.


Firebrands is great! I got a chance to facilitate it at BigBadCon last year and had a total blast.

It’s super easy to run too, and works even if you can only play for a short session (as long as you’re okay leaving some loose ends and messy relationships). If you can gather a group that is equally enthusiastic about the tropes, you’ll have a ton of fun.


Yeah I got like a few chapters into Eclipse Phase and gave up, I love the setting so much it hurts that the mechanics make it inaccessible.


I think the way to think about the emotions stuff is fiction-first (just like with a lot of PbtA). Players need to describe what and how they are doing things, which will dictate an emotion. I haven’t had a chance to more than skim The Veil, but the nature of the stats feels similar to Dungeon World’s Defy Danger move – the player has to tell what’s happening, and then the state of the fiction will guide how to roll. (A player can certainly push for a certain stat to be used, but this will by necessity involve them pushing the fiction in certain ways that align with how their character is created, which is something I love about fiction-first games.)

As far as structure, I see The Veil as more exploratory than The Sprawl. I think I’d run it more in line with how I’d run Dungeon World.


Lady Blackbird is great! I love all of John Harper’s designs so it’s no surprise I guess. Is “The Watch” out yet for non backers? I loved Urban Shadows but sadly when The Watch Kickstarter came out I was not in place where I could back it.


I’ve been digging deep into Blades In the Dark recently because I’m thinking of making a hack for it. I love the game and all of it’s small nuances really hope it becomes as popular among designers as Apocalypse World was before it.

Other than that been putting a lot of work into a Burning Wheel game I will hopefully run for some friends soon. :smiley:


I have to read so much dense stuff for grad school and I’m just like… show me the space octopus please just let me have this


Unfortunately not yet. Backers have access to a preview quickstart.

The quickstart rules are sufficient (I enjoyed the two sessions I played despite some problems), but I’m definitely looking forward to the full rules, with more discussion of how the various components are supposed to work together. The game is split into two segments (think Night Witches or The Sprawl kind of), the mission which is a structured phase but without a lot of mechanics, and the rest of it (think, when you’re back at camp). The way we played it, most of the roleplaying happens during the “downtime” back at the camp, dealing with all of the fallout and consequences of what happened during the mission.


I did find a pretty okay PbtA hack of Eclipse Phase into mechanics that are more accessible. I really like the way that it formats the mechanics to feel very Eclipse Phase-like.

I really want to play this game now, actually…

EDIT: From the main page of the wiki:

Your Mind is software. Program it. Your Body’s a shell. Change it. Death is a disease. Cure it. Extinction is approaching. Fight it.

:sunglasses: I love Eclipse Phase so much.


Ahh well I’ll just have to wait then. The way they’ve done it sound interesting though. I’ve been wanting a sort of Night Watch from Game of Thrones style of RPG for awhile now. Though I’ve always kind of liked the less mission based PbtA games more as they gave me more room to move both as a player and as a GM. I’ll still definitely give it a try when it comes out. :slight_smile:


I’ll soon be wrapping up campaigns of Urban Shadows (13 sessions in) and Dungeon World (7 sessions in). I also run a monthly rotating one-shot to give different games a try, so far including TechNoir, Ten Candles, Owl Hoot Trail, Rad-Hack, and Royal Blood. Happy to answer questions about any of those games if folks are curious!

My big personal project right now is trying to adapt Eclipse Phase so I can run it with The Black Hack’s minimalist, oldschool D&D-ish rules. It’s not easy compressing this much complex content into something as simple as “roll some stats, pick a class, and GO,” but Eclipse Phase is a super interesting setting, so I’m really enjoying it. Also, I was really proud of the name “The Basilisk Hack” (EP’s term for a Snowcrash-style visually transmitted direct-to-brain virus). I figure if I brag about my goofy title online it will force me to finish it so I can post it for free for other folks looking for something a little more rules-light.


My favorite EP hack I’ve seen so far uses FU: http://eclipsephase.com/sites/default/files/FU_Eclipse_Phase_v2.pdf

The Fate Core hack (Transhumanity’s Fate) does a good job adapting and does simplify things a bit, but it preserves a lot of complexity too.


Bundle of Holding has a sale right now on East Texas U. Anyone try it out or have any comments about how it plays? I ran a couple of Savage Worlds-based Cthulhu one-shots and thought it was a decent system.


I’m about to start up a game I’m calling “Mad Max Mecha” using Uncharted Worlds. It’ll be my first proper PbtA game (not sure if Blades in the Dark counts).

Glad to hear you enjoyed it. But of course, that makes sense for someone on the Waypoint forum to dig sci-fi story games. We’re all Walkerites :stuck_out_tongue:


Haven’t had the chance to play either of these, but…

Fleshscape: you play a tribe’s leaders as you make your way through a post-apocalyptic world covered in flesh.

Maze Rats: a neat take on OSR style rules. the designer built it for his fifth grade students and the game has a strong focus on the experience being conversational, with cleverness being more important than skill rolls. been trying to get a play-by-post game started up in this system as i’m really taken by its design and goals. it assumes a kind of medieval europe fantasy setting, but i’ve also been thinking about hacking a cyberpunk version of this.

both of these are pay-what-you-want, so you can download them both for free now and then donate later.


Unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet! What I’ve written are just my impressions from reading the rulebook.


gearing up to run a mecha theme in either Dungeon World or Blades in the Dark rn, but my actual current dream campaign is based around a PbtA game called Action Movie World.

The premise and fictional framing of that game is great: the GM and players are a director and actors filming a schlocky 80s action flick, and all the playbooks are for your archetypal action actor: The Musclehead, The Gunfighter, The Smartass, etc. One player is designated as The Lead in each film and gets plot immunity, and only they can kill The Villain. Everyone else can die pretty much whenever their players want, giving the survivors a bonus and their player becoming an Assistant Director for the rest of the film.

My dream game would have the Director chair rotate between movies, and be about a group of actor friends taking turns directing and starring in each other’s movies


I’m currently GMing a campaign of Stars Without Number, a somewhat gritty space opera game with a really cool, kind of post-post-apocalyptic setting. The player-facing rules are somewhat old-school, but not very complicated, and designed that way to allow the GM to plug in bestiaries from other games with minimal fuss. The game also assists you a lot when it comes to “content creation”. There are tables for randomly rolling up many different things, from the location and properties of the worlds to features of alien races to names and quirks of NPCs.

By far my favourite part of the system is the faction turn, a separate game the GM plays to simulate the actions of various factions in the sector. (This system has been used in the COUNTER/Weight season of Friends at the Table.) It not only produces cool stories to tell the players via news articles, but can also inspire missions. We’re still a ways off, but at some point the players can actually found their own faction as well, which I’m looking forward to.

If you’re curious about this game, there is a free edition on DTRPG. The paid edition only adds 2 chapters of optional rules that are not essential.

Other games I’ve been reading recently (and would REALLY like to play) include Blades in the Dark, the new edition of Paranoia, Masks and the Star Wars RPGs by Fantasy Flight.


Oh, that reminds me. The guy who wrote Stars Without Number released a game called Godbound last year with a 190-page free pdf version available. You play as demigods in a broken word, and it really leans into the absurd feats capable of high-level PCs in games like DnD.

It’s also a sandbox game with its own faction turn rules like Stars Without Number.


I am a huge fan of Chronicles of Darkness, the new version of New World of Darkness post-White Wolf. It’s more of a 2.0 that fixes and clarifies rules more than anything, but Mage is definitely a lot better in CoD. I use that system for basically all my games just with tweaks to fit whatever style the game is. I do pick up interesting RPGs from time to time just to grab neat worlds and settings.

That said, I do have Through the Breach which is based in the world of Malifaux and uses a really awesome mechanic with decks of cards instead of dice. Unfortunately, it really doesn’t work online and I don’t have any IRL people to play with.