RogerBW's Blog

RPG a Day: part 2 21 August 2014

Continuing with David F. Chapman's RPG a Day. Part 1 is here.

12th - Old RPG you still play / read

Well, as mentioned before, I'm running Torg-under-GURPS and preparing a variant Cyberpunk-under-GURPS. I like to glance through random books in case they spark ideas. I still have a soft spot for Dark Conspiracy, which does a decent job of providing a generic horror game framework while taunting the PCs with the possibility of success.

13th - Most Memorable Character Death

Oh, that's an easy one. I'd been playing in a series of games involving a covert alien invasion of Earth in the near future. These had started at Games Fairs in Reading, and gradually migrated to the players' homes, but we still only got in two or three sessions in a year; we'd probably been playing for about five years in all. In this particular session, we'd located a sunken ballistic missile submarine and turned it over to the rest of the Resistance; we then went on an infiltration mission, and got captured by the aliens. We got loose (though violent and disturbing means), and were on the run in their hidden main base. As I remember (and this is a few years ago, so I may have the details wrong) we had the options of looking for a way out straight away or pausing to try to get a message out through the alien comms gear. We did the latter, and locked ourselves in when the aliens arrived. So as they gradually burned away at the armoured door of their own radio room, we called the Resistance: "Full strike on this position".

And then we waited. And the rest was white.

(And, since I'd had a sound effects CD going with various battle noises, I switched to the Last Post.)

14th - Best Convention Purchase

Probably original Shadowrun, bought at a GenCon in Milwaukee and carried home a couple of months ahead of the official imports. I got a fair bit of use out of that.

15th - Favourite Convention Game

See #13 above. But also, one Gen Con, Mike Pondsmith of R. Talsorian was running an experimental chop-socky martial arts game, in which (to represent bad dubbing) you had to lip-synch your character's lines while the player to your left guessed, and spoke aloud, what it was you actually meant to say.

16th - Game you wish you owned

Bizarrely enough, I don't think there is one; I have pretty much every game I actually want, apart from things that don't exist yet. There were games I wished I owned at the time they came out, like Shatterzone or the Renegade Legion RPG, but now not so much.

17th - Funniest Game you’ve played

Paranoia, definitely. I don't generally do funny RPGs (everyone knows I have no sense of humour), but perhaps by being funny in a profoundly grim and depressing setting Paranoia often manages to work for me.

18th - Favourite Game System

GURPS 4th edition. It's not perfect, but it does most of the things I want; it's got detail when I want detail, and it's modular enough to get out of the way when I don't want lots of complexity. Roll your target number or less on 3d6. Plain and simple.

19th - Favourite Published Adventure

I've barely used the things. Of ones I've actually played, probably the A or the G-D-Q series, which I bashed through with some school mates in the relatively early days. I'm not as much of a fan of Yellow Clearance Black Box Blues as some, because I have tried to run it, and I thought all the best jokes were kept back for the GM; it's much more fun to read than to play through.

Yeah, one of these days I'll have another go at The Great Pendragon Adventure.

20th - Will still play in 20 years time…

Goodness knows, but if the medium is still recognisable then GURPS is the leading contender. But twenty years ago I was playing Rolemaster and Space Master; anything's possible.

21st - Favourite Licensed RPG

I've ranted elsewhere about how RPGs as a medium need to develop their own story forms rather than relying on importing forms from other media. I often don't even use other people's RPG settings, never mind settings that weren't designed for RPGs in the first place.

The Vorkosigan Saga's all right, but either I use Bujold's characters as NPCs (in which case I won't be as good at it as she is) or I discard them and make up others (in which case I've thrown out a good chunk of what makes the world interesting). I think Bill Stoddard's version (removing the significant NPCs from the stage by setting the game a few years later) makes good sense.

Probably the Laundry RPG from Cubicle Seven, though it ends up not looking a great deal like the books. Which isn't a bad thing.

See also:
RPG a Day: part 1
RPG a Day: part 3


  1. Posted by Owen Smith at 02:06pm on 21 August 2014

    My answers to most of these questions are a lot my boring than Roger's. Clearly I've had less exciting or varied role playing. I have spent quite a lot of years (a couple of decades) playing home brews, so a lot of the questions don't really apply.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 02:11pm on 21 August 2014

    When I first looked at the list I was concerned that most of my answers would be "GURPS".

  3. Posted by Owen Smith at 09:11pm on 21 August 2014

    One that stands out in particular is I've never had a memorable character death, just a bunch of lousy pointless dumb luck character deaths. That may be one of the reasons I'm not a fan of characters dying.

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