Game systems

July 31, 2006: 9:03 pm: Game systems

Erick “Phage Press” Wujick has a post over on about the current status of the Amber RPG licence.

Unfortunately, Guardians started experiencing their problems just around the same time they took on Amber (Summer of 2004). Since we’ve been friends for years (Mark is the guy who started the Amercon North in Toronto), I told him there was no hurry (it’s not as if I had been a ball of fire producing content for Amber), so we never got to creating or signing a formal agreement.

I have appointed a proxy to deal with the situation (since I’m off in Shanghai, China, I don’t have a lot of choice), and my proxy and I will deal with the situation over the next few days. It seems likely that I’ll be assigning the Amber stock, and the role of distributor, to another third party. Note that I said ‘likely’ — not certainly, because not all the facts are in.

In other words, Phage Press (with the permission of the Zelazny estate) still controls the Amber RPG rights, since they were never officially transferred over to Guardians of Order. Of course, that would seem to put things about where they were before GoO got involved, which hardly raises hopes for a revamped Amber RPG.

July 30, 2006: 11:14 am: Game systems

The word has come down that Guardians of Order is officially dead [right column, scroll down]. The fact that this news has come out via George R.R. Martin rather than being posted on front page of the company’s website is just another example of how GoO owner Mark MacKinnon has managed to make this whole situation worse than it needed to be with his stubborn refusal to communicate. I hope that at least some of GoO’s games find new homes, and that the customers who have unfulfilled orders are able to get either their merchandise or their money.

As for Amber, I’d be surprised if the license actually got picked up by anyone. I’ll freely admit that I don’t know how much GoO actually paid for the RPG rights, but I’m guessing that it’s out of the range of what an indie developer might want to pay, and it’s not like there’s some promise of big profits to lure in someone like Mongoose.

ETA: Mark McKinnon’s official GoO is dead announcement on Personally, I wouldn’t have chided GRRM, but I realize some people like to live dangerously.

July 23, 2006: 3:16 pm: Game systems

I’ve realized that there isn’t any new indie RPG out there that’s grabbed ahold of my head since back when Jason started talking about The Shab-al-Hiri Roach last Fall. I’ve found myself feeling pretty meh about actually buying any new RPGs, and I especially noticed my lack of enthusiasm when a friend who has previously picked up indie games for me at Gencon asked if there was anything that I wanted him to get for me this year. I couldn’t come up with anything.

Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t a few games out there that have aroused some interest. For example, Don’t Rest Your Head sounds like it’s pretty cool, as does Mortal Coil. Neither one has grabbed my imagination the way Dogs, PTA, The Mountain Witch, or The Roach did before I bought them though, so I’m going to have to start working on finding and reading some actual play posts. Maybe then I’ll feel more inspired to actually part with some money and buy another game or two.

Anyone have any recent (or near-future) releases they’d like to recommend?

May 14, 2006: 8:45 pm: Game systems

After a long period of silence, there’s a welcome update about the status of The Dresden Files RPG:

For the impatient, let me say it up front and early: The Dresden Files RPG will be published, and is still under active development effort. Our timetable has slipped, and we’ll probably see it coming out towards the end of this year. We’re very sorry about this delay, but we appreciate your patience.

Now as to the details…

I’m still really looking forward to this, and I’m glad they aren’t even attempting to try and rush it out before GenCon.

May 3, 2006: 10:10 pm: Game systems

This looks like a pretty cool idea.

Truth or Scar (a scary little PBP game)

“Prof. Stanson has found a set of curious scrolls and tomes of unknown antiquity and origin. Luckily, one of them appears to be a tranlation to a peculiar precursor of Latin which he specializes in. Feverishly working backwards he is able to decipher fair portions of the other materials.”

(my friend narrates the “weird occurance”)

“He falls into a vision- he seeks an island and it’s inhabitants, all engaged in a festival- no, more ordered than that- a ritual. A dance, a chant… a spell. The Island disappears, and in a remote part of Russia, the Island crashes to the earth.”

(at this point, I choose Scar, to give my friend an example…)

“Awakening from his dream, he realizes that one of the scrolls he has been translating is a copy of that very spell. And, that the strange hand postures he saw in his vision were only possible to a person possessing 6 fingers… It is with that realization that a sharp pain begins in the center of his left palm, shooting to the webbing between his ring and middle finger, before a new growth begins to seek its way out, bone and muscle forcing its way into place, like his hand is splitting slowly. The new finger twitches and sort of nestles its place comfortably…”

Guess we’ll see if it get developed further, but I certainly like what he’s got so far.

April 23, 2006: 9:51 pm: Game systems

In a thread over on Story Games about what books people would like to see as RPGs, there’s this most excellent post by Brendan Adkins:

“Any Kelly Link short story. Any one at all.”

Dude, I wish, but…

GM: You’re in a house filled with your wife. All the your wifes were green, and they are making more your wifes from a kind of moss in the basement.
Player 1: I want to have sex with them.
GM: Okay. Later they make you a smoothie out of some of the your wifes. Also, the Devil is there, and you’re going back in time.
Player 2: Am I made of dish soap?
GM: You can be, but the dish soap is haunted.
Player 1: I’m going to turn into a detective and go searching for my mother.
GM: You were your mother.
Player 2: I’m rolling for pajama bottoms. (rolls) Sailboats!


April 21, 2006: 10:19 pm: Cons, Game systems

In addition to running a session of The Shab-al-Hiri Roach at The Black Road, I’m also going to need to run a second game. Right now, I’m thinking that game is going to be a swashbuckling adventure involving pirates and zeppelins, but I have yet to settle on which system to use to run it. Since it’s going to be at TBR, I’d prefer a system that’s either diceless or indie.

Any suggestions?

The most important thing to me is that it encourages a swashbucking style of play, and I’ve had one recommendation of Evil Hat’s upcoming Spirit of the Century. It’s a good suggestion, but since that’s not actually out yet, I’m looking for other ideas.

April 9, 2006: 8:55 pm: Game systems

Ben Lehman has posted an innovative idea he’s considering for the upcoming PDF of his game Polaris.

I’m contemplating PDF policy, and I’m curious to get a public reaction to this before I commit to anything. Here’s my thought, right now.

1) The PDF costs $15, regardless of whether or not you bought the book. I have enough retail sales that it’ll be basically impossible confirm if someone bought the book, anyway.

This is a fair chunk of change, but I’m okay with that, because see below.

2) If you have ever written an AP report or review of the game, you get the PDF for free.

3) If you buy a PDF and later write an AP report or review of the game you get your $15 back.

So, basically, the PDF is free if you actually use it.

This sounds like a pretty good plan to me, with Ben ending up with either $15 or some publicity for his game. Plus, some people might give Polaris a try in hopes that they’ll get their money back.

March 19, 2006: 3:53 pm: Game systems

On Friday I received my shiny new copy of The Shab-al-Hiri Roach. It’s very shiny indeed, with a nice layout, art that’s exactly right for the game, cards that are quite well done, plus my very own roach. I need to give it all a thorough read, as I think the last set of rules that I saw was one of the early playtest versions, but I’m already looking forward to playing. Right now I’m planning a game for TBR, but maybe I’ll be able to get something together sooner.

If you still haven’t checked out the Roach, despite all of my gushing, you should download the preview PDF.

March 11, 2006: 12:02 pm: Game systems

I just ordered my copy of the Shab-al-Hiri Roach (Special Edition)!

Now I shall eagerly await its arrival….

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