All posts by Peter R.

I have been blogging about Rolemaster for the past few years. When I am not blogging I run the Rolemaster Fanzine and create adventure seeds and generic game supplements under the heading of PPM Games. You can check them out on RPGnow. My pet project is my d6 game 3Deep, now in its second edition.

Getting Children into Gaming

There are a few popular games for getting younger children into gaming. The most successful is probably Hero Kids by Justin Halliday, with Amazing Tales by Martin Lloyd coming in second. Both games are aiming at gamers as young as 4 years old, which is pretty impressive.

In December I was involved in some idle chatting on a discord server and we started talking about simple systems aimed at children. Before the evening was out we had roughed out a basic core mechanic and were adding in what amounts to feats, magic items, and monsters.

As these things do, it soon took on a life of its own and last night we released our own RPG. We think the target audience is in the 8 to 12 age group. It is a very long time since I have been 8 to 12 years old and those were simpler times, or so we like to tell ourselves.

The game is called The Things That Grown Ups Cannot See, or Things! for short. Right now it is in that nerve-wracking stage of trying to find playtesters.

If you know someone with children in that sort of age group and they are interested in RPGs they can grab Things! as a free download from DriveThruRPG.

The core concept of the game is that the player characters are living normal lives in today’s world, they go to school, they have Instagram accounts and mobile phones. They are also special in that they can see, the fey world, the things that grown-ups don’t seem to see.

The style of play is very much narrative. There is an in-game meta currency called Power and when a play spends a Power Point they get to take over the narrative until the next player or the Storyteller (GM) spends a Power Point to take control of the story. Think of Power as Fate points in many other systems but here they are the central motive force driving the story.

The more games you read and play, the more bits that get stuck in your mind. Some things are instantly brilliant and you love them. Others may be good ideas but poorly executed and others just don’t work for you. We could all make a list of game mechanics and everyone’s lists would be different. I would also wager that the same mechanic in one game may be a turn-off but in a different game, the same mechanic works well.

I mention this as in a game that took only a couple of hours to put the core rules together there is very little in here that is completely new if anything. The amusing thing is what I would consider its main influences. At least one grandparent would be Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of and another would be Zweihander, neither of which I would class a particularly child-friendly.

As to what came from where I will let you decide.

Happy Ending

A couple of years ago I ran a handful of posts about creating a game based upon playing cards.

At the time I just thrashed out the core rules.

In the next update I shared links to a playtest of a functional game.

Now two years after those first posts the game has not only completed its play test but I also ran a successful crowdfunding campaign for it and the final game has been released as both PDF and physical books.

What prompted this post was an email I received this morning. The content was a nice piece of feedback from a GM running the game with his group. He was not only running the game but he also shared the first house rule that they had developed.

It is one thing to write a game. Anyone can do that. It is easy to self publish, again anyone can do that. Seeing your work in print is quite cool but all it takes is a bit of software for the layout and €10 to order a set of print proofs. It is knowing that people are playing, enjoying and making the game their own that made it all worthwhile.

If it hadn’t been for this blog I don’t know if I would have ever come up with the ideas, or if I had, I am not sure I would have developed it into a working game.

So if you fancy trying something new over Christmas, you could do worse than checking out Devil’s Staircase Wild West.

Devil’s Staircase:Wild West Crowdfunding

Over two years ago I started knocking an idea around for a playing card-driven Wild West game. A year ago it was complete enough to go to playtesting.

Today it is on Indiegogo as a crowdfunding campaign.

The game has gone almost completely through its life cycle on this blog and would not exist without it to some extent.

I am not a massive fan of Kickstarters but it is educational to have done one. It is one thing to be critical when you have never actually done it and quite another to be able to speak from experience. I will find out if this experience will change my perceptions.

To Devil’s Staircase…

So why crowdfund? What I am trying to learn is how difficult the process is. I have more ideas than I will ever be able to see finished on my own. If crowdfunding is really viable, paying people to take some of the burdens off one person would be an option. There are many small crowdfunding campaigns that succeed but the amounts involved would probably not pay for professional quality art, layout or writing. There are plenty of big projects too but when they fail they can be spectacularly bad.

So, after rambling on, the point of this post is to raise awareness of Devil’s Staircase: Wild West on Indiegogo. The target is just £500 and that is mostly for future advertising. I want to try Facebook advertising for a start.

If you remember the original blog posts (here) and would like to see the game complete its final step then please consider supporting it.

Thank you.