Saturday, 1 March 2014

31 Non-D&D RPG questions in a chunk

Last month was a D&D post-a-blog-per-day thingie. This month we have something from the Tomb Of Tedankhemen with 31 questions - one for each day of March. He released all the questions at once so instead of writing something for this challenge every day I do what +Kelvin Green did in his blog, answer everything at once.

This is going to be longish... Let's begin! Oh and the tricky thing is that I didn't play D&D that much back then, so some of the questions where D&D is compared I just try to answer the best I can.

1. What was the first roleplaying game other than D&D you played? Was it before or after you played D&D?

Finnish game called ANKH - The Adventures Of North Kalevala Heroes at my friend's place where his big brother was a GM for us kids. Not too long after that I had to buy my own copy from a local department store.

ANKH was the first game I played, owned and Game Mastered.

2. In what system was the first character you played in an RPG other than D&D? How was playing it different from playing a D&D character?

Above mentioned ANKH obviously. Can't remember what class my character was. ANKH is kind of a D&D clonish with a Kalevalan twist. The rules use attack tables and that sort of things. When I first played D&D it was a Finnish "red box" with a map and carton figures and it felt somehow more restricted than ANKH we had used to play.

3. Which game had the least or most enjoyable character creation?

I liked Traveller: 2300AD with its career rolls. It was always exciting to see what the character had done before the game started. BRP system character creation was dull because of all those points you had to put into skills. I want to play already!

4. What other roleplaying game author besides Gygax impressed you with their writing?

I never ever was interested who wrote the book or how the book was written. Back then roleplaying games were just games you played. The rulesbook were those you needed to figure out how to play and what could happen setting wise in a game, the rest was rolling dice and telling stories. Not sure if I even did know who Gygax was before my 20's!

5. What other old school game should have become as big as D&D but didn't? Why do you think so?

There are two interesting options for D&D clones and simulacrum games; GORE as BRP clone and Open D6 for some WEG Star Wars rules love. I am not that sure about their communities but I was first introduced into D&D OSR and clones and I didn't even appreciate classic D&D as a game at all!

So a D&D hater turned into a D&D/OSR enthusiast is a big step. BRP I have played (CoC, Stormbringer, RQ) and liked but heard about GORE after D&D OSR... so what does that tell? Don't know.

That said Rune Quest would be cool to have love and more accessible material. Also Warhammer Fantasy RPG.

6. What non-D&D monster do you think is as iconic as D&D ones like Hook Horrors or Flumphs, and why do you think so?

Kafers from 2300AD. I loved those guys and they had a nice sourcebook also. I bet those who know kafers share the love for that warring and ruthless alien race.

Also the boring answer but Cthulhu. You know, he is not only in literature and fiction but he has roleplaying games with his name in a title. And he can be found also in games where his name is not in the title (Carcosa for example). But Cthulhu is not a rpg monster, he's a literature monster showing in roleplaying games. So does Cthulhu qualify?

7. What fantasy RPG other than D&D have you enjoyed most? Why?

I won't name a retro-clone here. This must be either RuneQuest or Warhammer. I liked Warhammer a lot as a game but got only one Game Master for it and sometimes he was a total jerk ruining the fun for everyone. So I have fond memories of WH but also some really bad experiences with it. RuneQuest was fun but we weren't that experienced in that time. So it was basically a fantasy game with d% rules instead of a game set in Glorantha.

Honorable mention to Vampire: the Dark Ages. Was Storytelling a really nice chronicle once. Vampires in Middle Ages is fantasy, isn't it?

8. What spy RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.

I don't think I have ever played a spy rpg (like Top Secret) but in some campaigns and adventures there's been some spying. Cannot answer this.

9. What super hero RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?

Glad it says "enjoyed" instead of played. Haven't played any but I own Mutants & Masterminds and have read it and enjoyed it. The illustration catches the super hero comic feel really well but what I like the most is the character creation what with its wide variety of options takes a big chunk of the page count. I bet you could build almost any kind of a hero with this! Point buy system is a bit meh in my opinion but the choices you can make are astonishing.

10. What science fiction RPG have you enjoyed the most? Why?

2300AD. The game was awesome, or at least the stories we played. I had the Finnish translation and there were some horrible mistakes what made some of the rules impossible to understand. Still the game was entertaining as a whole.

Today one of my favourite scifi settings is Fading Suns (the rules are ok except damage dicepool is horrible) but I didn't know that game when 2300AD was hot.

11. What post-apocalyptic RPG have you enjoyed the most? Why?

Mutant Future. When I learned about the game called Gamma World and got really interested in first and second editions I found Mutant Future. Familiar classic rules make this game really simple to play. I only have played one campaign (over 20 sessions) with one player (android character) but it was really enjoyable.

At first I used the free PDF from Goblinoid Games but liked the game so much I decided to order a softcover.

I will most definitely play Mutant Future again.

12. What humorous RPG have you enjoyed the most? Give details.

I haven't played a humorous RPG. As a game meant to be played tongue on the cheek. There's naturally been humor (black, silly, gonzo) in some games but I think that's a different story. I usually want to include humor in my games because I also like grimdark and hopeless themes. So in all that misery and misfortune some good laughs every now and then are what the game needs.

Side note: I don't think fishmalks are good humor except when I Game Master one. I love me some fishmalk NPCs!

13. What horror RPG have you enjoyed the most?

The last Call of Cthulhu adventure I ran I liked so much! Set in the Antarktis with Mi-Gos and a mad man behind a corporation who was basically the worst villain I really enjoyed Game Mastering this. Also in general Call of Cthulhu is one of the best (if not even best) horror RPGs ever.

Honorable mention goes to Kult and especially to its terrific setting. The rules are meh but the setting is evocative and horrific.

14. What historical or cultural RPG have you enjoyed the most? Give details.

I have played -and I own- Pentagron what would be an obvious answer for me except I can't remember how it was nor have read the book. So Pentagron cannot be an answer here. Call of Cthulhu maybe because it is "historically accurate" setting except there is Mythos.

15. What pseudo or alternative history RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?

Haven't played any game what's whole point is alternative history. Call of Cthulhu basically because of Mythos. I'd like to play something alternative history of steampunk in gaslight era or occult Nazis in spaaaaace.

I do have an alternative history sourcebook for the game Victoriana called The Smoke 1867. It is a sourcebook for London. Not familiar with the game and I got this sourcebook for other reasons (for running Vampire: the Masquerade in Victorian age but then I bought Victorian Age Vampire + London By Night).

16. Which RPG besides D&D has the best magic system? Give details.

Besides D&D? Who said D&D had best magic system. But now that I think of I don't know that many magic systems at all. Years ago I roughly counted I've played around 100 different roleplaying games and now can't figure out anything but Vancian magic!

I'd like to say Mage: the Ascension but haven't played it nor read the book so can't. Carcosa has pretty neat magic system as it removes all the spells and only offers rituals what are practically impossible to "cast" at the beginning of you round. Rituals need time, right place, ingredients, sacrifices etc.

17. Which RPG has the best high tech rules? Why?

Besides shopping stuff (as +Kelvin Green already said) don't know. I didn't like 2300AD space travel rules because those were too complicated for me. If high tech needs rules that are more detailed than most of the rules in the game (a mini game of its own) I wouldn't be interested.

But give me random tables any day I'm in!

18. What is the crunchiest RPG you have played? Was it enjoyable?

Basically 2300AD Finnish translation because the translation was horrible and full of mistakes making some parts of the game almost unplayable without heavy houseruling. But I enjoyed the game.

I also enjoyed Twilight as a military operation simulation where you and your crew are on your own but I felt the rules were a little slow. Haven't read it and can't remember very well how it went. That's just how I remember it.

Can't remember games with crunchy rules I didn't enjoy. Maybe because those are not worth remembering. I am not a fan of Rolemaster - don't hate me. I have bought HARP I plan to read and consider being a lite or more acceptable version of RM.

19. What is the fluffiest RPG you have ever played? Was it enjoyable?

Vampire: the Masquerade and it's meta-game full of sourcebooks what link to each other to get the full picture. And if you go the fluff by-the-book it might even be quite restricting. In the Requiem there's no meta and it's more like Vampire toolbox.

Anyways I have liked the fact that Vampire has that meta-cluster-fuck to read and harvest for ideas. I haven't used it as a bible but more like source, rumors etc. for my game using what ever pleases me. Most of the (well some) Vampire players cannot accept the fact that you can invent your own Masquerade and are meta-plot-slaves. That is annoying like hell.

I also like Fading Suns a lot. The setting is so great for almost any kind of adventures from knights of the grail to smugglers in space. From crusades to scientific investigations. And really, the suns are fading slowly. That's in the name yo!

Also games like Star Wars (any edition from WEG to Saga), Lord of the Rings (from MERP to The Lord of the Rings RPG) because you have so much material to use. Literature (both fictional and non-fiction), movies, comics, video games, wikis... The sources to use in this kind of games are not only limited to official and fan gaming material but you can use literally everything around the series. Those are the fluff winners!

20. Which setting have you enjoyed the most? Why?

It's the story what makes good games, not rules or settings. But the settings I have enjoyed are World of Darkness (my version of it, not the meta-fuck), Fading Suns universe and Praedor's Jaconia. Those are good settings.

Honorable mentions go to CoC 20's, LotFP weird-fantasy (well there is no setting but the adventures give some idea what the Lamenting world is like), Mutant Future (again no world in core book but the setting idea is pretty clear from the characters, rules and monsters).

Curious about Ravenloft. I own 3e Campaign Setting and have tried to read it but for some reason I don't like. It's those damn 3e rules on every second page... I want fluff!

21. What is the narrowest genre RPG you have ever played? How was it?

Hard scifi. Lots of technical stuff and pseudo-realistic stuff. No weird portals to other weird worlds nor brain eating space mules. Just tech and transhumanism and new era society problems etc.

22. What is the most gonzo kitchen sink RPG you ever played? How was it?

I had played serious Vampire: the Masquerade before but when started a campaign with my then new girlfriend who had never played RPGs before it was gonzo! That World of Darkness was not "WoD" but "WtF". There was anything and everything mixed from other WoD lines (werewolves, changelings, ghosts, demons) and from other games too (Kult for example). Also weird magic, dimensional portals, time traveling, rising from dead...

As a game in my shelf it would be Mutant Future.


23. What is the most broken game that you tried and were unable to play?

If there was one my memory didn't bother to record it.

24. What is the most broken game that you tried and loved to play, warts and all?

I have to yet again answer 2300AD. We did play it but it was broken because of bad translation and mixed entries.

Also Storytelling mechanic (in old World of Darkness) is if not broken but damn stupid. Basically the better you are (more dice in your pool) more likely you botch.

Also the stupid thing that when you are "daaaaamn" with your 15 damage dices and score only 2 what the other dude soaks anyways.

25. Which game has the sleekest, most modern engine?

I don't like modern games. I like my games traditional with character sheets, values you roll with or against. With dice. You know.

Modern for me would be re-inventing the wheel to make the existing, well known and accepted into more compact form without loosing the fun and playability and ability to roll some dice.

Into The Odd comes into my mind because at the moment I don't know what is going on in the gaming industry except what happens in OSR.

Also looking forward to get my copy of Short Order Heroes. That's as modern (IT USES DEM CARDS) as I am willing to go with my roleplaying. Other games are a different story.

26. What IP (= Intellectual Property, be it book, movie or comic) that doesn't have an RPG deserves it? Why?

Final Fantasies 7 and older. Especially 7 because I loved that game.

Most of the books, movies and comics (video games!) can be emulated with some roleplaying game out there. It's just that I don't know any good roleplaying game what would capture the J-RPG feel of combat and equipment/special skill options.

For example there are several games you could do Silent Hill (video game by Konami) or any Stephen King.

If anyone knows a good RPG what emulates J-RPG mechanics and is playable (J-RPGs are quite light in crunch compared to USA/EURO videorolegames) please tell me. Would be interested to see it. I've had some fan made Final Fantasy RPGs though but those are gone now.

27. What RPG based on an IP did you enjoy the most? Give details?

Could Call Of Cthulhu be in this category? If yes then that. I haven't played many IP source games. I did play MERP but the GM was a dick so it wasn't fun at all.

28. What free RPG did you enjoy most? Give details.

Lamentations of the Flame Princess is great rules of the classic D&D. Basically it works like classic but it has some great house rules (for example 1d6 skills and inventory). I did get the Grindhouse first (and hardback later) but the rules are also available for free so I think this counts.

Also Labyrinth Lord you can get as a free PDF. For me Labyrinth Lord is basically B/X D&D (easily available) and a sourcebook for B/X D&D stuff but it also is a B/X D&D game I can play. First I had the free PDF for some time and then in one competition I won softcover version of it.

Mutant Future I started playing with the free PDF also but liked it that much I bought the softcover version of it.

At the moment the most interesting free RPG I am planning to play is Into The Odd. The rules are simple and elegant. It is so easy to create material for it (monsters and Arcana which are basically magic items replacing traditional spells). The rules don't take many pages and technically character creation takes only few minutes. And there's lots of interesting material in the blog of +Chris McDowall .

29. What OSR product you have enjoyed the most? Explain how?

Mutant Future has been a blast! Really like the rules and options in the game and I had a really cool campaign with it. This game is so much fun.

Also Labyrinth Lord is a gateway to classic D&D and with Labyrinth Lord I can easily read B/X D&D material. Labyrinth Lord for me is the classic D&D gateway.

Haven't played Lamentations of the Flame Princess as much as I would have wanted to play but I enjoyed it. Simple rules and weird fantasy is awesome. I have a small collection of LotFP material (15 or so items) I enjoy really much reading.

Not sure if Into The Odd qualifies as OSR. It clearly shows its roots but is exceptionally simple in rules. This is a game what in capslock MAKES ME WANT TO PLAY AND CREATE!

From the dudes of OSR +Venger Satanis is really promising writer. I only have had a change to read his The Baleful Sorcerer Of Tsathag'kha and Three Swordsmen and liked those a lot. At some point I am going to buy (soon I hope) Liberation Of The Demon Slayer and see what guy is really made of!

30. Which non-D&D supplemental product should everyone know about? Give details.

I am not a supplement guy! I buy a core book and it should be enough material for me. The rest I make up. I like creating games and playing not following the directions someone else has written for me. That's the problem with setting books with me. Too much text I find hard to remember and wouldn't use anyways (well parts of it naturally).

But the supplements could be something else like moar stuffz for the game!

I don't have too many supplements actually because of the reasons I stated above. What supplements from my collection I have enjoyed (to use or read) are for Kult. Legions of Darkness and Metropolis Sourcebook. Kult is just so damn awesome game that I love to read more of it.

Also even though I have already said that Vampire: the Masquerade meta-plot is a fuck I have enjoyed reading the supplements for it just because they give all these cool stuffs (sometimes at least) I enjoy to read as fiction and to harvest ideas for my games (not sure when I will run Vampire, or will I run it anymore again).

Also LotFP. Great read. All the adventures and settings and... LotFP stuff is great! Can't wait to start reading Carcosa. Already skimmed through it and fell in love.

31. What out-of-print RPG would you most likely to see back in publication? Why?

There's a great library of old D&D products in PDF and there's 1e in print again (or was it limited edition?) so Gamma World! Post-apocalyptic gonzo is quite popular (as I see it) so I wouldn't be surprised if Gamma World was re-released at some point.

They have already made some old World of Darkness anniversaries (Vampire and Werewolf) so possibly there will be others too. Mage next.

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