RPGs: Really Pathetic Geeks?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Reflection in the Dragon's Eye : One Thread
Let's talk about role-playing games! What RPGs are your favorites? Which ones do you absolutely hate? What GM tricks do you hate? What kinds of games do you like - puzzle solvers, combat, Monty Haul? What makes a good GM good?
If you don't game - why not? Did you try it and not like it? What keeps you away?
-- Liz Brooks (email@example.com), July 19, 1999
I didn't respond to this yesterday because I thought it'd be piggy of me to be always jumping in & being the first responder. I gave everyone a day. Now I get to talk, so nyah.
Favorite games? AD&D, because I've had so many fun times with it, and I still can have fun playing it. Star Wars, because I think the mechanics are very nicely done, and I'm a big Star Wars fan. :-) The White Wolf games... sometimes. While usually a lot of fun, they can lend themselves quickly to overwrought, introspective moodiness, which isn't fun. Champions is a lot of fun for superheroes, if you enjoy that sore of genre.
I don't like Shadowrun. ShadowRun. However you capitalize it, I'm just not a fan. Something about the whole mood and ambience of the game just leaves me cold Also, the more I talk to people who do play, I'm becoming more convinced that the rules system is a joke (everyone has more house rules than there are in most AD&D games) and that the while decker stuff was sloppily slapped in to the game because the designers really felt it should be in there, but couldn't think of a way for it to work in a team-oriented game (as most RPGs are).
I game to have fun. That's as basic as it gets. It doesn't matter if it's a puzzle-based investigative game or a hack-n-slash slice-em-up, as long as I can enjoy playing the character I made up, I'm happy.
What makes a good GM good? Geez. A good GM keeps the players involved in the game. Beautiful flowing narrative of the panoramic countryside is wonderful, but at some point the players are going to get sick of the flavor text and want to get to the orc encampment / the city / whatever so they can do something. It can even just be creating a situation that encourages the players to role-play and just banter back and forth in character. To sum up, characters doing things good, dead space bad.
-- Baron Matt von Munchausen (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 20, 1999.
I've only played AD&D.
See what a geek I am? =PPPP
I HATED my previous DM's habit of dragging us all over creation with no real purpose but fighting things.
OTOH, finding out my character had been sleeping with a drow was not particularly fun, but I'll admit now it was a great game.
Oh, Liz... I'd try to contribute to the forum....
-- meg (email@example.com), July 24, 1999.
Let's see... I don't really think I have a favorite system. I love White Wolf, ShadowRun, Heros Unlimited, and DarkSun. I'm moderately fond of AD&D, Paranoia, Alternities and Gurps. I dislike RoleMaster in the extreme, and I understand that Mythos has some of the same problems. I want to play a game, not get a PhD in higher math trying to make my character.
AD&D sometimes makes me a bit bored. Everything is really easy in AD&D... if it's an orc, it's 99% of the time evil and it's okay to just wade in, sword at the ready. Kindly looking old men are usually kindly looking old men, and beholders are not likely to help you out. And there's very little role-playing challenge anymore. You're the thief, you don't have to worry about what your character might do in this situation... the stereo-types have been laid out and waiting for the last 20 years. I'm playing in 3 D&D campaigns right now, and my character has no personality in any of them. But that hasn't hindered the games any.
I'm quite fond of White Wolf because it is complicated. There's a lot that depends on your character's view of the world. I'm running a White Wolf game (Werewolf) and my characters are getting ready to go to war with another pack, and both sides are firmly convinced that they are in the right and that they are doing Gaia's work. There are some quirks in the system... but aren't there in all systems? I've not yet come across a system that I didn't have to make some alterations to.
But mostly, I don't care what the system is... the story, the interaction between the characters, and the GM make a good game. Palladium's Heroes Unlimited is a kludgy system, but I've had two of my more memorable campaigns in that system...
-- KT Hicks (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 25, 1999.
Ack! Nonononono!! I have to disagree with you on this one.
AD&D sometimes makes me a bit bored. Everything is really easy in AD&D... there's very little role-playing challenge anymore. You're the thief, you don't have to worry about what your character might do in this situation... the stereo-types have been laid out and waiting for the last 20 years. I'm playing in 3 D&D campaigns right now, and my character has no personality in any of them. But that hasn't hindered the games any.
Let's use thieves as an example. Different thieves could react wildly differently to the same situation. It all depends on the character. If you've got a scheming, plotting, mastermind, he's going to do things vastly differently from the ham-fisted thug. Both thieves, both played very differently. A thief's reaction to everything is preordained only if you decide to play a plain vanilla thief. And no one really does. Everyone puts little twists and oddities and whatnot into their characters that make them different. Just because you know what your characters are going to do in a situation means that's what every thief is going to do.
I'm quite fond of White Wolf because it is complicated. There's a lot that depends on your character's view of the world. I'm running a White Wolf game (Werewolf) and my characters are getting ready to go to war with another pack, and both sides are firmly convinced that they are in the right and that they are doing Gaia's work.
White Wolf is like just about every system. It's as good or bad a game depending on the GM and the players. There's absolutely nothing from stopping a player from playing as basic, low-imagination fighter-type in Werewolf as there ever was in AD&D. Nothing.
But, um I've probably said enough at this point. Just to be clear, and to make sure I don't inadvertantly hurt anyone's feelings, I really like playing with KT, and I think that she's a great GM. I just don't agree with her 100% of the time. :-)
-- Matthias (email@example.com), July 25, 1999.
In answer to Liz's original question....ummm....yes? Hmmm. You're really encouraging ppl to write novels, here, and bed is looking more and more inviting...ah, well, quickly, then:
RPGs I've played (that I can recall, not counting entirely home-grown one-shot systems, in alphabetical order): D&D: Mystara, AD&D(1st ed, 2nd ed, Greyhawk, FR, Ravenloft...and those funky new alternate rules, which they're *not* calling 3rd ed...yet), Champions: Heroes, Cyberpunk, Gangbusters, Legend of the Five Rings, Mage(WW), Shadowrun, Teenagers from Outer Space, Vampire(WW), Werewolf(WW) Some of these systems I've played through several incarnations, and most with liberal use of "house rules." I've also MUDded fairly extensively (we see it, we kill it, we sac it, we go on...what was it? and was it carrying any good stuff?) and tried my hand at a couple of LARPs (which, frankly, scare me...I'm way too paranoid already, and ppl get far too into their games). And then, of course, there's the Meade Hall, the ultimate in diceless (and playerless, sort of) role-playing. ^_^
Overall, I'd say a "good" system is one that's nearly invisible...it facilitates action and provides a good jumping-off point for new stories, rather than being a rigid framework that slows down the action for a lot of rules-haggling. I like *role* playing, not roll-playing. Character creation should allow for social situations as well as combat, should be flexible for different character concepts, and should keep characters fairly well balanced (rather than leaving huge holes for rules lawyers to pull munchkins through). The best example I've seen of all this is a system I tried out recently: Legend of the Five Rings (L5R), which is the RPG based on a CCG. Development of a character's social abilities is *strongly* encouraged, the generation system's pretty easy once you get the hang of it, and the game runs quite smoothly with relatively few "house rules." The worst system I've dealt with was Champions, which (for me) was a rules nightmare and seemed to *encourage* munchkinism. AD&D was the first system I ever played, so even though it's a little clunky these days and doesn't put nearly enough emphasis on NWPs, it's still a familiar favorite. I don't care what Matt says about Shadowrun-- I like it, dammit. I like the atmosphere, I like the gear, I like the way combat is run. And I never decked, so I never concerned myself with decking rules. So there. White Wolf games are *great* when they stick to the concept of "storytelling"-- the drawback, I feel, is how much it relies on having a GM who *can* create a good story. Of the three I've tried, Vampire was my favorite...Mage, while the concept was intriguing, did *not* work well in practice. Werewolf was good, but I just didn't go for the story concept as I did in Vampire. Character creation's easy and I like the thought they put into skills. But just *once* I want to see a game where basic skills are given to you as a free package and you don't have to worry at a critical moment (a moment too late, I might add) that you can't run away from the big bad thing chasing you 'cause you forgot to pick up the #$%^ athletics skill (this is where Shadowrun's skill tree comes in particularly handy, I might add).
Um. This seems to have gotten fairly long already, and it's late. Rather than continuing this post now, I'm gonna cut it here and go to bed,and deal with the whole GM thing later. Any objections? No? Goody. G'night.
Oh, but before I go...Liz, just what the heck is a "Monty Haul" type of game???
-- Karen O. (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 26, 1999.
Oh, but before I go...Liz, just what the heck is a "Monty Haul" type of game???
Since you ask so nicely, Karen... Did you ever watch the TV game show "The Price Is Right"? The host's name was Monty Hall, and part of the show's schtick was giving away stuff to people in the audience for no reason whatsoever.
A "Monty Haul" game, then, is one in which the GM vastly overrewards the characters - massively powerful magic items at low levels, virtually unending supplies of cash, etc. It's frequently associated with "munchkin" games (games in which the characters have much higher than average stats and are extremely powerful).
I've heard the phrase "Monty Haul" associated with gaming for years; I thought it had become a standard part of the lexicon. Sorry for being confusing!
-- Liz (email@example.com), July 26, 1999.
I'll admit I was a roll-player until I got to William and Mary (thanks for saving me folks). I've been delaying my answer because I don't really have anything meaningful to contribute as far as the original question was concerned.
The questions that have come up during discussion however:
First I have to agree with Matt, there's plenty of room for character personality in AD&D. I also have to agree with KT however that it's alot easier to NOT have a personality in AD&D than it is in WoD. But that's because the games emphasize different aspects of the characters. As examples of characters that didn't fit the stereotypes I remind KT of Vernox the perpetually happy Athasian wild mage, and Codex the perpetually drunk priest of Mystra. This stereotyping of classes and creatures is QUITE common in AD&D however, and is one of the things I'm desperately trying to beat out of my own players (they're convinced that all templars are thoroughly evil, the loudest of them being the one who's playing a templar, this is a bad thing since there are three elemental priests in the party).
The second point I wanted to address, is that while the quality of ANY RPG depends on the players and the GM, the WoD games are PRECARIOUSLY dependent on them. To use my own players as an example, they're capable of handling AD&D (even in the Dark Sun setting), but their ability to role-play (well one of them) is NO WHERE near good enough to handle the personality intensive, non-combat oriented games that characterize the WoD. In my experience most gaming systems can handle less than sterling performances from players and GMs, WoD can't.
-- Jeff Fiscus (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 26, 1999.