Posts Tagged ‘Role-Playing Games’

My role-playing group has reached the end of a long journey. Starting way back in April of 2019, Gamemaster Dan led us through an escalating series of adventures. Last night, we finished it. The universe was saved!

But then, the game ended abruptly. It was after 9 p.m. and some of us had to get up for work in the morning. We all just shouted thanks to Dan and ended the call. I was left… disappointed.

The last couple of games were really intense. Over 2-1/2 years, we built our characters up with skills and powers. We hoarded mighty weapons and magical items. This battle was what it all came down to. Evil forces were trying to seize control of a weapon that could destroy the universe one solar system at a time. Normally, you hold back some resources for the next situation. This time, if anyone held back, there was not going to be a next situation. We laid out everything. Each player had their chance to land a great spell or make an impossible shot. A victory like that should be sweet and savored. But instead of sitting together afterward, enjoying the moment, the game just cut off.

This is something I’ve noticed before in some books, but especially in video games. After the characters go through all that, sometimes there’s really nothing else. You’re left standing in a cave with the dragon dead at your feet. Or it loops you around to start the whole game over at a higher difficulty.

But in a great game, you return to a hub location, where all the side characters you’ve bought weapons or healing potions from will thank you and congratulate you. Sometimes you can even watch an epilogue that describes the result of decisions you’ve made and what the supporting characters do afterward.

Role-playing games may be different than video games or books, but there still are lessons to be had in this. Our readers stick with us through all kinds of world building and plot twists, but if the ending isn’t satisfying, they’ll walk away unhappy. Worse, they might tell their friends the story fell flat.

Writers have to work as hard on the end of the story as we do on the beginning.

Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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Gasp! Yes, our gaming group is all immunized and able to meet in person again. Our first session was last night. Three members were out of town and joined by Discord. Four of us were at my house. It went pretty well, although there were a few technical difficulties. Anyone who’s been in a Zoom or Teams meeting will be familiar with the occasional lag and signal loss. I thought it went pretty well for our first try at the format.

What game do we play? Right now, we’re playing Starfinder, which is part of the Pathfinder framework. It’s set in the far future, in space. Currently our crew is invading the flagship of an armada that is trying to seize an ancient artifact. If they get it, THE UNIVERSE IS DOOMED!! As a writer, I appreciate having the stakes spelled out so clearly.

Anyway. A good time was had by all. I hope you are also able to reconnect with some of your favorite friends and activities.

Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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For those who are more hands-on, Alden Loveshade joins us with his character Lemissa, from GURPS Fantasy Folk: Elves. This is a role-playing supplement for the GURPS system (Fourth Edition). The book is currently in pre-release, so the cover presented here is from a previous GURPS book.

Lemissa felt flustered. She absentmindedly finger-twirled her long red hair in circles, wondering where on Earth — or whatever world — was her cousin?

“Okay, I can do this by myself, sure,” she thought. “I survived that killer whale fiasco, made that elf lord laugh when I tripped on his cloud, and danced at that ball where nobody but me knew that human noble was really a dragon. I can do this.” She smoothed her red, short flounce-skirted dress, and curtseyed in front of the throne.

Character Questions

Who is your closest friend? A bigger question, Queenie — I mean your Majesty, sorry! — is where is my closest friend? Cousin Leyim is the one who usually makes these reports to the Cabal. She’s our by-the-book half; I mostly wing it. I’m the fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants half.

Are there intelligent races other than yours, and do they get along? Intelligent races? Oh, you mean of the elves, the real ones. These aren’t my real ears, of course, but we had to blend in. So we got our ears temporarily sharpened.

Let’s see. You’ve got your Standard Elves, but we found three different types of them, so I guess that’s not very standard! Oh, and there’s Wood Elves besides that. They’re all foresty.

Then there’s two different types of Dark Elves, although Leyim thinks they aren’t different races than Standard Elves, just different cultures. I don’t know; they seem very different to me! In any case, they don’t like non-elves.

Mountain Elves usually live on mountains and hills, of course, and Deep Elves like living under the mountains in caves, just like Dwarves. There’s two different kinds of Sea Elves you can also find in caves–if those caves are underwater! But they mostly live in underwater communities. They can bob on the surface, so watch out for their sea bows!

Oh, and High Elves? They aren’t high in the sense of mountains, but kind of high-and-mighty acting. They’re usually not the merry type; they’re more serious and mysterious. If you ask me, though, Shadow Elves are even more mysterious; even many other elves aren’t too comfortable around them.

Oh, if you want to get really high, there’s Sky Elves who live in clouds! And there’s Winged Elves who can fly up and visit them! And elves of several types are even higher, and live in space!

Of course where elves and other races meet you can get Half-Elves! There’s more than one type of human-elf cross, but I can’t even begin to tell you how many possible varieties there are. You can even have crosses of different types of elves, but I haven’t met any of them–yet!

Author Questions

Fantasy has many genres. How did you choose yours? In this case, I didn’t have to choose! GURPS Fantasy Folk: Elves is a roleplaying resource book that can be used in any fantasy genre–or in horror, science fiction, wild west, steampunk, etc. While the elven racial templates and some of the elven items are written in GURPS roleplaying game terms, much of the book can be used for any roleplaying game that includes elves. It deals with elves in literature and, according to some believers, real life. It describes elven cultures, languages, arts and sciences, weapons, garden agriculture, and descriptions of all the races of elves Lemissa named.

How do you know that your story is ready for submission/publication? As GURPS Fantasy Folk: Elves is being written under contract, I’ll know when the editor tells me so! I first made a query with Steve Jackson Games. When that was accepted, I made a proposal, then an outline, then a first draft, then a second draft which is undergoing playtest/peer review. That leads to my making changes and improvements based on editor and reader suggestions for the final draft. Then publication!

It’s rare that an author gets that much valuable input. I certainly made some mistakes along the way, primarily with formatting. Fortunately, SJ Games has very patient and helpful people. Steve Jackson Games has wanted this book for a long time. I have too. I just didn’t know I’d have the honor of being the one to write it!

GURPS Fantasy Folk: Elves

Watch for the official release here.

About Alden Loveshade

Alden is a self-proclaimed “keybard.” He wrote his first professionally published piece when he was 16; it mentions the world’s most famous elf. A professional journalist, columnist, reviewer, playwright, and fiction author, in his spare time he practices elven garden agriculture. While not working, he earned a couple of college degrees and received an honorary one he didn’t earn. A lord of Sealand, he denies any rumors he got his title through leading a sea elf revolt. http://alden.loveshade.org

Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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By the time you read this, I’ll be in Pullman, WA for the MosCon Revival. It’s going to be a fun weekend of panels, stumping for SpoCon, and feeling nostalgic for days gone by.

My panel is Do Women Game Differently? Our first task, I assume, will be to define what KIND of gaming — tabletop role-playing, video gaming, or something else? Then we’ll talk about the intersection of plot goals and play goals and how some of these may be more oriented to men’s interests than women’s. Which doesn’t mean the gals don’t play, just that we have to head-canon things like conversation with NPCs that may not be built into the game. It should be a fun discussion, anyhow.

My other main interest is in a First Pages panel that will be led by Cat Rambo. They don’t give much direction on their web site, but usually it means you bring your first page and the moderator reads it, then the panelists give critiques. I’m going to bring the first page for The Ghostly Grove, the next novella in my Minstrels of Skaythe series. The feedback should be valuable as I prepare for a fall publication.

Did you know I have an author newsletter? You can get it! I’ll even give you a free e-book for signing up. Just click here.

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Honestly, this headline is a little deceptive. The iconic role-playing game never really went away, although it’s had waves of popularity like all cultural touchstones do. This article from a year ago in The New Yorker does a great job detailing some of the ups and downs. D&D is now in its 5th Edition, while another popular game called Pathfinder is a spin-off based on the 3rd Edition D&D rules.

As a role-player since 1981, I can attest that doomsayers have long predicted the end of our beloved paper-and-pencil games. Video games have risen to great prominence with their fast action and colorful presentation. Yet there still is a place for the wild creativity of a role-playing game. Much as I enjoy playing video games, I’m constantly chafing at the limited options when it comes to dialogue and decision making. With a good GM, video games just can’t compare with in-person games for spontaneity and nuance.

Most interesting, writer Neima Jaromi highlights a trend I’ve personally observed in schools when I worked as a substitute. Some classes use D&D to teach social lessons. Role-playing encourages kids to imagine themselves in a different life. If they want to have fun, they have to be flexible and work with a group. Role-playing also includes rewards, both as level-ups bringing new abilities, and with treasures found. More flexibility comes into play as the group must decide who gets to keep a certain item. They learn that the entire group can benefit from one character’s success.

I know I’m preaching to the choir, so go ahead and read the article here.

Coming Up

I will be at Fall Folk Festival this weekend, reading my stories and greeting the public. That makes this a perfect time for a guest post! Author J. Keller Ford, will be talking about the role of dragons in her Chronicles of Fallhallow series. I’m looking forward to that, and I hope you are, too.

Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore — $4.99 e-book or $17.99 trade paperback. Available at Amazon or Draft2Digital.

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