Tuesday, March 4, 2014

March Madness OSR Challenge

So, there's another blog hop challenge going on and my feed is full of posts about these questions every day again. I like some of these challenges because they do give me a chance to reflect and think about my gaming history and tastes. Unfortunately, I don't have the time to get a post written every day, and I don't want to clog everyone's feeds with another post just like a dozen or more others every day. So I'm going to answer this one in a single post just like I did the last one. Here goes!

1 What was the first roleplaying game other than D&D you played? Was it before or after you had played D&D?

I played Gamma World first edition when it came out. This was after I started playing D&D. Normally we played it as an extension of D&D rather than it's own game, though.

2 What was the first character you played in an RPG other than D&D? How was playing it different from playing a D&D character?

I'm not really sure. Probably a mutant in Gamma World. Again, since we played GW more as an extension of D&D, there wasn't much difference at all.

3 Which game had the least or most enjoyable character generation?

I always liked working through the career paths in Traveller. I remember always having fun with the survival rolls.

4 What other roleplaying author besides Gygax impressed you with their writing?

I always enjoyed Ed Greenwood's early Realms material from Dragon magazine. Well before the Forgotten Realms was expanded by TSR, you could tell there was a rich background to his world and work that really shone is his writing. He was the first game writer that impressed me with developing a story behind the game material.

5 What other old school game should have become as big as D&D but didn’t? Why do you think so?

I'm going back to Traveller for this one. It is a great system and has lasted for decades as a staple in gaming. I don't think it was as popular because a lot of people were turned off that the implied setting in the base rules was not very developed.

6 What non-D&D monster do you think is as iconic as D&D ones like hook horrors or flumphs, and why do you think so?

I'm going to cheat and say the ringwraiths from MERP. I know they have D&D equivalents in the wraith and spectre, but they were so much cooler in the stories and in the ICE games. I don't think I really need to justify their popularity at this point.

7 What fantasy RPG other than D&D have you enjoyed most? Why?

Rolemaster was a big hit with one of my old gaming groups. I'm not a fan of skill-based RPGs, but we had a lot of fun with RM back in the day. Personally, I'm a big fan of the Arcanum/Talislanta system. It's close enough to D&D to be recognizably easy with enough difference to be a different system.

8 What spy RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.

Top Secret was always a hit for my group. Normally we ended up playing a lot more para-military action than spy scenarios, but it was a lot of fun. Some of the mini-systems in the game were fun to play with on their own, especially the gambling rules.

9 What superhero RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?

Marvel Super Heroes wins hands down just because I could actually play Captain America without having to figure out the stats on my own.

10 What science fiction RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.

I played in a great Cyberpunk 2020 game for a few months in the early 90s. Our entire group got sold out by one of the players and killed by Arasaka for getting too close to some of their secrets. Best game and worst ending to a campaign I've ever played.

11 What post-apocalyptic RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?

I've always loved Gamma World for post-apocalyptic gaming because it was so close to D&D in mechanics and play. I also loved a lot of the history in the early modules.

12 What humorous RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.

My group had a lot of fun with Paranoia for a while. Just the right game master and players, and this is unbeatable fun.

13 What horror RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?

The only horror RPG I played much of was Call of Cthulhu. I suppose Vampire and the other World of Darkness games could count, but they were never really horrific when we played them.

14 What historical or cultural RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.

For this one, I'm giving the nod to Boot Hill. We had a couple fun games with this. One of them we played out a range war and the other we played out a series of grand robberies and the aftermath.

15 What pseudo or alternate history RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?

Unless you count FASA's Doctor Who or World of Darkness, I haven't played any alternate history RPGs that I can remember. Gangbusters was a hit for a few months, but I count that as historical, not alternate or pseudo-historical.

16 Which RPG besides D&D has the best magic system? Give details.

I always liked the magic system in Warhammer. Building power as you advance, with the higher threat of miscasting and the subsequent consequences as you go up, always grabbed my imagination. In Warhammer, magic is dark, untamed, and hazardous.

17 Which RPG has the best high tech rules? Why?

I like the tech rules for Cyberpunk 2020. They tied the tech into the game and created flavor along with mechanics.

18 What is the crunchiest RPG you have played? Was it enjoyable?

Champions would have to be the crunchiest I can remember. It was enjoyable for a while, but the group gave it up fairly quickly to go back to simpler systems.

19 What is the fluffiest RPG you have played? Was it enjoyable?

Probably Teenagers from Outer Space. We had great fun with it for a while, again largely due to having a great game master that could improvise and keep things running fast and furious.

20 Which setting have you enjoyed most? Why?

I love the setting and background for Metamorphosis Alpha, especially the Amazing Engine version. The idea of a huge colony ship drifting through space populated with all manner of things is incredibly evocative.

21 What is the narrowest genre RPG you have ever played? How was it?

Probably Gangbusters. It was fun to play but difficult. At the time, none of us really had an understanding of the period beyond what was in the game, so we couldn't do much with it.

22 What is the most gonzo kitchen sink RPG you ever played? How was it?

AD&D with Dragonlance, Oriental Adventures, Gamma World, Boot Hill, Traveller, lots of Dragon and White Dwarf articles, some Role Aids supplements, and a few house rules rolled together into a hot mess. It was a great game!

23 What is the most broken game that you tried and were unable to play?

One of the players that joined our group in the early 90s tried inflicting World of Synnibarr on us once.

24 What is the most broken game that you tried and loved to play, warts and all?

Heroes Unlimited, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and a few other Palladium supers games bolted together.

25 Which game has the sleekest, most modern engine?

Most of the games I love were written twenty or more years ago. I haven't seen a lot of modern mechanics that really grab me.

26 What RPG based on an IP did you enjoy most? Give details.

I started my love of fantasy with The Hobbit, so Middle Earth Role-Playing grabbed me right away. The system was clunky sometimes, but it was Middle Earth, so we worked through it.

27 What IP (=Intellectual Property, be it book, movie or comic) that doesn’t have an RPG deserves it? Why?

I can't really think of one. The world of Harry Potter might be fun to play with. If you limit it to Hogwarts-age characters, though, you really limit the story possibilities and if you open it to older characters, it's too broad and deviates too far from the source material.

28 What free RPG or what non-English RPG did you enjoy most? Give details.

Since I was able to get copies of Werewolf free for Halloween from RPGNow, I'll throw it in here. I always had fun with the World of Darkness, especially the conflicts between vampires and werewolves.

29 What OSR product have you enjoyed most? Explain why.

Everything produced by New Big Dragon is great. Buy all of it!

30 Which non-D&D supplemental product should everyone know about? Give details.

Campaign Law from Rolemaster Second Edition has a great outline for creating a campaign world with a lot of depth.

31 What out-of-print RPG would you most like to see back in publication? Why?

Talislanta always hit the right buttons for me. Again, it's close to D&D but has enough difference to make it stand out as its own system. It's available for free in PDf, though. West End Games Star Wars would be another one because it had one of the simplest systems and really captured the flavor of the SW universe.


  1. Very cool. I do enjoy reading everyone's responses to these.

  2. I agree - all the responses thus far have surprised me in one way or another. These were no exception.