Showing posts from February, 2021

New Year, New Character Day 22: Pendragon

  New Year, New Character   Day 22    Pendragon  Pendragon is a game where players take on the roles of knights in Arthurian Britain. That's it. There's no rogues or wizards or priests. Oh, sure, those folks are around , but they're not the PC's. The game is laser-focused on recreating the stories of knights like Lancelot, Gawain, and Perceval. And it does this spectacularly. Mechanically, it has a number of things going on which can be slightly overwhelming at first, but almost everything is resolved with a d20 roll. It uses a "Price is Right" style system, where you want to role as high as you can without going over the Trait you are rolling against. So, if Character A has a 14 and Character B has a 12, A would win if they both rolled a 13, while B would win if they both rolled a 12 (as that is exactly the number he needs to roll). A 1, while a success, is always the weakest possible one.  While it has Attributes and Skills of various sorts, Pendragon  also

New Year, New Character Day 31: Rifts

 New Year, New Character  Day 31   Rifts   Rifts is everything. If you took every single game I've made a character for so far in this series , added a couple dozen more, and threw them all into one bit pot, you'd have Rifts .  And I don't mean that in a "generic game" kind of way. Sure, you can use GURPS , or D20, or Heroes System, or RISUS, or FATE, or whatever to play "any game you want." I mean in Rifts you can take any concept you might have, find a Character Class that fits it, and they all exist in the same world. You want cyberpunk? There's Street Rats and Operators running dirty job in massive arcologies and hacking mainframes. You want fantasy? There's wizards and dragons and elves and goblins. You want horror? There's zombies and vampires and Lovecraftian monsters. You want mecha? The 50' tall mechs, power armor, and everything in between. This is a game were one player is a card-sharp cowboy and the other is the child of gods

New Year, New Character Day 30: Dresden Files

  New Year, New Character   Day 30   Dresden Files  Dresden Files is a game of pulp supernatural mystery mixed with "urban fantasy." Based on the best selling series of books by Jim Butcher, Dresden Files  uses the generic FATE system. In it, players take on the roles of wizards, vampires, lycanthropes and mortals in the modern day, dealing with murder, mystery, and intrigue among not only the supernatural, but the mundane world itself.  Dresden is another of those "games I've never gotten to play." I came across its base system around the same time I stumbled on Legend , when I was looking for something different than the games I had been playing. The base concepts of FATE were quite interesting, with its focus on group storytelling, simplified die rolls (using the, to me, odd FUDGE Dice ), and focused Character Creation.  Like almost all the games I came across, I could never get a group together to actually play it. Though, oddly enough, a number of my frien

New Year, New Character Day 29: Dungeons & Dragons

  New Year, New Character   Day 29   Dungeons & Dragons   (Rules Cyclopedia) Dungeons & Dragons  has been the great, hidden presence throughout this series. Palladium started off as a series of House Rules for a game of D&D, and that system begat Heroes Unlimited and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles . Advanced Dungeons & Dragons is, directly, a successor game. Pathfinder and Starfinder are both based on the third edition of D&D. And the Sine Nomine games of Silent Legions , Stars Without Number , and Wolves of God are all based on off D&D. I often described things like "the classic six attributes"--and by "classic" I just meant "the things that Dungeons & Dragons" used.  This isn't really all that surprising. D&D was the first, and remains the most popular, role-playing game. I suppose one could cite Blackmoor , but let's be honest-- Mike Pondsmoth wasn't thinking about Blackmoor when he wrote Cyberpunk . As I a

New Year, New Character Day 28: Pathfinder (2nd Ed)

  New Year, New Character   Day 28   Pathfinder (2nd Edition)  Pathfinder (2nd Ed) is the latest version of not only the best selling Pathfinder  RPG, but the now venerable D20 system. Pathfinder  has an interesting history, being an almost rebellious response to the then upcoming 4th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons. It was extremely successful, particularly for a roleplaying not put out by Wizards of the Coast. But what really attracted me to the game were the top notch modules and adventures. Especially their Adventure Paths. The desire for "pre-written campaigns" has been around for a while, but few companies have ever done them justice. Sure, there were plenty of antecedents for what Paizo did with Pathfinder -- Call of Cthulhu had such epics as Masks of Nyarlathotep  and Beyond the Mountains of Madness . Even Dungeons & Dragons  had boxed sets like Night Below , but few companies put out the sheer volume that Paizo did for Pathfinder , or provide anything resembli

New Year, New Character Day 27: Star Wars (D20)

 New Year, New Character  Day 27    Star Wars (D20) During the D20 boom in the early 2000's, Wizards of the Coast landed the rights to the Star Wars RPG. I wasn't terribly aware of what had happened with West End Games, or why Wizards got this license. All that mattered was that, since my group at the time was enamored with the then new D20-system, I could actually play some Star Wars , rather than having to cajole folks into letting me run a game.  I'm not sure how well D20 actually served Star Wars . On the surface, it seems like a natural fit. Star Wars was always more "fantasy in space" than "science-fiction" and D20 was built for Dungeons & Dragons  and fantasy adventures. But it could also get bogged down in minutiae--do we really care about five-foot steps in a running blaster fight to escape the villains lair? That's not to say it wasn't a good game. In fact, it was fun as hell. Some of the tweaks they made to the rules really helped