[RPG Newswire] Links from the past few weeks

2015 is the Year of the Busy, apparently. I feel like I've been flat out for the past 6 weeks. I think things are loosening up now, since this is the first weekend in a long while that I have nothing solid planned. I may even catch up on some sleep.

(Probably not, though.)

It's time again to free up some memory. Here are a few of the things that I'd like to keep track of.

On Quarterly OSR Zines
Jason Paul McCartan of InfiniBadger Press is putting together a quarterly magazine called OSR Quarterly. Issue Zero is already in the works and due out soon. You can get a jump on the Submission Guidelines (get paid, and paid well to write OSR articles and adventures) and the Advertising Kit (cheap rates for many OSR gamer eyeballs) for Issue One due in the fall of 2015.

Apparently the idea of a quarterly OSR zine makes sense to several people. Greg Gorgonmilk has put together 666 pages worth of crowdsourced OSR goodies, and has announced Gorgon Quarterly, intended to reprint cool things from around the OSR community. Lay out your own articles for a true embrace of DIY zinedom!

Games Old and New
Interested in hearing how Sandy Petersen came back to Chaosium and what his and Greg Stafford's return might mean for the future of Call of Cthulhu? You're in luck! You can listen to this 20-minute interview with Sandy over on Yog-Sothoth.

Mark Hunt is holding a One Page Space Adventure Contest for the OSR Science Fiction game White Star. The submission deadline is June 30, so get cracking for a chance to win a signed White Star hardcover. There’s been some OGL debate in the comments, but the contest is still on (put the OGL text on the back of your single page adventure).

Speaking on controversy, Monte Cook Games has released a free PDF containing their revamp of the poorly-received Native American recursion included in The Strange. This new version is based on Lakota Sioux stories and myths.

Brent Newhall knows we all need an online Score Generator for John Harper’s successfully-Kickstarted and forthcoming game Blades in the Dark. Push the button and a score pops out, complete with optional twist!

Concrete Advice and Theoretical Musings 
John Stavropoulos jotted down 5 concepts for running successful convention games in this Google+ post. It’s also available as an article on Imagonem. Excellent advice here, and each point is worth remembering. Communicate incessantly, and remember that listening is the larger part of communication..

Ryan Macklin wrestles with thoughts about innovation, relevance, and success in the tabletop RPG space. These thoughts apply beyond the RPG space, however. What do those terms even mean? What happens when you actively pursue innovative ideas? How can we plebians make peace with our non-innovator status?

Connecting Role-Playing, Stage Acting, and Improvisation delves into the similarities and differences between improvisation, LARP, and true stagecraft. It scratches the surface of psychological states and theory. Heavy stuff, and fascinating.

Intro to RPGs 
Apparently RPGs are legit, especially after this recent article in TheGuardian on the Joy of Reading Role-Playing Games. Epidiah Ravachol’s Swords Without Master and Joshua Newman’s Shock: Social Science Fiction are held up as shining examples of joyful RPG reads.

If you need a resource to get some character ideas flowing for a newbie friend, Geek & Sundry offers 5 RPG Character Building Tips for Beginners. And if you need an intro to RPGs, check out Titansgrave, G&S's RPG series spinoff of Tabletop, hosted and GMed by Wil Wheaton. Game sessions are 30-45 minutes and I find them entertaining. The 5 Gold and a Party tagline sounds like something that would come out of one of my games.

Art Appreciation
The Four White Suburban Soccer Moms of the Apocalypse: Look upon this priceless sketch of a terrifying modernization and quake in wordless panic.

Lurk's Workout

“I'm working out and then having drinks, honey! Don't wait up!”

I close the front door behind me, not waiting for an answer. I'm still in my office clothes, and I have my workout bag, which weighs a ton. It can't be helped, with the lead lining and all. Suffice to say I work as an anonymous health care administrator in the city, but I do all right for myself. Especially after hours.

Becky still thinks I go to the gym. I still do most of the time in case anyone checks up on me, but my workouts lately make the toughest cardio class look like a stroll on the beach. I'm never sure I'll even survive.

I swipe my card at the gym and duck out through the locker room. It's a three mile run to the containment facility, and if we're very lucky nobody will ever know we were there.

I change into my workout clothes. It's harder to sneak around wearing a filter mask and lead-lined suit, but tonight I'll need the protection. Liz should be inside already, distracting this week's boyfriend. I can hear Father Cutter singing drunkenly around the corner to keep the guards busy. I pat Bulldog's head on the way by. She nods, starts mouthing the words to the Piña Colada Song, and lowers her eye to the scope, looking for trouble to eliminate with her whisper-quiet rifle.

Whisper to a Scream

Public Domain
via Wikimedia Commons
I know Teddy Roosevelt, but I'm a nobody and it's a hundred years after his death so nobody believes me. I see him when others can't, and occasionally I let him have a ride in my body. Like today, as we wait for the train to get out on the bridge.

He said he came home to New York after his death. Even dead, he's larger than life. He's brave, loud, overconfident, and he gets me in trouble. He's sill kicking himself that he didn't run for reelection. His heart's in the right place, though, and he's just a stand-up dude. Which is why we're starting something in about 2 minutes.

He tells me he can't abide seeing decent people shackled to someone else's work. He tells me we can do something. He tells me that after we free a few, they can help us to free more. He tells me he knows what to say to get them on our side.

We chose the train because the etheric detectors can't quite discern what's train power and what's raw spirit. They say the detectors will find terrorists with etheric bombs, but everybody knows that's total bullshit. They're looking for escapees and for the people who help them, like me.

The Fischer Tape

Partial transcript from FBI surveillance tape labeled “Gwen Fischer’s office, General Etheric building, 24th floor, August 8-9, 1953”. Ms. Fischer's official title at GE was "Assistant", but she was involved in the approval and development of many secret research projects for the company in 1948-53. Working on a weekend wasn't unusual for her.

Soft music plays. Papers rustling, becoming more agitated.

FISCHER: Nigel, step in please. Stop music.

Music stops playing. Door opens and closes.

FISCHER: Has R&D gone insane and nobody bothered to tell me? What the hell is this?

Nigel Cotes was Ms. Fischer’s secretary. Flagged as Communist sympathizer, but vigorously defended by Fischer and GE Legal. Interviewed but not indicted; refer to Congressional Inquiry Proceedings dated September 5, 1951.

NanoRegent, a Tiny Game of Countries

Here's the second game I wrote for the 200 Word RPG Challenge. You can download it (50K PDF) or run it directly from the text below.

This design springs from my love of Birthright and roleplaying a country using domain turns. It's roughly Fate-based, though in NanoRegent you burn Stats like Advantages. This could use a few playtests, as I think it would support episodic campaign play. I'm not sure the renewal rate for Cities is quite right - I originally had a City give +1 every 3 turns, but that could make early turns into more of a death spiral.

I bet it'll take another 20-50 words to explain some concepts more fully, but even that should still fit on both sides of an index card.

Feedback welcome!