The Avengers Assemble… in the Apocalypse World

Teaser image of Iron Man as The Faceless, by Melissa Trender (

I was thinking recently: someone could totally run an Apocalypse World game in which all the player characters were based on the Avengers.

I don’t mean a hack to tell Avengers-style superhero stories. There are already plenty of Powered by the Apocalypse superhero games that do that (Masks and Worlds in Peril, for example). Instead, this would use Apocalypse World‘s rules as written to tell a sort of What If…? story.

What if the Avengers were formed 50 years after the end of the world?

What do the Avengers (Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man, etc.) look like in the blasted, lethal, psychic-powered Apocalypse World?

Does it work? Is it a good idea to even try? I don’t know, but I’d better get the idea out there quick before Avengers: Infinity War comes out and transforms the general population’s understanding of who the Avengers are! Especially now that the superheroically talented Melissa Trender has provided some fantastic illustrations! Read on for that if nothing else!

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Turning over a new leaf: A villainous Cortex Prime playtest

It’s 2018, hurrah! A new year means a new year for roleplaying, and I’m looking forward to a few upcoming changes in my roleplaying calendar. First, all three regular campaigns that I’m in are reaching their climactic finales, which will be an exciting if bittersweet farewell to some characters. Second, I’m hoping to play some more one-shots, particularly in systems I’ve never tried before. Third, I’m putting my hand to game design a bit more—unusually, I’ve been inspired to dip my toe into OSR gaming, so we’ll see where that goes.

Most immediately, though, there are two things that are dominating my early 2018 roleplaying thoughts: GMing my first new campaigns after a relatively lackluster 2017 in that area, and the Cortex Prime playtest draft rules.

These two things go together pretty well, it turns out.

Mick Rory (Heatwave) in Legends of Tomorrow season 3 episode 2,
The gif that inspired it all.

Right now, I’m running a Cortex Prime game of supervillains, whisked out of the toxic environments that enabled their iniquity to fight a greater threat, given a chance to do something good for a change. Something like Legends of Tomorrow, Suicide Squad, or Guardians of the Galaxy (only the last of which I’ve actually watched, admittedly). Can they reform and become better people? Do they want to? Can they save the world? This is Set a Villain.

Since I last blogged about Cortex Prime, its Kickstarter was fully funded with all of its stretch goals reached, and several drafts of an SRD have been released for playtesting. I initially used v2.1 of the SRD (released on 19 September 2017), but I plan to update this to the latest versions as they come out. Currently, that’s v3.1, dated 1 January 2018. Happy New Year!

In this blog I’m giving a rundown of my new campaign, including the Cortex Prime variant rules we’re using. Note that while I’ve been writing detailed feedback on the game so far and sending it to the developers, I’m not going to copy it out here. Cortex Prime is still a work in progress, and (I hope) any feedback I’d write now would be irrelevant by the time the game is finalised and published. The most you’ll get here (for now) are some general opinions. Onward!

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Still here

Some people may have noticed this site has been down the last few days. I’m told it was incorrectly flagged by’s anti-spam bots. It’s now back up (as you can see from reading this), and hopefully it won’t be a problem again. If you’re one of the three people that have this site bookmarked, hopefully you didn’t delete those bookmarks when you saw the blank front page. I should hopefully have some sort of actual content up in the not-too-distant future.

32: A Step into RPGs Retrospective

Turtles, vanish... by Fatboy73 on DeviantArt
The piece of TMNT fanart I liked most but didn’t use in my TMNT RPG blog series.

This month is the 32nd since I started this blog. It is also, by a weird coincidence, the month of my 32nd birthday. I realised this too late to turn RPGaDay into “31 posts in month 31 while 31”, but nevertheless I’m feeling a bit reflective.

Here is a look back at some of my most popular blog posts, the top 11 posts on the blog based on average views per month (vpm) since publication.

There are a lot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in this list. You’ve been warned.

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RPGaDay 2017, Day 31: What do you anticipate most for gaming in 2018?

RPGaDay 2017 infographic

RPGaDay is an annual celebration of tabletop roleplaying. This is the first year I’ve tried to do it.

What do you anticipate most for gaming in 2018?

I don’t really think that far ahead when it comes to gaming. I guess I look forward to playing more games, hopefully running more games, and trying something I’ve never tried before.

It’s a bit of a weak answer for the end of the month, but I’ve made it. My first RPGaDay and I got through it. Maybe I’ll do it again in 2018 too.

RPGaDay 2017, Day 30: What is an RPG genre mashup you would most like to see?

RPGaDay 2017 infographic

RPGaDay is an annual celebration of tabletop roleplaying. This is the first year I’ve tried to do it.

What is an RPG genre mashup you would most like to see?

I don’t understand the question. If it’s asking what genre I would like to adapted into an RPG, then I want something that can do wide-reaching ensemble drama shows with multiple intersecting storylines. Something like The Wire, Game of Thrones, Heroes, or The Expanse. Plus a bunch of other ones that I can’t recall right now. I think there are games out there that you could hack to do something similar (I’ve had thoughts around doing this with Microscope, for example), but there’s nothing I’m aware of that’s designed around the concept, and I think that could be cool.

RPGaDay 2017, Day 29: What has been the best-run RPG Kickstarter you have backed?

RPGaDay 2017 infographic

RPGaDay is an annual celebration of tabletop roleplaying. This is the first year I’ve tried to do it.

What has been the best-run RPG Kickstarter you have backed?

I have backed exactly two RPG Kickstarters: Unknown Armies Third Edition and Cortex Prime. Both of these were run by Cam Banks, so there’s not really much difference between the two campaigns. They were both run really well, as far as I could tell. I’m already playing Unknown Armies Third Edition, and there are draft rules out for Cortex Prime too, so non-delivery is a non-issue. I guess I’ll pick Cortex Prime as my answer, because it came second and therefore Cam could use the experience from the Unknown Armies Kickstarter when running it.