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Rogue Games Tabbloid -- June 30, 2009 Edition

Rogue Games Tabbloid -- June 30, 2009 Edition

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Published by Rogue Games
This is the daily PDF collection of the various blog posts made by Rogue Games' Richard Iorio and James Maliszewski. This daily collection is a great mix of gaming history, design notes, and the various topics influencing Richard and James' writing and design work.
This is the daily PDF collection of the various blog posts made by Rogue Games' Richard Iorio and James Maliszewski. This daily collection is a great mix of gaming history, design notes, and the various topics influencing Richard and James' writing and design work.

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Published by: Rogue Games on Jun 30, 2009
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30June2009    
T o d a y s T a b b l o i d    
PERSONA    LNEWSFOR
rio   rio2@rogue-games.net  
1   
ROGUEFEED    
Interview:SkipWilliams   
JUN30,200912:01A.M.   AnyonewhoreadsthisblogknowsthatI’mkeenlyinterestedinliving   connectionsbetweentheearlydaysofthehobbyandthefancultures   outofwhichitgrewandth   epresentday.Sad   ly,thoseconnectionsare    becomingfewerandfewerastheyearstaketheirtoll,whichiswhyit’s   alwaysapleasuretospeakwithsomeonewhowasayoungpersonin   thosedays.SkipWilliamswasstillinschoolwhen
 D&D
 wasreleasedin   1974andthereafterfoundhimselfplayinginthelegendaryGreyhawk   campaign,thesecondRPGcampaigninhistory.Hesubsequentlyworked   atTSRinavarietyofcapacitiesbeforemovingontoWizardsofthe   Coast,wherehewasinvolvedinthedesignofthethirdeditionof   
 Dungeons&Dungeons.
Togethertheseexperiencesgivehimaunique   perspectiveonthehistoryofthehobbyanditsmostfamousgame.  MrWilliamsagreedtoanswerafewquestionsIputtohimandhis   answersarepresentedbelow:  
1.Iusuallybeginbyaskingmyintervieweehowtheyentered    thehobbyofroleplaying.Inyourcase,Isuspectyoubecame   involvedinthehobbybecauseyouwenttoschoolGaryGygax’s   son,Ernie.Isthatcorrect?   
Mostlycorrect.I’vetoldthisstorybefore,soI’llkeepitshort.  IfirstbecameawareofgamingonesummerwhenIsawapictureofof   somepeopleplayingagamewithtanks.Itturnedoutitwasanarticle   aboutGenCon,whichwasheldinLakeGeneva,Wisconsin,myhome   townatthetime.Isoondiscoveredthatseveralofmyschoolclassmates    wereplayingvariouswargames(  
 D&D    
hadnotbeeninventedyet).When   
 D&D    
hittheshelves,Iwassooninvolvedinacoupleofcampaigns,and   myclassmate,ErnieGygaxapproachedmeaboutgettinginvolvedinan   evennewergame,
WarriorsofMars   
.That,inturn,gotmeintroducedto   theGygaxhouseholdandtothefledglingTSR.  
2.WereyouaparticipantintheoriginalGreyhawkcampaign    refereedbyGaryandRobKuntzand,ifso,whichcharacters   didyoup    lay?   
 Ah,youregivingmeachancetosplithairshere.  GaryrantheveryfirstGreyhawkcampaignusingthemapfromthe   
OutdoorSurvival  
gameandhisnotesforthefuture
 D&D    
Game(thevery   first
 D&D    
suggestsgetting
OutdoorSurvival  
andusingitforyour   campaignmap).AfterTSRpublished
 D&D    
,Garydrewacampaignmap   ofhisownandthatbecametheGreyhawksettingeveryoneknows.Iwas   involvedinthatcampaignprettymuchfromthestart,havingseenthe   maplaidoutonGary’sdiningroomtable.  In“NewGreyhawk,”Ihadseveralcharacters.Themostfamousofthese    wasRufusofHommlet(orRufusofSkippertonasGarynamedhimin   oneofhisnovels).RufusexploredtheTempleofElementalEviland   eventuallybecameabigwiginHommlet.He’smentionedinthemodules   GarywroteabouttheTempleofElementalEvilcampaign.  Ialsohadahalflingthief(thesedays
 D&D    
playerswouldcallhima   rogue)calledPhalangas,or“Fingers,”whoranaroundtheCityof   Greyhawkcausingasmuchtroubleashecould,andpickingpocketson   theway.IonlyeverplayedPhalangaswhenRobKuntz,Gary’sco-DM     decidedtorunapickupgame,sonoonehasheardofhimuntilnow.  Mylongest-runningcharacterintheGreyhawkcampaignwasahuman   fighternamedBoaric.Boaricwasnogreatshakes,butherubbedelbows    withthebigboysinthecampaign(Tenser,Erac’sCousin,andRobilarto   nameafew)andwasinvolvedonsomefamousadventures.Hewas   involvedinanabortedexpeditionintotheTombofHorrors.Hisbiggest  accomplishmenttherewasdraggingvariousbitsandpiecesofhisformer   comradesbackout.Healsohackedandslashedhisw    aythrough
 Agai  nst  theGiants
untilcomingtoetotoewithSnurreIronbelly.Thatepisode   endedbadlyforall,andittookawishtogetusbackonourfeet.Boaric   alsomadeafewtripsto
TheLandBeyondtheMagicMirror   
,andbriefly   ownedtheInvulnerableCoatofArnd.  BoaricwastheonlycharacterIplayedunderbothGreyhawkDMs.Gary   andRobKuntz.  
3.Yourethankedbynameinboththe
 AD&DPlayers    Handbook    
and
 DungeonMastersGuide   
.Werethereany   specificcontributionsyoumadetothewritingordevelopment   ofeither?   
Intheearlydaysof
 D&D    
,everybodydidthingshisownway.Iwas   involvedinseveralcam     paignsinmyhighschooldaysandIessentially   foundadifferentversionofthegameineach.Iusedtohavetalkswith   Garyabouthowthegameoughttowork(oftenduringcommercial   breaksfortelevisedfootballgames).Wetalkedabouteverythingfrom     howspellsarecastandaimedtohowmuchaDMoughttomanipulate   eventsinacampaign.Itwasthosetalks,I’msure,thatGarywasthinking   ofwhenhenamedmeacontributor.  
4.Oneofthemany“lost”
 D&D     
supplementsaboutwhich    gamersstilltalkis
 Shadowland    
,aproductthatwouldhave   detailedthePlaneofShadow.AccordingtoGary,thiswasto    
 
Today’sTabbloidPERSONALNEWSFOR
riorio2@rogue-games.net  
30June2009   
2    
havebeenacollaborationbetweenhimselfandyou.Doyou    rememberanythingaboutthisprojectorwhyitnevercameto    pass?   
Irememberquiteabitabuttheproject,andIcameveryclosetogetting   itrollingagainafewyearsago.ItinvolvedanexpeditiontothePlaneof   Shadowwherethepartywoulddiscover,shades,shadowdragons,and   severalofthoseenigmaticquasi-deitiesGarywasalwayspullingoutof   hishat.Mynotesontheplaneeventuallywereco-optedforthe   Planescapesetting.   Whatkilledtheproject,mostly,waslackoftime.Garybecameinterested   ingettinga
 D&D    
Movieofftheground,andIwasinterestedinmy   collegehomeworkandeventuallyinrunningtheGenConGameFair.  Somehow,thetwoofusnevergotbacktogethertofinishthething.  
5.OftheprincipaldesignersofThirdEdition,youretheonly   onewhohadadirectconnectiontotheearliestdaysofthe   hobby.Doyoufeelyourlongstanding,personalconnectionto    thosedaysinformedyourworkon3eand,ifso,how?   
MostlywhatIbroughttothedesigneffortfromthosedayswasasharp   senseofhowthingscangowrong.Wheneverwecametoaplaceinthe   ruleswhereIknewDMsandplayersweregoingtoclash,I’dtella   “campaignfromhell”story,inwhichacharacter(mineorso   meone   else’s)wasinperilandtheDMmadethemostillogicalandcompletely   offthewallrulingyoucouldimagine.Itiedtobeverycarefulthatallthe   looseboardsinthesystemwerewellnaileddown.Ofcourse,peoplestill  foundwaystoprythemlooseagain.  
6.Formanyyears,youactedas“theSage,”providingofficial  answerstoquestionsabouttherulesof
 D&D     
inthepagesof   
 Dragon    
,aroleyoucontinuetoassumefor
 KoboldQuarterly    
.I   rememberGaryoncecomplainingthat,intheearlydays,fans   of
 D&D
 wouldcallhimathishometoaskhimrulesquestions   andhewasbaffledastowhyanyoneneededhimtocomeup     withanswers,afeelingmanyearlyTSRstaffersapparently   shared.Doyouseeanycontradictionbetweenthedesireof   manyfansforofficialanswerstotheirquestionsandthebelief   ofmanyearlydesignersthatplayersshouldcomeupwith    theirownanswers?   
Itsahugecontradiction.Theearlydesignerswerewrong.Itcomesdown   tothis:Ifyouwanttobeincontrolofyourcharacterwhohavetohave   someideahowanythingyoumighttryisgoingtocomeout.andyou   cantknowthatunlessyouhavesomeideaofhowtherulesaregoingto   handlethesituation.IftheGMismakingcapriciousdecisionsabout   whathappensinthegame,yourealwaysshootinginthedarkandyou   havenorealcontroloveryourcharacteratall.Thickofhardhowhardit   wouldbeto,say,learntorideabicycleifthelawsofphysicswere   constantlyinflux.ThegamejustworksbetteriftheDMandplayershave   similarexpectationsabouthowtheruleshandlethings.  
7.Ithinkmostgamersaresympathetictotheconcernabout   capriciousnessbythereferee,butsomewouldnevertheless   arguethathavingofficialanswerscanhavetheopposite   problemofreducingtherefereetobeingalessactive   participantintheadjudicationoftherulesthanhemighthave    beenintheearlydaysofthegame.Giventhat,whatdoyousee   istheproperrolefortherefereeasitrelatestothe   adjudicationofrules?   
Therefereeistheretokeepthegamemoving.AsPattononcesaid,a   goodanswertodayisbetterthanaperfectanswernextweek.   Awell-writtenrulessetisthebestfriendaDMcanhave.Ithelpsmanage   theplayer’sexpectationsandgivestheDMalegtostandonwhenthings   dontgotheplayers’way.  
8.WhatRPGsdoyoucurrentlyplay?   
 D&D    
3.5and4.0   
 BigEyes,SmallMouth    HighAdventureRolePlaying   
R    OGUEFEED    
PulpFantasyLibrary:TheWell  ofth   eUnicorn   
JUN29,2   00904:08P.M.  FletcherPratt,theonlyauthornamedtwiceinAppendixNofthe
 AD&D     DungeonMastersGuide   
,wasalsoamilitaryhistorianandawargamer,  
 
Today’sTabbloidPERSONALNEWSFOR
riorio2@rogue-games.net  
30June2009   
3    
 writingasetofnavalminiaturesrulesin1943.His1948novel,
TheWell  oftheUnicorn   
,clearlyshowshisloveofbothhistoryandmilitary   matters.ItssettingisreminiscentoftheearlyMiddleAges,withthe   actiontakingplaceinananalogofnorthernEurope,whereraiders   knownas“Vulkings”haveinvadedthekingdomofDalarnaandimposed   taxessooppressivethatmanypeople,includingthenovel’sprotagonist,   AirarAlvarson,findthemselvesreducedtoserfdom.Ofcourse,Airar   isntcontenttoremainamerepeasantundertheruleofforeigninvaders   andsohesetsofftofindsomemeanstoovercomethemandrestorehis   landtoitsformerstate.  Ifallthissoundsuninspiredandhackneyed,that’sbecauseitis.
 Now     
.In   1948,though,fantasiesofthissortwerentanindustry.Rememberthat  
TheLordoftheRings
 wasstillsixyearsinthefuture,nevermindits   legionsofimitators.Andwhile
TheWelloftheUnicorn
isneitheras    well-writtennorastimelessasTolkiensnovel,it’sstilla   cutabovemost  ofitscontemporaries.Thetitularwellisamagicalspringpossessing   magicalproperties,chieflyitsabilitytobringpeacetoopponentswho   agreetodrinkofitswaters.Unsurprisingly,Airarseeksoutthiswell,in   theprocessgrapplingwiththequestionoffreewillandhumanaction   andtheco   nflictbetweenfreedomandsocietalstability.  
TheWelloftheUnicorn
isanenjoyablenovel,farmoreseriousthanone   mightexpectifallonehadreadwerePratt’scollaborationswithL.  SpragueDeCamp.ItsclearthatDeCampwasthewitandPrattthe   philosophicalone.There’scertainlyanearnestnesstothisbookthat  mightnotappealtoeveryone,but,asIsaid,whenonecomparesittothe    vapidityofalotofthefantasiesproducedatthetime,it’sawelcome   diversionandoneworthreadingifonehastheopportunitytodoso.  ROGUEFEED    
 AGoodPost  
JUN29,200910:28A.M.  I’mnotusuallyonetopointoutgoodpostsonotherblogs,sinceweall  prettymuchreadthesameonesanyway,butI’mgoingtomakean   exceptioninthecaseofDelta’slatestentryon“gameswithingames,”   becausehearticulatesverywellsomethoughtsI’vebeenhavinglately.  Itswellworthyourtimetocheckitout.  ROGUEFEED    
BlackmoorMemories   
JUN29,200908:48A.M.  Here’salinktoanicearticleaboutDaveArnesonandtheBlackmoor   campaignfromtheSt.Paul
 PioneerPress   
.What’sparticularly   interestingaboutthearticleisthatitincludesinformationI’dnever   heardbefore,suchasthefactthatDaveWesleyofBraunsteinfame   playedatime-and-space-lostversionofhimselfashisfirstcharacterin   thecampaign.Itswellwortharead.  ROGUEFEED    
Greatweekend   
JUN29,200908:03A.M.   Wenttog   ame3oftheSox/C    ubsyesterdayandasalwayshadagreat  time.Iwa   splayingwiththebuiltinvideocameraonthenewiPhone.  Hereisas   mallvideoIshot:clickhere.  Iamgoingtohavetodoalittlemoreworkongettingthecamerasteady,   butthisisreallycool.  PostedinLifeTagged:mobileROGUEFEED    
[LostWorks]StarWars:BESM     Part1   
JUN28,200909:09A.M.  Therearenotmanychangesyouneedtoma   ketoBESMifyouwantto   useitwithStarWars.Therulesstressamorecinematicapproachto   gamingandtheyareflexibleenoughsotheycanbeusedwithallgenres.  Therulescaneasilycapturethevariousracesandtechnologiesthat  populatetheStarWarsUniverse.  StarWarsisaboutlargerthenlifeactionthatsetagainstlargerthenlife    backgrounds.Itisauniversethathasplanetscoveredbyforests,and   giantspaceslugslivingdeepwithinasteroids.Itisauniversethathas   seenonegovernmentrepresentingallraces,replacedwithagovernment  headedbytheEmperorwhoisamasteroftheDarkSide.Palpatinehas    builtawell-equippedandtrainedmilitarymachine.Itisagovernment  thathasb   uiltaspacest  ationthesizeofasmallmoon;thatpacksenough   firepowertodestroyaplanet.ThemilitaryissupportedbyStar   DestroyersequippedwithwavesofTIEFighters,andlegionsofstorm     troopers.  

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