Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Far West - Missed May Self Imposed Deadline - Now Missing June - Welcome to July

He's the Man with the hands - Red Hands

Ask me if I care about Far West anymore?

No, seriously, ask me.

Okay, no, I don't fucking care anymore except to see:

a - how late it will finally be

b- how shitty the final product will be

c - if and when the physical product actually ships (I'm doubtful on this)

d - if my portrait is the worst in the book

So, here we are in July 2015. My money is on November 2015 for the PDF and I'll be well into retirement before I ever see a physical copy - if I do.

But hey, Gareth is looking for recommendations from other RPG creators in the industry to fluff up his profile. Good luck sir.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Mike Drops "Nystul" - The Wandering Wizard Wants Your Patronage on Patreon

A tip of the hat to +Dyson Logos (and +Joseph Bloch ) for bringing one of my favorite serial Kickstarter failures back to my attention.

Mike Nystul (as he is wisely trying to distance himself from none other than himself) is looking to raise backing on Patreon to support his creation of new games. Nowhere does he mention using the monies raised to actually produce the games he has already been paid for via his Trifecta of Kickstarter Failures.

Now, I have to give the Wandering Wizard credit where credit is due - he doesn't allow the fact that he blew over $75,000 (less fees) from three Kickstarters on a Dwarf Con and a failed business venture (not spent on the Kickstarters themselves) keep him from fleecing more people. He did it with Nystul's Castle over at Indiegogo and now he's trying to use Patreon.

edit - here's the link directly - Mike does his best to not use Nystul anywhere in the pitch, but it's in the link itself - poor Mike - 

Well played Mike. By the time the new folks realize what kinda fucking flake you are, you'll be moving to your next scam.

Is it safe to assume that Nystul's Aura no longer serves it's purpose for you?

ENnies had a Mass Effect - How Legit ARE the ENNies as an Industry Award?

+Christopher Helton has an excellent article on the copyright infringing Mass Effect "Powered by FATE" RPG reaching the ENnies finals. Go read it and then come back. We'll wait for you.


There we go.

Interesting, right?

Now, I'm not sure which is more surprising:

1 - That the writer of a copyright infringing RPG supplement, who actually submitted this very work to two other RPG award panels, thought that somehow this would not get flagged. Oh, and that getting attention to his work would somehow escape the attention of the powers that be (Bioware) is basically stupid.

2 - That the ENnies didn't flag this before passing it one to it's esteemed panel of self nominated judges. Wait, you knew that, right? Not only do publishers have to self nominate (and send hard copies of their work if it's in print - 1 copy per judge) but the panel is self nominated and pretty much voted on by their social media popularity.

So, what kind of vetting process goes on before passing on the material to the ENnie judges? Ignore that question, as the answer is obvious.

It didn't just get nominated in one category either. It got nominated in three: Best Electronic Book, Best Free Product and Product of The Year. Yes, product of the year.

Now, even if there wasn't a review of the entries before they were passed on to the self nominated judges, you think it would have been done after the five finalists per category were submitted, but apparently the answer is "no."

Maybe the folks behind the ENnies could add the IPIAs - Intellectual Property Infringement Awards. It would make for some interesting internet drama if nothing else.

Overall, it just shows how the relevance of the ENNies is decreasing each year, especially if they can't police their own award process.

There is an interesting thread on this whole issue at ENWorld. It makes for an entertaining read.

Empire of the Petal Throne - Back on the Shelf

When I picked up my copy of Empire of the Petal Throne on eBay a few years back I got it for a very good price - around $125 or so - and although the box was slightly crushed it was still in it's original wrap. Yes, my copy was unopened - for about 5 minutes after it arrived.

I opened it and marveled at the pristine contents of the box, much as I did yesterday when I came across it while reorganizing my game collection. I must confess, I've yet to read the game itself, but I do love the presentation. The cover art for the box is top notch and a true eye catcher.

The maps are vibrant, even 40 years after printing, and the paper is thicker than I would expect. I could easily find myself using these maps with other RPGs if it weren't for the fact that they are so damn collectible. Ah well.

There are 2 sets of reference sheets included in my box. One is slightly discolored, as i suspect it was the one constantly rubbing the rulebook or maps whenever the box was moved (and especially in shipping.)

The rulebook, which I forgot to take a picture of, use comb binding. I'm not sure how well the pages would stand up to repeated use, but it looks like it would make for a pleasurable reading experience.

Ah well, back to the shelf for another year or two...

Monday, June 29, 2015

How Many RPG System Rules Do You Actually Play?

I've spent the better part of the day today going through piles of gaming shit stuff that just doesn't fit where it's supposed to. I have accumulated RPG systems and their supplements for so many years I literally have my gaming material in 2 states, not to mention storage, the basement and a closet in another room besides my "gaming area."

One day I'll catalogue what I actually have, but it occurred to me me that not only have I forgotten many of the rpg system rules of the games I used to play and run (RoleMaster / SpaceMaster / MERPS, WFRP, the Pacesetter System, RuneQuest, Traveller, CoC, Gamma World, GURPS, Champions, Rifts and other systems that escape me at the moment) but I have a ton of systems I just never learned.

Then we look at the more recent acquisitions and with few exceptions they just aren't being played. Most of the OSR stuff can be considered a single system, just with different tweaks, so my preference for Swords & Wizardry means I can still grab adventures from Castles & Crusades right on through Dungeon Crawl Classics and over a dozen systems in between - but I generally only run S&W as my OSR system of choice and convert from other OSR systems on the fly.

Tunnels & Trolls is simple enough (once you get past the horrible organization of T&T 5e) that I can run it without referring much to the book. Far Away Land is the ONLY recently published rule system that I grokked right away and can run with minimal if any rules searching.

That's it. D&D derivatives, T&T and FAL. Three systems that I can grok these days. Dozens if not hundreds that I own and will never play - either for the first time or the first time in 20 years.

How many systems do you actually play compared to owning?

Kickstarter - The Thin Blue Line: A Detroit Police Story (Savage Worlds Modern Horror Setting)

The Thin Blue Line: A Detroit Police Story Kickstarter is a setting book for Savage Worlds (Horror Supplement required - don't say you weren't warned ;)

As you can probably suspect, I bring my biases to the table here. I've yet to see a well done RPG ruleset or setting that handles police work well. Notice I didn't say handled it accurately, because that would include a load of boring shit with occasional pieces or heart stopping adrenaline rushes. You want to stress the later and push the mundane to the background. So, making a police heavy setting into a horror setting is an excellent way to focus on the exciting.

I liked the video. Short and to the point. Less is certainly more when it comes to Kickstarter videos, and this video explains just enough. I'm not sure if the little girls who pipes in an answer was a plant or not, but it worked well.
Melior Via successfully ran and fulfilled a Kickstarter for Accursed (a dark fantasy RPG setting for Savage Worlds) in 2013. We learned a great deal from the project, and we are using the lessons learned in undertaking this one.
They also took a 2 year break more or less between the two Kickstarters, so I suspect they'll be ready for this one.

That being said, there is only one Kickstarter in their history. Amazingly, it was pretty much on time. With this Kickstarter, print copies are at cost via OneBookShelf, which is probably the way for all but the big boys to do core physical rewards these days.

Did I mention Rach loved the video pitch?

I'll probably be backing this, even if I can't fully wrap my head around Savage Worlds as a game system.

Kickstarter - Age Past Dungeon Keep RPG Set

Where to start on Age Past Dungeon Keep RPG Set?

I guess the video. News flash - video of bacon cooking cutting into the rest of the video isn't "cool" or "hip" - it's fucking annoying. Oh, and the video is over 10 minutes long. No one cares enough to watch the whole thing. Really. If you go past 2 minutes for the hook video you've lost your fish.

Now, look at the absolute clutter in the pic above. Not a good pic. It does point one important thing out - lack of grid or scale. If you want lightweight WITH scale, you have Blue Dungeon Tiles. Laminate that can be written on with dry erase. Basically, coated paper with a grid.
There has always been a disconnect.  RPGs are paper products, essentially always apart from the tabletop aspect of the game, and most accessories are made from physical materials such as plastic and metal.  The same people making one are not usually great at making the other.  We have seen many solutions, some good, some bad, and many are very expensive.  We need something new.  Something that works.  Something that anyone can take anywhere he goes... but, it has to be elegant and sleek, and it has to work.  Something totally bacon.
What the fuck is it with "bacon?" I love bacon. I don't refer to non-bacon products as bacon. Is this something regional?

close up doesn't look any less cluttered
 Hey. Look, for 10 bucks you can get and Age Past RPG which isnt mentioned anywhere else on the page except the rewards (it was the previous Kickstarter tho.) Talking about the rewards - how many choices? Too many. It's confusing.

Listen, I'm no going to bother with the vetting here. If for some reason you want laser woodburning to map out your dungeons on your table, this is your choice. Probably your only one. There are better choices for the rest of us.