Friday, May 31, 2024

Helpful Links for the LEGO RPG Jam

Hi everyone! I have two announcements about the ongoing Summer LEGO RPG Setting Jam, still open until July 8th. First, several people have reached out to me with links that might be helpful for anyone working on their own entry. And second, the first few entries have been submitted!
71469 Nightmare Shark Ship image source
I'll talk about those in just a moment. But first, my friend and colleague Prismatic Wasteland is also hosting an game jam this summer - the Barkeep Jam, which will be open from June 14th to August 14th, inviting you to add your own location (or other contributions) to the already-overflowing Barkeep on the Borderlands.
I wrote one of the original bars, but I'm going to try to come up with another to enter in the jam. I'm thinking of playing with the similar sounds in cocktail and cockatrice, although I'm not sure exactly where that will lead yet...
In the mean time, let's talk about Lego!
6494 Magic Mountain Time Lab image source

I have been using Brickset as my primary interface for locating and looking at older Lego sets. It's not the only way to search them, but I've found it very helpful.

Certified Lego fan Farmer Gadda has a few recommendations! First, Rebrickable is a site where people can post instructions for their own fan designs, reusing old pieces in new ways.

Next, Brick Owl is an online marketplace for buying and selling Lego pieces and minifigures.
BrikWars hosts a community of people who use Lego to play wargames. There's a complete ruleset, a wiki for lore, and forums where people talk about and post pictures of their games.

And the BrickLink Studio is a downloadable program from the official Lego website that allows 3D modeling of Lego pieces and sets, and can output .png files.

Knight at the Opera discovered that the official Lego website also has some great history articles, including accounts of the original Castle, Pirates, and Space lines, along with plenty of other topics.

I also got a great link from Mindstorm -  a really detailed overview of the Lego space factions from the 1990s and 2000s from the almost overwhelming Rambling Brick blog. This covers the period when I was most into Lego as a kid, as well as the time right afterward.

And finally, Prismatic Wasteland found a link to a review of the inspiring 1992 Lego catalog, and discovered that Brickset also has a way to browse old Lego catalogs, from 1966 to 2011.

4970 The Chrome Crusher image source

So far, there have been four contest entries (that I know of! if you've seen others, please share them in the comments!) 

The first past the finish line is Rise Up Comus, who wrote the Legojam Castle Hexcrawl. This is 27 hexes of medieval adventure, populated by people forced to reenact and relive the same heroic drama year after year, with only the player characters able to break free from the eternal recurrence of the same.

The aforementioned Farmer Gadda wrote Lego Adventurers Dino Island, which pits pulp-style explorers and criminals in a race against one another to capture a dinosaur before the volcano explodes...

Dr Curious VII went a different route and found monster designs from a Lego boardgame. In The Monster (Pod) Manual, DC7 offers ideas on how to describe and use 20 of these little beasties as roleplaying adversaries. I'd really like to encourage this kind of creativity! If you don't want to write a setting, but have another idea for adapting Lego to use with D&D, please know that you're welcome.
And in the most recent entry, for now, Tales of Escia gives us The Azure Archipelago, a 36 hex ocean setting where pirates, ghosts, and a royal navy all compete with ancient high-tech Atlanteans to find arcane crystals that will fuel their various factional goals.

There's still plenty of time to join the jam, and plenty of room for more ideas. Don't feel discouraged if you want to write something smaller, or if you too want to write about pirates or knights! I'd love to see what you can make!

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Summer LEGO RPG Setting Jam

I want to officially announce the start of the Summer LEGO RPG Setting Jam! The goal of this game jam is to design a small roleplaying game setting based on the Lego sets we enjoyed in our youth. The jam will run from Wednesday, May 8th to Monday, July 8th, 2024.

6075 Wolfpack Tower image source

What is the Summer LEGO RPG Setting Jam?

A few years ago, I wrote about how the Lego Castle sets that came out when I was a kid formed an important part of my fantasy imagination, and helped to shape what I want from fantasy roleplaying games. I know I’m not the only one who feels like this, and that childhood Lego sets continue to inspire many of us who enjoy designing and playing RPGs today.
So, the goal of this project is to design a small game setting based on a few Lego sets. I encourage you to draw on sets that you remember from your childhood - either ones you owned and enjoyed, or ones you saw and wanted but never got to play with. Now is your chance! 
(Since this is a celebration of Lego's original sets and settings, I think it will be more fun if we don't try to riff off of Lego's licensed interpretations of other company's characters.)
1492 Battle Cove image source
What Kind of Setting Should I Make?
Create a setting where the players can be heroes or scoundrels, and let them decide how to act. Set up rival factions with conflicting goals, make a powder keg, ready to explode, and hand the players a match they can strike. Give them a safe home base, a dungeon to delve, a wilderness to travel, monsters to fight. Make the game you want to play!
I encourage you to think small, to be expressive and concise, and to write a setting that will fit on 1-2 pages of 8½ × 11 paper when printed out. You can reference the game mechanics of your choice, or save space by leaving your setting systemless or system-neutral.
Anyone who uses your setting will have to do additional work to get it game-ready, so help them out by making something exciting and inspirational! Basic guidelines are more important than fine-grained distinctions. Be clear and coherent, use motifs and themes, and trust that the person running the game will make decisions that are shaped by the tools you've given them.
6878 Sub Orbital Guardian image source
How Do I Participate in the Game Jam?
Once you've created your setting, go ahead and put it online! If you have a blog, make it a post. Upload it somewhere as a pdf. Then, share your links here, as comments on this post!
Once the game jam closes on July 8th, I'll write a new compilation post that has links to all the entries. I'll also create a companion document that combines all the pdf entries into a single file.
I'm going to create a setting too! I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with!
6879 Blizzard Baron image source
Anything Else I Should Know?
Please credit the original Lego sets using their official names and set numbers. That way, everyone will know what inspired you, and anyone who likes your setting can look up the same sets you drew from.
Please do not include racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, antisemitism, or islamophobia in your entry. I reserve the right to not share or promote any game jam submission that I think is being used to harass or bully.

Lego trademarks of the LEGO Group. The names and images of all Lego products are copyrights of the LEGO Group and are used here without permission. All names and images of Lego products used here are intended to represent Fair Use under the 1976 Copyright Act. Their use is non-commercial, and is part of a transformative artistic project, which is not a substitute for the original products, and should not affect those products' value.

So please, share your Summer LEGO RPG Setting Jam entries in the comments below!