Monday, March 3, 2014

Non-D&D ‘March Madness’ Blog Battle Day 4

A new player has entered the ring!

Ralph Kelleners in Belgium has begun the March Madness challenge. This thing is really international!

Ralph’s blog and others can be found HERE.

The questions can be found HERE.

I like the way this Blog Challenge has gone organic, with some people answering in one fell swoop, many choosing to decline some questions, and people finding their own reasons for answering. There are responses about games old & new, English and other languages, many I knew and some I didn’t.

This is more than I had hoped for, and I thank all respondents. If you are participating, just leave a link to your blog or latest post below. Or don’t. It’s all good.

Today’s question:

4 What other roleplaying author besides Gygax impressed you with their writing?

I would have to give two names - the late great Erick Wujick and the underrated Greg Costikyan.

Palladium games are known as enthusiastic cauldrons of ideas smushed under a hot mess of an old school system, but the ones that Wujick had a hand in attained a higher level of polish and substance that made the clunky system matter less. TMNT, Ninjas & Superspies, the original RECON and Robotech all benefited from Wujick’s creativity and technical exactness, and they as well as his Amber diceless RPG still hold fans today. Besides being eminently playable, Wujick’s games are great reads that invite multiple visits over the years.

As for Costikyan, he was one of the creators of Paranoia as well as the original Star Wars d6, which should be enough to cement his cred as a gaming legend. For me, it is his Violence: The RPG of Egregious and Repulsive Bloodshed that catapults him into legend territory. Violence is one of the few gaming books that had me shedding tears of laughter while also making me question the hobby I love. The book, although debatably not meant for play, is a ripping satire of the imaginary violence of RPGs, pretty amazing since it came out back in 1999 long before ‘murder hobos’, ‘orc holocaust’ or ‘WTF D&D’ became buzzwords. The book is written in first person and talks directly to the reader, lambasting him for his choice of hobby and refusing to make things easy. I still recall bursting out laughing when I read a section on dice rolling that gave no explanation but instead asked, “My god man, how long have you been at this?” If you’re at all interested in taking a meta or reflexive look at roleplaying games, you owe it to yourself to read this book.


  1. I am doing my weekly. Hope that is cool. Got a lot going on this week (and next) so makes more sense to me.

    Erick Wujick does some awesome work.

    1. Do it your own way, Timothy. Yeah, Wujick was the man.