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Rogue Manifesto


The Rogue Manifesto

The Rogue Manifesto harkens back to the early days of Rogue Cthulhu, when we were a very angry group of gamers, aggravated beyond reason by the inequities of the then RPGA dominated gaming landscape at Origins, and by the ineptitude of the administration that was in power at Origins at the time. Since Rogue has been on its crusade we have witnessed a great many changes at Origins, and hopefully we have had a positive impact on gaming in general. The new organizers at Origins have done a great job in trying to address the problems of the past, and we have seen great strides made in improving the quality of role playing at the convention, mostly due to the dedicated work of gaming clubs like ours. Today we are a much happier gang of rebels, and so the Manifesto no longer reflects our current attitudes, as the landscape has changed greatly since it was written. We take pride in knowing that we had a hand in bringing about those changes. This article remains on our website mainly for historical purposes. 01-20-07

Text revised and updated on 9-14-00


... So, what the hell is Rogue Cthulhu? This is who we are. This is what Rogue is all about. 

. . Rogue Cthulhu is an organization of gamers committed to providing and supporting quality role playing games at conventions. It is also a movement to raise the standard of quality in role playing events presented at conventions, and to make those conventions more responsive to the public that makes them possible. Rogue Cthulhu focuses these efforts, at least for now, on the Call of Cthulhu role playing game by Chaosium, and at the nation’s second largest gaming convention, Origins.

. . Rogue Cthulhu writes, produces organizes and presents its own original Call of Cthulhu adventures, as well as showcasing worthy adventures submitted by authors from around the world. We plan to make Rogue Cthulhu the premier event organizers for Call of Cthulhu games at Origins. We also plan to make Origins the largest and best Call of Cthulhu gamer gathering in the country. In the near future, we plan to expand our field of influence to other conventions and to other game systems.

... So, why are you on this crusade anyway? Let me tell you the story of how it all started.
. . It was the summer of 1996 when several of the core Rogue members went to the Origins gaming convention, in Columbus Ohio, for the first time. There we played in lots of Call of Cthulhu role playing games which, at that time, were all being run by the RPGA Network. The RPGA had an enormous area where their games were held, and lots of staff persons running around with important looking ribbons hanging from their badges denoting them as Game Masters and Volunteer helpers and the like. Despite the fast that there were dozens of people with these ribbons, and that there were several different rooms in which to organize the games, and that one of those rooms was dedicated as a Headquarters, from which one would assume everything would be well orchestrated, no one seemed to have much of a clue as to what was going on. This was only a sign of things to come.

. . While the most of the games were at least moderately enjoyable, some were just horrendous, and nearly all had some sort of problem attached to them. Sometimes the adventure was poorly written. Sometimes the game was poorly run. Some times the game was hard to find. Sometimes the scheduled adventure was substituted with another. Sometimes the game was canceled altogether. Sometimes the GM never showed up. Sometimes the GM had just been handed the module, sight unseen. Sometimes the GM had never even played the game system before. Any combination of the above was possible, and such failings were taken as commonplace. Never once did anyone tell us that our event ticket could be refunded if the game was canceled. And never once did any of us see a single prize be awarded for any game, even though all the games were advertised as having prizes for the “winner”. Regardless of any inconvenience or difficulties we, the players, were subjected too in the course of trying to play our game, the officials would become uniformly disgruntled, and some even irate, if ever we baulked at filling out their “survey” at the end of the game.

. . This situation did not improve with passing years. In 1997, we got even more of the same. The high turnout for Call of Cthulhu games prompted even more events to be run, and the ineptitude of the organizers prompted even more of those events to be run badly. Our first game of the ‘97 con was one such event. We left home at 4 am to be there in time for the game that started at 8 am, just to find that game had been canceled. The group of players (not just our own) were livid and nearly cause a scene that would have disrupted the entire play area. Only after convincing the organizers that we would NOT be turned out of hand, did anyone make any attempt to rectify our situation. Another game was substituted to placate the players. Unfortunately for us, it was one that we were already scheduled to play later in the weekend. Chalk up another wasted event ticket, bought and paid for.

. . This year (97), the RPGA’s “surveys” became a bone of contention again. We didn't like filling out surveys. We didn’t like the whole idea behind the surveys. We didn’t like the whole idea behind the point system that the surveys were designed to promote. Our feelings were, that we were not RPGA members, and we got no benefit from filling out these surveys. There was no stipulation in the registration book about having to fill out a survey in exchange for getting to play the game. We didn’t feel obligated in any way to fill out a survey. So we didn’t. All weekend. And boy did it piss off some GMs. The whole thing came to a head when in one of the games, the GM stopped the action at the absolute climax of the game. The adventurers were cornered in a building. Their guns were drawn. The bad guys were pounding at the door, and just as they broke down the door pressing the adventurers into a fight for their very lives, the GM says, “OK, we only got about 20 minutes left, so we’d better stop now and fill out our surveys”. Needless to say this brought on a rather heated argument, especially when we refused to fill out the damn surveys. It was at this point that it became painfully clear to us that the RPGA wasn’t interested in Role Playing games, they were only interested in assigning themselves “points”. The ranking system and player data collection had become more important than the games that had brought people here in the first place.

. . We wrote a letter to the convention organizers (Andon Unlimited) and told them how we felt about their RPGA events. Of course we got no official response from them, and no improvements were made, but we did get a response of a sort that came in the form of an article published in Dragon Magazine . Issue #239 featured an article in the RPGA Network news section that addressed our letter almost point by point. The funny thing was, the RPGA was taking credit for doing a great job on each and every count of which we had reported their proficiency as gravely deficient. In other words, they were patting themselves on the back for being great in the same areas in which we said they sucked. Well that just took the cake!

. . After getting pretty much the same treatment in 1998, we said, “Enough is enough. Someone has to show these slobs how it’s done.” On the day we returned from Origins in 1998, we decided that someone was going to have to be us. We immediately set about forming what was later to be called “Plan A”, and thus Rogue Cthulhu was born.

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