This one is for Charles F Blakely (Hi Charles!), who wanted a summary of what I’m playing and using…
GAMES I GM
These are the games I’m currently gamemastering.
Savage Worlds: Far and away my favourite. You can do anything with this, really. At the moment what I’m doing with it is Beasts & Barbarians, the Conanesque setting from GRAmel.
Labyrinth Lord: I’m intermittently using this one; several of my players are diehard Original D&D players and would rather play something more like that. Of the available retroclones, I think LL is most suited to how I play. However, my original intent of recapturing the feel of late 1970s gaming didn’t last long; I’ve already done the 1970s once, and although I remember those games fondly, they aren’t quite what I want to play any more.
GAMES I’D LIKE TO GM
Frankly, I can’t see anything shifting me from Savage Worlds and THW; I expect to drop LL at some point. I could see myself using SW in a range of different settings, and playing THW games in their built-in settings, easily enough; but changing game system again? It would have to be a dramatic leap forward in playability, and I don’t see how that would be possible.
Next up is running ATZ: FFO as a GM. I know how well THW games work solo, and I want to see how they work for a group. However, initially I will be the GM rather than another player, as I need to interpret and explain the rules to the others.
Every so often I have nostalgic thoughts about OD&D, Classic Traveller, and 2300AD; and then I read the rules again, and remember that my tastes have changed over the last 35 years of gaming.
Other games that have tempted me, at least momentarily:
- Empire of the Petal Throne: The 1975 original. The rules are a bit clunky by modern standards, but they’re easy to learn and use, and they work. The setting is perhaps the best ever done for an RPG. There is, however, a distinct lack of robots, Vikings and thieves, which my players would immediately want to introduce.
- Stars Without Number: Everything you could want from a space opera RPG, in one book. And it’s free.
- Warhammer Fantasy Role Playing 2nd Edition: Two things stand out here; the use of careers for character advancement, and the way wizards blow themselves up every so often. Both highly entertaining in their own way.
Other things I’d like to run under Savage Worlds:
- Empire of the Petal Throne. See above.
- The Games Workshop dungeon crawl games: Heroquest, Advanced Heroquest, Warhammer Quest. The last of these would probably be easiest.
GAMES I PLAY
For the kind of solo gaming I enjoy, there is nothing to beat Two Hour Wargames. I’d especially single out 5150: New Beginnings and All Things Zombie: Final Fade Out. Of the two, I suspect 5150 NB will have more staying power; I can see myself exhausting the possibilities of ATZ more quickly. I’m also waiting for the new edition of Warrior Heroes.
As a player in other RPG groups, I’m currently playing Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying 3rd Edition, Shadowrun, and Original Dungeons & Dragons. WFRP3 is too complex for my taste, and has far too many fiddly components; but the GM is extremely good and as long as I don’t have to run it, I can cope. Shadowrun is surprisingly straightforward and simple in play, despite the level of crunch in the rules. The OD&D game again has a very good GM, and that more than makes up for any shortcomings in the game itself.
I could see myself running a game in any of those settings, but I’d use Savage Worlds to do it.
GAMES I’D LIKE TO PLAY
Mouse Guard, out of pure curiousity to see (a) how the game itself works (b) what the potential GM (Nessime’s player) would do with it.
GAMES/SUPPLEMENTS I BORROW BITS FROM
- Maps and battlemats. I think the best source of these is boardgames from the 1970s and 1980s. I regularly use the maps from Cry Havoc! and its supplements, and from SPI games like Sniper! and Demons. Among more recent products, I most often use cityscapes and ship deck plans by Wydraz.
- Figures. Not strictly games or supplements as such, but I regularly use figures from eM4, the Wizkids Pathfinder range, and Reaper’s Legendary Adventures. If I can ever motivate myself to finish painting them, I have quite a few Copplestone Castings figures as well – to my mind they are the best SF figures currently available in 28mm.
- Mythic. Sometimes I use this as a GM emulator; it works pretty well for that. You only need the charts for success and random events, really.
- Anything from Sine Nomine Publications is a good source of materials. I have most often used Stars Without Number, Red Tide and An Echo Resounding, but there’s something usable in anything Kevin Crawford writes. Any future sandbox game I run will draw heavily on his work.
- Anything in the Beasts & Barbarians line is not only usable, but renews my enthusiasm for the hobby. An enthusiastic GM means a better game, yes?
- Vornheim: The Complete City Kit. This has a lot of ideas for running a city crawl, some of them good rules additions, some of them absolutely barking setting ideas that are so elegantly disturbing you just have to have them in your game.
So there you have it. Subject to change without warning as shiny things attract my attention!