Keep the Home Fires Burning

Things have been quiet here as my effort is going into the Nefertiti Overdrive Kickstarter. If you haven’t yet, please do check it out and support it. If you have enjoyed any of my other games, it’s a good bet you’ll dig Nefertiti Overdrive. You can see the playtest rules by pledging $1, and if you don’t like what you see, you can cancel that pledge. It’s totally risk-free.

Over at Sword’s Edge, I dropped a post today about my writing playlist. If you were wondering what my favourite soundtrack is right now, that would have to be the Black Hole by John Barry. While my favourite modern composer is Hans Zimmer (based on the number of scores he’s penned that are part of my collection), I can – and have – spent all day with the Black Hole on repeat. It never gets old for me.

You can support Nefertiti Overdrive here.

You can learn more about Nefertiti Overdrive here and here.

Centurion Now Available in Print Version

The print version of Centurion: Legionaries of Rome is now available from Drive Thru RPG and RPG Now.

Centurion: Legionaries of RomeI tried to provide a discount coupon for the print edition to everyone who already purchased the PDF, but many of those individuals do not allow emails. If you previously purchased the PDF of Centurion from Drive Thru RPG or RPG Now and did not receive your coupon, email me at along with your name and customer number, and I’ll send you the discount coupon.

And don’t forget, the Kickstarter for Nefertiti Overdrive is underway until 21 April. Don’t wait, support it today.

You can support Nefertiti Overdrive here.

You can learn more about Nefertiti Overdrive here and here.

You can find Centurion: Legionaries of Rome for purchase here, here, and here.

Shifting Nefertiti Into Overdrive

It’s happening. The time has come to punch an Assyrian in the face.

The Nefertiti Overdrive Kickstarter is live. You can get a PDF, a print copy, or even be the model for a character in the book. If kickin’ ass at Karnak sounds like fun to you, please give it your support.

It’s what King Tut would want you to do.

You can support Nefertiti Overdrive here.

You can learn more about Nefertiti Overdrive here and here.

Nefertiti Overdrive: What Becca Taught Me

This is a long post. It’s a section from out of the “How I Play” portion of Nefertiti Overdrive. I’m including the entire section because I think it helps to encapsulate the philosophy I am bringing to this system. If you disagree with this, it is likely Nefertiti Overdrive won’t work for you. If at the end of this, you raise your fist and say “hells yeah!” I think you will dig the system.

What Becca Taught Me

I debuted Nefertiti Overdrive at Gen Con 2013 to a very select group of people. While they might be industry luminaries of one stripe or another, I asked them to join me because they were all fun, they were all talented, and they were all awesome. One such awesome player was Becca. Becca was the very first person to ever play the Princess, and I think she did it wonderfully. Becca also taught me a very important lesson, though its full impact didn’t hit me until I was home from Gen Con.

One of the Princess’ Elements is Inspired. Becca wanted to use that to have the Princess touched by the Gods, maybe even get a little pyrotechnics going on to put the fear of Them into the attacking Assyrians.

I said “no.” I said, “that’s not how it works.”

I really, really, really . . . really needed to shut up right then. I honestly can’t tell you what I was thinking. I was reacting rather than considering, and I was reacting as 1990 Fraser rather than 2013 Fraser. 1990 Fraser only knew D&D. That’s what he knew. And for 1990 Fraser, the GM was the boss. He was God. He built the world and he controlled the world. The world worked as the GM decided.

That’s not how Nefertiti Overdrive is meant to be played. I honestly thought I had buried 1990 Fraser with Kiss My Axe. The motto of Kiss My Axe had become my motto. “Don’t ask me. Tell me.” Don’t ask me if there is a barrel in the room. If you want a barrel to be in the room so your character can do something awesome, just tell me there’s a barrel in the room. Don’t ask me if your character knows one of the mercenaries, tell me the character does and then show everyone how that is going to make the game more fun.

Becca was playing the game right. The Princess summoning the power of the very Gods to darken the skies and pour down lightning (and maybe frogs) would have definitely made the game more awesome. It doesn’t matter if that’s what I was expecting. As GM, I am not the sole arbiter of this game world. I am one player with as much input as the others. Yes, they do rely on me – in Nefertiti Overdrive and in all of the games I’ve designed – to act as a kind of director and set scenes, portray extras, do all sorts of things that drive the story forward, but that doesn’t mean it is solely my world or my game.

Here’s a secret – I love doing running games. I enjoy GMing more than I do playing. I enjoy creating the story. And I enjoy watching my players dig it. When they are having fun, when they are doing awesome stuff, I love it. I win.

So I should absolutely, positively not have said no. It was a snap decision, a moment when 1990 Fraser rose from the dungeon to which I had rightly sentenced him and lessened a player’s fun. Even if I only decreased her fun by the slightest modicum, it was the wrong call.

In Nefertiti Overdrive, it doesn’t matter how someone does something. Call it magic. Call it might. Call it laser eyes and radioactive breath. It’s all narrative. It doesn’t change the Success or the Effect. If Becca wants to play the Princess as the literal God’s Hand, what the heck is wrong with that?

Nothing. In fact, it is awesome. And I was a dick for saying no.

Don’t be a dick. When you are GMing Nefertiti Overdrive, it is extremely important to allow the players to achieve the awesome in the way that is the most fun for them. Take everything as a welcome challenge. Sure you didn’t plan it this way, but if you can take in the spanner they have thrown at your works and include it in the ongoing game, it proves you are a fantastic GM.

Say yes. You can say “yes but . . .” or “yes and . . .” but say yes.

Because your players having fun is fun for you. Let’s be honest, we love to GM. We love to succeed as GMs. The whole idea of Nefertiti Overdrive is to allow the characters to be amazing. So let them be amazing. And let them do it in the way they choose.

You can expect the Nefertiti Overdrive Kickstarter to begin on Monday, 17 March 2014. Mark your calendars and start saving your pennies.

You can learn more about Nefertiti Overdrive here and here.

You can learn more about Becca through her Twitter feed here

Nefertiti Overdrive: Character Growth

You’ll notice in the example of the Princess/Priest pre-generated character that a few things have changed. The Princess/Priest highlights the mechanical changes that have taken place. The format better reflects how I’ve seen people describe character actions. There’s kind of a new flow in the mechanics, a new way of adapting the character sheet to narrating the awesome actions the character undertakes.

The Princess/Priest is also not the character that changes the most. Many other characters – the Amazon, for example – have different Concepts and Elements. This is because I designed the characters based on an imagined narrative rather than to work inside a game. Characters in RPGs need niches in order to shine. If everyone is a combat monster, everybody shines in combat. While all of the characters will be very capable in combat – this trying to represent the high adrenaline insane action of Hong Kong cinema – they each need a niche.

Since playtesting is ongoing, changes will be happening until Nefertiti Overdrive is out the door. That’s a feature, not a bug.

You can expect the Nefertiti Overdrive Kickstarter to begin on Monday, 17 March 2014. Mark your calendars and start saving your pennies.

You can learn more about Nefertiti Overdrive here and here.

You can find the Princess/Priest here.

Nefertiti Overdrive: Creating Campaigns

The idea of Nefertiti Overdrive was a mash-up of legendary Ancient Egypt and the kind of crazy, cinematic action of the Wuxia genre. With rules, characters, adventures, and campaigns, the book has that pretty much covered, but it doesn’t end there. Also included are rules for gaming groups to create their own mash-ups, including character Attributes.

The system for this uses bidding for players to signal their level of interest in contributing to each category. The input for each category is limited, and once a die is spent, it is gone, so if a player really wants to include a specific concept, she must bid high and hopefully secure her input.

The categories – termed Features – move from the highest level, looking at the Inspiration and Setting, down through Plot and Character Goals, to Themes that can include specific scenes or NPCs the player wants to see in the game. These Features are all described in the book, and examples of different Features, as well as an example of creation from bidding to final product, are part of the text.

Once the players have an idea of the kind of campaign in which they’ll be playing, they then bid to decide on the four Attributes for the characters in the campaign. These Attributes serve the same function as the Attributes presented with the Nefertiti Overdrive pre-gen characters – they provide dice for task resolution. Just as with the pre-gens, each Attribute might be a single Quality or a collection of Qualities from which the player chooses one to contribute to the Test.

It is likely that the process and the following PC creation will take a game session. Instead of having a character generation session, the group will literally have a campaign generation session. This can lead to some very crazy mash-ups.

But those, honestly, can be the most fun.

You can expect the Nefertiti Overdrive Kickstarter to begin on Monday, 17 March 2014. Mark your calendars and start saving your pennies.

You can learn more about Nefertiti Overdrive here and here.

Nefertiti Overdrive: The Campaign(s)

Although only two adventures are included in the book, this does not mean that Nefertiti Overdrive encompasses only those. The second adventure ends (hopefully) with the recovery of the Icon of Amun, but that Icon still needs to get back into the hands of the House of Kashta.

After the two introductory adventures, the book will have a discussion of where you might take a campaign. These are presented kind of as idea paths, what event could lead to what scenario, and how the NPCs might react to this. The campaign discussion will follow three broad paths: the retreat to Kush, underground opposition to the Assyrians, and taking Egypt back.

None of these are historically accurate. Heck, none of Nefertiti Overdrive is historically accurate! I just keep needing to mention this as Centurion: Legionaries of Rome was painstakingly researched and attempted to provide real-world history and individuals. Nefertiti Overdrive is almost diametrically opposed to that.

You can expect the Nefertiti Overdrive Kickstarter to begin on Monday, 17 March 2014. Get the word out!

You can learn more about Nefertiti Overdrive here and here.

You can learn more about Centurion: Legionaries of Rome here and can purchase it here and here.