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.

Dungeoncraft: Secrets!

Secrets are what makes a campaign setting more interesting and deep. The old man sitting on the bench under the big tree in the village is not very interesting. But if he’s – unbeknownst to everyone in the village – a former mercenary and adventurer, it suddenly becomes something greater. But as with all good things you have to make sure you don’t overdo it. In this episode of Dungeoncraft I want to talk about some of the secrets of my campaign world “Asecia”. If you are part of my gaming group, please read no further (Warning! Spoilers ahead!)
Continue reading Dungeoncraft: Secrets!

Roleplaying music – Bioshock

The award-winning computer game Bioshock takes place in an underwater city called Rapture, where the dream of scientists and artists turned into nightmare. The soundtrack of Bioshock not only featured songs form the 40s and 50s but twelve original orchestrated pieces composed by Garry Schyman. The score (without the licensed songs) has been released for free shortly after the game came out.
In my opinion the Bioshock score is perfectly suited for horror campaigns set in the  first half of the 20th century. I think I will make use of it the next time we play Call of Cthulhu.

You can download the Bioshock soundtrack here (ZIP file; 21.7 MByte).
There’s also a review of the score and an interview with the composer at Tracksounds.com!

Bioshock – Main Theme “The Ocean on His Shoulders”

Pirates are playing in the sandbox

This saturday, we concluded our first Pirates of the Spanish Main adventure. I used the adventure that was printed in the back of the book, added some things and made some minor changes to the characters. I also built up the Baron Pettigrew to become a recurring villain.
And instead of going to plan another adventure I will now prepare for a sandbox campaign, where the players fully decide what they want to do. I will of course always have some single-sheet adventures ready, but for the most time I will try to avoid “rail-roading” the players.
In my opinion the Spanish Main is perfectly suited for that kind of campaign. But hey, what do I mean when I talk about a sandbox campaign? I am talking about a open-ended campaign where the player’s decide the course of action not a pre-planned adventure. If the player’s want to go plundering, it’s fine with me, if the want to do trading, it’s their call.
As a GM I will set the background and once in a while drop in some hints on some things I’ve planned in the past. Just like the “sub-quests” in some computer games. But there’s no epic “rescue the world from utter destruction” plot that forces me to railroad the players to some climatic fight at the end. If they want to bring down the evil Baron Pettigrew, it’s their decision not mine. But I have some ideas on how the world will change around them even without them doing anything. After all, even the Spanish Main in the 17th century was not a static place.