Creating a Library, No Big Deal

On Facebook yesterday I mentioned that I’m going ahead with an idea I’ve had milling about for a while now. I’m creating a roleplaying game library, mandated to collect, preserve, and share tabletop roleplaying games, as well as documents associated with the hobby. I’m not the first person to have this idea. Alexandria RPG and the Play Generated Map and Document Archive are both examples of what I’m trying to achieve, and they aren’t the only two. Which may beg the question, why? If things like this already exist, why start another one? Well I happen to have a few answers to that.

First, I don’t happen to think redundancy is bad when you’re endeavoring to preserve the history of something. Roleplaying games as an industry-supported hobby have been around for over forty years, and I plan to keep enjoying them for at least the next thirty. There is a wealth of knowledge, lore, and folklore tied up in all the time that all the people involved in the hobby and the industry have expended. It would be a little foolish to think one person, or even dozens of persons, could collect and preserve it all. Just by living in a different geographical location from other librarians and conservationists, I have a chance to collect and preserve a different set of materials, obviously with some overlap.

Which brings me to my second answer. I spent a good long while looking, and I don’t think there is anyone else living in Canada doing what I plan to do. If there is, I’d sure love to talk to them, but if so they are keeping a very low profile. And I think having a Canadian library for my hobby could be a good thing. Yes, mostly because I live here and this is where all my stuff is. But it’s unlikely that US-based groups doing this sort of work will make the trip up to many Canadian events, unless they’re just over the border. It’s just not cost-effective. And maybe this is a bit paranoid, but given the political and social climate in the US right now, I don’t think it could hurt to have a collection of this information outside the US.

But lastly, it’s something I’ve been doing for a while anyway, without what I’m now realizing is the very important public engagement portion. I’ve collected roleplaying material for a while, and I have a bunch tucked away on shelves in my game room, with a bit more tucked in boxes awaiting the light of day. And that’s all well and good, but at the end of the day these are games. They are meant to be out where people can read them and play them. I want people, at whatever point they entered the hobby, to have a chance to experience a bit of what the hobby was like before they joined. Or have a chance to see the hobby from someone else’s point of view.

So a few things are going to happen over the next while.

  • I’m setting up a not-for-profit Society, called the Canadian Library of Roleplaying Games; as small as this is now it’s going to grow, and I need a framework for that growth. A NFP Society is also the first step to attaining eventual charitable status, which I think will help us in getting larger donations of gaming material down the line. As it stands, a Society can’t issue tax-receipts, so all I can offer folks for donating material to me now is my winning smile.
  • But having a Society means I can officially donate my personal library of material to that Society, which will form the seed of the collection.
  • I’ve started on a website, and I have Twitter and a Facebook page in place ready for the official launch. The website is going to be a key player in all this, since that is where the collection’s database will live. I know some thing about creating a database and I’ll need to learn a whole bunch more, as well as finding like-minded volunteers to help out.
  • And then I want to get the collection out in front of the public, so I need to decide what that will look like and figure out the logistics. Currently I’m one guy with shelves of gaming stuff and no car, so how I get to events and which events I attend are non-trivial issues.

But for me, all of that is the first part of the fun part. I’m excited to get this project started and you’ll definitely be hearing more about it as I move forward. And if by any chance you’re interested in helping out, whether with time or a donation of material, feel free to email me at canlibrpg@gmail.com. Don’t be put off if I don’t know how to use you quite yet, it’s early days and I’m still figuring things out myself.

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YESSQuest is Here!

On Saturday I’ll be taking part in YESSQuest, a 24-hour gaming marathon in support of the Youth Emergency Shelter Society of Edmonton. Me and my team, Meeples 4 Peoples, will be playing a wide variety of board games and soliciting funds via social media as we progress. We’ll be camped out at the Edmonton Expo Centre, surrounded by our fellow gamers, and waist-deep in various gaming snacks to get us through the day. And night. And then day again.

I set an initial goal of $200 for my fundraising, and thanks to the generosity of friends, fellow nerds, and co-workers, blew past that fairly convincingly. Now my goal is $300 and I am a scant $75 short of that new goal. If you would like to help get me there (or push me past it so I have to set a new goal) please consider donating on my fundraising page. Any amount helps me hit my target, and helps out a great local charity. Alternatively, you can swing by the Expo Centre starting at noon tomorrow and make a donation in person; just ask to be directed to the Meeples 4 Peoples tables and I’ll be happy to take your moneys.

Thank-you to everyone who has donated so far, and will donate over the weekend. Your support for this great cause is appreciated.

RPGaDAY Day Three

How do you find out about new RPGs?

Like most nerds in the current age, I spend a possibly unhealthy amount of time on the internet. I want to spend the maximum amount of time looking at cool stuff, so I subscribe to a number of game company newsletters so the new releases come to me without me having to search. I also subscribe to newsletters from DriveThruRPG and Noble Knight Games. The first, because they often feature material from smaller games I might otherwise miss, and the latter to stay on top of items I might want in my collection.

Kickstarter has also become invaluable for finding new RPGs, before they’re even at the publishing stage. Kickstarter is also a great place to fund reprints of some classic games. Top Secret just finished a successful relaunch through Kickstarter, and I look forward to seeing that material freshened up.

RPGaDAY One and Two

And suddenly it was August! It has been a while, hasn’t it? My apologies, I was both ill and organizing a festival, and that ate my time like nobody’s business. But both those things are pretty much over, and August brings us to another year of #RPGaDAY. So you’re going to get sick of me real soon; let’s begin!

 

Day One: What published RPG do you wish you were playing right now?

The first RPG that comes to mind is In Nomine, because I have fond memories of that game from the ’90s. I’d love to get a group together and play some angel/demon fun-times, even as just a one-off, though I think the game really shines if you can get a campaign going. The mechanics are suitably interesting, and simple enough that they get out of the way of the story. And if you were of a certain age and grew up watching the spate of “Christian occult” films of the ’90s, you know exactly what the look and feel of the campaign should be. If you missed those movies, then I recommend tracking down The Prophecy, starring Eric Stoltz and Christopher Walken. Not only will it help break you of any lingering ideas about angelic cherubs, but it will give you an idea of possible plots for a campaign, and show you the many different attitudes angels and supernatural beings have toward humans.

Day Two: What is an RPG you would like to see published?

This one is tough to answer, because we’re not exactly starved for choice when it comes to RPGs these days. The rise of DriveThruRPG has meant that anyone who wants to get their niche RPG on the market can do so, and so we’ve seen any number of specifically-themed RPGs in the public eye. If I had to pick one era that I think hasn’t gotten any RPG love (and I could be wrong, there might be a game and I haven’t seen it yet) it would be the fur-trading period here in Canada. The whole history of the fur trade, the Hudson’s Bay Company versus the North West Company, and the opening up of Western Canada to European trade is a period ripe for a role-playing game. It could cover some serious subjects as well, about the treatment of indigenous populations and Colonialism. And even here in Canada I think it is a little understood period of our history.

Okay, I’m back in the saddle so I’ll see you tomorrow for Day Three!

Free RPG Day 2017

It’s that time again! June 17 is Free RPG Day, or “Tabletop Christmas” as I call it, a special day when gaming companies provide free role-playing product to encourage folks to try new RPGs. Game stores who take part will have the items available, and the better ones also run RPG events during the day.

Which brings me to where I’ll be on FRPGD. Swing by Apt to Game on Saturday and you can join me on Table 2 for a rousing round or two of Kobolds Ate My Baby!If you aren’t familiar with the game, you play those hungry little sociopaths and adventurer doorstops called kobolds, ordered by King Torg (ALL HAIL KING TORG!) to bring delicious food back to the caves. Babies are the preferred delicacy, but kobolds are also delicious so you’d better find something to put in the pot!

If kobolds aren’t your bag, you can have a seat at Table 1 and join Mark as he introduces you to FFG’s Star Wars Roleplaying Game with an Age of Rebellion adventure. Join the Rebel alliance for a few hours and try your luck against Stormtroopers and other nasties of the Star Wars universe.

Kobolds or Rebels, the choice is yours. Games begin at 1pm, and I believe the FRPGD material will be available just before that. You can book a seat at a table by stopping by the Facebook event page and leaving a comment. Otherwise, the games are first come, first served. I hope to see you there!

What’s on the Shelf?

I’m always looking for pre-generated lists to add to my gamemastering binder. You just never know what you’ll need to come up with on the fly, and lists of names (people, taverns, businesses, etc), treasures, encounters, and so on can make your GM life so much easier. After I wrote my post about marginalia, I realized that one of the things I was missing from my collection of lists was a list of book titles. As much as I love it when there is a library in a published adventure, too often they name the plot important books and ignore the rest. Inevitably one of the players will ask about those other books.

Problem solved! I sat down and made a list of book titles covering a range of subjects. I started with twenty five titles, and I’ll be adding to the list as more titles occur to me. I’ve shared those first twenty five below, giving you a starting point for your own list. Obviously you should feel free to modify these entries to better fit your campaign. The titles range in tone from silly to serious. The list is also weighted to books which might fit a fantasy or occult campaign, but it wouldn’t be hard to create a list of more modern titles if that was needed.

  1. Non-Euclidean Geometry and Its Application to Architectural Design, Vol. II (Vol. I is not present)
  2. Oozes, Molds, and Semi-Intelligent Plants: A Cook’s Guide
  3. My Time Amongst the Vegepygmies
  4. Her Hooves They Shone Like the Diamonds: Collected Love Poems and Songs of the Centaur Peoples
  5. What Colour is Your Gelatinous Cube?: Tips for Using Dyes and Stains 
  6. Elves are from the Feywild, Orcs are from Gruumsh
  7. A Fifty Year Retrospective of the Cheesemaker’s Guild
  8. Inter-City Relations in Post-Scarcity Faerun
  9. The Care and Feeding of Your Buopoth
  10. A Gentleman’s Guide to Bullywug Etiquette
  11. The Collected Minutes of the Ptolus Benevolent Society, Volume XVII
  12. Gold, Beer, and Steel: A Dwarven Songbook
  13. Oh Brother Where Art Thou?: How to Lead Your Own Cult
  14. Half-Orc, All Rage: Tips and Tricks for Anger Management
  15. Calling the Great Old Ones, a Posthumous Publication
  16. Monster Scatology: a Jeweler’s Guide
  17. Whose Bones are Those?: Dice Games of the Planes
  18. Kobold Guide to Trap Design
  19. Predator and Prey: Dating a Lycanthrope
  20. Weather Readings on Mount Thrandor, Common Year 4637
  21. If it Fits, It’s Grits: A Field Guide to Goblin Cuisine
  22. A Barbarian’s Guide to Unleashing What’s Inside (Your Enemy)
  23. Fur-braiding Styles of the Lowland Bugbear Tribes
  24. A Crafter’s Guide to Humanoid Physiology
  25. The Mysterious Case of the Left-handed Flumph

There you go! Feel free to adjust any of these titles to better fit your campaign. Or don’t, and leave the players wondering.

Do you have some favourite in-game book titles? Share them in the comments below.

ACG MiniCon at The Adventurer’s Guild

UPDATE: Due to issues beyond the organizers’ control, the event has been postponed. Stay tuned, and I’ll update here when I have new information.

As many of you know I used to be the Venture Captain for Pathfinder Organized Play here in Edmonton. After three years I stepped down, leaving PFS in the capable hands of Ross Tait. While I don’t get out to PFS games as often as I like, I still keep a hand in; I’ll be off to PaizoCon and GenCon to help out at PFS HQ. All this is to say, I’m still a fan of PFS and I enjoy helping promote it. Ross asked me to pass along a really cool event, so here is Ross to tell you all about it.

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Hello everyone!

I am excited to announce for the first time ever in Edmonton history, the very first Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Mini Con!!

On Saturday, April 22nd at the Adventurers Guild (15211 Stony Plain Road), ACG Venture-Lieutenants Jason Switner , Aaron Steele, and myself will showcase the Adventure Card Game and help other players learn how to play this fun game. Games start at 11am and run all day. It’s drop in and we can accommodate groups who want to play together or singles who just want to show up and play. Each session is only 1 and half hours long so they easily can be fit into a Saturday when you have time. If you want to play again, you can! If you can only make one session, that’s fine too! We will be featuring the Rise of the Runelords, Mummy’s Mask, Skull and Shackles, and Wrath of the Righteous box sets!

Best part….it’s free to play!!

For PFS players who want to give it a shot, there will be a draw at the end of the day where player’s can earn a racial boon for their characters that was available at previous cons. This includes the grippli, the vishkanya, and the aasimar. Player’s choice.

So come on out and give it a try. We look forward to seeing you there!!

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There you have it. I can say I’ve played the Adventure Card Game a bunch, and it is a tonne of fun. If you’ve never played before this is your chance to check it out and start building up a character. And maybe I’ll see you there!