In my twenty-five something years of gaming I’ve read, run and played in a fair few number of fantasy RPGs, so trying to decide my favourite is a bit tricky. In the end I think I can boil into down into two distinct types; favourite system and favourite background.
How many times have you cracked open a game to find that it is indeed just another western style D&D clone or Middle Earth facsimile? I think when it boils down to it, most of the times it’s someone’s house-rules masquerading as The Next Big Thing TM.
Legend of the Five Rings wins for me here, this game just oozes style and atmosphere especially since the whole background draws upon a number of Eastern mythologies to give you something that is very different to what you may be used to.
King Arthur Pendragon. A classic retelling of the Arthurian legend, where the players can partake in a campaign that spans three or so generations of play.
Dungeon Quest. I haven’t had a chance to play this yet but I love the whole idea of how it works, the simplified combat adds another dimension to it and the character bonds are a really good way of connecting the group together.
Runequest. Another one of those games I looked at when I was getting in to gaming, the Games Workshop editions were released as a set of hardbacks and owing to licensing rights Glorantha couldn’t be used so a fantasy Europe was used instead. I loved the percentile mechanics but not the really deadly combat, later on the system would be used in a modified form for King Arthur Pendragon.
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. I bet you didn’t see that coming 😛 . This for me was a real alternative to xD&D. You had career based progression, deadly combat, some really odd creatures to battle and a wonderfully dark humorously horrific background; in short is was everything that xD&D wasn’t at the time. Oh and it was completely British so it had some really oddities.
I have to tip my hat to the often forgotten Middle Earth Roleplaying Game. While the system was a bit overwhelming and there could have been more in the way of examples it did justice to Middle Earth and the background was very well presented.
When I first started gaming and I had an almost unquenchable thirst for gaming I would think nothing of gaming for seven nights a week but even that wasn’t long enough for me as occasionally we’d game Saturday and into Sunday or Sunday into a bank holiday Monday. One time we even played right into the new year so we could all wish ourselves a happy new year!
Looking back on it now, I realise it may have been a mistake to try and play longer and longer without much rest, I recall arguments over trivial things when we were all sleep deprived. Stupid things like can someone with super-leaping drop down a height they can leap?
I know, daft things that seemed really important at the time.
These days I tend to game responsibly and try to not game for too long as I don’t appear to have the endurance for it these days. Call of Cthulhu isn’t much fun when you’re unable to process the clues but tend to connect you to the great green giant itself 🙂
One of the points I find while doing this challenge is trying to come up with some interesting answers to the questions.
I remember years ago seeing Mazes and Monsters the film loosely based upon the disappearance of James Dallas Egbert III. So while it is an appearance in the media the game system is entirely fictitious.
My answer to this question would have to be the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons cartoon, I remember watching this when I got home and being enthralled by it.
I should also point out that while this park takes you to the land of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons none of the riders suffered any sort of injury or dismemberment; which is more than can be said about most modern parks 🙂
Recently I’ve been on holiday and one of my friends expressed a desire to play D&D; this was something he had never done but always wanted to try, so I agreed to run it for him.
I thought this would also be a good opportunity to try out the new D&D Starter set that had been released by Wizards of the Coast, partly because I was curious to see what the new version was like and I wanted to see how it introduced new players to the hobby. In all my years of being a GM, I’d never had to break in a group, all the people I had gamed with had prior experience.
In anticipation of getting the game going, I sent links to the new rules on the Wizards website a couple of weeks beforehand and I also ordered the new starter set.
Inside the box.
Upon unboxing the set I was struck by the contents; which was one rulebook, one adventure, pre-generated characters and a set of dice. This reminded me of the red box D&D set I had got for Christmas one year; the included dice were pre-inked, unlike the red box dice which had I coloured in with a white crayon.
I glanced at the rules and dove into the adventure; Lost Mine of Phandelver, which is a massive improvement on the old B2 Keep on the Borderlands adventure. I also thought the pre-generated characters where nicely done and the backgrounds tied them to the adventure.
Reading the rules booklet gave me a flavour of the new 5th edition rules and I certainly liked what I saw. There have been fundamental changes to the system; the concepts of advantage and disadvantage are not new ones but I think they are a major improvement over what has gone before. I also appreciated the changes made to the magic using classes, you prepare your spells and then you use spell slots to cast them. This really does give you a lot of flexibility as spells become more potent if you use higher powered spell slots to cast lower level spells, although doing it this way means that spells no longer increase with power as the caster does. A first level Magic Missile will always give the same number of magical bolts if cast with a first level spell slot.
The designers used some of the 4E elements here, where you can take a short rest or long rest; long rests get you all healed up and takes some of the burden of not having someone who can heal the party.
Trying to get an existing gaming group on-board using pre-generated characters can be a time consuming process, a new gaming group is far more likely to welcome the chance to play something already done since it takes all the work out of the character creation game.
The five provided are good examples of the archetypes which first appeared in D&D 3, when the iconic characters first appeared. Each character also has a reason for being there and an interesting background as well.
With characters selected, a brief explanation of what the players needed to know to get started, I kicked off by asking each of them to explain why they were working for the patron.
Is pretty good, with a nice mixture of sandbox play and set-pieces as well, I had to find a good description of some of the monsters as saying it’s a goblin wouldn’t mean much to the new players. It also meant I good embellish the descriptions a little 🙂
After five hours or so of play we packed up and I put all the characters into the box for another day.
If I didn’t have so much Pathfinder materiel I may be tempted to go down the 5th edition route and use some of the older material I have with the rules.
D&D Starter Set Fantasy Roleplaying Tabletop Game
The official page of D&D5 complete with links to the downloadable rulebooks.
Dungeons and Dragons 5E: A Dozen Resources to Get You Started:
A very useful collection of resources for the game.
A Character You Want To Play In The Future
I’d love to play some sort of half-dragon, half ogre, Sorcerer, Fighter. Nobody said it had to be a legal combination.
I would love to play a half-dragon though and I miss the old prestige class that was in the D&D 3.5 books, as that had awesome role-playing potential.