Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ten Favourite RPG Products

If I had time to game, I would be using one of these, my all time favorite RPG products. Some are games, some are supplements:

10. Star Trek: The Next Generation Role Playing Game

Known as LUGTrek by those who played it (LUG short for Last Unicorn Games), this was a simple set of rules with a character creation system that I loved. A series of templates were used and were over laid upon the basic character to create the hero wanted for the game.

The system wasn't perfect. Somethings were glitchy; for instance starship battles were long and drawn out and just about anything was solvable with a creative use of skills and technobabble. However, I ran a year long campaign with this that everyone had a blast with.

I don't think I would ever run it again, although I have considered it, but when I did play this game, I had a blast.

9. GURPS Fantasy Folk (3rd edition rules)

This is a great book stuffed full of lots of cool factoids and adventure seeds. I owned many GURPS supplements, but this is the only one that I used as much as the main GURPS rulebook. My D&D races were and are heavily influenced by this book. I can't recommend it enough just as a source of good ideas.

8. Tunnels & Trolls (5th edition)

Tunnels & Trolls 5th edition is a game I love, but every time I try to get people to play it, there is always that "one guy" that sneers and bitches so much that it isn't worth the effort. Consequently, every time I am lucky enough to join in as a player in T&T, it never lasts.

Simply, I love this game. I choose 5th edition, for it is the edition I own. It is easy to learn, plays fast and the only solid rule is use common sense. It is the ultimate old-school game, in my not-so-humble-opinion.

7. GURPS (3rd edition)

I've played lots of roleplaying games in my day, and a lot of those games were played with the third edition of Steve Jackson's GURPS. I went through a phase in the late 80's and early 90's where I wouldn't play anything unless I could run it with GURPS. I was, in fact, a GURPS Snob.

I had lots of the world books and supplements, but used very few of them. Honestly, I found GURPS to be most useful when I was converting other games and supplements for use with it.

I fell out of love with GURPS, and can't honestly see myself using it again, but man I got a lot of mileage out of this baby. My copy is so beaten, it barely stays together.

6. Birthright
While I was never a fan of the 2nd edition AD&D rules, I spent a greater part of the 90's running my fantasy campaigns in TSR's Birthright setting. I initially picked it up in a bargain bin at a book store, and was so impressed with it, I couldn't wait to run it. For the next six years, all of my D&D campaigns were in the realm of Birthright. When WotC came out with 3rd edition, I converted my BR campaign to 3rd (only to later discover that there was a thriving on-line BR Community that had done the work for me). I even once ran BR with GURPS 3rd edition (again, GURPS Snob).

I still have a fond spot in my heart for BR and have been tinkering with a FUDGE version of the game off and on for years. Someday...


Speaking of Fudge, I've never actually played this system, but have been tempted to so many times. I've lost track of how many different Fudge campaigns I have planned and never played.

It is such a simple system. It is easy to learn and has my favorite price: FREE!

Someday I will play this game. I must. I promise myself.

4. Death on the Reik

Of all the pre-packaged adventures I have ever run, this is my all time favorite. Death on the Reik (DotR) was originally written for the first edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay.

It is the ultimate sandbox adventure. Early into it, the characters come into possession of a trading ship and become traders. Along the way, they can go anywhere, but they are hounded by cultists, Skaven, vampires, and come across some pretty cool places to explore.

It is part of the mega-campaign called "The Enemy Within", but is my favorite part of the whole campaign. I've played many miles with this book and have many memorable campaign moments.

3. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide (1st ed.)

I love this book. While first edition may not be my "go-to" edition of the game that is dear to my heart, this guide is my "go-to" reference. I have referenced Gygax's big-book-of-everything even when I'm not playing D&D. For instance, are you playing a science fiction game and your players are stranded on an alien planet with only horse-like creatures for transportation and you need to know how long it will take them traveling overland to reach civilization? Look here. What if there is a monsoon? Look here. Need trappings for an abandoned temple they found? Look here.

This is such a use full book and even if a game master doesn't find it as use full as I do, it is hard to deny the influence this one tome has had on every edition of Dungeons & Dragons, and just about every other fantasy RPG that came after it.

I chose this cover, for this is the one I have in my collection. I also go against the grain of the norm, and find this cover to be my favorite.

2. Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (1st edition)

The past ten years of my gaming life have been dedicated to both 1st edition WFRP and 2nd edition. I own the controversial 3rd edition, but have never played it.

This game is genius. What would you get if you took D&D, crossed it with Call of Chtulhu and really hyped up the violence level to the point that combat is deadly and should be avoided? What if that game had a really cool character advancement system where the characters advanced through different careers versus "leveling up"? What if that game had a solid Sword and Sorcery vibe versus a Tolkienish Fantasy realm? What game would it be? Answer: This guy.

I currently play 2nd edition, but the first edition is still one of my favorites; namely, it is my favorite because everything needed is in one book: character creation, game master material on running the game and a monster manual. I love gaming products where everything needed to play is in one volume.

WFRP is a game I will always return to.

1. Dungeons & Dragons
And when I say "Dee and Dee" I'm sayin' any version that came before 1989. This bad boy pictured to the left is the first version of D&D I owned, and was the first RPG I owned (but not the first I ever played - that distinction goes to The Fantasy Trip).

When I was playing in the early 80's, me and my buddies made no distinction between "Basic" D&D and "Advanced" D&D. We also didn't care what version of D&D "Basic" we played with either. Meaning, we gleefully used the Moldvay "five basic sets: Basic, Expert, Companion, Masters, Immortals" and combined them with AD&D.

Our games were a mash of all the available rules. We used Classes and Races, but ignored level limits, and race/class restrictions. We used the Immortal rules to advance our characters to godhood. We got our hands on The Expedition to the Barrier Peaks and had laser weapons alongside vorpal swords. It didn't matter to us, it was all D&D.

When I play the Grand Daddy now, I tend to use Chris Gonnerman's Basic Fantasy Role Playing Game (BFRPG), but in my heart, I'm still playing this game and I'm still 12 and in wonder.

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