We need to use more links!

The number of RPG related websites and the frequency of post has gone down a lot over the last few years (though there’s a good case to be made that the overall quality went up as well). I would really love to read much more than I do now, but the way things work I only ever find new sites when they are linked to on pages I am already reading. There are a good number of relatively new sites around that are very much worth reading, but they are always so difficult to find. It’s almost impossible to find anything on the internet if you don’t know it exists, especially when it’s a site with few links that search engines don’t pay attention to.

Most sites have a list of links to others, but when I look at them I mostly see the same names who have been around for 5 years or longer. As more and more of these are discontinued new ones are springing up, but it’s almost impossible to get noticed if you’re not already known. My site had been up for two years before I got linked by anyone and just a few weeks back I discovered two new sites I really enjoy reading now and which have also been around for a year.

What we all need is more links. Not just when it’s necessary but any time you have some kind of reasonable excuse. When you read something that makes you think about writing a new post, include a link to it even if the connection might seem flimsy. It inspired you to write,so it might also interest people who are reading your post. If you have a list of links, as almost everybody does, don’t just include sites of which you are a huge fan. Also include those you somewhat regularly check because you occasionally find something interesting there. Also, write comments. I think everyone loves to see comments on posts, even if it’s a trivial “I liked that”, and it also puts another link to your own site on the internet. When you comment, other people will also be more likely to comment on your posts.

Links aren’t just the currency of the internet,they are also it’s fuel. I think there are a lot more people writing about RPGs now than it seems to anyone individually because everything is so fractured. When old contributors fall away new ones need to replace them. And there are plenty of people who are up for it, but they can only succeed at this if we keep supporting them by sending them our own visitors through links.

I’m a big boy now!

snapshot11

Yeah, look at that. I’m gonna sit with all the cool kids now. Now I got some real street cred with the big OSR people. And not just for some minor crap like trolling. They got me for a Rule 2 breach, the most prestigious of all.

Meh, so what. Wasn’t like I had actually said something that anyone could have taken as being offensive. But so what, it’s not like the people I am talking with are rude or have a habit to pick fights or anything. No reason to rage quit. I already got 16 warnings on the GitP forum.

Though another mod comming in to congratulate the first one on his first ban was a trifle unnecessary. And said first mod then boasting about his power rush was rather dickish.

Want to feel old? (Pathfinder Edition)

Paizo recently announced a new game called Starfinder, which to me sounds a bit like “Pathfinder 40k”, but it worked for Warhammer, so why not? People have been wondering if the work on this game might push Pathfinder into the background and that had me thinking about how long this game has been around already.

If you include the playtest versions – which really were complete games in their own right and didn’t change much over the continued development, so I do – It’s been around for 8 years and 3 months. D&D 3rd edition on the other hand had a total lifetime of 7 years and 6 months. Even if you count from the release of the final core rulebook, Pathfinder will have outlived its predecessor by the end of this year.

Licensing options coming for AGE system?

According to comments made by Jack Norris and Chris Pramas on various forums, Green Ronin publishing is having plans to introduce a license next year that will allow others to release material for the Fantasy Age system with their official permission. The intention is to use something similar to the licensing options for Savage Worlds, which after a quick lookover seem very similar to those offered for Numenera. The approach is quite different to the d20 OGL in that it requires each product released under them to make it very clear that it is an extension to the official game, something you are explicitly forbidden to do for Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition. They also don’t allow you to replicate the entire rules in either unaltered or modified form. You can create new rules and even have them override regular rules of the standard rules system, but either way there is no legal way to make a stand alone product.

How the lincenses for Fantasy Age will look specifically we’ll have to see once they are publically announced. But I already consider this very good news. Fantasy Age really feels like a system that is perfectly suited to be released to the crowds and modified and adapted to a wide variety of creative ideas. People have criticized the Basic Rulebook for being a bit too generic and lightweight, which is not entirely unjustified. But as a basic rules system to expand upon it really seems quite perfect. Having it be just the bare bones actually seems beneficial for that purpose, as adaptations for specific genres and settings mostly only have to add new rules instead of removing or overriding existing ones, which would be a lot easier to manage and less confusing for readers.

The OGL was a huge boost for the do it yourself crowd and small business publishers of RPG, even though in my oppinion the d20 system is really quite terrible. The big mistake WotC made was probably to force publishers big and small, as well as fan creators, to clearly renounce any kind of association with the company or the Dungeons & Dragons game. Because they did just that and did their own separate things. What did they expect to happen with a license like that? The Savage Worlds and Numenera licenses are much more sensible in that way and not only require any buyer of these products to buy official rulebooks as well, but also constantly promote the main game. The AGE system seems so much better suited as a generic system than the d20 system (and also Savage Worlds, in my oppinion), and I am quite excited to see what we might be getting if these plans for licensing agreements come true.

I, for one, welcome our new green overlords. I’ve been working on my Ancient Lands campaign setting for four years now and have very determined plans to eventually release it to the public in one way or another. The big question has always been whether to make it completely system independent or to provide a section with rules specific material for some open system or another. As I said before, Fantasy Age is very close to what I would have wanted to make if I were to make my own game and it really seems quite a perfect fit. Being able to release the Ancient Lands as an AGE system campaign setting would be a dream come true, and even if the license were more restrictive than those for Savage Worlds and Numenera, it would still work for my purposed. I don’t expect anything to happen for another year or so, but it’s still exciting to see an announcement of the plans that are currently being considered at Green Ronin.

Witcher RPG in 2016?

So apparently there’s a Witcher RPG in production to be released at some point next year. It’s being done by R.Talsorian Games and will be using the Fuzion system the company has been using for many other games. I am not familiar with it, but having taken a look at the basic mechanics and looked up popular oppinions about Cyberpunk v3, Artesia, and Bubblegum Crisis I am really not impressed. Consensus about games using the Fuzion system seem almost universally to be that they are greatly done books but all suffering from a pretty bad system. Well, most people to whom a Witcher RPG will appeal will already be very familiar with the setting so wonderful presentation won’t be much consolation.

Looks like another case of “Great License stuck with a bad system” this year, after Conan and John Carter. If I’ll decide to run a Witcher game, I’d simply use Fantasy Age. That thing seems to be almost tailor made for that setting and is so much simpler and lighter.

Fantasy Age is here!

This one almost completely slipped past me. Fantasy Age has been released yesterday.

GRR6001

I got the pdf, which at 15€ for a new game is okay, I guess. It’s only 145 pages long, but I really rather have a compact game than getting needless clutter to make the purchase “worth the money”. I can live with that.

And after a first reading, I really quite like it. It is a very basic and generic system, and that’s what you’re paying for here. A system. There are three classes (warrior, rogue, mage), six races (human, dwarf, elf, gnome, halfling, orc), 12 specializations (4 for each class), 12 magic talents (of 4 spells each), and only 14 monsters. You could play it out of the box, but that’s quite clearly not what this book was written for. This is meant for GMs (and I am so happy that they call it GM and not Timelord or something like that) to take and customize according to the setting of your campaign. Which seems really quite easy, but so far I have not actually spotted a section that would guide new green GMs through the process.

It’s more like GURPS than Pathfinder. If GURPS where a simple and lightweight system. Maybe it’s actually more like Barbarians of Lemuria. While characters have classes and levels, they are really primarily defined by their nine ability scores. A mage with a high Dexterity score and the Focus for Stealth is just as good as a rogue at being sneaky. A rogue with a high Accurace score and the Focus for Light Blades can has just as good a chance to hit as a warrior. And the character level doesn’t really affect that. The level does not determine how high your abilities are, but how many you have. Health and Magic Points are really the only numbers that get bigger at higher levels.

I’ll probably write a full review on this game in a week or two, but so far I already recommend it for anyone interested in a lightweight generic and customizable fantasy system.

The Next Big Thing in OSR?

I just noticed yesterday that there seems to be a pattern of certain trends or even fads among OSR writers and commenters over the years. OSR as it exists today is usually considered to have started with OSRIC in 2006, but really appeared to be a thing that gets discussed on the internet around 2008 or so. Look at any of the oldest websites that are still around and almost none of them is older than that.

And as far as I am able to tell, there have been four main periods so far: Retroclones, Megadungeons, Sandboxes, and Weird Fantasy. Though I am getting the feeling that Weird Fantasy might already be on its final legs. But I am wondering what the next big thing that gets everyone excited might be. I think one good candidate might be Campaign Settings. The most highly praised releases of the last couple of months seem to be Yoon-Suin and A Red and Pleasant Land. Wouldn’t be surprised if we’re going to see more people hopping up on that train, though it might not be lending itself to discussing the theories behind it as much as the previous trends.