Evil Hat Productions

 

Evil Hat Productions

A Basic Intro to Fate

Feb 15 2017

Maybe you’ve never heard of Fate before but had it recommended to you by a friend. Or you’ve never played an RPG, but it sure looked like fun in that Tabletop video. (Missed it? It’s up on Alpha and should appear on YouTube in a few months, which we will also link. We’ll link it like the wind!) Maybe one of your friends talked you into showing up for a game, but you don’t know what you’re in for. Whatever the reason, you’re looking for the basics.

This Introduction is written for people who are new to RPGs in general, or storytelling RPGs like Fate in particular. If you’re looking for more detailed information, check out the Evil Hat website (www.evilhat.com) for more info on Fate products or the Fate SRD (www.fate-srd.com) for a detailed explanation of the rules.

What is this thing?

Fate is a storytelling RPG. That means a couple of things:

  • In RPGs or roleplaying games, each player controls a character, deciding what that person does and says in reaction to the situations that the gamemaster (or GM) presents.
  • Fate is a game that focuses on storytelling. The core rules are fairly simple. The goal is that the players at the table will spend more time thinking of creative ways to get out of a sticky situation and less time figuring out what the rules say on the matter.

What is it like to play?

Your play experience will vary depending on the people at your table. Your group may decide to act out what happens in each scene or summarize what their characters do. You might play a game with a lot of social interaction and conversation, or one that feels more like a Hollywood action film, complete with things exploding in slow motion. Thinking about the kind of movies and TV shows you like as a group can help you whittle down how you’d like to play.

There are lots of actual play videos and podcasts available on the Internet to get you started as well. Search for “Fate Core actual play” to get started.

But this is just a bunch of rules! What do we do with them?

Fate Core is what’s known as a setting-less system. That means you can use it to play in any world you like. Your favorite book or movie? You can use that as the setting. That story that’s been bouncing around in your head for years? You can use that too. But what if you don’t have any ideas yet, or you have an idea but no idea how to get started?

Evil Hat offers a lot of resources in the Fate Core line of books to help:

  • Fate Core: This multi-award winning book contains the basic rules of Fate. You’ll need a copy to play most, but not all, Fate games.
  • Fate Accelerated Edition: If you read Fate Core and feel like it’s too much to start with, try Fate Accelerated. This is a pared-down version of the Fate Core rules and a particularly good way to get a taste of what the game is like. You’ll need either Fate Core or Fate Accelerated to play, but not both.
  • Fate Worlds: Fate Worlds provide settings and stories to fuel your Fate games in a variety of genres. Worlds are available in print and electronic formats, and some use the Fate Core rules while others use Fate Accelerated.
  • Fate Toolkits: The Toolkits are a growing line of rules ideas to help you create your own games. Toolkits give you rules for things like equipment, space ships, and monsters, or tools to build your own rules to your liking.
  • Stand-alone games: If you’d rather have everything you need in one book—rules, setting, and story ideas—try one of our stand alone games.

How do I get started?

If you want a game with more robust rules, and you have a setting idea, start with Fate Core.

If you want a game with simpler, easier-to-digest rules, and you have a setting idea, start with Fate Accelerated.

If you want more robust rules with a setting provided, select one of the following bullets:

If you want simpler rules with a setting provided, select one of the following bullets:

Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game

Feb 13 2017
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1-5 13+ 30 min $39.99

Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game

Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game

Play Harry Dresden and his friends as they take on the cases from the bestselling Dresden Files novels in the ultimate what-if scenario—what if Harry was on the scene with allies who weren’t there in the original story? The core game includes Harry, Murphy, Susan, Michael, and the Alphas and plays through the first five novels as well as Side Jobs, a random scenario generator based on the short story collection of the same name. Designs are already well underway for expansions featuring more series characters and more novels.

Game Information

Number of players: 1-5
Age of players: 13+
Length: 30 minutes
Type of Game: Cooperative
Languages: English
Product Number: EHP0022
Suggested Retail: $39.99 (USD)
Game Designers: Eric B. Vogel
Release date: June 2017

Dresden Files Accelerated

Feb 12 2017
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2-6 12+ 2-8 hr $35

Dresden Files Accelerated

It takes years of study to become a wizard, but this grimoire will get you there in an afternoon…

Looking to play in the world of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files without lots of prep time? Dresden Files Accelerated is the game for you. This currently-in-development game merges the wizardly awesomeness of the Dresden Files RPG with the sleek, story-based, rules-lite Fate Accelerated system. The result? A short stand-alone game somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 pages that will get you playing easily and quickly. It’s also the only book you’ll need; you will not need to purchase any of the Dresden Files RPG books to play.

Current owners of the Dresden Files RPG, do not fear! We’re all about providing options when it comes to fighting chlorofiends, summoning zombie dinosaurs, and raising blasting sticks against the darkness. We’re invested in supporting both games to give you the wizarding experience that best fits your gaming table. In fact, we’re looking at ways you can use the DFRPG books to enhance your DFAE experience. You can have your cake and eat it too, but please note that we don’t advise eating wizards. It’s just not done.

More information about the book will be added here as it develops. In the meantime, prepare for wizarding made easy!

GAME INFORMATION

Number of players: 2-6
Age of players: 12+
Game Length: 2-8 hours
Type of Game: Roleplaying Game
Languages Available: English
Product Code: EHP0032
ISBN: 978-1-61317-133-2
Length: 256 pages
Suggested Retail: $35
Game Designers: Leonard Balsera, Clark Valentine, Brian Engard, Pamela Alexander, Priscilla Spencer, and Amanda Valentine.
Release Date: June, 2017

Blades in the Dark

Jan 30 2017
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3-6 13+ 2-6 hours $30

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Blades in the Dark is a tabletop role-playing game about a crew of daring scoundrels seeking their fortunes on the haunted streets of an industrial-fantasy city. There are heists, chases, occult mysteries, dangerous bargains, bloody skirmishes, and, above all, riches to be had — if you’re bold enough to seize them.

You and your fledgling crew must thrive amidst the threats of rival gangs, powerful noble families, vengeful ghosts, the Bluecoats of the city watch, and the siren song of your scoundrel’s own vices. Will you rise to power in the criminal underworld? What are you willing to do to get to the top?

In this stand-alone game, you’ll find:

  • Rules to create your scoundrel using the following character archetypes: the Cutter, the Hound, the Leech, the Lurk, the Slide, the Spider, or the Whisper.
  • Rules to create your crew, built from types like Assassins, Bravos, a Cult, Hawkers, Smugglers, or Shadows.
  • A robust core mechanic which puts the fiction first—the strength of a character’s position (desperate, risky, or controlled) matters just as much as the character’s ability scores.
  • A lightning-fast mechanic for planning criminal operations to cut through the usual slog of planning at the game table.
  • Rules for alchemical experiments, gadget tinkering, and weird occult powers—including rules for playing Ghosts and other strange beings.
  • A setting guide to the haunted city of Doskvol, with all the maps, factions, NPCs, schemes, and opportunities you need to run an exciting sandbox game.

GAME INFORMATION
Number of players: 3-6
Age of players: 13+
Length: 2-6 hours
Type of Game: Roleplaying Game
Languages Available: English
Product Number: EHP0030
ISBN: 978-1-61317-132-5
Page Count: 328
Format: Hardcover black and white interior and Digital formats.
Game Designer: John Harper

John Harper on Blades In The Dark

Jan 4 2017

blades_prelim_coverAs we announced last September, we’re bringing John Harper’s Blades In The Dark to market this year. A tabletop role-playing game about a gang of criminals seeking their fortunes on the haunted streets of Duskwall, Blades offers heists, chases, occult mysteries, dangerous bargains, bloody skirmishes, and, above all, riches to be had if you’re bold enough.

We checked in with John recently to get a behind-the-scenes look at his development process.

EH: Where did you get the idea for Blades?
JH: I’ve been working on the core concept for a long, long time. Since most RPGs are about a team of PCs, I’ve tried to create systems for teamwork and tracking the growth of a crew or faction in several of my discarded designs over the years. Eventually, two things came together at to spark Blades in the Dark:

  1. I ran a Prohibition-era game at my old workplace, building a game system as we played. I created a “crew sheet” to track the progress of the bootleggers in that game, and we iterated it over several sessions into something interesting — the crew “leveled up” as the primary method of advancement in the game. Everyone enjoyed that, so I kept that idea in my back pocket.
  2. The new “Thief” video game was in development, and the early concept art re-ignited my passion for the original games (Thief and Thief 2, especially). I started thinking about misty streets and scoundrels and weird occult undertones. Also, the video game Dishonored came out (by some of the original developers of the Thief games). So “thiefy” stuff was on my mind.

I ran a game series to playtest ideas about a crew of criminals, which incorporated some ideas from the Bootleggers game, as well as the setting from an older game of mine, Ghost Lines. We playtested and iterated that game for about a year and a half, refining the setting and the systems into a solid core that became Blades in the Dark.

You can check out Ghost Lines here: http://www. onesevendesign.com/ghostlines/
and Bootleggers here: http://www.drivethrurpg. com/product/132208/Bootleggers

EH: You really opened up this game to players early on in the process, between the early access PDF, your incredibly active G+ community, your actual play livestreams, and so on. What gave you the idea, and would you recommend the same to other developers?
JH: As a designer, I prefer to do most of the development work by playing regularly and iterating between sessions, so all of the focus of design is on what’s happening at the game table. To do this, I need an initial group that is excited to try stuff out and give feedback, and then, once the design is more stable, I need external groups to continue the play and feedback process so I can iterate even more. The whole process is a conversation for me, between myself and the playtesters. It’s natural for me to put my work out there so the conversation can attract more perspectives and opinions to help me refine the work.

I got the idea from other designer friends of mine who I admire and the communities of amazing gamers that have sprung up in the online RPG spaces. I would definitely recommend this process to other designers, especially now that the prevalence of play on Twitch and YouTube makes it easy to watch external groups playing your game, so you actually see and hear how people are using the tools you make when you’re not there to explain them.

EH: Do you have any awesome playtest moments you can share?
JH: About halfway through the initial playtest cycle, one of the players, my friend Ryan, was doing his usual thing of getting his character in over his head and then trying to pull some crazy move to get out of trouble. He was making a desperate roll, and I said, “How about, if you use up all your ammo for this attack, you can take a bonus die to your roll. But then you can’t use your gun anymore.” and of course Ryan accepted because that’s the kind of player he is. Dylan, one of the other players, asked to pause the game and asked, “Have you noticed that you usually give us this option for a bonus die, with strings attached?” I hadn’t noticed! “Maybe this should be a formal mechanic in the game,” Dylan said. And the Devil’s Bargain mechanic was born. It’s proven to be one of the most popular parts of the system.

EH: Finally, if you were a Blades character type, what would you be?
JH: It’s a hard choice — as the creator, I kind of love them all — but I think I would have to pick Lurk. Their almost-supernatural athletic ability, “The Devil’s Footsteps” would be so much fun! I’d probably become one of those crazy stunt parkour YouTubers.

 

 

 

Why Tie-in Fiction is So Great…and Not Just Because It’s on Sale

Nov 14 2016

If you subscribe to our newsletter (and if you don’t, you can do that here), you’ve probably already seen our holiday sale announcement. We’re discounting all our RPG tie-in fiction as well as some other remainders we’ve found hiding in the corners at our distribution center. Because we like you. And we’re making space for the Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game, plus the bijillion other awesome games we’re working on. And because tie-in fiction is awesome.

Of course, if you’re anything like us Hatters, you’ve already got plenty of ideas for campaigns. You don’t need a book to inspire you. Frankly, you’ve got more ideas than you can handle. Ideas are practically pouring out of your…uh…pores. You’re like a factory of pore-producing ideas. Adding another one to the pile is the last thing you need.

BUT. There are other uses for tie-in fiction. You know that person in your life who loves a lot of the same things you love and who would probably be an epic gamer, if only you could get them to play? Maybe they had a bad junior high D&D experience. Maybe they have a preconceived notion of gaming. Maybe they’re shy. Tie-in fiction can be like a gateway drug for those people, which makes us pushers, so I think I should come up with a different euphemism there.

Sally Slick and the MM CoverBut seriously. Carrie (which would be me) started playing RPGs after binge-reading a couple Dragonlance novels. The series wasn’t done yet, and I was in serious withdrawal when someone told me I could play a game set in that world. I could journey around with Raistlin and Caramon and shake some sense into them. I played once and was immediately hooked. I don’t know if I would have given RPGs a chance if I hadn’t read the books and wanted so badly to step into that world.

Tie-in fiction is a terrific way to bring more people into our hobby, and we want to make that possible. With that in mind, we’re running the aforementioned holiday sale, because when you’ve got a serious RPG habit, the dollars can get slim fast. We want to make it affordable for you to share the awesome. If you check out our Clearance page, you’ll see titles as low as $2 a piece! We’re also running a sale on our newest release, Sally Slick and the Miniature Menace. Haven’t heard of it yet? You can visit the product page for more info, or read the blurb right here:

Every hero has a story. Sally Slick’s is just beginning.

Sally’s frustrated when she’s shut out of the county fair tractor race, but that’s nothing compared to how she feels when the tractor itself goes missing. When she and her stalwart friend Jet Black track it to the grounds of the Circus Europa, they get more than they bargained for. Sally can handle nefarious cultists, mysterious fortune tellers, elephants on the rampage, and high flying aeroplanes, but a chance encounter with a miniaturized menace will change everything she knows about the world.

One small girl can make a big difference.

young centurions coverReaders who like the Sally Slick books might like the Young Centurions RPG. Horror readers might like Don’t Read This Book as a gateway to playing Don’t Turn Your Back or Don’t Rest Your Head. Readers of the Spirit of the Century novels should keep an eye out for the upcoming Shadow of the Century RPG.

Dinocalypse adventure seeds

To further help close the gap, we’ve also created a series of adventure seeds based on the Dinocalypse series of novels. The idea behind these seeds is simple–what if there were different heroes on the scene when the psychic dinosaurs attacked? How would the story change? So you COULD give the books to a non-gamer, and then invite them to play the game and see how different it turns out. You don’t have to read the books to download and play the adventure, but it could make for a terrific road to introduce new people to gaming.

The adventure seeds are available for free download using the links below! If you play them, we’d love to hear how your game turns out.

Announcing our next card game….kinda

Oct 31 2016

We are thrilled to announce our next card game in partnership with a crazy talented fellow named Tim Rodriguez. You might have heard of his excellent work via Brooklyn Indie Games. If you haven’t, check it out. Go ahead. We’ll wait.

This is a big game. An awesome game. We are super excited about it, and we hope you will be too. Once you guess it, that is.

See, we like games. (SHOCKER.) We like them a lot. (DOUBLE SHOCKER.) We want to play one with you to tide us over because we want Tim’s game right now and the wait is killing us. We’re dying. We’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is more games with a side order of cowbell.

Here’s how this is going to work. Tim’s going to be announcing three cards. One today (10/31). And then one the next two days. These cards aren’t final, since the game is still in development, but we’ll give you the general topic. For example, we could say, “Cowbell,” and the final card might be “A prescription for more cowbell” or “The cowbell of eternal life” or “Christopher Walken’s cowbell fever.” These are general card ideas, and subject to change. But each card, added up, will help you guess the theme of the game.

On Thursday, Nov. 3, we’ll announce the theme, just in case you haven’t guessed it already. But we have faith in you.

You’ll get first peek at the clues by following Tim on Twitter (@dicefoodlodging). We’ll also post them here just in case you miss them. We can’t wait to see all your guesses! Also, we now want to make a cowbell game. I think we all saw that coming, right?

Monday

Guess the theme of the game I’m working on with @evilhatofficial! Your 1st clue is: WOOD. Details here: https://t.co/waZXy3raIf

— Mecha Timzilla (@dicefoodlodging) October 31, 2016

Tuesday

Guess the theme of the game I’m working on with @evilhatofficial! Your 2nd card is: OPEN AIR. Details here: https://t.co/7nyzzqtL9R

— Mecha Timzilla (@dicefoodlodging) November 1, 2016

Wednesday

Guess the theme of the game I’m working on with @evilhatofficial! Your 3rd card is: CATS. Details here: https://t.co/66KvoJTqFl

— Mecha Timzilla (@dicefoodlodging) November 2, 2016

Thursday

Stay tuned!

DFCO Expansions

Oct 28 2016
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1-5 13+ 30 min $9.99 ea

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Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game: Expansions

Play Harry Dresden and his friends as they take on the cases from the bestselling Dresden Files novels, with these additional characters and books! Each expansion includes two characters and two book decks. Pick up your favorites or buy them all!

Expansion 1 – Fan Favorites (EHP0023)

POLKA WILL NEVER DIE!
… and neither will you, with help from the new heroes in this expansion for the Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game! Inside you’ll find two new character decks—Thomas Raith and Waldo Butters—and two new book decks—Blood Rites and Dead Beat.

Expansion 2 – Helping Hands (EHP0024)

NEED A HAND?
You’re in luck as more of Harry’s friends join you in this expansion for the Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game! Inside you’ll find two new character decks—Sanya and Molly Carpenter—and two new book decks—Proven Guilty and White Night.

Expansion 3 – Wardens Attack (EHP0025)

WE’VE GOT YOUR BACK!
The White Council’s grey cloaks, the Wardens, join the fray in this expansion for the Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game! Inside you’ll find two new character decks—Carlos Ramirez and Anastasia Luccio—and two new book decks—Small Favor and Turn Coat.

Expansion Information

Requires the Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game to play.
Suggested Retail: $9.99 (USD) per expansion
Game Designers: Eric B. Vogel
Release date: Summer 2017

Inside the Hat: Emily Care Boss

Oct 11 2016

Welcome to our second Inside the Hat profile, where we profile one of our talented creators, complete with advice for aspiring game developers and a few behind-the-scenes tidbits. Today, we’re spending a little time with Emily Care Boss, one of the brilliant minds behind the Bubblegumshoe RPG. Emily was kind enough to indulge our questions, and she has a lot of awesome stuff to say, so let’s get right to it!

embiotreeHow and when did you start playing RPGs?
I was given the Moldvay red box version of D&D in the 80s. Read it and thought about characters, but never got to play any rpg until college a decade later. Then I fell in with role players who’d been making a shared world and ran a home-brewed version of Ars Magica crossed with GURPS. Each of us had from 5 to a dozen characters we played in the different levels of society (mages, companions, convenant folk and grogs), and the plot followed what all these ambitious, petty, loving or power-damaged individuals did, and the chaos they brought to one another’s lives. I loved the world building, character exploration and improvisational play. During this time and in the early 2000s, I took part in online conversations about how rpgs worked and different ways to write them (on the Usenet group rec.games.frp.advocacy and the forum The Forge), and caught the game design bug. 
What was your first paid writing gig, and how did you get it?
The first game I was paid for was my first role playing game, Breaking the Ice. I worked on it for a couple of years, posted it online and got a lot of great play and feedback, and then took it to GenCon. I was part of a shared indie-games booth hosted by Ron Edward’s Adept Press and other Forge community members. It was amazing getting to demo my game for so many people over the course of the weekend. Helped by other fellow designers and helping them as well. Ken Hite was a great help, talking about my game in his “New Hotness” column in the GenCon book that year. Just the beginning of getting to know him for me! I sold 60 copies of the book. It started me on the path to making games and working on them with others. 
 
Bubblegumshoe No Shadow For WebsiteTell us about the experience of writing Bubblegumshoe.
It was a long but excellent process. Getting to tap Ken’s deep knowledge of all things GUMSHOE, and having access to Lisa J. Steele’s experience of the legal system and just what goes into making a mystery was a luxurious feeling. So many resources to bring to bear. Getting to know Robin Laws’ GUMSHOE SYSTEM was one of the challenges. I’d played Ashen Stars, but had some learning to do to start thinking about how to adapt the system to teen sleuths. We worked together to pick an approach, and came back to it a few times. Playtesting helped me get a sense of what players most enjoyed and what needed more support. Examples are so important! Coming from an indie pub background, it felt miraculous to be able to step back from the game once we got the text finished. Watching it come into being under Sean Nittner and Amanda Valentine’s watchful eyes was a great experience. And Tiara Lynn Agresta did such a great job with the graphic design. 
 
What advice do you have for people trying to break into the tabletop gaming biz?
First, decide what success would look like to you. Is it publishing your own books? Working on your favorite title? Becoming a lead editor or designer for a major company? Use that as a rubric to help you pick your path. Be ready to re-evaluate as you go along and get hands-on experience. For me, I’ve chosen to have games be a side-business that is a supplement to my income, but which is my primary creative outlet. And although I will do work for others, my main goal is to make my own products and direct their fate. That’s a winning combination for me, but is just one way among many. Find what is right for you.
Next, get involved. Hone the skills you bring, whatever they may be–writing, design, design testing, art, layout, etc. Learn by doing. The best way to meet like-minded creators and gain the respect of potential colleagues is by participating: look for online conversations, conventions, contests, solicitations for work. All openings for you to make critical connections. Make your finished products available for others to see.  Hone your appreciation for the works of others, too. The best way to learn and to keep gaining knowledge is to pay attention to the work of established creators, as well as your peers. Being a fan is contagious. 
And third, go at your own pace. Keep an eagle eye on the amount of time, money and energy you are committing to the tasks you take on. Only take risks you can afford to lose. Make sure making games feeds you (in body and spirit!). Good luck!!!
 
What are you working on next?
So many things. I’ve just released the Romance Trilogy, a collection of my romance themed games with variants that was 15 years in the making. I’ll release my noir freeform larp game (no costumes needed!), Last Chance Noir in January. And I’ve roped Ken Hite into working on another game with me (working title The Dare)–this one about the literary gathering in England with Lord Byron, Keats, and the Shelleys that culminated in Mary Shelley writing Frankenstein. It will be another freeform larp that’s a sequel to one in process called Darkness Visible, about the life of the poet and political revolutionary, John Milton and his epic poem Paradise Lost.
Thank you for talking with us, Emily! And if you haven’t checked out Bubblegumshoe, we hope you’ll take a look! To help make that happen, we’ll give one lucky commenter a free copy. All you need to do is comment on this post to win. One entry per person, international allowed. Winner will be selected October 18th.
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