Sunday, August 20, 2017

Seems Legit

From my email. I think I'm going to help this guy out. I just don't like people taking advantage of seniors like this. 

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#RPGaDay 2017 Day 20: What is the Best Source for Out-of-Print RPGs?

What is the Best Source for Out-of-Print RPGs?

Best is certainly relative here, as there are a number of options, but they each have their own drawbacks.

eBay (or increasingly for me, third-party sellers on Amazon) is an option, but I miss the days of the Wild West, when it seemed like you could stumble upon all sorts of treasures as people liquidated their collections. Now it's just a bunch of resellers and storefronts for small businesses.

The quarter bins at cons are great, but the few conventions I attend these days tend to be narrowly-focused and only feature tabletop gaming peripherally and the composition of the vendors reflects that.

Still, I'll always treasure that copy of Brave New World I picked up at I-Con. If I had looked more closely, I would have realized that I was not buying a copy of Underground as I thought I was.

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 19: Which RPG Features the Best Writing?

Which RPG Features the Best Writing?

I wasn't sure quite how to interpret this one. Are they asking for a comment on the quality of how the prose conveys the mood, or are they asking how cleanly it articulates the rules for the reader?

Either way, I'm going to give it to the Unknown Armies team, with Delta Green (which has many of the same team members) close behind. UA has all these gonzo concepts, but there is never any question about how to implement them mechanically. Also, each game has a ton of vividly realized NPCs, and the writing really brings them to life.

Friday, August 18, 2017

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 18: Which RPG Have You Played the Most in Your Life?

Which RPG Have You Played the Most in Your Life?

Check me out! I’m one-percenter! (In the sense that I’m not in the 99% who will answer some edition of Dungeons & Dragons. (It’s probably not actually 99%, as I’m sure that a bunch of gamers who came of age in the 1990s will answer Vampire: The Masquerade, but it’s certainly going to be the majority.)

My answer is my own Play-By-Email game, the Mazeworks. It was founded on June 9th, 2001 in Yahoo groups. We had a database failure and then we started in the MazeworksII group in November of 2001. I actually considered just folding the game at that point and just walking away, because we would lose so much. Yahoo eventually restored what we had lost, but it was easier to stay at the second group.

I considered folding the group again in 2006 when I knew my daughter would be born. I didn’t think I’d have the time to keep up with the game, but another player convinced me not to. His name is Bob. More on him later.

PBEMs typically flounder after a while, but we bucked the odds, thanks to some really great players.  There were days with a hundred posts, and there was a nearly five-year span where we had at least one post every day.

It’s spawned a number of in-jokes as any long-running game will: The croquet mallet, “YOUR (sic) A LIAR!” “STOP CURSING AT ME!” I met my friend Frederick through the game. I made a number of friends whom I’ll probably never meet. One of them, the incomparable Bob from earlier in the post, handcrafted a beautiful rocking horse and shipped it at his own expense for Lily’s second Christmas.

We finally wrapped up the game in 2012. We had just come to the resolution of a major arc. I was out of ideas and I said so. I didn’t want to run on fumes and I decided we should go out on a high note. I asked everyone who was willing to pen their own epilogue to the series. To this day, I think it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made regarding role-playing.

The players didn’t want to let it go, so one of them took over and put his own spin on it. I was a player this time, and that worked out. I wanted the Mazeworks to continue; I just didn’t have the passion to drive it anymore.

We played for a few months with Jason M. running the show until he passed away unexpectedly.  I liked Jason so much. I hoped someday to meet him. Who else shared my weird interests of PBEM’s, Roger Zelazny and Robyn Hitchcock. He was a stabilizing influence on the group and such a downright decent guy. I miss him and I’m sorry he’s gone.

We didn’t want the group to end with the death of a player, so someone else stepped up and began running it. His name is Jacob and he’s still running it today. We’re not as strong as we once were, but we’re still telling stories together and I think that’s something to celebrate.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 17: Which RPG Have You Owned the Longest But Not Played?

Which RPG Have You Owned the Longest But Not Played?

My first thought was Star Frontiers, but I think I played that in the third grade when I lived in Florida. There were a couple kids with whom I gamed, including one with the extremely unfortunate last name of “Lust”. I’m pretty sure we played the introductory adventure from the introductory boxed set during a sleepover.

Young Josh must have been quite the fan of Tom Moldvay, because he went directly from Star Frontiers to Avalon Hill’s Lords of Creation.  I think I picked this up at K-B Toy and Hobby. In the early 80s they would often offer unsold RPGs at a steep discount. I bought a lot of Dark Sun that way.

I liked the setting and the concept of LoC and the stories that you could potentially tell with it, but even at twelve years old, I recognized that the rules as written were not a good set of tools for implementing those stories. Likewise, Omegakron is an ambitious but flawed adventure.