We continue our “Best of 2017″ series curated by the entire CCM-Entropy community and present some of our favorite selections as nominated by the diverse staff and team here at Entropy, as well as nominations from our readers.
This list brings together some of our favorite roleplaying games and supplements published in 2017.
Presented in no particular order. Blurbs by Tyler Crumrine (Dungeons Mastered series).
Best Roleplaying Games & Supplements of 2017
Blades in the Dark by John Harper
I first heard about Blades in the Dark on the Marielda season of Friends at the Table, and it’s since become one of my favorite RPGs. Blades in the Dark is all about running heists, with intuitive rules focused on thinking on your feet rather than planning out every detail beforehand. You don’t have to pick each item you’ll bring with on a job, for example. Instead, characters elect to carry light, medium, or heavy loads. You’re a professional thief, so you’ve brought the right things, it’s just a matter of how many tools you have on you before you run out. Similarly, the rules encourage the use of flashbacks mid-score to describe how characters prepared for specific situations. That way “planning” for a heist doesn’t waste time speculating about events that might never happen. It’s a great system for new and veteran players alike, and while the book comes with a cool city you can use as a setting, it’d be just as easy to run a heist-centric game in the D&D or Shadowrun universes using these rules.
Veins of the Earth by Patrick Stuart & Scrap Princess
I raved about Patrick Stuart & Scrap Princess’ previous collaboration, Fire on the Velvet Horizon, in my Dungeons Mastered series, and this new book is every bit as creative but much, MUCH more detailed. Veins of the Earth is a bible for running RPGs underground, including everything from tools for tunnel generation, light- and calorie-based economies, and 150 pages worth of new and utterly unique monsters. It’s also the largest collection of Scrap’s artwork to date, which in itself is a triumph. It’s a huge and beautifully printed tome, so a bit costly, but you could easily run years’ worth of campaigns from this and still have plenty of corners to explore.
The Dark of Hot Springs Island by Jacob Hurst
What Veins of the Earth does for a generalized setting—adventures underground—The Dark of Hot Springs Island does for a very specific location. Jacob Hurst describes every inch of the Swordfish Islands in excruciating detail while managing to avoid the typical filler tiles and outlandish non-sequiturs that often plague hex-crawls. The book is system-neutral, so can be inserted into any fantasy RPG campaign with relative ease, and the islands’ histories and cultures are genuinely intriguing. I enjoyed uncovering the secrets of Hot Springs Island just as much as a reader as a GM, and I’m super glad to have picked this up.
Furies of the Barrens by Andrea Sfiligoi
Inspired by underground comics and pulp sci-fi, Furies of the Barrens is a great book for folks who want to run a weird future campaign in a setting that legitimately feels alien. Play as gene-spliced goat people, clones of a long-dead hero, symbiotic couples that make up two halves of a single body, or one of 13 other races and classes fighting for survival in a sprawling wasteland. Furies of the Barrens runs on a variation of The Black Hack’s rules system and includes everything you’d need to play in one small, affordable book. A great little gem, even if you only borrow bits and pieces.
Spinetooth Oasis by Evlyn Moreau
Evlyn Moreau is easily one of my favorite tabletop illustrators, and I’ll almost certainly be devoting a full post to her work soon. Written with a handful of other OSR folks, Evlyn’s drawings of cactus cultists, succulent spiders, and spiked owls really bring Spinetooth Oasis and its communities to life. Short, sweet, and packed with detail, you could easily run an entire campaign in the oasis or just drop it in as a point of interest in a larger game. Do yourself a favor and check it out.
The Tortle Package by Jeremy Crawford & Christopher Perkins
The Tortles in D&D 5e are perfect round bois. —Quincy Rhoads