The unthinkable is happening in Germany. Actually two unthinkable things at the same time. The lamentation has been great regarding the sorry state of GermRPGing: sucky D&D publisher, no commercials or ads for any RPG, the most popular system being in the clutches of a shrinking number of continuity porn addicts, a population of gamers that does not know what to do with random tables and that has no tradition of world building or dungeoneering, the superiority of romanticist Tolkienesque low powered gaming, the prevalence of wordy railroady continuity porn “adventures” where the most exciting stuff is done by Mary Sue NPCs of some authors who don’t even know the rules for the current edition, a nigh total lack for appreciation for Sword & Sorcery or Sword & Planet genres.
To explain the but, you must know that there also is no mass-market tradition of (Superhero) comic reading that would be comparable to the US. But. There is a huge market and audience for Pulp-Fiction (going back in tradition to Karl May), called Groschenromane. There’s one line for every taste, ranging from all kinds of romantic stuff, the ever popular special agent Jerry Cotton, the neverending exploits of Western hero G.F.Unger, the internationally known Sci-Fi franchcise Perry Rhodan, the hugely successful Geisterjäger John Sinclair and related series like Professor Zammorrah or the raunchy Vampira to the somewhat objectionable Landser-Hefte, which concern themselves with German Soldiers in the second world war. At one point in your life, you most likely have read some of those, no matter where you come from.
Most people get on a reading binge for some time, mainly in their adolescence, only to move on afterwards, but some remain fans for life.
In the year 2000 a new series started, called Maddrax. It is a series that turned out to be not at all a post-apoc Madmax-clone, but rather a Sword & Planet romp worthy of Thundarr the Barbarian, complete with violence, bug-riding Romans, cthuloid entities, time travel and bare breasted Amazon women on nearly every cover.
Next week will see the publication of an RPG for this franchise. There have been Perry Rhodan RPGs before, they all basically sucked and have been marketed very poorly. They only appealed to the audience that was into RPGs already and was a Perry Rhodan fan at the same time. But now, they are not making an RPG to be sold at RPG stores.
No they are making an RPG in the format of the Pulp-novels, and are distributing it as the anniversary 200th Episode! my mind boggles, who would have expected this?
Every fucking German newsstand will field a 3d6 based 64 page complete RPG for a totally gonzo Sword & Planet setting, which is already succesful and wonderfully illustrated next week!
And they even apologized for the price increase for this double issue!
If there ever was a chance for an injection of some healthy new gamers for the hobby it is now. I’m sceptical if this will work out for our hobby the way I’d like it, but the range of this publication alone should bring in some people just through sheer mass and exposure.
Fuck, it IS possible. The holy grail, the newsstand RPG with 3d6, and for a high gonzo adventuring!
Take a look at some maps and stuff (look, Pundit’s hometown is the new Northpole, coincidence?). There is a large-ish pdf for free with the rules, but we’ll see next week how the all important printed edition looks like.
[Ich verfasse meine Bedenken und ersten Eindrücke noch auf Deutsch, das wird dann aber speziell-deutsche Binnenkritik, also hier fehl am Platze].