Least essential RPG

Evan Waters

Talented Amateur
Validated User
#71
So much to disagree with, so little time...

- The TSR Indiana Jones RPG (no character creation at all, just premade characters *sigh*)
I actually think the game TIME LORD managed to get by quite well without chargen. Would have been better with it, but there were enough characters to choose from.

Adding to the horribleness of the Judge Dredd RPG was the fact that there was no character customization - every starting character was exactly the same.
I understand this, though- wouldn't that kind of fit the setting?From what I've heard, Dredd's main characteristic is that he never takes off his helmet/visor- and presumably few of the others do, so maybe they're supposed to be virtually identical, or at least faceless like Stormtroopers.

It came From The Late, Late Late Show from Stellar Games
It has some good ideas, yes; it's fun to think up situations and creatures, yes; it's a nightmare to run it, definitely. Maybe it's not "suck-ass drivel", but it's limping alright.
I don't think it's quite that bad. It's not terribly evocative of the genre, but it's pretty rules-light and easy to follow. An average game.

Any pulp game ever published.
What what what?!?!!?

I'm sorry, I'm completely not following this. Pulp adventure as it's known has its own conventions and feel, making it a valid genre for gaming.

Any game that apes a literary genre instead of seeking to create a new *gaming* genre.
I don't think there's much difference in genres across mediums, so "aping a literary genre" strikes me as the simple and almost necessary translation of these genres into a relatively new medium.

) Mearls was right in mentioning TSR's BUCK ROGERS efforts. While the XXVc version was actually not that bad (the world-setting is kind of a nifty proto-JOVIAN CHRONICLES), the follow-up game (in the oversized-blue box with pulp/golden-age SF stylings) was a barking dog. Just who the hell was supposed to buy this thing? It harkened back to the original newspaper serials of the 1930s - all the characters, plots, setting info, and art. Yeah, that'll sell to teenaged gamers in the 1990s!
With all due respect, what does that matter? By that logic I can dismiss OVER THE EDGE because, yeah, Bill Burroughs fans are really an untapped source of revenue for the gaming industry!

The fact that the game lacked commercial appeal is unimportant. It was a superb game that played totally like a movie serial- it's even easier than the similar d6 system. And it was my introduction to the real, original BUCK ROGERS setting instead of the countless permutations I'd encountered in XXVc, the TV series, the 1938 serial- for once, I saw where it all started.

Will agree on XXVc being all right. The setting was rather cool, though the mechanics were problematic. (A 1st level character's skills were usually so low that he was more hapless than a CoC
investigator.)

2) In a similar vein, how about TSR's early-1990s LANKHMAR introductory RPG? You couldn't miss the orange box. "How can we draw more people to our hobby and to our fantasy games?" "Lets make an introductory RPG - and base it around a series of books that were big forty years ago and haven't been in print for decades!" What, did the Dunsany estate not return their phone calls? Way to market to today's youth, TSR!
Not familiar with Lankhmar, haven't played the game.

Again. What the smeg does it matter?

I don't include SYNNIBAR in this category, even though it is a near-perfect example of all of the above, because it does provide an essential service - that of providing a benchmark of True Suckage. Just like PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE and MANOS are essential movies to anchor the bottom of the quality scale, so too is SYNNIBAR.
All right, HERE's where I get angry. PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE is FAR from the worst movie ever amde. I'd even argue that it's, in a way, quite good. It's fast paced, entertaining, and enjoyable- a truly bad movie usually isn't. Anyone who still thinks PLAN 9 is the worst movie ever made hasn't seen enough movies.

A list of essential RPGs would include:

Dungeons & Dragons
Traveller
Call of Cthulhu
(posted by Mearls)

You do realize that, as Lovecraft's short stories were published in magazines like WEIRD TALES and AMAZING STORIES, that would make CoC a "pulp" RPG, right?

I think that's everything. I'm up to speed now.
 
N

NPC FMguru

Guest
#72
Buck Rogers and the Essence of Inessentialness

Evan Waters said:
With all due respect, what does that matter? By that logic I can dismiss OVER THE EDGE because, yeah, Bill Burroughs fans are really an untapped source of revenue for the gaming industry!

The fact that the game lacked commercial appeal is unimportant. It was a superb game that played totally like a movie serial- it's even easier than the similar d6 system. And it was my introduction to the real, original BUCK ROGERS setting instead of the countless permutations I'd encountered in XXVc, the TV series, the 1938 serial- for once, I saw where it all started.
The subject at hand here is not games that are awful, miserable, or soul-suckingly bad. It is games that are inessential.

OVER THE EDGE had a brilliant rules-light system that has been hugely influential on other RPG designs. Many of the people who worked on it went on to have important careers in RPGing (Tweet, Laws, etc.) It was published by the then-miniscule Atlas Games, and put them on the map as something other than a producer of licensed Champions adventures. It sold well enough to support a line of supplements, a CCG, a fanzine, and tie-in novels.

OTE was, in short, the very definition of an essential RPG. New genre, new system, brilliantly innovative system, very influential, put a company on the map, launched several careers.

BUCK ROGERS was published by a large game company with considerable (yet dwindling) resources. Rather than put those resources into something that might expand the hobby or their customer base, they created YET ANOTHER Buck Rogers RPG. What were they thinking? Did they look at the pallettes of unsold XXVc modules in their warehouse and say "Of course! These didn't sell to kids in the 1990s because the source material they referenced wasn't obscure enough!"?

BUCK ROGERS was sold in a pricey $30 boxed set as an introduction to RPGs. TSR produced quite a number of them, and they've been clogging up convention dealer tables ever since. So they threw a huge pile of (scarce) resources at a introductory game to entice non-RPGers to get into RPGs. And they chose to use a 70-year old newspaper serial as the bait on the hook. At least WotC has the right idea: If you're going to make a licensed RPG, license material that had some freaking relevance in the last quarter century or so. Thus, WHEEL OF TIME and STAR WARS.

BR came and went with nary a ripple. It had no effect on the gaming hobby (other than to dig TSR's hole a little deeper). Maybe two supplements came out for it. Nobody talks about the system. It didn't launch a wave of pulp-newspaper-serial follow-on RPGs. Resources were committed, and the world shrugged. This is the very definition of inessential.

Anyway, I suspect that "Naked Lunch" had more cultural currency among RPG customers than old-school "Buck Rogers" serials.

Not familiar with Lankhmar, haven't played the game.

Again. What the smeg does it matter?
It doesn't matter. That's the point. It was wholly inessential.
 
N

NPC FMguru

Guest
#73
Evan Waters said:
All right, HERE's where I get angry. PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE is FAR from the worst movie ever amde. I'd even argue that it's, in a way, quite good. It's fast paced, entertaining, and enjoyable- a truly bad movie usually isn't. Anyone who still thinks PLAN 9 is the worst movie ever made hasn't seen enough movies.
Someone dissing PLAN 9 makes you angry?

So you liked PLAN 9. Good for you. I understand that there are people in this world that play SYNNIBAR and actually enjoy it. Good for them. These facts do not magically make either of these two things NOT SUCK, at least in the opinion of the vast majority of their respective audiences.
 

Evan Waters

Talented Amateur
Validated User
#74
BUCK ROGERS was published by a large game company with considerable (yet dwindling) resources. Rather than put those resources into something that might expand the hobby or their customer base, they created YET ANOTHER Buck Rogers RPG. What were they thinking?
Who cares? They made a good game covering material that still, to date, has not been covered by another game. It may be inessential to you, but it's essential to me.

Again. What the smeg does it matter?

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It doesn't matter. That's the point. It was wholly inessential.
All good games matter.


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Evan Waters
All right, HERE's where I get angry. PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE is FAR from the worst movie ever amde. I'd even argue that it's, in a way, quite good. It's fast paced, entertaining, and enjoyable- a truly bad movie usually isn't. Anyone who still thinks PLAN 9 is the worst movie ever made hasn't seen enough movies.

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Someone dissing PLAN 9 makes you angry?
Yes. PLAN 9 was deemed the "worst movie ever" by an insipid and meanspirited book based on one poll of people who had yet to see MANOS THE HANDS OF FATE, HOBGOBLINS, or even JAWS: THE REVENGE. Ed Wood struggled and suffered his whole life, and after he dies along comes this book to piss on his grave.

So you liked PLAN 9. Good for you. I understand that there are people in this world that play SYNNIBAR and actually enjoy it. Good for them. These facts do not magically make either of these two things NOT SUCK, at least in the opinion of the vast majority of their respective audiences.
The average person who watches PLAN 9 enjoys it. Maybe for the bad effects and acting, but nonetheless, it is for most people an entertaining film. A lot of movies with equally naff effects and equally horrid performances are just plain BAD, no entertainment value whatsoever.

PLAN 9 is actually more like SENZAR- technically flawed but fun in its cockeyed way. SYNNIBARR is unplayable, especially for anyone unfortunate enough to be the GM.
 

Mithras

5859B7 Age 48 7 Terms
Validated User
#75
Jared A. Sorensen said:
Is it just me or do most 'Mericans miss the point that the JUDGES ARE THE BAD GUYS?!?!
I know I'm jumping in a bit late with this response ... ah well.

I agree with Jared. The entire story is a piss-take (send-up). The judges are nasty, pre-programmed automatons.

The fun is living up the life as a perp in MC1, organizing a gang, setting up block wars, putting money into crazy-ass scams and dodging richochet rubber bullets when it all goes pear-shaped. The perps had all the personality, were always larger than life. They really reflect the personality of MC1 itself.

Now that would be fun. Oh, and I insist on a full colour wall map of MC1 please.
 

Rezolution

New member
Validated User
#76
Pulp and COC

Evan Waters said:
You do realize that, as Lovecraft's short stories were published in magazines like WEIRD TALES and AMAZING STORIES, that would make CoC a "pulp" RPG, right?
[/B]
I don't think that's what Mearls means when he uses the term "pulp." I am guessing he means things like the Indiana Jones RPG or Adventure!, which are very different from CoC. It's not the origin of the game's source material so much as the tone of the game.

And Mearls, if my interpretation is wrong, feel free to set me straight :)
 

Pramas

Registered User
Validated User
#77
Re: Re: Re: My Opinionated Response

mearls said:


A list of essential RPGs would include:

Dungeons & Dragons
Traveller
Call of Cthulhu
Rolemaster
GURPS
Paranoia (1st and 2nd editions only)
Ars Magica (1st and 2nd editions only)
Rifts
Shadowrun
Vampire
Deadlands
Unknown Armies

That's off the top of my head, but I don't see the list getting much longer.

If you read the core books of these games, you have a good handle on the history and important changes in game design.
A few big holes in your list. Any catalog of important changes in game design must include:

Runequest
Champions
Ghostbusters (1st edition)

You might add Over the Edge and Amber, both of which pushed design in a different direction.

I would also argue that Rolemaster, GURPS, Rifts, Deadlands, and Unknown Armies are not in the same league as the other games on that list.

Chris Pramas
 
#78
Jason Sartin said:
[BIf I never see another Generic High Fantasy RPG That's Pretty Much Ay-Dee-En-Fucking-Dee-2.5 for as long as I live, it'll still be too soon. Would it kill these people to at least GLANCE off the heavily-beaten path?
[/B]
HA! you should check out some of the discussion going on in the Art of Game Design forum. You viewpoint may prove enlightening.
 

d3nial

ANZAC
Validated User
#79
Two Gygactic Words

Dangerous Journeys

Like D&D only numbingly complicated, poorly laid out and editted and also over-complicated...

Wasn't there one called "The Underground" or something - so "unessential" I can't remember...

d3nial
 
N

NPC stuart

Guest
#80
so... i'm digging around in a milk carton in the back of a mall hobby shop last night, and what should i come across but a copy of the indiana jones rpg. but based on reading this thread earlier that same day, i kept going (not that i was that into the idea of an indiana jones game regardless).

also in the box, and also not very essential, the streetfighter rpg. and the dragonball z rpg.



stuart b.
 
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