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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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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A new Sword & Sorcery story

After the weekend I’ll have to deliver to my publisher a 20.000-words swords & sorcery novella. It’s a game tie-in job, and it needs to conform to the standards of the so called Old School gaming.
You know, Dungeons & Dragons-style.
A simple party. A linear mission.
Explore the dungeon. Kill the monsters. Get the treasures. Come back alive.

Should the readers like it, it might become the first in a series – and I’d really like it, because it’s turning out to be a fun job.
I still don’t have a title, but it’s a fun job.

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Hope & Glory – Talk Like a Pirate!

Ahoy, mateys!
Today it’s Talk Like a Pirate Day, but I’d rather talk about pirates and other assorted ship-based scoundrels and adventurers.
And because I am still promoting like hell my game Hope & Glory, why not give a look at piracy in the skies.251845
After all, Hope & Glory is a game that features airships.
And indeed, the scenario The Man that would be Quinn includes piracy in the sky lanes, the piracy in question being loosely based on South Cina Sea piracy.
And Emilio Salgari.
We’ve been there already, and you know the Tigers of Mompracem did have an influence on my game.

But really, let’s talk about pirates and adventurers, and Hope & Glory. Continue reading


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Honobono and Dragon’s eggs

Honobono (仄々) is a Japanese word that is usually translated as “heartwarming” or “feel good”. It’s the sort of feeling associated with Hayao Miyazaki’s movies – stories full of adventure and excitement, but filled with decent people and built on healthy, affectionate relationships. The good guys win and the bad guys lose, and maybe some of them turn out not to be so bad either.

151366A few nights back, while in the whirlwind of the launch of Hope & Glory I discovered a Japanese roleplaying game called Ryuutama (literally, Dragonsegg), and I gave it a look and I was totally delighted.
Because it’s a good solid game, because it’s light on rules and strong on roleplaying, because it’s refreshingly different.
And yes, it’s honobono too, which is interesting. Continue reading


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New S & S series in the works

One should never brag about projects as they are still in the development phase, but this one is good and looks solid, so I’ll write a bit about it here.
I am discussing a series of stand-alone novellas, basically fantasy/sword & sorcery, to tie in with a popular small press roleplaying game.
I am currently drawing up a full pitch/proposal, with a general concept, sketches of the four recurring heroes, and a detailed outline of the first four episodes.
I am pretty excited about this, because this is the sort of fun project that’s ideal to take my mind off more complicated matters.

And what I find really exciting about this is, the publisher asked me to make the series friendly to younger readers, but also to subvert cliches and expectations and make this a sword & sorcery fit for the twenty-first century.

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I think I’ll have a lot of fun with my characters.
And I get to create my own monsters. How cool is that?

So, right now it’s a new Scrivener file opened, basic publisher requests noted, and it’s time to apply my own wisdom – after all, I sell a course on pitches and proposals, it’s time to put my money where my mouth has been.

I will keep you posted on the developments, and in the meantime… wish me luck.


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The return of Lex Arcana

In 1993, Dal Negro, Italy’s foremost producer of traditional games (cards, chess sets etc), launched a roleplaying game called Lex Arcana. The game had very high quality values, as it could be expected being produced by Dal Negro, and was a big success with the Italian players.

lex-arcana

I doubt anyone ever heard about it outside of our borders, but things are about to change: Quality Games, a game company based (quite fittingly) in Rome, is about to launch a Kickstarter to bring back Lex Arcana internationally, and I was given the opportunity to take a look in advance at the Quickstart rulebook.
So here’s not a review, but more a little introduction to the game. Continue reading