Dec 122016

party-2016Multiple meanings intended. For a great many, it’s been a rough year. For me, November really brought that home. I had a bout with depression – something I’ve only recently begun talking about. Then, I think it’s safe to say, a whole bunch of us slammed into a collective bout… but I will leave that be, as there’s no doubt you’ve all read all about that more than enough, elsewhere, and here we want to talk about gamery-related stuff instead.

In case you missed the first one, this is a space where I talk about a bunch of things that relate to my journey as a professional RPG writer/designer and all the stuff that connects to that. Influences, projects I am working on, things I am doing that intersect, and anything else I think might relate. So, let’s get into it.

When the Game Goes Bad

So, this happens, and you’ve probably experienced it on some level. Maybe you were the person who started having problems with another player. Maybe you were the player who others were having a problem with. Maybe you just saw it happen from the sidelines, wishing it wasn’t so that you could just enjoy the campaign.

Whatever your place in the scheme, you know how much it sucks. In my case, I was the one causing a problem for some others in the group. Being told that folks you’ve been gaming with for quite some time that they no longer wish to play with you… hurts. Hurts like hell, at least for me. I can, from an intellectual perspective, understand why it happened; I was dealing with a serious downturn from my depression, and an in-character conflict created major out-of-character problems for me, which caused some stress for all concerned.

To be fair, it wasn’t even the first time, which I am sure is why this finally manifested in the GM being told they didn’t want to play with me any longer.

The best you can do with a situation like this is use it as an opportunity to self-reflect and try to learn something. The worst, by far, is to simply reside in personal woe and resentment. That won’t make anything better.

Savage Rifts: Wave I Complete

We’ve delivered everything. The last bits are in layout and production, and by the time you read this, it should all be in hand.

One interesting thing that I’ve been thrilled to see the reaction to is the Final Solution series of One Sheets, which I effectively turned into the Plot Point Campaign everyone had been asking for. It just hit me as I was evaluating getting those done, and I realized that – with the structure of having some for each Rank – there was an opportunity to do the two birds with a single stone thing. Best part?

They’re all free.


Amazon, $26.99


I’ve never had a more intense love/hate relationship with anything in my life. This game has such a simple base mechanic and such insidious strategy, and I totally suck at it! Every single time I play it, I feel like I am just starting to grok where things are going when – bam! – someone just starts snatching up the Nobles and it’s all over.

At this point, if I ever manage to win even one time, I will then begin a quest to go around the world and destroy every copy in existence, just to end my long, torturous journey with it.

Or, you know, maybe I’ll just play again.

Doctor Strange

Wow. Everyone expects Marvel Studios will finally crash and burn with one… but this wasn’t it. Brilliant, fun, and intensely true to the character, even while updating him in a nice way. I loved how they integrated him into the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, too, as well as establishing the “magic stuff” in parallel to everything else.

One thing I find interesting is the way so many 21st Century presentations of magic tie it to martial arts somehow.

My theory? Lots of folks in the modern day seem more willing to accept mysticism in the context of martial arts training, and thus it makes sense to connect the concepts of chi and intense focus to the mystic arts.

Just one of those thoughts that delves into the brain, lodged in there to consider for world-building later.

Con on the Cob

What a fantastic time! I ate too much, drank too much, and danced too much – but, man, did we all need it! If you’ve not been to Con on the Cob, it’s an experience every one of you should consider at least once. It’s a gathering of freaks and geeks, gamers and artists, and fandom of all kinds in a wild-yet-safe space with a culture you simply must experience to understand.

I ran four sessions of Savage Rifts with some excellent players, and I got to play in a fifth (thanks, Erin Barnard!). Thom Shartle inhabited Harv the Full Conversion Borg every time, and did so brilliantly (though I did have to keep sending him to stand in the corner to think about what he did). Carinn and I opened up Room 307 for constant parties and socializing, and even a quick parlor LARP (run by the inestimable Elle Owls) in which I dueled with the Incarnation of Death (played by Brian Keller).

Hell, we even got to experience Hamilton, thanks to Aberon and Jennifer! I also did some fun interviews, including with the great folks of Geek Watch One.

Freedom Squadron

I’ll close with a little bit about one of the projects I am working on right now. The guys at Spyglass Games did a Kickstarter not long ago for their amazing “love letter to G. I. Joe,” VENOM Assault. It’s a cooperative deck-building board game that comes together amazingly well, and I absolutely love it. I am, in fact, anxiously awaiting my copy to be delivered any day now.

Interestingly enough, the Spyglass guys are Denver locals, same as me, so we met up at a con and have been friends ever since. Naturally, one of the greatest ideas for an RPG setting that never happened was a G. I. Joe RPG… but now, you’re going to get the next-best-thing (at least, I hope you think so). I am working on Freedom Squadron, which will be a Savage Worlds setting book for this fun, intriguing setting.

It’s 205o, and WW III just ended even as the world found out that a secret mega-conglomerate conspiracy called VENOM was behind it all. Now, special force operatives and agents from all over the world are banded together to fight VENOM and help restore the world to sanity.

The world-building for this has been a lot of fun, and I’ve got some cool ideas for how to structure a campaign based on this premise. So figure out what your action figure will look like, and make sure you’ve got a cool code name in mind!

~ Big Irish

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Sean Patrick Fannon

Sean Patrick Fannon (aka "Big Irish" or SPF) - Brand Manager and Lead Writer/Designer for the Savage Rifts product line for Pinnacle Entertainment - has been professionally involved in tabletop RPGs, computer games, and entertainment for over a quarter-century. His dozens of projects have included Hero Games' Champions product line; both West End's and Fantasy Flight's Star Wars RPGs; various World of Darkness books; and the Savage Worlds Epic High Fantasy setting, Shaintar. He was the Events Coordinator for GAMA (helping run both Origins and GTS), and chronicled the entire roleplaying game hobby and industry in The Fantasy Roleplaying Gamer's Bible, which sold over 10,000 copies. He worked for DriveThruRPG & RPGNow as the Marketing and Communications Director; during that period, he helped coordinate massive charity and relief efforts for folks like Doctors Without Borders and Feeding America, leveraging the RPG community's generosity. He continues that tradition as a member of the Board of Directors for the RPG Creators Relief Fund. Sean now focuses on his own gaming company, Evil Beagle Games ("Bad Dog. Good Games"), as well as his work for Pinnacle Entertainment Group. He's working directly with Pinnacle and Palladium Books to create an entire line of books to bring the classic Rifts setting to Savage Worlds fans, which he says is his most challenging design project ever. He's also working with Len Pimentel of Lakeside Games on a new version of the Prowlers & Paragons superhero game system, and has two settings - Modern Gods and Unending War - planned for later release for P&P.

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