Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Meanwhile, On a different plane of reality.

In a central office of the Academy of Cartography, home of the Map Makers guild. 

"Dean Nostuff sir, a new correspondence from young Upiyo."

"Just put it over there Jones please, I will see to it once I finish my red ink work, it dries so fast."

"Sir, it does appear to be urgent. He tied it with a red ribbon."

"A red ribbon you say?"

Dean Nostuff dropped his quill on the carefully worked map, red ink staining it and ruining hours of work.

"This young man has never asked for help, he has never sent a danger signal. In his mind there is nothing he can't deal with. Perhaps he just ran out of blue ribbon."  

Unrolling the scroll a small picture of a ring, carefully drawn, falls out. Dean Nostuff, examines the picture and then the note.

"It appears our young genius has got himself a puzzle and is very scared of this powerful ring. Humm, possibly a curse. Lets get this to archives, see what Gelson comes up with.  If he finds something perhaps we can put our young hope at ease a bit. Odd, he wants me to thank Professor Angles for all the tutoring on calculating triangles. I wonder what that is all about? "

Serevel days pass.

"Your lunch sir, and a new delivery from young Upiyo"

Dean Nostuff looks up, a worried look crosses his face.

"So soon, is this another red ribbon?"

"No sir, it appears young Mr. Timinwell found some more blue ribbon,  and there is also a small pouch sir."

"Perhaps he remembered to pay his dues."

Dean Nostuff scans the note.

"Ha! He and his companions fought off a pack of zombies, sounds as if they made short work of them.  Ah yes, those were the days. Just a pack of zombies to worry about.  The pouch contains a gold coin they retrieved from one of the zombies. Well, every little bit helps I guess, He is still a long way off from rebuilding that tower."

"He asks if we have found any info on that ring yet? What has Gelson found out?"

"Sir, Gelson has been on his honeymoon."

"Oh yes, I forgot, what is this, number five?

"Seven sir, he should be back at the end of the week, perhaps with number eight."

"Well make sure he gets right on it once he gets back, and get this to accounting in Upiyo's account."

Dean Nostuff picks up the pouch and goes to spill it into his hand. Years of knowledge and reflex form the spell in his mind, and before the coin touches his hand he freezes it in midair.

"Jones, ignore that part about accounting, I will deal with this coin. Please draft a message to Mr. Upiyo Timinwell, and have him write me a report on the proper use of the danger code ribbon. Also send a message to Gelson, tell him his honeymoon is over and to get back here, with or without number eight."

As Jones departed to prepare the scrolls Dean Nostuff glared at the floating coin, mumbling the spell that first turned it red hot, then reduced it to a floating ball of molten gold.

Some days pass.

"Another message from  young Upiyo sir, and it has a red ribbon again."

Dean Nostuff looked up from a pile of papers.

"Again, did he do the report I asked him to do, on using the red ribbon?"

"No sir, he has not yet delivered that report."

"Well then, let us see if he needs to add another 1000 words to it?"

Dean Nostuff unrolls the scroll and starts to read.

"Hmm, attacked, ... more zombies... strange green metal arrow.... ignored magic protection..... JONES!! Get Gelson in here, I don't care if you have to drag him out of his marriage bed!

Some days latter still.

"Dean Nostuff, Profesor Gelson, I beg your pardon sirs"

"Profeser, your wives are "REQUESTING" your attendance to a matter in your quarters. Dean Nostuff, it's Young Master Timinwell, sir."

"Professer, please deal with this quickly, we need to get back to this. What color ribbon this time Jones?"

"None sir"

"Then lets treat it as red, check it first, then send it to me quickly as you can and ask...."

"No sir, you misunderstand me, it is Mr. Timinwell himself, he is here to speak with you. Sir, he looks to be very agitated. He is mumbling something about a warning from the artificers guild and needing to "Get rid of it", sir.  

Latter that day.

"Professor, is this what I am afraid it is?" Dean Nostuff asked Professor Gelson. 

"Yes, I am sure of it. This is the ring of  Arlin Keni, a magic item so powerful it's existence is a threat to magic itself on this plane. I thought it was well hidden and protected from damaging the Mana flow. Evadently not well enough."

"If this has been found we can't be sure his other secrets haven't been found." 

"If anyone knows we have this, we, and the students, are at grave risk. 

"With the ring released, the Mana flow may not survive. It is beyond our skills to stop what most likely is going to happen."

"I was just starting to like this world. Do you want me to contact Professor Goesnoow and have him start the transfer process. 

"Yes, recall all guild members, call it a training conference with free entertainment for families. Spread the word we are opening new locations and will be announcing a number of promotions. That should get them all here quickly. Offer full rights to attend to all students' families, we need them hear to give or refuse permission to bring their children."

"Sir, the ring, we can't take it with us."

I know. I think perhaps, if this world's magic is to be saved, its best chance is with Mr. Timinwell's friends. They may well pull it off, but we can't risk the safety of the guild, our families, our great project, on their skills. Before our departure I will see to it that they have the ring. For now I will activate our highest level of security, ensure all students are within reach of emergency protective spells at all times. The ring will be under protective custody of The Three.

Protected by incarnations of the Mother, Maiden, and Crone, at school full of kids. I pity anyone who comes looking for trouble. Just for extra measure I will have security armed with those hand weapons Professor Goesnoow found last year. The ones that disintegrated the target, no magic required.

Two days later: The full school board assembled around a King Arthur like round table.  Dean Nostuff is addressing the board.

"Professor Goesnoow reports all is ready for our departure, the board has convened, all students and family have agreed to travel with us and are secured, except one. Captan Ester, the guild is yours to command."

"Thank you Dean Nostuff, and my thanks to the board for this honor.  I want to reassure everyone that I hold the safety of you and your loved ones as my highest duty. The guild will survive, we will arrive at our new home within the week. Our course through the ethereal plane to the astral gateway has been plotted and charted by our top three plane travel experts, all discrepancies have been resolved, and our plot is true. Supplies are stowed, and we have Mana reserve enough to hold us an additional three weeks beyond our destination. Ms. Elath'el has information on the destination."

"Our new home is much like this one according to reports. One thing new to report is contact with a group calling itself "World Gate Command" Our early contact reports are favorable and show no threat to the guild. Mana is at world norm with a standard TL 3 society. Our initial survey was a bit rushed, but we will have all the info we need by the time we arrive. All power sources be should fully recharge in 10 years after our arrival. This has cost us much."

Thank you Ms. Elath'el. I would like to extend my condolences on the loss of ranger Ne're. Her sacrifice is loss to us all. I am sure you will honor her with your service in her place. Dean No..."

"I beg the council's pardon, but something has just arrived, we believe from Mr. Timinwell, Professors Wilson and Henderson are insisting you look at it now."

Well then, as I was about to say, Dean Nostuff, will you please collect our wayward hope and deal with his package as quickly as you can. We depart within the hour.

Dean Nostuff and Jones walk out of the board chambers right past the professors waving a book, shouting and jumping up and down "The book...he found the book...it's all breaking lose"

Then the shrill voice of a young man not yet experiencing puberty broke above all else, 

"Dean Nostuff...Dean Nostuff! They are gonna tell!! I got to get that book back......, the guild,...in danger!!!!!!!  Everyone wants that ring and that book. Oh Dean Nostuff, I messed up bad this time! I just wanted to help, to see if the school could help... everyone is scared of that green metal, and the lady and her dead things... and.."

"OK.. OK... Upiyo settle down, it is all ok, the guild is fine, in fact I have one big surprise for you. 
He took the young man by his hand and set back off down the hall, grabbing the book out of the hands of a trembling Professor Henderson  "I just have to pick up something from some very nice ladies, do not stare at them, even if the young one looks like she wants you to, trust me, she is not your type."

A bit latter a burst of light fills a distant tavern and Dean Nostuff steps into the dusty room hand in hand with Upiyo.

 Alert hands go to weapons. 

"You must be ranger Testtalo, and Hans, and the rest of Upiyo's companions. I am Dean Nostuff, young Upiyo is under my care. He is very important to our guild, and I would like to thank you for your indulgence with him. For reasons I am not at liberty to divulge, we needed him to be learning, on the job, so to speak. I understand he has behaved in a way that has not always been in your best interest. I am sorry for that, and I hope this makes up for it in a small way.

He hands them the book, the ring, and a pile of research, "Everything we have on Arlin Keni, and his work, there are some very nice maps in there.  Above all else, you must destroy that ring. Sadly, it will not be easy. I have included some maps that have nothing to do with Arlin Keni, but they are made with diamond and ruby infused inks. I am sure they will be very valuable. I dare say all maps are about to become more valuable." 

"You see, Upiyo, and his guild, are about to depart this plane. Once our citadel departs, agents will act to make it look as if we were somehow destroyed. I offer you all a chance to go with, us but the ring would have to stay, that and you are this worlds best hope to get through this.

Heroes all, they chose to stay and fight. With that settled, the child Upiyo, and Dean Nostuff, returned to the guild hall. Upiyo, and his guild, would continue to grow in a new world, with new friends and adventures.

So what is all this?

Last weekend I was playing in my Simi-regular GURPS game and some things went in ways I was, well ...a bit unhappy with. So, I decided to have things go a different way. I am rewriting history so to speak. I just decided that on a different plane of reality this is how it happened. Perhaps Upiyo's new home will be in stories.

For more about Upiyo and the guild see:

Thursday, June 6, 2013


"The first step, then, is to decide on the rules, or at least some guidelines, for your campaign. In freewheeling genres like time travel, or even (slight-ly) more constrained settings like the Infinite Worlds, it's important to get your players to buy into these guide-lines, too, before the first die gets thrown. Otherwise, you're setting yourself up for a game full of picky exceptions, intentional near-paradox, and generally avoidable irritation."

GURPS Infinite Worlds is the bible for multi-world play. In it is a section advising a GM how to set the parameters for that game. I have used that format to try and frame the expectations of game play in the WGC campaign.



Just like the base IW campaign, mine will be somewhere between prosaic scale and epic scale, with a leaning toward epic. Players will build 300/150/5 PCs.  My thinking is; In Infinite Worlds, a Special Forces team member runs about 200 points. I'm adding the 100 points for extraordinary ability if desired. There is an over all goal of preventing a devastating paradox caused quantum instability.  

In the physics of this game a time paradox manifests itself as large scale environmental damage that grows and ebbs as it radiates up the time line. Historic earthquakes, legendary hurricanes, even the Black Death can be traced back to a paradox action. Time heals itself by creating a new timeline where the paradox causing event happened, keeping the original timeline intact. The damage done in the original time line is due to the energy/matter/life force/antimatter/dark-matter/magic/all knowing twinkie...... being riped from one timeline to make a new one.    

Much of WGC's time and energy go into protecting allied worlds timelines and helping them protect our timeline. On any mission to an allied world, past or present, it is required by the cooperation agreement, to have at least one team member from that world on the mission.

As we begin the campaign, WGC is aware that some agent or agency, is actively attacking the timelines of allied worlds, but no one, or no organization, has been identified yet.


Pick one of the 4 Allied words as a place to come from and use that to shape your PC.

WorldGate Command: Prime

Pure Military, Military trained Psi users, Science fixers/ Gadgeteers. Combat Mages, Medics/Clerics. WGC has the highest TL of the allied worlds, with some access to TL9 tech. WGC prime Psi users all have Holly as a patron (9 or better), free. All prime world PCs get WGC as a patron for free, all other worlds have to buy it.

Leauge of Danger
TL7(8 )super power)

Think 1920-1950 style costumed super heroes. Some are of the extraordinary person variety (Batman, Doc Savage, The Shadow, Kung Fu master ). Some will have super powers, but at 300 points I don't think any battleships will be tossed around. I can see an android AI or maybe some other mad scientist type life form. Gadgeteers would enjoy the access to improved tech and power sources.

One thing this world has that others don't is an ability to open diode world gates by using super powers. Most diode worlds require 10-100x the power for a trip in one direction then in the other. If a super from the Leauge world adds their energy powers to any gate opening, the power to reach diode worlds returns to normal levels. Without this help we can not open any outbound gate on the Leauge world.

All things fantasy. Elven bowmen, Half giant monks, Young dragon disciple. The Map makers guild is all about exploring and adventure. It is also our best source for all things magic. Fireball tossing trolls, Pixi stealth and black operations specialist. Need a magic sword to kill the evil Dr. Unhero? Got that covered. Build clerics like super powers, but add divine origin and limits and modifiers in line with your chosen religion. Devine origin powers will work on any world and can only be blocked by a religions own beliefs. I.E. You may lose your powers if your hair is cut.

The Conquistador Empire of North America.

 This wealthy and powerful empire has a monopoly on access to Wraith Stone. It only provides empire approved agents to WGC (Duty (Empire)). They are Gadgeteers, marksmen with powerful magic firearms and other weapons. Daemon binders, earth callers, and air benders. Tribal shamans in service to the empire. Trackers and bounty hunters with wartime experience and mystic powers. Magic learned in this world needs a focus that uses Wraith Stone and a spirit origin. Calling, binding and forcing otherworldly energy is this worlds magic. Powers/Margery should be bought with Focus: (Wraith Stone Item), Fickle, Nuisance effect, and some level of accessibility.

Gadgeteers, artificers, weapon smiths, and artisans of all types can use Wrath Stone to enhance creations. Any powered item that uses Wraith Stone gains the Cosmic source for power and never needs re-charged, re-loaded, re-fueled or to be repaired. They can be broken, even destroyed, but if an item has even  1HP left it will repair itself at a rate of 1HP a day. This does not come cheep. Wraith Stone items add 1000X to the item price on the world (Empire cost), 10,000 x item price, off world (WGC and other worlds).

The empire provides some of the best spies and has a history of intrigue. Sadly it also has a history of zombie invasions. At any given place and time, a zombie outbreak may manifest as a result of even minor paradox impact. Other, much more powerful, supernatural entities can spawn in response to more extreme paradox.

The empire is also dealing with a rebellion in parts of North America. Slaves have rebelled and enlisted the help of many local armies and a powerful overseas ally who has cracked the code of life itself,attacking with engineered lifeforms.

Players will be part of WorldGate Command and will need the duty disadvantage to WGC. Any off prime travel will be to a place chosen by WGC and will have a mission objective, you are in the control of the military, that is the way it is done. Expect to be involved in the following types of missions:

  • Training
  • Scout and Explore.
  • Observation and Intelligence.
  • Science Primary.
  • Diplomatic and First Contact Support.
  • Allied Support.
  • Humanitarian.
  • Quantum Stability Defense 
  • Rescue and Extraction.
  • Classified Operations.  

The WorldGate is a movable object that is opened for one direction of travel by applying enormous amounts of energy to it. Some worlds require Psi or magic to be added the energy for access. In order for a team to return without a special power source, return times are set in advance. For some unknown reason gates are only open for 12 seconds, and require 12 min, 12 seconds before they will open again. WGC limits items to 10' x 10' x 10' in size unless special approval is given.

WGC has access to 13, 1000MW, naval class Wraith Stone enhanced reactors. At any given time 10 are on line, and 3 are down for maintenance. With 24 hours notice all 13 can be safely brought on line. In 4 hours the 3 down system can be forced into service at a risk of failure.

On every "first dial" WGC starts by sending through BUGS (Bio-mechanical Universal Gathering System), a swarm of insect sized micro robots, who record information for 12 min and return when the gate reopens.

Information skills for WorldGate tech:
  • Knowledge (WorldGate) Int/H and Engineering (WorldGate) Int/H
  • Gate operation: Int/A
  • Physics (Quantum Worlds) Int/VH


Game play will be heavily weighted in favor of play on one of the 4 allied world, with side trips elsewhere. Timeline defence will put players in the different timelines of all the allied worlds. Expect indoor and outdoor play, but most missions will have something inside that needs done.

Travel to the future just does not work with gate tech. There are timelines where tech is more advanced, so you may think you have gone forward, but it is an independent time line.

Players will spend down time in WGC or on their home prime if they wish. Highly trusted and vetted off prime personal are cleared for off base travel, but require a security escort from prime.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

WorldGate Command, A History

What follows is the foundation for my upcoming GURPS campaign.

Yes, It looks a lot like Stargate SG-1, but it's different, please don't sue me big mega entertainment people, it is called flattery.

The Beginning

In 1979 Dr. David Ban Rson, while on a dig in central America, discovered a 4 yard x 4 yard, bright red glass like object. It had thousands of finely etched lines in it's smooth surface that formed a frame at the edge where the glass was thickest. There the object was less then an inch thick and tapering to atomic level thinness at the center, yet no tool or force has scratched it.  (DR >1000)

The object was eventually claimed by the US military and housed in a secure location for testing.

Contact and Awareness

On April 1, 1984, while running a sonic activation experiment, the object, glowed brightly and  a young woman stepped out of it, or rather, floated out.  Her name was Holly Webber, and she changed everything.  It was discovered that she was a traveler from a place both like and unlike home. She had been fleeing an attack and had activated a gate with a bolt of energy from her mind. She had hoped to shatter what she thought was a wall. Once through it, she found she had evaded her perusers.

Holly was a scientist, and our first, and still to date, our most powerful Psi. With her help we found out that the object, when given very high levels of energy, formed a gateway to alternate earths and times. Targeting in the early days was haphazard at best. The chances of contacting any given location or time ( later renamed as "Quantum") were so poor it made travel a potentially one way trip. 

Holly did one other thing, when anyone with latent Psi, those previously thought to be mediums and frauds, met her, they activated into full blown Psi users. All variants of Psi began to manifest with carefully controlled access to Holly.

Growth and Founding 

Soon Holly's newly awakened Psis were being trained and integrated into the military command, some volunteering to travel to the few worlds we could, more or less, repeatedly connect to. These brave souls were the foundation of Worldgate Command. Three to five person teams risked being lost forever to explore the worlds. On these early journeys three key allies were made:

The league of Danger

A group of costumed, extraordinary men and women, with powers most Psi users can not block or dampen. Their world is in a time period roughly equal to 1930's earth prime. World war rages and nations are falling. A great evil is marching across their world, and its agents are everywhere. They keep the gate on their world safe, and control information and access to it. It was through our understanding of travel from their world we discovered "Diode" worlds.

The Conquistador Empire of North America.

The Spanish won the new world and now control that worlds strange power source. A mineral that brings machines some to life, mindless and ready to be controlled by their creators. It also powers and helps construct other remarkable inventions. Supernatural forces are active, and a war also rages across the southron part of North America. This world is roughly equal to earth prime in the mid 1800's but with some technology appearing much more advanced.

The Guild of Map Makers

This group of medieval beings provides access to a world of magic and wonder we have yet to understand. Dragons and elves walk this world and some few of our team have discovered they can master the power used to do wonderful things, but only on some worlds. The magic just will not work on worlds without some level of magic active. and is very constrained on others.

Control and expansion

The discovery that extremely precise, closely measured, and carefully controlled power levels, delivered by a mix of  energy type, while varying the delivery process (pulse, constant, varying, etc.), allowed for 90% target repeatability and relatively safe gate passage. Some worlds were discovered to be easy to open a gate and travel to, but for a few worlds the trip back was nearly impossible, requiring extremely high levels of energy to open the gate for a  trip in the other direction. 

For years now teams have explored different quantums. Supported by team members from allied worlds, WorldGate command soldiers, and Holly's Psi force. Holly and WorldGate command have advanced knowledge, saved lives, explored, and searched. Holly has only ever asked, that in exchange for everything she did, we search for her home and aid them once we found it.

New discoveries and challenges have forced WorldGate Command to expand all divisions. Recruiters and scouts have been out looking on all allied worlds. A new wave trainees will be going active soon. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Games and life in spectacular failure

 The flames of the once lively tavern clawed into the sky. So many lives lost, some guilty, many, far to many, were not. The damage done, months of time and effort apparently gone. I had no idea what to do.

For months I had been running a D&D 2.0 campaign with 6 players. This had been one of the most complex worlds I had made. I had computer generated maps, detailed 4 major cities and a dozen minor ones. I even had weather patterns and sea currents plotted. My NPC binder was bulging at the seams with wizards, bards, shopkeepers, courtesans, and villains.

The party was recruited to go to several locations, gathering and safeguarding secret items along the way. This was phase one of the larger campaign. The goal was to get the players into the world, let them find out what was going on, who was doing what and where. The first 15 or so levels were fun and some of the best times I remember in gaming. 

Then all the items were combined to be this worlds first movable type printer. This was to be the start of phase 2. The device was attacked and destroyed, its mastermind severely wounded and in a mystic comma. My base for phase 2 was to have the players seek out the attackers and save the print master. That is not what happened.

Several players, err PCs expressed happiness that this "Dangerous device had been destroyed." While others did want to go after the attackers, it was because they had been attacked, not to save anyone.  

I was a little confused but didn't stress to much because the players were still following the plot hooks. The next game session it got worse. The players had tracked possible connections to a tavern front for a local thieves guild. Note I said "front", I tried to be real clear that the tavern was full of just folks drinking and eating. Lots of merchants and travelers. This was the legal public face of the guild. 

It's a bit fuzzy these days, but somewhere in the process of trying to, "rid the world of all knowledge of the evil device..(the printing press)" and get back at the attackers, it was decided to burn down the tavern, ....with everyone in it.

I had always run heroic campaigns, heroes don't burn down taverns full of people.  This is where you came in above. As the players described what they were doing I just sat there, stunned. After a bit I blinked, sighed, and said "Please change all your alignments to something evil, thanks for playing, campaign over." I closed my books and folded up my DM screen. My players, some thought I was joking around, some tried to argue what happened as I was putting my dice away.

I had just had a unrecoverable campaign failure.

This was over 15 years ago. thanks to time I can look back objectively at what happened. As a GM I had failed in several things. First I had failed by over prepping. There were hours of work done on NPC's, towns, maps, and plots that were never used. 

Second, I failed by presenting a no option plot point. The players should have had more leeway finding out what the object was before phase 2. This would have given me time to adjust the campaign to player expirations.

Third, I failed to know my players well enough. Just because I had always played heroically didn't mean my players had. In fact some of them were early World of Darkness players, far from heroic. 

The biggest failure was in myself. I didn't see the signs of GM burn out. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Life, demanding job, and family, all can all pile up and press down. Know when to pass the GM screen.    

Friday, May 24, 2013

Help me steal this campaign plot.

Mark Knight recently posted a very good blog post on interactive campaign creation. I want to try the idea on a bigger scale as I ramp up my GURPS campaign.

For my new game I want to run a  "Many Worlds" kind of game and I and using a lot of the ideas in the GURPS  Infinite Worlds book.  I don't like how basically everyone knows about world jumping and how it is a portable machine that they jump with. So I am stealing from one of my favorite TV shows and creating "World Gate Command" and my team of elite world jumpers, WG-1.

World Gate Command is located on a TL 8 world much like ours.  The world gate is this large( 4 yards x 4 yards) square bit of suspected alien tech that has been used in secret for several years. In those years World Gate Command has made 3 major allies on new earths. Those 3 worlds need histories as I plan on using them as optional places for the players to come from.

If this sounds like something you might like to get involved with, well here is your chance. First check out Mark's post, then come back and add to the story at Google+ in the comments.

I already have a lot of the main world flushed out so I can focus the experiment on the 3 allied worlds. I need one Steam Punk world, one Superhero world, and one Fantasy world. There is a posable Fantasy world I will be using already. So let's start with the Steam Punk world. I grabbed Mark's starting template and would like to work from there. I would like a bet of help getting started, as you can see the template has a few holes in it.
  1. World: Steam Punk world
  2. Reality Concept: In the spirit of stealing stuff to make life easer, I want to make this kind of like Deadlands. A TL 5(7) world with some supernatural themes and old west style Steam Punk. 
  3. The Origin of the World: TBD.
  4. Origin Form:TBD
  5. Origin Connections: Steam Punk world is accessible from our earth via quantum level 2 (easy) travel. And the return trip is also quantum level 2 (easy).
  6. Origin Relations:N/A
  7. Omnessence or Magical Realities: I want this world to have low mana but a lot of supernatural influence. the rest is TBD
  8. Magic Availability: Magic is ritual and few can master it.
  9. Who do you want the players to control in the Interactive History: Players from this world would have been recruited by World Gate Command or somehow accidentally traveled worlds.
Looks like my world needs an origin myth. Where do we start?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Why I am not excited about D&D Next.

I think it is safe to say I am an example of a first generation D&D gamer. There are folks who have been doing it longer, but from what I see they are going negative HP at an alarming rate. My D&D started with no monster art, orange dice, pencil and pad, and flawed rules. I loved it so much I am still gaming today.

My game experience now is a lot different. I play online with folks all over the country, I have my PC built in a program and printed out all neat and pretty. My dice are virtual, the art done by folks of amazing talent and it's not D&D. Oh, and the rules are still flawed.

I supported the D&D brand up through 3.5. I dumped money on every release for 30+ years and got good value for what I paid. Yep, the rules were still flawed, but everyone worked around the flaws and managed to have fun.

Then came 4th Edition D&D, a solution in search of a problem. I like to think of it as D&D incorporated V1. D&D 3.0 / 3.5 had been envisioned and produced with a few radical differences from earlier D&D's and was done in a small business environment. As it evolved from early 3.0 to later in 3.5 you see a creeping influence from the newly enthroned owners.

Two things stood out to me; the first being the loss of full support for open D20. Sure they still paid lip service to it and more or less honored pervious openD20 licenses, but no real effort to add material to the open D20 library.

Second was the ending of the licenses to Dungeon and Dragon magazines. Pulling the control of the brand fully in house. A typical corporation style protection move.

At that point I decided not to give any more money to D&D. I was so glad I did once I understood the full pain that the 4th edition is. While the release may be a fun game, it's not D&D. It was too influenced by MMOs and the hope of selling miniatures, it lost sight of it's roots. D&D died with 3.5.

Now comes D&D next or D&D incorporated V2. The money masters are fully running things now. They must know how bad they did with 4.0, the PR system is in full swing. Big international play-test program. An online campaign to build interest. This is a game designed by a committee of committees. More then anything else D&D next is getting money, tones of it. I will bet more is being spent on playtesting D&D next the Gary Gygax ever saw from the game in his whole life.

No, I am not a play-tester. They want you to agree to this or that thing to be one of the play-testers, not going to happen. It is just another sign of the brand control mentality. I'm a gamer, not an income number on a spreadsheet.

I wish D&D next well. I know I am not its target market. I'm to old for the new masters of the D&D brand to care what I think. I still hope it brings in new players and makes good money for its masters. It just won't be my money.

A troublesome student.

Doing something a bit different for my GURPS game. Background for my young mage Upiyo via correspondence within his school.

From : Dean Logan Nostuff
To: Professor Carlmag Josten, Student field work coordinator.

Subject: Continuing field work for Mr. Upiyo Timinwell


I am writing to inform you of the boards vote regarding one Mr. Upiyo Snow. The board has chosen to heed my advice and continue support for Mr. Timinwell's time in the field. Professor Goesnoow tried to block the support, arguing for his return to the school's Gateway program. He kept insisting that the accident that led to Mr. Timinwell's present assignment in the field was a fluke and could never happen again. He withdrew his block when I reminded him the missing tower and its inhabitants have still not been found.

I continue to believe the raw power he is displaying at his age is reason enough to keep him in good standing with the guild. His work, that you have passed onto the board, is promising, and I am encouraged by Mr. Timinwell's ability to continue his studies independently. I hope you understand that I must balance our relationship with Mr. Timinwell with the safety of all the students and staff at the academy. Ever since we discovered Mr. Timinwell floating toys at the orphanage, his exploits have caused disturbances at the school. We had lost two good teachers due to his mischief, even before the tower incident.

Please have your staff transport the requested equipment and Mr. Timinwell's monthly allowance as soon as they can. Include instructions to add underground mapping to his studies when he can. In recognition of his young age for someone in the field I will agree to continuing weekly evaluations, have the scrying dept. bill my office for the time. Coach Gimblie is also including some exercises to help the boy build some endurance. Try and impress on the young man the benefit of the workouts.

My regards.
Dean Logan Nostuff