Monday, August 22, 2016

#RPGaDay 2016: Supposedly Random Event That Keeps Occurring

A robot in our Icons game had a limitation that it could short out after any usage on a 1 in 3 chance. 

I don't believe there was a single instance where it did not short out. Now 1 in 3 is something that we should have seen with some frequency certainly, but not every single time...

Sunday, August 21, 2016

#RPGaDay 2016 Day 21: Funniest Misinterpretation of a Rule in My Group

I've got nothing.

I guess that means we're all perfect in my current group.

Honorable mention would have to be our epic attempts at understanding just what the hell speed factor was. We had incidents of daggers striking a gazillion times when facing two-handed swords due to one attempted ruling. It wasn't until the 2000's when I finally understood what it was used for in AD&D 1st edition. That said I think AD&D 2nd edition had a great rule for that, where speed factor was added to initiative (where low rolls were preferable).

Saturday, August 20, 2016

#RPGaDay 2016 Day 20: Much Challenging But Rewarding System I've Learned

He tasks me. He tasks me, and I shall have him. I'll chase him round the Moons of Nibia and round the Antares Maelstrom and round Perdition's flames before I give him up! 

One thing I've learned about my own gaming style is for me, simpler seems to be better. I talked about that yesterday in a non-#RPGaDay post. While that's been a trend, that's not to say it'll always be the case. Some day I'll master Champions.

That said my current white whale is the Fate system of RPGs. Truthfully the rules aren't that complicated - Fate Accelerated is a glorified pamphlet. But the application of those rules represent a bit of a shift in thinking that I'm still working on. It reminds me a little bit of when I had to learn the Lisp programming language back in college. It was so different from the other languages I knew that in many ways I had to start anew - it was almost as if my previous knowledge was a hindrance. I feel that way about Fate - I've a hunch it'd be easier to master had I less gaming experience.

Even though I'm not there yet with Fate I'm likely to give it a few more tries. When I have run it or played it and it clicked, I could definitely see how useful it is for a certain style a play. It's currently used for two licensed properties that I greatly enjoy - Dresden Files and Atomic Robo. I don't care as much for the Dresden Files adaptation - it's a beautifully done game but I find it too crunchy for my tastes. Atomic Robo is gloriously adapted though. I had a moderately successfully Atomic Robo game and I'd love to take it for another spin.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Keeping it Simple: D6 and BRP

 I don't blog a whole lot about systems but when going over some older games and adventures I've picked up lately I came to the realization I seem to have a lot more luck in games that have a certain level of simplicity to their rules - especially the D6 System and BRP-based games. I always get a kick out of the fact that the Chaosium team that wrote West End Games' Ghostbusters RPG is made up of people who had major roles in developing RuneQuest, Call of Cthulhu, and Pendragon, all three of which are BRP-based games.

While the two systems are fairly different from each other, they both have in common a very straightforward and unobtrusive system. I've explained games like Ghostbusters, Star Wars, and Call of Cthulhu in minutes to new players.

I'm the last person in the world to preach the virtues of "one true system" - or even "two true systems" for that matter - I've got some Gumshoe and Fate in my future I'm pretty certain, as well as another Dungeon Crawl Classics Game. But in my middle age I'm starting to get a better feel as to what games are a better fit for my own style. I've also come to have a respect for how well those systems work - at least for me. Maybe next superhero game should whip out the old Superworld rules. That's what gave Wild Cards its start after all...

#RPGaDay 2016 Day 19: Best Way to Learn a New Game

Obviously playing is the best way, preferably with someone who has some familiarity.

That said, I'd have to say that there's definitely an advantage to actually reading the rules, even if in a condensed or simplified form.

When an entire group is learning a new game I also find it helpful to slowly role out rules where possible.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

#RPGaDay Day 18: Best Innovation RPG Groups Could Benefit From

While there's a number of technical innovations possible, one innovation in the legal space I'd like to see is a revision of copyright law.

Currently US copyright law appears to be based around the proposition that "Steamboat Willie" can never enter the public domain. Though it'll never happen, I'd love to see a major reduction in copyright law. Once upon a time the term of a copyright maxed out at 28 years. If that were the case today, any RPG written prior to 1988 would be in the public domain. This wouldn't stop Wizards of the Coast from having a copyright to new incarnations of D&D but it would allow ancient versions to enter the public domain.

While that's a dream that'll never come true, hopefully copyright term will not be extended again as 2019 approaches (when the copyright extension act begins allowing works to enter the public domain). Moreover, the works of HP Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard have a fuzzy copyright status. Allowing some of these works, in copyright for nearly a century, to finally enter the public domain unambiguously would allow for some fascinating applications.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Introducing the Brooklyn Ghostbusters

After some initial training at the Ghostbusters HQ in Manhattan, our bold Ghostbusters have been asked to relocate and open up their franchise. It certainly has nothing to do with them nearly burning down the apartment building at 66666 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn (writeup for that forthcoming).

Our game has been established as taking place in 1985 - it's now August of 1985 in our game. The team is officially opening their franchise in Brooklyn. There's two prime pieces of real estate up for consideration. There's the Miami Vice route of living off a boat at a pier - perhaps in Sheepshead Bay (my grandfather and I used to walk to Sheepshead Bay from his house on Avenue W). And then there's the possibility of opening the franchise at the Kings Plaza Mall. Though as another member of the group has pointed out (also born in Brooklyn, left at an early age, but still had family there), parking is a royal pain in the ass at Kings Plaza.

Sheepshead Bay

Kings Plaza

Where are the "real" Ghostbusters and why are they ok with a franchise so close? I just don't see Venkman wanting to do a day-to-day job. And Egon would like to do soulless science stuff. So they will be perfectly content to collect franchise fees and let this franchise do all the hard work. Plus, should we start pushing the timeline a bit, the original Ghostbusters have a restraining order in their future, per Ghostbusters II.