Saturday, 29 December 2018
This is a quick one. I love Fallout and with the release of Fallout: Wasteland Warfare I got really excited about playing skirmishes on the tabletop. Unfortunately the game is a hideous mess of tokens and fiddly information cards. Alright for some but a big NOPE from me.
I digress. I still want to play Fallout themed skirmish games so my mind turned to terrain building and I produced this handy set of printable ephemera to spruce up the buildings when I finally make them. You should be able to download the file here.
At some point I'll also upload my own ruleset for wasteland tabletop.
Tuesday, 4 December 2018
An Interview with Jay IlesWhen a new and interesting Roleplaying Game comes along I want to stand and shout about it from the roof tops. Legacy: Life Amoung the Ruins (2nd Edition) is one of those games worth shouting about. A fresh take on the post-apocalyptic setting and written by a kick ass lady who I was fortunate enough to interview...
What part of your game really excites you? What part are you proudest of?
I’m most excited by timescale of stories it can tell. When I’m watching Mad Max or playing Fallout, one of my favourite things is seeing the ways they twist remnants of the old world and find new uses for them. Legacy lets you build those post-apocalyptic societies, and see them re-purpose not just pre-apocalypse junk but places you’ve explored and built in previous generations.
I’m most proud of the Families you play. Each is a radically different way of drawing strength from survival, and the one you choose will have big consequences for your play style - and say important things about the world you’re all playing in.
How do you find inspiration for your writing? What motivates you to create?
Most of my ideas come from things I encounter in my day-to-day life: a phrase heard in conversation, a brief mention in a book, or an interaction in a game that makes me think there’s something gameable there. Once I get an initial idea, I’ll normally spend at least a few weeks turning it over in my head, fleshing out what sort of thing it might lead to, before I commit words to screen.
I found that writing games was a natural progression from playing and running them: I played games to be a part of interesting stories, I ran games because it was the only way those particular stories would get told, then I wrote games because otherwise those sort of stories wouldn’t get told. I get really excited about writing games that provide new experiences, that take players to new worlds that otherwise wouldn’t have existed.
How do you celebrate diversity and inclusion in your writing?
I’ve approached this in a few different ways.
First, there’s the sort of characters you depict. I try to take care to present a balanced amount of characters from all genders, racial backgrounds, disabilities and ages, and we try to ensure that is carried over into the art.
Second, there’s the things your game prompts players to think about. Legacy is a game about Families, but we explicitly call out that blood ties aren’t the only thing that can bind a family together. When making a character, you have to at least consider your character’s gender presentation (masculine, feminine, ambiguous, concealed) as part of deciding their look. And the book encourages players to consider playing a character with a different race or disability to their own, with guidance as to how to do that respectfully.
Finally, there’s the sort of stories you tell. I wrote Legacy because I was tired of post-apocalyptic narratives that only focus on the death and misery. There’s space for that, but particularly in our modern times I also wanted stories about adaptation and evolution, about forming new communities and building a new society. To that end the game has rules for building new things in the wasteland, emphasises de-escalation over combat, and allows you to make radical changes to the setting through diplomacy and ingenuity.
As a games master/story teller what do you enjoy most about games and how do you facilitate that in your writing?
As a GM, I most enjoy systems that let me go with the flow and improvise rather than having to stat out antagonists and prepare mountains of notes for each session. I really enjoy thinking on my feet, responding to the player’s ideas, and letting the story breathe and flex to meet the group’s needs. To facilitate that, I try to put as many of the mechanics in the player’s hands as possible to minimise the GM’s workload, and make sure that every time players engage with the mechanics they’re making interesting choices about the setting and the shape the next few scenes are going to take.
What plans do you have for the future? What would you like to do?
We’ve recently wrapped up a kickstarter Here for three new books. In there are two supplements for Legacy: The Engine of Life, a book about hope and rebuilding, and End Game, a book about monsters and terrible threats. The third book is something a bit different: Free From the Yoke has you play the influential Houses in a medieval land that has just thrown out an invading empire that has oppressed you for generations. Now you must decide what sort of society you want to build now that you’re free, and reckon with the challenges and opportunities of independence. To hack Legacy to support political fantasy, we’ve added subsystems for magic and learning rituals, for duels and clashing armies, and for the Arbiter who sits on the throne and seeks to devote the land’s resources to their own projects.
Beyond that I have a few more games on the horizon: time travelling criminals, scheming cultists, astronaut ghosts and more. But really my main ambition is to get UFO Press to the point it can provide sustainable employment for myself and a publishing space for marginalised folks and interesting voices worldwide.