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.

Lazy Monday Video Post: Electric Bastionland Character Preview

One of my fondest gaming memories is the playtest of Chris McDowall’s Into The Odd. Into The Odd is a very unique game which feels a bit like OD&D, but it’s extremely streamlined and comes with an awesome setting. The Odd world is a place filled with strange places and even stranger creatures. It’s littered with alien artifacts that are either magic in nature or so advanced that they are indistinguishable from magic. Exploring these weird places is the focus of this game, not necessarily killing monsters and taking their stuff.

Electric Bastionland is the “sequel” to Into The Odd. It takes place in Bastion, the last city of humanity. Since ITO some time have passed and with it technology has advanced as well. But the game is still about exploration. This time you explore the deep places beneath this city because your last career was a failure and adventuring is the only viable way to get out of debt. It may also lead to your early grave. But what is life without risk?

In this video, Chris talks about characters in Electric Bastionland, which should be released in 2019. Enjoy!

Confessions of a terrible GM

Ok, I am probably not that bad, but sometimes I feel that way. I’ve run games that were terribly boring, extremely formulaic, and I made every mistake at least twice. I remember game sessions were I actively tried to piss off my players, there were times I railroaded adventures that hard you could almost smell the smoke from a steam engine. I have been a bad game master many, many times.

In some cases I was bad because of lack of experience, but more often because of fear: the fear of getting the rules wrong, the fear of being boring, the fear of not entertaining my players, the fear of making a fool of myself. In my case fear either leaves me so paralyzed that I can’t even bear the idea to actually run a game, or it leads me to drop all of my good ideas and replace it with formulaic crap. I have asked players for dice rolls just in order to stall time. At times I was terrible.

Continue reading Confessions of a terrible GM

Podcast recommendation: Grumpy Old Gamers

I have to admit I am not an avid listener to podcasts. I always found it hard to include listening to them into my daily routine. Usually I have some free time during my commute which I fill with reading roleplaying games, playing around with my smartphone, reading the news, while listening to music. But a friend recently let me know that he’s recording a podcast and I just had to check it out.

Grumpy Old Gamers is not your typical podcast. Two slightly grumpy gamers who happen to be the game designers Jim Pinto and Richard Iorio are talking about the hobby and basically everything that crosses their minds. It’s a beautiful unfiltered, unedited mess, and I love it. It’s just two friends having a conversation and we get the chance to listen in on them.

What I especially like is that they share some interesting insights on the RPG industry and its fans. And they don’t sugarcoat anything. The podcasts takes a while to get used to, because there’s no proper intro (in the second episode the recording pretty much started mid-conversation) there’s no editing, no script, heck, not even an outline. If you don’t mind this, you’re in for a treat. I can’t wait to get off work to continue listening to these guys rant. It’s so enlightning and shockingly blunt, it’s a delight. I highly recommend to anyone checking this out.