Rob’s Picks for the ENnies 2017

Voting for the ENnies awards is coming up. If you don’t know what to vote for in some categories, my picks are below. I’ll admit that I’m completely ignorant of many of the nominees (which should be expected of anyone who isn’t a judge), but I know that there is some good stuff on the lists that should be recognized.

Best Adventure
Blood in the Chocolate by Kiel Chenier. It’s Willy Wonka through the lens of Lamentations of the Flame Princess, which really isn’t that much of a stretch when you think of it. A great example of Kiel’s imaginative writing and LotFP’s top-notch production values.

Best Aid/Accessory
Kobold Guide to Plots & Campaigns. Of all the nominees in this category, this seems like the one that would have the most benefit at the game table. Kobold has done a great job curating these essay collections and this book should help game masters much more than any trinkets or background music.

Best Art, Cover
Torment: Tides of Numenera — The Explorer’s Guide. Just look at that art. That is a city I want to explore. (Blue Rose almost got my pick for this, but there is something wrong with that face…)

Best Art, Interior
S. Petersen’s Field Guide to Lovecraftian Horrors. Absolutely beautiful pictures of terrible things.

Best Blog
Age of Ravens. Lowell’s histories of various RPG genres are detailed and enlightening. I’ve found so many weird old games through his game genealogies. Also, South Bend represent!

Best Cartography
The Cursed Chateau. Excellent old school cartography by Jez Gordon. Not only are the maps crisp and clear, but there are detailed maps throughout the book. No flipping back and forth as players go through the adventure and no more struggling to find where they even are on the map. The interior design of this book is great work by Jez.

Best Electronic Book
Hubris: A World of Visceral Adventure. This is how a setting book should be written: a collection of tools to use right at the table rather than pages and pages of encyclopedic text. Mike Evans is one of the most enthusiastic game writers out there and it shows on every page of this book.

Best Family Game
Epyllion: A Dragon Epic. It’s like My Little Pony but with dragons. Sign me (and my son and all of my nieces) up.

Best Free Product
Santa is Dead (In Search of Games). Written by the mad priestess of gaming Evey Lockhart, with all proceeds going to the Ehlers-Danlos Society, this is a free product worth paying for.

Best Game
Tales from the Loop – Roleplaying in the ’80s That Never Was. Honestly I don’t have any strong feelings about any of the nominated games because I haven’t played any of them, but Tales for the Loop certainly looks cool.

Best Miniature Product
Pathfinder Pawns: Villain Codex Box. The value of these Pathfinder Pawns products is excellent and Paizo should be encouraged to make more.

Best Monster/Adversary
Veins of the Earth. Patrick Stuart and Scrap Princess were put on this planet to create fucked-up monsters to kill our imaginary people. This book is filled with the craziest, creepiest creatures from the bowels of the earth.

Best Podcast
Spellburn. Ken and Robin make a great podcast but I think the people at Spellburn deserve to get recognition for their hard work this year.

Best Production Values
Maze of the Blue Medusa. Yeah, it’s not nominated and you can’t write in, but the fact that some slipcases and box sets with trinkets were picked over the physical edition of this book is a god damn crime.

Best RPG Related Product
The ABCs of RPGs. How about the one product that is explicitly related to RPGs?

Best Rules
Veins of the Earth. Want the perfect set of rules to get your player characters slowly going insane while the scramble in the dark? I got you.

Best Setting
Tales from the Loop – Roleplaying in the ’80s That Never Was. This is another category I don’t know well. Tales from the Loop has a strong appeal, but if it’s only as deep as the elevator pitch and the art work, I guess it’s only sort of awesome.

Best Supplement
Pulp Cthulhu. This is how most people want to play Call of Cthulhu anyway, right?

Best Website
Elven Tower, RPG articles and cartography website. Pretty decent maps, especially the isometric ones.

Best Writing
Veins of the Earth. Patrick Stuart is one of the best writers in games today.

Product of the Year
Veins of the Earth. 2017 is the year of Veins. This is one of the most ambitious books in the history of RPGs and should be recognized as such.

And lastly, you should vote for me, Rob Monroe, for 2018 ENnies judge. I promise to pick only the hottest shit for you to vote for next year.


Modern LotFP Character Creation

Below are the rules changes for bringing LotFP character creation into a modern setting. If it’s not mentioned here, assume that it’s the same as the original rules.

The Wealth rules are completely untested, but I’m looking for an extremely simple way to handle the nightmares of modern finance. It seems like a fool’s errand to make a price list for every relevant equipment in the contemporary world, so it makes sense to me to see if a character is able to get a hold of the good stuff instead of managing a bank account.



There is no difference between occultists who draw their power from deities and those who draw them from demons, extra-dimensional rifts, or their own will. Besides, God doesn’t listen to us anymore.

All Cleric spells are now Magic-User spells and the Cleric class is no longer an option.


This class remains largely unchanged from that which appears in the book. In a modern setting a Fighter character can be anything from a police officer, a thug, a martial arts enthusiast, or just someone with a talent for hurting other people.


Mostly unchanged although they now have access to the Cleric spell list. Should a spell appear on both the Cleric and Magic-User spell lists, the Magic-User level requirements take precedence.


These characters are highly skilled and are able to perform tasks or find information that would be impossible for people without the proper training. They can be scholars, urban explorers, computer scientists, private investigators, etc.

The skill list has been adjusted to a modern setting:

  • Architecture
  • Climbing
  • Computers (Used for both computer hardware and software, bypassing electronic security, etc.)
  • Investigation (Takes the place of “Search” and works largely the same way. However, it can also be used to find relevant information in a library or on the internet. These research checks should be rolled in secret by the Referee and the accuracy of the information should always be suspect.)
  • Languages
  • Larceny (Represents general criminal talent, including breaking and entering, pick pocketing, and fraud.)
  • Lore (This skill represents immediate recall of relevant information not presented to the players during the game. A focus must be selected to narrow down the information recalled (e.g. local history, occultism, British literature)
  • Mechanical (Making use of heavy machinery or sophisticated tools.)
  • Sneak Attack
  • Stealth
  • Survival (Replacing Bushcraft, this skill represents general survival skills that are needed in wilderness or remote locations.)

If a player wants a skill that is not represented on this list they are able to create a custom skill as long as they are in agreement with the Referee on how the skill functions.


A character’s occupation is what the do when they aren’t being chased by unholy abominations or crawling through muddy catacombs. When creating an occupation choose two of the following options:

  • Two skill points to be distributed into any skill.
  • One additional wealth point.
  • One useful and friendly contact.
  • One free Equipment item.

You may select the same option twice.


Rather than gold pieces characters have a Wealth rating of 1-3 points. A single Wealth point would represent just barely making ends meet, two would represent having moderate disposable income, and three points would represent financial security.

All characters begin with 1 Wealth point.

Wealth points are used to purchase key items such as firearms, gadgets, and survival equipment. To purchase an item, roll 1d6. A result equal or less than the number of Wealth points means that the character was easily able to acquire the item without any problems. Failure means that the character was not able to afford or find the item with their resources.

A Wealth point can be used to automatically gain the item. Subtract this point from the character’s Wealth rating until the end of the session. This can be done multiple times, but reducing a Wealth rating to 0 will result in significant financial problems for the character, such as eviction or being sued.

A character can choose to go into debt. To do this, they will gain one wealth point but will have their starting Wealth rating reduced by one for the next session, after which the Wealth rating will return to normal.

Character Advancement

Characters gain experience by uncovering information and surviving deadly situations. When encountering a malevolent entity, characters gain their listed XP bonus for either escaping or killing the creature. The XP value of revealed information ranges from 100-1000 XP, depending on the value and sanity-shattering potential of the discovery.