Paranet PapersLongtime readers may remember that I had some input on the Fate Core RPG system. (Yes, that is my name on the cover of Worlds on Fire. They didn’t tell me that was happening.) Evil Hat Productions and I haven’t had business together since, but Fate remains my favorite RPG system, and I actually have a review for one of their latest offerings in the pipeline.

Today, however, I just want to share the news that the long-awaited supplement for The Dresden Files RPG is finally scheduled for publication. The Paranet Papers will be released on June 1st.

“Big deal,” you might say. You’re not interested in anything other than the next Dresden Files novel. Why would you want an RPG supplement? I’m glad you asked, Mr. Strawman!

The original DFRPG books were a treasure-trove of information about the Dresdenverse, and they worked very hard to make certain that everything was canon (or as close as they can get). Now, Jim Butcher himself did not write the game material, but the staff did pepper him with questions.

Beyond that, however, was the fun of just reading it. When I picked up the books, I wasn’t really interested in the game system. I wanted a look at the story material. In fact, it wasn’t until I was helping someone else (who had never run an RPG before) set up a Dresden game that I realized what an awesome system it was. It was just so different from most other games that I had scoffed at the rules as absurd on my first read.

Obviously, I changed my mind; but my point is that I enjoyed those books even without enjoying the rules. The books were set up as if they’d been written by Billy (yes, Billy of the Alphas) as a modern-day Dracula. (If you’re not a Dresden Files fan and you’re somehow still reading this, in the series it’s an open secret that Dracula was published in order to get the rules about Black Court vampires into public knowledge. Consequentially, Black Court vampires were hunted by humans who suddenly knew their weaknesses, and now there are only a few still remaining.) Because of that, the RPG manuals were written with “notes” in the margins from Billy, Harry, and Bob. The notes are there to help explain the rules, but most of the time you just read them because it’s Billy, Harry, and Bob cracking jokes and insulting each other. That was kind of awesome.

Most RPG manuals are written in a rather standard, even boring, style. Not so with the DFRPG. They were fun reads, and really felt like your favorite characters were actually writing an RPG. There were lines crossed out, corrections in margins, and in-jokes all over the place. It was fun.

As you can see in the free preview of the Las Vegas chapter, this style continues for The Paranet Papers. Billy is back, designing a new RPG manual while talking about it to two other characters. However, those two characters are not Harry and Bob. As fun as that was, I’m glad to see they’re shaking things up — now we have none other than Karrin Murphy and Waldo Butters. That’s right, we have snarky commentary from Ms. Tiny-But-Fierce and Mr. Polka-Will-Never-Die.

Paranet Papers 2

Together, our favorite trio of in-over-their-heads Dresdenverse characters are going to update the RPG on:

  • Paranet-CompositeThe events of Changes. (Which means that this book “takes place” while spoiler spoiler and stuff blew up, which you know will make the commentary extra-interesting.)
  • The Paranet, which is obviously the namesake of the book.
  • Las Vegas, covered in that free sample.
  • The Russian Revolution, which is making my inner history geek squee right along with my inner fanboy.
  • The “Neverglades,” which I assume is monsters in Florida. (Anyone else hankering for a Dresden Files/Burn Notice crossover now?)
  • The “Red Lands,” so we finally get a good look at life in the territory of Red Court vampires.
  • And more information on the Nevernever, the Dresdenverse’s favorite vacation spot. (*cough*)

Oh, and I should add that this isn’t some dinky little let’s-publish-something supplement. This book is clocking in at a massive 372 pages. Those other wizards who live on the coast don’t love you this much, people.

I’ll be picking this book up in both PDF and dead-tree-and-pigment formats. I’m doing it just because of the stuff I’m talking about here. I don’t even really care about the game information; that’s just a bonus. And it’s really not me paying twice for the same content; they’re doing an “instant preorder,” where sometime next month you’ll be able to preorder the physical book and they’ll send you a PDF right away. Talk about win-win.

The Dresden Files

UPDATE: As The Paranet Papers preorder PDF (say that five times fast) has been released, I’ll be reviewing it when I’m done reading it. I can see searching terms hitting this page. Be patient! So far, it’s really fun.