Catch Eppy at Breakout Con 2017

Update: Due to an unforeseen illness, I will not be attending Breakout Con this weekend. I promise, Canada, I will return as soon as I can!

This weekend I’m heading to Toronto, Canada, for around the clock gaming at Breakout 2017. And I’m not alone. Check out this illustrious guest list and the jam-packed event schedule.

I’ll be running The Dread Geas of Duke Vulku and a little #SundayAMSwords there, as well as talking about horror and games with these fine folks. And who knows, maybe I won’t be allowed back across the border. It’s an adventure!

The Post GenCon Debrief

IMAG1153I have returned, broken and filthy, from my adventures in the land of GenCon; but I have returned triumphant!

And not so broken, really. It was actually quite a healthy GenCon for me.

And the filthy part is a lie as well. Why do you people trust me?

I didn’t have a booth at GenCon this year, but I did participate in some amazing panels (one of which may have been recorded–I’ll link to it when I find out more) and in some delightful games of Vast & Starlit and Swords Without Master. One of which involved a flying saucer that was operated by touchscreens that required full-body contact and another which involved someone being seduced by a 10,000-year-old serpent goddess. I’ll leave it to you to figure out which was which.

I also managed to get copies of What is a Roleplaying Game? into the hands of . . . more than a hundred people, I think. Wow. (Even more impressive is that fact that What is a Roleplaying Game? is now available in Portuguese!) And I’ve handed out slightly less bookmarks for Words Without Master, but drummed up quite a bit of interested from potential writers, artists, and editors. (If you’ve been drummed, you can find the submission guidelines here.) Look to see the first issue by the end of next month!

My own personal haul was a bit slim this year, but I did snag one of these handy little dice rings. I got the one pictured above: two six-siders in rainbow. It’s like a mobile Swords Without Master platform with a Glum side (the one with the blue and purple edge) and a Jovial side (the one with the blue, purple and gold edge). They’ve even gone through all the trouble of shading all die results of three or less, so spotting Threads is a snap!

And I also got a super exclusive roleplaying game entitled Red Ones Go Faster about fast cars, illegal racing, and risky driving that you totally don’t have. Expect me to post more about that one once I get a chance to play it.

Eppy’s Guide to Eppy at GenCon

Warning: I failed at reading a spreadsheet. My Games on Demand schedule has be updated below to reflect my real schedule.


GenCon’s less than a week away and I’m about to head out on my annual pre-GenCon vacation in scenic Central Wisconsin.

But before I go, let me tell you about where to stalk me at GenCon. You know, in case you were into that sort of thing. Stop by, say hi, talk to me about Words Without Master, grab a free copy of What is a Roleplaying Game? and maybe game with me for a while.

The Panels

Sci-Fi RPG Designer Roundtable: Challenges in Crafting Original Settings & Systems

Friday, 11:00 – 12:00 pm
Crowne Plaza : Grand Central Bllrm A/B
What makes for a great SF RPG? How do designers find the right balance between scientific realism and fun gameplay? Which is better: space broccoli, space koalas, space octopi, or space business cards? Game designers Rob Boyle (Eclipse Phase, Shadowrun 4e), Epidiah Ravachol (Dread, Vast & Starlit), Jared Sorensen (FreeMarket, Schism), and Brennan Taylor (Bulldogs!) talk about the art & science of making kick-ass sci-fi games.

GM-Less Play in Indie Roleplaying Games

Sunday, 12:00 – 1:00 pm
Crowne Plaza : Grand Central Bllrm D
Curious about playing without a Gamemaster? Jason Morningstar, Emily Care Boss, Mark Diaz Truman, and Epidiah Ravachol answer all your questions about how to make GM-less play work at your table.

The Gaming On Demand

I’ll be at Games on Demand running* Vast & Starlit and Swords Without Master on Thursday from 4:00 to 8:00 PM, on Friday from 2:00 to 8:00 PM, and on Saturday from 2:00 to 6:00 PM. But you shouldn’t just stop by Games on Demand just to see me. You should probably game, too. I mean, I’m not saying anyone’s going to judge you, but these are the kind of people who would probably look down on you if you didn’t game. Just saying.

The Booth

No booth! That’s what you get. No stinking booth this year.

* Ha, ha. “Running” them. Like they don’t run themselves.

I Keep Shooting My Mouth Off About Things

Thanks to Pete Figtree over at Ruthless Diastema, I have the opportunity to go into way too much detail about the temporal and game mechanics of Time & Temp.
(Spoilers: The surprise ending is that Time & Temp: Paperless Office Edition is now only $2.99.)

And then, over at the Ontological Geek, Bill Coberly interviews me about . . . well, about everything else, practically.

Check them out when you’ve got the time. Or, while racing against the clock in some sort of high stakes thriller. Either way’s fine with me.

PAX & Starlit

I will be at PAX East this weekend. Which means Vast & Starlit will be there as well. If you’re looking for me or the game, you will find us at the Indie Bazaar booth which historically has been with the tabletop retailers just outside the Exhibit Hall in the Tabletop Room. You’ll definitely be able to get the game at the booth, whether I’m there or not.  And there will be plenty of other fine products there looking for your remaining dollars.

If you want to guarantee meeting me, I’m also a panelist! And you’ll be able to find me at these panels: Sex and (Non)violence and An Inside Look at Indie RPGs, both of which are on Sunday, Sunday, Sunday.

Fresh from PAX East 2011

Well PAX East was a roaring success, definitely something I plan to return to many times over. It was an absolute pleasure meeting the lot of you. The times were crazy and the conversations were regretfully short. If we didn’t get a chance to finish our discussion, please feel free to start it up again on my forums over at the RPGCrossroads.

Also, I sold out of almost everything I had. So if you didn’t get to the booth in time, here are some links to get you to the games you were looking for:

Time & Temp:

  • Unbound Edition (the print one in the file folder) can be bought here.
  • Paperless Office Edition (the PDF version which comes free with the print) can be bought here.

Dread House:

  • Print Edition can be bought here.
  • PDF Edition (which comes free with the print) can be bought here.


  • Print Edition can be bought here.
  • PDF Edition can be bought here.

Dread House is Coming

The good news is we sold out of Dread House at GenCon.

The bad news is we sold out of Dread House at GenCon.

Emily and I are currently on a post-GenCon vacation, but will be returning to home base next week. On Tuesday (August 17th, 2010) we’ll be set up to take orders and print more. Stay tuned for more details.

Dread House in the Hizzle!

In case you’re not going to GenCon and won’t be stopping by ye olde Design Matters booth (#2100), here’s a sneak peak at that physical product:

The Tragic Tale of Swords Without Master

I’ve hit that spot with Swords Without Master where I have to decide if I want it done for GenCon or if I want it done right. And that’s not a real decision. So, alas, there will be no Sw/oM at the Design Matters booth this year.

As it got closer and closer to the wire, I just found myself making more and more compromises. And at some point it drifted too far from my original vision in a way I became less and less comfortable with. So I’ve moved the deadline to November of 2010 to give me time to uncompromise it and making the game I want.

If you’re at GenCon and looking for Swords Without Master, please do stop by the Design Matters booth (#2100). We’ll have a small preview of the game there to browse. And I’ll be handing out coupons for a discount on the November release of the Sw/oM book.

It’s not all bad news. Dread House is done and will be at GenCon along with more physical copies of Time & Temp. So there’s plenty to be had from Dig a Thousand Holes at the Design Matters booth this year.

So let’s talk about this game.

What is Swords Without Master?

  • It’s a sword & sorcery game, with a focus on the short story end of the genre particularly inspired by Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd & Gray Mouser series.
  • It is very prep-flexible. Swords requires absolutely no prep whatsoever, but is able to accommodate those lovingly detailed maps, carefully constructed NPC communities and a well designed monsters you’ve sunk all that time into.
  • It’s a fast playing game. Like a short story, it covers a lot of ground in very little time. Typical Swords games take about two to three hours, but can cover years of the characters’ adventures or the longest night of their lives.
  • It’s a descendant of the game MonkeyDome. You should check it out, it’s free. Swords Without Master greatly expands upon the MonkeyDome foundation, but it is still firmly set in it.

What will be in the book?

There will be six main chapters and a ton of appendices.

  • Tale Yet Untold Of–An introductory chapter to get you familiar with key concepts and a word of advice for experienced role-players as well as advice for those coming at it with more of a story game background.
  • The City of Fire & Coin–An introductory adventure that will teach you the rules as you go along. It’s designed for you and three friends to just open the book and go.
  • The Basic Game–The complete game presented in a manner that’s easy to reference during a game if need be.
  • Crows at the Crossroads–An example of play of an entire session from beginning to end, covering all the major rules.
  • The Advance Game–Supplementary rules that aren’t necessary to the game, but can be useful at times.
  • The Book of Thunder & Storm–A collection of monsters, villains, traps and other perils that can be encountered in the world of Swords Without Master.
  • The Appendices–Lots and lots of additional material that can help you get your game together, including how to play it on the road, how to play it without an Overplayer (something akin to a GM), and several types of random adventure generation.

When will it be available?

November 2010.

GenCon Approaches, Soon I Shall Sleep

I will once again be joining Design Matters at GenCon. This year we’ll be in booth #2100 and our new booth menu is now online.

The line-up includes:

Now with 100% more Kagematsu!

I’m really excited about this year’s line-up. I see tons of great gaming happening in the upcoming year. I’m particularly pleased with the fact that we have not one, but two new games coming out aimed at younger audiences: Daniel Solis‘s Happy Birthday, Robot! and Dread House by Emily Care Boss and yours truly. All part of our diabolical plan to enthrall an entire new generation of gamers.

You’ll definitely want to follow  the Design Matters twitter feed for promos leading up to and throughout the con!

And don’t forget the massive Design Matters PDF Bundle. Six games for $30!

Plus! If your going to GenCon, you absolutely don’t want to miss RPGirl. I’ve enjoyed privileged access to the current issue as it was being made, and I’m pretty damn excited for it. A must have for role-players of all persuasions.

Alas this fine product won’t be at the Design Matters booth, but you’ll find it at the Indie Press Revolution booth (#2339). Be sure to check it out.