No Hate At the Table, Please?

I dug up a bunch of my old Star Frontiers and Gamma World characters recently. We didn’t necessarily attach a lot of deep meaning to these characters back then. Somebody died in combat? Oops. Introducing the new guy at the next opportunity. Ship crashed? New crew next session.

This latest debacle over Star Frontiers: New Genesis is just eating at me.

I probably get called a lot of names. I get it. There are people who don’t like me for supporting LGBTQIA++, Jewish rights, Muslim rights, Asian rights, Black rights, Native Americans, and human rights in general. I’m also a big fan of the Constitution of the United States. The First and Second Amendments are pretty important to keeping the rest together.

I know a lot of people probably keep saying, “It’s just a game. ”

Why are we getting so bent out of shape over it? Simple. The Role Playing Game sphere is constantly expanding. Dungeons & Dragons is the game that opened the gate to all kinds of other RPGs. One really bad game published under the banner of the company that originally created D&D could ruin it for all of us.

It’s not “just a game” when people (at NuTSR) are using it to spread hate and fear. Role Playing Games aren’t supposed to be a platform for politics, spreading hate, encouraging real world violence, or any of the other negative crap. It’s about friends, snacks, rolling dice and FUN.

This “New Genesis” sure as heck isn’t your dad’s Star Frontiers.

Star Frontiers Alpha Dawn cover.

As Tom (@jedion357 ) reminded me on Twitter, original Star Frontiers was a fabulous old school RPG that contained no racist nonsense. No, not all characters were created equal. Bad rolls meant less favorable stats just like good ol’ D&D. Your choice of species did affect your character, but the negatives were offset by positives. This kind of game balance was common in the 1980’s. It was simply a game mechanic with no malice attached.

Original Star Frontiers Character Creation was fast and easy.

Back then, we just wanted to play games and have fun.

I know I’ve said it before. “Old Grognard” is not synonymous with hateful attitudes and behavior. We’re not all trapped in a broken, old, warped mentality. Obviously some people are, but I truly feel the number of good OG’s outnumber the rest.

I dug up a bunch of my old Star Frontiers and Gamma World characters recently. We didn’t necessarily attach a lot of deep meaning to these characters back then. Somebody died in combat? Oops. Introducing the new guy at the next opportunity. Ship crashed? New crew next session.

Being a Dralasite or a Yazirian in Star Frontiers was just an added bonus of not being a stock human character. Okay, you came from an “alien” world and maybe you have a backstory that’s two paragraphs long instead of one. Heck, I have characters with a couple of lines of backstory.

Pick up games around home and at conventions lasted anywhere from 30 minutes to four or five hours. (Just like D&D.) Our characters explored strange new worlds, hauled freaky cargo, met bizarre aliens, and brought in just enough Credits to keep our ship running another week. Good times. There was no deep philosophical or political intrigue.

The old Star Frontiers Games was a blast to play. Still is.

Part of why certain facets of the Old School Rules (Renaissance) movement are so popular is their loveable simplicity. D&D is a prime example of this. We didn’t used to have a separate sub class with tons of spiffy features for every character in the game. The designers left a lot of things blank because they didn’t have a comparison like they do now.

Star Frontiers is much the same way. There were no other games quite like it at the time. It was breaking new ground in much the same way D&D and Marvel Superheroes did. Top Secret S.I. another T$R property back in the day, was really one of the first games of its kind. These games were written in the vernacular and sometimes prejudiced attitudes of the time.

I keep coming back to this Wizards of the Coast disclaimer on DriveThruRPG:

We didn’t need this disclaimer back in the 1980’s.

The simple anthropological, sociological, and historical facts are we grew out of these old ways of thinking. We continue to grow and evolve with each passing year. I’m not endorsing the old way of doing things. All I’m saying is, many of us never stopped to think there was an even more enlightened world view to have at the time. We were wrong then, but people can change for the better.

Is using an example of racism, slavery, societal bias, sexism, etc okay within the confines of a game to illustrate a point?

That’s a tough question many of us struggle with. Truthfully, I think if the group has a Session Zero and it’s established that maybe some controversial subjects might come up and it’s okay then great. No, I’ll never endorse Player Characters owning slaves or having bigoted attitudes. But if the group undertakes a crusade to go free some slaves from a wealthy landowner? I think that’s acceptable.

Straight-up evil characters tend to get confiscated at my table even now. I’m not okay with players enacting any kind of sick, racist, homophobic attitudes out through the characters of any game. (Admittedly, I game with my kids, so…)

Those are my rules as a Game Master. My players are all aware of it ahead of time. Keep it relatively clean or else.

Let me give a couple of examples of things that are acceptable:

  • A character has it in her backstory that Orc marauders killed her parents and took her siblings as captives. Should the player be able to say the character generally distrusts Orcs? Probably not unreasonable within the circumstances of the character. Maybe that’s why it’s called “character growth” when she learns to forgive and even like some orcs.
  • The same character above, a Paladin and noble knight of the crown, later catches up to the marauders. Should she be allowed to slaughter every Orc in her path? Where will her loyalties lay? Again, lots of potential character growth.
  • The characters are taken prisoner by a heavily matriarchal tribe of some remote village. The female characters are set free. The male characters are kept in chains. The tribe simply does not trust men and the male characters will have to act as indentured servants until the group either does something to prove their men worthy or they finally leave the village. Maybe the villagers experience some character growth. Maybe the PCs have to experience some character growth as well.

Space games in particular have a ton of potential as teaching tools.

Look at any episode of the Star Trek TV series and you’ll probably find at least one moral lesson being conveyed. The same can be said for many space games. Just because we’re fighting Cylons or clones doesn’t mean we can’t maybe slip a message about the nature of humanity in there. Space exploration games lend themselves even more toward moral lessons. The various Star Trek RPGs have both dropped many such messages in published adventures and homebrew games.

RPGs are excellent for showing younger players the types of behavior you would like them to emulate in the real world. Non-Player Characters can be portrayed as oppressed, discriminated-against or even hated in a specific situation only to be later rescued by the PCs. The young players have a golden opportunity to do the right thing and uphold freedom, justice, and truth in a fictional environment as we hope they do it the real world.

Let’s make RPGs about fun.

Not every game has to be about some super serious deep topic or moral lesson. If the Dungeon Crawl Classics players want to tear up a dungeon, bash things in the head and steal filthy amounts of loot? Let em. As long as it was agreed upon ahead of time.

If the starship crew in Star Frontiers wants to roam the galaxy in search of profitable cargo to haul? Let them. Make the game about their wanderings and people they meet instead of trying to save the galaxy from certain doom.

What we should not be doing, as a certain company recently proved, is roaming the galaxy, learning to hate for the sake of spite and malice because some game designer thought it would be funny to include “Negro” as a player race.

Please remember the Original Star Frontiers had no overt, intentional racist overtones or unkind messages.

The old Star Frontiers was about traveling through space, having adventures from one week to the next, and having fun doing it. Please forget this “NuTSR” abomination even exists and just order the reprints from DriveThruRPG if you have to. It’s better than putting money in the pockets of radical extremists, anyway.

Thank you as always for being here. Please be kind to everyone you meet as much as possible. There’s no room for hate on this planet if we ever want to advance. Take care. See you soon.



Building a Community vs Tearing Others Down.

Yeah, we have some bad actors in the TTRPG community and I’m not talking about role playing skills. I’m not naming any names. They know who they are. They know what they’ve done to get sanctioned, etc so there’s no point in me dragging their names through the mud more.

It has come to light recently that some members of the online TTRPG community tend to want to tear others down more than focusing on the good stuff.

I have to ask, “Why the hate?”

Yeah, we have some bad actors in the TTRPG community and I’m not talking about role playing skills. I’m not naming any names. They know who they are. They know what they’ve done to get sanctioned, etc so there’s no point in me dragging their names through the mud more.

However, we still have other well-meaning folx who seem determined to out and expose these same bad actors every chance possible. I have to ask again. Why?

I may sound a little preachy and I apologize in advance.

Try to keep it positive!

Again, not calling anyone specific out. If you feel compelled to act based upon what I’m saying, great. If not, well, it’s here for anyone who might need it.

We all channel energy with our intent and actions in this Universe. I am speaking as a spiritual being having a physical human experience. (This is NOT to be confused with religion. There is a difference.) IF/F all are bound by Universal Law, then the Law of Attraction dictates you receive what you are. This means you get what the vibration of your thoughts, feelings, and actions would dictate.

Aligning all of the thoughts, feelings, and actions to the greatest and highest good of all is considered a high vibrational state to move into. That’s how Jesus and The Buddha along with many other Ascended Masters were thought to operate. They brought many marvelous things into their sphere while they were on three dimensional Earth. They were thought to be friends to all and act in humanity’s best interest. (No, I’m not starting a cult.)

I’m simply trying to illustrate one of the main tenets of LoA. If you put out a lot of static regarding someone, a group of people, a company, or some other egregore then the Universe/God/Source is probably going to put something in your path that looks a lot like an obstacle or challenge in alignment with that wavelength. If the intention is negative enough, it many even lead to karma that will have to be “worked off” in other lifetimes.

Basically, you get back what you put out. Put out “bad” vibes, get the same back. Promote love, joy, understanding, peace, and prosperity and the Universe/Source/God will eventually respond in kind. Sounds easy enough. People have been doing it for centuries.

Why good vibes are important.

Again, sorry if that sounds preachy.

Focus on what lights you up!

I’m only trying to demonstrate the basic principle that if you work toward building whatever your jam is- whether that’s writing, art, gaming, sculpting, feeding the pigeons, or whatever, then you’re putting up positive waves. Right? Even if you satirize or criticize someone on video or in print for something they probably should change about themselves it’s okay. Tis a small thing and not an overall vibe. The Universe is surprisingly forgiving at times.

My point here is it is better to work on oneself and building a community in the name of the highest and greatest good of all than to repeatedly dis, trash-talk, cancel, or bash on other people. It really kind of is a What Would Jesus Do kinda thing. Or a Golden Rule moment if you prefer. (I’ve never studied Islam or Hinduism to know what their versions are.)

Basically, treat others in the way you, yourself, wish to be treated. I would hope that if I were to start acting like a -phobic, narrow-minded, bigoted ass that someone would call me out on my junk and ask me to make amends. Please do so because it is never my intent to offend based on age, gender identity, sexual preference, race, religion, creed, or politics (in some cases.)

Which is not to say we can’t have preferences.

Regular meditation helps with clarity. I really think so.

I prefer to experience fun things. I choose to game with my family. I enjoy taking naps and walks around the lake. I’d rather meditate if given a chance.

Freaky as it sounds, the Universe doesn’t understand negatives very well. So, I try to phrase things in terms of what I’d prefer to see in life. For example, “I don’t want to get hit in the head with a tire iron, ” becomes “I prefer to be safe and free from harm.” Again, nobody’s perfect. I still point things out to my kids to try to keep them safe.

I prefer to live and associate with communities that are free from hate, fear, and other negative influences. They’re still going to come up. I’m still scouring my Twitter feed for people who post racist, transphobic, homophobic, sexist, ageist comments. I simply prefer to live a peaceful existence and try to keep friends and family comfortable or safe from those things counter to my core beliefs.

It’s okay to drop a bad review sometimes.

Sometimes negative reviews can be good.

For example, if I bought a brand new suit and my wife asked me if I bought a clown costume at the party store, I’d take the suit back and try again before I ever wore it in public. Honestly can sometimes save others from a bad situation. I might drop a bad review on that suit or even the tailor in the vague hopes of saving someone else. But it’s a one and done deal.

Just because I love animals and I’m not afraid of bears doesn’t mean I want to get eaten today. I’m not giving the bear a bad review or even the park. However, I will tell friends and family not to feed wild bears because Mr Brown Bear doesn’t understand, “All out of hot dogs.”

No bears were harmed in the making of this blog.

Mr. Brown Bear does understand that a camper with no food to offer is basically a meat popsicle that screams a lot. It’s not the bear’s fault. He’s just doing what he knows and does best. Which is why we recommend not feeding bears to keep things safe for everyone. Again, that’s not the same as giving bears a bad review.

It’s okay to unapologetically state your beliefs.

I ❤ bears!

This has come up frequently in the United States since that incident with the US Supreme Court in June. (You know the one…) Stating, I believe in “X” is different that saying “everyone must believe in X” This is why I by and large vote my conscience and not by party. This is why I can’t do organized religion. This is why I’m about to have issues with the government in this country.

For a different example of this principle, I don’t care what music you listen to. You like country rap? Great. Listen to it all day, with your headphones on out it public, etc. But, if someone rolls through the neighborhood at 2:00 in the morning playing it at full volume? We’re going to have issues because I prefer other things at a different volume and the old people next door are trying to sleep. The person playing the music is forcing the issue. I’m just stating my preference. There happens to be a noise ordinance in town which is another issue entirely.

Here comes the “however.”

What I started this article about before I got a bit sidetracked, is the notion that dropping a bad review and/or stating your opinion is okay. Flogging it long after the fact? Psychologically, emotionally, and energetically the time could probably be spent in a healthier way doing things to uplift oneself and the community.

It’s okay to set it and forget it when it comes to pointing out others’ bad practices or shoddy goods. Learning to let go in LoA and with negative beliefs is okay. I’m going to come back to it again and again- do what’s best for yourself and the highest good of others.

One last thing to mention:

I will say “Thank you” for pointing out someone for acting like a psychotic, Nazi, transphobic scumbag. I’ll probably steer clear of their company and their product. Please show proof of the claim. And likewise, people should also look into the facts for themselves. If it appears to be true that X said “Y” about this group of loving, caring people over here, then yeah. Sorry. X has to go at that point.

Money is a carrier of energy. It speaks volumes in this country and most others. If there are people saying things you don’t believe in? (TTRPG community especially.) Then, please ignore their Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or whatever. It doesn’t hurt to say, “I’m not buying X’s product because of their track record with this organization that hates people.”

On the other hand, if someone does a good job, please let them know. Praise especially helps all of us writers, ttrpg community especially, know we got something right. That little pat on the back goes a long way!

Choose what makes you happy!

There still comes a point when you have done your due diligence with a person or even a topic of interest. Please, please, please friends and family- DO WHAT LIGHTS YOU UP! Choose joy, love, freedom, and prosperity. Rock your jam every day.

Please, stay safe. Stay healthy. Choose kindness toward others whenever possible.

Thanks for being here. I appreciate you a LOT! You guys are awesome!

A Game Master By Any Other Name.

Neat, huh? No matter what we’re called, we’re still at the head of the table, screen in front of us, running the game. Most of us manage a notebook or a loose pile of disheveled papers in front of us.

Is still running the game! Bwah ha ha!

Most TTRPGs refer to us as “Game Master.” D&D refers to us as “Dungeon Master.” Storyteller (aka World of Darkness) games call us “Storyteller.” Call of Cthulhu and Monster of the Week refer to us as “Keeper.” Dungeon Crawl Classics and Marvel Superheroes refer to our title as “Judge.”

Neat, huh? No matter what we’re called, we’re still at the head of the table, screen in front of us, running the game. Most of us manage a notebook or a loose pile of disheveled papers in front of us. We write down or even type out mounds of NPCs, location notes, tidbits about characters, and hastily scrawled monster stats. I usually have a pad of crossed out hp amounts and a coffee coaster behind my screen beside my dice tray along with heaps of dice, too.

I realized today I haven’t been giving out much GM advice here in my blog.

You can never be too prepared.

I’ve learned a lot in my many years in whatever role you want to call me. I’m usually that guy in the group with a pile of dice, a rulebook and a plan. Most days, that’s really all it takes. Plenty of GMs make it all up as they go. Some of us take copious amounts of notes. Others are literally doodling behind the screen making it look important. Maybe at least write down some NPC names to help keep track of who’s who.

My style is to be overly prepared. I like to have my NPCs drawn up. I like to have my maps already made. I usually have a specific outline or timeline of events built up well in advance. I have my miniatures sorted and ready to go well in advance of needing them. I make random d12 tables for when I have to improvise. I spend hours listening to classical music and prepping convention games ahead of time. (I miss conventions. *sniff.*)

One oddball piece of advice I give to almost all of my creative friends- keep a notebook or something handy to write down ideas when inspiration strikes. I have literally written out NPCs and plot outlines on restaurant napkins. Even if you scrawl out a few hasty lines in your phone’s memo pad, it’s better than forgetting it.

NPCs are key.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Sometimes I generate a ton of characters just to get used to the system. It’s nice to be able to help your players or just hand someone a character in a pinch and say, “play this character. If you like it, keep playing it next week.”

Otherwise, some of my character heap become NPCs. Sometimes one of the BBEG’s lieutenants comes out of the character pile. Other times, the group’s loyal retainer over their entire adventuring careers started out as one of my characters.

I like to have a name for every character I think the group is going to interact with along with a few personality quirks to make them memorable. I try to come up with a voice and a pattern of speech for the ones I know the group will see more than once. I especially love it when the group adopts an NPC for multiple sessions.

Having detailed NPCs is part of the success of GMing. Even if the campaign flops. Even if we only run a few sessions before it all goes to pieces, I’d like to think some of the NPCs will stick with my players long after it ends. That, and it’s one of my favorite components of any game.

Photo by Ishara Kasthuriarachchi on Pexels.com
It's not all about combat statistics. Most games involving NPCs rarely make use of those characters' combat talents at all. Sometimes I don't even spend time detailing them. If I do, I usually hand that character off to one of the players. It's one less thing for me to worry about and the character still contributes. 

For me, having 3-6 personality traits, quirks and ticks written down for an NPC is far more important that the attacks, damage, spells, etc. Sometimes key NPCs are pacifists, outright cowards, or designated non-combatants anyway. Not every NPC is going to fight, especially not to the death. 

So many elements to consider.

From Catacomb of the Wolf Lord.

More on NPCs in another article. We have a wide variety of other game elements to consider. Over the many years I have slowly started to get better about campaign/world mapping. Sometimes it’s a piece of typing paper with town/village names and arrows pointing toward other features with “2 days” written above the arrow indicating travel time on horseback.

Mapping larger land masses is kind of my weak point. Dungeon mapping is still one of my absolute favorite tasks. I lay all of my maps out on the table with dungeon tiles and pre printed blocks. Pretty much all of my maps are hand drawn otherwise.
I still use crudely drawn figures and old school D&D mapping annotations for the most part. It’s what I learned. It’s what I do best when it comes to maps.

I’m getting better about not railroading the players and creating more of an open, sandbox style environment for my players to adventure in. I still want to be prepared for when they stumble into a dungeon or town in the midst of whatever they’re doing. There are plenty of ways to do that.

One of the best pieces of advice I can ever give- Do what works best for you!

Listen to me or any other GM advice. Or don’t. It’s okay. As is often said in Law of Attraction circles, “You can’t get it wrong.”

Some GMs prefer various Virtual Tabletop formats and online map generators. Great! If you find a specific way of doing thing fits well with you and your players, awesome. Player feedback is a helpful tool as well. They want their game to be as much fun as you do. This tidbit applies to mapping, narrative styles, characters and the larger spectrum of the game as a whole.

Knowing all the rules and statistics is great, but

Making it up as I go.

If a rule is bogging you down, make the call and look it up after the game. You can always retcon the correct answer later. The important thing is to keep the game rolling forward.

Likewise, if a rule isn’t working for you, the GM, and your group? Toss it out. Make a house rule that does work for you. Welcome to creative freedom! Make the game yours!

Try to cut down on metagaming at the table as much as reasonably possible. Sometimes I wish certain players didn’t have access to a Monster Manual. This is why I try to find third party monster books or just create my own creatures.

Player: I do 18 damage. It’s dead.
GM: Nope. Still standing. Looks annoyed now.
Player: According to the MM on Page 37, they only have 18 hp max.
GM: Hmm. Here in my notes it says 24. Maybe this particular creature is a bit more buff than the ones you’re used to. OR it’s not one of those at all.
Player: Gulp. Who’s next on the initiative order? This looks grim.

Be kind.

Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com

Players make mistakes. People make mistakes, for that matter. It’s going to happen. Someone calls out a spell they’ve already cast for the day. Someone rolls the wrong damage dice and has been for three rounds. A player forgets to write down their character’s health between sessions.

Please, above all else, be nice. Try to come up with a fair and equitable solution. Try to run the game you would want to be a player in. If it’s not a ruling you’d want to hear as a player, you might want to evaluate the call and try something else. Empathy goes a long way as a GM.

However, that does not mean you need to be a pushover. Just as a judge in the real world has to rule, please try to be fair and understanding, but resolute in your judgments. You ARE the GM, after all. With great responsibility comes awesome power.

One last tidbit for today.

There are a lot of things still to cover about narratives, campaigns, stats, and genres that we can go into later. The one last thought I’d like to leave before I sign off today- As a GM, you’re always going to have to deal with something not covered anywhere else. Scheduling, paying for pizza, printing extra character sheets, lending dice, and a lot of freaky, weird things (player fraternization is one of my favorites. LOL!) come up between games and out of the scope of the game. Just do the best you can with what you’ve got.

It’s never going to be perfect. Being in charge of the game is often more about human relations than characters and rules. Always try to listen and say what’s on your mind. Do what you think is best. Oh, and know when to step back. Remember, you’re in charge of the game, not the players themselves.

People. Am I right?

Thanks for stopping by. More to come. I appreciate you being here.

You folx are the best. Thank You!

Thoughts On a New Space Campaign.

‘ve been inspired by “The Orville” as it is somewhat as I imagine someone’s starship RPG campaign to look like. Unlike other TV series that take themselves too seriously at times, I think many RPG groups do pretty much insist on dropping some witty side banter and the occasional humorous situation.

Picture, if you will, “The Orville” using Star Frontiers Rules.

The sheer awesomeness of Space Freighter One.
Art by @tinyworld96

Gonna try to make my friend on Twitter, @FreighterOne proud with this one. I’m contemplating writing a short series of adventures or at least an outline for 9-12 episodes. It’s going to be centered on a smaller starship crew (the PCs and a few select NPCs) traveling through space and their wacky adventures every week.

I’ve been inspired by “The Orville” as it is somewhat as I imagine someone’s starship RPG campaign to look like. Unlike other TV series that take themselves too seriously at times, I think many RPG groups do pretty much insist on dropping some witty side banter and the occasional humorous situation. I think gamers tend to take things less seriously than Hollywood most of the time, anyway.

The only question I’m having currently is which system to use?

Nothing new, right? I’m always sort of hemming and hawing about which system I want to use for any given game. This is a campaign calling for something easy to learn, easy to play, fast and fun. This campaign will be designed around getting a group together for about a dozen sessions, so nothing too complicated.
My short list of contenders for this game:

  • ICRPG by Runehammer. Warp Shell gives us some sci-fi/space context. It’s a very easy system to work with. I could almost create a generic series of adventures and fill in the details later.
  • FATE by Evil Hat. This game company has been on a roll as of late. I like FATE for its simplicity, ease of adaptation and spiffy dice.
  • FrontierSpace by DwD. I mentioned Star Frontiers earlier. This is sort of the next generation of SF. It’s a bit crunchier than the previous two games. I like it a lot because of its harder sci-fi edge.
  • D6 System by West End Games (Nocturnal Media.) I mean, it worked for Star Wars, right? Plus I can design ships and characters in my head in less time than it takes me to write them down. I can still run this game blindfolded.
  • Shatterzone by West End Games (Precis Intermedia.) If you follow my blog, you probably know I have lots of love for old WEG products and Precis Intermedia for keeping some of them going. Shatterzone has awesome backstory and a deep world design, but it is a bit crunchier than everything else on the list.

Other thoughts included Starfinder, Cortex, SWADE, EGS, MCC, and even D&D 5E. I’m trying to minimize the crunch and find a base set of core rules that most players will have good access to. At the same time, I want a product that is more easily licensed in the event I decide to publish the campaign on DriveThruRPG.

I think with Spelljammer coming out soon, it might be fun to run a space game for a few weeks. You can only do so much fantasy, right? I think a space game set in Earth’s future might be a fun change of pace.

The next part of the series will be the first two episodes.

I like to link the first two episodes of any campaign together and usually the last two or three episodes. What can I say? I take a lot of RPG inspiration from TV and movies. My more structured campaign style functions very well with that format.

I want to do all of this without railroading the players, but unfortunately most published RPG campaigns and many adventures tend to be somewhat railroady in their presentation. I have learned a lot from Monster of the Week in terms of presentation, though. I might create episodes as missions this time.

Thanks again for stopping by. Space Freighter One isn’t helping me with any game development and probably has no idea I mentioned it. I just really wanted to give a friend a shout-out. Please go visit their site if you get a chance. I can’t think of humor and starship without thinking of SFO.

Old Guys Still Get a Bad Rep.

Do what lights you up. Spend energy, money, and time toward people and things you love. Life is too short to waste it on hating things. Ultimately it doesn’t accomplish much of anything.

Change doesn’t happen overnight.

Some of us have been around long enough to know this, especially in the tabletop roleplaying game sphere. I know a lot of us are looked upon by the younger gaming crowd suspiciously, questionably, even with disdain sometimes. The term “Old Grognard” has become akin to an unfortunate stereotype on social media.

I mean, I have a kind of a thick skin when it comes to social media and the internet having been a veteran of many flame wars and troll battles. My recommendation is- Don’t feed the trolls. Disengage. Delete. Ignore. But when it comes someone disparaging all of us OGs (*Old Gamers,) I feel compelled to say something.

Diversity and inclusion have to extend both ways, or at least an attempt needs to be made.

Look, I get that some of us “old” codgers need some encouragement to give up our old, tired ways and long held beliefs. Up until about seven years ago, I was a straight-up ass at times. I’ve said my share of absolutely dumb, hateful, regrettable things in my time. Many of them were unintentional. Still, there are regrets.

The important lessons here are that I’ve learned from years of mistakes. I’m honestly not a racist, homophobic, transphobic arse. I never have been. I don’t hang with Nazis. I have a pretty diverse number of friends from all over the place. Honest, as long as you’re not a hater, we can probably find common ground.

I get it. Old cishet white guys have made a mess of things.

And yet somehow we keep putting them in charge of the United States. (Don’t get me going…) I can’t fix them or their actions any more than I can change the color of my skin. All I can do is the best I can and try to teach my children to do the same.

The same applies in the sphere of TTRPGs as well as many other things in life. It’s not my place to apologize for what others have done. I can’t learn their lessons in life for them. Just like I can’t create world peace by unifying the world under one Creator/Source/Universe or set of divine principles. That’s why it’s called “free will.”

What I can do is a whole different matter.

I love life. And the day I really embraced the notion that ultimately we are all linked together cosmically changed me. My Higher Self knew this. I just had to remember it. (*This is me speaking from the heart. No, I’m not in some New Age Cult or anything.) Here’s the number one message I have for anyone who feels the need to try to influence the behaviors of others by cramming politics, religion, or hate down their throats- DON’T!

I love you, family. All you can ever do is stand up and present your views. What others decide to do with it is up to them. Yeah, it kinda sucks sometimes. But sometimes it’s just enough to help someone turn the corner.

Other times, it’s just better to walk away.

They’re here to learn, too. All of those enraged, hateful, spiteful Internet trolls? Yeah. We don’t have to cancel them. Just don’t give them an audience. Don’t buy into the product. Listen to people you do resonate with.

Do what lights you up. Spend energy, money, and time toward people and things you love. Life is too short to waste it on hating things. Ultimately it doesn’t accomplish much of anything.

“The best revenge is no revenge.”

Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten who said it, but it’s true. When it comes to social media, Unfollow, Block, and Ignore are your best friends. Heck, it’s anonymous to report people on every platform I’ve been on. If someone is being overly horrible toward others, Report them, please. It’s the platform’s job to police itself.

Wait, are we still talking gamer stuff?

Believe it or not, yes I am. I see examples from all sides of the conflict in the #ttrpg space every day. Every time I log on, I’m reminded that, yeah we have some “Old Grognards” in the community that are awful toward others for race, gender, sexual preference, and so forth. It’s not the f*ck okay!

Then we have just as many folx who want to see them canceled. Heck, some probably want to see me canceled. (I’d rather deal with them than the guys who want to tie me up in the woods…) It’s not about the crusade to stamp out everything that offends. It’s about building up a community and showing some caring regard for one another no matter who they are. (*As long as no harm is intended toward others.)

I’m not perfect. I am more than happy to make amends when I stick my foot in my mouth. Many OGs won’t. In fact, the OGs who never apologize are usually the ones who get “us” in trouble. The broader stereotype makes every action by a handful of misguided individuals reflect poorly on the rest. (*If you only knew how many times I had to retype that.)

Ready to go back to talking RPGs again.

I get pretty wound up about this topic. Sorry. All I can do is try to set a good example of being a good example. All I ask is that others try to do the same. Please, support one another regardless. Be kind. Be thoughtful. Try to show some empathy.

If peace, love, joy, and prosperity FOR ALL aren’t your thing? Well, please feel free to block, unfollow, and ignore me, too. Heck, if I’m somehow offensive, feel free to report me. (It wouldn’t be the first time.)

Thank you for being here. I appreciate you with all my heart. Love my #ttrpgfamily. Take care.

Using the Fantasy to Its Fullest

I can’t stress this enough. TTRPGs are a great way to blow off steam. Think about a bunch of carefully painted miniatures on a battle map, slugging it out with sword and spell. D20s and damage dice going back and forth. I would dare say that is far healthier mentally and physically than, say, ambushing and beating the unholy living sh*t out of some kid who bullied us on the playground last month.

There was a time when all I wanted to do was roll dice to punch Orcs in the face and hack Skeletons to tiny bits.

Okay, if we’re being honest, that was yesterday? Earlier this morning maybe? And don’t get me wrong, rolling dice to burn things and blow stuff up still really appeals. It probably always will. (Oh, there’s a “but” coming.)

But, I think the psychology behind some of the more destructive fantasies is worthy of examination. No, I’m not in danger of attracting police attention. Rolling dice and using spells to level buildings is plenty sufficient to keep me off certain watch lists.

So, why all the harshness within TTRPGs?

Maybe it’s an imbalance in the Divine Masculine? Maybe my chakras are misaligned. Maybe it’s an imbalance in my Sacral Chakra? It could possibly be something deeply psychological, and little more.

See, your humble narrator used to get picked on a LOT from the time I was in elementary school all the way through high school. Bullies would ride up to little Jeff and steal his book bag, pull his coat up over his head, or count coup as they rode by to just punch me. Middle school kids can be the most cruel little heathens you can imagine. (I will attest to this now that I have kids of my own at that age.)

That was about the time I discovered roleplaying games. I was 8 or 9 when I was introduced to Marvel Superheroes and Dungeons & Dragons. Ah, good times. That’s where the fantasy took root.

I still got picked on regularly, but now I had a mental outlet for all the pent-up aggression.

Now that I’m older, I think I would have benefited from meditation and all the Zen Buddhism I discovered in high school. I still admire those monks to this day. But, a d20 roll and 1d6 damage had to suffice back then.

The friends I discovered from gaming were true friends. We kinda shared that common “nerd” bond. We played all manner of games where the bad guys got beat sometimes in the most brutal fashion possible. Every one of us enacted some sort of revenge fantasy on orcs (bullies,) goblins (kids teasing us,) and skeletons (general childhood frustrations.) I forgot to mention, Drow were the girls who turned us down and openly mocked us asking for a date. (I had two friends who were big on that one. <cringe>)

The good thing is, NO ONE WAS HURT IN THE REAL WORLD!

I can’t stress this enough. TTRPGs are a great way to blow off steam. Think about a bunch of carefully painted miniatures on a battle map, slugging it out with sword and spell. D20s and damage dice going back and forth. I would dare say that is far healthier mentally and physically than, say, ambushing and beating the unholy living sh*t out of some kid who bullied us on the playground last month.

I hate to use school shootings as another example, but it’s true. Teenagers tend to make a lot of heated emotional decisions that have permanent consequences. Thinking back on it, I could have been one of those kids. Literally. If we’re being totally honest, it’s not like I never thought about it. But I never did it. Cooler heads always prevailed. That was 30+ years ago.

Obviously, that would never, ever happen now. I truly weep in my heart for the kids and families who have suffered at the hands of school shooters and unwarranted gun violence in America. Thank God I and my friends found better ways to channel that aggression without hurting anyone. I sincerely wish more kids would pick up a d20 instead of a gun.

If I’ve learned anything from being an “Old Grognard” it’s that roleplaying can be a good outlet for heroic fantasy.

Supers RPGs such as ICONS are fabulous for making bullies pay for their wrongdoing and making the little guy the hero of the story. That’s sort of the nature of comic books, isn’t it? Science nerd Peter Parker gets bitten by a radioactive spider and gradually becomes a force for epic good. Little Billy Batson says “SHAZAM!” and transforms into a guy with powers rivaling those of Superman. It’s not just about beating up bad guys, but learning what being a hero is all about!

I think that’s the other lesson to be learned here. Our fantasies in any RPG are also a wonderful way to explore all the good things of which we’re capable. Truth, justice, friendship, compassion and freedom are all possible within a game session. Through roleplaying, we can experience life the way we desire it to be. We can try out new personas that are somewhat like our own, but in a way that helps us explore and no one gets hurt.

Have a great day/night wherever you are. Please be kind in the real world. Please be the change you want to see. Thank you for being here. I’m grateful for you.

Note of Gratitude and Congratulations!

Congratulations to April Kit Walsh, Whitney Delagio, Dominique Dickey, Jonaya Kemper, Alexis Sara, and Rae Nedjadi and the folx at Evil Hat Productions! Their game, Thirsty Sword Lesbians became the first RPG to win a Nebula Award from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Holy buckets! Is this awesome or what?

A member of the gaming community recently hit it big.

Congratulations to April Kit Walsh, Whitney Delagio, Dominique Dickey, Jonaya Kemper, Alexis Sara, and Rae Nedjadi and the folx at Evil Hat Productions! Their game, Thirsty Sword Lesbians became the first RPG to win a Nebula Award from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Holy buckets! Is this awesome or what?

Nebula Award for Thirsty Sword Lesbians. Neat!

I think this is going to put Evil Hat on the map even more than before.

Thirsty Sword Lesbians RPG.

One thing I will say about Evil Hat Productions is they seem to really know how to pick them. FATE RPG is an amazing game with several successful spin offs/settings. Monster of the Week by Michael Sands is outstanding in the horror RPG genre as well as being an amazing game in its own right. Now, Thirsty Sword Lesbians by April Kit Walsh has hit big on several fronts. The good times are rolling for our friends at Evil Hat.

There are a couple of things that really stand out about this award as an event in the RPG community that I want to discuss. Aside from one of “our” own, (ours as in an RPG writer) making some headlines, I think it’s great that it’s not one of the big names in gaming for a change. It’s also remarkable to be recognized outside of the usual RPG industry awards such as Origins, ENnies, or Gen Con. Finally, this game uses Powered by the Apocalypse (*Apocalypse World Engine) as its core rules. I’ve been critical of any game using PbtA in the past, but my mind is changing fast.

Confession, I haven’t played this game yet.

Honestly, as much as I uh, love lesbians, I’m still a guy. That’s not to disrespect the gay community. A couple of my best friends are lesbians. Before anyone starts blasting this “Old Grognard” in the RPG community, let’s be clear- I fully support and encourage members of the LGBTQIA++ community. I honestly admire the fact that Thirsty Sword Lesbians was chosen over other industry notables such as D&D, Pathfinder, Star Wars RPG, Savage Worlds, and others.

That’s actually the first thing about this particular award that blows my mind. There have literally been decades of RPGs out there that could have been chosen in years past. I sincerely hope the marketing people at Hasbro had kittens when they found out about this. A little “indie” game did something D&D has never accomplished. Critical Role hasn’t even broken some of these barriers yet. Woot!

I think the rest of the RPG industry should be taking notes over what has been done here.

For any RPG to win an award outside of the usual circles is truly fantastic!

I used to be critical of PbtA. Then I was introduced to Monster of the Week RPG. After making four or five characters, I’m really liking the simplicity of character creation and the playbook style. It’s especially easy on new players. It lays out what characters can do well and helps build backstory in a few easy steps.

Usually one would expect an RPG to be given an award at some event such as Origins, Gen Con, or EN World. (love the ENnies!) For the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America to take notice? Thirsty Sword Lesbians must be a truly outstanding game. Whatever awards this games wins going forward, let’s consider this Nebula Award to be a good step in success.

Like I have pointed out here on my blog before, other Evil Hat games are pretty remarkable in their own right. I think part of what sets Thirsty Sword Lesbians apart is the subject matter. Fabulous art and talented writing help quite a bit, too. Again, I am grateful and really admire what this game has accomplished. Keep up the good work!

I hope someday I manage to put out an RPG product that makes money, wins awards, and raises awareness. I really admire what has been done here. I’m happy and grateful that members of the RPG family are being acknowledged for their hard work.

Congratulations again, Thirsty Sword Lesbians!

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you. Take care.

Please be kind to one another!

Competition Dungeon Crawls?

I’ll be the first person to tell you I’m not a competitive person by nature. There’s plenty to go around in the world as far as I’m concerned. I love me. I have nothing to prove gaming or anywhere in life, really.

Is that still a thing?

Geez! It’s still a thing!

I was poking around recently under Dungeon Crawl Classics and I noticed something peculiar. I know I’m an Old Grognard and a hermit by nature, so maybe it’s just my living under a rock, but… Are people still doing competition dungeon crawls?

I’m just kinda scratching my head on this one. Maybe it’s just enough before my time that we never got into it? Or maybe because I grew up in backwater middle-of-nowhere IA where we just didn’t have the “big” conventions or fancy gaming stores. I dunno.

Brief history lesson incoming.

It’s the Internet. I’m sure there’s more to this story. Lol!

Back in the day, as I understand it, when Gygax and Arneson were first starting out, RPGs grew out of miniatures wargaming. For those who may not be familiar, miniatures wargames are known for tournament competition. Well, somewhere in those early days, someone decided that hacking, slashing, spell-throwing and in-game thievery needed to be a tournament, too.

It’s important to remember that competitive roleplaying is not the same as pvp. It’s more of our party at our table vs some other party at another table running the same dungeon. It’s kind of mind boggling if you think about it. Almost like an alternate reality. Sorry, my urge to insert plots and story gets the best of me.

I remember the glory days of the RPGA. A lot of the things we still do in RPGs today are based around some of their tournament concepts. We still run in 4 hour blocks, especially at conventions. DMs are handed premade modules. A certain degree of table etiquette and decorum is still expected at conventions. Heck, even some of the modules being reprinted now were spawned back in those old RPGA Tournament days.

Surprisingly, some of the earliest and most popular modules that still stand the test of time were tournament modules at Gen Con. In fact, entire series of BECMI modules were based on/used at tournaments. Needless to say D&D has mutated considerably since then. I’m sure someone somewhere is probably still trying to D&D competitively even though the rules and the atmosphere of the game have changed completely.

My heart literally goes out to anyone brave enough to act as a “judge” for one of these tournaments.

It honestly still kinda blows my mind. Wargaming judges have it easy when it comes to being impartial. A rule is a rule. Rulers and tape measures don’t lie. Things are either painted or they’re not… It’s straightforward.

But a dungeon crawl? Oof. I honestly don’t think you could pay me enough to referee what could go very sour at any given moment. People go bonkers over the smallest detail on a regular day running a regular adventure. If you put the time and score elements on that? Eeek! No thank you.

Surprise of surprises. It’s still a thing.

Teamwork makes the dream work.

I checked Goodman Games’ website and sure enough, people are still doing tournaments. I am stunned. I would have thought such a thing would have died out ages ago. DCC is better structured for such a thing, I guess.

There’s a neat game called X Crawl that I played years ago. We were actually in a tournament, but it was very beer-n-pretzels, tongue-in-cheek style gaming. My group had a blast with it. We got beat out by a couple of other tables because we ran a little short of finishing the module. Probably because we were all rolling on the floor laughing for half of it. I promise most of us were even sober.

X Crawl is basically competition dungeon bashing. The conditions are more controlled to keep the different parties on an even keel. The loot, traps, monsters, room positions, and riddles are the same at every table. Time, party cohesion, combat survival, loot collected, rooms discovered, etc all play into your party’s score at the end. It gets kind of intense.

It was fun to try out, but I don’t think I could run one.

I’ll be the first person to tell you I’m not a competitive person by nature. There’s plenty to go around in the world as far as I’m concerned. I love me. I have nothing to prove gaming or anywhere in life, really.

As I like to say, if it’s your jam, that’s great. Please, go out and do it. Have fun.

All I’m saying is, it’s never been a “sport” I care to participate in. I’m interested in challenging myself to write such a module to see how it goes. It’s interesting as a writing challenge. I’ll probably circle back around to that sometime. Could be fun. The biggest hurdle I see is keeping it objective.

As always, thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you!

(*I made it through an Old Grognard article without poking fun at Critical Role or Matt Mercer. I’m behaving, honest.)

Getting Communities Together Pt 3.

We have what are two separate communities under one banner. I’d love to think the RPG crowd on Twitter or really anywhere is one big, happy family. Some things happened recently to remind me that even though we might be family, we still have plenty of duality and separation to go around.

I promise I am going somewhere with all this.

I’m speaking from my own experiences as an OG (Old Gamer.) All of the opinions are mine. I’m not the world’s expert on all things Old Grognard, but I do sort of identify with that label. Labels are a lot of what this all boils down-to in the end.

We have what are two separate communities under one banner. I’d love to think the RPG crowd on Twitter or really anywhere is one big, happy family. Some things happened recently to remind me that even though we might be family, we still have plenty of duality and separation to go around.

“Those darn kids…”

Those “kids” are pretty great, actually.

I think that’s pretty much the battle cry of the Old Grognard online. “Those darn kids” or whatever synonyms are used, is usually the start of some real polarizing arguments. It’s not always wrong, but it’s an attitude that usually leads to trouble of some kind. It’s not fair to the younger generation and quite often speaks poorly of the older person saying it.

We have this up-and-coming crowd of young gamers. Many of them were brought into the hobby through an interest in Critical Role or some other actual play podcast. Many of them got with a group and discovered they like D&D as a hobby. Great!

They learn to make characters. They play their characters with zeal in many cases. They roll dice and eat snacks, too. Many times they breathe new life into old campaigns or allow us to start new ones. We should be celebrating this! “Those darn kids” are keeping the hobby alive. Screw what edition they’re playing!

Some of us old guys are figuring out that if we want new players, we have to change up the paradigm a bit.

This newer crowd/rpg subculture comes with some new and different rules, however. Not necessarily RPG rules, but socio-cultural rules. It’s similar to trying to understand today’s teenagers. In fact, my own kids fall into this category. It requires a lot of patience and understanding to get to know these “kids.”

Session Zero is a great example of this. Prior to a few years ago, I don’t remember it ever actually coming up much. Sometimes we ran a game session where we made new characters and introduced ourselves, but no one ever discussed “red flags” or “X cards.” Most of the time we discovered one another’s sensitivities after someone got offended. Turns out I actually like Session Zero discussions. They’re useful in so many ways!

“Back in my day…” redux.

Pretty sad that some people were like this back then.

Back in the 1980’s and 90’s, we had a much different political, social, and cultural climate here in the United States. The AIDS scare had people paranoid about sexual relations (ironically it turns out the heterosexual community was most affected.) The Satanic Panic had people extra jumpy about RPGs. The religious right was consistently bombarding America with their often pretentious “values.” Cocaine had half of Hollywood, the music industry, government officials, and corporate executives stoned off their asses and making sketchy decisions. (New Coke, anyone? Reaganomics maybe?)

A lot of us growing up back then were taught to shame gay and trans folk. Gamers got “The lecture” about burning their books and throwing away their “evil” dice. Women were still fighting the glass ceiling and trying to be treated as equals in the workplace. Being sensitive to the needs of others was relegated to “political correctness.” Conservatives ruled the US for over a decade. Eesh.

This is not to excuse the bad behaviour of some of the older generations of gamers. There’s never a good excuse for hate, intolerance, or even really bad behaviour. But it does signal a need for change in some of us as people, and should serve as a wake up call for those engaging in such radical nonsense. If you’re old enough to become bitter and jaded toward someone, you’re old enough to figure out how to get your shit straightened out.

These “new” kids…

Respect will get you success!

Learning is an ongoing experience at any age. Change is inevitable at any age. Cultures and societies change mores and values all the time. It’s not always an instant change. For us “old” guys, some of us wonder how change occurred overnight.

If we “Old Grognards” can put our edition differences aside and sit down with these fresh-faced younger players and DM/GMs, we can accomplish so much together. Gaming is supposed to be fun! For crying out loud, have fun with it.

We should all be rolling dice together and yelling “huzzah!” not bickering over whose edition is best or whether we should be concerned over someone’s pronouns. Yes, we should be sensitive toward one another’s feelings, don’t get me wrong. But pronouns should have been agreed upon probably during Session Zero if they weren’t already established.

Please do everyone at your gaming table a huge favor- leave politics, real world religion, and all of your old baggage at the door. There’s plenty of time to find things to argue about on the Internet. If you’re playing a virtual game, it works much the same way when you sit down for Session ONE onward. The bottom line is play nice. RPGs are a cooperative experience, so uh, please cooperate okay?

There may yet be a Part 4 to this discussion.

I feel like Old Grognards still have a bad rep in the RPG community. Maybe some of us have earned it on an individual basis. Unfortunately, the labels and/or stereotypes run both ways. Sometimes we older players and DM/GMs have a hard time finding a pickup game online, at a convention or even at our local FLGS. Sometimes the discrimination runs both ways. Labels, good or bad, run both ways.

I can’t say I entirely blame the younger crowd for not wanting grandpa or grandma at the table. Sometimes we do tend to bog the conversation down with tales of the days of yore. Yesteryear was a very long time ago for some younger gamers. Some of these younger folks don’t quite get the difference between beer-n-pretzels gaming vs a serious campaign, either.

Thanks for stopping by today. I have a ton of good stuff for Power Rangers RPG, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Monster of the Week , and maybe even good old 5E in the works. This topic of the generation gap in gamers and my friend’s battle with “old cishet white guys” has been occupying a lot of my thoughts lately.

Regardless of what edition you play or who is at your regular table, please have fun. Please treat one another with kindness and compassion in real life. I appreciate you for being here. Thank you!

Laughable Old Grognard Moments.

I’m still pretty committed to keeping things positive and this is by no means a jab at anyone in the RPG community. I’ve heard a few things recently that make me chuckle in a way that only some of us older gamers can really relate.

Y’all kids make me laugh.

I mean that in the nicest way, of course. I’m still pretty committed to keeping things positive and this is by no means a jab at anyone in the RPG community. I’ve heard a few things recently that make me chuckle in a way that only some of us older gamers can really relate.

Btw, when I say “kids,” I really mean some of you younger Players and Game Masters that are in your 20s and 30s. Again, not dissing on anyone, it’s all good clean fun. Some of us just don’t remember the glory days of D&D as well and it makes me laugh.

Someone on YouTube said, “When a cleric switches domains, they might lose touch with their deity for a session or two.”

Ravenloft 2E. The campaign setting so potentially brutal it nearly required a change of underwear.

This comment had me rolling on the floor. Anyone remember getting dropped into Realms of Ravenloft (*Not just the module with Strahd) as a cleric from somewhere else? Or a paladin? Congratulations! Your cleric just became a second rate fighter and your paladin just became a fighter with a holy symbol that meant absolutely nothing! Rangers and druids didn’t have it much better.

See, Domains in Ravenloft (*The setting not the specific geographical domain Ravenloft, where Strahd lived,) didn’t have a standard pantheon of deities and demigods per say. The Mists were controlled by an unknown element (*Who we always suspected might be the Old Gods of R’lyeh, but could never confirm due to IP reasons.) The Mists were renowned for grabbing adventurers from other realms such as FR, Greyhawk, Dragonlance, and elsewhere, and dropping them off in a suitable realm where they could be tempted toward evil. The Mists would also rarely spit adventurers back out if they proved to be too incorruptible.

The healing magic in Ravenloft… Let’s just say the healing you wanted you weren’t getting and the magic healing you received was usually at a terrible cost. Remove Curse? That ain’t happening. Raise Dead? If you did have access to it, did you really want to see what happened? Eesh.

Dragonlance has been teased.

Picture of my copy of the AD&D 1E Dragonlance hardcover.

Oh, y’all thought Ravenloft was tough on clerics? At least they had clerics. OG Dragonlance didn’t even mention clerics!

It got better. Mages had to make a critical choice of which Tower of High Sorcery to serve. Spells were limited accordingly. Oh, and Tiamat’s illegitimate sister was on the list of things you could possibly run into at high levels. Paladins and cavaliers had it kinda rough, but not really. (Knightly orders ftw.)

Races played a huge role in old DL. I’ll be curious to see what they do in the new WotC paradigm of warm and fuzzy races everywhere. I will say Minotaurs, Wild Elves and Kender were pretty friggin sweet, though. (Love my Kender thief.) We’ll see what happens.

Someone mentioned they hadn’t been born when the last edition of Spelljammer was new.

Old Spelljammer. Let’s bring back audio cassette tape adventures while we’re at it. (Yes, that really happened.)

Okay, I’m old. I graduated high school in 1990. Spelljammer was first released in 1989.

I was not the first kid on the block to avoid this thing. I remember the Forgotten Realms comic even mentioned it. Great comic series, incidentally. The group in the comics actually had access to a ship with a spelljamming engine.

Despite all advertising efforts, I just couldn’t get into it. For me, sci-fi is its own separate entity. If I wanted to do space fantasy, there’s always Star Wars or Rifts. Nowadays we have Starfinder.

I go back to the notion that there’s nothing wrong with Spelljammer per se. It’s just not my cup of tea. It’s worth a shot, just like Strixhaven and Candlekeep Mysteries. Maybe it will turn out better in 5E. Who knows?

What puzzles me the most about 5E right now is-

Why did they choose to bring back Spelljammer and Dragonlance? Why not Al Qadim or Dark Sun. For crying out loud, they brought back Dark Sun in 4th Ed. It wasn’t that bad.

Or better yet, Greyhawk, Birthright, Oriental Adventures and Mystara are completely untouched by the newest editions. Why not? Are all these old campaign worlds a tough sell for the Mighty Matt Mercer? (Yeah… Old Grognard still poking at Matt. Sorry, kid.) What? They can’t be reimagined for today’s audiences but Spelljammer can? What’s next? Chronomancy?

Here’s a deep thought: If 5E spawned as many or probably several more homebrew campaign worlds than even 3E, why not tap into one or two of them? I mean, there are literally hundreds if not thousands of homebrew campaign settings and ravenous hordes of fans looking to become the next Ed Greenwood or Keith Baker. Why won’t WotC tap into a literally untapped landscape of campaigns with no real IP attachments or potential lawsuits?

Food for thought, anyway. I hope you’re having a great week so far. Take care. Thank you for being here.

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