Articles related to the role playing game industry, design, reviews and critiques of games on our site. If you would like to contribute an article, please send it to us using our submission form!

Clinton Nixon’s Audio Report from

Friday, November 18th, 2005

Here’s a really interesting interview with Clinton R. Nixon of fame. Here’s the creator of one of the coolest indie-rpg websites around today talking in depth about his hobby, websites, and where the industry is headed. I highly recommend taking the time to check it out. He mentions the Ronnies, 2004 Hour RPG, 1KM1KT, and some of our other favorite topics.

Thanks to for producing and publishing the interview.

Contagion: War Stories

Saturday, November 12th, 2005

The world of Contagion is frightening, yet familiar. To many people, the world is no different than our own. The laws are the same, the societies are the same, and the same tragedies and triumphs affect most people. Of course, most people are clueless about the true nature of the world around them. Since the beginning of time a War has raged in the shadows. The forces of Heaven and Hell fight over the souls of man. Good and evil lash out at one another beneath a thin cover of secrecy and misdirection: a cover that grows thinner as mankind advances technologically and the world becomes smaller. Men and women from all walks of life are dragged unwittingly into this conflict.

These are their stories.

Contagion: War Stories is a short fiction anthology from Aegis Studios. This anthology contains thirteen stories of horror and strife, written by some of today s newest up and coming authors. Based on the Contagion roleplaying game, this anthology contains tales of the soldiers, bystanders, and victims of the War between Heaven and Hell.

Contagion: War Stories features masterfully executed tales by Anthony Andorra, Chris Delloiacono, C.T Gerow, MaGnUs, Kenneth Mack, Royal McGraw, Vernon Bo McGuffee II, Luke Pierce, Christopher J Pisano & Brian Koscienski, Cathleen Stark, ssg, and Contagion developer Travis Legge.

Contagion: War Stories features interior art by Alex Rodriguez, Vernon Bo McGuffee II, and Travis Legge.

Coming November 3th, 2005. 2 pages. Cover Price: $1.99 plus shipping and handling

To commemorate this earth-shattering news, we have posted a free sample chapter from War Stories on our yahoo group: All you need to do is join up, and you can download this FULL chapter for free!

Tell your friends, Contagion: War Stories is coming soon!

Patchwork Universe

Tuesday, November 1st, 2005

“We are all patchwork, and so shapeless and diverse in composition that each bit, each moment, plays its own game.”
~ Michel de Montaigne

Patchwork Universe is an online storytelling and roleplaying shared universe experiment, created by author Rhiannon Lassiter in association with a team of writers, roleplayers and game designers from around the world. It is an exercise in co-operative storytelling taking advantage of a variety of internet utilities to link and branch storylines across a group of widely variant locations and involving characters with disparate abilities, intentions and paradigms.

“Once upon a time a group of entities who called themselves Gods discovered or created an area of space they could control. To this place they brought small patches from a variety of worlds, each chosen for one particular person who had caught the interest of the Gods. Over time, more segments of worlds were brought to the patchwork and some of the original patches vanished, while others remained for long enough to discover some of the secrets of the universe. It was proven that time, space, and even death were all under the control of the Gods but their purposes in creating the patchwork remained a mystery.” ~ The Patchwork History

Patchwork had a beta-test phase in 24 and was officially launched in July 25. To find out more about the game please read the starting information. To join the game for free please fill in the signup form. Once your form has been submitted you will be emailed by a member of the current team of gamesmasters to discuss your character and then registered on the forums by the webmaster with your own character and patch.

“The patchwork today is reasonably peaceful, although travellers are less inclined to small talk, since most are occupied in furthering their own aims and ambitions. New patches are appearing at a considerable rate and although seasoned travellers will often stop to give some advice to newcomers, this can come at a price… Those attempting to understand the current divine agenda have proposed a number of names for this age. Is it the age of aliens, or of cats, or perhaps the beginning of a second age of heroes? There appear to be shifting alliances among the Gods and while some appear to be taking a back seat, others are increasing their activity. As always in the patchwork, the future is uncertain.” ~ The Patchwork Today


Sunday, October 23rd, 2005

Did you ever stumble on one of your own friend’s blogs and find out that they’re way more/less interesting than you ever imagined? Here’s one of mine. Let’s send him a thousand readers so he thinks he’s cool. Better yet, let’s send him a thousand e-mails telling him. Or just check out the blog – it’s surprisingly interesting.

1KM1KT Braces For Hurricane Rita

Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

To all of the 1KM1KT visitors and subscribers:

This message is intended to inform our visitors that we are based in the Dallas, Fort Worth area of Texas and are currently expecting some involvement with hurricane Rita over the next few days. Although we are not anticipating power outages or things of that nature, they are certainly a possiblity. If you notice any problems with the site rest assured that we are monitoring the situation and any problems will be resolved as quickly as possible.

Wish us luck, and send your good thoughts out to our evacuee friends from Houston as well as the already uprooted Katrina refugees. Remember you too can help, and every little bit is important.

1KM1KT Hosts RPG Contests

Thursday, April 21st, 2005

1KM1KT has been hosting a lot of independent RPG contests lately and we’re really enjoying it. The contests we’ve hosted are inspiring authors to get up and get writing and are really pushing RPG authors to develop their potential.

With that in mind, this is the official announcement that 1KM1KT is open to hosting your RPG contest or project. We want to hear about anything and everything you have in mind to get people motivated and more involved in the hobby. Check out our submissions page for details, and send us your ideas today.

Roleplaying in the Computer Age

Thursday, April 21st, 2005

Travos looked around him at his new surroundings. The small keep behind him was a strong stone structure and in good repair. On the other side of the road directly opposite the keep stood a small group of people. They were merchants. They stood next to a vending wagon that had been opened to display its wares. Beyond them, just where the forest began to thicken, Travos thought he saw the signs of a passing pack of wolves. The beasts appear to have been wandering far too close to the keep and its populace. Travos would have to do something about that. Just ahead of him one of the guardsmen was trying to get Travos’ attention. The guard seemed anxious about something. Something was wrong.

Jennifer moved her mouse pointer over the figure of the guard and clicked on him. The figure had a little exclamation point floating over his head that told Jennifer that the guard had something important to say to her character, Travos. She watched the computer screen as Travos quickly moved over to stand next to the guard.

Travos took a deep breath as he approached the man. Today would be the first day of a grand adventure.

“How do I use the games on this site?”

Many gamers today relate role-playing games to computer games. The computer role-playing game (abbreviated RPG) is actually a migration of a game that people can play together around a table. The migration from tabletop to computer is a popular trend in gaming. Many games have made this transition. When is the last time you saw someone playing solitaire at a table with a deck of playing cards? When is the last time you saw someone play solitaire at their computer?

Like solitaire, computer RPGs and MMORPGs began life at the tabletop. This site is full of various rules systems and mechanics for playing the tabletop version of an RPG. When you click on one of the game documents provided on this site, you receive a set of guideline for playing your own role-playing game at home with your friends.

Most of the game documents available here assume that you as “the reader” have some experience with this kind of RPG. This article is intended for those people who find their way to this site and have never played an RPG at the tabletop before.

Tabletop Role-playing Basics

“How does it work?”

Imagine that you are sitting around your dining room table with a few of your friends. One of your friends is describing a scene to you:

You are standing in front of a small keep. The keep is a strong looking stone structure in good repair. On the other side of the road opposite the keep is a wagon. The wagon is open and various items have been laid out on it for display. It looks like there may be some articles of clothing and also some basic weapons here. A few people stand near the wagon keeping an eye on it and its contents. Beyond the vender wagon there is a tree line, the beginnings of a forest. You think that you can see some kind of animal tracks in the ground near the trees. On the road ahead of you a man is approaching. He is dressed in chain armor and the heraldry on his surcoat indicates that he is affiliated with the keep behind you. You think that he might be a castle guard. He is heading your direction and appears to want to speak with you. What do you do?


Most tabletop RPGs assume that one person will take the role of a special kind of player called the Game Master. This person will describe the game world to the other players, set the scene for them and help them to “visualize” in their imaginations where their characters are and what they are doing at the moment.


The other players each adopt the role of a singular character within the game world. These players (generally from 2 to 4 in number) will listen to the descriptions provided by the GM and respond to the GM’s descriptions by answering the question, “What do you do?”

Jennifer responds to the GM’s description. “I want Travos to go look at the animal tracks to see what they are, but since this guy seems like he wants to talk to me, I’ll wait to do that for a minute and go up to him. Travos will walk up to the castle guard and say, *Greetings, sir. Are you a guard here at this keep?*” Jennifer speaks on behalf of her character, Travos and addresses the guard that the GM has described to her.

Other players around the table will each take a turn to describe the actions of their characters. This is how role-playing around a tabletop works.

The Game Master will have a set of “encounters” in mind before the game session begins. These encounters are meant to provide an impetus for the other players and to give their characters some motivation to take action. The string of encounters and player responses when taken together will work to tell a sort of adventure story.

“Interesting, but what makes this a game?”

RPGs are generally meant to simulate dramatic adventure stories. Adventure stories are often filled with perilous action sequences that endanger the heroes of the story in some manner. To simulate this sense of danger an element of uncertainty is introduced into the game play.

Before there were RPGs there were miniature battle games. War game simulations that used miniature figures to represent troops have been used by combat tacticians for centuries. These war simulations evolved over the years into battle games played by hobbyists. At first the intent of these games was to recreate historical battles. Then, thanks largely to the popularity of a fictional work of magical high fantasy called, “The Lord of the Rings” players began to introduce more fantastical elements into their battle simulations.

This was the beginning of an evolution that was to become the modern RPG. It is important to note the origins of this hobby because it will help to explain the other primary focus of an RPG.


The guard steps up to you. He wears concern on his face and diverts his gaze over to the tree line and into the forest. “Greetings …” He addresses you. “I was told that help might be coming. The wolves have grown very active recently and people have grown afraid. Conflict with the kingdom to the north has the castle guard worn thin and we haven’t the manpower to deal with the problem. The baron has placed a bounty on wolf pelts in hopes that enterprising mercenaries and trappers might journey here and help to thin the population.”

Assuming the player characters decide to accept this challenge, the above encounter is meant to provide the PCs with a reason to venture out into the forest and do battle with wolves. In most role-playing games combat is very structured and played in turns just like any other game a group of people might play around a table. On their turn each PC could roll some dice and consult the rules of the game to determine if they were able to hit and injure the wolf. The GM would also take a turn on the wolf’s behalf rolling dice to try to hit and injure one of the PCs.

The rules about how combat works and what the numbers mean when you roll dice vary greatly from game to game. This is what the rules documents are about. There are different ideas for generating numbers and resolving conflicts. There are also many different settings and backgrounds. Maybe the PCs will pretend to be brave knights and warriors in a medieval world filled with dragons and magic. Maybe they are super powered vigilantes who don spandex costumes to patrol the streets of a modern city and fight to keep it free of crime. Maybe they are star faring pirates who travel in a space ship from planet to planet looking for treasure.


Jennifer has told the GM that Travos would accept the guard’s suggestion and venture into the forest in search of wolves. She has told the GM that Travos is following the tracks he saw earlier and that he is keeping his eyes peeled for danger.

The GM tells Jennifer that a gigantic wolf has jumped out from the underbrush to attack her.

The GM tells Jennifer to roll to see who goes first.

The GM rolls for the wolf and Jennifer also rolls. Jennifer rolls higher so she gets to go first.

Jennifer explains that she wants Travos to try to hit the wolf with his sword. The GM tells Jennifer what she must roll in order to hit and she rolls her dice. The roll is high enough so Travos hits the wolf with his sword.

Jennifer rolls more dice to determine how much damage the sword blow does to the wolf and the GM reduces the wolf’s “life” by the damage amount.

Both the GM and Jennifer have note paper in front of them. On this paper are various pieces of information. Like how much damage Travos’ sword inflicts or how much “life” the wolf has.

It’s now the GM’s turn and he describes to Jennifer how the wolf lunges back at Travos and tries to bite him. The GM rolls the dice but doesn’t roll high enough for the wolf to hit Travos so Travos evades the attack and his able to take his turn again.

Jennifer rolls to hit the wolf again and rolls high enough to hit. She rolls damage again and the GM reduces this additional damage from the wolf’s remaining “life.” This new damage drops the wolf’s life total down to less than zero and the GM reports to Jennifer that the wolf falls to the ground lifeless and defeated.

“How does the GM know what number Jennifer needs to roll for Travos to hit?”

“How does the GM know how much “life” the wolf has? How much damage a sword does?”

That’s what the RPG rules are for. Rules will answer these questions and make it possible for the Player Characters and the Game Master to simulate all manner of physical conflicts.

If you can, find someone who has played a tabletop RPG before and ask them to be your GM. If not, review this introduction again, and read the rules presented in any one of the free game downloads. Once you think you have a good “feel” for how things should go in your head, give it a try. There is no teacher better than hands-on experience. Oh, and feel free to post questions in the forums here. We love questions!

“Why play this way… why not just play a computer game?”

The Game Master has the freedom to create any manner of story they can imagine. The Player Characters can respond to the situations presented by a living Game Master in ways a computer could never predict. Tabletop RPG’s are about creative freedom. This method of gaming also offers a level of social interaction unequalled by the computer world of instant messages.

There is nothing better than sitting down around the table with a few friends, ordering a pizza or two and losing yourself in a world of fantastic adventure. You will build memories together that will last the rest of your life.

1KM1KT Published Authors

Saturday, March 19th, 2005

Today I checked the 1KM1KT mailbox like I do every morning (yes, all the e-mails are read by the monkeys at 1KM1KT) and found the following:


My name is Kevin Scott of UKG Publishing; we have today completed and signed a contract with Joe Prince to publish his role-play game Piledrivers and Powerbombs. We now own the copyright to this game. We would therefore be grateful if you can remove the above free download from your website. Should you wish to replace this item with a link to the E-version of this product we can provide a link to a paid download.

We thank you for your co-operation in this matter and should you wish to contact us, please just reply to this email. Should we have written to the wrong email address please either forward a copy of this email intact to the correct person, or reply with the responsible persons email address. You can of course also phone us on +44 1723 XXXXXX we are based in the UK

Naturally, this type of e-mail has mixed emotions for me. On the one hand, I’m thrilled that one of our members has made the leap from RPG enthusiast to published author, and it makes me happy to think that maybe our site contributed to their success in some small way. On the other hand, We’re always sad to have to take down our precious online RPG content – especially when it’s something we’ve really enjoyed.

I guess for now we’ll have to continue to settle for the idea that we’re doing our job of getting the word out there for RPG authors. That said I’d like to take this opportunity to salute all of the members of 1KM1KT, both past a present, who have had the gumption to get out there and take their work to a higher level.

RPGs Off My Shelf – February

Thursday, February 3rd, 2005

Its been a little bit. Life has a habit of getting in the way of my internet life. I know I am not the only one, but it still annoys the hell out of me. So, time to get back into the swing of things. This month, I am working on one of the other major roleplaying game genres – horror. Let me be up front, I normally really dislike horror rpgs. I have yet to see horror treated in the same manner in rpgs as novels or movies – those two mediums pick up the feelings that horror creates so much better than most roleplaying games. While I think rpgs are the ideal medium for Sci-fi and fantasy, not so for horror. For my money, there are very few quality horror rpgs out there, but here are few that I’ve found that are worth your time.

However, the good horror rpgs' I mean the really good ones, knock my socks off and rank as some of the best rpgs ever produced. The key to being one of the great rpgs is twofold: 1) the rpg has to have a great setting, and 2) the rpg has to lend itself to some great gamemastering. Now, as a setting junkie, we’ll address this first. The best horror rpgs are going to be the ones with the great settings. The second part of my criteria is much harder for me to articulate since the game needs to lend itself to a good gamemaster using the rpg and forming it into something creepy' something scary. Rules, setting, mood, and, most importantly, a good gamemaster are the things that make an rpg lend itself to good gamemastering (a bit circular, I admit).

So, with a concentration on my first criteria, but with an eye towards my second let’s get to the meat-and-potatoes of this article:
My Top Five Horror rpg settings
Honorable mention:

Nightmares of Mine (I.C.E)- not actually a setting, and just barely an rpg supplement, this book is absolutely invaluable to a horror gamemaster. Ken Hite hits a homerun in his analysis of the horror genre and advice on how to treat it with respect in horror rpgs. Buy this book if you run (or want to run) a horror rpg.

Kult 3rd ed. (Paradox Entertainment)- Three incarnations and still going strong. It takes a heavy dose of Gnosticism and the creepy parts of Christianity to create a nifty dystopic otherworld. Think Hellraiser and you are not far off.

Wraith (White Wolf): Someone else said it better than I ever could: Wraith I the greatest game no one plays. While it has some wonderfully creepy ideas, the mechanics and weird setting hurt the playabilty of the game.

Obsidian (Apophis Consortium): So close, yet so very far.

5. All Flesh Must be Eaten (Eden Studios). The zombie survival rpg. Anytime you think of a game that will feature zombies heavily, this is the game that should be at the top of most lists. AFMBE is a toolbox game, everything you want or need to run the game is in the core book. Right from the start AFMBE presents a lot of options for creating zombies and the book is that much stronger for all those options. I am a fan of zombie flicks, and it took me a while to finally admit AFMBE is the game for zombies- but it really is. Eden did a great job with the game.

The Unisystem engine for AFMBE is quite solid and there are a lot of people who think the Unisystem engine is second-to-none. Part of the reason AFMBE is such a good game is how seamlessly it works with the Eden engine. From tense escape sequences to full fledged firefights, Unisystem handles the possibilities of AFMBE well.

The art in AFMBE is great. I am under the understanding that AFMBE was co-imagined with Christopher Shy, and his stellar artwork is all over AFMBE (including the cover). Interspersed with some solid pencil work, the feel that AFMBE conveys is quite appropriate for the genre. The writing is pretty mechanical, with the occasional additions for color. All-in-all, AFMBE does a fine job in creating the basics for games with zombies.

My problem with AFMBE is that it is too general. There are options for settings (some of which are great, others are uninspiring) but nothing that reallt defines AFMBE as a great horror game. The addition of some really off-the wall options (while useful), and some really kitsch settings hurt the ability to really create a creepy atmosphere. As a toolbox AFMBE has no equal, as a horror rpg it has potential, but is left behind.

The current in-print version of AFMBE is the 2nd edition. Either edition is okay though- the tweaks to 2nd edition are nice but not a deal-breaker. The supplements are all solid with one exception. I would avoid the Book of Archetypes 2 (it is too repetitive and uncreative when compared to the 1st).

4. Orpheus (White Wolf). I really, really like Orpheus. It was developed by one of most favorite personalities in the rpg industry, Lucien Soulban. Mr Soulban has been the creative force behind some of the best rpg supplements in existence (Vimary for Tribe 8 and Montreal by Night to name two). When I heard he was going to be at the helm of the 6-book limited run of the Orpheus line, I could not have thought of anyone better for the job. Much to my delight, Mr. Soulban did an excellent job with Orpheus.

Orpheus is a full game line, setting, and epic adventure wrapped up in a tidy 6-book set (the core book and five supplements). The game’s setting almost begs for some great games to be run. Basically, you play operatives for a private company (the Orpheus Group) that hunt ghosts. The thing that makes Orpheus stay in business is the fact that its operatives can project their souls into the spirit world- ensuring their “ghostbusting” lends results. Of course, this is a White Wolf game, so you as PCs you get all sorts of nifty powers to go along with projecting your soul.

The successor to the Wraith line (see above), Orpheus was, in my opinion, a successful way of making Wraith playable. Much of the backstory and metaplot of the Wraith line carry over into Orpheus, slowly bleeding over into a truly marvelous campaign. As the campaign unfolds over the five supplements, new powers, new character options, new enemies, and new revelations are revealed- making the Orpheus line fit together seamlessly. Because the supplements work so well together and help create a full campaign that progresses over time, Orpheus is arguably the best use of metaplot used in an rpg. Quite useful, especially for a horror rpg.

Orpheus is at times Creepy, mysterious, and tense. The art is largely quite good, some of the best art in a White Wolf line, ever. More importantly, the art reflects the text quite closely (something I really appreciate)- helping create an idea of what the horrors of Orpheus look like. A nice touch, really. The text is filled with lots of color entries, balancing the art to help add even more description to the world.

The place where Orpheus trips up as a horror rpg is in the non-horror elements that creep in to most of the supplements. Some of the creatures that are introduced are patently not scary or creepy- but simply silly. Also, as the plot progresses Orpheus moves away from its horror roots to be a bit more of an action-adventure game- which hurts the mood set by earlier books. Understand, this is the goal of the Orpheus line- to grow and change with the metaplot. However, taken as a whole, Orpheus loses too much of its horror roots to be ranked as one of the top three horror prgs.

3. Call of Cthulhu (Chaosium and various publishers). The father of all horror rpgs. HP Lovecraft was as much surrealist as horror writer, and the two aspects of his writing work remarkably well together- not only in his rendition of the Dreamlands, but in creating creatures that man was not supposed to know. Many of the tropes and core assumptions found in subsequent horror rpgs first started with Call of Cthulhu. There are reams and reams of discussion on Call of Cthulhu and HP Lovecraft’s work, so I will refrain from going to deep into the relative merits of the game. Rest assured, it is a nifty setting that works exceptionally well with the BRP (Basic Roleplaying) system.

Call of Cthulhu is a great setting that, unfortunately, has not aged well. Cthulhu is no longer scary in my mind. Unfortunately, through no real fault of Call of Cthulhu, the Mythos just isn’t mysterious anymore. Part of what makes the mythos great as antagonists is the mystery that surrounds them- they are supposed to be unknowable- beyond the understanding of normal men. However, to get the feeling of mystery and awe that Call of Cthulhu elicited over a decade ago, you have to start moving beyond the mythos as defined by Lovecraft or start anew with a new setting (as we will see below). CoC is a victim of its own success.

Don’t get me wrong, CoC can still be run as a scary rpg, but it takes a lot of work on the part of the GM and a savvy group to help move beyond what they already know and assume about the mythos to get really scared by a game. The key is having a really good gamemaster that understands the themes behind Lovecraft’s work- however; a gamemaster of that skill could make any horror game scary. In CoC’s case a good gameaster is more necessary than most other games- and so it gets the third spot.

2. Delta Green (Pagan Publishing). Delta Green is Call of Cthulhu, updated and made sexy (“sexy” like in the smoldering eyes of a goth chick who you know is nothing but trouble). Delta Green is widely regarded as one of the best rpgs on the market, and deservedly so. DG takes the tropes and themes of CoC and uses them to take the mythos into new and exciting (and mysterious) directions. The end result is a new game that brings the tense and terrifying atmosphere of Call of Cthulhu back. Still based on the standard (if uninspiring) BRP system, the real gem of this game is the setting.

In Delta Green you play a government agent (or other suitably well established PC) that is slowly confronting the mythos. Delta Green is a disgraced secret branch of the U.S, government that is now part of a grand conspiracy that fights the mythos. Delta Green is a loose alliance of likeminded individuals (of which the PCs form a cell) that have seen things that should not be and whose lives have changed as a result. Delta Green is about mystery and discovery, and the ultimate costs for those discoveries. There are malevolent intelligences at work against Earth, and the PCs are the unwitting vanguard that fights against those intelligences.

The genius behind Delta Green is that it gives the characters the mundane tools to defeat the mythos- and it falls to the PCs to discover that those tools are still inadequate. Minor aspects of the mythos are emphasized in DG, giving the mythos a bit of a different feel' different enough to make it new and cryptic. Moreover, there are new aspects to the mythos that are introduced, and are done in such a way as to blend with the existing mythos wonderfully. The key is that the writers (some of the best in the business) understand the background to the Lovecraftian mythos and can extrapolate the horror inherent in that background.

Delta Green’s setting is spectacular. If it is the setting that really makes a horror rpg scary, you simply cannot go wrong with Delta Green. The only reason this is not number one is that I think my number one choice holds to the horror genre a bit more firmly- not straying into possible action/adventure as can potentially happen with Delta Green.

1. Little Fears (Key 2). This is my favorite horror rpg, bar none. Jason Blair, the man behind Key 2 is one of my favorite writers/developers along with Lucien Soulban- and part of the reason I like both of them is my unending respect for how they handle the horror genre. With Little Fears Mr. Blair created the definitive horror rpg, staying firmly within the genre while creating a wonderfully evocative setting and suitably colorful system to complement the setting. Little Fears is amazing stuff.

In LF you are a child no older than 12. You face a frightening world, literally. The fears f your childhood are real, and they have a very malevolent reason for wanting your child PC dead (or tortured, or whatever). Shadows are things to be avoided. Under the bed the breathing you thought was the wind is actually the creature’s breath your mom told you does not exist. The closet is' well, lets not even talk about the closet. As a child, you stand alone. In LF your PC is under-equipped, under-trained (obviously), and with none of the resources of society to help you in your desperate fight. Now that is a horror setting.

One of the big things that makes Little Fears my favorite horror rpg is the gaming system. Basically, it is a rules light system that relies more on description and imagination to help drive task resolution. The character sheet is suitably simple but also help create the right atmosphere of isolation and helplessness (honestly, I can’t think of another character sheet that helps promote the feel of the game better than the little two page character sheet in the back of LF).

The writing in LF is suitably creepy and disturbing. The art is overall pretty good, and again, follows the text pretty closely. Little Fears is one of the few games I really consider a product that should only be used by mature gamers- simply for the disturbing themes it promotes. Little fears has all the elements of a great horror rpg- good art, great and descriptive writing, a suitable system, and an amazingly horrific setting.

Get a good GM, turn off the lights, and play a game or two for Little Fears. You will be part of those rare games that you end up bragging about at conventions.

Agree? Disagree? Feel free to pop over to the forums and voice your opinion.

Thanks, and see you in a bit.

Chris Gunning

Pay per click advertising, web hosting and banner ads

Sunday, January 30th, 2005

Someone recently asked me if I had any suggestions for RPG authors who were ready to launch their product. Since I think everyone needs their own website, I wrote this article to give budding RPG enthusiasts some tips on creating their own online marketing machine through the magic of pay per click advertising, web hosting and banner ads.

You gotta have a website!

If you’re going to succeed in marketing your product online, you’ll need a website. Nothing fancy at first, maybe just a few pages describing who you are, a little about your product and where to buy. Sites that have been around a long time have more impact on marketing tools like search engines, so register a domain name, get some web hosting or a dedicated server, and build your site as soon as possible. Here are some links I used when building 1km1kt:
Web hosting:

When I first built 1KM1KT, I knew I was going to need a webhost. I spent a lot of time reading reviews and trolling the webmaster forums for a good deal and eventually found what I was looking for with Lunarpages Web Hosting. Lunarpages offers pretty much everything you need to start a website with plenty of room to grow when you’re ready. They had lots of storgae space, bandwidth, and the tech support is really good. They also came with lots of extras like php, mysql databases, add-on domains, unlimited e-mail accounts and the most intuitive control panel I’ve come across to date.

Although our website is free to the public, we occassionally have to make or receive payment. Our preferred method is the Paypal Business account which is free to open and allows us to make payments to online merchants as well as receive them from other Paypal members. The Paypal service also allows us to accept straight credit card payments when the need arises.
Domain name registration:

Since you’ll have to have a domain name (like ours – check out GoDaddy. Their prices are reasonable and you’ll have full control over every aspect of the domain. I like GoDaddy because they’ve been a pioneer in the industry and aren’t a small time domain registration reseller like you’ll find everywhere else.
Site design and maintenance:

Random Development is a group of freelance webdesigners that can help with site design, maintenance, management, and programming. They operate their own webserververs if you want them to host your site and are a consistent source of good advice for us.
Driving the traffic
There are two primary ways I’ve found to drive traffic to your website – pay per click advertising and banner ads. With pay per click and banner ads it’s just a matter of shelling out the bucks to bring traffic to your site. Here’s what we’ve found works best:

Google is the first place anyone looking to advertise online should begin. Their system is simple to use, ads are placed immediately, it’s affordable for most topics and managing campaigns is simple. With a five dollar down payment, you can be on your way in about 15 minutes. This tool is extremely powerful for bringing customers to your site, so be sure you’re only paying for Google placement for people who will buy your products.

Banner ads, on the other hand, are a little less scientific. Purchasing a banner ad on a website can be a crap shoot with the amount of traffic and buyers you’ll receive. When hunting for banner advertisers, try typing in keywords and phrases that you think potential buyers would use to find your type of product into your favorite search engine. Start looking into the advertising costs of any website found in the top ten positions for your keyword. These will most likely give you the highest return on your investment.

The big advice to consider with an online advertising campaign is to keep your target audience in mind and to carefully monitor your return on investment verse your advertising costs.