Pith Helmet


Random Acts of Gamegeekery
June 28, 2008, 12:22 pm
Filed under: Gaming | Tags:

Quote of The Day
“Some of my more…’Bohemian’ friends have described government as ‘Non-consentual S&M with the 2nd ammendment as the only safe word.'”
–Turk

The Fantasy Novelist’s Exam
In an effort to put the kibosh on the flood of derivative fantasy novels out there, David J. Parker, along with Samuel Stoddard, came up with The Fantasy Novelist’s Exam. The quiz is designed to ferret out the derivative elements of anyone’s novel and quash its being submitted for publication. The rules are simple: Answer “yes” to any one question, and you should abandon your writing project immediately.

My favorite set of questions: “Does your novel contain orcs, elves, dwarves, or halflings? How about ‘orken’ or ‘dwerrows’?”

For the full quiz, go to http://www.rinkworks.com/fnovel/

WoAdWriMo
July is Worldwide Adventure Writing Month ’08.

Join us in expanding the number of free, downloadable adventures for tabletop roleplaying games!

The goal is to write a complete RPG adventure by July 31st, 2008.

Geek Muses
Jim of LotFP issued the following challenge to all of the blognards:

You know, when referees sit down to design their campaigns and adventures, I really don’t think they are wondering if they’re staying true to the influences of the game. Obviously someone well-versed in those influences is going to internalize them and they’ll show through to some degree no matter what, but I think a referee’s choices can make it perfectly clear what’s influencing them, what drives them to create and go through the bother to run a game for other people in the first place.

So… I challenge the role-playing blogosphere (and I know you are reading… :P) to name the primary influences in your personal game, so we get a flavor not of what set of rules you decide to use, but what kind of game people can expect to play with you! Minimum five. No maximum. Plus include what people might assume influences you that you actually reject. Bonus points for detail and explanation!

  • Stephen King: I once ran an AD&D campaign based on The Stand. The one player who had read the book volunteered to be the Nick Andros of the campaign (he played a deaf-mute – a guaranteed way to help him think about any communication he made that may inadverently give something away). Another player volunteered to be the anachronistic American astronaut who became a one-man “Expedition to the Barrier Peaks” into my little corner of pseudo-Europe unknowingly spreading Captain Trips to humans and demi-humans the world over. One of my fondest memories of DMing is the moment when he realized that he was the carrier.
  • Michael Moorcock: Like many early 80s gamers, I sought out all of those books listed at the back of the old AD&D DM’s Guide with a fervor seldom seen outside Islamist terror cells and UGA football fans. Some were hits (such as Poul Anderson’s Three Hearts & Three Lions). Others, not so much. But the writer who most influenced my game-mastery was Michael Moorcock. I loved the tone, the non-Tolkieny feel (not that there’s anything wrong with Tolkien). I “borrowed” freely from his works. Sentient swords a la Stormbringer? Check. Cross-planar travel? Check. Men in animal masks? Check. I even bridged the pseudo-English Channel, but instead of a Silver Bridge, I transplanted the Bifröst Bridge from Norse mythology. It was much easier to transplant the Moorcock influence when I switched from AD&D to Chaosium’s Stormbringer.
  • Fantasy Art: While the previous influences played a heavy role in my world-building, fantasy art, wherever I found it, was a major influence in the nuts-and-bolts work of DMing. I would flip through the pages of Dragon magazine and would get ideas from the little advertisements for other games and gaming products. I would look at the covers in the sci-fi section of the local bookstore and get ideas from there.
  • Thieves World: As a teenager in rural Georgia, I had no idea how cities worked – medieval or otherwise. So, as a DM, I built my cities on the Sanctuary model.
  • Wild Palms/They Live/Invasion of The Body Snatchers: Back in the early nineties, when Details replaced Dragon as my primary periodical reading material, this comic strip based on Bruce Wagner and Julian Allen’s Twin Peaksy comic strip became part of the basis for my homebrew Warhammer/Stormbringer/Runequest/Powers & Perils campaign. The other inspiration was John Carpenter’s They Live. Someone is replacing our NPCs with doppelgängers. Instead of sunglasses, our hero discovers a pair of spectacles called the Eyes of The Magister. With them, the wearer can see doppelgängers in their true form. However, to get them, we have to hop from the World of Warhammer into an alternate modern America where the seventies never went completely away.

    Well, there’s my five (or so).

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