Issue #35-36, June-September 2017
ISSN 2206-4907 (Online)
Gaming from the Antipodes
MOB Interview … Antipodean Game Reviews (inc Hunter Planet, Albedo, EPOCH, Sol)… Hunter Planet … Max Max GURPS Autoduel … Ralis Campaign Setting … Batmania … Skum of the Stars ... Laundry Files Down Under… Gulliver’s Trading Company … D&D 5e Gulliver’s Antipodes … The Last Remnants of Men RPGaDay … Moonlight Movie Review … and much more!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Administrivia, Coop News, Editorial many contributors p2-5
RPG Review Game Blogs by Andrew Daborn et. al. p6-22
Interview with Michael O’Brien with Michael O’Brien p22-25
Interview with Andrew Gillespie with Andrew Gillespie p26-28
Antipodes RPG Reviews by Lev Lafayette p29-42
Hunter Planet Rules Revision and Equipment by Lev Lafayette p43-48
Hunter Planet: The Bastards Have Landed by Lev Lafayette p49-51
Ralis: A D&D5e World by Torquil Gault and Lev Lafayette p52-55
GURPS Mad Max by Lev Lafayette p56-58
Batmania : Exploring Melbourne’s Past by Nicholas Moll p59-60
Aiming to Misbehave: Skum of the Stars by Nicholas Moll p61
Gulliver’s Travels Down Antipodes by Karl Brown p62-71
D&D5e : Gulliver's Antipodean Races by Karl Brown p72-76
Laundry Files Down Under by Andrew Daborn p77-82
The Last Remnants of Men Designer’s Notes by Andy Malcolm p83
Antipodean RPGaDay with some Antipodeans p84-123
Moonlight Movie Review by Andrew Moshos p124-127
Next Issue: Gods, Religion, and Cosmology by many people p128
RPG Review is a quarterly online magazine which will be available in print version at some stage. Maybe a ten year anniversary? All material remains copyright to the authors except for the reprinting as noted in the first sentence. Contact the author for the relevant license that they wish to apply. Various trademarks and images have been used in this magazine of review and criticism. Use of trademarks etc are for fair use and review purposes and are not a challenge to trademarks or copyrights. This includes Dungeons & Dragons (Wizards of the Coast), Laundry Files (Cubicle Seven), Hunter Planet (HPAC), GURPS (Steve Jackson Games), Skum of the Stars (Owlman Press). Attack cassowary image from Uncyclopedia. “Moonlight” distributed by A24. “Bad Taste” by Wingnut Films. Cover map of “The Antipodes”, Herman Moll, 1729.
It’s been quite a few busy months for the RPG Review Cooperative, especially given that this is a double issue and, as expected, we have twice as much to report on.
We currently have eighteen known RPG groups run and organised by the Cooperative almost entirely within the state of Victoria, which means we still need to spread our wings a little bit and get some interstate and international people involved.
Our library has grown, thanks to a generous donation of 15 items from Andrei Nikulinsky we now have the core rules for Megatraveller, several Spacemaster modules, some Traveller: TNE material and a couple of additional pieces. Unsurprisingly, we’ve taken the opportunity to make use of these items and now are running a popular Megatraveller game, along with Elric! following the three copies of Elric! and Stormbringer that are available.
A Blade Runner 2049 movie night at IMAX was recently held which was pretty special and controversial film. The next issue of RPG Review will cover a great deal of the appropriate discussion. It may even include a movie review!
Also, with the upcoming release of a new RuneQuest, the Cooperative ran a playtest session for RPGaDay. The RPG Review Cooperative has a strong association with RuneQuest not the least hosting the archives and mailing list for the RuneQuest Rules group, which has been a series of successive lists since the 1980s!
Of course, the big event from the Cooperative’s point of view is that Papers & Paychecks has finally been completed with Tim Kask, the first employee of TSR, writing the foreword, which is the height of appropriateness. Special thanks to all our patient supporters, and the supplement Cow-Orkers in the Scary Devil Monastery is well in progress. Funds from these two publications, will go to expanding the Cooperative’s library and funding future activities.
It’s not all good news however. Two of the founding members of the RPG Review Cooperative, Inc., Lachlan Smith and Rick Barker have had to retire from from the Cooperative and from gaming in general.
Lachlan had been a gamer for many years and joined the Cooperative playing '7th Sea Freiburg' and 'Eclipse Phase Rimward and Return', two campaigns which is participated with major characters. Unfortunately even on joining Lachlan had already been diagnosed with a brain tumor which advanced rapidly this year and he passed away at the end of July.
Rick has experienced a rapid onset of a dementia-like condition. An older individual who was introduced to RPGs in his early sixties but with some prior training in theatrics he took up participation rapidly. He was an active participant in several games including 'Mimesis Outbreak of Heresy', 'Legend of the Five Rings/Bushido The Ainu Nezumi', 'RuneQuest Prax', 'MERP/Deciper LoTR/GURPS Middle Earth', 'GURPS Krononauts', '7th Sea Freiburg' and 'Eclipse Phase Rimward and Return'.
We deeply miss our fellow gamers and express our deepest sympathies to their family and friends.
In a sense it is a curious fact that it has taken almost ten years to release an issue of RPG Review that is explicitly orientated towards game design from Australia and New Zealand, given that it is published in Melbourne, is governed by an incorporated association in the same city, is lodged with the Australian National Archives, and has an overwhelming number of contributions from author’s based in these countries. There is also an impressive array of RPG systems and supplements that originate from Australian and New Zealand game designers, of which not even a majority are covered in this issue. The following is an attempt to list the games in question.
Super Squadron (1984) by Joseph Italiano
Battlemaster (1985) Chris Norman, Jody Ellis
Albedo (1988) by Paul Kidd
Lace & Steel (1989) by Paul Kidd
Hunter Planet (1996) by David Bruggeman
Rus (1990) by Mark Chapman, Joe Caruso
FSpace RPG (1991) by Martin Rait
Elric! (1993) co-authors include Richard Watts, Mark Morrison
StaRPlay (1999) by Phil McGregor
d4-d4 roleplaying game system (2004) by Kyle Schuant
Nylon Angel (2006) by Cary Lenehan
Ascendancy - Rogue Marshall (2012) by Tim Westhaven
On Mighty Thews (2011) by Simon Carryer
Hero Kids RPG (2012) by Justin Halliday
Experimental Paradigm of Cinematic Horror (2012) by Dale Elvy
Big Damn Sci-Fi (2012) by Nicholas Moll
Sol (2015) by Phil Day
Skum of the Stars (2016) by Nicholas Moll
Papers & Paychecks (2017) by Lev Lafayette
Also, I know there was a game called Oracle that was published by the Otago University RPS, because I saw it in a second-hand bookshop several years ago but though the price-tag was "a little steep". Plus a hat-tip to the New Zealand publishing company Red Brick, who were responsible for publishing Earthdawn 3rd edition (2009) and Fading Suns (2012), and of course to the numerous supplements written by Antipodean RPG authors, of which some of have graced the pages of RPG Review in the past. And I am absolutely sure I've missed a couple of people of course.
This issue of RPG Review tries to cover some of the old and new Antipodean games, broadly defined. There is a new article, RPG Review game blogs, where we cover in narrative form some of the games that our members have been getting up to. It is not comprehensive in either the number of game sessions referred to (because not all our GMs keep summaries) and by no means is it particularly detailed for those games in question that it does cover, as we just want to give people an overview. After all, now that the publication is operated by a Cooperative, it is a good idea to have some more Cooperative news included.
There is also couple of interviews, one with Michael O'Brien who has recently taken up a new role at Chaosium which is a showing a surprisingly Australian connection, and another with Andrew Gillespie, artist for Skum of the Stars. Yours truly has a few articles, including a review of a few of the aforementioned games, two articles on Hunter Planet (one being Hunter Planet in NZ), and co-authoring with Torquil Gault and upgrade of Ralis, a kinda-sorta fantasy Australia, for D&D 5th edition.
Nicholas Moll provides an interesting journey with Batmania, which RPGs because an option for some deep historical exploration, and some designer’s notes for the morality of Skum of the Stars. Karl Brown has a couple articles for his project, Gulliver's Trading Company, which covers the Antipodean regions and an attempt to convert the same to D&D 5th edition. Andrew Daborn as a contribution with the Laundry Files Down Under which explains how things function in the mad-house down here, along with some rather disturbing scenarios. Add to this is the designer's notes by Andy Malcolm for an upcoming RPG, The Last Remnants of Men, and of course, Andrew Moshos provides his regular movie column, this time with a review of Moonlight. Plus there is also our annual RPGaDay response, and this year it is massive, courtesy of some amazing detail by Ian Borchardt. Holy dingo balls, when asked a question this cobber can respond in depth.
Nicholas has provided a special offer for RPG Review readers – the
core rules of Skum of the Stars for a mere $9.00. The link is the
One thing this all does make me wonder is the relative dominance of the RPG industry by the Anglophone world. Yes, RPG games do have an international market. There are various RPG games in French, German, Spanish, Swedish, Polish, Korean, Japanese, etc, plus a plethora of translations. But in reality the market is overwhelmingly dominated by the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Australia and New Zealand are bit-piece actors at best, even if we do punch above our weight at times. Yet, some of those non-Anglophone countries do have a very healthy RPG communities and, by all accounts, amazing conferences. How much longer will it be before we witness an Esperanto RPG? Or even better the Ten Baidu Deities RPG?
Until those days, enjoy our Antipodean issue.
Lev Lafayette, firstname.lastname@example.org