Nov 172008
 

After this blog post, which points to this list of RPG’s everyone should try, I thought I’d reprise the content of a post I made a long time ago (1998).  That post talks about games I’d played at the time, and a little bit about them.  Here’s my list of 5 games every roleplayer should play and why.

  1. Dungeons and Dragons (basic and expert boxed sets)

    You really should play the original D&D.  I’ve played all the versions, and while they all offer something different the raw simplicity of the basic and expert editions of the original boxed sets are just so refreshing.  Inconsistencies abound, but the scope is endless.

  2. Call of Cthulhu (original rules)

    If you get the right group of people and the right person running Call of Cthulhu, it has to be one of the best shared storytelling environments ever created.  The capacity to drag you in, gasping for breath amidst the knowledge of sure and impending doom, and still leave you wanting more is unparalleled, in my view.  The rules were mostly very simple and the environment was rich.  I’ve never enjoyed dying so much as I did when we played Call of Cthulhu.  I’ve never enjoyed torturing my players so much as when I ran Call of Cthulhu.

  3. Paranoia

    Done right, and it’s not easy, this game system and world setting provides the chance to really dig deep into some roleplaying muscles.  If your players are always trying to out sneak each other in regular game settings, let them play this for a few weeks to sort the sneaks out from the snitches.

  4. Shadowrun or Cyberpunk

    I never played Cyberpunk and I think the Shadowrun rules had some seriously major issues, but as a setting I loved it and I think every gamer should have a shot at Fantasy-meets-SciFi crossover ‘net running big blazing gun action every now and then.

  5. Gangbusters

    Because it was so simple and evocitive and engaging.  You should try it.

  6. Bonus Game – Xena & Hercules.Swords and Thongs, made to go together.

  5 Responses to “So, my list of RPG’s”

  1. I haven’t played everything on your list (Gangbusters and Shadowrun) or the Gnome Stew one (Burning Wheel, Dread and Og), but I’d agree all the others are worth a try.

    Amber I still love because of the world it’s set in. Cthulhu, as you say, has brilliant atmosphere (we’ve just finished playing this). Paranoia is great fun. D&D, I’m not sure which version I’d go for, they all have pros and cons.

    I’d also add the following:

    Dangerous Journeys – Such a shame this system was never allowed to go anywhere. So much potential.

    Aria – A ten book fantasy novel in a roleplaying system every time you play it. This is what epic fantasy roleplaying should be about.

    Seventh Sea – Just like Pendragon has a system which suits the setting, so does Seventh Sea, but the game and the world are brilliant as well. (We’ve just started another part of the campagin again, so good to buckle some swash.)

  2. Yeh Seventh Sea I rolled a character up for and maybe played a tiny bit, would love to have played more.

    You want to mail me my other Shadowrun book back? ;)

  3. I should be asleep, but I have a massive headache that didn’t hit me until I turned out the lights. So I’m waiting for the Tylenol to kick in — and cleverly staring at a computer display in the meantime. Anyway, saw this post and thought I’d chip in. I should note that I’ve never lasted very long in an RPG campaign; RPG’s in general seem like they should be more fun than they usually turn out to be for me. But I’ve played lots of them, and do have fun doing so for a time.

    Your list:

    Basic D&D: seconded.

    CoC: there’s a guy I know from college (name of Frank) who is the world’s best GM in any system, and CoC was where he learned to put the Master in Game Master. I still haven’t read any of the actual stories, but the game is a great shot of the heebie-jeebies. Sanity Points! Brilliant!

    Paranoia: never played, read the rules, looked interesting. Very funny world, like roleplaying a video game.

    Shadowrun: probably my favorite RPG setting. Rules are interesting, though I agree they may be flawed.

    I’d add to the list:

    Star Wars – original West End d6 system. Some silly bits in the description (“Don’t tell the players they have Script Immunity!” – OK, when was the last time you met an RPG player, even a non-rules-lawyery type, who hadn’t read the GM guide?), but still one of the better jobs of making an RPG explicitly for interactive storytelling rather than combat simulation.

    Champions/Hero System – and right back to the other extreme of that last comment. Way too much combat simulation, but dagnabit it’s fun to be able to model your own superhero creation. And the source material was surprisingly rich, too. I’m looking forward to the online version – let the PC roll the fifty six-sided dice, thanks.

    DC Heroes – the original, 2d10-based version from Mayfair – is a less mechanics-intensive way to get your superhero role-playing on. Intriguing system – like Star Wars, geared for good storytelling (Hero Points FTW!). It’s pretty lousy as a simulation -the resolution on the stats is a little too low (Batman has to be better than any other human? OK, he’s TWICE as good! At everything!). I had a blast with this one even though the GM picked on my character a lot…

    Deadlands (original, though I hear the Savage Worlds edition is just as good) is great stuff just on setting alone. I think a Deadlands/Shadowrun crossover world would make for an interesting campaign.

  4. Tony, honestly, you’re so impatient. It’s not like I’ve had it for that long. ;)

    Send me your address and I’ll sort it.

    I can’t believe you have Wheel of Time. I had to pay nearly £50 to get a copy of this from America earlier this year. We’ve played the start of a campaign in it and I rather enjoyed it. Much like Seventh Sea the system isn’t great, but the setting is very good and well implemented in the game IMO.

  5. Got the Wheel of Time pretty much as soon as it came out, I was still interested in the Books at the time if I recall. You Have Mail (in a bit).

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