Paul Mitchener came up with a new writing challenge on role-playing games called “12 RPGs for the 12th Month” (see the full list of questions here.)
Question 1: 1st to 2nd December
You’re running an RPG to introduce new players to the RPG hobby this month. Which game and genre do you choose, and why?
My answer might vary a bit depending on what the recuit players’ interests are. For example, I would try to tie in with a fiction world I know they already like, such as Harry Potter, the Marvel Universe, Star Wars, etc., which might affect the choice of system.
All else being equal, though, I would probably use Truth & Justice (Atomic Sock Monkey Press) again. I have had great success with completely new players taking on the persona of superheroes that might be complex to model in other systems, just jumping in and having great fun without the headaches. For example, I remember one forty-something who had never been in a role-playing game in his life, and decided he wanted to play Marvin Minsky with a body made of nanites. I just went along, and no, it didn’t break the game. He had a blast and said he would look into gaming in his hometown.
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.
31. What is your preferred method of character improvement and why?
[Alternate question from BrigadeCon’s list. The default question for today was: “What is the best piece of advice you were ever given for your game of choice?” but it didn’t shake loose any ideas.]
For me, the question of character improvement has become less about “advancement” and more about “growth” over the years.I like getting rooted in plots and organization, forming relationships with characters, seeing a player character mature and change.
A number of modern games offer characters that are very competent from the start and playing them over a long time means not so much accumulating skill points and treasure, and more becoming integral to the story of the setting, whatever its scale.
A number of systems offer ways to modify your drives, motivations, descriptors, relationships, and so forth rather than just increasing ratings: games based on the PDQ, Fate Core, PbtA or Burning Wheel engines, for example. Alternately, some more traditional games are exploring options like “partial levelling” and more narrative rewards; I’m thinking of 13th Age and The One Ring, for example.
Once again, people. They have to click together; it’s no reflection on anyone but just because two people are friends with you, they won’t necessarily be friends with each other. We’ve had good luck in this respect, but sometimes you hit on incompatibilities even between people you all dearly love.
And of course they have to share enough interest, hopefully enthusiastic, in the setting, genre, characters, and plots.
In terms of logistics, availability and reliability. Classic gamer problem: every one wants to play but no one is available at the same times! Gaming is also a different priority for different people; for some, they really enjoy it but if they get an offer for some activity they enjoy they will cancel right at the last minute. Others expect the GM to call and remind them every game, no matter how firm the schedule arrangements were.
Easy: if I’m game-mastering, then it’s Chad Underkoffler’s Truth & Justice (Atomic Sock Monkey Press) with a side of Tim Gray’s Legends Walk! (Silver Branch Games).
When it’s time to play, I also greatly enjoy Mutants & Masterminds, any edition (Green Ronin), Silver Age Sentinels (Guardians of Order), and Marvel Superheroic Roleplay (Margaret Weis Productions). I’ve been eager to try Steve Kenson’s ICONS as well (Ad Infinitum Adventures). Finally, I always have a great big soft spot for Underground (Mayfair Games).
Chad Underkoffler’s Truth & Justice is a deceptively simple system packing a wallop of a punch. It will satisfy players by giving them superheroes (and villains) that are badass from the start, and it will make the GM’s life easier by making it a breeze to handle surprises and create even major NPCs on the fly. Continue reading “Review: Truth & Justice”→