I generally divide RPGs into two main types. The first is games where the system is not tied to the feel of the backround (aka the “fluff.” I know John Wick loves that word LOL). Usually I play these games under a system I know and enjoy instead of the system the game is in. I used Steve Jackson Games GURPS for many adventures in the worlds of Call of Cthulhu, Fading Suns, and (the sadly out of print) Kult. Lately I am interested in playing Dungeons and Dragons adventures under Savage Worlds, mixing what is some of the best background material in fantasy role-play with a fast, fun and furious game system (come on WotC... get the Forgotten Realms sourcebook for 5e out). In these reviews I will probably not even mention the mechanics and concentrate on the background itself, so if you don’t see me mention how the system works that is why.
|It's so gorram shiny!|
The second group of games are ones that the system does define the feel of the game. These systems are integral to the play. It is usually because the mechanics replicate the tropes of fiction. I am throwing a big kiss to you, Margaret Weis Productions. Play Leverage or Smallville and you will find the system is built to replicate the story structure and drama of those shows (I suppose the new Firefly RPG is as well, but I haven't had a chance to get the book yet). They are a symbiosis I would not want to disturb. This category also includes games where the system is the game, built to allow you a to create a story in, usually as a shared experience. These are usually indie games with no fluff at all. Instead, through the mechanics, you build the characters, setting, situations and resolve the action. Fiasco and Primetime Adventures are two I have enjoyed. In these reviews will, of course, be pretty heavy on analyzing the mechanics.
Reviewing adventures is all about the story. Structure, plot, surprises, is it a rail or more of a sandbox, it will all be there. Sometimes with spoilers, so don’t read it if you are going to play a character in it. I’ll give spoiler warnings.
Other things I will review, mostly as capsule reviews, is resources on the web. There is some really creative ideas out there. Let’s celebrate them.
Well, until next time, remember what Nietzsche might have said if he was an RPG player: “And if you gaze long enough into the rulebook, the rulebook will gaze back into you.”