Saturday, 29 August 2015

RPG A Day 2015 - Days Twenty Eight to Thirty One

Missed a couple of days and expect to miss a couple more so here's the last 4 entries in 1 post.  Yes I know I'm posting some ahead of when I should but if I don't then I'll miss them too!

28 - Favourite Game You No Longer Play (but want to again).

This post is going to be using the very loose definition of "play" as the RPGs I am currently playing really only works if the word "currently" is used to cover games played this year.

So that's only 2 different RPGs and they are Star Wars : Edge Of The Empire and Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition.  In total I've probably ran about 10 games this year which is far fewer than I had planned.

That aside which RPG do I no longer play that I want to play again?

Erm - I don't think I have one... If you had asked me just over a year ago I would have chosen D&D purely because I was looking forward to playing it at Gen Con.
Now though I'm not sure I have a favourite that I no longer play as my 2 favourite RPGs have pretty much always been D&D and a Star Wars RPG of some form or another.

29 - Favourite RPG website or blog?

Gone are the days when I used to go to EN World or and I'm not really sure why other than other content takes up that time.

My entry here is pretty easy and if you have any interest in the Star Wars RPG I suggest you check out this site - Triumph & Despair

Honourable mention for Gnome Stew which I check out from time to time.

30 - Favourite RPG playing celebrity?

I don't have one. Sorry!  In some respects that's probably down to never really associating my RPG hobby with someone else's celebrity status...  Vin Diesel is kinda cool though.

31 - Favourite non-RPG thing that came out of RPGing?

*scratches head* My most prized possession that's RPG related but isn't used in game would be my collection of RPG (and other tabletop game format) t-shirts.  Most of these are from Offworld Designs but I also have others from We Love Fine who do a great range of D&D t-shirts.

Here endeth #RPGaDay2015

Thursday, 27 August 2015

RPG A Day 2015 - Day Twenty Seven

Favourite idea for merging two games into one?

Hmmmm, this is a tricky one.

Merging settings / genres isn't really my bag and merging systems doesn't really float my boat either.

But if there were to be a "mash up" that I'd play/run it'd probably be something that takes elements from the following settings -

Sherlock Holmes / Murder Mystery / Conspiracy Theories galore type thing
Sci-Fi Pulp Setting - Buck Rodgers, Flash Gordon esque
Throw in some evil corporations from the future and a totalitarian government.

For anyone that's played the card games Coup or Resistance that kinda gives a feel for what I think this would look like.

That said this might be what Evil Hat have in mind for The Dystopian Universe RPG.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

RPG A Day 2015 - Day Twenty Six

Favourite Inspiration For Your Game?

Some of this goes back to the setting post as Dragonlance and Star Wars are my strongest influences in game plot development.

What I'd add into that mix though would be a variety of other media associated with whichever genre of game I'm looking to run.

As an example if I want to run a pulp-y sci-fi game I'll watch ye olde Buster Crabbe versions of Flash Gordon.

The options and sources for inspiration particularly from books and TV/film media are almost limitless but sometimes it's the inspiration that comes from the unexpected that works the best rather than searching explicitly for it.

I remember a game of Squadron UK / Golden Heroes that I ran which essentially came from watching the news about a hostage situation at a school.  Not a story that would normally be associated with inspiring you but the hook for me was that in a world where super-powered beings existed, would those same situations exist.

The short answer was unfortunately yes and so I wrote a scenario about rescuing kids from a school that were being held hostage by super powered villains.  I've only used it a couple of times but it's an interesting use of tone for a superhero game.

Anyway, if anyone is interest I did do a PDF of the scenario concept way back in 2005 and would be happy to share it.  No stats included so works generically.  I think I also have some rudimentary maps somewhere...

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

RPG A Day 2015 - Day Twenty Five

Favourite Revolutionary Game Mechanic

I've never encountered any that felt particularly revolutionary...

Sure I like the dice that come with Fantasy Flight's Star Wars RPGs. They're kinda cool and do add something to the game but are they revolutionary?  Nope.

Now this might be down to me playing the "wrong games" but I don't thing there are revolutionary game mechanics out there.

Evolutionary maybe, interesting and new quite probably but revolutionary?  Nope.

Not even the d20 OGL was revolutionary as a mechanic...

So nope, I don't have one but that's largely down to my not believing there is one...  Mind you that probably says as much about the games I like as it does anything else ;-)

Monday, 24 August 2015

RPG A Day 2015 - Day Twenty Four

Favourite House Rule?

I've used many fudges and tweaks and mods to games over the years but I don't think I've ever actually sat down and said "This is a house rule."

I think the 1 thing I tend to incorporate into all of the games I'm running is that measure of "Does that make sense?" to any odd situations.

Now we're all playing in unreal worlds, even if that world is a mirror image of our own it's still experienced through the suspension of disbelief.  So by their very nature the games are going to have things happen that in the real world wouldn't make sense but can be explained through the setting itself.

However, there are still some pretty easy checks that are likely universal.

e.g. If your character falls off a 500ft cliff, with no means of rescue and has no super power or attribute that would suggest otherwise, the chances are your character is dead.
Similarly if the characters are all in an underground chamber and there's an earthquake causing the roll to fall in then chances are that they're dead.

The thing is I also tend to contradict this "house rule" when it comes to death although that's the easiest situation to explain it.

I don't like having characters die in a game unless it suits the story that the group wants to tell.  That includes player characters and non-player characters.  Yes that does mean I'll wave away poor dice rolls at times.  Don't get me wrong if the characters decide that they're going to take on a horde of dragons with nothing but pitchforks then obviously that's just lunacy and they expect to die.

So my accompanying house rule is that character death should never be without purpose, even if that purpose is temporary insanity on the part of the (player) character...

Similarly I have other GM traits that don't really constitute as house rules -

  • If neither the GM nor the players can remember the specifics of a rule then make something up that fits the moment rather than breaking the cycle of play to check the rulebooks.  In some cases these rules become the norm in others it's a case of checking what the actual rule is in-between sessions.
  • Dice rolls only count if they've landed on the table.
  • When playing in a campaign if a player cannot attend then that character fades to the background or become Passive with no negative impact on their development.  Well, within limitations anyway.

Think those are the only house rules that I apply in general but none of them are specific mechanics that I always apply.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

RPG A Day 2015 - Day Twenty Three

Perfect game for you...

Erm I don't think I've found it yet. But in saying that...

D&D 5th Edition is pretty close but that's largely due to the knowledge I've built up of D&D and indeed Fantasy in general from the past 30 years.  I know I can pick up and run a game of D&D with very little notice (15 minutes) and I have done on several occasions in the past.

I like a game where the -
  • GM has a clear role to play without being over bearing or indeed being a non-entity.  D&D has always been able to accommodate that (yes, even 4th Edition).
  • math doesn't get in the way but is there for the right reasons.
  • the game provides archetypes and structure for the players to make it easier for everyone (new players in particular) to give a 2 sentence summary of who their character is.  The flip side of that though is that the archetype isn't the be all and end all of what the character is.
  • use of dice is optional but when necessary it is easy to determine why they're needed and what the outcome means.
So D&D 5th Edition does all of those things and more.  There are other games that do this too (Edge Of The Empire to name one) but I'm going to fall back onto D&D 5th Edition here.

There was another contender to this list which is Savage Worlds.  The benefit of Savage Worlds is that mechanically it can accommodate a variety of genres and results albeit always with a bit of a "pulp" feel to it.

But overall I like my gaming to be simple and almost effortless and for me simple fantasy is exactly that so I'll always go for D&D.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

RPG A Day 2015 - Day Twenty Two

Perfect Gaming Environment.

I don't think I have one... by that I mean I've gamed in public, at conventions, at clubs, in stores and at home.  None of these are any less perfect than any other so long as the game is working and the players are having fun.

There are things that any gaming environment needs to avoid though, some of which go back to barriers of entry that I've referenced in the past on this blog.

In a nut shell though what I want from a gaming environment is -
  • Space to play with reasonable comfort zone around me and the other players (i.e. not crammed in).
  • Noise levels low enough to not get in the way of any chat or indeed game narrative.  Plus given I'm a wearer of hearing aids noise can make things difficult...
  • Facilities to utilise close by, so that's food / drink / toilets etc.
  • People to play with of course.
Beyond that I'm happy playing anywhere, yes anywhere.

Although I won't dress up for it. Ever.

Friday, 21 August 2015

RPG A Day 2015 - Day Twenty One

Favourite RPG Setting...

Ermmmm Dragonlance is a bit of an easy one here as would Star Wars given how it's largely built into my DNA.

Those 2 aside though there aren't any settings that have grabbed me and encouraged me to become immersed in the lore and such like - except for one and that will be my pick.

Battletech's universe is of interest to me and I do wish I had the time to delve deeper in to the various stories that surround the glory of House Davion (bias mine) but I don't have or haven't made the time to do that.

I first played a Battletech RPG with the old Mechwarrior 1st Edition RPG ran by my friend Gordon who shared an interest in the setting although not the miniatures game.  It was a lethal game and the mechanics were a bit odd in places.

Fast forward to now and you have A Time Of War - Battletech RPG which is a lovely book but again the mechanics are a bit odd.  I've ran it a couple of times and it was a lot of fun but I think the lore can get in the way unless the party are mercenaries as then the House/Clan factions get less in the way.

So yeah, in the interests of diversity I'm going to pick A Time Of War.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

RPG A Day 2015 - Day Twenty

Favourite Horror RPG...

As a reminder, I don't really do horror.

That said if I had to choose one it'd be All Flesh Must Be Eaten.

Having used it for different sorts of games but keeping an undead element I think it works really well in general.  The archetypes in the base game + expansions give anyone the opportunity to be a Survivor and it is the way these archetypes are built and the mechanics around them are used that stick with me.

Almost 2 years ago I wrote a post about Character Motivations (jeez, 2 years!?) and that references a scenario I ran using AFMBE.  The key thing to remember is that I could have removed the undead element from the scenario and yet I still would have chosen AFMBE as the system as it's gritty and deadly enough to match the scenario itself.

Other Horror games I've played -
  • Call of Cthulhu - Not my thing...
  • Chill - MANY moons ago and I really can't remember it.
  • Savage Worlds - Rippers which is horror genre but not really a scary game to run or play. Feels more "pulp horror" than anything else but then again that's Savage Worlds to a tee.
  • Unknown Armies - A game which I could only scratch the surface with and similarly used for an X-Files-esque scenario.
I never played any of the World Of Darkness games of either iteration but had been tempted to pick up the core book for it when they relaunched as New World Of Darkness as I think mechanically it's pretty sound.  Again though, I don't really do horror...

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

RPG A Day 2015 - Day Nineteen

Favourite Supers RPG...

As I've said previously on this blog I've never felt that Superhero RPGs have really worked. Especially confused by this given the episodic nature of Superhero comic books.

If I had to choose one though? It'd probably be Golden Heroes or Savage Worlds : Necessary Evil.

Golden Heroes was the first Superhero RPG I played.  Published by Games Workshop back in the days before Warhammer existed they produced / printed RPGs and this was one of their own.
The game has a new following under the name of Squadron UK.

Savage Worlds : Necessary Evil is their superhero setting where the villains save the world from an alien invasion after the heroes are all killed.  I've never actually played in that setting, instead I've used the rules to run a number of one shot games.

An honourable mention has to go to the Brave New World RPG written by +Matt Forbeck I love the setting and the books are great to read. I just haven't got around to running it yet...

Ask me again in a couple of years and it might be Sentinels Of The Multiverse RPG.  I don't count Atomic Robo as a Superhero RPG as it's really more espionage with gadgets, power and weirdness than it is Superhero.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

RPG A Day 2015 - Day Eighteen

Favourite SF RPG...

Sci-Fi RPG would have to be Star Wars : Edge Of The Empire, right?

I've played every iteration of published Star Wars RPGs from the original West End Games Edition through their 2nd edition into the d20 versions that WotC produced and now with FFG which I think is the best version of a Star Wars RPG.

Surely that makes it my favourite SF RPG?

Well yes it does but for different reasons to my previous post about D&D being my favourite Fantasy RPG.

I've not played that many different SF RPGs and the draw for me has always been the Star Wars setting.

If there had been a good Star Trek RPG with a set up that enabled things to happen beyond the standard Away Team approach I might have been more inclined to play one of those.  Although to be fair, I never tried or looked at the Decipher Star Trek RPG.

I played a reasonable amount of Traveller in my youth and whilst I like the mechanics the home setting(s) never clicked for me.

I've never played enough of Shadowrun, Cyberpunk 2020 or Paranoia to really decide if they were for me but again the settings never really grabbed my attention. Interesting and fun but never really grabbed me... (sorry Al)

Rifts and Mechwarrior/Battletech worked for me from a setting perspective but mechanically they didn't, especially Rifts... I have a real dislike for the Palladium system... although given there's a Savage Worlds version of Rifts coming I might be tempted.

Judge Dredd RPG kinda fits the bill and I am a fan of the comics too but again it seemed to suffer mechanically in the GW and d20 editions, although never played the Traveller powered version.

So yeah, setting seems to be more important with my SF choice than my Fantasy choice.  Probably due to Star Wars being such a large part of my growing up and geek life.

Monday, 17 August 2015

RPG A Day 2015 - Day Seventeen

Favourite Fantasy RPG...

So this is a shoe in, right?  It's D&D obviously, right?

Actually yes it is but it's not the only Fantasy RPG I've ever played but it's the one I keep coming back to irrespective of which version it is.

Other Fantasy RPGs that I've tried include -

Tunnels & Trolls
MiddleEarth Roleplaying Game

plus the obviously solo games like Fighting Fantasy and Lone Wolf.

None of those have ever had the same pull on me as D&D nor have any of those had the mechanical appeal that D&D has (for me).  D&D and me just fit.

I know there's been a lot of other Fantasy RPGs released over the previous 10 or so years but none of them have had the pulling power to tempt me to try them out.

What am I missing?

Sunday, 16 August 2015

RPG A Day 2015 - Day Sixteen

Longest Game Session Played...

Well I ran a game of 1st Edition AD&D for 24 hours once for charity.  Think that wins?

So how did this happen then?

I think it was 1991 as I would have been about 17 at the time.
My friends and I had signed up to do a sponsored 24 Hour RPG event for Red Nose Day.
I'd volunteered to run a game of 1st Edition AD&D for the full 24 hours and we'd enlisted a couple of extra players to cover off any drop outs over the night.
Venue wise we'd managed to secure the local scout hall which was pretty basic but met our needs.

I'd prepped a bunch of scenarios mostly taken from White Dwarf and Dungeon Magazine and very loosely knitted together a campaign plot that could be played over the 24 hours.

To help fill in any blanks or the need for side treks I'd also bought I13 - Adventure Pack I

I vaguely recall the event being a bit hit and miss in places, largely due to us all struggling to maintain our focus but I can safely say that I and I think 3 others stayed awake for the full 24 and a bit hours and that between us we raised something like £200 for charity.  Not bad really.

Would I do it again?  Yes but perhaps not as 1 big game...

Saturday, 15 August 2015

RPG A Day 2015 - Day Fifteen

Longest campaign played.

This is actually quite hard for me as the bulk of my game play in ye olden days wasn't really campaign based.  Sure the players would keep their characters and move from scenario to scenario but I'd mash that up over various settings and use published scenarios from Dungeon magazine and various 1st Edition AD&D adventure supplements.  It's worth saying though that we played a lot of 1st Edition AD&D over what was probably 5 years but it'd be stretching it to say that this was a campaign as that also included a foray into the world of Dragonlance for a good year or so.

So what was my longest actual campaign?

Clocking in at erm 2 and a bit years maybe with that being run pretty much fortnightly on Saturday's it'd have to be my D&D (very loosely) 3/3.5 game set in my homebrew / Dragonlance-hack of a world called Kilranthia.

I ran this at ORC Edinburgh and it was largely sandbox with some key plot hooks and NPCs as devices to see how the players moved the story on.  The game re-used some earlier concepts and characters from previous homebrew games I'd ran including using former PC names as NPCs this time around.

Players were almost all teenagers for the majority of the campaign and there were some comings and goings but most of all I remember it for being just damn good fun to DM.  Plus with the added bonus that we actually managed to finish with a fairly decisive conclusion to the campaign - the bad guys won...

It's a setting I've often been tempted to return to but the very nature of a sandbox game means it has to have the right group of players to re-create the same effect.  Maybe someday though!

Friday, 14 August 2015

RPG A Day 2015 - Day Fourteen

Favourite RPG Accessory.

Well I would like to nominate my hand crafted Wipebook or perhaps my Dungeons & Dragons playmats or maybe it's my Gen Con 2014 messenger bag?

Can I choose all 3?

Ok so I don't actually use the D&D playmats whilst playing D&D (although I did once) but they're very nice and have the covers of the Monster Manual and Dungeon Masters Guide emblazoned on them.  I tend to use them for board and card games (as they're bigger than say a Magic: The Gathering playmat) as putting 2 of them together takes up a reasonable amount of space.

My Wipebook gets used when I run my Star Wars campaign so that's probably a better shout.

But then again my Gen Con 2014 messenger bag gets used pretty much every day as I also use it when going to work but that's not RPG related.  Oh who am I kidding, it's my favourite accessory that's gaming related so that's good enough for me.

Behold! The Gen Con 2014 messenger bag!

Thursday, 13 August 2015

RPG A Day 2015 - Day Thirteen

Favourite RPG Podcast.

Ok so this one is tricky as I don't actually listen to podcasts of any form any more.  That said about 7 or 8 years ago (need to check that!) I was listening to lots and lots of podcasts although not all of them were RPG related.

Pulp Gamer
Fear The Boot
The Tome Show
Sons Of Kryos
Have Games, Will Travel
Errrrrmmm memory failing me!

There were several / many more that I listened to including a Savage Worlds specific one that I can't remember the name of with Ron Blessing I think?
Yeah Ron and his wife did "The Game's The Thing". Yeah that was pretty good.

Ah wait I was supposed to choose favourite one...

I'll plump for Pulp Gamer but not for RPG reasons. It was the GAMA Trade Show and Family Night podcasts that they did which really spoke to me about what I could achieve through opening up a game store or starting a games club.

For that I'm forever in Don Dehm and the late Derek Rex's debt.  Thanks guys.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

RPG A Day 2015 - Day Twelve

Favourite RPG Illustration.......

Dang this is a hard one as there are so many to choose from!

Easy answer would be anything by Larry Elmore but that'd probably be cheating although still accurate.  Especially Elmore's early work for D&D and his Dragonlance work.

Overall though there's been that much different art from RPGs themselves and magazines such as Dragon and White Dwarf that have either triggered a purchase response or scenario idea response.

The one I'm going to go with though did none of that, the cover to White Dwarf issue #61 by Chris Achilleos.  That's the original #61 not this renumbering malarkey they've done since then.

Why? Well nothing says RPGs to more than a whateverthatis wearing armour and wielding a whip.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

RPG A Day 2015 - Day Eleven

Favourite RPG Writer...

Again as with Publisher on Day Ten I don't really have one.

Sure I like the work that Jay Little has done with Star Wars : Edge Of The Empire and I'm keen to see what else he's working on but then again unless the setting piques my interest and of course I know I'm going to have time to play it then I won't be picking it up.

Since first buying and reading Unknown Armies I am intrigued to see what work both Greg Stolze and John Tynes are working on but again I'll only buy it etc etc.

So yeah, I don't really have favourite RPG writer.

Monday, 10 August 2015

RPG A Day 2015 - Day Ten

Favourite RPG Publisher...

I don't have one but that's mostly down to me not following any particular publisher (or author or artist but we'll come to that).

Default would be Wizards Of The Coast but that's be down to the quality of output they've had so far with Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition.

Alternatively I could opt for Fantasy Flight Games but that'd be down to their Star Wars RPG line so not really highlighting them as a favourite publisher.

Or again alternatively I could opt for Pinnacle as they make Savage Worlds which is a great pick up RPG and they also publish some great settings for that too.

But then I could probably list a whole raft of other publishers.

So yeah, I don't have one.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

RPG A Day 2015 - Days Four to Nine

I should have seen this coming really.  Gone are the days where I have the time for daily posts on here so for Days Four to Nine I'm going to do them all in 1 post.

Four - Most Surprising Game

Probably All Flesh Must Be Eaten.  For a game that's pitched at fans of all things Zombie it actually works in a variety of different ways. By that I mean it handles the full range of aspects of the Zombie genre, all the way from comedy through to full on horror.  Mechanically and fluff wise it has a lot of potential.  Just a shame it doesn't get to the table anymore...

Five - Most Recent RPG Purchase

Rise of Tiamat for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition.  Even though it's highly unlikely that I'll get to run it any time soon I wanted to have the complete storyline should I ever get round to running it on a regular basis.

Six - Most Recent RPG Played

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition.  Just started to run the scenarios from first Adventurers League season.  I meant to do it when they came out but hey never had the time.

Seven - Favourite Free RPG

Risus by S. John Ross.  Fully flexible system that encourages impromptu play of RPGs.

Eight - Favourite Appearance Of RPGs In Media

Ermmm need to pass on this one as I actually can't think of any that really stood out as being good.  There have been plenty of references and such like but none that made me go "Well done" in relation to how it's been portrayed.

Nine - Favourite Media You Wish Was An RPG

So you mean licensed product?  I actually have no need or desire to see any media as a RPG as any desire to play in a set license I can do with any number of systems.  Never been a big fan of licensed RPGs other than the obvious Star Wars ones...

Monday, 3 August 2015

RPG A Day 2015 - Day Three

Favourite New Game of the Last 12 Months?

RPG wise that's a no-brainer - Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition.

Why? Simple really, it's the best version of D&D I've played and ran. It also reminds me of the best of every version of D&D I've played before now (which is every version).

Whilst I have little / no time to run RPGs these days I continue to have the urge to run D&D. I've managed to start that with a group of gamers in Anstruther and they're all new to 5th Edition although as a group they've got varied background with RPGs.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

RPG A Day 2015 - Day Two

Kickstarted Game Most Pleased You Backed...

So this should be a really short post as I've never backed any game on Kickstarter.

*tumbleweed*  You can read this post if you want to know why... *tumbleweed*

That said I have backed 1 thing on Kickstarter albeit not something RPG related.

Board Games : Now Blind Accessible was one of those Kickstarter ideas that I thought needed to happen.  Not for my own use but it needed to exist anyway.

So with that in mind I repeat, I've never backed any game on Kickstarter.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

RPG A Day 2015 - Day One

Forthcoming game I'm most looking forward to...

So in the RPG sphere this comes down to 2 different RPGs.

First one is the Sentinels Of The Multiverse RPG.

Anyone that's followed this blog knows of my love for Sentinels Of The Multiverse and how it's one of my favourite card games, indeed favourite games so there should be no surprise that the RPG would be of interest.

The Second one would be the Dystopian Universe RPG by Evil Hat in conjunction with IndieBoardandCards.

I thoroughly enjoy Resistance and Coup and am very intrigued how Evil Hat plan to morph those games into a RPG.

So yeah, I've got 2. Which am I most looking forward to? Probably the SotM RPG if I had to pick one, mostly out of curiosity as to how they build it mechanically.