Emperor Edition Design Diaries: Scorpion

AEG - Mon, 10/03/2011 - 07:50

Today is the next installment of our Emperor Edition Design Diaries where one of the designers of L5R will explain our goals for the mechanics of a clan. This week’s clan will be Scorpion, written by Loki.

Political Warfare

Midday Shadow Court

“The currency of the world is favor and flesh. Anything else is irrelevant.” – Shosuro Kameyoi

The Scorpion are the undeniable masters of the court. While the Crane curry favor with anyone and everyone, the Scorpion know that real power lies in political control over your allies and enemies alike.

Scorpion Courtiers are feared throughout the Empire, as they should be. What a Lion samurai can do on the battlefield, a Scorpion Courtier can do just as easily with a stroke of the brush. A dishonored enemy is as good as a dead enemy, and in Rokugan, a dishonored enemy often is a dead enemy. The Scorpion use their mastery of the court to blackmail and shame their opponents, using Political actions to drag their enemies down to -20 Honor and make them lose face. The Action Phase is the domain of Scorpion Courtiers, though they will send their minions to battle when they have to, sacrificing their lives to ensure that their enemies never recover from their dishonor.

Midday Shadow Court is the Courtiers’ headquarters, and it helps them in two ways. The Stronghold’s trait raises your Family Honor by 20 points whenever someone tries to Lobby for the Imperial Favor. Not only does this make it almost impossible for your opponents to gain the Empress’s Favor, it also means you can easily get access to it, either to defend yourself or draw cards, or to fuel Political actions that require you to discard the Favor as a cost.

The Stronghold’s ability, meanwhile, is reminiscent of two of the most beloved (or hated, depending on one’s point of view) Scorpion Courtiers of the past, Bayushi Saya and Bayushi Jutsushi. Once per Action Phase, on both your turn and your opponent’s (and even if it is bowed), it lets you target a Personality of your choice and forbid that Personality from doing anything lest they end up dishonored and cause their controller a small Honor loss. The Political Warfare theme is all about forcing your opponents to make difficult choices, and the ability of Midday Shadow Court will either force your opponent to play the waiting game, leaving you all the time you need to assemble ways to dishonor him out of the game, or to start dishonoring his own Personalities, thus playing right into your hands.

The Political Warfare theme is a very focused one, with dishonor as its one and only victory condition.

*****

The Underhand

Law of Darkness Dojo

“Who better to enforce the law than those who know both sides of it intimately.” – Bayushi Kahoku

While Courtiers rule the courts, Magistrates rule the streets. Scorpion Magistrates are not like their Crane and Dragon counterparts, though; they are a little less concerned with upholding the Empress’s law, and a little more with advancing their Clan’s schemes. A criminal who falls into their hands may soon come to regret the swift justice of the other Clans.

Scorpion Magistrates are a militant bunch. They may not have the military prowess of a Lion Tactician or a Crab Berserker, but they are more than capable warriors, and can hold their own on the battlefield. While Courtiers love to stay at home and manipulate their enemies during the Action Phase, Magistrates never hesitate to take to the field and to bring the fight to their enemies. Of course, they remain Scorpion, and are just as adept at crushing skulls as they are at blackmailing and manipulating their opponents.

Magistrates make their home in the Law of Darkness Dojo, which makes for perfect headquarters for them. The Stronghold’s ability, which can be used even if it is bowed, lets you reduce your opponent’s Force in battle, or outright bow them if they are dishonorable. Scorpion Magistrates tactics are indeed much more effective against dishonored opponents, though they can be used against others as well. Thankfully (for them), Magistrates have many ways to dishonor their enemies, both in and out of battle.

The Stronghold’s trait is perhaps its more frightening feature, though. After every time a Battle action you played causes another player an Honor loss, it will make that player lose another Honor. Since it is a trait, it is always active (even when your Stronghold is bowed), and is not limited to once per turn. Additionally, the Stronghold does not merely increase the Honor loss by one, but creates an entirely new and independent loss, making it more difficult to prevent. Of course, Scorpion Magistrates have access to a large array of cards that cause Honor losses in battle, so they should have no trouble triggering this trait.

The Underhand is primarily a military theme, though it should be able to win through dishonor as well. When the choice is between your provinces and your Honor, the only real choice you’ll have left will be that of your defeat.

*****

Shosuro’s Shadow

The Otoro Estate

“Those who dwell in the light are not strong enough to cope with an existence in the shadows.” – Shosuro Konishi

Ninja don’t exist, everyone knows that. Everyone but the Scorpion, it seems, who keep a sizable force of Shosuro Ninja as assassins and infiltrators. Stealth is the Ninja way of life; if you see one, it is already too late.

Shosuro Ninja are ruthless warriors who never hesitate to use techniques the rest of the Empire would find abhorrent. They can slip into the shadows and disappear before their presence is felt, and strike whenever and wherever they please. Ninja are particularly adept at neutralizing potential threats by discarding cards from their opponents’ provinces, making sure that the most troublesome Personalities never have a chance to reach the battlefield in the first place. They are also extremely fast warriors, capable of striking and retreating before the enemy can react.

The Otoro Estate is the Shosuro’s Stronghold. Its 0 Starting Family Honor reflects the particularly dishonorable acts the Ninja often stoop to, even by Scorpion standards. It is counterbalanced by a trait that prevents you from losing Honor from Ninja cards you own, allowing you to play all the dirty tricks you want without fear of dishonoring yourself out of the game. The Stronghold’s main strength lies in its two abilities, though.

The first one lets you look at all the face-down cards in a player’s provinces during the Action Phase, thus making sure you know which target is the juiciest. With the Shosuro’s ability to discard cards from provinces without having to actually destroy them, you can even use that knowledge to neutralize several provinces at once, if you are willing to take the risks. The Stronghold’s second ability actually helps mitigate that risk, as it lets you make a Ranged 4 Attack with a Ninja then, if you so wish, move him home. This allows you to overextend on the attack and send some of your troops home to defend with, or to wage a slow war of attrition on defense (or both). Note that the ability does not specify that the Ranged Attack has to destroy something in order for your Ninja to move home, so even if you are opposed by nothing but huge Crab Berserkers, you will be able to retreat.

The Shosuro’s Shadow theme is a straightforward military deck, with no switch capabilities.

*****

Paragons of Loyalty

Shiro Chugo

“To do whatever your lord commands without question or hesitation… that is the path of a true samurai.” – Bayushi Manami

Chugo, or Loyalty, is the one Bushido virtue the Scorpion value over everything else. Paragons of Loyalty take it to the logical extreme; they are Yojimbo who are ready to sacrifice everything—including their lives—for their charge, the Courtiers of the Scorpion Clan.

Paragons of Loyalty are not that different from Phoenix Yojimbo, who are tasked with protecting that Clan’s Shugenja at all costs. They may not be as formidable on the battlefield, but they are nevertheless efficient warriors, and become only more so when Courtiers are around. Typically, Scorpion Yojimbo go to battle while their Courtiers stay at home, providing political support and boosting the Yojimbo simply by being in play. While the Paragons of Loyalty theme is a military deck, it has access to many control elements, allowing you to choose who you want to face on the battlefield. Given that all Paragons of Loyalty have the Samurai, Paragon and Yojimbo keywords, it also has access to many useful Strategies.

Shiro Chugo is the Paragons’ Stronghold, and it helps them in two ways. Although Paragons of Loyalty will have trouble fielding as fast a military deck as some other themes, their Stronghold’s Reaction should make up for it: as long as they control a Courtier, they will be able to reduce one Honor gain or loss a turn by 2, buying them precious time against Honor and dishonor decks. This ability can of course also be used proactively, allowing you to play Strategies that would normally cause you large Honor losses that will be reduced by the Stronghold.

The Stronghold’s second ability produces a Melee 4 Attack, or a Melee 5 Attack if the performer is Loyal. Given that all Paragons of Loyalty have the Loyal keyword, you should have no trouble producing the better Melee Attack every time. A Melee 5 Attack is already a pretty acceptable Battle action, but given that you should have access to control elements that should help you keep your opponents’ best Personalities out of battle, it becomes even better.

The Paragons of Loyalty theme is a military deck, although it includes Courtiers and political control elements.

Categories: Company News

RPG Review: Shadows over Scotland (2011)

RPGnet - Mon, 10/03/2011 - 07:00
Capsule Review by kafka (5/5): Cubicle 7 has another winning Cthulhu supplement here. It is gorgeously illustrated and well edited. It is rules light, information heavy (although, never feeling that it is burden) giving the right amount of information. It contains a thorough examination of a timeline for Scotland and its predecessor states. This takes us from mythical times up to the 1920s. The first section is meant to be historical and commonly known facts. Then a briefer section that follows gives the history of the Mythos in Scotland, there is overlap between the two but fortunately no redundancy. The source material covers the lowlands, highlands and the islands in more detail than I have ever seen in any sourcebook. We get the lay of the land with maps; we get history, comprehensive overview of the cities, geological information, local flora & fauna, people & culture and Mythos-touched local myths. Rounding things are six scenarios.
Categories: Reviews

[SPANISH] Cthulhu d100

RPGNow - Mon, 10/03/2011 - 06:18
[SPANISH] Cthulhu d100Publisher: Three Fourteen Games

Género: Terror/Mitos de Cthulhu
Número de Páginas: 52
Mecánicas: Basado en el BRP, 100% compatible 


Después de más de una década sin que se haya publicado un manual de los Mitos con sistema BRP en nuestro idioma, el único objetivo de Cthulhu d100 es ofrecer un reglamento asequible al que pueda tener acceso todo jugador o GM interesado en los Mitos, de manera gratuita y legal, presentando además un juego más flexible y al día.

 

Utilizando el D100 como base del sistema, pretendemos que los grupos de juego puedan reutilizar material ya publicado en alguno de los sistemas comerciales más extendidos, con tan solo un mínimo esfuerzo de adaptación.

· Sistema basado en el d100 de Chaosium, totalmente compatible con cientos de libros ya publicados y por publicar.

· Reglas de Descenso a la Locura creadas completamente desde cero, 100% compatibles con todo el material basado en el sistema d100 de Chaosium, y que permiten representar la gradual pérdida de cordura con mayor realismo.

· Nuevas mecánicas para enfrentarse a los tomos arcanos, diferenciando el leerlos íntegramente y el simplemente hojearlos en busca de información concreta.

· Licencia abierta para que quien lo desee distribuya el reglamento o cree nuevo material sobre él de manera gratuita.

Price: $0.00
Categories: Company News

Divine Favor: the Cleric (Pathfinder RPG)

RPGNow - Mon, 10/03/2011 - 05:02
 the Cleric (Pathfinder RPG)Publisher: Open Design

Divine Favor: the Cleric

The cleric has a vital yet complex role within a party: healer, wizard, fighter, and bane of the undead. Divine Favor: the Cleric is an invaluable resource to anyone wanting to play one of the oldest character classes in fantasy roleplaying.

Designed by Stefen Styrsky with additional design by Wolfgang Baur, Divine Favor: the Cleric is the fourth in the Divine Favor series that also covers druid, paladin, inquisitor, and oracle. This volume includes:

  • How to make the most of your cleric
  • New domains: Alchemy, Apocalypse, and Prophecy
  • New subdomains: Books, Entropy, Exorcism, Gambling, Horoscope, Lies, Potion, Transmutation, Truth, and Weapons
  • New cleric archetypes: Ascetic, Charismatic, Enthusiast, Exorcist, Flagellant, Theosophist, Vatic, Weapon-Sworn, Wonder Worker
  • Variant channeling rules
  • New spells: Fortune’s Frown, Lucky Break, Lucky Totem, Reading Aid, Manipulate Symbol, Wind Down

Pick up Divine Favor: the Cleric and wield the power of the gods! And check out the other books in the Divine Favor series.

Open Design is a trademark of Open Design LLC.

Pathfinder and associated marks and logos are trademarks of Paizo Publishing, LLC, and are used under license. See paizo.com/pathfinderRPG for more information on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

 

 

Price: $3.99
Categories: Company News

Game Masters Soundpack: Horror #1

RPGNow - Mon, 10/03/2011 - 05:02
 Horror #1Publisher: Toxic Bag Productions, Inc.

Continuing the tradition of the award-winning Game Masters Collection,
Horror #1 is a collection of 12 sounds inspired by classic monster movies.

 

Sounds include:

• Vampire destroyed by sunlight (scream and disintegrate)
• Vampire destroyed by sunlight (burns up)
• Vampire destroyed by sunlight (explodes)
• Drive stake through vampire's heart
• Animating the Man-Made Monster
• Mob of Angry Villagers
• Reading the Ancient Egyptian Curse (British and American accents)
• The Sarcophagus opens
• Canopic Jar opens
• Reading the Ancient Curse and Awakening the Mummy (British and American accents)

 

Listen to the entire Soundpack below.

Price: $0.99
Categories: Company News

September 21, 2011: Contest: Name That Game!

Steve Jackson Games - Mon, 10/03/2011 - 05:00


Castle Game Photo 1 We've got a really beautiful new abstract game that will ship in 2012. The piece design is finished; we have showed it off at some recent conventions. We've got a good card design. And we have a very good set of rules, though we're still playtesting. Which is no hardship, because the game is FUN.



But we're still not sure what we're going to call it.



Castle Game Photo 2 Of course, the designer, Beau Beckett, had a name for it, and we might still use that one. But we looked for alternatives, and it was just amazing how many castle-related names have already been used. In all kinds of languages. There are a LOT of games about castles. Half the time, around the office, we call this one by Beau's name, and half the time we just say "Castle Game." And I won't swear we won't end up calling it "The Castle Game." But that's kind of vanilla . . . And remember, I'm the guy who used GURPS as the working title for a new rules set, and ended up publishing it under that name. Sometimes I must be stopped for my own good.



Castle Game Photo 3 So: contest time. Come up with a name for a quick two-player abstract game that uses walls and towers to claim space. Don't duplicate the name of any published game. It has to use the English character set, though it doesn't have to be English. (I mean, think of Agricola.) Send your suggestions to [email protected]. Leave "Castle Game Name" as the message title, to make it easier on me. If we use your name, you'll get an early copy, credit in the game, and bragging rights. And my thanks!



-- Steve Jackson

Categories: Company News

OSRIC Player's Guide

RPGNow - Mon, 10/03/2011 - 01:38
OSRIC Player's GuidePublisher: Ye Olde School Stock Art

Introducing the OSRIC Player's Guide, providing all the information needed by OSRIC players.

Price: $0.00
Categories: Company News

Addiktion, Issue No. 3

RPGNow - Sun, 10/02/2011 - 23:04
Addiktion, Issue No. 3Publisher: GameAddikts
Addiktion is a monthly e-zine devoted to GameAddikts product lines and news.

Issue No. 3 of Addiktion contains:

Psypher 2430 News:
A sneak preview of the upcoming Planetary Guide to Purgatory

Psypher Shadows News:
A sneak preview of the upcoming product Artifacts of the First Cataclysm

GameAddikts News:
A list of products currently in development by GameAddikts

New issues of Addiktion are released on the 1st of every month!

Price: $1.00
Categories: Company News

Eldritch High: A Little Game about Wizards, Witches and Warlocks

RPGNow - Sun, 10/02/2011 - 21:48
 A Little Game about Wizards, Witches and WarlocksPublisher: John Wick Presents

Congratulations, student!

Your acceptance at Alexander Circe's Academy for the Study of the Esoteric and Eldritch Arts ushers you into an elite fraternity of wizards and witches who protect mankind against creatures from the Shadowrealm. You will learn skills you thought were only available in faerie tales. But you will also learn the responsibility of those arts is more than any normal mortal has ever held.

We will teach you how to defend yourself and others from horrible creatures beyond imagination. We will also teach you how to protect yourself against warlocks: those who have broken the Magical Vow and now practice the dreaded Dark Arts.

Welcome to Circe's. Your life will never be the same.

 

Eldritch High is a roleplaying game about a magical high school where children are thrust into an invisible war with powers greater than they could ever imagine. It includes:

  • Creating wizard and witch students
  • Creating "Black Watch" students: those who protect magic-users from physical harm
  • Rules for Alchemy, Bewitchment, Conjuration and other "magical classes" as well as the "Dark Arts" of Necromancy, Nihilism and many others
  • Homework, Goofing Off and Extra Credit
  • And much, much more!

 

Price: $5.00
Categories: Company News

Skeleton Pirate on the beach

RPGNow - Sun, 10/02/2011 - 19:17
Skeleton Pirate on the beachPublisher: Killer Goblin Publishing

This is a 14,22 cm x 20 cm 300 dpi Jpg image.

This image maybe use for personal or professional projects, subject to the attached license.

The image, can be modified only by either cropping or rescaling.

Price: $5.00
Categories: Company News

"Bad Situations" (A Genre Generator)

RPGNow - Sun, 10/02/2011 - 18:43
"Bad Situations" (A Genre Generator)Publisher: B&E Gaming

Want to travel to strange new worlds?  Use B&E's Genre Generator to get you started!  it's our very first product, and it's FREE!

Price: $0.00
Categories: Company News

Stockart : Blades

RPGNow - Sun, 10/02/2011 - 17:56
 BladesPublisher: Christian Hollnbuchner

With the second installment in this product line I want to continue supplying publishers and gamers with original and affordable stock art for personal or commercial projects.

 

The images in this small stock art collection are themed after the title : "Blades". They feature bladed weapons, alone or assembled together.

 

The Pack contains:

+ 1 PDF with preview images and the license agreement.

+ 12 transparent PNG images and 1 full color PNG image, each 3.5'' x 5'' or 5'' x 3.5'' at 300 DPI, packed into a ZIP file.

Price: $3.59
Categories: Company News

Pirate on the beach

RPGNow - Sun, 10/02/2011 - 15:24
Pirate on the beachPublisher: Killer Goblin Publishing

This is a 21 cm x 27.62 cm 300 dpi Jpg image.

This image maybe use for personal or professional projects, subject to the attached license.

The image, can be modified only by either cropping or rescaling.

Price: $5.00
Categories: Company News

First Annual Golden Gear Painting Contest

Dreampod 9 - Sun, 10/02/2011 - 15:00

The First Annual Golden Gear Dream Pod 9 Painting Contest is now accepting submissions!

 Submit your entries for Best Duelist, Best Mascot/Clown, Best Army Commander, or Best Army.

 Download the PDF Flyer or click the Read More link for details.

Categories: Company News

Small $CAD Price Increase on Miniatures

Dreampod 9 - Sun, 10/02/2011 - 15:00

Effective October 5th, 2011 Dream Pod 9 has made a small price increase to it's Canadian Dollar pricing of miniatures, starter kits, army starter kits and decals on the Online Store, book prices remain the same. The Canadian Dollar price has been increased to match the suggested US Dollar retail pricing for our US Distributors and their Retail Accounts. In real numbers a $20.00 CAD two pack blister is now $20.75 CAD (about a 3.75% increase on average) matching its USD pricing of $20.75 USD. A Squad Box Set of 5 miniatures which was $42.00 CAD is now $43.50 CAD, a $65.00 CAD Two Player Starter Kit is now $67.00 CAD and a $111.00 CAD Army Starter Kit is now $115.00 CAD.

We felt that this change was necessary to keep a fair and balanced pricing for all the retailers supporting our products, with the CAD to USD exchange rates changing on daily basis.

Categories: Company News

First Annual Golden Gear Painting Contest

Dreampod 9 - Sun, 10/02/2011 - 15:00

The First Annual Golden Gear Dream Pod 9 Painting Contest is now accepting submissions!

Click the Read More link for details.

Categories: Company News

StockArt Covers: Leather Bound Book X

RPGNow - Sun, 10/02/2011 - 11:41
 Leather Bound Book XPublisher: UKG Publishing

StockArt Covers: Leather Bound Book X is the continuation if our range designed to provide inexpensive cover images for publishers, both large and small, which can be modified to suit their needs. However this product could also be used by GM's as images for their games. Each set of covers comes with a single design rendered at 1630 x2110 pixels in a variety of colours or styles, and a set of interior page designs as well. The license extends to allow use of these images in web pages and both non-profit and profit publications. If you require a more personal design and your budget is larger then please contact us, with a brief outline of your needs, for a direct competitive quote. In the meantime look out for more low cost products aimed at the budget concious publisher.

We now also include a fully layered Photoshop File, which will allow you unparalleled editing capabilities for this design.

Leather Bound Book X includes 11 full size png files (10 covers and 1 interior page) and 1 psd file. The design is of a Leather Bound Volume with a Chaos Symbol decal and trims, with 2 different leather textures.

Click here for full samples

 

Price: $5.00
Categories: Company News

Old Sea Dog Pirate

RPGNow - Sun, 10/02/2011 - 10:02
Old Sea Dog PiratePublisher: Killer Goblin Publishing

This is a 14 cm x 17.99 cm 300 dpi Jpg image.

This image maybe use for personal or professional projects, subject to the attached license.

The image, can be modified only by either cropping or rescaling.

Price: $5.00
Categories: Company News

September 20, 2011: When Armageddon Comes Along, You Must Trumpet!

Steve Jackson Games - Sun, 10/02/2011 - 05:00


In Nomine Final Trumpet If you've an angel or demon in the In Nomine setting, you're probably keeping an ear out for the slightest hint of the harbinger of end times -- the final trumpet.



What subtle clues might precede it? How will we be sure? What can possib--



IT'S HERE! IT'S HERE! TOOT! TOOT! TOOOOOOOOOOOT!



More specifically, In Nomine: The Final Trumpet -- the climactic finale of the Revelations cycle.



Half of this supplement is devoted to the titular adventure, where the six remaining blasts of the trumpet herald the end of days. With the heroes caught between Ragnarok and a hard place, can they uncover the celestial schemes and put things right?



This supplement also includes expanded write-ups for the Archangels Michael and Khalid, as well as the Demon Princes Baal, Kobal, Malphas, and Magog. Learn of their plots, politics, and powers -- as well as a sample tether for each one.



With In Nomine: The Final Trumpet, the epic world of In Nomine sees the cataclysmic conclusion of its greatest adventure.



This is the way the world ends -- not with a gong but a trumpet.



-- Steven Marsh

Categories: Company News

The Preacher's Secret

RPGNow - Sun, 10/02/2011 - 00:42
The Preacher's SecretPublisher: Victory RPG
Reclaim the legendary church!  

The church of legend has long been abandoned but now it is time to reclaim it. It wil take some brave young adventurers to clean the vermin from the sacred building. The church was once home to a legendary priest and now it will serve as a proving ground for young heroes attempting to make a name for themselves. 

The Preacher's Secret is a single-site adventure designed for 4-6 players of 1st or 2nd level. It can be run in 1-2 sessions as either a stand-alone adventure or integrated into a larger story arc. It contains a history of the church and village, maps and monster stats.

This is the first in the Tour of Villages series.

Price: $3.00
Categories: Company News

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