Wednesday, August 25, 2021

A Day To Remember

I woke up this morning to a link shared by one of my close friends and fellow gamers to this youtube video by The OG GM's Adventures discussing his latest entry into the RPGaDay 2021.

In it he tackles the prompt 'Translate' by mentioning the Goblin Slayer RPG translation and the fact that he not only feels he doesn't need one but also, paraphrasing 'Do we need any IP made into a full game or can they just make a system-agnostic sourcebook/sourcebook for an existing generic system?'

This seems like the perfect subject to address today for my 44th Anniversary in the TRPG Gaming Hobby! That's right guys, gals, non-binary pals, and all entities across the multiverse - I have been gaming since August 25th, 1977! Woohoo! What a long, strange trip it's been as the Grateful Dead might say.

Barkley celebrates his own way. 

On to the subject at hand...

The OG GM says that we don't really need a whole, $75 dollar RPG to run most IPs. They don't need their own game but rather Sourcebooks, not unlike those that go along with GURPS.

For those less familiar, GURPS is a generic rules system with numerous Sourcebooks that can be 'plugged in' to support using the basic system with a variety of different genres, settings, and IPs. There is a GURPS Japan for running in the Feudal/Medieval periods of Japan and a GURPS Lensman for running games in the universe of E.E. 'Doc' Smith's Space Opera hero. 

When you think about it, do we need an entire Goblin Slayer RPG, a Dragon Prince RPG, or a Delicious in Dungeon (Dungeon Meshi) RPG - which I am working on in my spare time - Muwahahaha! Spare time! That's hilarious. - when they (game designers and publishers) could just put out less expensive Sourcebooks so you could play these IP settings using Dungeons and Dragons, Savage Worlds, or some generic game system or other?

A good question and one that relies largely on preference and taste. Certainly if a publisher put out a Goblin Slayer Sourcebook for D&D I'd buy it but it wouldn't be what I want. I don't like D&D...or Savage Worlds or GURPS or most other generic games for that matter. It would only be useful to me in the source material it provides. I would still have to find or make a system with which to run the game. 

What I would much rather have - and I feel this is the point that OG GM misses - is a game tailor made to emulate the IP in question. I don't like the idea of forcing a square peg of Star Trek or Star Wars into a round shaped Savage World hole. It almost never works out well. I would go out on a limb as to say it can never work as well as a set of mechanics built around the IP for the end goal of creating a game that truly feels like it fits the particulars of the setting.

I am currently in love with the ALIEN RPG system from Free League Publishing and think it would be awesome to adapt it or at least parts of it to Ghostbusters. On the other hand I haven't thought about adapting it to Superheroes or Cowboys. What makes the game special IMHO isn't the same as what makes those other genres special.

Finally, I totally understand not wanting to shell out $75 dollars for a new RPG when you already have a bunch of RPGs in your library. Of course, I hope you don't have just one or two in your library. You would need to have at least a dozen or so to be thinking/feeling this way I'd imagine. Otherwise, you are greatly limiting yourself. That is just my opinion of course. I am into variety and the idea that there is yet another new RPG coming out always interests me. It interests me even more when it's based on something I like. 

If WotC announces a new supplement for D&D I barely pay it any mind (that's being gracious actually). If its announced that there is a Anime-themed supplement for Cortex, I will likely give the page a read. If Dicebreaker says, 'River Horse Publishing, makers of the Labyrinth Adventure Game is doing a Dark Crystal Tabletop RPG' I am immediately putting money aside. That bad boy is mine. 

Basically, I want more game options not less. Sure it would be nice if games were less expensive these days but that's why I don't buy everything. I buy what interests me. Funny enough, there are many IP based games that do.

Barking Alien


  1. Congratulations again and this is an interesting area of the hobby. What should be its own game and what should be a supplement?

    For me it's not a hard line one way or the other: If the author/designers have a good idea on how to make it feel right mechanically then please make it a standalone game. If they do not, and it fits fairly well with an existing game, sure, make it a supplement.

    The Alien game, from what I've heard, works really well with it's own mechanical setup. So did d6 Star Wars (I know Ghostbusters, but a lot of us didn't know that back then).

    I saw a kickstarter for a Oz RPG that was releasing it as a supplement for D&D 5E and I thought "really? ... D&D is the best way to represent an Oz RPG nowadays?" - the answer is "no" but it's the best way to get one into print I would say.

    I thought Cortex worked well for Marvel. I thought M&M worked well for DC. Two very different approaches but they both make for a fun game with superheroes. And of course there were plenty of DC Cortex profiles out there as well as Marvel characters statted up for M&M too.

    Then there is Modiphius and their 2d20 system that is gobbling up a bunch of IP's. I have to say I never thought I would see the same system presented with a straight face for both Conan and Star Trek (and ten other games like Dune) but they must be selling it based on the number of books they've released.

    And hey, Star Wars works pretty well in Savage Worlds. Not that we will ever see an official version of that. Thank goodness there are still some tinkerers out there.

    1. Interestingly, the Modiphius' Conan and Star Trek games are VERY different. Yes, they share common DNA in the 2D20 system but they are as related as Gorillas are to the Pygmy Marmoset.

      Both are Mammals of the Order Primates but you wouldn't mistake one for the other on even a casual examination. They are two very different animals that do very different things.

    2. I'll have to take a look at Conan again.

      I'm curious as to how you feel about 2d20 Trek vs. LUG Trek having run both.

    3. I've spoken about this briefly here and elsewhere but I generally view the two games - and the FASA Star Trek RPG - as each having their own unique feel.

      FASA Star Trek is a simulation of life in a futuristic, spacefaring universe based on the one depicted in the Star Trek television shows and films. In Star Trek, you live in a living, breathing universe that contains all the elements of Star Trek.

      LUG Star Trek also takes this approach...sort of. You create a character who lives in the Star Trek universe but the games occasionally takes you/the player aside and winks, whispering "This is based on a television and film IP. Amazing right?"

      In Modiphius Star Trek you create a character on a spin-off television series in the long standing Star Trek franchise. You should definitely act like you live in a 'real' universe but you totally know it's a show.

      My personal preference for running a long term campaign would probably be LUG Star Trek. I like the way the game treats the setting, translating many tropes of the IP into mechanically viable skills and abilities. At the same time, LUG has enough detail to make it feel more 'grounded'.

      These days I tend to default to running Star Trek Adventures/2D20 though, as that is the preference of many of the players I game with and I do like this game quite a lot as well.