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Took a few decades off...

drl2

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I've been skimming the forums on and off here for a couple of weeks, figured I'd finally create an account.

Back in the 80s I spent a lot of time poring over AD&D manuals, with forays into Traveler and Champions as well, but between the increasing difficulty of getting a group together and the instant-gratification lure of video games, my interest faded over time. A year or so ago, my other family members started expressing interest in "playing something along the lines of D&D". Short version: Burnt out on the MMO grind, I've been bitten by the RPG bug again. Besides running a Mighty Protectors (soon to alternate with D&D 5e sessions) campaign for my family, I've been spending waaay too much time watching gameplay and DIY-scenery-and-mini-crafting videos, rolling up NPCs I'm not even sure how I'm going to use yet, and trying to stop myself from spending too much money on all the optional toys surrounding this hobby.

I've noticed that this time around my interest in these games is different. I used to be fascinated by the numbers - I loved building my own classes, tweaking the rules to see what happened, etc. (I thought the way Traveler encoded a whole starship description into a 20-some digit string of letters and numbers was the coolest thing ever, and I could interpret them without cracking open a manual!) Now, those aspects don't interest me as much. I'm more focused on turning a mix of vague campaign notes and player interactions into interesting stories.
 

drl2

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Oh yeah... and it's going to be tough to work in a regular session on top of my family ones, but I'm really hoping to get back into a game or two as a player in the not-too-distant future.
 

baakyocalder

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Welcome.

As a player, if you are willing to play online, that gives you many more options than we had decades ago for playing games. Virtual Tabletop programs and the use of voice server software (Ventrilo and Teamspeak which I also used playing MMOs) lets you play with fun people throughout the world.

I also suggest checking out local game stores for demos and seeing if there is a game meetup group in your area if you'd prefer to play instead of being the GM.
 

AndrewTBP

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Welcome to the forums!
I've had good experiences with Roll20 for VTT and Discord for chat & voice. My 13th Age campaign is in its 4th year.
 

g33k

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Hello, and welcome!

... Now, those aspects don't interest me as much. I'm more focused on turning a mix of vague campaign notes and player interactions into interesting stories.
So I'll go ahead and point you towards this newfangled thing called the "narrative" style of game. The mechanics here explicitly abandon the tropes of "simulating the world" in a pseudo-physics way -- how many d6 of damage per 10' of fall, etc -- in favor of the tropes from other narrative media (movies, novels, etc) where the story is key (you fell a looong way; is it more narratively apt that you are Knocked-Out and wake up to some Plot-Twist? or that you are now Very Injured and need to deal with Still Going On? or that you are a red smear on the ground and need to make a new PC? Any of these might suit you, the player (and the group at the table, generally) -- let's make the FUN or INTERESTING decision, not the one dictated by the dice'd pseudophysics).

Fate is one of the oft-cited "narrative" style games; the main definitions of the PCs aren't their Class/Level or their STR/DEX/CON/ETC, but their "High Concept" (Han Solo would likely have something like "Hotshot Pilot & Smuggler" and their "Trouble" (Han Solo would likely have either "Heart of Gold beneath an all-to-thin veneer" or "Another port, another bounty-hunter" or the like). Either the player OR the GM can invoke these aspects to get an advantage in a scene. It's almost impossible to kill a Fate PC unless the player has agreed that death is an acceptable outcome from this scene; otherwise, the player can "concede" the conflict (i.e. the Bad Guy escapes with the kidnapped princess, or transmits the location of the hidden rebel fortress, or simply wins the battle and holds the field) but the PLAYER gets to narrate how that happens and HOW THEY SURVIVE ANYHOW (knocked out & presumed dead; trapped in an EscapePod with a broken transmitter; etc). Fate "Core" and Fate "Accelerated" (and various "Fate Toolkits") are available free in PDF's, as setting-less / genre-less general-purpose RPGs where you need to implement that stuff yourself; and also available a printed commercial RPG rulebooks. They also have commercial implementations such as the "Atomic Robo" RPG (based on the webcomic) and Dresden Files (based on the novels), plus other non-licensed settings such as "Spirit of the Century." There are also 3rd-party variants like "Strange Fate" for the Kerberos Club setting (also available in a setting-less variant), or the "Strands of Fate" line (also setting-less AFAIK), and non-variant 3rd-party offerings like Diaspora (hard-ish SciFi).

I'll also point you toward Heroquest, which is arguably even MORE "narrative" in style. Look at "Heroquest 2" (which is, again, a relatively genre-less book) or "Heroquest Glorantha" (which is 99% HQ2 re-implemented in a fully-realized setting (the world of Glorantha)). The publisher, Chaosium, has announced that they will be producing a free-in-PDF "SRD" version of the game, moving forward, but that version hasn't yet been released, so commercial copies are your only current choice.

For a quick one-off experiment, try Lady Blackbird.

Also quick (and generally a bit comedic/goofy) is Risus.

You may be interested in some of the diceless systems, such as Amber (based on the Zelazny novels) or it's IP-free cousin Lords of Gossamer and Shadow. Also look at Nobilis (currently in 3e, but the 2e is IIRC recently made re-available as a PDF).
 

drl2

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Wow, thanks - that's quite a lot to look into! :)

I haven't abandoned the numbers & stats fascination entirely, I just find it less relatively important these days. But I'll probably research some of these and dabble in them if time + funds allow.
 

g33k

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... dabble in them if time + funds allow.
Well, the "funds" will allow a LOT of dabbling if you don't need hardcopies... the majority of what I suggested have free-PDF versions. Lady Blackbird & Risus are AFAIK /ONLY/ available as free PDF's (and are short -- so light on time commitment too)!
 

Gee4orce

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I think you'll find a lot of support for a game engine called Fate on this forum (although, it's a bit like Marmite, as we say in the UK - you either love it or hate it).

You're pretty typical of the demographic on this forum - most people here seem to have been involved (either actively or not) with RPGs since the 70s and 80s and many of us have also had a similar experience as yourself. I can totally identify - I used to be all into the numbers, and systems still fascinate me from a design point of view. But actually sitting down and running a game? I don't have time for all the fiddly rules - give me something simple and narrative.

Have you discovered Genesys (or FFG Star Wars)? That's a good compromise between mechanics and story, powered by custom dice that give a rich range of results
 
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