Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Let's Go To Gen Con GoFundMe Campaign


As we all know, going to Gen Con isn't cheap. Even writing for EN World doesn't help to offset all of the costs of going and covering the convention for you, the readers. I started a GoFundMe campaign to help with some of the costs. In addition to just straight donations, I have a couple of fun pledge levels for it, working around the idea that not everyone can go to Gen Con, but they still want to have some of the experiences of the show.

  • For $5 I will track down a person, place or thing at the convention (1. it has to be gaming related and 2. it has to be safe for work) and take a picture of it. I will then post the picture to an online gallery here and to social media. If you have a Twitter account, I will also tag you in the post.
  • For $10 I will track down a designer or publisher of your request, ask them a couple of questions and post a video of the questions to my YouTube channel. Sorry, but I determine the questions. If the person will not consent to being recorded, unfortunately there aren't any refunds. I will try my best to convince them to let me record them for posterity.
There may be other pledge levels coming, but those are the main ones. They are a good way to augment my coverage of the convention. If you have any questions about the campaign, or would like to know if you can donate in other ways, contact me via the contact box to the left of this post.

I hope to see you at Gen Con this year!



Out Of Office


It is (almost) my birthday, and I'll be away in Las Vegas for a few days. Except for emergencies, I won't respond to emails or messages to the blog until at least Sunday.

Happy gaming.



Thursday, January 19, 2017

Fate Accelerated And Emotional Stress

From a Phonogram story inspired by TV On The Radio's Song "Wolf Like Me."
While I am in Las Vegas next week for my birthday, I am going to run a Fate Accelerated game (using my own Accelerated hack that I have talked about in various blog posts here, and around social media) about werewolves. I like werewolves, and I like Fate Accelerated, so they blend well together. This is an early form of something that I will likely use in a published game, once it gets to a more mature form.

Whether born as one, or made into one, Wolves are primal creatures with intense and powerful emotions. Like with their more potent senses these emotions can at times overwhelm a Wolf, particularly in stressful situations like combat. Wolves have an additional stress track built around their more profound emotional triggers. Rage and anger are common triggers for Wolves, but you can create a stress track for your character around any intense emotional response.

The write up for your character's emotional stress is simple. Like with 'regular" stress, they get three boxes. However, for emotional stress the Consequence that your character receives is predetermined during character creation. These consequences are considered to be Moderate. Some examples of consequences for emotional stress could be: "The Wolf Is Scratching Out From My Skin" for Rage, "I Have To Get OUT" for Fear or "Nothing Is Right" for Confusion.

The GM should compel these consequences...hard. When the consequence for their emotional stress has triggered, it should change everything about how your character sees and interacts with the world. Fate points earned from compelling the consequence of an emotional stress track should last until the consequence itself goes away. This means that you can keep those Fate points between sessions.

This isn't going to be for everyone, which is fine, but your character, as a Wolf, is more than human and more than animal, and their strengthened connection to the Natural Order comes with drawbacks as well as perks.

In case you've never heard the song...





Monday, January 16, 2017

That 10 RPGs Of Your Teen Years Meme



Social media runs on memes, and while I try to avoid them for most parts,I thought that I would talk a little about the "10 RPGs That Impacted Your Teen Years" meme that is going around Facebook (and probably other places).

There are a couple of tripping points for that meme for me. The first has to do with my age, there just weren't a lot of RPG options when I was in my teen years. The second had to do with distribution and retail, and this probably had a much greater impact upon what was available for play when I was younger.

I started gaming in 1979, on the cusp of my teen years. While there was an explosion of things going on in gaming at that time, a lot of it passed by small town Indiana because of the quirks of retail.

I've said a number of times that there was a weird geographic quirk to where I lived in that we never had the availability of a lot of modules in the area where I grew up. We had access to plenty of core rules (and by "plenty" I really mean most of the core rules published by TSR Games), but not much else. Without a local dedicated game or comic store, our game buying was pretty much limited to what was available in the mall: Waldenbooks and K.B. Toys. I think that I was in high school when the space that had been the Under 21 "Goth" hangout was bought and turned into a game store. By then things were mostly set, habit-wise.

Most of my teen gaming years revolved mostly around a couple of games: B/X D&D, AD&D and later on the classic Marvel Super-Heroes game from TSR. The D&D stuff was with the group that I had played with since starting gaming, while the Marvel game was what I preferred to run myself. There were other games, on the edges, I ran Lords of Creation a few times (it was really my introduction to multi-genre gaming), and friends had games like Gamma World, but while I really enjoyed these other games, they never really grabbed me in the way that the others did.

Just before my family moved to Florida, I found the DC Heroes game by Mayfair.

After we moved to Florida, my exposure to gaming increased and I discovered games like Call of Cthulhu, Runequest and Golden Heroes (one of my favorite super-hero role-playing games, a distinctly British game published by Games Workshop). Call of Cthulhu became my bomb, and I would use it for pretty much any style of horror role-playing at the time.

I'm not a huge fantasy fan, and D&D has never had the appeal for me, mostly because of that. It was games like Marvel Super-Heroes and Call of Cthulhu that kept me involved with gaming.

In my college years, moving from the teen years and into my twenties, meant that I was able to be exposed to a lot more games. I was lucky between Tampa, and going back to Indiana for college, to have access to a couple of really good gaming stores, and some great comic stores. This is also the era when I discovered that I could order games directly from publishers, and not be bound to the tastes and predilections of local game stores.

The first real discovery of my college years was when GURPS from Steve Jackson Games came out. It was like the multi-genre play of Lords of Creations, but with a much better system. The first edition boxed set was a little rough, but by the third edition of the game it had settled into a pretty solid system.

In 1987, I read William Gibson's Neuromancer and, as the kids say these days, "mind blown." It took me a couple of years to find the game that meant CYBERPUNK to me. I went through Cyberspace from Iron Crown and SpaceTime from BTRC, but neither of them really appealed to me. Then we found R. Talsorian's Cyberpunk 2013 and (eventually) Cyberpunk 2020. Cyberpunk 2020 is still one of my favorite games, and I periodically dust it off for new games.

There were always other games, but these were the big ones. The 90s, and my 20s and 30s, were mostly dominated by GURPS, Marvel Super-Heroes, Call of Cthulhu (Thank you Delta Green) and Cyberpunk 2020. Most of these still see fairly regular play for me, except for GURPS. I suspect that I am going to be dusting off Cyberpunk 2020 more in the future, only because it is weirdly appropriate to the world that we're going to be living in for the next few years.

I have gotten back to D&D more in the last few years. Third edition saw my entry into professional game writing, like with so many others, but the promise of that edition started to strain under the weight of SO. MANY. OPTIONS. The OSR, and streamlined D&D rulesets like Swords & Wizardry and the Basic Fantasy RPG scratch that itch for me with that style of gaming. The return of Runequest Classic and clones like the remarkable OpenQuest also give me variety in my fantasy gaming. Fate Accelerated has also give me the bones for a gaming system that fits a lot of the needs that I have for how a system works. Like any game, it takes a little tinkering to get the engine really running in the way that you like it, but that is part of the fun of RPGs. Isn't it?



Saturday, January 14, 2017

Galileo Games And Brooklyn Indie Games Announce Merger


Brooklyn Indie Games, a boutique tabletop role-playing, board, and card game publisher, is merging with Galileo Games, publisher of fiction and tabletop role-playing games. The Brooklyn Indie Games brand will continue as an imprint under the Galileo Games label. Brooklyn Indie Games owner Tim Rodriguez will be joining Galileo Games as Vice President, Galileo Games’ Brennan Taylor will remain as President.
By bringing on the board game production and design expertise of Brooklyn Indie Games, Galileo Games plans to expand their footprint in the hobby games market, producing innovative card and board games to complement and expand the role-playing games they already offer. Galileo views this as a merger of equals, and the Galileo corporate identity will survive by virtue of its longer history and greater name recognition. With the additional experience and manpower of two companies becoming one, Galileo plans to increase their production schedule and offer a wider variety of products through the retail and direct sales channels.
"Brooklyn Indie is excited to join with Galileo Games," said new Galileo Games Vice President Tim Rodriguez. "They’re a significant player in the industry, having been around since 1995, and Brennan is personally responsible for many innovations that help the indie games industry run as smoothly as it does today."
"I am so pleased to have Tim Rodriguez joining Galileo Games," said Galileo Games President Brennan Taylor. "Tim is one of the best card game designers in the industry, and having him developing our line of board and card game products will make Galileo more competitive in that market. Tim is also a good friend and a person whose interests and business sensibilities are extremely compatible with my own. This is going to be a great partnership, and I’m looking forward to what Galileo will be coming up with as we move into 2017."
Between the two of them, Brennan Taylor and Tim Rodriguez bring over 30 years of game design and production experience to the merged company.
About Galileo Games, Inc.
Galileo Games, Inc. is a publisher of innovative role-playing games and fiction. Galileo was founded in 1995 by Brennan Taylor and Krista White. Since that time, Galileo has grown, publishing a variety of game and fiction titles, including Bulldogs!, The Ministry InitiativeShelter in PlaceKingdom of NothingMortal Coil, and How We Came to Live Here. Galileo Games, Inc. proudly works with great game designers, including Jeff Himmelman, Ralph Mazza, J.R. Blackwell, Kenneth Hite, and Fred Hicks, and talented writers, including Will Hindmarch, Mur Lafferty, Peter Woodworth, Greg Stolze, and Nathan Lowell. Products from Galileo Games are available through distribution via ACD, Lion Rampant, Golden Distribution, and Indie Press Revolution. Products may also be purchased directly by consumers via Indie Press Revolution and DriveThruRPG. More information can be found at Galileo Games’ web site www.galileogames.com.
About Brooklyn Indie Games
Brooklyn Indie Games is a small game publisher and professional services provider in the wilds of Brooklyn that brings independent designers and artists together to create great games. Brooklyn Indie Games has created and published Ghost Pirates, Backstory Cards, Omega Zone, and Heartcatchers. More information can be found at Brooklyn Indie Games’ web site www.brooklynindiegames.com.