Spire: My Game of the Year

Normally I don’t like talking about a game of the year because it’s hard to choose one, but this year is going to be different.

This year, I discovered Rowan, Rook & Decard’s Spire (affiliate link) on Kickstarter. I decided, mostly on a lark because I liked the art-style, to back it.

I played a lot of games that I liked this year, and since I consider games for my Game of the Year based on when I play them, not their release date, Spire had to compete with a lot of different games. It beat them all to such a degree that I didn’t have to question my choices.

However, my review of Spire is already out there, so I’ll recap what I like about it and be brief. This commentary applies to all the supplementary content that’s been released after the core rulebook as well, as it’s all been of really good quality and I’ve been enjoying it.

Spire combines humor (dark and zany, sometimes combined and sometimes independent of each other) with one of the most compelling core conflicts I’ve seen in a roleplaying game.

It also has a world that’s compellingly deep without requiring you to commit to any one interpretation of the setting. The sheer poignancy and inflection of culture found in Spire’s world allows for a setting that provides endless possibility, and honestly stands up well in comparison to any other game universe I can think of. I can compare it to the deep worlds of Shadowrun, Battletech, Avernum, Eclipse Phase, Faerun, Sryth, and Eberron that consumed the imagination of my youth, and I have no doubt that it will be a fond staple of my imagination for years to come.

Spire’s mechanics are so good that I’ve used them in my own games; Waystation Deimos is the only one that’s out now and uses a modified version of the system (which is itself borrowed from another developer), but there’s an elegant simplicity to them that allows them to blend narrative and mechanics without sacrificing anything to either.

The art is what first drew me into the world of Spire, and Adrian Stone has done a tremendous job at illustrating it in a way that reminds me of Failbetter Games’ style, but with its own twists. It’s evocative, dark, and colorful simultaneously, and unfortunately I’m not enough of an art critic to find the words to do it justice.

I cannot speak too highly of Spire. It’s a game that has earned its place among the greats.

The Ashen King on WorldForge

It’s finally here, the Ashen King, the first official Hammercalled sub-setting, is on WorldAnvil.

Don’t get too excited yet, because I had a lot of other stuff to do and I haven’t finished transferring everything over or replacing the stuff I lost in a crash.

But it’s a start.

Sorry for the short update; it’s been a hectic week.

Tomorrow I’m aiming to get another five or six things that are ready for publication up (which requires some minor editing and re-arranging to fit the WorldAnvil format).

Wrapping Up an RPG Campaign

One of the things that I’ve been asked about a few times is ending a campaign of D&D or other roleplaying games.

It’s the sort of thing that comes up from time to time because of the fact that many of these games are entirely open-ended. There aren’t any real stopping points or times to end the campaign scripted into most games, and barring a catastrophe that kills all the player characters (deserved or not), it’s hard to reach a point where the game comes to a satisfying conclusion.

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Goals (April 9-April 15)

I’ve been keeping up my output over on steemit. I’ve also made some good progress on things, which I’d like to quickly highlight.

First, the Hammercalled Rules Reference is out. This is the first public playtesting document for Hammercalled intended for general use, and it’s also a tool intended to allow people to make their own game using the Hammercalled ruleset.

Second, all of the advanced guide for velotha’s flock is done except for the sample characters and a quick editing pass before it’s out for testing (that means a public release, for free!)

Without further ado, here’s what I’m working on:

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