#MayRPGQ2018 What games have you worked on informally, formally or semi-formally?

Paga

Too many to mention. I have a bibliography somewhere, but I don’t really keep it that up to date. There’s everything I’ve published myself, and then there’s the various other games that I have worked on material for. I’ve had stuff published for Call of Cthulhu, D&D 3rd Edition, D&D 4th Edition (official, not just OGL, but that too) and various other odds and sods over the years.

Tell you what, I’ll take this opportunity to talk about three of my favourite of my own games that I’ve written and since that counts as shilling, I won’t paywall the rest of this article.

Blood!

Blood was a fairly obscure British horror game, very much slapped into the genre of Splatterpunk, the likes of Sean Hutson, the grimier end of Clive Barker, Graham Masterton and so forth. Film wise it very much lurks in B-movie slasher territory, though its gritty nature makes it perfect for survival horror. We played Blood to death throughout the nineties, a grislier counterpart to our high-falutin’ World of Darkness games. It especially led to some really gripping zombie horror games in the Romero tradition. We were the hipsters of zombie horror gaming, we liked it before it was cool. Blood also turned out to be perfect for short, one-shot convention games where nobody had ambitions to survive a full scenario. On the off chance I contacted the original writer and artist and they gave me permission to take the game on for a cut. Since then I’ve continued to publish a second edition of Blood and fully intend to make a more streamlined game for a third edition. There’s just something magical about the way the game plays and the attitude it engenders in Games Masters and players that makes me love it.

Agents of SWING

I love all those old 1960s and 70s adventure shows. The Champions, Gerry Anderson’s various shows, The Saint, The Avengers and so on. The straight-faced campness, the 60s style, all of it blends together nicely so that you could easily imagine many of these shows sharing the same world (many of them were produced by the same companies). This was a good fit for FATE which could allow all sorts of weirdness to exist side by side while still being able to compete with each other. I wove ‘mockbuster’ equivalents to all these wonderful characters into a single organisation (SWING), a private spy agency not dissimilar to – but written before – Kingsman. Turns out pregenerating all those characters was a great idea as it allowed people to jump right into the game and have a great deal of fun. We had a memorable convention game where almost every player was playing Roger Moore, just as different characters (Bond, The Saint, The Persuaders). A lot of fun.

Tales of Gor

Licensing games is fraught with difficulty and this goes double when they’re derived from controversial material. John Norman’s ‘Gorean Chronicles’ are notorious, more so than they perhaps deserve. Where in other pulp-style novels the sexual side is much more implicit (the nudity on Barsoom, the rape and plunder in Conan) in Gor it’s much more explicit, without necessarily going into ‘blow-by-blow’ detail. Gor is a planetary romance style series of books, but with sex and BDSM written right into it. Because of this many have considered it cheap and tawdry or even pornographic – though I don’t gor_slavegirl_alphathink we can call it that with a straight face today. In fact the world-building is extremely good and – through fantasy – it challenges ideas about gender relations, humans in a ‘state of nature’ and many other things. It’s more than just slave girls and chains. I’ve loved it ever since I was gifted the first twenty or so novels and long wanted to create a game around it. Tracking down who to talk to was tough, bracing myself for the inevitable backlash was tough, and bracing myself for the Gorean purist’s complaints was also tough, as was working through a period of particularly bleak depression. At the end of it though I produced a game that I am very proud of, illustrated by renowned fetish artist Michael Manning and which hasn’t elicited quite the backlash I was expecting. I’m very proud of it.

 

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