GenCon 2015 – So Many New Games

Kickstarter’s enormous utility has transformed the marketplace for tabletop games, causing an explosion of new games at GenCon

My number one impression from GenCon 2015 was, “Wow, look at all of these games I’ve never heard of!” In all my years of going to GenCon, generally only a handful of publishers were demonstrating wholly new products. This year I saw an unprecedented flood of new games. It seemed like every game I had ever heard of had a new card game, a new board game, and a new miniatures battle game based upon it. And there were dozens of entirely new games. Unsuprisingly, many of the banners said Kickstarter somewhere on them.

Yes, you build your deck of cards and use them to play a game where you build a metaphorical deck.

Yes, this is a game where players play to assemble a deck of cards and then use those cards to play a game where they build an in-game wooden deck. I know I may sound angry about this, but I also admire the courage it takes to spend money and make a game based on a pun. Bonus points for the clear graphic design – I got the joke right away.

To me all the new games demonstrate the transformative power of Kickstarter on the tabletop game market. Tabletop players are a lucrative demographic for crowdfunding solutions like Kickstarter – they have disposable income and are comfortable spending money on the internet. It’s also fun to see corporate juggernauts like Hasbro get cut off at the pass, economically speaking.

With all of that said, I’ll cede the stage to the slideshow. Further thoughts on the show can be read below and in upcoming posts about GenCon 2015. (more…)

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Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Ahoy there!  As ye my know this Sunday be international Talk Like a Pirate Day! 

To celebrate we’re shanghing you to embark on a grand adventure to search for 20 hidden treasure chests, containing all sorts of fantastic and TOTALLLY FREE eBooks!

So get to hunting, ye scurvey dogs!

-C’pn Thompson, ISS Unicorn Rampant

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New blog site!

Hey, everyone!

We’ve been busy setting up some new infrastructure and typesetting material for release on

As today is Memorial Day in the U.S., we’d like to further celebrate by laying to rest our old site. Be advised that the URL you should be using to access this blog is

We’ve moved to our own self-hosted WordPress installation, leaving the Google-hosted Blogger home we’ve been using for the last 4 years. This will give us more flexibility and control over our IP as we move forward as a collaboration between Unicorn Rampant Publishing and Inverspace Press.

Thanks, Blogger, for helping to get us off the ground. And thanks, dear readers, for your support these past four years.

Onward and upward!

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Return from hiatus with claws and bite

Thanks everyone who sent in an entry to our April contest. We’ll post the results, including the top 3 entries soon. And, send in an entry for May’s contest, eh?

Thanks also for bearing with us as we finalize plans to migrate our site to a WordPress installation on our own servers. There’s something downright satisfying about that.

We are also about to embark on an 8-post journey of virtuous items for any adventuring avatar. They should be fun additions to your role playing games, and bring back shades of your gaming past.

Stay tuned.

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New blog site about to go live

In case you’ve wondered what we’ve been up to these past few weeks, well…

After almost 4 years working with Blogger, we’ve decided to move on to WordPress, and will be hosting the site off our own shiny server. We expect to make this move in another few days, once the blog software is completely installed, configured, and the data migrated over. We’ll keep you posted as to when the move will be made.

Those of you using the address, please migrate over to, which will stay with us wherever we move in the future. Consider that link the permanent home of the magazine.

Thanks again for your support…

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Owlcon XXIX

We’ll be at OwlCon this year, which starts tomorrow!

Look for us with the unicorns on our shirts. We’ll have a few copies of our issues, including hardcover copies of Claw/Claw/Bite Omnibus 1.1 for you to peruse.

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Adventure on sale to celebrate one year of 4th Edition on Tailslap! Only $2.50!

That’s right, here at Unicorn Rampant we’ve been putting together 4th edition material for over a year now! It’s been a long, fun year for me: we started playing a 4th edition game as soon as the material came out, starting with Keep on the Shadowfell, and then switching to my homebrew The Heir of Soguer game. Those characters are now 11th level, and the players are loving it. You can see a bit of the action on the Unicorn Rampant boards here.

It’s also been a year since we released our first 4th edition adventure: Anointing the Seer. This dark fairy tale adventure for 5th level characters has been a great seller, and I had a lot of fun writing it and playtestng it at Millenium Con here in Austin. Now, as a special thank you to our readers I’m releasing Anointing the Seer for half price – only $2.50!

Follow this link to get your half-price copy from!

In this adventure, a malevolent warlock appears at the coronation of the new priestess at a flourishing temple, renowned for it’s high priest’s abilities as an augury, and lays a curse on all there. A call goes out for some brave souls who must enter the now dangerous temple, discover the nature of the woe laid upon the priestess and set all to right. Before all is done, they will face a witch and her minions, a warlock in his aerie and a dragon in its lair.

Featuring beautiful art, full color maps, and new monsters, spells and magic items!

This dark, fairy-tale style adventure is designed for 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons characters of 5th level. It is set in the western end of the Verdant Woods at the edge of the Middle Kingdoms in the Soralic lands, a campaign setting by Unicorn Rampant. As such is is suitable for any wooded area with some mountainous terrain that is near the edge of civilized lands or in a very rural area between kingdoms. The adventure is location-based and character driven, with fairy-tale elements and plenty of crunchy dungeon crawling goodness.

Great care has been taken to make this adventure easy for you to run, with notes for the gamemaster preceding each section of the adventure. All stats are presented in an easy to read format, and the adventure features great art from three professional artists.

Follow this link to get your half-price copy from!

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Proppian Player’s Guide (Oct 1 DRAFT)

Welcome to Proppia, a fantastic land of medieval fairy tales, where knights in plate armor occupy turreted castles of stone, where struggling merchants hawk exotic wares in the town squares, where an ordinary journey becomes a dangerous adventure, where priests claim miraculous powers, alchemists bent on affecting the world mix powerful concoctions, and where scholars study arcane tomes written in long-dead languages for the secrets to powerful incantations.

Based on feudal medieval history, this world is chaotic and violent, and differs from traditional d20 worlds in that arcane and divine magic are hard for player characters to acquire and require intense in-game activity to wield. Without instant healing and three fireball spell slots a day to ward off the many bandits, the roads and rivers are unsafe, let alone the deep wilderness with its dark denizens. In the monarchies, republics, theocracies, and military states, bribery and corruption are as commonplace as poverty and superstition. The fears and superstitions that manifest in the songs of bards and the whispers in dark corners of taverns are likely true, though often embellished when shared with the intoxicated masses.

In this midst of this general disorganization, expansionist kingdoms send their armies to ravage the countryside, strange creatures infest underground mines, thieves stalk mountain passes, witches intone loathsome curses, and various cults deliver dogmatic sermons in forest clearings as they vie for the allegiances of the people. Aggressive animals and strange creatures have reported throughout the land, especially in the forests.

The world of Proppia is inspired by Europe between the 15th and 16th centuries, covering the end of the Dark Ages, the emergence of the Renaissance, and the folk tales captured by the Brothers Grimm and others. The new ideas of the Renaissance have begun to usher in a period of change to the world. The strange, miraculous and magical elements simply reflect popular beliefs, superstitions and myths. This is an era before formal logic or widely-accepted science, a time when anything is still possible in the minds of the people. In short, if medieval Europe believed something might be true, in Proppia it may actually be true. In fact, the players are responsible for and encouraged to bring the fantastic ideas from fairy tales to life within the world. This is, after all, your story; your place to game. Make it fun.

Over the course of the campaign, you will travel across many lands, meet diverse personalities, wage war, crawl from from the ashes of battle, and discover and wield new and ancient magics. You will explore many different city and nation states, castles, hamlets, monasteries, dungeons, and a dangerous, unforgiving landscape of moors, primeval forests, and deep caverns. You will encounter unique creatures as well as those traditionally found in fantasy role playing settings. You will trip over and unwillingly discover specially-designed traps.

There are many opportunities to perform heroic deeds that live forever in the minds of the people, and that fill your purse. If you travel far and wide and accomplish enough, you will be known among Sigfried, Beowulf, Roland, Frodo, and other heroes whose stories are still told today. You may even have your story told and retold by each new generation. One of the goals of Proppia is to generate enough story material for a series of medieval fairy-tale sagas.

And so you are invited to relax your notion of the rigid rules of the 3.5 (and 4th ed) systems and enter Proppia, a world where history and fantasy meld together in a low-magic, high-adventure campaign of politics, intrigue, and mystery. Tiptoe forward from the back of the tavern and take the stage as a lead character in Proppia, and prepare yourself for a lifetime of quests and heroic adventures…

Download a draft copy of the Proppian Player’s Guide. Note that it’s still in the works, but is coming along.

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Inspired by the Friday and Saturday night shift running of the Tower of Gygax at GENCON 2009, I have begun to delve deeper into 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, and have been reminded of why I liked this edition so much as a kid. I’m documenting pros and cons of this (just about) original edition at

Follow along if you too want to reminisce.

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GenCon 2009 Preview

For those of you heading to GenCon, Unicorn Rampant will be running two sessions of our new 4th Edition adventure, For the Love of Evil, one on Thursday from 8am-10pm, and one on Friday at the same time. We’ll be running a Battletech game, Arena of Death on Saturday from 1-10pm. Come join the excitement!

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