Saturday, August 26, 2017

RPGaDay 2017 #26 Which RPG provides the most useful resources?

It may sound funny, but the books that I find the most useful are for games I have never run.

The Dream Park RPG featured a plotting method called the Beat Chart, which I often refer to when I'm trying to turn an idea into an adventure. However, I have never used the rest of that book. The setting of Dream Park and the idea that characters can be customized to each new adventure is neat, but I would want a campaign that is just that if I were to use the system.

The random adventure generator tables in Pandemonium: Adventures in Tabloid World are great fun and wound up fueling a D20 Modern campaign that I ran many years ago. The system for Pandemonium is very simple and could be fun. I just wanted to try out D20 Modern and it seemed like an easy way to write weird adventures.

As an aside, I always felt like D20 Modern's goal of "D&D in the modern world" was not my idea of fun. The D&D magic rules in particular felt like a poor fit to anything outside its designated domain. But the weird elements and kooky monsters seemed like a great fit for a "secret weirdness," "Tabloid World" sort of game. So that's what I decided I would run.

Friday, August 25, 2017

RPGaDay 2017 #25 What is the best way to thank your GM?

With food.

For a very long time, I actually offered bonus experience points for those players who bribed me with food. I stopped doing it for a while when I had a player who was down on his luck and didn't have the spare money for bribes, but it has crept back into my repertoire.

My current GM (Wow, it feels good to say that!) has a similar policy. He probably learned it from me all those years ago. A couple of weeks ago, my wife bribed him with a batch of beanless chili. It was amazing.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

RPGaDay 2017 #24 Share a PWYW publisher who should be charging more.

Technically, I could mention myself. I do have a PWYW product out there.

But really, the true answer to the question would have to be Whistlepunk Games, AKA Kris Newton, designer and publisher of Feed: The Vampire Mythos RPG. Because not only is Feed an awesome game, but Kris is a heck of a guy as well. He and his wife put out the Gameable Podcast, which is excellent, as well as the snarky, yet loving MegaDumbCast.

And they don't ask a dime for any of it. Most of the other podcasts I listen to have Patreons or some other monetization going on. Not Kris. He does it for love and for fun, and I'm sure the moment it feels like a job for him, it will be far less fun for him.

But I'm sure every now and then, they might enjoy a little boost to pay for a slightly nicer podcastng rig that can stand up to Portland heat waves, or enough alcohol to endure the next Cars movie.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

RPGaDay 2017 #22 Which RPGs are the easiest for you to run?

GURPS and Adventures in Oz: Fantasy Roleplaying Beyond the Yellow Brick Road.

GURPS because I've had a lot of experience running it over the years. I've internalized a lot of the system. I know the generalities very solidly and can look up the details quickly.

Adventures in Oz: Fantasy Roleplaying Beyond the Yellow Brick Road has the advantage of not only being very simple mechanics, but also mechanics that I designed. Also, thanks to the research I did while designing, I have a very strong grasp of the setting as well. So when players try to come up with some totally random thing, it's very easy to say "Oh yeah. Just like the Growleywogs from The Emerald City of Oz."

Monday, August 21, 2017

RPGaDay 2017 #21 Which RPG does the most with the least words?

There are RPGs of all sizes out there. From the massive tomes of D&D all the way down to one-page gems like Lasers & Feelings and even 200-word RPGs.

In my collection, I've got a few fairly small volumes. The two that pack the most punch for me are Fate Accelerated Edition and Warriors of the Red Planet.

Fate Accelerated is a digest sized book with only 32 pages, but it's a complete game. A lot of other games have put out "quickstart guides" or introductory versions that are a stripped down version of the full game, but FAE really feels like it can stand alone. While it doesn't have an adventure or a setting to it, it demonstrates its flexibility in its sample characters, filing serial numbers off of kids favorites like Avatar: The Last Airbender and Harry Potter, with a side of steampunk and Treasure Planet.

For something that does have a setting, my vote goes to Warriors of the Red Planet. It's a pulp-inspired sword and planet game using Old School mechanics. It's still digest sized, but with 126 pages. The setting is not conveyed with maps and locations, but a wonderfully weird bestiary and a collection of random encounter tables. I feel like I can run any sort of adventure in a sword & planet mode with this book.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

RPGaDay 2017 #20 What is the best source for out-of-print RPGs?

I love checking out used games from the bargain rack at the friendly local gaming store (when I have one) at the Buyer's Bazaar at DunDraCon. While browsing the extensive, curated collection at Noble Knight Games can be fun, there's nothing quite like digging through a pile of old books yourself. It's sort of like the gap between visiting a museum and doing your own archeology and making your own discoveries.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

RPGaDay 2017 #19 Which RPG features the best writing?

RPGs writing is a tricky beast to evaluate, because it's actually two kinds of writing. To use terms every gamer is familiar with, "Fluff" writing and "crunch" writing. Sometimes, a game book can be full of fun and evocative text, but the rules are poorly written and poorly explained. Other times, a book can have on-point technical explanations of the rules, but any setting or campaign material is dry and boring. Most games are between these two points.

For a game that strikes that balance, I would have to nominate Bubblegumshoe by Kenneth Hite. Not only is it written to emulate the teen detective genre, it's written to appeal to fans of the teen detective genre. The rules are well explained, and they're explained in very casual language. Not quite slangy, but also not dry.
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