Addressing WftW reviews

Chris Van Deelen
The reason I am writing this blog is to address several reviews that have been written in regards to my work on Wisdom from the Wasteland.   I’ve yet to receive a bad review for my work. I’ve gotten  a couple of Luke-warm reviews, which are fine, but I won’t deny the fact that I didn’t like those.   But that’s just my ego talking folks, believe me. Reviews like these should be taken as a blessing. I need to listen to my readers and get a feel for what they like and don’t like. Criticism, done the right way, is very helpful!   This blog is going to be quite long, as I will be addressing questions and statements in regards to the reviews that I have received, starting with issue 1. For the most part, this blog will only deal with the issues that I have wrote personally.   HOWEVER….   I will also discuss a review that I read in regards to issue 20, which, even though I am not the original author, I have put a great deal of work into the rules presented in this issue, since I have incorporated the info and expanded upon it for the impending Physical Mutation book.   I received a review from John B for issue 1. It was a nice review, and he gave me a 4 out of 5. He had some well though out reasons as to why he didn’t really care for the saves and DR section of the issue.  Hey, that’s fine! After all, every single article and new rule that I have written for the game are purely optional. Hell, every single rule in the core book is optional, that’s the beauty of an RPG, the Games Master can use as much, or as little as he desires.   John brought up an interesting question, something that I never thought about when I was writing the issue, and I’ll address it now.  It has to do with the scaling of the bonus gained when using a manual, and the general bonuses that can be attributed to figuring out artifacts.    I understand what he is asking here. Being given instructions on how to use the weapon will confer a +30% to figuring out the artifact. This is a little vague. Basically the written instructions would cover someone taking the time to write down the basic instructions (such as pull the trigger to fire, flick the tab on the side to eject the magazine, turn the other knob in order to select the rate of fire). This is NOT to be confused with a manual!  They are two different things entirely. However I would allow written instructions to be used in conjunction with a manual for the weapon that is in less than perfect (condition 5) condition.    I hope that helps clarify things!   Also, John mentioned that the rules that I wrote in regards to breaking things. I hope that he will be pleased to know that with all the material that I have been writing, I have included various methods on ‘breaking things’. Many mutations as well as weapons, and even failed rolls can in fact reduce the condition level of items.   Yes, the information is spread out over the various issues and books, but they are there and I hope that they will help by adding flavor to the game.   Moving onto issue 3, John B. again gave it a nice favorable review. He did state that some of what I wrote seemed a little unbalanced, basically when it came to game flavor. Heh, sorry John, I am a novelist, first and foremost and I tend to incorporate a lot of story material into what I write. For better or worse, that’s my style. As an avid reader, I actually enjoy a little bit of a story thrown into descriptions.   I can also see your point about reducing the amount of background information that I write in order to create space for more weapons.   As of writing this particular blog, I have completed a total of SIX weapon issues (which include the two that have been currently published) and I have enough random notes to add probably two more issues. Each issue has between 5-7 new weapon types, and when all is said and done, we’re looking at a grand total of approximately 30 new weapon types between all issues.   I hope that will kind of make up for the flavor that I tend to add to my work. =)   To address the stock art comment, I have no say in this. Due to the fact that the publication is very small, and we only charge a buck per issue (sometimes less if a sale is on), using simple stock images is best economically. I don’t know what Mike has planned for the future, but that’s the way it’s going to be for now.   Sorry man!   Now for issue 4, new races, which seem to be the least well received of all the material that I’ve written to date.   Once again John B. pointed out what he liked and disliked. His one major issue was the fact that I allowed for Ancients to use ‘mutations’, which could be nothing more than cybernetic enhancements or the like.   Believe it or not, John, one of the issues that I am working on deals with cybernetics and how to incorporate them into the MF game. This will be fairly large and will most likely be split into several issues that will be sold later in the year. And speaking of tech that could be used with the Ancients, I have written a series of three issues (and there is a 4th in the que) that deal with nanotechnology as well.  AND I am also toying with some notes in regards to biological enhancements (which could easily be considered mutations, this one will take a lot of work on my part to write up).   So, something to look forward to.   Another reviewer, this one going by the name of Justin S. D. didn’t really explain why he didn’t like the issue, other than stating that it feels like the ‘unearthed arcana’ of Mutant Future.   There really isn’t any way for me to address what he doesn’t like about it, so the only thing that I can really say is this…   You can’t please everyone all the time.   Justin also wrote a review for my first faction issue, number 6. His biggest complaint with the issue is the lack of rules.   I have a single faction book in the pipe at the moment. I don’t think I will bother writing up any individual faction issues in the future for several reasons. First, I’m putting a lot of effort into the book. The book HAS all the basic crunch, aka rules that I hope will make using factions all that much easier in the future. Secondly, I wanted to publish at least 3-5 factions per issue, but with the fact that I am including so much fluff along with the rules, sometimes a single faction will end up covering 2 issues of WftW.   Honestly I have no idea how long it’s going to take me to write this book, as at the time of this blog I have notes for nearly 30 different factions. And yes, some of these factions are updated versions of the venerable cryptic alliances that were included in the original Gamma World game.   To top it off, I am really considering adding new technology and creatures to the book as well. So when you consider that most factions take typically 3-5 pages for me to write, we’re looking at a book that could be upwards of 200 pages once I’m finished with it!   The next review that I would like to touch upon is John B.’s review of issue 11, optional rules.   Yup, John, I won’t deny that I was inspired by other OSR systems and of course 3.5 and Pathfinder for the optional rules. Believe it or not, I have actually run several games of MF and even though the basic rules are pretty much all one needs, my players wanted more options and in their opinion, flexibility.   So, of course I complied.   And yes, I do have a second issue that has been completed and is in the pipe. I think that you’ll find this issue has a lot more original ideas than rules that were simply borrowed or inspired (again, I admit to it), than you found in this particular issue.   When it comes to layout, I have a bit of a conundrum. Do I keep the rules in alphabetical order, or do I list them with any rules that need to be referenced to at the beginning? That’s something that Mike will have the final call in deciding. Hey, he does read the reviews and he takes everything that is said into consideration!   Now, even though I didn’t write issue 20, mutation modifiers, I am going to address John B.s comments when it comes to this.   I don’t think you’re going to be too happy to know that this issue has already been completely re-written and significant changes have been made with it. These changes and re-writes are going to be included in the upcoming Physical mutation book.   I believe that you’ll find that the issues you brought up in your review will have been adequately addressed in the Physical mutation book. It will be easier to incorporate them into a Mutant Future campaign, and as I have stated, I really put a lot of effort into making the modifiers playable.   Hell, I even included some of my own ideas into what Derek Holland came up with.   Although I do not really like to refer to previous issues of the WftW that I have written, it is kind of unavoidable, for that I apologize. I try to make sure that all the material I write for the game will be linked and incorporate rules and options that I have come up with in the past.   I could simply re-add this material to the issues, but I feel that this would take up too much space that could otherwise be used to give the ML new material that they can use in their games.   As it stands, I have, several times, taken the material that had to be cut from the issues and put this material up in the forums for free.   So, for the time being, sorry about that, but it is a trend that is going to continue. Besides, a lot of the people that purchase this particular publication purchase all the issues that are published, so its only a small faction of the purchasers that will have to deal with not having a particular issue that is referenced to.   The last review that I will address is John B.s review for issue 22, Personal Shields. John, my friend, you will be pleased to hear that I have a book in the works that deals with EMA and armour! Right now it’s about 25 pages long and is going to cover many different aspects of EMA, including alternate construction materials (43 types!), accessories, 3 new types of power systems, and even many new types of regular armour. I can’t give you a date when this book is going to be released, but it should make you (and many others) VERY happy!   Personally, I am quite pleased with how the book is growing and, despite the fact that I’m the author, I can hardly wait to see what the final product is going to look like.   So, there, I hope that my readers will find this very long winded blog informative, and I also hope that one of those readers is in fact, John B.   Peace!   Chris