The Best Gag Products Gaming Companies Have Offered For April Fools Day

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The tabletop gaming industry has a rich history of releasing joke products and silly articles for April Fools' Day, and this year is no different. Here are some of best, including Katanas & Trenchcoats, the brooding '90s throwback RPG you never knew you always wanted.

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Katanas & Trenchcoats

This RPG by Ryan Macklin and a host of co-conspirators takes every trope from your angsty high school and college role-playing games and uses them to build a monument to dark badassery. Players play immortals who can only be killed via beheading by another immortal, and character creation is largely focused on coming up with a backstory that is both tragic and badass enough to get you laid. In fact, getting laid is pretty central to Katanas & Trenchcoats, as it was when you were going through the katana/trenchcoat phase of your life. As we all did, even if we quietly internalized it and just read lots of Wolverine comics and muttered "snikt" sub-audibly whenever someone pissed us off. Check out the inspirational YouTube playlist they made (which I might have contributed a few songs to). And yes, the game's official site is SoManyKatanas.com.

While the idea is hilarious, there's a real, functional, solidly fun gaming system going on here that actually provides a good framework for playing ridiculous, brooding adventures in which pretty much everyone is imagining themselves as Brandon Lee in black leather. There's even an exploding dice mechanic, where if you roll three zeroes on your d10s (RPG veterans are expecting something cleverly mathematical here), the Storymaster gets to make something in the scene explode while you broodingly walk away.

Hodor's Guide to Hodoring

Green Ronin put out this supplement to the Song of Ice & Fire RPG last year, and it's one of my favorite April Fools' joke products. It's a simple gag, perfectly executed.

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ExXxalted: Scroll of Swallowed Darkness

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White Wolf has always embraced April Fools' Day in a big way, releasing a joke product every year for the last six or seven years at least. These gags often parody White Wolf's own reputation for dark, broody supernatural RPGs and edgy, grown-up gaming themes, but sometimes they go right for the dick joke. ExXxalted is a supplement that adds raunchy, wanton sex to the Exalted RPG in a largely inclusive, sex-positive manner (not that it didn't stir a fair amount of controversy). The short book includes graphic illustrations, one of which I have helpfully censored for you, sexual magic items, spells like one that helps you get your amorous partner out of his or her armor quickly, and even a sexy martial arts form called Swallowing Darkness Style.

Icons: No Laughing Matter

This adventure for the Icons superhero RPG tasks the heroes with stopping a madman known as The Punster. They have to follow his pun and joke clues around the city. I haven't played this one, but honestly it sounds like a great way to torture my gaming group. PUNS.

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Dudes of Legend

White Wolf at it again, poking fun at themselves and their fanbase. This RPG has the greatest name of all time, and if it is somewhat less inclusive than ExXalted (the presence of lesbian strippers is a major selling point), it's because the book is satirizing a certain kind of testosterone-addled gun-bro that forms the true-to-life foundation of a particular stereotype. But it also has actual rules you could use in your World of Darkness campaign if you wanted to see what it would be like if jocks on motorcycles became vampire hunters.

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This book is subtitled "How to Be Fucking Awesome" and it was written by Chuck Wendig. Say no more.

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Dragon Magazine's April Issues

The April Fools' tradition goes way back in gaming, with several articles in Dragon's spring issue devoted to gag magic items or silly adventures. The top image for this article is from one of the April covers. As hard as I'm trying to dig into my memory, the only specific thing I can bring to mind from one of these issues is a magic item called the Ring of Spell Turning. Its only ability was to spell out the word "turning," spelling-bee style, whenever asked.

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DISCUSSION

By
mea.glitch

That same Dragon Magazine (which I lost in a move, sob), had some great other magic items:

- The Robe of Blending, 3 speed: magic robe with a clasp with 4 settings - Off, Chop (2d4 damage to wearer), Mince (4d6), and Liquify (just makes them sick to think about it)

- Hammer +3 Dwarf Thrower: Works normally until wielded by a dwarf, where it promptly launches them for minimal damage to the target, mucho damage to the dwarf. Created by an elven smith

- Omlette of the Planes: an airline food joke.

-Robe of Useless Items: which I forgot about until Traffik posted about it.

- And a bunch I don't remember.

AND it had a bestiary including.

-Man-Drake: male equivalent of a swan maiden, only bigger, dumber, and turned into a goose.

- Killer Fir: A tree whose attack was to fall on you.

- Blink Wooly Mammoth: Like a blink dog, but with a 50% of reappearing 10 feet over your head.