Saturday, December 12, 2015

WWTDD?

Last weekend was Dragonmeet 2015, another great convention where I had chance to mingle with incredibly cool people, chat about games and see what's awesome and hot in gaming.

Oooooh, look at the shiny!!
There was about an hour where I stood behind the Cubicle 7 stand while Dom went off to host the "what's coming from C7" seminar where I got to plug the new edition of the Doctor Who Roleplaying Game (no longer "Adventures in Time and Space"). Super shiny it is too. Every time a new edition comes out I'm just blown away by how gorgeous these books are...

But while I was on the stand, a chap came up to me and started talking about the Doctor Who RPG (sorry, I didn't get your name!) and asked "How do I run a game with 5+ players?"

Interesting question. My initial reaction was to run something without the Doctor or a Time Lord altogether - a Torchwood team, or a UNIT squad or something. Or look to the Fifth Doctor era when he had the most companions at once! 

But travelling back on the train that night I couldn't help but ponder over the question and how to actually run a Doctor Who campaign with a large group. My gaming groups are usually only three players and a GM max, but I used to run a Vampire game with eleven players - though not all of them at the same time...

It was the typical control-freak in me wanting to have a huge setting and lots of players. There was a group of players in my home town, and another load where I was at University (as it is now) studying, so rather than run two different games, I ran them all as one big setting. Two groups whose actions would affect each other.

It kinda got out of hand when the Vampire game spawned a brief Werewolf: The Apocalypse game, still in the same universe, and then a Mage: The Ascension game... of course, while the other games faded in time, the Mage game continued.

But actually running a group that big was more of a case of having a big enough setting, one that I was familiar with and knew what was going on, and leaving the players to it. It's the equivalent of open-world videogaming. Imagine all of your players are in GTAV... they can go wherever they like, and engage in missions when they fancy. Things happen to pull them into action, but there's no railroading or forcing them on their way...

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Oh Pond... I miss Amy Pond...
So, how could that work with Doctor Who?

For a group of about 5 or 6, I'd stick with my earlier suggestion and have no Time Lord player character. It could be a mundane Earth-bound game of investigation and defence. My old Dr Who game (we're talking old FASA RPG) run by our rather awesome Cthulhu Keeper, John, had the Time Lord (The Collector) absent a lot of the time as the player was one of the least frequent to attend (sorry, Gladys, but it's true. You hardly ever turned up).

This meant John could run Doctor Who like his Cthulhu games. Very Tom Baker - Hinchcliffe and Holmes era - dark, spooky and gothic with lots of sneaking around and stumbling upon alien plots. The Time Lord would almost drop them places to investigate and then bugger off somewhere.

This could be very like the upcoming spin-off series, Class. Where the Doctor isn't present at all (or makes a brief cameo) and the kids at the school do all the investigating. Of course, this does mean the characters can get into trouble more, but the guest starring Time Lord can appear as an NPC when needed to save them. Though that could get old, fast...

If you don't want them Earth-bound, have one of them have access to a found Vortex manipulator, or have them find technology to allow them to hitch-hike their way across the galaxy. Now that sounds like an idea for book. Or maybe a radio series...

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I'll probably come back to this topic in future, but I hope this helps.

Do check out the new version of the Dr Who RPG, it's very cool.


Love those credits!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Dragonmeet 2015


Just a quick post to say that, hopefully, all being well, I should be at Dragonmeet again this Saturday. If you see me wandering about (I'm the bald one in the black suit - though probably no red tie this year!) feel free to say hi!

Do excuse me if it takes a second for me to recognise you - I'm terrible with faces and names. One of those weird things. I can name actors and list the movies/series they've been in, but actual people is another matter...

Anyway, say hi, and I hope it's as cool as last year's convention!

(Also, if you want your Dr Who or Conspiracy X books signing, feel free to ask!)

Me at last year's convention, signing the core rulebook for
a couple of eager players! Thanks guys!


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

(Hopefully not the Last) Witch Hunter

Illustration by Mark J. Hiblen - support his work here!

I know, I should be adding to the word-count for my floundering NaNoWriMo effort this year, but I went to see the latest movie by the legendary Vin Diesel today - The Last Witch Hunter - and felt I had to write a blog post.

Before I discuss the movie, I do have a little disclaimer - I love Vin Diesel. I've been a huge fan of his movies ever since going to a preview screening of Pitch Black months before it was released. Mark and I went to see it as the wife was at work, and we got into the movie at the last minute and ended up sitting on the front row. The crash of the ship at the beginning was so loud and in your face it felt like we were there, and we came out thinking it was awesome. Of course, when the wife saw it, months later, she was instantly besotted with Riddick, and we've watched all of Vin's movies since.

The trailer for The Last Witch Hunter was great. Looked cool and reminded me a lot of one of my guilty pleasure movies - The Sorcerer's Apprentice.

Debs and I went to see it today and we both loved it.

Vin Diesel plays Kaulder, who ventures to kill the Witch Queen that has released a plague that has killed thousands. While he succeeds in killing the Queen, he is cursed to immortality, and in the present day he hunts witches using dark magic.

Quite a basic plot, but for a new movie it carries a lot of setting detail and some great backstory that somehow makes great sense. I was initially worried that it was going to be "all witches are evil and must be destroyed" rather like the disastrous Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, but it addresses witches and witchcraft in a positive way.

Witches are allowed to continue as long as they don't do anything to humans, and they have a secret presence in society with cool underground bars and communities that us mere Muggles are unaware of.

It's the witches and warlocks that decide to use dark magic, and threaten the peace that Kaulder, under the control of a secret society subgroup of the church known as the Axe and Cross. Kaulder has his own "watcher" in the shape of the Dolan (Michael Caine, and then Elijah Wood), and in true "buddy movie" fashion Kaulder the Witch Hunter must team up with Chloe (Rose Leslie), a witch, to hunt down the dark witches planning on resurrecting the witch queen.

Debs was convinced I was keen to see it not only because of it being Vin Diesel, but mostly because there is a lot of "dreamwalking" in the movie - going into Kaulder's dreams and memories to hunt for clues. While this is really cool in the movie, there were a couple of moments that actually had me going "this is so f***ing cool" in the cinema.

The first is in the first couple of minutes, when the ancient and beardy hunters enter the tree hideout of the witch queen. One of the hunters throws an axe, and when he goes to pick it out of the wall, thorns stab out of the handle that poison him with magic.

The other is during a fight in Chloe's bar when Kaulder attacks one of the big bads in the movie. His attack stops in mid-air as if it's hit something, what looks like a sheet of glass that has magically appeared - a protective forcefield. Cracks appear in the air, and the shape of arcane runes appear in space. Just really, really cool.

You can tell that Kaulder was inspired by Vin Diesel's D&D character - the whole thing feels like an epic roleplaying game with a cool setting, a logical series of investigative steps, and some groovy action sequences. It's certainly a game I'd play - hell, it's certainly a game I'd write if Vin gave me half the chance!!

I know it's not going to change the world or win awards, but I just thoroughly enjoyed it and would heartily recommend it.

Okay, back to NaNoWriMo...

Happy writing, stay multi-classy and LLAP.


Sunday, October 25, 2015

LOST the plot...

This is the end... beautiful friend.

Endings have been on my mind a lot recently. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I've been finishing a few series that I've been reading for what seems like forever.

A couple of weeks ago I finished reading Stephen King's The Dark Tower. I'm a massive King fan, and I mentioned in an earlier post that I had the honour of meeting him a few years ago when he was promoting Lisey's Story. The Dark Tower was his epic, his fantasy story that tied all of his universes together - all circling the Dark Tower, and Rowland the Gunslinger's quest to reach it.

It's taken many, many years for King to write it, and almost as many for me to read it. I've reread the first three, been sidetracked by other books, and forgotten the series almost entirely but I finally reached the last page a couple of weeks ago and was left with that disappointment that usually accompanies massive works of fiction.

Let's just get this straight - the ending of The Dark Tower is just about perfect. Without giving anything away, it is a logical conclusion, and a perfect resolution to the story. But, me being me, I just wasn't satisfied.

Maybe it's just me.

Yesterday, I finished reading the comic series Unwritten. Great stuff, about the power of words and stories, and imbuing a person with that sort of power. It defies genre, messes with the medium, and when the main story finished it came to its perfect ending. An ending that goes against expectations, and is another great and brilliantly suited ending. And again, I just kinda felt empty.

Maybe I just don't like endings.

Take TV for example. I quite enjoyed True Blood. Pretty good series, nothing groundbreaking, but that ending!! Oh, jeez... with a couple of minor tweaks it could have had a great ending.

Battlestar Galactica (the remake). I loved that series. Loved every second - brilliantly done, amazing acting, effects, and story... but again, that ending left fans very, very divided.

Of course, the series I felt most betrayed by was LOST. I loved LOST. Loved it. Was obsessed by it. I watched it as it aired, I bought the DVDs, I read the books (even the tie in weird one - Bad Twin), played the awesome online Alternate Reality Game (The Hanso Foundation stuff, and the Rachel Blake blogs), and the action figures. LOST was great. Mysterious, intriguing, and brilliant.

When the island moved I went insane with joy. It was great. And then the time travel stuff? Awesome.

And then came the ending. An ending that they promised us (way back at the end of season one) wouldn't happen. They said that wasn't what was going on, but they lied to us and that last episode ruined everything for me. I've not rewatched LOST, I've given most of the books to charity shops, sold off the action figures, and find it hard to think about that series at all.

Maybe that's why I'm having a problem finishing my writing...  I don't want to pull a LOST. Luckily, I know how the trilogy of fiction books that tie in with WILD end. I know how that last scene plays out - and I don't think it's a cop-out. But then, I bet Damon Lindelof didn't think the ending of LOST was either...

Well. We'll see. NaNoWriMo is looming ever closer, and I'm undecided as to whether I'm taking part - I probably shall, attempting to either make a first draft of the second book in the series, or rewrite the first for a new and improved draft.

Only time will tell!

Until next time, stay multi-classy and LLAP.

D

Monday, September 28, 2015

Two can keep a secret, if one is the GM...

Thanks to my wife watching this almost continually for the last couple of weeks, I starting to think this would be a good idea...


I mean, it starts as a weird mystery series (with very odd moments, almost like Twin Peaks) before descending into Saw territory with so many slasher-film tropes.

Damnit, I need to watch something else before I take this too seriously...

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

WILD Character Creation (take 2)

Last night we put the band back together. Well, as best we could.

Edge (left), Stoo (via virtual reality, which worked surprisingly well) and Debs

On many occasions I've mentioned the most involved gaming sessions in my gaming history were with a few players - Edge, Tetch, Stoo and my lovely wifey. Those were some of the most intense and creepiest games when we played Mage, Kult and later WitchCraft. And I was eager to try to recapture the magic again.

Admittedly, Stoo lives miles away and had to appear via the wonders of Skype, which didn't work too badly (he could see us all and the table and everything!) and Tetch is on holiday somewhere, we thought we'd run a little trial session and see if the character creation for WILD worked.

I did a trial char-gen before, but thanks to writing the key-phrases on the WILD Cards, this worked a lot faster and easier.

Cards you say? Yes, the weird and wacky thing about WILD is that character creation involves cards. WILD can mean that your character's inner-most fears or memories can surface while dreamsharing, so it is important to have some depth to the character's history and background prior to gaming. Creating a character in WILD involves making a traditional Tarot spread using the WILD Cards.

Stoo's character creation layout.
I think it worked this time. Players who came to the table with an idea in mind for what they wanted their character to be and do still had what they wanted, but with some additional elements they hadn't considered before. Those who came without an idea had a pretty interesting launching point to get them started.

The next phase involved using a handful of spare cards each player had to create a relationship between the characters, common locations, events or people. For such a small group, there may have been too many cards involved, but that's what playtesting is all about. But it strangely worked - a location ties the characters together, and added an NPC and a person in one character's past that may have repercussions for the whole group. Not only does it tie the characters together without the "you're in a bar" first session, but it gives me as the DM (DreamMaster) some ideas for elements to draw into the game.

I talked them through the rules (not that there are many) and it all seems to make sense...

Next will be the first game. I don't know how it'll go - I have an epic and bizarre game designed for them, but it'll be the first time I put the rules into action, so we'll see how it goes.

Until next time,

LLAP - and Stay Multi-classy!


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 - How Was It For You?

I've had a few requests on Twitter from people asking if I was going to do a summary post about #RPGaDAY2015. Well, I wasn't going to - in fact, this is really breaking my "month off from social media" plan that I had instigated to recover from the frantic posting that probably bored everyone throughout August. But, I never want to let anyone down, so here goes...


So, how did I think it went?

Okay. I think it went okay. It seemed to reach a lot of people, seemed to go to a wider audience, but I'm not sure how well it was received. The same people who put in the effort and enthusiasm this year were the ones who openly embraced the concept last year. There were some who were new to it and joined in enthusiastically, and I hope everyone enjoyed it.

What was better this year?

I loved having guests on the videos. Thank you everyone who got involved and joined in - a lot of those people who joined me on the videos were too busy to join in with every day posting, and that was a great way to get them involved. Not only that, it meant that those people who watched didn't have to sit through 31 boring videos of just my ugly face - they could watch segments with far more interesting, exciting and attractive people than me.

Active participation?

On the whole, the basic concept is to get people talking on social media about the positive things that tabletop roleplaying can do. The thing that spawned it (#BookADayUK) was basically just a photo of a book as a response to the question, so getting people actually talking or blogging beyond that is a massive success.

I've heard from people saying that the questions are a great source of encouragement to get them writing blog posts and more, which is fab. Thanks everyone.

It's great to also see so many people joining in with the daily videos, recording their own and posting them. I know it's a huge effort - hell, mine took months of planning and I was relieved when the last one was uploaded. Thank you again.

Feedback?

Feedback on the whole has been mostly positive. I'd say around 90% of the comments I saw on the various medias were positive, encouraging and from people enjoying it. There's always the people who didn't, of course. Those who didn't like the colour of the image, or the choice of questions - they weren't interesting enough, detailed enough, too vague, or just plain boring to them.

And, of course, I had my daily disliker on Youtube who, regularly, about 9am every morning would click Dislike on the video. On one occasion it was disliked before I could even post the video on Facebook/Twitter/G+... Someone was very keen, and spent an awful lot of energy to make sure that the videos got that little dislike. It wasn't all of them, but it was enough to be noticed. Each dislike was like a stab in the back.

A few people didn't get the point of the project at all - #RPGaDAY2015 (and its predecessor) was about positivity. I noticed that a few follow-up questions appeared on various media. Thank you for trying to join in but you missed the point entirely. You can do what you like, but I won't be joining the dark side with all that negativity.

And next year?

At this moment, I honestly don't know. I think I was a little too invested in it this year, and took all of the responses way too personally. If I do it next year, ALL of the questions will be submitted by other people. Frankly, I think I've run out of ideas.

Of course, it does take up lots of time when I could be writing.

Saying that, the biggest benefit of #RPGaDAY2015 was that it has got me writing again. After a massive drought of words that hit about Easter, WILD's game system is pretty much sorted, and the writing is progressing...

...that is, until I get distracted again.

Above all, thank you all for taking part. I hope you got something out of it, and it reminded you that our little hobby is a great one that makes great friends.


Monday, August 31, 2015

Into the Nightmare

Illustration by Mark J. Hiblen (c)2015


Before I take a break from the internet, I felt I had to write a little about the passing of Wes Craven.

I mentioned before on my blog about Stephen King's "IT", and how the cover drew me in and made me curious enough to pick it up and read it - even though I wasn't really much of a reader as a kid. Well, the same thing happened to me about horror films.

Sad confession - I was never a horror film watcher as a kid. Or even as a teen.

Scary or gory things really freaked me out. I still have a vivid memory of feeling the blood drain from my face in that weird "I'm totally not dealing with this" way while watching Raiders of the Lost Ark for the first time in the cinema, that opening weekend. And I can distinctly remember being freaked out on holiday in North Wales with my parents, staying in a holiday cottage next to a cemetery, hearing my parents watching the ITV premier of The Omen while I sat in my bedroom waiting for the dead to rise.

Nope. Horror films were not my thing in my youth. I was science fiction and fantasy all the way.

But there was something about the TV commercials that started up to promote a particular film that had me mesmerised.


It was horrific, but had weird elements that appealed to me. It was strangely hypnotic. The concept of something getting you in your sleep? That was too good to pass up.

I have a weird memory of hiring Elm St. from the video store (I think) and watching it around at Milo's place while I was in the 6th form at school. It was dark, scary, but there was a brilliance to it - a genius. It was more than a horror film, it was a fantasy - Nancy was smart, clever, brave and resourceful. She figured out about pulling elements from the dream into the real world, bringing Freddy into our rules to finally confront him without the benefits of dream logic.

It was fantastic.

I tried running A Nightmare on Elm St. as a roleplaying game, and it influenced me writing a Ghostbusters scenario (mixing Elm St. with John Landis' "Into the Night"... you can see where the name of the blog post came from).

I started watching horror movies. I bought Nightmare on Elm St, and followed Wes Craven's career closely. The People Under the Stairs wasn't a horror film - it was like the Goonies with psychos. Serpent and the Rainbow was a new take on zombies, and a fresh and disturbing look at voodoo.

Shocker did the same for TV as Elm St. did for dreams, distorting the boundaries of reality as the chase between the lead and the awesome Mitch Pileggi went through various TV shows - a concept that has inspired and imitated many times since.


Later, as I went to art college, I was loaned a dodgy copy of Craven's earlier movies, including Last House on the Left, and I continued my love of horror movies. By the time Scream (1996) came, I was watching far too many slasher movies which probably influenced my first attempt at writing for Eden Studios with my unpublished supplement for All Flesh Must Be Eaten - "Summercamp Stalkers and Unstoppable Evil". Even the scenario in the book was set at a cinema showing a cult classic. Maybe one day I'll dig that out again...

His meta-textual approach to horror movies, referencing the very "rules" of horror movies and taking the movie out into reality enthralled the public, though he'd done that very thing before in the often ignored "Wes Craven's New Nightmare", where the actors play themselves in the real world, being threatened by Freddy - a dream entity that needs people to tell stories about him to give him power.


Fantastic and genius. A must watch.

I owe a lot of my love of horror movies to Wes Craven - and it'll be a long time before we see someone of his inventiveness and originality again. And I owe a lot of my obsession with dreams to him too. Without Elm St. I doubt I'd be writing WILD.

Thank you Wes.

My thoughts are with his family and friends.

[If you like the illustration at the top, head over to Mark Hiblen's page on Facebook and click like!]

#RPGaDAY2015 - Day 31: Favourite Non-RPG thing to come out of gaming...

This is it - the final day of #RPGaDAY2015 - and possibly the final #RPGaDAY post ever (we'll see).
It is "Favourite non-RPG thing to come out of RPGing".

In my video I mention a couple of things - how I got my first job thanks to gaming, and meeting my lovely wifey.


In addition to all this, I must also mention my old gaming group. The Eight as we used to call ourselves (even though there were more than eight of us at many times).

We started gaming as two different groups and came together over the years. Through many years of school and beyond, these guys have always been a huge part of my life. I've mentioned them many times on this blog, and although we're divided by geography, we always know that we're keeping a look out for each other... ready to rally to support if any of us are in need.

So, without RPGing in school, not only would I have never got that job in the council, working for Nature Conservation and Archaeology, which lead to me going to University, and meeting my wife who is also a gamer. But also, I wouldn't have had the amazing friends and support that I needed.

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I guess that's why I started RPGaDAY to begin with last year.

Playing roleplaying games may seem like a sad and nerdy thing to those unfamiliar with it, but it changed and shaped my life for the better.

When I keep going online and finding such negativity, I just wanted to do something positive.

But, of course, someone didn't even like me doing that. Yes, daily disliker - you troll - I had noticed you systematically disliking my videos every day. It's that sort of behaviour that made me want to do something.

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As to whether RPGaDAY returns for another year will depend upon a few things...

If the RPG playing community want to do it again?
If I can come up with some new questions that people actually like (and won't complain about)?
If I can justify the amount of time and effort it takes to do this.

RPGaDAY inspired me to get back into writing WILD, right at the moment when I was feeling the most unmotivated. And I'm really glad about that. But I can't help but feel that the last two months of video making, editing, planning, scheduling, and so on, could have been spent writing!!

We'll see...

If you want to do it again next year, comment!
If you have ideas for questions, comment!
If you think it's had its day, let me know...

Until next post - which may be a while, I'm going to spend some time away from the interwebs to recover and do something productive - be good to each other... and stay multi-classy!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 - Day 30: Favourite RPG Playing Celebrity

Today's topic was a bit of a fun one - inspired by a news item online listing gaming celebrities, I just thought it'd be cool to hear if people knew of any others, and to discuss the coolest gaming celebs out there.


My choice was an obvious one, mostly as his love of D&D had inspired one of his most popular characters. And the dynamic of his D&D group playing had influenced the way the group worked in the Fast & Furious movies.

Vin Diesel is a bit of a legend as well.

Until tomorrow, for the final day...

Saturday, August 29, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 - Day 29: Favourite RPG Website / Blog

Today's RPGaDAY2015 entry is Favourite RPG Website / Blog. I used to go on RPG.net almost every day, just to see what the news was, what people were talking about, but that has all kinda fallen by the wayside.

I just don't get much chance to surf, when I could be writing!!


Friday, August 28, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 - Day 28: Favourite Game You No Longer Play

(Oh, to the tune of "Love Story"...)

Where do I begin?

There's such a long list of games that I don't play any more. Most of the time it's because I don't have a gaming group, or the time, but some games really stand out from the others as being sorely missed...

Kult, Mage: The Ascension, Star Wars D6, WitchCraft, Ghostbusters... the list goes on. But I decided to go for a different game for my choice.


Special guest on today's video is the awesome Cat Tobin who has picked, not one, but three totally amazing games that she wishes she could play, or play more of. Great choices too.

Ho well, three more days to go!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 - Day 27: Favourite Idea for Merging Two Games Into One

...which really was pushing the boundaries for how many characters you could squeeze into the little box on the image.

Today's question was mostly the "what game system would you like to use with another game's setting?" type question, though I've loved some of the other responses I've seen.

Here's today's video. Just me in this one, so you'll just have to put up with my boring face this time...


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 - Day 26: Favourite Inspiration for your Game

Day 26 is all about inspiration - what inspires your gaming? Is it something specific, like me being inspired by a few movies, or something broader - looking at the wonders of nature, the weird things that really happen, real life X-Files?

To help with today's video, Andrew Peregrine recorded a piece from the place that inspires him - a particularly cool backdrop for a video!


In a related note, the writing on WILD has picked up since RPGaDAY2015 started, which is kinda what I was hoping would happen. Though, it has inspired me to stay off-line a lot more, possibly taking a holiday from the internet in September... We'll see...

Stay Multi-Classy!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 - Day 25: Favourite Revolutionary Game Mechanic

Day 25 of #RPGaDAY2015 - Don't worry, it'll be finished soon!! So, day 25 is Favourite Revolutionary Game Mechanic. It's an odd one, because there have been many times reading through new rulebooks when I've gone "Wow, that's a brilliant idea!"

Hero Points, Escalation Die, Health levels instead of Hit Points, Diceless gaming, FATE dice, GM-less play... Where to begin?


Today's video features special guest Gareth-Michael Skarka. Meanwhile, I yatter on about the wonders of Hero Points.

LLAP.


Monday, August 24, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 - Day 24: Favourite House Rule

Final full week of #RPGaDAY2015 has begun, and today we're on Favourite House Rule. I must admit, while I spend a lot of time on rules in the writing, when it comes to gaming there are a few rules I sometimes ignore - usually in the heat of the battle!


I mean, in the middle of a shootout with alien invaders, are you really keeping track of how exhausted you're getting at the stress of the fight?

Sometimes, house rules make things more exciting - and the special guest in today's video is Grant Howitt who has written many games and some particularly cool and enlightening blog posts about running games. You really should check out his site...

http://www.lookrobot.co.uk/games

The rather excellent Raising the Stakes document, mentioned in the video, can be found here:
http://esix.pbworks.com/f/RaisingtheStakes.pdf

Sunday, August 23, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 - Day 23: Perfect Game For You

Perfect game... wow, that's a difficult one. So may times I've thought "this is it, this game is perfect" only to discover, over time, that there are elements I'd change or do slightly differently. But, as I discuss in the video, maybe it's not so reliant upon what you actually play, more who you play it with and finding that perfect level of engagement.

Special guest on the video is Ole Peder GiƦver, and my sincerest apologies for my awful pronunciation of your name dude! Since chatting to him online, I've had my eyes opened to a whole new world of gaming that I never knew existed - some of it weird, some of it enlightening, and all of it very different from my gaming experiences. Seriously worth listening to what he has to say...


Tomorrow sees the start of the final week of #RPGaDAY2015 (well, the last seven days, if you include the bank holiday Monday final day)... Onto the final stretch.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 - Day 22: Perfect Gaming Environment

Day 22 is the rather odd question, "Perfect Gaming Environment". Where do you like to play?

When I was young we did all our gaming around a table, but then, a lot later in life, I discovered the delights of gaming in comfort. Sitting on the floor, bean bags, piles of cushions, or on the sofa... Oh, yes...

Today's video, the awesome Shanna Germain from Monte Cook Games is the special guest, who tells us how the environment can be changed to add atmosphere and effect to the game.



Friday, August 21, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 - Day 21: Favourite RPG Setting

Cutting it fine! With only an hour left of day 21, I've been uploading tomorrow's video, watching the last couple of episodes of Person of Interest (Season 3), and then just remembered I need to add a blog post.

But, the Matrix Reloaded is on TV!! How am I going to concentrate now?

Thankfully, in today's video, I have help from Josh Fox from Black Armada Games...


Before you say "Oh, you're bound to say Conspiracy X, you wrote it!"... well, I didn't. I may have worked on it for a few years, but I didn't create the setting. I loved it so much I wanted to write for it, and convert it to Unisystem, but I just played around in the setting for a while - I didn't make it.

Right, agents are coming. I gotta split.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 - Day 20: Favourite Horror RPG

Day 20, the 20th of August... just so happens to be H.P. Lovecraft's birthday. And you thought no planning went into the days and the questions! Day 20 is Favourite Horror RPG, and I've chosen a game I've spoken about many times in the past.

However, today's video also features special guest Derek Stoelting, who looks after the Unisystem books for Eden Studios, so you can probably guess his favourite straight away!



Wednesday, August 19, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 - Day 19: Favourite Supers RPG

Day Nineteen of #RPGaDAY2015 - Favourite Supers RPG. Again, I have to admit, I'm not really a supers player. I read a lot of comics, love superhero movies and series, but the only real game I ran of a supers game I did the craziest thing you could imagine for a supers game - I took the superpowers out of it.

I ran Golden Heroes for a few months as a gritty, dark, costumed vigilante RPG. It was mostly nonsense, but it was fun.

My favourite is a different barrel of powered monkeys...


So there's that one.

We're over half way through the month, and the response to the whole of #RPGaDAY2015 has been mostly positive and enthusiastic. The whole idea of it is to talk in a positive way about gaming, and have fun.

There have been the usual negative comments about the questions, the odd one here and there who think the questions are too boring and gone off and done their own thing, and my resident daily "disliker" who has been disliking 70% of the videos religiously around 9:30am.

Most days I can brush this off - there'll always be someone who doesn't like what you do. I know that. You can't please everybody.

Some days, like today, I can't brush it off, and wonder why I'm even bothering.

Still. Tomorrow is another day. And another question.

And I'll hopefully have had more sleep so won't be a grumpy old git.

Until then, be good to each other.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 - Day 18: Favourite SF RPG

Just a quickie tonight as it's game night! Ironically, playing a fantasy game when today's question is Favourite SF RPG.

So many contenders... Star Frontiers, Babylon Project, Conspiracy X... but there's one that will always be the favourite in my books...


Monday, August 17, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 - Day 17: Favourite Fantasy RPG

The question that launched a thousand answers of "Dungeons & Dragons"... the question where I don't say D&D... just to be weird like that.

Must admit, while I've played a lot of D&D, Runequest, and more - and while my only current game is fantasy - I've always preferred modern settings or science fiction. You can blame a very formative experience in my youth seeing Star Wars for that one.

However, when it comes to fantasy RPGs, I did prefer something else to D&D. I'm sorry...


Today's video features guest appearance by freelance writer and designer T.R. Knight.

Right, back to writing!

Stay Multi-classy!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 - Day 16: Longest Game Session

It's really a sign of the times when a long game session for an oldie like me is about three hours. I'm in a game once a fortnight, and find it hard to squeeze in the time to do it. Gone are the days of my youth - when I was a teenager we used to play four or five nights a week, and afternoons at weekends. Just couldn't get enough of it.

It's weird but I can still picture the rooms we used to game in, at various houses... the subdued lighting, the DM screen, the 8pm cup of tea.

We just wanted to keep on playing.

One day we had the crazy idea of playing non-stop for 90-hours to raise money for charity...


Many thanks to Lynne Hardy for helping with today's video!

I've written about our marathon before as part of my "Roll Your Own Life" blog posts, you can read about it here!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 - Day 15: Longest Campaign Played

That's one of the great things about tabletop roleplaying games... They don't have to end if you don't want to. You can do some cool one shots, short adventures, and small stories, but sometimes those adventures string together into a continuing campaign that can go on and on. It's usually due to circumstances outside the game that the story ends.

I've played a few long running campaigns - the longest is probably the Vampire: The Masquerade game that became Mage: The Awakening (and then morphed into Kult, and eventually WitchCraft).

You can find out all about it in the video below, which also features a special guest in the form of gaming guru Robin D. Laws.


Friday, August 14, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 - Day 14: Favourite RPG Accessory

Favourite RPG Accessory is a deliberately broad topic which allows gamers to talk about their favourite dice, cards, character sheets, screens, maps, apps, and gizmos.

While I love dice... and have far to many to actually use... my accessory of choice would have to be something a little more recent. And, something from a game I'm yet to play. Weird, huh?


Thursday, August 13, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 - Day 13: Favourite RPG Podcast

Podcasts are a funny thing. Some people don't really listen to them at all (I must admit I don't get much of an opportunity) and some people religiously listen to loads, almost constantly going about their lives with their headphones in one ear listening to something or other... (You know who you are...)

I don't really bother, but I do subscribe to a few and pick and choose which episodes I want to listen to - usually the ones that have interesting rule discussions, or a guest that I really want to hear. (Must say, the Gillian Anderson episode of the Nerdist Podcast was brilliant).

So, a short video today, and if you know of any cool podcasts that you think I should be listening to, let me know!


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 - Day Twelve: Favourite RPG Illustration

Day Twelve of #RPGaDAY2015 is a great opportunity to fill the social medias with really cool art from your favourite games.

In today's video, I managed to recruit the Creative Director of Cubicle 7, Jon Hodgson, to help out and show off some of his favourite artwork that has inspired and influenced him.


When it comes to my fave, I'd have to go with the cover that leapt out from the shelves when I was perusing the game shelves back in the early 80s, picking the first RPG I'd buy and GM...


Look at it...

It's glorious!

On the front cover of TSR's sci-fi game, Star Frontiers, it was THE selling point for me. Just every part of it was cool. It was everything I wanted in gaming as a teen who had just seen Star Wars and wanted to explore cool planets armed with blasters.

Oooh yeah!

Having discovered that the artwork is available as a print from Larry Elmore's site, I'm seriously tempted... If I can just convince the wife...


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 - Day Eleven: Favourite RPG Writer

Day Eleven of #RPGaDAY2015 and it's another tricky question. So many great writers, so many great games, and even more tricky is that I'm friends with a lot of them, even if it's only over the interwebs.

However, picking my favourite writer(s) came down to the one game that really changed the way I looked at RPGs and how they are written. Previous games I'd played and run were very "traditional" or "old school" - after all, it was the early 80's... but then along came this one game that didn't take itself so seriously, and had a "voice". A real voice that wasn't just "turn to the table on page 37". It was a voice that was full of character, charisma, sarcasm and humour.

And that game was West End Games' "Ghostbusters".


It wouldn't be until many, many years later that I'd see that sort of writing again in the form of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG. But that Ghostbusters RPG changed the way I game, and made me want to not only write RPGs, but write RPGs like that.

Monday, August 10, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 - Day 10: Favourite RPG Publisher

Yeah, I'm gonna get a lot of stick for this one. And I know a lot of people on my friends list are game writers and publishers so they don't want to sound biased or show favouritism, so it's understandable if you skip this day...


Sunday, August 9, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 - Day 9: Favourite Media You Wish Was an RPG

It's almost like I put this question in there as an excuse to talk about Harry Potter again isn't it?


If you want to check out the blog posts with the extensive look at the designs for an officially licensed Harry Potter RPG that never came to be, just follow the links below...

You can read the first post, "Adventures in a World of Magic" here:

http://autocratik.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/adventures-in-world-of-magic.html

The second week I looked at the product itself in more detail, looking at how the game would look like a Hogwarts textbook, and immerse the players into Harry's world by keeping the feel of Rowling's brilliantly envisioned setting.

You can read the second post, "Of course it's happening inside your head, Harry..." here:

http://autocratik.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/of-course-its-happening-inside-your.html

The third post really got down to the details of the game system and how it works, looking at the character sheets, stats, how the dice are used, and how simple mechanics can maintain the feel of the wizarding world, and suspend the belief of the players.

You can read "It's our choices, Harry..." here:

http://autocratik.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/it-is-our-choices-harry.html

The fourth and final post looked at the supplements that could be produced for the game, expanding the potential to provide players with endless possibilities that will keep players of all ages playing for months and years to come.

You can find the last post, "The mind is not a book..." here:

http://autocratik.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/the-mind-is-not-book.html

Saturday, August 8, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 - Day 8: Favourite RPG in the Media

Sorry, long day / week at work, then distracted by catching up on Person of Interest on TV (seriously, UK TV, you really need to sort this out... we're a whole season behind!)

On the subject of TV, and the media in general, today's question for #RPGaDAY2015 is all about how our favourite hobby is portrayed on TV, in movies, books, comics, and even online or in the press.

It's a tough one. Community did a great job of capturing the feel of D&D without ridiculing it. But my answer is going to have to stick this side of the pond...


Friday, August 7, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 - Day 7: Favourite Free RPG

Right down to the wire again today! With just under an hour to post on the 7th, I'm uploading the next video while frantically posting about today's.

Hopefully I'll have more time to post about topics as the month progresses, which is a shame because I really like today's video. It's great to get people talking about the cool free RPGs that are out there - some of them are only a handful of pages, but contain some of the most revolutionary, and most innovative games out there.

Luckily, I had help with today's video in the form of the awesome Anita Murray, from the London Indie RPG Meetup group.


Thursday, August 6, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 - Day 6: Most Recent RPG Played

Ah, the wonders of the day-job... it's getting close to deadline, uploading the video for Day 7, while I hurriedly write a blog-post for Day 6.

So, Day 6 - Most Recent RPG Played. 

That one's pretty easy, as I'm only really playing one game at the moment which is a medieval fantasy style setting using cinematic Unisystem. Yes, this is the very game I was levelling up my character when I blog-posted on Tuesday! (Hopefully she won't keep failing her rolls now).


As always, share and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 - Day 5: Most Recent RPG Purchase

Yeah, I know... it's another "what have you bought" topic. Last year's one was criticised for being very purchase heavy - but then I thought it was interesting to find out how people started in RPGs... what was the first game they bought, etc.

Maybe it's just criticism from people who don't actually buy RPGs..? That'd be weird.

Maybe it's just that not only do I play and write RPGs, I'm a bit of a bibliophile too. I love the feel of a new book, that print smell, the layout and design of the page...

Sorry... getting a little distracted. Where was I?

Oh yes. Day Five is "Most Recent RPG Purchase".


As I mentioned before, I haven't really bought an awful lot recently. Times are tough, and I just don't have the cash to spend, or the time to play the games. However, when I was told about Of Dreams and Magic, I thought I'd better check it out.


Of Dreams and Magic certainly has a really cool feel, almost like the original Mage game, with characters who can manipulate reality through the power of their dreams. And it's very pretty too...

You can find out about Of Dreams and Magic at ODAM Publishing's site, here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 - Day 4: Most Surprising Game

It's Day Four, and a rare thing is happening - RIGHT NOW!! I'm supposed to be gaming. I'm actually supposed to be levelling up my character right at this moment, so I'm just going to post the video...


...and thank Becky Annison from Black Armada Games for helping out with the vid (and for picking a particularly excellent game!)

Monday, August 3, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 - Day 3: Favourite New Game of the Last 12 Months

Again, I'm cheating a little with this one. I haven't really bought a lot over the last year, so my choice for this day's answer is actually a supplement for a second edition of an older game...


I posted the video early this morning, which features a guest spot by the ever awesome Paco Garcia from GMS Magazine.


My choice is the Blessed are the Children supplement for the excellent Little Fears RPG. I loved the first edition of the game, and hadn't picked up the second. So when the 3rd supplement for the game was Kickstarted, and there was a backer level to get all three of the books to date, I leapt at the chance.

You really should check out Little Fears if you can.

Right, I've a manuscript to format, and I have the strange urge to rewatch Buckaroo Banzai...

Until tomorrow...

"No matter where you go, there you are!"

Sunday, August 2, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 - Day 2: Kickstarter you're most pleased you backed...

I went through a really dangerous period when I got a bit carried away backing Kickstarters. I backed the Veronica Mars movie, Tabletop Season 3, and when it came to RPGs I looked at those shiny books (and I love shiny books) and clicked "back" on a lot of them...

I've had a couple of bad experiences which have put me off a little - that and having to be a little more financially savvy these days - but I love the opportunities that Kickstarter has given the hobby.

Unfortunately, being in the UK a lot of the really cool Kickstarter games are expensive to back, purely because of the nightmare of shipping costs, and the roulette of being charged by customs for importing cool games.

However, some companies with connections have found ways of distributing locally, and often these are the Kickstarters I leap at. Otherwise, it's showing my support backing at PDF level and hoping that the "in print" version will make it to the regular shop distribution.

So what game leaps out as being the one I'm most pleased I backed?

Numenera is very high on the list, as is Little Fears, and the Fate Core.

But for sheer production values, it's going to have to be a more recent one...


In today's video I've been joined by James Holloway, from Gonzo History Gaming

As always, share and enjoy!


Saturday, August 1, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 - Day 1: Forthcoming Game You're Most Looking Forward To

Hi everyone!

It's that time again. A whole month of me going on about tabletop roleplaying games again.

I'm sure there will be a few days around the end of week one when things will get a bit tight on the schedule and days may be a little late, but I'm hoping my organisation skills will save me, and my preparations will pay off.

Each day I'm hoping to post a video detailing my response, and a short-ish (depending upon how busy things get with the day-job) blog post that'll embed it.

Last year, #RPGaDAY was great, a huge success that spread further around the globe than I could have ever hoped. This year, I'm just happy to have you take part again. Thanks everyone.

So, lets get this show on the road...



Day 1 - Forthcoming Game You're Most Looking Forward To



Today's video I'm helped out by the ever cool Dominic McDowall-Thomas, who sent me his video from the incredibly warm GenCon 2015 dealer hall during set-up day this week. Thanks Dom!

Definitely, the game I'm most looking forward to is the new edition of Kult. I loved Kult, and I'm eager to see what it's like with a new game system.


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Above all, I hope you enjoy #RPGaDAY2015. I know a lot of people enjoyed last year and found it motivating with the writing and videoblogging, and inspirational.