RPG a Day - Day 15: Which RPG do you enjoy adapting the most?

posted Aug 15, 2017, 3:28 AM by James Pearson

Back in the day it used to be GURPS.  However, these days I have two current favorites, Savage Words, QAGS and D6xD6.  We've been playing Savage Worlds for a while now, and with it's breadth of published settings, it's fairly easy to adapt something quickly to whatever setting you like.   One of my favorite adapatations was for my Thundarr the Barbarian game (which I'll be running again at GameHole Con in November).

However, my current favorite is Lester Smith's D6xD6.  As I'm all about rules-lite games right now, and this game is that!  However, it's system is flexible because of its simplicity.  So, a few minor tweaks and it's adaptable to just about anything, without a lot of work.   I'll be running "Tales from the Terror Tomb", my adaptation of horror anthology comics such as House of Mystery, Witching Hour, and of course Tales from the Crypt, at GameHole Con in November and GaryCon in March.  Oh, and also (for something a little more tongue-in-cheek), I'll also be running a silly scenario called Slashers vs. Killer Klowns, also a D6xD6 game.

RPG a Day - 13 & 14: Doubletap!

posted Aug 14, 2017, 12:01 PM by James Pearson

Today I'm going to post both 13 and 14.  I really struggled with 13, so I didn't have anything to post yesterday.

Day 13:  Describe a game experience that changed how you play.  

I cannot, like many fellow participants, think of any one single event that was a life-changing event for me.  If anything, I can point to several different things that have happened throughout the years, that have led up to where I'm at now.  First, was meeting the group that I currently game with.  We were introduced 24 years (or so) ago.  This alone has allowed me simply to play, regularly, with a great group of guys.  To have a weekly group is a blessing.

Secondly, there have been a variety of games throughout the years that have changed how we play.  Mostly, this boils down to time.  The available time for prepping, and playing, is different than it was before.  Games like Savage Worlds, QAGS, Fiasco, Maschine Zeit, and D6xD6 have opened up a world of rules-lite, heavy roleplaying, minimal prep RPGs that still allow me to GM, and us all to play rewarding, quality games, if even for just 2-3 hours per week.

On a more negative note, when I first picked up gaming again after college, I turned to my first game and love, Traveller.  The Internet opened up a whole world of gamers around the country.  Unfortuneately, the Traveller community was less than welcoming when I joined in and shared my thoughts and ideas (based on a rule set that was then maybe 15 years old).  Apparently, in order to play Traveller, you had to abide by the "canon" (which didn't exist when I played).  This reaction was a huge turn off and left a bad taste in my mouth that has really stopped me from being involved with that game since then.

Day 14:  Which RPG do you prefer for open-ended campaign play?  

Honestly, I prefer (these days) campaigns that have a very definite ending.  So, my interpretation of this question is that it's asking about never-ending, sandbox-like, games.  One of the issues I have with that type of gaming is that my group has 3 GMs.  Plus, we only have 2 hours a week of playing time.  So, it seems to take FOREVER to get through something.  Then, GADD (Gamer Attention Deficit Disorder) sets in and we want to play something else.

All that being said, we've found that Savage Worlds seems to add the best mix of rules-light, with the properly amount of flexibility and experience and advancement system that we can play for one-offs, or for a campaign lasting years.

RPG a Day - Day 12: Which RPG has the most inspiring interior art?

posted Aug 12, 2017, 4:27 AM by James Pearson   [ updated Aug 12, 2017, 4:27 AM ]

Hands down, my absolute favorite is Nocturnals: A Midnight Companion by Dan Brereton.  Hey, I mean he has a whole comic in there.  Based on his Nocturnals comic series, this supplement for Mutants and Masterminds lets you romp around in Dan's world of creepy, bio-engineered creatures, with Doc Horror and his daughter Halloween Girl (who hail from another dimension).  There are super-powered people, aliens, extra-dimensional beings, powerful and corrupt corporations ... and Dan's fabulous art!

RPG a Day - Day 11: Which dead game would you like to see reborn?

posted Aug 11, 2017, 4:43 AM by James Pearson

This is an easy one for me.  Dark Conspiracy.  I found this game during a visit to a game shop in my home time, many years after I had moved away, but was back visiting.   I absolutely fell in love with the game.   I love sci-fi, and I love horror, and this was a great mix of both.   It was also my introduction to Lester Smith's work.   

Thanks to the Internet, a group of guys dedicated to the genre create a fanzine called Demonground.  In 1998 I even published one of my scenarios in that ezine.

I ran DC for my group for several years and we had a great time.  Everyone's character started off as a normal person, who were then confronted with the terrible truth of the alien conspiracy and dedicated their lives to combating the evil.    The gaming group was called Carol's Diner, since the characters started each session at their favorite restaurant.

DC was actually revived twice.  2nd edition wand the 3rd edition were both relatively short lived.  It is my understanding that a new version is in the works!  

As with many settings that I love, I did not love the game system for DC.  So, in my long running campaign I actually used GURPS, which worked very well for us for the campaign.


RPG a Day - Day 10: Where do you go for RPG Reviews?

posted Aug 10, 2017, 3:30 AM by James Pearson   [ updated Aug 10, 2017, 3:31 AM ]

I don't know how terribly often I seek out an actual review, but when it does happen, I turn to:
  • My friends
  • Social media, especially G+
  • Drivethru reviews from purchasers

RPG a Day - Day 9: What is a good RPG to play for about 10 sessions?

posted Aug 9, 2017, 3:47 AM by James Pearson

Hmmm.  This one took a little interpretation.  First, I assume that the questions goal is to prompt us to consider a longer campaign, but not necessarily an open-ended sandbox game.  For me, since I share the GM spotlight with two others and we are on a monthly rotation, this would equal right around 3 turns, and would take about a year to finish.

Throughout the years, there have been many games that just seem to fizzle out, and the stories are never concluded.  I've always hated this.  One of my issues, is what our group calls Gamer ADD (GADD).  It's hard to keep playing a game for any length of time because there are so many shiny RPGs out there (many we own), and every new book or movie spawns a surge in inspiration that may not always be for the same genre or game that we are currently playing.

I think the game that comes closest for me is Necessary Evil.  I actually ran my group through this several years ago. It was a lot of fun playing the bad guys!  We had some great intra-team tension and backstabbing!  

As written, the game has 10 required Plot Points (with an eleventh optional final battle).  You can, of course, intersperse the game with other stories, but it is completely playable with just 10 episodes.  It would be great to run this game again.

RPG a Day - Day 8: What is a good RPG to play for sessions of 2 hrs or less?

posted Aug 8, 2017, 3:32 AM by James Pearson

This is a great question, and a somewhat easy one for me, because that's about all the time our weekly group gets to play each week.   Although we meet each week, it's at night, and (being old dudes with jobs and families), we spend the first hour of our time socializing, and then we are able to play from about 8pm to 10pm (or 10:30 if we are really pushing it).

We have managed to play all our games in that amount of time.  For us, it boils down to keeping the scenario concise, to the point, and with just one or two encounters.  

We do, predominately, play Savage Worlds.  One of the original attractions to the game was that its rule system, especially combat, helps move things along quickly.  It's not overly crunchy.  If you ever get a chance to read about the design philosophy, it was created with this type of gaming in mind.

However, as I mentioned, for us it just boils down to a play style.  We aren't too hung up on rules, and we play games that have basic mechanics.   We are able to just make a judgement call instead of digging through rule books, if needed, and everyone is good with that.

We have played a lot of games in this time slot. Savage Worlds (various iterations). QAGs.  D6xD6.  Even Mutants and Masterminds.

RPGaDay - Day 7: What was your most impactful RPG session?

posted Aug 7, 2017, 4:20 AM by James Pearson   [ updated Aug 7, 2017, 4:21 AM ]

Every once in a while you GM, or play in, a game that, when it's over, you or your players sit back and just say "wow".  Early on (about 20 some years ago), with the group I currently play with, I ran a Traveller game for my group.  It was an ongoing campaign.   The week after one particularly good scenario, one of the players filled in a player who hadn't been there.  He spoke of the game with such excitement and enthusiasm, about how awesome and great it was, and how much fun it was.  That for me, as a GM, was the "wow" moment.  I knew I had really put together something great, and this was my reward.

RPGaDay - Day 6: You can game every day for a week. Describe what you'd do!

posted Aug 6, 2017, 4:58 AM by James Pearson

About the closest I've ever come is at a convention like GenCon, GaryCon or GameHole Con.  Of course, this is usually 4 days of gaming.

However, for the sake of this discussion, I'll assume that I could actually do this, here on my home turf. I'm fortunate enough to have a regular, weekly group of guys to game with. So, I'll also take into consideration that they are all available as well.  With these two assumptions in mind, I would:
  • Spend time prepping, reading and writing.  As one of the 3 GMs in the group, having a full week to focus on gaming would give me the time to plot, and plan, and scheme.  As it is right now, we are only able to get in about two solid hours of gaming each week.  This, of course, means that our scenarios are short little plot points that require less prep work than a 4+ hour convention game.  So, with more time to run and play games, I'd want more time to prep for those games.
  • Play more games.  I know this seems obvious, but the opportunity to actually play more, different games, would be high on my list.  One of the reasons I love conventions is getting the opportunity to play in a game that I have never played before.   If I had a week, I would definitely want to try and play games that are on my list of games to try.
  • Play longer.  Since my weekly group only gets about 2-3 hours of actual playing time each week, I'd love to have the opportunity to play in longer games, in the 4-6 hour range.
  • Run a short campaign.  It would be great to run through a short, multi-session campaign in 1 week.  Start to finish.  For example, we have been playing Savage Worlds:  East Texas University - Degrees of Horror for about 3 years now (since I only GM once every 3 months).  If I had a week, we could run through the entire campaign, or even just do one large section of it.

RPGaDay - Day 5: Which RPG cover best captures the spirit of the game?

posted Aug 5, 2017, 5:21 AM by James Pearson

For me, the cover that consistently conjures up the "essence" of the RPG is the first edition Shadowrun.  That is still my favorite edition.  It has such an 80's/90's cyberpunk, sci-fi feel to it.  Even when we play now, with other versions, I still envision the world using Larry Elmore's artwork.

A close second is the cover from Dark Conspiracy, for exactly the same reasons mentioned above.  I like the Dark Conspiracy setting a lot more because, honestly, I love the horror aspect.  I've had the great honor of meeting Lester Smith, and Larry Elmore, and purchased prints of both of these covers for my gaming space.  If there were a licensed RPG for Stranger Things, I would want it to look and feel just like these two games.

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