I used to have a bad habit of not knowing, or not remembering, where I had seen interesting game systems and supplements. More often than not I had to just Google it. If, like me, you've grown tired of all the scrolling and searching, and just want to jump into the good parts of buying RPGs online, then this list may help. These sites are where I go whenever I’m on the prowl for something juicy to sink my teeth into. From system specific to ‘just-about-everything-under-one-virtual-roof,’ this list compiles my favourite sites for downloads and hard copies of RPG content and essentials.
1) Drive Thru RPG
If you’ve looked into RPGs online you’ve definitely heard of it. Everything you could possibly want or need in one place for so many games, systems, and genres that there’s something for everyone on this site. Not only do they sell digital downloads, they also do hard copies and print-on-demand when available, shipping costs are fair. This is the site I began my upward spiral into RPGism (similar to video game addiction but better) and is a go-to when I struggle to find what I’m searching for elsewhere. They also have themed holiday sales with my favourite being the run up to Halloween and their horror themed sale.
2) Game Lore
More than just RPGs, Game Lore covers all kind of games, from card games like Eldritch Horror to board games like Settlers of Catan and more. As a result of the vast and diverse library of games their RPG section is less than DriveThruRPG, but still substantial enough to keep me coming back time and again. The interface is easy to use, with categories and subcategories to quickly jump between departments. Game Lore has regular sales as well as a ‘damaged’ section which usually means slight dents on the box with the contents being 100% untouched.
A publisher of solid RPGs, from Achtung! Cthulhu to Fallout and Mutant Chronicles. They also provide wargames setin the universes of the RPGs, offering you the chance to not only play your hero, but also try your hand at some tactics as you decide who wins the battle going on in the background of your last campaign. Modiphius is a retail site I check in on once in a while, as I love the Achtung! Cthulhu game and they provide their customers with free living campaigns. Make sure to sign up to their newsletter, which is crammed with all the good news from their top notch systems and games.
4) Evil Hat
Another independant site, they have a great selection of games as well asmy favourite system (FATE). They also have a wide variety of world books for the FATE system and a whole lot of physical aids such as dice and cards. The site is nice-looking as well as easy to navigate. I’m on this site more than I need to be really, but I just love looking at what's new in their world! This is also the home of the Dresden Files games based off of the books written by Jim Butcher, and the ‘Improv for Gamers’ book designed to help give new and rusty players a little tune-up.
5) Humble Bundle
A great site that combines various hobbies with charitable donations, Humble often has a variety of sales for RPG PDFs. The last one I saw was a huge stock of Pathfinder supplements, as well as the core rules and bestiaries, with the Starfinder core rules thrown in for the big spenders. All that came to around $20 for the lot, so swoop on by if you want to grab a bargain at the same time as making a donation to a good cause.
Hopefully you’ll enjoy your time browsing through even more RPGs than before. Fingers crossed that you find your next great adventure within the pages of these sites or even rediscover an old favourite! Whatever you do, I hope you have a great time, whatever you play.
Ross Reid has been reviewing games and RPGs privately for many years until he was approached by High Level Games to come write for them, and is currently working on a fantasy novel. Ross enjoys all kinds of games to procrastinate.
Picture Reference: https://www.specialeffect.org.uk/specialeffect-news/a-fantastic-humble-rpg-book-bundle
It’s no secret that Modiphius is the biggest company to hit the tabletop gaming scene since Fantasy Flight. They continue to produce high quality products on a regular and often reliable release schedule. From Infinity and Conan to older titles like Achtung! Cthulhu and Mutant Chronicles, Modiphius’ library seems ever expanding and continually improving. The throughline for their newest releases is the 2d20 system, a rule set and dice mechanic that itself has been growing and adapting much like the company that spawned it. I really enjoy the system; the following three aspects are some of the high points. Let’s have a look!
Whether you’re hacking a quantronic computer to dig up information about the latest rogue AI, piloting a starship through a nest of Klingon Warbirds, or seeking high adventure in the Hyborian Age, 2d20 works and works well. The system is meant to have a certain measure of “give” so that it can bend to the constraints of a particular setting or genre without breaking. The basics are always the same: roll 2d20 and try to get at or below your combined attribute and skill There’s a kicker though. Some more difficult actions will require more successes than you have dice, and while you can crit for more successes, you might find that you need 5 successes to pull off the badass move you’ve been planning for three turns. That’s where the game’s Momentum system comes into play, which I describe in more detail below.
The base system receives tweaks in order to capture the feel of the game and setting it’s attached to. In Conan, the magic is added as an additional system. In Star Trek, the skill system is reduced to only six fields of study, but the breadth of each is increased dramatically. This refocuses the gaming experience to support the thrills of discovery and clever thinking. Thus, a player will find each game that uses the system familiar, and will simply need to learn the changes before jumping into a session.
Only 2d20? But what if I don’t net any successes? What if I need three successes to perform the action in question? Time to buy more dice! The player characters receive and continually build a pool of Momentum. These points let players augment their dice pools and damage, and sometimes achieve even cooler more specific effects. Does the medic absolutely have to pass their roll to save the life of another PC? Spend some Momentum and grab three more dice. Running out of Momentum? Refill the pool by overachieving easier tasks; extra successes net you more of those sweet dice-adding points. This mechanic not only provides some much needed aid to the player characters and lets them feel awesome, it also provides a gauge of how much potential success the player characters have on their side. They can then make decisions as a team regarding whether to fight or flee. It also rewards them for doing simple tasks such as preparing for a fight by cleaning their weapons or rigging simple traps, each of which can potentially add Momentum to the pool before a big scene wherein heroics are a must.
But what if the pool runs dry and you still need extra dice? Most variants of 2d20 allow for the players to provide the GM with their own dice-adding resource in order to mimic the effects of Momentum. Referred to as “Heat” in Infinity, this resource can be spent by the GM to increase the dice pools of significant adversaries, call in reinforcements, or just cause a little mayhem for the party when they get complacent. It’s this push and pull that really makes the system come alive.
And it’s this same push and pull that creates and maintains dramatic tension throughout the gaming experience. Heat and Momentum provide incentive for players and the GM to keep the pressure up. If you sit on your laurels, you start bleeding Momentum. If you take too long deciding how to take your turn, the GM starts generating Heat. This makes conflicts feel exciting and intense. Even negotiations with new alien species have their drama turned up to 11 using this system. 2d20 effectively works to eliminate as many dull moments as possible, which is a welcome feeling in the age of the cell phone. It keeps players focused on the action and guides the GM by giving them an idea of what they can add to a scene to make it even more exciting, but still balanced. It’s hard to find another system that fights so hard for the enjoyment of the players at the table.
2d20 is a growing, living entity. It receives revisions for each game and supplement that comes out. Since Modiphius does not appear to be losing steam (they just acquired the production rights to Vampire: the Masquerade, after all), I’m positive we’ll see even more iterations of this cool new system with updates and fixes. No system is without its flaws, of course. Come back next month for my critique of the system, whereby we will explore three of the main issues that I’ve discovered. In the meanwhile, let me know what you think of the system and the games that it’s attached to!
David Horwitz is a gamer and freelance writer/editor with an obsession for exploring new forms of leisure. If you’re looking for an inquisitive mind and a deft hand, or just want to chat about gaming, contact him at www.davidhorwitzwrites.com/contact.
Picture Reference: http://www.modiphius.com/2d20.html
All blog materials created and developed by the staff here at High Level Games