Monday, May 28, 2007

RPG - Part II: Games I've Played

In the early days of this blog, I started several 'theme' posts with titles that included things like "Part I". I guess I was short of ideas for posts back then, and set up for myself some recurring topics to keep things moving around here. Now, my problem is not so much lack of postable topics, it's lack of time and motivation (i.e. anger) to post interesting things.

One year ago today, I posted such a "Part I" topic, about Role Playing Games (RPGs). I think it's time to move on to part II.

I previously talked about games I own. Today, I'd like to talk about some of the RPGs I've played. The first RPG I ever played, as is true for many but not all gamers, was Dungeons and Dragons. I'm pretty sure my first play at that game was in the awkwardly-named Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, Second Edition, the venerable old cobbled-together-and-tacked-on-additions-galore system. I think I still own the basic rulebooks (Player's and Dungeon Master's guides) plus one version of a monster manual and some of the expansion books. I had lots of fun playing AD&D in various friends' basements during my highschool years, and I'd really like to get back in to regular role-playing, especially of some form of D&D.

I've played a little of the current version of the grand old franchise, Dungeons and Dragons 3.5. I don't own any of the books, so I'm less familiar with the rules than I was with second edition. What I've seen of it looks fun, and I think the basic flavour of the older versions - role-playing as opposed to roll-playing - has been more-or-less preserved. There's still lots of rules-lawyering and min-maxing, of course, but the switch to pretty much everything on a d20 looks like it removed some of the uber-otaku obsessions with differing probability distributions associated with d12 vs. 2d6 et cetera.

The d20 system has been expanded to other genres of RPG, including the Star Wars roleplaying system. That was great fun, too, when I played it for a few sessions in Victoria, years ago. The Jedi system in that game is pretty broken, in my opinion, but then it has to be or the whole game gets horribly unbalanced. In the movies, the Jedi are basically the be-all and end-all of characters - the only notable characters in the movies who don't have The Force are Han Solo and Boba Fett, both of whom spend most of their time on-screen interacting with Jedi or Sith (who are just Jedi with asshole powers). Still, a fun system, even if one does have to keep reminding the party's token Jedi that, as a 3rd-level character, they're still technically a teenager, so they should act more like whiny Luke or whiny Anakin (aside: how heritable is 'being a whiny little bitch'? Father and son in the movies have it in spades...) and less like old Obi-Wan. Anway...

I've also played one-off adventures in Rifts (back in high school, see my comment on Part I), and some weird every-character-is-an-inmate-at-a-mental-institution minor-publisher RPG at a game store a few years ago. The other players in that game were all long-time friends with each other and very familiar with the rules, so in-jokes and logic leaps I couldn't follow abounded. Not as much fun.

I can't think of any other RPGs I've played, though as I said in Part I I own rulebooks for several other systems, most notably GURPS and Blue Planet. I'd really like to expand the above list of games I've played, but I don't know how to go about finding other players around here, while simultaneously avoiding the horrible, horrible losers that are unfortunately so common in the RPG-playing world. It's called "bathing", guys...


Carlo said...

RIFTS... *shudders*. Palladium's role playing system is completely broken, enough said.

Man, I would like to get into some regular role playing here too, but I've had like zero success in the Hammer. If you get a regular game group going, maybe I'll actually have to scoot down to Guelph more regularly in order to participate.

In reference to the actual post though, I have absolutely no interest in playing in RPGs that are based on movies (al la Star Wars). SW, to me, is a self-contained world. I don't want to be a side-lines participant (much like in the LOTR RPGs) but rather an active player. But then you've got to be playing with people who are willing to bend the dogma of the 'holy' trilogy... that's rare.

Oh Jebus... reading this post has put me into table top RPG withdrawal. If I could only kill one orc... just one simple orc... please?!?!?

TheBrummell said...

Oh Jebus... reading this post has put me into table top RPG withdrawal. If I could only kill one orc... just one simple orc... please?!?!?

And now we see a good reason why I didn't talk about RPGs for a full year - the withdrawl symptoms come back, like LSD flashbacks, years after the involuntary cold turkey. I really want to bash a skeleton...

When my parents bring out my books they've been storing for a year this August, I'll make sure the rule-books are in good shape, then start looking for players. If I succeed, you are of course welcome to play, too.

Necator said...

Sorry guys, I don't get it anymore. I played a bit in my early and mid teens. Mostly I played AD&D, and Battletech. I think Ialso played something called 'Clones' with my cousins in England when I visited them one summer. With the advent of computerized RPGs that made all the scoring so much faster I just lost interest, although I must say I don't even play those anymore.

I think my most recent attempts in late high school all degenrated into getting really drunk after a half hour of play.

Sorry I can't help you outCarlo, I have enough distracting things on my plate these days!

David said...

Oh man.
Reading about this brought on some serious flashbacks of our days in the deep deep basement of your parents place.
Ok well not so much deep but basement it was.
I'm suprised you didn't mention Car Wars in these. You could probably call it a RPG to a point (I fire my RR at the left hand drivers door, roll dice for damage.. Ooh too bad your guy just turned into hamburger)
Every once inawhile I get the hankering to play some good ol dice rolling game but then realize. Holy hell that would be a geeky thing to do, when I could sit comfortable at home and play virtual RPG's (Oblivion anyone)
but still the fun times interacting with humans (and thusly throwing up from laughter) will always be a highlight in my life.

TheBrummell said...

I'm suprised you didn't mention Car Wars in these.

I don't consider Car Wars to be a 'real' RPG - even the designers and playtesters of the game refer to it as a table-top tactical wargame in the notes on the inside cover. They tacked on some role-playing elements, like creating characters and skill advancement, but the characters chapter starts with the line "Not everybody has a car", so the focus of the game on drive-and-shoot is pretty obvious.

Having said that, it's been way too long since I last melted someone's tire with my laser, or pumped rocket after rocket through the gaping hole in someone's armour. Good times.

but still the fun times interacting with humans (and thusly throwing up from laughter) will always be a highlight in my life.

Glad to hear it, but I though the barfing wasn't so much from laughter as it was from appendicitis.