Sunday, 8 December 2019

RPGs with the family

Image result for alien rpgI've had a few games of the new Alien RPG - not with a group but with my 12-year old son Bruce. This is his first proper introduction to roleplaying games (we have experimented before but this is the first time he's taken it seriously) and because he knows I have a huge love for Alien he was very attentive.

We did three games - escape from an infected colony to a waiting ship, deal with a rogue synthetic who murdered the ship's crew to obtain an alien specimen for transport, then deal with the alien on the ship. As the games progressed he got more and more into it, and now he's always asking, 'When is the next game, when is the next game?'

We had a long conversation about gaming today and now he wants to try Cyberpunk. I'm going to use the Mini Six system, for ease of use and adapt my Cyber Streets game to it, and he's already designed a character named Pin and designed her background and motivations. Set in a future London where commodoties and resources are scarce - except through the Corporations - it's a rough-and-tumble action game with streetwise attitude and cool concepts.

If the games go well I'll adapt the D6 system and release Cyber Streets as a Mini Six sourcebook. I tried it once before as a 'To The Stars, Stellar Cadets!' book but it wasn't great, and I'm a little more creative with my PDF layouts these days.

I'm looking forward to these games with Bruce. Hopefully I'll branch out and get other people involved, do some online gaming. Most of all, it's great to be creating a world with my son.

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Saturday, 7 December 2019

WEG Star Wars RPG - The Rancor Pit

The Rancor Pit Forum Index

When West End Games released 'Star Wars - The Roleplaying Game' in 1987 it hit the hobby, and Star Wars fandom, in many ways; a huge new RPG was on the scene and was immediately accessible, it added lore and history to the Star Wars universe (it was the seed of the Expanded Universe, after all) and it created a huge following. This following went from strength to strength and with the advent of the internet it just got bigger.

More than twenty years after WEG stopped producing material for the game the fanbase is still strong and the game is still widely played, with fan sourcebooks and new versions avaiolable across the web. Even Fantasy Flight Games got in on the action with the 30th Anniversary edition of the game, in a gorgeous slipcase with te Sourcebook included.

Many WEGSWD6 websites have come and gone, but one of the best has always been The Rancor Pit. It's mainly a message board, now, but the conversations are regular and informative, with a lot of fan-created material that will keep you in games for a long, long time.

The Rancor Pit Forum Index

If you still play Star Wars D6 - and I do - then The Rancor Pit is a great place to visit, talk, swap ideas and opinions and get hold of some great material. Check it out.

Monday, 2 December 2019

WEG D6 Star Wars RPG

I was reading a thread about which games we miss from our youth.

I'd say WEG Star Wars RPG for me, not just as a great game but as an amazing group experience. It was the most played game in my groups and overshadowed all my other campaigns. I've not played a proper campaign for 20 years, just the odd game here and there.

I really miss it.

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Saturday, 30 November 2019

Games just for me!!!!!

The Alien RPG is out soon. There's a Dune RPG coming out in a few months.

Have I fallen through a wormhole into 'RPGs-I've-wanted-for-ages' world? It's exciting, and the perfect time to start getting a whole new gaming group together. New worlds, faces, adventures, and friends.

ALIEN RPG Interview with Tomas Härenstam

I've made no secret of it - ALIEN is my favourite movie of all time and the fact that there is an ALIEN RPG hitting the shelves makes me excited in ways I can't describe.

Having played the Coriolis roleplaying game and enjoying it immensley, knowing that the new ALIEN game would share the same mechanics was great news. When I got my hands on the Cinematic Starter Kit earlier in the year I was more than happy; the tone, the design, the atmosphere the game was creating. I was satisfied that the whole thing was in safe hands.

I grabbed a few words from Tomas Härenstam, the game's director and rules designer.

The ALIEN franchise is a huge one; how did you manage to land that license? Was it something you actively sought out?

ALIEN is really a dream franchise for us to work on. It started as a brainstorm about which licenses we would like to work with if we could wish for anything. We ended up with a list of five an ALIEN was definitely on the list. Shortly after, I got in touch via Joe LeFavi at Genuine Entertainment via a mutual acquaintance. Joe works with licensing in Hollywood and has all the right connections - and it turned out he's also a big fan of Free League games, particularly Tales From the Loop. We started discussing ALIEN, Joe took it to 20th Century Fox, negotiations followed and a few months later the agreement was signed. It's really been an amazing journey, and Joe and Fox have really been great partners.

I've been a fan of ALIEN since 1982 - it's my favourite movie ever - and it has influenced me in all kinds of ways in my gaming. What is your history with the movies, from ALIEN to ALIEN: COVENANT and everything in between?

All of us at Free League are huge ALIEN fans as well, and the movies have influenced our work in RPGs for sure, particularly Coriolis which is also a sci-fi game. For the ALIEN RPG, we brought on sci-fi author Drew Gaska who has been an ALIEN franchise consultant for Fox and is a true expert on the universe. Working with Drew and diving deep into this universe has been great.

The different movies, games and other media vary in their approach to the source material and universe of ALIEN. Was there a specific atmosphere you wanted to create, or did you just want a huge melting pot where groups could bring their own preferences? Was there a specific movie you focused attention on?

For the tone and style of the game, we have focused on the first two movies, and the game also takes place a few years after ALIENS. That said, we do bring in source material from the prequel movies as well as from novels, comics and other games. The core rulebook really works as a huge resource book for the entire ALIEN universe, useful also for people who are not roleplayers I think.

What was the support from 20th Century Fox like? Were there strict conditions or were you given free reign to include/create what you wanted?

It's been great to work with them. We have to stay within canon of course, but I wouldn't say they gave us very strict conditions, no. They have of course examined and approved everything we have done, but I must say it's been a smooth process. I think it also helps to have Drew on board, as they know him from before.

The system has been widely discussed and showcased in the Cinematic Starter Kit released earlier in the year and everyone has their favourite aspects to the game. What is your personal favourite part of the game, and what are you most proud of?

Hm, as the rules designer I'd have to say the stress mechanic with the Stress Dice. I think they help create the right mood at the gaming table, in an easy and accessible way that doesn't slow the game down. Beyond that, I'm super proud of the work that the others in the team have done on them game, particularly Drew Gaska, Martin Grip (lead artist), John R. Mullaney (vehicle and ship art) and Christian Granath (graphic designer).

The timeline covers the key moments of the ALIEN universe. Are there any plans to expand beyond that timeline? How much leeway do you have to add whole new material to the lore?

For now, we're staying around the year 2183. We might move forward a little bit in time in future supplements. As for new material in the lore - we're adding new stories and storylines for sure, but we're doing this in synch with Fox and their other licensing partners.

I have heard rumours of a few tasty sourcebooks; what do you have planned for immediate future releases to support the main game?

Yep! First up is actually a boxed Cinematic starter set, that we aim to launch in late spring. Then, in August, we plan to release a Colonial Marines sourcebook and a new Cinematic scenario, Destroyer of Worlds by Drew Gaska.

ALIEN is my favourite movie of the franchise and my preferred sequel is ALIEN ISOLATION. There will be a lot of attention on the primary sequels, such as ALIENS, but are there any plans to release material for these smaller stories and locations, such as the Seegson company or the Sevastopol Station? How much material will you include from the multiple sources, such as the novels and the comics? 

We do have quite a lot of references to material from novels, comics and other games in the core rulebook, including mentions of Seegson and Sevastopol station. There will surely be more of that in coming supplements. We want to be part of developing a larg, shared ALIEN universe!

You must have had access to a lot of, if not every, piece of material in the ALIEN vault so, on a personal note, what was your favourite thing about working on the license? Did you discover or realise things about the franchise you didn't know or consider before, and how will you include those discoveries in the game? 

Oh, for sure - diving deep into a franchise like this really means you'll find lots of information you were not aware of. Even fairly basic stuff like how space travel really works in the ALIEN universe - I don't think I had a very clear idea of that before working on the game and creating rules for it - that required a lot of research!

What was the hardest part of working on this license?

Hm, probably that we need to make sure we truly hit the right tone and style for ALIEN, and meet, or hopefully even exceed, the expectations of the community. That can sometimes be hard, but also very rewarding.

This game must be one of the most anticipated games of the year. How excited are you about releasing the ALIEN RPG out into the gaming community? 

EXTREMELY exited! I'm personally going to PAX Unplugged on December 6-8 in Philadelphia to launch the game, really looking forward to that!

Friday, 29 November 2019

Action heroes need love too

Do you know which action hero doesn't get enough attention?

Rick O'Connell.

Yeah, the guy from the three Mummy movies.

He's a great action dude in a great trilogy of movies, fights when he has to, has one-liners, really takes some beating and is just as cool as heckers. I mean, look at his fight on the riverboat in the first film, he just totally kicks arse and even has time to be funny about it. He's the kind of character I'd like to play in a pulp adventure game.

I think he's even up there with Indiana Jones as that exasperated action hero who isn't afraid to be terrified of the things he faces off with. He just gets past that and gets on with what he knows ie: shooting and punching lots of bad guys.

It helps that Brendan Fraser is a hero of mine, just an all-round decent dude and a great actor.

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Alien RPG thoughts

I've made some notes on the kind of game I want to run with the new Alien RPG, and most of them have nothing to do with the creature at all but the machinations of the companies trying to profit from them.

Also, I've decided that the 'big bad company is bad' angle doesn't work for me, and I'm looking at creating secret organisations within the firms, or just really ambitious individuals trying to line their own pockets using company resources, to add a layer of threat. I think it will add depth to the story and dissuade the players from going after the big guy to expose  their lies in some misguided cyberpunk/Shadowrun mission.

The Alien itself will have a showing, but as the finale to a campaign. I'm imagining the game building up to a huge adventure with the monster, like a build-up to the events on Sevastopol where everything comes together.

I've also created a new company called Omega Centauri, who buys patents and copyrights decades out of date and produces them at cut prices - 'Reliable Technology From A Reliable Time'. They're looking to make the big time...

All notes. I need to get a game on!

Wednesday, 27 November 2019


Picked Pandorum up today for 50p, and it's the cool 3D cover one with some decent extras. It's not a bad film, a little silly in parts, but it's pretty solid scifi horror.

I do like the way it's shot, apart from the monsters - the way they're filmed is annoys me a bit, but not enough to ruin the whole film.

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Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Dune on my tabletop

I am so excited about the upcoming Dune movie - after the stunning Blade Runner 2049 I listed Denis Villeneuve as one of the (many) directors who I'd be happy with directing an Alien movie, but Dune? Damn it, that's gold.

I love the Lynch movie but I think I love the design more than the way it treated the story. If the new film has that sense of skewed reality that's fine by me.

I'm also excited about the upcoming tabletop roleplaying game from Gale Force 9 and Modiphius, as gaming in the Dune universe has always fascinated me.

Dune is coming to my two favourite mediums. It's an exciting time!

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Friday, 22 November 2019

One Page RPG

Can't remember if I shared this or not - it's a single page RPG I might put to use at some point in the future.

I just wrote a quick adventure for it, too.