I never remember to do these things daily, so here’s all of them at once:
First RPG Played/First RPG Games Mastered/First RPG Purchased
On further thought, the answer to all of these is Fighting Fantasy: The Introductory Roleplaying Game. A friend of mine, Russell, was a fanatic or the Fighting Fantasy books and collected them all. We used to roleplay by one of us being the narrator and the other playing the part of the character and rolling the dice. That wasn’t too satisfying but with this orange-covered book we were opened up to the Games Master moderating the actions. I bought a copy and via that was opened up to a bunch of other games – starting with MERP.
Fighting Fantasy: The Introductory Roleplaying Game was a great introduction to the hobby for me and coming via the huge plethora of different settings and rules across the Fighting Fantasy library – from science fiction and horror to traditional fantasy – meant I never really got locked in to D&D. Looking back, I think that was a blessing. It made me into the game system and setting whore I am today.
It’s really fucking annoying that Rackham went under and that all their IP, wonderful miniature sculpts, artwork and style is now in limbo. Fantasy Flight’s games derived from their IP are interesting, but just not enough. I picked up Cadwallon just before they went under and the artwork and ideas are just amazingly cool. I missed out on getting the reversible gaming tiles back then and so I recently bought a couple of sets of them off ebay – with a little help (thanks Chris).
I’m not really a miniatures guy, but these are so well crafted and cool that it’s hard not to appreciate and want them. Plus what with playing Iron Kingdoms lately I thought it might be worth a try. The tiles are great for any urban fantasy/magipunk setting and I’m pretty pleased I got them. I also picked up the D&D tiles master set The City for the same reason. Most tiles work on the same scale, so they’re pretty compatible. Maybe I’ll do something with them at IndieCon.
Most Old School RPG Owned
The Moldvay Red Box was my introduction to D&D and, no sir, I didn’t like it. Nonetheless I have a copy or two of the 1983 version knocking around somewhere. In close contention would be Dragon Warriors or, if you prefer the OSR – Lamentations of the Flame Princess. I’m not a huge fan of the old school way of doing things, but nor am I entirely a storygames person. I am an admirer of James Raggi’s ‘no bullshit’ approach however, and of the trend of retrocloning old game systems that amount to ‘abandonware’.
Favourite RPG You Never Get to Play
I don’t get to play very much any more, so that could apply to all of them. It’s more the board and wargames I don’t get to play as much as I like, especially Dust Tactics. RPGwise… maybe HeroQuest or Call of Cthulhu. When we do play I very often am the Games Master, so I get to actually play even less.
Most ‘Intellectual’ RPG Owned
I guess this really depends on how you define ‘intellectual’. The OED defines it as:
Relating to the intellect, Appealing to or requiring use of the intellect, Possessing a highly developed intellect, A person possessing a highly developed intellect, a prominent political thinker and intellectual.
Games can’t possess intellect, so that’s out, and they’re not people or thinkers – though they can be created by them. So… thinking of games that present a very intelligent point of view or which stimulate the brain makes me think of a few of them.
Over the Edge is very literate, informed and was groundbreaking at the time of its release. A precursor to many story games and rules-lite systems and a big inspiration when working on my own Forever Summer game.
Traveller, in all editions, has attempted (sometimes failing) to be relatively hard science fiction and it can become rather complicated. Fire Fusion and Steel was, perhaps, the apex of this complexity and while fascinating it didn’t seem especially suited to a game system that didn’t have a great deal of granularity.
Mage was philosophically and morally fascinating and provided a conceptual ‘key’ to understanding and fitting together the entire OWoD.
Mars Colony by Tim Koppang is pretty brainy too.
Some games are intellectual due to the intentions of the author (or the translation) being rather opaque. Eoris, Mechanical Dream and Cadwallon all fall into this category.
Judas, my SLA Industries character. A dual-headed flickscythe wielding albino, refugee from a lost human conflict society. He masterminded a long term rebellion against Mr Slayer which, of course, ended in tears.
Favourite Die/Die Set
I don’t get attached to dice in the same way a lot of people seem to, but aesthetically I’m probably most fond of a set of plastic faux-knucklebone six-sided dice that I have.
Favourite Tie-In Novel/Game Fiction
I hate both with the white hot-intensity of a thousand exploding supernovae. Tie in novels are almost always bad. Game fiction usually gets ignored, or gets in the way. My less discerning chums tell me the Warhammer 40k tie-in stuff is pretty good, but I wouldn’t trust the motherfuckers as far as I can comfortably spit a grox.
Weirdest RPG Owned
Mechanical Dream is pretty fucking weird and pretty fucking odd, as is Eoris. Neither of them quite seem to know what they are and both are so weird as to be hard to relate to.
Old RPG You Still Play/Read
Mage: The Ascension – though reading it just makes me angry at The Avatar Storm, how they ended the OWoD and how unspeakably awful the newer version of Mage is with its Theosophy slant.
Most Memorable Character Death
Not one of my characters, but old friend and player Tony. The players were escorting a tanker of high grade CHOOH2 to an isolated outpost, deep in gang territory in the desert and had stopped in a ghost town for a break. Nomad bandits attacked and a stray RPG rocket struck the back of the tanker. Miraculously Tony’s character survived the explosion, and having his arms and legs blown off, and being set on fire. His body exploded out out of the cab – still on fire – and after a random scatter effect was determined to fall down the old town well – still alive and limbless. He survived the fall and the water put the flames out, only to have him drown a couple of turns later.
Best Convention Purchase
Usually I’m behind a stall, so I don’t get to buy a lot of stuff at conventions or by the time I’m free to explore and find something cool it has already been sold. I do love Lords of War though, which I’ve supported since their launch at Dragonmeet. Buying stuff from Indie guys gives me the warm fuzzies too. I love supporting other creators and picking their brains – in the form of their books.
Favourite Convention Game
I hate to toot my own horn, but I love running my own games at conventions. Especially Invaderz, which never fails to be a riot.
Game You Wish You Owned
Dune. Incomplete, doesn’t quite work, but I love Dune as a whole and want to own the book.
Funniest Game You’ve Played
Again, I hate to toot my own horn but both Invaderz and Urban Faerie never fail to produce a fun game. Intentional comedy is really fucking difficult to pull off. Paranoia is the only game that successfully achieves it in my opinion and that’s precisely because its a) formulaic and b) over the top. I’ll admit a guilty pleasure for puns though and that’s an aspect I miss in the newer more grown up versions of D&D.
Favourite Game System
I can’t pick just one, so here’s a shortlist. FATE (Starblazer/Anglerre version), BRP, Cyberpunk 2020 version of Fuzion/Interlock, Silhouette, BLOOD! Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. Not so much Dark Heresy.
Favourite Published Adventure
Night City Stories.
Will Still Play in 20 Years Time
I move from game to game all the time, so it’s unlikely I will ever play something I have now in another 20 years, save for nostalgia reasons.
Favourite Licensed RPG
Licensed RPGs are almost always sucky. Sorry, but it’s true. The licenses flit from company to company and they’re almost always generic. Exceptions have included the ICE version of MERP (though the rules bore little resemblance to the setting, the adventures and other material were exemplary, as was the presentation). The current version of LOTR roleplaying also has great presentation and material, but I can’t help but wonder if their laudable experimentation with rules and setting has limited the appeal of what should be THE killer property.
I managed to get some good times out of the Angel RPG, but otherwise I don’t do so well with them. I guess my favourite remains ICE’s MERP, which is one of my favourites. WEG’s Star Wars is also well up there, but I only ever played it like… twice.
I’ve been working on a licensed RPG and I hope I’ve done it ‘right’.
Best Secondhand RPG Purchase
Nightlife. Brilliant game, long overlooked, precursor to the whole WoD thing and much more like Nightbreed. Great illustrations by my good friend Brad McDevitt. I’d buy the rights and re-do it if the people who had the rights were amenable to the idea, but they’re not.
Coolest Looking RPG Owned
Numenera is up there, but the art is too inconsistent to really claim it. Eoris is also visually stunning, but the text layout is awful. Mechanical Dream suffers from being greyed out and muddy, but is pretty cool looking all told. Iron Kingdoms is nice, but a lot of art’s recycled. When it first came out Vampire was visually stunning, the graphic art of that green marble cover was something completely new.
I don’t know… I’m visually quite demanding.
Most Complicated RPG Owned
The most intentionally complex RPG I own is probably Traveller: New Era. The most unintentionally complex RPG I own is probably Eoris.
Favourite RPG Nobody Else Wants to Play
Tribe 8 or Heavy Gear.
Coolest Character Sheet
Puppetland. Since it’s supposed to also be a puppet.
Game You’d Like to See a New/Improved Edition of
Cyberpunk 2020 needs a new edition. No, Cyberpunk 3 doesn’t exist. Lalalalala I can’t hear you. Lalalalala.
Scariest Game You’ve Played
Games of BLOOD! played up the old railway track, in tents, by lantern-light with owls hooting, foxes screeching and a fire burning down to embers could get quite spooky.
Most Memorable Encounter
I honestly can’t think of any particularly, but then I don’t get to play that much – like I said.
Rarest RPG Owned
I don’t really know. I don’t keep up on these things. Cadwallon perhaps? Nightlife’s hard to get hold of these days too. Original editions of Dragon Warriors maybe?
Favourite RPG of All Time
Impossible ask. I can take you through chronologically however:
- Fighting Fantasy
- Dragon Warriors
- Traveller 2300
- Call of Cthulhu
- Cyberpunk 2020
- Over the Edge
- SLA Industries
- Fading Suns
- Legend of the Five Rings
- Laundry Files
- Iron Kingdoms