Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Dragonmeet - Signing and Stuff

This Saturday, 6th December 2014, is Dragonmeet - the UK's biggest convention for RPGs and gaming since GenConUK came to an untimely end.

I've not been able to make it to a Dragonmeet in many, many years. 2007 was the last one I attended when I was on a panel with some very recognisable names in the RPG world.
Dragonmeet 2007:(L-R) - Me, Dominic McDowall-Thomas, Chris Birch
Angus Abranson and Fred Hicks
That was back when we were just announcing that we had the Doctor Who license and would be producing the official RPG with the BBC's blessing.

Since then, Dragonmeet has changed hands, changed location, and attendance seems to have increased tremendously - looks like it's going to be a busy one!

I'll be filming a little for the vid-blogs while I'm there, but those lovely people at Cubicle 7 have deemed me important enough to do a signing! I'll be at their stand at 2.30pm, signing the last remaining copies of the Limited Edition Anniversary Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space RPG core rulebook. I must admit, I never thought I was important enough for a signing... I've not really done anything like that before... okay, sure I had a stand at the last UKCAC for the comic, but it's different when a publisher asks you to do a signing rather than you just pimping your own produce.

Seems especially weird when the other name for signings they have is the legend that is Joe Dever, creator of Lone Wolf. The guy is a legend, I'm honoured and a little baffled to be even given remotely similar billing to him on C7's page...

If you're attending Dragonmeet, come and say "hi"!! I'll be the bald one with a red tie and Autocratik badge (courtesy of Chimeric Garnish).


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

TOP 5 - RPGs I've Not Played (but want to)...


First in a few "Top 5" videos - the first looking at tabletop roleplaying games that I'd really like to play but ever have... Upcoming ones include Top 5 Bond Movies, and Top 5 Video Games I've Not Finished!

If you have a suggestion for a Top 5 video, post it in the comments below!

Share and enjoy.

Stay Multi-classy!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Autocratik Broadcast 3 - WILD Down Under

The second half of the videos about my time in Australia looks a little at Dreamtime, and incorporating it into the WILD RPG, as well as some cute footage of koalas and kangaroos. Awwww...


Monday, November 10, 2014

Autocratik Broadcast 2 - A Land Down Under


In a bid to catch up with things, here's the first of two videos that tell of my exploits in Australia. Hope you enjoy!

Now, I must get back to writing for #NaNoWriMo!!!


Monday, November 3, 2014

The Dreaming

Sorry it has been a while since I posted last, or made a video, or actually did anything even remotely productive. I do have an excuse! I was on the other side of the planet...

Me, photobombing Uluru

A bulk of October was spent in Australia, and a great deal of that was spent in the Northern Territories at Uluru. I guess it could be called a research trip, looking into Dreamtime, but the trip - combined with jet lag and making up time in the day-job - has meant it has been very sparse creatively.

However, all that is going to change.

I'm back, and I have a couple of videos in progress - one an abridged version of the interview I did recently with the amazing and wonderful Twisted Twins, Jen and Sylvia Soska, the other a look at the time spent "down under" and my first real experience of visiting another country... (Yeah, I'm not much of a traveller).

In addition to that, I've foolishly signed up for this year's NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) to try to get back into the swing of writing. I don't think I'm going to get anywhere near the word count expected, but some / ANY kind of motivation is great at the moment.

So, expect more to come, and in the meantime, I'll leave you with Kate Bush...


Monday, September 29, 2014

Autocratik Broadcast Treks onto Youtube

Last week I posted the first of my little vid-blogs about RPGs that wasn't connected to #RPGaDAY. It was really just a test for the new microphone (so hopefully gone is the background hiss) and to dig out the old studio lights that I haven't used since the dawn of time and making sure they still worked.


Unfortunately, I really couldn't think of anything to talk about, but I'd just received my copy of The Whispering Road RPG that I'd backed on Kickstarter a while ago. Really nice little storytelling game in the style of a Studio Ghibli movie.

Whispering Road RPG page
It got me thinking about the size of books. I really like a big, glossy hardcover that I can put on the shelves, take down from time to time and marvel at its loveliness. Nobilis immediately comes to mind.

But these huge books are not entirely practical when it comes to being used for gaming. They're not very portable. I remember lugging 10+ Vampire: The Masquerade books about with me for the various games I used to play and run. Not so easy.

Thinking back to the first RPG I played, which was original "little black books" Traveller, I wondered if the small book format is a way to go? FATE certainly seems to be joining the trend for smaller, more portable rulebooks. A bit like the cool smaller Unisystem books that Eden have produced, like WitchCraft and Conspiracy X 2.0.

What do you prefer for your gaming needs? A big, glossy, shiny (but heavy) book, or lots of little ones?

I put the theory into practice and created mock-ups of the Star Trek RPG I'd do if I had the chance. Yes, I know, another displacement from writing WILD...




Let me know what you think of the big vs small book argument. And if you get chance, please subscribe to my Youtube channel. It'd be greatly appreciated. Maybe even click "like" on the video if you liked it. (I already have a dislike... does this mean I've really made it on the interwebs?)

Until next time, Stay Multi-classy!!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Autocratik Channel Trailer - The Shape of Things to Come is Polyhedral


On the Autocratik Channel, coming soon will be a host of videos. 

I'll be looking at my history of roleplaying gaming as well as talking to other gamers and game designers about their gaming history in "Roll Your Own Life"

There will be gameplay videos (that may or may not involve a cat - the worst GM ever). 

There will be videos of taking old stuff out of boxes. 

There will be videos of taking NEW stuff out of boxes!

There will be videos of putting the stuff back in the boxes!

Videos of general nerdery, as well as film and TV reviews, and reporting from press conferences and game conventions.

Please click subscribe to ensure you don't miss a single thing!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Roll Your Own Youtube Series

Today has been spent working on a channel ident for my Youtube channel. Haven't made too much progress, but it's early days yet before I launch my webseries based on the blog entries of Roll Your Own Life.


The series will look at old games, the old game group I used to be in, how friendships were formed, and how gaming has changed and shaped my life. I'm also hoping to interview other gamers and game designers, chatting about how they first started gaming, and how tabletop gaming has shaped their lives.

Between these episodes, I'll be doing some unboxing videos of some ancient RPGs that I haven't opened for decades, looking at some of the old character sheets and notes that may remain, as well as a look at some new releases to see how they compare.

I'll also be chronicling the writing of WILD, and hoping that having to produce videos regularly about its development will encourage me to keep writing it!

Hopefully, it'll be engaging, entertaining, and amusing. (And will probably involve our cat)

If that sounds appealing, please head over to the Youtube channel and click subscribe so you don't miss out when things start happening (though it may not be for a while yet).

Thanks everyone,

Stay Multi-classy!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Reclaiming "Gamer"

There has been a lot of negativity going on in gaming recently. There was the whole "diversity" of D&D being raised in the new rulebook, the "controversy" of those who had had input on 5th Edition, and more recently the "Gamer-Gate" in the video game industry.

Part of this started a few months ago, and was one of the reasons I started #RPGaDAY - to try to get people talking about their fondest memories and experiences in gaming, rather than fuelling the fires of hate.

Just yesterday, Greg Costikyan, who I've always considered to be one of the reasons why I never gave up writing RPGs, posted an entry on Gamasutra blasting the hatemongers, and seeking to reclaim the word Gamer. We should be able to say we're "gamers" without feeling like that's a negative thing.

Most of the games we play are a social experience, bringing people together. Greg started a group on Facebook called "Reclaiming 'Gamer'" and people have been joining in and spreading the word of how gaming has been a positive force in their lives.

Below, is my post to that group:

--

I am a gamer. I didn't have many friends at school, but I joined a gaming group that have become the strongest friends that remain true and loyal even after 35+ years.
I am a gamer. When I first left school all I wanted to do was to write roleplaying games. While I was classed as "unemployed" I would type on an old typewriter for hours every day to submit manuscripts to West End Games.
I am a gamer. My first regular job was drawing maps for the local council's nature conservation department. My boss gave me the job because at the interview and on my CV it said I played D&D. He knew this meant I could work in a team, think my way out of problems, and could read maps.
I am a gamer. When I relocated across the country to study at university I found like minded people who rekindled my love of RPGs, and there I met the person who would become my wife.
Gaming has been with me for as long as I can remember, it is part of who I am, and now I have realised the dream and have worked on a large number of games, most recently designing the official Doctor Who RPG for Cubicle 7.
The ethics of tabletop RPGs - working together as a team to achieve a goal - has become so ingrained in my psyche that, while I love video games, I quickly get bored of the standard macho guys shooting guys games and look for games where players work together (Rock Band possibly being my favourite of all time).
RPGs have given me the best friends I could hope for, and with ‪#‎RPGaDAY‬I tried to get people talking about the positive side of gaming, and was blown away by the response - a simple month of chatting about our fondest gaming memories spread far and wide, across the globe and accepted by everyone.
Gamer, to me, is a positive word and we shouldn't let become tarnished by a group of narrow minded idiots. Thankfully, I've been lucky and I've not encountered any of them, and everyone I've met in the roleplaying industry over the years have been amazing and supportive people, and I'm proud to be accepted as part of them.

--

People should think of games and smile. So here's a picture of our cat...

Stay multi-classy...

Monday, September 1, 2014

#RPGaDAY in a Day. A Month in Review

Wow. Well, August is over, and #RPGaDAY was amazing. I thought it would just be a bit of fun - August is a bad month for a number of reasons, and it would be a good distraction - and I thought it would be nice to talk about the cool and positive side of tabletop gaming, and get everyone reminiscing and feeling nostalgic for those great games we've played, characters we loved, and encounters that have stayed with us over the years.



I really wasn't expecting it to be so readily adopted by so many people worldwide. To hear the name "Autocratik" being spoken on Brazilian vid-casts as people the other side of the planet to me started discussing their favourite adventure and favourite games was just amazing.

Thank you everybody who took part, started following me on Twitter or liked the Facebook page, or just spread the word about #RPGaDAY. Thank you everyone.

I've seen people comment saying that it has helped with their word count to get their blog-writing motivation going, some have said that it has helped them through a bad month as well, some even mentioned that they've learned a lot about writing through working through the questions. I'm just stunned. I'm really overwhelmed that people got so much out of it. Fantastic.

Quite a few people I've followed have summed up their 31 entries in a simple, single blog entry and have suggested that I do the same. So here goes!

Day 1 - First Game Played

As chronicled many, many, many, many months ago, it was original LBB Traveller.


Day 2 - First RPG Gamemastered

Again, chronicled in the early days of this blog, it was the glorious Star Frontiers.


Day 3 - First RPG Purchased

The blue (wizard) covered AD&D Player's Handbook. Bought that before Star Frontiers, to join in with the AD&D game. Still owned today.

Day 4 - Most Recent RPG Purchase

The rather awesome Atomic Robo RPG (powered by Fate), bought at the same time as the new D&D 5th Edition / D&D Next Starter Set.

Day 5 - Most Old-School RPG Owned

While I looked at the old white-box Warhammer, I plumped for TSR's old spy RPG Top Secret. (Finding it hard to write that without the exclamation point, but that's a whole different kind of game involving Val Kilmer...)

Day 6 - Favourite RPG You Never Get to Play

I went for Leverage. Amazing looking game, just don't really have any players...

Day 7 - Most Intellectual RPG Owned

Had to be Nobilis. Gorgeous, but way, waaaay smarter than I am.

Day 8 - Favourite Character

As I don't get to play much, as I GM more than I play, I opted for a bunch of characters that I enjoyed GMing for - the old Mage / Kult / WitchCraft game I used to play. The rather amazing little group of goths that hung around a strange mansion in north London. Awesome.

Day 9 - Favourite Die / Dice Set

I went for my very first D20, which I store in a sad little display box...


Day 10 - Favourite tie in Novel / Game Fiction

The rather amazing Dark*Matter novels which captured the weird X-Files feeling perfectly and kept my head in the right mood for writing Conspiracy X 2.0.

Day 11 - Weirdest RPG Owned

There were a few that leapt to mind. I went for Price of Freedom, which was an odd choice for a subject for a game. While I nearly went for the Xena and Hercules RPG by WEG, I also picked out the Neon Genesis Evangelion RPG, which I've never read as it's entirely in Japanese.


Day 12 - Old RPG You Still Play / Read

I've just started playing a fantasy game that uses the Buffy version of Cinematic Unisystem, so that's really the old RPG I still play (possibly because it's the only game I still play at the moment).

Day 13 - Most Memorable Character Death

Ah, my poor and stupid thief character who enjoyed setting off traps. I guess he deserved everything he got. Pull those levers, see what they do!!!

Day 14 - Best Convention Purchase

One of the elusive supplements for the James Bond RPG - Thrilling Locations!

Day 15 - Favourite Convention Game

CJ Carella's demos of Buffy that were happening on the table next to the Eden Studios stand at Gen Con UK was amazing. 

Day 16 - Game You Wish You Owned

Coming back to the awesome James Bond RPG by Victory Games, I picked the Assault tabletop battle game that I was missing. And possibly some of the other Bond supplements I'm missing like Dr No and Octopussy...


Day 17 - Funniest Game You've Played

It could only really be one choice, and that was Ghostbusters... love that game.


Day 18 - Favourite Game System

While I love Unisystem, really enjoyed oWoD, and WEG's D6 system, I've had the most fun writing and using the Vortex system. Bit of a gratuitous self-plug, but it's not because it's the best game system, but one I've had the most fun with.

Day 19 - Favourite Published Adventure

I picked out two - again with the James Bond with For Your Eyes Only, and secondly with the immensely creepy Kult RPG's "The Judas Grail".

Day 20 - Game You'll Still Play in 20 Years' Time

Again, I went for something a little self-referential, and mentioned WILD.


Day 21 - Favourite Licensed RPG

While I could have mentioned James Bond, Ghostbusters, Star Wars, Buffy, Firefly, etc... I decided to rant about the lack of Harry Potter RPG, and how much I want to write it...


Day 22 - Best Secondhand RPG Purchase

Which were the first editions of CJ Carella's games WitchCraft and Armageddon. One day I'll get them signed...

 

Day 23 - Coolest Looking RPG Product

I love square books...  so it has to be Nobilis again!

Day 24 - Most Complicated RPG Owned

I own a lot of complicated games, but I think GURPS and 4th Edition D&D would probably win... But a special mention goes to Space Opera.


Day 25 - Favourite RPG no one else wants to play...

Everway look amazing, but I get the feeling that I'd never get any of the players I know to give it a go...

Day 26 - Coolest Character Sheet

The coolest character sheet that I've seen in recent years has to be the amazing Numenera RPG's sheet... very cool, gorgeous and folds in an interesting way!


Day 27 - Game You'd Most Like to See A New / Improved Version Of...

Again, another chance for me to rant about games I'd love to write - James Bond and Star Trek.

Day 28 - Scariest RPG Played

Some of the events and encounters in the Kult game were incredibly tense, and one of the most jittery experiences of gaming I've had.


Day 29 - Most Memorable Encounter

This one had to be John's Call of Cthulhu game, with one of our player characters going mad and running off to become a follower of Y'golonac, sprouting mouths in the palms of his hands. Really creepy.

Day 30 - Rarest RPG Owned

I love the limited editions of games, but like a lot of avid RPG collectors, the rarest and favourite of my RPG collection is Last Unicorn Games' "Dune" RPG.

Day 31 - Favourite RPG of all time...

Surprising everyone, my favourite RPG (well certainly the one I have the fondest memories of) is West End Games' Star Wars RPG. Glorious game, setting the bar for licensed RPGs to follow...


-

And that was it!!

If you want to suggest topics for the daily questions for next year, feel free to drop me a line in the comments.

If you enjoyed #RPGaDAY, head over the Will Brooks' Facebook page, and his Twitter, and show your support.

Thank you again for taking part. Keep playing games and above all...

Stay Multiclassy!!


Sunday, August 31, 2014

#RPGaDAY - Day 31: Favourite RPG of all time...

First of all, many thanks to everyone who has taken part in #RPGaDAY. It's been far wider, more accepted and cooler than I'd ever imagined. Thank you all.

Favourite RPG is a tricky one, but I've had to narrow it down by thinking of the RPG I had the most fun with and have the fondest memories of playing.



Saturday, August 30, 2014

#RPGaDAY - Day 30: Rarest RPG Owned

I do have a bit of a thing for those collectors editions, like the leather bound D&D 3.5s, the collector's Buffy RPG books, and the leather bound Deadlands... but Dune deserves a special mention...


Friday, August 29, 2014

#RPGaDAY - Day 29: Most Memorable Encounter

John used to run some amazing Call of Cthulhu games, and having a player character go mad and become our new recurring villain was easily one of the many highlights...


Thursday, August 28, 2014

#RPGaDAY - Day 28: Scariest Game You've Played

Kult is the only game I've GM'd where I've actually felt jittery with nerves while playing...


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

#RPGaDAY - Day 27: Game You'd Like to See a New / Improved Version of...

Oh, there are so many! How about a new Ghostbusters game? Though it's hard to beat the original first edition... maybe a new printing of that with full colour images?

What about Dune? There was that one, incredibly rare one, but then nothing...

Instead, I've picked a couple of games that have existed before but haven't had new versions in many, many years...


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

#RPGaDAY - Day 26: Coolest Character Sheet

There are a lot of very cool character sheets out there, I'm going to post a few below, but the coolest as far as I've seen recent games has to be Numenera.


The Numenera character sheet is pretty darn gorgeous. Just look at it!!

Numenera Character Sheet (c) Monte Cook Games
Phenomenal.

Other games with cool character sheets that deserve a mention are:

ICAR Character Sheet



Tephra Character Sheet

Monday, August 25, 2014

#RPGaDAY - Day 25: Favourite RPG No One Else Wants To Play

There's been a little confusion with today's topic, especially as it sounds very much like Day 6 "Favourite RPG Never Get To Play". The theory behind it was that Day 6 was more of a "I don't get chance to play this one", even though I went for Leverage - a game I've not played as it's hard to find players who are into the series (Jarval and Ellie, we'll have to play Leverage soon! Never knew you were fans!), whereas today's topic is a "no one else wants to play this one"...


Everway is a beautiful set, and I'm ashamed to say that I actually bought my copy from a discount bookstore for £1. It's just really intriguing, but I've not experienced the way it plays. Really should give it a go and find out what's going on. Whatever it's like, it has been incredibly inspirational for my work on WILD.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

#RPGaDAY - Day 24: Most Complicated RPG Owned

I like simple games. Ones that I don't have to keep looking things up on charts, tables and supplements. Maybe that's why I've always gone for simple systems that you can remember what to do pretty easily - Ghostbusters, Star Wars D6, World of Darkness, Unisystem and so on...

It doesn't mean I haven't bought or tried many incredibly complex game systems in the past.


The worst culprit in my recollection is Space Opera.

The whole game just seemed to be a mass of charts, tables and pages, upon pages, of character creation and combat rules. Just rolling up a character took multiple evenings, and it just put us off completely.

However, it's not a game I've ever owned, I only spent hours generating a character in my youth...

No, the winner of this title for Day 24 of #RPGaDAY is an edition of a game I used to play a LOT as a kid, that became far, far, FAR too complicated for me to ever consider playing, even though I bought the posh slipcase of the rulebooks.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

#RPGaDAY - Day 23: Coolest Looking RPG Product

Day 23 of #RPGaDAY is "Coolest Looking RPG Product". There are a lot of very cool looking books, dice and minis out there at the moment, some of them are really quite new like Numenera, but I've decided to look at some of the older books and some of the coolest bits of book design I've seen in RPGs over the years.



Friday, August 22, 2014

#RPGaDAY - Day 22: Best Secondhand RPG Purchase

Day 22 of #RPGaDAY is "best secondhand RPG purchase" where I look at a couple of convention purchase I made to get signed when I was on the Eden Studios stand at the second to last Gen Con UK.


1st Edition Armageddon
1st Edition Witchcraft


Thursday, August 21, 2014

#RPGaDAY - Day 21: Favourite Licensed RPG

Today's post harks back to something I wrote about at length before on here - Harry Potter. The wife and I love Harry Potter and the wizarding world. We'd do just about anything to be able to write the official RPG...


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

#RPGaDAY - Day 20: Will Still Be Playing in 20 Years' Time

An odd one that one, as a lot of the games I bought 20 years ago I still have (but don't really get to play them). I've taken this as an opportunity to waffle on about WILD, the RPG I've been working on for three years, and probably will still be working on in 20 years time...


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

#RPGaDAY - Day 19: Favourite Published Adventure

This doesn't mean scenario you've had published, just a scenario that was published that you've run or played in and enjoyed. It can be a purchased scenario, or one that was printed in a magazine, or a freebie download or something.


In my case, I had difficulty choosing between two. The first being the rather awesome James Bond RPG - I ran the "For Your Eyes Only" scenario three or four times for different people and had very different outcomes each time. Fantastic game.

The other was The Judas Grail scenario for the legendary RPG "Kult". Never finished running the game, the players kept getting distracted and going off in different directions, but it was great fun and Kult is still an amazing game that has stayed in mind all this time.

Monday, August 18, 2014

#RPGaDAY - Day 18: Favourite Game System

I know what you're going to say, "oh, you're just going to say your own game system because you're so full of yourself." Well, you'd be right on one account (choosing my own system), but it's not because I think it's the best game system out there... that's not the topic. I went with Vortex because I've had a real blast working with the game system. Ask me again next year, and I may pick the system used in WILD...


Sunday, August 17, 2014

#RPGaDAY - Day 17: Funniest Game You've Played

Conventions are all about having fun, so when better to talk about the funniest game you've ever played?


Saturday, August 16, 2014

#RPGaDAY - Day 16: Game You Wish You Owned

Gen Con is in full swing, and conventions like that are a great place to find those hard to find and rare RPGs that you've been looking for for years. So what RPG are you still looking for? 



Friday, August 15, 2014

#RPGaDAY - Day 15: Favourite Convention Game

It's the 15th of August, and Gen Con is well underway. As part of the convention theme, let's talk about our favourite convention games...


Thursday, August 14, 2014

#RPGaDAY - Day 14: Best Convention Purchase

It's the 14th of August, which is officially the first day of Gen Con!! To celebrate the start of the convention, it's a convention themed topic for today's #RPGaDAY... "Best Convention Purchase".


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

#RPGaDAY - Day 13: Most Memorable Character Death

As it's the 13th, and unlucky for some (well, I guess that's more effective if it's a Friday, but, hey...) I thought we'd go with Most Memorable Character Death for #RPGaDAY...


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

#RPGaDAY - Day 12: Old RPG you still play / read

Day 12 of #RPGaDAY is "Old RPG You Still Play / Read". Given half the chance, that would be half of my collection... but I don't actually get to play very much. However, I've just started a game which uses an old system, just interpreted in a different way...


Monday, August 11, 2014

#RPGaDAY - Day 11: Weirdest RPG Owned

Day 11 of #RPGaDAY is "Weirdest RPG Owned". There are a lot of very strange RPGs out there. One of which I wouldn't mind getting hold of is the official Dallas RPG, based on the TV series (apparently, despite the weird idea of running a game set in the world of JR and Sue Ellen, it's supposed to be a very good game!)

However, I'm going to have to go with one I've never actually read, even though I've had it for years...


Sunday, August 10, 2014

#RPGaDAY - Day 10: Favourite Tie-In Novel / Game Fiction

I know a lot of people find the fiction in game books to be irritating, but without actually feeling the setting I can't get to grips with what I'm supposed to be playing. I find the fiction essential, as it gives me more of a feel for the environment than a load of rules text can.


When I was trying to keep my head in the right frame of mind for writing Conspiracy X 2.0, I found the best series of novels (short of reading the X-Files novels again) was the Dark*Matter novels.

--

Bonus points for Slytherin if you can spot the TWO movie references in the opening few seconds of the video...

Saturday, August 9, 2014

#RPGaDAY - Day 9: Favourite Die / Dice Set

Day 9 of #RPGaDAY is "Favourite Die / Dice Set". I love dice. I don't know why, they're just something I can't stop loving. There have been times designing WILD that I've thought about ditching dice altogether and just using the Tarot cards, but I find there's something super fast about the way dice work and their mechanic. I may change my mind...

Anyway, onto my favourite die...


I have a lot of dice. The wife and I have accumulated a lot over the years, so we've taken to storing them in a dispenser that once resided in our old Ottakar's bookstore.


If you want to take a look at the die in the video, I do keep it on a little stand in an old dice box, like a treasured relic from the past...


Friday, August 8, 2014

#RPGaDAY - Day 8: Favourite Character

I don't really play an awful lot, so instead I used Day 8 of #RPGaDAY to talk about some of the cool characters I've GMd for over the years. My favourite being this group of sulky goth Mages...


Thursday, August 7, 2014

#RPGaDAY - Day 7: Most "Intellectual" RPG Owned

Love the "air quotes", that seems to have stirred things up a bit. This, again, has caused some confusion over the term "intellectual". Honestly, it's not as highbrow as it seems. It's just me showing how stupid I can be at understanding things sometimes, and how many times I have to read something to simply "get it".

My degree was in art and film making you know, not philosophy... I drew pictures.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

#RPGaDAY - Day 6: Favourite RPG You Never Get To Play

Day 6 of #RPGaDAY is Favourite RPG You Never Get To Play, which kinda says it all really...




Tuesday, August 5, 2014

#RPGaDAY - Day 5: Most Old School RPG Owned

This one has caused a little confusion with the term, "old school". I was just thinking the oldest RPG you have, maybe I should have worded it that way... oh, well. You live and learn!! I didn't want to just go for AD&D again, as I've already waved my Player's Handbook around. I sold my Star Frontiers sets, so the oldest game I have must be Top Secret.


Monday, August 4, 2014

#RPGaDAY - Day 4: Most Recent RPG Purchase

For Day 4 of #RPGaDAY I headed to The Games Room, in Norwich, a really cool shop in old part of the city. Elm Hill is ancient, the shops are all in listed buildings and they even converted part of the street into being a market for the film "Stardust" - If you look at this site by local photographer David Woodcock you can see the Games Room converted with small birdcages on the front of the shop for the filming.

The shop has been the "go to" place for all kinds of gaming for as long as I've been living in Norfolk, so it was the place to head for some recent purchases!!


There I picked up the new D&D Starter Set, and the FATE powered Atomic Robo RPG.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

#RPGaDAY Day 3: First RPG Purchased

Day Three of #RPGaDAY is "First RPG Purchased". While Star Frontiers was the first game I GM'd, in order to feel like the rest of the group I was playing with, I felt the need to purchase dice, and my own copy of the AD&D Player's Handbook. A gem I still have even now...


Saturday, August 2, 2014

#RPGaDAY - DAY 2: First RPG Gamemastered

The dayjob has been dominating every waking moment, so I've only really had time to post the videos and keep up with the social media on this, rather than write anything significant as a blog post. So here's the start of my catch ups for #RPGaDAY.

For DAY TWO, is First RPG Gamemastered.


Wow, great freezeframe there. Yes, the first game I "GM'd" was Star Frontiers. I rambled about my first GMing experiences and playing Star Frontiers way back on an earlier page of this blog you can see here.


Friday, August 1, 2014

#RPGaDAY - Day 1: First RPG Played...


Day 1 is first RPG played, which has to be Traveller. In the video I recount it all, and you can read about the first gaming experience waaaaay back on this blog here.

Thanks to everyone who's already taken part, started to recall their early gaming experiences and sharing the RPG love.


Saturday, July 5, 2014

#RPGaDAY in August

Borough Press' #Bookaday
For the whole of June, The Borough Press, an imprint of HarperCollins, ran a cool thing online called #bookaday, which later changed to #bookadayuk. They provided a handy table of topics for the month and every day people were encouraged to post a picture, or just discuss, their favourite books on various social media. Yes, it was a marketing ploy, but it was fun and it got the internet talking about books. And, yes, I love books...

Each day in June I pondered the topic for the day and posted a photo of a book which I thought fit the category of the day. Whether this was "book with a blue cover" or "never finished it", I worked my way through the month and saw what other readers were posting online. 

However, being a gamer I felt compelled to sneak in a couple of roleplaying games into mix. I posted the AD&D Player's Handbook and the old West End Games Ghostbusters RPG, and quickly people were discussing games from their past and exchanging fond memories.

Which lead me to the big question - why not do the same for RPGs?

With a great set of topics for each day it could really get the internet talking about roleplaying games. The ideal month would be August, as its when one of the largest gaming conventions takes place - Gen Con. I suggested the idea to my friends on the "Book of Faces". Initial response was good, and with some fantastic suggestions for day topics from Ellie, and recruiting Will Brooks' awesome graphic design skills, the following list of topics have been compiled to make August #RPGaDAY.



The questions have been designed to be genre, game and system non-specific, so it doesn't matter if you're an old school D&D gamer, or running a superfast game of FATE, your input is encouraged! The topics have also been designed to be positive. None of this "worst game evar!", the harshest the topics get is memorable character death (which can often be either going out in a blaze of glory, or doing something stupid like activating an obvious trap). I just wanted everyone to chat about all the fun they've had with RPGs, and to share the positive aspects of gaming - hell, as I've mentioned on this blog before, I got my first dayjob thanks to RPGs, met my wife at a game, and started hanging out with a group of friends at school who would remain the best of friends even today.

So if you can, please share the image (you can download it direct from the Autocratik site here), spread the word as far as you can, and lets get people talking RPGs for August.

I've posted the list of topics as text below as well, so you can copy them if you like. 

1st - First RPG Played
2nd - First RPG Gamemastered
3rd - First RPG Purchased
4th - Most recent RPG purchase
5th - Most Old School RPG owned
6th - Favourite RPG Never get to play
7th - Most “intellectual” RPG owned
8th - Favourite character
9th - Favourite Die / Dice Set
10th - Favourite tie-in Novel / Game Fiction
11th - Weirdest RPG owned
12th - Old RPG you still play / read
13th - Most Memorable Character Death
14th - Best Convention Purchase
15th - Favourite Convention Game
16th - Game you wish you owned
17th - Funniest Game you’ve played
18th - Favourite Game System
19th - Favourite Published Adventure
20th - Will still play in 20 years time…
21st - Favourite Licensed RPG
22nd - Best Secondhand RPG Purchase
23rd - Coolest looking RPG product / book
24th - Most Complicated RPG Owned
25th - Favourite RPG no one else wants to play
26th - Coolest character sheet
27th - Game You’d like to see a new / improved edition of…
28th - Scariest Game you’ve played
29th - Most memorable encounter
30th - Rarest RPG Owned
31st - Favourite RPG of all time


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Monday, May 19, 2014

What the Hell am I doing?


I'm having one of those months where I'm questioning everything I'm doing. Whether this is my writing, drawing, or even the day-job, I just keep coming back to wondering if I'm doing the right thing.

For the last month, the day-job has taken up 90% of my waking time (as usual), with my lunch hours being spent hiding in the public library or coffee shops working on the second draft of the WILD novel that I completed as part of NaNoWriMo a couple of Novembers ago.

I'd been reading novels before going to sleep, books that had dreams as subject, and I've been mostly frustrated that they're not what I've been looking for. First up was Dream London by Tony Ballantyne. It was certainly cool, well written and very dreamlike. There were some particularly cool moments involving people strangely queuing up to look at the bottom of a hole like some tourist attraction. Looking through the strange manhole size hole at the bottom of this pit the viewer can see another landscape far below, as if looking through a gap in the clouds, a hole in reality to another world below. All in all, very smart, but I just didn't like the lead character - he was an archaic "Flashman-esque" womanising scoundrel, and not what I'd want from a lead character.

The next on my reading list was the "Wake" series by Lisa McMann - (Wake / Fade / Gone). Sure, it's a teen fiction title, but never let that put you off of a good book! This one featured a teenage girl, Janie, who is pulled into other people's dreams if they fall asleep in close proximity. This makes things tricky when you're in high school and people keep falling asleep in class. She learns to use her ability to help people overcome their recurring nightmares, and starts working for the police department, going into the dreams of suspects to see if they're guilty of crimes.

The first of the trilogy was good (Wake), the second okay (Fade) which focussed on the unsavoury topic of trying to expose a sexual predator in school, whereas the third (Gone) is quite depressing as Janie discovers the side effects of her ability and must make a choice between using it, or living a shortened life in seclusion.

I've heard that they've optioned the Wake series as a movie, starring Miley Cyrus, which sounds like an awful choice - Wake would work pretty well as a supernatural police procedural TV series, maybe not as a movie, but I wait to be proven wrong.

But neither of these filled the desire for Inception. I guess that's all I really wanted from a book as Inception part 2. Maybe I should just try reading Paprika again. That's kinda why I wanted to write the novel (sorry, novels) that form WILD's backstory. I wanted to explore the reasons why Carter created the dreamshare device, and the emotional progression as he learns to communicate with his comatose daughter, and puts family before the billion-dollar tech company he spent his life building.

Just creating the plot, and the backstory has helped form the universe of the game, and has inspired the images on the WILD Tarot that has become an integral part of the game system.

However, the more I think about the book, and the second draft, the more I question my abilities in writing fiction - I mean, I've dabbled in fiction before but I'm a game designer. I write like bloomin' stereo instructions.

The other options would be to take the story (which I have mostly plotted out in my head) and script it as a comic (which would be okay if only I could actually draw worth a damn) or as a script for TV (who would even look at it, it's not like I can show off my screenwriting skills, especially no one can see my previous screenwriting work).

Maybe I should just get back to the game?

I thought about what needs to be done for it, and it's not horrific, but it's still a long way off. It really is a labour of love. I guess what I need to do is go through everything I've done and start working out what needs changing and writing.

Part of the roughs of the cover image for WILD. (c) Autocratik 2014
I even thought about getting the cover sorted - paying for it to be done. This way I'd have to get the game finished, otherwise I'd have wasted my money paying a professional artist to produce a cover. I have a very definite idea of what I want the cover to look like, so it'll probably be rubbish. I wanted it to be a flip cover for front and back, with the images merging in the middle at the spine - dreamers joined in a shared world. I tried to draw a version of the idea myself, but then I remembered I can't draw... Maybe soon...

So there you have it, that's my current state - so many ideas, no time to actually do it.

Let's break it down -

Things I want to do with WILD:

  • Finish writing the game
  • Pretty artwork - David Despau meets Windsor McCay
  • Cool layout - if House of Leaves was an RPG book, that'd be it... Like 2nd Ed KULT.
  • Build a prop version of the ALICE headset and the Dreamshare Device.
  • Make a video trailer for the game, fake company infomercials for the product as well.
  • Finish the novels, all three of them. 
  • Graphic novels?
If only I had the time... And that's before I even think about the ideas I've had for how a Harry Potter RPG would work...