Sunday, August 30, 2020

#RPGaDAY2020 - Wrapping it all up!

Hi again! It's the end of #RPGaDAY2020 and time I caught up! And then, wrapped it all up in a fitting way.

Right, day Twenty-Four was HUMOUR. You know, games always need a little humour in them. I know that sometimes our old D&D games used to devolve down into a string of Monty Python quotes - usually "run away!!!" but it's always good, especially in these gloomy and miserable times. And one of my favourite games of all time (Ghostbusters) is definitely a game played for laughs.

Day Twenty-Five was LEVER. I mentioned this in my video introduction to #RPGaDAY this year - I have fond memories of being so freakin' stupid in my old D&D games. I remember we did a dungeon where there was a room with a lever on the wall and, being the clueless 1st level thief that I was, flipped it to see what happened. The gravity in the room reversed, and everyone flew up to the ceiling (taking damage - especially those wearing full plate armour). Seeing what I'd done, I flipped it again to bring everyone back to the ground, and everyone fell (and took damage again). I was such a dufus. I remember the next time I triggered a trap it teleported me a mile above the building we were in... 

Day Twenty-Six was STRANGE. I like the weird. You know that already. I adore Twin Peaks, and the weirder things are the better. I guess that's why I've been writing WILD. I just like the potential of doing the weirdest stories. 

Day Twenty-Seven was FAVOUR. I suppose this one should have been the first on the list, as my big favour was really asking you to get involved and to spread a little positivity in the world about tabletop gaming. And it seems a lot of you have already done this, thank you.

Day Twenty-Eight was CLOSE. It's only been in the last couple of years that I've had games come to a satisfying close. The plots wrap up, there's a big finale, and we go onto a different game altogether. It's a new thing for me, most of the games I used to play in the past just kinda fizzled out as circumstances changed, and players moved away... It's great to have a conclusion, an epic battle, a heroic action, and a proper conclusion to the story you've been building over the previous months. And maybe to leave things a little open for a sequel if you fancy going back to the game in the future.

Day Twenty-Nine was RIDE. Vehicles are always tricky in tabletop games. The best vehicle rules I've seen have both been in licensed games that were properties that had a lot of chases in them - James Bond and Indiana Jones. The James Bond RPG by Victory Games was a work of genius, and the chase rules in there were simple and brilliant. And then there's the Indiana Jones RPG (the old TSR one) and that one had the coolest chase flowchart I've seen, allowing you to have randomly generated and endless chases whether this was on foot or in a vehicle. Brilliant stuff!!

Day Thirty was PORTAL, and if RPGs are anything they are a portal into the imagination like no other media. They're a truly interactive and imaginative story building exercise. All you have to do is to step through...

Day Thirty-One is EXPERIENCE and I'm going to wrap up #RPGaDAY2020 by asking another question...

What was your experience with #RPGaDAY? Did you enjoy taking part? Were the prompts okay? I know there have been some negative comments about the single word prompts lacking something - I kinda hoped that they'd free things up and enable you to interpret the prompts in your own ways without it being a single question (which, after so many years, are tricky to come up with). There are so many of these monthly prompts things going around, does the world need another one?

Anyway, I hope you DID enjoy #RPGaDAY this year, and I hope it brought a little distraction in this crappy world at the moment. I'd just like to finish by thanking Anthony Boyd again for doing 99% of all the work this year with #RPGaDAY as I've been a bit swamped. Without Anthony's help there would not be an #RPGaDAY. And thank you again to Will Brooks for designing the cool graphic, and to Simon Miles of Dunromin University Press for the cool dungeon map alternative graphic that has inspired so many this year. And thanks to those of you who took part, and kept it positive, and spread the word of RPGs. 

We now return you to your scheduled viewing...

Stay multi-classy, and above all, stay safe.

Take care.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

#RPGaDAY2020 - Catchup (again) - Days TWELVE to TWENTY-THREE


#RPGaDAY2020 has gotten away from me a bit, like the Doctor says in Blink (one of the best episodes of new Doctor Who in my opinion - well, certainly one of my favourites). A combination of being incredibly stressed through the dayjob (people seem to have forgotten there's a pandemic), which has left me incredibly drained physically, and just a bit gloomy. My only respite has been writing for some awesome and exciting projects on my days off...

Anyway, let's try and catch up a bit before #RPGaDAY heads into its last full week...

Where were we? Oh, yes... Day 12 was MESSAGE. There has always been a message behind #RPGaDAY, and that has been to spread some positivity about tabletop gaming. I hope that message is still continuing. RPGs are great, and I've said before I can attribute RPGs as being the reason I know some awesome friends who have stayed in my life for forty-plus years. I can also thank RPGs for getting me my first job, and for introducing me to my wife. See? RPGs can be good for you!

Day 13 was REST, and I saw someone post online that maybe it was time to give #RPGaDAY a rest? What do you think? I read this, and the response agreeing with it, and I was disheartened. For an initiative trying to spread positivity, surely stopping would be giving in to negativity? Hell, in these troubling times shouldn't we be grabbing even the slightest bit of positivity with both hands and hanging on for dear life?

Day 14 was BANNER. If these last couple of weeks are anything to go by, I'm very like Bruce Banner... 

Very angry... and tired. Always angry and tired. Which is a shame because it's really impacting my games. So tired I find it hard to concentrate during the games...

Day 15 was FRAME... I'm sorry. I got nothing. I'll come back to this one later when I'm not so tired... so angry and tired...

Day 16 was DRAMATIC. I love game systems (and a GM) that allows things to get really dramatic. Nothing like running along the top of a train, or surfing a crashing starfighter as it plummets into the atmosphere. I mean, RPGs are great escapism so why not do something really dramatic and exciting? 

Day 17 was COMFORT, and a chance to reiterate that everyone should feel comfortable at the game-table.  Everyone should feel safe, and over the last few years there have been a number of safety tools like the X-Card, and Lines & Veils, that have made it easier to feel safe at the table. They are brilliant, and a positive way to stay comfortable while stretching the imagination.

Day 18 was MEET. A lot, if not most, of the good friends I've met over the years has been through tabletop gaming. And those who I knew before the gaming quickly became involved. We battled the hordes together and forged bonds that have lasted years, if not decades. I've met some brilliant people through gaming, and through the game industry. I dread to think what my life would have become (or who I'd have met) without it.

Day 19 was TOWER. Many, many moons ago I suggested that it would be great to produce a tabletop RPG of the worlds of Stephen King - and at its heart would be the RPG of the Dark Tower, just like it is the heart that connects most of King's works. How cool would that be? It could be all out horror, gaming in Derry and Castle Rock, or more like the fantasy worlds of Eyes of the Dragon, and the realms of Mid-World... I reached out to King's lawyers, but I think it was bad timing just as the movie deal was happening for the seriously bad adaptation. Maybe one day...

Day 20 was INVESTIGATE. Which kinda brings us to my favourite RPG at the moment (and of the last few years), Tales From The Loop. It's not about going out and killing things - it's about investigating mysteries and weird happenings. Especially as you're playing kids and teenagers - it means you're not going into places all tooled up with guns and weapons. I love it.

Day 21 was PUSH, which kinda ties in with the INVESTIGATE one from before because I really like the Push mechanic in Tales from the Loop. I know it's appeared in many games beforehand, but it's just great that you can try to reroll an important task if you fail (or fail to do well enough) - it's just that you're going to take some form of condition from pushing yourself. Either injuring yourself in the process, or becoming exhausted. 

Day 22 was RARE, and I know a lot of people have been using that prompt as a way to talk about particularly rare RPGs. I think the rarest ones I have are the Dune: Chronicles of the Imperium RPG that people keep listing on Ebay for silly money. I love Dune, and I'm really excited to see the new one from Modiphius, but this was the first attempt at a Dune RPG. Rather lovely it is too...

Probably the rarest thing I have is the prototype 'pitch' that was printed to show the BBC what we had in mind for the Doctor Who Roleplaying Game. I think only ten or twenty were printed. 

Day 23 is EDGE...   Hey dude, you inspired a prompt! (Edge will get this, and maybe three other people).

Okay, that's it for now. I need sleep. Lots of editing to do tomorrow.

Take care and stay safe everyone.

And stay multi-classy.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020


I knew this would happen. I've a big writing project on (or three) and I just don't have the time to put the effort into #RPGaDAY that it deserves. I'm really sorry. Anyway, I can't concentrate on the writing just yet, as I sit at home waiting my phone appointment with my therapist. (Always hate that hour or so before a scheduled phonecall where you're all antsy and just can't settle until it's over) So this seems like the perfect opportunity to try my best to catch up.

Day Five was TRIBUTE, and if I could pay tribute to anyone it would be to a whole host of people. First of all to Anthony Boyd (aka Runeslinger) who, for the last five years, has stepped in to do most of the heavy lifting for #RPGaDAY when I've been too busy. Without his help #RPGaDAY would have faltered by the wayside many, many years ago. Thank you! Also, thanks to my gaming groups for keeping me playing, and for getting me started all those years ago. 

Day Six was FOREST. I love forests. Almost as much as I love the sea. My fondest memory of my childhood was a holiday we had in the borders of Scotland with my parents, in a little cottage in the middle of a forest. I could let my imagination run wild and pretend to be anything I wanted to be (though at that time, all I really wanted to be was Luke Skywalker). I reminds me that you don't need masses of technology or props to let your imagination take you to any place in the universe. Tabletop gaming does that brilliantly. With just a rulebook and a couple of dice you can be transported to places you can only dream about, and experience adventures that can surprise you.

Day Seven was COUPLE, and again I have to thank tabletop RPGs for introducing me to my wife. I met Debs at university, but started socialising with her through tabletop gaming. It was all Vampire: The Masquerade's fault...

Days Eight and Nine were SHADE and LIGHT. I must admit, I've always played Light characters. Horribly good. Sickening really. I just can't play the darker elements. When we started to play FFG's Star Wars RPG a few years ago, I statted up a cool Zabrak character because I really liked Darth Maul. We were playing apprentice Jedi, and my character was very dark-side but wanting to turn to the light through his training and renounce the dark. In the end he became a veritable paragon of the light, even influencing the events after he'd sacrificed himself to save the others through the power of the Force. 

Day Ten, and I've nearly caught up. Day Ten was WANT. If I could have anything regarding tabletop RPGs it would be to earn enough writing them to quit the dayjob. I can want this all I like, but it isn't going to happen. Especially the speed I write and my messed up brain. 

Which brings us up to date and today's prompt is STACK. I'm in a really lucky situation where I have stacks of things I should be writing. Two of which are achingly close to completion. I really have been lucky to get to be in such a situation. 

Right, I'm sorry they were a bit brief, and not very well thought out. I'm always amazed and happy to see that so many people are joining in again this year. Thank you for getting involved and spreading the word. 

In these difficult times, stay safe, and stay multiclassy.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020


#RPGaDAY2020 and we're already on Day Four, and I wish I had the VISION to have prepared all of this in advance. The dayjob is incredibly anxiety inducing thanks to having to deal with the public, and I'm spending my days off working on an incredibly cool project (or three) that I'd much rather be doing - but it's meant every moment of my day has been taken up with work in some shape or description, and I've not had the FORESIGHT to prepare for #RPGaDAY in advance.

What a dufus. Not the first time I've called myself a dufus today either.

While I'm not getting much of a chance to write entries for each of the month's prompts, I do take a little time to SEE all of the cool posts that have already been circulating the internet with regard to #RPGaDAY, and loving everyone's wide and varied interpretations of the prompts. Thank you everyone for taking part and spreading a little love of the hobby in these trying times.

Stay safe everyone.

Monday, August 3, 2020


#RPGaDAY2020 is now on Day Three, and the prompt is THREAD

We're playing a couple of games at the moment (Things from the Flood and Changeling: The Lost), both with different GMs, but both of them are running the games with a brilliantly open-world way of managing the plot-threads. Both of our GMs have said that plots are ticking away at their own speed, progressing and advancing with or without our intervention. Something I really love in these games.

Of course, I'm sure our GMs thought we were a lot smarter than we really are when they started weaving all of these plot-threads through the games. There have been a few occasions where we've missed something completely, a plot has been resolved by an NPC because we've become distracted by a different element of the setting, or just gone off for a meal or a date - accidentally forgetting about the coming apocalypse in one case!

Sunday, August 2, 2020


Day Two of #RPGaDAY2020 is the word "Change", and I've decided to take that as a quick look at the change in my gaming tastes. It's weird, but recently I've gone back to playing 1st edition AD&D, back with my old D&D group from many, many years ago - the same group that introduced me to gaming back in the mid 80s. 

Looking through the rulebook I have to admit a complete change in my tastes. I love the way that games have become works of art, with amazing illustrations and design. They've become simpler, and faster. Quick to pick up, especially for new players, and leave you free to enjoy the storylines and the drama rather than having to constantly flick through dozens and dozens of rulebooks. 

Probably why my favourite games of all time (Ghostbusters, WEG Star Wars, Buffy, Tales from the Loop) are all super fast and quick to learn. 

Saturday, August 1, 2020


Day One of #RPGaDAY2020 and we start at the very BEGINNING. 

I'm going to interpret this as how did I start playing tabletop RPGs? Well that goes back many, many years to the mid 1980s. The usual Saturday afternoon and I headed over to see a friend of mine who had the unfortunate nickname of Crud, expecting the usual afternoon of programming a ZXSpectrum to enable us to play the most basic of Light Cycle games. Instead, Crud said "we're not doing that, we're going over to JR's house"... 

We trekked over to his house, the far side of the city, and there I was introduced to my first tabletop RPG. Traveller...

Those little black books had so much information in them! I created a character, who was well into his 50s by the time he'd finished his military service, and played for a bit but wasn't really sure what was going on. It was all very new to me, but I was intrigued and very keen to try some more. It was only a matter of time before I was asked to come along to the next game, something very different - Dungeons & Dragons...