A couple of days ago, Catalyst Game Labs released their brand new RPG, Eclipse Phase, on PDF. It’s a post-apocalyptic transhumanist science fiction horror RPG. I’d only seen a single PDF preview and didn’t try and find out anything more before going and buying it sight unseen. While it did help that the PDF preview was the character sheet of a sentient octopus, what really motivated me was that it was released under a Creative Commons licence, making the PDF legal to distribute to all and sundry. This kind of behaviour is worth encouraging, and the PDF only costs $15.
While some speculated that the licence would eat into their sales, they jumped immediately to the second place of the Hottest Item list at RPG Now, and are still there. I’m now waiting for the hardcover to come out so I can buy that, too. Eclipse Phase is one of the prettiest games I’ve seen, and the setting pushes all the right buttons to make my inner science fiction fan squeal with delight. Reading through it, I see the influence of Alastair Reynolds and Terminator, of Ghost in the Shell and Peter F. Hamilton, of Delta Green and even Edgar Rice Burroughs.
A longer review may be forthcoming in the future, when I can find the time to make sense of the rules (I hate reading rules but I don’t like to play rules-light games – the tragedy of my being). At this point, I declare the setting to be magnificent.
For those waiting for the next WotC screwup, the wait is over – and didn’t even have to wait long after the last one. They just unveiled their Gleemax 2.0 (they’re not calling it that, but it’s obvious that they’re going for the same thing). I haven’t gone through all the features, and probably won’t, but I can tell you that they managed to make their forums actually worse. They are unnavigable, annoying to read, and generally look like hell. In addition, the transition mangled my username and ate my message inbox. Well, at least Paizo no longer has the crappiest RPG forum layout on the net.
There have been new rumblings from Sinister Adventures. Their mega-adventure Razor Coast may be forthcoming after all, and should be out in October. There will also be new waves of Indulgences, one for Razor Coast and another for Ebon Shroud, the horror module Nicolas Logue and Richard Pett are crafting together. Their names on the cover together are enough to give me nightmares. I’ll review these new waves of Indulgences when they’re done, like I did the last two.
ICv2 has released a list of the Top 5 most sold RPGs in the second quarter of 2009. While the list is not definitive, it does probably bear a strong resemblance to the actual situation. If nothing else, I’d be really surprised if Dungeons & Dragons really wasn’t the most sold – it’s been that for some thirty-odd years, with the possible exception of a single month in 1992, when it was allegedly outsold by Vampire: the Masquerade. The rest of the list is far more interesting. When I first came to the scene, the top RPGs were D&D, Vampire: the Masquerade, GURPS, and some Palladium game, probably Rifts. Now, that’s in the past. Dark Heresy has knocked Vampire (in the guise of World of Darkness) from the second spot, GURPS is nowhere to be seen, and Palladium Press continues to surprise me by not being bankrupt. Instead, there’s Green Ronin’s Song of Ice and Fire, which I don’t think I’ve ever even seen a copy of, and Catalyst’s Shadowrun.
For some interesting data about how it works out in Finland, here’s our local game store chain’s list of the fifteen most sold RPG items in the last 30 days. As you can see, the top spot is occupied by Pathfinder RPG, which jumped there on the release day. The Finnish items on the list are number two, Ikuisuuden laakso, which is that penguin RPG I’ve been talking about; #4, Itran kaupunki, which I just reviewed; #9, Efemeros 2: Ryövärien maa, a sourcebook for the excellent Finnish fantasy RPG Praedor; and #15, the 22nd issue of Roolipelaaja, the local RPG magazine that I occasionally write for. The list does also reflect ICv2’s list in that there are three items of D&D and two of Dark Heresy and World of Darkness each. No Song of Ice and Fire or Shadowrun, though.