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God made the world in six days and rested on the seventh. In this links page we look at a group of people who have also made worlds but rather than resting have put up web pages about it. They are the game designers, world creators and campaign writers that we use to give our imaginations some direction. The pages of game designers are quite diverse. Many offer addendum's to their existing works, sections that didn't quite make it into the published copy; some have complete game mechanics online; some describe the evolution of their newest work; and many of them are writers either as their main profession or as a hobby, so there is often poetry, plays, even movie scripts on their sites as well as their role playing activities. The following list looks at ten of the best from the point of view of the role-player.
Ken St Andre. As the creator of one of the oldest role-playing games still being updated, it is somewhat appropriate that Ken is first in this list. The site is devoted mainly to Tunnels and Trolls, with information on the new edition (edition 6) soon to come out. It's updated fairly regularly, with a lot of design information included. There are also resources relating to Tunnels and Trolls including race information, house rules from Ken himself and world maps to name a few. Although it is mainly useful for Tunnels and Trolls, there is some generic information and some discussion of design. And if you're interested in Tunnels and Trolls, this is the place.
Monte Cooke is the co-designer of the newest edition of dungeons and dragons. His site is largely devoted to the new Advanced Dungeons and Dragons and is somewhat commercial, with many of the links taking you to pages to purchase different AD&D products. However there is also a large amount of supplemental AD&D related information, with new information added monthly and past updates available in the archive. These include extra rules, character classes, equipment, etc. If you are a regular player of the new AD&D rules and you would like to enrich your gaming experience (or really annoy your poor DM by pulling rules out of your hat) it's a very useful site.
Peter Corless has worked on Paranoia, Star Wars and Pendragon as well as several board games. As well as general information about him, the site has a role-playing section which mainly lists the games he has worked on with some comment on them. There's very little information here for most of the sections but this all changes with Pendragon. There is a page devoted to The Courts of King Arthur, the title of work in progress being written as a resource for Pendragon. Peter has collaborated with several other designers and Pendragon players and has put some of the completed work on his website. There is a huge amount of information on all things Arthurian here, from information on each of the major characters to a section on Irish "Brehon" Law. Although obviously intended to be used in conjunction with Pendragon (character statistics are given for all major characters) it is also a well researched wealth of resource material for anyone wanting to host a game set around Arthurian times.
Gary Gygax is the creator of Dungeons and Dragons. His site has some information on the man himself, including the Gary Gygax FAQ. The majority of the site deals with his new project, Legendary Adventure. While much of this looks quite good there is not a great deal of information about either the design or the game. There is also the Elder Worlds section and here an entire game setting and mechanic is laid out, a kind of legendary space faring game which is fairly interesting. There are also links to the rules of Dragon Chess, an interesting chess variant for a Dungeons and Dragons style world. Surprisingly and a little disappointing is that there is no information on Dungeons and Dragons or its creation, although given the sale to WOTC and copyrighting perhaps this is not so surprising.
Phil Masters has authored numerous Gurps resources including Arabian Nights and GURPS Discworld. The intro page is the standard eclectic list of links and information about the author. The two main areas of interest for role-players are his role-playing and steampunk resources home page. The role-playing page has several GURPS related resources such as Chariot rules for GURPS and designer notes on GURPS Arabian nights, as well as more general resources such as notes on creating a conspiracy theory text and unpublished sections from books written by Phil. The steampunk resource page is a very comprehensive list of links to information on inventions, characters, people as well as role-playing specific information. There are links to information as diverse as Victorian era costumes to the Babbage engine. If you're interested in running a steampunk era adventure, this is a good place to start. Finally, Phil also has a nice list of RPG resources which includes PTGPTB, and as we can't resist being a little despotic we have to complement him on that.
S John Ross' work includes material for games including GURPS and Star Trek as well as writing for several magazines. The front page of this website is a log updated frequently with information about current work. There are also sections for GURPS and LUGtrek which contain extensive links to information on these subjects. The site is quite large and this at times makes it difficult to navigate. Of particular interest to gamers is the Free File Download section, which contains some very interesting resources, from theme fonts which are updated weekly to complete role-playing systems such as the Risus 'rules-lite' system. Finally, possibly the most useful resource of any site listed here is the THE BIG LIST OF RPG PLOTS. Listed here are upward of 30 common plot devices which make up general role-playing scenarios and story-telling in general. The individual devices are quite simple and they are laid out very simply, with a 2 line description and a list of common twists to the tale. Simple as they are, one or two of them are all you really need to give you the idea for your next adventure (or to write an entire series of Star Trek).
Robert M. Schroeck has designed addons and campaigns for several GURPS add-ons such as Camelot and Werewolf. His site contains pages related to each of his worlds, and these have different sections depending on the game, from extra bits of information on some games to entire world information. But by far my favourite section is in the Camelot area. Here he lists information on two very interesting creatures, the Black Beast of Arrrghhh and the White Rabbit of Caerbannog. If your wondering what they might be, think the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch. If you're still wondering, go and rent yourself a copy of Monty Python and the Holy Grail! Now!
Lisa Smedman has written has worked on design for several TSR products such as Dark Sun and Ravenloff, as well as Star Wars, Deadlands and Cyberpunk. This site is quite sparse, a very simple main page with a handful of links and very little information. However, under game design tips and adventures is a several essays full of very well written advice on adventure design and GMing, howto's for setting up your adventure and keeping the characters interested. This is all very readable, practical and extremely useful information, for either the seasoned campaigners or a newbie prospective GM. This page also includes a few rule sets and some complete adventures. Proof you don't have to have bells, whistles and java script to have excellent content.
Lester Smith is the creator of Dragon Dice and has worked on Dark Conspiracy and Sovereign Stone. The site design may be a little questionable, with large writing intended to evoke 1950's horror style movie. Although it's interesting it does make things difficult to read, but the site is very easy to navigate. The different games he has worked on are listed with brief descriptions as well as Yummy Games, a "shareware" gaming concept, with currently 2 fairly simple games available free. They are a card and a dice game and are good if you're interested in different mechanics. Also under essays is a series of articles that were originally published in Polyhedron on the theme of "weasel games", and these make quite interesting and amusing reading.
John Tynes has created or worked on the Unknown Armies, In Nomine and Puppetland role-playing games. His website is called Revland and has huge amounts of material, with fiction, movie scripts, essays and of course some gaming resources. Within the gaming section there is a large amount of information on his works, including The New Inquisition which formed the basis for Unknown Armies and information on an interesting meta-game called Power Kill which puts a very different slant on the role-playing experience, well worth checking out. He has also published the complete rules to the game Puppetland on his website. This is a fairly free-form game in which the players take on the roles of puppets in a children's book style land. Included here are back story, NPC descriptions and character generation information.
Found something special on the net? Why not tell us?
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