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Introducing Spellcraft Sessions

Magic in D&D: it’s a topic that’s sparked more debates at the table than I care to count. We’ve all been there—arguing about how a spell should work, getting bogged down in the minutiae of its mechanics, or just wishing it was more… intuitive. Rules as written are one thing, but what about rules as they should be?

That’s where Spellcraft Sessions comes into play.

This new segment on Pen & Paper Tavern is all about dissecting those spells that have us scratching our heads or, let’s be honest, throwing our Player’s Handbooks across the room. We’ll delve into what makes these spells tick, pinpoint where they fall short, and brainstorm ways to streamline them without turning our games into a convoluted mess.

Because here’s the thing: I’m not interested in getting lost in the weeds of arcane jargon. I want my games to flow. I want clarity without sacrificing depth. And I’m willing to bet many of you do too.

So, as we embark on this journey of magical refinement, I invite you to join the conversation. Let’s challenge the status quo, question the sacred cows, and maybe—just maybe—craft some spells that make sense.

Our first target? The ever-controversial Counterspell. But more on that later.

Until then, have fun and roll some dice!

The Dawn of a New Era: Coriolis – Wake of the Icons

Greetings, fellow adventurers of the Third Horizon! We have some thrilling news to share with you today. The long-awaited final chapter of the epic Mercy of the Icons campaign, “Wake of the Icons,” has finally been released for the acclaimed Coriolis – The Third Horizon roleplaying game. This is a momentous occasion for all of us who have been eagerly awaiting this release.

A Call from the Dark Space

In the world of Coriolis, dreams and visions are not mere figments of the imagination. They are harbingers of prophecies, omens of the future, and whispers from the dark space of the Third Horizon. A new presence, or perhaps something ancient, is reaching out, and it may hold the answers to the future. It speaks of a prophecy, the Chosen, and the impending Horizon Wars.

Image: Free League Publishing

Wake of the Icons: A Closer Look

“Wake of the Icons” is a beautifully illustrated book of over 200 pages, packed with extensive background information for the Gamemaster. It describes the events that threaten the entirety of the Third Horizon. The expansion includes three scenarios:

  1. “A Song for Kua”: This opening scenario starts with a series of visions, leading the characters back to Kua.
  2. “The Tenth Icon”: The second scenario sets the characters on a diplomatic mission to Sadaal to acquire the Nadir Flotilla as war in the Third Horizon looms.
  3. “The Horizon Wars”: In the final climactic scenario, war breaks out, and the characters must lead the people of the Third Horizon to victory.

In addition to these scenarios, the expansion introduces a metagame where the Gamemaster and the players can play out the fleet movements and clashes of the war. The appendix contains over twenty different ship types that participate in the war of the horizons.

The Third Horizon RPG

For those unfamiliar, Coriolis – The Third Horizon is a highly praised science fiction roleplaying game set in a remote cluster of star systems known as The Third Horizon. It’s a place marked by conflicts and war, but also home to proud civilizations, both new and old. As players, you crew a spaceship and travel the Horizon, exploring the ancient ruins of the Portal Builders, undertaking missions for the powerful factions, and partaking in the game of political intrigue on Coriolis station – the center of power in the Third Horizon. You might even encounter strange beings from the Dark Between the Stars.

The release of “Wake of the Icons” marks a significant milestone in the journey of Coriolis – The Third Horizon. It’s an opportunity for players to dive deeper into the mysteries of the Third Horizon and shape its future. So, gear up, adventurers, for the Third Horizon awaits your exploration!

You can get your copy of “Coriolis: Wake of the Icons” here. Happy adventuring!

This post was written based on the official announcement from Free League Publishing. All information is accurate as of the time of writing.

Discover the Magnificence of Dragons with the Practically Complete Guide to Dragons

Navigating the fantastical realms of Dungeons & Dragons is an exhilarating expedition, but confronting the mythical beasts that rule these worlds can be a formidable challenge. To equip adventurers for these epic confrontations, the Practically Complete Guide to Dragons serves as an indispensable companion. Launched on August 15, 2023, this compendium of wisdom is a vital resource for D&D enthusiasts, regardless of their age or expertise.

Conceived by the master wizard Sindri Suncatcher, the guide acts as a beacon for readers, illuminating the elaborate world of dragon lore. It presents a thorough examination of ten distinct dragon species, outlining their physical characteristics, abilities, behaviors, habitats, and hoards. Sindri’s personal anecdotes and insights offer priceless advice to adventurers, from comprehending the life cycle of the friendly copper dragon to devising tactical maneuvers against a red dragon’s blazing inferno.

The Practically Complete Guide to Dragons is more than an encyclopedia; it’s a portal to a realm of enchanting tales where dragons aren’t just adversaries, but also allies. The guide is a splendid amalgamation of the choicest content from three timeless classics: A Practical Guide to Dragons, A Practical Guide to Dragon Riding, and A Practical Guide to Dragon Magic. This updated edition, steeped in the most recent lore, is a crucial tool for anyone who wishes to immerse themselves in the mesmerizing world of D&D.

Dungeon Masters, both new to the hobby and seasoned veterans, will find this guide to be a reservoir of inspiration. The extensive dragon lore embedded in its pages can breathe life into their D&D campaigns, introducing layers of intrigue and complexity. But the guide’s value extends beyond narrative enhancement; it’s also a spark that can ignite a lifelong fascination for the fantastical and adventurous. It offers a tantalizing invitation to budding dragon aficionados to embark on a spellbinding journey that could span a lifetime.

The Practically Complete Guide to Dragons is also a visual spectacle. Each page is graced with exquisite artwork rendered by some of the most esteemed fantasy artists of our era, encapsulating the awe-inspiring majesty of these magical beasts in all their splendor.

In essence, the Practically Complete Guide to Dragons is not just a book; it’s a guide, a narrative amplifier, a source of inspiration, and a cherished memento for those captivated by the mystique and the allure of the most iconic creatures of fantasy. Set sail on your adventure today, and let the dragons guide your path.

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A Beastly Expansion: The Book of Beasts and The Bloodmarch Now Available for Forbidden Lands RPG

Beware, adventurers! Dangerous monsters and demons have breached the boundaries of the Forbidden Lands. Free League Publishing has announced the release of not one, but two major expansions for the multiple award-winning RPG Forbidden Lands.

The first expansion, “Book of Beasts,” is a beautifully illustrated bestiary filled with deadly creatures and lethal encounters. This new addition features 28 meticulously detailed monsters, each one equipped with its own set of mini-adventures, allowing Gamemasters to seamlessly incorporate these creatures into their campaigns. The book also introduces new gameplay elements, including the ability to harvest resources from defeated beasts and use Lore skills to gain insights into a monster’s strengths and weaknesses.

Expect to encounter beasts such as the Amphibian, the Basilisk, the Iron Dragon, the Twisted Ent, and many more. Andreas Marklund and acclaimed Swedish fantasy author Erik Granström penned the “Book of Beasts,” with illustrations by Henrik Rosenborg and graphic design by Niklas Brandt.

The second expansion, “The Bloodmarch” takes players into the volcanic region west of Ravenland, a land of battle-hardened horse riders and secretive dwarves. This ancient region is undergoing rapid changes due to a demonic vegetation spreading across the land. This red curse is seen by many as a threat, while others view it as a necessary evil or even a boon.

“The Bloodmarch” also introduces the “Legacy of Horn” campaign, which sets players on a quest for Horn’s Astra, legendary artifacts said to either halt the demonic growth or ensure its triumph. Erik Granström, the lead setting writer for Forbidden Lands RPG and designer of the game’s first campaign module, “Raven’s Purge,” is the author of “The Bloodmarch.” The expansion is also illustrated by Henrik Rosenborg.

Both expansions are now available in print, PDF, and virtual tabletop formats in the Free League webshop, on DriveThruRPG, and will soon arrive in hobby stores worldwide.

About Forbidden Lands:

The Forbidden Lands RPG is an open-world survival RPG that puts a new spin on classic fantasy role-playing. Instead of being heroes on predetermined quests, players take on the roles of raiders and rogues striving to leave their mark on a cursed world. The game involves discovering lost tombs, battling horrifying monsters, wandering the wild lands, and building strongholds to defend against the dangers of the land.

Forbidden Lands has received numerous accolades, including four ENNIE Awards in 2018, and it was voted Best RPG at the UK Game Expo. Geek & Sundry recognized it as one of the best RPGs of 2018, and Tabletop Magazine described it as a mix of “classic D&D game” memories with a touch of “bleak Scandinavian darkness.”

With these new expansions, the dangerous and exciting world of Forbidden Lands continues to grow, offering even more thrilling adventures for rogues and raiders. So, sharpen your swords, gather your party, and venture forth into the Book of Beasts and The Bloodmarch.

Navigating the High Seas: A preview of PIRATE BORG

Ahoy, mateys! In the realm of tabletop role-playing games, a new star has risen on the horizon, and it’s a briny, gritty, and downright thrilling one. Called PIRATE BORG, this role-playing game (RPG) is a treasure trove of adventure, intrigue, and good old-fashioned pirate chicanery.

Image:Free League Press | Limithron

Created by Luke Stratton, a.k.a. Limithron, PIRATE BORG allows players to fully embrace their inner buccaneer. The game’s tagline perfectly encapsulates its spirit: “No prey, no pay.” It’s all about getting your hands dirty, living on the edge, and plundering to your heart’s content.

The world of PIRATE BORG is a place where scoundrels thrive and fortune favors the bold. Find a ship, recruit a motley crew, and set sail for the high seas. From raiding and pillaging to upgrading your ship, fleeing from terrifying sea creatures, and hunting for hidden treasure, this game offers a bounty of opportunities for high-stakes escapades.

Image:Free League Press | Limithron

One of the exciting aspects of PIRATE BORG is the strategic depth it offers. Beyond the usual RPG character building and adventuring, there’s a strong emphasis on ship-based combat and upgrades, making the naval aspect just as critical as your ground activities.

Image:Free League Press | Limithron

The game comes in a 166-page book that includes eight character classes, easy-to-learn naval combat rules, stats for 18 vessels, 80+ NPCs & monsters, and 90+ system agnostic tables. It also includes The Curse of Skeleton Point, a sandbox-style adventure teeming with pirate-themed locations. Each page is brimming with the love and attention to detail that Stratton is renowned for, making the book a gem in its own right.

Image:Free League Press | Limithron

Luke Stratton, known to many as Limithron, is a creator with an enduring fascination for the Golden Age of Piracy. His journey into the world of RPGs was born out of a need to pivot his career during the pandemic. Starting with creating pirate ship battle maps on Patreon, his passion and creativity quickly garnered a strong following. Now, he is the proud author and illustrator of PIRATE BORG and Limithron’s Guide to Naval Combat for 5th Edition.

PIRATE BORG is a testament to Stratton’s dedication to his craft and his love for the pirate genre. It’s an immersive RPG experience that promises countless hours of excitement, danger, and, of course, treasure hunting. So, load your cannons, hoist the Jolly Roger, and set sail into the world of PIRATE BORG.

Exploring the Depths in Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk

Today we are taking a glance at “Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk“, an upcoming addition to the Dungeons and Dragons universe that will take adventurers on a new journey from level 1 to 12. This expansion promises a gripping foray into the world of dark cults and inscrutable mysteries and should not be overlooked by those who have a fondness for a well-structured D&D dungeon crawl, infused with a contemporary element of horror.

Setting the Scene

This adventure sets sail in the well-recognized locale of Phandalin, a favorite from the classic Lost Mine of Phandelver. But tranquility is short-lived as a malevolent cult shadows over this peaceful town. Players will find themselves delving into the depth of the narrative and into the ominous, perilous Underdark.

A Journey Into the Unknown

The Shattered Obelisk beckons you into the intricate maze of the Underdark, amplifying the stakes for veterans of the Lost Mine of Phandelver. Expect escalated challenges that will test your party’s fortitude and strategic competence to its limits.

This expansion brings with it a trove of new additions. Close to two dozen fresh creatures, bearing psionic magic and mutations, enrich the bestiary, providing a host of new obstacles for your party. The expansion also offers a magic appendix with innovative consumable metamagic items and duergar magic, ensuring a wide array of valuable tools to aid your journey in this ominous and demanding environment.

Release Details

The much-awaited “Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk” is scheduled for release on September 19 and will be available on DnDBeyond in two formats – Digital only and a Digital + Physical Bundle. We also urge you to visit your Local Friendly Game Store (LFGS) to snag the collector’s edition cover.

This meticulously crafted expansion offers a novel blend of high fantasy and traditional D&D, making it an essential addition to every role-player’s collection. Have fun, roll some dice!

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Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants – A Journey into the World of Giants in D&D 5e

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition continues to expand its horizons with the upcoming release of “Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants“. This new sourcebook, available for pre-order on D&D Beyond, promises to take players on an epic journey into the history, myth, and society of giants, some of the most iconic creatures in the D&D universe. Pre-ordering the book also unlocks the Prehistoric Gemstone dice set, character sheet frames, and backdrops based on the book.

Who is Bigby?

Bigby is a legendary wizard known for his hands-on spell invention. An associate of Mordenkainen and a member of the Circle of Eight, Bigby is known for inventing many handy spells, several of which were used in the Realms. Despite his death, Bigby’s influence continues to be felt in the Realms, with his spells being widely used and his name recognized by many as one of the most magnificent wizards of all time.

Giants in D&D History

In the Dungeons & Dragons universe, giants have been a staple adversary since the game’s inception. They were first introduced in the original D&D boxed set in 1974, and have been present in every edition since. Giants are typically depicted as humanoid creatures of exceptional size and strength, often with a distinct culture and societal structure.

In the fifth edition of D&D, giants once again play a significant role. The Ordning was shattered, leading to chaos among the giants and providing a major storyline in the Storm King’s Thunder adventure. The fifth edition also reintroduced the concept of giant runes, magical symbols used by giants that had been largely absent since the first edition.

Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants

“Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants” is a comprehensive guide to the realms of giants in the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons. Narrated by Bigby the Great and the demigod Diancastra, child of the giants’ All-Father, Annam, the book unveils the secrets of Annam’s mighty descendants. It delves into unrevealed giant lore, including an overview of the hierarchical structure of the ordning, giants’ religion, and ideas about giants’ organizations and societies across the multiverse.

Player Character Options

The sourcebook introduces a wealth of giant-themed character options. Players can choose a new barbarian subclass, The Path of the Giant, and explore the vast world of giants with two new backgrounds. Additionally, there are eight new feats that allow players to unleash runic magic and wield elemental power, further enhancing the giant-themed gameplay experience.

Monsters, Treasures, and More

Dungeon Masters are in for a treat with over 70 new monsters and other enormous creatures to add to their encounters. The book also includes a wondrous collection of over 30 magic items, including three illustrious artifacts. These new additions promise to bring a fresh layer of excitement and challenge to your D&D campaigns.

Tools for Dungeon Masters

“Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants” offers a plethora of tools for Dungeon Masters. From lair maps and detailed lore to adventure hooks and encounter tables, the book provides everything you need to bring giants to life in your campaigns. The sourcebook also includes treasures and giant roleplaying inspiration, offering endless possibilities for creating engaging and immersive giant-themed adventures.

Pre-ordering on DnDBeyond grants you Early Access to the digital version of ‘Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants‘ starting from August 1, 2023.

Secure your pre-order from your Friendly Local Game Store (FLGS) today to receive the exclusive alternate cover edition of ‘Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants’.


From Tabletop to Digital: Exploring Owlcat Games’ Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader Video Game and its TTRPG Origins

In the vast universe of tabletop role-playing games (TTRPGs), few have managed to carve out a niche as distinctive as Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader. Released in 2009 by Fantasy Flight Games, this TTRPG set in the grimdark future of the Warhammer 40,000 universe offered players a unique blend of space exploration, commerce, and combat. This post will delve into the mechanics of Rogue Trader, its unique features, and how it stands out from other TTRPGs. We’ll also take a look at the upcoming Rogue Trader video game developed by Owlcat Games and its ties to the TTRPG mechanics.

Image:Fantasy Flight Games

The Mechanics of Rogue Trader

The core mechanics of Rogue Trader revolve around a percentile dice system, where players roll a d100 (two ten-sided dice) to determine the success or failure of their actions. This system, while common in other TTRPGs, is used in a unique way in Rogue Trader. The game emphasizes the importance of degrees of success or failure, making every roll a tense affair. This level of granularity in the game mechanics adds a layer of depth and complexity that is both challenging and rewarding for players.

One of the most distinctive aspects of Rogue Trader is the Profit Factor. This mechanic represents the wealth and resources of the Rogue Trader’s dynasty. It’s not just a measure of money, but also influence, manpower, and assets. This mechanic sets Rogue Trader apart from other TTRPGs, where wealth is often represented simply by a sum of gold or credits. The Profit Factor system allows for a more nuanced representation of a character’s wealth and influence, adding another layer of realism and immersion to the game.

The Ship, a character in its own right, is another unique feature of Rogue Trader. Each player group has a starship, which they can customize and upgrade. The ship serves as a mobile base of operations, a weapon of war, and a symbol of the Rogue Trader’s power and prestige. This aspect of the game gives players a tangible representation of their progress and achievements, and the opportunity to leave their mark on the Warhammer 40,000 universe.

Rogue Trader vs Other TTRPGs

Compared to other TTRPGs, Rogue Trader offers a more open-ended and sandbox-style gameplay. While games like Dungeons & Dragons often focus on dungeon crawling and combat, Rogue Trader encourages exploration, diplomacy, and trade. The vastness of the Warhammer 40,000 universe provides a rich backdrop for a variety of adventures, allowing players to chart their own course and write their own stories.

The game also differs in its power scale. In Rogue Trader, players start as influential figures with significant resources at their disposal. This contrasts with many TTRPGs where players start as relatively powerless characters and gradually gain power and wealth. This difference in power dynamics allows for a different kind of storytelling and role-playing experience, where players can make big decisions and influence the fate of entire star systems from the get-go.

The Upcoming Rogue Trader Video Game

Owlcat Games is set to bring the thrill of the Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader TTRPG to the digital realm with their upcoming video game. Players will step into the shoes of a Rogue Trader, a powerful figure entrusted by the Emperor Himself to expand the borders of the Imperium. As the head of an ancient dynasty of privateers, players will command a colossal voidship and a legion of servants, ready to carry out their every command.

The game’s setting, the Koronus Expanse, is a vast and uncharted region of space teeming with danger and opportunity. Players will journey to unexplored worlds and human-claimed planets, ranging from verdant Agri-Worlds to industrial Forge Worlds. These planets present a wealth of opportunities for the expansion of your merchant empire or for plundering valuable resources.

As players traverse the stars, they will encounter both potential allies and formidable enemies. The Imperium’s foes, from insidious Chaos cults to alien Xenos, lurk in the shadows, posing a constant threat to your mission.

The game will challenge players to make decisions that have far-reaching consequences, affecting the lives of entire worlds. In addition, players will need to demonstrate their strategic prowess in intense, turn-based battles against formidable opponents.

You will make fateful decisions that affect the lives of entire worlds. You will prove your strategic and tactical skills in high-impact turn-based battles against powerful opponents. No Rogue Trader travels alone: on this dangerous journey into the unknown, you will meet faithful and sophisticated companions. From a formidable Space Marine clad in power armour to a deadly Aeldari Ranger and a devout Sister of Battle armed with a bolter and fervent prayers, these characters will bring a diverse range of skills and abilities to your team.

Image:Owlcat Games

Exploration will bring the protagonist to mysterious lost and forgotten worlds as well as numerous planets claimed by humanity – from lush Agri-Worlds to steel-clad Forge Worlds, all of them ready to be claimed for your burgeoning merchant empire or plundered for their riches. While traveling between the stars, get ready to come across potential allies and dangerous enemies of the Imperium, Chaos cults and alien Xenos counting among the most treacherous and deadly.

Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader is a unique gem in the world of TTRPGs. Its focus on space exploration, commerce, and high-stakes combat, combined with its distinctive mechanics, make it a game worth revisiting. The upcoming video game adaptation by Owlcat Games promises to bring these unique features to a new medium, and we can’t wait to see how it turns out. Whether you’re a veteran of the tabletop game or a newcomer to the Warhammer 40,000 universe, the future of Rogue Trader looks bright. As we eagerly await more information on the video game, it’s the perfect time to dust off the old rulebook and embark on a new adventure in the grimdark future.

First Look at Candela Obscura: Unraveling the Mystery of a Thrilling Horror TTRPG

In anticipation of their new live play series “Candela Obscura”, the renowned Critical Role troupe and the Darrington Press team have released a quickstart guide for their original tabletop role-playing game (TTRPG) system. This guide offers a comprehensive introduction to the game’s unique setting, intricate mechanics, and character development, providing fans with a sneak peek into the world of Candela Obscura ahead of the series premiere. Now, let’s delve deeper into this highly anticipated TTRPG in our extensive first look.

“When was the last time you felt real fear?”

Candela Obscura

In Candela Obscura, players are thrust into a world teetering on the brink of supernatural chaos. The game is set in the city of Newfaire, a sprawling metropolis built atop the ruins of an ancient civilization. This civilization was once teeming with powerful magick, remnants of which still linger, infusing the city with a sense of mystery and danger.

Players become members of Candela Obscura, a secret society dedicated to protecting the city from dangerous supernatural forces seeping into their world through weakened barriers known as ‘thinnings’. These thinnings are places where the barrier between the mundane world and the realm of magick, known as the Flare, is weak, allowing magick to seep through and manifest in various ways.

The game encourages exploration and investigation, with players tasked with unraveling the mysteries of the supernatural phenomena threatening their world. The city of Newfaire, with its rich history and lore, provides a fertile ground for storytelling and adventure. From the crowded downtown streets of the Varnish to the cornfields of Tottergrass and the writhing underground ruins of Oldfaire, players will have a vast and diverse landscape to explore.

The Role of Magick in Candela Obscura

In Candela Obscura, magick is not just a tool for players to wield, but a force that shapes the world around them. It is a remnant of an ancient civilization that once thrived in the city of Newfaire, and its influence can still be felt in the city’s architecture, culture, and the supernatural phenomena that plague it.

The game’s mechanics for dealing with magick and its effects, such as the concept of ‘bleed’, add a layer of complexity and danger to the game. ‘Bleed’ is a term used to describe the effects of magick on the mundane world. When magick bleeds into the world, it can cause all sorts of strange and terrifying phenomena, from ghostly apparitions to time distortions and even physical transformations.

Players, as members of Candela Obscura, must learn to navigate these effects and use their own magick to protect the city. However, using magick is not without its risks. The more a player uses magick, the more they risk causing a ‘flare’, a powerful and often uncontrollable burst of magick that can have devastating consequences.

The Importance of Character Development

Candela Obscura places a strong emphasis on character development, with players encouraged to explore their characters’ motivations, fears, and personal mysteries. Each character in the game is a member of Candela Obscura, a secret society dedicated to protecting the city of Newfaire from supernatural threats. However, each character also has their own personal history, motivations, and secrets that can add depth to the game’s narrative.

The game’s mechanics for dealing with harm and injury, such as the concept of ‘scars’, provide opportunities for players to explore the lasting impacts of their adventures on their characters. In Candela Obscura, ‘scars’ are not just physical injuries but can also be psychological or emotional wounds. When a character takes a scar, it signifies a significant event in their story, and can have a profound impact on their development and the way they interact with the world.

For example, a character who takes a physical scar might become more cautious, while a character who takes an emotional scar might become more withdrawn or develop a new fear or phobia. These scars can also affect a character’s relationships with other characters, adding another layer of depth to the game’s narrative.

The Intricacies of the Game Mechanics

Candela Obscura employs the Illuminated Worlds d6 dice pool system, which adds an element of unpredictability and tension to the game. The outcomes of player actions are determined by dice rolls, with the possibility of failure, mixed success, full success, and even critical success. This system creates a dynamic and engaging gameplay experience, where the outcome of each action is uncertain and can dramatically impact the narrative. More to come on the Illuminated Worlds d6 dice pool system…

The game also includes mechanics for resisting consequences, using unique character abilities, and managing resources like ‘drive’ and ‘resistance’. ‘Drive’ represents a character’s motivation and determination, and can be used to push through challenges and resist the effects of magick. ‘Resistance’, on the other hand, represents a character’s physical and mental resilience, and can be used to mitigate the effects of harm and injury.

In addition, Candela Obscura includes mechanics for dealing with magick, such as the concept of ‘bleed’ and ‘flare’. These mechanics add a layer of complexity and danger to the game, making the use of magick a risky but potentially rewarding strategy.

The Role of the Gamemaster

In Candela Obscura, the Gamemaster (GM) plays a critical role in guiding the narrative, controlling non-player characters (NPCs), and describing the world. The GM sets the stakes of each roll, indicating how dangerous the consequences might be. This role requires a balance of creativity, adaptability, and a deep understanding of the game’s rules and mechanics.

The GM is also responsible for creating the assignments that the players will undertake. These assignments are the main narrative arcs of the game, and can involve anything from investigating supernatural phenomena to dealing with threats from rival factions within the city. The GM must craft these assignments in a way that engages the players, challenges their characters, and advances the overall narrative of the campaign.

In addition, the GM has the important task of managing the game’s horror elements. Candela Obscura is a horror TTRPG, and the GM must balance the need for tension and fear with the players’ comfort levels. The game includes safety tools to help regulate these horror elements, ensuring that all players have a fun and enjoyable experience.

The Significance of the Circle

In Candela Obscura, players form a group known as a ‘circle’. The circle is more than just a team; it represents the bonds and relationships between the characters. The game includes mechanics for building and developing these relationships, as well as for managing the circle’s resources and abilities.

Each circle has a shared pool of resources, known as the ‘circle pool’, which can be used to aid in investigations, resist the effects of magick, and overcome challenges. The circle pool is replenished by the characters’ individual ‘drive’, representing the collective determination and willpower of the circle.

The circle also has a shared ‘base of operations’, a safe haven where the characters can rest, recover, and plan their next moves. This base can be customized and upgraded over the course of the campaign, providing another layer of depth and customization to the game.

The relationships between the characters in the circle can also evolve and change over the course of the campaign. Characters can form bonds, rivalries, and even romantic relationships, adding a layer of interpersonal drama to the game’s narrative.

Final Thoughts

Candela Obscura is a promising new addition to the TTRPG genre. With its unique setting, intricate game mechanics, and emphasis on character development and group dynamics, it offers a fresh and engaging take on horror role-playing.

The game’s setting, the city of Newfaire, sounds to be a rich and diverse landscape teeming with mystery and danger. From the crowded streets of the Varnish to the underground ruins of Oldfaire, players will have a vast world to explore and protect.

The game’s mechanics, from the Illuminated Worlds d6 dice pool system to the concepts of ‘bleed’, ‘flare’, and ‘scars’, provide a deep and engaging gameplay experience. The game’s emphasis on investigation over combat, and the importance of character development and group dynamics, make it a unique and refreshing take on the TTRPG genre.

Whether you’re a seasoned TTRPG player looking for a new challenge, or just a Critical Role fan looking take your first dip in the TTRPG pool, Candela Obscura is definitely worth checking out.

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