British “chap hop” performer Professor Elemental has a tabletop RPG full of whimsy and inspired by Lasers & Feelings.
If you’re not familiar with Professor Elemental, perhaps the best way to introduce the musician is with a song. The most popular track on YouTube is Fighting Trousers. However, I like the whole of The Indifference Engine and once listened to it on repeat while trapped in a slow-moving and frozen train that took nearly twelve hours to get from London to Edinburgh one brutal British winter. Or was it spring?
Steampunk rap? I suspect the Professor’s Style is hard to describe. Still, as the man himself points out, it’s a parody of class, not culture, so it’s not a surprise to discover that the RPG is available at the uncommonly reasonable price of only a few bucks at DriveThruRPG.
You can also win one of five PDF copies by entering the competition below. To take part, log into the widget below (your email remains super-secret, but we need this to manage logistics) and complete the missions it gives you. Each task earns you points, and each point is a chance of being picked at random.a Rafflecopter giveaway
(T&Cs apply. | Ends 19th April 2021)
Winners and drawn at random, and a PDF copy of the game will be sent via DriveThruRPG to the email address you supplied at entry.
In Professor Elemental’s Garden of Escapades, most players take on incredibly quirky characters’ roles while the MC describes the unfolding drama.
The Professor himself and Geoffrey, the monkey butler, may also make a cameo appearance at the MC’s indiscretion.
The RPG was written by Baron von Michael, while the Professor was “Chief scientific disvisor”, and he has agreed to answer some questions.
Why did you decide to write the Garden of Escapades?
We initially aimed to just get something hacked together on the basis that if Wendy’s has an RPG why not Prof? But then it went steadily in a slightly OSR direction of the more random tables the better. Next edition aims to have mooooore taaaaaaables and more modular crunchy bits, lore, locations, a little more tactics, as well as ridiculous party game whimsy. I have a dream of including battle maps but let’s see!
As there’s a next edition coming you looking for feedback with future revisions in mind? What’s the best way for people to contact you?
Please do leave us a review on our DriveThruRPG product page, and tell us what we should do better.
You can also join the Baron’s Discord server here for playtests and to become a collaborator if that floats your boat:
Do you roleplay yourself?
Yes, I regularly roleplay as myself! The good Baron is quite a character, believe me, though utterly sub-optimal, I’m afraid. All his stats are dump stats.
What’s your favourite RPG?
I find it really hard to pick one favourite RPG. I have a terrible feeling if I went down that road I would fill my house with books and bankruptcy. Maybe Cosmic Patrol? With the Garden of Escapades we sort of went out to write the RPG we wanted to play (and read). I got tired of reading serious rulebooks. I love the Megadumbcast podcast to bits and follow it semi-religiously, but it’s basically just a page of 1990s RPGs per day. Gaming should be fun. I aspire to write a 1990s RPG book.
I’m drawn to obscure RPGs, OSR stuff, experimental storygames like James V. West’s “The Pool”, and shamelessly fun and light-hearted ways to play better known games like D&D. Acquisitions Incorporated is my favourite version of D&D. I guess that says something.
I’m actually an old school miniature wargamer / grognard at heart, I just lack opportunities to indulge that. For me steampunk came as a revelation, starting of course with the music of the Prof. From there I looked to the sadly on-pause Clockwork Dollhouse podcast for guidance, then the Nomads of the Time Stream novels of Michael Moorcock. Those sold me on it. Steampunk is a creative paradise and a whole new outlook on life and gaming.
I think there are quite a few games that feature Professor Elemental. Stuff and Nonsense is the one that comes to my mind. Do you have a favourite?
The Prof makes a sort of silent appearance in The Island Of Doctor Lucky, which, for those in the know, is one of the best Cheapass games so far.
What else have you done during the lockdown?
Sleep, go jogging, online beers, sleep, look after my kids… thankfully I’ve rarely had a free moment. I haven’t had any lockdown projects but just before it hit us I had started writing a very odd novel and maybe that will come to light one day. Beware!
What’s planned for after the lockdown?
Hahahaha! “Planned”? Erm, “after lockdown”? I’ll be happy just to survive. I’m extremely lucky to be able to work from home, and I’m just so grateful for that, my continued health, and my family. Everything else is a bonus.
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