Sunday, November 2, 2014

Not D&D, Still RPG


This is a brief look at pen and paper RPGing of my past.  Your experiences will obviously be different.  I don't expect anyone to find their experience to match my own.   I have been asked what I have played that is not AD&D 1st Ed.  The list is long, but not deep, in that, I played a number of games once.  With RPGs you needed more than one player, and I guess, I found too many games not interesting enough to continue to play for play ease, or interest.  Another issue was it could be too hard to learn regarding the game vis-a-vis the players and game master.  There were other games that I liked a lot but I never found players to join me in my quest to play.   The success for me of any game or system began with, is it fun? Then you had to ask, was it worth the time it took to learn the system, and then, did it reward your time in that system?  Do you want to go back to the game and play more?  In most cases I found that the answer was yes the games were good.  But the average RPGers wanted to get stuff, they bickered, they were not there to play roles, they were there to roll dice and get shit.  So because gaming is joint story telling, my experience with most games was bittersweet.  The time invested by me was lost due to other players.  They were not interested in playing the way the games were intended by the designers of the games to be played.  

RPGs I LIKED:

Tunnels & Trolls

This game is the highest scoring for me of the non-AD&D games.   The reason for it is, simplicity of learning the system, the fun of the general system, and, you can play it solitaire.  Get snowed in a weekend or two in Fargo with your work done, no books to read and no one can visit, and you’ll see the point.

Gamma World

Gamma World first edition was a bit silly, but, it was fun silly, and it worked in many ways.  The various orders and fractures of society do make sense, for what the world is actually going through.  I did not like some aspects of the game, and almost no one played the game and understood it in the same way as I did , but, I did enjoy it a lot.

Call of Cthulhu

This game did capture the flavor of the world of HP Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos.  I liked the game mechanics, and the flavor of how the game is structured.   I ended up playing, however, with a load of stupid, or over confident jerks who thought guns and bombs would mean victory.  My professor of arcane knowledge and his assistant, who was a master of kung fu and also a bright man, were skilled and never went mad, but they were always cursed with people who accompanied them who wanted to kill what could not be killed.

SOME RPG’s I DID NOT LIKE:

Runequest

I was always told, dude, you need to play Runequest, the combat is so much more realistic than D&D and it is more fun and the religious aspect is more real.  Well, ummm, when I played it, it was silly, and stupid, and made less than any sort of sense.  I am not suggesting Every round of every game of Runequest was like this, for every player, but my experience, (which this column of course reflects) was that RQ was truly a system that was ok, but in a setting that did not move me, with a world and monsters that I thought were boring and childish.  Your mileage will vary.  My mileage will obviously vary. 

Warhammer Fantasy RPG

This was a huge disappointment for me.  I love the culture of Warhammer, the monster names, the dark nasty beasts, the angry edgy warriors… but the game play was hard, didn’t make a lot of sense.  The players who played it were people who played the miniatures games, and didn’t want to play role playing, so, everyone who was at the table came looking for something else, and got nothing out of the game.  It was no fun.  However, I did use the names of some of the beasts in my AD&D world, and I call Orcs: Orks, as it should be.

Gangbusters

I bought this game for cheap one summer and brought it with me to college thinking my friends and I could play.  But it had game mechanics that were not conducive to role playing, and ultimately, we couldn’t see the point of it.  Someone I knew ask for my opinion of the game, because they had bought it as well and I said, it is a nice looking game.   And truly, that is about it.  The pieces were nice, but, it had very little RPG potential.

Boot Hill

Cowboys, Native Americans, Outlaws, Sheriffs, Rustlers, all sorts of player potential comes to mind, but Boot Hill was dreadfully thin in the development of actual characters.  You might have fun in a gun fight, or it might last one shot, but even then, the gun fights depicted weren’t very realistic (My brother is an expert as is a friend from the military, and both could explain in great detail how it wasn’t even close to real).   All I wanted was a framework to hang my hat on and make use of for the setting, and to create my own system for shooting.  But it was really bare bones.

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