Day 31: Share why you take part in RPG-a-day
Roleplaying games are, at the moment, my main hobby. I love them, and I wish there were more people playing them. I especially would like to have more diversity in the player base: things are improving, but it’s still a hobby for white dudes. And I play RPGs for the awesome adventures, so having more diverse experiences and viewpoints represented in the hobby will make adventures more surprising and interesting — and thus awesome.
Things have improved a lot the last few years, with artwork becoming more inclusive (iconic characters being non-white, no chainmail bikinis!) and a wider variety of viewpoints being represented in the subject matter of games (such as queer teenagers in Monsterhearts). But we’re not there yet, and there are shitty white dudes everywhere who will happily seek to exclude others, but I think the tide is against them and can’t be turned anymore.
But RPGs are still very much a niche hobby, so perhaps a lot of people who would be interested, just are never made aware of the possibilities of RPGs and how fun they are. So by talking about them, I hope to pique people’s interest. Perhaps they will become interested, perhaps they will find a group.
And maybe, one day, I will be able to play in a group where I’m the only white dude. I’d certainly like that.
…and on the last day of the month, that is the last question of RPG-a-day 2018!
Day 30: Share something you learned about playing your character
I’ll do you one better: I’ll share something I learned about myself while playing my characters. All of my characters tend to stay “on task”: there’s something to be done, and my character(s) are going to do it, and are going to make sure that the other characters are going to help. This is only slightly helped because I tend to write session reports and thus remember all kinds of details — but that is also part of who I am.
I’ve had other players remark that I’d be a great project manager, because I went about the mission so structured. I had never thought of myself that way, but not long after that, I did make a promotion to project manager, and I turned out to be pretty good at it…
I guess I’m not that good a roleplayer, because all of my characters tend to have this trait. Recently, I have tried playing characters that are more easy-going and less structured, and that’s hard work for me!
Day 29: Share a friendship you have because of RPGs
The group I played with in the streamed campaigns that I mentioned two days ago. I already knew them from hanging out in the chat for the streams on ByronicGamer’s Twitch channel, but the Dungeon World game was the first time I got to play an RPG with them. And we’re still playing (though not online): most of my RPGing these days is with this group.
It’s turned into a really mutually supportive group — or perhaps it already was, and I’ve become included in that through my RPG participation.
Day 28: Share whose inspiring gaming excellence you’re grateful for
I had to think a bit for this one, but I think I’ll go with Pete Fenlon. He used to be with Iron Crown Enterprises, and he drew all of their overland maps for the MERP modules that they published. He developed his own, distinct style of mapmaking that inspired gamers everywhere.
And it inspired me, too. Looking at those detailed maps of the places I read in professor Tolkien’s books, tracing the journeys described and seeing what else is there. Perhaps this has given me a keen interest in RPG games that treat travel as an actual (part of the) adventure, instead of a reason for pesky random encounter rolls, like The One Ring and especially Ryuutama.
Day 27: Share a great stream/actual play
I’m a big fan of the idea of streaming RPGs, but somehow it’s not something I would watch myself. So I only have two collections of recorded streams to offer that I played in myself. The first is the YouTube playlist of the run of Dungeon World we had, clocking in at just a little under 35 hours (which does include our breaks) and 13 sessions. It was my first time playing an Apocalypse World Engine game, and while I had read the book before, it never ‘clicked’ with me until I got to play. It got chaotic fast, mostly because we didn’t really ‘gel’ as a group with a common mission, and the campaign ended with us burning down another village — and we just never got around to the next session because it had run its course.
The second is the YouTube playlist of the run of The Sprawl we had. This one is much shorter, with only 8 videos and under 25 hours. I like this one a lot better, because The Sprawl has a good mission-based structure (which comes natural for cyberpunk!), so you had a much more ‘modular’ experience. And in between, we had quite a bit of cool character play, both individually and between characters. Unfortunately, this didn’t ever reach a conclusion either, because we were kinda burned out playing on-stream: it’s quite something to be performing to an audience and for the other players for about three hours!
Day 26: Your gaming ambition for the next year
To keep doing more of it. And I want to GM more in Play-by-Voip or Face-to-Face games!
Day 25: Name a game that had an impact on you in the last year
Hm. If I had to choose, I’d think that would be Blades in the Dark. People were very enthousiastic about it, so I got the PDF and read through it, and I decided it was not for me. But then a friend was looking for players for BitD, and I will play anything they want to run — so there I went. And it’s been a very, very wild ride. We started out as a band of drug dealers, and it sort of… devolved… into us basically decimating another gang while the drug dealing took a backseat. We’ve lost three characters, and the Crew is still not a unified group: there’s lots of internal tension. I’ve never had a group that was that intense in-game.
Day 24: Which RPG do you think deserves greater recognition?
Ryuutama. It gets easily dismissed as a cutesy anime game — mostly because of the artwork.
At its heart, it is a game about travel, and that’s unusual. Even in The One Ring, which has explicit travel rules, the game resumes after the travel is resolved: travel is something you do to get to the adventuring location, not what the game is about.
It presents itself as a lightweight game, but the underlying system for encumbrance is super hardcore: it is a complex system that you play around with during downtime. It is possible to die of hunger and thirst on the road, if you’re not prepared and you have a string of unlucky dice rolls!
I haven’t come across any game that has those two features at its core, and that makes it quite unique — and yet the artwork and the marketing downplays this and promotes it as “Hayao’s Miyazaki’s Oregon Trail”, which I think doesn’t do the game justice.
Yesterday, I was too busy celebrating our 15 year wedding anniversary, so you’re getting two answers in one!
Day 22: Which non-dice system appeals to you?
I’ve only ever played one diceless system, and that is the original Amber Diceless RPG. I love it, and I would play and/or GM it again, without hesitation!
Day 23: Which game do you hope to play again?
Well, that’s quite the coincidence: it is the exact same Amber Diceless RPG! I’ve written about it in a previous answer.
Day 21: Which dice mechanic appeals to you?
Good question. I like dice: the shapes and the colours appeal to me, and I have far more dice than I’d ever realistically use. But I don’t have to use dice in a game: I’ll happily play in a diceless game too such as the Amber Diceless RPG!
As actual mechanics go, I kind of dislike flat probabilities, like D&D’s single D20. A bell curve like the Apocalypse World Engine’s 2D6 or Fudge/FATE’s 4DF give a much larger role to skill/stat bonusses: someone with a higher skill will succeed significantly more often than a character with a lower skill bonus.
I definitely dislike systems with dice pools that can get very large. The Forged in the Dark system is about my upper limit for that, and the Shadowrun system is certainly too much.