20. What’s an awesome source for out-of-print RPG items?
The best places I know for RPG treasure finds are (1) the used game section at some Friendly Local Gaming Stores such as EndGame in Oakland, and (2) Half Price Books. Although my greatest finds lately have been from nice people in the gaming community looking for a good home to their books when clearing shelf space!
19. What’s an RPG item that features awesome writing?
Here are three role-playing games I’ve enjoyed reading as much or even more than I have enjoyed playing.
Weapons of the Gods (Eos Press) featured Brad Elliott as primary system writer, and Rebecca Borgstrom (now Jenna Moran) authoring the fiction and setting material. It is one of a very few RPGs containing fiction I enjoyed for its own sake.
Unknown Armies (Atlas Games) is best known for Greg Stolze and (in the first two editions) John Tynes’ snarky, idiosyncratic, witty writing. I have loved every edition and I was honoured to have a small part in helping write the third edition.
Mutants & Masterminds (Green Ronin Publishing) is another that has known three editions, every one of which I loved. I particularly enjoyed Steve Kenson’s sharing of his thorough knowledge of the superhero genre and explaining his reasoning in making design choices so that game-masters can use the same tools. It really helped me realize what I’m looking for in GM advice.
18. What’s an RPG item you have played a lot in your life?
The game I got the most play from is probably 7th Sea (Alderac Entertainment Games), since that was a regular, reliable campaign that went on for at least four years. It’s the campaign I have most enjoyed playing in my life.
The game that I have been playing the longest and continue to play is Over The Edge (Atlas Games). I have been playing for 23 or 24 years and it’s still a go-to.
17. What’s an RPG item you have owned for a long time but not played?
I have had The Committee for the Exploration of Mysteries (Eric J. Boyd Designs) since it was first released in 2007—ten years and three days, to be exact. I had the perfect group to play this back in Seattle, and I thought it would make a wonderful back-up game to play between our various regular games, whenever nobody had anything ready to run.
Unfortunately, it sat on my shelf for a few months, then I lost my job and we had to move back to California for my new employment, and I never got to play it. It’s not by far the oldest unused item on my shelves, but it’s the one I still want to play!
By the way, even though the original cover is not my cup of tea at all (ha-ha), the inside layout is excellent. A Jubilee Edition was released later and is still available; I liked that cover better.
16. What is an awesome RPG you enjoy using as-is?
That’s a tricky question, since some games are meant to be tinkered with—all those “universal” systems from Hero to Fate Core, from GURPS to Savage Worlds, etc.. So if I say West End Games’ Masterbook, am I cheating? Although it’s a complex system, evolved from the original TORG and its follow-up Shatterzone, I really like the way it works. In all three games, I’m a big fan of the Master Deck/Drama Deck.
15. What is an awesome RPG you enjoy adapting?
Ah well, I keep mentioning these names but in terms of flexibility, my favourite systems are Fate Accelerated (Evil Hat Productions), HeroQuest (Moon Design/Issaries/Chaosium) and PDQ (Atomic Sock Monkey Press). They are easy to adapt, easy to explain, and easy to run.
14. What is an awesome RPG for open-ended campaign play?
This is sort of the opposite of the Day 9 question. Most RPGs work for this, unless they are specifically designed for short play. What really matters is how engaged everyone at the table is, and whether you’re tracking what has gone on from episode to episode so dangling plot threads and interesting NPCs can be reincorporated in play, making the GM’s life easier (the adventures write themselves) and the players’ actions more important (they impact the game world.)
That said, some games make it particularly easy for me, because the mechanics are light enough that statting more NPCs and creating new locations and plots does not create a burden on the GM. I particularly like games based on Fate Accelerated (like War of Ashes or Dresden Files Accelerated), PDQ (like Truth & Justice, Jaws of the Six Serpents, or The Zorcerer of Zo), or Heroquest (like Mythic Russia or of course Glorantha.) Some (not all) games Powered by the Apocalypse work well for this style of play, like Dungeon World or Monster of the Week.
13. Describe a game experience that changed how you play.
I first started gaming when I got to university, which had a big game club. Every week the club’s meeting night looked like a mini-convention; you could browse the offerings and play whatever sounded interesting—AD&D, Gamma World, MERP, Diplomacy, 007, Traveller, Top Secret, Star Trek… I acquired the mindset that you pick a game and then find players for it. For years I looked at game store bulletin boards for specific games, or advertised to recruit players for specific games.
It was not so bad when I was in big urban areas with lots of gamers but when my husband and I moved to a more rural area for a few years, the choices became limited; you could practically know every gamer by name. Edmund and I found ourselves gaming with a number of guys who were tolerable but not in any way friends. Continue reading “RPG a Day: We’re Not Gonna Take It…”
12. Which RPG item has awesomely inspiring interior art?
I love good RPG art, but I know my tastes aren’t necessarily those of the majority of gamers. For example, I prefer pencil or ink line art and sketches to painterly renderings, and watercolours to airbrush work. But let me pick a few recent examples of interior art I love. To even out the playing field, I will exclude games based on licensed properties. To narrow that field, I will also select from recently published games, and I will pick items that I feel have been underappreciated.
Atlantis: The Second Age (Khepera Publishing)
Continue reading “RPG a Day: Beautiful Inside”
11. Which ‘dead game’ would you like to see reborn?
Ah, many are the older games I miss for setting, few are the ones I miss for system!
As I mentioned in older posts, I would really like to see SkyRealms of Jorune reborn with a modern system. It has appeared with three different systems, none of which are worth lingering over; but the setting was wonderful and the evocative art of Miles Teves gave it unique character.
In fact, Teves was the second of three authors listed in the first and second editions, unusual visibility for an art director and artist. It was well earned; the art was key in creating a unified setting “feel” and its memorable style—more reminiscent of 18th and 19th century travelogues than of contemporary role-playing games. So to please me, a reborn version would need to be illustrated with high-quality reproductions of Teves’ art. Continue reading “RPG a Day: Like the Phoenix Reborn”