Welcome, and well met!

I'm a fan of pen-and-paper RPG's. That's what you are going to find on this site. Sometimes there might be a blurb about the Secret World MMO; but the focus here is my drifting through Wisconsin's gaming communities.

Links will be added as cons are visited, games are played, and authoring is published.

Wander around. Grab a tankard. Relax and immerse yourself into polyhedron geekness, Wisconsin style!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Era III: The Dealings With the Past

So enters the new decade, beginning with the year 1990. As a side note, I just clicked on RPG.net’s ‘Core Rules’ listing and came back with 2193 results. Looks like I have a job ahead of me. I’ve made it through the top 500 on the list. That does not count other core rules that I have stumbled upon randomly while looking into publishing companies. That being said; this decade starts and maintains through the half-way point. During the later part of the decade, the micropublishers kick in, and the industry begins to expand. 

The concept of “Generative” has its roots around this time period. The term ‘Generative’ means: games produced before ‘The Fall’ that occurred in the late 1980’s through the early 2000’s. They may still exist, usually in a (much) older edition.

On the digital front, 1990 would see the release of Crystalis for the NES as well as Golden Axe Warrior for the Sega Master System. These games featured Zelda-like game play blended with genuine RPG elements, such as experience points, statistics-based equipment, and a magic-casting system.

OK. On to the RPG's!!!
Hear that rumbling in the distance? Yep, that’s Wizards of the Coast opening their doors this year for the very first time. More on that later...

Ravenloft gothic horror campaign setting by TSR. This introduces ‘dark power checks’ to a characters unethical actions during the game play. Also released this year is the Hollow World Campaign Set, based upon TSR’s Known World / Mystara campaign world setting.

Hero 4 by Hero Games / ICE. Although the changes were being introduced in the previous year, the core rule set was published in 1990. Lord of the Rings Adventure Game also by ICE using a unique system

Dark Space using I.C.E.’s Rolemaster and Space Master rules. Authored by Monte Cook, this setting combined Sci Fi, Fantasy, and Horror genres into a space of 20 worlds.

Torg is published by West End Games, creating a cinematic world where the player’s Storm Knights battle invasions of Earth from other-worldly beings from several different dimensional ‘cosmos’. As a side note, the TORG name stands for “The Other Roleplaying Game”, as the creators were unable to find anything better to call it.

Cyberpunk 2020 RPG using the Interlock System and published by R. Talsorian Games.

Blacksand! Using the Advanced Fighting Fantasy system, published by Puffin Books. This is a setting book of the pirate haven of Port Blacksand in Allansia. New magics and skills are introduced.

GURPS Space  in using GURPS 3 by SJG.

King Arthur Pendragon by Chaosium. The third of eight editions. Knights Adventurous also by Chaosium expanded the Pendragon RPG.

Cadillac’s & Dinosaurs, by GDW. It is 450 years after the cataclysm of 2020AD. Now the Earth is populated by creatures from ALL the past geological eras, including humanity.

Stormbringer by Chaosium. Elric’s world returns in its fourth edition.

WarpWorld is published by BTRC. Part of the TimeLords and SpaceTime RPGs, this game takes place in 2312, after the nuclear war of 2012.

Boot Hill by TSR. Draw!

Gear Antique is a steampunk RPG published by F.E.A.R. This RPG is an anime inspired pseudo-Earth world set in the 19th century. The game is unique in its ‘life-path charts’ (giving a character’s story from birth to the grave). In this game, there are also magic, monsters, and ancient civilizations to deal with.

Rifts RPG from Palladium Books. Many a game shelf will creak and groan under the sheer tonnage of books that will come from this overpowered d20 game system.

MechWarrior RPG second edition by FASA Corp.

Battlelords of the 23rd Century is published in its 1st and 2nd editions this year. It will undergo yearly edition updates until its 5th edition in 1993. It is published by Optimus Design Systems. It is set in the year 2279 and is something of a space opera with 12 races to choose from.
Lion Rampant games merges with White Wolf, creating White Wolf Game Studio. The Storyteller System was born during a car ride down to Gen Con by Mark Rein-Hagen. This concept would become Vampire: The Masquerade. Along the same, ahem ‘vein’ comes the Sword and Sorcery imprint of White Wolf co. This was used to publish various d20 and OGL materials.

SSDC, Inc opens its doors in Rochester, New York.

GMT Games opens its doors in California. It’s catalogue will reach over 500 titles in the next five years.

Pagan Publishing opens its doors.

Phage Press opens its doors.

The CORPS (Complete Omniversal Role Playing System) is created in 1990, and published by Blacksburg Tactical Research Center in 1995.

CCG’s enter the market, with the advent of Peter Adkison’s The Primal Order. To publish this, Adkison created Wizards of the Coast. A suit from Palladium Books resulted in Wizards acquiring Talislanta.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Era II: Part 8, The Decade Quietly Ends?

The latest batch of things that I missed!

Fringeworthy RPG by Tri Tac Games in 1982 & 1984. This was a alternate history / alien worlds gateway styled game. It originally used a custom, highly detailed combat / rule system, allowing player to import any weapon found in such works at Jane’s Defense Weekly (making magazines into ‘supplements’).

Spacemaster by Iron Crown Enterprises was released in 1985. It used the Rolemaster system, and allowed for a variety of SF environments, from black near-future to high-tech exploration, to post-fall far-distant future ruins. It has a default setting of a human-based Imperium setting with mega corporations, unexplored space, and various noble houses.

Doctor Who by FASA was released in 1985. Play a doctor-esque roll, or one of the companions working for the Celestial Intervention Agency. It provided a lot of details about the era of the Fourth Doctor, although earlier and later elements were included. It used a ‘custom’ system, which was identical to the Star Trek RPG.

Kara-Tur by TSR was released in 1986. This was a fantasy world set in the Oriental Adventures rulebook. In 1987, Kara-Tur was relocated into the Forgotten Realms setting.

OK. Back to 1989…
Welcome to the beginning of post-Cold War Americanization! This year is the setting for Red Dawn, Jurassic Park, and Night of the Living Dead. The World Wide Web is first conceived by Tim Berners-Lee. This is also the first (unofficial) time a text message is sent. The City of Greyhawk boxed set is released, although not the Gygax / Kuntz city, but a new design from previously published material. Also this year, AD&D produces its second edition material.

DragonQuest 3e by TSR. Similar to the 1982 version, this limited edition release was produced to maintain the trademark rights.

Ars Magica by Lion Rampant is released as a second edition.

Prince Valiant: The Story-Telling Game by Chaosium. Based upon Hal Foster’s comic using a simplified system of half-page character sheets and coin tosses for combat. A well received game, considered by many to be the BEST in the underground / unknown RPGs.

Dungeoneer, using the Advanced Fighting Fantasy system, by Puffin Books. Considered to be a ‘kid-leveled’ game, but set in a gritty, evocative fantasy world.

Champions by  Hero Games / ICE. This is the core game system that ultimately kicked off the Hero System. This version encompasses editions 1-3.

DC Heroes 2e by Mayfair games. This boxed set refined the rule set and included the Crisis on Infinite Earths reshaping of the DC world.

Batman RPG by  Mayfair Games. Released to capitalize on the Tim Burton film, this game provides reams of detail for Gotham City, and is considered a somewhat ‘broken’ system that used DC Heroes 2 rules.

HERO System by Hero Games becomes its own entity in response to the popularity of Steve Jackson’s GURPS system. It is a custom, point-based system for character generation, and uses only D6. Although it eased game balance, the complexity due to an overwhelming number of options required a great deal of time.

Risus: The Generic Universal Comedy System was yet another response to GURPS, was produced by Cumberland Games and Diversions. Although it was humorous in nature, and using a cliché system of character classes, the influence of this game has spawned over 30 fan-authored websites devoted to elements of the game.

Ghostbusters RPG by West End Games box set game in its second edition.

Teenagers from Outer Space, the 2nd edition by R. Talsorian Games, set in a comedic, sci-fi setting.

Shadowrun by FASA Corp. Magic has returned to the world in 2050. Mega corporations and cyberware are the backdrop to this RPG of shadowrunners.

Cyberspace by ICE came out using a modified version of the Spacemaster rules. Set in the urban sprawl of San Francisco in 2090, this cyberpunk game is considered to be content-rich, but too similar to other games of the genre.

THQ opens its doors, beginning their part of electronic Role-playing games. In the cyberworld of online chat, Jarkko got his IRC friends at two other universities to use the IRC program, and by mid-1989, the program had over 40 servers worldwide. The program soon spread to new countries, and America was the first country to pick the program out of Finland. IRC became part of the websites for both Oregon State University and the University of Denver. The chat rooms that were created for University purposes morphed into rooms for general conversation as people became dependant on the companionship and socialization they had access to in these public venues. These 'walls' became a place that you could have open conversations of any sort, and topics of discussion such as online gaming and books reviews were created. The year and decade ends with the series premiere of The Simpsons: Roasting on an Open Fire.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

About getting published...


Yep, I have my name on a book. What I've been finding is that there are some folks who ask how it can be done. The best I can do is tell you what I have done / learned over the past three years. At the core, know what you want to write. Make fairyland your reality. Wake up each morning and put on that starship admiral outfit. Know the right place to strap on that steampunk gear so that it isn't too binding...

1. Hawk the sites. The big publishing houses / group have pretty good sites. It doesn't matter if they are nearby. With the internet, your office will pretty much be your corner writing station wherever you live. Make that writing station your zen-focus-battlezone-writing studio. Hang posters, white boards, stack books, and load up on notepads. Oh, and this zone should be a no-surf / no-social media zone as well!

  1a. Hawk the conventions. There are conventions where publishers go. They are going for three reasons: First, to sell their stuff. Second, to meet / greet / assess other folks in the field. Third, to see if there are any new contacts to be made (this is where YOU come in). Go in calm, professional, and know their goods. See the below 'Conventions' listing on this site for a few good ones.

2. Write EVERYTHING like you are on a one-month deadline. Every day you should be writing or researching something. Play the games you write and hand them out to your friends to play as well. You never know who they are going to network with.

3. Expect that anything that has been submitted will get stripped down to its bare bones and handed back for at least one (if not many post-playtested) rewrites. My work in Hooks began after a 2 month research into a German town (reconstructing it to 1200's historical standard) after two playtests, it had evolved into 'drop into any saga location' buildings and characters. The town write-up was mothballed. That is just the nature of the business. David Chart, the line editor said it best:

"I'm (Chart) the king, each of you writers are nobles in my court. Each of you are important to me, because of what you bring to the table, but at the end of the day; my Word is Law. Only take on what I say if you can prove that it is worth my time."

4. Until you end up on the New York Times bestseller list, don't plan on quitting your day job. We are talking about a penny per word, on the average. Early on, you are in the 'prove thyself' stage of the game.

Finally, tattoo words like 'tenacity' and 'regimented' across your psyche. It will help muck through the doldrums.

Hang loose!