Blog of a new RPGer

Two months into the Cyberpunk Revival Contest, 3 to go!

Posted in contest, RPG General by misterecho on March 17, 2010

The contest is going great. Look how many entries have been announced already! You can see the authors discussions, ideas and work in progress threads over on 1km1kt forum

Metropole Luxury Coffin by madunkieg

Squatters & Sleepers by Spacemouse

Project X by Hawell

Cybershade by Blaquesaber

ROME by WittyDroog

CyberSins by Thought

Technogrammation by Carone

Open Life by NoobHealer

Multiplicity by Koipond

Erreshet by SheikJabooty

ModernPunks by TadK

Flooded by Phil

Disgenesia by Maledictus

Code named Neon by Peril Planet

The Grey City Machine by espynwislyn

Physrep by Nifara

This Bright Society by Logan Howard

I’m really looking forward to reading these. I just hope we can keep the momentum we’ve built up!

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Mongoose goes Goose!

Posted in RPG General by misterecho on March 16, 2010

Judge Dredd cover

Over on UK Role Players I saw an announcement from Mongoose Publishing.

I thought you may want to know about it! It runs until the end of March. It’s 50% off. There looks like there are a couple of good titles in there, all print copies of course. Traveller,  Judge dredd, and Strontium Dog are all included. Worth a look, or as my dad says “It’s better than a poke in the eye with a jagey stick”

Let me know if any of you have actually played any if the titles and tell me if there any good!

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An Interview with Stargazer; Prolific blogger, amateur games designer and all round nice chap.

Posted in RPG General by misterecho on March 10, 2010

Things have been quiet on this blog lately, I haven’t posted for ages! Michael Wolf creator of Stargazer’s World Posts articles daily. Taking inspiration in this I asked him for an interview. Basically to kick start me into posting again. He was kind enough to oblige.

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When did you first start gaming and how did you become interested?

Hmm, good question. I started playing in the early 90s. Back then I made friends with a couple of people playing Battletech. We usually played on Saturdays and they often talked about some other game they played which was called Warhammer. It took me some time to find out that there were actually two Warhammer games: the table-top wargame and the roleplaying game.

When I remember correctly, one of my friends joined the group and he gave me regular updates on their exploits. I was immediately intrigued and wanted to join them, but I had to wait until the adventure was finished. In the meantime I had the opportunity to play TORG at the PhanCon ’92 near Bonn.

But shortly after that I joined the WHFRP group and I played that game for years.

In the past 18-20 years of gaming how active have you been? Has your gaming waxed and waned or have you always been super enthusiastic?

I have always been extremely enthusiastic about the hobby, but sometimes it was hard finding the free time to play. During my university years, I played a lot, sometimes even two times a week.
But usually I am happy when I can run a game every two weeks or so, especially when everyone in your group has a day job, perhaps a family and kids, it’s hard to schedule games.

Do you GM more than you play, or Vice et versa?

Recently I run more games than I play. I would love to play in some other GM’s game and it seems I can participate in the playtest of a Call of Cthulhu adventure this weekend.

Is Call of Cthulhu one of your favourite games? It seems you either love it or loath it.

I love Call of Cthulhu. It’s another game I played a lot early in my gaming “career”, but I’ve also played a great deal of Trail of Cthulhu recently, which uses Robin D. Laws’ Gumshoe system, which is – in my humble opinion – even better suited for that kind of game.

I love playing Call of Cthulhu, sometimes I think the sanity mechanic just isn’t very good. How do you use SAN in your games?

I try not to overdo it. Losing Sanity may be a major aspect of Call of Cthulhu games, but I also want my players to have fun playing and the game can get un-fun very fast, if the player characters have too many quirks, psychological disorders etc.

Insanity is a major part of H.P. Lovcraft’s stories. It seems like you have a light handed approach which I find works better

If I only ran one-shots I would probably take a different approach, but when you run a campaign you have to be a bit more careful. I usually emphasize the investigative aspects over the sanity aspects. I try to achieve an atmosphere of fear and horror at the game table, if that’s even possible.

You sound like a good keeper! You are known as a prolific blogger, sometimes two posts a day. What inspired you to blog and blog so much?

I always loved to write. I still remember writing SF stories on my grandpa’s typewriter when I was a kid. I created by first website back in 1996 and soon my site looked pretty much like what you would call a “blog” today I think I just enjoy writing about things I love and roleplaying games have been my favourite hobby for many years now. I’ve had a lot of blogs over the years but Stargazer’s World was the first “successful” one. The success encouraged me to keep updating my blog regularly, which is sometimes not as easy as it seems.

You are clearly enthusiastic. That enthusiasm can only bring success!
How easy is it to find games/players in your area of Germany?

Finding players is pretty easy, especially in the city where I work. Gießen is known for its university and a lot of students are gamers. But it’s much harder if you have only a limited amount of time and the other drawback is, that students tend to move away as soon as they have graduated. And there’s the age difference. I’ve noticed that a lot of younger gamers seem to have a gaming style I am not entirely comfortable with. But probably I am just a grumpy old grognard.

Aren’t we all a little grumpier these days!
I used to live in Falligbostel near Hannover. I found The German people I met to be very friendly and hospitable, how do you react to English and American stereotypes of Germans in RPG Literature?

I don’t mind the stereotypes. I am not that easily offended.
And before you ask: I am no stereotypical German: I am not blonde, I am lazy and I don’t drink beer!

Do you find that the German and European perspective on Gaming is Very different to American? My experience of Germany shown me how popular Cyberpunk is there. In the US you can’t get away from DnD. Do you target your blog to a specific audience?

Hmm, that’s a tough one.

I don’t think I have a specific target audience but myself. I write about things that interest me first and foremost. When I asked people to join the team, I told them that they are free to write about everything they want. What sets Stargazer’s World apart from some of the other RPG blogs is that I don’t really focus on one game alone but there are posts for almost everyone.

I’ve always been more in touch with the American scene (through forums, blogs, etc.) than with the local German scene. I’ve noticed that there are vast differences between gamers who participate in internet activities and the majority who don’t I think the most played game in Germany is “Das Schwarze Auge” which is known as “The Dark Eye” in the US.

Another game that had a lot of followers was Shadowrun, at least a couple of years back.

I have to admit I probably know more about what bloggers from the US play, than what the guy next door enjoys. I am currently organizing a regular RPG pub meeting, where a) I can meet local gamers and b) introduce them to what I’ve learned while blogging over the last years. Most of them didn’t even know that there are RPG blogs. And I have no idea what they play. So we’ll learn from each other. I hope to make new friends too.

You have announced that you are working on your own RPG system called “gears” what are your plans for it?
As you probably know I have worked on several homebrew campaign settings in the past. But I had a hard time finding a fitting system. The main problem was that I wanted to release everything under a CC license, in the end, I decided to write my own system, that I can distribute freely with my campaigns.

So the plan is basically to share my works with other gamers without having to rely on copyrighted material.

Do you intend to create a generic rules system, then release setting and genre material?

That’s the idea I intend to include a couple of mini-settings in the core rulebook, but currently I am still struggling with the basic rules.

how so?

The task resolution system in Gears uses 3d6. In most cases you roll 3d6, add a modifier and compare it to the Mastery Level. The mastery level is the sum of the skill rank and an appropriate attribute is your roll equal or lower than the ML, the task succeeded. While this works nicely in unopposed actions, things get a bit hairy when opposed actions are concerned. I am currently trying to make sure that the system works smoothly even in those cases.

I see. do you have aspirations of professional RPG design?
Not really. I see this as a hobby first and foremost. I am sure my day job is much better suited to pay my bills than my game design.

What are your plans for stargazer’s world? I get the feeling that you are moving towards an online magazine model, with guest authors etc. Is this the direction you want to move in?

I wouldn’t call it online magazine.

It’s still a blog focused on RPGs. But the addition of some regular and guest authors helps me to work on my side projects without breaking with my posting schedule.

Very wise!

I think that it’s more fun working as a team

You worked on Dungeon-slayers as a translator, What attracted you to work on the project?
There were several reasons. What attracted me the most wad the fact that DS was not only rules-light but also that it’s available under a CC license.

Do you play many traditional RPGs such as Dungeon Slayers?
I played a lot of games in my time. What do you mean by “traditional”? Aside from DS (which its creator calls “old-fashioned”) I’ve played both Swords & Wizardry and X-plorers. The first is a retro clone of 1974’s D&D while the latter is more or less a what-if game: It’s basically a thought experiment what D&D would have looked like if Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson were Science fiction fans more than fantasy fans.

Ok, my final question is a stupid one but here goes; what are you predictions for the hobby over the next 10 years?

I think D&D will probably continue to dominate the hobby; I have some hopes that indie games will become more popular. New technologies like the apple ipad will probably affect the hobby like laptops, netbooks and smart phones have done before.

I also expect that a lot of the bloggers of today will be the designers of tomorrow

For many people DnD is roleplaying. I think Indie RPGs will become ever more popular due to the lowering cost and difficulty of publishing. It will be interesting to see how technology affects the game environment.

Thanks for your time Herr Stargazer.

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