GenCon Event & Panel Guide

With GenCon coming up, picking programming beyond your games can be overwhelming! Here’s a guide to the panels we’re most excited to hear about:

The Intersection of Inclusion & Storytelling
Thursday 2 PM
Diverse worlds are important, but this discussion will also touch on inclusive gaming as far as accessibility, and encouraging diversity in your players.

Queer as a Three-Sided Die
Thursday 3 PM
Run by LGBTQ+ and ally RPG website Tabletop Gaymers, this is GenCon‘s longest running queer-inclusion panel.

Don’t Slut Shame the Bard! : Romance & Sex in RPGs
Thursday 4 PM
A long-overdue discussion of romance, sex, and consent in RPGs.

Cultivating Inclusive & Safe Tables
Friday 11 AM
Gaming should be fun, but it should also be safe. This discussion will go over much-needed discussions for making RPGs a fun place for everyone.

Queering your Setting
Friday 3:30 PM
Queering your Pantheon
Saturday 1 PM
Again run by gayming org Tabletop Gaymers, these panels of industry professionals will provide ways to introduce diversity into your worlds.

Tabletop Potluck’s School for Kids Who Can’t RP Good
Friday 1 PM
A good starter panel for those newer to and nervous about roleplaying by podcast TableTop Potluck.

Inclusivity in Livestream Gaming
Saturday 12 PM
Ruty Rutenberg & Satine Pheonix are leading this panel of designers and writers to discuss opening up livestreaming culture.

Refresh Your RPG Inspiration

Looking for a little inspiration for your next campaign? Search no further! Follow these accounts on Instagram and Twitter to refresh your roleplaying.

The character art from Connor Meegan is great, but here are a few more accounts to follow:

  • Fantastic_Maps is a cartographer who offers free tutorials via Instagram.
  • If you’re hankering to just view classic RPG artworks, look no further than VintageRPG.
  • A great deal of care and time goes into game design, including the physical elements for play. PeaceLoveGames photographs game pieces while talking about gameplay.
  • There are plenty of bots creating RPG hooks, but Your Next Character (@rpgcharacter) takes a more inclusive approach, generating characters from with a variety of representations and gender identities.

I wish we could highlight every single artist creating queer game art, but we’re in a lucky place where there are too many! Who are your favorites?

Creating Inclusive Spaces for Table Top Games: The IVM Fellowship

Building inclusive community for tabletop games has taken a long time. There have also been many barriers. A major one for many people is the money required to start and continue making content and distribute it. That’s why a group of creators came together and crafted the Inside Voices Media Fellowship.

This program is comprehensive. Not only will you be receiving funds to help realize your project, but the folks that founded the program will also be assisting by mentoring you as you work on realizing your initial goals.

The IVM Fellowship is intended for first-time media producers in whatever medium they find most interesting, be it written work, a podcast, or a YouTube channel, or any other creative media.  We will be offering mentorship and support along the way as they get their work up and running with the goal of them joining the Inside Voices Family. The process will be anonymous, and we are not asking for any samples of work in order to avoid any bias towards previous experience. We’re open to board gamers, RPG players, miniature wargamers, painters, and more! If it’s tabletop related, we’re interested.

Applications are due July 30th. You can apply on the Inside Voices website.

Current Opportunities

It’s time for another round up of opportunities in RPGs!

New Agenda Publishing announced a talent search for their upcoming RPG, Orun. Submissions are open until July 3rd!

Publisher Chaosium is open to submissions for their current role playing games. Don’t forget they also will host modules written within their guidelines for Call of Cthulhu on DriveThru RPG.

There are also a variety of jobs available on UpWork for RPG writing of various sorts. When applying for jobs on that or other freelancing platform, get together a solid cover letter. Also pay attention to the ratings, number of previous jobs offered, and length of time the offerer has spent on the platform. These are all good indicators of solid employers.

Our contests are still going until June 30th! Check out all the ways to enter!

Skip the Game Master!

Feeling the need to get away from Dungeons & Dragons for a few sessions? Want to give your hard-working Dungeon Master a break? Looking for a new game to try out in your fantasy world? These four GM-less fantasy games are a perfect starting point for exploring the world beyond D&D, and give players an equal hand in working together to create a world and tell the story they want to tell.

Kingdom by Ben Robbins

Kingdom is a game about communities and the decisions they face; it is about confronting crossroads and making critical decisions, and about utilizing whatever kind of influence you have — be it the power to make decisions, the power to predict outcomes, or the power to understand your community.

For 2-5 players, Kingdom allows players to step into the roles of influential people within a larger community, and play through their wishes and fears. While your kingdom doesn’t have to be fantasy, it’s a fantastic system for playing the misguided kings and idealistic warriors the histories of our fantasy worlds are populated with.

The Deep Forest by Mark Diaz Truman and Avery Alder

A re-imagining of Alder’s excellent map-building game The Quiet Year, The Deep Forest is billed as “post-colonial weird fantasy.” Players draw cards and maps to tell the story of a year in the life of a post-war community of monsters after they have driven off invading humans. Players know that the community might not survive the winter, but the community does its best in a brief ellipses of peace to heal, to discover, and to live, in the wake of colonial influence.

Like The Quiet Year, The Deep Forest is a gentle game with room to breathe, which questions in its very concept the categories of heroes and monster as we use them in fantasy.

With Fire Thy Affections Hold A Wing by Taylor LaBresh

A two player game about the growing bond between a dragon and its rider at the end of the world, With Fire Thy Affections Hold a Wing is a give and take in which players build scenes together to explore the relationship between dragonrider and dragon as their world hurtles towards catastrophe.

With Fire is a particularly resonant game if you can play it in person: the mechanics ask its two players to physically bind their hands together as they strengthen their bonds, a tactile representation of the way relationships feel as the grow, change, and eventually end.

The Chronicles of… by Jonathan Semple

Reminiscent of Vincent Baker’s The Sundered Land games, The Chronicles Of… was a finalist in the 200 Word RPG Challenge in 2017. While there is no GM in this game, one player names themself the Archivist — a “traveller, tale-keeper, and stranger to these lands” — and the other players become inhabitants of this land. By asking questions, the Archivist prompts stories about the land, slowly building a new place through the stories its people tell.

Any number of players can participate in The Chronicles of… and the rules are just under 200 words, so there’s no reason to worry about forgetting any of the nitty gritty details.


Christine Prevas is a writer, graduate student, perpetual GM, and host of the delightfully queer actual play podcast The Unexplored Places.

Full Body Horror: Sensory Additions to Call of Cthulhu Announced!

Psychological implications are often the focus of publisher the tabletop roleplaying game Call of Cthulhu, but there’s something particularly icky about Lovecraftian horrors. These produce pleasingly visceral reactions in its investigators. To encourage full immersion, Chaosium has announced a partnership with the app Syrinscape. Keepers can now add official soundtracks to their CoC  games.

From the publisher:

The new edition of Masks of Nyarlathotep is a complete reanimation of the classic multi-part campaign for the Call of Cthulhu game, with a new chapter and full-color all new maps, handouts and artwork. Set in 1925, the steadfast investigators must unravel secrets and battle the minions of darkness in an attempt to stop world-shattering events from destroying humanity. The Masks of Nyarlahotep PDF will release in May 2018, with the published edition coming out at Gen Con 2018.

To accompany the new edition, Call of Cthulhu gets its first official sounds from Syrinscape in the Masks of Nyarlahotep SoundSet, which will be available for sale individually on Syrinscape.com or as part of a subscription. Set for release in conjunction with the module, gamers will be able to play Call of Cthulhu like never before in dynamic, realistic, cosmic horror sound.

“Call of Cthulhu is one of my top three games of all time and the opportunity to bring it to life through the power of Syrinscape sound is l’ mgfm’latghnanah!,” says Benjamin Loomes, CEO of Syrinscape.

As players take on the role of investigators to uncover the secrets of the cosmos, they find themselves battling against crazy cults and horrors from beyond space. Created by gaming legend Sandy Petersen and now in its seventh edition, Call of Cthulhu is the definitive horror RPG and has won over 90 awards including being inducted into the Academy of Adventure Gaming Art and Design Hall of Fame.

“Call of Cthulhu games often involve creating more of an immersive experience than many other types of games. Just like our games often feature elaborate handouts and props, we have also noticed that our players often crave soundtracks that help build that sense of unease, suspense and dread at the gaming table, punctuated by moments of horror and excitement! Syrinscape’s sounds provide exactly that, and we are proud to be partnering with them,” says Chaosium president, Rick Meints.

Syrinscape creates the official sounds of the Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder RPG, Mutants & Masterminds RPG, Shadows of Esteren RPG, Boss Monster CCG and more, and also features a massive library of custom, realistic sounds, with new releases every month to accompany nearly any tabletop roleplaying, card or board game.

 

Planning for Fun: How to Start Your RPG Campaign

It. Finally. Happened. You did it! A group of people want to play a tabletop roleplaying game with you. Not just for a session. For an entire of campaign.

But where do you begin?

Planning for a campaign means establishing your characters and grounding them in the world you’ve created, but it also means establishing trust among the players and GM to provide a fun, respectful space to tell a story together. This may require a solid Session 0.

What is an RPG Session 0?

A 0 session is a session before the story of the main campaign starts. It can be a time to come together and craft characters, or polish ones that were created independently. It may be a chance to learn the geography of the world, or build it together as a group. Session 0 is also the time to establish the boundaries for your worlds without end.

Understanding the basics of the world is important to the ultimate success of the campaign, but many players also carry heavy burdens of negative experiences at the table. They also have certain themes that will place a burden on them mentally, emotionally, or cap the fun they feel they can have. Establish these at the beginning of your time together to reaffirm the agency of PCs and strengthen the relationship of everyone at your table.

I’ve created a 1 page guide to help you form your conversation around the PCs and themes that will be included in your adventure. Click on this link to download the Session 0 Worksheet.

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