Wednesday, February 23, 2011

ToI Available in Print

From Lulu !

Also - I've called in the big guns for help resolving some thorny religious issues in Outremer. That's right, my buddy and co-writer for many of my games, Albert Bailey. He's already given me some interestig directions! I have started running an alpha platest of Outremer, so it won't be long now!


Monday, February 21, 2011

First ToI Review Out!

Tommy Brownell has brought in the first review of Tools of Ignorance, and it's a humdinger! :D

Check it out!


Monday, February 14, 2011

Elitism and Inclusion, or Why RPGs are Like Sex

The redoubtable Bill Corrie has penned an excellent post about Elitism and Inclusion on his Hinterblog, and I want to point folks towards it. Read it and come back. I'll wait here...

Done? Great! I'm totally with Bill here. This is what I meant when some time ago I said that there are indeed swine in this hobby. I've met some of them, and they are poison. Elitism of whatever kind is bad for all of us. This isn't to say one shouldn't have personal likes and dislikes, or that enthusiasm is a bad thing. It rocks! What I'm saying - and Bill is saying - is that there is a point where people confuse what's good for them personally with what is good for everyone. That's the not good zone. It's like your right to swing your fist stops a the point of my chin. It's a violation of my rights at that point.

Elitists want to chop the hobby up into little fiefdoms. I think that is just wrong! I learn new things from almost every game I play, and virtually everything has some useful bit that's a treasure. This constant interchange of ideas fertilizes the hobby. These fiefdoms become inbred and sterile quickly, and lead to funny looking games with bad teeth, big noses, and banjo playing. Let's cut down the fences and enjoy the different for what it is - a way to cross pollinate and hybridize the hobby.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

An Internet Gaming Forum Thread Translation Table

For those of you who are new to Internet fora, I thought I'd provide this handy tool, which compiles the wisdom of my many years of forum posting.

Thread Title ------------------ Meaning

Sell me on Game X -------------- I'm too lazy to read reviews or do any research. Entertain me!

Sell me on Free Game X --------- I'm too lazy to download this file for free. Entertain me!

GMAE X TOTTALY ROXS!! ---- I'm 12 years old and functionally illiterate!

What game would work for X? ---I'm bored. Tell me your favorite game. Entertain me!

Can I run Y with X? ------------- You total strangers must know my group better than I do!

Blah blah blah Immersion ------- I love bloodshed and hysteria! Entertain me!

Game X vs Game Y... ---------- Two similar games! Two groups of passionate fans! Fight!

Game X is the New Hotness!! --- Oh! Oh! Oh! I'm so excited I piddled on the floor!

Too many games! -------------- One could play one game forever. I have more than one! Panic!

[Exalted] Blah blah blah -------- I'm on RPGnet, right?

What is your favorite X? -------- So bored! So brainless! Entertain me, suckahs!

Blah blah Swine blah... -----------I'm on the RPG Site, right?

Site X Suxxors! ----------------- I'm permabanned there so I came here to make trouble!

I got this crazy idea... ----------- I'm certifiably batshit and am required by law to warn you!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

New Blood

Creativity in writing settings is not going to recruit new players into the hobby. Neither are supplements, or campaigns or any other written material. The only thing that's going to get new blood into gaming is the same thing that keeps new blood out - gamers. The stupid, self-defeating, self-loathing of gamers drives me bughouse. Gamers keep their activities a secret, talk about themselves as if they were all 33 year old virgins living in their mother's basements, stinky catpissmen, losers with no lives outside their games.

I'm not a loser, and I don't hang out with losers. The vast majority of gamers I know are regular people, yet this stereotype flourishes in the gamer subculture. Gamers make movies about themselves, starring themselves as losers. Freaking masochists! Who the hell would want to be a gamer if that's the face we show to the world! Gamers think they will be reviled for being gamers, yet no one cares! Computer gamers think of themselves as gamers, period. They are at worst mildly interested in roleplaying, and at are at best very interested. my son is getting his masters in game design, and you know what his buddies at school are doing? Playing RPGs! I tell people I'm an RPG designer and player. If they're interested I tell them more, and if not I leave it at that. Nobody else thinks we are losers, just gamers themselves! I'm freaking sick of it!

I used to rail about this a lot until I realized no-one was listening. Now I just bottle it up until I can't stand it any more. In my almost four decades of roleplaying, I have never played with anyone who was even close to matching those stereotypes. They were all regular people - male. female, young, old, whatever. No-one outside the hobby thinks of us this way. It's purely a gamer thing. One thing I have always admired about the Story-gamer crowd is they don't do that self-flagellation much at all. They also aren't afraid to reach out and bring new blood in. Coincidence? I don't think so! They aren't embarrassed about their hobby and it shows.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Mapping into the Character

Here's something that I think is important about traditional RPG design - player actions should map into character actions. Why does rolling the dice not break immersion? Because it maps directly into something the character is doing. the character is using a weapon, or defusing a bomb, or casting a spell. Rolling the dice maps into that action.

Just a thought that came to me.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Gaming update

Just to fill you all in on my gaming situation:

My Tools of ignorance game is flying now. The Maine Lobsters are playing a May series against San Diego. The April series against Philadelphia was a sweep, and the Lobsters are leading their division. The team really jelled in the last game, beating Philadelphia 13-1, with the Lobster's pitcher throwing a complete game, and hitting a homerun besides. It's an open secret on the team that their over-the-hill outfielder has really picked up his game since deciding to juice up. Just hope the League doesn't run a random test! So far the group is really getting into it - having a lot of fun with not being deadly killers.

My IRC Sunday SC3 game is in the home stretch - about 2 more sessions to go. They have infiltrated the Warrener Embassy, replacing the second wife of the Security Chief with one of their own - a clone sister of the wife. The rest of the group are in the Embassy as roadies and musicians of a band playing at a ball/concert for teh Ambassador. Now they have to actually get the damned datacrya that started teh whole thing, but that's under heavy guard.

My IRC Thursday night SC3 game is also coming into the home stretch. The customer is a robot designer who found out that the company she worked for was somehow temporarily de-sentient-izing robots, shipping them to a DC world with a more convenient sentient policy, and taking a kickback on the huge profits after restoring their free will. She hired them to save her, expose the company, and rescue her son. The PCs have their suspicions that the customer's son, a sex-switchced clone of herself, is actually behind the whole thing, having inherited the same genius at robot design as his mother, but far fewer scruples. Now they are digging for proof, instigating a robot riot, broadcasting interviews with the customer, kidnapping a company heir, and generally doign PC things. Stuff is happening. The company genuinely seems not to know. Is the son doing it all onhis own? Will the customer support a solution that exposes her son to charges of sentient slavery?