Divinity: Original Sin 2 – An RPG actually for Roleplayers

The latest PC RPG in the Divinity series by Larian Studios was released a few weeks ago. It’s a true RPG in the classic style, with a top-down view, turn-based tactical combat, and plenty of dialogue and story to sink your teeth into. We’ve had quite a few RPGs of this classic style appear in recent years. Original Sin 2 doesn’t just aim to bring back that classic experience though, it really takes things to the next level, with excellent modern graphics, full (and hilarious) voice acting, and a bunch of slick modern updates to the formula in terms of combat, UI, and design. The game was in Steam’s Early Access before this full release for just a year and has been successfully launched with a high level of polish, showing all the other Early Access developers how it’s done.

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I’m just going to jump straight in and tell you the what the best thing about this game is, as alluded to by the title; the roleplaying potential, and the story. These days it feels like most RPGs are missing what their purpose should be. Especially with the lines becoming increasingly blurred between genres, which isn’t a bad thing, but there are so many games with ‘RPG elements’ which seems to just mean that there’s a bunch of stats, loot, and grindy leveling. If that’s the average impression of what identifies an RPG, then something is terribly wrong here. What I’m getting at here is that Original Sin 2 seems to actually aim to realise the true purpose of an RPG, which is quite simply, Roleplaying! Continue reading “Divinity: Original Sin 2 – An RPG actually for Roleplayers”

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My Top 5 Actual Play RPG Podcasts

If you like RPGs, but can rarely get a group together to play, or even have yet to try one, then you may be able to scratch the roleplaying itch with an ‘actual play’ podcast. This is essentially just a recording of someone’s RPG session, rather than something scripted or otherwise retold, hence ‘actual play’.

These kind of podcasts can be really useful to give you ideas and even show you a good example of what playing an RPG is like if you’ve never had the chance. Before I started playing RPGs several years ago I looked for something to show me how it’s done and I stumbled across an actual play podcast called ‘Critical Hit’ from majorspoilers.com, and that gave me a pretty good idea of D&D 4th Edition, which is what I started with. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend them now, as I haven’t listened to them in over 5 years, but you can find all the podcasts at their website HERE. They are still going to this day.

High Rollers D&D
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The first I would really recommend on my list, in no particular order, isn’t technically a podcast, but more of a Twitch stream and youtube series, but it can be easily converted to audio. This is High Rollers D&D, done by a few people from the Yogscast from Youtube. Continue reading “My Top 5 Actual Play RPG Podcasts”

4 Tiny RPGs Good for a One-shot

There are a lot of RPGs out there that contain a lot of words and rules and stuff.  I know that a good system of rules and setting info can really structure a game and give you something to sink your teeth into, but it can sometimes be freeing to get rid of everything but the bare essentials; the DM, the players, and the premise. This is especially true when you just want a quick game at short notice, or a one shot.

Because this games don’t have a lot of structure to work around and build on, they could potentially be a bit difficult for an inexperienced DM to run, especially if they aren’t fairly confident with their improvisation skills. However, with the right DM I think these games can show off the silly fun that can be had with an RPG in a far more easy to digest way for newer players. Rather than giving someone the impression that RPGs are all about numbers, loot, and killing things, these games show off the side of RPGs that are about teamwork, inventive problem solving, and just having fun by telling stories with friends!  Continue reading “4 Tiny RPGs Good for a One-shot”

Verdun: A WW1 Game Done Right

If you’ve read my previous review of Battlefield 1 then you’ll know what I thought of its attempt of a World War 1 setting. At best it was just a lazy reskin of existing Battlefield mechanics and gameplay, and at worst it was an insult to the reality of the war. Well now allow me to introduce you to a game that is also a multiplayer first person shooter, and yet manages to combine historical authenticity and solid gameplay into something unique and enjoyable.

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Verdun was developed and self-published by two very small development teams based in The Netherlands. It was released as a beta on Steam early access in 2013 and fully released in 2015. The game consists entirely of online multiplayer matches based around one core gametype called ‘Frontlines’, alongside very simple deathmatch, team deathmatch, and wave defense modes. The game boasts a large amount of authentically modelled and functioning WW1 weapons, accurate uniforms and squads for various countries, and maps based on real WW1 battles, mostly consisting of areas around Verdun itself, but also some others based in other areas and later parts of the war.

Now obviously this game is going to be compared to Battlefield 1. There are only a handful of games set in WW1 out there, and as far as I know, these are the only two that are FPS games. So why do I say this game is so much better than Battlefield? Well let’s take it through a few different criteria. Continue reading “Verdun: A WW1 Game Done Right”

Men of War: a brilliant RTS despite its problems

I’ve been a huge fan of real-time strategy (RTS) games since Age of Empires. Unfortunately the RTS genre has been lacking anything decent or interesting for quite a while now, if you exclude Total War. There is however this fairly unknown series of games called Men of War, which I highly suggest you check out if you want an interesting and unique RTS to try… with some issues.

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Continue reading “Men of War: a brilliant RTS despite its problems”

Goat Lands : Spiders on the Storm | A 5th Ed D&D Adventure Module Review

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Before reading any further I need to make one thing perfectly clear.
This is not a tabletop RPG where you play as goats. I know, I was disappointed too.

On cracking open the colourful PDF I instead discovered a Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition adventure module by Fainting Goat Games set in their uniquely crafted Goatlands realm. Given that this is a module I will not be reviewing the entirety of D&D 5e but instead focusing on what this little package of adventure brings to your table

Spiders on the Storm is designed for a single sessions gaming to challenge a group of level 1 players and crank them up to second level- perfect for starting out a new campaign, yes, but also introduces a fresh new setting for long time players. The Goatlands are a piece of a collaborative world of which little is known but the developers express their passion for fleshing it out more and more with every addition. All of the core rules from your typical 5e campaign remain true here but with some flavourful additions; New Gods, locations and powers are just a taste of what the mini-book offers. Continue reading “Goat Lands : Spiders on the Storm | A 5th Ed D&D Adventure Module Review”

Skum Of The Stars: an RPG Review

For our next post in our RPG month I bring you a review of an interesting little Sci-Fi RPG called Skum of the Stars recently published by Owlman Press.

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The rulebook starts off with a page of background on the universe you’ll be playing in, and as with most things about this game things are kept quite simple yet effective. A huge and ancient inter-stellar empire, awesomely named The Blood Empire, has gone the way of Rome and collapsed, allowing barbarians and criminals to run rampant across the galaxy. This has led to new opportunities of adventure, not for your usual RPG heroes, but instead for pirates, warlords, thieves and other outlaws. The writing in this section really conjures up images of something like Star Wars, except each space-port is as much of a wretched hive of scum and villainy as Mos Eisley. Other than this there is mention of new kingdoms and empires popping up and vanishing regularly, an increasing scarcity of warp-gate technology causing chaos, and the existence of many different humanoid species. As I said, things are kept quite simple in terms of story here, which can be a nice change for a DM hoping to run a wacky Sci-Fi game without having to read a ton of fluff to just get started coming up with their own campaign. There’s just enough here to kick you off and give you the tone of the game. Continue reading “Skum Of The Stars: an RPG Review”