Sunday, September 10, 2023

The X-Files at 30 - Close Encounters of the First Kind


Today marks the thirtieth anniversary of the airing of the first episode of my favourite TV series - The X-Files. I've talked about The X-Files multiple times on this blog, and you know how obsessive I am, but as it's the anniversary I couldn't help but talk about it again.

Bear in mind that it's not really the thirtieth anniversary for me. Over here in the UK we had to wait just over a year before that first episode aired on BBC2. However, to mark the anniversary I thought I'd do a series of posts about it, picking out my favourite episodes and memories of the series. 

The best place to start is at that very beginning - my first contact with the series. I was obsessed with TV series in my teens. I LOVED TV. I fell in love completely with Moonlighting, watched every episode of Midnight Caller making notes of great lines of dialogue, and then along came Twin Peaks. When I left school I didn't go off to university immediately, and was kinda left behind, trying desperately hard to write RPGs or draw comics, and spending my weekends renting VHS movies by the armful. I watched the VHS of the UK 'Twin Peaks' movie, was immediately hooked and loved every second, so when the actual series started airing in the UK I was faithfully recording them on my parents' VHS so I could watch them over and over again (I still have them somewhere, though I'm guessing the tape has probably degraded a bit now).

This started a trend in me - FBI agents investigating weirdness. Sign me up! Dale Cooper was everything I wanted to be in life, and I couldn't believe it when they left us hanging for so long.

Eventually, I went off to art school, or university as it is now, and even there my love of Twin Peaks influenced my projects (graphic design projects to explain something became complicated flowcharts explaining the relationships in the series). I started buying Wrapped in Plastic magazine, and this only fuelled my love of the series. 

Now, bear in mind I didn't have access to the internet then, and the UK was a whole year behind the States, but whispers of this new series called The X-Files had made it over the waters, and when Wrapped in Plastic dropped that issue looking at The X-Files as well as Twin Peaks, I knew this was a series I had to check out. 

Besides, one of the leads of this new series was iconic in Twin Peaks (as DEA Agent Denise Bryson). That issue featured an episode guide, and interviews, and I knew reading what was in store on The X-Files that I had to watch it. 

Eventually, a year after the States, BBC2 aired the first episode. I have a distinct memory of this as the adverts on TV had already made it look awesome, and a fellow student at art college/uni was also a fan of all things UFOlogy and weird. Debs and I were already dating back then, and we were invited over to this student's flat (we'll call her Caroline, even though that's not her name) to watch. Snacks at the ready, TV tuned in, we all watched, engrossed in the episode.

The Pilot

What is there to say about The Pilot that hasn't already been said? Rewatching it now I can remember the feeling of seeing it that very first time. When the opening caption saying "The following story is inspired by actual documented accounts" came on screen I knew I was in for something cool. And I wasn't wrong, when the leaves are swirling around and he light shines down from the sky? Heck yes... I was grinning like a school kid.

The introduction of Mulder and Scully was great, they had a dynamic and a chemistry straight away on the screen, and I instantly loved them both. 

But there was one moment, out of all the cool scenes in The Pilot, that stood out and I remember as the moment when I knew my life would never be the same again. Mulder and Scully investigate the forest where the abductions are alleged to have taken place, but are forced to leave by local law enforcement. On the drive back the radio bursts into life, there's a blinding light, and we see these freeze frames of the agents shielding their eyes in the car. The lights go out, the car has stopped, and they're just at the X in the road Mulder painted earlier in the episode, and Mulder realises they've lost nine minutes of time. 

That was the moment I knew this was the coolest thing I'd seen since Twin Peaks and I had to watch every episode religiously. 

Going by that issue of Wrapped in Plastic, I knew that The X-Files had already taken the US by storm, and had quickly become a favourite. We may have been a year late in the UK, but I was eager to make up for lost time.


Happy Anniversary to The X-Files, here's to thirty more years searching for the truth.

Thursday, August 31, 2023



This is the end, beautiful friend. The end of #RPGaDAY2023. Another year done, and the final question of this year's initiative is possibly the most difficult one of them all: Favourite RPG of all time

Back when I started #RPGaDAY all those years ago, I asked exactly the same question. And my answer?

West End Games' Star Wars RPG

And that's because it was flippin' amazing. The system was great fun, and involved lots of dice to roll. It was great in its presentation, especially when you think it was produced at a time when there wasn't any Star Wars happening... it had been a few years since Return of the Jedi, and that game went on to shape a game system, to shape the Star Wars universe (even to this day characters and places from that game become Star Wars canon). 


Is it still my favourite? Probably. It's right up there with Ghostbusters (also by West End Games) and Tales from the Loop (by Fria Ligan). All of which have relatively simple systems that are incredibly evocative of the setting, and all of them are incredibly inspirational to everything I do. I can only aspire to do something as cool as West End's Star Wars. 


So that was 2023's #RPGaDAY. The tenth time we've done this, and once again I'd like to thank everyone who has got involved - even if it was just the odd day here and there. Every little post spreading a little more positivity about tabletop gaming can get another person playing, or give an unnoticed but brilliant game the exposure it needs. 

Thank you again, and until next year, stay safe. 

I'll return you all to your usual scheduled program.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

#RPGaDAY2023 - DAY THIRTY: OBSCURE RPG you've played

Day Thirty of #RPGaDAY2023 changes things up a little. The first year, the question was 'rarest RPG you own' which kinda devolved down to lots of people saying that they had the Dune: Chronicles of the Imperium RPG. Maybe not as rare as I thought, at least not in the RPG circles I was frequenting.

I switched this out to be less about owning something, and turning it into a great opportunity to talk about those games that don't get enough love online. 

There are certainly a few. There's The Gaslight Club - a really cool game of Westworld style robot theme parks, but you play the 'hosts'... and Action Potential where you play operatives who can switch body-shells - like Altered Carbon but not, if you get my drift. 

You should check them out!!

Tuesday, August 29, 2023


 This one's a tricky one. Day Twenty-Nine asks about the most memorable encounter. Back when #RPGaDAY began I talked about our old Call of Cthulhu game where one of the player characters had been forceably retired, only to return as the big bad. 

It's still a very memorable encounter, though my thoughts are drawn to that Tales from the Loop game again. After failing to stop the explosion of the Loop facility as teenagers (play progressing through Things from the Flood), there's nothing more memorable than your teenage character's mother appearing, mutated and evil, with crab-like legs and a host of mutated minions under her control. 


Monday, August 28, 2023

#RPGaDAY2023 - DAY TWENTY-EIGHT: SCARIEST game you've played

 Day Twenty-Eight of #RPGaDAY2023 returns to the question of the initial year, asking what is the SCARIEST game you've played. 

I'm afraid that this answer is the same as the first year - Kult, most notably 2nd Edition Kult, is still the scariest thing I've played. Really cool and unsettling, without resorting to the extremes of its most recent edition. 

Sunday, August 27, 2023

#RPGaDAY2023 - DAY TWENTY-SEVEN: Game you'd like to see a new EDITION of...

 Onto Day Twenty-Seven of #RPGaDAY2023 and we're into weirdly prophetic territory. Back in the first year of #RPGaDAY I set the same question, and my answers were - 

... James Bond 007, the amazing cool Victory Games RPG of playing agents in the world of James Bond; and Star Trek. There had been the FASA, the Last Unicorn Games, and the Decipher versions of a Star Trek roleplaying game, but since that video I was even lucky enough to be involved in the early development stages of Modiphius' Star Trek Adventures

Since then Star Trek Adventures has evolved into something even bigger than I'd hoped, and it just keeps going from strength to strength. Gorgeous books, lovely minis, and now tackling things like Discovery, Lower Decks, and more. (Personally, I'd like to see a weird alternate timeline book for the Kelvinverse, but that is just me). 

Unfortunately, Bond hasn't happened. And I don't think it will for a while, at least not until EON choose a new Bond and decide what they are doing with the Bond universe. 

So what would I say now? 

I'd still love to see a new edition of Ghostbusters, capturing the spirit (pardon the pun) and humour of that first West End Games edition. I'd love to see a new Star Wars RPG, as things seem to have come to a halt with the Fantasy Flight/Edge version - had a blast playing that one. I'd also love to see a new edition of WitchCraft, maybe using Cinematic Unisystem to speed things up, and add more action, employing the magic system of Buffy. And I'd love to see a new version of Star Frontiers, but we won't mention the horrible one that almost happened recently. 

Saturday, August 26, 2023


Character Sheets are often the way you can tell what a game is going to be like - almost like when you're in a book store and you pick up a novel and read the back cover blurb. When it comes to roleplaying games, I usually have a look at the character sheet and can fairly quickly tell if it's going to appeal to me as a gamer.

Originally, I mentioned the Numenera character sheet as it's really a thing of beauty. And it's certainly worth looking at the Invisible Sun character sheets, also by Monte Cook Games, as each 'class' of character (and I use the term lightly) has very different character sheets to evoke the methods and feel of the character.

I mean, can you believe these are all character sheets for the same game? Brilliant.

Friday, August 25, 2023


Day Twemty-Five of #RPGaDAY2023 and we're looking those games you buy because you really like the idea or the design, but you just haven't managed to actually play yet. 

Originally, I mentioned Everway, which was quite an inspiration to the look and shape of WILD.

Since then, there have been loads of games that just sit on my shelf - inspiration but unplayed. Atomic Robo I've already mentioned. Delta Green. Flabbergasted. Broken Compass

The one that really stands out is Lighthearted - a game of magical college students in the 80s. Just feels like a great combination of Tales from the Loop and The Magicians. 

Thursday, August 24, 2023


 Day Twenty-Four of #RPGaDAY2023 and the original question from back when RPGaDAY began asked about the most complicated RPG you own. 

I went on about the most complicated RPG I'd played (though played it a bit of a falsehood as we spent so long creating the characters I didn't get around to actually playing it) which was Space Opera, then foolishly went on about D&D - which is still, in my opinion, a bit complicated for me. 

Since then? I still love the simpler systems, and one of the biggest revelations when it comes to how simple you can make rules has to be Tales from the Loop. I remember reading that and looking at the rules section (which must be about 18 pages of the rulebook) and being amazed at how small the rules were, and how much they could handle. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

#RPGaDAY2023 - DAY TWENTY-THREE: COOLEST looking RPG product / book

 Day Twenty-Three of #RPGaDAY2023, and we're asking about the coolest looking RPG / book. Back when #RPGaDAY launched I took the opportunity to talk about square books. I love square books. There is just something cool about them.

I talked about MouseGuard, and Nobilis, both of which were produced as really cool square books. And I talked about WILD, how I hoped to produce it as a square book too - and thanks to Stoo it was!

There have certainly been a load of cool looking books since that video. Tales from the Loop stands out as being particularly gorgeous. And the graphic design of Flabbergasted is really stunning, but the graphics for the forthcoming Triangle Agency really is stunning. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2023



Day twenty-two of #RPGaDAY2023, and it's another one asking what you've been buying... weird. When I wrote these questions ten years ago I really was fixated on possessions. 

And my answers for this question the first time around were the first edition versions of CJ Carella's WitchCraft and Armageddon RPGs. 

I don't mind a good secondhand RPG, especially if it fills a gap in the collection. I managed to finally get the Octopussy supplement for James Bond 007 secondhand which completed the Bond collection, and multiple Star Trek RPGs (FASA, Last Unicorn, Decipher) when I was researching during my tenure working on Star Trek Adventures. 

One of my favourite secondhand purchases was the original Dune: Chronicles of the Imperium RPG that was produced before the corporate buyouts and so on. Only 3000 of them printed, and I managed to get it for a not horrific price (though it does smell a bit smokey - I've been trying to fumigate it with cinnamon for years, to make it smell like the spice melange). 

Monday, August 21, 2023

#RPGaDAY2023 - DAY TWENTY-ONE: Favourite Licensed RPG


It's Day Twenty-One of #RPGaDAY2023, and it's a very difficult one for me. Favourite licensed RPG.

Anyone who knows me or has listened to me ramble on in my videos or blogs, or even on other people's podcasts, will know I LOVE licensed RPGs. There's just something about getting to play in your favourite worlds, whether it's the oppressed space of Star Wars, or the looming threats of Middle Earth. There's just something about playing in the world of my favourite TV series or movies that appeals to me. 

Back when #RPGaDAY first started I took this opportunity to rant about the lack of a Harry Potter RPG, but times have certainly changed and while I still think it would make an excellent RPG, now is probably not the time for it.

So, to really answer the question. Favourite licensed RPG. It's difficult. Ghostbusters really stands out as that's the RPG that inspired me to write for games (even though I was unsuccessful at the time). The West End Games Star Wars RPG is the stuff of legend, and I still have my corebook, sourcebook, and Star Warriors set. 

Star Trek Adventures, while I did work on the initial concepts I feel I can just about get away with including it in my favourites. It has captured the adventure, exploration, and themes of the series so brilliantly. I may have made some bits a little simpler, but I love what Modiphius have done with it, and the idea that they're allowed to use Picard, Discovery, and even Lower Decks, just fills me with joy.

Tales from the Loop is technically a licensed game, based on the amazing art of Simon Stålenhag. A brilliant, simple, and evocative game that really captures a weird eighties full of robots and time travel.

I'd still love to see a new Ghostbusters RPG, or have the chance to work on Star Wars in some way. I'd really love to get the chance to write an official RPG based on The X-Files or Twin Peaks. We can hope...

Sunday, August 20, 2023

#RPGaDAY2023 - DAY TWENTY: Will still play in TWENTY years time

 Day Twenty of #RPGaDAY2023 asks what game you'd still play in twenty year's time. Originally, ten years ago, I talked about my game WILD

- and it was mostly because I'd been working on it for three years and hadn't progressed very far with it. Little would I know that it'd be another seven years before the Kickstarter launched and the game finally reached print. Probably would be something I'd still be working on if Stoo hadn't kicked my ass into gear and gave me a deadline. 

But what would I still be playing in twenty years? Jeez, I'll be seventy... I'd like to still be playing, I'd like to still be kicking, but the last few years have shown us how fragile the world is, how easily the world can be thrown into chaos and misery. I'm not counting on anything. 

Saturday, August 19, 2023

#RPGaDAY2023 - DAY NINETEEN: Favourite PUBLISHED adventure


On to Day Nineteen of #RPGaDAY2023, and we're asking about favourite published adventure. Back at the beginning of #RPGaDAY I narrowed it down to the rather cool For Your Eyes Only adventure for the James Bond 007 game by Victory Games, and the Judas Grail for second edition Kult

Has my opinion changed? They're still cool, but since then we've played the great adventures in Tales From The Loop (including Our Friends the Machines), we've done the excellent first Blade Runner adventure, and I've edited a great set of adventures (The Timeless Library, The Echo Chamber, and The Hermit's Lantern) for the Doctor Who Second Edition starter set. 

Friday, August 18, 2023

#RPGaDAY2023 - DAY EIGHTEEN: Favourite game SYSTEM

 It's Day Eighteen of #RPGaDAY2023 and the question is a tricky one - favourite game SYSTEM. When I answered it back at the beginning of #RPGaDAY I was incredibly cheeky and picked the flipping game system I designed, Vortex, as my favourite system.

I mean, how flipping rude. 

I guess you have to like your game system to work with it, and since that video it has evolved into a second edition that's even faster and easier to use. May not be everyone's cup of tea, but I like it, and have another couple of games in mind that I'd love to use it on, if I'm allowed (while I designed it, I don't have complete ownership of it). 

Second Edition was influenced by the eye opening simplicity of the Year Zero Engine. I read Tales from the Loop and was just amazed at how small the rules section is in the game, and how much fun the games were that we played in that setting. 

Thursday, August 17, 2023



Day Eighteen of #RPGaDAY2023, and we're asking the same question as the very first year - just what is the funniest game you've played? 

I think the answer would probably be the same, the old WEG Ghostbusters was hilarious. And if you watch the video, you'll see the wacky adventure I wrote for it when I first tried to get into game writing, called Spooky Science. An adventure about fitness food, and weird cults, that I adapted and converted to become Strange Science for the Awfully Cheerful Engine

Of course, it has changed a lot, and incorporates some of the wacky time-travelled elements from my second Ghostbusters adventure, but I think it's fun and should provoke a hilarious game!

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

#RPGaDAY2023 - DAY SIXTEEN: Game you WISH you owned

 Another slightly sad one, as I looked back at the original response to Day Sixteen's question of Game You Wish You Owned, and the video featured a lot of my lovely old cat Marla. 

And there's a bit about 4:10 in where I give her a bit of a pet on the chin. Must admit, made me fill up a little there. I do miss her. 

Back to the topic, #RPGaDAY2023 asks that question again, game you wish you owned. Since I recorded that video I managed to complete my James Bond collection - hurrah!! 

So what game do I wish I owned? I dunno... I'd kinda like to have the old boxed sets of Star Frontiers again - I know they're available as POD hardcovers, but there was something nostalgic about those old TSR sets. 

I'd also like to get my grubby mitts on a copy of Invisible Sun, but I get the feeling I'd just be happy with the books rather than whole cube thing. 

Both of those things take money, so they're not going to happen for a while. Maybe if I see copies cheap at a convention or something.

Of course, the game I most wish I owned hasn't been made, it's still in my head, and requires an even more substantial investment. One day... 'maybe there's hope'.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023


We're at Day Fifteen of #RPGaDAY2023, and continuing the couple of posts about conventions as this was when GenCon occurred back in that first year of #RPGaDAY, so the question was about favourite convention game, but I've reworded it a tiny bit to look at convention one-shots and modules, just in case you have a favourite module or one-shot designed to be played at conventions or as introductions that you may not have actually played at a convention... if that makes sense...

My response is probably the same as before - while I wasn't an active participant, the Buffy game run by CJ Carella at the last of the UK GenCons was just a blast. Just listening in to the fun everyone was having, it was great.

Monday, August 14, 2023

#RPGaDAY2023 - DAY FOURTEEN: Favourite CONVENTION purchase

Day Fourteen of #RPGaDAY2023 and it's another look at one of the first year's questions. When this happened the first time around, this was timed to be a question during GenCon weekend. A little different this time around, but heck, let's go for it. 

Back at the start of #RPGaDAY, answering this question, I mentioned the Thrilling Locations supplement for the Victory Games James Bond 007 RPG. Weird to think I've been to a few conventions since then, and I very rarely buy anything at them (mostly because I'm broke). So it's probably the same answer all these years later!

Sunday, August 13, 2023

#RPGaDAY2023 - DAY THIRTEEN: Most Memorable Character DEMISE

Day Thirteen of #RPGaDAY2023 is a bit of a gloomy one, talking about memorable character demises, but let's try to keep it epic, meaningful and exciting shall we?

I had a look at the original #RPGaDAY video post I did all those years ago for the same question, and it's about my stupid thief characters I had back in AD&D. Though it did make me smile in a slightly sad way, as my late cat, Marla, can be seen in the background of the video, with an ear poking up from her basket on the shelves behind me.

I miss Marla. 

Anyway, since then there have been a host of memorable ends to my characters. A lot of them were in our FFG Star Wars games, where our characters would face unsurmountable odds, battle through and make a sacrifice for the rebellion. One of my characters, Qedra, was a zabrak - a darkside force user who managed to redeem himself, get into the jedi academy, face the troopers as Order 66 happened, and lived through to the beginnings of the rebellion. 

It's been a while, but I remember him being killed in a suitably heroic manner a couple of episodes short of the epic end to our campaign, but he managed to return as a Force-Ghost to tip the scales in those final moments and help the surviving characters in their finest hour. 

Saturday, August 12, 2023

#RPGaDAY2023 - DAY TWELVE: Old game you STILL play

 #RPGaDAY2023 and we're on to Day Twelve, looking at an old game you STILL play. Originally I talked about the legendary Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG, mostly as it was a work of genius and perfectly emulated the series. 

I haven't played anything old for a while now, mostly sticking to fairly recent games like the new version of The One Ring, Blade Runner, and Aegean. However, I have been looking through those old 'little black books' of Traveller again, amazed at how they managed to get complex rules into little 48-page A5 booklets. Kinda inspirational.

Friday, August 11, 2023

#RPGaDAY2023 - DAY ELEVEN: WEIRDEST game you've played

Day Eleven of #RPGaDAY2023 is slightly different to the one from all those years ago, asking which is the weirdest game you've played (rather than weirdest game you own - what's with all the ownership going on in the original questions?) 

My original response looked at Price of Freedom, a game that has aged really badly considering the current climate. Weird? No, it certainly wasn't at the time when we had movies like Red Dawn or series like Amerika. And it's horribly pertinent now, and not something that should be trivialised in a 'game'. 

My other response was the awesome Neon Genesis Evangelion RPG that I couldn't read as it was all in Japanese. I do still love the look and design of it, and I still love Evangelion (currently watching the rebuilds for the first time - so confused...).

Weird games I've played since then? I played Heart, which incorporated a bit of Spire, and that was brilliant but bonkers. I loved the way you gained abilities until you ended up with an epic ability that would almost destroy massive amounts of things and your character along with it. As characters from the Heart, we fought against the tyranny of the elves in the Spire, and my character's Zenith ability was to eradicate a concept from existence (along with myself). The obvious choice was the remove the Spire from world, and all memory of it ever being there. 

Thursday, August 10, 2023

#RPGaDAY2023 - DAY TEN: Favourite tie-in FICTION

Day Ten of #RPGaDAY2023 asks about your Favourite tie-in Fiction, and in the original #RPGaDAY I listed the cool Dark*Matter tie-in novels. They were really cool, but in the last ten years I don't think I've really read any tie-in novels. I mean, I'm reading The Laundry Files by Charles Stross at the moment as I'm working on the second edition of The Laundry RPG, but the novels came first so not exactly a 'tie-in' so to speak. 

Honourable mentions should go to the old World of Darkness novels, I remember the first few Mage novels being pretty cool. And I also should mention that I read the first few Delta Green novels and short story collections, and really enjoyed those too - I think I read Alien Intelligence, Denied to the Enemy, and Rules of Engagement

Ah, those days when I had time to read...

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

#RPGaDAY2023 - DAY NINE: Favourite DICE

 'This is me on Day Nine, baby. This is me on Day Nine.' 

(Obscure Barenaked Ladies reference there - went to a really good gig by them my first year at Uni, must have been about 30 people in the audience in a tiny club, a far cry from their stadium filling gigs overseas)

On Day Nine of #RPGaDAY2023 it's a look at your favourite dice. I don't think things have changed much since the original answer of that ancient d20 I first bought when I started gaming back in 1983ish. 

It's very old, very used, the corners are all worn, the ink in the numbers has long faded, but it is certainly one with some significance for me, and one I'd hate to lose. 

For current dice I don't think I have a favourite set. I've got to the age where I look at those lovely expensive and shiny dice with all the beautiful colours and patterns, and realise that (a) I can't afford them, and (b) I can't read the numbers easily from a distance. I keep thinking I should just get more simple and basic black and white dice so I can chuck them into the dice tray and easily see whether I've succeeded or not. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2023


Day Eight of #RPGaDAY2023 has a very different answer to the original one from all those years ago. Back then, I'd mostly been GMing, so my video focussed on my players' characters, and characters from the epic Mage/Kult/WitchCraft game we'd done in the past. 

Now, however, I've been playing a lot more, and haven't GM'd in years. My favourite character is probably going to be 'Stevie', the daughter of a grumpy couple who ran an arcade in 1980's Yarmouth in our epic Tales From The Loop game. After discovering mind-controlling VHS tapes, weird time portals, and trying to stop the Loop facility from going horribly wrong, the characters grew and we switched into playing Things From The Flood. We failed to stop the impending apocalypse, and our game progressed into Mutant Year Zero, where we built our post-apocalypse community near the beach, and faced the horrific mutations of our family members as they became weird crab-people. We managed to get back into the Loop facility, time travelled back to the 80s, and this time we managed to stop the apocalypse. 

You can't get much more epic than that! 

Monday, August 7, 2023

#RPGaDAY2023 - DAY SEVEN: SMARTEST RPG you've played

And we're on to Day Seven of this year's #RPGaDAY, and the first time around the question was a little different, asking about the most 'intellectual' RPG you own. 

Rather than be all high-brow, we've tweaked it a little to ask about the SMARTEST RPG you've played

Answering that one's a tricky one. There are some really clever games out there - one that I always mention is the brilliant Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG by CJ Carella for Eden Studios. It's nothing too complex, but it's a work of genius. You can't stake a vampire in the game until their health has been reduced to a certain level. Seems simple, but it means you have to have a fight with the vampire, wear them down a bit, before you can dust them. 

That simple rule means that you actually feel like you're in an episode of the series. You're kicking and punching vampires, then staking them, just like Buffy does!

Very smart.

Sunday, August 6, 2023

#RPGaDAY2023 - DAY SIX: Favourite RPG you NEVER get to play


Day Six of #RPGaDAY2023 and this one is the same question as the very first year of #RPGaDAY - What is your favourite game that you NEVER get to play

Way back in the dawn of time, I answered that very question... with the Leverage RPG. You know what, I think it's probably a darn good answer. Though recently I've had a strange urge to dig out my old copy of Mage the Ascension again - had some good times with that game...

Saturday, August 5, 2023

#RPGaDAY2023 - DAY FIVE: OLDEST game you've played


And we're on to Day Five of #RPGaDAY2023 and we're onto a rewording of the first year's question which was "Most Old-school RPG owned". Old-School can mean a lot of different things, so I thought we'd rephrase it to be Oldest Game You've Played

Oldest is tricky, as the first games I played weren't until around 1983ish, but the games themselves had been around a while. I started with Traveller, which came out in 1977, then moved on to Runequest (first released in 1978), and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (first released 1977-78). I guess, technically it'd be Traveller! Weird how these things come around, Traveller really seems to be having a fifth or sixth renaissance at the moment. 

Anyway, here's the original video from the first year, where I look at Warhammer (the old white box) and Top Secret

Friday, August 4, 2023

#RPGaDAY2023 - DAY FOUR: Most RECENT RPG bought


Day Four of #RPGaDAY2023, and this time we're asking what is the most recent RPG you've bought. 

What do you think I am, made of money? Ha! I must admit, there have been a load of cool RPGs I've wanted to buy, like Triangle Agency, or Rectify, but I can't really justify buying them. I know I probably won't play them, or have chance to. 

After all, the first #RPGaDAY asked the same question and I mentioned Atomic Robo that I'd bought from my FLGS (The Games Room).

Awesome looking book, brilliantly illustrating the rules with comic art. Really, really cool. Bought it ten years ago, read through it, never played it, still sitting on my shelf. 

Shame, it does look cool.

Most recent game I've actually paid out money for has been funding The Walking Dead Universe Kickstarter from Free League. I don't know if we'll get around to playing it, but I didn't think we'd play the Blade Runner RPG and we've done a couple of adventures of that and it's been a blast!

Thursday, August 3, 2023

#RPGaDAY2023 - DAY THREE: First RPG BOUGHT (this year)


Onto Day Three of this year's #RPGaDAY, and we're revisiting the First RPG Bought - again, I added 'this year' just in case you haven't already answered this question in the very first #RPGaDAY

Of course, the first RPG I bought was technically the AD&D Player's Handbook... you can see my stupid face talking about it in the video from all those years ago - 

As I've already answered that question, I guess it's onto the first of this year? In that case, it'll going to be one I Kickstarted last year, which is the rather lovely (and ENnie nominated) Flabbergasted published by Wanderer's Tome

It's really gorgeous, and a great game of farce, and P G Wodehouse hilarity and social faux pas, and brilliantly constructed and designed. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2023



Day Two of #RPGaDAY2023, and I'm sorry, I'm still doing it as blogposts rather than videos. Maybe I should get into Podcasting, but then, doesn't everyone have a podcast?

You may have noticed that there's a difference in the wording from the first incarnation of this prompt - which was First RPG Gamemastered, to being First RPG Gamemaster. This way you can interpret it how you like. In the original RPGaDAY, I discussed the first RPG I'd ever gamemastered which was the old TSR game, Star Frontiers

However, the first Gamemaster I encountered would probably be Pete - at least I think it was. It was a heck of a long time ago, over at JR's place playing Traveller for the first time. I rolled up a character, and kinda just watched in wonder, trying to understand what was going on. It was pretty epic. Pete ran loads of games for us, AD&D, Runequest, Odyssey, and more, and is still our Dungeon Master in our current D&D game all these years later. Thanks Pete!

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

#RPGaDAY2023 - DAY ONE: FIRST RPG played (this year)


It's RPGaDAY time again, and I pondered long and hard about whether I was going to do videos or text based entries this year - especially as it's the 10th one of these we've done. I charged the camera, dug out the tripod, and looked at my unappealing mug and thought maybe I'll just do this as text. I may change my mind as the month goes on, but I'm having one of those low days so we'll just make do with a blogpost this time. Okay? I'm sorry.

The point of this year's questions is to look back at the answers from the first RPGaDAY (if you took part) and see if things have changed. 

DAY ONE - FIRST RPG played (this year)

I put the 'this year' bit on the end just in case you took part in the first RPGaDAY, as the answer to the first RPG you played won't have changed (unless you've suddenly remembered one you'd forgotten about).

My response to the first one ever was Traveller, you can check out my recounting of the tale in that video from all those years ago - 

Look at that gormless face. 

Anyway, as I've already answered the question for the First RPG I've ever played, then it's going to be the first RPG I played this year. Missing out by a day would be Hard Wired Island, a rather massive book of cyberpunk goodness from Weird Age Games that had us chuckling. Our characters were investigating some vandalism on the weird orbital station. It was pretty cool - I played a grumpy ex-military gumshoe. Really must get back to playing that, it was really cool. Lots of cool tech, a great setting, and not a horribly complex system. Definitely check it out.

The actual first game I played this year would probably be our The One Ring game that we'd been playing.  Kept getting killed - that was a strangely brutal system. Half of the time you could be epic, just like the heroes in The Lord of the Rings, fighting of massive armies of orcs, and then, a couple of bad rolls later, and the whole party would be wiped out. 

Saturday, July 8, 2023

I Didn't See That Coming - Watching the Walkers


Watching 'Fear the Walking Dead' has reminded me of one of the biggest rug-pulls in my roleplaying game playing.

Let's set the scene - in one of my recent blog-posts I mentioned that, after I stopped watching The Walking Dead when they killed off one of my favourite characters in the most brutal way, I finally went back to watching the series, and kinda binged the last five seasons in a couple of weeks. I must say, considering I couldn't see the appeal of Negan, especially after that scene, and wondered why they'd chosen him for a sequel series with Maggie - I finally see it. Negan's story arc was actually really good, and by the end I could honestly see a guy who felt remorse for the horrific things he'd done, and was trying to do better.

We finished season 11 last night, and my wife surprised me by saying she actually missed watching the series already - so I dug out the first season of Fear the Walking Dead that she'd bought for me on DVD back when we were really into the series and the comics... just before we stopped watching completely. About half-way through the incredibly tense first episode I had a weird flashback to an RPG we played as teenagers - and how Free League could do the same with their cool The Walking Dead Universe RPG.


Back in the 80's, one of our usual GMs (Pete) ran a game for us using his homebrew Odyssey game system. He said it was just to test things out and make sure it all worked, and we generated some pretty ordinary characters. As it was a homebrew, we had generic character sheets, and we all played ordinary people invited onto a cruise ship as a prize for a mysterious contest, and we figured it was going to be one of those murder-mystery type games. 

The sessions continued, and suddenly the ship started sinking, and disaster! We washed up on an island, and figured 'oh, it's going to be a survival game, where we're shipwrecked and there will be badguys and stuff like that'. (Bear in mind, this was decades before Lost

But that wasn't it. Something happened, and suddenly we gained superpowers. Yes, we'd started a superhero game, but had no idea that we were playing a superhero game until the powers mysteriously kicked in. I did not see that coming. None of us did. Pete looked pleased that his plan had come together, and his RPG based on the comic series The Elementals came into fruition.


Why did Fear the Walking Dead remind me of this? Watching that first episode I just thought how cool it would be to be a player in a The Walking Dead Universe RPG campaign, but not actually know that was the game you're playing. 

Have character sheets that don't have the logo, or any really obvious rule bits. Have the players generate generic characters, and make them think they're going to play a cool murder-mystery game or something else - anything that doesn't involve the walking dead. Play a couple of intriguing games with the players thinking the game is one thing, maybe some news reports in the background of rising tensions, and then... the murder-mystery changes genre suddenly when the body at the murder scene gets back up and starts attacking!

I know it's unlikely with licensed games like this, as you kinda have to have the logo and copyright on the character sheet, but it's certainly something that can be done easily by GMs with a bit of tweaking to the sheets. It's like taking a 'Session Zero' in a different direction.

Like the prelude bit in the old Vampire: The Masquerade games, but if you didn't know you were going to play Vampire

I could really see Free League doing a 'set up' book, just filled with GM advice and campaign ideas so that players could experience that same rug-pull moment. It'd be awesome. 

In the mid-80s, when we played that Odyssey game, it was amazing and revolutionary. I'm sure you're all doing something similar in your games now...

Saturday, July 1, 2023

This August - the 10th RPGaDAY


Title - RPGaDAY 2023 - Tenth anniversary edition

This August you are invited to take part in the TENTH annual RPGaDAY challenge, celebrating everything we love about our tabletop hobby.

When I launched #RPGaDAY all those years ago, I thought it was going to be a short-lived thing that no one would be interested in. Just a way for me to keep my mind occupied during a pretty tough month. But thanks to you, everyone who has been involved in #RPGaDAY over the years, and especially Anthony (aka - Runeslinger), #RPGaDAY has continued over the years and this August sees the tenth annual #RPGaDAY challenge.

Admittedly, the time I have to dedicate to #RPGaDAY has dwindled over the years as the day job piles on the workload, but this year I thought it would be interesting to look back at the questions that started it all. Reuse the questions from the very first year! There have been some tweaks and changes, some rewording to make it more inviting, and some interesting emphasis. So without any ado, here are the prompts for #RPGaDAY2023.

RPG a Day social media graphic of the prompts

The text version of these prompts will be available at the end of this post, but you'll notice that certain words in each prompt have been presented in caps/bold. Over the many incarnations of #RPGaDAY we've experimented with simple questions and single word prompts. This, much like the crew of the Enterprise experienced, is the best of both worlds. This presents you with THREE ways to approach each day in August - 

1) If you've never taken part in #RPGaDAY before, or came to this more recently, simply look at the prompt for the day and use it to inspire a social media post to spread the word of everything cool and, above all, positive, about tabletop roleplaying games.

2) If the prompt doesn't inspire, look at the highlighted word and use that as the prompt. For example, day 4 asks 'Most RECENT game bought'. If you haven't bought a game for a while, or don't want to share what it was, you can use the word RECENT as the prompt and talk about a recent game you played, or actual play you watched.

3) The other way to do #RPGaDAY, and this is the one I'm very interested in, is to use the prompts to inspire a social media post as normal, but if you took part in the first #RPGaDAY (or have a very good memory of what you would have answered back then) compare your answers. It can reveal if your favourite character has changed, or favourite game system. It'll be interesting to see if your opinions have changed over the years. If you are doing this, some of the questions have '(this year)' added so you don't simply repeat the same answer.

Remember, this is about spreading the positivity. No moaning about anything, or saying something is bad. Tell us what you love, what you enjoy playing, great games you've experienced, and how these games have had a positive impact on you.

Remember also to tag everything #RPGaDAY2023. And also remember, this takes place in AUGUST. I always share the prompts a month in advance so that we can get translations shared to get as many people taking part as possible, and to give those vloggers and podcasters a chance to prepare their episodes in advance and take some of the strain off of trying to produce 31 posts in a month.

Thank you everyone again for taking part, I hope you have fun again this year seeing how things have changed. 


Text Version of Prompts (English)

1) FIRST RPG played (this year)


3) First RPG BOUGHT (this year)

4) Most RECENT game bought

5) OLDEST game you've played

6) Favourite game you NEVER get to play

7) SMARTEST RPG you've played

8) Favourite CHARACTER

9) Favourite DICE

10) Favourite tie-in FICTION

11) WEIRDEST game you've played

12) Old game you STILL play

13) Most memorable character DEMISE

14) Favourite CONVENTION purchase

15) Favourite Con MODULE / ONE-SHOT

16) Game you WISH you owned

17) FUNNIEST game you've played

18) Favourite game SYSTEM

19) Favourite PUBLISHED adventure

20) Will still play in TWENTY years time

21) Favourite LICENSED RPG

22) Best SECONDHAND RPG purchase

23) COOLEST looking RPG product / book

24) COMPLEX / SIMPLE RPG you play

25) UNPLAYED RPG you own


27) Game you'd like a new EDITION of...

28) SCARIEST game you've played

29) Most memorable ENCOUNTER

30) OBSCURE RPG you've played

31) FAVOURITE RPG of all time

Single word prompts summary (English)
















16) WISH

















French Translation by Francois Letarte

#RPGaDAY fête ses 10 ans #RPGaDAY2023 est un défi pour tous les amateurs de jeux de rôle. À tous les jours du mois d'août, #RPGaDAY2023 propose un mot ou un énoncé auquel vous répondez et que vous partagez sur le web dans vos réseaux sociaux, en vidéos, en podcasts, dans des blogs ou autres. Diffusez l'amour de votre hobby tout le mois d'août en participant au #RPGaDAY2023 Cette année pour le #RPGaDAY2023 , il y a trois façons suggérées de participer 1- Répondre à l'énoncé du jour ou 2- Utiliser le mot en MAJUSCULE et s'en inspirer pour créer un énoncé ou une autre publication en lien avec le jeu de rôle ou 3- Répondre à l'énoncé du jour et comparer avec vos réponses de la première édition de 2013 si vous y avez participé. 1) PREMIER jeu de rôle joué (cette année) 2) Premier MENEUR de jeu de rôle 3) Premier jeu de rôle ACHETÉ (Cette année) 4) Le plus RÉCENT jeu de rôle acheté 5) Le plus VÉNÉRABLE jeu de rôle joué 6) Jeu de rôle préféré JAMAIS joué 7) Jeu de rôle le plus INTELLIGENT joué 8 ) PERSONNAGE préféré 9) préféré 10) FICTION préférée dans un jeu de rôle 11) Jeu de rôle le plus ÉTRANGE joué 12) Vieux jeu de rôle ENCORE joué 13) FIN la plus mémorable d'un personnage 14) Achat en CONVENTION préféré 15) MODULE / SÉANCE UNIQUE de convention préféré 16) Jeu de rôle à posséder de ta liste de SOUHAIT 17) Jeu de rôle le plus DRÔLE joué 18) SYSTÈME de jeu de rôle préféré 19) Aventure PUBLIÉE préférée 20) Jeu rôle toujours pratiqué dans VINGT ans 21) Jeu de rôle sous LICENCE préféré 22) Meilleur achat de jeu de rôle USAGÉ 23) Jeu de rôle au look le plus COOL 24) Jeu de rôle le plus COMPLEXE / SIMPLE joué 25) Jeu de rôle NON JOUÉ possédé 26) FEUILLE de personnage préférée 27) Jeu de rôle dont tu aimerais une nouvelle ÉDITION 28) Jeu de rôle le plus EFFRAYANT joué 29) RENCONTRE la plus mémorable 30) Jeu de rôle le plus OBSCUR joué 31) Jeu de rôle PRÉFÉRÉ parmi tous


Here is the Brazilian Portuguese translation, by Richard 'Bat' Brewster and Eric Souza 

Em agosto deste ano, você está convidado a participar do DÉCIMO desafio anual RPGaDAY, que celebra tudo o que amamos em nosso hobby de mesa. 

A versão em texto desses avisos estará disponível no final desta postagem, mas você notará que certas palavras em cada aviso foram apresentadas em maiúsculas/negrito. Ao longo das várias encarnações do #RPGaDAY, fizemos experiências com perguntas simples e sugestões de uma única palavra. Assim como a tripulação da Enterprise experimentou, este é o melhor dos dois mundos. Assim, você terá TRÊS maneiras de abordar cada dia de agosto  

1) Se você nunca participou do #RPGaDAY antes, ou se chegou a ele mais recentemente, basta olhar para o prompt do dia e usá-lo para inspirar uma postagem na mídia social para divulgar tudo o que é legal e, acima de tudo, positivo, sobre os jogos de RPG de mesa. 

2) Se a solicitação não inspirar, observe a palavra destacada e use-a como solicitação. Por exemplo, o dia 4 pergunta "Most RECENT game bought" (O jogo mais recente comprado). Se você não tiver comprado um jogo há algum tempo ou não quiser dizer qual foi o jogo, pode usar a palavra RECENTE como estímulo e falar sobre um jogo recente que tenha jogado ou que tenha assistido. 

3) A outra maneira de fazer o #RPGaDAY, e essa é a que mais me interessa, é usar as sugestões para inspirar uma publicação nas mídias sociais normalmente, mas se você participou do primeiro #RPGaDAY (ou tem uma ideia muito boa do que teria respondido naquela época) compare suas respostas. Isso pode revelar se seu personagem favorito ou seu sistema de jogo favorito mudou. Será interessante ver se suas opiniões mudaram com o passar dos anos. Se estiver fazendo isso, algumas das perguntas têm "(este ano)" adicionado para que você não repita simplesmente a mesma resposta. 

Lembre-se de que o objetivo é divulgar a positividade. Nada de reclamar de algo ou dizer que algo é ruim. Conte-nos o que você ama, o que você gosta de jogar, os grandes jogos que você experimentou e como esses jogos tiveram um impacto positivo em você. 

Lembre-se também de marcar tudo com a tag #RPGaDAY2023. E lembre-se também de que isso acontece em agosto. Sempre compartilho os prompts com um mês de antecedência para que as traduções sejam compartilhadas e para que o maior número possível de pessoas participe, além de dar aos vloggers e podcasters a chance de preparar seus episódios com antecedência e aliviar um pouco a tensão de tentar produzir 31 posts em um mês. 

Espero que vocês se divirtam novamente este ano, vendo como as coisas mudaram. 

Versão em texto dos prompts (português) 

1) PRIMEIRO RPG jogado (este ano) 

2) Primeiro MESTRE DO JOGO de RPG 

3) Primeiro RPG COMPRADO (este ano) 

4) Jogo comprado mais RECENTE 

5) Jogo mais ANTIGO que você já jogou 

6) Jogo favorito que você NUNCA conseguiu jogar 

7) RPG MAIS INTELIGENTE que você já jogou 

8) PERSONAGEM favorito 

9) DADOS favoritos 

10) FICÇÃO associada favorita 

11) Jogo mais ESTRANHO que você já jogou 

12) Jogo antigo que você AINDA joga 

13) Personagem mais memorável que MORREU 

14) Sua compra favorita em uma CONVENÇÃO 

15) MÓDULO / ONE-SHOT favorito da convenção 

16) Jogo que você DESEJA de ter 

17) Jogo MAIS ENGRAÇADO que você já jogou 

18) SISTEMA de jogo favorito 

19) Aventura PUBLICADA favorita 

20) Ainda jogará daqui a VINTE anos 

21) RPG LICENCIADO favorito 

22) Melhor compra de RPG DE SEGUNDA MÃO/USADO 

23) Produto/livro de RPG MAIS LEGAL 

24) RPG COMPLEXO / SIMPLES que você joga 

25) RPG NÃO JOGADO que você possui 


27) Jogo do qual você gostaria de ter uma nova EDIÇÃO... 

28) Jogo MAIS ASSUSTADOR que você já jogou 

29) ENCONTRO mais memorável 

30) RPG OBSCURO que você já jogou 

31) RPG FAVORITO de todos os tempos 

Resumo dos prompts de uma única palavra (português) 












12) AINDA 








20) VINTE 












And the graphic!


German Translation @ScarSacul @drachenzwinge
Deutsche Übersetzung #RPGaDay2023 #pnpde

1) Das ERSTE PnP welches Du (dieses Jahr) gespielt hast
2) Das erste PnP bei dem Du selbst SPIELLEITUNG warst / Ihr erster PnP-SPIELMANAGER
3) Das erste PnP welches Du (dieses Jahr) GEKAUFT hast
4) Das AKTUELLSTE Spiel, welches Du gekauft hast
5) Das ÄLTESTE Spiel, welches Du gespielt hast
6) Dein Lieblingsspiel welches Du NIEMALS spielen werden kannst
7) Das INTELLIGENTESTE PnP welches Du gespielt hast
8) Dein Lieblings-CHARAKTER
9) Dein Lieblings-WÜRFEL
10) Dein Lieblings-FIKTIVES-Setting
11) Das MERKWÜRDIGSTE Spiel, welches Du gespielt hast
12) Ein altes Spiel, welches Du IMMER NOCH spielst
13) Das am meisten erinnerungswürdigste ABLEBEN eines Charakters
14) Deine liebste CONVENTION-Anschaffung
15) Dein Lieblings-Convention MODUL/ONE-SHOT
16) Spiel bei dem Du den WUNSCH hast es zu besitzen
17) LUSTIGSTES Spiel, welches Du gespielt hast
18) Dein Lieblings Spiel-SYSTEM
19) Dein liebstes VERÖFFENTLICHTES Abenteuer
20) Was ich in ZWANZIG Jahren immer noch spielen werde...
21) Dein liebstes LIZENSIERTES PnP
22) Dein bester SECOND-HAND PnP Kauf
23) Das am COOLSTEN aussehende PnP Produkt oder Buch
24) Ein KOMPLEXES / EINFACHES PnP, welches Du spielst
25) Ein UNGESPIELTES PnP, welches Du besitzt
26) Dein Lieblings-CHARAKTERBOGEN
27) Ein Spiel bei dem Du gerne eine neue EDIION möchtest..
28) Das GRUSELIGSTE Spiel, welches Du gespielt hast
29) Die am erinnerungswürdigste BEGEGNUNG
30) Ein OBSKURES PnP welches Du gespielt hast
31) Dein LIEBLINGS-PnP aller Zeiten
??) Vergleiche Deine Antworten mit denen vom ersten #RPGaDay

Und in einem Wort:

5) ALT
23) COOL

#RPGaDay #pnpde Deutsche Übersetzung als Infografik

Spanish translation by Roberto Micheri

Versión de texto de los temas (en español) 1) PRIMER JDR (juego de rol) jugado (este año) 2) Primer JDR para el que fuiste DIRECTOR DE JUEGO (gamemaster) 3) Primer JDR COMPRADO (este año) 4) Juego que compraste más RECIENTEMENTE 5) Juego MÁS ANTIGUO que has jugado 6) Juego favorito que NUNCA has jugado 7) El juego de rol más INTELIGENTE que has jugado 8) PERSONAJE favorito 9) DADO favorito 10) FICCIÓN vinculada a un JDR favorita 11) El juego más RARO que has jugado 12) Juego antiguo que TODAVÍA juegas 13) MUERTE de personaje más memorable 14) Compra favorita en una CONVENCIÓN 15) MÓDULO o ONE-SHOT favorito 16) Juego que DESEARÍAS tener 17) El juego más DIVERTIDO que has jugado 18) SISTEMA de juego favorito 19) Aventura PUBLICADA favorita 20) Seguirá jugando dentro de VEINTE años 21) JDR basado en una PROPIEDAD EXISTENTE (licensed) favorito 22) Mejor compra de RPG de SEGUNDA MANO 23) Producto o libro de rol más COOL (genial, guay, que mola) 24) JDR COMPLEJO o SIMPLE que juegas 25) Juego(s) de rol SIN JUGAR que posees 26) HOJA DE PERSONAJE favorita 27) Juego del que te gustaría una nueva EDICIÓN... 28) Juego más TERRORÍFICO que has jugado 29) ENCUENTRO en un JDR más memorable 30) JDR POCO CONOCIDO (obscure) que has jugado 31) JDR FAVORITO de todos los tiempos Resumen de temas en pocas palabras (en español) 1) PRIMER 2) DIRECTOR DE JUEGO (gamemaster) 3) COMPRADO 4) RECIENTEMENTE 5) MÁS ANTIGUO 6) NUNCA 7) INTELIGENTE 8) PERSONAJE 9) DADO 10) FICCIÓN 11) RARO 12) TODAVÍA 13) MUERTE 14) CONVENCIÓN 15) MÓDULO / ONE-SHOT 16) DESEARÍAS 17) DIVERTIDO 18) SISTEMA 19) PUBLICADA 20) VEINTE 21) PROPIEDAD EXISTENTE (licensed) 22) SEGUNDA MANO 23) COOL (genial, guay, que mola) 24) COMPLEJO o SIMPLE 25) SIN JUGAR 26) HOJA DE PERSONAJE 27) EDICIÓN 28) TERRORÍFICO 29) ENCUENTRO 30) POCO CONOCIDO (obscure) 31) FAVORITO