Welcome back to the “Role Playing Game PDF Spotlights” column, where we look at some of the PDFs that have been released in the past week that have piqued my interest. This week’s picks include horror, supers, steampunk, fantasy, high school drama, and retro-futuristic noir…plus a return of an old favourite Indie RPG title… to name just a few.
All of the below were released in PDF between 8th-14th January 2022.
By Onyx Path Publishing
I urge you now: do not open this book. Do not read its contents. Walk away, live your simple life, and keep these creatures of darkness in the shadows where they belong.
Opening your eyes to this horrible world – where demons possess dolls, the undead stalk the night, the Devil walks among us, and mummies march from their tombs – is an act of incredible bravery, or perhaps, complete foolishness. Turn away now, before it’s too late…
No? Well, in that case, welcome to a little game called They Came from Beyond the Grave!
They Came from Beyond the Grave! is a dramatic, hammy, and horrifying tabletop roleplaying game encompassing the shock, terror, eroticism, and humor of 1970s horror. This game allows you to play with all the magnificent content from the movies of Hammer, Amicus, and Roger Corman, and promises the fun and thrills of the horror movie genre!
In They Came from Beyond the Grave!, you play humans faced with the horrors of the supernatural. You’ll find yourself pitted against vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and constructed critters, along with demons, slashers, and THE DEVIL HIMSELF. Adventures range from the one-shot exploration of a haunted house, to the multi-era play across the 19th century and 1970s.
They Came from Beyond the Grave! contains a mix of serious threat, unmitigated ham, and nonsensical farce. We never tell you what is amusing and what is not, but we do provide the tools to make a seriously fun game incorporating all the elements of 1970s horror movies. This game provides rules for funny quips and amusing cinematics for incorporation in a story, along with dozens of special powers and story devices.
They Came from Beyond the Grave! uses the Storypath System, provided in full in the pages of this book!
They Came from Beyond the Grave! includes:
- Five playable Archetypes — the Dupe, the Hunter, the Mystic, the Professor, and the Raconteur.
- Rules for character creation and play, using the Storypath System fully detailed in this book.
- Cinematic powers, such as the ability to tear through cheap sets, cut to black when everything is looking grim, and even cut to a montage to speed up play.
- Quips to throw in at entertaining moments, giving your characters a chance at an award-winning scene, or at least one that makes it into the trailer.
- Scores of monsters looking to hunt you down and make your lives miserable, from Dracula to Frankenstein’s Monster.
- Two ready-to-play scenarios, playable straight from the book.
Savage Worlds Adventure Edition Supplement
By Pinnacle Entertainment
Great Power… Needs A Great Rules Set!
Few mediums inspire today’s gamers like comic books, graphic novels, and the movies and television shows based on them. The Savage Worlds Super Powers Companion lets you recreate everything from classic Marvel® and DC® tales to modern takes like The Boys®, Kick-Ass®, or Invincible®… all in the award-winning Savage Worlds rules system!
This 200-page PDF updates the original Super Powers Companion to be completely compatible with Savage Worlds Adventure Edition. Here’s what you’ll find inside:
- A gorgeous new layout by fan-favorite Karl Keesler; a beautiful cover by Aaron J. Riley; all-new art by the phenomenal Bien Flores, Unique Soparie, Wayne Miller, and more!
- New CHARACTER options, Edges, and Hindrances.
- New and updated GEAR, like absorption shields, capes!, a host of weapons for your heroes and villains to bash each other with, and vehicles to get your super team where they need to go in style!
- All new narrative HEADQUARTERS rules! Build a unique base for your super team, upgrade it, and deal with the adventurous complications that come with it!
- New SETTING RULES emphasize the nature of super-powered combat, including new Power Stunts, using the terrain as a weapon, and suggested Setting Rules to mimic different styles including Four Color, Cosmic, Gritty, Fantasy, Horror, and even Ultra Violent takes on supers!
- Every single POWER has been evaluated, updated, and streamlined. Power Types have been redefined, universal modifiers cleaned up and made simpler, and new powers like Deadeye added! All within the standard Savage Worlds point cost system!
- The ROGUE’S GALLERY has been completely overhauled, both in story and powers, to better fit today’s comics. Every single one has new art and many connect to each other, creating a default setting for those who want it and easily ignored for those who don’t. From street-level threats to cosmic annihilators and rampaging kaiju, there’s a bit of badness here to challenge any super team!
- ITEMS OF POWER! Over a dozen super powered items give the Game Master rewards for her super team or plot devices for their mad tyrants. Drop a time bomb to rewrite history. Rally beneath the tattered symbol. Beware the devastation seeds! And battle for cosmic supremacy with the crown of the new god!
Dune – Adventures in the Imperium Sourcebook
Arrakis: Source of the Spice.
In the backwaters of the vast Imperium of humanity lies the hostile desert world of Arrakis. It is a deadly place, where no drop of rain falls and the people live a sparse existence in the baking cities of the northern pole. But Arrakis is the most important planet in the entire universe, for it is only here that you can find the spice melange.
The spice is everything. To some, it is a way to extend life, to others a way to see into the future. It is the key to wealth and power in the Imperium, and many of the noble Houses will stop at nothing to control it in any way they can. The cities of Arrakeen and Carthag are full of agents and spies, all looking to gain advantage for their faction, and ready to kill to maintain the power of their masters. Will Arrakis be the place your characters prove the power of their House, or will their blood be spilled on the unforgiving sands?
This collector’s edition sourcebook for the Dune: Adventures in the Imperium roleplaying game, featuring a stunning foil embossed cover, takes you to the desert world of Arrakis and explores the secrets of the spice. Visit the hidden sietches of the Fremen to learn the mysteries of their culture. Walk without rhythm in the great deserts and perhaps see one of the incredible sandworms. Trade secrets with spies and agents in the bustling marketplace of Arrakeen or the alleys of Carthag. Arrakis is a planet of mysteries and danger, and those who underestimate it never leave.
Sand and Dust: The Arrakis Sourcebook contains:
- A 156 page overview of the planet Arrakis, known as Dune, its history and features.
- Detail on the mysterious desert Fremen, and their many secrets.
- A host of new options for Fremen player characters, including new archetypes, talents and rules for riding the great sandworms.
- An in-depth look at spice harvesting and those who try to smuggle and stockpile it secretly.
- The secrets of spice revealed, including new spice related talents and abilities.
- A gazetteer of the cities of Carthag and Arrakeen, including their layout, noteworthy landmarks, and what life is like for the people of each city.
- Expanded notes on creating your own campaigns on Arrakis, including a host of new NPCs, scenario hooks and story seeds.
- New campaign options as smugglers, Fremen or merchants instead of agents of a noble House.
- A complete adventure ‘The water must flow’ that involves the player characters in a deadly plot during a water shortage on Arrakis.
Mausritter Adventure Anthology
By Losing Games
Eleven all-new adventures for Mausritter
Huge and ancient, a mountain of stone. It stood even when the most wizened of mouse elders were young. The Estate dominates the landscape for miles around.
Nestled under the floorboards, the mouse settlement of Brickport, is beset by trouble on every side.
Above, huge creatures pace. The vicious cat-witch Sabrina jealously guards her domain. Outside, in the fields and pond and orchard, even stranger events are afoot. Can you help save the settlement before it’s too late, or will it be swallowed by the chaos that surrounds it?
More to explore than ever before
- Escape indoctrination in The Chapel of Eternal Peace, by Diogo Nogueira.
- Don’t get burned by The Ember Tree, by L.F. OSR
- Cure the Queen’s handmaiden in Fruit of the Orchard, by Madeleine Ember.
- Try not to get in by the Giant Snake is in the Sewer, by @gnarledmonster
- Find the sludge-coated crown in Mush Rush, by Bodie H.
- Battle mutant rats in Science & Sorrow, by Nate Treme.
- Race to win the prize of the Song of the Frogacle, by Ema Acosta.
- Bend time within The Ticking Tower, by Josiah S. Moore.
- Rescue the captive from the Tower of Soot, by Lazy Litch.
- Master the magic of The Wizard of Arms and Armour, by Amanda Lee Franck.
- Unearth the curse of Workers Work, Rulers Rule, by @skullfungus
Each presented in beautiful fully-illustrated pamphlet format, with included Item and Condition cards.
Barbaric / Cepheus Engine Setting
By Zozer Games
A new Barbaric setting! Battle Atlantean spearmen, Greek pirates, lionmen and mammoth-riding archers! Welcome to an antediluvian world, where Atlantis in all its decadence has not got long to live. It is epic and dark, full of demonologists, Ice Age tribes and pyramids. Conflict is everywhere … your swords are needed.
Beyond the known ages of Man, the great kingdoms of Atlantis fight to retain their supremacy against an uprising of new cities and new people. Their powerful civilisation depends on raw materials from within the Inner Sea, but the rise of Greek states there, troublesome, quarrelsome and belligerent, is pushing the Atlantean warlords to the brink of war.
This antediluvian setting is for Stellagama’s rules-light Barbaric RPG. Inside you will find:
- A short history of Atlantis and its current troubles
- Sorcerous cults
- Decadent cities of slaves, pyramids and gladiators
- Ice Age hunter-gatherer tribes
- Sunstones powering arcane machines
- Custom character cultures
- Two New Traits
- Optional Close Combat Rules
- Sorcery based on demon-summoning
- Gods and their priests
- New creatures, from griffins to cyclops, deep ones to sabre-tooth cats.
- Sea travel rules
- Location ideas, NPCs and a campaign premise
- Finally, 1930s pulp characters to drop into this Atlantean world!
5E Dungeons & Dragons Adventure (Cthulhu Mythos Saga)
By Petersen Games
In Skin Deep, the heroes defend the lands of humanity against the machinations of extra-dimensional doppelgangers known as sand dwellers. The sand dwellers corrupt susceptible mortals, hollowing out their bodies and stealing their skins to take their places. They have infiltrated human governments and militaries and are undermining them, weakening them against the invasion by their warlord-queen, Ravazel the Butcher.
Can the heroes unravel their schemes and help humanity stand fast against this otherworldly menace, or will they too be hollowed out and replaced?
By Dyskami Publishing Company
In the myriad realms of imagination, there are many dungeons to explore, dragons to tame, and paths to find.
Anime 5E helps you unlock the realms of fantasy to experience them all.
Welcome to Anime 5E – the fantasy role-playing game for all your anime and manga adventures, which builds upon the Fifth Edition rules of “the world’s most popular storytelling game”. This stand-alone role-playing game brings a point-based balance to the standard Fifth Edition offerings, and then layers a wide selection of new races, classes, skills, features, powers, game mechanics, and combat options on top of this foundation. Anime 5E is the beginning of a journey, so hold on tight as we welcome you to your next great fantasy adventure!
5E Dungeons & Dragons Adventure
By Adventure Bundles
Hogstad is a small village in the very north of the known world. For miles and miles around there exists nothing but pine forests, permafrost arid lands and snowy mountain ranges with glaciers occupying their tops. It is a place where families of fishers and hunters live, people who have learned to make the best of the tough terrain.
Now, though, it all is about to change, as a blizzard hits fiercely upon the settlement and does not seem to retreat as days pass.
About the Adventure
The Endless Cold is an adventure for 4-6 level 3 characters and is inspired by the strategy game Frostpunk. It is not the typical 5e adventure. It plays out in a span of many days, where on some days, random events will happen in between other scripted events. The decision making of the party during these events will affect the lives of the locals in many ways, as in The Endless Cold actions bring real consequences. Furthermore, there is a morale system in the adventure, and depending on the outcome of these events, it can drop or rise, bringing in more outcomes.
The Endless Cold is the tenth adventure released by Adventure Bundles. We are content creators for 5e and release monthly adventures and encounters for it.
With this adventure you get:
- Adventure PDF
- jpgs of the 5 battle maps in many formats for online play
- Printable PDF with many versions of the maps(grid, gridless, printer friendly)
- 4 homebrew items as printable item cards
- 1 map of the village
Core Rulebook (Mythras/d100 System)
By Aeon Games
Weird of Hali RPG — based on the novels by John Michael Greer — is an alternative to everything you think you know about the world of H. P. Lovecraft.
In this reality, the Great Old Ones are not the evil monster’s of Lovecraft’s original stories. This is propaganda lies cultivated by an evil secret society named Radiance. In this RPG you will play a human or Mythras creature, part of the small percentage who still fight for the Great Old Ones, and the nature they represent. But the task is not an easy one: Radiance is out to get you at every turn. Following a series of obscure clues you must try and find them, navigating a world full of mysterious power and danger.
Weird of Hali uses a modified version of the Mythras rule system. Except for paper, pencil and dice the book contains everything you will need to play. Weird of Hali can be easily combined with Mythras and other Mythras based games. The game is also beautifully illustrated with mind-bending images.
Core Rulebook (Single Player RPG)
By Not Writing Games
MERGER is a single player role-playing game about trying to survive in a world of living predatory corporations. While the game is certainly a metaphor for living in late-stage capitalism, it is also quite literal. Corporations in MERGER are large, faceless, monstrous entities that span time-zones and continents, gestalt organisms built of millions of individuals. We made them but they answer to no one. They use us to reproduce, feed, and defend themselves.
Your character can see these corporate bodies for what they really are. They glimpse flesh in the cracks of the cement, see eyes looking back at them in the conference room, and can feel blood under their feet as they walk between skyscrapers.
Are they alone in this revelation? Will they attempt to leave the corporate body, or remain a cell in this immoral behemoth, biding their time to strike? Play to find out what happens!
MERGER uses the Forged in the Dark engine at its core. You can spend your character’s stress to add dice to your pool, or even temporarily increase the size of your dice to get an edge. Failures and mixed successes will yield complications that will hinder your character. If a character suffers enough stress they develop insights that can help them overcome challenges but also increase the stakes of the game by granting the corporate bodies more dice and more difficult challenges.
By Void Gate Games
Neon Blues is the exciting debut title from Void Gate Games! In this retro-futuristic noir, you and your crew will solve murders, race flying hotrods, and get into dust-ups with gansters; all while navigating the mean streets of the Neon City.
This book includes:
- Complete rules for a unique system
- 9 character classes
- Equipment and enemies lists
- An introductory adventure
- Printable character sheets
Neon Blues is ideal for one-shots, pick up games, and campaigns.
Character creation is quick and easy, and our adaptable and flexible core system keeps the action moving. Although pre-made player characters are included in the introductory adventure, this books includes instructions and advice on how to create unique player classes and skills.
This system is intended for RPG veterans, players new to the hobby, and everyone in-between!
5E Dungeons & Dragons Setting and Adventure
By Arcane Ink Publishing
Explore the world of Titanholm and embark on a whimsical adventure immersed in a volatile mixture of science and magic. Titanholm is a role-playing game designed to use the 5th edition Open Source License for gaming mechanics, which makes the game familiar but different.
The world showcases a hybrid of science and magic with new character options beyond the standards. The introduction of technology offers a unique opportunity to add new blaster weapons, powered armor suits, and gear.
Instead of mounts, this world has motorcycles and dune buggies. The Fortune’s Coast area offers an exciting adventure in a lawless land ruled by warring factions of pirates. Their ships can convert to dirigibles and take the skies.
Mork Borg Crawl
By Gravy Tide
Where do you turn when the end draws near?
With each Misery, ambition dwindles, the Shimmering Fields grow distant, and thoughts return again to home.
But what if there was another escape?
Creatures from beyond the veil call to you,
They beseech you to join them in their home,
They promise life, fellowship, transcendence…
But there is no transcendence without sacrifice.
Invite your friends, because it’s TIME FOR TEA.
This album crawl entry is inspired by King Diamond’s amazing album from 1988, “Them”.
5E Dungeons & Dragons Supplement
Want magic items that grow with your characters and engage your players? This guide provides a simple process for creating compelling magic items and introduces a new concept known as evolving signature magic items!
The Game Master’s Guide to Evolving magic Items is written for D&D 5E, though its concepts can apply to any fantasy RPG. You will find:
- A simple explanation of how magic items are meant to be rewarded in 5E. Know exactly how many items to provide to your players at each level of play!
- Guidelines for modifying existing magic items to make them feel unique and engage your players.
- Advice for making cursed items fun!
- A system for creating signature items customized to each character.
- Rules to evolve those signature items over time so they grow with characters and keep your players engaged!
Magic items you customize with this process will enchant your players. The items stay useful and interesting across your entire campaign, and can even launch their own quests as players seek to uncover an item’s full potential. Importantly, this method keeps you in control and avoids power creep.
Prowlers & Paragons Adventure
By Evil Beagle Games
Nearly 300 years ago, Nocturne played host to a visitor from a far-off land. The Sultan, his bodyguards, and his wives settled into a luxurious home in the heart of the city, until they were all murdered one moonless night. Though many sought to find it, the Sultan’s treasure was never recovered…until now.
Sword Noir Adventure
By Sword’s Edge Publishing
Nobody knows anybody that well.
Finney the Miller, master of West Corners, wants the Fixer’s crew to take care of a romantic rival he suspects has captured his mistress’ eyes, if not her heart. But how is a rival gang—a gang that has sworn allegiance to the Millers–involved? Loyalties are betrayed and secrets are revealed as the West Corners slide into a war between gangs.
Crossing the Millers is a 45-page PDF adventure for Sword Noir: A Role-Playing Game of Hardboiled Sword & Sorcery (Second Edition) (https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/351809/Sword-Noir-Second-Edition?affiliate_id=384252) for two to six starting characters. The adventure includes six pre-generated characters. While the adventure does not require the use of Sword Noir, the narrative characters and mechanical challenges would require modification to use with another.
The Shab-al-Hiri Roach
By Bully Pulpit Games
The Shab-al-Hiri Roach is a dark comedy of manners, lampooning academia and asking players to answer a difficult question – are you willing to swallow a soul-eating telepathic insect bent on destroying human civilization?
Even if it will get you tenure?
This fast paced and hilarious game— the first one ever published by Bully Pulpit Games— is a predecessor to Fiasco, and just as full of improv and good times. The Shab-al-Hiri Roach requires no Game Master and can be played in a single evening. If you enjoy wild one-upmanship, furious stake-setting, and chanting gutteral commands in Sumerian, The Roach would like to have a word with you!
Included with this download are separate PDFs for the rules, print-and-play cards, and character sheets. You’ll also need a bunch of dice with from 4 to 12 sides and some tokens.
Breakfast Cult Supplement (FATE)
By Liberi Gothica Games
Terrible Friends is the second major expansion pack for Breakfast Cult, the Fate Accelerated game of cosmic horror and high school drama. Inside you’ll find over seventy pages of information on the setting’s cults and their darkest secrets, including:
• The Disciples of the Cold Ones, who use weird superscience to help beings from beyond this universe
• Doomsday, a darknet community where cultists rub shoulders with curious sorcerers and ironic weirdos
• G://0ST, well-meaning hackers who may or may not get messages from the future
• The Great Wave Society, a right-wing nationalist group being used as puppet for darker forces
• The Harajuku Tenjuku, an exclusive club founded by the world’s trendiest undying madman
• Sunrise Heavy Industries, a corporation run by monsters (but this time they’re literal)
• More encounters, from cult leader villains to strange monsters
• Six new, somehow weirder sample characters with all-new Agendas
Whether you’re looking to enhance an existing game of Breakfast Cult or start a new adventure, this expansion has just what you need to make things worse.
5E Dungeons & Dragons Adventure
Hidden deep in the jungle, a tomb borne of legends awaits.
Ancient tales and local legends tell of a powerful king and queen, and a magical artifact given to them by the gods. Somewhere deep in the jungle lies a ruined temple filled with secrets, puzzles, and treasure… and much, much more. Can you you discover The Lost Tomb of Chuwen Kan?
This 5E adventure is balanced for 5th-level characters but can easily be scaled up or down. It includes illustrated puzzles & handouts, and the encounters, puzzles, and traps are designed with several solutions to accommodate different play styles.
I proudly present to you The Lost Tomb of Chuwen Kan, a map, token, item, and adventure pack. This release features several newer endeavours for me: front and back cover illustrations, two puzzle illustrations, 20+ creature tokens, 7 maps, 3 magic items, and a 20 page 5E adventure.
Electronic Map Set
Huge mansion with horrific terror-dungeon on the top level, set for dining in the ground/middle floors – and pure horror in the basement! Typical Lovecraftian madness, with secret paths, documents and books. And what is that green shiny egg..?
This is a 40×30 inch battle map for “any” system.
Included in this set:
- 300 DPI printable MAPS with and without GRID.
- 72 DPI MAPS with and without GRID, for use in your favourite online system.
- PDF-files with printable parts – 20 totally for each map – to layout on a huge table!
- TWO JPG-files (2x 72DPI and 2x 300DPI) included with each map – 12 totally!
- Totally 3 PDF files and 12 JPG images = over 300Mb in material!
- This is part of the “Lovecraft inspired”-series of VTT Maps.
Please note: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links”. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item the author of this post will receive an affiliate commission.