CAR-PGa NEWSLETTER, Vol. 30, No. 11, November 2021

An international network of researchers into all aspects of role-playing games

David Millians, Editor

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


Hello All,

Our planned virtual panel this week was with Steve Jackson of Steve Jackson Games, but due to a miscommunication we missed him. Never fear though, we plan to have Steve back on Thursday, December 2 at 7 p.m. ET

In our October session we reviewed Steve Jackson Games’ Report to Stakeholders. That discussion, which covered everything from the pandemic to that time Steve Jackson Games was raided by the Secret Service, launched a great discussion about the state of horror gaming, safety tools, and Halloween. Check out the video here.

Speaking of YouTube, we launched a formal channel for CAR-PGA. Please subscribe if you haven’t already, as that will give us an opportunity to create a shorter URL for sharing with others. You’ll find all of our virtual panels archived there on our playlist. The YouTube channel is now incorporated into our web site as well.

We have four new members: Lucio N. Pimentel (RPG Designer), Kurstin Hamilton (RPG educator and store owner), Aaron Armstrong (RPG educator), and Jon Peterson (RPG scholar). Welcome all!

If Jon Peterson sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the author of Playing at the World, The Elusive Shift, and the recently released The Game Wizards. Jon was our next guest on our virtual panel. We moved the panel earlier to Thursday, November 4 at 7 p.m. ET, which you can watch online here.

If you’ve noticed that we’ve expanded our guest list to some RPG luminaries of the industry, that’s thanks to the urging of the CAR-PGA board, who recommended we think bigger. The virtual panels seem like a great opportunity to raise the CAR-PGA’s profile, increase our membership, and have some interesting discussions along the way.

I’m excited about our guests and look forward to hearing more from Jon and Steve!


Mike Tresca



Convention Report:  Multiverse 2021

By Ted Skirvin

Multiverse took place October 15th, 16th, and 17th. It is a small convention that is held in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Prior to the event, the organizers indicated that they would limit the convention to 500 attendees. I talked to the woman running registration when I was at the con, and she indicated that they had a little over 100 attendees present, not including convention workers and guests. It was a small hotel with a small convention space, so maybe it is good that they did not get near their population limit. The con had several tracks of programming and discussion panels, an art show, a crafting room, a dealer’s room, and a gaming room.

The programming tracks included Gather Track (the biggest room and essentially the “main” track room), Learn Track (which had more scholarly presentations about various subjects), Readings (where authors gave readings from their books), Write Track (with presentations aimed at aspiring writers), Play Track (which had panel discussions about games as well as some game demos), Geek: Horror Track (I’m sure you can figure that one out), Geek: Sci-Fi (again, you got it) and Geek: Fantasy (you know).

The Play Track panel topics included Social Justice in RPGs, Dancing With Yourself: Playing Games Solo, The Business of Game Design, and Gamer War Stories. The rest of the time they had various game demos. One of them was an RPG called Good Strong Hands. I suspect it is inspired by The Never-Ending Story. There was also a game room that had a library of board games and card games that folks could play. I asked the guy running the room if they had set up any RPG sessions for the con, and he brusquely said, “It’s not that kind of con,” so I did not press the matter. 

As for demographics, I’d estimate the male/female ratio to be about 50/50. The con was also very open to people of “non-standard” gender identities, and there were a few such folks present. As to the racial/ethnic mix, it was probably 50% white, 45% black with the remaining 5% comprised of a few Latino and Asian people. One unusual aspect was that at least half of the organizational staff was black.

Overall, it was a decent convention but not a great one. The topics for panels could have been more interesting. Admittedly, there were a few good ones. The con suite did provide small meals to attendees. The normally pay parking lot was free to attendees. The art show was pretty good. As of this writing, the schedule of events is still on the website, so you can get a better idea about the con by looking at it yourself.

Fan Movies, Fan Stories, Fake Trailers and TV-Shows.

Advices for the Time of the Pandemic. Part 2

By Cartsen Obst

[Continued belatedly from June 2021 issue (Vol. 30, No. 6) with my apologies to Carsten – Editor]

Deerstalker Pictures produced “Assassin´s Creed: Liberte,” a video for the fans of the well-known computer game Assassin´s Creed. Shortly before the French Revolution a crowd of angry people rallies in front of a palace, which is infiltrated by a female assassin. She is determined to kill its owner, a nobleman, who belongs to the Templars. To accomplish her mission she must first fight her way through numerous guards, before finally justice takes its course. At the same time a sympathetic guard opens the gate for the revolutionaries. Considering the fact that the actors are LARP fans and not professional actors, the video is well made. For GMs who are planning an Assassin´s Creed campaign in the era of swashbucklers, it also offers good ideas for an introducing adventure.

Dedicated Star Wars fans have also begun to produce their own fan movies, either to realize their own ideas about adventures in a galaxy far, far away or because they are dissatisfied with the ongoing developments in this universe. For them I recommend four films, which you find also on You Tube.

An Unexpected Ally,” produced by the filmmaker Fred Grant, takes place in the time of the New Order, which begun with Episode VII. It tells the story of Aaron Starfire, a young man who is force-sensitive but was not accepted as a student by Master Rashomon, one of the last surviving Jedi. The lesson, which the master taught him on this occasion, was very painful, but when Starfire and his friend, the smuggler Dack Farron, are arrested by stormtroopers of the New Order, the unsuccessful entrance exam proves to be very useful, when they face an immediate execution.

In Emergence,” produced by Avant-garde Creative, the Jedi Kodo Joo and his Padawan Alenna are ambushed during an important mission. Joo is killed, while Alenna barely survives but goes blind. Now alone and mourning her dead master, she must try to survive with her force skills but also to fight against her inner demons, her desperation and her loneliness. When the killer returns to finish her off and to get a data chip with important information, which Joo gave to his Padawan before he died, Alenna reveals what she learned from these hard lessons. Her efforts to overcome the tragic events made her much stronger.

Rebel Scum was produced by Blood Brother Cinema Co. in 2016. The pilot of a shot-down snowspeeder is left behind, when the Alliance must evacuate its base on the ice-planet Hoth at the beginning of the second movie The Empire Strikes Back,” which then became Episode V. Facing imperial patrols, killer droids, and the icy deserts of this world, his situation seems to be hopeless. A holovideo of his family is the only thing which keeps him alive. But then the pilot discovers a fellow sufferer, a wounded imperial snowtrooper. After overpowering his opponent, he discovers that the trooper is a woman. For her, rebels are scum. She spits at him in spite of suffering from her wounds, “Will you kill me – or what?“ The extremely well done movie ends with an interesting cliff-hanger.

I also want to recommend “Kara”, a fan movie produced by Whitelist Production. Kara is a force-sensitive girl  who crosses a desert with her father Marcus. They are on the run after imperial troops destroyed their home. Kara´s mother died during the fight. Just when they can see the town where they hope to be safe, a battle between X-Wing fighters and TIE fighters begins in the sky. One rebel pilot must bail out when her fighter is hit. Together they try to reach the town, but then they are attacked by a squad of imperial sandtroopers. During the firefight Kara´s fear and desperation cause her to use her force powers as a weapon. Will she give in to her feelings and succumb to the dark side of the force?

All four movies give interesting ideas or backgrounds for a Star Wars RPG. Master Rashomon can be a mentor for force-sensitive PCs, but first they must prove him their worth. Or he may need help when agents of the New Order try to find him and Aaron Starfire. Dack Farron would be a valuable contact among the galaxy´s smugglers or the fastest way out of, well, a complicated situation, if the price is right. With her new experiences, Alenna can also become a good mentor. If she is joined by a group of PCs, her experiences will be of great value for them. In this case the characters may also be agents of the Republic, who search for the missing Kodo Joo and the data-chip. “Rebel Scum presents a challenging setting for an adventure: cut off behind enemy lines, no way to leave the planet, and exposed to a ruthless environment. Now the players must find a very clever way to escape or try to make a last stand, taking as many opponents with them as possible.

The three characters from “Kara” can be used as PCs, who are joined by the other characters, or as NPCs, whom the group meets in the desert or in the town. Then the PCs – smugglers, resistance fighters or rebel commandos and agents – must take care for a force-sensitive girl, who is obviously powerful but still has to learn, how she can control her own emotions to avoid, that the dark side may overwhelm her. Perhaps they can find a Jedi who trains Kara´s abilities? I spontaneously remember Corwin Shelvay, a “Jedi Turned Rebel Operative,” from West End Games´ sourcebook Star Wars – Galaxy Guide 9. Fragments from the Rim. With his experiences, he would surely be a good mentor for her.

The Japanese company blast Inc. produces videos with a fantastic or SF background. Among them is “ZVP,” the trailer for an alleged new movie about Zatoichi, the blind master swordsman, who has appeared since 1962 in a number of movies and a TV show. Unfortunately, the video is only a fake, because many people would surely like to see this film. By the way: you must see it without reading the comments before or watching the end first. This is the only way to experience the complete surprise, because you get here a crossover of several universes.

At the beginning Zatoichi just wants to enjoy a drink in tavern, but when a gang of bandits disturbs him, he shows them his incredible skills with the sword. Unfortunately, they do not learn from this lesson, and so he must give them a more painful (and very final) one. At the same time a noble lady leaves her lord´s castle for a mission. When she meets Zatoichi resting in the countryside, she mistakes him for poor beggar and gives him food. Soon a group of ninja with weird cyberpunk-like implants, who just killed several samurais, attack the lady. Of course, Zatoichi comes to rescue her from certain death. But then a mysterious samurai appears, who wears the costume of the komuso, the wandering monks, and kills some of the ninja. When Zatoichi confronts him, he must quickly realize, that his opponent is no human, and now a multi-crossover begins!

GMs with a sense for really unusual crossover backgrounds will at once realize the possibilities offered by “ZVP”. I will give no spoilers, but if a GM dreams of an adventure where the Jedi from Star Wars fight against the xenomorphs from Alien, this video is a must. The origin of the ninja’s weird implants can be the start of a long campaign, when the PCs search for the supplier. Travelling in time and across parallel dimensions are possible here, too. Zatoichi would also be a good teacher for those PCs who want to study the art of sword fighting, if they can convince him to accept them as students.

Our regular readers know my interest in the German detective RPG Private Eye, which is based on the Sherlock Holmes novels and  stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Der Schrecken von Randall Castle (The Terror of Randall Castel) is one of its oldest adventures, reissued in all later editions. Here a high-ranking official of Scotland Yard asks the PCs to guard the opening of a will, which takes place at Randall Castle, an old mansion on an island off the coast of Cornwall. Of course, there are tensions between the heirs, and then a series of murders begins. Cut off from the communication with the mainland and without a way to leave the island, our brave PCs must find the killer, preferably before the mansion´s family crypt is overcrowded….

The authors, Jan Christoph Steines and Reinhard Kotz, took the idea for this adventure from an episode of “Zwei himmlische Töchter” (Two Heavenly Daughters), a German TV show broadcast by the ARD in 1978. It was a comedy-show about an airline with the impressive name Donnerflug (Thunderair). Its owners are the enthusiastic but naïve Kikki (Ingrid Steeger) and her practical friend Chantal (Iris Berben). While the near-sighted blond Kikki wears the glasses, which she urgently needs only in extreme emergencies, the dark-haired Chantal´s most important intention is to solve their constant financial problems. Both worked as night club dancers (This can also be read as “naked club dancers.”), until a delighted, but deceased guest (guess why….) bequeathed them Donnerflug

Unfortunately Donnerflug has just one plane, an old Ju 52 transport aircraft from World War II called “Emma,” and one employee: Tino (Klaus Dahlen), a pilot and mechanic from Italy. He is brave, dashing, and humorous, which helps to keep the airline running, but also a little bit chaotic. In his free time, he assists his mother, a cook, who owns the airport restaurant. A running gag is Tino´s unique starting procedure. Afterwards the windows of the tower must replaced, much to the displeasure of the two air traffic controllers (Dieter Hildebrand and Heinz Schubert), who would like to get him grounded forever.

Donnerflug is not the most successful airline, and so Kikki and Chantal are always very late to pay the rent for the room, which they share. For this reason, they accept even the most unusual contracts, doubling during the flights as stewardesses. Of course, they face many unforeseen problems, for which the trio must find creative solutions. Navigation errors or the lack of fuel are the most harmless difficulties.

Only one season with six episodes was produced, but the show is still famous for its charming humour, which alternates between slapstick and parody. You can get it on DVD, and you can find the episodes also on You Tube. The quality of these videos may not be the best, but they give a good impression of this German comedy show.

In “Ein Bulle nach Pamplona” (A Bull for Pamplona), the first episode, Kikki and Chantal take on the task of transporting the most dangerous fighting bull of Spain to Pamplona. Kikki´s way to take care for the animal has some funny side effects, of course (look at 44:13 – WOW!). At the beginning of the episode we also learn what happens when Tino tries to land at the airport, while in the end we see, how the Donnerflug crew attempts to escape.

Ein Sarg nach Leech” (see above) is the second episode. The mysterious Boris Leech (Ferdy Mayne) commissions Donnerflug to transports the coffin with the body of his late brother Ivan Leech to an island, where he will be buried in the family crypt of Castle Leech. His family has gathered there, because his will shall be read. Quickly Kikki, Chantal and Tino notice that the Leech family is very weird  but also very greedy. They are all looking for an old treasure, which may be hidden somewhere in the mansion. Ivan Leech´s will gives only encrypted references to the treasure, which disappoints the family. Suddenly, a bagpipe can be heard, shortly before the notary is found with a knife in his back. A series of murders has begun, decimating the family and the servants of the mansion one by one. Unfortunately, a thick fog prevents escape, and so Kikki, Chantal, and Tino are stuck on the island. To avoid also becoming victims of the serial killer, the trio begins to investigate. Their only ally is Oskar, the butler (Daniel Emilfork), who loves a good drink (or two, three, four and so on). Each time, when another victim meets an early end, someone played a bagpipe. Can the Donnerflug crew unmask the serial killer and find the lost treasure?

The third episode “Ein Cowboy nach Spanien” (A Cowboy to Spain) begins with a tough-looking, wild west gunslinger entering the airport restaurant. It is the famous Hollywood actor Slim Nespit (Eddie Constantine), who needs fast transport to Madrid, where he will be the leading actor in the next Sergio Leone western. Unfortunately, there are several minor obstacles, which Kikki, Chantal, and Tino must try to solve somehow.

In the fourth episode “Eine Prinzessin nach Hoftenstein” (A Princess to Hoftenstein) Donnerflug gets involved into a political intrigue, when they fly home the princess of Hoftenstein, a little principality in Europe. The United States, the USSR, and China are all interested in a large oil deposit, which was discovered there. Viktoria (Dunja Rajter), the evil sister of the princess, tries to get rid of her sibling, so that she can earn the profit alone, but when it turns out that Kikki is a doppelganger of the princess (also Ingrid Steeger), she must take on her passenger´s role.

The famous tenor Enzo Lorenzo (Ivan Rebroff) must travel to Paris in the fifth episode “Ein Tenor nach Paris” (A Tenor to Paris), where he shall perform in the opera on next day. This flight would be no problem, except that Lorenzo is very moody and always hungry. Besides he has never flown before, which makes him a little bit nervous. When Tino must make an emergency landing near Lyon due to a lack of fuel (ops!), the local police are very distrustful to these strangers.

Donnerflug is hired in the sixth episode “Eine Show durch Europa” (A Show through Europe) to fly a troupe of artists during a tour. The fact that the manager does not accompany them should have alarmed Kikki and Chantal, because now they must take care for these eccentrics., but the real troubles begin when two Interpol agents (Theo Lingen and Kurt Dips), dressed as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, suspect them to be part of an international counterfeit operation. Assisted by their secretary Daisy (Barbara Valentin), they pursue the troupe.

For RPG-enthusiasts it is very interesting to compare the original episode “Ein Sarg nach Leech” with Der Schrecken von Randall Castle. The authors of the adventure successfully transferred the TV show into the setting of Private Eye, the world of Sherlock Holmes and the Victorian Age. They avoided writing a comedy, but you can tell just by reading it that they had lots of fun while editing the original. Of course, this positive basic mood also affects the joy of the GMs and the players.

After watching “Ein Sarg nach Leech” you can also identify quickly many characters, events, and plot elements in the adventure. So at 10:05 the Donnerflug crew meets Karl (Wichard von Roell), the ugly gardener of the mansion. He is not too bright but shoots fast and well with his shotgun. In the adventure he becomes Morris Barnett, still ugly and armed with a rifle. Oskar, the friendly but mostly drunken butler, appears for the first time at 13:40. As Robert Wenlock he can be encountered again in Randall Castle….

With some effort, enterprising GMs can use “Zwei himmlische Töchter” also for a campaign. This can be a comedy, where fun is more important than the rules, but a serious or even dramatic one would be possible too. The German RPG Funky Colts, which I will review in a later article, would surely be the appropriate system. Based on the TV shows of the Seventies and Eighties, a campaign is organized here like a TV series with the adventures as episodes. Then the PCs would be owners and employees of a small airline, accepting even unusual contracts to keep the business running and the planes (or just one plane) in the air.

Personally, I am considering using “Zwei himmlische Töchter” in my SF campaign. Here the airline will be a spaceline with just one old spaceship, facing the same financial problems like Donnerflug, causing the owners to accept contracts like transporting a breeding bull to a distant colony planet or a famous singer as soon as possible from the solar system to Alpha Centauri. In space no one hears your laughter!

Of course one problem must also be mentioned: there is no English edition of “Zwei himmlische Töchter”. So a good knowledge of the German language is necessary, but perhaps the videos will motivate our readers to use the lockdown for some corresponding studies.

GMs running martial arts or superhero campaigns, which can often overlap, should watch the famous TV show “The Green Hornet”, broadcast by ABC in 1966 and 1967. In this show Britt Reid, a newspaper publisher (Van Williams), fights as the masked crusader against crime Green Hornet, assisted by his butler Kato (Bruce Lee) and his secretary Leonore Case (Wende Wagner). It lasted just one season with twenty-six episodes, but for Bruce Lee it became his breakthrough in the United States. He had insisted to portray Kato as a martial arts expert, giving the audience an impressive insight into the ways of combat in Asia. His performance helped to increase these styles in the West.

The episode “Invasion from Outer Space” is of special interest for RPGs. When a UFO crashes on Earth, the Green Hornet, Kato, and Leonore Case are threatened by the aliens. Can they repulse the invaders? The aliens are extremely dangerous, because in the first part they can even overpower Bruce Lee, but in the second part the invaders learn that true heroes always get a rematch.

Our regular readers will remember my article about the forced cessation of the German SF RPG Raumpatrouille RPG (Space Patrol RPG). Its setting was the TV show “Raumpatrouille,” broadcast by the ARD in 1966. Bavaria, a German movie and TV company, produced just one season with seven episodes, but nevertheless the show became a real legend. Christian Wilke, a German RPG and enthusiastic “Raumpatrouille” fan, published in 2002 a SF RPG based on the TV show. As a fan-production, it was available in the internet, where it could be downloaded for free. But in 2003, Bavaria suddenly forced Wilke to suspend the further distribution of the RPG. As reasons the company gave legal problems with the copyrights in modern media merchandising. This was the end of an interesting project that might have strengthened “Raumpatrouille” fandom.

Meanwhile “Raumpatrouille” is available as a superb DVD edition that includes additional material like a trailer, interviews with the actors, outtakes, a screensaver, and a music video. You can also find the show also on You Tube, at least until the copyright owners make a complaint. In the first episode, “Angriff aus dem All” (Attack from Space), the crew of the space cruiser Orion VII is delayed after some little troubles with regulations. Future violations of the discipline shall be prevented by a lieutenant of the security service, but when suddenly aliens attack, they all must cooperate.

For us school kids, “Raumpatrouille” was a sensation, giving us our first impressions of the SF genre. I guess here began my way to RPGs. In the first episode, at 29:00, is a sequence with Atan Shubashi, the astrogator, and Hasso Sigbjörnson, the engineer. Searching for the crew of the station MZ-4, they discover at 32:35 something horrible. Finally, they encounter at 34:30 an alien, and their weapons are useless! Until the first Alien movie this was the most spooky sequence I had ever watched.

I hope, that the episode gives you an impression of this legendary German SF show. If anyone is interested in the RPG, just send me an email. Perhaps I can help a little bit.



Codega, Linda (2021 Sep 6) Old stories, new forms: Rewriting folklore as RPGs brings fresh perspectives and cultures to the table. Folklore, subversion, culture, and games.

Gilbert, Ben (2021 Oct 9) The highest-paid channel on Twitch is said to have made nearly $10 million in the last 24 months – and it doesn’t even stream video games. Hack of streaming video platform reveals monetized popularity of Critical Role.

Goldfond, Joshua (2021 Oct 8) The Deep Ones and the Kuo-Toa: Lovecraft’s Racial Politics in Dungeons & Dragons. Race, literature, and change.

Iron Crown Enterprises (2021 Oct 1) Iron Crown Enterprises Announcement. Death of creator Terry Amthor.

Jarvis, (2021 Oct 22) Rock Paper Scissors: Deluxe Edition costs £20, includes actual rock, paper and scissors, single-player mode, and lore. Real Kickstarter but also satire of Kickstarter.

Onwuanaku, Bassey (2021 Sep 30) Nigerian Lady Shares Her Boardgames Journey, Playing Games with Her Kids and Running a Boardgame Café!. CEO of Lyndem Edutainment describes her ongoing exploration of games and their potential.

Paybarah, Azi & Isabelle Niu (2021 Oct 16) China’s Latest Craze: Scripted Murders, With Real Tears and Piracy. LARP raises government eyebrows in $2 billion industry.

Robinson, Hawke (2021 Oct 25) Brain-Computer Interface Controlled Role-Playing Game Status Update – Opensource BCI RPG designed for maximum accessibility. Computer-based games controlled by thoughts.

Sturrock, Ian & Tom Apperley (2021 Oct 10) Contributing to Fiend Folio: White Dwarf and the UK RPG Scene. Creativity, youth, and careers.

United Paizo Workers (2021 Oct 14) Press Release: Paizo Employees Unionize. Employees organize union. Context and analysis here. Paizo recognizes union.

Wieland, Rob (2021 Oct 26) Haunted West Delivers A Different Perspective On The Weird West. Challenges weird and mundane.


Allison, Peter Ray (2021 Apr 23) Tabletop roleplaying has given players comfort, connection and control in a world that’s taken them away. Shared experiences in isolating times.

Orr, Matthew, Sara King & Melissa McGonnell (2020) A Qualitative Exploration of the Perceived Social Benefits of Tabletop Role-Playing. Perceived and actual social skill benefits of TTRPGs.

© Copyright 2021 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