Thursday, June 23, 2016

Mutant Crawl Classics Kickstart is NOW LIVE!

As of around midnight, the Mutant Crawl Classics Kickstarter is live! This is a game written by Jim Wampler that adapts the fantastic Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG to the post-apocalyptic genre originally seen in Metamorphosis Alpha and Gamma World. I believe this could quite possibly do Gamma World better than even Gamma World itself. Go pledge and get your copy when it goes to print. 

Kickstarter Here

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

An Open Letter to Jim Wampler (aka Shameless Plug for Mutant Crawl Classics)

Pictured: My Imagination
Dear Mr. Wampler,

I once wrote the Save or Die podcast a gushing letter about (among other things) how excited I was for Mutant Crawl Classics. At that point, MCC was still in the rumor phase, though you talked about it often enough that I knew it would eventually see publication in some form or another. Last year, at Gen Con 2015, I sat right behind you at the "What's New With Goodman Games" panel. I almost said hello, but I felt kind of like a stalker, so I chickened out.

Let me explain. I love Gamma World. When I was little, circa the early 80s, my older brother played D&D as part of that particular game's fad popularity at the time. I was too young to play, but the magic of this strange game captured my young imagination. Soon after, my mom caught on to a kind of fad herself, the Satanic Panic, and all the anti-D&D sentiment that came with it. My brother had to give up his books as a result.

He left behind a few notebooks that contained, among other things, his drawings of various friends' Gamma World characters. These were not high quality works of art, mind you, but high school level doodles of the caliber one might find sketched on the front of a pale yellow math or social studies folder. To my young eyes, however, these were works of pure genius. A dog man with a glowing sword. A human with an eye patch, cyborg arm, and laser blaster. It was the coolest thing I'd ever seen.

Sometime later, I picked up the fourth edition of Gamma World, the one TSR put out in 91 or so. I had fun with it, and although D&D remained the game of choice for my friends and I, Gamma World retained a special place in my heart and imagination.

Now and again, I tried my hand at brewing up my own version of the game, with varying degrees of success. I had a working model based on Castles & Crusades for a while, but it never turned out exactly how I wanted it. It was hard to capture the unique mixture of gonzo weirdness and deadly sincerity that the game seemed to promise me as a little kid.

Fast forward years later. I was by myself at an army base in Korea, running a solo funnel to test out the yet-to-be released DCC RPG rules, when it occurred to me that this game, with just a little tweaking, would be the perfect basis for a new version of Gamma World. Imagine my excitement when I heard you say very much the same thing a few years later.

It's not often that the universe seems to hear our silly wishes and then does its measured best to make them a reality. I have been selfishly cheering you on this whole time, waiting for you to write this game that felt I'd custom ordered it. I don't have a lot of cash right now, but I have just a little put aside for the MCC Kickstarter.

Thank you for making this game. Thank Joe Goodman for publishing it. My kids and I have our notebooks ready for our own wacky characters.

Bring on the post-apocalypse!


Monday, June 20, 2016

My Free RPG Day Good Deed

Saturday, I was able to participate in Free RPG Day for the very first time. In the past, I've always been out of town (or out of the country) and could never partake of the free stuff. This time, even though the closest participating store was an hour-and-a-half away, I happened to be in the area for a wedding. It worked out perfectly.

I got this version.
I was really excited to pick up the Goodman Games release, because I'm super, super excited about Mutant Crawl Classics. I've got another post brewing on that front, just waiting for the official Kickstarter announcement. My fingers are crossed that we'll hear something from Goodman on that front soon.

I also got a copy of the free Call of Cthuhlu adventure, The Derelict, for my oldest son, who couldn't come to the store with me. I realize that the point of Free RPG Day is to get people into stores to buy stuff. I had a little extra cash set aside, so I picked up The One Who Watches From Below and another DCC module. Not much, but a little something to support the store that was supporting the event. While I was reading this rather spirited post from another blogger, it occured to me that I may have accidentally done an even better thing for my favorite hobby.

There were a couple of kids in the store with me, also perusing the RPGs. They were, I'd guess, 12 and 15 or so, brothers, and they both seemed kind of lost. They had a copy of Hoard of the Dragon Queen and a 5E Player's Handbook and seemed to be picking up other products totally at random, discussing them, and then putting them back on the shelves. I could pretty easily tell that these kids had no idea what they were looking at and just wanted D&D stuff. In other words, total newbies. Since there wasn't an employee to be found anywhere, I lent a hand.

"Hey, what are you guys looking for?"

"Oh. We're looking for maps. For D&D."

"Sure," I said, "I play a bunch of D&D and other games. I can help you out. Are you looking for specific maps, like for the DM, or maps to use with miniatures at the table?"

"Maps at the table."

So I showed them the Paizo flip maps, which were in abundance at this particular store. They told me that the didn't think those were right, since they weren't playing Pathfinder, so I explained the generic nature of the 1-inch-gridded maps. I also pointed out the Gaming Paper. I was kind of tempted to tell them that 5E doesn't really need minis and battle maps, or to try and sell them on some of the other great games on the shelves, but I bit my tongue.

These kids didn't need DCC or Dungeon World or whatever new or weird thing amused this old Grognard at the moment. They were at square one, which is D&D 5E, and that's a pretty darn solid game. Heck, I'm not a 4E guy, but if they were playing that I would have helped them find the out-of-print games boxes on the other side of the store. I was just glad to see some young players getting into the game.

I told them about the free stuff upstairs (they had no idea it was Free RPG Day. They had never heard of Free RPG Day) and wished them well. A few minutes later, I heard the younger brother urging the older to ask me something. They were working up the courage to talk to me about something else.

"Sir," the brother asked me, timidly, "Do you know where they have dice?"
Yup...that should be just about enough.

"You can't play D&D without dice, guys! Sure, I saw it upstairs, in a big display case. Ask the dude behind the counter if you can't find it."

They thanked me and scurried upstairs. My wife, who was upstairs corralling my youngest, later confirmed that the two brothers got their dice and left. I saw them a little while later, counting out the money they had leftover and deciding where to eat. It was like someone gave them a handful of twenties and told them to go buy what they wanted and get themselves food, too.

It wasn't until much later that I realized the role I'd played. Hopefully, they get D&D home and have a great time with it, maybe have hours of adventure this summer with some of the younger guys middle school friends or their cousins or whatever. Hopefully, a couple of those kids like the game so much they keep playing it and games like it well into adulthood, like I have.

I think I did a good turn for the hobby on Saturday, on Free RPG Day, and I didn't even mean to. So here's to you, brothers with the dyed green hair. I don't know if you're actually brothers, or if you were the newbies I thought, or anything else really. I do hope you guys have as much fun with D&D as I have.

Oh, yeah, and I'm back to blogging again. ;-)