Supposedly mainstream games you can't believe anyone actually played?

thedungeondelver

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Oh I know it's played by many. I just can't believe it!

A thousand times over, this.

It's like finding out that millions of people still use Windows 2000 as a day-to-day OS or something.

(Yes I realize this is a frighteningly possible reality.)
 

Simlasa

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lol, OK. Fair enough
Our Pathfinder GM claimed he had to have the (forgot name) software running for us to play the game. It crashed one night and we had to stop the game.
But now he's running BX D&D and, to me, I don't really see what all that extra whatever added... meanwhile it's a whole lot easier to deal with a one-page CS compared to the 4-6 page CS we had for PF, combats seem MUCH faster, and the GM seems more relaxed.
One Player seemed miffed about us dropping Pathfinder and quit, but the rest of us have no complaints.
 

Endless Flight

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Are they ever going to reprint the Rules Cyclopedia? I would snap that up in a second.
 

opaopajr

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It's funny, but CtD 1e and KotE (specifically Land of 8mil Dreams, CtD Year of the Lotus) are what got me interested in oWoD. VtES is what got me into VtM, and only after many card game years, (and eventually VtDA, particularly Veil of Night, VtDA Year of the Scarab). Storyteller is a kludgey as fuck loose system, and those above stretched its functionality, but overall nothing that cray-cray.

And then there's Mechwarrrior RPG and most other FASA stuff... You play it until you wake up over your fanboi splooge, like the RPG equivalent to waking from a wet dream and having to then do laundry. You're left piecing together your illusions in the cold light of day and rhythmic tumbling of clothes.
 

Ronin

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I can understand why they wouldn't, for several reasons. What surprises me is they don't have a print on demand deal with the PDF on drive thru. That would make a ton of sense to me.
 

noman

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Fate and the original OWOD.

It's not that I can't believe people play these games. A lot of folks love them, and probably for good reasons. I can't believe I try to play these games.

I've tried to play at a Fate table a few times. Every time I do, I break out into hives, have trouble breathing, and maggots erupt from my skin. I start liking strawberry ice cream and think that the 50 Shades franchise is a well-structured, deep storyline with a profound message.

I thought I was just having another psychotic episode, but it turns out that I'm allergic to the Fate game system.

A lot of people are allergic to peanuts. Peanuts are not bad. Peanuts are freaking amazing!

As for OWOD. I really, really try to enjoy this system, but fail. And keep failing. It's like going on a date with a lovely, interesting, if a bit odd, woman, whom you're really fascinated with, but being miserable the whole time.

But it's not her, you see. It's me.
 

Necrozius

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I acquired the original Vampire book out of pure nostalgia. I love the art and mood but as soon as I start to read the metaplot and rules I start to think about eating peanuts (I'm allergic to them).
 

thedungeondelver

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Are they ever going to reprint the Rules Cyclopedia? I would snap that up in a second.

I would not be surprised if it came up on Print On Demand. they seem to have sorted their business with the typos and printing errors and are moving forward again slowly. So, soon, people will be able to buy it for a reasonable price!

...which makes me happy I sold my copies for entirely unreasonable prices.
 

Armchair Gamer

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The Rules Cyclopedia is something they're definitely planning for PoD; I imagine it's just a question of getting a quality copy/scan that's sufficient for the procedure, and not flooding the market.
 

thedungeondelver

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The Rules Cyclopedia is something they're definitely planning for PoD; I imagine it's just a question of getting a quality copy/scan that's sufficient for the procedure, and not flooding the market.
Yeah they're big on copy-must-be-clean this time around.

Honestly for a hot ticket item like this they should re-typeset but I get it that they're trying to keep the overhead to a minimum.
 

Armchair Gamer

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Yeah they're big on copy-must-be-clean this time around.
In support of that, Jason Walters of Hero Games looked into the possibility of getting some 4th Edition stuff (like the Big Blue Book) available as PoD, but found out that they just couldn't get the originals looking good enough to meet DTRPG's criteria.

(Hero Games is another company that's really moving forward on the PoD front for its backlist.)
 

Baulderstone

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Our Pathfinder GM claimed he had to have the (forgot name) software running for us to play the game. It crashed one night and we had to stop the game.
But now he's running BX D&D and, to me, I don't really see what all that extra whatever added... meanwhile it's a whole lot easier to deal with a one-page CS compared to the 4-6 page CS we had for PF, combats seem MUCH faster, and the GM seems more relaxed.
One Player seemed miffed about us dropping Pathfinder and quit, but the rest of us have no complaints.

I remember that 3rd Edition had the early slogan "Back to the Dungeon!" Actually running a decent-sized dungeon with 3E was an incredible slog though. If you got into a fight, you were looking at 30-60 minutes of shuffling minis around. Early on, the fights were fun, but progress through a dungeon was so slow. You could only clear a few rooms in a night.

I remember at one point, they seemed to realize this problem, and Dragon ran on article on the Three Room Dungeon. All dungeons should now be concentrated into three rooms that each had their own encounter. With the mechanics they had, it probably was the best solution.

When I ran B/X again in 2008, I ran Palace of the Silver Princess, and it was amazing to us all how fast dungeon exploration was. When I gave up on D&D in the '80s, one of my dissatisfactions with the game was the blandness of combat. Yet playing B/X that night, I realized how the basic combat made it fly by. If we had been playing with 3E or Pathfinder, the emphasis of the session would have been on the first couple of combats. With B/X, the quick combats meant combat was just a means to an end, and the focus was on exploring that dungeon. The combat rules are really just a subsystem of the exploration rules, whether in a dungeon or a wilderness.

One of the issues with long, highly-tactical combat systems is that they become a game unto themselves, and you are asking players to play that game same tactical game over and over during a campaign. If players or the GM burn out on it, the whole campaign can fall apart. Also, once players get a handle on the optimal moves, they become rote.

Simple systems might seem more boring on paper, but because they move so fast, nobody is really going to be bored as long as the larger events of the campaign are interesting.

Are they ever going to reprint the Rules Cyclopedia? I would snap that up in a second.

I'd definitely pick up a POD Rules Cyclopedia. It is crazily expensive. Since I am running D&D for my nephews, I picked up some spare copies of the B/X rule books so it was less stressful letting a seven year-old handle them. I was able to get good quality copies of both books for less then $40 combined. I never see the Cyclopedia for less than $120.

It's funny, but CtD 1e and KotE (specifically Land of 8mil Dreams, CtD Year of the Lotus) are what got me interested in oWoD. VtES is what got me into VtM, and only after many card game years, (and eventually VtDA, particularly Veil of Night, VtDA Year of the Scarab). Storyteller is a kludgey as fuck loose system, and those above stretched its functionality, but overall nothing that cray-cray.

I can see them looking better if that was where you entered the oWoD. I started with Vampire, and it looked fine to me at first glance. It took running and playing WW games before I developed a loathing for them. By the time KotE and CtD were out, I could see all the problems at a glance.

CtD was frustrating, as I could clearly see a much better game using almost the same mechanics. In CtD, you got Glamour by drawing it from artists. It looked like in actual play, it would end up being like feeding in Vampire. While conceptually at the heart of the game, loading up on Glamour would be something you would do between scenes that added little to the ongoing plot.

The system also used the standard WoD thing where you picked a personality archetype that determined how you got Willpower. Each archetype got a Willpower point when they did a certain kind of thing. In most of the game, you had the same list of archetypes, but in CtD, they had archetypes all based on fairy tale types (The Knight, The Ogre, etc.).

It felt like they really missed the boat in not tying these archetypes to Glamour gain. If you played a Knight, rather than gaining glamour by going to a coffee house and attending a poetry slam, you could gain glamour by undertaking a chivalrous quest. Gaining glamour wouldn't be a pause in the game, it would be something that pushed it forward.

There was something appealing to me about the idea of changelings running around the bleak WoD trying to enact classic fantasy stories. Changeling: The Quixoting. It would also make Changelings more distinct from vampires by no longer making them predator types (unless that suited their archetype, of course).

I contemplated houseruling the idea, but there were so many other things about the game that bugged, me and I was kind of sick of the WoD anyway. Then a couple years later, I got an unsolicited playtest draft of Unknown Armies in the mail (that was quite a thing to receive by surprise), and I saw that Greg Stolze essentially did exactly what I wanted by tying magical charges to actually going out and doing stuff.

I ended up playing in Stolze's group a couple of years later (I'm the same Baulderstone mentioned on the title page of To Go as having just disappeared off the face of the Earth. And no, I am not telling you where I went). I kind of wanted to ask Greg if he got the idea while looking at the missed opportunity in Changeling, but I didn't want him to think I was accusing him of stealing the idea, which I wouldn't have been at all.

And then there's Mechwarrrior RPG and most other FASA stuff... You play it until you wake up over your fanboi splooge, like the RPG equivalent to waking from a wet dream and having to then do laundry. You're left piecing together your illusions in the cold light of day and rhythmic tumbling of clothes.

Funny you compare FASA RPGs to a dream. I played some Mechwarrior, Star Trek and Doctor Who back in the day, and I have no recollection of even a single mechanic. LIke a dream, those games have evaporated from my mind.

I acquired the original Vampire book out of pure nostalgia. I love the art and mood but as soon as I start to read the metaplot and rules I start to think about eating peanuts (I'm allergic to them).

It's been many, many years since I looked at it, but was there much of a metaplot in the original book? I always remembered that as a rot that set in later. Or was it just the foreknowledge of the metaplot to come that made you ill?
 

opaopajr

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Gaining glamour & willpower was not all that hard in CtD 1e.

Easy Methods (subject to GM caprice)
Sleep in mortal seeming (anywhere) and have a restful night's sleep -- regain one temp willpower.
Sleep in changeling seeming at a freehold's Sanctuary and have a restful night's sleep -- regain one temp glamour.

And then there is Dross, Fonts, destroyed Chimera, etc.

Then there's the harder (more complex) ways to gain glamour -- but are really more about your coping mechanisms to banality taking over the world -- ravage, rapture, & revel.

Also cantrips cost no glamour in 1e (unless otherwise stated), just their bunk(s). Bunks eventually suffer diminishing returns over a Story. You can spend glamour on extra realms, one extra bunk, or skipping the after-cantrip discard, but it is not required for a cantrip to work. (The bigger challenge was deciding Enchanting a target for a day with glamour or risking that a witness' banality would fizzle the effect.)

(And yes, FASA is one of those "how did I ever play that? No seriously! How? Was it even real?" If it was not for the mega fans I played with who memorized whole chapters of tables, and 2+ of their combined rules lawyering heads convening out how anything resolved, I have no idea whether I could have done anything. It was mostly "say what I do, let them convene for 5+ minutes citing chapter & verse, roll dice, they convene again for another 5+ minutes figuring out WTF happened, pass turn & gaze blankly at the minis board state.)
 
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yojimbouk

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I suppose mine is Paranoia. I know people do play it but it always struck me as a parody of rpgs rather than a real game. The fact that Greg Costikyan also wrote Violence which explicitly parodies D&D cemented that perception.
 

Baulderstone

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I suppose mine is Paranoia. I know people do play it but it always struck me as a parody of rpgs rather than a real game. The fact that Greg Costikyan also wrote Violence which explicitly parodies D&D cemented that perception.

Paranoia can be played, but it reads much better than it plays. I loved the books for it as a teenager, but it never went that well when I ran it. The central problem with the game is that all the best jokes are GM-facing. The players are stumbling around in the dark, and I know the hilarious larger context and they don't. You can clue them in after the session, but letting a group of irritated friends who are fresh off a frustrating session know that they were all even bigger fools than the realized never went as well as I thought it would.
 

Raleel

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I can't comment on fate much. The bits I've looked st haven't interested me. I can double down on Scion though - played one of my favorite campaigns in that, but the system was atrocious.

My game for this thread though is Numenera/The Strange. I've played it. It has some neat concepts, but then much of the system is such a hack. I felt super straight jacketed, and the notion of an intrusion is very confrontational AND bound to your advancement.
 

Simlasa

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I suppose mine is Paranoia. I know people do play it but it always struck me as a parody of rpgs rather than a real game.
It works fine if it is played straight, as a horror game... which was one of the official variants. Humor will find its way into the game anyway, but will be the humor of the Players, not the game designers.
 

opaopajr

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Has Rebecca Borgstrom been mentioned yet? When I look at her contributions to Ethereal Players Guide from In Nomine... it's like a wrench in the logic machine that is David Edelstein's stolid game mechanization. How the editor worked a miracle between those two, I'll never know (and she's not really telling, outside of a wry forum smile that the world will likely never see a pairing like that again).
 

Caesar Slaad

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Fate is weird. My first encounter with the system was 2nd edition. The one that came before the current one (Core). I saw a lot of potential in Aspects and the dice seemed nifty.

What got me confused, and still does, no matter how many times others explain it to me, is the whole "aspects are always, always true, but you have to spend the meta currency to use them to your benefit". That just doesn't compute.

Example: if you're the Last Son of Krypton, it is always true that you have all of Superman's powers... But if you want to use them in a tense situation, better contrive a bunch of bad shit to happen to you so that you can acquire Fate points that allow you to use these powers at all.

I love me some Fate, but Fate fans who say that are akin to Wushu fans at TBP who would use it to run anything.

There are Fate fans who would kick stunts to the curb and power everything with Aspects. Those Fate fans are wrong.

There is a reason that systems like Atomic Robo, Wearing the Cape, and The Kerberos club just don't bank on aspects to represent super powers.

The thing about aspects is that tries to given different setting elements and situations approximately the same gameplay weight. That's great grist for some fun interactive freeform roleplaying (I'll decline the Pundit-ish notion of trying to "other" this into "story gaming"), but your belief suspenders that wear thin and snap where that simplification is too much of a simplification.

Fortunately, we don't have to do that. We have games that can add mechanics beyond aspects to represent more nuanced representation of these elements.

That being said, Mutants & Masterminds is my choice for supers gaming. Wearing the Cape looks cool, but I'd have to see it in play before I pass final judgment.
 

Caesar Slaad

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Back on topic, I can't see how anyone would play RIFTS long term and not give up like I did.

I've seen evidence of it, but I just don't see how.

(Not that it's "mainstream" anymore, but it once was sorta)
 

Necrozius

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My brother in law is, er WAS a Rifts fanatic. He's got so many damn books, but the game system gradually made him more and more annoyed the longer that he played it (and it didn't help that he couldn't get anyone else on board any longer due to the rules).

The prospect of Savage Rifts has enticed him to play in that world again for the first time in 15 years.
 

noman

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My game for this thread though is Numenera/The Strange. I've played it. It has some neat concepts, but then much of the system is such a hack. I felt super straight jacketed, and the notion of an intrusion is very confrontational AND bound to your advancement.

I got to play in a short Numenera game a while back, and liked it so much I started collecting the line. Plan on running a game eventually.

Though I can completely understand where you're coming from.
 

Spinachcat

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I mostly can't believe people play games RAW.

I tinker with almost everything. I used to think I ran CoC RAW, but then I actually reread the rules a couple years back and realized I altered wee bits here and there decades ago and my brain assumed my houserules were the RAW.
 

Tommy Brownell

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Our Pathfinder GM claimed he had to have the (forgot name) software running for us to play the game. It crashed one night and we had to stop the game.
But now he's running BX D&D and, to me, I don't really see what all that extra whatever added... meanwhile it's a whole lot easier to deal with a one-page CS compared to the 4-6 page CS we had for PF, combats seem MUCH faster, and the GM seems more relaxed.
One Player seemed miffed about us dropping Pathfinder and quit, but the rest of us have no complaints.

My rule is that if I have to even use a spreadsheet to make a character, much less use some other software for essential functions of the game, then it's too complicated and I go on to something else.
 

Baulderstone

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My rule is that if I have to even use a spreadsheet to make a character, much less use some other software for essential functions of the game, then it's too complicated and I go on to something else.

Same here. It's partly because I hate the hassle of complex generation myself. It's also because I don't want to be the guy that suggests a game that makes everyone miserable before they even get started actually playing.
 

Necrozius

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... the notion of an intrusion is very confrontational AND bound to your advancement.

I've come across that complaint very frequently; a lot of people feel that way.

I think that it's a shame, to be honest. GM Intrusions, to me, are no different than Fate Compels, Savage Worlds GMs using Bennies on villains, or GM Moves in Dungeon World. Then again, if you aren't a fan of that meta-gamey playstyle, you wouldn't like those either.

Maybe I like Intrusions because I was already familiar with the concept before through those other games and because I'm not an asshole GM. I used Intrusions to make things more interesting, to ramp up the tension or to give players a success on a failed dice roll but with a complication. I can see how some asshole GMs would abuse this system though.

I've only DMed the game for three sessions and loved it, but this weekend I'll be playing it with strangers at a convention. I'll be particularly observant of how other the other GM handles Intrusions.
 

Raleel

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Nod, for me it's less about metagame mechanics and more about the trust level required. For example, I have no problem at all with Marvel Heroic's doom pool - indeed, I love it. It gives the GM a resource for making things more interesting. But the scope of it is ultimately tied to a die size, and thus limited. It sidesteps the asshole GM issue.
 

Necrozius

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Nod, for me it's less about metagame mechanics and more about the trust level required.

I understand fully. There are many RPGs, including some of my favourites, that I'm wary to try out with strangers. Perhaps that's why I prefer to DM...
 

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Not at all mainstream, but I remember the first and only time that I played Prince Valiant. We had a huge laugh, but considering the subject matter (somewhat obscure comic nowadays) and as we threw fistfuls of pennies into the air (you flip coins instead of rolling dice) we thought it ridiculous that anyone actually played that game. I still wonder, even after finding a pristine copy and actually reading it cover to cover.

I love that book and its writing, and if I every actually played it, I'd substitute the coin flipping with d6s.

But yeah, did people really actually play Prince Valiant?
I have run two sessions of it with my 4 year old daughter and a friend of hers, with more coming. And I have run a 2 years long and a 3 years long campaign with it ;) I just switched to d6s, using 4-6 as heads and 1-3 as tails. It's a beautiful design.
I remember seeing that in the toy store at the mall and laughing at it with my friends. Being cool 14 year-olds, we were way above that.

I can't think of any names, but Prince Valiant seems to be one of those games that gets name-checked by designers a lot. Maybe it is like the saying about the Velvet Underground's first album. Not many people bought it, but everyone that did started their own band.

Maybe not buying that game at the mall is the reason I am not a famous game designer today.
Given the quality of its ideas, it doesn't surprise me
 

Necrozius

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I have run two sessions of it with my 4 year old daughter and a friend of hers, with more coming. And I have run a 2 years long and a 3 years long campaign with it ;) I just switched to d6s, using 4-6 as heads and 1-3 as tails. It's a beautiful design.

That's great! I genuinely mean that. I love the Prince Valiant game.

4 years old?! Did it go well? My eldest just turned 5 and I've been aching to get him started on his first RPG.
 

Baulderstone

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That's great! I genuinely mean that. I love the Prince Valiant game.

4 years old?! Did it go well? My eldest just turned 5 and I've been aching to get him started on his first RPG.

Five is tough, in my experience. They are into the make believe part of it, but they have a lot of trouble dealing with the concept of mixing imagination with rules and structure.

I'd say go ahead and try though. Just be willing to let the game fall apart completely if the kid's imagination completely goes outside the game, which can be its own brand of fun.

At seven, I find there is a much more willingness to embrace the idea of rules. In fact, I started the oldest with a completely stripped down RPG, and he began to complain about the lack of clear rules for things, so I broke out the B/X books and he was satisfied. Maybe he will repeat gamer history and start to chafe on the lack of clearly defined skills soon and grab my copy of Runequest 2nd edition. I should keep a copy of Ghostbusters handy for when he finally goes too far along the path of crunch and needs an antidote.
 
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