FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Here’s a list of questions I’m commonly asked by visitors to this site.

What are RPGs?

What’s all this stuff about role-playing games?

Role-playing games (RPGs) have been around for over a quarter of a century – they’re a social activity where a group of people sit around the table and assume the parts of characters in a story. The events takes place within your imagination, with the success governed by the roll of a dice. It’s a social activity, so you’ll need a few friends, some odd-shaped dice, and a good imagination. You’ll also need a couple of rulebooks – like the Dungeons and Dragons Players Handbook, in order to play. Here’s the full definition from Wikipedia.org:

A role-playing game (RPG; often roleplaying game) is a game in which the participants assume the roles of fictional characters. Participants determine the actions of their characters based on their characterization, and the actions succeed or fail according to a formal system of rules and guidelines.Within the rules, players have the freedom to improvise; their choices shape the direction and outcome of the game. Most role-playing games are conducted like radio drama: only the spoken component is acted. In most games, one specially designated player, the game master (GM), creates a setting in which each player plays the role of a single character. The GM describes the game world and its inhabitants; the other players describe the intended actions of their characters, and the GM describes the outcomes. Some outcomes are determined by the game system, and some are chosen by the GM.

OK – it’s also fun.

What’s the d20 system?

The d20 system from Wizards of the Coast is an attempt to create a open source rules system/licence, similar to the GNU public licence in many respects – with several provisos. Players must purchase the core rulebooks in order to play. This shouldn’t be confused with the 2d20 system from Modiphius which uses a number of different mechanics.

Isn’t this kind of weird?

Not really. RPGs have been around for over 30 years. The concept of interactive fiction pre-dates written history. And games like World of Warcraft have their roots in RPGs.

Gaming in Edinburgh

Where can I play games in Edinburgh?

Funny you should mention it, but I’ve a whole page dedicated to Gaming in Auld Reekie, as Edinburgh used to be known!

Where can I find a gaming group in Edinburgh?

Try http://www.orcedinburgh.co.uk – the Open Roleplaying Community of Edinburgh has a large membership and many members run games outside Saturday afternoons. Alternatively, ask in Black Lion Games. See also Gaming In Edinburgh.

Where can I buy games in Edinburgh?

See Gaming In Edinburgh. Aside from this, there’s the usual online retailers such as Amazon.

Marketing, playtesting, submissions and promotion

I’m often asked by visitors to these pages how they can go about getting their game published, submit their artwork, would I be interested in their game, etc. This section will hopefully clarify things – it’s by no means definitive and shouldn’t be viewed as a substitute for common sense!

Can you market/promote/license my game/Kickstarter campaign?

Uff. I don’t really want any sales, licensing, or similar emails. If you have a game idea or something similar, there are companies out there that may buy your game idea but it is extremely rare. It is an exceptionally tough industry to get into (and make money from!) and you will need an extremely innovative idea or pitch. Good luck. I am happy to collaborate/participate upon such projects, although my time is limited right now – either for writing credits or cold hard cash. For those interested in such things I blogged about Kickstarter campaigns and how I think they should run.

Can I link to this site? Will you post a link to mine?

Yes, with a few restrictions. There only a few cases where I will link to a website – the major criteria being the provision of some form of free service or information useful to gamers. Fan sites (or links) to other RPG settings aren’t among them, although blog networks and webrings are of interest to me. Please don’t add items from the Download pages to your own web site without mentioning this website.

I’ve written some fan fiction for the Mandragora. Will you host it?

I’m willing to host fiction and gaming materials (including sample adventures, characters, etc.) relating to the Mandragora on this site only. All submissions should abide by the following guidelines:

  • Submissions must be written in English, and checked for grammar and spelling.
  • Fiction and scenarios should be in the form of a TXT file.
  • Any maps should be in PDF, bitmap (.BMP), GIF or JPG form.
  • Submissions must be your own work.
  • All copyright will be retained by the creator, while hosted as part of the Downloads area.

I’m an artist. Would you like to see my work?

Yes, but please bear the following in mind:

  • Sample artwork be sent digitally should be in .JPG or .PDF PC file format, preferably zipped/TAR’ed using Winzip, GNUzip, or 7-Zip.
  • Artwork should be your own work, NOT copied – including derivative work.
  • Sending artwork or copy to me this does not create any form of contract. Never send the original, only a copy.
  • I may be interested in stock artwork, but I’m particularly interested in pieces of work that show street scenes, individuals interacting with others, and buildings. If you intend to send landscape works, choose one from the setting.
  • I’m not interested in your interpretation of Gandalf or your barbarian hero: I am interested in artistic interpretations of the Mandragora – if you’re keen to get your artwork shown, use them as a subject.

Would you be interested in playtesting my game?

Possibly, if you’ve a working prototype and are prepared for some constructive criticism. Playtests are a significant investment of time for any GM and they need to market it to their players.

If you’ve got any other questions that aren’t listed above, feel free to contact me.