I know it's Monday, and I know I'm 2 rants behind. But I'm just not that angry right now. Maybe in a couple of hours.
Anyways, buried in my ideas file, I have a note to myself that I could blog a bit about the Role-Playing Games (RPGs) I have played. I've actually only ever played one game - Dungeons and Dragons. But I own several more.
OK, nobody can really claim to be a gamer without owning, for at least a brief period, a D&D rulebook. I have a bunch of AD&D second edition books - Player's Guide, Dungeon Master's Guide, Complete Fighter, etc. This is the game that got me into gaming, even before I met the vast variety of good board and card games out there - those will be the subject of another post. I never played AD&D long enough with one group of people to have a character really get anywhere - the highest-level PC I ever had was a 7th level thief named "Silth-not-Filth", after a Sorcerer I had in Bard's Tale. Character names are usually haphazardly generated, for me at least.
Another set of rulebooks I own, but have never actually played, is GURPS. The name is somewhat silly, but simply stands for "Generic Universal Role Playing System", and apparently started as the temporary name of the in-house development at Steve Jackson Games. More about GURPS here.
I own about 30 GURPS books, all 3rd edition. Fourth edition just came out, but is horribly expensive - I don't blame the company for this, I blame my own lack of disposable income. Happily, with the release of 4th Ed, SJG has dropped the price on almost all 3rd edition stuff they have kicking around their warehouse to $10 per book - and they used to sell for about $25-$40. They produced somewhat more than 200 3rd Ed books, so there's lots to choose from. Not everything 3rd is marked down, though - some of the semi-autonomous stuff, like Transhuman Space, is still more expensive. Oh well.
The last "serious" RPG I have is Blue Planet. I saw this on the shelf of my local game store in Victoria years ago, and instantly decided that, as a biologist, I needed to own this game. I had to special-order it through Gerry (owner of the shop and himself worthy of a post or series of posts), but definately worth it. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this game, besides the background and setting, is the damage system. Most RPGs have some variant of "hit points", in which your character takes damage in an arithmetic fashion until critical junctions - such as zero - are reached. In Blue Planet, each attack rolls 3 dice, and the level of damage to the target is based on how many of those 3 dice end up under some critical value. The critical value is based on the power of the attack (eg, machine guns have higher base values than pistols) and the cover or armour of the target. Zero dice under the value means no damage, one means "light wounds" and some removal of capabilities of the target (slower movement, reduced sensory abilities, etc), two means "serious wounds" with rather large effects on the target (can't move, stunned, can't use hands, can't see, etc), and three means "critical wounds", and the target will die rather soon without major medical attention (ie, hospital ER). This is to simulate the fact that even a .22 can kill, and a .45 can cause a trivial wound, in rare cases.
I also have a couple of non-serious RPGs. Kobolds Ate My Baby relies on the BEER engine, and is designed to be as simple (and lethal to PCs) as possible - almost everything is just make-it-up-as-you-go, and a handful of important numbers. All hail king TORG!
Ninja Burger is from the same people as KAMB, and also runs on the BEER engine. I have never actually played either game, but the rule books are great fun to read.
Strangely, SJG also lists another game I have, Tribes, as an RPG. Again, I've never played that one, but I consider it much more of a board game than RPG. Another purchase, that, as a biologist, I needed to own.
Hopefully some day I'll find people to play these games with. *sigh*, the lament of the loney gamer.