Truman Student’s “Homebrew” Their Own Entertainment

rpg photo
Victoria Jamski (left) watches as Mary Oliver (right) moves her character on the play mat. As game master of Apocalypse, Victoria has led players this semester through a post-apocalyptic Midwest.

When junior Victoria Jamski joined her first Dungeons and Dragons game during high school, she says she never thought she was embarking on a life-altering quest.

Jamski says she decided to join Dungeons and Dragons, or D&D, because she always had been interested in fantasy and is an avid writer. She says her interest in roleplaying games — RPGs — continued to grow after playing D&D.

Role playing games are tabletop games where participants describe their characters’ actions through storytelling and rolling dice. Players base the actions on rules and guidelines established by the creator of the game. A non-player called the “game master” narrates the game and creates the setting, describing the outcome for other participants.

During college, she says her interest in writing and gaming combined and she began creating her own games.

Jamski says one of those games, Apocalypse, is based on the ‘zombie apocalypse’ and was created, or “homebrewed.” She says homebrewed games are gaming systems designed by amateurs who create, or “brew” their own fantasy worlds and sets of rules for participants to follow.

 Jamski’s Homebrews

Jamski says she spent four to five hours making the relatively simple system for Apocalypse. This took less time in comparison to her first homebrew, Bloodlines, which she says she spent more than 300 hours writing about 100 years of history and the system for the game.

However, Jamski says Bloodlines was not as successful as she had hoped it would be. She says she has reworked it and the RPG club is playing the game this semester. She says she plans to post her games on forums and obtain a creative commons license for them. A creative commons license allows the free distribution of a person’s copyrighted work.

 Apocalypse

Jamski says, players of Apocalypse were instructed to imagine that zombies had colonized the Earth. The game started in Kirksville, she says, then players traveled to Iowa and finally ended their journey with a standoff against zombies in St. Louis. Jamski says there were 15 committed players in Apocalypse.

“Apocalypse was really fun and interesting because it took place in areas that I knew,” sophomore Dan Pallett says. “It made it feel more real.”

Meetings to play the game occurred at least once per week, and each session typically ended on a cliffhanger or when it was getting too late, says freshman Devan Baetz, RPG club president.

RPGs at Truman

Baetz says he has been playing RPGs since his sophomore year of high school. He says some people enjoy RPGs, because of the strategy and others enjoy the games because of the story.

Baetz says currently, there are about 30 RPG club members who attend weekly meetings and games at minimum once a week. There are six official officer positions for the club, he says. Last semester, he says every officer created their own “homebrew” game.

According to the RPG club website, the club at Truman is the 16th chapter in the Collegiate Association of Table Top Gamers. They joined the association Feb. 6, 2011.

Meetings for the RPG club are at 7 p.m. Tuesdays in the Student Union Building. Their website includes more information about the club.