Sometimes, you want just a little something extra to add to your favorite tabletop RPGs. This usually means putting in a lot of extra time to get that extra something, creating new items, characters, or side quests for your players to enjoy. In today’s busy world, it can be difficult to find the time to do these things yourself. Aren’t we lucky then that so many amazing supplemental books exist for some of our favorite games? Here are just four that can really enhance your experience at the table!
1 . Arcana Exxet, from Anima: Beyond Fantasy
I’ve written already about how much I enjoy the magic system in Anima. Part of my excitement stems from the magical supplement for the game, Arcana Exxet. Within, GMs and players will discover all new sub-paths of arcane might, from war magic to blood magic, or others such as the path of nobility, with which a caster can enhance their social attributes. This would be enough to make a great supplement, but the creators did not stop there. They include more powers to enhance the Summoner class, allowing them to bind little fairy familiars to their souls, or instead call down the power of ancient heroes into themselves and temporarily gain their strengths. Further still, the creators added more Psychic Disciplines for the Mentalist class, allowing them control over chaos, light, electromagnetism, and others. The art within this book is nothing short of gorgeous, and the sections are well laid out and indexed.
2 . Seers of the Throne, from Mage: the Awakening
Every great group of protagonists needs an equally impressive set of villains. To this date, I have found no other better society of antagonists in roleplaying than the Seers of the Throne. Are your mages getting a little too big for their britches? Are they walloping werewolves and ghosts with equal ease? Send in the Seers. A combination of the Illuminati and the Golden Dawn (made famous by Aleister Crowley), this group seeks nothing less than the complete subjugation of the human race, jealously guarding the power of Awakening.
What’s more, most members believe firmly in their cause. Each Seer is taught from their initiation that they were individually chosen by a group of archmage demi-gods called the Exarchs to eventually Ascend and rule the world, and that each other unnecessary Awakening harms not only their chances by forcing them to share power, but also weakens the metaphysical cosmos. Your players will suddenly face an enemy that is more affluent, prepared, and completely without regard for the sanctity of human life. Many even possess a robe that gives them the innate ability to control non-mage humans at will. The book remains one of the line’s largest supplements and goes into extensive detail about this great group of baddies. It’s a must-buy for Mage GMs, in my opinion!
3 . Unleashed, from Iron Kingdoms
Less like a supplement and more like a game unto itself, this standalone expansion for Iron Kingdoms details the “Hordes” side of the world of Immoren. While the core book allowed for players to create characters from the more civilized areas of the world, Unleashed opens up wider and wilder possibilities. Why make a human soldier when you can create a Gatorman shaman? With all new spells, equipment, characters, careers, and settings, this book easily doubles the options available to players and GMs. Take your characters hunting undead through the bayou, or contend with the mighty and malicious Skorne empire in the East.
This supplement is not for the faint of heart, however. It’s possible, and quite likely, that many of your PCs will find themselves eating their enemies in order to fuel their abilities or acting without regard to regular societal niceties. I believe that most will enjoy the change of pace this massive supplement provides. Now get out there and bite somebody.
4 . Dragon-Blooded, from Exalted 2nd Edition
Exalted boasts a huge line of products, though it’s only now seeing the printing of its third edition. Each type of Exalted and each section of the world received its own full book. Many of these supplements helped enhance or alter the way the game is played, or at least provided the Storyteller with new vistas and enemies to present to his or her players. None, in my opinion, does more to change the way one plays the game than the Dragon-Blooded supplement. To go from playing a Solar or Lunar to one of the Exalted of the Elemental Dragons is a jarring experience. As a Dragon-Blooded, you essentially play one of the bad guys from your previous campaign, working to retain your crumbling Empire while the Empress is away. All your life, you’ve been told that the other Exalts are demonic and worthy of nothing more than a swift execution. As such, your world view differs greatly from all other Exalted types. While your raw power proves objectively less than that of your Exalted enemies, the military might that a Dynast of the Empire can bring to bear would cow even the gods themselves.
What’s more, while a game of Exalted would typically work best with 3-5 players, a Dragon-Blooded game can easily become a LARP-worthy affair. Emphasis on political intrigue, plotting, and warring on a large scale allow a GM to plan a massive game for his player base. Never have I seen a supplement so fundamentally change the nature of its base game, and to such incredible and wonderful effect.
There you have it: four amazing books with so much to add to your standard tabletop experiences. I would be remiss in my duties, however, if I did not mention a particular volume that, while not a supplement per se, adds a great deal to any GMs arsenal. Gamemastering by Brian Jamison holds a ton of advice for new and veteran GMs, in addition to a bunch of charts and tables for those of us who love generating random characters, settings, and encounters. The techniques that the author teaches are truly useful for getting the most out of your games and making certain that everyone at the table is having a great time. Big-ups to my bud Marley for getting this particular tome for me.
What are some of your favorite supplements? Let me know. I love hearing from readers and fellow gamers!
David Horwitz is a gamer and freelance writer 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 out at www.davidhorwitzwrites.com/contact/
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