I was originally going to combine this post with the Tabletop Board Games post, but I realized after a while that it would have just been too long. There’s generally a different feel between the two genres anyway, so I thought it would be a good idea to give the RPG’s their own love. Here are are a few that I would like to try at some point.
D&D 4th Edition
I’ve heard terrible and wonderful things about the 4th Edition game system. From what I understand, combat is faster and more “arcade-like” than older editions, and the game system is very smooth. One the whole, the system has been simplified. The main complaint that I’ve heard is that it “just doesn’t feel like D&D.” Of course, this complaint comes from people who still know what THAC0 means. Personally, my mind is still stuck in 2nd edition, where we liked our proficiencies and reasonable grappling system. I’m considering bringing D&D to our local game group, and if I do, I’ll probably need to bring in 4th edition (though I hear there is a 5th ddition in the works).
The fundamental premise of Pathfinder fascinates me. This was probably the largest of the “open source” games released and developed under the Open Gaming License (OGL). In 2008, I saw a presentation at Origins about the status of the play-testing and the core rulebook’s publication. This system was play-tested by fans and developed with a great deal of feedback from the fans.
Some of the things that excite me as I read the wikipedia page about the systems are:
- The added feats.
- No XP loss.
- Low level powers are expanded (we used to consistently start at level 3-5 specifically because first level characters were so fragile).
- No XP loss!
- The use of non-animal equivalents to familiars.
- NO XP LOSS!
- Capstone abilities of high level characters.
- Did I mention no XP loss?
I really like that Paizo is able to run a profitable business under the OGL, and I want to support this product.
All of the Al Qadim expansions for 2nd Edition
Right after high school, I played a lot of Al-Qadim-based D&D. Later, when I was still in the Navy, I noticed a stack of Al-Qadim source material at my local game shop. After visiting that shop for over a year, I approached the store owner and mentioned the fact that it had, in fact, been sitting there for over a year. “I’ll buy it all from you if you give me 50% off the sticker price.” Deal. Now I have a whole plethora of stories to share with my own children. I just need to sit down and actually play them.
Any White Wolf Game
I generally don’t get into the classic horror theme. I know this might seem strange, given that I love the Innistrad block of Magic: the Gathering. My enjoyment of that block, however, has more to do with the “smallness” of the game’s world (more on that in a later blog) and its similarity to the Homelands set from back in the day.
I think the thing that always bothered me about the White Wolf game system was the players. For some reason, among the people that I knew that played the game, White Wolf games were more of a lifestyle than a game system. I realize now that they were probably getting a lot more out of their gaming experience than I was out if mine. I also think I missed out on a whole collection of game mechanics by not playing the game. Even if it is only for the purpose of experiencing the rule structure, I find myself wanting to try the World of Darkness game system.
One note: in reading about this game system, I was surprised to find that the CCG Vampire: The Eternal Struggle was still being printed until 2010. I thought the game died in the late 1990s with most of the other CCGs of the time. Apparently the game was abandoned by Wizards of the Coast in 1996, and the rights to the game reverted back to White Wolf. Though I did not play the game, it’s pleasing to see that the company that owned the storyline kept it going as long as they could. Loyalty means a lot to gamers.
OZ: Dark & Terrible
I’ve saved this one for last, as it is the game that today’s image is based on. The young lady in today’s image is the wife of Alexander Gentry, the designer of the OZ game. I recently shared e-mails with an artist that contributed to the game, and this is what I learned.
The idea came from Alex Gentry’s musings on, and subsequent adaptations of L. Frank Baum’s work. The original text of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and the proceeding 11 books gave rise to a lot of material which Alex and the team at Emerald City Expeditions turned into a full RPG, with A LOT of reinterpretation. In its final form, there is a considerable difference between Emerald City’s and Baum’s work. The young artist that I contacted was actually advise to not read any of the books before creating the artwork; the designers didn’t want them to influence the interpretation too much.
The very premise of the game seems fascinating to me, and seems like it’s worth a try. I’m probably going to pick it up in the coming year.