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Our little hobby is filled with intriguing oddities.  One of the most persistent such oddities is our weird tendency to take what is already a fringe subculture and cut it up into further warring fringes.

In the '70s (and even a bit into the '80s) the hobby was divided into the camp of wargamers (themselves divided into board and miniatures camps, not to mention by era) and role-players.  This is where I entered the picture, and I came to it from a direction radically different than most RPGers of the time: I came at it from my high school drama flake crowd, not from the wargaming crowd.  I especially saw a lot of the disdain hurled at the role-playing fantasists crowd because I not only played them, I exclusively played them and really didn't like wargames.

As the great creative explosion of the '80s began, more and more weird divisions happened, usually in feuding camps based on genre (since most RPGs of the time still lived firmly in their wargaming roots).  This was also the era where "realism" vs. "playability" became an argument (despite no RPG ever written being even remotely realistic, and most were only barely playable: this is a hobby that demanded a degree of dedication to enter and be a part of!).

The '90s started to usher in the era of the "story-based" game (although the earliest of these were barely distinguishable in terms of rules focus from Dungeons & Dragons).  This is where the largest divide of role-playing games started and what is likely the largest single cultural shift of the hobby began, as typified by the (pretentiously idiotic) phrase "role-playing vs. roll-playing".

The earlier divides were arguments over taste.  Something in the loudest of the "story game" crowd stepped over a line from discussions of taste into very literal notions of "wrong fun".  In many ways it was the stalwart wargamer crowd's disdain of the role-playing crowd all over again, only it was the newcomers who held the most disdain.  The peak of this was likely the essays of people like John Wick or, worse, Ron Edwards who would start bizarrely hinting at (and sometimes openly stating) some kind of moral failing of those who preferred original-style dungeon bashes.  It reached the point that to this day I can't stomach the notion of actually buying a product published by some major names in gaming.  (And, naturally, because we can't have nice things, a lot of OSR advocates are just as disdainful of people who play differently as are people like the two I named above.  I'll just drop James Raggi's name here for that.)

And it was in the midst of this acrimony that sometime in the early '00s the OSR sprung up.  (OSR is an initialization I've seen expanded as Old School Revival, Recreation, Renaissance, and other such R words to the point I'm not sure which one is actually canonically correct, so I will just be using OSR.)  The OSR is a movement to return back to basics.  Back to E. Gary Gygax's original D&D.  To return to a time of simplicity.  It's a movement born of people wearing pink-tinted contact lenses because—hoo boy!—this is not a good description of the rules of the time!

There is a reason why the original edition of D&D was not the dominant one over the decades and that reason is not just, as has been claimed, a money-grab by TSR and others.

To establish my credentials, I have been playing RPGs of all kinds since 1977.  My first exposure to the genre was the 1977 "Blue Book" edition and I have backfilled experience with the original books, not to mention gone forward into both branches of D&D (Advanced and what would later become the Cyclopedia).  I played through the explosion of creativity in the '80s, witnessed the rise of story games (playing many of them, though not the White Wolf line of Storyteller games—I hated those), and continued through to the present day where I play intensely story-oriented games (FATE, Spark, Mythic, etc.) as well as some OSR or OSR-alike games (most notably Mazes & Minotaurs).  I am emphatically not a young-un telling grandpa what's what.  I'm one of the grandparents saying what actually was.

And what actually was was a mess.  Don't get me wrong.  I don't judge the OSR and, indeed, I like its ideals: simplicity chief among them.  I think modern games have gotten ridiculously and pointlessly complicated and as someone who works in marketing, I can even smell the marketing decisions that led to that.  I would love to have a game in the old style to play (and indeed do in the form of M&M).

I just don't want to play the original D&D.

So let's talk about why.

I have open on my screen the so-called "White Box" set of rules.  The three-volume set of Dungeons & Dragons published by Tactical Studies Rules in 1974 before they even had the TSR logo.  (Their logo looked like a bizarre stylized 'K' embedded in a similarly stylized 'G'.)  And already we're off to a rocky start.  On page 5 of the first book (Men & Magic) we have the recommended equipment which includes ... Chainmail miniature rules, latest edition.  Which, note, at the time of publication, wasn't even a TSR product.

Time to open another document.  (Picture me rolling my eyes here.)

The current edition of Chainmail at the time would have been 2nd.  The third was 1975, a year after D&D was published, while 2nd was 1972.  So this is the version we'll go with.

Back to D&D.  And here we get to the next problem with this edition of D&D (which I will refer to as OD&D from now on): the writing.  It's atrocious.  The information design is execrable.  Gary Gygax had a large vocabulary, but he had no clue how to use it to deliver information.  His writing style lies somewhere between the ponderousness of an academic frightened of clear communication because it would reveal how trivial the ideas under discussion actually are and a middle school essay writer earning his D+ marks throughout the term.  On page 6, for example, under the heading of "Characters", he introduces the 3 main classes of characters: Fighting-Men, Magic-Users, and Clerics.  Then, buried in the description of what these classes even are, he throws in the fact that fighting men can "include" elves, dwarves, and even halflings while magic-users can only be men and elves with clerics limited to men only.

(From the way it is worded it is easy to mistakenly think that men can only be magic-users and clerics, incidentally.)

In the section on Fighting-Men (referred to multiple times as "fighters" in the text because consistency in game terminology is for cowards?) there's a bizarre section irrelevant to the topic at hand consisting of base income for fighters of high enough a level.  In the section outlining Magic-Users there's a sudden table of income costs for making magic items.  In the section on Clerics there's more talk of income from high-level clerics and holdings.  NONE OF THIS IS RELEVANT.  The game is discussing stuff that comes at "end-game" (so to speak) for characters before they've even actually finished off what a character is and how to make one!  It's very clearly written stream-of-consciousness and it's a chore to decode.  THIS is why the Basic line was started and expanded into the Cyclopedia.  Gary Gygax's writing style is just not suited to actually explaining things!

And it continues on and on in this vein: opening up with the classes, introducing the classes, and mentioning races only in passing, suddenly, on the very next page, right after talking about Clerics, races are introduced at the same heading level in a jarring transition.  Each is defined solely by what it can and cannot do.  There's no explanation of what a "dwarf" or "elf" or "halfling" really is.  Maybe that's what you need Chainmail for?  Yep.  That's where the races are described.  (Though there's no "halflings".  Only hobbits.)  Further the races' advantages and abilities are explicitly specified in Chainmail.  You really do need Chainmail to play OD&D!

Alignment is handled in the same kind of slap-dash way: character types are defined by alignment, but alignment itself is not described (not even in Chainmail!).

This mess goes on and on.  There's rules for changing character classes that reference prime requisites, but prime requisites for classes haven't yet been defined!  (They do have the decency to forward-reference this, but this is utter crap information design.  We've known how to write better than this for centuries before D&D was written!)

Once you do decode this, the rules for making characters are, indeed, very simple.  It's just that the writing is so phenomenally bad that D&D rapidly became known as a game that you couldn't just buy and learn.  You had to have it taught to you.

And one of the purported advantages of the aulde skool rears its ugly head here: it is explicitly intended (according to the introduction) to be merely guidelines.  So what you were taught wouldn't transfer well to other groups…

Of course when you played, again you needed Chainmail according to the rules thus far.  We're on page 18 of the rules and half the rules mentioned explicitly call out to Chainmail for resolution.  Page 19 introduces the "alternative" combat system that replaces Chainmail's in which we see the beginning of the THAC0 system that was so beloved in later years.  And again it's incoherent dross.  The hit table only applies to fighters.  Magic-Users and Clerics use different progressions mentioned in an asterisked footnote.  This is also where the infamously bizarre categories of saving throws make their first appearance.  To this day I don't understand these categories, why they were made, what they were intended to represent.  I only know that it was really weird seeing rules in later editions say "save vs. paralyzation" for things that had nothing to do with paralyzation, just because those were the numbers the designer of the monster or trap or whatever liked best.

And of course the saving throw matrix manages to be incoherent there as well, interlacing levels and classes in bizarre ways making it awfully hard to figure out which is which when using it.

Anyway, I think I've made my point here.  The rules were awful.  They were incoherently written.  They relied on an outside book (then published by another publisher!) to actually use.  And on top of everything else, they covered so very little that, quite ironically, to use them meant the referee (DM being a later term!) had to make things up on the fly all the time.  Just like the "GM fiat" games that many OSR advocates deride now.

They're god-awful rules!

And note, I'm not saying here that the rules should cover every possible contingency.  In that direction lies madness (also known as Chivalry & Sorcery)!  But what the rules should provide (and emphatically don't!) is a coherent framework for adjudication.

Now D&D has an excuse.  It was the first game of a kind nobody had ever seen before.  Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax deserve the accolades they get for having made it and popularized it.  I will never cast shade on the giants who made the very hobby I love so well!  But I absolutely will cast shade on the people who think that OD&D was the best of all possible times to the point of wanting to return to it.

Not casting shade in the "wrongfun" sense either, but rather in the "are you really sure?" sense.  Because yes, there is a lot of the OSR vibe I love.  I just don't like the game at the core of it and I think an attempt to return to that in specific, even if rewritten to be more coherent, is doomed to failure.  I think there is room for the OSR concept: simple, fun-focused, hack-and-slash or exploration-oriented, pick-up-and-play games that also have room for depth and soul but that don't have a need for the millions of pages of rules for every contingency.  For the concepts behind D&D, but concepts executed with now nearly 40 years of design experience to get it right.

ZDL Jun 26 '21 · Comments: 21 · Tags: osr, critique, deep dive, flamebait, dungeons & dragons

Here's four webcomics that I like and some of them even have something to do with gaming.

I don't like rom com movies much. In fact I don't like movies much. I prefer my TV in small doses. But I do read a lot of coming of age fantasy and science fiction which is kind of close to rom coms. Especially "The Wheel Of Time" which I am definitely planning on rereading, all 14 volumes.

But it turns out that I like rom com webcomics. I guess the dosage is about right.

"Questionable Content" is alternative history science fiction. It's present day but in the recent past Hannelore's dad discovered true AI and built it into robots. So it's a rom com with robots. (Shades of Isaac Asimov) It's actually my current fav and it turns out I must have started it in the middle because when I went to episode 1 to link here I hadn't read it. But there is an AI robot right at the start. Plus rom com. It is a lot different than the more recent episodes but I'm restarting at the top and you can too.

Oh yeah, it's drawn by J. Jacques. And it's 5 days a week.

Dumbing Of Age is a College Webcomic by David M. Willis. This is my latest fav and it's actual contemporary fiction rom com. It has more about cartoons than about games although D&D does get an occasional mention. Big on superheroes too with an actual superhero character who is actually just a shy girl with tendencies towards violence.

7 days a week. Yaaaaaay!

The absolute best webcomic ever is all about D&D with in jokes right from the first episode. The Order Of The Stick is about an adventuring party drawn as stick figures. If you haven't already read this it's a treat. The only bad thing about it is that it's a weekly so I save it for my weekend reading. It's by Rich Burlew.

And my new find is Gunnerkrigg Court. It's also in a school setting but so far not a rom com. Definitely fantasy and I'm not far enough into it to tell you much more. Except that I like it so far. Not sure of the publishing schedule but the art is great and it's drawn by Tom Siddell.

Please add your favorite webcomics in the comments. Especially if they are about gaming.


hairylarry Mar 28 '21 · Comments: 8 · Tags: d&d, fantasy, gaming, webcomics, cartoons, superheroes, sciencefiction

JesseQ made a post about how he would use multiple free online tools for online gaming. I have been wanting to set up an Actual Play podcast as a Gamer+ event and JesseQ's post got me thinking. Here's his out of the box suggestions.

Discord for chat (text, video, voice)
Miro for shared whiteboard/tabletop
Watch2Gether for atmosphere/music

I have come  up with another platform set.

Discord - Tenkar's Tavern in particular for the chatroom/game table

Web Whiteboard - A whiteboard app on the web the DM could use for drawing maps or diagrams for online games. You can also post text and pictures. Players can also post, make map annotations during play, upload something they saw, etc.

File Downloads - My Pydio instance does this great. There are many other free web alternatives.

So the only barrier to participation is getting into Tenkars Tavern on Discord. Discord has become a new standard for voice chat and their apps are easy to install and work on every platform.

Once you are in the gamerplus chatrooms at Tenkar's Tavern the DM can post a link to the whiteboard set up for this game. The players click on this link and they are there on the whiteboard. No passwords or accounts required.

The DM can also post a link to a folder on Pydio. The players can follow this link, browse pregens, and download or print the character sheet they choose to play. The DM has a different link that allows uploading and file deletion. Again no install, passwords, or accounts required.

And this is the key. Follow the link and you're in.

You enter the chatroom. The DM posts a link and you go pick a character. When the DM starts to draw something he posts a link. You follow the link and view what he's drawing. It would even be possible to lay out battle maps and move player tokens on the map.

So these two apps, the whiteboard and the file manager, are both included in Miro as per JesseQ's suggestion. There is an advantage to having these both in one app. But Miro is more complicated to use and the DM would have to send player invites which means collecting emails. In some situations this would not be cumbersome but for Gamer+, If You Play You Win, actual play podcasts I wanted it to be as easy as possible to jump into the game.

As JesseQ suggests, Gamer+ has set up a Watch2Gether channel that the DM could use for Monster noises and appropriate background music. It is also available for listening on the public web just by linking in with no password or account necessary.

So this is just another possible way to set up for online gaming. I chose these apps because of their open availability to anyone without having to install apps or create accounts. There might be better choices for your games or campaigns. Please leave your ideas in the comments.


This one is a weird one folks, so strap in and get ready.

Today's game is The Terran Trade Authority Roleplaying Game (henceforth TTARPG – and yes there's a reason why I'm using such a clunky initialization) released by Canada's Morrigan Press in 2006.  It's a science fiction RPG that …

Let's roll back the history a bit, because this is really unusual.


In 1978, Hamlyn Publishing released a book called Spacecraft 2000-2100 AD by Stewart Cowley.  It was a large, hardback art book filled to the brim with science fiction artwork of spaceships, planetscapes, and future cities/bases that were rendered by some of the greatest SF artists of the time: Angus McKie, Gerard Thomas, Chris Foss, Peter Elson, and others represented by J.S. Artists.

More than an art book, however, it was also a detailed future history with little vignettes of space battles, a future history, etc. all paired with pictures showing the subject.  It was a brilliant concept that was well executed, leading to more books in the series authored by Cowley—Great Space Battles (1979, with Charles Herridge), SpaceWreck: Ghostships and Derelicts of Space (1979), Starliners: Commercial Travel in 2200 AD (1980).

All of these books were tied together in a future history involving the name of the Terran Trade Authority (TTA) hence the name of the RPG.

... more

ZDL Oct 5 '20 · Comments: 6 · Tags: terran trade authority, science fiction, review, fringe

I'll try a few posts, and I'll see what happens. Some will be reposts from the current NUELOW Games blog, some will be new. Some may even be reposts from my long-time favorite blog, Shades of Gray.

Meanwhile... if anyone sees this, please let me know. Is it worth it for me to post here?

SteveMiller Jul 31 '19 · Rate: 4 · Comments: 6
Unlike my previous, starkly negative review I'm switching back to the generally positive again.  Today's fringe game is actually a game line, one that is proudly hailed as being for "beer & pretzels".  This is by no means the earliest beer & pretzels game in role-playing.  The first of the line's products—a game called Shriek—was published in 2001.  Games like Ninja Burger, Kobolds Ate My Baby, and other such games were released before that in the late '90s.  Indeed I'm pretty sure I'd played loads of small, simple, comedy games before this game line was published.  Hell, Macho Women with Guns, which exists right on the very edge of that beer & pretzels divide, was published in 1988.

But this one is different.

... more

ZDL Dec 19 '19 · Comments: 5 · Tags: hero force, 1pg, heyoka, deep7, beer & pretzels, fringe, review
Living in worlds with dragons, unicorns, dwarves, giants, wizards, super heroes and evil villains. ...... requires a player to sink into his/her character and take on that character's persona. It's a skill that requires creativity, imagination and a willing suspension of disbelief. 

Therein lies the crux of the matter. 

May the Schwartz be with you.

sound Jun 30 '19 · Rate: 5 · Comments: 5
Initial topic - Keeping it real.

all gaming is on topic

The yeep is an alien pet. Very affectionate. When RobboG described it as being like a ferret then that made it real for us.
When the yeep yeeped the other alien to death we could accept that because it's an alien.
So comparing the yeep to a known animal made it real but we knew it was alien so we could accept strange behaviour/powers.
One of it powers was extreme charisma - everyone loved the yeeps except Dolf.

He was the level headed one. Who invites an unknown alien into their spacesuit? (We all did except Dolf)

In literature there is a thing called willing suspension of disbelief.
That's definitely a thing in gaming that the DM can use.
In literature and gaming it is possible to go to far.
In The Chronicles Of Amber (not to be confused with The Chronicles Of Ember) Roger Zelazney has his characters walk in shadow which can be thought of as walking through the interstices between realities in the multiverse.

There is one point where the protagonist walks so far into shadow that there is really no connection to reality anymore. That was a hard chapter to read and probably equally hard to write.

He was intentionally no longer keeping it real as a literary device.

Still, I was glad when he got back to more familiar territory.

In gaming the DM relies on tropes to keep things real.
The characters are familiar with fantasy tropes so as long as the DM bases his story around standard tropes or archetypes the players can follow where he's going with it.
Keeping the fantasy real, so to speak.
So when the DM or the PCs break the tropes it can lead to surprise and excitement.

Philip K. Dick was expert at leaving reality behind.

You would think you know where his story is going and then you realize that the surface reality you were projecting onto the story isn't really in the story at all.
Maybe it's just the protagonist's schizoid delusion.
This works in literature but not so much in gaming.
For one thing the shared reality around the gaming table involves multiple PCs being played by multiple players.
It is highly unlikely that their schizoid delusions will match.
In fact it is a challenge for the DM to be descriptive enough to keep the PCs in the same reality.
It would be a real hat trick to cater to multiple paranoid delusions around the gaming table.
And then try to do that without an accepted underlying reality.
Philip K. Dick as a DM.

Not recommended.

Life is too short to live it without a few delusions.


When you get notified about a Newsfeed story there is a link to that story in the email. It looks like this.

But where can you find that link. ZDL pointed out that the timestamp is the permalink.

It might say 3 minutes ago or it might say Yesterday and a time or Nov 1.

Click on that link and it will go to that Newsfeed story on it's own page. Copy the address bar to get your link.

Or right click on the link and Copy Link Location from the context menu.

Thanks to ZDL for helping me figure this out. I never realized that the timestamp was the link.


hairylarry Nov 3 '19 · Comments: 4 · Tags: help, link, meta, newsfeed
After a couple of fun chat sessions we are returning to Ember tonight for some more actual play. The Chronicles Of Ember is set in a unique role playing world. The game's author, Alan, will be our game master tonight.

Inspired Unreality open game chat is held every Monday night at 9:00 Central in the gamerplus chatrooms at Tenkar's Tavern on Discord. If you've never been to Tenkar's Tavern we have an invite for you here.

Ryan at Aqualith Media has posted a blog about his new website and his desire to collaborate with game creators.

Follow Me And Die has posted about his adventures in computer building. He is hoping that upgrading his system will help with editing his Youtube videos.

Into dice? Into dichroic prisms? ZDL says " These are dice cut from dichroic prisms." And she posted a picture of some very pretty dice.

Have you been noticing my fediverse address below? Have you heard of Mastodon, Friendica, or Pleroma? How about Funkwhale or Peertube? The fediverse is a decentralized social network made up of many people running many programs on their computers all cooperating so you can send and receive posts cross platform. Like email. Except social.

Visit my Friendica, social networking on the fediverse.

Hairy Larry
Continuing my little experiment in reviewing little-known RPGs, past and present, I'd like to go in a direction directly opposite of my last review.  In that I introduced a game that was in all ways completely different from most RPGs that people in the hobby are familiar with.  Intead it is, as I put it in a comment, "RPG meets collaborative fiction with a dash of improv".

Today's game is nothing of the sort.  It is three perfectly ordinary things:

1. It is a free game and almost militantly so.
2. It is a joke game, or, at least, it started that way.
3. It is a so-called "Old School Rennaisance" game (and arguably the first actual such!).

So why am I reviewing a game so ordinary?  Because, naturally, it is in no way ordinary!

The game (and indeed, to a degree, entire game line) that I am reviewing today is the game Mazes & Minotaurs (M&M) written by Olivier Legrande.  If you've compulsively followed the link provided you got a taste of the rabbit's warren that is the secret world of M&M.  If you didn't, let me give you a quick history so you can understand the joyful, wonderful madness you're about to face.

... more

ZDL Nov 24 '19 · Comments: 4 · Tags: free, fringe, joke, osr, review, m&m
The 1980s were halcyon years for RPGs in many ways.  There was insane diversity of subject matter as every conceivable niche and sub-niche was explored, and madness infected a lot of game designs.  This was also, after all, very much the decade of the "crunchy" game: games with ever-more complicated and "realistic" rules.


The absolute monarchs of the '80s vibe were Fantasy Games Unlimited (FGU)  There was not a crazy concept they weren't willing to champion and publish.  The first "realistic" medieval game (Chivalry & Sorcery) was theirs.  The first game to feature non-humanoids as the central characters (Bunnies & Burrows) was theirs.  The first popular superhero RPG (Villains & Vigilantes) was theirs.  The first medieval Japanese RPG (Land of the Rising Sun) was theirs as was the most popular one (Bushido) for ages.  And while not the first SF games ever, two of the earliest SF games (Starships & Spacemen, Space Opera) were theirs too, the latter of which still causes warm fuzzy feelings when I think back to its convoluted insanity but immense fun.

... more

ZDL Nov 30 '19 · Comments: 4 · Tags: psi world, review, old school, fringe, fgu

No history of RPGs would ever be complete without discussion of Iron Crown Enterprises' Rolemaster line of game products.  Despite its many epithets (most notably Chartmaster)—whether justly or unjustly applied (and I feel largely unjustly!)—it is hard to deny the influence this game had on role-playing games in general and D&D in specific.  First published in 1980 with the first component, Arms Law (a naming convention that set the table for all of the line), it began its existence as a replacement weapon/melee combat system for AD&D.  (They couldn't state it that flatly, of course, for reasons of copyright, so it was "for RPGs".)  It was rapidly followed with Claw Law (later packaged together) which added creature and unarmed combat to the mix.  This was followed by Spell Law for magic and finally, in 1982, Character Law, turning Rolemaster from a set of supplements into its own independent role-playing game.  1984's Campaign Law was the final component (and one of the earliest guidebooks for world-building for GMs).

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Today's review is gong to be from the person I consider the James Brown of game design.  Which is to say the hardest-working man in game design.  His name is Greg Porter and he is the owner (and sole member) of the game producer BTRC (Blacksburg Tactical Research Center).  Neither he, nor his company, are likely names you know … but you should.  In his own, quiet way, Greg Porter has created some of the most interesting, most innovative, and most playable RPGs out there.

(Of course he's also created some of the most unplayable games as well…)

... more

ZDL Mar 23 '20 · Comments: 4 · Tags: fringe, review, btrc, corps
Mythic is, to quote the game's introduction, "a universal, improvisational role-playing game".  Designed by Tana Pigeon, a name you've likely never heard of (though you should have, because she makes some nifty stuff!), it is far more than what that unassuming little description says.  This review is all about teasing out exactly what Mythic actually is.

... more
ZDL Jun 24 '20 · Comments: 3 · Tags: fringe, narrative, review, solo, mythic, universal, freeform, cap system, word mill, gm-free

Some D&D players meet a stranger on the road and start into talking and just blurt it all out. I mean, "He seems nice enough." is not a good excuse for giving him too much information. Obviously your antagonist, The Boss Of The Big Bad, is going to pick someone with high charisma to weasel your party's secrets out of your big mouth.

Too Open!

But then there are other players who just never get to the point. They're trying to start a conversation, or talk about the weather, or listen at the next table over when a simple question would likely get the information they need and not really have a dangerous downside even if they are asking the enemies spies. (Except they might lie to you.)

Overly cautious!

But ... asking a question is in fact giving information and it is possible to give something away or be killed just by asking the wrong question in the wrong company.

Now here's where we get all meta and start looking at the same thing from two different points of view.

As a player you want to be careful what you say around strangers. Loose Lips sink ships. But you also shouldn't be afraid to ask anyone a question, ever. I mean that's why DMs have NPCs so they can get on with the exposition.

So this is a strategic decision about game play. Finishing the quest and staying alive.

And when you can't make up your mind? Is this real dangerous or is this maybe just a little dangerous?

Look to your player character. Ask yourself what your character would do. Is he timid or is he brave? Is he drunk or is he sober? Is he smart or is he an idiot?

Let your player character be your guide. Play your role and act it out and the hell with the rest of the party for griping about how you are always getting them into fights.

hairylarry Sep 8 '20 · Comments: 3 · Tags: roleplaying, advice, ruminations, d&d
So I'm writing an adventure for Swords and Wizardry complete and could use some advice/thoughts from the community. As the adventure starts, the pc's are basically chased through a maze by a group of weird fast-moving undead (they don't know how they got there) along with a group of Orcs. They get sort of herded into this big manor house. When they enter the great hall, there's a banquet going on. All the folks attending the banquet are ghosts, kind of. I was them to be able to switch between ethereal and non-ethereal. I haven't decided what I want to actually be going on in the banquet. I do want the ghosts to respond to the PC's, interact with them, maybe even fight a little bit. It's for beginning characters, so they players won't have magic weapons. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd be more than grateful.
Below is a published definition of what a Role Playing Game is:

It’s a game you play with friends in a social setting. …It’s an exploration of intriguing or fanciful scenarios. …It’s a chance to be someone you’re not. …It’s a celebration of sticky situations. …It’s collaborative daydreaming. …It’s exercise for your personal sense of drama. …It’s a way to trick ourselves into creating interesting things. …It’s something you’ve been doing all along.I am pretty sure that there are a lot of regular role players that would accept that definition at first glance and then stop, think and then disagree.

Not everyone has a regular group that they can get a game with. A lot of people are time starved or work unsocial hours which makes a regular game hard.

So if you cannot get a regular, around the dining table, game what are your options?


Many discord servers offer voice chat + dice roller bot online games. The plus is that you can pick a server for just about any game system in existence and you will get a game. The problem of being out of timezone or just time poor isn't solved but it is easier, a night shift working in the US could join an EU game. You get the social element to some extent. You can join in the banter and you get to role play but ultimately you are sat at home on your own most likely. It is a brave person who voice chats in character in Starbucks.


There are many forums that allow play by post. I like PBP games. The style I use is that every player gets two forum threads of their own that are invisible to all other players. The first is for out of character questions and comments. The second is purely in character. When two characters converse, I as GM will copy'n'paste from one to the other and then paraphrase the post to the other characters point of view. Imagine if you are trying to persuade someone and you have failed the relevant social skill test. The words remain yours but I get to describe you delivering that dialogue. I encourage people to add in mannerisms, facial expressions, gestures and if you are going to pace back and forth before the fireplace before unmasking the murderer then describe it.

What all this builds up is a really rich picture of how your character thinks and behaves. PBP games are perfect for political and intrigue games as characters have perfect recall, being able to scroll up to check facts and statements.

I set the game up so no player knows who is a PC and who is an NPC. I also do not insist that partys form or hold together. If you character's chip on her shoulder drives away people that get to know her then you may well end up as a loner.

PBP games give a wonderfully rich experience but at the cost of one or two posts a day being considered 'fast' and sometimes two posts a week is more normal.

Virtual Desktops

Virtual desktops exist to provide as rich an experience as possible and as such they are much the same as a Discord game but with graphics. They do turn role playing into a pay to play experience as at least the GM needs to pay for membership. There are some free options but only because they are new and want to steal away users from the other more established platforms. You are looking at the same issues of time zones and having to commit to regular time slots.

Solo Play

For some reason solo play is often looked down upon. It can be ridiculed as talking to yourself, day dreaming or just creative writing. It is mostly ridiculed by people who don't know what they are talking about, but that is true of most things.

Solo play has existed since the first Dungeon Master's Guide. Solo wargaming has always been an accepted part of war gaming and Chainmail and later D&D grew out of a wargaming background.

A regular game has a basic loop of the GM describes the scene, the players describe their actions, the GM resolves the actions and then loop back to describing the new scene. Solo play has two loops. think of them as a left and a right loop. You imagine a scene. If you would normally ask the GM a question to clarify your understanding then you use the solo rules to answer that question. Now you loop back you have your answers and you can imagine the scene. You imagine your characters actions, the conversations, NPCs and challenges. When you character acts you use the regular game rules to resolve the actions. You then loop back and imagine the new scene. So the left loop uses the solo rules and answers questions you would ask the GM. The right loop resolves in game challenges and uses the traditional game mechanics. So left loop would deal with "Are there any guards?", "Is there anywhere I can hide?" or "Trying the car door, is it unlocked?". Right look deals with picking locks, combat and spell casting etc.

Emulating a GM is not that difficult. It is often described as a RPG version of a magic 8-ball. You need to use your improv skills because of course any rules in a book cannot see your character or the scene or the goblins. 

At the core of every set of solo rule are three mechanics. The first is for yes/no type questions. you pitch your question as a closed yes/no question, use a modifier for how likely you think the answer is going to be a yes or a no and then roll the dice. You then have to use your improv skills to work that answer into your scene.

The second tool is for open ended questions like "What are they talking about?" and "What is this book about?" Often you roll the dice and get a two word answer and you have to think given the adventure so far and the current scene what does that two word combo mean to me? The answers are often kind of obvious like "Betraying + Leader" or "Plotting + Loved one" and that sort of thing. They are designed to fit in with adventures so you not going to get "Cut price + banana".

The final tool is the plot twist mechanic. If your adventure just plodded along with yes and no answers and the odd bit of description then things would get stale rather quickly. Plot twists are designed to throw up the unexpected. There are three common plot twist ideas. The first is 'complication'. These happen when you are asking a yes/no style question and it idea is that something happens that makes that particular yes/no questions irrelevant.  For example you ask if there is a horse you can steal and roll a complication. Using your improv skills you decide that there is a fantastic black stallion but at that second someone throws a saddle on to it and you recognise them as your arch nemesis. That would of course completely change the whole set of priorities that had you wanting to steal a horse. 

The next version is the interrupted scene. Solo play often works in scenes and a scene ends whenever you handwave a block of time (generally). If you had just discovered an important and incriminating piece of evidence against a mobster and you are racing to town hall and the mayors office. Normally you would probably not role play the journey to the town hall, you would just arrive. Not with an interrupted scene. You have to think of a reason why you don't get there. Does a car ram you off the street? Does a corrupt police officer flag you down? I had this situation in a modern genre game and at that moment terrorists had placed a bomb in the atrium of city hall and as I raced up the steps the entire glass fronted building exploded. That cancelled my meeting with the mayor!

The final plot twist you are likely to see are stage directions. They may say something like Introduce an NPC, or Your quest becomes harder. It is down to you to work out how to fit that into your game. If you five levels down in a megadungeon a new NPC is unlikely to be a merchant selling healing potions but it could easily be a chained up captive with half a dozen drow guards. If it told you your quest gets harder then maybe the route ahead has collapsed and you cannot get through the way you had planned? If you have your GM's hat on I am sure you can come up with some pretty miserable things to do to your character.

That is a pretty intense whirlwind tour of just the basics of solo play. I keep a rather terse bullet point list of key events and questions so I can recap and pick up where I was but you can record your adventures however you like, or not at all.

I talked about some of the advantages and disadvantages of the other forms of role playing. In solo play there is no loss of fidelity between what the GM imagines and what you see. You are both so your understanding is perfect. The same goes for NPCs and descriptions of magic and monsters. There are no time constraints or commitments to always be available at a particular time.

You can solo play to test a new game, or one of the three hundred games on your shelves that you bought but never got to play. You don't have to prep for solo play. You need to think of solo play as an infinite sandbox. I had an adventure once because my character had little or no starting money left. I asked if the tavern keeper was in a good mood and the solo rules said No. I asked why? and it said something like "Grieving + Crime". I decided someone had been murdered and my first reaction was that it was his wife and for some reason I tagged on that his daughter had been kidnapped. Well, there was something that I could do something about. I role played the scene as the taverner refused to let me into the tavern as he shut it up and barred the door. He had is club from under the bar and he was out for blood. I calmed him down enough to get some of the story out of him and I pointed out that while he was an excellent barkeep, I was the one with the spear and armour. I improvised a story about his debt to a street gang and how he fell behind the payments. He was supposed to take a beating as a warning but his wife walked in and tried to grab a sword off one of the thugs and in the ensuing struggle she was killed and his daugher was grabbed and taken away. There was my adventure and I had also learned a lot of flavour of the kind of town I was in.

Even with that tiny snapshot of my meeting with a taverner I hope you can see a bit of how solo play works.

I will blog more on solo play later as I think this has given anyone new to solo play plenty to take in for a first introduction.

Peter_R Jul 29 '19 · Comments: 3 · Tags: rpg, solo, role plying
Session notes for November 18, 2020

When we enter the temple Marusan is gone, The skylight has been replaced. Everything looks like it did the first time we saw it.

Leaf shoots the skylight with the rod of Pann-Severi. It emits a bright white light and everyone is blinded.

After a while we recover our sight. Leaf wants to try again. The rest of us leave the room. This time the rod shoots a fireball and explodes the skylight.

We check the statue of Moloch. The rope is gone. Marusan is not in it. The tubes are still cut.

The tombs in the side rooms are open and empty. No undead or weapons lie within.

We check Marusan's study. EVerything is like it was when we left it. The chests are open and empty.

We check the supply room. It's been cleared out. No supplies left in it.

In the secret room behind the temple Caper looks for a trap door and finds a loose flagstone. We lift the stone and find a tunnel with steep stairs leading down.

Leaf pokes his head through the hole in the floor and looks around with his dark vision. He sees a hall with a door at the end and light shining under it from the next room.

We go down into the hall and I check the door. We look under it and check through the keyhole. We see skeleton bones.

Caper checks for traps on the door but he can't tell if it's trapped. He tries to open the door wide. But it's locked. He tries the keys from the jailor and one of them opens the door. He opens the door wide. There are 5 skeletons and Marusan at his desk. He looks bad.

Leaf shoots a fireball into the room with the rod. Caper slams the door shut to protect the party.

When we open the door they are all dead in the room. Caper pours some of the jailor's potion on Marusan.

We smash the skeleton bones into small pieces and throw them into a nearby creek. We burn Marusan in a huge fire outside.

Leaf hits the metal statue with a beam from the rod. It gets 50% bigger and now it barely fits in the temple.

We go outside and look through the papers and books in our packs for information about the rod. Back inside we go through Marusan's library. We find nothing about the rod but we do discover that the potion was supposed to be drunk by Marusan before he died. So all we know is that the rod is chaotic and that Marusan is probably coming back.

We decide to camp instead of going back to town.

At midnight we hear scraping from inside the temple. We light torches and go in. The scraping is the skylight glass golem reassembling.

We hear noises from the tomb rooms. The bones are reforming and dropping out of the air onto the floor.

We throw the bones into the tombs putting the heads together, arms together, etc. so there is no complete skeleton in any tomb. We cover the tombs with the lids. Finch the raccoon hears something in Marusan's study. Leaf talks to Finch. The sound is snoring.

Opening the door we see Marusan sleeping on the bed.

Caper sneaks into the room and pours the potion into Marusan's mouth just as he wakes. He chokes on the potion. Leaf chops his head off. Marusan glows green and dissipates into the air. We're pretty sure that this time he is dead.

I mean really dead. (Not mostly dead.)

Gamer+ News December 9, 2019

After we recorded the Related To Geeks Podcast last Monday Vivian (sound on Gamer+) fell in the house and broke her knee. So we both got to spend the week at the hospital in Memphis. And the Related To Geeks podcast is still in the can. It's a good one. It just hasn't been posted yet.

I used my phone in the hospital to visit Gamer+ and there are some serious shortcomings to the mobile app. Especially in Blogs and Groups. Fortunately we use open source software so it is possible to address these shortcomings.

Meanwhile ...

ZDL continues to write her Fringe Reviews book.

FollowMeAndDie is back from UCon.

I bet you didn't know you are eligible for free advertising on Gamer+.

And we will have Inspired Unreality open game chat tonight at 9:00 PM Central in the gamerplus chatrooms at Tenkar's Tavern on Discord.

Spread the word. Invite your friends, and stay in touch.

Hairy Larry

hairylarry Dec 9 '19 · Comments: 2 · Tags: advertising, gamer+, news, related to geeks, ucon
Just as in your everyday life your character's skills are an essential part of game play. Learn how to use them to your advantage and to the group as a whole. Honing your skills and building on them is one sure way to kick it up a notch.
sound Jul 4 '19 · Comments: 2 · Tags: honing your skills in game play
In my last, third, review I waxed reminiscently about the "halcyon years" of RPGs in the '80s, using Psi World, one of my favourite games ever, as an example of the feel of the '80s.

Unfortunately the '80s had its darker side as well.  A lot of very stupid things were done in that era and it would be remiss of me not to document some of them.  Further, to show I'm capable of more than twee paeans to my favourite games, I thought it time to show, too, what a negative review would look like.

And make no mistake, this review will be unrelentingly negative!

Avalon Hill

The Avalon Hill Game Company (AH) was a powerhouse in board gaming, especially wargaming, with a history stretching back to the early 1950s.  If you play board wargames in particular, even those not made by AH, you owe a debt to this one-time juggernaut.  Many of the standard things that identify wargames--hex grids, stochastic combat results, etc.--were a result of their innovation over the years and it is rare that a wargame can be found which doesn't trace its ancestry to something invented at AH.

In the 1970s, role-playing games started to get introduced and in the late 1970s they took off in ways that surprised hardcore wargamers.  In the 1980s, when it became clear that RPGs were not going to be going away, wargames publishers started looking around for games to publish in this new genre with varying degrees of success.  Simulations Publications, Inc (SPI) published, for example, Dragonquest and Universe, fantasy and science fiction games respectively to mixed success.  (I personally liked both games, but Universe in particular was rather gratuitously complicated in ways that weren't needed.  I could never have run either, but as a player I enjoyed both.)

AH was no exception to this.  They wanted to publish RPGs and in the end they wound up publishing three.  They published the third edition of Runequest (and I am one of, perhaps, five people in the entire world who liked their version of Runequest better than the previous two editions by far) to mixed reviews.  They published an intriguing-in-principle but deeply-flawed-in-execution game called Lords of Creation, and they published today's little gem: Powers & Perils.  (Technically the James Bond 007 RPG was also an AH property, but it was published by a wholly-owned subsidiary and I don't consider it part of AH canon proper.)

... more

Gamer+ News November 25, 2019

If You Play You Win Monday night!

Swords and Wizardry - Lost Lands
DM SD Houston
Monday, 2019-11-25 6:30 pm

The game is held in the gamerplus chatrooms at Tenkar's Tavern on Discord and is preempting Inspired Unreality this week.

If You Play You Win last Friday night!

We played The Chronicles Of Ember, Mine. We explored. We discovered. We nearly got killed. Some of us did get killed. Fortunately we had a wand of ressurection.

ZDL wrote Fringe Review: Spark, on her blog. She says "This is like RPG meets collaborative fiction with a dash of improv..." I hope she does more Fringe Reviews. Give it a read.

On Inspired Unreality, November 18, 2019, Masked and Danger, Vivian, and I discussed Keeping It Real. This may be fantasy roleplaying but the DM and the players can't let it go too far over the edge without ruining the willing suspension of disbelief. A lightly redacted transcript can be found here.

Come and play. Come and chat. Write some stuff. Keep us up to date on your games. Promote your products. Spread the word. Stay in touch.

Hairy Larry

This is an experiment.  I'd like to start reviewing little-known RPGs, past and present, as a way of introducing concepts and ideas that are not known at all in the mainstream of our hobby and are often barely known even among the more … shall we say "obsessive"? … elements.

(Yes, I include myself among the obsessives.)

The first game I'd like to review is a came by a small-press Canadian publisher called Spark

Spark is a decidedly non-traditional role-playing game.  Because of this I cannot work from assumptions that most would share.  Instead I will be using a form of critique I first saw in Goethe's writings when critiquing theatre.  In brief, I will be answering three questions:

1. What was Jason Pitre, the author of Spark, trying to accomplish?
2. How well does he accomplish this?
3. Was this a goal worth accomplishing?

... more

ZDL Nov 22 '19 · Comments: 2 · Tags: review, spark, rules-lite, narrative, fringe

We're reaching deep into the wayback machine for this review.  Today's fringe gem is another game from the (in)famous game publisher Fantasy Games Unlimited (FGU).  As I said in an earlier review of Psi World, FGU was a game company willing to champion and publish any game concept imaginable (with predictable mixed results in quality and sanity).  One of the games I mentioned in my capsule history of them is a very rare beast called Starships & Spacemen (S&S).

... more

ZDL Sep 14 '20 · Comments: 2 · Tags: fgu, fringe, old school, review, starships & spacemen

Today's review is going to come from the weird side of game publishing.  The game is Story Engine and it has a fairly convoluted history that led to its demise and current fate.


Our story begins in 1996 with a small indie press outfit called Hubris Games.  Hubris published a little game called Maelstrom Storytelling, that had some decent indie success spawning four follow-in products in the process.  They also published a free game called Story Bones with the essence of the ideas behind Maelstrom's game system but the setting excised.  Then in 1999 they published this game, Story Engine (sub-titled "Universal Rules") and followed that up with a revised edition in 2001.

... more

ZDL Sep 18 '20 · Comments: 2 · Tags: review, fringe, story engine, drama-focused, anti-wargame
Inspired Unreality open game chat, tonight at 9:00 Central in the gamerplus chatrooms at Tenkar's Tavern on Discord. Our opening topic will be "And What Was Old Shall Now Be New", a nod to OSR and the end of 2020.

If you have never been to Tenkar's Tavern we have an invite for you here.

Follow Me And Die says, "I made a Worldbuilding cheatsheet on Cheatography. I didn't realize that a draft was visible until I started getting emails that it was seen 50, 100, and now 200 times." ZDL and hairylarry have responded with comments about world building RPGs. Have you played any world building RPGs or been involved in world building for gaming or fiction? Follow the link to join the discussion.

Follow Me And Die also says, "I have a third PDF that is now a Silver Best Seller on DriveThruRPG! Random Dungeon, City, & Travel Generation"

Tenkar posts about Knock! a new OSR Zine on Kickstarter. At 212 pages with great artwork and a bold layout this looks interesting.

I added another artist to our collection of public domain fantasy artwork featuring the work of W. Robinson. This fantastic line art could be used in a game, a quest book, or a coloring book.

Like the rest of you I am celebrating the demise of 2020. And What Was Old Shall Now Be New. There will be a post pandemic world.

Vivian and I are planning on celebrating the new year in our traditional style. We're staying home and going to bed early.

Hairy Larry on the fediverse

hairylarry Dec 28 '20 · Comments: 2 · Tags: fantasy art, news, osr, world building, osr zines, new years eve

Continuing in the series I'm calling The Thirty-Six, based on Georges Polti's The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations (original version and a modernized take), today's situation is "deliverance" in which an "unfortunate" is rescued from a "threatener" by a "rescuer".


In contrast to SUPPLICATION, in which the victim of a threat seeks to find succour from someone in power, in deliverance the Unfortunate, while under threat by a Threatener is helped by a Rescuer without beseeching such.  The victim in this case is more passive, and the motivation of the Rescuer is motivated by something extrinsic to both of them, requiring no pleading to take action.

There are two main forms of this situation:

1. Rescue of the condemned.

2. Rescue of someone in dire straits by someone who is indebted or otherwise related to the victim.

What makes this situation ripe for RP purposes is the mystery of why the Rescuer is taking action on behalf of the Unfortunate.  Why is the outlaw gang rescuing the hanged man by shooting out the hanging rope (as is a common trope in western movies)?  (Maybe the outlaw is on a personal quest of vengeance against corrupt and vicious authority.)  What has prompted a group to return a deposed queen to her rightful throne?  (Perhaps it is the children of the queen who seek to restore her.)

And of course the PCs may have their own reasons for becoming Rescuers: anticipation of reward, say, or repayment for past good deeds received, or payment forward for the good deeds of others.

It's a bit trickier to have the PCs as the Unfortunate, however.  Played with a light hand, especially if backed by prior RP (like, say, they gave hospitality to a wounded knight and nursed him to health), it can be a powerful moment, but played clumsily, without a good reason established in advance to call back to, it can come across as stripping players of their agency in regard to the threat.  (A lot of the hatred of the dread GMPC stems from GMPCs being transparently used by the GM to show how awesome that character is by doing what the players can't.  Continually.)

Of course, taking a turn for the darker, the PCs can be the Threatener, hunting down someone (justly or not) only to have a third party intercede and interfere.  Will the interference be successful?  Will they justify the threat they present and make the Rescuer back off or even switch sides?  It could go any way with a good bite of tasty RP!

ZDL Dec 9 '21 · Comments: 2 · Tags: the thirty-six, deliverance, situation two
Show notes for Fantasy and Science Fiction Reads

We discussed:

Universe Unleashed by RobboG

Star Wars: Edge Of The Empire



Home School Game Club at Game Goblin

Dragon Truck

Isaac Asimov

Mary Shelley - Frankenstein

Greek Tragedies


Edward Dunsaney



Honor Harrington

Martha Wells - Murderbot Diaries

Isaac Asimov - The Robots Of Dawn

J. Jacques - Questionable Content


Sylvain Neuvel - Sleeping Giants

Nicky Drayden - The Prey of Gods

China Mieville

Neal Stephenson - Seveneves

Jim C. Hines - Janitors Of The Post-Apocalypse

Ann Leckie - Imperial Radch

Clarks Law - Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Poul Anderson - The Chapter Ends

Neal Schusterman - Arc Of The Scythe

Yu Godai - Avatar Tuner - Digital Devil Saga

C.S. Lewis - The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe

Pratchett, Gaiman - Good Omens

Chuck Palahniuk - The Fight Club

Tamora Pierce - Tortal

James S.A. Corey - The Expanse series

Nicholas Eames - Kings Of The Wyld

J.R.R. Tolkien - The Hobbit, The Trilogy

David Eddington

Terry Brooks

Jack Vance - The Green Pearl, The Dying Earth

Anthea Sharp - Feyland

Fritz Lieber - Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser

Poul Anderson - The Broken Sword

Fred Saberhagen

Dungeons and Dragons

Edgar Rice Burroughs

L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt

Robert E. Howard - The Tower Of The Elephant

Jon Peterson - Playing at the World

George MacDonald - The Princess and the Goblin

Jonathan Swift - Gulliver's Travels

T.H. White - The Once And Future King

E.A. Wyke-Smith - The Marvellous Land Of Snergs

Capetta, McCarthy - Once and Future

Brandon Sanderson - The Emperor's Soul, Mistborn, Wheel Of Time, The Edgedancer, Steelheart, Skyward

Robert Jordan - Wheel Of Time series

Rick Riordan

Cressida Cowell - How To Train Your Dragon

Hairy Larry's Super Shorts

William King - Trollslayer, Skavenslayer - Gotrek and Felix

David Gemmell - Legend - Drust

Terry Pratchett - Good Omens, The Last Hero, Guards Guards, Tiffany Aching, The Wee Free Men, The Witches, Wintersmith, Equal Rites, Soul Music, The Monsters Regiment, Small Gods, The Luggage, Rincewind, The Hogfather, Mort, Going Postal (books and characters discussed)



Neil Gaiman - The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, A Study In Emerald, American Gods

Gene Wolfe

The Wheel Of Time Companion

Max Gladstone - Three Parts Dead

Samuel R. Delaney - Nova

Hillary Bell - A Matter Of Profit

William Morris - The Well At The World's End

Andrzej Sapkowski - The Witcher Series

Douglas Adams

George R.R. Martin - Game Of Thrones

hairylarry Nov 7 '19 · Comments: 2 · Tags: science fiction, literature, fantasy, games
I have been working on a project for a while and it is finally coming together and I have something to show for it. If you are a member of the OSR or Solo groups on Gamer Plus you will have seen the first screenshot.

If you have read my previous blog on solo play, or you are a solo player, then you should have an idea of how solo role play works.

"Solo is a thing"

There are lots of purely generic "Solo Engines"* out there. Mythic is the big one but UNE and CRGE are popular as well. The advantage of a generic solo engine is that once you know how it works you can take to any game. The disadvantage of the a generic solo engine is that it can break the suspension of disbelief and pull you out of the game. If you are using d6 dice pools for all your skill rolls and combat and then suddenly it is all d100 and full page tables. The jolt is even bigger with rules light narrative/story teller games and detail/crunch solo engines like Mythic.

What I like to do is take the flavour of the game I want to play and the dice mechanics and create a customised set of solo tools for each game I play. If you have a table of probabilities for any particular event to happen or not it is not difficult to change it up or down from d100 to d20 to 2d6. Sometimes you lose options and sometimes you gain.

As a solo player I get to play every game on my shelves as I don't have to convince my group to give them a go. I also get to see innovations that make you think that these should be in every game, things so simple that you cannot believe you didn't think of them yourself.

With each new iteration of my solo rules they become slightly more sophisticated. Sophistication does not need to mean complicated. What they always do is stay 'in character' with the game they are designed to match up with. Once I am in the game I don't want to break out of it.

In SWN most challenges at the table are resolved with 2d6. 2d6 is also all you are going to need for the solo rules as well. SWN is perfect for sandbox play an and my solo engine is designed to collect together and build plots and missions that are progressing at their own rate regardless of whether you want to be a part of them or not. The rules do not railroad you and it is not uncommon for there to be more plots the central character is not involved in that the ones they are!

So as a teaser here is one of the spreads from the first draft of the SWN Solo rules. The protagonist is Jesse but don't worry, things turned out well. That day.

*A solo engine is the sum of the game mechanics that emulate the GM in a rolo playing game. 

Peter_R Aug 2 '19 · Comments: 1 · Tags: osr, solo, starts without number, role play
If You Play You Win - Gamer+ Actual Play Podcast

Friday October 4, 6:00 - 9:00 pm Central in the gamerplus chatrooms at Tenkar's Tavern.

DM Draklorx(Kier) -

We'll be playing: Star Wars: Edge of the Empire

The module is the beginner game adventure called: Escape From Mos Shuuta

You are a group of outer rim fringers made up of bounty hunters, smugglers, explorers, and expatriates who have all run afoul of the crime lord, TEEMO THE HUTT! Trapped in the space port Mos Shuuta on the desert world of Tatooine you are running out of time and options, and need to get off of this planet fast! As luck would have it, a Trandoshan slaver by the name of Trex has recently docked his ship the Krayt Fang, and you wouldn't feel too bad about relieving the slaver of his ship. During a chase through the streets with Teemo's henchmen you duck into a Cantina and have only a few moments before they come in after you with their blasters ready.

You do not have to preregister to play. Anyone can jump in anytime. But if you want to preregister you can. Then you can choose your character from pregens. decide on your name, and be ready to go, blasters blazing.
hairylarry Sep 16 '19 · Comments: 1 · Tags: actual play, if you play you win, podcast, rpg, star wars
I've always felt that the primary goal of role playing was to become your character. This can be a difficult goal especially if you have chosen a character that is the antithesis of your own personality. If you are playing a rude self-indulgent character, but your personality is the exact opposite it may take an attitude adjustment to pull it off. 

I have a tendency to play characters who look before they leap, don't crawl out on the limb or take a drink out of the glass before knowing whats's in it. Whenever I think about changing any of that I am less than convinced I could pull it off. Still it might be a lark to try playing someone who is quick to jump into the fray. A character who is self-confident, impulsive and just a little over the top. 

I don't know that I'll make a character adjustment anytime soon. That being said nothing ventured......

sound Jul 12 '19 · Comments: 1

Vivian and I made these up in Inspired Unreality Gamers Chat last Monday.

Please add more in the comments. I'm trying to build a D20 table of quest lighteners so you can randomly throw some humor into your quest.

Some of these are good and some are just jokes. Not that there's anything wrong with jokes. If you've got any good quest jokes put them in the comments too.

The table below was created in CherryTree and copied and pasted into this blog post. The lines aren't visible so I created some white space between entries.

1 Creeping through a dungeon, castle, etc the party sees a horrifying shadow on the wall opposite a turn to the right. When they finally build up the courage to peek around the corner or jump in with swords drawn they see a little kitty playing with a candle.

2 Stealth mode on the party is sneaking through the woods, swamp, or grasslands when they come to a river with a baby floating face down. Throwing caution to the wind they dive in to rescue the baby only to find out it's a doll. After they struggle back to the river bank a little girl walks up and says, "Thank you for rescuing my baby doll." Then she takes the doll and walks off never to be seen again.3

The bald cleric, Rogain, is extremely devout and has deep faith in his God. However whenever he meets a priest or pilgrim from another religion he converts immediately and follows his new God with equal fervor. For some reason, whenever he is near a tavern, he becomes a devout follower of Dionysius.

4 A bizarro world vampire is un-undead and he's scared of the dark.

5 A party of three dwarves wading through a creek sees an extremely large alligator moving toward them. One of the dwarves pulls out his sling shot and loads it with a cup of mud which he shoots into the alligator's eye. Moral of the story?

6 When the carnival came to town last year the little baby dragons were all the rage. When the city folk learned how much baby dragons ate they pitched them in the sewer. Now this year you are creeping through the sewer trying to storm the castle. You make a left turn and what do you see/smell? A rather odiferous dragon. And it's not a baby anymore.

7 Three skeletons walked into a bar and ordered three pints. The bartender served the skeletons and then turned to the barmaid and said, "Better go get a mop."

8 A thief was bent on pilfering a castle. He checked around the back and spied a window partly open. Carefully and quietly he slid the window up and crawled through. As soon as his second leg hit the floor the window slammed shut behind him. The thief froze thinking "Damn, that was loud." Barely breathing he counted 60 seconds but nobody came. It was as dark as a dungeon but the thief still had that wand he stole from the blind wizard. When he brought it out it glowed softly. The thief looked around. He had successfully snuck into a jail cell.

9 The chest just yelled treasure. Look at that big lock. Look at that iron hasp. Look at those reinforced corners. The thief was sure it must be trapped. He checked the hinges. He poked here and there with his dagger. He carefully lifted the lock ever so slightly and checked behind it. Nothing so far. He got out his lock picks but before he started on the lock he wiggled them into the hasp. He tapped gently on the sides and the top. He carefully grabbed one handle and lifted one side of the chest a tiny bit. Sticky his dagger under the corner he peered under it. Nothing. So he went to work on the lock. Before he tried to unlock it he felt here and there for traps. Needles that flew out. A sudden pinch on his finger. Nothing. He finally started working on the lock itself. It opened pretty easily. He carefully set it aside and used his dagger to lift the hasp up. He stuck his dagger through the slot in the hasp and inched the lid open. Nothing happened. "I can't believe that this chest isn't trapped." thought the thief. He took his dagger and opened the lid all the way. The chest was empty.

10 The adventurers were led to believe that the cleric wasn't all the way there. Two screws short of a hinge, if you know what I mean. Nonetheless when the cleric sent for them they went to see what was up. Gold from the collection plate was still gold even if it came from a crazy man. When they got there the cleric said, "I heard you did a good job getting rid of those rats down at the dock. I have a similar problem. You see, I've got bats in my belfry."

11 The jester wore an invisible hat and his shoes were made from the wings of a bat. Nothing was too lowly to be reused and he never hesitated to be amused. As he traveled from here to there he often stopped to pick up trash for he knew that one man's trash was another man's cash.

12 The Order Of White Ninjas were lawful good, like paladins. They considered themselves far superior to the regular ninjas all dressed up in black, the white ninjas only wore white, there was no darkness in them. The only problem was the only place they could sneak around was in hospitals.

hairylarry Aug 20 '19 · Rate: 5 · Comments: 1 · Tags: quest, funny, castle, d20

There's always room for improvement, especially on any web project, but I have all 4 legs reaching the ground so I'll take a minute to explain our new aggregated RSS feed featuring always new content created by Gamer+ gamers.

Most blogs, podcasts, and video channels have RSS feeds. (or atom feeds, same thing but different) When people follow a podcast so they don't miss any episodes they often use the RSS feed so their podcast is updated in their feedreader or even auto downloaded to their device.

Many of the gamers on Gamer+ are content creators. I am, Carl is, The EvilDM is, and lots more. As you will see. So my idea was to find a way to promote their work right here on this site to make it easy for gamers to find the podcasts, blogs, videos, etc. that other gamers on Gamer+ are creating.

So I installed Tiny Tiny RSS and TheEvilDM and I have been busy subscribing to all the feeds we can find that other gamers on this site have available.

If we missed you let us know in the comments. If you start a new web project let us know. Even if it doesn't have an RSS feed let us know. We want to feature your stuff.

So the four legs of the stool are:

1. A scrolling auto updating display of all the new posts on all the feeds we have subscribed to on Tiny Tiny RSS. This is on the left above the banner in the footer.

2. A link list to the homepages of 12 of these creators that changes each time you load a page. This is on the right above the banner in the footer.

3. An auto updating link list to 60 recent posts from the Gamer+ creators. You can access this link at the bottom left of item 2 above, the bottom left of the right block just above the footer. There, is that confusing enough? I think I'll just post the link here.

View last 60 items here

4. A manually updated categorized link list of all the homepages of every feed we have added to Tiny Tiny RSS. This is on the bottom right just above the banner and also on the far right in the footer next to Mobile version. And here's the link for that.

Gamer's Homepages

Did you notice I said manually updated? No, I don't type this stuff in. I run a program I wrote on the exported opml file from Tiny Tiny RSS and the program types it all in. Still it's a thing that has to happen so it won't always happen just as soon as the RSS feeds are updated. And it might happen before the RSS feeds are updated because there is often a delay of about an hour before new posts are displayed.

I am not done working on this but I am happy with it. It's really good. It's all there. It could be better. What else is new?

Like I said, if you're on Gamer+ we want to add your stuff. And if you're not on Gamer+, join, so we can add your stuff. There's a lot of content on Gamer+ already and more all the time. But the amount of content in these feeds that you can easily access right from the footer on every page is more than you will ever have time to consume.

So, Enjoy! And add a comment below.

hairylarry Aug 3 '19 · Comments: 1 · Tags: actual play, blogs, podcasts, video, rss, feeds, atom, chat, stuff, more stuff, help, meta

Our Latest Podcast Episode Is Live!

Check out "The 199.5 Bonus Episode" where we review Dulce from Stronghold Games, share where we have been, talk about Star Trek Games, the hate for Catan, family games over Zoom and more!

We also set the date for episode 200! Which we will record live on March 8th, which you aren't going to want to miss!

TabletopBellhop Mar 7 '23 · Comments: 1 · Tags: podcast
Well ... Caper has a sketchbook. Full of mushrooms from the shire. Some of the sketches are annotated in an arcane language called English Script. Join us at Inspired Unreality as we decipher Caper's sketchbook.

Bring your own topic. All gaming is on topic. We've been enjoying our explorations of Tobbins Shire and personally, I really dig Caper's sketchbook.

Inspired Unreality is held on the first and third Saturdays each month except coming up in November and December we're on Holiday hours, first Saturday only.

For more info and a link go here.

Caper's sketchbook was actually drawn across 42 years by a female mycologist named M. F. Lewis. Now public domain.

Blues Fest was a blast with Hairy Larry and The Flying Hungarians opening the festival. We had more than a few of us who are Related To Geeks on stage and several guests as well.

I added an audio player to my Creative Commons Jazz library and it made all the difference. It's handy being able to enqueu and play entire albums.

Please forward this email to interested parties and share this link!

Hairy Larry

hairylarry Oct 14 '22 · Comments: 1 · Tags: blues fest, creative commons, gamer+, jazz, news, tobbins shire
Gamer+ News September 21, 2020

Happy Autumn. Fall is here. Summer is over. Winter is coming.

Tonight on Inspired Unreality we continue our quest in Wilken Woods. If You Play You Win in the gamerplus chat rooms at Tenkar's Tavern on Discord. Starting at 9:00 PM Central. Jump in jump out. Everyone is welcome.

Here are the session summaries from our game so far.

Next Monday the Related To Geeks Book Club is discussing "The Epic Of Gilgamesh".

ZDL has posted two more Reviews From The Fringe, "Starships & Spacemen" and "Story Engine". These reviews are top notch placing the games in history as well as discussing game mechanics and playabiility.

Follow Me And Die passes 100,000 views on YouTube and he is moving up close to his 1000th subscriber.

Yourbuddy75 posted a link to his Searching For Destiny stream where they are  continuing their endeavors in the Forest of Hope.

And I mean what I say there in the comments.  Always let me know about any projects you are working on and we will promote them at Gamer+. We have so many creative people on Gamer+ that I know I'm not keeping up with them.

Welcome our new gamer, MyrddinWyllt. He's into a lot of horror gaming and literature and he has an interesting blog.

Keep in touch, (on my friendica)
Gamer+ News November 2, 2020

Join us for Inspired Unreality open game chat, tonight at 9:00 Central in the gamerplus chatrooms at Tenkar's Tavern. Our opening topic will be on game prep. Not enough, too much, or just right? Bring your own topic. All gaming is on topic.

If you've never been to Tenkar's Tavern there's an invite for you here.

New podcast up at Anchor. The Related To Geeks Book Club discusses Neuromancer by William Gibson.

For those of you keeping up with "The Archive of the White Master" I posted Session 4. Executive summary: Marusan is dead. (for now) We got another pet. (Rowan the bear-dog) We're back at town with pockets full of platinum and magic weapons.

Read all about it here.

And speaking about podcasts and archives I have a new weekly podcast, From The Archives Of Something Blue. Marty at KASU suggested that we start this back up and I'm doing it all at home and sending it in. It is located at Hairy Larry Rocks Funkwhale. Nice and short with talking about a song, the song, and a promo for Something Blue. This weeks episode features blues harmonica great, Bob Corritore playing with my band, Delta Legends, at the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, Arkansas.

I hope to see you tonight on Inspired Unreality or stop by Gamer+ anytime and let us know what you've been doing.

Hairy Larry (on my Friendica)


We played Virtual Dirty Santa on Discord yesterday. We all passed the wrapped gifts around on a gameboard and then we opened them in order.

Here are the gifts given by those who are Related To Geeks (my family).

Half Halfling

by Larry Heyl CC-BY

My Mother, the midget

Fell for a halfling bard

Who sang her sweet love songs

beneath the pine trees in his yard.

They married in April

Which makes me a Winter's child

Quite mild for a human

As halfling, quite wild.

So yes I'm half halfling

From bald head to hairy toes

I hunt through the forest

Where wild mushrooms grow.

Will I seek adventure

Or farm in the shire?

Sing for my lady love

While I pluck the lyre.

Megan Heyl produced by Megan Heyl

Carl Heyl drawn by Kier Heyl

Gretchen posts Megan dancing behind Megan

Inspired Unreality tonight! Open game chat. Our starting topic will be the importance of tradition in life, literature, and games.

Join us every Monday night at 9:00 Central in the gamerplus chatrooms at Tenkar's Tavern on Discord. If you've never been to Tenkar's Tavern there is an invite for you here.

At our last Related To Geeks Podcast we were all present. Megan, Carl, Kier, Sarah, Vivian, and Larry discussing DIY Gaming.

The music for the podcast is from the song "Treehouse" recorded by NJHB and can be heard on Hairy Larry Rocks Funkwhale.

Enjoy! And Merry Christmas, peace on earth, goodwill to all.

Hairy Larry (on Friendica)

hairylarry Dec 20 '20 · Comments: 1 · Tags: tradition, related to geeks, inspired unreality, games, gaming
Hi all,

I know I've been a bit absent from Gamer+, but hoping to change that in the near future starting... now! 

I am currently open to new clients. I've been a graphic/digital designer for my entire career and wanted to put my feelers out there and utilize my existing network to make my services available to you. Especially those of you who do self-publishing for tabletop RPG's, I'd be available for assist with layout. Companies I've helped with this in the past include Legendary Games and FASA Games.

Currently I'm building out my new portfolio coinciding with the launch of my site at In the meantime, check out my Behance to see my previous work.

Interested in working or collaborating? Feel free to find time on my calendar for a free initial consultation.

Steady tides be with you!


Aqualith Mar 8 '21 · Comments: 1 · Tags: layout, design, clients, portfolio

Everyone wants to buy equipment but nobody wants to think about workflow. Yet, without a well defined idea about anticipated workflow it's difficult to even know what equipment to buy.

One of the advantages of livestreaming is simplified workflow. For instance.

Prepare for the stream.

Do the stream performance.

Check your stats.

Twitch keeps your streams online and it's possible to download them if there's one you want to save. I press the record button in Streamlabs OBS and record everything. So I need big hard drives, video eats disk space. This is how workflow drives equipment purchases.

My workflow is more complicated because my livestream is also a video production environment. I am livestreaming my shows. But I am also producing song videos of me playing my original songs. This is where workflow is most important.

Because there's this thing about video production. It's time consuming. So if you're going to do a lot of video production it's important to simplify your workflow or you end up bogged down in post production. This leads to the dreaded post production backlog where you are unable to keep up and end up with unwatched video footage that you worked to make but will never see the light of day.

The only way I know of to avoid post production backlog is to finish with post before you produce more video. When your performance is on a schedule, like mine, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 3:00 PM Central, you have to be able to zoom through post production and uploading your videos. There is only two or three days until the next performance.

So here's my workflow.

Pre Production

Write songs.

Create backing tracks.

Learn the songs well enough to practice them.


Perform the stream which is livestreamed over twitch, recorded on twitch, and recorded on my hard drive.

Post Production

Log the show.

Create the song videos.

Upload the videos to my peertube instance for easy viewing and to my NextCloud  file sharing site for best quality downloads.


Share links to the songs on my blogs, websites, and social media.

Upload song videos to Youtube or other websites.

I will do an article on promotion later.

Now I want to discuss Post Production and just how I manage to produce a handful of song videos every two days.

I watch the whole show on twitch logging the songs start and end times and marking the songs that should be excerpted for song videos. I add other comments while logging. Most commonly I note where the song video should begin because I don't always hit the groove right from the top.

This takes a little bit longer than it took to play the stream. Producing the log is only part of the purpose here. I am also monitoring my stream quality as viewed on twitch and I am learning from my performance.

For editing my videos I use OpenShot because of ease of use.

I load the stream recorded to the hard drive into OpenShot and I do a rough cut of the songs beginning and end.

I zoom in and fix the cuts to exactly where i want them. I leave the spoken intros and outtros where possible.

I use templates for my title and credits screens changing only the song title. I add them to the video and I place the fades to go from title to video and from video to credits.

This goes really fast. While I still have the song loaded in the editor I do a quality control viewing. Sometimes I decide the song isn't really good enough to post. Sometimes I choose different edit points. Most of the time I am happy with the song and deem it ready to upload. So besides checking the song I am also doing another learning pass listening again to my best performances. So I play the song, log the song and select it for post production, and then I listen again for quality control. This repeated listening may be the most valuable part of my piano practice.

Sometimes I want to include the spoken intro and then start the song later in the performance. This takes only one extra cut. To avoid a jump cut I zoom in on the spoken part so it's just a video of me talking. Then when I start playing I'm back to full screen making a very natural transition. Here's an example.


Here's a video from the same show without the zoomed in intro.


Today's Monday. My last stream was two hours on Saturday. I logged the stream Saturday night. Sunday I produced Something Blue and uploaded it to KASU. So today I get to produce eight song videos. I know I will be able to finish this today, no problem, because of my streamlined workflow.

Because tomorrow I'll be playing another show.

hairylarry Jun 7 '21 · Comments: 1 · Tags: blues, hairylarryland, hairylarry, twitch, piano, jazz
I've been working on the chicken scratch for Ari's book of teas and potions.

m = ^
n = ^
v = v
t = +
l = |
r = \

d = /

o = o

u = u

w = w

other vowels = x


mint = ^x^+
lemon = |x^o^
lavender = |xvx^/x\

So it's just a substitution code but all the marks are very easy to write and, coincidentally, easy to type.
hairylarry Jun 10 '21 · Comments: 1 · Tags: potions, teas, rpg, osr, milyagon, d&d

A bard's songbook is like a magician's spell book in that it contains words of power, songs for wind, songs for rain, songs to make the fire burn hotter and warm the room, songs of companionship to warm the heart.

Ari and Caper worked on Caper's Song Book last night on Inspired Unreality.

First we worked on a list of songs.

Song to make people dance
Song to make people alert
Song to make people like me AKA the opening numbers
Song of reflection

Song of hope

We renamed Song to make people alert to

Song of perception
tin tin aree tin tin aroo
look about look about could be you
jump about jump about one and two
tin tin aree tin tin aroo

and we wrote the lyric.

To be sung by the whole party twice through to increases alertness and perception.

The bard leads the song. The party sings it twice around. Just that helps. Some DMs may give pluses or advantage on perception and other pertinent rolls.

We had a great time and I look forward to filling in more blank pages in Caper's Song Book in the future.

Next week, Monday, August 2, is the first Monday of the month and we will be discussing Fantasy and Science Fiction literature.

hairylarry Jul 27 '21 · Comments: 1 · Tags: bards, d&d, osr, rpg, songs
Continuing in The Thirty-Six, based on Georges Polti's The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations, today's situation is "vengeance of a crime" in which an "avenger" wreaks vengeance upon a "criminal" for past crimes.


In this situation there are only two necessary components: an Avenger out to wreak revenge, and a Criminal upon whom vengeance shall be delivered.  This situation can almost be viewed as the reverse of DELIVERANCE or SUPPLICATION, in that the Avenger could be the Persecutor or Threatener while the Criminal could be viewed as the Suppliant or the Unfortunate.  The difference lies mostly in sympathies: in DELIVERANCE/SUPPLICATION the victim is sympathetic to the onlooker while in this one the victim is viewed negatively.  (Of course playing with viewpoints could have this be a parallel dramatic situation and the resolution could have the story start with VENGEANCE OF A CRIME only to have it, via a mid-plot reveal, turn into DELIVERANCE, say.)

There are three primary forms of this dramatic situation.

1. Vengeance for direct injury upon persons valued by the Avenger: kin and friends, for example.  The nature of the crime can one of violence (death or injury), one of honour (which would include seduction in most cultures) or other such personal injury.

2. Vengeance for more abstract injuries like crimes of property, deception, false accusation or other forms of calumny, or even vengeance for having been robbed of an opportunity for vengeance.  (The opening sentences of "The Cask of Amontillado" would be an example of this type: "The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as best I could, but when he ventured upon insult I swore revenge.")

3. This one is an odd one out: professional pursuit of criminals.  Think cops and detectives here.  While it seems a little oddly out of place in this heading compared to the others, the same dramatic tensions exist.

Vengeance is a dramatic potboiler in RPGs!  In the first two types, it's going to practically spring up by itself in a normal campaign as the femme fatale steals the vital gem, as the orc tribe that massacres villagers the players had grown fond of finds it bit off more than it could chew plus a thousand more things.

That being said, however, that third odd duck out has serious potential for driving campaigns.  Picture the PCs as an investigatory team sent out by the powers that be, or self-motivated (for mercenary reasons, or others) to hunt down criminals.  An old west campaign, for example, (even if it's the weird west or such) could have the PCs be lawmen or bounty hunters quite easily, and such professions would exist almost anywhere.

Similarly, even in places like Ancient China or medieval Europe you often found magistrates who had personal investigation and enforcement arms (even if the methods were ... unscientific) who would solve crimes.  Moving this into an RP scenario would not be difficult.

So never underestimate the power of vengeance and crime to drive RP in games!

ZDL Dec 13 '21 · Comments: 1 · Tags: the thirty-six, situation three, vengeance of a crime
Inspired Unreality open game chat tomorrow, Saturday January 8, at 11:00 AM Central. Bring your own topic. All gaming is on topic.

Inspired Unreality is held in the gamerplus chat rooms at Tenkar's Tavern on Discord. Everyone is welcome to come chat about games.

Last week was Fantasy and Science Fiction and I did some short readings from the Lyonesse Trilogy by Jack Vance illustrating my idea that every NPC deserves at least two sentences. There is nothing like short descriptive text to help the DM portray the NPC in a believable manner. Jack Vance is a master.

Thanks to Ducalisto for joining us at Inspired Unreality open game chat.  We discussed fantasy and scifi gaming systems.

The main page at Gamer+ is down. I have been working on it trying to resolve the issue. I've also been adding occasional posts trying to scroll the issue off the screen. So far no luck. Somebody needs to roll luck for me.

All the other pages are working fine. You can still post and read other people's posts, comment, etc. It's just the Main page that's not working.

So as well as trying to fix Gamer+ I have also been looking into changing platforms for Gamer+. Oxwall is a good platform for computers but the mobile app is poor at best. In today's world most people prefer to use their phone so I would like to upgrade to a platform with good mobile support and good tech support too.

Any suggestions? I have been looking into the Open Source Social Network. I have also used Elgg but I don't know how good the mobile support is on Elgg. It will be work to change platforms so I want to do my research up front.

We got a domestic robot. I for one look forward to serving our robot overlords. But until then scrub that floor.

Vivian and I played an Ari and Caper in a Milyagon game yesterday. The brownies made Ari a wreathed hat out of wildflowers that acts like a love charm. The Milyagon witch gave Ari a basket to keep it in so it's not "on" all the time.

Vivian also filled in a lot of back story about Ari and Tude and set us up for an encounter with a family she met on the road.


Hairy Larry


(Previously posted on Publish0X and BGG on 19 Feb 2020)

I need to confess something. It's likely an unpopular opinion, but this is the internet so I get to have and share it. Sorry. Here we go: I hate the term 'zine'.

Don't get me wrong. I love the concept and the form factor. I prefer the size, it's portability, and affordability. It feels great in your hand and you can take it anywhere or leave them lying around on a coffee table. Spill some coffee on it? No big deal. The one aspect I cannot stand is the name.

I just can't stand the sound of the term, whether or not you pronounce it zeen or rhymes-with-pine. I get that it's been used for decades and spans beyond just tabletop gaming roots. It's got underground history in dozens of entertainment niches I am probably quite unaware of. But the term itself just makes me grit my teeth too much to say it, much less write it. If in conversation, I won't be legalistic or project my prejudice against it's use, but in case you never see or hear me utter it; now you know why!

"But Ryan, it's a great shorthand. It helps me not have to explain what it's about," you might suggest. My counter argument for that is: you're going to explain what it's all about anyway, right? Just call it a magazine.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. I tried to keep it digest-able because I know you've got a lot to do today. Let me know how wrong I am in the comments.

Steady tides be with you,Ryan | Aqualith Media

Photo credit goes to Annie Spratt on Unsplash.

Aqualith Mar 23 '20 · Comments: 1 · Tags: osr, roleplaying, communities, products, resources

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