Sunday, May 31, 2009

That's just how i roll....

Pencil and paper games are probably the biggest stereotype when it comes to nerds. Granted it's one of our major basic food groups (we need the fiber, even if paper is hard to digest), a lot can be understood from a person's choice of game. And since I'm no analyst, I'm just going to overview some of the most popular games I like for the sake of amusement.

Keep in mind two major things before I begin. The first is; my bias opinions are so amazingly bias, you'll be amazed. I have favorites like everyone else, so please forgive me when I forget to touch on the most important topic of a specific game. I'm only human. Unless you hand me a character sheet of anything besides Hunter, then I am human...ish. The second thing is that I'm not going to be getting to all of the games. Dear gods, White Wolf has more options that sticks under the sun, and they aren't the only game producers out there. Again, I'm sorry if I don't hit on your personal favorite, but I'd love to hear about new games to force my roommates to play in. (Insert Evil Laugh Here)

First on my list, probably because I've been in so many campaigns lately, is Scion. Oh mother of pearl, this one is fun. As the child of a god and a mortal. Now the fun part starts right from there- wanted or unwanted, mommies and daddies in whatever order, loved, hated, noticed or accidental, everything else is now up to you. Sure; you start out as a newbie with above average qualities, and you often have to think around all your fights and problems. But the beauty of Scion is the amount of lee-way every ability gives you. You would think with a set list of deities and moves the lists of possibilities would leave something to be desired, but with god powers, it seems that the imagination you use when activating these powers is what changes each encounter.

While this could be said of just about any game, only in the most boring games will you find your stereotypical “ranger elf orphaned at young age by orcs, seeking to avenge family with longbow heirloom” situation. In fact, creativity is so encouraged, extra dice are given for making actions interesting and well thought out. ANYWHERE.

Plus, who DOESN'T want to see the son of Aphrodite get the shit kicked out of him by the daughter of Odin, or even Izanami?

Second is Mage/Werewolf/Vampire the Masquerade. I place these together purely to save space, because While Wolf made them all, and they can in some ways but combined (or at least in know some talented Gms who can). They are all kinda simple- Mage is a game about bending the rules of reality without getting the consequences of it, but it's fun, exciting, and often humorous when things go wrong.

Werewolf is about werewolves and the dynamic struggle of the pack to balance nature, the spirit world, and the human's world. Vampire is about the vamporic struggle to do what they want, keep the human population alive, and not be killed or caught. They rely more on a fantastic GM to weave a plot so vivid the people's character end up growing as a side effect.

The last one I poke is DnD 3rd edition.

I LOVE a good old game of DnD with a GM who's invented a world to play in. I had a GM once who invented who societies of people, complete with stats, leaders, social customs, area maps, quirks, basic foods that would be common, housing styles, and physical appearances. He created something never before seen by the players, so we all had to work as we played. It was the most fun I'd had in a while. In that circumstance no player can be dull, to survive their characters must grow too.

I'm still not sure what to do with 4th ed. yet. My brother has the theory that you have to play it as a whole different game, and I guess I agree...

And so I feel that the imagination is the trump card of the P&P world. Starving for creativity is the worst thing for any game to be, but here it matters most because of how much can be offered and how many limits can be removed at the wave of a hand. And don't forget the best thing- anything can be turned into a P&P game with some effort. The same DnD GM was building a Bleach game, although personally that's above my ability.

Signing out (and signing into WOW...)

~Dancing Shadow


Danicus said...

3rd ed, 4th ed... it's all the same stuff. Rules should, as always, be secondary to fun and story.

Sure, the 4th ed combats are vastly different, but they're just as fun as 3E if not moreso, because they go faster from turn to turn. Goodbye, average combats taking an hour! Plue, there's more fun gimmicky/ tactical stuff in the average combat, which i find entertaining as hell.

But like you said, imagination is where the real deciding factor lies... So each person's mileage may vary.

Lady Lara Jones said...

Yeah, I agree. I think it really depends on your GM/DM because I have played in both fantastic and abysmal D&D campaigns.

Darcy said...

I find 4ed is very helpful for introducing noobs into the game. Its simplifies a lot.

Ask me about the time in the Big Game when my friend Aaron rolled Jesus. Good times.

I was also introduced to a fantastic new indie game called the Burning Wheel at Anime Boston this year. Cant wait to get a campaign of that going! LOOK IT UP! It sounds like SO MUCH FUN!

Danicus said...

I think simplifying is great, myself. Who needs complicated mechanics? The simpler a system is, the more likely I can convince my DM that I can, in fact, do something totally insane that the rules dont explicitly cover. Like building a flamethrower in a medival setting.

On a more relevant note, simple mechanics also means more roleplay, since no one is hung up on "well this modifier here... plus racal bonus... minus distance... oh, and i have this spell going... etc."
So you can get your rolls out fast and loose, and get back to the story faster. I LOVE 4E and will never be able to go back to that clunky, time-consuming 3.5 system. I've tasted streamlined glory, and I love it.

Ian said...

What? No Shadowrun?

Danicus said...

I just bought SHadowrun 4e, and I'm pretty psyched to start DMing it. My version of their world looks a lot like Blade Runner in my head.

Ian said...

SR4 is neat, though I'm still stuck in SR3 in many ways. I like having crazy in-depth rules and leaving simplification up to the GM (though some times that doesn't end up so well), though yes, I prefer role-playing over roll-playing