Sunday 24 April 2016

On inescapable things

Five of Cups: Messed up by ideology.
In a few weeks I'm going to be delivering a panel to a small local convention about politics in role-playing games (edit: transcript is here) and I'm going to make the – uncontroversial, grass-is-also-green – point that the moment you start making a model for stories, it will inevitably present a view of a world, as you feel it is, or as you feel it should be, or as you feel it shouldn't be.

Thursday 21 April 2016

On the economics of paper

Digest or large format? That is the question.
And yeah, White Wolf made that one on the right for me, and only me.
Just to say that yeah, we're still in layout, and for the first time in this whole project, I've... made a compromise. But this lets me talk about the format of role-playing games and how it's been shaped.

OK, look. The shape of a book has always been subject to economics. The book as we know it (specifically the sort of book to which the Romans gave the name codex as opposed to the more commonly used liber, a book in scroll form) became a thing because the early Christians a) were generally working class; b) tended to have a lot of books, some of which – only some of which – got compiled into the Bible. And you know what the main thing is about a book with covers and a binding compared to a scroll on a wooden roller? You can write on both sides of the paper.

We have books with covers and spines because they were cheaper than scrolls.

This is pertinent.

Tuesday 19 April 2016

For a Song (in praise of ZEUK)

I'd never ridden on a carousel before yesterday. My kids have had that pleasure, and it's been glorious to see, but it was a thing denied my childhood; when I was old enough to go near one I always felt that there was nothing for me there. It's weird when you're an adult. Adulthood creates walls.

But when Marc Roberts, Marc's talented partner Ronnie and I passed the most exquisite merry-go-round I'd ever seen just opposite the St David's Centre, Cardiff, Marc suggested we go on it. "My treat," he said. He described it as a Wheel of Fortune.

And so, for the first time ever, I rode on a carousel, without self consciousness. We were the only people on it. It was, in some ways, an important experience. It was pretty great. I forgot I was old for a moment. 
Marc handed me this, too. The last one he had spare, he said.

Friday 8 April 2016

Burn it Up. Tear it Down.

XVI. The Tower
As I write, the Chariot crowdfunder campaign, successfully funded and one stretch goal up, is over in about (looks at watch) 21 hours. It hit its goal twice over, and that surprised me because I  did not know if something that's so very much about my vision, and my very personal imagination would strike a chord with anyone at all. Like a lot of the things I've done, it has attracted a small number of people who are passionately invested in it.

Which is not a thing to be sad about. I'm of course going to keep writing, but as the last post before the finish line, I thought I'd post the last page of the book. 

Thursday 7 April 2016

Qeraf, The Seven Cities and One

The inevitable Crowdfunder update: Having sailed gently and gracefully past the £1000 mark like one of the aerial yachts of Caiphul, I'm pleased to say that I am able to pay Malcolm Sheppard money (and good, proper money, or something more approaching good proper money than the RPG industry usually offers) to write a chunk of material for the game, 10,000 words of it.

There are two days to go!  Please, even if you don't want to give us your money, share it on the usual social media, like Chariot on Facebook, follow me on Twitter and check out the Indiegogo campaign. Everyone who contributes more than a pound gets to see all the drafts.

OK, done. On to today's extract. 

I'm in an ebullient mood. So, one of the more fanciful, romantic corners of the setting today. Who doesn't love a flying island?

Wednesday 6 April 2016

Magic: a Few Examples

I. The Magician
Before I start!

OK, listen. Chariot's crowdfunder has fewer than 72 hours to run. At the time of writing, it's only £12 short of its first stretch goal (which would mean my being able to pay Malcolm Sheppard to write more material for the game, a catalogue of supporting cast members for your games) and therefore £1012 short of making its second stretch goal (rich background on the science and society of Atlantis, as written by Stew Wilson). Let's be honest: I don't think somehow I'm going to make it on the second goal at this stage, but stranger things have happened, and Stew deserves your love as much as Malcolm. If you've supported Chariot already, please share, support, tell folks. Because you never know.

[Edit: OK, so it made its stretch goal a half hour later and Malcolm's already been told he's good to go.]

It's still at  

So the magic system I wrote about here and here is pretty simple. You spend the points, you do the magic, and there are some things you just can't do, but pretty much anything else you can. But what can you do? Sometimes "anything" just doesn't tell you quite enough. So here are some examples...

Tuesday 5 April 2016

Magic: Mechanics

Three of Wands

Magic rules are the fiddliest thing of any fantasy game, and how your magic rules work are a major part of the flavour of the game, and so they were the biggest headache for me in all sorts of ways. In the end, though, this is what I came up with and I'm pretty happy with it. It's going to make more sense if read in conjunction with my previous post on magic systems.

Of course, there's only a few days to go of the Chariot Crowdfunder! You can still support me and I would really like it if you did.

Monday 4 April 2016

On toxicity

OK, listen. This is the first time I've responded to an external blog post, but there's a post out there and I don't even know the author's name and it's a catalogue of horrible, horrible sexist and racist behaviour and if you are the sort of person who needs a trigger warning then you'd best not click it because, holy God.

Now this post has caused an upswell of outrage, both from people who are horrified and appalled that such a thing could happen, and people who deny that it's even real, including one choice specimen who I suppose is counted as prominent (although people who aren't awful generally wish he wasn't) who described it as "so far from anecdotal, even apocryphal rumour to me, it might as well be in fucking Narnia."

I responded to the whole thing with my unsurprised face. I mean, the thing is, all these guys refusing to believe this woman's account is true (because their anecdotal evidence trumps hers because she's a girl presumably) are missing the point. Because every single one of these things happens. I have heard stories from people I know and strangers alike that match every single one of the things the writer of that blog post says she's been through.

It doesn't even matter if it's not all true because this happens all the time.   

Saturday 2 April 2016

Five Facts Concerning Mu, Built on Hope and Blood

XX. Judgement
Next time, I'll delve into the magic system and some examples of what one can do with it, but first another extract from the world section, this time about the land of Mu. Chariot's crowdfunder is healthy but has but a short time left. The price of the game will be higher when it goes on general sale, so please do consider helping or sharing.