#RPGADAY2020 - 1 - Beginning


Staff member

Day 1

I did the original RPGaDay 7 years ago (which reminds me that I must transfer the last few entries to this blog) but I've mostly ignored it since. Let's see how this year goes with the changed format with single words rather than questions.


I've written before in several places how I got into RPGs, so I'm not doing that again. Instead, how did I start to get involved with publishing and writing RPGs?

The first time that I dipped my toe into the water with writing for RPGs was while I was up at Sellafield at the very start of the 1990s, and a member of the SASRA roleplaying club. There was a regular newsletter and I started to write the odd article for it. This culminated with me ending up doing the publishing of one of the issues. I guess it was more a fanzine than a newsletter. but it was totally dependent upon what people submitted. I must have done the full issue around 1993, as the material I wrote myself covered the recently released Traveller: The New Era in a pretty detailed review and play through of the starship combat rules. It was produced on an Atari 1040 STe with 4Mb RAM, twin floppy drives, the high resolution monochrome monitor and Calamus DTP in a bedsit in Warrington where I was working over the summer (I worked each summer for 12 weeks for BNFL, who had sponsored me through my engineering degree). The final version was printed on a HP Inkjet 510 and the photocopies sent up to Cumbria for duplication. Those were the days.

It started to get more serious around 1998, when I was made redundant from the part of BNFL I worked in (International Energy Systems). I wanted to keep myself busy as I looked for a new role (as I had the comfort of a decent payout), and had become involved in BITS (British Isles Traveller Support) over the previous two years. Initially it had been buying Traveller books that I'd not been able to get hold of, but a slippery slide into the TML (Traveller Mailing list) and more followed. I ended up coordinating the project that became 101 Lifeforms, and followed that with several more. In these I fronted the work on the TML, wrote some parts myself, and edited it into a single coherent file to pass to Andy Lilly to do final edit, layout and publication.

I'd started running demo games at conventions with BITS, and that involved an expectation of writing some scenarios (using Marc Miller's Traveller, T4). My first complete solo work was 'Delta 3 is Down', an escape scenario in which the players took the roles of Zhodani (the psionic enemies of the Third Imperium) who had been shot down and crashed on an Imperial frontline world and were trying to escape. I still enjoy running that one. More scenarios followed, plus Power Projection, but that was my way into writing for gaming...

1 August 2020

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