Friday, 3 February 2017

RPG special events and submissions for Expo

With us going live on the RPGs for this Sunday evening, we wanted to make a few announcements regarding special events that will not have been made live at the point at which we make every other RPG active.

The first of these events is the D&D World Premiere Epic, a 100 player event that has been given to UKGE following the successful D&D premiere from last year.  This event will be running on the Saturday night in the evening slot and will be going live as soon as the full details of the scenario are made available.

The second of these events is the Cthulhu Masters, a popular event every year, we’re currently setting the scenarios for the event, which will start with the qualifiers on the Friday afternoon, with one player from each of the qualifiers going forwards to the final on the Friday Evening.  One of our most popular events, the Masters has always featured handmade, unique prizes for those who make it through to the final, ranging from perfect copies of the Grail Diary from the Indiana Jones films, to a bound and sealed copy of the Necronomicon.  As soon as we have the scenarios finalised, we will be making an announcement and then setting the masters live.

Finally, there is an indication that there will be a Pathfinder society special event, but we are waiting on details from Paizo regarding the event and will announce the full details as soon as we have them ourselves.

We’ll still be taking submissions for RPG’s after this Sunday, but we would like to stress that with the unprecedented levels of rooms that have been required for Expo this year, we will be prioritising those who get their submissions in earlier when it comes to allocating rooms. 


If anyone has any questions regarding submissions or games that will be coming up, please contact me at your convenience...

www.ukgamesexpo.co.uk

Sunday, 22 January 2017

On the subject of Punching Nazi's...

I’ve been watching the various things about punching Nazi’s today, in particular something that came through in form of a soliloquy on whether it was right to punch Nazi’s, ending in the conclusion that yes, you should punch Nazi’s whenever you should and if you happen to hit a bystander who just happens to have short hair or a bad moustache, it’s unfortunate, and that’s life…

No…

I don’t play politics, never have, I’ve got a strong moral code and I stick to it, but that governs my behaviour, not that of others.  What I read today was an easy justification for punching Nazi’s or anyone who holds similar views to them.

And that’s not how it should be…

I have no sympathies with Nazi’s, nor any extremists, but their views are theirs and their own, it doesn’t give me the right to punch them out any more than their views give them the right to beat down on anyone who disagrees with them.

And you don’t get to justify it by saying that your grandparents bombed Nazi’s in the War, because if we say that it’s alright to hit something because your grandparents hit it, everyone’s a target, you don’t get to say that we need to fight fire with fire, because that just leads to everything burning, and you don’t even get to say that your perspective is right…

Because to the world, it’s not…

It’s just yours, it’s right to you and those like you…

Newsflash…

Their perspective is right to them and those like them…

Does it make them right…?

Only to themselves…

We live in a world where too many people are too eager to lash out, to scream at the things they don’t like, that they don’t want, to scream at the injustice of the world around them...

Because there’s so much injustice in this world…

But that won’t make a better world, what makes a better world is every one of us doing what we can to make it better.  You think punching a Nazi out makes it better?  You think that a sound beating will cause them to question their beliefs and consider that perhaps they got it wrong?  Ask yourself the question.

Would a sound beating make you question your beliefs?

Or will it just reinforce their opinion that they’re right, and that they’ll use the example a hundred times over to show that everyone’s just as violent…?

Because they will…

You don’t change a world with violence except for the worse, them hurting us, us hurting them, whoever them and us are. You change it with ideas, you change it with the hope of a brighter tomorrow, you change it by working every day to bring what you want to the world, without having to beat people to do it, because you know what happens when you try to beat an idea out of something?

You drive it deeper…

Every hit you take, it roots the idea that bit stronger, because whatever that idea is, that’s the thing that’ll free you from the beating, because the person doing the beating can’t think of any other way to get the idea out of you, so they’re resorting to something that will never work…

I got bullied when I was a kid, I was absolutely different to everyone else. I knew it, and sadly, so did the rest of the world, so I ended up fighting people all the time just because they didn’t like who and what I am, and sometimes I’d win…

Sometimes I wouldn’t win…

And I had my books damaged, ended up running home from school sometimes, and never had a chance of fitting in with anything because I wasn’t the same as everyone else.  I remember being chased home from the army cadets and beaten up, till one day my Dad came out and caught them in the act, gave them a dose of their own medicine, and showed me that I was never to give up, no matter how bad things got.  Did it stop the bullies? 

No, they just got sneaky about it…

So, those two never got caught giving me shit any more, but their friends took up the slack, and that’s what happens when violence is on the table.  The second you’ve escalated it past words, the other side is justified in a similar escalation, and it takes years, if ever, to come back down with neither side having won.  I listened to my Dad’s words, I never gave up, and thirty years later, the rest of the world has caught up with the realisation that playing games is okay, and even stranger, it can be a perfectly grown up thing to do…

Have I done my bit for it?

Yep, I’m a bloody evangelist when it comes to getting people into games, into writing, into doing what they want to do without fear, but I’ve never hit anyone to get my point across.  I’ve thought about it a few times, sometimes the ignorance you face is staggering, sometimes the dumb fecker screaming at you makes it seem that the whole world is against everything you stand for, and a solid beat down is well overdue for all the injustice that many in the world suffer for.  But it won’t work…

Because it never does…

Yesterday people marched the world over, and the world noticed, and whether you’re for or against what they marched for, you noticed…  And that’s where ideas come from, when you see that people feel so strongly, when you know that you can speak up for what you believe in, and someone out there will have your back, then it becomes easier to speak up for what you believe in, and as it becomes easier for you, then it becomes easier for everyone, and when you’ve managed to convince everyone that you’re right, without pointing a gun or raising a bat…

That’s when you win…

And I know a lot of people are having a good laugh at all this, white supremacist got beaned on national TV, but it’s not funny, and that where everyone made the mistake before, they thought it was, they didn’t take it seriously, and we are now where we are.

Doubts?

Four years ago, Trump was a by line for “That’s never going to happen…” He was a bad joke (I know, I know, still is) to his own party, but no one took him seriously, and all the times people were laughing at him, he wasn’t laughing, he was working towards making all the people laughing at him, stop laughing

And he made it, enough people stabbed at him, so he stabbed back, and there’s no one laughing anymore…

Someone hits you, hit them back and harder, not a problem, everyone has that reaction and rightly so…

But we should never be laughing at the notion that someone just got hurt just because what they think is different to what we think, it doesn’t matter that their perspective is different, it doesn’t matter that what they say makes us howl with anger and want to punch them, because they say the same about us, and if it’s alright for us to do it, then it’s alright for them to do it…

And It’s not alright, is it…?


Ranting about games resumes tomorrow, promise… 

Friday, 20 January 2017

On being a writer…

I just found out that two of my novels are in for the third round of last years Gollancz submissions, and the thought filled me with both hope, and dread…

Hope because if I make it much further, there’s a distinct possibility that Gollancz might want one of my books, Dread, because if they say no at this point, it’s been a whole year I’ve been on tenterhooks, just waiting for the note to drop through the door that tells me I didn’t make it...

There’s a lot of people out there who want to be writers, and to be honest, you can see why, all you do is turn up at your desk, welcome the muse to sit beside you, type for a few hour, and then enjoy the rest of your day while the awards flow in one side and the money the other.

But you know something, I don’t believe that people think that’s what it is anymore, I don’t believe that at all, that was the popular theory ten, twenty years ago, and now…?

Now I think everyone’s getting the idea of just how hard it is to write things and make them good.  Anyone can write and get it published, there’s a million websites out there and all you need is a word processor and an idea that you’re willing to write up.

This is both a good thing and a bad thing…

In the past, and to some extent today, the publishers and agents were the ones that held the keys to the doors of being a writer, a “Real” writer, one who made money from their creation, but no longer.  These days anyone can publish a book, but to be recognised as a writer needs something else, and I see this in many places where I find other writers.  It’s not enough that we’ve written a million words, ten novels, a few hundred articles, two or three RPG’s, that’s not enough to qualify us as a writer, what we want is the respect of our peers.

Yeah, you’re not a writer till someone else calls you one…

Oh and did I mention pay?

Yeah, you’re not a writer till you get paid for it either…

And shelf space?

Yeah, you’re not a writer till you’re on the shelves at WH Smiths and Waterstones…

Is this all sounding familiar to the other writers out there?

I write every day, other people call me a writer, I get paid for what I write, and I’m on the shelves at Smiths and Waterstones, but somewhere in my heart is the eternal doubt that I’m just pretending to be a writer, that everything I write is no good and someday, someone will come along and tell me to grow up and do something important with my life…

And every day I ignore that voice in my head and keep writing…

Every day…

And if you're a writer, so must you…

Writing is like any other craft, you don’t learn it overnight, and those who think they’ve got it in one with no redraft, no edit, and no doubt…

Good luck to them, they’ve either already spend the ten thousand hours learning the craft, or they’re being wildly optimistic…

We all get the doubt, doesn’t matter how well or much we’ve written, doesn’t matter what we’ve achieved, where we’re published, or what we’re paid (although I suspect those who’ve earned millions might disagree that notion), we still doubt that anything we do is any good.

But it is…

And I thought about doing something for the Kickstarter Make/100 campaign on how to write a million words in a year, but I fear that most people wouldn’t be interested, because the core tenet of the whole project is just keep writing…

And I’m not sure if the world is ready to be told that…


Thoughts? 

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Elite Dangerous RPG – How it differs from Traveller


In advance, I’ll admit to being an unashamed Elite Fanboy, loved it back when it first came out and enjoyed the various incarnations leading to the here and now.  For me the problem was always how you’d turn something that was very much a one player game, into something that you could play with many friends around the table.

I have to say, the solution made is quite an interesting one.

Characters are all created even, there are no random elements to how you make a character (unless you want to randomly determine what you were before you took to the stars), and so there’s no possibility that anyone will be complaining of unfairness.

Good start.

The next step is in choosing backgrounds, each of which will give the character a number of bonuses to their existing skill base, or an increase to starting funds, attributes, or implants/cybernetics.  There’s a broad range of previous careers, from Accountant to Secret agent and everything in between.  There’s a skill cap on starting characters, so people can’t super specialise from the off and it encourages a broader range of abilities to work with.

The next step is Karma Capabilities, which are special abilities that modify skills or give other special bonuses such as being able to use medkits more often or avoid target locks on your ship for a short time.

After this follows the round up points and filling in the scores, then choosing your starting equipment and ship.

What makes this interesting is that this system actively promotes the use of an NPC for each character, being the partner that helps them fly their ship.  It isn’t necessary to have a partner, but there are a number of rules for the creation of them, and it’s here that the game takes a significant diversion from Traveller.

Traveller for me was all about a group of people in a single ship forging their way out in the universe and trying to keep together whilst all about them was falling apart.  This game is very much about you being individuals who just happen to be flying the same stars, and that makes for a very different group dynamic for me.  I like the idea that you can have your second standing by in the ship while you go investigating a wreck, or that as a unit, you can approach a problem in space from (quite literally) several different angles all at the same time. 

While invariably as the game goes on, ships will change, equipment and loadouts will vary, but with all of you having your own ship, you can all continue in whatever direction you want to, without having to fit in with the rest of the party.  It’s possible to craft the entire of the party towards the sorts of missions you want to be doing, whether that’s combat support, heavy trading, or espionage, or have all of you remain as individuals who just happen to work together.  It also means that if you happen to lose someone in an adventure, bringing in a new player is as simple as putting out a call and having someone answer it.

How this changes things for me is that it’ll give the players a lot more choices over what they want to do, and correspondingly it’ll work the GM that much harder as a result, but if they’re up to the challenge, the rewards will be that much more as well.


Really looking forwards to this… 

Kickstarter can still be found at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/edrpg/elite-dangerous-role-playing-game