I thought for today we'd take a look at some of the recent work Black Goat Games, a local indie RPG material creator, has produced. Officially started last autumn, creator and head goat Steve Saunders of BGG has the shrine filled with many sinister braziers alight with dark thoughts:
Ye Nerterological Abecedarium (aka, Dance of Death Alphabet)
As of this post, there a two alphabetical PDF entries available on BBG's website for free: A is for Arjetkainen, and R is for Regimental Revenant.
Well written and laid out, both these are excellent sources of inspiration for unique and terrible undead to use in your games. I can't wait to see more entries in Ye Nerterological Abecedarium.
Little Things: The First Offering
The content in Little Things (in fact the majority of all material produced by BGG) is written to be system-neutral, but one would be remiss not to mention that the contents are what the author Mr. Saunders refers to as 'grimdark'; material that fits best with games such as Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Warhammer Fantasy Role Play, or any similar dark/weird fantasy RPG and their ilk.
The question on most gamers' minds will be if this scant offering of nearly 30 pages worth it's weight in digital copper pieces? Well, you're here so I suppose you want to hear my impressions:
This Offering is laid out in 8 'chapters' each a handful of pages in length, covering each a topic. About half of the material laid out in the is already available on the BGG website, the rest is first time seen material.
- The Urmakabus (a creature) - A loathsome critter motivated by purely by instinct to enslave creatures, and whose blood is a powerful alchemical reagent.
- Cornerstone Keep (a location) - Some details on an extended cannibalistic, inbred family dwelling in the keep a league north of a local village. A decent adventure seed.
- The Kofron (a creature) - This is one of my two favourite entries; it lists the Krofron entities and the bizzare possible physiognomies and motivations such ultraterrestrials may have; it just screams use in a science-fantasy game like Numenera or a weird fantasy game like LotFP.
- Tentacled brain-sucker (creature tables) - Probably the entry I found the least useful. Tentacled brain-suckers are a well known trope in several RPGs from the Mind Flayers of D&D to any number of unnameable things in Call of Cthulhu, but I don't see tables to customize them getting that much use unless a GM wants to put a spin on an old hat. And if they are frequently, that might mean the GM's making such creatures a little to common in their games, which can be a problem of its own.
- You arrive at a village... (randomized tables) - A few tables aiding in the random creation of a settlement and any insidious secrets it may hold.
- You have found something... horrible (tables) - Good tables for generating the scene and setting of horrific random encounter.
- Someplace Something, Rather (a blank location map with a few tables) - My other choice entry; a very well done, full page floorplan of a structure. What is the place, who owns it, what kind of details and encounters may one find in it? Inspirations abound.
- What's in the box? (random item generation) - The PCs open a box, it contains...
If you'd like a few dark ideas for your fantasy games, I think you might like Little Things. It's got some good ideas, but it feels a little short to me. Since half of the content is available freely online (at the time of this writing), and the other half is mostly just tables, it also feels a little like a grab bag of stuff based around a general grimdark theme. Still for BGG's first foray into published material, it's off to a promising start. I think one should consider Little Things more of a sampler of the dark content that Black Goat Games can and will output in the future.
Personally I hope to see future purchasable instalments with a more constant theme, like booklet that describes and provides tables for a specific area and inhabitants. GMs can pick and choose the parts they like, or drop the whole thing piecemeal into a game.