I AM ZOMBIE RPG-Boulevard mit Mark Rein*Hagen [I am Zombie] [Democracy]


16. August 2007
For einiger Zeit berichtete ich über das neuste Rollenspiel-Projekt von Mark Rein*Hagen das mittels eines Kickstarter finanziert wurde: [I AM ZOMBIE] I AM ZOMBIE: Field Manual & RPG

Es wurde mit ansprechenden Grindhouse-Artworks beworben, man bot ein - zumindest ungewöhnliches - System mit Karten und unterschiedlichen farbigen, sechseitigen Würfel daneben war man sich selbstbewusst sicher das man noch weit vor dem angegebenen Lieferdatum die Backer versorgen würde. Nicht wie die anderen Versager-Kickstarter.

Jetzt hat sich der gute Herr wieder an seine Unterstützer gewendet und umfassend über I AM ZOMBIE sowie seinen Verbleib in den letzten Monaten berichtet.
Ich empfehle eine Cola kalt zu stellen und Popcorn zu holen.

Hi everyone, sorry about the long, long hiatus. It lasted far longer than I ever intended it to be, but it served a purpose, which I will explain in just a bit. But first let me explain why I needed a vacation.

Facebook is an amazing place, but when you have as many friends as I do it becomes difficult to get serious work done. Before my break I was sometimes getting messaged a 100 times and a day and distracted by this or that the whole day long. I became addicted to the intensity of the constant stimulation and my creative work began to suffer. I knew I needed to switch things out somehow, and find a new way to work. A new way to focus.

Secondly, I AM ZOMBIE was stalled. I had released a complete rules book, background book and character cards and I was expecting a big surge of activity and interest as different groups began to playtest. But that did not happen... I become more than a bit distraught and depressed (I am a temperamental artist type after all). Day by day I began to slip deeper and deeper into a big black hole. Emotionally I was at all all time low in terms of this project.

Intellectually, however, I realized that something was wrong with game, not the playtesters. You guys have been great, incredibly involved and VERY supportive. I decided to take a week off and just FIGURE THINGS OUT. In the end it took a bit more than week, but I have indeed figured things out.

As many of you know I am used to having trouble with my game in playtesting. Infamously my first Vampire playtest group quit the game in disgust, saying it was unplayable. The first Wraith playtest group had to disband because of “paranormal activity”. In any case, I knew something was wrong with the system or the setting and I had to fix it.

My analysis began with the game system itself. I realized that as much as I like dice pool systems, and I LOVE the elegance of this particular dice pool system with its different colored D6, that it was a major hindrance for people playing the game.

Secondly I realized that my own playtester were not choosing cards that had no art, they just didn’t “Grok” the blank cards. Yet I knew we were a long ways from getting all the art, and I couldn’t substitute other art from the internet in… Lucid Zombie art just doesn't exist, and anything else would be confusing and distracting.

Over the next week as we deconstructed the game layer by layer it became obvious that we need a new game system and we needed a way to playtest the game using cards with art on them. At the same time I was getting feelers back from various game companies about the Axiom game system. They were interested in the ideas of character cards, they just didn’t get the idea of a game where “you play a zombie?” (I would be upset about that kind of reaction, but I’m used to it, its exactly the same reaction I got when I come up with Vampire). They wanted a more “approachable” setting, an example of how they worked in a paradigm they could visualize.

So we began working on a new game, a game through which we could completely, methodically, and intensely playtest a new game system. I decided that fantasy was the archetypical RPG, plus there was a ton of fantasy art online we could borrow for use on a set of playtest cards.

One night I had a dream about a character who kept getting reincarnated so I called the setting Incarnate.

Very quickly while working on simplifying the D6 system I realized that the game was TOO innovative. This is a problem I run into often. People who do not work in a creative field are often confused by this concept, they think the more unique something is the better. The truth is however, you can only move people so far in so much time, if you are going to be brilliantly innovative in one way, you need to be familiar and conventional in another.

So that when I decided too (wait for it) to move to a D20 based game system… Yes, please don’t scream, its true. Its the most familiar way to resolve events in the world of roleplaying, millions of people have already played a game using the system. If you are going to blow peoples minds by having character cards instead of character classes, then you need to give them them something they understand deeply to hang on to as they go for the ride of their life.

Anyway, we whipped up 30 fantasy cards and wrote up a new system, and it ended up taking a lot long than I thought it would. But then something amazing happened, playtesters went nuts and new gamers started showing up out of nowhere. For the first time in Georgia we were able to playtest a game without having to bribe people with food or wine.

Bottom line, people loved the new system. It mixed the radically new with the deeply familiar in a way that was very approachable and easy to understand. All the stuff that slows down a 3.5, 4e, or Pathfinder game was eliminated, like charts and looking things up. Everything you need was on the cards. The games system was a still Axiom (in fact it was shocking how easy it was to convert it over) and the cards looks very much the same as with D6 IAZ. Almost immediately I wrote a new D20 set of Axiom rules for IAZ as well and tried a game, however without any card art all but the most sophisticated and experienced players were still completely lost. So we kept working on the Incarnate game and the D2o Axiom System.

Without ever realizing it a few weeks had gone by without me really noticing. I was so happy to be not be interrupted every five minutes, of being able to focus on ONE project… a new game system and a new setting.

Then the creative muse just completely took over and we started adding more and more cards and more and more setting to the new game. Its simply what one does when one is designing a game… you focus intently on the project at hand. I think, also, I just really needed a break from the internet… and people.

Then I threw out my back, but that a whole other story...

I am not naturally a social person. I love people, but in relatively small doses compared to most. From the age of 8 to 17 I grew up in a house in a woods, with no other kids living nearby. I learned to entertain myself, to live in a world of book, thoughts and dreams. In college I managed to become a much more social person, well know to anyone who has bought me a beer, but I am still always that boy who lives in the woods.

However, I am a grown man now, and now that I have had my vacation I am ready to rejoin the world. Not just willing, looking forward to it. I welcome your input and dialogue with you. I am restored FULLY to my multi-tasking, cloud jumping, frantic and wide thinking self.

Please accept my full apologies for simply disappearing, I wish I could say it won’t happen again, but in a year or so it probably will. By signing up for this group you wanted a front row seat to the creative process, and this is part of it. Creative people aren't usually vibrant leaders or especially business minded, we tend to be a little strange, and inconsistent and unpredictable. It just goes with the work. But, sincerely, I do apologize. It wasn't fair, it wasn't smart but its just what I had to do. I truly am sorry if it annoyed or made your life difficult in any way.

That said I do have a Holiday Gift for you all. The Incarnate game is ready for you to play it. Since its a fantasy game there isn’t a whole lot that NEEDS to be explained about the setting, we all know pretty much what it is all about. We’ve got over 70 fully illustrated cards for you to choose from (just pick 7 cards!) and a succinct set of rules. I also have a introduction to the world/game we created as well, which is now called: Of Things Unknown. (A Shakespeare quote.)

In terms of the cards, just download all the file, load up on a memory stick and bring it to your local print shop. These days almost any shop can do it, they will collate them to whatever format they want and give you a finished set of cards. They charged me about $14 for 72 cards.

Ist er nicht herzallerliebst?
Den Unterschied zu einem Zombie-Rollenspiel mit W6 und Karten sowie einem generischen, uninspirierten Fantasy-Rollenspiel (man weiß ja wie eine 0815-Fantasywelt aussieht) auf Basis einen d20 System bzw. so als D&D3.5 / PFRPG Variante ist ja wirklich marignal.

Da verzeiht man auch das er in absehbarer Zeit wieder mal komplett abtauchen und nichts von sich hören lassen wird. Er hatte ja auch eine total schwere Kindheit.

Naja und wenn man schon so "freundlich" zu den I AM ZOMBIE Backern ist, da ist verständlich das den armen Mark Rein*Hagen bei den Backern von Democracy gänzlich die soziale Puste ausgeht:
Democracy Abides

I was going to post a full update today but I decided I needed yet another night to think about my words and rarefy them to a unique level of profound sublimity wildly unfamiliar to my creative Loki. However, you first need to know – my splendiferous, so uncherubic crazies – that the game shipment is nearly there. Things are not only, at long last, underway, but there was an serious reason, health-wise (I haven't been well) for me to be off-line and out-of- touch for such a elongated interlude.

But first hear this – loud and clear – I'd rather send my kids to community college than abrogate a contract. No joke. I'd never leave a gamer and his wad stranded, ever. Never have, never will. Democracy is on its way.

So calm the f**k down. Subside. Please please plese

Full post when I wake up...
Ein bisschen die Leute von öffentlichen Schulen beleidigen, eine Krankheit vorschieben von der bei IAZ noch nicht die Rede war und dann ein herzliches "calm the f**k down" an die Leute die über ein Jahr auf ihr Spiel warten. Da mag man dem süßen Mark gleich in die Pausbäckchen kneifen.
Kleine Ergänzung. Der erste Text ging nicht über den Kickstarter sondern wurde über Facebook veröffentlicht.
Was für eine eingebildete, aufgeblasene Arschbombe!

Vielleicht haben wir Glück und es gibt wieder Krieg zwischen Russland und Georgien und Obama leiht Putin ne Drohne. Wenn Reinie nicht nicht auf der Bimmel-Ta-Li-ba(h)n fährt, dann weiß ich es auch nicht.

Nur, falls einer unserer geschätzen Weltführer eine Ausrede benötigt.

Ne, ich mark rein hanix an dem!
Hold on...

Er bekamm 35000$ und nun gibt er das Zombieding auf und macht eine Fantasywelt die ein wenig sehr stark an Darksouls erinnert...

meine die Leute haben für ein Jetztzeit/Postmodern Zombiegame bezahlt... Good Job Hagen...
Immerhin: Der Pundit wird mit dieser designerischen Bankrotterklärung einen Feldtag haben, wie der Großbretone sagt :D Ich freue mich schon auf seinen Blogeintrag dazu [img]http://www.therpgsite.com/images/smilies/extra/pundit.gif[/img] [img]http://www.therpgsite.com/images/smilies/extra/pundit.gif[/img] [img]http://www.therpgsite.com/images/smilies/extra/pundit.gif[/img]
Vielleicht hinsichtlich des Settings.
In den Kickstarter Kommentaren wurde das komplette Update gepostet. Nicht von MRH, der hat den Kickstarter seit November nicht mehr auch nur mit dem Hintern beglückt, von einem Nutzer.

Das heißt es gibt dort die folgenden Informationen:
Ich hätte mir das Setting durchgelesen, kann aber mit der Schreibe nichts anfangen.
Lest von schweren Zeiten, Nahetoderfahrungen, Rollenspiel-Diäten für Method Actors und davon wie cool es ist salziges Popcorn zu machen und wieder auszuspucken!
Dafür geht es mit I AM ZOMBIE weiter. Wenn die faulen Playtester nur mal aus den puschen kommen.
Hi everyone, sorry about the long absence but it was unavoidable and for a pretty serious reason. This is not something I wanted to make public, but I've been convinced that I need to come clean with what I consider to be an intensely private matter. To cut to the chase I've been having some serious problems with my health. Any rumors that I had a heart attack are absolutely false, but I'm told it was a rather close thing.

Shortly before Christmas I was hospitalized with because of a “hypertensive emergency” (my blood pressure was 220/140) and I was diagnosed with a type of heart condition I still don't know how to spell. I am so very fortunate that I was monitoring my pressure on a daily basis, or it might have turned out much worse that it did.

They wanted to keep me in the hospital for a week or two but I refused because the internet was just way too slow (yes, pretty stupid) and then I ended up staying entirely off line anyway. My very physically-fit uncle died of a similar condition last year so it was a very intense and existentially frightening wake-up call. The doctors I saw later got me new mediation, put me in rehabilitation and made me promise to avoid anything that might add stress to my life, including the web. They certainly made clear to me it was only a matter of time if I didn't change my life-style.

So when I got home I transformed my life from top to bottom. I began, and have maintained, a low calorie and super low-salt and low-fat diet and I have lost close to 25 pounds so far. I've just gotten back from a full check-up and things are looking much better than I expected. I am feeling great. My blood pressure, with the help of yet another new medication, is now down to an a shockingly low l110/70. I am hoping to be at my former fighting weight by my birthday in August, as well as completely off medication.

At the beginning of the process I was completely off my game, I threw my back, was sleeping a lot, getting sick, and was lethargic and depressed. I don't mind telling you it was very tough - real change is very, very difficult whatever the different varieties of TV faith healers like to tell you.

To be honest I went into a total panic mode, I thought I might die. It was a strange feeling, I've been in war zones and that kind of danger never really phased me that much, I wasn’t reckless just peculiarly unperturbed – however THIS wasn't an exciting experience, it was miserable and tedious. It was clear however that I had to turn myself into someone else. I had to completely change my personality, for the sake of my kids if not myself. I had to let myself be scared, fear being the most powerful motivator in the world.

So now I’m a new man, no more wine at dinner or after-dinner Scotch, no more French fries or fried anything, no more lattes or beer or eating out for that matter... Now I actually stand at my desk all day, instead of sitting on the stool 80% of the time.

Funny thing is, turning things around was really hard thing to do, but then suddenly it just became easy. SInce I’m not really a social person without food and booze, it’ been tough to maintain any sort of social life, on or offline, but I'm working on it. (Btw, don't worry, once the weight is off and my pressure stablized I will still be drinking at conventions, just not in excess).

For those who are interested I used techniques I call the Roleplaying Diet (or alternatively the Method Acting diet) which is a total immersion, trained revulsion/attraction, be the person you want to be, self-programing program. I worked for me with variety of things, so I think it as work with pretty much anything. If you are interested or need help with something in particular, just let me know.

Yesterday I made popcorn for the first time and added one tiny dash of salt, but when I tasted it I spit it out, I am so unused to salt that it tasted terrible to me. Pretty cool. I'm into this.

Now that I am post checkup, post lethargy, and most importantly back from the States and post Mr. Mom (I was a primary caregiver since my wife had to stay at home to run the country), I am back on track with work. Which for us here means I AM ZOMBIE.

I was very sad and depressed about the tepid response to my call for a round of playtesting on IAZ. I only got ONE playtest report, one, and that really sent me for a loop, it was so very depressing.

Here's the thing, I can't really continue with the game design without feedback... the kind feedback you only get from Blind testing (in other words playtesting where I am not there running the game and making it work through strength of will.) I do understand, its hard to get your group excited about playing a game with mostly blank cards, but... Well, Mark has finished half the cards, so it should be a lot easier now. Moreover, I am going to write a begining scenario, so its totally a breeze to run your first game.

I am going to spend a week on the setting materials now and meanwhile I'm going to figure out how to "encourage" people to playtest. We are thinking of having a contest where we offer the top 10 playtest reports (in terms of length and insight) free cards, as in, get your face on one. However I am not sure how everyone would feel about that, so I want to check in with everyone about it.

In terms of the new D20 system, I played it using the fantasy version with my kids and my nieces and nephews (ages 6-14) over Xmas and it works really well. It's a very smooth and unique system, all the referencing of books and rules that normally goes on... puff, vanished. Its all on the cards.

However, fantasy ain't horror and we need to playtest I AM ZOMBIE for me to be able to do the rewrite of the setting materials and send it to Mark to be laid out. This HAS to happen, I refuse to send out a RPG without extensive playtesting.

So, sorry to not be around the last month or so, I really hope you do understand. Moreover, I hope we can really being an intense discussion about the game and how to perfect it, starting now.


Gut das man sich keine Sorgen muss das er, wenn er wieder fit ist, auf einmal darauf verzichtet auf Conventions Alkohol zu trinken. ^^
Was mich irritiert. Wieso schreibt er von sich in der dritten Person?
Ja, Alexandro trifft den Punkt vollkommen.
Der Monte Cook hat sich als totale Luftnummer entpuppt. Während MRH Qualität, annehmbare Charakterzüge und Erfolg vorweisen kann.

Oh,... wait...

Wobei ich nicht behaupten würde das MRH ein Kultist ist.
Nur mit weitem Abstand die unsympathischste, aufgeblasenste, am wenigsten Figur der RPG Szene zu der / von der ich etwas las. ^^;
Naja, vielleicht nicht mit weiten Abstand, Skarka, Nystul, Brucato, Lakim kleben dicht dran. Aber doch MRH ist unter denen unrühmlicher Erster.
Das ist jetzt der zweite Spieleonkel, von dem ich Kenntnis habe, der nach erfolgreichem Kickstater die Leute mit Schwänken aus seinem Privatleben unterhält, statt wie versprochen (und bezahlt!) seine Arbeit zu tun und pünktlich abzuliefern! Der andere ist der Brave Halfling John Adams, mit viel Arbeit, kaputtem Computerstecker, totem Kind, viel Arbeit, Stress und Ärger usw.

Man versteh mich nicht falsch: Todesfälle und Krankheiten können zu Rückständen führen, aber mit welcher herztriefenden Selbstverständlichkeit angenommen wird, dass dies Kunden, deren Geld man schon im Sack hat, auch nur im entferntesten interessiert, treibt mir das blaße Erstaunen die Sacknat herunter. Zumal dies stets nach Wochen zu kommen scheint, in denen auch schon nichts und nochmals nichts gearbeitet wurde!

Zum Kotzen. Meine Freundin ist Freiberuflerin - der schwillt bei sowas sowas von der Kamm!

@ Teylen: Monte Cook eine Luftnummer - wieso? Hatte bisher eine gute Meinung von dem als Designer/ Spieleentwickler/ Abenteuerschreiber - elaboriere bitte. :)
@ Teylen: Monte Cook eine Luftnummer - wieso? Hatte bisher eine gute Meinung von dem als Designer/ Spieleentwickler/ Abenteuerschreiber - elaboriere bitte. :)
Ach. Das war ein (wohl missglückter) Versuch der Ironie / Sarkasmus meinerseits.

Ich halte Monte Cook für sehr erfolgreich und erträglich. Irgendwo auch talentiert.
MRH ist imho weder erfolgreich noch erträglich. Imho nicht mal talentiert.
Ich habe dann mal die Bombe gezündet und dem Pundit die Updates zugespielt. Das wird den Popcornfaktor sicher um mindestens 437% erhöhen [img]http://www.therpgsite.com/images/smilies/extra/pundit.gif[/img]
Ich kenn MRH nicht und es mag alles stimmen was ihr über seine Charakterschwäche schreibt - aber Verschwörungstheorien sind lächerlich, egal ob sie mit Chemtrails oder RPG-Personenkult zu tun haben. ;)
Mark Rein.com@hagen hat Vampire The Maskerade mehr oder weniger erfunden. Der Pundit ist ein Irrer, der im südamerikanischen Exil lebt. Bekannt geworden dadurch, daß er vor allem laut und ungehobelt rumätzt und für ein paar kleine Spieler, die er designt hat.
Ja, doch. Google-Fu hat letztlich dann gereicht, um den ganzen Haufen zusammenzubringen. Da gibt es ja tatsächlich noch viel beklopptere und krassere Feindbildergrabenkämpfe. Aber diese ganze Personenkultsache ist mir neu. Funny, in way. Also sad.
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