Friday, 14 September 2012

The Innocents Of Muslims

I've been listening and watching the news reports of riots in several countries in response to this anti-Muslim film that has appeared on the internet created by a Coptic Christian. I have mixed views on this whole debacle which I will attempt to elaborate upon.

Firstly, people have been comparing this film with "Monty Python's Life Of Brian" which is understandable, but in my opinion incorrect comparison. Life Of Brian at no point made any swipes at God or Jesus or Christianity in general, instead it was a send up of Biblical epics and a satire on the religious fervour of the age. This film "Innocents Of Muslims" is none of these things. Instead a far more relevant comparison is with the silent film "Birth Of A Nation", which although it is silent and contains no nudity or bad language at all and is in black and white, never the less is still a 15 certificate here due to its content. The film, nothing short of a manifesto and platform from the Ku Klux Klan, depicts black people (all played by white actors blacked-up) as moronic, illiterate, violent people only interested in molesting and raping white women and children. The film is reprehensible in the extreme. In both cases, these films are made to treat their subjects with derision, contempt and hatred disguised as either a moral message in the case of "Nation" or "humour" in the case of "Innocents".

Should Youtube pull it? I think they should. By their own terms of usage this film clearly is a video designed to denegrate and is pretty much hate speech disguised as humour. There is no attempt to make any reasoned argument or cogent point, it is just 15 minutes of ridiculing Muslims simply for being Muslim. Whilst I am the first to admit that I have problem with certain tenets of the Muslim faith (as I do with most faiths) the way to deal with those ideas is to make reasoned arguments and points, either through serious debate or satire. But at no time do I feel it is excusable to denegrate people simply for being religious. So under Youtube's own guidelines the movie should be pulled.

Does such an action conflict with free speech? I don't think so. Freedom of speech has never come without a certain level of responsibility. We cannot for example, slander/libel people or use free speech to incite criminal behaviour and violence. This video, as I state above, doesn't seem to want to make any point other than "Muslims are silly/evil/pathetic etc" and as such I think it can certainly be classed as hate speech and certainly slanderous by default. It is bile dressed up as mirth.

So are the protests valid? Yes and no. Everyone has the right to be offended by things, even if others are not and everyone has the right to peaceful protest. But from what I've gathered this video is so badly done so ineptly handled that I would urge Muslims rather than get angry, laugh at it. laugh at its stupidity, laugh at the ineptitude with which this man has made his so-called "points". In reacting as they have, the protesters have given this man and his bile all the publicity he could ever want (no one really knew of this video's existence until the riots started). Also, whilst I agree with the concept of peaceful protest, this has not been. Surely perspective is needed here. This man doesn't deserve the publicity he now has.

In summary I say this: If you want to make a film about the evils, or perceived evils, of a religion, then do so with intelligent arguments. One can choose to present those argument as either documentary, drama or indeed comedy, but do it with intelligence. Ensure you show the clear distinction between critique of a subject and derision of those who agree with a subject. One can criticise a church or faith without claiming all within are morons. Also, get some perspective. An odious little man has made a hateful piece disguised as comedy and it has garnered far more publicity than it deserves. Treat the piece with disdain and contempt by all means, and simply disregard it as utter tosh (which from all accounts, it is).

Thats my tuppence worth anyway.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

My thoughts and tips for first-time GamesMasters - Part 1

I have always intended writing and posting up my thoughts and tips on GMing.  Why?  because I know as a GM how daunting the prospect of GMing can be to any gamer and I honestly believe that a few helpful tips and suggestions from experienced GMs can make all the difference.  I should stress that what will follow in the next few posts are not absolutes, merely my thoughts on the subject and they can be taken or ignored, in whole or in part, as you see fit.  I will also, as is the way of things, give direct examples to highlight why I have reached the conclusions I have.

Ultimately what I want to do is to encourage other players, who are considering trying to GM a game, that it is worth having a crack at.  It is a daunting task that first game but if you follow my advice or at least take it under advisement, I think you will find the first time a lot easier than you might have thought

Part 1 - before you even begin a session

So you have decided you are going to have a go at GMing.  You've been a player for a while and want to have a shot at refeering.  But given everything that a GM has to contend with it looks very difficult.  is it?  Answer is yes and no.  certainly inexperience at GMing plays a factor in that difficulty, as do the nature of your players (I'll deal with this in one of the subsequent posts on this topic) but these can be at least alleviated to some extent if you have done your homework beforehand.

So firstly, choose the right system for you.  Preferably the system should be one that is pretty simple to use with straightforward mechanics.  I say this as it can help beginning GM's if they don't have to worry about extensive record keeping first time out.  Also, choose a game you happen to like especially if its in a genre you happen to enjoy.  If you like sword and sorcery, use a fantasy system you are comfortable with.  If sci-fi is more your passion, then go with a sci-fi game.

As an example, and one I will use many times over the course of these blog posts, I will mention my friend Alan, who decided as his first ever attempt at GMing to run a dungeon bash using the Palladium Fantasy RPG (this was back in the mid 90's).  Now personally, I would have used something more basic like Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set, as the Palladium rules are far more in-depth and require more record keeping than old D&D.  However, although Alan did make some fundamental errors that night (more on that later) the one definitive thing he got right was his choice of system.  Why?  because it was a system he was completely comfortable with and knew like the back of his hand.  That it wasn't as simplistic as other game rules he could have used he used a system he knew well and that was the right choice for him.

So when I say simple by all means take the easiest system mechanics wise you can find but if there is a system that you know very well and are comfortable with, even if it is a more complex system, then go with that.  However do try to find a happy medium between rules complexity and necessity for a 1st time game.  Palladium may have suited Alan but had he used another system like RoleMaster or Runequest I think that would have been the wrong choice, due to the amount of record keeping and tables involved.

One thing I would say to any beginning GM is that no matter if it is your favourite genre or not, it is best that horror not be attempted by a novice.  Horror relies far more on a GM creating the proper atmosphere (I've been GMing for 25 years and I've never quite managed that atmosphere yet although I've come close a few times).  It is more than anything a matter of the GM being able to be so comfortable with their rules and the scenario that they can settle back and concentrate purely on mood.  This is not something that novice GMs are really able to do, especially as they have so much else they have to consider as well.  So my advice is get some experience as a GM first, then have a crack at running a horror game.

With regards to your scenario that you choose to use, my advice is keep it straightforward.  For a fantasy game, run a dungeon bash.  Sci-fi and other genres have their own variants.  The goal is to keep the game straightforward and therefore manageable.  That doesn't mean that you can't have lots of traps and monsters but keep the game itself down to its bare bones 9which is why dungeoneering works well as it all takes place in one locale with little room for things to go wrong for a Gm with players doing the oddest things (again more on this later).  Player-Characters should be level 1.  Why?  This is for two reasons.  Firstly it means that special abilities and powers that a GM would have to keep track of are far less likely to be available to characters of 1st level allowing for less headaches for a 1st time GM.  Secondly it means you can avoid some of the more complex villains and monsters that a game may have purely because they are designed with higher level characters in mind.  Again this keeps things simple and straightforward for the new GM to keep a track of.

Back to my friend Alan, and the first 2 mistakes he made in his game.  The players that he had were all experienced players and Alan, believing they would not play minute characters, gave us characters that were not only mid-level for the system (5th-6th level out of 15) but he also created some of them as multi-class characters.  This meant that instead of 5 very simple 1st level characters to contend with he was dealing with 5 reasonably powerful characters with lots of spells, skills and abilities to count on.  This meant his scenario was already in trouble as he didn't keep it straightforward.  His mistake here was believing that experienced players would never play 1st level characters.  The answer is of course they will, especially if they know its the GMs first time as a GM.  Their experience doesn't demand that they be given higher level characters, as if giving them 1st level characters demeaned them.  Their experience would show through with how they then played those characters.  True experienced players will take 1st level characters for a beginning GMs game, and so will yours.  For that reason I would also say never try and GM using people's standing characters in an ongoing campaign, have them make up new characters or make them yourself.

And so we come up to the subject of characters.  As i said above, either make them yourself or have players make them with you there to observe.  At the start make sure that you tell players of any restrictions to character races or classes or abilities you are imposing.  This comes under "House Rules" and I will deal with this specifically in the next blog.

As an example I was asked to create a character for a superhero game (it was using either Marvel Superheroes or the HERO system, I can't remember which).  The GM for the game, Carl, took me right through character generation as we sorted out what powers my character had.  To be fair my character had a vast array of different powers but Carl said nothing until the end, after the character had been made.  Then he talked about needing to change the elements of the character to make the powers more uniform as the character was meant to be a mutant.  This was badly handled by him.  What he should have said, right from the start, was that the characters in his game were going to be mutants and we could have, as character generation went on, created a character with a uniform set of powers that would have been more consistent. But he didn't and it was a waste of a character as he couldnt be used.  Moral of the tale:  if you have restrictions (no elves in a game or no Wookiees or no Dragons (yes my Falkenstein players no that restriction well) then ensure your players know that from the off, rather than only telling them after the character is created.

Also, and the example I'm about to use is a cock-up of my own, ensure that when dealing with player's equipment lists that you double check them to see there are no unreasonable items.  For example, I ran a game of Dark Conspiracy (a near future horror game) in which all the characters were on a coach that got abandoned in an old Wild West town and were besieged by spirits and zombies of the old townsfolk and gunslingers and such.  All of a sudden one character stood on the roof of the saloon, observing the horde of zombies marching slowly down the main street towards their building, and fired a LAW rocket at them.  This rocket he had bought and placed in his equipment list and had I seen it it would have been disallowed but as i hadn't seen it I left it there.  Given that the error was mine I couldn't then disqualify the weapon at that moment so instead of a big old shoot out as I had planned, most of the antagonists were destroyed in one well placed rocket blast.  So please do double check equipment lists, both for items that can't be afforded or owned and for items that they simply shouldnt have.

So the scenario is written the characters are done.  Now its time to play.  On to Part 2.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

The Rainbow Warrior - gay characters in RPGs

I guess what made me consider this, and I've been thinking on this subject for many months, was a post on a message board regarding Dragon Age 2 computer RPG and the decision to make one of the NPCs a gay male character who would flirt with the male player character.  This caused some players (the hilariously named "straight male gamer") consternation and feelings that they had become marginalised.  This of course I completely refute but it started me thinking:  Are gay characters allowed in tabletop RPGs?

The simple answer is yes, they are.  However as with life, nothing is that simple.  There may be GMs who are uncomfortable with the notion of someone playing a gay character and may indeed place an embargo on such a character type.  Would they be right to do so?  Well as odd a reaction as I think the GM would have in such a ban, I'd have to say yes they are right in respect of their own game.  A GM can place on his world or scenario any character restrictions he/she so chooses (for example, I have never and will never allow players to play dragons in Castle Falkenstein).  Whilst the reasons may be nonsensical to players the GMs view is final and if they decide they do not want gay characters in their games then its his/her way or the highway.

But what about the games themselves, leaving aside potential GM biase and restrictions?  Well here I say the question isn't so much "can players choose to play a gay character?" but rather "how out will the character reasonably be?"

I will explain.  Take a game like the Star Trek RPG or Prime Directive RPG.  In these games we shall assume the character is a member of the Federation.  Could they play an out gay character?  I'd say yes as it would be entirely in keeping with Roddenberry's vision. This is not to say that the character would never experience prejudice but in general the character could be out without any legal problems and could I suppose be married to their partner if they so desired.  This is because the Federation has an ideology that would allow for such an openly gay character.  The Klingon Empire might not be so open, and any Klingons who were gay would undoubtedly be more in the closet or face possibility of death or being shunned by their family and friends.

Castle Falkenstein, a game I use a lot, is set in a Victorian society.  Yes it is one with magic and dwarfs and dragons etc, but it is at its heart Victorian scoeity and in that time it was illegal to be gay.  Now anyone wishing to play a gay character in that game must keep that in mind when deciding how in the closet their character is.  Similarly any game taking place in medieval times (like Chivalry & Sorcery or Pendragon) would be pretty much burned at the stake for being gay and players must bear that in mind.

On the other side there are fantasy games like Blue Rose which actively allows for gay characters and indeed goes to great lengths to promote their equal status.  Here in such egalitarian states being gay and openly so is perfectly fine.

Most other games are pretty much neutral on the issue allowing the GM to place whatever world view he/she wishes onto it.  This is where a GM with a major problem with the notion may put their foot down and deny such an option but most will not.

Why would anyone wish to play a gay character in the first place?  I'm sure some would argue that being gay or not is irrelevant to a game which all about adventure and action.  Well, yes and no.  Certainly if all the game is is just dungeoneering, hack & slash adventure (or equivalent from other genres) then the choice of playing a gay character is pretty irrelevant other to provide I suppose an interesting quirk to make them look unique in the crowd.  If that is the only reason for it and the GM is okay with that then I have no objection, as it allows at least an interesting slant on what could otherwise be a pretty generic character.

But if there is more to your game than action/adventure, where social interaction and indeed romance can come into play, then sexual preference can indeed become an issue.  So why would people play a gay character if that is the case, given that heterosexuality is the more prevalent in society?  There are of course two very obvious reasons, both being equally valid.

The first reason is that the player themselves may be gay.  If we accept the notion that oft times as players we don't so much play someone completely different but merely play ourselves as we would be if we had those abilities, skills, powers etc, then we must accept that this is true across the board.  Most of the characters I have played have been white, male and heterosexual, because they are me in another guise.  if I am allowed to play characters that are extensions of myself then players who are gay or bisexual must be allowed the opportunity to do the same because that is fair and in keeping with the game.

The second reason is that sometimes we like to play someone who isn't quite ourselves.  be it on gender lines, perhaps a different ethnicity, then we must accept that one aspect we can change is to play someone of a differing sexual preference to our own.  Whether we do it to merely explore a different side of life (under the old "walk a mile in their shoes" mentality) or simply to add a quirk to our character to make them stand out from the crowd, it must be acceptable to do so.  We aren't talking about things that are abusive or illegal here (although of course we commit acts of shocking violence as our characters during combat) so there are no real moral considerations.

So to players I say this:  if you are gay, or if a player in your group is gay, dont be afraid to make your character gay or be surprised or annoyed or offended if there is a gay character in the group.  if you aren't gay and are looking at creating a unique character in your party, then sexuality is certainly one aspect you could try.  Only be mindful that the world your character inhabits may not be as toelrant of homosexuals as your gaming group is and as such you need to decide how out your character is and accept the consequences of that decision (if you are playing a character that is out in a world where being gay is a crime, that could definitely create some interesting role-playing scenarios and character development as they would essentially be a fugitive).

GMs, dont be put off by gay characters.  Unlike my embargo on dragon characters in Falkenstein (which is down to the fact that they would imbalance a game) gay characters no more imbalance a game than a straight character does. Certainly the world you place that character into may be tolerant or intolerant of homosexuals to a greater or lesser degree either way, but that does not stop people from playing gay characters.  As mentioned above, a character being gay in a world intolerant of them could give a very dramatic extra edge to any scenario or campaign if the PC is out, or indeed outed.

So wave the rainbow flag and dont be afraid to let the characters express themselves.  its role-playing after all,

Role-Playing or Roll-Playing - Which Is Best?

Before I answer that question let me first define the two in my eyes.  For me, Role-Playing is when players interact with each other, speaking as their character and talking directly to other characters, be they PCs or NPCs.  rather than saying "my character says this" or "my character does that" they either speak straight out to the character or they say "I am doing this".  Roll-Playing is more a case of the characters being much more defined by the stats and the game much more  a game of rolling dice and checking skills at opportunity.  Interaction is limited or comes down to "my character will do/say such and such".

So which is best?  I'd say that the honest answer is whatever works best in your group or game.  For me, I have always preferred Role-Play over Roll-Play (if for no other reason than I hate all the record keeping) and in my games character interaction within the group has now gotten to the point where action is almost seen in terms of interaction between characters.  Diplomacy, subterfuge and intimidation are often employed far more readily than a swift sword or spell (although these make a wonderful plan B).  A friend of mine plays AD&D with her husband using mostly published scenarios (mostly because they both have busy schedules and dont have time for writing their own games).  She plays multiple characters so that there is a group of adventurers rather than a lone warrior or mage.  In that sort of situation, Role-Play becomes almost impossible to do and so, naturally, Roll-Play comes to the fore.

Is one style of play better than the other?  Well, yes and no but I would argue the yes and no comes down not to anything objective that can be measured, but more a subjective appraisal based on personal taste.  A Roll-Play style game wouldn't suit me as a GM or my players in the groups I ahve but at the same time a Role-Play game doesn't suit my friend in the situation she is in.  So our style of game is best for the situation we are part of and it works for us.

Ultimately it comes down to how much fun we are having.  if the scenario is fun and we are enjoying the game, thats all that truly matters.  I can happily play both styles (as I did when I visited my friend the other week) and indeed do enjoy at times doing some roll-playing (which works very well for a dungeon bash).  My friend and her hubby similarly have played games with me as a GM and do a lot more Role-Playing in those as is my style.  Whichever is better is whichever gives you the most fun.

So for those who sometimes sniff or look down on one style over the other, be advised.  No style is intrinsically right or wrong.  All that matters is that you find a style that works for you and your group of players and enjoy yourself.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

RPGs for the beginner!

So you have heard about this hobby called Role-Playing Games and you are interested in playing, how to start?  Well there are a couple of options:

I would certainly suggest, if you have never played a game before or don't have friends who are gamers, that you try and find a local RPG club.  There are more of them than you might think (though sadly less than there used to be).  They can often be found on college or university campuses and are generally open to the public (although best to call and enquire first).  The advantage of a club is that you cna very quickly find out if RPGs are your thing or not and there will be plenty of expert advice from veteran players and the recently new.  remember that they were all beginners at some point so don't feel that you are somehow out of place.  A respectable RPG club will be very welcoming to new players and give them plenty of advice.

Failing that, or after having played a game you feel you want to try a game of your own, here are my thoughts.  When it comes to buying a system, go for one that is simple and straightforward.  Most of the big systems have plenty of reviews for them on various online retail sites and specialist sites like  Some of these games have beginners versions of themselves that are designed to introduce new players to the hobby of RPGs.  Also, I would tend to say that when it comes to picking a first game go with your favourite genre, with a notable exception I'll mention at the end of this.  if you like fantasy, get a fantasy game.  if sci-fi is more your passion, go for a sci-fi game.  If you have a liking for a particular genre (or even tv show/films as there are many licensed products out there) then you are much more likely to enjoy using the game system.  This is not to say other systems and genres have no merit, only that it will make your first step into RPGs easier if the game is based on a genre you love.  Also your local gaming shop will be able to give tons of advice on good systems for a beginner to try out.  Whilst I am sure you might get the odd one trying to sell you the most expensive the overwhelming majority of stores will give proper advice on giving players the best system for their needs.

The only exception I would make with regards to picking genres or systems for a first timer is not to pick horror.  Horror RPGs are very difficult to pick up and play as a first time gamer as they are games reliant so much on atmosphere, and are so devastatingly difficult and brutal to characters, that the experience can often be underwhelming for a gamer.  Once you've got a few games under your belt then I would consider horror games but for the first few times, stick to the big genres like fantasy, scifi, westerns, super heroes, urban fantasy or modern games.

Also, don't be afraid to buy an older RPG 2nd hand. Whilst there is no doubt that modern games are more complex and wide-ranging with choices, there is something simple and direct about a lot of retro games that allow for new players I feel a little more than newer games (although I admit that is an entirely individual view, one I'm sure others may agree or disagree with).  I'm not an evangelist when it comes to the whole retro v modern gaming debate (I see merit in both sides of that debate) but as a way into the hobby for a beginner I see no problem with picking up a 2nd hand copy of the old red box Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set and using it as a first time game to get the concepts of role-playing down.

Ultimately, the games are about fun.  Get a few friends round and give it a go.  You may feel strange getting into character at first but go with it, it really is fun.

Free RPG's - cheap or inexpensive?

What I mean by the title is that there are two ways to look at free to own RPGs (mostly pdf's).  Either you view them as cheap and wouldn't have made any real money if they had been released to the market or you see them as very good games that could have made money but for one reason or another have been released free to own.

My opinion is that they are certainly worth a look.  Yes some undoubtedly will be cheap and cheerless and really not much cop at all but others may very well be worth your look.

There are many games available as free to own pdf's that fall into the category of retro games such as "Basic Fantasy", "Labyrinth Lord" and "Mazes & Minotaurs".  Whilst a lot of these games harken back to AD&D 1st edition for their inspiration and can be quite clunky they are also, in my humble opinion, ideal for beginner players.  Why?  Because the games are usually well thought out, easy to read and understand, simple enough so that new players can grasp the concepts without bombarding them with too much information early on and given the price tag, exceptional value for money.  Now yes the person getting them will need to buy paper and ink for the printer and so on but even factoring those costs in you still end up coming out ahead.  Get a few sets of dice and you and your players are raring to go.  I also found official products released by West End Games for their D6 system, which are free to own on pdf from retailers like which included a fantasy system which would be very generic for sure but also very easy to use and run for beginners.

Why my interest in beginners?  because unless our hobby gets new people interested it will literally die with us.  And if free to own retro games get people interested in the hobby that they might want to check out some of the current crop of games that are out there for sale, then I say all the better.

So in closing shop around and look for some of these free games and check them out.  You may find an RPG there that will suit your needs perfectly.

Here are some links for some of the free RPG's I mentioned:

Basic fantasy:

Labyrinth Lord:

Mazes & Minotaurs:

D6 Fantasy (also D6 Space and D6 Adventure):

Legendary Quest:

Dungeon Slayer:

Other games are available free from  Just put in an advanced search for items costing $0.00 and a list of supplements free trial gamesa and full RPG rules systems comes up.  its a great way to see a lot of stuff for no cash at all.

Should give you guys things to think about :)

Sunday, 17 June 2012

RPGs - Where are the Beginner's Games?

One of the things that has concerned me for some years now, has been a trend amongst RPGs to become ever more complex.  I understand the motivation behind it, that players want real flexibility in character creation and choices hence the inclusion of skills and advantages/disadvantages and combat options and feats of all kinds.  Whilst this is as i say understandable it does leave the question of how do we as a hobby get new players involved, especially in this age of computer RPGs and MMORPGs?

Recently, I saw "beginner's box sets" for 2 games that are amongst the biggest sellers in RPGs, namely D&D 4th edition and Pathfinder.  I myself bought my daughter a few years ago a box set that was pretty much an introduction to D&D 3rd edition.  All these box sets have the same essential components and the same flaw. The components are simplified versions of the Player's handbook and DM's Guides, along with a map for figures (and sometimes some figures or cardboard cut outs) and some dice.  These sets go for roughly £20-£25 and are for the most part clear, concise and well laid out.  I haven't tried the beginner's box sets for pathfinder and D&D 4th but from watching Youtube clips and reviews they seem similarly laid out and very much designed to get new players introduced to their parent systems, but in a gentler way than paying out for the appropriate corebooks for the parent game.  It sounds like a good deal yes?  My answer is, sort of.

Some people play RPGs and instantly become a fan.  others play and like the concept but perhaps not that particular game or that particular rule set or setting or genre and it just becomes a matter of finding the one that fits.  Others play and whilst they think its okay they don't make a hobby of it and others yet play but it really doesnt grab them like they thought or hoped or assumed it would.  Depending on which group you fall into, the beginner's set becomes a different proposition.

Taking the groups in reverse order, starting with those who play but don't really get into it or those who get into it but not in a major hobby way, the beginner's sets are not a bad deal at all.  Why?  because if they aren't getting into the hobby then the game becomes just another boardgame amongst others that can either be tossed away or donated or kept for the occasional game.  In that respect the asking price doesn't seem too high.  Similarly if the concept sounds good but the genre or rules doesn't fit then the asking price is similarly not too bad compared to the near £50 one would pay for the corebooks for either Pathfinder or D&D 4th edition (3rd edition being out of print can be picked up relatively cheaply 2nd hand if you shop smartly).

But what if playing one of these beginner's sets gives you the gaming bug and you want to purchase the main rules?  Then the beginner's set losed a great deal of its lustre and looks a lot more cynical.  You see the corebooks aren't the next stage up from the beginner's set.  They repeat everything that is in the beginner's set and just adds more stuff.  In other words the only real difference between buying the core books straight away and buying the beginner's set first is that you have spent more if you buy the beginner's box set as all the corebooks still need to be bought to play the game proper.

So what is the answer to this conundrum?  Well, back in the mists of time at the dawn of the hobby some bright spark thought it would be smart to release a beginner's set dealing with the simple core rules, and then releasing add on sets dealing with ever higher characters and rules, gently easing the gamer into the rules rather than bombarding them.  it also meant that the beginner's box set (this is classic Dungeons & Dragons I'm talking about here of course) wasn't replaced by corebooks but was a corebook itself that was then added to buy subsequent releases.  I have noticed that the Dragon Age RPG, released recently by Green Ronin publishing, is going back to that method of releasing and I honestly believe that it is the way to go.  it would also ensure that the often excessive price tags placed on games these days due to the sheer volume of the tomes can be more evenly spread out.

So I would urge gamjes manufacturers to go back to the simpler method of incremental releases, that would at least bring new players into our hobby rather than overloading them with huge volumes at excessive prices.  We risk pricing ourselves out of existence, both intellectually and fiscally, if we don't start looking at this issue.