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Readers' Letters


Wow! We sure got a lot of letters between this issue and the last. It was so great to hear what you thought of the magazine, especially when you were full of praise, and so many of you were. I guess we're on the right track then! Thanks a million to everyone who sent us flattering emails, it really makes it all worthwhile.

We were also surprised to see just how much reach you can achieve on the Internet. We had subscribers from all over the world, including Norway, Portugal and from right across the UK and the US. We also gained a mention in Danish RPG magazine X-kapist, causing us to get a few Danish subscribers as well. (by the way, if anyone speaks Danish out there, we'd like to know what X-kapist said about us!) But bigger than all that: our magazine came to the attention of that veritable GOD of role-playing, Gary Gygax himself! Check out his comments below.

We got so many letters that we can't possibly print them all, so below are just some of the missives that filled up our inbox since the last issue. But that isn't to say we don't want any more! Keep those letters coming in!

Well, I'll Send Something Off Then...

As always, thanks for your input!



Dear PTG, PTB,
(Gary was discussing Gary Pellino's Splenetics column in Issue 1 which was critcal towards AD&D)

While I disagree strongly with what the author said, he certainly is entitled to air his opinions. Opinion is valuable, but I think you need to identify it more clearly. However, having been the editor and publisher too of a number of small zines, I know the overall situation pretty well. And, as I have at times expressed pretty strong negative opinions, I concur with the publication of such material in general. While the piece in question was more a rant, and the author clearly does not understand the concept of the RPG game form, you and he surely should get some feedback!
Best Wishes,
Gary Gygax.

Yes, it must be pointed out that Gary Pellino's article was a pleghmatic and highly opinionated rant, not an article, and should not be taken too seriously.

Dear PTG, PTB,
(After responding in Issue 2 to the same column about AD&D, Henry wrote back to discuss the place of the said column)

If the primary goal of Splenetics is to get people thinking about the hobby of role playing I'm all in favor of it. I find myself despairing over the lack of thoughtful discussion I see going on about role playing as a hobby. (Oh how I miss the short lived Interactive Fantasy magazine.) It seems all the vast majority of magazines want to do is provide me with yet another adventure "suitable for all systems", throw in a few reviews of new systems, and provide yet another set of nifty new skills I can add to my <insert game name here> campaign.

What I'm looking for are articles which delve into skills of game mastering and role playing. As a guy who has spent most of the last 22 years game mastering, I love articles which show me new and interesting ways of drawing players into my world. I love articles which give a new approach to old, tried and true methods. I enjoy articles which show me how to be a better role player, too (for those rare times I actually get to play AND for use with my NPCs). If I didn't have a 19 month old son at home taking up so much of my spare time I'd volunteer to write some articles like this for you. Hell, I may still (assuming you're interested)...

In other words, I love articles that make me think about my hobby. So, in this instance, Spenetics did perform its task.
Henry Vogel.

Henry, you've just summed up exactly what we were looking for before we started this magazine, and when we couldn't find it, we thought that maybe we could come close to providing this sort of stuff on our own. Your letter tells us we have achieved our goal. Thanks.

For those who don't know, Interactive Fantasy was a very intelligent and insightful fanzine (edited by Andrew Rilstone) which was somewhat the model for PTG, PTB. We never dreamed, however, that we could hold a candle to its quality, yet the comparison was made more than once:

Dear PTG, PTB,
Good stuff. You've presented some thoughtful and insightful articles in your issues to date. For my money, you can't go wrong with an Andrew Rilstone piece. I've been waiting a while for a worthy successor to Interactive Fantasy (the now-sadly-defunct intellectual psych-mag for roleplayers from Hogshead Publishing in the UK) and I think PTG,PTB comes awfully damn close. Keep up the great work.
Dave Versace

Coming close to the amazing I.F. is the best compliment we could receive. Thanks Dave.

Dear PTG, PTB,
Hmmm.... a very good concept to publish an on-line magazine for RPG games.

To be frank with you, I haven't played RPG games for a while now since most games today require unbelieved PC resources that I simply do not have. I might upgrade my PC just for the sake of Ultima 9 and Final Fantasy 7 (or is that 6 or 8?) for PC at end of this year.

Just want to offer 2 comments to you guys.

  1. How about making this comment field a bit BIGGER because I can't type much into this small area.
  2. How about applying for a shorter domain name, this web site www.maths.uq.edu.au/~sjd/ptgptb/ is simply too LONG to remember

Keep up the good work and see you guys around.
Wales Chen

PS. By the way, is this magazine free or going to be free for a while?

Well, we're glad you approve of the idea. To answer your queries: the comment field is now bigger, our impending move will provide a much shorter address, and this magazine is free, and will continue to be so for the forseeable future.

Dear PTG, PTB,
Excellent stuff - just browsed through bits of both issues, and I'm impressed with the depth and quality of the articles, as well as finding the news (both local and general) very handy.

I've been gaming for about 3 years now (mostly Cyberpunk and Babylon Project), and I'm very much interested in the "art" of gaming, - how to make gaming a meaningful experience, not just a dicerolling excercise, so I was interested to read Andrew Rilstone's article.

I'm very glad to see something like this coming out of Briso, and look forward to more (and maybe even contributing a letter or two myself). Bravo!

May I suggest a contact column or somesuch, where local gamers can advertise upcoming campaigns, etc. I'm actually on the look out for people interested in joining a B5 campaign - everyone I played with at Briscon already seemed to have a fully booked gaming schedule...

Regards,
Mark

Our policy is "If enough people ask for it, we'll provide it." So if you agree with Mark, let us know! And if you're interested in contacting Mark about this game, you can mail him via us.

Dear PTG, PTB,
G'day guys. How about a new section, something along the lines of "Great Role-Plays" featuring exciting things that we all did during games, either from the players or characters point of view, novel use of tactics/equipment/dice/rulebooks or just damn good (short) stories about 'The Good Old Days' of roleplaying.

I mean, everyone remembers stacking all of their dice on top of each other and trying to make the highest tower before some bastard bumped the table, or setting up a DM's screen of rulebooks just to have someone push them all over, crushing your hand and spilling Coke all over your carefully typed plot.
Shane Russell

Shane included just such a story with his article, and if people continue to fill our inbox with more of these stories, than we may just publish such a column. So if you want it, send us something now!

Dear PTG, PTB,
....I have downloaded the HTML of both issues and plan to keep all copies ("Hay, I was there in th' beginning!!") and hope to become a keen follower and perhaps contributor.

The sidebar format is great, and for those still using lowbrow surfing setups the lo-grafix/high-content approach is jus' fine. There are heaps of ppl on Mosaic, or prehistoric rubber-band powered versions of Netscape (such as are usually installed in workplaces) and even text only Unix browsers. Magick!
Sarah Hollings

Maybe one day, when we're all famous, a copy of PTG, PTB #1 will be worth thousands. NOT! About our low-graphics approach, we've received a fair bit of praise for it, so it's not going anywhere. And a special hello to all the hardy people out there who still use Mosaic.

Dear PTG, PTB,
I bear no great love to WotC for some of their marketing tactics over the past few years, but you do them a great inservice by describing them as pompous. According to your article:

"The Magic: The Gathering trading card game promotes strategy, mathematics and critical thinking. The card game has become the intellectual sport of the '90s. Developed by a math professor, Magic contains elements similar to bridge or chess and is often played in a tournament setting, with amateur and professional Magic players competing throughout the year to earn rankings and win prizes.

Mathematics? Intellectual sport of the 90's? Similar to Bridge? Who the hell are they trying to kid?"

Perhaps the only stretched claim here is "the intellectual sport of the '90s" (although I am hard pressed to name another intellectual game originated in the '90s which has attracted such a large number of players). However, Magic clearly does involve strategy and critical thinking. Magic is also similar to bridge (they are both card games) and chess (they both involve strategy) -- this one wasn't brain surgery. Magic also has a very strong math component to it (as they mention in their description -- it was designed by a math professor).
Justin Bacon

Ah, finally some criticism! True, this was a little cruel, but their claims were exaggerated to a ridiculous extreme. The strategies involved in both Bridge and Chess are worlds apart from those of Magic, and the mathematics component is negligible. I have no real idea what being "the intellectual sport of the 90's" means, but it seems a fairly specious title to attach to themselves. In our opinion, both the attempt to associate the game with two classic games to which it bears little resemblance and the act of assigning itself a highly spurious distinction smacked of pomposity. We all had a good laugh when we read it, and thought other gamers would also enjoy the joke. You may disagree, and that's fine, but we won't apologise for calling it as we see it.

Dear PTG, PTB,
Congratulations on an unbiased, well written article on the two games conventions that ran in Brisbane on the May long weekend.

As one of the co-ordinators of Maelstrom, I spent the last 6 months fielding ill-informed and abusive emails and phone calls about the creation of the Maelstrom convention. With trepidation, I saw your banner advertising the Briscon v Maelstrom article and was pleasantly surprised when I read the item.

You have hit the nail on the head in perceiving that the two events are very different in the audience that they are targeting and can live side by side. The real winner is the overall gaming community in Brisbane and by that I mean Role Players, Miniature Players, Card Players, Scrabble Players, Chess Players etc. etc.

Maelstrom's first convention exceeded all expectations and, from the feedback that I have heard about Briscon, their committee are more than happy with the results of their convention.

Now let's all accept that there are two conventions on the May long weekend in Brisbane and concentrate our respective efforts on giving our particular clientelle a great time. Regards,
Keith Done
Co-ordinator Maelstrom 98

Yes, we agree that the last thing we want is in-fighting between the two conventions, and we're glad you found our article to your pleasing. One wonders though, since you did cop all this flak, why you chose that same weekend in the first place?


Do you have an opinion on one of the articles in this issue? Do you feel the need to voice important questions about the gaming industry? Do you just want to tell me I used a split infinitive in paragraph five of the Local Scene? Tell us what's on your mind.

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