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#RPGaDAY in August: DAY 25 - Favourite RPG That No One Else Wants To Play


Day 25 – Favourite RPG That No One Else Wants To Play
I’m pretty sure anything I select here will have people say … “Oh, I’d love to play that – let’s sort something  out!” and also for that matter I don’t actually have a steady RPG group at the moment so I could pretty much say anything as that’d fit this category ;p

That said, I’m just going to go for a game that I’d love to ‘play’ but doubt I ever will – and not necessarily because I couldn’t find players. I’ve always fancied playing Ars Magica (currently published by Atlas Games but I’ve had most of the editions and supplements since the old Lion Rampant days back in the late 80’s).

I not only love the setting (12th/13th Century Europe with a heavy dose of the mythic) but also the way you ‘create’ your party. Basically the game centres around a group of Magi who belong to ‘The Order of Hermes’ and live/work together as a Covenant in a stronghold. Alongside the Magi themselves the Covenant also contains various ‘mundane’ followers and assistants who help the Wizards. These fall into two categories – the ‘Comnpanions’ (who are fairly skilled in specific areas) and ‘Grogs’ (lesser skilled peasants). When you create your character you actually create a Wizard and a Companion which you’ll interchange as your character in any given story as well as a selection of Grogs (along with the other players) which are ‘pooled’ as such so that any one can play any Grog in any given story instead of their primary Wizard/Companion. So you end up with a pool of characters that will appear and be played at various points during the campaign.

I really liked (and still like) the idea of a ‘pool of characters’ to choose from as well as the different skill/power levels of each of the character choices. But, as yet, have not managed to play a game of it.

ars magica
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#RPGaDAY in August: DAY 24 - Most Complicated RPG Owned

Day 24 – Most Complicated RPG Owned
I’m not one for ‘complicated’ RPGs as I prefer the systems to be more ‘in the background’, ‘free flowing’ and ‘unobtrusive’ leaving the focus on the story and the characters decisions and interactions.

I seriously considered selecting ‘Rolemaster’ in this category but ended up going for ‘Tribe 8’ by Dream Pod 9. It was a fantastic setting and background story but the mechanics that the game came with just didn’t encourage us to actually play the game. It’s a real shame as, at the time, we were really keen on it because the story and the artwork invoked loads of ideas and we soaked up the ‘background’ elements of the core rulebook and the supplements that they released for it. I still have an entire set of the books and would love to have another look at them at somepoint when I have enough time (and a group to play it with) to convert the game to a different system.

tribe 8
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#RPGaDAY in August: DAY 23 - Coolest Looking RPG Product / Book

Day 23 – Coolest Looking RPG Product/Book
I’m selecting two here. One because it’s a Limited Edition and the other because it’s the regular edition.

The Limited Edition is Fantasy Flight Games ‘Deathwatch’ set. It comes in a big engraved metal case held together by a chain and large key with a leather/leatherette book printed on parchment-like paper stock. It’s a stunning piece and looks fantastic – although very much a ‘Collectors’ item as opposed to a viable copy to run games with.

The coolest ‘regular’ RPG I’m selecting is actually one that we published when I was at Cubicle 7. That’s the Lord of the Rings “The One Ring” RPG. The game comes in a slipcase containing the books, dice and maps and between the art direction of Jon Hodgson and the magical layout talents of Paul Bourne it looks absolutely stunning and is one of the nicest looking RPG sets around.

deathwatch rpg

the one ring

Old Friend

#RPGaDAY in August: DAY 22 - Best Secondhand RPG Purchase

My #RPGaDAY in August fell short due to an emergency with my girlfriends brother being rushed into hospital. I'm not going into the details about that here but he's still there and not well. Anyway my last entry was on the 21st August so I'm going to start up from the 22nd and finish it off - even though they will all be 'September' entries now.

So... on to RPGaDAY #22...


Day 22 – Best Secondhand RPG Purchase

I’m not entirely sure what the ‘best’ secondhand RPG purchase I’ve made over the years – mainly because I’m not entirely sure what I’ve brought secondhand. Most of my purchases over the years have been new – either as they’re released, from traders at conventions or off the shelf from really good ‘all round’ stockist retail stores who carry extensive ‘backlist’ products as well as the brand new ‘hotness’.

I thought about listing the complete collection of White Dwarf magazines I picked up years ago, #1 to something like #180 all in binders! A real find that I treasured but I ended up auctioning the set off for Charity a few years ago so no longer have those.

Instead I’ve gone for a game that I sold in a massive clearout back in 2001 then regretted so much that I contacted the company I sold it to and rebrought it under two weeks later.

I had hundreds of RPGs & supplements that I decided to trim – mainly old AD&D and Runequest books but lots of other things alongside those – and called a friend (Colin Wheeler who at the time ran one of Britains biggest second hand games companies) to come over and reap the rewards of my then 15 year old collection. I remember filling the boot of his car, the backseats of his car and even the passenger seat of his car full of boxes of the games he was taking off my hands. If it wasn’t the need for space and a bit of cash at the time I don’t think I’d have sold any of them to be honest. I have a massive collection still and that’s after numerous occasions of selling off loads of them (sobs) but part of my dreams/dreads what it would have been like had I not decided to sell all the books I have done over the years…

Anyway, amongst the piles of games I sold to Colin was a superhero game. Now whilst I had not actually played this superhero game I am a massive fan of the superhero games and genre. I’m not quite sure why I thought it was a good idea to part with this particular copy but I pretty much instantly regretted. I tried to ignore my pangs of regret but think I only held them at bay for maybe 10 days before I rang Colin up in the hope that he hadn’t sold it yet. He hadn’t so I brought it back off him and Chaosium’s Superworld was mine once more.

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#RPGaDAY in August: DAY 21 – Favourite Licensed RPG


Day 21 – Favourite Licensed RPG

I’ve enjoyed lots of licensed RPGs and played a fair number of them over the years. I remember my first was the old Games Workshop Judge Dredd Boxed RPG which we played during lunch break at school for a bit (Twilight: 2000 seemed to be the preferred ‘lunch time’ game for some reason though). We had several memorable session of West End Games brilliant ‘Ghostbusters’ RPG – which is a license I’d love to see reappear. Technically ‘Call of Cthulhu’ is a ‘Licensed’ RPG when it first came out as it’s based upon the works of H. P. Lovecraft’s novels – but I’m going to ignore that as the RPG is arguably better known amongst the majority of gamers than his actual books are.

I’ve also been involved in licensing and publishing RPGs based upon TV, Films, Books and Comics. Doctor Who, Lord of the Rings, Primeval, The Laundry and Starblazer Adventures which we published at Cubicle 7 were all ‘licensed’ products – and whilst I loved them all they don’t quite reach my ‘favourite’ (although I’ve already seen a couple of the above make peoples lists which is nice to see).

My *favourite* licensed RPG is actually a tighter call than I thought it would be. It endws up being a toss up between Phage Press’ “Amber” Diceless RolePlaying Game based on the fantastic series of novels by Roger Zelazny and TSR’s Marvel Super Heroes.

Ultimately I think Marvel wins the duel but I’ve had an immense amount of fun playing both of these (and all the others I’ve either mentioned above or didn’t mention – such as White Wolf’s “Street Fighter” RPG which we had a great short-run campaign of).

marvel rpg


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#RPGaDAY in August: DAY 20 - Will still be playing in 20 years time...


Day 20 – Will still play in 20 years time…

I’m going to use current precedent here by looking at the games I was playing 20 years ago and which of those I’m still playing today.

Back in 1994 we were playing ‘a lot’ of different games and systems – Vampire: The Masquerade, Warhammer Fantasy RPG, TORG, Amber, Marvel Super Heroes, Cyberpunk 2020 and Call of Cthulhu.

Now I’d happily still play *any* of those games (and a lot more besides) but the only one I still play (on a semi-irregular basis it must be said) is Call of Cthulhu.

So I’m going to opt to select ‘call of Cthulhu’ as the game I’m ‘most likely’ to still be playing in 20 years time.

call of cthulhu 1st
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#RPGaDAY in August: DAY 19 – Favourite Published Adventure


Day 19 – Favourite Published Adventure

Whilst we do use pre-published adventures on occasion most of the scenarios we play tend to me more homebrewed or ad-libbed.

There are some published adventures that certainly stick in my mind though… “I6: Ravenloft” which I’ve played three or four times and not only for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons which it was published for but also as a Marvel Super Heroes adventure (the party still failed), the fantastic “Enemy Within” campaign for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and the “Witchfire Trilogy” by Privateer Press set in the Iron Kingdoms for d20.

I think my favourite, however, is Chaosium’s “Masks of Nyarlathotep” for Call of Cthulhu which we played over the course of one summer whilst our GM (Monty) was home from Uni. It was a fantastic, globe spanning, campaign that took us across four continents and I’m not quite sure how many characters. I know my character was the only one who survived the entire thing – but that was partially because he was moored offshore on a yacht during the final climax as he’d broken both his legs in Shanghai in a car crash. I ended up having to play a different character for the final session (or two).
masks of nyarlathotep

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#RPGaDAY in August: DAY 18 - Favourite Game System


Day 18 – Favourite Game System

Game systems usually take a back seat in most of the games I play. The story and narration can often take the lead (as I personally feel it should) and the dice (or cards, or hand signs, or whatever the rules suggest as the method of determining certain outcomes) only really come out occasionally and shouldn’t interrupt the flow of the game. Sure they affect the outcomes, but they should be pretty quick and easy and not detract you away from the story too much by having to flick through tons of pages looking for charts or being so convoluted that you forget where you were and what your character was doing. So, no maths degrees needed ;p

I generally find that most systems can blend in the background. Sure there are ‘some’ that don’t and can be a bit of a pain, but usually the setting, the adventure and who you are playing with (inc. the GM) are much more important for me.

There are some systems that I’ve really enjoyed and would certainly be more than happy to play over and over. FASERIP (Marvel Superheroes; TSR), Deadlands (what became ‘Savage Worlds’), TORG’s Masterbook system, the diceless system of Amber, White Wolf’s Storyteller System (Vampire: The Masquearde, etc) are just a few but the system that I seem to ‘default’ to when running homebrew games – and that I love in the actual published work for the system – is the Basic Roleplay System that was developed by Chaosium and used in games such as Call of Cthulhu and Runequest.

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#RPGaDAY in August: DAY 17 - Funniest Game You've Played


Day 17 – Funniest Game You’ve Played

Many of the games we play tend to end up containing a fair bit of humour even though pretty much all of them aren’t “comedy” games in the way games such as Paranoia, Tales of the Floating Vagabond, Ghostbusters and Discworld are.
So with that in mind it’s very hard for me to choose the ‘funniest’ game I’ve ever played in. I think I’m going to have to go with Iron Kingdoms though. We played the d20 version of Iron Kingdoms and I love the setting and had a fantastic time playing through The Witchfire Trilogy. One way or another though – either through in-character situations arising, botching dice rolls, or just because of the comedy the players brought to the game and their characters, it ended up having quite a number of very funny/strange moments. In fact both Dom and myself took it as a challenge that we had to reduce atleast one of the other players to tears of laughter atleast once per session – which we often achieved with great effect.

So, for that reason, Iron Kingdoms is my choice for the ‘Funniest Game I’ve Played’.

iron kingdoms character guide

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#RPGaDAY in August: DAY 16 – Game You Wish You Owned


Day 16 – Game You Wish You Owned

I own *a lot* of RPGs. Side effect of a combination of having work in the industry one way or another for close to 30 years and being a massive fan. So instead of posting about a rulebook or supplement that I wish I had on the bookshelf I’m going to do something a bit different and choose a game that I wish I *owned* the rights too so I could publish and develop the game line.

Now even that list isn’t particularly short as there are tons of excellent gamelines out there that I’d love to be part of but I’m going to opt for ‘TORG’ which was originally published by West End Games back in 1990. I actually looked at acquiring the rights to TORG twice. Once when Humanoids were running West End Games and in the process of closing it down and then a few years later when Eric Gibson (who had brought West End Games) was looking at selling the various IP’s that the company owned and winding it down.

Now apart from ‘rebooting’ the main game and ‘The Possibility Wars’ I’d also look at making each of the Cosms a standalone setting that people could base entire campaigns in *or* use as part of the wider Possibility War. Some of the Cosms, such as the Victorian Horror ‘Orrosh’, would make fantastic settings to base an extended campaign in. I’d also look at creating an ‘Open Realm License’ to allow other companies and designers to create their own Realms which could then either be integrated into the TORG setting, if a games group wanted, or used as a standalone game in conjunction with the core rulebook. This way each group could tailor their game with the Settings they prefer and even bring in other companies ‘Realities’ into their shared universe if they so wished.

I loved TORG when it came out and still love TORG now and I’d love to see a new edition come out (one is apparently in the works for 2015 by German based publisher ‘Ulisses’ according to a recent DriveThruRPG Newsletter). I’ll certainly be picking up a copy as soon as it does (and dreaming of the day I might be able to buy the IP ;p).