Douglas, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 04/13/2015 -- Now that superhero movies and Lord of the Rings have become cultural mainstays, all things geek are attracting the attention of people that wouldn't have considered them "cool" just a couple of decades ago. Cosplayers—people who make and wear costumes of their favorite characters—have become a fixture of the media. Geeky conventions across the country are enjoying unprecedented growth, which has led to a proliferation of even more conventions. In Indiana alone, where there were once three conventions (Gen Con, Whos Yer Con, and InConjunction), there are now six. And it's time for roleplaying games to come out of the proverbial basement. Palegain Press LLC's upcoming revision to its Universal Storytelling System aims to grow the hobby by targeting people not yet role playing, and those who may feel socially marginalized. Many games have a steep learning curve and rely on ideas that aren't well understood by non-gamers. Dice can have more or less sides than six, the character sheets seem intimidating, the math can be daunting, and finding a group of experienced players that can teach the games can be difficult. To handle these roadblocks, the Universal Storytelling System uses a standard set of playing cards as its random mechanic, simplifying how a player interacts with the system. The rule book is a thin, digest-sized book, meaning there are few rules the player needs to learn in order to use the system. The social component has been addressed in several ways. To help players better understand their characters, there are physical and emotional description sections that encourage thinking about the character's unique outlook on the world. Player-driven short term and long term goals provide impetus for the character to grow and change as the story progresses. Universal Storytelling System is also designed and presented in an inclusive manner. This is an important aspect of the game, since the tabletop gaming community is stepping into the culture-discussion, with female gamers and LGBT gamers becoming prominent ambassadors of the hobby.
Multiple conventions aimed at these communities have appeared over the past few years, providing a safe space for them to tell their stories. The established conventions have also been drawn into the discussion with the recent controversy over the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana, and Gen Con—which has a $50 million impact to Indianapolis each year—writing Governor Pence to indicate they would be forced to slow their business or even depart the state because of the bill. To draw attention to the diversity of characters the game allows, a relationship section appears prominently on the character sheet. A female character can be attracted to male or female or both gender characters. The control is in the hands of the player. Future editions plan to bring more fluid gender identity options.
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About Derek Knutsen
Derek Knutsen has been in the tabletop gaming hobby since 2002. He has written scenarios for Living Greyhawk, is host on a podcast about gaming, runs an annual charity event, and self published the first version of Universal Storytelling System in 2014.
More information about Universal Storytelling System can be found at his company's website http://www.palegainpress.com. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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