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#RPGaDay2015 – Favourite RPG Writer? Croc & Mike Pondsmith

#RPGaDAY (Image: Autocratik)

#RPGaDAY2015 (Image: Autocratik)

Autocratik (David F Chapman). #RPGaDAY2015 – 12th day, but for me the 11th question:

Favourite RPG Writer?

Croc for In Nomine Satanis/Magna Veritas (Siroz (French original version), Truant Verlag (German)). This is still one of the smartest games I’ve ever read and played.
Heaven („Good“) against Hell („Evil“). One of the primal conflicts in storytelling and on earth in a cynical, sarcastic and violent roleplaying game. More than once our laughter stuck a in our throats when we played the (un-)heavenly host. The divine powers are often allied with Nazi skinheads who fight punks and their befriended demonic forces. We played Greg Costikyan’s Paranoia RPG (West End Games) a few times and it never really worked for us. „The computer is your friend.“ and „Happiness is mandatory.“ are strong dystopian memes, but playing In Nomine Satanis/Magna Veritas is my opinion more satisfying. Reading both games offers a lot of ‚real world‘ thought-provoking impulses. They are more than ‚just funny‘.
By the way: A few month ago, a successful crowdfunding campaign provided the budget for an upcoming new French edition, called INS/MV : Génération Perdue (Raise Dead Éditions). I hope for a English or German translation.

Mike Pondsmith for Cyberpunk 2013/Cyberpunk 2020 and Castle Falkenstein (all R. Talsorian Games). We left the dungeons with the black box in our hands. He put the Punk (TM) into roleplaying. GDW’s Space: 1889 and Marcus L. Rowland’s Forgotten Futures (1993) might be older, but Castle Falkenstein (1994) was the first Steampunk RPG I was really interested in.

Honorable mentions:
Ken St. Andre – Tunnels & Trolls RPG (Flying Buffalo, Fantasy Productions)
Robin D. Laws – Feng Shui RPG (Daedalus Entertainment, Atlas Games)
John Tynes & Greg Stolze – Unknown Armies RPG (Atlas Games)
The crew (Thomas Finn, Steffen Schütte, etc.) of the German Zauberzeit magazine (Citadel oder Laurin Verlag) – some articles and adventures were really great at that time.

Autocratik’s answer:

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4 Kommentare

  1. „but playing In Nomine Satanis/Magna Veritas is my opinion more satisfying. Reading both games offers a lot of ‚real world‘ thought-provoking impulses. They are more than ‚just funny‘.“

    I once met the editorial crew of the French magazine Casus Belli at a Gen Con (that was in the 90s). They told me about the peculiarities of the French scene of that time, and one was that the scene was divided between INS/MV and Nephilim (in much the same way as Germany was divided between D&D and DSA). And they smiled about that rivalry because „it doesn’t matter because they are both played as pure Super Hero games“.

    (Personally, I was more of a Nephilim guy, setting-wise. Rules-wise, I liked both versions of INS/MV, even the Steve Jackson one.)

    Castle Falkenstein is one of the rare pieces of art of our hobby. It is the only RPG where the fluff text is not only tolerable, but necessary and important and fun.

    • Mondbuchstaben, thank you for your insights. I never played Nephilim. I like the setting though. I always wanted a copy of Scales.
      As far as I know, they all follow similar approaches.

      INS/MV is something special. The setting and at least some mechanics are interconnected. I refer to the d666.
      666 is a critical for the demons. 111 is a success for the angels.
      Some say Kult or Blood (IIRC) are very violent. In my personal experience, no game is „bloodier“ than INS/MV.
      Our games always ended in a bloody mess. This is per se no „good quality“. The interesting thing is how we got there.
      No one is „squeamish“ in INS/MV. Magna Veritas is quite the opposite of „If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also.“
      I don’t like superheroes, but I have to agree. Humans are so fragile.

      Yes, Castle Falkenstein is unique. My WDS colleague and I meet Mike Pondsmith when he and his wife were here to promote the German edition of Cyberpunk 2020.
      He loved Neuschwanstein …

  2. Scales is a bit bland compared to Nephilim, IMHO. The rules are even less complex than those of INS/MV.
    If Nephilim is Vampire-goes-Cthulhu, then Scales is Vampire-goes-Indiana-Jones (with „Vampire“ meaning „immortal, nonhuman being hidden among humans“ – in Nephilim they were elemental spirits, in Scales they were dragons, like in FFG’s Fireborn).

    Re. Falkenstein – that trip to Neuschwanstein was where he got the idea to write Falkenstein. The first official convention game ever was run at Hannover spielt! – we promoted Falkenstein about half a year before it appeared in print. Mike Pondsmith had fed-exed us the half-layouted manuscript, followed up by a convention demo adventure via fax. (That was long before PDFs, or easy access to e-mail…)
    All in all, an extremely nice experience.

  3. Ich bin sehr von den Sachen begeistert die Chris Pramas geschrieben hat.
    Bei Warhammer Fantasy hat er einfach das richtige Händchen gehabt und auch seine Dragon Age Sachen wissen zu überzeugen.
    Bei Solo-Abenteuer geht der Punkt eindeutig an Joe Dever.

    AL