Miscellaneous
  • Miscellaneous


    When I went to Gen Con this past summer, there weren't a lot of things that we on my "to get" list. So many new releases at the convention were little more than rewarmed Kickstarter releases, or other preorders that were at the show so that people could avoid shipping prices. Something that I was looking forward to were getting a physical copy of Paul Baldowski's The Cthulhu Hack and an All Rolled Up dicebag/gaming accessory. Being based in the UK made getting an All Rolled Up bag difficult, because of the exorbitant shipping costs inherent in international shipping, but picking one up at Gen Con took all of that out of the process.


    Launched just prior to this year's Gen Con, Storytellers Vault is a crowd-sourced content creation arrangement that allows fans of World of Darkness to create and sell supplements for their favorite games from that line. The Storytellers Vault is similar to the successful Dungeon Masters Guild program for Dungeons & Dragons, and indeed it uses the very same content guidelines.


    I've discussed topics in worldbuilding, and I hope they're interesting and educational, but today I'm going to discuss the process of worldbuilding, and how I go about it.



    Game publishers are expected to be Jacks or Jills of All Trades, but a lot of things end up falling through the cracks. The reason why are many, and the primary one is that the bulk of the people publishing tabletop role-playing games are working with budgets that are pared pretty close to the bone and that often doesn't allow publishers to hire the experts that they may need to get their games the attention that they want. That is really the main purpose of these irregular Media 101 articles, to give publishers some tools to help them. In today's article I am going to discuss something esoteric and arcane: the press release.


    Off the coast of the main American continents are a group of islands with their own cultures, histories, conflicts, and stories. Although influences from South America and eventually West Africa, Spain, and France wove their ways into the folklore of the Caribbean, the synthesis of these influences have created a beautiful and sometimes melancholy portrait of the native folk who call the islands home. Our focus will be on the original native cultures and their lives prior to European contact. As always we can offer only a glimpse into the true depth of these cultures, so I encourage you to do your own research.


    Role-playing has existed for a century, if not longer. Some role-playing exercises (for education or business) are games with active human opposition, others are puzzles. You play a "role" even in Monopoly, and in many other board games, especially wargames ("you are the commander" said Avalon Hill long before "RPGs" existed). Yet most people would agree that hobby RPGs really got going with Dungeons & Dragons.


    Harassment in gaming is getting more and more attention as gamers are making the stand that they will not support sexual harassment, the harassment of the LGBTQ+ or people of color. In the latest controversy over dealing with harassment at conventions, the North Texas RPG Convention, a self-styled old school gaming convention, has decided to take a stand against those in the tabletop RPG hobby who have been harassed at conventions and other spaces.


    Here at EN World, Iím looking at all-ages tabletop role-playing games, board games, and card games. Do they engage the players at the kids' gaming table? Would they cut it at the adults' table? Are they genuinely fun for every age? The Basic Hack by Nathan J. Hill is a streamlined OSR RPG designed to introduce new players to role-playing. The 58-page book includes a game book/choose your own adventure system rules introduction, character creation, rules for combat and other actions, spells, creatures, an adventure, and character sheet.


    Previously I talked about fabric, and where it comes from. In this one I discuss clothing and its applicability to worldbuilding and plot.


    Video game designers use two terms worth understanding for all game and adventure designers, "atoms" and "loops". This time I'll talk about loops.


    There are many reasons for travel and those can be very useful for setting the mood in media res. Compare a campaign that opens with the PCs hired to explore an unknown region, with one that opens with them as refugees fleeing a war. The tone changes completely, even if the contents of the character sheets are still the same. They could be pilgrims or bodyguards upon a pleasure cruise.



    In our post-Harvey Weinstein world, more and more people in the various entertainment industries are coming forward with allegations of abuse and harassment, both sexual and psychological. The tabletop gaming industry isn't isolated from this wave of revelation as incidents surface, and will likely continue to surface about professionals, and fans, within the gaming communities.


    Mesoamerica was a profoundly important region and set of cultures that arose independently in the region stretching from central Mexico to northern Panama. The pre-colombian cultures created powerful civilizations that flourished for thousands of years. Study of the cities and monuments of these cultures suggests these civilizations were on par with those found in South America, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and China. There were many cultures that thrived in the region, including the Toltec, Mixtec, and Zapotec to name just three. However, we are going to look at three of the civilizations most familiar to modern society.


    "Lifestyle games," games that are hobbies in themselves for players who rarely play anything else, are almost always great games: Diplomacy, Bridge, Chess, Magic: the Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons. But not all great games become lifestyle games. What makes a game "great"? Not good, not a flash-in-the-pan, rather an all-time great game?


    In the second part of this series, we'll continue to highlight the best in new RPG podcasts. This week's offerings range from an eclectic bunch of cyberpunks, through a piratical D&D live play, to a monster-inspiring discussion of cryptids.


    When October comes around, many gamers turn their heads from their regularly scheduled explorations of dungeons to look at a genre within which they do not normally crawl around. We are of course talking about horror. Whether you are looking for a one shot game for your Halloween night, or an ongoing campaign, there are a lot of very good horror games out there in the wilds of your local gaming store (or preferred online retailer) to check out for your horror needs. Let's look at a few of them.


    There are two different extremes in arranging fights. One is like war and the other is like a sporting event. Sporting events are supposed to be fair contests between roughly equal forces. On the other hand, war is the epitome of unfair competition.


    It can be difficult to separate out the true myths of any particular culture from stories told by explorers who came after. Perhaps those become part of the mythology as well, but we want to do our best to get as close to the root mythology as possible. This is doubly difficult in South America where all we have of some of the cultures that called that land their home are ancient sites and strange monuments. Many of the civilizations overlapped and others were contemporaries.


    Imagine contemporary life without clothing. No socks to prevent feet from blistering, no pockets for keys, change or the omnipresent smartphone. It is true that naturists do get by fairly well with purses or fanny packs, but such individuals tend to be concentrated in areas with balmier climes for obvious and pertinent reasons such as frostbite in sensitive places.


    Role play is breaking into the mainstream! While games like Dungeons and Dragons might once have been confined to people's basements, the success of shows like Critical Role, Acquisitions Incorporated and The C-Team has resulted in a deluge of new podcasts on subjects ranging from insightful DM advice to thrilling live-play. The downside of this is the sheer number of new podcasts coming can be a little overwhelming. It can be hard to decide which ones are worth listening to and impossible to find the time to listen to all of them. Well worry not, it's EN World to the rescue! It this series of articles we'll be highlighting some of the best and newest RPG podcasts to fill your ears with during the grey time between games.

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