Monday, 31 March 2014

March Madness - Non-D&D OSR Blog Challenge (Part 3 of 3)

Definitely cheating this time as I'm writing this before the end of March, at least I'm posting it on the 31st though!

21 What is the narrowest genre RPG you have ever played? How was it?
I don't think I've ever played an RPG that was so narrow in genre...  Cold City maybe but that's only narrow from a certain point of view as it actually has a lot of potential gameplay.

22 What is the most gonzo kitchen sink RPG you ever played? How was it?
Rifts.  Thematically it was awesome in that teenage boy sense of awesome at least.  There are still elements of Rifts that make me think "That's cool!" but there are so many other things about Rifts and Palladium games in general that just don't work for me...

23 What is the most broken game that you tried and were unable to play?
Most broken game...  The one that stands out for me is Cursed Empire.  The reason it stands out is that we never got beyond character creation as we just found it too elaborate mechanically for no good reason.  Also any game that decides to create a new "half dwarf / half elf" race for reasons that are dubbed as "force mutated" just isn't my cup of tea...

24 What is the most broken game that you tried and loved to play, warts and all?
Skip as I can't think of one!

25 Which game has the sleekest, most modern engine?
Star Wars Edge Of The Empire.  It just works!  I'd also like to give D&D Next a nod too as I've been happy with most of the stuff that I've seen through the playtest.

26 What IP (Intellectual Property, be it book, movie or comic) that doesn’t have an RPG deserves it? Why?
Atomic Robo! Well ok that will have one and Fred tells me it'll be in June and I trust Fred!
Other than Atomic Robo?  I'd love to see some form of Culture RPG based on the works of the late (and definitely great) Iain M Banks.

27 What RPG based on an IP did you enjoy most? Give details.
Star Wars! Ok ignoring Star Wars for a minute... Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Palladium.  I played it despite the system being crap.  I wouldn't say it fits to 24 as it wasn't a broken system, just very very clunky!

28 What free RPG did you enjoy most? Give details.
Does D&D Next count?  If so then D&D Next it is simply because it's fuelled my desire to run a D&D campaign.
If D&D Next doesn't count.... then I'd probably have to opt for RISUS by S. John Ross simply because it's easy to use and a lot of fun.

29 What OSR product have you enjoyed most? Explain how.
Haven't played any of the "retro-clones" that have been spawned as part of the OSR.  If I want to play D&D then I'll play D&D!

30 Which non-D&D supplemental product should everyone know about? Give details.
2 choices here.
1) Star Wars Edge Of The Empire GM Kit - Purely for the best GM Screen I've ever seen in my ~30 years of gaming.  It's proper card stock of the type that you'd want the board from a quality board game to be made of.
2) Not specific to any RPG whatsoever but I'd recommend every GM buys everything published by Engine Publishing.  Their books are fantastic guides and resources to tap into.

31 What out-of-print RPG would you most like to see back in publication? Why?
Nope can't think of anything...  Well except for Toon maybe.  I'd like to see Steve Jackson Games relaunch it or let someone else relaunch it as it's a fun game that more people should experience!

And that's that!  Phew.  Now to return this blog to it's previously thought out content.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

March Madness - Non-D&D OSR Blog Challenge (Part 2 of 3)

Continuing the March Madness!

11 What post-apocalyptic RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?
This is a tough one.  I'm a fan of Gamma World but whilst I think it's fun it wasn't my favourite to read.  I think ultimately I'd probably choose The End by Tyranny Games.  Quite the controversial little RPG this one with it's post-Biblical apocalypse setting but I found it very interesting to read.  I stress the word read as I've never ran it...

12 What humorous RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.
2 strike a chord.  Most obvious one being Toon from Steve Jackson Games (which I still own a copy of) and the other being Teenagers From Outer Space which was published by R. Talsorian Games.  I think (and +myles loughran might disown me for admitting this) between the 2 games I'd probably err on the side of TFOS as the one I had most fun playing.

13 What horror RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?
None.  Ok so that's maybe a bit harsh but horror and me don't really gel well when it comes to films, comics or indeed games.  The only real exception to that is Unknown Armies but that was more down to the mechanics of the game giving me the right tools to run an X-Files-esque game.  That's more Supernatural Mystery than Horror thought.

14 What historical or cultural RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.
Skip - Nothing of note to really add here.

15 What pseudo or alternate history RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?
Skip - Nothing of note to really add here.

16 Which RPG besides D&D has the best magic system? Give details.
I honestly don't know.  D&D's rules for magic have always been a bit clunky irrespective of which version you go with.  I've played a lot of games and none of them really seem to get this spot on.  Whether it be resource based (ala Force Points in Star Wars d20) or static selection based (Vancian style magic in most iterations of D&D) there doesn't feel like something that truly reflects magic as such.  So again probably have to skip giving an actual answer.

17 Which RPG has the best high tech rules? Why?
High tech?  As in flashy shiny tech or super duper advanced tech?  If that former than I don't think I've played anything that has that.  Super duper advanced tech would probably be something like Traveller, Battletech or perhaps Shatterzone.  They each have an abundance of tech available in game and have thematic reasons for it's existence and availability (particularly Battletech).

18 What is the crunchiest RPG you have played? Was it enjoyable?
Crunchiest?  As in serious rules with math?  Ok I'd probably say something like Rifts albeit as a system I wasn't a fan of anything that Palladium did (see previous post).  The mechanics in the game are all over the place and yet despite that it does still kinda work.

19 What is the fluffiest RPG you have played? Was it enjoyable?
Fluffiest?  Hmmm... Never played any of the World of Darkness games and thematically I always preferred to create my own fluff.  I don't think I recognise the fluffiest RPG in my gaming history because I've played very few fluff-heavy RPGs.  Unless Dragonlance in D&D counts that is.

20 Which setting have you enjoyed most? Why?
Setting - Dragonlance.  Felt like the most epic of storylines at the time we played it and I liked the changes from "default" fantasy particularly the use of Draconians.
I'm also a big fan of the setting for Matt Forbeck's superhero RPG - Brave New World.  I've never played it though as referenced here...

Sunday, 23 March 2014

March Madness - Non-D&D OSR Blog Challenge (Part 1 of 3)

Continuing on from the D&D posts I'm now leaping into the non-D&D posts!  This challenge stems from the blog Tomb of Tedankhamen and was supposed to be a March daily posting challenge.

As with the February one I'm chunking this up into 3 posts of 10 (well 10, 10 and 11).

1 What was the first roleplaying game other than D&D you played? Was it before or after you had played D&D?
Golden Heroes - Superhero RPG made by Games Workshop back before Warhammer 40,000 existed.  It was after D&D.

2 In what system was the first character you played in an RPG other than D&D? How was playing it different from playing a D&D character?
That'd be Golden Heroes.  System wise they were poles apart.  Style of play though was more different due to it being Superheroes.

3 Which game had the least or most enjoyable character generation?
Least enjoyable character creation. Hmmm. I'd probably pick anything by Palladium Games.  If only because the system is such a mess....
Most enjoyable character creation.  This is actually tricky to define.  In recent years I've tended to do character creation as a group so that the players can almost "jam" their way to create a cohesive party.  That's been most evident and productive using the Star Wars Edge Of The Empire rules.

4 What other roleplaying author besides Gygax impressed you with their writing?
Greg Stolze probably the stand out one for me along with John Tynes.  That's almost entirely down to Unknown Armies.

5 What other old school game should have become as big as D&D but didn’t? Why do you think so?
Traveller. Fantasy beats Sci-Fi when it comes to RPGs.  I don't know why...

6 What non-D&D monster do you think is as iconic as D&D ones like hook horrors or flumphs, and why do you think so?
Wellllll I actually don't think hook horrors or flumphs are actually that iconic...  Give me a rust monster or an owlbear any day.  non-D&D wise though?  I think that's really tricky as in other RPGs I don't think "monsters" as that important... 

7 What fantasy RPG other than D&D have you enjoyed most? Why?
Middle Earth Role Playing by Iron Crown Enterprises.  Simply because it was the first RPG I owned and it was set in Middle Earth!

8 What spy RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.
None of these really clicked for me.  Spycraft probably came closest for true spy type stuff but I've probably ran more spy themed games in Star Wars than anything else.

9 What superhero RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?
Golden Heroes maybe but I refer my honourable readers to this post.

10 What science fiction RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.
Star Wars in all editions.  Simply because it's Star Wars and I as I've said elsewhere I'm not that precious about mechanics being used "rules as written" so have always been able to get a game to work.
I would definitely say though that the current edition by Fantasy Flight Games is absolutely fantastic.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

A Late Entry - D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge (Part 2)

A continuation from the previous post of what was supposed to be a Daily Posting challenge for February.

Day 15: What was the first edition you didn't enjoy. Why?
AD&D 2nd Edition.  Multiple reasons.  I bought it when I wasn't really gaming and tried to use it to reinvigorate my hobby. Unfortunately I didn't like the changes over AD&D 1st Edition and neither did my players.  Not just THAC0...

Day 16: Do you remember your first edition war? Did you win? ;)
Probably 3rd to 3.5.  Should really preface this with - I am not a rules lawyer or a believes in Rules As Written (RAW).  I won because of that.  The ability to fudge rules or make it work through GM Fiat or whatever can overcome any discrepancy or flaw in rules.

Day 17: First time you heard D&D was somehow "evil."
This totally went over my head until my 20s (so mid/late 90s) when I wasn't gaming but was researching the hobby during the early days of AOL in the UK and their exclusive TSR / D&D Section.

Day 18: First gaming convention you ever attended. 
I've covered that in my Gen Con UK post - Loughborough 1998.

Day 19: First gamer who just annoyed the hell out of you. 
Hmmm.  Tricky one this.  I don't think I've ever really been that annoyed by a player other than when playing at a convention or similar.  I've had players who have annoyed me but never enough to really bother me.

Day 20: First non-D&D RPG you played. 
Golden Heroes.  Probably just around the time it first came out so 1984/1985 ish.

Day 21: First time you sold some of your D&D books--for whatever reason. 
Never really tracked this that closely...  The biggest clearance I had was when my wife and I moved home 10 years ago and I sold off all of my gaming stuff except for 1 bookcase shelf worth of stuff which in hindsight I probably should have got rid off to as I no longer have any of that either!

Day 22: First D&D-based novel you ever read (Dragonlance Trilogy, Realms novels, etc.)
Dragonlance : Dragons Of Autumn Twilight.  Blew my mind and so many people I knew (gamers and non-gamers alike) were reading those books at the same time.  Largely defined my D&D playing back then and influenced my Kilranthia campaign too.

Day 23: First song that comes to mind that you associate with D&D. Why?
Stephen Lynch's D&D - Not sure why but it does.  I don't really associate songs with D&D other than this one...

Day 24: First movie that comes to mind that you associate with D&D. Why? 
Movie... Probably the Dragonslayer film.  Quickly followed by the Peter Jackson Lord Of The Rings movies.  I think if only because they portrayed fantasy as epic story telling.  Other films such as Krull, Hawk The Slayer and Beastmaster certainly were fantasy but not epic fantasy in the way I think of it although Krull specifically comes close to it.

Day 25: Longest running campaign/gaming group you've been in. 
2 different answers here I think.
Campaign - My Kilranthia game that I ran at ORC in Edinburgh.  It ran for the best part of 2 and a half years.
Group - My original gaming group.  We gamed together playing all manner of RPGs during the 80s and early 90s so I'd probably say 6-8 years.  Some of that was weekly gaming, some of it however had long gaps in between.

Day 26: Do you still game with the people who introduced you to the hobby? 
Nope.  I'd like to though if only for nostalgia's sake.  We did go through a phase during the KoA period where we'd get together around my birthday at the shop and game but that was more down to it being my birthday than anything else.

Day 27: If you had to do it all over again, would you do anything different when you first started gaming? 
This is a tough one. I started gaming erm almost 30 years ago so a lot has happened since then. I would say that if I had to change anything it'd be the number of games I bought that I never played or even read in some cases.  Definitely failed on the Only Buy It If You're Going To Use It principle back in those early years!

Day 28: What is the single most important lesson you've learned from playing Dungeons & Dragons?
It's all about having fun.  If you're not having fun then something needs to change.  I'm sure there have been various other benefits but that's the key lesson I've taken.

Phew!  That was more short and sweet again.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

A Late Entry - D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge (Part 1)

So I totally missed this (and the follow up which will be subsequent posts!).

The D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge was (from what I can see) set up by Stelios V. Perdious who is the author of the d20 Dark Ages blog.

The intent of this challenge was to do a post a day (been there done that!) covering a series of questions.  I am not able to commit to that frequency at present so I'm going to tackle these over 2 posts which is a bit of a cheat...

Day 1: First person who introduced you to D&D? Which edition? Your first Character?
This would be my brother Allan.  He was the one that got the D&D Basic Set - Red Box.  I can't remember precisely why or how he got it (might have been a birthday present?) but he had it and I begged to get to play with him and his mates.  I think I played a Dwarf but not sure.  I tend to play Dwarves when playing D&D.

Day 2: First person YOU introduced to D&D? Which edition? THEIR first character?
This one is actually much harder than it should be...  It would have been the D&D Basic Set (Red Box) but player and character wise I actually can't remember.  If I was to take a guess it'd probably be my school friend (and still friend albeit he doesn't game any more) Gordon Robertson and he probably played a Fighter.

Day 3: First dungeon you explored as a PC or ran as a DM.
As a PC I think it would have been a homebrewed one that Allan came up with, likely a tweaked version of the one that was in the Basic Set.
DM wise I probably stole Allan's dungeon and re-worked it myself.

Day 4: First dragon you slew (or some other powerful monster). 
This is beginning to sound like a broken record but I don't remember specifics.  I just remember it being awesome!

Day 5: First character to go from 1st level to 20th level (or highest possible level in a given edition).
Never ever done that. Not sure why other than I have mostly been the DM than the Player.  Similarly never had a player get that far either largely down to longevity of campaign issues.

Day 6: First character death. How did you handle it?
That Dwarf died heroically as all good Dwarves do and at that stage I handled it perfectly fine as the character himself didn't really it didn't matter as I wasn't invested in him.
I've had players who have handled character death badly but that's likely a different post entirely.

Day 7: First D&D Product you ever bought. Do you still have it?
First one I ever bought would have been the D&D Expert Set (the Blue Box).  I no longer have it.
I was going to say the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook but I think that came shortly after.

Day 8: First set of polyhedral dice you owned. Do you still use them?
I "inherited" the poly set that came with the D&D Basic Set that Allan had (and the set itself when he stopped playing).  I still have the d20, d12 and d4 and do still use them.  The others were casualties of a dice bag being too close to a candle which caused them to melt...

Day 9: First campaign setting (homebrew or published) you played in.
Campaign Setting... Hmmm never so bold a definition I suspect.  It would have been some Tolkienised D&D based on whatever Allan was thinking up at the time.  Nothing specific that it had a name I think.

Day 10: First gaming magazine you ever bought (Dragon, Dungeon, White Dwarf, etc.).
That'd be White Dwarf.  Can't remember the precise issue number but it would have been around the 30 mark.

Day 11: First splatbook you begged your DM to approve. 
Again I was mostly the DM and I tended to be the one buying the "splatbooks" for incorporating into games.

Day 12: First store where you bought your gaming supplies. Does it still exist?
First store I bought something from was Games Workshop in York on a family holiday. It still exists (sort of) in that Travelling Man in York is essentially that same shop and Games Workshop still have a shop in York.
First store I classed as my FLGS would have been a gift shop in Falkirk called The Gilded Cage which stocked RPGs.

Day 13: First miniature(s) you used for D&D.
Erm I didn't use miniatures for D&D until 4th Edition and even then I didn't really use them for that!

Day 14: Did you meet your significant other while playing D&D? Does he or she still play? (Or just post a randomly generated monster in protest of Valentine's Day).
Seeing as this was supposed to be on Valentine's Day....
I didn't meet my wife through D&D or indeed any form of gaming whatsoever.  It's a hobby she's never been interested in but at the same time never "got in the way of" either.

Ok so that's the first 14 done...  Short but hopefully sweet replies, let's see how 15-28 go in the next post!

Friday, 14 March 2014

GenCon 2014 - The Detail (So far!)

I had planned to do these as different posts but in the interest of actually making a post alongside the interest of there being other things I want to blog I'm going to condense all of this together.

More after this break!