Welcome back to the Role Playing Games PDF Spotlights column, where we look at some of the PDF’s that have been released in the past week that have caught my eye.
All of the below were released in PDF between 16th – 22nd April 2022.
Ravings from Skarhuld: The Lost Brother’s Bestiary
Mork Borg Supplement
Seeking to expand their pastureland, herders at Sarkash’s edge demolished an ancient, ruined wall. Amidst its foundation stones, they discovered a bundle of papers wrapped in oilskin. Those pages described, among others, the horrors inhabiting myth-spun Skarhuld.
For fans of Mörk Borg, or anyone who has been curious about dipping their toes into the fast-growing OSR scene.
With help from some top-tier independent creators, LegendKeeper is pleased to present Ravings from Skarhuld: The Lost Brother’s Bestiary.
Ravings from Skarhuld is a collection of 20 new monsters for Mörk Borg set inside the mysterious continent of Skarhuld. Piece together the final notes of the ill-fated Brother Korpsång as you encounter the monsters of a realm that cannot be saught.
Ravings from Skarhuld includes:
- Shocking double-page layouts by Limithron, presented in the A5 zine format.
- An original map of Skarhuld, shifting and shredding its own fabric in the violent blender of space-time.
- 20 new monsters, individually illustrated and written by Thomas Novosel. Inspired by our collective childhood darknesses like Metallica’s MTV videos, The Jungle Book, and whatever Koolaid Alex Garland was drinking when he created Annihilation.
- Editing, creative development, random tables, and curses by Walton Wood, the founder of Ex Libris Mörk Borg.
5E Dungeons & Dragons Setting
By Side Quest Press
Lost Lights is a new and different campaign setting compatible with both 5e and PF 2E. It spans two primary continents – one populated by scattered societies recovering from a millennia-long war between now-vanished celestial overlords, the other dominated by a vast techno-theocracy trying to cope with the recent absence of gods previously known for their direct guidance.
The creative crew behind Side Quest Press has played tabletop roleplaying games for over 40 years, and for a while now we’ve discussed some missing elements in the industry’s creative space; game design companies have attempted to diversify their campaign settings over time but there’s still an element of “other-ism” to the fantastic foreign lands that take their inspiration from places besides Europe. Essentially, these diverse options are often presented (intentionally or not) as anything but the central thematic setting for these RPG worlds, almost as an afterthought to affirm the “real” story spawned from increasingly quotidian classic high fantasy elements.
A different and unique inspiration.
A shared desire to create a setting influenced by the mythologies of our Middle Eastern and Latin American backgrounds led to the writing of Lost Lights, the setting isn’t just another retread of real-world cultures masquerading as fictional ones. Our setting is inspired by these backgrounds but we’ve taken the opportunity to create something we feel is new and different. We hope you do too!
Lineages – A deconstruction of what RPGs have called “race.”
Fantasy writing (both narrative and in RPGs) has long been tied up in the word race and what that means in defining characters and their backgrounds. The modern idea of “race” being the artificial social construct that it is, our main writers (of mixed heritages themselves) wanted to turn some corners with the idea and re-imagine it a bit.
In 5e, this is manifested in new Lineagea and Aptitude systems, allowing you to play as anything from a dwarvish elf to a merfolk dragonborn.
A Contrast of Setting – Offering both high mythic fantasy and gas-punk renaissance-era technology.
An issue with many fantasy settings is that they’re often too “samey” – technology, social, and economic advancement are homogenous across continents and even entire worlds. Some more recent settings have attempted to diversify to counter this stagnancy, but this often results in one or both of two unfortunate outcomes: the world feels like it’s a bunch of different ones slapped together without enough interweaving reason, or we see that aforementioned standard fantasy setting with tacked-on “exotic otherness” attributed to analogues of real-world societies (see any RPG or fantasy book where the heroes hear NPCs speak of “the far lands” or “the world beyond with strange and exotic this-or-that”).
In Lost Lights, we had two major setting foci we wanted to present: a take on classic high fantasy and a take on something loosely resembling a technological renaissance.
A World without Guidance – All the gods have gone.
At Side Quest Press we also feel that a good campaign setting needs to be in a recent state of flux. If the world is too regimented, there’s not much adventure and strife for heroes to rise up in. If the world is too chaotic, there isn’t much of a setting to write at all beyond saying “there are monsters and dangers, kill stuff.” A good setting balances the two.
The name “Lost Lights” has meaning for each continent. On our high fantasy continent, the War of the Heavens between the Ahura and Daevas ended by ushering in the Age of Gloom, thousands of years of plague and famine. Society has only recently risen out of such depths as the Age of Perdition begins, and it’s up to the peoples of the land to find their fates together. On the other continent, things are a bit more recently cast askew; the gods, who had always been hands-on guides to the Church and every Hegemony citizen, have disappeared from the world entirely. With this happening, the stars and heavenly bodies themselves appear moved and muted in the night sky.
There are no longer any guiding Lights for anyone on Zoenn – they are Lost.
A Cigarette, A Blindfold, and You
The Yellow King RPG Adventure
By Pelgrane Press
It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of a living god, friends!
In The Yellow King RPG, our world is invaded by the malignant, cancerous reality-warping influence of Carcosa and the dreaded King in Yellow. The Wars setting explores an alternate Europe in the 1940s, where a great Continental War fueled by alien science and sorcery drags with no end to the suffering in sight.
In this one-shot The Wars adventure, the player characters are French soldiers, assigned to guard duty in Monsireigne, a lakeside town captured from the enemy Royalists. The squad carry out a number of executions as a firing squad, but everything changes when a condemned man confesses that a treasure is hidden in town.
Adventure for Low Fantasy Gaming
By Earl of Fife Games
A Hunger Must Be Sated
Will you survive at the cost of your sanity?
Nerwig Whal stands upon a tall bluff, wind buffeting and blowing his cherry red hair. He clears it from his eyes. To the west, a long line of wagons winds its way towards him. It ascends further and further into the hills and will eventually come to a stop at the appointed place: A site ordained to produce fortune – or so he thinks. “These miners have few options for supplies,” he said. “It takes a bold man to claim a stronghold in these harsh hills … but we will do it. And we will be the sole supplier in these here hills. And we will laugh all the way to the bank!” Fat of the Lamb can be used in conjunction with other modules, with a different campaign, or as a one-shot adventure. Inside Fat of the Lamb you will find:
- An adventure suitable for characters of 1st to 3rd level;
- A dark fantasy adventure of survival and difficult choices;
- An adventure compatible with Low Fantasy Gaming;
- And Mental horrors the PCs must endure and overcome!
Kult Scenario Anthology
By Helmgast / Modiphius
Screams and Whispers is a 224-page scenario collection with six newly written scenarios. They follow a variation of themes and touch upon different genres of horror, all firmly rooted within the KULT mythos and setting.
It Started and Ended with Screams: The players are all teenagers that are sent to St. Jude’s Centre for Troubled Youths. Here, in this strict institution, where the windows are barred and the doors are locked they soon discover that this place has many secrets. This is a scenario based around human drama, systemic abuse and desperate pacts. It is written by Matthew Dawkins who also wrote The Summit for the previously released scenario collection Taroticum and Other Tales. He is perhaps mostly known for his many contributions to the World of Darkness setting but here he again embraces the KULT mythology in a very daring and intimate scenario.
Hell is Other People: Three people are riding in a limousine through a dark and nameless city. They are all going to the same place and as the ride goes on we learn more and more about their hidden secrets and the desperate desires and black envy they hold for each other. This is a short and unconventional scenario created by Anders Fager, a renowned Swedish horror writer, who among his award winning Lovecraft books, wrote the KULT: Divinity Lost novel For the Love of Goddess.
Downfall: When an aspiring writer goes missing, all that is left behind are unpaid bills, a locked suitcase, and a tattered yellow notebook. As fiction threatens to spill into the real world, his friends and relatives embark on an investigation to piece together a gruesome tale of self-discovery, enlightenment and passion. The newcomer M. Martial explores passion and grotesque body horror in the vein of early Cronenberg movies.
Judgment: A family tragedy plays out during an intense heat wave in Phoenix, Arizona. Here, wills and agendas clash in a scenario with TV-preachers, illegal abortion clinics, megachurches, betrayal, a Death Magician seeking revenge and layer upon layer of secrets! Written by established RPG author Matthew Sanderson who has contributed to titles for Call of Cthulhu and Vampire the Masquerade amongst others. Judgment is his KULT debut.
Seven Sisters: Set in Berlin 1945, and the second World War is soon at its end. The player characters are agents that are sent into a bombed out Berlin in the months before its fall to find a secret agent. In this time of extreme chaos and suffering the borders to Inferno are thin and servants of the Death Angel Thaumiel and enslaved angels have their own agendas which the players become entangled with. This scenario is written by the legendary first edition of KULT writers – Gunilla Jonsson and Michael Petersén. Here they return in full glory with a brand new scenario for KULT: Divinity Lost.
Desert Whispers: A long weekend in Juarez, Mexico. A swinging party where everything is free. In the cold night of the desert, who will save you from your excesses, or your host? The characters stumble upon a gathering of Jackals in this dark, and very intense, slasher tale. It is written by Topher Burke, a novelist and wordsmith currently stranded in the middle of the United States.
By Mongoose Publishing
The Field Catalogue presents a selection of weaponry and equipment to suit all budgets and requirements, from handguns to grav tanks, from boots to starships. For those wanting something special the weapon design system puts custom firepower in the hands of your mercenaries. Balance knockdown power against armour penetration and magazine capacity; magazine capacity against the ability to get a shot on target before the opposition fires back.
This book also has rules for situations the average Traveller never encounters: chemical warfare, standoff missile attacks, artillery bombardment and manoeuvring under fire on a low-gravity planetoid. Among the force-multipliers and problem solvers in the Field Catalogue are distraction grenades, auto-hacking intrusion devices and thermal concealment coverings. Personal weaponry ranges from the ubiquitous ‘Mark 1’ handgun to top-end gauss sniping weapons.
For those with a bigger budget, the Field Catalogue presents a range of vehicles with options packages. The basic Negav 10-wheel truck is a humble logistics vehicle, but for a few thousand Credits more it can become a mobile headquarters or improvised ground assault platform. The S-series grav platform can transport troops to the battle area or provide support with its autocannon and Blackjack gun/missile system. The very richest commanders can travel in style aboard the Gravitas skiff or take command of a Shadow gunship for more direct action.
5E Dungeons & Dragons Supplement
By Azukail Games
They are known by many names. Freelances. Soldiers of Fortune. Privateers. Ironmongers. At the end of the day, though, no matter their heraldry or honor codes, their reputation or their legends, these so-called adventurers all boil down to one thing… mercenaries. While many of these sellswords operate independently, moving from one paymaster to another as the mood and desire strikes them, others have banded together to form free companies of warriors. Often possessing unique skills, specialized training or assets not available even to the standing forces of city states, merchant houses and powerful guilds, these swords-for-hire are as varied as they are dangerous.
This supplement contains ten unique mercenary companies found throughout Sundara, detailing their histories, providing sample members to act as NPCs and giving the GM rumors to help build up their reputation and act as jumping off points should they wish to include these free companies in their games. Lastly, every free company listed in this book comes with an archetype for players who want to embody the unique skill set, training and special abilities associated with these particular sellswords. Though it should be noted that these companies are made up of various individuals with a variety of roles, so it is not necessary for one to possess this archetype in order to be (or have been) a member of one of these companies should a player simply want to use a given mercenary company as a feature for their character’s background.
Lastly, membership in a given mercenary company is not required for a character to take any of the archetypes listed here. While that is the easiest story explanation for their class features and abilities, it is not the only one. An individual may be a former member of a company, for example, or have been trained by someone who was once a former member. Players and Game Masters alike are encouraged to be creative with these options in order to make them as available as possible in their games, should you wish to use them.
Tunnels & Trolls / Fantasy Adventure
By Trollgodfather Press
Traps, more traps, and even more fiendish traps! Sure, you’ll have a chance to fight, but if you want to be the ruler of the city of Gaxarn in Zimrala, you have to prove that you can survive when everything is trying to kill you. Come to think of it, that’s a good description of fantasy world politics. Everything is trying to kill you.
Something Is Wrong With The Chickens
One Page RPG
Bryson Foods, Inc has taken everything from uys.
We are Chickens.
We are Eldritch Horrors.
Make. Bryson. Pay.
One day, a portal opened to The Other, an indescribable dimension of Horror. Each of us began manifesting the traits of distant cosmic entities.
What is this?
Something Is Wrong With The Chickens is a one-page, rules-lite TTRPG of Chickens, Eldritch Horror, and Revenge for 2+ players, including 1 Chicken Master (CM).
- Quick and easy character creation
- 6 Chicken Types – From Chicken to Turkey to the enigmatic Nugget.
- 6 Eldritch Traits – Powers gifted from The Other. Which will we start with? How many will manifest in us?
- An original 3d6 system where success comes from the combination of our Chicken and Eldritch natures.
- Random tables that allow the CM to start a game in minutes. Crucially, this includes a rollable table of puns.
Inspired by the wonderful world of one-page RPGs and, in particular, Honey Heist by Grant Howitt.
5E Dungeons & Dragons Adventure
By Sneak Attack Press
The dwarves of Karn Ungil seek to reclaim their former outpost of Ballo Dar from drow invaders. They are sending a small group of spellcasters to sneak into the heart of the outpost to reawaken its magical defenses. The dwarves of Karn Ungil ask the player characters to escort this expedition through the twisting tunnels of the Underdark. While drow attack the group, they face a greater danger — one of them has already betrayed the group from within.
Beacon in the Dark is an adventure for characters level 7–9. It is set in the Underdark and can be dropped into nearly any campaign or run as a one-shot.
In addition to the adventure, Beacon in the Dark features:
- 3 NPC allies
- 6 new or modified monsters
- 1 new magic weapon
- A GM cheat sheet to track the adventure
- 2 high resolution maps
- 7 PNG tokens for your Virtual Table Top
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.