This is my recap of the last 10 days of 2018’s RPG A Day. It’s always fun to talk about this great hobby.
Day 22: Which non-dice system appeals to you?
My favorite is Everway. It’s very free-formed, with a lot of interpretation, using tarot cards and how they fall to direct the action. The whole game is very odd. Character creation involves picking art cards from a deck and forging a backstory out of the images. Are they literal or allegorical? And then the whole tarot card thing. I played in a short game back when it was first released and really enjoyed it, but things didn’t last. I don’t remember why. I think it was a game we played while taking a break from another. Something like that. Many years later, but many years ago, I was going to play in a game of Fading Suns where the GM was using Everway as the game mechanic. He’d even made his own Fading Suns tarot deck. Sadly, it either didn’t come together or it didn’t last. That GM was kinda flighty. I think we started three or four games with him that didn’t go anywhere. All of which I was really into, and so disappointed when they failed to turn into anything.
Day 23: Which game do you hope to play again?
I always want to play Call of Cthulhu, and there are a bunch of games I’ve run but really wish I could be a player in (Fading Suns, Blue Planet, etc.). But the big one is Ars Magica. I want to run it, but I really, really want to play it again. The fantastic thing about Ars Magica is I could theoretically do both. If I somehow managed to get a campaign rolling, it wouldn’t be at all out of place to create a character and have someone else take the reins for a spell (ZING!!!).
Day 24: Which RPG do you think deserves greater recognition?
One of my favorite games that seemed to be passed by is The Whispering Vault. It seems like a game that was both of its time and way before its time. The 90s were filled with a lot of dark and strange, indie RPGs. This one seems to have embraced what would become ‘rules light.’ Like Over the Edge, it stripped things down, trying to make a system that got out of the way of the story. The concept of the game was a wonderfully strange hodgepodge. The quick description I often use is, “imagine the Cenobites from Hellraiser were actually time traveling super heroes.” Good stuff.
Day 25: Name a game that had an impact on you in the last year.
Tales from the Loop is definitely the best game I’ve read in the last year. The setting and system made me want to hop right up and run or play a game. Haven’t been that excited about a game in a long, long time. For a game about nostalgic 80s style science fiction (think “The Goonies” meets “Stranger Things” with a dose of “The Quiet Earth”), it’s surprisingly fresh. I really, really, really want to try this one out.
Day 26: Your gaming ambition for the next year.
Same as it has been for a while. Do some actual gaming. Actually run the Western one-shot I’ve got half cooked up. Maybe try my hand at Tales from the Loop.
Day 27: Share a great stream/actual play.
I have to admit, while I’ve watched a bunch of YouTube videos about RPGs, I don’t think I’ve been able to sit through an actual play. They tend to trip some of my social anxiety issues. The stuff on Table Top is usually good quality, though.
Day 28: Share whose inspiring gaming excellence you’re grateful for.
I’ve been lucky enough to have gamed with many excellent folk, both players & GMs. I think I got some of the most useful and practical knowledge from Dave T., a guy I only got to game with a few times. He was a great GM, and I learned a lot from talks with him.
Day 29: Share a friendship you have because of RPGs.
So many. My first job, as a sophomore in high school, was at my brother’s game store, and it’s where I spent most of my teen years and a good chunk of my 20s. Some folk I kinda knew through other places, like Joe V. or Mike H. who I’d been in high school with. Many I met through the store. Robert B. is a guy who I remain in frequent contact with, in spite of years and half a country separating us. We bonded first over games, then over movies and video games and more. He’s listened to me rant and rave about nearly everything, and has rarely told me to shut my hole. To this day, we can lament about not doing enough (or any, in my case) gaming, swap ideas about my WOP novel, get onto some tangent about the weather or current events, and generally carry on via internet chat.
I tip my hat to all the people I’ve been lucky enough to know over the years, who I’ve met through this strange hobby I love so much.
Day 30: Share something you learned about playing your character.
Not quite sure what this one’s all about. I guess over the years I learned that you want to play your character as ‘in world’ as you can. Don’t use your own knowledge to solve things, use the knowledge the character would have. That sort of thing. However with that in mind, don’t overdo it to the detriment of the group or the game. In other words, don’t screw over the other players and the GM because you have to ‘stay in character.’ You’re not Brando, so you don’t get a free pass in ruining things for everyone else. It’s a game. It’s a story. Everyone should have fun telling a good story. Not a good story about you. A good story of which you’re a part.
Day 31: Share why you take part in RPG a Day.
It’s fun to think back over my years with this hobby. And hopefully, it gives the hobby some visibility, maybe sparking someone’s interest in giving it a try. Chatting about it, thinking about it, digging back into my memories…it all makes me remember how much I love it, and how much I want to share it with other folks.
And that’s another year. Meet you back here next year, where hopefully I can at least have something different to say about my ‘plans for the next year.’