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An Aetheric Guide for Christmas 2006
 
An Aetheric Guide for Christmas
Downloadable gift ideas from 2006

By Allan Sugarbaker, Mike Sugarbaker, and Steve Kani

It's Christmas eve, and you haven't covered all your gaming buddies with holiday giftage yet. Fear not: OgreCave has pulled together a short list of gifts that require zero shipping time to bail you out. This fourth and final list looks toward the electronic products, requiring a quick download and burn to disc before wrapping up as a gift. These are the digital dungeons and playable PDFs the cave dwellers of OgreCave suggest checking out this season, perhaps putting a small bow on the storage device of choice before you bestow the gift.

Roanoke
Clint Krause, RPGNow, $5

The lost colony of early America's Roanoke Island: how did they vanish without a trace? If that sounds like a good horror-gaming premise to you, this self-contained, inexpensive game is the way to find out. Clint Krause chose the free Wushu engine, a rules-light narration-based system given to free-flowing crazy action, and added choice bits like a Doom pool of dice to draw from when you're in trouble... but doing so hastens the colony's demise. Roanoke has gotten praise from the authors of similarly short, focused games that might run you four times the cash.

Future: 13 Thirteens (2007 Subscription)
Ronin Arts, $17.95

The gift that keeps on giving all year is a magazine subscription, right? With Future: 13 Thirteens, now there's another option. Like the Superline series provides for Mutants & Masterminds fans, the gift of a subscription provides futuristic d20 campaigns with a year of PDFs - 13 to be precise - each with 13 items to add into an ongoing game. Monthly gaming products, all year. What's next, the Module of the Month Club?

Øone's Blueprints: Caverns of Chaos
0one Games, $1.95

What old school D&D gamer doesn't remember the Keep on the Borderlands and its infamous beginner-level dungeon, the Caves of Chaos. Well, the caves are back, as the Caverns of Chaos, in a great big vector-based Acrobat 6 map with features to turn on or off (doors, furniture, grid, and such). Use various sections and stock them with your favorite critters, or print out the whole 25.5"x22" map and keep your players busy for weeks.

Panty Explosion
Atarashi Games, $10

Along the same lines as Mai the Psychic Girl and 3x3 Eyes, don't let the name scare you off: Panty Explosion is a cool little indie RPG of Japanese high school girls who may have psychic powers. The product description for this 96-page RPG says it all, warning that players will face off against "the adversity of otherworldly demons, shadowy agents and the Japanese educational system." Count us in.

Dubious Shards
Ronin Arts, $11.95

Set Ken Hite loose in the land of the Great Old Ones, and he'll bring you back more souvenirs than you can shake a stick at. Dubious Shards contains 78 pages of deep thoughts on those subjects the human mind was not meant to contemplate - the Cthulhu Mythos. From GM advice to an unreleased Delta Green scenario, this focused work gets into a variety of Lovecraftian topics. If you couldn't get to Origins 2006 for the limited edition print copy, this is the next best thing.

E-Z Tiles: The Wizards Tower
Fat Dragon Games, $5.99

Fantasy map PDFs are nothing new, but a GM can never have enough of them. E-Z Tiles: The Wizards Tower Print out an empty room, or with Acrobat 6, add more layers and choose your furnishings. The fact that this scenery is both premade and customizable, representing an outlay of GM effort that's halfway between Paizo's GameMastery tiles and breaking out Dundjinni, makes the entire E-Z Tiles line full of excellent gaming props.

Fantasy Handouts: Menus
Ronin Arts, $1

Roleplayers love getting their hands on props, be they miniatures, terrain, or in this case, printed handouts. Ronin Arts has numerous great props in the Fantasy Handouts line, most of them systemless and usable for just about any game, but Fantasy Handouts: Menus stands out as an immersive little goodie to bring your players more fully into the world of their characters. Pick out several other products in the line, and you've got an assortment of game props any GM would be proud to own.

 

Thus we close down the last of OgreCave's 2006 gift lists, focused around those last-minute download products you can shop for at 2am. Look over the other downloads these companies offer as well, as they may cater to your target's tastes better than the items above, and you want your "mix CD" of gaming to be well received. But don't forget: there were excellent print titles we noticed since last year's gift-giving season, so be sure to look over our other 2006 gift lists when you aren't pressed into the need for instant-shipping products. Happy holidays!
 

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