The second half of our ‘What is Roleplay?” special episode…
In the concluding part, CM Lowry loses his voice, but talks to many interesting designers at the UK Games Expo to teach you how to enjoy RPG at games conventions.
The hodge-podge of cool people we chatted to includes…
- Ben from The Party RPG
- Brian at Stout Stoat Press – try typing that ten times quickly
- Anna from Blackwell Games
- Nick Spence, author of Gangs of Titan City
- Grant Howitt from Rowan, Rook & Decard
- Tom Brewster from Shut Up & Sit Down
- Chris Birch, head honcho at Modiphius Entertainment
- Panny & Aled from Leyline Press
- And JOHAN NOHR, who I definitely gushed all over, designer of MÖRK BORG!
Links to cool stuff we saw:
- The Party RPG
- Delve (Buy it in the BC webstore!)
- Umbra (check it in our store!)
- Gangs of Titan City
- 2d20 RPGs
- Agents of Dune
- Salvage Union
- MÖRK BORG
[00:00:04.090] – Dave
Beyond Cataclysm presents for your listening pleasure what is roleplay? Welcome to What Is Roleplay, a podcast from Beyond Cataclysm exploring 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 at a level that assumes no prior knowledge. This is the second of two special episodes recorded live at a gaming expo by CM Lowry that we have dubbed surviving a Games Convention. Because he’s such a blabbermouth by day two, CM Lowry’s voice was failing him. So here we go!
[00:01:00.210] – CM Lowry
We are here for day two of the UK Games Expo and clearly my voice has gone ridiculously. Who am I chatting to today?
[00:01:09.980] – Ben
You’re chatting to Ben from The Party RPG.
[00:01:12.320] – CM Lowry
The Party RPG. Glorious. What is The Party RPG?
[00:01:16.770] – Ben
Yeah, so the Party RPG is a really simple, fun way to enjoy role playing games without the fuss of having to prepare, like spend 3 hours, 4 hours preparing for a session. So really easy to get newbies in, but also really good if you want a more casual gaming experience.
[00:01:31.070] – CM Lowry
I mean, that’s very much my cup of tea. That sounds good. And it seems like you’re more aimed at kind of families and kids and that sort of stuff.
[00:01:40.510] – Ben
Yeah, well, we’re really aimed at mix, so yeah, definitely people that want to enjoy role playing games with families or kids, but also established players and kind of adults who want a bit of fun. So if you want to play it while you’re drinking, have a bit more casual experience, this is perfect for that as well. So you can either play it with families or you can play it with friends in a kind of more casual setting.
[00:01:59.180] – CM Lowry
And what’s in your book? Have you got adventures? Have you got…
[00:02:02.550] – Ben
Yeah. So there’s 16 locations in the book that you can play through kind of one campaign, but the whole experience is really well guided, so you don’t have to do any preparation to play. You just jump in, the book tells you exactly what you need to do and then you can just focus on all the fun parts of role playing, which is the role playing itself.
[00:02:19.340] – CM Lowry
There are a lot of fun parts of role playing.
[00:02:21.840] – Ben
Honestly, it’s amazing. If anyone’s new to the hobby, it’s one of the best, I think one of the best games that you can play at a table because everyone gets involved. Your imagination runs wild, you can create any situation you want. It’s really the perfect outlet for creativity, I think.
[00:02:36.640] – CM Lowry
Amazing. And if someone was new to RPG and they were going to a convention, what would your advice be? If someone was here, they’d never done any RP, they didn’t know anyone. What would you do?
[00:02:49.990] – Ben
I tell them to buy The Party RPG.
[00:02:52.870] – CM Lowry
That’s a very common answer that I’m getting from yeah, I suppose more what would you do? What would you do, like, socially here?
[00:03:02.940] – Ben
So I just mix with people, talk to people that are involved in the hobby, just get a different perspective, go to lots of different stands, understand what different type of role playing games there are, because you can get some super law heavy, so you really need to be invested in the story. And then there are some that you don’t have to be as invested in the story because they’re a little more casual and it really depends what you’re after. If you’re into getting into something that really immerses you in a new world and immerses you in a really deep story with lots of lore, go and chat to some of the really huge heavy sourcebook campaign teams. If you want something a bit more light, go and chat to role players that have something a bit more light.
[00:03:40.900] – CM Lowry
I think one thing I would say as well is that if you find people who are making Indie RPGs, like yourself, you’ve got a lot of experience of playing RPGs and you know the difference, if you go to the big heavy, DnD Stall, they’re going to know DnD and maybe not have as wider range of experience. Whereas if you come and chat to the small stalls, you’re just so enthusiastic.
[00:04:09.710] – Ben
Yeah, exactly. And not that I guess ultimately the product is there that we’ve created. So almost we’re really invested in the hobby and said that I mean, everyone that’s here, right, you can see it from the passion of everyone that comes. I think everyone at the Expo is really passionate about games and the hobby, so I think it’s just case of chat to anyone that’s going to sell their RPG and you’ll get a really good take and just talk to as many people as you can.
[00:04:34.580] – CM Lowry
Awesome. And we can find you on Twitter, Facebook, all that stuff. Yeah.
[00:04:38.510] – Ben
On Twitter, Facebook and at www.thepartyrpg.com
[00:04:42.030] – CM Lowry
Fantastic. Thank you very much.
[00:04:51.870] – CM Lowry
So, still with no voice. I’m here at a stall I came to because they had quite a handmade banner with we forgot our banner written on it. Where am I?
[00:05:04.960] – Stout Stoat
You are at Stout Stoat Press at UK Games Expo.
[00:05:08.440] – CM Lowry
Indeed. And tell us about your banner.
[00:05:12.470] – Stout Stoat
So I forgot my banner in Scotland. We’re from Edinburgh and that’s 400 miles away from Birmingham. So my sister, who’s a blacksmith, came over, made us a new like banner holder out of wood and nails. And then I have on a sheet written Stout Stoat with my logo so beautifully drawn. It’s gorgeous. It’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever done. And also a little caveat saying, we forgot our banner, please don’t judge us.
[00:05:38.650] – CM Lowry
So Stokes desk. Let’s try again. Stout Stoat Press. Why did you start? What was your reason?
[00:05:47.200] – Stout Stoat
So Stout Stout Press is entry level on all fronts. I’m autistic and queer and I find that role play is such a key way of learning social skills, of making friends, of being able to talk about problems that you have in a safe space. And I wanted to share that with other people. And I found that huge systems like dungeon and dragons, Pathfinder, they’re like 900 pages of words and that’s a lot to get through. So I wanted to make stuff that was simple and easy. I was also an art graduate and no one likes art graduates. I couldn’t get work. I did so many free gigs that never led to anything. So I wanted to make my own books so that I could hire my friends and then we could have, like, the air quote experience to go get real jobs. But now I just do this full time.
[00:06:29.950] – CM Lowry
So you’re not planning on ever getting a real job now?
[00:06:32.500] – Stout Stoat
Well, this is a real job. I work really hard and I get very stressed and then I’m very happy when everything comes together.
[00:06:38.610] – CM Lowry
No, I mean, if we’re defining a real job as creating real things, the stuff on this stall is so pretty. Tell us about one of your games that you’re excited about here.
[00:06:50.290] – Stout Stoat
So we just I say we because I partnered with Anna Blackwell at Blackwell Games for Apawthecaria. It’s a solo journaling game where you are a little beast on a big adventure through the Scottish undergrowth. You’re making potions, you’re trading for food and shelter, you’re building a wagon. There’s so much going on.
[00:07:06.410] – CM Lowry
I didn’t know it’s through the Scottish Undergrowth. That’s a lovely crunchy bit of specificity.
[00:07:11.470] – Stout Stoat
It’s because we both really love Loch Lomond and the Trossachs. It’s a region north of Glasgow. Anna goes wakeboarding there like, every weekend. And I’ve been playing a campaign set there in this post human future where all humans have vanished and animals have taken back the land. I’ve been playing a campaign there called Beast Fables for two years and then we just happen to bump heads and go, oh, we love this place, we should make a game about it.
[00:07:34.630] – CM Lowry
I mean, I I absolutely love the outdoors as well. I’ve not been to Scotland very much, but I helped run like, a bothy up in the Lake District. We should totally do an RPG getaway there. Oh, my yeah, that should happen. Okay, I’ll email you about it. Brilliant. I don’t know what more to say Apothecary.
[00:08:00.430] – Stout Stoat
Apawthecaria. Yeah, because Apothecaria was Anna’s original game and Apawthecaria with a paw in the word is like our little animal version.
[00:08:07.610] – CM Lowry
And they can buy it here, but this podcast is coming out after the expo, so where can they go to get it, aside from that.
[00:08:15.060] – Stout Stoat
[00:08:17.110] – CM Lowry
Marvellous. We will send people there. Thank you very much. I’ve been a pleasure to meet you.
[00:08:21.400] – Stout Stoat
[00:08:31.410] – CM Lowry
I am here still with no voice. Hang on, I’m going to stop.
[00:08:40.710] – CM Lowry
I am much too distracted at Anna’s stall because people are looking and they’re going, oh, that looks interesting. And then they’re just about to move on and then I’m jumping on them and making them buy things. So that’s good.
[00:08:54.180] – Anna Blackwell
Foaming at the mouth!
[00:08:56.170] – CM Lowry
Foaming at the mouth. Oh, dear, you heard it here first. I am a disgrace. Anna, hello.
[00:09:03.090] – Anna Blackwell
Hi. Nice to see you.
[00:09:05.150] – CM Lowry
So, we’re at your stall. What kind of games do you make?
[00:09:09.250] – Anna Blackwell
I make solo RPGs with a focus on accessibility and trying to be a lot more cheerful than a lot of the solo RPGs out there.
[00:09:16.680] – CM Lowry
Less miserable and depressing.
[00:09:18.280] – Anna Blackwell
[00:09:18.850] – CM Lowry
I mean, I’ll accept that. Although every game of Delve I’ve played has ended with just my horrible little dungeon dying in a very sad way.
[00:09:29.910] – Anna Blackwell
That’s true. Yeah. Delve, Rise & Umbra are probably closer to the usual solo misery, but losing is fun.
[00:09:37.030] – CM Lowry
Losing is fun. That’s such a great statement. Okay, so you make wonderful solo journaling games and actually, it’s something that we don’t talk about, but role play, you don’t need a big group of other people to do it. You can have fun on your own.
[00:09:56.340] – Anna Blackwell
Oh, yes, definitely.
[00:09:57.550] – CM Lowry
Especially when losing is such fun. Yes.
[00:10:00.990] – Anna Blackwell
Solo RPGs are something that really came around very recently. There were older things, like How to host a Dungeon and games like that, but I think for me, it really kicked off of Artefacts by Jack Harrison and just pushing on with that, making my own games. It’s basically a game that serves as writing prompts, but with mechanics, so that you’re not in full control. So that takes it in ways that you wouldn’t expect yourself to go.
[00:10:28.490] – CM Lowry
It is exciting. I always find them. Yeah. You never know where it’s going to go. But also, you are in control, which is nice. It’s not daunting. If you were coming to a convention, what advice would you give to people?
[00:10:47.790] – Anna Blackwell
Stay hydrated, pace yourself. Definitely look around before you start buying things. Unless it’s my stall.
[00:10:55.160] – CM Lowry
This book is so completely beautiful. You should have a look through it’s. Lovely. All of these are solo journaling RPGs, so just on your own, you can create beautiful stories. I’ll go back to this interview. Sorry, I got distracted selling trying to sell things again, sorry. Stay hydrated.
[00:11:21.210] – Anna Blackwell
Pace yourself, take breaks. But also just really take time to stop and look at things, because there’s so many wonderful things that aren’t in the big main stalls. All these wonderful Indie things just hidden around.
[00:11:36.830] – CM Lowry
I think that’s very true. I think indie, the indie designers are very passionate as well. And the thing is, everyone’s not a massive extrovert like me, but actually, if you talk to someone behind a stool and say if you just say, Why do you like RPG to someone behind a stool? Would you welcome that question, Anna?
[00:11:58.060] – Anna Blackwell
Oh, yeah, definitely. I’d welcome it. And I’d answer that because it gives you a chance to explore things beyond your own life, lets you experience new life paths, lets you see new worlds and lets you really explore, like, philosophical questions. That’s a big part for me. And even personally, it let me explore gender. That’s how I kind of came out as transgender, is exploring it through role playing. So, yeah, definitely
[00:12:23.700] – CM Lowry
Amazing. Thank you very much. You can find Anna as @blackwellwriter and your website’s Blackwellwriter.com. Thank you very much.
[00:12:35.360] – Anna Blackwell
[00:12:41.730] – CM Lowry
So, with the last tiny remnants of my voice, I thought I would come and talk to Nick, and I’m not going to ask Nick about cons or anything like that. Nick has a game on Kickstarter that I’m excited about and so I would like to let Nick waffle on about it.
[00:13:00.030] – Nick
Hi, I’m Nick. I have written a game called Gangs Of Titan City, which, as Chris said, kick starting right now, as we speak.
[00:13:10.990] – CM Lowry
I’m just going to interrupt you. I’m looking at the manuscript, I’ve just read the words sodden and rotting and rusting and awful. Amazing.
[00:13:21.390] – Nick
That pretty much the vibe. Yes. What we have here, we’ve got the rough draught of the layout that Zach has kind of just printed out on some paper, just so people can have a look at it and see what’s going on. But, yeah, gangster. Titan City is grim dark, urban role playing in a horrid city, mega city in the far future on a rubbish planet.
[00:13:47.300] – CM Lowry
A mega city. Is that the same or worse than Birmingham?
[00:13:53.210] – Nick
Okay, that’s pretty close, but, you know, they’re both pretty aweful. Birmingham is all right.
[00:14:00.530] – CM Lowry
Birmingham is not I’m not allowing any defence of Birmingham, but carry on. But, yeah, this is not a Birmingham neutral podcast.
[00:14:12.110] – Nick
Right. So, yeah, in this game let’s talk about the game. In this game, you are playing people who have to do horrible things to survive in a city that pretty much universally wants them dead in one way or another. You’re fighting the the Enforcers, the corrupt cops of the city, you’re fighting other gangs, you’re fighting horrible mutant monsters crawling up from underneath in the sewers. It’s just not a nice place. But you have guns, you have breath, and you can fight to take something for yourself. That’s one of the taglines we have for this game.
[00:14:46.880] – CM Lowry
That is amazing. I thought breath was going to be like a mechanic.
[00:14:54.830] – Nick
It probably should have been, to be honest. But yeah, what we have is we have a nice, intuitive and as simple as we could keep it engine that we just want it to be. Kind of one core mechanic that you can just use when you need to to keep out of the way. So you can just focus on the flavour and the play and making those big moments that you see in shows like Peaky Blinders or in things like the Judge Dread movie, where it’s just like you’re building up to those moments of action and they’re just bam, bam, bam.
[00:15:30.610] – CM Lowry
You get explosive.
[00:15:32.130] – Nick
[00:15:32.600] – CM Lowry
Is it quite your character? Are they going to survive? What’s the word? Is life quite flimsy?
[00:15:44.190] – Nick
Lethal? We want it to be kind of a build up to your destruction, essentially, so eventually you will probably die, but.
[00:15:53.170] – CM Lowry
I mean, much like life.
[00:15:54.580] – Nick
Well, indeed, but we want this game to be very much kind of like the rise and fall of a criminal empire. So one of the kind of the core mechanics of the game is how, as you go on missions, like steal territory or steal technology for your gang, you’re getting more powerful, but you’re also racking up consequences and negative relationships and eventually the weight of all of these things that you’re bringing on yourself brings you down. Exactly.
[00:16:24.730] – CM Lowry
Amazing. It sounds great. And have you got some pre built adventures, kind of setting?
[00:16:31.950] – Nick
We are currently working on a quick start version of the game that will have a set of pre generated characters and in the full game, we will have tools and procedures for generating your kind of slice of the city of Titan City to play in. And in the quick start, we will have a set of this map for you to play in, so there’ll be a version for you to just jump in and see what the game’s about. But we also want to fill this book with kind of tools and procedures for you to really make this game your own when you’re playing it. We don’t want you to be beholden to the book, we want it to be yours.
[00:17:09.990] – CM Lowry
It’s very pretty as well. I’m flicking through is this half size, like quarter size? I’m not sure what size it’s going to be.
[00:17:19.320] – Nick
I think this is half the normal size. We’ve got it printed on A4 with kind of four pages per A4 page for listeners. So I believe it’s going to be kind of twice the size in the actual print.
[00:17:32.490] – CM Lowry
And I’m flicking through and it’s just every page has the kind of picture on it that you think, that just looks so cool.
[00:17:41.200] – Nick
Ben’s art for this game, he’s the perfect person for making art for this, it’s just dripping in flavour, isn’t it? Our layout person is a wizard as well.
[00:17:53.110] – CM Lowry
And the layout is fantastic. So it’s Gangs of Titan City. They can find that on Kickstarter now.
[00:17:58.970] – Nick
Right now, yes.
[00:18:00.110] – CM Lowry
Thank you very much, Nick.
[00:18:01.540] – Nick
Thank you very much.
[00:18:10.570] – CM Lowry
But that’s not how most humans function…
[00:18:12.250] – Grant Howitt
I’ve never spoken to a stranger in my life. My parents raised me properly. Hello. My name is Grant Howitt. I’ll hold it if you’d like. Hello. My name is Grant Howitt, I am one third of Rowan, Rick and Deckard. We are a publisher and design house from London. I write roleplaying games for a living, which is pretty much the best job in the world. I get to write books about elves and not starve to death. And I’m showing
[00:18:35.930] – CM Lowry
Some of the elves starve to death though.
[00:18:37.730] – Grant Howitt
Absolutely. Elf starvation is a factor. I’m showing here at UKGE. This is our first year showing as an independent company, not as part of some collaborative network. It’s really exciting, we’re doing really well and we’re selling out of Heart and Spire, our two big sellers, which are our sort of big serious games about death, which I really like writing because I finally had enough therapy to do it safely. Now, what was the question you wanted?
[00:19:05.710] – CM Lowry
I mean, you’re the first person who’s just taken the taken the microphone, done the introduction, so I’m good.
[00:19:13.620] – Grant Howitt
Okay. Introverts people who are interested in role playing games but aren’t quite
[00:19:18.240] – Grant Howitt
Yeah. If you were coming to a con and you weren’t already writing roleplay games, or maybe you are writing roleplay games and you wanted to come and join the community, what would you do? How would you come here?
[00:19:32.550] – Grant Howitt
I find it quite challenging, especially the larger a con you go to, the harder it’s going to be to find the place for you because there’s so many options. I’m going to say some of the best role playing I’ve ever done was or some of the most fun I’ve had role playing with strangers was in a really small sort of monthly, one off, a monthly convention, which ran in London downstairs at a pub, and they had like three tables. And so you come along, people would pitch their games and they’d play. And so at that point it wasn’t like, oh, here are 3000 games, which one do you want? It was, here’s the thing, try it. Can learn what role playing is like. What I would advise them to do, however they are coming to a big con, is go on go on a website, go on a website, go on like a reddit RPG, or go on an RPG news site, or Dice Break is very good as well they do of RPG coverage. And find a game which looks interesting to you. Maybe the sell is interesting, but really look at the art, look at the pitch, look at what sort of things you’ll be doing and if you’re like, oh, I like the sound of that. I reckon I could tell stories about that would be fun. Then when you go to a con, see if anyone’s running a game, see like or see if there’s anything adjacent to that. And try and find a game which you are interested in and excited about. But then prepare yourself, because a huge part of role playing is you take the text and then you give that to a GM and then the GM gives that to the group. So it’s so far away from the author’s original intent that it might as well be in a different language.
[00:21:04.110] – CM Lowry
Sometimes when people play your games, none of the elves start to death at all.
[00:21:07.510] – Grant Howitt
It’s terrible. I also write games that are one page long and I’ve listened to a lot of people play them online, and I’m going to say the majority of them don’t use all the rules and, like, fine, have fun with it. I don’t mind. As long as you’re enjoying yourself, it really doesn’t matter. But people don’t use all the rules.
[00:21:24.960] – CM Lowry
I’ve played Goat Crasher at a wedding
[00:21:28.110] – Grant Howitt
[00:21:28.540] – CM Lowry
About goats crashing into the wedding. And I’ve played it with a 70 year old man.
[00:21:33.410] – Grant Howitt
Beautiful. I’m so happy to see apparently, people, there were six tables of septuagenarians playing Honey Heist in America last year. I was so happy about it. But, yes, find a game that looks interesting. See if someone’s playing it. And also find your friend who’s kind of weird, but not too weird. He’s probably got a beard. He maybe has, like he probably has a T shirt, which you can’t quite read the writing on because it’s a metal band. Ask him to run a game for you.
[00:22:01.370] – CM Lowry
I think that’s Johan Nohr over on the Mork Morg stand.
[00:22:05.120] – Grant Howitt
Longer hair than Johan. But, yeah, find your weird friend. Ask them, hey, can you tell me about this Dungeons and Dragons? And see if you can get a quiet intro that way. And I am going back on my stall.
[00:22:16.950] – CM Lowry
Thank you very much.
[00:22:28.030] – Tom
[00:22:28.880] – CM Lowry
I’ve lost my voice. Can you tell?
[00:22:30.640] – Tom
No. It’s amazing. You sound just like I expected you to.
[00:22:34.200] – CM Lowry
I’d like to say that I’m playing Goblin Quest, where you have to sound like a horrible goblin.
[00:22:39.030] – Tom
You’re playing Goblin Quest right now?
[00:22:40.440] – CM Lowry
Right now. I’m laughing. It just with my voice. What have you seen that you’ve really enjoyed?
[00:22:46.140] – Tom
I have seen have you heard about the game of The Wibbly Wobbly Egg?
[00:22:49.150] – CM Lowry
[00:22:49.410] – Tom
We talked about it a lot on our podcast yesterday. There’s a game called Dodo, and it has an egg that moves imperceptibly slowly. It’s kind of amazing.
[00:22:56.200] – CM Lowry
That sounds very good.
[00:22:57.130] – Tom
It’s one of the best components I’ve seen in the game ever. And I’ve had multiple people have come up to me and said they think any game would be improved with a Wibbly Wobbly Egg. It rolls down a mountain very slowly. It’s amazing. You have to see it.
[00:23:07.690] – CM Lowry
Where is it?
[00:23:08.590] – Tom
It’s in cosmos. Cosmos’ booth.
[00:23:10.390] – CM Lowry
[00:23:10.780] – Tom
It might be a game for children, but that’s exactly our kind of bang. Good fun.
[00:23:15.120] – CM Lowry
Games for children are just games for adults, though aren’t they?
[00:23:18.580] – Tom
[00:23:19.090] – CM Lowry
[00:23:19.460] – Tom
Everyone was a child at one point.
[00:23:21.240] – CM Lowry
Some of us still are. Joen and you’re still a child, aren’t you?
[00:23:25.108] – Joen
Yes, I am
[00:23:25.270] – CM Lowry
Tom? Thank you very much.
[00:23:37.590] – CM Lowry
Hello there. My voice is still just about with us and I am standing at the Modiphius stand. Hello.
[00:23:44.020] – Chris
Hello, hi. This is Chris.
[00:23:45.850] – CM Lowry
And who are you, Chris?
[00:23:47.590] – Chris
I’m the co founder with my lovely wife, Rita of Modiphius Entertainment.
[00:23:51.750] – CM Lowry
Indeed. So you’re quite into roleplay games, aren’t you?
[00:23:56.440] – Chris
Yeah. I guess you could to say that. I started playing DnD when I was seven, which is probably 1977.
[00:24:03.740] – CM Lowry
That’s quite a long time.
[00:24:06.340] – Chris
[00:24:06.660] – CM Lowry
You gave me an excellent tip about getting involved in roleplay games, about inviting people round for dinner.
[00:24:11.920] – Chris
Yeah. Well, I’ll tell you, the best thing is most people, if you look around on social media, it looks like everyone’s really active and doing lots of stuff, but most people are actually lonely and bored at home. And if you just can cook a nice dinner and it can be just be a nice pasta, put some salmon in a bit of foil, chuck it in the oven, some steamed vegetables, just learn to cook a nice dinner. And that’s assuming and it’s not hard to learn to cook something decently. I’m a terrible cook.
[00:24:40.570] – CM Lowry
We’ve verged from RPG to the cooking show now.
[00:24:43.980] – Chris
But seriously, right, if you just invite a bunch of friends over for dinner and say, we’re going to play a storytelling game, it’s going to be really good fun. And then just get them over for dinner. People love a free dinner. It’s a really easy way to get people over. And then you just start playing a role playing game. And my advice is don’t give them any books to read. Just start with a blank character sheet. And then let’s say you’re playing a modern day game. Let’s say you’re playing a fancy game and you’re running along. Okay? You’re being chased. There’s some horses there. Can you ride? And if someone says, I can ride really well, okay, we’ll write the riding skill. And I love this, like, creation in play. Fate does that really well. This is one of the big RPG systems. Our game system Two D20 lets you do that, too. And there’s a lot of games like that now as starting to embrace the idea. If someone doesn’t know the rules, and I don’t think anyone should have to know the rules at all from the day one. So the GM really should just help people get rid of that barrier. Just let them do a story. Don’t tell them this is what you can do on a turn. Just go, what do you want to do? Tell me what you want to do. That’s what you need to roll.
[00:25:53.000] – CM Lowry
I mean, what I really love just hearing this is the idea that you’d end up as well playing this game that’s shaped by your group. You’ve got horse riding stats.
[00:26:04.530] – Chris
If you’re a modern Sci-Fi thing, it might be driving. I did that with a Sci-Fi game. We were playing my old I did this game called Starblazer Adventures based on these old comics.
[00:26:12.780] – CM Lowry
That’s a great name.
[00:26:13.670] – Ben
Yeah. From DC Comics. We did that with Cubicle Seven god, early in 2000. And I had a whole group from a drama group I was involved in. So they were all a bit, you know, kind of bit creative. And I said, Come around for dinner. We’re going to play this storytelling game. And I said, okay, you’re all farm kids, your teenagers, farmers on this colony world and the ships haven’t come for years, but then a ship appears. So then we start this hot story.
[00:26:40.350] – CM Lowry
I already want to play that game. Why is it here? Look at those lights!
[00:26:44.790] – Chris
And then the pirates were there and then there were sorts of fun stuff. And one of the girls, she didn’t like fighting, so she was like, you know, House of Flying Daggers there’s the woman who fights with a scarf. So she didn’t want to have to fight people, so she was always using her scarf to whip guns out of people’s hands.
[00:27:02.280] – CM Lowry
[00:27:02.870] – Chris
There was all sorts of brilliant stuff they came up with and I let them just do whatever they wanted. There was no like, well, you can only do these certain things in a turn. None of that because it doesn’t matter. You’re telling us great fun story and you want them to have an amazing time. And guess what? I think I just cooked a basic pasta with, you know, tuna pasta.
[00:27:22.040] – CM Lowry
Oh, wait, we’re back. We’re back to the
[00:27:23.680] – Chris
[00:27:23.890] – CM Lowry
The food podcast now!
[00:27:24.870] – Chris
Seriously, like, forget all that crisps and yeah, it’s nice. A bit of, you know, some snacks afterwards. But have a nice dinner. Because if people have a good dinner, have a really nice food, bottle of wine, maybe have a great time and then I want to come back.
[00:27:38.150] – CM Lowry
[00:27:38.770] – Chris
And I guarantee you 99% of time, if you cook a nice meal, people will want to come back regardless of the game. And it’s all about having a good time right?
[00:27:50.630] – CM Lowry
It Is! I think everything you’ve said there is just right at the heart of why I’m in this hobby. Good time with friends and food, lots of food.
[00:27:58.010] – Chris
Tells some stories and eat. Yeah!
[00:28:01.530] – CM Lowry
What new things are Modiphius doing that people should be checking out.
[00:28:06.010] – Chris
Okay, so if you like the Dune books or particularly the Dune movie that was just out. We’ve just done the new Dune campaign box called Agents of Dune. It’s a self contained campaign box, teaches you how to play. You don’t need the big rule book. It actually comes with the PDF.
[00:28:25.660] – CM Lowry
You don’t need the big Dune book!
[00:28:26.700] – Chris
No, you don’t. All the rules you need are in the box. It’s got loads of handouts, stuff to give to players, big character sheets with their artwork on. So it’s perfect for a new introductory group of players.
[00:28:37.320] – CM Lowry
I have to say, the thing with Dune, have you read Dune? The thing with Dune that scares me about the idea of a roleplaying Dune is it is quite complex and very dense, like narrative in terms of lots of factions and things like that.
[00:28:50.110] – Chris
Again, boil it down to what do you want to do? Do you want to do some -‘dungeon crawling’ in inverted commas? Yeah. So you’re a bunch of agents of one of the houses. You’re sent to a racket. Got to go and find out what’s happening to the spice harvesters. You have a knife fight in an alleyway and then you end up in a shootout. You can do all of that if you want. Or you can be the high flying execs of the house. You can be planning the manoeuvres and operations of agents. You can do whatever you like. You don’t even have to do fighting. You can be organising your agents.
[00:29:23.080] – CM Lowry
You don’t have to get any blood on your hands. That can be other people’s.
[00:29:25.820] – Chris
Yeah. And it’s got a much more introductory style of gameplay, a lot more about talking and working together.
[00:29:32.950] – CM Lowry
That sounds great. Tell me about the Solo Game Masters Guide you’ve got coming out.
[00:29:37.770] – Chris
So that’s by Geek Gamers. It’s a big YouTuber channel and so it’s a whole load of tools and guidance, like for Fifth Edition, for Two D20 and other systems, how to use those systems, and how to roleplay on your own. So it’s loads of it’s not like a rule set. Like this is, you know, follow this, do this, do this, but it’s a whole series of guidance, so it teaches you how to enjoy the process of playing on your own.
[00:30:06.240] – CM Lowry
Amazing. That sounds great. Well, thank you very much for chatting to me.
[00:30:08.300] – Chris
Yeah, no worries. Thanks.
[00:30:19.570] – Leyline Press
I got my Mork Borg signed
[00:30:21.420] – CM Lowry
I know, I just yeah, I know how to listen to my podcast and offer to do art for my next project and I was like, okay, I’ve recorded that. Well, that’s me humble brag.
[00:30:32.630] – Leyline Press
Yeah, no, that’s cool. Yeah. I try not to, like, fanboy out.
[00:30:36.890] – CM Lowry
Oh, no, I can’t. That’s why the voice went fanboy out. Okay.
[00:30:47.850] – Leyline Press
I said ‘We’ve met, haven’t we Johan, we’ve chat online’. He was like, yeah, we worked on that project together. Yea, I remember you I really like your spread. I thought it was pretty good graphic design. I was like, thank you, woohoo, Johan Nohr says I’m good at graphic design!
[00:31:05.590] – CM Lowry
I saw you drawing on here bigger than the Salvage Union. For those of you listening, it has been an interesting couple of days and I appear to have swallowed some barbed wire. I’m talking to two wonderful people whose names are
[00:31:26.090] – Leyline Press
Panay and Aled and we’re Leyline Press.
[00:31:30.370] – CM Lowry
[00:31:33.230] – Leyline Press
That’s a little Bill & Ted.
[00:31:36.270] – CM Lowry
You didn’t see it, but it was a little bit of I can’t do it. Can’t go that way. Would you like to make the noise as well?
[00:31:45.570] – Leyline Press
I will do the bass noise.
[00:31:49.730] – CM Lowry
That was really good. You’re a UK games expo. Why are you here?
[00:31:56.200] – Leyline Press
To sell a fine range of tabletop role playing games and adventures for the discerning customer who likes Indie role playing games.
[00:32:05.170] – CM Lowry
Indeed. What one are you most excited about?
[00:32:08.260] – Leyline Press
Well, it’s a pretty big one. It’s called Salvage Union.
[00:32:10.530] – CM Lowry
It’s a big sign.
[00:32:11.680] – Leyline Press
Yeah, it’s a big mech. Some beautiful art by a guy called Hamish Freighter. And it’s a rules, like post apocalyptic, mech, tabletop role playing game.
[00:32:20.830] – CM Lowry
Good. I think you’ve said everything that needs to be said about that. Really? It feels like what makes it different from, I don’t know, Mechahack.
[00:32:33.310] – Leyline Press
So it uses it’s got quite actually compared to Mechahack, which also a rules light one, it’s got a lot of customization options,
[00:32:40.100] – CM Lowry
it’s got lots of rules,
[00:32:41.710] – Leyline Press
it’s got lots of modular rules. So, like, you build your mech out of different parts, each part effectively gives you a unique narrative ability, but on an individual level, you’re only going to have three or four parts to play with.
[00:32:54.260] – CM Lowry
Tell me about that unique narrative ability. That sounds great.
[00:32:57.610] – Leyline Press
Yeah. So in simple terms, we were like, well, what’s cool about mech games like, oh, blowing up mech’s legs and blowing up my weapon systems. And it’s like, okay, so you just have an ability that says destroy target, destroy their weapon, or something like that, rather than worrying about they have seven layers of 0.5 armour and you have to do that. Or maybe enough ability will be, like, just overload the reactor, and it does that. Maybe their mech explodes or whatnot. And also there’s more roleplay abilities, like, oh, it’s all wastelanders. Who are like, let’s make a deal. And so roleplay sort of abilities like false diplomacy and stuff like that.
[00:33:32.200] – CM Lowry
So what’s the setting? Is it set in post-brexit Britain?
[00:33:36.000] – Leyline Press
No, alas, it’s set in more of a classic, sort of post apocalyptic, sort of endless wasteland of deserts and rocks and sort of settlements.
[00:33:46.750] – CM Lowry
So post-brexit Britain!
[00:33:48.450] – Speaker 9
Yeah, it’s post-brexit Britain, but with robots made by Maggie Thatcher. We unironically have a company in it called Thatcher Steel, because the corpos are the enemy. That’s the other key thing. They’re the main powers and you’re sort of fighting against them because you’ve sort of found a better way of living in a big community because you’ve embraced a philosophy of a guy called Marx. Sort of.
[00:34:19.330] – CM Lowry
We’ve gone quite deep into politics now. Thank you very much. Thank you for joining me today.
[00:34:30.310] – Leyline Press
[00:34:33.590] – CM Lowry
One of you is burning a red flag and the other one’s just shaking his head. Thank you for talking to me. I obviously can’t talk to anyone ever again, it would appear, but wonderful. We can cheque you out @leylinepress everywhere
[00:34:49.070] – Leyline Press
www.leyline.press That’s the website.
[00:34:52.170] – CM Lowry
Oh, that’s the website. I’ve never heard of one of those.
[00:34:54.180] – Leyline Press
www.leyline.press is the website. Everything else is @leylinepress.
[00:34:57.440] – CM Lowry
Good work. Thanks very much.
[00:35:07.650] – CM Lowry
This is my final interview. And I don’t mean that just because of the con. I mean that clearly death is imminent. My voice, who knows? How are you doing?
[00:35:19.700] – Johan Nohr
I’m doing very well, yeah. Had a great con.
[00:35:22.810] – CM Lowry
Yeah. This is Johan Nohr.
[00:35:25.470] – Johan Nohr
[00:35:27.110] – CM Lowry
You do something with role play games, don’t you?
[00:35:29.710] – Johan Nohr
I do, yeah. I mostly draw skulls and demons and stuff for a game called Mork Borg.
[00:35:34.420] – CM Lowry
Yeah. I feel like actually, my voice started to go downhill when we spoke yesterday, and that maybe there’s some kind of link between the narrative content of your work?
[00:35:44.000] – Johan Nohr
I did have a sign next to the books that said ‘Cursed books! Beware’. So yeah, maybe you didn’t read that.
[00:35:49.010] – CM Lowry
I did not. And I did eat an awful lot of them, so that’s probably part of the issues. We’re at a con. What is your favourite thing about cons?
[00:35:59.890] – Johan Nohr
I mean, the cliche answer would be to say meet people. But that’s true. I mean, that is one of my favourite things. Meet people and get a face on the names that you’ve seen. But also I like to go shopping and buy books and games that aren’t available in Sweden and that I can’t get at home.
[00:36:20.360] – CM Lowry
That is true, obviously. And there are probably books available in Sweden not available here.
[00:36:25.480] – Johan Nohr
Probably, yeah. Lot of that. So if you ever come to Sweden, just go to our game store and buy.
[00:36:30.640] – CM Lowry
Is there a good roleplay game convention we should go to in Sweden?
[00:36:34.020] – Johan Nohr
There is, yeah. There are a few. The big one is Gothcon. That’s in Gothenburg. It’s the largest one we have. It’s tiny compared to this.
[00:36:42.420] – CM Lowry
This is too big, though, isn’t it? Let’s face it
[00:36:44.450] – Johan Nohr
Nah it’s fun. It’s a fun spectacle. Like it
[00:36:46.740] – CM Lowry
Marvellous. I’ve really enjoyed chatting to you. You’ve got Cyborg coming out. It’s out or, it’s
[00:36:54.350] – Johan Nohr
No, it’s not out yet. It’s going to backers, hopefully August. But we have one copy of the book. Just a test print here.
[00:37:01.300] – CM Lowry
Yes, there’s one copy exists. Maybe that was the thing that cursed me. I do feel like maybe my voice is pixelated now,
[00:37:09.660] – Johan Nohr
Turning into Nana machines. Yeah, that’s this.
[00:37:12.490] – CM Lowry
Pleasure to chat to you. Have a wonderful day. Thank you.
[00:37:15.500] – Johan Nohr
You too. Yeah.
[00:37:23.150] – Dave
Thanks for listening to this episode of what is Roleplay? Shout out to our guests Ben, Brian, Anna, Nick, Grant, Tom, Chris, Panay, Aled and Johan. 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 beyondcataclism.co.uk to buy cool stuff. If you’ve enjoyed this, please can you leave a five star rating wherever you get your podcasts? We really appreciate it. Thanks for your time. Until the next one, bye.