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New Release from Elf Lair Games: A Faustian Dilemma for Night Shift: VSW

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  Welcome to the City... The City is vast and sprawling, in many ways an archetype of every city in the world, from New York to Sydney to LA to Hong Kong, to Paris, London, Dubai, and beyond. It’s a city where the buildings tower so high into the sky and are so thick together that the sun doesn’t penetrate the streets and it’s always dark. Night is when the City comes to life, and few people here ever see the daylight anyway, because Night time is the right time in the City. The City doesn’t seem to have a name. To those who live here, it’s simply “The City,” and it’s more than home. It’s heart. The City is a piece of those who live here, and those who live here are a piece of the City. It’s a City of contradictions—on one hand always dark and shadowy, with foreboding alleyways and oubliettes, on the other hand full of vibrant life where there’s always something going on. This is a City where shops don’t close at 9, but operate 24 hours a day, where people are sure they sleep, but can’

Gaming in the Tarantino-Verse

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 This is just a little something I've been thinking about over the past couple days as I decided to revisit the Tarantino-Verse courtesy of my Tarantino XX Blu-ray boxed set and my copy of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which I consider to be Tarantino's magnum opus. It occurs to me that the universe created in Tarantino's movies is ideal fodder for gaming, and just about any modern game could handle the genre, so long as it's not overly tactical in nature. Let's take a look at the kinds of game that best suit such a campaign, and what gaming in the Tarantino-verse requires, from tropes to alternate history and universes within universes. Choosing the Game The first step in running a Tarantino-verse game is choosing a game with the right qualities. It's important, first of all, that the game you choose plays fast, fast, fast. You don't want a game that requires you to leave the dice on the table, compare several different dice against each other, build compl

Why Re-Use Old Mechanics? Why Not Create a New System?

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(Cross-posted from my Elf Lair Games blog , which you should also follow!) This is a question I get asked far too often, and far too often it's with an accusatory tone, along the lines of, "what kind of a game designer are you if you can't create an original system?" or "Aren't you creative enough to come up with something unique and original?" The truth is, I have worked with just about every kind of system you can imagine over my decades of game design. I've done stat + skill systems, roll and keep systems, fistful 'o dice and count kills systems, graduated die type systems, and more. All were fun, all were quirky, all were unique in some way.  I did go through a phase where I spent a lot of time coming up with new and different systems. I even designed a couple from the ground up that used cards instead of dice. One, the Hoyle System, used a standard deck of playing cards with each suit and the jokers representing something different in play,

What Does Night Shift: VSW Bring to the Old School Table?

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 (This blog is crossposted from my Elf Lair Games blog, which I recommend everyone follow as well! It also sort of dovetails off of an earlier one regarding  what's innovative about Night Shift .) What Does Night Shift: VSW Bring to the Old School Table? Whenever a new game using old school mechanics is released, people very justifiably want to know what it brings to the table? What makes it worth buying? It's a totally legit question--let's face it, the old school table is stuffed to bursting with games, rules systems, and different takes on the way the earliest games were supposed to be played. When this whole thing started we had  Castles & Crusades ,  followed by  OSRIC , followed by  Swords & Wizardry . A few others followed, including my own  Spellcraft & Swordplay .  Now we have  Labyrinth Lord, Old School Essentials, Basic Fantasy, Dark Dungeons, Mazes & Perils, Blueholme, Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea, Champions of ZED , and a

I Have Partnered with Studio 2 for Night Shift: VSW!

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Elf Lair Games has officially signed on with Studio 2 Publishing to distribute English language tabletop RPG product, beginning with Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars .  I couldn't be more excited about this partnership. It stands as the next big step in expanding our reach as a publishing company, and we look forward to getting our games into the hands of as many players as possible. Studio 2 is just the company to make that happen. Making this transition was a big step for Elf Lair and signing on with Studio 2 is a huge development for us. This represents a vital move towards what I hope will be a bright and exciting future for the company. The partnership will greatly expand the reach of Elf Lair Games , allowing its presence in physical gaming stores and major online retailers. Elf Lair recently made the transition from a small PDF and print-on-demand company to a traditional offset publisher thanks to a successful Kickstarter in October 2019.  About Night Shift: V

Dark Superheroes with Night Shift: VSW

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 Let's be honest: It's more than likely that there's a supers supplement for Night Shift: VSW on the horizon some day in the future. Here's the trick, though: you don't really need it to do supers with the game as it stands. You could do a street level supers game with NS:VSW exactly as it sits, and you'd still be well within genre. Look at TV shows like Arrow or Batwoman  on the CW or the Netflix Marvel shows for examples of how street-level supers can be dark urban fantasy at its finest.  Hell, consider Blade as an example of how the superhero genre can be mixed with horror. It's certainly not outside of the wheelhouse of Night Shift to experiment with superheroic games, particularly if you keep it at "street level" abilities.  Let's check out the easy ways you can do superheroes with Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars Start with the Supernatural Race In Night Shift: VSW, you have essentially two options for your character "

Ash vs. Evil Dead with OD&D

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Tis the season, so here we go. I've been binge watching Ash vs. Evil Dead over the past couple days (actually, I binged the entire Evil Dead franchise in order including the 2013 in-continuity reboot) and was thinking about how one could do this with OD&D. For the uninitiated here, that's Original D&D, the one released back in 1974 with the woodgrain (later white) box. As with most properties, it's crazy easy and even more proof that OD&D is a much better, more robust game than it's ever given credit for being.  No need to elaborate on what this one is further. Here's my thoughts. Monsters Standard Deadite: 4HD, Mv. 30ft, fly 30ft. Attacks: claw, claw, bite. Special: On a natural 20, infect another requiring a save vs. Death or become a Deadite. Deadites can use Alter Self at will to look like their former self and possess all the memories and knowledge of those they possess. Any time they take damage in this form they must save vs. Death or revert to th