Video Special: Andy Weir (author of The Martian) appears before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology
Weir originally appears at the 1:32:58 mark; he also answers several questions later in the video. Stick around for the discussion with Rohrabacher at the 2:01:19 mark. (Mr. Weir conducted himself excellently throughout his appearance.)
SPECIAL NOTE: The Experimenter Publishing Company will be releasing a Special Edition of Amazing Stories at MidAmeriCon2, this year’s Worldcon in St. Louis. Copies will be given away to all attending members.
PRESS RELEASES & NEWSLETTERS (Full text below)
OMNI Magazine; RPG News #55; SFWA – New Fiction;
From the Dept. of Weird: Kickstart a Tongue Prosthesis So You Can Lick Your Cats (Instead of Herding Them)
Balticon Panel The Frontiers of Science and Science Fiction (video)
Boskone 54 Ramping Up (Our own Erin Underwood is Chair this year!)
Chemical Wedding: The Very First SF Tale? (Nah; just another wannabe Proto)
PRESS RELEASES & NEWSLETTERS
RPGnet Newsletter #55
May 31, 2016
Long-time readers of the Newsletter (or, well, short-time readers) will know that we’re always on the lookout for new types of content to add to these illustrious pages. With that goal in mind, this week we’re premiering a new spotlight column: RPG Kickstarter Spotlight.
Once a month, we’ll select one high-profile and/or uniquely interesting Kickstarter campaign for an RPG game, attempt to get in contact with the creators to offer them a chance to comment, and briefly discuss what makes the Kickstarter interesting. Pride of place will go to those campaigns mentioned in RPGnet’s The Glamorous Unrestrained Hype Machine subforum. We’ll start things off with a look at Red Markets, a post-apocalyptic, zombie-themed game of economic horror.
As with other spotlight columns, we’re happy to hand over writing responsibilities to another interested RPGnetter. So, if you’d like to become the RPGnet Newsletter’s Kickstarter Spotlight Editor, please drop us a line.
Christopher Cecil brought us his newest Fuzzy Thinking: “Ah-Choo!”
And, Kirk Johnson-Weider was back with another issue of Lawful GM, this time looking at the legal consequences of death in: “Fun With Death”.
Lev Lafayette looked at the GURPS supplement GURPS Undead.
Ancalagon reviewed Lore of the Crypt Book IV: New Rules, Races, and Classes from Underworld Publishing.
And, Antonios S was back with a bushel of reviews of miniature gaming products (that’s gaming with minatures, not necessarily small products):
• “Tales of Longfall #1: La Noche De Brujas” (Freebooter’s Fate)
• “Mystic Spirits” (Freebooter’s Fate)
• “Freebooter’s Fate Loa And Invocation Cards” (Freebooter’s Fate)
• “Cult Starter Box” (Freebooter’s Fate)
• “Cybertronic MegaDeck” (Mutant Chronicles Warzone Resurrection)
• “Capitol MegaDeck” (Mutant Chronicles Warzone Resurrection)
• “Big Pack W” (Miniature Terrain)
• “Big Pack TS” (Miniature Terrain)
Threads You Might Have Missed
RPGers have a wide variety of preferences in how to handle the representation of (particularly combat-related) scenes: Grids and miniatures? Pure theater of the mind? Something in between? For some discussion of how various games handle this spectrum of alternatives, along with some suggestions from your fellow RPGnetters, check out “Zones and Distances – Tactical Middle Ground.”
Over in Tangency Open, there is some fantastic discussion of how to handle hackers operating in the early(ish) days of the Internet(s): “What kind of trouble could a hacker raise in 1990?”
RPGs back to the earliest incarnations of Dungeons and Dragons have used economic hardship and opportunity as a motivation for player character action. Buy supplies; raid dungeon; get back alive; turn a profit; reinvest in better supplies; repeat. This of course, serves as a sort of funhouse mirror representation of the effect of economic demands on the players’ lives. In much the same way, economic themes run under the surface of a great deal of horror media. Nothing’s scarier than needing to make rent.
Caleb Stokes, RPG author/designer and longtime contributor to Role Playing Public Radio, has designed a new RPG system and setting to capitalize (see what I did there?) on this concept. Red Markets is explicitly focused on economics as a driver of both the gameplay experience and the horror of the setting. Well, high-minded economic horror and zombies.
Even if you have no particular interest in zombies, horror gaming, or new RPG systems, taking a look at Stokes’ Kickstarter campaign is worthwhile if only because he has extensively documented the process of creating both the game and Kickstarter campaign in a series of podcasts: “Game Designers’ Workshop.” The podcast series is a fascinating look into the creation of a small-press RPG. It’s also free and open – you don’t need to back Red Markets to listen.
The Newsletter reached out to Stokes for this Spotlight, and he was kind enough to send along the following information on his game and Kickstarter campaign:
“Red Markets is a tabletop RPG about economic horror. The game uses the traditional zombie genre to tell a story about surviving on the wrong end of the economy. It’s post-Capitalist economic critique inside a traditional roleplaying game.
Players are Takers: mercenary entrepreneurs seeking to profit off the zombie apocalypse before it claims them. Fighting for survival means getting paid to fight, and Takers are only people desperate enough to exterminate monsters for pay. Those that are quick, clever, or brutal enough might live to see retirement in a safe zone, but many discover too late that the cycle of poverty proves harder to escape than the hordes of undead.
Other features include:
• Unique Theme: The threat of monsters is nothing compared to the weight of economy. Supernatural threats join the horror of trying to escape poverty to make a powerful, relatable storytelling experience.
• Near-future Technology: No luddites allowed in this apocalypse: use drones, prosthetic limbs, and 3D printed guns to hold back the undead hordes
• Strategic Social Combat: Profit’s Negotiation mechanics put as much weight on skillful roleplaying and social engineering as traditional RPG combat.
• Modular Scenario Design: Sessions and campaigns can be as long or as short as you want them to be, focusing on interpersonal roleplay, tactical combat, or some mixture of the two.”
The Red Markets Kickstarter launched on May 23 and will run until June 20.
Have a good week, everyone.