13th Doctor Who: Roleplaying Game

“Jodie Whittaker is a woman and the 13th Doctor.” The most controversial event of July 16th, 2017. It split the inter-webs into two opposed camps:

  1. Greatest actor of her generation
  2. The “D” in “Doctor” stands for “Dicks”

Jodie Whitaker composed as Doctor Who from Metro.co.uk

I chose the Greatest Actress camp before turning my mind to what possibilities a female Doctor will create for Doctor Who: RPG? Will this be doom or opportunity for Cubicle 7‘s game series? Before I get into the peaks and valleys of my speculations, let me offer some background.

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BACKGROUND

Example Page from Sword & Wizardry

Tabletop role-playing games are synonymous with sword and sorcery. With so many fantasy systems to choose from, companies look for ways to make theirs stand out. Frog God Games came up with an elegant way to ensure that the 3rd printing of their retro-clone, Swords and Wizardry, had the broadest appeal possible. They hired Stacy Dellorfano (of ConTessa fame) to lead an all-female design staff for the newest printing of their ENnie Awardwinning game. What inspired this? Frog God Games shared this on their Kickstarter:

…we were talking with designer Stacy Dellorfano about the fact that many OSR games have a physical appearance and presentation that really targets the 40 year old guys who’ve been gaming since forever, and doesn’t have nearly as much appeal to younger or female gamers of the generations following that first wave of players from the 1980s. In point of fact, old-school games, with their light-rules aspect and emphasis on a game master’s “common sense” interpretation of situations, are actually a really good tool for anyone who feels like rules-lawyers may be spoiling the game by trying to be over-authoritative or even overbearing with a GM. But if the appearance and presentation make the game look like it’s purely a throwback and not a modern tool for good gaming, then there’s a real obstacle to the game’s push into the mainstream gaming community.

As a result of this analysis, we engaged Stacy as a designer to produce an edition that’s no less appealing to older male gamers, while being MORE appealing to younger and to female gamers. Stacy put together a team, all women, to address this dual objective. We think her team has done an awesome job, and when you see the design results, we think you’ll agree.

This project came out of a discussion largely about how to get more women interested in OSR games, and evolved into a request to create a product that would appeal to all genders and challenge the idea of what an OSR game should look like. For many of the women who illustrated the book, this is their first foray into freelancing in the tabletop RPG industry. By participating in this project, we’re raising their visibility and adding more female voices to the industry.

What this is not is an “RPG for women”. This is Swords & Wizardry the same as it’s been for the last two printings, just with new artwork and layout for the new printing.

Yet the naysayers say to me – “But Egg, can women – WOMEN?! – design the look of a REAL retro-clone?”

Absolutely, Mr. Naysayer! Stacy and crew produced an iconic S&W 3e! Every page looks phenomenal and the book flows! This printing is beautiful. 1,213 backers on Kickstarter agree.

“But Egg, that’s the drawings! What about the… the writings? What about the WRITINGS, Egg?!”

Since S&W kept the existing writing with upgraded art, let’s look at a different project, Atlas Animalia by Metal Weave Games. This book covers the biology, game hooks, and more for monsters designed for 5e, Pathfinder, FATE, and more, including OSRs. This is a book of terrifying beasts to slaughter, or be slaughtered by, for your RPG of choice and there are no men listed as writers or editors. The project looks first rate (as the image below shows). I was excited about this campaign (I covered it here) and I was not alone, 798 backers pledged their money on Kickstarter.

Atlas Animalia example page – LAND SHARK!

“Um, well… but Egg, how do those numbers compare to games designed by mixed gender or ALL-MALE creative teams? Egg, I bet if we whip’em out and compare, the number of S&W 3e or Atlas Animalia backers on Kickstarter will be WAY smaller!”

Ok, let’s compare the number of backers for some retro-clones, monster manuals, and remakes on Kickstarter. I’ve picked out a few games that are close in nature to S&W 3e:

Based on this limited sampling (it’s not even close to exhaustive), S&W 3e had two to six times as many backers as the other OSRs in this list. S&W 3e had more backers than some new editions of older games/settings (Alternity and Scarred Lands) while not as many as others (Torg: Eternity and Scion).

While looking for RPG products that are, more or less, apples-to-apples comparisons with Atlas Animalia was more difficult. Still, there were a few:

Atlas Animalia fell into the middle of the range for these campaigns. If these lists (OSRs and monster manuals) were blended, Atlas would be on the upper half of the combined listing.

While this is a drop in the ocean of market research, I’d still hypothesize that RPGs created and written by women do well in the gaming market.

Do you think Frog God Games and Metal Weave Games made the right choice for their respective products?

END BACKGROUND

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Jodie Whittaker is the 13th Doctor and Cubicle 7 makes Doctor Who: Roleplaying Game. When it comes time to produce the Doctor Who Adventures in Time and Space: The Thirteenth Doctor Sourcebook (2017-20??), should Cubicle 7 put a female lead designer/female writing staff in place to handle this project?

Doctor Who Adventures in Time and Space:
The Thirteenth Doctor Sourcebook (2017-20??)
The first female doctor by [INSERT ROCKING FEMALE RPG CREATOR]

Jodie Whittaker as Doctor Who from DoctorWhoTV.co.uk

This is the opportunity to hire a heavily female (or completely female) staff to deliver this sourcebook. Frog God Games and Metal Weave Games had successes with female crews developing their products. There’s no reason to believe that a female Cubicle 7 team would not produce yet another AAA Doctor Who product. The serendipity-by-design of this would be the way to market it.

That said, while they’ll likely update the core rulebook to include the 13th Doctor in the near-term, Cubicle 7 releases their Doctor Who sourcebooks after the current Doctor passes the torch. We’re years away from the release of their 13th Doctor sourcebook. This debate has time for nuance.

This article is not a condemnation of Cubicle 7. It’s the opposite. I’m a fan of C7. For Gen Con 50, I won the dream “date” to attend the ENnie Awards with them. I’m excited about meeting them at the show (and I hope they win some ENnies – Don’t forget to vote!)

As a company, they’re doing a rocking job with the Doctor Who RPG. As such, when I composed this article I hated to suggest that they mess with a winning formula. If they keep with their current creative teams, I know they will deliver an excellent product.

C7 has not announced their plans related to the 13th Doctor sourcebook and they should not until Jodie is ready to pass on the role. With the lead time that Cubicle 7 has on this, a company as competent as they are will gather together the perfect team to knock this out of the park! With their track record, I am confident they’ll make the best decision for their fans.

 

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SWORDS & WIZARDRY 3RD EDITION CHALLENGE!

Am I telling the truth about Swords & Wizardry 3rd Edition? Does it really look amazing? Can women design the look of a retro-clone? Why, yes they can, but you say you need proof, naysayer? The proof is in the product and the product is a single dollar in PDF format. Over at Frog God Games’ website, you can pick up the PDF for a buck and find out for yourself.

NOTE – When you’re doing the dropdown, it’ll say “-$33.99”. It’s confusing but you’ll see it’s one dollar at check out.

Frog God Games’ Swords and Wizardry 3rd Edition PDF

 

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Does S&W 3e and Atlas Animalia sound good to you but you wish there were a female-created board game? How about SPARKED: The hilarious and inspiring board game for women? A board game created entirely by women. 758 backers on Kickstarter.

 

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I’d like to thank every woman that ever gamed or created games or created art for games or thought kindly toward a gamer. You have made this world a better place. Thank you for all you’ve done for me. I cannot say that loud enough.

Sincerely,

Egg Embry

 

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Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

Interested in being a wanna-lancer? Start with the official Wanna-lancer Checklist t-shirt or wall clock or ice tea glass!

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Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. His purchases have been published by:

8 Wanna-lancer Dream Dates for Gen Con 50!

Going to the ENnie Awards at Gen Con 50 in Indianapolis, Indiana? Need a date to the ENnies on Friday, August 18th, 2017? Then the ENnies have you covered – on eBay. There you can bid on eight dates with RPG companies and creators that are a wanna-lancer’s dream! Get gifts, meet the professionals behind them, and see them win awards all in one magical night!

The ENnie Awards Date Auction
Avoid going stag and get bonus swag!
[EDITOR’S NOTE – The slogans made up by Egg Embry are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the creative abilities of the editorial staff of the ENnies Awards.]

What swag? Owen KC Stephens comes with an autographed Starfinder Core Rulebook (system premiering at Gen Con 50).

What is Gen Con? “The largest gaming convention in the world held annually in Indianapolis, Indiana.”

What are the ENnies? “The Gen Con EN World RPG Awards (the “ENnies“) are an annual fan-based celebration of excellence in tabletop roleplaying gaming. The ENnies give game designers, writers and artists the recognition they deserve. It is a peoples’ choice award, and the final winners are voted upon online by the gaming public.”

This year, the Mistress of Ceremonies for the ENnies is Stacy Dellorfano, one of the most prominent individuals in gaming and the founder of ConTessa.

What is a “wanna-lancer”? A tabletop RPG fan that wants to become a tabletop RPG freelancer (i.e., Egg Embry).

What are you getting yourself into by bidding on one of these dates? A cocktail reception, an awards ceremony, four-and-a-half-hours to pester your “date” for Gary Gygax stories, swag (some of which is highly sought after), and the chance to network with some of the largest tabletop RPG publishers and professionals in the gaming world. If you want to talk with Chaosium, Cubicle 7, Monte Cook Games, and Pelgrane Press, or gain industry insights from Sean Patrick FannonStacy Muth, and Owen KC Stephens, these are the wanna-lancer dream dates for you!

 

1) ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Cubicle 7
Ends on Friday, 7/14 at 3:00PM EST

This year, the highest bidder will meet the staff of Cubicle 7.
If you win, you will meet up at the cocktail reception starting at 6:30pm and sit with them during the 2017 ENnie Awards ceremony taking place at Gen Con on Friday, August 18th, at 8:00pm in the Grand Ballroom of Union Station.
You will also receive their first three Adventures in Middle-earth books!

Why do I wanna date Cubicle 7

Publishers of:

  • The One Ring
  • Adventures in Middle-Earth [Tolkien’s world for 5e]
  • Doctor Who RPG
  • and more here

Egg’s Thoughts:

How much value is this? The cover price of “their first three Adventures in Middle-earth books” in US dollars is nearly $120. Until the eBay bids reach above that level, meeting the staff of Cubicle 7 is gravy. The books are almost – almost – the win. But keep in mind, meeting Cubicle 7 is going to be good gravy. Do you love Tolkien-based RPGs? Do you love games featuring The Doctor? Is this a no-brainer? Trust them. They’re The Doctors [of RPG].

You’ll be at the table with Cubicle 7 when they learn if they won ENnie Awards for:

Go here to bid on this ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Cubicle 7

 

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2) ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Sean Patrick Fannon!
Ends on Friday, 7/14 at 3:00PM EST

This year, the highest bidder will meet Sean Patrick Fannon!
If you win, you will meet up at the cocktail reception starting at 6:30pm and sit with him during the 2017 ENnie Awards ceremony taking place at Gen Con on Friday, August 18th, at 8:00pm in the Grand Ballroom of Union Station.
You will also receive swag!

Why do I wanna attend the ENnies with Sean Patrick Fannon

Creator/contributor on:

  • Brand Manager for the Savage Rifts
  • Savage Worlds – Shaintar: Immortal Legends
  • Savage World – Primeval Thule (Thule is always near and dear to my wanna-lancer heart)
  • Star Wars RPG
  • and many more here

Egg’s Thoughts:

Sean Patrick Fannon has been making a living gaming for going on 20 years. He’s worked for, helped run, and created with a who’s who of the major players in the games industry. Based on the games he’s created, he knows how to make an engaging product for the whole table to play. Your bid lets you sit down with him and hear about his journey or pick his brain for more good game design tips than you could learn in a year of production.

You’ll be with Sean when he learns if Pinnacle Entertainment Group won ENnie Awards for:

Go here to bid on this ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Sean Patrick Fannon!

UPDATED on 13:25 2017-07-11 – From Sean Patrick Fannon Facebook post: “Plus I promise good swag, even if it’s from my private stock.” To help make the ENnies a success, Sean is going above and beyond for this.

 

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3) ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Monte Cook Games!
Ends on Friday, 7/14 at 3:00PM EST

This year, the highest bidder will meet the design team of Monte Cook Games!
If you win, you will meet up at the cocktail reception starting at 6:30pm and sit with him during the 2017 ENnie Awards ceremony taking place at Gen Con on Friday, August 18th, at 8:00pm in the Grand Ballroom of Union Station.
You will also receive swag!

UPDATE: On Jul-11-17 at 11:57:25 PDT, seller added the following information:

We promise the Dream Date swag bag will contain really cool, high-end, one-of-a kind items.

Why do I wanna date Monte Cook Games

Publishers of:

  • Numenera
  • The Strange
  • The Cypher System Rulebook
  • No Thank You, Evil!

Egg’s Thoughts:

I really want to play No Thank You, Evil! for my EN World column about games for all ages. Also because I hear it is everything that is good in this world. If that makes it into the swag bag, so much the better! [Just putting that into the atmosphere… <wink, wink>]

If you win this auction, you’ll have a chance to politely inquire about Numenera or The Strange or Cypher System or game design or marketing or STUNNING art or what’s coming next? Do not miss this table!

You’ll be with Monte Cook Games when they learn if they won ENnie Awards for:

Go here to bid on this ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Monte Cook Games!

 

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4) ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Owen KC Stephens!
Ends on Friday, 7/14 at 3:00PM EST

This year, the highest bidder will meet Owen KC Stephens!
If you win, you will meet up at the cocktail reception starting at 6:30pm and sit with him during the 2017 ENnie Awards ceremony taking place at Gen Con on Friday, August 18th, at 8:00pm in the Grand Ballroom of Union Station.
You will also receive:

  • a signed hardback copy of the Starfinder Roleplaying Game
  • the Starfinder GM Screen
  • the Starfinder Player Character Folio
  • the Starfinder Core Rulebook Pawn Collection

Why do I wanna attend the ENnies with Owen KC Stephens

Creator/contributor on:

  • Starfinder Design Lead
  • Developer at Paizo
  • Pathfinder Developer at Green Ronin Publishing

Egg’s Thoughts:

What comes with this “date” is just shy of $115 worth of Starfinder products. It’ll save you standing in line to get them, and I think that’s going to be a LONG line at Paizo’s booth. Why will it be a long line? Because Gen Con 50 is the launch of Paizo’s Starfinder. Those books are likely to be on many must-have lists. The debut is going to be the defining memory for many attendees of this convention. For one winning bidder, they’ll get to sit with the design lead for the system. That’s going to be its own story. “Yeah, at Gen Con 50 I got to attend the ENnies with Owen as Starfinder was dropping. Oh, let me tell you what happened…” and stories shall follow.

You’ll be with Owen when he learns if Paizo won an ENnie Award for:

Go here to bid on this ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Owen KC Stephens!

 

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5 and 6) ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Table 1 of Pelgrane Press!
and ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Table 2 of Pelgrane Press!
Ends on Friday, 7/14 at 3:00PM EST

This year, the highest bidder will meet the staff of Pelgrane Press and sit with them at [one of their two tables]!
If you win, you will meet up at the cocktail reception starting at 6:30pm and sit with him during the 2017 ENnie Awards ceremony taking place at Gen Con on Friday, August 18th, at 8:00pm in the Grand Ballroom of Union Station.
You will also receive  autographed copy of Cthulhu Confidential and a t-shirt!

Why do I wanna date Pelgrane Press

Publishers of:

  • 13th Age
  • The Yellow King [Currently wrecking Kickstarter]
  • Trail of Cthulhu
  • and many more here

Egg’s Thoughts:

Not to take away from Pelgrane’s other products, but The Yellow King is making itself known on Kickstarter. It’s doing impressive numbers! For the winning bidder for the Pelgrane dates (there’s two), they’ll get to sit down with the Pelgrane staff and find out more about that game as well as the rest of their catalog. I’m looking at you, 13th Age.

As an added bonus, Pelgrane Press is up for ENnie Awards for:

NOTE – There are two different opportunities to “date” the lovely Pelgrane Press staff!

Go here to bid on these ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Table 1 of Pelgrane Press!
or ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Table 2 of Pelgrane Press!

 

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Russ Morrissey of EN World and the ENnies promises “some exciting new ENnies stage dressing!” Come see it!

7) ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Ennies Judge and new Business Manager!
Ends on Friday, 7/14 at 3:00PM EST

This year, the highest bidder will meet Stacy Muth, our new business manager and one of our judges for 2016!
If you win, you will meet up at the cocktail reception starting at 6:30pm and sit with her during the 2017 ENnie Awards ceremony taking place at Gen Con on Friday, August 18th, at 8:00pm in the Grand Ballroom of Union Station.
You will also receive swag!

Why do I wanna attend the ENnies with Stacy Muth

Publisher and hosts of the ENnie Awards.

Egg’s Thoughts:

Do you want to be an ENnie’s judge? How is it done? How many games do you get handed to judge? What goes into the legwork of picking the award nominees? What’s the business side of awards like? Stacy will know.

Go here to bid on this ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Ennies Judge and new Business Manager!

 

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8) ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Chaosium!
Ends on Friday, 7/14 at 3:00PM EST

This year, the highest bidder will meet the team of Chaosium!
If you win, you will meet up at the cocktail reception starting at 6:30pm and sit with her during the 2017 ENnie Awards ceremony taking place at Gen Con on Friday, August 18th, at 8:00pm in the Grand Ballroom of Union Station.
You will also receive swag!
Swag Will Be: In honor of Gen Cons’s 50th and to celebrate the 40-odd years Chaosium has had a booth at Gen Con, we offer up a nostalgic mix of old and new goodies from the vaults and also hot off the presses.

Included in your swag box will be:
1. Call of Cthulhu 7th edition slipcase set.
2. An additional CoC slipcase you can fill with any of our 7th edition releases of your choosing.
3. Chaosium “tuxedo” black t-shirt
4. Cthulhu for President Y2K Kit (1999)
5. Mint Copy of Lords of the Middle Sea (1978)

Why do I wanna date Chaosium?

Publisher of:

  • Call of Cthulhu
  • Runequest
  • Heroquest
  • and more here

Egg’s Thoughts:

Sanity check. The items they’re giving away are worth a pretty penny (several hundred dollars worth). I can’t predict the final bids but this auction may give you enough swag that meeting the Chaosium team is just a wonderful bonus. You’ll have enough Cthulhu product to make you something like a minor young one… right? Right? No? Ok…

Chaosium is up for 10 ENnie Awards. Between them walking up to get their awards, you can ask about Call of Cthulhu and RuneQuest and more. With this many awards, this is going to be an adrenaline rush of a night!

You’ll be at the table with Chaosium when they learn if they won ENnie Awards for:

Go here to bid on this ENnies Dream Date for GenCon 50- Chaosium!

 

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So, what company or creator is your dream RPG date?

 

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Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

Interested in being a wanna-lancer? Start with the official Wanna-lancer Checklist t-shirt or wall clock or ice tea glass!

* * *

Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. His purchases have been published by: