All posts by Stargazer

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

Bundle Of Holding: Fudge

I have had a soft spot for the Fudge roleplaying game system for quite some time now. Unfortunately several classic Fudge games including the 10th anniversary edition have never been released in digital form. Until now!

Grey Ghost Press has teamed up with the Bundle of Holding team to bring us an awesome bundle containing the best Fudge has to offer. The starter collection ($12.95) includes the following:

  • Fudge 10th Anniversary Edition
  • Psi-punk
  • Hack-n-Slash
  • The Orb
  • Survival of the Able

If you pay more than the threshold price of $25.47 you get all of the above plus the following:

  • The Deryni Adventure Game
  • Terra Incognita
  • Now Playing
  • The Unexplained

If you are a fan of Fudge or just curious what this system has to offer, I highly recommend checking out this Bundle of Holding. And if you are still on the fence, why don’t you check out our posts about Fudge here on the blog?

The Misogyny At The Core Of Our Hobby

I consider myself a tabletop roleplaying games fan. I have enjoyed playing RPGs for most of my life, I’ve run games myself for over 25 years and I have introduced quite a few people to the hobby. But unfortunately the roleplaying game hobby has its issues and we all need to acknowledge that there has been a huge problem with misogyny and racism especially in its early days but still to this day.

A recent Twitter post dragged the topic back into the public’s eye. It featured screenshots of two posts, one written by Gary Gygax and the other by Jonathan Tweet. As we all well know Gary Gygax is considered as one of the fathers of our hobby, while Jonathan Tweet is well known for his work on D&D 3rd Edition, 13th Age, and Over The Edge. Especially 3rd Edition and OTE had definitely quite an impact on the hobby today.

Let’s unpack Mr. Gygax’ post first. He gave his thoughts on why tabletop roleplaying games were male-dominated in the early days and his conclusion was that “most females do not play RPGs because of a difference in brain functions”. Oh boy! He also mused that it was a waste of time and effort to attempt to write games which included women as a target audience. Discussing the neuroscience behind Gygax’ claims would be well beyond the scope of this post. Let’s just say that roleplaying games are nowadays enjoyed by people of all genders. Sure, there are probably still more male RPG fans but that’s probably because people like Gygax never even bothered to see women as a target audience.

In a way it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe women just don’t enjoy a certain kind of games and then tailor your game towards a young male audience, it’s unsurprising if female gamers are not particularly interested in your product. But the best proof that Gygax’ assumption was wrong is that despite all the issues D&D had, it was still enjoyed by many female gamers. So he was obviously wrong and misogynist. Heck, the more I read about Mr. Gygax the more I get the impression he was not a very nice person. So why should we care?

For one I think uncritical praise of people like Gary Gygax is wrong. You can appreciate what he has done for the hobby even while acknowledging what he did wrong. The other thing is that a lot of his weird ideas on women (and race for that matter) made it into the game. In the process of modernizing D&D Wizards of the Coast would be well-advised to put particular care into making sure that these elements are removed.

Unfortunately some of the people who later worked on D&D shared some of Gygax ideas. Jonathan Tweet is such an example. Over the last few years he has made several racist and misogynist remarks which caused quite a turmoil especially among fans of 13th Age, a game which he designed together with Rob Heinsoo. A quote by Mr. Tweet is included in the screenshot below.

He posted these lines on his blog on Gleemax (WotC’s now defunct social site for gamers) back in 2008. I find it particularly interesting that both Gygax and Tweet mention LARP in a derogatory manner. I also find the “quality of gamer men” remark ridiculous and offensive, especially since he makes the allegation that female gamers are actually more interested in “good-looking guys” than the games themselves, which is pretty close to this whole “fake gamer girl” bullshit.

Over the last few years I have realized that looking up to “industry luminaries” is often a terrible idea. More often than not our “heroes” turn out to be terrible people. Even worse their often harmful ideologies make it into the games they created which make it hard to separate the art from the artist.

One last thing: I’ve disabled the comment feature under this post. If you want to discuss it, feel free to get in touch with me via social media.

A Humble Look At “THE CREW OF ENTERPRISE”

I am interrupting my summer break to share my thoughts on a new Modiphius product today. I have to admit I haven’t really followed their line of Star Trek Adventures products for a while since my interests have been mostly focused elsewhere. Today I had an email from Modiphius in my inbox informing me that they sent me a review copy of Star Trek Adventures: Enterprise Player Characters. Enterprise is still among my favorite Star Trek series, so I had to check it out immediately.

“Star Trek Adventures: Enterprise Player Characters” or as it is called within the document “The Crew of Enterprise” is a 16-paged booklet containing the stats of the major characters from the series including stats for the NX-01 starship itself. Included are Captain Archer, T’Pol, Cmdr. Tucker, Lt. Reed, Lt. Sato, Ensign Mayweather, Doctor Phlox and last but not least Commander Shran.

The artwork included is actually pretty nice and on par with the other Star Trek Adventures products. Personally I like the style and prefer it over just using photos from the show. I’ve included an example to the right.

So is this PDF worth its $5 asking price? Definitely. Especially if you are a fan of Enterprise and want to either play your favorite characters or let them appear as NPCs. As always the PDF is available from DriveThruRPG or the Modiphius store.

I probably should mention at this point that there’s currently an awesome way to get your hands on a huge amount of Star Trek Adventures content. Over on Humble Bundle they are selling a Star Trek Adventures bundle containing the core rules, the Alpha and Beta Quadrant source books, a slew of adventures, and much, much more. The character booklets for the Next Generation and Original Series eras are also included.

With all that being said, I am still hoping for an Enterprise era source book or something from the Discovery era. Yes, I know the new series was not included in the original license deal and many people don’t enjoy it as much as I have, but I’m allowed to dream, aren’t I?