Bookmark Cyberpunk & the GMA KS

You may be aware of my love for Nathan Rockwood’s GameMaster’s Apprentice deck for GM-less role-play. Of all the oracle systems I’ve used, GMA is my hands-down favorite, with Cut-Up Solo an unusual second.

You can see in the image here all the information available on each randomly drawn GMA card, which makes it “one-stop shopping” for storytelling details.

Unrelatedly, my old college buddy Tim Ryan and I have been playing a cyberpunk role-playing campaign for nearly a year now, using the GMA core deck as game master, and my Bookmark HP RPG as the game rules. So when I discovered that Nathan was Kickstarting a brand-new themed GMA deck, for cyberpunk, I just had to back it!

Serendipitously, I’d already begun working on a Bookmark Cyberpunk Sourcebookmark. So I asked Nathan about including that as an add-on to his Kickstarter, and he agreed, enthusiastically.

Check it out. There’s also an add-on bundle available of the Bookmark HP RPG card, the Player’s Handbookmark, and the Game Host’s Guidebookmark. (D&D fans should appreciate the nostalgic nod of those titles.)

Footnote: When I designed the D6xD6 RPG back in 2014, though I’d included rules for character growth through experience, I sort of assumed that wouldn’t hold up to long-term play, just mini campaigns of a half dozen sessions or so. But as an experiment a couple of years ago, I decided to see how far it could go, and after a two-year campaign, the experience system was still working smoothly!

Still, surely the tiny BNHP experience rules couldn’t support a campaign, right? But I figured that, silly as the idea sounded, it couldn’t hurt to give it a try. And as noted, a year into a cyberpunk campaign, character growth is still working! One more reason to be proud of this little RPG, designed on a whim one weekend, as an experiment in HP/XP-less role-play.


Okay. Sales pitch. But I think it worth noting.

First, there’s a 74% discount bundle deal for the GameMaster’s Apprentice and the Bookmark No HP RPG. Print and PDF included. That’s 1/4 the normal price. Link included on the DriveThruRPG HandiQuest page.

What’s HandiQuest? It’s a 99 cent system for using those two items as a deck in one hand, with a pen or pencil in the other. Nothing else needed for solo role-play adventure. Carry it in a pocket, play wherever, it’ll save your place if you need to pause.

So, for under $10 you can own the GMA oracle deck, one of the best RPGs of my career, and an ultra-portable way to use them together. I hope you’ll take a look-see. Thanks!

Here’s a Pinapple

Photo by Kobby Mendez on Unsplash

I’m grateful to report that each of the bookmark titles received another 5-star rating on DriveThruRPG yesterday. My one-person operation may be small, with relatively small exposure, but its ratings remain encouragingly high, which, thankfully, keeps me motivated and focused.

Because maybe it’s the heat disrupting our normal sleep habits at Chez Smith, or maybe it’s time to reevaluate my meds. Whichever, it’s been tough of late, encephalopathically speaking. Something like Frodo’s “thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” But more accurately, diffuse, like fog on a window, vaguely aware that the things inside are concrete and real, but so disconnected from them. Sometimes mustering the energy to even want to coalesce can be exhausting.

Not complaining; just reporting. (Jennifer says that’s become my catchphrase.)

In any case, I’m grateful for a family who know when too much too fast becomes overwhelming, and who send me to my room.

For friends who accept my sometimes cancelling events day of, when it becomes evident I just can’t deal.

And for fans who keep me feeling relevant and accomplished. My particular religious upbringing makes it difficult to accept praise. But every rating, review, comment, message, Facebook chat or group page interaction, every thumbs up on a YouTube video, every photo from a convention, all that stuff feels like an ongoing conversation. And as an extrovert, I feed on that interaction.

It gives me purpose to write, and the writing brings focus. It’s why my MD concludes every visit with, “So, are you still writing, still publishing?”

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not looking for sympathy. Not fishing for compliments. Not making a sales pitch.

I’m just saying thank you. You know who you are.

The pineapple was just to get your attention.

Julia Baily, Spiritualist, Bounty Hunter

Photo by Taylor Brandon on Unsplash

I’ve been delving deeper into solo gaming the past few years, including solo role-play, which falls into two categories.

Category one is programmed adventures for systems like GURPS, RuneQuest, etc., and lesser known RPGs such as Risus. You may know these as “pick-a-path,” “which way,” or “choose your own adventure” books. I have quite a few of those adventure books on my shelves, unplayed, because who wants to refamiliarize themselves with a different RPG just to use them?

The solution has been to play them with on-the-fly conversion to a flexible system I’m familiar with: my D6xD6 RPG.

Category two is oracle-based adventuring, using a card deck, a set of dice tables, or other randomizers. There are plenty of great oracle systems out there, usable with pretty much any RPG you like, some of them with their own rules built in.

But for this, I’ve been using my Bookmark HP RPG, because the 1-10 scale is intuitive and character design is quick and easy, supporting storytelling without getting in the way.

And I’ve started a YouTube series exploring both categories, most recently the adventures of an Old West bounty hunter named Julia Baily, guided by the ghosts of murder victims. Check out the various videos for an introduction to the various programmed adventure settings and oracle systems, some musings about role-playing in general, and of course a bit of demo of my RPG rules in action.

Let me know what you think, with comments there or here. And thanks!