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Saturday 31 March 2018

Lion & Dragon Campaign, Plus Some Really Creative Use of High-tech

So, last night, we played Lion & Dragon. It was a great session. It had a lot of action, a lot of adventure in the D&D style and yet was deeply Medieval-Authentic.

For example, the PCs attended the court of an Earl and later a King. They got mixed up with a powerful and manipulative Magister. One of the PCs, a knight, got himself a squire who was the grandson of the PCs' deceased mentor.

But then they also went into an enchanted forest, and there fought against a Clay Giant (the stats of which you can find in the Lion & Dragon rulebook), and against a water-spirit knight (which will be stated out in a future RPGPundit Presents supplement - it's technically an elemental but looks NOTHING like a D&D elemental; this is what medieval-authentic 'elementals' were like).

The Scots Man ended up decapitating the Water Knight, but wasn't allowed to keep the knight's magic sword (instead, another PC who was the Scotsman's employer took it, since the scotsman was not of a class to be allowed to carry such a sword). This was an awesome example of the medieval social class system at work; fortunately the Scotsman PC was well aware that this was a reality of the setting, and was quite happy with his reward of one whole Pound, which was more money than he'd ever seen in his life.

Also the player of one of our magisters was surprised to realize that Occultism Lore is all you really need in order to "Identify" magic items in this game.

So that's it for MY L&D game, but over at Swords & Stitchery, things get a lot weirder! Eric, who writes that blog, has often thought of some really creative and unusual ways to blend various OSR products and subjects, and Dark Albion and Lion & Dragon are two of his favorites, luckily for me!

So recently, he's had a couple of posts where he combines Lion & Dragon with the 30 years war and Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, to make a UFO-themed adventure. Along the way he links up to Dark Albion, my bestselling Cults of Chaos book, and even RPGPundit Presents #3: High Tech Weapons.

 As if to double down, in his next post he combines Barrier Peaks, the war in Bohemia, L&D, and crazy robots from RPGPundit Presents #19: Frantabulous Robot Generator!

Putting on my reviewer-hat for a second, I would have to note that this is not the kind of behavior I get up to in my Lion & Dragon campaign.  For me, I have a strict line: there's my Medieval-Authentic game, and there's my Gonzo games. The two do not cross.  I want my medieval-authentic game to feel super medieval, and that means it's unlikely to ever see robots. Golems, yes! But not robots.

However, don't get me wrong! I LOVE that Eric likes to mash things up like this and he enjoys it. That's just great with me. I don't want everyone who buys L&D to feel like their game has to be super duper medieval-authentic. I want them to have the tools to do that IF that's what they want to do. But if they want to borrow some of it and mostly play a game that's more vanilla fantasy, or if they want to mix it up with other products (especially if they're MY products, of course!) and play it as Medieval-Gonzo, then more power to them! Go nuts! It's your game. I'm not part of the Cult of the Game Designer; at the table it's the GM who is king.

So check out Swords & Stitchery's crazy-awesome blog. And if you haven't yet, be sure to check out Lion & Dragon as well as all my other Medieval-authentic AND Gonzo stuff!


Currently Smoking: Castello 4k collection canadian + Mclintock Syrian Latakia

Friday 30 March 2018

RPGPundit Interviews Rob Kuntz (Part 3 of 3)!

Here's the final part of our interview with Robert J. Kuntz, one of the founding fathers of D&D!

Check out Part I here, and Part II here, if you haven't already!

7. What do you think is the biggest thing (or things) that most of the so-called cognoscenti who have published or written extensively on social media about the origins of D&D have kept getting terribly wrong? Or vital details that they've totally omitted from their narrative of the origin story?

A: It is not my purpose with my upcoming work (as it was not with Dave Arneson's True Genius, TLS, 2017) to compare through its content what is wrong with previous works on the subject of D&D's history.  If that comes up at all it will by and through the readers of my works and by way of their own comparisons.  I am concentrating, in large part, on what has not been done as ascertained from such works, such as my the primary design-oriented approach I take with DATG, for instance, which had never been done.  Concerning the latter there's a very good reason for that, for these previous books are not written by designers but instead by historians who are mainly collectors and arrangers of information.  But the interpretation of design information is not their forte, so this is where I fill in that immense void, especially when that intersects with the recurring question of "What is a role playing game?"

However--and given my unique position within the primary historical stream of that history--I will state the following about the research forms (or procedures) used or not used in generating such matter and as I have noted to date:

They do not include, for the majority of cases, a well rounded view by not taking into account existing living persons information from that time. Because of that there are omissions, incorrect dates, and often times conflicting stories, etc. which are then (and still) forwarded as history.

In my case alone, though I could probably speak for others but won't, I have never been approached to confirm or deny secondarily sourced information about myself, about what I was involved in and/or have primary knowledge of, even though
my name is referenced many times in these works.

I also get the feeling that the information source (again not including people, just what they printed in the past), "if it is not in print" at some arbitrarily assigned cut-off point in the past that "it doesn't count."

Now take into account my finished expose on Don Kaye that I've mentioned, above, and counterpoint that against such an artificial construct.  Does Don Kaye's history exist or not because someone finally wrote about it but had just verbally transmitted it prior to that? As one can readily fathom, the whole proposition becomes absurd from a scholarly point of view, kinda like a news reporter covering an airplane crash insisting that the information derived from its survivors is only "true or verifiable" when printed or broadcast.

Couple that arbitrary procedure with a proclivity to not interview
primary sources from that day and you can start sensing a developing void in the holistic subject.

8. You, like myself, have not been shy about your political views and ideas. Is it fair to say that you think the influence of the "SJW Left" on the hobby has been pernicious? And if so, what are the biggest ways it's been a problem?
 Also, do you think we're losing ground in that sense, in terms of the culture-war fight for the hobby? Or are we starting to win?

A: The idea that politics should have anything to do with gaming is a non-starter for me; that is, anything but the ideology of fun and the freedom to express that fun in different ways.  Freedom is a Conservative concept.  Whether you are Left or Right, we all basically rely in America, and in this industry, upon some basic Conservative principles:  freedom of speech and association, security in the pursuit of what those freedoms may entail as long as we do not interfere with others in those pursuits, and a free enterprise market with which to share our ideas.

So anything that steps outside of that is not freedom, it is the attempted restriction of freedom, in fact.

Has the Left in this hobby-cum-industry attempted to constrict freedoms by pushing against or by making attempted ends-around them?  I have experienced some of this.  People are less tolerant these days of certain freedoms because world views have become polarized.  They are more apt not to see or even understand what freedoms mean and that these are a two way street.

When that happens you may be on the track to a perniciousness which is where true discourse ends and emotion takes over.  In my view this is more problematical with the Left as their ideas of equally accorded freedoms are sometimes conditional (and thus do not pass the Conservative POV that I have noted, above) and very often, and perceptibly, many on the Left talk down to others who would challenge their views and from the perch of a self-created moral high ground.  Such views might even be considered elitist at times; and at the very least I have certainly always seen them as judgmental.

Now, that said, I cannot maintain a greatly informed POV on how this may have impacted our industry-hobby; I have some personal examples, and some from adjacent industries, like film or comics, but otherwise I hear such stories as aftershocks.  I am somewhat absent from our hobby in that particular area.

But I do believe that such negative paths are best avoided for the healthy exchange of ideas and the progress we seek within the hobby.  In either case people will fall where they may within such a free association structure, but when that structure appears to exclude constructive criticism or inclusiveness based upon a certain strain of "smell test" then we have moved from free and open association to a sort of club member verification ritual; and that has never been part of this hobby, but it certainly could be compared to the Old South mentality of segregation and exclusion.

Now, I am aware that this polarization has reached every part of our society and it does seem that lines are being drawn everywhere, and mostly by the Left.  So I am not surprised that the majority of instances where I hear passing stories involves such POVs which I do not rank as discourse or freedom.

Are we winning?  Well, no.  The longer a polarization exists in America, no matter in what sector, no unity can exist and thus the views will remain divided and potentially volatile.  One cannot win as a group like that, whether small or large.

People in my view should just concentrate on what makes this  hobby worthwhile which is the fun and great experiences derived from creating and playing games.  It would be better while doing so to forget about projecting any politics into it other than in defense of those freedoms as I noted above.  Humans being humans, there are always going to be opposing POVs, that's to be expected.  So it's best to leave politics out of that as we are already disposed, being individuals, to having enough frictions that guarantee edging up our boiling points to begin with.

9. OK, last question: do you have a favorite game designer/writer in the modern OSR (the new generation, if you will)?

Oh, these types of questions are really impossible to answer, especially from another designer such as myself.  The reason being is that design is supposed to, in my view/attitude, advance beyond the known and not just rearrange previous bases by way of different thematic overlays and minimally tweaked mechanics.

So this forces a singular comparative analysis for each which is not always so easily reduced to a 1st or 2nd, etc. categorization.  I am more interested in what designs (and their designers) accomplish by way of what has not been done, a more difficult assessment when my views (past, future or present) are brought to bear for that comparison.  Notwithstanding all of this objective/subjective rigamarole, I do have what might be considered some personal (and/or professional) metrics.

For example, I liked what Jeff Dee did with Cavemaster.  The reasons for that particular excitement on my part were simple:  He brought a difficult theme and integrated the historical information as a comprehensive design which really appears to project you down its imagined path and he did so by adding in some unique systems for it, which essentially is what GDW originally did with En Garde bitd.

Kyrinn Eis also did this with her World of Urutsk; but I appreciate her design endeavors for different reasons than I do Dee's.  They forward holistic design attitudes (RPG, board game extension, miniature rules) and thus push the design horizon to integrative levels while at the same time introducing stream-lined mechanics.

I am not in touch with the majority of current designs as there are so many of them.  I'm a designer and thus my focus is design and not critiquing other designs, the latter which would be a full time occupation.  But from what I have read and experienced when time or circumstance allowed, the above-mentioned would be considered in my professional view as very encouraging examples of design.

10. Postscript question: are all your elves gender-fluid?

A:No, but their stunt doubles may be depending upon the clauses in their union contracts...


That's it for this interview. Let me know who else you'd like to see me interview!


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Poker + H&H's Chestnut

Thursday 29 March 2018

Classic Rant: PC Interaction With the World in Regular RPGs

A PC is in an alley, facing some thugs, he has no weapons, he says "I look around for a piece of wood" (or at least, my player would say that, some other idiot's player would say "can there be a piece of wood there?", trying to make a demand on the world instead of interact with it; but that's largely semantics).

Here is what I (or any proper GM) would do; and keep in mind that in this very simple scenario, the whole process would probably be nearly instantaneous:

1) consider the nature of the world of the setting, and the specific place in particular that the PC is. That is, what region of the world he's in, the nature of the city in that region, the nature of the neighbourhood in that city, the nature of the alley in particular. Is wood something people use? Is it likely to be found just dropped there in an alley? If so, will it be wood that is just the right size for him to potentially use as a weapon; or would it be too large, small, or brittle to be worth anything?

2) based on that, the possible answers are that either yes there is wood there, no there isn't, or there might be wood there.

3) the ONLY thing that matters is not whether the players want it, not whether it advances the 'story' (because NO ONE involved should be trying to 'make a story' here), or any other reason except "does it fit the reality of the world?"; that's it, the only consideration.

4) if I decide that there is definitely wood there, because in this city in this world there would always be wood in every alley (like say that they mostly use wood-burning stoves here and it's winter and the wood is likely to be piled in alleys in this city), or that the odds are sufficiently enormous anyways that I don't need to question it further, I say "Yes".

If I decide that there is really way too slim a chance of there being the right type of wood (right size and strength for what the player wants), because wtf would a piece of wood be doing in an urban alleyway? Then I say "no".

If I decide that there's a chance large enough to bother with that wood could be there (wood in alleys in this place is common but not an absolute certainty) but far from an absolute certainty; that is, quite a few alleys in this city might have wood of the right size and strength but by no means all of them will, then I will either make a judgment on it based on my own immediate sensing of the world, or I will determine a % chance and roll it (so, say wood is not usually used to heat or cook with here, but in this area of the city there is a lot of construction going on; so there might be a 2/6 chance of wood being there).

Note of course that as a decent GM, I could also choose to immediately respond, with the gist of the PC's plan in mind, that there's definitely a rock there, or a barrel lid, or whatever else might certainly be there. If the general concept of what the Player is actually looking for is understood, there's no point in playing "20 questions" if it can be avoided. You can say "no, but there's a stone/broken bottle/piece of chain", or conversely you can say "no, and you can't really see anything at all there you could use as an improvised weapon".

Note, again, how in NO CASE is the decision based on what the Player's whims are, what my whims are (in the sense of whether I like player 1 more than player 2 or whether I think the player's idea of using a stick to fend them off is cool or lame or anything else), or some kind of idiotic quixotic notion of story-creation. All of those things would be anti-immersive.

The stick is there or not because in this virtual reality it either is there or it's not.


Currently Smoking: Italian Redbark + Brebbia no.7

(Originally Posted December 28, 2015)

Wednesday 28 March 2018

Raiders of R'lyeh: Better Late Than Never!

Well, it's been years and years, but at long last, these came to my door:

That's the basic book, if you will, the complete rules.

And this (at almost 500 pages) is the full rules plus Gamemaster Guide:

And man, are they great.

Of course I'll be doing a full review of Raiders of R'lyeh, but I just wanted to share this now. I was a consultant on this book and was a big part of designing some parts of the rules. And I think it's a truly great game.

So be sure to check it out!


Currently Smoking: Lorenzeti Poker + H&H's Chestnut

Tuesday 27 March 2018

The Biggest RPGPundit (Cross-Planar) Adventure Yet!

So, I nearly killed my editor with this one, but given that it's the 'silver anniversary' of this periodical, I wanted #25 to be extra interesting!

Coming in at 31 pages, my latest issue of RPGPundit Presents #25: The Door of 16 Gates, is the largest in the series so far. It's still only $3.99, though!

What do you get for it? A strange artifact; a door that opens up to 16 different planes.  Each of those planes has its own environment and qualities, and it's own perils and adventure potential.

And students of occultism will note that these 16 gateways are inspired by an occult source. It'll be obvious to any intermediate/advanced occultist, and totally missed by anyone else. In any case, the 16 places the door leads to are all unique, some very unusual, some more traditional (but usually with a twist), all holding potential reward or dangers for your player characters!

So this door can be integrated into just about any fantasy adventure, whether as a curiosity or its focus. Whether visiting the Road of Worlds or the massive Dwarfhold, this artifact is sure to puzzle and intrigue your players.

This product is not strictly gonzo, nor is it medieval-authentic. You can probably use it either or neither of those, or just about any D&D-style campaign.

So be sure to check out the awesome planar-hopping adventure of The Door of 16 Gates available to purchase at DriveThruRPG, or at the Precis Intermedia Store.

And while you're at it, be sure to pick up the rest of the great supplements in the RPGPundit Presents series:

RPGPundit Presents #1: DungeonChef!

RPGPundit Presents #2: The Goetia  (usable for Lion & Dragon!)

RPGPundit Presents #3: High-Tech Weapons

RPGPundit Presents #5: The Child-Eaters (an adventure scenario for Lion & Dragon!)

RPGPundit Presents #17: The Hunters (an adventure for Lion & Dragon!)

RPGPundit Presents #21: Hecate's Tomb (an adventure for Lion & Dragon!)

Stay tuned for more next week!


Currently smoking: Brigham Anniversary + Image Latakia

PS: all our RPGPundit Presents series are translated into Spanish, if that's your preferred language! The latest of these is RPGPundit Presents #24: History & Rule of the Clerical Order which you can get on DTRPG or the Precis Intermedia Store!

Monday 26 March 2018

A New Youtube Review of Lion & Dragon!

So, we have another great and detailed video review of Lion & Dragon, this one by Brandon Goeringer:

So there you have it! Be sure to check out L&D if you haven't already.


Currently Smoking: Moretti Rhodesian + Country Doctor

Sunday 25 March 2018

Wild West Campaign Update: The Prospector

The PCs are settling in to Tombstone, and for the most part finding it relatively quieter than either Dodge City or East Vegas. Not in terms of business, given that it's a silver boomtown, but in terms of law & order. The total dominance in the region of the Cowboy Gang ironically means that there's relatively little violence compared to the other cities they've been active in, since the Cowboys at this time are making a point of playing nice inside the city limits.  Their leadership, Curly Bill Brocius and Pa Clanton, keep the wilder members in line.

One surprise came in the fact that Doc Thomas decided, for reasons as yet unknown (though possibly due to some kind of disagreement with his boyfriend), to leave Tombstone behind.  OOC, this was due to the fact that Doc Thomas' player unfortunately had to quit the party. We all hope he'll come back soon, but for now Doc Thomas is out.

Crazy Miller has started operating his various businesses in town: a general store, a bar called the Argent Saloon, and a high-class brothel. Doc Taylor (formerly Kid Taylor) decided to carry on with his medical practice in spite of his partner leaving town; to make up for it he hired a couple of assistants: a veterinarian who wanted to try his hand at doctoring people, and an attractive young woman with no special talents other than eye candy. This detail got him into some trouble with his wife, until she figured out that the girl was bringing in clients just to see her.

The PC's prospector friend, Frenchy, had some bad news: his old friend and fellow prospector Packie had passed away.  Other Miller and Kid Taylor were present at the funeral.  Only to their surprise, Packie's coffin turned out to be full of rocks.  More interesting still, those rocks appeared to be rich with silver ore.

Town marshal Fred White is called in, and he interviews the Reverend Tanner. He suspects the reverend knows more than he's letting on, but can't bring himself to make a hard interrogation of a man of god. And since he has no body, or even any proof that there ever was a body, there really isn't any crime to investigate. 

Meanwhile, something more obviously criminal has taken place: Crazy Miller's character rolled a critical failure on his 'recruitment' skill, and ended up hiring a criminal to act as his teller in the saloon. The guy took off with over $500 in cash. Marshal White is called in on this one too, but when it's determined that the criminal left town, it became officially outside his jurisdiction. With county marshal Virgil Earp out of town, Crazy Miller decides to make his own illicit posse, with Other Miller, Jackson and Smiley.

Kid Taylor and Frenchy do some investigating of their own, chatting with the Reverend Tanner, who claims that the coffin which should have held Packie's body was dropped off by the prospector's supposed partner. They go check with the mining company's metallurgist, who says that the rock sample they took from the coffin was identical to one a young man had brought in to be tested a few days ago (Packie was not a young man). They break into the mining company's office (being closed on Sunday), and find out where Packie's claim was; and confirm that Packie didn't have a partner.

They interview the reverend again, and after a bit of intimidation get him to admit that in fact, it was Packie himself who brought the coffin, pleading with the reverend to hold his own 'funeral', though he refuses to tell them why he would do such a thing, or where Packie is; he had sworn to keep it secret.

So they ride out to the tombstone mines, and find Packie's dig is shuttered. A couple of neighboring prospectors claim they hadn't seen either Packie or his young assistant for several days. Bereft of clues, the duo head back to town, deciding that they've got to get the reverend to tell them the whole story.

The Miller gang, meanwhile, managed to track the saloon thief. Turns out he'd stolen the money to pay for and then run off with a Mexican bride. They tried to capture him but there was a brief shootout and he ended up dead.

When Kid/Doc Taylor and Frenchy got back to the Reverend's house, they found him being tortured by Packie's young assistant. It turns out that when the assistant realized Packie's claim had struck serious silver, he tried to threaten Packie into signing over half of the claim; Packie realized his life was in danger and thus faked his own death, hoping that the long delay that would follow his 'death' would force his assistant to give up and go elsewhere. But the assistant figured out the trick when the fraudulent funeral was uncovered, and was now trying to beat the location of Packie's hideout from the reverend.

There was a brief chase, and Taylor proved his shootist skills yet again, dropping two bullets into the assistant's chest.

That was it for this session.


Currently Smoking; Lorenzetti quiete + Kendal Balkan Mixture

Saturday 24 March 2018

Classic Rant: Balance Between Detail and Practicality in "Authentic" RPG Magic

So I've had a serious bit of writer's block this past week. Obviously not with my Everyjoe articles, but with the writing of my new Appendix P rule-set project (edit: eventually became Lion & Dragon), where I intend to make an OSR set of rules but that focuses on a more "medieval authentic" style of play. It will obviously be perfect for Dark Albion, but also for just about any D&D game where you want something that doesn't feel like you're in a 'medieval times' version of Seattle or Portland (or Toronto). It'll obviously re-use quite a bit of the material from Dark Albion, including the actual medieval justice system and price lists, and a lot of the stuff on social class and character generation. It'll expand the very basic material in Dark Albion's Appendix P into a full-blown game manual, with more material for working it as a complete set on its on.

And most importantly, while it'll have minor changes to the character creation and some other optional rules or what have you, the biggest change will be that it'll scrap the Vancian spell system for a totally new set of magic techniques that are based on real concepts from medieval grimoires.

Now, what's been blocking me up, and that I just can't seem to feel totally satisfied by, is how to balance out the ratio between "enough detail" and "too much detail".

Obviously, AD&D has almost no detail in it's magic. Virtually none of the D&D or OSR books do. It's the name and spell effects, maybe a material component which you must have but that usually doesn't have any description of how it's used. No description of what it actually looks like to cast a spell, other than saying you speak some words (whatever those might be, it doesn't say), make some gestures (again, no idea which) and might use an ingredient (how, we don't know, other than that they're consumed in the casting).

I definitely want more than that. I want to give you an idea of what it looks like when you're doing magick. For some forms perhaps more than other. For Alchemy, I think it would probably be enough to explain that a lab is needed, and the other things you must do in it, the ingredients that might be used to some extent, etc.

But I'm not totally sure. I don't want a situation where there's an unnecessary level of detail. And after all, this is an RPG, not a practical guide to performing medieval magick (there are some good books out there for that, if that's what you want). Nor do I want something where the magister character gets vastly more undue attention than the other classes (or for that matter, all the magic-using classes get more undue attention than the non-casters just because of their various 'special needs').

So, I want some input from my readers, especially those who would be interested in this product. Would you want to have a LOT of flavor-detail in your magic systems, only enough that it made each type of magical activity distinct, or do you largely not care about the detail and are more interested in the mechanics, and would only want anything that would directly relate to mechanical elements of the game?

Let me know.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Volcano + H&H's Chestnut

(Originally Posted January 8, 2017)

Friday 23 March 2018

An Interview with Rob Kuntz (Part 2 of 3)

Here's part 2 of our interview with one of the Founding Fathers of D&D: Robert J. Kuntz!

See part I here!

See Part III here!

4. What did you think of the Old School Renaissance when it first started? What do you think of what it has become now?  Have you looked at or played many OSR games? Do you have any favorites?
In terms of the OSR culture, what do you think about it? Do you think it's too exclusive? Not exclusive enough? Too nostalgic? What do you think that people who weren't actually there most consistently get wrong about the "Old School" era and style?

A: You pose many questions regarding that so I will answer them all as one.  Where there isn't an answer for any specific, just consider it not important in my view.

First, I am an originator of that era (1972-1974) so I have no stream to look back upon to thereby qualify that I am this or that by modern day, removed from the source, standards ("old school" or not); and neither does that matter, in retrospect, as it is ALL about design to me now as it was then.

The ethic--call it what you will--is inherently wrapped up in design; and what is being positioned as a "school" is concerned with (or should be concerned with) this latter point alone.

The concern promoted and extolled by the originators was a DIY ethic of open design features, and this can be tracked all the way back to the original game and its accompanying products, letters and fan magazine quotes and articles, roughly 1974-1977 for the OD&D ethic.

So, nothing has changed in me or through me as a designer with the advent of such a modernized movement; and neither do I track it closely because designers either come together and compare notes or they do not.  And I guarantee that BitD I had no time, proclivity or want to have knowledge of every designer, their design attitudes, their products, published or not.  I learned of these through play-testing, or by buying a product and playing it, or through speaking with designers about design at conventions, the latter being more likely and preferable back then as face-to-face allowed designers to make cases as to why their designs differed from those preceding them.  Folks might also be aware that I created the Three Castles Award which awards for "best RPG design" and is presented at North Texas RPG Con every year.  During the time when I was also empaneled as a judge for TCA I was impressed with a couple of designs, like Stars Without Number and Jeff Dee's Cavemaster.  If I want to keep up on current market offerings or designer projects--which IMO do not change the latitude of entrenched RPG design too much these days--I read reviews or, better, listen to a few trusted voices.

A point, above, touches on "design differences" and was an all-important point of the original ethic as it is, again, wrapped up in the idea of design originality.  We (Gary, myself and Arneson) were not of the mode, so easily found then as now, that proclaimed we were in a contest to see who could be the most ordinary.  If that had been the design attitude back then D&D/RPG as we know it would not have been born. Capturing that design attitude and maintaining and progressing it--fully understanding what it means both personally and professionally--is very difficult if not foreign for many who class themselves as designers. So if there is a "wrong" from that perspective it would be in continuing to link your design attitude(s) to a narrow set of rules, especially when one considers the open form of the original ethic.  There's also an obverse side to this--the moral compunction--because some designers produce crap and only rise above that when they decide one day not to continue producing crap and move away from a group (or school) and set out on their own odyssey.  And here I come full circle back to Arneson who originated the now classical ethic but also maintained a "design differences" attitude.

5. Do you have anything to say about the current handling of D&D by Wizards of the Coast? What do you think about it? What do you think Gary Gygax would think about it?

A: WotC has positioned its D&D brand as a big ship in a smallish pond.  That it has a heritage much bigger than that in being the first company to produce an RPG is, IMO, a simplistic plan which sides with "first and foremost" (thus it sides with the market) and does not expand too much upon the design horizons so easily accessible to them.

This has been a problem since the earliest TSR days.  TSR attempted to "ride" the success of D&D with other RPG designs (their titles are extensive) but made the same mistake as their board game precursors by adhering to linear models that could be understood as having little difference in their base designs from one offering to the next.

This is a consequence, really, of either having created a sound and easily executed design in the first place or of complacency due to marketing strategies which ultimately forced TSR when upon this course to compete with itself through its different RPGs.  The idea of playing different games (in TSR's case, game 'genres') would have been suited best with different systems for each but that would have required possible market instability, and so TSR would not sidle away from what was currently working for their bottom line.

This left TSR with its most supported and best performing game, D&D; and now we fast forward to the present.  Now as then the independents and smaller companies are leading the charge in design differences for RPGs because their stakes are a "no loss" to them in the short or long term.  Because of this, and just as it befell TSR, WotC has sacrificed its RPG design preeminence for brand preeminence alone.

I believe that's a short-sighted philosophy, this TSR model of putting all of your eggs in one basket.  It also tends to hint at many things: entrenchment of R&D, marketing leading design, short-term profits and stability versus long term concerns, and others, all of which can be dumped into the category of "cyclical".  One could also call it the repeated "safe bet".

Their move to 5E is the first (though very late in coming) sign of displacing this linear model because the game can be scaled to suit the needs of player groups wanting different levels of complexity.  That realization is important since it either points to a market push-back due to lost revenues which caused a correction to occur; or, WotC got some design traction back after drifting astern for too many years (in fact both might be the case, with the correction being the 'design traction').  I have a "wait and see" attitude regarding which of the two, above, I choose to believe in in the long term.

In the short term all seems to be going well for them.  Gary Gygax would have said two things about it:  If you enjoy what you are playing, play it; and, I play my own designs.

6. Will your upcoming book on the History of D&D have any really big bombshells? Anything you think will really surprise people or that hasn't been revealed in the previous books on the history of the hobby released so far? 

There will be many surprises for some; there's a lot of different types and degrees of subject matter included in it:  design oriented, personal accounts, gamer-oriented accounts, stories and RPG and wargame reports (some with original maps and/or diagrams) never before accessed, and much more.  Its parts also include the greater span of the LGTSA's history and activities that sets the stage leading up to the advent of Arneson introducing the RPG concept to us in 1972.

Therein will be found a very detailed account of the first RPG game ever played by the LGTSA members and Gary's and the LGTSA's immediate and sustained reactions to this.

For another, there will be a very detailed account of Don Kaye.  Who is Don Kaye? Heads shake in wonderment.  He was Gary's childhood friend and the co-founder of TSR.  He was also my friend and gaming buddy; and his story will be told through the latter lens, as he died early in TSR's history and he, and his impacts, have been forgotten about ever since.

The book has way more fan and designer oriented slants and also, in my view, will be more humanistic than other books to date which are in many cases disfranchised from that perspective due to their authors' isolation in regard to the holistic matter:  I was there after all and am one of the few remaining people on the planet that can forward different and/or convergent points of view on the subjects I forward, clarify or expand upon.


Stay tuned for part 3 in a couple of days!


Currently Smoking: Neerup Billiard + Peterson Wild Atlantic

Thursday 22 March 2018

DCC Campaign Update: At Least I Still Have My Vanilla Ice Poster

Last time, Heidi, Sami and Vizi had been sent by BOLT-0 and the Time Dinosaurs to stop the Dimension Bugs from making their way through a pocket dimension into the regular space-time and devouring it all.
The Vegomagus and the Catboy, meanwhile, were busy with Historical Jesus, trying to "find" Chocolate Jesus, who had been eaten by Mongo.

"Hey Historical Jesus, do you guys have a toilet here? Some laxatives?"
"Are you unwell?"
"I'm a catperson. I have so many parasites you wouldn't believe."

(This, according to catboy's player, is how he imagines his character)

-"We have no time for this. We must find Chocolate Jesus. He may have fallen to the dark side."
"I'm sure he has!"

-"Hey Historical Jesus, do you think it could be G.O.D.'s will for me to get a book that teaches me Magic Missile?"

-"By the end of this, Chocolate Jesus won't be chocolate."
"Holy shit."

-While searching for Mongo, the catboy comes across a door marked "Do Not Enter".
"I can't resist! Curiosity..."

-Inside, he finds a Korean Jesus, who's frantically filling out paperwork.
"What you want?!"
"Um, nothing really.."
"Go away. Very busy!!"

-Black Jesus barges in.
"Catboy, get the fuck out of here! Don't you go bothering Korean Jesus; he's the one who gets all the work done around here!"

-The Catboy finally finds Mongo, having forgotten that Mongo thinks of the catboy as his pet.
"Oh shit."

-While being squeezed and cuddled by the giant man-child, the Catboy notices an equally-desperate bunny being squeezed in Mongo's other arm.
"Where the hell did you find a rabbit, Mongo?"

-The catboy's plan is to feed Mongo laxatives to get him to poop out chocolate jesus.
"I guess I better open the bottle for him, because it's probably got a child-safety lid."
"Ok, roll."
"I fail."
"You can't open the bottle."

-The catboy shoots the bottle, scaring Mongo who destroys a priceless statue for no reason and runs away.
The shot also scared the Vegomagus (who's temporarily blinded because the strong lighting in the Sun disrupts his cybernetic eyes); the Vegomagus casts Animal Summoning reflexively.
"Historical Jesus looks at you both as if he's realizing he's made a terrible mistake."

-"Historical Jesus, dost thou haveth--"
"Art thou mocking me?!"
"um.. no."

-"Do you have Restore Vitality?"
"You know he probably does, but he's just an asshole."

-"Art thou saying that Mongo hath EATEN Chocolate Jesus?"
"Well... yes."
"So the laxatives were for Mongo?"
"And thou thought that this would restore Chocolate Jesus?"
"If thou wast eaten by a giant, wouldst thou come back after he evacuated? Or wouldst thou just be a pile of crap?"

-"You're not going to punish Mongo, are you?"
"No. Mongo is an innocent, but he must be handled more carefully... wait, is that a rabbit?! Where did he even get that?"
"He named it Carl."

-"We must take care Mongo commit no more atrocities."
"Yeah. Also, he's about to shit himself."
"Oh no! Take me away from here, please!"
"Oh yeah, I forgot that you're totally blind right now. Does that mean you're sense of smell is like augmented?"
"Oh god!"

-"Your mission here is done. Go in peace, to love and serve others. And fuck off."

-Vegomagus and the catboy were about to go when suddenly they hear weird TARDIS-noises, and find themselves in the Kirbyesque time-palace of the Time Dinosaurs!

"You mean Bolt-zero, right?"
"Yeah, but that's a zero at the end of your name."
"Hey, you're right! He should be called bolt-zero!"

-"Your son is Bolt-1, pronounced 'bolt-one'; so you should be bolt-zero"
"I AM BOLT-0!"
"Heh, we're pissing him off."

-"Look, we were busy doing stuff together. We don't want to go on a mission."
"It's not that!"
"He's just mad about the bolt-zero thing."

-"Are you with Captain Harry?"
"Aren't you violating the laws of time by bringing us here?"

-BOLT-0 has to explain to the Vegomagus that no, you can't use Time Dinosaur parts to summon regular dinosaurs.
"Which one?"

-"I'm trying to annoy BOLT-0 to get him to send us away faster."
"You know that you're probably just making it all take longer, right?"
"Hey, it worked when we did it with Jesus, right?"
"Yeah, true. Go Team Useless!"

-"So the Dimension Bugs are like... dimensions, and bugs?"
"we're getting used to this!"

-"BOLT-O could you write me a book about magic missile spells?"
"He can't write anything, he's just a giant head!"
"Maybe he has telepathic powers?"
"Maybe he has tiny robot hands??"

-"The Vegomagus and Catboy are comic relief in a party of comic relief."

"We know what you're up to, robot!"
"Yeah.  No deal. Here's where you say 'rats'."

-The rest of the PCs were in an interdimensional hallway with weird gravity, when suddenly they see two figures appearing out of nowhere.
"You realize that it's the catboy and the vegomagus."
"Ohhh. Fire!"

-"Why the fuck did Bolt-0 send you?"
"He thought you were all dead by now."
"He must be wanting to handicap us."
"They can work as cannon fodder, I guess."
"Yes, my porcupines can be cannon fodder!"
"You know he wasn't talking about the porcupines, right?"
"I know, I'm just trying to put up a good face to mask my hurt."

-The PCs move on to a vast grand hall, positioned with weird gravity perpendicular to their point of entry, that reaches down toward a huge energy web on one end, and a distant stone altar on the other end.

-"Vegomagus, do you have a fire spell?"
"No, but I can make light!"
"If I asked if you had a water spell would you try to lick me?"

-"I have a grenade. We could throw that at the web?"
"I could have a porcupine shoot quills!"
"You aren't helping your cause, Vegomagus."

-"So, are we supposed to destroy the web?"
"I don't know."
"BOLT-0 didn't actually tell us anything about how to end this!"
"BOLT-0 told us nothing!"

-"Do I see heat signatures from the web?"
"I forgot you could do that."
"With my cyber-eyes I can see heat, radiation, night vision..."
"But you can't see love."

-The giant energy-web is full of regular dimension bugs plus one really huge dimension bug.
"We should kill them."
"We should kill them in groups... to maximize the experience points we gain."

-"I could get Vizi's laser-sword and fly over to cut the web."
"That's assuming you could take my laser-sword!"

-"Hey Sami, can I wish for more wishes?"
"What? Do you think the Cleric is a genie or something?"
"But we can pay her for wishes!"
"No, that's not how clerics work."
"That was her old job!"

(how Sami's player imagines her)

-"I guess I'm going to shoot the web."
"Me too."
"wait, there's weird magical patches on the ceiling."
"Weird... how?"

-"Can you get me up there Heidi?"
"Me too?"
"Not with your porcupine."
"OK, I'll tell him to stay here."
"Now I just don't think I want to take you. The porcupine was just an excuse."

-"Are there any traps on the floor?"
A moment later, one of the PCs is hit by a spring trap designed to toss him into the gravity well leading to the web.
"Oh, wait, I guess there are traps."
"So, the catboy isn't really a thief at all, is he?"

-With Vizi on the roof (which has its own opposite gravity), the catboy shoots the patch nearest him and it comes to life, turning into a creature of pure darkness like the one that had almost killed Vizi back in gallery earlier.
"Oh shit!"
"Well, Vizi, you could always just step back and fall 60' down..."

-Heidi shoots at the blackness, and ends up hitting Vizi.
"I did 12 damage to him."
"Oh wait... does my deed die count?"
"In that case I did 16 damage to Vizi!"

-The 'darkblobs' try to hit Sami.
"I have Sanctuary!"
"Oh, right! Then it hits Vizi instead and drops him."
"Another Sanctuary casualty..."

-"Guys, help!"
"Don't worry, my balls are coming!"
"For fuck's sake, say Force Manipulation Balls!"

-Heidi grabs the darkblob enveloping Vizi and tears it in half.
"Yeah, I was pretty sure I was going to hurt Vizi too."

-While everyone else is fighting, Catboy starts putting makeup on.
"What the hell are you doing that for?!"
"To look better!"
"Imagine a cat. Now imagine a cat with makeup on. How the fuck does that look better?"

-Vizi gets enveloped by a darkblob again.
"Are you even trying to pull yourself off?"
"hehe, pull myself off!"
"You're trying but the darkblob has a very strong grip."

-"Doing another Force Manipulation, Vegomagus?"
"It's what's working for him, as much as anything ever works for the Vegomagus."
"That's generous of you."

-"If I had Magic Missile I'd be killing them all!"
"I don't think so, they're literally made of Darkness."

-"You hit for moderate damage."
"He's moderately successful!"

-"Yay, I'm only the second most useless party member!"
"It would be really hard to set the bar lower than the Catboy."

-The Vegomagus hits another darkblob with a Force Ball, killing it.
"You're getting dropped by Team Useless, darkblobs!"

-The regular darkblobs having been vanquished, the party ends up getting to the altar and facing the Boss darkblob. It turns out to be a darkblob version of Mu!
"What?! Why?"
"I'm going to fire a forceball at him, that would probably be cathartic!"

-"BOLT-0 never even told us what to do!"
"Bolt-zero told us nothing!"

-"Can Locate Object locate our reason for being here?"
"Can it locate my will to live?"

-The back wall behind the altar has a strange pattern of non-euclidian geometric designs.
"This seems to form into some kind of a planar gateway."
"So you're saying we should break it?"

-"OK, no one look at me while I cast this!"
"Why would we want to?"

-"Hey you guys, you left me way back here... is anyone going to pick me up?"

-"Heidi it's your turn to pick up the catboy."
"No way, its yours."
"You lose."

-"I wonder what Mongo is doing right now..."
"What the fuck makes you think about that at a time like this?!"

-The PCs go down a side-corridor and reach a room with a pit of trash. While investigating said trash, a real-life living Mu surprise attacks them!

-"Wait... Sami?! Is that you? My love you've come back to me!"
"Oh man it's an alternate timeline Mu..."
"Just a second, let me kill Heidi and then we'll finally be together forever!"

-The Vegomagus rolls a 1 on a spellcheck, and now the corridor has no friction.

-Vizi slips from the frictionless corridor and falls into the trash pile, on top of a bunch of "Boyz 2 Men" posters.

-This alternate-timeline Mu is a Thief, rather than a wizard. He hits Heidi for 3 points of damage.
"Oh no, Sami, quick heal Heidi, even though I'm way more damaged and you can't be bothered to heal me."
"Vizi is butthurt."
"Well, I was 12hp down and Sami said I was fine, but Heidi gets a paper cut and suddenly she rushes to save him."

-"What the fuck, Sami? Suddenly you're on Heidi's side? After all we've been through?"
"We need to kill this Mu and loot his body, quick."

-"Wait, Thief-Mu, what did your Heidi do to you?"
"He was a selfish asshole."
"Well yeah, but I mean, wasn't your Heidi a 'pacifist'?"
"No, he was a Libertarian."

-"so wait, you guys are from a different timeline than me?"
"I don't know this guy..."
"That's the catboy."
"And where's Laquanda?"

-"I guess our team was a lot better than your team, thief-Mu."
"Yeah, ours constantly fucked everything up."
"Oh, so about the same, then."

-"Sami, babe, will you take me back now?"
"Hell no!"
"But I'm your little Mu-Mu!"
"Fuck, he must have come from a really disturbing timeline."

-"We were in love! I gave everything to you. You seriously mean in this timeline we weren't in love? What about when you lost both your arms and I had to bathe you?"
"No, obviously! Look, arms!"
"Well, they grew back!"

-"I think we just need to find Laquanda. She was vital to our becoming a couple in the first place!"
"Man, now I really want to meet this Laquanda!"

-"Hey thief-Mu, can I take some of your posters?"
"Only the Vanilla Ice posters."
"Eww. What the hell, I take one anyways."

-They move on, taking Thief-Mu with them.
"Thief-mu is searching for traps, looking around carefully, he's acting like a proper thief. So it's a totally new experience for the catboy."

-"So were you and Heidi always enemies, Mu?"
"No, Heidi and I were kind of friends at first, then he read that Ayn Rand book and everything went to shit."

-"Wait, you guys call him Bolt-zero in your timeline?"
"Yes we do!"
"hehe, we're teaching thief-Mu wrong as a joke."

-The PCs find the key to the gateway, and end up facing the lair of the chief Dimension Bug Intelligence. It spews out these acid attacks, and Vizi takes massive damage. Heidi also takes a few points of damage.
"Sami, I need you!"
"Coming, Heidi"
"god damn it!"

-In the end, Vizi proves the hero, making a critical hit that doesn't do any damage but following it up with a second crit that kills the Dimension Bug leader.

-With the pocket dimension fading, BOLT-0 teleports the team out of there.
"We made it, Sami my love! And now I'm going to win you back, and make you love me again like---"
"He vanished!"
"Thank goodness."

-"At least I still have my vanilla ice poster!"

-"BOLT-0, return out to our timeline!"
"Wait, he still has to pay us!"

-No sooner have they returned, Anema kidnaps the catboy, teleporting the two of them away.
"While you were gone, the relationship between Anema and Fabritzio has not improved."

-"She has a crush on the catboy! We need to find them, quick!"

-The heroes rush off to try to find the catboy, leaving the Vegomagus (who is blind in the sun) in the hallway alone.
"Guys? Hello??"

That's everything for this session. Stay tuned  next time to see if the PCs can repair the relationship between the spirit of the Sun and the rebel biker-wight so they can finally get to the Crown of creation.


Currently Smoking: Dunhill Diplomat + C&D's Crowley's Best

Wednesday 21 March 2018

RPGPundit Interviews Rob Kuntz, Part 1 (of 3)

Robert J. Kuntz is one of the founding fathers of the hobby. He began playing D&D in the second ever game of the Greyhawk campaign, DMed by Gary Gygax, in 1972. His character was the fighter Robilar. Within a year he was one of the first people on Earth other than Gary Gygax to be running a Greyhawk campaign, with Gary Gygax as one of his players.  His material in that campaign had an influence on Castle Greyhawk and many other elements of the Greyhawk campaign. He was one of TSR's first six employees. He co-authored the Gods, Demigods & Heroes sourcebook (and later Deities & Demigods), and contributed to the module Expedition to the Barrier Peaks.

He was also the first player ever to successfully beat the Tomb of Horrors.

His current publishing company is Three Line Studio.

1. Would you care to give my readers, those who may not be well versed in the old-school history of D&D at least, an introduction? Who are you, why were you important, and what are you up to now? 

A: Well you have framed the question most interestingly!  I will take a slightly different tack in answering, that to expose why and I am still important and without going into Narcissists's reflection mode.

That importance lies specifically in the province of a personal "design history" and thus is an incomplete summary at best as I am not dead yet nor am I inactive on that particular creative front and others, quite the opposite.  The real defining point for me as a creator is to have accumulated ranges and degrees of knowledge via my experiences, my many and varied journeys in design, and that these inform me of what I have done and thus what there is to improve upon, or avoid, for future Odysseys.

For concrete historical examples--my publication and industry achievements in a nutshell--one might refer to my company's link, from my bio there.

As far as what I am up to, any interviewer opens a Pandora's Box with that question.

Including this interview I have no less than 10  projects going on and at different stages for each:  they include RPG matter/adventure design,  designing an AD&D tournament, a screenplay, consulting material for a film, two books on design theory, a nifty boardgame, a detailed, and recent, pitch for a comic book series to a person of note in that industry, a forthcoming interview with Casus Belli, managing the business affairs of Three Line Studio with my wife, Nathalie (which we consider a project in itself!), and the most pressing, finishing a book on D&D History (as yet untitled, I call it THE BOOK) that I have been contracted for and that will be published in about 6 months.

I recently released an updated version of my GENCON VIII tournament module, Sunken City, along with the major debut of the El Raja Key Archive DVD, an electronic accumulation of 1,000 images of texts, maps and manuscripts that had been preserved (scanned) over ten years of auctions and date as far back as 1971.  Following that I released Dave Arneson's True Genius, the first book written on the man, and which examines and describes the RPG core system he created, this via a systems thinking view.

I have recently returned from AthensCon where I was a special guest.  While there I did a workshop on D&D wherein pre-RPG game system models are compared to Arneson's/OD&D's model, a panel discussion/Q&A, and ran two adventure sessions based around one of my Castle El Raja Key's redesigned levels, The Lake Level.  Everyone had a blast with it and the convention was really great, one of my better cons since Lucca Comic and Games.  I'll be returning there next year to run the aforementioned AD&D Tournament that I'm designing.

2. I'm going to want to know more about what you're working on now. But it can't be denied that you're also one of the living Founding Fathers of RPGs.
 So, to look a bit at the early days first: how did you get into RPGs? What were your early play experiences? What work or contributions did you do yourself in old-school RPGs?

A: I met Gary Gygax and his family in 1968.  That began a long and fruitful student-teacher relationship between us.  In mid-1972, and as the last editor of the Caste & Crusades Society's newsletter, the Domesday Book, I published an article in issue #13, Facts About Blackmoor, by Dave Arneson.  This was the first of two Fantasy-themed articles to appear in that issue. DB had until that point been an avenue for articles on Medievalism including a pre-publication version of Chainmail (Gygax and Perren) before its final, and updated, commercial release through Guidon Games.

Whereas one of the articles was a miniatures battle report, and in installments, deriving from a Tolkienesque campaign being run by Walter J. Williams using the full Chainmail rules (with the Fantasy supplement), Arneson's was more intriguing.  He provided a map detailing the village of Blackmoor and the upper-works of its nearby Castle Blackmoor, and with a list of the village's/near-surrounding area's inhabitants.  This is the very first indicator to what we in Lake Geneva (the LGTSA) were to learn in November of 1972 about what Arneson and his players were involved in, which was essentially the historical advent of the RPG in the Twin Cities.  When Arneson and David Megarry ran us through our first RPG in the Village, Castle and Outdoor of the Blackmoor milieu, this in November of 1972, we were bowled over; and this event began the furious correspondence between Arneson and Gary that led to their partnering in creating the first commercial RPG, Classic Dungeons & Dragons.  I stress first commercial because Arneson and his group had soundly laid down the architecture for the first non-commercial RPG via Blackmoor about 1.5 years before we experienced our first comprehensive adventure in his campaign-world.

From there the concept's direction starts to fall more under the purview of Gary and the LGTSA as we go about play-testing it from our end (late 1972-early 1974).  It starts with 10 pages of redefined rules (Gary's preferred mechanics), pretty much what we see today as an inverted pyramid scaling, this without unsettling or changing Arneson's systems architecture (the mechanics are in fact the sub-systems).

In that mix I became the primary play-tester as "Robilar" and within 4 weeks (very early 1973) I had also created my own castle--Castle El Raja Key--for Gary and others to play in and for me to play-test the concept from another angle.  Gary then conferred the co-DM mantle for Greyhawk upon me in late 1973 and we merged many parts of my levels and ideas into Greyhawk even as I was creating my own FRP World, Kalibruhn, from the top down. I was going "gonzo" with the idea at the time, and a lot of that is covered here.

After the publication of D&D came its supplements, notably Greyhawk which sold 9 copies for every copy of D&D that was sold (at a 90% clip).  My most noteworthy contribution is the use of the polyhedral dice as hp determinants for each class.  That came about during a phone call between Gary and myself as we were struggling to balance the classes for our release of Greyhawk--in OD&D all classes had d6's for hp determination.  I pointed out that magic-users should get 4-sided, thieves and clerics 6-sided and fighters 8-sided, and so was born that sliding scale.  There are other contributions that cut across a lot of design areas, but that's an important one still in use to this day.

I do get into much more detail about those days and our experiences--IFW, C&C Society, LGTSA, TSR--in my upcoming, "THE BOOK".

3. And have you been gaming ever since? If so, had you continued to be involved with the RPG hobby as a whole this whole time? If not, what brought you back?
Also, what do you think of the current state of the RPG hobby? Is it better now than in the old days, or worse, and in which ways? 

A: Well, yes.  I never stopped.  I ran several companies, Creations Unlimited, Pied Piper Publishing and now Three Line Studio.  I have been online since 1996.  That was with the Greytalk-L. I was on Dragonsfoot for, errh, about 11 years, had a Q&A forum there but it really outlived its usefulness.  I also had my own forum for PPP, now closed and archived, and I even subscribed to theRPG Site, yours, but I rarely get away from the Ruins of Murkhill these days.  I also have an old blog, Lord of the Green Dragons, retired, and a newer blog, Lake Geneva Original Campaign, but I don't post there as much as I have in the past.  Too busy with so many projects. I lost count of words written at a million and volumes of work sold at 3 million.   It's been quite a ride; and the taxi meter's still running.

Current state of the RPG hobby/industry, depending, is either fluid (hobby) or median (industry).  I would say that the hobbyists are taking the chances with newer designs and betting the line on their gut feelings, just as Arneson and Gygax did.  The established industry RPG companies have less inclination to do that, but that has traditionally been the case with the establishment, which is why they are called "the establishment".  Whether that is good or bad--which is a rather limited view for a summary and perforce skips to a generalized position--also depends on what lens one is viewing that through:  hobby or industry.  There's much variation between the two which makes for many interpretative POVs.  I personally feel that we have sometimes, in both realms, become trapped in a cycle, but that's my designer side speaking.  The market loves sustained and established, slow moving cycles and for obvious reasons.  This dovetails into to the establishment view, of course, and therein lies the rub between cycle design and original design, the latter being what the OD&D RPG was all about.


Check out Part 2, here!

And Part 3 here.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Egg + Gawith's Navy Flake