Season’s Greetings!

With the holidays upon us, Christmas imminent and the New Year following closely behind, I wanted to put fingers to keyboard one last time this year to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I would also like to thank you all for following, supporting and nurturing me; some of the support I have received really has blown me away, so I hope I return the favour and make you all proud of my achievements.

 

Like most of us I imagine, Christmas has been a particularly busy time for the KPLangers crew and myself. In between manically sorting presents, cards and visits to family there has been the usual day job to attend – ironic, as I work shifts – alongside copious amounts of plotting and writing to develop. In amongst all of this I made time for a 24 hour round trip to Dragonmeet in London, where I ran the Mutant Chronicles demo table for Modiphius, though more on that later.

 

2014 has been a turbulent year for me, with high and low points. With Red Scar Publishing going from strength to strength though, I’m very much looking forward to 2015 and what it may bring! There are plenty of exciting developments on the horizon, not only for Red Scar, but for the whole gaming community in general. As I look back on my personal development for 2014, while I by no means consider myself an accomplished writer yet, I’ve certainly learnt a lot this year and had plenty of opportunity to practice my art. Fantasy has been my staple diet ever since my father handed me a battered copy of the Fellowship of the Ring at the tender age of 10. I had every suspicion that this copy had also spent some time submerged in water during one of his post work baths; it wouldn’t be the first or last time he had dozed off whilst reading in the bath. I managed to devour the entire trilogy within two short weeks regardless, and then spent many an hour with a good friend hunting Uruk-hai and Nazgûl in the woods close to our school. My love for fantasy grew as I also discovered the authors I consider to be the literary greats of my teens: Margaret Weis & Tracey Hickman, R.A Salvatore, Robert Jordan, Robert E. Howard, David Gemmell and Terry Brooks. I enjoyed plenty of other titles, but I would consider these to have had the greatest influence on my young imagination. I also supplemented these with short forays into science fiction, enjoying works by Michael Stackpole, Timothy Zahn and Arthur C. Clarke. Add an unhealthy dose of horror from Stephen King, H.P Lovecraft, Brian Lumley, James Herbert and Dean Koontz and I think you’ll begin to build a picture of how my impressionable young mind sought a release for the creativity these works inspired.

 

In 1989, at the age of twelve, I was introduced to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and was swept away on the infinite possibilities of adventure! I fought running battles with my father at the time as he initially resisted my exuberance for a game that carried some considerable stigmata back then. He did relent eventually; as soon as he realised that we weren’t sneaking off to slaughter animals so that the freshly harvested blood could be used in satanic rituals. My first character was an unhealthy wizard named Saruman – original I know. I’ve played a broad spectrum of systems since then, which has gone hand-in-hand with the literary works I’ve read throughout my lifetime. I’ve had many highs and some lows along the years, and have been blessed to have remained in contact with several of the key members of my group throughout; some of whom I still game with. Fantasy, though, has always remained my staple genre and I have always considered myself, if anything, a budding fantasy writer. This year I’ve not only had the opportunity to break myself free of this self-imposed pigeon hole, but I’ve also recently been offered the chance to combine science fiction and horror writing together to produce a roleplaying adventure! More to come on that in the new year, alongside updates for Red Scar, my other literary works and the long overdue Fate Core review.

 

Dragonmeet was a huge success for all involved. Many thanks to Chris Birch and Modiphius for inviting me up and allowing me to represent them by running demo games of Mutant Chronicles and Achtung! Cthulu – despite not having played Call of Cthulu for approximately 20 years! I met some great people on the day and talked with some very talented creative minds. I also had some great feedback from the people who sat at the demo tables with me; hopefully you all enjoyed playing as much as I did GM’ing! Highlights for me were having the chance to meet the Modiphius family – who are a kind and welcoming bunch of superstars – running the MC demos, meeting the team behind Mutant: Year Zero, chatting to the guys at Prodos and Mantic and taking a look around the huge selection of stands and wares on display. A low point for me was missing the Steve Jackson/Ian Livingstone seminar – the one seminar I’d promised myself I would attend. When I finally realised I was late for it, I hustled my way to the seminar room door and yanked it open: only to find my view, and the entrance, blocked by a wall-to-wall crowd of bodies. Disappointed doesn’t quite cut it.

 

I’ll leave you with a photo of me doing my best to provide an overview of the Mutant Chronicles setting and the 2d20 system. Sat on my left as you look at me is a respected game developer and writer, whilst out of shot to my right is a full time writer and developer for Modiphius who is currently working on the Mutant Chronicles RPG. No pressure then.

 

Dragonmeet

 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Catch up with you all in 2015!

 

(Un?)Necessary Disclaimer:  I can take no responsibility for any of the links highlighted in this post. Where possible, I have provided a link to an author’s official page or a company’s official site. Where this hasn’t been possible, I have provided a link to the relevant Wikipedia page. The links provided are used at your own risk.

Guest posts, Red Scars and other news

 

Welcome back! I have a triple delight for you in this post, although I’ll let my good friend Mr J do the talking for me as I ramp up towards some of the news I have promised and teased you with in my previous blog posts:

 

This is Mr J writing a guest blog for the perpetually busy KPLangers. As we have read from his previous blogs he has a lot going on, so I thought I would help and write a little guest bit for his site. I must take this opportunity to state, with my tongue in cheek, that I’m disappointed he didn’t embrace ‘Kava Punch Leviathan’ as his production company name, but I can understand his reasons. I was really looking forward to the company logo incorporating a giant kraken holding a coffee mug in his boxing gloves!

 

I would like to start by saying that I’ve made a presumption in that, like myself,  the majority of us gamers and lovers of fantasy are closet authors who fantasise about writing a novel based on our love of the genre; I’d like to commend Mr L for making the whim of many into a reality – I applaud his efforts to date and wish him all the very best.

 

I thought I would provide a light hearted blog of lessons learnt over the years of gaming. I have roleplayed for many years, but sadly must admit that I can’t find the inspiration or the time lately. I am very happy to say that this has now been replaced by helping MrL with proof reading his creations and contributing where I can. I must add that when courting my wife I told her I played ‘poker’ with the lads when roleplaying; I feel humbly lucky she still accepted to marry a self confessed gambler… I can’t recall if my roleplaying confession was before or after the marriage! 😉

 

The main suggestion I can offer for an entertaining gaming experience may be obvious: it should be devoid of alcohol. It may seem like a good idea at the time and may even be amusing for a short time, but ultimately depreciates the experience as the sobriety disappears. One evening of note we played with a can of lager in one hand and dice in the other as the characters coincidentally ended up in the local tavern. One player was so convincing in his drunken roleplaying we wondered if he was going to pass out at any minute. We stayed in the tavern all game, achieved little, gave up holding the dice and concentrated on the lager hand.

 

Following on from this, I’d suggest always taking time with character creation. I have tried assigning pre-generated character sheets and it creates some strange reactions. One player took to randomly starting fights, made every effort to contribute random acts of violence and constantly caused disruption. There was no reining him in as he thought he was embracing the ethos of the persona generated for him. Needless to say the game wrapped up quite quickly.

 

On reflection, I have to say that the presence of the female sex in a predominately male environment has been a pleasant addition. I know there are some out there that disagree with this, and I don’t know if there are more or less ladies who game nowadays. Personally, I gamed with some delightful ladies who would experience a personality reversal when in character and would savagely assassinate mortally wounded foes for the ‘kill xp’, would be the first at the treasure pile to steal the prize pickings and would shamelessly conspire with the male players to get what they wanted. A very memorable campaign was run by a lady GM who provided a rich world, encouraged character-run storylines and benefited from her disregard of the rules; all of which lead to more roleplaying than dice rolling.

 

Which brings me onto my final train of thought: my favourite systems of the day were Werewolf and RoleMaster(RM), produced by White Wolf and Iron Crown Enterprises respectively. Both of these games have basic rule systems that allow free flowing sessions and limited interruptions. I don’t miss the character creation of RM mind!!

 

In my opinion, the components of a successful game are a symbiosis of a rich world complemented with enthusiastically interactive players and a lack of rule books. I have been guilty of self-induced disappointment by creating my version of the perfect campaign that the players had no chance of embracing due to my rigid vision. Some sessions are never forgotten and some should never have happened, but that is part of the fun!

 

These are just some of my thoughts on the subject, but my current perplexity is: what happened to the 90 minute blockbuster film?! Why do films have to be over 2 hours long now. I dread the thought that the 3 hour duration of Interstellar doesn’t become the norm!!

 

MR J

 

Thank you Mr J! Plenty of insight and food for thought, particularly on the ladies gaming front. I have very fond memories of the campaign you mention above: I’m pretty sure our character sheets may still be available and ripe for representation somewhere.

 

I’ve been teasing some important news for a few weeks now. Far from being neglectful of this I’ve been holding off until I have something very substantial to pass on. The big news? I have formed my very own publishing company! Red Scar Publishing is currently a small but very active team that is trying to bring you the very best in an rpg experience. Our team is pleased to announce:

 

i. Toma Feizo-Gas as Senior Art Director! Toma is the genius and director behind his very own Vulcan Design Forge – not much more need be said!I’m very honoured to be announcing this fact.

 

ii. We will be at Dragonmeet! Not only as Red Scar, but also in my capacity as a Silvershield for Modiphius Entertainment. Please come along and enjoy a game at the Mutant Chronicles demo table run by myself! Again, I’m honoured to be assisting Chris Birch as a practitioner of the 2d20 system.

 

iii. Red Scar! Say what? Yes indeed. I’ve set up my very own publishing team, registered the company and have our very first commission under our belt. Thank you all for your support in my journey so far; I began this as a writer with belief in oneself – very much bolstered by your support for which I can’t thank you enough – yet now find myself as Creative Director of a small and extremely talented team. Look forward to more announcements on this shortly!

 

I leave you all with a piece I wrote for the development of Red Scar’s very own campaign setting, plus the challenge of coming to find me at Dragonmeet this weekend. I look forward to answering your questions!