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Indy indies

Patchworky commentary ahoy. Um, I guess I’ll talk about indie gaming at Gen Con now. The Forge folks had a shared booth, which looked very busy every time I dropped by. Yay them! I bought some stuff and talked to some people and generally had a good time there.

I met Scott Knipe (who wrote Wyrd and Charnel Gods), and he is just about the nicest guy in the world. He insisted in pressing a printed copy of Charnel Gods on me, so I made him autograph it. We had a nice chat about fan sites and upcoming stuff and so on, and he was one of the people I met at Gen Con who I’d love to have a beer with sometime. Stupid busy schedule. Maybe next year.

Ron Edwards, ringmaster of the Forge, is gregarious, cheerful, and charismatic. Very nice guy. My favorite metaphor for the Forge is jazz; it’s a very structured discussion space and there are a lot of conversations which don’t fit into that space. However, it’s absolutely perfect for talking about critical theory of roleplaying according to the GNS model, and it’s a valuable resource in that regard. Ron is the orchestra leader. Wish I’d had more time to talk to him, too.

I picked up several games, showing my lack of self-control. My favorite purchase was My Life With Master, which rocks — I wouldn’t mind playing it but it’d require committing for a few sessions. It is funny and sad and eloquent. The players are minons of an evil master, attempting to form human connections while serving his bidding. Probably the best value of the con.

I also got Kill Puppies For Satan. Bwah hah ha.

Um… Universalis, which I have not been able to read while in a proper state to comprehend it. Dust Devils, which I liked quite a bit. I want to try using it as an engine for Hong Kong melodrama at some point.

Oh yeah, and The Riddle of Steel, because Jake Norwood demoed the combat system and it is in fact amazingly easy and slick. In fact, in terms of ease of use it’s up there with Feng Shui. You roll a big fat d10 dice pool, divided into offense and defense pools each round, and you hope that you don’t get hit because getting hit is nasty. There’re some table lookups but they don’t come often, because the average combat will not have more than one or two hits in it. I want to try it out in more depth sometime.

There’s also a cool passion system, which provides you with extra dice when you’re fighting for something you feel strongly about. It’s good flavor and encourages roleplay. Finally, the sorcery system is a functional ad hoc system which allows you to cast random effects on the fly, not entirely unlike Ars Magica in that. I always like those.

I’m not entranced by his world, but I think it would be fairly adaptable to Warhammer Fantasy, which is the ur-gritty fantasy roleplaying world in my book. It’d also make an interesting system for L5R if you wanted to replace one deadly combat system with another; but that would take more adaptation work.

So that was what the indie RPG scene was like at Gencon. Fun.

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