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10/11/2017

Xathrodox86 reviews: "Iron Company" by Chris Wraight

"The Empire Army" series is quickly becoming one of my favourite set of books from the Black Library, and "Iron Company" by Chris Wraight is a perfect reason why it is so.

Chris Wraight is a terrific writer, in my humble opinion. Although I mostly know him from the 40K and "Horus Heresy" series, he also did quite a lot of stuff for the venerable Warhammer Fantasy. Tales about Kurt Helborg and Ludwig Schwarzhelm, the arcane "Masters of Magic", and epic tales of Luthor Huss, are just some of his contributions to the Old World. Among them is the "Iron Company", book two in the "Empire Army" series, and one that I can't recommend enough, as it is that good.

"Three things make The Empire great - faith, steel and gunpowder!" - Magnus the Pious
Magnus Ironblood is an ex-engineer, who now finds solace at the bottom of a bottle. Living in the shadow of his legendary father, who was one of the most respected engineers in the history of the Empire, Magnus now wastes the last of his coins on cheap drink, while trying to feel as miserable as possible. From the very beginning I've felt an intense sympathy for this character. He's a middle-aged drunk, who's a weak shadow of his former self. I don't know about you, but the "invincible hero" type really bores me to death, as of late. For Wraight to essentially make his main hero an alcoholic, was a bold and risky move. However Chris managed to write this character splendidly and not only is he believable, but his condition also plays a major role throughout the whole book. It is also the first time, that I saw a person with such a dependency as a main hero of a story, set in the Warhammer universe. Sure, Gotrek and Felix used to drink a lot, but the reader never felt that they are actually balancing on the edge of addiction. Magnus Ironblood is an addict, and that fact truly brings a lot to the story.

Magnus gets hired by the Hochland army to help them crack open a fortress, which is used by rebels, who essentially want to take control of the whole province and already defeated one army, sent against them. He gets a high position in the expeditionary force, despite his harmful habit being widely known, recruits and old friend of his, and they both join the army of Count Ludenhof. Hochland is masterfully presented as a dank, miserable, forested province, which is inhospitable to the extreme and can be immensely dangerous to the unwary. Chris Wraight presents it as this almost primal, forested region, which can swallow whole armies, if they're not careful. Truly a great insight into this part of the Empire, which I always felt, was a little underplayed.

Interesting part about the engineers in the Empire, is that almost everyone distrust them and, in case of the clergy, even downright hate them. To the traditional, hidebound folk of the lands of Sigmar, the engineer are no better than the magicians of the Colleges. The author includes short snippets of lore and monologues at the beginning of each chapter, some of which clearly show just how mistrusted the learned men of the Imperial Colleges of science, really are. Truth be told,. before reading the "Iron Company", I've never looked at it in such a way. Kudos to the author, for showing the relations between common men and the learned men, in such a interesting way.

Aside from Magnus we have a pretty big cast of supporting characters, both for the Hochland army and the rebels. All of them are excellently written and colorful, with their own backstories and motivations, which is something rare in a book like this. Chris Wraight makes sure to differentiate each of his heroes, and so the reader never feels that two of them are almost identical. There's your cocky Tilean, grumbling dwarf, zealous Warrior Priest, young and inexperienced (but good-hearted) newbie and a no-nonsense general. The bad guys suffer a bit in this department, as two of them are rather comically evil, especially the main antagonist of the book. Without any spoilers, even his name sounds so evil and devilish, that it is obvious, that he must be the bad guy of the story. Still, he is an interesting character, and one that has a connection to the main hero, so I can only congratulate the author for making such obviously wicked bastard, interesting enough for me to care about, in a way at least. In the end however, I think that the loyalists are much better written, than the antagonists.

Since this is a military fiction, we have our fair share of battles and they are presented in a great, engaging manner. Wraight masterfully presents the reality of a prolonged siege, ambushes and even assaulting a heavily fortified citadel from beneath. The cannons and other machines of war, play a huge role in "Iron Company", and the reader really has a sense of just how much a single cannon is able to change the tide of battle. Not to mention other, more exotic weapons, of which there are lots, but again - no spoilers!

My one beef with the combat sections of this book, was actually Magnus himself. He's supposed to be a middle-aged drunk, who's not wearing any armor and whose hands probably shake so badly, that he wouldn't be able to load a pistol by himself, at least not easily. Meanwhile Herr Ironblood is a force to be reckoned with, when in combat, even against a substantial number of well trained, well equipped and determined opponents. I'm not saying that he should be a glasses-wearing nerd, who constantly mumbles about trajectories and points of impact, but at times I had to check twice, if I was following the right character. Dude is downright nasty with a blade, and later, with a pistol. I guess all that booze unlocked his inner warrior, or something.

"Iron Company" is a pretty long book, but the reader never feels like it is overstaying its welcome. The action is paced excellently, the dialogue is engaging, the characters feel alive and realistic, and all I can say is: read it. Seriously, grab this book and give it a go. It presents a fairly unknown part of the Emperor's armies, and how "normal" folk perceive the men of science and enlightenment. "Iron Company" is definitely worth a read, and not just one.

Pros:

- Great main character
- Most of the heroes and villains are realistic and interesting to follow
- Battle scenes and action is top notch
- Engineers finally received some love!
- Excellent pacing and length, make this tale a joy to read

Cons:

- Some of the villains are trying too hard to be the bad guys
- Magnus is way too good with a sword for someone who's essentially a middle-aged drunk

Another one of the "Empire Army" books done, now we can go back to the less thrilling stuff - like why Warhammer 40,000 turned to shit, lore-wise at least. But that is a tale for another post, or maybe two.

U Wot M8?
Until next time!

Xathrodox86

9/27/2017

Xathrodox86 rants about various stuff, dosen't get mad for a change

A lot is happening right now in the RPG/wargaming world, so I've decided to share a few thoughts about various stuff, that's going on right now.

What a time to be alive! I love that so much is going on, especially with relation to Warhammer and Games Workshop in general. First of all, we have "Total War: Warhammer 2" is just around the corner, and it looks just as good as the first game. I'm pretty sure that it will be as good too! I simply love that they've included not only Ulthuan and Naggaroth but Lustria as well, since Lizardmen are one of my all time favourite Warhammer races. I can already see the awesome DLC's as well - the undead pirates of the Vampire Coast, the Amazons and maybe even the fantastic Tichi-Huichi's Raiders. The possibilities are many, and these are just for Lustria. Imagine what Creative Assembly will be able to do with the eternal war between the two elven races.

Hooooly shiiit!!!
"TW: Warhammer 2" is not the only, promising video game, related to tabletop, that is coming in our way. "Warhammer: Vermintide 2" has been announced a few weeks ago, and on 17th of October we should recieve a much more detailed presentation. Already a bunch of screenshots have made their way to people over the internet, as well as system specs. It promises to at least repeat the success of the first game, and there are subtle hints, presented in the screen captures, about the elves. Could the Asur play a role in "Vermintide 2"? I'd love to see Kerillian and a Shadow Warrior, bickering over whose culture is the best, while making jests at Bardin's expense. I also hope for a bigger variety, when it comes to enemies and a better loot system. Seriously, "Vermintide's" loot mechanic sucks balls, but that's my only, real issue that I have with this game. Oh, and Fatshark announced that another DLC is coming. I do wonder what it'll give us, and if it'll be any good. Knowing the game's creators, I'm sure that it will live up to the previous ones' standards.

Two days before my birthday, the fols from Fatshark are already giving me one of the best, possible presents!
Cubicle 7 are really upping up their game, when it comes to the 4th edition of WFRP and the Age of Sigmar RPG. Not only did we got a lot of info about the differences between the two titles, and their mechanics (I'm glad that it will be more in spirit of the 1st and 2nd edition of the game), but also they've released an online bundle, which contains all of the WFRP 2ed PDF's, as well as 1st edition rulebook. Not only that, but the price for all of these goodies is just too good to pass. I have huge hopes with both of these games. In all truth I'm waiting for the AoS RPG more, than for the 4th edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. Why? Well, as I've mentioned in one of my earlier posts, this is a real chance for the Age of Sigmar to establish itself as a game with a really interesting lore. As of now, it's just 40K in a fantasy world, with very little emphasis on anything, besided endless war. This role-playing game can change that, and I hope that it will. AoS has a huge fanbase and they deserve the best, possible product. I hope that they'll recieve it, and who knows... maybe it will even help me change my stubborn mind, about this setting? I will definetly check it out, as well as the newest iteration of WFRP. These two games can't come soon enough!

Seriously, the hype is real
A bunch of information about the 4th edition of WFRP, as well as the AoS role-playing game, can be found here.

Also a new WH40K RPG has been announced. It's called "Wrath & Glory", and not only does it promises the chance to play as a dirty xeno, but it will also be based around a new D6 mechanic. This is a very good news, since one of my biggest issue with the FFG's 40K RPG's, is the fact that they're using the D100 rules from WFRP. Sure it is slightly modified, but using a ruleset from a title, in which you mainly fight hand-to-hand, in a game with a huge emphasis on shooting stuff, is just bad. Here's to Ulisses, the game's publisher, to present us with a great and fun title, at least as good as the first "Dark Heresy" and "Only War". You can find preview of the game here.

I especially like the fact that it will give the players a chance to play, as almost any faction from the game
Speaking some more of 40K, the 8th edition has established itself firmly with the players now, and while I don't have any experience with it (yet), it seems to be a much better iteration of the game, than the last one. Of course that's not saying much, since 7th edition was an abomination, favouring certain factions, while shitting on others, lacking any semblence of balance, and generally being an unplayable mess (unless you were collecting Space Marines, Eldar or the Tau). 40K 8th is much more balanced, at least on a first glance. Sure, already certain "players" are trying to find loopholes, broken builds and combos, and other such shit. Fortunately, this time GW is working really hard to fix the majority of this kind of issues, such as the now infamous, Storm Raven spam. Errata's and FAQ's have been worked on really hard, and it's good to see that the Games Workshop is not favouring only one or two factions, anymore. Altough I'm pretty sure that a lot of entitled crybabies are still salty about the nerf, that happened to their grav spam or the infamous Iron Hand Chapter Master on a bike. I bet that their tears of rage are delicious.

Funnily enough, I've been so immeresed in the Warhammer Fantasy world, for the past few months, that I know very little about the new story arc of 40K. Guilliman's back, which is... ok, I guess. I'm not a fan of the Primarchs returning, since it really does degrade the whole "mythology" thing, around which the Warhammer 40,000 is built, but from what I've gathered, they're making this plot in a decent and competent manner. Which is good. I yet to have to read the "Dark Imperium" by Guy Haley, as well as check on the whole Ultramar campaign thingie, but Games Workshop seems to be doing a decent job with pushing the storyline further a bit. Good for them, and good for us.

Looking good there, Bobby!
Lastly we come to the Black Library and the "Horus Heresy" series, which is coming to an end. The last HH meeting took place some time ago, during which the authors supposedly talked about the final part of this behemeoth series. For me the Great Heresy can't end soon enough, since it really did overstayed its welcome. Seriously, how friggin' much can you milk a franchise, especially one which quality is a really mixed bag? There have been whole years, when we've been bombarded with shit, like the Salamanders and Imperium Secundus story arcs. Then there were all of the anthologies, many of whom duplicated themselves, as well as whole plots that led to nowhere, or were simply dissapointing. Don't get me wrong tough - I still think that 30K in general is a much more interesting time in this universe, than the 40K, but at some point it must come to an end. It overstayed its welcome, and I'd like for the authors in BL to close it, preferrably as fast as possible. Which will probably take at least 2-3 more years. Sigh.

I was there in 2006, when it all started
Come on guys, use your imagination. 40K has so many cool periods, which can be explored to their full capacity, like the fabled Astropath Wars, for example. There is life beyond the Horus Heresy, you know. Try and find it, not only for yourselves, but also for us, your fans.

Actually this reminded me, that I really need to catch on the HH series. The last book which I've read, was the excellent "Master of Mankind", and there have been a few titles, released after it, which I should really look into.

Finally the "ZWEIHÄNDER" print-on-demand is here! Availabe from the DriveThruRPG, you can (and should) get it and try it out, for it is a wonderful game, akin to the WFRP of old. The team behind this project really did an immense job, and I can't stress enough, how much I admire their work. I do plan on making a loooong and detailed review of this game in the (near) future, but let me just say, that any fan of the classic Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay should try this one out. You won't be dissapointed, I promise.

Pictured: a damn good game
So that's it for this post. Yeah, there's a lot going on in the RPG/Tabletop/tie-in video games world right now, and us fans, we're really spoiled for choices. Which is good, as we should be - this is our hobby, our passion, and I for one, am very happy to be a part of these events. I hope that you are as well.

Until next time!

Xathrodox86

9/16/2017

Role-playing Rants: Mastering the fine art of gaming with your friends

Friendship is a cool thing. It lets you get through tough times, and help others in the same manner, makes you feel, like you belong somewhere and generally incites the feeling of happiness. But is it wise to role-play with your friends?

My first, real RPG experience was with a group of so called "randoms", people whom I've met in work, and who introduced me to the world of casual role-playing. "Vampire: The Masquerade" was the first RPG that I've partook in, with that particular group, followed by WFRP ("The Enemy Within"), "Dzikie Pola" (polish historical game) and a couple of other titles. I've had great fun with those people, and even tough we're not in touch anymore, for various reasons, I always remember my time with them, as a very happy one.

Happy times
Sometime later a good friend of mine asked me, if I'd ran a game for him and the rest of our pack. It was back in 2009, and our crew was really tight. Our main hobbies included rooftoping, urban exploration and generally goofing around, so I though: "why not include some role-playing into the mix?". I was a little bit afraid if I'd manage to run a weekly RPG group in a manner, that my first GM did, but in the end I've decided to give it a try. After buying a couple of books for WFRP 2nd edition, getting hold of a laptop, from which I could play climactic music, I've gathered the team in a basement of a residential block and the rest was history. We are still playing, after all these years, altough there were a couple changes in the team, as life tends to get in the way, and people also change, one way or another. In the end, however, it was a great experience, albeit one with a few bumps along the way.

Playing with your friends seems like a no brainer. You have a ready-to-go group of people, whom you know well and spent a lot of time with. You can almost always count on them, so setting up games is much easier, than with a bunch of random players. You generally know them really well, both their strong and weak points, their character quirks and manierisms. For a GM this kind of readily available info is simply priceless and really helps in setting up games, creating adventures and developing interesting encounters for his players.

Of course, one of the most important thing, if not the most important, is the fact that you are playing among people whom you really like, and who also like you. Thanks to that little fact, the atmosphere during sessions will be greatly improved, as common sympathy and friendly camradiere will be felt all around the table. If you'll manage to infect your friends with a passion for role-playing games, you'll get a bunch of great people, sharing your enthusiasm for the hobby. That's a lot in itself, but there are many more benefits of gaming with your friends, too many in fact to write them all down. Needless to say, it is worth it, and if any of you thinks about trying out RPG's, then gather a bunch of people, who are close to you, and give this hobby a shot. Together.

Awesomeness will ensue
However every coin has two sides, and while gaming with your friends can be great (it usually is!), it can also be a real pain in the ass, if you're not careful.

What I'm talking about exactly? Well, it is quite simple, really. Being friends with someone, means that you can usually get away with a lot more shit, than when you're dealing with a simple colleague, or a completely random person. This means that your players (as usual, I'm talking from a perspective of a Gamemaster) can, and probably will, get on your nerves and try to have things their way, from time to time. Ok, maybe even more often. I've seen it all, and lived through it to tell the tale. Emotional blackmail, shouting, getting at each other's throats (metaphorically speaking, of course), cheating and many, many other shitty behaviours, were all a part of my experience of gaming with close friends. You see, friends always think that they can get away with more things, than others. It dosen't matter if they've arrived 30 minutes late to the game. No big deal, surely the rest of the gang will understand that it happens. It dosen't matter if they've canceled their schedule, at the last moment, beacuse of some stupid-ass reason. Friends won't mind. Maybe some of them had a really bad day at work, and wish for nothing to piss their co-players off, and tell the GM that he sucks, and not in a friendly, light manner. What? What do you mean, that it's a shitty way to deal with people? We're friends, after all!

Yeah, that's the other, not so nice, side of playing with your friends. Be prepared for a LOT of shit flying your way, for hard talks, which will be inevitable at some point, if you want to avoid being smothered by the rest of your group, and generally for a lot of nasty things. From my experience friends think that they can get away with a lot more, than others. This is probably true for most people, but frankly I've found out that it's a lot easier to deal with this kind of behaviour, outside of hobby. These games are all about having fun, mutual fun, and I always got pissed the fuck off, when one of my friends decided to take it out on me, or the others, for a crappy day that he had at work. For starters - it's not my bloody fault, nor any of the others at the table, and secondly - we came here to have fun. Leave your frustrations and bad attitude at home, for they are not welcome here. That last part is actually targeted towards anyone, who thinks that weekly/monthly/quarterly etc. game meetings, are his private therapy sessions. They're not and fuck you for thinking otherwise.

I know what you're probably all thinking right now. Is playing with your friends really worth it? Is it actually worth all the effort, nerves, frustrations and arguments?

Yeah, I think that it is. Some of my best memories in life are from playing with my closest friends, and even tough more often than not it was a real pain in the butt, I wouldn't trade those memories for anything else in the world. It wasn't always easy, but in the end it was worth it. Just as gathering your closest people around the table with you, handing them a bunch of funny shaped dice and some character sheets, and describing to them that damnable inn, in which they all meet, is. It really is. Take my word for that.

It is here that so many wonderful tales began, after all
Until next time!

Xathrodox86

8/27/2017

Role-playing Rants: another 5 video games, which should become RPGs

I know, I know - same thing? Really? Yes, because there are a few more titles, which I would really like to see on a tabletop. And if I won't write about them now, they'll surely slip from my mind.

You know the drill guys. We'll start from the last one, and gradually make our way to the very top. Here are another 5 vidya titles, fit for a role-playing table. In my opinion, of course.

5. "Killzone"


Despite losing the battle with Microsoft's "Halo", "Killzone" series remains a fairly popular one and with a good reason. I always preffered it to its rival, since it portrayed military conflict in a much more realistic and gritty way. Tomas Sevchenko was a much more grounded character, than the god-like Master Chief. I also liked the fact that neither Vektans nor Helghasts could be considered purely good or evil. Both factions presented with themselves different shades of grey, and neither one of them were 100% right in their actions. "Killzone" asked player some rather uncomfortable questions, especially in the latter installments, while "Halo" was simply a well done shooter, where the bad guys were aliens.
I'm envisioning a RPG which relies heavily on military themes, with various options for players. Thos who preffer covert-style gameplay could become Shadow Marshalls, others might like to grab their heavy weapons and go all Rico Velasquez on their enemies. A base management option would also be available for those, with a nack for RTS-style gameplay. In essence it would probably be rather similar to FFG's "Only War", which is a great game itself. "Killzone" RPG would certainly be a interesting title, especially for fans of down-to-earth and boots on the ground-style role-playing.

4. "Heroes of Might & Magic"


Simply because I love this series, especially part 3. Early "HoMM" games constitute for a lot of my childhood memories, and "Heroes V" is definetly my favorite of the newer iterations of these games. I've spent countless hours in Erathia, usually with friends, and it was glorious. Hotseat for the win! The fantastic world of "Heroes of Might & Magic" is a glorious example of a high fantasy setting done right, which presents endless posibilities for both Gamemasters and players alike. Classic dungeon crawls, treasure hunts, social and political-type adventures and, of course, military campaigns - "HoMM" offers all of this and more. As for player characters, the variety of races is so huge in these games, that everyone would find something for themselves. Aside from the classic trio of humans, dwarfs and elves, there are also kobolds, genies, gnolls, goblins, various undead and many, many more. I'd love to run a game set during the Succession Wars. What a blast that would be!

3. "Silent Hill"


Oh yeah, now we're talking horror! "Silent Hill" games (well, at least the early ones) are masterpieces of psychological terror and dread. No shitty jump scares here, nor cheap, scary gimmicks - "Silent Hill" 1 to 3 are all about the darkness and evil within one's soul and mind. I personally think that this would probably the hardest transition from the video game format to tabletop, simply because it would require a lot of cooperation from the players, for it to work properly. Imagine "Call of Cthulhu" pen and paper, but with even bigger emphasis on doom and gloom, not to mention despair and a sense of lost cause. I'd certainly love to see it raise some serious questions and demand a certain mindset and emotional reactions, both from players and the narrator of their adventures, set in the city of Silent Hill.

2. "Resident Evil"


On the other end of the horror spectrum we have "Resident Evil", one of my favorite game series of all time. Now I know that "RE" games are neither written well, nor do they have a particulary chilly atmosphere. Even the first titles were action games with horror elements, while the latter editions could not be called "horror titles", even in the loosest, possible sense. However that's why they're so riddiculously funny and entertaining. You boot them up, turn off your brain and enjoy a Jill sandwich. They're not meant to be scary, nor deep. They are simple pleasures, meant to provide cheap, yet effective fun to the people who are playing them. That's why I love them so much, because they're not pretending to be something else, something which they're not. I envision the "Residet Evil" RPG to be fast, deadly, combat-oriented fun, offering gameplay during the various events of the games. From the fall of Raccoon City to Ethan Winters' search for his missing wife, all of the main plots of "RE" games would be present and available to both GM's and players to use, in their fight against the Umbrella Corporation and its deadly B.O.W's. For a light-tonned, tabletop experience, I honestly think that this venerable Capcom series would work really well.
Oh and fuck the movies, seriously. They suck so bad.

1. "Deus Ex"


It's not my favorite video game of all time (that title belong to "Heroes of Might & Magic 3"), but I honestly think that first "Deus Ex" is the best game of all time. Its plot complexity, dialogues, the way that it allows the player to immerse himself in its world, various philosophical and ethical questions that it rises, the fantastic OST - it's a bloody masterpiece. Anyone who says that video games can't be considered art, should play the first of these cyberpunk pieces of art. Yes, I even consider "Invisible War" to be a very good game, altough the weakest of all in the series. I'd love to see a mature, conspiracy-themed role-playing game, set in the "Deus Ex" universe, with players being thrown in the middle of the shadow war, waged between the Illuminati and those, who wish to free humanity from their influence. Oh and Majestic 12, let's not forget about these evil buggers. Warren Spector's magnum opus is just too good a game, to NOT become a unique, fascinating and one-of-a-kind role-playing experience. I imagine the rulebook being about the first "Deus Ex", with various expansions allowing players to take part in the events, presented in "Human revolution", "Mankind divided" and even "Invisible War". If it'd ever see the light of day, I honestly think that the "Deus Ex" RPG would probably become my favorite role-playing game of all time, dethroning even "WFRP" and various cWoD games, that I love so much. A man can dream...

So that's it for this top 5, and next time I'll be writing about a very specific issue with RPG's - playing with your closest friends.

Until next time!

Xathrodox86

8/15/2017

Role-playing Rants: my top 5 video game universes, which should have RPGs based on them

There are many, great RPGs out there, just waiting to be played. But what about fictional universes, which don't have a tie-in role-playing game?

I'v just returned from my vacation, which was great. I've managed to charge my batteries, relax and find a new perspective on a couple of things - you know, enjoy life. So now I'm back with a list of some of my favorite fictional, video game worlds, which I'd love to run a few games in. Bear in mind, I'll only write about the settings themselves, and not mechanics. I believe that without a good, interesting setting, even  the best game system dosen't matter a single bit. Anyway, without further ado, here's the list. Read and enjoy.

5. "S.T.A.L.K.E.R."


I'm a huge fan of the "S.T.A.L.K.E.R." series. The idea of a bunch of people, running around Chernobyl, collecting strange artifacts, fending off mutants and bandits and generally having a grand, merry time, always appealed to me. Brutal, visceral combat, mixed with well developed economic system, travelling through the Zone, coupled with horror and a sense of the unknown - what more could you wish for? Of, I know - the anomalies of course, "S.T.A.L.K.E.R.'s" signature, paranormal weird shit! I'm aware of a couple of fan-made RPG's, set in this world, but I'd love to get my hands on a official "S.T.A.L.K.E.R." tie-in game. It's one of my favorite worlds, and I'd love to see it in a pen-and-paper format. Such is life in the Zone.

4. "Call of Duty: Ghosts"


I know what you're probably thinking - what the hell does CoD has with role-playing? Well, quite a lot, if you take the setting of certain of its titles, into consideration. While most Call of Duty games have a paper-thin storyline and boring characters (looking at you, "Modern Warfare" series), there are a few with geunienly well fleshed-out worlds, or at least ones that have great potential. For me, "Ghosts" is one of those titles, that are just begging for a transition to a tabletop game. The idea is awesome - the United States are a shattered, former superpower, struggling against a newly risen Federation, a coalition of South American countries, hell-bent on wiping their northern neighbour from the face of the Earth. The last line of defense are the titular Ghosts, remnants of the US Tier 1 special forces. With limited resources, they must rely on their training, their wits and their determination in a doomed fight, against a stronger, ruthless opponent. Can they win, or just prolong the inevitable?
"CoD: Ghosts" would make for a great, mil-sim RPG, with a fast-paced, dynamic action. From raids deep behind enemy lines in Venezuela, to defending the ruins of Los Angeles, "Ghosts" could make a for a thrilling, intense military experience, and one, which I'd love to take part in.

3. "Metro 2033" and "Metro: Last Light"


Much like the "S.T.A.L.K.E.R." universe, from which it took a lot of inspiration, the Eastern European, post-apocalyptic world of "Metro", created by Dmitry Glukhovsky is simply meant for a PnP transition. This RPG could explore the politics between various, Moscow's underground stations, the relations between all the different groups, which took shelter in the tunnels, when the bombs fell. Combat against the mutated beasts that now roam the surface, and infest the tunnels, as well as bandits (for men are still the worst monsters of all) would be brutal, claustrophobic and utterly lethal. I personally envision this game to be very deadly to your average player, with a high mortality rate. However the exploration of the unknown, together with a sense of a world lost, and a glimmer of hoper, would make for a truly terrific role-playing experience. Just remember: if it's hostile, kill it.

2. "Illusion of Gaia"


Now that's a world, in which I'd immerse myself completely. "Illusion of Gaia" is an action role-playing game, taking place in a slightly fantasy-based version of our Earth, with historic themes, thrown in for a good measure. The ultimate quest for the Tower of Babel takes our heroes from one historical location to another. From the Izcan ruins to the great, Egyptian pyramids, Will and his friends travel the world and uncover its secrets. It's a very mystical, and at times, surprisingly mature and dark adventure, which would work really well in a tabletop-based game. Granted it would probably require a certain mindset of its players (playing as group of children can be strange and difficult), but I think that a potential is there and that the "Illusion of Gaia" could become a fantastic RPG system.

1. "Dark Souls" and "Bloodborne"


I love these two series. I adore them absolutely and with a passion. For me these two present some of the most interesting, fictional worlds of the past few years. Dark, gritty and utterly hopeless, but with an unlimited potential - both the "Dark Souls" and "Bloodborne" ask their players certain, not always comfortable, questions about what it means to be human, and never leave them unsatisfied. Despite the bleakness and horror of both of these settings, there are rays of hope in each of them, something which makes fighting everyday struggles a worthy task. Now granted, these would probably work better a comabt-oriented games, with some philosophy on the side, not to mention personall horror, but they'd still work. No matter if you're looking for the Lords of Cinder or are a hunter of the Beasts, both the "Souls" series and "Bloodborne" are more than perfect to be turned into role-playing games.

So that's it for this list. Thoughts, comments? I'd love to know what you think about my choices and I promise there will be more in the future. Next, I will present a list of my top 5 movies, which should find their way to tabletop. Stay tuned folks.

Until next time!

Xathrodox86