CAR-PGa NEWSLETTER, Vol. 29, No. 6, June 2020

David Millians, Editor

Paideia School, 1509 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia 30307 USA


Hello All,

Before the world was struck by a pandemic, we discussed the role the CAR-PGA can play in promoting diversity and inclusion. With protests raging in the U.S. over the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department, the CAR-PGA’s changes to our membership and mission statement are more relevant than ever. We proposed three amendments with a voting period that lasted until March 31 and received no dissenting votes from our membership, so effective immediately we have made the following changes.

  • By-Law Amendment #1: Addition to “Article 2: Purpose”: Promoting and supporting efforts to provide inclusive games and environments, online and offline. The CAR-PGa strongly supports diversity and inclusion in gaming. We believe gaming should be for everyone.
  • By-Law Amendment #2: Addition to “Article 3: Membership,” inspired by Gen Con’s policy (2.5, between 2 and 3): The CAR-PGa is committed to promoting a safe gaming environment where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. Harassment or unwelcome conduct of our membership, whether verbal, physical, visual, or in any other form, is strictly prohibited. The CAR-PGa defines harassment as any behavior that threatens a person or group or produces an unsafe or non-inclusive environment. Harassment includes, but is not limited to, offensive verbal comments or non-verbal expressions related to gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, or religious beliefs. Harassment may take the form of intentionally rude and repeated comments, slurs, highly offensive jokes, or dissemination of graphic material. Harassment does not include respectful disagreement or critique offered in good faith. Any complaints or concerns about a member may be submitted anonymously to the Board of Directors and will be investigated within thirty (30) days of the inquiry. If CAR-PGa members are found to have violated the Code of Conduct, they may have their membership revoked as per Article 3.4 by a two-thirds majority vote of the Board.
  • By-Law Amendment #3: Edit to “Article 3.5: Membership”: § 5. There shall be two classes of membership, active and inactive, distinguished by the amount of dues under § 2 of this article. Membership of active or inactive members includes participation in the Google and LinkedIn groups and receiving the monthly newsletter by email. The thresholds for gaining and losing active status may be different from each other. Only active members have the right to vote. The Chair shall establish a system to give proper weight to different works for the cause with the advice and consent of the Board of Directors, but no change to this system or to the active/inactive threshold(s) shall take effect less than three months after passing. Dues shall expire one year after being credited.

To make our by-laws more accessible, they are now available on our web site and visible to the public. You can view the updated by-laws here.

For an overview of how you can sign a petition, donate, or learn more about the history of racial inequality and social justice in America, this link is a good place to start.

I hope these small steps will put us on a path to support more diversity and inclusion in gaming, both in our games and at our tables.

Thank you for reading and please stay safe.



Committee Chair


Book Review: Of Dice and Men

By Ted Skirvin

The full title of this book is Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and the People Who Play It. It was published by Scribner, which is a division of Simon & Schuster. The book was published in 2013. The author is David M. Ewalt. The info on the dust jacket indicates that he is an award-winning journalist (doesn’t specify which awards) and that he writes about games for Forbes magazine.

The book is partly a memoir of Ewalt’s efforts to get back into RPGs and partly a history of D&D. He talks about D&D by first describing the war game roots of it. Then he details David Wesely’s Braunstein games, Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor, and the development of D&D. The book details the game spreading abroad via Games Workshop. The memoir part of the book talks about his efforts to get back into the game after a ten-year hiatus. He talks about the people he met on Craigslist and the game group they formed. He gives details of their campaign.

Overall, I would say the book is mildly interesting. It does give the outsider information about Dungeons & Dragons. That was, I believe, the main purpose. But I was not fond of the writing style. It seemed a bit too glib at times. Also, the author makes the same stereotypical claims about gamers that can be found in the larger society. He comments about them being nerdy, geeky loners who don’t bath enough.

The SPIEL ´19 in Essen

Part Two: From Alternative Histories, Victorian Detectives and Boy Scouts

By Carsten Obst

Editor’s Note: With Spiel 2020 postponed until 2021, many others canceled, and some moving online, it feels appropriate to journey back with Carsten to those innocent days of yesteryear when we all could gather in proximity to other gamers to play and discover games.

The German edition of Fate, published by the Uhrwerk Verlag, was expanded with the sourcebook Barbaricum. It describes an alternative fifth century, in which steam engines, gunpowder, and the printing press have been invented, causing an industrial revolution in Rome. As a result, the year 442 A.D. differs in this world from our real history. Armies fight with guns and muskets, texts are printed, and factories allow a mass-production, but otherwise history did not change. The Roman Empire was divided into a western and an eastern part, large areas of the West are controlled by Germanic tribes, who also use the new technologies, while the Huns threaten Europe with steam-driven tanks. Radical political and philosophical ideas, distributed by printing, cause more conflicts. The sourcebook includes all necessary information about this world. It begins with a description of the alternative Europe, its history, religions, philosophies, culture, and wars. The next chapter deals with the character creation, social conflicts, and mass combat in battle. Descriptions of the Germanic tribes like the Franks, which slowly turn into nations, the West Roman Empire, and the Huns follow. Here we find also important NPCs, suggestions for potential characters, typical military units, and new weapons. Adventures or campaigns are not included, but the sourcebook offers many ideas for that. Altogether Barbaricum gives us an interesting, alternative history setting, which might have been, if Rome had used the already existing knowledge about steam power. Recommended for all Fate groups but also for GMs and players with an interest in alternative worlds, if they transfer the setting to other rules systems.

Märchenkrieger Los! (Fairy Tale Warriors Go!) is another new German Fate sourcebook. Its fairy tale/anime/superhero setting uses the German War from 1866 as background, when Prussia defeated Austria-Hungary. In our reality, this was a crucial step for Germany´s unification, but here the war still goes on in 1870, because the book of fairy tales compiled by the Brothers Grimm opened the border to the fairyland, so fairy tale characters can enter the reality, bonding with humans and turning them into the superhero-like fairy tale-warriors. Others roam the world independently, while curse-like fragments may infect people. Both sides use this for war. Prussia sends fragment-infected berserkers into battle, Austria-Hungary has a unit of fairy tale-warriors, while its ally Bavaria employs them as secret agents. The sourcebook gives all information for adventures in this world, told by the widowed housewife Appollonia and the fairy tale-girl Marienkind, who are bonded. Their focus is the situation of a PC, who consists of two characters with different opinions and conducts. This causes sophisticated contrasts like that of the modest Appollonia and the extroverted Marienkind. Character creation emphasizes the duality of the PCs. Further chapters deal with the setting´s anime-style, fairy tale characters, monsters, enchanted places, NPCs, adventures in the dreamlike fairyland, treasures, and the game world´s history. The sourcebook suggests that the PCs are Bavarian secret agents, but other characters can be created too. By combining modern animes and classical fairy tales Märchenkrieger Los! offers a versatile background that allows the GM also to realize their own ideas. Recommended for all Fate fans and for groups, who like the challenge of playing dual characters.

Opus Magnum. Geister in der Mauer (Opus Magnum: Ghosts in the Wall) is the third new German Fate sourcebook. It deals with the infamous Berlin Wall, that divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989. In this setting the communist government of East Germany tries to secure its reign with occult measures. For that the immortal alchemist Paracelsus integrates the souls of dead people into the Wall. They are bound to defend it and to prevent escapes to the West, if necessary with deadly force. Furthermore, they have visions about potential threats against the communist regime, about which they must inform the authorities. A special department of the Stasi, the Eastern State Security, runs this top-secret project, but the Adepts, a society of occultists and scientists who value the human freedom, learned about it. They try to free the souls, sometimes with violence. The PCs are souls bound to the Wall, who must follow their orders, even if this violates their morality, but who may try to bypass them. Alternatively, characters like political dissidents, members of the Adepts, or even Stasi agents are possible. The character creation and the background are explained fully, supplemented by lists of important NPCs, advices for the GMs, and a number of adventure ideas. Ideally the game is run as a campaign from the construction of the Wall in 1961 to its fall in 1989, based on the history of Germany during this era. Opus Magnum offers a very unusual setting that demands a high level of empathy and experience from GMs and players. They should have experience with difficult concepts and roles. Recommended for all Fate groups, who like a real challenge, but also for modern horror RPGs like Cthulhu Now.

The Uhrwerk-Verlag extended the fantasy RPG Splittermond with several new source and adventure books. My favorite is Mahaluu. Archipel der Glückseligkeit (Mahaluu: Archipelago of Felicity). This sourcebook describes the Mahaluu Archipelago, a region, which reminds me of Tahiti or Hawaii. The archipelago is a place of happiness, peace, and idleness, where friendly and hospitable people live, but hidden dangers lurk there too. The first chapter describes the archipelago´s history and the pirates, who try to establish secret bases there. A gazetteer deals with important islands, animals, flora, population, rulers, settlements, special places, fairies, and magical beings. Society, government, priesthood, culture, customs, celebrations, trade, and crafts are the topics of the next chapter. It is a simple life on the islands, but the people are not primitive. The pantheon and magic are dealt with in the next part, followed by rules to create a character from Mahaluu, a list of weapons, and information about alchemical goods. Reasons for a PC from the archipelago to leave this heavenly place are also given here. The next chapters contain material for the GMs. They deal with monsters, divine mysteries, and the supernatural threats which endanger Mahaluu. Some secrets, that are even unknown to the natives, offer opportunities for adventures. Information about geology, travels on the archipelago, and special events round off these chapters. Finally, the adventure “Das sterbende Riff” (The Dying Reef) enables the PCs to explore the islands and to counter a supernatural threat. Altogether the sourcebook can be recommended as a very valuable expansion for Splittermond but also for other fantasy RPGs, if the GM wants a Pacific-like setting as part of a campaign.

Der Klang des Untergangs (“The Sound of Doom”) is a new adventure-book for the Schnutenbach series, published by the Mantikore Verlag and useable for all fantasy RPGs, especially those with a dark tone. After an earthquake, people in the village Schnutenbach suddenly begin to sleepwalk. When some vanish without a trace, the PCs are commissioned to search for them. A magician, from whom they get an additional assignment, gives them the crucial clue. They find a lost underground fortress of the dark dwarves, but the real threat hides in the depths below it. After a short journey through the wilderness, two dungeons must be explored, which confront the PCs with lots of opponents, dangers, and traps. They must act in an intelligent and cautious way, so they can survive and fulfill their commissions. An indirect cliffhanger offers the possibility for future adventures. The book contains all necessary material for the GMs to run the adventure. This includes background information, several lists of magical artifacts (mostly of the evil kind), maps of the dungeons, as well as descriptions of the NPCs and monsters. Some points differ from other adventures. The maps are not floor plans but consist of symbols for the rooms. General descriptions make it possible to work them out. This allows the GMs to create the dungeons according to their own ideas, but it may feel unusual for some readers. Furthermore, there are no stats for the NPCs and monsters, who must also be worked out, but these are just minor points. Altogether Der Klang des Untergangs is an excellent expansion of the series, offering new opportunities to explore the setting. Recommended for all fantasy RPGs, especially for those with dark backgrounds like Warhammer and with some modifications also for horror RPGs.

Cranachaught. Stadt am Lendran (Cranachaught: City at the Lendran) is a sourcebook for the fantasy RPG Midgard, published by the DDD Verlag. It describes Cranachaught, a city located at the river Lendran, where around 4500 humans, dwarfs, elves, and gnomes live. As a traffic junction, the city became wealthy, and so several academies for magicians, artists, and bards as well as a university exist here. The author did not place Cranachaught at a fixed place but suggests a location in a Celtic or medieval-like country according to the GM´s ideas. Like a gazetteer, the sourcebook begins with the surrounding countryside, traffic routes, and travel options, followed by the fortifications, the city guard, and important laws. Black magic is strictly forbidden, while no weapon larger than a dagger can be carried inside the town. For combat-happy PCs, this may be a problem. All districts, like the busy waterfront or the prestigious Starshine quarter, are described separately. Further topics are important personalities, local holidays, significant buildings, and even food specialities. The largest part of the book is made up of short descriptions for the individual buildings and their inhabitants. A code enables you to find each house on the district maps. There are no adventures included, but some ideas like a secret assassin and thieves guild or the prejudices against dwarves and elves can be found. As a bonus, a map of the complete city is attached. The sourcebook can be recommended as a useful addition for Midgard and other fantasy RPGs, which the GM can work out as a custom made starting point for own campaigns.

With Lignum (Latin: wood) Erdenstern published a new music CD for RPGs. A continuation of the CD Into the Green, where the PCs travel through the countryside, it concentrates on fantasy adventures in the ancient woods. When something evil threatens the forests, brave characters take up the challenge. Some examples show the potential. “Lignum,” the main theme, is a soft but forceful tune expressing the expectations of the PCs. The playful melody of “The Hidden Path” symbolizes the start of the journey, which may also be a maturation. With a slow but suspenseful tune, “An Ancient Forest” underlines the hidden threats lurking in the deep forests. “Magic of the Moonlight” offers the brightness of the untainted nature, giving the feeling of fairies dancing under the full moon. The calm but impressive “Enchanted Woods” expresses the ancient might of the forests. With a guitar, a violin, and a song, the thoughtful “Campfire” gives the right music for a nightly bivouac. A feeling of loneliness in the endless fogs, which cover the landscape, we get with the creepy “Misty Moor”. The hectic and chaotic “Webs and Spiders” is a matching soundtrack for a fight against monsters. Impressions of the good forces, that defend the woods, are the powerful “The Hidden Kingdom of the Glade” and the increasing “The Green Dragon”. With its escalating tune “The Battle of the Elves” is the perfect background music for the final battle. Lignum can be recommended for all fantasy-RPGs, especially those with a “Lord of the Rings”-like setting, while the dark themes may be used also for horror-RPGs like Ravenloft, Masque of the Red Death, or even Cthulhu.

The Redaktion Phantastik expanded its detective RPG Private Eye, which is based on the Sherlock Holmes stories, with the new adventure book Aller guten Dinge sind Sechs (All good Things come in Six). During the late nineteenth century, occultism flourished in Britain, while mystics, mediums, spiritualists, and magicians either fascinated the public or met great skepticism. Cassandra Usher, a famous medium with an exclusive clientele, is murdered after a séance for Sir Arthur Hardy, the owner of Chilham Castle. When six persons confess to have killed her, the PCs shall find the real murderer. The adventure has no straightforward plot, but the material enables the GM to develop it according to own ideas and intentions. For that, the book offers all necessary information, like the events before the séance, a timetable, biographies of the NPCs including their personal secrets, a detailed gazetteer of the village Chilham and of Chilham Castle, which both actually exist, maps, house plans, testimonies of the witnesses, exact descriptions of the crime scene, handouts like letters or newspaper articles, and a list of the traces. Cassandra Usher´s actual methods are described, too, but a short section describes how a supernatural explanation can be integrated. A so-called relationship map shows the connections between the NPCs. With this material, the GM can develop different plots, which can vary in solution. Two additional adventure ideas may be used to continue the adventure or as sub-plots to expand the case. Altogether, Aller guten Dinge sind Sechs is an excellent work, offering a sophisticated setting for an investigation that favors an intelligent play. With some efforts the book can also be used for RPGs like Castle Falkenstein or Cthulhu by Gaslight, if you integrate Steampunk or horror elements. Highly recommended!

In our digital age, it is a pleasure that fanzines still exist. At the game fair issue no. 45 of Trodox was available, which was first published thirty years ago. The introduction contains a review of its history, written by Nils Rehm, the last staff member from the founding period. It is also a personal review of his activities as editor, beginning with his own fanzine, Adventure Master, which he published as a schoolboy. The current Trodox issue offers an adventure for the Cthulhu RPG at a professional standard. “Das weiße Labyrinth” (The White Labyrinth) is designed as an introduction to this RPG for new players, especially for those with little or no knowledge about H.P. Lovecraft´s works. When Maria Remington, a student at the Miskatonic University in Arkham vanishes, it seems to be a case of kidnapping, but as soon as the PCs investigate, weird things begin to happen, which make them question the normality and their sanity. The GM gets all the information to run the adventure but also to create the right feeling of the Roaring Twenties. These short sections explain the historical, political, and technical situation of the USA during this time. Descriptions of important NPCs, handouts of documents, advices for the background music, maps, and some pictures are included, too. “Das weiße Labyrinth” is an excellent introduction for new Cthulhu players but can also be used for experienced ones. Recommended for all Cthulhu fans and with some modifications for other horror RPGs too.

As in the previous years, comics did not regain their former importance for the game fair. The big publishers were missing, while the traditional Zeichnerallee (“Artist´s Alley”) was a quiet side show, visited only by dedicated fans. Obviously specialized comic conventions are today of greater interest for the companies and the artists. Nevertheless, comics could still be found at the SPIEL ´19, among them new releases, out-of-print-issues, and reprints of classics. Reprinted German series like those published by the Walter Lehning Verlag during the Fifties and Sixties got the special interest of the visitors. The numerous complete editions of well-known comics attracted the fans too, as an example shows.

The complete edition of the comic series Die Biber-Patrouille (“The Beaver-Patrol”, original title “La Patrouille des Castors”), published by Salleck Publications, is of value for RPGs, too. Written by Michel Tacq and drawn by Jean-Michel Charlier, it appeared in the comic magazine Spirou from 1954 to 1993. The heroes are six boy scouts, always willing to help people in need. In spite of some stereotypes like the clumsy kid, they embody the ideals of the scout movement. The first omnibus includes four adventures. In “Das Geheimnis von Grosbois” (The Mystery of Grosbois) the scouts gets involved in the hunt for a lost treasure. When in “Der Verschwundene von Ker-Aven” (The Missing of Ker-Aven) one of them disappears, the group investigates in a seaport. Next the scouts search in “Der Verräter der Villa Mystère” (The Traitor of the Villa Mystère) for a friend who was kidnapped by gangsters. Finally, the group travels to India in “Auf den Spuren von Mowgli” (On the Trail of Mowgli), where they encounter a wild boy. The omnibus includes a detailed essay about the development and publication of the series, biographies of Tacq and Charlier, as well as additional artwork. Of special interest is the information about comics in the Fifties, when pedagogues considered them to be harmful to children. The honest and helpful heroes of the series were also an attempt to counter this image. For GMs Die Biber-Patrouille offers a setting where the PCs are members of the scout movement, emphasizing a positive social behavior according to its code of honor. Intelligence, wits, resourcefulness, and cooperation become the keys for success. The stereotypes of the stories can be omitted to modernize the background, while girl guides as female PCs are also possible. Recommended as pattern for campaigns since the Fifties with teen characters but also as reading material.

The German cosplay magazine Cohaku, published by Get Ready Publishing, continued its success since the game fair in October 2018 with issues no. 21 to 24, as well as the no. 4 and 5 of the English edition. Its articles deal with topics like the international cosplay community, performances, and the production of costumes. For example, issue no. 21 introduces the cosplay group Spartans for Charity that supports charity events in the costumes of the Spartans from the movie 300. In the no. 22, we get an interview with Kinpatsu, a cosplayer from South Africa. She describes the cosplay community in her homeland, which is still small but developing well. If you are interested in Japanese cosplay conventions, issue no. 23 offers a report with much valuable advice for foreigners. A very informative article in the no. 24 explains the legal situation of weapons as part of costumes in Germany. Authentic looking replicas may cause troubles, as some visitors of a Stargate convention learned. When they went to a nearby restaurant costumed as the protagonists from the TV show, which included replica-weapons of modern assault rifles, they soon faced the police. Other articles deal with topics like photography, make up, and tailoring. The highlights in all issues are the numerous photos, which show cosplayers in their costumes, often in appropriate surroundings. They can easily be used as inspirations for the look of PCs and NPCs in RPGs, especially if the settings are based on Japanese animes and mangas. For this reason, the new issues of the Cohaku can also be recommended for RPG fans.

Just in time for the SPIEL ´19, issue no. 1/2020 of the German magazine Kult! 60er, 70er, 80er (Cult! Sixties, Seventies, Eighties), published by Good Times, was available. With articles about the era from 1960 to 1990, reviews of non-fiction books about topics like biographies, popular trends, movies, sports, or fashion, and a timeline for the year 1989, Kult! offers valuable material for GMs to prepare adventures and campaigns during these decades. One example is the report “Verstehen Sie Spaß?” (Do you understand Fun?) about the popular German TV show that confronts people with unexpected situations. In an adventure this may be a funny interlude or an obstruction for the PCs. Try a discreet meeting in a pub, if suddenly a three-legged man sits down beside you. “Benimmregeln auf dem Prüfstand” (Behavior Rules on the Test) describes the changes of social manners since the late Sixties, when the traditional rules about behavior were replaced by liberal ones. Nevertheless, the GM can always confront the PCs with the demand of a correct behavior to emphasize the social interaction with NPCs. “Fernreisen mit dem Auto” (Long-distance Travels by Cars) deals with road trips, when borders still divided Europe. Motorists faced problems like border controls, foreign currencies, international telephone calls using coins as payment, or a map-based navigation, which made the journey colorful. “Partykultur der 70er” (Party-Culture of the Seventies) is an article about parties during this decade. Food, decorations, games, drinks, clothes, dancing, and music are among its topics. Here the PCs may relax, establish contacts, gather information, or meet informers. Enterprising GMs can even organize a real party for this. Recommended for all campaigns from 1960 to 1990.

SPIEL ´21 in Essen will be from October 14 to 17. If you want to visit it but need information about hotel rooms or other questions, please send a note to my e-mail-address,

Below you find the websites of the publishers, companies, comics, and magazines mentioned in this article and the article in the March issue of the newsletter:

At 9:10 begins the legendary sketch with the three-legged man – fun-loving GMs realize the chances at once.

You can order the games, books, comics, magazines, and CDs at this game-store.

Buchhandlung Fantasy Reich

– c/o Peter den Hoet –

Wilhelminenstraße 17

D-24103 Kiel


The telephone and fax numbers of the store are [Germany] 0431/9719370 and 0431/5878658. E-mails can be sent to Languages include German, English, and Dutch. The homepage of the store is here





New listings every month for many years were provided by Paul Cardwell, and this section contains his compilation work through July of this year. Convention schedules have changed, and many organizers have canceled their events, but online conventions are also happening. This humble editor does not know the state of conventions listed in this schedule, so please check their web sites. Updates appreciate as well!

If you participate in a convention, be sure to send any information you can gather for upcoming conventions. CAR-PGa is international, so this includes anywhere in the world.

“[LARP]” means only LARP events as many RPG cons include at least some LARP, as likewise applies to the mention of specific game systems. The same bracketed information applies as well to game systems when the con will have only those games present.

A review of any attended convention afterwards for the Newsletter would be appreciated too. These reviews should include demographic data such as attendance, percentage male/female, white/ethnic minorities (or what- ever is the majority/white/others), games in addition to tabletop RPG, and more subjective matters such as unusual events, quality of games and dealers’ room, encouragement of new gamers, and whatever seems worth reporting. We need to work to restore CAR-PGa’s reputation as the media’s go-to on gamer demographics, especially since the media are still citing a study that cut off all those over 35 – at a time when that was the median age of gamers – it is closer to 40 now – which indicates we also need to work on recruiting younger players, although some increase in college age players at conventions has been noted.

June 2020

July 2020

© Copyright 2020 by the Committee for the Advancement of Role-Playing Games (CAR-PGa), ISSN 1071 7129. The CAR-PGa Newsletter is a monthly publication. For more information contact David Millians, Editor, Paideia School, 1509 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia 30307 USA, phone (404) 808-1070, fax (404) 377-3491, e-mail Back issues are available. Contributions of material from the membership are urged, and the byline is responsible for content. Deadline is the last weekday of the month, email preferred. Permission is granted to copy anything in the Newsletter, provided we get a credit line in the publication copying it, and it doesn’t have someone else’s copyright on it. Information, including details on joining CAR-PGa, can be obtained on the Internet at