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Gaming Links

Well, we thought that in this issue we'd have a quick look at some of the on-line games out there which have caught our attention.

Before we do so, however, we must give a nod to the ultimate site for online indie RPGs: Hephaestus' Forge. This is a fabulous new site set up by Ron Edwards (author of Sorcerer) dedicated to listing and supporting all the indie games out there. Ron tells us that the site is really about playing games, not just buying them or writing them. He hopes to attract a large number of gamers who can all share their playing experiences, such that critical design dialogues can develop. Whether you're interested in design, or just looking for the best games on the net, check this site out. A great site with a great purpose - Kudos Ron!

First off, Dominion Games offer a complete, professionally produced fantasy RPG on their pages. What's more, it's a pretty darn good RPG too, with some interesting mechanics which cover a variety of options without getting too complex. And unlike many other online RPGs, it is the size of most published RPGs, complete with huge sections on magic, combat and the setting. If low-magic medieval fantasy is your thing, this is worth checking out. Best of all, it's totally free. This is part of a philosophy they call Open Source Roleplaying - an intriguing idea to say the least. This is the idea that the game is being continually developed and added to by the players themselves, and they can then publish that material as official products for the game. Check out the site to read more.

Meanwhile, fans of The Tick or Mystery Men - or anyone who likes a good laugh - should take a gander at StuperPowers! This is another complete RPG for you to peruse free of charge, and damn funny it is too. Not just your standard undergraduate joke-RPG funny either: this is fall-right-off-your-chair-cacking-yourself-stupid funny. The character sheet in particular is fricking hilarious. Plus, it is also a well-written RPG (if overly simplistic) that knows what it is doing. The rules are funny, but also perfectly present the setting and show an understanding of gaming and gamers most RPGs lack. You also get NPCs, heaps of adventures, heaps of full-colour artwork, and you can even buy a print copy of the book. Good stuff.

Even if you don't like Stuperpowers' style, every gamer owes it to themselves to check out this comic on their site. It's just so, so true.

Deep 7's stuff is not free, but it is very reasonably priced. They boast a system of rules one page long - and that page is also the character sheet, so you never need to look at anything else. Deep 7 provides these rules adjusted for half a dozen different genres, but with a general thrust of one-off, cinematic, quick and dirty disposable gaming. However, while the site is very slick to look at and has easy on-line purchasing, you can't really find out much about the system or the games, which is very annoying. Still, at only five bucks, you haven't got much to lose if they suck. Worth a look if you want something quick and easy.

My personal favourite of on-line RPGs is The Drones. It's fairly unique in its setting: that of a P.G. Wodehouse-inspired upper class academic club for gentlemen in 1920's England. It sounds insane, but it works. I've never read Wodehouse, but the rules make the setting come alive so well, it makes you immediately want to run out and do so, and likewise immediately start playing the game. Very clever indeed.

Not an RPG but a supplement - but what a supplement. Nothing in recent pop culture can match the sheer power, presence and coolness of The Phantom Menace, but with WEG losing the license to Wizards, the old school of Star Wars roleplayers were missing out big time on expanding their game into this extended setting. Like all Lucas' stuff, this was a movie that tapped so perfectly into boyhood adventures that you walked out of the cinema just dying to get out there and pilot your fighter against the Droid army to save the Naboo. For TPM to go un-supplemented was a tragedy. Luckily, Mike Hall stepped up to the mark and filled this gaping whole. Better still, he did a first class job of it, producing a supplement of quality above and beyond what you usually find on the shelves, with a full professional layout and style. Every Star Wars gamer needs to print this sucker out. Find it here.

This is not so much an RPG as a parody of a supplement, but it is - for once - a very good parody of something which is parodied often but usually not well. Check out Big Gun World, a new Worldbook for RIFTS.

Uncle Bear, a huge Canadian RPG conglomeration site, also hosts and contains links to many free RPGs. A complete list is on this page.

This page isn't a free RPG, but it is worth a mention. ChimeraWeb is a weekly pseudo-ezine looking at roleplaying, gaming, books, comics and other pop culture artefacts. Almost all of it is written by the editor, Ian O'Rourke, but he's an incisive chap and very prolific. A decent read, and it has plenty of potential.

Found a hot new site on the net? Discovered the missing link? Let us know here.

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