Category Archives: Random musings

M42 Orion Nebula, M43, and NGC 1977 complex

Make Games Not War!

Since the release of the D&D Basic Rules another war is waged in the RPG community. This time it’s not about editions but about the people who helped Wizards of the Coast to create D&D 5th Edition.

D&D 5th Edition is definitely the first edition of D&D that was ever openly and publically playtested, WotC listened for the first time to gamers out there, and asked people from the gaming community for advice. That’s a huge thing! And from what I’ve seen so far the 5th Edition is the most inclusive edition ever. The times of chainmail bikinis are gone, as are the times when character archetypes are just white males. D&D has gone a long way since 1974. That’s something we all should celebrate.

But alas most of this is moved into the background, because WotC and especially two of their advisors, Zak Smith and the RPGPundit, are constantly being attacked. There are claims that they are bad people and a toxic influence. I have to admit I am not always eye to eye with both of them. But I am also sure that most of the things they have been accued of are totally unfounded. I will not repeat all the arguments pro and contra here, because it would definitely be beyond the scope of this post, and I propose you do your own research and not just trust what I am writing.

What I propose is that people should check out the new D&D and let WotC know what they like or don’t like. If you see some changes that you welcome, let them know. If you think some aspect of the game offends you, please share your thoughts with them. But don’t dismiss it out of hand, just because someone on the internet said, that two advisors are bad people.

I’d also like to see the people who are waging this war use their energy to try to constructively change this. So you don’t like how something is displayed in some roleplaying game? Write your own or endorse people who do it – in your opinion – right. Talk about the games you enjoy. Share your enthusiasm with other people. This is way better and more productive than trying to make things you don’t like disappear.

Last but not least: we are living in a mostly secular, free, and open society (I guess most of the readers of my blog do at least). A huge part of this freedom is being able to voice our opinions. And this also means that people are free to say or write things that we are offended by. But in an open society this is something we have to tolerate, especially on the internet where different worldviews, religions, cultures, etc. clash regularly. So keep discussing the things that are important to you, but always try to be positive, tolerant and friendly. Ad hominem attacks are always the wrong way to voice one’s opinion!

Ah, one other thing: With this blog my co-authors and I have always tried to focus on the positive sides of gaming. We try to share our enthusiasm for the hobby and talk about the games we love. Sure, we sometimes pointed out things we didn’t like but we always tried to stay friendly and constructive. Please keep this in mind when you’re posting comments below. As always every comment is appreciated but please keep things civil. Thanks in advance!


I’ve got Numenera on my Mind

Last Friday the Fallout campaign I was running came to an end. So we started thinking about what I could run next. For a while we thought about another Fate game, perhaps even Atomic Robo, but then I proposed Numenera. My players had a look at some of the artwork on the internet and listened to me describing the setting in a few broad strokes and were sold immediately.

So I used the last few days to read the core rule book. I quickly realized that most of the rules are pretty simple but should be quite effective, even though I still struggle with the Effort rules. Perhaps I have to check out a few actual play examples to understand how it works. But overall I like the rules a lot.

But the highlight of the game is of course the setting. The combination of the fantasy, science fiction, and post-apocalyptic genres is pretty awesome, the Ninth World is huge, weird, and not too detailed which pretty much allows the GM to do their own thing.

Have you played or run Numenera already? What are your experiences? What are your thoughts on the setting? Please share your comments below.


A new Edition is always a good Thing, isn’t it?

Everyone is talking about the new edition of D&D right now. But as usual not everyone is happy about a new edition. But isn’t a new edition a good thing? It shows that there’s still interest in the game and the company behind it is driving things actively forward. Often clunky rules are fixed and things are streamlined, in other cases new options for players and GMs are made available.  But alas it’s not always all sunshine and flowers.

More often than not, new editions come with a slew of problems. In some cases the old material becomes obsolete and you have to make the hard decision whether to stick to the old edition and stick with a system which is not supported anymore or you can embrace the new one, which usually means buying a lot of books again, just to get the updated versions of material you already have.

And the longer you wait, the more severe the problems become. In most cases old editions go out-of-print as soon as the new edition is announced. Some books quickly become pretty rare and people are paying ridiculous prices on eBay to get their hands on a copy. And if even the PDF version are removed from stores you either need to make the switch or grudingly pay vast sums just to get that one book you still needed.

Since I enjoyed the Shadowrun 3rd edition game a friend run for me recently, I decided to get a couple of 3rd Edition books for myself. But alas that’s easier said than done. I was able to track down used copy of the core rules (I decided to go with the German version this time, since that is what my friend uses), but most of the supplements are either extremely expensive or not to find anywhere. It’s even worse with the Shadowrun 20th Anniversary Edition, which is supposed by many to be the best version of Shadowrun available. I already own a PDF copy, but I also would love to have a print copy as well. Alas I had no luck tracking one down. For some people this is no big deal, especially when they picked up everything they wanted when the older edition was still widely available.

This is just an example what issues you could face if you decide to play an older edition of a game. So I can understand the concern of people who love D&D 4th Edition, or who prefer other games who were made obsolete by new editions. Of course it’s unreasonable to ask publishers to keep old editions in print indefinitely. In most cases at least being able to purchase old games as digital editions is a great help. So, what’s your stance on this subject? Please share your thoughts below!