Monday, September 29, 2014

Autocratik Broadcast Treks onto Youtube

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time, Stay Multi-classy!!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Roll Your Own Youtube Series

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks everyone,

Stay Multi-classy!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Reclaiming "Gamer"

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

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

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

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

Below, is my post to that group:


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


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

Stay multi-classy...

Monday, September 1, 2014

#RPGaDAY in a Day. A Month in Review

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

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

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

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

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

Day 1 - First Game Played

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

Day 2 - First RPG Gamemastered

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

Day 3 - First RPG Purchased

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

Day 4 - Most Recent RPG Purchase

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

Day 5 - Most Old-School RPG Owned

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

Day 6 - Favourite RPG You Never Get to Play

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

Day 7 - Most Intellectual RPG Owned

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

Day 8 - Favourite Character

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

Day 9 - Favourite Die / Dice Set

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

Day 10 - Favourite tie in Novel / Game Fiction

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

Day 11 - Weirdest RPG Owned

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

Day 12 - Old RPG You Still Play / Read

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

Day 13 - Most Memorable Character Death

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

Day 14 - Best Convention Purchase

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

Day 15 - Favourite Convention Game

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

Day 16 - Game You Wish You Owned

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

Day 17 - Funniest Game You've Played

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

Day 18 - Favourite Game System

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

Day 19 - Favourite Published Adventure

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

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

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

Day 21 - Favourite Licensed RPG

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

Day 22 - Best Secondhand RPG Purchase

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


Day 23 - Coolest Looking RPG Product

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

Day 24 - Most Complicated RPG Owned

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

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

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

Day 26 - Coolest Character Sheet

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

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

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

Day 28 - Scariest RPG Played

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

Day 29 - Most Memorable Encounter

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

Day 30 - Rarest RPG Owned

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

Day 31 - Favourite RPG of all time...

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


And that was it!!

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

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

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

Stay Multiclassy!!