Friday, July 1, 2022

Announcing #RPGaDAY2022 in August

 


It's getting close to that time again, with August just a month away it's time to start thinking about our annual little celebration of tabletop roleplaying games - #RPGaDAY.

Over the last few years we've been doing single word prompts, a bit like Inktober or something like that (though I know we're not supposed to mention it). But this year, we thought we'd go old-school. Anthony Boyd, the legendary Runeslinger, has come up with a cool format for this year, inspiring conversation each day of August with Who, What, When, Where, Why, How... 

There's an alternative at the end you can use if you get stuck on a prompt, or even as a 'day zero' to warm up.

Feel free to download and share the graphic - sorry it's a bit rubbish this year, I didn't have much time - and you can find the text version of the prompts below. As always, if you wish to submit translations to us, feel free to get in touch. Let's get this as far as possible to hopefully inspire the biggest #RPGaDAY next year for its 10th Anniversary.

Thank you all for taking part!

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#RPGaDAY2022 Prompts:

1 - Who would you like to introduce to RPGs?

2 - What is a great introductory RPG?

3 - When were you first introduced to RPGs?

4 - Where would you host a first game?

5 - Why will they like this game?

6 - How would you get more people playing RPGs?

7 - System Sunday: Describe a cool part of a system that you love.

8 - Who introduced you to RPGs?

9 - What is the 2nd RPG you bought?

10 - When did/will you start Gamemastering?

11 - If you could live in a game setting, where would it be?

12 - Why did you start RPGing?

13 - How would you change the way you started RPGing?

14 - Suggestion Sunday: Roll 1d8+1, and tag that many friends and suggest a new RPG to try.

15 - Who would you like to Gamemaster for you?

16 - What would be your perfect game?

17 - Past, Present, or Future? When is your favourite game set?

18 - Where is you favourite place to play?

19 - Why has your favourite game stayed with you?

20 - How long do your games last?

21 - Setting Sunday: Share an intriguing detail from a game setting you enjoy.

22 - Who is your current character?

23 - What situation are they currently in?

24 - When did you start playing this character?

25 - Where has the character been?

26 - Why does your character do what they do?

27 - How has the character changed?

28 - Style Sunday: Roll 1d8+1, tag that many friends with your favourite RPG cover art.

29 - Who would you like to see take part in #RPGaDAY?

30 - What should #RPGaDAY do for its 10th anniversary next year?

31 - When did you first take part in #RPGaDAY?

?? - Anecdote Alternative: Roll 1d8+1, tag that many friends and tell a gaming story about them.


Translations into French by Francois Letarte:

1 - Qui aimerais-tu introduire au jeu de rôle?
2 - Qu'est-ce qu'un bon jeu de rôle d'introduction?
3 - Quand as-tu été introduit au jeu de rôle pour la première fois?
4 - Où voudrais-tu mener une première partie?
5 - Pourquoi aimeront-ils ce jeu ?
6 - Comment inciterais-tu plus de gens à jouer aux jeux de rôle ?
7 - Dimanche système : Décris-nous quelque chose de cool d'un système que tu adores.
8 - Qui t'a introduit au jeu de rôle?
9 - Quel est le deuxième jeu de rôle que tu as acheté?
10 - Quand as-tu commencé (ou vas-tu commencer) à mener des parties?
11 - Si tu pouvais vivre dans un monde de jeu, où serait-il? 
12 - Pourquoi as-tu commencé à faire du jeu de rôle?
13 - Comment changerais-tu la façon que tu as débuté dans le jeu de rôle?
14 - Dimanche suggestion : Lance 1d8+1, et identifie autant d'amis en leur suggérant à chacun un nouveau jeu de rôle à essayer.
15 - Qui aimerais-tu avoir comme meneur de jeu?
16 - Quel serait ton jeu parfait ?
17 - Quand, entre le passé, le présent ou le futur, se déroule ton jeu préféré ?
18 - Quel es ton endroit préféré pour jouer?
19 - Pourquoi ton jeu préféré est-il resté avec toi?
20 - Comment longue sont tes parties?
21 - Dimanche monde de jeu : Partage un détail intrigant d'un monde de jeu que tu apprécies.
22 - Qui est ton personnage présentement?
23 - Dans quelle situation ton personnage se trouve-t-il maintenant?
24 - Quand as-tu commencé à jouer ton personnage?
25 - Où ton personnage est-il allé?
26 - Pourquoi ton personnage agit de cette façon?
27 - Comment ton personnage a changé?
28 - Dimanche stylé : Lance 1d8+1, et identifie autant d'amis en les associant chacun à une page couverture d'un jeu de rôle.
29 - Qui aimerais-tu vois participer au #RPGaDAY?
30 - Que devrais faire #RPGaDAY pour son 10ème anniversaire l'an prochain?
31 - Quand as-tu participé pour la première fois au #RPGaDAY?
?? - Anecdote alternative: Lance 1d8+1, et identifie autant d'amis en racontant une anecdote de jeu en lien avec eux.

Brazilian Portuguese translation by Richard ‘Bat’ Brewster and Eric Souza

Agora em seu 9º Ano, #RPGaDay espera conseguir que as pessoas falem de forma positiva sobre jogos de mesa. Para cada dia de agosto, use a prompt para inspirar um blog, vlog ou post de mídia social para celebrar tudo de bom sobre nosso hobby com a tag #RPGaDAY2022
#RPGaDAY2022 Prompts:
1 - Quem você gostaria de apresentar aos RPGs?
2 - O que é um grande RPG introdutório?
3 - Quando você foi apresentado pela primeira vez aos RPGs?
4 - Onde você sediaria um primeiro jogo?
5 - Por que eles vão gostar deste jogo?
6 - Como você conseguiria mais pessoas jogando RPGs?
7 – Sistema de Domingo: Descreva uma parte legal de um sistema que você adora.
8 - Quem lhe apresentou os RPGs?
9 - Qual foi o segundo RPG que você comprou?
10 - Quando você começou/vai começar a mestrar?
11 - Se você pudesse viver em um ambiente de jogo, onde ele estaria?
12 - Por que você começou a jogar RPG?
13 - Como você mudaria a maneira como você começou o RPG?
14 - Sugestão de domingo: Role 1d8+1, e marque o número de amigos igual ao resultado para sugerir um novo RPG para tentarem.
15 - Quem você gostaria que fosse o seu mestre de jogo?
16 - Qual seria o jogo perfeito para você?
17 - Passado, Presente, ou Futuro? Quando é o seu cenário favorito?
18 - Onde você prefere jogar?
19 - Por que o seu jogo favorito ficou com você?
20 - Quanto tempo duram seus jogos?
21 - Cenário de domingo: Compartilhe um detalhe intrigante de um cenário de jogo que você gosta.
22 - Quem é seu personagem atual?
23 - Em que situação ele se encontra atualmente?
24 - Quando você começou a jogar com este personagem?
25 - Onde o personagem já esteve?
26 - Por que seu personagem faz o que ele faz?
27 - Como o personagem se transformou?
28 - Estilo de Domingo: Role 1d8+1, marque um número de amigos igual ao resultado com sua arte de capa de RPG favorita.
29 - Quem você gostaria de ver participar do #RPGaDAY?
30 - O que deve fazer o #RPGaDAY para seu 10º aniversário no próximo ano?
31 - Quando você participou pela primeira vez do #RPGaDAY?
?? – Alternativa Anedota: Role 1d8+1, marque um número de amigos igual ao resultado e conte uma história de jogo sobre eles.


Translation into German, thanks to Michael L. Jaegers:

1. Wen würdest du gerne ins Rollenspiel-Hobby einführen?
2. Was ist ein gutes Einsteiger-Rollenspiel?
3. Wann war dein Einstieg ins Rollenspiel?
4. Wo würdest du ein erstes Rollenspiel veranstalten?
5. Warum werden die anderen dieses Spiel mögen?
6. Wie würdest du mehr Leute dazu bringen, Rollenspiele zu spielen?
7. System-Sonntag: Beschreibe einen coolen Teil eines deiner Lieblingssysteme.
8. Wer hat dich zum Rollenspiel gebracht?
9. Welches ist das zweite Rollenspiel, das du gekauft hast?
10. Wann hast du angefangen/wirst du anfangen, Spielleiter zu sein?
11. Wenn du in einer Spielwelt leben könntest, welche wäre das?
12. Warum hast du mit Rollenspielen angefangen?
13. Wie würdest du die Art und Weise ändern, wie du mit dem Rollenspiel begonnen hast?
14. Vorschlags-Sonntag: Würfle 1W8+1, markiere so viele Freunde und schlage ein neues Rollenspiel zum Ausprobieren vor.
15. Wen würdest du dir als Spielleiter wünschen?
16. Wie sähe dein perfektes Spiel aus?
17. Vergangenheit, Gegenwart oder Zukunft? Wann ist dein Lieblingsspiel angesiedelt?
18. Wo ist dein Lieblingsort zum Spielen?
19. Warum ist dein Lieblingsspiel nach wie vor dein Lieblingsspiel?
20. Wie lange dauern deine Spielrunden?
21. Setting-Sonntag: Erzähle ein interessantes Detail aus einem Setting, das dir gefällt.
22. Wer ist deine aktuelle Figur?
23. In welcher Situation befindet diese sich gerade?
24. Wann hast du angefangen, diese Figur zu spielen?
25. Wo ist die Figur schon überall gewesen?
26. Warum tut deine Figur, was sie tut?
27. Wie hat sich die Figur verändert?
28. Stil-Sonntag: Wirf 1d8+1 und markiere so viele Freunde mit deinem Lieblings-Rollenspiel-Cover.
29. Wen würdest du gerne am #RPGaDAY teilnehmen sehen?
30. Was sollte der #RPGaDAY zu seinem 10-jährigen Jubiläum im kommenden Jahr tun?
31. Wann hast du zum ersten Mal am #RPGaDAY teilgenommen?

Anekdoten-Alternative: Würfle 1d8+1, markiere so viele Freunde und erzähle eine Spielgeschichte über sie.

And again into German, by Bartimeaus:

#RPGaDAY2022 #pnpde Prompts.
1 - Wem möchtest Du gerne den Einstieg ins PnP ermöglichen?
2 - Was ist ein gutes PnP für den Einstieg?
3 - Wann hast Du PnP kennengelernt?
4 - Wo würdest Du ein erstes PnP für Neulinge leiten?
5 - Warum werden Sie das Spiel mögen? 
6 - Wie würdest Du mehr Menschen dazu bringen, PnP zu spielen? 
7 - System Sonntag: Beschreibe einen coolen Bestandteil von einem Deiner Lieblings PnP.
8 - Wer hat Dich mit PnP bekannt gemacht?
9 - Was ist das zweite PnP welches Du gekauft hast?
10 - Wann hast/wirst Du mit dem PnP Spielleiten angefangen/anfangen?
11 - Wenn Du in einem Spiele Setting leben könntest, welches würde es sein?
12 - Warum hast Du mit PnP spielen angefangen?
13 - Was würdest Du nun anders machen, wenn Du nun neu mit PnP einsteigen würdest?
14 - Sonntagsvorschlag: Würfle 1w8+1 und schreibe so viele Freunde an und stelle ihnen ein neues PnP vor, dass sie ausprobieren sollen.
15 - Wen wünschst Du Dir als Spielleitung?
16 - Was wäre Dein perfektes Spiel?
17 - Vergangenheit, Gegenwart oder Zukunft? Wann spielt Dein favorisiertes Setting?
18 - An welchem Ort spielst Du am liebsten PnP? 
19 - Warum bist Du Deinem Lieblings-PnP treu geblieben?
20 - Wie lange dauern Deine Spiele?
21 - Setting Sonntag: Erzähle von einem faszinierenden Detail von einem Setting, welches Du magst.
22 - Wer ist Dein derzeitiger PnP Charakter?
23 - In welcher Situation steckt dieser Charakter gerade?
24 - Wann hast Du angefangen, diesen Charakter zu spielen?
25 - Wo war dieser Charakter bereits?
26 - Warum macht Dein Charakter, was er tut?
27 - Wie hat der Charakter sich verändert?
28 - Spielstil Sonntag: Würfle 1w8+1 und schreibe so viele Freunde mit Titelillustration Deines Lieblings PnP an.
29 - Wer soll Deiner Meinung nach beim #RPGaDay mitmachen?
30 - Was soll #RPGaDay für sein zehnjähriges Jubiläum machen?
31 - Wann hast Du das erste Mal am #RPGaDay mitgemacht?
?? - Alternativ Anekdoten: Würfle 1w8+1 und schreibe so viele Freunde an und erzähle Ihnen eine PnP Geschichte über sie.

Monday, May 2, 2022

Your Licensed Game Is Awesome!

Been a while since I've posted anything on here, I know. The last post was prompted by some serious backlash against a game I had been collaborating on, and the internet space was all getting a bit nasty. So, I took a break from the internet, focused on my work, and doing stuff in the evenings that wasn't tabletop writing.

I dipped my toes into the internet waters again to see if there was anything good happening, and stumbled upon an article in my feed (which I won't link to) that basically said licensed tabletop roleplaying games sucked. I was angry, hurt, and offended - mostly as the image they used for it was the cover of the Doctor Who Roleplaying Game. So, everyone was seeing this article with the headline 'Your Game Sucks' with an image of the game I'd been working on (off and on) for the last thirteen years.

Hard not to be offended!

The actual article itself was basically saying that licensed RPGs were bad, because you (as a player) didn't have the power of a bunch of scriptwriters, and no game could feel as cool as the licensed property it was based upon. 

So I thought I'd take to the blog, and voice my rebuttal. 

Licensed RPGs are awesome.

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Some of the best roleplaying games I've played, and the most fun I've had, have been playing licensed tabletop RPGs. The first game I GM'd was Star Frontiers, and I was so obsessed with movies and TV series that I populated the epic star-scape of Star Frontiers with lightsabers, T-800 Terminators, Transformers, and more. However, when publishers started actually making RPGs based on some of the movies and series I was so fanatical about, that was when I started having the most fun with roleplaying.


The first licensed game I bought and played was the, now legendary, TSR Adventures of Indiana Jones RPG. Sure, it didn't have character creation in the basic box, and I spent hours typing up a character creation chapter of my own to allow players to generate their own globe-trotting adventurers. But we had fun with it, playing ridiculous adventures of raiding tombs, punching nazis, and action packed thrills. It was great, and something that sticks with me to this day is the excellent 'Judges Survival Pack'. In that little supplement was, not only the character creation rules I desired, but also some fantastic 'random tomb generator' tools, to ensure the GM (or Judge) had a fresh ancient tomb, filled with traps, on hand.

To top this off, there was the amazing 'Chase Flow Chart' that provided an endless stream of roads, buildings, paths, and obstacles for foot or vehicular chases. It was brilliant, and a fantastic idea that I haven't really seen again. 


Hot on the heels of that in my gaming was another legendary game — Ghostbusters. The 'Frightfully Cheerful Roleplaying Game' produced by West End Games. 

To say this game changed my life is an understatement. It was written with a comedic tone filled with self-referential comments and jokes, that made it an absolute joy to read. I LOVE Ghostbusters. Seriously, I was obsessed with the first film, so much so that I bought the VHS when the film came out on rental, before it was available to buy, so I could watch it over and over again. 

I read the game, chuckling away to myself at the jokes and just how cool the game was. This was fun to read, and I had that moment of clarity when I realised if it was that much fun to read, it must have been fun to write — I want to do that!!

As documented here on the blog, I spent hours sat at an electric typewriter, hammering away to create adventures for Ghostbusters, photocopying the manuscripts and sending them off to West End Games. Waiting months for it to get there, and eagerly awaiting a reply. While it was a "no", it was an encouraging no, and it is the reason I wanted to become a roleplaying game writer and designer.

Shortly after Ghostbusters, the seemingly unstoppable West End Games produced the one game I wanted more than anything in the Universe — Star Wars. I was obsessed with Star Wars from before I'd even seen it, from the moment my dad brought home those first couple of action figures for me. Everything was Star Wars, and nothing could top it for me. When I first started roleplaying, Traveller and Star Frontiers were just Star Wars in my head. So when WEG brought out the Star Wars roleplaying game, using a version of the Ghostbusters D6 system, I was instantly sold.

It was great, and we had many epic games of dodging swarms of TIE Fighters, using force powers, shooting at Stormtroopers, and sneaking around Imperial bases.

The production was cool, and after so many years of black and white illustration in roleplaying rulebooks, to have them punctuated with glossy inserts of full colour, and that "Join the Imperial Navy" advert that looked like the armed forces ads that we were familiar with, was just brilliant. Seriously loved that game.


It was towards the end of the 'golden age' of my roleplaying gaming (before I had a bit of a break from gaming) that I delved into the realms of Victory Games' James Bond 007 RPG

Again, another perfectly executed game, with brilliant rules to make your character the suave and educated spy that you'd expect from a Bond movie. I loved Bond movies, from my first trip to see The Man With The Golden Gun, so to get the opportunity to run games with cool gadgets, powerful villains, and dangerous henchmen, I couldn't pass it up. After picking up the main boxed set, and one of the adventures, I saw how fantastic the production values were on them, especially the amazing handouts, and saw the awesome chase rules, I just couldn't stop until I had the complete collection (a collection I only really managed to complete in the last few years).

However, the James Bond 007 RPG is often regarded as being the first game to employ 'Hero Points' — a revolutionary development that has continued into games even today. Fantastic.

I'd taken a break from gaming, and returned to the scene in the early 90's when Vampire caught my eye, but many years later I became obsessed with the TV series The X-Files. As there wasn't a roleplaying game for The X-Files, a friend of mine recommended the closest thing, in the form of Eden Studios' Conspiracy X. This got me reading Eden's games, and got me my first real writing gig in the gaming sphere... I was busy working on Terra Primate when Eden got in touch about another of my favourite TV shows of the time...

Eden Studios' Buffy The Vampire Slayer RPG is another one of those brilliant licensed games that actually felt like the source material. Using a lighter version of CJ Carella's Unisystem, the Buffy RPG cleverly meant that you had to fight vampires to weaken them, before you could stake them. Just that little element meant that you had to punch and kick those pesky bloodsuckers until you could stake them, which meant it felt like an episode of Buffy. You did research, you went on patrol, you beat up some vamps, and dusted them. 

And the whole book was written in that lighthearted and accessible way that Ghostbusters was, filled with pop-culture references in the way the Buffy series was, and the way the Buffy characters talked. Just fantastic.

Filled with full colour glossy images, it was freaking glorious, and perfect for a group of vampire hunters, witches, watchers, or even slayers (if you continue from the end of season seven). I loved working on those books, and watching episodes over and over to get the floorplans for locations. 

When it comes to licensed RPGs that do things brilliantly, and perfectly reflect their source material, it's hard to ignore Leverage, published by Margaret Weiss Productions. Utilising a streamlined and modified version of their Cortex system (that was so brilliantly employed in their Smallville RPG), it boils stats and skills down to their core components, and the roles the characters have in the heist - hitter, hacker, thief, mastermind, and grifter. Everyone can do everything, but some are specialists in their field. 

Add to this the brilliant way they construct the anatomy of a heist, it's just a revelation. It was really one of those games where I read through it and kept saying 'I wish I'd thought of that' over and over again. 

Mentioning Smallville though, the relationship mapping when you're creating the game — how everyone knows each other, and significant places and events, is just brilliant. Seriously, you should check it out if you can. And it's a great supers game as well, where the characters don't feel impossibly overpowered.

Okay, you're probably getting bored by now, so I'll just do two more before I wrap up.

One of my favourite games of the last ten years — heck, one of my favourite games ever — is a licensed game. Based upon the artwork and artbook of Simon Stålenhag, Tales from the Loop is an amazing game, and an absolute revelation when I read it. In an alternate 1980s, where robots are common, and weird experiments at the Loop have resulted in time travel, weirdness, and mutation, Tales from the Loop allows players to return to school days and investigate strange goings on. 

Not only does it perfectly capture the feel of the era and the paintings, but it was a complete revelation in rules design for me. The size of the rules section was so small, with an emphasis in the book on the setting and story, constructing mysteries and investigations, it just opened my eyes to how minimal the rules of a game could be. 

We had some fantastic games of Tales from the Loop, one so epic the characters aged to enter the Things from the Flood, failed to stop the Loop going horribly wrong and sending the world into a post-apocalyptic setting of Mutant Year Zero - then time travelling back to Tales from the Loop to try to stop it! Awesome.


And I guess you can't talk licensed games, and mention Fria Ligan, without bringing up the awesome ALIEN RPG. Using a modified version of the Year Zero Engine that powered Tales from the Loop, ALIEN added new stress mechanics that really made you feel like you were in an ALIEN movie. The couple of games I've played have been some of the tensest I've experienced, with a real sense of panic from the players and characters, feeling like your character could meet a horrible fate at any moment. 

The 'acts' of the cinematic play, adding motivations that change as the acts of the story progress, are a brilliant addition, meaning you're never really sure of the other player characters' motivations, and it perfectly reflects the feel of the movies. 

I haven't seen how extended campaign play works out yet, so that's something to look into, but for a short, sharp, shocking trip into the terrors of space, it's brilliant.

Saying that I'm always in awe of Fria Ligan games is putting it mildly, and with their licensed RPG of Blade Runner launching on Kickstarter this week, you can count me in.

So there you go. I love licensed games. I want to play more of them, I want to write more of them. It's in my blood, and has been for a very, very long time. 





Sunday, February 20, 2022

Where Do We Go From Here?

Screenshot from Buffy: Once More With Feeling

 It's been a long time since I posted anything on my blog. Are blogs even a thing any more? 

After a particularly brutal weekend of comments over on social media, I thought I'd finally do something I've been meaning to do for a very long time and step back from that addiction to doomscrolling that is Twutter and Facebork. It's an addiction, and I know it's going to be hard - I mean, what else do I do?

A couple of months ago, I deleted a couple of apps from my phone (both themed 'candy crush' clones). I was on, like, level 2500 on one of them, and I used to constantly play in the background while I was watching TV and stuff. Probably a sign of something - my lack of being able to concentrate on anything for any length of time, and getting bored with everything incredibly quickly. Deleting these apps was a big step - I found myself actually paying more attention to what I was watching or doing, and taking in more information. 

So that was stage one.

Stage two, I haven't been able to bring myself to delete my social media presence - after all, I may want to do something on there to promote a book coming out, or to launch August's ninth #RPGaDAY. Heck, I may skip it this year, or leave it in the hands of the mighty Runeslinger. We'll see when it gets a bit closer. Getting rid of social media is something I've been thinking about for a long time - it just seems to be a terrible waste of my time (Twutter has become my replacement for moving coloured gems around the screen sometimes when I'm getting a little distracted). Most of the people I'm connected to on both major platforms I don't actually know - and I still get friend requests from people I've never heard of before. 

I want to use Facebork to keep in touch with my friends - the ones I actually know, used to go to school with, family, things like that. But instead, it quickly became a marketing tool for myself as a 'brand'. I shudder at the thought of that. And yes, I did it to myself. The whole "Autocratik" thing. 

On the subject of AUTOCRATIK, I see a lot of comments about Autocratic governments and dictators - that was never what the name was about. Originally, I wanted to do something for myself, and I created the comics brand "Autocratik for the Masses" as a pun on R.E.M.'s album "Automatic for the People". Then the comic publishing kinda died off, and I thought nothing of it. 

I'd formed a creative collective with some friends to produce a webseries and other comedy sorts, and when that fell apart horribly, and I wanted to disassociate myself from it all, I thought back to the old comic publishing days, and the name Autocratik leaped out. It wasn't because I was a dictator, it was just that I wanted to do things my way. I wasn't going to force people into my way of thinking or doing things, especially as the only person working for me was me. 

Anyway, the upshot of this ramble is that my social media presence is going to be minimised, but I've just paid to renew the domain on this site for a couple more years - so what do I do with the blog? I've kinda neglected it for the last couple of months, but I've been crazy busy. 

So I hope to post here a little more often, not expecting people to actually read it, but I'll still use it to post about what I'm working on, what I'm writing/drawing, what movies I've watched recently, and so on. 

Meanwhile, if you need to get in touch, you know where you'll find me.