Announcing: An LGBTQ+ Module Anthology!

Announcing Pony Up!: A eQUESTrian Anthology (Thanks for the title, Micah Sommersmith!). Edited by Josephine Maria with first reading by Nicholas Yanasak, Pony Up is an equus-themed module anthology written by  5 LGBTQIA+ authors. A funding and preorder campaign will start in May 2019, and artists will be announced soon!

Read more about the included modules below:

A Waltz in Green by Sybil Brooks.

The party arrives in a village of united outcasts and misfits, Sanctuary’s Sundry, nestled in a usually lush and fertile area that now shows signs of rapid decay. They are quickly welcomed in by Tania, the village elder, beseeches them for assistance: their fey benefactors, the faun (used here to refer to a group of fey female identifying fertility spirits with the lower bodies of horses), seem to be greatly displeased by something and are no longer maintaining the land. A small team of volunteers was sent earlier to attempt to make contact with them but they have not returned…

Hello! I’m Sybil Brooks, a transwoman (she/her) living in the Midwest region of the United States and college student working towards a degree in psychology, so one day I can become a therapist for people like me. I have been GMing for about three years now, and creating my own adventures for just as long. I count playing and running tabletop games as one of my favourite pastimes. When not rolling dice, I’m usually reading, curled up with my cat to keep me company.

Under the Neverending Sky by Tyler Omichinski

Our heroes find themselves crossing the Grassy Sea. It is an area of rolling plains that is difficult to cross, with barely any available water and several nomadic peoples who live within its confines. As they cross, they’ll first come into contact with a few of the main tribes including the Kural Centaur tribe, the T’chu nomadic humans, and the Iski Centaur tribe. The three tribes are the major power forces within this large area, and each has several smaller tribes that pay them fealty. The adventure is one of either politics or combat, depending on how the players choose to pursue it. There will be multiple paths including honour fights, duels, investigations, diplomatic meetings, and the like to gain renown within the summit and be able to help shape the results.

Tyler Omichinski (he, him) is a writer and game designer from the wilds of Canada. He has written for the Ennie Nominated Hudson & Brand and for a pile of different companies including FASA, Mystical Throne Entertainment, Stygian Fox, and many more. He lives with his partner and a gigantic black dog.

When Dreams Become Nightmares by Emily Smith

After a local farmer’s pegasi begin to disappear, adventurers are hired to investigate and keep guard over his herd. When a Night Hag and her Nightmare take a young boy captive, characters race to catch them.

Emily Smith (she/her) is a writer for Dungeons and Dragons, including Community Created Content (CCC) and homebrew materials. She has been playing and DMing for 3+ years and is a freelance blogger. Her favorite gaming systems include Dungeons and Dragons, Starfinder, Shadowrun, and Call of Cthulhu.

The Hunt of the Unicorn by Alexa Fae McDaniel

When a princess falls ill to an ailment that can only be cured with a unicorn horn, the King overturns a law banning unicorn hunts and offers a boon to anyone who can procure a horn for him. Knights, hunters, and adventurers from across the kingdom flood to the small town of Brynwood, where a unicorn was recently sighted, but a group of rangers seek to stop the hunt and protect the creature.

Alexa Fae McDaniel is an up-and-coming author and history student from New Brunswick, Canada. She’s soon to be published as a contributor to the Orun RPG, as well as to the short story anthology Maiden, Mother, Crone: Fantastical Trans Femmes. She runs 5th Edition for her younger cousins on the weekends, but her all-time favourite RPG is Changeling: The Lost by Onyx Path Publishing, and she hopes that some day Rose Bailey will notice her.

Call for Submissions: AN RPG MODULE ANTHOLOGY

Nothing is more ubiquitous in Fantasy than the trusty mule we always leave with an NPC somewhere. PanopLit announces its first (of many, we hope) queer anthologies of RPG modules. The theme is Equus/Equidae, meaning we want all your gay centaurs, lost donkeys, and beautiful braided manes.

To ensure our authors have the most freedom and to protect the rights of contributors to the 5th Edition of Grunions & Rayguns, we’ve chosen to release our anthology using content provided by the Open Gaming License kindly put together by those lovely paragons of gaming,… we’ll call them Lizards of the Toast. Please understand that a lot of work went into 5th Edition, and those writers deserve their work being used in a way they contractually agreed to.

If you have questions about using the Open Gaming License, please see “Other Info” below.

The Details

Submissions are open to queer-identifying authors September 15th, 2018, through October 31st, 11:59 PM CST.

The nitty gritty:

Modules must be 2000-2500 words of adventure text, with 5 authors being accepted into this anthology. After being accepted, authors will go through a round of edits with the editor. $200 USD will be paid to each accepted author upon receipt of the completed work. Payment will be made via paypal or mailed check.

Email all pitches to info [at] Panoplit [dot] org. Subject line should read “Anthology Pitch: [Title or Working Title of your adventure]“. Please do not email completed adventures. The body of your pitch email should include:

  • An outline of the adventure.
  • Suggested level (or range of levels) for the adventure.
  • 500 words of sample text from any part of the adventure text.
  • 1 example NPC, unique Monster, or Item.
  • A brief bio (50-100 words) + your preferred pronouns.

Please keep in mind that the adventures need a thematic relationship to the required Equus theme, but interpret that freely. Not accepted:

  • Inclusion of any unapproved/trademarked content from the MM, PHB, or DMG.
  • Sexual content.
  • Extreme violence/abusive storylines.

Please use your best judgment for content. A little darkness is just fine, but let’s keep this fun!

Other Info

If you submit to this anthology, we will assume you identify as queer or part of a queer community (LGBTQIA+, Ace, NB, Aromantic). You do not need to define your queer. We trust you. If you’d like to cover this in your bio, feel free! But it is in no way required.

The Open Gaming License can be overwhelming at first. It’s a 400 page document. The important part is not to use any of the trademarked content listed in the first 2 pages of that license, and to stick to the rules and monsters available in the rest of the document. I suggest using ctrl + F to find something if you’re specifically interested in using it.

You CAN create your own monsters/NPCs/items and lots of other things, but they cannot be based on anything in the core rulebooks. You can only draw specific creature references used in those books from the Open Gaming License.

There will be a follow up post on other places to submit your adventure if you’re not accepted (or a cis/straight ally).

Please comment with any other questions!

 

Anthology Announcement: Get Ready!

Nothing is more ubiquitous in Fantasy than the trusty mule we always leave with an NPC somewhere. PanopLit announces its first (of many, we hope) queer anthologies of RPG modules. The theme is Equus/Equidae, meaning we want all your gay centaurs, lost donkeys, and beautiful braided manes.

Why are we so excited about ponies and donkeys? Because they’re great. But also because when we announced this anthology, this was one of the first responses:

To ensure our authors have the most freedom and to protect the rights of contributors to the 5th Edition of Grunions & Rayguns, we’ve chosen to release our anthology using content provided by the Open Gaming License kindly put together by those lovely paragons of gaming,… we’ll call them Lizards of the Toast. I’ll be putting together a how-to before the submission date, but in the mean time try reading this post on the subject, and understand that a lot of work went into 5th Edition, and those writers deserve their work being used in a way they contractually agreed to.

Submissions open September 15th, 2018, and will remain open through October 31st. If you send a pitch before this date, it will be sent to the glue farm.

The nitty gritty:

Official announcement of submissions opening will happen on September 15th. Modules will be 2000-2500 words of adventure text, with 5 authors being accepted into this anthology. $200 will be paid to each accepted author upon the completed work.

Your pitch should include:

  • An outline of the adventure.
  • Thematic relationship to the required Equus theme.
  • 500 words of sample text from any part of the adventure text.
  • 1 example NPC, unique Monster, or Item.
  • A brief bio (50-100 words) + your preferred pronouns.
  • Not include any unapproved/trademarked content from the MM, PHB, or DMG.

Not accepted:

  • Sexual content.
  • Extreme violence/abusive storylines.
  • Just… use your best judgement. Let’s keep this fun!

After getting our modules lined up, we’ll be announcing a fundraiser to hire artists and possibly come out with a print edition, so stay tuned for that!

Who’s Afraid of a Big Bad White Wolf?

Ah yes, the vampire, the queerest of monsters. A purely sensuous slate to enact your darkest fantasies against. From virginal shame tales to totally no-homo male on male obsessions with a rich history of complex female friendship, vampires are complicated monsters with a plethora of nuance. They appear in many games, but none so notorious as tabletop RPG Vampire: The Masquerade.

Publisher White Wolf, current owner of the wildly successful franchise Vampire: The Masquerade, was the target of lengthy and comprehensive criticism detailing the content and touching on the marketing of its upcoming 5th edition release. The criticism, currently archived after the writer was chased off twitter and shut down their website amid death threats and alleged threats of legal action, is archived. The major takeaway: White Wolf‘s newest release allegedly appeals to the rising trend of Neo-Nazism, and it’s on purpose.

The larger portion of the criticism of The Dice Dog’s coverage seems to come from people enjoying the game and being excited for the new edition. The details of the coverage itself are almost entirely being ignored in the conversation. In everyone’s rush to defend a thing they enjoy, they’ve failed to critically explore what content that thing includes and the implications of that content. Who’s it for?

Being the villain in the game isn’t a good enough excuse. Presenting players with a playground to do evil that mirrors what we’re seeing every day does not make it immune to criticism. There is a great deal to criticize in the format itself, but beyond that, publishers are absolutely responsible for their content and who it appeals to.

White Wolf has since responded, saying Nazis are not welcome in their gaming community. But is offering the suggestion in-game that players portray a Neo Nazi, then saying real life ones aren’t welcome supportive of that message?

Missing from the coverage of White Wolf vs. nameless blogger is the fallout that happens when a post goes viral within a niche community. Reviewer Anna Kreider cogently pointed out holes in Dog with Dice’s coverage in a series of emails with them. The Dice Dog responded indirectly by naming them in a follow up to their White Wolf criticism as “vitiolic,” a criticism of critics that rings classically misogynistic.

Kreider initially reached out to The Dice Dog to discuss the threats sent to female-identifying creators after readers of the original criticism conflated White Wolf with Nazis. Following the comment on The Dice Dog’s blog, Kreider was under attack.

This fallout has created a large number of victims, ones White Wolf has apparently done nothing to protect. On top of this, based on early reviews, quoted by Holden Shearer on Twitter most candidly, there is little to defend in the most recent edition itself.

A major review site recently announced that they would be removing “politics” from their coverage. The history of “games coverage should be about games” is a long-held tactic by a variety of self-proclaimed movements that came together to cause maximum harm in the industry and fandom. It’s also never resulted in the inclusion of minority creators or a decrease of death and rape threats to marginalized folk. It also cuts down on necessary call-outs when games publishers hire known abusers, allowing them to claim ignorance or claims independent investigations that seemingly have no basis.

That being said, let’s play like the boys club for a minute and ignore those problems. Keeping the conversation about the game itself, I offer John Farrell’s artful opening to their 5th edition review:

There is much in earlier Vampire iterations and this current one to object to. The content, horrifying to the highest degree, and intimately so in the way only a shared RolePlaying experience can be, has come with much more fodder than thoughtful discussion. An argument could easily be made that if you’re not uncomfortable at some level playing the monsters as they’re designed in The World of Darkness universe as a whole, there is something wrong.

As RPGs strive to cover more and more view points, renewed effort has been made in many publications to discuss culture and safety at the table. In a horror game as comprehensive as Vampire, these types of discussions should be forefront in their design. It should be easy to provide a “stop button” and to confirm consent in the base game. Instead, White Wolf has monetized it.

In Charlie Hall’s coverage of a play-through with producer Jason Carl, they explored in-person the connection of devouring blood and sexuality, or sexual assault as the case may be. While there is part of one page in V5 that deals with player comfort at the table, tools for bringing that into play will be sold as a separate module.

“We saw it as a separate product, as a separate SKU,” Carl said. “I think the timing is inconvenient because we wanted to have it ready for Gen Con [when V5 will first be available for purchase] and I don’t know that it will be ready for Gen Con.”

Rushing to get a product ready for a major industry convention without putting work into how that product’s more difficult content will play is incredibly tone-deaf and likely points to a lack of consideration for the overall feel of the game itself.

The stories of RPGs and the culture surrounding them are stories of failure. Failure of publishers to hire minority creators. Failure of conventions to protect and shield their guests. Failure to stop rehashing the same tired content. Failure of games companies to stop hiring assholes. Failure of review sites to give the power of exposure to consumers who aren’t misogynistic, homophobic, or racist. Failure of consumers to stop giving their money to companies who do not care about them or what they want from RPG content. It’s time for that story to change.

4 Days left! Kickstart John Silence

Built on a fascinating conceptual mechanic, upcoming RPG John Silence replaces attacking in encounters with a nonviolent conversational tactic. Ginger Goat Press is offering their largest book yet, with an expansive universe of stories and poetry included in the initial release.

John Silence embraces the weird tradition it comes from by utilizing rhetoric and conversation in place of reactions to supernatural threats that call on violence. Set in the United States between 1938 and 1998, players “are psychic detectives committed to saving Earth from planar creatures invisible to most humans.”

Already involved are a a diverse cast of creators. Upon funding, there will be an additional call for writings to flesh out the universe. Check out John Silence and catch a copy before this one closes!

Kickstarter to Watch: Behind the Masc Zine

The cultural norm for tabletop games is a powerful man… on paper. In real life, we’re advertised young outcasts in the 70s and 80s rising to found a niche dynasty of exclusionary dice rolling. But that’s not the reality many of us live in.

Behind the Masc“, currently on Kickstarter, offers an alternative to that by reframing the TTRPG conversation:

“Behind the Masc” is a game zine using historical and cultural archetypes to re-envision masculinity through the eyes of non-cisgender masculine creators. The creators include experienced game designers and illustrators as well as newer people to the game industry. The project hopes to draw attention to indie creators in tabletop games who are still marginalized people, but can fall into the ether when it comes to representation and people campaigning for their work to be seen.

Currently with 15 days to go, the zine is within sight of its goal, and includes some cool gaming extras. Throw in your dollars and enjoy the content coming your way!

Setting the Mood: A Whole New World of Erotic RPGs

Erotic elements in Role Playing games aren’t new, but they’re being brought to a new level of physicality by RiverHouse Games with Let These Mermaids Touch Your Dick Maybe (LTMTYDM). Part party game and part narrative RPG, LTMTYDM is an excellent choice for an evening in with friends. Imagine it:

You are all mermaids, swimming in the ocean, having spotted some primo hottie…

Let These Mermaids Touch Your Dick Maybe is about setting a mood more than anything. It’s a roleplaying heavy game with props, soothing music, and your friends pretending to be mermaids after the finest of D. Set up for the game can be an adventure unto itself as players collect props required for encounters. It’s a short game that will only take a couple of minutes to learn.

LTMTYDM opens with a note about safety and comfort. Just like any other interaction, roleplaying should be fun, consensual, and have a “stop” function. This game can be quick, so there’s plenty of time to play a few rounds, and it’s a fun one to just watch if you’re not inclined to participate directly.

This is a pay what you can game, so throw in your hard earned money and see what you fish out!