Monday, February 18, 2019

Holding Pattern, Disengage (Part II)

Marla is suitably narked at the last six weeks
I posted at the beginning of January about how life had become stuck in a holding pattern for the duration of the festive period, and I was now approaching the start of the new year with a new vitality and determination to get back to the writing, to do... well, stuff.

All that fell by the wayside. I got sick. Nothing major, just a bad case of the flu, but it knocked me out for a couple of weeks. Literally in one case. I remember sitting up in bed and then blacking out completely. Totally unaware of where I was. It was weird. And, being the sharing type, I gave the flu to my wife as well.

This period of being ill had an adverse effect on the third member of our family, Marla - our fur-baby.  She does get stressed easily, and a combination of her worrying about our weird passing out and sleeping all day behaviour, along with some dental issues that we were initially unaware of, meant that she stopped eating at all and there was an incredibly stressful number of weeks where we feared the worst. We didn't know what was wrong with her, many trips to the vets, blood tests, medication and trying to feed her recovery food (a weird meaty paste delivered in a syringe) every few hours, squirting the paste onto our fingers and letting her lick it off while she hid under our bed.

She was booked in for dental surgery, but her bloodwork was worrying, and we were panicking a little to say the least. She was due to have all of her teeth out, but luckily they only removed two, cleaned the rest, and after another week of medication she's almost back to normal - as is her bloodwork (seems the worrying levels were purely from her not eating).

She's a little nervous of noises, convinced she's going to get put in the carrying box again and taken to the evil vets, and she's clingy with us - which, let's face it, is nice to have lots of cat attention.

Now that those worries are hopefully behind us is it time to finally disengage that holding pattern? I hope so. But with very little writing work being offered to me, very little communication from anyone really, I need to get back into the swing of it.

But I'm having my doubts about the core game mechanics for WILD, and I need to get my head back into the game.

Hopefully, very soon.

Until next time...

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Holding Pattern... DISENGAGE!

I was going to call this blogpost something like "It's the end of the year as we know it" or something suitably New Year-y, but it's been an odd one and it's probably best to just get on with the new one...

The last year has felt like one big holding pattern. Circling, endlessly, waiting for something exciting to happen. For that phone call. That email. For someone to come along and say "Hey, I like your ideas. You need to work on that, rather than wasting your days in retail. Here's a handful of cash. Make your dreams a reality."

Of course, it never really happens like that. You have to reach out and grab opportunity by the gronk-nuks.

I had my share of waiting last year. That holding pattern of self doubt. Convinced that after my last professional writing stint that I'd never get a publishing contract again. Convinced that all of my ideas are nonsense.

But I mustn't give up. I can't give up. There have been times last year when I seriously thought I should just pack in the writing and resign myself to my fate - one of retail, customer service and the hell I deserve for my past mistakes. But I can't do that. I've been trying to get into game writing since the late 1980s, got my first published game product on the shelves in 2002, won awards for game design and writing. It's what I want to do. Or something like it.

With Dragonmeet looming at the end of last year, I decided that I needed to sell myself. I needed to prove to someone, as well as myself, that I could do it and that my own project was worth taking a chance on. So I decided I'd produce a small sample - a pitch document, just as we had with Doctor Who over ten years ago - to show my wares and my ideas.

I produced a forty page book - half of it a "pitch" summarising the concepts and ideas of WILD, the RPG I've been working on for years. The other half a sample of one of the chapters, to give a feel for the text, and how I'd envisioned it being laid out.

With the excellent service of a digital printer ( this book was printed, in black and white, with a hardback, full colour cover.

The printed "pitch" document for WILD - 20x20cm, with a very rough illustration on the cover
The printers did a fantastic job of it, with even the images they flagged on the document (the tiny jpgs of the covers of some of the books I'd worked on) coming out brilliantly...

The "Pitch" half of the document summarises who I am, and the concepts of the game.
But seeing the actual pages I'd been working on, with the ink-splat designs I'd had in mind, was brilliant. Great inspiration to keep going and to keep working on my dream project...

Playing with the text, little details like repeated lines, ink splats and blurs. This is what I had in mind...
Awesome. And despite me sending the files off to the printers with just ten days to Dragonmeet, they delivered with days to spare. Three whole copies of the WILD pitch. THREE. Talk about limited edition!

Dragonmeet was cool. Busy and exciting. Huge as well. So much bigger than last time I'd gone. I'd only been there a matter of minutes before Dom from Cubicle 7 dragged me off to a secluded location to record a podcast for "Wibbly Wobbly Dicey Wicey" - a Podcast dedicated to Doctor Who roleplaying. That was great fun - I'll post a link to the podcast when it is published.

I showed the pitch off, and hopefully there will be some news about the future of WILD soon. But I don't want to jinx it. I'm just going to keep plugging away at it. Writing the pitch document has revealed some areas I want to rewrite and redesign, which I'll start work on in the next few days.

After Dragonmeet it was a most definite return to the holding pattern - unable to work on anything except the dayjob and madness that is working in retail over the festive period. With just a couple of days before the kids go back to school, things will return to a slower, calmer pace and I can reassign some energies to working on the writing, and what I want to get done this year.

Most blogposts posted to the interwebs on the first of a year is all about the writer expressing their hopes and dreams for the coming year.

I hope to write more - get more written for WILD, unless something bigger and cooler comes along that would actually pay...

I hope to escape the day job - but I know this is unlikely. Gotta pay those bills!

I hope to escape the city - I'm a country boy at heart.

With that, I'll close the blog with a track from my wife's favourite band of the last year.

May 2019 bring you everything you hope. May it be kind to you, bring you prosperity and good health, and bring your dreams to life.

Stay multi-classy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

'Twas the Blogpost before Christmas...

Old pic of Me & Debs in the Hogwarts Great Hall (probably three years ago)...
This is probably going to be the last blogpost until the new year, so I just wanted to wish you all the very best for Festivemas, and let's hope that 2019 is a better one.

Christmas is a painful time for me. Nineteen years of working in retail has driven any glimmer of festive cheer away, and has reduced it to a state where I look forward to Boxing Day - knowing that it is over for another year.

We have zero money this year as well, so watching people spending, and spending, and spending is great for the dayjob's business, but not so great on my mental wellbeing. Every transaction I run through the till is reminding me that I can't afford to buy anything for those dear to me.

But it's not just the money. The week before Christmas sees what would have been my dad's birthday as well, and Christmas day itself will again involve a lot of driving. Something I hate to do with a passion. Probably a side effect from my mental state, but I find the idea of driving so completely unsettling now - I'm so paranoid about other drivers, damaging the hire car, and of course, having to hire a car that I can't really afford anyway. Weird... I used to drive so much, and used to enjoy it. I don't know what happened...

So. This year, I'm sorry we're not getting everyone the gifts we'd like to give you, but know we're thinking of you.

In the new year I'll return to the blog and fill you in on all the game design developments and my hopes for 2019.

I hope you have a great Festive season. Enjoy, be with friends and family. Be safe. And until next year, stay multi-classy...

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Dragonmeet and Deadlines

Wow, has it really been a month since I posted on here? Sorry to the two or three people who still read my ramblings on here. I'm sure it'll get better in the New Year.

I've been busy this month getting a sample of my RPG WILD through layout and adding a pitch about the setting and system to see if I can get someone interested in getting me motivated again. Hopefully, it'll be back from the printers in time for Dragonmeet (fingers crossed) next weekend - not that I've had many printed as I have zero money!!

On the subject of Dragonmeet, I should be there for most of the afternoon barring any major incidents, disasters or troubles. If you see a big bald guy you think is Wilson Fisk in a black suit, it's probably me. I'm terrible at social situations so come and say Hi if you like. I'll be wandering around aimlessly looking at all the lovely RPGs I can't afford or have time to play...

Hopefully see you there!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

That's the Spirit

Working cover for Spirits of Manhattan (EN Publishing)

Way back in January I posted that I'd submitted the manuscript for a completed project - one that I had great fun doing, and really surprised me in more ways than one. Well, it looks like that project has gone to layout and should be available in a couple of months or so. 

That project is "Ghostbreakers: Spirits of Manhattan" - the next in EN Publishing's WOIN Studios line. WOIN Studios are the producers of film and TV projects in another reality, and EN Publishing has managed to secure the licensing deal for some of their properties for publication in our world. 

Ghostbreakers: The Spirit of Manhattan lets you play the characters from the highly successful first movie in the Ghostbreakers series, or to create a new "franchise" of Ghostbreakers hoping to save the world from ghostly and demonic invaders. 

I won't go into any great detail, but I must admit this really surprised me. 70-80% of the book is an adventure - something I haven't really tackled for a long time, choosing more recently to concentrate on settings and systems. I wasn't sure if I could do it, but I got VERY into the swing, creating the setting, rationalising how it worked, as well as detailing the many, many sequels that followed this first "movie".
Cover for manuscript I wrote for WEG's
Ghostbusters RPG back in 1987

It was really going back to those first adventures I wrote when I was trying to get into roleplaying game writing way back in the late 1980s. The first game I tried writing for was West End Games' amazing and legendary Ghostbusters RPG - though the scenarios I'd submitted had parody elements inspired by Weird Science, Back to the Future and Evil Dead 2...

It was strange going back to that style of writing, but it was a blast. And above all, it was great to write something funny. After all, we all need a bit of a laugh at the moment.

It did make me think recently about doing something else with the numbers filed off. Something about magic schools and wizards maybe...

But I should concentrate on WILD and not get distracted unless another paid gig should come along? 

Until next time, remember this one piece of advice...

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Pitch Perfect

Front cover of the Duffer Brother's original pitch - Montauk

It is #WorldMentalHealthDay, or #MentalHealthAwarenessDay depending upon which hashtag you're following on the various social media thingies... and I've just finished my last CBT seminar hoping to get me into a routine, sort my behaviour patterns out, and improve my mood.

I've been feeling better since my post at the beginning of September, but I need to keep to my plan to avoid social media. I've found myself slipping again and passing hours just staring at Facebook or Twitter, seeing if something exciting has happened. I do just need to get on with my own stuff.

So, as part of that "do my own thing", I've been thinking about my RPG - WILD, and acknowledging a problem I've had with it since I started working on it so many years ago. It's all about mental health, and motivation.

Very small sketch I did for the initial cover idea
for the corebook of WILD. The covers would fit
together with the supplements, uniting the middle image.
The problem is, I'm doing WILD for me. There are no publishers involved. No deadlines, no one to disappoint but myself. And, due to that, it has taken forever to get anything done with it. I'm so good at talking myself out of it, saying "No one's going to want to play it", "You can't afford to do it, not even with a Kickstarter", "You have no experience in publishing a game," right through to "People find hearing other people's dreams boring, why would they want to play a game of it?"

In the middle of #RPGaDAY2018 I had the revelation. I thought, if I could sell the idea of the game to a publisher, then I'd have the motivation to keep me working on it. If I didn't get it done, then I'd be letting down more than just myself. I'd be letting them down too. And I'm so good at letting people down...

I figured, if I wrote a pitch. A summary of what WILD is, explaining the setting, the basics of the system, how I wanted the game to be presented, and a sample of what I'd written, I could put it together in a document I could give to potential partners and see if they'd be interested.

After all, the Duffer Brothers produced this awesome little 20-page booklet called Montauk (the original name for the series) when they were pitching Stranger Things to various TV companies. Using aged photos from films and series that inspired them, they wrote a basic summary of what they hoped to produce, and it must have worked...

Example spread from the Montauk pitch by the Duffer Brothers, pitching the TV series that would
become the awesome Stranger Things.

A good friend of mine and ex-dayjob work colleague, Alrissa, for her final project for her degree produced a children's book. She had a few printed, only three or four if I remember correctly, but the wonders of digital printing means that you can do a very small print run as a sample and hopefully get people interested. After doing some research, and finding what can be done and for what price, I'm sure this is cool idea.

So that's what I've been doing with my time. I've been working on a pitch for WILD to show to potential game companies that have partnered with people for Kickstarters in the past. There's no commitment from them, but if they say they're interested and would do the game with me, I have the added motivation to actually get the darn thing finished.

Sample layout of a potential Harry Potter RPG, text by me, layout by Will Brooks
Of course, seeing how cheap you can print a decent sized hardcover book as an example has me thinking that this would be the ideal way of pitching for Harry Potter or James Bond. Just do as we did with Doctor Who (produce an example of what we have in mind) and show off just what we can do...

The original printed pitch given to the BBC for the Doctor Who RPG.
Very, very few of these exist. 

There I go, letting my thoughts get away with me again...

Until next time, look after yourself and each other.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Wizarding World of Roleplaying

Debs and I, about fourth in the queue at the first Fantastic Beasts fan event 2016 in London
(Yes, J K Rowling was there. No she didn't hear us screaming)
Yes. I have a problem. I'm a little obsessed.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - I need to write the Official Harry Potter tabletop roleplaying game. Not some "numbers filed off" unofficial one. I need to write an official, licensed RPG set within J K Rowling's Wizarding World.

The frustration that there isn't one, and that I'm not involved, ebbs and flows but it is times like yesterday when the leaked footage of an awesome looking video-game RPG within the Wizarding World hit the internet, that I start screaming at my computer.

First of all, about that video game footage. It looks amazing. I'm so glad I wasn't part of their focus group as I would have been leaping about the room, making noises like a Fwooper. It's a great studio behind it if the rumours are true (Avalanche who did Disney Infinity), and the game looks stunning.

Like Portkey Games and their Hogwarts Mystery game, they've been sensible and set the rumoured RPG in another time period to avoid clashing with the events of Harry Potter (and Fantastic Beasts). And like Portkey's Hogwarts Mystery it tells a new story within the Wizarding World, with new characters visiting familiar locations.

My character tutoring Lumos in Hogwarts Mystery - so long ago... I'm a fourth year now...

So the question is, if this fantastic video game, as well as Portkey's Hogwarts Mystery, can tell new stories at Hogwarts (and in the Wizarding World in general) that are not necessarily considered canon, why is a tabletop roleplaying game any different?

I'd just love some answers.

If it's fear of players creating their own stories and adventures within the Wizarding World, in the games they play and create sitting around a table, it's not like it's that far from fan-fiction. It's not making money and it's certainly not considered canon to the universe.

If it's worry about the potential publisher creating new stories and adventures, I'm sure that any adventure idea would be vetted by Warner Brothers, and is it that different from creating the narrative of the video games currently published or in development? When Portkey first announced their games there was a section in their FAQ's that said J K Rowling would be approving everything - a line that was removed a few months later making it seem like the developers have been given a little more free rein.

Is it just about the money? While a Harry Potter tabletop RPG would be huge in the games world, the tabletop games industry makes a fraction of the money that a video games company would.

I've addressed in earlier posts the many benefits of tabletop gaming and how a Harry Potter RPG would get kids (and adults) interacting sociably in a face-to-face environment, fuelling their imaginations, getting them thinking on their feet, problem solving, and creating. You can see the lengthier post here:

Pitch layout for a potential Harry Potter RPG - layout by Will Brooks

That same post also details my first attempt at pitching to Warner Bros with the support of a major game company, and how it didn't get very far. I have to wonder if the thing that stopping a Harry Potter RPG is not speaking to the right people? Or getting through to them in the first place? When we pitched (successfully) to the BBC for the Doctor Who RPG, I learned that a factor in other companies' attempts at the license may be purely down to them not getting through to the right person with their proposal.

So my big questions are...

Why is there no Harry Potter / Wizarding World tabletop roleplaying game?

If it's purely financial, I can understand that - I'll just have to hope either to gain the backing of a successful and fluid publisher, or hope for a lottery win. Of course, if a publisher is already working towards a Potterverse game, please let me know!

If it's about creative control, then why can video games companies do all of the things that seem to hold a tabletop game back.

One day I'll corner the Warner execs in a room with J K Rowling, and I'll give them the Powerpoint presentation of a lifetime...

Until then, I'll just have to play with my hack of Tales from the Loop...

Saturday, September 1, 2018

More Time Out From the World

Promotional image for a graphic novel "Feel Better Now" by Jonathan Hickman (c)IMAGE Comics
Now that #RPGaDAY is over (once again, thank you all for taking part) I'm going to address something that needs sorting. I really have a bit of a problem. I have no attention span, I can't concentrate on anything, and before you say anything - yes, I've been to get medical help. It's coming.

However, it's obvious to me that I have a major contributing factor to my mental wellbeing, and that's social media. I spend a hell of a lot of time on social media. I'm checking Facebook and Twitter every hour at least, and it's really not good for me. Reading one bad post can have me mentally spiralling and I spend most of my time worrying about crap that really doesn't affect me or have anything to do with me.

For example, here's how my brain worked a couple of weeks ago when the fantastic news was announced of a new Dune RPG from Modiphius in association with Gale Force Nine. It started as "Holy crap, someone's got the Dune license!", through to "God, I'd love to work on Dune. Dune is one of my favourite books, and I'm obsessed with the David Lynch movie." It quickly progressed to, "I should drop Modiphius a line," to "But I dropped out of working on Star Trek. They probably hate me for letting them down. I was their line developer and I walked away." By the end of the night, I was convinced that nothing I wrote was any good, that I could never do Dune justice, let alone any other licensed property I could ever hope to work on. That no gaming company would ever want to work with me again. That I should just give up game writing, and just stick to my day job in retail. That I'm fifty and I work in a shop. I'm going to be trapped there forever. I'll retire and all I'll have to say is that I worked in retail. I'm too old to get a new job, no one will hire me.

All that, from some good news in the gaming world. Imagine what my head does when the news is less than positive.

Right in the middle of a mass social media initiative to spread some positivity about gaming I realised I needed to take a break from social media.


So. Starting today. 1st of September 2018, I'm getting the hell off of social media. I'm not deleting my accounts - so you can still "@" me on Twitter, or message me on Facebook messenger. I'll check them first thing in the morning, see if there's any news I need to know, but that's it. I'm not going to look again until the following morning or if I get directly contacted. Heck, you can always email me if you need to get in touch. Especially if you're a publisher who suddenly acquires the rights for a Harry Potter RPG or a James Bond RPG...

Yes, I'm available for writing gigs. Please don't be put off...

I'm still going to write blog posts - there is something therapeutic about it. And I've an idea for a series of posts about Tarot that'll get me back into WILD writing. I'll still post links to these blog posts on Facebook and Twitter, but that's about it for a while.

I'm hoping that this extra time, away from staring at the computer screen, will mean I'll be more productive, and my concentration will return.

I'm down, but I'm certainly not out.

I'll feel better, soon.

Thank you for listening.

Friday, August 31, 2018

#RPGaDAY2018 - DAY 31: Share why you take part in #RPGaDAY?

It's the thirty-first. The final day of #RPGaDAY2018 and today's question - the final question of this year's #RPGaDAY initiative - has again been supplied by M L Straus (The OG GM Adventures Youtube channel can be found here! Check it out, and subscribe!).

The final question asks us to share why you take part in #RPGaDAY.

A great question, and I'm really looking forward to the answers. I've made it plain why I started #RPGaDAY in my many videos and blog posts, so I'm not going to answer this one. Instead, as it's the last day of #RPGaDAY for this year, I'm going to thank all of you for taking part.

This year has been huge. We've gone from a few hundred people taking part, to the Facebook page alone getting thousands of views a week, and that's without considering those taking part purely on Twitter, or G+, etc. Thank you everyone for joining in, and spreading the positive message of our hobby. One thing I have noticed this year (I don't know if this is just me not hunting it out) but there certainly seems to be far less of a negative reaction to #RPGaDAY than in previous years. Hopefully, it's doing what we'd hoped and keeping things positive.

A few things I'd like to say before this year's #RPGaDAY comes to an end.

If you get the chance, if you haven't already, head over to the Facebook page and click "like". You won't be spammed with loads of messages - it's very quiet on there most of the year, and there are only a handful of extra posts short of the one per day during August. But it'd be great to see you on there.

I'd also like to thank Anthony Boyd and Will Brooks. Without them, there would be no #RPGaDAY. Anthony helped run #RPGaDAY in the couple of years that I didn't feel up to organising it, and this year his help has been invaluable. I really couldn't have done any of this without him. Will is a complete legend of graphic design and illustration - working most of the time on the covers for Titan Comics' Doctor Who range. I've known him for many years, and his eye catching graphic is iconic and helps distinguish the #RPGaDAY posts every year.

Thank you both.

Next year? Who knows? Keep checking the Facebook page, and I hope you keep reading my blogposts (there will be another one tomorrow... just when you thought you'd had enough of me!)

Until then, until next year... thank you again.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

#RPGaDAY2018 - DAY 30: Share something you learned about playing your character

Day thirty of #RPGaDAY2018 asks us to share something you learned about playing your character.

Another tricky one. I spent a lot of my youth being the GM, so I didn't really have a specific character. My longest running character from back then was actually someone else's who gave up playing their 8th level Paladin, just as a new player joined their group - me!

More recently, I've played a lot of FFG's Star Wars, and we've played the main campaign of Tales from the Loop. The Star Wars game was a bit of a revelation to me. Especially playing in Star Wars - where you assume the majority of the game is going to be fighting. My character, Qedra, was a Zabrak who was Dark Side, but had joined the Jedi Academy to control his darker feelings and do good. Teamed up with a couple of Jedi apprentices, we had our fair share of fights and battles - especially after Order 66 and we had to go on the run, and into hiding, before joining the beginnings of the Rebellion. But, after a few over violent moments, I discovered as my character was becoming more Light Side, I was becoming more and more reluctant, and slightly repulsed, by my killing everything in sight.

While I was a double lightsaber wielding powerhouse who could kill four stormtroopers in a turn, I started becoming more and more pacifist. The killing was becoming too much for my character, and me as a player. I was aiming to disarm, remove the threat, but reluctant to simply kill the villains off. It may have something to say about me, rather than the character.

It'll be interesting to see how it goes with the new Star Wars game we've just started, as I'm playing a kid, who (along with a host of bizarre characters) has survived their ship crashing on a remote planet. Playing a lone character who has no attachment to the others, who just wants to survive and escape - to hide from the Empire - one so desperate to do anything to remain alive and hidden, is going to be a challenge.

Until tomorrow, may the Force be with you!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

#RPGaDAY2018 - DAY 29: Share a friendship you have because of RPGs

On the final stretch now! Day twenty-nine of #RPGaDAY2019 asks us to share a friendship you have because of RPGs. That's one of the great things about tabletop gaming, that it's not (normally) a solo affair, and the players we game with can become some of the closest friends we have.

There are so many I could list. Most of the people I know on social media are gamers, but the best of my friends have been from my old pre-internet days of gaming. I had a few friends at school, but when one introduced me to tabletop gaming, and my first game of Traveller with some of his friends, my circle of friends grew. We'd game two or three nights a week, and most weekends.

The core of "The Eight", l-r Bragi, JR, Me, Mole, Pete, Coop, Fordy, and at the front Milo
(Not pictured - John)
(Photo, early 90s)

We were "The Eight" as we called ourselves, though at times our number was more. When some of the group moved away for University, we returned to playing during vacations, and always kept in touch. Now, thirty-five years or more later, we're still in contact. Always there if one of us is in need.

So, thank you guys. I don't think I'd have lasted this far without you.

Until tomorrow, everyone stay multi-classy!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

#RPGaDAY2018 - DAY 28: Share whose inspiring gaming excellence you're grateful for

Day twenty-eight of #RPGaDAY2018 is another remixed question. Taking the original question from 11th August 2016 of "Which gamer most affected the way you play?" has been remixed to become "Share whose inspiring gaming excellence you're grateful for?"

Wow, that's a big question.

So many people I'm grateful for, but the term "gaming excellence" is a tricky element. I guess once again it'll have to be down to my current gaming group - Stoo, Edge and Debs. Gaming with them opened up a whole world to me - a world of gaming where the point was not to power game, or to simply "win", but to tell a cool story, develop some amazing characters, and experience gripping and sometimes hilarious scenes.

I'm especially grateful for Debs' involvement in any game I write, as she hates learning rules - she's a great judge of when a game is unnecessarily complicated. On top of that, she's just about the only thing that keeps me writing sometimes.

Special mentions should go to the awesome people in addition to this who have helped when I need to brainstorm ideas - Charles, Alix, Cam, Derek, Jason, Jarval and Ellie.

Thank you!

A tricky question today, but I'll be interested to hear what you have to say. Until tomorrow, stay multi-classy!

Monday, August 27, 2018

#RPGaDAY2018 - DAY 27: Share a great stream/actual play

Day twenty-seven of #RPGaDAY2018, and the launch of the final week of #RPGaDAY for this year. It also sees the start of "SHARE" week, and a prompt that is a remix of a question first posed 8th August 2015 which was "Favourite appearance of RPGs in the media". I know this is going to sound odd, but strangely this was a question I remixed myself, taking that question and bringing it up to date with the current trend of Twitch streaming and actual play podcasts, to ask "Share a great stream / actual play".

On other days, I've posed questions in a little interview with those who have remixed the questions for #RPGaDAY. It's a bit odd asking myself these questions, but hell... why not? But rather than have you sit through all that, I'll post it at the end of this.

My answer to that question? Well, I've only really watched a handful of actual plays - I remember the awesome Titansgrave that Wil Wheaton hosted on Geek and Sundry.

It was amazing, and I'm sure I've mentioned in the past that I was asked to write an episode's adventure and I was incredibly stupid and managed to talk myself and them out of my doing it... So, so stupid...

I've been lucky that two games I've worked on, one of which I designed, became really successful Twitch streams -

The first was Eric's TBD RPG on Geek and Sundry.

Hosted by the awesome Eric C Campbell, with an amazing group of players, Eric's TBD RPG was a long running game of Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space by Cubicle 7, a game I wrote and designed! Awesome. I was so excited when they announced they were going to be doing this. The stream was massive, and spread the word of the game even further. Brilliant!

The Doctor Who stream finished a couple of years ago, to be replaced by Shield of Tomorrow - Eric hosting a new stream of Star Trek Adventures - a game I was (briefly) line developer and writer on! Mind blown!

Of course, my mind was blown even further when Eric decided to run a Doctor Who / Shield of Tomorrow cross-over.

And I really should mention Critical Role as well. Suddenly D&D is cool again.


Okay, here's that weird interview with myself (as promised)...

1) Would you like to introduce yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

I'm David F. Chapman, and use the twitter handle of Autocratik, also the name of my publishing enterprises. By day I work in retail to pay the bills, but by night I'm a game designer and writer. I've written for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, All Flesh Must Be Eaten, Terra Primate, Ghosts of Albion, and Army of Darkness, before becoming Line Developer on Eden Studios' Conspiracy X 2.0 line. 
I was lead writer and designer of Doctor Who Adventures in Time and Space (now just Doctor Who The Roleplaying Game) published by Cubicle 7, which was everything from the nerve-wracking pitch to the BBC through designing the system to publication. A great and exhilarating experience.
Since then, I was briefly line developer and lead writer for Star Trek Adventures for Modiphius Entertainment, and recently completed a hilarious ghost-breaking parody adventure setting for WOIN

2) How did you first get into tabletop roleplaying?

I used to hang around a small group of friends in school, playing video games. I went over to one of their houses one day planning on playing on their ZX Spectrum only to be told - "C'mon, we're going over to JR's and we're going to play something else". I followed, and was exposed to my first game of Traveller. After that, I was hooked. We played two or three nights per week, and most weekends. Ah, the 80s... We were like those kids in Stranger Things only there were more of us, and we drank more tea.

3) What inspired you to take the leap from being a player/GM to what you do now?

Ghostbusters. The Ghostbusters RPG from West End Games was my eye opening experience of "Wow, this is fun to read - I bet it was fun to write"... If someone could get paid to write and have fun writing these games, I wanted in. I wrote a couple of adventures for Ghostbusters in the late 80s on a typewriter, photocopied them, and posted them to New York to West End Games. While they were unsuitable and were never used, the feedback from WEG was incredibly encouraging and I tried to keep the dream alive.

My first writing gig was with Eden Studios. They wanted proof I could write first, so I wrote a complete supplement for All Flesh Must Be Eaten called "Summercamp Stalkers and Unstoppable Evil". Never got published, but off the back of that they started giving me work to do. I ghost edited things, assistant edited others, and generally tried to help as much as possible. It kinda escalated from there....

4) What makes a game instantly appealing for you?

The setting first, then the ease of play. If it's simple to play but does everything I need then I'm sold. If I scratch my head in confusion at the rules, or have to keep flicking from rule to rule, I start losing interest pretty quickly. I just don't have the dedication or patience that I used to have in my youth.

5) What is your favourite game of all time, and why?

Really had question. Why did you have to ask that? It'd be a four-way tie between WEG's Ghostbusters RPG - because it's fun, simple and perfectly captures the spirit (pardon the pun) of the movies; WEG's Star Wars RPG - because it was quick, simple, fun, and it was Star Wars just at a time in my life when Star Wars was the be-all-end-all of my universe; Victory Games' James Bond RPG - while it was a little more complex, it perfectly replicated the world of Bond, and the adventures and supplements are a work of genius. Beautiful game... and finally, Eden Studios' Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG. CJ Carella managed to capture the wit and pop-culture hip-ness off the series with a game system that emulated the way the series worked. Fantastic. 

6) What are you working on at the moment, and where can we find it?

Last thing I did was Ghostbreakers - The Spirit of Manhattan for WOIN. It should be getting Kickstarted in the very near future. Imagine a popular (and influential on me) movie series and then I tried to fix all of the issues I had with it, while creating something new and different. It's funny, weird, scary and I got way too carried away working on it. 

7) What do you have planned for the future?

I've been working on WILD, my RPG of dreamshare, for about seven years now. Every time I think I have a handle on it, something else pops up and works - Imagine Inception, Suckerpunch, Dreamscape, Reverie, Stitchers, Westworld, Twin Peaks, Stranger Things, The Matrix and Sandman all got together in a blender - you'd have WILD

8) Why do you take part in RPGaDAY?

I wanted to spread some positivity in the gaming community, just at a time when everything seemed so negative, discriminatory, and vile. Our hobby can bring people together and create amazing friendships. I hope RPGaDAY spreads a little of that.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

#RPGaDAY2018 - DAY 26: Gaming ambition for the next 12 months

Day twenty-six of #RPGaDAY2018 continues the "12-months" weekender, this time looking to the future rather than the past, asking "Gaming ambition for the next 12 months".

Again, that one's a short and sweet answer. If someone doesn't email me, or call, and say "Hi Dave, we've got the Harry Potter license and think you'd be the ideal person to develop the game", or say, "Hi Dave, we've got the James Bond license and think you'd be great to develop the game" (neither of which are likely to happen, but we can live in hope), then I guess I'm just writing my own thing.

Not that that is necessarily a bad thing. I'm very passionate about WILD, and if nothing else crops up that may actually be a paying gig (because I could do with the income!) I'm hoping to get a sample of WILD produced - complete with illustrations and layout - printed as a POD example, so that I can show it to some publishers and try to tempt them into partnering for a Kickstarter. With the motivation that comes from deadlines, and the prospect of actually making money, I'm sure productivity on WILD will increase dramatically. I'd love to finally see it made.