The Game Room: Star Wars Day!


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May the Fourth Be With You…that’s the word for today. Today, of course, is Star Wars Day. Looking through my bookshelves, I’ve found my collection of Star Wars RPG books from WOTC. It brought back a lot of good memories.

First of all, it was the only D20 System game that I really liked and found easy to run. I have the original DnD Third Edition books and the Oriental Adventures book as well. I found the system a little too crunchy for my tastes. Oddly enough, I didn’t have the same problem with the SWRPG regardless of the version. (I currently have the Saga Edition). I also have the Dark Side Sourcebook (1st Ed.), Power of the Jedi (2nd Ed.), Alien Anthology(1st Ed.) and Scavengers Guide to Droids (Saga Edition). I had others as well but over the years they’ve either been sold or given away.

My favorite period for gaming Star Wars is the Republic Expansion Period which is roughly 5000 years BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin). On the cusp of the Great Hyperspace War.  It’s a wild and wooly galaxy out there. I especially like the way the Jedi are portrayed. They are a lot more “cowboy” if you will then they are in later periods. I also like the idea of the Light Sabres having to use a belt mounted power pack. Makes some of those manuevers really tricksy to pull off.

My basic campaign setting was the Wilds with Player Characters (PC’s) as members of the Republican Scout Service whose job it was to explore and chart worlds out towards the rim.  They were also tasked with the monitoring of a Corporate War that was flaring up between the Streinveldt Mining  Corporation and the Atelkine Technical Consortium. On top of all of this adventure, the Sith make their move even in the out of the way places like the Wilds. Alas, I was never able to get a group together to play it.

When I look back on this material and on Star Wars in general, I can definitely see “Firefly” as it’s spiritual descendant. Oh, and yes, I have a copy of the Firefly RPG as well. But that is a post for another time.


A Moving Experienced

It’s been a while since I last posted  here. As a lot of you know, I changed residences. I moved from north Tampa (Suitcase City) to Clearwater. I had been living in the same spot over in Tampa for over 25 years. For all of you over the years that came and visited me know that it was in fact the Ghetto, the Hood, or whatever else you call a place where the desperately poor live out their lives. It’s where I lived out a lot of mine.

It wasn’t always like that. When I first moved in back around 1980 or so, it was mostly college students and blue collar families. Oh, and it was also kind of rural. But as time went on, alot of low income housing was built. Drug trafficking reared its ugly head and things started going to shit. Still, I hung on. The Hood changed and not for the better. The number of hispanics increased. Decent, good natured, hard working folks who were just trying to make a living. Unfortunately, along with these good folks came some bad ones who preyed on them. A little over a year ago, I saw the first gang tag on the wooden fence across the street from where I lived. But more than that, I was getting older. I had to undergo radiation therapy for prostate cancer which left me weakened for a while. All in all, it was time to move.I was fortunate to get a lead on a really nice place next to the Clearwater Mall. I made the decision and on May 4th the movers came and…well…moved me.

It’s a whole new world over here. I suspect that at the age of 62 I’m one of the youngest people in my building. It’s quiet. Sometimes even a little too quiet. No street noise. No sirens. No loud domestic disturbances. Just quiet. I really don’t miss all of that but I do miss the sound of kids playing. To hear children playing is to me the sound of life itself…yea that I do miss.

Writing At The Crossroads

I like gaming. All kinds of gaming. Roleplaying Games, Historical Miniatures, and Boardgames. I like them all. It’s been a fun hobby for me since I was twelve years old. My first gaming module was published in the 1980’s. It was “The Black Madonna” and was written for Game Designers Workshop’s Twilight:2000 game line. I also authored or co-authored material for Cyberpunk 2020 and Vampire: The Masquerade. I stopped writing back in 1991 for personal reasons. I continued to run and play games but never seemed to have the emotional energy to write any more scenarios.

Several years ago, I broke out of whatever kind of funk I was in and seriously considered taking up writing again. I was really looking forward to cranking out some more gaming material then a funny thing happened. I found that I couldn’t do it. It’s not that I couldn’t tell stories. It’s jus that I found the whole game mechanics thing to be too restrictive. I tried several times but I felt like I was being chained down.

I know a lot of people that write for the gaming industry. Their work is superb and I have any number of examples of it on my bookshelves. The imagination and creativity that has gone into these books is just incredible. I admire them for being able to put this stuff out. It is very good. I wish at times that I could do it but apparently I can’t anymore. Perhaps I will someday.

Recently, I have begun writing again. I really enjoy my time at the keyboard now. I am telling stories that I want tell in the way I wish to tell them. I have even found a way to possibly use them as gaming material. Well, time to move forward.

Huzzah! Space 1889 is Officially Back!

I recieved most excellent news yesterday, Space 1889, the Premiere Steampunk Setting is officially going again. Frank Chadwick himself posted the good news and a link to the official site

This news could not be more welcome. I have loved this setting since it’s first appearance nearly 25 years ago. To be sure, there have been other worthy efforts among them Castle Falkenstein. However, there is nothing like the original in my opinion as a background setting. I invite one and all to check out Frank’s blog as well as the links.

It is good to see this officially back and going! Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!

Building A World: The Kingdom of Adlerheim Pt. 2

Well, as you can see, I’ve already changed the name of the Kingdom. It now means Eagle’s Home. It is a reference to the Roman Legion that once occupied the area. (Legio XXVII). In the early history of the Kingdom, many of the Legionaires settled here. Married and had families that became part of the warband that dominated the area. Now where exactly is that area?

There is a term that I ran across years ago: “The soft edges of the map”. It was in reference to one of the most well known of the mythical kingdoms, Ruritania. What this means is that while there are references to real world places i.e. south of Mainz to give an example, you would not find it on a map. In fact the only map that needs to exist is the one inside the imagination of the players. I know…I know there’s all of these maps of Middle Earth. But remember Middle Earth was created as a completely unique world. Adlerheim exsists within a much larger “real world” setting.  Think of Adlerheim as a movie or a stage set on which the Characters will play out their parts and you will get the idea of what I’m talking about.

Speaking of Characters and such, the next time we’ll look at who lives there.

Welcome To Stately Frey Manor!

After some thought, I have decided to expand the envelope of this blog. Think of this as a grand old manor in which there are many rooms. Each room holds a topic that I am interested in. It’s something like an old “Cabinet of Curiosities” in which many odd and diverse things were collected. That really kind of describes me.

The ground rules are simple. In fact, it is the Golden Rule. Treat others here as you yourself would like to be treated.

Welcome to Stately Frey Manor, I hope that you will find your stay entertaining.

Building A World: The Kingdom of Andalheim Pt. 1

One of the great pleasures of the gaming hobby for me is reading about various settings or game worlds if you will. Two of my favorites are 7th Sea and Fading Suns. These are rich works with a complex and fascinating background. Ironically, I’ve read far more about them then I’ve actually played or run adventures in them. Still, they are most entertaining as well as inspirational. In light of that, I would like to explore the idea of creating my own world.

I will start by giving a name: The Kingdom of Andalheim. It has a nice southern germanic ring to it. My fathers side of the family immigrated from Austria and Bavaria during the 19th Century so this has a nice feel to it. The name means “Home of the Andals”. Now I really haven’t figured out who exactly the Andals were but more than likely they were the original tribe that settled in this location.Speaking of location, we now come to a very basic determination. When and where is Andalheim located? It’s from this basic decision that many others will flow.

We’ll begin with the when. I’ve always enjoyed the worlds of Space:1889 and Castle Falkenstein. I am by avocation as well as education a historian. 19th century European history has always fascinated me. I’m not really sure what I like could be described as “Steampunk” or Victorian Science Fiction (VSF) and yes there is in my mind a difference between the two. Let’s fix the when as anywhere between 1880 and 1910. This gives us a thirty year range or so in which to draw inspiration from. For those who prefer a specific year, let us say 1895. That is the midpoint year in our epoch. This gives an anchor in which we can envision the basics of the culture of the Kingdom of Andalheim.

In the next entry, we will examine the all important question of “Where in the world is the Kingdom of Andalheim?”

My Basic Gaming Philosophy!

I’ve been gaming for a long time. I remember my first real board game was the old Avalon Hill Tactics II. I think I got it for a birthday present for my 12th birthday which was in 1960. I was really excited by it. I spent a lot of my youth playing various other boardgames. My all time favorite is AH’s Afrika Korps. I began playing historical miniatures in 1971 and roleplaying games in 1977. This gives me some 30+ years in the gaming hobby. Over that time period, I’ve developed  some basic gaming philosophies. They are:

1.) If the players are having a good time playing it and the Gamemaster is having a good time running then it’s a good game. For me, the whole idea is to have fun. It’s as simple as that.

2.) Always be willing to try something new. Well, ya never know when you’ll find the next thing that piques your interest.

3.) The Golden Rule is especially helpful in the gaming hobby.

Well, there you have it. Nothing profoundly complicated but these principles have always stood me in good stead.