Showing posts from August, 2015

RPGaDay2015: Day 27

Day 27: Favorite Idea for Merging Two Games into One
So, this isn't really something I do, and as a result, I'm not entirely sure how to take it. The closest thing I've done recently, though, is make the pitch to take one or more characters from out ongoing Deadlands game (specifically the scrappy orphan kid who's grown up under the tutelage of the Chinese kung fu master/laundry owner in Colorado) and transport him through the time shifts into Feng Shui 2, potentially taking some other characters along as well or else making new ones. I think it'd be awesome. :)

RPGaDay2015: Day 26

Day 26: Favorite Inspiration for Your Game

So, my favorite source of inspiration, by far, is music. I regularly start my games by playing a song I feel to be thematic in some way -- it works great to get my players' attention, get them in the mood, and let them know the game is starting (thus transitioning them out of chat mode). I have gotten a bit out of the habit with this most recent reboot of the game I'm running -- it's something I should get back to, though. I also tend to use it at the beginning of the classes I'm teaching, if I need a way to get their attention and I can relate it to the lesson. I should definitely do it this semester, though. So yes -- always, always music.

(By the way, if you're interested in running Chill, you need to listen to Hozier's album. Seriously, the whole thing. All of it. If you haven't already. OMG.)

RPGaDay2015: the last week's worth of entries

So school started and I finished an editing job and... yeah. Also, my corgi decided to chase a buck and suffered some muscle strain, and was the most sad corgi ever for a couple of days. (He's fine now). But yes, I let this get away from me, and now I must catch up.

RPGaDay2015: Day 20, Favorite Horror RPG

So, for a lot of years, the World of Darkness was like the only good answer to this question. I couldn't have picked a specific flavor of it until these last few years, where it was really Changeling: the Lost. There's a lot of resonance there for me. That said, I honestly have to say that Chill 3rd Ed has replaced it. My favorite thing, bar none, is being a person trying to fight off the bad things. That is the horror game I want, and I want some success to be possible. I wanted Kolchak the Night Stalker, etc. And Hunter sort of did that, but not in the way I wanted. Chill does. And yes, it's kind of a gimme, since my company made it, but seriously: I freaking love p…

Rising Waters: Season 2.5, Session 3

Following the ghoul battle, everyone went to get cleaned up. Zeke's phone rings, though. It's his mortal, not-informed girlfriend calling to verify their dinner plans.  Ree'sha (I'm spelling this wrong, I know, but I don't have his sheet in front of me) asked if they were still getting together, and whether or not she needed to buy a new dress for his friend's wedding, since she got an invitation but she remembered his friend was a bit odd.

Zeke immediately went on alert, as his girlfriend was now planning on attending Uno's wedding when he still didn't have an invite, and from all they could tell, wasn't going to get one. He broke off from the rest of the group and set about getting dinner reservations and getting cleaned up and prepped for what might be a difficult evening.

Upon hearing that people were getting invitations to his wedding, Uno starts freaking out. People work on calming him down while they start checking with their own loved ones. …

RPGaDay2015: Catching up

Dear Readers, all 10 or so of you, the past few days have been somewhat fraught. I have started fall semester orientation, gotten my son's senior pictures, baked desserts of legend, and seen my sons leave for the summer. I am, frankly, spent, and not a little sad. I have therefore allowed the RPGaDay project to fall off my radar. Today, however, I'm catching up, with days 17, 18, and 19 all in one overstuffed post!

Day 17: Favorite Fantasy RPG

So, this one's actually hard for me, because although I started off in fantasy just like most other gamers... I'm not in love with playing in fantasy games. It takes something very unique about a fantasy world for me to engage with it anymore. I've got no interest in Tolkien-esque settings if it's not actually Tolkien; no interest in the bog-standard D&D stuff either anymore. I think the closest thing to standard fantasy I'm into anymore is something like Blue Rose, which has a nicely developed fantasy world and is…

RPGaDay2015: Day 16

Day 16: Longest Game Session Played

I think I have to credit my ex for this one, as he wrapped up his long-running game with a session that lasted an entire weekend, with a huge boss battle and a final denouement that wrapped up everyone's storylines. There was even a papier-mache terrain map of the lost city we reclaimed as the head of the half-elf empire reborn. Seriously, it was a ton of work, and worth the weekend we spent playing. Good times. Never playing AD&D again. :)

RPGaDay2015: Day 15

First of all, happy birthday to my husband and best GM ever, Matthew McFarland! *muppet arms* Yaaaaaayyyyyy!!!!

Day 15: Longest Campaign Played

Whoo boy, this one's hard. I think -- I think -- that the current title holder has to go to our monthly Monsterhearts campaign, which has been running for two years almost exactly. I player Briar Rose Stephens, who's a Chosen that lives with her absentee single professor dad and a housekeeper in Perdido, CA. Briar's boyfriend is Austin Fairchild, whom Matt has been trying to kill off for like three seasons now. She owes a life to the king of the Fae, and she looks at it as a personal responsibility to keep Perdido as free from the threat of monsters as possible. She's about to graduate high school, though, so who knows what will happen? :)

Prior to that, it was the bi-weekly Changeling: the Lost campaign, titled Snowblind (which I don't have an easy link for, but I'll work on finding one and updating it), which I started…

RPGaDay2015: Day 14

Day 14: Favorite RPG Accessory

So, my favorite RPG accessory, hands down, is my ARU, which stands for All Rolled Up. I picked mine up a couple of years ago at GenCon (mine is white with a black scrollwork calligraphy pattern on it) and I love it so very much. It's where all my dice live. Pencils and even index cards go in it. It's basically my gamer go-to bag and it keeps everything handy and neat, without becoming the black hole that a dice bag can turn into when you're not looking. It could also function as an impromptu knitting tool bag (too small to hold yarn, but that's okay) or a mini art supply carrier, or whatever.

They also have versions that use chalkboard fabric, versions made with oilskins so they're waterproof, and all manner of nifty things. You can even custom order them. If you are looking for a very cool, very portable thing for your gaming love, I can't recommend an ARU highly enough. But not mine. You'll have to get your own.

RPGaDay2015: Days 12 and 13

Got behind yesterday, so here we are today doing two -- which probably figures, because I don't really have excellent answers for either of them.

Day 12: Favorite RPG Illustration

So, I love art in RPG books. Love love love. As a result of that... yeah, I got nothin'. I don't have a favorite, really. How could I ever pick just one? I will tell you who I love as an illustrator, though: Alessandro Alaia.

The above image is "Line of Defense," and he did it for Chill -- and that, to me, is so indicative of the game that I can't even express it any better than he did in images -- and as a word person, that's saying something. If you want to know what Chill is, look up. It's all there. And it's gorgeous. 
Day 13: Favorite RPG Podcast
So, there are a billion awesome RPG podcasts out there, and I don't regularly listen to any of them. I know, I feel bad about it. But grad school, you see, and I can't work while someone's talking in my ear... s…

RPGaDay2015: Day 11

Day 11: Favorite RPG Writer

Aw, come on, man. This isn't even fair.


Okay, so this one has a winner and a runner-up as well.

First, I've got to give my man, Matthew McFarland, a serious shout-out. He wins this because honestly, his game writing always knows what it is. He understands how to communicate the structure of a game and its rules in a way that is not only readable, but sensible. He is, in my opinion, responsible for some of the best work written for the World of Darkness. The fact that he loves what he does comes through in his words, and it makes it a pleasure to edit. Also, the man writes fiction that breaks my heart in the best way. I can always hear his voice in his fiction, even when it's someone else speaking, and that just kills me. :) Also, in the words of Charlotte Bronte, "Reader, I married him." And I would be fibbing if I didn't admit that his skill as a writer was one of the things that won me over. He's my own personal Orpheu…

RPGaDay2015: Day 10

RPGaDay2015: Favorite RPG Publisher

So, if I'm disqualifying my own company (which of course I am, because lame), I think I have to pick Evil Hat Productions, makers of Fate Core, Atomic Robo, and the Dresden Files RPG among others.

There are a lot of RPG companies out there, and and I have friends at most of them, so this is saying something when I pick one at which I only know people to say hello to as I pass them in the hall at a con. Evil Hat has been a surprising force for good in our industry, spearheading an entirely new system that's become a standard of play, breaking out a franchise game that rocked the standings for who gets noticed, helping create the Bits and Mortar initiative, and generally being good people who do good things. This is not to say other people in gaming aren't good people doing good things, but Fred et. al.'s mindfulness about the industry as a whole and their willingness to be transparent about their processes have been an active force fo…

RPGaDay2015: Day 9

Day 9: Favorite Media You Wish Was an RPG

If I could make anything I wanted into an RPG, it would be this. Space Rome, Immortal Juice, people/animal hybrids, intergalactic space travel, hoverskates.... oh heck yeah, I would play in this world. And unlike a lot of stories, I don't feel like Jupiter's is the only story here. EVERYONE has a story. I could play anyone and it would be equally valid; the people of interest are not restricted to the upper-class universe rulers, although they are interesting. The question of what Jupiter does or doesn't do to/with the rest of the Abraxis family and their Immortal Juice harvesting remains outstanding, as does what other planets she is considered to "own" and what all is even out there.

Oh yeah. I would play and write the heck out of this. Wachowskis, if you're listening, I'm totally your girl. :)

#RPGaDay2015: Day 8

Day 8: Favorite Appearance in the Media

I'm not going to sit here and say that Kindred: the Embraced was the best gamer TV show ever. I am, however, going to say that I still like it in all its cheesy, overdone, OMG early-White-Wolf, how-did-this-ever-get-made-into-a-TV-show goodness.

I was excited to hear this was coming to television. I watched it pretty religiously with all my gamer friends. I was sad when it was unexpectedly cut off when the lead died in an accident. I knew it's like would probably not come again. Now, in that, I was only half-right. It was many years before anything as delightfully campy and "horror" based hit television again, but the rise of cable programming has given us shows that far exceed anything Kindred: the Embraced was ever capable of providing. I still have a soft spot for the original, though.

RPGaDay2015: Favorite Free RPG

Day 7: Favorite Free RPG

To be fair, I haven't gotten to really play this yet. That said, the people behind it at Posthuman Studios are old friends of mine. I've edited various bits of the line over the years, and so I know first hand just how good a job they do. It's released under Creative Commons; the book retails for $50, with the PDF for $20, but as it is a CC release, you can get it for free online and then choose to pay later.

This book is in its 4th printing now, with a full and robust set of supplements building out the universe and investigating what it means to live in a world where identity is decoupled from physicality. I admire this work greatly, and I suggest that if you haven't yet taking a look at this for some reason, you really should.

#RPGaDay2015 -- Most Recent RPG Played

Day 6: Most Recent RPG Played

So this was going to be Beast: The Forsaken, as we played that Monday night, but then last night our friend Travis came over and ran The Sprawl for us, a Powered by the Apocalypse cyberpunk game.

I'm really picky about my cyberpunk games, as some of you know. The economic struggle should be a real one, otherwise it's just katanas and drones and trenchcoats, and that's boring. The * World engine, though, actually works really well for this sort of thing, particularly coupled with an additional Gear and Intel mechanic so there are things to invest in. I'm really happy with this game, and I'm looking forward to the next session.

Rising Waters: Season 2.5, Session 2!

So we last left our fellows seasick and concerned as they pulled themselves out of the bay in front of Fells Point. The sidewalks were littered with the bodies of dead seagulls and the storm clouds above were threatening, with wind and rain spattering down on the streets. Over the scent of the bay and the storm, they could all smell rotted meat and old, dead blood, letting them know that the ghouls they had been seeking were nearby.

Eldi was the first to spot one, lurking in a narrow alleyway, waiting to ambush the characters. She used her glamour to set off a sort of flare above it, notifying the others (and getting oohs and aahs from the barhoppers nearby, who thought it was fireworks). Victor and Uno moved to take it on, Uno with his sword, and Victor using his fists and his kinetic bracelet focus to pack a bit of extra punch. Dylan decided to see where there might be others and went ahead and pinged the diving bell, using the sonar idea he'd been using below water to sense if…

#RPGaDay2015 -- Day 5

Day 5: Most Recent RPG Purchase

So, it isn't a full RPG, but it's for a game I've been semi-consistently running for a few years now. The Paranet Papers is the third book for the Dresden Files RPG, to be supplemented maybe next year with the Fate Accelerated update to the game. I'm personally tremendously interested in the update and any help the Paranet Papers would provide to the magic system, as that's still the clunkiest aspect of the whole thing. I'm also give to understand there's a fan conversion to Fate Core that works like a champ in the Fate Codex, and I'm excited about that. It's on my list to look at sooner rather than later.

Of course, it should be noted that while I picked this up at GenCon, it's hardly the only thing we bought. It is the thing that was the most "mine," though. The runner-up is Clockwork Dominion, which has made me squee upon a brief perusal. I'm looking forward to getting more into it.

#RPGaDay2015 -- Favorite new game and Most surprising game

Today's RPGaDay entries are day 3 and 4, and then we're caught up! Yay!

Day 3: Favorite New Game of the Last 12 Months
Setting aside my own stuff, since that seems like cheating, I'm going to have to say that I think Atomic Robo is going to feature pretty highly here. I picked it up last GenCon and I'm really still quite taken with it. I'm going to have to schedule a time to play it sometime in the next few months, because I really want to run it, but I've got to finish Dresden first.

Day 4: Most Surprising Game
I think I have to give this spot to Epyllion. We are having a new and exciting movement in games wherein cute is actually something that sells. This fact should not be underestimated -- it's recognition of a meaningful shift in RPG consumer demographics. Books like Eloy Lasanta's Mermaid Adventures that got roundly ignored three years ago are now moving like crazy, because there's a new willingness to embrace mechanics and aesthetics that are…


It's time for #RPGaDay2015 again! I'm a little behind, so I'll start catching up today and finish catching up tomorrow. 
Day 1: Forthcoming Game You're Most Looking Forward To I think I'd have to say, based on the con I was just at, that the game I'm most looking forward to is Bluebeard's Bride, by Whitney Beltran, Sarah Richardson, and Marissa Kelly, coming from Magpie Games. I got to play a game of it on Saturday night (thanks Sarah!) and it was fantastic. There's some really, really, really good work going on there, and I'm excited to see it fleshed out and on paper. 
Day 2: Kickstarted Game You're Most Pleased You Backed Again, since it was here today, I'd have to say Feng Shui 2 from Atlas Games. Cam and company did a heck of a job on this game -- it's fun, it plays well, and it's all the stuff I loved about Feng Shui with none of the stuff I hated. And it came in the mail today! I'm looking forward to playing it. :)
More tom…

The RPG Industry and fair compensation

So an interesting discussion has started about compensation for freelancers in the RPG industry (see here for David Hill's initial blog post and here for Ryan Macklin's continuation of the theme). They basically bring up that working for hire on a per word basis at current RPG industry rates is frankly both unfair and untenable, and although they aren't sure what the alternative is right now. For those who aren't already familiar with the problem, freelance author rates in RPGs run from $.01 per word to $.08, with perhaps WotC and Paizo paying .08 and Onyx Path paying $.03 to new authors, with a cap at $.05 for established authors. Terms are typically half upon completion, half upon publication.*

This level of pay is shit, to put it mildly. It is difficult to ask for more, however, because RPGs do not in any way make the money they once did. If you sell through a print run of 1000 books, you're doing well. The bigger names do far better than that, but by and large …