Wednesday, 24 August 2016

RPGaDay 2016: Can We Talk About Something Else?

22. Supposedly random game events that keep occurring?
23. Share one of your best "worst luck" stories.

These don't really apply so much to the games we play at my table, so I'm just gonna move on rather than wrack my brain for something that happened in a game ten or more years ago.

24. What is the game you are most likely to give to others?

I assume we're talking about a game given as a gift. That depends who it's for.

If we're talking about the people in my immediate gaming circle, I would give them something that is The New Hotness. Something new and shiny.

Let's assume, for rhetorical purposes, that I'm buying a game for someone that's relatively new to the hobby, though. I think this is a bit more revealing about what I think about games and gaming, and what I would want someone new to the hobby to have in their hands.

  • FATE ACCELERATED EDITION is the incarnation of the FATE CORE rules that I've gotten the most amount of play out of. It's lean, clean, and ready for just about anyone to jump into it. Not to mention the small price point - for less than $30, you can buy books for a whole group! The basics of FATE are here, in a format that is more open to players imaginatively interpreting their actions and GMs playing a loose, improvised game. A great one for anyone.
  • ATOMIC ROBO THE ROLEPLAYING GAME is the latest and possibly greatest incarnation of FATE CORE, and it's on the crunchier side, but is presented in such a slick, well-explicated format (with comics!) that I think it would appeal to anyone wanting to get in on the FATE party. Probably not for novices, unless you've got a FATE journeyman to run the first game or two.
  • For someone who likes fantasy games, but wants something a little different from D&D, I would be happy to place a copy of BEYOND THE WALL AND OTHER ADVENTURES in their hands. It brings a lot of the indie movement's collaborative, low-prep mojo to the world of d20 fantasy in an easy-to-access format. 
  • SAVAGE WORLDS DELUXE EXPLORERS EDITION is pretty much perfect for anyone who enjoys the "game" elements of roleplaying games. It has lots of dice rolling (with exploding dice!), cards, tokens, and emphasizes minis in its design (although you don't really need them to play). For the beer and pretzels gamer, this is awesome stuff, and the core book is pretty much all you would ever need to play. 
  • For the RPG sophisticate that's played a lot of games and wants something that's more challenging in terms of content, or someone who isn't really interested in games with happy elves and dragons, I'd suggest something from the "Powered by the Apocalypse" family of games, particularly the original APOCALYPSE WORLD or MONSTERHEARTS. These are games that are for adults, demanding a more intense style of play. They're not for everyone, but for the right kind of person, they're the bee's knees.
  • For the casual player that wants a fun party game to play with their friends, but isn't totally drinking the RPG Kool-Aid yet, FIASCO could be a great gateway game. It's very simple, and play tends to be hilarious and easy to get into, even for complete novices. 

25. What makes for a good character?

Now this is a tasty question.

The interesting thing about characters is not how they are awesome and invulnerable, which is what most of us who spent our teenage years in the hobby were taught to value. The interesting thing about characters is what they care about, what they're willing to fight for, the things they're connected to. Characters are more fun to play when they're conflicted, and they have difficult decisions to make. If they have things they care about, then those decisions have repercussions for the things they value. It isn't really interesting, past a certain point, knowing whether or not a character can kill a monster, if that's just down to some mechanical bonuses and the whimsy of the dice. Their reasons for doing it, and what happens next, are what makes stories compelling. It's all about the delicious fallout.

At the table, there are probably several other characters who are part of the main cast of the game. The character's relationships (and conflicts) with the others form a lot of the interest in the unfolding drama of the game. They need to have others with differing viewpoints to struggle against, and they need people they are genuinely connected to that are there for them when the going gets tough. A character that has no connections to other player characters or the world is very boring, because there is nothing at stake for them - they can walk away at any time, with no consequences.

Conflicts, connections, and values are all crucial for the internal life of the character.

Making meaty decisions and facing the fallout of those choices is the most important part of playing a character in a dramatic game.

No comments:

Post a Comment