Tuesday, 27 September 2011

My Craving for an Unorthodox Roleplaying Experience

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Share it Please

Not much roleplaying during the summer months as you might have noticed. With all the vacation trips and country house visits we simply didn't have time for it. However as autumn draws ever closer the long dark Swedish nights just calls out for some roleplaying!

We have our ongoing WFRP3 campaign of course, but since my friend Anders have stepped up to take the GM position in that (at least for a couple of sessions) I've been looking at other games. I'm really dying to try something different and I think a few one-session or at least short scenarios might be in order. Naturally my first instinct is to go for Diaspora as we have still only managed the cluster creation part of our budding game. However, there are so many other alluring RPGs out there.

3:16 - Carnage Among the Stars - I think this is what we might try next as it is such an easy game to setup and run on the fly. However it is fairly limited in scope and I don't see it developing to a long running campaign for us. When talking a bit about it with a few in my group they seemed intrigued by the Strength/Weakness mechanic as well as the subject matter. Perhaps I will bring it instead of a board game for our next general gaming night.

Mouse Guard - I started reading The Burning Wheel last year and was fascinated by it but also felt that it was a bit too radical for our current gaming group. I did try to incorporate parts of the mechanics in our WFRP gaming (Beliefs and Instincts to be precise) but it never really took off. Now, Mouse Guard uses a streamlined version of the Burning Wheel system that I think would be more accessible to our group. At first I simply thought to use the system in a different setting, perhaps the Olde World again, but the more I read the more interested I became in the actual Mouse Guard setting. I even ordered the first two Mouse Guard volumes by David Petersen to get the full backstory. I think using the pre-generated characters and simply running the sample mission and see how everyone reacts is the way to go. Just like with FATE I think people might be a bit confused by the non-traditional aspects of the system but hopefully it will provide an enhanced experience in the end.

Rogue Trader - Here I backtrack a bit rules-wise but the scope of Rogue Trader is so different that I think it fits in this article anyway. Commanding a kilometres long starship with a crew numbering in the tenths of thousands is certainly a step away from the dishevelled adventurers that has been around since the dawn of roleplaying time. Being able afford anything, go anywhere and decide the fate of entire planets I think will provide a play experience that we simply have never even approached before. Rogue Trader, with its Endeavour mechanic, also seems much more open to less structured, more player-driven adventures than its sister games Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader and this is also one of the main draws for me. Using more of a sandbox approach to gaming where the players create just as much of the adventures as I would. One thing that makes this approach harder though is the fairly clunky rules system that I think might interfere with creating stuff on the fly.

The One Ring - Adventures Over the Edge of the Wild - Quite a mouthfull isn't it?! I just started reading this the other day and it is what made me sit down and write this article. It seems to me (from what I've read so far) that it combines elements from both newer and older games and it brilliantly evokes the setting of Middle-Earth! I thought Decipher's stab at a Lord of the Rings RPG was pretty good (although a right mess in many ways) but the feeling you get from The One Ring is definitely superior. Leading up to its launch I remember reading a lot of critical voices from people who didn't like the time period (five years after the Battle of Five Armies), didn't like what they had heard of the mechanics (too much indie RPG) or didn't like the fact that the creators were some unknown Italians! For me it was the complete opposite though, it seems logical to me to use that period as it's reasonably free of large "canon" events, I like "indie" mechanics and most important of all Marco Maggi and Francesco Nepitelli are the creators of the absolutely excellent War of the Ring board game. War of the Ring is not only a great game from a mechanics standpoint it's also impressive how much of the setting it evokes, indeed far more so than FFG's later release Middle-Eart Quest even though that is meant to be more of a thematic adventure experience. Anyway, the simple fact that it was the same authors put my mind to rest - these guys get Middle-Earth. This is another game I'd like to run a session or two just to see how our group would take to it.

Diaspora - I'll just put it here for a sense of completeness. I've talked a lot about Diaspora in the past and it always hovers in the background, waiting to get played. I've also thought about introducing FATE in other games and we've started experimenting with Aspects in our WFRP campaign. It's going well, but I'd like to play some pure FATE just so that people really can get a hang of it. The idea of intertwined character creation is also something I think I'll start using pretty much anywhere from now on. It's simply such a good way to create a dynamic group. Rogue Trader touches upon it slightly with it's Origin Paths, but it's really only a bleak shadow next to the original FATE version. For more about integrating FATE into other roleplaying games have a look at this excellent article by Tourq Stevens over at Stuffer Shack.

Project W - I would like to try something different with this and how it's introduced to the players so won't go into details, but again it's meant for a couple of sessions and I have a feeling that our group would love it as it's a bit of a callback to our gaming roots.

Naturally there are other RPG's that I want to play (Dragon Age being high on the list) but I think these are the more non-traditional games making most noise in my mind at the moment. If you have played any of these and have any hints or advice, or perhaps some other interesting game to recommend (been looking at Fiasco recently) let me know in the comments!

10 kommentarer :

  1. I have to throw in a shameless plug for the Minions of the Monster Master podcast, there's multiple episodes on 3:16, Mouse Guard, and Rogue Trader. Plus there's some cool original MG art as well as some great RPG's maybe you haven't heard of.

  2. My group had a run at Rogue Trader. I would recommend you have the actual rogue trader be an NPC, otherwise the PC's can always just send waves of mooks to solve a lot of traditional problems. It's becomes a bit of a challenge go come up with sensible reasons why the players would be at the forefront of any action. Also the space ship combat is abysmal.

    I'd toss into the ring Ars Magica. It's quite a different set up for gaming. It involves collaborative creation of the setting, and rotating amongst a roster of characters you may own (or are in a common pool).

  3. @Mik Shameless? I'd say totally justified! I was really happy when I first came across Minions as you guys seem to play exactly the games I'd like to play, and all the right mashups as well (Deathwatch with FATE!). I haven't listened to your Mouse Guard games though. Should do that. :)

    @DaveB Well, that's part of the challenge I think. I don't have a problem with them sending troops to do the dirty work in many cases. That's one of the perks with being that powerful. In the end it's all about scale. Just scale it all waaaaaay up! If you are still thinking about playing RT have a look over at the Warrant of Trade blog. Witchfinder General (one of Mik's friends I believe) has a lot of great ideas on how to run it and he's chronicling their ongoing campaign. Good stuff!

  4. @ MARTIN --

    My group is winding down our Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay game in preparation of Rogue Trader. You mention it has clunky rules, and I agree. That's why the GM is making a new system for it - Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay rules (and dice) mixed with FATE rules. He and another player say it fits extremely well, though I'll believe it when I see it. Looking forward to it, because hey, who wouldn't want to play someone like Worf?

    @ DAVEB - We're looking forward to it because it is different then most other concepts. How often does a PC get to command thousands of crewman? I understand the pitfall you mention, but we're looking at it as a challenge. Here's to hoping that it works out!

  5. Not too involved with RPG's myself, although I've played a good couple of them,but I'd pick "The One Ring". As you said, those guys get Middle Earth and know how to create a good game!

    Try it and don't forget to post a report here!!!!!


  6. @Andy The One Ring is on my shopping list and I will make sure it hits the table at least once (lots of LotR fans in these parts). :) And an after action report will be forthcoming. Hehe!

  7. Martin forgive me, I get lost in all the names on the internet. When you replied I then realized, "Oh yeah, it's /that/ Martin!"

    3:16 is an amazing game, but feels more like one-shot and pickup game status in the long run. Having said that it still deserves a spot on everyone's shelf.

    Mouse Guard is such a fantastic and unique setting, but the rules are very unique and non-traditional (even for my group) and takes a while to get the hang of and get everyone invested. If you like the comics though, the wonderfully designed RPG book is a great companion.

    Rogue Trader is your most 'mainstream' of the group, but it's still a great game and can be enjoyed by 40k gamer and 40k stranger alike. You're right, Witchfinder General is a very close friend of mine, I can get some of his campaign tools for you if you'd like. I've never run across a more thorough or creative GM than him.

    Not having played your other choices, I can't speak directly, other than like you, I find that they sound very interesting.

  8. @Mik No worries, there are a lot of us out there. :)
    I think you and I have pretty much the same thoughts on these games. Mechanically my group would probably have it easiest with Rogue Trader but I imagine that the players will, at first at least, struggle with the scope just as much as tthe GM. I'm pretty much sure that we will play RT in the future but I really want to do a lot of prep for it so it's probably some ways off yet. Would love to get some campaign material!

    The pickup ability of 3:16 is really appealing and I think it'll hit the table thanks to this.

    This morning I ordered the new Mouse Guard boxed set and it's what I'm currently most excited to play. Will be interesting to see how everyone takes to the very different system.

    I need The One Ring as well...

  9. Our dark, wet winter gaming plan is retro crunchiness itself: Aftermath!
    The body count is bound to be on the high side....

  10. @Tourq - I think you and I are on exactly the same page regarding Rogue Trader. The vastly different scope is the big challenge! I think a good start is to basically up-scale everything. :)
    Also that WFRP3/FATE/Rogue Trader sounds very interesting! You're basically replacing the Fudge dice with the WFRP ones?

    @Peabody - Ooh! Some neat Retro gaming? Nice! Please let us know more about it on the blog as you go along. :)

    @Mik - Currently listening to the Mouse Guard character creation and I just keep laughing. I pity your GM. Hehe!


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