Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Hamlet, James Bond and Rick Blaine

A new book in my ever-growing collection of volumes about writing, Hamlet’s Hit Points is somewhat different, because it is a book at least nominally aimed at game masters willing to improve the structure of their roleplaying scenarios, upping their game. But in laying down the foundations of a system to structurally map stories, Robin D. Laws manages to create a tool that works for games, for fiction and for movies/screenplays.

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Knave RPG

After years of roleplaying, my brother and I have put together a huge collection of … stuff. Rulebooks, sourcebooks, supplements, scenarios, campaigns, maps…
We do not play much anymore (here where we live polyhedral dice are considered a tool of the Devil, or something) but we still occasionally buy and read games, and dream of building our own, homebrew system.

Yesterday, to celebrate the launch of my new Italian ebook, I treated myself to two bucks and change of gaming handbook, and bought Questing Beast’s new roleplaying game, Knave.
And I read it all in a single sitting.

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Scheherazade

I’m taking a moment for a brief shout-out to my friend (and sometimes accomplice) Umberto Pignatelli’s latest game, Scheherazade, a roleplaying game that allows you to play into the Arabian Nights.
I’ll post a review here as soon as the game is released, but in the meantime, check out the gorgeous cover…


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Throwing tanks at Nazi supermen: Godlike RPG

This is a sort of “request post” – I have been asked a short review of Godlike, the superhero game designed by Dennis Detwiller and Greg Stolze, currently published by Arc Dream Publishing. I like the game very much, and so it is no great sacrifice writing a review.
I still own and play the first edition of the handbook – the second is gorgeous, but I only have the PDF, and I prefer to have a hardcopy book at my table.

So, it’s the 1930s, clouds of war are gathering on the horizon, and as a surprise move, the Nazi have developed a superman – a guy with a swastika on the chest, that actually flies. He opens Berlin’s Olimpics with a fly-by, and everything changes.
Only it doesn’t.

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Beyond the fence with Ken Hite: The Fall of Delta Green

This year’s GenCon was a triumph for Call of Cthulhu, and in particular for Delta Green – and Kenneth Hite’s The Fall of Delta Green won the Best Setting Ennie Award.
A well deserved award, I think.

I have been a long-time fan of Delta Green – some of my material was published in some old handbooks, and one of my stories appears in a Delta Green collection, and I have met some of my best friends in the Delta Green underground at the turn of the century.
More: I have started writing fiction in English because of Delta Green – now you know who you can blame.
The Fall of Delta Green looks to me like the perfect celebration for an adventure I started twenty years ago.

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Back to Planescape, sort of

I loved the Planescape setting for the old AD&D.
Somebody described it as “philosophy with sticks”, and it was all right with me. I liked the way in which the game setting was presented, with the incredible Tony Di Terlizzi Illustrations and all the little bits of fun such as the slang, and the strange mix of Elizabethan, not-exactly-steampunk, sword & sorcery and, yes, philosophy.
Planescape was the sort of setting in which you ended up investigating who had actually killed a god, but in the meantime had the opportunity for a lot of weird shenanigans, swordplay and wordplay.
It was great.

My small collection of Planescape books is still here on my special RPG shelf, and sometimes I fantasize about setting up a new campaign.
Shake the pillars of creation for one last time.

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Not all the boxes were red, back then

I keep seeing posts on social media about people that wax nostalgic about the wonderful time they had as kids, playing D&D Red Box – what was at the time known as the D&D Basic Set. The long hours spent with their friends, the simple joy of adventure in a more innocent time, the thrills and the laughs and the excitement of being heroes in their own adventures, fighting monsters in a fantasy world.

My memories are somewhat different.

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