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Christopher Blanchard
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Husband, father, and writer.
Husband, father, and writer.

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Some of the usual scumbags in the tabletop RPG world are trying to start a "DnDGate" along the lines of Gamergate. They want to get all those evil SJWs, particular the women, people of color, and queer folk, out of their beloved field. Therefore, I'd like to talk some about one of the most important women in the history of tabletop RPGs, and about a part of the field's history that many folks who've come to it in the last...gee, twenty or more years may not know.

Amateur press associations are one of the interesting kinds of modern social network, invented in the late 19th century. An apa has a membership list. Each member writes up their submission for the next distribution ("issue", effectively) and sends a copy for each member to the central mailer, who collates them and sends the results out. You get a copy of each thing submitted.

As you'd imagine, this leads to all kinds of funkiness. Some apas have themes, like comics or science fiction; many don't. Some have amazing production values, with work by people who literally have their own printing presses (or, later, sophisticated desktop publishing capabilities); others banged out on typewriters and mimeographs.

Yes! This is directly relevant to roleplaying games! Seriously!

See, one of the big early 20th century fans was a guy named Howard Philips Lovecraft. His enthusiasm and that of others of his time led to a strong emphasis on sf, fantasy, and horror in many apas, and that continued on for decades - in fact, into the 1970s. There were apas like APA-L, the official apa of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, with a membership roster filled with both apa-loving pros and apa-loving fans, who all talked about whatever was interesting them at the time. (This kind of mingling has helped sustain the widespread view in various fandoms that we're all fans, it's just some of us also sometimes get paid for it. :) )

There'd always been people into wargaming, storytelling at various levels of organization, and so on, and it's no surprise that in the summer of 1974, this new game called Dungeons & Dragons got a lot of attention. And kept on getting it. A lot. People talked about their campaigns, their characters, their house rules, their bizarre digressions, all like today except slower because you were commenting on previous distributions ("disties") for your own submission in the next one. In fact, it kept getting so much attention that a bunch of non-rpg-loving folks wished, ever more loudly, that it would go someplace else.

And this is where we come to that important woman, Lee Gold. In 1975, she'd already been around sf fandom a good while, with apa experience and all, and she decided, fine, she'd go ahead and make an apa just for roleplaying games. She created Alarums & Excursions.

Early on, she made some twists to the usual apa model. In particular, since she had the equipment to reproduce from stencils, she offered a page rate for any stencils you sent her ready to go (and a higher rate for material you sent for her to re-type onto stencils). This gave A&E a (relatively) consistent look, since so much of it came off one machine - hers - and could be stapled into a single compilation rather than a bunch of separate booklets. She was also able to make some additional copies - not just for the membership at any given month, but for sf-knowledgeable bookstores (like Book Village, in Pasadena, CA, where I ran into it a couple years later, the Compleat Strategist in New York City, and like that).

Gamers came to A&E and talked. And talked. And talked. And talked. Year after year, decade after decade. Some of them were already professionally published when they showed up, like Dave Hargrave, Greg Stafford, and such. But in addition, A&E proved to be a ridiculously good incubator for talent. People who got started doing professional work because of A&E: Robin Laws, Mark Rein*Hagen and Jonathan Tweet, Rob Heinsoo, me, and a whole bunch of others. Gaming of the '80s and '90s is thick with A&E alumni.

And we were able to do it because of a talented, energetic, hard-working Jewish woman: Lee Gold.

So anyone who wants to tell you that gaming is somehow now being corrupted by SJW influences, including obviously non-gamer sorts like women and practicing Jews, is either lying to you or simply completely incompetent to say anything at all about the field. Don't believe them. Don't spread their stories. Don't let them get even one fingerhold more. Push 'em off and give attention to the real, cool truth. :)

Footnote 1: In addition to the careers started thanks to A&E, friendships and connections made there amplified a bunch of others. Lots of folks got better prospects because of A&E even though they were already underway. But that'd be for them to tell, rather than me to semi-recall.

Footnote 2: I must find one of the places Lee wrote up the time Gary Gygax called her. It's hilarious. He, um, doesn't come off super well.
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There's still space for my Torg Eternity game tomorrow, if anyone is interested. Walks in accepted. :)
https://www.meetup.com/Role-Players-San-Diego/events/251188344/
Torg Eternity
Torg Eternity
meetup.com

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Well, I finally got my Torg game set up on the Meet up page. If anyone is interested, please feel free to sign up.
https://www.meetup.com/Role-Players-San-Diego/events/251188344/
Torg Eternity
Torg Eternity
meetup.com

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I'm not really sure where to post this, so I am posting it here. If there's a better place to put it, someone please let me know and I will move this post.

I am looking to put together a regular, monthly game of Torg Eternity. I will be hosting it at At East Games, and my plan right now is to meet on the Third Saturday of the moth, from about noon until six or eight. The first game would be next month, Saturday June 16.

The idea is to make it a regular campaign, but set it up so each adventure is self contained, so if you can't make it one month, you only miss that adventure. Also, this allows new players to come in and out as desired. Kind of like a serialized Action TV show, with regular guest appearances.

More specifically, the first two or three adventures would be intro adventures using the Day One adventures, that give you pre-gens to play, and after that, we would get into the campaign in earnest, where you can continue to use the pre-gens, or make up new characters.

I've set this up on the meet up group as well, but if anyone is interested in this, please let me know.

For those interested, here's some information about what Torg Eternity is all about.

https://www.ulisses-us.com/games/torg/

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Thought I'd also share this here.
So, this weekend, I ran a game of Torg at a local convention. I decided that while the Day One games are cool, they weren't really what I wanted to do. I wanted something that would really show off the setting. So I did a light conversion of the Before thr Dawn scenario that came with the original box set. I let my players pick from the archetypes, and we ended up with Lt. Quinn, a hardboiled dective from Pan Pacifica, Lord Aston the Monster Hunter from Orrorsh, Bloodclaw, the edinios optant and Captain Capacitor, thr eccentric inventor from the Nile Empire. The were ordered into the jingles of Ohio to find out what a minion of Dr. Mobius was up too. There, they aided a young, beautiful German woman, Hildy, who Lt. Quinn had some romantic intentions towards. They freed her father from the clutches of the evil Professor Shareff, and discovered Mobius' plan to take over a device invented by the Guant Man that supposedly will stop the world. They take the strange digging machine head to the Nile Empire, and sneak around a Nile base. There, they free a captured pilot, steal a sea plane, and head towards Orrorsh. On the way, they out smart some Nile pilots abd defeat a muscular mechanic who was still on the plane. Once in Orrorsh, they find the Nile cargo ship waiting for the plane. But, it's still amd quiet. They explore and find the crew has been slaughtered. A sign written in blood says "the still world is here." They discover the ship is now haunted bu a zombie pirate lord. Bloodclaw martyered himself to defeat it, and the rest manage to shut down the infernal machine before it can stop the Earth.

I had to cut somethings because we ran out of time, so we didn't do the Skill Challenge at the end, but still...

Everyone had a blast. They loved the cosim cards, and the destiny cards and possibilitys flew fast and furious.

I needed another hour or two to really play this whole adventure, but it still worked out really well and achieved my goal of showing off the multiple realms and letting the players what this game really has to offer. I even had a player ask if I would run a monthly game for our local meet up group. So, I think I would call this game a success.
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4/22/18
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So, this weekend, I ran a game of Torg at a local convention. I decided that while the Day One games are cool, they weren't really what I wanted to do. I wanted something that would really show off the setting. So I did a light conversion of the Before thr Dawn scenario that came with the original box set. I let my players pick from the archetypes, and we ended up with Lt. Quinn, a hardboiled dective from Pan Pacifica, Lord Aston the Monster Hunter from Orrorsh, Bloodclaw, the edinios optant and Captain Capacitor, thr eccentric inventor from the Nile Empire. The were ordered into the jingles of Ohio to find out what a minion of Dr. Mobius was up too. There, they aided a young, beautiful German woman, Hildy, who Lt. Quinn had some romantic intentions towards. They freed her father from the clutches of the evil Professor Shareff, and discovered Mobius' plan to take over a device invented by the Guant Man that supposedly will stop the world. They take the strange digging machine head to the Nile Empire, and sneak around a Nile base. There, they free a captured pilot, steal a sea plane, and head towards Orrorsh. On the way, they out smart some Nile pilots abd defeat a muscular mechanic who was still on the plane. Once in Orrorsh, they find the Nile cargo ship waiting for the plane. But, it's still amd quiet. They explore and find the crew has been slaughtered. A sign written in blood says "the still world is here." They discover the ship is now haunted bu a zombie pirate lord. Bloodclaw martyered himself to defeat it, and the rest manage to shut down the infernal machine before it can stop the Earth.

I had to cut somethings because we ran out of time, so we didn't do the Skill Challenge at the end, but still...

Everyone had a blast. They loved the cosim cards, and the destiny cards and possibilitys flew fast and furious.

I needed another hour or two to really play this whole adventure, but it still worked out really well and achieved my goal of showing off the multiple realms and letting the players what this game really has to offer. I even had a player ask if I would run a monthly game for our local meet up group. So, I think I would call this game a success.
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4/22/18
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Look what I just got in the mail! I wish I knew I would be getting it now, I would have picked it as a game to run at Kingdom Con.
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Mine came today, too! Woo!
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