Christmas is coming up, and as print shortages loom, it’s time to get those print-on-demand (POD) orders in early. Here are 5 indie TTRPG hidden gems you should check out this Christmas, all from South African designers.
Eventide features a fully-formed post-apocalyptic setting and fast, streamlined mechanics, all packaged in Frenzy Kitty’s characteristically professional style. The game also includes solo rules, which is one more reason why I love it.
Not many indie publishers bring the level of polish to their games that Frenzy Kitty Games does, which has always inspired me to make better-looking products. Gareth is also a huge fan of the genre, and it shows in the many adventure hooks the setting presents.
Buy Eventide if you love post-apocalyptic games like Fallout and want a deep level of abstraction that lets you tell interesting stories about survival in a post-apocalyptic world.
Nightscape: Red Terrors
This is one of mine, so I’ll just tell you what’s in the game, then you can decide if it’s for you.
Nightscape: Red Terrors is part of the Nightscape franchise, which explores supernatural and cosmic horrors. Red Terrors is set in Russia, after the fall of communism. You and your team from Integrand General are tasked with recovering occult artifacts from a recently-discovered facility, in a race against time and cultists seeking to use those same artifacts for their own purposes.
The game uses D20s, map tiles, and an abstracted rules set that focuses on cinematic roleplaying.
Buy Nightscape: Red Terrors if you and your players want to take on a multi-faceted puzzle involving eldritch horrors, using the tools at the disposal of a team of elite paranormal investigators.
How to Plan a Murder
Although I had a hand in producing it, this one was written by Chris Visser, who has run the system as part of his very successful dinner murder mystery events.
How to Plan a Murder is a LARP, or more specifically, guidelines for running a social event that revolves around a murder mystery, which is run by a coordinator. Each character is defined by several truths and what they know about certain characters, which effectively ties every character, and every guest, into the story that’s about to unfold during the evening.
Personally, I think it’s a fun way to get all your RPG friends together, with some of your RPG-curious buds, and all their significant others, and share an evening of fun telling a memorable story that you get to be deeply involved in (without actually killing anyone). Covid has made this sort of event rare, but one day we’ll be able to enjoy some murder with friends again.
Buy How to Plan a Murder if you want to run a dinner murder mystery for your friends, and your friends are up for an evening of dressing up and playing interesting characters with dark secrets.
Hello, My Name is Death
Full disclosure here, this one, like Nightscape, is also mine.
In Hello, My Name is Death you play the Grim Reaper’s apprentices, trying to knock another soul off this mortal coil and get promoted to COO of Acquisitions, the rider in black himself.
Hello, My Name is Death uses a poker mechanic and comes in zine format. It requires a deck of normal playing cards and is a theater of the mind game. Basically, by winning hands, you get to make things true about the world, or add a truth to what another player has made true.
We think you’ll love Hello, My Name is Death as an alternative to Gloom, or as a great way to improve your group’s collaborative storytelling.
Bullet’s full title is Bullet: The Special Forces Role-Playing System and Setting Guideline Manual, which really tells you all you need to know: you get to play spec ops characters, and the book will help you adapt any historic or fictional war setting into a playable campaign.
Play Bullet if you want to recreate a Navy Seals infiltration mission, loved the SWAT 4, ARMA, or Rainbow Six games, or want to play something where the bad guys are human and the bullets are deadly.
November is Indie TTRPG Month
Thanks to the Rat Hole for hosting this month’s RPG Blog Carnival, with the theme of “Going Indie“. To celebrate, all our indie TTRPG titles are half off on Drive Thru.
Hey there, I’m Rodney!
I’m a writer and editor of tabletop RPGs and a painter of Orks. Welcome to Rising Phoenix Games!
Dwarves Rule! By the Power of Greyskull! Jesus Saves! Turtle Power! Bionics On! Waaagh Ork! For the Golgari, for the Swarm! ThunderCats Ho! Skate the Apocalypse!