Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Speak to me. The voices are far too loud.

Prisoners both, you find strength in the act of communication. But one of you might be lying and the other might lead astray. 

This game was written as a statement against bullying and against hate. This game was inspired by a powerful scene from writing legend Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s V for Vendetta. This game was also written as a protest and as a defiant stance against the hate which seems to currently fuel the world. We must embrace love. And this game hopes to allow opportunities to find that despite the bleakness the surround us.

This game might not be for everyone.

Now available on Drivethrurpg

Sunday, October 6, 2019

GMAnews features Cat's Dream - a Pinoy-made RPG

From the article:
Inspired by Studio Ghibli’s beloved films, “Cat’s Dream” is a single-player RPG that lets you create your own adventure with the help of a deck of cards, a six-sided die, and a few other things.
It was recently released through Abad’s TAG Sessions platform with the book of basic rules now available in PDF format on the DriveThruRPG online store
Your own Ghibli adventure

“Cat’s Dream” is designed to give you that Studio Ghibli-esque experience. While the events that follow your meeting with the cat will depend on your choices, you can expect magic, wonder, and everything in between. You can even have a game with an emotionally heavy and thematically complex story, or one that’s lighthearted and exciting yet moving.

Read the complete article here:

Thank you again so much for the feature! And for the support!

Friday, October 4, 2019

2019 October : TAGBites : Lords of Gossamer & Shadow

Inspired by Roger Zelazny's The Chronicles of Amber books, the Lords of Gossamer and Shadow is a diceless tabletop role-playing game that has players portray almost godlike entities who are involved in vast intertwined machinations and political maneuvering.

Learn more about Amber here:

Cat's Dream featured on

Tremendously grateful for the article on my latest game, Cat's Dream.
The game was written by me and features fantastic artwork by Ivan Frani.

Freedom to dream
Cat’s Dream’s mechanics gives players an extraordinary amount of freedom to create any kind of story they desire.

“I love how the game unlocks creative ideas in its players and opens their eyes to the potential wealth of choices and narrative twists one can embrace in a tabletop role-playing game,” said Abad.

“I also love seeing players realize how many other kinds of entertaining stories can be told in role-playing games beyond the usual fight and tactic-focused scenes. I do hope it also inspires some players to check out Ghibli movies.”

What would eventually become Cat’s Dream was born in 2013, “when I opted to be part of the Creative Pay It Forward event and my dear friend Jovan asked if I could create a game inspired by the [Ghibli] films,” said Abad.

Link to full article here:

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Coming this 2019 - Cat's Dream

From what started as just a Creative Pay it Forward challenge I embraced last 2013, the game is finally ready for release.  Cat's Dream is a solitaire tabletop rpg adventure that invites you to follow a cat and see where the story leads you.

This initial release is the Basic Journey Rules, with a small collection of optional rules you can use to enhance your game.   I am still looking at ways to have a limited run of the book printed and available for purchase.  But one thing is certain, this year the PDF shall be available for all of you interested in trying the game.

Thank you again to everyone who made this game possible, with special thanks to Jovan who requested for a game inspired by Studio Ghibli, and to my TAG TEAM SUPPORTERS (To my Tag Team Supporters: Rocky Sunico, Mina Sunico, Rob Abrazado, Lemuel Herman, David Korabell, and Tania Arpa, as well as the  other supporters who were there when I began this project; Ryan Schoon, Rob Deobald, Riverhouse Games , Karlo Licudine, David Harrison, Che de Leon, and James Lo.) who helped finance the creation of this game.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

North Sea Epilogues: Thank you!

Was tremendously grateful and appreciative of being given the chance to write for The North Sea Epilogues.  I have been quite a fan of the board games that use this intellectual property, so to be able to write up an adventure for it was just fantastic. 

Thank you so much to Garphill Games, Dice Up Games most especially Tim and Kristin Devine and I do hope to work with you again soon!

Monday, July 29, 2019

2019 August: TAG Bites : Tiny Frontiers

Inspired by shows such as Firefly, the Expanse, and Leverage, this is a heist and gunslinging science fiction action opera using Alan Bahr's amazing Tiny Frontiers Revised system. The game was a request by a dear friend, Arj, who was hoping to get a chance to play with us again (schedules must align!)

Currently, the game has two open seats for anyone out there interested in trying out this elegant and super easy to learn system.

2019 July: TAG Bites : Vampire 5th edition

Praxis is a Wednesday nights Vampire 5th edition game which was requested by a group of friends. Quite anxious to run this game and see how many sessions we will get to explore before real life forces us to reconsider the schedules!

Sorry, no available seats!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

TAG Sessions response to the joint statement of Gallant Knight Games & WunderWerks regarding the OUATIJ investigation

TAG Sessions response to the joint statement of Gallant Knight Games & WunderWerks regarding the OUATIJ investigation [LINK]

This statement is made solely on behalf of Tobie Abad, and does not speak for anyone who works alongside him, with TAG Sessions, or our partners in the game industry.


First, I would like to thank Gallant Knight Games and WunderWerks for all the work we have done together and appreciate their patience with the difficult position this whole situation put them in. I am also thankful for the level of professionalism demonstrated by how this was handled with the evaluation of the situation being conducted by a third party to remove any possible bias in the final findings. This has been a long, taxing and unfortunate affair for all concerned and I am grateful that we at least have reached the end of this phase of the tribulation. I hold no ill will towards both Gallant Knight Games and WunderWerks and the decision made. While I do wish it did not lead to this termination of our professional working relationship, I completely respect and thank Gallant Knight Games for the manner in which the entire 2-month investigation was objectively handled.

I reiterate that I apologize that I was not able to do more to address the unpleasant experience that certain people had in the past and I once more express how I truly wish things were handled better regarding the cited game experiences. I am thankful that the investigation was able to see how the events cited did not “qualify as harassment or abuse under any legal standard”. As echoed by the investigation results, I attest that there was no malice or intent on my part regarding how those sessions ultimately turned out and I hope the investigation's results help put things into a better perspective to allow us all to focus on moving forward.  I also apologize for any pain that may have been experienced not only in those said sessions, but to everyone else drawn into this whole debacle; such negative experiences will always be the furthest thing I would ever want anyone to ever experience in a tabletop RPG or in life in general.

Part of learning from the mistakes of the past is finding ways to avoid repeating them, and thus I shall continue to strive for better communication not just before or during the game but even after the game sessions to make sure all have a chance to unpack their feelings on how the session/s turned out. I will also continue to use safety tools such as the X-card, Lines and Veils, and others during sessions to ensure there are always avenues for communicating and discussing personal comfort levels at the game table.

I am also aghast at the mention that there were death threats directed at Gallant Knight Games and the third-party investigators and sincerely hope such practices would come to an end. I believe in the hobby and I believe in the community. I know we gamers are a creative and passionate people. And I hope those who made such threats realize the damage and shame they bring to our community as a whole.

Role-playing games is and shall always be my passion. And thus I shall continue to create games, tools, and opportunities (whether it be through talks, panels, guestings, or even free  open table game sessions) to help others explore tabletop RPGs and enjoy the diverse number of ways gaming can be celebrated.  It is only in being willing to reevaluate one's actions and acknowledge one's failings can one take the necessary steps to bettering oneself. I am hoping this is seen as an opportunity for everyone as well to reflect on how they can serve the community better. I definitely will.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

ONGOING : The Great Pendragon Campaign

The Great Pendragon Campaign. This is one of the most incredible books ever written for role-playing games. Comparable to the Masks of Nyarlathotep (for Call of Cthulhu) or the Darkening of Mirkwood (The One Right), this is a meaty tome with adventures and story for players willing to go through its amazing pages.

I am lucky enough to have four players who are ready to take on that challenge! Thank you to Rocky, Urim, Adrian, and Flip for choosing to be the Knights whose lines and fates will soon be intertwined with that of King Arthur himself.

Closed game. No available seats.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

ONGOING : This Block of Ours - Changeling the Dreaming 20th edition

In our desire to have a street level Changeling the Dreaming game, we ended up having a game where each player is still a student trying to balance the Dreaming and its mysteries with the need to finish school and graduate.  Sort of a mix between Buffy the Vampire slayer and Steven Universe.

Admittedly, I really miss the Changeling the Dreaming of the World of Darkness. Most thought it was out of place and too colorful. In truth, it was one of the darkest as you played characters who might need to literally disbelieve in their own existence to save their lives.

Currently closed. No new available seats.

Friday, July 5, 2019

2019 July : TAG Bites : Kult Divinity Lost

Some old friends reached out with the request that I run a horror game for them and a new player! After debating between this, Alien the RPG, and Wraith the Oblivion as the game to run, this kinda won out. Anxious to see how the game will turn out this coming July 13.

So, to Jonas, Nicole, Alfred, and Rocky are going for a spin at the dark illusion that is the world of Kult: Divinity Lost.  And even more awesome, the game is now Powered by the Apocalypse! (I do still own the old Kult books though haheheeh)

Sadly, no seats available.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

NEW DISCORD Play by Post Offering : Harrowing the Dead - Wraith the Oblivion 20th anniversary

This is a Discord play by post game which I hope to run for up to three players. As with previous Discord games, a dice roller will be used to resolve dice rolls, and all posts will be done in the third person, to make the stories easily accessible for others to follow.  This game will be using the Wraith the Oblivion 20th anniversary edition rules.

The game will be set in the modern day, in a fictional version of Los Angeles. All players will start as mortals, alive and happy to help get a sense of what they will be losing.   This game will touch on dark mature themes and thus is only recommended for players who can handle and enjoy such stories.

Up to three players will be accepted.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

ONGOING : Exalted 81:18

Inspired by the Mahabharata, I've decided to run an Exalted campaign for Rocky and Urim which draws parallels to its amazing story. Even more awesome was the tremendously inspiring artwork by Mukesh Singh, whose artwork can be found here:

With it being a two-player game, this allows us to tell a story with a different pacing compared to other campaigns. Even better, it gives us more breathing room in trying to grasp the new 3rd edition of the Exalted game.

Currently closed. No new player seats.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Twitter Open Table Board Game Nights

Starting every Friday this month onwards, we are now opening Open Table Board Game Nights for our twitter friends and contacts. This is to encourage and share our love of gaming to even wider communities and non-gamers.

Interested in joining? Just let us know and shoot us a Direct Message on Twitter!
Let's play!

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Happy Pride to you all! And Happy Screaming!

June ended with a fantastic series of events.
Rocky and I were able to attend the Pride March at Marikina this year!

It was a HUGE event with reportedly over 52k attendees.  Some even state that by the evening, the numbers neared 70k!  While there were some missteps and mismanaged communication and planning issues, the event overall was a beautiful testament to the diversity, color, and love that the LGBTQIA+  community. People we all respectful of each other and celebrating each one's diversity and identity.

We even got these beautiful pins to wear to work thru Maria and her friends at UP Babaylan and their merchandise brand, #PAK!

Come evening, we then headed to our favorite haunt and second home, O Bar, where we continued the Pride celebrations with dear friends and our expanded family. We saw the amazing numbers and emotionally powerful performances which the O Divas and guest performers prepared. We cried. We danced. We cheered. We bonded. We grew stronger.

Then, Sunday was one shot game of Alien, the role-playing game.  Rocky and I had three awesome friends take part in the Cinematic one shot of Chariot of the Gods. Aina, Thomas, and Titus, all three fantastic players who never played together in a single game, having the most awesome time screaming, hoping, and scheming as they faced off against the terrifying threats that can only come from such a delightfully terrifying franchise. 

Read up Thomas' AMAZING write-up on the events from his character's perspective. Note, however, there may be spoilers for those hoping to try Chariot of the Gods. You have been warned!

The game was admittedly, just incredible! The Stress and Panic rules were viciously cool, more so when panic starts to become contagious. The every looming threat of a synth or alien in one's midst was just fantastic for drama and story.  And the ending. Oh man, that ending which the players were able to build.  I will admit, I was quite teary eyed when they wrapped the game up in that way.

Then, there was Gwen's lovely Rappler article on diverse voices in the game industry!

It was a beautiful feature giving an inspiring spotlight to the many other creators, developers, and creative forces that work in their own ways to give us a voice and celebrate their own distinct vision. Too often, especially here in Manila, there is this old way of thinking that gay people are pamparlor  (hairdressers) or pangcomedy (comedians) only.  And while there is no shame or anything wrong with such professions, there is something wrong in choosing to limit what you believe a person is capable of based solely on their gender.

And even more importantly this is part of the article:

Sad but true, but there is still a lot of hate out there which keeps many people from feeling the freedom to come out.  Just as how there are people who censor themselves or their existence due to the pressures of society or the selfish demands more influential or privileged folk may have. The fight continues for equality.  And for pride.   Thank you so much for this feature, Gwen!
Diverse voices: Meet some of the LGBTQ+ folks in games development via @rapplerdotcom

That was a beautiful way to end the month.

And guess what, that leaves six MORE months to come!
Things can only get better!

Friday, June 28, 2019

2019 June: TAG Bites : Alien the RPG

Chariot of the Gods
This is the official Cinematic one shot available for those who pre-ordered the game.  I'm going to be running this awesome horror story on Sunday, June 30th, the day after the Pride March and Pride Party here in Manila! 

And even more awesome, is that I'll be running it for really good friends:
Aina, Titus, and Thomas.

No Seats Available.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Gunita 10th Philippine International Literary Festival 2019 + Tabletop games!

A number of us tabletop gaming people were present and part of Gunita: A Pursuit of Memory, the 10th Philippine International Literary Festival held this June 14-15, 2019 at the Great Eastern Hotel, Diliman, Quezon City.  It was a joy to know that the National Book Development Board was happy to have tabletop games represented in the two day festival.

Present were Nathan of Project Tadhana, Lanz of the Greasy Snitches, Adrian  who also represented Ambedo Art with Jonette.  In addition, Daniel and Angela of Hey Meepling was also present!

For this event, I proposed a panel on Tabletop Role-playing Games: Better Self through Play.
I wanted to share to more people the fact that through role-playing games one can find numerous opportunities to better oneself. For the panel to work, however, I knew I needed more than just me to talk about it. Adrian was to help give a chronological perspective on how the hobby has grown, faded, then resurged in the country.  Lanz was to share how communities have formed and even gone beyond just gaming; they are helping others better their own lives too.  And Nathan was to share the importance of empathy in game design and how this in inherently present when one seeks to create something.

For those who weren't able to go, you can catch the recorded panel here:

This comes from being part of the AUTHOR(ities) event last year at the CCP. This is the second time tabletop games has become part of the literary festival in the country! I do hope its a trend that continues on so even more people can find opportunities to learn about gaming.

Also present were Thomas of The Epic Gaming Regiment and Marx of Balangay Entertainment who then were among the speakers in the panel on Crossing-over: Translating Literary Works to Different Media Forms.  While I was originally asked to also be in that panel, I recommended Thomas instead to take my seat as I felt he had much more to contribute to the topic.

You can catch that panel discussion here:

Special love to the people who attended and showed their support and interest. To the people who asked questions, thank you for throwing out questions that really got us thinking about things.  To the dad-daughter duo who were very interested in the panel, I do hope you get a chance to try the tabletop rpgs we recommended you, especially this Free RPG Day. To the staff, thank you so much for the kindness and generosity.

Thank you so much again to the NBDB for having us this year!  And we look forward to hearing from you if you want us to be part of even more events in the future!  Yay to reading and to enjoying stories even beyond books!

Monday, June 10, 2019

2019 June: TAG Bites : Pret-A-Porter

Fashion. Beauty. Opulence.
Do you think you are ready to be the most successful fashion company with only a single year to make your name?

Players: Paolo G, Titus V, Rocky S, and Me.
No open seats.

TAG Bites expands to include requested boardgame nights!

Sunday, June 9, 2019

2019 12 New Games Challenge Continues

Despite all the challenges and emotional rollercoasters this year has thrown as me, I am determined to keep moving forward and staying productive.  Thankfully, the local and international community continues to remain tremendously supportive and critically discerning.

For 2019's list of 12 New Games Each Year, I am currently on the halfway mark.
1) Bubblegumshoe
2) Headspace
3) Cold Shadows
4) Praxis: King of Storms
5) Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game
6) The Sword, The Crown, and the Unspeakable Power

Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game
Inspired by the comics (of course), we had a one shot session of the actual Mouse Guard tabletop rpg system. While I ran a Mouse Guard inspired game in the past, when one of our scheduled Pendragon sessions got cancelled due to real life concerns, I embraced it instead as an opportunity to add to my 12 list and to introduce a new game to my group. Mouse Guard has an elegant system which uses the Burning Wheel system. We had a fantastic tale of heroism, bravery, and sacrifice, as the mice discovered breaks in the Scent Line and found themselves stalked by a vicious Owl.   I remain extremely thankful to have Adrian, Jonette, Flip, and Rocky in that one shot game.

Grab the Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game.

The Sword, The Crown, and the Unspeakable Power
When Titus asked me for a one-shot session for his family, I had to check with them on what sort of game they'd love to explore this time.  Their group has been a  fan of the TAG Bites sessions, and I honestly remain extremely grateful of their trust and support.  For this session, Titus was hoping to try a dark fantasy type of game system so he can run his family Game of Thrones kind of stories. I decided to let them explore The SCUP.  Even better, Titus had never tried a game that was Powered by the Apocalypse before. His group had the joys of being introduced to jim pinto games quite early (and in many TAG Bites sessions, they wanted to try more and more of his Praxis games)  so this was a perfect chance to run them something new, and try running something new for me too. This game had Titus Villanueva, Sophia Lei Martinez, Bianca Villanueva and Rocky Sunico.  And it was definitely a powerful story with just the right amounts of humor and romance.

Grab a copy of The Sword, The Crown, and the Unspeakable Power.

Friday, June 7, 2019

2019 June: TAG Bites : Vampire the Masquerade, 5th Edition

The Kiss. The Embrace. There are many things which are romanticized when a mortal becomes one of the Kindred. But there are monsters out there which must be stopped no matter what the cost may be.

Terrible First Nights

This is a Vampire The Masquerade, 5th edition one-shot.

Current players:
Aina L, and Rocky S.
Two more seats available.
For Mature Players only.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

2019 June : TAG Bites : The Sword, The Crown, and The Unspeakable Power

This June's TAG Bites session, I will be running a game of The Sword, The Crown, and The Unspeakable Power by Todd Nicholas and Thomas J.  Titus requested for a dark fantasy game for his family and I was more than happy to oblige.

Description from Drivethrurpg:
The Sword, The Crown, and The Unspeakable Power (SCUP) is a dark fantasy role-playing game from Wheel Tree Press. Reminiscent of the A Song of Ice and Fire or First Lawbooks, SCUP focuses on power, politics, and intrigue in a setting you create using a unique world building exercise. Built on the Powered by the Apocalypse system developed in Vincent and Meguey Baker’s game Apocalypse World, SCUP is designed to let players get their hands dirty in scheming, conniving, and backstabbing. Take control of powerful sorcerers, regal nobles, and hardened warriors as you plot your rise to glory. Will others step on you as they ascend the social hierarchy? Or will you hack and claw your way to be the one who wears the crown?

Check it out today:

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Tremendously excited for Alien the Roleplaying Game

Alien remains one of the movies I truly enjoy watching. H.R. Giger's vision in designing the monster remains unparalleled despite the evolution technology and special effects have accomplished through the years. Sigourney Weaver's portrayal of Ellen Ripley still captivates and inspires as a powerful female lead who retains her passion and sensitivity despite displaying her strength and resolve. Ridley Scott's approach to telling the story penned by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusset still brings chills down my spine even if I've seen the movie so many times. Then there's Derek Vanlint's amazing cinematography, Jerry Goldsmith's powerful music, and Michael Seymour's fantastic Production Design.  All in all, the masterpiece that is Alien is a film that has set a very high bar.

This roleplaying game is one brave piece of work in its attempt to capture that same evocative piece of work. The game credits Tomas Harenstam, Andrew E.C. Gaska, Martin Grip, Christian Granath, and many others in its pages and I must admit it was hard not to stare with awe at each page as I looked at how they translated the powerful movie into an equally evocative game.  The game includes a fantastic timeline, which was a nice touch for fans of the movie franchise, like me. And I will admit a guilty pleasure to seeing the term Game Mother used for the GM.  Players asking the GM questions can literally just call out, "Mother.. what's going on in the other sector?" and it will all feel apt and appropriate to the game world.

The game offers two modes: Cinematic Play and Campaign Play.  Cinematic play will be fantastic for one-shot sessions, especially for groups who love the lethal flair of the franchise's narratives. And nowadays, with the many available Safety Tools that groups can use in their games, the mode offers a fantastic niche for those seeking to see if they can survive an Alien encounter.

I'm very excited to find a group interested in trying out Chariot of the Gods, the included cinematic module. But before any new TAG Bites can be set up, I better spend time reading more how this system works! I don't see myself being able to afford the Bundles and other special editions anytime soon, and admittedly I think that's okay. The custom dice aren't that unique enough for me to want, and the cards and screen are probably not something I'd often use. The galaxy poster, I hope, will eventually be available on Drivethrurpg or something like that.

This is going to be tremendously awesome.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Now Reading: Mister Miracle (2017)

Definitely behind my comic reading these last few years. But hot on my radar currently is Mister Miracle from Tom King and Mitch Gerads, who give an awesome an complex take on Jack Kirby's New Gods.  My partner, Rocky, has a Comixology account and it was through it that I am now enjoying its brain-twisting narrative.

Image result for mister miracle #1 2017

Without giving more away, the comic is fantastic in its pacing and its dialogue. The text and artwork work wonderfully together in creating a sense of unease and tension without slipping into overly dramatic (I'm looking at you, Xmen vs Inhumans).  But what makes me love this so much more is the fact that the comic sorta reminds me of how I run my Lacuna: The Birth of Mystery and the Girl from Blue City sessions.

Related image

Any of my players who have enjoyed those sessions can share how the "hard to trust your own senses" narrative added that layer of excitement that made the game quite an experience.  And now, reading the comic, I feel like I'm getting a chance to experience that same awesome feeling.  So to anyone out there who are fans of mysteries and deep character exploration, I recommend you check the comic out!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Five Inspirations for King of Storms


The Invisibles

The Cloud Atlas

Elliot and Margo from The Magicians

Easter from American Gods

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Continuing my 12 New Games Self-Challenge

Slowly continuing my journey through this year's 12 New Games Each Year.

The games I have played or run so far include:
1) Bubblegumshoe
2) Headspace
3) Cold Shadows
4) Praxis: King of Storms

Cold Shadows was quite a wonderful session. The group was a nice mix of players as each contributed to the growing narrative in their own unique ways. For the game, I drew inspiration from Matt Kindt's amazing Mind MGMT comics, which mixed spycraft with human-centric stories and weird science.

Praxis: King of Storms on the other hand was an interesting mix of magic, drama, and humor. We really enjoyed setting the game in the modern ages instead of its usual fantasy setting, and that gave it a powerful relatable vibe. The game started to remind many of us in the game of American Gods. The group is already hoping for a chance to go through all five Black Monk books by jim pinto.

At work, we're looking at the possibilities of getting games moving again. More so with the new employees who have joined us.  I'm tempted to try setting a session of The Sword, the Crown, and the Unspeakable Power or two for the group. Or perhaps get people to try Prince Valiant, or even Tiny Wasteland.  An officemate, however, is a huge Battletech fan, and the idea of running that old classic is oddly tempting. The opportunities are nearly endless.

Very happy also with these dice. If only shipping them overseas wasn't such a pain. They were definitely dice that fit perfectly with the Praxis game we played.

Monday, May 6, 2019

My Statement

This statement is made solely on behalf of Tobie Abad, and does not speak for anyone who works alongside him, TAG Sessions, or our partners in the game industry.


Today the admin team behind the Philippine Table-Top RPGs Facebook Group decided to have me removed as a member due to allegations made against me last week. The actual complaint consisted of four statements - two by individuals who used to be close friends and two by other members who were more likely relying on secondhand information as I have had limited interactions with them thus far. On May 4 I submitted a 17-page document refuting the allegations against me at the request of the admin team but the removal was the outcome of that supposed investigative process. As the admin team stated that they “...are not a legal court that is supposed to judge the moral character of any individual,” their decision feels like it was based on an effort to err on the side of caution more than anything else.

I do not agree with the decision and hold that the allegations against me are false. I do not fully understand the motivations behind these continued attacks on my character over the years by the same group of former friends. Regardless, I will continue to contest their assertions to be untrue.

I have been running tabletop RPG sessions for over 30 years for a wide range of players both locally and abroad. I have learned a lot when it comes to the complexities of running games for a variety of people with different backgrounds, interests and comfort zones. Given the social nature of this hobby, I’ve always held that honest communication between everyone at the table is integral to ensuring that everyone is comfortable and ultimately having fun creating a story together. This communication is not limited while together at the table but extends outside of it.

If my accusers feel that gaming with me for years had turned out to be an unpleasant experience in hindsight, I apologize that I was not able to do more to address that at the time. But despite the many channels of communication available and my repeated efforts to ask about their feelings regarding the games time and time again, it seems there was a lack of clearly communicated concerns, leaving me with nothing to act on or address in terms of how I moderated those sessions.

Like any other GM, I could only act on the information I was given and that break-down in communication had inadvertently resulted in a bad gaming experience somehow. Sadly, this unfortunate series of events led to an even worse break-down in the friendship. I can only surmise that the negative feelings from their experience have somehow fueled this extended effort against me despite years of no communication or contact and now all that has been blown out of proportion into this narrative of alleged abuse.

All I can say is that I never intentionally tried to cause emotional duress of any kind for this group of players. I apologize nonetheless for any pain that may have been experienced because that is the furthest thing I would want for anyone to experience in a tabletop RPG or in life in general. I wish things had ended differently or at the very least learned of such concerns directly instead of through the court of public opinion and the weaponization of social media.

Upon reflection, I suspect that this fracturing of the friendship, that I did not understand the nature of at the time, unfortunately, spilled over into our working relationship in a volunteer gaming organization. It was during this time that the accusers blocked me on social media and this further complicated efforts at communication and possible resolution to their concerns or at the very least an amicable parting of ways.

Over the past 3 years, I have remained silent despite the continued social media posts in an effort to just put this all behind us and move forward. There have been vague posts and there have been slanderous ones that have explicitly named me and still, I have not resorted to fighting fire with fire.

Given the efforts to besmirch my character, I feel the need to reiterate the following facts:

Every game I run is tailored to players. Even before the first session starts, I engage in lengthy discussions to determine what the players would like to explore along with what topics they prefer to avoid. I employ the same approach whether preparing for a long-term campaign or one-shots with strangers.

Player agency and sharing narrative control have always been things I value in my game sessions. I firmly believe the best sessions are when players and GM work together to create a memorable story.This is why I advocate for more people to try newer indie systems - particularly those that have taken interesting approaches to making shared narrative control a key mechanic in the game experience.

I believe that role-playing games, like film and literature, can be powerful tools for exploring difficult subject matter. But I also understand that what is acceptable varies from player to player and thus consent from everyone at the table is paramount. When I started gaming, we generally trusted one another to communicate boundaries in the game but I’m glad that the hobby has progressed to incorporate the use of Safety Tools such as the X-card and others. And anyone who has gamed with me in the last years would know that I fully embrace and endorse the use of these tools to ensure gaming remains inclusive and safe.

There are many more things to say, but for now, these are the most important points I want to address in this statement.

I stand by my integrity that my statements are true and remain prepared to explain my side and defend myself as needed in the appropriate venue. I do not believe in public smear campaigns and airing dirty laundry. Despite the lost friendship, I continue to respect the time I once spent with my accusers when we were all still friends and I regret all the other people in the community who have been dragged into this mess.

I shall continue to celebrate the tabletop gaming hobby be it through running games or sharing my knowledge with the community. I will miss being able to network with fellow gamers through the Philippine Table-Top RPG Facebook group, but I am thankful that there are other channels available to me to reach the larger community beyond social media. I will continue to work on creating games for the industry in general and welcome opportunities to celebrate Philippine culture through gaming when I can. I will not choose the path of hatred.

For those of you who wish to contact me, whether it is to set a game schedule or discuss anything else you have in mind, you can reach me through the following channels:

TAG Sessions Facebook Page
Twitter @AllTobieNoShade
tobito_abad [at]

I am thankful for my partner Rocky, whose unwavering support and level headedness has helped me through this difficult time. I am also thankful for the many friends who have reached out and shared their support. Your trust in me shall not go to waste.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Once Upon a Time in Jianghu Teaser: Burning Mountain Ring

The game features over fifteen different factions that players and Villains can be part of. Each grants the Honorable Hero a Secret Move that they can use.

But more interestingly is how the Grand Master is given access to additional information on how they can use that Faction in their games. When I was working on the book, I wanted to make sure gaming groups were empowered to find ways to make the game and its setting their own.

For instance, for the players, they get this information on the Burning Mountain Ring. 

Only the greatest and the strongest can claim to be part of the Burning Mountain Ring, the one true Martial Brotherhood in Sihai. While not everyone is part of this Society, those who do gain their favor find themselves gaining respect and reputation typically reserved for legendary heroes. It is said that its founder, Ubiquitous Dan, once watched his dear friend Relentless Fus who fought against the natural order of things and sought to conquer even Heaven itself at the peak of the Burning Mountain. 
Ubiquitous Dan was forced to learn all the Secret Arts necessary to challenge his dear friend and bring peace back upon the land. The Burning Mountain Ring now stands as a structured system of Ranking, allowing those who reject the natural order to channel their desire and passion towards improving themselves, rather than destroying the world. They send out invitations to those deemed worthy to join their tournaments and train others in expanding their understanding of the martial arts. Many warriors of the Ring have come face-to-face with agents of the Door and the Cult, earning their ire. The general consensus also sees the Triangle as laughable in their lack of actual strength.
Secret Move: Awareness of Deadly Intent
Cost: Free
Ambushes and murder attempts are like screaming children in a library for members of this faction. When anyone seeks to do commit violence upon a Burning Mountain Ring warrior, their intent is unconsciously sensed as the warrior’s fighting spirit senses a kindred soul. At any point someone seeks to do you violence, you sense it. It does not matter if you were asleep or intoxicated, the very aura of deadly intent is a palpable presence you cannot ignore.

Whereas for the Grand Master, information on the Burning Mountain Ring is given in this manner.
Burning Mountain RingReputation: Chaotic Fighting Ring Type: Directionless Sect Alignment: Heroic Conflicting Factions: The Obsidian Door, Inquisitive Dog Triangle, Invincible Ghost Gang, Cult of the Conqueror Worm
Said to have once been called the Wulin, the Burning Mountain Ring is a fractured echo of what was once an incredible gathering of the world’s greatest warriors. Now, it stands more like a fighting ring where many prove their mettle as they beat on their rivals. Ubiquitous Dan stands at the peak of the mountain blinded by the clouds and distance from the world. He still mourns the loss of Relentless Fus and has left the lower ranking warriors to run the sect. The Invincible Ghost Gang is poised to challenge them and might have what it takes to bring true change to the organization.
Secrets or Story Hooks: The GM can use any of these secrets as true in their game:
  • Relentless Fus still lives. Despite his hubris and punishment, Fus now survives as an amnesiac man living alone at the edge of a city’s limits. When endangered, he instinctively fights with martial skills he has no remembrance learning.
  • Ubiquitous Dan is no more. The Dan that remains is a shadow double, created by the Crying Prince who has infiltrated the sect and conquered it from within. It uses the sect as secret font to recruit his agents.
  • Heroic Secret Move: The Palm of Peace
  • Said to be the penultimate expression of mastery of all the possible secret Martial Arts, the Palm of Peace causes all within an entire region to lose any aggressive or destructive intentions or motivations for an entire day. Performed last by Ubiquitous Dan after he realized Relentless Fus had died, he brought twenty-four hours of peace by simply completing the strike upon the very strands of destiny.
Key NPC: Ubiquitous Dan Heavy set and powerful, most mistake Dan at first glance as some loitering untrained worker who made a wrong turn and slipped into the arena by mistake. But a single punch is usually enough to knock anyone onto their senses in seeing how Dan is one of the few high-Ranking warriors that are still active. He has a soft spot for goats and has been known to stop and make an effort to pet any he sees, once going as far as leaving the honored seat during the opening ceremonies of a festival to greet a kid carried by one of the guests.
Views: Dan once respected the Golden Emperor and his goals to unify the world. The Fighting Ring was meant as a means for aggression and disagreements to find an organized and controlled means of release. He truly believes in honorable combat, choosing to fight with his eyes closed, and using only one hand while balanced on one foot when he was challenged by a weaker opponent.

 Traits: Artisan (Mysteries of Yin and Yang, Formless Arts of the Face), Scholar (Qi Cultivation), Warrior (Lightfoot)
 Weakness: Priest (The Birth of Seals)

 Roleplaying Notes: Laugh openly. Praise others for their physical and martial prowess. Decline any challenges unless the other deserves to be treated a lesson. Waive away complex philosophical arguments and always flex your fingers and arm muscles before you fight.

 As an ally: Express your disdain for violence beyond fights within the Ring. Offer to teach those who are untrained in martial combat. Openly praise those who are fearless in celebrating their attachments to each other.

 As a Villain: Call those who know are powerless to best you, “little goat,” as a double-edged form of endearment. Never threaten. Just state the facts on how you will defeat the other. Then do it if they persist. You would rule Sihai if you wanted to, but for now the

 Traits: Artisan (Mysteries of Yin and Yang, Formless Arts of the Face), Scholar (Qi Cultivation), Warrior (Lightfoot) Weakness: Priest (The Birth of Seals)
Roleplaying Notes: Laugh openly. Praise others for their physical and martial prowess. Decline any challenges unless the other deserves to be treated a lesson. Waive away complex philosophical arguments and always flex your fingers and arm muscles before you fight.
As an ally: Express your disdain for violence beyond fights within the Ring. Offer to teach those who are untrained in martial combat. Openly praise those who are fearless in celebrating their attachments to each other.
As a Villain: Call those who know are powerless to best you, “little goat,” as a double-edged form of endearment. Never threaten. Just state the facts on how you will defeat the other. Then do it if they persist. You would rule Sihai if you wanted to, but for now the Golden Emperor can worry about that. You’ll be there when someone finally defeats him to take it from the victor.

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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Once Upon a Time in Jianghu Excerpt: Embrace the Moments of Silence

As the game is Powered by the Apocalypse, a common practice is for the game to advise the GM and the players on The Agenda, which guides them on how to explore the game.

For Once Upon a Time in Jianghu, this is the Agenda:


Everyone playing the game shares a five-part Agenda:
  • Make the world feel epic and dramatic
  • Play out what virtue and heroism demands
  • Struggle against personal want and duty
  • Define heroism and display it
  • Embrace moments of silence
Let's get a peek on the last one:

Embrace Moments Of Silence
There must be balance in the stories you tell. As a powerful contrast to moments of amazing combat and flashy moves, seek moments of nostalgia and peace. A silent moment walking in the flower fields. A peaceful scene of gazing out of the window to watch the frogs swallow dragonflies. If the players show interest in certain characters or locations, be sure to utilize them more often in later sessions. Pay attention to reflecting the passage of time in the game, as well. Children eventually grow older. Older characters eventually pass away. Let their choices shape the world and change it.

It is “huai jiu” or “nostalgia for the past” which you want to invoke in your games. It is this unbearable yearning that comes from the understanding one possess an unrealized heart.  And this, in a way, is the essence of a true wuxia hero.  On a related note, consider this a reminder also to embrace moments of silence as an opportunity to give other players a chance to have the spotlight. Narrative games can be daunting for some players, who might find the freedom to direct the story a bit intimidating at first. Know when to step back into the background to give those players enough time to adapt to the game and have moments where their characters become prominent of a scene. Help each other out in making sure everyone has a great time playing the game.

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