The RPGaDay Roundup continues! If you’re just joing us, Part 1 is here. Let’s continue:
Day 13: Most Memorable Character Death
When I was in high school, I had a Paladin I had managed to get up to 16th level. I started that guy in junior high school, and at that time it was my longest running character.
For our younger gamers, a little history lesson: paladins were a rare breed back in 1st Edition D&D. You had to have multiple stats in the 17-18 range (one of which had to be Charisma), and you couldn’t just show up to a game with one already rolled up. You had to roll those dice in front of your GM to make sure you were on the level. I couldn’t believe my luck when I rolled the necessary scores, but there was no way I was going to let the chance pass. And thus, Sir Bennett was born.
Sir Bennett survived through every horror imaginable, including vampires, dragons, demons, and @%&$head DMs who just wanted to destroy a paladin. He was also the first character of mine who ever married; he met, was courted by, and wed a fighter in the party when they were both around 12th level. She later died and Sir Bennett, unable to save her, became a broken man for a while.
Sir Bennett died defending his keep from a marauding army of devils and undead which threatened to sweep across the land. He was victorious, earning the heroes death he truly deserved. As another first, we actually role-played out the reading of his Last Will & Testament (character Wills were the rage back then). Sir Bennett was allowed to return in ghostly form to render his bequests, and a great deal of fun was had, as I recall.
So raise a glass to brave Sir Bennett, a paladin just!
Day 14: Favourite Convention Purchase
It has become a tradition for me to visit the Chessex booth when I’m at Gen Con and purchase a mug of dice. If you don’t know, Chessex keeps a bin of assorted dice at its booth. You can pay a flat fee (this year it was $9) to scoop out a mug of dice from the bin. Mostly the bin is full of regular dice, but there is usually some of their odd or custom dice in there as well. I do it every year to restock my spare dice pool, and see what little oddities I can add to my growing collection. Pro Tip: if you do it, make sure to get your mug as close to the bottom as possible, that’s where the d4s and oddities usually hide.
Day 15: Favourite Convention Game
I will usually bring a few games with me to a con to play in the long line-ups, or when there is a spare chunk of time between scheduled events. So things like Zombie Dice or Cthulu Dice are my go to; they’re easy to teach, fast to play, and fit easily in a pocket of my bag.
If we actually have a chance to sit down at a table, and can take a bit of time, I like to pull out a game my friend Devon introduced me to called King of Tokyo. Has all of the qualities mentioned above, but requires a bit more of a set-up so it is not for all occasions. But it never fails to entertain, and I find it a great palette-cleanser between sessions of other, more intricate games.
Day 16: Game You Wish You Owned
Not so much a game as a game accessory, I deeply covet the Rise of the Runelords Deluxe Collector’s Edition. I’m currently GMing through the Rise of the Runelords AP with my regular Thursday night group, and I love everything about it. When Paizo first released the Adventure Path line, I though it was the smartest idea for a game accessory I had ever seen, and they’ve only improved upon the idea since.
But RotRL started it all, and the Collector’s Edition is ostentatiously gorgeous. Slap me with the Rune for Greed, I wants it so bad! Someday it will be mine, as a present to myself.
Day 17: Funniest Game You’ve Played
Hands down, this title goes to Tales from the Floating Vagabond from Avalon Hill, a perfect gem of a beer-and-pretzel game from my early gaming days. For many years I new the game only as a series of ads in The Dragon, but it hooked me with ad copy like: “Why is The Floating Vagabond like an anole? Sometimes it’s green, sometimes it’s brown, but it’s always a small Caribbean lizard.” I knew I had to play this game.
When I finally did, I wasn’t disappointed. The premise is pretty simple, as with most beer-and-pretzel games. The owner of the Floating Vagabond wanted to drum up business, so he installed a trans-dimensional gate in his door way which, for a few seconds, would randomly connect to a bar doorway somewhere else in the multi-verse. This transports any person walking through the door at that moment to the Vagabond, where he could sell the disoriented patron a drink or five.
What this means, of course, is that you can play anything. Any character you can dream up, who might want to get a drink at some point, can make an appearance in the game. The game does suggest some tropes to ease character creation. The game also uses Schticks to bring the fun and help flesh out your character. Schticks can include things like Never-ending Ammo, Errol Flynn Syndrome (you never enter a room through the door if another way is available, there will always be a rope to swing on), and one who’s name escapes me, but essentially meant that technology you don’t believe in doesn’t work around you (“Sir, I am a simple farmer from 14th century Sussex. Human flight is impossible!” *sounds of planes crashing all around*).
Maybe it had something to do with discovering the game around the time I discovered booze, but I loved this game. Ridiculous from start to finish, the game never takes itself seriously. It was one of the few beer-and-pretzel games I’d found which published modules. But with names like Cosmic Paternity Suit, Adventure with No Name, and Hypercad 54, Where Are You?, the modules never took themselves seriously either.
Tales from the Floating Vagabond was Kickstarted a little while back, and reached its funding goal. So I’m hopeful I’ll be able to lay my hands on a new version of the game very soon.
Day 18: Favourite Game System
Pathfinder RPG is still my favourite system these days. I know it, I’m comfortable in it, and I have a number of years of history with it. I don’t see it losing the top spot in the foreseeable future.
But a system I’m currently seeing on the side is the new Star Wars: Edge of the Empire game. Everything about the game mechanics supports playing a game with the feel and tone of Star Wars, which is something previous editions have missed for me. Also, the game doesn’t try to explain things which don’t need explanation; we don’t really care how computers work, for instance, so very little time is spent on that type of tech. And I’m a big fan of the custom dice used with the game. Yes, you’ll need to learn what the symbols mean, but once you do resolution becomes very quick and intuitive. I also think they were smart not to give us Jedi right out of the gate. As cool as they are, we know it’s the scoundrels which really make the Star Wars universe cool.