This is Audio EXP for the 5th of October 2019, and the title of this episode is Stargates and A-holes.
[The following is a transcript of Audio EXP: #12]
It’s just you and me for the next few minutes as we catch up with some of the more important or more exciting stories from the Geek Native blog this week.
Let’s start with a question. Would you trade your life, as it is now, for a life of alien adventure?
It means saying goodbye to your friends, family, pets and gaming crew and starting afresh, with nothing. You don’t know what will happen except that it’ll be dramatic and different. And alien.
Would you do it?
I’ve processed the results of John Carter from Mars roleplaying game survey that Geek Native held. At the end of the podcast, I’ll tell you how other people would answer that question. I was quite surprised by the results.
Let’s stick with sci-fi as we move onto the news.
A company called Wyvern Gaming managed to talk MGM into letting them make a Stargate roleplaying game. I think one of the things they said to MGM in that license pitch might have been Stranger Things. This Stargate RPG will be a 5th edition powered Stargate RPG.
Yep, it’s a Dungeons & Dragons version of Stargate.
Many people are looking forward to this. This week, Wyvern Gaming announced they were open to playtesters. This, of course, means you get early access to the game even if you’re not allowed to talk about it outside your gaming group.
I think you can still apply, but Wyvern Gaming has told me they’ve got plenty of interest. So if you’re interested, don’t delay. You can find instructions on how to do that on Geek Native, just search for Stargate playtest or in the show notes link below.
Now, as I said, many people are looking forward to this. Geek Native’s coverage of the playtest has been a popular article this week. Not everyone agrees, though. I’ve seen no shortage of people saying that D&D will be a rubbish system for Stargate.
But is that fair?
We don’t know which elements of 5th edition that Wyvern Gaming are planning to use. They may very well throw away all magic as being unfit for Stargate.
There’s no world in D&D. Yes, Wizards of the Coast publish adventures in Forgotten Realms, but they also publish adventures in Ravenloft and Eberron which have a very different feel.
The rules in 5th edition favour abstraction and adventure to realism and grit. That, at least, feels right to Stargate.
I guess all I’m saying is that I’m going to wait to see what Wyvern Gaming manage before writing them off.
Oh yeah, it’s worth just pointing out that there has been a Stargate RPG before. At least, it was an SG-1 RPG that was based off Spycraft and the d20 system. The publisher was AEG.
We’re going to leave Stargate for now and pass through Doctor Who as we go.
I recommend a short film called Corporate Monster, it’s only a few minutes long. It’s either a film about a poor guy having a break down under work stress and starts to see aliens monsters when he sees a fellow businessman or its a story about a guy who, thanks to new drugs prescribed to him for his stress issues, can now see through the disguises of the aliens walking among us.
If that sounds like John Carpenter’s “They Live” then that’s exactly right.
Now, the main actor is Kett Turton. Not a name I had in my head, but I won’t forget it now, because IMDB told me that Kett Turton plays ‘vampire Steve’ in iZombie. You know, the goth IT expert who happens to play D&D. I really did not recognise him at all.
I was distracted by his girlfriend. While I really enjoyed Corporate Monster, I spent much of the film thinking ‘she looks like Jenna Coleman’. Spoiler. The actress is Jenna Coleman and she played Clara Oswald in Doctor Who.
If you’re a fan of short films, then there’s about 10 years worth of recommendations all tagged ‘short film‘ on the blog. Have a rummage.
One last piece of sci-fi news caught my attention in the news this week. That’s the fate of Space 1889.
Space 1889 is a Victorian steampunk RPG. Imagine if some of the weird science theories of the Victorian era was right. You know, stuff like aether, a mysterious element, being real. That fringe science was enough to take humanity to the stars where we found and in true Victorian style, colonised aliens on the moon, Mars and other planets.
At the start of the year, a German company called Clockwork Publishing had the license for Space 1889. I’m not even going to try and pronounce the German name of the company, they encourage us to use Clockwork Publishing instead.
Sadly, Clockwork Publishing went bankrupt this year. The last I heard from them they were working with accountants and administrators to try and salvage the business.
This week, Ulisse North America bought the rights to Space 1889. Hopefully, Clockwork got some cash for them. It’s a good fit. Ulisse North America is the American arm of the German Ulisses Spiele publisher, and I can see how that would have made negotiations easier.
Furthermore, the game’s original designer Frank Chadwick seems to have been actively involved. He’s consulting with Ulisses North America.
I’ve played Space 1889 at a convention and had fun.
And conventions are our link to the a-hole section of this podcast.
This week the UK based gaming convention called GamesFest was discovered to have been spouting off all sorts of horrible and extremist views on Twitter.
It turns out they had been doing it for a while, slowly escalating in severity. Given how busy Twitter is if you follow thousands of accounts, few people had noticed.
Things changed when GamesFest noticed a Kickstarter from Chris Spivey, and Darker Hue Studios called Haunted West.
Haunted West is a weird west RPG that very deliberately looks to amplify the forgotten voices of the old west.
The GamesFest account hated the idea that an RPG would focus on anything other than white people. As the account started to tag and mention other people in the gaming community, the gaming community noticed all the extremist and hateful and the gaming community pushed back.
Twitter even started to delete the accounts most racist and homophobic content.
GamesFest’s Twitter and Facebook accounts are both now deleted. I think they removed themselves rather than being eliminated by the social media platforms. It’s hard to be sure, though, the Twitter account had clearly managed to trigger the infamously sluggish algorithms there.
I wanted to spend a little time explaining why Geek Native covered that story. I’ve had at least one comment to say that all a guy was doing was sharing his political views and that Geek Native took part in a witchhunt against him.
I don’t think that’s even close to being right. For a start, it was not a personal account. GamesFest was – and here’s a scary thing – might still be taking money from attendees and traders. Few people want politics to get in the way of their gaming, and I hope even fewer people want to fund a mouthpiece for terror and hate.
At the very least, it was a wholly inappropriate use of a gaming convention’s identity.
It clearly wasn’t a witchhunt either. This guy was thrusting his hate-filled views at people. He was trying to get them to conform to his worldviews, not trying to peacefully live to his.
This last point might be a little controversial. I think that if you can, should do something. Evil wins when good people do nothing.
But I’m mindful of the fact that people game to make friends and enjoy escapism. That does influence the stories on Geek Native.
You won’t read about those game designers who have been kicked out of Facebook groups for inappropriate behaviour. Geek Native does not tend to cover the dozens of squabbles and fights that kick up in the RPG community every month.
It’s a balance. I’ll try and get it right. You’re always welcome to get in touch and give me a steer as to whether you think any given article has struck a balance correctly or got it wrong. Feedback isn’t just welcomed, it’s appreciated.
On that note, let’s talk about the RPG Publisher Spotlight. This is Geek Native’s attempt to shine the light on some indie studios that deserve a little more publicity.
I will announce the October winner shortly, and we’re now picking which publisher will star in November. There’s a choice of five. In the running there are:
- The Tabletop Engineer
- Jeremy Hart
- Cobalt Sage Creations
- Dias Ex Machine Games
- Big Six Adventures
If you’re a Geek Native patron, then you’re able to cast your vote. Please do.
An indie studio that’s naturally found its way into the news this week is Curious Monk. That’s a great name for a publisher, I think.
This week Curious Monk has released issue one of The APERTURE Guide. That’s four adventures for their new APERTURE system now available on DriveThruRPG.
The APERTURE systems looks interesting, using an actual aperture mechanic to try and get a dice roll to be more interesting than a simple ‘You succeed’ or ‘You fail’ result.
Furthermore, you can subscribe to The APERTURE Guide. That means each month you’ll get four new adventures mailed to you. Issue one has a zombie apocalypse game, a medical drama, an adventure set in the wild west and a steampunk train heist.
There’s a free preview up on Geek Native. You can check out the aperture mechanic and one of the adventures.
The biggest story of the week is a freebie too. It absolutely shows you why it’s hard to get noticed as a small RPG publisher.
This week Wendy’s released a free tabletop roleplaying game.
Wendy’s, the burger chain. That Wendy’s. Their game is called “Feast of Legends“, and it is nearly 100 pages long.
I noticed some people calling out the game as nothing but a marketing stunt. That’s right. It absolutely is, and I don’t think Wendy’s are pretending otherwise.
We have some insight into Feast of Legends thanks to Daniel D Fox, the creator of Zweihander, because before going to work full time at Andrews McMeel Universal on Zweihander, Fox worked at VMLY&R. VMLY&R is a marketing agency that works with Wendy’s. So, here and now, I can tell you that the game’s designers are Matt Keck and Tony Marin along with lots of support from co-workers.
I think it’s excellent that Wendy’s has acknowledged the importance of the tabletop community. That’s what is happening whenever a big brand like them spends money to draw interest and acceptance from a community.
But, yeah, there are other food-based RPGs, and they’re from indie studios where two or three extra sales makes for a good weekend.
Is there room for us all? If we make room. So, that’s why I hope efforts like the RPG Publisher Spotlight column are worth the time it takes. Thank you for being part of it if you can.
Wendy’s wasn’t the only big brand with fresh gaming news this week. A certain Wizards of the Coast easily got onto the radar again with more Unearthed Arcana.
The D&D publisher seems to be pushing out their playtesting at quite a pace recently. The new rules after extra character choices for Wizards, Druids and Clerics. Clerics get access to a new domain called Twilight, Druids get a new circle called Wildfire and Wizards access to the tradition of Onomancy.
Onomancy is divination based on the true name of things.
And on that note of divination, let’s wrap up this week’s podcast by returning to the possibility of alien adventures because I mentioned a surprising result.
You see, to win that John Carpenter of Mars RPG you didn’t just have to say whether or not you would say goodbye to every aspect of your life today for a fresh start tomorrow. You also had to say whether you identified as a geek.
So let’s look at the non-geeks. 60% of non-geeks would trade their current life for a new one of alien adventure.
A very different percentage of geeks said the same thing.
Only 25% of geeks were prepared to cast off their current family, friends and pets to start adventuring for real.
Why do you think that is? Are geeks happier than non-geeks? Or are we just more cautious about adventures?
That’s one to ponder over the week and until we catch up with the next episode of Audio EXP. Thanks for listening!
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