Sunday, 14 August 2022

Demons Demons Demons

In tonight’s Buffy session we discover JP’s a part time demon.

JP: Thanks guys. Sorry I freaked you out.
Willis: Only a lot.

#RPGaDay2022 14 - Suggestion Sunday

#RPGaDay2022

14 - Suggestion Sunday: Roll 1d8+1, and tag that many friends and suggest a new RPG to try.

I’m not really one for tagging people, but if anyone wants to volunteer, leave a Like on Twitter.


Our hosts both recommend one RPG rather than one RPG per tagged person which is what I was thinking. In that case, Dread for a highly thematic and easy system, depending on player skill. (Also tricky to do online and not possible for some players.)

Saturday, 13 August 2022

#RPGaDay2022 13 - change the way you started?

#RPGaDay2022

13 - How would you change the way you started RPGing?

I wish I hadn’t started with a near TPK, and I still regret running from the monster. Though it taught me not to inflict mass death on brand new players.

And getting a second session as a player before taking over as GM would have been nice too. But again I learned from that.

So one thing I would really change is that after that first summer with five girls in the game, I wish my high school group had had any. I could have done more to make a mixed group happen, but I doubt it would have gone far.

Red Rose

BBC Three, back on TV, returns to its occasional role providing horror and other genre shows with Red Rose, starting Monday, described by its creators as like Scream or The Ring but set in Bolton.

“At first, the app seems like a peculiarly helpful mindfulness assistant, but before long it is controlling Rochelle’s life, an omniscient force able to help her out or terrify her with threatening visions, via the phone’s camera.”

Friday, 12 August 2022

#RPGaDay2022 12 - Why did you start RPGing?

#RPGaDay2022

12 - Why did you start RPGing?


And I was the right age for the peak of the gamebook boom.

If I hadn’t been directly introduced to gamebooks I might have found them through 2000 A.D. advertising, or later through their Sláine gamebook story or spinoff magazine Dice Man or the official Judge Dredd RPG or...

But I was already in by then.

After starting high school, I had a couple of poor suckers friends drawn in too. They can blame me.

And I stuck with it because of the interactivity, and the immediate feedback of the group, as well as the genres that most of the games played into. Remember that this was a time where if you got an episode of Doctor Who and a sci-fi cartoon on TV that was a good week. This was something that could be mine.

Thursday, 11 August 2022

#RPGaDay2022 11 - living in a setting

#RPGaDay2022

11 - If you could live in a game setting, where would it be?

Obvious bias here, but the Trinity Continuum setting is an upbeat science fiction spin on our world, with smart, brave, well-meaning people dedicated to making it a better place and making real progress doing so, with a little luck on their side as it’s a real thing in the metaphysics of the setting.

The Neptune Foundation, illustration by Leif Jones

Sure, it has villainous groups, strange phenomena, creepy aliens messing with our psionic potential and in a few years it’ll have superhuman celebrities who nearly destroy the world, but you can’t have everything.

And I could help without being called upon to save the world myself on a regular basis.

Hanging at the Bronze or the Succubus Club would be cool, but the life of a PC there would be stressful and as an NPC I’d be killed by a haunted photograph at the gallery or something.

I would also be tempted to live in some cosy games like Chuubo’s Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine but that seems like cheating as I’ve never run them.

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Raymond Briggs

Raymond Briggs is best known for The Snowman, but for me it was Fungus The Bogeyman that first drew my attention, partially because of adult disapproval. I love his down-to-earth Father Christmas as well.

#RPGaDay2022 10 - GMing?

#RPGaDay2022

10 - When did/will/might you start Gamemastering?

Formally, my second session. Informally, I was already improvising systemless adventures before that first session with rules. So before I knew what that was.

(I added “might” to the question because it’s not for everybody.)

Getting that one session as a player cemented some preferences. I still like to keep my hand in as a player, but I’ve run a lot more than I’ve played.

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

#RPGaDay2022 9 - Second RPG?

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9 - What is the second RPG you bought?

Middle-earth Roleplaying, aka MERP. I based this purchase on knowing the setting. It was a bad fit for me, and I still think it’s a bad fit for the setting. I learned quite a bit about my preferences in RPGs as a result, having a lot more luck with my third system, TOON.

Monday, 8 August 2022

#RPGaDay2022 8 - Who introduced you?

#RPGaDay2022

8 - Who introduced you to RPGs?

That summer five of my cousins were living around the corner. The eldest gave me a copy of Sir Ian Livingstone’s City Of Thieves, her favourite of the first Fighting Fantasy run.

The art by Iain McCaig was a factor too. He went on to design Darth Maul.

This led to the FF RPG with her and her sisters, with my brother GMing for one day only and then me taking over. After that summer my cousins moved away, and I believe I was the only one to stick with RPGs.  Playing was mostly my idea as I recall, with some nudging required to get that first session.

I used a miniature like this, Oreon from Citadel’s Regiments of Renown, for me.


Though the game had no rules for bows. Or elves. or eyepatches.

Runeslinger and with Week Two on video

Sunday, 7 August 2022

#RPGaDay2022 7 - a cool part of a system

#RPGaDay2022

7 - System Sunday: Describe a cool part of a system that you love.

TOON was my third RPG and the first I saw emulating a genre other than fantasy adventures. One of the many ways it does this is that when you lose all your Hit Points you’re out of the game for three minutes of real time before coming back at full points.

Drama Points in Buffy The Vampire Slayer do a lot to balance the main character types, more immediately powerful Heroes and more normal White Hats, with the latter able to buy them cheaper and having more ways to earn them, give some player narrative control in a largely traditional game, and while they’re mostly used for the big boost to a single roll of a Heroic Feat, every use has an example you can cite from the show.

For the show, skipping repeating getting an Orb of Thesulah.
For the game, Giles spending a Drama Point to skip that.

(Bonus: four of the five uses in the demo, the fifth being coming back from the dead.)

Dave Chapman

Saturday, 6 August 2022

#RPGaDay2022 6 - How would you get more people playing RPGs?

#RPGaDay2022

6 - How would you get more people playing RPGs?

Be inclusive. Having seen my local university society pushing for this, diversity encourages diversity. An inclusive group will attract a wider variety of people.

RPGs are bigger than ever with the highest profile in decades. Make them accessible and be welcoming.

Dave Chapman on not putting people off

LEGO Star Wars Summer Vacation

LEGO Star Wars Summer Vacation follows the Holiday Special and Terrifying Tales in a skewed look at the sequel trilogy and its connections to other eras, and follows the first in giving Finn more to do and Rose more screen time than the last live-action film.

And seeing Force ghost Leia got to me, as did the Solo family adventure she introduced while everything else was pretty goofy.

Friday, 5 August 2022

The stage retelling of your series

Who would retell your RPG series in a one-person show? A narrator like the GM? One of the player characters? A prominent NPC? Bob the goblin bartender?

Buffy ReVamped

Buffy: ReVamped is a fun retelling of the saga through the not-entirely-unbiased perspective of Spike, and not afraid to give the audience emergency stakes.

Brendan Murphy as Spike

Contains words you couldn't say on 90s network television and a slight chance of mild audience participation.

And a just so 90s playlist including two tracks from the TWH soundtrack.

And on the way out we got flyered by the other Buffy retelling at the Fringe this year. Which is more than productions of Macbeth.

The Sandman

The Sandman gets a big audiovisual adaptation after decades of trying, Neil Gaiman and his band having waited to make a close one. This means some great moments come through clearly, and some of the uneven tone of the early stories in particular does too.

The first episode, The Sleep Of The Just, covers most of the first issue with some slight embroidering here and there to make the series a bit more serialised.

#RPGaDay2022 5 - Why will they like this game?

#RPGaDay2022

5 - Why will they like this game?

Showing enthusiasm helps. Be up, be attentive.

Sharing it is even better. If I can run a game I like based on their interests that’s the best option.

I’ll also work to make them feel involved, present them with meaningful choices and let them see what kinds of things they can do as players, because that’s one of the strongest appeals of RPGs.

I prepare more for potential introductory games like one-shots at conventions and the start of the academic year. Ready-to-use characters, short rules explanations, visuals, and a fairly straightforward plot - better to end a bit early than not end.

Thursday, 4 August 2022

#RPGaDay2022 4 - Where would you host a first game?

#RPGaDay2022

4 - Where would you host a first game?

Someplace nice.

I’d like a room with a biggish table, comfortable chairs, access to facilities and snacks.

Student unions often have great rooms if you’re in a university or college group, and if not there may be classrooms available. One room to a group is ideal for noise levels. For school-age groups, a classroom or library?

Game stores and other dedicated gaming spaces can be great if available. Pubs are a popular choice for off-campus game groups as social spaces which might have back rooms you can book in the evenings, but often are or feel like 18+ spaces. Cafes don’t have such spaces, so mostly good for weekends. 

Gaming outside depends on the weather.

And I’ve been running games online for two years now and while it’s great in many ways, not least having a player currently who’s on another continent, I do miss the energy of the table.

Runeslinger with dog photos and an 18th century fort

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

#RPGaDay2022 3 - Your introduction?

#RPGaDay2022

3 - When were you first introduced to RPGs?

I came to RPGs through the gamebook boom of the mid 1980s, Fighting Fantasy and Lone Wolf and many others. I was 11 or 12.

And I was that kind of kid - I heard about Lone Wolf through an advert in 2000 A.D. for example, the first film I remember seeing was Star Wars, and my mother read Lord Of The Rings to us.

And I had done a bit of improvisational gamebook-inspired GMing with a friend over school lunch breaks already.

I started with Fighting Fantasy: The Introductory Role-playing Game and was GMing by my second session - so that introduction worked for me!

Steve Jackson has since signed my copy.

And FF got me into miniatures as they were sold nearby along with some RPG books in the toy department at John Menzies on Princes Street, one of the biggest department stores in Edinburgh at the time (and the one they run out of at the start of Trainspotting).

Then this introduction got me to White Dwarf - starting with issue 67 when I was newly 13, which had an adventure for Golden Heroes and Champions and an article on ghosts for Call of Cthulhu and adverts for other games and companies - at a magazine rack. (I ran that adventure, and decades later I realised I was sitting in a convention bar with writer Phil Masters and Golden Heroes creator Simon Burley, which was a very starstruck-y moment.)

That then led me to my first dedicated game shop, Gamesmaster on Forrest Road. (The location is now a Japanese street food place.)

I never saw the Glasgow shop.

Which is probably why I think of GM as gamesmaster rather than gamemaster to this day.

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

Trinity: Battleground returns, digitally

Onyx Path partners with Faceless Publishing to revive the Trinity: Battleground miniatures game with PDF rules material and 3D printable miniatures.