Wednesday, August 24, 2016

RPGaDay Challenge 2016 - Day 21

Um. Er...I...hmmm.

Can I skip this one? I don't really have anything.

I just got done with two posts about rules. I'm not a big rules guy. Most of the games I play have pretty basic mechanics, or if they are complex it's in the front-loaded, pre-game aspect.

I don't use a lot of rules, and therefore I haven't had much opportunity to get them wrong.

About the only thing I can think of...

I have the early playtest rules for Last Unicorn Games' Star Trek: The Next Generation Role-Playing Game. I read through them fairly often as I liked some of the early draft ideas even more than the final product, although the published game was definitely superior overall.

The die mechanic in the playtest rules is very different. Instead of a '6' on the Drama Die letting you add the next highest number, you got to roll it again. It 'exploded', as it does in WEG's Star Wars D6. If you rolled another 6 you rolled again, until you didn't roll a 6, and then you added up your total.

I sometimes forget which is the playtest, and which is the published version, and I've been known to run the exploding die version for several sessions until a player reading the published rulebook notices, and points it out.

A misinterpretation? Sort of. Funny? I guess. Funny that I, who playtested the game, and love it sometimes get the rule versions mixed up. 

At the same time it's fun having the exploding die so...misinterpretation, or house rule?

Barking Alien

RPGaDay Challenge 2016 - Day 20

I've catching up! Woohoo! Go Speed Racer Go!

Oh that's easy...

Yeah. See, I'm not looking for 'challenging systems'. No, no. Thank you for coming complex mechanics. Your resume' is very impressive, but we're going another way. We'll keep in touch (tosses resume' in the garbage).

Champions is the exception to the rule, and honestly I couldn't exactly tell you why. That is, why do I like it so much if I despise complex rules so much? I don't really know. At least I can't put my finger on it. Champions just works. It allows for the imagination to do what it wants to do, but it gives definition to it so that your imagination, and my imagination can interact with each other using the same rules.

In theory, that is the goal, and purpose of all RPGs, but all RPGs don't do that as well as Champions does

 Also, although generic and adjustable, I firmly believe that Champions Superhero gaming has a very distinct feel. It is both over-the-top, Silver Age-y and rather brutal, with the addition of Hits, as well as Stun showing that a Super versus a normal person is a scary thing.

In the end, I am really glad I learned this game, and very happy to have been taught it by my friend William C. He showed me how this rather crunchy system is the cobblestone streets beneath our feet. Solid, beautiful, with occasional awkward bumps, but essentially just a well made road for getting me, and my Supers games to the place I want them to go.

Thanks Will. Thanks Champions.

Barking Alien

RPGaDay Challenge 2016 - Day 19

For me the best way to learn a game is to play it.

I have a few reasons for this, but the main one is that by playing the game, not reading it, you are thinking of it as a game, not as a set of rules.

Allow me to clarify a little...

I, as both a player and a GM, de-emphasize the rule mechanics of the games I play unless there is some system bit that is so freakin' brilliant I feel the need to point it out. Usually though, I don't want the participants in the game thinking about the rules as much, or more than, they are thinking about what is going on in the game.

When you read through the rules first, the rules remain prominent in your mind. If you're one of those obsessive rules lawyer types, the mechanics end up sitting in the front row of your brain with their extra large popcorn, huge soda, and wearing a large hat so that your ability to get involved in the story, and characters is largely blocked.

When I teach others a new system (something I feel like I do fairly often) we play until a rule comes up, and then it's, "OK, our first die roll (card drawn, or whathaveyou). Here's what we do...".

Often, I won't have a fight in the first session of a planned campaign with a new rules system. The first session will be focused on the characters, the setting, the story, the rules for social and/or investigative elements, and perhaps a bit of how Experience Points (or something similar) work to improve your character at the end. 

The next session introduces combat, be it hand-to-hand, with weaponry, magic, psionics, or super powers as appropriate, and/or spaceship battles. With each additional session a new rules is likely to come up from time, to time as PCs want to, and try to do more and more varied things.

There you go, my game learning philosophy. Pretty simple.

Bare in mind, I played Champions 3rd Edition for nearly 2 years without knowing any of the rules. When I first saw the rules for Champions years earlier I was like, "Nooo. No thank you!" I ended up loving it as a game because I played it, enjoyed it, and then asked, "So, how does this work exactly?"

Barking Alien

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

RPGaDay Challenge 2016 - Day 18

I had to go to the RPGaDay Challenge 2016 sponsor's page to get a better idea of what this question is asking, and I still have no idea how to answer it.

What innovation? Innovation of what? Is the internet an innovation? Not any longer, and many thousands of gamers are already benefiting from its use, and have for some time. Websites like DriveThruRPG, and such? I mean, what the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks does this mean?

Hold on...I've just checking around the net, and apparently I'm not the only one who doesn't get this one.

Innovation, huh?

Ah! Got it!

A group of players who buy-in to the setting, are interested enough to do research, intelligent enough to know that the research they did doesn't mean that's what their characters know, and flexible enough to know when to use what they know, and when to act like they are surprised. Players who don't bog the game down in endless scanning, and over-thinking, and instead act like the kind of people who would leave the safety of Hobbit Holes to actually venture into the unknown to fact danger. Players who can stop being so damn practical they suck the energy, and fun out of adventure gaming.

That would be an innovation.

Barking Alien

Monday, August 22, 2016

RPGaDay Challenge 2016 - Day 16 and Day 17

Huh. These two are a little tricky, kinda related, and I'm behind so I'm going to answer them together.

Historical? Damned if I know. Can't think of a single person. Seriously. If we're talking 20th-21st Century famous people that's easier.

I've always wanted to game with the late, great Robin Williams, who I happen to know was a gamer. Those who've followed this site know I have so brief, but awesome history with the departed actor, and comedian and it would have been awesome to have had him at my table. 

What game? Would it matter? We're talking Robin Freakin' Williams! At the same time...something Sci-Fi. Probably Star Wars, Star Trek, or Traveller.

My other thought is Jim Henson. Man oh man. Wouldn't it be just the be all, end all to have Jim Henson run a game of Ars Magica? That would be so sweet.

My current groups? Not sure. Maybe...I got nothing.

My older groups?

The Great Gonzo for Toon, Teenagers from Outer Space, Paranoia, Tales from the Floating Vagabond, Hunter Planet, or Gamma World (which he would enjoy for the 'realism' O_o ). 

Robin from Young Justice Season One in any of our Superhero games.

Finn from Star Wars: The Force Awakens for Star Wars, Star Trek, and Traveller. Different games, with different approaches to Space Adventure. I think I am imagining gaming with John Boyega more than the character, but I'd love to see how he addresses each setting.

That's all I've got.

Moving on...

Barking Alien