RPGaDay2018 Day 2: What do you look for in a RPG?

For me there are two ideal components.

  1. A compelling setting, either a world I want to explore or a genre that I can get excited about. Right now when I am not playing RM I am dabbling with Ghost Ops. In actual play it is super light and fast to run but is miles apart from RM in just about every way.
  2. The absolute minimum of rules. I have a brain, common sense and imagination. I can fill in the blanks once I know the flavour of the game. I know many GMs and even players dislike it when things come down to arbitrary GM decisions but I quite like that. I would never simply decide that an attack hits or misses but on the other hand there are times when I don’t want the characters to drown just because the rules say they do, I want them washed up on strange foreign shores.

So I think my perfect game is one that absolutely demands to be played so much that it is all you can think about when I should be working on other stuff but has a rulebook I can memorise and run without referring to. That may be a tall order but I have played a few of them. To be honest even RM fits into that definition if you have a setting you love. All the heavy lifting is done during character creation, resolving most skill checks and role play situations require no rules. It is only combat that chains you to tables. (I am assuming here that each player has their spell lists printed out as part of their character record)


4 Replies to “RPGaDay2018 Day 2: What do you look for in a RPG?”

  1. The biggest component was touched upon in the Day 1 post: Gathering of friends. Is the group going to have fun playing this game? We had to ban Paranoia from the game list because it was actually causing real-world arguments and we summarily decided this was not a good game to play. RM, MERPS, GURPS, etc. were great but that one game was a no-no.

    1) The game mechanics have to make sense. D&D fails here. You can parry or you can full attack. You can’t do both. Either you spend every single turn parrying and not doing any damage at all to your opponent, or you go full guns-ablazing and get beat to a pulp. Am I over-simplifying here? No. Not really. Oh.. you can only parry if your class allows you to learn ho to parry! Initiative rolls/turn order also fail in my eyes.

    2) An exciting genre. I’ve never been a fan of cold war era, spies, espionage. I wouldn’t even look in that direction for a game. Medieval times – YES! Warhammer 40K – Double YES!! (I have well over 50 novels from the WH40K series.) Vampire:tM – Brilliant!

    3) Creative, by this, I mean the game system and the story that goes with it. Vampire:tM is simply brilliant. 🙂 The manner in which Vampires are explained, the factions hunting them, the factions trying to maintain the Masquerade, the historical “facts” through the ages to support the modern day existence in 2018, actual happenings in the real world being attributed to vampires. The founding of the clans, the generations, the blood potency. It’s so creative, so well thought out. When I run a chapter, I grab the newspapers and look for interesting things that happened over night and I create the “actual” events that took place that night. (Damned vampire fight, naturally.)

    “There was a fire at the local deli caused by faulty wiring of the beverage cooler at the front door.” What really happened was the fight between a vampire and a hunter. The hunter staked the vampire to the wall next to the cooler. The sun rose, the vampire ignited and burned that section of the store.

    * – those in the know, know.

      1. It’s handled very well. If you play any of the video games you see how haphazard, clumsy, brute force they are. They try to use tech, but it’s just salvaged junk that sometimes works and is more deadly when it fails. Where they excel is massed hordes and melee damage. It’s very cool. There are so many other races, and factions, you don’t even have to read or play or deal with the orcs. Of all the books I have, I think only two of them deal with orcs.

  2. I look for setting and flexible yet complete rules. Having suffered in games with incompetent GMs using light rules, I want rules that are complete enough for player and GM alike to understand what’s going on and also to have a framework on which to build. Light rules might be great for experienced GMs, but I find them to be a poor choice for someone starting out. And since we’re trying to get more people playing, good GMs are essential. And for them to grow into good GMs (or at least have a chance to do so), they need good rules.

    Setting’s important as well., but I rank them about even. The best setting can be ruined by bad rules (unless you can port it into a different set of rules), and good rules suffer without a widely accepted setting (I’m looking at you, RM) to at least get people started.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *