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Hi to you all. Re: John Corry and the RPG summer camp thing. I did go to one, though I must admit that it had far more to do with the British summer than it did with the planned activities of the camp!

Re: the advertising thing. Have you informed ACME pocket protectors that you are an RPG 'zine, I'm sure they will want some of THAT prime targeted advertising (actually if you have not done so already try to make a list of the sort of thing that your average reader is into and then go and talk to those sort of companies, a voluntary questionnaire might help).

I am somewhat new to all this email/internet bru-ha-ha, but I am filled with joy to have found your site. Well done one and all, but I still say the telegraphic service is hard to beat (even if it is only for the fun of trying to work the word "stop" into every sentence).

Is it possible at all to be informed when the zine is updated or will this overly smart and oh so smug machine know for me? Somehow I doubt it (not so clever now are you? You electricity eating monster, you'll need to think for yourself and grow opposable thumbs before you can kick mankind off the top of the evolutionary ladder).

I like the adventure stuff. The idea of a role playing game site that does not include at least a couple of scenario ideas each month is at best self indulgent and at worst pretentious bull-sh*t. That said, I have seen what became of 'White Dwarf' in its pathetic and degrading attempt to pander to the masses. So go ahead with the games, I say, just watch that you stay clear of the mire of mediocrity and mono-game profitability.

Well so long for now
Nick McCarthy

Thanks for the advice and feedback, Nick! We'll try not to be pretentious or degrading. And if you want to be updated when the new issue comes out, simply hit the "Subscribe" link on the front page.

Guys! Disappointed to read Dr Rotwang's LARP Journal in Issue #14, to say the least. I've been LARPing and/or freeforming for years now and always figured the secret LARP formula was safe - but no, the good Doctor had to reveal not only the basic plot-line for the genre, but also revealed how much effort (or lack of) really goes into these things!

All those folk out there that have either attended in the past, or planning on attending in the future, should never have had these secrets exposed, for the good of the game. And who really writes or runs a game/con/event just to meet "gaming chicks"? I mean, really...
Steve Lewis

PS - keep up the good work...been meaning to write for a while now - love the e-mag, both format and content

Thanks Steve. Sorry to rumble the LARP scene, but the truth must be told!

'Tis a rocky road, my friends....

First, I just wanted to congratulate you guys on this great, simplistic site, it's fantastic. Secondly, I'd like to introduce myself to everyone as the new President of SUTEKH, Sydney University's Role-Playing Society (overseas people: remember Sydney? We had that sporting event a few months back *grin*). The clubs been painfully inactive for the last couple of years, so I'm hoping to pump some life into our activities, maybe even resurrecting the long-dead SydCon.

Any questions or suggestions, feel free to e-mail me at:

Many thanx to the PTGPTB for letting me bloviate like this, this site has been bookmarked !!

Thank you again,
Billy Cohen

Welcome aboard, Billy. Best of luck with SUTEKH. If we can be of any help with promotion, let us know.

Here is some info for the Issue 14 Forum:

Allan Graveen: TSR's Marvel Superheroes stuff is fairly easy to find in used game markets and eBay. The later Saga version may still be on store shelves. Mayfair's DC Heroes system is REALLY hard to find. A couple of the adventures are easy to find and that is it. Try eBay or buy the rules in the form of the Blood of Heroes Revised Edition from pulsar Games and match it up with the background care of the new DC Universe RPG care of West End Games.

Rick: Try the RPGA. I believe there is a link at

PTGPTB to John Carney: He was asking about DRAGON Quest NOT DUNGEON Quest. The latest edition was by TSR in 1989. Not too long ago compared to 1983.

Lars Conzack: RIFTS was released in 1990, and it uses the Palladium system which dates back to 1983. MDC comes from Robotech in 1986. I hope that helps.
Mike Demetro, President, The Guildhall Press, Canada

Wow, that seems to have covered things pretty well. Thanks! As for Dragon/Dungeon Quest, that was merely an unfortunate typo. Apologies for that.

OK, I'm one of those guys who wants what he can't have; so what gives with the "Identify the Source" article?

Well done on the "Suddenly Human" bit by Steve as well. White Dwarf once did the same sort of thing (Monsters are people too). I have tried to live up to this in my games, but Steve's piece was a timely reminder, I have been getting lax, and my Saxons in Pendragon have been far too much of the pop up and die variety. I will mend my ways, and then blame you guys when my players get upset :)

Glad you found "Suddenly Human" useful. "Identify the Source" was unaviodably and drastically waylaid extremely close to publication. We thought to have it up in a few days, so we decided to publish as we were. Unfortunately, days became weeks, and so on, due to events beyond our control. We apologise for this, and we won't let it happen again.

I'm interested in the attribution of your article by Wilf Backhaus

"Wilf Backhaus is the creator of such legendary RPGs as Chivalry and Sorcery (1976), Warrior (1980) and Mage (1981). His most recent work is the KISS D2 online RPG."

Hmm. I think "co-creator" might be fairer as far as C&S goes, Ed Simbalist, Wes Ives and Jan Vrapcenak amongst others having been involved to some small degree.

1976 was the date of "Chevalier", the prequel to C&S, C&S was 1977.

Well caught, Ed. Thanks for setting us straight.

It was very interesting to read Nick's comments on establishing a regional or national body for organising and promoting RPG's, but I doubt very much that gamers can ever become organised enough to achieve this. Besides which, do we really want to introduce our fine hobby to the unwashed masses? I'm not convinced that my weekly games will be improved by sponsorship or 30 second commercials on TV. How will sponsorship directly effect the average gamer who only occasionally goes to a convention or plays in a tournament, and who mostly plays in regular group with his friends? I think there is a huge gap between what Nick is recommending and what the average gamer experiences.

Still, I heartily applaud Nick's efforts to come up with a competition scoring system that rewards role playing, the very subject this fine hobby of ours is supposed to be about. Nick's suggestions for structuring scenarios is too rigid and artificial though. Surely the natural flow and pacing of a scenario would be distorted by the rigid imposition of so many puzzles and so many combat encounters? The scenario would begin to resemble a rigid, linear Resident Evil style computer game rather that the free flowing, organic story evolved by the collaboration of both players and referee.

I hope this doesn't sound too harsh, as I think overall Nick has made some positive comments and excellent suggestions upon the directions this hobby needs to be taking.
Steve Blair

Thanks, Steve. We hoped Nick's piece would generate some comment and criticism. What do others think?

I read with great interest Steve Darlington's article "Suddenly Human".

I have to agree as a player and game master that the construction of empathy between players and NPC's is essential for good role playing. It is not always the way to go in a particular campign, but when used properly it can be very effective at increasing the depth of any game.

As an organizer of a Werewolf the Apocolypse live action game I have found that one of the best ways to create good antagonists is to create NPC's that the characters can relate to or develop a connection. Two of the most effective NPC's I have had were a Blackspiral Dancer (a servant of evil to non-werewolvers), who attempted to corrupt the PC's rather than killing them and a mortal police detective who's investigations have realy put the PC's on the spot a couple of times but who they know is a decent man in a generaly corrupt police force.

As a player, one of the best roleplaying experinces I have had was in a game of White Wolfs "Hunter". The game master realy worked hard at making us realize the consquences of our PC's actions. 'Sure, you are trying to destroy supernatural monsters that pray on humankind but what about the ordinary people who get in the way?' My own character had terrible guilt about accidentally killing the mortal butler of a vampire and the session in which the PC's had to dispose of the dead bodies of some mortal servants of vampire was a traumatic experince. In all cases are characters were doing the right thing for noble reasons, but to we also had to do terrible things.

Anyway keep up the good work. I realy enjoy reading PTGPTB and hope this webzine has a long life.
Alexander Gill, Winnipeg, Canada

Thanks for sharing your experiences, Alexander. I'm happy that this article has had such a positive response.

I found "Once Upon A Time: The Secret History of RPGs" an interesting read but the conclusion it draws is not correct based upon the evidence provided.

Double blind wargames certainly predate "The Modern War in Miniature" and are not the invention of Mr. Korn. That style of double blind war game was used prior to WWI as actual traing exercises, sure there were countless variations and improvements over the decades but the Judge/player structure as presented by Mr. Korn was established, if not widely known, prior to the write up presented in the article.

The article gave us a glimpse at the situation that went on to influence early roleplaying games which obviosuly drew so heavily upon miniatures since many of their devotees and authors were miniatures players prior to their involvement in rpg's. It is nice to see one more piece of gaming past that well could have influenced the early RPGer/Miniatures player but I see little evidence of this other then the detailed write up of a gaming style that exsisted prior to the birth of most RPG players parents and grandparents.
James D. Jarvis

Once again, we thank our attentive readers for keeping our history pieces as correct and as full as possible. Great to see.


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