General information about myself or my blog
It’s a bit overdue, but it’s time to celebrate the 100th blog post of Journeyman GM! I started this blog almost two years ago and have written quite a bit on it. So I wanted to do a retrospective of my favorite blog posts.
RPG Thoughts & Theory
Quite a bit of what I wrote were ramblings, discussions, and other fun discourses about certain aspects of roleplaying games. Some of my absolute favorite articles on this site came from that, and I hope you’ll agree. Here are 5 of my favorites:
- The Seven Deadly Sins of GMing: An article about how not to GM a game, presented in a way that fit extremely well with the traditional Seven Deadly Sins.
- The Price of Power: A discussion on how to create one of my favorite conflicts in roleplaying games.
- Thoughts on Climactic Battles: In which I take the final battle in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2 and extract a lot of really useful advice for GMing epic endings. I think this was maybe my most underrated blog post.
- GMs to Love, GMs to Hate: Stories of the absolute best—and absolute worst—GMs I’ve ever had.
- Are Arbitrary Mechanics Part of a Setting’s Feel?: In which I go really meta and see if which dice you roll affects the story your are trying to tell.
I didn’t do too many reviews on this site, but I was pretty proud of the ones I did. Here are the ones that I was especially proud of:
- A Review of Some Christmas Scenarios: In which I decided to bring some holiday cheer by covering scenarios from a variety of systems.
- Random Story Generators: Three different products to get your story ideas flowing, which I still use to this day
- Review of Mongoose Traveller, Part 1 and Part 2: One of my most in-depth reviews describing one of the most original roleplaying game systems ever made.
- The One Ring: Adventures Over the Edge of the Wild: Another review I’m proud of because I was able to make lots of comparisons to the source material and how it worked in an RPG.
I’ve heard it said that every RPG blog really just wants to tell you about their character. Maybe there’s some truth to that, and I’ve had a fair share of ones that talk about the games I’ve either played in or run. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Night Train Writeup: The longest post I ever wrote where I describe, in great detail, how a group of congoers won the coveted “I Survived the Night Train badge.”
- When a Stuffed Animal GMs a Game: How a game turned out when Steve, the stuff badger, ran a game.
- Supers, Nazis, and Stick Figures: An entire game session, summed up in one picture.
- When You Give a Posse Dynamite: How the entire Deadlands metaplot got thrown way off the rails by a couple well-placed sticks of dynamite.
- Facing the Impossible: My favorite type of game, where I pit the players against an impossible situation and they win!
And now I have to bring up some sad news. This 100th post retrospective also marks the end of regularly scheduled postings on The Journeyman GM for the foreseeable future. Lately work for Journeyman Games and other commitments have taken the time I needed to write on this blog, and I’ve decided it’s time to move on to new things. Postings will still happen as I see fit, but in a much more sporadic fashion.
JourneymanGM.com will of course still be the home to my original Journeyman GM Creations, including my 74 page Elder Scrolls conversion for Savage Worlds! Basically, anything for RPGs that I make which isn’t related to Journeyman Games will be posted here and maintained indefinitely.
Writing this blog has been a blast and I hope from time to time that it will be revisited. But it’s time for me to move on to other things, and all good things must come to an end.
The Mayan calendar flips over to a new cycle today, which is a special day in tabletop roleplaying games. Or rather, a particular roleplaying game: Shadowrun. Originally published in 1989, Shadowrun was built upon the following premise (from Wikipedia):
The end of the Mayan Long Count ushers in the “Sixth World”, with once-mythological beings (e.g. dragons) appearing and old forms of magic suddenly re-emerging. Large numbers of humans “Goblinize” into orks and trolls, while human children begin to be born as elves, dwarves, and even more exotic creatures.
In parallel with these magical developments, the setting’s early 21st century features technological and social developments associated with cyberpunk science fiction…When conflicts arise, corporations, governments, organized crime syndicates, and even wealthy individuals subcontract their dirty work to specialists, who then perform “shadowruns” or missions undertaken by deniable assets without identities or those that wish to remain unknown. The most skilled of these specialists, called shadowrunners, have earned a reputation for getting the job done. They have developed a knack for staying alive, and prospering, in the world of Shadowrun.
Since then, Shadowrun has had four tabletop RPG editions and several successful computer games. Note that the 1st Edition core rulebook incorrectly pegged the end of the Mayan Long Count as being in 2011, but later editions correctly cited it as December 21st, 2012.
Even though these developments of the 6th Age haven’t come true (at least, I haven’t heard any accounts of people “goblinizing”) it’s going to be a great year for Shadowrun! Both Shadowrun Returns and Shadowrun Online are computer games that will be released in the coming months. And just today, Catalyst Games announced that they are creating a Shadowrun deck-builiding game, tactical minis game, and euro game, along with Shadowrun 5th Edition!
Shadowrun is a setting I’ve always loved, but haven’t gotten to play nearly as often as I’d like (although I’ve got a great story about about playing in a one-shot where we summoned as giant squid, gave him a gun, and commanded it to assassinate a dragon). I think this is my New Year’s Resolution: play more Shadowrun in the coming year! Now that’s a resolution I think I can keep!
I’m a fan of systems that set out to use their game mechanics to help evoke the feel of their setting. Heck, I even wrote a blog post about it. The whole gameplay becomes much more immersive when the die rolling works in such a way that it helps put you into the mindset of the themes and aspects of the setting.
Andy over at Scrolls of the Platinum Warlock (whom I recently interviewed in this blog post) is a big fan of the Iron Age of superheroes, but was a bit frustrated that existing superhero games didn’t do justice to the more serious themes presented (not to mention having more “street level” heroes). So he wrote his own game called Cold Steel Wardens. Here’s what he’s got to say about it:
Cold Steel Wardens emulates the Iron Age of Comics: an era of comic book writing from roughly 1979-1996 made famous by works such as Alan Moore’s Watchmen, Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, Dennis O’Neil’s seminal run on The Question, and countless other masterworks. In Cold Steel Wardens, heroes not only have to contend with the scum of the streets, but also the intense moral and ethical dilemmas surrounding vigilantism, personal rights, and justice.
What sets Cold Steel Wardens apart is its focus. Cold Steel Wardens is built around slow-burning investigations, brutal combat, and difficult moral quandaries. It’s a game meant to challenge players just as much as their characters.”
This is Andy’s first solo foray into designing a full roleplaying game, but he’s worked as a freelance designer and editor for Cubicle 7 Entertainment, GameWick Games, and Gun Metal Games in the past. He’s now formed his own company, Blackfall Press, in order to market his own creations.
Andy’s already written the entire text of Cold Steel Wardens and is now running a Kickstarter drive to raise money for a print run. Best part is, all backers get the entire text immediately at the end of the Kickstarter and get to weigh in their suggestions before the final version goes to the printers for a Summer 2013 release in both PDF and print.
Yes, I know Andy personally and I’m definitely biased when I say you should back his Kickstarter drive. But if you have any interest in the Iron Age of Comics, or gaming with the sort of themes you’ve seen in recent movies like The Dark Knight trilogy, you should definitely back the project. And again, you’ll get the full text of a completed roleplaying game as soon as the Kickstarter is over, so you can play right away and provide feedback so that the final version is exactly what you want!
Check out the Cold Steel Wardens Kickstarter for more info and to back this great product!
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone (in the United States anyway). Spend some time with your family, especially if it means gaming together!
It’s a tradition in many families to share what they are thankful for. I figure I’ll share what I’m thankful for (related to gaming) here on this blog. In no particular order:
- A blog where I can share my thoughts and creations with others
- A group of players here in the Twin Cities who I can play Deadlands with
- The Fantasy Flight Games Events Center for hosting my Deadlands game, and for having a holiday sale where all kinds of board games and RPGs were 40% off!
- Half Priced Books where I can find used gaming materials
- All of the people who backed my Kickstarter for Wild Card Creator
- Everyone reading my blog!
Feel free to post what you’re thankful for in the comments!
Believe it or not, Halloween is my birthday! It’s a great day for a birthday, and when I was a kid, I thought that the whole world was celebrating my birthday!
No gaming today unfortunately; my weekly Wednesday gaming group decided not to meet today. But I did get the board game Forbidden Island as a gift from my brother and two “take this money and buy whatever you want” gifts, so I’ll still get to have some gaming because of my birthday!