Table Top RPGs

More Pip System!

I mean to say I would like it.

So far we have a successful Kickstarter, a couple of great videos, and an actual play on podcast.

Also to note, they have a G+ group.

The Pip system has a simple and quick mechanic involving each die either being counted or not on a 50/50 basis, 1-3 no or 4-6 yes, and you roll against a number of target dice according to the difficulty of the challenge or the challenger. You have basic skills, which have qualities, and your roll is your skill + qualities in dice. Beginning characters can start with up to 4 dice in a skill and an equal number or less in each quality, all determined by allotment. More good dice than bad, success. More bad than good, defeat. Even, a success but.

I’ve read through some preliminary material, and the writing is good, and clear. The game will be a good one. It remains to be seen whether it will be adopted in the way it aught to be. I would really like to see it deployed into some grittier settings as well as the fun stuff we already see in the pipeline. Of course, even Mermaid Adventures could be played pretty gritty if you really wanted to, with just a few tweaks. While “A Kid’s Guide to Monster Hunting” will likely be very much like a preteen Scooby Doo, it could just as easily be played more like Stranger Things or even Horror Rules.  Oddly enough, though I want to see these serious things developed, I probably won’t actually buy them. I would, however, probably strongly consider yet another fantasy game using the rules, though it would be cool to see something drawing more from Asian or African lore than from Mr. Tolkein or Mr. Lieber. Another Mars game wouldn’t go amiss in my book. Still a fan of John Carter, but also of Space 1889 and Martian Chronicles. Maybe set the whole thing on a distant world under a bright red sun, and the mysterious giants invading the land are Humans and their mining equipment. Of course, Humans being the setting’s kaiju in Infestation is pretty brilliant, anyway.

Whatever it is, I am keen to see it.


Free Books Always Read Better

And now there is a contest, or a drawing, connected with another Kickstarter. This one for expansions to the Leagues of Gothic Horror game, which uses the Ubiquity gaming engine. The setting is the world of 1900, and things go bump in the night. Go look it up and back it if it appeals to you.


The Ubiquity system uses any dice, and you have a pool of dice for each skill, the dice are rolled, and the even dice are counted and the odd ones are ignored. This is compared to a target number to determine the outcome. It was first released in Hollow Earth Expedition, and has since been used in games from all sorts of angles.

I love Kickstarters. I don’t often get to invest in them, but I think they are a great thing to happen to the creative communities, and especially for role-playing games. As I have said, I recently backed the KS for Eloy Lasanta’s creation, the Pip System, which was seen in earlier works such as Mermaid Adventures RPG. The system has been updated, refined and is now, since the KS did succeed, going to be published as a stand alone system book, but also in a new edition of Mermaid Adventures and one or two other settings. I signed up for the main book and two settings. I will probably forego my usual practice of printing and binding the books myself and buy POD copies from



Kickstarters; The New RPG Business Model

Increasingly, I see new games being launched using crowdfunding platforms to advertise and get off the starting block. I have participated to several Kickstarter campaigns, and I would very much like to support several Patreon campaigns for various artists and writers but cannot afford to.

Of note at this time, the Pip System Kickstarter ends in a few days, but has crossed the line and will be published. I am sure the game will be fun and easy to play, and I have enjoyed what I have bought thus far from Third Eye Games, so I know their production quality will be great.

And then there is the campaign to make adorable plush owlbears.


[Q&A] Eloy Lasanta (Pip System Corebook)

This is a great interview about the Pip System Core Rules now on Kickstarter. The Pip System is a very simple and yet as complex as you want role playing game system built around a simple and elegant mechanic. It is innovative games like these that keep me coming back to the hobby.

The Hardboiled GMshoe's Office

[20:31] <+Eloy-3EG> Hey everyone! I’m Eloy Lasanta,

[20:31] <+CarolDarnell> I’m Carol Darnell

[20:31] <+JohnDKennedy> I’m John Kennedy, one of the writers.

[20:31] <+Eloy-3EG> I own Third Eye Games and we’re here to talk about our latest venture for the Pip System Kickstarter. (Link:

[20:32] <+Eloy-3EG> Its the culmination of about 5 years of writing, playtesting, and rules theory that has led us to a really awesome universal system that any player, new or old, can pick up and play almost instantly

Pip System Corebook, Family-Style RPGs from Third Eye Games project video thumbnail

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Giving Up, Then Getting Back

A problem which will face nearly every single role-playing gamer, and most gamers of any sort, is the gathering and forming a game group steady enough for reliable ongoing play. In the broader category of gaming, where each gathering is most often a single play through or even several individual iterations, getting a few gamers together to play is quite a challenge when people are very often busy with the requirements of life. With RPGs, the challenge is escalated by the desire to have ongoing stories for weeks, months or even years. I, myself, am between such groups.

I gave up.

I poured myself instead into video games; particularly The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I bought three games in January: Skyrim, Subnautica, and Astroneer. All are fun, but each in its own way. The main difference between Skyrim on the one side and the others on the other is the way Skyrim constantly propels you through stories so that there is a constant pressure to continue, while the others allow you to go at your own pace, mostly (though as Subnautica develops, there are time crunch elements coming into the game.) I sank into the other worlds written by the designers, and fell into the constant drive, racking up over 435 hours of play in a seven week period. Needless to sat this put a lot of pressure on my family relations and more on my schoolwork (I’m finally near graduating at almost 49 years old) so I had to take it off of my computer, much as I had to take Fallout 4 off of my machine just about exactly the same date last year. Only I spent about two thirds as much time in FO4.

So now, as I return to recovery from the ravages of this game, I find my mind opening once again to the possibilities of table to role playing.  I have one young man and his fiance willing to run me a bit of Pathfinder, which is great, even though Pathfinder is definitely not my favorite flavor of D&D. Black Hack or Anime Hack or one of the other cut down enhanced old school games rank above it. There is also D6, Savage Worlds, Fantasy AGE, and Ubiquity Engine to name a few other nifty things that all rank above it in my book. However any good game is way better than no game at all. And so my path back into the fray is set, and my return to the table is assured.


Give Up?

It gets, after a while, to be a bit like pulling teeth to assemble a steady gaming group; especially for an introverted self-conscious timid gamer like me.  After several attempts, I find tha I am simply tired of trying. So I turn to the false idols of video games.

Skyrim Special Edition is my current favorite, with close seconds being Subnautica and Astroneer. All of which I got from Steam after the needs of the house had been mostly taken care of.

Computer Games · General · Miniature Wargames · Off the Farm · Table Top RPGs

Producers & Consumers

Throughout the history of games, the rules and the pieces have all been set by a few for the many to enjoy. Or so it may seem, anyway. Among the folks creative enough to enjoy games involving the imagination, whether they be boardgames using abstract tokens to represent troops and armor storming the WW2 battle lines, miniature wargames using models on a terrainscape of sand and styrofoam, or the people represented by penciled in sheets in a candle-lit living room; among these the lines blur considerably between the producers and the consumers. Whether it is a simple house-rule that makes sense to everyone around the table, or the DM’s long hours of effort to create an evening’s destruction and mayhem for her friends to carve their way through, or the player who has an idea and throws something together to sell to other players.

My creations are many. As yet I have only ever published one item, a sheet of stick figure miniatures that I made up for the Deadlands Reloaded game my friend ran us through.

Time to turn left on that side road. I had to wonder why my stick figure miniatures struck a chord with my friends and others. For the same token, why is it that I can be so much more immersed in a pencil on quad ruled paper dungeon adventure than I can in a more richly modeled environment, whether it is a detailed layout on a table top or the amazing world of the Elder Scrolls games? I think that while one shows me stuff, I am limited to what it shows me, see, while the more simplified makes me engage my imagination to fill in almost everything. It is the same thing as the difference between reading the Harry Potter books and going to see the movies. Am I the only one who thinks that however pretty and talented Miss Watson was, Hermione should have been curlier?

The same advantage holds for the recent spate of indy and OSR games that seek to pare down the rules complexity instead of getting every last thing nailed down into a table or chart. It is really cool to have five hundred pages of awesome new world to adventure in, but when I get one of those things, I find myself afraid to get some detail of the setting wrong; or worse, calling my GM on some detail they got wrong. I have been that insufferable know-it-all turd that dragged a game to a screeching halt over a detail that any GM should have felt free to alter at their own table. Sorry, Ted. (He won’t even play with me anymore, and who could blame him.)

Back to the topic, I guess, though I suppose I was more about the stick figures and rules light stuff.

Unlike a gallon of gas or a taco or a box of detergent, what we do with games almost immediately takes us from being a mere consumer of products to creators. Reading the first paragraph in a game should send pictures blazing through my head of ideas I had never seen in that way before. Even when the game is a lush world on the computer screen, my creativity goes into the experience in the same way a book is not complete without the reader’s participation. In short, we are all producers and creators. We always have been.