Podcast: My 40 years in the RPG business

A Swedish English-language podcast interviews me about my long career as a designer of role-playing games. I explain how I reason when I create rules and settings. Lots about Tolkien’s Middle-earth and Traveller.


Another Star Is Lit

Two days ago, Krister Sundelin of Helmgast and I dined at a steakhouse here in Stockholm and discussed how to proceed with collaborations after my successful campaign setting Sorgeveden for his fantasy RPG Hjältarnas Tid. Right now, Krister has a something entirely different on his drawing board and we agreed that I would write an adventure for it — whatever it might be — at some time during 2019. This will be fun!

“Thriller” Published at DriveThruRPG

The facsimile edition of my old-school Swedish espionage/gumshoe/parallel worlds RPG Thriller is now also available as a PDF download at DriveThruRPG.

The download costs 80 SEK, that is, about €8. It consists of reproductions of the original typewritten 62 pages from 1983-84, without illustrations or graphic design, plus an explanatory foreword. A more old-school product than that is hardly possible.

Go to Thriller’s DriveThruRPG page by clicking on the picture or on this link >>>

If you want the printed version of Thriller, it is sold at Amazon — link >>>


“Thriller”: Jag publicerar mitt första rollspel

Summary in English: An facsimile edition of my first Swedish RPG, called Thriller, is now available at Amazon.

Jag har publicerat, Thriller, mitt första rollspel på Amazon: köp spelet här — länk >>>

Thriller är ett actioninriktat agent/deckar/äventyrar-rollspel och det första spel som jag konstruerade själv. Under sommarlovet 1983 arbetade jag som ensam nattvakt på en fabrik i min hemstad Göteborg. Nätterna var sega och trista, så jag tog med min skrivmaskin till vaktkuren och skrev Thriller under händelselösa timmar mellan patrullrundorna. Chefen godtog detta, eftersom skrivandet höll mig vaken.

Thrillers setting bygger på agentseriernas värld med hjältar som åker till exotiska platser för att rädda världen från exempelvis maktgalna diktatorer eller internationella brottslingar. Inspirationen kom från dåtida teveserier och serietidningar.

Under 1984 mekade jag vidare med Thriller samtidigt som jag slutförde mina universitetsstudier och skrev Traveller-artiklar åt Journal of Travellers’ Aid Society. Under det året expanderade jag Thriller med Äventyrens värld, en science-fiction-setting där äventyrarna utforskar Jordens parallella tidslinjer; alternativa världshistorier har ju alltid roat mig. Settingen beskrivs på bokens elva avslutande sidor.

Thriller är självklart oldschool – spelet skrevs ju under den epoken – med en BRP-regelmotor baserad på 1T20. Den här boken är en faksimilutgåva av originalmanuset som skrevs på en mekanisk skrivmaskin; sidorna innehåller därför bara skrivmaskinstext utan typografiska krusiduller eller illustrationer.

The Tiger’s First Illustration

Earlier I have mentioned that my adult daughter Elin (a.k.a. the Tiger) now works as an illustrator for some of my RPG ventures. We have formed Team Fox. Elin’s mundane occupation is as a student at an art & design school.

In Elin’s first project, I have asked for a simple comic-book look; here is a resulting watercolor of an adventurous journalist for the apocalyptic 1950s Australian setting “Oz Is Drowning”.

Copyright 2019 Elin Blixt

Looking back, looking ahead

Traditionally, late December is a time for summarizing the past year and taking a look at what the next year might entail. Here in my blog I focus on my writing endeavors — what’s been accomplished in 2018 and what I hope work with in 2019.

2018: My Accomplishments

  1. Partisan, the Great Surprise: In March, somebody found the sole remaining printout of the legendary and never-published Swedish RPG Partisan and gave it to me. It deals with foreign occupation of our country, presented in the four settings Brown (Nazi Germany), Red (Cold War Soviet), Blue (Cold War with an authoritarian United States), and Ultraviolet (nefarious aliens from space). Serendipity: everybody had thought that the game was lost forever, but here is my incomplete manuscript from when the game was shelved thirty years ago. The printout nowadays rests securely in a safe. Link (Swedish) >>>
  2. During the autumn, I launched my Patreon page, where you can sponsor my writing role-playing games (RPGs) and get various goodies, such as the extant three Partisan settings Red, Blue, and Ultraviolet; and Thriller, my unpublished RPG manuscript from 1983 (espionage and sleuthing in the vein of the original Mission Impossible TV series). Link (English) >>>
  3. In October, Helmgast published Sorgeveden, my campaign setting for Krister Sundelin’s fantasy RPG Hjältarnas Tid. The book depicts an immense forest, stretching from spruces and birches in the subarctic north to jungles in the tropics. Link (Swedish) >>>
  4. In November, I delivered Märk hur vår skugga, an introductory adventure to the new edition of Chock, a Swedish horror RPG that will be published by Eloso in 2019. Link (Swedish) >>>
  5. In December, I launched my product page on DriveThruRPG. So far, it is a trial version, but I intend to use it to sell English PDFs of Traveller settings and other “stuff”. Link (English) >>>
  6. In December, my adult daughter Elin, aka the Tiger, joined forces with me as Team Fox. She is currently a student at an art & design school and she will illustrate some products that will get published at DriveThruRPG. Link (English) >>>
  7. In December, I published Dust & The Road, a paperback with two dieselpunk shortstories that are partially based on my experiences of serving in Afghanistan ten years ago. The stories introduce my setting Patchwork World, a fragmented steampunk & dieselpunk world. Link (English) >>>

Q4 2018 was obviously a hectic time. When I look at the list above, I feel contented with what I achieved.

2019: My intentions

  1. Since 2014, I have planned to make a revised version of the vintage Swedish postapocalyptic RPG Wastelands, but I quickly encountered various snags and obstacles. When Tove & Anders Gillbring a few years later decided to produce Freeway Warrior as an RPG, we agreed that I would turn Wastelands into a Swedish setting for the game. My vision is best summarized as “Lars Molin meets Mad Max”. Tove’s cancer has repeatedly delayed the project, but I hope we can get it moving during 2019.
  2. The hush-hush job: I have made a deal with an publisher about a major RPG project. A non-disclosure agreement prevents me from mentioning details until the publisher has announced the venture. But I am already working on it, and the production team has had fruitful brainstorming sessions on Skype. My deadline is late 2019. Yeah, I feel good about this project.
  3. Dusk and Dawn is a standalone steampunk novella taking place in Patchwork World, though far from the locations of “Dusk” and “The Road”. I have written the first half of the story and and I hope to complete it in 2019. Link (English) >>>
  4. I have outlined a Traveller universe with distinctive qualities, grimmer than the one Marc Miller developed. It’s there to be written when I get time for it. It will sooner or later get published via DriveThruRPG. What rules? Well, probably one set of Cepheus Light and one set of BRP.
  5. I have outlined a dieselpunk RPG, working name Iron Empires, that takes places in an alternate timeline. The game will get at least two Terrestrial and one Martian setting. It is too early to go into details, but you’ll get updates in my blog when I have something substantial to tell. My plan is to publish Iron Empires via DriveThroughRPG, using a variant of the Cepheus Engine rules.

I don’t expect to complete all these projects during 2019, but if I get sunny weather with the wind in my back, and there is plenty of coffee in my thermos flask of holding, I might walk a part of my road. However, an ancient word of wisdom cautions us: Man supposes, God disposes.