Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas Gifts for Pinoy Gamers - Part III : The PDF option

So time and distances are issues, and sending something physical might be a problem?  Then you can always stick to the simpler and at times more economical option of sending your friend PDFs of the games he loves, or of games you feel she should check out.

Online-based servicesWhether it be role-playing game system books, modules, thematic background music, map tiles, and the like, you can easily look through thousands of options (with many of them being either free or Pay What you Want!) at as well as its family of links, DriveThruComics, DriveThruFiction, DriveThruCards and RPGNow.  I've used this site many times to get the games I want, as well as gift to others the main rulebooks of game systems that I thoroughly enjoyed and want them to check out.  Choosing a game is tremendously simple, and keeping track of new updates quite convenient as well.  You can even find a lot of out of print books ready and waiting to be played here.  Sending someone a gift however does require that person to give you her email address.

Then there's websites of some creators who did not opt to have their works on DriveThruRPg, such as Ben Lehman's These Are Our Games  which showcases fun options such as Hot Guys Making Out  and Bliss Stage.

You also have places like which allows multiple authors to work on a fictional story together, or even run narrative focused games in the site.   I personally have run a few games there myself (one based on Jared Sorensen's Lacuna, one based on White Wolf Gaming Studios' Exalted, and even one based on Neil Gaiman's The Endless).  The site takes some getting used to, but playing is free (only the person running the game needs a paid account).

Finally, if your friend is a huge fan of certain creators, you might want to fund them in supporting that creator's Patreon account.  Many of the prolific creators such as John Wick and Evil Hat Productions are there and you can support them and help finance future creations.

The PDF Option
In terms of actual PDFs that I highly recommend the following as gifts.  Which ones best go to which friends I will have to leave you to decide.

Houses of the Blooded (John Wick Presents)
If playing immortal nobles who live to celebrate life with Style is not your liking, the chapters on gaming advice and tips on approaching story are well worth the read.  Add to that the book's unbeatable economic price (free as of this writing!) and you have an awesome winning gift option here.   Take it from me, this game can be life-changing.

Dungeon World (Sage Kobold Productions)
As much as I would probably be the target of a lot of boulders (and magic missiles) for saying this, I will say it: You can forget about Dungeons and Dragons and its complex tome of rules and dive in to Dungeon World instead.  Dungeon World captures the adventure and magic of D&D without frightening away new gamers who aren't too keen on reading hundreds of pages of rules just to understand how combat works.   And even better, even first time players can get into the fun without having to spend more than an hour on character creation.

Our Last Best Hope (Magpie Games)
Whatever the coming cause of the world's end, it is up to you and your friends to stop it.  And even more awesome, all of you are playing.  The game does not need your traditional GM and throws in new ideas on how to approach characters and challenges.  I've run this game with non-gamers and they still had a lot of fun.  Definitely worth every cent (as of this writing, $9.99).

Play Dirty (John Wick Presents)
Yes, this is the second John Wick product in the list.  I am not ashamed to admit that.  If you have yet to try reading his articles on gaming, you probably would wonder why I'm sold on his approaches.  But I promise you, Play Dirty was a tome that made me realize a lot of the things I did in my games were not just cool, but actually revolutionary given most didn't realize that approach could be done.  It validated for me the idea that game balance is an illusion and that fun as a group does take a huge seat over personal fun.

Hamlet's Hitpoints (Gameplaywright)
We've all had our times where we watch some movie or read some book and feel its like a role-playing game unfolding before our eyes.  This book helps explain that even further and throws in a huge bowl of ideas on understand the beats of a story and how to make the most of them in your games.

Odyssey: The Complete Game Master's Guide to Campaign Management (Engine Publishing)
Veterans share their ideas and tips on how to run campaigns and how to make them work.  A must read for people who want guides and advice on how to approach games that are meant to last a long time.

Hope you find this list helpful!
Merry Christmas to you and your gamers form me, Rocky and Yoshi!

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