RPG a Day: Anticipation

31. What’s an awesome thing you anticipate for gaming in 2018?

I usually have no idea what’s going to be most amazing in gaming that year until I stumble on it. That’s OK, I enjoy the surprise. But even as I realize that the best part of my gaming experiences will continue to surprise me, there are a few things I look forward to.

First, a passel of projects I’m managing for Evil Hat Productions will likely hit the shelves in 2018 (fingers crossed.) I have high hopes for several of the new Fate Toolkits, and a few gems I can’t wait for you to see.

Second, I really look forward to Cam Banks’ Cortex Prime (Magic Vacuum Design Studio). I especially hope that it will have tools to lighten the game-master’s load and make it easier to improvise in response to players’ actions.

Finally, I have been keeping an eye on Nahual, Miguel Angel Espinoza and Edgar Clément’s upcoming game Powered by the Apocalypse. Nahual is a Mexican role-playing game set on the universe created by comic book artist Clément, started in the graphic novel Operación Bolivar. I really hope we can see its release in 2018.

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RPG a Day: Mashups

30. What is an RPG genre-mashup you really enjoyed?

Today’s question was “What is an RPG genre-mashup you would most like to see?” but I rephrased it to my liking so I would have an excuse to mention a few of my favourites.

  • Godlike (Hobgoblynn Press): World War II + gritty superheroes.
  • Motobushido (Alliterated Games): Post-apocalyptic biker gangs + ronin code of honour.
  • Roma Imperious (HinterWelt Enterprises): Victorious Roman Empire + magic.
  • Threadbare RPG (Stephanie Bryant): Toys + punk aesthetics + brokenness.
  • TORG: All the genres, colliding.
  • X-Crawl (Pandahead Publishing/Goodman Games): Dungeon-crawling as a televised extreme sporting event.

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RPG a Day: Kickstarters

29. What’s an RPG Kickstarter you have backed that was very well run?

Uh, I don’t know how qualified I am to say when a Kickstarter campaign is well run or not. After a few bad experiences at the beginning, most of the campaigns I have backed have delivered the products they promised. KS saw fit to label me a “super backer”, which clearly means that I spend too much on new games, so I’m guessing that as long as backers pay a little attention to what they sign up for, they will rarely be disappointed.

That said, yes, Evil Hat Productions has been the tightest, promptest to deliver on my list. Atlas Games, Vigilance Press, Modiphius, Pelgrane Press, Green Ronin Publishing, and Magpie Games have also run solid campaigns and fully delivered on promises.

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RPG a Day: Quotables

28. What’s a film or series used as a frequent source of quotes in your group?

We treasure bad puns over quotes, still, everything geeky is a source of quotes with us. The touchstones, of course: Monty Python’s Flying Circus, The Holy Grail, and Life of Brian; Firefly, Babylon 5Star Wars, Star Trek, The Lord of the Rings, Doctor Who; The Simpsons and occasionally South Park; and of course old games.

  • “I will hit him to kingdom high, kingdom there!”
  • “Meet me on the bridge at midnight.” “IT’S A TRAP!!!”
  • “You see an altar surrounded with burning brassieres…”
  • “I sap him.” “You—what? Why?” “He looked like a traitor.”
  • “Oompa loompa ompa dee dall, I think I’m going to smack into that…”
  • “I am DIMENSION MAN Man Man man…” (reverb effect)
  • “You dare mock our customs?” “No, just you personally.”
  • “Ronin sense… tingling! Magistrates in trouble!”
  • “I hate space.”

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RPG a Day: The Essentials

27. What are your essential tools for good gaming?

At the root, the only essential elements for me to have a good game are a few friends who want to play “pretend” together and for approximately the same types of stories, rules, or experiences.

Then again, we all love our toys, tricks, and hacks.

I have mentioned before some of the things I always bring with me to a game convention, particularly my beloved All Rolled Up filled with pens, index cards and dice, dry-erase media such as my Noteboard, and a variety of card decks as oracles and visual inspiration. I also carry a blank book to take game notes and sketch scenes, and lists of names to draw from for new characters.

And here is another one I keep mentioning, but there is always one new reader who may find it useful: Robin’s Laws of Good Game Mastering, by Robin D. Laws (Steve Jackson Games), an excellent, easily read, and inexpensive primer for new GMs.

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RPG a Day: Resourceful

26. What’s an RPG item that provides awesomely useful resources?

There are so many games that provide wonderful resources, whether it’s game-mastering advice, bibliographies, play aids, online content, or a vibrant support community. It’s hard to pick just one, but I will go with Fiasco because there are now so many playsets you can enjoy, both official and fan-made, that you can now use the framework to do much more that its original mission. Few people are availing themselves of of it for continuing series, I should write something on that one of these days! but in the mean time, you have so many worlds to pick from…

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RPG a Day: Thank You!

25. What is an awesome way to thank your GM?

The best way I can think to thank your GM is too tell them what you love about the game they ran for you. For example:

Edmund, I loved that you put so much work into your “Land of Ten Thousand Gods” hack for Dungeon World to make sure it would feel true to both its topic and its system. Also, I love when you do voices.

Steve, I love how you craft your episodes of The One Ring to make sure they fit within letter and spirit of the setting, without resorting to railroading.

Alan, I loved the custom moves you had created for your episodes of Night Witches, and the way they propelled the story.

Christine, I loved the fun setup for that game of Marvel Heroic Roleplay, and how you storified the die roll results—even when poor M.O.D.O.K. botched so badly.

Fish, I love the gentle pace of your Golden Sky Stories episodes, and the cute surprises you come up with.

J, I love how you let us meander through your Castle Falkenstein adventures and do things in any order, even skipping parts of them if we come up with a good idea for solving them.

Mark W, I love how you seem so delighted whenever your your players do wacky things you had not planned for.

Laura, I love how you keep looking at both new games and semi-neglected older ones and bringing them to the game table for us to enjoy.

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RPG a Day: Treasure

24. Share a PWYW publisher who should be charging more.

I confess, I don’t know many publishers who only use the pay-what-you-want (PWYW) model. However, I know that all of Evil Hat Publishing’s PWYW offerings are high-quality books they would certainly be in their rights to charge good money for. In fact, I think all their products are under-priced. (Disclaimer: I write and do project management for Evil Hat as a freelancer.)

Then there are the periodic Bundle of Holding offers for ebook collections. You get stunning value for PWYW bundles, and if you pay more than the threshold price for that bundle, you unlock even more goodness. It’s a great place to round your game collection without busting either your budget or your shelves. I’d say all publishers who agree to release a bundle that way are deliberately under-charging.

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RPG a Day: Lay it all out, baby

23. What’s an RPG item that has a jaw-dropping layout?

My favourite RPG layout is the one created by Dale Horstman for War of Ashes: Fate of Agaptus (Evil Hat), but I admit I am a tad biased. So I will say instead the layout that Daniel Solis created for his delightful game Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple (Evil Hat). The layout makes avery step of the game so clear, it’s a pleasure to play. It makes it easy to grasp the rules of the game either when reading in advance to learn the game or in the middle of play.

Shout-outs for Sarah Robinson’s work on Numenéra (Monte Cook), Michael Chaney’s on Owl Hoot Trail (Pelgrane Press), and Hal Mangold’s on Blue Rose (Green Ronin), all gorgeous books.

I’d also like to drop a word here for well-designed official character sheets, such as those for Night Witches (Bully Pulpit Games), The Lost Age (Leiker Games), Atomic Robo RPG (Evil Hat), Golden Sky Stories (Starline Publishing), and even Numenéra, despite the fact that the latter is a little distracting.

A final shout-out for the design of an accessory, the Deck of Fate (Evil Hat Productions, graphic design by Fred Hicks, IIRC.) I love how it packs a lot of usable information without looking cluttered.

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RPG a Day: Fan-Made Resources

Scrapbooking tools

22. What are some awesome fan-made RPG resources?

Today’s default question was too similar to others I’ve just answered (”What RPGs are easy for you to run?” calls for an answer that’s pretty close to the one I gave for “What is an awesome RPG you enjoy adapting?”) So I decided to ask myself a different question, and answer it. 🙂

I want to celebrate fan-made and shared materials. There are so many, so I will just point to a few of different types.

Yes, I do realize that the distinction between fan and professional is very subjective in the world of role-playing games. I’m just trying to shine a spotlight on quality resources created for love of the game and generously shared.

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Credits: Image by Ali Edwards, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)