Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Defense of Roleplaying

This entry's title should be "The Defense of Roleplaying In A Roleplaying Game: The History Itself." Now I like OSR/OSG/0E/Retro-Clone/'Nards as much as the next person that buys RPG material. Like Finland sitting next to Russia, as a guy that likes "indy" adventure gaming as much as that country likes access to the Baltic Sea most of my hobby world is dominated by their presence. I like reading their blogs, watching their videos, and buying their books. What I am starting view in the same vein as East German intellectuals from the mid-80s trying to show the real freedom of totalitarian society away from individualistic ideas, are a lot of them lecturing me about how "role-playing" was not a part of D&D.

Role-playing as a parlor game is the point of any RPG publication. While the mind game of figuring out which rules from a few books, a couple editions, and possibly a homegrown additive here and there a Dungeon Master is applying to a particular "puzzle" can be a bit of fun, a full game it does not make. Don't miss the point that I am saying that there is are places for that in any RPG campaign, but that doesn't have to be the point of an RPG campaign. Things like "character development" and "motives" are not dirty words in a game where the players play "Characters" and the GM presents an adventure.

Don't give me that "Trad Vs Narrative" line of reasoning. The tradition of the "Trad" style of gaming is more designed to get rid of unwanted players and then focusing on the quest of the approved players. Maybe GMs use it for one offs at conventions and folks show to scare away the wife for a couple hours. Guess what. White Wolf RPGers don't often do dungeon crawls and are about daydream fulfillment, but they love getting into arguments about rules as often as any Old School Gamester. Can we as a hobby move on?

I get it. Parchment bound rule-zines like Chain Mail were not an RPG. But when Dungeons and Dragons became a thing that there were a lot more people roleplaying being elves and half-orcs and dwarves than people worrying about where every secret door and false floor was in forty rooms.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

2019 Calendar

So setting up a schedule to refer back to over the year.

Jan 27-Feb 15:
Getting ready for BASHCon in Toledo (Feb 15-17)
FEB 15th (?): The release of Wobble: the RPG
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Feb 18- July 31:
Getting ready for GENCon's (Aug 1st-5th?) seven runs and working on Spacers(TM): Universe
July 31st (?): The release of SPACERS(TM): Universe.
August 6- September 30: Prepare Crawlspace's Halloween special.
October 1st(?): Release the Crawlspace Halloween special.
October 1-Nov 15: Work on Red Bat Christmas special.
December 1st(?): Release X-Mas Red Bat.
December 1-?: Begin Crawlspace, The Letterbox Edition rule additions.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Mental Scribbling

Got the goblin off my back
For some reason my weekend has been filled with me writing a quick game setting, Gangstas and Goblins, which while fun was a bit draining. 19 pages of typing, a few crappy illustrations by me, and Wallah! Oh that magic feeling when it's done. I can check emails again.  It will hardly sell, I know that, but I did get to get my notes on Types (that's classes to you who speak D&D) like Paladins, Witches, and Rogue sorcerers written. And I clarified in my head what style of urban fantasy that I'd like to run. The only thing is the hangover from all the beer, like 9, and then the four vodka cocktails, I drank while powering through the last parts. Bleg. I need to save binging creativity and partying for GenCon. Back to Spacers(TM): Universe where coffee and tea can be used for paragraphs not pages.

Is M. Mercer the Donald Trump of the RPG world? 
I like my web-series as much as anybody else. I was quite the fan of David Nett his Gold-an RPG series. I've gotten to watch the work of Eric Radic and Adam Rady from Walking in Circles evolve into Dragons & Stuff/Things. While I loved the movie The Gamers: Dorkness Rising, I dug seeing the gang, especially Jennifer Page, in JourneyQuest. But why is it that I keep hearing about the Critical Role or some such? I am not a D&D guy so I'm just not that into the informercial shows directly for the 5e. I guess the scandal around whether it's authentic or wrestling style table-top acting gives the show promotion as well as those involved in the back and forth. I suspect that in a year, the show or podcast or Youtube series or whatever it is will be just another RPG-oriented bit of culture struggling to keep the interest up. In short, he who lives by the crises dies by the ennui of the audience.

So here's my own crisis advertisement!
Buy it now. They are running out of paper for PDFs!

Monday, January 7, 2019


Around 1983, maybe 1984, I was standing in a gaming store, as in RPG and wargame store, somewhere in the thumb of Michigan looking at Chaosium's take on Larry Niven's Ringworld. I had read the Ringworld Engineers as a serial in Galileo magazine in '79 or so and was quite taken with the work. I had read the author's other Known Space stories, the setting behind the mega-structure, in a Playboy or Penthouse collection of the S-F works like the year before. I had some money in my pocket and I was starting to dig science fiction role-playing. I had it in my hands and was about to buy it. Then something happened, I bought something else. I think one of my friends was running something and I purchased that product instead to get ready for those sit-downs.

Then the mid-80s would roll into the late 80s and 90s, where I was too busy to buy games but could run and play in games for a couple of months here and there. Deeper into the 90s, I would pick up Niven'snovels The Throne of Ringworld and The Children of Ringworld in the depths of Eastern Europe, Poland and Romania, from train station bookstores' "international" sections spending a bit much for the paperbacks but definitely worth it. Then in '99 I finally read Ringworld itself. Oddly enough, having access to the new world of fantasy fandom on-line, I could never find a substantial community around the works. I did notice that the RPG was going for 200-300$ (US). That said I realized I was still quite the fan. My T&T crowd would tease me for bringing it up in our group, usually citing the author's mention of sex as a turn off to their own tastes, so I'd shut-up about it.

In the Aughts, I bugged old gamer friends that were Chaosium enthusiasts looking for copies of the work-- something I'd rather do than pay some stranger now 350-450$ on Ebay. I actually had been burned buying some materials on E-Bay on book resale sites with books so full of mold and cracking pages, I definitely wouldn't trust the outlets again. Anybody that I knew that had the work would not sell it to me. A couple owed me a bit of money even. I would check for it at Chaosium's site and convention booths. I would look for it at used RPG book sellers at those same conventions. So around the Tweens ('10-'15), somebody would get me an illegal PDF, so at least I could try to read through the work on my Kindle which was wholly inadequate for the task, but I did get through all of it. The resulting headaches were worth it, the material was dry but very detailed. It'd help me cope with the big budget fan fiction that I would read as "prequels" promoted as being co-authored by the now dead Larry Niven and staff writers for the Fleet of Worlds series and whatever the Fate of Worlds was.

So I thought I was done until some TV producer might come along with a Ringworld-derived mini-series or some such. And then Pery posted to me about it being now available at our FLAG store, Weird Realms. Well, it's close to my B-Day, and I just happened to have about 150$ in my wallet yesterday, and the price was less than that. Wallah! I know have a legitimate copy of the work. I can die now.

Knowing my luck, Chaosium will now release the work for PWYW at  DriveThruRPG.