A special episode of ‘What is Roleplay?!
In this episode CM Lowry wanders around the UK Games Expo to pick up tips on how to enjoy RPG at (and generally survive) these massive games conventions.
We chat to lots of awesome people about games, roleplay and the weird world of gaming cons, including:
- Chris Samson of Magpie Games – and mostly getting distracted by their amazing dice rings from Crit Success!
- Anna Molla from Mottokrosh Machinations and the beautiful Hypertellurians game!
- Matt Sanders representing the awesome Soul Muppet publishers!
- Zachary Cox, whose claim to fame is being the “&” in Rowan, Rook & Decard.
- Cat Evans, from fellow micropublisher Ex Stasis Games!
Links to cool stuff we saw:
[00:00:03.890] – Dave
Beyond Cataclysm presents for your listening pleasure ‘What is roleplay?’
[00:00:15.410] – Dave
Welcome to What is roleplay? A podcast from Beyond Cataclysm that explores the very basics of roleplay, roleplaying games and what it means to be part of this awesome hobby. We’ll be exploring the nuts and bolts of how to play roleplay – even if you know literally nothing about roleplay games currently, this podcast is always aimed at a level that assumes no prior knowledge. This is the first of two special episodes recorded LIVE at a gaming expo by CM Lowry that we have dubbed Surviving a Games Convention! Enjoy.
[00:00:58.850] – CM Lowry
How are you finding your experience of the NEC so far, Joen?
[00:01:03.110] – Joen
Not very good at the moment.
[00:01:05.290] – CM Lowry
We accidentally parked a good 20-25 minutes walk away from the convention centre…
[00:01:13.160] – Joen
…in a 17 pound car park!
[00:01:15.650] – CM Lowry
17 pounds! “Have a great day!” the sign above us said.
[00:01:24.490] – CM Lowry
So, after a long car park, we’re inside. We’re in the food hall bit. What are you looking forward to, Joen? Should we go and find stuff?
[00:01:33.650] – Joen
[00:01:42.590] – CM Lowry
Here we are at the UK Games Expo. And who am I talking to?
[00:01:46.680] – Chris Samson
Well, hello. My name is Chris Samson. I’m the director of Sales at Magpie Games and it’s a pleasure to be here. Thanks for having me on.
[00:01:53.300] – CM Lowry
It’s an absolute pleasure to be chatting to you. So the UK Games Expo is a it’s a place that’s got mostly board games, or at least, I mean, a lot of board games. So many board games I almost can’t breathe.
[00:02:05.260] – Chris Samson
It’s wild. My eyes are swimming. There’s so many new games here.
[00:02:10.280] – CM Lowry
And have you been to many other cons, like, in America?
[00:02:13.570] – Chris Samson
Yeah, long before I started working in the con industry, I was myself a huge fan of cons. So gaming cons, tabletop gaming cons, anime cons, whatever it is, I’m there, but being part of the industry is really fun. And I’m here now with Magpie Games. I’m relatively new, I’ve been working for about six months and this is our first time at the UK Games Expo. First time travelling to the UK, first international show. It’s a lot of firsts this year. It’s really exciting.
[00:02:45.070] – CM Lowry
A lot of firsts. Yeah, I think we’ll actually we’ll come back to your experience with cons because I’m really interested with that, because obviously our podcast is aimed at people who are just getting into roleplay or who haven’t necessarily found their niche yet. And there are some cons that are really friendly and, like, really very comfortable to come and do roleplay games at. And there are some that are maybe a little bit less so. Aircon, which I went to a few months ago, is such a friendly convention where there’s a lot of space to do tabletop roleplay gaming. What roleplay games have you brought to the con today?
[00:03:25.830] – Chris Samson
I’m glad you asked. So our number one flagship title for this show is Root, the Role Playing Game. Super exciting. It’s very new, it’s the result of a very successful Kickstarter campaign, but the official release date was this past March and this is the first show ever to have Root, the RPG. So congrats UKGE and all you awesome Brits out there. And it’s an incredible release, officially licenced by Leader Games. So it’s based on the same board game.
[00:04:00.940] – CM Lowry
So, yeah, so that for those who who don’t know, and I think obviously a lot of people listening will know, but Root is a very successful board game. Came out about 2019, 20 around then, I think.
[00:04:13.310] – Chris Samson
Yeah, somewhere around there.
[00:04:14.850] – CM Lowry
And it’s set in a forest. It’s got a very unique style and it’s got as a board game, it’s very interesting because it’s very what we call asymmetric so every player, they’re almost playing a completely different game against each other. How’s it been translated into roll top?
[00:04:33.190] – CM Lowry
[00:04:34.070] – Chris Samson
Roll top, yeah.
[00:04:35.020] – CM Lowry
[00:04:35.580] – CM Lowry
[00:04:36.710] – Chris Samson
You gotta you gotta copyright that. That’s that’s a new term.
[00:04:39.580] – CM Lowry
How’s it how’s it translated into RPG?
[00:04:41.660] – Chris Samson
Well, I’m glad I’m glad you asked. Root, the role playing game is based on the powered by apocalypse system. So for those who don’t know, it’s a two d6 gaming system, or use two six sided die to push the story forward with a series of basic moves, and unique moves, tied to your playbook, or a type of archetype where you build your character around. Now, how that relates to Root, like we said before, it’s set in the same world, same IP, and the story set in the woodland. To give someone, I guess, a primer is a lot like Game of Thrones with cute little woodland creatures, but they’re not as cute as they seem. The woodland has been taken over by the marquise, the cat, like this powerful dynasty of cats, and the balance of power and the fate of the woodland is in total chaos as they’re taking over. But you, as you as a player, create a vagabond. And for those who are familiar with the board game, the vagabonds are these roving bands of like, mercenaries and grokes free agents. You have no allegiance to anyone but yourself.
[00:06:01.060] – CM Lowry
Because I did wonder about that, because I did wonder if you were just going to be picking your characters from the different factions, it would be quite hard to pull together a story that was believable, where you were all in one kind of group, one party together, but so you’re playing as a group of vagabonds exactly. Interacting with those different factions.
[00:06:18.470] – Chris Samson
Exactly. So as the vagabonds, you are beholden to no one and you are this X factor, you are this tipping point where what you do will affect the rest of society, will affect the fate of the woodland. So you could ally with one faction and be opposed to the other, but that’ll have consequences. You create new allies, you create new enemies. Or alternatively, you could be selfish and just be mercenaries for hire and just be in it for yourself. And that itself has its own set of consequences. So what’s really cool about it is you’re a group of vagabonds, and you are finding your space within The Woodlands. And what you do will affect the fates of The Woodlands around you in terms of the balance of power, in terms of who wins or who loses, who gets control of a certain woodland, who controls resources, who controls and the consequences, good or bad, that result from that.
[00:07:26.670] – CM Lowry
So if I was to pick up the Root RPG, and hopefully at some point we plan to have that in the Beyond Cataclysm web store as well, but if you would, if someone who’s not really played roleplay before was to pick it up, what tips would you give them? How can they onboard as easily as possible into that?
[00:07:48.470] – Chris Samson
I think the system here is really integral to the answer. So PBTA, Power by the Apocalypse, is a system where it establishes and encourages collaborative storytelling and it really facilitates that. Even if you fail, the story is always pushed forward. So in terms of that, it gives you a lot of flexibility to pull from your favourite tropes, favourite conventions, Root being like a high fantasy. You do play as a group of sentient, roving, woodland critters.
[00:08:32.310] – CM Lowry
but we don’t know that’s not true.
[00:08:35.270] – Chris Samson
Mhm, Yeah, you raise a good point and there’s a lot of really great IP out there as cultural touchstones that you could rely on. So Red Wall, Mouse Guards, Warriors, these are probably Red Wall is probably the most pressured one that comes to mind first. So if you’re predisposed to that type of context and language and imagery, you’re already halfway there. You’re already primed to be the hero or the villain or the anti hero you want to be in this game. On top of that, PBTA is so awesome because it allows you to just if you’re new to the RPG, I want to try this, I want to do that. And as a GM, the system is flexible enough where it’s like okay! I want to try to infiltrate this base or achieve a certain goal. The system is flexible enough where it falls on an overarching basic move or unique move. And based on the dice roll, you create the circumstances for pushing the story forward, whether for good, for bad. And I would say in terms of player and GM, you have a lot of flexibility. You’re having a dialogue, a sort of dance, you’re making theatre.
[00:10:05.730] – CM Lowry
But I think the pressure is off there a bit as well, because you’re not on a stage. You’re with your friends.
[00:10:11.380] – Chris Samson
[00:10:11.800] – CM Lowry
And so you can say, let’s infiltrate this band. I don’t know, I’m going to put leaves in the hair of my fox to try and… And you can try it. If it doesn’t work, you can just retcon it.
[00:10:23.350] – Chris Samson
Exactly. And what I love about PBTA, if you fail, you fail forward. So, a good example of getting away from Root a little bit. Zombie World. I love zombie fiction, but let’s say you fail horribly. Failure doesn’t mean you fall flat on your face like you’re rolling a nat one in DND. It’s just something bad or unexpected really happens. For example, Zombie World. I’m in a room full of zombies and I want to get out. I draw my deck or to do a certain move, like escape a bad situation, I fail. So what does that mean? Well, there’s a window. I dive through it, bam. I get out of the room and I get up, I look around, oh, my God, I just landed in the middle of another giant horde that’s 20 times bigger than the last one. That’s great!
[00:11:22.560] – CM Lowry
I think powered by the apocalypse takes a concept from GMing, so being a games master, there’s a concept called yes-and. So rather than saying, I want to jump through this window and in your head, you’re like, I don’t know what’s outside that window. No, you can’t do that. You say, yes, and there’s more zombies.
[00:11:42.510] – Chris Samson
Out there and you’re screwed. Oh, the coast is clear. Great.
[00:11:54.850] – CM Lowry
Fantastic. Wonderful talking to you. Just tell me a little bit. So you’ve mentioned Zombie World, which I can see on your stall. Any other not in a huge amount of depth, but just tell our listeners about a couple of your other games.
[00:12:06.240] – Chris Samson
Yes. So Zombie World is a card based tabletop RPG. Everything you need in the box to play your favourite zombie fiction in the Spirit of The Walking Dead or Dawn of the Dead. We also have Mass, our young teenage superhero RPG, a lot like Young Justice, Young Avengers, Teen Titans. You play as a young superhero who’s trying to find the way in the world of becoming a new generation of superheroes and trying to find your identity in terms of how you see yourself, how society see yourself, even how your mentor you’re Robin and Batman’s trying to tell you what to do, what kind of hero you should be. You could listen to him, or you could be like, screw off, Batman, and I’m going to do my own thing. We also have Cartel, which is our tabletop RPG, to create your own piece of Narco fiction. So if you’re a fan of Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, Sicario it will be perfect for you. And we also have some of our legacy titles like Blue Beards Bribe. It’s an investigation based horror tabletop RPG based on the fairy tale of the same name. And let’s say you’re not a fan of RPGs, you’re having cold feet, don’t worry. We have an awesome, amazing card game called Wizard Kittens, which is a semi cooperative game where you play as a bunch of magical kittens trying to seal away curses before the head professor Professor Whisper, catches you.
[00:13:45.030] – CM Lowry
Awesome. I have one last question and I’ve mentioned it before. So if you were going to I have another question. Have you got dice on your rings? On your fingers?
[00:13:54.230] – Joen
Oh, my gosh, I’m so glad you noticed. So, my first ever job working in the con industry happened to be in the tabletop gaming industry, was working for a company called CritSuccess. They make dice rings, dice you can wear on your finger. So I know there’s an audio medium, but I’m wearing a ring, a spinner ring, which has randomised numbers and two counters I put on my finger, I spin it.
[00:14:18.920] – CM Lowry
That is the coolest thing yes. I have ever seen. Is that a D10, is it? Or is it percentage dice.
[00:14:25.920] – Chris Samson
So this is a counter ring, a life counter ring. So if you’re a fan of Magic The Gathering
[00:14:31.540] – CM Lowry
[00:14:32.420] – Chris Samson
Yeah. So it has a locking system from zero to 99, so I can count up and down, so I could keep track of how many sales I’m doing, I could keep track of how many Curries I ate because we’re in Birmingham.
[00:14:45.670] – CM Lowry
I could have one and just I could use it to keep track of all the things I’ve forgotten to do. I wouldn’t know what they were, but have a good number!
[00:14:52.080] – Joen
Yeah, it’s kind of like a remember all, ya know!
[00:14:56.270] – CM Lowry
It’s amazing. I got distracted from the question I was going to ask, just briefly, if you were looking to get into an RPG and you were coming to a convention, what would you do? If someone knew nothing about roleplay games and they came to a convention like the UK Games Expo, what would you recommend that they do?
[00:15:17.740] – Chris Samson
So, one, I would come to our booth because I think we pride ourselves on providing unique and new experiences, especially for someone who has never played an RPG before or are anxious about it. The types of games, the type of mechanics we set up, I think it’s very user, very friendly for beginners. Alternatively, I would cheque out the open play area. There are so many games, so many GMs who are wanting to show off their games and there’s so much more out there besides DND or Pathfinder or D20 systems. Call Cthulhu is awesome. I’m a huge fan of Free League Publishing. They have the Alien RPG, which is so cool.
[00:16:11.510] – CM Lowry
Tales from the Flood and from the loop. And again, a really simple system in terms of to learn and agree.
[00:16:19.000] – Chris Samson
[00:16:19.420] – CM Lowry
Wonderful chatting to you. Thank you very much. I very tempted to steal your rings. Thanks very much.
[00:16:26.560] – Chris Samson
Awesome. Thank you. It was a pleasure to be here.
[00:16:28.030] – CM Lowry
And we could we can find you @ Magpie Games.
[00:16:30.680] – Chris Samson
[00:16:42.290] – CM Lowry
I am now talking to Anna Muller.
[00:16:45.880] – Anna Muller
I’m at this moment representing Mottokrosh Machinations, a company by a writer of RPG systems and little adventures called Motocross Machinations. Frank Redding.
[00:16:57.830] – CM Lowry
[00:16:59.350] – Anna Muller
We have a very rules light system called Hypertellurians, which you can run basically after half an hour or 20 minutes to half an hour of reading rules as a GM and then you’re done.
[00:17:10.440] – CM Lowry
You should absolutely Google this now, whoever you are listening. Oh, yeah, hang on. How is it hypertellurians? Okay, you should Google it because the logo is really cool and all of the artwork has this brilliant, it’s a Mottokrosh Machinations swords and planets RPG. And what I love about that is, if you’re into roleplay games, there’s a thing called swords & sorcery, which is a concept that it’s a kind of a quick way of saying to people, yes, it’s a sort of fantasy adventurey magicky thing. And they’ve nodded to that, but they’ve also said there’s a bit more going on. There’s a Sci-Fi element to it as well.
[00:17:50.970] – Anna Muller
It’s very pulpy 1960s sci-fi. Ray guns, swords, sandals.
[00:17:58.230] – CM Lowry
Ray guns, swords and sandals. Yes!
[00:18:00.490] – Anna Muller
You can very much go the kind of desert planet and just drop your players there and just go and have them have absolutely wacky adventures. That’s the idea about it.
[00:18:08.920] – CM Lowry
I do feel like in the instruction manual for a ray gun, it would probably advise, like, better footwear than that. Just in terms of something that a brief bit of ray gun firing isn’t going to give you really bad sunburn in stripes across the bottom of your feet.
[00:18:23.160] – Anna Muller
You mean like grill stripes?
[00:18:25.350] – CM Lowry
Yeah, pretty much exactly. That’s what would happen. Yeah. These are the risks of ray gun based RPG, everyone. I now just want to do an adventure that is just that if somebody is burning their feet and then having to go to A&E.
[00:18:38.490] – Anna Muller
you can do that. Absolutely. You can actually do that. Yes.
[00:18:42.410] – CM Lowry
And you see, that is the beauty of roleplay games, is you can do that. That can be the literal. You could spend an hour with your friends, with Hypertellurians playing that game
[00:18:52.860] – Anna Muller
and making up your own story and make it as crazy as you want it to be. Because what I like, I do love running games, I do love being a GM, a game master, but it’s very, very hard work to do this, usually because you have to come up with stuff, you have to put a setting there, a world. And then you drop your players in and they are looking for you to kind of tell them where to go. And what I love is that I give them a setting that I’ve rolled for. So it’s really easy, you just roll dice and then you have a setting or like different places where you can send them and then your players have to do the work. They actually can and this is what the system actually promotes for them to be very creative with what they do. Because, yes, there are rules in the system, but they are easy to learn and also you can bend them to hell and that’s the fun of it, because you can do whatever you want, basically, and just let them run wild and they are having fun. They’re usually spinning the way better stories than what I come up with on my own. And I love just being there and kind of being like, yeah, this is totally happening. I have no idea what’s happening, but roll for it. And that’s the fun of it for me.
[00:19:57.540] – CM Lowry
I think a lot of people listen to this. Your experience so far might be limited to Dungeons and Dragons or other things. A lot of pre built adventures out there are very prescriptive about what can happen. And I’ve actually found, as someone who was getting into the hobby, that reading them made me feel a bit anxious because what if my players run somewhere? What if I’m like, okay, you’re going to be going and doing this Sci-Fi adventure on the battle on this planet. And then my player goes, hang on, I’ve just burnt my feet with my ray gun, I need to go to hospital. And none of that’s in the pre built adventure. And it sounds like your system, you’ve got your system, then you’ve got some adventures that will work with the system or with any system.
[00:20:41.230] – Anna Muller
Yes, that’s the idea. So if you have something in DND or Pathfinder, like a little place or an adventure hook that you really like, you can pop it into the Hypertellurians system and just run with it. But also we have adventures that you can either play on Hypertellurians or you just go to DND and Pathfinder. One word about DND and Pathfinder, though, you have to restat a little bit because they are very stat heavy games.
[00:21:05.020] – CM Lowry
Yes. So what that means is there will be details about the monsters or about the things that you encounter in the game to make them really work perfectly in a DND or a Pathfinder setting. You’d have to spend a little bit of time prepping before you could do that.
[00:21:21.980] – Anna Muller
We do, however, have pre generated characters and they are actually on the website hypertellurians.com. There’s character sheets available for DND pre-stated already? So you can just kind of use them, give them, slap a different name on them if you don’t like the name and the concept and just run with them.
[00:21:38.320] – CM Lowry
Fantastic. Wonderful. You also have, your free kind of leaflet flyer is also a table with a cool hex map on the front of it as well, which is, everyone likes free stuff that you can play with. That beats any business card, doesn’t it?
[00:21:54.820] – Anna Muller
Yes. Thank you.
[00:21:56.250] – CM Lowry
Wonderful. Thank you very much for chatting to us.
[00:21:58.200] – Anna Muller
Thank you for having me.
[00:21:59.400] – CM Lowry
[00:22:09.690] – CM Lowry
So who am I talking to now?
[00:22:12.600] – Matt Sanders
Hi, I’m Matt Sanders. I work in operations and publishing at Soul Muppet Publishing.
[00:22:18.800] – CM Lowry
Indeed. And I am standing, looking at your stall, and I own approximately 30% of the books on your stool, but at home they’re on my shelf and here they are so beautifully laid out. Which one do you think is the prettiest?
[00:22:34.450] – Matt Sanders
The one I’m most excited about in terms of prettiness today is definitely Into The Odd, which we don’t publish. We’re here selling it. It’s the first time it’s been available at retail. It’s just a lovely production with a cloth outer. It’s delightful as an object.
[00:22:50.390] – CM Lowry
Delightful objects is a thing that is underestimated of why we love this hobby.
[00:22:57.130] – Matt Sanders
I think that for anybody who’s into tabletop games, the physical aspect of it is important. Whether that’s board games with nice components or RPGs with nice books, that tactile aspect is key for a lot of us.
[00:23:11.500] – CM Lowry
I remember the first time I picked up the physical copy of Mork Borg and it’s got two different ribbons inside it yellow and black that have horrible occult printing on them as well.
[00:23:25.350] – Matt Sanders
Exactly. We’ve been really pleased with how we’ve done with we produced a tape with a soundtrack for one of our games in a plastic case and people really gravitate towards it as an object because it really sells the game world.
[00:23:40.570] – CM Lowry
That’s the soundtrack to Orbital Blues.
[00:23:42.610] – Matt Sanders
Yeah, that’s correct.
[00:23:43.640] – CM Lowry
Because I know that for two reasons. One, because I love that soundtrack and I listen to it too much. Like a lot it’s been like I would say it’s in my top ten Played albums last year. For some weird reason, it’s just I find it soothing.
[00:23:55.600] – Matt Sanders
On tape or on spotify?
[00:23:56.900] – CM Lowry
Well, I backed and got the MP3s, ’cause I don’t use Spotify and so I listened to the MP3s, but also because I didn’t get a tape and it’s hard to get a tape, I believe. Have you got more now, you ran out?
[00:24:11.550] – Matt Sanders
We’ve got the last few remaining tapes. The tape was a Kickstarter exclusive but then there’s always some extra of a print run to cover things like ones that get lost in the post. Once that is finished, there’s usually a few leftover and we sell them at shows.
[00:24:26.950] – CM Lowry
So I have a couple of questions for you, I think, number one, if I or you or someone was completely naive to roleplay games and the roleplay gaming hobby and maybe found a bit intimidating and scary, what would you recommend they did? If they came to something like UK Games Expo, what would you do?
[00:24:48.990] – Matt Sanders
I would say that they should be looking for a couple of things. An RPG that’s not an enormous A4 hardback. You should be looking for something smaller that you’ll be able to read quicker, there’s less information to remember. I’d also say that buying a couple of different things right from the beginning, maybe just two things with a similar theme so you get some idea of what you prefer early on is really useful rather than investing big in one system and then feeling like you’ve got to stick to it.
[00:25:21.100] – CM Lowry
Yeah, I think that’s great advice and the beauty of it is there are actually no rules and so if you find that you really like a specific way that something’s done. You can just pull that into the other game that you’re playing.
[00:25:35.230] – Matt Sanders
And I think a lot of people, when they start, they don’t feel like that they have the permission to say no to the game. But you do like, role playing games are absolutely yours to make your own and starting out in that mindset of, well, if I don’t like this aspect of the game, I’m not going to follow it. Is the best way to begin.
[00:25:56.640] – CM Lowry
Yeah, absolutely. Okay, brilliant. The other question is, if someone was going to make those decisions at your stall, I don’t know, what three games would you point them to? In quite small nutshells, you don’t have an hour.
[00:26:10.580] – Matt Sanders
Cool. I’d point them to three games that are fairly new for us. One is called MiniBX. It is DND but tiny. It’s a 32 page booklet with everything you need to play that’ll get you started and get you kind of understanding what you like. Another one might be Cantrip, which is, you play a group of girls in a magical high school. Totally different theme, much more cosy and wholesome. Really enjoyable for a different audience to DnD. And I think another I like would be Karendoon, which is a huge, epic fantasy set in Filipino myth, where your job is literally to murder God.
[00:26:49.570] – CM Lowry
That is quite a task there.
[00:26:51.720] – Speaker 4
Yeah, quite a task, but a real kind of epic feel and scope. Amazing artwork. And again, a really different thing to perhaps what people expect from RPGs before they’ve taken that leap into the broader hobby.
[00:27:06.730] – CM Lowry
Marvellous. And we’ll have links to all of those things in the podcast notes. Thank you, Matt. It’s been a pleasure.
[00:27:13.030] – Matt Sanders
Thank you very much, Chris. Have a good day.
[00:27:25.230] – CM Lowry
So I am now talking to Zach.
[00:27:27.570] – Zach
Hey, Chris. How you doing?
[00:27:28.860] – CM Lowry
I am doing very well. And who do you work for, or are, or something.
[00:27:34.350] – Zach
I am Soul Muppet Publishing and also I’m the and in Roan, Rick and Deckard as well. That’s how I was described in a one to one reason
[00:27:40.040] – CM Lowry
That’s a great way of describing that!
[00:27:41.940] – Zach
But, yeah, I’m here with Soul Muppet Publishing this weekend. We’re here at our second UK Games Expo and the one we did back in 2019. It was me, my partner at the time, and then three books. And now we’re here with probably the biggest RPG collection, I reckon, by SKU of any indie RPG creator here. There’s a lot of stuff.
[00:28:01.600] – CM Lowry
There is a lot of cool stuff. I recognise most of it. Not all of it. Some of it I recognise because it’s in a box in my office waiting to go onto a website eventually. But, yeah, there’s a lot I don’t recognise. Okay, so I’ve just had a great chat with Matt. What I find is that you come to these places, it’s great, very easy to get involved in a board game here. The problem is that roleplay games are a little bit more intimate, aren’t they?
[00:28:31.700] – Zach
Yeah, well, I think the thing is with role playing games is that the onus is much more upon like one person as the GM to kind of know what’s going on. So unless you’re playing a GM-less role playing game, what you’re always short out of conventions is GMs to run things.
[00:28:43.910] – CM Lowry
And what is a GM-less role playing game?
[00:28:46.200] – Zach
Well, a GM-less role playing game would be a role playing game that you can run without a referee/ Dungeon Master/ Games Master. So often they’re more like solo play experiences or for smaller groups and kind of they share the burden of preparing for a session by basically meaning that you’re all kind of working together to tell a story rather than one person being the facilitator, like the director, script writer and the other people are the characters, basically.
[00:29:12.580] – CM Lowry
But yeah, so it’s it’s hard. There are some conventions that do it better. I think at most conventions, if you look around the edges, you can see that there are RPG sessions you can book onto, aren’t there? But again, finding indie stuff in there is a lot less common.
[00:29:28.420] – Zach
Well, the thing is, when I’m at this convention, I need every single friend I have on deck selling books and making sure people know what we are. It’s not like it’s Dungeons and Dragons or one of the big games that kind of sells itself. We’ve got to do a lot of legwork out here to get books in front of people.
[00:29:42.480] – CM Lowry
And talking about selling stuff. Sell something. Go on.
[00:29:45.200] – Zach
We got dozens of books with us today. I think the price list has about 80 on it, maybe. And the two of them that I’m most excited about are the first two books from our Lat-Am breakout collection we did on Kickstarter back in November, December last year. We’ve got Brave Zenith with us, which is like 90s JRPG. Final Fantasy, played on a pirated PS1, written by a guy called Giuliano Roberto from Brazil. And then we’ve got Cantrip, which is Misha Panarin’s like school girl witch drama. That’s a belonging outside belonging game, which is one of those GM-less games we were talking about earlier.
[00:30:24.540] – CM Lowry
GM-less and diceless.
[00:30:25.810] – Zach
And diceless. Yes. It’s all tokens and stuff. So a nice way to kind of do some slightly more free form role playing with your friends about too many rules requiring to get in the way. But yeah, we managed to those were printed last week and they arrived at my warehouse on Wednesday morning.
[00:30:43.500] – CM Lowry
[00:30:43.860] – Zach
And I had to scream at the warehouse. I get them on the pallet, they need to get to expo and they arrive this morning. And we think that Here There Be Monsters, which is another game we did as part of that collection. Wendy Yu’s like, how do this go? It’s like a monster hunting game where you are the monsters. It’s a very Queer and Transy monster exploration game. That should be going on sale on our web store next week as well, once we find where the box is.
[00:31:09.780] – CM Lowry
Yeah, exactly. It could be under there or it could be in a warehouse
[00:31:14.780] – CM Lowry
Under Orbital blues or somewhere in a field in Devon, all I know. But no, we’re looking forward to getting that Kickstarter fulfilled and it should be shipping out to backers very soon with a collection of games that just are so unique to the region of Latin America and just couldn’t have been made by someone in our Anglo sphere, basically.
[00:31:31.260] – CM Lowry
Yeah. I’ve had some really good interactions on Twitter recently and there’s a few games that we’re going to hopefully try and get over for Beyond Cataclysm stuff, it’s a very different world, but there’s some incredible creative ideas absolutely coming from there.
[00:31:48.160] – Zach
We’ve got five games coming out of that collection over the course of the next couple of months once we finally can get them printed and only one of them looks anything like a normal roleplay game, the rest are all just completely insane and I love it.
[00:32:00.520] – CM Lowry
That is awesome. Thank you very much.
[00:32:02.330] – Zach
Perfect. Thanks a lot Chris.
[00:32:10.330] – CM Lowry
We are at a stall full of lovely things, including something that I’d only seen on Twitter and it turns out exists in real life. Hello.
[00:32:18.220] – Cat Evans
[00:32:19.360] – CM Lowry
Would you like to introduce yourself?
[00:32:21.450] – Cat Evans
I’d been delighted. I am Kat from Ex Stasis Games and we make small press RPGs, especially spooky ones and scary ones and downright weird ones.
[00:32:33.010] – Cat Evans
I like, obviously Beyond Cataclysm is, we call ourselves a micro publisher, so we’re in similar territory. What’s the smallest run that you’ve ever done of anything?
[00:32:42.790] – Cat Evans
Oh, smallest run I’ve done has to be ten copies of a pamphlet game called Manse.
[00:32:50.300] – CM Lowry
It looks like I’m going to be picking up a copy of Manse. Amazing. What would you like to tell us about today? What are you excited to be here with today?
[00:32:59.770] – Cat Evans
So the game I am most in love with, the game that most just displays my own genius, ha ha is Apparition, which is a really nice, simple, rules like game. It’s about ghost hunting. Basically, you play a group of paranormal investigators going into a mysterious and deeply spooky location and through just kind of exploring the place and answering questions and talking about what you as ghost hunters are scared of happening, you’re building the haunting, so the more imagination you have, the worse it’s going to get for you.
[00:33:32.690] – CM Lowry
Literally, the thing you are worried about happening is the thing that is happening.
[00:33:36.740] – Cat Evans
Exactly, through the power of suggestion, you’re making your own doom. So the first half of the game is kind of imagining this ghost and then the second half is figuring out how you get out alive.
[00:33:49.210] – CM Lowry
It does worry me a little bit because you said this is the one that describes you the most, or it reflects your personality or something like that. Which is err…
[00:33:57.580] – Cat Evans
I said what I said Chris.
[00:34:00.650] – CM Lowry
Brilliant. Well, that’s fine. And people can find you online and well, I found you on Twitter.
[00:34:05.570] – Cat Evans
You did. So you can find us online @exstasisgames.com or you can follow me personally on Twitter on @perpetualgloom.
[00:34:14.410] – CM Lowry
Fantastic. Thank you very much.
[00:34:16.100] – Cat Evans
Thank you so much.
[00:34:24.710] – Dave
Thanks for listening to this episode of what is Roleplay? Shout out to our guests Chris, Anna, Matt, Zach and Cat. You can find the relevant links to all the awesome stuff they mentioned in the podcast listing. The music for this episode is by the band’s Imploders and Powerplant. You can find them wherever you get your music. Beyond Cataclysm is an independent micropublisher and distro. We aim to combine heart and excellence in all of our projects. We work with passionate people to bring their words to life, share news of other incredible work, and support charitable causes in the process. Find us @beyondcataclysm on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and check out beyondcataclysm.co.uk to buy cool stuff. If you’ve enjoyed this, please leave a five star rating wherever you get your podcasts. We really appreciate it. See you next time.