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Putting the Fairies in Fairy Tales

Up and down, up and down
I will lead them up and down
I am feared in field in town
Goblin, lead them up and down
― William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream

Good news! Fairy Tales, the newest expansion for Once Upon A Time, is on game store shelves today!

But wait, hasn’t Once Upon A Time always been about fairy tales?

Well, yes. And no.

Once Upon A Time hails from, and continues, a tradition of oral storytelling, preserved in literature through the likes of Hans Christian Anderson. It features princes and princesses, magic and giants, and – yes – fairies. These were the stories derived from old folklore, sometimes called “wonder tales” (Wunderm√§rchen, in German), but more often referred to as fairy tales by modern audiences...despite the fact that the fairies themselves might never make an appearance.

So yes, Once Upon A Time has always been about fairy tales. In the sense that it makes stories in the mold of what we think of as fairy tales. And expansions like Enchanting Tales and Animal Tales have expanded upon the motifs common to the Wunderm√§rchen with magic and talking animals and all the things that make wonder tales wondrous. But the fairies themselves – those winsome, tempestuous purveyors of mischief cavorting beneath the moonlight on Midsummer’s Night – weren’t themselves often the focus of those stories. They kept to the shadows, you might say.

Fairy Tales invites them out to play in the sunlight. Pay a visit to a Fairy Circle where Pixies Bargain with Babies for Toys. Or hear the sad soliloquy of a Goblin who Never Grows Old Tangled in the Eldest Spider’s Web. Andrew Rilstone returns to the game he helped create to bring the fairy world into focus, while artist Omar Rayyan once again breathes life into this, the newest of expansions for the classic Once Upon A Time. There’s no more perfect addition to your game collection than Fairy Tales!

And if you want to learn more about the history of fairy tales, this article at BBC.com is a great place to start!

The Penumbra+2 Bundle of Holding

Seven Civilizations Cover ImageThe Open Game License for the World’s Most Popular Role Playing Game changed the way the industry worked, and Atlas Games was there from the very beginning. Our classic adventure Three Days to Kill was the very first OGL release, and it established the tone for our entire line of D20 products — the Penumbra line. The mission was simple: Give game masters and players content they could use right away, in whatever way worked best for their campaigns, with great art, great writing from some of the best authors in the business, and a ton of imagination. We’re proud to say that Penumbra continues to do that as well today as it did when it first arrived.

Which is why the new Penumbra+2 Bundle of Holding is such an amazing opportunity. A sequel to the successful Penumbra Bundle from last may, Penumbra+2 features ten classic sourcebooks perfect for any Pathfinder or other D20 game. New magic, monsters, and adventures are just some of what the Penumbra+2 Bundle of Holding is holding for you.

For $5.95, you get the four core books of the Penumbra Starter Collection:
Sacred Ground Cover Image
Level up for the threshold price (currently $15.50) and get six additional sourcebooks in the Penumbra Bonus Collection!
  • Occult Lore (retail $18): Rules for ten new magical traditions — alchemy, geomancy, spirit cultivation, rational magic, and many more.
  • Seven Civilizations (retail $10): Compelling new cultures designed to blend seamlessly into your campaign world.
  • Seven Serpents (retail $10): Strange, peculiar, and exceptional dragons to challenge, mystify, or support your characters.
  • Love and War (retail $15): Knighthood and chivalry as practiced in history and fantasy. Written by David Chart (Ars Magica Fifth Edition).
  • Sacred Ground II (retail $10): Four more sanctuaries and holy sites — Hai Shen Gong, Creche Hospice, the Oracle, and Earthblood Grove.
  • Splintered Peace (retail $10: David Chart’s unusual campaign adventure of a nonviolent battle to save a city from itself.
Together these ten PDFs retail for $113. They’re available here for the first time as part of this special Bundle of Holding, and the best part is that 10% of total purchases (after payment gateway fees) goes to Doctors Without Borders. As with all Bundles of Holding, though, this offer has an expiration date. If you play any version of the World’s Most Popular Role Playing Game, there’s something here for you, but only if you act by October 16!

Gloom Tomb from Broken Token Now Available!

In the 19th century, glass-lid coffins weree en vogue for celebrities and people of status. It was the obvious solution to the problem of mourners illicitly making off with little souvenirs of the deceased – bits of cloth or hair – as they lay in state.

The folks at Broken Token, purveyors of fine game storage devices of all kinds, felt that Gloom deserved the celebrity treatment, and we agreed. To wit, they’ve created the Gloom Tomb. The Gloom Tomb is a finely crafted wooden sarcophagus and features Broken Token’s first ever see-through acrylic lid. The Gloom logo is engraved on every face, a suitable memento mori for your favorite game of unhappy people, and there’s ample room for every Gloom card published to date, with plots reserved for future expansions.

They say that out of sight is out of mind. With the Gloom Tomb, that’s no longer a problem. Now you can proudly display your Gloom collection between games and remember all the bad times you had together. It’s the perfect postmortem to any Gloom aficionado’s collection.


Need To Know: Feng Shui 2 Factions

In Feng Shui 2, control of Chi power and Feng Shui sites drives conflict across space and time. Factions seek to dominate access to magic and the Netherworld to pursue their own agendas. For some Factions, their motives are easy to understand. The evil wizards of the Eaters of the Lotus, those wuxia masters who dance across the treetops and shoot lightning from their hands, want infinite power for their nefarious plans. The monks of the Guiding Hand, however, want to impose their moral order for the betterment of society, even if it costs people their freedom.

Some Factions are driven by the need to change history after their own actions proved too damaging. Both the Jammers and the New Simian Army seek to control power of other points in time to correct the devastation they caused in the future by dropping the Chi Bomb, though they're not too careful about the other eras where they go for that power.

Only one Faction has been wiped out completely, but that's where the players come in. Those Maverick Cops, Bodyguards, Everyday Heroes, and Gamblers are the new Dragons, and it's up to them to stop the other Factions before they destroy all of time and space. In the quickstart adventure Hong Kong Task Force 88, now available in PDF format, your team of Dragons fights the Guiding Hand as they distribute drugs on the streets of Hong Kong.

Learn more about all the Factions in Feng Shui 2 from designer Robin D. Laws!

Need To Know: Feng Shui 2 Junctures

The First Edition of Feng Shui introduced the concept of Junctures. These are fiercely contested points in time and space that have the greatest potential to change history. Chi Warriors can travel through portals in the Netherworld to the four main Junctures to join the struggle for control.

The award-winning new edition Feng Shui 2 adds a new concept: Pop-Up Junctures. These can take you to any place and time, but their portals are less stable than the established Junctures. The window may stay open for a week, or even only an hour, putting real pressure on the characters to make an impact before they must leave. For example, our Feng Shui 2 quickstart adventure Hong Kong Task Force 88, now available as a PDF, takes place in the Contemporary Juncture, but with Pop-Up Junctures, you can launch your team of top cops through a portal to fight crime in any setting imaginable.

Feng Shui 2 designer Robin D. Laws gives you even more information in this video about these portals through the Netherworld.