As I am typing this it has been one year exactly since my employer sent me to work from home. While there has been so much about isolation that’s been tough, I can’t fault it for the extra time it’s given me. Those couple hours I’d spend on the bus, or in line at this or that, or running errands, I instead have to do with as I will. And what I will is reading TTRPGs. And I have read a lot of new TTRPGs. Like, a lot. At least sixty, as evidenced by my playlists over on YouTube. In fact I have read many more than that, and as I am preparing new weekly videos, I wanted to talk about three that caught my eye and should catch yours as well.
Brighthammer is a rules light, High Fantasy RPG by Christina Stone-Bush (@HyveMind). Brighthammer is based off of Sledgehammer, a Grimm Dark Fantasy game, but leaves behind the grim and the dark. Brighthammer is the heroic, hopeful RPG I think we all need right now. The rules are split between three different zines, a Player Handbook, a GM Guide, and a Bestiary (under construction), which ticks some White Box nostalgia moments for me. The game runs on a simple d100 roll mechanic which makes gameplay easy to learn and smooth to play. The game also encourages customization, so players are free to use characters “out of the box” or work with the GM to make the hero of their dreams. And make no mistake, the characters are heroes: Brighthammer promotes a hopeful high fantasy which I find very satisfying these days. And there are already adventure modules and supplements in the works, so this game already has additional support bulking out the play experience. If you are looking for a simple alternative to the Draconic Ampersand game, I can’t recommend this game enough.
Okay, not an RPG. But it has been a while since I have played a tabletop wargame and Skirmish, by Chloe Montgomery (@plumtreechloe), was a delight to discover. “Wallet Friendly Wargaming” is a definite selling point, especially for anyone who used to or still does play any Games Workshop miniatures game. But besides cozying up to your wallet, Skirmish features a flexible and robust system of gameplay which actually requires no miniatures at all! You can use them if you have them, of course, and the game allows you to use pretty much anything you have available as game pieces. But the ability to play out battles quickly on a sheet of paper gives Skirmish a utility other wargames, even rules light wargames, lack. While the rules come with pre-made units and conflicts so you can jump right in, the game includes guidance on making your own units. This last point, I think, makes this a perfect tie-in to whatever TTRPG you’re playing. It would be easy enough to run a larger set-piece battle in your roleplaying game using the Skirmish rules, allowing you to encompass both the individual actions of the players and the conflict raging around them. But don’t take my word for it, grab a copy of Skirmish and get fighting!
As a former Wiccan I admit to having a soft spot for witchcraft-themed TTRPGs, and Village Witch, by Kestrel Rae (@KestrelRae), has quickly become my current favourite solo journaling game. Compared to other witchcraft themed games which centre more around conflict and defending against dangers, Village Witch is a much gentler game. In it, you play a new witch, just out of training and stepping into the wider world. Your first task is to find a community in need of a witch, there to settle and practice your arts on behalf of your adopted community. And that is what Village Witch invites us to explore: the nature of community and how one person can affect it for weal or woe. While I said the game is gentler, it is definitely not free from conflict. But the conflicts and their stakes operate on a much more personal level. While it is possible to play much, if not all, of a game in the course of one sitting, I think Village Witch is a game which benefits from stretching play over several days or weeks. Only then do you you bring the contemplation I think this game deserves. But however you play it, I think you will find Village Witch to be comforting, something we could all use these days.
Okay, there’s three TTRPGs (fine, two TTRPGs and a wargame) I’ve had my eye on recently. Please check them out and make sure to leave a 5-star rating if you enjoyed them (yes, 5-star, the algorithm is garbage and anything less harms rather than helps). And let me know what you’ve been checking out recently, I’m always excited to find new games from you all!