Archive for June, 2012

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Two Apocalypse World hacks worth highlighting

20 June, 2012

While I’m not completely convinced that I understand the full complexity of Vincent’s Apocalypse World game, I think it’s wildly interesting and I want to learn more about it. One of the hurdles for me is the kind of post-apocalypse setting it comes with, and the thematic language that accompanies it. It’s not a critique, but somehow it doesn’t swing with me.

That’s why it’s super cool that all sorts of interesting AW hacks are popping up all over the place. Two that have caught my attention lately are John Harper and Paul Riddle’s sizzling war hack The Regiment, and Jason Morningstar’s Lives of Others-inspired secret police hack, so far without a title. In what might just be the bleakest game in a long time, you play Stasi-like operators, criminal investigators, working for a totally totalitarian and totally corrupt and paranoid state.

First version includes a GM toolkit and how to get a game up and running, as well as loads of information about the many (many MANY) different and opposing government agencies, from the Ministry of State Security’s 26 departments (nobody fucks with Department 15!) to the People’s Police, the Ministry of Defense and Minustry of the Interior. Also included are seven playbooks.

I want to play this.

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Life after The Forge

2 June, 2012

If you are a story gamer and have been sleeping under a rock or something for a number of years, this may come as a surprise: the old HQ for indie RPGs The Forge closed down yesterday, 1 June 2012. Although it was always the plan to close it down after it had served its purpose, it still feels weird to me.

When I moved to the UK ten years ago, I was pretty disillusioned by roleplaying. I was so fed up with prepared and pre-written stories and scenarios that were the norm back then, and I simply couldn’t understand why gaming was so unsatisfactory and no-fun for me. I gave away or threw out most of my roleplaying games books, and thought that I had maybe just grown out of it. Bear in mind that I discovered roleplaying games in 1986, when I was 23 years old, so it was never a teenage thing for me.

Things changed, and I remember it like this: after a while I began trawling the internet for alternative games. I eventually came across a game called Dust Devils, which I bought as a PDF and read, I think with my jaw dangling in amazement. This was different, alright, to everything I had encountered so far, but I also couldn’t understand it. At that time I was deeply convinced that a roleplaying game is run by a game master, who has pre-planned “a story” in which the players get to act to a greater or lesser extent.

Via Dust Devils I arrived at The Forge some time in 2004, and started reading the articles there. Ron Edward’s System Does Matter simply blew my mind, and I quickly ordered his game Sorcerer, which is still my favorite game today. Now I understood why my gaming was unhappy gaming – I was looking for something else (without a clue what that was or how to communicate it) than the people I was playing with, and this clash made our gaming sessions wildly dysfunctional and painful.

I thank The Forge and all the marvellous people and discussions there for saving my gaming life.