Saturday, September 26, 2009

Basic Roleplaying

My latest RPG obsession is Chaosium's Basic Roleplaying game system. I believe I played in two games years ago using the system. Both were Call of Cthulhu one shots and both are two of the most memorable games I have ever played in.

Since Chaosium released the core book I've been wanting to read it. It never came to be for various reasons like other gaming obsessions (Top Secret/S.I., Savage Worlds, or True20), etc. My latest thing with Top Secret/S.I. taught me that I am naturally drawn to game mechanics based on % roles. I came to the end of what was available for that system and was forced to look elsewhere. That put BRP back on my radar.

What secured the sale for me was finding in my research that ElfQuest was licensed using the BRP system. ElfQuest is one of these old comics that I always wanted to read back when it was out but never did. Now I'm finding how great it was through the old back issues in the cheap bins- but that's for another time.

I seem to be forever looking for a game system to use with Leesha (my step-daughter) that would hold my interest, is relatively well supported on the internet, easy to learn and teach.
She as said on more than one occasion that she liked the Top Secret/S.I. system from the one time we played it. She has some experience with D&D and True20, but prefers the d%, as do I. Perhaps the ElfQuest setting will be perfect all around for both of us.

Monday, September 7, 2009

True20 vs Savage Worlds

My interest in Top Secret/S.I. has faded for now. It burned hot for a long time and I've moved on to True20.

One of the many things that grounds me to True20 is a website project that I created. This latest obsession with True20 allows me to vent some of that obsession into this site, the Unofficial True20 Wiki, created almost exactly one year ago. It has seen an OK stream of traffic and I've seen it referenced as a somewhat reliable source of info on the Green Ronin, True20 forums. So True20 is reining strong right now for me (over Savage Worlds).

Here is an interesting article that's pretty relevant...
I recently played in a True 20 game run by a friend and I ran a Savage Worlds game using the Hellfrost setting at my friendly local game store, Dice House Games. I had an interesting observation from this experience, that mechanically there didn't seem to be that much difference is some aspects of the combat of these two systems. I also didn't feel that combat was that much faster than D&D 3.5, though I do appreciate the much simpler rules of both these systems.

I wanted to see how True 20 ran because I was worried that combat would take a character out of the game easily. The game that my friend ran was a pure combat adventure, so it was a good chance to see how the combat system worked. I am used to something like D&D where you roll to hit and normally roll damage if the hit is sucessful. While I thought that the True 20 system would simplify things, I noticed that all of the rolling to hit and the rolls to avoid damage seemed to make for more calculations that really didn't simplify combat all that much. I did learn that a 'dungeon crawl' is possible in True 20 and that it is just as difficult to take out a character as it would be in a standard D&D game.

I thought that Savage Worlds was going to be much faster and easier to run. I even invested in the set of tokens from Litko Aerosystems because I thought that I would like the system so much better. I have played in some Pulp games run by the aforementioned friend that ran the True 20 game and thought that the combat would be much simpler. I run the first Hellfrost module, available from Triple Ace Games, which turned out having a dungeon crawl at the end. This means that I was running the same sort of game in Savage Worlds as I played in in True 20. The Savage Worlds game may have had even more rolling, as the players make soak rolls, rolls to recover from shaken conditions, and spend bennies for effects.

I just had expectations of combat being speeded up by either or both of these systems, and in practice I didn't find that happening. Am I doing something wrong, or does your experience match mine?

He didn't say which system he preferred. For now I'll ride this True20 obsession.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Which System?

I have a strange issue. I am always rotating between three RPG systems. Can't decide which to use.
My all time favorite game and game system is the long out of print Top Secret/S.I. from TSR. I think it is one of the smoothest percentile based systems I've seen and I think it deserves a retro-clone treatment, like OSRIC or Four Colors (4C) (stripping the system out of the setting and using it as a generic gaming system for most types of games). The biggest mark against TS/S.I. is that the fan base is almost non-existent. There are many out there who love the game, but the number of people who still play and support it is shrinking. That holds a lot of weight for me.

The next game system I can't choose between is Savage Worlds. I have never actually played it, though I've read the rules many times and I really like the concepts- using die types for ability levels (d4 is low as d12 is very good). I even have a few of the campaign setting books. All of the Savage World products are incredibly well made. A good thing for Savage Worlds is that it has a fierce fan base. There are tons of resources to draw from for the system. One thing going against it is how married the system is to tactics and battle maps. My comfort is to rely on this aspect as little as possible. I've always been more about story than about the mechanics of combat. A good alternative for Savage Worlds may be the Cortex system that runs Serenity and Battlestar Galactica RPGs. Cortex is also die types for ability level, but appears to be more geared towards story than tactics.

The last system is True20. This one was a pretty good attempt to take 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons (d20) and strip away a lot of the battle mat tactics out and have a near compatible d20 system. True20 is far easier than D&D and probably moves along much faster, as well. The fan base for True20 is out there, though I don't think it is as big as Savage Worlds. I even tried my had at contributing by starting the unofficial True20 Wiki page.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Savage Worlds

Wednesday was a light pull-list day, meaning that of the comics I regularly get, only one title was on the shelf this week. I wasn't really interested in any back issues so I took a peek at the gaming area of the store. I was looking to see if there were any new releases for the Battlestar Galactica RPG. I have the core book and I was enjoying the RPG system, considering it for a home-brewed game with Leesha. What I found instead was Savage Worlds Explorer's Edition.

My favorite role playing game has always been Top Secret/S.I. Over the Christmas break I ran a game for my parents and Leesha and Cara using the Top Secret/S.I. system for a pulp/action setting. They really enjoyed it and I had a blast, but the system didn't feel right anymore. Since then I've been hunting for a game system that would fit my gaming better and be easy to use for non-gamers and young people who have no experience with the hobby. Over and over Savage Worlds was suggested. I was trying to move ahead with games I already had (like Top Secret/S.I. or Serenity/Battlestar or even d20). And Savage Worlds was out of print which made it pretty much an eBay purchase if I could get motivated enough to make that happen.

So when I found it on the shelf I instantly picked it up. And, its only about 1/3 the cost of most other RPG game books. Well, I haven't put it down since. I think this is the game system for me.

The newest edition (4th) of Dungeons & Dragons came out this weekend. Not that excited.


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