I have been thinking about Patreon recently. One of the questions in this years #RPGaDAY was about the kickstarters that you have supported and I have never supported any of them. I tend not to buy games I will never run and my face to face gaming group are die hard Rolemaster players. Given the choice they would still be playing the original 1980s rules but I didn’t give them that choice. We only play 3 times a year but when we do get together we rent a house and have three days of solid gaming. As we are all around 50 years old it takes us three or four months to get over three days of thinking we are teenagers again! If you only get to play 3 times a year you are unlikely to want to lose time to learning a new system that you may well not like.

I also play and run games via PBP and I frequently enjoy these more than the face to face games. You lose the camaraderie but you also lose the petty squabbles and personality clashes. Some you win, some you lose.

When I get a new game it tends to be for research purposes and I like to borrow really good ideas and try and make the games I run even better. The general quality of free games is in my opinion getting better despite the opinion of some that free and pay what you want is lowering the quality of games. My first releases were pretty ropey I will admit but every generation has had higher production standards and goals than the previous version.

Not every GM needs new games but most GMs appreciate new resources. There are a lot of home brew settings out there and you can parachute in a ‘bought’ module or NPC quite easily. Sandbox games appear to be the fashion and in those it is easy to bolt together countless 3rd party materials.

So this brings me to Patreon. I have never been enthused by kickstarter but I can see the appeal of Patreon. If I find a creator that I like and use their materials then why not subscribe for a small fee and get regular new content and frequently content that is not available anywhere else?

I can can envisage whole game systems being sponsored this way. At the moment games publishers have to keep putting out new books to drive more sales. If they don’t then the players can keep on playing with what they already have for ever or worse still if you do not have a gothic horror genre book for your game then the players may buy a gothic horror game to play and put your game back on the shelf.

If the games were Patreon funded then you have a two way channel of communication. If the people who are funding your game say they want x, y, and z then you know right from the start that there is an appetite for x, y and z.

This is a step down the ‘pay to play’ route and I am not sure that if this was explicitly sold as pay to play if people would like the idea but it does also lower the cost of entry into a game. You could play the quick start rules or lite version of a game and then if you like it you subscribe to Patreon and get add on books as they become available and as a subscriber you could get a discount on all the books that have gone before.

I have very little artistic talent and two of the patreon communites I am most interested in are Heroic Maps and Dyson Logos. The first produces beautiful battle maps and floor plans and the other outstanding dungeon maps. These two have talents I lack and cannot fake.

I was interested in how Michael’s patreon community was developing. You can find it here and I am sure he would appreciate the support. This is of interest to me as I run a fanzine. Right now you can buy it on Amazon and the OBS sites but it does seem like a natural fit. I publish the magazine monthly and Patreon is about regular deliveries of content. In effect becoming a patreon would be the same as subscribing to the magazine.

So how do you feel about the idea of subscribing to a game system? Would you entertain the idea of pay to play?

I am guessing the answer is a resounding No! from the vast majority or am I wrong?


Hacking WR&M–A Play Report by Malcolm Coull


A while back Malcolm Coull got in touch with me asking me about the source files for the WR&M character sheets. He had created his own homebrew version of “my little game” and wanted to make some changes to the sheets. Luckily I still found the Indesign sources and made them available to him.

A while later, he let me know about the game he ran using his homebrew game and provided me with his work documents. I immediately thought that this might make a very interesting post, so I asked him to write a guest post for Stargazer’s World where he shares his experiences. He agreed and without further ado, I present to you Martin Coull’s guest post:

“I’m one of those annoying people who can’t pick up a game system or an adventure without thinking ‘hmmm, I don’t like that. Why didn’t they do…?’. Doubly so because, other than a few scenarios in an old D&D campaign, I never *actually* follow through with it. And so the search for the perfect game system goes on, my own Questing Beast of sorts.

I don’t know what made me start leafing through Michael Wolf’s Warrior, Rogue and Mage again either. I’ve long since kicked the D&D habit, and there are very few crunchy games that I can stomach any more, but I’m a Savage Worlds convert, and that can handle most anything I can think of. But here was a compact little game, no classes and levels as such, and most importantly, no D20 mechanic. God how I’ve come to despise that particular polyhedron. But of course, great as it is, I just couldn’t leave it alone. ‘What if it was just a little more like D&D?’ I thought. ‘Going to need a Cleric stat for a start…’. But this time, after checking with the man himself that, yes, messing about with his baby was perfectly fine, I actually did something about it. And so WRM became WRMP; which messes up the WyRM system name, but you can’t win ’em all.

Having made some changes – most superficial like carving up the spell list into two, one for Mage and one for Priest, but some a bit more substantial like adding in an alignment/behaviour system – off I went to my local games club where I’d offered an 8 week stint in their rolling GM program. To be fair, I don’t think the organiser sold it very well as someone referred to it rather dismissively as ‘D&D-lite’, but come the first night I only had 2 sign-ups and just about every other game was full. Nevertheless, the 2 quickly became 3, and over the course of the 2 months, random walk-ups tended to find their way to my table, so by the end we were up 6 – and more importantly, the ones that played once kept coming back. Apart from 1 guy, so I sacrificed his character as a plot device…

Our little homebrew setup of randomly generating a hex island using a dice drop method, and populating some encounters with some random combinations of Story Cubes set the scene, so even with that taking a few hours, as WRM character generation is so quick we were up and playing while most of the other games were still passing round rulebooks. That also was a huge boon when new players appeared as they could be off and running virtually as soon as I’d thought on an in-game entry point for them. I tried to give the characters a mix of things to do, with combat actually being the least common occurrence (like many of my games), but they investigated, snuck around, were diplomatic, picked up herbs and generally did about everything that the skill system offered them. When combat did eventually happen, I’d decided to use the ‘armour soaking damage’ variant, which worked well for plot purposes as otherwise the halfling woodsman might have decapitated a dwarven soldier, and then things might have got messy.

It all worked out in the end, so I took the chance as we wrapped up to solicit some feedback. ‘Great!’ from one player, ‘really like the system’ from another. And ‘any chance we could come back and play a bit more next time?’ sent me home with a warm glow of satisfaction.

From my side of the screen, it was so easy to run. Doing stuff on the fly was a piece of cake, minimal need to even stat things out, with a simple target number system that the players grasped straight away. Some of my changes worked, others didn’t, and I did have a momentary worry about how easy it would be actually damage heavily armoured characters with small weapons (other than via an exploding six on damage), but I can honestly say I was as happy as the players with the end result.

Do I want to tweak it more? Of course! I’m already thinking about a revised spell list, and have added in some religions and a few combat moves for the fighters, but the game ran perfectly well without them, and there is much to be said for NOT adding too many bells and whistles as it’s supposed to be a rules light game. But for something with as low a page count, it packs an awful lot in. And perhaps more than any other game in a similar niche, there appears to be plenty of scope for advancement and character growth – I gave the PC several small ‘bumps’ during the game, but having been a bit miserly with starting attribute points, they were still very manageable by the end, and it was easy to tailor the advances to cut down on anyone just ploughing all their ‘XP’ into the same thing. I also like that the default set up means that characters are decent at their ‘specialty’ from the start, but can still be challenged by more difficult tasks, and yet it is perfectly possible to play a generalist and not feel quickly overwhelmed by rising target numbers, which was another issue I found with later iterations of D20 based games.

It might not be quite perfect, but for a D&D type fantasy game I can’t see me running anything else in future, and includes Savage Worlds.”

Thanks again to Malcolm for sharing his thoughts and experiences. If you have any questions regarding his hack, or any ideas of your own to share, feel free to post in the comments below. As always every comment is highly appreciated.

Humble RPG Book Bundle Warhammer


Wow, that’s not something I have expected. Cubicle 7 and Humble Bundle joined forces to release all Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd Edition books in digital format including the 1st Edition core rulebook.

As with all Humble Bundles there are multiple tiers. But I am sure that the most interesting tier is the $20+ one where you basically get everything. I am also amazed that they included the 1st Edition rules as well, which have never been digitally available before.

If you are even remotely interested in WFRP, you definitely should pick up this bundle, since I doubt you’ll ever get all this material for a lower price. And in addition to that you also support a charitable cause, since a portion of the money made by the Bundle is donated to a charity of your choice. So it’s a win-win-win situation!

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