Just two days ago Gen Con’s owner and CEO Adrian Swartout sent a letter to Indiana’s governor Mike Pence and basically threatened that Gen Con will leave Indianapolis in the future if SB 101 becomes law.
So what is SB 101 all about? It’s called an “religious freedom” bill but in my opinion it’s not about freedom at all. Basically it prevents the state from taking any measures that “burdens” a person’s exercise of religion unless it’s proven that there’s compelling interest and the measures taken are as restrictive as possible. Critics fear that the bill will basically allow citizens and businesses to discriminate against people particularly against gays and lesbians among others.
In my opinion a state should strive for equal rights for all people and provide equal grounds for everyone. But Indiana wants to create a law that limits its abilities to create that open ground because religious people get special rights. In my opinion such a law is against the US constitution, but I am neither a lawyer nor an American citizen, so that’s for other people to decide.
But I was very pleased when I read that Gen Con LLC openly speaks out against such legislations. As I was in Indianapolis in 2010 I was welcomed with open arms and I enjoyed the “warm Hoosier hospitality” everywhere I went. But I would think twice about going there again, if I felt that Indiana business and citizens are basically allowed to discriminate against people based on their religion. And I always thought Christianity was based on tolerance. But as soon as you’re merely feel “burdened”, your precious faith is more important than the rights of your fellow man? That’s bullshit. Religious freedom includes the freedom from religion as well. Equal ground is non-existent if everyone got their way based on their world views.
In my opinion Indianapolis was a perfect fit for Gen Con. The convention thrived there for many years and I felt welcome there. I really hope governor Pence does the right thing and puts this bill into the place it belongs: the recyle bin! Gen Con is a convention where people from all over the world meet to play games, talk about their hobby, make business deals, and spent their hard-earned cash on gaming products, and of course in business all over the city and beyond. And I can fully understand if Gen Con moves to another city if it fears that some of it attendents are not welcome anymore.
Recently I had the chance to do a short interview with Chris Birch from Modiphius. Modiphius is a pretty young company but is already well-known in the RPG community. The Kickstarter for Achtung! Cthulhu was a huge success and their recently released Mutant Year Zero RPG finally brings the Swedish franchise to the english-speaking world. But let’s see what Chris Birch, the man behind Modiphius has to say.
Stargazer: Thanks again for having agreed to answer a couple of questions for my blog. I guess with the announcement of the Conan RPG you have a lot on your plate, so it even more of an honor that you’re willing to take your time for this.
Could you please start by telling a bit about yourself and Modiphius? What was the first roleplaying game you played back in the day? When did you decide to open your own roleplaying business?
Chris: My first was Dungeons & Dragons aged 8, I remember the excitement of being asked if I wanted to join my brother and his girlfriend and their friend who was the dungeon master. I looked forward to those nights immensely. I’ve always been a gamer since, writing my own rules to play solo wargames or boadgames, writing with friends, then finally writing Starblazer Adventures. I like organising teams though, and realised my strength lies in creating ideas, or worlds and helping find the talented people to bring them to life – whether writers or artists. With the advent of Kickstarter it meant it was suddenly possible to start a business without investment (which would be rare with a games business) and so we gave it a go. I have never been happier!
Continue reading Interview: Chris Birch
Technoir, Jeremy Keller’s cyberpunk roleplaying game, was one of the first Kickstarter projects I supported back in 2011. The video he created to promote his game blew me away, and I was excited to get my grubby little hands on a modern cyberpunk game with easy to learn rules.
The Kickstarter was a moderate success (compared with the ones we saw later) with 622 backers pledging $24,255. This was almost 10 times the initial goal of mere $2500. During the Kickstarter several bonus goals had been unlocked including MechNoir (Mechas etc.), HexNoir (Magic) and MoreNoir (which was meant as a toolbox for GMs). Alas only MechNoir was released and the last official update on both the KS page and the official Technoir site is over 2 years old. Obviously the official support is dead.
Overall I don’t regret backing Technoir at all. The game itself has some interesting rules, the book looks good, and it’s the first game of its kind I’ve seen which focuses on story instead of combat, weapon stats and long lists of cyberware. Alas this can be seen as both a good and a bad thing. Technoir feels terribly generic. On the one hand that might be great if you have a strong setting in the back of your mind, but if you don’t, you’re basically on your own.
One of the plans I had when I finally got my hands on the book, was to run a Shadowrun game with it. But instead of creating some house rules for Shadowrun’s fantasy elements I waited for HexNoir instead – which never showed up. So Technoir ended up on one of my “looks-interesting-but-I-can’t-use-it-right-now” shelves.
I pretty much forgot about the game until recently. I’ve been playing in a Shadowrun 3rd Edition campaign which made me interested in all things cyberpunk again. So I checked the Technoir KS page for updates, only to notice that there are none. I still think that Technoir had and has a lot of promise but the lack of official support – please excuse my language – sucks!