#Gamergate and Depression Quest Made me ‘Code’

LGBSo after thinking good things about Depression Quest, despite various antics and the ensuing explosion of controversy, I was inspired to take a look into TWINE (the ‘game engine’ that powers Depression Quest).

I cannot code to save my life. The most I could ever really manage was Logo, a little basic and splitting my head open with a coffee mug rather than deal with the complexity of FlashScript.

I’m a writer, an artistic personality, code breaks my fragile little mind.

Still, starting from absolute scratch I managed to put together this little bit of interactive fiction based on an old game of mine and you can now enjoy it:

The Little Grey Book: IF Edition

Gor RPG and World/Art Book Funded!

Gor, Games & #Gamergate


“The story so far: In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.”
– Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

TL;DR: I have been, and am, a victim of many of the same forces involved in #Gamergate in its broader sense as a culture war between artistic expression and what might, generously, be called concerns of representation. I, and other designers and writers of similar style, have come under attack, boycott, rumour, suspected blacklist and the chilling effect of the mob. This has had an impact on my capacity to work and to complete projects and, as such, I’m asking for your help to hit the funding target on my current project. Here’s the LINK

I hesitate to even ask, for more than one reason. Firstly the howling mob will get great mileage from the fact that I am ‘cashing in’ on an existing outrage to try and draw attention to my projects and work. Secondly, the suspicion will be – from within #GamerGate, that I am trying to use the momentum of the movement to cash in on it.

The first lot of people will just have to go hang.

The second lot should, hopefully, have seen that I have been an honest and earnest participant in #GamerGate who shares their values and concerns and has stood up for the right thing throughout this turn of events.

You see, the thing is – as we’ve seen from #ComicGate – this battle is not limited to computer games.

My ‘battleground’ has primarily been tabletop games. I’m a game designer of board games, card games and – mostly – roleplaying games (like Dungeons and Dragons, which I have worked on, but mostly other things). Roleplaying games have been a battleground for various moral panics, just as computer games have been, but going back to the 1980s and the fallout from The Satanic Panic.

Having lived through that mess in the 80s and having lived through a similar, smaller, mess in the 90s when Vampire roleplaying came in for similar flak and was dishonestly associated with some murders and other nastiness.

Perhaps that has left me biased, but multiple incidents of this sort tend to leave an impression, as they’re always bullshit and the arguments are the same, time after time, after time. This is just another battle in a long, long line of battles.

I’ve paid a price for sticking to my guns, not wanting to compromise and not apologising for things I am not sorry for. As you all know, resisting censorship and defending free expression is taken as endorsement of any and every social ill or nasty attitude you care to think of. I get abuse on forums, I get hate mail, I appear to be semi-blacklisted some places (which in a niche industry makes things… interesting) and have had to adopt pen-names to get by.

As a writer, and sometime writer of erotica as well, I’ve also seen the problems there. Erotica writers have been pressured and censored commercially and via payment services, and yes, it is censorship. Science Fiction and Fantasy have become playgrounds of the excessively ‘politically correct’ often to the detriment of the genre itself (look up Jonathan Ross and the Hugo awards for a recent example).

So I’ve fought this fight, and it has cost me dear and it continues to do so, but it’s wearing and has gone on for years now.

My current project has been negatively impacted by this, making it hard to raise the monetary goal of $5k, with only four days left to raise the remaining money. This was always going to be a controversial project – Gor – but the fact that it plays to a lot of the classical fantasy tropes and involves a more overt sexual element than has been traditional. The novels got in trouble over this in earlier decades, and the atmosphere wasn’t anything like as repressive as it is now. Still, it’s been like getting blood from a stone to get any publicity, we’re short of our goal and having seen what #GamerGate has done for TFYC and others, I hope that we can get a last minute boost.

So I’m willing to take the risk, wincing, even as i know I’ll get crap for it.

Anyway, I hope you’ll forgive the ask, but I need to explore the options available in order to keep commitments to the artist working on the project. If you’re not interested in a tabletop RPG, or an art/world book, but know someone who might be – please pass this on.



PS: Other ways to support me:

PDFs of analog game designs: Postmortem Studios / Chronicle City

Hardcopy books, including fiction (and ebooks): Lulu and Chronicle City

Card & board games (hardcopy): The Game Crafter (Privilege Check may interest you especially…)

And yes, Patreon… I know.

LUMENERA: Destiny Roleplaying Using Numenera


Despite something of a lukewarm reception from many, I’ve really been enjoying Destiny and it seemed, to me, to be a perfect translation into a Tabletop RPG for a deeper experience. Numenera seemed the most obvious fit, given that it already slotted neatly into three classes and the degree of player agency that it provides.

Here’s a rough, raw, document version for now.

This is purely a fan thing, but if you feel like supporting me in producing game material personally and professional you can support me on Patreon or support my current professional project, a Gor RPG and world/art book.


Gorean Chronicles: Worldbook Sample ‘Q’



Quiva: The saddle knives of the wagon people are around a foot long. Traditionally seven of them are sheathed in their saddles of their steeds while one – or more – are carried on their person in separate sheathes. Quiva are perfectly balanced for throwing and this is what they are notorious for.

Quiva seem too large to be accurately thrown but the weight gives them force and makes them fly true – albeit over short distances. In a paga tavern in Turia a merchant who had traded with the wagon people and learned to use the knife demonstrated this by striking a grape held between a paga slave’s lips. They were grazed and bled a little but it was still impressive and he wasn’t even one of the Wagon People.

Gorean Chronicles: Yet More Q&A

gor_assasinsPlease keep the questions coming and FUND IT!

We’re almost out of time but if websites, podcasts, youtube shows or anyone else would care to interview me or run a feature, please let me know.

Q: Will the print books be hardcover or softcover?

A: The first runs will be Print on Demand, for which the shipping is the issue. Shipping on hardcover is prohibitively expensive. Originally the project wasn’t going to offer print at all, because crowdfunding really isn’t so much about ‘preorder’ as it is supporting projects – at least IMO. Money pledged in exchange for books, obviously, comes with an associated cost that eats into the money available for funding.

Short answer ‘No’. Long answer ‘hardcovers will be made available for direct order, but not as part of this’.

Q: Will the RPG book have anything about converting the game to other OGL RPG systems? I think that would be a very cool extra.

A: Such as Pathfinder you mean? What other systems did you have in mind? FATE? Something else? Some of these would be more work than others, but yes, it sounds like a viable proposition. It won’t be in the main book however. Perhaps in a supplement.

Q: Beyond this campaign, what support will Postmortem Studios extend to the Gor RPG? Will there be further adventures published? If non-adventure supplements are written, what will they focus on? Will future Gor novels (if any) receive RPG coverage?

A: The intent is to produce a complete game. Producing new material if fraught with difficulty because – in theory – more novels will still be coming out, creating canonicity issues. Plus Mr Norman is – naturally – quite protective of his work and his world. Adventure books with some non-canonical ‘travelogue’ material seem like the best compromise, plus I’ll be able to offer unofficial support on the blog.

Will the RPG book feature a section that gives game statistics for established characters? What about stats for the Priest-Kings and their technology?

Gorean Chronicles: More Q&A

18lrsr4hxx5qojpg (1)Q: A previous comment mentioned that the existing artwork (featured here) put just enough clothing on the women to avoid any nudity, partial or otherwise. Do you plan on having any nudity in the final books, or will it maintain this level of “skimpy dress that isn’t technically nudity” (perhaps as a style of imagery that’s become associated with this sub-genre in general, and Gor in particular)?

A: By request of the licensor there’ll be nothing too egregiously over the top, however on the inside you can expect some partial nudity. Just don’t expect any graphic ‘in flagrante delicto’. So yes there’ll be nudity, but nothing too gratuitous.

Q: You’ve indicated that the funding will be used to pay for the artwork. In the unfortunate event that you don’t meet your funding goal, what will happen with regard to the books’ illustrations?

A: The money raised will be spent on art from Michael and we’ll see how far it stretches. Depending on the gap I will strive to make up the difference myself (though that will take extra time) and I’ll have to make a judgement call whether to settle for less art, to take more time, or to hire a secondary – cheaper – artist to fill out the remaining art.

Q: I’m of the opinion that successful crowd-funding is purely a matter of getting the word out to enough people. I only found out about this campaign from an interview you gave on a blog, when it was already halfway over; no other mainstream tabletop gaming site had mentioned it (that I had seen)! My advice would be to make a big push to get the word out. I tried to have this campaign headlined as a news item at EN World, but was quietly ignored – perhaps you could contact them to try and get them to run it there? (Or if they did when the campaign first began, then have them re-announce that it has just a few days left.)

A: Usually there is more interest, but there’s a variety of factors at work here. It’s Gor (for one!), D&D5 has just come out, #gamergate is grabbing a lot of people’s attention and the only big site to show interest has been RPGnet to ‘extract the Michael’. It’s a tough sell, but one more crack of the whip can’t hurt.