View Profile: Christopher Helton - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
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About Christopher Helton

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Date of Birth
January 29
About Christopher Helton
Writer of Words, Reviewer of Things
About Me:
I've been a gamer since 1979, when I was first introduced to D&D. I like Science Fiction, Pulp and Super-Hero RPGs. I've blogged at the Dorkland! blog since 2003 ( and written for the Bleeding Cool website. Now I write right here.
St. Petersburg, FL
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Journey To The Hopi Saturday, 14th July, 2018 02:29 PM


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Saturday, 12th May, 2018

  • 03:47 PM - Morrus mentioned Christopher Helton in post Morrus currently absent
    I will be out of commission for a bit. Please be patient, as I will be unable to deal with anything for a while. No ETA on my return, but I hope it isn’t too long. I won’t be able to respond to messages or emails for now. If you have anything which needs dealing with, Umbran and Dannyalcatraz are about for forum moderation stuff, darjr for tech stuff, AngusA for publishing stuff, Christopher Helton for articles stuff. For news scoops, please use the ENW news address: news@enworldnews to be sure the columnists will see it! Thanks guys.

Wednesday, 5th April, 2017

Saturday, 9th April, 2016

  • 05:41 PM - Neonchameleon mentioned Christopher Helton in post We're All Gamers Together: Why Harassment Has To Stop
    ...nce then you've redefined the word. This article labels "white male" gamers as "terrorists" without any substantiation whatsoever. No volume of data has been collected or presented to support the proposition. Apparently you didn't read the OP - which wasn't the original article. And did collect data. The only thing that has changed is the complete wussification of America to such a degree that the knee jerk reaction to accusation is to accept it at face value without proper validation. Your reading comprehension again fails. The OP of this thread did set out to validate whether it was just this person's experiences. And found that no it wasn't. As for wussification, the biggest wusses around would appear to be those who are throwing distractions to avoid dealing with the real issues raised by the terrorism article and validated by the start of this thread. "It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data." - Arthur Conan Doyle Which, if you'd read this thread was why Christopher Helton started talking to people. And why I've talked to people. There's plenty of data. Christopher collected a lot. I've provided some. Plenty of others have also done the same. You just want to ignore the data that exists.

Friday, 29th January, 2016

  • 07:00 PM - Tequila Sunrise mentioned Christopher Helton in post Why OD&D Is Still Relevant
    Thanks for the article and the link, Christopher Helton! I'm unlikely to ever play OD&D, but game history is a point of personal curiosity. Having cut my teeth on 2e, I do indeed tend to lose focus in discussions about earlier editions due to having no access to them. I can't even describe how pre-WotC editions differ from one another, despite reading many second-hand descriptions like yours, due to having only read and played one of them.

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Tuesday, 31st July, 2018

  • 02:26 AM - MPA2000 quoted Christopher Helton in post Rules Cyclopedia of Basic D&D now in POD
    The writeup neglects to mention Aaron Allston's contribution to the Rules Cyclopedia (which is why the Immortal rules weren't included in it) of cleaning up a lot of the rules and adding material from his Hollow World and Gazetteers that greatly expanded the scope of the rules from what had been presented in the BECM boxed sets. The write up above? Aaron's name is mentioned three times at least?

Sunday, 17th June, 2018

  • 10:56 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Christopher Helton in post Ways to Reward Your D&D Players
    Ways to Reward Your D&D Players post was generated by a news article which your device or browser is not displaying directly. You can view the article directly here. One way to reward your D&D players would be to run something else for them, now & then...

Thursday, 14th June, 2018

Wednesday, 13th June, 2018

  • 04:27 AM - Yaztromo quoted Christopher Helton in post In Search of the World of Greyhawk
    I've never actually seen anything that would link this adventure to the Known World. [...] I've never seen any evidence that would point out a connection. Happy to help! :) 98393 Please chech out the map: it is an official map published by TSR as part of the Blue Box, i.e. canon. Have a close look at the Grand Duchy of Karameikos: you will find a spot marked "B1" that is the canon place where this adventure is placed, together with other adventures of B and X series, a bit all over the map We can discuss things a lot, but this is where TSR canon places this adventure: Mystara. I don't know if there are similar canon sources placing it in other settings. Maybe there are, but I'm not aware of them. Personally, I played it in several worlds and it can be played in several worlds, but that's where the Blue Box placed it.
  • 02:02 AM - philreed quoted Christopher Helton in post Talking With Steve Jackson About The Fantasy Trip
    Steve Jackson does love a good pun. That twisted sense of humor found in Munchkin games existed in the company _long_ before Munchkin was published.

Thursday, 7th June, 2018

  • 06:29 AM - Doctor Futurity quoted Christopher Helton in post Building A Deeper Horror World
    You say this like it is a bad thing. Nope! Well maybe I wrote it more melodramatically this morning when I posted but it's not a bad thing...just different. But to give you an idea, I'm nowhere near exausted on the horror genre, and while the idea of a shift in approach is interesting in its own merits, it doesn't (once done) feel like the same genre to me. I may love my Lovecraft but I've never been a fan of Supernatural or Buffy. OTOH I love me some X-Files, and that definitely provides some structure to a genre that manages to blend the two. It's all in the execution, really. I think I'd be fine with any approach which still retained the structural and emotional resonance of horror even if it did structure it within a sort of group-based existentialist collaboration (don't games like Delta Green and Chill's SAVE organization sort of do this already? I would posit they succeed in a relevant framework without sacrificing the core conceits of the genre.) EDIT: I can provide another example of ho...

Tuesday, 22nd May, 2018

  • 09:36 PM - Ralif Redhammer quoted Christopher Helton in post Getting A Vision For Creating Your Character
    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news! Apocalypse Culture was massively influential for me as well. That book was a doorway and a window to all sorts of strangeness. That is a shame, I didn't know any of that. Parfey's Apocalypse Culture books have had a huge impact upon my game worlds since the 90s.
  • 09:11 PM - Ralif Redhammer quoted Christopher Helton in post Getting A Vision For Creating Your Character
    Alas, Mel Gordon died two months ago (and Adam Parfrey, the head of publisher Feral House, just died a week ago or so). I’d like to suggest another one of Gordon’s books, “Erik Jan Hanussen: Hitler's Jewish Clairvoyant,” which could also be a great inspiration for CoC material, and probably somewhat more Morrus-friendly. Anyway, I agree that vision boards can be useful. I’ve used Pinterest for such, and have gotten a fair bit of mileage from some of the images and art. At the same time that I was starting all of this an artist friend on social media picked up a book on Weimar-era Germany by author and filmmaker Mel Gordon and was sharing some photos of the book. When I looked up that book, I found another book about a personality from the time and I decided to order them both. Warning before clicking those links, neither of these books are all that safe for work. The nice thing about Voluptuous Panic is that it is mostly a book of photos and illustrations, so it became the center of my vision...

Saturday, 12th May, 2018

  • 06:13 AM - dragoner quoted Christopher Helton in post Fantasy Grounds Adds Mongoose Traveller (1E) Support
    SmiteWorks announces that Fantasy Grounds will support the first edition of the Traveller role-playing game, published by Mongoose Publishing. Wow, this is interesting. I have been running a Mongoose 1e game online for 4 years in a forum I have made for it: and I was a player in a virtual tabletop game for a couple of years before that. I don't mean to be controversial, so if anybody has a reasonable explanation, I'd be happy to hear it. But it seems to me Traveller is one of the most re-released games in the history of RPGs. And yet I never see any re-release prompting a new release of modules. Traveller modules seem both scarce and old. Is there a problem with the license? Is there a trove of new modules available on a pdf store online? The game has been around far longer than there are modules to support it, it seems to me. If I'm wrong, please point me to where the modules are. You are right, there are a ton of iterations of Traveller, Mongoose 1e is in ma...

Thursday, 3rd May, 2018

  • 08:23 PM - DM Magic quoted Christopher Helton in post Hidden
  • 07:34 PM - Dualazi quoted Christopher Helton in post Harassment Policies: New Allegations Show More Work To Be Done
    This does open up the question of: At what point do conventions become responsible for the actions of their guest, when they are not more closely scrutinizing the backgrounds of those guests? One woman, who is a convention organizer, with whom I spoke for the background of this story told me that word gets around, in the world of comic conventions, when guests and creators cause problems. Apparently this is not yet the case in the world of tabletop role-playing game conventions, because there are a growing number of publishers and designers who have been outed for various types of harassing behavior, but are still being invited to be guest, and in some cases even guests of honor, at gaming conventions around the country. The message that this sends to women who game is pretty clear. Yeah, thankfully the message is "witch hunts shouldn't destroy people's careers" it seems, which is a pretty good one on the whole. Convention organizers are under no impetus, nor should they be, to conduct background chec...

Wednesday, 2nd May, 2018

  • 04:33 AM - quoted Christopher Helton in post Harassment Policies: New Allegations Show More Work To Be Done
    People seem to be taking a lot of issue with the article, which I find strange, because I found the article fairly neutral in tone, maybe I missed that. The specter of sexual harassment has once again risen up in tabletop gaming circles. Conventions are supposed to be places where gamers and geeks can be themselves and embrace their loves. Conventions need clear and well formulated harassment policies, and they need to enforce them. In this instance the allegations from multiple women have taken place at gaming conventions and gathering in different locations around the country. In one case, the harassment was took place over the course of years and spilled over into electronic formats. This is fairly boiler-plate article introduction, no names are named, and it sets the stage for what is about to be talked about. The alleged harasser in these cases was Sean Patrick Fannon, President of Evil Beagle Games, Brand Manager for Savage Rifts at Pinnacle Entertainment Group, as well as being a game designer...

Friday, 27th April, 2018

  • 04:23 PM - Dragonmoose quoted Christopher Helton in post Killing In The Name Of Advancement
    Just as a note: I don't actually say anything about non-violence at any point in my article. I apologize for putting words in your article. I must have been leaning more to the pages of responses that lead to the way of non-violence. So I kinda lost the way there I guess.

Wednesday, 25th April, 2018

  • 06:47 PM - Pauper quoted Christopher Helton in post Killing In The Name Of Advancement
    Hopefully, like Baron Munchaussen and Puppetland, we'll get to see an expanded version of Powerkill that addresses contemporary culture as well. I think it is overdue. I'll agree -- I'd definitely be curious to see how Tynes reacts to the changes in the hobby over the past two decades since his original Power Kill essay. Game design has in many ways evolved beyond the simpler 'kill and get XP' systems of gaming's past; as noted by other posters in this thread, a number of current RPGs reward 'defeating' rather than killing foes, which leaves open a variety of different scenarios whereby the enemy doesn't have to be killed to be worth XP. (Even in my own D&D games, I found the degree of 'chasing down and murdering every last monster in the combat' dropped significantly once I made it plain that the PCs would still get full XP for surrendering/fleeing opponents. Though one enterprising munchkin considered releasing a surrendered opponent, then immediately engaging him again to force another surrender...
  • 02:47 AM - HasturtheUnnameable quoted Christopher Helton in post Killing In The Name Of Advancement
    I define a lot of games as being heroic that others might not. I think that the underlying struggle of Call of Cthulhu and games like Trail of Cthulhu are inherently heroic. In this style of Lovecraftian gaming, the characters are engaged in a struggle that they will likely not survive, not because they want to be a part of that struggle, but because they feel that they must. I think that is the core of heroic characters: they are motivated to take action, regardless of their personal safety, because they know that the action has to be taken. I know that this is an untraditional interpretation of Lovecraftian games, but it is an interpretation that makes the games easier on those who aren't as much of a fan of horror, or horror gaming. I'm pretty sure that's just how a lot of people see Call of Cthulhu games. In fact, my favorite fantasy RPG, Agone, has a very similar premise for heroism. It also adds in the fact that open and direct conflict with the entity they are struggling against, and his min...

Tuesday, 24th April, 2018

  • 06:10 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Christopher Helton in post Killing In The Name Of Advancement
    We have a problem with being heroic in a number of role-playing games, but most particularly in fantasy games where the ideas of advancement and betterment for characters are built around the concept of killing. It's almost trivially easy to make combat about defeating an enemy rather than killing him, even in systems like D&D (in the classic game, and even, IIRC, 3.5, it was intentionally made harder to subdue than to kill, but in 4e, you could declare that you defeated rather than killed an enemy when you dropped it to 0 hps, and 5e kept the option of declaring an enemy dropped to 0 by a melee attack unconscious instead of dead). So you can go all BS&P* on your RPG with minimal effort. This is what causes the problem with being heroic, because in my mind being a hero and killing are at cross purposes with each other. I get that there are a number of different ways to define heroes, but for me that definition has been informed by my years of comic book reading.[/ The fantasy genre is full of kil...

Tuesday, 20th March, 2018

  • 09:06 PM - Von Ether quoted Christopher Helton in post What's In The Cards? Looking At Some Card-Based Tools For Your Game
    I don't like card-based resolution systems, and particularly hated what it did to Marvel Super-Heroes. In replacing FASERIP, it was a crime. But as a stand alone supers RPG, it wasn't too bad. And I guess we'll have to agree to disagree about card based resolution since I've been waiting for someone to crack the code on making a completely card based RPG with long term play that was strong seller to boot (carrying a whole game in your pocket or purse sounds cool.) Then again, maybe the key to unlock that puzzle would be something that changes your mind and I'd dislike?
  • 08:53 PM - Samurai quoted Christopher Helton in post What's In The Cards? Looking At Some Card-Based Tools For Your Game
    I don't like card-based resolution systems, and particularly hated what it did to Marvel Super-Heroes. As I am currently writing a game using standard playing card-based resolution, I'd be interested to know why you don't like it. Is it simply a love of rolling dice, or something more? Is there something that a card-based game could do to get you to like it? One of the features IMO is the ability to have a small hand of cards (3-5 per player) that they can then use to alter their chances in certain situations by substituting it for a drawn card, redrawing cards, or a bonus. Another feature is the ability to use suits, colors, and face cards vs number cards to add additional options and depth to a result that a simple die roll can't do.

Friday, 9th March, 2018

Monday, 19th February, 2018

  • 10:42 PM - Jester David quoted Christopher Helton in post Critical Role columnist needed for EN World
    Welcome to the fun world of deadlines. :) I imagine the ideal candidate would be a Hawaiian, who is able to watch the show from 5-9pm and then has a couple hours to leisurely and eloquently finish their write-up before bed. ;) I am tempted to apply. However, as a MSTer who already stays up 60-90 minutes past my usual bedtime to finish the show, I imagine the final few paragraphs will most resemble something composed by a face rolling back and forth over a keyboard.

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