RPGaDay 2017

Posted: 26 August 2017 in Reflections

Another year, another RPGaDay. I find these fun, and usually thought-provoking.

1. What Published RPG do you wish you were playing right now? Any would be fine. It’s more about who you play with.

2. What is an RPG you would like to see published? Surprise me. I’m happy with the ones I have, not that this stops me buying new ones.

3. How do you find out about new RPGs? RPGNow, Kickstarter, or tips from friends.

4. Which RPG have you played the most since August 2016? Savage Worlds.

5. Which RPG cover best captures the spirit of the game? AD&D 1st edition Players’ Handbook – the iconic lizardman-slaying temple-looting party levering gems out of an idol.

6. You can game every day for a week. Describe what you’d do. 15-20 typical sessions there, so I’d finish one of the currently active long campaigns – either Heart of the Fury or Eyes of the Stone Thief. Given present circumstances, long story arcs are hard for me to pull off in normal play.

7. What was your most impactful RPG session? Probably the one where my son negotiated a peace treaty with the Lich King, bringing to an end many months of fighting between them, and preventing an invasion of the PCs’ country by a skeleton army. He was exclusively a hack and slash player before then (unless you count hiring half-orcs he encountered to use as meat shields).

8. What is a good RPG to play for sessions of two hours or less? One with simple rules, especially combat rules. OD&D, BareBones Fantasy, something like that.

9. What is a good RPG to play for about 10 sessions? This is more about the adventures than the game itself, so any will do, although again simpler is better – ten sessions may not be enough to learn the rules otherwise. Picaresque one-off adventures will work with most games, if you’re going for a longer story you need to be sure you can finish it in time.

10. Where do you go for RPG reviews? Google. That usually refers me to a variety of blogs and ENWorld.

11. Which dead game would you like to see reborn? SpaceQuest by Tyr Wargames. Maybe I’ll Savage it someday, if I can find another copy.

12. Which RPG has the most inspiring interior art? AD&D 2nd edition. There are some lovely pieces in there, some of which directly inspired adventures for our group.

13. Describe a game experience that changed how you play. There was one Traveller session in the ’70s when the group forgot to refuel their ship before leaving port; that stranded them in deep space and led to a lot of finger pointing between players. I realised that character knowledge and player knowledge are different things, and it’s not appropriate to penalise players for things their characters would know. (The characters can still make use of player knowledge; in my campaigns, metagaming is not a sin, but a demonstration of player skill.)

14. Which RPG do you prefer for open-ended campaign play? Something skill-based rather than class-and-level based, as above a certain point it becomes difficult to challenge high-level characters. That doesn’t seem to happen so much with skill-based systems. So let’s say Savage Worlds for this one, although I’ve also played open-ended campaigns with Traveller and 2300AD.

15. Which RPG do you enjoy adapting the most? Savage Worlds – I “Savage” settings on a regular basis.

16. What RPG do you enjoy using as is? Again, Savage Worlds. I very rarely change the actual rules, usually not even adding any setting-specific edges. That may seem to contradict the previous answer, but which answer is correct depends on the campaign.

17. What RPG have you owned the longest but not played? Probably Dark Heresy; I ran a short campaign in the W40K setting, but that was using Savage Worlds.

18. What RPG have you played the most in your life? In terms of sheer number of hours played, probably still OD&D; I estimate over 3,000 hours on that. Don’t let anyone tell you I’ve wasted my life.

19. What RPG features the best writing? The Dying Earth RPG, because it uses the writing style of the setting’s creator to convey the rules and setting.

20. What is the best source for out of print RPGs? For the ones I’m interested in, RPGNow.

21. What RPG does the most with the least words? Of the ones I know, BareBones Fantasy.

22. Which RPGs are the easiest for you to run? Classic Traveller and Savage Worlds, because I have the most experience as a GM in those; any RPG becomes easy to run if you stick with it long enough.

23. Which RPG has the most jaw-dropping layout? Layout isn’t something I pay much conscious attention to, but I’d say Hellas: Worlds of Sun and Stone. Totally impractical in actual play, mind you, which is often the case with fancy layouts. Usually there isn’t enough contrast for my aging eyes.

24. Share a PWYW publisher who should be charging more. Umm, it’s pay what you want, right? So how would they charge more? Also, I’m not aware of any publishers who are totally PWYW, the ones I know only sell part of their catalogue that way.

25. What is the best way to thank your GM? Say “Thank you, that was a great session, when is the next one?”

26. Which RPG provides the most useful resources? Anything by Sine Nomine Publishing – depending on your preferred genre, something from Stars Without Number, Red Tide, or whatever.

27. What are your essential tools for good gaming? Friends, character sheets, dice, rules, in that order. Anything else, you can improvise. I normally work from the quickstart rules for whatever game we’re playing and some rough notes for the adventure, by the way, not the full rulebooks.

28. What film/series is the biggest source of quotes in your group? Aliens, I think. There’s also a lot of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

29. What has been the best-run RPG Kickstarter you have backed? Spears of the Dawn.

30. What is an RPG/genre-mashup you would most like to see? I’ve seen so many of these now that I’m turning back to the old classics, probably all the way back to fantasy dungeon crawling this year.

31. What do you anticipate most for gaming in 2018? The annual OD&D session with my old university group, or what’s left of it. It’s all about who you play with.

  1. Iain (Admin) says:

    14. Skill-based…

    As I read this I realised I’ve probably never played a skills-based RPG, or at least what I imagine one might be like. I’ve played AD&D/PFRPG most of my life…

    My immediate question is does this mean that characters progress just by getting additional skills and so can do more, but still have the same (or similar) hit points and so still die as easily as when they start?

    What are good skills-based RPGs I could look at?

    Many thanks, Iain

    • andyslack says:

      Hi Iain – essentially, you’re right.

      Characters in skill-based games progress either by learning new skills, allowing them to do new things, or by improving existing ones, increasing their chances of success. Their hit points (or equivalent) improve little, if at all, but typically PCs start out tougher in a skills-based game – as durable as, say, a 5th level D&D PC. Usually there is some equivalent of D&D Feats which PCs can also take as an improvement.

      Good ones to look at: Traveller, Call of Cthulhu, RuneQuest, Savage Worlds. I’d recommend any of those, and all of them except Traveller have a free-to-download quick start PDF. If you decide you want to stick with D&D/PFRPG, Google the E6 variant of D&D, which is another way to address the same problem (basically, your level is capped at 6, but you can still improve by buying feats).

      • Iain (Admin) says:

        Thanks Andy – I think I’ve downloaded the SW quick-start ages ago as I followed your various posts, but never got round to doing anything with it. Time to dig it out again 🙂

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