Friday, August 8, 2008

There's no room in my schedule for D&D

Unlike most of the gaming bloggers I follow, I don’t actually play much D&D. It wasn’t the game I started with, and over the years I’ve been lucky enough to find players willing to try out a myriad of different (and better) fantasy RPGs. So while I’m eager to share my own list of games enjoyed (piling onto the ongoing meme that’s swept the RPG blogosphere over the last couple weeks), this list isn’t so much an aberration as it is a simple illustration of my gaming tastes. I’ve probably played 10 sessions of D&D, all told, in my life so far.

Star Wars d6 – My first RPG experience; hugely fun if only because of the insane scaling rolls required to model the differences between the Death Star and, say, an X-Wing. The Death Star rolls 30d6 to kill the X-Wing...nice... Alas, it's out of print.

Blue Planet – Easily one of the most detailed, immersive sci-fi settings ever published. I’ve had the privilege of knowing Jeff Barber (the game’s creator) over the years, and his pure, unadulterated enthusiasm for the game proved absolutely infectious. Jeff is a gamer’s gamer, and Blue Planet exudes quality from every page. In the last couple months, it was announced that RedBrick Limited (an Australian game publisher) had acquired the rights to re-publish the line and, possibly, put out entirely new products.

Savage Worlds – It is what it says on the cover: “Fast! Furious! Fun!” With all the attention that OD&D retro-clones have received lately, it’s important to remember that newer games can pull of the same stripped-down style as well. Savage Worlds is a generic ruleset that I’ve used for Star Wars, post-apocalyptic and superhero games.

Everway – Want a rules-lite game? Try Everway — it uses a funky Tarot-inspired deck of cards to resolve encounters. This, in turn, puts a lot of responsibility on the players and GM to avoid abusing the system, but it’s a great game for a relaxed, mature crowd. I’ve used variations of the Everway system for dark fantasy, Star Wars, superheroes, Little Fears and my friend’s DIY steampunk setting.

Dark Heresy – The much anticipated game set in the grim, dark Warhammer 40,000 universe has the highest production value of any game I’ve ever played. The main rulebook (400+ pages of full-color gothic goodness) is pricey, but a reprint was just released by Fantasy Flight Games, which as plans to continue publishing the game line.

Fading Suns – It’s sort of like Dark Heresy, but with more of a Dune-inspired slant. The future is still dark, the spaceships are still ancient and cumbersome, but the overall setting is a tad brighter and (more importantly) populated with alien races that aren’t automatically classified as enemies. Ironically, the game line is currently supported by RedBrick, the same group of Aussies keeping Blue Planet alive.

These are just a few standouts from the many RPGs I’ve known over the years.

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