Nov 27th, 2016 by gmsmagazine
Nov 27th, 2016 by gmsmagazine
Why play RPGs? Why spend hours reading books and preparing for games? Why belong to a community that is both so hostile and welcoming at the same time?
Believe it or not it is a question I ask myself very often.
Why bother with a hobby in which a dissenting voice is shut down instead of welcome with healthy debate? Why am I in a hobby that still has strides to walk in terms of inclusivity and diversity? A hobby in which some attempts at said inclusivity and diversity are met with brutal opposition by people who refuse to widen their perspectives?
And, you know… sometimes I wish to quit.
But I don’t.
And i am sure I am not the only human being in this position. We keep going.
Jim and I explore the reasons why we are still here. And why we are likely to continue for a long, long time.
The topic of cultural appropriation is a hot one in Social Justice circles. But is it a justified outcry when someone uses someone else’s culture to create games, costumes or anything else?
It is a matter of fact that cultures evolve both by themselves – traditions that become canon in time or ones that die, fashion that evolves… – and by assimilation when we see something from another culture and we adopt it. In a world that is a lot more globalised today than it was 30 or 40 years ago mostly thanks to the Internet, the rate at which cultures are being shared, adopted, evolved and bastardized has also increased exponentially.
Are we ready for this?
Is there a justified concern for the phenomenon we are witnessing in which people use other people’s cultures?
And is it justified to do it in RPGs?
Since there is not a single RPG that hasn’t borrowed from one culture or another, to say we are free from culture appropriation would be pretty naive thing, so it is safe to say it’s unavoidable.
Jim and I explore all those questions and give our take on this controversial topic.
Warning… we don’t hold back and we are likely to offend some people.
A few days ago Jim and I talked for a while about culture in games. How they are not well used or even created in most games and we touched on some of the social aspects of cultures and how to translate them into gaming. Also how to convert real cultures into gaming cultures.
After that, it was pointed out by someone who heard our episode and, in particular, the bit about understanding someone else’s culture and getting to know it, even if from a distance, that it was very obvious that it was two white guys talking about topic.
Regardless of the fact that the assertion is wrong (I am not white. I just have white skin privilege), that sparked a conversation between Jim and myself: How is social advocacy affecting RPGs.
In this episode we discuss that, as well as a bit of cultural appropriation (very little) and a few other interesting things.
A fair bit of swearing in this episode!
Many people try to portray cultures in their games. Whenever a game has a setting, the description of their cities, countries, societies… they are meant to have cultures.
But that is not something most games do well.
When you scratch the surface of any setting, there are massive gaps that are not easy to fill and subtract from the understanding of how the world works. How can one create new material that is congruent and of good quality if we don’t understand where the cultures that shape our worlds come from?
Thank goodness, Jim is an anthropologist and he can answer a few questions on that front!
Sep 16th, 2016 by gmsmagazine
Brendan Davis from Bedrock Games has been creating a few interesting games in the last few years. Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate is their latest and most ambitious proposal yet.
A game based on the Wuxia genre from China, this is not the first time the company attempt at recreating cultural aspects of a real life society to a game. With Arrows of Indra, Bedrock Games tried with only moderate success to create a game that would integrate Indian culture into an OSR, though it sadly fell short of the mark.
In this case, though, I am much more hopeful as the author is indeed very keen and passionate about the topic.
With over 400 pages of game, this one has a great deal of potential to offer detailed and accurate information, so I thought it would be a good idea to check with one of the authors what the game is all about and what sort of measures they have taken to get the best game possible.
Hope you enjoy the show!
Sometimes we have ideas, lots of ideas, and we want them to grow wings and fly to the skies until they reach heights never suspected by humanity.
And then they get nowhere.
Ideas are very hard things to deal with because we love them, we get attached to them and we look after them like they are our children, regardless of how ugly or useless they can be.
So what can you do with them? How can you identify if an idea is any good and worthy of your attention? And what happens if you want your idea to get super high up there but can only get to about eye-level?
Well.. here are some pieces of advice from Jim and I.
Hope you enjoy the show!
A hugely comprehensive set of stats and data, it makes the task of managing your character, campaign or adventure easier and with less things to remember.
It has been a while since they released the Pathfinder Adventure Path to help you run your campaigns and now they are releasing modules, smaller adventures with everything you need to keep track of encounters, locations, treasure, NPCs…
I thought a few questions were in order and Colen McAlister was the perfect person for that. Because he knows pretty much everything about Hero Lab and the company.
You can download a free trial for Windows and Mac here.
So here it goes… hope you enjoy the show!
The last podcast Jim and I discussed a lot about bad graphic design in RPGs and some of the very many reasons for it.
But we didn’t really get to discuss everything (maybe because we can’t really discuss everything without spending the rest of our lives talking about it) so we decided to have another go at it and this time we got help.
Help from someone who is one of the best in the industry, Jonny Hodgson.
As creative director for Cubicle 7, he is the person who has the responsibility to get the company products and games to be the best they can be. And, let’s face it, they are pretty excellent, so I guess he knows a thing or two about his craft.
This podcast is a bit (as in even more) chaotic than usual, but then it is also a lot funnier and rather informative, so I hope you will enjoy it.
Let us know!
Graphic Design is a massive part of any visual product, in fact is totally paramount. With bad Graphic Design, the product will never be good, no matter how many qualities it has.
In this impromptu podcast, Jim and I talk about this precise topic and we try to figure out why there are so many bad products out there.
This podcast was recorded at 2am in Spain and I was a bit on the tired side, so it seems I ramble a bit. But don’t worry.. it is on topic rambling and I can ramble rather well, so it won’t be too boring. I promise!
Hope you enjoy the show and let us know what you think.
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