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Found 10 results

  1. Stranger Things remains fresh in the collective pop culture consciousness after three seasons full of unwitting people unraveling the secrets hiding beneath the veneer of their small town lives. While the characters have faced down supernatural threats, they’re also (for the most part) normal people. They laugh, cry, and play games, just like the rest of us. They’re grounded in a world very much like our own, and that can make them seem divorced from the fantastical settings typically associated with tabletop role-playing games. That being said, there are plenty of fantastic options out there if you want to have a night or even a campaign full of adventures inspired by Stranger Things! For the uninitiated, Stranger Things tells the story of people, primarily kids, living in Hawkins, Indiana during the 1980s. Things initially get strange following the disappearance of Will Byers and the sudden appearance of young girl with apparent supernatural abilities. Without going into spoiler territory, monsters and strange portals play prominent roles throughout the series, not unlike the tabletop role-playing experiences many remember fondly. The first season takes place in 1983, with subsequent seasons taking place about a year after one another. After several years of things being strange, things never really go back to normal. Dungeons & Dragons has been an integral part of the series from the beginning. The kids on the show find it to be a fun way to blow off steam and work through their various issues. However, that’s not the only connection D&D has to the show; one of the legendary tabletop’s most iconic monsters even comes directly from the game itself. However, many associate D&D with magic, elves, and dark lords marching armies of evil against the realms of good, things that seem far removed from the sleepy town of Hawkins, Indiana. Thankfully, there are several great options at your disposal if you are itching to inject your role-playing sessions with Stranger Things. These range from official Wizards of the Coast adventure sets to free modules designed to capture the spirit of Stranger Things. So, let’s get down to it; where should you turn if you want some Stranger Things in your tabletop sessions? Stranger Things D&D Starter Set Let’s start by looking in on the official Stranger Things D&D Starter Set. This short adventure comes in a box designed to recall the original red box release of Dungeons & Dragons back in 1983, the same version the kids played in the show. Such is the ubiquity of D&D that many people who have never rolled a 20-sided die will recognize the reference in the design of the box itself. Much like the red box release, the Stranger Things D&D Starter Set comes with all of the tools necessary to start rolling out of the box. Inside, players will find a rule book for 5th edition D&D, an adventure book, and dice. There are also five pre-made Stranger Things character sheets and two miniatures of the show’s Demogorgon. The adventure itself will probably be the main draw for fans of the show. Wizards of the Coast describes it as an adventure created by the in-fiction character Mike Wheeler for his friends. The game technically takes place in the Stranger Things universe with players taking up the character sheets of the kids from the show, but the game itself is set in the universe of D&D. The adventure is titled Hunt for the Thessalhydra and seems to be based on the adventure the kids were playing on-screen during Season 1. All characters begin at level 3 and the adventure has been designed to be a short, entertaining romp to get them to level 4. The length seems short when compared to many of the other published Dungeons & Dragons adventurers, but that might be perfect for beginners or for shaking up the routine of regularly scheduled gameplay sessions. Perhaps one of the most interesting elements about this particular boxed set is how it was designed to bring players into the minds of the characters from the show. Each season puts the kids through an awful lot of trauma, trauma that never seems to be fully addressed in the show itself. However, Hunt for the Thessalhydra offers a unique window into the way the kids view what has happened to them. According to Mike Mearls, the lead designer of D&D at Wizards of the Coast, that was the intent. In an interview with Inverse, the legendary designer described the need the team felt to design something that felt “like there was something that originated in the world of Stranger Things. Something the characters interacted with, an artifact from the world.” Since this adventurer supposedly exists within the world of Stranger Things and was written by one of those kids, what sorts of things would they put into that game to help them through dark and troubling times? Mearls answers that the writer of the adventure, Stan Brown, really tried to dig into what kids looking to heal would put into a D&D adventure: “Mike is drawing inspiration from what just happened to him in real life. We send the players into Mike’s take on the Upside Down and that’s where you confront the Demogorgon. […] He’s trying to capture it as a monster that players can fight. You can imagine thinking of this as the adventure that the kids played, maybe this is them working through some of those fears. They’re afraid of this thing, so in the adventure, they meet it and defeat it.” Kids on Bikes If you are looking for a fleshed out tabletop RPG geared exactly toward people interested in role-playing after the adventures of the characters from Stranger Things, Kids on Bikes was basically made for you. The game puts players in a small town that the party works together to create. Each group comes up with rumors about their town and work together to develop the bonds between their characters. Much like the full cast of Stranger Things, players can take on the roles of kids, teens, or adults. The collaborative world-building makes each campaign unique and draws out the creativity from everyone playing. Once play starts, the group will work together to solve the strange mysteries going on in their town. This largely revolves around role-playing with a sprinkling of simple rules. While plunging into the unknown and creepy depths of the story, players might discover a character with some sort of special power. When those characters come into play, everyone in the group collectively controls the character and their power making that individual a unique and unpredictable element in each game. Unlike a Dungeons & Dragons adventure, Kids on Bikes isn’t meant to be empowering. Instead, players are pitted against overwhelming odds, monsters and forces far beyond mortal ken. It’s a game that relies on players to know when to run and how to play to their strengths. Much like Stranger Things, the ideal timeframe for Kids on Bikes takes place during the 80s, though it can take place during earlier decades, too. The main rule of thumb for Kids on Bikes is to create a setting and characters where cell phones can’t be used to easily snag disturbing evidence of monsters. Using GPS to track threats won’t be an option. Historical records aren’t just a Google search away. These things or comparable information might all be possible with tools available in the town, but they shouldn’t be easy to obtain. If you’re interested in seeing the game in action from start to finish, check out this playtest from Hyper RPG. Stranger Dread If neither Kids on Bikes nor Wizards of the Coast’s official Stranger Things box scratch that itch for paranormal horror, Ian Fraizer might have just what you’re looking for. Fraizer, the lead developer on Mass Effect: Andromeda, put together an adventure in 2016 called Stranger Dread. The journey into darkness takes about 2-4 hours to complete and was designed to be a chilling horror experience. Stranger Dread makes use of the Dread rule system. Dread makes a shorthand version of its rules available for free and sells the full books for $12 USD or $24 USD depending on whether one wants the PDF or the physical book. The system of rules itself will be pretty different from what most tabletop role-players are used to: Instead of using dice, players must take one or more blocks out of a Jenga tower as they take actions. When the tower falls, something unfortunate happens to the character unlucky enough to cause it to tumble. This mechanic ties the tension and horror of the scenario to a tangible object that steadily grows more unstable as the game progresses. The scenario of Stranger Dread takes place in the town of Mt. Pleasant, Illinois circa 1984. A 12-year-old boy named Cory Settler disappears from the local fair on July 12. Players take on one of six playable roles and begin searching for their missing friend. The story quickly becomes a descent into shadowy government conspiracies and an even darker evil lurking at the heart of Mt. Pleasant. Much like the collaborative Kids on Bikes, players work together to create the fiction of the town and the relationships their characters have with one another. There are some directions and abilities between the different roles, but beyond that Stranger Dread seems to be a very flexible adventure. Fraizer designed the adventure to be very friendly for newcomers to run as well as experienced tabletop gamers, so if you’re looking to satiate that hunger for more Stranger Things, Stranger Dread might be just the game experience for you and your friends. Plus, it’s free, so give it a look and see if it is your cup of tea. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  2. Stranger Things remains fresh in the collective pop culture consciousness after three seasons full of unwitting people unraveling the secrets hiding beneath the veneer of their small town lives. While the characters have faced down supernatural threats, they’re also (for the most part) normal people. They laugh, cry, and play games, just like the rest of us. They’re grounded in a world very much like our own, and that can make them seem divorced from the fantastical settings typically associated with tabletop role-playing games. That being said, there are plenty of fantastic options out there if you want to have a night or even a campaign full of adventures inspired by Stranger Things! For the uninitiated, Stranger Things tells the story of people, primarily kids, living in Hawkins, Indiana during the 1980s. Things initially get strange following the disappearance of Will Byers and the sudden appearance of young girl with apparent supernatural abilities. Without going into spoiler territory, monsters and strange portals play prominent roles throughout the series, not unlike the tabletop role-playing experiences many remember fondly. The first season takes place in 1983, with subsequent seasons taking place about a year after one another. After several years of things being strange, things never really go back to normal. Dungeons & Dragons has been an integral part of the series from the beginning. The kids on the show find it to be a fun way to blow off steam and work through their various issues. However, that’s not the only connection D&D has to the show; one of the legendary tabletop’s most iconic monsters even comes directly from the game itself. However, many associate D&D with magic, elves, and dark lords marching armies of evil against the realms of good, things that seem far removed from the sleepy town of Hawkins, Indiana. Thankfully, there are several great options at your disposal if you are itching to inject your role-playing sessions with Stranger Things. These range from official Wizards of the Coast adventure sets to free modules designed to capture the spirit of Stranger Things. So, let’s get down to it; where should you turn if you want some Stranger Things in your tabletop sessions? Stranger Things D&D Starter Set Let’s start by looking in on the official Stranger Things D&D Starter Set. This short adventure comes in a box designed to recall the original red box release of Dungeons & Dragons back in 1983, the same version the kids played in the show. Such is the ubiquity of D&D that many people who have never rolled a 20-sided die will recognize the reference in the design of the box itself. Much like the red box release, the Stranger Things D&D Starter Set comes with all of the tools necessary to start rolling out of the box. Inside, players will find a rule book for 5th edition D&D, an adventure book, and dice. There are also five pre-made Stranger Things character sheets and two miniatures of the show’s Demogorgon. The adventure itself will probably be the main draw for fans of the show. Wizards of the Coast describes it as an adventure created by the in-fiction character Mike Wheeler for his friends. The game technically takes place in the Stranger Things universe with players taking up the character sheets of the kids from the show, but the game itself is set in the universe of D&D. The adventure is titled Hunt for the Thessalhydra and seems to be based on the adventure the kids were playing on-screen during Season 1. All characters begin at level 3 and the adventure has been designed to be a short, entertaining romp to get them to level 4. The length seems short when compared to many of the other published Dungeons & Dragons adventurers, but that might be perfect for beginners or for shaking up the routine of regularly scheduled gameplay sessions. Perhaps one of the most interesting elements about this particular boxed set is how it was designed to bring players into the minds of the characters from the show. Each season puts the kids through an awful lot of trauma, trauma that never seems to be fully addressed in the show itself. However, Hunt for the Thessalhydra offers a unique window into the way the kids view what has happened to them. According to Mike Mearls, the lead designer of D&D at Wizards of the Coast, that was the intent. In an interview with Inverse, the legendary designer described the need the team felt to design something that felt “like there was something that originated in the world of Stranger Things. Something the characters interacted with, an artifact from the world.” Since this adventurer supposedly exists within the world of Stranger Things and was written by one of those kids, what sorts of things would they put into that game to help them through dark and troubling times? Mearls answers that the writer of the adventure, Stan Brown, really tried to dig into what kids looking to heal would put into a D&D adventure: “Mike is drawing inspiration from what just happened to him in real life. We send the players into Mike’s take on the Upside Down and that’s where you confront the Demogorgon. […] He’s trying to capture it as a monster that players can fight. You can imagine thinking of this as the adventure that the kids played, maybe this is them working through some of those fears. They’re afraid of this thing, so in the adventure, they meet it and defeat it.” Kids on Bikes If you are looking for a fleshed out tabletop RPG geared exactly toward people interested in role-playing after the adventures of the characters from Stranger Things, Kids on Bikes was basically made for you. The game puts players in a small town that the party works together to create. Each group comes up with rumors about their town and work together to develop the bonds between their characters. Much like the full cast of Stranger Things, players can take on the roles of kids, teens, or adults. The collaborative world-building makes each campaign unique and draws out the creativity from everyone playing. Once play starts, the group will work together to solve the strange mysteries going on in their town. This largely revolves around role-playing with a sprinkling of simple rules. While plunging into the unknown and creepy depths of the story, players might discover a character with some sort of special power. When those characters come into play, everyone in the group collectively controls the character and their power making that individual a unique and unpredictable element in each game. Unlike a Dungeons & Dragons adventure, Kids on Bikes isn’t meant to be empowering. Instead, players are pitted against overwhelming odds, monsters and forces far beyond mortal ken. It’s a game that relies on players to know when to run and how to play to their strengths. Much like Stranger Things, the ideal timeframe for Kids on Bikes takes place during the 80s, though it can take place during earlier decades, too. The main rule of thumb for Kids on Bikes is to create a setting and characters where cell phones can’t be used to easily snag disturbing evidence of monsters. Using GPS to track threats won’t be an option. Historical records aren’t just a Google search away. These things or comparable information might all be possible with tools available in the town, but they shouldn’t be easy to obtain. If you’re interested in seeing the game in action from start to finish, check out this playtest from Hyper RPG. Stranger Dread If neither Kids on Bikes nor Wizards of the Coast’s official Stranger Things box scratch that itch for paranormal horror, Ian Fraizer might have just what you’re looking for. Fraizer, the lead developer on Mass Effect: Andromeda, put together an adventure in 2016 called Stranger Dread. The journey into darkness takes about 2-4 hours to complete and was designed to be a chilling horror experience. Stranger Dread makes use of the Dread rule system. Dread makes a shorthand version of its rules available for free and sells the full books for $12 USD or $24 USD depending on whether one wants the PDF or the physical book. The system of rules itself will be pretty different from what most tabletop role-players are used to: Instead of using dice, players must take one or more blocks out of a Jenga tower as they take actions. When the tower falls, something unfortunate happens to the character unlucky enough to cause it to tumble. This mechanic ties the tension and horror of the scenario to a tangible object that steadily grows more unstable as the game progresses. The scenario of Stranger Dread takes place in the town of Mt. Pleasant, Illinois circa 1984. A 12-year-old boy named Cory Settler disappears from the local fair on July 12. Players take on one of six playable roles and begin searching for their missing friend. The story quickly becomes a descent into shadowy government conspiracies and an even darker evil lurking at the heart of Mt. Pleasant. Much like the collaborative Kids on Bikes, players work together to create the fiction of the town and the relationships their characters have with one another. There are some directions and abilities between the different roles, but beyond that Stranger Dread seems to be a very flexible adventure. Fraizer designed the adventure to be very friendly for newcomers to run as well as experienced tabletop gamers, so if you’re looking to satiate that hunger for more Stranger Things, Stranger Dread might be just the game experience for you and your friends. Plus, it’s free, so give it a look and see if it is your cup of tea. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  3. We've known since back in February that Netflix was working on creating a mini-series based on the Castlevania franchise. Now we have our first glimpse at what that series will look like. This animated adaptation appear to lean hard on the Gothic horror elements that have been near and dear to the series since its inception. Skeletons on pikes, blood, whips, explosions, dark visuals - the teaser, titled Vengeance, gives off every indication that Netflix is targeting an older audience with their animated Castlevania. Perhaps the grit on display in Castlevania is meant to be Netflix's competitive answer to the massively popular Attack on Titan series, currently on its second season. While video game adaptations have been given a bad rap in recent years with a multitude of lackluster attempts to reimagine video game series as movies, there is reason to hope that Castlevania might find success. It has been masterminded by Adi Shankar, who worked on the film Dredd and helped make the gritty Power Rangers short a reality. Dead Space writer and the creator of the storyline for Iron Man 3, Warren Ellis has helped to pen the series from the ground up. On top of that, animation work has been done by some of the people behind Adventure Time. Overall, color me pleasantly surprised by this teaser and hopeful that the series can really become something special. Netflix's Castlevania releases on July 7.
  4. We've known since back in February that Netflix was working on creating a mini-series based on the Castlevania franchise. Now we have our first glimpse at what that series will look like. This animated adaptation appear to lean hard on the Gothic horror elements that have been near and dear to the series since its inception. Skeletons on pikes, blood, whips, explosions, dark visuals - the teaser, titled Vengeance, gives off every indication that Netflix is targeting an older audience with their animated Castlevania. Perhaps the grit on display in Castlevania is meant to be Netflix's competitive answer to the massively popular Attack on Titan series, currently on its second season. While video game adaptations have been given a bad rap in recent years with a multitude of lackluster attempts to reimagine video game series as movies, there is reason to hope that Castlevania might find success. It has been masterminded by Adi Shankar, who worked on the film Dredd and helped make the gritty Power Rangers short a reality. Dead Space writer and the creator of the storyline for Iron Man 3, Warren Ellis has helped to pen the series from the ground up. On top of that, animation work has been done by some of the people behind Adventure Time. Overall, color me pleasantly surprised by this teaser and hopeful that the series can really become something special. Netflix's Castlevania releases on July 7. View full article
  5. While many should rightly be skeptical of video game properties coming to Netflix after the runaway rumor that Netflix was putting a Legend of Zelda show into production last year, we can confirm that Netflix is indeed developing a show based on the Castlevania games. io9 first noticed that the words "Castlevania Season 1, Part 1" were nestled within a recent press release from Netflix with a projected release of sometime during 2017. That's right. We are getting a vampire hunting show based on Castlevania sometime within the next ten months. As exciting as that prospect might be, details beyond that it exists are pretty scarce. Adi Shankar, known for his work producing Dredd and the gritty Power Rangers short from 2015, has been attached to the Castlevania project for a while now. He has specifically mentioned working with Fred Seibert and Kevin Klonde who are best known for their work behind the scenes on Adventure Time. Shankar has described the show as dark, satirical, and super violent. "After a decade of propaganda it will flip the vampire sub-genre on its head," he stated in a Facebook announcement last year. Warren Ellis, the writer behind the Dead Space video game, RED, and the story on which Iron Man 3 based itself, was brought on board to write the series. In a recent Facebook post trumpeting the announcement of Castlevania coming to Netflix, Shankar threw down the gauntlet. "I personally guarantee that it will end the streak and be the western world’s first good video game adaptation," the producer promised. Here's hoping you can deliver, Mr. Shankar. The second part of the series is expected to release in 2018. View full article
  6. While many should rightly be skeptical of video game properties coming to Netflix after the runaway rumor that Netflix was putting a Legend of Zelda show into production last year, we can confirm that Netflix is indeed developing a show based on the Castlevania games. io9 first noticed that the words "Castlevania Season 1, Part 1" were nestled within a recent press release from Netflix with a projected release of sometime during 2017. That's right. We are getting a vampire hunting show based on Castlevania sometime within the next ten months. As exciting as that prospect might be, details beyond that it exists are pretty scarce. Adi Shankar, known for his work producing Dredd and the gritty Power Rangers short from 2015, has been attached to the Castlevania project for a while now. He has specifically mentioned working with Fred Seibert and Kevin Klonde who are best known for their work behind the scenes on Adventure Time. Shankar has described the show as dark, satirical, and super violent. "After a decade of propaganda it will flip the vampire sub-genre on its head," he stated in a Facebook announcement last year. Warren Ellis, the writer behind the Dead Space video game, RED, and the story on which Iron Man 3 based itself, was brought on board to write the series. In a recent Facebook post trumpeting the announcement of Castlevania coming to Netflix, Shankar threw down the gauntlet. "I personally guarantee that it will end the streak and be the western world’s first good video game adaptation," the producer promised. Here's hoping you can deliver, Mr. Shankar. The second part of the series is expected to release in 2018.
  7. Update: 03/24/2015 Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata gave an interview to Time Magazine touching on a number of topics, but, sadly, Iwata poured some cold water on the rumors of a live-action Legend of Zelda series in the works with Netflix. Iwata said, “As of now, I have nothing new to share with you in regard to the use of our IPs for any TV shows or films, but I can at least confirm that the article in question is not based on correct information." While this is certain to be disappointing news to some, it doesn't necessarily mean that Nintendo is ruling out the possibility of creating a miniseries based off of their IP, especially given their upcoming foray into mobile development. Original Story: 02/06/2015 Yep, you read that headline right. We might be seeing a live-action Legend of Zelda series sometime in the near future. The Wall Street Journal reported today that an unidentified source confirmed that Netflix and Nintendo were in the early stages of creating an online series set in Hyrule about a boy named Link who must rescue a princess named Zelda. Netflix reportedly describes the show as "Game of Thrones but for a family audience." The source said that Netflix is in the process of finding writers for the show, so a live-action Legend of Zelda series is probably a year or more away from becoming a reality. Now, this is all effectively rumor since no one has been able to confirm with either Netflix or Nintendo that they're in the process of making this show. If it is real, there's an equally real possibility that the project will never see the light of day, killed off by either Netflix or Nintendo. Still, imagining what a series like this would be like is certainly interesting. I mean, for goodness sake, if IGN can cobble together a fake live-action trailer for an April Fools Day prank, then I have to think that Netflix and Nintendo pooling their talents and resources together could make something truly amazing. Obviously, it is way too early to get any hopes up, but I think I already am overly hopeful about this becoming a real thing.
  8. Update: 03/24/2015 Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata gave an interview to Time Magazine touching on a number of topics, but, sadly, Iwata poured some cold water on the rumors of a live-action Legend of Zelda series in the works with Netflix. Iwata said, “As of now, I have nothing new to share with you in regard to the use of our IPs for any TV shows or films, but I can at least confirm that the article in question is not based on correct information." While this is certain to be disappointing news to some, it doesn't necessarily mean that Nintendo is ruling out the possibility of creating a miniseries based off of their IP, especially given their upcoming foray into mobile development. Original Story: 02/06/2015 Yep, you read that headline right. We might be seeing a live-action Legend of Zelda series sometime in the near future. The Wall Street Journal reported today that an unidentified source confirmed that Netflix and Nintendo were in the early stages of creating an online series set in Hyrule about a boy named Link who must rescue a princess named Zelda. Netflix reportedly describes the show as "Game of Thrones but for a family audience." The source said that Netflix is in the process of finding writers for the show, so a live-action Legend of Zelda series is probably a year or more away from becoming a reality. Now, this is all effectively rumor since no one has been able to confirm with either Netflix or Nintendo that they're in the process of making this show. If it is real, there's an equally real possibility that the project will never see the light of day, killed off by either Netflix or Nintendo. Still, imagining what a series like this would be like is certainly interesting. I mean, for goodness sake, if IGN can cobble together a fake live-action trailer for an April Fools Day prank, then I have to think that Netflix and Nintendo pooling their talents and resources together could make something truly amazing. Obviously, it is way too early to get any hopes up, but I think I already am overly hopeful about this becoming a real thing. View full article
  9. In response to lackluster sales and a large number of requests from would-be Xbox One purchasers, Microsoft has unveiled a cheaper Xbox One that will be sold without the Kinect. The new model of Xbox One will retail at $399 and will hit the market on June 9. the Kinect will be available separately sometime later this fall. This news comes hand in hand with the announcement that a variety of paid for services will no longer be locked behind Xbox Live like Netflix, Twitch, HBO GO, and various sports apps. What do you think? Will this and the reversal on used games/always online be enough to bring in more customers for Microsoft?
  10. In response to lackluster sales and a large number of requests from would-be Xbox One purchasers, Microsoft has unveiled a cheaper Xbox One that will be sold without the Kinect. The new model of Xbox One will retail at $399 and will hit the market on June 9. the Kinect will be available separately sometime later this fall. This news comes hand in hand with the announcement that a variety of paid for services will no longer be locked behind Xbox Live like Netflix, Twitch, HBO GO, and various sports apps. What do you think? Will this and the reversal on used games/always online be enough to bring in more customers for Microsoft? View full article
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